Monday, June 21, 2010

Eleven US warships, one Israeli vessel transit Suez Canal to Persian Gulf

According to a DEBKAfile Exclusive Report:

An armada of 11 US  warships and one Israeli vessel passed through the Suez Canal Friday June 18 on their o the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, debkafile reports exclusively from its military sources. The fleet, the first of this composition to navigate the Suez Canal, is led by the USS Harry Truman carrier and its Strike Group of 60 fighter-bombers and 6,000 seamen and marines.

Egyptian port authorities imposed exceptional security measures for the ships' passage. All commercial and civilian traffic through the Suez Canal was halted and beefed-up security forces posted along both its shores. Egyptian fishermen were recalled to port from their grounds in the Bitter Lake.

The massive movement of this large US naval-air force plus an Israeli contingent is a strong new factor in the continually rising Middle East tensions of the last two weeks, to which Iran has not so far responded.

'The greatest threat to the Western Way of Life is the Western Way of Life itself'

From The Collapsing Western Way of Life by John Kozy [Global Research]:

The Age of Enlightenment was born sometime around the beginning of the eighteenth century. A mere three-quarters of a century later, industrialization ushered in the Age of Endarkenment, and human life has grown more and more perilous ever since. The Golden Age of capitalism cannot be recreated merely by applying the right mixture of spending, subsidies, re-regulation, and international agreements. Because the economic advantages of industrialization rely on overproduction and profit, balanced trade is impossible if the advantage is to be preserved; it entails no economic profit. Industrialism is a Hegelian synthesis which embodies the forces for its own destruction. The greatest threat to the Western Way of Life is the Western Way of Life itself.

That human beings seem unable to solve their most pressing problems is too obvious and well known to deserve much mention; that most of the problems that human beings seem unable to solve are caused by human beings themselves deserves mention but rarely is.

Human beings act as though having to deal with problems whose causes are beyond human control is not enough. Cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, floods are apparently not serious enough to command human attention. These problems, apparently, have to be supplemented by self-made catastrophes to keep our minds engaged. But most manmade problems could be avoided by careful and complete analysis of the ideas that, when implemented, have dire results.

Time-tested and effective ways of analyzing problems have been known for centuries. Rene Descartes published his Rules for the Direction of the Mind around 1627 and the Discourse on Method in 1637. John Stuart Mill published his Methods in his System of Logic in 1843. The mathematical method known as reductio ad absurdum has been employed throughout the history of mathematics and philosophy from classical antiquity onwards, as has the method known as counterexample. And root cause analysis is a highly developed method often used in information science and other places. Oddly enough, however, even most well educated Americans seem to be unaware of any of these analytical techniques, and when attempts are made to analyze ideas, these attempts are rarely carried out logically or all the way to their ultimate ends. Americans rarely "follow the argument wherever it leads;" even those good at analysis often stop when they come across something that looks appealing.

John B. Judis recently published a piece in the New Republic in which he summarized some claims made by Robert Brenner, a UCLA economic historian. Judis writes:

"Brenner's analysis of the current downturn can be boiled down to a fairly simple point: that the underlying cause of the current downturn lies in the “real” economy of private goods and service production rather than in the financial sector, and that the current remedies—from government spending and tax cuts to financial regulation—will not lead to the kind of robust growth and employment that the United States enjoyed after World War II and fleetingly in the late 1990s. These remedies won't succeed because they won't get at what has caused the slowdown in the real economy: global overcapacity in tradeable (sic) goods production. Global overcapacity means that the world's industries are capable of producing far more steel, shoes, cell phones, computer chips, and automobiles (among other things) than the world's consumers are able and willing to consume."

Why this is worth mentioning is difficult to fathom. Overproduction has always been associated with economic busts, and such busts have happened with such regularity that economists have even incorporated them into theory by euphemistically calling booms and busts the "business cycle." The question that must be asked is, "What causes overproduction?" And the answer is industrialization.

The Industrial Revolution began in England around 1780. It transformed England from a manual labour and draft-animal economy into a machine-based one. But this change in the primary mode of economic activity was not merely economic; it changed the entire culture, not clearly for the better. Almost every aspect of life was changed in some way.

Many cite increased per capita GDP as evidence of the revolution's benefits, but GDP is a poor measure of benefits. It merely measures the sum total of economic transactions in terms of the culture's money, neglecting the effects of economic activity on the quality of human life.

The Industrial Revolution is largely responsible for the rise of modern cities, as large numbers of people migrated to them in search of jobs. These people were mainly housed in slums where diseases, especially cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and smallpox, were spread by contaminated water and other means. Respiratory diseases contracted by miners became common. Accidents in factories were regular. In 1788, two-thirds of the workers in cotton mills were children; they were also employed in coal mines. Henry Phelps Brown and Sheila V. Hopkins argue that the bulk of the population suffered severe reductions in their living standards. Although life in pre-industrial England was not easy, for many it was better than laboring in factories and coal mines.

Other consequences of the revolution are worse—craft workers lost their jobs. The Industrial Revolution concentrated labour into mills, factories, and mines, but industrial workers could never experience the sense of satisfaction and pride that craftsmen derived from their creations. Working a craft is a mentally stimulating and creative activity; operating a machine is not. The best craftsmen were renowned as artists. Some are still renowned today: Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite, for example. The integral strength of Windsor chairs has never been duplicated in a factory. Handmade textiles, Persian rugs, even handcrafted toys are renowned for their artistry. Today that pride and satisfaction accrues only to hobbyists, such as quilters, but never to industrial workers. The Industrial Revolution degraded human life to the status of coal. People became fuel for machines. Bought cheap, people are used until unneeded and then discarded like slag. Individuality, talent, imagination, originality—the best attributes of human beings—are suppressed to the point of extinction. The Industrial Revolution sucked the humanity out of the human race; people became things.

~ more... ~

Pentagon spies build new database on foreign and domestic threats

The Pentagon's main spy outfit, the Defense Intelligence Agency, is building a new database which will consolidate in one system “human intelligence” information on groups and individuals—potentially including Americans—collected by DIA operatives in United States and abroad.

A notice published earlier this week in the government's regulatory bulletin, the Federal Register, says the manager of the system will be a little-known DIA unit called the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC).

Records held in the database, the notice says, could include information on “individuals involved in, or of interest to, DoD intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and counternarcotic operations or analytical projects as well as individuals involved in foreign intelligence and/or training activities.” Among the data to be stored: “information such as name, Social Security Number (SSN), address, citizenship documentation, biometric data, passport number, vehicle identification number and vehicle/vessel license data.” Actual intelligence reports from the field and analytical material which would help “identify or counter foreign intelligence and terrorist threats to the DoD and the United States” will also be included.

“That's potentially a lot of information,” Donald Black, chief spokesman for DIA, acknowledged in an interview with Declassified. But he said that material entered into the new database would be carefully reviewed—as regularly as every 90 days—to ensure that out-of-date, discredited, or irrelevant data on individuals would be destroyed if there was no longer a good reason to keep it.

Black said that the new database would not include the highly controversial aspects of TALON, a database assembled by a spooky Pentagon spy outfit called Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), set up during the George W. Bush administration. The Pentagon shut down TALON in 2007 after revelations that CIFA, whose mission included collating intelligence collected by local law-enforcement agencies and military-intelligence units on potential threats to U.S. defense installations, had assembled files on peace marchers and other nonviolent antiwar protestors.  The Pentagon later said that CIFA would be broken up. Apart from its alleged monitoring of antiwar activists, the unit became tainted by a major contracting scandal that resulted in the imprisonment of former California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. As NEWSWEEK reported here, some defense experts were alarmed when CIFA attempted—and failed—to take over a Pentagon agency responsible for inspecting the security arrangements of defense contractors, and maintaining security-clearance files on millions of contractor employees. Critics feared that such a merger could result in the creation of a military secret police.

~ more... ~

Human race 'will be extinct within 100 years', claims leading scientist

As the scientist who helped eradicate smallpox he certainly know a thing or two about extinction.

And now Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years.

He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and 'unbridled consumption.'

Fenner told The Australian newspaper that 'homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years.'

'A lot of other animals will, too,' he added.

'It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.'

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene - the time since industrialisation - we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact, he said.

Fenner, 95, has won awards for his work in helping eradicate the variola virus that causes smallpox and has written or co-written 22 books.

He announced the eradication of the disease to the World Health Assembly in 1980 and it is still regarded as one of the World Health Organisation's greatest achievements.

He was also heavily involved in helping to control Australia's myxomatosis problem in rabbits.

Last year official UN figures estimated that the world's population is currently 6.8 billion. It is predicted to exceed seven billion by the end of 2011.

Fenner blames the onset of climate change for the human race's imminent demise.

He said: 'We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island.

'Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we're seeing remarkable changes in the weather already.'

~ more... ~

Napolitano: US must balance liberties, security

Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation's homeland security chief said Friday.

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans' civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training. Those contacts have spurred a recent rash of U.S.-based terror plots and incidents.

"The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet," Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Napolitano's comments suggest an effort by the Obama administration to reach out to its more liberal, Democratic constituencies to assuage fears that terrorist worries will lead to the erosion of civil rights.

The administration has faced a number of civil liberties and privacy challenges in recent months as it has tried to increase airport security by adding full-body scanners, or track suspected terrorists traveling into the United States from other countries.

"Her speech is sign of the maturing of the administration on this issue," said Stewart Baker, former undersecretary for policy with the Department of Homeland Security. "They now appreciate the risks and the trade-offs much more clearly than when they first arrived, and to their credit, they've adjusted their preconceptions."

~ more... ~

Lexx - Type 13 planet

Israeli Navy probe: Commandos weren’t prepared

20 June, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- An internal Israeli Navy investigation into the interception of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla found the commandos were not prepared for an attack by the passengers.

The elite Shayetet 13 unit was not prepared and lacked enough intelligence information, the internal probe found, according to an Israel Radio report on Sunday. The investigation found that under the circumstances the officers acted appropriately, according to the report. The boarding of the Turkish-flagged ship the Mavi Marmara should only have occurred after using water hoses and smoke grenades on the passengers waiting on deck, the report said.

Meanwhile, a Gaza-bound flotilla scheduled to leave from Lebanon has not yet received approval to set sail, the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday, according to Israeli media reports. Lebanese law prohibits ships leaving its ports to dock in a port under Israeli control. No official travel request has been filed as required by law, according to the report. The organizers could submit a travel plan to another destination and then switch course, the newspaper said. The flotilla is to carry up to 70 women as well as food aid.

Israel has appealed to other countries and the United Nations to halt the Lebanese flotilla. On Sunday morning, Israel told the United Nations and Lebanon through a third party that it will use all necessary means to stop ships from breaking its blockade of Gaza.

"Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

~ Source ~

Indian Trust Settlement

It's a rare day when the Indians win. Late last year a multi-billion dollar settlement was announced in the class action lawsuit Cobell v. Salazar. When it is finalized, at least 500,000 Native Americans will benefit financially, and many tribes will have the opportunity to consolidate land within their reservation boundaries.

The issues in the case date back to the very beginnings of U.S. settlement. From the perspective of many Native Americans, the history of the U.S. is little more than a series of land grabs from tribal peoples. In 1887, after having established tribal reservations and negotiated with native leadership, U.S. lawmakers thought it best to encourage Indians to integrate into American culture.

One way they did that was to divide the tribal reservations into small parcels of land and "allot" those parcels to individual Indians.

The idea was to promote the European value of individual ownership over the tribal tradition of communal use of the land. Once alloted, those individual parcels were held "in trust" by the government because it was thought the Native people needed help to manage their lands. And, according to Elousie Cobell, who brought suit against the U.S. government, those trusts were egregiously mismanaged, and with the settlement hundreds of thousands of Indians have money coming to them. Some critics say it may not be nearly enough.

~ more... ~


Questions over Cobell settlement, NCAI resolution

Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

New questions are emerging over the proposed settlement of the Cobell trust fund lawsuit, which came after the US stole and mismanaged billions of dollars of Indian energy and resource payments.
Already, Indian land owners were upset that their payments are likely to be $1,000, while attorneys in the suit are asking for up to $99.9 million.
Others are questioning if there are safeguards to prevent the US theft from continuing. Will the US be required to lease lands at the fair market value in the future? Or will the US continue the corporate giveaway of Indian resources?
More questions emerged this week after the National Congress of American Indians tabled a resolution this in executive session in DC which points to more concerns. Among those concerns is the fact that most Indian land owners have not been properly informed of the settement, since they lack Internet access and have not been notified otherwise.
NCAI's resolution, below, also raises new concerns about new plaintiffs. Further, the resolution raises more concerns over $2 billion for land consolidation which does not fit in with Indian Nations efforts and would revert to the US Treasury.

The National Congress of American Indians

(TABLED) Resolution #ECWS-10-008
TITLE: Demand for Transparency, and Time to Fully Inform Indian Country Regarding Cobell v. Salazar Settlement Terms

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, the parties to the long-standing case of Cobell v. Salazar in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia have announced they have reached a Settlement Agreement; and

WHEREAS, the proposed settlement requires legislation by the U.S. Congress and approval by the court in order to be effective; and

WHEREAS, the Settlement Agreement reached by the parties on December 7, 2009 was binding only until December 31, 2009 unless authorizing legislation was enacted by that date, or unless the parties extended the expiration date by mutual agreement; and

WHEREAS, Congress did not act by December 31, 2009 and the parties have subsequently extended the expiration date until April 16, 2010; and

WHEREAS, the legislation required to authorize the proposed settlement has yet to be introduced in Congress and referred to the Committees of Jurisdiction over Indian Affairs; and

WHEREAS, the proposed settlement creates a whole new class of plaintiffs and claims which have not previously been included in the 14 year old litigation, and

WHEREAS, only one hearing has been scheduled in each chamber of Congress, the second to be March 10, 2010 in Washington DC on the legislation required to authorize the settlement by the U.S. House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, the NCAI Executive Council believes Congressioanl hearings in each of the Bureau of Indian Affair’s regions are required to fully inform the Indian people most impacted by the Cobell Settlement, and

WHEREAS, no legislation to authorize the proposed settlement has been printed and made publicly available by either house of the U.S. Congress; and

WHEREAS, the only information available to Tribes and individual Indians regarding the Cobell Settlement is through a web site maintained by the plaintiffs and many thousands of individual Indians lack access to this type of technology ; and

WHEREAS, the $2 billion for land consolidation in the proposed Cobell Settlement is not responsive to Tribal land consolidation and restoration efforts and the funds will be returned to the Treasury after ten years if not fully expended by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and

WHEREAS, NCAI is determined that a settlement of this magnitude demands transparency and time for Indian Country to understand what is being proposed to extinguish all individual Indian fiscal and trust-related claims against the government.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI does hereby demand that the Congress of the United States conduct regional hearings to ensure that Indian Country has time to consider both the likely and unintended consequences, guaranteeing transparency of the agreement and process, and ensuring fairness of the proposed Cobell Settlement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department of Interior and the Cobell Plaintiffs conduct regional consultation with Indian Country to explain the proposed settlement and answer questions from affected Indian people.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.



~ Website: CobellSettlement.com ~

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