Dr Helen Caldicott: The Earth is in the Intensive Care Unit

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Mosaic News – 3/27/08: World News from the Middle East

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Warning

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

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
The Afghan War is Far From Being Over,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Missing Leaders at Arab Summit,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Palestinians Support Arab League Summit,” Syria TV, Syria
Israel Will Not Negotiate Peace with Syria,” IBA TV, Israel
Hamas Prisoners Held in Fatah Jails,” Al Aqsa, Gaza
Bush: Extremists Will Lose,” Jordan TV, Jordan
Cheney Meets with Abbas & Olmert,” Press TV, Iran
Mohammed is the Most Popular Name in Britain,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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

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The Next Big Plan From The Bernanke Politburo – Reviving the R.T.C.

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Digg It

By Mike Whitney
03/28/08
ICH

“Instead of just propping up bankrupt banks, the governments should be democratising them – mobilising their assets to stimulate the productive economy, repairing infrastructure, researching and developing new markets, and refitting western economies to combat climate change.” — Iain MacWhirter, “The Red Menace”

The Federal Reserve is presently considering an emergency operation that is so risky it could send the dollar slip-sliding over the cliff. The story appeared in the Financial Times earlier this week and claimed that the Fed was examining the feasibility of buying back hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) with public money to restore investor confidence and clear the struggling banks’ balance sheets. The Fed, of course, denied the allegations, but the rumors abound. Currently the banking system is so clogged with exotic investments, for which there is no market, they can’t perform their main task of providing credit to businesses and consumers. Bernanke’s job is to clear the credit logjam so the broader economy can begin to grow again. So far, he has failed to achieve his objectives.

Since September, Bernanke has slashed interest rates by 3 percent and opened various auction facilities (Term Securities Lending Facility, the Term Auction Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, and the new Term Securities Lending Facility) which have made $400 billion available in low-interest loans to banks and non banks. He has also accepted a “wide range” of collateral for Fed repos including mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) which are worth considerably less than what the Fed is offering in exchange. But the Fed’s injections of liquidity have not solved the basic problem which is the fall in housing prices and the persistent downgrading of mortgage-backed assets that investors refuse to buy at any price. In fact, the troubles are gradually getting worse and spreading to areas of the financial markets that were previously thought to be risk-free. The credit slowdown has also put additional pressure on hedge funds and other financial institutions forcing them to quickly deleverage to meet margin calls by dumping illiquid assets into a saturated market at fire-sale prices. This process has been dubbed the “great unwind”.

In the last six years, the mortgage-backed securities market has ballooned to a $4.5 trillion dollar industry. The investment banks are presently holding about $600 billion of these complex debt instruments. So far, the banks have written-down $125 billion in losses, but there’s a lot more carnage to come. Goldman Sachs estimates that banks, brokerages and hedge funds will eventually sustain $460 billion in losses, three times greater than today. Even so, those figures are bound to increase as the housing market continues to deteriorate and capital is drained from the system.

The Fed has neither the resources nor the inclination to scoop up all the junk bonds the banks have on their books. Bernanke has already exposed about half of the Central Bank’s balance sheet to credit risk. ($400 billion) But what is the alternative? If the Fed doesn’t intervene, then many of country’s largest investment banks will wind up like Bear Stearns; DOA. After all, Bear is not an isolated case; most of the banks are similarly leveraged at 25 or 35 to 1. They are also losing more and more capital each month from downgrades, and their main streams of revenue have been cut off. In fact, many of Wall Street’s financial titans are technically insolvent already. The generosity of the Fed is the only thing that keeps them from bankruptcy.

It’s generally accepted that the market for MBS will not improve until housing prices stabilize, but that’s a long way off. Mortgages are the cornerstone upon which the multi-trillion dollar structured investment market rests, and that cornerstone is crumbling. If housing prices continue to fall, the MBS market will remain frozen and banks will fail; it is as simple as that. No one is going to purchase derivatives when the underlying asset is losing value. The Bush administration is pushing for a “rate freeze” and other clever ways to keep homeowners from defaulting on their mortgages, but its a hopeless cause. The clerical work needed to change these complex mortgages is already proving to be a daunting task. Plus, since 60 percent of these mortgages were securitized, it is nearly impossible to change the terms of the contracts without first getting investor approval; another fly in the ointment.

Also, the tentative plans to expand Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so they can absorb larger mortgages (up to $729,000 jumbo loans) is putting an enormous strain on the already-overextended GSE’s. By attempting to reflate the housing bubble, the administration will only increase the rate of foreclosures and put the two mortgage behemoths at risk of default without any clear sign that it will help.

Yesterday’s release of the Case/Schiller Index of the 20 largest cities in the country, shows that housing prices have slipped 10.7 percent in the last year while sales were down 23 percent year over year. That means that retail equity of US homes just took a $2 trillion haircut. Still, prices have a long way to go before they catch up to the 50 percent decline in sales from the peak in 2005. From this point on, prices should fall and fall fast; following a trajectory as steep as sales. Many economist expect housing prices to drop at least 30% (Paul Krugman and G-Sax) which means that $6 trillion will be shaved from aggregate home equity. In a slumping market, many homeowners will be better off just “walking away” from their mortgage instead of making payments on an asset of steadily decreasing value. Who wants to make monthly payments on a $500,000 mortgage when the current value of the house is $350,000? It’s easier to pack the kids and vamoose then waste a lifetime as a mortgage slave. Besides, the Bush administration has no interest in helping the little guy stay out of foreclosure. Its a joke. All of the rescue plans are designed with just one purpose in mind; to save Wall Street and the banking establishment. Period.

There is a widespread belief that Bernanke has been proactive in addressing the turmoil in the credit markets. But it’s not true. The Fed chairman has simply responded to events as they unfold. The collapse of Bears Stearns came just weeks after the SEC had checked the bank’s reserves and decided that they had sufficient capital to weather the storm ahead. But they were wrong. The bank’s capital ($17 billion) vanished in a matter of days after word got out that Bear was in trouble. The sudden run on the bank created a risk to other banks and brokerages that held derivatives contracts with Bear. Something had to be done; Rome was burning and Bernanke was the only man with a hose.

According to the UK Telegraph: “Bear Stearns had total (derivatives) positions of $13.4 trillion. This is greater than the US national income, or equal to a quarter of world GDP – at least in “notional” terms. The contracts were described as “swaps”, “swaptions”, “caps”, “collars” and “floors”. This heady edifice of new-fangled instruments was built on an asset base of $80bn at best.

On the other side of these contracts are banks, brokers, and hedge funds, linked in destiny by a nexus of interlocking claims. This is counterparty spaghetti. To make matters worse, Lehman Brothers, UBS, and Citigroup were all wobbling on the back foot as the hurricane hit.

“Twenty years ago the Fed would have let Bear Stearns go bust,” said Willem Sels, a credit specialist at Dresdner Kleinwort. “Now it is too interlinked to fail.” (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, UK Telegraph)

Bernanke felt he had no choice but to step in and try to minimize the damage, but the outcome was disappointing. Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson worked out a deal with JP Morgan that committed $30 billion of taxpayer money, without congressional authority, to buy toxic mortgage-backed securities from a privately-owned business that was failing because of its own speculative bets on dodgy investments. Wow. The transaction turned out to be bad for shareholders, bad for employees and bad for taxpayers. It made the Federal Reserve look like the unelected and unaccountable oligarchy of bankster sharpies they really are. The only people who made out were the investors who were holding derivatives contracts that would have been worthless if Bear went toes up.

Still,the prospect of a system-wide derivatives meltdown left Bernanke with few good options, notwithstanding the moral hazard of bailing out a maxed-out, capital impaired investment bank that should have been fed to the wolves.

It is worth noting that derivatives contracts are a fairly recent addition to US financial markets. In 2000, derivatives trading accounted for less than $1 trillion. By 2006 that figure had mushroomed to over $500 trillion. And it all can be traced back to legislation that was passed during the Clinton administration.

“A milestone in the deregulation effort came in the fall of 2000, when a lame-duck session of Congress passed a little-noticed piece of legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. The bill effectively kept much of the market for derivatives and other exotic instruments off-limits to agencies that regulate more conventional assets like stocks, bonds and futures contracts.

Supported by Phil Gramm, then a Republican senator from Texas and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the legislation was a 262-page amendment to a far larger appropriations bill. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton that December.” (“What Created this Monster” Nelson Schwartz, New York Times)

Now the investment giants are lashed together by trillions of dollars of unregulated counterparty swaps. If one bank fails, it could domino through the whole system. Bernanke now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to make sure that all the equity bubbles are properly inflated so the banking system doesn’t suddenly come crashing to earth. Meanwhile, the tumbling housing market has paralyzed the corporate bond and structured investment markets which means that Bernanke’s job will get much harder, if not impossible.

The Fed chief is now facing a number of brushfires that will have to be put out immediately. The first of these is short term lending rates, which have stubbornly ignored Bernanke’s massive liquidity injections and continued to rise. The banks are increasingly afraid to lend to each other because they don’t really know how much exposure the other banks have to risky MBS. This distrust has sent interbank lending rates soaring above the Fed funds rate to more than double in the past month alone. So far, the Fed’s TAF hasn’t helped to lower rates, which means that Bernanke will have to take more extreme measures to rev up bank lending again. That’s why many Fed-watchers believe that Bernanke will ultimately coordinate a $500 billion to $1 trillion taxpayer-funded bailout to buy up all the MBSs from the banks so they can resume normal operations. Of course, any Fed-generated scheme will have to be dolled up with populous rhetoric so that welfare for banking tycoons looks like a selfless act of compassion for struggling homeowners. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Bush public relations team.

The probable solution to the MBS mess is the restoration of the Resolution Trust Corp., which was created in 1989 to dispose of assets of insolvent savings and loan banks. The RTC would create a government-owned management company that would buy distressed MBS from banks and liquidate them via auction. The state would pay less than full-value for the bonds (The Fed currently pays 85% face-value on MBS) and then take a loss on their liquidation. “According to Joseph Stiglitz in his book, Towards a New Paradigm in Monetary Economics, the real reason behind the need of this company was to allow the US government to subsidize the banking sector in a way that wasn’t very transparent and therefore avoid the possible resistance.”

The same strategy will be used again. Now that Bernanke’s liquidity operations have flopped, we can expect that some RTC-type agency will be promoted as a prudent way to fix the mortgage securities market. The banks will get their bailout and the taxpayer will foot the bill.

The problem, however, is that the dollar is already falling against every other currency. (On Wednesday, the dollar plunged to $1.58 per euro, a new record) If Bernanke throws his support behind an RTC-type plan; it will be seen by foreign investors as a hyper-inflationary government bailout, which could precipitate a global sell-off of US debt and trigger a dollar crisis.

Reuters James Saft puts it like this:

“It is also hugely risky in terms of the Fed’s obligation to maintain stable prices…. it could stoke inflation to levels intolerable to foreign creditors, provoking a sharp fall in the dollar as they sought safety elsewhere.” (Reuters)

Saft is right; foreign creditors will see it as an indication that the Fed has abandoned standard operating procedures so it can inflate its way out of a jam. According to Saft, the estimated price for this folly could be as high as $1 trillion dollars. Foreign investors would have no choice except to withdraw their funds from US markets and move them overseas. In fact, that appears to be happening already. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“While cash continues to pour into the U.S. from abroad, this flow has been slowing. In 2007, foreigners’ net acquisition of long-term bonds and stocks in the U.S. was $596 billion, down from $722 billion in 2006, according to Treasury Department data. From July to December as jitters about securities linked to US subprime mortgages spread, net purchases were just $121 billion, a 65% decrease from the same period a year earlier. Americans, meanwhile, are investing more of their own money abroad.” (“A US Debt Reckoning” Wall Street Journal)

$121 billion does not even put a dent the $700 billion the US needs to pay its current account deficit. When foreign investment drops off, the currency weakens. Its no wonder the dollar is falling like a stone.

Bernanke should seriously consider the consequences of his next move before he acts. Once the dollar starts to free-fall, there’s no telling where it will land.


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.

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The Reflecting Pool: Credibility of the official government story about 9/11

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by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Global Research, March 28, 2008

Review of new movie

Whether you see yourself as a truth seeker, patriotic American, independent thinker or voter, or just someone with bad memories of 9/11, you should make an effort to view The Reflecting Pool, a new independent movie. It is not about 9/11. It is about the credibility of the official government story about 9/11. Though a drama, it is based on meticulously researched facts about 9/11 as revealed in the bonus material on the DVD.

The story is about the search for truth and the unsettling implications of discovering 9/11 truth that conflicts with what has become the folklore about the historic event.

The plot follows the efforts of independent journalist Alex Prokop and Paul Cooper, a researcher and father of a 9/11 victim, to piece together fact-fragments into a picture that ultimately implicates the US government in the attacks. The horror of this revelation rivals the horror of the 9/11 events themselves, especially when we realize that far more people, especially American soldiers, have died because of 9/11 in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than on 9/11. Yet to close our eyes to this truth makes us co-conspirators in one of the world’s most devilish and despicable events.

And that is the dilemma that viewers face after they watch this disturbing docudrama: What if this fictional story actually and accurately describes how our government played a role in causing 9/11?

Writer/Director Jarek Kupsc plays Alex Prokop who examines a mysterious 9/11 videotape revealing new information on the attack. Joseph Culp appears as Paul Cooper, the man who sent the tape and whose daughter died on 9/11. Though skeptical of conspiracy theories and fearful that it will jeopardize his career, Prokop agrees to take on the story with encouragement from his magazine editor and a former Gulf War correspondent, McGuire, played by Lisa Black.

The film follows Prokop and Cooper, especially as they investigate one of the great mysteries of 9/11: the inexplicable collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7, not hit by any airplane. They uncover the illegal destruction of physical evidence from Ground Zero, and discover information that the White House knew an attack was imminent. The team spends two weeks in New York and Washington D.C. , interviewing people and discovering damning information never mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report. The FBI becomes involved, the magazine’s corporate investors threaten to kill the entire story, and Prokop is attacked by a lawsuit and the media in an effort to discredit his story. Why?

Because the official version as presented in the 9/11 Commission Report purposely ignored or omitted vital evidence and testimonies to protect people in the Bush administration. Prokop, plagued by the ghosts of his childhood in Russia and trying to uphold the independence of American journalism, struggles to come to grips with this awful truth. The film illustrates that, as so often is the case, the truth does not set you free; it ties your stomach and conscience into knots. It will remind you of All the President’s Men and JFK, films that also used drama to pursue political truths.

The DVD is available for only $15 on http://reflectingpoolfilm.com/ and you will want to loan it to friends and family or give as a gift, which is made especially attractive with even lower prices for packs of five or ten DVDs. An extended trailer [see video below] is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32b-e-xwuB8. Details about the film and its actors are at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1015468/

Video rental outlets like Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix and Redbox should make this DVD available. Otherwise, it is further evidence that status quo thinking is subverting 9/11 truth to the detriment of American democracy. Public libraries should also stock this important educational film. Once you watch it you too will feel strongly about it reaching a wide audience.

Warning: No matter what you know or think you know about 9/11, this movie will rattle your brain, make you think, and perhaps keep you up at night.

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 Joel S. Hirschhorn, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8470

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“The Reflecting Pool” Extended Trailer

reflectingpool

A journalist and a researcher uncover evidence of the US government’s involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Added: August 10, 2007

Iraqi government offensive in Basra threatens to trigger Shiite uprising

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by Peter Symonds
Global Research, March 28, 2008
wsws.org

Fighting between Iraqi security forces, backed by the US military, and militia loyal to Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr continued unabated yesterday following a government offensive launched in the southern port city of Basra on Tuesday. Up to 200 people have been killed, many of them civilians, in clashes over the past three days in Basra, as well as the southern towns of Kut, Diwaniya, Hilla and Amara, and the sprawling slums of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad.

A great deal is at stake for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has moved to Basra to take personal charge of the operation. He has been under pressure to act against the Sadrists, not only from Washington, but from the two Shiite factions on which he rests—his own Da’wa party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI). The latter in particular has been engaged in a protracted power struggle with the Sadrists across southern Iraq in preparation for provincial elections due in October.

ISCI regards the Sadrist movement as a barrier to its ambition to establish an autonomous Shiite region in southern Iraq similar to the Kurdish region in the north. The Sadrist movement, with its large base of support in Baghdad, supports a strong central government and is opposed to ISCI’s plans. Basra, which is Iraq’s second largest city, a major port and adjacent to the country’s southern oil fields, is at the centre of this rivalry.

In a statement on national TV yesterday, Maliki rejected calls by Sadrist leaders for him to leave Basra and start negotiations. “We entered this battle with determination and we will continue to the end. No retreat. No talks. No negotiations,” he declared. Maliki issued a 72-hour ultimatum on Wednesday for militiamen in Basra to surrender their weapons or face the consequences. However, the Sadrist militias have ignored the deadline, which was due to expire today, and entrenched themselves in large areas of the city.

In a speech at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base yesterday, US President George Bush hailed Maliki’s “bold decision to go after illegal groups in Basra”. He declared that the operation demonstrated the progress made by Iraqi security forces, who had planned and led the operation. The offensive, Bush claimed, was one more sign that the “surge” of US troops “was bringing America closer to a key strategic victory in the war against these extremists and radicals”.

In fact, as a number of US analysts have nervously noted, the assault in Basra has the potential to destroy what has been one of the key factors in the comparative lull in fighting in recent months—a ceasefire announced by Sadr last August, and renewed for another six months in February.

Time magazine, for instance, commented: “Could Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s attempts to reestablish control over Basra backfire? There is a growing possibility that it could become a wider intra-Shiite war, drawing in the forces loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose ceasefire has been key to the success of the US ‘surge’. If so, the consequences for American military strategy in Iraq in an all-important political year will be grave.”

As for claims that the Basra operation is Iraqi-led, Bush’s speech makes clear that the impetus came from Washington, rather than Baghdad. There is no doubt that the entire offensive was planned, well in advance, in the closest collaboration with US generals. US advisors and “transition teams” are embedded with Iraqi soldiers in Basra. The US military is providing air support and intelligence to troops on the ground.

US military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner refused to comment on what would happen if the Iraqi government failed to complete the Basra operation, saying only that it was “a very hypothetical question at this time”. However, the Pentagon and the White House undoubtedly have contingency plans and are watching the situation very closely. The Christian Science Monitor noted that the US-funded television station Al Hurra reported that a contingent of US marines was in Basra, involved mainly in sniper operations.

Despite American military support and superior firepower, the Iraqi offensive in Basra, which involves nearly 30,000 soldiers and police, appears to have stalled. According to a New York Times article, as much as half the city was under militia control yesterday. “Witnesses said that from the worn, closely packed brick buildings of one Madhi stronghold, the Hayaniya neighbourhood, Mahdi fighters fired mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, automatic weapons and sniper rifles at seemingly helpless Iraqi army units pinned on a main road outside, their armoured vehicles unable to enter the narrow streets,” it stated.

The newspaper noted that hospitals in parts of the city were reported full. Most casualties were civilians caught in the crossfire, according to hospital officials. Violence was continuing to spread, including to areas south of the city. One of the two major pipelines from the southern oil fields was blown up yesterday, cutting capacity by one third and sending international oil prices spiking to more than $US106 a barrel.

The Christian Science Monitor reported: “Al Sharquiya TV, a private Iraqi station often critical of the Iraqi government, showed what it said were exclusive images of masked militiamen—some of them in military fatigues—parading Humvees they had seized from Iraqi government forces in Basra… Yahya al-Taiee, a Basra-based lawyer and member of the Sadr movement, said many Iraqi soldiers have surrendered themselves and their vehicles to the Mahdi Army.”

Clashes spread

Fierce fighting has also occurred on other southern Iraqi towns. The Associated Press cited local officials as saying that 40 people had been killed and 75 wounded in clashes in Kut. On Wednesday, a US air strike on an alleged Mahdi Army base in Hilla resulted in a large number of casualties. A police source told Reuters that 29 people had been killed and 39 wounded during an attack that lasted an hour and destroyed six houses.

Tensions are high in Baghdad’s largely working class Shiite suburb of Sadr City after sporadic clashes between Madhi Army fighters and Iraqi and US forces. Militiamen have erected barricades and patrol the streets. Iraqi and US troops have thrown up a cordon around the suburb. A New York Times photographer, who managed to get into Sadr City, reported “more layers of checkpoints, each one run by about two dozen heavily-armed Madhi Army fighters clad in tracksuits and T-shirts. Tyres burned in the city centre, gunfire echoed against shuttered stores, and teams of fighters in pickup trucks moved about brandishing machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers.”

The heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses the US embassy and the Iraqi government, has come under repeated rocket and mortar attack in recent days. Two American officials have been killed over the past week and a number of US and Iraqis wounded.

Yesterday gunmen in Baghdad seized Tahseen al-Sheikhli, a member of the Maliki government and the chief spokesman for the Baghdad security plan. The Iraqi military has now imposed a three-day curfew on the capital, banning any unauthorised vehicles or pedestrians from the streets from 11 p.m. on Thursday to 5 a.m. on Sunday

As fighting continued, Iraqi and US spokesmen continued to claim that the Sadrist movement was not the real target of the assaults. Maliki’s adviser Sadiq al-Rikabi told the media: “The battle in Basra is not really a political battle. It’s purely security—against the criminals and all the murderers.” In a similar vein, Major General Bergner denied that the actions were against the Mahdi Army. It is the government of Iraq taking responsibility and acting to deal with criminals on the streets,” he said.

Few people are fooled by this fiction, least of all Madhi Army militiamen. A commander in Sadr City, Abu Mortada, told the New York Times: “The US, the Iraqi government and SCIRI [now known as ISCI] are against us. They are trying to finish us. They want power for the Iraqi government and SCIRI.” Sadrist parliamentarians in Baghdad issued an appeal yesterday for an end to the assault in Basra, stating: “We call on our brothers in the Iraqi army and the brave national police not to be tools of death in the hands of the new dictatorship.”

The attempt to maintain the lie that the fighting is directed against “criminals” or rogue elements of the Mahdi Army is aimed at encouraging Moqtada al-Sadr not to tear up the ceasefire. For months, the cleric has been walking an increasingly precarious political tightrope between his tacit acceptance of the US-led occupation—as signified by the truce—and mounting anger among his supporters. US and Iraqi forces have exploited the ceasefire to round up Madhi Army militiamen and attack their bases. After effectively turning a blind eye for months, Sadr finally protested in recent weeks and demanded the release of Mahdi Army detainees.

In response to the offensive against the Madhi Army in Basra, Sadr has called for a campaign of civil disobedience, but has kept the ceasefire in place. He is, however, sitting on top of a political volcano. In the working class Shiite suburbs of Baghdad, Basra and other southern towns, there is deep-seated hostility to the Maliki government’s close relations with the Bush administration and collaboration with the US military occupation, which has brought nothing but death, destruction and plummetting living standards.

Anger welled over in protests by Sadr’s supporters in Baghdad yesterday. A Guardian report put the numbers involved at tens of thousands in separate rallies in Sadr City and the Baghdad suburb of Kadhimiyah, where protestors carried a coffin with a picture of Maliki and chanted “Maliki, keep your hands off. People do not want you.” Placards and signs also demanded the execution of ISCI head Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Both men were denounced as US stooges.

While Sadr is appealing for negotiations to defuse the situation, the Maliki government backed by Washington appears determined to continue the offensive in Basra and other areas against the Mahdi Army. Far from consolidating the US occupation, these operations have the potential to trigger a Shiite uprising that would rapidly engulf the Maliki government.

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 Peter Symonds, wsws.org, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8467

Gates orders inventory of US nukes + US shipped fuses for nuclear-armed missiles to Taiwan

Dandelion Salad

By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer
Thu Mar 27, 8:20 PM ET

…continued

h/t: CLG

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US shipped fuses for nuclear-armed missiles to Taiwan

By Patrick Martin
wsws.org
28 March 2008

In what Pentagon officials said was a major breach in US nuclear weapons security, the Defense Logistics Agency has acknowledged shipping four large electrical fuses used in nuclear missile warheads to the Taiwanese military two years ago.

The four cone-shaped fuses, each about two feet tall, were sent in packing crates labeled as spare batteries for helicopters. They were finally returned to the United States last week, after the Taiwanese military notified the Pentagon.

The admission sparked an international uproar, with China complaining loudly over the supplying of such a sensitive weapons component to a regime that it regards as a bitter rival and potential military antagonist.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang issued a statement expressing “strong displeasure” and demanding the US provide an account to China to “eliminate the negative effects and disastrous consequences created by this incident.”

President Bush telephoned Chinese President Hu Jintao to assure him that the transfer was inadvertent and did not represent a shift in US policy towards Taiwan.

The Bush administration claimed that the fuses were not usable in Taiwan, since the country’s military has no intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), let alone those with nuclear warheads. All such assertions must be viewed skeptically, however, since the Pentagon has every reason to conceal the truth if a transfer of nuclear technology was actually intended.

…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.

Goodman Questions Sen. Obama on Heeding Iraqis’ Call for Full U.S. Withdrawal

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Democracy Now!
March 28, 2008

Amy Goodman Questions Sen. Obama on Heeding Iraqis’ Call for Full U.S. Withdrawal

Following his speech on the economy at New York’s Cooper Union, Amy Goodman asks Sen. Barack Obama why he is not calling for a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in accordance with the 70 percent of Iraqis who say they want the U.S. out.

Following his speech on the economy at New York’s Cooper Union, Amy Goodman asks Sen. Barack Obama why he is not calling for a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in accordance with the 70 percent of Iraqis who say they want the U.S. out.

Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate.
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The Tibet Card by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Dandelion Salad

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Global Research, March 27, 2008
middle-east-online.com

It seems that the US government excels at propaganda for it continues to win over the very people it has betrayed and caused to be killed; buying their trust, it offers a friendship that is only self-serving. Oblivious to the past havoc wreaked by the CIA in Tibet, the innocent gather around the storm, stare into the eye, ready to be sucked into it, says Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich. Continue reading

Why is the Left So Boring? If I Can’t Dance …. + David Rovics: Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L)

Dandelion Salad

by David Rovics
Counterpunch
March 24, 2008

Last weekend I sang at an antiwar protest in downtown Portland, Oregon, on the fifth anniversary of the ongoing slaughter in Iraq. In both its good and bad aspects, the event downtown was not unusual. Hard-working, unpaid activists from various organizations and networks put in long hours organizing, doing publicity, and sitting through lots of contentious meetings in the weeks and months leading up to the event. On the day of the event, different groups set up tents to network with the public and talk about matters of life and death. There was a stage with talented musicians of various musical genres performing throughout the day, and a rally with speakers in the afternoon, followed by a march. Attendance was pathetically low. In large part I’m sure this was due to the general sense of discouragement most people in the US seem to feel about our ability to effect change under the Bush regime. It was raining especially hard by west coast standards, and that also didn’t help.

The crowd grew to it’s peak size during the rally and march, but was almost nonexistent before the 2 pm rally. There was only a trickle of people visiting the various tents prior to the rally, and the musicians on the stage were playing to a largely nonexistent audience. The musical program, scheduled to happen from 10 am to 6 pm, was being billed as the World War None Festival. The term “festival” was contentious, however, and Pdx Peace, the local peace coalition responsible for the rally, couldn’t come to consensus on using the term “festival.” In their publicity they referred to the festival as an “action camp.” The vast majority of people have no idea what an “action camp” is, including me, and I’ve been actively involved in the progressive movement for my entire adult life. The local media, of course, also had no idea what an “action camp” was, and any publicity that could have been hoped for from them did not happen. Word did not spread about the event to any significant degree, at least in part because people didn’t know what they were supposed to be spreading the word about. Everybody from all political, social, class and ethnic backgrounds knows what a festival is, but certain elements within Pdx Peace didn’t want to use the term to describe what was quite obviously meant to be a festival (as well as a rally and march). Anybody above the age of three can tell you that when you have live music on a stage outdoors all day, that’s called a festival. But not Pdx Peace.

…continued

h/t: Rich – Thumb Jig or Thumb Jig (Rich)

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Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L) – David Rovics

davidrovics

Proof that there are some brilliant satirists who have infiltrated the government at it’s highest levels, “OIL” is, in fact, the acronym first (briefly) used to name the invasion of Iraq, which was later changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We’ve got a situation and it calls for a solution
That upholds our domination of the planet
We’re gonna make our case and we’re gonna make it well
But if you don’t like our logic you can can it
We’ll use impeccable intelligence from any country in the world
As long as we all see eye to eye
And if we don’t find quite what we need we know what to do
Just look into the camera and lie

(Chorus)
‘Cause it’s Operation Iraqi Liberation
Tell me, what does that spell
Operation Iraqi Liberation
O — I — L

And we’ll lie about the missiles and the nuclear research
We’ll lie about uranium
We’ll build military bases and smile for reporters
As we give away bubble gum
And we’ll lie about bin Laden and his connections with the Saudis
And we’ll lie about 9-1-1
And we’ll lie about the Baathists and their connections to Al Qaeda
Because we know there’s none

(Chorus)

And we’ll lie about the North Koreans and we’ll lie about Iran
And don’t mention Israel
Keep those nuclear weapons out of this song
And it will all hold together swell
And now we’ll liberate these people, we’ll liberate their money
We’ll liberate their soil
We’ll liberate their airports, we’ll liberate their harbors
And we’ll liberate their oil

Created July, 2003
Copyright David Rovics 2003, all rights reserved

see

Ro Tierney: Blood-Red Manifesto (music video)

Oystar: I fought the Lloyds (music video)

Coreluminus: We are going to war? (music video; over 18 only)

Please help Utah Phillips (audio) + Utah Phillips: There is Power In The Union (music video)

Musicians – Bands

Music

GMO and Morgellons Disease by Barbara H. Peterson

Dandelion Salad

by Barbara H. Peterson
Global Research, March 27, 2008

Since the Clinton administration made biotechnology “a strategic priority for U.S. government backing” (1), giant transnational agri-business concerns have aggressively taken over the global food chain by flooding it with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) without regard for the consequences to the earth or its inhabitants. This takeover not only has the potential for global economic devastation, but threatens the earth’s population with far-reaching health concerns as well. One health concern that seems to coincide with the GMO revolution is Morgellons disease. What if the advent of Morgellons disease has something to do with the ingestion of GMO foods?

Morgellons Disease – What is it?

Very little can be found regarding this disease. Originally, sufferers were told that their problem was imaginary. This was of little comfort to the people who were suffering.

Morgellons Disease sufferers report strange, fiber-like material sticking out of sores or wounds that erupt on the skin. This is accompanied by painful, intense itching, that has been described as “an ever present sensation as if something is crawling under the skin.” (2)

On May 18, 2006, KGW, a local news channel reporting out of the Oregon area published this story:

Strange sickness: Mystery disease horror story (excerpt)

[Dr. Drottar] The disabled family practice doctor felt like bugs were crawling under her skin.

“If I fully tell people what has gone on with me medically, they think they’re in the twilight zone,” said Drottar.

She woke up with the feeling that fluid was flowing just below her skin. Often black or blue hair like fibers protruded from her skin, she said.

“I thought I had been exposed to asbestos. I thought I was having asbestos fibers come out of my skin. I was pulling long, thin, small hair-like fibers that were extremely sharp that could literally pierce through my finger nails,” Drottar said.

In addition to the feeling of bugs and the fibers, Drottar also suffered from severe depression, chronic fatigue and a weakened immune system. As a result, she had to give up her family practice, Drottar said. (3)

Here are some pictures of Morgellons lesions included in the KGW report:

morgellonsusa.com

Morgellons and GMO – the Link

Little information has been revealed concerning the long-term health effects of GMO crops on humans or animals, and even less information can be had regarding research correlating Morgellons with GMO foods. This is suspicious right off the bat, because it would seem that there would be a natural curiosity regarding a link between Genetically Modified Organisms that people ingest regularly and inorganic fibers that protrude from a person’s skin. This would be right up a geneticist’s alley, and quite worthy of intensive research. So, why aren’t there a ton of published studies? Why is it so difficult finding anything related to this? Could it be that companies such as Monsanto have enough clout to effectively squash these stories? If they have enough clout to ruin countries by deceiving impoverished farmers into purchasing patented GMO seeds, and then take it a step further and force these poor people to purchase seeds year after year instead of harvesting their own, then they have enough clout to ask our more than willing corporate government to manipulate the press…again.

According to Mike Stagman, PhD,

“Genetic Engineering is a nightmare technology that has already caused MANY disease epidemics — documented but unpublicized.” (4)

Well Monsanto, you let at least one study slip through. With the help of a couple of search engines, the following article by Whitley Strieber published on October 12, 2007, titled “Skin Disease May Be Linked to GM Food” was found, which concludes that the fibers taken from a Morgellons sufferer contain the same substance that is “used commercially to produce genetically-modified plants.” Here is the article:

Skin Disease May Be Linked to GM Food
12-Oct-2007

Many people—and most physicians—have written off Morgellons disease as either a hoax or hypochondria. But now there is evidence that this mysterious disease may be REAL and related to GENETICALLY MODIFIED food!

The skin of Morgellons victims oozes mysterious strands that have been identified as cellulose (which cannot be manufactured by the human body), and people have the sensation of things crawling beneath their skin. The first known case of Morgellons occurred in 2001, when Mary Leitao created a web site describing the disease, which had infected her young son. She named it Morgellons after a 17th century medical study in France that described the same symptoms.

In the Sept. 15-21 issue of New Scientist magazine, Daniel Elkan describes a patient he calls “Steve Jackson,” who “for years” has “been finding tiny blue, red and black fibers growing in intensely itchy lesions on his skin.” He quotes Jackson as saying, “The fibers are like pliable plastic and can be several millimeters long. Under the skin, some are folded in a zigzag pattern. These can be as fine as spider silk, yet strong enough to distend the skin when you pull them, as if you were pulling on a hair.”

Doctors say that this type of disease could only be caused by a parasite, but anti-parasitic medications do not help. Psychologists insist that this is a new version of the well-known syndrome known as “delusional parasitosis.” While this is a “real” disease, it is not a physically-caused one.

But now there is physical evidence that Morgellons is NOT just psychological. When pharmacologist Randy Wymore offered to study some of these fibers if people sent them to him, he discovered that “fibers from different people looked remarkably similar to each other and yet seem to match no common environmental fibers.”

When they took them to a police forensic team, they said they were not from clothing, carpets or bedding. They have no idea what they are.

Researcher Ahmed Kilani says he was able to break down two fiber samples and extract their DNA. He found that they belonged to a fungus.

An even more provocative finding is that biochemist Vitaly Citovsky discovered that the fibers contain a substance called “Agrobacterium,” which, according to New Scientist, is “used commercially to produce genetically-modified plants.” Could GM plants be “causing a new human disease?” (5)

GMO – Not on My Watch!

The giant transnational corporations behind the GMO revolution are hitting us in our most vulnerable spot – our bellies. Most people have been brought up with an innate trust that what they purchase from the stores is safe to eat. This is no longer true, since most processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients that can have disastrous effects on both animal and human health. What you purchase from the corner store might just change your DNA and create such frightening symptoms that the general public simply does not believe it. What is worse is that when you go to the doctor to get help, he/she tells you what you are experiencing is all in your head. This is rubbish! It is up to people who care to make the correlations between what we eat and what happens to our bodies. Remember the old saying – “you are what you eat?” Well, this author believes it is true.

Notes

1) Engdahl, F.W. (2007). Seeds of Destruction.

2) Stagman, M. Phd. (2006). GMO Disease Epidemics: Bt-cotton Fiber Disease. Retrieved from http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/08/344305.shtml

3) Porter, L. (2006). Strange sickness: Mystery disease horror story. Retrieved from http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_051806_news_sweeps_strange_sickness_morgellons.53b2569a.html

4) Stagman, M. Phd. (2006). GMO Disease Epidemics: Bt-cotton Fiber Disease. Retrieved from http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/08/344305.shtml

5) Strieber, W. (2007). Skin Disease Might be Linked to GM Food. Retrieved from
http://www.unknowncountry.com/news/?id=6486

Barbara H. Peterson is a Writer and Activist,
http://spktruth2power.wordpress.com

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 Barbara H. Peterson, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8464

see

Chemtrails & Morgellons + Chemtrails, Nano-Tech and Morgellons (videos)

Morgellons in England h/t: Morgellons Watch

Occam’s Menopause h/t: Morgellons Watch

Franken-Foods: The Plague Of Our Time

“Seeds of Destruction, The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by Stephen Lendman

“Doomsday Seed Vault” in the Arctic by F. William Engdahl (GMO)

GMO