Once the Atlantic Alliance is shattered, America's lifeline to the world is kaput
Source: By Mike Whitney Information Clearing house.
16/08/08 "ICH" -- - There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali. In fact, there are no military targets at all. It is an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It is also the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery last Thursday, he knew that he would be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway.
There was no "Battle of Tskhinvali"; that's another fiction. A battle implies that there is an opposing force that is resisting or fighting back. That's not the case here. The Georgian army entered the city unopposed; after all, how can unarmed civilians stop armed units. Most of the townspeople had already fled across the border into Russia or hid in their basements while the tanks and armored vehicles rumbled bye firing at anything that moved.
What took place in South Ossetia last Thursday, was not an invasion or a siege; it was a massacre. The people had no way to defend themselves against a fully-equiped modern army. It was a war crime.
In less than 24 hours, the Russian army was deployed to the war zone where it chased the Georgian army away without a fight. Journalist Michael Binyon put it like this, "The attack was short, sharp and deadly---enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic." Indeed, the Georgians left in such haste that many of their weapons were left behind. It was a complete rout; another black-eye for the US and Israeli advisers who trained the clatter of thugs they call the Georgian army. Soon vendors on the streets of Tskhinvali will be hawking weapons that were left behind with a mocking sign: "Georgia Army M-16; Never used, dropped once."
By the time the army was driven out, the downtown area was in engulfed in flames and the bodies of those who had been killed by sniper-fire were strewn along the streets and sidewalks. Many of people who stayed behind were simply too old or infirm to leave. Instead, they huddled in their basements waiting for the shelling to stop. It was a bloodbath. The city's only hospital was deliberately targeted and destroyed; another war crime. By day's end, over 2,000 people were killed in an operation that was clearly engineered with the assistance of the Bush White House. Bush regards Saakashvilli as his main client in the region; they are friends. He is America's cat's paw in the Caucasus. Saakashvilli's assignment is to try to get Putin to overreact militarily and demonstrate to European allies that Russia still poses a threat to their national security. Fortunately, many Europeans see through the ruse and know that the trouble originates in Washington.
For the most part, Americans are still in the dark about what really happened last weekend. There's a great video circulating on the Internet by a Russian citizen that has been living in USA for the last 10 years. He sums up the role of the US media with great precision. He says, "The western media--especially CNN--is feeding you complete horseshit. Russia did not invade Georgia first." The youtube can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c26Q-qxDEA
The coverage of the western media has been abysmal. Nearly every article and TV news segment begins with accusations of Russian aggression concealing the fact that the Georgian Army bombarded and invaded the capital of South Ossetia one full day before the first Russian even tank crossed the border. By the time the Russians arrived, the city was already in a shambles and thousands were dead.
These facts are not in dispute by those who followed the developments as they took place. Now the media is revising the facts to manage public perceptions, just as they did with the fictional WMD in Iraq. Many people think that the media learned its lesson after they were exposed for using bogus information in the lead up to the war in Iraq. But that is not true. The corporate media--especially FOX News, CNN and PBS (the smug, liberal-sounding channel)---continue to operate like the propaganda arm of the Pentagon. Its disgraceful.
In a 2006 referendum, 99% of South Ossetians said they supported independence from Georgia. The voter turnout was 95% and the balloting was monitored by 34 international observers from the west. No one has challenged the results. The province has been under the protection of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers since 1992 and has been a de facto independent state ever since. If Putin applied the same standard as Bush did in Kosovo, he would unilaterally declare South Ossetia independent from Georgia and then thumb his nose at the UN. (Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander) But Putin and newly-elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have taken a conciliatory attitude towards the international community and tried to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. So far, they have conducted themselves with restraint and avoided any confrontation.
Still, Russia's operation in South Ossetia has ignited a firestorm in the US political establishment and Democrats and Republicans alike are demanding that Russia be "taught a lesson". Condoleeza Rice flew to Tbilisi on Friday and ordered Russian combat troops to withdraw from Georgia immediately. Saakashvili topped off Rice's comments by saying that the Russian troops were "cold-blooded killers" and "barbarians". So much for reconciliation.
Saakashvili's hyperbolic rhetoric was followed by a surprise announcement from Poland that they had approved Bush's plans for deploying the Missile Defense Shield in Eastern Europe. The system is supposed to defend Europe from the possibility of attacks from so-called "rogue states" like Iran, but the Kremlin knows that it is intended to neutralize their nuclear arsenal. Political analyst William Engdahl explains the importance of the proposed system in his recent article, "Missile Defense: Washington and Poland just moved the World closer to War":
The new "shield" will be integrated into the larger US nuclear weapons system placing the world's most lethal weapons just a few hundred miles from Russia's capital. It is a clear threat to Russia's national security and it must be opposed at all cost. It is no different than nuclear weapons in Cuba. The timing of the announcement is particularly troubling as it only adds to the tensions between the two superpowers.
It was President Ronald Reagan, the darling of the neoconservatives, who decided to remove short-range nuclear weapons from the European theater. Now, ironically, it is his ideological heir, George W. Bush, who is on track to restart the Cold War by putting a high-tech nuclear system on Russia's perimeter. The younger Bush has already broken his father's commitment to Mikail Gorbachev to never expand NATO beyond Germany. Presently, Bush is pushing to gain NATO membership for two former-Soviet states; Ukraine and Georgia. If they are approved, then any future dispute with Russia will pit the United States and Europe against Moscow. It's no wonder Putin is trying to derail the process.
The Bush administration has been planning for a confrontation with Russia for more than a year. In fact, Raw Story reported on operations that were conducted by the military on July 14, 2008 which were probably a dress rehearsal for the current conflict. According to Raw Story:
So, it appears the Bush administration, working in conjunction with the Pentagon, did have contingency plans for dealing with a flare-up with Georgia. The real question is whether or not they planned to initiate those hostilities to advance their own regional agenda? No one knows for sure.
Now that Georgia's American-trained army has been humiliated in front of the world, Bush is trying desperately to save face by demanding that Russia allow the US Air force to deliver humanitarian aid via C-17 military aircraft to the tens of thousands of Georgians who were displaced in the fighting. It is worth noting that, as yet, Bush has never delivered as much as a bag of rice to the 2 million Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and Syria due to his war in Iraq. Bush's magnanimity is not only suspect, it also creates real problems for Putin who will have to decide whether the offer is sincere or just a ploy to open up the ports and airfields so that more weaponry and ordnance can be delivered. As Barry Grey suggests in his article "Bush Dispatches US Military forces to Georgia" the humanitarian operation could be a scam:
"This is a formula for an injection of US military and naval forces into Georgia of indeterminate scope and duration. It will certainly involve the presence of hundreds if not thousands of uniformed US military personnel on the ground, and a substantial number of warships in the region. The US is introducing this military force into a situation that remains highly unstable and combustible, raising the possibility of a direct military clash between the United States and Russia."
Grey is right, but what choice does Putin have? His task is to avoid a military confrontation with the United States while demonstrating to his Europeon partners that their future lies with Russia not America. That's the real goal. To achieve that, he needs to expose Bush as reckless, petulant, and incapable of being a responsible steward of the global system. Maybe Putin will have to back-down at some point and swallow his pride; it makes no difference. What matters, is the endgame; showing that Russia is strong and dependable and will provide its European allies with oil and natural gas in a businesslike manner. That's the winning hand. Meanwhile, the United States will be forced to take a long-overdue look in the mirror and revisit its strategy for perennial war. Unfortunately, once the Atlantic Alliance is shattered; America's lifeline to the world is kaput.
FOODS or CHEMICAL COCKTAILS
Past Speaker Peter Taubert
How many people would add the following when making a simple Lamington?
Non fat milk solids, Gelatine, Salt, Artificial flavor (typically a petrochemical of some kind). A Humectant (a Sugar alcohol that can change the way the human body absorbs nutrients and drugs).
A Preservative, (that has induced chromosome aberration). Two Vegetable gums, (one a fermented carbohydrate and the other a carbohydrate described as a tumorigen and mutagen). Two Emulsifier’s (both from fatty acids), and finally a dash of Citric acid.
The above ingredients were listed on a label for a packet of Chocolate Lamington Fingers. Not quite the list of ingredients that our Grandparents might have handed down as a prized family recipe!
For breast cancer in females, the highest age-standardised incidence rates occurred in the Australian Capital Territory (126.5 cases per 100,000 females), followed by Queensland (117.1), Western Australia (116.5), South Australia (116.4), Victoria (113.7), New South Wales (112.9), Tasmania (111.1) and the Northern Territory (96.8).
Monday, August 20, 2007 | 11:26 AM ET
China's new effort to promote itself as a safe exporter got off to a rough start this week after more product warnings were issued in New Zealand.
On Sunday, Chinese state television launched a weeklong series of programs aiming to win back consumers and repair the country's image as a safe exporter. The first program, titled Believe in Made in China, featured the head of a quality watchdog criticizing the recent furor over the quality of Chinese exports as "demonizing China's products."
"Personally, I believe it is new trend in trade protectionism. Although recalls are necessary, it is unfair to decide that all products made in China are unqualified," Li Changjiang, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said on the inaugural show.
The programs, which are only available on China Central Television's economic channel, will feature interviews with Chinese producers and officials, as well as foreign buyers and chambers of commerce, CCTV said on its website.
Monday's show, called Back to the Source of Made in China, will focus on exports, including green tea.
The programs are part of a damage-control campaign after numerous recent warnings over toxic and counterfeit products emerging from China. Read more
August 16th 2007
Prime Minister John Howard has presented legislation to the Parliament, authorising the Federal Government to seize control of all of the water of the Murray-Darling Basin from the states, and to put it under a new Federal agency with dictatorial powers. Just before Victorian Premier Steve Bracks and his Water Minister John Thwaites suddenly resigned on Friday, July 27, Bracks charged that Howard's actual intent was to privatise all of the Basin's water. Caught, Howard bellowed that Bracks was "desperate, stupid, inaccurate and just totally wrong."
It is Howard who is desperate. The global financial system is now crashing down, and the financial oligarchy which owns Howard is attempting to grab control over such vital assets as raw materials, food, and water, so as to maintain their political power when their paper, and even their banks vaporise. Howard's legislation will give his owners control over the Basin's water for which they will charge whatever they want, and, by bankrupting most of the farmers there, in Australia's food bowl—as this legislation assuredly will—will make us dependent on multinational agribusiness for our food.
US environmental campaigner Erin Brockovich has joined West Australian residents to examine the merits of a court case against mining giant Alcoa.
About 160 Yarloop residents have complained of respiratory problems, skin irritation, sore throats and eyes, extreme fatigue, mental dysfunction, stomach upset, blood noses, cancers and organ failure in the last 11 years.
MONDAY, AUGUST 06, 2007
They claim emissions from Alcoa's Wagerup refinery are causing the ill effects.
Ms Brockovich, whose environmental campaign against a Californian mining company was made famous by Julia Roberts in the Hollywood movie Erin Brockovich, agreed to review the case after receiving an email from a Yarloop resident.
"We think we live in a big world but it's really smaller than you think," Ms Brockovich said.
"Somebody from the area that was sick, from what they believe to be Alcoa, emailed me.
"I was intrigued with her illnesses and concerned at what she was suffering through and recommended one of our toxicologists see her and he did.
"After he did some testing and researching he said 'this is something you should look into.' "
Alcoa has bought some properties around the refinery but real-estate values for the remaining homes in Yarloop have dived in value.
Yarloop resident and Community Alliance for Positive Solutions action group chairman Vince Puccio said residents just wanted a fair go.
"What we are about is not about shutting Alcoa down, it's about accountability and for them to take full responsibility for what they've done," Mr Puccio said.
"It's got nothing to do with shutting it down.
"What we want is a fair go for everybody ... not just for Alcoa."
Simon Morrison, who is acting as Ms Brockovich's Australian lawyer, said it was too early to start talking about dollars or compensation but he was confident the residents had a good case.
"Obviously to look into the case you have to have some sort of case before you start," Mr Morrison said.
"We wouldn't be here if we didn't think there were reasonable prospects in the case.
"It's far too early to start talking dollars.
"What we do know is, something has gone terribly wrong.
"In terms of how much money would compensate these people for what has happened, the short answer is as many dollars as it takes."
Alcoa of Australia later said its Wagerup refinery was the most studied industrial facility in Western Australia and had been deemed safe for employees and neighbouring communities.
"Wagerup refinery meets the most stringent health and environmental standards in the world and will continue to do so when expanded," the company said in a statement.
"Alcoa has nothing to hide and will continue to take a transparent and responsible approach to the public release of scientific information about the refinery.
"As it has done with the community and other stakeholders, Alcoa is happy to brief Ms Brockovich on any matters that may be of interest to her.
More related stories on Alcoa Australia
Alcoa Australia admits cancer dangers
MONDAY, AUGUST 06, 2007
Today is Hiroshima Day. It is the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was followed three days later by the devastation at Nagasaki. As usual, there is a great deal of media coverage asking whether America should formally apologise for the bombings, and whether they can be classified as ‘war crimes’ or ‘crimes against humanity’. Some argue that the horrors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified because they helped to bring the Second World War to an end; others protest that the war was coming to a close anyway. In light of this predictable and unenlightening debate, spiked is republishing an edited version of Mick Hume’s important essay on Hiroshima, which first appeared in Living Marxism in 1995 on the fiftieth anniversary of the A-bombings. Hume places the bombings in their proper historical context - as the final act of a bitter race war in the Pacific. --- Brendan O’Neill.
On the 62nd anniversary of Hiroshima, read Mick Hume's essay on how the dropping of the A-bomb was the final act of a bitter race war in the Pacific.
MONDAY, AUGUST 06, 2007
All movement of animals has been banned in Britain to stop foot and mouth disease spreading while scientists continue their search for the source of an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, broke off his family holiday in response to the outbreak and met scientists working to limit its effects.
Brown said on Monday: "No resources will be spared to get to the bottom of this because we know the future of farming depends on it.''
Brown said inquiries were continuing to pinpoint the cause of the outbreak, but acknowledged the disease strain found in two infected cattle is the same used at a research laboratory about 4km from the scene of the outbreak.
The European Commission has backed Britain's self-imposed export ban.
The spokesman for the European commissioner for argriculture, Philip Tod, said: "The British authorities have informed us that they wish the whole of Great Britain to be treated as a high risk area, as a precaution as I said, to allow them to complete the tracing of animal movements."
July 26, 2007 08:11pm
MEDICAL checks have been offered to children at a Perth primary school after a 12-year-old boy tested positive to tuberculosis.
The West Australian Health Department has announced it is offering screening to 66 children and 10 teachers at Koondoola Primary School's Intensive English Centre, in Perth's north, who may have been in contact with the boy.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Feingold made the announcement during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press yesterday. In the interview, he cast "censure" as a moderate option, given the fact that, according to him, "there's a lot of sentiment in the country...for actually impeaching the President and the Vice President. I think that they have committed impeachable offenses with regard to this terrorist surveillance program and making up their own program. What I am proposing is a moderate course, not tying up the Senate and the House with an impeachment trial, but simply passing resolutions that make sure that the historical record shows the way they have weakened our country, weakened our country militarily and against al Qaeda, and weakened our country's fundamental document, the Constitution."."
Posted Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:02am AEST
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he expects a new UN resolution against Iran to make it toe the line on its nuclear program, while also refusing to rule out military action.
"I firmly believe that the sanctions policy that we are pursuing will work, but I am not one who is going forward to say that we rule out any particular form of action," Mr Brown said at his first press conference as premier.
"But I firmly believe that the sanctions that we are imposing on Iran are sanctions that are having an effect already.
"We are going to have to consider what we do in future, there will probably be a third [UN Security Council] resolution in relation to Iran soon and I believe that that is a way forward that is working and will work.
"Again I appeal to the Iranian authorities to understand the fears that other countries have about the development of a nuclear weapons program."
by CHRISTIAN GYSIN
20th July 2007
TRAF jets were scrambled twice yesterday to intercept Russian aircraft heading for and inside British airspace.
Tornado fighters had already been sent up on Tuesday to meet two bombers approaching Britain from a Russian base in the Arctic Circle.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was "rare and unusual" for three incidents to follow so closely.
The aerial tensions come amid titfortat expulsions of diplomats following the Kremlin's refusal to extradite radiation murder suspect Andrei Lugovoy.
Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said last night he wanted to see a return to "normal relations" with Britain.
Shaun Walker in Moscow and Raymond Whitaker in London report on the power struggles between Russia and Britain
Published: 22 July 2007
By the end of the week, British and Russian officials were united in suggesting that honour had been satisfied on both sides, and that the cycle of provocation and retaliation would go no further. But profound mistrust remains, and there is plenty of potential for more trouble, particularly over Moscow's efforts to punish Boris Berezovsky, the oligarch who grew hugely rich under Boris Yeltsin, but fled to London in 2003 after falling out with his successor, Vladimir Putin.
Melbourne, July 21:
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have admitted the crucial evidence against Indian born doctor Dr Mohammed Haneef, that his mobile phone SIM card was found at the scene of a British car bombing, was wrong.
The Fairfax newspapers quoted AFP sources as saying that it had not been confirmed that the SIM card was found at the scene of the failed Glasgow Airport attack, as prosecutors alleged during the Haneef`s bail hearing.
The revelation has cast fresh doubts over police handling of the Haneef case, news.com.au reported.
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle has said the latest revelations showed that the Howard government`s terror laws were open to political abuse.
"The Greens opposed the terror laws when they were introduced because we were concerned that they were so broad that they could be used politically, Senator Nettle said.
Huge dust storms raging on Mars pose the worst threat yet to Nasa's robot rovers, the US space agency has said.
Dust is starving the rovers of power by blocking out the sunlight needed to charge their batteries.
The six-wheeled, solar-powered rovers Opportunity and Spirit, are operating at two distant sites just south of the Martian equator. A series of dust storms have dogged the rovers for a month, and could continue for several more days, if not weeks.
If the sunlight is further reduced over an extended period, the rovers will not be able to generate enough power to operate or keep themselves warm.
By David McNeill in Kashiwazaki
Published: 21 July 2007
One wonders what the pitch was: building the planet's largest nuclear power plant on one of its most seismically unstable plots of real estate.
Yet, somehow here the plant squats on the outskirts of this town of 93,000 people, a seven-reactor, 8,200 megawatt monster, ringed by roads that are cracked and buckled from this week's deadly earthquake.
Inside, in the seconds after the quake - which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale - struck under the sea just 12 miles away, pipes burst, drums of radioactive waste toppled and monitors stopped working. A fire broke out and burnt for two hours, and 1,200 litres of contaminated water sloshed into the sea.
When Tsunehisa Katsumata, the president of Tokyo Electric (Tepco), the utility giant that runs the plant, surveyed the damage, he reportedly called it "a mess".
Wednesday, the world was a little different. By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact." There hasn't been much media notice of this; the UK's Guardian has an article explaining how the new authority will only be used to go after terrorists.
Risky gay sex is behind Australia's sharp surge in HIV infections, a national study of hospital data has confirmed.
And while NSW has escaped the resurgence, others such as Victoria have been hit hard, according to the report in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The major survey of HIV rates found that 12,313 Australians were infected with the lifetime disease in the 13 years between 1993 and 2006.
The number of new infections dropped 30 per cent in the 1990s and then climbed back to the same high between 2000 and 2006.
By Emma O'Brien
July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Australia may consider signing up to a U.S. accord to promote the recycling of nuclear waste and the expanded use of atomic energy worldwide, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.
The U.S. Department of Energy suggested the two countries update their 1982 nuclear cooperation agreement, Downer told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. today, adding the talks may broach Australian involvement in President George W. Bush's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.
``There is a real possibility that we could build a relationship with America on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership,'' Downer said. The proposed talks ``could lead down that path,'' he said.
Dan Williams in Jerusalem
ISRAELI forces have made preparations to invade the Gaza Strip to stop a guerilla build-up by the Palestinian group Hamas but may have only a limited opportunity to stage such an attack, an army commander has said.
The comments on Thursday came as the US told the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, that he had no authority to tackle political negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as he spent his first full day as special envoy to the Middle East.
The US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, insisted that the US would retain leadership of the "political track" while Mr Blair would work on raising funds for the Palestinians, as well as building their economy and infrastructure.