News

21 Tar Sands Resisters Arrested Blocking U.S. Oil Sands Project In Utah

80 protesters associated with Utah Tar Sands Resistance physically blocked access to the equipment being stored off Pope Well Ridge Road, near where U.S. Oil Sands is beginning work on Utah’s first commercial fuel-producing tar sands mine at PR Springs. Several protesters entered a fenced enclosure and locked themselves to equipment, according to protester spokeswoman Jessica Lee. Deputies arrested 13 Monday morning, loading them into white county vans. Another six were arrested while blocking the road and demanding their friends’ release. late Monday afternoon, Utah Tar Sands Resistance tweeted that two more were arrested outside the Uintah County Jail, bringing the total number of arrests to 21.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Votes to Divest from Firms Tied to Israeli Occupation

U.S. activists are hailing what is being called a major milestone for the global campaign to boycott and divest from Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. At its general convention on Friday, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest from three companies it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian land. The companies are Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard.

Only 100 Cross River gorillas left in Nigeria

Africa’s rarest and most threatened ape, the Cross River gorilla, that inhabits a small area on the Nigeria-Cameroon border is on the brink of extinction. According to a recent estimate by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), their population has dwindled to around 100 in Nigeria. IUCN, in 2008, had listed Cross River gorillas in the list of critically endangered species since the total number of mature individuals were estimated between 250 and 300. The reason for their continuing decline is widespread hunting for bush meat trade, habitat fragmentation and diseases such as Ebola and anthrax recorded among apes in the Cross River region of Cameroon and Nigeria.

React to the killing of innocents in Middle East

Also boycott following Israeli related companies

Intel
Motorola
Hewlett-Packard
Amazon.com
IBM
Pampers
Coca-Cola
Caterpillar
GAP, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, BOSS, M&S, DKNY which uses Delta-Galils textile
Gillette
Head & Shoulders
Vicks
Old Spice
Procter & Gamble
Johnson & Johnson
Revlon
McDonald’s
Nestle
Milkmaid
Maggi
KitKat
L’Oréal

Please reduce oil use as energy source as well as fertilisers, plastics etc in the chemical industry.
This list is not complete.

Posted in Biodiversity, Economics, Israel, News, Tar sand | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Masters Of War

Odetta Sings Dylan

Masters Of War
by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

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U.S.-Backed Right-Wing Groups to Oust Elected Government

Venezuela, where at least six people have died in recent days during a series of anti-government protests. On Wednesday, a local beauty queen died of a gunshot wound. The protests come less than a year after the death of Hugo Chávez and present the biggest challenge to Venezuela’s new president, Nicolás Maduro. Earlier this week, right-wing opposition leader Leopoldo López turned himself in to the National Guard after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of inciting deadly clashes. On Monday, Maduro ordered the expulsion of three U.S. consular officials while claiming the United States has sided with the opposition.

George Ciccariello-Maher talking:

there’s a great deal happening, and I think you’ve got your finger on the fact that this is a crucial test for the Maduro government. And I think it’s our obligation to put it in its broad historical context to understand who’s acting. And I think there’s a tendency—there’s an unfortunate tendency, if you follow Twitter or if you’re on the Internet, that, you know, in this sort of post-Occupy moment and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, every time we see—every time we see protesters in the streets, we start retweeting it, and we start to sort of, you know, feel sympathetic, without necessarily knowing what the back story is. And I think we’re obligated to do that here. And once we look into this back story, what we see is yet another attempt in a long string of attempts of the Venezuelan opposition to oust a democratically elected government, this time taking advantage of student mobilizations against—you know, ostensibly against insecurity and against economic difficulties to do that.

Left-leaning moderate would be quite a stretch. Leopoldo López represents the far right of the Venezuelan political spectrum. In terms of his personal and political history, here’s someone who was educated in the United States from prep school through graduate school at the Harvard Kennedy School. He’s descended from the first president of Venezuela, purportedly even from Simón Bolívar. In other words, he’s a representative of this traditional political class that was displaced when the Bolivarian revolution came to power.

In terms of his very specific political history, his first party that he came to power as a representative of, Primero Justicia, was formed through the—at the intersection of corruption and U.S. intervention—corruption by his mother purportedly funneling funds, you know, from Venezuela’s oil company into this new party and, on the other hand, funding from the NED, from USAID, from U.S. government institutions, to so-called civil society organizations. Now, after—as Chávez came to power, the traditional parties of Venezuela collapsed, and both the domestic opposition and the U.S. government needed to create some other vehicle through which to oppose the Chávez government, and this party that Leopoldo López came to power through is one of those—is one of those vehicles. So this is really where he’s coming from.

In this moment, though, even his former compatriot from that party, Henrique Capriles, who was the unified presidential candidate for the opposition in April, has realized that the line of taking street action in an attempt to oust a democratic government is simply not going to work. And Leopoldo López, as well as other far-right leaders like María Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma have really gone all-in with this attempt to oust the government.

the Obama government continues to fund this opposition even more openly than did the Bush—than did the Bush regime. If you look at the budget there, you know, Obama specifically requested funding for these Venezuelan opposition groups despite—you know, despite anti-democratic activity in the past, despite the fact that López and others were involved in signatories of the coup in 2002 and engaged in violent actions that they were brought up on charges for in 2002. And so, for López to come now and to claim that he’s an actor for democracy in the streets is really quite—you know, quite laughable. But what he is trying to do is to really seize control of this opposition away from the more moderate elements.

And there’s an interesting question here, namely the fact that the Venezuelan government, if we listen to the words of Leopoldo López’s wife, her recent statements—the Venezuelan government acted to protect the life of López, who was under certain threats, you know, threats to his life. And the Venezuelan government, if we look at the way that López was arrested, was very generous, and indeed much more generous than López has been in the past, during the coup, for example, when he led these sort of witch hunts for Chavista ministers who were brought out and beaten publicly on the way to being arrested. And you may wonder—López was allowed to speak the other day when he was arrested for several minutes on a megaphone by those—by the troops who were arresting him. And you may ask why—you know, why is the Maduro government being, in many ways, so gentle with this leader? And the reality is, they may prefer him as the leader of the opposition because he’s someone that simply can’t be elected president in Venezuela, because he really does represent that upper, upper crust of Venezuelan elites.

To be perfectly clear, food scarcity has been a problem, and insecurity is a massive problem in Venezuela. And both of these are really deep and intractable problems that have—you know, that have some relationship to government, government failures to confront them in certain ways, but also to the action of various other actors. In the case of crime, the infiltration of mafias has been a powerful force in recent years. And in the case of scarcity, the role of private capitalists in withholding and hoarding goods, as well as currency speculation, has been a massively destructive force that really echoes the kind of Chile scenario of helping to destroy an economy as a preparation for the government being overthrown.

But the reality is, these do not—these two factors, which the students are claiming are driving these protests, are really—they don’t explain why these protests are emerging now. Why? Because crime is actually going down, as we speak, and because food scarcity is not nearly as bad as it was earlier in the year. Rather, what explains what’s going on now is that this is the moment in which—after December elections, in which the opposition fared very poorly, this is the moment in which the right wing of that opposition has said, “Enough. You know, once again, enough. We’re done with elections. We’re going to go to the streets, and we’re going to try to topple this government.”

But, you know, in the meantime, the Venezuelan revolutionary movements, the popular organizations, that are, after all, the foundation of this government, this is never—this was never about Chávez, the individual. It is not about Maduro, the individual today. But it’s instead about millions and millions of Venezuelans who are building a better democracy, a deeper and more direct democracy, who are building social movements and organizations and workers’ councils and student councils and peasant councils, and as well as local communes. These people are continuing to struggle and are continuing to build. And while they’re certainly coming out to defend the Maduro government, they’re sort of focused on a much broader horizon. And this distraction, that’s largely confined to the wealthiest areas of Caracas, the sort of Beverly Hills of Caracas, is not going to sort of push them away from that task.

The U.S. continues to fund this opposition. I think we’ll probably find out afterward, as we usually do, to what degree the U.S.’s hand has been actually involved in these processes. But the reality is this is a—this is a miscalculation by the opposition. I think it’s doubtful that the United States has told the opposition to take this tack, because it’s not a very strategic tack. But, you know, we know that this is an opposition that’s been in direct contact with the embassy, that it receives funding from the United States government. And so, this is—against the broad backdrop of U.S. intervention and the funding of the Venezuelan opposition, this is the action of an autonomous Venezuelan opposition that is going to, once again, it looks like, tear itself apart.

— source democracynow.org

George Ciccariello-Maher, author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution. He teaches political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He previously taught at the Venezuelan School of Planning in Caracas.

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Climate change is “world’s largest weapon of mass destruction”

For once the words of a politician were extremely bold and clear. The warning was brutally stark. In a keynote speech on climate change in Indonesia, Secretary of State, John Kerry, likened global warming to a weapon of mass destruction and dismissed climate sceptics as members of the “Flat Earth Society”.

“The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie – warning us – compelling us to act”, he told the assembled guests, before going on to argue that “climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction.”

Telling the Indonesians that their very future was at stake, he then warned of the consequences of our changing climate. “All 10 of the hottest years on record have actually happened since Google went online in 1998,” he said leading the Arctic to melt into the sea faster than we ever anticipated.

“And the sea is rising to dangerous levels,” he warned. The clear threat to Jakarta was clear, he said. A one metre sea level rise is enough to put half of country’s capital under water. Climate change also means the end of entire species and also ocean acidification, with fisheries in Indonesia “among the hardest hit”, he cautioned also saying it would lead to greater water shortages.

And he also had a blunt message for the sceptics, arguing that “we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and extreme idealogues to compete with scientific fact”.

He likened the certainty and conclusiveness of climate change to simple scientific facts we take for granted, such as knowing that an apple would fall downwards from a tree or “that when water hits a low enough temperature, it will turn into ice, and when it reaches a high enough temperature, it will boil. “No one disputes that”, he told the audience. Nor would they dispute the fact that when you touch a hot stove you would burn your hand.

He then added that “when thousands of the world’s leading scientists and five reports from the UN tell us – over and over again – that our climate is changing, that it is happening faster than ever in recorded history, and that we humans are the significant cause, we need to listen.

When 97 percent of scientists agree on anything, we need to listen and we need to respond.”

Continuing down the same path – one of fossil fuel dependence – will lead to the world as we know changing, he told the audience, “and it will change dramatically for the worse.”

So we know this is happening, he told the audience, “and we know it with virtually the same certainty that we understand not to touch a hot stove.”

The science is unequivocal, and “those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand” he contended, adding that “President Obama and I both believe that we don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.”

He cautioned that the window of time open for us to address climate change was closing, but we need to act now. “We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation anymore,” he said.

One climate conversation that is very much alive and kicking in the US is the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. After such a powerful speech calling for concerted and bold action on climate it is going to be extremely hard for Kerry and Obama to approve the pipeline, which would be an export route for the carbon intensive tar sands.

With tough rhetoric like this, Kerry and Obama will have to match it with bold action. So if they now approve the pipeline they will be accused of burying their hands in the sands too.

— source priceofoil.org

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A Deal Only Wall Street Could Love

Last week, U.S. financial regulators took a step toward reining in some of the Wall Street risk-taking that led to the financial crisis by finalizing the Volcker Rule, designed to stop banks from engaging in risky, hedge-fund-like bets for their own profit.

But this week, EU and U.S. trade negotiators could move in the opposite direction, pursuing an agenda that could thwart such efforts to re-regulate Wall Street.

Negotiators from both sides of the Atlantic are converging in Washington, D.C. this week for a third round of talks on the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). What is TAFTA? A “trade” deal only in name, TAFTA would require the United States and EU to conform domestic financial laws and regulations, climate policies, food and product safety standards, data privacy protections and other non-trade policies to TAFTA rules.

We profiled recently the top ten threats this deal poses to U.S. consumers. One area of particular concern is how TAFTA’s expansive agenda implicates regulations to promote financial stability. Here’s a synopsis.

The EU/U.S. TAFTA Agenda: Deregulation in Disguise

U.S. and EU TAFTA negotiators, advised by Wall Street banks and EU financial conglomerates, have made clear their intent to use TAFTA to roll back the financial reforms enacted in the wake of the global financial crisis. EU negotiators have explicitly called for new “disciplines” on financial regulations to be included in TAFTA. They have listed the Volcker Rule, state-level regulation of insurance and the Federal Reserve’s proposed rules for foreign banks as particular targets for regulatory rollback. U.S. negotiators have proposed regulatory disciplines under another name: “market access” rules that simply ban many common forms of financial regulation, even if applied to domestic and foreign firms equally. The U.S. plan to include such restrictions in TAFTA conflicts with:

Initiatives to ban various risky financial services or products, such as certain derivatives

Efforts to put size limitations on banks so that they do not become “too big to fail”

Proposals to “firewall” different financial services (a policy tool used to limit the spread of risk across sectors, as Glass-Steagall did between commercial and investment banking)

The pact’s rules could also ban financial transaction taxes (e.g. the proposed “Robin Hood tax”) or capital controls, endorsed by the International Monetary Fund, to curb financial speculation’s destructive impact.

The Bankers’ TAFTA Agenda: Deregulation without Disguise

The European and U.S. banks, in their formal demands issued to TAFTA negotiators, have been remarkably candid in naming the specific U.S. and EU financial regulations that they would like to see dismantled via TAFTA. Here’s a sampling of the regulatory rollbacks the banks hope for in TAFTA, as stated by the banks themselves:

Exempt banks from regulations: The U.S. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association – a conglomerate of Wall Street firms like AIG, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs – suggests that via TAFTA, U.S. and EU governments could simply “agree to exempt financial services firms of the other party from certain aspects of its regulatory regime with respect to certain transactions, such as those with sophisticated investors.” That is, so long as foreign banks are dealing with “sophisticated” investors, regulators need not bother with regulating the banks.

Weaken the Volcker Rule: The Association of German Banks has made clear it has “quite a number of…concerns regarding the on-going implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) by relevant US authorities,” referring to the Wall Street reform enacted in the wake of the financial crisis. The banking conglomerate includes Deutsche Bank, a German megabank that received hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. Federal Reserve in exchange for mortgage-backed securities in the aftermath of the crisis. The German banking behemoth particularly takes issue with the Volcker Rule, designed to keep banks from taking risky bets with federally-insured funds for their own profit, calling the centerpiece of Wall Street reform “much too extraterritorially burdensome for non-US banks.”

Outsource risk regulation: The European Services Forum, a banking conglomerate including Germany’s Deutsche Bank, has stated that TAFTA should prevent U.S. regulators from placing tougher regulations on too-big-to-fail foreign banks operating in the United States unless foreign government entities do so first: “we think that it should not be possible for a company operating globally to be designated as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI) in a foreign jurisdiction but not in its domiciliary jurisdiction.”

Remove state-level leverage limits: Insurance Europe, a collection of Europe’s largest insurance firms, has stated its hope that TAFTA can be used to “remove” collateral requirements enacted by U.S. states to keep insurance corporations from taking on risky degrees of leverage: “Insurance Europe would like to see equal treatment for financially secure well regulated reinsures regardless of their place of domicile with statutory collateral requirements removed.”

Investor Privileges: Empowering Banks’ Deregulatory Push

U.S. and EU corporations and officials have called for TAFTA to grant foreign banks the power to skirt domestic courts, drag the U.S. and EU governments before extrajudicial tribunals, and directly challenge domestic financial safeguards as violations of TAFTA-created foreign investor “rights.” The tribunals, comprised of three private attorneys, would be authorized to order unlimited taxpayer compensation for financial regulations perceived as undermining banks’ “expected future profits.” Such extreme “investor-state” rules have already been included in U.S. “free trade” agreements, forcing taxpayers to pay corporations more than $400 million for toxics bans, land-use rules, regulatory permits, water and timber policies and more. Just under U.S. pacts, more than $14 billion remains pending in corporate claims against medicine patent policies, pollution cleanup requirements, climate and energy laws, and other public interest polices. The EU is proposing an even more radical version of these rules for TAFTA, further empowering banks’ efforts to return to the deregulatory era that led to financial crisis.

Fast Track: Railroading Democracy to Railroad Safeguards?

How could a deal like TAFTA get past Congress? With a democracy-undermining procedure known as Fast Track – an extreme and rarely-used maneuver that empowered executive branch negotiators, advised by large corporations, to ram through unfair “trade” deals by unilaterally negotiating and signing the deals before sending them to Congress for an expedited, no-amendments, limited-debate vote. As a candidate, President Obama said he would replace this expired, anti-democratic process. But now he is asking Congress to grant him Fast Track’s extraordinary authority – in part to sidestep growing public and congressional concern about pacts like TAFTA. We must ensure that Fast Track never again takes effect and instead create an open, inclusive process for negotiating and enacting trade agreements in the public interest.

— source citizen.typepad.com

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Patenting a bucket design


CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk with Stephen Colbert

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White supremacy in America

The man accused of killing three people at two Jewish community sites in Kansas made his first court appearance Tuesday by video conference. Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, has been charged with capital murder for killing 14-year-old Reat Underwood and his grandfather, William Corporon, outside a Jewish community center Sunday. He also faces a first-degree murder charge for killing Terri LaManno, who was visiting her mother at a nearby retirement complex.

Miller is a notorious white supremacist who had openly railed against Jews and African Americans for decades. He is the founder and former “grand dragon” of the paramilitary-style Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1986, after forming the White Patriot Party, he was convicted of violating the terms of a court order settling a lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He disappeared while out on bond and was later caught with other Klansmen and a stash of weapons. Miller went on to serve three years in prison on weapons charge and for plotting the murder of Morris Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He reached a deal with federal prosecutors to testify against other white supremacists in a 1988 sedition trial.

Mark Potok talking:

I would say he was one of the best-known white supremacist activists in the country for a very long time. He has been active for more than 40 years in the movement. He joined as a very young teenager, joined things like the National States’ Rights Party, a descendent of the American Nazi Party, and some other groups, as well. So he was an important player, but, as you mentioned, he testified in a sedition trial in 1988 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, against most of his comrades, some 13 leaders of the white supremacist movement. That very much put him, of course, on the outs. He was seen as a snitch, derided very widely. He’s been banned right up to this day on certain racist web forums.

So there are, I think, mixed feelings in the movement about him. He has, in some ways, worked his way back into the good graces of his former fellows, in the sense that he’s written an autobiography describing himself as an aggrieved white man. This was back in 2002. Since 2005, he has been publishing a newspaper called The Aryan Alternative. So, there are mixed feelings about him out there on the scene. It is even conceivable that Miller engaged in this mass murder, if in fact he is proven to have done so, as a way of showing that he really wasn’t a snitch, he was really in it for real.

Frazier Glenn Miller went on to praise Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer who was executed last year for the sniper killing of a man outside a synagogue in 1997. He killed a number of other people, including an interracial couple and two black teenage boys, and firebombed a synagogue. And he famously tried to kill Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan Jr.

Miller saw Morris as his mortal enemy. At that point, Morris and the center were becoming well known. We were just starting our first major lawsuits against Klan groups. The first one was against the United Klans of America, based here in Alabama. And so, you know, this idea was going around that Morris Dees was the absolutely number one enemy of white supremacy in America, and he needed to be taken out. Miller, in fact, created a “point system,” quote-unquote, where people like Joseph Paul Franklin would get one point for killing black people, 10 points for killing Jews, 50 points for killing judges and 888 points for killing Morris Dees. So, you know, and I think that reflected more or less the way other people in the white supremacist world saw Morris. You know, at another point, there was another plot which involved scourging Morris. They wanted to tear the skin off his body. So there’s a lot of hatred there. And that’s, of course, one of the reasons why I work in a building that is just surrounded by immense security.

what happened was that he was initially charged with conspiracy, very serious charges, in 1987, that could have sent him to prison for 20 or 30 years. But he did in fact cut a deal with the federal government and agreed to testify in Fort Smith against his comrades. That wound up meaning a mere five-year sentence for him, and he served only three years. As you’ve noted, the Kansas City paper has now reported that in fact he did change his name legally. It’s clear that he was in the witness protection program. he wrote about it in his autobiography. And, you know, perhaps if he had been in prison all those years rather than a witness in this trial, which collapsed spectacularly, we wouldn’t have experienced what we saw in Kansas City the other day.

David Pakman talking:

Initially we were in touch because Craig Cobb, another white separatist, who was trying to create a whites-only community in one of the Dakotas, was friends, I guess, of—or that’s at least what they would describe each other—with Glenn Miller. Glenn Miller put me in touch with Cobb and then was trying to insert himself back into my program, asking that I interview him. When I explained that I have nothing against interviewing him in principle, but that there’s really no news or there’s no reason to interview him right now, he kind of resorted to the same anti-Jewish statements and rhetoric.

I interview a lot of extremists—anti-gay extremists, religious extremists, many, many extremists. The one difference with Miller versus all of the others is that the others, while their rhetoric is incredibly discriminatory and hateful against huge groups of people, they’re usually very nice to me, and sometimes they say they want to save me or they want to help me in some way. In their internal logic, that’s what they want to do. As you saw, Miller told me very directly that he hated me. And that was an outlier.

I’ve released these emails. They’re on DavidPakman.com. The full transcript is there, so people can kind of judge for themselves. If I were to speculate a little bit and kind of characterize them, there was a desperation for attention, seemed to be the main priority, just really wanted attention, wanted to be on. When I said, “Well, why would I have you on now?” he said, “Well, I think I’m going to run for something again soon.” And I said, “Well, let’s talk at that time.”

One of the emails said, “As you know, your listenership, including the archive, skyrocketed after having me on your show. So don’t say I’m not interesting. Since I’ll be a candidate next year for US Congress, 7th district of MO, you can use that as a reason to have me on.”

this was kind of a running thing with him, where before the interview in 2010, he said I would never run it, because he would so badly embarrass me. Immediately after the interview—we recorded it earlier in the day before it aired—he said, “You’re not even going to publish that, because I so embarrassed you.” Of course, we did publish it, as it’s now been widely disseminated. And that idea continued, that we were scared to have him on.

Mark Potok talking:

VNN is essentially the second-largest white supremacist web forum in the country—really, in the world. The largest is one called Stormfront. Miller was actually banned from Stormfront, which is run by a former Alabama Klan leader—and as I said, it’s the largest—because of his informing against other leaders. But what he did, essentially, was land on VNN, where he’s posted close to 13,000 times in recent years.

we have recently completed and will very shortly release a report showing that, for instance—how these forums really help to create killers, or at least nurture killers. We found that at Stormfront, over the last five years, registered members of that forum have been responsible for almost 100 murders. There are also many people who have become murderers who post on VNN. So these are sort of Petri dishes, breeding grounds for people like Glenn Miller. You know, VNN is a particularly vicious site. They use language that you won’t even find on Stormfront that’s rather similar to the clips you played from Glenn Miller. It’s run by a guy named Alex Linder, another old-time neo-Nazi. And, in fact, Linder is the guy who writes The Aryan Alternative that Miller published.

Nevada rancher who is declaring victory after hundreds of armed supporters backed his standoff with the federal government. The Bureau of Land Management began seizing Cliven Bundy’s cattle this month, saying he owed more than a million dollars in fees for grazing his cattle on federally controlled land. Bundy refused to comply, saying he doesn’t recognize the federal government. And hundreds of people from right-wing, anti-government and pro-gun groups flocked to his site. Just this past weekend, they shut down Interstate 15, leading to a standoff that ended with the government backing down and releasing the seized cattle.

Cliven Bundy is stealing from the government. He is stealing from you and me. This is a guy who simply refuses to pay over a million dollar in grazing fees that every other person who grazes cattle on public lands in this country must pay. So, you know, that’s the context. It’s hardly about defending the Constitution or anything like that.

It is true that hundreds and hundreds of militiamen and others, members of the very groups you referenced at the very top of the show, have flocked to Bundy’s ranch. I have seen really terrifying pictures, photographs of some of these militia types sitting on a highway overpass with their sniper weapons trained on law enforcement officials. Really, it was a terrifying situation. We had a reporter out there. It seemed obvious that at any moment we could have seen gunfire and, really, blood in the desert. You know, this is the latest iteration, really, of the kinds of conflicts that we’ve seen perenially over the last 15, 20 years with the militia movement—the idea that somehow the government has no right to, you know, impose any kind of law on people, particularly in the West, where there is so much resentment directed at Washington.

far-right violence has been increasing, or at least very much up, since Barack Obama came into office. It was in fact rather quiet during the Bush years, between 2000, 2008. But pretty—even before Obama took office, as a matter of fact, immediately after he was inaugurated [nominated] in the summer of 2008 in Denver, we began to see plots, various attempts at domestic terrorism, really proliferate. So, the Glenn Miller murders, or alleged murders, are not unique at all. There are a number of—for instance, in June of 2009, after Obama took office, I’m sure many people will remember another well-known neo-Nazi, James von Brunn, shot and killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington. A couple of years after that, another neo-Nazi—again, fairly well known—tried to bomb a parade with a very powerful IED he built on Martin Luther King Day in Spokane, Washington. Yet a third neo-Nazi invaded a Sikh temple in August of 2012 and murdered six people. And these are only a few examples, but we really have seen quite a number of these. There’s no question that we’re seeing more violence from the domestic, non-Islamic radical right than we are at this point from jihadists.

number one on the domestic terrorism list, according to a top FBI official, is eco-terrorism, is the animal rights movement. We don’t hear very much about white supremacists except when something horrific like this happens.

the idea that eco-terrorists, so-called, are the major domestic terror threat, which was in fact said to Congress a couple of times by FBI leaders during the Bush years, I think is just patently ludicrous. You know, no one has been killed by anyone in the radical animal rights movement or the radical environmentalist movement. There are certainly groups out there that are involved in things like burning down SUV dealerships and so on, but no one has been killed yet. And that is in just, you know, wild contrast to what we’re seeing from people like Glenn Miller. You know, we’ve also had a real problem with the Department of Homeland Security, in the sense that ever since a particular report on the right wing was leaked to the press in April of 2009, DHS has sort of cowered, in a sense. They essentially gutted their non-Islamic domestic terrorism unit and really have not been putting out very important reports.

The report did things like say the extremists are interested in recruiting returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. There was a hue and cry on the right wing, the political right wing of this country, that DHS had characterized all military people, all veterans, as white supremacists and extremists and so on. And that’s not at all what the report said. But Janet Napolitano, then the head of DHS, withdrew the report, apologized, and ultimately the unit fell apart.

David Pakman talking:

First I heard about the shooting. And much later—it was Sunday night—I started getting tens and dozens of tweets from people saying, “The shooter is the guy you interviewed.” Of course, the interview was four years ago; it didn’t immediately click. It was Kansas, when I associated Miller with Missouri. Once I figured out what this was, initially I was just shocked, and then realized that this is—this was the guy who spoke to me in one way, and then took what he said and it now became real-world violence, which, of course, was horrifying.

if I were giving him a platform in the way that corporate news gives non-science-based climate change ideas an equivalent platform as if there is a 50/50 view, that would be wrong. That’s not what I do. I have an opinion program. I bring these people on. It’s abundantly clear that what I’m doing is exposing their views. And that’s really why. Imagine if we had no video. We had—you know, often we have these crimes, and then people say, “We never heard anything. There’s nothing. We don’t know who this person is.” Now we know.

— source democracynow.org

Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking Frazier Glenn Miller for years.

David Pakman, host of The David Pakman Show. He interviewed Frazier Glenn Miller in 2010.

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29 flavors of open source seeds, sans patents

[Lets call it Free/Libre seeds. (Free means freedom)]

There’s been an argument going on for at least 100 years over seeds. Should they be free? Or should the people who develop them control, and profit from, their use? If they were shared, we’d have a more fluid development of agricultural technology, because all plant breeders could experiment with the best stuff. On the other hand, maybe breeders wouldn’t want to engage in the hard work of experimenting if they couldn’t sell their inventions for lots of money.

It used to be that those who bred new varieties of plants shared them freely, in part because it was almost impossible to control them: As soon as someone buys one of your new tomato seeds, he can use it to make a hundred more.

As Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told NPR reporter Dan Charles, plant breeders used to have a code of ethics that mandated sharing:

“If other breeders asked for our materials, we would send them a packet of seed, and they would do the same for us,” he says. “That was a wonderful way to work, and that way of working is no longer with us.”

All that changed after seed companies began producing hybrids, which lose their superpowers if you try to grow more of them, and as cash-strapped universities have begun patenting more and more of their seeds. But on Thursday the Open Source Seed Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison released the first set of seeds with an open-source license. It is distributing 29 varieties, including broccoli, celery, kale, and quinoa.

The license is pretty simple: It’s just a commitment to keep the seeds, and their derivatives, in the public domain. Instead of the pages of small print that comes with most patent use agreements, this is “almost like a haiku,” Goldman said. But, like the software-industry idea it borrows from, it also effectively commits those who use the seeds as raw material for new products to share those innovations under the same open-source terms. In other words, it’s contagious, in a good way.

Jack Kloppenburg (who I’ve written about here) has been one of the main people pushing open source seeds. And Kloppenburg, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says this initiative is aimed at a larger problem. As with open-source software, these seeds are meant to encourage innovation and allow researchers to build quirky things for small markets. Bigger companies generally specialize their products for the biggest market. Here’s Dan Charles again:

[Kloppenburg] says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. “The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put,” he says.

Kloppenburg says one important goal for this initiative is simply to get people thinking and talking about how seeds are controlled. “It’s to open people’s minds,” he says. “It’s kind of a biological meme, you might say: Free seed! Seed that can be used by anyone!”

This doesn’t conclude the argument over seeds, by any means; it actually ups the stakes. Commercial seeds used to be naturally open source, and now they are overwhelmingly privatized. The Open Source Seed Initiative provides the opportunity to make what was an academic debate real again.

For the moment, university scientists will probably be the main people to benefit from open-source seeds. But if you want some, you will soon be able to buy them from High Mowing Organic Seeds and Wild Garden Seed.

— source

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A Wedding That Became a Funeral

A new report has revealed that a U.S. drone strike that killed at least a dozen people in Yemen in December failed to comply with rules imposed by President Obama last year to protect civilians. The strike was carried out by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command and targeted vehicles that were part of a wedding procession going towards the groom’s village outside the central Yemeni city of Rad’a. According to the Human Rights Watch investigation, quote, “some, if not all those killed and wounded were civilians” and not members of the armed group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as U.S. and Yemeni government officials initially claimed. The report concluded that the attack killed 12 men between the ages of 20 and 65 and wounded 15 others. It cites accounts from survivors, relatives of the dead, local officials and news media reports.

Abdullah Muhammad al-Tisi of Yakla talking:

We were having a traditional marriage ceremony. According to our traditions, the whole tribe has to go to the bride’s tribe. We were in about 12 to 15 cars with 60 to 70 men on board. He had lunch at the bride’s village at Al Abu Saraimah. Then we left to head back to the groom’s village.

A drone was hovering overhead all morning. There were one or two of them. One of the missiles hit the car. The car was totally burned. Four other cars were also struck. When we stopped, we heard the drone fire. Blood was everywhere, and the people killed and injured were scattered everywhere. The area was full of blood, dead bodies and injured people. I was injured. I saw the missile hit the vehicle behind the car my son was driving.

It was my own car. I went there to check on my son. I found his body thrown from the car. I turned him over, and he was dead. He was already dead.

I didn’t see any al-Qaeda militants in the procession, and no one from the area is a member of al-Qaeda. The Yemeni government gave us 100 Kalashnikovs and 34 million Yemeni rials, nearly $159,000 U.S., according to tribal tradition. According to tribal tradition, this alone is an admission of guilt, and the money was an admission of guilt. The money was for the burial of the dead and the treatment of the injured. The U.S. government made a big mistake. They killed innocent people. This was a serious crime. They turned many kids into orphans, many wives into widows. Many were killed, and many others were injured, although everyone was innocent.

Letta Tayler talking:

What we found is that this strike on a wedding convoy in Yemen killed 12 people, injured 15, including the bride, who received a superficial face wound. And we have serious concerns that the strike not only may have violated international law, but also flies in the face of President Obama’s policies on targeted killings. The president has said the U.S. does not strike unless it has near certainty that no civilians were killed, yet the evidence strongly suggests that at least some of those killed in this strike, and possibly all of them, were civilians.

there are a mind-boggling array of on, off and on-the-record comments about this strike, which really underscores the urgent need for the United States to come clean on what exactly happened. I researched this strike in Yemen. This is my seventh or eighth trip to Yemen in recent years, many of those trips to look at this particular issue of targeted killings. I met with relatives and family members there, as well as government officials, academics, journalists and so forth. The most compelling testimony, of course, was from the family members—as you’ve seen in the video, men holding tattered ID cards of their loved ones, in some cases the only remaining item that they had of these people who died, and saying to me, “Explain to me, explain to me why did the U.S. kill my son, why did the U.S. kill my nephew.” Even the—even the son of the groom from a previous marriage was killed in this strike. And these Yemenis deserve answers from the United States as to what happened.

The U.S. has responded to my report in a fashion that I find disappointing and disconcerting. We are getting more of the same obfuscation. We’re getting more off-the-record comments to media that, yes, this strike did hit, that the targets of the strike were militants. But where is the evidence? Show us the proof. Show us the findings of your reports. If indeed militants were killed, let us judge the facts. Let us see if you’re complying with law and with your own policy.

Shawqi al-Badani. He was not among the 12 names that were given to me, the 12 bodies that were identified by relatives as well as other media in Yemen. And indeed, the relatives I spoke to said they never heard of this man.

Jeremy Scahill talking:

when there’s these strikes and civilians are killed, the Obama administration has stated that they do a review, that they do an investigation. And indeed, these anonymous officials have been saying to major media outlets that they did an internal investigation and that the Department of Defense determined that the individuals that were killed were in fact legitimate combatants. And yet, those reports are never made public.

In the cases that I’ve investigated in Yemen, one of which was the al-Majalah bombing that you referenced, it was the first time that we know of that President Obama authorized a military-style attack inside of Yemen. And that wasn’t a drone attack; it was actually a cruise missile attack. And it killed three dozen—more than three dozen people, the overwhelming majority of whom were women and children. There supposedly was an internal investigation into that, and yet the White House won’t release it. The Pentagon will not release these investigations that they do. In the case of the drone bombings of Anwar Awlaki, an American citizen, and then his 16-year-old son two weeks later in a separate drone strike, again they said that there was an internal investigation into the killing of this boy. The findings of it are not released.

And what we’re seeing right now, and we’ve talked about this a lot on the show, boils down to the Obama administration trying to wage what it perceives—what it believes is, you know, pre-emptive war or preventative strikes, where they’re killing people that they think may one day pose a threat, or they may have picked up chatter that they’ve been discussing some kind of a plot. And there’s no—not even a sort of vague idea that we should have any kind of a law enforcement approach to the crime of terrorism anymore. They’re just zapping people, you know, in acts of precrime. The idea of judicial process or legal process has been replaced by the National Security Agency tracking the metadata of individuals in various countries, building profiles of where—what telephones are in contact with other telephones, where particular SIM cards have been physically or geographically. And then you have a secret process in the White House on these so-called Terror Tuesday meetings where officials essentially condemn the users of these SIM cards or phones to death, and then President Obama signs off, and the drone serves as the executioner. That’s basically the judicial process that the U.S. now offers to people who are actually not even accused of the crime of terrorism, just perceived by the White House to be involved with it.

Letta Tayler talking:

Obama said, “We’re targeting those who want to get us, not those they hide among.” There is one theory about this December 12th strike on the wedding convoy, that members of AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based group, may have infiltrated the convoy. If this is true—and I have no idea that it is; we have no evidence one way or the other that AQAP was actually in this convoy, but let’s assume for the moment that this might be correct—that shielding—it’s called human shielding—for AQAP to go into the convoy, would not excuse or exonerate the—excuse the—would not give the United States the right to attack that convoy. The United States as an attacking force always has to distinguish between civilians and combatants. And by combatants, I mean lawful targets. We have a lot of questions as to whether many of the people being killed who the U.S. considers militants are actually lawful targets. So, even if AQAP was hiding among these forces, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that that strike was lawful.

the implications of this report are first that we’re still operating in a vast accountability vacuum. The United States is saying, “Trust us,” yet they’re not giving us any information that would allow us to trust them. And this sets a very—not only does this mean that the U.S. may well be violating international law and President Obama’s own policy, but it sets a very dangerous precedent for countries around the world. I don’t find it surprising that journalists from Russia and China call us, frequently, when we come out with a report like this, because there are many leaders in many countries who are very happy to see the U.S. pave the way for taking out people without any justification, anytime, anywhere, and simply calling them terrorists or threats to national security.

Jeremy Scahill talking:

Congress is almost entirely asleep at the wheel when it comes to oversight or raising serious questions about the drone program or the assassination policy in general. I mean, the most vocal critics of this program, who have raised some of the essential questions, are people like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who on many issues really sounds like a raving lunatic, but on this particular issue, when he filibustered the nomination of John Brennan, who really was the drone czar of the Obama administration’s first term, Rand Paul read into the congressional record human rights reports, media reports about civilians killed. It was the first time that there was discussion on the floor of the U.S. Senate of American citizens potentially being targeted for assassination in these drone strikes.

But, you know, polls indicate that a solid percentage of self-identified liberal Democrats support the White House on this, and that’s in part due to the fact that President Obama has projected—and it really boils down to propaganda—that this is somehow a cleaner way of waging war. I think also, politically, many Democrats would be opposing these policies or raising serious questions if their guy wasn’t in the White House. If McCain or Mitt Romney had won those elections, I think we would see a more robust discussion in Congress on this.

But President Obama said in his major address, and then his administration has released papers saying that among the standards is not just that mere certainty that civilians will not be killed, but also that the individuals that they’re targeting represent an imminent threat and that they—and that capture is not feasible. And I think that those two factors in this should also be investigated, because I don’t believe that the majority of the people that are killed in these drone strikes are engaged in an imminent plot that’s going to harm America’s national security or American interests, even as broadly as the Obama administration defines it.

I mean, we really—this should be brought up at an international level, because the U.S., as Letta says, is setting a standard. There are some 80 countries in the world that have weaponized drone technology. It’s just a matter of time before a Russia or a China says, “You know what? America does this. We have the right to do it, too,” and they start doing drone attacks to take out dissidents or people that they perceive to be terrorists.

Every nation around the world now claims that it’s in a war against terrorism. I was just in Egypt, where the U.S.-backed dictatorship of General Sisi is in power, and there are huge posters all over Egypt that talk about how the Egyptian government is in a war against terrorism. It’s really a cooptation of this Bush-Cheney idea, that Obama unfortunately has continued, that if you just label your enemies as terrorists, you can justify doing anything to them and justify denying them of any basic rights. You can’t surrender to a drone, and you can’t turn yourself in when you haven’t been charged with a crime. To what authority do you surrender?

— source democracynow.org

Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of the TheIntercept.org, a new digital magazine published by First Look Media. He is also the producer and writer of the documentary film Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, and also the author of the book by the same name. The film was nominated for an Academy Award.

Letta Tayler, senior researcher on terrorism/counterterrorism at Human Rights Watch. She is author of the report, “A Wedding That Became a Funeral: US Drone Attack on Marriage Procession in Yemen.”

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Carbon footprint of meat

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Jews Stage Massive Anti-War Protests In Tel Aviv, New York and Elsewhere

A huge anti-war protest is being held tonight by Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv:

(Jews and Palestinians have been holding anti-war protests throughout Israel, but the mainstream media has refused to cover them.)

Jews also protested the Gaza war in New York City yesterday:

Anti-war protests have also been held in other cities throughout the world.

Indeed, many Jews oppose Israeli treatment of the Palestinians

— source globalresearch.ca

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