Tuesday, May 13, 2008

All We Are Saying is Give Peace Your Pants

Americans who had known the reason for WWII called for conservative patriotism, conformity, and haircuts as even greater numbers of young Americans and Vietnamese were being slaughtered in our senseless Southeast Asian war. Dead bodies were strewn across the nightly news because freedom of the press was not squashed by executive order. Peter Arnett's famous editorial quote, "It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it," helped drive home a need for an end to the folly of death.

Thirty-eight years ago this month, the Kent State slaughter killed four students wounding nine others. Hundreds of campuses closed due to angry student strikes and protests. The youthful innocence that had been drafted to kill overseas was at war with the American establishment. Every college and high school campus resonated with student strikes, dissent, and chants for peace now. Young America flexed its muscle with fortitude in a single-minded cause even as thousands and thousands of their numbers were being drafted to kill the enemy. It was no more tumultuous than today's Iraq war, but since there is no draft, today only a few are hitting the streets.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono's week-long honeymoon bed-in produced the infamous plea to "give peace a chance." The world has yet to follow that sensible call, although at Christmastime we hypocritically wish it upon civilization. The free spirited rebels abhorred mendacity. Sixties' youth practiced a sexual, societal, and cultural openness that celebrated their free spirit honestly instead of constraining them with a life lived with lies and half-truths.

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Kazakhstan's nuclear ambitions

Ambition #1: To become the world's largest uranium producer by 2010

Currently, Kazakhstan is the world's third largest uranium exporter--after Australia and Canada. At 1.5 million metric tons, it holds roughly 19 percent of the world's uranium reserves. More than 50 percent of Kazakh reserves are suitable for extraction by in-situ leaching, a cheap and environmentally friendly method compared to extracting uranium from open pits or deep shaft mines. In 2007, the country produced 6,637 metric tons and is projected to produce 9,445 metric tons this year. The country is gearing up to produce 18,700 metric tons of uranium annually by 2015 and 27,000 metric tons by 2025. (See "Uranium Production in Kazakhstan in 2007.")

Although Goldman Sachs JBWere projects that the country will become the world's second largest uranium producer by 2011, Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan's state-run energy company that oversees all uranium production, plans to become the world's largest a year earlier. Kazatomprom bases this forecast on the increased production capability that 16 new mines in southern Kazakhstan will provide.1 With world uranium consumption projected to be 117,193 metric tons by 2030, Kazakhstan is expecting quite a financial windfall (in Russian).

Ambition #2: To become a significant supplier of nuclear fuel

Kazakhstan plans to maintain its integrated full fuel cycle with Russia, but also does not want to depend exclusively on its northern neighbor for nuclear fuel production.

As of now, all initial stages of uranium mining and milling into yellowcake are carried out in Kazakhstan; the yellowcake is then transported to Russia for gasification and enrichment. The next stage of producing fuel pellets is carried out in Kazakhstan, while the final production of fuel rods takes place in Russia. Joint projects between the two countries include construction of a gas centrifuge enrichment plant (with the first phase to be completed by 2011) next to existing Russian facilities in Angarsk, Siberia. The new enrichment facility, which Kazatomprom has a 50 percent stake in, will produce 5 million separative work units (SWU) annually by 2013 or about 757,863 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.2 It will be a technological "black box" for Kazatomprom's specialists, meaning they won't have access to enrichment technology per se but will be able to enrich uranium, adding to the value of the country's exports.3 Kazatomprom President Moukhtar Dzhakishev has said his company would continue to contract the sensitive stage of enrichment to Russia to alleviate proliferation concerns. Kazakhstan will have priority for buying SWU from the Angarsk plant, while Russia will have priority access to 6,000 metric tons of raw Kazakh uranium--enough to cover Russia's current nuclear power plants plus two new planned reactors.

The International Uranium Enrichment Center (IUEC), also at Angarsk, is another important Russian-Kazakh collaboration that will provide countries without fuel-cycle capacity access to nuclear fuel. It began operating in September 2007 and currently pairs Russia's Techsnabexport, the export arm of Moscow's nuclear complex, with Kazatomprom--although Techsnabexport possesses a much larger stake (90 percent total) in IUEC. The distribution of ownership will change as new IUEC members acquire some of Russia's share. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Ukraine; Armenia is in the process of joining; and Mongolia and South Korea have expressed strong interest, according to a statement by Rosatom, Russia's atomic energy agency. Fuel production is planned to start by late 2008.

But Kazakhstan isn't relying solely on its partnership with Russia. It is actively pursuing deals with other countries. Cameco, a Canadian company, is studying the feasibility of building a uranium oxide to uranium hexafluoride conversion facility at Ust-Kamenogorsk in northeastern Kazakhstan, which, if completed, will allow one more stage of fuel fabrication (conversion into gas) to occur inside Kazakhstan.

Japan's entrance into the Kazakh uranium market was solidified in October 2007 when Kazatomprom acquired 10 percent of Westinghouse Electric Corporation from Toshiba for $540 million. As a result, Westinghouse gained access to Kazakh uranium and potentially more fuel fabrication capacity; in return, Kazatomprom gained access to the world nuclear fuel market. Toshiba-Westinghouse Electric will become Kazatomprom's technical partner in the production of fuel assemblies. Construction of a fuel assembly production facility at Ust-Kamenogorsk will be completed in 2011 or 2012 and will allow Kazakhstan to produce the final product (fuel assemblies). (See April 2007 Kazatomprom press release.) It is expected to increase Kazakhstan's 1 percent share of Japan's uranium market to 30 or 40 percent by 2010, making it one of Japan's largest suppliers. According to Kazatomprom's Dzhakishev, annual uranium sales to Japan will rise to 4,000 metric tons by 2010. In April 2007, 150 Japanese government and private sector representatives visited Astana, the Kazakh capital, and signed 24 bilateral trade deals, including the purchase of a stake in a Kazatomprom uranium mine by Marubeni Corporation. In addition, Toshiba pledged to help Kazakhstan build nuclear power plants, and the Japanese delegation agreed to provide Kazakhstan with technological assistance for processing uranium fuel and building reactors.4

Kazakhstan's cooperation with China also grew last year. In May 2007, Kazatomprom and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) concluded a deal to produce nuclear fuel for China's developing nuclear power sector. Four months later, Kazatomprom, CGNPG, and the China National Nuclear Corporation agreed to establish a joint mining venture to exploit Kazakh uranium deposits. All natural uranium mined by the venture will be delivered to China in the form of nuclear fuel. According to Dzhakishev, Kazatomprom will start supplying fuel pellets and yellowcake to Beijing in two years and start selling nuclear fuel by 2013, bypassing China's traditional fuel suppliers such as Areva, a French company. Kazatomprom and China are discussing plans to work together on fuel assembly production in the future.5

But despite these attempts to expand its nuclear partners, Kazakhstan will remain dependent on Russian enrichment facilities for the foreseeable future, even after two more stages of the fuel cycle--processing uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride and production of fuel assemblies--become possible domestically.

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Red State Update: The last Democratic debate, we hope to God

Humanity's last rage

As a very young (23) reporter, I was assigned to cover and interpret the events of 1968 as they touched Britain. It was assumed, I suppose, that since I had recently been a student I was best placed to make sense of a phenomenon that baffled the older generation, and particularly liberals and leftists. "What do the students really want?" editors asked. To which the only honest answer was that they wanted to tear everything down and start again, preferably with a new model of humankind. This wasn't a conventional uprising with demands for more food, more elections or more time off. The students weren't concerned with the means of pro duction only, but also, as one of their gurus, Ernst Bloch, put it, with "the power of love and of light".

In the eyes of the '68ers, state socialism in the east and representative democracy in the west had both failed. Both were corrupt, authoritarian, militarised and bureaucratic. Liberal intellectuals - all professors were "cretins", observed On the Poverty of Student Life, a key text for the French and German students - and revolutionary socialists were equally guilty of hypocrisy and betrayal. Only six years earlier, the world had faced nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban missile crisis. When leaders of the world's most powerful nations could calmly contemplate the annihilation of civilisation, it didn't seem unreasonable to propose the destruction of everything that had led to this prospect.

The '68ers acknowledged that western democracy seemed preferable to the eastern alternative. But it was, they argued, a cruel illusion.

Workers in the west were seduced by what another guru, the German philosopher Herbert Marcuse, called "repressive tolerance". Freedom of speech, Marcuse wrote, "was granted even to the radical enemies of society, provided they did not make the transition from word to deed, from speech to action". Free election of masters had not abolished the masters or the slaves and, if there was greater material equality, it hid continuing inequalities of power and control, which were enhanced by technology. Nor had mass prosperity abolished alienation. Work was still controlled by impersonal, inhumane forces, its routines and purposes determined from above.

Moreover, capitalism had extended control beyond the workplace into private life and even into humanity's soul. It was transforming reality. The workers' passivity was guaranteed by what Guy Debord, a leading light in the situationist movement, termed "the society of the spectacle", a mighty machine based on advertising, fashion, film, television and the press. "Waves of enthusiasm for particular products," observed Debord, "are propagated by all the communications media. A film sparks a fashion craze; a magazine publicises night spots which in turn spin off different lines of products." Faddish gadgets proliferated so that absurdity itself became a commodity.

"The spectacle," Debord argued, "is the leading product of present-day society . . . The real world is replaced by a selection of images . . . projected above it." For example, the pop ulace was besotted by stars, "spectacular representations of living human beings". By identifying with these "superficial objects", the workers compensated "for the fragmented productive specialisations that they actually live".

Students were being trained as the technicians and manipulators for this flawed society. They, wrote the authors of On the Poverty, would be the "future petty functionaries", the market researchers, media planners, journalists, PRs and personnel officers. As Alexander Cockburn argued in Student Power (the best introduction to what drove the British student movement), they were learning "techniques of domination", which they had first to practise on themselves without being allowed "to rumble the whole game". Mass higher education was another cunning ploy in the capitalist project; what students learned was "profoundly degraded" from the old high-bourgeois culture. "The modern economic system," declared On the Poverty, "requires a mass production of uneducated students who have been rendered incapable of thinking."

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Spirit of 1968 is invoked on streets of Sarkozy's France to demand stability

Music blared, drums beat a menacing rhythm and protesters stood behind banners proclaiming their opposition to President Sarkozy on May Day marches in Paris this week.

Leaning on a roadside railing, Adrien Derain sought to motivate his comrades with a slogan scrawled on a piece of cardboard hung around his neck. "Mai '68, Mai 2008". It was a call to arms in a society permanently on the edge of conflict – an invitation to the next round in the centuries old fight between les autorités and les contestataires.

As students such as Mr Derain listed their grievances – threats to teaching staff, unemployment and concerns over pensions – they emphasised the gulf that separates today's France from the riots of 40 years ago.

Then, the country exploded in search of a better future. Now, instead of revolution, demonstrators want pragmatism and stability – to stop things from getting worse. "This has nothing to do with May 1968," the 17-year-old said. "We're in a different world." That may explain why France has embraced the anniversary of the greatest upheaval in its contemporary history with such awe and nostalgia.

[ ... ]

If French politics stayed the same, society underwent changes that affected schools, culture, families and sexuality. Marcel Gauchet, a philosopher, said that France had yet to grasp the extent of "the immense anthropological mutation" set in motion by May '68. For the first time the nation that emerged from the rebellion was no longer organised to ensure its own reproduction, he said. "This really was a revolution – but not the one they thought they would provoke."

Detractors say that the consequences have been disastrous – divorce, drugs, crime and a general breakdown in social cohesion amid the pursuit of individual happiness. Mr Sarkozy was virulent in his criticism, pledging to "liquidate the legacy" of the uprising during his election campaign last year.

He is in a minority. According to a recent poll 80 per cent of French people think that May '68 had a positive influence on relationships between men and women. More than three quarters would join the students on the barricades if it happened again.

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'May ‘68: France's politics of memory' by Patrice de Beer

France is approaching a potent anniversary in a strange mood. The student riots of May 1968 radically shook an arch-conservative society and came near to toppling then-president Charles de Gaulle - as well as inspiring students in Europe, the United States and Japan to emulate Paris's "example". It is natural, then, that the fortieth anniversary is being vigorously commemorated; more than 100 books have already been published in France to coincide with the sparking date of les événements (22 March 1968), and dozens of TV and radio programmes are on the way around the moment (3 May) when the student uprising effectively began.

At the same time, this festival of memory (which will coincide with another, significantly less noisy one - the fiftieth anniversary of the referendum endorsing the fifth republic) is confined mostly to the media and intellectual class. The normally voluble President Nicolas Sarkozy (who said during the election campaign in 2007 that "May 68's heritage must be liquidated once and for all") has since kept quiet. More important, the French "people" themselves - in whose name so many of the 1968 protests were launched and speeches were delivered - appear uninterested.

True, the actual anniversary has yet to arrive and there will no doubt be a moment when the 1968 commemoration becomes "real" to more than the familiar commentators on the French political scene. But at present, insofar as the French seek release from their economic and social worries, it is in a new film rather than old events. Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Ch'tis) has broken box-office records in a matter of weeks, with over 17 million viewers. The title may need some translation (Ch'tis is a nickname for people living in France's far north), but the imaginative transformation it achieves will be familiar to those who have seen The Full Monty - as the stereotype of a cold, depressed, post-industrial wilderness inhabited by people with bad teeth and broken lives is stripped away to reveal a spirit of solidarity, human warmth, resilience and friendship.

But this smash-hit film's comic pleasures are closer to the heart of the '68 phenomenon than might be thought. The deeper chord struck by Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis is in a celebration of human bonds amid today's ruthless capitalism, just as May '68 was also a protest by the young against the alienating boredom of an authoritarian and "blocked" society. Julie Coudry, the (possibly departing) president of the Confédération Etudiante, has made the point that in 1968, students (and striking workers) opposed to the ordre établi sought new forms of participation and communication; while in 2008, people are fearful of all-powerful globalisation yet also anxious to play their part in the reform of an (again) blocked society where a new generation of young people (again) has little say.

The May explosion

It is useful to recall what actually happened in those distant "May days" - not least to clear things up with myself, as I was in Asia for he whole of 1968-69, and it took me years to reconnect with friends who had been on the barricades around Paris's Sorbonne.

Les événements began on 22 March with a small protest in the suburban campus of Nanterre University, led by lecturer Alain Geismar and students Jacques Sauvageot and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (a French-German intellectual firebrand, whom the media soon anointed "Danny the Red"). The flame quickly spread to campuses already aroused by groups campaigning against the Vietnam war and eager to mobilise against a conservative, hierarchical, immobile - and old - society. The wave then spread to the factories, where workers staged the biggest (9 million were involved) and longest (almost a month) general strike in French history.

Charles de Gaulle recovered from the establishment's initial alarm to appeal to those afraid by the disorder and "mess" by calling elections - which he won handsomely. So the student-worker "insurgency" ended in short-term political defeat. But France - a country so afraid of change that reforms are usually resisted until things get so bad that a big shake-up becomes unavoidable - was culturally blown off its feet, and de Gaulle's premature resignation in 1969 was only one sign of the mouvement''s deeper impact.

The debate about the meaning and significance of the May events is dominated by those who were "there" physically or culturally - among them Daniel Cohn-Bendit, notwithstanding the argument encapsulated in the title of his new book, Forget 68 (Editions de l'Aube). If his wish is being ignored, it is not because the student "heroes" of the Paris streets still relish their faded glory; few do, and in any case, the 20- or 30-something children of les soixante-huitards often see their parents as bobos (bourgeois bohemians) whose legacy is more an economic mess, a pile of debts and a bankrupt political system than a cultural triumph.

Rather, the figure who has kept the debate alive beyond the closed circle of intellectuals has been Nicolas Sarkozy himself, who before his more recent reserve on the topic had artfully used May '68 to arouse the resentments of elderly and far-right voters. On 29 April 2007 he said that "the heirs of May '68 had imposed their views - that everything carried the same value, that there was no more any difference between good and evil, true and false, the beautiful and the ugly. They tried to make us believe there was no difference between pupils and teachers (...) that victims were less worthy than criminals (...) that there were no more values or hierarchies (...) See how the religion of money, of short-term profit, speculation, the failings of financial capitalism have been carried by the values of May '68" (see "Sarkozy attacks 'immoral' heritage of 1968", Daily Telegraph, 1 May 2007)

The wily identification of May '68 with excessive individualism, failed morals, and - most brazen of all - financial intoxication and deceit is part of a pattern where the right that emerged in its wake portray soixante-huitards as young careerists who climbed "from the barricades to the limousine". Making such a charge is harder than identifying these elusive creatures; one of them, however, is Patrick Devedjian, now secretary-general of Sarkozy's ruling UMP.

The moralist's revenge

But Nicolas Sarkozy's moralising accusation deserves scrutiny, for it has the merit of focusing on the longer-term impact of May '68. Indeed, many analysts (friend and foe) have said that the president himself - like his socialist rival in the 2007 election, the unmarried mother of four Ségolène Royal - is emblematic of the "children of 1968". The leftist philosopher (and Sarkozy supporter) André Glucksmann says: "He was then only 13 and he does not know how much he owes to the mental and moral revolution of 1968. Without '68, a divorced man, a "mixed blood" [Sarkozy's mother is Jewish] would never have entered the Elysée palace".

"Danny the Red" - now an outspoken Green member of the European parliament - echoes the point in a flavoursome contribution which plays on the sexual connotation of the verb jouir (enjoy): "May '68 is over. One can enjoy what happened then if one wants to. But don't let yourselves be fooled by a frustrated '68er named Sarkozy! He chose a '68 slogan, jouir sans entraves (enjoy without bonds), and he wants to impose on us his daily enjoyments." But Cohn-Bendit - who presented Sarkozy with a copy of his book during a visit to the Elysee palace on 16 April - goes on to say that French society today "has nothing to do with the 1960s", when women needed their husband's permission to open a bank account, were all but forbidden to wear trousers, where birth control was outlawed and homosexuality a crime.

It is true that May '68 made the French more tolerant of their elites' private lives. In 2001, Paris elected its first gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, without any fuss; Sarkozy himself is the first divorced French leader since Napoleon (and is now married for the third time); none of today's politicians would be expect to resign because of an extra-marital affair.

The conservative philosopher and former education minister Luc Ferry even says that, in a society long ruled by old men, it was only the emancipation of young people and of women that made it possible for figures such as Sarkozy or Royal to be candidates for president. "[Sarkozy] is 100% a child of '68 in his way of talking, living, but also in his lack of complexes when talking about his private life", Ferry concludes.

The end of nostalgia

The argument, then, is that after 1968 the cunning of history was at work. The Paris barricades nurtured a wave of individualism that freed minds, aspirations and libidos. This made it possible to contest the inheritance of 19th-century ideas - including the very communism to which so many of that generation's activists subscribed.

An aspect of this unanticipated process was that the the newly celebrated and confident "self" usurped the old style of collective behaviour. In social and economic life, what Luc Ferry calls the "consumer revolution" came to dominate; in politics, May '68 opened (in Cohn-Bendit's words) a "breach through which swept in all those who wanted to set themselves free from the prevalent self-imposed authoritarianism". It was as if the Maoist slogan "let a hundred flowers bloom" was rewritten by everyone from the bourgeois left to the liberal right to read, "let my own flower bloom"!

In other areas, however, history's cunning is not cunning enough. Sarkozy's repressive policy towards youngsters (especially those of immigrant origin), illegal immigrants, and criminals is far in spirit from another of May '68's key slogans, Il est interdit d'interdire (It is forbidden to forbid). But in this, the illegitimate child of France's most significant social upheaval of the 20th century is in good (or bad) company across much of the "democratic" world.

May 1968 is now history. There is as much reason to commemorate the reigns of French monarchs, the third republic, or the great war of 1914-18. Perhaps by 2018, when the generation that took part is in its 70s, the unending and often sterile intellectual disputes will have given way to a search for historical facts (except, of course, among unreformed leftists forever dedicated to the fantasy of a general strike which would topple capitalism). Between the forgetting and the totem-worship, however, there may be time to remember May 1968 as the last great moment of collective political idealism: when opposition to war, belief in solidarity, celebration of freedom, and the search for new forms of communication and creativity, made it appear that everything was possible. Amid a driven-mad-by-money global society, even a flawed utopia is worth a Mass. After that, it's time to move on.


Rudi Dutschke and the German student movement in 1968

The events of 1968 had a major impact across the world. German activist Volkhard Mosler looks at the movement in West Germany and the politics of its leader Rudi Dutschke

The political storm that broke out across the world 40 years ago affected every part of the globe. But with much of the media focusing on the student protests and mass strikes in France in May 1968, it is possible to miss the significance of some of the other revolts.

West Germany, which was divided from East Germany due to the Cold War, saw major protests that challenged the ruling order. This mass discontent of young people and workers developed throughout the 1960s to explode late in the decade.

In 1959, a survey of students' political views in West Germany found that only 9 percent considered themselves to be committed democrats and that the vast majority would not resist an undemocratic system.

This was not an astonishing discovery. The Labour-like SPD and the Communist Party in West Germany had lost about half of their total membership between 1949 and 1956.

The Conservative CDU won 51 percent of the vote in the 1957 general election. Its leader Konrad Adenauer's main slogan was "All roads of socialism lead to Moscow."

But by 1968 Germany was experiencing a revolutionary tide of youth protests. Its leading force was the SDS, a socialist student organisation. The SDS had been expelled from the SPD in 1961 for "left deviation".

In the early 1960s the SDS had about 600 members in 30 universities, including in West Berlin. When I joined the SDS in 1963 it hardly engaged in any practical activities apart from lectures about Marxism.

But the SDS would grow to about 2,000 members by 1967 while transforming itself into a revolutionary current. This change was partly due to the weakening of anti-Communist ideas in society, the opposition to the US's war in Vietnam and the surprise of an economic recession in 1966.

The first "grand coalition" of the CDU and the SPD, the overcrowding of universities and the reform of higher education all added to the growing disillusionment of young people.

It was also the intervention of a group of left wing students that helped the SDS to turn sharply left.

In 1965 a group of seven originally anarchist students joined the SDS. Rudi Dutschke, who came from East Germany, was one of them.

Rudi and his friends tried to win others to their group inside the SDS. Within three years his influence in the organisation had grown massively.

Some of his friends founded a student commune in 1967 and fell back into cultural politics based on "happenings" and the ideas of sexual liberation advocated by the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich.


But Rudi himself came very close to revolutionary Marxism. By 1966 the SDS had two main factions in its ranks – the older members, known as the traditionalists, and the younger ones with Rudi as their main leader, known as the anti-authoritarians.

Rudi and his supporters were fascinated by the importance of "subjectivity" – the ability of human actions to change the course of history.

In Rudi's view the Marxism of the traditionalists was "one-sided" as it stressed the "objective" factors in history. He wrote that this "liquidated the free will of the individual, the group, the party – everything becomes inevitable. As communism, the classless society, is a decided question, we do not need to be afraid of atomic warfare."

In 1966 the two currents clashed. The leaders of the traditionalists had produced an educational programme.

They argued, "Like the workers who could develop only trade union consciousness by themselves without the teachings of the party, the radical democratic consciousness of the students can only develop towards socialist consciousness by the teaching of the SDS."

According to them socialism could only come through the teaching of the party, not by experience of the class struggle from below.

Reacting to this, Rudi and his followers argued for an orientation on "provocative action". They believed that police brutality would teach students more about the nature of the state than reading books about it.

The philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who spoke at mass student meetings in Germany, also influenced Rudi.

Marcuse had written an article in 1965 called "Repressive Tolerance", which was widely read. It argued that the forces of law and order would always protect the established social hierarchy and that "counter-force" was needed to overcome it.

Marcuse concluded, "When the oppressed use force, they will not forge new chains but break the old ones."

Marcuse taught the revolutionary students that the use of counter-force is justified and that those who renounce violence on principle have already succumbed to defeat.

Marcuse called for breaking with the "repressive tolerance" of the rulers. Under this, he argued, the oppressed were allowed to speak freely and even demonstrate "peacefully", but the rulers would still use all means at their disposal to keep them at the bottom of society.

Dutschke's influence was growing in the organisation. In September 1967 he won the support of the majority in the SDS, against the traditionalists' argument that radical action would antagonise the working class and lead to the students' isolation.


When the Shah, Iran's dictator, visited Berlin in June 1967, the SDS organised demonstrations against him. A police bullet killed student Benno Ohnesorg at a protest on 2 June.

This sparked the first general wave of student protests that shook the universities and the big cities.

The philosopher Jürgen Habermas accused Dutschke of "voluntarism" a few days later. He claimed that Dutschke's notion of calculated disturbance to unmask the veiled force of the state was mistaken, as there was not a revolutionary situation in Germany.

Dutschke, he said, was putting the lives of other students at risk.

Rudi answered that organised counter-force would be necessary for protection and that "the accusation of voluntarism gives me honour". He argued that the "objectivity" of Habermas served only to hold back the rising movement.

But Habermas was not completely mistaken in his accusations. The political situation in Germany was not revolutionary. The use of force would be justified when there was an objectively revolutionary situation.

Dutschke and his supporters in the SDS argued that in one sense capitalism was always in a revolutionary situation. They meant by this that there was enough social wealth for a world without hunger and wars for all humankind, if only society was run for our benefit.

This is, of course, correct. But how do these conditions become a situation in which a successful revolution is possible?

In his diary Rudi gives the example of Che Guevara and the guerrilla warfare he undertook in Bolivia.

He said, "Revolutionaries must not just wait for the objective conditions for a revolution. By creating a popular 'armed focus' they can create the objective conditions for a revolution by subjective initiative."


And in a speech to the SDS's conference in September 1967 Rudi stated that the "propaganda of shooting" in the Third World must be combined with the "propaganda of the deed" in Germany.

This brought together the ideas of Che Guevara and the 19th century Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin.

A group of people around the SDS drew the conclusion from this analysis that armed struggle in the form of urban guerrilla warfare was needed to overthrow the system. The Red Army Faction (RAF) of Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhoff developed from this.

Rudi was too much of a revolutionary realist to go along with such adventurism. He argued that to call for the assassination of bosses or ministers would be a mistake as those figures could be easily replaced.

There were other weaknesses in Rudi's interpretation of Marxism. Drawing on Bakunin and the anarchists, he would call his faction in the SDS "anti-authoritarian". Yet this had an ambiguous meaning.

Firstly it meant that the struggle had to be directed against German society at large and a state that was still very much affected by the fascism of the Nazi dictatorship.

But it also meant that all the organising structures of the SDS had to be fought as "authoritarian". By doing this Rudi and his "anti-authoritarian" faction inadvertently helped to destroy the SDS, dissolving it into the movement.

There was another important weakness in Rudi's ideas. Under the influence of Marcuse he had written off the working class of the developed countries as being unable to be the agents of revolutionary change.

According to him, the working class had been bought off by a high standard of living and by the propaganda of the ruling classes and their media.

It was the task of the student vanguard to use the universities as "safety zones and as social bases from where the struggle against the institutions, the struggle for cheap student meals and for state power" could be fought.

There were huge battles in West Germany in 1968. This included the Vietnam-Congress in Berlin in February, which was attended by 5,000 revolutionary students and young workers – I was there with 20 young chemical workers and apprentices.

The young fascist Josef Bachmann shot Rudi in the head in April 1968. After this 50,000 young people blocked the delivery of the Bild newspaper, which had called upon its readers to "eliminate the troublemakers".

A month later there was another wave of university occupations and demonstrations against an emergency law giving a future government all the means to shut down parliament. But again and again police forces won.

The solution to this puzzle was shown by the great mass strike of workers in France in May 1968 that shook the ruling class. It showed the power that workers have to change the world.

Rudi died in 1979 later from the effects of the shooting, which had destroyed large parts of his brain. But millions of people around the world continue to be inspired by the struggles of 1968 that he played such a key role in.

What Happened After the West Forgot its Priorities by Mike Freeman

As I look up the U.S. national debt clock, I cannot help but think of what was warned of by Wendell Phillips: "Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people." I see it has currently ticked up to about $9,360,622,130,417.00- about the sum of all U.S. wars ever combined, which is around $30,800 for every single American, spent on your behalf by your trusty government as fuel for the military-industrial complex. This is going to ultimately cripple the U.S. unless something is done immediately, unfortunately McCain, Obama and Hillary all intend to increase the size of government and government spending in more endless peacekeeping operations wars. Could this perhaps be a sabotage of the dollar to bring in the Soviet/European styled North American Union and the Amero (which is now being minted)? This union would essentially destroy the U.S. Constitution, (the living document that is considered by some to be 'God inspired', which brought about the most free country ever on this planet), and put in place a new constitution/set of laws built around the desires of an oligarchy of unelected elitists (such as in the Soviet and European Unions), and In the larger picture of things, this is one step away from an Asian Union, and then a World Union, with the U.N. as its oppressive army, ready to take on all dissent, and perhaps keep them in the F.E.M.A. concentration camps forced labor centers, already built in the U.S. - led by the ones with the cash.

We continue to labor like dogs, "having our balls in a vice-grip", so to speak (as homelessness and bankruptcy are rising sharply amongst the middle and lower classes as a result), to fund these monsters who plan wars and divides at home and abroad, who plot and instigate the bombings and murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians overseas, and sending many to camps to be held indefinitely without trial and are tortured questioned in the harshest of conditions. Our rights are also under direct attack from our leaders, with privacy drifting further and further away, becoming something of a myth. We are only steps away from total internet censorship regulation & monitorisation, and a national identification system, not unlike those used by both the Nazis and the Communists, to make the individual dependant on the state (checkpoints: "Papers please komrade"). People aren't even waking up to the reality of a microchipping system (RFID) at birth that is being systematically put in place, handfuls of people have already been chipped, and the news is pushing it as the "foolproof way to protect children", when police officers have shown how they and the government deal with children, in one instance Miami-Dade police used a tazer on a 6 year old, who was holding a piece of glass (there were three officers present), and in another incident police tazed a 12 year old truant with 50,000V for running away, even when it's well known that long-term damage and even death can be caused by the shock from a tazer to anyone except a fully-grown healthy man (there are hundreds of cases of people dying as a result of being tazed). How many times throughout history have we seen governments grant themselves more power and then abuse the hell out of it?

One way they avoid accountability is by shifting the power to unaccountable groups such as think tanks. It's utterly unconstitutional, but the Constitution doesn't play a part in their agenda- it hinders them! The Council on Foreign Relations (the ones who stated that they needed a new "Pearl Harbor like" event, to rally support for a new war in the Middle East, in early 2001), the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, and the yearly secret meeting of the elite 'Bilderberg group'; a couple hundred world leaders, royalty, international bankers, media titans and corporate kingpins, all guarded in an emptied 5* hotel by a private security firm who surround the area with snipers and 'officers' with sub-machineguns, spring to mind, they all dictate and influence international policies, conspiring and dealing over all areas; political, commercial and otherwise, behind closed doors.

Pentagon official barred from aiding war-crime prosecution

In a new blow to the Bush administration's troubled military commission system, a military judge has disqualified a Pentagon general who has been centrally involved in overseeing Guantánamo war crimes tribunals from any role in the first case headed for trial.

The judge said the general was too closely aligned with the prosecution, raising questions about whether he could carry out his role with the required neutrality and objectivity.

Military defense lawyers said that although the ruling was limited to one case, they expected the issue to be raised in other cases, potentially delaying prosecutions, including the death-penalty prosecution of six detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in connection with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Critics of the military commission system said Friday that the judge's decision would provide new grounds to attack the system, which they say was set up to win convictions.

The judge, Captain Keith Allred of the U.S. Navy, directed that Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, a senior Pentagon official of the Office of Military Commissions, which runs the war crimes system, have no further role in the first prosecution, scheduled for trial this month.

Hartmann, whose title is legal adviser, has been at the center of a bitter dispute involving the former chief Guantánamo military prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis of the U.S. Air Force. Davis has said the general interfered in the work of the military prosecution office, pushed for secret proceedings and pressed to rely on evidence obtained through waterboarding.

"National attention focused on this dispute has seriously called into question the legal adviser's ability to continue to perform his duties in a neutral and objective manner," the judge wrote in a decision not yet released publicly but obtained by a reporter. Decisions by Guantánamo judges are not typically released publicly until days after being handed down.

Commander Jeffrey Gordon of the U.S. Navy, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on the ruling, saying senior Defense Department officials were reviewing it.

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"Never have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low, for so long, in so many places, so surprisingly"

From: Rise and Fall of Nations by Ben J. Wattenberg

I think the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the most meaningful way of measuring what is going on demographically. It reflects the average total number of children born per woman over the course of her childbearing years. It takes 2.1 children per woman to "replace" a population over time. Sooner or later the two parents die--and the .1 represents those children who do not live to the reproductive age.

Today, the TFR in Western Europe is about 1.6 children per woman. Southern Europe is lower. In Italy, once famous as the land of the bouncing bambino--the rate is about 1.3. Not long ago that was the lowest in the world. Today the TFR as low or lower in Eastern Europe. Japan and South Korea have rates near 1.1 children per woman. China's coercive one-child family policy has left them with a massive demographic shortfall. Who will pay the health and retirement bills when small cohorts of Chinese have to pay for huge numbers of elderly people who need health care and living expenses?

Already more than 25 Less Developed Nations (formerly called "Third World") have TFR below replacement fertility rates. These include Cuba, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Iran, probably Turkey, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and North Korea.

Russia is in a particularly perilous demographic situation. Its TFR is about 1.2 children per woman--but exacerbated by out-migration and low longevity, particularly among men, due to alcoholism. That's not the portrait of a super-power: a fleet of rusting nuclear weapons, a sea of oil--and ever-fewer people.

"Ever-fewer" is the root of the demographic situation. The horror stories about the "population explosion" concerned how population growth moved in a geometric progression. One scientist testified to Congress that if trends continued the radius of the human flesh would expand at the speed of light.

Other alarmists, like Paul Ehrlich had somewhat more modest projections. (My late colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Herbert Stein wisely noted that "a trend that can't continue--won't.")

But when the TFR goes below the replacement level--the depopulation also proceeds geometrically. The Europeans, Russians, Chinese and their East Asian neighbors will have starkly fewer people. India is still above replacement, but on a steep path toward decline--accelerated by female infanticide.

Therefore what? Commercially powerful nations will be less so as markets and workers diminish--unless they accept huge numbers of immigrants from the Muslim world or from Sub-Saharan Africa, a trend depopulating nations resist with passion.

In America, too, there is some resistance to immigration, particularly to illegals. But the United States has thrived on assimilating newcomers--after hating them. Benjamin Franklin denounced German immigrants. The Irish were hated, so were Jews, Italians and Poles. There were immigration laws against certain groups--as in the "Asian Exclusion Acts." But most of the descendants of those immigrants not only became productive citizens, but presidents, corporate innovators and Nobel Prize winners. Today many and grandchildren of the haters now celebrate the American mosaic. The hate du jour has shifted to Mexicans.

Of course, depopulation will not continue indefinitely: According to its leading demographers, Mexico already has a TFR below the replacement level. In theory, if Mexicans keep emigrating and Americans keep buying beachfront condos--the indigenous population of Mexico will disappear and the nation will be composed entirely of rich Yankees.

There are dueling studies about whether the current immigration to America will be economically positive or negative. But none of them can take into account Rudy, the son of my housekeeper. His mom, Iris, arrived in the United States as a teenager, stuffed into the trunk of a car with 15 other people. Rudy is now almost 16. He goes to an excellent public school. He gets fine grades. He speaks English without an accent. He plays fullback on his school's football team. He does not do drugs or smoke. His major complaint is that he can't yet drive a car.

What will Rudy contribute to America? I doubt he will win a Nobel Prize in science. He could become an engineer or the CEO of a corporation. He can surely be the sales manager of an American company with a territory in any Spanish-speaking country. No regression analysis can predict what the Rudys will be worth to America, just as none could foretell the role of immigrant Albert Einstein.

Will this global demographic free-fall continue? To halt it--to reflate fertility in order to re-instate current population levels would require a TFR of 4 to 5 children per woman. That won't happen, certainly not where the dominant mode of residence is the apartment, rather than the American-style free-standing private home.

The central question is: Can global fertility go back up to 2.1 and stabilize at a lower level? I would assume so: I doubt the world will be composed of the descendants of Mormons and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Demographers used to say, wryly "Oh, Latvia is 'going out of business' " or Estonia, or Austria. Today you might include Russia, Italy, Japan and scores of others. I doubt that will happen.

But when will world population restabilize? A few years ago the United Nations ran projections out to the year 2300. There are plenty of scenarios in that remarkable document: The one I thought most realistic showed a total population of just a little more than 2 billion people.

The current global population is about 6.5 billion people. The medium variant projection a few years ago had world population growing to 11.5 billion. The population projections related to global warming were first based on that number and have now been reduced to 10 billion. But recent data shows population will reach about 7.5 billion before beginning a long decline.

A large part of global warming induced by humans depends on how many humans there will be. As the number of humans declines, human-induced greenhouse gas emissions will fall, particularly so as "green" technologies fall into place.


Sarabjit’s Execution may be pardoned: Occult Astrology

From International Reporter :

The denial by Retd. Major General of Pakistan Rashid Qureshi is being considered as official rejection. In this regard our correspondent contacted Occult Astrologywww.occultastrology.com to get the views of their Chief Consultant. As per their astro predictions as made available, the execution of Sarabjit Singh is likely to be pardoned and his punishment may be converted into life imprisonment since his stars are not closer to his death. The comments of Occult Astrology:

" Whether the meeting is held or not, the execution of Sarabjit Singh shall most probably be pardoned or converted into Life Imprisonment, even though his mercy petition was rejected by General Musharraf on March 3 and earlier by Pakistan's Supreme Court in March 2006. His stars do not look to be close to death."

President Pervez Musharraf had deferred the hanging of the Indian national by 30 days so as to enable the Pakistan's new government to review his case following India's appeal for clemency. The execution was originally fixed for April 1.

As per PTI Input Sarabjit's lawyer Rana Abdul Hamid said his case could be considered only by the retired General Musharraf, as the President alone has the power to pardon him.

Rights activist Ansar Burney too said he would file a fresh appeal with General Musharraf as there were several loopholes in the conviction of Sarabjit of involvement in the Lahore blasts in 1990, in which 14 persons were killed.

Hitler and the occult

From The Age :
Based on Ken Anderson's 1995 book of the same name, this aims to show how the Nazi party was originally made up of several occult groups that believed a messiah was on the way to save Germany. Adolf Hitler decided that he was that messiah and somehow persuaded a whole nation to follow him down the road to damnation. How did he do that? Were the reasons economic and social? Or, wait for it, supernatural? It's already well documented that he appropriated Christian symbols - the Spear of Destiny, which supposedly pierced Christ's side on the Cross, and the Holy Grail - for his own purposes. Ditto the swastika, which had religious significance for earlier cultures. And didn't he commit suicide on the night of April 30, also known as Walpurgis, the night of the witches in Germany?

Yoko Ono show revives Lennon’s plea for us all to give peace a chance

"I'M 75 and I'm alive and very thankful to be here every day, and to still be in love with life, and with you" – so began Yoko Ono at the start of her live performance at the Bluecoat last night.

It was 41 years since the avant-garde icon appeared at the very same Liverpool venue, and it had clearly given the artist cause to reflect.

What the audience got was less the "wacky Yoko" of caricature and more an uplifting journey that showed her at her very best.

She started off standing in front of a large screen showing footage of her 1967 Bluecoat performance where she requested the audience wrap her from head to foot in bandages.

Footage of Ono and John Lennon from their "bed-in" days followed; she later danced and wailed along to the video for her song Walking on Thin Ice, and showed a short documentary on her 2004 work Onochord.

When she called the audience up to dance with her to a lengthy remix of Give Peace a Chance, from children to Culture Company head honchos, they didn't need to be asked twice.

This mini-retrospective was clearly a deeply personal show.

It might be considered mawkish to be raking over her life with Lennon in such a way. As it was in Liverpool, it seemed appropriate and completely genuine to share it.

Rights group concerned at mass arrests in Khartoum

Human Rights Watch voiced concern on Tuesday at mass arrests in Khartoum after an attack on Sudan's capital by Darfur rebels and said it feared some people had been tortured or killed.

Authorities were shaken by the attack, the first time fighting had reached the capital in decades of conflict between the traditionally Arab-dominated central government and rebels from far-flung regions in the oil-producing country.

New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the government to quickly try or release those arrested in the aftermath.

"The whereabouts of the majority of those arrested are unknown," it said in a statement.

"Human Rights Watch received unconfirmed reports that some of those arrested have been tortured and that at least two people have been summarily executed in public."

The SUNA state news agency said at least 300 people had been arrested by Sunday, but many more have been arrested since.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said all those connected to the attack by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) would get a fair trial. Darfur rebels took up arms in 2003 complaining of discrimination against the largely non-Arab region.

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Human Rights Lawyers Struggle in Equatorial Guinea

Lawyers in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea say they struggle to make their government uphold human rights, in a country often described as one of the worst abusers of basic freedoms on the continent. VOA's Nico Colombant has more from Malabo.

Lawyer Fabian Nsue Nguema shows a letter written by a woman whose husband he says was detained without any legal protection.

He also has pictures of an opposition activist who he says was recently killed at the Black Beach prison in Malabo.

Authorities say it was a suicide.

But Nguema says that is preposterous. He says there is video surveillance at the prison.

He himself was a prisoner there in 2002 for five and a half months. He was incarcerated for insulting President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been in power since a coup in 1979.

Lawyer Nguema, no relation to the president, calls Equatorial Guinea a criminal state run mostly by greedy illiterates.

He says even though there has been international attention on the problem of human rights in Equatorial Guinea, he thinks the situation is getting worse.

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Uzbekistan: 'Human Rights Watch says returning refugees are beaten and tortured'

Three years after gunning down unarmed protesters in the city of Andijan, Uzbek authorities are still persecuting people they believe are linked to the unrest, an international rights group says in a report released Monday.

Human Rights Watch says returning refugees are beaten and tortured, while their children are ostracized by teachers as the offspring of enemies of the state.

One refugee's father was given a stark warning: Bring your son's family back to Uzbekistan or "you will simply disappear."

The pressure is part of an effort by President Islam Karimov's government "to rewrite history and silence all within the country who might question its version of what happened in Andijan," Human Rights Watch says in the report.

Rights groups and witnesses say that on May 13, 2005, Uzbek government forces opened fire and killed more than 700 people, mostly unarmed protesters in the eastern city. Thousands had been demonstrating after an armed uprising sparked by anger over the trial of local businessmen on Islamic extremism charges.

The Uzbek government says the death toll was 187, however, and attributes all civilian deaths to gunmen.

Karimov's government has rejected Western calls for an international investigation and instead cracked down on dissent. More than 250 people were convicted in what rights groups described as show trials, including rights advocates and opposition activists sentenced to long prison terms for crimes ranging from extortion to embezzlement. Hundreds of people fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere.

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Chaiten volcano: "Two lakes vanished in half a year"

Imagine a cloud of volcanic ash stretching 1800 miles from where you live.

That's the extent of the "vog" (volcanic fog) that has spread from coast to coast of South America from the eruption of the Chaiten volcano in Chile.

It has traveled from the Pacific to the Atlantic – and overland from Chaiten to Buenos Aries in Argentina.

Buenos Aries and its surrounding urban areas houses 11 million people. Above their heads right now, 2000 meters aloft, that toxic cloud is gradually moving toward Uruguay.

[ ... ]

Fourteen years ago 75-year-old Professor Σscar Gonzαlez-Ferrer of the Universidad de Chile wrote "The Atlas of the Chilean Volcanoes," in which he said as a caldera, Chaitien had no ice and the dome could explode at any time.

Asked by the media this week if his warnings were taken into account he said "of course not."

That's to be expected. It happens all over the world. Politicians hate to let the facts spoil a good campaign for votes….votes they want from people who have the same syndrome…ignoring the facts is a universal human ailment.

Leaving that fact aside – Nature itself gives her own warnings, well in advance of such events.

Kristen wrote a newsletter in June last year in which she reported that one of the many lakes around Chaiten volcano literally disappeared overnight. The same thing happened in February this year.

"I was writing newsletters and saying this is not something to take lightly – two lakes vanished in half a year."

And during the last 12 months, in the city of Ayssen in Chile (in the Chaiten region), a volcano began to form in the middle of the city.

"There is no chance in what happens," says Kristen. "It's not that Nature catches you without warning. Always there's a warning, even when a marriage breaks. Warnings come months or years before. Do we take it into account?"

Taken together, these three warnings should have been enough for both politicians and citizens alike to wake up to the fact that some sort of major eruption was imminent. But what did the politicians do? They sent psychiatrists – that's right, shrinks - to Ayssen to calm the people down. ("Stay calm, There's a volcano growing in the middle of your city. Nothing to worry about at all. Stay put. It'll be fine. We've got it under control….").

How far can this eruption of Chaiten and Michimauida go?

"No-one knows," says Kristen. "We only know it is non stop throwing out gas ash stones and pyroclasts. Water is already at ph9 so it's impossible to drink. The countryside is covered in ash."

And she says up to 15 million people from Chile to Buenos Aries are under that ash cloud, a smog of poisonous fumes that can increase blood fluorine levels very rapidly – and death results.

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Courts rule on the literary license of prosecutors

Prosecutors who draw on their professional experiences to write novels and assist screenwriters can breathe a little easier after a pair of rulings issued on Monday by the California Supreme Court.
One decision reversed an appeals court ruling disqualifying a prosecutor who had provided filmmakers with his files in a pending case. The other reversed a similar ruling against a prosecutor who had written a novel whose plot bore similarities to a second pending case.

The case asserting a cinematic conflict of interest involved Jesse James Hollywood, who faces the death penalty for his role in the 2000 kidnapping and murder of a 15-year-old boy. While Mr. Hollywood was a fugitive in Brazil in 2003, Ronald Zonen, a deputy district attorney in Santa Barbara, gave information and documents about him to Nick Cassavetes, a director and screenwriter.

[ ... ]

In Monday's decision, Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, writing for a unanimous court, said Mr. Zonen's actions were "highly inappropriate and disturbing" but did not amount to a conflict of interest likely to result in an unfair trial. The court left open the possibility of disciplinary sanctions.

The second decision also concerned a Santa Barbara prosecutor, Joyce Dudley. In 2006, while preparing for the trial of a man accused of raping an intoxicated woman, Ms. Dudley published a novel concerning the rape of an intoxicated woman. The prosecutor said the resemblance between the fictional case and the real one was coincidental.

Justice Yegan, who also ruled in the appeals court case involving Mr. Zonen, disqualified Ms. Dudley last year. Here again, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the appellate ruling.

Justice Werdegar was a little dismissive of the novel, "Intoxicating Agent," calling it "essentially self-published" and listing its Amazon.com sales ranking as of Monday as No. 1,552,238. But she added that the court's role "is to examine the record for evidence of a disqualifying conflict, not to act as literary critic."


From: California Supreme Court rules for prosecutor who advised filmmakers

When a Santa Barbara County prosecutor decided to give a filmmaker his files on fugitive Jesse James Hollywood, he figured that the publicity might help catch the accused killer.

Instead, the prosecutor's work on the film "Alpha Dog" spurred an appellate court to remove him from the case on the grounds that he participated in "the public vilification" of a man who was to stand trial for an alleged murder that could bring the death penalty.

The California Supreme Court on Monday unanimously decided that the appeals court went too far. The court said Deputy Dist. Atty. Ronald Zonen should have been permitted to stay on the case because a trial judge had not found that his actions endangered the defendant's right to a fair trial.

"That is not to say that Zonen can or should escape censure," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the court. "We find his acknowledged actions in turning over his case files without so much as an attempt to screen them for confidential information highly inappropriate and disturbing."

In three rulings Monday, the state high court overturned decisions that removed prosecutors from cases because of conflicts of interest. One of them involved another Santa Barbara County prosecutor who wrote a novel about a crime similar to one she was about to prosecute.

Citing the desire of many lawyers for notoriety, the court said both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer in a high-profile trial may have an interest in "burnishing his legacy."

"Success in high-profile cases brings acclaim," Werdegar wrote. "It is endemic to such matters."

In such cases, the public must rely on prosecutors to carry out their obligations fairly and justly, Werdegar wrote.

Zonen was not paid for consulting on "Alpha Dog," which was based on Hollywood's alleged kidnapping and alleged murder of Nicholas Markowitz, 15. The prosecution contended that Hollywood was a drug dealer in the San Fernando Valley who ordered Markowitz killed because of a dispute with the boy's older half-brother over drug money.

Zonen had agreed to postpone plans to write a book on the case, the court said, and the defense also had a hand in the movie. Hollywood's father served as a paid consultant, according to the court.

James E. Blatt, Hollywood's lawyer, said Monday's ruling "sends a wrong message to prosecutors and defense attorneys" and may be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is a very troubling decision because you have a prosecutor becoming a consultant, helping develop a screenplay, getting himself on film, obtaining a movie credit and at the same time being allowed to remain on the case," Blatt said.

The state high court also sided with Santa Barbara County Deputy Dist. Atty. Joyce Dudley, who wrote a novel, "Intoxicating Agent," about "a heroine prosecutor's decision whether to try a rape case involving an intoxicated victim," the court said. The book was released months before Dudley was scheduled to try a case with similar allegations.

Massley Harushi Haraguchi, the defendant, won an appeals court ruling that removed Dudley from his prosecution. Haraguchi charged that Dudley's book gave her an incentive to refuse to agree to a plea bargain because a trial would promote her book.

The appeals court ruled for the accused rapist, contending that Dudley's prosecution of a case would be "unseemly."

But the California Supreme Court said that "only an actual likelihood of unfair treatment, not a subjective perception of impropriety" can warrant removal of a prosecutor or a prosecutor's office.

What Came First the Torture or the Criminal Conspiracy to Avoid Prison?

In an LA Times Editorial last week, Scott Horton noted that the infamous torture memos from John Yoo and Jay Baybee may in fact have been written as an after-the-fact excuse to hide War Crimes which were already in progress.

... Yoo's account of how and why the torture memos were crafted may not hold up. Congress is preparing hearings into the subject, and they have invited Yoo to testify. International law scholar Philippe Sands and other writers have punched holes in Yoo's claims about the facts. It increasingly appears that the Bush interrogation program was already being used before Yoo was asked to write an opinion. He may therefore have provided after-the-fact legal cover. That would help explain why Yoo strained to take so many implausible positions in the memos.

So the question needs to be asked, can the President and his chief Principals (Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet and Powell) knowingly commit War Crimes then simply blow it off with a pair of CYA memos?

The question of course is just how illegal did they know it was, and when did they know it?

Horton Continued.

It also appears that government lawyers had told Bush administration officials that some of the techniques already in use were illegal, even criminal. In fact, a senior Pentagon lawyer described to me exchanges he had with Yoo in which he stressed that those using the techniques could face prosecution. Yoo notes in his Pentagon memo that he communicated with the Criminal Division of the Justice Department and got assurances that prosecutions would not be brought. The question becomes, was Yoo giving his best effort at legal analysis, or was he attempting to protect the authors of the program from criminal investigation and prosecution?

We have to note, as mentioned during Congressional Testimony just yesterday by Rep Henry Wexler, that in 2002 FBI agents on the scene nearly arrested the CIA interrogators questioning Abu Zubaydah on the spot.

The videotapes, made in 2002, showed the questioning of two high-level Qaeda detainees, including logistics chief Abu Zubaydah, whose interrogation at a secret cell in Thailand sparked an internal battle within the U.S. intelligence community after FBI agents angrily protested the aggressive methods that were used. In addition to waterboarding, Zubaydah was subjected to sleep deprivation and bombarded with blaring rock music by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. One agent was so offended he threatened to arrest the CIA interrogators, according to two former government officials directly familiar with the dispute.

The videotapes made of these interrogations have since been illegally destroyed.

The initial justification for use of waterboarding and other techniques in all likelyhood did begin long before John Yoo's involvment, and in fact may have begun with a January 25,2002 memo from Alberto Gonzales which openly argued that the President and his administration just might face potential prosecution under 18 USC 2441 (The War Crimes Act) if certain precautions weren't taken, namely - eviscerating the Geneva Conventions.

"It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441 ," Gonzales wrote. The best way to guard against such "unwarranted charges," the White House lawyer concluded, would be for President Bush to stick to his decision--then being strongly challenged by Secretary of State Powell-- to exempt the treatment of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Geneva convention provisions. "Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that (the War Crimes Act) does not apply which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution," Gonzales wrote.

The first problem with this is of course that The President Doesn't Make the Law, Congress does.

The second problem is that the Geneva Conventions have an open catch-all section which indicates that anyone whose status is undetermined are to be considered Covered by the Convention until their status (POW or Civilian Criminal) can be determined by a tribunal.

Geneva Article 5.

Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

The President is NOT a competent tribunal.

The third problem, which was recently raised by John Ashcroft, is that treaties such as Geneva and the UN Convention Against Torture can have "Reservations" attached to it when they are ratified by the Senate. Again, yesterday, as Ashcroft attempted to use this argument to duck and dodge his own culpability in these War Crimes when confronted with them by a student at Knox college, he unwittingly revealed that yet again - Congress has the power to determine what is and isn't the law, not the President.

There was no legal basis in law (or logic for that matter) for Gonzales or President Bush to attempt to exclude the Taliban and Al Qeada from the Geneva Conventions. The only reason they did it was to avoid probable prosecution.

Numbers Racket - Why the economy is worse than we know

The story starts after the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, when high jobless numbers marred the image of Camelot-on-the-Potomac and the new administration appointed a committee to weigh changes. The result, implemented a few years later, was that out-of-work Americans who had stopped looking for jobs—even if this was because none could he found—were labeled "discouraged workers" and excluded from the ranks of the unemployed, where many, if not most, of them had been previously classified. Lyndon Johnson, for his part, was widely rumored to have personally scrutinized and sometimes tweaked Gross National Product numbers before their release; and by the 1969 fiscal year, Johnson had orchestrated a "unified budget" that combined Social Security with the rest of the federal outlays. This innovation allowed the surplus receipts in the former to mask the emerging deficit in the latter.

Richard Nixon, besides continuing the unified budget, developed his own taste for statistical improvement. He proposed albeit unsuccessfully—that the Labor Department, which prepared both seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted unemployment numbers, should just publish whichever number was lower. In a more consequential move, he asked his second Federal Reserve chairman, Arthur Burns, to develop what became an ultimately famous division between "core" inflation and headline inflation. It the Consumer Price Index was calculated by tracking a bundle of prices, so-called core inflation would simply exclude, because of "volatility," categories that happened to he troublesome: at that time, food and energy. Core inflation could he spotlighted when the headline number was embarrassing, as it was in 1973 and 1974. (The economic commentator Barry Ritholtz has joked that core inflation is better called "inflation ex-inflation"—i.e., inflation after the inflation has been excluded.)

I n 1983, under the Reagan Administration, inflation was further finagled when the Bureau of Labor Statistics decided that housing, too, was overstating the Consumer Price Index; the BLS substituted an entirely different "Owner Equivalent Rent" measurement, based on what a homeowner might get for renting his or her house. This methodology, controversial at the time but still in place today, simply sidestepped what was happening in the real world of homeowner costs. Because low inflation encourages low interest rates, which in turn make it much easier to borrow money, the BLS's decision no doubt encouraged, during the late 1980s, the large and often speculative expansion in private debt—much of which involved real estate, and some of which went spectacularly bad between 1989 and 1992 in the savings-and-loan, real estate, and junk-bond scandals. Also, on the unemployment front, as Austan Goolsbee pointed out in his New York Times op-ed, the Reagan Administration further trimmed the number by reclassifying members of the military as "employed" instead of outside the labor force.

The distortional inclinations of the next president, George H.W. Bush, came into focus in 1990, when Michael Boskin, the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, proposed to reorient U.S. economic statistics principally to reduce the measured rate of inflation. His stated grand ambition was to move the calculus away from old industrial-era methodologies toward the emerging services economy and the expanding retail and financial sectors. Skeptics, however, countered that the underlying goal, driven by worry over federal budget deficits, was to reduce the inflation rate in order to reduce federal payments—from interest on the national debt to cost-of-living outlays for government employees, retirees, and Social Security recipients.

It was left to the Clinton Administration to implement these convoluted CPI measurements, which were reiterated in 1996 through a commission headed by Boskin and promoted by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. The Clintonites also extended the Pollyanna Creep of the nation's employment figures. Although expunged from the ranks of the unemployed, discouraged workers had nevertheless been counted in the larger workforce. But in 1994, the Bureau of Labor Statistics redefined the workforce to include only that small percentage of the discouraged who had been seeking work for less than a year. The longer-term discouraged—some 4 million U.S. adults—fell out of the main monthly tally. Some now call them the "hidden unemployed." For its last four years, the Clinton Administration also thinned the monthly household economic sampling by one sixth, from 60,000 to 50,000, and a disproportionate number of the dropped households were in the inner cities; the reduced sample (and a new adjustment formula) is believed to have reduced black unemployment estimates and eased worsening poverty figures.

Despite the present Bush Administration's overall penchant for manipulating data (e.g., Iraq, climate change), it has yet to match its predecessor in economic revisions. In 2002, the administration did, however, for two months fail to publish the Mass Layoff Statistics report, because of its embarrassing nature after the 2001 recession had supposedly ended; it introduced, that same year, an "experimental" new CPI calculation (the C-CPI-U), which shaved another 0.3 percent off the official CPI; and since 2006 it has stopped publishing the M-3 money supply numbers, which captured rising inflationary impetus from bank credit activity. In 2005, Bush proposed, but Congress shunned, a new, narrower historical wage basis for calculating future retiree Social Security benefits.

By late last year, the Gallup Poll reported that public faith in the federal government had sunk below even post-Watergate levels. Whether statistical deceit played any direct role is unclear, but it does seem that citizens have got the right general idea. After forty years of manipulation, more than a few measurements of the U.S. economy have been distorted beyond recognition.

~ more... ~


Miliraty families call on Congress to reject Speaker Pelosi's betrayal of our troops

May 7, 2008; Nationwide -- With the House of Representatives preparing to take up legislation that would fund the continuation of the war in Iraq well into 2009, Military Families Speak Out issued the following statement calling on Members of Congress to reject the House Leadership's strategy supporting the continuation of the war in Iraq.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to implement a strategy that will fund the Iraq war through 2008 and into the first term of the next president, Military Families Speak Out members across the country and on military bases around the world are outraged at this massive betrayal of our loved ones, all of our troops, our families, this nation and the people of Iraq. This strategy is designed to allow Congress to avoid a potentially embarrassing vote in the weeks and months leading up to the election in November, and to prevent a new president from having to ask for war funding in his/her first months in office. It is a cruel maneuver being done on the backs, bodies, and spirits of our troops.

The pain that continuing the war will cause military families, our loved ones, and the people of Iraq is incalculable. Military and Gold Star families know the real cost of this war. We know that more than 4,000 U.S. troops and over one million Iraqi children, women, and men have already died in a war that should never have happened -- and every day this war continues, more will be killed and more will sustain devastating, lifelong physical and psychological injuries. We know that many of our troops are on their third, fourth, fifth and now sixth deployments; and that being sent into combat again and again takes a severe toll on their bodies and their minds. As a result, suicide rates among troops returning from Iraq are sky-rocketing -- with the Director of the National Institute for Mental Health recently suggesting that suicide may be claiming the lives of more troops serving in and returning from Iraq than enemy fire. The lives at stake and the lives that have already been sacrificed are the lives of our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. They are our hearts.

We are angered at this betrayal by Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues who took control of Congress on a promise to end the war in Iraq. We are sick and tired of Congress members who tell us how much they hate this war and then turn around and continue to fund it.

Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional leaders want to sweeten this deadly pill of the war funding by adding money to help more Veterans go to college and toothless provisions calling for a timetable for troop withdrawals that they know President Bush will veto or use signing statements to ignore. None of that changes the fact that a vote for this bill is a vote to continue funding an illegal, immoral, unjust and unjustifiable war. Military Families Speak Out calls on Members of Congress to reject the House Leadership's strategy, oppose any bill that provides funding to continue the war in Iraq, and to support full funding for the safe and swift return of U.S. troops to their home duty stations, and for the care they need when they get home. We remind all in Congress that funding this war is not "funding our troops" – it is killing our troops.


For more information about Military Families Speak Out, please visit www.mfso.org ; for more

information about the chapter Gold Star Families Speak Out see www.gsfso.org


Moratorium Day #9 : May 16, 2008 - 76 Iraq Moratorium Day #9 Events

Austrian and Swiss authorities advise measles vaccination before travelling to the EURO 2008 soccer games

From the second week of March 2008, public health authorities in the province of Salzburg observed an increased number of measles cases compared to previous years. Twenty cases of measles had been were notified Austria-wide in 2007, 24 in 2006, 10 in 2005, and 14 in 2004.

The current outbreak has affected, as of 14 April, 202 people in Austria, 53 in Germany, and four in Norway, bringing the total number of cases related to this outbreak to 259. The initial case series investigation revealed that the common link was attendance of an anthroposophic school and day care centre in Salzburg city. The majority of the pupils were not vaccinated against measles.
[ ... ]

Since the third week of March 2008, the Austrian health authority has put in place a range of outbreak control measures

  • raising awareness in the overall population and encouraging measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake, supported by proactive media releases;
  • dissemination of information to schools and nurseries;
  • closure of the particular school and day care centre for one week;
  • post-exposure prophylaxis for contact persons if appropriate;
  • control of vaccination documents in all persons of the affected institution;
  • access restriction to school for all persons with unclear immune status;
  • closure of the particular school and day care centre for one week;
  • after re-opening of the anthroposophic school, access restriction for pupils other than those vaccinated at least once and those with serologically documented previous infection;
  • offering MMR vaccination free of charge to the population younger than 15 years;
  • and alerting health professionals.
Preliminary results of the outbreak investigation indicate the possible source case – a student from an anthroposophic school in Switzerland who visited the anthroposophic school in Salzburg city with colleagues. That student became ill with measles during their stay in Salzburg on 7 March, a week prior to the primary outbreak case in the anthroposophic school in Salzburg (13 March). Since November 2006, Switzerland is experiencing the largest measles outbreak registered in the country since notification for this disease in 1999.

Recently, ultra-orthodox Jewish communities and travelling communities have been implicated in outbreak of measles. The outbreak described here indicates that the anthroposophic community also is an at-risk group of measles spread, because many parents in this group choose not to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine. Anthroposophy, based on the writings of the mystic and social philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), combines human development with an investigation of the divine spark found in all of nature. The movement has marked education (Waldorf/Steiner schools) and medicine. Anthroposophical doctors emphasise nature-based therapies that support the body's innate healing wisdom. Antibiotics, fever-reducing agents, and vaccinations are used at one's own discretion only.

Although measles has been eliminated or is under control in several EU countries, it is still a public health priority. Organisers of large-scale events attended by international travellers, especially youths, should consider documentation of adequate participant vaccination. In view of the current measles outbreak, Austrian and Swiss authorities advise measles vaccination before travelling to the EURO 2008 soccer games, starting on 7 June, 2008 in Austria and Switzerland.

The current multi-state outbreak of measles once again highlights the need to improve the vaccination coverage in Austria, along with disease surveillance and outbreak-control capabilities. Diligent case investigation of every single measles case is a prerequisite to achieve the goal of measles eradication by 2010, planned by the World Health Organization European Office.

[ Source: Quackwatch.org ]

'W' - The movie trailer

W' the movie is an upcoming surreal satire on the presidency of George W Bush.

At the dawn of the 21st century,
strange things begin to happen when a meteor crashes in the Arizona desert.

A Texas Oil Man discovers the meteor and inside it, his long lost son, W.

With his daddy's help, W steals the presidential election, becoming the 43rd President of the United States.

A world of chaos begins!

After 911, W brings War and with it, suppression of all free thought.

Among those standing up to the new regime are the staff of Issues and Alibis, it's editor, Ernest Stewart and reporter, BlueMahler.

Issues and Alibis, and likewise, all creative thinkers, are a threat to W and the White House becomes the House of Oppression.

But, W's hold on power begins to spiral out of control after the people finally wake up following the disaster of a devastating hurricane and the failure of War.

Have we realized too little too late and are we prepared for the next time a meteor crashes in the Arizona desert?

'W' is an Alfred Eaker motion picture.

Written and produced by Alfred Eaker

Directed by Alfred Eaker and Ross St. Just

A pink and blue films production in association with liberty or death productions.

'featuring the music of DJ MONKEY, Buzz Kimball,Harold Schellinx, Walter Ciancisusi, Vincent Bergeron, Gustav Mahler, Ludwig van Beethoven, Herman Scherchen and more'.

Starring Alfred Eaker, PinkFreud, John M. Bennett,Justin Barnes, Ernest Stewart, Wendy Collin Sorin,Michael Basinski,Ross St. Just and Mike Wratthel.

For more, visit: http://www.wthemovie.com

This movie is copyrighted and the sole property of Pink and Blue Films, LLC.


image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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