Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the U.S. military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.
U.S. embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Fox News continues the drumbeat of terror, associating the fires in southern California with al Qaeda. Being in lockstep with the Bush administration they want us to be afraid - very afraid. This after all is the way they have controlled us over the last six years.
One problem though - the document they are using to stir up this new terror fear is four years old and was dismissed as unsupported when it was first released.
Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow set the record straight:
Thanks for the glimpse at reality Keith and Rachel!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Agent 99 thinks this is of utmost importance.
I agree and think it is the first great thing to come out of this Congress.
What is ironic is that it is from a Republican - not the Democrats who we elected nearly 1 year ago to enact such changes.
American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)
HR 3835 IH
H. R. 3835
To restore the Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 15, 2007
Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the
Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and
Select Intelligence (Permanent Select), for a period to be subsequently determined by
the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the
jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To restore the Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government
abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
(1) Unchecked power by any branch leads to oppressive transgressions on
individual freedoms and ill-considered government policies.
(2) The Founding Fathers enshrined checks and balances in the Constitution
to protect against government abuses to derail ill-conceived domestic or
(3) Checks and balances make the Nation safer by preventing abuses that
would be exploited by Al Qaeda to boost terrorist recruitment, would deter
foreign governments from cooperating in defeating international terrorism,
and would make the American people reluctant to support aggressive
(4) Checks and balances have withered since 9/11 and an alarming
concentration of power has been accumulated in the presidency based on
hyper-inflated fears of international terrorism and a desire permanently to
alter the equilibrium of power between the three branches of government.
(5) The unprecedented constitutional powers claimed by the President since
9/11 subtracted national security and have been asserted for non-national
(6) Experience demonstrates that global terrorism can be thwarted,
deterred, and punished through muscular application of law enforcement
measures and prosecutions in Federal civilian courts in lieu of military
commissions or military law.
(7) Congressional oversight of the executive branch is necessary to prevent
secret government, which undermines self-government and invites
lawlessness and maladministration.
(8) The post-9/11 challenges to checks and balances are unique in the
Nation's history because the war on global terrorism has no discernable
(b) Purpose-The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 is intended to restore the
Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government abuses as
envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
SEC. 3. MILITARY COMMISSIONS; ENEMY COMBATANTS; HABEAS CORPUS.
(a) The Military Commissions Act of 2006 is hereby repealed.
(b) The President is authorized to establish military commissions for the trial of
War crimes only in places of active hostilities against the
immediate trial is necessary to preserve fresh evidence or to prevent local
(c) The President is prohibited from detaining any individual indefinitely as an
unlawful enemy combatant absent proof by substantial evidence that the
individual has directly engaged in active hostilities against the
provided that no
citizen shall be detained as an unlawful enemy combatant.
(d) Any individual detained as an enemy combatant by the
entitled to petition for a writ of habeas corpus under section 2241 of title 28,
No civilian or military tribunal of the
defendant by torture or coercion.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The President's constitutional power to
gather foreign intelligence is subordinated to this provision.
SEC. 6. PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS.
declaratory judgment action in an appropriate Federal district court to challenge
the constitutionality of a presidential signing statement that declares the
President's intent to disregard provisions of a bill he has signed into law because he believes
they are unconstitutional.
person abroad based solely on the President's belief that the subject of the
kidnapping, imprisonment, or torture is a criminal or enemy combatant; provided
that kidnapping shall be permitted if undertaken with the intent of bringing the
kidnapped person for prosecution or interrogation to gather intelligence before a
tribunal that meets international standards of fairness and due process. A knowing
violation of this section shall be punished as a felony punishable by a fine or
imprisonment of up to 2 years.
information received from the executive branch or Congress unless the publication
would cause direct, immediate, and irreparable harm to the national security of the
or any other member of the executive branch to designate an individual or
organization with a
terrorist organization for purposes of the criminal law or otherwise imposing
criminal or civil sanctions.
(Please excuse the formating of this document. Translating from .pdf to .txt to .doc and then into the Blogger editor was not without its challenges.)
(Please excuse the formating of this document. Translating from .pdf to .txt to .doc and then into the Blogger editor was not without its challenges.)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
What is Blackwater?
When did this start?
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater - The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army and National Institute Fellow, speaks about Blackwater and their lack of accountability.
Here Jeremy discusses Blackwater and the shadow armies we employ.
Blackwater employees caught smuggling weapons into Iraq.
Blackwater attacking innocent civilians.
In this video Bill Moyers interviews Jeremy Scahill regarding the use of Blackwater within the United States.
Potrereo California - Site of a new Blackwater mega training camp?
(It's all about the money!)
Congress gives Erik Prince the military's negative view of their work.
Bush, of course ducks and darts, thinking this situation is quite humorous. (It's how he works.)
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Former President Jimmy Carter has this to say:
"I'm delighted,this might even encourage him to consider another political event.
I don't think there's any doubt that Al Gore would be the best qualified person to be the president of the United States. He was obviously elected both in Florida and around the country in 2000, and I've always hoped he would be, you know, coming back again sometime."
Chair of UN climate panel 'stunned' to share Nobel Prize with Gore.
Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations panel on climate, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Al Gore, said he was "stunned" when he received a phone call informing him of the news.
"I can't believe it, overwhelmed, stunned," he said on learning that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, had been awarded the prize.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The summer of 2007 has seen the lowest extent of sea ice at the North Pole in recorded history. As of September 16th sea ice extent was 1.59 million square miles – 461,000 square miles less than the previous low for the day... which was recorded in 2005.
Sea ice extent is continuing to fall, although this is the end of the melt season and it has slowed drastically. The image above, from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows the extent of the ice cover on September 16th of this year. The magenta line is the median summer time minimum value for the years 1979-2006. It’s easy to see the scope of the problem.
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports:
Average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. Arctic ice is getting thinner, melting and rupturing. For example, the largest single block of ice in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, had been around for 3,000 years before it started cracking in 2000. Within two years it had split all the way through and is now breaking into pieces.It is widely accepted that this increase in melting is caused by Global Warming. The loss of ice is actually accelerating melting by exposing more open water, which, being darker in color, absorbs significantly more solar energy than the reflective white icecap, further heating the polar sea.
The Natural Resources Defense Council also tells us of the effects the melting is having on the local environment, the people and the animals who live there:
The melting of once-permanent ice is already affecting native people, wildlife and plants. When the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf splintered, the rare freshwater lake it enclosed, along with its unique ecosystem, drained into the ocean. Polar bears, whales, walrus and seals are changing their feeding and migration patterns, making it harder for native people to hunt them. And along Arctic coastlines, entire villages will be uprooted because they're in danger of being swamped. The native people of the Arctic view global warming as a threat to their cultural identity and their very survival.There is however another threat to their cultural identity and the environment, a threat being exposed by the disappearance of the sea ice.
Beneath the ice shelf lies the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,200 mile long underwater ridge which Russia claims is linked to the Siberian continental shelf. It is estimated that the ridge contains ten billion tons of gas and oil. It is also rich in diamonds, gold and other metals.
This article from the Daily News gives a look at what is at stake:
Under current international law, the countries ringing the Arctic - -Russia, Canada, the U.S., Norway, and Denmark (which owns Greenland) - are limited to a 200-mile economic zone around their coasts.Predictably, there is now a rush of countries performing research to prove Lomonosov Ridge and other areas of seabed are a part of their landmass in order to lay claim to the riches under the thinning ice cap.
…none can claim jurisdiction over the Arctic seabed because the geological structure does not match the surrounding continental shelves.
Russia was the first to stake a claim. In June an expedition using a nuclear powered icebreaker returned, claiming to have geological evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge was indeed part of the Russian continental shelf. This from The Guardian:
According to Russia's media, the geologists returned with the "sensational news" that the Lomonosov ridge was linked to Russian Federation territory, boosting Russia's claim over the oil-and-gas rich triangle. The territory contained 10bn tonnes of gas and oil deposits, the scientists said.
Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper celebrated the discovery by printing a large map of the North Pole. It showed the new "addition" to Russia - the size of France, Germany and Italy combined - under a white, blue and red Russian flag.
More recently Russia sent two mini-subs to the sea floor at the North Pole to post a titanium Russian flag and make claim to the territory. The Guardian reports:
Russia symbolically staked its claim to billions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves in the Arctic Ocean today when two mini submarines reached the seabed more than two and a half miles beneath the North Pole.However, other countries are not pleased:
In a record-breaking dive, the two craft planted a one metre-high titanium Russian flag on the underwater Lomonosov ridge, which Moscow claims is directly connected to its continental shelf.
… the dangerous mission prompted ridicule and skepticism among other contenders for the Arctic's energy wealth, with Canada comparing it to a 15th century colonial land grab.ENTER CANADA
"This isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say: 'We're claiming this territory'," the Canadian foreign minister, Peter MacKay, told CTV television.
Mr MacKay predicted that the Russian expedition would not bear fruit, adding: "There is no threat to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic ... we're not at all concerned about this mission. Basically it's just a show by Russia."
With the melting of the sea ice the fabled Northwest Passage is now opening in the summer and Canada is laying a sovereign claim to it. This from the Canada’s CBC News:
It used to be, when it came to claims of Arctic sovereignty, that it was the Americans we feared. They, after all, had the multi-hulled icebreakers and nuclear submarines to transit our Northwest Passage virtually at will.Not only has the formerly naturally off-limits polar sea floor become an issue, but so also has the once elusive Northwest Passage become a catastrophe-widened super highway for shipping squabbles:
But for a number of years now, Russia has been getting into the hunt as well. And its latest move — a naval manoeuvre currently underway that is designed to plant an actual Russian flag, in a titanium capsule, at the base of the North Pole, 4,200 metres below sea level — raises the international stakes considerably.
Canadians have always tended to regard the northernmost reaches of their land as an integral, if isolated, part of the country. The vast and frozen Arctic archipelago even gets its own reference in the country's national anthem: "The true north strong and free."
But how much of "Canada's North" is Canada's? Just about everyone agrees that the many islands that dot the Arctic to the north of Canada's mainland belong to Canada. But what about the water between them? Who, if anyone, has jurisdiction over the waters separating Somerset Island from Devon Island, or Melville Island from Banks Island?
The Canadian government says the jurisdiction is clear — they're Canadian waters. But the U.S. and some other countries, especially now Russia, don't agree. They see the Northwest Passage as an international strait that any ship should be free to transit. And increasingly, they are seeing the Arctic seabed as a resource to be carved up among certain northern nations.
Plainly put, the Arctic ice is thinning at an alarming rate. Because of global warming, there are predictions that the Northwest Passage may be open for large parts of the summer in as little as 15 years.DENMARK JOINS THE FRAY
Critics say that risks turning the Northwest Passage into the commercial sea route that explorers began searching for in the 15th Century. They say the rest of the world is sure to take more notice of a shipping route between Asia and Europe that would be 5,000 kilometres shorter than the current route through the Panama Canal.
On August 14th of this year a team of forty scientists set out on a Swedish Icebreaker sailing from Svalbard, a remote Norwegian island. The group, ten of them Danish, will also be accompanied by a Russian ice breaker. Their destination is the Lomonosov Ridge.
From the Telegraph:
According to the Danish government, evidence gathered during the trip could clinch ownership of the North Pole for the nation, which has a population of fewer than six million and whose entire mainland lies further south than John O'Groats.That however is not the only area of contention for Denmark. They are also involved in an ongoing dispute with Canada.
Its claim to the Pole is based on its ownership of Greenland, which has a population of only 57,000 and was awarded to the Danes in 1933 by an international court which rejected Norway's claim to the vast, frozen island.
Helge Sander, Denmark's minister of science, technology and innovation, said: "The preliminary investigations done so far are very promising. There are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the North Pole."
Christian Marcussen of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, the expedition leader, said: "We will be collecting data for a possible [sovereignty] demand.
Very near the North Pole is tiny Hans Island, barren and uninhabited. Only half a square mile in size, it has become the center of a dispute between Canada and Denmark over the territory.
This dispute has been going on since 1984 when Denmark’s Minister for Greenland Affairs flew in by helicopter, raised the Danish flag, buried a bottle of brandy at its base leaving a note saying: “Welcome to the Danish Island”.
Canada and Denmark are engaged in a vigorous cold war of words and gestures over who has claim to Hans Island. In recent years, both have dispatched expeditions to the Godforsaken place and planted their flags; both have sent warships to assert their claims. For the two countries, the island represents much more than a speck on the charts; it's a test case that will help determine the future of the world's last great land grab, a struggle for virgin territory that mixes geology and geopolitics.Then two years ago the Canadians stirred up the dispute some more:
The dispute erupted again two years ago when former Canadian Defense Minister Bill Graham set foot on the rock while Canadian troops hoisted the Maple Leaf flag.CANADA BECOMING DEFENSIVE
Denmark sent a letter of protest to Ottawa, while Canadians and Danes took out competing Google ads, each proclaiming sovereignty over the rock 680 miles (1,094 kilometers) south of the North Pole.
Some Canadians even called for a boycott of Danish pastries.
This past July, Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper announced that between six and eight new warships would be built to patrol the Northwest Passage.
Stephan Harper – “The ongoing discovery of the North’s resource riches – coupled with the potential impact of climate change – has made the region an area of growing interest and concern.
Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic.
We either use it or lose it.
And make no mistake, this Government intends to use it.
Because Canada’s Arctic is central to our identity as a northern nation.
It is part of our history.
And it represents the tremendous potential of our future.
That’s why I’m so pleased to be here today.
To announce our first moves forward to defend and strengthen Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.
The first element of the plan will be the construction and deployment of six to eight new state-of-the-art offshore patrol ships.”
In addition to the new patrol ships the Canadians are also installing a system of listening devices throughout the northern waters to monitor the ship and boat traffic in the area as shown in the following video from CBC News.
WHERE IS THIS ALL HEADED?
Once again from The Guardian:
Russia first made a submission in 2001 to the UN commission on the limits of the continental shelf, seeking to push Russia's maritime borders beyond the existing 200-mile zone. It was rejected.Given this administration’s bad attitude toward the UN, ratification might have gone the way of Kyoto – leaving us to fight the world in the Arctic – but there are clambering capitalists so eager to start cashing in – even with more environmental protections – they may manage to turn it around in time.
But the latest scientific findings are likely to prompt Russia to lodge another confident bid - and will alarm the US, which is mired in a 13-year debate over ratification of a UN treaty governing international maritime rights.
The Law of the Sea Treaty is the world's primary means of settling disputes over exploitation rights and navigational routes in international waters. Russia and 152 other countries have ratified it.
But the US has refused, arguing it gives too much power to the UN. If the US does not ratify it, Russia's bid for the Arctic's energy wealth will go unchallenged, proponents believe.