Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sony spends megabucks on '2012 apocalypse' scenario

Sony Pictures has picked up disaster-movie king Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic script "2012," one of the first big projects to hit the market since the three-month writers strike ended on February 12.

While a deal almost was assured, many studios quickly dropped out of the hunt. Some didn't like the story, describing it as a "Roland Emmerich greatest-hits package." Others balked at the price tag. The project comes with a $200 million budget.

The script blends the idea of the Mayan calendar, which predicts the world ending in 2012, with natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, typhoons and glaciers plaguing the planet and a large cast of characters dealing with the mayhem.

Emmerich, known for such films as "Independence Day" and "Godzilla," will direct the project from a script he co-wrote with Harald Kloser. Sony is planning a July 10, 2009, release...

~ Read on... ~

Global Food Shortages Could "Continue for Decades"

Global inventories of grains are nearing historic lows, while twenty percent of the U.S. corn crop this coming year will be used for ethanol production. Meanwhile wheat, rice and soybean prices have reached all-time highs and corn prices have jumped to a 12-year high. 

Demand for grain continues to increase adding upward pressure on the price of agricultural products. We expect this trend to continue. Recent developments in the sector, found in various publications, include:

• For decades, the industrialized world enjoyed the luxury of producing far more milk, butter and wheat than its citizens could consume. The surplus was exported or was destroyed. Some experts expect this luxury has now come to an end. Europe's mountains of butter have been depleted, its grain silos emptied and its lakes of milk drained. "The era of overproduction is behind us," says Stephane Delodder, an agricultural specialist with Rabobank in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

For the first time, we are seeing the emergence of a global agricultural market driven by the growing demand for grains and a scarcity of supply. Wheat inventories, for example, have reached a 30-year low. In one year inventories in the European Union have plummeted from 14 million to one million tons. The fact is that arable land cannot be increased at will. Over the past three decades, the amount of arable land worldwide has stagnated at about 1.5 billion hectares (3.7 billion acres)...

~ Read on... ~


Uganda: National bio-safety committee approves trials of bollworm-resistant GM cotton

Uganda's National Bio-safety Committee (NBC) has approved confined field trials of a genetically modified (GM) variety of cotton that is resistant to bollworm. Bollworm can cause up to 40 percent of cotton crops in parts of Uganda to fail, and 'pest surges' have resulted in the entirety of plantations being lost. This is the second GM crop to be put to field trials in Uganda: the first was a variety of banana in 2006 that is resistant to the bacterial disease Black Sigatoka, which causes low crop yields. The GM cotton trials will be undertaken in Kasese district and trial sites will be ring-fenced and separated from other cotton by at least 200 metres. Arthur Makara, senior science officer at the NBC said the trials show "that Uganda is taking further steps to increase the capacity of its scientists to research, and understand, the principles and practices of modern biotechnology." Dr. Emeetai Areke, director of the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute, said the scientists would gather data from the trials that will be used in the development of GM cotton suited for Ugandan conditions. Trials are expected to begin in May 2008, but stakeholders have expressed concern that a 2003 bill on Biotechnology and Biosafety has yet to be ratified by Parliament.


~ Link ~


Spielberg resigns as advisor to Beijing Olympics, citing Darfur complicity

Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg has resigned from his role as artistic advisor to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, accusing the Chinese government of complicity in human rights violations in Darfur. Spielberg has reportedly been criticised by Darfur human rights activists, including actress Mia Farrow, who accused him of "helping to sanitise Beijing's image". The UN estimates that between 200,000 and 400,000 people have been killed and over 2.5 million displaced in the Darfur conflict, in which government forces have repeatedly been accused of committing severe human rights violations. The charges against Beijing are based on the fact that Chinese oil companies, including its largest, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), currently operate in Sudan, generating revenue for the government in Khartoum. Beijing has also been accused of providing diplomatic cover to Khartoum and for not putting more pressure on the government of Sudan to end the atrocities. Spielberg had previously donated US$1 million to the Darfur NGO Not on Our Watch and financed a 2007 documentary entitled "Darfur Now".

~ Link ~


'NATO might pose as much a threat to global peace and security as any "rogue nation" '

When the Cold War ended, NATO's existence became redundant.

In fact, NATO began combat operations only after the collapse of the Soviet Union – once during the UN-opposed bombing of Yugoslavia, and now in Afghanistan.

Does the world need NATO, or would it be better off without it?

Its hypocritical position that “the first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction” suggests that NATO might pose as much a threat to global peace and security as any “rogue nation.”

In addition to its “first strike” option, NATO's manifesto also includes the use of force without UN Security Council authorization, and the abolishment of national caveats where individual countries can dictate how its troops are to be used.

If the world's international governing body had the tools with which it could actually make the planet a better and safer place for everything living on it, there would be no need for any military alliances.

What the world needs is a democratic United Nations with teeth.

The Security Council should be entirely elected without any permanent members. One country, one vote – “rogue nation” or not.

Permanent members belong in dictatorships and despotisms. Blue Helmets should adopt a greater peace-making (rather than peace-keeping) role where a certain percentage (say 25%) of any country's standing army must be represented.

Strict sanctions against those opposing UN resolutions should be implemented, regardless of what the IMF, World Bank or G8 thinks.

~ From To Be , Or NATO Be? ~


Global Council of Indian Christians Coordinator Arrested in Orissa

Baliguda area police have detained the state coordinator of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Rev. Asit Kumar Mohanty, on charges of interfering in the judicial process.

According to a news story on www.persecution.in, the incident occurred on Feb. 20.

The website reported that GCIC National President Sajan K. George said that he was told by Mohanty that the police dragged him more than 500 yards. Police also tried to assault him. George said Mohanty was harassed because he was following up on cases of continued oppression and forced conversion of Dalit Christians at gunpoint by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council VHP) and other radical groups.

Mohanty was released three hours later.

Speaking to media, the story reported that George said, “Some lawyers, seemingly belonging to Hindutva groups, had lodged a complaint against Mohanty.”

The story on www.persecution.in also reported he added, “Language is the most powerful instruments of communication. We can communicate messages of love, peace and joy powerfully through language. Unfortunately, even negative messages of hatred, communal suspicions and war are also passed on through Language. GCIC through legal advocacy, and other channels of assistance, speaks the language of Jesus our Sovereign Lord who came to establish His Kingdom of love, peace and justice on earth”.

He concluded, “The 'voice' of the oppressed Christian is often muzzled and snuffed out by the fundamentalist's language of false propaganda and hate.”

~ Link ~


Alcatraz to become Global Peace Center if voters agree

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco voters will decide on Tuesday whether to remove the famous Alcatraz Prison visited by thousands of tourists a day and instead create a "global peace center."

The proposition sharing the presidential primary ballot comes from the director of the California-based Global Peace Foundation who gives his name as Da Vid. He says transforming Alcatraz will "liberate energies, raising the whole consciousness of the Bay Area."

Supporters would like to raze the prison and build a medicine wheel, a labyrinth and a conference center for non-violent conflict resolution. Volunteers collected 10,350 voter signatures last year to put it on the local ballot...

~ Read on... ~


"In short, there was too much democracy"

" ... Not quite four decades ago the long post-war boom began to show signs of slowing, largely brought about by inflation. It has become commonplace to blame government spending and the welfare state, but the greatest contributor to inflation in the late 1960s and early 1970s was US spending on the Vietnam War, which had created an unsustainable burden not just for the US economy but for the world. The US effectively printed money to bankroll the war; it was excessive money growth by the Federal Reserve that ignited the fires of inflation.

That was one aspect of the economic crisis of the 1970s. The other was the quadrupling of oil prices by most major oil exporters. Why did they do this? It was in protest at US policy in the Middle East. Egypt attacked Israel unexpectedly in 1973 to which US president Richard Nixon responded by providing a $US2.5billion ($A2.8billion) arms package to Israel. Saudi Arabia, ostensibly a US ally, reacted with an embargo on oil exports to the US, and most other Arab oil exporters quickly followed.

Although the embargo was lifted in 1974, the price of oil did not fall back to its earlier level, but remained at around twice its pre-1973 levels.

It was called an "energy shock" and an "energy crisis" and the world was told the good times were over. What the US did was to remake the world, and in its own image.

In 1975, a powerful organisation called the Trilateral Commission set up by US banking interests, comprising representatives of big business and government from the US, western Europe and Japan, published a report commissioned by three eminent political scientists called The Crisis of Democracy. Its key theme was democracies had become ungovernable and governments were suffering from an overload of decision-making and expectation.

In short, there was too much democracy, there was too much regulation, there was too much welfare. Government had to give way to business.

This was the thinking, helped along by radical economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, that was seized on by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and used to dismantle much of the post-war Keynesian safety net. (John Howard was a later, though no less ardent, disciple.) The object of the exercise was to create a global market, a US global market which we now call globalisation.

The role of Vietnam in this massive social engineering project is seldom mentioned, but it does highlight the US genius for turning adversity into profit. ... "

~ From US warfare is buffeting the global economy, again ~

"traitors, liars, hypocrites, war criminals, and aiders and abettors of crimes against humanity"

" ... Back in 2001, but after 9/11, Michael C. Ruppert wrote a piece with this huge long title:

A War in the Planning for Four Years

HOW STUPID DO THEY THINK WE ARE?

Zbigniew Brzezinski and the CFR Put War Plans in a 1997 Book — It Is “A Blueprint for World Dictatorship,” Says a Former German Defense and NATO Official Who Warned of Global Domination in 1984, in an Exclusive Interview With FTW

Ruppert's piece pulls together a number of things he'd been studying and doing from as far back as 1997. As a result, the present essay is, in part, a review of Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 book — The Grand Chessboard — a kind of neocon manual or book of instructions about how the US should and can take over the world and commandeer all its resources. Ruppert's piece is also, in part, a reprise of much of his own thinking and research prior to 9/11, including a repeat of his case — proven — that plans and movements for war in Afghanistan and Iraq existed before 9/11. And, finally, the piece is a revisiting of an important interview by Ruppert of a once-influential diplomat, Dr. Johannes B. Koepple.

I'll do some quoting as we end.

“World events since the attacks of September 11, 2001,” Ruppert writes, have not only been predicted, but also planned, orchestrated and — as their architects would like to believe — controlled. The current Central Asian war is not a response to terrorism, nor is it a reaction to Islamic fundamentalism. It is in fact, in the words of one of the most powerful men on the planet, the beginning of a final conflict before total world domination by the United States leads to the dissolution of all national governments. This, says Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member and former Carter National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, will lead to nation states being incorporated into a new world order, controlled solely by economic interests as dictated by banks, corporations and ruling elites concerned with the maintenance (by manipulation and war) of their power. As a means of intimidation for the unenlightened reader who happens upon this frightening plan — the plan of the CFR — Brzezinski offers the alternative of a world in chaos unless the U.S. controls the planet by whatever means are necessary and likely to succeed.

This position is corroborated by Dr. Johannes B. Koeppl, Ph.D., a former German defense ministry official and advisor to former NATO Secretary General Manfred Werner. On November 6, he told FTW, “The interests behind the Bush Administration, such as the CFR, The Trilateral Commission — founded by Brzezinski for David Rockefeller — and the Bilderberger Group, have prepared for and are now moving to implement open world dictatorship within the next five years. They are not fighting against terrorists. They are fighting against citizens.”

We're not about to hear anything this sort on the evening news — not even, or certainly not, on Democracy Nownor is any of the presidential candidates going to whisper a single morpheme of any such truth. Ruppert, on the other hand, offers us a paragraph from the Brzezinski text that ends with this sentence — one that may remind some readers of the Halliburton camps that Paul Craig Roberts mentioned:

Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization. (p.35)

Now for the career of Dr. Johannes Koeppl, then to a close.

In a word, Koepple ranked very high in the circles of global diplomats, having been “German defense ministry to NATO in the late 1970s,” privileged with a great many extremely high-level contacts in Washington, and having been, Ruppert tells us,

the first person I have ever interviewed who has made a direct presentation at a Bilderberger conference and he has also made numerous presentations to sub-groups of the Trilateral Commission.

“That,” however, Ruppert goes on, “was before he spoke out against them.”

And what happened to Koeppl after he spoke out against the secret policies of the Trilateral Commission, The Bilderberg Group, and the Council on Foreign Relations? Back to Ruppert's telling:

His fall was rapid after he realized that Brzezinski was part of a group intending to impose a world dictatorship. “In 1983/4 I warned of a take-over of world governments being orchestrated by these people. There was an obvious plan to subvert true democracies and selected leaders were not being chosen based upon character but upon their loyalty to an economic system run by the elites and dedicated to preserving their power.

[ ... ]

Koeppl recalls meeting U.S. Congressman Larry McDonald in Nuremburg in the early 80s. McDonald, who was then contemplating a run for the Presidency, was a severe critic of these elites. He was killed in the Russian shootdown of Korean Air flight 007 in 1985. Koeppl believes that it might have been an assassination. Over the years many writers have made these allegations about 007 and the fact that someone with Koeppl's credentials believes that an entire plane full of passengers would be destroyed to eliminate one man offers a chilling opinion of the value placed on human life by the powers that be.

In 1983, Koeppl warned, through Op-Ed pieces published in Newsweek and elsewhere, that Brzezinski and the CFR were part of an effort to impose a global dictatorship. His fall from grace was swift. “It was a criminal society that I was dealing with. It was not possible to publish anymore in the so-called respected publications. My 30 year career in politics ended.”

And, in closing, Koeppl touches on much of what we've been talking about here ourselves, in “Notes from a Dying Nation, Part 2.”
The people of the western world have been trained to be good consumers; to focus on money, sports cars, beauty, consumer goods. They have not been trained to look for character in people. Therefore what we need is education for politicians, a form of training that instills in them a higher sense of ethics than service to money. There is no training now for world leaders. This is a shame because of the responsibility that leaders hold to benefit all mankind rather than to blindly pursue destructive paths. ... "


~ From NOTES FROM A DYING NATION No. 1, Part Two B ~


Brussels: New court to try Israel for war crimes

A new civil court founded in Belgium by human rights organizations will convene for the first time Friday evening and discuss war crimes Israel had allegedly committee during the Second Lebanon War and war crimes the groups claim it is currently committing in the Gaza Strip.

Over the past year, human rights groups, in cooperation with Arab and European intellectuals, have been working on establishing the new court, which will be tasked with addressing different issues related to human rights violations and war crimes.

The first matter on the court's agenda will be Israel's operations in the Gaza Strip. Human rights organizations, as well as the victims of these alleged crimes, will appear before the court. The court has also invited Israeli representatives to attend the hearing and respond to the accusations...

~ Read on... ~

 

Papers reveal how alleged war criminal escaped UK arrest

Scotland Yard allowed a suspected war criminal to escape from Britain partly because they feared an attempt to stop him would lead to a gun battle at Heathrow airport, police documents seen by the Guardian reveal. The former senior Israeli officer was supposed to be detained as he arrived in London for a speaking engagement, after a British court had ordered his arrest. But detectives looked on as he landed, then hid on the plane for two hours, before flying off to avoid arrest.

A British court had issued a secret arrest warrant for Major General Doron Almog for the alleged war crime under the Geneva convention of ordering the demolition of 59 civilian Palestinian homes.

Israeli diplomats were tipped off after Almog's plane left Israel on September 11 2005. Once it landed in London a military attache from the Israeli embassy boarded the jet and warned Almog to stay on board. He refused to leave the plane until it took off again for Israel, two hours later...

~ Read on... ~


Love, American Style

" ... Americans love to think that we're a peaceful people, and that we fight wars only when we must.

Unfortunately, you can count in nanoseconds how long those assertions hold up when exposed to such insidious commie dirty tricks as the application of logic or the examination of empirical history.

Sure, any war can be spun as some necessity against some Very Bad Person, preferably of brown skin, slanted eyes and/or differing deity. Not only can any war be so spun, probably every war there ever was has been, at least since the days when governments had to start offering some justification or another for their little foreign adventures.

But pick your barometer - any one will work - and you'll quickly see who are the militant folks on the planet. For America, it turns out - gulp - to be that bloated, frightened meth-addict staring back at us in the mirror, not some overseas evil emperor du jour. ... "

~ Read on... ~


CIA Helped Bush Senior In Oil Venture

Newly released internal CIA documents assert that former president George Herbert Walker Bush's oil company emerged from a 1950's collaboration with a covert CIA officer.

Bush has long denied allegations that he had connections to the intelligence community prior to 1976, when he became Central Intelligence Agency director under President Gerald Ford. At the time, he described his appointment as a 'real shocker.'

But the freshly uncovered memos contend that Bush maintained a close personal and business relationship for decades with a CIA staff employee who, according to those CIA documents, was instrumental in the establishment of Bush's oil venture, Zapata, in the early 1950s, and who would later accompany Bush to Vietnam as a “cleared and witting commercial asset” of the agency...

~ Read on... ~


Pakistan: A big 'NO' to mullahs and military

" ... I must confess I was taken aback by the results, since I had expected Musharraf's henchmen to rig the results. Human Rights Watch kept a close tab on the elections and posted an audio recording of Pakistan's attorney general himself advising a political aspirant that there would be heavy rigging in favor of Musharraf's party. I guess there's a limit to the shenanigans you can engage in if the people are so overwhelmingly against you. The other parties are even questioning the 40-odd seats that Musharraf's party has gotten.

Whither Musharraf? And, more importantly from a U.S. perspective, where will the United States go from here?

Musharraf and his chief backer have been badly burned by the results. Both major parties despise the ex-general. Bhutto's widower, Asif Zardari, is not ruling out impeaching him. Musharraf has three options: to retire gently into the good night, to cooperate with parliament in the hope that he will not be impeached, or defy parliament's writ. Seeing Musharraf's past stubbornness, I would rule out option number one. Of the remaining two, which course he takes depends on how deeply chastened he is. Unfortunately, self-reflection is not a quality that comes easily to this former commando, and so I foresee unending confrontation in Pakistan between the legislature and the executive.

As for the United States, it is left without a paddle. The Bush Administration has invested possibly as much as $20 billion in a man who it made the linchpin of U.S. policy in the country. Now, the Bush folks should be grateful if the democratic parties want to even talk with the United States, let alone enter into a partnership with it. ... "

~ Read more... ~


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