Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stormy Weather Ahead

Well, I'm back in Australia after a two-month backpacking trip around Europe, and it seems that Howard, Bush and the usual suspects have all been very busy indeed. It also looks like other, more "planetary", events are gathering steam as well. I was actually kind of alarmed to see just how much stuff was going on when I put it together. Let's take the period 01 Aug - 01 October.

To begin with, there was the news of Uzbekistan cutting ties with the USA after a blood-drenched "alliance" of sorts. This was (and probably is) only to be the beginning of the USA's woes however. Their supposedly good buddies Israel were caught spying yet again; the old saying comes to mind about not needing enemies when one has "friends" such as this. Yet apparently Israel are the good guys... they claimed to be holding out the olive branch of peace via their pullout of settlers from Gaza. So how about the West Bank? Is it just a case of giving with one hand and taking with the other?

Moving on, in a string of VIP deaths we had a former head of the European Central Bank "dying" in his swimming pool, followed not long afterward by the death of Saudi King Fahd and also the terminal heart attack of outspoken UK anti-war politician Robin Cook.

Speaking of the UK, it appears some people are falling on hard times there, with record bankruptcies being reported. Maybe some new UK Anti-Terror legislation will boost the economy (despite opposition), creating job opportunities in the law-enforcement area. With the exposure of the lies surrounding the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes, one would think there would at least be a few vacant job positions up for grabs. Unfortunately the Blair government appears to prefer to arrest whistleblowers over the leak rather than seek justice for Mr De Menezes.

With all this focus on the UK, Bush had ducked off for yet another vacation at his Crawford ranch but didn't wind up getting much peace there (poor Dubya), with grieving mother Cindy Sheehan trying to get an explanation from Bush about the death of her son in Iraq and getting only minor white house PR lackeys. Still he got a little reading done, choosing one unusual holiday title about the 1918 flu pandemic.

With increasing media coverage of the "bird flu" phenomenon, could mysterious mass seabird deaths be related? It seems that governments around the world are definitely taking the issue seriously: The US bought $100 million worth of bird flu vaccine, China launched its own flu pandemic contingency plan, and a top UN health official claimed a new flu pandemic could kill up to 150 million people. The real question is - are they taking it seriously for reasons which could have sinister implications for the average person? After all, the US government just spent a lot of money to recreate the 1918 strain of "killer flu". For "study purposes", apparently.

With all this tinkering with deadly virii, the USA's neighbours must be feeling a little nervous. Or perhaps they are feeling nervous for different reasons? It must have come as a shock to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to hear influential christian fanatics such as Pat Robertson calling for his assassination. No wonder Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are good mates - they've got plenty in common when it comes to their northerly neighbour, with the US even accused of protecting a Cuban militant! Well anyway, good 'ole Hugo wasn't too happy about this (understandably!) and had his intelligence guys do a bit of sniffing around. Apparently they uncovered a dastardly plot of the USA to invade Venezuela. Truth or melodrama? Well, given America's track record, I'd probably be taking it pretty seriously if I was in Mr. Chavez' shoes. It's been a busy time for him - he also made a very interesting speech to the United Nations, and offered cheap oil to the poor living in the United States.

Well, Bush sure needed all the cheap oil he could get after prices skyrocketed following the big tragedy of August/September: Category 1 hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans. Where does one begin when trying to summarise such a horrific event? Well, this video clip does a pretty good job in my opinion. What happened to the poor of New Orleans was nothing short of criminal behaviour by the Bush administration. The Mayor of New Orleans blasted the Federal aid response while the administration were doing everything they could to blame the State and Local governments. The official place of the refuge, the New Orleans' Superdome was compared to a "Concentration Camp", with food, water and medical aid being deliberately withheld under the plausible excuse of "bureaucracy" and "mismanagement". It seems that the best chance that victims of the catastrophe had was to ignore the government and help each other with the resources available. This page lists some of the stories of resourceful groups of people networking and helping each other, despite the antagonistic forces of the US government and other criminal elements.

The fury of Hurricane Katrina was but one of the many recent incidents showing the changing behaviour of Mother Nature. There were also quake swarms in California, a 7.3 earthquake in Papua New Guinea plus many smaller ones elsewhere, and solar activity exploded during the period in question. Then there was also the increasing media coverage of global warming related topics such as: Retreating Glaciers Worrying Greenlanders, Global warming passes 'point of no return', and Increase in Major Hurricanes linked to warmer seas. Back on the subject of hurricanes, we also had Hurricane Rita making landfall after (reportedly) causing much damage to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. This apparent problem in the supply of oil was reinforced in the public mind when Bush urged gas conservation.

The rising price of gas might not be the only economic problem Western nations have to face, with US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan warning of a housing price crash and US Airlines Delta and Northwest filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Some commentators even speculated that America itself is bankrupt. Is it any wonder that gold reached a new 17-year peak, being a more tangible form of wealth preservation?

Meanwhile, in Iraq (remember Iraq?), we had news of hundreds of Iraqis killed in a mass stampede trying to escape an alleged suicide bomber. But who exactly are these bombers causing all these civilian deaths? The "Coalition" forces claim they are the work of "insurgents", terrorists and foreign fighters. Yet we had one massive story that should have been headlines for weeks: British Goverment Agent Provocateurs Exposed. Where was the mainstream media coverage of this? British SAS are busted trying to blow up Iraqi civilians, the army breaks them out of jail, and it's a non-event?!?!? I mean, seriously, WTF?

To distract anyone who might be paying attention, the RAND corporation warns of a new US terror attack. Yet it seems the tactics of fear are becoming less effective and the Coalition governments are having to become increasingly more obvious in their mission to exercise total control over their populations. Cindy Sheehan was arrested during a protest at the White House. The US military is also chiming in with its own ideas for maintaining order during any national emergencies. Any interesting theory doing the rounds on the 'net is that these emergencies are the excuse that will be used to implement a martial law takeover of the United States. At this stage, it's starting to look less unlikely than even a few short years ago...

Moving the focus back home, it appears that Howard is jumping on the fascist bandwagon with gusto, deporting peace activists, proposing draconian new Anti-Terror laws, and biometrically screening Australian visitors. Alexander Downer even jumped in with the comment that David Hicks would be escaping "justice" if he used a potential British citizenship to escape Guantanamo bay. I find it reassuring that we have a Foreign Minister who can magically peer into the future and determine the guilt of suspects before they've even gone to trial...... not. Way to stick up for your own citizens, Al. Isn't that what you were elected to do?

Well, that's a news wrap, but there was also some very interesting blogging and commentary taking place during all of this. It seems that many bloggers are quite prescient in their observations. For instance there is this article on Internet lockdown, followed not long afterwards by the news story US insists on controlling WWW. Then this weather blogger predicted the scale of the Katrina disaster before the "experts".

Kurt Nimmo has been in his usual fine form; take the entry Turkish Intelligence speculating on the identity of Al Qaeda for example. Another perceptive article asks why Pat Robertson isn't treated as a terrorist for threatening Hugo Chavez. There are also some interesting historical summaries about Israeli "Art Students", US democratic "interventions", and the Nazi takeover before WWII. Plus, a good writeup on the heat 'ole Shrubby must be feeling at the moment is expressed well in its title, "George Bush in Hell".

Aussie-wise, Margo Kingston has been dishing up the goods on webdiary.com.au after splitting with Fairfax; this commentary on the proposed new Australian workplace legislation and Julian Burnside's comments on the Scott Parkin case being two good recent pieces. Antony Loewenstein has also been hard at work, detailing what you can't say about Israel in Australia.

Just for fun, there is also this odd story of a man building up 30,000 volts of static electricity.

Whew! And that's just two months!

And if the events of October to date are anything to go by, the pressure is only being turned up. If we don't get our act together, it appears that humanity will be in for some seriously stormy weather soon.


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