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Editorial Reports

07 Mar 08 - Terrorism, Crime and Culture
08 Aug 08 - Doomsday Report | Print Friendly - A4 pdf - booklet pdf
08 Aug 08 - Kennedy Report | Print Friendly - A4 pdf
08 Aug 08 - Knowing or Understanding | Print Friendly - A4 pdf

Terrorism, Crime and Culture

Literature in this file is mainly to help understanding the culture we live in.  When we understand enough about our culture then we stop running around in circles and do something practical to improve, instead of just making things worse for ourselves for delight of those who manipulate us.

One of the problems is that there is so much evidence and information, some useful and a similar amount deceitful and misleading.  That is how we are kept confused and irrelevant.  I will try to collect useful information here from time to time. 

Now, as I have quite recently pointed out in the Global Warming series, food shortage is going to be one of the important problems we are going to face. I expect it is already too late avoid this so, first I will give you some snippets from a recent issue of "Truthout".

•Note: AOL/Microsoft-Hotmail Preventing Delivery of some Truthout and other communications tuned into by Mafia type controls.   

Food: By Mark Thirlwell
The Financial Times; Tuesday 26 February 2008

"February has been the month for revisiting old and unpleasant economic concepts. ... Then came this week's report that the United Nations' world food programme might have to ration food aid. Set against a backdrop of rising food prices worldwide - global food prices have now risen by more than 75 per cent since their lows of 2000, jumping more than 20 per cent in 2007 alone - the news revived fears from a much earlier era, conjuring up the Reverend Thomas Malthus.
This rise in prices is a consequence of both demand and supply trends. On the demand side, the key factor has been the strong consumption growth in emerging markets, which in turn has been powered by those countries' impressive income gains. China, for example, has accounted for up to 40 per cent of the increase in global consumption of soybeans and meat over the past decade. At the same time, a series of supply-side disruptions in key commodity markets ranging from drought to disease have been at work.

Perhaps the most important drivers of price gains over the past year are developments in world energy markets. High oil prices have encouraged a policy focus on biofuels, including lashings of generous financial support. Production has responded quickly to these incentives: the World Bank reports that the US has used 20 per cent of its maize production for biofuels and the European Union 68 per cent of its vegetable oil production. This change in usage has boosted prices, reduced the supply of these crops available for food and encouraged the substitution of other agricultural land from food to biofuels production.

...  the lag in supply response to the stimulus provided by higher prices may prove to be of greater duration than its predecessors, to the extent that the current changes in world energy markets - and hence the associated demand for biofuels - are likely to be lasting ones. With climate change and environmental degradation threatening agricultural capacity in several key regions, the elasticity of past supply responses may prove to be a poor guide to the future.

Second, during the extended period in which supply continues to lag behind demand there are likely to be significant social and economic costs. Three in particular stand out.

Most important, a period of protracted higher food prices will be bad news for many of the world's poorest people and its poorest economies. While the share of food in the consumption basket of a rich country such as the US is relatively low, at about 10 per cent, it averages about 30 per cent in China and more than 60 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. ... most vulnerable are the low-income net food importers. Higher food prices add more strain to import bills that have often already been stretched by higher energy prices.

Several of the poorest economies fall into this category and are heavily dependent on food aid to meet their needs. But the worldwide volume of such aid has stagnated for the past two decades and, what is worse, the quantity of aid delivered tends to fall as prices rise, given that a large proportion comprises a fixed annual dollar amount.

Next, there are important social strains to be managed. ... the big losers are likely to be the urban poor, typically a politically volatile group, while many of the rural poor will also suffer. ... higher food prices will call for tighter monetary policy. Given the disparity in the share of food in consumption baskets, and the fact that rich country central banks tend to exclude food prices from their core inflation measures, the policy reaction will tend to be greater in developing economies. ... "

The writer is director of the international economy programme at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney.

"Panic" Wheat Buying Across the US
By Arlan Suderman
North Queensland Register Australia
Tuesday 26 February 2008

"In the wheat price surge this week, the leading wheat contract in Minneapolis, US, has risen by more than the entire worth of the contract just months ago. .. Prices rallied by $5.75 a bushel on Monday, being up by nearly 30pc at one point compared with Friday's close.  ..    Eight months ago on June 19, the lead Minneapolis wheat contract settled at over $US5.00 a bushel. [Meaning that, 8 months ago, the price of wheat was just over US$5.  On that Monday just near $11)

Panic over commodity shortages continues to emerge as the dominant factor in the global markets, with both end user and speculative buyers of corn, soybean, cotton, rice and a host of other commodities taking note of what's happening in the wheat pit.

While US has made improvements to increase crop production efficiency in recent years, the world hasn't really put sufficient investment into production agriculture for several decades. ..     The net result has been declining stocks at the same time that expanding global wealth has demanded more raw commodities. .. The net result on Monday was new all-time record high prices for corn, soybeans and wheat on the same day.

In other words, there's evidence to suggest that we're beginning to enter the hoarding phase of the inflationary cycle. ..  Along that line, commodity traders are attempting to hoard land on which to produce their respective commodities by bidding up prices in an acres war.

The market should remain in this phase until supply reaches surplus levels and everything collapses, similar to what was seen in the late-90s. ..    However, there's little evidence at this point that the market will begin that collapse anytime soon, especially with the US growing season still weeks away and weather {influence} being as large as it's ever been this year."

Editor: This is at the very beginning of what is being called Global Warming.  Traders, politicians and government are treating it as just a global cycle and that must seem incredibly stupid to our readers who have watched and listened to the DVD called "Crude" released by the Australian ABC TV.  But you must realize that this DVD has had practically no public promotion and the cost of buying a copy is around $40.  In other words expert camouflage is in place.  They don't want us to be saying they are keeping this from us and they don't want people doing something violent about it either.

If we, the general public get the idea that matters of life and death are being kept from us, then that would do great harm to the Humanist image.  Well, their experts are very professional but (having human ancestry), they too can make mistakes!  

So not a lot have had the opportunity to really listen to that tape!  Our site is new and Internet connections in some parts of the world are too slow.  You would think they would have put it on a slower service, kept the price down and given it publicity when they put it on public TV, wouldn't you?  Well maybe they just didn't want to frighten us.  Anyway, if you live in or near, a big town there may be an Internet cafe or public library that has a suitably fast Internet connection but you will have to pay for to use it.
These negatives are not what we (the still innocent) expect of urgent-to-get-known culturally calamitous information.  Obviously there has been no attempt to have it heard in halls of communication or rank & file politics. 
Such cover-up is so easy when you know how reluctant people are to face unwelcome reality.  Just look around the world; millions of people live below large dams that could burst given an earthquake shock; more live on low-lying costal shelves open to tsunami, or alongside active volcanoes.

This reluctance to admit of danger is even more in our nature today because we expect MASSIVE warning of even remote danger such as missing out on our ticket to the 'game'.  So let's see what is revealed in our main feature.
Terrorized by "War on Terror"
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Washington Post
Sunday 25 March 2007

"How a three-word mantra has undermined America.
The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done - a classic self-inflicted wound - is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare - political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue.

The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at war." 

To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own - and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation.

That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable. A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360; by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and an Illinois Apple and Pork Festival.

Just last week, here in Washington, on my way to visit a journalistic office, I had to pass through one of the absurd "security checks" that have proliferated in almost all the privately owned office buildings in this capital - and in New York City. A uniformed guard required me to fill out a form, show an I.D. and in this case explain in writing the purpose of my visit.

Would a visiting terrorist indicate in writing that the purpose is "to blow up the building"? Would the guard be able to arrest such a self-confessing, would-be suicide bomber? To make matters more absurd, large department stores, with their crowds of shoppers, do not have any comparable procedures. Nor do concert halls or movie theaters. Yet such "security" procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further contributing to a siege mentality.

Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. Consider, for example, the electronic billboards over interstate highways urging motorists to "Report Suspicious Activity" (drivers in turbans?). Some mass media have made their own contribution. The cable channels and some print media have found that horror scenarios attract audiences, while terror "experts" as "consultants" provide authenticity for the apocalyptic visions fed to the American public. Hence the proliferation of programs with bearded "terrorists" as the central villains. Their general effect is to reinforce the sense of the unknown but lurking danger that is said to increasingly threaten the lives of all Americans.

The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures, that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia.

Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.

The atmosphere generated by the "war on terror" has encouraged legal and political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members as "terrorist apologists" who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.

... Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America's reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.
A recent BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries that sought respondents' assessments of the role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the states with "the most negative influence on the world." Alas, for some that is the new axis of evil!

The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascism." Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, "Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia"? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions."
    Zbigniew Brzezinski, .. is the author most recently of "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower" (Basic Books).

Note: It seems no actual war has been declared.  Evidently Iraq was too weak to be considered as worthy of war status.  In fact USA casualties in the military action are very likely less than those suffered by the forced inoculations of the troops (inflicted by the governments involved in the invasion).  Who is the enemy here?*  Also if, as this author says, "Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare - political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants."  Then the number of civilians killed in Iraq as result of this invasion, must surely class this (if not declared war) as a national Terrorist attack!

Of course I say a few words about terrorism in my larger essays.  If you don't read the main literature you might easily miss the point of these "current events" quotes.  What would you like next?   Something about Home Schooling?  The withering power, the USA.?  Or something frightening on Global Warming? Editor.

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