Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Radical 60s history

Good reading at Radical Reader

Black Hawk's Surrender Speech, 1832

" ... We looked up to the Great Spirit. We went to our great father. We were encouraged. His great council gave us fair words and big promises, but we got no satisfaction. Things were growing worse. There were no deer in the forest. The oppossum and beaver were fled; the springs were drying up, and our squaws and papooses without victuals to keep them from starving; we called a great council and built a large fire. The spirit of our fathers arose and spoke to us to avenge our wrongs or die.... We set up the war-whoop, and dug up the tomahawk; our knives were ready, and the heart of Black Hawk swelled high in his bosom when he led his warriors to battle. He is satisfied. He will go to the world of spirits contented. He has done his duty. His father will meet him there, and commend him.

Black Hawk is a true Indian, and disdains to cry like a woman. He feels for his wife, his children and friends. But he does not care for himself. He cares for his nation and the Indians. They will suffer. He laments their fate. The white men do not scalp the head; but they do worse-they poison the heart, it is not pure with them. His countrymen will not be scalped, but they will, in a few years, become like the white men, so that you can't trust them, and there must be, as in the white settlements, nearly as many officers as men, to take care of them and keep them in order. ... "

~ From History Is A Weapon ~

The Chocolate Industry's Child Labor Nightmare

Can you live on chocolate alone? Neither can the countless farming families that depend on cocoa for a living.

The six largest cocoa producing countries are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Cameroon. Cocoa has especially significant effects on the economy and the population in these countries. For example, in Ghana, cocoa accounts for 40% of total export revenues, and two million farmers are employed in cocoa production. The Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world's cocoa.

In 2000, a report by the US State Department concluded that in recent years approximately 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in the north of the country. A June 15, 2001 document (PDF 850kb) released by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that trafficking in children is widespread in West Africa. (For ILO definitions of these labor violations, see ILO Convention 182 on Child Labor ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labor.)

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) followed up these reports with an extensive study of cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, directly involving over 4,500 producers. The results were released in August 2002. An estimated 284,000 children are working on cocoa farms in hazardous tasks such as using machetes and applying pesticides and insecticides without the necessary protective equipment. Many of these children work on family farms, the children of cocoa farmers who are so trapped in poverty they have to make the hard choice to keep their children out of school to work. The IITA also reported that about 12,500 children working on cocoa farms had no relatives in the area, a warning sign for trafficking.

These child laborers face arduous work, as cacao pods must be cut from high branches with long-handled machetes, split open, and their beans scooped out. Children who are involved in the worst labor abuses come from countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo -- nations that are even more destitute than the impoverished Ivory Coast. Parents in these countries sell their children to traffickers believing that they will find honest work once they arrive in Ivory Coast and then send their earnings home. But as soon as they are separated from their families, the young boys are made to work for little or nothing. The children work long and hard -- they head into the fields at 6:00 in the morning and often do not finish until 6:30 at night.

" Though he had worked countless days harvesting cocoa pods -- 400 of which are needed to make a pound of chocolate -- Diabate has never tasted the finished product. "I don't know what chocolate is," he told the press.

It is unbelievable and unacceptable that, in the beginning of the 21st century, the children of West Africa are trapped in such desperation and even slave labor.
These children typically lack the opportunity for education, leaving them with no way out of their cycle of poverty. The IITA noted that 66% of child cocoa workers in the Ivory Coast did not attend school. About 64% of children on cocoa farms are under age 14, meaning that the loss of an education comes at an early age for the majority of children on cocoa farms...

~ From The Chocolate Industry: Abusive Child Labor and Poverty Behind the Sweetness ~

Miraculous Messages from Water

" ... From Mr. Emoto's work we are provided with factual evidence, that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music, affect the molecular structure of water, the very same water that comprises over seventy percent of a mature human body and covers the same amount of our planet. Water is the very source of all life on this planet, the quality and integrity are vitally important to all forms of life. The body is very much like a sponge and is composed of trillions of chambers called cells that hold liquid. The quality of our life is directly connected to the quality of our water.
Water is a very malleable substance. Its physical shape easily adapts to whatever environment is present. But its physical appearance is not the only thing that changes, the molecular shape also changes. The energy or vibrations of the environment will change the molecular shape of water. In this sense water not only has the ability to visually reflect the environment but it also molecularly reflects the environment.
Mr. Emoto has been visually documenting these molecular changes in water by means of his photographic techniques. He freezes droplets of water and then examines them under a dark field microscope that has photographic capabilities. His work clearly demonstrates the diversity of the molecular structure of water and the effect of the environment upon the structure of the water. ... "

~ Link ~

Also see: Masatu Emoro's Diary Archive

EU: 'The return of Frankenstein Foods?'

" ... After years of bitter disagreements between member states and European institutions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the Commission has finally decided to hold an unprecedented debate on the future of GMOs in Europe. The president of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has promised that the debate will be the first step before a public discussion involving all EU leaders.

But while the discussion might be public, the huge political and economic pressures applied behind the scenes will be very private indeed. The UK is likely to lead a small pack of pro-GMO countries and biotech industries who will push for markets to open up to these risky products. Over the crucial coming months, Greenpeace will keep a watchful eye to ensure that the GMO debate focuses on the interests of consumers, and not purely on the interests of a few multinational companies.

Claims by industry that GM products are good for the environment and a quick-fix solution to world hunger are extravagantly false. Recent studies have shown that growing GMOs actually increases the use of pesticides, contaminates wildlife and the environment, and has unpredictable and irreversible effects on animal and human health.

[ ... ]

In a telling case last week, EU farm ministers refused to authorise a GM potato known as Amflora. A significant majority of 15 member states opposed the product developed by German chemical company BASF. But because of EU rules, the ultimate decision which will affect half a billion European citizens now rests with the Commission.

The problem with the GM potato is that it contains a gene that confers resistance to certain antibiotics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed in an assessment that this could have serious implications for animal and human health, contradicting previous findings by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Greenpeace flagged this up to the Commission in 2006 and the European Medicines Agency in London was asked for a third opinion. The antibiotics affected by the gene were found to be of “critical importance” for the treatment of illnesses. EFSA finally recognised its mistake in 2007, but failed to reach the logical conclusion and declare that the product was unsafe. ... "

~ Full article ~

Challenging Indian Land Trusts

Across Indian country, two things are never in short supply: rich natural resources and endemic poverty. That paradox is driving a longstanding battle between indigenous people and the government trust that holds money generated from their lands.

The class-action lawsuit, Cobell v. Kempthorne, targets a federal trust fund that handles revenues from activities like oil drilling and logging on land owned by individual Indians and tribes. The trust's financial operations—covering more than 56 million acres and dating back for more than a century—have left a spectacularly messy paper trail. Many beneficiaries say they are in the dark about how much has been paid out and what is still owed, and charge that the system has drained wealth from Indian communities.

“We know that the government collected our money, but it hasn't been paid to us as individual Indian beneficiaries,” says Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Nation member who initiated the suit in 1996 on behalf of several hundred thousand account holders.

The battle is finally drawing to a close. On Jan. 30, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that the trust's finances are beyond salvaging. Calling for a settlement, he denounced the Interior Department's “unrepaired, and irreparable, breach of its fiduciary duty over the last century.”...

~ Read on... ~

"God's work" - Bush Policy in Africa

" ... Consumed by the war on terror, Bush has taken a far different approach. Rather than supporting democratic institutions and criticizing a new generation of African authoritarians, the Bush administration has backed whatever African leader claims to be battling militant Islam. For example, the White House has developed a close relationship with Ethiopia's thuggish leader Meles Zenawi, supposedly an ally in the war on terror and a partner in battling militancy in neighboring Somalia. The administration has provided military aid to Ethiopia with virtually no conditions on the assistance. It has also offered advisers to support Ethiopia's invasion of neighboring Somalia, an invasion which only led to more chaos in that benighted nation. Meanwhile, in recent years Zenawi's government has overseen a massive crackdown on opposition activists and a brutal offensive in the country's Ogaden region; in 2005, after disputed elections, the Ethiopian government arrested over 30,000 of its own people.

As in Ethiopia, so too across the continent. In building a string of counterterrorism allies, the White House has strengthened its links with some of Africa's most brutal regimes, from Algeria to Chad.

At the same time, desperate to wean America off Middle Eastern oil, the administration has courted West African nations with substantial offshore deposits. A worthy goal, but only up to a point. The White House's welcome for Equatorial Guinea tyrant Teodoro Obiang, for one, casts shame on Bush's vow to spread a "freedom agenda" around the world. Though Obiang ranks among Parade magazine's list of the world's worst dictators-- he allegedly oversees prisons that are torture factories and has been accused (rather outlandishly) of eating his rivals--in 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice publicly hosted him at Foggy Bottom, saying, "You are a good friend."

Even on aid to Africa, Bush's claims do not stand up to scrutiny. The president has made foreign aid a priority of his administration, nearly tripling the overall budget for foreign assistance from where it stood in 2000. And many in his administration, like former speechwriter Michael Gerson, as well as aid advocates in Congress, like Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, have increased conservatives' interest in Africa. But the administration has spent much of the aid money on unilaterally created programs that neither learn from existing efforts nor respond effectively to Africans' real needs. ... "

~ From Heart of Darkness ~

Turkey: 'Islamic groups are the ones defending human rights and democratic norms'

Turkey has long been haunted by the spectre of a fascist-tinged nationalism peculiar for a largely Muslim country. The politics of the nationalist Right claim legitimacy and roots in the legacy of Ataturk's Young Turkey movement that united the country under a secular modernizing but authoritarian élite back in the 19th century. The most recent wave of this nationalism gathers around the Grey Wolves youth movement and the Turkish Nationalist Party (MHP). The current leader of the MHP (which re-entered parliament in the 2007 elections) is Devlet Bahçeli, a long-time activist in 'The Great Idealist Cause'. Bahçeli is a leading champion of a return to the death penalty in Turkey, despite the participation of his party in the government that was forced to abolish it under European pressure.

The 'Cause' encompasses the full panoply of what has been traditionally regarded as classic fascist belief – the purity of the blood of the Turkish race, the belief in Turan (a greater Turkish empire which spreads across Asia as far as Xinjiang Province in northwestern China), a sanitized, heroic version of Turkish history that denies the Armenian holocaust and the suppression of the Kurdish minority. It also holds that dissent and democratic rights (particularly Kurdish rights) weaken Turkish civilization.

To realize this programme, the Turkish Right has followed a policy of murder and mayhem against its opponents both in the country and outside it. The main victims have been either Kurds or leftists but the violence is by no means restricted to them. Sympathizers in the military and security apparatus have allowed this policy to be carried out with a degree of impunity, often involving their own personnel in clandestine provocation and killing. After the coup of 1980 the military turned on the MHP, charging 220 of its members with some 694 murders. They were offered leniency, however, if they agreed to restrict their activities to fighting against the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) and the Armenian Secret Army.

We are not talking here about a lunatic fringe of a couple of hundred fanatics. At the time of the 1980 military coup the Grey Wolves were estimated to have 200,000 registered members and a million sympathizers. In recent elections the MHP passed the fairly rigorous 10 per cent threshold of electoral support to re-enter the national stage. Bahçeli ran an unabashedly nationalist campaign based on fierce xenophobic rhetoric and a recognizable fascist hand gesture. In other words, there is a strong base for this authoritarian nationalism amongst sectors of the Turkish people.

The three shots fired into the head and neck of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 outside his Istanbul office provided a stark reminder of the 'permission-giving' atmosphere that the nationalists have been able to create to deal with anyone considered to have 'insulted the nation'. His young assassin claimed Dink had 'insulted Turkish blood'. Dink's was only the latest in a series of murders and lesser threats to suppress an emerging self-critical civil society. Writers and musicians, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, have all come under threat.

The most brutal assaults, however, have been on the Kurds, including a series of 'false-flag attacks' where militants kill and rape in Kurdish towns and villages while pretending to be PKK guerrillas. Such attacks are often in collaboration with security forces. After one 2005 attack on a bookstore in the Kurdish town of Semdinli, two NCOs in the Turkish armed forces were arrested.

The Wolves and the MEP are active in a series of international causes as befits their pan-Turkic ambitions. One, Mehmet Ali Agca, tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. Others have engaged in clandestine action from Cyprus to Chechnya, with special attention to Azerbaijan, where they sided with the forces fighting the Armenians during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Will the electoral avalanche that brought Turkey's Islamic-inspired Justice and Development Party (AKP) back to power earlier this year put an end to the threat of military intervention and the periodic murders that until recently have punctured Turkey's democratic reputation? In an odd alignment of forces, Turkey today is divided between authoritarian secular nationalists, both military and civilian, on the one side and a liberal pro-Europe Islamic government on the other. The Islamic groups are the ones defending human rights and democratic norms, but how far can they go in challenging the nationalists and the military apparatus that supports them? The case against the murderers of Hrant Dink is not encouraging in this respect – several police officers and security officials from the northern city of Trabzon with advanced knowledge of the plot have not been charged. Charges also continue to be brought against those who violate Turkey's notorious section 301 of the penal code which prohibits 'insults against Turkishness'...

~ From Devlet Bahçeli ~

Boycott of Lonely Planet Adds Pressure on Myanmar Regime

People are being urged to stop buying the Lonely Planet guidebooks until BBC Worldwide – the current owner of the travel series – withdraws its guide to Burma. The call comes today as the TUC, Tourism Concern, Burma Campaign UK and the New Internationalist launch an online petition calling on the immediate withdrawal of the Burma edition.

The petition, available online at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Burma-Campaign-Action says that the availability of the Lonely Planet guide to Burma encourages tourists to visit the country, and gives people the impression that such travel can be done in an ethical manner.

The four organisations believe that the Lonely Planet guide helps give legitimacy to the brutal regime, as do the tourists who use it to visit Burma. The online petition highlights the link between mass human rights abuses and the tourism industry in Burma, reminding people that over a million Burmese people have been forcibly removed from their homes to make way for new tourism developments.

Both the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese unions have appealed to tourists of the world not to visit the country while the current military dictatorship remains in power...

~ Read on... ~

True scale of C0v(2)emissions from shipping revealed

The true scale of climate change emissions from shipping is almost three times higher than previously believed, according to a leaked UN study seen by the Guardian.

It calculates that annual emissions from the world's merchant fleet have already reached 1.12bn tonnes of CO₂, or nearly 4.5% of all global emissions of the main greenhouse gas.

The report suggests that shipping emissions - which are not taken into account by European targets for cutting global warming - will become one of the largest single sources of manmade CO₂after cars, housing, agriculture and industry. By comparison, the aviation industry, which has been under heavy pressure to clean up, is responsible for about 650m tonnes of CO₂emissions a year, just over half that from shipping.

Until now, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated shipping emissions to be a maximum 400m tonnes, but the new draft report by a group of international scientists is a more sophisticated measure, using data collected from the oil and shipping industries for the International Maritime Organisation, the UN agency tasked with monitoring pollution from ships. It not only shows emissions are much worse than feared, but warns CO₂emissions are set to rise by a further 30% by 2020...

~ Read on... ~

'So Who Rules America?'

" ... Despite competition among the corporate community and threats of hostile takeovers, there exists a cohesion rooted in a strong class consciousness which derives from profit motives and capitalist class interests. "Through open and direct involvement in policy planning, through participation in political campaigns and elections, and through appointments to key decision-making positions in government" the upper class are able to rule America and influence decisions affecting the bottom 80% of the population. This power stems from their great concentration of wealth which is derived from ownership and control of large income proudcing corporations. As Domhoff states allowing corporate leaders to "invest money where and when they choose; expand, close, or move their factories and offices at a moment's notice; and hire, promote, and fire employees as they see fit. These powers give them a direct influence over the great majority of Americans, who are dependent upon wages and salaries for their incomes. They also give the corporate rich indirect influence over elected and appointed officials, for the growth and stability of a city, state, or the country as a whole can be jeopardized by a lack of business confidence in government." ... "

~ From Who Rules America ~

AFRICOM: Expansion of U.S. military command in Africa

" ... AMY GOODMAN: The reaction on the ground has been mixed. Many in the eastern African country of Tanzania welcomed the $700 million grant in foreign aid President Bush signed Sunday. But some 2,000 Tanzanians also protested his visit and question whether it will bring US military bases closer to African soil.

AFRICOM, the US military command for Africa, was created last year and is based in Germany. Liberia is the only African country that's publicly offered to host AFRICOM. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters Thursday not to expect any major announcements about AFRICOM on this trip. But many anticipate the President's visit is an opportunity to shore up support among African allies for America's strategic and economic interests.

To find out more on this subject, we're joined on the phone from Kingston, Jamaica by veteran Africa analyst, Horace Campbell, professor of political science and African American studies at Syracuse University.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Professor Campbell.

HORACE CAMPBELL: Good morning Amy. How do you do?

Very good. Can you talk about the significance of this five African nation trip?

HORACE CAMPBELL: Yes, this is a sign of the weakness of the President Bush administration. After spending thirty years vilifying the Tanzanian government and trying to remove the policies of Ujamaa by President Julius Nyerere, Tanzania, after the inheritance of Nyerere, is one of the only stable serious countries that United States could go to, because it has a legacy of having a cohesive society. And the government of the United States believed that several hundred million dollars would reinforce the new conservative agenda around those in the political leadership of Tanzania by promoting conservative ideas about market forces, abstinence in the fight against HIV, and bringing the Tanzanian political leadership into the web of conservatism and neoliberalism.

And it's very significant that the major players that the United States considers to be their allies in Africa, such as Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, that the United States would not be welcome in these countries, because the governments of these countries are very, very clear about the way in which this trip is tied to the militarization of Africa and the spread of the AFRICOM.

So the tacticians in the State Department want to undermine countries with progressive legacies, countries such as Tanzania with a legacy of Julius Nyerere, countries such as Ghana, where there is still some legacy of Kwame Nkrumah. But the demonstrations in Tanzania on Friday showed that the African peoples are very aware that this administration of George Bush has been fighting an illegal war in Iraq and is supporting the occupation of Palestine, that African governments cannot support a conservative and neoliberal project that is being promoted in this trip.

AFRICOM, overall, explain its origins, Professor Campbell.

HORACE CAMPBELL: Yes, AFRICOM is called Africa Command. When Africa fought for independence in the 1960s, the United States did not believe that Africans could control their destiny. So the United States left their military efforts in Africa to the European countries. So most of Africa fell under what is called the European Command, based in Germany.

And then, after the Iranian Revolution in 1978, the United States set about establishing what they call the Central Command. The Central Command then had responsibilities for eight countries in Eastern Africa—Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. These countries were brought into Central Command, and it is from Central Command that the United States is launching its illegal and unjust war against the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan.

As a result of the failures in Iraq and because the projection of the United States is that Middle Eastern oil will become more problematic in the next ten to fifteen years, there is a major thrust to control African oil resources. So, while in the past African militarism by the United States was divided into three commands—that is, the European Command for fourteen countries, the Central Command for eight countries, and the Pacific Command that involved Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius—now the United States want to bring all of African countries under the Africa Command, except for Egypt, which would still be under the Central Command.

And under this AFRICOM, all agencies of the United States of America would be under the United States Department of Defense, so that whatever work is being done in Africa by the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Treasury, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Commerce, all agencies, Peace Corps, university work, will come under the US military. In other words, this will be the new step for the militarization of the continent of Africa.

And more—even more serious is the fact that behind this, mercenary firms, like Dyncorp, Blackwater and Lockheed Martin, and the other military contractors will then come in behind the US Department of Defense to set up military contacting organizations to protect US oil companies in Africa.

So the militarization of the African continent is something that those in the peace movement need to pay close attention to. We in the universities, we have to be very sensitive to this, because under the language-training programs, the US is now going to universities all around the United States of America to weave young students into language-training programs for AFRICOM. And it is very essential that universities and those who get grants from the government make very clear statements about their opposition to AFRICOM and the way in which all other agencies are being brought under the Department of Defense. ... "

~ From Analyst: On Africa Visit, Bush Pushes Agenda of Continent-Wide U.S. Military Expansion ~

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Humor from The Onion:

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Congo: Deadliest Conflict Since WWII

" ... AMY GOODMAN: The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is often called the "Forgotten War," even though it's the deadliest since World War II. A new mortality report from the International Rescue Committee says the death rate in the Congo remains as high today as it was during the brutal war that officially ended in 2003. The mortality survey found as many as 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes in the Congo since 1998. A staggering 45,000 people continue to die each month both from the conflict and the related humanitarian crisis, despite the presence of the largest United Nations peacekeeping force and billions of dollars in international aid. ... "

~ From
Corporations Reaping Millions as Congo Suffers Deadliest Conflict Since World War II ~

'Swami Predicts Heart Times Ahead'

" ... Then there's electile dysfunction. Instead of transparency around how votes are cast and counted, we have an apparent trance. The secret ballot has been taken to the next level, and now voting machines with secret software count the votes in secret. This is called “faith-based” vote counting. Hey, some of those new “smart” voting machines are so smart, that they don't even need voters! This makes perfect sense because government of, by and for the people has now been efficiently transformed to government of, by and for the very, very few people. Talk about minority representation. We are now governed by a smaller minority than ever in our history!

Even when we do manage to get an election, the body politic still suffers from impotence. As we learned after the 2006 election, just because we vote for someone doesn't mean they are going to vote for us. Instead of canceling the Iraqi Horror Picture Show, the Democratic misleadership has gone along with the same basic neocon con, only with a cosmetic makeover – sort of a wolfawitz in sheepawitz's clothing.

Though the upwising continues, irony deficiency and truth decay still plague the body politic. Instead of forums that shine light on political issues, the media has encouraged againstums where incendiary phrases spark heated arguments. So, while red tribe Republicans and blue tribe Democrats argue whether it's wronger to kill the born or the unborn, the born keep dying while the not-yet-born are stuck with the bill.

[ ... ]

We need to amplify the love and light to counterbalance the darkness and fear, and that is why we need a nongovernmental Department of Heartland Security to secure the heartland and let the powers in power know in no uncertain terms, “Bigger brotherhood is watching you.” ... "

~ From Swami Beyondananda's 2008 State of the Universe Address ~

" ... In "Matrix" language, they could either choose the Red Pill of painful awareness, or the Blue Pill of blissful ignorance. Those Germans whose conscience and consciousness offered them no choice but to choose the Red Pill realized they were very likely choosing a death sentence. For the Germans who swallowed the Blue Pill, the initial decision was easier. But as the war dragged on and the illusion shattered, they too ultimately had to face the awful truth about the devil’s mission they’d signed on to. While some continued, no doubt, to deny any wrongdoing until the day that they died, others had to live with the sad truth that there had been a "tipping point" which gave the Nazis absolute power -- and that the German people had missed the point.

Fast forward sixty or seventy years from Nazi Germany to Not-See America, and those of us who haven’t swallowed the pill of "American Security Through World Domination" are seeing that tipping point looming on the horizon and coming closer each day. To use a familiar analogy, when you throw a frog into boiling water (please don’t try this at home), he will immediately leap out and save himself. But if you put a frog in room temperature water and bring it to a slow boil, the frog will never sense the increase in temperature ... until he’s cooked. ... "

~ From It’s Time to Face the "Not-See" Menace ~

Did Adolf Hitler draw Disney characters?

The director of a Norwegian museum claimed yesterday to have discovered cartoons drawn by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.

William Hakvaag, the director of a war museum in northern Norway, said he found the drawings hidden in a painting signed "A. Hitler" that he bought at an auction in Germany.

He found coloured cartoons of the characters Bashful and Doc from the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which were signed A.H., and an unsigned sketch of Pinocchio as he appeared in the 1940 Disney film.

Hitler tried to make a living as an artist before his rise to power. While there was no independent confirmation yesterday that the drawings were the work of the Nazi leader, Hitler is known to have owned a copy of Snow White, the classic animated adaptation of a German fairy tale, and to have viewed it in his private cinema...

~ Read on... ~

BAE: secret papers reveal threats from Saudi prince

Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.

The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered an international outcry, with allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties...

~ Read on... ~

'We're bulletproof, Your Honor'

Every  now  and  again,  an  event comes along and takes our breath  away
by reminding us just how far out of step the legal system can be with
today's changing world. The latest example is last week's attempt by  a
federal  judge  in  California to shutter Wikileaks, a website  devoted to
disclosing confidential information that exposes unethical behavior.

Almost  a  week  after  US  District Judge Jeffrey White unequivocally
ordered  the disabling of the guerrilla outfit, it remains up, and its
foot soldiers are as defiant as ever. More to the point, it continues to
host internal documents purporting to prove that a bank located in the
Cayman Islands engaged in money laundering and tax evasion - the same
documents that landed it in hot water in the first place.

It remains doubtful that Wikileaks will ever be shut down. That's because
the site is hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based outfit that provides highly
secure, no-questions-asked hosting services to its customers. It has
almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its
own logs.

Oh yeah, PRQ is also run by Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, two of
the founders of The Pirate Bay, the BitTorrent tracker site that, as a
frequent target of the Hollywood elite, has amassed considerable expertise
in withstanding legal attacks from powerful corporate interests.

Not that attorneys from the Julius Baer Bank and Trust, the bank accused
of the misdeeds, hasn't demanded PRQ disconnect the site...

~ From Wikileaks judge gets Pirate Bay treatment ~

Cocaine Planes - More Connections

Smith and his partner, Florida pilot Clyde O'Connor, purchased the jet, according to a bill of sale, about a week before its cocaine payload unexpectedly hit the ground in Mexico's Yucatan on Sept. 24, 2007. The seller was a Florida company called Donna Blue Aircraft Inc. — which is owned by two Brazilians, one of whom is Joao Malago.

Howard Altman of the Tampa Tribune reported recently that Malago is a business partner in a “green” company called Atlantic Alcohol with an individual named Larry Peters, who owns Skyway Aircraft Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla. Skyway also happens to have sold two planes to Venezuelan buyers in recent years that have since been identified as aircraft that were subsequently used in drug-trafficking operations...

~ From Cocaine Planes Cross Paths with Corporate America's Green Movement ~


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