Tag Archives: UN

Saudi king urges UN action against religious insults

Saudi king urges UN action against religious insults

AFP – Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Saturday demanded a UN resolution condemning insults on monotheistic religions after a low-budget film produced in the US sparked deadly protests last month.

“I demand a UN resolution that condemns any country or group that insults religions and prophets,” he said during a meeting at his palace with religious figures and heads of hajj delegations in the Mina valley where pilgrims were performing final rituals of hajj.

“It is our duty and that of every Muslim to protect Islam and defend the prophets.”

A low-budget film produced in the US, Innocence of Muslims, triggered a wave of deadly anti-American violence last month across the Muslim world targeting US symbols ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.

Saudi Arabia had threatened to block YouTube in the kingdom if Google did not respond to a request to deny access to the video footage of the film. YouTube then extended its restrictions on the video to Saudi Arabia.

The king also called on Saturday for the “unity of the Islamic nation (and) rejecting division to face the nation’s enemies” as he urged for dialogue among Muslims.

“Dialogue strengthens moderation and ends reasons of conflict and extremism,” he said.

“The interconfessional dialogue centre which we had announced in Mecca does not necessarily mean reaching agreements on the matters of belief, but it aims at reaching solutions to divisions and implementing co-existance among sects,” he added.

The Saudi monarch proposed in August setting up a centre for dialogue between Muslim confessions in RiyadhSOURCE.

Land Grab: Utah Takes on the Federal Government


Land Grab: Utah Takes on the Federal Government

Posted by Rachel Kopec Executive Power, Federalism

On Friday, March 23, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill demanding that the federal government return about 30 million acres of public lands by 2015. This is a serious issue for western states, who in some cases have 30%-65% of their land in federal hands.

Federally owned lands date back to the nation’s foundation. The lands of the Northwestern Territories were conceded to the federal government as a stepping stone towards statehood. The federal government was in charge of surveying the land and selling it to pioneers. Once enough pioneers moved in, a new state would be formed and admitted into the union. The federal government was meant as an intermediary. It was not supposed to own the land in perpetuity. However, with the dawn of the Progressive Movement, more and more empty lands started being claimed by the federal government, to the point that 65% of Utah is held by different federal agencies.

The federal government retaining control of two-thirds of our land mass was never in the bargain when we became a state, and it is indefensible 116 years later. – Utah Governor Gary Herbert

Western Senators, members of Congress, and Governors have tried throughout the years to reclaim some of the lands on behalf of their states. The most prominent group of advocates became known as the Sagebrush Rebels. In 1976, the enactment of the Federal Land Policy Management Act made it clear that these lands would not be returned to the states or transferred to private hands. Responding to this federal act, the Sagebrush Rebels launched a campaign to reclaim these lands that continues to this day. While you might not remember the Sagebrush Rebellion, you certainly know its most famous member: President Ronald Reagan.

We’ll see if the state and the federal government can restore the balance of power. The dispute over Western lands is particularly important to the economy because federal lands hold vast stores of energy that are yet untapped:

At the core of the issue in all of the states is limited access to federal land, which hurts energy development, recreation and grazing. There are approximately 28 million acres of federal land in Utah, accounting for about 50 percent of the state. State lawmakers claim the federal lands cost the state millions of dollars every year, although no comprehensive studies have quantified those losses. Associated Press article by Josh Loftin

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UN Decides Mt. Rushmore Should Be Returned To Indigenous Native American Tribes

Mt. Rushmore Site Should Be Returned To Indigenous Native American Tribes, U.N. Official Says

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South Dakota’s Black Hills, home to the granite faces carved into Mt. Rushmore, should be restored as Native American tribal lands, a United Nations official recently said.

James Anaya, a U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, completed a fact-finding mission on Friday that included meetings with a number of Native American tribal leaders as well as White House officials. His investigation led him to suggest that the United States take additional steps to repair the nation’s legacy of oppression against Native Americans. He’ll officially propose the plan in an upcoming report. From the Associated Press:

Anaya said land restoration would help bring about reconciliation. He named the Black Hills as an example. He said restoring to indigenous people what they have a legitimate claim to can be done in a way that is not divisive “so that the Black Hills, for example, isn’t just a reminder of the subordination and domination of indigenous peoples in that country.”

The Black Hills, home to Mount Rushmore, are public land but are considered sacred by the Sioux tribes. The Sioux have refused to accept money awarded in a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision and have sought return of the land. The Black Hills and other lands were set aside for the Sioux in an 1868 treaty. But Congress passed a law in 1877 taking the land.

According to Anaya, handing over these lands would be a key step toward repairing relations with the indigenous people who once controlled them. It would also further the nation’s compliance with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a measure that President Barack Obama endorsed in 2010, reversing a previous vote.

“I have heard stories that make evident the profound hurt that indigenous peoples continue to feel because of the history of oppression they have faced,” Anaya said Friday in a statement issued by the U.N. human rights office in Geneva. “Securing the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands is of central importance to indigenous peoples’ socioeconomic development, self-determination, and cultural integrity. … Continued efforts to resolve, clarify, and strengthen the protection of indigenous lands, resources, and sacred sites should be made.”

Anaya will outline a full set of recommendations regarding Native American relations in a report set to be released later this year.

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Only Putin can decide if – and when – Assad will step down

Only Putin can decide if – and when – Assad will step down

By Zvi Bar’el

Images of the bullet-ridden bodies of bound Syrian civilians, some all but naked, are flooding Arab television broadcasts. Syrian human rights activists say on live TV they can’t collect their dead in neighborhoods that are being attacked by Syrian army mortars. The dead are estimated at more than 300 since Friday.

The many hundreds of civilians wounded in that time don’t appear to have much of a chance to receive medical aid. It’s not only that the hospitals are filled – many of the wounded fear heading to a clinic because they could be killed by the Syrian army.
Medvedev and Assad in Syria

Russia President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus last year.
Photo by: AP

This has the been the demonstrators’ toughest day in Homs, Syria’s third largest city at more than 1.2 million people. Homs has become the symbol of Syria’s civil uprising. The destroyed homes in the Khaldiyeh quarter are evidence of the regime’s savage assault. Its new strategy to allow the army to attack and kill without distinguishing its target, as opposed to previous efforts to focus on the sources of the uprising, reflects the campaign’s current stage.

Syrian demonstrators who commemorated the massacre of tens of thousands of people at Hama on Hafez Assad’s orders 30 years ago can observe Bashar Assad’s decision to adopt his father’s methods. The younger Assad, who allowed opposition intellectuals to express their opinions during the early days of his rule and brought the Internet to his country, is proving to be a butcher keen to maintain his family’s power at any price.

Thousands have fled Syria and thousands more are on their way to the improvised refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. On their way they are chased by gunfire from the Syrian army and thugs in the regime’s security forces. They must pass through the mine fields laid on the border to prevent people from fleeing. Still, the demonstrations continue in Homs, Aleppo and, yesterday, on Baghdad Street in the capital Damascus.

Facing the Syrian army is the Free Syrian Army, which numbers around 30,000, including generals and several hundred junior officers. But this force only has light weapons and relies on Lebanese smugglers for its supplies. Every once in a while it takes control of a small town or suburb.

According to Syrian sources, the rebel army is supported financially by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but it can’t function as a regular army. It suffers from disunity; the ranks are loyal to various commanders. Meanwhile, another “army” has been set up by deserters in Homs, but it’s unclear how this force is coordinating with the Free Army. Al-Qaida might be able to penetrate this situation and spot an opportunity for a new battle led by extremist religious ideology, similar to what we’ve seen in Iraq.

The situation on the ground in Syria hasn’t been affected by the diplomatic maneuvering at the United Nations. Syrian television shows scenes from cities anyone would want to live in. Calm streets, only a few cars, and soft elevator music playing during the broadcast. Syrian television analysts say the dead – if they acknowledge any deaths – have been caused by opposition thugs on the orders of Arab countries at the behest of Western planners.

At the United Nations, Assad can still count on Russian support, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says his country will oppose any resolution that even hints at foreign intervention, blocks arms sales, imposes international sanctions or demands that Assad step down. Lavrov says Russia wants to see a Syrian solution, “not an American one.” If someone is to decide if and when Assad leaves, it will be Vladimir Putin, not Barack Obama.

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Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

By Patrick Goodenough

(CNSNews.com) – A U.S. House committee Thursday approved a bill linking U.S. contributions to the United Nations to significant financial and other reforms, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned she would recommend that President Obama veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

Deeply divided along party lines, the House Foreign Relations Committee voted 23-15 for the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), whose most radical provision aims to force the U.N. to change its funding mechanism from the current system of “assessed” contributions to voluntary ones.

Proponents say this would allow the U.S. – and other member states – to fund only those activities and agencies it regards as being efficiently managed, and in the national interest.

In order to compel the U.N. to make the shift, the legislation would withhold 50 percent of the U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budget (which does not include peacekeeping) if the U.N. has not moved at least 80 percent of the budget to voluntary funding within two years.

American taxpayers account for 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operating budget and 27 percent of the separate peacekeeping budget in “assessed” dues. In addition the U.S. provides billions of dollars in voluntary contributions for various U.N. agencies. In FY 2010 the total U.S. contribution was $7.69 billion.

Conservatives critical of the U.N. have long advocated the U.S. using its leverage, as the biggest funder by far, to push the world body to reform – and to weaken efforts by hostile member-states to use the U.N. to harm American interests.

The bill’s author, committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), told Thursday’s markup hearing that the U.N. budget continues to climb.

“What are we paying for?”
she asked, then cited repressive regimes’ membership on the Human Rights Council, a continuing anti-Israel bias, the elevation of member states like North Korea and Iran to leadership positions in various bodies, and corruption scandals.

“Why do we bear the financial burden for this?” Ros-Lehtinen continued. “Every year, scores of member countries that contribute almost nothing to the U.N. vote together to pass the budget. Then they pass the costs on to big donors like the U.S., which is assessed a whopping 22 percent.


“In contrast, China pays just three percent. We need a game-changer.”

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, said the “real agenda” behind the bill was to end U.S. participation in the U.N. and to “deal a fatal financial blow to the world body.”

He argued that there was no evidence to support the notion that withholding dues can leverage meaningful change.

“Previous attempts at withholding did not lead to any significant and lasting reforms – they only succeeded in weakening our diplomatic standing and influence, and undermining efforts to promote transparency, fiscal responsibility and good management practices in the U.N. system,”
Berman told the committee.

‘A dangerous retreat’

If the bill does pass in the House – where it has 125 co-sponsors, all Republican – its passage through the Democrat-controlled Senate would be an uphill battle. Even if it did make it through the Senate, its chances of making it into law are slim.

In a letter to Ros-Lehtinen on Wednesday, Clinton expressed strong opposition to the measure, saying if it reached the president, she would recommend a veto.

Citing U.N. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples, she argued that international engagement through the U.N. comes at a fraction of the cost of acting alone.

“This bill also represents a dangerous retreat from the longstanding, bipartisan focus of the United States on constructive engagement within the United Nations to galvanize collective action to tackle urgent security problems,
” she wrote.

“If we act to diminish our global stature, the United States would surrender a key platform from which to shape international priorities, such as obtaining tough sanctions on Iran.”

During the hearing, Ros-Lehtinen referred to Clinton’s letter, and in particular the suggestion that the legislation could harm U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because other countries would not share the burden by paying for U.N. missions in those countries.

Does the administration have such little faith in our allies and in our diplomacy – which they pride themselves on – to think that they would not share the burden of fighting Islamist extremists unless the U.N. forced them to?” she asked.

On the eve the markup hearing, the U.N. Foundation released results of a poll in which 64 percent of respondents said they supported the U.S. “paying our dues to the U.N. on time and in full” while 31 percent said they opposed this.

The poll also found 55 percent of respondents were not in favor of legislation that would cut U.S. funding of the U.N., while 39 percent favored it.

The wording of the question on the proposed legislation said that it “cuts fifty percent of the United States’ funding to the United Nations,” “ends United States’ funding to UNICEF and the World Health Organization” and “ends United States’ funding of United Nations’ agencies that respond and take action after a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis.”

The poll wording did not say that 50 percent of U.S. funding would only be cut if the U.N. failed to shift from an assessed to voluntary payment mechanism. Neither did the wording make clear that funding to agencies like UNICEF would only end if those agencies fail to provide the U.S. Comptroller General with a certificate of transparency, or to comply with that certification.

The U.N. Foundation was set up in 1998 with a $1 billion donation to U.N. causes by CNN founder and philanthropist Ted Turner. Its priorities include building public support for the U.N. and advocating U.S. funding for the U.N.

“At a time when the United Nations is more relevant than ever in addressing the world’s greatest peace and security challenges, this survey is evidence that voters believe in the value of the United Nations to American interests,” U.N. Foundation president Timothy Wirth said in a statement on the poll.

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America is destroying Pakistan. We’re using our army to kill our own people with their money

Imran Khan: ‘America is destroying Pakistan. We’re using our army to kill our own people with their money’
Stuart Jeffries

When Barack Obama announced in May that American commandos had killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Imran Khan was furious. “The whole of Pakistan felt this way. Wherever I went I felt this humiliation and anger in people. It was humiliating because an American president announces it, not our president. And because it was the American military, not our military, which this country has given great sacrifices to nurture, that killed him.”

Khan stirs his cappuccino angrily. “Most humiliating of all was that the CIA chief Panetta says that the Pakistan government was either incompetent or complicit. Complicit!” But surely Leon Panetta had a point, didn’t he? The world’s most wanted man was living a mile from Pakistan’s military academy, not in some obscure cave. “They’re talking about a country in which 35,000 people have died during a war that had nothing to do with us. Ours is perhaps the only country in history that keeps getting bombed, through drone attacks, by our ally.”

Khan’s rage is directed not chiefly at Obama’s administration but at successive Pakistani governments for entrapping his homeland in a dismal cycle of immiseration and mass deaths for the past eight years by supporting the war on terror in return for billions of dollars of financial aid. The manner of Bin Laden’s killing and the national shame of its aftermath typify for Khan how Pakistan has never properly learned to stand on its own two feet. He calls it an era of neocolonialism in which Pakistan’s people seem destined to suffer as much as, if not more than, they did during British colonial rule.

“According to the government economic survey in Pakistan, $70bn has been lost to the economy because of this war. Total aid has been barely $20bn. Aid has gone to the ruling elite, while the people have lost $70bn. We have lost 35,000 lives and as many maimed – and then to be said to be complicit. The shame of it!”

Arguably Khan is benefiting from that anger. The legendary cricketer turned politician hopes – even expects – to become Pakistan’s next prime minister. “Every poll has shown the gap widening between us and other parties.” He is modest about his impact on the polls: “It’s not what I have done, it’s that they have got discredited. These are the best of times and the worst of times. The best of it is that people are hungry for a change.”

I sip the tea that his ex-wife, Jemima Khan née Goldsmith, has just handed me. We’re sitting on huge sofas in the vast living room-cum-kitchen of her opulent west London home. He’s here to see his two sons, Sulaiman Isa, 14, and Kasim 12, who live with their mother, when they return from school. Later this evening he will fly home to Islamabad.

Jemima retreats upstairs so that her ex and I can analyse what went wrong with his country – and the couple’s marriage. Understandably, Khan would rather talk about the former.

He recalls his greatest cricketing achievement as Pakistani team captain, winning the 1992 World Cup. Perhaps the 2012 Pakistani election will eclipse that triumph. “I played five World Cups and it was only in the last World Cup before we won [in 1992] that I said: ‘Put money on us.’ Now I’m saying my party will win. I’m throwing everyone a challenge that nothing can stop this party. Nothing.”

Perhaps. But Pakistani politics, to hear Khan talk, isn’t cricket. “To have a senior post in the government, you have to have a criminal record.” I laugh. Surely not? He names ministers who have. This was one consequence of ex-president Pervez Musharraf’s 2007 National Conciliation Ordinance that gave amnesties to many politicians (including former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan as a result and was shortly afterwards assassinated). “He did the greatest disservice to us by that ordinance. And guess what – it was brokered by the Bush administration.

“My country can barely stoop any lower. All you need to do with a senior politician today is look at his assets before he came into politics and look at them after and you know why they’re there. My party is made up of people who don’t need politics. You need people who don’t need politics to make money.”
But surely that implies government by gentry, by people who are independently wealthy? “Or people who are not necessarily wealthy but who are in a profession and are doing quite well out of it outside politics. Career politicians have destroyed our country.”

I take a sidelong glance at Imran Khan. He’s a young, fit-looking 58, dressed in western playboy uniform (jeans, sports jacket, big-collared open-neck shirt), but with an imposingly stern face that he may have inherited from the Pashtun ancestors on his mother’s side of the family. He claims to be shy and introverted, but to me he conveys the enviably easy assuredness typical of English public schoolboys. Indeed, Khan is steeped in that ethos: he was educated at Aitchison College in Lahore, a so-called English-medium school, before being sent to England to study at the Royal Grammar School, Worcester, and then read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford. Ironically, one of his party’s policies is that elite schools such as Aitchison should be abolished for being inegalitarian.

If this cricketing legend did become Pakistan’s prime minister, it would involve a remarkable turn around in fortunes. In his early test-cricketing days, he was called Imran Khan’t – and that nickname applied too to his political career. Ever since he established his political party Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) in 1996, Khan has fared abysmally. Even the Guardian’s Declan Walsh described him in 2005 as making a “miserable politician. Khan’s ideas and affiliations since entering politics in 1996 have swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rain shower.”

Khan may have been a brilliant cricketer who for 21 years until retirement in 1992 made Pakistan a leading force in the international game. He may have once been renowned as a soigné habitué of toff nightclubs such as Annabel’s and Tramp in the 1980s, and as the playboy who romanced debutantes Susannah Constantine, Lady Liza Campbell and the artist Emma Sergeant. But is he really the man to lead Pakistan from what he calls “the the edge of collapse”?

He, at least, thinks so. “The old parties are all petrified of me now. They all want to make alliances with me and I say: ‘No, I’m going to fight all of you together because you’re all the same.'”

Excellent. But how does he propose to effect what he calls a soft revolution in Pakistan? “Oh hawk,” he replies unexpectedly, “death is better than that livelihood that stops you ascending.” He is quoting a verse from his favourite poet and philosopher, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who died in 1938 and so missed both Pakistan’s birth, its rule by dicators and corrupt dynasties, and its current ignominy.

How do Iqbal’s words apply to modern Pakistan? “I take them to mean anything that comes with strings attached damages your self-esteem and self-respect – you’d better die than take it,” says Khan. “A country that relies on aid? Death is better than that. It stops you from achieving your potential, just as colonialism did. Aid is humiliating. Every country I know that has had IMF or World Bank programmes has only impoverished the poor and enriched the rich.” And American aid, he argues, has had a calamitous effect on his homeland.

What Khan is planning politically echoes what he did in cricket. “Colonialism deprives you of your self-esteem and to get it back you have to fight to redress the balance,” he says. “I know for myself and my contemporaries Viv Richards [the great West Indies batsman] and Sunil Gavaskar [the no-less-great Indian batsman] beating the English at cricket was a means of doing that. We wanted to assert our equality on the cricket field against our colonial masters.”

Isn’t cutting foreign aid a perilous policy for a bankrupt economy? “But it doesn’t matter,” retorts Khan. “We will cut down expenditure, tax the rich and fight corruption. The reason we’re bankrupt is because of corruption. Asif Ali Zardari [Pakistan’s current president] puts his cronies on top and they literally siphon off money.”

He argues that if Pakistan’s two greatest problems, corruption and tax evasion, can be solved, then the country will become solvent. “We have the lowest tax-GDP ratio in the world: 9%. If we get it to 18%, which is India, we’re solvent.” Not only does Khan believe he can tax the rich but also that exploiting Pakistan’s huge mineral reserves will help the country escape its current mess. “A country that has no power is sitting on the biggest coal reserves in the world!”

Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s other key policy is withdrawing from the war on terror. Why? “The war on terror is the most insane and immoral war of all time. The Americans are doing what they did in Vietnam, bombing villages. But how can a civilised nation do this? How can you can eliminate suspects, their wives, their children, their families, their neighbours? How can you justify this?

“When I came here at 18 I learned about western rule of law and human rights, innocent until proven guilty. The Americans are violating all of this.”

Khan wrote an open letter to Obama arguing that the war was unwinnable. “I said you do not have to own Bush’s war – you can’t win it anyway. It’s creating radicals. The more you kill, the more you create extremism.”

Why can’t the war be won? “The Soviets killed more than a million people in Afghanistan. They were fighting more at the end than the beginning. So clearly a population of 15 million could take a million dead and still keep fighting. They [the Americans] are going to have to kill a lot of people to make any impact and they also have in Zardari an impotent puppet as Pakistani president who has not delivered anything to the Americans.

“The Americans also don’t realise that this whole Arab spring was against puppets or dictators. People want democracy. So this whole idea of planting your own man there, a dictator – neocolonialism is what it’s called – is not going to work any more.

“The aid to our puppet government from the US is destroying our country. We’re basically using our army to kill our own people with American money. We have to separate from the US.”

Khan knows what it is to be attacked from both sides. “I’ve been called Taliban Khan for supporting the tribal Pashtuns and I’ve been called part of a Jewish conspiracy to take over Pakistan. I am of course neither.”

The latter allegation came when Khan married Jemima Goldsmith in 1995. In a chapter on his marriage in his excellent new book Pakistan: A Personal History, he recalls that, when he left for England aged 18, his mother’s last words were: “Don’t bring back an English wife.” But after his mother’s death, Khan did that, even though the British press wailed that Jemima would not be allowed to drive in Pakistan and that she would have to be veiled from head to toe; even though the Pakistani media portrayed the marriage as a Zionist plot to take over Pakistan. No matter, as Khan writes, that his wife wasn’t actually Jewish (her paternal grandfather was Jewish), but had been baptised and confirmed as a Protestant. No matter that she converted to Islam and set about learning Urdu on her arrival in Pakistan.

The smears got worse a year after their marriage when Khan launched his political career. “Cross-cultural marriage is difficult, especially when one person has to live in another country. But I thought there was a very good chance of it working because people grow together if they have a common passion. But from the moment my opponents attacked her in the first election in terms of a Zionist conspiracy we had to then take her away from politics. That meant we were doing different things. We couldn’t share our passions.”

Jemima returned to England, ostensibly for a year to do a masters in modern trends in Islam, taking her sons with her. She never returned, the couple divorced in 2004 and she is now associate editor of the Independent and editor-at-large for Vanity Fair. They remain on friendly terms. “It was very painful that it didn’t work out but that bitterness and anger that comes when a marriage breaks down through infidelity was not there. We were completely faithful to each other.”

There was no way he could have moved to London? “London is like a second home, but never could I imagine living away from Pakistan.” It must be tough with his sons living half a world away most of the year. “Very tough. Nothing gave me more happiness than fatherhood. And here’s someone who had great highs in his life. The biggest void in my life is not being close to my children all the time, but mercifully, thanks to my relationship with Jemima, I see them a great deal.”

One way of looking at his failed marriage, then, is that it could not survive the bearpit of Pakistani politics. How could he continue in that grim game given the high cost it extorted from you? “Ever since my mother died in great pain from cancer, I have had a social conscience that can only express itself in getting involved in politics. As long as I played cricket there was hardly any social conscience. It came because of my mother and how she was treated.” It also came after a spiritual awakening and renewed Islamic faith, in which Iqbal’s writings played an important role.

The No1 thing that struck me about your country when I came here was your welfare state, which I’m sad to say they are dismantling – a big mistake. I thought: ‘What a civilised society.’ When my mother was treated here we were paying for her and there was a national health patient next to her – equal treatment. We didn’t have that in Pakistan.”

After his mother’s death he founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore in her name. “My hospital is the only one in Pakistan where doctors are not allowed to know which patients are paying and which are free. Equal treatment for rich and poor is essential.”

But the hospital was only possible because of donations that he raised from the streets of Pakistan’s cities. “We needed $4m for the hospital and we had run out of steam so someone suggested we just go out into the streets. I ended up covering 29 cities in six weeks and I just went into the street with a big collecting sack. Only in Pakistan would this happen.”

But that Pakistani generosity, he realises, articulates an important principle of Islam, of doing good deeds to get to heaven. In the book he writes that he asked why poor people would give such high proportions of their income to a cancer hospital not even in their own town. “It was always the same reply, ‘I am not doing you a favour. I am doing it to invest in my Hereafter.'”

That geneoristy proved a catalyst for Khan’s political career, he writes: “I started thinking that these people were capable of great sacrifice. Could these people not be mobilised to fight to save our ever-deteriorating country?” He may have a sentimental vision of poor Pakistanis but Khan has no doubt: they will revolutionise Pakistan, led by him.

Just before I leave him to his children, he tells me that the nadir for Pakistan came last year when Angelina Jolie visited Pakistan’s flood-hit area. “It’s so shameful. The prime minister gave her a reception in his palace and she commented on its opulence. The prime minister gets his family in a private jet to see her, the family give her expensive presents and yet there are people dying in these flood-affected areas. They were living like Mughal emperors in splendour and our people were dying. It took a Hollywood star to point this out. Our politics can never be so shameful again.” That remains to be seen.

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Will Washington foment war between China and India?

Will Washington foment war between China and India?

By Paul Craig Roberts

What is Washington’s solution for the rising power of China? The answer might be to involve China in a nuclear war with India.

The staging of the fake death of Osama bin Laden in a commando raid that violated Pakistan’s sovereignty was sold to President Obama by the military/security complex as a way to boost Obama’s standing in the polls.

The raid succeeded in raising Obama’s approval ratings. But its real purpose was to target Pakistan and to show Pakistan that the U.S. was contemplating invading Pakistan in order to make Pakistan pay for allegedly hiding bin Laden next door to Pakistan’s military academy. The neocon — and increasingly the U.S. military — position is that the Taliban can’t be conquered unless NATO widens the war theater to Pakistan, where the Taliban allegedly has sanctuaries protected by the Pakistan government, which takes American money but doesn’t do Washington’s bidding.

Pakistan got the threat message and ran to China. On May 17, Pakistan’s prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, as he departed for China, declared China to be Pakistan’s “best and most trusted friend.” China has built a port for Pakistan at Gwadar, which is close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz. The port might become a Chinese naval base on the Arabian Sea.

Raza Rumi reported in the Pakistan Tribune (June 4) that at a recent lecture at Pakistan’s National Defense University, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, asked the military officers whether the biggest threat to Pakistan came from within, from India, or from the U.S. A majority of the officers said that the U.S. was the biggest threat to Pakistan.

China, concerned with India, the other Asian giant that is rising, is willing to ally with Pakistan. Moreover, China doesn’t want Americans on its border, which is where they would be should Pakistan become another American battleground.

Therefore, China showed its displeasure with the U.S. threat to Pakistan, and advised Washington to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, adding that any attack on Pakistan would be considered an attack on China. I do not think China’s ultimatum was reported in the U.S. press, but it was widely reported in India’s press. India is concerned that China has stepped up to Pakistan’s defense.

The Chinese ultimatum is important, because it is a WWI or WWII level of ultimatum. With this level of commitment of China to Pakistan, Washington will now seek a way to maneuver itself out of the confrontation and to substitute India.

The U.S. has been fawning all over India, cultivating India in the most shameful ways, including the sacrifice of Americans’ jobs. Recently, there have been massive U.S. weapons sales to India, US-India military cooperation agreements, and joint military exercises.

Washington figures that the Indians, who were gullible for centuries about the British, will be gullible about the “shining city on the hill” that is “bringing freedom and democracy to the world” by smashing, killing, and destroying. Like the British and France’s Sarkozy, Indian political leaders will find themselves doing Washington’s will. By the time India and China realize that they have been maneuvered into mutual destruction by the Americans, it will be too late for either to back down.

With China and India eliminated, that leaves only Russia, which is already ringed by U.S. missile bases and isolated from Europe by NATO, which now includes former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire. A large percentage of gullible Russian youth admires the U.S. for its “freedom” (little do they know) and hates the “authoritarian” Russian state, which they regard as a continuation of the old Soviet state. These “internationalized Russians” will side with Washington, more or less forcing Moscow into surrender.

As the rest of the world, with the exception of parts of South America, is already part of the American Empire, Russia’s surrender will let the U.S. focus its military might on South America. Chavez will be overthrown, and if others do not fall into line, more examples will be made.

The only way the American Empire can be stopped is for China and Russia to realize their danger and to form an unbreakable alliance that reassures India, breaks off Germany from NATO and defends Iran.

Otherwise, the American Empire will prevail over the entire world. The U.S. dollar will become the only currency, and therefore be spared exchange-rate depreciation from debt monetization.

Gold and silver will become forbidden possessions, as will guns and a number of books, including the U.S. Constitution.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Reagan Administration, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University. He is the author or coauthor of nine books and has testified before committees of Congress on thirty occasions.

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FBI ‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker Stokes Constitutional Crisis

By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES

For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device—a stingray—were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest.

Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

A stingray’s role in nabbing the alleged “Hacker”—Daniel David Rigmaiden—is shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. The FBI says it obtains appropriate court approval to use the device.

Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people’s locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times.

On Nov. 8, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether or not police need a warrant before secretly installing a GPS device on a suspect’s car and tracking him for an extended period. In both the Senate and House, new bills would require a warrant before tracking a cellphone’s location.

And on Thursday in U.S. District Court of Arizona, Judge David G. Campbell is set to hear a request by Mr. Rigmaiden, who is facing fraud charges, to have information about the government’s secret techniques disclosed to him so he can use it in his defense. Mr. Rigmaiden maintains his innocence and says that using stingrays to locate devices in homes without a valid warrant “disregards the United States Constitution” and is illegal.

His argument has caught the judge’s attention. In a February hearing, according to a transcript, Judge Campbell asked the prosecutor, “Were there warrants obtained in connection with the use of this device?”

The prosecutor, Frederick A. Battista, said the government obtained a “court order that satisfied [the] language” in the federal law on warrants. The judge then asked how an order or warrant could have been obtained without telling the judge what technology was being used. Mr. Battista said: “It was a standard practice, your honor.”

Judge Campbell responded that it “can be litigated whether those orders were appropriate.”

On Thursday the government will argue it should be able to withhold details about the tool used to locate Mr. Rigmaiden, according to documents filed by the prosecution. In a statement to the Journal, Sherry Sabol, Chief of the Science & Technology Office for the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, says that information about stingrays and related technology is “considered Law Enforcement Sensitive, since its public release could harm law enforcement efforts by compromising future use of the equipment.”

The prosecutor, Mr. Battista, told the judge that the government worries that disclosure would make the gear “subject to being defeated or avoided or detected.”

A stingray works by mimicking a cellphone tower, getting a phone to connect to it and measuring signals from the phone. It lets the stingray operator “ping,” or send a signal to, a phone and locate it as long as it is powered on, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The device has various uses, including helping police locate suspects and aiding search-and-rescue teams in finding people lost in remote areas or buried in rubble after an accident.

The government says “stingray” is a generic term. In Mr. Rigmaiden’s case it remains unclear which device or devices were actually used.

The best known stingray maker is Florida-based defense contractor Harris Corp. A spokesman for Harris declined to comment.

Harris holds trademarks registered between 2002 and 2008 on several devices, including the StingRay, StingRay II, AmberJack, KingFish, TriggerFish and LoggerHead. Similar devices are available from other manufacturers. According to a Harris document, its devices are sold only to law-enforcement and government agencies.

Some of the gadgets look surprisingly old-fashioned, with a smattering of switches and lights scattered across a panel roughly the size of a shoebox, according to photos of a Harris-made StingRay reviewed by the Journal. The devices can be carried by hand or mounted in cars, allowing investigators to move around quickly.

A rare public reference to this type of technology appeared this summer in the television crime drama “The Closer.” In the episode, law-enforcement officers use a gadget they called a “catfish” to track cellphones without a court order.

The U.S. armed forces also use stingrays or similar devices, according to public contract notices. Local law enforcement in Minnesota, Arizona, Miami and Durham, N.C., also either possess the devices or have considered buying them, according to interviews and published requests for funding.

The sheriff’s department in Maricopa County, Ariz., uses the equipment “about on a monthly basis,” says Sgt. Jesse Spurgin. “This is for location only. We can’t listen in on conversations,” he says.

Sgt. Spurgin says officers often obtain court orders, but not necessarily search warrants, when using the device. To obtain a search warrant from a court, officers as a rule need to show “probable cause,” which is generally defined as a reasonable belief, based on factual evidence, that a crime was committed. Lesser standards apply to other court orders.

A spokeswoman with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota says officers don’t need to seek search warrants in that state to use a mobile tracking device because it “does not intercept communication, so no wiretap laws would apply.”

FBI and Department of Justice officials have also said that investigators don’t need search warrants. Associate Deputy Attorney General James A. Baker and FBI General Counsel Valerie E. Caproni both said at a panel at the Brookings Institution in May that devices like these fall into a category of tools called “pen registers,” which require a lesser order than a warrant. Pen registers gather signals from phones, such as phone numbers dialed, but don’t receive the content of the communications.

To get a pen-register order, investigators don’t have to show probable cause. The Supreme Court has ruled that use of a pen register doesn’t require a search warrant because it doesn’t involve interception of conversations.

But with cellphones, data sent includes location information, making the situation more complicated because some judges have found that location information is more intrusive than details about phone numbers dialed. Some courts have required a slightly higher standard for location information, but not a warrant, while others have held that a search warrant is necessary.

The prosecution in the Rigmaiden case says in court documents that the “decisions are made on a case-by-case basis” by magistrate and district judges. Court records in other cases indicate that decisions are mixed, and cases are only now moving through appellate courts.

The FBI advises agents to work with federal prosecutors locally to meet the requirements of their particular district or judge, the FBI’s Ms. Sabol says. She also says it is FBI policy to obtain a search warrant if the FBI believes the technology “may provide information on an individual while that person is in a location where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Experts say lawmakers and the courts haven’t yet settled under what circumstances locating a person or device constitutes a search requiring a warrant. Tracking people when they are home is particularly sensitive because the Fourth Amendment specifies that people have a right to be secure against unreasonable searches in their “houses.”

The law is uncertain,” says Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School and former computer-crime attorney at the Department of Justice. Mr. Kerr, who has argued that warrants should be required for some, but not all, types of location data, says that the legality “should depend on the technology.”

In the case of Mr. Rigmaiden, the government alleges that as early as 2005, he began filing fraudulent tax returns online. Overall, investigators say, Mr. Rigmaiden electronically filed more than 1,900 fraudulent tax returns as part of a $4 million plot.

Federal investigators say they pursued Mr. Rigmaiden “through a virtual labyrinth of twists and turns.” Eventually, they say they linked Mr. Rigmaiden to use of a mobile-broadband card, a device that lets a computer connect to the Internet through a cellphone network.

Investigators obtained court orders to track the broadband card. Both orders remain sealed, but portions of them have been quoted by the defense and the prosecution.

These two documents are central to the clash in the Arizona courtroom. One authorizes a “pen register” and clearly isn’t a search warrant. The other document is more complex. The prosecution says it is a type of search warrant and that a finding of probable cause was made.

But the defense argues that it can’t be a proper search warrant, because among other things it allowed investigators to delete all the tracking data collected, rather than reporting back to the judge.

Legal experts who spoke with the Journal say it is difficult to evaluate the order, since it remains sealed. In general, for purposes of the Fourth Amendment, the finding of probable cause is most important in determining whether a search is reasonable because that requirement is specified in the Constitution itself, rather than in legal statutes, says Mr. Kerr.

But it is “odd” for a search warrant to allow deletion of evidence before a case goes to trial, says Paul Ohm, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School and a former computer-crime attorney at the Department of Justice. The law governing search warrants specifies how the warrants are to be executed and generally requires information to be returned to the judge.

Even if the court finds the government’s actions acceptable under the Fourth Amendment, deleting the data is “still something we might not want the FBI doing,” Mr. Ohm says.

The government says the data from the use of the stingray has been deleted and isn’t available to the defendant. In a statement, the FBI told the Journal that “our policy since the 1990s has been to purge or ‘expunge’ all information obtained during a location operation” when using stingray-type gear.

As a general matter, Ms. Sabol says, court orders related to stingray technology “will include a directive to expunge information at the end of the location operation.”

Ms. Sabol says the FBI follows this policy because its intent isn’t to use the data as evidence in court, but rather to simply find the “general location of their subject” in order to start collecting other information that can be used to justify a physical search of the premises.

In the Rigmaiden example, investigators used the stingray to narrow down the location of the broadband card. Then they went to the apartment complex’s office and learned that one resident had used a false ID and a fake tax return on the renter’s application, according to court documents.

Based on that evidence, they obtained a search warrant for the apartment. They found the broadband card connected to a computer.

Mr. Rigmaiden, who doesn’t confirm or deny ownership of the broadband card, is arguing he should be given information about the device and about other aspects of the mission that located him.

In the February hearing, Judge Campbell said he might need to weigh the government’s claim of privilege against the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights, and asked the prosecution, “How can we litigate in this case whether this technology that was used in this case violates the Fourth Amendment without knowing precisely what it can do?”

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Mutually Assured Destruction

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?

By Ed Koch

Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying.

Since the “Arab Spring” revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union.

So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the “Arab Spring.” That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world.

Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere. In my view, it was harmful to our own – the U.S. – national security needs to throw the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak under the bus by demanding his removal as President Obama did. Yes, he was a despot, described as an authoritarian in a world of Muslim dictatorships, but he believed in keeping good relations with the U.S. and keeping the peace with Israel established back in 1978 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at Camp David. Those who overthrew him have made clear that their intention is to end that peace. The forces that are dominant in Egypt today are the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The goal of the military is to preserve their special niche as the principal governing power. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions are the strongest politically and most organized of all the civilian groups vying for power in the next presidential election.

As a result of the recent occupation and sacking of the Israeli embassy in Cairo while Egyptian police and army stood by, we know that the current interim Egyptian government has decided to cast aside peace with Israel and go with the Islamists. The Times of September 11th reported, “Egyptian military and security police officers largely stood by without interfering with the demolition. Instead, they clustered at the entrance to the embassy to keep protesters out. The security forces had pulled back from Tahrir Square and other areas before the start of the day to avoid clashes with the protesters, although the military had issued a stern warning on its Facebook page against property destruction.” The Israeli ambassador, his family and other Israeli officials were forced to flee the embassy in fear of their lives. Because of the entreaties of President Obama to the Egyptian government, they were saved from violence and permitted to board Israeli jets to go home to Israel.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider “must-reading”. HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It’s free. Just click here.

And what of the situation with Turkey? Once a friend of Israel, it now has an Islamist government led by its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has issued a statement tantamount to a declaration of war. The Times reported on September 10th, “The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.”

While the United Nations, not normally a defender of Israel, recently issued a report that Israel had a right to blockade Gaza so as to prevent weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip, now governed by Hamas, Turkey has rejected the report, and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Hamas has declared that it is at war with Israel, and that if it is ever in a position to do so, it will expel every Jew living in Israel who came to Palestine after 1917, and will use violence to achieve its goals. It has intentionally killed innocent civilians, sending thousands of rockets into southern Israel or allowing other terrorist groups to do so.

In addition to Hamas on its southern border, Israel is now facing an increasingly hostile Egypt, with an army of nearly one million and a population of 81 million. To Israel’s north is not only hostile Lebanon and Syria, but now Turkey with an army of one million and a population of 73 million.

It is also disturbing that there is a rising tide of Jew-hatred in Great Britain and in France. In Great Britain, that hatred was recently demonstrated by those who called themselves artists, who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta in London on September 1st. The police arrested no one who for a time prevented the audience of 5,000 from enjoying the evening. No speaker supporting Israel is permitted to speak at British universities. They are not invited or hooted down if invited.

France is working with the Palestinians to achieve their admission to the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s only apparent defender on the European continent is Germany because of the continuous ongoing support of Israel by Chancellor Angela Merkel. I met and heard Chancellor Merkel in 2004 when I attended in Berlin the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on rising anti-Semitism, when I served as chairman of the U.S. delegation. I was impressed by the depths of her sincerity in denouncing anti-Semitism and recognizing the depravity of the German nation under Hitler in its efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

The Muslim nations are undoubtedly licking their chops at what they would do if they were ever to be successful in defeating Israel on the battlefield or at the U.N. which is prepared to serve as the site of today’s Munich. If Assad of Syria is willing to kill innocent men, women and children in the streets and cities in Syria, what do you think he would do if his soldiers patrolled Tel Aviv?

The Arab countries’ threats to destroy Israel, a nation with a total population of 7.7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims, is not receiving front page coverage or denunciations from NATO nation leaders. The revolutionaries making up the “Arab Spring” are lauded by the opinion-makers here in the U.S. and even more so in Europe.

This past Sunday, we commemorated in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent civilians on 9/11, committed by Islamic terrorists whose supporters run into the millions and are now located in at least 62 countries. Our NATO allies never supported the U.S. to the extent they promised when we invaded Afghanistan to punish the Afghan government for providing a refuge for al-Qaeda, which perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities and many others. In my judgment, as harsh as it sounds, many of those NATO countries, including Britain and France, would deliver the Jewish nation into the hands of their putative murderers if it gave them “peace in our time,” just as Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Are we willing here in the U.S. to continue to fight for our precious liberties and support countries like Israel having the same moral and cultural values?

We in America, led by President Obama and Congress, must make it absolutely clear to the Islamist terrorists that we will never surrender. We will hunt them down as we did their leader, Osama bin Laden, and kill them.

The U.S. is Israel’s only friend and ally. It is not foolish or premature to ask what will the U.S. do when and if the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, this time led by Egypt and Turkey, supported by others, assault the Jewish nation? Will the President and the Congress come to its aid? Shouldn’t Israel know now? Shouldn’t the Muslim nations know?

I urge the President and the Congress to do for Israel what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. President Kennedy said “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

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Oil and the Falklands – the Saga Continues


Oil and the Falklands – the Saga Continues

Written by John Daly

Like some dimly remembered Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, pitting Hardy British tars against perfidious foreigners, the Falklands periodically recycles into the gaze of bemused international observers every decade or so.

Since the brief 1982 war between Argentina and Britain, the issue of sovereignty of the Falklands has lurked beneath the internationals diplomatic surface, an irritant but hardly threatening to reignite a new round of hostilities. Three decades on from that unfortunate confrontation the issue of the Falklands is again roiling Argentinean-British relations over the possibility that the archipelago contains beneath its surrounding waters something of value – oil.

British oil group Rockhopper Exploration has unveiled optimistic plans for a $2 billion oil infrastructure investment in the Falkland Islands announcing on 14 September that it expected to start pumping oil in 2016 from its four licensed Sea Lion concessions totaling 1,500 square miles, with a projected production rate of roughly 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2018. Rockhopper Exploration said the fifth well in the Sea Lion complex “had found a high quality reservoir package and oil column.”

This roseate picture is somewhat clouded by several facts, including that currently Rockhopper Exploration has on hand a mere $170 million, enough to pay for two more scheduled wells. Nevertheless, Rockhopper Exploration shares, which have outperformed the European index of oil and gas companies by 14 percent since August, were up 1.1 percent in early trading after the company’s announcement.

A second element in this picture is a sobering fact that while both British and Argentinean companies have drilled a handful of exploratory wells in the water surrounding the Falklands, only Rockhopper Exploration has discovered petroleum.

And thirdly last but certainly not least is the issue of the islands sovereignty, contested by both Argentina and Britain for the last 198 years.

While various City pundits excitedly speculate that the Falklands is to become another North Sea, the above facts taken together indicates at the very least a far greater degree of risk in underwriting Rockhopper Exploration’s ambitious program.

So if the Falklands oil potential is so promising, then why are the international major oil companies not involved? The answer is in brief that they have looked at the islands’ potential and given a pass.

According to a US embassy cable dating from February 2010 and leaked last year by Wikileaks, “ExxonMobil International chairman Brad Corson told us he does not believe there is enough oil on the Falkland Islands continental shelf to be profitable, citing Shell’s earlier oil exploration attempts which they abandoned.”

Argentina is not taking the news lightly, declaring its intention following Rockhopper Exploration’s to both file an official complaint against Britain for oil exploration activities in Falklands/Malvinas disputed waters before the United Nations Decolonization Committee along with inviting the U.N. Special Committee of the 24 on Decolonization Chairman Francisco Carrion-Mena of Ecuador to visit Argentina to hold a meeting on the issue in Buenos Aires.

The Falklands now have the dubious distinction of joining the list of contested offshore maritime oil and natural gas concessions spewed by two or more countries.

These include a growing dispute in the eastern Mediterranean between Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Turkey, the final disposition of the Caspian’s offshore waters currently contested by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkmenistan Russia and rising confrontation in the East China Sea over the region’s offshore waters which involves the Spratly island’s more than 750 islands, islets, atolls and cays, whose various portions of offshore waters are claimed by China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

What makes the Falklands Argentinean-British dispute unique however is the fact that in 1980 to the countries actually fought a brief vicious war over the archipelago and its surrounding waters. At the time oil exploration of the Falklands waters had yet to begin, and the node and Argentinian writer Jorge Borges famously compared the dispute to “two bald men fighting over a comb.” The stakes are much higher now.

Common sense would seem to indicate that the best way for might be a possible joint venture between the two nations to explore their offshore waters oil potential hand, if any significant reserves are found jointly to develop them with an agreed-upon program of profit sharing, but given the increasingly strident claims sole sovereignty over the archipelago this seems increasingly unlikely.

If therefore Rockhopper Exploration’s drilling programs prove successful, a number of developments seem increasingly clear. First is that, depending on the political temperature in Buenos Aires, future activities may well need the protection of the Royal Navy.

Secondly is Latin America’s increasingly lining up behind Argentina’s claims to the islands, and Brazil recently stated that it would not allow British exploration vessels to use Brazilian ports to exploit any possible oil developments in the Falklands, Rockhopper Exploration will need to source virtually all of the necessary equipment from the other side of the Atlantic as well as possibly Britain, both major expenses for a company which states it has only $170 million of available cash. Furthermore should development go forward, then a total lack of access to Latin American hydrocarbon infrastructure support means that Rockhopper Exploration will probably be forced to use a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to store and transport its output.

Last but not least, the de facto boycott by Latin America of any future Falklands oil production means that the oil at the very least will have to transit South Atlantic before reaching potential markets, further increasing both development costs and shrinking potential profits.

In light of the above, a joint venture would seem to be the most common sense way to proceed, but given the rising jingoistic nationalism flaring over the issue in both London and Buenos Aires, don’t count on any time soon.

While in history is rife with examples of daring oil explorers making fortunes, the number of examples shrink dramatically when major oil companies give a pass on projected production and you future output is situated in a contested site which less than 30 years ago was a “hot” war zone.

By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

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Wind Farms: Monuments to Lunacy

Wind farms: the monuments to lunacy that will be left to blot the landscape


By Christopher Booker

Three separate news items on the same day last week reflected three different aspects of what is fast becoming a full-scale disaster bearing down on Britain. The first item was a picture in The Daily Telegraph showing two little children forlornly holding a banner reading “E.On Hands Off Winwick”.

This concerned a battle to prevent a tiny Northamptonshire village from being dwarfed by seven 410-foot wind turbines, each higher than Salisbury Cathedral, to be built nearby by a giant German-owned electricity firm. The 40 residents, it was reported, have raised £50,0000 from their savings to pay lawyers to argue their case when their village’s fate is decided at an inquiry by a Government inspector.

In the nine years since I began writing here about wind turbines, I have been approached by more than 100 such local campaigns in every part of Britain, trying to fight the rich and powerful companies that have been queuing up to cash in on the vast subsidy bonanza available to developers of wind farms. Having been the chairman of one such group myself, I know just how time-consuming and costly such battles can be. The campaigners are up against a system horribly rigged against them, because all too often – although they may win every battle locally (in our case we won unanimous support from our local council) – in the end an inspector may come down from London to rule that the wind farm must go ahead because it is “government policy”.

I long ago decided that there was little point reporting on most of these individual campaigns, because the only way this battle was going to be won was by exposing the futility of the national policy they were up against. My main aim had to be to bring home to people just how grotesquely inefficient and costly wind turbines are as a way to make electricity – without even fulfilling their declared purpose of reducing CO2 emissions.

Alas, despite all the practical evidence to show why wind power is one of the greatest follies of our age, those who rule our lives, from our own politicians and officials here in Britain to those above them in Brussels, seem quite impervious to the facts.

Hence the two other items reported last week, one being the Government’s proposed changes to our planning rules (already being implemented, even though the “consultation” has scarcely begun) which are drawing fire from all directions. The particular point here, on page 43 of the Government’s document, is a proposal that local planning authorities must “apply a presumption in favour” of “renewable and low-carbon energy sources”.

What this means in plain English is that we can forget any last vestiges of local democracy. Our planning system is to be rigged even more shamelessly than before, to allow pretty well every application to cover our countryside with wind turbines – along with thousands of monster pylons, themselves up to 400 feet high, marching across Scotland, Wales, Suffolk, Somerset and elsewhere to connect them to the grid.

All this is deemed necessary to meet our EU-agreed target to generate nearly a third of our electricity from “renewables” – six times more than we do now – by 2020. This would require building at least 10,000 more turbines, in addition to the 3,500 we already have – which last year supplied only 2.7 per cent of our electricity.

Obviously this is impossible, but our Government will nevertheless do all it can to meet its unreachable target and force through the building of thousands of turbines, capable of producing a derisory amount of electricity at a cost estimated, on its own figures, at £140 billion (equating to £5,600 for every household in the land).

Which brings us to the third of last week’s news items, a prediction by energy consultants Ulyx that a further avalanche of “green” measures will alone raise Britain’s already soaring energy bills in the same nine years by a further 58 per cent.

A significant part of this crippling increase, helping to drive more than half Britain’s households into “fuel poverty”, will be the costs involved in covering thousands of square miles of our countryside and seas with wind turbines. The sole beneficiaries will be the energy companies, which are allowed to charge us double or treble the normal cost of our electricity, through the subsidies hidden in our energy bills; and landowners such as Sir Reginald Sheffield, the Prime Minister’s father-in-law, who on his own admission stands to earn nearly £1,000 a day at the expense of the rest of us, for allowing a wind farm to be built on his Lincolnshire estate.

Even more damaging, however, will be the way this massive investment diverts resources away from the replacement of the coal-fired and nuclear power stations which are due for closure in coming years, threatening to leave a shortfall in our national electricity supply of nearly 40 per cent. If we are to keep our lights on and our economy running, we need – as the CBI warned in a damning report on Friday – urgently to spend some £200 billion on power supply,

But our politicians have been so carried away into their greenie never-never land that they seem to have lost any sight of this disaster bearing down on us. Instead of putting up turbines on the fields of Northants, E.On should be building the grown-up power stations we desperately need. But government energy policy has so skewed the financial incentives of the system that the real money is to made from building useless wind farms.

Sooner or later, this weird policy will be recognised as such a catastrophic blunder that it, and the colossal subsidies that made it possible, will be abandoned. That will leave vast areas of our once green and pleasant land littered with useless piles of steel and concrete, which it will be no one’s responsibility to cart away.

If the Government really wishes to make a useful change to our planning laws, it should insist that every planning permission to build wind turbines should include a requirement that, after their 25-year life, they must be removed at their owners’ expense. Alas, by that time the companies will all have gone bankrupt, and we shall be left with a hideous legacy as a monument to one of the greatest lunacies of our time.

A way has been found to save our village cricketers

There has been another twist to the year-long battle for survival of our little Somerset village cricket club which, as I wrote last Sunday, has been threatened with closure by a bizarre bureaucratic double whammy.

On the one hand, our local council wanted us to pay rates amounting to more than £100 for every home game we play, more than we can realistically afford. On the other, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has ruled that we cannot get any relief on this crippling demand because our constitution did not state explicitly that membership of the club is open to anyone “regardless of sex, age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or other beliefs” (it merely stated that membership was “open to anyone”).

On Monday, in a friendly and helpful letter from Mendip district council, it emerged that a way may have been found round this difficulty. If our cricket club is redesignated as a business, we might qualify this year for Small Business Rate Relief, at 100 per cent.

For the moment, it seems, that the threat has been lifted, and that next season we may again be permitted to take the field on Sunday afternoons without having to pay a tax of over £700 a year – thanks to a scheme designed to promote growth in the local economy.

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57 Senators Sign Letter To Protect Second Amendment Rights From UN

Senator Hatch recently released the following statement on this issue.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) joined his colleague Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and 43 other Senators in expressing grave concern about the dangers posed to Second Amendment rights by the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. In a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the 45 senators said they would oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding American gun owners. This is enough to block the treaty from Senate passage, as treaties submitted to the U.S. Senate require approval of two-thirds of Senators present to be ratified.

“Our Second Amendment is non-negotiable,
” said Hatch. “We don’t need a bunch of bureaucrats at the United Nations dictating our liberties and freedoms. This Treaty should not be ratified and I will fight it tooth and nail.”

In the letter, the senators wrote: “As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your Administration to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership. These freedoms are not negotiable, and we will oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty presented to the Senate that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to manufacture, assemble, possess, transfer or purchase firearms, ammunition and related items.”

“As we have for the past 15 years, the NRA will fight to stop a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that infringes on the Constitutional rights of American gun owners,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action. “This letter sends a clear message to the international bureaucrats who want to eliminate our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Clearly, a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that includes civilian arms within its scope is not supported by the American people or their elected U.S. Senators. Sen. Moran is a true champion of our freedom. We are grateful for his leadership and his tenacious efforts on this issue, as well as the 44 other senators who agree with the NRA’s refusal to compromise on our constitutional freedoms.”


In October of 2009 at the U.N. General Assembly, the Obama Administration reversed the previous Administration’s position and voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty, purportedly to establish “common international standards for the import, export, and transfer of conventional arms.” Preparatory committee meetings are now underway in anticipation of a conference in 2012 to finalize the treaty. A treaty draft has not yet been produced.

The full text of the letter the Senators have signed reads:

July 22, 2011

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
2201 C St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear President Obama and Secretary Clinton:

As defenders of the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, we write to express our grave concern about the dangers posed by the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. Our country’s sovereignty and the constitutional protection of these individual freedoms must not be infringed.

In October of 2009 at the U.N. General Assembly, your administration voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating this treaty. Preparatory committee meetings are now underway in anticipation of a conference in 2012 to finalize the treaty. Based on the process to date, we are concerned that the Arms Trade Treaty poses dangers to rights protected under the Second Amendment for the following reasons.

First, while the 2009 resolution on the treaty acknowledged the existence of “national constitutional protections on private ownership,” it placed the existence of these protections in the context of “the right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership,” implying that constitutional protections must be interpreted in the context of the broader power of the state to regulate. We are concerned both by the implications of the 2009 resolution and by the hostility to private firearms ownership manifested by similar resolutions in previous years—such as the 2008 resolution, which called for the “highest possible standards” of control.

Second, your Administration agreed to participate in the negotiation only if it “operates under the rule of consensus decision-making.” Given that the 2008 resolution on the treaty was adopted almost unanimously—with only the U.S. and Zimbabwe in opposition—it seems clear that there is a near-consensus on the requirement for the “highest possible standards,” which will inevitably put severe pressure on the United States to compromise on important issues.

Third, U.N. member states regularly argue that no treaty controlling the transfer of arms internationally can be effective without controls on transfers inside member states. Any treaty resulting from the Arms Trade Treaty process that seeks in any way to regulate the domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, and related items would be completely unacceptable to us.

Fourth, reports from the 2010 Preparatory Meeting make it clear that many U.N. member states aim to craft an extremely broad treaty. A declaration by Mexico and other Central and South American countries, for example, called for the treaty to cover “All types of conventional weapons (regardless of their purpose), including small arms and light weapons, ammunition, components, parts, technology and related materials.” Such a broad treaty would be completely unenforceable, and would pose dangers to all U.S. businesses and individuals involved in any aspect of the firearms industry. At the 2010 Meeting, the U.S. representative twice expressed frustration with the wide-ranging and unrealistic scope of the projected treaty. We are concerned that these cautions will not be heeded, and that the Senate will eventually be called upon to consider a treaty that is so broad it cannot effectively be subject to our advice and consent.

Fifth, and finally, the underlying philosophy of the Arms Trade Treaty is that transfers to and from governments are presumptively legal, while transfers to non-state actors (such as terrorists and criminals) are, at best, problematic. We agree that sales and transfers to criminals and terrorists are unacceptable, but we will oppose any treaty that places the burden of controlling crime and terrorism on law-abiding Americans, instead of where it belongs: on the culpable member states of the United Nations who have failed to take the necessary steps to block trafficking that is already illegal under existing laws and agreements.

As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your Administration to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership. These freedoms are not negotiable, and we will oppose ratification of an Arms Trade Treaty presented to the Senate that in any way restricts the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens to manufacture, assemble, possess, transfer or purchase firearms, ammunition, and related items.

SOURCE

Obama: The Peace President

U.N. okays military action on Libya

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

By Maria Golovnina and Patrick Worsnip

TRIPOLI/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations authorised military action to curb Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday, hours after he threatened to storm the rebel bastion of Benghazi overnight, showing “no mercy, no pity.”

“We will come, zenga, zenga. House by house, room by room,” he said in a radio address to the eastern city.

Al Jazeera television showed thousands of Benghazi residents in a central square celebrating the U.N. vote, waving anti-Gaddafi tricolour flags and chanting defiance of the man who has ruled for four decades. Fireworks burst over the city.

Gaddafi had warned that only those who lay down their arms would be spared vengeance to be exacted on ‘rats and dogs’.

“It’s over. The issue has been decided,”
Gaddafi said. “We are coming tonight…We will find you in your closets.

“We will have no mercy and no pity.”

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone to halt government troops now around 100 km (60 miles) from Benghazi. It also authorised “all necessary measures” — code for military action — to protect civilians against Gaddafi’s forces.

But time was clearly running short for the city that has been the heart of Libya’s revolution.

Residents said the Libyan air force unleashed three air raids on the city of 670,000 on Thursday and there has been fierce fighting along the Mediterranean coastal road as Gaddafi moves to crush the month-old insurrection.

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French diplomatic sources said military action could come within hours, and could include France, Britain and possibly the United States and one or more Arab states; but a U.S. military official said no immediate U.S. action was expected following the vote.

Ten of the Council’s 15 member states voted in favour of the resolution, with Russia, China and Germany among the five that abstained. There were no votes against the resolution, which was co-sponsored by France, Britain, Lebanon and the United States.

Rebel National Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil told Al Jazeera television air strikes were essential to stop Gaddafi.

“We stand on firm ground. We will not be intimidated by these lies and claims… We will not settle for anything but liberation from this regime.”

It was unclear if Gaddafi’s threat to seize the city in the night was anything more than bluster. But at the very least it increased the sense that a decisive moment had come in an uprising that only months ago had seemed inconceivable.

Some in the Arab world sense a Gaddafi victory could turn the tide in the region, weakening pro-democracy movements that have unseated autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt and raised mass protests in Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere.

RETALIATION

By late evening, telephone lines to Benghazi and internet connections appeared to be cut.

Gaddafi’s Defence Ministry warned of swift retaliation, even beyond Libyan frontiers, if the U.N. voted for military action against the oil-exporting nation.

“Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger and civilian and military (facilities) will become targets of Libya’s counter-attack,” the ministry said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by a Reuters reporter in Benghazi, Michael Georgy in Tripoli, Mariam Karouny and Tarek Amara in Tunisia, Louis Charbonneau and Patrick Worsnip at the United Nations, John Irish in Paris; writing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Louise Ireland)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/17/uk-libya-idUKLDE71Q0MP20110317

« Previous | Main
Libya airstrikes could start ‘within hours of resolution’

Mark Mardell | 20:06 UK time, Thursday, 17 March 2011

The United Nations seems on the brink of taking a momentous decision. After hanging back for days the Americans have now not only backed the British and French resolution on Libya but beefed it up. The fact that the French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, will be here in person is a sign of French confidence that the Russians and Chinese won’t block the resolution.

The latest draft I have seen goes well beyond calling for a no-fly zone. It says that the Arab League, individual nations and organizations like Nato are authorized to “take all necessary measures…to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat…including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”

I am told the first strikes will be unilateral ones by British and French aircraft. They could be in the air within hours. It is likely five Arab air forces will take part. Hillary Clinton has said it will mean bombing Libyan air defences. Nato will step up if asked but could take a while.

Although there have been other recent UN operations this would be the most serious intervention in a crisis for a long time, a marked contrast to the division over Iraq. That does not ease the worries of some in the administration that this will still be labeled an American war and they will be dragged deeper and deeper into the affairs of another Arab nation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/03/airstrikes_on_libya_could_comm.html

Sustainable Agriculture – Agenda 21 and the “New” Globalization Process

By Don Casey
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:05

We read glowing reports and articles about “Sustainable Agriculture.” It is difficult to create an awareness of the potential harm because the verbiage and slogans used sound so benevolent. The reality is that foodshed regulations will give environmental groups and government agencies control over all means of production of the food consumed by the American people. Through increased taxation and regulation, American citizens will be stripped of their wealth and property and all resources will be redistributed as government sees fit.
As Tony the Tiger says, “Sustainable Agriculture” sure sounds “GRRREAT!“ We read glowing reports and articles about “Sustainable Agriculture.” It is difficult to create an awareness of the potential harm because the verbiage and slogans used sound so benevolent, “buy local.” Add that to the fact that we are concerned about our food supply due to global control by mega agri-business and the issue comes into better focus. (At the end of this article are links to the tri-fold brochure that helps explain sustainable agriculture’s ultimate goal and an online video that supplements this article.)

The new agricultural system has these changes and more:

1. Each community will grow its own food on individual and/or community-owned farms that form a boundary around the community.
2. All farming will be sustainable and eco-friendly. Organic farming will be certified and monitored by a farm stakeholder committee. This will ensure that food labelled “Organic” is authentic.
3. Constant measurements will be taken to guarantee that the sustainability and eco-friendly BMPs (best management practices) parameters are maintained.
4. Organic farming will be productive without the use of pesticides or unnatural fertilizers.
5. Industrial farming will no longer be allowed to damage the earth.
6. Importing foreign food products will be reduced in order to increase local production and help the local economy.

This sure sounds good—but is it really a win-win situation? Let’s take a close look at the points raised. After all, there are usually more than one side to an issue. The first point actually raises several issues:

1. Each community will grow its own food on individual and/or community-owned farms that form a boundary around the community.

We need definitions to understand what this says.

“Each community” of course refers to a “sustainable community.” Washington State University School of Architecture has a definitive description of “sustainable community.”

“A sustainable community is one which provides all of its own needs for air, water, land (or food and fiber), and energy resources within the confines of its own site.” 1

Obviously, creating and maintaining a “sustainable community” has implications that stretch beyond a system of “sustainable agriculture.”

Here is the University’s graphic—it is quite intuitive:

Sustainable Agriculture – A Relatively New Globalization Process

The circle around the community is generally referred to as an “Urban Growth Boundary”1a (UGB) or a “Utility Service Area.”

Here is an easy to understand definition from the State of Minnesota:

“A UGB is an established line beyond which urban services such as public sewer and water and transportation improvements will not occur.”

It sounds wonderful until you stop to think about what this will do to property values outside of the UGB. Who would buy property where power, road maintenance, and modern conveniences are not permitted? That’s right—nobody!

The free market system is replaced by an official policy that promotes a system of sustainable communities/agriculture. The new system will create a shortage of desirable real estate. As you know, a shortage, created naturally or by government edict, will destroy the average income earner’s ability to own a parcel of land.

“Community owned farms” are also referenced here. The USDA provides an interesting definition. In bureaucratic speak—government double talk—a “community owned farm” is CSA—”Community Supported Agriculture.”

In basic terms, CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes:

* Legally or spiritually the community’s farm,
* Growers and consumers provide mutual support and share the risks and benefits of food production.2

What this means exactly will be determined by the bureaucrat who wrote it. I venture to say that “spiritual ownership” of a private farm is a concept that best fits a plot on Twilight Zone.

Another point to consider is the concept that farms will form a boundary around the community. This is often referred as the “foodshed”3 or “foodcircle.”4 The concept is confirmed in the graphic from the Washington State University program. Oh—I forgot to mention that they named their process “A Comprehensive Urban Regenerative Process.” Remember that EVERYTHING consumed in the community is produced in the community. So the concept of a “foodshed” or “foodcircle” fits right in. Local governments across the country are adopting this concept.

The bull’s eye from Clackamas County, Oregon5 is a fair indicator of its general acceptance. The urban center is surrounded by the Metropolitan Foodshed. Food produced in the “foodshed” is intended to be consumed in the “urban center.”

The outer ring is the Foundation Lands Woodshed. This is where “Value-Added Forestry”6 products will be produced. Do you see the point? A “value-added tax” system is being introduced. For instance; the price for agricultural products grown or produced outside the “foodshed” does not include the full cost of the “food mile.”

What are “food mile” costs? I don’t know all of the cost associated with the “food mile” concept, but see the “food mile” poster: (Footnote7 provides a link to the information relating to it.)

Sustainable Agriculture – A Relatively New Globalization Process

Some, but not all of the external costs are: transportation, soil degradation, irrigation-related groundwater depletion, and pesticide and fertilizer misuse.8

These costs will ultimately be calculated by a “governance” system. Note that “governance” is not government, it is: “the framework of rules, institutions, and practices that set limits on the behaviour of individuals, organizations and companies.”9

The “institutions” that set the rules will be a collection of “stakeholders.” Stakeholders are those who are recognized as having a degree of responsibility for determining the cost of a “food mile” and local government entities. The true cost, after factoring in ecological damage to the earth, will include “social justice.”10

What is “social justice?” Here is a quick rundown. It involves:

* progressive taxation,
* income redistribution,
* property redistribution,
* equality of opportunity, and
* equality of outcome.

More broadly speaking social justice can be defined as the system of justice predicated on the central dispensation of “rights” to various groups at various times. These rights are granted in accordance with the policies and procedures thought necessary to advance the central authorities latest iteration of “common good.” This is in contrast to the uniquely American notion of equal rights.

Equal rights require the establishment of a judicial system that protects individual rights. Equal rights support true diversity — a respect for the independence and unalienable rights of the individual and genuine tolerance for individuality. Equal justice puts a checkmate on mob rule.

In summary:

Foodshed Regulations will give these environmental groups and government agencies control over all means of production of the food consumed by the American people. This combines a Marxist system of justice with a fascist system of economics. It is control of all means of production through abolition of private property. In the name of “Social Justice” all food production, distribution, and consumption will be controlled by government. Through increased taxation and regulation, American citizens will be stripped of their wealth and property and all resources will be redistributed as government sees fit.

When this happened in Russia under Stalin, eleven million people who were seen as resisting socialism were intentionally starved to death. (Look up ‘Kulaks’ on Google.)

Food, or lack thereof, can be the ultimate weapon and the ultimate control.

Thus far we have only responded to the first item defining “sustainable agriculture.” It has consumed the space currently available and involves a number of rabbit trails we have had to go down.

We don’t want to overburden you with this initial effort, so we will take the advice of a nine year old nephew. He asked his mother a simple question about the birds and bees and she referred him to his father. Dad, being a proper father, informed his son about things as completely as he could. Sometime later, Mom asked the boy if his Dad answered his question. The boy responded, “He sure did! I think I got a lot more than I really wanted to know.”

Here’s the link to a tri-fold brochure you can print and share with friends and others who need to know and care:
http://www.freedomadvocates.org/images/pdf/acr_sustainable_farming_brochure.pdf

I have uploaded a video presentation titled: The Art of Transitioning Society at: http://www.vimeo.com/7602634. In the presentation I include a segment that explains “sustainable agriculture” in greater detail than the tri-fold brochure. The remaining subject matter of the presentation focuses on “local globalization,” which has been dubbed “glocalization.”

I uploaded the following text with the video. It is a descriptive intro in an effort to entice individuals with varying interest to watch the video:

* “Are you aware that “food citizenship” is on the horizon?
* Are you aware that your behavior will very likely positively or negatively affect your “food citizenship?”
* Are you a “locavore?”
* If not, why haven’t you made the commitment?
* Are you paying the full cost associated with your “food miles?”
* Will your “foodshed” be sufficient to put a “sustainable and nutritionally adequate diet” on your table?
* Are you pro-permaculture?”

These are but a few of the pressing questions regarding society’s new paradigm. Social change is happening—don’t be caught off guard—your place in the new modern society depends on it.

If you would like a copy of the DVD The Art of Transitioning Society, please send me your mailing address plus $3.00 for material and mailing. My mailing address is: 1129 1st Avenue, Pleasant Grove, Alabama 35127.

Thanks,
Don Casey

Footnotes

1. http://www.arch.wsu.edu/09publications/sustain/modlsust.htm
1a. http://www.mnplan.state.mn.us/pdf/2000/eqb/ModelOrdWhole.pdf
2. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902terms.shtml
3. ibid
4. ibid
5. http://web12.clackamas.us/alfresco/download/direct/workspace/SpacesStore/fa8597da-c264-11dd-a620-5fa507d8ef06/20080624.pdf
6. http://www.conservationdistrict.org/sheds/
7. http://www.hawthornevalleyfarm.org/fep/foodmiles.html
8. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009093.html
9. United Nations “Human Development Report” – 1999
10. European Foundation Centre

Sustainable Agriculture — A Relatively New Globalization Process by Don Casey

This article was submitted by Don Casey. He is with ALLIANCE FOR CITIZENS RIGHTS, Ken Freeman, Chairman 256-498-3802; Don Casey, Vice-Chairman 205-542-1730. On the web at: www.keepourrights.org and www.alabamapropertyrights.org

US agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.

The Palestinian delegation, along with Lebanon, the Security Council’s only Arab member state, asked the council’s president late Wednesday to schedule a meeting for Friday. But it remained unclear whether the Palestinian move today to reject the U.S. offer is simply a negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from Washington.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined the new U.S. offer in a closed door meeting on Tuesday with the Arab Group, a bloc of Arab countries from North Africa and the Middle East. In exchange for scuttling the Palestinian resolution, the United States would support the council statement, consider supporting a U.N. Security Council visit to the Middle East, the first since 1979, and commit to supporting strong language criticizing Israel’s settlement policies in a future statement by the Middle East Quartet.

The U.S.-backed draft statement — which was first reported by Al Hurra — was obtained by Turtle Bay. In it, the Security Council “expresses its strong opposition to any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community, and reaffirms, that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a serious obstacle to the peace process.” The statement also condemns “all forms of violence, including rocket fire from Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples.”

U.S. officials argue that the only way to resolve the Middle East conflict is through direct negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians. For weeks, the Obama administration has refused to negotiate with the Palestinians on a resolution condemning the settlements as illegal, signaling that they would likely veto it if it were put to a vote. The Palestinians were planning to put the resolution to a vote later this week. But Security Council statements of the sort currently under consideration are voted on the bases of consensus in the 15-nation council.

The United States has, however, been isolated in the 15-nation council. Virtually all 14 other member states are prepared to support the Palestinian resolution, according to council diplomats. A U.N. Security Council resolution generally carries greater political and legal force than a statement from the council’s president.

The U.S. concession comes as the Middle East is facing a massive wave of popular demonstrations that have brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and are posing a challenge to governments in Algeria, Bahrain, and Iran.

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/16/in_major_reversal_us_to_rebuke_israel_in_security_council