Vol 10, No 7
DEEPWATER HORIZON: THE WORST - CASE SCENARIO By Richard Heinberg
eports from the Gulf of Mexico just keep getting worse. Estimates of the rate of oil spillage from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead just keep gushing (the latest official number: up to 60,000 barrels per day). Forecasts for how long it will take before the leak is finally plugged continue pluming toward August—maybe even December. In addition to the oil itself, BP has (in this case deliberately) spilled a million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersant. Biologists’ accounts of the devastation being wreaked on fish, birds, amphibians, turtles, coral reefs, and marshes grow more apocalyptic by the day—especially in view of the fact that the vast majority of animal victims die alone and uncounted. Warnings are now being raised that the natural gas being vented along with the oil will significantly extend the giant dead zones in the Gulf. And guesses as to the ultimate economic toll of this stillunfolding tragedy—on everything from the tourism and fishing industries of at
least five coastal states to the pensioners in Britain whose futures are at risk if BP files for bankruptcy or is taken over by a Chinese oil company— surge every time an analyst steps back to consider the situation from another angle. We all want the least-bad outcome here. But what if events continue on the current trajectory—that is, what if the situation keeps deteriorating? Just how awful could this get? For weeks various petroleum engineers and geologists working on the sidelines have speculated that the problems with the Deepwater Horizon may go deep— that the steel well casing, and the cement that seals and supports that casing against the surrounding rock, may have been seriously breached far beneath the seabed. If that is true, then escaping oil mixed with sand could be eroding what’s left of the well casing and cement, pushing out through the cracks and destabilizing the
groundaround the casing. According to Lisa Margonelli in The Atlantic: There is the possibility that as the ground and the casing shift, the whole thing collapses inward, the giant Blow Out Preventer falls over, the drill pipe shoots out of the remains of the well, or any number of other scenarios,” that could making it virtually impossible ever to cap the well or even to plug it at depth via relief wells. Read for example, this comment at TheOilDrum.com, a site frequented by oil industry technical insiders who often post anonymously. The author of the comment, “dougr,” argues fairly persuasively that disintegration of the sub-surface casing and cement is the best explanation for the recent failure of “top kill” efforts to stop the oil flow by forcibly injecting mud into the wellhead. Concerns about the integrity of the subTurn to next page
T HE C RIMES I S AW O N T HE M AVI MARMARA By Lubna Masarwa .................................. page 3
AN IMPENDING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE?
WHO IS AFRAID INQUIRY?
By Devinder Sharma .......... ...................... page 8
By Uri Avnery .............................................page 4
CHOOSE PEACE – END THE SIEGE OF GAZA AND OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE By Mairead Maguire ..................................page 6
T HE R ETURN O F T ERRORISM NAME OF CHRISTIANITY
By Mark Jurgensmeyer ..............................page 9
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continued from page 1 seabed well casing appear also to be motivating some seriously doomerish recent public statements from Matt Simmons, the energy investment banker who decided to go rogue a couple of years ago following the publication of his controversial Peak Oil book Twilight in the Desert. Simmons says, for example, that “it could be 24 years before the deepwater gusher ends,” a forecast that makes little sense if one accepts the conventional view of what’s wrong with the Deepwater Horizon well and how long it will take to plug it with relief wells.
Are these concerns credible? From a technical standpoint, it is clear that improperly cemented wells can and do rupture and cause blowouts. It’s fairly clear that this is part of what happened with Deepwater Horizon. But is the well casing further disintegrating, and is oil escaping the well bore horizontally as well as vertically? We just don’t know. And that is largely due to the fact that BP is as opaque on this score as it has been with regard to nearly every sensitive technical issue (including the rate of leakage) since its drilling rig exploded two months ago. So far, up to 3.6 million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf. The size of the Macondo oilfield has been estimated as being anywhere from 25 to 100 million barrels. It is unclear how much of that oil-in-place would escape upward into Gulf waters if its flow remained completely unchecked, but it is safe to assume that at least half, and probably a much greater proportion, would eventually drain upward. That means many times as much oil would enter the Gulf waters as has done so until now. Already Deepwater Horizon is the not only the worst oil spill, but the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Multiplying the scale of this existing catastrophe multiple times sends us
into truly uncharted territory. Already, coastal ecosystems are being shredded; for a sense of how bad it is for wildlife in the Gulf now, just read ”Biologists fear Gulf wildlife will suffer for generations.”In a truly worst case, oil — and perhaps dissolved methane as well — would hitch a ride on ocean currents out to the deep Atlantic, spreading ecological destruction far and wide. For the economies of coastal states, a worst-case leakage scenario would be utterly devastating. Not only the fishing industry, but the oil industry as well would be fatally crippled, due to the disruption of operations at refineries. Shipping via the Mississippi River, which handles 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports, could be imperiled, since the Port of South Louisiana, the largest bulk cargo port in the world, might have to be closed if ships are unable to operate in oil-drenched waters. Unemployment in the region would soar and economic refugees would scatter in all directions. The consequences for BP would almost certainly be fatal: it is questionable whether the corporation can survive even in the best case (that is, if “bottom kill” efforts succeed in August); if the spill goes on past the end of the year, then claims against the company and investor flight will probably push it into bankruptcy. Americans may shed few tears over this prospect, but BP happens to be Great Britain’s largest corporation, so the impact to the British economy could be substantial. The consequences for the oil industry as a whole would also be dire. More regulations, soaring insurance rates, and drilling moratoria would lead to oil price spikes and shortages. Foreign national oil companies could of course continue to operate much as before, but the big independent companies, even if they shifted operations elsewhere, would be hit hard.
LEAD ARTICLE For President Obama, an environmental disaster of the scale we are discussing could have political consequences at least equivalent to those of the Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter presidency. Obama’s only chance at survival would be an FDR-like show of leadership backed by bold energy and economic plans and ruthless disregard for partisan bickering and monied interests. For the U.S. economy, already weakened by a still-unfolding financial crisis, a worst-case scenario in the Gulf could be the last straw. The cumulative impacts—falling grain exports, soaring unemployment in southeastern coastal states, higher oil prices—would almost certainly spell the end to any hope of recovery and might push the nation into the worst Depression in its history. We would all prefer not even to contemplate such a scenario, much less live with it. It is irresponsible to inflict needless worry on readers on the basis of entirely speculative and extremely unlikely events. But the more I learn about the technical issues, and the worse news gets, the more likely this scenario seems. We all hope that a relief well will succeed in stopping the oil flow sometime around August, and that until then BP will be able to siphon off most of the oil escaping through the riser and damaged blowout preventer. But one has to wonder: is anyone at the White House seriously considering the worst-case scenario? And what should citizens be doing to prepare, just in case? 22 June, 2010 Richard Heinberg is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators, having delivered hundreds of lectures on oil depletion to a wide variety of audiences around the world. He is a recipient of the M. King Hubbert Award for Excellence in Energy Education. Source: Post Carbon.org
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FOR A JUST WORLD
FLOTILLA ATROCITIES We carry below three articles related to the Israeli Flotilla attack on the 31 May 2010 - Editor
THE CRIMES I SAW ON THE MAVI MARMARA By Lubna Masarwa During the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, deep in international waters, I was inside the body of the ship. We were unarmed civilians ranging in age from a one-year-old child to an 88-year-old priest. We were going to Gaza to break the siege that Israel has imposed on a millionand-a-half people for the last four years. We were carrying a cargo of humanitarian and construction aid as well as letters from Turkish children to the children of Gaza. We were full of hope. When the attack began at 4am on 31 May 2010, our ship was transformed into a military target. On the deck, at first there was heavy firing, and then the Israeli occupation’s commandos took control of the ship. Minutes after the attack began, wounded and corpses were being brought inside from the deck. We were then held for several hours with four bodies and dozens of wounded some in critical condition. Blood was pouring from the bodies of the dead and the injured. We wanted to help them, but we had no medical equipment to treat them. There was nothing we could do. One Turkish woman was crying and saying goodbye to the body of her dead husband, petting his face and reading the Quran over him. Another man had a bullet wound in his head and was dying. From 5am on, we were begging the Israeli navy to provide medical assistance to the wounded and dying but received no response. We made the request in English and Hebrew through the loudspeaker and also wrote a sign in Hebrew reading, “SOS ... people dying in need of immediate medical attention” and put it on the window in front of them. They ordered the people with the sign to get lost.
At around 7am they ordered us to come to the exit door one by one. I requested in Hebrew that medics be allowed to stay with the wounded; a solider told me to shut my mouth. Later he called me, “You, tell the wounded that if they want to stay alive, they should come out one by one.” We tried to bring the injured out individually, but they could not walk and were falling down. We were transferred to the upper deck. We were searched; our hands were tied, and we were forced to sit or kneel on the deck as a military helicopter hovered within meters above our heads. Heavily-armed soldiers with guns and knives strapped to their arms and legs stood guard over us with dogs. They were standing around us with the blood of their victims on their boots, joking and making lewd sexual suggestions to each other about the female prisoners. Then Israeli personnel came and strutted around the ship. We were held this way for hours. I was held here until 1:40am on 1 June 2010. As soon as the Israeli occupation forces learned that I was a Palestinian Israeli citizen, I was treated more harshly and isolated from the rest of the other imprisoned passengers. I was taken to a prison in Ashkelon where I was held in isolation and subjected to humiliations such as strip searches four times a day. The next day we were brought to court, and I was held in a small metal box inside the police car for eight hours with my hands and legs shackled. We were subjected to various accusations, from attacking soldiers to carrying weapons. The judge gave the police permission to extend our detention for another eight days. After international pressure forced the Israeli authorities to release all the foreign prisoners, all the Palestinian citizens of Israel were
taken to court again. This time, the judge ruled that we would be subject to house arrest and would be forbidden to leave the country for 45 days. As an occupier and a colonizer, Israel depends on the principle of “divide and conquer” in order to maintain its control. It is especially threatened by people like the Palestinian delegation from 1948 (what is now referred to as Israel) who sailed to Gaza on the Mavi Marmara, because we defy Israel’s attempt to divide us as Palestinians. By struggling with our sisters and brothers under the siege, we also send the message that we are one people and our struggle is one struggle. Israel is threatened by solidarity. That Israel should murder civilians in international waters is not strange. It is a direct continuation of its policy of targeting civilians with lethal force and deadly policies such as the siege of Gaza, and Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid. Israel feels entitled to besiege, to kill and to attack civilians in international waters. These results are from the silence of the world that makes Israel believe it has the right to do so. This is the time to break the silence and to take action. To say “enough is enough” for Israel. Israel’s impunity must end. Israeli war criminals, such as the ones who committed piracy and murder on the Mavi Marmara and their superiors, must be held accountable for their crimes in international courts. 10 June, 2010 Lubna Masarwa was a Free Gaza Movement representative aboard the Mavi Marmara and wrote this essay from her house arrest in Kfor Qara, Palestine. She can be reached at Lubnna@gmail.com. Source: Elelctronic Intifada
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WHO IS AFRAID OF A REAL FLOTILLA INQUIRY? By Uri Avnery If a real Commission of Inquiry had been set up (instead of the pathetic excuse for a commission), here are some of the questions it should have addressed:
10. Is it true that the US government has imposed a veto on the exchange of prisoners, on the grounds that it would strengthen Hamas?
1. What is the real aim of the Gaza Strip blockade?
11. Has there been any discussion in our government about fulfilling its undertaking in the Oslo agreement - to enable and encourage the development of the Gaza port - in a way that would prevent the passage of arms?
2. If the aim is to prevent the flow of arms into the Strip, why are only 100 products allowed in (as compared to the more than 12,000 products in an average Israeli supermarket)? 3. Why is it forbidden to bring in chocolate, toys, writing material, many kinds of fruits and vegetables (and why cinnamon but not coriander)? 4. What is the connection between the decision to forbid the import of construction materials for the replacement or repair of the thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged during Operation Cast Lead and the argument that they may serve Hamas for building bunkers – when more than enough materials for this purpose are brought into the Strip through the tunnels? 5. Is the real aim of the blockade to turn the lives of the 1.5 million human beings in the Strip into hell, in the hope of inducing them to overthrow the Hamas regime? 6. Since this has not happened, but – on the contrary – Hamas has become stronger during the three years of the blockade, did the government ever entertain second thoughts on this matter? 7. Has the blockade been imposed in the hope of freeing the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit? 8. If so, has the blockade contributed anything to the realization of this aim, or has it been counter-productive? 9. Why does the Israeli government refuse to exchange Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, when Hamas agrees to such a deal?
12. Why does the Israeli government declare again and again that the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip are part of Israel’s own territorial waters, and that ships entering them “infringe on Israeli sovereignty,” contrary to the fact that the Gaza Strip was never annexed to Israel and that Israel officially announced in 2006 that it had “separated” itself from it? 13. Why has the Attorney General’s office declared that the peace activists captured on the high seas, who had no intention whatsoever of entering Israel, had “tried to enter Israel illegally,” and brought them before a judge for the extension of their arrest under the law that concerns “illegal entry into Israel”? 14. Who is responsible for these contradictory legal claims, when the Israeli government argues one minute that Israel has “separated itself from the Gaza Strip” and that the “occupation there has come to an end” – and the next minute claims sovereignty over the coastal waters of the Strip? Questions concerning the decision to attack the flotilla: 15. When did the preparation for this flotilla become known to the Israeli intelligence services? (Evidence on this may be heard in camera.) 16. When was this brought to the attention of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Cabinet, the Committee of Seven (in charge of security matters) and the Israeli army Chief of Staff? (Ditto)
17. What were the deliberations of these officials and institutions? (Ditto) 18. What intelligence was submitted to each of them? (Ditto) 19. When, by whom and how was the decision taken to stop the flotilla by force? 20. Is it true that the secretary of the cabinet, Tzvi Hauser, warned of the severe consequences of such action and advised letting the flotilla sail to Gaza? 21. Were there others who also advised doing so? 22. Was the Foreign Ministry a full partner in all the discussions? 23. If so, did the Foreign Ministry warn of the impact of such an action on our relations with Turkey and other countries? 24. In light of the fact that, prior to the incident, the Turkish government informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry that the flotilla was organized by a private organization which is not under the control of the government and does not violate any Turkish law – did the Foreign Ministry consider approaching the organization in order to try to reach an agreement to avoid violence? 25. Was due consideration given to the alternative of stopping the flotilla in territorial waters, inspecting the cargo for arms and letting it sail on? 26. Was the impact of the action on international public opinion considered? 27. Was the impact of the action on our relations with the US considered? 28. Was it taken into consideration that the action may actually strengthen Hamas? 29. Was it taken into consideration that the action may make the continuation of continued next page
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the blockade more difficult?
against the ship Exodus 1947, which ended in a political disaster for the British?
Questions concerning the planning of the action:
Questions concerning the action itself:
30. What intelligence was at the disposal of the planners? (Evidence may be heard in camera.)
42. Why was the flotilla cut off from any contact with the world throughout the operation, if there was nothing to hide?
31. Was it considered that the composition of the group of activists in this flotilla was different from that in earlier protest ships, because of the addition of the Turkish component?
43. Did anyone protest that the soldiers were actually being sent into a trap?
32. Was it taken into consideration that contrary to the European peace activists, who believe in passive resistance, the Turkish activists may adopt a policy of active resistance to soldiers invading a Turkish ship? 33. Were alternative courses of action considered, such as blocking the progress of the flotilla with navy boats? 34. If so, what were the alternatives considered, and why were they rejected? 35. Who was responsible for the actual planning of the operation – the Israeli army chief of staff or the commander of the navy? 36. If it was the navy commander who decided on the method employed, was the decision approved by the chief of staff, the minister of defense and the prime minister? 37. How were the responsibilities for planning divided between these? 38. Why was the action undertaken outside of the territorial waters of Israel and the Gaza Strip?
44. Was it taken into consideration that the plan adopted would place the soldiers for several critical minutes in a dangerously inferior position? 45. When exactly did the soldiers start to shoot live ammunition? 46. Which of the soldiers was the first to fire? 47. Was the shooting – all or part of it – justified? 48 Is it true that the soldiers started firing even before descending onto the deck, as asserted by the passengers? 49. Is it true that the fire continued even after the captain of the ship and the activists announced several times over loudspeakers that the ship had surrendered, and after they had actually hoisted white flags? 50. Is it true that five of the nine people killed were shot in the back, indicating that they were trying to get away from the soldiers and thus could not be endangering their lives? 51. Why was the killed man Ibrahim Bilgen, 61-years-old and father of six and a candidate for mayor in his home town, described as a terrorist?
39. Why was it executed in darkness? 40. Did anyone in the navy object to the idea of soldiers descending from helicopters onto the deck of the ship Mavi Marmara?
52. Why was the killed man Cetin Topcoglu, 54-years-old, and trainer of the Turkish national taekwondo (Korean martial arts) team, whose wife was also on the ship, described as a terrorist?
41. During the deliberations, did anyone bring up the similarity between the planned operation and the British action
53. Why was the killed man Cevdet Kiliclar, a 38-year-old journalist, described as a terrorist?
A R T I C L E S 54. Why was the killed man Ali Haydar Bengi, father of four, graduate of the AlAzhar school for literature in Cairo, described as a terrorist? 55. Why were the killed men Necdet Yaldirim, 32-years-old, father of a daughter; Fahri Yaldiz, 43-years-old, father of four; Cengiz Songur, 47-years-old, father of seven; and Cengiz Akyuz, 41years-old, father of three, described as terrorists? 56. Is it a lie that the activists took a pistol from a soldier and shot him with it, as described by the Israeli army, or is it true that the activists did in fact throw the pistol into the sea without using it? 57. Is it true, as stated by Jamal Elshayyal, a British subject that the soldiers prevented treatment for the Turkish wounded for three hours, during which time several of them died? 58. Is it true, as stated by this journalist, that he was handcuffed behind his back and forced to kneel for three hours in the blazing sun, that he was not allowed to go and urinate and told to “piss in his pants,” that he remained handcuffed for 24 hours without water, that his British passport was taken from him and not returned; that his laptop computer, three cellular telephones and 1,500 dollars in cash were taken from him and not returned? 59. Did the Israeli army cut off the passengers from the world for 48 hours and confiscate all the cameras, films and cell phones of the journalists on board in order to suppress any information that did not conform to the Israeli army story? 60. Is it a standing procedure to keep the prime minister (or his acting deputy, Moshe Yaalon in this case) in the picture during an operation, was this procedure implemented, and was it implemented in previous cases, such as the Entebbe operation or the boarding of the ship Karin A? Questions concerning the behavior of the Israeli army spokesman: 61. Is it true that the Israeli army spokesman spread a series of fabrications continued next page
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during the first few hours, in order to justify the action in the eyes of both the Israeli and the international public?
dishonest manner, as if he had said that he wanted “to kill and be killed” (“shahid” means a person who sacrifices his life in order to testify to his belief in God, much like a Christian martyr)?
62. Are the few minutes of film which have been shown hundreds of times on Israeli TV, from the first day on until now, a carefully edited clip, so that it is not seen what happened just before and just after?
70. What is the source of the lie that the Turks called out “Go back to Auschwitz”?
63. What is the truth of the assertion that the soldiers who were taken by the activists into the interior of the ship were about to be “lynched,” when the photos clearly show that they were surrounded for a considerable time by dozens of activists without being harmed, and that a doctor or medic from among the activists even treated them? 64. What evidence is there for the assertion that the Turkish NGO called IHH has connections with Al-Qaeda? 65. On what grounds was it stated again and again that it was a “terrorist organization,” though no evidence for this claim was offered? 66. Why was it asserted that the association was acting under the orders of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when in fact it is close to an opposition party? 67. If it was in fact a terrorist organization known to the Israeli intelligence services, why was this not taken into account during the planning of the operation?
71. Why were the Israeli doctors not called to inform the public at once about the character of the wounds of the injured soldiers, after it was announced that at least one of them was shot? 72. Who invented the story that there were arms on the ship, and that they had been thrown into the sea? 73. Who invented the story that the activists had brought with them deadly weapons – when the exhibition organized by the Israeli army spokesman himself showed nothing but tools found on any ship, including binoculars, a blood infusion instrument, knives and axes, as well as decorative Arab daggers and kitchen knives that are to be found on every ship, even one not equipped for 1,000 passengers? 74. Do all these items – coupled with the endless repetition of the word “terrorists” and the blocking of any contrary information – not constitute brainwashing?
A R T I C L E S 77. Where does the argument come from that soldiers must not be called to testify – when in all previous investigations senior officers, junior officers and enlisted men were indeed subjected to questioning? 78. Why does the government refuse to appoint a State Commission of Inquiry under the Israeli law that was enacted by the Knesset in 1966 for this very purpose, especially in view of the fact that such commissions were appointed after the Yom Kippur war, after the Sabra and Shatila massacre, after the podium of the Al-Aqsa Mosque was set on fire by an insane Australian, as well as to investigate corruption in sport and the murder of the Zionist leader Chaim Arlosoroff (some fifty years after it occurred!)? 79. Does the government have something to fear from such a commission, whose members are appointed by the President of the Supreme Court, and which is empowered to summon witnesses and cross-examine them, demand the production of documents and determine the personal responsibility for mistakes and crimes? 80. Why was it decided in the end to appoint a pathetic committee, devoid of any legal powers, which will lack all credibility both in Israel and abroad? And, finally, the question of questions:
Questions concerning the inquiry:
68. Why did the Israeli government not announce this before the attack on the flotilla?
75. Why does the Israeli government refuse to take part in an international board of inquiry, composed of neutral personalities acceptable to them?
69. Why were the words of one of the activists, who declared on his return that he wanted to be a “shahid,” translated by official propaganda in a manifestly
76. Why have the prime minister and the minister of defense announced that they are ready to testify - but not to answer questions?
81. What is our political and military leadership trying to hide? 13 June, 2010 Uri Avnery is a stalwart human rights activist in Israel and can be reached at www.avnery-news.co.il. Source: Gush Shalom
CHOOSE PEACE – END THE SIEGE OF GAZA AND OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE By Mairead Maguire On Saturday 5th June, 2010, 35 heavily armed Israeli Navy Seals commandeered our boat, MV Rachel Corrie, one of the Freedom Flotilla, in International waters
(30 miles off the coast of Gaza). As they did so, we 19 humanitarian activists and crew, sat on the deck.
We were quietly anxious, aware of the solitary figure in the wheelhouse with his hands held high against the window, in continued next page
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full view of the three Israeli warships, 4 approaching zodiacs and 2 commando carriers, whose guns were pointing in his direction. I personally wondered if the courageous Derek Graham would live to tell the tale, conscious of what happened on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, earlier in the week. On Monday 3lst May, 2010, we heard via satellite phone that the Israeli Commandoes had boarded in International waters, from helicopter and zodiacs, the Turkish Ship, MV Mavi Marmara, killing and injuring many people. It was later confirmed that 8 Turkish people, l Turkish/USA, unarmed civilians had been shot (2 in the head and several in the back). All 6 boats on the Freedom Flotilla had been commandeered by Israeli Navy and taken to Israel and during this attack by Israel over 40 people were injured. These killings of unarmed civilians was devasting news to us all and something we never expected to happen. All those participating in the Freedom Flotilla participated because they were moved by the suffering of the people of Gaza. They were not Terrorists; they were human beings, who cared for other human beings in their suffering. Gaza, cut off by land crossing, sea (its port had been closed for over 40 years since Israeli occupation and had the Free Gaza Rachel Corrie Cargo boat been able to enter Gaza, it would have been the first Cargo boat ever to do so). Gaza has rightly been described as the largest open air prison in the world. With Israel holding all the keys for its one and a half million people living under a policy of collective punishment by Israeli. Under siege for over 3 years now, with a shortage of medicine, basic materials to rebuild their homes, after the 22 day bombardment by Israeli in Dec/Jan.2009 has left Gaza and its people, a place of suffering and isolation.
The flotilla was not only to bring humanitarian aid, books for children, toys, writing material, but to help break the siege of Gaza, which is slowly strangling its people. The violations of international law committed by Israel are well documented by the UN, and many independent human rights bodies. All of these violations of International laws and norms are committed under the guise of ‘national security’ and A policy of isolating Gaza to weaken Hamas. It is a policy that is clearly not working. As we have learned in N.Ireland, violence never works, so why not try talking to Hamas, as the British Government had to talk to representatives of IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries, in order to move to peace. The brutal and illegal attack of aid ships in International waters on May 3lst and the subsequent boarding of the MV Rachel Corrie, also in international Waters, is a symptom of the culture of impunity under which Israel operates. The Israeli Government was quick to blame the activists on board the MV Mavi Marmara, claiming that they attacked first and were members of terrorist groups. They also claimed that the HLL the Turkish Humanitarian Group who organized the Mavi Marmara had terrorist links. The HLL is not a banned organization in Turkey and has no links to terrorist organizations. It was disappointing to see how many International governments and media outlets immediately accepted Israel’s version of events without further investigation. Sure, there have been calls for a ‘prompt, impartial, credible and transparent’ investigation into the events of May 3lst by the United Nations Security Council.
A R T I C L E S think that Israel can conduct such an investigation on its own. In the words of my colleague, Nobel Jody Williams, this is like “the fox accounting for the number of chickens left in the henhouse” such a response cannot stand, and nothing less than An Independent investigation will be acceptable to the international community. This attack on the Freedom Flotilla is a tipping point. It is time for the International Community to finally stop allowing Israel to act with blatant disregard for Human Life, Human Rights and International Law. The partial lifting of the siege shows what International pressure can achieve, but it is not enough and only a full lifting of the siege can bring re freedom to the people of Gaza. It is time for Israel to choose peace. It is time for world leaders and the international Community to join together and call on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza completely, End the occupation of Palestine and allow the Palestinian people their right to Self-determination. To help bring closer that day we can all do something. Not everyone can go with The Freegaza boat people, but supporting the BDS campaign, calling for an end to EU special trading status with Israel insisting that USA end its economic/military assistance to Israel until it upholds it International commitments. Palestine is a key to peace in the Middle East so by us all refusing to be ‘silent’ in the face of Israel’s continued apartheid policies we can all bring closer an end to all violence in the Middle East. 19 June, 2010 Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate. Also member of JUST’s International Advisory Panel (IAP). She can be reached atSource: email@example.com www.peacepeople.com
Yet the United States and others seem to
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AN IMPENDING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE? By Devinder Sharma The G-20 Toronto party is over. The leaders have gone home. The world has now to pick up the broom and sweep the floor. Perhaps learn to live amidst the economic dirt they have left behind. Screams a newspaper intro: “With the global economy on its way to recovery amid debt crisis in some European countries, the G-20 on Monday called a striking balance between stimulus measures to sustain economic expansion and reducing fiscal deficit to tackle the mess of government finance.” If you try to read the G-20 declaration, although it reads like a page from any text book that the economics and management students are forced to read nowadays, the leaders conclude that they can do much better. “The IMF and World Bank estimate that if we choose a more ambitious path of reforms, over the medium term, we could: • raise global output by up to $4 trillion; • create an estimated 52 million jobs; • lift up to 90 million people out of poverty; and • significantly reduce global current account balances. If we act in a coordinated manner, all regions are better off, now and in the future. Moreover, increasing global growth on a sustainable basis is the most important step we can take in improving the lives of all, including those in the poorest countries.” Now we know. Why these leaders have made a mess of the global economy. They continue to follow the economic prescription being doled out by the IMF and the World Bank, who were primarily responsible for putting the world into an unforeseen crisis in the first hand. I have always been saying, more so in the Indian context and which holds true globally, how can you ask those who are responsible for the crisis to suggest solutions? Only an idiot can seek advise from IMF
and World Bank to put back the global economy on the path to recovery. Let us not go into the outlandish figures of creating jobs and reducing hunger, but let us look at the IMF and World Bank estimates of raising global output. The G-20 expects that speeding the reforms (and cutting on fiscal deficit) will raise global output by $ 4 trillion. Ha ! Isn’t it amusing? The world has pumped in more than $ 20 trillion to bail out banks and the financial systems in 2008-09 alone, and you expect a recovery in terms of global output by a mere $ 4 trillion! In other words, the tax payers globally have already provided an economic stimulus of $ 20 trillion and that without battling an eyelid. Which means they have shelled out what the world expects by way of output for the next five years !! If only this stimulus had gone to provide the real stimulus to the economy (rather than writing off the losses of the banks, and providing bonuses to corrupt bankers), the $ 20 trillion would have wiped out poverty and hunger from the face of the Earth (not only pull out 90 million from hunger, as the G-20 projects) and also provided for jobs to all and sundry. The problem is that the G-20 does not represent the people. The G-20 represents the corporations. They will therefore continue to make fools of us by throwing these magical figures. This is the only way they can fill the pockets of business and trade. “The truth is that the entire world economic system is broken. It is built on a fraudulent pyramid of debt, derivatives, central banking and paper money that is doomed to fail. But world leaders will continue to keep it alive for as long as they can.” (Budget Cuts? in The Economic Collapse). I agree with this analysis. In fact, as a commentator wrote: “the fact remains that GDP is a false metric for the health of an economy; GDP includes government
spending. Measured without federal government spending, the economy has been contracting at some -2.5% per quarter for the last six quarters. All that government spending has done is to mask the true state of the economy, provided congress with slush funds, and push the social(ist) agenda of those in power. It has temporarily delayed (and made worse by an order of magnitude) the inevitable crash that is coming, and lengthened the recovery time to decades instead of 2-3 years, if any recovery is indeed possible. Benron, Federal government, and the Big Six on Wall Street have learned nothing from their ’study’ of the Great Depression – they’re using the same playbook consisting of a single maneuver. And we can count on Obama to do exactly the opposite of what he says he’ll do, as he has proven every time he opens his mouth. Get ready for QEII, more of the Extend and Pretend economy, and more fed.gov statistics that are totally divorced from reality.” The path to ‘economic recovery’ that is being suggested is through increasing FDI in agriculture. The G-20 declaration talks about it very clearly, and also promises to update the leaders with the progress in the forthcoming Seoul Summit in November. I will analyse it later as to what it means for the future of farming and the farming communities. Meanwhile, read this excellent analysis Budget Cuts? on The Economic Collapse site. http:// theeconomiccollapseblog.com/ archives/budget-cuts. 29 June, 2010 Devinder Sharma is a distinguished food and trade policy analyst. An award-winning Indian journalist, writer, thinker, and researcher well-known and respected for his views on food and trade policy Source: Counter Currents .org
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By Mark Jurgensmeyer Threats of right-wing violence have doubled in the past year. What is behind the latest upsurge in the movement to create a Christian theocratic state?
wing political climate in this country has created the groundwork for a demonic new form of violence and terrorism, I fear that he is correct. Christian Warrior, Sacred Battle
When Scott Roeder, the murderer of Wichita Kansas abortion clinic provider Dr. George Tiller, had his day in court, he spent much of his rambling self-defense quoting the words of another abortion clinic assassin, Reverend Paul Hill. In the 1990s my own research had brought me into conversation with others in the inner circle in which Hill and Roeder were at that time involved. So it was a chilling experience for me to realize that this awful mood of American Christian terrorism—culminating in the catastrophic attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Builiding— has now returned. Christian terrorism has returned to America with a vengeance. And it is not just Roeder. When members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan and Ohio recently were arrested with plans to kill a random policeman and then plant Improvised Explosive Devices in the area where the funeral would be held to kill hundreds more, this was a terrorist plot of the sort that would impress Shi’ite militia and al Qaeda activists in Iraq. The Southern Poverty Law Center, founded by Morris Dees, which has closely watched the rise of right-wing extremism in this country for many decades, declares that threats and incidents of right-wing violence have risen 200% in this past year— unfortunately coinciding with the tenure of the first African-American president in US history. When Chip Berlet, one of this country’s best monitors of right-wing extremism, warned in a perceptive essay last week on RD that the hostile right-
Though these new forms of violence are undoubtedly political and probably racist, they also have a religious dimension. And this brings me back to what I know about Rev. Paul Hill, the assassin who the similarly misguided assassin, Scott Roeder, quoted at length in that Wichita court room last week. In 1994, Hill, a Presbyterian pastor at the extreme fringe of the anti-abortion activist movement, came armed to a clinic in Pensacola, Florida. He aimed at Dr. John Britton, who was entering the clinic along with his bodyguard, James Barrett. The shots killed both men and wounded Barrett’s wife, Joan. Hill immediately put down his weapon and was arrested; presenting an image of someone who knew that he would be arrested, convicted, and executed by the State of Florida for his actions, which he was in 2003. This would make Hill something of a Christian suicide attacker. What is interesting about Hill and his supporters is not just his political views, but also his religious ones. As I reported in my book, Terror in the Mind of God, and in an essay for RD several months ago, Hill framed his actions as those of a Christian warrior engaged in sacred battle. “My eyes were opened to the enormous impact” such an event would have, he wrote, adding that “the effect would be incalculable.” Hill said that he opened his Bible and found sustenance in Psalms 91: “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day.” Hill interpreted this as an affirmation that
his act was biblically approved. One of the supporters that Paul Hill had written these words to was Rev. Michael Bray, a Lutheran pastor in Bowie, Maryland, who had served prison time for his conviction of firebombing abortion-related clinics on the Eastern seaboard. Bray published a newsletter and then a Web site for his Christian anti-abortion movement, and published a book theologically justifying violence against abortion service providers, A Time to Kill. He is also alleged to be the author of the Army of God manual that provides details on how to conduct terrorist acts against abortion-related clinics. Recently Bray has publicly defended Paul Roeder, the Wichita assassin, saying that he acted with “righteousness and mercy.” Several years earlier, another member of Bray’s network of associates, Rachelle (“Shelly”) Shannon, a housewife from rural Oregon, had also attacked Dr. George Tiller as he drove away from his clinic in Wichita. She was arrested for attempted murder. When I interviewed Bray on several occasions in the 1990s, he provided a theological defense of this kind of violence from two different Christian perspectives. In the remainder of this essay, I’ll summarize from Terror in continued next page
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the Mind of God some of my observations about these theological strands behind their terrorism in the 1990s—and which, amazingly, are surfacing again today. Theological Illogic The more traditional Christian justification that Bray used for his violence was just-war theory. He was fond of quoting two of my own heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr, in what I regard as perverse ways. Bray thought that their justification of military action against the Nazis (and an attempted assassination plot on Hitler’s life Bonhoeffer was involved in) was an appropriate parallel to his terrorism against the US government’s sanctioning of legal abortions. It seemed highly unlikely to me that Bray’s positions would have been accepted by these or any other theologian within mainstream Protestant thought. Bonhoeffer and Niebuhr, like most modern theologians, supported the principle of the separation of church and state, and were wary of what Niebuhr called “moralism”—the intrusion of religious or other ideological values into the political calculations of statecraft. Moreover, Bray did not rely on mainstream theologians for his most earnest theological justification. The more significant Christian position that Bray and Hill advanced is related to the End-Time theology of the Rapture as thought to be envisaged by the New Testament book of Revelation. These are ideas related, in turn, to Dominion Theology, the position that Christianity must reassert the dominion of God over all things, including secular politics and society. This point of view, articulated by such right-wing Protestant spokespersons as Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, have been part of the
ideology of the Christian Right since at least the 1980s and 1990s. At its hardest edge, the movement requires the creation of a kind of Christian politics to set the stage for America’s acceptance of the second coming of Christ. In this context, it is significant today that in some parts of the United States, over one-third of the opponents of the policies of President Barack Obama believe he is the Antichrist as characterized in the End-Times Rapture scenario. The Christian anti-abortion movement is permeated with ideas from Dominion Theology. Randall Terry (founder of the militant anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue and a writer for the Dominion magazine Crosswinds) signed the magazine’s “Manifesto for the Christian Church,” which asserted that America should “function as a Christian nation.” The Manifesto said that America should therefore oppose “social moral evils” of secular society such as “abortion on demand, fornication, homosexuality, sexual entertainment, state usurpation of parental rights and God-given liberties, statist-collectivist theft from citizens through devaluation of their money and redistribution of their wealth, and evolutionism taught as a monopoly viewpoint in the public schools.” At the extreme right wing of Dominion Theology is a relatively obscure theological movement that Mike Bray found particularly appealing: Reconstruction Theology, whose exponents long to create a Christian theocratic state. Bray had studied their writings extensively and possessed a shelf of books written by Reconstruction authors. The convicted anti-abortion killer Paul Hill cited Reconstruction theologians in his own writings and once studied with a founder of the movement, Greg Bahnsen, at Reformed Theological
Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Leaders of the Reconstruction movement trace their ideas, which they sometimes called “theonomy,” to Cornelius Van Til, a twentieth-century Presbyterian professor of theology at Princeton Seminary who took seriously the sixteenth-century ideas of the Reformation theologian John Calvin regarding the necessity for presupposing the authority of God in all worldly matters. Followers of Van Til (including his former students Bahnsen and Rousas John Rushdoony, and Rushdoony’s son-inlaw, Gary North) adopted this “presuppositionalism” as a doctrine, with all its implications for the role of religion in political life. Recapturing Institutions for Jesus Reconstruction writers regard the history of Protestant politics since the early years of the Reformation as having taken a bad turn, and they are especially unhappy with the Enlightenment formulation of churchstate separation. They feel it necessary to “reconstruct” Christian society by turning to the Bible as the basis for a nation’s law and social order. To propagate these views, the Reconstructionists established the Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler, Texas, and the Chalcedon Foundation in Vallecito, California. They have published a journal and a steady stream of books and booklets on the theological justification for interjecting Christian ideas into economic, legal, and political life. According to the most prolific Reconstruction writer, Gary North, it is “the moral obligation of Christians to recapture every institution for Jesus Christ.” He feels this to be especially so in the United States, where secular law as construed by the Supreme Court and defended by liberal politicians is moving in what continued next page
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Rushdoony and others regard as a decidedly un-Christian direction; particularly in matters regarding abortion and homosexuality. What the Reconstructionists ultimately want, however, is more than the rejection of secularism. Like other theologians who utilize the biblical concept of “dominion,” they reason that Christians, as the new chosen people of God, are destined to dominate the world. The Reconstructionists possess a “postmillennial” view of history. That is, they believe that Christ will return to earth only after the thousand years of religious rule that characterizes the Christian idea of the millennium, and therefore Christians have an obligation to provide the political and social conditions that will make Christ’s return possible. “Premillennialists,” on the other hand, hold the view that the thousand years of Christendom will come only after Christ returns, an event that will occur in a cataclysmic moment of world history. Therefore they tend to be much less active politically.
would allow individual states to experiment with religious politics on their own. When I asked Bray what state might be ready for such an experiment, he hesitated and then suggested Louisiana and Mississippi, or, he added, “maybe one of the Dakotas.” Not all Reconstruction thinkers have endorsed the use of violence, especially the kind that Bray and Hill have justified. As Reconstruction author Gary North admitted, “there is a division in the theonomic camp” over violence, especially with regard to anti-abortion activities. Some months before Paul Hill killed Dr. Britton and his escort, Hill (apparently hoping for Gary North’s approval in advance) sent a letter to North along with a draft of an essay he had written justifying the possibility of such killings in part on theonomic grounds. North ultimately responded, but only after the murders had been committed.
Rev. Paul Hill, Rev. Michael Bray, and other Reconstructionists—along with Dominion theologians such as the American politician and television host Pat Robertson and many other rightwing Christian activists today—are postmillenialists. Hence they believe that a Christian kingdom must be established on Earth before Christ’s return. They take seriously the idea of a Christian society and a form of religious politics that will make biblical code the law of the United States.
North regretted that he was too late to deter Hill from his “terrible direction” and chastised Hill in an open letter, published as a booklet, denouncing Hill’s views as “vigilante theology.” According to North, biblical law provides exceptions to the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex 20:13), but in terms similar to justwar doctrine: when one is authorized to do so by “a covenantal agent” in wartime, to defend one’s household, to execute a convicted criminal, to avenge the death of one’s kin, to save an entire nation, or to stop moral transgressors from bringing bloodguilt on an entire community.
These activists are quite serious about bringing Christian politics into power. Bray said that it is possible, under the right conditions, for a Christian revolution to sweep across the United States and bring in its wake Constitutional changes that would allow for biblical law to be the basis of social legislation. Failing that, Bray envisaged a new federalism that
Hill, joined by Bray, responded to North’s letter. They argued that many of those conditions applied to the abortion situation in the United States. Writing from his prison cell in Starke, Florida, Paul Hill said that the biblical commandment against murder also “requires using the means necessary to defend against murder—including lethal force.” He went on to say that
he regarded “the cutting edge of Satan’s current attack” to be “the abortionist’s knife,” and therefore his actions had ultimate theological significance. Bray, in his book, A Time to Kill, spoke to North’s concern about the authorization of violence by a legitimate authority or “a covenental agent,” as North put it. Bray raised the possibility of a “righteous rebellion.” Just as liberation theologians justify the use of unauthorized force for the sake of their vision of a moral order, Bray saw the legitimacy of using violence not only to resist what he regarded as murder—abortion—but also to help bring about the Christian political order envisioned by the radical dominion theology thinkers. In Bray’s mind, a little violence was a small price to pay for the possibility of fulfilling God’s law and establishing His kingdom on earth. For most of the rest of us, even a little violence is a price too high to pay for these fantastic visions of Christian politics and for America’s recent return to Christian terrorism. 19 April, 2010 Mark Juergensmeyer is Professor of Sociology and Director of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the winner of the Grawemeyer Award for his book Terror in the Mind of God (UC Press). He is the editor of Global Religions: An Introduction . Source: Alternet.org
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