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Index September 2008

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A new book about KASHMIR

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Contemporary Kashmir politics – Some insights
(based on the political diary of Reshi Dev)

Translation and annotation by K.N. Pandit
Published by Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum
E-241, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi – 110076
Hard bound, pages 238, price Rs. 400.00

Reshi Dev, a life–long political activist of Kashmir, hopped in and out of almost all major political parties, worked honestly at grassroots level for seven decades, came into contact with many leading personalities in politics and, to his great consternation, found that they were sincere only to their self-interests and not to the people who returned them to power in elections. Bruised and mauled, Reshi Dev penned down at the age of 92 his reminiscences in exile. K.N. Pandit has translated this diary from Urdu into English adding informative annotations and appendices.
(See also our IDP-Kashmir blog).

New thinking needs new direction

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Linked with Mary Kaldor – England.

Published on openDemocracy, by Mary Kaldor, Sept. 25, 2008.

Is it possible to suppose that the United States might finally experience its own perestroika after the end of the Cold War? I am not referring to the movement around Barack Obama’s call for change, although that could potentially be a critical factor in reinforcing and sustaining the new phenomenon of perestroika. Nor am I referring to the financial crisis although that too could provide an impulse for transformation. Rather I am talking about the far reaching debate and indeed restructuring currently going on inside the Pentagon as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan …

… And a third question, which follows from the first two, is whether the new approach can be used for global peace operations in the future or whether it is a more efficient form of American imperialism? Most `new thinkers’ still insist that the US needs both a stability capacity and a war-fighting capacity. Indeed, some proponents of `new thinking’ are suggesting that a capacity for both decisive military actions and stabilisation could enable the US to invade countries like Iran and Syria and simultaneously clean up the aftermath. At present, of course, US forces are much too over stretched but what if the US leaves Iraq and Gates succeeds in overall restructuring?

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Steven Greer: Redefining Alternative Energy

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The Orion Project

Linked with The Orion Project – follow up, and with Steven M. Greer – USA.

Received by mail:

From: The Orion Project
Date: 23/09/2008

Redefining Alternative Energy With over $100 billion going into alternative energy investments this year, it is time to pause and ask: What is real alternative energy?

So far, the discussion is mainly focused on Solar, Wind and Biofuels. Biofuels are really one step forward and two steps back.  Solar and Wind show promise but are very costly, especially to the average homeowner. And our creaky electric grid is not configured to even carry large scale solar and wind generation.

Totally ignored in the main stream (and even alternative) media is the area of advanced electromagnetic systems that tap the energy of the endless Zero Point energy field that is teeming all around us. For decades, inventors and scientists have made advances in this area, only to be ridiculed, ignored- or actively suppressed.

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FREE LUNCH FOR THE RICH

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Axis Exclusive!

Published on AxisOfLogic, by Arthur Shaw, Sept. 24, 2008.

George W.Bush, the leader of US reactionaries and genocidal monster in Iraq, rushes at breakneck speed to rescue the still supremely wealthy but debt-laden financial sector of the US bourgeoisie.

The financial sector of the US bourgeoisie is most likely the sector of wealth and privilege that is most infested with GOPs; so, this sector is something of a political base for Bush and, his pal, John  “the economy is fundamentally sound”  McCain.

Bush proposes that the US people take on the sector’s debt and let the largely GOP financiers in the sector hold on to their assets.

For starters, GOPs guesstimate that the sector has a debt of over 700B, perhaps a lot more. So, Bush … and McCain … want to give the rich GOPs 700B.

Where will the 700B come from?

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Once in a century rip-off

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Published on The Real News Network, by Michael Hudson, September 26, 2008.

Watch the Video: Once in a century rip-off, 6.32 min. The bailout is a giveaway that will cause hyperinflation and dollar collapse.

Dr. Michael Hudson is a Wall Street financial analyst and historian. Dr. Hudson was Dennis Kucinich’s Chief Economic Advisor in the recent Democratic primary presidential campaign, and has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments, as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City, he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire and of Super-Imperialism and of The Myth of Aid.

A Debt Write Down, and Jubilee Year Clean Slate

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Thinking the Unthinkable

Published on DissidentVoice, by Michael Hudson, Sept. 25, 2008.

We have reached the point where it may finally be able to break through the membrane of cognitive dissonance that has blinded people. The very first course in economics — starting in high school, followed up in college and then refined in graduate school — should explain to students why it is false to believe the advertisement that Wall Street has been trying to sell for the past half century: The deceptive promise that an economy can get rich off the mathematical “magic of compound interest” …

… Such debt writes-offs are a precondition for writing down America’s mortgage debts to levels that are affordable. But Mr. Paulson’s plan is to fight against this tide. He wants Wall Street to keep on raking in money at the expense of the economy at large. These are the big banks who lobbied Congress to appoint de-regulators, the banks whose officers paid themselves enormous bonuses and gave themselves enormous golden parachutes. They were the leaders in the great disinformation campaign about the magic of compound interest. And now they are to get their payoff.

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European reactions to the financial crisis

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Covering their tracks and distancing themselves from the US

Published on WSWS, by Peter Schwarz, September 26, 2008.

Many European workers who have lost their incomes, jobs or social security in recent years must be rubbing their eyes in surprise: “turbo-capitalism” – the supremacy of finance capital over every aspect of social and personal life – is an exclusively Anglo-American invention, which the governments of Germany and France have opposed for a long time.

There has been a flood of articles arguing this line in the German and French media in reaction to the international financial crisis. Authors who yesterday lectured workers to scale down their wage claims for the good of the finance markets are now outdoing one another in denouncing irresponsible and unscrupulous finance speculators.

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on multipolar world

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Some Videos:

Find this videos under the same Google-URL:

  • Make or break: Deal to rescue world economy goes down to the wire, Rescuing the bailout, 2.11 min;
  • Chavez wants stronger arms trade with Russia, 4.07 min;
  • Dems Blame McCain for Bailout Deal Breakdown AssociatedPress, 2.34 min;
  • Bolivia’s president on his country’s crisis, 4.17 min, 25 Sept 08.

From Russia appear under the same URL:

  • Moscow and Caracas bask in close ties, 2.09 min, Sept. 23, 2008;
  • A worrying new world order, Talking Russia, 4.13 min, Sept. 11, 2008;
  • No drones in Georgian sky, 0.49 min, Sept. 24, 2008.

More Videos:

Some Texts:

Six years in Guantanamo

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Linked with Robert Fisk – England.

Published on The Independent, by Robert Fisk, 25 September 2008.

Sami al-Haj, an Al Jazeera cameraman, was beaten, abused and humiliated in the name of the war on terror. He tells our correspondent about his struggle to rebuild a shattered life.

Sami al-Haj walks with pain on his steel crutch; almost six years in the nightmare of Guantanamo have taken their toll on the Al Jazeera journalist and, now in the safety of a hotel in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, he is a figure of both dignity and shame. The Americans told him they were sorry when they eventually freed him this year – after the beatings he says he suffered, and the force-feeding, the humiliations and interrogations by British, American and Canadian intelligence officers – and now he hopes one day he’ll be able to walk without his stick.

The TV cameraman, 38, was never charged with any crime, nor was he put on trial; his testimony makes it clear that he was held in three prisons for six-and-a-half years – repeatedly beaten and force-fed – not because he was a suspected “terrorist” but because he refused to become an American spy. From the moment Sami al-Haj arrived at Guantanamo, flown there from the brutal US prison camp at Kandahar, his captors demanded that he work for them. The cruelty visited upon him – constantly interrupted by American admissions of his innocence – seemed designed to turnal-Haj into a US intelligence “asset”.

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U Win Tin reseased

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One of Myanmar’s longest serving political prisoners released

Linked with U Win Tin – Burma.

Published on Amnesty International, Sept. 23, 2008.

One of Myanmar’s (Burma’s) longest serving political prisoners was released on Tuesday along with at least six other prisoners of conscience. U Win Tin, a 78-year-old journalist, prominent dissident and senior official in the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, had been imprisoned for 19 years.

The fate of the other estimated 2,100 political prisoners who are still behind bars in Myanmar remains, however, a cause for concern, according to Amnesty International.

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The week that changed everything

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Linked with Ann Pettifor – England.

Published on openDemocracy, by Ann Pettifor – England, Sept. 22, 2008. (Read also her article: America’s financial meltdown, lessons and prospects, Sept 18, 2008).

The United States-centred financial crisis will damage the lives and futures of savers, employees, businesses and consumers across the world. All the more reason to address the systemic failures that led to it, says Ann Pettifor …

… Orthodox economists did not see the crisis coming, even as the financial hurricane hit land on what I have called “debtonation day”, 9 August 2007. They still do not understand it. They failed to warn their paymasters or the captains, crew and passengers of the finance-sector’s ships. Even now, their intellectual and policy maps offer no way forward.

This is because orthodox, neo-liberal economic theory pays little regard to the role of finance in the economy. Systemic insolvency is not permitted in the assumed world of orthodox economics. Very few members of the Chicago school have read Irving Fisher’s Booms and Depressions (1932); and if they have read John Maynard Keynes on the theory of money and interest, it was only to malign or marginalise his rationale for the regulation of finance. Instead, they lionised free-marketeer Milton Friedman, trenchant enemy of “big government” …

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The real choice before Pakistan

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Published on THE NEWS, by Beena Sarwar, September 20, 2008.

Sabre-rattling among some sections of the media and the army notwithstanding, is the political opposition in Pakistan finally being tempered by the realisation that the only alternative to the current democratically elected dispensation is military rule?

There is surely no shortage of issues to oppose the elected government on: skyrocketing food inflation, law and order breakdowns, power shortages, its refusal to restore the judges by executive order, rising sectarian violence and militancy, American military incursions into Pakistani territory… The list can go on …

… “Religious militancy” on the western borders and within the Pakistani heartland poses a major threat to democracy. The American military incursions into Pakistani territory on Sept 3 underlined not just American highhandedness and shortsightedness (apparently driven by the Bush administration’s needs to gain a major victory and shore up the Republican party prior to the upcoming elections) but also Pakistan’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the militant threat. Pakistan has lodged a strong protest, its army at the ready to retaliate if the raids don’t end. Fair enough. But Pakistan must also simultaneously step up its own efforts on this front. In any case, realistically speaking, it is in no position to militarily combat the US. There is also the other small matter of the army’s dependence on US military aid.

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No honour in killing

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Linked with Beena Sarwar – Pakistan.

Published on The News, by Beena Sarwar, September 21, 2008 /Ramazan 20, 1429 A.H.

Given the multiple issues facing Pakistanis, the last thing we surely need is for a legislator to defend a heinous crime in the name of tradition or custom. We don’t need the heinous crime either, in this case the murder of women who were apparently defying their families by trying to marry of their own choice.

The resistance of conservative families to expressions of autonomy by their daughters is an ongoing problem in patriarchal, conservative societies like ours. Some parents accept their children’s wishes. Others submit to the inevitable, cutting off inheritance or refusing to meet them. In Pakistan, some misuse the legal system to gain submission, filing cases of zina (adultery) against daughters who elope, preferring to see them tried for a crime punishable by death rather than married to someone ‘unsuitable’. Others resort to physical violence, locking up the erring child without food, cutting off all communication in an effort to gain submission. In the most extreme cases, some family member uses a gun, a knife or an axe to end the defiance once and for all — termed a ‘crime of passion’ in much of the world. Here, it is called ‘honour killing’.

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Global Financial Meltdown

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Linked with Michel Chossudovsky – Canada.

Published on Global Research.ca, by Michel Chossudovsky, September 18, 2008.

… What is of utmost significance is that this plunge in stock market values occurs at the crossroads of a major military adventure. The global financial crisis is intimately related to the war.

A spiraling defense budget backlashes on the civilian sectors of economic activity. The war economy has a direct bearing on fiscal and monetary policy. Defense expenditure is in excess of $500 billion. A separate $70 billion is earmarked “to cover war costs into the early months of a new administration.  Those amounts combined would represent the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II (adjusted for inflation).” (Csmonitor.com  February 06, 2008).

“War is Good for Business”: The powerful financial groups which routinely manipulate stock markets, currency and commodity markets, are also promoting the continuation and escalation of the Middle East war. The financial crisis is related to the structure of US public investment in the war economy versus the funding, through tax dollars, of civilian social programs. “More broadly, this also raises the issue of the role of the US Treasury and the US monetary system, in relentlessly financing the military industrial complex and the Middle East war at the expense of most sectors of civilian economic activity.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The Democrats endorse the “Global War on Terrorism”: Obama “goes after” Osama, Global Research, August 29, 2008) …

… Financial Warfare: The Powers of Deception:

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Economic Meltdown: John McCain and the “Old Boy’s Network”

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Published on political affairs, by Joel Wendland, Sept. 19, 2008.

The labor movement sharply criticized the Bush administration’s and John McCain’s responses to the failure of two major US financial institutions this week. In a statement for the press, Sept. 17th, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney charged George W. Bush with rushing to come to the aid of Wall Street, while ignoring the ongoing crisis that working families face.

Lehman Brothers failed to open its doors early this week after it became clear that it could not cover its nearly $1 trillion debt.

American International Group Inc. (AIG), a large insurance and banking institution, also prepared to fail until a Federal Reserve bailout package totaling nearly $85 billion kept it open. According to the details of the agreement, the US government will have a controlling interest of close to 80 percent and power to fire senior management.

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The three trillion dollar war

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Watch this video: Joseph E. Stiglitz on the true cost of the Iraq War, on The Real News network, 91 min, September 15, 2008.

Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University is the author of the book: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.

The book assesses the true cost of the Iraq War as $3 trillion – and counting – rather than the $50 billion projected by the White House and measures what the US taxpayer’s money would have produced if instead it had been invested in the further growth of the US economy.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is now University Professor at Columbia University in New York and Chair of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought. He is also the co-founder and Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information.

Stiglitz was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95, during the Clinton administration, and served as CEA chairman from 1995-97. He then became Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 1997-2000.

Stephanie Flanders is the BBC’s Economic Editor. Before joining the BBC Flanders worked in New York as a reporter for the New York Times, and as principal editor of the UN’s 2002 Human Development Report. Before heading off to America, she was a leader writer and economics columnist with the FT in London.

Questions from a naive greenhorn

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Why homes owners have to leave their home when inable to pay, when big banks let pay their depts by the taxpayers?

What if the homeowners would remain in their home, guessing the juridical system is unable to put them out all together?

Why the brave people is not able to deconnect from this criminal system?

What if all homeowners together would refuse obedience to this criminal banking system?

Who could organize such a revolte?

Let the House of Cards Tumble!

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Published on Strike the Root, by Marcel Votlucka, Sept. 16, 2008.

Linked with Marcel Votlucka – USA.

Question:  What should you do when your good friend parties too hard one night, downs more alcohol than is thought humanly possible, generally makes a reckless ass of himself in his inebriation, and wakes up the following morning with a hellish hangover and confused guilt over what transpired before?

Solution: you let them sit it out and suffer.

That’s right; you let them face the consequences of their actions. Assuming your friend is (or should be) a mature adult, he cannot expect a savior on a white horse to deliver him from his foolishness.  Your friend would be doing you a disservice by having you make excuses for him, and certainly it’d be cruel to expect you to foot the bill for the damage he’s done. Enabling your friend’s behavior wouldn’t spur him to learn from his mistakes and prevent another fiasco in the future.

So when the question arises of what to do about the credit crisis and the failing banks and subprime mortgage-holders, et cetera, there’s only one sane answer:  let ’em fail.

That’s right; let the housing bubble burst, let the big banks fail, let the big mortgage holders go bankrupt, let the corporate bankers flail around in mud, let the dollar and euro crash, let the stocks fall, let the house of cards tumble!

If this sounds cruel, it’s only in proportion to the cruelty unleashed upon the rest of us by the ruthless big bankers and Treasury dunces and economic “wizards” and government pigs-in-suits.

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Latin America uniting against neocons of Washington

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Published on Online Journal, by Wayne Madsen (Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report), Sept. 15, 2008.

Antipathy and disgust for the Bush administration and its neocon ideological ilk, including the key players and advisers in the John McCain campaign, have long taken root in the Middle East and South Asia. Names like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, and Ledeen are held in utmost contempt throughout the Middle East and Muslim worlds.

The same kind of hatred for the United States and its neocon Latin American policy is now sweeping through South and Central America. In Latin America, it is individuals with names like Goldberg, Levey, Shapiro, Mukasey, Berman, Brownfield, and Shannon who have rankled Latin American nerves by their meddlesome actions in not only grossly interfering in the domestic affairs of Latin American nations, including fomenting insurrection and acts of terrorism, but designating certain Latin American leaders and officials as aiding in drug trafficking and terrorism.

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The U.S. 2008 Presidential Election: An Evaluation

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Linked with Rodrigue Tremblay – Canada.

Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay, Sept. 06, 2008.

… 9. Obama the Good One vs. McCain the Nasty One?

Finally, on the character issue, I have the feeling that there is some appearance of a lack of moral fortitude on the part of Candidate Obama. Some may have the impression that Sen. Obama is not his own man. That he says and does what others tell him to say and do and that this may explain his occasional flip-flops. This image, even if unfair and untrue, can be dangerous in politics because voters sometime value character above everything else in a candidate to public office.

On the other hand, even though John McCain has often been referred to ever since his high school days by those who know him well as John McNasty, the Democrats seem incapable of conveying this information about McCain’s character flaws to the public. If they do not do it themselves, they surely cannot rely on the neocon corporate media to do it in their place! So far, Obama’s advisers have been pulling their punches. They keep repeating that “You have to be careful about attacking McCain.” Well, the McCain camp has no such restraint in attacking Sen. Obama. They did exactly the same thing to Sen. John Kerry in 2004. In American politics, nice guys have the habit of finishing last.

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The Orion Project – follow up

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Linked with The Orion Project: TOP Negotiating for Stan Meyer Equipment, with Historic Energy Breakthrough on the Line, with fourth video, with The Orion Project (to be continued), with Announcing the Orion Project, with The Disclosure Project, and with Steven M. Greer – USA.

Received two mails:

2):

From: The Orion Project
Date: 10/09/2008

The Role of Teamwork in the Development of New Technologies, One of the issues we have noticed over the past decades of speaking with different inventors is the fact that the majority of them work alone or in very small teams. Often the teams are made up of friends with similar interests who live local to the inventor. This is great for initial stages of research and development, but we have observed that too often the individual or small team is lacking some or several areas of expertise needed to solve technical problems necessary to complete the device or the technology.

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World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World

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Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its Newsletter.

New poverty estimates published by the World Bank reveal that 1.4 billionpeople in the developing world (one in four) were living on less than US$1.25 a day in 2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981.

The new numbers show that poverty has been more widespread across the developing world over the past 25 years than previously estimated, but also that there has been strong – if regionally uneven – progress toward reducing overall poverty.

Looking at the new estimates from the perspective of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of internationally agreed development targets, the developing worldis still on track to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 levels by 2015. This is the first of eight critical goals.

However, the sobering news – that poverty is more pervasive than we thought – means that we must redouble our efforts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Justin Lin, Chief Economist of the World Bank and Senior Vice President, Development Economics.

Updated poverty estimates are published by the Bank every few years, based on the most recent global cost-of-living data as well as on country surveys of what households consume.

Summary report: World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World:

The world after the Russia-Georgia war

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Linked with Rein Müllerson – Estonia.

Published on openDemocracy, by Rein Müllerson, Sept. 5, 2008.

… It may well be that 8 August 2008 will come to signify less the opening date of the Beijing Olympics and more a crucial milestone in the evolution of international society, as important as the collapse of the Soviet Union or the fall of the Berlin wall – and overshadowing even 9/11. What is emerging may not be a new cold war, but it seems certain that fresh lines of division are emerging on the most vital security matters and that in consequence the role of various international organisations will have to change. While the “dragon” is still quietly and wisely gaining strength and enjoying its 8/8/o8 triumph, it has been the “bear” – surrounded by hunters and their hunting-dogs – that has shown its teeth and claws.

In order to understand events in the Caucasus in light of the war between Georgia and Russia of 8-12 August 2008 and its disputatious and still-violent aftermath, it is necessary to look beyond the history of the region (though that helps too), but to see it and its ongoing conflicts in a wider context: that of the new geopolitical struggle for the future of world order, including access to energy resources …

… A veil of deception:

As a professor of international law I may be expected to evaluate the situation in the light of international law. I could do that, but this would squander my own and the reader’s precious time. Why? Because of the very way that those directly involved in the Caucasian conflicts – as well as those who support or strongly sympathise with either side – are using the terminology of international law (aggression, occupation, genocide, racial discrimination, territorial integrity, peace enforcement, humanitarian mission, sanctity of treaties) without any constraint, with such gusto, with such self-righteous indignation, with such self-confidence that not only journalists but even poets would envy them.

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CERN: LHC First Beam on 10 September 2008

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Premier faisceau du LHC le 10 septembre 2008

Published on CERN’s Homepage, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, et en français: Organisation Européenne pour la recherche nucléaire.

Geneva, 10 September 2008. The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery. Read the Press Release.

CERN reiterates safety of LHC on eve of first beam:

Geneva, 5 September 2008. A report published today in the peer reviewed Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics provides comprehensive evidence that safety fears about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are unfounded. The LHC is CERN’s new flagship research facility. As the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, it is poised to provide new insights into the mysteries of our universe. The safety of the LHC.

More articles:

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Russia could push China closer to the west

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Published on The Financial Times, by Geoff Dyer, August 27, 2008.

August 8 has already been pencilled in by some as a turning point in modern history, the day that authoritarianism stood up as a credible force for the first time since the end of the cold war. Television producers did not know where to look. On one screen Chinese drummers were launching the hi-tech opening extravaganza of the Olympics, while on another Russian tanks were filing into Georgian territory.

Each event seemed to be a snub to the idea of the inevitable advance of liberal democracy – Russia with its re-discovered military muscle and China celebrating its mixture of dynamism and political control. Like so many big narratives, however, the story about the rise of the new authoritarians leaves out a lot of important detail. While Russia has spent the past decade becoming more authoritarian, China has been slowly moving in the opposite direction – even if it took a lurch backwards in the run-up to the Olympics.

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Seeds Of Destruction

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Linked with Frederick William Engdahl – Germany and USA, and with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on rense.com, by F. William Engdahl – Review by Stephen Lendman, 1-22-8.

(short excerpt of a long interview): … Population Control – Terminators, Traitors, Spermicidal Corn
Crucial to its strategy, GMO giants needed a “new technology which would allow them to sell seed that would not reproduce.” They developed one called GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) that became known as “Terminator” seeds.

The process is patented, it applies to all plant and seed species, and replanting them doesn’t work. They won’t grow. It’s the industry’s solution to controlling world food production and assuring themselves big profits as a result. What a discovery. Terminator corn, soybean and other seeds have been “genetically modified to ‘commit suicide’ after one harvest season” by a toxin-producing inbuilt gene.

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Russia, Europe, USA and fundamental geopolitics

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Published on Online Journal, by F. William Engdahl, Sep 5, 2008.

As details of the larger strategic picture emerge over what is at stake in the Georgia and larger Caucasus crisis it is becoming clearer that Moscow is determined to roll back not to the borders of Stalin and the Cold War of 1948. What Putin and now Medvedev have begun is a process of defusing the highly dangerous NATO expansion, led by the Washington warhawks since the end of the Cold War in 1990 …

… Eurasian geopolitics post 8-8-8:

This all leads us back to the consequences of the Russian response in Georgia after 8.8.08. What Russia has done by swiftly responding with military force, followed by the announcement by President Medvedev of Russia’s Five Points of Russian foreign policy, which some western commentators have dubbed the Medvedev Doctrine. The five points include, in addition to Russia’s reaffirmation of its commitment to the principles of international law, a simple statement that ‘the world should be multipolar.’

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Going On An Imperial Bender

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Published on Countercurrents.org, by Tom Engelhardt, 05 September, 2008.

Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely. Sometimes they live on military bases built to the tune of billions of dollars that amount to sizeable American towns (with accompanying amenities), sometimes on stripped down forward operating bases that may not even have showers. When those troops don’t stay, often American equipment does — carefully stored for further use at tiny “cooperative security locations,” known informally as “lily pads” (from which U.S. troops, like so many frogs, could assumedly leap quickly into a region in crisis).

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A High Stakes US Gamble with Russia

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Linked with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on RINF, by Stephen Lendman, September 3, 2008.

Prior to entering WW II, US strategists had a clear aim in mind at its conclusion – to hold unchallengeable power in a new post-war global system: military, economic and political in a “Grand Area” encompassing the West and Far East. Essentially most parts outside the communist bloc and exploiting it under disarming rhetoric like being “selfless advocates of freedom for colonial peoples (and an) enemy of imperialism.” Championing “world peace (also) through multinational control” …

… Bashing Russia – A Different View from The Wall Street Journal on the Warpath:

An August 28 Melik Kaylan op-ed is typical – headlined: “How the Georgian Conflict ‘Really’ Started.” His version (from Tbilisi) is that “Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn’t plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken.” He heard it “personally” from president Saakasvili “in a late night (presidential palace) chat.” In contrast, “Russia’s version of events doesn’t jibe with the facts.” On the ground in Gori, he learned “how Russia has deployed a highly deliberate propaganda strategy. (They) made a big show of moving out in force (but) left behind a resonating threat (that) they could return at any moment. (They) flatten(ed) civilian streets in order to sow fear, drive out innocents and create massive refugee outflows.”

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John McCain, Sarah Palin and the Politics of Distraction

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Published on Political Affairs.net, by Joel Wendland, Sept. 5, 2008.

As moderate elements of the Republican Party melt away from supporting the Bush legacy and John McCain, more and more of the hardcore and extremist forces and voices in the Republican Party have eagerly stepped forward. Sarah Palin is one of those, and her nomination is a signal by McCain that he needs the extremists in his party to even have a chance on November 4th.

Since tapping Palin as his running mate, the McCain campaign has managed to avoid dealing with real issues, the point at which he tends to lose voters eager for change. Thus, the McCain camp has used mainly on a smear campaign against Barack Obama, relying on gossip and innuendo and a pliant media to get the word out.

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation cautiously endorses Russia over Georgia

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Published on WSWS, by John Chan, 3 September 2008.

Even before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) annual summit began in Tajikistan on August 28, it was clear that the Russia-Georgian conflict was going to be high on the agenda. On the eve of the meeting, Moscow announced its full recognition of the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Amid threats from the US and European powers, Russia was looking to its SCO allies, particularly China, for support.

The SCO was formed by China, Russia and four Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – in 2001. Officially its aim was to fight “terrorism” and separatism, but its real purpose was to counter the US presence in Central Asia by cementing a closer Russian-Chinese partnership. In the past few years, many Western observers have expressed concerns that the SCO would evolve into a political-military bloc that may even rival NATO. With Russia’s military might and oil, China’s growing economic clout and the substantial energy resources in Central Asia, the SCO has attracted interest from Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia, which have attended as observers …

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Women’s Forum Statement

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Published on betterAid.org, as Women’s Forum Statement, 01 September 2008.

… Promises of aid made by donors have not been fulfilled: Today the aid industry – defined, designed and mainly implemented by donors – is failing to fulfil the right to development as stated in 1986 UN Declaration, as well as the right to gender equality and the right not to be poor. The Paris Declaration is another expression of the unequal aid architecture, lacking a holistic approach to build sustainable development and social justice. Aid assistance should truly support nationally owned and democratically adopted plans towards implementing these commitments, rather than imposing them through aid. To assure sustainability, it is urgent that the relation between the multilateral trading agenda and the aid agenda is made explicit. Aid cannot be detached from the larger context of global trade and the financing system.

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Press TV Debates on Middle East

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With Eric Walberg, Canada:

  • Part 1, 5.25 min, added: January 09, 2008;
  • Part 2, 7.17 min, added: January 09, 2008.

See also:

Comment fut inventé le peuple juif

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Déconstruction d’une histoire mythique

Publié dans le Monde Diplo, par Shlomo Sand, Août 2008.

Les Juifs forment-ils un peuple ? A cette question ancienne, un historien israélien apporte une réponse nouvelle. Contrairement à l’idée reçue, la diaspora ne naquit pas de l’expulsion des Hébreux de Palestine, mais de conversions successives en Afrique du Nord, en Europe du Sud et au Proche-Orient. Voilà qui ébranle un des fondements de la pensée sioniste, celui qui voudrait que les Juifs soient les descendants du royaume de David et non — à Dieu ne plaise ! — les héritiers de guerriers berbères ou de cavaliers khazars …

… Ecrire une histoire juive nouvelle, par-delà le prisme sioniste, n’est donc pas chose aisée. La lumière qui s’y brise se transforme en couleurs ethnocentristes appuyées. Or les Juifs ont toujours formé des communautés religieuses constituées, le plus souvent par conversion, dans diverses régions du monde : elles ne représentent donc pas un ethnos porteur d’une même origine unique et qui se serait déplacé au fil d’une errance de vingt siècles.

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Afghanistan: on the cliff-edge of calamity

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Published on openDemocracy, by Paul Rogers, Aug 31, 2008 (This article was first published on 28 August 2008).

(The Taliban’s sophisticated, deadly new tactics are bringing the group closer to Kabul. The United States response is to redouble the failed tactics that helped achieve this outcome).

Many sober analysts of the war in Afghanistan expected a military offensive by the Taliban in the early months of 2008. They also suspected that Taliban paramilitaries would avoid major confrontations with foreign forces, out of awareness of the overwhelming firepower that these could launch even on quite small groups. They expected instead an extension of the use of small raids, improvised roadside-bombs and suicide-attacks.

In the event these tactics have indeed been widely used. But the increased level of Taliban activity has been expressed in many other ways as well. They have included a closely coordinated assault on a prison in Kandahar that released hundreds of Taliban detainees; an attack on the Serena international hotel in the heart of Kabul on 14 January; the bombing of the Indian embassy there on 7 July; and a major increase in attacks on transport links (see “The global economic war“, 14 August 2008).

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Global Famine, is it a Conspiracy?

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Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada.

Published on New Dawn Magazine, by Eric Walberg, July-August 2008.

Food protests and riots have swept more than 20 countries in the past few months. On 2 April, World Bank President Robert Zoellick told a meeting in Washington that there are 33 countries where price hikes could cause widespread social unrest. The UN World Food Programme called the crisis the silent tsunami, with wheat prices almost doubling in the past year alone, and stocks falling to the lowest level since the perilous post-World War II days. One billion people live on less than $1 a day. Some 850 million are starving.

Meanwhile, world food production increased a mere 1 per cent in 2006, and with increasing amounts of output going to biofuels, per capita consumption is declining. The most commonly stated reasons include rising fuel costs, global warming, deterioration of soils, and increased demand in China and India. So is it all just a case of hard luck and poor planning?

There is just too much of a pattern, and too many elements all pointing in the same direction …

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