Obama administration regulations could force power plants that make 40 percent of the nation’s electricity to shut down.
At issue are EPA restrictions on emissions that would close hundreds of coal-burning power plants which represent around 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.
If that wasn’t bad enough, some observers think the regulations could double electricity rates for average households. The rates would increase because utilities would have to pass the cost onto ratepayers of replacing coal burning power plants or modernizing them to comply with the regulations.
The EPA rules — Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants — are part of Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which the agency says contribute to global warming.
Obama Admitted Plan Would Raise Electricity Rates
There is some evidence that President Obama has a deliberate strategy of increasing electricity rates and destroying the coal industry.
“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” Obama told the editorial board of The San Francisco Chronicle in 2008. “Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to, retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them,” Obama said, “because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Obama’s prediction about coal plants have been proven true. As Off The Grid News previously reported, in October 2013, FirstEnergy Corp announced that it would shut down two coal-fired powered plants in Pennsylvania because it said the cost of complying with EPA regulations was too high.
Reuters estimated that coal-burning power plants capable of generating 15,000 megawatts of electricity have shut down since Obama took office in 2009. The news service also estimates that power plants that generate around 37,000 megawatts of power will close in the next 10 years. One megawatt can provide electricity to up to about 1,000 homes.
Awfully Expensive Electricity
Those plants will be closing at a time when demand for electricity is increasing. That will force utilities to build power plants that burn other fuels such as natural gas. It will add additional cost to electricity rates at a time when the rates are already going up dramatically.
“It could get awfully expensive,” Daniel Simmons of the Institute for Energy Research told World Net Daily. “Some people might see their electricity rates double. If there’s no backup power plants, that means electricity is going to get awfully expensive when you have shortages around the country.
Another Obama Plan To Raise Your Electric Bill
“We’re talking about dramatically increasing the cost of electricity all to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. I think that is the real goal,” Simmons said.
Another Obama administration plan to reduce greenhouse emissions, Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or CSS technology, could raise electricity costs even more, Simmons predicted. He noted that a an experimental CSS power plant in the United States will cost an estimated $4.3 billion to build and the EPA doesn’t know if the technology would work.
“The technology is awfully expensive because it hasn’t been tried anywhere, and that’s to try to capture the carbon dioxide as it comes out after they burn the coal.” Simmons said of CSS.
CSS involves the use of filters to divert carbon emissions from the air – and every taxpaying American will pay. The CSS plants under construction will require $300 million in taxpayer subsidies.
US Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has been critical of the Obama administration’s policy on coal.
“This Administration is trying to hold the coal industry to impossible standards,” Manchin said. “Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible. Forcing coal to meet nearly the same emissions standards as gas when experts know that the required technology is not operational on a commercial scale makes absolutely no sense and will have devastating impacts to the coal industry and our economy.”
Source: Off The Grid News
Damascus – At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal.
The Palestinians living here have been targeted. They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and men—trapped and dying from hunger and illness all across Syria as a direct, predictable result of using the siege of civilians as a weapon of war. It isn’t just Yarmouk. Throughout Syria, neighborhoods are being blockaded. Residents are running out of supplies, unable to get basic services. Among the Syrian towns under siege at this time are Nubul and Al-Zahraa in Aleppo province, the old city of Homs, and the towns of Eastern Ghouta, Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham in rural Damascus.
Truly a crisis of horrifying proportions, yet perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in the systematic starvation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp, where this past week eight more Palestinians died from malnutrition. These include 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi, and a 50-year-old woman named Noor. In addition, 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh and two 19-year-olds—Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji—were killed while protesting the blockade of the camp. And reports have also emerged that two other men, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Younis Nofal, were tortured and killed.
In December 2013, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, issued a statement concerning the situation in Yarmouk camp, in which he said: “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies.”
Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances) (you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut.
In January of 2013 the UN estimated that one million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance. Today, twelve months later, the figure is nearly ten million. That assessment is from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke last week at yet another aid conference. A commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council has found war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross human rights violations committed in Syria on a daily basis. According to its conclusion, “All sides in the conflict have shown a total disregard for their responsibilities under the international humanitarian and human rights law.”
International law relevant to situations of this nature was created specifically to stop the targeting of civilians. Its principles, standards and rules demand that such targeting cease, and they call for the prosecution of perpetrators irrespective of which side in the civil war in Syria they may support. A civil war is an armed conflict located on the territory of one state, between the armed forces of the State and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups under responsible command. These are groups that maintain control over part of the land, or that are able to carry out armed operations of a continuous and coordinated nature. The applicable statutes include Common Article 3 of Protocol II (1977) the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Whether it is regime armed forces and their allies, or anti-government militia, both are legally bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and must lift the siege on Yarmouk. If not, they risk prosecution at an existing international court or at a possible Special Tribunal for Syria being contemplated among some at the United Nations.
The following is from Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: Part IV: Civilian Population:
Article 13.PROTECTION OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION.
- The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.
- The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
- Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.
To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.
Article 14. PROTECTION OF OBJECTS INDISPENSABLE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.
Article 15. PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.
This body of international law requires that all warring parties immediately end the siege of Yarmouk and allow the entry of food supplies, while permitting those who want to leave the camp to do so. The safety of those who wish to return to their homes is also mandated. Additionally the law requires guarantees of safe passages to relief teams, UN fact finding missions, and unobstructed entry of medicines, medical staff and medical equipment. Those today who are preventing this are subject to international criminal prosecution, and as noted above, they are subject to future prosecution at any time, as the level and nature of their crimes prevent the application of any Statute of Limitations.
According to human rights activists, attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk camp failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Those attempting to leave were arrested, in some cases with serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on them. Others were shot at near the camp’s entry points. This occurred particularly in the last two months of 2013 and early January 2014. Several agreements between the warring parties, being the Syrian government forces and the rebels assaulting Yarmouk, have not been honored by either. Attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk have consistently failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the regime and the PLO, and some who attempted escape were arrested, beaten or shot at.
The several attempts to lift the siege usually include versions of the following language from Yarmouk’s Popular Committee that “based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:
- End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
- Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
- Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
- Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
- Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.”
Despite an official policy of neutrality announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and despite also unequivocal statements by Palestinian delegations acquitting the regime of any responsibility in the besieging, bombing and targeting of the camp and its inhabitants, it has not been enough to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid convoys.
But there is hope that relief may come. Against the backdrop of accusations and condemnations being circulated, many are looking to Russia to step in and, much as it did when it induced the Assad government to get rid of its chemical weapons, pressure the government to at least lift its own part of the siege.
There are critics of the idea, however. Mr. Ibrahim Amin, Editor in Chief of Lebanon’s Al Akbar daily newspaper, argues that somehow because Palestinians have been given many more civil rights in Syria than, for example, Lebanon—which to Syria’s great credit is true—then the refugees must somehow be at fault for their own slaughter and siege at Yarmouk. It is nonsense, of course, as also is his statement that, “In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.”—nonsense because, for example, Palestinians cannot vote in Syrian elections. Amin should know this, and he should know that they have never been made citizens of Syria, for this is common knowledge.
Nevertheless, writing in the January 13 issue of his newspaper, Editor Amin piles blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, by seeming to argue that they deserved it—the babies dying of malnutrition, the people suffering from dehydration and disease caused by the siege of their camp. He demands to know, “What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad? No sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.”
More nonsense from the Editor-in-Chief since virtually every Palestinian organization and leader, and virtually every resident living in any one of UNWRA’s 54 camps, including the ten in Syria, have repeatedly proclaimed their non-involvement in the Syria conflict. Presumably in his line of work Mr. Amin would know this. And presumably, if he took the time to speak to any Palestinians about the conflict in Syria, he would likely be advised that they are grateful to the Syrian people for hosting them. He might also be advised that they regret that some of their leaders got involved with the conflict in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, since innocent Palestinian civilians paid dearly, and that they will not repeat the mistake in Syria. It is a fact that some individual Palestinians, following the intense December 12-17, 2012 shelling and bombing of parts of Yarmouk, turned against those who were blamed for targeting them.
“Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families,” Mr. Amin states, though without offering any evidence. He goes on: “In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.” Again his assertions are false and politically motivated. Those who stayed are overwhelmingly those refugees who cannot escape. The Syrian army to its credit has not invaded the camp, but it does surround and seals most of it. Some rebel groups are hiding inside and terrorizing the camp.
It is egregious for Mr. Amin to misrepresent the facts of Palestinian neutrality in Syrian camps; it is doubly egregious for him to do so apparently wishing to gain approval from Syrian or Resistance leaders. Neither is likely to be other than embarrassed by Mr. Amin’s gross misrepresentations or his gratuitous ad hominem attacks on refugee camp victims of war crimes. The Editor-in-Chief’s distortions do not help the Resistance but rather harm it. As does his insistence that the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri eight years ago was done with a ‘secret missile’ fired from the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. There are a fair number of “Resistance groupies” and bloggers, well-meaning perhaps, but who in many cases actually aid enemies of the Resistance through their clumsy attempts at water carrying while ignoring reality.
But there is good news awaiting Mr. Amin if he will accept an invitation from one who considers himself to have been “Hezbollah” long before the 1985 “Open Letter” announcing the organizing of the Party of God next to where this observer gets his motorbike repaired in Ouzai. That is to say “Hezbollah” in the sense that since studying international law in law school this observer has supported the liberation of Palestine while rejecting the last of the 19th century’s colonial enterprise still occupying Palestine, and in the sense that this observer shares Hezbollah’s resistance goals and their declared responsibility to continue the struggle until achieving the full Right of Return. Oh yes, to be sure, this observer is not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, as I want to remind dear friend Jeff Feltman, who swore at an embassy Christmas party a while back that “Lamb faces ten years hard time in the feds when he dares to set foot on American soil for hobnobbing with terrorists”—though given the fact that Jeff had been imbibing some Christmas cheer when he made that statement to an embassy staffer, he has perhaps forgotten it now, which would be good news.
But at any rate, for Mr. Amin, here is what a fellow supporter of the Resistance is willing to do to possibly help him re-assess his conclusion about what is going on in Yarmouk: I invite Mr. Amin to appear in the lobby of the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus at 9 a.m. sharp on January 24. I will buy him breakfast, and as we dine, two contacts from Yarmouk will brief him on our morning program—a program that will include Mr. Amin discretely accompanying us to the south side of Yarmouk, where, depending on conditions that morning, we will arrive in front of the Zakerin Mosque in Al-Buweida, maybe 300 yards from the Az-Zain neighborhood. Mr. Amin will then need to join us crawling through a rather claustrophobic and smelly 30” diameter drain pipe that is approximately 40 yards in length. We will at this point hopefully end up safely in the basement of “Abu Ali’s” remaining half-house, where several refugees are still trapped. Mr. Amin can also visit with others next door. He should bring some cash, however, because his host doesn’t have much and we may need a bit to bribe a couple of gun-kids from one of the militias to facilitate our exit in case we are ratted out, so to speak.
Finally Mr. Amin will be able to see for himself, and listen to direct testimony, about what presently is, and has been, happening inside Yarmouk. He can ask the weakened residents about the conclusions he confidently presented in his Al Akbar article in which he claimed that the Yarmouk tragedy and crimes are their fault, or, as he so confidently put it, “Today, the unfolding events (in Yarmouk) are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility.” He may be surprised at what he learns about camp residents still trapped there, people scrabbling to feed themselves, and who have had no say or active role in the deplorable events that have overtaken them.
Just maybe, then, Mr. Amin will be motivated to edit a bit his earlier ridiculous broadside attacking the victims of the Yarmouk siege. And should he feel any contrition, maybe he will devote some of his energy and space in his newspaper to actually working for two elementary civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon—the right to work and home ownership. Their achievement will benefit Lebanon and the Resistance, both of which Mr. Amin claims to support.
In the light of the darkness in Gaza, here is a collection of Jewish Light Bulb Jokes…
Q: How many Orthodox Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What is a light bulb?
Q: How many secular assimilated Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: My grandmother, who lived in a Shtetl changed lightbulbs. Today, we get a Goy to do it.
Q: How many Israelis does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 26: 18 to surround the building, 6 to storm the room and kill the terrorists, one to forcibly expel the old bulb, and another one to screw the new one in and forever.
Q: How many progressive Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Vhy, we don’t need any! we’ll form Jewish Voices for Light Bulbs (JVLB) and use it to keep the rest of humanity forever in the dark.
Q: How many Reform Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Change it? Who wants to change it? We just want to improve it!
Q: How many Lubabavitchers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it never died.
Q: How many Marxist Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, after the revolution the proletariat will do it for us.
Q: What does it take for a Jewish mother to change a light bulb?
A: Never mind, I’ll sit in the dark.
Q: What does it take for a Talmudic Jew to change a light bulb
A: First you’ll have to tell me why changing a light bulb is good for the Jews.
Q How many solidarity Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, they will plea George Soros’ Open Society Institute to pay an Electronic Palestinian to denounce the old one and endorse the new one.
Q: How many Hasbara Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Wrong question, the real question is why the Arabs want to throw us into the sea?
Q: How many Gazans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Who needs a light bulb?
Q: How many self hating Jews does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Forget about the light bulb, Every Self Hater, is himself/herself a light bulb
dcstreettechnology added on VT
Q: How many Zionist does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Zero, they just screw the world around the light bulb!
Following his doomsday speech at the United Nations General Assembly on October 1—in which he warned the world that Iran’s new president should not be trusted and that Israel would attack Iran on its own unless it ends its nuclear program—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent two days in New York on an anti-Rouhani media blitz. He reiterated his UN points in a half-dozen interviews with CBS’s Charlie Rose and others. He addressed the media in English, Hebrew, Spanish, and even Farsi. “Rouhani doesn’t sound like Ahmadinejad,” Netanyahu said at the UN and repeated thereafter, “but when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing—a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.” To NBC’s Andrea Mitchell he said that supreme leader Khamenei is “the dictator of Iran” to whom Rouhani allegedly says “I can get you the completion of the nuclear program by speaking nicely to the West… What Ahmadinejad tried to do with a frown, I’ll do with a smile.”
It did not work. As Chemi Shalev of the Haaretz has noted, “Bibi’s” aides claimed that he has successfully countered Rouhani’s charm offensive, but underneath their bravado one could detect clear signs disappointment, even desperation: “The American media dutifully broadcast their interviews with Netanyahu, but did so furtively and minimialistically, as if an old friend had asked for an inconvenient favor, before switching back to the political drama of the government shutdown in Washington. Netanyahu, suddenly, was the wrong man, at the wrong time, with the wrong message.”
Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama was brief and unexciting. It came at a time when Washington is more preoccupied with the shutdown than with Iran’s alleged ambitions. The Prime Minister was more warmly received on the Hill, where his loyalists from both parties expressed their undying support for everything he wants now, or may want in the future. Nevertheless, it would be a dangerous strategy for Netanyahu to try and use his influence with his congressional friends to sabotage the Administration’s developing détente with Iran. His previous attempts to bypass the executive in setting the U.S. Middle Eastern agenda—notably on the two-state solution and on his settlement policy—have failed, and resulted in periods of marked coolness in relations with Obama.
Netanyahu has several problems in presenting a credible policy on Iran to the world. None of them are easy to tackle, and some are impossible to resolve:
- Netanyahu will never be able to secure his maximalist demands in any negotiations, above all his insistence that all Iranian uranium enrichment facilities should be shut down and all stocks of fissile material removed from the country. In any final settlement the P5+1 group (five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) are likely to accept Iran’s insistence that it should not be prevented from the legitimate and legal use of nuclear technology for electricity generation and other peaceful purposes. He will not be able to dictate the terms of any final deal with Iran, and he will not be in the room if and when that deal is signed.
- Nobody of consequence, in the U.S. or anywhere else, believes that Israel will act on its own in attacking Iran even if the U.S. and the rest of the Security Council believe that they are making progress in nuclear talks, let alone if they reach a settlement with Iran which is not to Israel’s liking. Netanyahu’s explicit threat to do so has left the world underwhelmed because he did not sound credible.
- In recent years, while advocating U.S. military action against Iran, Netanyahu would invariably claim that the bombs were needed because economic and financial sanctions against Iran were ineffective. At the UN, however, he admitted that sanctions are hurting Iran. Apparently he changed his position in order to prepare his auxiliary line of attack: that the sanctions regime should not be relaxed, no matter what Iran’s leaders say or do. That may have seemed like a clever ploy to his advisors, but to the rest of the world it may smack of cynical opportunism at best. At worst, at a time of Israel’s growing diplomatic isolation, Netanyahu’s threats will be viewed as a heavy-handed attempt to torpedo diplomacy just as it seems to be yielding dividends.
- For years Netanyahu has claimed that former Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s words—above all his threat to wipe Israel off the map and his holocaust denial—should be taken seriously enough to prevent Iran from having any kind of nuclear program. But when Iran’s new president declares that Iran has no intention to attack Israel and when he condemns Nazi crimes against the Jews—both of which were accompanied by a chorus of disapproval at home—Netanyahu asserts that mere words have no strategic meaning.
- Netanyahu’s hard line may draw attention to the neglected fact that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, that it has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and that it has never granted IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities. Once the key powers are satisfied that Syria has given up its chemical arsenal and Iran its nuclear ambitions, attention may be drawn to the fact that Israel will be the only country in the region left in the possession of the weapons of mass destruction.
Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama went well even though they distrust and dislike each other, but the two may be on collision course some time next year. If the P5+1 negotiations with Iran make progress and result in an agreement which the United States and other powers find acceptable but Israel does not, Netanyahu will probably try to tie the President’s hands through legislative action on the Hill. It would be a risky strategy. The Lobby’s attempt at the end of August to mobilize congressional support for Obama’s intended war on Syria was a failure. The ability of the Israeli prime minister to identify his understanding of Israel’s interests with those of the United States is not as great as before, which is good news for both Israel and America.
At issue is by far the worst environmental disaster in history. It’s multiples worse than Chernobyl. It’s an unprecedented catastrophe. It’s reason enough to abolish nuclear power.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, about 300 tons of radioactive groundwater flow into the Pacific daily.
It’s done so since Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami triggered Fukushima’s meltdown.
Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) says water’s getting over and around “chemical walls.” It can’t be stopped. Three Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns. A fourth was badly damaged.
The worst fear remains. Unit Four’s structural integrity was seriously undermined. It contains hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water.
If an earthquake or other natural disaster occurs, its fuel rods almost certainly will catch fire. Radioactive emissions will follow. They’ll compound what’s already disastrous.
Emissions will continue longterm. They’ll circle the planet. They cause catastrophic harm.
Since March 2011, Tepco estimates around 20 to 40 trillion radioactive tritium becquerels leaked into the Pacific. So have large cesium and strontium discharges. They continue. They’re much more dangerous.
According to nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson, “(t)he horse is already out of the barn.” Leakage continues since earthquake and tsunami struck.
Radioactive water contaminates the Pacific. Gunderson’s “experience with underground water is that – if it is serious at the ocean, it is more serious” on land.
Japanese officials proposed erecting a barrier. At issue is preventing water from reaching the Pacific. Whatever’s done “is two years too late and will be too late by the time” construction’s finished, said Gunderson.
A barrier’s not the solution. It causes another problem. “If the water can’t go anywhere into the Pacific Ocean, it is going to build up onsite, which means that the nuclear reactors themselves will become unstable.”
“The water can pull underneath the nuclear buildings and if there is an earthquake, in fact the nuclear buildings could topple. So, by solving one problem, they are creating another problem.”
Gunderson believes contaminated water will keep discharging for at least 20 to 30 years. It’s the most radioactive water he ever experienced.
Cost is another issue. Cleanup involves around half a trillion dollars, says Gunderson. Most important is human health.
Epidemic cancer levels are certain. And not just in Japan. In early July, Fukushima’s former chief operator, Masao Yoshida, died of esophogeal cancer.
He was 58. Tepco lied saying his death was unrelated to radiation exposure. Japanese children are experiencing a shocking 40% rise in thyroid irregularities.
Experts expect much higher numbers ahead. Fukushima’s an ongoing disaster. It persists. It’s not ending. It’ll continue for decades.
According to Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) president Arjun Makhijani:
“Fukushima continues to be an emergency without end – vast amounts of radioactivity, including strontium-90 in the groundwater, evidence of leaks into the sea, the prospect of contaminated seafood.”
“Strontium-90, being a calcium analog, bioaccumulates in the food chain. It is likely to be a seaside nightmare for decades.”
It’s much more dangerous than cesium 137 and 134. It’s at levels 30 times higher.
“So to give you an idea of the level of contamination, if somebody drank that water for a year, they would almost certainly get cancer.”
“So that’s one problem. The other is the defenses to hold back this water from the sea seem to be overcome.”
“So now the contaminated waters, 70,000, 80,000 gallons, are flowing into the sea every day.”
“(S)ome of it will disperse and dilute. Some of it goes into the sediment, and some of it is taken up by the life in the sea.”
“And the unfortunate thing about strontium especially is that it bioaccumulates in algae. It bioaccumulates in fish.”
“It targets the bone, because it’s like calcium. And so this is a problem. We don’t have measurements far out to sea.”
“The Woods Hole Institute has done some surveys. And they were surprised by how much continuing radioactivity they found, but no clear explanation yet.”
The effect on human health’s expected to be devastating. It’s already bad. It’s getting progressively worse. The genie’s out of the bottle. No end in sight looms.
Strontium-90 and cesium are both perilous. “(S)ince strontium-90 is more mobile and also more dangerous biologically, (it) behaves like calcium, so it goes to the bone.”
“It also bioaccumulates in the base of the food chain and algae. Ultimately because it does bioaccumulate and there is quite a lot of strontium, you could have a large part of the food chain near Fukushima being contaminated.”
If pregnant women ingest contaminated water, fish or other food, “the outcomes could be worse than cancer because then you’re talking about a much more compromised child in the sense of having a compromised immune system – it makes you more vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.”
Makhijani doesn’t know how Tepco can handle the problem. It’s uncontrollable.
“It’s very, very unclear to me how they are going to be able to get at this molten fuel, extract it from the bottoms of these highly damaged buildings and package it for safer or less dangerous storage or disposal.”
“This is an accident that’s shockingly not stopping.” It’s certain to worsen. It’s unchartered territory.
It affects the region. It’s humanity’s worst environmental nightmare. Nuclear rain affects North America and Europe. Obama’s an unabashed nuclear power promoter.
He wants more reactors built. He wants licenses for aging poorly maintained plants with poor safety records extended. He wants them operating unregulated.
He’s recklessly endangering Americans. He talks clean energy alternatives. Policy measures spurn them. He fronts for corporate favorites.
He’s captive to a destructive industry. He risks a Fukushima-type disaster on US soil. He risks millions of American lives. He’s mindless of potential dangers.
Nuclear power’s inherently unsafe. Einstein called it a hellova way to boil water. It does so through massive heat. It turns it into steam. It powers an electricity generating turbine.
According to anti-nuclear activist Karl Grossman:
Avoiding potentially catastrophic accidents “requires perfection and no acts of God.” Humans and technology aren’t perfect. Natural and other disasters happen.
“We can’t eliminate them. But we can – and must – eliminate atomic energy.” Otherwise it’ll eliminate us.
Nuclear expert Helen Caldicott’s clear and unequivocal, saying:
“As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction.”
“If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
A Final Comment
Coverup and denial followed Chernobyl’s disaster. Helen Caldicott called doing so “the most monstrous coverup in the history of medicine.”
The death toll was many multiples greater than reported. Estimates range up to a million or more.
The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) translated thousands of Russian articles and papers. It added “revised and updated contributions.”
“Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster,” NYAS said.
“According to the authors, official discussions from the (IAEA) and associated (UN) agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.”
Fukushima far exceeds Chernobyl. Millions of lives are threatened. Perhaps future independent studies will explain. They’ll be too little to late to help victims.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
“If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” — Morpheus, The Matrix.
As long as you are plugged into the computer program that is running your reality, you can’t escape its hold over your life. You are literally programming and reprogramming yourself, without your conscious will, to toe the line of some very sneaky potentates who would like for you to forget just how powerful a being you truly are.
As long as you are subservient to the status quo — the belief that you must slave away for the monarchy, namely the Rockefeller/Vatican/Gates/J.P. Morgan/World Bank delusionists, then you will not ever truly know that you can change your reality in the blink of an eye. The world in its current state is not meant to be your experience of life, yet playing the computer game that has been set before you keeps you disillusioned and deluded. It’s time to wake up. Following are 5 of the practically infinite ways by which the powers that be keep you thinking you are small, helpless and powerless, when in fact, you are Infinite in scope:
1. They are hypnotizing you with their agenda. If you participate in the mainstream media — watching its television programs, sitting in front of its Hollywood movies, or even leaving the tube on as you go to sleep, then you are programming your brain with the entirely ‘wrong’ frequency. Of course, it’s a choice. There really is no wrong or right — we can continue to portray minorities, women and any person who isn’t rich and white as less intelligent or capable, or portray endless scenes of violence and bigotry, hate and racism, but we have to ask ourselves what purpose this truly serves. It seems if we are fighting against one another, because of the color of our skin, our religious or cultural backgrounds, our sexual preferences or our gender, then we can’t really focus on the true ‘enemy’, which is really only like Oz behind a curtain.
CBS and ABC both have officials that have top positions in the Obama administration. Monsanto and several large Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big Oil corporations have cronies in almost every leg of the mainstream media. These people don’t report the truth. They promote their own greedy agendas. With just a little crack in the looking glass, you can see that there is another reality. David Icke’s The People’s Voice Network is just such an example. It’s literally time for a different program. Cut your addiction to mainstream media. They are keeping you enslaved to a decaying paradigm.
2. They are poisoning the enlightenment right out of you. Big Corporations are poisoning your water with fluoride, heavy metals and endless other toxins. Big Ag is poisoning your food with GMO crops. Big Pharma is supplying you with drugs that actually make your food-induced cancer or heart disease worse, as well as dumbing down entire generations with autism, while quietly paying out families for the damage that MMR vaccinations have caused. The secret of the Matrix is that these addictive patterns — high fructose corn syrup, McDonald’s Happy Meals and nutrition-less foods — do more than make you fat and sick. They literally block your ability to have an enlightened experience of the world — explicitly one which allows you to see outside the Matrix. These companies provide the pain and then feed you the pain-killers, which are really just another way to kill you. You are not a depressed, dark, lonely individual. You are a creature of light and hope, love and prosperity beyond your current imagining. Don’t let them drug you into oblivion. Eat wholesome foods, detox your pineal gland — the seat of enlightenment — and participate in age-old natural healing. It is not only for your physical well being, but for your spiritual ascension — and a great and final unplugging from the Matrix.
3. They use religion to perpetuate a lie. This is a hot button for many people. The truth is that use of religion alone is one of the easiest ways that they can divide and conquer. Every religion has at its core, a message of truth and LOVE, not the bastardized, quantified, you-need-me-to-get-to-God message that so many people mistakenly proselytize to the masses in order to keep them in check. The leaders of great religious movements know that we can only survive together as one. There are sites around the world that teach an integrated, accepting approach to realizing the Great Mystery of which we are all a part. Thanksgiving Square, for example, has been visited by the Dalai Lama, Catholic nuns including Mother Theresa, Zen Monks, famous Hindu yogis, Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders, and so forth. It is time to elevate our spirituality to one of inclusiveness instead of segregation and division. Realizing this is a great way to shun the Matrix lie that there is only one pathway to God.
4. They indoctrinate you early in public school. Henry Louis Mencken puts it so perfectly:
“The aim of public school is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry [slaves to the Matrix], to put down dissent and originality.”
There are numberless geniuses who were able to skip a ‘cursory’ education and, instead, used their own curiosity and creativity to guide them through the material world. Michael Faraday opened a famous bookshop without any formal education, but he also experimented with electricity, magnetism and other sciences on his own. William Herschel, a musical composer with no formal education in astrophysics, discovered the planet Uranus and was only later called an ‘astronomer’ for his discovery. Don’t let them tell you what you can know or limit your genius. This is another tactic to keep you enslaved to the Matrix. Teach your children to think for themselves and seriously question whether they need to attend public school at all.
5. They convince you that this is the only ‘REALity.’ You can create a world that does not poison its people, pollute its oceans, rivers and streams, air and soil. You can create a world where people do not engage in endless wars and genocides. You can create a world where a few greedy bastards don’t run the whole show. You have the choice to run another program. It starts with waking up to the reality that has been forced upon you so that you can choose differently.
Kurt Vonnegut once said in Mother Night:
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”
You are just pretending this reality right now. You can just as easily choose another. As long as you have the belief that you are stuck in this version of reality, you will be. They reinforce this belief in every way they possibly can. Though our minds have a hard time conceiving of Infinity, it exists. Start expanding it to new levels, and suspend your disbelief. This will help you to untie your bondage ropes to the Matrix.
“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Source: Christina Sarich | Waking Times
Will it Work?
Western side of Yarmouk Camp, Damascus — For more than a year, Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, one of nine in Syria, has been a war zone between supporters of the Syrian government and those seeking its overthrow. But the number of camp residents actively engaged in fighting on either side is negligible, according to Dr. Hamed Mouad.
Mouad is author of the first book on Yarmouk camp history and its sociology. Many of his relatives are camp residents, orwere at any rate, until they had to flee eight months ago. Despite great pressure to help “liberate” the camp—pressure put upon them from both sides of this war—the residents here, insisting on neutrality, overwhelmingly refused to join either side in the conflict. And for this they have paid a big price.
All “legal” entrances to Yarmouk and its neighborhoods are blocked by the Syrian army or rebel gunmen, and government and rebel snipers inhabit many rooftops. However, along the western side it is possible to enter some parts of the camp with the assistance of a friendly teenager. Approximately only 20% of the 170,000 who lived in Yarmouk pre-crisis have remained, with a majority of those seeking housing outside in Damascus suburbs. Many parts of the camp are now largely a deserted wasteland, and most residents remaining have little or no water, electricity, or safe camp infrastructure or shops of any sort. The Syrian government, however, continues to allow free medical aid at public health facilities, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) helps many with food parcels.
Palestinians interviewed inside this western area of Yarmouk explain that the only reason anyone still remains at all is that they have run out of options. They risk their lives daily, a sort of Russian roulette fate in view of snipers and mortars, to remain in what is left of their homes—either that or they camp out near the piles of rubble that were their homes. Still others try to survive outside the camp, squatting on blankets, flattened cardboard boxes or plastic tarps, in the shadow of schools and mosques. There are even some fortunate families who have a small gas burner to cook with.
Damascus experiences very high summer heat, far exceeding temperatures commonly seen in Beirut and Saida Lebanon, where many of the Palestinian refugees from Syria have fled—many but by no means all. For inside the Syrian capital can be seen additional Yarmouk residents, lots of them, milling amongst the more than one million refugees who have fled here from other parts of the country over the past nearly 29 months. A few of these desperate people drape some blankets in alleyways, gambling that the authorities will not roust them, or fearing, even worse, that they may become victims of robbery or kidnapping. In Damascus, kidnapping has especially become a significant business.
Damascus cops, some of them at any rate, will on humanitarian grounds allow people to sleep in a few of the city’s smaller, more inconspicuous playgrounds or green spaces, a policy applied as well to Roma Gypsies, whose main neighborhood was destroyed. But this lenience stops at the borders of the main parks, which are probably the most beautiful and manicured, even during the current fighting, of any Arab country in the Middle East. In these parks, camping is not allowed. Yet that being said, when a mortar or car bomb demolishes part of a street, some of its residents do spill into the central parks, reminding this observer of how many times since the Lebanese civil war and Israeli aggressions that Beirut’s Saniyeh gardens in Hamra has been overcrowded with refugees living rough.
Classes will start in Syria in less than a month, meaning that school buildings will no longer be available as temporary refugee shelters. Some Palestinians, like their Syrian neighbors, are still fleeing to Lebanon, but the government has recently raised the exit fee at the Masnaa border crossing from 550 Syrian pounds to 1,100 (roughly $6) per person—not a big bite for most foreigners, certainly, yet for Syrian and Palestinian families hoping to postpone death, it is a rather hefty, nigh unaffordable, chunk.
Though it’s hard to generalize, many residents of Damascus, including some of the remaining Palestinians, seem to feel the violence will continue slowly to subside as government forces go on pushing rebel forces further away from the city center. This appears also to be the case with Syrians as a whole, despite the fact that the population is numbed and exhausted, horrified at what has become of their country, and pessimistic about the future of their beloved Syria and its chances at remaining intact. Most of course have suffered incalculable losses—tragically in terms of killed loved ones, but there are also material losses, losses of livelihoods, jobs, and businesses, without much prospect for recovery, at least anytime soon. Nonetheless, there is exhibited a sense that life may soon improve. Mazin, the driver for Al Alam TV, explained to this observer the other night: “ It may seemed strange, but we Damascenes hear more shelling these days as government forces push rebels out of some of the suburbs, but we also feel more secure despite more shelling because the rebels are being driven back away the our suburbs. But there is a long way to go.”
As signs of approaching better times, some people point to Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation, seen frequently in public these days discussing plans being put into place for the return of the Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Another example is President Bashar al-Assad’s August 1 visit to the town of Daraya. Located outside Damascus, Daraya was a rebel bastion for more than a year. Now it is mainly under government control. It was the Syrian President’s first such public trip since his 3/12/12 visit to Baba Amr in central Homs—a location which ironically yesterday saw a huge explosion at a government weapons depot in which approximately 50 people were killed. A defiant speech nonetheless was given by Assad, who pledged victory over forces seeking to topple Syria’s government, and he seems to have buoyed some as he chatted with soldiers, expressing the country’s gratitude for its military’s performance. This kind of connecting with the general population is replicated by an increasing number of Syrian officials, officials who are being seen more and more in public outside their heavily protected offices. While not a complete restoration of public optimism, it does seem to offer hope for an end to the civil war.
As the pendulum swings, at least for now, in favor of the current regime, Syrian and Palestinian friends and acquaintances still express dismay, for more specifics are becoming apparent in regard to what they may face should the extreme Islamist, Salafist and Wahabist forces ultimately prevail and set up a Salafist caliphate. Just this week, for instance, a sharia committee in the rebel-held region of secular Aleppo banned the baking or eating of croissants, this despite shortages of bread. The reason given? The French croissants, according to some Salafist-Wahabist “scholars,” are secret symbols of colonial oppression. The belief of the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, both affiliated with al-Qaeda, seems to be that because Syria is a former French colony, this symbol of Frenchness is obviously connected with imperialism. And of course the pastry’s crescent shape celebrates European victory over Muslims. Conspiracy theorists abound everywhere, it seems.
Also, various groups increasingly are issuing fatwas designed to ensure that the planned new order dismantles the current secular Syrian society, the sooner the better. Over the past several months a raft load of Fatwa’s, which apparently any wannabe Islamic “scholar” can issue when in the mood, has included just about the wholesale importation of Saudi Arabian culture and lifestyle. In fact, some of these Fatwa’s make the KSA appear almost moderate.
Within the past few months, Rebel-held regions of Aleppo have become more and more dominated by extremist elements, further marginalizing more moderate rebel groups, and putting many Syrians at their mercy. The Islamic law council of Aleppo’s Fardous neighborhood recently issued a fatwa banning all women, not only Muslims, from wearing “immodest” dress. This includes not only tight-fitting clothing but also a ban on cosmetics. Another Fatwa decrees a one year jail sentence for failing to fast during the month of Ramadan, again, Muslim or not.
In the face of this decidedly dismal backdrop, the PLO leadership in Ramallah is reaching out to Palestinians in Syria, as well as to the Syrian government, with a proposed solution to the current Palestinian refugee crisis, a crisis that for the moment, despite hopeful signs, continues to worsen. Reportedly a four-member delegation was sent to Damascus at the end of July from PA headquarters in Ramallah. Upon arrival, the envoys presented the 14 Palestinian factions in the Syrian capital with a two-step initiative to end the fighting in Yarmouk. A copy of the “secret plan” was obtained by this observer. The proposal has, on good authority, been approved by the Syrian government, with a decision expected from the PLO groups during the first half of August. Meant to build on Mahmoud Abass’ July visit to Lebanon, the PLO declaration reads essentially as follows:
“Based on the principled position declared by the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership regarding all the internal developments taking place in the Arab countries – particularly the crisis in Syria – which is not to interfere in the internal affairs of these countries, and prevent the involvement of either the Palestinians or their camps in these struggles, by maintaining their neutrality and preserving the camps as secure environments for their Palestinian and Syrian residents, empty of both weapons and fighters, in order to keep the Palestinian struggle directed against our primary enemy, the Israeli occupation.
Mindful of the above, and after the developments which led to the dispersal of hundreds of thousands of our people in the camps, which were then turned into insecure and dangerous zones, we the factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, propose the following initiative, with the hope that in cooperation with all those concerned, we can work together to achieve the following:
First, based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:
– End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
– Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
– Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
– Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
– Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.
Second, follow up and coordinate efforts in order to execute the steps outlined in the proposal by eliminating all obstacles, providing all that is required for its success.”
It is a fine sounding, presumably well-meaning initiative, but one that has been met with grave doubts among Palestinians here, including camp popular committees. The plan is considered unworkable since some groups that are even more extremist than al-Qaeda have started moving families of their members and community into Yarmouk, pledging to stay despite what any other rebel groups decide, reminding us of the fate of Nahr al Bared camp near Tripoli, Lebanon.
The overwhelming sense among Palestinians here with whom this observer has discussed the proposal, is that there can be no progress with respect to returning Palestinian refugees to their homes in Yarmouk until a political solution is reached among all the major parties to the Syrian Crisis. And some predict that may take decades.
They are 67 new families, or about 400 Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria, residing in 60 recently erected tents set up as an emergency ‘gathering’ near the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp adjacent to the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon. In all, there are approximately 75,000 thousand Palestinians in Lebanon who have fled from Syria over the past 28 months.
Additional Palestinians arrive every week and sometimes meet former neighbors from Yarmouk and other Syrian Palestinian camps at the Masnaa Lebanon-Syria border crossing. The new arrivals are often grimaced to happen upon their countrymen who are returning to take their chances facing death in Syria including dodging the snipers and bombings targeting Yarmouk and elsewhere. The reasons the returnees give for returning to Syria focus on the appalling humanitarian conditions in Lebanon for Palestinians as well as the nearly 780,000 other refugees here from Syria.
Palestinians forced into Lebanon from Syria soon learn, if they were not aware previously, that all Palestinians refugees in Lebanon are barred by law from the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home. More than 50 professions open to Palestinians in Syria and in every other country, including occupied Palestine, are forbidden here. Two examples of jobs Palestinians can do and are doing in Lebanon when they arrive from Syria include scavenging through the rotting filth at Saida Garbage Mountain and other Lebanese government public garbage dumps to find something worth a few Lebanese Lira (LL) to help their loved ones survive. No, nearly impossible to secure work permit, is even required so they need not fear arrest by the Lebanese authorities who irregularly round up Palestinian violators of this country’s no work for Palestinian refugees ban.
The same, “no work permit required” reality is true of another profession which critics accuse the “Government” of Lebanon and its competing politicians of approving instead of allowing even one currently banned legitimate job to those whose lives are at risk and who are desperately in need of livelihood.
That profession which is open to every Palestinian today in Lebanon willing to consider it, is ‘hired gun’.
While both the major political grouping in Lebanon will deny they do it but will accuse the other, the fact of the matter is that both continue to discreetly recruit Palestinians to fight their personal battles on the cheap. It is unfortunately the case that some Palestinians, sweltering in the squalid, fetid camps in Lebanon, discriminated against in public institutions of higher learning, and barred from internationally mandated elementary civil rights, are seeking jobs as militiamen. This against the admonitions and sage counsel of the older generation of PLO fighters, now mainly retired, that the Syrian civil war is not theirs and that Palestinian involvement will not advance Return to Palestine and reclaiming stolen homes and land, by one minute or by one inch.
The choice for many Palestinian young men in Lebanon has come down to guns or education. By force of Lebanese law and under threat of prison for violators, Palestinians are denied the elementary civil rights to work in more than 50 professions and are barred by a 2001 racist law from them or their families, more than six decades living as refugees in Lebanon, from even owning a home. Among Palestinian youth, unemployment rates hover around 70%, while refugee students are also discriminated against in admission to Lebanese state institutions of higher education, including the relatively low-tuition fees at Lebanese University. This makes it difficult for young Palestinians in Lebanon to pursue higher education after graduating from UNWRA schools and passing the Baccalaureate II exam. Being barred from most jobs, it is very difficult to come up with even modest sums for tuition payments.
Against this backdrop of flagrant state sponsored discrimination, if one were to offer un-employed young camp resident, say $ 200 per month, an AK-47 with plenty of ammo, and free cigarettes, the odds are good that you just might have yourself a militiaman. Those journalists and observers who spent much of the summer of 2011 in Libya saw a similar phenomenon and now it’s also the case in Syria. In Lebanon, it is resurgent from the 1975-90 civil war days. The gun for hire resource is being exploited across the political spectrum here among many of the same confessions and political parties that ignited this country’s massively destructive civil war more than three decades ago.
Today, some Palestinians are being paid to fight for certain factions whether from the North of Lebanon at Tripoli and Akkar, to Beirut and various contentious areas such as Tariq al-Jdideh, Sabra, Cola, and down south in Saida during recent clashes that saw 16 Lebanese army killed and twice that number from the supporters of Salafist activist Ahmad Asir. Despite denials from some sources, there were a few Palestinians who fought for Asir and some Palestinians joined other militia including the Hezbollah organized “Resistance Brigades’ and the Lebanese army in fighting against Asir’s forces. An investigation in supposedly underway of the army’s conduct and the involvement of political parties from both the March 14anti-Assad sects and elements of the March 8th pro-Assad groups regarding recruitment of Palestinian youngsters.
President Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly warned Palestinians in Lebanon during his 72 hour visit to Lebanon last week to reject these offers and not to be drawn into the Syrian conflict despite the ‘market place maneuverings’ going on here from various armed confessions. What he meant is that as most of the Lebanese sects are frantically arming and seeking gunmen and weapons, that Palestinian s must refuse to be exploited once again and that they must reject any involvement in a military conflict that contravenes their communities wishes and their national interest. He lectured a gathering of PLO factions at a Palestine Embassy event that this terrible error was the case during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil wars. For that involvement, Palestinians in Lebanon continue to pay a very heavy price from certain factions here that rather see Lebanon’s economy continue to decline than allow Palestinians to work and help build the local economy as they have done in countless other countries which granted them the right to work and the opportunity to invest in the economy with their technical competence and business skills.
As one Palestinian academic pointed out last week to this observer, “While President Abbas assured Lebanese politicians that Palestinian factions did not want to join the Syrian civil war, he also chastised Lebanon’s government in private for not pressuring various factions, most with representatives in Parliament, to stop recruiting and enticing the hapless, desperate for work refugees, forced into Lebanon against their will.
PA President Abbas also repeated the PLO’s willingness to turn the refugee camps weapons over to the government. He did this with a straight face but surely he knows well that despite the regular scapegoating of Palestinians refugees in Lebanon and the danger they are said by some to pose because some have access to light arms, as everyone in Lebanon does, the truth of the matter is that the Lebanese political groups, even the most open about their hatred of Palestinians in Lebanon, do not want the state to collect or receive as gifts the arms in the Palestinian camps and gatherings, however many there they in fact are. The reason is that if the Palestinians had no weapons at all in the camp, it would make it awkward for some politicians to use the fear of a return to the early 1970’s and the potential danger of a Palestinian uprising for sects political advantage. Truth told, there is no realistic fear, unless provoked, from Palestinians arms. They are exaggerated as is the number of salafist factions inside camps. Yet without the right to work, some Palestinians will doubtless be seduced into becoming hired guns for scarce cash to feed their families.
Hiring young men as gunmen in Lebanon is also impliedly condoned by silence on this problem from various polarized and politicized religious leaders. Some of Lebanon’s religious personalities, too often, wearing pious faces and donning prelatical ‘Pope-wannabe’, if sometimes comical, outfits, and often sporting fingers ringed with gold and precious jewels, intone their gospels according to St. Mark, or his equivalents, about human dignity and being our brother’s keeper, and often referencing “ our blood-veins support for Palestine and the Right of Return.” While simultaneously standing in Janus-faced opposition to the elementary internationally mandated right to work for Palestinians in Lebanon.
When a Palestinian is arrested for carrying a weapon, it’s often front-page news but also usually exaggerated or later shown to be inaccurate. What is more surprising is that more Palestinians are not in the streets, motivated by the Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening, demanding the civil right to work. Yet signs are starting to appear of a pending and overdue intifada in Lebanon demanding this universally recognized right of every refugee to be able to seek work to sustain oneself and family.
Rumors abound these tense days in many part of Lebanon, as if to say, “I told you didn’t I? The Palestinians are the source of most of Lebanon’s problems!” (or the Zionists, or the Saudis, EU, Iranians, Syrians, other Lebanese sects or the Americans, or just about anyone except, this countries deeply destructive confessional system and the Lebanese who profit from this, to date, failed state. Too many Lebanese politicians reject granting rights to Palestinian refugees while they seek to gain personal, regional and international benefits from playing the “Palestinian card”. Meanwhile, dangerous temperature and pressure levels are building in the huge Presto cookers that are Lebanon’s camps.
On a brighter note, arriving with a late news item of 7/18/13, are the just released results of the General Science (SG) and Life Science (SV) secondary school official exam results known as the Baccalaureate II exam results. Preliminary analysis suggests that despite all their hardships, Palestinian and Syrian refugees have done well on the required exams.
One Palestinian mother from Yarmouk camp in Damascus, now among the 700 Palestinian refugee families temporarily here from Syria, and squeezed into the already overflowing Shatila camp explained to this observer as she proudly displayed this week’s announcement of her children’s academic success. She beamed that even with little electricity in her family hovel, polluted drinking water, no fresh air and not much food this past year, her daughter’s and son’s success in passing ‘the BACC II” made her forget her family’s misery.
So it is that the doors are cracked open for higher education, if Palestinian refugees in Lebanon can come up with tuition, sometimes fairly modest by western standards but beyond the means of a majority of camp families. The good news that there will be places in Lebanon’s institutions of higher learning this fall semester, assuming that these youngsters, desperate to be allowed to work at the same jobs that every other foreigner in granted on arriving to Lebanon, do not heed the sirens calls of various sects here, singing seductive songs of quick cash in exchange for carrying a gun.
On April 19, 2013 at the Shatila Camp Youth Center, exactly 30 years to the week following the death of American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens here in Beirut, and recalling times during the 1982 Israeli aggression that rained American bombs of various types down on the civilian population, and still hearing Janet’s voice telling young Palestinian defenders, during the 75-day Zionist siege, “ Once the fighting ends you must, every one of you, return to school, whether to study quantum physics or literature or whatever interests you. Higher education is what will hasten your return to Palestine. Education is your greatest resource and your most potent weapon.”
Speaking at the Shatila Scholarship Award event, one American, paying tribute to Janet as a mediator and advocate for Palestine, and addressing the tuition grant recipients, sought to encourage these future Palestinian leaders:
“An education is forever and its purpose is to enjoy a more productive lifetime while seeking to fulfill all of what each of us is capable as we give back to our respective communities. Staying in school here in Lebanon where we are all guests, just for the time being, and pursuing knowledge and practical skills is a quintessential and noble act and commitment of Resistance against oppression and occupation – anywhere. Education cannot be ethnically cleansed, stolen, tortured, jailed, uprooted, bulldozed, massacred, murdered, bombed or burned down. Rather, staying in school and pursuing ones dream is what your cherished for-bearers, who were forced from their homes and lands into Lebanon and trekked from Palestine- approximately 130,000- in the summer and fall of 1948, would want for you, and expect of you.
Education is a Saladinian Resistance toward liberating, six decades after the Nakba, those still under occupation in Palestine. And to help achieve for refugees in the diaspora, their inalienable full Right of Return.”
When and how do we put an end to this outrage which is an urgent humanitarian imperative shared by every one of us?
We end it immediately.
We do it by Lebanon’s parliament, taking 90 minutes of its time, which is all that would be required, and grant these youngsters the most elementary civil right to work which will also enable them to pursue their dreams of higher education.
And by international support.
This can be facilitated by international pressure. One telephone call from Washington, Riyadh, or Tehran, to local political allies, can get the job done in just over an hour without further procrastination.
If not, to add to its other problems, Lebanon may face a civil right intifada– ignited by continued repression.
In the words of the angelic Miss Hiba of Ein el Hilweh camp, now 19 years old and three years after her defiant declaration in 2010 to those who sneered at her that she should get married at age 16, and with her beauty, could demand a handsome dowry for her impoverished family, and forget about college: “There is no other choice than success with the civil rights goal of every Palestinian in Lebanon to seek a job and to pursue education as we peacefully intensify our struggle to Return to our stolen and still occupied country, Palestine. “
Today, Hiba continues the good fight as she completes next year, her degree in engineering. She insists she will need this knowledge when she returns to her family’s occupied home near Safed.
People often ask where my ideas and where my knowledge comes from. When that happens, I chuckle a bit to myself because just like the person asking, my knowledge comes from a variety of sources: first hand experience, books, online forums and of course, Backdoor Survival readers. So you see, it is not that I am smarter or more clever than everyone else but rather that I have taken my passion for preparedness and made it an active part of my life.
That leads me to the topic for today’s article. Following my own article on Five Minute Prepping Projects, I asked readers to submit their own tips – namely something that we all can do to prep that takes 10 minutes or less. There were some really good suggestions and so I thought I would share some of them here so that everyone can learn from them.
THE BEST TEN MINUTE PREPPING TIPS FROM BACKDOOR SURVIVAL READERS
1. There are many times when trouble strikes and we have to deal with only what we have on our person and in our pockets. A BOB is a luxury that might not be with us when the unexpected comes along, so I like to make sure I have a minimum of things on me before I leave the house even for a trip to the grocery.
Here’s what I carry, you’ll have to adjust for your own needs:
1) A small pocket knife
2) A multi-tool
3) A cigarette lighter
4) A dozen Kleenex
6) A one quart Ziploc bag
7) A black sharpie
8) A small bottle of hand sanitizer
9) Wallet with emergency cash and id cards
10) Keys, with small flashlight on keychain
I can carry all of that in jeans or short pockets no problem, and its amazing how handy I find each of those items to be in day to day activities. In an emergency they could really make a difference.
2. The most important thing to have in a survival situation is water. The ten minute thing I did was to buy extensions for the gutter down spout. At the time I put them in I had a back yard above ground pool. Kids all gone now, pool gone, but I now have 10 55 gallon barrels.
3. Check your supplies and rotate them out as the expiration date comes due. Stock the foods you like, because if you don’t like a certain food, you won’t eat it.
4. I like to can water after using my canning jars in the winter. I then have good water if the electricity goes down and also if there is a drought in the summer, I will have water for canning.
5. My 10 minute prepping tip is to save all of your dryer lint in a zip food bag. Squeeze it down, roll it up and place it in your bug out kit.
6. My very first prepping project was getting a plastic tote box ready for myself for the vehicle.
I went by the list in the book “Survival Mom” so it is packed full with a little extra than a BOB. Then my very next priority was another box fixed up for my mother who is 86 years old. She still drives and either she or someone else will be able to help with this very good vehicle emergency box. Survival is a daily challenge in northern WI.
7. The every three month 10 minute prep activity I do religiously is rotate my prescription meds. I have two weeks in my purse, 3 days in my 72 hour kit, 3 days in my car kit, and 3 days in my comprehensive medical kit. If it takes you longer than ten minutes to do this, you need to practice knowing where all these items are stashed!
8. The 10 min DIY water distillery: Using two, one liter clear soda bottles. Put 1/4 inch holes in both caps, insert 1/4 inch clear tubing thru each cap and down into each bottle (about 5-7 feet of tubing). Secure each cap onto bottles. Fill one 3/4 with water you want to distill, bring tubing about 1/2 inch from top. place in sunlight. Bring the tubing to the bottom of other bottle and place it in shade.
As the sun heats up the water and the water goes into a gas, expanding and going into the bottle in shade, it cools down and turns back into water, filling the bottle in shade, with clear drinkable water. This can also be used to remove salt from saltwater. Place a black band of tape around the input bottle, making sure not to mix them up.
9. Rinse out used soda bottles and fill with water. Save them for when the water is turned off or long term storage.
10. Dip cotton balls in petroleum jelly and put in a baggie or small plastic container (recycle old pill bottles) for your bug out bag. These make great fire starters and they burn long and hot.
11. My 10 minute tip: pack a small ‘emergency’ kit for your purse/pocket that you carry every day. Items to include *could* be a small flashlight (some LED ones are very tiny & bright), a few bandages, a BIC-type lighter, pocket knife, safety pins, pencil/pen, small notebook/Post-It notepad, paperclip, a paracord ‘survival’ bracelet, printable pamphlet of survival ‘tips’ (several available on the internet). Visit your local Red Cross for preparedness tips for your area. Often they have TONS of FREE information specific to your location to help families prepare BEFORE a problem arises.
12. Take quick check of your food supply, once a storm catches you by surprise, it’s too late, and it only takes a few minutes to make a quick list of the basic canned goods that you need to replace, better safe than sorry!
13. We all probably think that our BOB has what we need in it and maybe it does. Take a quick look in it and see if there is some place to add a little easy redundancy, remembering that three is one and one is none. I took a Ziploc bag and put in it: a small candle, a pill vial with Vaseline in it, another pill vial stuffed with dryer lint, a disposable lighter and a magnifying glass. Easy to do and now I have several ways to start a fire in addition to the matches and the fire steel already in the bag without adding even a pound to the weight of the bag. I know there are a lot of other easy additions that can increase redundancy in all of our bags.
14. Never be without toilet paper. Put 4 rolls in 2 gallon Ziplocs and put 1 bag in each car, one in the garage, one under each sink in the house. That way, regardless of what disaster occurs – TP will be there.
15. Take ten minutes a day or even a week and learn how to use the things you have been accumulating for emergencies. This month I have been using the solar oven and rocket stove. Much easier to use the fifth time than the first.
16. Buy a large bottle of 5 to 10-percent iodine solution and transfer into those small, handy travel spray containers. Put one in each first aid kit in each bug-out bag. Besides being a disinfectant and medical treatment of cuts, a few drops per liter will purify water as well as keep thyroid function humming along in the absence of iodized salt.
17. Not a total of 10 minutes, but a great prep tip I have is to buy extra lumber, fasteners, nails, whenever you have a DIY project, and save the extra in your new “Mini-Lumberyard”!
18. Arrange to have a prepping partner call you randomly during the week and give you a surprise emergency drill of some kind. You have ten minutes to begin responding. Next week, return the favor.
19. Carry a small bottle of iodine and a small bottle of bleach with you in your bug out bag in the event you have to drink questionable water in your travels. Just add a bit to your canteen, shake it and let it be for a while and you are good to go. They have iodine pills but, take it from me being ex military; they taste bad but with this method it will do the job better and the water will not taste that bad.
20. Weigh your BOB. Put it on and carry it around the house. How long can you go without stopping? If it is too heavy which it is likely to be, here are a couple of things that you might consider doing: 1..Pack a half dozen of those freebie cloth satchels with handles in with the BOB. This way depending on how many people may be with you when you actually need to pack the BOB you can distribute the weight among everyone.
21. Make a list of the most important items to take with you if you are alone and safety pin that to the top of the BOB. In a real emergency you will not have time to think it through and you are likely to be too stressed to make the right choices. If alone, you must keep the weight down to a poundage that you can carry for long term.
22. I think my favorite quick prep is making a waterproof match container out of a mason jar. Glue a piece of sandpaper to the lid, fill the jar with stick matches, add a candle, tighten down the ring and there you have it. I’m sure the same could be done with a plastic jar if you’re worried about breakage but I like the decorative little mason jars spread around the house. I took the time to waterproof my matches but I don’t believe that’s necessary.
23. I take 10 minutes on Mondays to do a quick check of my food storage to make sure I add needed items to the grocery list. This keeps things pretty up-to-date for me.
24. Keep a running inventory of ammunition so you keep a good assortment on hand and track what you use. A little extra can be good for barter.
25. Most of us have items that use batteries. Flashlights, radios, etc. I have a laminated list of the items that I keep in my prep, with a section just for things that need to be rotated. Quarterly, I grab the rotation list and swap out old batteries for new. The batteries I take out of my prep kit are usually still good, so I put them into use in normal, everyday equipment. It takes almost no time, and makes sure I have good batteries everywhere I need them, not just my prep kit.
26. Every time I go to the grocery store, I add an extra $10 of items for my food storage.
27. Make a small fishing kit, cheap and easy. Take a small tin (preferably a round candy mint tin). Add fishing line, hooks, sinkers, small artificial bait and a couple of snubbers. (A snubber is a piece of surgical tubing with fishing line going down the center and clasps on each end to tie your fishing line to. You can pick this up at most any store that sells fishing gear).
If you need to use your fishing kit and do not have a breakdown or telescoping fishing pole you will probably be using a branch. A branch will not have the same flexibility as a fishing pole. Tie your fishing line to the end of your flexible branch (the length of line will be determined by your situation). Tie the other end to your snubber. On the other end of your snubber tie your leader (about 18″ to 24″ of fishing line) then tie on your hook. Add your sinker to the fishing line on the pole / branch side of the snubber about 12″ from the snubber. Add bait and you are set.
I have added the snubbers to my kit, because it acts like a shock absorber when you have a fish on the line. This has helped me to land the fish and not break off the hook or line due to not having the flexibility of a proper fishing pole.
28. I’ve been through two hurricanes here on the Gulf coast in recent years. Water, all you can reasonably store, is a must, along with some way to purify it if need be. I’ve carried a pocket knife for more years than I can remember, and in recent years I’ve started carrying a multi-tool. I always have a roll of toilet paper inside a zip-lock bag under the back seat of my truck. I also save dryer lint to use as tinder.
29. Gather up a few cans of veggies, fruits, and meats along with a jar of peanut butter. Store in your vehicle (under seat, in trunk) Throw in a “good” manual can opener or something strong enough to cut the lid in emergency. Can be eaten without heating or cooking.
30. Freeze and store milk in its container. I have been doing it for years with two pint semi-skimmed milk ones, full fat (cream) is not so good as the fat separates when defrosted. These have been handy already in extended power cuts as the freezer keeps cold, as does the fridge if you put a frozen one on the top shelf. It takes about twelve hours to defrost at 60F and the frozen milk lasts indefinitely in my experience, although I still rotate.
31. Get a caravan size chemical toilet and some Elsan Blue or Eco Green fluid as well for when there’s no sanitation or main water to flush the loo. This is one essential that is often overlooked.
32. You can fix up a go-bag a few moments at time by leaving it open in a place you will see it (I myself am an out-of-sight-out-of-mind person), say a corner of the kitchen, and dropping in the things you want to have at the ready. On laundry day, drop in clean socks and undies. On grocery day, buy a few easy to eat nibbles (that you like) – tuna in a pouch, nuts, dry fruit, plus a bottle of water and drop them in the bag. Make a list of other things you need to think about: first aid kit, flashlight, etc. As you go to the hardware store, purchase these things, drop them in the bag when you get home. This is your basic backpack which you can modify according to your needs (weather, for instance).
33. Place a pair of shoes, socks, work gloves, a whistle, and a light stick or flashlight with batteries under your bed for use during or after an emergency. Add to this a mobile phone to call for assistance, spare house and car keys in case you have to get out of the house from an upstairs window and need to get back inside to put out small fires safely with extinguishers you have placed at door exits. I also have a spare set of old clothes, shoes and a blanket packed in a suitcase in the caravan in the garden along with an emergency supply of bottled water and food in pull tab tins. A dry shed or outhouse would suffice for this no doubt.
34. Unless your home is 100% all electric, get a carbon monoxide alarm if you don’t already have one. And even then it’s not a bad idea as in an emergency you may want to use a propane device, and it’ll hopefully keep you from dying from the CO.
35. Stock up on calcium chloride ice melt. Get a 50# bag and fill the empty milk jugs with it. Keep one jug in each car.
36. Hurricane matches. Get a bunch. They aren’t cheap, but they’re the best.
37. GMRS/FRS radio. Regular CBs can become clogged with radio traffic. A good brand can also provide encryption so you can have private discussion with family. Depending on the make and model, it may come with frequencies that require a license. In emergencies I doubt the FCC will chase you down. And in regular times, I doubt they will chase you down if you’re not being obnoxious.
38. In addition to a flash drive, open a free “cloud” service account, many of which will give you 5-10 gigabytes of storage. An alternative to that would be to open up a new e-mail account, on Yahoo/Gmail/etc, and e-mail the documents to yourself. Unsure of what to make for a new username for an e-mail account? Take your first name + “documents” (i.e. “BillDocuments”), and use your last name as the password.
This way, if your house (and flash drive) are lost in a tornado/earthquake/fire/etc, you can still access those documents from, say, a public library computer.
39. Another tip along with freezing jugs with water to place in the freezer, is to fill a 2 liter bottle about 1/3 full. Freeze it upright, then lay it on its side. If you come home from vacation, and the water is frozen at the bottom (sideways) in the bottle then the power was off long enough that the food may have spoiled.
THE FINAL WORD
I have always maintained that Backdoor Survival readers are the most creative and resourceful folks on the internet when it comes to basic, common sense preparedness. No fear mongering types here – just ordinary folks doing their best to take care of themselves, their families and their comfort and safety, no matter what happens down the road.
I tip my hat to you.
Source: Gaye Levy | Backdoor Survival
In the course of his professional life in the world of national security Edward Snowden must have gone through numerous probing interviews, lie detector examinations, and exceedingly detailed background checks, as well as filling out endless forms carefully designed to catch any kind of falsehood or inconsistency. The Washington Post (June 10) reported that “several officials said the CIA will now undoubtedly begin reviewing the process by which Snowden may have been hired, seeking to determine whether there were any missed signs that he might one day betray national secrets.”
Yes, there was a sign they missed – Edward Snowden had something inside him shaped like a conscience, just waiting for a cause.
It was the same with me. I went to work at the State Department, planning to become a Foreign Service Officer, with the best – the most patriotic – of intentions, going to do my best to slay the beast of the International Communist Conspiracy. But then the horror, on a daily basis, of what the United States was doing to the people of Vietnam was brought home to me in every form of media; it was making me sick at heart. My conscience had found its cause, and nothing that I could have been asked in a pre-employment interview would have alerted my interrogators of the possible danger I posed because I didn’t know of the danger myself. No questioning of my friends and relatives could have turned up the slightest hint of the radical anti-war activist I was to become. My friends and relatives were to be as surprised as I was to be. There was simply no way for the State Department security office to know that I should not be hired and given a Secret Clearance. 1
So what is a poor National Security State to do? Well, they might consider behaving themselves. Stop doing all the terrible things that grieve people like me and Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and so many others. Stop the bombings, the invasions, the endless wars, the torture, the sanctions, the overthrows, the support of dictatorships, the unmitigated support of Israel; stop all the things that make the United States so hated, that create all the anti-American terrorists, that compel the National Security State – in pure self defense – to spy on the entire world.
Eavesdropping on the planet
The above is the title of an essay that I wrote in 2000 that appeared as a chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Here are some excerpts that may help to put the current revelations surrounding Edward Snowden into perspective …
Can people in the 21st century imagine a greater invasion of privacy on all of earth, in all of history? If so, they merely have to wait for technology to catch up with their imagination.
Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex … satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links … voice, text, images … captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth, then processed by high-powered computers … if it runs on electromagnetic energy, NSA is there, with high high tech. Twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps billions of messages sucked up each day. No one escapes. Not presidents, prime ministers, the UN Secretary-General, the pope, the Queen of England, embassies, transnational corporation CEOs, friend, foe, your Aunt Lena … if God has a phone, it’s being monitored … maybe your dog isn’t being tapped. The oceans will not protect you. American submarines have been attaching tapping pods to deep underwater cables for decades.
Under a system codenamed ECHELON, launched in the 1970s, the NSA and its junior partners in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada operate a network of massive, highly automated interception stations, covering the globe amongst them. Any of the partners can ask any of the others to intercept its own domestic communications. It can then truthfully say it does not spy on its own citizens.
Apart from specifically-targeted individuals and institutions, the ECHELON system works by indiscriminately intercepting huge quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages of interest from the mass of unwanted ones. Every intercepted message – all the embassy cables, the business deals, the sex talk, the birthday greetings – is searched for keywords, which could be anything the searchers think might be of interest. All it takes to flag a communication is for one of the parties to use a couple or so of the key words in the ECHELON “dictionary” – “He lives in a lovely old white house on Bush Street, right near me. I can shoot over there in two minutes.” Within limitations, computers can “listen” to telephone calls and recognize when keywords are spoken. Those calls are extracted and recorded separately, to be listened to in full by humans. The list of specific targets at any given time is undoubtedly wide ranging, at one point including the likes of Amnesty International and Christian Aid.
ECHELON is carried out without official acknowledgment of its existence, let alone any democratic oversight or public or legislative debate as to whether it serves a decent purpose. The extensiveness of the ECHELON global network is a product of decades of intense Cold War activity. Yet with the end of the Cold War, its budget – far from being greatly reduced – was increased, and the network has grown in both power and reach; yet another piece of evidence that the Cold War was not a battle against something called “the international communist conspiracy”.
The European Parliament in the late 1990s began to wake up to this intrusion into the continent’s affairs. The parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee commissioned a report, which appeared in 1998 and recommended a variety of measures for dealing with the increasing power of the technologies of surveillance. It bluntly advised: “The European Parliament should reject proposals from the United States for making private messages via the global communications network [Internet] accessible to US intelligence agencies.” The report denounced Britain’s role as a double-agent, spying on its own European partners.
Despite these concerns the US has continued to expand ECHELON surveillance in Europe, partly because of heightened interest in commercial espionage – to uncover industrial information that would provide American corporations with an advantage over foreign rivals.
German security experts discovered several years ago that ECHELON was engaged in heavy commercial spying in Europe. Victims included such German firms as the wind generator manufacturer Enercon. In 1998, Enercon developed what it thought was a secret invention, enabling it to generate electricity from wind power at a far cheaper rate than before. However, when the company tried to market its invention in the United States, it was confronted by its American rival, Kenetech, which announced that it had already patented a near-identical development. Kenetech then brought a court order against Enercon to ban the sale of its equipment in the US. In a rare public disclosure, an NSA employee, who refused to be named, agreed to appear in silhouette on German television to reveal how he had stolen Enercon’s secrets by tapping the telephone and computer link lines that ran between Enercon’s research laboratory and its production unit some 12 miles away. Detailed plans of the company’s invention were then passed on to Kenetech.
In 1994, Thomson S.A., located in Paris, and Airbus Industrie, based in Blagnac Cedex, France, also lost lucrative contracts, snatched away by American rivals aided by information covertly collected by NSA and CIA. The same agencies also eavesdropped on Japanese representatives during negotiations with the United States in 1995 over auto parts trade.
German industry has complained that it is in a particularly vulnerable position because the government forbids its security services from conducting similar industrial espionage. “German politicians still support the rather naive idea that political allies should not spy on each other’s businesses. The Americans and the British do not have such illusions,” said journalist Udo Ulfkotte, a specialist in European industrial espionage, in 1999.
That same year, Germany demanded that the United States recall three CIA operatives for their activities in Germany involving economic espionage. The news report stated that the Germans “have long been suspicious of the eavesdropping capabilities of the enormous U.S. radar and communications complex at Bad Aibling, near Munich”, which is in fact an NSA intercept station. “The Americans tell us it is used solely to monitor communications by potential enemies, but how can we be entirely sure that they are not picking up pieces of information that we think should remain completely secret?” asked a senior German official. Japanese officials most likely have been told a similar story by Washington about the more than a dozen signals intelligence bases which Japan has allowed to be located on its territory.
In their quest to gain access to more and more private information, the NSA, the FBI, and other components of the US national security establishment have been engaged for years in a campaign to require American telecommunications manufacturers and carriers to design their equipment and networks to optimize the authorities’ wiretapping ability. Some industry insiders say they believe that some US machines approved for export contain NSA “back doors” (also called “trap doors”).
The United States has been trying to persuade European Union countries as well to allow it “back-door” access to encryption programs, claiming that this was to serve the needs of law-enforcement agencies. However, a report released by the European Parliament in May 1999 asserted that Washington’s plans for controlling encryption software in Europe had nothing to do with law enforcement and everything to do with US industrial espionage. The NSA has also dispatched FBI agents on break-in missions to snatch code books from foreign facilities in the United States, and CIA officers to recruit foreign communications clerks abroad and buy their code secrets, according to veteran intelligence officials.
For decades, beginning in the 1950s, the Swiss company Crypto AG sold the world’s most sophisticated and secure encryption technology. The firm staked its reputation and the security concerns of its clients on its neutrality in the Cold War or any other war. The purchasing nations, some 120 of them – including prime US intelligence targets such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia – confident that their communications were protected, sent messages from their capitals to their embassies, military missions, trade offices, and espionage dens around the world, via telex, radio, and fax. And all the while, because of a secret agreement between the company and NSA, these governments might as well have been hand delivering the messages to Washington, uncoded. For their Crypto AG machines had been rigged before being sold to them, so that when they used them the random encryption key could be automatically and clandestinely transmitted along with the enciphered message. NSA analysts could read the messages as easily as they could the morning newspaper.
In 1986, because of US public statements concerning the La Belle disco bombing in West Berlin, the Libyans began to suspect that something was rotten with Crypto AG’s machines and switched to another Swiss firm, Gretag Data Systems AG. But it appears that NSA had that base covered as well. In 1992, after a series of suspicious circumstances over the previous few years, Iran came to a conclusion similar to Libya’s, and arrested a Crypto AG employee who was in Iran on a business trip. He was eventually ransomed, but the incident became well known and the scam began to unravel in earnest.
In September 1999 it was revealed that NSA had arranged with Microsoft to insert special “keys” into Windows software, in all versions from 95-OSR2 onwards. An American computer scientist, Andrew Fernandez of Cryptonym in North Carolina, had disassembled parts of the Windows instruction code and found the smoking gun – Microsoft’s developers had failed to remove the debugging symbols used to test this software before they released it. Inside the code were the labels for two keys. One was called “KEY”. The other was called “NSAKEY”. Fernandez presented his finding at a conference at which some Windows developers were also in attendance. The developers did not deny that the NSA key was built into their software, but they refused to talk about what the key did, or why it had been put there without users’ knowledge. Fernandez says that NSA’s “back door” in the world’s most commonly used operating system makes it “orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access your computer.”
In February 2000, it was disclosed that the Strategic Affairs Delegation (DAS), the intelligence arm of the French Defense Ministry, had prepared a report in 1999 which also asserted that NSA had helped to install secret programs in Microsoft software. According to the DAS report, “it would seem that the creation of Microsoft was largely supported, not least financially, by the NSA, and that IBM was made to accept the [Microsoft] MS-DOS operating system by the same administration.” The report stated that there had been a “strong suspicion of a lack of security fed by insistent rumors about the existence of spy programs on Microsoft, and by the presence of NSA personnel in Bill Gates’ development teams.” The Pentagon, said the report, was Microsoft’s biggest client in the world.
Recent years have seen disclosures that in the countdown to their invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had listened in on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, and all the members of the UN Security Council during a period when they were deliberating about what action to take in Iraq.
It’s as if the American national security establishment feels that it has an inalienable right to listen in; as if there had been a constitutional amendment, applicable to the entire world, stating that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the government to intercept the personal communications of anyone.” And the Fourth Amendment had been changed to read: “Persons shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, except in cases of national security, real or alleged.” 2
The leading whistleblower of all time: Philip Agee
Before there was Edward Snowden, William Binney and Thomas Drake … before there was Bradley Manning, Sibel Edmonds and Jesselyn Radack … there was Philip Agee. What Agee revealed is still the most startling and important information about US foreign policy that any American government whistleblower has ever revealed.
Philip Agee spent 12 years (1957-69) as a CIA case officer, most of it in Latin America. His first book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published in 1974 – a pioneering work on the Agency’s methods and their devastating consequences – appeared in about 30 languages around the world and was a best seller in many countries; it included a 23-page appendix with the names of hundreds of undercover Agency operatives and organizations.
Under CIA manipulation, direction and, usually, their payroll, were past and present presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, and Costa Rica, “our minister of labor”, “our vice-president”, “my police”, journalists, labor leaders, student leaders, diplomats, and many others. If the Agency wished to disseminate anti-communist propaganda, cause dissension in leftist ranks, or have Communist embassy personnel expelled, it need only prepare some phoney documents, present them to the appropriate government ministers and journalists, and – presto! – instant scandal.
Agee’s goal in naming all these individuals, quite simply, was to make it as difficult as he could for the CIA to continue doing its dirty work.
A common Agency tactic was writing editorials and phoney news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of the CIA authorship or CIA payment to the media. The propaganda value of such a “news” item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans.
Wooing the working class came in for special treatment. Labor organizations by the dozen, sometimes hardly more than names on stationery, were created, altered, combined, liquidated, and new ones created again, in an almost frenzied attempt to find the right combination to compete with existing left-oriented unions and take national leadership away from them.
In 1975 these revelations were new and shocking; for many readers it was the first hint that American foreign policy was not quite what their high-school textbooks had told them nor what theNew York Times had reported.
“As complete an account of spy work as is likely to be published anywhere, an authentic account of how an ordinary American or British ‘case officer’ operates … All of it … presented with deadly accuracy,” wrote Miles Copeland, a former CIA station chief, and ardent foe of Agee. (There’s no former CIA officer more hated by members of the intelligence establishment than Agee; no one’s even close; due in part to his traveling to Cuba and having long-term contact with Cuban intelligence.)
In contrast to Agee, WikiLeaks withheld the names of hundreds of informants from the nearly 400,000 Iraq war documents it released.
In 1969, Agee resigned from the CIA (and colleagues who “long ago ceased to believe in what they are doing”).
While on the run from the CIA as he was writing Inside the Company – at times literally running for his life – Agee was expelled from, or refused admittance to, Italy, Britain, France, West Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. (West Germany eventually gave him asylum because his wife was a leading ballerina in the country.) Agee’s account of his period on the run can be found detailed in his book On the Run (1987). It’s an exciting read.
- To read about my State Department and other adventures, see my book West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold war Memoir (2002) ↩
- See Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 21, for the notes for the above. ↩
Humanity’s horizons glowed from the brilliance of Nikola Tesla. But to our horrible misfortune, the glow was much too bright for the Power Status Quo (PSQ). Money means power, and Tesla cost tycoons a lot of money by slaying with alternating current (AC) the dead-end direct current (DC) power distribution system of Thomas Edison (financed by J.P Morgan).
More than forty of Tesla’s patents from 1888 cover the entire system of “polyphase” AC that, virtually unchanged, powers civilization to this day—a monumental lifetime achievement for any man.
But polyphase AC didn’t lead directly to the PSQ’s campaign of erasing Tesla from history. It was “Tesla’s Coil,” key to unlocking “Aether” and harnessing “Radiant Electricity.” The ultimate forbidden technology, Aether and Radiant Electricity was a primary focus of Tesla’s last forty years on Earth.
By tapping the Aether, by touching “ . . . the wheelwork of nature,” Tesla illuminated visions of humanity freed from domination by the likes of Rothschild, Morgan, Rockefeller . . . the entire global tyranny machine powered largely by fossil energy, private central banking, war.
One man found an antidote for pathocracy, humanity’s premier poison.  His name was Nikola Tesla; that remains one of the few things about the man that has not been altered by the PSQ. The name survives, but little else about Tesla has not been violated. His crime or “sin” was competition tycoons couldn’t control.
Tesla always knew he would triumph. In his own words, regarding tycoons such as J.P. Morgan: “I am unwilling to accord to some small-minded and jealous individuals the satisfaction of having thwarted my efforts. These men are to me nothing more than microbes of a nasty disease. My project was retarded by laws of nature. The world was not prepared for it. It was too far ahead of time, but the same laws will prevail in the end and make it a triumphal success.”
Tesla’s “ . . . triumphal success” has the power to unwind tyranny. All we need is for enough humans to awaken from the PSQ’s spell. Tesla obviously thought awakening was possible even while insisting, “No free energy device will ever be allowed to reach the market.” Tesla knew that mass awakening was the wildcard. If we let him down, we let humanity down.
Tycoons throw enormous wealth at protecting people from reality by keeping them asleep. But waking up is free, the only ticket to freedom of development of the human potential.
Freedom . . . a gorgeous concept increasingly hollowed-out by the PSQ. Try to imagine what humanity might achieve without being kicked in the face by the psychopathic elite.
George Orwell said in his novel, 1984, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
If we have any chance at proving Orwell wrong, Tesla might be our best hope. So he gets the boot. But they haven’t stamped out Tesla’s spirit. His ultimate technology is still alive not only in Black-Ops, but in laboratories of valiant researchers cheating death-by-truth.
The PSQ’s perpetual fouling of Tesla accents his elevation of what it means to be human. That most salient testament to Tesla’s brilliance, his suppression by the PSQ—it’s all around us, hidden in plain sight.
Style of the PSQ exhibits fear of people thinking for themselves. As long as pockets of human intelligence resist brainwashing, and independent thoughts fly around uncontrolled, that means the PSQ’s choke hold on power is not “safe.” Similar alarm flourished in America’s top Rothschild agent, J.P. Morgan.  He knew monopolistic fortunes were not safe with Tesla a funded free spirit. Morgan and other tycoons stung by the “War of the Currents”  went into a defensive blitz. And when Tesla denied Morgan control of Radiant Electricity, Morgan had Tesla’s laboratories burned down. Works of genius were destroyed, but not the man. Morgan also instructed the four publishers of school textbooks to never mention Nikola Tesla; ditto for the Smithsonian—Nikola Tesla was an unperson. Morgan stamped like a professional on truth about Tesla. And the money boot keeps stamping with help from public ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in “authority.” . . .
Creativity . . . humans working outside “the box”—writers, inventors, scientists and researchers and free spirits soaring above dogma embody what the PSQ fears in humanity. Nikola Tesla is a stellar example of what the PSQ fears most.
Tesla revered nature, not money. That got Tesla the electrical wizard off to a bad start with the PSQ—a moral eminence compounded by Tesla’s public declaration: “Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.”
Those were fighting words to the tycoons—especially the part about, “ . . . betterment of humanity.” Tycoons seek “arrested human development,” conspire to fit humanity with cement overshoes. Tesla’s treasures remain difficult to fathom with the PSQ so good at not only mangling and suppressing them, but misrepresenting many as works of Edison, Marconi and others.
On his deathbed, Edison said his biggest mistake had been in trying to develop direct current, rather than the superior alternating current system that Tesla had put within his grasp.
Tesla’s reply about Marconi’s work in radio: “Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using 17 of my patents.”
If Tesla doesn’t terrify the PSQ, why their obsession with polluting his accomplishments? Why did they ban Tesla in textbooks and at the Smithsonian, choke off his funding and conjure him into a bogeyman?
Standard indoctrination coddles third graders along in this video of an “Awesome! ‘Tesla Coil’” (don’t miss Alex Jones growling in the wings). 
Here’s an encouraging story of spunky third graders with a great teacher, and their letter-writing campaign focused on getting Tesla acknowledged in the Smithsonian. 
Among Tesla’s most noble contributions to humanity and the cause of freedom . . . his intimate disclosure of PSQ’s will to protect their power at the complete disregard of humanity. Tesla revealed what it means to be psychopathic, and elite, showing humanity what inhumanity we are up against. Destruction of competition is a martial situation where, as the PSQ likes to frame it: “No options are off the table.”
The Internet has made progress against common public sentiment regarding Tesla being derivatives of: “I heard Tesla was kind of a crackpot.” Big money manipulates this idea from off in the wings, but when it comes to truth about Tesla, austerity takes center stage.
A nurtured “ . . . then how come?” variety of popular ignorance clings to the idea: “If Tesla was so great, then how come we’re not utilizing his so-called ultimate technology?” The PSQ religiously stamping out competition is “how come.” And once again, when it comes to protecting their monopolies, “ . . . nothing is off the table.”
Accurate information about Tesla still haunts the Internet. People can even learn about Eric Dollard.  But the PSQ’s “Internet problem” seems merely a speed bump, considering the PSQ’s record of successfully controlling whatever they want to control, if given enough time. Where would the PSQ be without it’s enablers, us?
A great quote from Eric Dollard: “Tesla scared the central bankers senseless. They knew what his plan meant. Energy independence meant an almost complete loss of control of the people.”
Tesla fought in the trenches, pulling back curtains on the PSQ—on humanity versus tyranny, freedom versus slavery. Profit from death and destruction—perpetual war fueled by fossil energy. Private central banking’s “ . . . continuous consolidation of wealth and power into higher, tighter and righter hands” (GHW Bush quote). Continuous consolidation of wealth in the fewest hands drives debt slavery, genocide, looting of the future, the “New World Order.”
“If we don’t exploit every resource with alacrity and no mercy, our competitors will”—that’s the apparent creed of the PSQ. Sugary platitudes regarding people yet to be born seem vulgar in light of the PSQ twisting future generations into competitors. First come, first served. A penny stolen is a penny earned.
Imagine “free” energy.
Imagine no contrived shortages and price gouging. No ”gas” tanks, power lines, meters, power bills, wars for oil and pipeline routes, Alberta tar and Keystone XL kinds of high-pressure DilBit arteries of death—imagine some of the PSQ’s worst nightmares. Toss in no climate-changing hydrocarbon pollution, no more churning out mountains of radioactive waste to attack the human genome for thousands of generations, no psychopathic domination by an invisible elite controlling what billions of people need to survive. Imagine modern warfare obsolete.  Tesla offered salvation from survival of the wickedest.
The wicked panicked . . .
Truth is the antidote for diseased wealth and propaganda smothering and mangling the best of Tesla. A rare step in the right direction would be millions of people realizing that Tesla really did not dedicate the second half of his life to making bigger and ever-more-“Awesome!” sparks—but rather, he was absolutely dedicated to freedom of humanity. Tesla’s greatest invention being reduced to a toy for “ . . . entertainment and educational displays”—that’s very potent PSQ mind venom. They even tagged Tesla the “God of Lightning.” Can’t beat lightning for “Awesome!” sparks. Can’t beat the PSQ for . . . perhaps W.C. Fields said it best: “There comes a time in the affairs of man, when we must take the bull by the tail, and face the situation.” The “bull” in this case is the PSQ; the situation is what blasts from under the bull’s tail to foul humanity, and our nest.
Do we still have, if we ever did have, the mettle to wake up and rub the PSQ’s nose in their foulness? The stakes have never been higher.
The sin of competition
A quote variously attributed to both J.D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan set the stage for maniacal fouling of Tesla: “Competition is a sin.” 
Chutzpah of these two “tycoons’” implies that monopoly is divine—especially monopoly on energy, money, food, fresh water, and war; a “royal flush” in this Earthly game of poker.
Consider our nightmare of perpetual war in terms of this quote from Aldous Huxley, author of the novel, Brave New World: “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”
Lies are the foundation of the PSQ’s reaction to Nikola Tesla. It’s paramount to humanity that freethinkers survive the elite and witness epiphany of this wisdom from Buddha: “The lie tastes sweet at the beginning, but bitter at the end. The truth tastes bitter at the beginning, but sweet at the end.”
“Tesla’s Coil” versus “The Tesla Coil”
The jungle of confusion and suppression of Tesla’s masterpiece might be easier to navigate if we distinguish between “Tesla’s Coil,” and the “Tesla Coil.” The former could be the epitome of human invention, the latter is its neutered caricature. For elaboration on this distinction, let’s check in with Zionist propaganda, the richest kind.
Wikipedia is hailed by Zionist Israel as “ . . . the major source of information in the world.” They even advertise, with standard Zionist chutzpah, that Wikipedia is “ . . . under constant, paid review of Zionist assets.” 
Below is Wikipedia’s first three paragraphs (underlining added) for their listing: “Tesla Coil” (as opposed to “Tesla’s Coil”):
“A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891. It is used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity.
“Tesla coils can produce higher voltages than other artificial sources of high-voltage discharges, electrostatic machines. Tesla experimented with a number of different configurations consisting of two, or sometimes three, coupled resonant electric circuits.
“Tesla used these coils to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, x-ray generation, high frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires. Tesla coil circuits were used commercially in sparkgap radio transmitters for wireless telegraphy until the 1920s, and in pseudomedical equipment such as electrotherapy and violet ray devices. Today their main use is for entertainment and educational displays.”
Please note the use of “high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity,” and, “high frequency alternating current phenomena,” topped off with, “Today their main use is for entertainment and educational displays.” In terms of what Tesla actually achieved—in terms of transcendent capabilities of “Tesla’s Coil,” Wikipedia’s “Tesla Coil” definition could not be more misleading if Wikipedia’s goal was to mislead.
Smell a rat? Tesla has offered to show us that rats don’t always win.
Regarding Wikipedia’s, “Today their main use is for entertainment and educational displays” . . . this is a naked example of Wikipedia’s Zionist-propaganda roots, and propagation of twisted truth.
Frank Zappa characterized America’s educational system as a mechanism designed to create “ . . . functional ignorance.”
Disguised as an educational system, America’s youth indoctrination system also gets a nod in Wikipedia’s line about the “Tesla Coil” being for “ . . . entertainment and educational displays.”
Entertainment, surely, but educational? Entertainment and indoctrination are more accurate here; the “Tesla Coil” is hailed while “Tesla’s Coil” is . . . what, “conspiracy theory”?
We suffer severe multi-generational distress when “education” is largely indoctrination aimed at inhibiting independent thinking. Students memorize dogma sanctioned by the PSQ so they can pass standardized tests sanctioned by the PSQ. Students learning to think for themselves, learning how to distinguish truth from dogma—this will not do. The PSQ wants young minds regurgitating hive thinking in preparation for becoming obedient workers in thrall of authority, wingless and weighed-down by leaden dogma planted in their minds by PSQ ovipositors.
Tesla’s “Wheelwork of Nature”
While the primary function of the contrived “Tesla Coil” is to disengage Tesla’s masterpiece from reality, the primary function of “Tesla’s Coil” is to disengage voltage from current—disengage “the true electricity” (Aether) from the flow of massive electrons. Only when zero current is achieved in “Tesla’s Coil” will Aether flow freely and the “Tesla Effect” be realized. Any flow of electrons chokes off the Aether. It’s no coincidence that the awesome-spark-toy “Tesla Coil” has popularly replaced “Tesla’s Coil” to choke off Tesla’s threat to the PSQ.
Tesla’s inspiration regarding the decoupling of voltage and current grew during his brief employment by Thomas Edison.
Edison’s DC power distribution system was so inefficient that power-line resistance would cause voltage to fade within several city blocks. Voltage was cranked up very high at the main generators, and “pumping stations” were required every half mile to boost sagging voltage and current.
When a main switch was thrown to hit transmission lines with cranked-up voltage right off the main generators, a blast of blue and purple spikes and stinging, shocking sensations radiated in all directions from the transmission lines before electrons (current) flowed in the lines. This instantaneous phenomenon actually killed some linesmen. Engineers considered these bursts of magnified electrostatic potential a nuisance to be eliminated. Tesla saw them as a powerful, mysterious form of energy to be explored.
In Part Two:
● Tesla and the Earth (his laboratory)
● “Tesla’s Coil” (the real thing)
● The “Tesla Effect”
● Aether’s “whitefire” fountains and “mass-free cold electricity”
● Wardenclyffe without propaganda
● Tesla allowed a cameo appearance in the Smithsonian
● Eric Dollard’s eight destroyed laboratories, and why a most profound and honorable way to help humanity, Earth, and generations to come is also the most dangerous
Source: Intrepid Report
Of all the delusions we entertain in our lives, both individually and collectively, that we are the “masters of our own destiny” has got to be one of the grandest. It is emboldening to feel we are somehow ‘in control’, ‘in charge’ of the myriad forces and influences that surround and inhabit us but in reality we seem more like high-stakes gamblers than gods, playing a numbers game not fully aware of the odds that, as often as not, are resolutely stacked against us.
Long before ‘rationalism’ convinced us it was able to even up these odds thus moving into the dominant position it now occupies in the modern psyche, an old proverb, originating from not only a different era but also school of thought, suggested a more subtle and unpredictable relationship between mans actions and the consequences of those actions, in other words between causes and their inevitable, if not immediately obvious, effects. It was a clear warning to those who presume superiority and dominion over wild, unruly Nature and attempt to subjugate it to a mere predictable mechanism. “They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind”, goes the ancient saying which seeks to reintroduce the principle of the ‘unknown’, the ‘unaccounted for’ back into the minds of those who cling to their sophisticated certainties and complacencies. As Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defence in the Bush administration and no stranger to an elevated sense of certainty, famously and rather ironically put it: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
The Hidden Conditionality
In 1961 mathematician and meteorologist Professor Edward Lorenz working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, made what appeared to be an accidental discovery whilst running some tests on his new, though by today’s standards rather primitive computer, the charmingly named Royal McBee LGP-30. This discovery has helped to change our perception of just how surprisingly sensitive the world, as a vast, organic System made up of many minor, interconnected systems, actually is upending the reductionist, ‘world as giant machine’ model which many, particularly in science, have subscribed to.
Far-reaching ideas often originate and ripple outwards from simple, seemingly insignificant insights; the concept of splitting the atom, for example, must be about as small and inconsequential a starting-point as one can imagine. Lorenz’s profound realisation began life rather similarly. In one of those early tests, in 1961, he re-entered data into his computer for a re-run of a weather simulation he had already completed, but this time using the numbers direct from the original printout. To his surprise, he found that the simulation ended with a totally different result. Using exactly the same input data, the final outcome should have been identical. He did this many times over and kept finding the same wild variations. The reason was that the Royal McBee had, in the first instance, entered numbers to an accuracy of six decimal points, whereas the subsequent printout was rounding them off to three decimal points. It was only a margin of error of less than 0.1 per cent, then seen as quite insignificant over a whole experiment, and yet it resulted in huge deviations from the original, exposing the underlying conditionality limiting the science of long-term prediction and a killer-blow to those who see in it an omnipotent future for man and computer.
Lorenz was not the first to have had an inkling of this somewhat hidden conditionality. Over 100 years earlier, the brilliant French mathematician Jules Henri Poincare, whose work also showed that systems are not as stable or predictable as they were previously assumed to be, was largely misunderstood and ignored. Post-Lorenz though that insight, perhaps finding a more receptive time in which to take root than the 1800s of Poincare, has taken on a whole new dimension, showing up the limitations of systemic modelling and analysis, something we have become, in our attempts to ‘manage risk’, increasingly dependent upon and especially with the advent of computers. This, for example, was clearly played out in 2007 at the very beginning of the global financial crisis, when predictive models employed to chart the behaviour of international trade and capital flows, under an atmosphere – not fully recognised at the time – of accentuated volatility proved to be misrepresentative leaving policy-makers, forecasters and speculators completely wrong-footed. Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman, stated in late 2008, before a Congressional hearing in Washington, “I have discovered a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works”, in what can only be described as a moment of frank admission, for an ultra-rationalist. He added, “This modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades…The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year “. He was referring partly to his shaken belief in a neo-liberal, ‘free-market’ economic model, and to the ability to predict and control its behaviour, which, on Mr Greenspan’s watch, has managed to dysfunctionalise the entire global economic system and caused untold suffering. Some, including many notable economists, say his policies, whilst the head of the Fed, were significantly responsible for the onset of the financial crisis as they encouraged the sub-prime housing bubble, and it’s inevitable collapse, by keeping interest rates too low for too long – “easy money”. And he failed to rein in the explosive growth of the largely unregulated business of derivatives, risky financial instruments that, as he admitted in the Washington hearing, were out of control and had created havoc throughout the financial world. In 1994, Greenspan successfully opposed the implementation of tougher regulations and restrictions on the derivatives market.
Of course the world still operates predictably and measurably in many ways, as our extraordinary modern science has shown but it has become increasingly clear that this is by no means the full story. Those now infamous “masters of the universe”, both in high finance and science, over-dependent on speculative theories and models, hell-bent on retaining their triple-A, god-like status, have tended to conveniently overlook this underlying fact. All systems, which inevitably experience conditions of stress and can therefore become highly sensitized as a result, are prone to unstable, unpredictable modes of behaviour; an instability which can be symptomatic of being driven too hard and to the very limits of natural functioning. It is a warning indicator that any particular system is reaching or has reached a ‘tipping-point’, beyond which it will move into a disturbed and increasingly dysfunctional phase of activity and eventually completely collapse, much like a wheel coming loose from it’s axle; at first wobbling uncontrollably and then coming off altogether. The climate of a particular region, for example, may be masking underlying instability latent in that system and so the potential for disruptive weather patterns is present but remains unnoticed. Similarly with the economy, where many learned and even Nobel-prize winning economists have been caught out, admitting that they did not see this “once in a lifetime” crisis coming. And in the case of the environment, no one truly knows what might unravel if we reach that ominous tipping-point of a polar ice cap and permafrost meltdown.
The sensitivity of systems to influencing factors which may be miniscule, as Lorenz discovered, and therefore virtually impossible to monitor, no matter how accurate the devices used, is often referred to by the well-known term ‘butterfly effect’. It points to the fact that when systems like the climate, environment or economy are in an inherently unstable condition it can lead to unforeseen events even with the smallest of initial disturbances. Like the turbulence generated by the beat of a butterfly’s wings or for that matter the splitting of an atom which, again when the fissile material, on an atomic level, is unstable enough, can set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events. Put another way, in a highly charged ‘atmosphere’, using the word in its broadest sense, it often only takes the smallest of switching devices, a hair-trigger, to move it rapidly into an either destructive or creative phase of activity. The tension inherent in that atmosphere or environment seeks to be diffused, discharged either dramatically as takes place in a lightning strike or gradually like the steady flow of household electricity, kept relatively safe and useable by a whole network of regulating mechanisms and in stark contrast to our neoliberalised and therefore deregulated financial system, which some believe is “ready to blow” – like a whirlwind. The trigger-point or activating ‘seed’ may be minute but in a system, in a sense, ‘fertile’ enough it can grow exponentially into say a hurricane, nuclear explosion, stock market implosion or even social revolution – not by any means a new phenomena but one we are seeing today in a globalised form which includes protest movements like the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy Movement.
The True Nature of Justice
There can be little doubt that the ‘global atmosphere’, so to speak, today is one that indeed can be characterised as highly charged, socially, politically, economically and environmentally not to mention the inner storm brewing up in our collective psyche. These are uncertain times with uncertain futures and distressing to a world that appears, to anyone who has eyes to see and not their head jammed firmly in the sand, to have completely lost it’s way. In the lead-up to its annual meeting, the World Economic Forum published its annual report in January 2013 – Global Risks – warning of potential dangers to the functioning of our most critical systems. Compiled by a panel of 1,000 experts, it urged policy-makers to address the key issues of severe income disparities, the indebted state of governments and rising greenhouse gas emissions. The report states: “Continued stress on the economic system is positioned to absorb the attention of leaders for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, the Earth’s environmental system is simultaneously coming under increasing stress. Future simultaneous shocks to both systems could trigger the ‘perfect storm’ with potentially insurmountable consequences… On the economic front, global resilience is being tested by bold monetary and austere fiscal policies. On the environmental front, the Earth’s resilience is being tested by rising global temperatures and extreme weather events that are likely to become more frequent and severe. A sudden and massive collapse on one front is certain to doom the other’s chance of developing an effective, long-term solution.”
We have sown the wind and the whirlwind has surely followed. That is a fact whether generally accepted or not. Many of the operating systems of the planet, as stated above, are under tremendous pressure and are showing the telltale signs of distress and dysfunctionality. The most obvious of course being the degradation of our living environment, which includes pollution and climate change, and yet there are those who are still quite able to rationalise the whole problem away, conveniently understating the human factor and choosing instead to put the emphasis on ‘nature’s cycles’.
As the well over-used cliché puts it, we are now in uncharted territory – a realm of “unknown unknowns” – though perhaps not quite as uncharted as we imagine. For it is always that Nature, an ultimately benevolent, self-regulating Organism, sooner or later, responds to extremes with balancing corrective measures. When the excesses of our planet reach the toxic levels they so obviously have today, with say environmental destruction, carbon dioxide emissions, the wealth and income inequality that exists between the so-called haves and have-nots and many other socio-economic injustices, Nature at a certain point kicks in. Like a safety valve letting off steam it attempts to stem the destructive energetic imbalance before it becomes dangerously polarised, much like an electrical storm, mentioned earlier, seeks to neutralise the build-up of a super-charged differential. There seems in-built in Nature a correcting factor, an element of Universal Justice, which attempts to harmonise destructive inequities and one we appear to be quite unaware of, or at least act as if we are.
In essence, and not to put too fine a point on it, we have somehow succeeded in creating a global ‘energy-bomb’, for want of a better way of putting it, with many factors having gone into its assemblage and ourselves as the unfortunate targets – the ultimate in suicide missions, albeit an unconscious one. The mounting tensions of the world have been, at best, misunderstood, at worst overlooked and ignored for generations by a long succession of influential policy-makers, both in global politics and economics. This has led to a dangerous and seemingly intractable, bomb-like concentration of problems affecting all aspects of life. It has created this super-charged atmosphere, a supercell of disharmony and dis-ease, which will take some skill and a considerable amount of patience to diffuse before some unforeseen trigger sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events, in the same way a single, well-placed bullet, killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914, acted as the tiny spark that seeded what would later become the raging inferno of World War One.
The world cries out, knowingly or not, for a team of skillful operators with abilities in all fields, whose primary task it is to diffuse the currently explosive situation facing the planet. High level, high-calibre compromisers and negotiators, a role for which the United Nations was originally set up, respected by many and able to take the sting out of the gathering mother of all storms, we have all unintentionally reaped, before it does further untold and perhaps irreversible damage to an already beleaguered planet. At this time of extraordinary significance can we make the right choices in the sense that we accept what the present situation demands from us, as laid down by the Universal Laws of Nature, particularly the key Law of Cause and Effect, which in the end express the interconnectedness of all things? The universe itself is bound together by the interplay of these underpinning guiding principles, as science is continually re-discovering. Why is it humanity thinks it can reasonably exist in some fantasy realm beyond them? And, perhaps more importantly, when will we wake up to this dangerous delusion and renounce these outlaw ways which have brought us all to the very edge of extinction without even fully realising it? That is the question of our times. We appear not to have forever to answer it.
Report and Appeal to the International community to support a process of dialogue and reconciliation in Syria between its people and Syrian government and reject outside intervention and war.
BY Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate. Spokesperson for Mussalaha International
Peace delegation to Lebanon/Syria l-llth May, 2013,
After a 10 days visit to Lebanon and Syria, leading a 16 person delegation from 8 countries, invited by Mussalaha Reconciliation Movement, I have returned hopeful that peace is possible in Syria, if all outside interference is stopped and the Syrians are allowed to solve their own problems upholding their right to self-determination.
An appeal to end all violence and for Syrians to be left alone from outside interference was made by all those we met during our visit to Syria. We have tried to forward it to the International community in our Concluding Declaration(l).
During our visit we went to refugee camps, affected communities, met religious leaders, combatants, government representatives, opposition delegations and many others, perpetrators and victims, in Lebanon and Syria.
1. Visits to refugee camps: In Lebanon we visited several refugee camps, hosted by Lebanese or Palestinian communities. One Woman said: “before this conflict started we were happy and had a good life (there is free education, free healthcare, subsidies for fuel, in Syria ,) and now we live in poverty”. Her daughter and son-in-law (a pharmacist and engineer) standing on a cement floor in a Palestinian refugee camp, with not even a mattress, told us that this violence had erupted to everyone surprise’s and spread so quickly they were all still in shock, but when well armed, foreign fighters came to Homs, they took over their homes, raped their women, and killed young males who refused to join their ranks, so the people fled in terror. They said that these foreign fighters were from many countries like Libyans, Saudis, Tunisians, Chechens, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Emiratis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Turkish, Europeans, Australian, and these gangs are financed and trained by foreign governments. They attach suicide vests around peoples’ bodies and threaten to explode them if they don’t do what they are told. One refugee woman asked me ‘when can we go home’? (To my great delighted a few days later in Damascus I met a woman working on a government programme which is helping refugees to return to Syria and over 200 have returned to date).
Religious and government leaders have called upon people not to flee Syria and it is to be hoped many will heed this call, as after seeing so many Syrian refugees living in tents and being exploited in so many ways, including sexually, I believe the best solution is the stability of Syria so its people feel safe enough to stay in Syria. If refugees continue to flee Syria then surrounding countries could be destabilized, causing the domino effect and destabilizing the entire Middle East.
Many people have fled into camps in surrounding countries like Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, all of whom are trying to manage the huge influx of Syrian refugees. Although the host countries are doing their best to cope they are overwhelmed by refugee numbers. (UNHCR’s official figure of refugees is one million). Through our meetings we have been informed that Turkey invites Syrian refugees into the country and forbid them to go back home. It is documented that Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan are mistreated. Some young Syrian refugee girls are sold for forced marriage in Jordan. From OHCHR reports we know that more than 4 million Syrians are displaced inside their own country, living in great need.
A representative from Red Cross, told us that there is freedom to do their work throughout Syria for all NGO and the Syrian Red crescent in co-ordination with the Ministry of Social affairs and under such dire circumstances, they are doing their best, providing services to as many people as possible. However there is a great shortage of funds for them to cope with this humanitarian tragedy of refugees and internally displaced population. The economic sanctions, as in Iraq,are causing great hardship to many people and all those whom we met called for them to be lifted. Our delegation called for the lifting of these illegal US-led sanctions that target the Syrian Population for purely political reasons in order to achieve regime change.
2- Hospitals: We visited the hospitals and saw many people injured by shootings, bombings, and armed attacks. A moderate Sunni Imam told me how he was abducted by jihadists, who tortured him, cut off his ear, tried to cut his throat, slicing his legs, and left him for dead. He said when he goes back to his mosque they will slaughter him. He told us “these men are foreign fighters, jihadists from foreign countries, well armed, well trained, with money, they are in our country to destroy it. They are not true Muslims but are religious extremist/fundamentalists terrorizing, abducting, killing our people”. The government spokesman also confirmed that they have in detention captured foreign fighters from 29 countries, including Chechens, Iraqis, and many others. The Ministry of Health showed us a documentary on the terrible killings by Jihadists and the terror caused by these foreigners with the killing of medics and destruction of medical infrastructure of the Syrian State which has made it difficult to answer the needs of the population.
3- Meeting with Opposition: Our delegation participated in an open forum with many representatives of internal opposition’s parties. One political opponent who was in prison 24 years under the Assad regime, and has been out for 11 years, wants political change with more than 20 other internal opposition components, but without outside interference and the use of violence. We met with ‘armed’ opposition people in a local community who said they had accepted the governments offer of amnesty and were working for a peaceful way forward. One man told me he had accepted money from Jihadists to fight but had been shocked by their cruelty and the way they treated fellow Syrian muslims considering them as not real Muslims. He said foreign Jihadists wanted to take over Syria, not save it.
The 10th May a part of our delegation headed to Homs, invited by the opposition community of Al Waar city where displaced families from Baba Amro, Khalidiyeh and other rebel’s strongholds seek refuge. The Delegation saw all the conditions of this city and is studying a Pilot Project for Reconciliation and peaceful reintegration between this community and the surrounded non rebel communities (Shia and Alaouites) with whom 15 days ago an agreement of non belligerence has been signed through the auspices of Mussalaha.
4 – Meeting with Officials: Our Delegation met, and spoke, at the Parliament, and also with the Governor, Prime Minister and 7 other Ministries. We were given details of the new Constitution and political reforms being put in place, and plans for elections in 2014. Government Ministers admitted that they had made mistakes in being slow to respond to legitimate demands for change from civil community but these were now being implemented. They told us when the conflict started it was peaceful for change but quickly turned into bloodshed when armed men killed many soldiers.
In the first days soldiers were unarmed but when people started asking for protection the government and military responded to defend the people and in self defence.
When we enquired from the Prime Minister regarding the allegation that the Syrian Government had used Sarin gas, he told us that as soon as news came from Aleppo that allegedly gas had been used, his government invited immediately the UN to come into investigate, but heard nothing from them. Most recently however, a UN investigator, High Commissioner Carla Del Ponte, has confirmed that it was rebels, not Syrian government, who used Sarin gas. During meeting with Justice Minister, we requested that a list of 72 non-violent political dissidents currently detained be released. The justice Minister said after checking those listed were indeed non-violent political dissidents, he would, in principal, agree to the release of these nonviolent detainees. He also informed us they they do not implement the death penalty and it is hoped that when things settle in Syria they will move to have the death penalty abolished. We also asked the Justice Minister (an international lawyer) about Syrian Government’s Human rights abuses, namely the artillery shelling into no-go areas being held by jihadists and armed opposition. The Minister accepted those facts but alleged that the Government had a duty to clear these areas. We suggested there was a better way to deal with the problem than artillery shelling but he insisted that the government had responsibility to clear the areas of rebel forces and this was the way in which they were doing it
The Ministers and Governor said that President Assad was their President and has their support. There were many people we spoke to who expressed such sentiments. However, some young people said they support the opposition but in order to protect the Unity of Syria from outside destruction, they will support the government and President Assad, until the election next year and then they will vote for the opposition. They said the Doha Coalition in Qatar does not represent them and that no one outside Syria has a right to remove President Assad but the Syrian people through the elections next year. The journalists in Syria are in great danger from the religious extremist/fundamentals,and during my visit to a television station a young journalist told me how his mother was killed by jihadists and he showed me his arm where he had been shot and almost killed.
5- Meeting with religious leaders: We attended in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus a prayer gathering led by the Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun and the Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham with the delegate of Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi, and clerics of all traditions. The Assembly prayed for the peace and unity of Syria and the non-interference of outsiders in their country. They stressed the conflict in Syria is not a religious conflict, as Muslims and Christians have always lived together in Syria, and they are,(in spite of living with suffering and violence much of which is not of their own making), unified in their wish to be a light of peace and reconciliation to the world. The Patriarch said that from the Mosque and Christian churches goes out a great movement of peace and reconciliation and asked both those inside and outside Syria, to reject all violence and support the people of Syria in this work of dialogue, reconciliation and peacemaking.
The Muslim and Christian Spiritual Leaders are very conscious if the religious extremist/fundamentalists gain momentum and control Syria, the future of those who are not supportive of fundamentalists like moderate Muslims, Christians, minorities, and other Syrians is in great danger. Indeed the Middle East could loose its precious pluralistic social fabric with the Christians, like in Iraq, being the first to flee the country. This would be a tragedy for all concerned in this multi-religious, multi-cultural secular Syria, once a light of peaceful conviviality in the Arab world.
Following many authorized reports in the mainstream Medias and our own evidences I can stress that the Syrian State and its population are under a proxy war led by foreign countries and directly financed and backed mainly by Qatar who has imposed its views on the Arab League. Turkey, a part of the Lebanese opposition and some of the Jordan authorities offer a safe haven to a diversity of jihadist groups, each with its own agenda, recruited from many countries. Bands of jihadists armed and financed from foreign countries invade Syria through Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon porous frontiers in an effort to destabilize Syria. There are an estimated 50,000 foreign jihadist fighters terrorizing Syria. Those death squads are destroying systematically the Syrian State infrastructures (Electricity, Oil, Gas and water plants, High Tension Pylons, hospitals, schools, public buildings, cultural heritage sites and even religious sanctuaries). Moreover the country is submerged by snipers, bombers, agitators, bandits. They use aggression and Sharia rules and hijack the freedom and dignity of the Syrian population. They torture and kill those who refuse to join them. They have strange religious beliefs which make them feel comfortable even perpetrating the cruelest acts like killing and torture of their opponents. It is well documented that many of those terrorists are permanently under stimulant like Captagon. The general lack of security unlashes the terrible phenomenon of abduction for ransoms or for political pressure. Thousands of innocents are missing, among them the two Bishops, Youhanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, many priests and Imams.
UN and EU economic sanctions as well as a severe embargo are pushing Syria to the edge of social collapse. Unfortunately the international media network is ignoring those realities and is bent on demonizing, lying, destabilizing the country and fuelling more violence and contradiction.
In summary: the war in Syria is not as depicted a civil war but a proxy war with serious breaches of International laws and the Humanitarian International laws.. The protection of the foreign fighters by some foreign countries among the most powerful gives them a kind of an unaccountability that pushes them with impunity to all kind of cruel deeds against innocent civilians. Even war conventions are not respected incurring in many war crimes and, even, crimes against Humanity.
During our visit to Syria, our delegation was met with great kindness by everyone and I offer to each one who facilitated or hosted our Delegation my most sincere feelings of gratitude. We witnessed that the Syrian people have suffered very deeply and continue to do so. The entire population of 23 million people are under tremendous threat of continued infiltration by foreign terrorists. Many are still stunned by the horrors and suddenness of all this violence and worried their country will be attacked and divided by outside forces, and are all too aware that geopolitical forces are at work to destabilize Syria for political control, oil and resources. One Druze leader said ‘if westerns want our Oil – both Lebanon and Syria have oil reserves – let us negotiate for it, but do not destroy our country to take it’. In Syria memories of next door Iraq’s destruction by US/UK/NATO forces are fresh in people’s minds, including in the minds of the one and a half million Iraqis who fled Iraqi’s conflict, including many Christians, and were given refuge in Syria by the Syrian Government.
The greatest hope we took was from Mussalaha, a non political movement from all sections of Syrian society, who have working teams throughout Syria and is proceeding through dialogue to building peace and reconciliation. Mussalaha mediates between armed gunmen and security forces, help get release of many people who have been abducted, and bring together all parties to the conflict for dialogue and practical solutions. It was this movement who hosted us, under the leadership of Mother Agnes-Mariam, Superior of Saint James’ Monastery, supported by the Patriarch Gregory III Laham, head of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria.
This great civil community movement building a peace process and National Reconciliation from the ground up, will, if given space, time, and non-interference from outside, help bring Peace to Syria. They recognize that there must be an unconditional, all inclusive political solution, with compromises and they are confident this is happening at many levels of society and is the only way forward for Syrian peace.
I support this National Reconciliation process which, many Syrian believe, is the only way to bring Peace to SYRIA and the entire Middle East. I am myself committed to this peaceful process and hope that the International Community, the Religious and Political Leaders as well as any person of good will will help Syria to bypass violence and prejudice and anchor in a new era of Social peace and prosperity. This cradle of civilizations where Syria occupies the heart is an enormous spiritual heritage for humanity, let us strive to establish a non war zone and proclaim it an OASIS of Peace for the Human Family.
Nobel peace laureate. www.peacepeople.com
Peace people, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Bt9.
It’s not hard to find critics of the Assad government in the Governorate (Muhafazat) of Homs or for that matter, to varying degrees in Syria’s other thirteen Governorates according to Syrian analysts interviewed by this observer and reports from human rights groups including lawyers representing dissidents in Syria. However, after nearly 27 months of turmoil, the public opinion pendulum is markedly shifting back in support of the current regime.
One international political result was registered at the United Nations this past week when a US-Qatari-Saudi drafted General Assembly Resolution that was designed to increase pressure on the Assad government stumbled badly and fell far short of what the Saudi Ambassador to the UN and other US allies predicted would be an overwhelming vote in favor.
Effect of shift in popular opinion in Syria
Over the past four or five months it has become increasingly clear that public opinion in Syria is shifting for reasons that include, but are not limited to the following:
While inflation at the grocery stores in probably the most common complaint heard from a cross-section of society here, the population is adapting somewhat to higher prices and it appears to credit the government for efforts, some successful, to soften the impact of the illegal US-led sanctions that target this same Syrian population for purely political reasons to achieve regime change.
While Syrians demand dignity and freedom from oppressive security forces and an end to corruption, as all people do in this region and beyond, they are witnessing a return to near normalcy with respect to supplies of electricity, benzene, mazout fuel oil, bus schedules, schools, and a host of public services such as garbage collection, street sweeping, park maintenance, and sympathetic traffic cops who are rather understanding of short-cuts taken by drivers and pedestrians due to “the situation”.
In addition, public service announcement and even text messages demonstrate that the government is aware of the degree of suffering among the population, accept partial blame, and are focusing on remedial measure and crucially, ending the crisis with its horrific bloodshed. One observes here a definite trend of the pulling together of a high percentage of Syrians who share a very unique history and culture and who are deeply connected to their country and who are increasingly repelled by the continuing killing from all sides including the recent barbarisms of body mutilations and summary executions videotaped and broadcast on utube by jihadist elements. The latter who these days come from nearly three dozen countries, paid for and indoctrinated by enemies of Syria’s Arab nationalism and deep rooted pillar of resistance to the occupation of Palestine.
In addition, many among Syria’s 23 million citizens, who initially supported the uprising following government reaction to event in Deraa in March 2011, now have serious second thoughts about who exactly would replace the current government. Events in Syria are also making plain that the army is still loyal to the Assad government, and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, is actually gaining experience and strength as well as the well-known fact that as western diplomats are admitting, the “opposition militias” are hopelessly fractured, turning one another, many essential mafia outfits, and beginning to resemble their fellow jihadists from Libya, Chechnya and in between.
Opinion in Damascus and surrounding areas visited this past week, confirms this observers experience the past five months of a sharp and fairly rapid shift in opinion that now strongly favors letting the Syrian people themselves decide, without outside interference, whether the Assad regime will stay, and indeed, whether, the Baathist party will continue to represent majority opinion, not through wanton violence but rather via next June’s election. Many express confidence in the run up to this critical vote, noting that the election will be closely monitored by the international community to assure fairness.
Perhaps aided by the current glorious May weather, a certain optimism, that was more scarce in the past, pervades many neighborhoods.
For different reasons, foreign powers, including the USA, Turkey, European Union, the UK Jordan and even the majority population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council family run countries, according to Pew Research, are shifting their earlier positions which were based in part of the US administration, NATO, and Israeli assurances that the Assad government would surely fall quickly, “A matter of days, not weeks” US President Obama promised. That was two years ago.
As noted above, this trend has accelerated since the UN General Assembly vote with last weeks which did not go as planned on the biased and politicized non-binding draft resolution on Syria.
The public reaction in Syria and across the Middle East is substantially that the “Friends of Syria” non-binding GA resolution contradicts the reality on the ground, backs terrorism in Syria and hinders the international efforts to help achieve a political solution to the crisis in this country. Only 107 states voted in favor of the resolution, 12 against while 59 countries, mostly from Africa and Latin America, abstained from voting.
One reason the vote fell short of the 130 favorable votes that the basically same resolution garnered the past two times is that it is widely viewed as ignoring the crimes and atrocities committed by the armed jihadist groups in Syria and the flow of thousands of international terrorists backed by the West, the Gulf states and Turkey who provide them with weapons and money. According to the Russian delegate, backed by several other speakers, “the resolutions ignores all the terrorists’ heinous crimes and denounces what it called the escalation of the attacks by the Syrian government”. Afterward one Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some “last minute arm-twisting.” As it turned out, 15 countries didn’t vote at all, opting to “get coffee,” as one African Permanent Representative put it before the vote.
Syria’s Ambassador al-Jaafari exposes a hoax in the Gulf
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said his country regretted the adoption of a biased and unbalanced UN resolution, thanking the countries that rejected the resolution “for their responsible positions which support the UN principles and the international law articles”. He noted that the decrease in the number of countries that voted in favor and the increase of numbers of those who abstained from voting indicates the growing international understanding of the reality of what is happening in Syria due to the foreign interference, support of terrorism, the spread of extremism and incitement besides the refusal of dialogue.
“We rely on the UN and its member states to support Syria and its people against the culture of extremism and terrorism, and to encourage the comprehensive national dialogue to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis.” he said. In a statement released after the vote on the UN draft resolution on Syria, al-Jaafari He said that the French delegation had foiled the issuance of a number of UN press releases to condemn the terrorist acts committed by al-Qaeda-linked armed groups in Syria which claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians as it foiled a UN release to condemn the attempt of assassination of the Syrian Premier.
After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.
Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the “negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.”
Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and pressure as well as certain optimism builds in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin.
Many in the precious metals community are eagerly anticipating a complete systemic collapse of the financial system because as “preppers”, they expect to not only survive, but to prosper in a SHTF scenario. We suspect however that the following MUST READ account of surviving the Bosnian war in the midst of a complete collapse of the grid will be eye-opening in just how difficult it is to survive a full-on Mad Max scenario, even if one has spent years preparing for it.
I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995, it was hell. For one year, I lived and survived in a city with 6,000 people without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience. It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
The following is my experience:
Our city was blockaded by the army; and for one year, life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police. We only had armed groups; those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared. But most of the neighbors’ families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols; a few had AK-47s or shotguns.
After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80 percent of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky. My family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, six pistols, three AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).
The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days to help blockaded cities. This was never enough. Some — very few — had gardens. It took three months for the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and even rats.
Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can of tushonka (think Soviet spam), you could have a woman. (It is hard to speak of it, but it is true.) Most of the women who sold themselves were desperate mothers.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience.
It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
Here’s my experience: You can’t make it on your own. Don’t stay apart from your family; prepare together, choose reliable friends.
1. How to move safely in a city
The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15 to 20 homes) had patrols (five armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our enemies.
All the exchanges occurred in the street. About 5 kilometers away was an entire street for trading, all well-organized; but going there was too dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine, mainly antibiotics, of the French original of the texts).
Nobody used automobiles in the city: The streets were blocked by wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel alone or in groups that were too big — always two to three men. All armed, travel swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.
There were many gangs 10 to 15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers, who killed and robbed. There were no “good” and “bad” men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.
2. What about wood? Your home city is surrounded by woods; why did you burn doors and furniture?
There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful — restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.
Without electricity for cooking and heat, we burned anything that burned. Furniture, doors, flooring: That wood burns swiftly. We had no suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded. Even in the city you never knew who was the enemy at any given point.
3. What knowledge was useful to you in that period?
To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was practically a return to the Stone Age.
For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it for heat. That would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.
If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it; and he would give me a tin of food or a candle.
I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more valuable than gold.
Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep you fed.
I wish to say this: Learn to fix things, shoes or people.
My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.
4. If you had three months to prepare now, what would you do?
Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)
Today, I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile of food, hygiene items, batteries — enough to last me for six months.
I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there, too. That’s a small village; most people there are well-prepared. The war had taught them.
I have four weapons and 2,000 rounds for each.
I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also, I have a good instinct. You know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it’ll all be fine, but I know it will all collapse.
I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when it all collapses, you must be ready to do “bad” things to keep your children alive and protect your family.
Surviving on your own is practically impossible. (That’s what I think.) Even you’re armed and ready, if you’re alone, you’ll die. I have seen that happen many times.
Families and groups, well-prepared, with skills and knowledge in various fields: That’s much better.
5. What should you stockpile?
That depends. If you plan to live by theft, all you need is weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo.
If not, more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also, alcohol of a type that keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.
Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You’ll need simple items in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet papers. Non-reusable dishes and cups: You’ll need lots of them. I know that because we didn’t have any at all.
As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than food. You can shoot a pigeon. You can find a plant to eat. You can’t find or shoot any disinfectant.
Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks.
First aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a doctor and will not be able to pay him.
Learn to use antibiotics. It’s good to have a stockpile of them.
You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock .45. I like it, but it’s a rare gun here. So I have two TT pistols, too. (Everyone has them and ammo is common.)
I don’t like Kalashnikov’s, but again, same story. Everyone has them; so do I.
You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example, a generator is good, but 1,000 BIC lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there’s any trouble, but 1,000 lighters are compact, cheap and can always be traded.
We usually collected rainwater into four large barrels and then boiled it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.
It’s also important to have containers for water: barrels and buckets.
6. Were gold and silver useful?
Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.
Sometimes, we got our hands on money: dollars and Deutschmarks. We bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical. For example, a can of beans cost $30 to $40. The local money quickly became worthless. Everything we needed we traded for through barter.
7. Was salt expensive?
Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10 times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today, it’s more useful to keep a stock of cigarettes, lighters and batteries. They take up less space.
At this time, I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare — several days before the shit hit the fan. The politicians kept repeating over the TV that everything was going according to plan, there’s no reason to be concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.
8. Was it difficult to purchase firearms? What did you trade for arms and ammunition?
After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them we hid. Now I have one legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that’s called a temporary collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered guns. Never forget that.
You know, there are many people who have one legal gun, but also illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might be able to get a gun in a tough situation. But remember, the most difficult time is the first days, and perhaps you won’t have enough time to find a weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is a bad idea.
In my case, there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio. He had shotguns. I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes, I traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition. Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.
Few people knew how much and what I keep at home.
The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in terms of space and money. Eventually, you’ll understand what is more valuable.
Correction: I’ll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second? Maybe gas masks and filters.
9. What about security?
Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren’t ready, and we used what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state after the bombings. The windows were blocked — some with sandbags, others with rocks.
I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself into the ruins of the neighbor’s house — a sort of secret entrance.
Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city, there were beautiful houses with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them first. Some held out; others didn’t. It all depended how many hands and guns they had inside.
I think defense is very important, but it must be carried out unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple, non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.
How much ammo? As much as possible.
Make your house as unattractive as you can.
Right now, I own a steel door, but that’s just against the first wave of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group of people, my friends and family.
There were some situations during the war. There’s no need for details, but we always had superior firepower and a brick wall on our side.
We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.
Shooting was constantly heard in the city.
Our perimeter was defended primitively. All the exits were barricaded and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready for battle at any time and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.
We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.
At first, the weak perish. Then, the rest fight.
During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire. Defenses were oriented toward short-range combat alone. Many died if they went out to gather information, for example. It’s important to remember we had no information, no radio, no TV — only rumors and nothing else.
There was no organized army; every man fought. We had no choice. Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.
You should not wear quality items in the city; someone will murder you and take them. Don’t even carry a “pretty” long arm, it will attract attention.
Let me tell you something: If SHTF starts tomorrow, I’ll be humble. I’ll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I’ll even shout and cry a little bit.
Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new tactical outfit to shout: “I have come! You’re doomed, bad guys!” No, I’ll stay aside, well-armed, well-prepared, waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.
Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they should steal your things, that you’re profitable, they will. It’s only a question of time and the amount of guns and hands.
10. How was the situation with toilets?
We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river, but most of the time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper; and if we had any, I would have traded it away.
It was a “dirty” business.
Let me give you a piece of advice: You need guns and ammo first — and second, everything else. Literally everything! All depends on the space and money you have.
If you forget something, there will always be someone to trade with for it. But if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading for you.
I don’t think big families are extra mouths. Big families means both more guns and strength — and from there, everyone prepares on his own.
11. How did people treat the sick and the injured?
Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30 percent chance of survival.
It ain’t the movie. People died. Many died from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for three to four uses — for the family, of course.
People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.
There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.
Many used local plants and pure alcohol — enough for the short-term, but useless in the long term.
Hygiene is very important, as well as having as much medicine as possible — especially antibiotics.
Source: Silver Doctors
On April 4 the Pentagon announced that it was sending a mobile missile defense system to Guam as a “precautionary move” to protect the island from the potential threat from North Korea. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) comprises ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, as well as naval vessels capable of shooting down missiles.
On the same day, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that North Korea posed a “real and clear danger” to the island, to U.S. allies in the region, and even to the United States. Its leaders have “ratcheted up their bellicose, dangerous rhetoric,” Hagel told the National Defense University in Washington. Areas at risk include South Korea and Japan, he added, as well as Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. “We have to take those threats seriously,” he said.
It is the job of defense secretaries to take all threats seriously, but there is less than meets the eye to this one. While media coverage of tensions with North Korea makes it appear that its recent threats in response to the ongoing “Foal Eagle” U.S.-South Korean military exercises came unexpectedly, Pyongyang has a long history of objecting vehemently to such war games. North Korea is using bizarre rhetoric—as it has done many times before—but there is no “real and present danger,” because the country’s nuclear and missile delivery capabilities are rudimentary now and will remain so for years to come. Its three nuclear tests thus far—in 2006, 2009 and on February 12 of this year—amounted to a total yield of around 10 kilotons, or less than one-half the power of the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in August 1945. At least two, and possibly all three, of those tests used plutonium as the fissile material. Crude and bulky, plutonium devices cannot be fitted onto a missile.
North Korea’s claims to have miniaturized its latest device are unproven and probably untrue: no tell-tale isotopes indicative of weapons-grade uranium have been detected. In addition, at the moment, its uranium-enrichment facilities are not producing requisite quantities of highly-enriched uranium (HEU). The Yongbyon site—the country’s main nuclear facility—has been limited to electricity generation for the past five years, as part of a disarmament-for-aid deal signed in September 2005. The agreement’s implementation was always wrought with difficulties, however. Last month, the regime vowed to restart all facilities at Yongbyon—presumably including uranium enrichment to weapons-grade levels (HEU). They have the technical ability to do this, but even if the enrichment program proceeds immediately North Korea will be several years away from producing a deliverable device on a reliable missile.
In the final months of Kim Jong-il’s life it appeared that the talks with the U.S. on the control of North Korea’s nuclear facilities would be restarted. After he died in December 2011, his young son and successor Kim Jong-un soon shifted emphasis from hoped-for cooperation to confrontation. In February 2012, Pyongyang unexpectedly announced that it would suspend nuclear activities and observe a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for American food aid. That agreement was suspended after North Korea unsuccessfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite a year ago, which caused major embarrassment to the regime. A successful launch came last December, swiftly followed by the tightening of international sanctions in January (this time supported by China), a third nuclear test in February, and the ongoing escalation of warlike rhetoric since early March.
That rhetoric is a mix of bluster and bravado. Even if it had the theoretical wherewithal to threaten the United States—which it does not have—North Korea could not do it credibly: a single missile, or two, or five, would be fairly easy to intercept and destroy, and the ensuing retaliation would turn much of the People’s Democratic Republic into a parking lot. In the fullness of time the North may develop a device capable of fitting into a warhead, but it will have no guidance system necessary for accuracy and no re-entry technology to bring an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) back to Earth. According to the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, North Korea has something that can hit American shores, but a “functioning nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile is still at least several years away.”
Even if it were to miniaturize a half-dozen nuclear weapons and perfect some form of functioning delivery system, North Korea would not be able to use them as a means of blackmail to alter the regional balance of power. The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, and Israel have possessed nuclear weapons for decades. None of them has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use the bomb. The possession of nuclear weapons by one of the parties did not impact the outcome in Korea in 1953, or Suez in 1956, or prevent the two superpowers’ defeats, in Vietnam and Afghanistan respectively. It makes no difference to China’s stalled efforts to bring Taiwan under its control. South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the pressure to dismantle the Apartheid in the early 1990’s. The political effect of a country’s possession of nuclear weapons has been to force its potential adversaries to exercise caution and to freeze the existing frontiers. There is no reason to think that North Korea will be an exception to the rule.
The root causes of North Korea’s apparently reckless behavior are predominantly domestic, as usual. Kim Jong-un, the third absolute ruler in the dynasty established by his late grandfather Kim Il-sung, is young (29), untested and insecure. When his father Kim Jong-il died on December 17, 2011, the military and Party leadership accepted his third son as the designated successor, but it was not immediately clear whether Jong-un would in fact take full power right away. A cult of personality started developing right away. With no track record of achievement and no sign of outstanding talent, he was hailed as the “great successor to the revolutionary cause,” “outstanding leader of the party, army and people,” “respected comrade identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il,” even as “a great person born of heaven”—an eccentric metaphor for a society nominally based on the teaching of dialectical materialism. The titles followed: within days of his father’s death, Kim Jon-un was declared Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and “supreme leader of the country.” In March of last year, he was appointed first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea; three months later, he was awarded the rank of a field marshal.
The plethora of titles does not mean that Kim Jong-un automatically commands the same level of authority and unquestioning obedience enjoyed by his father and grandfather before him. According to a psychological profile put together by U.S. intelligence, Kim Jong-un may feel compelled to prove just how tough he is in order to make up for his inexperience. One of the CIA’s former top experts on North Korea, Joseph DeTrani, regards him as a young man insufficiently well prepared for the position, with limited foreign exposure, who has the urge to prove his toughness to his own military by emulating his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. But the heir is unlikely to start a general war, which he knows he cannot win, and in which China—his often reluctant backer—would likely remain aloof. “It would probably mean his defeat, and his defeat would probably mean the downfall of his regime and, very probably, the end of him as well,” according to the Telegraph’s David Blair. “Assuming that he’s not suicidal, he is very unlikely to start a general conflagration.” The danger remains, however, that North Korea, having ratcheted up the rhetoric for so long and having issued so many blood-curdling threats, feels that it has to do something.
My hunch is that in the end Kim the Third will do nothing. South Korea refrained from retaliation when one of its naval vessels was sunk under mysterious circumstances in disputed waters in March 2010, or when North Korea bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November of that year. This time the leaders in Seoul appear determined to respond to any hostile act. While China is urging all sides to tone it down, its warnings are primarily directed at North Korea. Beijing has conveyed a warning to Pyongyang that any incident would subject the North to swift and vigorous retaliation. It is noteworthy that there are no significant troop movements along the 38th parallel, and the feverish tone of North Korea’s state media appears to have abated in recent days. The specific warnings that preceded the Yeonpyeong attack are now absent. The regime is well aware of North Korea’s inadequacies in the nuclear and missile technologies. Economically it is a mess. According to the CIA economic assessment issued last month, North Korea’s industrial and power output have receded to pre-1990 levels, while frequent crop failures since the catastrophic 1995 famine have produced chronic food shortages and malnutrition. Its people depend for survival on international food aid deliveries, mainly from China.
Once this latest teacup storm is over, a coherent long-term American response should address the question as to why North Korea feels it needs nuclear weapons in the first place. This is not because Kim Jong-un plans to reunify the peninsula by force—that he cannot do, with or without the bomb—but because Pyongyang regards the United States as a real threat. North Korea is one of the tightest despotisms in existence, but ever since it was designated the eastern pivot of the “Axis of Evil” in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address its leaders have rational grounds to feel threatened. According to President Obama, the nuclear test offered only an illusion of greater security to North Korea. This is incorrect. The possession of nuclear weapons, far from providing an “illusion” of greater security, is the only reliable insurance policy to those states that Washington may deem fit for regime change. Had Serbia had the bomb in 1999 or Iraq in 2003, they would not have been subjected to illegal American attacks on patently spurious grounds.
Some imagination is needed in Washington, including a rethink of the old orthodoxy that nuclear proliferation is inherently dangerous. It is not. Since 1945, there have been many wars, but no catastrophic ones on par with 1914-1918 or 1939-1945. This long peace—lasting for close to seven decades thus far—is due almost entirely to the existence of nuclear weapons and to their possession by an expanding circle of powers. Contrary to the will of the United States—whose leaders do not want other countries to possess what America has possessed, and used, since 1945—nuclear proliferation has been a major factor in the preservation of peace. The “Balance of Terror” is a grim term which denotes a comforting reality, and its logic applies to the lesser powers, such as India and Pakistan, which went to war three times after the Partition—in 1947, 1965, and 1971—but not since then. On previous form, the violence in Kashmir in March 2008 and the Pakistani-linked terrorist attacks in Bombay in November of that year would have reignited the conflict—but they did not. The possession of nuclear weapons by both adversaries has been a major war-inhibiting factor for over four decades, and it will likely remain so for many years to come.
What is valid for the Subcontinent should apply to the North Korean peninsula. Sanctions or no sanctions, Pyongyang will not give up its bomb. For the sake of regional peace and stability, South Korea should acquire one as well—and there is no reason for Japan not to follow suit. Back in the 1970’s, the Ford Administration induced South Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for not withdrawing American soldiers. Now is the time to reverse the sequence. Washington should grant a free nuclear hand to Seoul in return for the mutually agreed U.S. troop withdrawal. The latest crisis strengthens the case for the long-overdue withdrawal of the remaining 28,000 American troops from the Korean peninsula. It is high time to let the countries directly affected by Pyongyang’s actions—South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia—deal with North Korea themselves, to the best of their abilities.