CLIMATE ASSAULT COULD END LIFE ON EARTH
A Veteran Journalist’s Perspective
STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART
by William Thomas
PART 1 Coronary Canaries
Evenings like this are why I choose to live on islands. As the slowly setting sun streams through cloud- smothered summits on Vancouver Island, I pull on my seaboots and stride briskly across my gravel driveway and the deserted two-lane leading down to the cove. Already I’m gasping for breath. But that will pass.
My heart attack on the first sunny day in December shocked everyone. Especially me. With my electric outrigger canoe carrying me back ashore instead of off the planet, it seemed fitting that after nearly five decades’ service, this fallen activist-reporter would be levitated heavenward from a dirt strip not by angels but a jet-powered Sikorsky.
There’s nothing like a collapsed artery to re-arrange priorities! On returning home, I instantly dropped all wheat, sugar, junk food and processed meals. I’d been meaning to do this for years. Now it was all so easy. Remembering that morning and the one that followed, all I had to ask myself was, “Is eating this worth my life?”
Also off the menu was sitting 10-14 hours a day running my website and digesting dire information. For the first six weeks of recovery, my body wanted zero to do with computers and online clamour. Instead, I started walking every day. Tentatively, at first, then longer and further as my stamina improved. For this newly minted “senior” and stent club member, a well-earned retirement felt compelling. But even in this rural sanctuary, the relentless corporate assault – condos, ferry fares, smart meters – requires resistance. And no sailor can ignore aerosol spraying over a dying ocean.
Cutting through the orchard, I gain the path to the ferry landing. As the silent dripping rainforest closes around me, a raven swoops past with an arrow-like whoosh. Moss-covered deadfalls glow like leprechaun logs, while on the slopes above big boulders deposited by the last retreating glacier continue their 12,000 year-old argument with gravity. Now overdue, those mile-thick ice sheets won’t be back any time soon.
I pick up the pace as the trail tilts down along the Salish Sea. In the stillness that swallows the raven’s startled cry, small wavelets propelled by the waning sou’easter keep cresting and collapsing ashore. It’s a soothing cadence. But this seashore lullaby masks mayhem offshore.
ACID TRIP Jump cut to the Wonderwerk Cave located just off the Danielskuil and Kimberly roads in South Africa. Ever since paleo people first barbecued meat here one million years ago, the ocean that covers most of this planet has absorbed half of all human carbon emissions. The resulting acidification is currently proceeding 10-times faster than the last global warming wipeout 56 million years ago. [South Africa.com; Guardian Apr 2/12; News 24 Mar 25/14; Scientific American July 29/10]
Now fizzing like a seltzer bottle, this vast carbonated heat sink is monkey-wrenching the pH of every creature that breathes through baleen or gills. It’s also dissolving the shells of shellfish before they can become shellfish. Industrial-scale oyster production in the sheltered seas of the Pacific Northwest has dropped 80% since 2009.
Here on B.C.’s west coast, some of the most productive shellfish farms utilize Baynes Sound. That’s it right over there, about a mile away as that raven flies. For more than two decades, Rob Saunders has grown his shellfish larvae in these pristine waters. Not now. “They die if we use the ocean water,” he says. “Period.”
That last trip to the store in a 2,000 pound carbon-burner to buy some genetically modified popcorn or chips could have tipped ocean pH to the point where squishy shellfish larvae can no longer grow shells. “It’s pretty scary,” says Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association. [Globe & Mail Sept 6/12]
She’s right. The B.C. coast is in deepening crisis. The bull kelp “nurseries” that once snagged my trimaran’s rudder have vanished like a conjuring trick. And salmon once as prolific as old-growth forests are quickly going the way of all those clearcut trees. We’re talking starving bears and eagles. Denuded hillsides. And $35/kilo for fish once so abundant a Cowichan band member told me his grandparents forded streams by “walking across their backs.”
This is not a recipe for resilience in the face of climate chaos.
BOMBS AWAY Our heedless carbon blow-out has become a collective death wish. Over the past 10 years, the rate of atmospheric and ocean heat buildup has been equivalent to detonating four 20 megaton atomic bombs every second. [Guardian Apr 24/13]
We’ve come too far from those first Palaeolithic campfires. In 1212, we managed to pour a record 31 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the sky. A year later, net human greenhouse gas emissions were equivalent to more than 45 billion tons of CO2. Three-quarters of every pound of carbon belched from our smokestacks, jet exhausts and tailpipes will continue warming the atmosphere for the next 300 years. One-quarter of this accumulating tonnage will circulate warmly there “forever”. (At least in human reckonings of 10,000 years or more.) [Truthout Dec 26/13]
But we cannot accurately assess the full extent of our folly. After 16 years of sunlight-reflecting chemicals spread behind high-flying tankers, it’s impossible to separate climate change from geoengineering. The IPCC says that human-produced aerosol pollution is masking 57% of the warming we ought to be experiencing. So if all this sunlight-scattering is stopped, we’re stewed. Allow it to continue or increase, “Dead Zones” spread, the ocean dies and we’re screwed. [Truthout Dec 26/13]
We really do not want to go there. But the convenient excuse of Teller’s aerosol “sunscreen” is encouraging unrestrained carbon burning that turns the ocean into an acid bath. Even if you’re a thousand miles inland, good luck trying to live without the phytoplankton that anchor the ocean food web and supply half the oxygen we breathe.
BAKED ALASKA Our space colony is cracking up. And societies on petroleum-based life-support are especially vulnerable. The European Heat Wave of 2003 resulted in 70,000 to 80,000 “excess deaths”. The 2010 Moscow Heat Wave killed another 11,000. As Siberia flirts with with 90°F temperatures, black soot from a succession of huge tundra fires has turned large tracts of highly reflective Arctic snow into a blackened solar heat-
sucking furnace. [Truthout Dec 26/13; Robert Scribbler Aug 6/13; June 21/13]
This year, as a wonky jetstream and geoengineered “weather wall” off the California coast ricocheted more warm air northward, Alaska experienced its hottest-ever winter. In January 2014, temperatures spiked 40°F above normal. It was 62°F in formerly freezing Port Alsworth. [Arctic News Feb 4/14]
Everything connected with warming is speading up. In 2007, climate modellers predicted that near ice- free conditions would not occur until the end of this century. The US Navy now forcasts an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean by 2016. When this starts happening, our space colony’s air conditioner will fail. Earth will heat up quickly. And the demand for all-out geoengineering will become a shrill panicky cry. [Robert Scribbler Dec 12/13; Feb 5/14; Guardian Dec 9/13]
STORMY WEATHER Right now, the loss of so much reflective sea ice and snow and resulting Arctic warming is flatlining the temperature differential between higher and lower latitudes that drives the jetstream that serves up the weather.
Displaced troughs bringing drought or deluge are staying parked.
More evaporated moisture in the air means more frequent and intense storms. And more ocean evaporation means more hot surface waters will sink.
Hot water is superfood for hurricanes. Instead of scooping up cold water and cooling their “jets”, huge cyclonic storms are stuffing themselves with hot take-out and bulking into monsters. The current hurricane “season” is two-years-old. Last December alone featured 14 hurricane-strength “events” in the North Atlantic. [NOAA Dec/13; UK Met Office Mar 31/14]
The previous month, the strongest storm ever to come ashore did it to the Philippines. Snared by a stalled jetstream trough thrust unusually far south by the hot polar vortex, another typhoon quickly followed Super Typhoon Haiyan. Lingling remained moored over hot Pacific waters for two weeks, pumping and dumping another 52 inches of rain on more than one-million displaced Filipinos “lucky” enough not to have drowned. [NOAA Nov 7/13; Robert Scribbler Nov 7/13, Jan 24/14; Gulf News Jan 23/14]
The entire planet appears to be fibrillating. As major wildfires scorched California and Norway this winter, Brazil, Turkey, China and Argentina keep breaking their own drought records. A biblical three- year deluge has deposited much of the South Pacific onto South Australia, temporarily causing the sea level to fall.
Meanwhile, North Queensland remains scorchingly dry. Heat and water diversions have completely dried up China’s 3,500 square-mile Lake Poyang. And a series of intense North Atlantic storms has pummelled Europe with the worst rain and snowfall ever recorded there. Britain has just experienced its windiest month ever as a succession of storms juggled 100-ton boulders and reconfigured cliffs. January 2014 was the wettest ever recorded there, flooding farmland and isolating entire towns. [SCPR News Jan 20/14; Robert Scribbler Jan 31/14; Guardian Aug 23/13, Feb 14/14; BBC Mar 7/14; UK Met Office Mar 31/14]
“Scotland is caught between the changing influences of disappearing Arctic ice, the shifting jet stream and a weakening Gulf Stream,” worries Friends of the Earth director Dr. Richard Dixon. “The consequences for us are more extreme weather, including more flooding.” [Guardian Jan 30/14]
The consequence for the west and southwest USA, Brazil, south Australia, Turkey, Texas, China, Argentina and the Middle East is deepening drought. Can you say, “I’m hungry.” More than 870 million people already are. With the world’s primary breadbaskets shrivelling, global food reserves now stand at 72 days. [Robert Scribbler Feb 6/14; Mar 7/14; Mar 24/14; SCPR News Jan 20/14; Sydney Morning herald Feb 3/14; Guardian Aug 23/13; Feb 14/14; world hunger]
EARTH OUT OF BALANCE Far to the south, another vast and vulnerable ice sheet teeters on the brink of meltdown. Covering 350,000 square miles, the volume of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is 100-times greater than all the water in the Great Lakes. Its complete melting is expected to shift Earth’s rotation axis about a third of a mile.
This lurch will slosh water from the southern Atlantic and Pacific northward to North America and India’s coasts. Freed from all that ice, the bedrock underneath will rebound, pushing still more water outwards. The resulting splash will swamp New York, Washington D.C., south Florida, LA, San Francisco, Seattle and the densely populated southern India coastline under 21 feet of seawater. Since eight in 10 people live within 62 miles of the seashore, a three-foot sea level rise is considered catastrophic. [Reuters Feb 5/09; Antarctic Glaciers; Independent May 15/09]
This “probably” won’t happen in the lifetime of any infants currently teething on iPads. But who will act to protect generations of species yet unborn?
Closer to home, having spawned the iceberg that sank Titanic, the Jakobshavn glacier is about to scuttle everybody. Melting like a blow-torched snowcone under 80°F temperatures, Greenland’s massive ice sheet has tripled the speed of its slide into the sea. Each half-mile-thick pulse of fresh, cold water calving into the North Atlantic causes more ocean and climate instabilities. Look for linked frontal
systems the size of continents packing the punch of hurricanes soon. Just like Art Bell said. [Robert Scribbler Feb 5/14; Natl Geo Feb/14; Glacier Change June 28/09; The Coming Global Superstorm]
Who says we aren’t toying with “titanic” forces? As Siberia’s winter heat wave continues, much warmer
than normal southerly winds are causing an early break-up of Arctic sea ice. Usually frozen solid this time of year, 200,000 square kilometers of the Arctic Ocean is free of ice. About 3/4th of the Bering Sea remains open water. All this in the far northern winter.
The lengthening ice-free season is allowing formerly ice-reflected sunlight to heat dark open waters all the way to the Arctic Shelf 164 feet down. Heated by temperatures up to 47°F, more than 2 million
square kilometres of methane clathrates are melting at – yes – an unprecedented rate. [Robert Scribbler Feb 5/14; Washington Post Aug 1/13; Truthout Mar 31/14]
Can you say, Oops!
SHOW STOPPER The Inuit of the Far North have a dozens of names to describe snow. But none for the mosquitoes and robins arriving in their backyards. For “methane” they use English.
In July 2013, atmospheric methane reached its highest concentrations in 400,000 years. So much methane is being released from Siberian lakes, the water appears to be boiling. And as the Arctic Ocean burbles and burps, NASA is recording hydrate plumes up to 150 kilometers across. “Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic?” NASA
wonders after one of its scientists on a research ship reported seawater bubbling like seltzer as far as the eye can see. [Geoengineering Watch Aug 16/13; Robert Scribbler July 15/13; News 24 Mar/14]
Mess with methane and it will mess with us. During the first 20 years of its release, the 5 billion tons of methane currently in Earth’s atmosphere will heat-trap the equivalent of 500 billion tons of CO2. Over the next century, mounting methane releases will continue to concentrate 20-times more heat than carbon dioxide. [Arctic News Oct 24/13]
Over the past three years, methane rising from the fast-thawing Arctic has more than doubled. In just 12 months, methane vents one-foot across have grown to a kilometer wide. That 333,333% increase is a frightening foretaste “of the non-linear rapidity with which parts of the planet are responding to climate disruption,” Dahr Jamail warns. [Truthout Mar 31/14]
It’s not going to be okay. Methane hydrates are held together by high pressure and low temperatures. When temperatures rise… when ice sheets melt and pressure falls… when fast-tracked deep ocean oil drilling and fracking punches through hydrate layers… when the thermal expansion of the warming ocean puts additional stress on areas prone to seismic activity… we have a problem, Houston. [2003 Study]
A single underwater landslide in the shallow Arctic Ocean could instantly double the methane currently in the atmos-fear. Arctic scientists like Natalia Shakhova consider the abrupt release of up to 50 billion tons of heat-hungry methane “highly possible” at “any time.” [Runaway Global Warming Apr 15/11]
Faced by such extreme urgency to act, Canada, Australia and Japan are moving decisively to reduce their previously tepid commitments to emissions reductions. Instead of discouraging fossil-fuel use, the U.S. government is encouraging even more, handing tax breaks to the profits-swollen Oil Mafia worth almost $4 billion a year. [Climate Desk Nov/13; New Yorker Apr 14/14]
SPEED TRAP Too busy texting and tweeting and posting
pictures of ourselves on Facebook, we’re roaring through the “NEVER EXCEED” redline of 360 parts per million CO2e with the accelerator flat on the floor. CO2- equivalent heat-trapping gases include nitrogen oxide from industrial farm runoff and military and civilian aircraft and vehicle exhausts. Plus all that methane. Put it all together and our petroleum-powered speedo is now nudging 480! [MIT]
Something’s gotta blow.
Self-reinforcing feedback loops self- reinforce, reminds Guy McPherson. “It’s warmer, the more the methane emerges. The
more the methane emerges, it gets warmer. It gets warmer, the more methane comes out,” explains this widely published Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and the Environment at U. of Arizona. [Peak Moment TV]
PLACE SHOTGUN IN MOM’S MOUTH, PULL TRIGGER “Carbon dioxide is increasing 14,000 times faster than anytime in the last 610,000 years. Climate is now changing faster than it has during any other time in 65 million years – 100 times faster than the Palaeocene/Eocene extinction event 56 million years ago,” Bruce Melton mentions. [Truthout Mar 18/04]
Forget looming climate change. And Obama’s blarney about “adapting” to the warming he seems so intent on amplifying would be a knee-slapper if no one cared about kids and critters.
Focus on: Abrupt Climate Change. Think slowly squeezed trigger followed by BANG! The last time this much methane let go, global temperatures jumped 5°C in 13 years. The resulting “Great Dying” killed 95 out of every 100 creatures afloat and ashore.
This time around, we’re doing it to ourselves. The big news is the gun’s already gone off! “Both coral reef and Arctic systems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now reports. [New Yorker Apr 14/14]
The drop in the temperature gradient between the tropics and Arctic that’s “destabilizing the jet stream and mid-latitude weather systems is leading to an increase in extreme weather events, tantamount to abrupt climate change,” proclaims Paul Beckwith, a climatology and meteorology professor at the University of Ottawa. [Truthout Mar 31/14]
Daddy is not going to make this better. No matter how much sunlight-reflecting material the geoengineers release or how fast we park our cars, future temperature spikes are locked in. With greenhouse gases rocketing through record levels, “our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come,” observes UN weather agency chief Michel Jarraud. “The laws of physics are non-negotiable.” [Reuters Mar 24/14]
They’re also the joker in the pack. Because the four-decade lag between greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent temperature jumps means that the 0.85°C temperature rise linked to the crazy weather we’re seeing now is the result of emissions in 1974. Like compounding debt, our much more extravagant emissions during the last 40 years have yet to catch up with us. When they do, we’ll be financially and climatically bankrupt. Because over the past 29 years alone our greenhouse gas emissions have exceeded the previous 236 years combined. No matter what we do, all this kindling will be boiling the frog pot in another decade. Our moral choice now is how much more carbon we’re willing to pour into this future furnace. [Truthout Dec 26/13]
CLIMATE ASSAULT COULD END LIFE ON EARTH
PART 2 Dealing With It
We are going down hard. And we’re in a hurry. During the current Sixth Mass Extinction, as many as 200 species are checking out every 24 hours. Occurring 1,000-times faster than the natural extinction rate, the accelerating pace of permanent deletion far exceeds the Permian pile-up. That “Great Dying” took out just about every living creature in this place.
“We are experiencing change 200 to 300 times faster than any of the previous major extinction events,” frets David Wasdel, director of the Apollo-Gaia Project and an expert on multiple feedback dynamics. “What we are seeing today is a total disaster,” adds Ahmed Djoghlaf, Secretary-General of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. [Guardian Aug 16/10]
As we continue hastening our extinction on the hot inner edge of the habitable “Goldilocks Zone”, will our demise be in time to prevent Earth from becoming another hothouse Venus? [Truthout Dec 17/13]
THREE DEGREES Let’s look at the latest climate forecasts. After crunching the numbers, the International Energy Agency says we’re on track for a 2°C increase by 2017.
That track is carrying a runaway train. Once upon a time 120,000 years ago, “when it was only a degree or two warmer than today, rising sea levels destabilized the steep volcanic slopes of the Hawaiian Islands, resulting in mega underwater landslides. Blocks of earth a mile wide moved intact 100 miles across the bottom of the Pacific Ocean,” Bruce Melton continues. This spectacular event caused a half- mile high “mega tsunami” that definitely was not surfable. [Truthout Dec 26/13]
But wait for the punchline. The IAE also predicts a 3.5°C increase by 2035.
This is no game changer. It’s a game ender. Geological evidence from the Pliocene three million years ago provides a preview of a three-degree warmer world:
“The northern hemisphere was free of glaciers and ice sheets, beech trees grew in the Transantarctic mountains, sea levels were 25 metres higher and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 360-400 ppm, very similar to today,” David Sprat summarizes. “There are also strong indications that during the Pliocene, permanent ElNiño conditions prevailed.”
Stand by for this year’s Super El Niño fed by all that deep warming water..
Another 3°C will likely see much of this planet rendered uninhabitable as half the annual rainfall in Mexico and central America goes away, South Africa reels under persistent drought, Australia’s thousand-year drought intensity triples, and the snowcapped Rockies and Himalayas become bald. Say goodbye to the last summer trickles of the Colorado river. And when the four great rivers fed by the “Goddess Mother” mountain and her consorts run dry, more than one billion people will be out of luck. And water. [Climate Code Red Sept/10; Climate Dynamics, 26, 249-365; Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 103, 39, 14288-93; Nature, 435, 1218-21]
Mitz Hardy comments, “This is really sad if it happens (hope fully not).” [Climate Code Red Sept/10] Earth to Mitz: Hope is another form of denial. It diffuses intention. It is not a plan.
END GAME Remember what happened to the ever-hopeful Wile E. Coyote? An 0.85°C temperature rise has already “taken us over the cliff,” Guy McPherson and many other scientists believe. This less than one-degree- above-baseline temperature rise has given us a jetstream-jimmying polar vortex, lethal weather that defies prediction, more desperate dumps of atmosphere-cooling aerosols, and temperatures high enough to kill this winter’s vegetable crop in Mexico City.
Abrupt Climate Change is about to blow right through that projected 3°C rise. Atmospheric and marine scientist Ira Leifer is freaked by a recently leaked IPCC draft document. “When I look at what the models predicted for a 4C world, I see very little rain over vast swaths of populations,” Leifer laments. [Truthout Dec 17/13]
On a planet 4°C hotter than our former steam-driven baseline, all we can prepare for is human extinction suggests a major British newspaper. We’re really in trouble when the Brits are giving up. [Guardian Aug 11/08]
“3.5 C to 4 C is almost certainly a death sentence for all human beings on the planet,” McPherson told a presumably suicidal audience in Boulder, Colorado. Because that’s hot enough to eliminate all habitat for penguins and human beings. “Ultimately we’re human animals like other animals, we need habitat to survive.” [Presentation by Guy McPherson Oct 16/13]
And what’s the timing on that?
“We’re looking at a 4°C rise above the beginning of the industrial revolution by 2030,” this PhD posits. That’s from just one feedback: escaping methane from the Arctic Ocean.
There are 29 others, all interacting, with more being added as they make themselves felt. Multiply these powerful synergies together “and it looks like we might indeed not have long as a species on this planet,” McPherson figures. [Planet3 Mar 13/14]
His numbers may be optimistic. A briefing provided to corporate hostages at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen back in 2009 warned that “the long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today’s levels, and the temperatures will be 6°C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long-term climate records, not on models.” [Tom Dispatch Dec 17/13]
As all that methane starts to let go, McPherson is betting on a 10°C rise by 2040. He could be wrong. An increasing number of scientists agree that while a 4 to 6 C warming is terribly terminal, we won’t be be going extinct until at least 2060. [Climate Change Psychology Dec/12]
Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation witnesses the extinction of humanity. In the estuary near his office on Vancouver Island, Dawe is watching the rapid unraveling of “the web of life.”
He isn’t hopeful deranged tool-wielding apes burdened by a neocortex will act in time. “Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don’t exact immediate punishment on the stupid,” he says. [Truthout Dec 17/13]
But not to worry, there is always a reckoning. Everything balances in the end. “If we don’t reduce our numbers,” Dawe declaims, “nature will do it for us.”
After examining an avalanche of data at Arctic News, John Davies concurs: “The world is probably at the start of a runaway Greenhouse Event which will end most human life on Earth before 2040.” [Arctic News Sept 20/13]
THE SKY IS NOT A PIÑATA Blindly and repeatedly whacking something as big and unstable as the atmosphere with flying tanker loads of aerosols invites calamities the size of failed monsoons and an arid California. Increasingly frantic efforts by a handful of unelected geoengineers and oath-bound aircrews make it imperative that the rest of us get our ship together and end to this madness. A major study examining “Sensitivity of Ocean Acidification to Geoengineered Climate Stabilization” concludes that deep and rapid cuts in CO2 by more than 50% are “the most effective strategy” to postpone planetwreck. [Geophysical Research Letters May 28/09]
Solar panels are magic. (Look at Germany and the USA.) And wind turbines work. (See Spain.) But good luck convincing any corporate-government to pull the plug on all that profitable petroleum powering their Model T societies. Faced by such extreme urgency to act, Canada, Australia and Japan
are moving decisively to reduce their previous commitments to token emissions reductions. [Truthout Nov 25/13; Climate Desk Nov/13]
NOW WHAT, TONTO? Nobody wants to hear how we’ve trashed our space colony so thoroughly it’s about to become humanity’s sarcophagus, spinning through space devoid of complex life. But the only way to let go of such dire data is to fully face it.
Better tough love than tough luck.
“It’s inconceivable. It’s unthinkable,” exclaimed host Janaia Donaldson to her scary guest. She then asked Guy McPherson, “How does one respond?”
I can start to answer that.
Whether personal or planetary, the first heart attack symptom is denial. When it happened to me, I took two aspirin and went to bed. Since then, I’ve fully embraced the don’t-be-stupid health program. But governments facing a planetary coronary are insisting that we take more aerosols and go back to sleep.
It’s not working. And when puffed-up denial gets flattened by reality, it can sink into black depression. “All of us who have the courage to look the science of global warming full-on wrestle with despair,” says Seth Klein. The anger and obsession that often follow can sicken activists and wreck relationships. [Policy Note]
The key to not cracking up is not becoming attached to outcomes. Engaged, yes. Daily. Fully. Passionately. But insisting on “winning” anything except further opportunities for understanding, connection and service is folly.
When he fully realized what’s going down, Guy McPherson became “angry, confused, lashing out, frustrated.” Late last year, he finally achieved acceptance. “Let go or be dragged,” this wise guy says. When you finally let go, “you become a much more centred human being.”
Ira Leifer believes we have a moral obligation never to give up. He’s right. Even if we are all doomed (and nobody gets out of here alive), someone has to start making choices that begin to redress so much karmic kaka. Someone must speak for the voiceless ones. Someone has to stand on the side of life.
Someone like you.
DANCING ON DEATH ROW “Photographing the last of everything,” National Geographic wildlife photographer Joel Sartore struggles with personal outrage and despair. And a family that doesn’t always want to hear the latest ecological atrocities. Don’t forget to lighten up, he urges. And whatever you do, make it it “sing and sweet.” [At Close Range]
Right action is the antidote to despair. When you really get it, you will drop non-essential energy use with the alacrity of a heart patient jettisoning junk food. Walk or get a bicycle. (Mine’s electric.) Get off the grid. Kiss your lover like you mean it. Paddle a canoe. Plant a garden. Plant your bare feet on the
ground, hug a tree and listen to what you’re told.
Or just smile at the next person you see.
You can make a powerful personal statement with every thought you give energy to and every choice not to consume. You cannot “save” anyplace or anyone. Nature is batting last with bases loaded with methane at the top of the ninth. And most people can’t let themselves “care about something they can’t fix,” Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein has found. “Because it’s just too terrifying. And it would derail your whole life.” [Naomi Klein Dec 12/12]
Just like your own death, neh?
But you don’t cower in bed waiting to croak. You get up and embrace each moment. My heart attack was an excellent reminder that this is the only life I’ve got. Really knowing that every passing minute is another subtraction from my remaining time here makes every breathe precious.
And every act deliberate.
SHIFT HAPPENS With the cliff fast-receding and thin air between our toes, it’s time for all wily coyotes to fall. Or fly. Control inputs depend on how you decide to think and act. Raising or lowering your attitude raises or lowers your altitude.
So why not “express love” and “do what you love?” McPherson suggests. Live a life of simplicity and excellence. Continue insisting on justice. And give thanks often to our two- and four-legged, furry, finned and feathered friends. All nature is our own nature, after all.
Without economic justice for all, there will be climate justice for none. If we don’t move quickly to cancel the charters of the 90 corporations that have caused two-thirds of the carbon emissions generated since the onset of industrialism, being good and being nice are not going to cut them.
“The climate crisis is the ultimate indictment of capitalism, certainly the model of capitalism that we have, Klein continues as her clear-eyed newborn looks on. “This economic model is failing us
spectacularly, on multiple levels. But we’re still acting as if our goal is to save it.” [Truthout April 3/14; Naomi Klein Dec 12/12]
Better to transform it, interjects interviewer Wen Stephenson, “into something that won’t destroy us.” Think this is impossible? Google Iceland.
“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” asked chemist F. Sherwood Rowland, successfully pressing for a ban of CFCs. [New Yorker Apr 14/14]
If this is really it, we are freed to fully live. To act with the courage, compassion and cooperation that has long helped humans surmount adversity. Start locally with an alternative economy of sharing, recycling, farmer’s markets, co-ops and barter.
Since everything we’ve ever lived and fought for is on the line, it’s time to come together and engage in the climate-geoengineering fight. “Really engage,” Wen Stephenson urges, “as if your life and your life’s work, even life itself, depended on it. Because they do.” [Naomi Klein Dec 12/12]
Besides, kimosabe. What else are you going to do in the meantime?
Bill Gates, Monsanto, Chemtrails & Vaccines – The Critical Tie Points
April 11, 2014
Published July 2, 2013, filed under ENVIRONMENT
TLB Note: The video contained in this article has many eye opening points and facts concerning Monsanto, GMO’s, Vaccines, Chemtrails, Bill Gates and their connections. Many of us who are aware know or suspect there is a connection (the big picture) but lack the tie points. This video provides some vital tie points and the possible motive! This video is not extremely detailed but does give references you can research (so be prepared to hit the ‘pause’ button). We have and it scares the hell out of us, but you judge for yourself … The activity of aluminum appears to play a vital role in disrupting the maturation of the immune system in infants and children. Vaccines contain aluminum. Why put a substance that HARMS the immune system in vaccines? Chemtrails saturate the ground with aluminum, fact. There is a concerted effort by Monsanto and other GMO related companies to produce aluminum resistant plants, a substance rarely seen in the soil? Fluoride facilitates the movement of soft metals across the blood/brain barrier to infiltrate our brain tissue. Fluoride increases bone and other cancer rates. Cancer is a $500 Billion/Year medical industry. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was a known associate and attorney for Monsanto. He refuses to recuse himself on cases involving Monsanto… How does all this and more tie together … “If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are souls of those who live under tyranny” Thomas Jefferson Here’s the patent links… Patent 3899144 (Powder Contrail Generation): www.freepatentsonline.com/3899144.html
Patent 5003186 (Welsbach Seeding): www.freepatentsonline.com/5003186.html
Patent 7582809 (Aluminum Resistant Seeds): www.patents.com/us-7582809.html
( Just a note…for those who want the song, it is Constellation by the Firmament Band) See original YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijOEmtZyWTg
Monsanto Terminator Seeds and RoundUp Herbicide in Afghanistan: The Destruction of Agriculture
Global Research, April 12, 2014
A recent TIME Magazine article featured the “US NGO” Roots for Peace, which it portrayed as a victim of a regrouping Taliban bent on subjugating a newly “democratized” Afghanistan. This organization, funded by the US State Department and USAID, claims to be turning “battlefields into bountiful orchards.” But a lack of transparency makes it unclear as to just how they are doing this. With USAID using “aid” to usher in the corporate colonization of Afghanistan through other “NGOs,” its involvement with Roots for Peace raises warranted suspicions.
Already, the War in Afghanistan has given agricultural monopolies like Monsanto a
multi-million dollar foothold in the landlocked Central Asian country. As part of efforts
to eradicate poppy cultivation across the country, the United States insisted that Kabul
It should be noted that before NATO’s intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, cultivation
In addition to fears that the mass spraying of Afghanistan’s countryside could negatively impact the health of the Afghan people, there were also fears that licit crops could also be destroyed, leaving farmers with failed harvests, anger, and a willingness to further align themselves with armed tribesmen, including the Taliban.
For America’s overarching plan, the eradication of licit crops alongside poppy was ideal. That is because while Monsanto RoundUp herbicide was to be sprayed indiscriminately over the heads of Afghans, its genetically modified, RoundUp Ready terminator seeds were to be sown beneath their feet. The Nutrition and Education International (NEI), a front set up by Western agricultural monopolies
, set out to replace Afghanistan’s traditional crops with both Monsanto’s genetically engineered RoundUp Ready soybeans, as well as copious amounts of RoundUp ready herbicide
. The NEI boasts nearly a decade of “accomplishments
” having reached every province while establishing a “soy seed market” in Afghanistan, a market that will be dominated by foreign corporations holding the intellectual property rights to a crop the NEI and its corporate sponsors, with the help of USAID, have intentionally made the Afghan people dependent on. Roots for Peace hasn’t been the only USAID “NGO” attacked in Afghanistan. Also helping in the agricultural reordering of Afghanistan was Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). NPR reported in “Attack On USAID Compound In Afghanistan Kills 4
,” that, “Multiple suicide bombers stormed a USAID compound in northern Afghanistan before dawn Friday, killing at least four people and wounding several others, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault on a compound in Kunduz province used by Development Alternatives, a Washington, D.C.-based contractor working for the U.S. Agency for International Development.” DAI’s efforts to use “poppy eradication” and “economic development” to invite in foreign corporate monopolies are backed substantially by a large list of “clients
” including Cargill and Monsanto, two giants of big-agriculture. These corporations and their “NGO” fronts, along with the US government through agencies like USAID, are attempting to use “the eradication of poppies” and “malnutrition” to force upon the Afghan people an agricultural monopoly controlled by foreign corporations who will retain the “intellectual property” rights on each and every plant growing in Afghanistan, as well as the production, control, distribution, and sale of the chemicals required to sustain them. Food being one of the most basic necessities of human survival, controlled entirely by foreign corporations, is not only dangerous, it is exploitative and usurps both the dignity and freedom of those found under this form of “corporate colonization.” It will take years and careful observation to tell whether or not Afghanistan will succumb to this modern form of corporate subjugation. As NATO troops leave the country and its pro-Western government in Kabul faces what appears to be inevitable extinction
, the efforts made by the West’s big-agricultural giants, while profitable in the short-term, may not last. Afghanistan’s status as a “client state” of Western interests will be judged in part by Kabul’s efforts to either rollback or push forward big-ag’s agenda in the Central Asian country. Globally, the success of corporations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan
will validate both the effectiveness of modern Western imperialism, as well as the strength and vitality of the empire it seeks to build.
No room for error? Fukushima basements mistakenly flooded with 200 tons of radioactive water
Published time: April 14, 2014
A pump at Japan’s battered Fukushima power plant has mistakenly flooded its basements with highly contaminated cooling-tank water. But the latest mishap follows a far more worrying discovery about one last year’s leak. About 200 tons of water ended up flooding the basements beneath the complex, although the water didn’t have a pathway to reach the ocean or leak out to any other areas, fortunately. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., ordered the leakage to be removed as soon as possible, The Asahi Shimbun reports. The water has gathered beneath a cluster of facilities responsible for processing waste. The scary part about this particular brand of tainted water has to do with its function to cool nuclear fuel rods in storage tanks. This catapults the amount of becquerels per liter of cesium into the tens of millions. The water had leaked before going through a purification process designed to reduce these levels. The first signs of trouble came April 10, as water levels indoors suddenly weren’t being siphoned off, instead rising. But the discovery that four pumps used specifically to reverse the flow of water were active was only made two days later, on April 12. They weren’t switched off until the early evening the next day. This is after the battered power plant saw close to a ton of toxic water escape a storage tank on Sunday. No contact with the ocean has been found. Japanese media put that leak at 1,640 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium, judging by the water remaining in the tank. TEPCO said one of its workers had found it in a tank some 700 meters away from the shoreline at about midday GMT Sunday. The water didn’t manage to seep into the Pacific, because there’s no ditch around the area; however, it did manage to pour into the ground, according to one official, who reported damage to the lower part of the tank. However, the mishaps don’t stop there. The leaks come on the heels of a far more worrying discovery about radiation amounts in an August incident last year. TEPCO revealed Friday that the massive leak of 300 tons of toxic water in August is far more catastrophic than initially thought, after recalculating radiation levels. Just as the government overturned the initiative for a nuclear-free Japan by 2030, amid public outrage, news emerged that the Pacific Ocean had received a dose of 280 million becquerels per liter of radioactive materials from the August 2013 leak. The Japan Times reports that the Nuclear Regulation Authority put the incident at Level 3 (out of a possible eight). TEPCO had used data from 173 water samples it had collected by last October and found that its measurements could have been offset by bad formulas. TEPCO then used a theoretical formula to arrive at the new results by performing some extrapolations. Cleaning up the power plant is becoming an increasingly complex and challenging task. While Japan has had to cut high energy costs by refusing to get rid of nuclear power, the price of cleaning up the area, siphoning off toxic water and decontaminating the plant will be a decades-long venture costing the country billions of dollars.
Findings That Fracking Causing Quaking Leads to Drilling Shutdown in Ohio
State regulators suspend gas drilling outside of Youngstown
- Common Dreams staff
Responding to geologists who claim they have made direct links between fracking operations and seismic activity in the state, Ohio regulators on Friday pulled permits for at least one drilling operation. According to the Associated Press:
State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers told The Associated Press on Friday that the state has halted drilling indefinitely at the site near Youngstown where five minor tremors occurred in March following investigative findings of a probable link to fracking. A deep-injection well for fracking wastewater was tied to earthquakes in the region in 2012.
Simmers says Ohio will require sensitive seismic monitoring as a condition of all new drilling permits within three miles of a known fault or existing seismic activity of 2.0 or greater. Drilling will pause for evaluation with any tremor of 1.0 magnitude and will be halted if a link is found.
Another Chemical Attack in Syria by NATO-backed Mercenaries
Kills 2, Injures 100 in Hama
Global Research, April 13, 2014
At least two people have been killed in the town of Kafr Zita in Syria’s central province of
Hama in what appears to be a chemical attack.
Syrian television said on Saturday that more than 100 people were also injured in the attack carried out by militants from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front on Friday. The chemical agent used is believed to have been toxic liquid chlorine.
“There is information that the terrorist al-Nusra Front released toxic chorine…leading to the death of two people and causing more than 100 people to suffer from suffocation,” State TV said, adding, “There is information that al-Nusra Front is preparing to hit Wadi Deif in Idlib Province and Morek in Hama Province with toxic chorine or sarin.”
On August 21, 2013, hundreds of Syrians were killed and scores of others were injured in a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus. The militants operating inside Syria and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition accused the army of being behind the deadly attack. Damascus, however, vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation. Following the chemical attack, US stepped up its war rhetoric against the Syrian government and called for punitive military action against Damascus. The Syrian government averted possible US aggression by accepting a Russian plan to put its chemical arsenal under international control and then have them destroyed. Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
“Where Do You Go When It Rains?” — the Albany Bulb
Residents of the Albany Landfill, or Albany Bulb in Albany, CA face eviction from their ‘homeless’ encampment by the City Government. Over 60 people live at the Bulb, many for over 5 years and some as long as 20 years. But the City is not offering the people anything, no other housing nor any money to try and find housing. The people explain the trials poor people face in the United States, including low-paying jobs, the mental health system, and incarceration. They explain how they are not homeless, they have been living at the Albany Bulb for many years. The film shows their strength in the face of so much against them. Please see www.sharethebulb.org for more information.
DOJ Investigation Confirms: Albuquerque Police ‘Executing’ Citizens
Following release of report, rights groups calling for removal of mayor and police chief
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico are marching on the police department Saturday to demand retribution against the city’s mayor and police chief for their role in the police force’s documented “execution” of citizens. The march comes after the Department of Justice slammed the Albuquerque Police Department for their frequent use of excessive and lethal force in a damning report released on Thursday. Though, according to advocates, abuse by local law enforcement has been systemic for years, calls for increased scrutiny of the APD were amplified following the police shooting death of James Boyd, a homeless man suffering from mental illness, on March 16. Advocates welcomed the DOJ’s findings, saying the report was “spot on” in terms of identifying the root causes of this behavior, such as the “aggressive culture of the department” and the way in which “force is prioritized in training.” However, according to David Correia, an organizer with the Task Force for Public Safety who has been working with families of victims of APD violence, the DOJ’s inclusion of Mayor Richard J. Berry and police chief Gorden Eden in the negotiations for the consent decree, which will dictate how those recommendations will be implemented, is a “non-starter” for the community groups. The systemic deficiencies identified by the DOJ are “all produced and reinforced through leadership,” Correia told Common Dreams. “To say those people should be involved to us is ‘no go.’ We don’t want them to be a part of it.” Further, Correia noted that the report did not go so far as to address some of the larger issues including laws around homelessness, access for people suffering from mental illness and access for veterans, which he says are also major contributors to the police violence in the city. The Saturday evening protest will begin at 5 PM MST at Civic Plaza from where demonstrators will march to the APD. During another recent protest against the department, police assaulted demonstrators with tear gas. Activists are calling for the removal of those officials, including Berry and Eden, who oversaw the frequent “execution” of citizens and for a federal monitor to be appointed. Correia said that they need to “interrupt the idea that this is somehow resolved,” now that the DOJ has released their report. “Our fear is that people will now think that the sheriff has come down in his white hat and we can all sit back and relax,” Correia continued. The Justice Department investigation, launched in November 2012, found:
APD officers too frequently use deadly force against people who pose a minimal threat and in situations where the conduct of the officers heightens the danger and contributes to the need to use force; APD officers use less lethal force, including electronic controlled weapons, on people who are passively resisting, non-threatening, observably unable to comply with orders or pose only a minimal threat to the officers; and
Encounters between APD officers and persons with mental illness and in crisis too frequently result in a use of force or a higher level of force than necessary.
The DOJ also cited “systemic deficiencies” which contribute to these patterns which include deficient policies, failed accountability, inadequate training and supervision, ineffective systems of investigation and adjudication, the absence of a culture of community policing and a lack of sufficient civilian oversight.
This leaked video taken from a police helmet camera depicts APD officers killing unarmed homeless man, James Boyd:
From: george wilson
> Date: Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 5:58 PM Subject: OK4now
Once again the martial forces of the former Soviet Union have refused to kill their own people. I do not have any confidence that this will occur in the US of A:
The Vineyard of the Saker
A bird’s eye view of the vineyard
Saturday, April 12, 2014
- No assault in eastern Ukraine after ultimatum deadline passed
- Iatseniuk mentioned the possibility of a referendum
- MVD and SBU offices in Donetsk seized by armed men
- Alpha anti-terrorist team refused to attack
- Cops (militia) also refused to attack
- Slaviansk: city revolts, locals takeover building and built barricades
- Kramatorsk: gunfire reported around government buildings Police building built
- Police SWAT teams have refused to “fire a single shot” against the people and said so on camera.
- Berkut officers in Donetsk put on old Uniforms and Saint George ribbons and said they would find on the side of the people.
- Berkut commander resigned.
- Kiev regime fired the head of SBU in Donetsk.
- Head of Police in Donetsk resigns.
- Oleg Tsarev agreed to negotiate in the name of the East.
- Krasnoarmeisk: police station seized.
- Krasnolemansk: police station seized.
- Krematorsk: demonstrations.
- In Poltava 10 buses filled with what appears to be Right Sector thugs armed with Molotov cocktails and base ball bats, explosives have been stop and everybody arrested. They were heading for Kharkov.
- Kharkov: 2 opposing demonstrators are taking place.
Bottom line, not only did the promised crackdown did not take place, but the Russian speakers have gone on the offensive and have seized many key buildings in major cities. The key factor which reversed an almost inevitable bloodbath was the decision of the entire uniformed security and police forces to refuse to obey the orders of the freaks in Kiev and to open fire on their own people. Everybody seemed to have refused: local cops, SWAT teams, SBU forces and even the anti-terrorist group “Alpha”. This is quite amazing and extremely encouraging. These officers have decided to follow the example of their Russian counterparts in 1991 and 1993 (in both cases the KGB Spetsnaz units “A” and “Vympel” refused to attack the people around the Parliament, as for the Spetsnaz GRU – the authorities did not even dare to ask it). When I first heard that the Ukrainian group “Alpha” had refused I was rather skeptical and did not mention it here afraid that these rumors were only wishful thinking. Today I not only seen confirmation of that, but I have seen footage from Donetsk were the local Berkut officers have declared on camera that they would not fire a single shot against the people. God willing the honorable behavior of these officers will inspire other and the entire “repression apparatus” planned by the freaks in Kiev will simply fail to materialize. That could be a real game changer. I have to admit that I did not think that events would take that kind of turn. While I did write “there is even a non-negligible possibility that the nationalist freaks will fail in their attempt to restore their rule over the east: a combination of very desperate resistance by locals and an unwillingness of enough security forces to kill civilians just might do the trick” did not really believe that this would happen. It appears that it has. Now that those forces who could have rather easily suppressed the rebellion of the Russian-speakers in a bloodbath appear to have rejected that order and even switched sides, I am fairly confident that the Ukrainian military will not attack either as that would be most risky: they would face the double threat of local police and security forces fighting back combined with an always possible intervention of the Russian Polite Armed Men in Green. On the political front – two important things have also happened. Iatseniuk has for the first time mentioned the possibility of a referendum. This is still a very vague offer, but it has been made. While Oleg Tsarev, the likely political leader of the eastern Ukraine, has declared that he was convinced that a referendum of autonomy and federalization could keep the country together. These might, and I a conditional “might”, be the first small steps towards a negotiated and halfway reasonable solution which would really be the best possible outcome for everybody. The other positive development is that Putin’s letter to the EU leaders seemed to have finally awaken them to the fact that there were playing with fire and that if they persisted in their completely delusional policies a lot of very real pain would result. While the White House had its usual psychopathic reaction, folks in the EU have not said much other then Merkel’s statement that Germany was taking this problem very seriously, and EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss a common response. Hopefully the EU banking and business community will put enough pressure on these clowns to make them realize that unless they agree to some very serious negotiations the EU economy will plunge chaos. So while by nature, training and experience I absolutely loathe to say anything sounding even remotely optimistic, I have to say that following four factors could jointly have a positive impact and avoid a catastrophe: 1) The freaks in Kiev might not have the means for a bloodbath in the East. 2) The resistance in the eastern Ukraine is definitely becoming stronger. 3) The eastern Ukrainian still appear willing to try the “federal solution”. 4) EU leaders might be coming out of their stupor. IF no massacre happens, and IF all the local forces join the anti-Nazi rebellion in the East, and IF Iatseniuk and the other Maidan-freaks agree to a federal solution and IF the EU agrees to negotiate towards that in good faith, then Putin could use his influence with the Russian speakers in the Ukraine to convince them not to secede and accept a federative solution. Russia will probably have to provide security guarantees to the eastern Ukrainians, but as long as the regime in Kiev does not do something crazy, then Russia would probably restore its economic support, at least in small steps. If all of that happens, and that is a very big “IF” then the next logical step should be an international conference to save (resurrect?) the pretty much dead Ukrainian economy with not only guarantees and demands for reforms, but a lot of money in the form of long term loans. Right now all of the above sounds like a naive dream, but I think that compared to just a few days ago this dream, while still not likely by a long shot, has at least become at least a bit less unlikely. Now, if the crazies in Kiev just continue like before, and that is far more likely, what we are likely to see is a secession of the entire eastern Ukraine without even a Russian intervention. In theory, there is a lot more power, money and people in the eastern Ukraine then in the western one and if the bulk of the population really firmly decides to say “goodbye!” to Kiev and the Galician neo-Nazis, they can do it. This will still be a slow process, most folks I think are still unsure and frightened. What we have seen in the past 48 hours is most definitely an acceleration of the centrifugal forces, but they are still far short of a real “escape velocity” similar to the one in Crimea. I think that the next week will be absolutely crucial. Hopefully cool head on all sides will prevail and God will show us all mercy. Next week will be “Passion Week” or “Holy Week” for Orthodox Christians and at the end of that week the biggest religious of all feast will take place: Holy Paskha (aka “Easter”). I cannot imagine how the Orthodox Christians in the eastern Ukraine will life these days, but part of me wants to believe that by next Sunday they will have the possibility to celebrate this “Feast of Feasts” in peace and security. I sincerely wish them that. Stay tuned, The Saker
Posted by VINEYARDSAKER: at 18:05
Pressure mounts on UK over CIA’s ‘black site’ jail in Indian Ocean
Published time: April 13, 2014
A human rights group is urging Britain’s Foreign office to “come clean” over claims that a British-administered island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, was used as a secret “black site” detention center by the CIA. “We need to know immediately whether ministers misled parliament over CIA torture on British soil,” Cori Crider, strategic director at Reprieve, a legal action charity group, said in a letter to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. “If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia, then a string of official statements, from both this and the last government, were totally false,” Crider said. The letter followed a report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee that Britain had allowed the US to run a “black site” prison on Diego Garcia to secretly hold suspects without accountability. The Diego Garcia prison held some “high-value” detainees and was operated with the “full cooperation” of the British government, US officials familiar with the Senate report said. “Were ministers asleep at the wheel? Or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?” Crider wrote. Reprieve is also representing Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, a rebel military commander and opponent of the late Libyan leader, Mohamed Gaddafi, who was arrested in Malaysia and rendered to Libya, allegedly via Diego Garcia, in a joint US-UK intelligence operation. “The Foreign Secretary must urgently clarify whether the CIA ran a secret prison on Diego Garcia, and whether our clients Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar were among its victims,” Crider said. Belhaj became Tripoli’s military commander in 2011, after the rebels took over the capital and ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In 2004 Belhaj – the then-leader of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – and his wife were detained by US intelligence officers at Bangkok airport, Thailand, when they were to fly to London to claim asylum. Belhaj was then returned to Libya, allegedly due to a British tip-off, where he was tortured and jailed for almost six years, until Gaddafi was ousted. Belhaj claims the UK helped the US to arrange his rendition. He launched legal action against the UK government, the former head of counter-terrorism at intelligence agency MI6, Mark Allen, and then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. “The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Koussa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli,” Belhaj said. “[Moussa Koussa] told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”
However, the UK court ruled that Belhaj could not sue MI6 as it would harm “national interests,” though the High Court judge concluded that Belhaj had a “well-founded claim” against intelligence officers. The case could “jeopardize this country’s international relations and national security interests,” said Peregrine Simon, a British High Court judge. “The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair,” Polly Rossdale, deputy director at Reprieve, told The Observer on Sunday. For years, the British government consistently denied that any detainees were held at Diego Garcia or that a secret CIA prison ever existed there. They only admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees stopped for refueling on Diego Garcia in 2002. “The US government confirmed that there have been no other instances in which US intelligence flights landed in the UK, our Overseas Territories, or the Crown Dependencies, with a detainee, on board since 11 September 2001,” UK Foreign Office minister David Liddington told the UK parliament in 2011. The recent revelations about “the secret prison” are hugely troubling for the UK government as they spark questions about the UK’s relationship with the US. Apart from the news about the CIA secret black site, the US Senate also found that the CIA purposely deceived the US Justice Department to attain legal justification for use of torture techniques. It also found that the CIA distorted how many detainees it held in “black site” prisons throughout the world and how many were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” many amount to torture. The Committee and the CIA have in recent weeks gone back and forth with accusations of spying, meddling, and misrepresentation, highlighting an on-going feud between the agency and the Committee since the Senate probe began in 2009.
America the Bellicose: Continuous War is a Feature – Not a Bug – of U.S. Policy
Global Research, April 13, 2014
In a sad commentary on America’s war-like nature, President Carter points out
The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger. That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat — and quite often it’s not only desired by the leaders of our country, but it’s also supported by the people of America.
Indeed, continuous war is a feature – not a bug – of U.S. policy. (As a patriotic American who was born in the U.S. and lived here my whole life, I am sad that so many Americans still fall for the myths of “American exceptionalism” and “world’s policeman”.) Other hard-hitting Carter quotes from the last year:
- Snowden’s revelations do not harm our national security, but are “useful”
It’s not just Carter. Conservative Justices Souter and O’Connor, intelligence agency heads and congressmen all warn that America is in real trouble.
Israeli State Terrorism
Global Research, April 14, 2014
On Sunday, Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It’s Islam’s third holiest site. Worshipers were attacked with stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullet and pepper spray. Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani said over 50 Israeli special forces stormed through the Moroccan and Chain Gates. They attacked worshipers. They “besieged” them. Half a dozen or more injuries were reported. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld lied. He claimed Israeli security forces reacted to Palestinian provocations. None whatever occurred. Israel bears full responsibility. Overnight Saturday, worshipers braced for possible right-wing settler attacks. They stayed inside the compound. They did so expecting trouble. They expect it ahead of Passover. At sunset on April 14, it begins. It runs through April 21. Hardline Israeli organizations urged Jews to swarm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the holiday period. Doing so constitutes a gross provocation. It happened many times before. Worshipers braced for this year. The worst perhaps lies ahead. Israeli forces regularly escort settlers to the site. Throughout occupied Palestine, they ignore their vandalism and violence. It repeats with disturbing regularity. On Sunday, Israeli police arrested dozens of nonviolent Palestinians. They claimed they lacked permit permission to enter Israel. Around 100,000 Palestinians have Israeli jobs. They enter daily to reach work sites. Many do with no documentation. They have no choice. Permits are hard to get. Palestine’s Central Bureau of Statistics said over 34,000 Palestinians working in Israel lack them. In January, over 1,400 Palestinians were imprisoned for working without permission. Employers remain unaccountable. On April 9, Israel demolished several EU-funded humanitarian housing shelters. They did so on land near Jerusalem. It’s located in Jabal al-Baba. In February, Israel ordered 18 structures destroyed. EU delegates challenged doing so. They demanded financial compensation for housing they funded. An unnamed source said “(w)e should ask for compensation from Israel whenever EU-funded humanitarian aid projects are destroyed.” They’re in the so-called E1 area. It’s located between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Israel plans developing Mevasseret Adumim neighborhood. At issue is establishing territorial contiguity. It’s creating a greater Jerusalem. It’s doing it by Judaizing Palestinian neighborhoods. Angela Godfrey-Goldstein is a Jahalin Association advocacy officer. She represents affected Bedouins. She condemned what happened. She called E1 “Obama’s red line” for Israeli settlement construction. Demolitions were revenge, she believes. They followed Abbas applying to join 15 UN bodies and treaties. Israeli maliciousness is longstanding. It’s common practice. It repeats across Palestine. It’s part of persecuting Palestinians for praying to the wrong God. It’s part of Israel’s ethnic cleansing agenda. Displacing Palestinians provides land for Jews. Since June 1967, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) estimates at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures lawlessly destroyed. On April 13, Haaretz
headlined “Israel freezes transfer of tax monies to PA in response to UN move.” Netanyahu announced it. Israel collects Palestinian tax revenues and customs duties. It’s obligated to return them to PA officials. They provide operating revenues. They amount to about $100 million monthly. They’re on goods imported into Palestine. Israel froze them earlier. It was during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions. Freezing them begins in May. Perhaps policy will change. If implemented, April revenues are affected. Israeli officials said Netanyahu’s action has declarative value only. It’s politically motivated. It’s for coalition partner hardliners. They deplore peace. They want no Palestinian prisoners released. They want the worst of occupation harshness continued. If peace talks continue past an agreed on April 29 cutoff date, PA tax money will be transferred, said Haaretz. If not, “Israel could be expected to impose far more severe sanctions than holding back” revenues due Palestine, it added. Israel froze transfers dozens of times before. Releasing them followed. Senior Israeli officials said freezes are self-defeating. Revenues pay tens of thousands of PA employees. Security personnel Israeli enforcers included. State Department spokeswoman responded dismissively to Netanyahu’s decision. “We’ve seen these press reports, but we have not seen an official public announcement,” she said. “That said, we would regard such a development as unfortunate,” she added. “We believe that the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy.” On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved stealing more Palestinian land. He retroactively legalized Gush Etzion’s Netiv Ha’avot outpost. He declared 984 dunums of privately owned Palestinian land state property. He did so unilaterally. He acted extrajudicially. In 2001, Netiv Ha’avot was built without authorization. It’s home to 50 Jewish families. Palestinian court challenges failed to dislodge them. Authorizing 984 more dunums around Netiv Ha’avot assures new homes for thousands of settlers. It means outpost ones will submit their own expansion plans. It means more Palestinian land likely stolen. It assures continued lawless ethnic cleansing. Dror Etkes monitors settlement policy. He issued a statement saying: “Declarations of state land became rare after the army declared close to a million dunums state land in the 1980s and 1990s, enough to expand the settlements for the coming century.” “The present declaration is a faithful reflection of the Netanyahu government’s policy and meant to extinguish the last embers of the negotiations with the Palestinians.” On Sunday, sham peace talks continued. Abbas agreed to extend past late April. Perhaps into next year. Why he’ll have to explain. Since last July, they accomplished nothing. Israel demands everything its way. It offers Palestinians virtually nothing. Chances for peaceful conflict resolution are ZERO. Not according to Haaretz editors. On April 13, their disappointing editorial headlined
”Netanyahu must curb Bennett and keep the peace talks alive.” They pretend peace talks are legitimate. They never were before. They’re not now. Bennett represents the worst of right-wing extremism. He threatened to leave Netanyahu’s coalition government if peace talk dealmaking OK’s further Palestinian prisoner releases. He calls Palestinian political prisoners “murderers.” He wrote Netanyahu. He wants settlement blocs annexed. He wants them made part of greater Israel. Combined with military areas, no-go zones, tourist sites, Jews-only roads, checkpoints and barricades, as well as Israeli commercial development, they comprise over 60% of West Bank land. Bennett wants it all made part of Israel. So do likeminded hardliners. Most West Bank land and East Jerusalem already is de facto Israeli territory. Bennett cited “floundering” peace talks. He prioritizes sabotaging them, said Haaretz editors. He wants settlements “bolster(ed) and enlarge(d).” It’s longstanding Israeli policy. Netanyahu prioritizes it. He said so publicly. Haaretz editors didn’t explain. Bennett is one of many ideological extremists infesting Israel’s government. Netanyahu is a world class thug. Defrocked/reinstated Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is an ultranationalist extremist. He delegitimizes the office he holds. He uses it ruthlessly. Haaretz editors support peace process hypocrisy. Why they’ll have to explain. They nonsensically said talks “reached a decisive point.” Previous ones denied Palestinians rights mattering most. Haaretz editors call current talks “the last chance in the forseeable future to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians.” No chance existed before. None does now. Talks mock legitimacy. Peaceful conflict resolution with Israel is a convenient illusion. Haaretz editors didn’t explain. They blame Bennett for longstanding Israeli policy. He’s one of many in a long line of extremists. More than ever infest Israel’s worst government in history. Last July, talks began. They were dead on arrival. Haaretz editors failed readers. They didn’t explain. They pretend talks are legitimate. They never were before. They’re not now. It bears repeating. Chances for peaceful conflict resolution are ZERO. Pretending otherwise is fantasy.
Protesters Slam Gates Foundation for Private Prison Profits
“Unless they divest, the Gates Foundation will drag their legacy into the mud of wasteful, overcrowded and abusive immigrant prisons”
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Dozens rallied outside the Seattle headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday to protest their investment in GEO Group—a notorious private prison companyprofiting from high levels of deportation and detention of suspected undocumented people under President Obama. Immigrant justice campaigners, prison divestment advocates, and Gates Foundation grantees delivered 10,000 petition signatures demanding “immediately withdraw its investment in the GEO Group.” “GEO Group makes billions of dollars putting people in cages — and they drive profits by lobbying to put more people behind bars for minor crimes,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “With Latinos now the largest group in federal prisons and detention centers—mostly for minor or non-existent crimes—the Gates’ investment is particularly galling for us. Unless they divest, the Gates Foundation will drag their legacy into the mud of wasteful, overcrowded and abusive immigrant prisons.” During the rally, Jose Moreno, 25—who is one of the hundreds of detainees of the nearby Northwest Detention Center that recently partook in a hunger strike—told the crowd in Spanish that he wanted to draw attention to the conditions at the facility, saying it’s “jail not a detention.” “The Gates Foundation should be ashamed for putting money into the business of separating families and into the business of making money off those that are the most vulnerable,” added Maru Mora Villalpando, an immigrant and activist with the anti-deportation group Not1More. The Gates Foundation, which is chaired by Bill Gates, invests $2.2 million in the GEO Group by way of a trust. Under increasing attention due to the growing protest movement, GEO Group has facedaccusations of prisoner abuse, medical neglect, rampant violence, and civil rights violations in their prison facilities, including hundreds of lawsuits — many of them settled before trial.
Social Security, Treasury target Americans for their parents’ old debts
Published time: April 11, 2014
Many Americans expecting to see their tax refunds in their bank accounts soon are waking up to a very different scenario: the government actively intercepting their checks in order to pay back debts they’re not responsible for. According to a new report
in the Washington Post, the federal government is seizing nearly $2 billion from hundreds of thousands of taxpayers this year in order to settle debts, some incurred by their parents, some dating back to more than a decade. This process has been ongoing since 2011, when a revision in the farm bill passed by Congress removed the 10-tear statute of limitations on debts owed to the United States. Since that bill was passed, the government has collected $424 million on debts older than a decade. This year, however, has seen the Social Security Administration (SSA) alone claim that 400,000 Americans owe a total of $714 million in debts older than 10 years. Multiple government agencies told the Post they were not responsible for pushing for the change, with Social Security spokeswoman Dorothy Clark saying,“We have an obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people received when it was not due.” In one case documented by the newspaper, 58-year-old Mary Grice of Maryland discovered her tax refund had been seized by the government to pay for a debt she did not even know existed, and had been incurred under her father’s Social Security number. Her father died in 1960, but her mother – also deceased now – received survivor’s benefits, and the SSA claims it overpaid someone back in 1977 although it is not sure who. As a result, the agency targeted the oldest sibling – Mary – to pay off the 37-year-old debt. If she was unable to pay it in full, it would have moved down to the next sibling. “It was a shock,”
Grice told the Post. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”
Although the Federal Trade Commission’s website states that citizens “typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets,” the SSA said that if a member indirectly gets assistance from Social Security benefits, their money can be confiscated to repay debts regardless of how old it is. “While we are responsible for collecting delinquent debts owed to taxpayers, we understand the importance of ensuring that debtors are treated fairly,”
the Treasury Department’s Jeffrey Schramek said to the Post. Treasury officials also stated that before someone’s refund can be seized, evidence of the debt must exist. In Grice’s case, however, SSA officials told the woman that no records existed certifying the debt’s validity. “The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,”
Grice’s attorney, Robert Vogel, said. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”
Grice isn’t the only person this is happening to, of course, but she’s lucky in that Vogel decided to take on her case for free. Others who’ve seen their refunds taken – ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than a couple of thousand – cannot afford to mount a legal challenge and therefore don’t. Vogel told the Post he’s very concerned about the statute lifted by Congress. “Can the government really bring back to life a case that was long dead?”
he asked. “Can it really be right to seize a child’s money to satisfy a parent’s debt?”
Will Kesler Activist Post For the past twelve years I have publicly refused to file an income tax return. Nevertheless, I ski surrounded by peaks soaring to heaven, while praying to remain free from chains. Along with prayer, I entrust my freedom to the most concise, explicit law I am aware of that proves that there is no law that requires a citizen to file an income tax return. One law, among many laws, that would compel a jury to see the light and proclaim “Income Tax is History!” So here it is, in all its glory, the end of income tax, my stay out of jail card and an open invitation to peaceful revolution. It is the definition of a “withholding agent.” Four succinct sections undeniably proclaim that a citizen is not required to have income tax withheld from his or her paycheck. Thus income tax, a house of cards that is integral to tyranny, collapses. The charade of “Voluntary Compliance” … revealed to an awakened nation.
Whereas, the Internal Revenue Code defines a “withholding agent” at IRC 7701(a)(16) which states: “The term ‘withholding agent’ means any person required to deduct and withhold any tax under the provisions of Sections 1441, 1442, 1443 and 1461.” The first three sections apply to withholding tax from nonresident aliens and foreign corporations, while section 1461 simply makes the agent responsible for the taxes collected.
Therefore, as I am neither a nonresident alien nor am I a foreign corporation my employer is not required to withhold income tax from my paycheck and since I no longer choose to volunteer, I submit this letter and demand the appropriate form/instructions, based on the above definition, i.e. the law of this land, which I can then present to my employer to legally halt having income tax withheld from my paycheck.
Thanks, (signed) Informed Citizen
By simply obeying the law we can peacefully, legally, refuse to sustain the massively corrupt, out of control corporate/police state that is maliciously oppressing our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness. For proof there is no legal requirement to file go to: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Will Kesler, Activist Post