Breaking the Nuremberg Code: The US Military’s Human-Testing Program Returns By Heather Wokusch

By Heather Wokusch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
6 March, 2008

The Pentagon is slated to release a suspected toxicant in Crystal City, Virginia this week, ostensibly to test air sensors.

The operation is just the latest example of the Defense Department’s long history of using service members and civilians as human test subjects, often without their consent or awareness.

Gas chambers in Maryland

Wray C. Forrest learned about the US military’s human-testing program the hard way. In 1973, the Army sent then 23-year-old Forrest to its Edgewood Arsenal chemical-research center in Maryland, promising patriotic service and a four-day work week.

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The Grim Reality of Economic Truths by Pablo Ouziel

Dandelion Salad

by Pablo Ouziel
Global Research, March 6, 2008

It is always good to know as a citizen that your leaders think everything is under control, for this reason I can only begin to imagine the relief people in the United States must feel when President Bush publicly acknowledges; “I believe that our economy has got the fundamentals in place.” I must admit however that I struggle to understand where the president is getting his data from and I dread to think what things will look like by the time he admits that “fundamentals” are not really “in place”. According to Alan Greenspan “as of right now, U.S. economic growth is at zero”, “home prices will continue to weaken” and a boom in oil prices is going to “go on forever”. As he puts it, the US is “clearly on the edge.”

I remember the time when General Motors Corp. was considered a pillar of the American dream, a fundamental of the economic miracle. Now, after reporting a quarterly loss of $722 million, compared with a profit of $950 million a year earlier, and offering buyouts to all of its 74,000 United Auto Workers employees, GM is clearly not a part of the sound fundamentals which President Bush likes to describe. The same seems apparent with MGIC Investment Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage insurer, which posted a record quarterly loss of $1.47 billion and is also being kept out of the Œpresidential fundamentals equation.)

Things are so bad in the United States that during the Senate Banking Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson resorted to aliens from outer space to describe how things are looking; “If someone came down – a man came down from Mars – and you were trying to explain the regulatory structures it’s a patchwork quilt, in many ways.” I don¹t blame him for looking for such far fetched metaphors when many economists and banking industry experts according to Time magazine, “believe the subprime crisis could metamorphose into the biggest debacle to hit the sector since the Savings & Loan catastrophe of the 1980s, which caused some $500 billion in losses to the banking industry.” As Merrill Lynch economist Kathy Bostjancic elaborates “the impact here could be far larger (than the S&L crisis) in terms of the dollar amount and the spillover effects into other parts of the economy, particularly the consumer.”

Doug Duncan, chief economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association, in his updated 2008 forecast says “the principal concern of the current credit crisis lies in the possibility that banks will eventually run out of capital,” as Dean Baker, co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank, adds, “the amount of debt that’s likely to go bad is virtually certain to be in the high hundreds of billions of dollars, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ends up crossing a trillion.”

In short, what we have here is the worst housing slump in a quarter century, an economy which in January alone lost 17,000 jobs, and The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index which has fallen three consecutive months, the longest losing streak since 2003. We also have Americans whose December monthly expenditure on debt service, housing, medical costs, and food and energy bills has risen to an unprecedented 66.9 percent of their total spending, the highest since records began in 1980. According to Ron Blackwell, chief economist at the AFL-CIO, “American workers are suffering a generation-long decline in living standards and rising economic insecurity.” To add to this, the four-week moving average of new claims for state unemployment is at the highest level since October 2005, and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index is marking its lowest point since February 1992 when the economy was emerging from a recession.

I would like to know what the president’s fundamentals are. The White House seems to be isolated from reality. Data provided by the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America trade group clearly states that U.S. foreclosure rates have risen to their highest since at least World War II, and defaults on privately insured U.S. mortgages have risen 37 percent in December from the same month a year earlier. RealtyTrac Inc. is reporting that foreclosure rates have risen 75 percent in 2007, and the number of homes that have been repossessed, or taken back by the bank, have jumped 50% nationwide last year. According to The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, pending sales of previously owned homes have fallen a steeper-than-expected 1.5 percent in December, and prices of existing U.S. single-family homes have slumped 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter versus a year earlier, the largest decline in the 20-year history of a national home price index. The National Association of Realtors has also reported that sales by homeowners have fallen in January to their lowest reading since the group began reporting annual sales pace in 1999, something which Northern Trust chief economist, Paul Kasriel describes as “more doom and gloom.”

To add to this, home prices continued their plunge during the last three months of 2007, setting a real estate trade group’s record for the biggest-ever quarterly drop, the steepest ever recorded by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which has been compiling the report since 1979. A Merrill Lynch report in January forecasted price declines of 15% in 2008 and another 10% in 2009 before markets begin to recover. On top of this, mortgage applications volume tumbled 22.6 percent during the week ending Feb. 15 according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly application survey, while Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said its rating outlook on US homebuilders remains emphatically negative and it believes a recovery is not yet in sight, as six of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders have temporarily stopped foreclosure proceedings, in a joint effort to cool the raging foreclosure crisis through a project known as Project Lifeline.

Things are so bad in the housing sector, a sector which one would deem as part of the fundamentals of a sound economy, that in a conference call with analysts, Kenneth Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America, pointed out that more borrowers appear to be giving up on their homes as prices fall, noting a “change in social attitudes toward default.” Not surprising considering that CIBC World Markets forecast U.S. house prices will end up sliding 20% before the market stabilizes, and estimates 50% of U.S. homeowners who took out below-prime mortgages in 2006 will end up owing more than their house is worth. As Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics put it, “there seems to be a sense of a very deep-seated collapse in the economy.”

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s index of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Northeast also indicated the same disparity between Bush’s sound fundamentals statement and reality, showing the manufacturing sector in the key heartland of the US is suffering its lowest output for seven years. “As far as this indicator is concerned, a recession, and a severe one at that, is already underway,” said Paul Ash-worth, of Capital Economics. For Merrill Lynch, the collapse in the outlook for activity six months out was even more worrisome since it posted the steepest decline in the 40-year history of this report.

America’s “new business cycle” which began in the 1980’s has created as Thomas Palley ex Chief Economist with the US-China Economic Security Review Commission puts it, large trade deficits, manufacturing job loss, asset price inflation, rising debt-to-income ratios, and detachment of wages from productivity growth. It has used financial booms to support debt-financed spending, an easing of credit standards to support borrowing, and cheap imports to ameliorate the effects of wage stagnation. As Palley puts it, with “debt burdens elevated and housing prices significantly above levels warranted by their historical relation to income, the business cycle of the last two decades appears exhausted.”

According to the New York Times, the sound fundamentals Bush likes to refer to, are alarmingly parallel to the “Japan’s lost decade”, when the Japanese economy after a long boom in the 1990’s, was stopped by a sharp fall in the real estate market causing a stretch of stagnation which ended only a few years ago. Clyde V. Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, says “the American economy is very fragile now,” a sentiment which is echoed by Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, who warns that “the roughly $100 billion in bad loans reported by banks to date could increase nearly tenfold, as the defaults spread beyond the subprime mortgage loans to consumer loans, credit cards and corporate lending.”

European Central Bank council member Guy Quaden points out that “it is clear that the slowdown in the U.S. will be more pronounced than previously foreseen.” According to Bank of Italy governor, Mario Draghi, in the meeting held in Tokyo by the finance ministers and central bank chiefs of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, “Bernanke said that while house prices are falling, they can’t say how long and deep the crisis will be.” But as lawmakers, politicians and bankers continue to debate about the current state of the American economy, what is clear is that the latest consumer price index (CPI), the government’s main inflation indicator shows that for the year ending in January, all prices were up 4.3 percent. Excluding the temporary surges after Katrina, inflation hasn’t been higher since July 1991. As for the producer price index, year over year the PPI is up 7.4% the fastest pace since 1981. As Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics says, with this data at hand, “it will be hard for Mr. Bernanke to testify…and hold to the fiction of inflation as under control and the Fed as master of tamed inflation expectations.” Yet Bernanke is telling lawmakers that “inflation expectations appear to have remained reasonably well anchored,” and George Bush is convinced that fundamentals are in place.

As for now, while talk of subprime exposure has diminished, Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley, warns that “investor worries about potential further writedowns are shifting in a big way from subprime residential mortgages to commercial real estate lending.” Also as major retailers reported chilly January same-store sales, Wal-Mart with a meager 0.5% increase, Target with a 1.1% drop, Macy’s with a worse-than-expected 7.1% decline, Kohl’s with an 8.3% plunge and Nordstrom with a 6.6% drop in comps, the National Federation of Independent Business said its index of small business optimism slipped to the lowest reading since January 1991, when the U.S. was mired in recession.

To add to this economic and social carnage, Macy’s Inc. has reported that it plans to cut 2,300 jobs across the country, Hasbro Inc the second-largest U.S. toy company, expects a 14 percent to 15 percent increase this year in the costs of made-in-China products, Time Warner has reported a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter profits, Office Depot a 85% plunge in profit, and Jeffrey Garten, professor of international trade and finance at Yale School of Management has said that the United States “is beginning to look like a bargain-basement.”

Of course, if the world’s economic engine looking like a bargain-basement is a reflection of sound fundamentals, then I must accept my misreading of today’s economic reality and subscribe to George Bush’s sound fundamentals equation.

Pablo Ouziel is a sociologist and a freelance writer based in Spain.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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Peak Oil – True or False by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, March 6, 2008

The arguments are so one-sided, it’s practically a given that “peak oil” is real and threatening. Or is it? This article examines both sides. It lets readers decide and deals only with supply issues, not crucial environmental ones and the need to develop alternative energy sources. First some background.

The name most associated with “peak oil” is M. King Hubbert. He became the world’s best known geologist when he worked for Houston-based Shell Oil Company from 1943 to 1964. His theory goes something like this. Oil is a finite resource. Peak oil, or Hubbert’s peak, is the point at which maximum world production is reached, after which its rate terminally declines.

Hubbert first presented his theory in a February 4, 1949 Science magazine article called “Energy from Fossil Fuels.” He gained prominence, however, from his 1956 American Petroleum Institute presentation titled “Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.” In it, he predicted that US production would peak between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, and he was largely right (for the wrong reasons at the time) about cheap or what’s called light sweet oil.

Most analysts believe US output peaked in 1970 and has since declined. Others, like economist and author F. William Engdahl, disagree. He’s been researching oil issues since the early 1970s and believes US output peaked at the time but not because of resource depletion. It’s “because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, (and) at prices so low (that) many Texas domestic producers could not compete and” had to shutter their operations.

But Hubbert went further as well. He predicted a worldwide peak in “about half a century” that would progress in bell-shaped curve fashion, now called “Hubbert’s curve.” Here’s how it works for all fossil fuels. Hubbert theorized that after discovery, production increases exponentially, but at some point peak output is reached, after which an exponential decline ensues. Hubbert’s curve is symmetrical, it peaks when half of all oil (or other fossil fuel) has been produced, and there’s only a single peak after which output declines.

Hubbert’s analysis was at a time oil nominally cost under $3 a barrel. Inflation-adjusted that’s around $23 in 2008 dollars. Today it’s around $100, and some analysts see it heading much higher as the supply of cheap oil declines in the face of growing demand. True or false will only be known in the fullness of time, but consider what Hubbert, in fact, said in his 1956 paper. He estimated:

— a “total ultimate potential reserve of 150 billion barrels of crude oil for both land and offshore areas of the United States” and acknowledged he was “in substantial agreement with Pratt’s figure of 170 billion barrels….;”and

— a potential of 1.250 trillion “barrels (for) the whole world.”

So far, Hubbert was referring to what’s called “light sweet” or cheap oil. But he went further as well, yet his comments have been largely ignored. He mentioned other type oils and estimated:

— “the oil obtainable from oil shales in the United States” is one trillion barrels based on current (1956) US Geological Survey figures; outside the US, he estimated oil shale potential in Brazil at between 300 to 500 billion barrels with “negligible” amounts present in other countries;

— the Athabaska tar sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada are the “largest known deposit(s)….in the world;” its “extractable oil content….is still not accurately known, but current estimates range from about 300 to 500 billion barrels….;” and

— “other large (nonconventional oil) deposits of uncertain magnitude exist in eastern Venezuela and in Mesopotamia (Iraq);” these and others like them in the world “might be as much as (another) 800 billion barrels.”

Hubbert then stated: “….the culmination of world (oil) production (of the cheap variety)….should occur within about half a century (and within) the United States….within the next few decades.” However: “This does not necessarily imply that the United States or other parts of the industrial world will soon become destitute of liquid (oil) and gaseous fuels, because these can be produced from other fossil fuels (including tar sands, heavy and extra-heavy oils and shale) which occur in much greater abundance.” In 1956, his and other estimates of their amounts were far below today’s figures. More on that below.

Current Opposing Views on Peak Oil

The German-based Energy Watch Group (EWG) believes peak oil is real. It’s an “international network of scientists and parliamentarians” that published an October 2007 report with that view. It stated world oil production peaked in 2006, output is now declining by several percent a year, and by 2020 to 2030 global oil reserves will be substantially lower than today and a supply gap will exist.

Daniel Yergin’s Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) disagrees. Its analysis finds that “the remaining global oil resource base is actually 3.74 trillion barrels – three times as large as the (claimed) 1.2 trillion barrels by (peak oil) proponents.” CERA argues further that peak oil reasoning is faulty and, “if accepted, (may) distort critical policy and investment decisions and cloud the debate over the energy future.” It states as well that the “global resource base of conventional and unconventional oils….is 4.82 trillion barrels and likely to grow” and bases its analysis on fields now in production and those “yet-to-be produced or discovered.”

Its chairman, Daniel Yergin, noted that: “This is the fifth time that the world is said to be running out of oil. Each time….technology and the opening of new frontier areas has banished the specter of decline. There’s no reason to think that technology is finished this time.”

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (AIE) agrees. It’s an energy policy advisor to its 27 member countries that was founded by the OECD in 1974 in the wake of that period’s oil crisis. It believes peak oil notions are extreme, says there’s “no shortage of available oil and gas in the ground,” but new technologies must be found to curb “the world’s thirst for them (and to) tap reserves” to increase production. AIE believes as much as 10 trillion barrels of “oil equivalent” conventional oil and gas exist and at least as much non-conventional oil.

In a 2005 report it stated that: “The hydrocarbon resources in place around the world are sufficiently abundant to sustain likely growth in the global energy system for the foreseeable future. The doomsayers are again conveying grim messages through (the media). The AIE has long maintained that none of this is cause for concern.”

AIE considers all type oils – the easy to find and produce “light sweet” kind that’s likely running out plus potentially huge untapped deposits of heavier oils that will become more important when it does. With this in mind, the Middle East doesn’t have two-thirds of world oil reserves as many analysts, the industry, and US Department of Energy claim. It has two-thirds of “proved” cheap oil reserves.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) collects data on all type oils and estimates their amounts. For the year 2000, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and oil industry estimated remaining “proved” light sweet reserves at slightly over one trillion barrels. USGS, however, placed “identified” reserves at 1.1 trillion barrels and “recoverable” reserves at nearly 2.3 trillion or more than double the industry and DOE amounts. In addition, USGS estimates combined non-conventional heavy and tar sands deposits at around 4.250 trillion barrels with about 3.6 trillion of them in the two countries with most of them – Canada and Venezuela.

Other “unconventional” oil estimates differ widely, so take your choice on who to believe. Dutch economists Peter Odell and Kenneth Rosing had an earlier view in their 1980 book “The Future of Oil.” They noted predictions of total world reserves ranged from two to 11 trillion barrels and said three trillion was “the more realistic figure” for conventional oil plus another two trillion from unconventional heavy oil and tar sands.

Petroleum Economist magazine calls itself “the authority on energy.” It says tar (or oil) sands reserves are huge, they occur in over 70 countries, and Canada has most of them (around 81%) in four regions: Athabasca, Wabasca, Cold lake and Peace River in areas covering around 77,000 km. It estimates technically recoverable reserves at between 280 – 300 billion barrels with total non-recoverable (based on current technology) amounts at between 1.7 – 2.5 trillion barrels. Other than shale, USGS categorizes oil as light, heavy, extra-heavy and natural bitumen or tar/oil sands.

Some analysts believe oil sands can replace conventional oil when its supply runs out while others disagree. One of them is Richard Heinberg, who’s written extensively on ecological and peak oil issues. He says that although estimated oil sands reserves equal or exceed all conventional oil extracted to date, processing them reduces their potential for reasons geologist Walter Youngquist explains: because “it takes the equivalent of two out of each three barrels of oil recovered to pay for all the energy and other costs involved in getting oil from the oil sands.”

Then, there’s the environmental cost. It takes two tons of sand mined to yield one barrel of oil, and extracting it requires huge amounts of natural gas and water. In addition, each barrel recovered yields 2.5 barrels of oily waste that must be disposed of. It’s done by pumping it into huge ponds, and Heinberg describes a Syncrude Canada Ltd. one that’s 14 miles in circumference in which 20 feet of murky water floats on a 130-foot-thick slurry of sand, silt, clay and unrecovered oil.

It’s nightmarish and so environmentally destructive that northern Alberta residents want all oil sands plants shuttered because they’ve displaced native people, destroyed boreal forests, caused livestock deaths and increased the level of miscarriages. Moreover, Heinberg believes it would take about 700 plants the size of a Syncrude Athabasca one to process enough tar sands to replace conventional oil, and their environmental damage would be unimaginable and too great a cost to bear.

Another resource assessment comes from Petroleum Equities. It’s a management consulting firm specializing in oil and gas exploration and production. It estimates combined heavy oil and tar sands worldwide reserves at around 5.4 trillion barrels with 80% of them in the western hemisphere.

For extra-heavy oil alone, the US Department of Energy (on its web site) estimates Venezuela has 1.36 trillion barrels, or 90% of the world total. That’s more than all “proved” world reserves combined and in addition to Venezuela’s “proved” light sweet resources of around 80 billion barrels that alone ranks it seventh in the world behind the five largest Middle East producers and Canada.

Potential Arctic Oil Reserves

On its web site (arcticoag.com), the Arctic Oil and Gas Corporation states it’s “an oil exploration venture company that has filed for the exclusive exploitation, development, marketing and extraction rights to the oil and gas resources of the seafloor and subsurface contained within the ‘Arctic Claims.’ ” It calls the Arctic “the last giant oil frontier on Earth (with its) vast reserves of untapped oil and natural gas (that will) become accessible (when) new deep-sea drilling and hydrocarbons production technology (is) available.”

In addition, it states that a preliminary USGS assessment “suggests the Arctic seabed may hold as much as 25 per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves (or around 400 billion barrels of oil alone.)” It further says that Arctic oil source rocks may contain “untold billions of tons of organic sediments” and calls the 80 million acre Arctic Ocean Commons Prospect Claim “the world’s largest (potential) material prize.”

Here’s what USGS, in fact, said in October 2007. It called the above claim “a reporter’s mistake” but doesn’t rule out that it’s true. It explained that the 25% figure came from an assessment of seven oil and gas basins that weren’t precisely in the Arctic. One of them in East Siberia lies entirely south of it. Exclude it and what’s left is 14%. However, because a 2000 USGS assessment didn’t include undiscovered resources from all north of the Arctic basins (numbering many more than seven), the area’s potential is vast but undetermined.

USGS explained that it didn’t fully assess the area in 2000 because it lacked enough data at the time. However, it’s now investigating all Arctic regions, using available geologic information and “a methodology adapted to a general shortage of well and seismic data.” USGS concludes that the region’s potential is vast, it’s largely unexplored, its resources are “poorly understood,” and it can only produce a “broad view” of the region’s potential “because the (area’s) geologic uncertainties are very high and the technical uncertainties (of) oil and gas extraction (feasibility) even higher.”

Two Notable Peak Oil Proponents

There’s no shortage of peak oil proponents, many are prominent figures, two among them stand out, and one is a media regular on his views, right or wrong. He’s Matthew Simmons, chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company, an industry-insider, close associate of Dick Cheney and advisor and possible secret member of Cheney’s Energy Task Force representing Big Oil interests. He’s also a major Republican donor and author of the 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.”

In it, Simmons is alarmist about the world’s largest producing country, and he’s widely heard and believed. Right or wrong, he states that Saudi oil fields are “at or very near (their) peak sustainable volume (and they’ll) likely….go into decline in the very foreseeable future.” In addition, there’s little chance of discovering new fields to make up the difference. These views make headlines and move markets. So with oil prices around $100 a barrel and Simmons an industry insider and prominent doomsayer, consider the possibility there’s something rotten in the oil patch allowing Big Oil to profit hugely.

Further confirmation comes from a February 28 Arabian Business article. In it, Simmons calls $100 oil “cheap” because “the supply is showing some very troubling signs that we might well have already peaked and started (to slow) down….Demand on the other hand shows absolutely no sign of slowing down,” so oil prices could top $300 a barrel within five years.” Simmons repeats this view on US television.

Geologist Colin Campbell is another peak oil proponent and author of many papers on the subject. He’s just as bleak in his outlook and states it in “The Coming Oil Crisis and Oil Depletion – The Heart of the Matter,” that he wrote for The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO). He’s their founder, former president and currently their honorary chairman.

Campbell believes world output peaked, and in another of his papers, “Peak Oil: an Outlook on Crude Oil Depletion,” stated: Peak Oil “is a turning point for Mankind, which will affect everyone….its discovery peaked in the 1960s….gas….will likely peak around 2020….non-conventional oil delays peak only a few years….we’re not facing a re-run of the (1970s) Oil Shocks. They were like….tremors….we now face (an) earthquake….It is not a temporary interruption but the onset of a permanent new condition.”

Campbell also wrote “Understanding Peak Oil” on APSO’s web site in which he further says that debating the precise date of peak oil “misses the point.” What really matters is “the long remorseless decline (that’s) on the other side of it. The transition to decline threatens to be a time of great international tension. Petroleum Man will be virtually extinct this Century, and Homo sapiens faces a major challenge in adapting to his loss. Peak Oil is by all means an important subject.” These type comments and more from Campbell’s 2005 book “Oil Crisis” can scare anyone. They also explain today’s geopolitics, the strategic importance of oil, the reason its price is so high, and why the US is waging global wars “that won’t end in our lifetime.”

A Peak Oil Contrarian

F. William Engdahl once accepted peak oil analysis, but no longer does. He explains why in his writing, and this section summarizes his reasoning. It’s based on the Russian-Ukrainian theory that oil originated from deep carbon deposits dating as far back as the earth’s formation. It’s not a fossil fuel or of biological origin, and its potential may be far greater than current hydrocarbon estimates.

According to Engdahl and others sharing this view, peak oil adherents believe oil is a fossil fuel, its origin is biological, its supply finite, and it’s only found in areas where it was “geologically trapped millions of years ago….in underground reservoirs (around) 4-6000 feet below the surface of the earth.” At times, large amounts may also be in shallow water offshore rock formations in places like the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea or Gulf of Guinea. In any event, prevailing reasoning is that it’s running out, and it’s a just a matter of deciding how much is left and when it no longer will be available in amounts needed to sustain world economies. Peak oil proponents believe the time is fast approaching.

Petroleum science dates from the year 1757 when Russian scholar Mikhailo Lomonosov hypothesized that oil’s origin might be biological. In the early 19th century, two scientists disagreed – German naturalist and geologist Alexander von Humboldt and French chemist and thermodynamicist Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac. Together they proposed that oil is primordial matter, it erupted from deep within the earth, and it has no connection to biological material nearer the surface. Later in the century, others held similar views – most notably the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev (the father of the Periodic Table of chemical elements) and French chemist Marcellin Berthelot. Mendeleev, in particular, believed that “petroleum was born in the depths of the earth (called “deep faults”), and it is only there that we must seek its origin.”

Modern petroleum science dates from the end of WW II when the Cold War began and the former Soviet Union faced isolation from the West. At the time, its scientists believed the country was in trouble. It had limited reserves and was shut out of many parts of the world for supply. It thus became imperative to find new deposits inside the country.

So its 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 set out to do it. They studied oil’s origin, how reserves are generated, and the most effective exploration methods to extract it.

In 1951, Nikolai Kudryavtsev proposed the first modern deep abiotic oil origins theory at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. He discounted claims about oil’s biological origin and was joined by other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, including Vladimir Porfir’yev.

In 1956, Porfir’yev announced their conclusions that even now are largely unacknowledged in the West: that “Crude oil and natural petroleum have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth.” They’re “primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths,” and believing their supply is limited is a hoax to keep prices high at times like now.

The theory rests on the abiotic origin of oil. It’s mirror opposite orthodox geology, and, if right, here’s what it means – that available oil is only limited by deep earth organic hydrocarbon constituents at the time of the planet’s formation, and technological advances will eventually tap them in ultra-deep reservoirs and from old fields believed to be barren.

The theory defies conventional science, but it’s paying off. It let Soviet Russia develop huge oil and gas fields in regions previously thought unsuitable. In the 1990s, it was also successfully used in the Dnieper-Donets Basin between Russia and Ukraine in areas considered barren. Sixty-one wells were drilled of which 37 (60%) proved out. Engdahl compares this to US wildcat drilling that produces 90% dry holes.

Russia’s success was largely unknown in the West until Pentagon strategists, just recently, considered a disturbing possibility – that the country’s geophysicists might know “something of profound strategic importance.” If Russian energy know-how exceeds the West, it holds “a strategic trump card of staggering geopolitical import.” It also explains why Washington surrounds the country with military bases and targets it with anti-ballistic missiles and radar for offense, not defense. It’s “to cut her pipeline and port links to western Europe, China and the rest of Eurasia” as part of a new millennium Great Game to control the world’s resources.

In the 1990s, Russia extended its technology to the West, but its offers were spurned and then withdrawn after the US attacked Iraq. Nonetheless, ExxonMobil nearly got a $25 billion stake in Yukos Oil that only unraveled after its chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s arrest and conviction quashed the deal. Had it gone through, Exxon would have had access to the world’s largest resource of abiotic-trained deep drilling experts, now unavailable to their scientists and the West.

It now comes down to this. Western technology is built around fossil fuel development. If the future is abiotic, as Engdahl and Russian scientists believe, “Moscow holds a massive energy trump card.” It also faces a hostile US and possible new Cold War confrontation for its advantage and unwillingness to be accommodative the way Boris Yeltsin was in the 1990s.

If abiotic theory proves false or overrated, however, and orthodox geology is right, then controlling world oil reserves is even more important. It means peak oil is real, cheap oil is running out, heavier oils are more important, and cornering what’s left will be Priority One for all major world powers.

There you have it – peak oil or vast untapped amounts of the abiotic kind awaiting new technology to access it. Readers can weigh the evidence, find more on their own, and decide what’s true or false. In the fullness of time we’ll know, but for now we must rely on our best judgment with plenty of ammunition on both sides of the argument to consider.

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions of major world and national topics with distinguished guests.

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8220

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8260

The CIA Plot To Overthrow Hamas (videos)

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

Talk to Jazeera – Khaled Meshaal – 05 March 08

A report released this week by the American magazine Vanity Fair disclosed a plan by the US administration to overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas by arming rival Fatah forces through millions of dollars worth of weapons. This as Israel waged its deadliest round of attacks on Gaza since 2000.

Al Jazeera’s Hashim Ahlbarra meets with Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal, head of the group’s political bureau, and asks him about the report.

In this episode of Talk to Jazeera, Mishaal ,talks about the leaked US plan of arming Fatah and instigating a civil war in Gaza.

He also talks about rocket fire from the coastal strip and answers questions about a possible truce with Israel.

Mishaal says the surfacing of this report vindicates Hamas’ coup of Gaza, claiming that it was a pre-emtive measure forced upon them to preserve their existence and the voice of those who voted for them.

Al Jazeera also questions the leader on Hamas’ logic behind rocket attacks from Gaza in light of the recent onslaught by Israel and the humanitarian loss as a result.

The Hamas leader is questioned about his links with Iran and where the group gets its backing from. Mishaal denies any funding or armament from Iran and insists that Hamas is an independent group, reliant on no one.

On talks with Israel, Mishaal says that following the “holocaust” perpetrated by the Israelis, talks are out of the question. He also says that Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president, should reassess his position on talks as well.

h/t: ICH

***

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Revealed: the US plan to start a Palestinian civil war

Condoleezza Rice News Conference in Ramallah

Ohio’s primary and election reform – the good, the bad and the ugly

Dandelion Salad

by Bob Fitrakis
The Free Press
Co-written with Ron Baiman

March 6, 2008

The good news is that visible strides were made in re-enfranchising Ohio’s Franklin County (Columbus) inner city urban voters in the March 4, 2008 primary. Voting machines and paper ballots were plentiful and equally distributed.But,the bad news is that the discrepancy between the preliminary exit poll data and the unofficial vote tallies was reminiscent of the improbable results of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio between John Kerry and George W. Bush.

While the Clinton-Obama results are more probable than the Kerry-Bush results of 2004, they are still highly suspect and suggest statistically significant flaws in the exit polling or in the recording of Ohio votes.

In their “day after” analysis, the Washington Post reported (on page A9) that the Ohio Democratic presidential primary “preliminary exit poll results show the makeup of the electorate and how it voted.”

The preliminary exit poll information showed Clinton beating Obama by 3.26% — Clinton with 51.13% and Obama with 47.87%.

The unofficial results posted on the website of the Ohio Secretary of State are: Clinton 54.29%, Obama 44.00% and Edwards 1.72%, which gives a Clinton to Obama gap of 10.29%. This gives us a difference of 7.03% from the exit poll results.

…continued

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VT, OH, TX & RI 03.04.08 Primary Results

Who leaked the details of a CIA-Mossad plot against Iran?

Dandelion Salad

By Yossi Melman
ICH
06/03/08 “Haaretz

The Bush administration is prolonging the hunting season against journalists. The latest victim is James Risen, The New York Times reporter for national security and intelligence affairs. About three months ago, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena against him, ordering Risen to give evidence in court. A heavy blackout has been imposed on the affair, with the only hint being that it has to do with sensitive matters of “national security.”

Continue reading

As alliances shift, Iran wins. Again By Pepe Escobar

Dandelion Salad

By Pepe Escobar
ICH
03/06/08 “Asia Times

It’s no secret that a great deal of the alleged success of the George W Bush administration’s “surge” – or at least the way it’s being spun in the US – is related to a diminished flow of Iranian-made weapons towards militias in Iraq. The weapons anyway were being sold by Iranian and or Gulf black market dealers – and not by the central establishment in Tehran.

At the same time, the publication of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in the US virtually debunked the idea that Iran was conducting a secret nuclear program for military use.

These two overlapping developments have alarmed Israeli intelligence – which believes that Washington and Tehran have concluded a secret deal brokered by Saudi Arabia. That’s what’s being spun, for instance, by the Debka website – which is basically an Israeli military intelligence outlet.

The Bush administration, according to this narrative, is developing a new multi-point strategy for the Middle East (it’s useful to remember that no one even mentions Bush’s spun-to-death “democratic” Greater Middle East anymore). And Saudi Arabia is the new strategic go-between.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The two winners of the 2008 presidential election: fear and war by Larry Chin

Dandelion Salad

By Larry Chin
Global Research, March 7, 2008
Online Journal Associate Editor
Mar 6, 2008

The 2008 US presidential charade has already been decided. Come November, the next White House occupant (who will be installed via political malfeasance, computer vote theft and other election “irregularities”) will be the puppet who proves to be the most effective in echoing Bush-Cheney’s “war on terrorism” lies, and expanding the Bush-Cheney “national security” agenda.

The American populace will bow to the “next Bush” who will “keep them safe” from “Islamic jihadists.” Facing a new and increasingly brutal regime (probably under McCain), many brain-addled Americans will be stunned that “it is happening all over again,” oblivious to the fact that their own acquiescence helped make it possible.

Washington’s bipartisan consensus “war on terrorism” deception

Amply demonstrated by the rhetoric of each of the prospective US presidential candidates, the “terrorism” lie is also the key to the election. The candidates know that the ill-informed US population remains petrified, and still thoroughly manipulated by fear of “another 9/11.”

As exhaustively detailed by Michel Chossudovsky, author of America’s “War on Terrorism,” and in “Washington’s consensus al-Qaeda deception”, the “war on terrorism” deception is a manipulation supported by an elite consensus, and a cover-up promoted equally by Washington’s political factions and both Republican and Democratic parties.

This myth, which rests on the perpetual fabricated threat of an outside enemy, has been the key to the power wielded by Bush-Cheney. It remains at the core of every official and unofficial decision made by this criminal regime, and its complicit bipartisan Washington partners. The “terrorist” threat to the US homeland, and its many propaganda variations, are now embedded fixations in the American psyche, reinforced by endless corporate media bombast.

The Washington consensus has remained united behind the lies and cover-up of 1) the atrocities of 9/11, a US-led false flag operation, 2) the fact that “Al-Qaeda” is an Anglo-American military-intelligence covert operation, and 3) the use of “anti-terrorism” as a pretext to invade and conquer Afghanistan and Iraq, and its use as the justification for future war across the Middle East and Central Asia, Africa, and other vital geostrategic regions.

Which candidate will be the most effective mass murderer?

Clinton, McCain and Obama are backed by hawkish national security teams headed by some of the world’s master war criminals (Kissinger, Brzezinski, Albright, etc.). These elite connections, and their ramifications, which promise the deepening of the war, remain unaddressed and ignored.

John McCain is deeply corrupt and ruthless — the perfect extension of Bush-Cheney. McCain’s participation in the 1980s savings and loan scandal, as a member of the infamous Keating Five, is a matter of historical fact. Also a matter of record are McCain’s brutal views on war and killing, which are best exemplified by his 2001 op-ed, War is Hell. Now Let’s Get On With It.

Despite their inexplicable reputations as liberals, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are now locked in a bitter and destructive struggle over who is the more Bush/Cheney-esque; who is the superior “anti-terrorist” and protector of “American security.”

Clinton and Obama have both repeated the same slippery and all too familiar “war on terrorism” deceptions favored by the elite neoliberal faction:

  • “The Bush administration has failed to fight the ‘real war on terrorism’ begun after 9/11.”
  • “Mismanagement and blunders of the war in Iraq have created radical jihadist insurgencies that will the destroy the United States.”
  • “The Iraq mistake has distracted us from fighting the ‘real’ war on terrorism.”
  • “We should declare war on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which harbor the real ‘terrorists’ who attacked us on 9/11.”
  • “The Iraq distraction has prevented us from capturing Osama.”
  • “The world was united after 9/11, but Bush squandered it all.”

Other variations popular with the Clinton and Obama camps include:

  • “Al-Qaeda is reforming in Afghanistan, because of Bush policy failures, and must be dealt with.”
  • “Iran has become increasingly radical and dangerous because of Bush’s Iraq policy, and now must be dealt with.”

Both Clinton and Obama repeat bald-faced lies about “bringing troops home,” when it is clear that their agenda will do neither. US bases in Iraq are permanent. Some troops could be redeployed, but the US geostrategic foothold in the region is permanent — and they know it.

Both enthusiastically support war waged under the NATO banner, the US-backed Kosovo criminal apparatus (created by the Bill Clinton administration), and other atrocities.

In a telling exchange during a recent debate, Clinton and Obama each kissed the feet (and other body parts) of the powerful AIPAC war lobby, declaring Israel and Israeli security “sacrosanct,” leaving no doubt that a presidency under either of them promises a continuation of genocidal Middle East policy.

The gutter tactics of Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s recent primary victories in Texas and Ohio were the result of gutter politics directly out of the Karl Rove playbook. Clinton has stooped to every trick in this book, and the most below-belt attacks and open lies in recent memory.

Clinton’s penchant for fear-mongering is exemplified by the now-infamous “Red Phone” Ad. In this malodorous work, endorsed by the right wing and hailed as a smashing success by venal Clinton strategists, Obama’s ability to deal with a 3 a.m. “international security” crisis is called into question.

Here again, the 9/11 “terrorism” lie is placed front and center, obliterating every other issue.

The peevish Clintons are so hungry for power, that they destroy the Democratic Party, and hand the White House to the Republicans and Bush-Cheney-McCain, to achieve their objective. Clearly, the beneficiaries are the Republicans, and Bush-Cheney-McCain.

It is also no surprise that Clinton’s Texas and Ohio success was assisted by orchestrated conniving by right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. Armed with the certainty that McCain is already the Republican nominee, Limbaugh and other fanatical right-wingers swarmed to cast votes for Clinton in “cross-over” states. Limbaugh’s stated goal was to “bloody up” Obama (perceived by the right wing to be more liberal and more dangerous), force the Democrats deeper into self-destruction “for fun,” making a McCain victory that much more certain.

This is not the first time Clinton has benefited from shenanigans (and Republican help), nor will it be the last. Her New Hampshire primary results were manipulated, giving her a surprise victory despite exit polls favoring Obama by big margins. Clinton has continued to bully and intimidate her peers in the Congress (her “super delegates”), and force the Democratic Party into giving her delegates from Florida and Michigan, despite the party’s rules that do not permit delegates from those uncontested states.

Of course, it is no coincidence that criminal activity saves a Clinton or a Bush every time one faces political defeat. The political and criminal connection that the Clinton faction shares with the Bushes is a matter of historical fact, going back to their criminal activities in Arkansas. The Bush-Clinton milieu has cooperatively ruled the United States for decades.

In fact, a McCain-Clinton ticket, with Jeb Bush and other intelligence-connected neocons in their administration, would offer the most honest representation of what the American empire really is.

Obama’s support for war and death squads

Despite his stirring rhetoric, razor sharp intellect and immensely appealing persona, Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda is virtually identical to that of Bush-Cheney-McCain and Clinton, including his approach to the “war on terrorism.” The differences in nuance, over which a bitter campaign is being fought, are slight.

Obama has repeated his earlier promise to take unilateral military action to “take out terrorists” anywhere in the world, where “actionable intelligence” identifies terrorists, and governments (where these terrorists are found) fail to act. This is no different than existing Bush-Cheney policy. In a recent debate, Obama stated that he would send troops back into Iraq (after a hypothetical pullout) if, hypothetically, “Al-Qaeda reforms in Iraq.”

As reported by Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Largest Mercenary Army, Obama has even expressed support for continuing to outsource war-related activities to Blackwater USA. This itself should eliminate any notion that Obama is in any way “antiwar,” or anti-criminality.

An Obama presidency would offer a soothing and momentary illusion of false hope to many Americans.

But if recent events are any indication, even false hopes will be squashed, well before a national election contest begins.

Every election in modern US history has been a criminal manipulation, choreographed and rigged by political elites and performed by handpicked elite puppets, each backed by their teams of corrupt war criminals, intelligence/security “advisors” and think tank assets. The 2008 affair will be no different.

It is still a fact that corporations (primarily connected to the Republican political apparatus) control the American vote, and with increasing technological sophistication: Diebold, ESS, Sequoia, and SAIC. In fact, new generations of their machines will be used in 2008.

Democratic Party “war on terrorism” complicity in Congress

In activities paralleling the red herrings bandied about by the presidential campaigns, the bipartisan consensus in the US Congress is demonstrating (again) that it is will not act to stop Bush-Cheney on domestic surveillance. Congressional Democrats are also unable to muster meager opposition of any kind to Bush-Cheney’s Iraq war.

The Iraq Redeployment Act, pushed by Senator Russ Feingold, is a perfect example of Democratic Party ignorance and complicity. Feingold’s bill limits funding, except for “hunting Al-Qaeda terrorists,” and for “training Iraqi troops to fight Al-Qaeda.”

Given that the “hunt for Al-Qaeda” has been the eternal bipartisan consensus pretext for US geostrategy, and given that “Al-Qaeda” is blamed for the host of Iraq problems (including, but not limited to, “insurgencies”), the Feingold bill essentially accommodates continued funding for eternal war.

The Feingold bill, like the rest of Democratic Party’s “war on terrorism” rhetoric is the definition of a zero-sum charade.

The presidential campaign to hell

Without an end to the “terrorism” lie, there will be no end to the “war on terrorism.”

Given the intensity with which this lie is being wielded by Clinton, McCain and Obama, and with the Anglo-American empire’s very survival at stake, clearly there will be no end to war, no matter who is the next White House occupant.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Larry Chin, Online Journal, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8262

see

The Election That Might Not Happen

2008 election charade: White House bought by big money by Larry Chin

2008 presidential charade promises deepening of government criminality and expansion of war by Larry Chin

Kosovo: The US and the EU support a Political Process linked to Organized Crime by Michel Chossudovsky

Obama & Clinton both support Blackwater!!!! (videos)

Washington’s Consensus Al Qaeda Deception by Larry Chin

Chossudovsky-Michel

Chin-Larry

Escobar: Colombian attack on FARC in Ecuador (video) + Plan Colombia

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Pepe Escobar: Tension grows between Colombia, Venezuela and EcuadorThursday March 6th, 2008

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pepe Escobar writes The Roving Eye for Asia Times Online. He has reported from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, US and China. He is the author of the recently published Red Zone Blues. Pepe is a regular analyst for The Real News Network.

Continue reading

Olbermann: Bush: If He Wants Me… + FL MI Revote? + Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton Dream-Ticket?

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

Mar. 5, 2008

Bush – “If He Wants Me…”

Keith speaks with Dana Milbank.

Johnny Come Lately: The day after the Republicans mathematically anoint their nominee. A traditional spike in any campaign. The formal endorsement of that nominee, by the incumbent President. A second traditional spike in any campaign. The bonding of two former cut-throat enemies from the same party, at the very moment the other party consigns itself to as much as five months of throat-cutting. A third, climactic, spike, in any campaign. And, in our number one story on the Countdown: the guy… shows up late. Seriously? No On-Star in the car, Senator McCain? They stopped giving traffic reports on WTOP?

Florida Michigan Revote?

Keith speaks with Chuck Todd.

Altered States: If last night’s split results mean neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton can clinch the nomination based on delegates alone, any more, then this is a job… for super-delegates. But in our third story tonight, they may not come to the rescue… until the very last minute. Super-delegates in a moment, but first, because we’re talking messed-up elections, Florida. And– this year, anyway– Michigan.

Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton Dream-Ticket? 

Keith speaks with Jonathan Alter.

Dream Ticket?: Last night’s results not only kept the Democratic race alive… they ignited anew, speculation that the best ticket, and the best solution to the many pot-holes suddenly evident on the Democratic horizon… might incorporate both historic candidates. The speculation, of course, often fails to address that tricky question of who would get top billing… and the white building… and the cool plane… and who would be left, conceivably marking time until 2016. In our fourth story tonight…whose dream… is the dream ticket?

World’s Worst 

Worse: Glenn Beck

Worser: Bill’O!

Worst: Bill’O!

Mosaic News: 3/5/08 – World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad

Warning

.

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Arab Foreign Ministers Meet in Cairo,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Rice: Israel, Palestinians to resume talks,” IBA TV, Israel
“US-Egyptian Relations Remains Strong,” Egypt Satellite Channel, Egypt
“Iranian Conservatives Divided,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Impact of New UN Sanctions on Iran,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Interview With Amin Gemayel,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Omaba’s Family in Kenya Closely Watch Primaries,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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The Election That Might Not Happen

Dandelion Salad

by Betsy Hartmann
CommonDreams.org
Thursday, March 6, 2008

It’s springtime in American politics. It’s only early March, but there’s a giddy, hopeful feeling to this election season, a sense that new leadership is blossoming. We could have a Democrat in the White House next year. But winter isn’t over yet and we need to balance our hope with a little fear. In 2000 Bush and Cheney stole the election in Florida. In 2004 they played dirty tricks in Ohio. In 2008 could they go one step further — and suspend the election altogether?

The necessary architecture may already be in place. On May 4 last year, the White House issued the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, key parts of which remain classified and hence shrouded from public view. The directive outlines procedures to respond to a “catastrophic emergency,” defined broadly as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.” Of course previous administrations also had emergency plans. But the Bush directive transfers power from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the White House, where the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism is assigned the job of “National Continuity Coordinator”.

The unclassified part of the directive reveals little about who would have the authority to invoke emergency powers during a catastrophe. Nor does it refer to existing laws, such as the National Emergencies Act, that establish congressional checks on the executive’s power to impose martial law or other extraordinary measures. Its wording is ambiguous – the directive shall be implemented “consistent with applicable law,” without making clear which laws are “applicable”. “The Bush legal team has pushed a controversial theory that the Constitution gives the president an unwritten power to disobey laws at his own discretion to protect national security,” writes Charlie Savage in the Boston Globe. He quotes legal specialists who describe the vagueness of the new directive as “troubling”.

Also troubling is the Department of Homeland Security’s $385 million contract awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root in January 2006 to build temporary detention facilities. According to a Halliburton press release, the contract provides for augmenting existing immigration detention facilities in the event of “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.” It also includes the development of a plan “to react to a national emergency, such as a national disaster.” Construction would commence only after an “emergency” is declared. While immigrants appear to be the main target, one cannot rule out the possibility that the detention centers could be used as holding pens for dissidents during a proclaimed emergency. Recent crackdowns on illegal immigrants have included military-style night raids on homes and factories. Are we getting softened up for the expansion of police state tactics?

But perhaps the most important card the Bush administration holds in its deck is a stacked conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In 2000 the Court turned a blind eye to the theft of Al Gore’s electoral victory in Florida. Should we expect better today? Just last month the Court refused to review the ACLU’s legal challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless electronic surveillance program. Can we depend on the Court to challenge emergency rule and a suspension of elections?

Even with this architecture in place, the Bush administration would need a trigger to declare a state of emergency. One can imagine several possible scenarios:

War with Iran – unfortunately, not so far-fetched. The National Intelligence Estimate released in December concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program back in 2003. But when have Bush and Cheney ever based their foreign policy decisions on evidence? Moreover, the most important reason they want to attack Iran is to control the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf, nukes or no nukes.

The assassination of a presidential candidate. Obama evokes memories of JFK and Martin Luther King. The bullet could come from a lone racist, a terrorist, or an agent of a state. The threat is real. The Secret Service knows it and so should we.

A terrorist strike, on the scale of 9/11 or worse. Again, not so far-fetched. Bush and Cheney have been Osama bin Laden’s greatest recruiters, making the U.S. appear to be the enemy of millions across the world. Al Qaeda may consider that regime change in the U.S. is not in their interest.

With the right spin, any of these events might be construed as a “catastrophic emergency.”

These worst-case scenarios probably will not come to pass. We’ll probably all be able to sleep peacefully in our beds in the early hours of November 5, after watching the election results on TV. The value of worst-case scenarios lies not in their accurate prediction of events, but rather in what they tell us about the risks we face. We shouldn’t let hope make us naïve. We need to be alert, our vision razor-sharp. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It could be the price of elections, too. Let’s not count our spring flowers before they bloom.

Betsy Hartmann’s latest book is the political thriller Deadly Election. A longstanding activist in the international women’s health movement, she lives in Amherst, MA where she teaches and directs the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College. Her other books include Reproductive Rights and Wrongs and the novel The Truth About Fire about neo-Nazis in the American heartland. See www.BetsyHartmann.com.

h/t: *RC_REVOLUTION [the_resistance]

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Martial Law, Inc. – KBR: A Halliburton Subsidiary by Andrew G. Marshall

Police State America – A Look Back and Ahead by Stephen Lendman

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: A Tutorial in Orwellian Newspeak By Robert Weitzel

The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 by Matt Renner

Bush Declares Himself Dictator – Presidential Directive 51 (May 2007; video link)

Bush Directive for a “Catastrophic Emergency” in America by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky (Iran)

Bush Pens Dictatorship Directive, Few Notice by Kurt Nimmo

National Security & Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 (2007)

Bush To Be Dictator In A Catastrophic Emergency by Lee Rogers (Martial Law; Police State)

Officials monitor thousands of letters without warrants

Dandelion Salad

by John Byrne
Raw Story
Thursday March 6, 2008

The US postal service approves more than 10,000 requests from US law enforcement each year to record names, addresses and other information from the outside of packages, according to information released through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The warrantless surveillance mail program — as it is known — requires only the approval of the US Postal Inspection Service Director, and not a judge.

Signing statement may have allowed mail to be opened

There’s reason to believe more mail may be being opened, as well.

In late 2006, a signing statement issued by President Bush suggested that his office had expanded executive branch power to open mail without a warrant.

The signing statement accompanied H.R. 6407, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which reiterated a prohibition on opening first class mail without a warrant.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Abu Ghraib prison turned soldiers evil by design: researcher + Stanford Prison Experiment

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Chapman
AFP
Fri Feb 29, 2008

MONTEREY, California (AFP) – The very design of Abu Ghraib in Iraq turned good soldiers into evil tormentors that humiliated and brutalized prisoners, a famed social psychologist said Thursday.

Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo described a “Lucifer effect” as he flashed shocking images of Abu Ghraib horrors for those at an elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in California.

…continued

h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Both of these vids I posted previously on my old blog:

Stanford Prison Experiment

LiptonCB

Added: November 13, 2006

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Quite Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment

splous

Official trailer for the 50-minute “Quiet Rage” documentary on Philip Zimbardo’s famous experiment. Fascinating, disturbing, and highly educational.

Added: February 26, 2007

see

Am I a Torturer? By Justine Sharrock

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil + Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment (vid clip)