Monday, 29 October 2007

litvinenko was a mi6 agent


Poisoned ex-Russian spy Litvinenko WAS a paid-up MI6 agent


27th October 2007

Deathbed: Alexander Litvinenko in hospital shortly before his agonising death

The former Russian spy poisoned in a London hotel was an MI6 agent, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Alexander Litvinenko was receiving a retainer of around £2,000 a month from the British security services at the time he was murdered.

The disclosure, by diplomatic and intelligence sources, is the latest twist in the Litvinenko affair, which has plunged relations between London and Moscow to their lowest point since the Cold War.

On the day of the poisoning, November 1, former KGB agent Mr Litvinenko met prime suspect Andrei Lugovoy at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London.

Mr Lugovoy claims that Mr Litvinenko tried to recruit him to supply information to MI6.

The businessman, another former KGB agent, also alleged that his ex-colleague asked him to find candidates for political asylum here. He left Britain for Russia soon after, and has never returned.

Mr Litvinenko had defected to Britain in 2000 and was granted political asylum the following year with his wife Marina, 44, and son Anatoly, 12.

Sir John Scarlett

Sir John Scarlett: Recruited Litvinenko for MI6

It is understood that Sir John Scarlett, now the head of MI6 and once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting him to the Secret Intelligence Service.

The fact that the 43-year-old ex-Russian spy was actually working for Britain when he died could provide the key to his extraordinary killing.

After an exhaustive Scotland Yard investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service announced earlier this year that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr Lugovoy with 'deliberate poisoning'.

Britain has called for his extradition so he can stand trial at the Old Bailey, but the Kremlin refused the request in July.

In an echo of the Cold War era, Britain then expelled four Russian diplomats from London.

Days later, Moscow responded with a tit-for-tat expulsion of four Britons.

Intelligence sources have told the Daily Mail that they do not expect a trial will ever take place.

They also said there remains a 'perceived threat' against Mrs Litvinenko, who lives with her son at a safe house in the Home Counties.

Mr Litvinenko died in hospital on November 23 after three agonising weeks in which his hair fell out, his skin turned yellow and his organs failed.

Suspect number 1: Russian agent Andrei Lugovoy

A photograph taken on his deathbed shows the devastating effect the poison had on his body.

Investigators believe that a fatal dose of radioactive polonium 210 was slipped into a teapot when the two men met at the hotel.

Significant traces of polonium were found on at least one aircraft boarded by Mr Lugovoy around the time of the murder, as well as in some of the hotel rooms where he stayed.

Mr Litvinenko was very critical of Vladimir Putin, and in the days before he died he accused the Russian President - another former KGB officer - of ordering his killing.

Moscow denies the claim.

Marina Litvinenko

Standing firm: Marina Litvinenko, 44, denies her husband was working for MI6

Mrs Litvinenko flew to Portugal last Thursday, on the eve of the EU-Russia summit, to call on European leaders to put pressure on Russia to hand over Mr Lugovoy.

'President Putin is providing Mr Lugovoy with his personal endorsement and backing in the eyes of the world,' she said.

'This indicates that Russia has something to hide and adds credence to Alexander's deathbed statement naming Mr Putin as the instigator of his murder.'

Associates of Mr Litvinenko have suggested his slow and painful death was a deliberate 'message' from the Kremlin to those in exile - warning them there could be no hiding place.

Moscow has accused Britain of harbouring some 16 Russian emigres including billionaire Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of the current Russian government.

He provided Mr Litvinenko with a home after his defection.

Mr Litvinenko fled to Britain after accusing the Russian security service of involvement in the 1999 bombings of two apartment buildings, in which 300 people died.

He had also been investigating the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who spoke out against the Putin government.

Boris Berezovsky

Russian dissident: Billionaire Boris Berezovsky gives a press conference

Mr Lugovoy has admitted meeting Mr Litvinenko, a former lieutenant colonel in the FSB, the re-styled KGB, several times in the months before his death.

But he claimed he was being made a scapegoat for the death.

He said that he believes MI6 was involved in the murder because agents had been unhappy at the way Mr Litvinenko had boasted of his links to them.

Mrs Litvinenko has dismissed the claim as 'nonsense' and also denied that her late husband was working for MI6.

A book about the murder, Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, written by Mrs Litvinenko and a friend of her husband, Alex Goldfarb, was released this week. A film version is planned.

collapse of ussr better prepared than us collapse

Monday, December 4, 2006

Energy Bulletin

Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: the USSR was better
prepared for collapse than the US

By Dmitry Orlov

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.
My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the « Collapse Gap » – to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

Slide [2] The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.
And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I’ve seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won’t be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Slide [3] I anticipate that some people will react rather badly to having their country compared to the USSR. I would like to assure you that the Soviet people would have reacted similarly, had the United States collapsed first. Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.

Slide [4] The USA and the USSR were evenly matched in many categories, but let me just mention four.
The Soviet manned space program is alive and well under Russian management, and now offers first-ever space charters. The Americans have been hitching rides on the Soyuz while their remaining spaceships sit in the shop.
The arms race has not produced a clear winner, and that is excellent news, because Mutual Assured Destruction remains in effect. Russia still has more nuclear warheads than the US, and has supersonic cruise missile technology that can penetrate any missile shield, especially a nonexistent one.
The Jails Race once showed the Soviets with a decisive lead, thanks to their innovative GULAG program. But they gradually fell behind, and in the end the Jails Race has been won by the Americans, with the highest percentage of people in jail ever.
The Hated Evil Empire Race is also finally being won by the Americans. It’s easy now that they don’t have anyone to compete against.

Slide [5] Continuing with our list of superpower similarities, many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.

Slide [6] An economic collapse is amazing to observe, and very interesting if described accurately and in detail. A general description tends to fall short of the mark, but let me try. An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea. One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years. Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature. This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the US economy will be forced to shut down.

Slide [7] I’ve described what happened to Russia in some detail in one of my articles, which is available on I don’t see why what happens to the United States should be entirely dissimilar, at least in general terms. The specifics will be different, and we will get to them in a moment. We should certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness. We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion.

Slide [8] When faced with such developments, some people are quick to realize what it is they have to do to survive, and start doing these things, generally without anyone’s permission. A sort of economy emerges, completely informal, and often semi-criminal. It revolves around liquidating, and recycling, the remains of the old economy. It is based on direct access to resources, and the threat of force, rather than ownership or legal authority. People who have a problem with this way of doing things, quickly find themselves out of the game.
These are the generalities. Now let’s look at some specifics.

Slide [9] One important element of collapse-preparedness is making sure that you don’t need a functioning economy to keep a roof over your head. In the Soviet Union, all housing belonged to the government, which made it available directly to the people. Since all housing was also built by the government, it was only built in places that the government could service using public transportation. After the collapse, almost everyone managed to keep their place.
In the United States, very few people own their place of residence free and clear, and even they need an income to pay real estate taxes. People without an income face homelessness. When the economy collapses, very few people will continue to have an income, so homelessness will become rampant. Add to that the car-dependent nature of most suburbs, and what you will get is mass migrations of homeless people toward city centers.

Slide [10] Soviet public transportation was more or less all there was, but there was plenty of it. There were also a few private cars, but so few that gasoline rationing and shortages were mostly inconsequential. All of this public infrastructure was designed to be almost infinitely maintainable, and continued to run even as the rest of the economy collapsed.
The population of the United States is almost entirely car-dependent, and relies on markets that control oil import, refining, and distribution. They also rely on continuous public investment in road construction and repair. The cars themselves require a steady stream of imported parts, and are not designed to last very long. When these intricately interconnected systems stop functioning, much of the population will find itself stranded.

Slide [11] Economic collapse affects public sector employment almost as much as private sector employment, eventually. Because government bureaucracies tend to be slow to act, they collapse more slowly. Also, because state-owned enterprises tend to be inefficient, and stockpile inventory, there is plenty of it left over, for the employees to take home, and use in barter. Most Soviet employment was in the public sector, and this gave people some time to think of what to do next.
Private enterprises tend to be much more efficient at many things. Such laying off their people, shutting their doors, and liquidating their assets. Since most employment in the United States is in the private sector, we should expect the transition to permanent unemployment to be quite abrupt for most people.

Slide [12] When confronting hardship, people usually fall back on their families for support. The Soviet Union experienced chronic housing shortages, which often resulted in three generations living together under one roof. This didn’t make them happy, but at least they were used to each other. The usual expectation was that they would stick it out together, come what may.
In the United States, families tend to be atomized, spread out over several states. They sometimes have trouble tolerating each other when they come together for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, even during the best of times. They might find it difficult to get along, in bad times. There is already too much loneliness in this country, and I doubt that economic collapse will cure it.

Slide [13] To keep evil at bay, Americans require money. In an economic collapse, there is usually hyperinflation, which wipes out savings. There is also rampant unemployment, which wipes out incomes. The result is a population that is largely penniless.
In the Soviet Union, very little could be obtained for money. It was treated as tokens rather than as wealth, and was shared among friends. Many things – housing and transportation among them – were either free or almost free.

Slide [14] Soviet consumer products were always an object of derision – refrigerators that kept the house warm – and the food, and so on. You’d be lucky if you got one at all, and it would be up to you to make it work once you got it home. But once you got it to work, it would become a priceless family heirloom, handed down from generation to generation, sturdy, and almost infinitely maintainable.
In the United States, you often hear that something « is not worth fixing. » This is enough to make a Russian see red. I once heard of an elderly Russian who became irate when a hardware store in Boston wouldn’t sell him replacement bedsprings: « People are throwing away perfectly good mattresses, how am I supposed to fix them? »
Economic collapse tends to shut down both local production and imports, and so it is vitally important that anything you own wears out slowly, and that you can fix it yourself if it breaks. Soviet-made stuff generally wore incredibly hard. The Chinese-made stuff you can get around here – much less so.

Slide [15] The Soviet agricultural sector was notoriously inefficient. Many people grew and gathered their own food even in relatively prosperous times. There were food warehouses in every city, stocked according to a government allocation scheme. There were very few restaurants, and most families cooked and ate at home. Shopping was rather labor-intensive, and involved carrying heavy loads. Sometimes it resembled hunting – stalking that elusive piece of meat lurking behind some store counter. So the people were well-prepared for what came next.
In the United States, most people get their food from a supermarket, which is supplied from far away using refrigerated diesel trucks. Many people don’t even bother to shop and just eat fast food. When people do cook, they rarely cook from scratch. This is all very unhealthy, and the effect on the nation’s girth, is visible, clear across the parking lot. A lot of the people, who just waddle to and from their cars, seem unprepared for what comes next. If they suddenly had to start living like the Russians, they would blow out their knees.

Slide [16] The Soviet government threw resources at immunization programs, infectious disease control, and basic care. It directly operated a system of state-owned clinics, hospitals, and sanatoriums. People with fatal ailments or chronic conditions often had reason to complain, and had to pay for private care – if they had the money.
In the United States, medicine is for profit. People seems to think nothing of this fact. There are really very few fields of endeavor to which Americans would deny the profit motive. The problem is, once the economy is removed, so is the profit, along with the services it once helped to motivate.

Slide [17] The Soviet education system was generally quite excellent. It produced an overwhelmingly literate population and many great specialists. The education was free at all levels, but higher education sometimes paid a stipend, and often provided room and board. The educational system held together quite well after the economy collapsed. The problem was that the graduates had no jobs to look forward to upon graduation. Many of them lost their way.
The higher education system in the United States is good at many things – government and industrial research, team sports, vocational training... Primary and secondary education fails to achieve in 12 years what Soviet schools generally achieved in 8. The massive scale and expense of maintaining these institutions is likely to prove too much for the post-collapse environment. Illiteracy is already a problem in the United States, and we should expect it to get a lot worse.

Slide [18] The Soviet Union did not need to import energy. The production and distribution system faltered, but never collapsed. Price controls kept the lights on even as hyperinflation raged.
The term « market failure » seems to fit the energy situation in the United States. Free markets develop some pernicious characteristics when there are shortages of key commodities. During World War II, the United States government understood this, and successfully rationed many things, from gasoline to bicycle parts. But that was a long time ago. Since then, the inviolability of free markets has become an article of faith.

Slide [19] My conclusion is that the Soviet Union was much better-prepared for economic collapse than the United States is.
I have left out two important superpower asymmetries, because they don’t have anything to do with collapse-preparedness. Some countries are simply luckier than others. But I will mention them, for the sake of completeness.
In terms of racial and ethnic composition, the United States resembles Yugoslavia more than it resembles Russia, so we shouldn’t expect it to be as peaceful as Russia was, following the collapse. Ethnically mixed societies are fragile and have a tendency to explode.
In terms of religion, the Soviet Union was relatively free of apocalyptic doomsday cults. Very few people there wished for a planet-sized atomic fireball to herald the second coming of their savior. This was indeed a blessing.

Slide [20] One area in which I cannot discern any Collapse Gap is national politics. The ideologies may be different, but the blind adherence to them couldn’t be more similar.
It is certainly more fun to watch two Capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one Communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist party offered just one bitter pill. The two Capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party buys 50% of the vote, and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat.
The American way of dealing with dissent and with protest is certainly more advanced: why imprison dissidents when you can just let them shout into the wind to their heart’s content?
The American approach to bookkeeping is more subtle and nuanced than the Soviet. Why make a state secret of some statistic, when you can just distort it, in obscure ways? Here’s a simple example: inflation is « controlled » by substituting hamburger for steak, in order to minimize increases to Social Security payments.

Slide [21] Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It’s as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.

Slide [22] I will now sketch out some approaches, realistic and otherwise, to closing the Collapse Gap. My little list of approaches might seem a bit glib, but keep in mind that this is a very difficult problem. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that not all problems have solutions. I can promise you that we will not solve this problem tonight. What I will try to do is to shed some light on it from several angles.

Slide [23] Many people rail against the unresponsiveness and irresponsibility of the government. They often say things like « What is needed is... » plus the name of some big, successful government project from the glorious past – the Marshall Plan, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program. But there is nothing in the history books about a government preparing for collapse. Gorbachev’s « Perestroika » is an example of a government trying to avert or delay collapse. It probably helped speed it along.

Slide [24] There are some things that I would like the government to take care of in preparation for collapse. I am particularly concerned about all the radioactive and toxic installations, stockpiles, and dumps. Future generations are unlikely to able to control them, especially if global warming puts them underwater. There is enough of this muck sitting around to kill off most of us. I am also worried about soldiers getting stranded overseas – abandoning one’s soldiers is among the most shameful things a country can do. Overseas military bases should be dismantled, and the troops repatriated. I’d like to see the huge prison population whittled away in a controlled manner, ahead of time, instead of in a chaotic general amnesty. Lastly, I think that this farce with debts that will never be repaid, has gone on long enough. Wiping the slate clean will give society time to readjust. So, you see, I am not asking for any miracles. Although, if any of these things do get done, I would consider it a miracle.

Slide [25] A private sector solution is not impossible; just very, very unlikely. Certain Soviet state enterprises were basically states within states. They controlled what amounted to an entire economic system, and could go on even without the larger economy. They kept to this arrangement even after they were privatized. They drove Western management consultants mad, with their endless kindergartens, retirement homes, laundries, and free clinics. These weren’t part of their core competency, you see. They needed to divest and to streamline their operations. The Western management gurus overlooked the most important thing: the core competency of these enterprises lay in their ability to survive economic collapse. Maybe the young geniuses at Google can wrap their heads around this one, but I doubt that their stockholders will.

Slide [26] It’s important to understand that the Soviet Union achieved collapse-preparedness inadvertently, and not because of the success of some crash program. Economic collapse has a way of turning economic negatives into positives. The last thing we want is a perfectly functioning, growing, prosperous economy that suddenly collapses one day, and leaves everybody in the lurch. It is not necessary for us to embrace the tenets of command economy and central planning to match the Soviet lackluster performance in this area. We have our own methods, that are working almost as well. I call them « boondoggles. » They are solutions to problems that cause more problems than they solve.
Just look around you, and you will see boondoggles sprouting up everywhere, in every field of endeavor: we have military boondoggles like Iraq, financial boondoggles like the doomed retirement system, medical boondoggles like private health insurance, legal boondoggles like the intellectual property system. The combined weight of all these boondoggles is slowly but surely pushing us all down. If it pushes us down far enough, then economic collapse, when it arrives, will be like falling out of a ground floor window. We just have to help this process along, or at least not interfere with it. So if somebody comes to you and says « I want to make a boondoggle that runs on hydrogen » – by all means encourage him! It’s not as good as a boondoggle that burns money directly, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Slide [27] Certain types of mainstream economic behavior are not prudent on a personal level, and are also counterproductive to bridging the Collapse Gap. Any behavior that might result in continued economic growth and prosperity is counterproductive: the higher you jump, the harder you land. It is traumatic to go from having a big retirement fund to having no retirement fund because of a market crash. It is also traumatic to go from a high income to little or no income. If, on top of that, you have kept yourself incredibly busy, and suddenly have nothing to do, then you will really be in rough shape.
Economic collapse is about the worst possible time for someone to suffer a nervous breakdown, yet this is what often happens. The people who are most at risk psychologically are successful middle-aged men. When their career is suddenly over, their savings are gone, and their property worthless, much of their sense of self-worth is gone as well. They tend to drink themselves to death and commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. Since they tend to be the most experienced and capable people, this is a staggering loss to society.
If the economy, and your place within it, is really important to you, you will be really hurt when it goes away. You can cultivate an attitude of studied indifference, but it has to be more than just a conceit. You have to develop the lifestyle and the habits and the physical stamina to back it up. It takes a lot of creativity and effort to put together a fulfilling existence on the margins of society. After the collapse, these margins may turn out to be some of the best places to live.

Slide [28] I hope that I didn’t make it sound as if the Soviet collapse was a walk in the park, because it was really quite awful in many ways. The point that I do want to stress is that when this economy collapses, it is bound to be much worse. Another point I would like to stress is that collapse here is likely to be permanent. The factors that allowed Russia and the other former Soviet republics to recover are not present here.
In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?
Thank you.

UPDATE: Dmitri Orlov writes on March 4, 2007:
You wrote that « The Soviets had little chance to make
democratic institutions work. » That’s not entirely
true. Perestroika and Glasnost were all about
democracy, and in my opinion it had the same chance of
success as the hopelessly gerrymandered system that
passes for democracy in the US, (although much less
than any proper, modern democracy, in which the Bush
regime would have been put out of power quite a while
ago, after a simple parliamentary vote of no
confidence and early elections). The problem is that,
in a collapse scenario, democracy is the least
effective system of government one can possibly think of (think Weimar, or the Russian Interim Government) - a topic I cover in Post-Soviet Lessons.
Lastly, I don’t think calling me a cynic is exactly accurate: I’ve been in the US a long time, watching the system become progressively more dysfunctional with each passing political season. It seems to me that it is not necessarily cynical to be able to spot a solid trend, but that it could be simply observant.

geo engineering

Rachel's Democracy & Health News #930, October 25, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: The fossil fuel corporations have a plan for us, and it does not include any substantial investment in renewable solar energy. Their plan is focused on "geo-engineering" -- which means re-engineering the oceans, the atmosphere and the earth itself to make it possible to continue burning fossil fuels. U.S. EPA is on board with the plan.]

By Peter Montague

It now seems clear that the coal and oil industries are not going to allow the United States to curb global warming by making major investments in renewable sources of energy. These fossil fuel corporations simply have too much at stake to allow it.

Simple physics tells us that the way to minimize the human contribution to global warming is to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground -- stop mining them as soon as humanly possible. This obvious solution would require us to turn the nation's industrial prowess to developing solar power in its many forms as quickly as we can -- we would need a "'Manhattan Project' for Energy," as the strategy journal of the top U.S. military planners said recently.

Look at the relative size of our current government investments in solar vs. fossil fuels. In 2007 the federal Department of Energy spent $168 million on solar research. On the other hand each year since 1991 the U.S. government has spent 1000 times that amount -- $169 billion -- subsidizing the flow of oil from the Middle East, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our top military planners. And that figure doesn't include what consumers paid for the oil itself. If our solar investment remains one-tenth of one percent of our investment in oil, there will be no solar power to speak of in our future.

A rapid shift to renewables based on solar would not be easy and I don't want to minimize the effort required. It's stupendously large. But we've undertaken heroic industrial projects before -- and with notable success. We mobilized quickly and massively to defeat the combined industrial might of Germany, Japan, and Italy in less than five years after Pearl Harbor. The original Manhattan Project turned a physicist's theory into a working A-bomb in less than 6 years; just building the gaseous diffusion plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee was a scientific, engineering and industrial feat of astonishing magnitude and complexity. The Marshall Plan successfully rebuilt Europe after WW II. Our Man-on-the-Moon program succeeded just 11 years after the Russians tweaked our national ego by launching Sputnik into orbit in 1957.

Yes, a shift to solar-powered renewables would be difficult, but it's doable. Unfortunately, any plan to shift from fossil fuels to solar has three fatal flaws, from the viewpoint of Big Oil and Big Coal:

1. The fossil fuel corporations have an enormous investment in fossil infrastructure and they own vast quantities of fossil fuels that they plan to exploit with little real effort over the next 50 years. They have been making excellent profits for a century and, as fossil fuels get scarcer, prices will only rise. In 2006, ExxonMobil reaped profits larger than any other corporation in history ($39.5 billion). If the U.S. does not invest seriously in renewable alternatives, we'll have no choice but to pay whatever price the fossil corporations demand. Just a few days ago oil hit $90 a barrel; eight years ago it was selling for $10 a barrel. No wonder ExxonMobil now has a book value larger than the national budget of France. Naturally, they intend to maintain their market share, even if it means doing everything in their power to thwart progress.

2. The fossil fuel business is 100 years old and fully understood. No surprises lie ahead. But renewables? Who knows which renewables will win out in the marketplace of ideas? If Uncle Sam were to invest as much money in solar power as it has so far invested in the Iraq war (roughly $800 billion), who knows what new technologies would emerge? (Incidentally, if we maintain our current solar research budget at $168 million per year, it will be 4761 years before we have spent as much on solar research as we have, so far, spent in Iraq.) New technical innovations could be very unsettling for complacent industries like coal and oil. For them, innovation spells trouble. Innovation could render them irrelevant in a decade or two and they could disappear just like the makers of whale-oil lamps and buggy whips 100 years ago.

3. Coal and oil are highly centralized. It's their nature. Whoever owns the fossil fuels, the big central power plants, and the distribution systems can call the shots. But solar? The sun shines everywhere and it's free. Suppose some woman at MIT develops a solar panel that you paint onto your roof (from a can you buy at Home Depot), attach some wires, and start generating your own electricity? Central control disappears. This would be like tossing a hand grenade into the current corporate/political structure. Of course even right- wing politicians love lefty-sounding slogans like "power to the people," but they don't mean real power like electricity or hot water or home-made hydrogen for transportation fuel. (Check out the Nova TV program, "Saved by the Sun," which briefly mentions paint-on solar panels.)

No, a serious plan to focus the nation's industrial prowess onto a solar-powered rebirth will not be allowed by the fossil corporations. Instead we'll be offered a rolling circus of technical fixes aimed at keeping coal and oil streaming out of the ground. The circus is already well under way.

A Sulfur Parasol to Blot Out the Sun

Just this week the New York Times published a proposal to attach a fire hose to some lighter-than-air balloons for the purpose of injecting at least a million tons of sulfur particles into the upper atmosphere, to create a giant parasol to cool the planet. Such a scheme might further deplete the Earth's ozone shield, which remains frayed from DuPont's earlier botched experiment with CFCs. And it could create large-scale acid rain. But contemplating these clownish Rube Goldberg solutions may at least relieve the stress of facing what really needs to be done.

A new word enters our vocabulary: Geo-engineering

Instead of allowing the U.S. to make the transition to solar power, the fossil corporations have evidently decided it's better to re-engineer the oceans and the atmosphere -- and perhaps even the planetary orbit of the Earth itself -- to make it possible to continue burning fossil fuels for another 50 years.

Grand schemes for re-engineering the planet now have their own special name -- geo-engineering. The word means, "global-scale interventions to alter the oceans and the atmosphere so fossil corporations can continue business as usual."

The fire-hose-and-balloon project is only one of many "geo- engineering" schemes in the works.

Fertilizing the Oceans with Iron

There are serious plans afoot to dump huge quantities of soluble iron into the oceans as fertilizer, intending to stimulate the growth of plankton, which will then eat carbon dioxide from the air. As the plankton die, their carcasses will sink to the bottom of the ocean, carrying all that carbon dioxide with them, where it will remain for... for... well, actually, nobody knows for how long. How long might it be before that dormant carbon dioxide comes back to bite us? Nobody knows. Would such a plan disrupt life in the oceans? Nobody knows. But private firms are pressing ahead with large-scale ocean- fertilization experiments as we speak. (They are hoping to get rich selling "carbon credits" to polluters so the fossil corporations can continue contaminating the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. We might well ask the ethical question, who gave these cowboys permission to run geo-engineering experiments in the world's oceans?)

This is all very reminiscent of earlier plans to bury nuclear waste in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, on the theory that the seabed has lain dormant for many millions of years. But that plan never caught on because few people could develop sufficient confidence that the future would unfold exactly like the past. There was that nagging doubt... what if we've missed something important and we turn out to be wrong? What if our understanding is flawed? There was too much at stake, and the plan was shelved. (With carbon dioxide, of course, there's far more at stake.)

Mirrors in Orbit

Now there's a new plan to rocket mirrors into orbit around the earth. Another parasol to block sunlight. The mirrors would consist of a mesh of aluminum threads a millionth of an inch in diameter, "like a window screen made of exceedingly fine metal wire," says Lowell Wood at Lawrence Livermore Lab, who dreamed up the idea. The only drawback to this plan mentioned so far is its enormous dollar cost: to reduce incoming sunlight by 1% would require -- get this -- 600,000 square miles of mirror, which is larger than the combined areas of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware and Rhode Island.

Of course the U.S. has a long history of large-scale interventions above the clouds. In 1962 we conducted an experiment called "Starfish Prime" in which we exploded a small nuclear weapon (equivalent to 1.4 million tons of TNT) 400 miles up in the atmosphere, just to see what would happen. What happened came as a complete surprise to the geniuses who set off the blast. The explosion left so much residual radiation trapped in space that the world's first communication satellite -- Telstar, which was launched after Starfish -- failed because it encountered crippling levels of radiation. Ultimately, one- third of all the low-orbit satellites in space at the time were disabled by the residual radiation from Starfish Prime. Another unanticipated cost of Starfish was the temporary shutdown of communications and electrical supply in Hawaii, 1300 kilometers from the blast. Who knew?

Project RBR

Despite lessons supposedly learned from Starfish, just last year the Pentagon proposed a project called RBR ("Radiation Belt Remediation"). The RBR project would generate "very low frequency radio waves to flush particles from the [Van Allen] radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere over one or several days." (There are two Van Allen radiation belts; the one closest to earth lies 400 to 4000 miles in the sky.) The stated purpose of the RBR project is to "protect hundreds of low earth-orbiting satellites from having their onboard electronics ruined by charged particles in unusually intense Van Allen radiation belts 'pumped up' by high- altitude nuclear explosions or powerful solar storms." It seems the Pentagon is making plans for conducting nuclear warfare above the clouds. But I digress.

Luckily a small group of scientists from Britain, New Zealand and Finland (organized as the "British Antarctic Survey") caught wind of the RBR plan and actually gave it some thought. They concluded that RBR would "significantly alter the upper atmosphere, seriously disrupting high frequency (HF) radio wave transmissions and GPS navigation around the world." The world's commercial (and military) transport systems are now almost completely dependent upon GPS navigation, so disrupting the global GPS system would create economic chaos, not to mention loss of life. Who knew?

A Plan to Change the Earth's Orbit

As pressure builds on the fossil corporations to quit contaminating the atmosphere with CO2, plans for geo-engineering the planet grow ever-more grandiose and desperate. There is now talk of moving the Earth 1.5 million miles out of its orbit around the sun, to compensate for doubling carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Ken Caldeira of Stanford University has calculated that moving the Earth in this fashion would require the energy of five thousand million million hydrogen bombs (that's 5,000,000,000,000,000 hydrogen bombs). No doubt the Pentagon is studying it with considerable interest.

The Biggest Geo-engineering Project: Carbon Sequestration

Now, the biggest earth-based geo-engineering project of all is in the late stages of development by the coal and oil industries, and is about to be "regulated" by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is the plan that convinces me that the fossil corporations have no intention of allowing the U.S. to make a rapid transition to solar power. This Big Fossil plan is called CCS, short for "carbon capture and sequestration" and it, too, closely resembles dozens of previous unsuccessful attempts to figure out what to do with radioactive waste.

Carbon sequestration is a fancy name for what used to be called the "kitty litter solution" to radioactive waste: bury it in the ground and hope it stays there. Carbon sequestration is a plan to capture gaseous carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants (and perhaps from other industrial operations as well), turn it into a liquid, and pump it into the deep earth or perhaps into the ocean, where it will remain for an unknown period of time. Professional optimists employed by the fossil industries claim the unknown period of time is "forever." But how can they be sure?

Saving the Coal Industry

The future of the coal industry, in particular, is at stake. Without carbon sequestration, the coal industry will not survive. Just this month the state of Kansas refused to license the construction of a new coal-fired power plant simply because of its carbon dioxide emissions. This is the first time a coal plant has been turned down merely because of its contribution to global warming. The hand writing is on the wall: Big Coal is doomed unless they can find some way to demonstrate that "clean coal" is more than an advertising slogan. This is what carbon sequestration geo-engineers are being paid to do.

Saving the Oil Industry (and the Automobile Industry)

But there's more at stake than just the coal industry. The oil industry, too, is depending on "carbon sequestration" to convince the public that continuing to burn fossil fuels is safe. Even the car companies have recognized that their future depends upon convincing us all that carbon sequestration will work -- and work forever.

We know this is really, really important to the fossil corporations because some of the biggest names in global industry are underwriting "geo-engineering" solutions for the carbon dioxide problem at some of the most prestigious U.S. universities. The Center for Energy & Environmental Studies at Princeton University is conducting geo- engineering studies (1.4 Mbyte PDF) funded by BP (the felonious oil corporation formerly known as British Petroleum) and by Ford Motor, the troubled manufacturer of SUVs. Geo-engineering work at Stanford University is being supported by ExxonMobil, by General Electric, by Schlumberger (the oil-drilling services giant), and by Toyota.

To convince the U.S. environmental community that geo-engineering carbon dioxide is the only way to go, the Stanford geo-engineering group has linked up with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Together, they are publishing clever propaganda masquerading as science. For example, in a recent letter to California legislators they say, "We only wish to address the science of CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] here." So we are expecting a scientific argument. Instead, the letter tries to persuade legislators to support carbon sequestration using arguments that have nothing to do with science.

The letter is peppered with distinctly unscientific language like "perfectly safe" to describe the fossil corporations' favorite geo- engineering solution. "Perfectly safe" is not a scientific concept. It is a political concept.

To be fair, deep in their letter NRDC and friends add a few caveats to their "perfectly safe" claim. For example, they say, "Leakage is conceivable but it is unlikely in well-selected sites, is generally avoidable, predictable, can be detected and remedied promptly, and in any case is extremely unlikely to be of a magnitude to endanger human health and the environment if performed under adequate regulatory oversight and according to best practices." [Emphasis in the original.]

So carbon sequestration will be "perfectly safe" if it occurs at "well-selected sites" and if performed under adequate regulatory oversight and according to best practices."

Let's examine these caveats. Are these scientific concepts? Do they even refer to anything in the real world?

Human History: Selecting Sites for Dangerous Projects

What experience do humans have siting dangerous facilities at only "well-selected sites"? I am thinking of the atomic reactor in Japan sited near an earthquake fault and recently shut down by serious earthquake damage. I am thinking of the U.S. radioactive waste site proposed for Yucca Mountain in Nevada where government and private engineers felt the need to falsify data to make the site appear acceptable. How do NRDC and Stanford propose to avoid a repeat of these fiascos when it comes time to select dozens or hundreds (perhaps thousands) of sites for pumping carbon dioxide into the ground?

Human history: Best practices with Dangerous Technologies

And that about "best practices"? Does this phrase take into account actual human experience with power plant operators photographed asleep in the control room of nuclear reactors? Or young men deep in missile silos relieving their boredom by getting drunk or taking drugs while standing ready to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with hydrogen warheads?

Will Every Nation Abide by the NRDC/Stanford Prescription?

After the U.S. begins injecting billions of tons of liquid carbon dioxide into the earth, won't China, India and other countries do the same? If they do, can they be counted on to choose only "well-selected sites" and to follow only "best practices" for the next hundred years? Who will oversee carbon sequestration in Nigeria or Uzbekistan?

How do NRDC and Stanford imagine that standards for site selection and "best practices" will be enforced around the globe? Have NRDC and Stanford published solutions to these problems? Or are they just putting empty words on paper hoping to fool clueless legislators into adopting untestable technical solutions that the fossil corporations are paying them to promote?

But the most dubious part of the NRDC plan to geo-engineer carbon sequestration is their claim that is will be "perfectly safe" if performed with "adequate regulatory oversight." Can NRDC and their friends at Stanford point to any instances of large-scale industrial enterprises that currently have "adequate regulatory oversight?"

Everyone knows that regulators quickly get captured by the industries they are supposed to regulate. There is a substantial body of social science literature on this point. Regulators are poorly paid, but if they look the other way at regulatory violations, they may find a lucrative job awaiting them when they retire from government. Less sinister but more pervasive is the simple fact that regulated corporations spend a lot of time befriending regulators, dropping by to say hello, asking about the kids, gaining their trust and ultimately their allegiance. Are NRDC and Stanford prepared to deny this indisputable history of regulatory collapse? Have they examined the dismal record of the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? Are they prepared to design and describe regulatory institutions that do not suffer from these same fundamental human flaws? Or are they just blowing smoke?

So let's examine these caveats just a bit more.

1. What actual experience to do humans have designing anything to be kept out of the environment forever? Answer: None. Absolutely none. In this context, then, what can "perfectly safe" possibly mean?

2. What human regulatory institutions can NRDC and friends point to that have proven adequate? Let's see. The regulatory system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons? Today, 40 years after the inception of the non-proliferation treaty, Israel, India, North Korea, Pakistan -- all have The Bomb despite heroic efforts to prevent its spread. The only reason Iraq and Syria don't have a nuclear weapon is because Israel bombed their nascent nuclear power plants to smithereens.

What about the regulatory system for controlling the discard of radioactive waste? Radioactive waste is loose at thousands of locations around the planet. In hundreds (perhaps thousands) of instances we do not even know where the stuff has been dumped. This technology was developed by the smartest people in the world with unlimited budgets -- yet at places like the gold-plated Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico (now renamed the Los Alamos National Laboratory), plutonium, americium-241, strontium-90 and other supremely dangerous radioactive elements were buried in shallow pits, or simply dumped into mountain canyons without any records kept of their whereabouts. The kitty litter solution. And this was a federal scientific laboratory under strict military surveillance and control at the time. Can we expect the fossil corporations under the watchful eye of EPA (wink, wink) to do better?

How about the regulatory system for curtailing the widespread destruction of wildlife and human health from hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing chlorinated chemicals? The arctic, which has no industrial enterprises to speak of, is among the most heavily contaminated places on earth because the chemical regulatory system failed to consider how chemicals migrate once they are released into the environment.

So where can we find real-world examples of this "adequate regulatory oversight" that NRDC and Stanford say will be necessary to make carbon sequestration "perfectly safe"?

Maintaining vigilance for hundreds or thousands of years?

Elsewhere in their letter, NRDC and the engineers from Stanford say they believe carbon sequestration can be maintained for millions of years, but they say, if something goes wrong, rapid response will be possible.

Is this really true?

Again, let's return to the debates over radioactive waste from the late 1970s. Back then scientists were a bit more candid: they admitted they knew of no way to pass information reliably to future generations describing the location of radioactive waste dumps. Given human history and the evanescence of human institutions, they could not imagine a way to reliably warn future generations about dangers buried in the earth. At one point they considered writing a huge warning across the face of the moon using graphic symbols because they had no idea which human languages would survive thousands of years into the future. Have NRDC and Stanford published their solution for this problem?

Why should we assume that humans a hundred years from now -- let alone 500 or 5000 years from now -- will be able to monitor for carbon dioxide leaks, locate them, and take rapid action to control them? The prudent assumption would be that humans will NOT have those capabilities. It seems to me it would be unethical to design our technologies based on untested and untestable (and wildly optimistic) assumptions about future humans and their social organizations. Who gave us the right to make decisions now based on assumptions, which, if they are wrong, could destroy the planet as a place suitable for human habitation -- which is precisely what the carbon sequestration researchers are intending to do.

With the future of the human species at stake, isn't a little humility in order? Will these geniuses find themselves staring into the mirror one day toward the end of their shameful careers muttering, "Who knew?"

But ordinary people who aren't subsidized by energy or automobile corporations are asking the same sorts of common-sense questions they asked 20 years ago when the same sorts of brainy university types were telling us it was "perfectly safe" to bury radioactive waste in the ground:

** What if these scientists and engineers turn out to be wrong?

** What if there's something important they haven't thought of?

** Are these people infallible or are they human? They can't be both.

** Isn't it unethical to claim that something will be "perfectly safe" when as a scientist you know you can't be perfectly sure?

** When the fossil corporations impose their plan on us and begin large-scale carbon sequestration, won't that become a powerful incentive to reduce federal funding for conservation, renewables, and solar power? Then won't we have all our eggs in one basket? And didn't our grandmothers tell us that was a bad idea?

** After the fossil corporations impose carbon sequestration on us, won't we be saddled with even more killer fly ash choking the air, and even more toxic bottom ash threatening groundwater supplies? Won't we have even more destruction from mountain-top-removal coal mining, plus the enormous waste of water and land in the mid-western and western coal states? "Clean" coal will still be one of the dirtiest and most destructive forms of energy. And oil will still keep dragging us into endless bloody resource wars because we will still need to funnel more and more of the world's remaining petroleum into our astonishingly wasteful and inefficient enterprises. Is this really the direction we want to be going? Is this a plan we can explain to our children with pride? Is this a plan that will give our children hope?

** Would carbon sequestration truly be reversible if we discovered far in the future that it was a mistake? If not, who can claim that it is ethical to proceed?

** If radioactive waste and carbon dioxide are so dangerous and so hard to manage, how does it make sense to steer the nation and the world onto a course that will guarantee continued production of these lethal substances far into the future?

** With the survival of humans at stake, isn't this a classic and urgent case for applying the precautionary principle?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

cnn attacks 911 truthers

Beck: 9/11 Truthers “Insane”, “Dangerous Anarchists”,
“The Kind Of Group A Timothy McVeigh Would Come From”
CNN host lays into truth movement in vicious attack

Steve Watson

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

CNN host Glen Beck viciously attacked the 9/11 truth movement last night on his Headline Prime show, describing the whole movement as “insane” and branding 9/11 activists as “dangerous anarchists”.
Beck singled out 9/11 truthers in a segment in response to the infiltration of Real Time with Bill Maher by We Are Change protesters last week.
In a piece that we would normally associate with the
“fair and balanced” Fox News, Beck featured two guests who BOTH argued against 9/11 truth, as well as throwing in his own two cents.
“These truthers are exactly the kind of people who want to rock this nation’s foundation, tear us apart and plant the seeds of dissatisfaction in all of us” Beck huffed and puffed while introducing his yes men.
At one point Beck even suggested that the 9/11 truth movement is “the kind of group a Timothy McVeigh would come from”, insinuating the movement is intent on violence.

In response his guest, Michael Shermer, the founding member of “The Skeptics Society”, a debunking body that is actually skeptical of nothing and just defends the official line on most subjects, ludicrously frothed “Yeah that’s right, that’s what makes it a little bit scary, somebody that would infiltrate a talk show like Bill Maher’s show and then heckle him during the show, that’s getting out there a little bit, that’s not just posting things on the internet for fun to see what happens, but actually going down there to do something.”
Watch it (Note: Try to ignore the remarks at the beginning of the video which was obviously posted by a neocon bootlicker):
In thousands of 9/11 protests over the course of the last six years, not one person has been arrested for violent conduct. To cart blanche suggest that the truth movement is dangerous, “a threat to children” and intent on violence is extremely inflammatory and indicates just how afraid of investigating and debating the facts people like Glen Beck actually are.
The core of the 9/11 truth movement is composed of highly educated and progressive individuals who are strictly opposed to violence and are intent on protecting a free and peaceful society which has been under dire threat ever since the attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing cover up.
Furthermore the movement represents the very antithesis of anarchism in that it is actively seeking to restore and protect our traditional form of government which has been usurped by an unaccountable cabal that continues to operate outside of Constitutional law and with little restraint using 9/11 as justification.
Naturally, Beck wheeled out the ever present James Meigs, whitewasher-in-chief at the military-industrial complex rag Popular Mechanics, which is owned by Hearst Publishing, the progenitor of the term “yellow journalism”.
Meigs is of course exactly the right man to dismiss claims of a controlled demolition on 9/11 given that he has a background in being a movie critic. Meanwhile experts in controlled demolition are visibly shaken when shown videos of building 7 and told that it came down on 9/11.
Meigs’ assertions have been thoroughly debunked, even by the bodies investigating the collapses of all three buildings. Meigs still regularly refers to the pancaking theory when describing the collapse of the twin towers, to explain how they collapsed without resistance, despite the fact that the theory was debunked by NIST itself after their study found that, “This type of assembly (the WTC steel) was capable of sustaining a large gravity load, without collapsing for a substantial period of time relative to the duration of the fires in any given location on September 11th.”
It also violates the fundamental law of physics and the Law of Conservation of Momentum, as Professor Steven Jones outlines in his research paper.
Meigs also routinely fails to acknowledge the fact that NIST’s own analysis of the WTC steel concluded that temperatures in the impact zone reached no hotter than 600 degrees, no where near hot enough to weaken the structure, according to the Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers.
NIST admitted recently that it is STILL unable to provide an explanation for the total collapse of the twin towers, yet Mr Meigs seems assured, spending much of his time wailing about how truthers “do not fact check”.
Meigs also maintains that building 7 was severely damaged and ultimately felled by fires caused by falling debris from the towers, even though there is no evidence supporting this and NIST has been left with the only option but to probe whether the building was demolished on purpose.
Beck and his guests also maintain that the WTC “buildings”, thus including the one which was not hit by a plane, did not collapse from the bottom down. Anybody who watches the collapse of 7 can see that it falls from the bottom down, yet Beck and co. accuse others of ignoring the facts to fit their own agenda!
The three musketeers also fail to explain why first responders were told to evacuate the area because the building was going to be intentionally brought down, why police officers heard bombs tearing down the building and why a top security official who was stationed in WTC 7 witnessed bombs take out the lobby of the building before either WTC tower had collapsed.
Beck also bizarrely suggests that 12 percent of people polled believe that the government was involved in 9/11 when the actual numbers are much higher, with some polls suggesting around 80 percent.
The only accurate statement Beck makes is in suggesting that the U.S. government, or factions within it, were not competent enough to pull off 9/11 without it being discovered and ending up all over prime time news. In this he is entirely correct, it is all over prime time news, as well as prime time entertainment such as the Bill Maher show.
Finally Beck asked his viewers to back him up on this one by voting in a poll very fairly entitled Conspiracy Craziness: Anyone who believes our government could have successfully planned 9/11 is not only giving them too much credit, but they’re also insane. Do you agree or disagree?
Lets take a look at the latest results:
It seems the majority can quite clearly see where Mr Beck is wrong.

jean ziegler denonce les biocarburants

«La faim va augmenter de façon effroyable» Débat. Les agrocarburants, une menace pour le Sud ?

Jean Ziegler réclame un moratoire :


lundi 22 octobre 2007

Bien au-delà du simple clivage gauche-droite, les agrocarburants n’en finissent pas de diviser politiques, économistes et ONG. Il y a les pour, emmenés par l’étrange attelage américano-brésilien Lula-Bush, et la coalition des contre, qui regroupe beaucoup d’ONG, inquiètes des effets de cette diversification agricole à la fois sur la déforestation (surtout en Indonésie) et sur la hausse des prix alimentaires mondiaux. Rapporteur spécial à l’ONU pour le droit à l’alimentation, Jean Ziegler fait clairement partie du camp des opposants.

Jeudi, vous allez défendre devant l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies l’idée d’un moratoire sur les agrocarburants pendant cinq ans. Pourquoi ?
Parce qu’il faut éviter une catastrophe. Je vous donne quelques chiffres qui datent de 2006, mais qui sont probablement identiques aujourd’hui : 100 000 personnes meurent de la faim ou de ses suites immédiates tous les jours ; toutes les cinq secondes, un enfant de moins de 10 ans meurt de faim ; 854 millions de personnes à travers le monde souffrent de malnutrition. Sachant cela, si le plan de Lula et de Bush sur les agrocarburants se matérialise, ce sont 26 millions d’hectares de terres vivrières qui seront affectées à la production de bioéthanol et de biodiesel. La faim va augmenter de façon effroyable. Pour faire un plein de 50 litres avec du bioéthanol, il faut brûler 232 kg de maïs. Avec ça, un enfant zambien ou mexicain vit une année. Pour toutes ces raisons, je demande que le transfert de cultures vivrières vers des cultures industrielles d’agrocarburants soit interdit pendant au moins cinq ans par les Nations unies.
Pourquoi cinq ans ?
Dans ce délai, la science va progresser et il sera possible d’utiliser des déchets agricoles ou les parties non utiles de la plante pour faire rouler les voitures. Mercedes a déjà un programme avancé, qui consiste à planter de la jatropha, un buisson poussant sur des terres arides et qui n’entre pas en compétition avec des plantes alimentaires.
Vous n’êtes donc pas totalement contre les
Il ne faut pas être dogmatique, c’est vrai que le problème du changement climatique est grave et légitime. L’une des difficultés majeures qui occupent les Etats est d’éviter une augmentation des émissions de CO2 dans l’atmosphère. Les centaines de millions de voitures, de camions, bus, polluent l’air que nous respirons d’une façon de plus en plus angoissante.
Pour lutter contre la détérioration du climat, substituer des carburants verts aux carburants fossiles ne suffit pas.
Vous avez raison, la fabrication de bioéthanol soulève d’autres problèmes que la seule sûreté alimentaire de millions d’individus. C’est un agrobusiness qui brasse des milliards de dollars, réservés à de grands groupes industriels. L’énergie finale est peut-être plus propre, mais quand on analyse le cycle de vie du biocarburant, pour le fabriquer, il faut tellement d’eau et d’énergie que les avantages s’amenuisent. Il existe de nombreuses autres critiques vis-à-vis de ces agrocarburants, mais je me concentre sur ce qui est absolument catastrophique, qui menace une partie de l’humanité et qui est déjà en marche.
C’est-à-dire ?
Le prix du blé au niveau mondial a doublé en quelques mois, celui du maïs au Mexique a plus que quadruplé en deux ans. Le prix de la nourriture, de la terre augmentent de façon extraordinaire, et donc l’expulsion des paysans s’accélère. Au Brésil, il existe une véritable opposition entre le Mouvement des travailleurs agricoles sans terres et le gouvernement Lula. Ce qui est plutôt pathétique puisque Lula a été l’un des fondateurs de ce mouvement. Les «sans-terre» l’accusent de ne pas respecter le droit à l’alimentation, tandis que lui justifie son engouement pour les agrocarburants par la nécessité de réduire la dette, en faisant rentrer des devises. Et puis 38 des 53 pays africains doivent importer de la nourriture pour combler leur déficit alimentaire structurel. L’année dernière, le Burkina Faso a importé 230 000 tonnes de denrées alimentaires. Si les prix de l’alimentation continuent d’exploser, comme c’est le cas maintenant, ces pays ne pourront pas acheter le nécessaire. Des millions de personnes vont mourir. Pendant ce temps, les Occidentaux roulent dans leurs voitures.
La semaine dernière, en Afrique, Lula a exhorté les pays africains à se lancer dans la production de biocarburants. Qu’en pensez-vous ?
Je pense que le président Lula se trompe gravement de stratégie.
Pensez-vous obtenir la majorité aux Nations unies ?
La conscience que la faim n’est pas une fatalité augmente. En Occident, la société civile se mobilise de plus en plus contre les sociétés multinationales qui dominent une large part de la production et de la distribution des aliments. Il faut que les gens sachent qu’une opposition aux agrocarburants existe et qu’ils doivent l’appuyer. Chacun est responsable de tout, devant tous. Pendant le temps de cet entretien, des dizaines d’enfants sont morts. La responsabilité de chacun est engagée devant ce crime contre l’humanité.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

sunday times: sas war ongoing with iran

From The Sunday Times

October 21, 2007

SAS raiders enter Iran to kill gunrunners

Michael Smith

BRITISH special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces, defence sources have disclosed.
There have been at least half a dozen intense firefights between the SAS and arms smugglers, a mixture of Iranians and Shi’ite militiamen.
The unreported fighting straddles the border between Iran and Iraq and has also involved the Iranian military firing mortars into Iraq. UK commanders are concerned that Iran is using a militia ceasefire to step up arms supplies in preparation for an offensive against their base at Basra airport.
An SAS squadron is carrying out operations along the Iranian border in Maysan and Basra provinces with other special forces, the Australian SAS and American special-operations troops.

They are patrolling the border, ambushing arms smugglers bringing in surface-to-air missiles and components for roadside bombs. “Last month, they were involved in six significant contacts, which killed 17 smugglers and recovered weapons, explosives and missiles,” a source said. It was not clear if any of the dead were Iranian.
Last week, Bob Ainsworth, the armed forces minister, said the Ministry of Defence was unable to say whether British troops had killed or captured any Iranians in Iraq. The ministry declined to comment, but privately officials insisted British troops never carry out hot pursuit across the border.
There have been persistent reports of American special-operations missions inside Iran preparing for a possible attack. But the sources said British troops were solely stopping arms smuggling.
The fighting comes amid an increase in US and British intelligence operations against Iran. Britain’s forces have more than 70 Farsi experts monitoring Iranian communications, and the intelligence is shared with the United States.
Seven American U2 spy planes have passed through RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire this year on their way to Akrotiri in Cyprus or Al-Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, the bases for flights over Iran.
The Al-Quds force has been increasing its arms supplies to both the Shi’ite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Officially, Britain has been careful not to blame the Iranian government.
But senior British officials have confirmed to The Sunday Times that it would not happen without the backing of the Iranian leadership.
They pointed out that Gen Qassem Suleimani, the head
of the Al-Quds force, has direct access to Ayatollah
Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran
Liam Fox, the Conservative defence spokesman, said:
“Increasingly Iran poses a direct threat to our armed forces and our wider interests . . . they are playing a very dangerous game.”

us financial crisis: a malaysian perspective

A Malaysian View Of
The Financial Collapse

By Matthias Chang



Recap Of Recent Events

The recent temporary rally of the Dow (as forecasted by me continued ups and downs, but overall trend down as stated in previous Red Alerts) to an all time high (exceeding July 14,000 points) last week, had many people confused, especially the greedy ones and those in state of denial.
Some people went plunging into the stock market, to catch the rally and got burnt again. These people never learn and they deserve the trashing and I have no, absolutely no pity for such fools. It is like playing a poker game with the cards stacked against the stooge. The game at the global casinos was rigged from the word go.
If these people had examined critically, even for five minutes, the current state of affairs, it would have been apparent to them, that Bernanke’s sell out to Wall Street was a stop gap measure to calm the markets and create a state of illusion. But it did not work for the simple reason that one cannot simply revive, on a permanent basis, a hopelessly terminally ill patient, when all its organs are failing rapidly, save the ventilator maintaining the last few breaths.
The final clue that the global banking collapse is speeding down the one way street without any driver in control was the announcement by Paulson, the Treasury Secretary and the three big banks, JP Morgan Chase, CITI Group and Bank of America to set up a US$100 billion fund to mop up the toilet paper commercial paper market (i.e. to buy the structured vehicles’ toilet paper assets).
The global security fraud is now beyond redemption what this means is that « investors » are not buying these commercial papers supposedly backed by securities, as their values are dubious. To avoid pubic auction of these toilet paper assets and then finding no buyers (i.e. finally being exposed that they are totally worthless), Paulson and these big banks are trying to buy these papers to avoid such a public exposure and in the hope that when things have « settled and there is no more panic » to unload them again to some other idiots. After all, a fool is born every other day!
But their very act of setting the fund, have shown their scheme for what it is. The whole world is shouting. « The Emperor has no clothes! » I was shouting and shouting. Few heard my screams and saved their life savings.
This is the critical implication. Hence, the dramatic collapse of the Dow.
The End Is Near
The rate cut of a hefty 50 basis points on 18th September 2007 by the Fed was a diversionary tactic and to buy time for the Banks to come up with another fraudulent scheme to hoodwink the self deluding public that all was well. It worked for barely three weeks and then lost all steam!
The dollar has plunged again. Gold has soared. Crude is heading for the US100 target by year end. Foreign funds (especially Sovereign Funds) are ditching US dollar assets. Long term bond yields are rising in tandem.
Literally, blood will flow in the streets in major cities of USA and UK in the not too distant future, when the full impact of the collapse hits every aspect of the economy and Joe six packs finally realises that Bush, Cheney, the neo-cons and the bastards controlling the City of London have taken them for a ride and robbed them of their pensions and future.
The policy of control chaos will be implemented and we will witness in major cities of the USA, UK and Europe of street battles, orchestrated by the Intelligence Services, between the white folks and the immigrant population. In the USA, it will be against the Latinos and then the blacks (after they realised that the Jewish community has abandoned them). In the UK and in Europe, it will be against mainly immigrants from Turkey, the Northern Mediterranean states and Pakistan and they are essentially Muslims. There is therefore, the added fuel of Islamic radicalism, which in the first place, was the creation of the Western intelligence services.
These immigrants (cannon fodder for the continuing ‘war on terrorism’) will be blamed for the woes that afflict the white population. The big banks and the 1% rich have all disappeared with their mistresses and bunnies in some island resort and have engaged mercenaries like Blackwater to guard whatever real estate that need to be protected from the marauding crowds. The Katrina rehearsals have prepared such private armies to do their dirty work. They have their work cut out for them.
It will be ugly.
In the Middle East, the Western intelligence Services will ensure Muslims will slaughter fellow Muslims, as otherwise, only the West will be suffering from the consequences of the financial tsunami.
The Inevitable War
The G7 countries will give their consent and support Cheney’s mad adventure in the Middle East as their only solution to the mess which they have created.
I see no other scenario. How I wish I am wrong. But I doubt it. Events following every previous Red ALERTS have come to pass.
I am no soothsayer. But applying common sense, we must be realists and prepare our people and our family for the coming wars and prepare to take part in the Global Resistance, in whatever way and means at our disposal.
Take care and God bless you all.



Matthias Chang, a Barrister, was Political Adviser to Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, who succesfully defended the Malaysian currency in the late 1990s against attacks by City of London-controlled central banks.

british mp says dr kelly was murdered

Iraq whistleblower Dr Kelly WAS murdered to silence him, says MP


00:18 20 ottobre 2007

Weapons expert Dr was assassinated, an MP claims today.

Campaigning politician Norman Baker believes Dr Kelly, who exposed the Government's "sexed-up" dossier, was killed to stop him making further revelations about the lies that took Britain to war.

He says the murderers may have been anti-Saddam Iraqis, and suggests the crime was covered up by elements within the British establishment to prevent a diplomatic crisis.

David Kelly

'Murdered': Weapons' expert David Kelly

The LibDem MP, who gave up his front bench post to carry out his year-long investigation, makes his claims in a book serialised exclusively in the Daily Mail today and next week.

The official Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr Kelly ruled in 2004 that he slashed one of his wrists with a garden knife and took an overdose after being "outed" as the mole who revealed the flawed argument for invading Iraq.

But Norman Baker is convinced the scientist was murdered.

He says he was told by a secret informant that British police knew about the plot but failed to act in time and that the death was later made to look like a suicide to prevent political and diplomatic turmoil.

The highly-respected MP's personal quest to uncover the truth about Dr Kelly's death was prompted by deep concerns over the circumstances surrounding the apparent suicide.

He - and a group of eminent doctors - were greatly troubled by the evidence presented to Lord Hutton.

They claimed medical evidence proved that the alleged method of suicide - the cutting of the ulnar artery in the wrist and an overdose of co-proxamol painkillers - could not have caused the scientist's death.

Mr Baker said: "The more I examined [Lord Hutton's verdict], the more it became clear to me that Hutton's judgment was faulty and suspect in virtually all important respects."

His findings are today revealed in the first extract from his book The Strange Death of David Kelly. In it, he claims:

? No fingerprints were found on the gardening knife allegedly used by the scientist to cut one of his wrists;

? Only one other person in the whole of the British Isles committed suicide in the same way as the scientist allegedly did in 2003;

? There was an astonishing lack of blood at the scene despite death being officially recorded as due to a severed artery;

? The level of painkillers found in Dr Kelly's stomach was "less than a third" of a normal fatal overdose.

The Lewes MP also suggests that the knife and packs of painkillers found beside Dr Kelly's body were taken from his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, during a police search after his death and later planted at the scene.

He tells in his book how he was contacted by "informants" during his "journey into the unknown".

One is alleged to have told him Dr Kelly's death had been "a wet operation, a wet disposal".

Mr Baker explains: "Essentially, it seems to refer to an assassination, perhaps carried out in a hurry."

Another secret contact told him that a group of UK-based Iraqis had "named people who claimed involvement in Dr Kelly's death".

The informant was later the victim of "an horrific attack by an unknown assailant".

The MP, who has repeatedly called for the police to re-open the case, alleges that the scientist had "powerful enemies" because of his work on biological weapons. A colleague of Dr Kelly, Dick Spertzel, America's most senior biological weapons inspector, confirmed to Mr Baker that the scientist was "on an Iraqi hit list".

Mr Baker alleges that opponents of Saddam Hussein feared Dr Kelly would "discredit" them by revealing "misinformation" they had deliberately planted to bolster the case for Britain and America's intervention in Iraq.

The MP claims Kelly's integrity might have "signed his own death warrant".

The book also alleges that British police "had got wind of a possible plan to assassinate Dr Kelly but were too late to prevent his murder taking place".

The MP suggests that the police may have tried to make the killing appear to be a suicide "in the interests of Queen and country" and to prevent any destabilisation of the sensitive relationship between the Allies and Iraq.

Mr Baker adds: "It is all too easy to dismiss so-called conspiracy theories. But history shows us that conspiracies do happen - and that suicide can be staged to cover murderers' tracks.

"All the evidence leads me to believe that this is what happened in the case of Dr Kelly."

Friday, 19 October 2007

le reve americain


La répression politique s’étend aux États-Unis

par Naomi Wolf

18 octobre 2007

Depuis cinq ans, nous alertons l’opinion publique mondiale sur la volonté de l’administration Bush de transformer les États-Unis en État autoritaire. Notre analyse, qui s’appuyait sur l’étude de projets de loi, n’a pas été alors prise en considération par certains en raison du choc psychologique du 11-Septembre. Ce qui était une intention est désormais une réalité, les textes sont mis en pratique : le nouveau régime intimide, harcèle et en définitive muselle ses opposants. Naomi Wolf recueille des témoignages de cette répression et tente de mobiliser ses concitoyens pour défendre leurs libertés.

Depuis quelques mois je parcours les États-Unis, du Colorado à la Californie, et je parle avec des États-uniens de toutes les couches de la société sur les questions des libertés, sur les attaques qu’elles subissent en ce moment et sur le programme en dix étapes qui est en cours pour faire de ce pays une société fermée et répressive.

La bonne nouvelle est que les États-uniens se sont réveillés et sont conscients des dangers qui les guettent. Quand je me suis mis en route je pensais que j’allais affronter de l’opposition, de la résistance ou au moins de l’incrédulité quand je parlerais de l’obscurité qui s’étend lentement sur notre pays et l’héritage de liberté que nous ont légué nos ancêtres.

Mais je me retrouve à parler devant des assemblées qui n’ont pas besoin de moi pour être inquiètes. Des gens qui ont peur, qui ont perçu depuis longtemps le danger qui grandit et la société qui se prépare.

À mon grand soulagement, j’ai redécouvert une société états-unienne qui est intelligente et alerte, courageuse et indomptable, des gens qui n’ont pas peur d’entendre des mauvaises nouvelles et d’agir en conséquence. Et ce sont des patriotes, des vrais, qui aiment leur pays à cause des valeurs sur lesquelles il a été construit.

Mais je suis écorchée vive par les histoires que l’on vient me raconter lors de ces réunions. Et je n’arrive plus à lire mes mails ces derniers temps, tellement ils sont pleins de témoignages effarants.

Et partout où je vais, il y a toujours, au moins une fois par jour, une personne dans l’assemblée qui se lève pour parler. Elle a toujours l’air solide et forte, courageuse... et soudain elle va se mettre à pleurer, submergée par la peur, au beau milieu de son témoignage.

L’autre jour, à Boulder, une jeune mère de deux enfants, la trentaine, l’image même de la jeune états-unienne dynamique, s’est effondrée alors qu’elle me parlait : « Je suis outrée par tout ce que j’entends et vois, je voudrais tellement faire quelque chose ! Mais j’ai tellement peur. Je regarde mes enfants et j’ai peur. Comment lutter contre cette peur qu’ils ont planté en nous ? Qu’est ce qui est mieux pour l’avenir et la sécurité de mes enfants ? Est-ce que je dois agir et tenter de changer les choses ou bien me taire et ne pas me faire remarquer ? J’ai tellement peur de me retrouver fichée quelque part. »

À Washington DC, la semaine dernière, un directeur de service dans une administration, ancien joueur de foot, beau gosse, probablement membre du Parti Républicain, m’a confié, loin des micros, qu’il avait peur de signer le papier autorisant le FBI d’accéder à toutes les informations le concernant, comme l’y encourage l’agence anti-terroriste. « Mais en même temps, j’ai peur de ne pas la signer, si je ne le fais pas, je risque de perdre mon boulot, ma maison... c’est comme en Allemagne lors du fichage des fonctionnaires » me dit-il d’une voix résignée.

Ce matin, à Denver, j’ai parlé pendant plus d’une heure avec un très haut et très courageux gradé de l’armée, hautement décoré qui s’est retrouvé sur la liste des personnes surveillées (et interdites de prendre l’avion) parce qu’il a critique la politique de l’Administration Bush. Il m’a montré des documents qui prouvent que non seulement il est surveillé par les services secrets mais que toute sa famille est également espionnée et harcelée. Tout au long de sa carrière militaire, cet officier a mené de nombreuses missions très dangereuses au service de son pays, mais aujourd’hui, quand il me parle de sa crainte que ses enfants soient harcelés par le gouvernement à cause de ses opinions, sa voix se brise.

Ailleurs je suis abordée par une juriste qui travaillait pour le Ministère de la Justice. Un jour elle s’est opposée à « l’interrogatoire musclé » d’un détenu qui subissait une technique reconnue comme étant de la torture. Non seulement elle s’est retrouvée devant une commission de discipline, mais en plus elle a été sujette à une enquête criminelle, a perdu de l’avancement, a vu son ordinateur fouillé et ses mails effacés... et maintenant elle est sur la liste noire et ne peut plus prendre l’avion.

Lors d’une conversation dans une soirée, un technicien informatique travaillant pour une grande compagnie aérienne —et qui ne fait pas mystère de sa sympathie pour le Parti Républicain— m’explique qu’une fois que vous êtes sur la liste, il est impossible d’en sortir. « Même si on te dit que ton nom est effacé, ce n’est pas vrai, nous avons un système double qui n’efface jamais rien. »

Elisabeth Grant, de la Coalition contre la guerre, a montré lors d’une conférence de presse la note manuscrite et le petit drapeau états-unien retrouvé dans sa valise après un voyage en avion. La note disait que l’agence anti-terroriste n’appréciait pas ses lectures.

Comme à l’époque du Mur de Berlin, quand je fais le queue pour me faire fouiller dans les aéroports, je me surprends à passer une nouvelle fois en revue le contenu de mon sac.

L’autre jour, à New-York, je me suis fait violence en jetant à la poubelle un exemplaire du dernier livre de Tara McKelvey Monstering que j’étais entrain de lire. Cet excellent ouvrage dénonce les pratiques d’interrogatoire utilisées par la CIA. Malgré le fait que j’avais acheté le livre dans une librairie grand public en ville... on ne sait jamais, il contient des informations « classifiées » et on pourrait m’accuser de faire le jeu des terroristes en les lisant. (...) Dans mon Amérique à moi, celle qu’on m’a apprise à l’école, on ne se comporte pas comme ça. (...) Et tout le monde me pose la même question : que pouvons nous faire ?

Cette avalanche de témoignages d’abus et d’atteintes aux libertés des citoyens états-uniens montre clairement qu’un réseau criminel et de surveillance est en train de prendre de plus en plus de citoyens innocents dans ses filets. Il est évident que ceci n’a rien à voir avec la démocratie — ni même avec l’habituelle corruption de la démocratie. Et il est clair que nous aurons besoin d’une action plus énergique que de simplement envoyer des lettres à notre député.

Les gens qui viennent témoigner ne sont pas des illuminés anarchistes, Ils sont de toutes les obédiences politiques, conservateurs, apolitiques, progressistes. La première régle d’une société en cours de fermeture ou bien déjà fermée est que ton alignement avec le parti politique au pouvoir ne te protège en rien ; dans un véritable État policier, personne n’est à l’abri.

Je lis mon journal le matin et je n’en reviens pas :

• Sept soldats ont publié une lettre dans le New York Times pour critiquer la guerre : peu de temps après, deux sont morts dont un d’une balle dans la tête tirée à bout portant.
• Une femme comptable de l’armée qui voulait dénoncer les abus et détournements financiers est morte dans son baraquement, abattue d’une balle dans la tête, ici aussi à bout portant.
• Pat Tillman, qui avait écrit un mail à un ami où il envisageait de dénoncer des crimes de guerre dont il avait été témoin : une balle dans la tête.
• Donald Vance, un employé de l’armée qui avait dénoncé des trafics d’armes au sein de l’armée en Irak — kidnappé par des soldats US à l’intérieur même de l’Ambassade US de Bagdad et enfermé et torturé pendants des semaines sur une base militaire US, sans accès à un avocat — et officiellement menacé des pires représailles s’il parlait à quiconque à son retour au pays.
• Et dans le dernier numéro de Vanity Fair un sous-traitant de l’armée qui avait dénoncé des malversations raconte qu’il a été kidnappé par des soldats US masqués et armés, passé à tabac toute une nuit dans un préfabriqué avant d’être expulsé d’Irak le lendemain. L’administration militaire a refusé d’entendre sa plainte et l’a fait éjecter du bureau.

Ce matin le New York Times écrit que le Département d’État (employeur des mercenaires de Blackwater USA) refuse officiellement de coopérer avec le Ministère de la Justice ou le FBI dans le cadre de l’enquête sur l’assassinat de 17 civils irakiens innocents. La Maison-Blanche soutien l’attitude méprisante du Département d’État vis à vis de la justice de ce pays.

Ce n’est pas une information anodine. Mes lecteurs qui ont retenu quelque choses de l’histoire du XXè Siècle seront horrifiés mais pas surpris. La « Deuxième étape » de la fermeture d’une société ouverte est la démonstration par l’État aux citoyens que la force paramilitaire est au dessus des lois du pays et que la loi ne peut donc plus servir de refuge à la dissidence.

En permettant au FBI et à la CIA d’arrêter n’importe quel citoyen états-unien et de le priver de ses droits légaux, le secrétaire à la Justice a fait comprendre aux citoyens US une leçon très simple : Nul d’entre vous n’est à l’abri de l’arbitraire d’État. Nous pouvons venir comme cela nous chante, enfoncer votre porte et vous faire disparaître pour toujours... en toute légalité.

(...) Si l’administration de ce pays annonce publiquement qu’elle ne sanctionnera pas les agissements criminels de ses propres employés en Irak et fera obstacle à la justice — alors est ce que les députés du Congrès auront le courage d’affronter les agissements similaires de Blackwater quand cette société remportera le contrat qu’elle convoite, celui de la sécurité intérieure aux États-unis ?

Ou bien cette force paramilitaire et protégée par l’État sera t-elle assez puissante pour intimider nos représentants — et nous mêmes ?

Est-ce que nous oserons encore manifester dans la rue si nous savons que nous risquons de recevoir le même traitement que les civils de Bagdad, mitraillés depuis des hélicoptères de Blackwater ? Est-ce qu’un député osera proposer une loi contre Blackwater s’il sait qu’il peut se faire tuer d’une balle dans la tête, en toute impunité ?

(...) N’oubliez pas que, dans la situation actuelle, le département de la Sécurité de la Patrie (Homeland Security) a le droit légal de déployer les mercenaires de la société Blackwater dans votre ville dès ce soir.

Naomi Wolf

Journaliste et écrivain féministe. Dernier ouvrage paru : The End of America : A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot.