Thursday, April 29, 2010

American's still Militarily Occupied but Europe Ready to Stop Practicing War

Although I have never met Tom Hayden, I am familiar with his career and recieve emails like this (below) from him. He calls a spade a spade when he talks of the Military Occupation of the American Mind.

I. The Military Occupation of Our Minds
By Tom Hayden

As Congress weighs Afghanistan funding, the military is escalating what it calls the “war of perceptions” at home and abroad. The question is whether the American media and Congress will collaborate in the Pentagon’s press strategy or retain a critical edge.

It is no accident that the Pentagon is shaping the “information battlespace” by welcoming friendly reporters and think tank hacks to beam back commentaries about the Kandahar offensive to the American people.

Nor is it accidental that the US is soft-pedaling any public criticism of its crooked crony in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, as thousands of American soldiers are being dispatched to face bullets in his defense. [NYT, April 9, 2010]

Nor is there any question that Afghan civilian casualties are being downplayed or covered-up. The agency in charge of counting the bodies, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, published a footnote last year admitting “there is a significant possibility that UNAMA is under-reporting civilian casualties.” [UNAMA Human Rights Report, July 2009].

Paranoia? Do we live under Orwellian thought control? Of course not. But we the people, the media and the Congress, routinely accept taxpayer-funded Pentagon and White House public relations narratives. These often take disgusting forms, such as the false claims and cover-up that soldier Pat Tillman died under enemy fire in 2004, or the recent Special Forces’ killing of three pregnant women which was followed by the digging of bullets out of their bodies to cover up the crime.

The current cycle of military media manipulation began with the Iraq war, when the Pentagon enticed generals, intelligence officers, and defense contractors to become “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration’s version of the war, “sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated.” It took a New York Times’ lawsuit to uncover 8,000 pages of documents showing that the chosen surrogates could be counted on to deliver propaganda messages “in the form of their own opinions.” [NYT, April 20, 2008]

The strategy goes far deeper than the sleaze of everyday public relations. This is about the Pentagon’s turning of computer science into a weapon in the emerging field of information warfare, in which the deaths of men, women and children are less important than the perception of those deaths, or whether they are perceived by anyone at all. As Gen. McChrystal, whose entire career in Iraq remains a classified secret, said during a February briefing,

“This is not a physical war of how many people you kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up. This is all in the minds of the participants.” (emphasis added)
[NYT, FEB. 5, 2010]

McChrystal also has said, in a recent London speech, that Afghanistan is not like a football game but more “like a political debate after which both sides announce they have won.” [, Oct. 1, 2009]

McChrystal went on a public relations offensive to promote his request for a troop escalation earlier this year, giving interviews to the New York Times, Le Figaro, Newsweek, and to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

He was featured as a modern god delivering us from the impersonal forces of fate in a worshipful piece by Robert Kaplan in The Atlantic in April. [In a 2003 Atlantic piece by Kaplan, titled "Supremacy by Stealth," he advised that America's wars best be fought "off camera, so to speak."]

Prior to the current media offensive someone leaked [or was it a pre-emptive launch?] McChrystal’s August 30, 2009 confidential assessment of Afghanistan, which includes a lengthy section on “Strategic Communication”, where McChrystal declares that “the information domain is a battlespace” in the war over perceptions.

The irony is that the Taliban insurgents, with little if any information technology, “have undermined the credibility of the ISAF, the international community [IC], and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan [GIRoA]“, according to McChrystal’s own analysis. [It is noteworthy that the Afghan government is never referred to in the American media as an "Islamic Republic," because the frame is communicated to Afghans only.]

Shortening the term Strategic Communications to StratCom, McChrystal goes on for five single-spaced pages with directives for dominating the information battlespace. Of particular interest might be his plan for Offensive Information Operations [IO], which consists of “a robust and proactive capability to counter hostile information activities and propaganda,” with every soldier “empowered to be a StratCom messenger for ISAF.” A key strategic goal is to win over European and Canadian public opinion, or “the strategic center of gravity which is the maintenance of [NATO] Alliance cohesion” (emphasis added). Afghanistan, in other words, is the glue which holds NATO together, as other official strategists have written.

The general does acknowledge, in one sentence, that the battle of perceptions requires a change of behavior on the ground. But the overwhelming emphasis on perception requires that the negatives always be minimized or covered-up, as in any aggressive public relations campaign.

Already, Special Operations forces account for half or more of the American military missions in Afghanistan, and all the operations in Pakistan. [LAT, April 15, 2010] Clandestine raids against the Taliban – not al Qaeda – more than quadrupled recently, with 90 raids in November 2009. The Red Cross now reports that, as the Kandahar offensive begins, the number of civilian deaths attributed to NATO has doubled, despite McChrystal’s orders to avoid such casualties. [USA Today, April 16, 2010]

From 2004-2009, the Pentagon’s PR budget increased by 63 percent to at least $4.7 billion in 2009. [Associated Press via Wired, Feb. 5, 2009] The entire video budget for Brave New Foundation’s “Rethink Afghanistan” campaign was approximately $381,000 in 2009. [To contribute to Brave New Foundation, please click here.]

This brings us to the US offensive in Kandahar. The deadly hubris underlying the US information battleplan was recently exposed in a poll showing that Kandahar residents support negotiations with the Taliban instead of a military offensive by a 19:1 margin, and that five of six see the Taliban as “our Afghan brothers.” [NYT, April 21, 2010]. As often happens, the poll was uncovered and released by the Wired magazine blog, not by the Congress or the mass media.

Given Afghan public opinion, the challenge for the Pentagon in shaping the information battlefield in Kandahar, therefore, is overwhelming, even impossible. That means the war of perceptions is going to be directed largely at American and congressional opinion as the heralded offensive gets underway.

A few American journalists, like Doyle McManus of the LA Times, have noted that the warm-up offensive in tiny Marja, back in February, has not met the military’s expectations. That it was hardly an “offensive” at all is proven by the handful of US/NATO casualties, estimated in the range of thirteen by late February. [Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 21, 2010] The fatal premise of the Marja plan was that the Marines could bring in “a government in a box” after driving out the Taliban. That’s a form of immaculate conception that will not happen.

In Kandahar, as in Marja before, the local insurgents probably will fight defensively, and may launch spectacular bombing operations in other parts of Afghanistan, before gradually disappearing as the Americans advance, bringing their “government in a box.” It’s confusing, because that same “government” is actually there already, in the form of Karzai’s brother who is widely seen as a corrupt drug-dealing warlord with existing ties to the Taliban. So the US may gain a public relations victory which will mean a deepening of the quagmire. Kandahar is not going to be Iwo Jima, forever frozen in a photograph as the turning point of World War II.

Someday soon the White House and Pentagon will announce on camera that they have captured the Taliban’s “spiritual homeland” of Kandahar. While the offensive goes on, few in Congress will be tough enough to take a hard look at the reality behind the war of perceptions.

This will go on, with American troops dying in vain, unless enough members of the American public, the mainstream media and the Congress finally wake up to the reality that we are no longer citizens but targets in a deliberate war for our minds.

II. Long War Causes Rising Traumas and Suicides

Little or no attention is paid to the fact that more American soldiers have taken their own lives than died in action either in Afghanistan or Iraq. The underlying stress has been reported recently in the New York Times and the Associated Press.

III. Syracuse March Against Drone Base

SYRACUSE – Upstate New Yorkers marched on a drone maintenance facility at the Hancock Air National Guard base on Sunday April 15. The purpose, according to the Syracuse Peace Council, was “to remember the victims of drones.” [contact: Carol Baum,]

Recent Congressional hearings have demanded accountability and disclosure regarding civilian casualties and targeting criteria used in drone strikes. The drone war in Pakistan is a pre-emptive war carried out without any formal approval of the Pakistani government. The Pakistan war is cloaked in secrecy from the media, the Congress and the American people.

IV. 77% of Brits Oppose War

LONDON – 77% of British voters favor withdrawing from Afghanistan as the national election campaign draws to a close. None of the major parties have taken a stand against Afghanistan, but the Liberal Party led by Nick Clegg is seeking to exploit public anti-war sentiment to boost its unexpected rise in the latest polls (source: Stop the War Coalition).

V. Swedish Social Democrats Against War

STOCKHOLM – Opposition to Afghanistan has tripled among Social Democrats since last year. Delegates from Skåne, the largest party district, voted against the war by a large margin recently. A similar motion was dismissed last year. The shift is significant because the Social Democrats have provided key support for the Afghan war in the past (source: Eva Ehrstedt, Stockholm).


Where the Looting of Main Street Met the ‘Baddest’ Banks who Should Fail or be Taken-Over as Eminent Domain, like any Rock in the Way to Progress and

Where the Looting of Main Street Met the ‘Baddest’ Banks who Should Fail or be Taken-Over as Eminent Domain, like any Rock in the Way to Progress and better Development

By Kevin Stoda, View from Europe

In recent weeks, I have been covering and discussing with my students the methodologies used by US banks and financial institutions over the past decade, like those outlined by Matt Taibbi.

Taibbi has simplified and published the techniques in his last month’s ROLLING STONE article, “Looting Main Street”

Finally, one U.S. congressmen took on some of these bankers and financiers. The congressman was Senator Carl Levin yesterday in his grilling and crime narrative of Goldman Sachs. Levin noted, “Goldman Sachs proclaims ‘a responsibility to our clients, our shareholders and employees and our communities to support and fund ideas and facilitate growth.’ Yet, the evidence shows that Goldman repeatedly put its own interests and profits ahead of the interests of its clients and our communities. Its misuse of exotic and complex financial structures helps spread toxic mortgages throughout the financial system. And when the system finally collapsed under the weight of those toxic mortgages, Goldman profited from the collapse.”

Why have the White House and man other (of our) congressmen in Washington, D.C. been sitting on their laurels for over three years?

Greg Gordan of McClatchy Newspapers said of Levin’s performance in front of the hearing with Goldman Sachs yesterday, “Carl Levin was like a jackhammer. He just went at Lloyd Blankfein again and again about the issue id whether Goldman sold short, whether it did a big short behind the veil of—–it was basically, it was secret bets that its clients did not know about while it was unloading all of these securities and packaging so-called synthetic securities which are basically exotic bets between two parties and often one party which was betting against the housing market was Goldman and the other party was its client, or clients. What we saw, I think, was more of a picture of what Goldman was doing. Goldman maintains that it barely made any money on this so-called big short, less than $500 million in 2007, which for a company its size is a tiny percentage of its revenues. But Senator Carl Levin drove home the point finally that Goldman was unloading tens of billions of dollars of these securities in late 2006 and 2007, before anybody else in the Wall Street community had awakened to what was happening, and Goldman made a clean exit. Yes, maybe the net result was less than $500 million in profit in 2007 on the secret ballots and a net loss over those years of $1.7 billion on the securities, but Goldman was in deep. It wasn’t the biggest player in the subprime market, but it had tens of billions of dollars invested in these risky mortgages backed by … risky mortgage securities backed loans to very shaky borrowers.”


In recent years, I have written of my own experiences with large banks before in America. (One of them is considered a primer for those following the bank scandals and the federal governments hands-off-the-banks approach.)

Now, there is the movie PLUNDER: THE CRIME OF OUR TIME out now explaining the overall predatory attacks, tactics, and strategies carried out on average Americans and American cities in the last decade.

The producer of the film PLUNDER is Danny Schechter, and he is the author of ‘the News Dissector.’

According to Schechter, “PLUNDER shows how debt has restructured our economy and put Americans under a burden that many will never crawl out of. PLUNDER identifies some of the shameless profiteers and calls for an investigation and the prosecution of those behind this shrewdly engineered Sub Prime ponzi scheme. PLUNDER indicts the regulators who enabled the crisis and the media that missed it. PLUNDER advocates a debt-relief movement in America and argues that such a movement would resonate across the political spectrum.”

Since Goldman Sachs is seen as a main character in the collapse of the Greek economy this year —and as Greece’s good silent partner in intentionally keeping the weakness of the Greek economy secret from the rest of the EU EURO community of states. (Over 15 countries now use the Euro and the troubles in Greece are feared to affect them all.)

Europeans and I certainly hope that Obama and Congress finally get serious about banking reform and soon—America’s viruses affect the whole planet!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scott Bloch, who is Supposed to Help Government Whistleblowers, is Found Guilty. Obama needs to Get Better Whistle Blower protection

The National Whistle Blowers Center sent me the following up-date–and it leaves me more upset about the lack of democracy and transparency in government. Please let your Congressmen and Senators know that you care.

Since 1978, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has failed to live up to its mission to protect whistleblowers, and has been dominated by political appointees. Now, the former head of whistleblower enforcement, Scott Bloch, pleaded guilty to serious criminal misconduct. This only serves to highlight how the OSC has been abused by politicians intent on having the foxes guard the chicken coop.
President Obama made a campaign promise to appoint a strong advocate for whistleblowers as the new Special Counsel. Nearly 2 years after that promise was made, no nomination has been sent to the Senate for confirmation.
TAKE ACTION! Tell President Obama to appoint Special Counsel who will be a strong whistleblower advocate!
It is understandable, with the OSC run by a criminal and an office seeped in a culture of cover-up, that the OSC stood by while whistleblowers like Theresa Chambers and Bunnatine Greenhouse lost their jobs after coming forward to report the truth. But it is unforgivable that the office entrusted to protect these people has been twisted and corrupted at its core.
We must let President Obama and Congress know that now is the time to fulfill his campaign promises by appointing Special Counsel who is a proven strong advocate for whistleblowers and an aggressive enforcement official. The person nominated in the wake of these criminal charges must be a nationally respected advocate for whistleblower protection, and must have the integrity and courage to challenge bureaucracy and defend whistleblowers.

TAKE ACTION! Tell President Obama to appoint Special Counsel who will champion whistleblower rights!
We do not need another politically connected person to fill this office; we need a hardened advocate who will change the culture of this office. A new standard must be enforced, and never again should the OSC be so disgraced.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Defenestrations and God’s Warriors

Defenestrations and God’s Warriors

By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden

Note: You are encouraged to observe the themes of music, art, reenactment, documentary at the end of this reminiscence about man’s acceptance, glorification, and support of acts of violence in memory at the end, i.e. where YouTube readily provides such a collection of linked ideas. Usually, good ideals are chosen but a bad means of acting is also chosen—leading to wars and endless violence.


I was reading up on the history of multicultural Europe this weekend. The text I was reading was a summary of the recent centuries within what is now known as the Czech Republic. Prague is the capital and was where the 30-Years War was kicked off when two bodies went flying out the windows to their deaths far below. The event occurred on May 23, 1618.

At that time, Prag and surrounding Czech, Sorbian, Slovak, and German communities were dominated by the Habsburg family. The Hapsburg’s seat of Empire was in Vienna and their power-laden marriages had already long allied them with families across Europe and into the Americas. The Habsburg, being strong Catholics and supporters of Inquisition in parts of the Old continent, had decided around 1617 to close down protestant chapels in many places under their dominance, such as in the Czech towns of Broumov and Hrob.

Bohemian resistance was allowed to boil over quickly because this action by the younger Habsburgs clearly violated “the guarantees of religious liberty laid down in the Letter of Majesty (Majestätsbrief) of Emperor Rudolf II (1609).”

“In response, the defensors, appointed under the Letter of Majesty to safeguard Protestant rights, called an assembly of Protestants at Prague, where the imperial regents, William Slavata and Jaroslav Martinic, were tried and found guilty of violating the” agreement between people and the late Emperor and subordinates. The two were unceremoniously tossed out the window of the meeting place to hundreds of meters below.


According to Wikipedia and most European historians, “Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.” The term quickly came to mean the act of violently hurling an adversary away from hollowed or sovereign territory. In Prague there had also been a precedent of hurling a king’s or an emperor’s supporters out the same window above the city dating to 1419.

The First Defenestration of Prague had involved the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of Christian radicals on July 30, 1419. This act was undertaken by Hussite priests. John Hus had been a follower of John Wycliffe in his belief that “people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny

of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415.”

“The procession [that led to the attack on the City Council in 1419] was a result of the growing discontent at the inequality between the peasants and the contemporary direction of the Church, the Church's prelates, and the nobility.”

The Hussite Priest, Jan Želivský, also a follower of Wycliffe, saw the “Catholic Church as corrupt. . . . . [Such Hussite] preachers urged their congregations to action, including taking up arms, to combat these perceived transgressions.” The first defenestration of Prague led to over 15 years of war in the Czech regions.

There have been many similar events in Prague over the centuries. In the 20th century, Jan Masaryk’s body was found on the grounds below Prague’s great castle where other bodies from high above the city had landed in 1483. “On March 10, 1948 Masaryk was found dead, dressed in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial 'investigation' stated that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although for a long time it has been believed by some that he was murdered by the nascent Communist government.” Masaryk’s father, Thomas, had been the country’s first president in 1919 and Jan was seen as the strongest opposition leader to the communists in the country after WWII.


In many action thrillers films, one observes characters breaking through windows of high buildings only to fall to their deaths below. Similarly, far too often we also observe that modern terrorism--and those who want us to fight endless wars on terror—replay images of the victims of 9-11 falling or flying from their windows of the Word Trade Towers in the last minutes of their lives.

There were two-fold defenestrations that fateful day, September 11, 2010. First, there were the hundreds of victims in two planes, which crashed separately into the 1000s of windows of the Twin Towers that morning.

Later, there were people falling and flying out of those windows, one, two or three at a time as the world looked on hopelessly.

Just as in the time of John Hus in the 15th Century and later in the time of the Inquisition in Europe 100 to 200 years later, the lead actors, their followers, and perpetrators (and some victims) saw themselves as “Warriors of God”.


No one has a copyright on the title of “Warriors of God”. Hezbollah sees itself as such Warriors at times.

The crusaders saw themselves as God’s Warriors.

There are Punjabi warriors of God.

There are Jewish Warriors of God.

There are American Military Warriors of God in the Middle East.

There is BLACKWATER warriors of god-for-profit.

There were the famous Kamikaze or God of the Wind Warriors from Japan in WWII.

Kamikaze means in Japanese: “Gods of the Divine Wind”.

We even call suicide bombers today: Kamikazes even if they don’t attack from the air like those in 9-11 atrocities. Reebock even used to produce Kamikaze Shoes.

Long before WWII, kamikazes were called the Heroes Ninos in Mexico. These were young cadets who refused to surrender to USA invaders in 1848 as the U.S. rolled into Mexico City. These Warriors of the God of Mexican Nationalism are still honored to this day.

Coming full-circle, Japanese anime returns to European music in Latin to share of the concept of young Kamikazes in our day.

All religions, including Islam, condemn such violence.

We need to stop glorifying violence in film, fiction, non-fiction and computer or video games.

Meanwhile, rewriting of history continue in video games as well as our other media.

Is this rewriting history?


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Off to the Races: WORLD SOCIAL FORUM HAS RESPONDED to Friedman’s Challenge

Off to the Races: WORLD SOCIAL FORUM HAS RESPONDED to Friedman’s Challenge

By Kevin Stoda. American in Germany

Last December, after a fairly disappointing USA (and European) showing at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Thomas L. Friedman challenged the States of the World to a race to solve the head on natural catastrophe that foresees cooking the planet’s inhabitants at 2 degrees to 4 degrees higher over the next 50 years. The Southern Hemisphere responded with a conference in Bolivia, saying that the race won’t take place on its own as the state actors aren’t as motivated as millions and billions of peoples at grass roots level can be to the challenges of global warming. (The could be because the nations of the world are run by elites who do not seem to know how to serve up truth to the masses of people who want action now and immediately on saving the climate and planet from a change has already been too fast for the poorest to survive in.)

It was in his editorial “OFF TO THE RACES”, in the New York Times that Thomas Friedman publically made the challenge to the States of the World. Friedman explained that after the Copenhagen failures and retreats by many nation states, he thought there was a better way: “I’ve long believed there are two basic strategies for dealing with climate change — the “Earth Day” strategy and the ‘Earth Race’ strategy. This Copenhagen climate summit was based on the Earth Day strategy. It was not very impressive. This conference produced a series of limited, conditional, messy compromises, which it is not at all clear will get us any closer to mitigating climate change at the speed and scale we need.”

Friedman added, “Indeed, anyone who watched the chaotic way this conference was ‘organized,’ and the bickering by delegates with which it finished, has to ask whether this 17-year U.N. process to build a global framework to roll back global warming is broken: too many countries — 193 — and too many moving parts. I leave here feeling more strongly than ever that America needs to focus on its own Earth Race strategy instead. Let me explain.”

This week, we observed many stumbles in the USA in such a race. This Earth Day Week 2010 began with the Kerry, Lieberman and Graham introduction of their climate control bill. Most consider the bill little-more-than-a-slap-in-the-face of Earth Day and to the EPA.

Far away in Cochabamba, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Daphne Wysham criticized the abysmal Earth Day performance in the USA.

The Kerry, Lieberman and Graham bill has offered Americans and their corporations more scams and derivative style pollution trading. Wysham stated as much in an interview with Amy Goodman, “Now, what’s going to happen . . . when Kerry, Lieberman and Graham introduce their bill? First of all, one of the conditions of the bill we’re hearing is that it will eliminate the EPA authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which is a slap in the face to everything that Earth Day stands for, which is, as you mentioned, putting in place these very strong laws. Secondly, it will include cap-and-trade provisions between utilities, so you could have a nuclear power company trading with a coal power company, but if it’s too expensive for them to meet their emissions targets, they could buy offsets. And what people here in Bolivia are saying is ‘Hands off our forests. We don’t like carbon offsets.’ And unanimously, all of the statements that are coming out of the different working groups here are condemning carbon markets. They say they failed in the European Union, they are not a solution, we don’t have the atmospheric space to continue imagining that offsets are going to get us to where we need to go, which is 350 parts per million CO2. And so, here in Bolivia, there’s a lot of hope that Earth Day actually means something, that it does mean, you know, reclaiming the right to controlling our natural resources. The indigenous people have made that claim. And unfortunately, that message is not being heard loudly and clearly enough in Washington.”
Last week, in Hamburg, I met some students attending the country’s only program for bankers and financiers wanting to invest in green technology and energy. They noted that it is well understood in Europe that competition, as offered by cap-and-trading practices (like in the Kerry, Lieberman and Graham legislation) , have not worked. In short, cap-and-trading is not seen--even in Europe (which passed the Kyoto Protocol into law years ago and) which employs cap-and-trade--as useful for combating climate warming.
Amy Goodman asked, “Who is influencing this [current USA] legislation? Who has the ear of these senators, and who gets heard?”

Wysham replied, “Well, right now, they are paying very close attention to the usual suspects: the US Chamber of Commerce, who has in its ranks the American Petroleum Institute, some of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the country. They’re paying attention to some of the large environmental groups, like Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, others that are in favor of this cap-and-trade approach. So there are other groups. In fact, I’m part of a no-offsets coalition in the United States that includes people from all over the country who recognize that this two billion tons of carbon offsets that are in both the House and the Senate bill represents 30 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. That means the US could do nothing verifiable, no verifiable emissions reductions, until 2030. We could buy our way out of the problem by, for example, gas flares. In Nigeria, gas flares are illegal. They’ve been claiming that they’re going to end gas flaring in the Niger Delta for decades. Now, along comes the World Bank, through their Global Gas Flare Reduction Partnership, and they’re going to actually pay corporations like Chevron to end gas flaring, which is illegal, and those credits will then count toward Chevron continuing to emit in the Global North, and they can claim emissions reductions. So, in fact, a carbon offset credit project like this has already been approved involving Eni, which is an Italian oil company. The UN CDM has approved a carbon offset credit involving gas flare reduction.”

Wysham concluded, “So what we’re saying is these are not meaningful emissions reductions. We need to have strong rule of law, whether it’s in Nigeria or in the United States. And we need to make emissions reductions at home and make the transition to a clean, green economy.”
Even, Thomas Friedman, who has called for this Big Race to fix our climate, has admitted that problems in many fronts exist, “The Earth Day strategy said that the biggest threat to mankind is climate change, and we as a global community have to hold hands and attack this problem with a collective global mechanism for codifying and verifying everyone’s carbon-dioxide emissions and reductions and to transfer billions of dollars in clean technologies to developing countries to help them take part. “ Friedman explained, “But as President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil told this conference, this Earth Day framework only works ‘if countries take responsibility to meet their targets’ and if the rich nations really help the poor ones buy clean power sources.”


This failure of rich nations truly helping the poorer to obtain and develop more advanced technologies became pathetically clear in the Obama administration’s recent decision this to cut environmental- and climate change aid to those nations, like Bolivia, who have not ratified the accord from Copenhagen.
However, it looks like few races are going on.
Germany, for example, in 2010-2011 has significantly cut back on its investment in alternative technologies (and environment)--and is even trying to force a malfunctioning reactor in Hessen back on line.
The unexpected cutbacks in government aid have shaken the whole industry. Sure, the USA has made a great about-face under Obama, i.e. no longer denying the fact that climate change is real and no longer denying the fact that companies and Americans are concerned and have been responsible. However, this focus on bad incentives and on creating a race to the top in technology--that the U.S. might be and should be leading soon is just not clearly evolving—as of yet.
Meanwhile, back in South America, “organizers of the peoples’ summit (on climate change) released an Agreement of the Peoples based on working group meetings. Key proposals include the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute polluters, passage of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, protection for climate migrants, and the full recognition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
In late 2009, Friedman pessimistically looked at the future and the possibility of peoples of the world “ever getting riled up” enough about climate change to force their governments to do something. He wrote, “That was never going to happen at scale in the present global economic climate. The only way it might happen is if we had ‘a perfect storm’ — a storm big enough to finally end the global warming debate but not so big that it ended the world.”
Friedman claimed, “Absent such a storm that literally parts the Red Sea again and drives home to all the doubters that catastrophic climate change is a clear and present danger, the domestic pressures in every country to avoid legally binding and verifiable carbon reductions will remain very powerful.”
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, who helped organize the conference in Cochabamba this week, explains how the people of the world are tired of the Kyoto System being allowed to collapse (with no real alternative offered), “Well, this [Conference in Bolivia] is really a kind of an alternative to what happened in the plan—the failure of Copenhagen. It was the most undignifying thing that happened in Copenhagen. And it was thanks to the intuition of President Evo that something should be done, because the world was really getting sick and tired of this system, Kyoto system, getting worse and worse. And in fact, it collapsed completely in Copenhagen. So the idea is to have a summit organized basically by the people and not by the states, even though the states have been very active, some states in this case, the states from the ALBA region here. That is to say, from the states that are trying to develop an alternative here in South America—Bolivia, Ecuador, and also Venezuela and other countries that trying to get together to develop an alternative.”
Most importantly, Santos pointed out, “[T]he alternative is emerging here, with some novelties, which I think the North, the Global North, is going to ignore them for a while. But just for a while, because some novelties are coming up.”
These novelties include [o]ne “of the key initiatives of the climate conference in Bolivia is to come out with a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.”
Santos noted how this initiative is related to other initiatives. “[O]ne of—probably the most striking one, in my view, is the Yasuni-ITT [Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini], is this project by Ecuador, according to which Ecuador is ready to leave in the ground most of the crude oil that they have in this huge national park, Yasuni-ITT, where the most—probably the most important site of biodiversity in the world at this point. They are ready to leave it in the ground, provided that the developed countries will compensate Ecuador for the half of they are going to lose for not exploring and exploiting the oil there. And Germany has already agreed to pay 50 million euros per year during thirteen years, which is the period for the exploitation of this project. So this is new. It’s a non-Kyoto, a post-Kyoto type of agreement.”
He added that there were some problems, but still hope to be observed in establishing a “ fidéicommis, which is the legal instrument through the United Nations that is going to make this possible, cannot be signed here, because there were some, you know, complex issues, legal issues of last minute. But President Rafael Correa will be here, and he’s going to show the world and announce to the world that Yasuni-ITT is really to go and is irreversible at this point, even though, as we can imagine, all the oil companies are putting pressure, not just the US, but the European, the Spanish, even the Ecuadorian oil companies, they’re putting pressure in order to kill this project. But the project is irreversible. It’s going ahead. It’s a very strong project. This is just one of the alternatives.”
Finally, Santos indicated that“ we are going to—we are having here new words, which are not colonial words. “Buen vivir” comes from “sumak kawsay,” which is a Quechua word. In Aymara it’s “suma qamaña.” It’s a new model, which is beyond socialism, in a sense, and capitalism, as well, because it’s a new form of care for life, of community life, that comes from the original people of this continent that, in fact, have been excluded by all the Western modernity, but kept alive their lifestyles. And their lifestyles now, they show the world some signs of the future. They are not a part of the past; they are part of the future.”
Santos explained why new words or new languages are going to soon circumnavigating the globe after this people’s conference is over (and many participants go home). Santos said, “It is no coincidence that 70 percent of the biodiversity of the world is located in the indigenous peoples’ territories. That is to say, they have been the guardians of biodiversity through this concept of a new lifestyle of Adam and Eve with the Mother Earth, as they call it. And the Mother Earth has some rights, the rights of the Pachamama, as they call them.”
Friedman doesn’t think that such talk and language is unhelpful either. He had asked, “Does that mean this whole Earth Day strategy is a waste? No. The scientific understanding about the climate that this U.N. process has generated and the general spur to action it provides is valuable. And the mechanism this conference put in place to enable developed countries and companies to offset their emissions by funding protection of tropical rain forests, if it works, would be hugely valuable.”
The problem is that many American elites are just like Friedman, who admits, “I am an Earth Race guy. I believe that averting catastrophic climate change is a huge scale issue. [However], [t]he only engine big enough to impact Mother Nature is Father Greed: the Market. Only a market, shaped by regulations and incentives to stimulate massive innovation in clean, emission-free power sources can make a dent in global warming. And no market can do that better than America’s.”
Well an engine of production that is not turned on will simply not produce, Mr. Friedman/


I think the refocus on only nation states to race each other in changing our future--while billions of people get pulled along--is simply the wrong imagery.
Already, as noted above, the world leader in alternative and real green technology—Germany—has decided to sit on its laurels for a few years and determined in 2010 not promote the engine it had started up over decade ago, i.e. the race to be at the front of the world in terms of green-house-gas-combating technologies.
Germans CDU-CSU-FDP government, elected just last year, will sit-it-out a few years and see if the USA can get caught up. (or whether Asian states, like China or South Korea or Japan can).
What kind of race is that if the leader sits down and lets others run by?
The only major investment in alternative energy in Germany currently is in the area of fuel cells, etc. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized German wind- and solar energy producers are forced to go overseas to find contracts.
Besides, the well-hyped fuel cells are behind the curve in development, even in Germany,—while solar and wind technology could probably come to dominate in world energy production by 2030 if governments would simply go full-speed ahead.
That is racing.
Well, Mr. Friedman, what do you suggest if racers—like in Germany and the USA—don’t seem to really want to race in 2010 and beyond?
Well, I think that people need to do their homework and undertake some butt-kicking in Washington, D.C., Berlin, and elsewhere where state governments stand in the People’s way to protect our planet and climate.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

SOA WATCH asks your community to be INVOLVED

I received the following email from SOA Watch on their campaign to promote awareness of the need to close the adversarial military-to-military training at Ft. Benning, Georgia--once and for all. The focus in on Street Theater--and in the wake of the USA boycott in Bolivia this month, it is time to send the message that American's want Washington and DOD leadership to do much better.

Thu, April 22, 2010 5:57:26 PM
PHOTOS: Street Theater to Close the SOA
SOA Watch
Add to Contacts
Photos: Street Theater to Close the SOA
Human rights activists staged a street theater action and passed out fliers in front of the Capitol South metro station in Washington, DC to remind hundreds of congressional staffers who passed by that the decisions that they are making on Capitol Hill are causing death and suffering in Latin America. The street theater was part of the SOA Watch Spring event.

Visit for a Spring Event report back by Cassandra Morgan.
Click here for additional photos of the street theater.

For a complete report back from this weekend's Spring Event visit
To see additional photos of the street theater action, click here.
Educate your community

This street theater action can be easily replicated. Military uniforms are being sold for as little as $10 per outfit at military surplus stores and at thrift stores near military bases across the country. What else do you need? Cardboard-cut-out-guns, white T-Shirts, red paint, possibly a banner and a bunch of fliers to hand out to passerbys.

You can create your own flier or use this general tri-fold flier (legal size paper) about the SOA and the campaign to shut it down:

Stage the street theater in a high traffic area in your community or in front of the congressional office of your Member of Congress if she/he has not gone on record against the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). In addition, you could also invite the local media to cover the protest, take pictures and post them on blogs and social networking pages, borrow a bullhorn from your union local and have a speaker on the scene who can give background information while the street theater is taking place. However, don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good - a basic action that is drawing attention is better than an action that is not happening because the preparations would be too involved. Contact SOA Watch at 202-234-3440 and let us know about your local events!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a Buddhist Relief Mission Report

Bodhirukaramaya, April 21, 2010

K & V in Sri Lanka sent this to me. I want to share it with you.

How auspicious to start the New Year with a trip to a remote and deserving monastery!

Last summer, our old friend Hoon, from Malaysia, informed us that she was bringing a group of pilgrims to Sri Lanka for a pilgrimage to offer dana to respected monks in various corners of the island. We offered suggestions about her itinerary, and she kept us informed of her plans. It soon became apparent that she was not happy with the agents she had found, so we suggested Jagath, the young man who had faithfully served as steward to Ven. Sumedho during the last years of his life. We assured her that Jagath was a licensed tour guide and that he was as honest as the day is long. She contacted him, was pleased with his response, and gave him the responsibility for the arrangements.

Click the image to read the article, “Monks of a Lesser Order?,” The Nation, December 27, 2010

Shortly before this, we had read in one of the local newspapers about a monk who had opened his monastery to elderly and infirm monks who had no other place to go. The story was quickly picked up by bloggers and posted on the internet. Thinking that Hoon might be interested, we sent her the article. Her response was immediate and enthusiastic. She scheduled a visit to the monastery near Kurunegala for their first day in the country, and we arranged to meet them there.

Saturday morning, April 17, we hired a van and packed a picnic lunch in our tiffin carrier. About 10:30, Lily, Charles, and the two of us headed for Kurunegala. It was a completely new road for us. The drive from Kandy was almost all downhill, with an excellent road and lovely scenery. It was oppressively hot, but with the windows open, the ride was pleasant.

We arrived in good time at the home of some of Charles’ friends, where we intended to have lunch. We told the couple of our plan and learned that they not only knew the monastery but had offered dana there. They explained that it was quite difficult to find, but the wife volunteered to go with us. Just then, Jagath called to say that the group would reach the monastery in about half an hour. We were also about half an hour away, so we postponed lunch and hurried to meet them. To say that the monastery is hard to find is an understatement. The turn-off is unmarked and without any obvious landmarks. From the main road, a single lane winds through fertile rice fields for about three kilometers, then climbs past a small village into the hills, narrowing as it goes.

The monastery is about one hundred fifty years old, with a simple whitewashed chedi on a hill above the old Bodhi tree. According to our guide, the previous head monk was disliked and distrusted by local villagers and had received little support. He left the monastery in a run down condition. The new abbot, Ven. Amilasiri, on the other hand, goes on pindapata in the nearby village and is highly respected.

Ven. Amilasiri doesn’t speak English, but he warmly welcomed us. We were impressed by his reticence; he doesn’t seem to be overly ambitious with grand schemes. He is, nevertheless, a very sincere monk with a strong sense of duty and a great deal of metta. We felt that he was happy to have us visit but that he was not at all greedy. Some of the older buildings in the monastery compound have been repaired, and we could see where the land was being cleared for another building. He showed us the new ward which had been built by the local police force. It is a sturdy building with a good roof. The windows are large, so that it is both airy and bright. Two elderly monks were resting there, and a third appeared to be bedridden. There were a few bare bedframes, for which Hoon’s group was donating mattresses. The floor was tiled, but, unfortunately, the donation of tiles was a little short, leaving one corner and the attendant’s room bare concrete. We estimated that it would cost about $175 to complete the floor. The only entrance to the hall is a steep ramp, but there are plans for a gently sloping, wheelchair-friendly bridge from the side door to the space in front of the Bodhi tree. We saw the bags of cement protected in a shelter near the main hall.

While we were there, some men arrived to examine the condition of the roof of the main hall and to make an estimate for repairs, which they were donating. Ven. Amilasiri told us that there are about sixty monastics registered at the monastery, but some have to stay elsewhere temporarily until a new hall can be built.

When we arrived we noticed that the young monks and novices were quite shy, but, after some persistent questioning, they told us that the bhikkhu training center where they study was about a kilometer and a half away. They added that their studies were going well but that they needed notebooks, so we promised to send some soon. We were happy to donate a case of juice, some towels, tea, milk, sugar, soap, and toothpaste.

We were pleased to see a large concrete water tank on the hill behind the Bodhi tree since water in the dry season must be a problem. Electricity is also expensive since the lights and fans need to be on all night in the ward. In case any monk has to go to the hospital (Three are currently being treated there.), the monastery has to call a three-wheeler.

Images in the Vihara


Sasa Jataka



We had been at the monastery for about an hour and wondered why the Malaysians had not yet arrived. At last, they called and informed us that they were lost, so we arranged to meet them on the main road. Our guide described the turn-off, and they were waiting there. We advised them that the road was too narrow for the two big buses, so they transferred their considerable dana to Jagath’s van, which could carry two or three representatives to the monastery. We only had a few minutes to talk, but it was good to meet Hoon again after twenty-two years and to see all the wonderful, useful gifts they were taking in.

We will meet the group again when they come to Kandy.

The Buddha and the Sick Monk

Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. The Buddha and Ananda were visiting the lodgings, and they came to where the sick monk. “Monk, what is wrong with you?” the Buddha asked.

“I have dysentery, Venerable Sir.”

“Is there no one to look after you?”

“No, Venerable Sir.”

“Then why don’t the other monks look after you?”

“Because I am of no use to them.”

Then the Buddha said to Ananda; “Go and fetch water and we will wash this monk.” Ananda brought water, and the Buddha poured it while Ananda washed the monk all over. Then, taking the monk by the head and feet, they carried him and laid him on a bed.

Later, the Buddha called the monks together and asked them; “Why did you not look after that sick monk?”

“Because he was of no use to us.”

“Monks, you have no mother or father to take care of you. If you do not look after each other, who else will? He who would nurse me, let him nurse the sick.”

Vinaya, IV, 301

If anyone would like to join us in assisting this noble monastery, the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka, we invite you to send your donations, indicating “Elder Monks care.”

With Metta and Best Wishes for the New Year,*
Ken and Visakha

* Mid-April is regarded as the beginning of the New Year by many cultures in Asia, including Sinhalese, Tamil, Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, Lao, and Bengali.

Please visit our websites
Buddhist Relief Mission:
Sri Lanka reports:


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Independence Day wishes from a Palestinian--digging a grave for the narrative of fear and replacing it with a narrative of hope

The following is published with permission of author.
Happy Independence Day wishes from a Palestinian

By: Aziz Abu Sarah

Published at Jerusalem Post
19/04/2010 04:55

Although Palestinian and Israeli narratives are different, our vision for the future can be one. It might be hard to believe that a Palestinian would wish an Israeli Jew a happy Independence Day, but I am only following in the footsteps of another Palestinian I know, Ibrahim from Hebron.

Three years ago, I was cohosting a bilingual (Arabic and Hebrew) radio show at Radio All for Peace in Jerusalem with my Israeli cohost, Sharon Misheiker. Our weekly show happened to air on Israeli Independence Day, and on that day we invited Ibrahim, a peace activist, to talk about the land that had been confiscated from him for the building of the separation barrier.

I remember that Ibrahim spoke with compelling passion and heartbreaking emotions about the loss of his farmland, which had been a main source of income. Before ending the conversation, we asked him how he felt about Independence Day, and we received a surprising answer.

With his characteristic candor, Ibrahim told us that he had already called his Israeli friends and wished them a happy Independence Day.

Sharon and I were shocked.

Ibrahim told us that he received the same response from all his Israeli friends: silence, shock and disbelief. They didn’t know what to say. They were caught by surprise. They had never heard a Palestinian wishing them a happy Independence Day.

Some of his left-wing friends asked how he could do so, when the holiday was celebrating the same event that was causing much of his suffering. He could have used that chance to recount history according to the Palestinian narrative: He could have said something about the Deir Yasin massacre, or the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were left homeless after 1948 war. But he didn’t. Instead, Ibrahim simply said happy Independence Day, and in doing so took the first step toward building a different kind of relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.

WHY WAS this step important? Part of the Israeli narrative describes a long history of suffering which hit the highest point with the Holocaust and the fear that Arabs would drive the Jews into the sea.

For years, Israelis have heard that Palestinians would never accept Israel’s existence and would always work to destroy it. Many Israelis don’t believe that Palestinians accept the reality that we are stuck here together. They doubt that Palestinians also dream of a peaceful tomorrow, where freedom prevails and safety is realized. This narrative of pain and fear has captured the minds of Jews, even though Israel has developed one of the strongest militaries in the world.

When Ibrahim uttered the words “happy Independence Day,” he challenged that narrative of fear and doubt, and assured his Israeli friends that he knows they are here to stay, and accepts that. He wanted to let them know that he is not waiting for a chance to strike back. In essence, Ibrahim was digging a grave for the narrative of fear and replacing it with a narrative of hope.

For all of us, the past is painful and our narratives are very real to us. For the Palestinians, our pain of the Nakba is still fresh. The lost olive groves, orange groves, vineyards and homes which are part of the Palestinian identity and heritage, the stories, poetry and songs of Palestinian life in what became Israel will always be there.

These are collective memories that will always be carved in the heart of every Palestinian. But memories, pain and longing do not have to lead to revenge and destruction: They can also be motivation for a new tomorrow. When Ibrahim’s friends asked him how they should respond to his wishes, Ibrahim had a simple answer. He asked them to wish that next
year both Israelis and Palestinians can celebrate Independence Day
together, with the creation of a Palestinian state next to the Israeli
one .

Although Palestinian and Israeli narratives are different, our vision for the future can be one. We can all unite and work toward the overdue dream of a viable Palestinian state before it is too late. It is time for our people to not let the past rob us of our future, but rather let it motivate us toward actions of hope.

The writer is the director of Middle East projects at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and a winner of the Eliav-Sartawi Award for Common Ground Journalism. His blog can be found at This article was first Published at Jerusalem Post


Monday, April 19, 2010


Sometimes teachers feel they do not have time to keep students up to date on important issues. Our history is often too limited to what is happening or has been happening in our home country. With this lesson or primer to the history of the Cochabamba Water Wars is intended to help teachers and students explore rights and our ability to take action.


By Kevin Stoda, for students and teachers

Synopsis of the Issue: “The fresh clean water pouring freely from your spigot, shower head and garden hose isn't just a gift of Mother Nature. It's fast becoming a profit center. Savvy businessmen have been buying up water sources across America, hoping that one day our most precious resource will become their route to riches. Already, a few multinational companies have cornered the water market in countries like France and England, reaping billions in profit. But what are the consequences of treating life-sustaining water as just another commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder?”—Bill Moyers.
Food for thought: To what degree can private organizations help in aiding development and protecting the environment?

I. An Example of one Successful Struggle

“Water Wars. Ten years ago this month, the Bolivian city of Cochabamba was at the center of an epic fight over one of the city’s most vital natural resources: its own water. The Water Wars occurred just months after the Battle of Seattle. The uprising against Bechtel on the streets of Cochabamba was seen as the embodiment of the international struggle against corporate globalization.”-Amy Goodman

II. A Timeline of the Water War

1999: “After closed-door negotiations, the Bolivian government signs a $2.5 billion contract to hand over Cochabamba's municipal water system to Aguas del Tunari, a multinational consortium of private investors, including a subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation. Aguas del Tunari was the sole bidder for the privatization of Cochabamba's water system.”

Here is the story as seen on Frontline:

III. Memories of the Water War

“Ten years ago this month, the Bolivian city of Cochabamba was at the center of an epic fight over one of the city’s most vital natural resources: its own water. The Water Wars occurred just months after the Battle of Seattle. The uprising against Bechtel on the streets of Cochabamba was seen as the embodiment of the international struggle against corporate globalization. Over the past week, water activists from around the world gathered in Cochabamba to mark the tenth anniversary of the Water Wars.”

IV. NOW—What are some lessons?
V. Some Study Questions

“Over the past week, water activists from around the world have gathered here in Cochabamba to mark the tenth anniversary of the Water Wars. Meanwhile, thousands of climate justice activists have begun arriving here in Bolivia for the World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth. Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the gathering to give the poor and the Global South an opportunity to respond to the failed climate talks in Copenhagen. The global summit kicks off today here in the Bolivian town of Tiquipaya, just outside Cochabamba. We’ll be broadcasting here at the site of the summit throughout the week, right through Earth Day.”


Memories of Mobilization in Cochabamba are seen in South American relations today and with its policies in Europe and North America

“Today marks the start of the World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth here in Tiquipaya. Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the gathering to give the poor and the Global South an opportunity to respond to the failed climate talks in Copenhagen. We are joined now by Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations. Prior to his role in the government, Solon was a social activist who worked for several years with different social organizations, indigenous movements, workers’ unions, student associations, human rights and cultural organizations in Bolivia.”

VI. Some Study Questions for Discussion

(1) Who should control and make decisions about water supplies? Name the stakeholders. Explain why each has or should have the right.

(2) Who is Bechtel Corporation and what was its role in the Water War? How has Bechtel been involved in other wars?

(3) Summarize the creation and the building of the movement which took place in and around Cochabamba Bolivia in the early part of this past decade.

(4) How are the movements in Bolivia related to other global movements these days? E.g. climate change, indigenous rights, sustainable development, and the right to resources.

(5) How has the United States responded to the movements in Bolivia and Latin America in the past few years?

(6) What is the purpose of the big meetings in Bolivia this month? Which countries are involved? What other institution and organizations are involved?

(7) What is your government and society doing to combat environmental issues, such as climate change and protecting natural resources and wildlife?


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is this possibly why more people are suffering from various ailments at record numbers?

Bill McKibbens, the founder of,said on Democracy Now on Thursday:

"Look, the planet that we live on now is different, and in fundamental ways, from the one that we were born onto. The atmospheres holds about five percent more water vapor than it did forty years ago. That’s an incredible change in one of the basic physical parameters of the planet, and it explains all those deluges and downpours. The ocean is 30 percent more acidic, as it absorbs all that carbon from the atmosphere. NASA said yesterday that we’ve just come through the warmest January, February, March on record, that 2010 is going to be the warmest year that we’ve ever seen."

I have been suffering for almost three decades from the effects of illnesses or syndroms known a Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom. Humid weather bothers my body more than dry weather. If the planet is now 5% more humid or wetter than when I was born almost 48 years ago, could it not be partially explained by a planet-wide increase in moisture in our atmosphere?

Does anyone have any medical information on this?

According to the Mayo Clinic, this is the latest thoughts on Fibromyalgia: "Current thinking centers around a theory called central sensitization. This theory states that people with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals." In addition,"Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals."

How does increased discomfort caused by increased moisture in atmosphere affect human bodies?

There are various converging factors, which according to research on CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, include:

* Genetic factors
* Brain abnormalities
* A hyper-reactive immune system
* Viral or other infectious agents
* Psychiatric or emotional conditions

Interestingly, Low Blood Pressure is also a factor:

"Studies have observed that some patients who fit the strict criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome also have symptoms of a condition known as neurally mediated hypotension (NMH). NMH causes a dramatic drop in blood pressure when a person stands up, even for as little as 10 minutes. Its immediate effects can be lightheadedness, nausea, and fainting.However, studies have reported no higher incidence of NMH in chronic fatigue patients." This is nonetheless, one of my symptoms.

Increased moisture has a relations to or on air pressure, so could there be a link to the increase in moisture in air affecting someone with CFS via blood pressure? or some other means?




By Kevin Anthony Stoda

According to Democracy Now, “Newly disclosed documents show CIA officials expressed concern over a 2005 decision to destroy interrogation videos showing the water-boarding of foreign prisoners. The ninety-two tapes were destroyed amidst worries they would do political damage if ever publicly revealed. One agency staffer reported the official who ordered the destruction, Jose Rodriguez, worried the tapes’ disclosure would be ‘devastating’ and ‘felt it was extremely important to destroy the tapes.’ But one day after the destruction, the deputy to then-CIA executive director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo warned the move may have been ‘improper.’”

Democracy Now continued, “ In response, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union said, ‘These documents provide further evidence that senior CIA officials were willing to risk being prosecuted for obstruction of justice in order to avoid being prosecuted for torture. If the Department of Justice fails to hold these officials accountable, they will have succeeded in their cover-up.’”


Such federal trends by the national government’s failing services are also making it harder for whistle-blowers in the government to investigate other crimes, even of U.S. congressmen.

One jailed American banking whistle-blower, named Bradley Birkenfeld, who has already been in jail in the USA now for over three months, noted in an interview with Juan Gonzalez on DN the following: “[T]he UBS bank that he [had] worked for, the Swiss bank, actually had an office in Washington, DC, which the other bankers called the PEP office, which was for “politically exposed people.”

Moreover, Birkenfeld “claims it [PEP] was an office that handled the offshore bank accounts of American politicians. He said he did not have the names of those politicians, because he didn’t actually work in that office and it was closely held, but it was well known that there were major American politicians, as well, that were hiding their money in Swiss bank accounts.”

Gonzalez added, “[Bradley Birkenfeld] also said that UBS Americas, the US subsidiary, was directly involved in facilitating the recruitment of rich Americans to hide their bank—to hide their money in the Swiss parent company, that the UBS Americas would sponsor major society events and then invite the Swiss bankers over to mingle with the crowd of rich Americans, like Art Basel in Miami and other—the Boston Symphony events and others that the bank sponsored, and then invite the Swiss bankers over to recruit the rich Americans to put their money in Swiss banks. So it will be interesting to see if federal prosecutors continue to follow up on this issue, especially of major politicians being involved in hiding their money from the federal government in Swiss banks.”

On the one hand, Gonzalez stated, “[Y]ou have the fact that Robert Wolf, who was the chair of UBS Americas—or is the chair of UBS Americas, was the prime fundraiser and close confidante of Barack Obama, and still is, while the vice chair of UBS Americas is Phil Gramm, the—“.

That is, on the other hand, Gonzalez, also noted, “[F]ormer Texas senator [Gramm], . . . was also the senior adviser, economic adviser, to John McCain during the presidential campaign. So you had the fact that the chairman of UBS Americas was a close adviser to Barack Obama, while the vice chair was a senior economic adviser to John McCain. So UBS had the bases covered with both political parties in the last election.”

There is now little wonder that banks and bankers have pulled off the biggest federal benefit bonanza in the form of bank bailouts to CEOs in recent years.


Meanwhile, I have received the following email from the lawyers and whistle-blowers organization trying to help the jailed Birkenfeld. This letter was addressed from the brother of Bradley Birkenfeld.

”Dear Friend, Yesterday, the National Whistleblowers Center sent you a message, asking you to take action for my brother, Bradley Birkenfeld, who blew the whistle on UBS and is now in jail. As you know, this has been an extremely difficult time for Brad and our family, and I want to thank you for everything that you've done.

On tax day, Bradley formally filed a petition for clemency. I call upon you today to send a new letter of support to President Obama and the Pardon Attorney. If you have not already done so, please ask your friends and family to do the same, and create awareness by posting the action alert to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages.

Yesterday, honest Americans paid their taxes. Today, the government must hear our message - it is not acceptable to imprison a whistleblower while millionaires who cheat on their taxes walk free. I urge you to take action now.


Douglas Birkenfeld

P.S. You may want to read an excellent story published in today's New York Daily News.”

That particular e-mail was dated Friday, April the 16th—the day after your taxes were due.

Now, things seem to be getting worse for Whistle Blowers in the USA, especially due to the National Security (mis)leadership.


Another DN story on Friday reported that a “National Security Agency whistleblower who helped expose details of the Bush administration’s domestic spy program has been indicted on charges of disclosing classified government information and obstructing justice in an ensuing investigation. The whistleblower, Thomas Drake, is said to have been the source for a Baltimore Sun series on the overspending and failings of the NSA’s efforts to maintain its large trove of domestic spy data. Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press criticized the charges, saying, ‘The whole point of the prosecution is to have a chilling effect on reporters and sources, and it will.’”

I think that the NSA and the USA federal government and USA congressmen have been out of control in breaking the backs of good and justice-seeking peoples. Banks and financial institutions have been more out of control. However, for me, this persecution of Thomas Drake (and the reporters who worked with him) in showing how much money the NSA wastes each year is the last straw. Billions have been wasted and stolen from us in wars and in the name of national security in the last decade.



Well, FIRST, contact Obama and tell him that you as an American do not want such prosecutions. You want real justice and fairness--especially banking and tax fairness. Here are some links for doing this.

Also, contact the National Whistleblowers Center here:

or get involved with Project On Government Oversight:

Finally, kick out a lot of bad senators and congressmen from their offices this year. Let’s go America!!!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

News from Katyn--and continuing shame of place and name in Belorus

The following article was written by Olivia Ward after the deaths in the plane crash that decapitated some of Polands best leaders.

Analysis: Once again, Katyn claims nation's best and brightest
The loss of dozens of Poland's elite near 'cursed' massacre site reopens psychic wound

The forest of Katyn occupies the darkest niche of Poland's psyche, a sinister spot where the soil is nourished by the bones of the country's best and brightest – tens of thousands of whom were methodically executed in a World War II massacre carried out by Joseph Stalin's secret police.

But Saturday's crash of a plane carrying Poland's president and dozens of the country's political and military leaders to a Katyn memorial near the Russian city of Smolensk has torn open a wound that had only just begun to heal.

It has not only shaken the Polish establishment to the core, but jarred the minds and memories of ordinary people, for whom Katyn is an almost mythological symbol.

"This tragic, cursed Katyn," former president Aleksander Kwasniewski told reporters. "It sent shivers down my spine.

"First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk," said Kwasniewski. "Now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport."

Former president Lech Walesa described the crash as the "second disaster after Katyn."

"They wanted to cut off our head there, and here the flower of our nation has also perished," said Walesa, who, along with Lech Kaczynski, the president killed in the air crash, led Poland to independence from the Soviet Union.

In April 1940, when Soviet secret police took Polish officers, professors, priests, rabbis, doctors and writers and put bullets through their necks, leaving some 22,000 in mass graves, they blighted Poland's history and its immediate future.

But in spite of widespread grief on Polish streets after Saturday's disaster, few predict a national breakdown in a country that has built on 20 years of democratic rule.

"Poland doesn't have fragile institutions," says Zsuzsa Csergo of Queen's University, an expert on Polish politics. "It's one of the most strong and resilient countries in Europe's post-communist sphere."

It was one of the first to struggle out of the global financial meltdown, boasting 1.7 per cent economic growth while other European economies were shrinking.

The loss of Kaczynski, seen as an ultra-patriot, is unlikely to change the country's financial or political prospects, says Waldemar Skrobacki of the University of Toronto.

"His strong point was ideology, not reality," Skrobacki said. "He brought back nationalism with a great deal of force, and polarized the country into left versus right. But many Poles, especially younger people, weren't impressed."

Kaczynski was elected president in 2005 as his right-wing Law and Justice party swept to power. His twin brother, Jaroslaw, became prime minister. But an election two years later handed victory to the centrist Civic Platform, and Donald Tusk became prime minister.

After Saturday's plane crash, Bronislaw Komorowski, the Speaker of the lower house of parliament, became acting president. He is expected to win an early presidential poll to be held within three months.

"There could be a sympathy vote for Law and Justice, but Tusk's party is twice as popular," said Skrobacki.

Kaczynski's two-fisted approach appealed to plain-speaking rural patriots, far-right groups and religious Poles, who shun abortion and gay rights. Some likened him to George W. Bush.

But his term saw relations sour with both Germany and Russia, and his views made him the odd man out in a generally liberal Europe.

While Tusk struggled to repair ties with Moscow, Kaczynski accused it of trying to pull its former Soviet-era satellites back into the fold.

In a bitter irony, Kaczynski's nationalism was to be his undoing.

In spite of his long campaign for recognition of the Katyn massacre – the emotional rallying point of Poland's drive for independence – his stormy relations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin took him off the guest list for last week's historic ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary.

On Wednesday, Putin, standing shoulder to shoulder with Tusk, who had worked to gain a landmark agreement in which Russia acknowledged the killings, admitted the Katyn victims were "burnt in the fire of the Stalinist repression."

Kaczynski, meanwhile, said that he, as the "highest representative" of Poland, would lead a later ceremony with the families of victims and senior officials. Three days later he boarded the fateful flight.

With his plane now a smoking wreck, rumours and conspiracy theories are swirling.

Some shocked Poles have suggested the crash – of an aging Russian plane whose pilot apparently refused instructions not to land in heavy fog – was Russia's revenge for Kaczynski's backing of a U.S. missile defence system based in Poland. Or even a Kremlin attempt to sabotage a leader who had loosened its iron grasp on their country.

Kaczynski's death may actually help repair the Moscow-Warsaw relationship.

"Putin more or less acknowledged Stalin's responsibility for the (Katyn) crime," former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told MSNBC.

"But he was a little reticent. This creates a further opportunity for the reconciliation to become deeper and a little warmer."

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Almost no foreign non-profit insurance carriers will make a reciprocal coverage agreement with the many for-profit-USA (wealthier and larger) insuranc

Almost no foreign non-profit insurance carriers will make a reciprocal coverage agreement with the many for-profit-USA (wealthier and larger) insurance firms

Dear Readers and Editors,

Many more uninsured Americans are not even always counted.

So, with recent Washington passage of national health care, we are hopefully seeing a great start at Americans feeling and having more inclusiveness to health insurance coverage. Finally, after more than a century some minimum standard for health care in America is now taking real form (over this year and the coming 5 years).

I myself have been uninsured in the USA for almost 8 years and I was uninsured on and off for twenty years before I decided to work abroad more permanently, starting in 2002, where I could have health care coverage for many of my ailments--with no discrimination by health care providers as is prominent in the USA.

Likewise, my own sister had had no USAS coverage for her and her family when her military husband was stationed abroad in 2006-2008. My sister in those years took a job at a private school in order to have her and her 3 children near her husband stationed by the Army in Egypt. (In Egypt and abroad --outside the expensive USA--my sister and her kids had had medical coverage abroad from the school she taught at.) However, when her son broke his arm on a trip back to the Midwest in summer 2007, there was no coverage for the boy and my sister had to pay out of pocket.

This lack of insurance coverage for Americans--like for my sister formerly and I currently--whenever visiting the USA with our families has been the RESULT of the fact that USA HEALTH CARE HAS BEEN SO-OUT-OF-CONTROL-EXPENSIVE that almost no foreign non-profit insurance carriers will make a reciprocal coverage agreement with the many for-profit-USA's wealthier and larger insurance firms.

Hopefully, even Americans living abroad with their families, will be able to have decent insurance if and when the price of health insurance in the USA is forced a bit more under control of a state, which should see health care as a non-profit area of further development.

Kevin Stoda


Friday, April 09, 2010

Could Some Kyrgi's Write this Blog and Tell us about Your homeland today????

Kyrgyzstan NOTES this Week

The USA seems to be slow at helping or supporting any side in the recent political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan. On the one hand, the USA has a vested interest in the semi-deposed despot. The DOD would love to keep its military bases in Kyrgyzstan, especially with a big fight shaping up in summer 2010 due to the recent military increases by the USA and NATO—as well as due to the disappointing recovery of Taliban allies over the past few years.

I have also heard various conflicting reports over the last few days. I do hope positive and just reforms come from all of this.

I’d like to hear some Kyrgi’s indicate what they think and perceive to be happening in their homeland.

I do know that the majority of Kyrgis are Muslim (about 75% ethnically) but almost 20% are also Russian Orthodox or other faiths, including Buddhist. I think that we need to hear more about the real lives of these people, who have been ignored by the West for too long.

Please make some comments if you are Kyrgi or have been there.

DEMOCRACY NOW says today:

Kyrgyz President, Opposition Claim Control of Gov’t
In Kyrgyzstan, the deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he remains in office despite his forced departure from the capital Bishkek. Bakiyev fled after opposition groups seized several government buildings amidst a crackdown that killed seventy-five protesters and wounded thousands more. The opposition has declared an interim government. In Washington, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley said the US isn’t taking sides in the conflict.
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley: “There is a president who has not yielded power. There is an interim leadership that claims to be in charge of the government. We are talking to both. It’s not for us to take sides, one way or the other. Our interest here is with the people of Kyrgyzstan and a peaceful resolution of the situation.”
It’s unclear if the turmoil in Kyrgyzstan will affect the US military base there. Kyrgyz opposition groups have called for the terms of the base deal to be reevaluated. The Manas base has been a vital supply hub for the US occupation of Afghanistan.

24 PRESS CLUB says today:
Presidents of Russia and USA refused idea to make joint statement about situation in Kyrgyzstan

Presidents of Russia and USA Dmitry Medvedev and Barak Obama refused idea to make joint statement about situation in Kyrgyzstan. The foreign informational sources report.
Leaders of USA and Russia discussed situation in Kyrgyzstan at meeting in Prague, April 8. «We talked about mutual interests and security in Kyrgyzstan», resumed Michael McFaul. By his words the question about situation in Kyrgyzstan was raised by Dmitry Medvedev. Heads of governments exchanged information about leaders of opposition and discussed the current regime in the country.
«It is indicative that both Moscow and Washington are common in underlining illegal features in the current situation but their approaches to resolving crisis are quite different», MidEast.RU reports. «Barak Obama and Dmitry Medvedev refused idea to make joint statement after discussion the situation in Kyrgyzstan».
Accordingly to different sources, the Russian side will stimulate Bishkek to close American Transit Center. As Reuters reports, one of high standing member of Russian delegation in Prague anonymously said the only one military base should be in Kyrgyzstan – Russain. American official sources admit that there were resistance between Moscow and Washington concerning military presence in KR but today sides is interested in stability.
Barak Obama administration has also voiced its position about American Transit Center. Thus, Michael McFaul said that they would like to keep the Center in «Manas».
Yesterday the head of Provisional Government Roza Otunbaeva announced that American base will keep its status quo. Earlier leaders of opposition were displeased by position of USA to political regime of Bakiev. It is remarkable that new government sent first delegation for talks to Moscow. This can be served as possible revision of external policy of Bishkek.

OSCE reported yesterday:

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Kazakhstan's Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kanat Saudabayev, announced today that he has dispatched his Special Envoy, Zhanybek Karibzhanov, to Kyrgyzstan.
Karibzhanov is Deputy Speaker of the Majilis (lower house of Parliament) of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Kazakh-Kyrgyz inter-parliamentary group and a former Kazakh ambassador. Karibzhanov is expected to arrive in Kyrgyzstan shortly.
Saudabayev also announced that Ambassador Herbert Salber, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre in Vienna, will travel to Bishkek to support Karibzhanov.
"I express my deepest condolences over the loss of lives during the unrest, and urge the people of Kyrgyzstan to refrain from violence and seek stabilization of the situation as soon as possible through a broad dialogue," said Saudabayev.
Earlier today, Kanat Saudabayev spoke on the phone with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is scheduled to address the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today. Both officials expressed their deepest concern about the situation in Kyrgyzstan.
Saudabayev and Ban agreed to closely co-ordinate their efforts regarding Kyrgyzstan, and also agreed that Karibzhanov and the UN Special Envoy, Jan Kubis, would co-ordinate their activities on the ground in Bishkek.

BUSINESS WEEK said today:
The U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan has resumed regular operations after unrest in the former Soviet republic limited flights temporarily, according to a U.S. military spokesman.
“The base has returned to normal flying ops today,” Major John Redfield, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said in an e-mail.
The U.S. air base at Manas International Airport near the capital, Bishkek, is a major transit point for U.S. supplies and troops into Afghanistan. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters in Washington yesterday that rioting in the capital had forced the base into “limited operations.”
Last month about 50,000 troops passed through Manas on their way in and out of Afghanistan. It’s the only U.S. base in Central Asia, outside of those in Afghanistan.
Looters rampaged through Bishkek for a second night after the opposition seized power in riots that left at least 75 dead. An interim government formed by Bakiyev’s former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva, claims control of the northern half of the country, where both the U.S. and Russia have air bases.
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, forced to flee the capital during riots two days ago, said today he’s consolidating control in the south of the former Soviet republic and hopes to avoid a civil war.
U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones today said the Obama administration is still discussing whether to recognize the new government in Bishkek.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out,” he told reporters. “Obviously Manas is a very important air base for our operations in Afghanistan.”

OPEN DEMOCRACY wrote yesterday:

How should we interpret the current disturbances in Kyrgyzstan?
Should we be requiring that power be handed on democratically? Bakiev’s government came to power by a route that was far from democratic.

Do the people have an inherent right to rise up against the government? There is no such real entity as the people, but there are minorities who manage at a particular time to grab the initiative.
Fyodor Lukyanov focused his recent analysis of colour revolutions particularly on Kyrgyzstan. He considers that what we are now witnessing is the end of the era of stability in Central Asia.
When Kurmanbek Bakiev seized power in the “tulip revolution”, he abandoned the post-Soviet system of checks and balances. He got rid of any of his revolutionary supporters who showed signs of independent thinking and operated on the divide and rule principle (which, in its own small way, suggests an analogy with Stalin). Pressure on the media and NGOs increased significantly: access to websites was limited, people were beaten up and murdered. Power became even more concentrated the hands of the president and his relatives than under Askar Akayev. But just as we might have started to regret Akayev, the ex-president made yet another stupid remark, a timely reminder of how things really were under his rule.
Akayev was smart enough to avoid saying that the latest version of sovereign democracy – consultative democracy – was the peak of political creativity, though actually imprisoning members of the opposition, pressure on the media, etc, started in his time. He had the good sense to leave the country at the right time. Bakiev, on the other hand, has returned to his home territory in the south, so there is a danger he may think that all is not lost. He may start exploiting the North and South division (the new “revolution”, unlike the last one, began in the North).
Clearly the problem is not just Bakiev himself. The desire to simplify the political system seems to be unavoidable in countries where it’s not yet well established. Kyrgyzstan’s new government must stop the violence and bring order to the streets. But it then needs urgently to reform the political system in such a way that it cannot be reduced to a mere vertical of power.
Boris Lvin has raised in his blog the question as to whether Kyrgyz politicians are considering changing from a presidential to a parliamentary system. It would perhaps be more realistic to hope for a parliamentary-presidential system – compare the experience of Poland and Ukraine as opposed to Belarus before Lukashenko.
The nature of the deal to be negotiated with Bakiev and his circle is crucial. It must function as a precedent: future rulers must not feel they are above the law, but should also not fear the hand-over of power.
The more complex questions are how to create a functioning economy in Kyrgyzstan and how to construct relations within the big triangle (USA, China and Russia) and with its neighbours.
Russian government reaction indicates that they are hoping for good relations with the new Kyrgyz government. There’s bound to be some “ducking and weaving”, as there was in the Bakiev and Akayev periods, but what should be avoided is the way loyalty is sold lock, stock and barrel each time there’s a change of government.
Even if Russia and the USA were prepared to be less heavy-handed in their relationship with the country, it's far from certain that China will be prepared to do so.
Russia's president and prime minister have shown great understanding in their comments on the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Dmitri Medvedev noted that the protest suggests quite how discontented the people are with their government. Vladimir Putin said straight away "what goes on in Kyrgyzstan is their own business. But I appeal to the government and the opposition to show restraint and not resort to violence… Especially, of course, the government, as they control the organs of repression." He also said: "When President Bakiev came to power, he criticised the deposed President Akayev for nepotism very harshly. I have the impression that Bakiev is making the same mistake."
Putin's words apply equally to the situation in Russia and should not be used to back up government media propaganda and the financing of anti-Orange projects.
It seems odd to sympathise with revolutions, when the masses will inevitably resort to violence in expressing their discontent. But this is no justification for unprovoked violence by the state and its unwillingness to listen. A government that lives by the gun will fall by the gun. And that cannot be very productive.

BBC said yesterday:

Opposition leaders say they have taken control of security, state television and various government buildings
Opposition leaders in Kyrgyzstan today declared that they had seized power and had taken control of security headquarters, state television and various government buildings.
The declaration came a day after riot police shot dead at least 60 people and protesters attempted to storm the main government building in the capital, Bishkek.
The opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, called for President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to resign and said she planned to run an interim government for six months to draft a new constitution for the central Asian state.
Speaking in Bishkek’s ransacked parliament building this morning, Otunbayeva said Bakiyev was currently in the south of the country and had apparently taken refuge in the town of Jalal-Abad. Asked whether the new government had plans to arrest him, she said: “He should resign. His business is finished in Kyrgyzstan.”
She went on: “You can call what happened here a popular uprising or a revolution. In essence people were simply fed up with the previous regime, and with its repressive, tyrannical and abusive behaviour. They want to build democracy here.”
Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, said the country’s security service and interior ministry were under the full control of the new coalition government, made up of several opposition leaders. No decisions had been made over the future of the US airbase at Manas, near Bishkek, she said, which the opposition had said it wanted to close.
According to Otunbayeva, 60 people were killed yesterday and 300 injured when protesters tried to storm the main government building in the centre of Bishkek.
Today the building was on fire, with thick black smoke pouring out of its upper floors. Hundreds of looters gathered in the grassy forecourt surrounding the White House building. The burnt-out shells of several trucks and a tractor lay next to smashed-in railings.
Despite the new regime’s claims that it was in control of events, there was no sign today of police or security forces, who appeared to be in hiding. Instead, large crowds milled around the capital’s Soviet-era boulevards. Dozens of shops had been looted. Several burned out cars littered the pavements.
This afternoon looters were busy stripping a yellow-painted mansion belonging to Bakiyev’s son Maxim, one of several family members who occupied prominent positions in the deposed government. Several were digging up shrubs and small fir trees. One man was wrestling with a piece of drain-piping.
Close to the main government building, the prosecutor general’s office in Bishkek had been completely gutted. Drunken youths roamed around inside, smashing windows with table-legs and steel bars. At the parliament building demonstrators threw portraits of Bakiyev out onto the street.
Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, today promised the new interim government assistance and moral support. The Kremlin had been frustrated with the previous Bakiyev regime, which it believed had fallen under US influence. US plans to build a new anti-terrorism centre in the south of the country had also concerned Moscow.
US officials will hold a meeting shortly with the new government to discuss the Manas base, a key staging point for the US military’s operations in Afghanistan.
The US national security council spokesman, Mike Hammer, said yesterday: “We are monitoring the situation closely. We are concerned about reports of violence and looting and call on all parties to refrain from violence and exercise restraint.”
Today protesters said they had been driven on to the streets by recent steep price hikes to communal services such as water and electricity. The hikes had been the last straw in a country already wrestling with huge unemployment and widespread poverty. They said police and snipers had opened fire on innocent civilians, killing them in cold blood.
The uprising began in several provincial cities on Tuesday and then spread yesterday morning to Bishkek when around 200 people gathered outside the offices of the main social democratic opposition parties.
The demonstrators dodged attempts by police to stop them and marched towards the centre of the city, setting fire to police cars and blockading the road.
Bakiyev – who came to power in 2005 on the back of the pro-democratic Tulip revolution – arrested several opposition figures on Tuesday. But the move was insufficient to stop the wave of anti-government protests.
The previous prime minister, Daniyar Usenov, resigned yesterday, with a new opposition-led cabinet formed in the early hours of this morning.

DEMOCRACY NOW said yesterday:

Opposition Claims Control of Kyrgyzstan Following Deadly Clashes
Opposition groups say they’ve taken control of the Kyrgyzstan government after a day of violent unrest that left at least forty people dead and more than 400 wounded. On Wednesday, Kyrgyz police fired on demonstrators as they stormed government buildings in the capital Bishkek. A medical worker in Bishkek said hospitals were overrun with victims.
Medical worker: “At this moment, we are getting massive amounts of injured with shotgun injuries. We are helping as much as we can and sending some people to other clinics. It is difficult. We can’t help them all, because there are masses of them.”
As the protests grew, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital for a southern city. Opposition groups took over several government buildings and now say they’ve begun forming an interim cabinet. Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva said Bakiyev is no longer the Kyrgyz President.
Roza Otunbayeva: “We want to locate him, and we want to negotiate with him, negotiate just regarding the resignation, not about other things, and to appeal, like now, [inaudible] appeal that he should resign. His business is finished in Kyrgyzstan. And so all those people who have been killed and who got wounds, they are victims of this regime.”
US Suspends Flights at Kyrgyz Military Base
The Pentagon says it’s suspended flights at the US-controlled Manas military base inside Kyrgyzstan. The unrest could pose a long-term challenge to US control of the base. Kyrgyz opposition activists have criticized the Obama administration for remaining largely silent on alleged fraud and other abuses in Kyrgyzstan since the Kyrgyz government reversed a move to close Manas last year. The base has been vital to the US occupation of Afghanistan.