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ALTERNATIVE NEWS NETWORK

REAL NEWS Feb. 27

Posted by Xaniel777 on February 26, 2012

TODAY’S NEWS : February 27, 2012

 

 

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wikileaks
Everyone should follow the WikiLeaks twitter feed closely. Extraordinary news coming out over the next 96 hours.
retweeted by occupyspacetime from web.

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Wikileaks Reveals Privately Run CIA’s Dirty Secrets

 

From 12160.info

James Φοίνιξ

http://wikileaks.org/

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

“[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez. 

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men”, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George Friedman confidentially told his employees : “We are retaining a law firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing it either.”

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to “utilise the intelligence” it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS : “What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”. The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested “substantially” more than $4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors.

Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff : “Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral… It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor… we are already working on mock portfolios and trades”. StratCap is due to launch in 2012. 

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”. Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division.

Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias”, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel. 

Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused “gravy train” that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures : 

[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet… Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information… In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution.”

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006.

Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’, ’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ’Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed F@#k House” are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant “Geronimo” , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton. 

WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.

END

- Public partners in the investigation
- Comment
- Current WikiLeaks status
- How to read the data

Public partners in the investigation:

More than 25 media partners (others will be disclosed after their first publication) :

- Al Akhbar – Lebanon – http://english.al-akhbar.com
- Al Masry Al Youm – Egypt – http://www.almasry-alyoum.com
- Bivol – Bulgaria – http://bivol.bg
- CIPER – Chile – http://ciperchile.cl
- Dawn Media – Pakistan – http://www.dawn.com
- L’Espresso – Italy – http://espresso.repubblica.it
- La Repubblica – Italy – http://www.repubblica.it
- La Jornada – Mexico – www.jornada.unam.mx/
- La Nacion – Costa Rica – http://www.nacion.com
- Malaysia Today – Malaysia – www.malaysia-today.net
- McClatchy – United States – http://www.mcclatchy.com
- Nawaat – Tunisia – http://nawaat.org
- NDR/ARD – Germany – http://www.ndr.de
- Owni – France – http://owni.fr
- Pagina 12 – Argentina – www.pagina12.com.ar
- Plaza Publica – Guatemala – http://plazapublica.com.gt
- Publico.es – Spain – www.publico.es
- Rolling Stone – United States – http://www.rollingstone.com
- Russia Reporter – Russia – http://rusrep.ru
- Ta Nea – Greece –- http://www.tanea.gr
- Taraf – Turkey – http://www.taraf.com.tr
- The Hindu – India – www.thehindu.com
- The Yes Men – Bhopal Activists – Global http://theyesmen.org
- Nicky Hager – New Zealand

END

 

Netanyahu: Abbas speech on Jerusalem was ‘incitement’

 

Mon, February 27, 2012 Adar 4, 5772

By Barak Ravid

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo by: Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday harshly condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a speech given at a conference in Qatar in which Abbas claimed that Israel is “trying to erase the Arab, Muslim, and Christian nature of Jerusalem”.

Netanyahu characterized Abbas’ speech as “severe incitement”.

( READ FULL  STORY HERE…)

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COMMENTS BY : Mike Rivero of WRH.com

So now, telling the truth as to what is happening to Palestinians and Christians in Jerusalem is characterized as “severe incitement” by Netanyahu?

A very embarrassing and persistent problem has arisen in some of the sacred sites in Jerusalem where Christians and Jews cross each other’s paths. Teenagers from a small sector of the city’s many Ultra-Orthodox (“Haredi”) Ashkenazi Jewish communities have taken to spitting at clerics wearing prominent crosses and dressed in traditional garb. Leaders from several Christian groups (among them were Catholic, Armenian, and Greek Orthodox clerics and seminarians) have been complaining to the Israeli police about the assaults for years. But the police, who are very skittish about entering interreligious disputes, have done little to stop the assaults. Last September, after two Armenian seminarians were spit upon by two Haredim, they fought back—with their fists—and were subsequently arrested for assault. It was only after the highest Christian authorities in the city intervened that the Israeli government rescinded its order that the Armenian seminarians be deported from the country.

The demolition in Beit Hanina displaced a Palestinian family, and sparked clashes between locals and police, the report said. The UN humanitarian coordinator for Palestine urged Israel to halt demolitions of Palestinian homes on Friday. Demolitions in 2011 “forcibly displaced almost 1,100 people, over half of them children, and compromising the livelihoods of several thousand more,” he said.

Mr. Prime Minister, it appears you’re allergic…to the truth, in terms of Abbas’ charges here. The problems to which he is alluding are all too real for Christians and Palestinians in Jerusalem today.~~ Mike R.

END

 

Power transparency….“can’t beat’m, well, maybe better join ’em”

 

From Clif High’s HALF PAST HUMAN.com

asymetric tools for planetary adjustment

If I were greek (will I be soon enough when the banksters come for me?), I think I might just say to hell with the rioting and protesting. It never has made much real difference.

And voting is a waste of time. The whole system is rigged. Like Sean’s old irish grandma used to say “sonny, if voting made any real difference, the politicians would have outlawed it long ago”

…so what is an enterprising human, bent on participating in the current planetary adjustment to do?

Well, a good gnawing on the subject drags out a few tasty ideas from the morsels provided by universe.

Asymmetry is the answer. Can’t beat’em? Then grind the bastards down with the resources that are available.

Have a few million unemployed friends/cousins? Well, perfect time to ‘flood the system’. Gather up a few tens of thousands of your closest friends and ALL seek to join the nearest masonic lodge. Then also join every other illuminati and entrenched elite organization that can be found. Can’t join? Well, still worth having a few thousand people a day personally show up and ask to participate in the (used to be) secret society. Point made?

Then also take the ‘flood’ up the next level. Gather up those same tens of thousands of friends and start flash mobs that do nothing but go ‘join’ things…like credit cards….go to the bankster oppressors and everyone politely stand in line all damn day and have a good time waiting to get the literature and forms necessary to open an account. Oh, and when asked, merely respond, “Well, I figured I’d be better off joining the evil oppressors, than being the oppressed’….

note that this is a form of shunning where one politely points out to the mnions that they are what they are ”merely low hanging fruit on the minion tree”…..some will wake up under the peer pressure.

Make a party of of your flood, take pies! show the minions of the enemy what they are missing….after all no need to be grim when confronting the entrenched elite who wish to kill or enslave us all. That they have this strange dark mindset is their problem, not ours. In fact, universe likely will favor a gentle persistence, and relaxed manner to this global revolution. After all, we win….only a matter of time and how much human life we can preserve and nurture in the process. Yes?

There are many other forms of non violent variants though basically the idea is to wear the bastards down pointing out to them that we are watching ALL their control points..using those resources available to us…

such as millions of unemployed humans just itching to do something useful for our collective planetary adjustment…..not to say that ‘group banker viewing’ (better word than ‘stalking’) wont be the next flash mob sport…

Get a few bright ideas and pass them around.

Happy flooding season!

And remember, no need to be violent or rough. If it is not fun, it is not really a surprise, and surprise is your most effective tool…do not ignore it.

NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING scares an entrenched elite more than a quietly determined group of humans who will not be moved.

Posted February 24, 2012 by clif high

END

 

A LITTLE HELP IN THE SPIRITUAL DEPARTMENT

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{ XANIEL’S NOTE : My usual disclaimer ~   I do not make any money from promoting services like this one.

I make absolutely no money from either of my ‘ Alternative News ‘ sites or either of my ’ Blogs.’

I AM NOT IN THE MONEY MAKING BUSINESS !

I do not except donations either !  All information is given freely to educate and help all who want it.

I am an information, education and awareness source only. Any products, services, ect. found at any time on any of my sites, are offered only as a convenience for my readers, nothing more.}~~ Xaniel777

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From Dr. Susan Shumsky’s Divine Revelations 

A mystical self-empowerment program.

-Learn to meditate and to contact the divine presence directly, without going through a middleman.

-Learn how to listen to the “still small voice,” the voice of God within, and receive clear inner divine guidance, at will, anytime you want.

-Use that profound spiritual connection in everyday life to solve everyday problems, and receive divine guidance, love, healing, wisdom and inspiration.

-Test whether your inner guidance is the “real thing” by using a powerful Ten Test system.

-Experience the love, light, and presence of God directly, at will, whenever you want.

-Receive mystical experiences and messages from Ascended beings of light.

-Heal any blockages standing in your way.

-Anyone can do this. Dr. Susan Shumsky has never had a failure with any student who has a sincere desire to learn.

-Begin to manifest your deepest heartfelt desires and fulfill your divine purpose and destiny.

-Find solace and comfort within your own heart of hearts. The indwelling presence is your comforter and protector. Be at peace in divine love.

Discover the inspiring books, audios, videos, seminars, tours, retreats, and artwork of Dr. Susan Shumsky, which will enhance your intuition and spiritual development.

DR. SUSAN SHUMSKY,
Best-Selling Author
“You are the ultimate
teacher and a treasure”
CLICK HERE for more info

END

 

Forbidden Secrets : Atheist and Religious bedfellows

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{ XANIEL’S NOTE : My usual disclaimer ~   I do not make any money from promoting services like this one.

I make absolutely no money from either one of my ‘ Alternative News ‘ sites or either one of my ’ Blogs.’

I AM NOT IN THE MONEY MAKING BUSINESS !

I do not except donations either !  All information is given freely to educate and help all who want it.

I am an information, education and awareness source only. Any products, services, ect. found at any time on any of my sites, are offered only as a convenience for my readers, nothing more.}~~ Xaniel777

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From Jonathan Gray – Before Us.com

– Xaniel, this news is from Jonathan Gray –

 Xaniel, oh, how I love skeptics. (After all, I was one!)

And the other day an international caller rang me:

 “This is David Nicholls,” said the voice.

 “Good afternoon, David. How can I help you?”

 “I’m president of the Australian Atheist Foundation.”

 “Yes?”

 “Some of my people have been getting your book, 

“The Forbidden Secret”.

 “Oh, good!”

 “What rubbish! There’s NO conspiracy.”

 “So you’ve read the book?”

 “No, I’m not going to.”

 “I believe some information in there will interest you, David. Why not 

examine it, phone me again, then we’ll talk?”

 By now, the caller was speaking over me. I replaced the receiver.

 Clearly, dear Mr Nicholls was angry. Was it because the book was awakening 

some of Lucifer’s slaves from under his control?

 In spite of best intentions, the dear man was objecting from a lack of 

knowledge.

 But sadly, his mind was closed.

 While others were benefiting, this poor man was unwilling to look at 

something that could change his life for the better. One had to feel sorry
for him.

 

SKEPTIC 2

 

My mind drifted back to an email received just a few days earlier – this
time, from a religious person going public, Walt Brown. (So he won’t mind
me quoting him.)

 It pivoted on the discovery of a massive ship at more than 6,000 feet altitude 

in the mountains of Turkey.

 Some years ago I had raised objections against such a find having been made. 

But I don’t mind admitting that my objections at that time were shot down
with good, solid evidence – which I saw with my own eyes after I launched an
expedition to the site.

 But now dear Walt got into the act. He snatched up that same old, worn out 

misinformation that had initially misled me, and was now bandying it around.

 For the good work Walt does in his own field I commend him. However, when a 

man encroaches into spheres in which he is not an expert, he is on a
slippery slide.

 Because of his responsibility to others who trust him, he deserved to be 

updated on the facts. So I wrote respectfully to Walt, sending him the
information he needed.

 His response stunned me: “I am too busy to look at the evidence” – and he 

would continue to spread the misinformation.

 

WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

 

Now, here you have two precious men – one an atheist, and the other religious.
What do they have in common?

 1. Each occupies a position of trust.

2. Each chooses to ignore important evidence.

 Of course, you can balance that with other skeptics honest enough to change 

their position after they dig deeper and see the more complete picture.

 Here are letters from two of them:

 

SKEPTIC 3

 

“Someone I trusted almost had me convinced your discoveries were merely
sensational, working on the general gullibility of the unwary public.

 “I then decided to investigate what you really had to say. I was very 

embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I learned my lesson. I believe there is 

enough evidence for these finds.” Gary Southwell, South Australia.

 Thank you, Gary. Your honesty should be precious to us all.

 

SKEPTIC 4

 

Nowe, here’s another skeptic…

 “Due to criticisms from a local organization, I disbelieved your discoveries. 

I was convinced that you and your colleague Ron were both crooks!

 “But I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and decided to 

investigate your claims.

 

“I have just finished reading your book, and wish to thank you for yours and
others’ efforts. Our small family are now fully persuaded that your findings
are really very real. We are recommending your books to any we know.

 

“Please accept my apologies for passing judgment against you, without first
investigating” G. Harris, Queensland

 

THE DIFFERENCE

 

Do you notice something about these last two guys?

 1. They were willing to examine the evidence.

2. Their honesty rewarded them.

 

As a matter of fact, the general reaction of the public at large (and a good
proportion of the media) is increasingly positive about our discoveries. And
worldwide, the interest of the public is growing, as other investigators go
out to physically check on the findings.

 

IS IT WORTHWHILE?

 

Yes, when you put all the pieces together, it becomes evident that there are
certain archaeological discoveries which have a direct bearing on what is
happening in our world today – and can benefit you right now!

 It is life-changing stuff! And that is what I love about this work.

 Just get this, from the thousands of emails coming in:

 * My nephew was enslaved by drug addiction. He watched your videos 

and is now free. S.A.

 * My belief was one of skepticism. I was reluctantly point by point 

won over. Toward the end of your book I was convinced. A.M.

 * As I watched your video, the whole jigsaw that had always had a big 

piece missing was suddenly complete. U.T.

 * You threw me a life jacket before this ship could sink all the way. 

Now I have some life jackets of my own and I’m trying to throw them
to anyone who will take hold. Ramon Hontiveros, prison inmate

 * I was skeptical of your work. After reading some of the compelling 

evidence, I needed to know more. I ordered your book and now I am
HOOKED. Greg W.

 

JUST IN CASE YOU NEED IT

 

This information did not just fall into my lap. It cost me over $30,000 to
get this for you. And my team and I risked our lives for it. But now I see
lives being changed I know it was worthwhile.

 Anyway, I have compressed it all into a monster-sized book. “Discoveries: 

Questions Answered” examines the hundreds of questions relating to the
Discoveries, including the arguments of the skeptics, in minute detail.

 Containing about as much information as a normal 1,000 page book, it 

includes private correspondence, scientific reports, photographs and
privileged investigation of unpublished material.

 

Particular topics covered: the claimed discoveries of Noah’s Ark; the lost
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; the Egyptian pharaoh’s drowned army on the floor
of the Red Sea; the true Mount Sinai; the Ark of the Covenant.

 

If you would like detailed access to this information, here is where to go:

 

For the e-book version, go to http://www.beforeus.com/shopcart_ebooks.html
Scroll down to Item No. 38

 

For the physical book see http://www.beforeus.com/shopcart_hc.html
Scroll down to Item No. 50.

 

THE FINAL WORD

 

Any critic who has not examined this information in depth is unqualified to
pose as an authority on these discovery claims. I now challenge every critic
on earth to try and refute this evidence.

 

I wish you a good week ahead.

 

Take care.

Jonathan Gray

info@archaeologyanswers.com

——————————————————
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the URL below now to tell them, or copy and paste the URL
below into your browser. http://www.beforeus.com
===========================================
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International explorer, archaeologist and author
Jonathan Gray has traveled the world to gather data on
ancient mysteries. He has penetrated some largely
unexplored areas, including parts of the Amazon
headwaters. The author has also led expeditions to the
bottom of the sea and to remote mountain and desert
regions of the world. He lectures internationally.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Or write to
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PO Box 785
Thames 3540

END

 

ZIONISM’S ATTEMPT TO TURN LIES INTO TRUTH

 

From DesertPeace

February 24, 2012

My response to the critics of BDS :

*

 One example of the lies they spread….

*

The Boycott Movement, Israeli Anti-Apartheid Week in particular, seems to have certain sections of the zionist community literally chasing their tails to get attention these days …

Lets start with a report from HaAretz which appeared a week ago; its main claim was that although BDS activists have convinced many to cancel performances here, the movement has not been able to exert the economic pressure on Israel it wishes to achieve. I posted my own response to that ridiculous claim in THIS post.

*

Today a new report appears in HaAretz claiming that The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is mounting its annual Israeli Apartheid Week. Yet this year, there is something different – people have begun telling the truth about BDS.

*

What is interesting is the main source they use as the ‘truth teller’….

The door was opened by author and lecturer Norman Finkelstein. Earlier this month, Finkelstein, one of Israel’s harshest critics, rocked the BDS movement with a critique devastating in its candor.

 

Finkelstein said he loathed the movement’s duplicity and disingenuousness in hiding the fact that a large part of its membership “wants to eliminate Israel.”
“I support the BDS,” Finkelstein said, but “it will never reach a broad public until and unless they’re explicit in their goal. And their goal has to include the recognition of Israel, or it’s a nonstarter.”

Instead, he said, the movement insists that it’s “agnostic” on whether or not Israel should exist. “No, you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it! But (BDS leaders) know full well, that if you say it, you don’t have a prayer of reaching a broad public … And frankly, you know what, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t reach a broad public, because you’re dishonest.”

Though BDS constantly claims successes, “it’s a cult, where the guru says ‘We have all these victories’ and everyone nods their head,” Finkelstein said. “People promote it as if it’s proven itself and we’re on the … verge of a victory of some sort. It’s just sheer nonsense. It’s a cult. And I, personally, I’m tired of it.”*

In the case of Norman Finkelstein, there too I posted my response in THIS post. Finkelstein  ends his tirade with the words “I’m tired of it.” So are we! We are tired of the lone voices from the ‘Ivory Towers’ trying to dictate to the activists what is right and what is wrong. It’s not only Finkelsein that is guilty of this behaviour, Noam Chomsky, as well, has been playing at that game for years.

In both cases, as ‘friends’ of the Pro Palestinian Movements. Friends do not act or speak like they do. We expect this from the Dershowitzes and others connected with the ADL, but when this nonsense comes from supposed friends, all it does is give amunition to the enemy as can be seen in the two HaAretz reports linked. Do read the second link and see for yourself the weakness of those who dare accuse BDS of dishonesty. Their only defence is dishonesty on their own part.*

Here you can see and hear the truth about the BDS Movement and what it is doing in Israel…

END


Lucy Lawless—a.k.a. Xena the Warrior Princess—Occupies a Shell Oil Drilling Ship

From 174 extremely windy feet in the air, Lawless tells me how her crew of Greenpeace volunteers plans to stop the Noble Discoverer from getting to Alaska.

From MotherJones

By Tasneem Raja

February 24, 2012

Lucy Lawless aboard the Noble Discoverer. Courtesy Greenpeace

Lucy Lawless is illegally seated atop a 174-foot derrick rising from a drilling ship off New Zealand’s western shore, and she really, really doesn’t want to talk about Xena: Warrior Princess. The ship is called the Noble Discoverer, but Lawless has rechristened it the Ignoble Destroyer. It used to be called the Frontier Discoverer, and before that the Discoverer 511, and sometime before that, the Jessica.

It’s a nearly 50-year-old ship, built for offshore drilling, and its owner, the Noble Corporation, has leased the ship to Royal Dutch Shell. This weekend, the Noble Discoverer is scheduled to head out on a 6,000 mile journey to the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast, to break open the ice and suck out some of the 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil estimated to await in the Arctic’s outer continental shelf.

That’s why Lawless left her house very early Thursday morning, her three kids still asleep, drove to Port Taranaki in Wellington, walked straight up the Noble Discoverer‘s gangplank along with five other climbing experts and Greenpeace volunteers, and scaled its massive derrick.*

The business about Xena is that Lawless actually hated working on that show: hated the costumes, hated the dialogue, hated the fight scenes. When it’s suggested that boarding a sea vessel and climbing its nearly 200-foot tower with messages about injustice sounds like exactly something the Warrior Princess would do, Lawless is curt: “I’m not Xena. She’s not me. I was just doing a gig.”

She’s not up there as Xena, with the winds whipping around her head and peanuts and freeze-dried space food to eat, some water to drink, and a few hammocks for six people. She’s up there as a 43-year-old mom scared for her kids, and roiling mad. 

Still, she allows, working on the show involved a fair bit of harness work—there were magical flight scenes and lots of leaping battles—which came in handy today. 

There’s a lot of reasons to worry about offshore oil drilling, but the special concern with Shell’s venture in the Chukchi Sea is the way the ice melts and freezes each year along that part of the Alaskan ice shelf. Basically, the only window for cleaning up an oil spill, should one occur, is from mid-summer to roughly December of each year. Say the Noble Discoverer were to experience a Deepwater Horizon-style blowout toward the end of the window one year, sending an undersea rush of crude into the ocean.

The ice would likely freeze over before the well was fully repaired, letting crude oil gush out for half a year or more until the ice thawed again and the leak could finally be fixed and plugged up. A top manager of a private oil-spill response company in Canada told the Canadian Parliament in 2010 that containment booms, the floating plastic fences trapping huge pools of oil made familiar through all those aerial photos of BP’s Gulf blowout, could be rendered useless in the Arctic winter.

“You can’t lay boom on ice,” he said. “You can’t recover oil from the surface, because it’s hampered by the ice or under the ice, so it’s quite a different scenario, and there is really no solution or method today that we’re aware of that can actually recover oil from the Arctic.”

For its part, Shell says the Chukchi Sea fleet will include an icebreaker vessel equipped with a special “capping stack” developed to serve as a primary response tool in case of a blowout along the Arctic shelf. The capping stack would land on the failed blowout preventer, effectively slamming a manhole cover down on the open well.

By the time the company submitted its Chukchi Sea oil-spill response plan (PDF) to the Interior Department at the end of last month, the capping stack system had not yet been fully tested—a Houston-based company was still building and testing the design, according to Shell’s own report. Still, the department rubber-stamped the plan three weeks later, and Shell’s Alaska exploration manager was ecstatic, calling it “another major milestone on the path to drilling in the Alaska offshore this summer.” 

Lucy Lawless’s kids watch the Discovery Channel a lot, and she says it makes her heart hurt that on every other show they see, some species is vanishing or threatened. She’s gotten media calls on her cellphone all day, and she told the AP that her “sole biological reason for being on this planet” is to ensure those kids can flourish.

“They can’t do that in a filthy, degraded environment,” she said. “We need to stand up while we still can.” She’s worried that even if Shell’s fleet makes it to Alaska and never blows a single valve, it’ll still pump tens of thousands of tons of pollution into Arctic skies, and global warming from the greenhouse gases and black carbon released by the fleet will melt off even more snow and ice in the polar regions. “Deep-sea oil drilling is bad enough, but venturing into the Arctic, one of the most magical places on the planet, is going too far,” she said.

By 1:30 p.m. in New Zealand, one of Lawless’s compatriots had been arrested by the five police officers who’d boarded the ship; the arrestee was one of the volunteers who’d stayed down below while the others climbed. For their part, the Noble Discoverer crew kept to themselves during the whole affair, and Lawless says no words were exchanged between occupiers and occupied. 

The hashtag displayed on the Greenpeace activists’ banners, #SavetheArctic, was multiplying across Twitter, broadcast to TV by local news copters hovering around the ship. Lawless’s kids were probably at school, and everyone was probably talking about what their mom was doing. She was starting to get a headache from the adrenaline comedown and tired of questions about what kind of car she drives (a Prius) and what she’s doing to reduce her own carbon footprint (flying less).

She hoped to nap soon, given that there’s no telling how long she and her friends will be stuck on the derrick. It’s Shell’s move, she says—when Shell agrees to suspend its Arctic drilling program, they’ll consider coming down. She thinks back again to her Xena days, and admits there were some fun parts. “Like having someone around to brush your hair all the time,” she says. “This is much less fun than being on a show, but it’s much more important.”

Correction: This article previously stated that Lucy Lawless’s children were all boys. She has two boys and a girl. 

Digital Interactive Editor

Tasneem Raja is MoJo‘s Digital Interactive Editor. She specializes in web app production, interactive graphics, and user interface design. RSS | TWITTER

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