Aletho News


Settlers from Bracha attack and harass farmer on his land

International Solidarity Movement | June 13, 2013

Al Rujeib, Occupied Palestine – On Friday 7th June five settlers from the illegal settlement of Bracha attacked a farmer on his land, using sling shots to throw stones at him near Huwwara checkpoint. The same settlers continued to harass the farmer in the following days as he tried to graze his sheep and gather his crops, unprotected by the Israeli authorities.

Salah Sukamel Deweket (Photo by ISM)

Salah Sukamel Deweket (Photo by ISM)

Salah Sukamel Deweket rents 70 dunums of land between his home in Al Rujeib and the occupation forces’ checkpoint at Huwwara. The land is mainly used to plant crops for his sheep to graze upon.

On Friday 7th June Salah was working hard to enable his sheep to feed when he was surprised by five settlers, thought to be an old man and his four sons who brought their own sheep to eat Salah’s wheat. The settlers threw rocks using slingshots at Salah and his flock. Salah had no one who could help him as he had no number for the District Coordination Office (DCO) – the Palestinian liasion with Israeli authorities or other organisations. Unable to get the number, he returned to his land to find that the settlers had ripped apart his bales of wheat.

The settlers resumed throwing stones at him in full view of soldiers stationed at the Israeli occupation forces checkpoint at Huwwara. The soldiers did nothing but watch as the Palestinian farmer was attacked. As an occupying power the Israeli military are meant to protect all citizens in the territory.

Salah asked the older settler why he had destroyed his wheat. “People who stay in Israeli land have to be good Israeli people”, the settler replied. “If this is Israeli land, where’s Palestinian land?” Salah asked. “There is no Palestinian land” the settler shouted back. The settlers continued to graze their sheep on Salah’s land and then encouraged their sheep to eat the olive trees of another Palestinian farmer who came to protect his land. It was only then that army jeeps came to intervene – asking why the Palestinian farmers were there. Salah tried to explain the problem with the settlers to the army, who told him to take photos and go to DCO. Salah then asked the soldiers if they were going to arrest the settlers, to which they said, ” we don’t know, it’s up to the judge.” When the soldiers were asked why they did not come earlier, they replied that it wasn’t their problem. The next day Salah tried to fix his wheat bales but the settlers kept coming and causing problems. Soldiers eventually came and told both Salah and the settlers to leave but said that the Palestinians must leave first.

Palestinians face many attacks by settlers of varying severity. Religious extremists living in illegal settlements attack Palestinian people, lands and crops. Palestinians have almost no means of legal recourse or protection from settler attacks but are routinely targeted by the army in mass arrests in the alleged defence of the Israeli occupation and settlements. Even when Palestinians can contact the DCO, the coordination office can often not solve issues with settlers who generally are treated with impunity under Israeli law. Settlements are illegal under international law under the fourth Geneva convention.

Wheat fields (Photo by ISM)

Salah Sukamel Deweket’s wheat fields (Photo by ISM)

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on Settlers from Bracha attack and harass farmer on his land

Hospital Drugs Patients & Dumps Them Onto Buses, Suit Claims

By MEGAN GALLEGOS | Courthouse News | June 13, 2013

LAS VEGAS – Calling it “Greyhound therapy,” a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital drugs patients and sends them on buses out of state to cities where they know no one, without medical instructions or anyone to care for them, one such patient claims in a federal class action.

Lead plaintiff James Flavy Coy Brown claims the hospital’s illegal policies are “sometimes referred to as ‘Greyhound therapy.'”

He sued Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, the Nevada Bureau of Health Care and Quality and Compliance, Dr. Anurag Gupta, his psychiatrist at Rawson-Neal, and others.

The complaint states: “Plaintiffs are former psychiatric patients at defendant Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital (hereinafter ‘Rawson-Neal’) who, while still in need of psychiatric care, were involuntarily discharged from the facility by defendants and their agents and employees, and sent to out-of-state destinations where defendants knew said patients would be unable to obtain proper treatment, care and housing. Plaintiffs were medicated before their discharge and required to leave the facility under the influence of powerful anti-psychotic/tranquilizing medication. While plaintiffs were in a drugged state, and incompetent to give informed consent, the standard procedure was for institution staff to physically escort plaintiffs from the facility and place them in taxis bound for the Greyhound Bus Station in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were directed and required to travel on pre-paid tickets which had been previously ordered and paid for by Defendants Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (hereinafter ‘SNAMHS’) and Rawson-Neal.”

Brown, 48, says he was admitted to Rawson-Neal on Feb. 9. The hospital is run by Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. He was given “a diagnosis of psychosis, hearing voices, and thinking of suicide,” he says in the complaint.

He was discharged on Feb. 11.

“Defendants knew he was penniless and homeless and defendant Rawson-Neal knew or acted in reckless disregard of the fact that he would be unable to care for himself during the journey or upon his arrival,” the complaint states. “Before he was discharged, he was started on Thorazine, Cymbalta and Klonopin, all psychotropic medications which affect thinking and judgment. While Defendant Rawson-Neal had developed a written treatment plan which included assisting him to locate a group home placement and locating a case worker for him, this treatment plan was intentionally disregarded and violated by his involuntary discharge contrary to the plan.

“On February 13, defendant psychiatrist Dr. Anurag Gupta (hereinafter ‘Gupta’) ordered Brown discharged, physically escorted from the facility, and placed in a taxi which had been ordered by the defendants. Plaintiff Brown was then transported to the Greyhound Bus Station, where a pre-paid ticket had been purchased by the defendants to take Brown to Sacramento, California, a city which he had no prior contact, and where he knew no one. There was no follow-up plan and no prior contact had been made with any institutions in Sacramento from which Brown could obtain medical and psychiatric care. He was given three days of powerful anti-psychotic medications and bottle of Ensure for the 15 hour bus ride.

“Plaintiff Brown arrived in Sacramento, homeless, confused and anxious. He was taken by police to a local homeless service center, Loaves and Fishes, which could provide no housing, medical care or transportation. After his arrival at that location, he was directed to the U.C. Davis Medical Center’s emergency department which, after three days, arranged for Brown to be treated by Heritage Oaks psychiatric facility. From there he was discharged to a group home in Sacramento.”

Brown claims he’s one of more than 1,500 patients the defendants have treated this way, sent dazed and confused to nearly every state in the union.

“After learning of the ‘dumping’ of Brown in Sacramento by defendants, the Sacramento Bee newspaper began to investigate the circumstances which led to Brown’s arrival in Sacramento and discovered that since the year 2008 approximately 1,500 patients of the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, have been transported by Greyhound Bus to almost every state in the country, all with minimum provisions to sustain them during protracted bus rides.

“A random survey by Nevada’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance of 30 discharges of psychiatric patients from Rawson-Neal revealed discharges in violation of policy and procedures of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the facility’s own policies occur frequently. Patients, such as Brown, were involuntarily placed on Greyhound buses and sent out of state without prior arrangements having been made for follow-up care. These patients were not informed where they should go to receive continuing care upon arrival at their destinations. Discharge orders did not specify the amount of nutritional supplements to be provided to the patients for their extended bus trips; and appropriate and necessary prescription medications were not provided. Furthermore, necessary information was not provided on discharge documentation.”

Brown seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, constitutional violations including cruel and unusual punishment, medical malpractice, negligence, gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duties.

He is represented by Allen Lichtenstein with the ACLU of Nevada.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Comments Off on Hospital Drugs Patients & Dumps Them Onto Buses, Suit Claims

Who Killed the Syrian Peace Talks?

By Shamus Cooke | Worker’s Action | June 12, 2013

The long awaited Syrian peace talks — instigated by power brokers Russia and the United States — had already passed their initial due date, and are now officially stillborn.

The peace talks are dead because the U.S.-backed rebels are boycotting the negotiations, ruining any hope for peace, while threatening to turn an already tragic disaster into a Yugoslavia-style catastrophe… or worse.

The U.S. backed rebels are not participating in the talks because they have nothing to gain from them, and everything to lose.

In war, the purpose of peace negotiations is to copy the situation on the battlefield and paste it to a treaty: the army winning the war enters negotiations from a dominant position, since its position is enforceable on the ground.

The U.S.-backed rebels would be entering peace talks broken and beaten, having been debilitated on the battlefield. The Syrian army has had a string of victories, pushing the rebels back to the border areas where they are protected by U.S. allies Turkey, Jordan, and northern Lebanon. Peace talks would merely expose this reality and end the war on terms dictated by the Syrian government.

A rebel leader was quoted in The New York Times revealing this motive for the rebel’s abandonment of peace talks:

“What can we [rebels] ask for when we go very weak to Geneva [for peace talks]?… The Russians and the Iranians and the representatives of the [Syrian] regime will say: ‘You don’t have any power. We are controlling everything. What you are coming to ask for?’”

This is the reality as it exists in Syria, and realistic peace talks would recognize the situation in Syria and end the conflict immediately.

But first the rebel’s supporters — the United States and its lackeys Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar — must acknowledge this reality and demand that the rebels forge ahead with peace talks, on threat of being cut off politically, financially, and militarily.

If this happens, war is over.

But if the war ended tomorrow, Syrian President Bashar Assad, would still be in power, and President Obama has said repeatedly, “Assad must go.” Obama would be further humiliated by his Syria policy if he had to again recognize Assad as president after spending a year recognizing a group of rich Syrian exiles as “the legitimate government of Syria” and after his administration repeatedly announced that the Assad regime had ended over a year ago.

More importantly, if Assad stayed in power, U.S. foreign policy would appear weak internationally, which is one main reason that the U.S. political establishment wants to go “all in” for regime change in Syria: super powers must back up their threats, since otherwise other nations might choose to challenge the United States.

This is the real reason peace talks will not be held. The U.S. and its European allies want regime change in Syria, and they are prepared to allow many more people to die to make it so. This was made clear by the Obama administration. The New York Times reports:

“[Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad’s gains on the battlefield have called the United States’ strategy on Syria into question, prompting the Obama administration to again consider military options, including arming the rebels and conducting airstrikes to protect civilians and the Syrian opposition, administration officials said on Monday.”

The above quote mentions “conducting airstrikes to protect civilians.” This is the infamous language of the UN resolution that allowed U.S.-NATO to intervene in Libya; but Obama immediately overstepped “protecting civilians” and quickly jumped into “regime change,” a gross violation of international law and a Bush-like war crime.

The UN — though especially China and Russia — have learned from the Libya example and will doubtfully ever again approve of a “protect civilian” UN resolution. If the U.S. intervenes in Syria, it will do so with a Bush-style “coalition of the willing,” i.e. U.S. allies.

Obama’s dream of having a post-Assad Syria is further complicated by the fact that Assad is apparently more popular than he has ever been.

Many Syrians that didn’t previously support Assad now do, having concluded that Assad in power is better than their country being obliterated in an Iraq-style invasion, or being dominated by Islamic extremists, as the majority of the Syrian rebel groups are.

Further helping Assad’s popularity is that Israel has bombed Syria recently on multiple occasions, while Syrians watch the unpopular United States funnel weapons to the rebels. As a result, Assad can now successfully portray himself as a defender of Syria’s sovereignty against foreign aggression.

But, Obama will not be deterred. After it became clear that the rebels were losing the war, the U.S. and its European allies removed the remaining legal barriers to further arming the rebels, while the religious leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar — both U.S. allies — assisted in the war effort by calling for Jihad against the Syrian government (the same week the leader of al-Qaeda did).

Behind this frenzy of rebel support lies the sick logic that, in order for successful peace negotiations to take place, the rebels need to be in a stronger battlefield position. Arm the rebels to the teeth for peace!

In response to this twisted logic, Oxfam International — a disaster relief coalition — responded by saying:

“Sending arms to the Syrian opposition won’t create a level playing field. Instead, it risks further fueling an arms free-for-all where the victims are the civilians of Syria. Our experience from other conflict zones tells us that this crisis will only drag on for far longer if more and more arms are poured into the country.”

Ultimately, the Syrian rebels would have already been defeated — and thousands of lives spared — if they had not been receiving support from the U.S. and other countries. The U.S.-backed rebels have said that a pre-condition for peace is “Assad must go;” but this demand does not coincide with the reality on the ground: the rebels are in no position to demand this, and the U.S. is using this unrealistic demand to artificially lengthen an already-bloody war.

Obama can either use his immense influence to end this bloody conflict by withdrawing support to the rebels, or he can extend the conflict and further tear to shreds the social fabric of the Middle East, while risking a multi-nation war that history will denounce as an easily-preventable holocaust.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

No significant warming for 17 years 4 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley | Watt’s Up With That? | June 13, 2013

As Anthony and others have pointed out, even the New York Times has at last been constrained to admit what Dr. Pachauri of the IPCC was constrained to admit some months ago. There has been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for getting on for two decades.

The NYT says the absence of warming arises because skeptics cherry-pick 1998, the year of the Great el Niño, as their starting point. However, as Anthony explained yesterday, the stasis goes back farther than that. He says we shall soon be approaching Dr. Ben Santer’s 17-year test: if there is no warming for 17 years, the models are wrong.

Usefully, the latest version of the Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly series provides not only the anomalies themselves but also the 2 σ uncertainties.

Superimposing the temperature curve and its least-squares linear-regression trend on the statistical insignificance region bounded by the means of the trends on these published uncertainties since January 1996 demonstrates that there has been no statistically-significant warming in 17 years 4 months:


On Dr. Santer’s 17-year test, then, the models may have failed. A rethink is needed.

The fact that an apparent warming rate equivalent to almost 0.9 Cº is statistically insignificant may seem surprising at first sight, but there are two reasons for it. First, the published uncertainties are substantial: approximately 0.15 Cº either side of the central estimate.

Secondly, one weakness of linear regression is that it is unduly influenced by outliers. Visibly, the Great el Niño of 1998 is one such outlier.

If 1998 were the only outlier, and particularly if it were the largest, going back to 1996 would be much the same as cherry-picking 1998 itself as the start date.

However, the magnitude of the 1998 positive outlier is countervailed by that of the 1996/7 la Niña. Also, there is a still more substantial positive outlier in the shape of the 2007 el Niño, against which the la Niña of 2008 countervails.

In passing, note that the cooling from January 2007 to January 2008 is the fastest January-to-January cooling in the HadCRUT4 record going back to 1850.

Bearing these considerations in mind, going back to January 1996 is a fair test for statistical significance. And, as the graph shows, there has been no warming that we can statistically distinguish from zero throughout that period, for even the rightmost endpoint of the regression trend-line falls (albeit barely) within the region of statistical insignificance.

Be that as it may, one should beware of focusing the debate solely on how many years and months have passed without significant global warming. Another strong el Niño could – at least temporarily – bring the long period without warming to an end. If so, the cry-babies [salaried agenda-men – Aletho News] will screech that catastrophic global warming has resumed, the models were right all along, etc., etc.

It is better to focus on the ever-widening discrepancy between predicted and observed warming rates. The IPCC’s forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report backcasts the interval of 34 models’ global warming projections to 2005, since when the world should have been warming at a rate equivalent to 2.33 Cº/century. Instead, it has been cooling at a rate equivalent to a statistically-insignificant 0.87 Cº/century:


The variance between prediction and observation over the 100 months from January 2005 to April 2013 is thus equivalent to 3.2 Cº/century.

The correlation coefficient is low, the period of record is short, and I have not yet obtained the monthly projected-anomaly data from the modelers to allow a proper p-value comparison.

Yet it is becoming difficult to suggest with a straight face that the models’ projections are healthily on track.

From now on, I propose to publish a monthly index of the variance between the IPCC’s predicted global warming and the thermometers’ measurements. That variance may well inexorably widen over time.

In any event, the index will limit the scope for false claims that the world continues to warm at an unprecedented and dangerous rate.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on No significant warming for 17 years 4 months

Land Grabs, the Latest Form of Genocide in Guatemala

By Leonor Hurtado – Americas Program – 12/06/2013

In a historic decision this May, Guatemala’s Supreme Court of Justice sentenced former dictator General Ríos Montt to 80 years in prison for the genocidal massacres of indigenous people in the 1980s.  Many Guatemalans hoped that the judicial process against the top criminals of the country’s “dirty war” would finally bring justice—but ten days after the decision, the Constitutional Court reversed the judgment.

While the Guatemalan people protest this violation of the rule of law, the processes of genocide initiated 30 years ago by Ríos Montt’s massacres continue today by other means.

In the last decade, the expansion of oil palm plantations and sugarcane production for ethanol in northern Guatemala has displaced hundreds of Maya-Q´eqchi´ peasant families, increasing poverty, hunger, unemployment and landlessness in the region, according to a new Food First report by Alberto Alfonso-Fradejas, “Sons and Daughters of the Earth: Indigenous Communities and Land Grabs in Guatemala.”

There is a major contradiction here: at the same time that the former General Ríos Montt is convicted for genocide, the Guatemalan government allows the oligarchy, allied with extractive industries, to displace entire populations without concern for the human cost. In many cases, these land grabs result in the murder and imprisonment of rural people who resist the assault.

Genocide against the indigenous peasant population in Guatemala no longer has the face of a military dictatorship supported by the United States. Now it is the corporations, the oligarchy and the World Bank who push peasants off their lands.

In today’s Guatemala, land and resource control is increasingly in the hands of a small oligarchy of powerful families allied with agri-food companies. At the center of this power are fourteen families who control the country’s sugarcane-producing companies (AZAZGUA); five companies controlling the national production of ethanol; eight families that control the production of palm oil (GREPALMA); and members of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations (CACIF).

Together these powerbrokers are accumulating land and wealth with the support of investment from international institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE). The convergence of multiple global crises—finance, energy, food and environment—has directed corporate investment into land-based resources such as agrofuels, minerals, pasture and food. The situation in Guatemala is extremely violent, part of a global trend where agrarian, financial and industrial interests are grabbing control of peasant lands and resources.

Can land grabs be considered genocide? In many ways, land grabbing is a new form of genocide. Ricardo Falla’s study “What Do You Mean There Was No Genocide?” analyzes the definition of genocide and its characteristics. According to Falla, of the five acts that define genocide, two were most prominent in Guatemala: “the massacre of the members of a group,” and “the intentional subjection of a group to living conditions which will lead to their total or partial physical destruction.”

The first genocide was against the Ixil peoples during the reign of Ríos Montt. The second genocide is enacted today through the privation of the Q´eqchi´ peoples’ means of survival through land grabs. Hundreds of families have been displaced. They do not have land on which to produce food or live, and they are denied their cultural and community identity. These conditions undermine their ability to survive, and lead to their displacement, and in many cases death.

The historic genocide trial this May came about through the peoples’ long struggle to defend their rights. The Ríos Montt conviction is a condemnation of impunity. The oligarchy did everything possible to impede the trial while continuing to displace the indigenous peasant population with the support of international investment and a legal system that favors land grabbing to the detriment of the people.

On May 20, the Constitutional Court overturned the conviction, with two of the five judges opposing the decision. Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur for the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence stated, “No legal decision is inconsequential, even if it is revoked.” The Inter-American Court of Justice issued a statement criticizing the verdict for violating international obligations assumed by the state and preventing the people from seeking justice. Multiple organizations and authorities have spoken out against the court’s decision, arguing that it overstepped its bounds, violated legal provisions, and endorsed the corrupt mechanisms upon which impunity is built in Guatemala. The decision bolsters evidence that Guatemala’s top court lacks political independence and is tied to the country’s economic and ruling elite.

On May 24, thousands of people demonstrated and delivered a letter with more than a thousand signatures to the Court demanding that the decision be reversed. In Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru, thousands more marched in solidarity to the Guatemala embassy demanding justice.

If we fail to judge and condemn the massacres committed thirty years ago, what hope is there for the Mayan Q’eqchi’, Xinka, Mam, Kaqchikel and other indigenous peoples currently being displaced and massacred by extractive corporations with the support of the state and international institutions? The people continue to courageously resist and defend their lives, lands and identities. How shall we express our solidarity?

Leonor Hurtado is a fellow at Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy. A native of Guatemala, she has spent decades defending human rights and indigenous rights, and supporting indigenous resistance to the expansion of extractive industries.

Photo: Caracol Producciones

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Land Grabs, the Latest Form of Genocide in Guatemala

Egypt denies purchasing military equipment from Israel

MEMO | June 12, 2013

The spokesman of the Egyptian Army, Staff Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali, on Wednesday denied that his country had bought military wares from Israel.

An Israeli newspaper reported early this week that Israel had sold military wares to Pakistan and another four Arab countries, including Egypt. Harretz report was based on data issued by the British Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which oversees security exports.

The report said that these countries had purchased amounts of developed military equipment between 2008 and 2012.

According to the BIS report, this equipment included unmanned aircraft vehicles, radar systems, electronic warfare systems, head-up display (HUD) cockpit parts for fighter jets and aircraft engines, optical target acquisition systems, components of training aircraft and military electronic systems.

Ali wrote on his Facebook page that the militarisation of Egypt’s Armed Forces follows strict guidelines which guarantee what is called “product security.” These are obligatory rules that all military branches are committed to.

Similarly, Pakistan also denied that it bought military equipment from Israel based on information published by Haaretz in the same report.

The Islamabad spokesman for the Directorate of Inter-Services Public Relations denied the report. “The report is misleading and not based on facts,” The Hindu reported him as saying.

The Egyptian military official affirmed that his country is following credible measures regarding weapon purchases. However he said that the policy had “high costs in light of the new global system.”

He also called for the need to ensure that information reported about the Egyptian Armed Forces was reliable and accused the mass media of attempting to shake the credibility of the Egyptian Armed Forces with their people.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Comments Off on Egypt denies purchasing military equipment from Israel

Russia ranked world leader in shale oil reserves

RT | June 12, 2013

Russian shale oil reserves are estimated at 75 billion barrels, which puts the country on top of the global standings, followed by the US and China.

According to the report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the estimated American shale gas resources equal 58 billion barrels, with third-place China having 32 billion barrels.

But it’s the Chinese, who hold the leadership in shale gas reserves, with 1,115 trillion cubic feet. 802 trillion cubic feet puts Argentina in second, with Algeria not far behind on 707 trillion cubic feet.

The US is fourth when it comes to shale gas (665 trillion cubic feet), while Russia is ninth with 285 trillion cubic feet.

The EIA’s report indicates that the worldwide resources of oil and gas from shale formations are greater than was previously thought.

The global shale oil resources are estimated at 345 billion barrels and shale gas – at 7,299 trillion cubic feet, which is a 10 per cent increase in comparison with the 2011 data.

According to EIA’s administrator, Adam Sieminski, the report shows “a significant potential for international shale oil and shale gas.”

The increase in estimates is explained by more countries joining the efforts to search for deposits, following the ‘Shale Revolution’ in the US.

“As shale oil and shale gas production has grown in the United States to become 30 percent of oil and 40 percent of natural gas total production, interest in the oil and natural gas resource potential of shale formations outside the United States has grown,” Adam Sieminski explained in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, British oil giants BP have Russia’s natural gas reserves estimate at 32.9 trillion cubic meters from 44.6 trillion in last year.

According to the company’s benchmark Statistical Review of World Energy, it’s Iran, who climbed to the top of the global standings, with the proven reserves of 33.6 trillion cubic meters.

BP said that this year they decided to adjust its estimates for the former Soviet Union states, including Russia, where data on reserves remains classified.

“Traditionally countries of the former Soviet Union had different criteria than used elsewhere. So we used a conversion factor to convert that from those countries where we don’t get direct data,” Christof Ruhl, BP’s chief economist, is cited as saying by Reuters. “In some countries, reserves are still a state secret, so we have to rely on these data.”

But Russia remains a much larger gas producer than Iran as the international sanctions prevent the Islamic Republic from exploiting its natural resources in full.

The estimate of gas reserves in the US where the energy industry has been transformed by shale oil and gas, due to lower prices and reduced drilling.

The American gas reserves ended 2012 at 8.5 trillion cubic meters, down 0.3 trillion from indications of 2011.

BP cut proven global gas reserves by nearly 21 trillion cubic meters from 208.4 trillion cubic last year to 187.3 trillion cubic meters as of end of 2012.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia ranked world leader in shale oil reserves

First Council of Banco del Sur Ministers Held in Caracas

By Denis Culum | The Argentina Independent | June 12, 2013

Economy ministers of member countries of Banco del Sur are meeting today in Caracas to define the operational details and implementation of this financial institution – a new regional funding entity independent of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Hernán Lorenzino, the minister of economy and public finance of Argentina, Luis Arce, Bolivian minister of economy and Carlos Marcio Cozendey, secretary of international affairs at the Brazilian ministry of finance, have already arrived to the Venezuelan capital.

Paraguay is the only country that has not confirmed the attendance of any representative at the meeting.

Ministers are expected to establish a ‘start date’, when each country will have to make its contribution to the newly founded institution. As a full member and founder, Argentina will provide US$400 million to Banco del Sur.

Days ago, Ricardo Patiño, Ecuadorian foreign affairs minister, had stated that the new bank “can be used to bail out a country, small or big, and meanwhile not have to submit to the dictates and conditions of the IMF.”

Banco del Sur is a result of an initiative by the late leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and was formalised in February 2007 when he and then Argentine president Néstor Kirchner signed a memorandum of creation, which also included Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay.

The South American financial institution aims to promote development, economic growth and improvement of infrastructure in all member countries.

The entity’s constitutive agreement establishes that Banco del Sur will have US$20bn of authorised resources and subscribed capital of US$10 billion, with US$7 billion in initial contributions by partner countries. A member contributes according to the capacity of its economy.

The headquarters of Banco del Sur which began preliminary operations on 3rd June is in Caracas, but also has offices in Buenos Aires and La Paz.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on First Council of Banco del Sur Ministers Held in Caracas

State propaganda on NPR’s “Morning Edition”

By Justin Doolittle | Crimethink | June 12, 2013

On Wednesday’s episode of “Morning Edition” on NPR, a segment was devoted to exploring the extreme violence that has engulfed Honduras in recent years. Indeed, if measured by per capita murder rate, Honduras is now the most dangerous in the country in the world. There are many reasons why Honduran civil society has broken down like this, but let’s suspend that discussion for the moment in order to focus on one particular aspect of this story on NPR that was quite revealing.

At one point in the segment, Carrie Kahn, the NPR correspondent reporting from Honduras, said the following:

Last year, the U.S. Congress held up funding to Honduras over concerns of alleged human rights abuses and corruption, particularly in the Honduran police force. Part of the funds are still on hold.

This is an astonishing statement for someone who purports to be a journalist. Unless Ms. Kahn has psychic powers, she cannot know why the U.S. Congress held up funding to Honduras. She can only know why Congress said it was holding up funding to Honduras. There is often a profound difference between why politicians say they are implementing policy X and why they are actually doing it. As you might have heard, politicians are occasionally dishonest and insincere, and their decisions are informed by a number of factors that have nothing to do with their personal beliefs. For a journalist, someone who is supposed to adversarially cover politicians and express skepticism at everything they say, this kind of blind faith is inexcusable.

The problem, though, is that Ms. Kahn’s statement is actually quite a bit worse than that. Even if she had said, “the U.S. Congress held up funding to Honduras over what it claimed were concerns of alleged human rights abuses and corruption,” instead of just mindlessly repeating what the government claimed, that would still be wildly insufficient for any journalist who takes her profession even the slightest bit seriously. Why? Because the United States government provably does not base its decisions on allocating foreign aid on “concerns about human rights and corruption.” For decades, the U.S. has provided aid to some of the most repressive and corrupt governments on Earth. Going down the list would be trivial, but, for the sake of comparison, let’s stay relatively close by and just look at Colombia. The U.S. government ships hundreds of millions of dollars to the Colombian government every year; in FY 2012, $443 million was provided, making Colombia the leading recipient of U.S. aid in the hemisphere.

In a strange twist, though, Colombia is also widely considered to be the most repressive violator of human rights in the hemisphere, and corruption there is rampant. This is quite a conundrum. Ms. Kahn tells us that the U.S. withheld aid from Honduras “over concerns of alleged human rights abuses and corruption.” But the U.S. evidently has no such “concerns” in Colombia and continues to send hundreds of millions of dollars in annual aid. One is almost tempted to conclude that the U.S. government makes these decisions based not on noble and selfless “concerns” about human rights and corruption, but, rather, on what it perceives to be U.S. interests.

Ms. Kahn must know that the government claim she dutifully parroted is transparently fraudulent and, in fact, downright comical. She cannot be a working journalist and not know this. Presumably, she follows the news, she is knowledgeable regarding basic facts about U.S. aid, and she knows that the U.S. has always cheerfully sent aid to brutal regimes around the world. She’s not a wide-eyed poly-sci 101 student who is shocked to find out that U.S. government decisions are not invariably and solely based on considerations of Good and Evil. Ms. Kahn is a highly educated reporter, and she obviously does know these things, but the culture of obedience and submissiveness in American journalism is so profound that she probably doesn’t even consciously realize that she’s serving state power instead of doing journalism. The U.S. government told her that aid is being withheld to Honduras because of concerns about human rights and corruption, therefore aid is being withheld to Honduras because of concerns about human rights and corruption. That’s that. Then she goes on NPR, unquestioningly repeats government claims, and she’s done her job. We would call this “propaganda” if it happened in the Soviet Union, but it’s called “journalism” when it happens here.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment