The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economical Rights (JCCER) reported that the Israeli police handed Wednesday a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem an order to pay 13.000 NIS, demanding family members to pay the expenses of their expulsion from their home.
Members of Majed Hannoun family, from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, were forced out of their home last year and were replaced by fundamentalist Jewish settlers.
But now, the settler-run Jerusalem Municipality is asking the family to pay 13.000 NIS for the expenses of the workers who removed them from their homes, and for equipment the municipality used during the evacuation.
The Research and Documentation Unit at the JCCER reported that two other families who were also forced out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah last year, fear the same measure would be taken against them.
The families of Maher Hannoun and Abdul-Fattah Al Ghawi were forced out of their homes and fundamentalist settlers threw their furniture and belongings in the street.
The Jerusalem municipality later moved the furniture to a square in front of the City Hall building in Sheikh Jarrah.
The two families are now living in tents and fear that Israel will also attempt to oblige them to pay the expenses of their evacuation.
The Jerusalem Municipality repeatedly removed the tents and tried to force the residents out of Sheikh Jarrah.
This issues comes amidst ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian natives of Jerusalem, and amidst ongoing settlement construction and expansion in the city and around it.
This is also part of Israel’s police to demolish Arab and Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.
Gaza – A Palestinian worker was critically injured on Thursday morning as the Israeli forces at the closed Sufa crossing opened fire on a group of men collecting rubble for the re-manufacturing of construction materials, medics said.
Director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanein, identified the injured man as Naji Abu Rayda, 32, noting he was shot in the back and transferred to the European Hospital.
An Israeli military spokesman said he was unfamiliar any such incident in the area of the Sufa crossing.
Israeli news sources reported a similar incident near the Rafah crossing, southwest of Sufa. The spokesman said he had no knowledge of an incident matching either description.
According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Rayda was injured in the right thigh when he and several other workers were approximately 500 meters from the border fence.
Earlier in the week, Al Mezan reported Israeli soldiers near the Erez crossing opened fired on men “collecting rubble to sell to brick factories, which recycles it into bricks.” The men were reportedly 100 meters away from the border.
“This is the only source of bricks for construction that is available in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from an acute shortage of construction materials due the Israeli siege,” the report said.
Two days earlier, Israeli forces reportedly arrested 20 Palestinian workers who were collecting the rubble from destroyed buildings in the northern Gaza Strip. The report said four of those detained were children. Eight were released the next day after interrogations, the report said.
A new poll has shown that about 1 in 3 Americans — roughly 100 million people — think 9/11 was “a big fabrication.” The poll was evidently commissioned and/or conducted by anti-9/11-truth forces, as demonstrated by the headline: “Americans Disagree with Iranian President on 9/11 ‘Fabrication.’” By framing the issue as one of agreement or disagreement with media-demonized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and focusing on those who disagreed, Angus Reid Public Opinion was spinning the story as hard as it could possibly be spun. But all the spin in the world can’t hide the fact that these are the biggest MIHOP* numbers yet!
According to the new Angus Reid 9/11 poll, 26% of Americans say flat-out that 9/11 was “a big fabrication,” while 12% more aren’t sure. Splitting the difference with the not-sures, we arrive at 32% either flat-out believing or leaning toward MIHOP. Taking into consideration the obvious pollster bias, and the psychological tendency of poll respondents to disguise their real beliefs in order to avoid pejorative labels like “conspiracy theorist” or “Ahmedinejad supporter,” we must conclude that the real numbers are considerably higher.
Compare the Angus Reid poll with the scientific poll conducted by Voice Broadcasting, Inc. for my Congressional campaign, which found that one out of three Wisconsin District 3 voters either thought the 9/11 WTC “collapses” were actually controlled demolitions, or that we needed a new investigation to find out.
* MIHOP = Made It Happen on Purpose (i.e. “they did it”) as opposed to LIHOP = “Let It Happen On Purpose.”
The Israeli government has indicated that it will press ahead with a plan to enlarge the Jewish prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, despite warnings that the move risks triggering a third intifada.
Israeli officials rejected this week a Jerusalem court’s proposal to shelve the plan after the judge accepted that the plaza’s expansion would violate the “status quo” arrangement covering the Old City’s holy places. Islamic authorities agreed to the arrangement after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.
The site eyed by Israeli officials is located at the Mughrabi Gate, an entrance to the mosque compound known as the Haram al-Sharif, the most sensitive site in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Inside are al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock.
Earlier encroachments by Israel on Islamic authority at the site have triggered clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians. A heavily armed visit to the compound by Ariel Sharon in 2000, shortly before he became prime minister, to declare Israeli rights there sparked the second intifada.
In recent weeks, analysts have grown increasingly concerned that a third intifada is imminent as Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has advanced settlement building in East Jerusalem and declared several places deep in the occupied West Bank as Jewish heritage sites.
Another assault on Muslim control so close to al-Aqsa Mosque risked “pouring fuel on the fire,” said Hanna Sweid, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament who filed the original planning objections to the Israeli scheme.
According to evidence presented to the Jerusalem court, Israeli officials used minor storm damage to a stone ramp leading to the Mughrabi Gate as a pretext to tear it down six years ago. The intention is to replace the ramp with a permanent metal bridge and then extend the Jewish prayer plaza into the area where the ramp was.
The scheme is the brainchild of Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, who declared the damage to the ramp in 2004 a “miracle” that had offered Israel the chance to take control of more land from Islamic authorities in the Old City.
The rabbi’s plan was approved in late 2007 by a special ministerial committee headed by Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister. The project has also won backing from Netanyahu, though he froze construction work in July under orders from the Jerusalem court.
The judge, Moussia Arad, proposed in January that the ramp be reinstated, or at the very least that the bridge follow the exact route of the ramp, and that all prayer at the site be banned. That position won the backing of United Nations officials monitoring Israel’s work at the Mughrabi Gate.
The Jordanian, Turkish and Palestinian Islamic authorities have all expressed deep concern at Israeli excavations at the Mughrabi Gate that are seen as a prelude to the plaza’s expansion.
Observers had hoped that, faced with the danger of another row with the United States so soon after the diplomatic crisis sparked by Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu might agree to the court’s compromise.
They have been proved wrong.
“Netanyahu has a history of trampling on Palestinian rights in the Old City,” Sweid said. “There is every reason to be worried about what he plans to get up to this time.”
In 1996, during his previous stint as prime minister, Netanyahu opened the Western Wall tunnel, another excavation close to the mosque compound, resulting in clashes in which 75 Palestinians and 15 Israeli soldiers were killed.
Israel, which says the mosques sit on the ruins of two ancient Jewish temples, built by Solomon and Herod, refers to the site as Temple Mount and has staked a claim to a degree of sovereignty over the area in recent peace negotiations.
Last week, in a sign of the explosive consequences of tampering with the status quo concerning Jerusalem’s holy places, riots broke out in a “day of rage” in East Jerusalem following Israel’s announcement that it had rebuilt an old synagogue, the Hurva, close to the mosques.
“The Haram al-Sharif is a site of unrivaled Muslim sensitivity and the Israeli government is playing with fire here,” said Mohammed Masalha, a lecturer who heads a coalition of Islamic groups inside Israel that brought the court case.
In evidence presented to the court, Meir Ben Dov, an Israeli archaeologist and the excavations director at the Western Wall for nearly four decades, produced photographic evidence showing that the storm had caused only a minor landslide.
“I was asked by the government to inspect the damage two days after it occurred and I found maybe a dozen stones had been dislodged,” he said. “The ramp could have been repaired in less than a week but instead they decided to demolish it.”
Judge Arad, Ben Dov said, had been “shocked” when she saw the photographs.
Ben Dov said his recommendation that the walkway be repaired for $14,000 was ignored by Israeli officials, including the then-tourism minister, Benny Elon, a settler rabbi who heads a far-right party. Instead the government tore down the ramp and built a temporary wooden bridge to the Mughrabi Gate while excavations were carried out in the area exposed by the ramp’s destruction.
The Jerusalem comptroller, Shulamit Rubin, the city’s watchdog official, criticized the excavations at the time, saying they were illegal because the necessary authorizations had not been sought.
The secretive nature of the excavations was widely assumed by Islamic groups to be evidence of an Israeli intention to search for parts of the destroyed temples. With such evidence, Israel would have a stronger claim to extend its control.
The unscientific approach to the excavations was highlighted in early 2007 when it emerged that three years earlier Israeli archaeologists had unearthed at the site a Muslim prayer room from the time of the Saladin, dating to the 11th century, but had kept the discovery quiet.
In February 2007, when Israel brought heavy machinery to the Mughrabi Gate excavations, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with police while the Islamic Movements within Israel staged large demonstrations. Islamic Jihad said it had fired two Qassam rockets from Gaza in response, and al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade threatened to carry out attacks if the work was not halted.
Islamic authorities also expressed fears that the compound of mosques might be damaged by the bulldozers, and that the heavy machinery might also destroy the as-yet-undiscovered al-Buraq mosque, believed to be located close to the Mughrabi Gate and marking the site where the Prophet Mohammed tethered his horse on his Night Journey between Mecca and Jerusalem.
To calm the situation, Israel allowed Turkish experts to examine the excavations a short time later. They reported that Israel was trying to sideline Jerusalem’s Islamic history so that its Jewish aspects could be emphasized.
Israel had another reason for pushing ahead with the illegal excavations, said Kais Nasser, the lawyer representing the Islamic groups. “They needed to unearth something, anything, that could be claimed as an antiquity to nullify Muslim demands for the ramp to be reinstated. Rebuilding the ramp would then be impossible because it would risk damaging an archaeological site.”
Nasser said Israel hopes that if it can present the bridge as the only feasible option, then there will be no obstacles to expanding the prayer plaza.
Ben Dov said he shared such suspicions about Israel’s activities at the site, adding that the goal of Israeli officials seemed to be to gain control over the whole 480-meter length of the Western Wall.
He and other observers have said this is just one more example of a long-standing policy to gradually encroach on Muslim control of the mosque compound.
Among the most significant has been the creation of the City of David, an Israeli archaeological park, directly south of al-Aqsa Mosque in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. The site is run by Elad, an extremist settler group, that has taken over neighboring Palestinian homes and, along with the Jerusalem municipality and government officials, is pushing for dozens more to be demolished. It eventually wants to link up the park with the Temple Mount.
Jewish settlers have also been concentrating their efforts on taking over Palestinian homes in the Muslim quarter, close to the Haram al-Sharif, and have been supported by right-wing politicians, including in the past by Netanyahu.
One settler organization, Ateret Cohanim, has been especially active, and is known to be excavating under Palestinian homes around the compound in the hope of discovering traces of the temples.
“What we see here is an unholy alliance of government ministers, Jerusalem municipality officials and settler organizations trying to revive a supposed golden era of Jewish sovereignty from thousands of years ago,” Sweid said.
In addition, he said, Israel believed that a more significant Israeli presence close to the mosques would strengthen its hand in any final peace talks over the division of Jerusalem with the Palestinians, with Israel able to stake a bigger claim to sovereignty over the site.
At the Camp David talks in 2000, Bill Clinton, then US president, proposed dividing sovereignty so that Israel would have control over both the “subterranean spaces” of the mosque compound and the Western Wall. During the talks Ehud Barak, the Israeli prime minister of the day, alarmed observers by calling the whole compound the Jewish “holy of holies,” a term previously used in referring only to the inner sanctum of the destroyed temples.
There are additional fears among Palestinians, and the wider Muslim world, of darker plots being hatched by even more extreme groups.
Although Jewish religious purity laws have traditionally forbidden Jews from entering the Temple Mount, a growing number of rabbis are demanding that Jews be allowed to pray in the compound. Even more fanatical groups are known to favor blowing up the mosques and building a third temple in their place.
The recent rebuilding of the Hurva synagogue has added to such concerns. The Israeli media reported that, according to a 300-year-old rabbinical prophecy, the synagogue’s rebuilding would herald the construction of the third temple.
A sordid affair: The Mughrabi quarter’s ethnic cleansing
Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Mughrabi, or Moroccan, quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City after its capture in 1967 is one of the more sordid episodes of the 1967 war.
Until it was destroyed by Israel in 2004, the stone ramp that led to the Mughrabi Gate — one of the main entrances to the elevated compound of mosques known as the Haram al-Sharif — was the only visible reminder that the quarter, once home to 1,000 Palestinians, had ever existed.
At the end of the June 1967 war, as Israeli troops poured into the Old City, the Israeli government was presented with an opportunity not only to restore a Jewish presence to the walled city but to create a newly expanded Jewish quarter that would have the Western Wall at its center.
Before 1948, prayer at the Wall had been possible only at several points along a narrow alley at the margins of the densely populated Moroccan quarter, an area bequeathed in the twelfth century to Saladin’s followers by his son Malik al-Afdal.
But in the immediate wake of the “miraculous” victory in 1967, the Israeli government saw the chance to create a wide prayer plaza in front of the Wall, making it the symbolic heart of an expanded Jewish state that could unite religious and secular Jews.
All that stood in their way were the quarter’s 135 homes.
On the night of 10 June, Uzi Narkiss, head of the army’s central command, authorized 15 private demolition crews to raze the quarter under cover of dark. He, like the politicians, knew that neither the international community nor the Israeli courts would consent to such a brazen violation of international law.
When Teddy Kollek, the mayor of West Jerusalem, had consulted the justice minister, he had been told: “I don’t know what the legal status is. Do it quickly and may the God of Israel be with you.”
Uzi Benziman, an Israeli journalist, described the “near-mystic” compulsion that drove those behind the act of ethnic cleansing: “The officers and the contractors considered themselves emissaries, come to renew Jewish statehood as it had been 1,897 years earlier.”
An officer went from house to house ordering the residents to evacuate. According to observers, those who refused finally fled when the walls of their homes came down. One old woman, found amid the rubble, died a short time later.
As the ruins were cleared and the ground leveled to create an expansive plaza in front of the Western Wall, the contractors were told to use the rubble from the homes to build a ramp up to the Mughrabi Gate. The gate is the only entrance to the compound for which Israel kept the key. Today it is the access point for all non-Muslim visitors, including the Israeli police.
The Western Wall and the plaza, on land that had previously fallen under the control of the Islamic authorities, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Israeli religious affairs ministry. A few days later, on the Jewish holy day of Shavuot, an estimated 200,000 Israeli Jews — one in 10 of the population — came to visit the Wall.
Although Israel had effectively annexed East Jerusalem, its leaders were still troubled by the possible international repercussions of being seen to seize control of the Old City’s holy places, especially the compound of mosques. Under a so-called “status quo” agreement, Muslim officials were supposed to continue controlling the mosque compound, with Israeli oversight.
But that did not stop the rapid emergence of a movement in Israel seeking control of the compound too. Many Jews believe the ruins of the temples of Solomon and Herod can be found under the mosques.
From the early 1970s, extremist rabbis — led by the Shlomo Goren, then the chief rabbi of Israel — began lobbying for Jews to be allowed into the compound to pray, despite traditional rabbinical rulings against such a practice.
Jewish groups soon sprang up demanding more: that the mosques be blown up to make way for a third temple that would bring nearer the arrival of the Messiah.
Since the outbreak of the second intifada, little of the status quo agreement remains. Israeli movement restrictions affecting both Gaza and the West Bank mean that today only a tiny number of Palestinians can reach the mosques. Palestinian institutions are also barred from operating inside Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, settlers and Israeli officials have encroached on more and more land around the mosque compound. At the Camp David talks with the Palestinians in 2000, Israel proposed for the first time that Jews be allowed to pray in the compound and that Israel have a degree of sovereignty over the site.
In recent years Jews have started to be escorted by Israeli police inside the compound through the Mughrabi Gate, though praying so far has not been sanctioned.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net
Venezuela maintained its status as the world’s No.2 holder of proven oil reserves, with a total of 211.2 billion barrels at the close of 2009. That figure includes the 39.9 billion barrels classified as proven reserves during the month of December, the Communications Ministry said in a bulletin.
Worldwide, Venezuela ranked behind only Saudi Arabia (266 billion barrels) and ahead of Iraq (113 billion barrels) and Kuwait (94 billion barrels) in terms of proven reserves at the end of last year. The country’s total proven reserves, however, amount to less than half of the at least 500 billion barrels that are believed to lie within Venezuelan territory.
On January 22, the US Geological Survey released a study indicating that the Orinoco Belt in eastern Venezuela holds 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable crude. The USGS, whose estimate for that 50,000-square-kilometer (19,300-square-mile) area was nearly double the 280 billion barrels of recoverable crude that had been calculated by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), said the Orinoco Belt was the largest oil accumulation it had ever evaluated.
*The USGS study, the first to precisely evaluate how much oil can be extracted from the subsoil using current technology, also confirmed that the Orinoco oil is tar-like, heavy crude.
The Chavez government has recently begun the process of developing the Orinoco reserves by signing a series of agreements with a score of foreign oil companies, which must form joint ventures with PDVSA in which the Venezuelan government has a majority stake.
Chavez said in late January that the USGS also “is recognizing for the first time the large quantity of gas associated with that petroleum … and are estimating it at 130 trillion cubic feet. We estimate that (the country’s gas reserves can increase) by another 150 trillion.”
He recalled that one of the world’s largest gas deposits — a 33-square-kilometer (12.7-square-mile) area containing 8 trillion cubic feet of gas — was discovered last September off Venezuela’s Caribbean coast.
PDVSA owns the largest stake in the consortium that will develop the block where the find was made, while Spain’s Repsol and Italy’s Eni will have a 32.5% share each.
By Andrew McKillop | Excerpts | March 22, 2010
Annexed to the climate change and global warming hysteria that received its political kiss of death at the failed Copenhagen “climate summit” in Dec 2009, the rationale for why everybody sensible has to be so concerned about this threat to humanity is that clean and green energy will save us. Not only “the climate” and “the ecology,” including polar bears, low lying countries from Holland to the Maldives, coral reefs, Himalayan glaciers, people living along tropical storm tracks and all the rest — but also jobs in our cities. Along with green jobs, the new crusade for low carbon energy would cut oil import bills to nothing, balance trade with the rest of the world, improve national finances and strengthen the national currency. Everything is possible!
Green growth strategies flourished in the 2003-2009 period, in the wake of constantly rising oil prices and spiraling hysteria about climate change. The bottom line of the climate change priests and soothsayers was that low carbon green energy, developed as the only way to save us from climate apocalypse, would or could also save the economy.
In fact, only high oil prices and high energy prices can make green energy feasible without depending on government aid, the carbon finance circus, and coming carbon taxes, but this is not a politically correct argument. Preferred approaches are to use public funds to sponsor and when it gets necessary, bail out carbon finance gamblers, and supply a raft of public funds to subsidize the green energy fantasies of the corporate elite.
These fantasies already have a bad track record in the short period since “going green” became big business, from about 2003. Several started with a death wish for early bankruptcy, the most recent and biggest example being US maize-based bio-ethanol fuels production, which rode a boom-bust speculative finance cycle through 2005-2008. Making car fuels from food grains and vegetable oils is not only a way to generate high food prices leading to food riots in poor countries, but an expensive, inefficient, low-yielding method to substitute a small amount of present demand for oil-based car fuels. Today’s production overcapacity for windmills and solar photovoltaic power already threatens a repeat of the epic biofuels boom-and-bust, during which even Bill Gates managed to lose money (about US$44 million). Hard-headed short sellers of bio-fuel company stocks, like Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital LLC made hundreds of millions of dollars on the certain and sure collapse of share prices in this overblown sector during 2007.
Coming soon, really big corporate losses feeding short selling profits for some, huge losses for small investors, and demands for government bailouts from the Too Big To Fail among corporate losers, will be generated by the electric car boom-and-bust.
WHY THE HYSTERIA ?
Climate change advocacy and carbon finance have grown together in the OECD countries with corporate interests frenetically wrestling for the widening range of constantly changing government subsidies, aid, carbon credits, clean development offsets, feed-in tariffs and tax favors to develop alternate energy. Advocacy is necessarily tinted with hysteria of the type “We are saving you from death — You don’t ask the price.”
Politicians, who always appreciate any pitch that captivates the child-brained crowd, quickly warmed to global warming hysteria. This was despite its far-out apocalyptic “message” that unparalleled disasters including Biblical-style floods will strike the planet before the end of this century — unless the People behave. Unless the average car buyer gets to like electric and hybrid cars (despite the braking problems), recycles household rubbish to make it easy grubbing out metals, glass and plastic, buys a bicycle imported from China, rides in buses or trains but patriotically buys a government subsidized oil fueled car, pays more for organic and “bio” food, uses less electricity, saves oil in countless ways, and goes green in every confusing and conflicting way they are told.
Maintaining public angst, and public approval were unfortunately confused as being exactly the same thing by political, media and corporate spin doctors. Constant exaggeration of the invented climate menace was decided necessary. This led the high priests of hype, such as Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri, James Lovelock, James Hansen and other climate change gravy train riders to desperately rival each other, and babble ever more ridiculous fire-and-brimstone at the microphone. Drifting always further in delirious wafts and spirals of lies, distortion, exaggeration and blatant propaganda, the high priests of hype were too stupid, too arrogant to see the end coming in late 2009.
THE CONVERGING PLANKS
Rising hype on global warming soon overshot into stratospheric data fraud by UN credible (that is IN credible) high level experts on climate change, led by former railway engineer Rajendra Pachauri and failed politician Al Gore. The spin and hype on global warming catastrophe was however welcomed by political elites in 2008-2009 as a handy way to take the tiny public mind off gargantuan meltdowns in the finance, bank and insurance sector, and the massive bailouts for government-friendly corporate thieves, gamblers and fools.
Agitprop was needed because the economy went out of control. Recession did serious damage not only to real people and their real jobs, but collateral damage to the credibility of politicians, running the magic New Economy hands free, with only the fingers of their corporate finance friends on the economic jugular vein. These greedy fingers squeezed a lot too hard in 2008, with the result being the house of cards fell apart, needing strenuous diversionary tactics.
Any faltering of economic growth, any loss of credibility in the ability of exactly the same politicians, and exactly their same corporate friends to magically restore the economy when it temporarily (of course) stops growing are two more menaces, needing energetic response. Credibility for “global warming catastrophe” was worked into the same set of political elite fears, as corporate green energy player fears of a decline in government subsidies for their newest and best boom-bust gimmick.
In such strenuous and stirring circumstances, climate extremism and doomsterism richly larded with fake facts from junk science was a basic need. Governments must have their purse strings prized open, and kept open by the corporate and policy elite. Politicians need to be loved and admired, or at least re-elected for their far-seeing decisions. Media owners and operators who revel in Great Causes which sell newsprint, and like to imagine they still control what Mr and Mrs Average think, were quick to come on board for the climate crisis ride. They also stayed too long, forgetting that Internet and even word of mouth were working against them.
Overcapacity of wind power and solar electric power manufacturing capacities is now widespread in many countries, even in China and India, as the “low hanging fruit” of the best sites, the biggest subsidies, the largest public support and acclaim is used up — and oil prices although rising are still far behind the peak attained in 2008. As the economic rationale declines, huge new green energy ventures shift toward ego-trips for politicians, and become purely prestige. Chinese vice minister for Industry and IT, Miao Wei, described massive wind farms in China as essentially “vanity projects,” March 11, 2010 in part due to probable rapid wear and tear of turbines increasingly located in hostile locations, such as China’s dusty deserts, and increasingly in deep water offshore wind-farms ever further from land.
Staying credible is always most difficult as the curve of public knowledge rises, and the new gimmick does not deliver. Probably the biggest threat to corporate and Big Government low carbon energy and the related fantasy of the sustainable economy, is loss of credibility for the “menace of catastrophic climate change.” If the menace isn’t so dire as it seemed before the massive failure of the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009, why should governments rack up even more debt, to finance unsure, high cost low carbon energy with public loans, grants and support? This is the question that kills, like a wooden stake for errant low flying vampires.
AL GORE STILL HOPEFUL
Al Gore is not fazed by the Copenhagen rout and continues to announce with eye popping sincerity and conviction (in a February 28 interview with the New York Times) that the world faces “unimaginable calamity” from global warming. He added we must all act now to save human civilization as we know it (perhaps a reference to Afghan war, football, Twitter and Facebook?).
Going further because time is limited to less than a century, the selected, tried and tested members of the global warming hysteria circus, with rich pickings from the corporate and political elite’s full adoption of global warming hysteria, are now fighting to stay up the greasy pole. Following the Copenhagen rout and Climategate, the gravy train riders are likely to go one mile further in their fantasies, and need all the ammunition they can grab. Now joined to their predication of the coming apocalypse, “unimaginable calamity” also includes high oil prices, placed by Al Gore at a price level around $80 a barrel. Even if the consumer herd has forgotten the polar bear’s plight and prefers Haiti quake stories to threats of the Maldives sinking (under a million tonnes of concrete tourist coastal works), they will rise like wounded tigers if gasoline prices rise another 50 cents a gallon. Al Gore hopes !
Al Gore rolls his eyes at the microphone and thunders the killer numbers — the oil bill of the USA costs “hundreds of billion dollars a year.” To be sure, Gore also reminds his uncritical if not brain dead admirers that oil exporter countries are run by dangerous and hostile regimes, uninterested and perhaps not even believing in climate change. And that is dangerous.
The most recent record annual net oil costs of the USA achieved a little more than two of those Al Gore “hundreds of billions,” reaching about $220 billion in 2007. This can be compared with the $1,300 billion US budget deficit for fiscal year 2010 recently announced by Obama, or the cumulative amount of financial bailouts to Wall Street by Paulson, under G W Bush, and Geithner under B H Obama in 2008-2009. This totaled at least $1,500 billion. Similar budget deficits, up to 12% of annual GNP, apply in Europe and state bailouts of corporate financial gamblers in Europe have cost similar amounts as those in USA, well above $1,200 billion in 2008-2009.
* This raft of debt-based spending mostly to bail out reckless gamblers in the finance sector would cover roughly 10 years of total OECD oil import costs at an average $100 a barrel.
Al Gore and the ‘extreme global warming community’ have to stay hopeful, and maintain the hype because signs of flagging interest or “conviction” by political and corporate leaders is starting to show in their careful avoidance of climate crisis sound-bytes, post-Copenhagen. Most OECD heads of state, at least before Copenhagen, vied with each other to beat Al Gore with heart-wrenching appeals to citizen concern, calling the failed and bizarre conference held in a Scandinavian capital in deep winter, “the last chance to save the planet from global warming catastrophe.”
This talk has been glaringly absent since December, suggesting OECD heads of state, notably of the US, Germany, France and UK could soon backtrack on their so-sincere conviction that their voter masses need a politically forced, ultra rapid development of “green energy”. [...]
ENERGY TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC ROUT
Debt financing of everything, especially the ever rising and unreal goals set for energy transition by heads of state and political leaders in the big oil importer countries, will continue being needed until and unless carbon taxes and trading attain the annual turnover able to generate the funding needed for the ever larger targets announced by political leaders. Another condition for generating the finance needed for these plans includes a return to economic growth. Present carbon finance and trading are proudly estimated by the World Bank as attaining $126 billion in 2008-2009, but trickle-down and spin-off from trading gains and losses on a raft of complex and ramifying climate change paper, to real spending on real world green energy is low.
Falling credibility of climate change hysteria from extremists like Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri, and lower-rank members of the climate change circus, such as “Gaia philosophy” writer James Lovelock, James Hansen and Club of Rome intellectuals now suggests falling pay-checks and cheap finance loans for the gambling community. At this time, orating about Apocalypse Now from climate change and always going further in bending the shock figures and statistics could be a losing strategy. The risk is clear: the climate change circus has now talked itself off-stage.
Before the Copenhagen rout, announced goals of energy transition in the OECD countries had attained extreme and impossible highs, for example 80% reductions in CO2 emissions and implied cuts of 80% in the dependence on fossil energy by 2040, as announced with a winning smile by Obama, and the leaders of Germany, France and UK before the climate summit. To keep the public and consumers happy, and make their targets for energy substitution with low carbon yet more fantastic, yet more impossible, these leaders added that total energy production and consumption would keep on growing. Thanks to the green economy, economic growth would not only be restored but also “strengthened.”
Financing needs were never spelled out for these playful fantasies, but can be guessed, and are probably in the 15-30 trillions of US dollars range to 2040, at current dollar values. This can appear possible, but in real terms is impossible. Achieving this kind of long-term transition of the global energy system and forgetting the ideological quest “to save human civilization as we know it,” would need a real Marshall Plan for Energy. More likely, current-crop leaders of the OECD are on track to produce a real Economic Armageddon, becoming more possible each day. [...]
Steven Chu, Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri and many other defenders of a forced march to energy transition either avoid any discussion of cutting energy consumption, or claim that growth in total energy consumption is entirely possible. In the case of Chu however, there is already de facto admission that “greening” electricity supply will need growth of nuclear power, the Smart Grid, and major advances in energy storage. Again in the US case the very fuzzily-defined and technologically fragile domain of “advanced energy storage” is already forecast as needing tens of billions of dollars investment, on top of the tens of billions of dollars that Obama has made available for nuclear power because of its ability to generate constant baseload power. Smart Grid development, to be sure, is also forecast as needing tens of billion dollars investment in the next 10-15 years.
Exactly like national debt, budget deficits and bailouts for “too big to fail” finance sector gamblers, the dozens of billions add on to the hundreds of billions elsewhere. On the ground, almost nothing happens. Apart from the critical and basic lack of realism of most targets and costs of current-crop plans for energy transition, the most basic unreality concerns a very simply question: Who will pay for the Brave New World of soft energy? An even more basic question is: Do we need energy transition?
VHeadline.com oil industry commentator Andrew McKillop can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Targeting the weakest and the most vulnerable is neither new nor surprising when it comes from an entity that stands on the ruins of Palestinian villages and is swimming in the blood of its Palestinian victims. It is the mentality of Zionists who in cold-blood aim to kill Palestinian children, who write on their helmets: Born to Kill and who wear T-Shirts with images of dead Palestinian babies and guns aimed at Palestinian babies. It is an entity that is proud of slogans showing images such as that of a pregnant Palestinian woman with a target sign on her belly and the inscription: 1 shot, 2 kills.
During the Nakba, the Zionist usurpers committed countless massacres. Often it was the women and the children who were first targeted and brutally murdered as a warning and to frighten others and force them to leave. Accounts of the Deir Yassin massacre (9-10.4.1948) mention that among the 254 Palestinians victims were 25 pregnant women who were bayoneted in the abdomen while still alive. Another 52 children were maimed in front of their mothers before having their heads cut off by the Zionist terrorists. After the village of Beit Darras had been surrounded by Zionist terror groups and further Zionist mobilization was on the way to occupy the village, the Zionist terror groups called on the Palestinian residents to leave the village safely from the south side. The villagers decided that it was safer for the women and children to leave, since it was the village the Zionists wanted. Upon leaving the village, all the women and children were massacred by the Zionist terrorists. During the Khisas massacre (18.12.1947) the 12 victims killed by the Zionist terrorists were all women and children. Other massacres such as Sa’sa’, Balad Il-Sheikh, Abu Shusha, Beit Daras, Tantoura, Dawaymeh and many others show the same pattern of killing unarmed pregnant women, mothers and their children. Targeting mothers and children continued after the Nakba. During the Kufr Qasem massacre (29.10.1956) whole families were massacred, and women were butchered with their children. In Qibya (14-15.10.1953), after the Zionist terrorist militia ordered the residents to remain in their homes, it blew up these homes, killing entire families. On 07.02.1951, Zionist terrorists killed 10 unarmed residents of Sharafat, including 3 women and 5 children. Similar patterns follow in the massacres of Azazmeh, Beit Jala, Qalqilia, Gaza and others more.
During the first Intifada several mothers were shot dead by the IOF. Also pregnant women were targeted and a number were killed mainly by the poisonous gas used by the IOF against unarmed Palestinians:
1. Wujdan Hafith Rajab Faris (35 years old) from Khan Younis, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 10.1.1988, she was pregnant in 7th month.
2. Amira Ahmad Omar Abu Askar (35 years old) from Jabalia, Gaza. On suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 11.1.1988, she was pregnant.
3. Nabila Ali Al-Yaziji (35 years old) from Ash-Sheikh Ridawn, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 26.3.1988, she was pregnant.
4. Dawlat Daoud Al-Masri (18 years old) from Jabalia, Gaza, suffocated by gas fired by Israeli soldiers on 27.9.1988, she was pregnant in 6th month.
5. Aziza Salim Jabir (27 years old) from Hebron, was shot dead by a Zionist settler on 06.08.1990, she was pregnant.
Another Zionist method of murdering Palestinian mothers is the network of over 630 Israeli military checkpoints/roadblocks in the West Bank, aka the “traps of death”. Patients in need of urgent treatment and medics rushing to save lives are often delayed at Israeli military checkpoints, constituting another war crime added to the ever-growing list of war crimes committed by the Zionist entity. Alone between 2000 and 2005 137 Palestinian patients, including 37 women, died at checkpoints because Israeli soldiers either prevented ambulances from passing and reaching the patients or prevented them from transporting patients to hospitals beyond the checkpoints. In many incidents, Palestinian mothers, including the elderly, the sick and the pregnant, were stopped and humiliated at checkpoints. Pregnant women are delayed at checkpoints and often prevented from reaching hospitals, causing many to give birth at these checkpoints. The deliberate delays at checkpoints have resulted in several premature births, stillborns and even the death of some of the mothers as Israeli Soldiers ignore the cries of suffering women and demand they get a special permit. Because of these checkpoints, Palestinian mothers are forced to deliver on the road or inside cars at the checkpoint. Many have to travel up to 4 hours and longer to reach a medical centre. One example is baby Zaid who died only moments after his birth when the Israeli soldiers refused to let his mother Nahil Abu Raja (21 years old) from Qasra, south of Nablus, to pass the Huwwara checkpoint and go to Nablus hospital. The medics who reached the checkpoint one hour after Nahil gave birth could only declare the baby dead. Around 6 pregnant women were also beaten or shot at by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Many mothers are forced to give birth at home, despite fear of complications because they fear they will be stopped at checkpoints and won’t make it in time to the hospital. In Azzun Atma near Qalqilya pregnant women are even forced to take up residence outside the village until they deliver out of fear that they might not be able to get the necessary medical treatment. The village, encircled by the apartheid wall, is separated by a gate from the rest of the West Bank. This gate is not manned at night, making the village a prison to its residents. According to a B’Tselem report, alone during 2006 some 20 out of 30 pregnant women from Azzun Atma were forced to relocate outside of the village because of their pregnancy.
Since then beginning of Al-Aqsa intifada in 2000 and till 2006 at least 69 Palestinian women gave birth at Israeli checkpoints in front of Israeli soldiers. This led to 35 miscarriages and the death of five mothers:
1. Rana Adel Abdel-Rahim Al-Jayyousi (17 years old) from Qour, Tulkarim: went into labor on 09.03.2002 and because of the closure of roads she was forced to give birth at home. Her baby was stillborn and when her condition deteriorated her family tried transporting her to hospital in Qlaqilia. They were stopped at an Israeli checkpoint for half an hour and when the ambulance arrived, Rana was already dead.
2. Aisha Abdel-Kairm Nassar (28 years old) from Al-Janyeh, Ramallah: on 23.1.2001 was in a critical condition after giving birth, but was stopped at an Israeli military checkpoint and delayed for 45 minutes. She died before reaching the hospital.
3. Rihab Nofal (30 years old) from Husam, Bethlehem: she went into labor on 18.10.2001 but Israeli soldiers stopped her at a checkpoint and prevented her from reaching the nearest hospital. She died.
4. Umayyah Hamad-Allah Imran (25 years old) from Azzoun, Qalqilia: on 24.09.01 she suffered from heavy internal bleeding after she had given birth, but was stopped at an Israeli checkpoint and her transport to the hospital was delayed. She left to hospital at 3 pm and reached it at 8 pm although the hospital lies only 20 km away. When she finally got there, Umayyah was dead.
5. Laila Husam Baheiri (18 years old) from Qalqilia: went into labor on 31.07.2002 but was prevented by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint from reaching hospital which led to her death.