Showing posts with label Media Theatrics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Theatrics. Show all posts

November 25, 2009

New Zealand's NIWA accused of CRU-style temperature faking

TBR - November 25, 2009

The New Zealand Government's chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn't there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain's CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand's case, the figures published on NIWA's [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:


The caption to the photo on the NiWA site reads:

From NIWA's web site — Figure 7: Mean annual temperature over New Zealand, from 1853 to 2008 inclusive, based on

between 2 (from 1853) and 7 (from 1908) long-term station records. The blue and red bars show annual differences from the

1971 – 2000 average, the solid black line is a smoothed time series, and the dotted [straight] line is the linear trend over 1909

to 2008 (0.92°C/100 years).

But analysis of the raw climate data from the same temperature stations has just turned up a very different result:


Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.

The revelations are published today in a news alert from The Climate Science Coalition of NZ:

Straight away you can see there's no slope—either up or down. The temperatures are remarkably constant way back to the 1850s. Of course, the temperature still varies from year to year, but the trend stays level—statistically insignificant at 0.06°C per century since 1850.

Putting these two graphs side by side, you can see huge differences. What is going on?

Why does NIWA's graph show strong warming, but graphing their own raw data looks completely different? Their graph shows warming, but the actual temperature readings show none whatsoever!

Have the readings in the official NIWA graph been adjusted?

It is relatively easy to find out. We compared raw data for each station (from NIWA's web site) with the adjusted official data, which we obtained from one of Dr Salinger's colleagues.

Requests for this information from Dr Salinger himself over the years, by different scientists, have long gone unanswered, but now we might discover the truth.

Proof of man-made warming

What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections. But we were astonished to find that strong adjustments have indeed been made.

About half the adjustments actually created a warming trend where none existed; the other half greatly exaggerated existing warming. All the adjustments increased or even created a warming trend, with only one (Dunedin) going the other way and slightly reducing the original trend.

The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.

One station, Hokitika, had its early temperatures reduced by a huge 1.3°C, creating strong warming from a mild cooling, yet there's no apparent reason for it.

We have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emissions of CO2—it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It's a disgrace.

NIWA claim their official graph reveals a rising trend of 0.92ºC per century, which means (they claim) we warmed more than the rest of the globe, for according to the IPCC, global warming over the 20th century was only about 0.6°C.

NIWA's David Wratt has told Investigate magazine this afternoon his organization denies faking temperature data and he claims NIWA has a good explanation for adjusting the temperature data upward. Wratt says NIWA is drafting a media response for release later this afternoon which will explain why they altered the raw data.

"Do you agree it might look bad in the wake of the CRU scandal?"

"No, no," replied Wratt before hitting out at the Climate Science Coalition and accusing them of "misleading" people about the temperature adjustments.

Manipulation of raw data is at the heart of recent claims of corrupt scientific practice in climate science, with CRU's Phil Jones recently claiming old temperature records collected by his organization were "destroyed" or "lost", meaning researchers can now only access manipulated data.

Palestinian trade unions unanimously support boycott movement

Press release, BDS National Committee, 25 November 2009

In reaction to reports alleging that a Palestinian trade union official has stated his reservations about the Palestinian civil society campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the full spectrum of the Palestinian trade union movement has expressed solid support for the BDS National Committee (BNC) and for the global BDS campaign against Israel as an effective form of resisting its military occupation, war crimes and apartheid policies.

On 12 November, The Jewish Chronicle, a staunchly Zionist paper published in the United Kingdom, reported that the Secretary General of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), Shaher Sa'ad, had told a small delegation of British trade unionists that PGFTU "had so little interest in the subject [of boycotting Israel] it had never discussed boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS)." The head of the delegation, Steve Scott, who is the director of Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI), a well-oiled lobbying front for Israel in the trade union movement, is quoted in the same article as saying, "the only area where the PGFTU did have a boycott policy was with regard to produce from West Bank settlements. Even then, there was concern about whether that boycott could do more harm than good for the 30,000 Palestinians employed there."

On 14 November, Shaher Sa'ad categorically denied the above report in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV, reiterating his support for the boycott against Israel. The following day, in an official speech before thousands of Palestinian workers at a political rally in Nablus, he called again for "boycotting [all] Israeli goods" and "supporting local [Palestinian] products" as an effective "form of resistance against the Israeli occupation."

Whether Mr. Sa'ad made the statement attributed to him by the Zionist media outlets in the UK or not, the fact remains that PGFTU has officially endorsed the Palestinian civil society campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, since it was launched on 9 July 2005, and has been a member in the BDS National Committee (BNC), the coalition of Palestinian unions, political parties, NGOs and networks that leads the global BDS campaign, ever since its inception.

If The Jewish Chronicle's report is accurate, something that cannot be taken for granted, given the paper's notorious record, Mr. Sa'ad will have isolated himself completely from the absolute majority of the Palestinian trade union movement, including a solid majority within PGFTU itself. Since the above report, the BNC has officially asked PGFTU for clarifications and for a public, written position confirming its support for the boycott and calling on international trade unions to support BDS. Within hours of our letter, PGFTU-Gaza (which forms a sizable part of the whole Federation) issued an official statement confirming its support for BDS and condemning any alleged violation of it by Sa'ad. Six trade union factions within PGFTU immediately followed suit, endorsing the BNC position and confirming their unambiguous support for BDS. Union leaders affiliated to all political parties represented in the PGFTU have insisted on the need to combat any attempts to undermine the BDS movement.

Furthermore, the largest, most representative Palestinian trade union federation, the General Union of Palestinian Workers (one of the constituent mass organizations of the Palestine Liberation Organization), reiterated its steady support of BDS and denounced Sa'ad's reported statements as falling completely outside the Palestinian trade union consensus behind the boycott of Israel. The Palestinian Federation of Independent Trade Unions also issued a similar position. It is worth noting that all three federations are part of the BNC.

The Israel lobby groups in the UK and elsewhere have felt quite desperate lately in their abortive attempts to stop the spectacular growth of the BDS movement, particularly among major international trade unions. In South Africa, Great Britain, Ireland, Brazil, Canada and France trade union federations representing tens of millions of workers have endorsed -- partially or fully -- the BDS campaign against Israel. Many trade unions in Europe, Latin America and Canada have also announced their support for the Israel boycott, underlining the dramatic shift in international public opinion against Israel, especially in the aftermath of its war crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied Gaza Strip, which were squarely condemned by the UN Fact Finding Mission led by South African Judge, Richard Goldstone.

The BNC, including all three federations representing the Palestinian trade union movement, warmly salute all international trade unions who have endorsed BDS, confirming that this is the most effective and needed form of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the strongest challenge to Israel's criminal impunity and exceptionalism. As in the struggle against South African apartheid, Israel's occupation, colonialism and apartheid will only come to an end when international civil society shoulders the moral responsibility by holding Israel to account before international law and universal principles of human rights, and by treating it as a pariah state, as apartheid South Africa was, deserving comprehensive and sustained BDS campaigns.

Any isolated and dissonant statements attributed to any Palestinian trade union official can never be regarded as remotely representing the Palestinian trade union movement, as it would be in direct conflict with the consensus in this movement behind BDS. We urge all international trade unions to heed the call of Palestinian civil society, including the trade union movement, by endorsing BDS. We further urge all trade unions and trade union federations to sever their links with the Histadrut, a Zionist organization that has always played a key role in perpetuating Israel's occupation, colonization and system of racial discrimination, and that has justified and applauded Israel's war crimes in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.

The Histadrut and Israel apologists within the international trade union movement have continuously tried to use partial comments and innuendo by this or that Palestinian trade union official to create a deceptive impression of an imagined "split" in the Palestinian trade union movement on BDS. Today, we reconfirm to the TU movement worldwide that the Palestinian trade union movement stands united in support of BDS and calls on every TU to endorse BDS. This is our best hope to end Israel's grave violations of international law and to attain our inalienable, UN-sanctioned rights, especially our right to self determination.


Climate cash is 'unaccounted for'

November 25, 2009

Large sums promised to developing countries to help them tackle climate change cannot be accounted for, a BBC investigation has found.

Rich countries pledged $410m (£247m) a year in a 2001 declaration - but it is now unclear whether the money was paid.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has accused industrialised countries of failing to keep their promise.

The EU says the money was paid out in bilateral deals, but admits it cannot provide data to prove it.

The money was pledged in the 2001 Bonn Declaration, signed by 20 industrialised nations - the 15 countries that then made up the European Union, plus Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

They said they would pay $410m per year until 2008. The date the payments were meant to start is unclear, but the total should be between $1.6bn and $2.87bn.

The declaration said: "We are prepared to contribute $410m, which is 450 million euro, per year by 2005 with this level to be reviewed in 2008."

But only $260m has ever been paid into two UN funds earmarked for the purpose, the BBC World Service investigation has found.

"There have been promises which have not been fully materialised. There is an issue of trust," says Ban Ki-moon.

The question of finance for developing countries to tackle climate change is one of the keys to a deal at the Copenhagen summit next month.

Poor countries may not sign up to a new agreement unless they trust rich countries to keep their promises, and are satisfied with the mechanisms put in place to handle the flow of funds.

Unequal sums

The industrialised governments which drew up the Bonn Declaration say they never intended to put the money just into the UN funds.

The Declaration allowed them to spend it in "bilateral and multilateral" ways, they say.

Artur Runge-Metzger, the senior climate change negotiator for the European Union, maintains the EU has lived up to its end of the bargain.

"We can say we met the promise, climate finance has really been stepped up," he argues.

However he admits the EU cannot provide data to show it did pay the money through these bilateral and multilateral means.

"It's sometimes very hard to say what is the climate bit of this financing," he says.

Richard Myungi, a climate change negotiator for the Least Developing Countries says: "We feel frustrated, we feel betrayed."

Boni Biagini, who runs the UN funds, also believes much more money should have been paid in.

"These numbers don't match the $410m per year. Otherwise, we'd be handling billions of dollars by now," he says.


Dr Marc Pallemaerts, who drafted the Bonn Declaration in 2001 when he was the deputy chief of staff for the European Union's Belgian Presidency, admits some developing countries may have been led to believe the promised money would go solely into the UN funds.

"Some countries may have been genuinely misled - others knew it was deliberate ambiguity," he maintains.

The Bonn Declaration is surrounded by confusion and has led to mistrust between developed and developing countries.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says any new financing agreement signed at Copenhagen must be clear.

"This whole agreement and negotiation should be based on trust and confidence," he says.

He adds that any new financing deal must be "measurable, reportable and verifiable".


November 24, 2009

Global Warming On Trial: US Senator Inhofe Calls For Investigation Of UN IPCC

November 23, 2009

Climate change alarmists engaged in desperate whitewash, but scandal is not going away

In response to the astounding revelations arising out of the hacked CRU emails, Senator Jim Inhofe has stated that unless something is done within the next seven days, he will lead the call for a rigorous investigation into mounting evidence that top climate scientists conspired to manipulate data to hide evidence of global cooling while engaging in academic witch hunts to eliminate scientists skeptical of man-made climate change.

Speaking on the Americas Morning Show earlier today, Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the new revelations proved what he has been warning about for over four years, that politicians and bias-driven climate scientists affiliated with the UN IPCC have been fraudulently “cooking the science” to conform to their agenda.

“If nothing happens in the next seven days when we go back into session a week from today that would change this situation, I will call for an investigation,” said Inhofe. “Cause this thing is serious, you think about the literally millions of dollars that have been thrown away on some of this stuff that they came out with.”

Asked what he would call for an investigation of, Inhofe responded, “On the IPCC and on the United Nations on the way that they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not.”

Meanwhile, even some pro-man made global warming advocates have conceded that an investigation is necessary.

Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, told the London Guardianthat only a rigorous investigation could clear the names of those accused of manipulating the data, admitting that the emails “created the impression of impropriety,” which is a lot further than most have gone in accepting the damning nature of the hacked data.

Indeed, the British Met Office performed the equivalent of a child sticking his fingers in his ears by merely attempting to dismiss the emails altogether, without even explaining what was meant when scientists at CRU talked about pulling “tricks” to “hide the decline” in temperatures.

A spokesman at the Met Office, which jointly produces global temperature datasets with the Climate Research Unit, said there was no need for an inquiry. “If you look at the emails, there isn’t any evidence that the data was falsified and there’s no evidence that climate change is a hoax. It’s a shame that some of the sceptics have had to take this rather shallow attempt to discredit robust science undertaken by some of the world’s most respected scientists. The bottom line is that temperatures continue to rise and humans are responsible for it. We have every confidence in the science and the various datasets we use. The peer-review process is as robust as it could possibly be. It’s no surprise, with the Copenhagen talks just days away, that this has happened now.”

As James Delingpole of the Telegraph highlights, alarmists are not going to be effected by the scandal, because they will allow nothing whatsoever to corrupt their religious belief system. “They’ve made up their minds and no quantity of contrary evidence, however devastating, is going to shake their considered position of “Nyah nyah nyah. Got my fingers in my ears. Not listening. The world IS warming and it’s man’s fault. Must tax carbon now….”

However, there seems little doubt that this bombshell will go a long way to derailing, or at least delaying the agenda for a global carbon tax that will be collected by the very same elitists aggressively pushing the fraud of global warming.

source: Global Research

November 18, 2009

Ukraine, WHO and the Geopolitics of Swine Flu Panic

by F. William Engdahl
November 17, 2009

Latest reports of what is being called a deadly Swine Flu outbreak in Ukraine according to on sight reports appear to be a political concoction by a threatened government to avoid election defeat and possibly declare martial law. The details indicate how convenient the current WHO "Swine Flu" H1N1 "pandemic" scare is for regimes in trouble.

Worldwide media reports in recent days have painted a picture of Ukraine as being under the Black Plague or worse. Pittsburgh Swine Flu "mapper" Dr Henry Niman had earlier predicted that H5N1 Avian Flu would mutate into a deadly human-to-human pandemic. It didn’t.

Niman’s map of the spread of alleged H1N1 Swine Flu since April has given the WHO, the US Government and CNN and major media a convenient graphic to create the image of a new type of "bubonic plague" threatening mankind unless we react with massive doses of untested vaccines from Big Pharma. .

Early on Niman reported about events in Ukraine: "The rapid rise in reported infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the past few days raise concerns that the virus is transmitting very efficiently…the spike in fatalities and the frequency in hemorrhagic cases in Ukraine have raised concerns." Niman added the alarming note, "The number of infected patients has almost doubled to just under ½ million, compared to the report two days ago."

That’s pretty scary stuff. It conjures images of the reports of the Black Death in 1348 which is said to have killed up to 60% of Europe’s population. Though that history has been challenged, the image as well as the equally terrifying if incorrect panic image of the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918, are being applied in Ukraine.

Exact information about what is really taking place in Ukraine is far from easy. The country is one of the most politically complex and economically distressed states in Europe. One possible hypothesis, yet to be verified, emerges from the writings of Dr Lawrence Broxmeyer MD.

Broxmeyer suggests that the WHO and CDC wish to divert attention from a worldwide epidemic of tuberculosis, while focusing attention on flu instead. Indeed recently the WHO changed its categories of causes of death to lump death from influenza in the same group as death from tuberculosis and other pulmonary disease. Given the present Swine Flu hysteria, any pulmonary death seems to be reported as "death from H1N1 influenza." In a passing note the report typically notes the patient also suffered from lung problems.

Broxmeyer states, "Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are fully aware of a far more serious and ongoing tuberculosis Pandemic in the world today. Yet they choose to downplay the link, disregarding the similar flu-like symptoms tuberculosis often begins with. WHO freely admits that there were approximately 1.8 million deaths from tuberculosis in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available as well as that presently about one-third of the world's population, or two billion people, carry the TB bacteria."

Broxmeyer suggests that there is an underestimation of tuberculosis deaths using "flu" as the diversion: "Khomenko's 1993 study showed that the explosive contagiousness of just such influenza-like forms of tuberculosis are exactly the stuff that previous epidemics and pandemics could have been made of... But back in the US, the CDC and NIH seem to feel differently, ignoring everything but "the virus". There was much the same "Influenza" talk when in 1990, a new multi-drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis outbreak took place in a large Miami municipal hospital. Soon thereafter, similar outbreaks in three New York City hospitals left many sufferers dying within weeks. By 1992, approximately two years later, drug-resistant tuberculosis had spread to deadly mini-epidemics in seventeen US states, and was reported, not by the American, but the international media, as out of control. Viral forms of swine, avian and human TB can be transmitted from one species to another."

He points to the similarities between the onset of the much-cited 1918 "Spanish Influenza" epidemic and that of today. However, as Broxmeyer notes, "a Press Release, issued on August 19, 2008, by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), contains a striking finding and conclusion: The 20 to 40 million deaths worldwide from the great 1918 Influenza ("Flu") Pandemic were NOT due to "flu" or a virus, but to pneumonia caused by massive bacterial infection."

Reports of low flying aircraft spraying in regions of Ukraine where outbreaks and lung-related deaths reportedly took place cannot be verified. What is clear however is that there is no scientifically rigorous proof of deaths or diseases that can be labeled H1N1 Influenza A in Ukraine.

Reality check?

The WHO, the organization responsible for declaration of the H1N1 Pandemic last summer, allowing governments like the USA and Ukraine to declare martial law and a national state of emergency, suspending all rights and imposing arrests and detentions, has validated the dubious Ukraine claims of out-of-control spread of Swine Flu. A WHO press statement November 3 declared, "Laboratory testing in Ukraine has confirmed pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in samples taken from patients in two of the most affected regions. As the pandemic virus has rapidly become the dominant influenza strain worldwide, it can be assumed that most cases of influenza in Ukraine are caused by the H1N1 virus."

The WHO added, "The outbreak in Ukraine may be indicative of how the virus can behave in the northern hemisphere during the winter season, particularly in health care settings typically found in Eastern Europe. Given the potential significance of this outbreak as an early warning signal, WHO commends the government of Ukraine for its transparent reporting and open sharing of samples." The samples have been sent to the WHO Mill Hill Influenza Reference Lab in London, not exactly inspiring confidence in a scientifically honest report given the record of UK health authorities in manipulating data to please the vaccine giants like GlaxoSmithKline. As of this writing, bizarre enough the WHO has yet to utter a single word of the test results at Mill Hill.

Nonetheless, WHO "strongly recommends early treatment with the antiviral drugs, oseltamivir or zanamivir, for patients who meet treatment criteria, even in the absence of a positive laboratory test confirming H1N1 infection." That means Tamiflu, the highly dangerous drug whose major shareholder includes former Pentagon head Don Rumsfeld. And it means GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the rival Relenza drug.

Ukrainian election geopolitics

The bizarre developments in Ukraine over the past two weeks are being blamed inside the country on intense Ukrainian election politics. In four months national elections in Ukraine are due. Among rival candidates are Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her chief rival, Arseniy Yatseniuk.

Since Washington financed and organized the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought a pro-NATO Victor Yushchenko in as President, Ukraine politics has been a geopolitical tug-of war between Moscow and Washington. How the current political games around allegations of H1N1 panic play into that tug of war is not yet clear.

The recent speech in Warsaw by Vice President Joe Biden offering Poland and the Czech Republic a "new and improved" version of US anti-missile defense against Russia only four weeks after Obama announced the US was backing out of a controversial earlier missile defense plan for the two eastern European countries underscores the shambles of US strategic policy towards Russia.

Russia has been quick to take advantage as might be expected, as a US missile shield on its borders, as I detail in Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, gives the US a long-sought nuclear primacy over its only potential strategic rival on the planet. At that point the resistance of the rest of the world to incalculable or objectionable US policies, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia or wherever, becomes moot.

It’s clear Moscow has been working quietly to bring Ukraine, an original part of Kiev Rus, and a strategically essential part of the Russian economy, back into a more friendly "NATO-free" relationship after five years of Orange Revolution chaos in Ukraine under Yushchenko. .

Yatseniuk, a 35 year old former banker and aide to Washington’s darling, President Viktor Yushchenko, has charged that Tymoshenko is deliberately fostering unnecessary panic in order to impose martial law and suspend elections that she might well lose to Yatseniuk.

There definitely are political games going on by one or another faction in the economically devastated Ukraine. Oleksandr Bilovol, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Health, claims the outbreak of flu cases in Ukraine has been essentially contained in 11 out of 25 Ukrainian regions, with the number of people allegedly stricken with H1N1 only 15% higher than figures reported in previous years. "Figures in other the regions are in line with 2007 and 2008," Bilovol said. As well the number of reported deaths is also in line with deaths annually attributed to ordinary influenza.

Could it be the reports of Ukraine "Swine Flu" pandemic in Ukraine have more to do with the country’s geopolitical location?

Tymoshenko declared the outbreak as the threat of the third level – the highest possible – to unlock spending of up to 3 billion hryvnias to combat the swine flu. Among measures imposed by the decree include shutting down schools and public gatherings for three weeks across Ukraine, with the government also considering introducing restrictions on movement of people between the regions.

Yatseniuk said the ban on public gatherings spreads fear and panic helping Tymoshenko to promote herself on television, while hindering other presidential candidates to campaign.

Yatseniuk is Tymoshenko’s biggest rival as both compete for votes in western regions of Ukraine. He is perhaps the only candidate that may challenge Tymoshenko in the first round of vote on January 17, 2010 to enter the runoff with opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Yatseniuk said the panic spread by the government helps overshadow issues politically damaging to Tymoshenko, including pedophile and the murder scandals involving Tymoshenko lawmakers, and

Ukraine’s dismal economic performance.

Prime Minister Tymoshenko, whatever the real facts of the case, is using the WHO Swine Flu panic scenario to the hilt. In a recent statement, she stated, "We cannot relax even for a moment because the World Health Organization predicts two more waves of flu, including the bird flu, are expected in Ukraine. There is no alternative to vaccination. The entire world is going this way…" A day earlier she admitted she was not vaccinated and that she prefers "like all other people" plans to rely on garlic, onion and lemon as a way of preventing the flu.

Ukraine Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn accuses Tymoshenko as well, declaring, "You've organized the flu epidemic in order to avoid responsibility for not supplying heat to houses, schools, higher educational establishments, and kindergartens," he said in Parliament. And Orange Revolution President, Yushchenko has declared there was no reason for declaring an emergency in Ukraine. "There are no such reasons," Yushchenko said. "I am not a supporter of measures that freeze the country, restrict its operation to levels that is hard to justify."

Ihor Popov, Deputy Chief of Staff to Yushchenko, said that in case of emergency the election, which is due on Jan. 17, 2010, would have to be "rescheduled."

Germany joins Swine Flu corruption

Not only is the Ukrainian government apparently using fears of Swine Flu pandemic to change the domestic political calculus, and President Barack Obama using the fears to impose an unnecessary state of emergency. Now it comes out that the responsible German health authorities are caught in a corrupt conflict of interest with the very pharma giants profiting from government decisions on "anti-swine flu" vaccines.

The recent issue of the German weekly Der Spiegel, reports that members of the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI), which claims to be an independent scientific advisory body advising EU member governments on policies regarding H1N1 influenza, is anything but independent.
It’s being financed by Big Pharma. ESWI claims it brings together scientific "key opinion leaders in influenza." However the sole financial backers are 10 pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline -- manufacturer of the German swine flu vaccine -- and Roche -- producer of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

The group lists Walter Haas as one of its scientific advisers. Haas coordinates Germany's flu pandemic preparedness measures at the Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI), the federal institute for disease research. ESWI portrays itself as an independent group of scientists. But even the organization's own statute tells a different story, describing its role as advising politicians and health authorities on "the benefits and safety of influenza vaccines and antivirals" and initiating "a policy for antiviral provisions."

The degree of fraud, deceit, official coverup and outright criminal endangerment of the broad population by the current Swine Flu hysteria is seemingly without precedent.

source: Global Research

November 16, 2009

If it was a war for oil, the US lost

The "no war for oil" mantra only made average Americans stakeholders in the wars for Israel

By Jeffrey Blankfort
November 15, 2009

Although the Bush administration denied it, the conventional wisdom on the part of the anti-war movement was that the war on Iraq was launched in order for the US to take over Saddam’s oil supplies which would give Washington an even more dominant position in the region. That there was no concrete evidence that the war was supported by the oil companies was discounted and, as it had been in 1991 during the first Gulf War, "No blood for oil!" became the battle cry.

If the war was indeed about oil, then, as the NY Times reported on Friday, the US lost.

Those espousing that theory had company, however. It was the view held by most Iraqis.

"If true," writes the Times’ Rod Nordland. "then the war failed in more ways than some critics charge."
"It wasn’t until last week that the first major oil field exploitation contract was signed with a foreign company–BP in a joint deal with China’s state-run China National Petroleum Corporation.

"Exxon Mobil… has an oil field deal awaiting final approval from Iraq’s oil ministry. The Italian oil giant Eni, whose junior partner is the American-owned Occidental Petroleum is expected to sign a similar deal. These, however, are service contracts so the foreign oil companies don’t actually own the rights to any new oil they may find."

November 15, 2009

How ABC News' Brian Ross Cooked His 'Hasan Contacted Al Qaeda' Scoop

The Gawker
November 11, 2009

ABC News' Brian Ross has a breathtaking record of recklessly inaccurate, overhyped stories that don't live up to the headline. His scoop yesterday about Nidal Malik Hasan's "attempt to reach out to al Qaeda" was one of them.

Ross' report yesterday that Hasan had attempted to "make contact with people associated with al Qaeda" took over the internet yesterday and sparked a furious round of speculation that Hasan's attack was part of an Islamic terrorist plot. The headline, "Officials: U.S. Army Told of Hasan's Contacts with al Qaeda," said it all. The far more mundane truth emerged today in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post: Hasan had communicated via e-mail with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American cleric living in Yemen who formerly served as the imam of a mosque Hasan had attended in Virginia. What did they talk about? From the Washington Post:

The FBI determined that the e-mails did not warrant an investigation, according to the law enforcement official. Investigators said Hasan's e-mails were consistent with the topic of his academic research and involved some social chatter and religious discourse.

We were confused this morning, because Ross had clearly reported that Hasan had made contact with "people associated with Al Qaeda," and the only contacts that other reporters were confirming were with al-Awlaki, who is, as far as we know, a single person. We called Ross and asked him if there were more "people." No, he told us, his initial report was only in reference to al-Awlaki.

"That's how it was initially described to me by my sources," he says. "Given what they told me, that's all I could say. It's a strange use of the word 'people.' But when pinned down, my sources said it's just al-Awlaki."

A strange use, indeed. How about false, too? Especially because Ross' original story did, in fact, report that al-Awliki was among the "people" Hasan was suspected of having contacted. So he reported that Hasan contacted more than one person associated with al Qaeda, and then named one person that he was suspected of contacting. What he apparently didn't bother to do was "pin his sources down" on exactly what they were saying. The result was a clear suggestion that Hasan had tried to communicate with the al Qaeda network on more than one occasion.

So did he? Al-Awlaki is routinely described by the FBI and others as an al Qaeda supporter, and a fiery inciter of violence against infidels. And he was the imam at the Virginia mosque attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as Hasan. But while it's clear that Al-Awlaki is a bad guy, what's not clear is whether he's simply a propagandist or someone who actually operates as a part of al Qaeda. It's one thing for Hasan to have sent e-mails to someone who vocally supports al Qaeda, and quite another for him to have sent e-mails to al Qaeda itself, or to operatives actively involved in trying to kill people. Ross told us that, according to his sources, "Al-Awlaki is considered a recruiter," which is how he justified invoking the name of the terrorist network. We'll defer to him on that point.

But without knowing what the e-mails are about, can it really be known that Hasan's communications were "attempts to reach out"? The FBI didn't consider them as such. Ross didn't know the contents of the e-mails when he described them that way, but felt perfectly justified in doing so based solely on the knowledge that Hasan had sent the e-mails.

We asked Ross if he had tried to contact Al-Awlaki in reporting the story:


So you reached out to al Qaeda, then?

"To al Qaeda? No. I reached out to him. Oh. I see what you're saying."

What's particularly maddening about Ross' hype is that it had already been well established that Al-Awlaki was the imam at Hasan's Virginia mosque in 2001. Hasan's mother's funeral services were held there at the time. While it hadn't been definitively established that Hasan had ever met Al-Awlaki, it was abundantly clear that the two men were in one another's orbits and that Hasan likely heard him preach. That wasn't reported as a "contact with al Qaeda," but once Ross got his hands on the fact that Hasan sent e-mails to his former imam, who had a web site with a comment form, he turned it into a blockbuster story.

Which wouldn't be the first time. Ross reported—inaccurately—after the anthrax attacks in 2001 that the powder contained a "potent additive...known to have been used by only one country in producing biochemical weapons - Iraq." He laundered CIA agent John Kiriakou's lie that the agency only used waterboarding once, for 30 seconds, when in fact Kiriakou wasn't even in the same country as the secret prison where his colleagues waterboarded two men a total of 266 times. He fell for the lies of Alexis Debat, a grifter and fraud who masqueraded as an intelligence expert. And he hyped his access to the phone records of DC madam Deborah Jean Palfrey for days, but only came up with the names of two low-level clients.

Ross' stock response to these complaints is that he only reports what his sources tell him. "We reported what we knew, when we knew it," he says. "I'm comfortable with the story." His problem, as we've said before, is that he has shitty sources. And he just repeats what they tell him. Which is how you get from "Hasan sent e-mails to his former imam, who now preaches in support of Al Qaeda. We don't know what the e-mails were about, but they didn't raise alarms at the FBI" to "Hasan tried to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda" to the headline's blunt, and thoroughly unsupported, reference to "Hasan's Contacts with al Qaeda." It would have been a good story if Ross had stuck to the first, accurate, formulation.

Send an email to the author of this post at

November 14, 2009

Israel Builds Monument to 9/11

US-Israel identity crisis

November 13, 2009

A friend seizes on an aside in a piece in Haaretz:

"Speaking near Jerusalem during the unveiling of a memorial for the victims of
the 9/11 terror attack in the United States, Olmert added that there was a
clear difference between terrorists and the countries that fight them."

One of those puzzling background noises that make you stop, rewind, and replay to make sure. So a memorial for the victims of the September 11 bombings is now a public monument in Jerusalem. What is it doing there? Why should this surprise us less than, say, a Pearl Harbor Monument in Sydney, a Fort Sumter Remembrance Tabernacle in Paris, or a Coventry Blitz Museum in Culver City?


UK Public Lukewarm on Global Warming

“Being confronted with the possibility of higher energy bills, wind farms down the road and new nuclear power stations encourages people to question everything about climate change”

Less than half the population believes that human activity is to blame for global warming, according to an exclusive poll for The Times.

The revelation that ministers have failed in their campaign to persuade the public that the greenhouse effect is a serious threat requiring urgent action will make uncomfortable reading for the Government as it prepares for next month’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Only 41 per cent accept as an established scientific fact that global warming is taking place and is largely man-made. Almost a third (32 per cent) believe that the link is not yet proved; 8 per cent say that it is environmentalist propaganda to blame man and 15 per cent say that the world is not warming.

Tory voters are more likely to doubt the scientific evidence that man is to blame. Only 38 per cent accept it, compared with 45 per cent of Labour supporters and 47 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters.

Full article

November 13, 2009

Climate change means we must genetically modify "organic" crops

November 11, 2009

London - Concern was raised over the organic agriculture industry’s ability to cope with the onslaught of climate change while spurning GM technologies, at a high-level debate in the capital last week.

A panel of experts discussed the possibilities for organic food to become “more robust” in front an audience including the government’s chief scientific advisor John Beddington, who last month called for GM crops to ensure global food security.

The panel, in discussing the role of GM in 21st Century Farming at last week’s Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum, suggested that if GM could overcome issues relating to its public image and the vandalism of trials, it could make real progression in replacing fertilisers, which continue to increase in cost and tackling food security.

Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, said:
“In the US they are way ahead of the game on organic genetically modified foods and then there was a whole load of opposition.

“That was the last opportunity we had on that front before trench warfare set in. It is my concern that you can have a few organisations that scaremonger and make the governments back off.”
Julian Little, chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, told delegates that GM could be vital with changes to the environment impacting on agriculture. He said:
“Drought tolerance will definitely be important. Climate change means there will be insect problems in the UK that we have not had to deal with before.

“There were trials into blight tolerance in potatoes in the UK which were trashed twice, but if we could find a potato that gave true blight tolerance then organic growers would have a real option to continue in a difficult climate.”
But Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, hit back at suggestions the lobbying body harness the opportunity. He said:
“We looked at the option of GM with interest when it was first debated, but the more we looked at it the more concern grew. The GM debate is a distraction and it is a dangerous issue with the possibility of some of the larger developing companies having a vice-like grip over agriculture. I see no future for GM in the future of UK agriculture and the answers lie in things like plant breeding tactics.”
The debate comes as the Foods Standards Agency embarks on a 12-month consultation exercise looking into the various challenges surrounding GM food.

Dyer added: “A lot of what the Soil Association says is about lifestyles and we are not going to stop people eating meat and creating food shortages tomorrow, so we need to use the world’s resources well. We need to get realistic about the problems we face.”


November 12, 2009

Remember Daniel Pearl?

By Jenifer Dixon *
November 6, 2009

Daniel Pearl was an American Jewish journalist, who was assassinated by the Afghans in 2002. I looked his name up on the Internet, and after 55 references to him, I quit. Why do I bring this up? I do it because at that time, I remember hearing about Daniel Pearl 24/7 on more than one "mainstream" station. There are biographies of Daniel Pearl. There are celebrations of Daniel Pearl. There are endless stories about Daniel Pearl's assassination. There is a Daniel Pearl Foundation. Etc. etc. etc.

Now, here is some information that was never presented on "mainstream" media. According to Palestine Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Dr. Tareq M. Suwaidan there were 9 Palestinian journalists killed in the Intifada between 29 September 2000 to 30 December 2003 by the IDF. That is 9 journalists killed by the Israelis and not a word mentioned.

I was listening to an Internet broadcast from Global Research on the question of Palestine. Both the interviewer and interviewee were Jewish. Nonetheless, they expressed a concern about the "Israeli Palestinian conflict." They had on their show an interview with a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, but his accent was so thick as to be incomprehensible. They then decried the tragedy of the cycle of violence, but assured the audience that this too would end. However, I noticed that the woman being interviewed by Mr. Lendeman, a Rachel somebody, a professor at Emory University, was the author of of several books on "Islamic terrorism". I also noticed that they did not go into any detail on the situation in Gaza or in Palestine. They also told the audience that the censorship of these stories from the Occupied Territories originated high up in the chain of command in a "mainstream media."

They fail to mention that at the end of July of 2006 Israeli military forces attacked Al Manar TV in Beirut. In January of 2002, the Israeli military forces blew up a Palestinian broadcasting center in Ramallah. In April 2002, Israeli military forces inflicted devastating damage to the offices of the Palestine Monitor. In August of 2009 Israeli troops raided Radio Bethlehem and ordered the staff to stop broadcasting.

I then pulled a report that detailed, some 75 assaults from Israeli security forces on journalists working in the Occupied Territories, both Palestinian and foreign, in the year 2000 alone. Nine were attacked on the 1st day of the Intifada. 9 again? Ready for some numerology?

This obviously indicates an intended desire to squelch the truth on the ground as it happened, and the heavy-handed suppression of Palestinian press, indeed of all press.

Then to beat all, I found this item entitled "Israeli media mogul Haim Saban mulls stake in Al Jazeera." This story dated October 8, 2009 in Ha'aretz states that the Israeli businessman is negotiating for 50% of this "beacon" of the voice of the peoples of the Middle East. Okay. What more needs to be said? Or as Washington Post promotional copy puts it "if you don't got it, you just don't get it"

Remember Daniel Pearl? Of course, you do.

* Jenifer Dixon is a writer and former activist who lives in the Washington, DC area. She has published in the Washington Post, Voices of Women, WomenWise, Rainbow Visions, the Palestine Chronicle and Arab-American News. The website GlobalSpin was her contribution to the Net for three years. She was also a contributing writer to the book Challenge to Genocide: Let Iraq Live. The Holy Land Unveiled is her first book.

In Jon we trust

By Maidhc Ó Cathail
Online Journal
November 12, 2009

Appalled by the Bush administration’s foreign policy, and feeling let down by a compliant news media, many young Americans turned to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show for some critical insight into what had gone so terribly wrong with their country, as well as some light relief from the horror of it all.

Ironically, it seemed to many that the comedian’s fake news show was the only place where one could learn the truth about the “war on terror” and other disastrous Bush-era policies. Summarizing the phenomenon, author Gene Healy wrote, “An enormous chunk of Generation Y, those born roughly after 1977, gets its political information from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, a comedy news program devoted to the idea that we’re led by fools.”

With Obama failing to bring the “change” that many believed in, the perceived need to tune in to The Daily Show is unlikely to waver anytime soon. But is the faith many Americans have in Stewart to help them understand their country’s problems justified? The recent interview of a Palestinian politician and a Jewish American peace activist suggests that that faith is seriously misplaced.

In the extended interview (not broadcast on Comedy Central but available on The Daily Show website) with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer, Stewart made up to 20 factual errors. These can be broadly grouped into about half a dozen myths: Jews “returned” to Palestine after 2,000 years in exile; Israel provided a haven for Jews suffering persecution in Muslim countries; Iran is developing nuclear weapons, with which it wants to “wipe Israel off the map”; Israel is unfairly singled out for criticism, mainly due to Arab anti-Semitism; both sides are equally to blame for the conflict; and Palestinians can’t agree among themselves, so you can hardly blame Israel for not making peace with them.

Many of these myths -- all of which serve Zionist interests well -- are so transparently false that it is hardly necessary to debunk them all here. Instead, this article will focus on the last one: the question of Palestinian disunity. This will, it is hoped, also throw some light on the common source of America’s problems in the Middle East.

“It seems like to me that the Palestinians and the Israelis both have to fight a civil war almost,” Stewart opined, “before they can get a chance to then, I guess, fight each other.” While it is of course true that no nation is “homogenous,” his characterization of Palestinians overlooks a significant factor: the role played by Israel and its American devotees in promoting division among them.

Israel began supporting Hamas in the late 1970s as “a competing religious alternative,” a former CIA official explained, “to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO.” Almost three decades later, after Hamas won the 2006 elections, a faction within the Bush administration sought to divide Palestinians again.

The covert operation to arm Fatah so they could seize power from the democratically elected Hamas was considered foolhardy by many, however. An exasperated Pentagon official asked rhetorically, “Who the hell outside of Washington wants to see a civil war among Palestinians?” More to the point, he might have asked, Who the hell inside of Washington wants to see a civil war among Palestinians?

David Rose’s 2008 article, “The Gaza Bombshell,” in the Si Newhouse owned Vanity Fair, gives the impression that Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush were the main movers behind the plot. To emphasize the point, the caption below a photo illustration of Rice and Bush with a blood red Gaza City skyscape in the background reads: “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.”

But there are reasonable grounds to doubt Rose’s credibility. Before the invasion of Iraq, citing a slew of unnamed intelligence sources, he suggested in a number of articles that Saddam Hussein had connections to Al-Qaeda, 9/11, and the anthrax attacks. Despite Rose’s pre-Iraq war disinformation, antiwar writer and activist Amy Goodman wasn’t deterred from featuring his Gaza article on her popular alternative news show, Democracy Now.

Digging a little deeper than Rose and Goodman, Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry, co-directors of Conflicts Forum, a London-based group dedicated to providing an opening to political Islam, locate the origins of the failed plot. In “Elliott Abrams’ Uncivil War” they write, “The Abrams program was initially conceived in February of 2006 by a group of White House officials. . . . These officials, we are told, were led by Abrams, but included national security advisors working in the Office of the Vice President, including prominent neoconservatives David Wurmser and John Hannah.”

In the popular consciousness, Dick Cheney came to be seen, particularly in the antiwar Left, as the Svengali who induced Bush to wage war in the Middle East in the interests of Big Oil. While Cheney’s ties to Halliburton make that narrative appear plausible, a closer examination of the facts reveals that the vice president had more intimate ties with a far more powerful and belligerent lobby.

An advisory board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Cheney has long-standing ties with the Israel Lobby. Indeed, his staff was “hand-picked” by Paul Wolfowitz protégé Lewis Libby. Described as “almost part of Cheney’s brain” by Bob Woodward, Libby selected Cheney’s staff from neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute and WINEP.

It was these pro-Israel “scholars” not oil industry lobbyists who wrote the war propaganda for the executive branch. As Robert Dreyfuss points out in his American Prospect article on Cheney’s office, “Vice Squad,” Libby and Hannah produced “the most inflammatory and inaccurate speeches delivered by Cheney and Bush.”

David Wurmser, one of the main sources for David Rose’s Gaza article, is no stranger to propaganda either. In 1999, he wrote Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, in which he warned Americans about the growing threat of Iraq’s WMD.

His wife, Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli citizen, co-founded the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) with Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence. Widely considered to be a propaganda front for Israeli intelligence, MEMRI translates and distributes, in the words of journalist Jim Lobe, “particularly virulent anti-U.S. and anti-Israel articles appearing in the Arab press to key U.S. media and policymakers.” What better way to get Americans to believe that they and Israel face a common enemy?

Both Wurmsers worked with Richard Perle and Douglas Feith on writing the 1996 “Clean Break” strategy for Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan for remaking the Middle East in Israel’s interest had to wait until after 9/11 to be implemented, however, when Bush became more susceptible to the very same advisers and their associates.

It was this neoconservative cabal that put Abrams into the position where he could instigate the Gaza coup. Writing in Salon magazine, an “anonymous” veteran foreign service officer explained how Abrams, who had been convicted for unlawfully withholding information about the Iran-Contra scandal from Congress, came to be hired by Rice. In “The State Department’s Extreme Makeover,” he wrote: “In December 2002, Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser and Vice President Cheney’s national security advisor, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, acting together, maneuvered Condoleezza Rice into appointing Elliott Abrams to the position of special assistant to the president and senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council.”

Considering Abrams’ extreme Likudnik views, former CIA political analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison wryly commented on his appointment, “Putting him in a key policymaking position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is like entrusting the henhouse to a fox.”

In a revealing comment on who exactly was directing national security during Bush’s first term, “Anonymous” predicted that Rice would be the neocons’ second choice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. Since the Iraq debacle was likely to militate against their first choice, Wolfowitz, they planned “to again play behind Condoleezza Rice.”

It is worth noting that Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz. From his bully pulpit at Commentary magazine, the neocon godfather harangues Americans into waging “a very long war” against what he calls “Islamofascism” -- a disparate group of enemies that looks suspiciously like an Israeli hit list.

As to where Abrams’ own loyalty lies, his 1997 book, Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, is unequivocal. Jews “are in a permanent covenant with God and with the land of Israel and its people,” he claims. “Their commitment will not weaken if the Israeli government pursues unpopular policies.”

Shouldn’t Americans be more wary of national security advisers with an avowed uncritical allegiance to a foreign country, especially one which seeks to induce the United States to fight an endless war with one-fifth of the world’s population?

And instead of poking fun at convenient scapegoats like Bush, Cheney and Rice for America’s disastrous Middle East policy -- as The Daily Show did for eight years to great acclaim -- hasn’t Jon Stewart a responsibility to his many fans to sift the merely plausible from the hard facts? When those facts point to a handful of other Jewish Americans whose “covenant” with their tribal God endangers all Americans, to do otherwise is to make fools of his audience.

This was originally published in Intifada: Voice of Palestine.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer who writes in Irish and English. He has written for, Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle, OpEd News, Media Monitors Network and many other publications.

Refugees and Zionist propaganda

By Ben White | Pulse Media | November 11, 2009

Agence France Press (AFP) reported the following today:

A draft law stipulating that any Middle East peace treaty must mention compensation for Jews forced to leave Arab states has passed a preliminary reading in the Israeli parliament, a spokesman said on Wednesday.The draft bill, presented by a member of the ultra-orthodox Shas party, a member of the government coalition, passed the preliminary vote 49 to 5 last week, said spokesman Giora Pordes.

The draft, which the Maariv daily called “a curious and provocative bill,” still has to pass three more votes before it becomes law.

It calls for the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab states to be raised whenever the question of Palestinian refugees comes up in Middle East negotiations.

“The government should raise the issue about payment of compensation to Jewish refugees for the loss of their property and about granting to Jewish refugees who fled persecution in Arab countries a status similar to that of Arab refugees who lost their property when the state (of Israel) was created,” the proposed law states.

Shas had initially wanted a tougher bill stating compensations for Jewish refugees must be agreed before any further peace negotiations are held. The paragraph, which would have made it virtually impossible to reach a peace accord, was eventually removed so the government could support the text…

‘Israel mulls draft law tying peace, Jewish refugee issue’, AFP, 11 November 2009

The following is an extract from the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of my book, ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide‘:

People talk about the Palestinian refugees, but weren’t a similar number of Jewish refugees kicked out of Arab countries and welcomed by Israel? Couldn’t this be seen as a ‘fair swap’?

The creation of the state of Israel led to two substantial population movements in the Middle East. Between 700,000 to 800,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes, and forbidden from returning by the new Jewish state, while from 1948 through to the 1970s, around 850,000 Jews left Arab countries, with the majority moving to Israel. But the rough equality in scale is just about the only similarity.

Israeli professor Yehouda Shenhav once wrote that “any reasonable person” must acknowledge the analogy to be “unfounded”:

Palestinian refugees did not want to leave Palestine. Many Palestinian communities were destroyed in 1948, and some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled, or fled, from the borders of historic Palestine. Those who left did not do so of their own volition. In contrast, Jews from Arab lands came to this country under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations. Some came of their own free will; others arrived against their will. Some lived comfortably and securely in Arab lands; others suffered from fear and oppression.

Some prominent Israeli politicians who themselves come from Arab countries, reject the ‘refugee’ label. Former Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu once said “‘We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations’.” MK Ran Cohen, who emigrated from Iraq, made it clear: “‘I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee’.”

As well as the fact that Jews in Arab countries were actively encouraged by the Zionist movement to move to Israel, there is another big problem with the ‘swap’ theory – timescale. Dr. Philip Mendes points out how “the Jewish exodus from Iraq and other Arab countries took place over many decades, before and after the Palestinian exodus” and “there is no evidence that the Israeli leadership anticipated a so-called population exchange when they made their arguably harsh decision to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees”. Mendes also concludes his analysis by affirming that “the two exoduses…should be considered separately”.

But the ‘swap’ idea is anyway illogical. One refugee’s right – in the case of the Palestinians, a right affirmed by UN resolutions – can not be ‘cancelled out’ by another’s misfortune. Furthermore, “the Palestinians were not at all responsible for the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries” – while “the Palestinian refugee problem was caused by the Zionist refusal to allow the Palestinians to return to their homes”.

Given the historical and logical flaws, the only way this analogy can be so tempting for some is its propaganda value. The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC), for example, claim on their website that their mission is simply “to document the assets Jewish refugees lost as they fled Arab countries”. Professor Shenhav, however, describes how WOJAC “was invented as a deterrent to block claims harbored by the Palestinian national movement, particularly claims related to compensation and the right of return”.

Dismayingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the US House of Representatives was persuaded to pass a bill in April 2008 that not only equated Jewish and Palestinian refugees, but also urged “the administration to raise the issue every time the issue of Palestinian refugees is brought up”. The Economist magazine described the non-binding resolution as having “doubtful value”, as well as showing “once more the power of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington”.

November 11, 2009

Predictions of climate change induced natural disasters falling flat

Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth
Former vice president Al Gore famously used an image of
Hurricane Katrina to illustrate his argument that natural disasters
will increase in intensity and frequency. Empirical data however
has shown that is not the case. (An Inconvenient Truth)

By Tony Hake | November 5, 2009

Manmade climate change is said to present humankind with some of its greatest challenges in the planet’s history, not the least of which is an alarming increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Massive flooding, super-powered hurricanes, endless tornado seasons and more have all been said to be the direst of consequences of global warming.

In his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore famously proclaimed that, “Temperature changes are taking place all over the world and that is causing stronger storms.” Standing with Hurricane Katrina as a backdrop, the former vice president issued a cautionary tale of disaster in the making, all due to our irresponsible handling of the atmosphere. As recently as February Mr. Gore was giving a presentation showing flooding, drought and wildfires saying, “This is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented.”

President Barack Obama, in a town hall meeting in April echoed the Nobel laureate’s comments saying, “You're now looking at huge, cataclysmic hurricanes, complete changes in weather patterns.” He followed that in September when in a speech before the United Nations he claimed, “More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.”

But what if you predicted global natural disaster catastrophes and they didn’t happen? Does that invalidate your entire message? This is the conundrum faced by climate change alarmists as many of their predictions begin to fall flat.

Mother Nature can be very fickle and predicting what she will bring tomorrow is difficult. Trying to do so over a span of years is next to impossible. Complicating matters, recent empirical evidence indicates that despite increasing carbon dioxide temperatures are decreasing and there has been no increase in climactic related events at all.

12-month running sums of Accumulated Cyclone Energy for the entire globe during the past 31-years (Ryan Maue, FSU)
12-month running sums of Accumulated Cyclone Energy for the
entire globe during the past 31-years (Ryan Maue, FSU)

Researchers at Florida State University recently updated their analysis of tropical cyclones and determined that tropical activity continues to decrease and is approaching 30 year lows. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy index (ACE) which is the standard for measuring tropical cyclone activity sits at 525 globally – far below the normal level of 769.

Every tropical cyclone basin when looked at individually is seeing similarly low levels. Close to home to the United States, the North Atlantic hurricane basin as been very quiet and at low levels not seen in 12 years.

Number of Hurricanes and Major HurricanesThe predictions of ‘cataclysmic hurricanes’ that would be stronger due to global warming are also not coming true. A peer reviewed study in the publication Geophysical Research Letters discovered that, “the mean maximum intensity (i.e., averaged over all cyclones in a season) has decreased, while the maximum intensity attained by the strongest hurricane each year has not shown a significant change.”

Tornadoes, one of nature’s smaller disasters but also one of the most destructive, are not seeing increases in frequency or intensity. For the 2009 calendar year, tornado activity is approaching the 10th percentile of historical activity since 1954. Over the longer term, according to the National Climactic Data Center the number of strong to violent tornadoes (F3 to F5) is decreasing as well.

In the end there is not one measure of storm frequency or intensity that has seen a measurable increase corresponding to global warming. Recognizing that the portrayals of massive disasters is not true, climate change alarmists have started to change their tact and in some cases, completely drop the argument.

Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the most vocal climate change advocates, has voiced his disapproval of Al Gore’s use of these claims. Hansen said, “We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is.”

For his part, Mr. Gore appears to have realized that the data does not support the assertion. The slide that he used many times to show a purported increase in weather-related disasters was suddenly dropped from his presentation. No explanation was given much like he has never explained or even corrected the errors in “An Inconvenient Truth.”

With revelations such as these, alarmists struggle to find arguments to drive their point home. Their use of hyperbole may be affecting the public’s perception of the debate as growing numbers of people doubt the effect man may have on the climate.

November 10, 2009

Denying responsibility for the wars one cheers on

The NYT columnist who has supported 4 wars on Muslims in 6 years decries the Islamic disregard for human life.

David Brooks' column today perfectly illustrates what lies at the core of our political discourse: namely, self-loving tribalistic blindness laced with a pathological refusal to accept responsibility for one's actions. Brooks claims there is a unique evil that one finds in the "fringes of the Muslim world":

Most people select stories that lead toward cooperation and goodness. But over the past few decades a malevolent narrative has emerged.

That narrative has emerged on the fringes of the Muslim world. It is a narrative that sees human history as a war between Islam on the one side and Christianity and Judaism on the other. This narrative causes its adherents to shrink their circle of concern. They don’t see others as fully human. They come to believe others can be blamelessly murdered and that, in fact, it is admirable to do so.

This narrative is embraced by a small minority. But it has caused incredible amounts of suffering within the Muslim world, in Israel, in the U.S. and elsewhere. With their suicide bombings and terrorist acts, adherents to this narrative have made themselves central to global politics. They are the ones who go into crowded rooms, shout “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” and then start murdering.

But Brooks himself was a vehement, vicious advocate for the attack on Iraq, which caused this:

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq has resulted in the deaths of many Iraqi civilians . . . Many international organizations, governments and non-governmental organizations have counted excess civilian casualties using such methods; however all have reported different numbers. Reports range from 128,000 to 1,033,000.

That's at least 128,000 innocent human beings -- at least -- whose lives were eradicated by the war Brooks repeatedly cheered on. It also resulted in this: "More than 4 million Iraqis have now been displaced by violence in the country." But Brooks accuses Islamic fanatics -- but not himself -- of "causing incredible amounts of suffering."

Brooks also justified the Israeli attack on Gaza, including its worst excesses -- a war that wiped out the lives of 1,400 Palestinians (including 252 children under the age of 16) and that entailed "the shooting of [Gazan] civilians with white flags, the firing of white phosphorus shells and charges that Israeli soldiers used Palestinian men as human shields," all of which, according to a U.N. investigation, were "the result of deliberate guidance issued to soldiers." He also cheered on the Israeli bombing campaign of Lebanon and derided those calling for a cease-fire, even as the war wiped out more than 1,000 Lebanese people, at least 300 of whom were women and children, during which "Israeli warplanes also targeted many moving vehicles that turned out to be carrying only civilians trying to flee the conflict." And Brooks is now demanding escalation of the war in yet another Muslim country, this one in Afghanistan -- making it the fourth separate war on Muslims he's cheered on in the last six years alone.

So here's a person who is constantly advocating and justifying the killing, bombing, and slaughtering of Muslims, including well over 100,000 innocent civilians. And yet today he writes a column saying: Look over there at those radical Muslims; can you believe how degraded and inhumane they are? In fact, he says, "they" -- those Muslims over there -- "don’t see others as fully human. They come to believe others can be blamelessly murdered and that, in fact, it is admirable to do so." That's from the same person who cheerleads for the endless deaths of Muslims and destruction of the Muslim world while thinking that it makes him strong, resolute, Churchillian, righteous and noble -- exactly that which he accuses "fringe Muslims" of doing. And even as he blames the U.S. for "absolving" radical Muslims for the "evil" of their choices, Brooks will never make the connection between what he does and its results because he believes he is free from accountability and that his righteousness justifies the killings he desires -- again, exactly that which he says today is the hallmark of Islamic monsters ("They come to believe others can be blamelessly murdered and that, in fact, it is admirable to do so").

The tribalistic narcissism and depraved refusal to accept responsibility for the consequences of one's actions on vivid display here is hardly unique to Brooks. The very same people who express such moral outrage and self-righteous horror over events like the Fort Hood shootings themselves have immense amounts of innocent human blood on their hands, but they simply avert their eyes from what they have caused or believe that they are too inherently Good to be responsible, let alone culpable, for what they unleash.

November 09, 2009

Can attacks on a military base constitute "terrorism"?

If attacks on soldiers now qualify, how is it possible to exclude many American actions?

November 9, 2009

The incomparably pernicious Joe Lieberman said yesterday on Fox News that he intends to launch an investigation into "the motives of [Nidal] Hasan in carrying out this brutal mass murder, if a terrorist attack, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11." Hasan's attack was carried out on a military base, with his clear target being American soldiers, not civilians. No matter one's views on how unjustified and evil this attack was, can an attack on soldiers -- particularly ones in the process of deploying for a war -- fall within any legitimate definition of "terrorism," which generally refers to deliberate attacks on civilians?

The obvious problem with answering that question is that, as even the U.S. State Department recognizes, "no one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance" -- despite the centrality of that term in our political discourse. In its 2001 publication, Patterns of Global Terrorism, the State Department did define "terrorism" to mean "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets," and in turn defined "noncombatant targets" to include "military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty." Only by accepting that definition (or one similar to it) could the attack on Fort Hood possibly be defined as "terrorism."

But if one accepts that broadened definition of "terrorism" -- that it includes violence that targets not only civilians but also combatants who are unarmed or not engaged in combat at the time of the attack -- it seems impossible to exclude from that term many of the acts in which the U.S. and our allies routinely engage. Indeed, a large part of our "war" strategy is to kill people we deem to be "terrorists" or "combatants" without regard to whether they're armed or engaged in hostilities at the moment we kill them. Isn't that exactly what we do when we use drone attacks in Pakistan? Indeed, we currently have a "hit list" of individuals we intend to murder in Afghanistan on sight based on our suspicion that they're involved in the drug trade and thus help fund the Taliban. During its war in Gaza, Israel targeted police stations and, with one strike, killed 40 police trainees while in a parade, and then justified that by claiming police recruits were legitimate targets -- even though they weren't engaged in hostilities at the time -- because of their nexus to Hamas (even though the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said the targeted recruits "were being trained in first aid, human rights and maintaining public order").

Is there any legitimate definition of "terrorism" that allows the Fort Hood attack to qualify but not those above-referenced attacks? The U.S., of course, maintains that it is incapable of engaging in "terrorism," by definition, because "terrorism" is something only "subnational groups or clandestine agent" can do, but leaving that absurdly self-serving and incoherent exclusion aside, how can the Fort Hood attacks targeted at soldiers be "terrorism" but not our own acts?

Just to provide what ought to (but won't) be an unnecessary caveat: whether the U.S. is noble, righteous and good, and radical Muslims are rotten and evil, is completely irrelevant to the issue here. The laws of war and definitions of terrorism apply -- as is true, by definition, for all things that we call "laws" and "definitions" -- equally to everyone, regardless of how good or bad someone is. Nor do any of these issues have anything to do with whether an act is justifiable; many things that are wrong and evil -- indeed most -- are not "terrorism."

Isn't it fairly clear that the term "terrorism" is being applied to what Hasan did due to his religion rather than the acts themselves? Put another way, as ThinkProgress' Matt Duss put it: "the definition of terrorism is not 'any violence by any Muslim anywhere at any time for any reason'." But that -- along with the repellent claim that saying "Allahu Akbar" is "suggestive of terrorism," rather than suggestive of someone who is Muslim (obviously the same thing in the minds of the people claiming that) -- is exactly what seems to be driving discussions of this attack. It's likely that there will always be a lack of clarity about exactly what motivated Hasan -- some combination of mental instability, religious fervor and political conviction -- but, regardless of motive, the only way to define an attack on soldiers as an act of "terrorism" is to indict ourselves in the same way.

UPDATE: Just to underscore the last point, Tucker Carlson in his Washington Post chat suggested today that there is nothing that could fairly be called "Christian-inspired terror." The only way not to view the murder of numerous abortion doctors and the blowing up of gay bars as qualifying is if one believes that "terrorism," by definition, means: "violent acts committed by Muslims in which their religious beliefs play a role."