From Wednesday, December 11, 2002 issue.
U.S. Response: Administration Raises Option of Nuclear Response to WMD
By Bryan Bender
Global Security Newswire
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration this morning published the first national strategy on combating the threat of weapons of mass destruction, signaling to terrorist groups and hostile states in the strongest language yet that the United States would retaliate with nuclear weapons if attacked with nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological weapons.
The National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, drafted by the National Security Council and White House Office of Homeland Security, lays out a three-pronged strategy for countering what is described as “one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States” (see GSN, Sept. 9).
The strategy calls for the development of new military and civilian capabilities to defeat WMD-armed adversaries, the strengthening of nonproliferation treaties and arms control regimes, and preparations to reduce, “to the extent possible,” the potentially catastrophic consequences of a successful WMD attack against the United States or its allies.
The strong language threatening overwhelming U.S. retaliation in response to a WMD attack represents part of the Bush administration’s expanding effort to strengthen the U.S. ability to deter potential adversaries. National security officials believe that the doctrine of deterrence — convincing enemies not to attack for fear of the consequences — was eroded by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“States hostile to the United States and to our friends and allies have demonstrated their willingness to take high risks to achieve their goals, and are aggressively pursuing WMD and their means of delivery as critical tools in this effort,” the strategy states. “As a consequence, we require new methods of deterrence.” In addition to strong military forces as a deterrent, it says, is the need for a “strong declaratory policy.”
“The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force — including through resort to all of our options — to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies,” according to the document.
Such a doctrine, however, requires an enhanced ability to determine the source of a WMD attack quickly and effectively as well as improved means of launching a counterstrike, the strategy adds. “The primary objective of a response is to disrupt an imminent attack or an attack in progress, and eliminate the threat of future attacks,” it says. “As with deterrence and prevention, an effective response requires rapid attribution and robust strike capability.”
The WMD strategy affirms the Bush administration case for pre-emptive measures to prevent a WMD attack in the first place (see GSN, Dec. 5). “This requires capabilities to detect and destroy an adversary’s WMD assets before these weapons are used,” according to the strategy document.
“In addition, robust active and passive defenses and mitigation measures must be in place to enable U.S. military forces and appropriate civilian agencies to accomplish their missions, and to assist friends and allies when WMD are used,” the White House document says.
The six-page document, the first of its kind to be published by Washington, underscores the level of concern at the highest levels of the U.S. government about what Bush calls the “crossroads of radicalism and technology.”
It calls for a “comprehensive strategy to counter this threat in all of its dimensions.”
Nonproliferation treaties and other multilateral regimes — including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, efforts to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Missile Technology Control Regime — will remain a key pillar of U.S. anti-WMD efforts, according to the strategy.
Increasing the Nunn-Lugar program to dismantl
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you BLOG bleed just to know you'r alive
From Wednesday, December 11, 2002 issue.
"One rogue state crisis at a time" says a top WH official.
So at least Iraq is safe and calm, two years later, right ?
Honestly, I cannot understand why intelligent and decent conservatives like the ones I see -rarely- on the message boards are still tying their party's fate to the people who got US into this mess. Do those guys really believe Bush and his staff have a clue ?
Think about it. If he got US into this starting from a budget surplus, 90% approval and most of the world on our side (9/12/01), what will he do the next 4 years, starting with almost $500 trillion in debt, a slow economy, US sharply divided, half of the world hating his (and US) guts and most of our troops deployed already ?
North Korea: Remove IAEA Seals From Nuclear Sites, Pyongyang Says
North Korea called on the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday to remove monitoring equipment and seals from all North Korean nuclear facilities — a move one step closer to fully resuming the country’s nuclear program
In a letter to IAEA Director General, the director general of North Korea’s General Department of Atomic Energy, Ri Je Son, announced that his country would lift a freeze today on its nuclear facilities. Previously, it had agreed to maintain the freeze in exchange for energy assistance under the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States.
“Accordingly, the IAEA is requested to take necessary measures to remove the seals and monitoring cameras on all of our nuclear facilities,” Ri wrote in the letter.
“If the IAEA fails to expeditiously take measures to meet our request, we would like to take necessary measures unilaterally,” Ri wrote (Mike Nartker, Global Security Newswire, Dec. 12).
ElBaradei yesterday called on North Korea to act with restraint, saying it is “essential” that the seals and monitoring equipment remain in place.
The IAEA inspectors currently inside North Korea have not yet been asked to leave, ElBaradei said today on CNN television. “I think this is a good sign,” he added (CNN, Dec. 13).
The call to remove the IAEA equipment from North Korean nuclear facilities indicates that Pyongyang is pursuing “illicit activities,” said L. Gordon Flake, a North Korean expert and director of the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs.
“The dangerous thing about the request to remove the cameras is, it comes pretty close to a clear admission that they are indeed doing illicit activities,” Flake said. “If you’re not doing anything wrong ... why do you care about the cameras?” he added (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 13).
The United States considers the decision to restart nuclear facilities “regrettable,” and is calling on Pyongyang to end its suspected nuclear weapons program, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said yesterday.
“We believe that this announcement really flies in the face of international consensus, that the North Korean regime must fulfill all of its commitments, and in particular dismantle its nuclear weapons program,” McCormack said (Federal News Service transcript, Dec. 12).
Some U.S. officials said that while they are not surprised by North Korea’s decision, it poses a major challenge — albeit one that would be handled after the situation in Iraq had been resolved.
“One rogue state crisis at a time,” a senior White House official said, describing U.S. President George W. Bush’s strategy
THE HOW AND WHY OF THE MAYAN END DATE IN 2012 A.D.
Why did the ancient Mayan or pre-Maya choose December 21st, 2012 A.D., as the end of their Long Count calendar? This article will cover some recent research. Scholars have known for decades that the 13-baktun cycle of the Mayan "Long Count" system of timekeeping was set to end precisely on a winter solstice, and that this system was put in place some 2300 years ago. This amazing fact - that ancient Mesoameri- can skywatchers were able to pinpoint a winter solstice far off into the future - has not been dealt with by Mayanists. And why did they choose the year 2012? One immediately gets the impression that there is a very strange mystery to be confronted here. I will be building upon a clue to this mystery reported by epigrapher Linda Schele in Maya Cosmos (1994). This article is the natural culmination of the research relating to the Mayan Long Count and the precession of the equinoxes...
The precession of the equinoxes, also known as the Platonic Year, is caused by the slow wobbling of the earth's polar axis. Right now this axis roughly points to Polaris, the "Pole Star," but this changes slowly over long periods of time. The earth's wobble causes the position of the seasonal quarters to slowly precess against the background of stars. For example, right now, the winter solstice position is in the constellation of Sagittarius. But 2000 years ago it was in Capricorn. Since then, it has precessed backward almost one full sign. It is generally thought that the Greek astronomer Hipparchus was the first to discover precession around 128 B.C. Yet scholarship indicates that more ancient Old World cultures such as the Egyptians (see Schwaller de Lubicz's book Sacred Science) and Babylonians also knew about the precession.
I have concluded that even cultures with simple horizon astronomy and oral records passed down for a hundred years or so, would notice the slow shifting of the heavens. For example, imagine that you lived in an environment suited for accurately demarcated horizon astronomy. Even if this wasn't the case, you might erect monoliths to sight the horizon position of, most likely, the dawning winter solstice sun. This position in relation to background stars could be accurately preserved in oral verse or wisdom teachings, to be passed down for centuries. Since precession will change this position at the rate of 1 degree every 72 years, within the relatively short time of 100 years or so, a noticeable change will have occurred. The point of this is simple. To early cultures attuned to the subtle movements of the sky, precession would not have been hard to notice.2
The Maya are not generally credited with knowing about the precession of the equinoxes. But considering everything else we know about the amazing sophistication of Mesoamerican astronomy, can we realistically continue to deny them this?
The Sacred Tree
We are still trying to answer these questions: What is so important about the winter solstice of 2012 and, exactly how were calculations made so accurately, considering that precession should make them exceedingly difficult?
If we make a standard horoscope chart for December 21st, 2012 A.D., nothing very unusual appears. In this way I was led astray in my search until Linda Schele provided a clue in the recent book Maya Cosmos. Probably the most exciting breakthrough in this book is her identification of the astronomical meaning of the Mayan Sacred Tree. Drawing from an impressive amount of iconographic evidence, and generously sharing the process by which she arrived at her discovery, the Sacred Tree is found to be none other than the crossing point of the ecliptic with the band of the Milky Way. Indeed, the Milky Way seems to have played an important role in Mayan imagery. For example, an incised bone from 8th century Tikal depicts a long sinking canoe containing various deities. This is a picture of the night sky and the canoe is the Milky Way, sinking below the horizon as the night progresses, and carrying with it deities representing the nearby constellations. The incredible Mayan site of Palenque is filled with Sacred Tree motifs and references to astronomical events. In their book Forest of Kings, Schele and Freidel suggested that the Sacred Tree referred to the ecliptic. Apparently that was only part of the picture, for the Sacred Tree that Pacal ascends in death is more than just the ecliptic, it is the sacred doorway to the underworld. The crossing point of Milky Way and ecliptic is this doorway and represents the sacred source and origin. In the following diagram of the well known sarcophagus carving, notice that the Milky Way tree serves as an extension of Pacal's umbilicus. The umbilicus is a human being's entrance into life, and entrance into death as well:
We may also remember at this point that the tzolkin calendar is said to spring from the Sacred Tree. The Sacred Tree is, in fact, at the center of the entire corpus of Mayan Creation Myths. We should definitely explore the nature of this astronomical feature.
The first question that came up for me was as follows. Since Lord (Ahau) Pacal is, by way of divine kingship, equated with the sun, and he is portrayed "entering" the Sacred Tree on his famous sarcophagus lid, on what day does the sun come around to conjunct the crossing point of ecliptic and Milky Way? This would be an important date. In the pre-dawn skies of this date, the Milky Way would be seen to arch overhead from the region of Polaris (Heart of Sky) and would point right at where the sun rises. This (and the corollary date 6 months later) is the only date when the Sun/Lord could jump from the ecliptic track and travel the Milky Way up and around the vault of heaven to the region of Polaris, there to enter the "Heart of Sky." It should be mentioned that 1300 years ago, during the zenith of Palenque's glory, Polaris was much less an exact "Pole Star" than it is now. Schele demonstrates that it wasn't a Pole Star that the Maya mythologized in this regard, it was the unmarked polar "dark region" symbolizing death and the underworld around which everything was observed to revolve. Life revolves around death - a characteristically Mayan belief. The dates on which the sun conjuncts the "Sacred Tree" are thus very important. These dates will change with precession. Schele doesn't pursue this line of reasoning, however, and doesn't even mention that these dates might be significant. If we go back to 755 A.D., we find that the sun conjuncts the Sacred Tree on December 3rd. I should point out here that the Milky Way is a wide band, and perhaps a 10-day range of dates should be considered.
To start with, however, I use the exact center of the Milky Way band that one finds on star charts, known as the "Galactic Equator" (not to be confused with Galactic Center). Where the Galactic Equator crosses the ecliptic in Sagittarius just happens to be where the dark rift in the Milky Way begins. This is a dark bifurcation in the Milky Way caused by interstellar dust clouds. To observers on earth, it appears as a dark road which begins near the ecliptic and stretches along the Milky Way up towards Polaris. The Maya today are quite aware of this feature; the Quich» Maya call it xibalba be (the "road to Xibalba") and the Chorti Maya call it the "camino de Santiago". In Dennis Tedlock's translation of the Popol Vuh, we find that the ancient Maya called it the "Black Road". The Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque must journey down this road to battle the Lords of Xibalba. (Tedlock 334, 358). Furthermore, what Schele has identified as the Sacred Tree was known to the ancient Quich» simply as "Crossroads."
December 21st, 2012 (18.104.22.168.0 in the Long Count) therefore represents an extremely close conjunction of the winter solstice sun with the crossing point of Galactic Equator and the ecliptic, what the ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. It is critical to understand that the winter solstice sun rarely conjuncts the Sacred Tree. In fact, this is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. What this might mean astrologically, how this might effect the "energy weather" on earth, must be treated as a separate topic.
But I should at least mention in passing that this celestial convergence appears to parallel the accelerating pace of human civilization. It should be noted that because precession is a very slow process, similar astronomical alignments will be evident on the winter solstice dates within perhaps 5 years on either side of 2012. However, the accuracy of the conjunction of 2012 is quite astounding, beyond anything deemed calculable by the ancient Maya, and serves well to represent the perfect mid-point of the process.
The strange fact that it occurs on a winter solstice immediately points us to possible astronomical reasons, but they are not obvious. We also shouldn't forget the often mentioned fact that the 13-baktun cycle of some 5125 years is roughly 1/5th of a precessional cycle. This in itself should have been suggestive of a deeper mystery very early on. Only with the recent identification of the astronomical nature of the Sacred Tree has the puzzle revealed its fullness. And once again we are amazed at the sophistication and vision of the ancient New World astronomers, the decendants of whom still count the days and watch the skies in the remote outbacks of Guatemala.
This essay is not contrived upon sketchy evidence. It basically rests upon two facts:
1) the well known end date of the 13-baktun cycle of the Mayan Long Count, which is December 21st, 2012 A.D. and
2) the astronomical situation on that day. Based upon these two facts alone, the creators of the Long Count knew about and calculated the rate of precession over 2300 years ago. I can conceive of no other conclusion. To explain this away as "coincidence" would only obscure the issue.
For early Mesoamerican skywatchers, the slow approach of the winter solstice sun to the Sacred Tree was seen as a critical process, the culmination of which was surely worthy of being called 22.214.171.124.0, the end of a World Age. The channel would then be open through the winter solstice doorway, up the Sacred Tree, the Xibalba be , to the center of the churning heavens, the Heart of Sky.
By renowned scientist Thomas Gold who describes this as "a major paper, outlining the reasons why an origin from non-biological materials accounts better for the facts, than an origin from buried biomass"
The deposits of hydrocarbons in the crust of the Earth have long been regarded by many investigators as deriving from materials incorporated in the mantle at the time of the Earth's formation. Outgassing processes, active in all geological epochs, then transported the liquids and gases liberated there into porous rocks of the crust. The alternative viewpoint, that biological debris was the source material for all crustal hydrocarbons, gained widespread acceptance when molecules of clearly biological origin were found to be present in most commercial crude oils.
Modern information re-directs attention to the theories of a non-biological, primeval origin. Among this information is the prominence of hydrocarbons—gases, liquids and solids—on many other bodies of the solar system, as well as in interstellar space. Advances in high-pressure thermodynamics have shown that the pressure-temperature regime of the Earth would allow hydrocarbon molecules to be formed and to survive between the surface and a depth of 100 to 300 km. Outgassing from such depth would bring up other gases present in trace amounts in the rocks, thus accounting for the well known association of hydrocarbons with helium. Recent discoveries of the widespread presence of bacterial life at depth point to this as the origin of the biological content of petroleum. The carbon budget of the crust requires an outgassing process to have been active throughout the geologic record, and information from planets and meteorites, as well as from mantle samples, would suggest that methane rather than CO2 could be the major souce of surface carbon. Isotopic fractionation of methane in its migration through rocks is indicated by numerous observations, providing an alternative to biological processes that have been held responsible for such fractionation. Information from deep boreholes in granitic and volcanic rock of Sweden has given support to the theory of the migration of gas and oil from depth, to the occurrence of isotopic fractionation in migration, to an association with helium, and to the presence of microbiology below 4 km depth.
Thomas Gold is also the author of The Deep Hot Biosphere
From the vets who despise the anti war movement an useful treasure trove of anti-war material viewed through the FBI lens.
FBI files on Vietnam Veterans Against the War. This archive contains 21,477 pages of documents received in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, bundled up by the FBI as PDF"
Of course the FBI was biased against the anti war protesters, but those FBI can "cut both ways".
One of the files clears Kerry from charges that he "plotted to assassinate Nixon". (The idea was brought up at a meeting, Kerry voted against it and left the group 3 days after)
VIETNAM WAR VETERAN JOHN KERRY'S TESTIMONY BEFORE THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, APRIL 22, 1971
Editorial Notes by Dr. Ernest Bolt, University of Richmond
Statement of Mr. John Kerry
...I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of the group of 1,000 which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table they would be here and have the same kind of testimony....
WINTER SOLDIER INVESTIGATION
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....
They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
We call this investigation the "Winter Soldier Investigation." The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.
We who have come here to Washington have come here because we f eel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.
FEELINGS OF MEN COMING BACK FROM VIETNAM
...In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart....
WHAT WAS FOUND AND LEARNED IN VIETNAM
We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone on peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Vietcong, North Vietnamese, or American.
We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.
Winds of Change:
I usually don't post a full article but apparently this one has been recently removed from the From the Wilderness site. I wonder why.
Winds of Change:
Troubled Waters Ahead For the Neo Cons
[The Bush-Cheney campaign is racing toward November. But it
isn't only running toward the raw power it loves. It's
running away from the punishment it fears. In this
late-breaking story, FTW's Wayne Madsen maps out the lines
of force in the current Plame and Chalabi scandals, showing
them to be nodes of interpersonal influence and compromise
that may soon crack the administration in half. The neocons'
dark alliance with the right wing of Israeli politics has
brought them enormous power. But it's unstable power,
vulnerable to legal sanction and due process at the right
pressure points. As Watergate proved decades ago, even a
dying legal infrastructure can still throw a few jabs once
in a while - if the CIA wants it to. --JAH]
August 11, 2004 0800 PDT (FTW) - The winds that have favored
the neo-cons and their political and financial masters since
George W. Bush's ascension to power may now be turning
against them at gale force strength. There is a reason why
Richard Perle and his American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
friends, including "Second Lady" Lynne Cheney and former
Reagan National Security Council staffer Michael Ledeen,
were uncomfortable when Iraq con man and Iraqi Governing
Council member Ahmed Chalabi's offices in Baghdad were
raided this past May by Iraqi police, FBI and CIA officers.
The Baghdad money trail may soon lead to Washington, DC. The
sinewy links between the neo-cons, Ariel Sharon's Likud
government, and the Chalabis should be a definite cause for
concern by some Bush administration officials, and
particularly troubling for Mrs. Cheney, who reportedly sits
upon a $125,000 AEI fellowship funded by Likud Party
The Chalabi files recovered by U.S. intelligence and law
enforcement provided enough information for the FBI to begin
a criminal investigation of a Baghdad-Jerusalem-Washington
syndicate that is profiteering from America's misguided
invasion and occupation of Iraq. The investigation led to
shadowy Israeli-owned firms registered in Delaware and
Panama that were fraudulently obtaining contracts and
sub-contracts to provide everything from cellular phones and
VIP security to the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners using
seconded members of Israel's feared Unit 1391 "special
techniques" interrogation center. Not only were these firms
operating in Iraq with the concurrence of the neo-cons in
the Pentagon but some U.S. government officials were
personally benefiting from the contracts.
Peeling apart the Chalabi files demonstrated that the
neo-con agenda for Iraq extended far beyond political
ideology, into a realm where law enforcement can be most
According to Pentagon and Justice Department sources, U.S.
investigators discovered that Ahmad Chalabi and his business
partners were involved in fraudulently obtaining cellular
phone licenses in Iraq. The Pentagon's Undersecretary of
Defense for International Technology Security John (Jack)
Shaw smelled a neo-con rat when the Iraqi Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA), in late 2003, awarded cellular
phone contracts to three companies - Orascom, Atheer, and
Asia-Cell - with ties to Ahmed Chalabi. As with all those
who challenge the impropriety and illegal activities of the
neo-cons, Shaw was, in turn, charged with improperly
steering Iraq cell phone contracts to Qualcomm and Lucent.
However, it is Shaw, reported by his longtime colleagues to
be a solid and trustworthy public servant, who has the
confidence of law enforcement, Pentagon investigators, and
the military brass. Anything with Ahmed Chalabi's
fingerprints on it also bears the fingerprints of his nephew
Salem Chalabi. Salem, named as the chief prosecutor in
Saddam Hussein's trial, is a law partner of L. Marc Zell, a
Jerusalem-based attorney who was the law partner of Douglas
Feith - the head of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans
that concocted phony intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction and ties to Al Qaeda with the assistance of
Likud operatives seconded by Ariel Sharon's government.
The law firm of Feith & Zell, in concert with Perle, was
instrumental in funneling hundreds of millions of dollars
from Arab and Muslim countries to the Bosnian government
during that nation's civil war. While that effort was
ostensibly designed to assist the Bosnians to purchase
weapons, officials familiar with its actual operation
reported that some of the arms and money "spilled over" to
Al Qaeda and Iranian Pasdaran forces in the Balkans.
The neo-con attack on Shaw was predictable considering their
previous attacks on Ambassador Joe Wilson, his wife Valerie
Plame, former U.S. Central Command chief General Anthony
Zinni, former counter-terrorism coordinator Richard Clarke,
former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, CIA
counter-terrorism agent Michael Scheuer (the "anonymous"
author of Imperial Hubris who has recently been gagged by
the Bush administration), fired FBI translator Sibel Edmonds
(who likely discovered a penetration by Israeli and other
intelligence assets using the false flag of the Turkish
American Council and who also has been gagged by the Bush
administration), and all those who took on the global
domination cabal. But Shaw showed incredible moxie. When he
decided to investigate Pentagon Inspector General Reports
that firms tied to Perle and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz were benefiting from windfall profit contracts in
Iraq, Shaw decided to go to Iraq himself to find out what
was going on. When Shaw was denied entry into Iraq by U.S.
military officers (yes, a top level official of the Defense
Department was denied access to Iraq by U.S. military
personnel!), he decided to sneak into the country disguised
as a Halliburton contractor. Using the cover of Cheney's old
company to get the goods on Cheney's friends' illegal
activities was yet another masterful stroke of genius by
Shaw. But it also earned him the wrath of the neo-cons. They
soon leaked a story to the Los Angeles Times claiming that
Shaw actually snuck into Iraq to ensure that Qualcomm (on
whose board sat a friend of Shaw's) was awarded a lucrative
cell network contract.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Shaw, who
worked for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, represented
the Old Guard Republican entity that in August 2003 set up
shop in the Pentagon right under the noses of Rumsfeld,
Wolfowitz, and Feith to investigate the neo-con cabal and
their illegal contract deals. The entity, known as the
International Armament and Technology Trade Directorate, was
soon shut down as a result of neo-con pressure. Not to be
deterred, Shaw continued his investigation of the neo-cons.
Although the neo-cons told the Los Angeles Times that the
FBI was investigating Shaw, the reverse was the case: the
FBI was investigating the neo-cons, particularly Perle and
Wolfowitz, for fraudulent activities involving Iraqi
contracts. And in worse news for the neo-cons: Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld was giving the Inspector General's
and Shaw's investigations a "wink and a nod" of approval.
The financial stakes for the Pentagon are high - the Iraqi
CPA's Inspector General recently revealed that over $1
billion of Iraqi money was missing from the audit books on
Iraqi contracts. For Shaw and the FBI, it was a matter of
what they suspected for many years - that Perle, Wolfowitz,
and their comrades were running entities that ensured
favorable treatment for Israeli activities - whether they
were business opportunities in a U.S.-occupied Arab country
or protecting Israeli spies operating within the U.S.
defense and intelligence establishments.
Shaw certainly must have recalled how, during the Reagan
administration, an Israeli spy named Jonathan Pollard was
able to steal massive amounts of sensitive U.S. intelligence
over a long period of time and hand it over to his Israeli
control officer, a dangerous and deadly agent provocateur
named Rafael "Rafi" Eitan. That had disastrous effects on
U.S. intelligence operations throughout the world because
some of the documents were handed by the Israelis to the
Soviets in return for letting more Soviet Jews emigrate to
Shaw must have also recalled that when a young National
Security Council staffer named Douglas Feith was suspected
of being an Israeli agent of influence, he was stripped of
his job and security clearance by then- National Security
Adviser Bill Clark but soon managed to find another job (and
another top level clearance) under then Deputy Defense
Secretary Richard Perle.
And it was certainly known that during Pollard's subsequent
appeal of his life sentence for spying for Israel, one of
his attorneys was none other than right-wing stalwart and
neo-con friend, Ted Olsen, the former Solicitor General of
the United States under Ashcroft and the person in charge of
all U.S. attorneys. It was from Olsen's cadre of U.S.
Attorneys that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald was
selected to investigate the Valerie Plame / Brewster,
Jennings White House leak to the media and perhaps other
high crimes by neo-con officials of the Bush administration.
Fitzgerald continues to expand his case against the leakers
of Plame's identity. But he may be getting more than he
originally bargained for. As his investigation expanded into
the bowels of the Pentagon, he was bound to discover that
the treachery of the neo-cons was not merely confined to the
leaking of the name of a covert CIA officer - disastrous in
itself - but coupled with other activities that call into
question the loyalties and financial dealings of those who
swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution.
With Ashcroft's deputy, James Comey, the person who
appointed Fitzgerald, finding himself increasingly frozen
out of Ashcroft's inner sanctum deliberations, it is clear
that the neo-cons are worried about what Fitzgerald is
discovering and how far his investigation will go. Also
unusual was the fact that as Fitzgerald's case began to gain
steam - with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney both retaining
criminal defense attorneys - FBI Director Robert Mueller
suddenly transferred the lead FBI agent on the Plame case,
John C. Eckenrode, a well-seasoned 29-year veteran of the
bureau, to head up the FBI's Philadelphia office. An FBI
spokesman in Philadelphia said that such sudden transfers,
in the middle of major investigations, sometimes, just
Make no mistake about it: the violation of the 1982
Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 by the
disclosure of Plame's identity and that of her non-official
cover corporate umbrella organization (Brewster, Jennings &
Associates) along with its official counterpart, the CIA's
Nonproliferation Center - had a disastrous impact on the
ability of the United States to track the proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction around the world. At least one
anonymous star (representing a covert U.S. agent killed
while working abroad) placed on the CIA's Wall of Honor
during the past year was reportedly a direct result of the
disastrous disclosures from Cheney's office. The political
vendettas of the neo-cons in exposing Plame's dangerous work
and retaliating against Wilson's revelations about Bush's
use of bogus intelligence regarding a fanciful Iraqi uranium
shopping spree in Niger ensured that America's
military-intelligence complex was going to seek a final
accounting with the neo-cons. And a final accounting they
are getting, in spades.
Adding insult to injury, neither the CIA nor FBI were happy
that Israeli spies operating under the cover of Israeli "art
students' and moving van operators, and who were picked up
by federal agents and local "first responder" law
enforcement officers before and after 911, were quickly
deported by immigration officers before they could be fully
interrogated. The penetration of FBI and other federal law
enforcement data networks and databases by Israeli software
and telecommunications companies working under U.S.
government contracts has also left a bitter taste in the
mouths of federal law enforcement and intelligence
So now, it is payback time. The recent arrest warrants
issued by the Iraqi government for Ahmed and Salem Chalabi
(Ahmed's for counterfeiting Iraqi dinars and Salem's for
murdering an Iraqi Finance Ministry official) indicates that
Shaw's instincts about the fraud engaged in by them and
their neo-con friends in the Pentagon were right on the
money. Let us ponder that news again: the lead prosecutor
against Saddam Hussein murders an official of the Iraqi
Finance Ministry - an individual that just may have known
something about what happened to $1 billion in missing Iraqi
revenues. The accused is a partner of an Israeli-U.S. lawyer
who is a close colleague of leading neo-cons in the Pentagon
(some of whom are also dual U.S.-Israeli citizens) and the
nephew of a man who was supported bureaucratically by a
former CIA Director (James Woolsey), financially by hundreds
of millions of dollars from the budget of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, and politically by a think tank (AEI)
that includes the wife of the Vice President of the United
States. Uncle Ahmed was also a personal guest of George W.
and Laura Bush in the VIP box at the 2004 State of the Union
address. The President and First Lady welcomed a person who
now is now an accused criminal to America's State of the
Union address, a person whose nephew is now an accused
murderer! John Le Carre could not have come up with a better
international thriller scenario.
The recent decision by the chief judge in the Plame leak to
order NBC's Tim Russert to testify about just who it was at
the White House that contacted him about Plame's identity,
while troubling for First Amendment freedom of the press
protections, is an indication that time is growing short for
the leakers. Three months before a U.S. presidential
election, that could be a crucial windfall for John Kerry
and the Democratic Party.
The neo-cons hoped the focus of the election campaign would
be Saddam Hussein's trial. Instead, it may be the trials of
the Chalabis and potentially other members of the Iraqi
National Congress, the entity that was nurtured by Perle,
Wolfowitz, Feith, and Woolsey. However, the Chalabis escaped
from Iraq before they could be arrested. If they turn up in
the United States or in a member country of the laughable
"coalition of the willing," the Bush administration and the
neo-cons will be caught between a virtual rock and a hard
place. If they refuse to hand over the Chalabis, their true
motives will be on display for the entire world to see. If
they help to turn over the Chalabis, they will be in a
position to rat out their neo-con friends on the fraud
already discovered by Shaw, the IGs of the Pentagon and CPA,
the FBI, and the CIA. The neo-cons should never have
underestimated by the CIA. When the agency came under
attack, its allies were able to marshal all their impressive
resources, including Bush 41 confidants C. Boyden Gray,
Brent Scowcroft, James Baker III and even George H. W. Bush
himself. The conflict between father and son now rivals that
found in any Shakespearean tragedy.
And the penetration of the Pentagon over the past three
years by those with close connections to Likud interests
cannot sit well with either former Reagan Defense Secretary
Caspar Weinberger or former National Security Agency (NSA)
Director and CIA Deputy Director Bobby Ray Inman, who
ordered a severing of U.S. intelligence sharing with Israel
after the Pollard affair and other Israeli penetrations of
NSA signals intelligence programs through joint
Israeli-NSA/CIA communications and satellite intelligence
projects known as DINDI and PYREX, respectively. Those
contracts were eventually canceled after Israeli engineers
used friendly and sympathetic U.S. contract engineers
working for RCA and Bendix Field Engineering to obtain
Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) intelligence on
NSA and CIA operations in the Middle East and around the
world, including technical details of how the NSA
intercepted microwave communications and information on a
classified satellite intelligence system called MAROON
SHIELD. The fact that Ahmed Chalabi, an ally of Pollard's
old friends in the Pentagon, was recently caught passing on
NSA cryptologic intelligence to Iran on the agency's ability
to crack Iranian diplomatic and military codes must have
served as a painful reminder to Weinberger, Inman, and other
U.S. intelligence veterans who remember the duplicity of the
Israelis going as far back as the purposeful 1967 Israeli
attack on the USS Liberty, an NSA surveillance ship. It also
ensured that the Republican Old Guard would continue to
coalesce into a united front to ensure the ultimate routing
of the neo-cons from their party.
There may yet be a silver lining in the mess brought about
by the neo-cons. In addition to possible indictments of
Libby, Wolfowitz, and others for everything ranging from
contract fraud, to disseminating - via an Italian con man
named Rocco Martino (a close confidant of Iran-contra
Manucher Ghorbanifar with whom Ledeen rekindled a
relationship in the lead-up to the Iraq fiasco) - Niger
government documents known to be false, and leaking the name
of a covert CIA agent and her proprietary firm, there may be
a settling of accounts with Israel over the involvement of
it and its agents of influence in the various scams that
prodded the U.S. into a war in Iraq.
Every recent Israeli Prime Minister - Yitzhak Shamir,
Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak,
and Ariel Sharon - have demanded that Pollard be released by
the United States and allowed to go to Israel. And every
American administration - that of Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton,
and up to now - Bush 43 - has refused. But it may be time
for a deal with the Israelis - a deal that would, for once,
favor U.S. national security interests over those of Israel.
As the influence of the neo-cons drastically falls, the idea
of a Cold War-style agent swap is gaining momentum. If
Israel would release the formerly jailed Israeli nuclear
scientist and convert to Christianity Mordechai Vanunu from
a virtual house arrest in Jerusalem, the United States would
release Pollard, who was granted Israeli citizenship after
his imprisonment. Pollard's breaches of U.S. security, while
very serious, have been mitigated by further advances in
U.S. spy satellite and other surveillance technology over
the years. But Vanunu's knowledge could be very helpful to
the United States - so much so that a former Mossad chief
revealed that the Israeli spy agency actually contemplated
assassinating the scientist rather than forcibly kidnapping
him from London.
One caveat on a deal - since when it comes to intelligence
matters, Israel cannot be trusted to deal in good faith -
Vanunu would be released and given a medical examination by
independent American medical personnel before Pollard is
turned over to the Israelis. The U.N. checkpoint in divided
Nicosia, Cyprus might serve as the perfect "Checkpoint
Charlie" for such a swap. Vanunu would be turned over to the
Americans from the Greek side and into the relatively
Israeli-Russian Mafia-free Turkish Northern Cyprus where he
would be examined and given a clean bill of health (meaning
no sudden "heart problems"), after which Pollard would be
handed over to the Israelis on the Greek side.
The United States, after suffering major losses in its
ability to track the proliferation of nuclear weapons
because of the neo-con leaks and disinformation, would have
a new intelligence asset in Vanunu - someone who had inside
information about Israel's illegal acquisition of nuclear
technology for years. Even though he was jailed in 1986,
some of the illegal international nuclear trade networks
operating out of the former U.S.S.R. and Eastern bloc -
which Israel used to its own advantage and as a supply
pipeline to its own Dimona nuclear weapons plant - may yet
yield important intelligence for the CIA's Nonproliferation
Center. Let Valerie Plame, whose more recent expertise in
international nuclear proliferation would complement
Vanunu's prior knowledge of such activities, serve as his
debriefing officer - with a commensurate promotion in rank.
Vanunu may even be useful in the continuing FBI criminal
investigations of Israeli intelligence activities directed
against the United States in the early 1980s - activities
that continue to implicate senior members of the current
Bush administration. In all, such a deal would be a major
win for the national security of the United States.
Wayne Madsen is the author of the forthcoming book: "Jaded
Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops and Brass Plates." He was with the
National Security Agency under the Reagan administration. He
is now a syndicated columnist and Washington,DC-based
A Freeper (reich wing main site) site about the Wintersoldiers
According to them, not all 150 had been very honest about being Vietnam Vets
As its dominant tactic in their battle against the war, the antiwar movement successfully demonized Vietnam veterans by calling a series of "tribunals" or hearings into war crimes. But... they were packed with pretenders and liars.
Article by Dale Allen Pffeifer for From the Wilderness
[Some months ago, concerned by a Paris statement made by Professor Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton regarding his concern about the impact of Peak Oil and Gas on fertilizer production, I tasked FTW's Contributing Editor for Energy, Dale Allen Pfeiffer to start looking into what natural gas shortages would do to fertilizer production costs. His investigation led him to look at the totality of food production in the US. Because the US and Canada feed much of the world, the answers have global implications.
What follows is most certainly the single most frightening article I have ever read and certainly the most alarming piece that FTW has ever published. Even as we have seen CNN, Britain's Independent and Jane's Defence Weekly acknowledge the reality of Peak Oil and Gas within the last week, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted, we are also seeing how little real thinking has been devoted to the host of crises certain to follow; at least in terms of publicly accessible thinking.
The following article is so serious in its implications that I have taken the unusual step of underlining some of its key findings. I did that with the intent that the reader treat each underlined passage as a separate and incredibly important fact. Each one of these facts should be read and digested separately to assimilate its importance. I found myself reading one fact and then getting up and walking away until I could come back and (un)comfortably read to the next.
All told, Dale Allen Pfeiffer's research and reporting confirms the worst of FTW's suspicions about the consequences of Peak Oil, and it poses serious questions about what to do next. Not the least of these is why, in a presidential election year, none of the candidates has even acknowledged the problem. Thus far, it is clear that solutions for these questions, perhaps the most important ones facing mankind, will by necessity be found by private individuals and communities, independently of outside or governmental help. Whether the real search for answers comes now, or as the crisis becomes unavoidable, depends solely on us. – MCR]
October 3 , 2003, 1200 PDT, (FTW) -- Human beings (like all other animals) draw their energy from the food they eat. Until the last century, all of the food energy available on this planet was derived from the sun through photosynthesis. Either you ate plants or you ate animals that fed on plants, but the energy in your food was ultimately derived from the sun.
It would have been absurd to think that we would one day run out of sunshine. No, sunshine was an abundant, renewable resource, and the process of photosynthesis fed all life on this planet. It also set a limit on the amount of food that could be generated at any one time, and therefore placed a limit upon population growth. Solar energy has a limited rate of flow into this planet. To increase your food production, you had to increase the acreage under cultivation, and displace your competitors. There was no other way to increase the amount of energy available for food production. Human population grew by displacing everything else and appropriating more and more of the available solar energy.
The need to expand agricultural production was one of the motive causes behind most of the wars in recorded history, along with expansion of the energy base (and agricultural production is truly an essential portion of the energy base). And when Europeans could no longer expand cultivation, they began the task of conquering the world. Explorers were followed by conquistadors and traders and settlers. The declared reasons for expansion may have been trade, avarice, empire or simply curiosity, but at its base, it was all about the expansion of agricultural productivity. Wherever explorers and conquistadors traveled, they may have carried off loot, but they left plantations. And settlers toiled to clear land and establish their own homestead. This conquest and expansion went on until there was no place left for further expansion. Certainly, to this day, landowners and farmers fight to claim still more land for agricultural productivity, but they are fighting over crumbs. Today, virtually all of the productive land on this planet is being exploited by agriculture. What remains unused is too steep, too wet, too dry or lacking in soil nutrients.1
Just when agricultural output could expand no more by increasing acreage, new innovations made possible a more thorough exploitation of the acreage already available. The process of “pest” displacement and appropriation for agriculture accelerated with the industrial revolution as the mechanization of agriculture hastened the clearing and tilling of land and augmented the amount of farmland which could be tended by one person. With every increase in food production, the human population grew apace.
At present, nearly 40% of all land-based photosynthetic capability has been appropriated by human beings.2 In the United States we divert more than half of the energy captured by photosynthesis.3 We have taken over all the prime real estate on this planet. The rest of nature is forced to make due with what is left. Plainly, this is one of the major factors in species extinctions and in ecosystem stress.
The Green Revolution
In the 1950s and 1960s, agriculture underwent a drastic transformation commonly referred to as the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution resulted in the industrialization of agriculture. Part of the advance resulted from new hybrid food plants, leading to more productive food crops. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%.4 That is a tremendous increase in the amount of food energy available for human consumption. This additional energy did not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.
The Green Revolution increased the energy flow to agriculture by an average of 50 times the energy input of traditional agriculture.5 In the most extreme cases, energy consumption by agriculture has increased 100 fold or more.6
In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994).7 Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:
· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous8
Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not considered in these figures.
To give the reader an idea of the energy intensiveness of modern agriculture, production of one kilogram of nitrogen for fertilizer requires the energy equivalent of from 1.4 to 1.8 liters of diesel fuel. This is not considering the natural gas feedstock.9 According to The Fertilizer Institute (http://www.tfi.org), in the year from June 30 2001 until June 30 2002 the United States used 12,009,300 short tons of nitrogen fertilizer.10 Using the low figure of 1.4 liters diesel equivalent per kilogram of nitrogen, this equates to the energy content of 15.3 billion liters of diesel fuel, or 96.2 million barrels.
Of course, this is only a rough comparison to aid comprehension of the energy requirements for modern agriculture.
In a very real sense, we are literally eating fossil fuels. However, due to the laws of thermodynamics, there is not a direct correspondence between energy inflow and outflow in agriculture. Along the way, there is a marked energy loss. Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only increased 3-fold.11 Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield. We have reached the point of marginal returns. Yet, due to soil degradation, increased demands of pest management and increasing energy costs for irrigation (all of which is examined below), modern agriculture must continue increasing its energy expenditures simply to maintain current crop yields. The Green Revolution is becoming bankrupt.
Fossil Fuel Costs
Solar energy is a renewable resource limited only by the inflow rate from the sun to the earth. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are a stock-type resource that can be exploited at a nearly limitless rate. However, on a human timescale, fossil fuels are nonrenewable. They represent a planetary energy deposit which we can draw from at any rate we wish, but which will eventually be exhausted without renewal. The Green Revolution tapped into this energy deposit and used it to increase agricultural production.
he Green Revolution tapped into this energy deposit and used it to increase agricultural production.
Total fossil fuel use in the United States has increased 20-fold in the last 4 decades. In the US, we consume 20 to 30 times more fossil fuel energy per capita than people in developing nations. Agriculture directly accounts for 17% of all the energy used in this country.12 As of 1990, we were using approximately 1,000 liters (6.41 barrels) of oil to produce food of one hectare of land.13
In 1994, David Pimentel and Mario Giampietro estimated the output/input ratio of agriculture to be around 1.4.14 For 0.7 Kilogram-Calories (kcal) of fossil energy consumed, U.S. agriculture produced 1 kcal of food. The input figure for this ratio was based on FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) statistics, which consider only fertilizers (without including fertilizer feedstock), irrigation, pesticides (without including pesticide feedstock), and machinery and fuel for field operations. Other agricultural energy inputs not considered were energy and machinery for drying crops, transportation for inputs and outputs to and from the farm, electricity, and construction and maintenance of farm buildings and infrastructures. Adding in estimates for these energy costs brought the input/output energy ratio down to 1.15 Yet this does not include the energy expense of packaging, delivery to retail outlets, refrigeration or household cooking.
In a subsequent study completed later that same year (1994), Giampietro and Pimentel managed to derive a more accurate ratio of the net fossil fuel energy ratio of agriculture.16 In this study, the authors defined two separate forms of energy input: Endosomatic energy and Exosomatic energy. Endosomatic energy is generated through the metabolic transformation of food energy into muscle energy in the human body. Exosomatic energy is generated by transforming energy outside of the human body, such as burning gasoline in a tractor. This assessment allowed the authors to look at fossil fuel input alone and in ratio to other inputs.
Prior to the industrial revolution, virtually 100% of both endosomatic and exosomatic energy was solar driven. Fossil fuels now represent 90% of the exosomatic energy used in the United States and other developed countries.17 The typical exo/endo ratio of pre-industrial, solar powered societies is about 4 to 1. The ratio has changed tenfold in developed countries, climbing to 40 to 1. And in the United States it is more than 90 to 1.18 The nature of the way we use endosomatic energy has changed as well.
The vast majority of endosomatic energy is no longer expended to deliver power for direct economic processes. Now the majority of endosomatic energy is utilized to generate the flow of information directing the flow of exosomatic energy driving machines. Considering the 90/1 exo/endo ratio in the United States, each endosomatic kcal of energy expended in the US induces the circulation of 90 kcal of exosomatic energy. As an example, a small gasoline engine can convert the 38,000 kcal in one gallon of gasoline into 8.8 KWh (Kilowatt hours), which equates to about 3 weeks of work for one human being.19
In their refined study, Giampietro and Pimentel found that 10 kcal of exosomatic energy are required to produce 1 kcal of food delivered to the consumer in the U.S. food system. This includes packaging and all delivery expenses, but excludes household cooking).20 The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces in food energy. This disparity is made possible by nonrenewable fossil fuel stocks.
Assuming a figure of 2,500 kcal per capita for the daily diet in the United States, the 10/1 ratio translates into a cost of 35,000 kcal of exosomatic energy per capita each day. However, considering that the average return on one hour of endosomatic labor in the U.S. is about 100,000 kcal of exosomatic energy, the flow of exosomatic energy required to supply the daily diet is achieved in only 20 minutes of labor in our current system. Unfortunately, if you remove fossil fuels from the equation, the daily diet will require 111 hours of endosomatic labor per capita; that is, the current U.S. daily diet would require nearly three weeks of labor per capita to produce.
Quite plainly, as fossil fuel production begins to decline within the next decade, there will be less energy available for the production of food.
Soil, Cropland and Water
Modern intensive agriculture is unsustainable. Technologically-enhanced agriculture has augmented soil erosion, polluted and overdrawn groundwater and surface water, and even (largely due to increased pesticide use) caused serious public health and environmental problems. Soil erosion, overtaxed cropland and water resource overdraft in turn lead to even greater use of fossil fuels and hydrocarbon products. More hydrocarbon-based fertilizers must be applied, along with more pesticides; irrigation water requires more energy to pump; and fossil fuels are used to process polluted water.
It takes 500 years to replace 1 inch of topsoil.21 In a natural environment, topsoil is built up by decaying plant matter and weathering rock, and it is protected from erosion by growing plants. In soil made susceptible by agriculture, erosion is reducing productivity up to 65% each year.22 Former prairie lands, which constitute the bread basket of the United States, have lost one half of their topsoil after farming for about 100 years. This soil is eroding 30 times faster than the natural formation rate.23 Food crops are much hungrier than the natural grasses that once covered the Great Plains. As a result, the remaining topsoil is increasingly depleted of nutrients. Soil erosion and mineral depletion removes about $20 billion worth of plant nutrients from U.S. agricultural soils every year.24 Much of the soil in the Great Plains is little more than a sponge into which we must pour hydrocarbon-based fertilizers in order to produce crops.
Every year in the U.S., more than 2 million acres of cropland are lost to erosion, salinization and water logging. On top of this, urbanization, road building, and industry claim another 1 million acres annually from farmland.24 Approximately three-quarters of the land area in the United States is devoted to agriculture and commercial forestry.25 The expanding human population is putting increasing pressure on land availability. Incidentally, only a small portion of U.S. land area remains available for the solar energy technologies necessary to support a solar energy-based economy. The land area for harvesting biomass is likewise limited. For this reason, the development of solar energy or biomass must be at the expense of agriculture.
Modern agriculture also places a strain on our water resources. Agriculture consumes fully 85% of all U.S. freshwater resources.26 Overdraft is occurring from many surface water resources, especially in the west and south. The typical example is the Colorado River, which is diverted to a trickle by the time it reaches the Pacific. Yet surface water only supplies 60% of the water used in irrigation. The remainder, and in some places the majority of water for irrigation, comes from ground water aquifers. Ground water is recharged slowly by the percolation of rainwater through the earth's crust. Less than 0.1% of the stored ground water mined annually is replaced by rainfall.27 The great Ogallala aquifer that supplies agriculture, industry and home use in much of the southern and central plains states has an annual overdraft up to 160% above its recharge rate. The Ogallala aquifer will become unproductive in a matter of decades.28
We can illustrate the demand that modern agriculture places on water resources by looking at a farmland producing corn. A corn crop that produces 118 bushels/acre/year requires more than 500,000 gallons/acre of water during the growing season. The production of 1 pound of maize requires 1,400 pounds (or 175 gallons) of water.29 Unless something is done to lower these consumption rates, modern agriculture will help to propel the United States into a water crisis.
In the last two decades, the use of hydrocarbon-based pesticides in the U.S. has increased 33-fold, yet each year we lose more crops to pests.30 This is the result of the abandonment of traditional crop rotation practices. Nearly 50% of U.S. corn land is grown continuously as a monoculture.31 This results in an increase in corn pests, which in turn requires the use of more pesticides. Pesticide use on corn crops had increased 1,000-fold even before the introduction of genetically engineered, pesticide resistant corn. However, corn losses have still risen 4-fold.32
Modern intensive agriculture is unsustainable. It is damaging the land, draining water supplies and polluting the environment. And all of this requires more and more fossil fuel input to pump irrigation water, to replace nutrients, to provide pest protection, to remediate the environment and simply to hold crop production at a constant. Yet this necessary fossil fuel input is going to crash headlong into declining fossil fuel production.
In the United States, each person consumes an average of 2,175 pounds of food per person per year. This provides the U.S. consumer with an average daily energy intake of 3,600 Calories. The world average is 2,700 Calories per day.33 Fully 19% of the U.S. caloric intake comes from fast food. Fast food accounts for 34% of the total food consumption for the average U.S. citizen. The average citizen dines out for one meal out of four.34
One third of the caloric intake of the average American comes from animal sources (including dairy products), totaling 800 pounds per person per year. This diet means that U.S. citizens derive 40% of their calories from fat-nearly half of their diet. 35
Americans are also grand consumers of water. As of one decade ago, Americans were consuming 1,450 gallons/day/capita (g/d/c), with the largest amount expended on agriculture. Allowing for projected population increase, consumption by 2050 is projected at 700 g/d/c, which hydrologists consider to be minimal for human needs.36 This is without taking into consideration declining fossil fuel production.
To provide all of this food requires the application of 0.6 million metric tons of pesticides in North America per year. This is over one fifth of the total annual world pesticide use, estimated at 2.5 million tons.37 Worldwide, more nitrogen fertilizer is used per year than can be supplied through natural sources. Likewise, water is pumped out of underground aquifers at a much higher rate than it is recharged. And stocks of important minerals, such as phosphorus and potassium, are quickly approaching exhaustion.38
Total U.S. energy consumption is more than three times the amount of solar energy harvested as crop and forest products. The United States consumes 40% more energy annually than the total amount of solar energy captured yearly by all U.S. plant biomass. Per capita use of fossil energy in North America is five times the world average.39
Our prosperity is built on the principal of exhausting the world's resources as quickly as possible, without any thought to our neighbors, all the other life on this planet, or our children.
Population & Sustainability
Considering a growth rate of 1.1% per year, the U.S. population is projected to double by 2050. As the population expands, an estimated one acre of land will be lost for every person added to the U.S. population. Currently, there are 1.8 acres of farmland available to grow food for each U.S. citizen. By 2050, this will decrease to 0.6 acres. 1.2 acres per person is required in order to maintain current dietary standards.40
Presently, only two nations on the planet are major exporters of grain: the United States and Canada.41 By 2025, it is expected that the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter due to domestic demand. The impact on the U.S. economy could be devastating, as food exports earn $40 billion for the U.S. annually. More importantly, millions of people around the world could starve to death without U.S. food exports.42
Domestically, 34.6 million people are living in poverty as of 2002 census data.43 And this number is continuing to grow at an alarming rate. Too many of these people do not have a sufficient diet. As the situation worsens, this number will increase and the United States will witness growing numbers of starvation fatalities.
There are some things that we can do to at least alleviate this tragedy. It is suggested that streamlining agriculture to get rid of losses, waste and mismanagement might cut the energy inputs for food production by up to one-half.35 In place of fossil fuel-based fertilizers, we could utilize livestock manures that are now wasted. It is estimated that livestock manures contain 5 times the amount of fertilizer currently used each year.36 Perhaps most effective would be to eliminate meat from our diet altogether.37
Mario Giampietro and David Pimentel postulate that a sustainable food system is possible only if four conditions are met:
1. Environmentally sound agricultural technologies must be implemented.
2. Renewable energy technologies must be put into place.
3. Major increases in energy efficiency must reduce exosomatic energy consumption per capita.
4. Population size and consumption must be compatible with maintaining the stability of environmental processes.38
Providing that the first three conditions are met, with a reduction to less than half of the exosomatic energy consumption per capita, the authors place the maximum population for a sustainable economy at 200 million.39 Several other studies have produced figures within this ballpark (Energy and Population, Werbos, Paul J. http://www.dieoff.com/page63.htm; Impact of Population Growth on Food Supplies and Environment, Pimentel, David, et al. http://www.dieoff.com/page57.htm).
Given that the current U.S. population is in excess of 292 million, 40 that would mean a reduction of 92 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third. The black plague during the 14th Century claimed approximately one-third of the European population (and more than half of the Asian and Indian populations), plunging the continent into a darkness from which it took them nearly two centuries to emerge.41
None of this research considers the impact of declining fossil fuel production. The authors of all of these studies believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. The current peaking of global oil production (and subsequent decline of production), along with the peak of North American natural gas production will very likely precipitate this agricultural crisis much sooner than expected. Quite possibly, a U.S. population reduction of one-third will not be effective for sustainability; the necessary reduction might be in excess of one-half. And, for sustainability, global population will have to be reduced from the current 6.32 billion people42 to 2 billion-a reduction of 68% or over two-thirds. The end of this decade could see spiraling food prices without relief. And the coming decade could see massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before by the human race.
Considering the utter necessity of population reduction, there are three obvious choices awaiting us.
We can-as a society-become aware of our dilemma and consciously make the choice not to add more people to our population. This would be the most welcome of our three options, to choose consciously and with free will to responsibly lower our population. However, this flies in the face of our biological imperative to procreate. It is further complicated by the ability of modern medicine to extend our longevity, and by the refusal of the Religious Right to consider issues of population management. And then, there is a strong business lobby to maintain a high immigration rate in order to hold down the cost of labor. Though this is probably our best choice, it is the option least likely to be chosen.
Failing to responsibly lower our population, we can force population cuts through government regulations. Is there any need to mention how distasteful this option would be? How many of us would choose to live in a world of forced sterilization and population quotas enforced under penalty of law? How easily might this lead to a culling of the population utilizing principles of eugenics?
This leaves the third choice, which itself presents an unspeakable picture of suffering and death. Should we fail to acknowledge this coming crisis and determine to deal with it, we will be faced with a die-off from which civilization may very possibly never revive. We will very likely lose more than the numbers necessary for sustainability. Under a die-off scenario, conditions will deteriorate so badly that the surviving human population would be a negligible fraction of the present population. And those survivors would suffer from the trauma of living through the death of their civilization, their neighbors, their friends and their families. Those survivors will have seen their world crushed into nothing.
The questions we must ask ourselves now are, how can we allow this to happen, and what can we do to prevent it? Does our present lifestyle mean so much to us that we would subject ourselves and our children to this fast approaching tragedy simply for a few more years of conspicuous consumption?
This is possibly the most important article I have written to date. It is certainly the most frightening, and the conclusion is the bleakest I have ever penned. This article is likely to greatly disturb the reader; it has certainly disturbed me. However, it is important for our future that this paper should be read, acknowledged and discussed.
I am by nature positive and optimistic. In spite of this article, I continue to believe that we can find a positive solution to the multiple crises bearing down upon us. Though this article may provoke a flood of hate mail, it is simply a factual report of data and the obvious conclusions that follow from it.
Thomas Gold, Cornell astronomer and brilliant scientific gadfly, dies at 84 on June 22, 2004 of heart disease.
A big loss! Gold was one of the main proponents of Abiotic Oil, a theory that says Oil is being constantly formed by geological forces and therefore can not be "sucked dry"
Gold's reputation as a Renaissance man was surpassed only by his penchant for unconventional theories -- from the origin of the universe to the source of petroleum. Few scientists ever attempt what Gold made a career of, staking their reputations on ideas that radically challenge the methods and assumptions of an entire discipline.
Said Joseph Veverka, chairman of Cornell's Department of Astronomy and a longtime colleague: "Tommy will be remembered fondly by all of us for his incisive and provocative ideas, for his sincere dedication to his colleagues, as well as for his wide-ranging contributions to physics and astronomy extending over such varied topics as the steady-state theory of the universe, pulsars, the lunar regolith and the geochemistry of the Earth's mantle."
Famous for stirring up conflict and controversy, Gold was variously described as a "gadfly," a "maverick," and a "world-class contrarian." Gold, however, saw his departures from conventional wisdom as simply doing his job as a scientist. "I don't enjoy my role as a heretic," he once told an ABC News reporter. "It's annoying."
Thomas Gold, 1968, in the laboratory of the Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. His 1955 prediction -- that lunar explorers would find a layer of fine rock dust on the moon -- was about to be tested by Apollo 11 astronauts. Cornell University Photography Copyright © Cornell University Click on the image for a high-resolution version (1302 x 1908 pixels, 1454K)
Indeed, despite the intense opposition they often encountered, many of Gold's most outrageous -- and passionately held -- ideas had a curious habit of turning out to be right. For example, in 1946 as a graduate student in astrophysics at Cambridge University, Gold became intrigued by a problem that was perplexing auditory physiologists at the time: Why is the human ear so good at discriminating between different musical notes? Prevailing thought held that the structures of the ear were too weak and flabby to resonate and that it was the brain -- not the ear -- that was responsible for detecting the pitch of a note. Gold disagreed and designed an elegant experiment to prove his theory that the ear was indeed capable of resonating.
His research was largely ignored until nearly 30 years later, when physiologists, armed with more refined tools, began to uncover evidence for the existence of natural amplifiers: tiny hair cells that provide feedback to vibrating membranes in the ear, enabling them to resonate. Another of Gold's ideas that encountered initial resistance was his 1967 theory about the nature of pulsars, objects in deep space that produce regularly pulsing radio waves. Gold's explanation, that pulsars are neutron stars emitting radio waves as they spin, was considered so implausible that he was not even allowed to defend it at a conference. However, the discovery of a pulsar in the Crab Nebula led to the theory's universal acceptance.
"After that, I was never going to compromise with other people's opinions again," Gold said of the pulsar debate. "Just know the facts."
He was right again in 1955 when, as one of the commanding lunar researchers of the era, he suggested that the moon's surface was covered with a fine rock powder, a view opposed by many of his scientific colleagues. He was not vindicated until the first moon landing in 1969, when the Apollo 11 crew brought the first sample of lunar soil back to Earth. Gold was one of the 110 scientists in the United States and abroad to receive the soil for analysis, and the researchers concluded that the soil on the lunar surface is indeed powdery. Its darkness, they said, is explained by a very thin coating of metal on each individual grain, caused by the penetration of the solar wind. (Gold played an important role in Apollo 11 in another respect: He designed the stereo camera carried on the lunar surface by the astronauts.)
Not all of Gold's unconventional ideas withstood the test of time. Most famously, his "steady-state" theory, for years considered by many cosmologists a possible alternative to the "big-bang" theory of the origin of the universe, is now widely regarded as a brilliant mistake. Gold developed the idea of a steady-state universe that has no beginning or end and in which matter is constantly being created, with fellow astrophysicists Fred Hoyle and Hermann Bondi while a graduate student at Cambridge.
Thomas Gold, 1986, in the laboratory of the Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. Gold spent the final years of his career testing the controversial hypothesis that natural gas and oil have been inside the Earth all along, then stated his case in the 1999 book, The Deep Hot Biosphere . Cornell University Photography. Copyright © Cornell University Click on the image for a high-resolution version (915 x 1398 pixels, 655K)
The debate still is raging on one of Gold's last, and most widely controversial, ideas: that oil and natural gas are formed not from decaying organic matter, as most scientists believe, but from geologic processes and continually well up to the surface from deep underground.
The presence of organic molecules in all petroleum deposits has long been taken as evidence for the biological origin of petroleum. Gold argued instead in his 1999 bookThe Deep Hot Biosphere that the organic molecules come from subterranean microbes that feed on petroleum deep in the Earth's crust. Gold's vision of a supply of oil and gas that is essentially inexhaustible drew intense criticism from petroleum geologists.
Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1920, Gold received his secondary education in Switzerland and went to England shortly before World War II to study at Cambridge University, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. While at Cambridge, Gold spent a year in a British internment camp as a suspected enemy alien. He later worked on the development of naval radar for the British Admiralty.
Gold did not receive his doctorate -- an honorary degree -- from Cambridge until 1969, 10 years after he was hired by Cornell from Harvard University, where he was professor of astronomy. At Cornell he chaired the astronomy department and was director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. Later he became assistant vice president for research. After his retirement from Cornell in 1987, he continued to publish and conduct research.
"Gold epitomized Cornell's openness to offbeat geniuses," wrote Keay Davidson in a 1999 biography of the late Carl Sagan, another Cornell scientist famous for his controversial theories. Indeed, Gold was responsible for bringing Sagan to Cornell in 1968 after the popular astronomer had been denied tenure by Harvard.
Gold was a notoriously energetic figure on Cornell's campus, refusing to take elevators and frequently startling his colleagues by leaping up stairs two at a time. His program of exercise included water-skiing, climbing and even tightrope walking. He brought this same boundless enthusiasm to his scientific research, once becoming so excited by a sample of sludge from an oil well that he analyzed it on the spot in a friend's kitchen, using ordinary household materials.
Gold received many professional honors during his career, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, and fellowships in the Royal Society (the British scientific academy) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also served on the President's Science Advisory Committee
A four-month investigation conducted by a Philadelphia researcher and independently confirmed by RAW STORY finally proves that President George W. Bush did not successfully complete his service with the Texas Air National Guard.
The president’s own payroll records — recently released by the White House in an effort to discredit claims that the president had failed to meet Guard requirements — instead indicate that he was absent without leave (AWOL) in 1972, and should have been placed on active duty for nearly four months.
“If you don’t show up, you’re absent without leave, by definition,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations and Logistics under Ronald Reagan from 1981-1985, Lawrence J. Korb. “You would be put on active duty and sent wherever they needed you.”
He added that President Bush should have been mandated to serve active duty if he missed even two months of service in a fiscal year — 24 months of active duty minus the amount of active duty already served.
For Bush, this would have amounted to 113 days. How this number was derived can be seen here.
White House deceived press, public
The White House’s chief spokesman said Bush attended enough training during other months to fulfill his service commitment for that year, contradicting President Bush’s statement to Tim Russert that he in fact showed up for those five missed months.
“I did report; otherwise, I wouldn’t have been honorably discharged,” Bush said.
“It just kind of amazes me that some will now say they want more information, after the payroll records and the point summaries have all been released to show that he met his requirements and to show that he fulfilled his duties,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said during his press briefing Feb. 10. “If I recall, some were using the comment, ‘deserter’ or ‘AWOL’… that is outrageous; it is baseless.”
In his briefing, McClellan repeated more than 25 times Bush fulfilled his duties or variations to that effect.
Both statements — that he attended or made up the missing months — are false.
Their assertion is based on “point summaries” that the Guard employs to calculate when a guardsman is eligible for retirement. Federal law, however, reveals that the White House’s statement is purposely misleading.
The points system is irrelevant of the fact that Bush never completed five months of duty.
An apt comparison would be if someone failed to show up for work for five months but had still been listed as an employee. They might get a year’s credit towards retirement, but they would certainly be in breach of their contractual agreement to show up.
Federal law mandates that a Guard officer miss no more than 10 percent of training sessions. In 1972, Bush missed 42 percent.
Bush was nearly drafted, but father was congressman
On May 27, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War when American casualties amounted to 350 men each week, Bush was just 12 days away from losing his student deferment from the draft. On that day – despite a long waiting list – he was miraculously accepted into the Texas Air National Guard."
High court ruling a victory for Bush administration
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that the Bush administration can skip a lengthy environmental study and open U.S. roadways to Mexican trucks as soon as it wishes.
The high court ruled against labor and environmental organizations that have long fought expansion of Mexican trucking within the borders of the United States despite a guarantee this country made when it signed the North American Free Trade Agreement more than a decade ago.
Ruling on narrow procedural issues, the Supreme Court said the president has authority to open the border, and a federal agency responsible for truck safety has no say in the matter. Thus, the agency was under no obligation to study environmental effects from opening the border, as a lower federal court had ordered."
The most commonly used rate to begin measurements of all sorts of financial risk is what is known as the Risk Free Rate (RFR). What the RFR intends to capture is the sum of the Real Rate of Risk (which is the debate from the preceding paragraph) and Inflation. The real rate of risk is an implied figure, which is backed out from the RFR and rate of inflation.
The most common proxy for RFR in the domestic spectrum (and incorrectly in the international) is the yield on the current, on-the-run, 10-year US Treasury Bill, which currently yields 4.81%.
Now, the chief driver of the RFR is the FFR, in essence the RFR is a derivative of the FFR. This essentially makes the RFR a quasi-administered rate. This is when things get scary. The RFR is used in numerous applications to determine, among other things, how much it is going to cost a business to finance its operations. (This is determined through a ubiquitously applied model of finance, the Capital Asset Pricing Model, which uses the RFR as one of its three inputs) So, allowing the assumption that inclusion of a quasi-admin rate yields further quasi-admin rates (granted, as more ingredients are added, the influence of the original administered rate is diluted), the cost of capital determined through the CAPM model is a quasi-administered rate.
Now, if you are a member of the first school of thought on risk, this is not bothersome to you; all rates are relative to one another and risk is properly priced.
If, on the other hand, you believe in some arbitrary real rate of risk that has been absolute, yet dynamic, throughout all time, then the administered nature of the FFR should cause concern. An illustration:
On the first trading day following 9/11, the Fed immediately cut the FFR by 50 basis points (bps). The 10-Year yield subsequently fell, over the next few trading sessions, by 90% of the Feds move. (This inconsistency in rate movements causes the Yield Curve to either flatten or amplify) What this did was cause financing costs across the globe to fall for almost all parties (there are some yield curves for certain pools of high risk that fully absorb movements in the short end via amplification or dampening of the curve). For the period of time from 9/14/01 to January of this year, the 10-year yield was at 50 - year lows, indicating multi-decade lows for proxy measurements of risk.
If you happen to believe in the second school of thought, this is rather oxymoronic. During a time of arguably unparalleled geopolitical risks, our proxies for measuring financial risks were at multi-decade lows. This is the core of the problem with an administered rate for those that subscribe to the second school of thought.
Soon, I'll post about the hazards surrounding the artificial nature of the FFR. "
WASHINGTON (AP) -- On the same day a poison-laced letter shuttered Senate offices, President Bush asked Congress to eliminate an $8.2 million research program on how to decontaminate buildings attacked by toxins.
Buried in documents justifying Bush's 2005 budget proposal released Monday is an Environmental Protection Agency acknowledgment that his proposed cut "represents complete elimination of homeland security building decontamination research."
The agency said in the documents that Bush's proposal will "force it to disband the technical and engineering expertise that will be needed to address known and emerging biological and chemical threats in the future."
The toxin ricin was discovered in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office Monday. Intensive testing of the Tennessee Republican's office mailroom in the Dirksen Senate Office Building has so far failed to locate the deadly poison's origin