CIA Documents on Torture: Treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, May 27, 2008

The CIA turned over the documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. Government lawyers informed the ACLU today that a federal judge has also “preliminarily overruled” claims by the CIA that other documents it continues to withhold are exempt from the FOIA.
ACLU Obtains Heavily Redacted CIA Documents Regarding Waterboarding (5/27/2008)

Judge’s Preliminary Ruling May Force CIA To Hand Over Additional Documents

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today obtained several heavily redacted documents concerning the CIA’s use of waterboarding as well as a CIA Office of Inspector General report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The CIA turned over the documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. Government lawyers informed the ACLU today that a federal judge has also “preliminarily overruled” claims by the CIA that other documents it continues to withhold are exempt from the FOIA.

“Even a cursory glance at these heavily-redacted documents shows that the CIA is still withholding a great deal of information that should be released,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “This information is being withheld not for legitimate security reasons but rather to shield government officials who ought to be held accountable for their decisions to break the law.”

One of the documents obtained by the ACLU today is a heavily redacted version of a report by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on its review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The report includes information about an as yet undisclosed Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion from August 2002. This opinion appears to be the same OLC memo authorizing specific interrogations methods for use by the CIA that is being withheld by the CIA as a classified document in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation. However, the OIG report refers to this document as “unclassified.”

In addition to the documents obtained by the ACLU today, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York has preliminarily overruled the CIA’s claims that other documents relating to the treatment of detainees are exempt from disclosure under the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit. In January 2008, Judge Hellerstein ordered the CIA to provide him with a sample of the withheld documents so he could determine for himself whether they should be made public. The documents that could be made public in response to Judge Hellerstein’s ruling include:

  • A September 17, 2001 CIA Presidential Directive setting up secret CIA detention centers abroad;
  • An August 2002 OLC memo authorizing the CIA to use particular interrogation methods; and
  • CIA documents gathered by the CIA’s Inspector General in the course of investigations into unlawful and improper conduct by CIA personnel.
“We welcome the court’s preliminary ruling rejecting the CIA’s attempt to withhold records relating to its unlawful treatment of prisoners,” said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “If sustained, this ruling would be a historic victory that could compel the CIA to publicly disclose for the first time meaningful records relating to its use of torture.”

Judge Hellerstein is still considering the ACLU’s motion to hold the CIA in contempt of court for destroying hundreds of hours of videotape depicting the abusive interrogations of two detainees in its custody.

In addition to Jaffer and Singh, attorneys on the case are Alexa Kolbi-Molinas and Judy Rabinovitz of the national ACLU; Arthur Eisenberg and Beth Haroules of the New York Civil Liberties Union; Lawrence S. Lustberg and Melanca D. Clark of the New Jersey-based law firm Gibbons P.C.; and Shayana Kadidal and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The documents released today are available online at:

Other information on the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit is at:

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Telecom Companies in Cahoots with Illegal Bush Admin Surveillance Programs

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, May 27, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

The hot-button issue of retroactive immunity for telecom companies in cahoots with illegal Bush administration surveillance programs is close to reaching its inevitable dénouement.

But what’s gotten little media play throughout the endless months of “debate” are the huge piles of cash that have changed hands to influence congressional Democrats and Republicans.

According to Glenn Greenwald:

Just in the first three months of 2008, recent lobbyist disclosure statements reveal that AT&T spent $5.2 million in lobbyist fees (putting it well ahead of its 2007 pace, when it spent just over $17 million). In the first quarter of 2008, Verizon spent $4.8 million on lobbyist fees, while Comcast spent $2.6 million. So in the first three months of this year, those three telecoms–which would be among the biggest beneficiaries of telecom amnesty (right after the White House)–spent a combined total of almost $13 million on lobbyists. They’re on pace to spend more than $50 million on lobbying this year–just those three companies. (“How Telecoms Are Attempting to Buy Amnesty from Congress,” Salon, May 24, 2008)

No matter how you squeeze it, that’s a lot of corporatist “juice” flowing into campaign coffers.

Until, that is, you consider that “outsourced” government contracts are worth tens of billions of dollars annually to enterprising telecom companies for communications and IT services to a gaggle of shadowy intelligence agencies fighting to “keep America safe”–from lower quarterly earnings!

Ranging from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA), not to mention low profile “partners” such as the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) or the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA)–$50 million is chump change.

And what are these corporate pirates seeking from Congress? Why “get-out-of-jail-free-cards,” of course!

Behind closed doors, House and Senate negotiators are “are closing in on a deal” with the White House over illegal government domestic spying, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Touted as a “compromise” and a “major breakthrough” by both Democrats and Republicans, the deal would “would kick the issue to a secret national-security court. Earlier versions of the legislation wanted to grant telecom companies blanket retroactive immunity from lawsuits,” Siobhan Gorman avers.

However, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group representing plaintiffs in Hepting vs. AT&T, brought by AT&T customers in the wake of revelations of massive domestic spying by the Bush administration and their “private” partners in the telecom industry, the congressional “compromise” is a monumental fraud:

“The purported immunity ‘compromise’ announced on Thursday by Senator Bond is a pure sham that’s even worse than the original immunity provision passed by the Senate,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “The stacked-deck immunity determination to be made by the court apparently still doesn’t include any meaningful review of the telecoms’ conduct or the legality of their cooperation with the NSA, simply a review of whether the companies got a piece of paper saying that the president authorized the surveillance. And the deck would be stacked even more by the proposed transfer to the FISA court–the most conservative and secretive federal court in the nation. Bottom line: it’s still immunity, and this so-called compromise concedes nothing.” (“EFF Blasts New ‘Compromise’ Offer on Teleco Immunity,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, Press Release, May 23, 2008)

Some “compromise”!

According to the Federation of American Scientists, the FISA court,

…is responsible for reviewing and approving government applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for domestic electronic surveillance and physical search of suspected foreign intelligence agents or terrorists.

But it does more than that. The Court also reinterprets the terms of the Act in an undisclosed fashion, producing in effect a body of “secret law,” a matter discussed at an April 30 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The FISC has in fact issued… legally significant decisions that remain classified and have not been released to the public,” observed Judge John D. Bates, a member of the FIS Court, when he denied an ACLU motion for disclosure of portions of those decisions last December. (“Intel Surveillance Court Gets Two New Judges,” Federation of American Scientists, Secrecy News, May 23, 2008)

During the April 30 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing referenced above, John P. Elwood, a DoJ official “disclosed a previously unpublicized method to cloak government activities,” according to The New York Times.

In keeping with the Bush administration’s penchant for lawless behavior, Elwood acknowledged that the executive branch believed that “the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he or other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation,” Times’ reporters Scott Shane and David Johnson wrote.

Conceding nothing that would dispel fears that the administration is operating on the basis of “secret law” beyond the purview of the courts or Congress, the state’s “legal stance would let it secretly operate programs that are at odds with public executive orders that to all appearance remain in force,” the Times reported.

Demonstrating profound contempt for classification rules, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), said the administration’s contention that it can “selectively modify” executive orders “turns The Federal Register into a screen of falsehoods behind whose phony regulations lawless programs can operate in secret.”

In other words, following dictums laid down by French monarch, the “sun king” Louis XIV, the law is whatever our decider-president and his minions say it is.

While warrantless wiretapping and the subversion of law is bad enough, the question inevitably arises: what other programs are being hidden from the American people?

Investigative journalist Christopher Ketcham believes that a “highly classified program with sinister implications” may lie at the heart of Bush administration’s refusal to back-down on telecom immunity. Through an as yet-undisclosed “black program,” the administration may be “compiling a secret enemies list of citizens who could face detention under martial law.”

According to Ketcham, recounting Acting Attorney General James Comey’s now infamous 2004 tussle with the White House, and the bureaucrat’s refusal to reauthorize Bush’s illegal programs, Ketcham writes,

Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration’s various domestic surveillance and spying programs. Much of his testimony centered on an operation so clandestine he wasn’t allowed to name it or even describe what it did. (“The Last Roundup,” Radar, May/June 2008)

Welcome (once again) to the bizarro world of “Continuity of Government” whose illegally-beating dark heart may dwell in what intelligence insiders have called the ultra-top secret “Main Core” database.

Some months after The New York Times revealed in December 2005 that the Bush administration had illegally spied on Americans through its so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” USA TODAY reported,

With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers’ names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA’s domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information. (Leslie Cauley, “NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls,” USA TODAY, May 11, 2006) [emphasis added]

Keep in mind that AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, the nation’s three largest telecommunication providers, are well-positioned to serve as the state’s “outsourced” eyes-and-ears. Collectively, the three carriers provide an array of services: local and long-distance calling, wireless and high-speed broadband internet access, as well as video and cable services.

Once communications information has been “fused” with records gleaned from commercially-available databases–sold, of course, to the state as a “patriotic” duty–NSA “partners” such as Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, CACI and L-3, can then analyze data such as medical histories, travel itineraries, shopping habits, political affiliations, subscription lists, DVD rentals, etc. In a nanosecond, a unique profile of an individual’s “transactional” life has thus been created.

This however, is not without risk to offending spies and data-miners. And given the nature of financial penalties under section 222 of the Communications Act, telecom executives have every reason to sweat. The FCC “can levy fines up to $130,000 per day per violation, with a cap of $1.325 million per violation. The FCC has no hard definition of ‘violation.’ In practice, that means a single ‘violation’ could cover one customer or 1 million,” Cauley reported.

But the Bush administration’s so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program” may very well be a smokescreen for collecting political data on millions of Americans, a secret “enemies list” far more dangerous to a democratic society than anything conceived by the team of “national security” paranoids assembled by Richard Nixon. Ketcham reports,

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. …

A host of publicly disclosed programs, sources say, now supply data to Main Core. Most notable are the NSA domestic surveillance programs, initiated in the wake of 9/11, typically referred to in press reports as “warrantless wiretapping.” In March, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal shed further light onto the extraordinarily invasive scope of the NSA efforts: According to the Journal, the government can now electronically monitor “huge volumes of records of domestic e-mails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions, travel, and telephone records.” Authorities employ “sophisticated software programs” to sift through the data, searching for “suspicious patterns.” In effect, the program is a mass catalog of the private lives of Americans. And it’s notable that the article hints at the possibility of programs like Main Core. “The [NSA] effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called black programs whose existence is undisclosed,” the Journal reported, quoting unnamed officials. “Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach.”

As disturbing as Ketcham’s report is, consider this: the ACLU’s “Watch List Counter” documents that the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center currently lists (as of 5/26/08) 975,883 (!) individuals as potential “threats” to “national security.” What are the criteria for inclusion? No one knows and the FBI and DHS aren’t saying.

It is of course absurd to believe there are nearly a million U.S. sympathizers of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable intelligence assets, aka al-Qaeda, roaming the streets of American cities. However, if history is any guide to present state surveillance activities, a database like Main Core, if it exists, would include dissidents and activists of all stripes, ranging from socialists and communists, anarchists, tax protestors, gun owners, lawyers and professors, “illegal” migrants, publishers and journalists, or just plain folk caught in the government’s data driftnet.

But over and above the question of telecom immunity for law-breaking communication corporations looms the issue of intelligence outsourcing as a lucrative business arrangement with the state, the ubiquitous “public-private partnership” in political repression that affect all our lives. As investigative journalist Tim Shorrock documents,

A second form of cooperation that few Americans are aware of concern the role of the telecom giants as contractors for the Intelligence Community. As commercial communications and encryption technologies advanced in the years leading up to 2001, AT&T, Verizon and the other major carriers were hired by the government to build classified communications networks for the NSA and Pentagon. That alliance spawned new institutions where the government could carry out a dialogue with these companies. Many industry executives, for example, hold leading positions in a secretive agency called the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, a group of business leaders who meet regularly with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and senior officials in the Intelligence Community to discuss critical issues affecting the national telecommunications system. …

That broad alliance between the NSA and the government on one hand and the telecommunications and IT industries on the other is the fundamental issue at stake in the national debate that erupted around FISA in 2007 and 2008. That debate was about far more than a few telecom companies cooperating with the government. (Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008, pp. 307, 308)

In this context, the political economy of telecom immunity should be considered a shield for government “black” programs that could be quickly rolled-out during a “national emergency.” That congressional leaders–Democrats and Republicans–would grant their corporate benefactors nearly unlimited power to spy on Americans, or worse, is an indication that elite consensus has been reached in favor of maintaining an all-encompassing surveillance state.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

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: 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.

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© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
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The Last Roundup By Christopher Ketcham

Big Brother: Illegally Spy on Americans … Win Fabulous Prizes!

Glenn Greenwald: No Retroactive Immunity (video)

Domestic Spying

US ‘close’ to military deal with Iraq + US ‘close’ to finalising Iraq military deal

Dandelion Salad


Al Jazeera’s Ghida Fakry speaks to David Satterfield, senior adviser on Iraq at the US State Department, on claims the US is seeking permanent military bases in Iraq.

Continue reading

This Mini-League Of Nations Would Cause Only Division

Dandelion Salad

By Shashi Tharoor
27/05/08 “Guardian

John McCain wants to create a new alliance to circumvent the UN. We mustn’t let this idea gain consensus in Washington

Amid the continuing brouhaha about issues of race and gender in the US presidential campaign, we may be in danger of losing sight of the most important question that has arisen in the candidates’ skirmishing over international affairs. That relates to John McCain’s advocacy of the establishment of a “league of democracies”, and the mounting clamour for Barack Obama to espouse the same idea as his own.

McCain says he’d establish the league in his first year in office: a close-knit grouping of like-minded nations that could respond to humanitarian crises and compensate for the UN security council’s tendency to be hamstrung by the likes of Russia and China when it needs to take decisive action against the world’s evil-doers. Neocon guru Robert Kagan, an avid proponent, says: “The world’s democracies could make common cause to act in humanitarian crises when the UN security council cannot reach unanimity.” The league’s strength would be that it “would not be limited to Europeans and Americans but would include the world’s other great democracies, such as India, Brazil, Japan and Australia, and would [therefore] have even greater legitimacy”.

The idea has also been embraced by many Obama supporters, notably Ivo Daalder, a foreign policy adviser to the Illinois senator, and Anthony Lake, his senior international affairs adviser. “Crises in Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Darfur,” Lake writes, “not to mention the pressing need for more efficient peacekeeping operations, the rising temperatures of our seas and multiple other transnational threats, demonstrate not only the limits of American unilateral power but also the inability of international institutions designed in the middle of the 20th century to cope with the problems of the 21st.” In other words, the institutions so painstakingly built up out of the ashes of the second world war have passed their use-by date, and it’s time to move on.

One doesn’t have to be a starry-eyed devotee of the UN to ask everyone to take a deep breath before the runaway popularity of this idea becomes consensual in Washington. No one disagrees that our international institutions need reform to make them reflect the realities of a post-American world, but that’s not where the advocates of an alternative are coming from.

The world has just, less than two decades ago, come out of a crippling cold war. We are moving fitfully to a world without boundaries, one in which America’s biggest potential geopolitical rival, China, is also its biggest trading partner. If we were to create a new league of democracies, who would we leave out? China and Russia, for starters – a former superpower and a future one, two countries without whom a world of peace and prosperity is unimaginable. Instead of encouraging their gradual democratisation, wouldn’t we be reinforcing their sense of rejection by the rest? Might the result be the self-fulfilling prophecy of the emergence of a league of autocracies with these two at the helm?

But would all democracies even join such a league? Not if the price were the alienation of vital trading partners, resource suppliers or simply neighbours who happen to be non-democracies. Democracies like India and France have proved prickly in the past about countries like the US or Britain assuming that their internal political arrangements would necessarily govern their foreign policy choices. Many democracies have other affinities that are as important to them. India, for instance, may count solidarity with other former colonies, or with other developing countries, as more important than its affiliation with a league of democracies; southeast Asian democracies might prefer their regional alliance with autocracies in Asean. The American notion that a collection of democracies would inevitably be an echo-chamber for an American diagnosis of global problems is a fantasy.

The claim that a league of democracies would be less likely to be paralysed into inaction over, say, sanctions on Iran, than a security council with the likes of Russia or China on it, overlooks the basic fact that it is in the nature of democracies to differ, to argue among themselves, and to be responsive to the very different preoccupations of their own internal constituencies. Had a league of democracies existed during the apartheid years, would Washington have been persuaded by a democratic majority to intervene against Pretoria? The very question points to the risibility of its premise.

The advocates of a league of democracies argue that it would intervene more effectively in cases like Darfur or the cruel indifference of the military regime in Burma to the sufferings of its cyclone victims. That is a delusion. Such interventions have not occurred because they are impracticable. Humanitarian aid could not have been delivered effectively in the Irrawaddy delta in the teeth of active resistance by the Burmese junta, or in Darfur by going to war with the Sudanese army, unless the countries wishing to do this were to be prepared to expend a level of blood and treasure that democracies rarely risk for strangers. It is one thing to march into a chaotic, government-less Somalia to protect the delivery of aid, quite another to confront the organised military force of a sovereign state defending its own territory.

It is also specious to argue that collective action by a group of democracies (when the UN is unable to act) would enjoy international legitimacy. The legitimacy of democracies comes from the consent of the governed; when they act outside their own countries, no such legitimacy applies. The reason that decisions of the UN enjoy legitimacy across the world lies not in the democratic virtue of its members, but in its universality. The fact that every country in the world belongs to the UN and participates in its decisions gives the actions of the UN – even that of a security council in urgent need of reform – a global standing in international law that no more selective body can hope to achieve.

This is the time to renovate and strengthen the UN, not to bypass it. As the post-cold war “unipolar moment” slowly but surely makes way for a world of multiple power centres and a rising new superpower, there has never been a greater need for a system of universally applicable rules and laws that will hold all countries together in a shared international community. We all hope that, in an era of instant communications and worldwide information flows, this community will be an increasingly democratic one. Subtracting today’s democracies from it will have the opposite effect.

· Shashi Tharoor is a former UN under-secretary general –

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.

Bush “Plans Iran Air Strike by August”

Dandelion Salad

By Muhammad Cohen
05/28/08 “Asia Times

NEW YORK – The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds’ stated mission is to spread Iran’s revolution of 1979 throughout the region.

Targets could include IRGC garrisons in southern and southwestern Iran, near the border with Iraq. US officials have repeatedly claimed Iran is aiding Iraqi insurgents. In January 2007, US forces raided the Iranian consulate general in Erbil, Iraq, arresting five staff members, including two Iranian diplomats it held until November. Last September, the US Senate approved a resolution by a vote of 76-22 urging President George W Bush to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. Following this non-binding “sense of the senate” resolution, the White House declared sanctions against the Quds Force as a terrorist group in October. The Bush administration has also accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, though most intelligence analysts say the program has been abandoned.

An attack on Iraq would fit the Bush administration’s declared policy on Iraq. Administration officials questioned directly about military action against Iran routinely assert that “all options remain on the table”.

Rockin’ and a-reelin’
Senators and the Bush administration denied the resolution and terrorist declaration were preludes to an attack on Iran. However, attacking Iran rarely seems far from some American leaders’ minds. Arizona senator and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain recast the classic Beach Boys tune Barbara Ann as “Bomb Iran”. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promised “total obliteration” for Iran if it attacked Israel.

The US and Iran have a long and troubled history, even without the proposed air strike. US and British intelligence were behind attempts to unseat prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq, who nationalized Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Company, and returned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power in 1953. President Jimmy Carter’s pressure on the Shah to improve his dismal human-rights record and loosen political control helped the 1979 Islamic revolution unseat the Shah.

But the new government under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned the US as “the Great Satan” for its decades of support for the Shah and its reluctant admission into the US of the fallen monarch for cancer treatment. Students occupied the US Embassy in Teheran, holding 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days. Eight American commandos died in a failed rescue mission in 1980. The US broke diplomatic relations with Iran during the hostage holding and has yet to restore them. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric often sounds lifted from the Khomeini era.

The source said the White House views the proposed air strike as a limited action to punish Iran for its involvement in Iraq. The source, an ambassador during the administration of president H W Bush, did not provide details on the types of weapons to be used in the attack, nor on the precise stage of planning at this time. It is not known whether the White House has already consulted with allies about the air strike, or if it plans to do so.

Sense in the senate
Details provided by the administration raised alarm bells on Capitol Hill, the source said. After receiving secret briefings on the planned air strike, Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said they would write a New York Times op-ed piece “within days”, the source said last week, to express their opposition. Feinstein is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senate offices were closed for the US Memorial Day holiday, so Feinstein and Lugar were not available for comment.

Given their obligations to uphold the secrecy of classified information, it is unlikely the senators would reveal the Bush administration’s plan or their knowledge of it. However, going public on the issue, even without specifics, would likely create a public groundswell of criticism that could induce the Bush administration reconsider its plan.

The proposed air strike on Iran would have huge implications for geopolitics and for the ongoing US presidential campaign. The biggest question, of course, is how would Iran respond?

Iran’s options
Iran could flex its muscles in any number of ways. It could step up support for insurgents in Iraq and for its allies throughout the Middle East. Iran aids both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Israel’s Occupied Territories. It is also widely suspected of assisting Taliban rebels in Afghanistan.

Iran could also choose direct confrontation with the US in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, with which Iran shares a long, porous border. Iran has a fighting force of more than 500,000. Iran is also believed to have missiles capable of reaching US allies in the Gulf region.

Iran could also declare a complete or selective oil embargo on US allies. Iran is the second-largest oil exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and fourth-largest overall. About 70% of its oil exports go to Asia. The US has barred oil imports from Iran since 1995 and restricts US companies from investing there.

China is Iran’s biggest customer for oil, and Iran buys weapons from China. Trade between the two countries hit US$20 billion last year and continues to expand. China’s reaction to an attack on Iran is also a troubling unknown for the US.

Three for the money
The Islamic world could also react strongly against a US attack against a third predominantly Muslim nation. Pakistan, which also shares a border with Iran, could face additional pressure from Islamic parties to end its cooperation with the US to fight al-Qaeda and hunt for Osama bin Laden. Turkey, another key ally, could be pushed further off its secular base. American companies, diplomatic installations and other US interests could face retaliation from governments or mobs in Muslim-majority states from Indonesia to Morocco.

A US air strike on Iran would have seismic impact on the presidential race at home, but it’s difficult to determine where the pieces would fall.

At first glance, a military attack against Iran would seem to favor McCain. The Arizona senator says the US is locked in battle across the globe with radical Islamic extremists, and he believes Iran is one of biggest instigators and supporters of the extremist tide. A strike on Iran could rally American voters to back the war effort and vote for McCain.

On the other hand, an air strike on Iran could heighten public disenchantment with Bush administration policy in the Middle East, leading to support for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is.

But an air strike will provoke reactions far beyond US voting booths. That would explain why two veteran senators, one Republican and one Democrat, were reportedly so horrified at the prospect.

Former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen told America’s story to the world as a US diplomat and is author of Hong Kong On Air (, a novel set during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance and cheap lingerie.

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.


Will Cheney get his war? (video; Porter)

The War Camp in Death Throes is Intent on Striking Iran

Who Is Being Reckless, Obama Or Mccain? by Eric S. Margolis

US and Iran: Is an Iraq grand bargain possible? (vid; Porter)

Ray McGovern: Admiral Fallon Should Speak Out + Can Fallon Prevent WWIII? (videos)

Report: U.S. Will Attack Iran

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops


Countdown: Phil Gramm’s Lobbying Activities + McClellan + Fission Expedition

Dandelion Salad


May 27, 2008

Phil Gramm’s Lobbying Activities

Keith reports on the lastest of McCain’s lobbyist problems. This time it’s Phil Gramm lobbying for the banks during the mortgage crisis while advising the McCain campaign at the same time on its economic policies.

McClellan Throws Bush Under the Bush

Keith reports on the lastst news coming out of The Politico with leaked exerpts from Scott McClellan’s memoir:…

Fission Expedition

Keith talks to Richard Clarke about the lastst information to come out of the IAEA and the current and past US Intelligence failures.


Tonight’s: McSame-Gate, Phoney War on Terror-Gate and Hypocrisy-Gate.


Worst Person

And the winner is….Joe Lieberman. Runners up Liz Trotta and Michelle Malkin.

Gen. David Petraeus: Senate Confirmation to be Centcom Cmdr + CODEPINK

Dandelion Salad


Added: May 27, 2008
5.22.08 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Senate Confirmat…“, posted with vodpod


CODEPINK Petraeus Odierno Confirmation


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “CODEPINK Petraeus Odierno Cofirmation“, posted with vodpod



Will Cheney get his war? (video; Porter)

The War Camp in Death Throes is Intent on Striking Iran

Who Is Being Reckless, Obama Or Mccain? by Eric S. Margolis

US and Iran: Is an Iraq grand bargain possible? (vid; Porter)

Ray McGovern: Admiral Fallon Should Speak Out + Can Fallon Prevent WWIII? (videos)

Report: U.S. Will Attack Iran

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops


Expanding The “War” In Order To End It – What Cambodia & Iran have in common

Dandelion Salad

By Jane Stillwater
05/26/08 “ICH”

Did you know that Richard M. Nixon was elected to the US presidency in 1968 on a platform that claimed he would end the war on Vietnam? It’s true. And what did Nixon do once he was safely elected? He broke his promise, escalated the war on Vietnam and then went on to bomb Cambodia! “Why did you bomb Cambodia?” the press asked Mr. Nixon.

“I bombed Cambodia in order to end the war in Vietnam,” Nixon replied. And did bombing Cambodia end the war on Vietnam? Absolutely! The total outrage engendered throughout Southeast Asia by Nixon’s merciless killing of approximately 150,000 Cambodians drove the Viet Cong and the Khmer Rouge to fight even harder and the local civilian population to support them and to eventually hand America its greatest military defeat ever. Yep, Nixon’s Cambodia bombing campaign DID end the Vietnam war.

According to Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan of the Yale Genocide Project, “The Cambodian bombing campaign had two unintended side effects that ultimately combined to produce the very domino effect that the Vietnam War was supposed to prevent. First, the bombing forced the Vietnamese Communists deeper and deeper into Cambodia, bringing them into greater contact with Khmer Rouge insurgents. Second, the bombs drove ordinary Cambodians into the arms of the Khmer Rouge, a group that seemed initially to have slim prospects of revolutionary success.”

Did you know that George W. Bush is now planning to do the exact same thing to Iran that Nixon did to Cambodia? Apparently Bush is now vowing to attack Iran in order to expand the war on Iraq in order to end it. “Because Iran is aiding and abetting our enemies in Iraq, we are justified in attacking Iran as a matter of self-defense.”

Also, according to Fox News, former UN Ambassador and Bush administration insider John Bolton recently stated that, “the situation that our forces face in Iraq now is that they are being attacked, they are in danger from Iranian-lead, financed, trained and equipped terrorists.” When asked if Bush would invade Iran before the end of his term, Bolton responded, “I think so, definitely.”

We’ve definitely got some de-ja Voo happening here.

And will the results of Bush’s plans to bomb Iran be the same as the results of Nixon’s plans to bomb Cambodia? Do we really want to risk finding out?

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.

Mosaic News – 5/23/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



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


For more:
“Israeli Settlers Vow to Resist Evacuation from the Golan,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Olmert Heckled,” IBA TV, Israel
“Abbas Criticizes Bush’s Speech,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Residents of Acre Complain of Ethnic Cleansing,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Israel Declares War on Arabic,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Life in Lebanon Returns to Normal,” New TV, Lebanon
“Afghan Government Struggling Against Warlords,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“MIR-Turkey & Qatar: New Mediators on the Block,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani

The War Camp in Death Throes is Intent on Striking Iran

Dandelion Salad

By Mehrnaz Shahabi
05/25/08 “ICH”

The most aggressive posturing and accusations against Iran, yet issued by Washington, signal the rapid closure of the window of opportunity for peace which opened up following the release of the US’ National Intelligence Estimate in December 07 concluding that there was no evidence of a nuclear weaponisation programme in Iran. This revelation which was concordant with the IAEA’s own repeated assessment over 5 years of intrusive inspections, and which had been held from publication by the Vice President Cheney for over a year with the aim of altering its key findings, put a spanner in the frightfully accelerating wheel to another war and a potential inferno in the Middle East and beyond.

However, it seems that the war camp led by Cheney have regained the lost ground and are furtively peddling for war before Bush leaves office next January. Bush’s speech to the Israeli Knesset, 15th May, evoking, once again, the spectre of the world war, likening Iran to 1938 pre-war Nazi Germany, and rebuking Obama’s willingness for dialogue with Iran on par with “appeasement of Hitler”, followed by the reporting of the Israeli army radio of behind the doors expressions of intent by the US to attack Iran before the end of his term, has sounded the alarm bells across a wide spectrum of political observers and analysts.

According to Col. Sam Gardiner, a specialist on military strategies, the raising of “message volume” of anti-Iran rhetoric points to the administration’s policy direction of ratcheting up towards war on Iran. This view accords with the New York Times’ revelation in April of Pentagon’s illegally shaping of political climate through the use of contracted or bribed military analysts, who “under the guise of objectivity”, act as a “Trojan Horse” for Bush administration’s agenda via media outlet.

The volume and breadth of accusations against Iran which have risen steadily since the resignation in March of Admiral Fallon, the Ex-Head of the US Central Command, and a major bulwark against attacking Iran, sharply intensified in the 2 weeks prior to Bush’s visit to Israel and provided the background and the pitch to his warring address to the Knesset. “Iran is a regional threat (Rice, 30th April) killing American servicemen and women inside Iraq (Gate 29th April), as the policy … approved to highest level of that government (Hayden, CIA chief, 30th April), hell bent on developing nuclear weapons (Gate 29th April) whose pursuit of nuclear weapons and pursuit of terrorism is the perfect nightmare that is a threat to Israel and the rest of the region”. (Mullen 1st May)

In relation to the massive military build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, Adm. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, described this as a “reminder” to Iran that Pentagon was preparing for “potential military Course of action” whilst simultaneously (1st May) acknowledging, in response to questions, that in relation to the allegations of the Iranian government role in the instability in Iraq, there was “no smoking gun which could prove that the highest leadership is involved”. However, threats of bombing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards bases near the populated capital, Tehran, have intensified. The legislative groundwork for such attacks were laid in Kyle-Lieberman’ Amendment to the Defence Authorisation Bill last September.

Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt from the Washington Institute of Near East Studies, an APAC’s offshoot, are persuading the western public that an attack on Iran could be “a whole lot more successful than most experts currently think”.

Amidst mainstream media’s accompanying chorus to the drum beats of war, Andrew Cockburn reports (Counterpunch, 2 May) that several weeks ago Bush secretly authorised “a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, is “unprecedented in its scope”. This revelation has been totally unreported by the mainstream media. And so is silenced the most important news of the silent ‘confession’ by the US military, reported in LA Times on 10th May, that the alleged Iranian weapons found in Karbala and which were due to be exhibited to the press as the long awaited evidence of Iranian supplying arms to Iraqi militia, were not Iranian! That press conference was quietly cancelled and in the same week, the US army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Bergner, for the first time, did not mention Iran in his reporting on violence in Iraq. Gen. Petraeus too, who on his May 22nd appearance in front of the Senate Arms Services Committee was due to provide evidence of Iran’s destabilising role in Iraq, chose not to elaborate.

It is now evident that not only has the US not produced a shred of evidence for its accusations of Iranian involvement in Iraq, but that the allegations have been based on lies. But, the mainstream media has a job to do and is not interested! Another case of astonishing silence is the discovery of a clip video from the former Defence Secretary, Rumsfeld, in the process of investigation into Pentagon’s illegal manipulation of media – itself blanketed out. In this, Rumsfeld, in the presence of those same military analysts who sold the war in Iraq, says that the American public having voted the Democrats to power could benefit from “suffering another terrorist attack” .

With the aid of this powerful propaganda machine and regardless of the findings of the NIE and the IAEA, the labeling of Iran’s nuclear energy programme as a weapons programme, has continued by Israel, by the US and by its western allies, including the UK. The IAEA-Iran workplan which was concluded in February, clarified all the outstanding issues in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme which were claimed to be the basis of the reporting of Iran’s file to the Security Council and the subsequent resolutions. The demand for suspension of enrichment has been a temporary one contingent upon the clarification of these same issues. The continued demand for the suspension of uranium enrichment is therefore unjustified. Dr El-Baradei, the IAEA Chief, confirmed on 7th May that the investigations concerning the US alleged weaponisation studies – introduced a week before IAEA’s concluding report in February – are “making good progress” and reiterated in the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Egypt on 8th May, that the international community has no evidence of the military nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Significantly, Iran in its “Package for Constructive Negotiations” with the 5+1 (Security Council+Germany) presented to the Security Council on 13th May, proposes the formation of international partnerships to enrich uranium in different countries including Iran. This comprehensive package as well as cooperation and collaboration in nuclear security and peaceful nuclear technology, includes areas of international and energy security, nuclear disarmament, anti-terrorism, anti-narcotics, economy and trade, environmental protection and sustainability, democracy, and social justice. The Iranian package stresses on the need to proceed on the basis of partnership and mutual respect and rejects the US-European “two-track” approach of incentives and threats as non-constructive. This package as well as offering an opportunity for peace and addressing issues of global concern, is a litmus test of the will for peaceful and just resolution of genuine issues of concern or intent for colonial aggression and plunder. Sir John Thomson, the former senior British diplomat, has welcomed this option reminding the Brown government of the failure of the current western policy towards Iran. (The Guardian 23rd May).

Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister, Olmert, illegally, immorally and with total impunity, calls for international air and sea blockade of Iran. The current accusations and threats against Iran are in clear violation of the United Nations Charter. The tragic death of over a million Iraqis and thousands of coalition soldiers must be a dire warning to politicians and journalists alike that the consequences of a possible war on Iran would be even more catastrophic, not only for the people of Iran, but globally. In the case of a military attack on Iran, not only the perpetrators but also the various collaborators of this crime would be punishable as war criminals.

Undoubtedly, the Brown Government’s increasing unpopularity in polls and its recent mayoral and by-election failures, reflect, in no small measure, the disaffected Labour voters who have turned away from a Neo Conservative stooge Labour government. The Brown Government must take heed of the advice of the Church of Scotland which in a resolution on 15th May strongly urge the British government to do everything in its power to discourage the American government from undertaking any form of military strike against Iran … And if the Americans ignore that advice, then Britain must make clear its strong opposition for such a move, either by the USA as a strike or by Israel as a pre-emptive move against Iran”.

Mehrnaz Shahabi is a peace activist and independent journalist. She is on the editorial board of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

[13] Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops

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.


Who Is Being Reckless, Obama Or Mccain? by Eric S. Margolis

US and Iran: Is an Iraq grand bargain possible? (vid; Porter)

Ray McGovern: Admiral Fallon Should Speak Out + Can Fallon Prevent WWIII? (videos)

Report: U.S. Will Attack Iran

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops



Oil: A Global Crisis By Geoffrey Lean

Dandelion Salad

By Geoffrey Lean
25/05/08 “The Independent

The Iraq War means oil costs three times more than it should, says a leading expert. How are our lives going to change as we struggle to cope with the $200 barrel?

The oil economist Dr Mamdouh Salameh, who advises both the World Bank and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), told The Independent on Sunday that the price of oil would now be no more than $40 a barrel, less than a third of the record $135 a barrel reached last week, if it had not been for the Iraq war.

He spoke after oil prices set a new record on 13 consecutive days over the past two weeks. They have now multiplied sixfold since 2002, compared with the fourfold increase of the 1973 and 1974 “oil shock” that ended the world’s long postwar boom.

Goldman Sachs predicted last week that the price could rise to an unprecedented $200 a barrel over the next year, and the world is coming to terms with the idea that the age of cheap oil has ended, with far-reaching repercussions on their activities.

Dr Salameh, director of the UK-based Oil Market Consultancy Service, and an authority on Iraq’s oil, said it is the only one of the world’s biggest producing countries with enough reserves substantially to increase its flow.

Production in eight of the others – the US, Canada, Iran, Indonesia, Russia, Britain, Norway and Mexico – has peaked, he says, while China and Saudia Arabia, the remaining two, are nearing the point at of decline. Before the war, Saddam Hussein’s regime pumped some 3.5 million barrels of oil a day, but this had now fallen to just two million barrels.

Dr Salameh told the all-party parliamentary group on peak oil last month that Iraq had offered the United States a deal, three years before the war, that would have opened up 10 new giant oil fields on “generous” terms in return for the lifting of sanctions. “This would certainly have prevented the steep rise of the oil price,” he said. “But the US had a different idea. It planned to occupy Iraq and annex its oil.”

Chris Skrebowski, the editor of Petroleum Review, said: “There are many ifs in the world oil market. This is a very big one, but there are others. If there had been a civil war in Iraq, even less oil would have been produced.”

David Strahan: What happens next? The expert’s view

At just under 86 million barrels per day, global oil production has, essentially, stagnated since 2005, despite soaring demand, suggesting that production has already reached its geological limits, or “peak oil”.

Recession in the West may not provide relief on prices. There is increasing demand from countries such as China, Russia and the Opec countries, whose consumers are cushioned against rising prices by heavy subsidies. The future could unfold in a number of ways:

Oil price collapses

Fuel subsidies could suddenly be scrapped, dousing demand. Cost pressures have forced Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan to cut them, but China is hardly strapped for cash. Opec producers are under no pressure to abolish subsidies; as the oil price rises they get richer. Prospect: very unlikely.

Peace could break out in Iraq, the long-disputed oil law agreed, and international oil companies start work on the world’s largest collection of untapped oil fields. Prospect: vanishingly unlikely.

Oil price stabilises or moderates

Deep recession in the West might cut oil consumption enough to offset growth in the developing world and Opec, or even engulf them too, softening prices. Prospect: unlikely in the short term.

Oil price soars

Russian oil output has gone into decline; Saudi Arabia has shelved plans to expand production capacity, and advisers to the Nigerian government predict its output will fall by 30 per cent by 2015. More news like this, expect oil at $200 a barrel. Prospect: likely.

Big oil producers will increasingly divert exports for home consumption. Opec, Russian and Mexican exports expected to fall, pushing oil to $200 by 2012. Prospect: highly likely.

The writer is author of ‘The Last Oil Shock’, John Murray,

Peak oil

After 150 years of growth, the oil age is beginning to come to an end. “Peak oil” is the common term for when production stops increasing and starts to decline. At that point what have been ever-expanding and cheap supplies of the resource on which all modern economies depend become scarcer and more expensive, with potentially devastating consequences.

Pessimists believe that production has passed its peak. Optimists say it may be 20 years or so away – which would give us some time to prepare – but are now muted. Last week the hitherto optimistic International Energy Agency admitted that it may have overestimated future capacity. Chris Skrebowski, editor of ‘Petroleum Review’ and once an optimist himself, believes that the world is now in “the foothills of peak oil”. Prices may ease a bit over the next few years, but then the real crunch will come. The price then? “Pick a number!”


Oil provides 95 per cent of the energy used in transport, so this will be hit hard and soon. People are likely to go on using their cars, but airlines are expected to be the first to suffer. On Thursday, British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh declared that the era of cheap flights was over, suggesting that those environmentalists who have made them their main target for combating climate change may have been wasting their breath.

At least three carriers have already gone bust this year. Last week, American Airlines said it was cutting routes, laying off staff, and charging US passengers $15 to check in a bag because of a $3bn rise in its fuel bills. Even Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, says the oil price is “really hurting”. On Thursday, Credit Suisse analysts said his company would slip into the red if oil prices rose just a little more, to $140 a barrel.


The world’s biggest oil well, it is said, lies beneath Detroit. US vehicles get an average of only 25 miles per gallon. Dramatically improving this would do more to ease the oil crunch than any likely new discovery. But new measures recently approved by Congress would increase the average only to the 35mpg already being achieved by China. Europe does better, if not well enough, at 44mpg.

Rising fuel prices are already beginning to drive change. Sales of 4x4s are plummeting in both the US and Britain, and those of hybrids – which do 60mpg are soaring. As the price climbs further, manufacturers will unlock long-prepared plans for much more efficient vehicles. “Plug-in” hybrids, charged up with electricity overnight, save another 45 per cent in petrol consumption. Further down the line is the “hypercar” – made of tough, light plastic – which could cross the US on a single tankful.


All new houses in Britain will have to be zero carbon – burning no fossil fuels such as oil – by 2016, the Government announced, and housebuilders are struggling to meet the target. At present the standard can be reached only at great expense, but the industry is confident of bringing the cost down as mass production kicks in. It is even more important to adapt existing homes.

The key step is to super-insulate the house to make it as energy-efficient as possible – and only then to provide renewable energy sources. Solar water heaters, ground source heat pumps and boilers powered by wood pellets are favourites. Rooftop windmills do not work well enough yet. Photovoltaic panels, which get electricity from the sun, are expensive but their price should come down. Britain has lagged behind other countries. Soaring energy prices should shake things up.


Effectively, almost everything is partially made of oil, and so is going to get more expensive. About 10 calories of oil are burned to produce each calorie of food in the US, and farming a single cow and getting it to market uses as much as driving from New York to Los Angeles. Some 630g of fuel is used to produce every gram of microchips.

The cult of local, seasonal produce will enter the mainstream, as everyone learns about food miles and a modern-day Dig for Victory grips gardeners – bad news for the farm workers overseas who provide 95 per cent of our fruit and half our vegetables. Trips to out-of-town supermarkets will seem extravagant, heralding a high street renaissance and a new surge in online grocery shopping, and soon we’ll all be eating our own potatoes.

Third World

Poor countries and their peoples will be hit by a devastating double whammy as both their fuel and food prices increase. Last year, when oil cost only about half as much, countries from Nepal to Nicaragua were hit by fuel shortages. At least 25 of the 44 sub-Saharan nations are facing crippling electricity shortages.

As oil is used in agriculture, its increased cost will also drive up the price of food, making more and more people go hungry. Worse, expensive petrol is bound to increase the drive towards biofuels made from maize and other crops, which then brings the world’s poorest people into competition with affluent motorists for grain – a contest they cannot win. Just one fill-up of a 4×4’s tank with ethanol uses enough grain to feed one person for a year.

Emerging economies

China and India and other developing countries will help to drive up demand for oil and compete for scarce supplies. This has already helped to raise prices: demand for oil from Western countries has actually fallen over the past two years, but the emerging economies have more than made up the slack. And they have the money to do so.

Chinese and Indian consumers have so far been insulated from the effects of the price increase by heavy government subsidies, and their industrial revolutions and rapid growth are largely fuelled by oil. There is little sign that the growth in demand will slacken These countries are also likely to follow the time-honoured Western tradition of making deals with oil-exporting countries – and backing unpleasant regimes – to try to secure supplies.


Last week. the embattled Gordon Brown – “incredibly focused” on oil, according to his spin-doctors – began playing the blame game. “It is a scandal,” he said, “that 40 per cent of the oil is controlled by Opec and that their decisions can restrict the supply of oil to the rest of the world.”

Someone should tell him that he should be blaming geology – or God – and that, as oil production peaks, Opec countries simply will not be able to pump more. But he is not alone; four US senators warned Saudi Arabia that if it did not step up the flow, the US might withdraw its military support.

There will be much more of this as supplies tighten. Three years ago, a US army report predicted oil would soon peak, and security risks increase. Expect oil wars. But, of course, we have already had one – in Iraq.

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.


Building the Green Economy (video)

God’s Wrath, and the Tories’: Harper’s zeal for retribution seems religious

Dandelion Salad

by Murray Dobbin
Global Research, May 27, 2008

With the country well into its third year of minority government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper there has been very little commentary on what may be the most important driver of his policies.

No other prime minister in our history has so strained the fundamental edict of the separation of church and state.

Perhaps that’s because the church in question is not the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church — the ones that used to come to mind in such conflicts. No, this church is the evangelical Alliance Church (the same one attended by Preston Manning) and the implications for public policy are far more dramatic.

Few Canadians probably even realize that the prime minister who is steadily changing the nature of their country is a born-again, evangelical Christian. Unlike his fellow born-again, George Bush, Harper has been careful to manage his blending of church and state. But if you have any doubts, read Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons, the meticulously researched 2006 article by Marci McDonald in the Walrus Magazine.

Theocracy lite

There is lots of evidence to suggest that Harper has no problem creating a theocracy lite in this country, partly based on his own religious convictions and partly to ensure that he keeps his core constituency happy. Some of Harper’s policies — from his aggressive support of Israel (taking his lead from the Christian right in the U.S.), to legislation that would take into account the death of a fetus in the murder of a pregnant woman (encouraging his anti-abortion supporters) are pretty obvious.

But it is the extent to which retribution is at the core of this man that strikes me as one the most disturbing aspect of his government, because it is so at odds with the values of the vast majority of Canadians.

Whether its his war on drugs (and drug users), his obvious preference for the death penalty, his refusal to register any complaint about the illegal treatment of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo, his politicization of the procedure for choosing judges or his appointment of Stockwell Day — the man who believes the Earth is just 6,000 years old — as his minister of public safety, Stephen Harper is making it clear that his god is not a forgiving god. Forgiveness is for sissies.

Stockwell Day, the avenger

Stockwell Day was chosen carefully as minister of public safety. His retribution credentials are impeccable. He has suggested that one way to get around the lack of a death penalty in Canada might be to release murderers into the general prison population so that “moral prisoners will deal with it in a way which we don’t have the nerve to do.”

In 2004, when he was the Conservative Party’s foreign affairs critic, Day refused to issue any statement of condolence or sympathy to the Palestinian people when Yasser Arafat died — referring his befuddled colleagues to an article by David Frum suggesting that Arafat had died of AIDS.

One of the most controversial issues that highlights the Tories’ desire for retribution is the government’s determination to close Vancouver’s safe injection site for drug users.

The harm reduction project, called Insite, has been praised around the world, positively assessed in 22 peer-reviewed papers and is supported by the city, local police and the even B.C.’s right-wing Liberal government. Health Canada recommended in 2006 that funding for the project be extended and that similar programs be tried in other cities.

Faith over science

But for Harper and his party, their evangelical Christianity trumps science. The International Journal of Drug Policy recently featured an article charging that the Harper government directly interfered in the work of independent scientific bodies, tried to muzzle scientists and deliberately misrepresented research findings. All in the service of ensuring that drug users retain their status as criminals to be punished.

Last September, Health Minister Tony Clement told the Canadian Medical Association: “To me, prevention is harm reduction. Treatment is harm reduction. Enforcement is harm reduction.”

Dr. Keith Martin, a British Columbia Liberal MP and former Reform Party star, is also a former substance-abuse physician. He admits that Clement may succeed in closing Insite: “But in doing that they will be essentially committing murder.”

Other peoples’ death penalties

It is no secret that the Harper government and its public safety minister support the death penalty. But their preference has taken them to extremes and revealed their contempt for democracy and the rule of law. Not content with the current law, democratically arrived at, Harper and Day will do anything they can to circumvent it, doing by stealth and administrative fiat what they cannot do, yet, in Parliament.

In a stunning abuse of process, Day simply declared that they were no longer going to follow the policy of seeking clemency for any Canadian sentenced to death who has “… been tried in a democratic country that supports the rule of law.” The new position was applied in particular to Ronald Allen Smith, a 50-year-old Albertan scheduled to be executed in Montana. Smith was convicted in 1982 for the brutal murder of two young men.

When it suits the government, however, it casually violates its own stated principles and intervenes — as it has done on the case of Mohamed Kohail, 23, a Canadian citizen sentenced to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for the death of a man in a school yard fight. In March the federal government announced — rightly, of course — it would be seeking clemency for Kohail. The rationale for the intervention was the patent lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia. But it is difficult to resist the conclusion that on the minds of these two crusaders was the political advantage of challenging a Muslim state.

What principle was in operation for 18 months throughout which time the government refused any action in the case of Brenda Martin, the Canadian held in prison without trial on charges of money laundering? Retribution or incompetence? It’s hard to know but politics soon dictated that the policy was again flexible. After her conviction, the government took the bizarre action of flying her home in a private government jet at a cost to taxpayers of $82,767. No price is too high to take political advantage — the rule of law notwithstanding.

Judgment days

Retribution was front and centre early in the Harper government’s term in the new process for choosing federal judges. That was accomplished by two fundamental changes to the independent provincial screening committees advising the government. Harper added one more federal appointee to the committees, giving the government a de facto majority but more importantly, making that new appointee a police officer with the intent of ensuring the judges appointed are tough on crime.

This so alarmed the Canadian Judicial Council that it issued a statement declaring that: “This puts in peril the concept of an independent body that advises the government on who is best qualified to be a judge.”

There is much more evidence suggesting that retribution is a prime motivator of this government. A Canadian citizen suspected of terrorist affiliation, Abousofian Abdelrazik, has been in legal limbo for five years in Sudan, courtesy of the Harper government’s refusal to act.

Changes to the Young Offenders’ Act to ensure that offenders are duly punished has been a goal of Stockwell Day for years and the government pursues the goal against all the scientific evidence and the admonishment of the judiciary.

Harper has announced that the government will be cutting $26 million from funding for community organizations that support people with HIV or AIDS.

His tax bill giving the government hands-on authority to prevent funding of morally suspect films overtly punishes any filmmaker thinking of violating Harper and his government’s Christian mores.

The new crusades

Perhaps the most fundamental example is the explicit militarization of Canadian political culture. Harper recently announced the commitment $40 to $50 billion in additional spending for the military over the next twenty years and this for a country with no identifiable enemies in that period — other than vaguely defined “terrorists.”

Retribution thus becomes one of Canada’s principal exports as the Harper regime eagerly awaits the next opportunity in the global crusade against Islamic terrorism.

Conservatives govern this country by virtue of fewer than 25 per cent of eligible voters. Yet this putative minority government status is treated with complete contempt by Stephen Harper, in stark contrast with literally every other minority government in Canadian history. The source of this contempt, also aimed at the media, the civil service, political opponents and the law itself, may not be simply the man’s well-documented arrogance. Evangelical Christianity has its own special disdain for democratic governance.

When the Bentley (Alberta) Christian Centre was under Stockwell Day’s guidance (he was school administrator from 1978 to 1985), it featured a social studies lesson that declared that democratic governments “represent the ultimate deification of man, which is the very essence of humanism and totally alien to God’s word.”

That about sums it up. Theocracy lite. But give these people a majority and it will get much heavier.

Murray Dobbin writes his State of the Nation column twice monthly for The Tyee.

Murray Dobbin is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Murray Dobbin

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Will We See the End of Empire in Our Time? by Richard C. Cook

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by Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
May 27, 2008

The following is based on a talk given by the author at the “End of Empire” session of the “Building a New World” Conference of the Prout World Assembly at Radford University, Radford, Virginia, on May 22, 2008.

I believe we have had two Americas. One started with the imperialist state which Alexander Hamilton tried to put into place in the 1790s with the First Bank of the United States. Thomas Jefferson overthrew this early expression of empire in the Civic Revolution of 1800 and created a strong and free America which lasted until 1913 in spite of the convulsion of the Civil War.

In 1913 the empire came back through the Federal Reserve Act and the 16th Amendment to the Constitution authorizing the income tax. Franklin Roosevelt dealt it a blow during the New Deal, but now it has taken over again, starting with the Vietnam War, continuing with the Reagan Revolution, and ending with the catastrophe of Bush II.

Though the America we know and love is in agony, I believe the ‘real’ America is still there, somewhere, among the people, particularly those who remain true to the teaching of the Master, “to love your neighbor as yourself.” Whether and how that America will now come to the fore is, for me, the next big question.

A few weeks after I retired from the government in January 2007, I published a book entitled Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.

I had gone to work at NASA in the summer of 1985 as the lead resource analyst for the space shuttle solid rocket boosters.

My first major assignment was to talk with the solid rocket booster engineers and find out about the problems they were having with the O-ring joints. They told me that these joints, located between rocket segments, were being eroded by flame leaks almost every time the shuttle was launched.

The engineers said that if the flame leaks burned all the way through the joints, then the shuttle would blow up. Documents showed that if this happened the astronauts all would die. The engineers said they were trying to redesign the joints but that for now they “held their breath” each time there was a launch.

On January 26, 1986, space shuttle Challenger did blow up for the reason the engineers had described. Among the seven astronauts who died was Christa McAuliffe, the Teacher-in-Space and the first civilian shuttle passenger. I became the only NASA official to testify publicly to the Rogers Commission that NASA had known for a long time this could happen. For my testimony I later received the Cavallo Foundation Award given to whistleblowers for moral courage in business and industry.

After my testimony, the engineers for Morton Thiokol came forward and told how they had tried to stop the launch the night before, because they feared the unusually cold temperatures would prevent the O-ring joints from sealing. NASA refused to accept the engineers’ recommendation for a delay, and their own company managers approved the launch in writing.

This was as far as the Rogers Commission went with its investigation. After four more years of personal investigation, I was able to determine that NASA approved the launch against all expert opinion in connection with the TV publicity for the Teacher-in-Space mission and under pressure from the Reagan White House.

I was also able to show that the reason NASA kept flying, despite the knowledge that the O-ring joints were flawed and that their performance was further compromised by cold temperatures, was so as not to interfere with military launches the shuttle was going to be making in support of President Reagan’s Star Wars weapons-in-space system.

I tell you this story because it is a concrete example of what happens when a nation goes from being a democracy to an empire. For one thing, human life no longer matters. They don’t care if people live or die. They’ll kill millions, whole nations, entire cultures, to get what they covet. And they will give it fancy names, like “The War on Terror.” Or they’ll tell you the earth is overpopulated so hundreds of millions must starve, which is starting to happen even as we speak.

Also, there is always a great leader whose image and prestige matters more than common sense and the truth—a Great Communicator, a Decider, a Unitary Executive. And that leader is going to be good at scaring you and making you do things out of fear you would never do in your right mind.

Finally, under an empire, ideas of science and knowledge—which is to say, Truth—are sacrificed to the imperatives of militarism and national security. What was happening at the time of the Challenger disaster was that the manned space program, which had given mankind some of its greatest triumphs during the Apollo moon landing program, was now being subverted to begin launching weapons into space. Today, no nation in history has been as proficient as ours at inventing things to kill their fellow human beings.

Returning to my personal circumstances, I left NASA a few days after my testimony and spent the next twenty-one years working for the U.S. Treasury Department. There I learned more about what it has meant for us to become an empire, because it has affected public finance as much as space science. And I have studied this topic seriously for years. I publish articles regularly on Global Research and other websites and have a new book coming out this fall entitled, We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform.

The issue of whether we in the U.S. want to be an empire or a democracy goes back to the founding of the nation. In the 1790s, our first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, got Congress, with President George Washington’s approval, to pass legislation setting up the First Bank of the United States. Hamilton was frank at the time in telling people that the purpose of the Bank was to allow the creation of what he than called an “American empire” in order to compete with the European nations in controlling the world.

The Bank would do the same for the U.S. as the Bank of England did for Great Britain. It would buy government debt and use it as collateral for private lending. The debt would then be used to fund a large standing army and navy, even though in the long run, this could bankrupt the nation. The army and navy began to be built through the 1790s, until Thomas Jefferson and his followers stood up and said this is not the kind of nation we fought to create during the Revolutionary War.

Hamilton and Jefferson split, and that split has defined U.S. politics ever since. Hamilton became the de facto head of the Federalist Party, the ancestor first of the Whigs and then of the Republicans. Jefferson called himself a Republican at first, then a Democratic-Republican, then finally his party became the Democratic Party that has lasted until today. Of course we know that the two parties have come more and more to resemble each other in recent decades in supporting policies of imperialism.

Jefferson was elected president in what was called the Civic Revolution of 1800. The first thing he did was cut military spending. He did what no one has done since, which was to balance the federal budget for eight consecutive years. Then he took an action which defined our nation to a considerable extent all the way into the 20th century. In 1803 he doubled the size of the nation overnight through the Louisiana Purchase.

So for the next century, instead of competing with the European nations for overseas colonies, our energies were devoted to settling the North American continent, to the detriment, of course, of the Native American peoples. We became, as did Russia in Eurasia and Brazil in South America, a continental land power. And we stayed that way for over a century.

But empire finally caught up with us. Across the sea in South Africa a man named Cecil Rhodes was devising a plan to make the British Empire the ruler of the globe. He created a secret society to accomplish this, called the Round Table, using money provided by the Rothschild family, who had controlled the British economy since the Napoleonic wars.

The U.S. was integral to their plans. Following is the relevant passage from Cecil Rhodes’ will of 1877. His aims, he wrote in the will, were:

…The extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom and of colonization by British subjects of all lands wherein the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise,…the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of a British Empire, the consolidation of the whole Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial Representation in the Imperial Parliament which may to tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire, and finally the production of so great a power as to hereafter render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.

Think about that: “the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire.” In fact, as Professor Carroll Quigley made clear in his celebrated book, The Anglo-American Establishment, the British planners, whose descendants still rule that nation, acknowledged that a time would come when the U.S. would be the senior partner in the empire, which is exactly what happened over the century that lay ahead.

The Russian writer P.D. Ouspensky said all the history you read about in the history books is “the history of crime.” This is what he was talking about.

The takeover of America was accomplished when the British, European, and American bankers created the Federal Reserve System in 1913. That year our nation was hijacked. Congressman Charles Lindbergh, father of the future aviator, called it “the legislative crime of the ages.”

The Federal Reserve is a privately-owned central banking system modeled on the Bank of England. From that day onward we got all the accoutrements of empire which have burdened our nation ever since: an enormous national debt, a crushing tax burden, permanent inflation, constant warfare, a gigantic and overweening military-industrial complex, a national character marked by arrogance and violence, and today, the enmity of the world.

Our wealth has been based, first, of course, on our own industriousness and natural resources—a positive—but, when that has proved insufficient, on taking it from others. Until recently our businesses and industry have dominated the globe—ever since World War II. The American dollar has been the world’s reserve currency and the denominator of trade in the “black gold” known as oil.

Through the neocolonialist institution known as the International Monetary Fund, we dominated the economies of the developing world. And we backed up our hegemony with military might. Since the start of World War II in 1941 we have been at war with somebody, either overtly or covertly, continuously. This pattern of warfare accelerated with the Reagan Doctrine of fighting proxy wars starting in the 1980s.

Today our military is based in 166 nations. Our economy is dominated by two industries—banking and armaments. Egged on by Israel and the U.S.-based neocons, we are engaged in the military conquest of the Middle East. This began after the 9/11 attacks through use of off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. We are also seeking “full-spectrum dominance” by planning, once again, to put weapons into space.

And we are bankrupt—morally and financially. We gave away our manufacturing industries to the operators of overseas sweatshops and have tried to live on our investments and the inflation of our homes and paper assets. Our secret intelligence agencies are heavily involved in the illicit drug trade, and we carry out our foreign policy with assassinations, subversion, and torture.

Yet we have a national debt approaching $10 trillion and a total societal debt of $50 trillion, neither of which can ever be paid off. Meanwhile the world’s financial controllers, still mainly based in London along with Wall Street, have gotten unbelievably rich from the proceeds of empire over the decades and are probably laughing up their sleeves as they watch us inch toward the next world war.

Because it’s a fact that the threat of nuclear war which we thought had been dispelled by the end of the Cold War today has come back. Remember talk of the “peace dividend”? What a joke! In our name, and with our money, the U.S. military-industrial complex is seriously preparing for a world war that would be fought with nuclear weapons against Russia and China.

The trigger could be a U.S. attack on Iran, which seems to be in the works and may take place before the November presidential election. Disgusting and corrupt corporate media outlets like the Washington Post are again beating the drums for war on behalf of the financiers and Israel as they did in the run-up to the war against Iraq.

Is there still a chance for us to step back and become the nation we once were, the home of liberty and the hope of mankind? Although I have tried to address these and many other issues in my writings, I honestly do not have the answer to that very pertinent question.

Copyright 2008 by Richard C. Cook

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform will be published soon by Tendril Press. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His Challenger website is at A new economics website at is upcoming with partner/author Susan Boskey. To get on his mailing list, for questions and comments, or to pre-purchase copies of his new book, please write



Stop the Oil Speculators by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Tuesday, May 27. 2008

What factors are causing the zooming price of crude oil, gasoline and heating products? What is going to be done about it?

Don’t rely on the White House—with Bush and Cheney marinated in oil—or the Congress—which has hearings that grill oil executives who know that nothing is going to happen on Capitol Hill either.

Last week the price of crude oil reached about $130 a barrel after spiking to $140 briefly. The immediate cause? Guesses by oil man T. Boone Pickens and Goldman Sachs that the price could go to $150 and $200 a barrel respectively in the near future. They were referring to what can be called the hoopla pricing party on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (NYMEX)

Meanwhile, consumers, workers and small businesses are suffering with the price of gasoline at $4 a gallon and diesel at $4.50 a gallon. Suffering but not protesting, except for a few demonstrations by independent truckers.

A consumer and small business revolt could be politically powerful. But what would they revolt to achieve? Their government is paralyzed and is unable to indicate any action if oil goes up to $200 or $400 a barrel. Washington, D.C. is leaving people defenseless and drawing no marker for when it will take action.

Oil was at $50 a barrel in January 2007, then $75 a barrel in August 2007. Now at $130 or so a barrel, it is clear that oil pricing is speculative activity, having very little to do with physical supply and demand. An essential product—petroleum—is set by speculators operating on rumor, greed, and fear of wild predictions.

Over the time since early 2007, U.S. demand for petroleum has fallen by 1 percent and world demand has risen by 1.3 percent. Supplies of crude are so plentiful, according to the Wall Street Journal, “traders of physical crude oil say their market is suffering from too much supply, not too little.”

Iran, for instance, is storing 25 million barrels of heavy, sour crude oil because, in the words of Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s oil governor, “there are simply no buyers because the market has more than enough oil.”

Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale in London agrees. “There’s various signals out there saying for right now, the markets are well supplied with crude.”

Historically, oil has been afflicted with the control of monopolists. From the late nineteenth century days of John D. Rockefeller, and his Standard Oil monopoly, to the emergence of the “Seven Sisters” oligopoly, made up of Standard Oil, Shell, BP, Texaco, Mobil, Gulf and Socal, to the rise of OPEC representing the major producing countries, the “free market” price of oil has been a mirage. Despite the breakup of the Standard Oil company by the government’s trustbusters about 100 years ago, selling cartels and buying oligopolies kept reasserting themselves.

In an ironic twist, the major price determinant has moved from OPEC (having only 40% of the world production) and the oil companies to the speculators in the commodities markets. What goes on in the essentially unregulated New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)—without Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) enforced margin requirements, and, unlike your personal purchases, untaxed—is now the place that leads to your skyrocketing gasoline bills. OPEC and the Big Oil companies reap the benefits and say that it’s not their doing, but that of the speculators. Gives new meaning to “passing the buck.”

Deborah Fineman, president of Mitchell Supreme Fuel Co. in Orange, New Jersey, summed up the scene: “Energy markets have been dictated for too long by hedge funds and speculators, who artificially manipulate the numbers for their own benefit. The current market isn’t based on the sound principles of supply and demand but it is being rigged by companies and speculators who are jacking up prices for their own greed.”

Harry C. Johnson, former banker who worked for many years inside Big Oil and ran his own small oil company in Oklahoma, blames the CFTC, the Department of Energy, the Administration, and Congress, as “asleep at the switch on an issue that is probably costing U.S. consumers $1 billion per day.”

He cites “some industry experts, who profit greatly from the high price of crude, and have stated openly that the worldwide economic price of crude, absent speculators, would be around $50 to $60 per barrel.

Imagine, our government is letting your price for gasoline and home heating oil be determined by a gambling casino on Wall Street called NYMEX. The people need regulatory protection from speculators and an excess profits tax on Big Oil.

In addition, a sane government would see the present price crises as an opportunity to expand our passenger and freight railroad capacity and technology.

A sane government would drop all subsidies and tax loopholes for Big Oil’s huge profits and other fossil fuels and promote a national mission to solarize our economy to achieve major savings from energy conservation technology, retrofitting buildings, and upgrading efficiency standards for motor vehicles, home appliances, industrial engines and electric generating plants.

Those are the permanent ways to achieve energy independence, reduce our trade deficit, create good jobs that can’t be exported and protect the environmental health of people and nature.

Those are the reforms and advances that a muscular consumer, worker and small business revolt can focus on in the coming weeks.

What say you, America?

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