Friday, November 2, 2007

Russian and American record of Dobrynin-Kissinger 'back-channel' meetings published

Excerpt from the intro to Naomi Wolf's 'The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot'

"...A breather is unearned; we can't simply relax now. The laws that drive these pressures are still on the books. The people who have a vested interest in a less open society may be in a moment of formal political regrouping; but their funds are just as massive as before, their strategic thinking unchanged, and their strategy now is to regroup so that next time their majority will be permanent.

All of us -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, American citizens -- have little time to repeal the laws and roll back the forces that can bring about the end of the American system we have inherited from the Founders -- a system that has protected our freedom for over 200 years.

I have written this warning because our country -- the democracy our young patriots expect to inherit -- is in the process of being altered forever. History has a great deal to teach us about what is happening right now -- what has happened since 2001 and what could well unfold after the 2008 election. But fewer and fewer of us have read much about the history of the mid-twentieth century -- or about the ways the Founders set up our freedoms to save us from the kinds of tyranny they knew could emerge in the future. High school students, college students, recent graduates, activists from all walks of life, have a sense that something overwhelming has been going on. But they have lacked a primer to brief them on these themes and put the pieces together, so it is hard for them to know how urgent the situation is, let alone what they need to do.

Americans expect to have freedom around us just as we expect to have air to breathe, so we have only limited understanding of the furnaces of repression that the Founders knew intimately. Few of us spend much time thinking about how "the system" they put in place protects our liberties. We spend even less time, considering how dictators in the past have broken down democracies or quelled pro-democracy uprisings. We take our American liberty for granted the way we take our natural resources for granted, seeing both, rather casually, as being magically self-replenishing. We have not noticed how vulnerable either resource is until very late in the game, when systems start to falter. We have been slow to learn that liberty, like nature, demands a relationship with us in order for it to continue to sustain us..."

~ Link ~

airbase being prepped for Iran attack

"...The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to military sources.

The improvement of the B1 Spirit jet infrastructure coincides with an "urgent operational need" request for £44m to fit racks to the long-range aircraft.

That would allow them to carry experimental 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs designed to smash underground bunkers buried as much as 200ft beneath the surface through reinforced concrete.

One MOP - known as Big Blu - has already been tested successfully at the US Air Force proving ground at White Sands in New Mexico. Tenders have now gone out for a production model to be ready for use in the next nine months..."   ~ continue reading ~

Ancient sea travellers had heads in the clouds

File under 'lost skills':
 
"...Its Hawaiian provenance confirms what Pacific peoples have long been
told through folklore - that their ancestors were among the most
skilled navigators in history.

Archaeologists and historians have likened their ability to find new
islands in the vastness of the Pacific as akin to sending a rocket
into space and hoping it will hit a planet.

Dr Marshall Weisler, of the University of Queensland, said the journey
between Hawaii and Tahiti "now stands as the longest uninterrupted
maritime voyage in human prehistory".

He said it was "mind-boggling" how Polynesian settlers found their way
from one speck of land to another and back again, colonising the last
uninhabited parts of the planet.

They are believed to have used signs such as tides, the presence of
driftwood and the flight of seabirds, which return to roost on land at
night.

They also closely observed the underside of clouds, which reflect
whatever lies beneath them - a darker tinge indicates the presence of
land..."

the "Do Not Track" list proposal

Plan Would Limit Tracking of Web Surfing - New York Times:

A coalition of privacy groups Wednesday
called for creation of a "Do Not Track List," that would
prohibit advertisers from tracking online movements of
consumers.

Similar to the popular Do Not Call telephone lists, the
Internet proposal comes as online advertising revenues are
growing rapidly, providing critical revenue to startups and
Web giants such as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Online ad revenue is forecast to more than double to $44
billion in 2011 from $17 billion in 2006, according to
eMarketer.com.

Computer users should be notified when their Web surfing is
tracked by online advertisers and Web publishers, argue the
Consumer Federation of America, the World Privacy Forum and
the Center for Democracy and Technology, among other groups in
a coalition promoting the idea.

Rather than burying privacy policies in fine print, companies
should also disclose them more fully and provide easier ways
to opt out, the groups said.

The organizations submitted the proposals to the Federal Trade
Commission, ahead of the consumer watchdog agency's workshop
on Nov. 1-2 to study the increasing use of tracking technology
to target online ads...
 
~ source ~
 

of witches and broomsticks

" ... Without a doubt, it’s due to its high toxicity that Datura estramonium is generally ingested by people through their skin and through their mucous membranes. In some cases, the plant’s raw sap is used; in others, ointments are elaborated with this and other plants. It was this second system application which generated the old image of the witch flying on a broomstick: effectively the European women rubbed the stramonium-based potions that they brewed into their vaginal mucous membranes, using a stick for intravaginal application. Since the intoxication appears within a few moments, the women felt the sensation that they were flying while riding the stick.

On the other hand, the visions induced by the consumption of stramonium are more related to experiences of flying than other psychotropic substances. It produces an intense sensation that the intoxicated individual is flying in other dimensions of reality where he or she encounters new people and situations, but one especially gets the feeling of being able to know what is happening in faraway worlds. That’s why the Inquisition Tribunal often accused European witches of knowing of events that had happened far away from them, and that this could only be done with the help of the Devil—which was a good reason to burn them alive. Meanwhile, the witches claimed to have this knowledge thanks to the secrets of the potions that they used. ... "

~ Link ~

General Assembly urges observance of 'Olympic Truce' during Beijing Games

A note to those prone to excitement: this looks set to become a quadrennial exercise in futility.
31 October 2007 – The United Nations General Assembly today urged all countries to observe the Olympic Truce during the 2008 Beijing Games – a move backed by its president, who advocated greater use of sport to promote peace and development.

In a resolution adopted unanimously and sponsored by the vast majority of UN Member States, the Assembly also welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to galvanize actions to promote a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce, a revived ancient Greek tradition known as ekecheiria.

It called on all Member States to cooperate with the IOC in its efforts to use sport as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period...

~ continue reading ~

"They handle viruses that could kill tens of millions of people"

 
Flu lab nears completion
UW-Madison's $12.5 million Institute for Influenza Viral Research, nearing completion at University Research Park, will have a collection of safety and security features the university hasn't seen before.
Many people will be watching the work of the institute, to be directed by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka.
The observers include health officials, who want a better understanding of the bird flu virus that is threatening a global flu epidemic. They include scientists, who are competing with Kawaoka to make discoveries about bird flu and other flu viruses.
They also include critics, who have charged Kawaoka with circumventing safety rules.
Critics objected three years ago to Kawaoka's research at UW-Madison involving the deadly 1918 flu virus, saying his safety measures were not strict enough.
This September, they revealed that the university halted his work on components of the Ebola virus last year after the National Institutes of Health said the studies must be done in a lab more secure than any on campus.
Without proper precautions, the critics say, such viruses can escape...
 

GM Freeze Welcomes Suspension of GM Crops in France

GM Freeze has warmly welcomed the statement by French President, Nicholas
Sarkozy, that the commercial planting of GM crops in France has been
suspended.

The announcement was made at a national conference on the environment held
this week [1].

Previous refusals by French governments to approve commercial licenses for GM
herbicide tolerant oilseed rape allowed time for new evidence to emerge about
the long term harm the crop would cause to farmland wildlife [2].

Yesterday, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas announced his intention
to ban two GM maize varieties resistant to insect pest (Syngenta Bt11 maize
and Pioneers 1507 maize) because of concerns about the Bt toxins they produce
harming the non target species such as butterflies [3].

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said

"The French Government has clearly listened to concerns about the uncertainty
surrounding the health and environmental safety of GM crops and we warmly
welcome this announcement. It is another clear message to the biotech industry
that Europe will not accept poorly tested GMOs. The Sarkozy announcement
should kick start a debate on whether the GM intensive farming model is the
right way forward  for agriculture in Europe and the rest of the world. Many
people now recognize that the long term care of the land, biodiversity and
natural resources and the production of high quality food is the way forward.
Let's hope Number 10 and Defra are also listening."


Notes

1.  See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7062577.stm

2. In 1997 the French Government refused to sign commercial marketing
consents for two GM oilseed rape varieties produced by Plant Genetics Systems
(since taken over and now part of Bayer CropScience) after a qualified vote in
favour in December 1996. The Farm Scale Evaluations in the UK (1999-2003)
found that GM herbicide tolerant spring and winter oilseed rape both
significantly reduced the amounts of weeds and weed seeds in arable fields
this reducing the supply of food for farmland birds and other species.

3. See http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRU00606620071025

Reuters: 'Japan minister mulls "tranquil" executions'

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said on
Wednesday he wanted to consider more 'tranquil' methods of execution.

Japan generally executes several convicts a year, always by hanging.

"I am fully aware that 'death by hanging' is written in the criminal
code," Hatoyama said after a parliamentary committee meeting, Kyodo news
agency said.

"A square part of the floor opens up and they fall with a thud," he said.
"I honestly wonder if there isn't a more tranquil way of doing this,"
Kyodo quoted him as adding.

It was not clear what other methods he was considering...
 

war protests: why no coverage?

 
Newspapers have a duty to inform citizens about such democratic events.

...it seems remarkable to me that in some of the 11 cities in which protests were held – Boston and New York, for example – major news outlets treated this "National Day of Action" as though it did not exist. As far as I can tell, neither The New York Times nor The Boston Globe had so much as a news brief about the march in the days leading up to it. The day after, The Times, at least in its national edition, totally ignored the thousands who marched in New York and the tens of thousands who marched nationwide. The Globe relegated the news of 10,000 spirited citizens (including me) marching through Boston's rain-dampened streets to a short piece deep inside its metro section. A single sentence noted the event's national context.

As a former newspaper editor, I was most taken aback by the silence beforehand. Surely any march of widespread interest warrants a brief news item to let people know that the event is taking place and that they can participate. It's called "advancing the news," and it has a time-honored place in American newsrooms.

With prescient irony, Frank Rich wrote in his Oct. 14 Times column, "We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq.… But we must also examine our own responsibility." And, he goes on to suggest, we must examine our own silence.

So why would Mr. Rich's news colleagues deprive people of information needed to take exactly that responsibility?...

~ full article ~

 
 
 

US accused of torture

 
THE United States's willingness to resort to harsh interrogation techniques in its so-called war on terror undermined human rights and the international ban on torture, a United Nations spokesman says.

Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said the US's standing and importance meant it was a model to other countries which queried why they were subject to scrutiny when the US resorted to measures witnessed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison.

Mr Nowak was speaking after releasing his finding that the use of torture was routine and widespread in Sri Lanka ,despite laws against it.

"I am very concerned about the undermining of the absolute prohibition of torture by interrogation methods themselves in Abu Grahib, in Guantanamo Bay and others, but also by rendition and the whole CIA secret places of detention. All that is really undermining the international rule of law in general and human rights but also the prohibition of torture," said Mr Nowak...

~ continue reading ~

 
 

CIA director defends interrogation techniques

31 Oct 2007
 
[JURIST] CIA Director Michael Hayden [official profile] defended the CIA's interrogation tactics Tuesday in the wake of the refusal [JURIST report] of US Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey [WH profile] to say whether waterboarding [JURIST news archive] constitutes torture. In an address [CCGA materials] to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Hayden called the CIA's interrogation programs "as lawful as they are valuable." AP has more.

Both
Democrats and Republicans [JURIST reports] have said they will oppose Mukasey's nomination if he does not unequivocally state that waterboarding is torture. The US military forbids waterboarding - a technique that simulates drowning, but the CIA will not confirm whether it has banned the practice. Former CIA director George Tenet has repeatedly denied [JURIST report] that waterboarding has been used during interrogations of terror suspects.
 
~ Link ~

'The Neo-Cons Unfettered Access to Americas Secrets'

Sep. 18, 2005
 
EXCLUSIVE REPORT: THE DEMISE OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY

By Wayne Madsen

During the Cold War, if the United States suffered a massive
compromise of its own cryptographic security and, at the same, time
experienced a thorough penetration of its communications intelligence
yielding the sensitive sources and methods whereby the U.S.
intelligence community tapped and decrypted the communications of
its adversaries, the Soviet Union would have been able to dictate
surrender terms for America and its allies.

For years, the National Security Agency (NSA) maintained highly
classified back doors into the encrypted communications of worldwide
foreign ministries, military commands, banks, international
organizations, and even the Vatican, the International Committee
of the Red Cross, and the United Nations. In addition, the United
States spent billions of dollars to develop highly secure cryptographic
systems to protect its military, intelligence, and diplomatic
communications from the prying ears and eyes of its enemies.

However, according to U.S. intelligence sources with connections
to both the Reagan and Clinton administrations, Americas most
sensitive communications security and cryptologic secrets have been
totally compromised by a Fifth Column embedded within the recent
past and current administrations  the group generally identified
as neo-conservatives, political ideologues rooted in a peculiar
blend of Trotskyism and fascism -- ideologues who are neither new
nor conservative in ideology but whose intentions are to weaken
Americas national security to a degree that ruins the very foundations
on which the nation was built.

One of the major NSA success stories since its establishment on
October 24, 1952 was the rigging of the encryption machines of the
Swiss company Crypto AG in a secret deal cut between NSAs William
Friedman and Boris Hagelin, the developer of the Hagelin cipher
machine used by the Allies in World War II. In 1958, Hagelin, who
founded Crypto AG in 1950, agreed to the deal with NSA. It was the
height of the Cold War.

For U.S. intelligence, the Hagelin-NSA deal was an intelligence
coup on the level of the U.S. breaking of Germanys Enigma code and
Japans Purple code in World War II. Neutral nations trusted a Swiss
company to sell encryption machines as highly-reliable as Swiss
watches and as trusted as Swiss bank accounts....
 
 

Secrecy threatens historical record, State Dept is told

SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 108
November 1, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: 
http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Broad classification restrictions on the disclosure of historical
intelligence information are making it difficult or impossible to
accurately represent the record of U.S. foreign policy, an official
advisory committee warned the Secretary of State last summer.

By law, the Department of State is obliged to publish "a thorough,
accurate and reliable documentary record" of United States foreign
policy in its official Foreign Relations of the United States series.

But due to official secrecy, "the credibility of the series... remains
in the balance," according to the newly disclosed report of the State
Department's Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation.

For example, "The blanket denial by the CIA of the right to quote or
cite from the President's Daily Briefs of the Nixon years and beyond
will make it difficult to give a full and accurate rendering of the
effect of intelligence assessments on the foreign relations of the
United States.... [T]he continued exemption of the President's Daily
Briefs may cause serious harm to the intellectual integrity of the
Foreign Relations series."

Similarly, the Committee complained, the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board "has not allowed the historians of the
[Foreign Relations] series access to its records [which] need to become
accessible to the staff of the [State Department] Office of the
Historian and be made available for inclusion in appropriate volumes of
Foreign Relations of the United States."

In short, "Committee members believe that unless policies consistent
with respect for the right of the American people to be fully informed
about their government's conduct of foreign policy are adopted and
implemented by the Executive Branch, it may become impossible for The
Historian [of the State Department] to carry out his duties or for the
committee to carry out its Congressionally mandated obligations."

See "Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic
Documentation, January 1-December 31, 2006," transmitted to the
Secretary of State on June 19, 2007:

    
http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac2006.pdf

The Radiation Poisoning Of America

By Amy Worthington

Prior to 1996, the wireless age was not coming online fast enough, primarily because communities had the authority to block the siting of cell towers. But the Federal Communications Act of 1996 made it nearly  impossible for communities to stop construction of cell towers "even if they pose threats to public health and the environment. Since the decision to enter the age of wireless convenience was politically determined for us, we have forgotten well-documented safety and environmental concerns and, with a devil-may-care zeal that is lethally short-sighted, we have incorporated into our lives every wireless toy that comes on the market. We behave as if we are addicted to radiation. Our addiction to cell phones has led to harder "drugs" like wireless Internet. And now we are bathing in the radiation that our wireless enthusiasm has unleashed. Those who are addicted, uninformed, corporately biased and politically-influenced may dismiss our scientifically-sound concerns about the apocalyptic hazards of wireless radiation. But we must not. Instead, we must sound the alarm.
 
----
 
Illa Garcia wore jewelry the first day she went back to work as a fire lookout for the state of California in the summer of 2002. The intense radiation from dozens of RF/microwave antennas surrounding the lookout heated the metals on her body enough to burn her skin. "I still have those scars," she says. "I never wore jewelry to work after that."
 
Likely Mountain Lookout, on U.S. Forest Service land with a spectacular view of Mount Shasta, is one of thousands of RF/microwave "hot spots" across the nation. A newly-erected cellular communications tower was only 30 feet from the lookout. "One antenna on that tower was even with our heads," recalls Garcia. "We could hear high-pitched buzzing. There were also three state communications antennas mounted on the lookout, only 6 feet from where we walked. We climbed past them every day."
 
Motorola company manuals for management of communications sites confirm that high frequency radiation from these antennas is nasty stuff. Safety regulations mandate warning signs, EMF awareness training, protective gear, even transmitter deactivation for personnel working that close to antennas. Garcia and co-worker Mary Jasso were never warned about the hazards. This,  they say, demonstrates extreme malfeasance on the part of agencies and commercial companies responsible for their exposure.
 
By the end of fire season, Garcia and Jasso were so ill they were forced to retire and the lookout was closed to state personnel. Garcia, 52, is now severely disabled with fibromyalgia, auto-immune thyroiditis and acute nerve degeneration. Medical tests confirmed broken DNA strands in her blood and abnormal tissue death in her brain.
 
Dr. Gunner Heuser, a medical specialist in neurotoxicity, states that Garcia's disorders are a result of chronic electromagnetic field exposure in the microwave range and that "she has become totally disabled as a result." Dr. Heuser wrote, "In my experience patients develop multisystem complaints after EMF exposure just as they do after toxic chemical exposure."
 
Jasso, who worked the lookout for 11 seasons, is also disabled with brain and lung damage, partial left side paralysis, muscle tremors, bone pain and DNA damage. Jasso discovered that all lookouts who worked Likely Mountain since 1989 are disabled. At only 61 years of age, she has lost so much memory that she cannot remember back to when her first three children were born. She fears that communications radiation may be a major factor in the nation's phenomenal epidemics of dementia and autism....

~ continue reading

"Think of the psychedelics as Google's biggest trade secret"

From the Reality Sandwich blog:

This here and now is the frontier. Round two for the monkeys playing with fire. Round one with wood-burning fire was fun. Scary. Awesome when it rips through the forest. Delicious when it leaves a roast pig in the ashes. But how to use and control fire—warmth, protection, metallurgy, better spears, pottery, roast pig on demand—took a lot of experimenting, accidental discoveries, and risk before it became an evolutionary catalyst. Ditto for the psychedelic fires. Seeing the tsunami of evolutionary change as it approaches—and you can see it from altered states, as you know, noetically, grokkingly—this changes everything.

I have the advantage of hindsight, but I’ve noticed even the best-traveled psychonauts, the navigators and pilots of the interdimensional transport systems, the manufacturers and distributors of the fuel, have trouble holding the knowledge that this changes everything—in baseline consciousness. The findings are orthogonal to baseline paradigms of history and evolution, or a baseline sense of scale, or baseline perceptual settings. It’s just too big. Few have grokked the cognitive, creative, and ethical advantages conferred by the psychedelics. Those that have are already implementing the findings, and, well, taking over the world.

Take Google snagging Larry Brilliant to run Google.org. What do you get when you hire a phormer phreak, a Neem Karoli Baba spiritual guy who worked to eradicate smallpox with the WHO, later a Seva Foundation founder and doctor bringing sight to the blind in Nepal with his wife and Ram Dass and Wavy Gravy? Brilliant was on “The Bus,” for gawd sakes, and he brings, quoting the San Francisco Chronicle article, “ his pursuit of humanitarian goals and his longtime obsession with the technology business, particularly the potential for technology to connect people with each other and with information” [emphasis mine].

Think of the psychedelics as Google’s biggest trade secret.

~ Full post ~

Rachel Marsden: "One man's torture is another man's CIA-sponsored swim lesson"

~ Link ~

IHT: 'Bush's dangerous liaisons'

By Francois Furstenberg
28 Oct 2007

Much as George W. Bush's presidency was ineluctably shaped by Sept. 11,
2001, so the outbreak of the French Revolution was symbolized by the events
of one fateful day, July 14, 1789. And though 18th-century France may seem
impossibly distant to contemporary Americans, future historians examining
Bush's presidency within the longer sweep of political and intellectual
history may find the French Revolution useful in understanding his curious
brand of 21st-century conservatism.

Soon after the storming of the Bastille, pro-Revolutionary elements came
together to form an association that would become known as the Jacobin Club,
an umbrella group of politicians, journalists and citizens dedicated to
advancing the principles of the Revolution.

The Jacobins shared a defining ideological feature. They divided the world
between pro- and anti-Revolutionaries - the defenders of liberty versus its
enemies. The French Revolution, as they understood it, was the great event
that would determine whether liberty was to prevail on the planet or whether
the world would fall back into tyranny and despotism.

The stakes could not be higher, and on these matters there could be no
nuance or hesitation. One was either for the Revolution or for tyranny...
 

Google
 

image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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