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“Racism” charges dropped against Scottish solidarity activists

Press release, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 8 April 2010

Five Palestine campaigners who contested the relevancy of a “racially aggravated conduct” charge in relation to their protest against Israel’s blockade of Gaza had all charges against them dropped today.

The campaigners, all members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), had interrupted the August 2008 Edinburgh Festival concert by the Jerusalem Quartet. Tours by the classical musicians are regularly sponsored by the Israeli government, which the campaign group claims makes them a legitimate target for protest.

The campaigners had been accused of making “comments about Jews, Israelis and the State of Israel,” but during a three-day legal debate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, a BBC audio recording of the event revealed that there had been no reference made to “Jews.” Comments included “they are Israeli army musicians,” “end the siege of Gaza,” “genocide in Gaza” and “boycott Israel.”

Sheriff James Scott ruled that “the comments were clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli army and Israeli army musicians,” and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se. “The procurator fiscal’s attempts to squeeze malice and ill will out of the agreed facts were rather strained,” he said.

The sheriff expressed concern that to continue with the prosecution would have implications for freedom of expression generally: “if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicize alleged crimes committed by a state and its army are afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behavior, it would render worthless their Article 10(1) rights. Presumably their placards would have to read, ‘Genocide in an unspecified state in the Middle East;’ ‘Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East,’ etc.

“Having concluded that continuation of the present prosecution is not necessary or proportionate, and therefore incompetent, it seems to me that the complaint must be dismissed.”

Mr. Fraser, the Procurator Fiscal Depute, said he would be appealing the ruling.

Today’s ruling will disappoint the musicians whose concerts now attract regular protest. After a similar disruption of their Wigmore Hall concert last week they issued a statement claiming to “have no connection with or patronage by the [Israeli] government.” However, organizers of their November 2009 Australia tour acknowledged that “The Israeli government provided about $8,000 towards the costs of the tour,” but explained, “this was only a minuscule proportion of the total cost.”

Outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court, supporters held banners reproducing the “racist” slogans, and a number of enlarged concert programs indicating Israeli Embassy sponsorship of the quartet’s tours were on display.

SPSC chair Mick Napier had mixed feelings about the ruling: “While this particular attempt to criminalize solidarity with Palestine has failed, British government support for Israel continues. In England, more than 20 prison sentences — some for over two years — have been handed out to those who protested Israel’s massacre of 1,400 mostly civilians in Gaza last year. On the subject of racism, of the 78 charged, all but two are young Muslims.”

“If our case had gone to trial, it would have been Israel in the dock, not us. We had a string of witnesses from Palestine, Israel and South Africa lined up to discuss the real racism and apartheid that Palestinians face daily. As long as the ethnic cleansing of Palestine continues, Israel’s political, cultural and sporting ambassadors will face boycott protest similar to that faced by the racist apartheid South African regime in the last century.

“It’s time for politicians to fall into line with public opinion. Alex Salmond’s recent call for a review of trade relations with Israel is a step in the right direction, but what that means in practice remains to be seen.”


April 8, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on “Racism” charges dropped against Scottish solidarity activists

A presidential death warrant

By Paul Woodward on April 8, 2010

American soldiers have to be trained how to kill, but for American presidents killing comes naturally.

Anyone who aspires to become president must surely ask themselves: am I willing to end someone else’s life, be that an individual or perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people? After all, even though it’s not spelled out in the Constitution, it’s clear that a pacifist could never hold this office. Killing comes with the territory.

Even so, I can’t help wondering when it was the Barack Obama posed this question and decided, “yes I can.”

With candidate George W Bush we didn’t need to ask the question. He had a track record — as the Governor of Texas he presided over 152 executions. But with Obama, we may never know when he came to regard killing as a tolerable part of his job.

It’s hard to imagine that as a community organizer he ever entertained the idea that wiping people out could become a dimension of working towards the greater good, yet at some point he must have seen this coming and — from all the evidence we now see — not flinched.

But to contrast Obama and Bush as killers, here’s what’s scary and yet passes without comment: Obama’s approach is dispassionate, with no explicit moral calculation. Whereas Bush felt driven to assume an air of righteousness and moral superiority, casting his actions within a drama of good and evil, Obama presents the image of an administrative process through which, after careful analysis and legal and political deliberation, lives are terminated.

Under the morally insidious rubric of “procedures” — a notion that peels away personal responsibility by replacing it with impersonal rules-based behavior — the president, the CIA, the military, the administration, the media, and the American public are all being offered an excuse to look the other way. An unnamed official assured a Washington Post reporter: “[there are] careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases.”

When Anwar al-Awlaki, an American born in New Mexico is shredded and incinerated — his likely fate at the receiving end of a Hellfire missile — there will be no account of the last moments of his life. No record of who happened to be in the vicinity. Most likely nothing more than a cursory wire report quoting unnamed American officials announcing that the United States no longer faces a threat from a so-called high value target.

Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California and chairwoman of a House subcommittee on homeland security, was out prepping the media and the public on Tuesday when she called Awlaki “probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No 1 in terms of threat against us.”

Although it was only this week that a US official announced that Awlaki is now on the CIA’s assassination list, US special forces were already authorized and had made at least one attempt to kill the Muslim cleric who now resides in Yemen.

While both the military and the CIA make use of drones for the purpose of remotely controlled assassination, the fact that Awlaki is now considered a legitimate target for “lethal CIA operations” raises questions about the methods the agency might use.

Last summer CIA Director Leon Panetta shut down a secret CIA program which would have operated assassination teams for hunting down al Qaeda leaders. The news was presented as though the new administration was again distancing itself from the questionable practices of the Bush administration, yet at the time, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C Blair told Congress that the termination of that particular program did not rule out the future use of insertion teams that could kill or capture terrorist leaders.

One of the many ironies here is that the Obama administration appears to have abandoned one of the Bush era rationales for torture in favor of its own rationale for murder.

The most frequently used justification for torturing terrorist suspects has been the claim that in the scenario of a so-called ticking time bomb, vital information might be forced out of a suspect enabling an imminent act of terrorism to be thwarted.

Anwar al-Awlaki is supposedly just such a suspect. “He’s working actively to kill Americans,” an American official told the Washington Post. But whatever vital intelligence he might be able to provide, we’ll probably never know. Once dead he won’t hatch any new plots, but as for the ones already set in motion, well, we’ll just have to wait and see what sort of surprises may yet appear.

Needless to say, I am not suggesting that torturing terrorist suspects is any more acceptable than murdering them.

Ken Gude, a human rights expert from the Center for American Progress, argues that Awlaki is a legitimate target for assassination because of his claimed role in assisting the 9/11 attackers. On that basis, his killing would appear to be an act of extra-judicial punishment rather than the removal of a potential threat. But even if the administration sticks assiduously to its focus on future threats, it should not claim a God-like power to predict the future. Nor should it assume that the threat someone poses is necessarily diminished once they are dead.

In weighing the fate of Anwar al-Awlaki, this administration would do well to remember the case of Mohammed El Fazazi, a Moroccan cleric who from a Hamburg mosque preached to Mohammed Atta, Ramzi Binalshibh and Marwan al-Shehhi, three of the men who participated in the 9/11 attacks, that it was the duty of a devout Muslim to “slit the throats of non-believers.”

Eight years later, Fazazi had a new message as he appealed to Muslims to air their grievances through peaceful demonstrations. He is helping turn young men away from violent jihad. But what would stir the hearts of such men now if rather than hearing Fazazi’s moderated message, instead they held the memory of a day he became a martyr when struck by an American Hellfire missile?

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | Comments Off on A presidential death warrant

Cameras and Kuffiyehs: Palestine’s video resistance

Don Duncan | The National | April 07. 2010

NI’LIN, WEST BANK // Every Friday, the slingshot-wielding boys of the West Bank village of Ni’lin make their way to protests at the Israeli-constructed separation wall, which has deprived the village of 300 hectares of its farmland. But weaving among the boys, or shabab, are other youngsters with a different weapon of choice – video cameras.

For the past three years, the Israeli human rights NGO, B’Tselem, has been providing cameras and training to young Palestinians as part of its “Shooting Back” project – a bid to document and collect hard video evidence of abuses and misconduct by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Today, there are 150 cameras all over the West Bank and Gaza for this purpose and most of the footage captured – some 1,500 hours so far – ends up on the floor-to-ceiling archive shelves in the Jerusalem office of Yoav Gross who directs the NGO’s video project.

Several pieces of footage captured by B’Tselem’s camera volunteers have served as key evidence, instrumental in Israeli court rulings in favour of Palestinian plaintiffs.

The presence of cameras, now on both Palestinian and Israeli sides, has also served as a deterrent to violence and abuse. But three years after launching the project, B’Tselem has seen another, unintended consequence of its deployment of cameras to Palestinian youth.

“People started to take this tool, the video camera, and use it as a way to express themselves, to tell stories,” said Mr Gross. “We didn’t train them to do that. We trained them to document human rights violations. But pretty soon we got the sense that this can be a powerful tool for them to empower themselves.”

What has emerged is a generation of young Palestinian filmmakers, who are at ease with the camera and are becoming fluent in editing and the language of visual storytelling.

Back at a Ni’lin protest on a recent Friday afternoon, Arafat Kanaan, 17, decided to leave his camera at home and stood back from the protest. He had been detained by the IDF the previous week and, obscuring half of his face with a piece of cardboard. He has to worry about cameras too – IDF ones.

“The camera is like a weapon for us,” he said. “It can display and show everyone in the world what is the truth.”

His sister Salam, 19, was one of the volunteers to capture IDF misconduct – the shooting of a handcuffed Palestinian detainee in Ni’lin – that lead to the successful prosecution of an Israeli soldier.

Together with Salam and a friend, Rasheed Amira, 17, Arafat has set up Ni’lin Media Group, which produces weekly video packages of each protest and longer form documentary-style videos on life under occupation. He posts them to the group’s youtube channel ( and screens the films to the community on Ni’lin’s central square.

“We collect ourselves into a group because it gives us the power to continue the work and to train others,” said Arafat.

The evolution from straight documentation to complex storytelling is evident elsewhere.

Seventeen-year-old Diaa Hadad, a Palestinian who lives in the Jewish-settled H2 sector of Hebron, wanted to show the effects of settlement and IDF sanctions on Palestinian movement in the sector. He chose to do so through a one minute film called H1H2. The film is a split screen. On the right half is the bustling market street of Bab a-Zawiya, in the Palestinian-dominated H1 sector of the town. On the left side is a-Shuhada street in H2, once a similarly busy market street for Palestinians, but now utterly empty due to Israeli restrictions and settler violence.

“I made this film to show the people outside what is happening here,” Diaa said, sitting on a wall outside HEB2, a community media centre for Palestinians in H2. “We are living here and a lot of incidents occur here and nobody knows what is happening, even people from Bab a-Zawiya, two kilometres away, in H1.”

Behind him lies the landscape of occupation he is trying to document. Numerous army CCTV cameras silently monitoring the contested territory, IDF watch towers, and the barbed wires of settlement demarcation.

“We give the audience the full picture of what is happening here in the West Bank – violations, normal life, occupation, normal life – and what is the connection between the occupation and normal life. This is very important,” said Issa Amro, 30, director of HEB2, which, drawing on Hebron’s new class of video-adept youth, has launched a community television service streaming live on

“If you keep showing settlers throwing stones at a certain family, then you don’t know how this family is living,” said Mr Amro. “If you show how this family is living, you become connected to them in another way and you care about them personally.”

It is exactly this philosophy that is driving grass roots filmmaking in Gaza, a territory with no Israeli army or settler presence within the strip. The challenge facing Gaza’s young filmmakers is the siege – on information – leaving the territory.

“The films we are making in Gaza are so important because the world media is not focused on the details on the ground, the real life here,” said Mohammed al Majdalawi, 22, via telephone from Gaza. He recently made a short documentary about the Gazan hip-hop scene.

“There are no Israeli journalists allowed to go inside [the strip],” said Mr Gross of B’Tselem, “which basically leaves the Israeli public with a very shallow image of what goes on inside Gaza. This sense of a very humane existence in Gaza has kind of disappeared from Israeli discourse.”

That’s starting to change. Mr al Majdalawi’s work was one of five such films from Gaza published recently by Israel’s number one news site, read by up to one million Israelis every day. Other films featured on the site showed the children workers of Gaza’s supply tunnels, the video game craze that has gripped the strip, and a play camp for children.

Back at the wall in Ni’lin, the protest unfurls as expected. Like every Friday, the shabab have poised themselves behind the wall while the protesters make their way through an opening in it to yell and wave banners at the IDF stationed behind jeeps on the other side of a barbed wire fence. Now it is time for the Ni’lin shabab to launch their barrage of rocks. The air is taken over with the whirrs and whizzes of rocks flying across the seven metre high wall.

During the first and second intifadas, the shabab gained iconic status, a dramatic manifestation of the David and Goliath proportions of the wider struggle. Today, the “video shabab”, a growing, non-violent clique who command an increasing access to powerful technologies and means of distribution, are providing stiff competition.

After a few minutes of orders in Hebrew, delivered in vain from the other side of the wall, the IDF sends over round after round of tear gas, scattering the shabab and the clutch of activists gathered, up the rocky hills of Ni’lin. The video volunteers remain, donning their gas mask, shooting through the haze.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Cameras and Kuffiyehs: Palestine’s video resistance

Protectionism didn’t cause the Great Depression

By Ian Fletcher | Online Journal | April 8, 2010

The debate over free trade is riddled with myth after myth. One that keeps resurfacing again and again, no matter how many times it is discredited, is the idea that protectionism caused the Great Depression. One occasionally even hears that the same protectionism — specifically the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 — was responsible in significant part for World War Two! This is nonsense dreamed up for propaganda purposes by free traders, and can easily be debunked.

Let’s start by reminding ourselves of a basic fact: the Depression’s cause was monetary. The Federal Reserve had allowed the money supply to balloon excessively during the late 1920s, piling up in the stock market as a bubble. The Fed then panicked, miscalculated, and let the money supply collapse by a third by 1933, depriving the economy of the liquidity it needed to breathe. Trade had nothing to do with it.

The Smoot-Hawley tariff was simply too small a policy change to have so large an effect as triggering a depression. For a start, it only applied to about one-third of America’s trade: about 1.3 percent of our GDP. One point three percent! America’s average tariff on goods subject to tariff went from 44.6 to 53.2 percent — not a very big jump at all. America’s tariffs were higher in almost every year from 1821 to 1914. Our tariffs went up in 1861, 1864, 1890, and 1922 without producing global depressions, and the great recessions of 1873 and 1893 spread worldwide without needing the help of any tariff increases.

If Smoot-Hawley had caused a global trade disaster, it would necessarily have been by triggering a sharp decline in American imports of goods subject to the increased tariff. Did this happen? The data say no.

In the words of economic historian, former member of the U.S. International Trade Commission, and avowed free trader Prof. Alfred E. Eckes, “Official data show that higher U.S. tariffs had little impact on American imports. From 1929 to 1932, imports of dutiable and duty-free goods fell almost the same percentage, suggesting that higher tariffs had little impact on most trading partners . . . The sharpest drop in exports involved commodity-exporting countries, including some like Brazil, largely unaffected by higher U.S. tariffs.”

World trade did indeed decline, but this was due to the Depression itself, not higher American tariffs. This is no surprise, as declines in the values of the currencies of America’s major trading partners wiped away much of the effect of the tariff anyway.

In light of the facts noted above, it is, in fact, true that just about every serious economist or economic historian — as opposed to the ideologues of the editorial pages or the think tanks — who has examined this question in detail has come to the same conclusion. This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue, either: famous economists who have denied that Smoot-Hawley caused the Depression range from Milton Friedman on the right to Paul Krugman on the left.

The same fact can be ascertained by looking at Smoot-Hawley’s impact on the world economy at large. As the economic historian (and free trader) William Bernstein puts it in his book A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, “Between 1929 and 1932, real GDP fell 17 percent worldwide, and by 26 percent in the United States, but most economic historians now believe that only a miniscule part of that huge loss of both world GDP and the United States’ GDP can be ascribed to the tariff wars . . . At the time of Smoot-Hawley’s passage, trade volume accounted for only about 9 percent of world economic output. Had all international trade been eliminated, and had no domestic use for the previously exported goods been found, world GDP would have fallen by the same amount — 9 percent. Between 1930 and 1933, worldwide trade volume fell off by one-third to one-half. Depending on how the falloff is measured, this computes to 3 to 5 percent of world GDP, and these losses were partially made up by more expensive domestic goods. Thus, the damage done could not possibly have exceeded 1 or 2 percent of world GDP — nowhere near the 17 percent falloff seen during the Great Depression . . . The inescapable conclusion: contrary to public perception, Smoot-Hawley did not cause, or even significantly deepen, the Great Depression.”

The oft-bandied idea that Smoot-Hawley started a global trade war of endless cycles of tit-for-tat retaliation is also mythical. According to the official State Department report on this very question in 1931: “With the exception of discriminations in France, the extent of discrimination against American commerce is very slight . . . By far the largest number of countries do not discriminate against the commerce of the United States in any way.”

That is to say, foreign nations did indeed raise their tariffs after the passage of Smoot, but this was a broad-brush response to the Depression itself, aimed at all other foreign nations without distinction, not a retaliation against the U.S. for its own tariff. The doom-loop of spiraling tit-for-tat retaliation between trading partners that paralyses free traders with fear today simply did not happen.

The myth of Smoot-Hawley continues to poison U.S. policymaking even today, as it renders the U.S. government fearful of retaliating against problems like Chinese currency manipulation. But hopefully, the present controversy over free trade will eventually provoke enough public debate that this hoary myth can finally be put to bed forever. For a more detailed discussion of these issues, please see Chapter Six of my book Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Economics | 1 Comment

Hot, Flat, And Paved Over By Tom Friedman’s Family?

By Tom Nelson | April 8, 2010

Thomas Friedman’s World Is Flat Broke | VF Daily | Vanity Fair

[Nov ’08] …based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That’s because the author’s wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple—who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland—have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.

Flat N All That

When some time ago a friend of mine told me that Thomas Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, was going to be a kind of environmentalist clarion call against American consumerism, I almost died laughing.

Where does a man who needs his own offshore drilling platform just to keep the east wing of his house heated get the balls to write a book chiding America for driving energy inefficient automobiles? Where does a guy whose family bulldozed 2.1 million square feet of pristine Hawaiian wilderness to put a Gap, an Old Navy, a Sears, an Abercrombie and even a motherf*cking Foot Locker in paradise get off preaching to the rest of us about the need for a “Green Revolution”? Well, he’ll explain it all to you in 438 crisply written pages for just $27.95, $30.95 if you have the misfortune to be Canadian.

GGP files for bankruptcy
So we have a self-proclaimed progressive lecturing us on our profligate ways and hectoring us about climate change, who lives in a house 6 times bigger than mine, and whose outsized wealth is [was?] largely based on paving over thousands and thousands of acres of land.

Talk about not walking the talk.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 3 Comments

‘NYT’ distorts history of nonviolent resistance

By Alex Kane on April 7, 2010

On the front page of the New York Times today, there is a large photo of West Bank Palestinians planting trees, “part of a new, nonviolent approach to assert their land claims,” as Times correspondent Ethan Bronner says. While it’s good that the Times is covering nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, it’s an article rife with omissions, mischaracterizations and distortions, all par for the course from the Times when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Let’s take this opportunity to remind people about the history of nonviolence in the Palestinian movement, a history that has been systematically shut out of mainstream discourse.

The photo caption, and the title of the piece, which is “Palestinians Try a Less Violent Path to Resistance,” give a preview of the direction the article heads in. In Bronner’s reporting, we’re told that the Palestinians are simply “trying” this “new” way to resist, when in fact Palestinians have been nonviolently resisting Zionist colonization even before the State of Israel was founded, and well after. The 1936-1939 revolt against British colonial rule and Zionist colonization began with a “six-month general strike” that involved “work-stoppages and boycotts of the British-and Zionist-controlled parts of the economy” and was the “largest anticolonial strike of its kind until that point in history, and perhaps the longest ever,” as Rashid Khalidi writes on page 106 in The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. The revolt did have an armed component, though, that followed the general strike.

The 1st Intifada was largely nonviolent. And Neve Gordon, in his book Israel’s Occupation, tells us that the 2nd Intifada began as a nonviolent popular uprising, but only turned violent after Israel brutally suppressed the uprising, firing 1.3 million bullets into the West Bank and Gaza Strip after Israeli security forces were directed to “fan the flames”, as Haaretz’s Akiva Eldar reported in 2004.

Bronner’s reporting states that the nonviolent resistance being carried out all over Palestine is being “forged” by Fatah, the Palestinian Authority, and the business community, ignoring the popular, grassroots resistance committees that have led the way. He also omits the anti-“buffer zone” marches that the Palestinians of Gaza have been undertaking.

We learn that “Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, just visited Bilin, a Palestinian village with a weekly protest march.” Bronner apparently doesn’t think it’s newsworthy enough to include that “local sources in Hebron reported that as Gandhi and his wife tried to visit an illegal settlement outpost installed near the Ibrahimi Mosque, Israeli soldiers tried to prevent them from crossing and installed additional roadblocks,” according to the International Middle East Media Center.

Here’s Bronner on the Israeli military’s response to the nonviolent resistance movement:

“They reject the term nonviolent for the recent demonstrations because the marches usually include stone-throwing and attempts to damage the separation barrier. Troops have responded with stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and arrests. And the military has declared that Bilin will be a closed area every Friday for six months to halt the weekly marches there.”

As Norman Finkelstein said in a recent interview on Democracy Now!, “damaging” the separation barrier is actually following the law, since in 2004 the International Court of Justice handed down a landmark ruling stating the wall was illegal and should be dismantled.

And although Bronner gives room to Israel to claim that the demonstrations aren’t nonviolent, he omits the fact that Palestinians and internationals participating in nonviolent demonstrations are routinely hurt and have been killed with impunity by Israeli forces. According to this article in the Guardian, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was the 18th person to die in protests against the illegal seperation barrier. Recently, it was reported that the Israeli military had decided to not investigate Rahmeh’s death.

So, Ethan Bronner, who really perpetrates violence?

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 3 Comments

“It really shows what’s been going on in the Arctic – it’s falling apart”

GE sponsors 15-year-old on polar trip

By Anthony Watts | April 7, 2010
Parker Liautaud will ski to the North PolePhoto courtesy of GE and Scott Draper

Shortly after twice reporting a temperature of -34 C, he suggests that the ice is “falling apart” around him.

Skiing and trekking to the North Pole: Parker Liautaud blogs to save the earth – Update

Parker Liautaud, 15 years old, is reporting on his progress skiing his way to the North Pole. He has made his goal to become the youngest person to ski to the North Pole, and to use that attempt to bring greater awareness to the urgent environmental issues of the arctic.

And more importantly for his purpose of letting the world see the ravages of global warming on the arctic – There was a lot of open water today. It really shows what’s been going on in the Arctic – it’s falling apart. Right now we’re camping on this patch of old ice, but all around us is open water, broken and thin ice. To our north there’s a massive pan of very thin ice. Everything is freshly frozen, if not open.

That’s called “leads” kid, part of the regular landscape well before your trip. Oh but wait…what is the Temperature? Thanks to Twitter reports we know.

Twitter / Parker Liautaud: Temp -34, Windchill -42. W …
Temp -34, Windchill -42. We did about 11 Nm today, it was a really good day. We have about 35 Nm left, and about 5 before we’re half way. 3:00 PM Apr 4th via API   [His previous tweet also reported a temperature of -34]

Son of Venture Capitalist Gets Foursquare Badge for Polar Trip – DealBook Blog –

Normally if you’re the teenage child of a multimillionaire, you might expect a nice car or designer clothing as a present, VentureBeat reported.

But if you’re the 15-year-old scion of Bernard Liautaud, who founded and later sold Business Objects to SAP for $6.78 billion and is now a partner at Balderton Capital, you can probably do a lot better.

Mr. Liautaud fils rounded up a sponsorship from G.E. for a trip to the North Pole promoting environmental awareness.

Of course, anybody can go to the North Pole, and blog about it, by paying a tour guide like this one that is with the 15 year old right now.

From the San Fransisco Examiner “offbeat places” blog:

Parker’s journey is part of an expedition that is open to the public. For more than 10 years, Doug Stoup has been guiding teams across the frozen Arctic Ocean and Antarctica. From numerous ‘Last Degree‘ treks to his most recent 660-mile  epic journey to the South Pole.

Cost: €25,700 but for a quickie (I’ll bet you didn’t know you could do this as a quickie), fly from Longyearbyen to Ice Station Barneo, then take a helicopter to 89.599? North. Spend some quality time on the ice for photos and celebration and then return. Cost: €16,900.

I always like to encourage young minds in science, but this is just a glorified field trip with a guide. What a bunch of suckers GE is for paying for such an expedition.

The ice from Cryosphere Today looks better than 30 years ago.


April 8, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on “It really shows what’s been going on in the Arctic – it’s falling apart”