November 12, 2009

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

Where "Global Warming" and "Peak Oil" meet

Not Sylvia Night - November 11, 2009

Where "Global Warming" and "Peak Oil" meet

That place, of course, is the world´s financial market.

"Human Caused Climate Change" is a financial scam, so is the "Peak Oil" paradigm of catastrophic energy shortages in the near future.

Oil and natural gas are not scarce, but actually abundant energy resources. They are also most likely of non-biological origin, as Russian scientists and oil companies have shown for over 50 years.

While the myth of "Global Warming" is used to create new revenues for the financial elites, the myth of a limited supply of "fossil fuels" had been used for creating large profits in the past.

The western financial elites hope to secure those profits in the future by regulating the use of oil, gas and coal through internationally agreed upon CO2 reduction measures, carbon trade agreements and by monopolizing tomorrow´s nuclear energy market. This is one reason why Iran´s civilian nuclear energy program is being so severely opposed by all the governments of the western world that seek to dominate export markets for nuclear installations from India to Brazil. A primary reason also is Israel's demand that it retain technological superiority.

As we have seen in the last post, the theory of "Catastrophic Human Caused Global Warming" neither originated from a large group of scientists nor from environmental grass-roots organizations. Instead it was a long discarded 19th century hypothesis, which was taken out of the dustbin and then proposed by the 1979 British UN Ambassador, who "tickled" the ambition-streak of Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister at the time.

We also saw, that the main argument for a human caused Climate Change, the so-called "Hockey-Stick", has been scientifically discredited for years.

Using mostly official IPCC charts and other research done by the UN "Global Warming" scientists themselves, Dr.David Evans of Science Speak points out that, while there is evidence for some warming of the planet in the last century, there is indeed

No Evidence

that carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause of the recent global warming

And with this conclusion Evans stands in agreement with over 650 leading scientists who, while attending the UN Climate Conference in Poland,

scoffed at doomsday reports of man-made global warming - labeling them variously a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion.

Those international scientists are then quoted in a US-Senate EPW Minority report.

But in spite of more and more counter arguments by the scientific community, especially from climatologists, the "Climate Change" bills, mandating carbon reduction for individuals and industries are rammed through practically all parliaments in the industrialized world.

We once again have to look at the money trail to explain the reasons for this paradox:

The New York Times, reported on November 12, 2008

Goldman Sachs Buys Into Carbon Offsets

Goldman Sachs has recently bought pieces of two carbon-offset companies, in the latest sign of investment banks’ interest in the area......

Carbon offsets are projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions — thus potentially counterbalancing a rise in emissions elsewhere. Planting trees are the most obvious offset; but other examples include capturing methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from a coal mine, or undertaking a qualified energy-efficiency project. Offsets are used in the European carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system, but have been slow to catch on in this country, where carbon trading is largely voluntary.

And on February 26, 2008 Chris Morrison from the Green Beat branch of the investment website Venture Beat writes:

Will carbon-trading happen? Goldman hopes so, backs APX

APX, a Silicon Valley company that certifies carbon and emissions offset certificates, and which is well-placed to support carbon-trading markets when they emerge, has gotten backing from Goldman Sachs in a $14 million investment, VentureBeat has learned.

Carbon trading is a growing business that could someday come to resemble the world’s largest financial markets.

Today’s emissions markets are generally small and fragmented. In regional U.S. energy markets, utilities are already required to buy electricity from alternative energy sources like geothermal, solar or wind. To prove their use of alternative energy, they’re required to file a certificate tracking their acquisition of the energy units. So this is the beginning of a “transfer” regime that could grow into more.

Meantime, carbon offsetting markets, that corporations buy credits from, are currently voluntary, but in anticipation of future government regulation, they often require similar certifying schemes. However, the source of offsets can vary widely, from alternative energy generation to tree planting projects.

APX acts as part of the intermediary chain between buyer and seller, doing the work of tracking serial numbers on these certificates and the accounts they go into. It’s not glamorous, but having an efficient, scalable back-end will be one of the requirements for building a multi-billion dollar market, as emissions trading may well become.

As today’s small, scattered emissions trading markets grow, they may come to resemble the complex business and regulatory ecosystems of the futures and equities markets, which include various behind-the-scenes businesses similar to APX.

Another indicator that some very serious businesses are becoming involved is one of the new investors in the company’s latest funding: Goldman Sachs, a heavyweight in the New York financial markets.

The largest financial corporation in the world buys into both the "carbon-offset" as well as into the "carbon-trading" market, which is expected to become a multi-billion dollar business.

The reduction of the use of hydro-carbon energy will make large profits to be funneled once again into the financial markets, which then will substitute for the profits the oil companies, in cohorts with the oil producing countries, used to make. While energy demand is fairly inelastic, a generalized increase in end user cost will enrich the well placed.

Why, if "human caused climate change" is a scam, is this substitution necessary?

Because slowly but certainly the knowledge emerges, that these large oil-profits of the past had also been based on a scam - the scam of "resource depletion" caused by over-exploitation of resources due to "exponential global population growth".

The myth of" increasing and catastrophic resource shortages" was initially promoted by the Rockefeller associated "Club of Rome".

Nowadays this scam is most often called the "Peak Oil" problem.

The "Peak Oil" propagandists tell us that oil, as well as natural gas-production, has either already peaked or will in the very near future. After reaching the peak of production a fast decline would make "cheap energy" increasingly scarce. As a consequence, the global economy, dependent on "cheap energy", would contract and eventually crash. This would then cause wide-spread devastation for most of us. And for billions of people all over the globe it would cause constant food-shortages and even starvation.

The catastrophic consequences to global food-production by shortages of oil and gas as energy resources is the first false paradigm promoted by the "Peak Oil" myth.

The second one is, that the world´s economic production is vitally dependent on energy being "cheap".

The reality is, that it isn´t the world´s real, physical economy but the global financial markets which are dependent on energy-resources being "cheap". For today´s actual consumers of energy, for private, industrial or public consumers, oil and gas aren´t actually that "cheap".

It is the large difference between production costs and consumer prices of oil and gas, which for a long time have kept the snake-oil sellers of the big financial corporations afloat. This high price/cost difference in oil production in the past was forced unto global consumers by the monopoly power the large oil-corporations had on the business and the coercive power their main shareholders had on governments all over the world.

The same "monopoly" game is now being started with nuclear energy production, as Dutch researcher Rudo de Ruijter points out in

US-Iran: Raid on nuclear fuel market

In the background of the political joust about Iran, a few countries are reshaping the world. They are taking possession of the global nuclear fuel market. New IAEA regulations should keep newcomers away.

The US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and Japan will become the world’s nuclear filling stations. Under the auspices of the IAEA these suppliers will dictate the rules, the prices and the currencies they want to get paid in.

Iran has become the pretext and test case for their plans.

However, like the "man-made Global Warming" myth, the "Peak-Oil" myth is now being contradicted by the facts, which even part of the mainstream media can no longer ignore:

On January 18, 2008 the British Times reports:

World not running out of oil, say experts

A landmark study of more than 800 oilfields by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera) has concluded that rates of decline are only 4.5 per cent a year, almost half the rate previously believed, leading the consultancy to conclude that oil output will continue to rise over the next decade.

Peter Jackson, the report's author, said: “We will be able to grow supply to well over 100million barrels per day by 2017.” Current world oil output is in the region of 85million barrels a day.

But not only do western experts now concede, that there is far more oil in the ground, than they have previously admitted to, but there are also a growing number of western geologists who finally are starting to challenge the 18th century theory of "fossil" fuel, something the Russians have done over half a century ago.

William Engdahl writes about this in his "Confessions of an “ex” Peak Oil Believer"

Engdahl explains that for the Soviets it actually was "Necessity" which became "the mother of invention"

In the 1950’s the Soviet Union faced ‘Iron Curtain’ isolation from the West. The Cold War was in high gear. Russia had little oil to fuel its economy. Finding sufficient oil indigenously was a national security priority of the highest order.

Scientists at the Institute of the Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences began a fundamental inquiry in the late 1940’s: where does oil come from?

In 1956, Prof. Vladimir Porfir’yev announced their conclusions: ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths.’ The Soviet geologists had turned Western orthodox geology on its head. They called their theory of oil origin the ‘a-biotic’ theory—non-biological—to distinguish from the Western biological theory of origins.

If they were right, oil supply on earth would be limited only by the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present deep in the earth at the time of the earth’s formation. Availability of oil would depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions. They also realized old fields could be revived to continue producing, so called self-replentishing fields. They argued that oil is formed deep in the earth, formed in conditions of very high temperature and very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form. ‘Oil is a primordial material of deep origin which is transported at high pressure via ‘cold’ eruptive processes into the crust of the earth,’ Porfir’yev stated. His team dismissed the idea that oil is was biological residue of plant and animal fossil remains as a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply.

The Soviets then started to tailor their oil-explorations accordingly:

Following their a-biotic or non-fossil theory of the deep origins of petroleum, the Russian and Ukrainian petroleum geophysicists and chemists began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement of the Dnieper-Donets Basin. After a tectonic and deep structural analysis of the area, they made geophysical and geochemical investigations.

A total of sixty one wells were drilled, of which thirty seven were commercially productive, an extremely impressive exploration success rate of almost sixty percent. The size of the field discovered compared with the North Slope of Alaska. By contrast, US wildcat drilling was considered successful with a ten percent success rate. Nine of ten wells are typically “dry holes.”...

While the American oil multinationals were busy controlling the easily accessible large fields of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and other areas of cheap, abundant oil during the 1960’s, the Russians were busy testing their alternative theory. They began drilling in a supposedly barren region of Siberia. There they developed eleven major oil fields and one Giant field based on their deep ‘a-biotic’ geological estimates. They drilled into crystalline basement rock and hit black gold of a scale comparable to the Alaska North Slope.

They then went to Vietnam in the 1980s and offered to finance drilling costs to show their new geological theory worked. The Russian company Petrosov drilled in Vietnam’s White Tiger oilfield offshore into basalt rock some 17,000 feet down and extracted 6,000 barrels a day of oil to feed the energy-starved Vietnam economy. In the USSR, a-biotic-trained Russian geologists perfected their knowledge and the USSR emerged as the world’s largest oil producer by the mid-1980’s.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain the Russian oil-theory became far more available to scientists and lay people in the western world. Enthusiastically embracing free-market doctrines in the 1990s the Russian oil experts initially offered to share their expertise with the western world. But they were rebuffed in their overtures.

Obviously a theory which contradicts the scarcity myth would cut into the profits of the western oil-corporations.

The Russian oil-companies at home, however, kept on working the same way they had done for nearly half a century. Well after the dissolution of the USSR, in the early 1990’s, they went on using the a-biotic petroleum theory

to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years, to be geologically barren—the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the region between Russia and Ukraine.

And while the well-paid scientists of the western oil-companies rejected the theory, others did not. Raymond J. Learsy quotes the western proponents of the abiotic oil-theory in the Huffington Post:

The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins recognizes that petroleum is a primordial material of deep origin which has been erupted into the crust of the Earth. In short, and bluntly, petroleum is not a "fossil fuel" and has no intrinsic connection with dead dinosaurs (or any other biological detritus) "in the sediments" (or anywhere else)...

The modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of petroleum is based upon rigorous scientific reasoning, consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry, as well as upon extensive geological observation, and rests squarely in the mainstream of modern physics and chemistry, from which it draws its provenance.
Much of the modern Russian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum genesis developed from the sciences of chemistry and thermodynamics, and accordingly the modern theory has steadfastly held as a central tenet that the generation of hydrocarbons must conform to the general laws of chemical thermodynamics, - as must likewise all matter.
In such respect, modern Russian-Ukrainian petroleum science contrasts strongly to what are too often passed off as "theories" in the field of geology in Britain and the U.S.A.

The wall western multinational oil-companies had put up against scientifically based research to save their scarcity paradigm is obviously crumbling as was to be expected at least since the fall of the Iron Wall. More and more western scientific research supporting the long established and well tested Russian theories is now being published, as in the right-wing WorldNetDaily, which cites geologist and researcher Giora Proskurowski who, in a study published in Science Magazine

presented new evidence supporting the abiotic theory for the origin of oil...
While organic theorists have posited that the material required to produce hydrocarbons in sedimentary rock came from dinosaurs and ancient forests, more recent argument have suggested living organisms as small as plankton may have been the origin.

The abiotic theory argues, in contrast, that hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock. Traditional petro-geologists, they say, have confused the rock as the originator rather than the depository of the hydrocarbons....

Lost City is a hypothermal field some 2,100 feet below sea level that sits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the center of the Atlantic Ocean, noted for strange 90 to 200 foot white towers on the sea bottom.

In 2003 and again in 2005, Proskurowski and his team descended in a scientific submarine to collect liquid bubbling up from Lost City sea vents.

Proskurowski found hydrocarbons containing carbon-13 isotopes that appeared to be formed from the mantle of the Earth, rather than from biological material settled on the ocean floor.

Carbon 13 is the carbon isotope scientists associate with abiotic origin, compared to Carbon 12 that scientists typically associate with biological origin.

Proskurowski argued that the hydrocarbons found in the natural hydrothermal fluids coming out of the Lost City sea vents is attributable to abiotic production by Fischer-Tropsch, or FTT, reactions.

The Fischer-Tropsch equations were first developed by Nazi scientists who created methodologies for producing synthetic oil from coal.

"Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water and moderate amounts of heat," Proskurowski wrote.

The study also confirmed a major argument of Cornell University physicist Thomas Gold, who argued in his book "The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels" that micro-organisms found in oil might have come from the mantle of the earth where, absent photosynthesis, the micro-organisms feed on hydrocarbons arising from the earth's mantle in the dark depths of the ocean floors.

Another piece of evidence for the abiotic origin of oil, are several experimental studies done recently:

Alexander Goncharov, a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution ()
and his colleagues in Russia and Sweden have experimentally shown for the first time that ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be produced under the pressure and temperature conditions of the upper mantle, the slightly viscous layer of the earth directly below the crust. Their research was published () in Nature Geoscience.

"Our results provide a link which was previously missing or was doubtful because of a lack of in situ measurements ... for the upper mantle conditions," Goncharov said. "Thus, our work suggests there is a possibility for the [abiogenic] oil formation in the deep earth and that there is a potential to find more oil fields than expected if one assumes that oil could be formed only biogenically."

The researchers used a diamond anvil cell and a laser heat source to subject methane -- a primary component of natural gas -- to conditions that mimic the earth at 40 to 95 miles deep...................

Under those conditions, the methane reacted and formed petrochemical feedstock ethane and propane and butane, which are used as fuels, as well as molecular hydrogen and graphite. When the ethane was subjected to the same conditions, it formed methane, suggesting heavier hydrocarbons could exist deep under the earth's surface.

Barry Katz, a geochemist at Chevron Corp., agreed.

"I don't disagree with the idea," Katz said. "I disagree with the idea of commercial quantities. There's no question that it's coming out of the system. However, it's not coming out in commercial quantities."

Katz is acting like a true corporate hack. Russian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese oil producers have proved that there is indeed oil to be found at great depth and in commercial quantities.

According to an interview with oil-expert Dr. Kenney

Russian and Ukrainian scientists found

that a continuous reaction occurs naturally at a depth of approximately 100 km at a pressure of approximately 50,000 atmospheres (5 GPa) and a temperature of approximately 1500°C, and will continue more or less until the ‘death’ of planet earth in millions of years’ time. The high pressure causes oil to continuously seep up along fissures in the earth’s crust into subterranean caverns, which we call oil fields.

As the "Global Warming" myth is designed to put a large economic burden on the world population and hinder developing countries from rising up from poverty, so would the acceptance of the "Peak Oil" myth become the justification for endless wars in the Middle East, South America or the Caucasus, where we in the West are told we need to protect the "scarce resources" from the grab of the Chinese.

Settlers 'stone' school children

By Phoebe Greenwood in Hebron, West Bank

Twaneh School in Hebron has seen some improvements since former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair paid it a visit as UN Middle East envoy last year.

The track leading from the school to the new main road joining Jerusalem to Israeli settlements on the south eastern slopes of Palestine is now paved. There are two new school rooms being built where pupils will be taught up to Grade 9, rather than having to leave after Grade 4. They now have a playground.

But for the 32 children who live in Tuba and Magher Al Abeed, Palestinian villages encircled by three Israeli settlements, getting to school remains problematic.

Frequent attacks by Israeli settlers on children from these villages as they make their way to and from school have pushed Israel to take the exceptional step of providing them a daily military escort.

Ali, 12, has been coming to Twaneh School for six years, and is among those who wait for the military attachment: "The soldiers are okay, they don't give us a hard time. It's just the settlers - whenever we walk by the settlements or past their land, they try to attack us.

"Sometimes they chase us with their horses, ride them at us and try to use them to hurt us. The horses are so fast we can't get away. It's very frightening. But they don't harass us nearly so much when the military are there."

Patrol not reliable

Unfortunately, the patrol is not always reliable. Last Monday, Ali and the other children waited as they do every morning at 7am for their Israeli escorts but they didn't come. Eventually, they decided to walk the long way, a 12km detour around the settlements, which took them two hours.

In the afternoon, the children waited again for the patrol they expected to collect them at 12:30pm. At 3pm they gave up waiting and set off on the 12km hike for the second time that day, arriving home after dark. On Tuesday, the children waited and when the escort failed to arrive, they simply went home, too exhausted to face the two-hour walk once again.

After the military's two-day absence, Twaneh School's Headmaster Mahmoud Makhamreh contacted the Ministry of Education who in turn called the Palestinian Authority who spoke to the Israeli authorities. On Wednesday, the patrol turned up to take the kids to school.

Makhamreh sees a clear difference in the pupils who travel with the military: "The kids who are escorted are weaker in their ability to study- their communication skills are poor and they don't mix well with other children.

"They are full of fear, they feel insecure. I can see it in their behaviour: Whenever the patrol is late, they become nervous, afraid that it won't turn up and they will have to walk home unprotected.

"Quite a few have dropped out because of the difficulties they face getting here, particularly the girls. Last year three dropped out, this year one: four in total since 2008."

Ali, 12, a pupil at Twaneh school in the occupied West Bank. [SAVE THE CHILDREN]
According to new research published by Save the Children UK this week, Palestinian families living in areas like Hebron that the UN identifies as ‘high risk' in the West Bank and Gaza are poorer, less protected and more vulnerable than anywhere else in the occupied Palestinian territory.

At least half of those living in these areas who spoke to the charity said they have been forced from their homes at least once since 2000, the last major period of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Salam Kanaan, Save the Children UK's country director in the occupied Palestinian territory, states: "Without a secure future, the lives of Palestinian children living in high risk areas like the Hebron district are blighted. The daily struggle for basics like food, water and their physical safety has left children depressed and traumatised.

"Conditions in these areas make life so intolerable that many families are driven from their homes, leaving them even poorer and more vulnerable.

"These children need help and protection from the Israeli and Palestinian authorities as well as the international humanitarian community. Families need relief from the unrelenting pressures they face so they can raise their children."

Hurt by stones

Now he is 12, Ali says he worries less for himself than he does his little brother Mahmoud, 10, who walks to school with him: "We older kids always look out for the younger ones, try to protect them. When I was younger, in first and second grade, I was so scared of being beaten that I didn't want to come to school.

"Most of the kids I walk home with have been hurt by stones. We all have bruises on our legs from where rocks have hit us. Last year, one girl was sent to hospital because a stone hit her face and she was badly injured; she was 12 then.

"Of course, if I get hurt I'll tell my parents. I also tell them I'm afraid. They tell me that we need to stick together and never walk away from the military patrol truck."

While the military patrol has stemmed the attacks, it has done little to lessen the impact of the occupation on Hebron's children. Like the playground, the extra classroom and the paved road, this precaution is a cosmetic treatment for the deep wounds of conflict.

Twaneh School has had a demolition order on it since 1999. Headmaster Makhmareh says Israeli peace activists have championed their case in the courts and the demolition has been delayed, but it could still be carried out at any time.

The children, however, continue to walk to school, carrying on life almost as normal. Ali explains that he has little choice: ‘They throw stones at us because they want us to leave this area. But I will never leave here, I was born here. I belong to this land."

Phoebe Greenwood works for Save the Children UK, a global children's charity.

Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.


Palestinian students at Israeli universities support academic boycott

Open letter, Abnaa el-Balad, Iqraa Student Association, National Democratic Assembly, 11 November 2009

The following open letter to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim was issued on 9 November 2009 by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship studying as Israeli students. The university's board is due to consider a measure supporting the academic boycott of Israel:

We are Arab students at the Israeli universities writing to you in support of the proposed academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. We believe that the boycott is timely and hopefully will help in upholding moral values of fairness, justice and equality which have been sorely missed in our region.

While the reason for the boycott is rightly what has been going on in the 1967 occupied territories [West Bank and Gaza Strip], we propose another angle which affirms the need for boycott, namely our daily experience as Arabs in Israeli institutions. We are the lucky ones who have been able to pursue our studies in institutions of higher education, to which we arrived against great odds. Only very few among our generation have been qualified to attend universities due to the state's discriminatory policies. Our schools mostly lack the basic facilities needed for education, and the curriculum is structured to serve the state's goal in socializing the pupils for self-estrangement. It contains very little, if any at all, on our history and culture. Additionally, it aims to erase our historical memory and promote the official policy line of divide and rule. In short, it is modeled on curriculums that dark regimes, like apartheid South Africa, have used to indoctrinate rather than educate. We arrive to universities with this "educational" baggage.

The idea that Israeli universities adhere to the values of free academic institutions, where academic freedom, objectivity and meritocracy prevail, is widely accepted in the West. From our experience we attest -- and indeed prove beyond doubt -- that this is not the case. In recent years Israeli universities have changed the criteria of acceptance to various faculties in order -- as a certain president of an Israeli university put it -- to prevent large number of undesirable (i.e. Arab) students from attending prestigious faculties such as medicine and natural sciences. Moreover, lecturers who presented findings which are at odds with the official ideology -- such as Ilan Pappe and Neve Gordon -- are bullied and harassed or forced to resign. Meanwhile raw racist statements by many lecturers are considered by the administrations of the universities as benign or even objective statements. For example, recently Dr. Dan Scheuftan stated in one of his lectures: "The Arabs are the biggest failure in the history of the human race ... there's nothing under the sun that's more screwed up than the Palestinians;" "Throughout the Arab world, people fire guns at weddings in order to prove that they have at least one thing that's hard and in working order that can shoot."

It goes without saying that none of these lecturers has ever been disciplined. Moreover, foreign students are warned by the security authorities of Haifa University not to visit Arab villages or towns.

Although some Israeli universities -- such as the University of Haifa -- pride themselves on promoting "co-existence," nothing is further from the truth than this. We are prevented from forming our [own] (i.e. Arab) students union, and racial discrimination against us -- under the pretext of not serving in the army -- is widely practiced in the granting of scholarships, as well as in the provision of housing at the universities' residential halls. This is particularly grave as the universities are located in Jewish towns, and Arab students face many obstacles and hardships in finding appropriate housing due to prevailing prejudices and anti-Arab sentiments in Israeli society.

Yet, the restrictions imposed on our freedom of expression are more stifling. We are not allowed to express our collective sentiments or ideas publicly. It is quite often that our public gatherings are not only violently interrupted by extreme right-wing Jewish students, but also in various occasions the universities called on the police to intervene. In several occasions, as during our peaceful demonstration at Haifa University against the war on Gaza, the police sent in large number of its special units which are infamous for their brutality. Needless to say that they do the job they are trained for. Moreover, the universities collaborate with the internal security services (the feared Shin Bet) and provide them with names of the activists among the students who are regularly summoned, investigated and threatened.

In the end, we are hopeful that you will take a decision which reaffirms the true meaning of human values, and provide a proof that racism, religious tribalism, obfuscation and disregard for human dignity are no longer tolerated.


Abnaa el-Balad - The Student Movement
Iqraa Student Association - Islamic Movement
National Democratic Assembly (NDA) - The Student Movement


China Will Allow Yuan Gains to Slow Inflation, Riverfront Says

China may resume the crawling peg as early as next week

By Allen Wan

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- China will allow for faster appreciation of the yuan against the dollar next year as it seeks to curb accelerating inflation, according to Riverfront Investment Group and RBC Capital Markets.

“China can either let the yuan appreciate or allow inflation to accelerate at the risk of causing social unrest,” said Michael Jones, who manages $1.4 billion in stocks, including Chinese equities, at Richmond, Virginia-based Riverfront. “Inflation pressures will push China to allow substantial yuan appreciation.”

The world’s third-biggest economy expanded 8.9 percent in the past quarter, the fastest pace in a year, according to official data. Money supply increased a record 29.4 percent in October from a year earlier, the central bank said today.

“Rapid Chinese money supply growth led to inflation in 2004 and 2008,” Jones said. “It could happen again.”

He predicts the inflation rate may rise as high as 7 percent next year, with food prices double that estimate. Under that worst-case scenario, Chinese policymakers may be forced to revalue the currency by 25 percent, Jones said.

Consumer prices fell 0.5 percent last month, the smallest drop since declines began in February, according to a Bloomberg survey. Prices will rise 2.7 percent in 2010, according to the average of 16 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“Pressure from the international community to allow yuan appreciation is not that big,” People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said Nov. 6.

Economic Stimulus

China’s 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus spending and record lending may lead to a pick-up in inflation, prompting the government to allow for an appreciation of the yuan, said RBC’s global head of emerging research Nick Chamie.

“Strong stimulus and very easy liquidity conditions are likely to stoke inflation pressures in the months ahead, suggesting that tighter policy will be needed -- currency appreciation will likely be part of the package,” Chamie wrote in a note to clients.

RBC predicts the yuan may strengthen to 6.50 against the dollar by the end of next year. China has maintained the currency’s value at around 6.83 against the dollar since July 2008, after allowing it to rise 21 percent in the previous three years. Yuan forwards indicated on Nov. 9 that traders expect the currency to resume gains, climbing 3 percent in the next year.

‘Tough Stance’

Policy makers are unlikely to allow the currency to resume its appreciation this year after keeping it almost unchanged since July 2008, Beijing-based Zhu Baoliang, the chief economist at the State Information Center, said in an interview on Nov 9. China will stick with its “tough stance” on the currency until overseas sales rebound, Zhang Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a separate interview.

The central bank may first allow for a “gradual” appreciation of the yuan by reintroducing a so-called crawling peg that was shelved during last year’s financial crisis, Riverfront’s Jones said. That would allow the yuan to rise against the U.S. dollar and maintain its value against other major currencies such as the euro and yen, he said.

China suspended the crawling peg as the financial crisis sparked aversion to risk and boosted the dollar, Jones said. Since then, major currencies have rebounded, allowing the government to resume its previous approach, he said.

“We believe that as other currencies continue to rally, China will likely resume a crawling peg strategy against the dollar,” Jones said. “Such a shift in policy will likely motivate a rally as global financial markets breathe a collective sigh of relief.”

‘Material Revaluation’

China may resume the crawling peg as early as next week, when U.S. President Barack Obama visits the Asian country, Jones said.

Asian currencies such as the Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won may appreciate further if the yuan gains as governments in the region have been reluctant to risk further gains on concern they may become less competitive, he said.

“A material revaluation of the yuan could potentially unleash substantial domestic consumption in China, be a catalyst for a boom in global trade, and spark a secular bull market in equities,” Jones said.

Petrobras is the third biggest company in the Americas

Petrobras - 11/11/2009 13:29


Petrobras is the third biggest publicly traded company on the American continent, according to a study published by the Economática consultancy firm Tuesday (11/10). The survey shows the Company experienced a growth of $192.5 billion in its market value from December 2002 to November 2009, which surged from $15.4 billion to $207.9 billion in the period. The first and second spots on the list are held by American outfits Exxon ($345.8 bn) and Microsoft ($257.4 bn).

In late 2002, Petrobras ranked 121st among the largest publicly-held companies on the continents. Since then, it rose 118 positions.

The result places Petrobras ahead of companies of the likes of Wall Mart ($200.6 bn), Apple ($181.5 bn), and Procter & Gamble ($180.7 bn), which ranked fourth, fifth and sixth on the list, respectively. The ranking also features other multinational corporations like Google, Johnson & Johnson, Texaco and Coca-Cola.

Tampa police: Marine reservist attacked Greek priest

Attorney Jeff Brown - The police initially called the Marine a "hero" and said the priest was "mentally ill"

By Alexandra Zayas and Demorris A. Lee
Saint Petersburg Times
November 11, 2009

TAMPA — Marine reservist Jasen Bruce was getting clothes out of the trunk of his car Monday evening when a bearded man in a robe approached him.

That man, a Greek Orthodox priest named Father Alexios Marakis, speaks little English and was lost, police said. He wanted directions.

What the priest got instead, police say, was a tire iron to the head. Then he was chased for three blocks and pinned to the ground — as the Marine kept a 911 operator on the phone, saying he had captured a terrorist.

Police say Bruce offered several reasons to explain his actions:

The man tried to rob him.

The man grabbed Bruce's crotch and made an overt sexual advance in perfect English.

The man yelled "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," the same words some witnesses said the Fort Hood shooting suspect uttered last week.

"That's what they tell you right before they blow you up," police say Bruce told them.

Bruce ended up in jail, accused of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was released Tuesday on $7,500 bail. Marakis ended up at the hospital with stitches. He told the police he didn't want to press charges, espousing biblical forgiveness.

But Tuesday, Bruce wasn't saying sorry.

• • •

The two men are a year apart in age, and a world apart in life experiences.

Father Michael Eaccarino of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs says Marakis, 29, entered a Greek monastery as a teenager and became a priest nine years ago. He is studying theology at Holy Cross, a Greek Orthodox school in Massachusetts, and traveled to Tarpon Springs two months ago to work on his master's thesis. He has taken a vow of celibacy.

Eaccarino says the visiting priest got lost Monday after ministering to the elderly in a nursing home.

Jasen Bruce, 28, enlisted as a reserve Marine as a teenager, was discharged honorably when he finished his contract, and enlisted again this March. He has never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, a Marine Corps spokesman said. He got married last month in full dress uniform.

Bruce is a sales manager for APS Pharmacy in Palm Harbor. His blog entries tout the benefits of increasing testosterone and human growth hormones. He was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2007 for hopping over the bed of a tow truck and shoving its driver. He pleaded no contest.

Online photo galleries depict him flexing big muscles wearing little clothing.

An exterior surveillance video of Tuesday's chase captured the two men in motion, said Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Laura McElroy:

"You see a very short, small man running, and an enormous, large muscular man chasing after him."

This is what police say happened at 6:35 p.m. Monday:

The priest's GPS gave him the wrong directions, leading him off Interstate 275 and into downtown Tampa. He followed a line of cars into a garage at the Seaport Channelside condominium to ask for help.

He found Bruce, whose back was turned, bending over the trunk of his car, and he tapped his shoulder before saying, in broken English, "please" and "help."

That's when Bruce reached for the tire iron. Police say that by the end of the chase, he had hit the priest four times.

Hours after his release from Orient Road Jail on Tuesday, Bruce stood silently as his attorney, Jeff Brown, told his version:

The bearded man wearing a robe and sandals was clearly trespassing in the garage. In a sudden move, the stranger made a verbal sexual advance and grabbed Bruce's genitals. The Marine defended himself. And immediately, he called 911 as he chased him.

Brown said the police initially called the Marine a "hero" and said the priest was "mentally ill."

He called the police's account "one-sided" and said the department should investigate a sergeant he said made derogatory comments about the Marine's military background.

Police said that sergeant is, himself, a veteran. They say that the priest was disoriented when they found him at the corner of Madison and Meridian avenues, but a translator at Tampa General Hospital helped him communicate. And that the GPS corroborates the priest's story.

When police arrived at Bruce's apartment at 1:30 a.m., before they had mentioned charges, he had already called an attorney.

Television news stations showed the priest's photo on Tuesday and mentioned what the Marine said he did. If the priest had watched, he wouldn't have understood it.

He'd spent the day in great spirits, his fellow priest said. His main worry was that he inconvenienced the others who had to care for him. Then, a man named Jerry Theophilopoulos got in touch with him. He's a lawyer, speaks Greek and served as a former board member of the church. The lawyer said he told the priest what the Marine said. Marakis was stunned. His eyes grew wide. He said it was a lie.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Jamal Thalji contributed to this report.

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

The sun sets on Oslo "peace" process

By Stephen M. Walt | November 10, 2009

Two eminent mainstream journalists -- Tom Friedman and Joe Klein -- recently called for United States to disengage from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, on the grounds that Palestinians were too divided to make a deal and the Israelis were not interested in one. Friedman couldn't bring himself to draw the logical conclusion -- if the United States truly going to "disengage," that also means cutting off its economic and military assistance -- but Klein did.

I have a certain sympathy for this position (and even wrote similar things myself before I wised up), but there are two problems with this specific idea. The first is that it is a meaningless prescription: There's no way to cut the aid package (or even put a hold on it, which is what Klein recommends) so long as Congress is in hock to AIPAC and the other groups in the status quo lobby. And unless I've missed something, I doubt groups like J Street would support it either.

Friedman and Klein's statements do convey how discourse in the United States is changing, but the specific recommendation they offer here is a non-starter. Remember: we are dealing with a Congress that just voted to condemn the Goldstone Report by a vote of 344-24. The aid package may be indirectly subsidizing the settlements and threatening Israel’s future as a Jewish majority state, but a supine House and Senate will still sign the annual check.

The second problem, I fear, is that it is too little, too late. Having dithered, delayed and dissembled ever since the Oslo Accords -- while the number of settlers more than doubled -- we are about to face an entirely different problem. The sun is now setting on the "two-state solution" -- if it is not already well below the horizon -- and pretty soon everyone will have to admit that they are sitting around in the dark and pretending they see daylight.

Be careful what you wish for. Israel is going to get what it has long sought: permanent control of the West Bank (along with de facto control over Gaza). The Palestinian Authority is increasingly irrelevant and may soon collapse, General Keith Dayton's mission to train reliable and professional Palestinian security forces will end, and Israel will once again have full responsibility for some 5.2 million Palestinian Arabs under its control. And the issue will gradually shift from the creation of a viable Palestinian state -- which was the central idea behind the Oslo process and the subsequent "Road Map" -- to a struggle for civil and political rights within an Israel that controls all of mandate Palestine. And on what basis could the United States oppose such a campaign, without explicitly betraying its own core values?

In this regard, it was telling that Martin Indyk -- a key figure in the lobby and far from a harsh critic of Israeli policy -- is quoted in the Times saying "more than likely, we are entering a new era." I think he's right, and he sounds worried. He should be, because the Obama administration isn't remotely ready for it.