Monday, May 31, 2010

Lucky Ducky in "Slick Deal"

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From the 1953 CIA Overthrow of Democracy in Iran, to the Iraq War, to the Criminal Gulf Catastrophe and Deaths, BP Was There

If you were to draw an oily line from the first exploitation of oil in the Middle East by the British in 1901 (they were in the process of converting their then world dominating naval fleet from coal to oil and were in desperate need of it) to the overthrow of the secular democratic leader in Iran, Mohammed Mossadeq, in 1953, to the Iraq War, to the criminal environmental catastrophe in the Gulf, BP would have been there.  

But the fourth largest company in the world wasn't always called BP.  It used to be owned by the British Government (remember the navy armada in need of oil). It was named the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company when the CIA teamed up with the British because the Western style Iranian leader Mossadeq wanted to nationalize Britain's 100% owned and run giant oil concession in Iran, and the West would have none of that.  So Eisenhower authorized "Operation Ajax," and the Shah of Iran was placed in power -- ruling with an iron fist and the dreaded SAVAK, all the time fully backed by the U.S. -- leading to the radical theocratic revolution that we still confront today.  All the time BP, which formally adopted its current name in 1954, was there.

BP was there throughout the de facto colonization of the Middle East to provide oil to the West, the British and the U.S. remaining strong partners in keeping any recalcitrant nations in line. Which leads to the Iraq War and why many Americans and Brits were puzzled by Tony Blair's eagerness to go along with Cheney's secret oil committee plan to seize Iraq oil fields and Bush's belief that the war was Biblically justified.  BP is the largest corporation in the UK and the third largest energy company. Do you have any more questions?

BP and its American counterparts are part of the corporate oligarchy that run governments when it comes to energy policy. They don't take orders from sovereign nations; they give them. They are unelected, but because of their hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and profit, they run the show when it comes to oil policy, and profit comes first: forget about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Oil is their gold; we are just consumers who can be replaced at any time by more consumers, vassals to the oil company Masters of the Universe.  There is no brake on their malfeasance, greed and criminal behavior, nor their ability to get nations to go to war, overthrow democratically elected leaders, and to get away with pollution of proportions beyond the imagination.

For over a century, whenever American and British GIs have died for oil, whenever pollution and toxicity have been let loose to ravage our shores, whenever residents have died of cancer caused by the oil refining process and spills, whenever Congress and White Houses have loosened regulations to allow reckless and massively damaging behavior, BP was there, along with their American counterparts: companies so large that they are above the law and governmental control.

http://blog.buzzflash.com/editorblog/312

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Why is Israel afraid of a few boats?

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By Yousef Munayyer

Hundreds of activists are on their way to the blockaded Gaza strip via a "flotilla" of boats carrying humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, which are badly lacking in the impoverished Palestinian territory.

Israel has promised to intercept the good-willed boats and arrest and deport the activists. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has exerted great effort in the past few days to convince onlookers to this confrontation on the high seas that the activists carrying humanitarian goods are terrorist sympathizers, and that everything is just fine and dandy in the Gaza Strip. The ministry has portrayed Israel (the country enforcing the blockade of Gaza's ports) as a benevolent victim, who despite the threat from Gaza's Hamas government is still caring for the civilian population.

There comes a point when an oppressive regime's propaganda crosses a threshold from mere lies to utter lunacy so extreme, in fact, that objective onlookers find it almost comical. This point came yesterday when the Government Press Office disseminated a link to a Gaza restaurant which appears to be luxurious. So what Israel is essentially saying is: "There you have it.  There is a website for a restaurant with cloth napkins in Gaza. How can there be any problems?"

The reality is, of course, that the situation in Gaza is very dire. A slew of reports from human rights organizations attest to the hardships faced by most Palestinians in Gaza. In the densely populated strip where 80 percent of the population are refugees, a similar percentage relies on international aid organizations for daily sustenance. That number was only ten percent a decade ago. That's how bad things have become. Malnutrition in children has reached ten percent and critical medicines are not available, according to the World Health Organization.

But no one is starving to death in Gaza--at least not suddenly. A tunnel industry has evolved and become the main supplier for most goods. That's all part of the plan. Israel seeks to squeeze the strip to the point of near catastrophe, bad enough to make people suffer, but just short of having to take responsibility for it. It's a form of torture kind of like water-boarding under the Bush administration: the objective is to bring the subject to the edge and break his will, but not kill him (lest they be charged with murder). But just because Gaza's civilian population has managed to keep its collective head above water doesn't mean things should be this way.

Like life in most prisons, if you "know a guy," anything is available for a price. Generators, for example, are in high demand because of the shortages of electricity. The shortages are due to the destruction of Gaza's only power plant in 2006 by Israeli jets. Since then, Israel has never permitted the full reconstruction of the power plant, forcing perpetual dependence of Gaza on Israel and Egypt, who take an eye-dropper approach to supplying Gaza with electricity. But even though generators smuggled through Gaza's tunnels provide some light, there is also a dark and often unheard downside that comes with them: explosions and fires. Several reports in the past few years of civilians being killed or maimed from overworked and exploding generators have become common. These are just some of the siege-related causalities we do not hear about.

The 10,000 tons of supplies aboard the Gaza aid ships are a drop in the bucket for what Gaza really needs. Israel's spokesmen have pointed out that they have permitted the entry of supplies in the past and argued that the aid boats are unnecessary. The reality is that aid which Israel does permit into Gaza is purchased by Palestinians, vetted and often rejected or held up for months. Israel has calculated the precise minimum necessary caloric intake for Palestinians in Gaza, and has often rejected things like pasta, lentils and coffee. So it's easy to understand why international humanitarian organizations and the activists aboard the aid boats are not about to trust the welfare of Gaza's civilians to Israel's benevolence.

The aid boats will have a far greater impact, however, than the 10,000 tons of aid they are bringing to Gaza. The aid boats compel us to have this discussion, a discussion that Israel desperately wants to avoid at a time when its international reputation has never been lower.

Hundreds of unarmed civilians carrying humanitarian aid are approaching a blockaded piece of land where 1.5 million civilians suffer from a life of uncertainty and despair, and Israel is going to stop them. While much of the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been on the settlements, the failed peace process and the long-awaited restart of talks about talks, Gaza has been forgotten. To their credit, the few hundred non-violent activists-turned-sailors have found a way to maximize their power as individuals to force one of the world's most powerful regimes into a corner. Whether the boats make it to Gaza or not, this is a tremendous victory for civil society in international affairs.

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/05/27/why_is_israel_afraid_of_a_few_boats

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Life Aboard an International Activist Ship

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By Ann Wright

There is nothing easy about planning or conducting an international action, especially with moving parts called ships! Yet, activists on board keep their spirits afloat!

After delays caused by damaged propellers and broken steering mechanisms, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla now reduced to seven ships is heading for Gaza.

Yesterday, May 29, 2010, in a major confrontation, the Greek Cypriot government, under substantial pressure from the Israeli government, refused to allow members of the Irish and Scottish Parliament, and other dignitaries, board Challenger 1 that would bring them to the flotilla waiting some 50 miles from Cyprus. The group travelled to the Turkish Cypriot side of the island and boarded Challenger 1, whose steering had been repaired.

Despite delays and damaged ships, spirit on board the ships is high, particularly on board the Challenger 1 that arrived in the flotilla this morning at 1:30am carrying German members of Parliament, Belgians, Irish and UK citizens, some of whom have been on the three-day odyssey from Crete to Cyprus and now to the flotilla.

In the 36 hours I've been on board the 600-passenger Turkish ship, life has developed into a routine of sleeping, eating, watching the horizon. Virtually everyone is sleep-deprived. All of the passengers are activists in their home countries. They have been fundraising, speaking and traveling for months and years for the plight of the Palestinians. They are seldom without email, computers, mobile calls. Yet, on board the ship, there is only expensive satellite phone service, if you brought your own sat phone, and satellite internet service on the ship is only for journalists to file their stories about the flotilla.

So, for the first time in many months, very active people have extra time on their hands. Time for lengthy conversations with activists from the other 50 countries, time for interviews with the considerable media and time for a well-needed nap on the floor of the deck or in one of the passenger lounges.

The Mava Marmara is a day passenger ferry with no cabins or private areas. About ninety percent of the passengers come from Muslim countries, mostly Arab-Muslim, but substantial delegations from Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country and from Malaysia. In deference to cultural norms, one lounge has been turned into a women's only lounge, where women eat, sleep and hold conversations on humanitarian programs, religion and a variety of other topics, as women are wont to do. Women have free run of the ship and participate in all the activities of the ship, but do have a "refuge" from the activity of the ship.

Meals on board an activist ship rather than a cruise liner are basic, but very good. Hot tea and Nescafe are available 24 hours a day as is powdered soups. Breakfast is tomatoes, feta cheese, bread, honey. Lunch and dinner is from cans--the choices are beef and potatoes, beans and rice stuffed peppers. Apples and oranges are available during the day. Snacks of nuts, bread and muffins. Last night, we had our first hot meal. The IHH staff cooked a meal of grilled meat kabobs, with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

Conversations automatically turn to Gaza.

Those of us who have been in Gaza, particularly since the Israeli 22 day attack over one year and five months ago that killed 1440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless, describe what we saw--the destroyed buildings, lives turned upside down and yet an incredible spirit of the Palestinians to survive the horrific effects of the Israeli attack and long term brutal effects of the three year siege that has made Gaza an "open-air prison."

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Life-Aboard-an-Internation-by-Ann-Wright-100530-362.html

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Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza

Israeli warships have attacked at least one of the six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for blockaded Gaza, killing at least two people and wounding 30, according to reports.
 

The al-Jazeera satellite channel reported by telephone from the Turkish ship leading the flotilla that Israeli navy forces fired at the ship and boarded it, wounding the captain. The Turkish NTV network also reported an Israeli takeover with gunfire, and at least two people were killed.

The al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, "Everybody shut up!"

The television network said two activists had been killed and some 50 wounded. Organisers of the aid convoy said they were no longer in contact with the boats. The Israeli military have refused to comment.

The reports came just after daybreak, with the flotilla still well away from the Gaza shore. Israel had declared it would not allow the ships to reach Gaza.

In Turkey, news of the interception prompted protestors to attempt to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul in retaliation.

On Sunday, Huwaida Arraf, one of the organisers, said the six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. She said they expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles away, on Monday afternoon, and that two more ships would follow in "a second wave."

The flotilla was "fully prepared for the different scenarios" that might arise, and organizers were hopeful that Israeli authorities would "do what's right" and not stop the convoy, she said.

"We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us," she said. "They are going to have to forcefully stop us."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/7788887/Israeli-troops-attack-ship-carrying-aid-to-Gaza.html

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Protests erupt against Gaza aid raid

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Live Googlemap of flotilla to Israel

 
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Israel’s Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

WAR ON YOU - Breaking News Without Corporate Views, Forum Message Board, Conspiracy Theories, Martial Law blog,

Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.

For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel's illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out 'half' of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called 'security' items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put 'pressure' on Gaza's population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through 'official channels,' give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their 'official channels,' is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.

According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: "Palestinians in Gaza are being actually 'starved to death,' receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime… an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings."[4]

Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit's father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit's family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and to attempt to deliver it to Shalit or, if that request was denied, deliver it to officials in the Hamas government. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.[6]

Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.

http://waronyou.com/topics/israel%E2%80%99s-disinformation-campaign-against-the-gaza-freedom-flotilla/

 

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Congressmen Propose Pre-Paid Phone Registration to Prevent Terrorism

Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and John Cornyn of Texas announced their proposed legislation Wednesday, mostly in response to reports that the Times Square bomber used one to prepare and coordinate his attack.

"While most Americans use pre-paid mobile devices lawfully, the anonymous nature of these devices gives too much cover to individuals looking to use them for deviant, dangerous means. It would be foolish to stand idly by while the risk remains that another terrorist or criminal could purchase a pre-paid phone leaving no paper trail," Cornyn said in a statement.

Pre-paid cell phones usually aren't registered under a particular name, so phone companies don't know who is using the phone. This provides an obvious advantage for criminals and terrorists. The new legislation would require pre-paid phone buyers to show identification and phone companies to keep a record of their information so that individual phones can be tracked to the owner.

http://www.technewsdaily.com/congressmen-propose-pre-paid-phone-registration-to-prevent-terrorism-0632/

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Top 10 New Species - 2010

species random images

Each year the IISE announces a list of the Top 10 New Species for the preceding calendar year. The Top 10 New Species described in 2009 are listed below with links to additional details about each species. 

If you would like to nominate a species for the 2011 Top 10 New Species please click here.

 
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US ends ‘war on drugs’

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THE United States has "ended its war on drugs" and is now moving its focus to prevention and treatment, the US drugs chief has told top Irish drug officials.


President Barack Obama's drugs adviser Gil Kerlikowske held a series of meetings yesterday with Drugs Minister Pat Carey, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and Department of Justice secretary general Sean Aylward.

The former police chief said the US had formally ended its much heralded – and hugely expensive – "war on drugs".

"We've talked about a 'war on drugs' for 40 years, since President Nixon. I ended the war," said Mr Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

The Obama administration is increasing its budget for demand reduction by 6.5%, bringing it to $5.6 billion (€4.5bn). But the US is still spending $15.5bn on supply reduction.

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Best of Dennis Hopper

Apocalypse Now
 
True Romance
 
Blue Velvet
 
River's Edge
 
Flashback
 
Easy Rider
 
 
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