Rights Under Attack
. . . about Chaos,
Reason, and Hope
Seven billion world population in six years from now
(NewKerala.com, February 25, 2006)
With an average of 4.4 people added to the population every second, the world will be home to seven billion people six years from now. . . . The world population, which now stands at 6.5 billion, will touch the seven billion mark on Oct 18, 2012, at 4:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, reported the science portal Live Science. . . . According to a report issued by the International Programmes Centre at the US census Bureau in March 2004, world population hit the six billion mark in June 1999. "This figure is over 3.5 times the size of the earth's population at the beginning of the 20th century and roughly double its size in 1960," it claimed. . . . Even more striking is that the time required for the global population to grow from 5 billion to 6 billion - just a dozen years - was shorter than the interval between any of the previous billions, it said. . . . The population on earth today is nearly four times the number in 1900. Behind that phenomenal global increase is a vast gulf in birth and death rates around the world.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:33 PM
Iran's Oil Bourse (not nukes) Is U.S. Target
(Ed Haas, Muckraker Report, 2-17-6)
During a recent visit to Caracas, Venezuela, Iranian parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel said U.S. opposition to Iran's nuclear program was "only a pretext." "They are worried that we want to be independent," Hadad Adel said through an interpreter. Adel was kind to use the word "pretext". A more direct statement by Adel would have been to say that U.S. opposition to Iran's nuclear program is more of the same hardliner propaganda coming out of the Bush Administration, meant to drum up public support for additional Bush Administration sponsored, pre-emptive strikes against nations that dare to abandon the U.S. dollar in favor of the euro or any other foreign currency. . . . Why else would Adel say that the U.S. opposition to Iran's nuclear program was "only a pretext" if he didn't possess full knowledge of what he believed to be the real reason why the Bush Administration and its supporters in the U.S. Congress have suddenly gotten themselves all hot and bothered over a nuclear program that has been in play for decades and is by many accounts, at least ten more years away from being able to produce even a single nuclear weapon? What did Adel mean when he said that "they are worried that we want to be independent" when Iran is already an independent country? No foreign army is presently occupying Iran. It holds elections. In 2000, the U.S. applauded when the Iranian people elected reformists to the Iranian Parliament. In 2004, the Bush Administration, the spread democracy by spraying bullets administration, frowned when those same Iranian voters elected the resurgent conservatives into power once again. The point here is that Iran is already independent by all accounts, so what did Adel mean when he said that the Bush Administration and its NEO-CON supporters are worried that Iran wants to be independent? . . . When mining alternative media sources (the mainstream media in the United States is not and will not report this information) to catch a glimpse of what Iran is attempting to become independent of, the only plausible explanation to be uncovered suggests that Iran wants to become independent of the U.S. dollar. It is of great importance to understand that only those countries that are adversarial to the U.S. dollar have earned the scorn of Bush's Global, Big Brother Machine. . . . Iraq stopped using U.S. dollars in 2000 under the U.N. monitored Oil for Food Program. Two months after the U.S. invaded Iraq, all purchases of Iraqi oil were returned to petrodollars once again. Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, who is considered a dangerous adversary by the Bush Administration, has declared war on the U.S. dollar. In October 2005, Chavez announced that Venezuela was ready to move the county's foreign-exchange holdings out of the dollar and into the euro. . . . Now Iran and Venezuela have joined together to gain independence from the U.S. Dollar. Chavez supports the opening of the Iran Oil Bourse on March 20, 2006. The Iran Oil Bourse will challenge U.S. dollar supremacy in global oil market transactions executed on the New York Mercantile Exchange and London's International Petroleum Exchange by creating the opportunity for countries to shift foreign-exchange holdings out of dollars and into euros or other currencies.
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posted by Lorenzo 1:55 PM
The End of Dollar Hegemony
(U.S. Representative Ron Paul, February 15, 2006)
Our whole economic system depends on continuing the current monetary arrangement, which means recycling the dollar is crucial. Currently, we borrow over $700 billion every year from our gracious benefactors, who work hard and take our paper for their goods. Then we borrow all the money we need to secure the empire (DOD budget $450 billion) plus more. The military might we enjoy becomes the "backing" of our currency. There are no other countries that can challenge our military superiority, and therefore they have little choice but to accept the dollars we declare are today's "gold." This is why countries that challenge the system - like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela – become targets of our plans for regime change. . . . Ironically, dollar superiority depends on our strong military, and our strong military depends on the dollar. As long as foreign recipients take our dollars for real goods and are willing to finance our extravagant consumption and militarism, the status quo will continue regardless of how huge our foreign debt and current account deficit become. . . . But real threats come from our political adversaries who are incapable of confronting us militarily, yet are not bashful about confronting us economically. That's why we see the new challenge from Iran being taken so seriously. The urgent arguments about Iran posing a military threat to the security of the United States are no more plausible than the false charges levied against Iraq. Yet there is no effort to resist this march to confrontation by those who grandstand for political reasons against the Iraq war. . . . It seems that the people and Congress are easily persuaded by the jingoism of the preemptive war promoters. It’s only after the cost in human life and dollars are tallied up that the people object to unwise militarism. . . . The strange thing is that the failure in Iraq is now apparent to a large majority of American people, yet they and Congress are acquiescing to the call for a needless and dangerous confrontation with Iran. . . . Concern for pricing oil only in dollars helps explain our willingness to drop everything and teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for his defiance in demanding Euros for oil. . . . And once again there’s this urgent call for sanctions and threats of force against Iran at the precise time Iran is opening a new oil exchange with all transactions in Euros. . . . Using force to compel people to accept money without real value can only work in the short run. It ultimately leads to economic dislocation, both domestic and international, and always ends with a price to be paid. . . . The economic law that honest exchange demands only things of real value as currency cannot be repealed. The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or Euros. The sooner the better.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:08 AM
Woes mount for oil firms in Ecuador
(Kelly Hearn, The Christian Science Monitor, February 9, 2006)
In eastern Ecuador,oil companies face daily threats - from kidnappings of workers to sabotage of installations. Tuesday, hundreds of protesters seized a pumping station, causing state-run Petroecuador to shut down one of its two main pipelines. . . . In August, oil opponents brought almost all of Ecuador's oil production to a halt. Protesters invaded oil camps, destroyed equipment, and blocked highways, prompting the defense minister to threaten force to stop them. One oil executive says he knows of 19 kidnappings of oil-industry workers in recent years. . . . Protecting oil installations here calls for robust security measures, but recently publicized contracts mapping oil industry ties to the Ecuadorean military have raised concerns in a country where populism runs deep and three presidents in the past decade have been forced out of office amid popular unrest. . . . The contracts highlight the troubles facing many multinational energy companies as they seek to diversify drilling sources away from the Middle East and into countries where extractive industries have been linked to environmental and human rights concerns. Critics here say the rarely seen documents - some of which detail company mandates for soldiers to conduct countersurveillance operations on the local population - are proof that Ecuador's military is a private army for oil firms. . . . "If you cut through the clinical language of the contracts, what you have are agreements that allow American companies to spy on the lawful activities of local citizens in foreign countries," said Steven Donziger, a US attorney working on behalf of groups in the region that are opposed to oil drilling. . . . The documents, some marked classified and negotiated in secret, were released in late November in connection with lawsuits here, and all have either expired or were nullified by a Dec. 8 decision by the Ecuadorean military. . . . The military and 16 multinational oil firms, including US-based companies Kerr-McGee, Burlington, and Occidental Petroleum, signed one contract that was dated July 2001 and marked classified. It established "terms of collaboration and coordination of actions to guarantee the security of the oil installations and of the personnel that work in them," to include the control of arms, explosives, and undocumented persons in areas of oil operations. It also instituted communication networks and required military personnel to periodically update oil firms on army activities. . . . Another contract marked classified and signed in April 2001 by California-based Occidental Petroleum required soldiers "to carry out armed patrols and checks of undocumented individuals" within the company's operating area. It also mandated that soldiers "plan, execute, and supervise counterintelligence operations to prevent acts of sabotage and vandalism." . . . Counterintelligence operations in Latin America have long been linked to human rights violations, says Keith Slack, a senior analyst for Oxfam. "That Occidental contracted with the military to do this near its installations seems fraught with potential for abuse." . . . Another contract required US-based Chevron Corp. to build a villa on an Ecuadorean military base located near Lago Agrio, a notoriously dangerous jungle outpost where an environmental lawsuit against the company has been under way since 2003. Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, operated as a minority partner in a government oil consortium there from 1964 to 1992, and is being sued here for environmental damage. . . . Lawyers representing indigenous groups say Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of pollutants into the environment during its stay, causing an environmental and public-health crisis. . . . Randy Borman, the son of white missionaries who was raised with the Cofan indigenous group, has led his tribe on armed raids against oil firms. . . . He says rogue officers "on the take" sometimes cause problems, but that soldiers often side with indigenous groups. . . . "In our dealings, the oil companies would often bring in the military as backup for their position, but most of the time, if we treated them properly, [the soldiers] wound up on our side."
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posted by Lorenzo 9:56 AM