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HotStorms * EcoHit * BakerCarter * Chavez

27 September 2005

"The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms
is very likely to be due to global warming."
Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita: "If this makes
the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem,
some good will come out of a truly awful situation."

Sir John Lawton

chairman of the Royal Commission
on Environmental Pollution

1) This is Global Warming, Says Environmental Chief
- - Wes Clark Blog Invite - national security and global warming
2) The Economic Hit Man Story ~ John Perkins
- - An Ode to George Galloway
3) What Baker-Carter Got Right
- - PBS TV NewsHour interview with Carter-Baker
4) UN Speech by Venezuelan President Chavez
- - New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops
- - FBI Shots Dead Puerto Rican Nationalist Leader
- - Leonard Peltier Appeals Ruling

Editor's Notes:

You would think the ‘climate loonies' would wake up and face the facts by now, but I guess that is what makes them so looney. Thank you Sir John Lawton for being direct. In the subsection of the first item, Wes Clark weighs in on the warming crisis, inviting you to participate in his blog. Item 2 is on John Perkins, a former economic hit man sharing his story with a purpose. In this item, too, an Ode to George Galloway. marks the refusal of the Senate to enter the Galloway Testimony into the Congressional Public Record.

Item 3 is on the Baker-Carter Commission on Election Reform. Maybe Jim Baker is backing a voter verifiable paper trail since he knows Bush will not really go for it. I am not alone in my skepticism, but check the transcript of the PBS NewsHour interview yourself. Note that Carter refers to the positive example of the voting system in Venezuela and Mexico.

Item 4 is on the UN Speech by Venezuelan President Chavez. Subsections include more accounts of torture by U.S. troops, a Democracy Now segment on the FBI shooting-death of a leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist, and on the legal appeal of Leonard Peltier, seeking sovereignty, justice, human rights.

"Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle
or our souls to rest until we save humanity."

-- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

September 15, 2005 ~ speech at UN

1) This is Global Warming, Says Environmental Chief

- - Wes Clark Blog Invite - national security and global warming

This is Global Warming, Says Environmental Chief
Published on September 23, 2005 by The Independent/UK

As Hurricane Rita Threatens Devastation, Scientist Blames Climate Change

by Michael McCarthy

Super-powerful hurricanes now hitting the United States are the "smoking gun" of global warming, one of Britain's leading scientists believes.

The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. "The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."

In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation." As he spoke, more than a million people were fleeing north away from the coast of Texas as Rita, one of the most intense storms on record, roared through the Gulf of Mexico. It will probably make landfall tonight or early tomorrow near Houston, America's fourth largest city and the centre of its oil industry. Highways leading inland from Houston were clogged with traffic for up to 100 miles north.

Asked what conclusion the Bush administration should draw from two hurricanes of such high intensity hitting the US in quick succession, Sir John said: "If what looks like is going to be a horrible mess causes the extreme sceptics about climate change in the US to reconsider their opinion, that would be an extremely valuable outcome."

Asked about characterizing them as "loonies", he said: "There are a group of people in various parts of the world ... who simply don't want to accept human activities can change climate and are changing the climate."

"I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer."

"It's a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes."

For the complete article originally published by The Independent/UK

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- - Wes Clark Blog Invite - national security and global warming

From Wes Clark:

In my view, global warming's impact will affect human populations in three key ways: displacement, disaster and political tensions. Global warming will displace millions of people. It will bring unusually destructive weather conditions -- more powerful hurricanes like Katrina and Rita, more tornadoes, and extensive droughts. And finally, it will create regional tensions associated with migration, disease, and lower agricultural output, which could spark conflict.

Therefore, nations must not only take action environmentally to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but equally important, they must be prepared to deal with the consequences of global warming -- consequences so severe that they deserve national security consideration.

It is crucial that we begin exercising real leadership now to slow down and begin to confront the effects global warming will have on our national security. So how can you help?

I hope you'll join my online community on the WesPAC blog. Every day we work the major issues like global warming that are facing our country and brainstorm new solutions to our problems. In a vast nation like the United States, online communities offer critical new ways for like-minded people to join together and press for action in our democracy. So I hope you'll become an active participant on the WesPAC blog.

Serious new problems like global warming call for leadership, hard work, and creativity. I ask you to be a part of that effort. Only by working together can we ensure that the United States remains the great nation that it is today.

Wes Clark

Link to: Wes Clark Blog

For FN's resource page, see:

Mounting Evidence of Global Warming!

2) The Economic Hit Man Story ~ John Perkins

- - An Ode to George Galloway

The Economic Hit Man Story ~ John Perkins

John Perkins spent three decades as an Economic Hit Man, business executive, author, and lecturer. He lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America. Then he made a decision: he would use these experiences to change the world; he would devote himself to making the planet a better place for his daughter's generation. Today he teaches about the importance of rising to higher levels of consciousness, to waking up -- in both spiritual and physical realms.

His newest book, The New York Times Bestseller: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,
tells the story of his remarkable life.

John Perkin's web site is:


Confessions Of A Hit Man

John Perkins' book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"
explains American foreign policy better than any of the
academic tomes you might read on the subject.

By Charley Reese

In a nutshell, the game is played this way: People like Perkins work for consulting firms, and their job is to entice a foreign head of state to go deeply in debt. They do this by greatly exaggerating the economic returns on big projects such as dams and electrification systems.

The payoff comes in two ways. The foreign country hires American contractors to build the systems, and they make big profits. Then, mired in debt, the head of state will do what the United States government tells him to do. If he proves too independent or too honest to accept bribes, then he will be removed from power, either in a coup or in an accident.

For the complete article, see:

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- - An Ode to George Galloway

George Galloway's testimony before the Senate is not
to be made part of the Congressional Public Record


On May 17, 2005 to this country came

A man, a hero who would not act out of shame;

He came and faced his tainted accusers, these liars and more

And laid to waste their verbal innuendo, these war profiteers and whores;

No one who saw, heard or felt his passion fueled as it was by his heat

Could but for a moment believe the words these cowards untiringly would bleat;

They were no match for Galloway, his courage, wit and ire

He told the truth about the food, the oil the liars;

Who send children to war to kill other children of mothers

Who sit and wait for their return - from this war, like all the others;

Not knowing the meaning as to what it is all for

Of all the madness, the countless deaths and senseless gore;

Could not have been for want of more

Than our country is blessed with from shore to shore;

Was Mr. Bush's "Call To War" only for the very oil

That traps forever our children's blood within yet another country's soil?



"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed people can change the world. Indeed,
it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead


Click to:
Hear George Galloway's Sobering
Yet Sometimes Humorous Message

from Chicago, IL

3) What Baker-Carter Got Right

- - PBS TV NewsHour interview with Carter-Baker

What Baker-Carter Got Right

Many liberals are condemning last week's report on election reform --
and missing the bigger picture.

What Baker-Carter Got Right
Rob Richie and Steven Hill
Published by; September 27, 2005

Rob Richie is executive director of FairVote.
Steven Hill is an Irvine Senior Fellow with
New America Foundation and author of Fixing Elections:
The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics.


Last week's release of the report of the election reform commission headed by Jimmy Carter and James Baker has drawn fierce fire from civil rights and electoral reform organizations for recommending that voters be required to present photo identification at the polls. Because the ID recommendations in isolation would shrink the electorate, many reformers have pronounced the Baker-Carter recommendations DOA.

We believe it a mistake to condemn the entire report because of the understandable voter ID objections. Dominated by aging politicians of the creaky two-party duopoly, the Commission on Federal Election Reform certainly was less than bold in many important areas. But building on his vast experience observing elections around the world and experiencing elections in the South, Carter earned bipartisan support for several forward-looking recommendations.

The commission's boldest call is for universal voter registration, a practice used by many democracies around the world in which all eligible voters are automatically registered to vote. Universal registration would add more than 50 million nregistered Americans—nearly three in 10 eligible voters—to the voter rolls. These potential voters are disproportionately under 25, low-income and people of color. Their absence from the voter rolls helps to explain the shocking disparities in our voter turnout based on traditional measures of class status: income, education and race.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and the commission fails to outline a clear plan for how the government would ensure that all eligible voters are registered. But if implemented fully, this would be one of the single most important government civil rights actions since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Remarkably, James Baker, architect of the Bush campaign's post-election strategy in Florida in 2000, joined Carter in a New York Times oped on September 23rd calling for universal registration. They wrote that the government should "assume the responsibility to seek out citizens to both register voters and provide them with free ID's that meet federal standards. States should open new offices, use social service agencies and deploy mobile offices to register voters." Once registered, people would stay registered; the report's goal is that "people would need to register only once in their lifetime."

Other commission recommendations respond directly to problems in our recent elections. They include:

Nonpartisan election officials.
National elections assistance.
A revamped presidential primary schedule.

For the complete article:


- - PBS TV NewsHour interview with Carter-Baker


MARGARET WARNER: President Carter, Secretary Baker thanks for joining us. After the election debacle in Florida in 2000, there was a new law enacted to try to correct a lot of the problems. Why are further changes needed now, President Carter?

JIMMY CARTER: Well, back four years ago I served on a similar commission in chairmanship with President Gerald Ford, and we made recommendations that the Congress didn't receive with much enthusiasm. But as you know, two years later in 2002 they passed a Help America Vote Act -- and after the 2004 election, we saw that there were still a lot of omissions or needs in the overall election process in this country to make things more uniform, to encourage voter registration, to make sure that election officials were nonpartisan as much as possible, and to deal with the plethora of electronic voting machines in which the people have some doubt about if their votes are going to be counted accurately.

MARGARET WARNER: Do you agree, Secretary Baker, that even after the reforms from that 2002 Act that Americans don't have full confidence in the elections?

JAMES BAKER: Yes I do. These recommendations all will move us in the direction of enhancing the American people's confidence in our voting system.

MARGARET WARNER: Well, what's your evidence that the American people don't have confidence in it now?

JAMES BAKER: Well, just look at polls. There's still a lot of questions out there on the part of the people. As the president indicated, a lot of people don't think their votes are going to be adequately counted or accurately counted. Many people fear fraud on the other side and many people fear there's a denial of access.

And what this report does, frankly, in our opinion, is to hopefully eliminate the sterile debate that we have had in this country for so many years between the advocates of ballot integrity on the one hand and the advocates of ballot, greater access on the other.

MARGARET WARNER: President Carter, in your post presidency, you have spent a lot of time as an election monitor all around the world, looking at elections in all kinds of emergent democracies. How does the U.S. system stack up internationally?

JIMMY CARTER: Some of those countries are still in the embryonic stage of becoming democracies and having free and fair elections. Others have made tremendous progress and have election systems that I would say are much clearer than ours.

But there's one prevailing improvement in their countries compared to ours, and that is almost invariably around the world, there's a bipartisan or nonpartisan central election commission that sets uniform standards for voting all over the country.

As you know, in our nation, we still have secretaries of state and also campaign managers and we have other abuses of the system that's not nonpartisan.

Also, there are countries like Mexico or Venezuela that have long had electronic voting machines. And at the same time the people vote a paper ballot comes out. They compare the paper ballot with the way the electronic machine says before they approve it. And then later, if there is a question, you've got a paper trail following up on the electronic machine. That's a recommendation that our group is making.

So, in general, of course, America's got a long history of democracy and freedom of which we are very proud; many of them have learned from our country. I think now in some cases we can learn from them.

MARGARET WARNER: Now, you presented this to President Bush.


MARGARET WARNER: And you presented it to Congress. Did you get any commitment from either of them to push these reforms forward, and what are the consequences if it doesn't happen?

JIMMY CARTER: Well, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to quote the president. He will make a statement of his own. We hope that the president will, you know, give his approval for the report with maybe some caveat -- specific things he doesn't approve -- and we hope this will be the same way in Congress.

MARGARET WARNER: Then a final question. You're a Democrat. You are not only a Republican, Secretary Baker, but you led the Republican legal challenge in Florida in 2000. Did that create any awkwardness working together?

JAMES BAKER: None whatsoever for me. There are issues in here that President Carter might not completely agree with; there are issues in here that I don't completely agree with but there's been a lot of compromise in pulling this report together. President Carter deserves a lot of the credit for making sure that this was done on a nonpartisan -- or bipartisan basis.

MARGARET WARNER: President Carter and Secretary Baker, thank you both.

For complete transcript, see:

For another link to transcript, and comments, see:

4) UN Speech by Venezuelan President Chavez

- - New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops
- - FBI Shots Dead Puerto Rican Nationalist Leader
- - Leonard Peltier Appeals Ruling

UN Speech by Venezuelan President Chavez
General Assembly, September 15, 2005


Your Excellencies, friends, good afternoon:

The original purpose of this meeting has been completely distorted. The imposed center of debate has been a so-called reform process that overshadows the most urgent issues, what the peoples of the world claim with urgency: the adoption of measures that deal with the real problems that block and sabotage the efforts made by our countries for real development and life.

Five years after the Millennium Summit, the harsh reality is that the great majority of estimated goals- which were very modest indeed- will not be met.

We pretended reducing by half the 842 million hungry people by the year 2015. At the current rate that goal will be achieved by the year 2215. Who in this audience will be there to celebrate it? That is only if the human race is able to survive the destruction that threats our natural environment.

We had claimed the aspiration of achieving universal primary education by the year 2015. At the current rate that goal will be reached after the year 2100. Let us prepare, then, to celebrate it.

Friends of the world, this takes us to a sad conclusion: The United Nations has exhausted its model, and it is not all about reform. The XXI century claims deep changes that will only be possible if a new organization is founded.

This UN does not work. We have to say it. It is the truth. These transformations â€" the ones Venezuela is referring to- have, according to us, two phases: The immediate phase and the aspiration phase, a utopia. The first is framed by the agreements that were signed in the old system. We do not run away from them. We even bring concrete proposals in that model for the short term. But the dream of an ever-lasting world peace, the dream of a world not ashamed by hunger, disease, illiteracy, extreme necessity, needs-apart from roots- to spread its wings to fly.

We need to spread our wings and fly.

We are aware of a frightening neoliberal globalization, but there is also the reality of an interconnected world that we have to face not as a problem but as a challenge.

We could, on the basis of national realities, exchange knowledge, integrate markets, interconnect, but at the same time we must understand that there are problems that do not have a national solution: radioactive clouds, world oil prices, diseases, warming of the planet or the hole in the ozone layer.

These are not domestic problems. As we stride toward a new United Nations model that includes all of us when they talk about the people, we are bringing four indispensable and urgent reform proposals to this Assembly: the first; the expansion of the Security Council in its permanent categories as well as the non permanent categories, thus allowing new developed and developing countries as new permanent and non permanent categories. The second; we need to assure the necessary improvement of the work methodology in order to increase transparency, not to diminish it. The third; we need to immediately suppress- we have said this repeatedly in Venezuela for the past six years- the veto in the decisions taken by the Security Council, that elitist trace is incompatible with democracy, incompatible with the principles of equality and democracy.

And the fourth; we need to strengthen the role of the Secretary General; his/her political functions regarding preventive diplomacy, that role must be consolidated. The seriousness of all problems calls for deep transformations.

Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle
or our souls to rest until we save humanity.

For the complete article, see:

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- - New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops
23 Sep 2005 22:05:31 GMT
Source: Human Rights Watch

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- - FBI Shots Dead Puerto Rican Nationalist Leader

From Democracy Now!

Longtime Puerto Rican nationalist leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios has died after being shot by FBI agents. The 72-year-old Ojeda Rios had been living underground for 15 years. The FBI claimed Ojeda Rios fired first but independence activists accused the FBI of assassinating him. The shooting occurred Friday after FBI agents surrounded a house where he was staying. According to an autoposy, Rios bled to death after being shot with a single bullet. Officials didn't enter his home until Saturday, many hours after he was shot. Ojeda Rios was wanted in connection with a $7 million bank robbery in 1983 in Connecticut. For the past four decades Ojeda Rios had been a leading figure in the fight for Puerto Rican independence and against U.S. colonial rule. The shooting occurred on the national holiday of "Grito de Lares" which commemorates an1868 Puerto Rican uprising against Spanish colonial rule. For this and more information, see:

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- - Leonard Peltier Appeals Ruling
That Wrongly Endorsed Federal Jurisdiction Over Indian Territory

Appeal Seeks To Revise Sentence Of Native American Political Prisoner

Olympia, WA - On Friday, September 23rd, the legal defense team for Leonard Peltier, the Internationally-known Native American Political Prisoner, filed an appeal to a U.S. District Court decision which wrongly endorsed federal jurisdiction over Indian Territory.

The appeal seeks to overturn the denial of Peltier's Motion to correct the illegal sentence imposed upon him by the federal courts.

In July, the U.S. District Court of North Dakota wrongly ruled that the alleged crimes did not have to occur within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States to be prosecuted under federal law. However, Indian Country is sovereign land and the U.S. has no jurisdiction under the statutes with which Leonard was charged unless acts occur "within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States."

"We feel that the Court blatantly ignored jurisdiction laws when it denied Leonard's original motion," said Leonard Peltier Defense Committee lead counsel Barry Bachrach. "We hope that this appeal will convince the Court that it had no jurisdiction to convict Mr. Peltier under the crimes for which he was convicted, those convictions must be set aside as a matter of law. The history of the constitution, and the statutes implicated, unequivocally establish that Mr. Peltier was not convicted under the Indian Crimes Act, which is the only possible authority under which the government could have tried and convicted Mr.Peltier."

Following a fraudulent trial featuring withheld documents, witnesses intimidation, and false testimony, among other irregularities, Peltier was tried, convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 26, 1975.

Peltier was falsely convicted on a two-count indictment for first-degree murder, even though the acts at issue all occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

"As it has countless times in the past, the federal government has trampled over indigenous sovereignty," Wanbli Watakpe (aka Russ Redner), Director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. "This precedent does not just affect Leonard Peltier but the Lakota Nation and all sovereign nations that have a relationship with the US."

Press Release from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Official Website:

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