Aletho News


Settled science: Can everyplace really be warming much faster than everyplace else?

Tom Nelson | July 24, 2010
[Africa: Allegedly warming faster than the global average]

Prof Gordon Conway, the outgoing chief scientist at the British government’s Department for International Development, and former head of the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, said in a scientific paper that the continent is already warming faster than the global average

North Pole Heating Faster than anywhere else

Many scientists seem mystified as to why the North Polar region is warming up several times faster than the rest of the planet.

Australia warming faster than rest of globe, climate report says

Kuwait: Alarm as Gulf waters warm three times faster than average

The seawater temperature in Kuwait Bay has been increasing at three times the global average rate since 1985

Antarctic air is warming faster than rest of world – Times Online

AIR temperatures above the entire frozen continent of Antarctica have risen three times faster than the rest of the world during the past 30 years.

Tibet warming up faster than anywhere in the world | Reuters

(Reuters) – Tibet is warming up faster than anywhere else in the world, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

European temperatures rising faster than world average, report says – The New York Times

Sundarbans water warming faster than global average

In the Sundarbans, surface water temperature has been rising at the rate of 0.5 degree Celsius per decade over the past three decades, eight times the rate of global warming, says a new study.

Climate change heating up China faster than rest of the world – report

In a new report, the China Meteorological Administration now says climate change is heating up the People’s Republic faster than the rest of the world

Global warming hits Mars too: study

Global warming could be heating Mars four times faster than Earth due to a mutually reinforcing interplay of wind-swept dust and changes in reflected heat from the Sun, according to a study released Wednesday.

Spain warming faster than rest of northern hemisphere: study

The country has experienced average temperature increases of 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade since 1975, a rate that is “50 percent superior to the average of nations in the northern hemisphere”, the study by the Spanish branch of the Clivar research network found.

U.S. West warming faster than rest of world: study

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The U.S. West is heating up at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world and is likely to face more drought conditions in many of its fast-growing cities, an environmental group said on Thursday.

A New Leaderboard at the U.S. Open « Climate Audit

Four of the top 10 are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999). Several years (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900.

Global warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world

Lake Superior is Warming [much stronger than the global average]

The really striking thing here is that the long-term trend in Superior is so much stronger than the global average. Well, we know that the upper midwest is warming more rapidly than the global average, but not this much more rapidly.

Himalayas warming faster than global average

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Northwestern Himalayas has become 1.4 degrees Celsius warmer in the last 100 years, a far higher level of warming than the 0.5-1.1 degrees for the rest of the globe, Indian scientists have found.

[Korean Peninsula]: Allegedly warming twice the global average]

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the climate has been warming on the Korean Peninsula twice more rapidly than in the rest of the world over the past century.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on Settled science: Can everyplace really be warming much faster than everyplace else?

Facebook: “No Palestinian Pages”

By Jilian C. York | July 25, 2010

I was surprised, but a little skeptical, this morning when I read a blog post stating that Facebook is blocking the word “Palestinian” from its Pages.  After all, a search for “Palestinian” brings back a number of already created Pages.  Here’s what the blogger wrote:

I thought it might be a good idea to make a Facebook page for Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet—a straight-forward thing to do, right? Apparently not, since it seems the very word Palestinian may “violate or page guidelines or contain a word or phrase that is blocked”……A mistake, perhaps? Well, Afghan Refugee ResearchNet is OK. So too is DR Congo RefugeeResearchNet. No threats to innocent Facebook users lurking in those terms, it seems…

…Are Palestinians the only group so banned? Well, not really… after a little fiddling around, I discovered that al-Qaida Refugee ResearchNet and Nazi Refugee ResearchNet are banned too.

It does seem a bit odd, however, that a population of up to 12 million people, receiving more than a billion dollars in international aid, recognized by the UN, and enjoying a degree of formal diplomatic recognition from the United States—is placed in the same banned category as Nazis and al-Qaida.

Odd, indeed.  I decided to try it for myself, with the terms “Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet,” “Palestinian Folklore,” and “Palestinian Music”.  Nada.

Of course, “Israeli Music,” “Israeli Folklore” and “Israeli Refugee ResearchNet” all created no problems.

What is Facebook trying to accomplish by eliminating page creation for a marginalized population?  I would guess that they were trying to prevent abuse of some kind (e.g., pages set up to demean a certain group), but I can’t imagine what kind of abuse would affect Palestinians and not, for example, Israelis.

In any case, as usual, Facebook does not have a strong customer support team to handle complaints about this, nor do they seem to care.  After all, this was their response to the blogger who first documented this:

Unfortunately, we cannot process this request. Your Page name must comply with the following standards:

  • Accurately and concisely represent a musician, public figure, business or other organization
  • Not contain terms or phrases that may be abusive
  • Not be excessively long
  • Not contain variations of “Facebook”

If you believe your Page name fits within these guidelines, please respond to this email and we will re-evaluate your request.

Again, activists, I would advise you to stop using Facebook.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 2 Comments

The Gaza “shopping mall”: reality and hasbara

By Ali Abunimah | July 25, 2010

When he came to Washington a few months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was touting the multiplex cinemas and shopping malls that have supposedly sprouted up in the West Bank as evidence of the “economic renaissance” going on there. There is no such economic renaissance — it is a mirage promoted by Israel and its collaborators — under the rubric of “economic peace.” In fact, in large parts of the West Bank, people are poorer even than in Gaza, which is saying something given the wretched poverty and unemployment in Gaza.

Now, Israel’s supporters have leapt on a minor story — the opening of a shopping “mall” in Gaza — to perform a similar hasbara trick: ‘there is no poverty in Gaza, no siege, no hunger, no malnutrition. Just look at them, they are living better than we do!’ I have seen such messages on many right-wing and pro-Israel sites.

Israel’s Ynet reported:

While Hamas continues to demand a full lifting of the blockade, the Gaza market seems to be doing alright. Gaza Mall, the first ever shopping center in the Strip was opened last Saturday with masses storming the new attraction.

The two-floor compound, each stretching over roughly 9,700 sq. ft, offers international brands as well as much-needed air conditioning. Tens of thousands of shoppers from Rafah to Beit Hanoun have already visited the site within a matter of days, making the center Gaza’s new craze.

First, note that the reported size is about 20,000 square feet (1,850 square meters). To put this in perspective, the average size of a Wal-Mart store in the US is five times larger than the entire Gaza “mall”: 108,000 square feet (with the largest Wal-Mart stores going up to 185,000 square feet!).

Now I have received this eyewitness account from a source in Gaza:

“I found out about the Gaza mall. Yes it exists. The goods in there are very expensive and it’s not a real mall, barely bigger than a little supermarket. It has 4 sections, one sells vegetables grown in Gaza, the 2nd section sells clothes and shoes, a 3rd section is like a huge supermarket with things brought to Gaza through the tunnels, and the last sells electric materials, TVs, stereos… The owners are very rich people in the Gaza Strip. Most of the stuff being sold are either made in Gaza, or brought via tunnels. And there are no thousands visitors, when I went there, I saw about 15-20 people only.”

Gaza is a territory with 1.5 million people. They ought to have a normal life. That this small store is being celebrated as a major achievement shows just how hard the Israeli siege is biting. It also shows — as I reported in a previous blog post — that the siege is producing a small wealthy economic elite, while the vast majority suffers.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Britain’s secret rendition programme

By Robert Verkaik | The Independent | July 23, 2010

MI5 was directly involved in the rendition of a Moroccan national, illegally taken from a Belgian prison to work for Britain’s Security Services in London, an investigation by The Independent has discovered.

The man, now aged 29 and who cannot be named for his own safety, was secretly transferred from a Brussels jail in April 2004 and then further held and interrogated by senior MI5 officers at a secret base near London.

Documents seen by The Independent show that in September 2003 a Belgian court sentenced the man to four years in prison for the use of false documents and association with terror suspects. Yet less than a year later Home Office papers reveal that the Moroccan, who was born in Rabat, was in Britain and had been granted leave to remain in the UK by the British Government.

The Home Office document, dated 4 November 2004, says: “It has been decided that the Secretary of State’s discretion should be exercised in your favour and you have been granted limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom for a reason not covered by the Immigration Rules.”

The case is the first evidence of a UK-based rendition recruitment programme operated by the Security Service after the 11 September attacks on America. Until now, Britain’s involvement in the practice appeared to be limited to providing assistance to American renditions.

In an interview with The Independent, the man’s Belgian lawyer, Christophe Marchand, said that the rendition took place while the suspect was waiting to appear before the central criminal court in Brussels in relation to his appeal.

Mr Marchand, Belgium’s foremost defence attorney and author of the book European Trends on the War on Human Rights, said his client, then 23 years old, had been questioned by MI5 agents in Forest Prison in Brussels where he had been detained without trial and held in solitary confinement for more than two years. During his later interrogation and detention at an MI5 safe house 40 minutes from central London, the man did not have access to a lawyer.

Last night MPs and human rights groups said the case illustrated the extent of Britain’s illegal role in the war on terror. Andrew Tyrie MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, said: “If it were to turn out that this man had been transferred to the UK against his will and against due legal process, we should well be concerned. Stories such as this underline the need for an inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened after 11 September.”

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: “We simply cannot be in the business of snatching people from foreign countries without any legal process. Why have we fought for the rule of law for all these decades if it is simply to be ignored when the Security Services decide it is not convenient to let judges into the debate?”

Mr Marchand suspects that the deal must have been approved by Belgium’s security services and the state prosecutor. A year after his mysterious disappearance from prison, the Moroccan national contacted Mr Marchand. “We met in central London. He told me the whole story about how MI5 had arranged for his release and secret flight to London on a specially chartered British Airways aircraft. He told me he felt vulnerable in prison and didn’t think he would ever be released. He feared being returned to Morocco even more because he felt sure that he would be tortured.

“They told him that if he agreed to work for MI5 he would have a new life in the UK. But he was very vulnerable at this time, he was young and held in solitary confinement where he was psychologically weak. He believed he had no choice. Once he arrived in the UK he was told that if he ever told anyone who he was working for his life would be in danger from al-Qa’ida. He told me that he thought this was an explicit threat that MI5 would make sure al-Qa’ida knew his identity if he ever broke his agreement with the Security Service.”

Mr Marchand, an international expert in human rights law, accused Britain of being directly involved in rendition. “Of course it is rendition – it is the illegal transfer of someone from one country to another. He was transferred from Belgium without any legal safeguards. It is a very clear violation of the rule of law. Pressure was huge on him because he knew he was condemned to years in prison.”

A spokeswoman for the Belgian embassy in London said she was aware of the case and the “disappearance” but could give no further details.

Lieve Pellens, of the Belgian Federal Prosecutors Office in Brussels, said she was sure the Prosecutors Office was “not implicated” in such an arrangement. “If a foreign authority wants to question someone held in the Forest Prison then they have to make a special request and we have to ensure that a Belgian officer is present,” said Ms Pellens.

A spokeswoman for the Security Service said: “We do not comment on individuals. We do not comment on operational security matters.”

Rendition: Explained

* Countries wishing to transfer a suspect from one state to another for arrest, detention or interrogation must operate through the judicial process, usually by making an extradition request.

* Where such transfers occur outside a legal framework, such as in the Brussels case which we have reported today, they are referred to as renditions.

* America’s extraordinary rendition programme involves the further element of torture, usually by a third-party proxy state. In the Brussels case the Moroccan suspect faced the prospect of torture in his homeland and could not freely give consent for his transfer to Britain.

* Upon his transfer to the UK he was held in an MI5 safe-house, where he was interrogated without legal representation. All the time he knew he was at risk of deportation.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties | Comments Off on Britain’s secret rendition programme

Suspect in murder of four Palestinians was Shin Bet agent

By Jonathan Cook | The National | July 24. 2010

NAZARETH // The arrest by the Israeli internal security service, the Shin Bet, of an Israeli Jew accused of killing at least four Palestinians has thrown a rare light on the secret police, including claims that it tried to enlist the accused to assassinate a Palestinian spiritual leader.

Chaim Pearlman, who was arrested on July 13, has been charged with murdering four Palestinians in Jerusalem and injuring at least seven others in a series of knife attacks that began more than a decade ago. Police are still investigating whether he was involved in additional attacks.

Although Mr Pearlman had been denied access to a lawyer until Friday, since his arrest far-right groups have rapidly come to his aid, waging what the Shin Bet officials have described as “psychological warfare” by releasing damaging details about the case.

Ties between the Shin Bet and illegal settler organisations have come to light after Mr Pearlman’s arrest. The Shin Bet have been cornered into admitting that they recruited Mr Pearlman as an agent in 2000, in the midst of his alleged stabbing spree, despite the fact that he was a known member of Kach, an outlawed group calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from “Greater Israel”.

In addition, Mr Pearlman has also released tape recordings he secretly made of recent conversations with an undercover Shin Bet agent who tried to get Mr Pearlman to incriminate himself.

The agent, who befriended Mr Pearlman and was known as “Dada”, can be heard exhorting him both to go to an “Arab village” to “turn it into a fireworks display” and to execute Sheikh Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement and a recent participant in the aid flotilla to Gaza that was attacked by Israel.

In the 20 hours of recordings with Dada, some of which have been broadcast on Israeli television, the undercover agent can be heard repeatedly inciting Mr Pearlman to kill Sheikh Salah,

Dada says: “Why haven’t soldiers killed Raed Salah, may he die? Someone should take care of him, send him to the next world.”

He then suggests Mr Pearlman shoot at the sheikh’s car or put a bomb under it. “That’s the classic one. Nothing’s left, everything goes everywhere,” he says on the recording.

Dada’s advice came after Sheikh Salah had stated that Israeli commandos aboard Mavi Marmara ship had tried to kill him. Mr Pearlman, who apparently suspected he was being investigated, sent the recorded conversations with Dada to local media to be broadcast in the event of his detention.

In another blow to the Shin Bet, Mr Pearlman’s supporters have released a secretly filmed video of the head of the agency’s Jewish division, which arrested Mr Pearlman, naming him and identifying where he lives.

Although the agent is in charge of handling “Jewish terror” cases, the video states that he lives in Kfar Adumim, a West Bank settlement.

It is a criminal offence to identify any employee of the Shin Bet, but the release of details about such a senior figure is certain to provoke fears among officials that he may be in danger, including revenge attacks or future prosecution in an international tribunal.

Mr Pearlman’s supporters have posted the video on YouTube and other overseas websites, making it difficult for the Shin Bet to remove.

Nadia Matar, the leader of the pro-settler group Women in Green, told the Jerusalem Post last week that the Shin Bet divisional head “has to know that there is a price to stabbing Jewish brothers in the back. People have to be loyal or bear the consequences.”

The Shin Bet’s modus operandi was exposed in part by a rare decision from the judge supervising the investigation to partially revoke a gag order immediately after Mr Pearlman’s arrest.

Abir Baker, a lawyer with Adalah, a legal centre that handles Palestinian security cases, said: “The Shin Bet is facing an internal crisis over this arrest and the settlers are trying to exploit that with their campaign.

“Many members of the Shin Bet are settlers themselves and think of these extremists as their colleagues, not as the enemy. The line between the Shin Bet and these extremist organisations is very blurred.”

Unlike in the case of Palestinian attacks on Israelis, attacks by Jews on Palestinians are rarely solved, leading to criticism that the Shin Bet is not serious about tackling the problem of Jewish terror.

Amir Oren, a columnist for the liberal Haaretz newspaper, accused the Shin Bet of having “chains on its feet and weights around its neck” when it investigated such cases.

Yaakov Teitel, a settler who was arrested by the Shin Bet last year, was accused of his first murder of a Palestinian 14 years ago. Some observers have suggested he was only arrested after he started attacking left-wing Jews, including placing a bomb at the home of a prominent academic in 2008.

Ms Baker said Jewish terrorists often found it easy to evade the Shin Bet because they had learnt about the organisation’s investigation techniques while working as agents.

Although Mr Pearlman, 30, was living in the Israeli town Yavne, north of Ashdod, at the time of his arrest, he was raised on a settlement and spent time living in Kfar Tapuach, which is closely identified with the Kach movement. Despite being illegal, Kach operates relatively openly in settlements and Mr Pearlman’s connections to the group may explain the well-organised campaign quickly mounted in his defence.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a parliamentary aide to Michael Ben Ari, an MP who has maintained ties to Kach, was reported by the Israeli press to be behind the media campaign against Shin Bet. Mr Pearlman is also being helped by Honenu, a legal organisation that defends Jews accused of attacking Palestinians.

Anonymous Shin Bet officials told Channel 2 television that the campaign being waged against them by the far-right was “a completely different game” from previous confrontations.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | Comments Off on Suspect in murder of four Palestinians was Shin Bet agent

Eritrea says talks not force right approach to Somalia

AFP | July 24, 2010

Africa should talk to Somalia’s Shebab rebels instead of sending in more troops, Eritrea said Saturday as the continent’s leaders gathered in Kampala for a summit dominated by the Somali conflict.

Two weeks after suicide attacks claimed by the Al Qaeda-linked group killed 76 people in the Ugandan capital, the African Union announced more troops were on the way to boost its AMISOM force in Mogadishu.

But Saleh, who dismissed accusations that Eritrea has been supporting the Shebab, warned that further troop deployments would only exacerbate regional insecurity.

“We believe that military involvement can not bring a peaceful solution,” Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh told AFP on the sidelines of the pre-summit ministerial gathering.

AMISOM was first deployed in 2007 to protect the western-backed transitional federal government (TFG) in Mogadishu. But it has failed to stabilise the country and been pinned back by the Shebab and their Hezb al-Islam allies.

“We say that priority should be given to a political situation,” he added.

“An all-inclusive political process has to take place, including Shebab, Hezb al-Islam, the TFG, Puntland and Somaliland,” he said referring to the rival movements and breakway regions inside Somalia.

The AU’s top executive, Jean Ping, announced on Friday that Guinea was ready to send a battalion to boost AMISOM’s current troop level, which currently comprises just over 6,000 Ugandans and Burundians.

Angola, Mozambique and South Africa are also expected to contribute forces, according to diplomats.

Some observers believe a beefed-up AMISOM could significantly weaken the Shebab and reduce their presence in Mogadishu if given a more robust mandate: the force’s present task however is mainly to protect the Somali government.

Saleh however drew parallels with Afghanistan, where an international force led by the United States has been bogged down in a fight against Taliban insurgents since 2001.

“There may be certain terrorist elements, but how can we wipe out this thing? Not by bringing international forces inside,” he said.

“Otherwise it’s going to be like Iraq and Afghanistan. The issue in Afghanistan is not solved… Now they are saying that we have to deal with constructive engagement with the Taliban. Why not here?” Saleh added.

“AMISOM might increase its size now and then, but so did Ethiopia,” he continued, referring to the December 2006-January 2009 Ethiopian military intervention in Somali in support of the government there.

“They did nothing but create the worst humanitarian situation in the world. In this way you can not save Somalia,” Saleh added.

The Eritrean minister will represent President Isaias Afeworki, who has rarely attended the bloc’s meetings since the 1998-2000 war with Ethiopia, where the AU’s headquarters are located.

Some African diplomats are sceptical of Asmara’s renewed involvement in the bloc’s activities, which contradicts Isaias’ longstanding criticism over a perceived bias towards Addis Ababa.

They say Eritrea is only acting after it was slapped with UN sanctions in 2009 over the “destabilising” impact of its alleged involvement in Somalia on the region.

Earlier in March, a UN report claimed the Red Sea state continued to support armed Islamist groups fighting the Somali government, in violation of an arms embargo.

On Tuesday, a senior US lawmaker called for Eritrea to be added to a terrorism blacklist, which currently only includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Saleh dismissed the claims however.

“This is an allegation that doesn’t have any evidence. We haven’t supported the Shebab,” he said.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | Comments Off on Eritrea says talks not force right approach to Somalia