Wednesday, May 21, 2008
U.N. coming cleaner? Ban Ki-Moon presses top officials on corruption probes, wants less public disclosure
The decision by Ban marks a major reversal of course from less than a year ago, when he announced that the U.N. Secretariat does not enjoy the jurisdiction over protection of whistle-blowers who expose wrongdoing at UNDP, the U.N.s development arm, or other agencies in the labyrinthine U.N. system.
At the time, a broad spectrum of U.N. reformers complained that Ban had ceded those powers, as well as the management of anti-corruption probes, to UNDP and its sister agencies, turning a unified anti-corruption system into a jumble of potential conflicts of interest and differing standards.
Since then, UNDP has been hit with a variety of other scandals including a FOX News investigation last month into UNDPs procurement of $2.3 million worth of airport scanners for the customs service of the radical Chavez government of Venezuela, which the U.S. manufacturer of the equipment said it never shipped.
Yet another important scandal surfaced last week, when a UNDP whistle-blower demanded an investigation by Bans Secretariat into UNDP support for a Somali financial company with ties to terrorist organizations on the U.N.s own sanctions list. The whistle-blower, Ahmed Ismael, claims that he was fired after bringing the issue to UNDPs attention. (A UNDP spokesman told news agencies, Clearly UNDP takes all these allegations extremely seriously and we are in fact investigating them thoroughly.)
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By an overwhelming majority, EU lawmakers adopted a report recommending a mandatory public register for lobbyists that seek to influence decisions at the European Union's institutions.
The decision on Thursday ratifies the proposal made by the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Tuesday, April 1, in favor of the compulsory register for the lobbyists working to influence EU policies via the EU assembly, states and the bloc's executive European Commission.
The report, drafted by Finnish conservative MEP Alexander Stubb before he became Finland's foreign minister, also calls for a code of conduct and sanctions for those who flaunt it.
Critics say the lobbyists have held far too much sway in the drafting of EU laws and measures concerning everything from blacklisting bad chemicals to deciding how to set carbon dioxide emission caps. The EU assembly and member-states adopt laws that directly affect the daily lives of 490 million people.
The outcome of those laws can have a major impact on companies doing business in the 27-nation bloc.
Register aims to end era of impunity
Many feel that the lobbyists have worked with impunity in the European capital, without having to provide any information on the dealings, financial status or partners in business and politics.
The new register aims to change this. Under the new rules, professional lobbyists would have to disclose in the register the importance of their major clients and the costs associated with lobbying, while NGOs and think-tanks would be required to state their overall budgets and main funding sources.
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But now, biologists and botanists are warning that they, too, may bring serious unintended consequences. Most of these newer crops are what scientists label invasive species — that is, weeds — that have an extraordinarily high potential to escape biofuel plantations, overrun adjacent farms and natural land, and create economic and ecological havoc in the process, they now say.
A delegation from the U.S. Military Academy met Monday with the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheik Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The U.S. delegation was visiting Egypt as part of a Middle East tour.
In an initiative to promote greater tolerance of Islam, Tantawi told the delegation that the Islamic faith rejects aggression, injustice and terrorism. He also said that believers of Islam are urged to cooperate with all divine religions, the Egyptian government reported.
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"KBR's placement on the ENR Top 400 Contractors list is a testament to our employees who strive each day to make KBR the world's premier go-to contractor. Their hard work and dedication is what makes KBR the great company it is," said William P. Utt, KBR Chairman, President and CEO. "This recognition is yet another significant milestone for KBR. I continue to be optimistic about KBR's future as we position the company for future growth and success."
KBR received its ranking based on more than $7.2 billion in general contracting and construction revenue in 2007. ENR also recognized KBR as the number three contractor working abroad and a top 10 contractor in industrial processes and petroleum.
~ From: Earth Times ~
A poorly run Pentagon program for providing workman's compensation for civilian employees in Iraq and Afghanistan has allowed defense contractors and insurance companies to gouge American taxpayers, a House committee said Thursday.
According to the committee, the Pentagon allows its contractors to negotiate their own insurance contracts. By contrast, the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers have all selected a single insurance carrier to provide the insurance at fixed rates.
KBR Inc., one of the largest defense contractors in Iraq, paid the insurance giant AIG $284 million for medical and disability coverage under the Defense Base Act, a reference to the federal law mandating the insurance. Due to the way KBR's contract is structured, this premium, along with an $8 million markup for KBR, gets billed to the taxpayer.
In an e-mailed statement, AIG spokesman Chris Winans said the company is reviewing the staff report. But AIG is confident its coverage is accurately and fairly priced given the high risks to workers in war zones and the potential for sizable claims, Winans said.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Army Criminal Investigation Command has opened a probe into two companies working on Iraq reconstruction that have been accused of padding their profits by claiming reimbursements from the Corps of Engineers for insurance coverage they never purchased.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked what the Corps of Engineers is doing to stop other companies from bilking the federal government for unpaid insurance coverage.
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The man who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust would have turned 100 on April 28, 2008. The subject of a 1993 Hollywood film, Oskar Schindler remains controversial for some.
In Germany, a special edition postal stamp has been issued in honor of Oskar Schindler's 100th birthday. But in his home town of Svitavy, in what is today the Czech Republic, there is resistance to memorializing what some remember as a "Nazi" and a "spy."
A new exhibit, set to open on Tuesday, April 29, aims to change that.
"There's a minority that says, 'He was a Nazi, a spy, a Sudeten German and a member of the NSDAP, the party that destroyed the republic," city historian Radoslav Fikejz, who prepared the exhibit, told German broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk.
Schindler was born in 1908 in Svitavy, known then as Zwittau, as the son of a farm machine manufacturer. At that time, nine of 10 residents were ethnic Germans, but nearly all of them were expelled from the region after World War II.
A man with two faces
Fikejz said Schindler didn't enjoy a particularly positive reputation. He was known as an opportunist, a spy and a playboy.
In 1924 he was dismissed from school for falsifying his report card. He seemed more interested in beautiful women and fast cars than education.
Having failed as an entrepreneur, he joined Hitler's counter-intelligence corps to spy on Czechoslovakians. In 1939 he was arrested by the Czechoslovakian police and sentenced to death, but avoided execution because the German troops invaded the country shortly after.
That same year he purchased a bankrupt porcelain factory in Krakow, Poland, and began producing tableware for the German soldiers. As his business prospered, he took on more and more forced Jewish laborers.
A natural businessman, Schindler maintained positive relations with the Nazis. When the Russian army approached Krakow, he was able to convince the Nazis that it was crucial to their war effort to relocate the factory to Brnenec in what is now the Czech Republic.
Schindler spared some 1,200 Jewish laborers from deportation by adding them to his personnel lists, ensuring that they joined him in Brnenec instead of landing on a train to Auschwitz.
Awareness growing in hometown
A monument to Schindler was erected in front of his parents' house in Svitavy after a long conflict and much resistance, particularly from the communists in the city council.
"I think it would be good if people here would say, 'Yeah, he was one of us, he was our fellow citizen,'" said Fikejz. "But the older generation only knows a simplified version of the story."
Nevertheless, more and more people in the Czech town are starting to see Schindler as someone who rescued the Jews, he added -- a change he hopes to encourage with the exhibit.
Although Schindler's former neighbors are divided as how to remember him, the Jews he rescued faithfully supported him over the years. In 1963 they opened a fund to offer him financial assistance when he returned to Germany after his nutria farm failed in Argentina.
In 1967, he was honored at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem as "Righteous among the Nations." Following his death near Frankfurt on Oct. 9, 1974, Schindler was buried, according to his own wishes, at the Franciscan Cemetery in Jerusalem.
His story remained relatively obscure until Steven Spielberg's 1993 film "Schindler's List" put the factory-owner-turned-hero in the international spotlight.
[ Source: Deutsche Welle ]
What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant—someone to show up at "vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort's primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division's website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."
Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.
"I'll pass," said Carroll.
For 10 more minutes, Mazzola and Swanson tried to sway him. He remained obstinate.
"Well, if you change your mind, call this number," said Mazzola, handing him her card with her cell phone number scribbled on the back.
(Mazzola, Swanson, and the FBI did not return numerous calls seeking comment.)
Carroll's story echoes a familiar theme. During the lead-up the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the NYPD's Intelligence Division infiltrated and spied on protest groups across the country, as well as in Canada and Europe. The program's scope extended to explicitly nonviolent groups, including street theater troupes and church organizations.
There were also two reported instances of police officers, dressed as protestors, purposefully instigating clashes. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, the NYPD orchestrated a fake arrest to incite protestors. When a blond man was "arrested," nearby protestors began shouting, "Let him go!" The helmeted police proceeded to push back against the crowd with batons and arrested at least two. In a similar instance, during an April 29, 2005, Critical Mass bike ride in New York, video footage captured a "protestor"—in reality an undercover cop—telling his captor, "I'm on the job," and being subsequently let go.
Minneapolis's own recent Critical Mass skirmish was allegedly initiated by two unidentified stragglers in hoods—one wearing a handkerchief over his or her face—who "began to make aggressive moves" near the back of the pack. During that humid August 31 evening, officers went on to arrest 19 cyclists while unleashing pepper spray into the faces of bystanders. The hooded duo was never apprehended.
In the scuffle's wake, conspiracy theories swirled that the unprecedented surveillance—squad cars from multiple agencies and a helicopter hovering overhead—was due to the presence of RNC protesters in the ride. The MPD publicly denied this. But during the trial of cyclist Gus Ganley, MPD Sgt. David Stichter testified that a task force had been created to monitor the August 31 ride and that the department knew that members of an RNC protest group would be along for the ride.
"This is all part of a larger government effort to quell political dissent," says Jordan Kushner, an attorney who represented Ganley and other Critical Mass arrestees. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force is another example of using the buzzword 'terrorism' as a basis to clamp down on people's freedoms and push forward a more authoritarian government."
~ From: Moles wanted ~
The May 24, 1980 Occupation Attempt of Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in New Hampshire marks the birth of Food Not Bombs. Food Not Bombs cofounder Brian Feigenbaum was arrested at the May 24th direct action to stop the nuclear station. He and his friends held bake sales to raise money for his defense and thus Food Not Bombs began.
This year Taos Food Not Bombs will be celebrating the 28 year history of Food Not Bombs with free vegan meals and a not so vegan birthday cake at the Toas Plaza from 2 to 4 on Saturday, May 24th. In the past many groups have organized a free out door concert where the local chapter provides free meals to everyone that comes. Food Not Bombs calls their birthday concerts Soupstock. The largest such celebration was on the 20th anniversary when Soupstock drew over 20,000 people to Dolores Park in San Francisco.
Reflecting on our nearly three decades of organizing it is really amazing that an all volunteer effort could grow from eight young anti-nuclear activists in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a global movement active in over 1,000 communities. It is fitting that one of our news chapters would start in Cambridge, England almost 28 years to the day of the action that inspired the movement.
The accomplishments are truly inspiring. Food Not Bombs worked for two years to help promote the June 12, 1982 March for Nuclear Disarmament in Central Park, New York where our Cambridge chapter provided meals to some of the over one million people who participated. On August 15, 1988 nine volunteers of the second Food Not Bombs group where arrested in at the entrance to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco marking the first arrest for sharing free food. The city of San Francisco made over 1,000 arrests for feeding the hungry inspiring the movement we have today. Food Not Bombs volunteers were declared "Prisoners of Conscience" by Amnesty International.
Each time the San Francisco police made more arrests people would contact Food Not Bombs to see how they could also start a new group and get arrested feeding the hungry. Food Not Bombs had its first gathering in October of 1992 in San Francisco and its second gathering in 1995 during the 50th anniversary Celebration of the founding of the United Nations. Food Not Bombs volunteers helped start the current underground radio movement with San Francisco Liberation Radio and Free Radio Berkeley in 1993 when the media refused to report on the police violence against Food Not Bombs. In preparation for the 1995 gathering the idea of Indymedia was born. San Francisco Food Not Bombs also called together the activist community to form the October 22nd No Police Brutality Day Actions after nearly 200 people protesting against police violence were arrested. Food Not Bombs groups helped organize and provided food at huge protests against Desert Storm. The Food Not Bombs banner lead the blockage of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco as volunteers provide meals to hundreds blockading the federal building.
Food Not Bombs organized several tours including the Rent is Theft Tour where a tofu spread cooking demonstration was broadcast on a 5 watt FM radio transmitter and the audience was invited to open an abandon house and enjoy tofu spread sandwiches the grand finally. Food Not Bombs chapters all over the United States started illegal FM radio stations in several hundred cities. The UnFree Trade Tour of 1997 visited 60 cities in the U.S. and Canada informing the public about the human cost of free trade agreements and the dangers of the World Trade Organization. Participants attending planned to organize an effort to stop the WTO if it ever came to North America. In November of 1999 Food Not Bombs volunteers from all over North America came to Seattle and helped set up the convergence center and provided meals to thousands of anti-globalization protesters. Food Not Bombs became a regular participant in many anti-globalization actions from then on. One volunteer was shot and arrested in Sweden at a G-8 meeting. Volunteers were injured at the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas protest in Miami. Volunteers also provided meals at the last three Democratic and Republican National Conventions and many Earth First! and first nation blockades. Food Not Bombs volunteers provided the meals to the protesters at Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. Food Not Bombs has also provided free meals at many major disasters. New York and New Jersey volunteers fed the 9/11 rescue workers, provided the food after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco and the movement organized the food relief effort for the survivors of Katrina.
Tel Aviv Food Not Bombs has been active in working against the occupation. They provided meals at peace camps on the West Bank and joined Anarchist Against the Wall in cutting through the gates between Israel and Palestine. Slovakian chapters started animal rescue shelters in 24 communities.
Food Not Bombs fed the protesters at the Orange Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine and a 600 day farmers vigil in Sarajevo. Australian chapters work with the aboriginal people, at Baxter Refugee center, provided meals at actions against U.S. Australian military training and at efforts to stop gold mining.
The last Global Food Not Bombs Gathering was held in the Ukraine in August 2007. That location was chosen because it is center to the growing Food Not Bombs movement in Europe. Several Food Not Bombs volunteers have been stabbed by Neo Nazis in Russia. Two volunteers have died in these attacks yet there are over 50 chapters in Russia and the movement is popular across every country of eastern Europe.
Many of our volunteers are honored by local organizations for their work with Food Not Bombs. The Copenhagen chapter was awarded the Danish Peace Award and the Kuala Lumpur Chapter was just recognized with the Malaysian Human Rights Award.
Our volunteers in Orlando and West Palm Beach Florida , Victoria, British Columbia and Kitchener, Ontario have been facing arrest by local governments. The Kitchener chapter recently negotiated with the business community to continue its work outside City Hall.
Federal agencies in the United States have placed Food Not Bombs on a number of Terrorist lists. The Pentagon has included the group on its TALON list. The FBI claims Food Not Bombs is a terrorist group and Homeland Security has Food Not Bombs and some of its founders on their terrorist watch list. Food Not Bombs volunteers have been taken off of international flights, questioned and the contents of their wallets have been input into computer data bases. Food Not Bombs volunteers have been arrested on terrorism charges since the Oklahoma Bombing and a number of those arrested have won payment for their mistreatment by the U.S. Government. One volunteer took his own life shortly after his arrest in Arizona. The government has yet to tie Food Not Bombs to any crime of violence yet maintains our work is a threat.
As Food Not Bombs starts its 29th year the movement is growing more than ever. Along with the creation of the Cambridge, England group volunteers are busy organizing new chapters all over the world. Other new chapters include Alice Springs, Australia, Beijing, China, Bangkok, Thailand and Cairo, Egypt. In response to the growing economic, political and environmental crisis Food Not Bombs groups are starting to grow food with "Food Not Lawns." Really Really Free Markets are becoming popular and many other exciting projects are being developed by the Food Not Bombs Movement.
Taos Food Not Bombs is proposing that we organize a World Gathering the weekend before the 2009 World Peace Conference. The Mayor asked the Taos Peace House to organize a conference to develop a strategy for building a united effort towards ending war, poverty and exploitation. The volunteers at the Taos Peace House met May 1st and agreed to help organize the World Peace Conference. Taos is one of the oldest towns in North America with tow 900 year old pueblos. For centuries Taos has worked for peace and sustainability. Today many innovative experiments in alternative living are under way in Taos making it a perfect location to celebrate the 29th anniversary of Food Not Bombs and assist in creating a unified effort for peace, social justice and a sustainable future. Taos Food Not Bombs is also interested in proposing that we meet during the World Gathering to consider plans for our 30th anniversary.
It is wonderful to see that this all volunteer movement is having such an impact all over the world. This movement is united around the principles of nonviolence, the use of a horizontal decision making structure of Formal Consensus organized around the idea of independent autonomous groups without leaders, that collects unsold food to provide vegan and vegetarian meals free to anyone without restriction. This simple model is providing a hopeful example during these times of cataclysmic catastrophe. Tell everyone you know that there is something positive they can do and invite them to participate in Food Not Bombs. Food is a right, not a privilege.
[ Source ]
Prolific Artist of Outrageous and Provocative Talent Shares Art, Music, and Insights
British artist, cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and musician, Ralph Steadman treated CLIO AWARDS delegates to a two-part presentation on his thoughts and work over the years.
Bob Isherwood, worldwide creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, introduced Steadman as an "artist with an amazing story to tell ... an unstoppable creative." Steadman then proceeded to take the audience on a mesmerizing, often witty, illustrated journey full of inspiration and artistic surprises.
Part one was a dissertation on the "Elements of Chance in Creativity," covering ground as diverse as the history of Irish printing and an imaginary conversation involving Marcel Duchamp and Luis Bunuel. It was a showcase for the highly original and diverse spread of Steadman's output.
Part two concentrated on Steadman's legendary association with Hunter S. Thompson and his role in the birth of Gonzo journalism. He followed his presentation by taking questions from delegates. He then closed the show by singing a self-composed song, accompanying himself on the ukulele.
Steadman received a standing ovation.
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The calm ended last month when the Afghan government decided to send "eradication teams" into Marja to destroy the crop.
Local residents say the tougher new line yielded little other than angering and radicalising the farmers.
"Marja used to be a very calm district, but when the [eradication] campaign personnel came here, it turned all the farmers into Taleban fighters," said Janan, who lives in the Wansi Block area of Marja.
"They all got guns and now they're fighting alongside the Taleban."
According to Janan, the fighters successfully held off the eradication teams, sent in by the interior ministry in Kabul and consisting mostly of Afghan National Police officers. The result was that almost none of the crop was destroyed.
"To be honest, I am very happy that the campaign has failed in the Marja district," said Janan. "We'd lose everything if the Taleban didn't help us. We wouldn't have anything to eat if our poppy fields were destroyed. I thank God for the Taleban."
Helmand is the undisputed poppy centre of the world, supplying almost half the raw material for heroin sold on international markets.
In previous years, efforts to eradicate the crop have faltered, largely due to corruption. This year, the government announced a major counter-narcotics initiative, and farmers complained that police were no longer as susceptible to bribery as they used to be.
The Taleban have mounted their own campaign to capitalise on the anger and desperation of Helmand's farmers. According to local residents, the insurgents have been distributing guns and turning farmers into fighters.
A little more than a week ago, Doug Goodyear, the CEO of the Washington-based public affairs firm DCI Group, resigned from his volunteer posting to McCain campaign; he had been picked to serve as the CEO of the Republican National Convention. His departure, and the departure of one of his colleagues, was precipitated by news reports that DCI had served as image consultants to the ruling junta in Burma for a period of eight months beginning in 2002.
Now, amid press reports about a new wave of McCain campaign departures, DCI wants to get its side of the story out; the short-hand used to describe and the firm and its actions bothers Mr. Goodyear.
Goodyear agreed to a brief interview this morning. The firm plans to release a statement to the press about its work for the government of Myanmar six years ago.
Why, I asked, did DCI terminate its contract in 2003?
"It was clear that we couldn't accomplish what we set out to accomplish," Goodyear said. "We were going to try and make relations between the two countries more normal. It was very clear that we couldn't do what we wanted to do."
In DCI's statement, Goodyear lays out the chronology as follows: In 2002,
DCI Group was approached by a moderate faction within the Myanmar government that sought assistance in working alongside the U.S. government in its fight against the opium trade and Myanmar's AIDS epidemic. Recognizing the implications of this effort, DCI Group agreed to take on this project on the condition that the Myanmar government demonstrate a major confidence-building commitment and agree to release a number of political detainees including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Thanks to the work of international pressure groups, Suu Kyi and dozens of prisoners were soon released – though many thousands remained in jail, including religious dissidents and journalists -- and DCI began its work – a campaign/public relations effort that tried to rehabilitate Myanmar's image in the United States and boost the profile of the so-called "moderates" in the regime. DCI says it helped the government combat narcotics trafficking, an effort that led to the destruction of about $500 million worth of opium. And, indeed, while DCI worked for Myanmar, the government began to negotiate with Suu Kyi and others, a report by Human Rights Watch confirms that international organizations were optimistic that, perhaps, the government was ready to moderate. Throughout this period, though, according to HRW
"….systemic restrictions on basic civil and political liberties continued unabated. Ethnic minority regions continued to report particularly grave abuses, including forced labor and the rape of Shan minority women by military forces. Government military forces continued to forcibly recruit and use child soldiers."
In DCI's view of the events, it took only eight months for conservative elements in the government to reassert themselves and begin to imprison the moderates who wanted to work with the DCI Group.
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Living "off-grid" - without mains electricity, water or sewerage - might sound like hell to a pampered city dweller, but it is a lifestyle that is attracting massive numbers of devotees, with many influenced by the example set by Scots.
Nick Rosen, a writer who travelled the UK in a camper van powered by vegetable oil to chronicle the lives of people living off the grid, has claimed that Scotland is a pioneer of the lifestyle.
Rosen released How To Live Off-grid: Journeys Outside The System, last week. It is the Domesday Book of a burgeoning subculture, documenting the bewildering mix of visionaries and eccentrics who have made the decision to become self-sufficient.
What he found were people living in traditional yurts, sailing the canals in boats or living in eco-friendly palaces with every modern comfort but none of the pollution or carbon emissions.
Around 100,000 people in the UK are thought to be living off-grid, with a possible 5000 in Scotland, although accurate figures are extremely difficult to come by.
Rosen said: "In Scotland, I came across the most successful off-grid community, in Scoraig south of Ullapool in Ross and Cromarty and the most beautiful house, near Skye.
"There is a spirit of independence that's quite special and there are also the crofting laws, so that whereas the property laws elsewhere conspire against living off-grid, it's true to say they're less destructive of that kind of life in Scotland."
Advocates of the lifestyle do not have to shun electricity altogether, but use small hydroelectric power systems, solar panels or windmills to generate it, meaning that many off-grid communities can still be high-tech, with fast internet connections and sockets for iPods. Private needs are met by composting toilets, while low-emission wood burning heaters warm up the water. There are even solar-powered kitchen scales on sale for the ecologically-minded epicure.
First embraced by hippies, off-grid homes are now built by a vast range of people, encompassing eco-warriors, hermits and even those who have been priced out of the housing market.
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They needed the work and spoke English, so the two Iraqi men, Adnan and Laith, grabbed the chance to work as translators for the U.S. military in Baghdad, as did thousands of their compatriots.
Yes, the job offered a steady paycheck in a war-torn nation with a shattered economy.
But it may not have been worth the cost. The nagging fear of being branded a traitor and marked for death, by one Iraqi faction or another. The chronic suspicion by their American employers that they might be terrorist plants. And the discovery that the freedom-loving democracy they've risked life and limb for wouldn't give them asylum when they desperately needed it.
Such dilemmas are made starkly clear in "Betrayed,"a hit Off Broadway play by investigative reporter and novelist George Packer ("The Assassins' Gate").
"Betrayed," adapted from Packer's expansive, riveting 2007 New Yorker piece of the same title, is about the failure of the U.S. to protect and resettle its endangered Iraqi interpreters. The work is clearly the product of intensive, trench-warfare journalism.
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Holy warriors in the US Armed Forces - Separation of church and state being dissolved within the military
The Afghan Public Health Ministry denied on Sunday a media report that there was evidence of nuclear contamination in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan.
The radio report said the ministry was investigating claims the Tora Bora mountains had been contaminated with radioactive material, the ministry said in a statement.
UAE vows to import enriched uranium for any reactor
The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday that it will import enriched uranium for any reactor it builds as it sought to distance itself from the more controversial aspects of nearby Iran's nuclear programme.
Zambia: Minister Welcomes Uranium Explorations
Government says the ongoing uranium mining exploration project in Southern Province is in line with its diversification of the mining industry in the country.
New Mexico Navajo Fight Uranium Mine Approval
Navajo communities in New Mexico are challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval of a source materials license for an in situ leach uranium mine in federal court. Oral arguments are scheduled for May 12.
The Navajo communities of Crownpoint and Church Rock, New Mexico, with the assistance of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Eastern Navajo Dine against Uranium Mining, and Southwest Research and Information Center, will fight the NRC and Hydro Resources, Inc., demanding that they stay off Navajo lands in New Mexico.
• Hydro Resources failed to prove that it will protect groundwater from contamination by uranium and other toxic heavy metals.
• The company failed to ensure that the health of residents near the mines would be protected from damaging radioactive air emissions.
• Hydro Resources' proposed financial bond for the site is inadequate to ensure that the site(s) would be cleaned up in the event that the company is unable to undertake reclamation of the land and/or water impacted by the mining.
A group of Alice Springs residents have rallied over the weekend against potential uranium mining of the south of town.
Uranium Holding ARMZ, Russia's state-owned mining company, may spend $8.6 billion to triple output with help from billionaire Oleg Deripaska, Canada's Cameco Corp. and Japan's Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
ARMZ, as the company is known, will use the money to produce 10,300 metric tons of uranium annually by 2015, equal to 25 percent of the global total last year, Chief Executive Officer Vadim Zhivov said. The company will raise the cash in part through stock and bond sales, he said.
Russia wants 25 percent of its electricity to come from nuclear power by 2030, up from 16 percent now. That'll require new mines because Russia now extracts less than a third of the uranium used by its 31 existing reactors and depends on shrinking stockpiles for the rest.
``Initially, we'd like to have strategic partnerships that would help us access new markets,'' Zhivov said in an April 21 interview in Moscow.
Petr Liden, a spokesman for the energy division of Basic Element, Deripaska's investment company, declined to comment, as did Tatsunari Asada, a spokesman for Mitsui in Tokyo.
Cameco agreed last November to form exploration ventures in Russia and Canada, updating an earlier accord with Tenex, the trading arm of Rosatom Corp., ARMZ's parent. Cameco will continue to ``pursue future ventures in uranium exploration, development and production'' with the Russians, Lyle Krahn, a spokesman for the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company, said in a statement.
North Thompson Valley residents can breath a sigh of relief after Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger made an announcement last Thursday regarding uranium mining in British Columbia.
Krueger stated the Province will not support the exploration and development of uranium in British Columbia and is establishing a "no registration reserve" under the Mineral Tenure Act for uranium and thorium.
"By confirming our position on these radioactive minerals, we are providing certainty and clarity to the mining industry," said Krueger. "B.C. is an attractive place for mining exploration and investment, and we are committed to fostering a healthy, productive industry."
The "no registration reserve" will ensure any future claims do not include the rights to uranium.
Government will also ensure that all uranium deposits will remain undeveloped.
From copper to gold, from oil to natural gas, prices for the earth's riches have skyrocketed in the past few years as emerging markets added vast demand and speculators revved up markets in ways never seen before.
But one commodity trumped them all: uranium. For decades, the trade belonged to a handful of insiders who kept prices level and deals quiet. All the key players could fit in a single Starbucks. Not anymore.
The world's insatiable thirst for new energy supplies has fueled a quiet resurgence of interest in nuclear energy, and the market is changing fast. New entrants are now knocking elbows with entrenched insiders for influence over the future of nuclear fuel and the market where it is bought and sold.
The predictable result: The price of uranium exploded, peaking at a price of somewhere between $136 and $138 a pound, a stunning 1,365% rise from the early '90s, when uranium prices fell below $10. That outpaced even gold, which rose 400% during that time. But since prices dipped to more modest levels this year, investors are calling for change in the uranium game. The fact that there isn't even agreement on pricing shows how immature the market remains.
Uranium Price Slump Unlikely to Extend Further
International prices for uranium have halved since their record highs last year, due mainly to an international market surplus, but the slump is unlikely to extend further, an industry expert told Interfax today.
The expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that the average international spot price for U3O8 uranium concentrate, or yellowcake, currently stands at $60 per pound. By comparison, U308 was selling for a record $138 per pound on the spot market in June 2007.
International uranium prices started to rise in 2004, the expert said, on the back of a revitalized nuclear power movement and predictions by uranium producers that China and India would become huge uranium consumers. To meet this anticipated demand, uranium producers expanded production capacity.
However, China and India are mostly self-sufficient in uranium at the present time. "According to World Nuclear Association (WNA) statistics, China consumed 1,300 tonnes of U3O8 last year. The country's domestic outputis about the same," he said.
The expert attributed the uranium price slump to suppliers overestimating market demand. "Supplies are at least 50% higher than demand at the moment."
He said he does not believe that the price slump will extend much further though. Some large uranium suppliers have warned of shortages of materials used in uranium exploitation, such sulphuric acid, water and electricity, and that such shortages may have an impact on their output.
Depleted Uranium Shells Used by U.S. Military Worse Than Nuclear Weapons
The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.
DU is a waste product of uranium enrichment, containing approximately one-third the radioactive isotopes of naturally occurring uranium. Because of its high density, it is used in armor- or tank-piercing ammunition. It has been fired by the U.S. and British militaries in the two Iraq wars and in Afghanistan, as well as by NATO forces in Kosovo and the Israeli military in Lebanon and Palestine.
Inhaled or ingested DU particles are highly toxic, and DU has been classified as an illegal weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has estimated that 50 tons of DU dust from the first Gulf War could lead to 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. To date, a total of 2,000 tons have been generated in the Middle East.
In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991," said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. "The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive."
Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.
The two U.S. wars in Iraq "have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity," said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott.
Since the first Gulf War, the rate of birth defects and childhood cancer in Iraq has increased by seven times. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.
No decision on uranium mines
The Meghalaya government has clarified that no decision has been taken on uranium mining in the state, despite the Union minister of state for power, Jairam Ramesh's claim that it was in favour of a nuclear plant.
RAPP unit hit by uranium shortage
The shortage of nuclear fuel is having a telling effect on the functioning of major nuclear stations in the country, with a majority of them operating at a low load factor.
The latest casualty is Unit V of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant (RAPP), the commissioning of which has been delayed for almost a year now.
This has been elaborated in the latest report submitted by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to the Power Ministry on the working of the nuclear as well as thermal stations in the country and their electricity generation.
"There are delays in the commissioning of the RAPP due to shortage of fuel. The plant was scheduled to commence operations late last year, but now has been deferred for a few months," Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh told The Hindu.
According to the CEA status report, the nuclear stations operated at a low load factor of 43.61 per cent, compared to the target load factor of 47.7 per cent, mainly on account of lower availability of nuclear fuel.
"The commissioning of Unit V RAPP is expected to be delayed further till September this year on account of non-availability of fuel, though the reactor and other components are ready for commissioning," the report stated.
Another startling fact that has come to light in the CEA report is that considerable delays have taken place in achieving the Commercial Operation Date (COD) of projects with a total installation of 3,330 MW which were commissioned during 2007-08. Sipat Unit IV, Mejia Unit VI and Bellary Unit I which were commissioned during the year did not generate any energy.
Namibia's chamber of mines takes lead in monitoring uranium mining
The Chamber of Mines in uranium-rich Namibia has taken the lead in responding to the over 30-year absence of adequate legislation to effectively deal with radiation protection, occupational health, and environmental management.
This week opened with the Chamber of Mines in Namibia celebrating the establishment last week of a Uranium Stewardship Committee (USC), which it told Mineweb was also in response to the country's rapidly growing uranium industry and the world's demand for uranium "in the generation of clean energy".
"The establishment of the Uranium Stewardship Committee was done in line with the recently published World Nuclear Association's stewardship principles which advocates for collective responsibility and commitment by all players to the safe and responsible management of the uranium product," said Dr Wotan Swiegers, a medical doctor who is the committee's principal adviser.
The USC has set up office in the coastal town of Swakopmund, the epicentre of the country's uranium boom to develop minimum standards for environmental health and environmental management for uranium mines and to assist with a Regional Strategic Environmental Management Plan.
This is being done with participation of public and private stakeholders and also in conjunction with the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment, the World Nuclear Association and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The committee's primary mandate is to ensure that the country's booming uranium mining sector is able to expand and thrive safely and efficiently in an environment of "policy certainty with a stable investment climate, fit-for-purpose regulatory and compliance arrangements based on the scientific and physical properties of uranium".
We just don't get it, do we! Every four years we go through the motions of electing a president for this country, but all we are doing is choosing another commander-in-chief. It's been decades since the military-industrial complex in America put the nation inside Pandora's Box, hermetically sealing it, standing guard so that it won't be tampered with.
So here we are, boxed in, or, for the sake of translation's accuracy, confined in a jar… and surrounded by all the evils: greed, vanity, slander, lies, envy, unfulfilled desire to rule the earth; and a limping virtue: hope… hope in a jingoistic false patriotism which hinges solely in waving Old Glory or in the wearing of a flag-pin, instead of the much-needed true love and concern for the nation and its people; all of its people.
It's the same nonsense we have always experienced in our two-way stepladder politics. It's about short-term American political economics presented by politicians to appease the base instincts of our consumer-gluttony; it's about healthcare and education, now that we find ourselves uncompetitive, trailing most industrialized nations; it's about all those things that we never seem to care about until we start experiencing their negative effects, such as the issue of unfettered globalization, lack of an intelligent energy policy, or adequate environmental care by a government in which special interests – big business and the military for the most part – pull the strings for action that always end up diminishing and impoverishing most citizens for the sake of a ruling elite.
So every quadrennium people are being asked to vote for a president who can handle dual roles, as chief enforcer of domestic peace, and as commander-in-chief for the conquered and unconquered provinces that make up the rest of the world. And 200 million potential voters are left to suck on their own personal lollypops, their own reason to vote to elect someone, without giving thought to the most important concerns that affect them, their neighbors, the entire nation… the entire globe: peace; the short term economic and social effects of globalization; the environmental stability of the planet; and social justice – with the corresponding human rights – for each and everyone.
Once again, Americans will be asked to vote for candidates who are, or appear to be, blind to the big picture in front of their noses: the need for world peace through dialogue; with no better place to start than solving once and for all the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, the epicenter of this turbulent world, by opening up the floodgates of accumulated hate and mistrust, emptying it all.
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In a statement received by the National and International Relations Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization, the World Peace Council expressed its solidarity on the occasion of the 60th Al Nakba, Catastrophe.
The World Peace Council, with headquarters in Athens and branch offices world-wide, affirmed its full solidarity with the "Palestinian people's right to return to the soil from which they were displaced by the war machine and Israeli massacres in 1948."
United Nations Resolution 194, the Right of Return, is a collective and individual right, while the Geneva Conventions also guarantee the right of return.
The Council also called for an independent state to be established on the boundaries of 4 June 1967.
A statement by the World Peace Council read that the Palestinian people have faced since that time the "consequences of old colonial rule and imperialist geo-political strategy in the region, and the brutal Israeli occupation regime (particularly after 1967) which has lasted to this day, the expansion of Israeli settlements and building of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, the continuing siege on the Gaza Strip that was imposed with the aim of dividing the Palestinian territories geographically and politically."
The World Peace Council added that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee their homes and lands in the year 1948 due to the Israeli massacres and terrorism against them, while thousands lost their lives in those years.
The statement pointed out that the successive Israeli governments did not respect the absolute right of Palestinians to establish their own state, despite all the concessions made by the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to achieve peace and progress in the negotiations.
The Council blamed the U.S. administration, which endorses and supports Israel, and "justifies the crimes committed against the Palestinian people, at a time when the European Union stands silent about the barbaric acts of aggression of Israel."
The Council demanded in the statement an end to Israeli escalation in Gaza, "especially lifting of the blockade, and stopping settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories as illegal settlements must be dismantled, the demolition of the Apartheid Wall immediately."
The World Peace Council saluted the Palestinian people's struggle against the oppression of Israel, stressing that the only solution lies in the establishment of a just an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital and resolving the refugee issue based on the decision of the United Nations General Assembly 194, and the release of Palestinian and Arab political prisoners from Israeli prisons.
The international organization stressed its commitment to stand by the Palestinian people and the PLO in the struggle for freedom and independence.
[ Source: Palestinian News Network ]
Welcome to center of the United States - Smith County, Kansas. Most have lived here their whole lives.
But among the open fields and farmland, there is evidence of newcomers.
It is hard to miss with partially complete steel structures. Welcome to the future home of Maharishi Central University.
"This is not a new idea that we are bring forth here, it is just new to this area," said Eric Michener.
The college is a massive undertaking spearheaded by Global Country of World Peace.
They are an international organization created to eliminate violence, disease and poverty through transcendental meditation.
"We feel with this new technology of total brain functioning that people experience with this practice, that that will give rise to the basis of true permanent world peace," said Michener.
The group chose this area because it is at the exact geographic center of the country - what they call the "bramistan".
There is only one Bramistan in the U.S, as there is in each country.
"We feel that when you are at the center, you can more effectively achieve and radiate this peace and harmony to the rest of the world through the U.S," said Michener.
"It is supposed to be the power center of the U.S, and the area to best manage the U.S from," Gary Weisenberger said.
Global Country of World Peace considers the location so important, they have made this college their biggest project to date.
"Because of its position, it makes it unique, and because of that the movement has decided to make it the size that it is, and that will make it the largest structure that they have," said Weisenberger.
The first phase of construction began last summer.
So far 11 structures are up in some form, but none are complete.
Leaders told News 5 they plan to have 16 campuses ready by the fall of 2009.
"Superstructures are up and almost complete on 9 of them," said Weisenberger.
By 2010 they expect to house 3200 students from all over the world. But their ultimate goal is 10,000 students.
This plan calls for 50 campuses, one for each state in the country.
In November, Global Country went to the Smith County board of supervisors for approval of a bond.
The board unanimously voted to deny the bond, citing a lack of community support.
"It certainly casts a little less credibility on their bond issue," said Hi Lambert. "Since the state and the county's not behind the issue, it will probably make it a little harder for them to get some of the funds they might need, but it certainly will not keep them from getting it done, it just might slow the process a little."
Since the bond was denied, construction on the campus has slowed considerably.
"Last summer there were 50 to 60 workers working from sunup to sundown, now there might be 4 or 5 workers. They just try to maintain what they have put up," Brian Peterson said.
Many in Smith Center fear Global Country now plans to abandon the project and leave behind incomplete structures.
The April 13 Mass opened the Catholic Peacebuilding Network's Conference on the Future of Catholic Peace-building, the capstone of a five-year project to develop a systematic theology of peace.
"I believe it is true to say that humanity is at a crossroad on the crucial issue of peace," Archbishop Onaiyekan said in his homily. "On the one hand, our planet is sitting on a dangerous time bomb of huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction sufficient to blow ourselves up many times over.
"It is no longer enough to insist on nonproliferation and breathing hot air on the necks of those some decide to consider not responsible enough to keep these weapons," he said. "It is necessary, if we are to be consistent and effective, to be serious about total elimination of such weapons.
"On the other hand, there is the good news that humanity has devised technological ways and means to make our planet a peaceful and prosperous home for all. The possibility for peace in our world is available. A lot is being said at many levels about how to save the planet, resolve conflicts and establish world peace," he added.
In an interview after the Mass, Archbishop Onaiyekan, who attended peace-building conferences in Burundi in 2006 and Bogota, Colombia, in 2007, said the meetings provide support for those working in violent societies.
In some regions, such as Latin America, one would hardly expect to find any friends of the United States – of the non-servile kind, that is – given the long history of bullying and the oppressive hand this nation has had in that region… but what about Europe? All NATO nations should be America's true and tried friends, right? But they aren't… not when they are unwilling to strongly influence our government's behavior.
For several years some of us have been asking just what this NATO outfit is all about! And no, we don't seem to find the answer by looking at the baptismal records and its purported reinstatement as "a military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America for a concerted mutual defense." Its purpose might have appeared clear back in 1949: a mutual defense pact against the feared advances of communism. But that was then, and now is now. And the now is becoming rather obvious: NATO is just a military toy-tool for the policies drummed up at the White House and the Pentagon.
The United States was simply supposed to be another NATO member, just like Canada and the European members, regardless of size and economic-military strength. But if you believe that, you believe in fairy tales, particularly when Bush makes that reality clear time and again. His latest proclamation last week in Croatia made it clear once again when he delivered a mixture of mini-harangue and cheerleading chant to a crowd from that state, formerly part of communist Yugoslavia. Joining the organization, they were told by Bush, would mean their nation would be defended by "America and the NATO alliance."
America and NATO, you say? Was it yet another of Bush's ignorant misspeaks? No, not really. America, or rather its present government, thinks of itself as a distinct and separate entity, all powerful and meritorious… the rest is the lesser NATO, a janissary pool of troops commanded not from Brussels but from the Pentagon.
Truth be said, NATO is an illusory relic that has served past its needs and now should be given a burial; or better still, it should be broken up to reflect a true world's desire to achieve and maintain peace. If Europe, or more apropos, the European Union, feels a need to retain defensive military teeth, so be it; but its defense force must be its own without providing hegemony to, or be dictated by, anyone else. Can anyone just picture the proximity of the waters in the North Atlantic and the poppy fields of Afghanistan?
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Along with creating Laughter Yoga, Dr. Kataria and his wife Madhuri are the founders of the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga which trains students around the globe to lead Laughter Yoga sessions and to teach others how to do so as well. Dr. Kataria and his students believe that laughter is the most effective tool for bringing about world peace, spreading happiness and joy, and making the world a better place.
"When you laugh, you change," Kataria told the crowd "When you change, the whole world changes around you."
Pangea Day is a global initiative for world peace that unites people worldwide through the power of cinema. It helps to increase tolerance and compassion amongst the people divided by the conflict and other differences. One of the films shown at Pangea Day was about the Laughter Yoga movement. It was titled "Laughter Clubs" and was directed by Canadian filmmaker Neil Davenport.
The event was broadcast live in 7 languages across the globe. It linked Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro by a program of powerful films, live music and visionary speakers.
There are currently over 6,000 Laughter Clubs in 60 countries, and growing. 350 are in the USA including several in Georgia. Laughter Clubs are generally free and open to the public. All are 100% independent.
Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Craig Whitley says the classes are about people coming together to laugh as a form of exercise. "We laugh for the health of it, without using jokes or comedy." He adds: "there is a huge need these days for what Laughter Clubs have to offer. They help people feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. The clubs also help fill the need for social connection, something that is lacking in our society today." Whitley and his wife Helen, a licensed clinical social worker run a free weekly Laughter Club in Woodstock, GA.
Ten good reasons to laugh for no reason
1. Laughter is a stress buster. It reduces the levels of stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol.
2. Laughter strengthens the immune system and helps maintain good health.
3. Laughter is anti-aging. It increases blood supply to the face, nourishing the skin and making it glow.
4. Laughter is an aerobic exercise equivalent to any other standard aerobic exercise.
5. Laughter increases the levels of endorphins - the body's natural pain killers.
6. Laughter helps control high blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones.
7. Laughter helps alleviate depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders.
8. Laughter Yoga makes us more creative and imaginative. It improves our sense of humor.
9. Laughter shrinks the hurts of everyday life to a smaller, if not inconsequential size. It interrupts the power struggle and defuses anger by releasing it.
10. Laughter helps individuals be more self-confident and self-expressive.
The Constitution was a commercial compact between states, giving the federal government limited powers. The Bill of Rights was meant not as our source of rights, but as further limitations on the federal government. Our fore-fathers saw the potential for danger in the U. S. Constitution. To insure the Constitution was not presumed to be our source of rights, the 10th Amendment was added. I will use a quote from Thomas Jefferson, February 15, 1791, where he quotes the 10th Amendment...
"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground; That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition."
The created United States government cannot define the rights of their creator, the American people. Three forms of law were granted to the Constitution, common law, equity (contract law) and Admiralty law. Each had their own jurisdiction and purpose. The first issue I want to cover is the United States flag. Obviously from known history our flag did not have a yellow fringe bordering three sides. The United States did not start putting flags with a yellow fringe on them in government buildings and public buildings until 1959. Of course the question you would ask yourself; why did it change and are there any legal meanings behind this? Oh yes!
First the appearance of our flag is defined in Title 4 sec. 1. U.S.C..
"The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eight stars, white in a blue field." (Note - of course when new states are admitted new stars are added.)
A foot note was added on page 1113 of the same section which says:
"Placing of fringe on the national flag, the dimensions of the flag, and arrangement of the stars are matters of detail not controlled by statute, but within the discretion of the President as Commander-In-Chief of the Army and Navy." - 1925, 34 Op.Atty.Gen. 483.
The president as military commander can add a yellow fringe to our flag. When would this be done? During a time of war. Why? A flag with a fringe is an ensign, a military flag. Read the following.
"Pursuant to U.S.C. Chapter 1, 2, and 3; Executive Order No. 10834, August 21, 1959, 24 F.R. 6865, a military flag is a flag that resembles the regular flag of the United States, except that it has a YELLOW FRINGE, bordered on three sides. The President of the United states designates this deviation from the regular flag, by executive order, and in his capacity as COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of the Armed forces."
From the National Encyclopedia, Volume 4:
"Flag, an emblem of a nation; usually made of cloth and flown from a staff. From a military standpoint flags are of two general classes, those flown from stationary masts over army posts, and those carried by troops in formation. The former are referred to by the general name flags. The latter are called colors when carried by dismounted troops. Colors and Standards are more nearly square than flags and are made of silk with a knotted Fringe of Yellow on three sides...........use of the flag. The most general and appropriate use of the flag is as a symbol of authority and power."
The reason I started with the Flag issue is because it is so easy to grasp. The main problem I have with the yellow fringe is that by its use our Constitutional Republic is no more. Our system of law was changed without the public's knowledge. It was kept secret. This is fraud. The American people were allowed to believe this was just a decoration. Because the law changed from Common Law (God's Law) to Admiralty Law (the kings law) your status also changed from sovereign to subject. From being able to own property (allodial title) to not owning property (tenet on the land). If you think you own your property, stop paying taxes, it will be taken under the prize law.
"The ultimate ownership of all property is in the state; individual so-called `ownership' is only by virtue of government, i.e., law, amounting to a mere user; and use must be in accordance with law and subordinate to the necessities of the State." - Senate Document No. 43, "Contracts payable in Gold" written in 1933.
By our allowing to let these military flags fly, the American people have admitted our defeat and loss of status. Read on, you'll see what I mean. Remember the Constitution recognizes three forms of law, being governed by the Law of the Flag is Admiralty law. I will cover this in a minute, the following is a definition of the legal term Law of the Flag.
"...The agency of the master is devolved upon him by the law of the flag. The same law that confers his authority ascertains its limits, and the flag at the mast-head is notice to all the world of the extent of such power to bind the owners or freighters by his act. The foreigner who deals with this agent has notice of that law, and, if he be bound by it, there is not injustice. His notice is the national flag which is hoisted on every sea and under which the master sails into every port, and every circumstance that connects him with the vessel isolates that vessel in the eyes of the world, and demonstrates his relation to the owners and freighters as their agent for a specific purpose and with power well defined under the national maritime law." - Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1914.
Don't be thrown by the fact they are talking about the sea, and that it doesn't apply to land, I will prove to you that Admiralty law has come on land. Next a court case:
"Pursuant to the "Law of the Flag", a military flag does result in jurisdictional implication when flown. The Plaintiff cites the following: "Under what is called international law, the law of the flag, a shipowner who sends his vessel into a foreign port gives notice by his flag to all who enter into contracts with the shipmaster that he intends the law of the flag to regulate those contracts with the shipmaster that he either submit to its operation or not contract with him or his agent at all." - Ruhstrat v. People, 57 N.E. 41, 45, 185 ILL. 133, 49 LRA 181, 76 AM.
When you walk into a court and see this flag you are put on notice that you are in a Admiralty Court and that the king is in control. Also, if there is a king the people are no longer sovereign. You're probably saying this is the most incredible thing I have ever heard. YOU have read the proof, it will stand up in court. But wait, there is more, you probably would say, how could this happen? Here's how. Admiralty law is for the sea, maritime law govern's contracts between parties that trade over the sea. Well, that's what our fore-fathers intended. However, in 1845 Congress passed an act saying Admiralty law could come on land. The bill may be traced in Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d. Sess. 43, 320, 328, 337, 345(1844-45), no opposition to the Act is reported. Congress held a committee on this subject in 1850 and they said:
"The committee also alluded to "the great force" of "the great constitutional question as to the power of Congress to extend maritime jurisdiction beyond the ground occupied by it at the adoption of the Constitution...." - Ibid. H.R. Rep. No. 72 31st Cong., 1st Sess. 2 (1850)
It was up to the Supreme Court to stop Congress and say NO! The Constitution did not give you that power, nor was it intended. But no, the courts began a long train of abuses, here are some excerpts from a few court cases.
"This power is as extensive upon land as upon water. The Constitution makes no distinction in that respect. And if the admiralty jurisdiction, in matters of contract and tort which the courts of the United States may lawfully exercise on the high seas, can be extended to the lakes under the power to regulate commerce, it can with the same propriety and upon the same construction, be extended to contracts and torts on land when the commerce is between different States. And it may embrace also the vehicles and persons engaged in carrying it on (my note - remember what the law of the flag said when you receive benefits from the king.) It would be in the power of Congress to confer admiralty jurisdiction upon its courts, over the cars engaged in transporting passengers or merchandise from one State to another, and over the persons engaged in conducting them, and deny to the parties the trial by jury. Now the judicial power in cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, has never been supposed to extend to contracts made on land and to be executed on land. But if the power of regulating commerce can be made the foundation of jurisdiction in its courts, and a new and extended admiralty jurisdiction beyond its heretofore known and admitted limits, may be created on water under that authority, the same reason would justify the same exercise of power on land." -- Propeller Genessee Chief et al. v. Fitzhugh et al. 12 How. 443 (U.S. 1851)
And all the way back, before the U.S. Constitution John Adams talking about his state's Constitution, said:
"Next to revenue (taxes) itself, the late extensions of the jurisdiction of the admiralty are our greatest grievance. The American Courts of Admiralty seem to be forming by degrees into a system that is to overturn our Constitution and to deprive us of our best inheritance, the laws of the land. It would be thought in England a dangerous innovation if the trial, of any matter on land was given to the admiralty." -- Jackson v. Magnolia, 20 How. 296 315, 342 (U.S. 1852)
This began the most dangerous precedent of all the Insular Cases. This is where Congress took a boundless field of power. When legislating for the states, they are bound by the Constitution, when legislating for their insular possessions they are not restricted in any way by the Constitution. Read the following quote from the Harvard law review of AMERICAN INS. CO. v. 356 BALES OF COTTON, 26 U.S. 511, 546 (1828), relative to our insular possessions:
"These courts, then, are not constitutional courts in which the judicial power conferred by the Constitution on the general government can be deposited. They are incapable of receiving it. They are legislative courts, created in virtue of the general right of sovereignty which exists in the government, or in virtue of that clause which enables Congress to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory belonging to the united States. The jurisdiction with which they are invested is not a part of that judicial power which is conferred in the third article of the Constitution, but is conferred by Congress in the execution of those general powers which that body possesses over the territories of the United States." -- Harvard Law Review, Our New Possessions. page 481.
Here are some Court cases that make it even clearer:
"...[T]he United States may acquire territory by conquest or by treaty, and may govern it through the exercise of the power of Congress conferred by Section 3 of Article IV of the Constitution..." "In exercising this power, Congress is not subject to the same constitutional limitations, as when it is legislating for the United States. ...And in general the guaranties of the Constitution, save as they are limitations upon the exercise of executive and legislative power when exerted for or over our insular possessions, extend to them only as Congress, in the exercise of its legislative power over territory belonging to the United States, has made those guarantees applicable." -- Hooven & Allison & Co. vs Evatt, 324 U.S. 652 (1945)
"The idea prevails with some indeed, it found expression in arguments at the bar that we have in this country substantially or practically two national governments; one to be maintained under the Constitution, with all its restrictions; the other to be maintained by Congress outside and independently of that instrument, by exercising such powers as other nations of the earth are accustomed to exercise."
"I take leave to say that if the principles thus announced should ever receive the sanction of a majority of this court, a radical and mischievous change in our system of government will be the result. We will, in that event, pass from the era of constitutional liberty guarded and protected by a written constitution into an era of legislative absolutism."
"It will be an evil day for American liberty if the theory of a government outside of the supreme law of the land finds lodgment in our constitutional jurisprudence. No higher duty rests upon this court than to exert its full authority to prevent all violation of the principles of the constitution." -- Downes vs Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901)
These actions allowed Admiralty law to come on land. If you will remember the definition of the Law of the Flag. When you receive benefits or enter into contracts with the king you come under his law which is Admiralty law. And what is a result of your connection with the king? A loss of your Sovereign status. Our ignorance of the law is no excuse. I'll give you an example, something you deal with everyday. Let's say you get a seat belt ticket. What law did you violate? Remember the Constitution recognizes three forms of law. Was it common law? Who was the injured party? No one. So it could not have been common law even though here, the State of N. C. has made chapter 20 of the Motor Vehicle code carry common law penalties, jail time. This was the only thing they could do to cover up the jurisdiction they were operating in. Was it Equity law? No, there is no contract in dispute, driving is a privilege granted by the king. If it were a contract the UCC would apply, and it doesn't. In a contract both parties have equal rights. In a privilege, you do as you are told or the privilege is revoked. Well guess what, there is only one form of law left, admiralty. Ask yourself when did licenses begin to be required? 1933.
All district courts are admiralty courts, see the Judiciary Act of 1789.
"It is only with the extent of powers possessed by the district courts, acting as instance courts of admiralty, we are dealing. The Act of 1789 gives the entire constitutional power to determine "all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction," leaving the courts to ascertain its limits, as cases may arise." -- Waring ET AL,. v. Clarke, Howard 5 12 L. ed. 1847
When you enter a court room and come before the judge and the U.S. flag with the yellow fringe flying, you are put on notice of the law you are in. American's aren't aware of this, so they continue to claim Constitutional rights. In the Admiralty setting the constitution does not apply and the judge, if pushed, will inform you of this by placing you under contempt for continuing to bring it up. If the judge is pressed, his name for this hidden law is statuary law. Where are the rules and regulations for statutory law kept? They don't exist. If statuary law existed, there would be rules and regulations governing it's procedures and court rules. They do not exist!!!
The way you know this is Admiralty, is from the yellow fringed flag and from the actions of the law, compelled performance (Admiralty). The judges can still move at common law (murder etc.) and equity (contract disputes etc.). It's up to the type of case brought before the court. If the case is Admiralty, the only way back to the common law is the saving to suitor clause and action under Admiralty. The court and rules of all three jurisdictions have been blended. Under Admiralty you are compelled to perform under the agreement you made by asking and receiving the king's government (license). You receive the benefit of driving on federal roads (military roads), so you have voluntarily obligated yourself to this system of law, this is why you are compelled to obey. If you don't it will cost you money or jail time or both. The type of offence determines the jurisdiction you come under, but the court itself is an Admiralty court, defined by the flag. Driving without a seat belt under Chapter 20 DMV code carries a criminal penalty for a non common law offense. Again where is the injured party or parties, this is Admiralty law. Here is a quote to prove what I said about the roads being military, this is only one benefit, there are many:
"Whilst deeply convinced of these truths, I yet consider it clear that under the war-making power Congress may appropriate money toward the construction of a military road when this is absolutely necessary for the defense of any State or Territory of the Union against foreign invasion. Under the Constitution Congress has power "to declare war," "to raise and support armies," "to provide and maintain a navy," and to call forth the militia to "repel invasions." Thus endowed, in an ample manner, with the war-making power, the corresponding duty is required that "the United States shall protect each of them [the States] against invasion." Now, how is it possible to afford this protection to California and our Pacific possessions except by means of a military road through the Territories of the United States, over which men and munitions of war may be speedily transported from the Atlantic States to meet and to repel the invader?.... Besides, the Government, ever since its origin, has been in the constant practice of constructing military roads." -- Inaugural Address of James Buchanan, March 4, 1857,..Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1902.
I want to briefly mention the Social Security Act, the nexus Agreement you have with the king. You were told the SS# was for retirement and you had to have it to work. It sounds like a license to me, and it is, it is a license granted by the President to work in this country, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended in March 9, 1933, as you will see in a moment. Was it really for your retirement? What does F.I.C.A. stand for? Federal Insurance Contribution Act. What does contribution mean at law, not Webster's Dictionary. This is where they were able to get you to admit that you were jointly responsible for the national debt, and you declared that you were a fourteenth Amendment citizen, which I won't go into in this paper or the Erie Railroad v. Tompkins case where common law was over turned. Read the following definition to learn what it means to have a SS# and pay a contribution:
"Contribution. Right of one who has discharged a common liability to recover of another also liable, the aliquot portion which he ought to pay or bear. Under principle of "contribution," a tort-feasor against whom a judgement is rendered is entitled to recover proportional shares of judgement from other joint tort-feasor whose negligence contributed to the injury and who were also liable to the plaintiff. (Note - tort feasor means wrong doer, what did you do to be defined as a wrong doer???) The share of a loss payable by an insure when contracts with two or more insurers cover the same loss. The insurer's share of a loss under a coinsurance or similar provision. The sharing of a loss or payment among several. The act of any one or several of a number of co-debtors, co-sureties, etc., in reimbursing one of their number who has paid the whole debt or suffered the whole liability, each to the extent of his proportionate share. -- (Blacks Law Dictionary 6th ed.)
Guess what? It gets worse. What does this date 1933 mean? Well you better sit down. First, remember World War I, in 1917 President Wilson declared the War Powers Act of October 6, 1917, basically stating that he was stopping all trade with the enemy except for those he granted a license, excluding Americans. Read the following from this Trading with the enemy Act, where he defines enemy: In the War Powers Act of 1917, Chapter 106, Section 2 (c) it says that these declared war powers did not affect citizens of the United States:
"Such other individuals, or body or class of individuals, as may be natives, citizens, or subjects of any nation with which the United States is at war, OTHER THAN CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES, wherever resident or wherever doing business, as the President, if he shall find the safety of the United States of the successful prosecution of the war shall so require, may, by proclamation, include within the term "enemy."
Now, this leads us up to 1933. Our country was recovering from a depression and now was declared bankrupt. I know you are saying. Do What, the American people were never told about this? Public policy and National Security overruled the public right to know. Read the following Congressional quote:
"My investigation convinced me that during the last quarter of a century the average production of gold has been falling off considerably. The gold mines of the world are practically exhausted. There is only about $11,000,000,000 in gold in the world, with the United States owning a little more than four billions. We have more than $100,000,000,000 in debts payable in gold of the present weight and fineness. . . As a practical proposition these contracts cannot be collected in gold for the obvious reason that the gold supply of the entire world is not sufficient to make payment." -- Congressional Record, Congressman Dies, March 15, 1933
Before 1933 all contracts with the government were payable in gold. Now I ask you? Who in their right mind would enter into contracts totaling One Hundred billion dollars in gold, when there was only eleven billion in gold in the whole world, and we had about four billion. To keep from being hung by the American public they obeyed the banksters demands and turned over our country to them. They never came out and said we were in bankruptcy but, the fact remains, we are. In 1933 the gold of the whole country had to be turned in to the banksters, and all government contracts in gold were canceled. This is bankruptcy.
"Mr. Speaker, we are here now in chapter 11. Members of Congress are official trustees presiding over the greatest reorganization of any bankrupt entity in world history, the U.S. government." -- Congressman Traficant on the House floor, March 17, 1933
The wealth of the nation including our land was turned over to the banksters. In return, the nations 100 billion dollar debt was forgiven. I have two papers that have circulated the country on this subject. Remember Jesus said "money is the root of all evil" The Congress of 1933 sold every American into slavery to protect their asses. Read the following Congressional quotes:
"I want to show you where the people are being imposed upon by reason of the delegation of this tremendous power. I invite your attention to the fact that section 16 of the Federal Reserve Act provides that whenever the Government of the United States issues and delivers money, Federal Reserve notes, which are based on the credit of the Nation--they represent a mortgage upon your home and my home, and upon all the property of all the people of the Nation--to the Federal Reserve agent, an interest charge shall be collected for the Government." -- Congressional Record, Congressman Patman, March 13, 1933
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