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State mandated “green” energy devastates ecosystem

Until recent decades the Eel river ran clear and cool throughout California’s five month dry season and offered world renowned sport fishing. This swimming hole, cold, large and beautiful lies above the area called Bloody Rock (What the white man did in this watershed is memorialized in the naming of places). These waters are being diverted into a different watershed leaving the lower river only a trickle. – Photo source link

Conservation group challenges PG&E, seeks more water for Eel River

By John Driscoll – The Times-Standard – 03/04/2010

A conservation group is looking to the state to significantly cut back on the diversion of Eel River water to the Russian River in what it says is a last-ditch effort to save crashing salmon and steelhead runs.

The damage to Eel River fisheries is hardly worth the tiny amount of electrical power produced by the Potter Valley Project owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., according to Friends of the Eel River’s recent filing with the State Water Resources Control Board. The group wants the state to modify the utility’s water rights, because they allow an “unreasonable use of water.”

The Friends say that a 15-percent reduction in the diversion — ordered by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2002 as part of PG&E’s license requirements through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — has done nothing to stop the decline of protected coho and chinook salmon and steelhead populations. But NMFS has also concluded that flows in the much smaller Russian River, boosted by water from the Eel, are too high to support salmon and steelhead there.

”Given the (Potter Valley Project’s) toll on threatened and endangered fish in the Eel and Russian rivers,” the petition reads, “and the relatively small amount of electricity it produces, the water rights for the project must be modified in order to protect the public trust resources and prevent the unreasonable use of water.”

The Potter Valley Project was started in 1908 with the building of Cape Horn Diversion Dam, which created Van Arsdale Reservoir, tunnels and a powerhouse. Scott Dam was built about a decade later, creating Lake Pillsbury. The project generates 9.4 megawatts by diverting water in Van Arsdale Reservoir through the powerhouse at the start of the East Branch of the Russian River. A typical commercial windmill produces about 2 mw.

Cities, farms and vineyards in Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin counties rely in part on diversions from the Eel River to the Russian River, mixed with releases from Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, but they have no clear right to Eel River water released through the project. That water right belongs to PG&E, and is up for renewal in 2022.

Sonoma County supervisors in September withdrew a long-studied project to take more water from the Russian River, citing poor economic and shifting environmental conditions. City officials from Santa Rosa and Marin County criticized the decision, which they claimed would sacrifice water rights and impede growth.

The Friends’ petition said that the Russian River should be a self-contained water system, and can be supported by other sources without the diversion of billions of gallons from the Eel River each year. A weighing of various water uses should be undertaken, the petition reads.

Friends Executive Director Nadananda said that time is of the essence, as salmon and steelhead runs are at very low levels, having declined from about 500,000 fish prior to the project to only 15,000 today.

”The river is in really serious trouble,” Nadananda said.

A reduction in the diversion would reduce the amount of power PG&E can generate, and would likely make the project uneconomical, she said.

PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said that the company has not fully reviewed the petition, but said that the project is operated under strict guidelines developed through the federal relicensing process.

”It is inevitable that different stakeholders have different views,” Moreno said.

He said the hydropower project helps meet state demands for clean, renewable power that is available during peak demand, unlike solar and wind projects.

Spokeswoman Ann DuBay of the Sonoma County Water Agency, which provides water to about 600,000 residents in Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin counties, said only that the agency’s attorneys are reviewing the petition.

Alderon Laird with the Association of California Water Agencies — and board member of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District — said that any third party can challenge another’s water right in California. The state water board must decide whether to entertain a petition, he said, and it’s possible that could trigger a process to determine the needs of a particular watershed.

Recently passed state law prompted the state water board to begin a “needs assessment” for the massive Sacramento River delta project, Laird said. That is supposed to determine how much water is needed in the delta region for various uses before any water can be exported outside the delta, he said.

”If that’s the philosophy of the state board … it kind of sets a precedent for anywhere else in California,” Laird said.

John Driscoll covers natural resources/industry. He can be reached at 441-0504 or


The actual diversion tunnel, looking ever so sinister as the machine that turns fish into fertilizer for the Potter Valley farmers delivered on tap. We call Potter Valley fish emulsion green for good reason. It is only in recent years that PG&E was forced to put in screens to stop the fish from entering the tunnel and turbines. Originally eels by the thousands interfered with the turbines so they were electrocuted and hauled away in hay wagons.

Note the shades of yellow and green that identify algae that is a plague to this system. It is hard to believe so lovely a river could change so much and have so much algae in such a short period of time.

Cumulative impact of all diversions, little water and lots of algae dramatically impact California’s third largest river system.

This photo of logging on steep slopes tells the tail of why the Eel River has moved from one of the most pristine rivers in the world, as written up in a 1940’s sportsman magazine, to now carrying a silt tonnage fifteen times greater than the Mississippi. This is our top soil washing off the slopes, filling the river.This area was held together by redwoods with their root network and ability to turn fog into drip contributing water at the end of the long dry summer.
Down river from the confluence with the South Fork Eel. Lots of silt and not enough water to move it. This is what the 90% diversion of headwaters looks like in the summer and fall before the rains. Not enough water for a fish to run on.
Algae abounds even in the fog cooled lower river near Scotia.

Friends of the Eel River

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Environmentalism | 3 Comments

A superpower and “the world’s sickest warrior state”

By Paul J. Balles | March 8, 2010

Living through five or six major wars has hardened me to what I thought were the extremes of inhuman cruelty and brutality.

Two things made those extremes almost bearable: the brutality always revealed – at least according to the media coverage – the viciousness of the enemy. It was therefore quite understandable when our “brave men and women” pulverized the enemy.

Films of Japanese torturing captive Americans somehow justified holding over 7,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II; and only a small percentage of Americans found the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unreasonably vengeful at best, at worst, depraved.

The media giants in America portrayed the North Koreans as barbaric beasts with their captives, quite unlike their southern counterpoints – our allies during the Korean War. No one ever felt the need to explain how the South Koreans were a civilized breed while the North Koreans were absolute savages, at least according to the official line.

In Vietnam, our warriors justifiably (or so the media made us believe) dropped napalm on the North Vietnamese who had the gall to hide in villages and tunnels to ravage our invaders. At least it was accepted practice until some rogue photojournalist filmed a young girl screaming down a Vietnamese road in flames.

One of our lieutenants also got caught commanding his troops to open fire on an entire village of civilians – women and children. We had obviously – to some – gone too far. If those few torturous incidents hadn’t been filmed, we might have carried on and won the war in Vietnam (or so the thinking goes) with our napalm and wanton village massacres.

Then, when the Iraqi troops ran (literally) fleeing Kuwait in 1991, our bloodthirsty aviators annihilated them on the road north, bombing their retreat to “melted glass” (as one Lockheed acquaintance put it). That feast for hungry slaughterers received little attention. The bombers and strafers felt no guilt after Saddam’s troops had blown up Kuwait’s oil wells.

The nagging memory of non-avenged defeat in Vietnam somehow allowed members of the clergy to ignore the devastating inhuman cost to children in Iraq during 10 years of sanctions. Only a few humanitarians among academics spoke out. Congress completely ignored it. The public didn’t care. Why should they? Our leaders spoke of everything but the brutality of our enforcers.

We have now reached a stage where our extreme horrors of brutality and cruelty have exceeded our past records. We no longer have the rationale of moral righteousness of the earlier wars.

There were no excuses for Abu-Ghraib, but our interest in that inhuman travesty dried up and blew away. We have little concern about our violations of human rights in Guantanamo. We care less about ill-treatment of Arabs and Arab Americans in the USA.

But the most extremes – the real horrors – of this war come with the primitive killer mentality developed in our youth. I’ve now seen a half dozen documentary films and read eyewitness accounts that reveal troops or pilots gloating over the massacres of civilians who just happened to be available targets.

Without doubt, the US has not only become the world’s major power, it has become the world’s sickest warrior state. Neither conscience nor empathy for others defines the qualities of the sociopath.

It’s past time for humanitarians to reject the double standards set by warmongers and supported by arms-makers and the mainstream media. The clergy needs to stop preaching sanctimonious sermons. Finally, educators should adopt and teach a zero tolerance policy for self-righteous warriors.

And yes, those who would dismiss my criticism as vitriolic should join a chorus with a conscience.

Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on A superpower and “the world’s sickest warrior state”

Liberal Richard Cohen Advocates Craziness in an Israel First War Policy

By Stephen Sniegoski

While we are explicitly told by anti-war commentators such as Juan Cole that the only type of American Jews pushing for war on Iran are right-wing ones, it is apparent that Jewish liberals such as Richard Cohen are also in the pro-war camp. (See: )

Now Cohen, just like a number of rightist neocons, does not directly call for an attack on Iran, but rather advocates a policy that certainly would lead in that direction. Specifically, he says that it is time for Obama to start acting “crazy” toward Iran because of the alleged failure of diplomacy. (Iran and the Crazy Factor, Washington Post, February 23, 2010)

Such a recommendation of craziness is predicated on Cohen’s belief that Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership in general are crazy and that the only way to fight crazy people is by likewise acting crazy: “fight crazy with crazy.”

Cohen writes: “I have no idea whether Ahmadinejad merely acts crazy or is crazy. I do know, though, that Iran seems intent on getting nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I also know that nothing the United States and its allies have done has dissuaded Ahmadinejad (or the mullahs or the Revolutionary Guard Corps) from his goal. It may be time for Barack Obama, ever the soul of moderation, to borrow a tactic from Richard Nixon and fight crazy with crazy. The way things are going, it would be crazy not to.”

It is rather odd that Cohen would pick Nixon’s advocacy of madness as a model for emulation, since Nixon, and especially his bellicosity, were hardly admired by liberals such as Cohen during his presidency. Moreover, Cohen acknowledges that Nixon’s crazy strategy “while cunning, didn’t work on the North Vietnamese.” Desiring the adoption of a previously failed strategy is hard to fathom.

Furthermore, Nixon’s rationale for acting crazy would not seem to apply in the milieu depicted by Cohen. Nixon actually predicated his madman strategy on the rationality of his adversaries. The rational person, presumably, would make some concessions to the madman to avoid destruction. However, Cohen claims that the Iranians are irrational. There is no reason to think that acting crazy would cause them to turn rational, but rather that it would cause them to act out their craziness, which in the particular situation that exists in the Middle East today would mean an all-out war.

To try to put Cohen’s argument in a rational context, this must mean that he sees a war with Iran at the current time to be preferable to one in the future when Iran would have nuclear weapons and which would likely involve Israel.

The reasons Cohen gives for taking a “crazy” stance toward Iran have little to do with any threat Iran poses to the United States, but actually seem to revolve around Israel and Jews. Cohen cites Ahmadinejad’s “Holocaust denial” and his call for Zionism to be “wiped out.” Cohen acknowledges that these words might have nothing to do with the launching of war-” On the face of it, these statements could be nothing more than the ranting of a demagogue intent on appeasing the mob.” But then he points out that Israel, having experienced Hitler’s anti-Semitic words leading to the Holocaust, would naturally think otherwise. “Israel, of all countries,” he asserts, “has little faith in the rationality of mankind. It simply knows better. So the question of whether Ahmadinejad is playing the madman or really is a madman is not an academic exercise. It has a real and frightening immediacy that too often, in too many precincts, gets belittled as a form of paranoia.”

So it might be understandable for Israel to be terrified of a nuclear Iran, at least according to Cohen, but what about a threat to the United States?

“An Iranian bomb,” Cohen contends, “is not a matter that concerns only Israel. It would upend the balance of power throughout the Middle East and encourage radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas to ratchet up their war against Israel. Other Middle East nations, not content to rely on an American nuclear umbrella, would seek their own bombs. An unstable region would go nuclear.” It is telling that even in purportedly dealing with threats to countries other than Israel, Cohen almost immediately gets back to threats to Israel by writing that a nuclear Iran would “encourage radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas to ratchet up their war against Israel.” For Cohen, Israel’s safety is certainly on his mind, first and foremost.

But regarding the US, the dangers presumably consist of countries in the unstable Middle East obtaining nuclear weapons. These developments, while undesirable, are hardly dire threats to American national security. And we are only dealing with the chance of Iran developing actual nuclear weapons, though it is more likely that it will develop nuclear capability. And in the most extreme case with all major countries in the Middle East obtaining nuclear weapons, it is not even clear whether such a development would lead to a terrible war or whether it might actually enhance regional stability.

Certainly, the existence of nuclear weapons served to prevent a major war between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the possession of nuclear weapons have not caused India and Pakistan to be more aggressive toward each other. Of course, the loss of its nuclear monopoly would weaken Israel’s position in the Middle East.

What Cohen does not even make an attempt to show is that in regard to American security the danger of not attacking Iran outweighs the terrible impact of a war in the Middle East, which would be a likely result from his recommendation that Obama act crazy. It would seem to be a general consensus that a war on Iran at the present time would have terrible consequences for the already-battered world economy, which would certainly affect the US. It should be pointed out that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, reflecting what has been the consensus view of the American military leadership, has expressed strong opposition to any military strike on Iran and desires the continuation of peaceful diplomacy.

In sum, it would appear that the liberal Richard Cohen does not differ substantially from his co-religionists on the Right in his militant position toward Iran. And there is nothing particularly new about this. Cohen had supported the war on Iraq and only later recanted, after the war had become unpopular, but included Israel in his explanation for his earlier pro-war position: “Saddam Hussein was a beast who had twice invaded his neighbors, had killed his own people with abandon and posed a threat – and not just a theoretical one – to Israel.” (“The Lingo Of Vietnam,” Washington Post, November 21, 2006, p. A-27) It would seem therefore that the safety of Israel always looms very large in the minds of even liberal Jews.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Liberal Richard Cohen Advocates Craziness in an Israel First War Policy

More Fictitious Hurricane Predictions

Lack of experience diminishes our power of taking a comprehensive view of the admitted facts. Hence those who dwell intimate association with nature and its phenomenon are more able to lay down principles such as to admit of a wide and coherent development; while those whom devotion to abstract discussions has rendered unobservant of facts are too ready to dogmatize on the basis of a few observations. – Aristotle, On Generation and Corruption

By Doug L. Hoffman – 02/24/2010

According to the AP, top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject. But they say there’s not enough evidence yet to tell whether that effect has already begun. Despite warnings by scientists that identifying an actual trend in storm variability is impossible due to a lack of reliable historical data, a new report in Nature Geoscience is being cited as a solid prediction of future trends in tropical cyclone activity. The other thing not mentioned is that this research is based on models of questionable accuracy.

The review article by Thomas R. Knutson et al., entitled “Tropical cyclones and climate change,” was published online on Sunday, February 12, 2010. In it, the authors warn that there is precious little that can be predicted from past data. But this does not stop them from blithely predicting the future based on new “high-resolution” models. Here is part of the paper’s abstract:

Large amplitude fluctuations in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones greatly complicate both the detection of long-term trends and their attribution to rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Trend detection is further impeded by substantial limitations in the availability and quality of global historical records of tropical cyclones. Therefore, it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes. However, future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11% by 2100.

Once again, climate scientists are predicting future climate behavior based, not on emperical data, but on computer models. They go on to state that confidence in some of their predictions is low “owing to uncertainties in the large-scale patterns of future tropical climate change, as evident in the lack of agreement between the model projections of patterns of tropical SST changes.” Their approach is to combine a number of different models into an “ensemble,” manipulating the output until it converges on what historical observations we have. In the end they predict fewer but stronger storms because of global warming, though “the actual intensity level of these strong model cyclones varies between the models, depending on model resolution and other factors.”

Modeling and the Search for Scientific Truth

I have repeatedly stated that models can be a useful tool in any number of fields. Understand that there are different kinds of computer models. Some are quite exact and can be used for such things as aerodynamics and structural analysis. Those types of quantitative models are based in well understood natural laws and are relatively tractable. They give answers that engineers can use as actual guidance. But even then they are not always right. Recently Boeing had to reinforce the wing root attachment points on their new 787 airliner because the computer model simulations were not born out in actual testing.

Moreover, not all models are blessed with such passing verisimilitude with respect to nature. Most models are approximations for the systems being modeled. They are pressed into service when the system being studied is too complex for human intuition to predict system behavior. Computer models of this kind—which includes GCM climate models—should be used to provide insight, but instead are used to make authoritative predictions of things to come. This brings us to the philosophy of Sir Karl Popper.

Karl Popper was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th Century and a tremendous influence on modern scientific thought. One TRE reader, Peter Foster, pointed out to me that the 2007 IPCC report cites Popper’s 1934 book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Peter is the second person with a connection to Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand, to contact me this month. Unsurprisingly, both mentioned Popper. In 1937, the rise of Nazism and the threat of the Anschluss led the Austrian born Popper to emigrate to New Zealand. There he became a lecturer in philosophy at Canterbury University where he had a strong influence that evidently persists to this day.

According to Popper “the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.” By falsifiability he did not mean that a theory was false but that there exists a way to prove the theory false (for more see Popper’s essay “Science as Falsification”). A theory has to be testable. There have to be defined properties which can be predicted by theory and checked by measurement. It would appear that the IPCC authors agree, as shown in this quote from the AR4 section entitled “The Nature of Earth Science”:

Science generally advances through formulating hypotheses clearly and testing them objectively. This testing is the key to science. It is not the belief or opinion of the scientists that is important, but rather the results of this testing. Scientific theories are ways of explaining phenomena and providing insights that can be evaluated by comparison with physical reality. Each successful prediction adds to the weight of evidence supporting the theory, and any unsuccessful prediction demonstrates that the underlying theory is imperfect and requires improvement or abandonment.

Popper was among the first to state that discovering truth is the aim of scientific inquiry while acknowledging that most of the greatest scientific theories in the history of science are, strictly speaking, false. Scientists’ theories represent their current understanding of nature. As that understanding improves old theories are discarded and new ones formulated. Popper’s philosophy of science defined progress as the process of moving from one false theory to another, still false theory that is nonetheless closer to the truth.

Climate models are analogous to those false yet useful theories—models try to encapsulate science’s understanding of how the Earth system works. This has led many, including another friend of mine from Canterbury University, to make the argument that the models we have may not be perfect but they are at least usable. The question becomes, how much faith are you willing to place in a model’s results, starting from the acknowledgment that all such models are by definition wrong. Having spent many years modeling large, nonlinear systems I am not willing to base potentially world changing decisions on the output of current climate models.

This is because of how the models are constructed and how they are calibrated. In short, the models are tuned to produce a specific amount of temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 levels. It is unsurprising that the researchers then get the answers they expected. It is also unsurprising that, when faced with an unexpected response from the natural system like the recent leveling and possible decline in global temperatures, the models fail miserably. Worse than that, secondary predictions are often made based on the predictions of models or even models that use the output of other models as their starting data.

A New Hurricane Model

One of the references cited by the Nature Geoscienc hurricane modeling report was a recent paper in Science that can help fill in some of the technical details of how the modeling research was performed. In it, researchers did, indeed, report that fewer but stronger hurricanes will sweep the Atlantic Basin in the 21st century. This new modeling study by US government researchers from NOAA is predicated on climate change “continuing.” As explained in an accompanying perspective by Science writer Richard A. Kerr:

What makes the new study more realistic is its sharper picture of the atmosphere. In low-resolution models such as global climate models, the fuzzy rendition of the atmosphere can’t generate any hurricanes, much less the intense ones that account for most of the damage hurricanes cause. The high-resolution models used by the U.S. National Weather Service to forecast hurricane growth and movement do produce a realistic mix of both weak and strong storms, but those models can’t simulate global warming.

So, as a compromise the researchers took the output of some of those “fuzzy” GCM and used their projections for global environment at the end of the century as the starting point for the new “high-resolution” models.

Climate modeler Morris Bender of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, and his colleagues used a technique sometimes called “double-downscaling.” The group started with the average of atmospheric and oceanic conditions forecast for the end of the century by 18 global climate models. They transferred those averaged conditions into a North Atlantic regional model detailed enough to generate a realistic number of hurricanes, although still too sketchy to get their intensities right. Finally, the team transferred the regional model’s storms to an even higher-resolution hurricane forecast model capable of simulating which ones would develop into category 3, 4, and 5 storms.

Naturally this has led to a number of reports in the popular media that we are to expect fewer but stronger hurricanes in the future and those hurricanes are going to be caused by global warming. It should be noted that this study actually contradicts some reports that the recent “anomalous” rise in hurricane activity is linked to climate change. No consensus here.

Model tracks for all storms that eventually reached category 4 or 5 intensity. Bender et al./Science.

Given that the model predictions for 2100 are not testable except in the fullness of time, there is no convenient way to test to the new models future accuracy. As the researchers themselves state, “these findings are dependent on the global climate models used to provide the environmental conditions for our downscaling experiments.” It is, however, possible to run the model on known data taken over the past quarter of a century. The new modeling study attempted to reproduce recent conditions and they found:

The researchers note that the new modeling offers no support for claims that global warming has already noticeably affected hurricane activity. In the real world, the number of Atlantic hurricanes observed during the past 25 years has doubled; in the model, global warming would cause a slight decline in the number over the same period. Given that the mid-resolution model used by the group duplicates the observed rising trend, it may be natural.

So the fuzzier mid-resolution model, presumably less accurate than the new one, gets the recent trend correct, which the researchers interpret as an indication that any rising trend is purely natural. The new high-resolution model doesn’t correctly predict current conditions. Here we have low-resolution models known to be inexact providing the hypothetical starting point data for other models—models which fail to correctly predict trends even based on real data—yet we are asked to uncritically accept the projections for hurricanes 90 years from now. It is to be expected that, if you start with wonky data input, you end up with wonky data output, but this carries the process a step further. Believing the results of this exercise seems more an act of faith than science. Is it any wonder that I mentioned the greatest sin of a modeler: believing that the model is the thing being modeled.

Computer simulation of the most intense hurricanes shows an increase from today (top) to a warmer world at the end of the century (bottom). Adapted from Bender et al./Science.

Rather amazingly, an earlier study in Nature stated that current climate conditions resemble those that led to peak Atlantic hurricane activity about 1000 years ago. I say amazingly because this study based on examining ocean sediments, included Pennsylvania State University meteorologist Michael Mann of hockey stick fame—a global warming true believer in anyone’s book. The paper states: “The short nature of the historical record and potential issues with its reliability in earlier decades, however, has prompted an ongoing debate regarding the reality and significance of the recent rise.”

Good modelers, like all cautious scientists, always use conditional phrases and qualifiers when writing of their work. “In the absence of a detectable change, we are dependent on a combination of observational, theoretical and modeling studies to assess future climate changes in tropical cyclone activity,” concludes the review by Knutson et al. “These studies are growing progressively more credible, but still have many limitations.” We have consensus and that consensus is “we don’t really know.” Unfortunately, such reservations do not make it into the news headlines.

What usually happens is more a sin of omission rather than commission. Climate modelers, and the climate science community in general, have not gone out of their way to stress the inherent unreliability of their predictions to the lay public. In the public forum, climate science has been happy to let overly excitable reporters and fringe eco-activists spin the GCM results into predictions of future catastrophe. This is disingenuous at best and can lead to the types of backlash recently visited on CRU and other research organizations over mishandling and manipulation of data. Sure, the IPCC calls them scenarios and projections, not predictions, as if that gives them deniability when the projections do not come to pass.

In 2007, the IPCC said it was “more likely than not” that man-made greenhouse gases had already altered storm activity, but the authors of the review said more recent evidence muddies the issue. “The evidence is not strong enough that we could make some kind of statement” along those lines, Knutson said. It doesn’t mean the IPCC report was wrong; it was just based on science done by 2006 and recent research has changed a bit, said Knutson and the other researchers.

The fact is, climate scientists have continued to use models to make predictions about future climatic conditions, and by attaching those predictions to the AGW theory they have weakened the very theory they are at pains to defend. Fortunately, Popper provides us with a way to filter truth from falsehood. The IPCC and other global warming alarmists have a choice—they can either say that AGW makes no predictions and is therefore not a scientific theory by definition, or they can stand by their model generated predictions and admit that their theory has been proven false time and again.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

Aletho News will be posting more on Karl Popper’s philosophy of science within the week.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on More Fictitious Hurricane Predictions

Chagossians face sinister “environmental” ban from homeland

By Catherine Philp | The Times | March 6, 2010

(John Parker/Corbis)

If ever there was an oceanic treasure worthy of conservation, the Chagos archipelago, with its crystal-clear waters and jewelled reefs, is it. Yet the British Government’s plans have split the gentle world of marine conservation, created a diplomatic row with Indian Ocean states and turned the spotlight on to the archipelago’s place in Britain’s darker colonial history.

The British Indian Ocean Territory, as it is officially known, is the ancestral home of the Chagossians, the 2,000 people and their descendents that Britain removed forcibly from the islands in the Seventies to make way for a US air and naval base on the main island, Diego Garcia. Despite Britain repeatedly overruling court judgments in their favour, the exiled Chagossians have continued their struggle. This summer their case will be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. By then, however — if David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, gets his way — the Chagos will have been designated a marine protected area (MPA), where activities such as fishing and construction are banned, denying them any legal means to sustain their lives.

It is, depending on your view, a sinister trick to prevent the Chagossians returning; an easy piece of environmental legacy building by a Government about to lose power; or an act of arrogant imperialism to rob the territory’s true owners of any say in its future.

Perhaps the most compelling case against the plan, however, is made by the swelling cadre of environmentalists opposing the project in the belief that — far from protecting this pristine paradise — it could hasten its destruction. “Even if I didn’t care about human rights, I would say this is a terrible mistake,” said Dr Mark Spalding, one of the world’s foremost experts on reef conservation.

“The world of conservation is littered with failures where the people involved were not consulted. If the Chagossians win the right to return, why should they want to co-operate with the conservation groups running roughshod over them?”

The Government’s proposal acknowledges that the entire plan may have to be scrapped if the Chagossians are allowed to return. “That would make it the shortest-lived protection area in the world,” Dr Spalding said. “So you have to ask: what’s the rush to get this done before [the Strasbourg ruling and] a general election?”

Mr Miliband will begin to examine the cases for and against the reserve next week, after public consultations ended yesterday. A decision is expected within weeks, but the Foreign Secretary already sounds convinced. “This is a remarkable opportunity for the UK to create one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, and double the global coverage of the world’s oceans benefiting from full protection,” he wrote.

Many of the world’s leading conservation groups have thrown their weight behind the proposal, which emphasises the advantage of the islands being “uninhabited”. They are not: the original islanders were removed from Diego Garcia to make way for a military base that houses 1,500 US service personnel, 1,700 civilian contractors and 50 British sailors. The island, which constitutes 90 per cent of the landmass of the Chagos, is, in effect, to be exempt from the protection order.

Peter Sand, a British environmental lawyer who has investigated the US base’s impact, has documented four jet fuel spills totalling 1.3 million gallons since it was built and has lobbied unsuccessfully for information on radiation leakage from nuclear-powered vessels there. “To say that a small group of Chagossians could have a greater impact than the base is just crazy,” Dr Spalding said.

The plan has also sparked a diplomatic row with Mauritius and the Seychelles, from whom the Chagos Islands were taken and to whom Britain has agreed to cede them when they are no longer needed by the US military. Britain faces further embarrassment over allegations that Diego Garcia was used to moor US prison ships where “ghost” prisoners were tortured.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius said last week that he was “appalled” by the decision to press ahead with plans for the reserve, “It is unacceptable that the British claim to protect marine fauna and flora when they insist on denying Chagos-born Mauritians the right to return to their islands all the while,” Navin Chandra Ramgoolam said at the inauguration of a building for Chagossian refugees in the Mauritian capital. “How can you say you will protect coral and fish when you continue to violate the rights of Chagos’s former inhabitants?”

Britain originally offered the US the Aldabra atoll for its base but backed down after uproar from environmentalists. Aldabra, now a World Heritage Site, was uninhabited by humans but home to hundreds of thousands of giant tortoises. “The British had refused to create a base on Aldabra in the Seychelles not to harm its tortoise population,” marvelled Olivier Bancoult, head of the Chagos Refugees Group. “Now they are trying to create a protected area to prevent Chagossians from returning to their native islands.”

Shifting sands

1960s The Chagos archipelago, originally part of Mauritius, is secretly leased to Britain. Together with the Aldabra archipelago, taken from the Seychelles, they become the British Indian Ocean Territory

1970 Britain and the US agree to set up a military base on Diego Garcia, and Britain begins deporting the 2,000 Chagossians to Seychelles and Mauritius

1983 £1m compensation is paid to the refugees on Mauritius

2000 British High Court rules in favour of Chagossians demanding the right to return

2004 Government issues a royal prerogative striking down the court’s decision

2006 The Court of Appeal dismisses the Government’s appeal, saying its methods are unlawful and “an abuse of power”; 102 Chagossians are permitted to visit Diego Garcia for a day to tend relatives’ graves

2008 Law lords vote 3-2 in favour of Government, overruling High Court

2009 Foreign Office launches public consultation on the creation of a protected marine area

2010 The European Court of Human Rights is set to hear the Chagossians’ petition to return this summer

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | Comments Off on Chagossians face sinister “environmental” ban from homeland

‘US running international network of secret detentions’

Press TV – March 7, 2010

A United Nations report on the existence of secret detention facilities in countries around the world puts most of the blame on the US and its Central Intelligence Agency.

The report says that the CIA, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, runs scores of secret prisons in foreign countries where suspected terrorists are held, a Deutsche Welle article read on Saturday.

The UN report charges that the United States has created an “international network” to keep in detention anyone it deems as potential enemies.

According to Deutsche Welle, the secret prisons exist in more than 66 countries.

These countries include Algeria, Egypt, India, Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe where suspects and dissidents are kept in secret facilities.

Poland and Romania are accused of hosting the CIA secret prisons on their soils.

The report further suggests that the US transfers its prisoners to countries like Ethiopia, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria and even Thailand for interrogation.

According to the UN report, in Israel Palestinian prisoners are kept in secret detention under the “illegal fighter” law.

The UN report says while the existence of the secret prisons around the world violates the human and international rights they introduce a “serious problem on a global scale.”

“If resorted to in a widespread or systematic manner, secret detention might reach the threshold of a crime against humanity,” suggests the report.

Four UN Special Rapporteurs Martin Scheinin, Manfred Nowak, Shaheen Sardar Ali, and Jeremy Sarkin, have contributed to the report.

The report was due to be examined in Geneva this month; however, the resistance shown by some countries postponed the process until June.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | 1 Comment