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Bolivia * BushSpy * EcoDisasters * Nukes

21 December 2005

"This isn't just about Bolivia;
this is happening across Latin America.
There is now a wave of popular movements
sweeping across the region, not only in Bolivia
but also in Uruguay, Brazil and other countries."

Gustavo Fernandez

Former Bolivian Foreign Minister

1) Leftist Morales Claims Victory in Bolivia
2) Bush spying claim causes US storm

- - Kucinich Introduces Bill To Abolish Federal Death Penalty Bill
3) Ecosystems Plunge as Carbon Rise - Drilling in ANWR?
- - Republicans Add Alaska Oil Drilling to Defense Bill
- - How America Plotted to Stop Kyoto Deal
- - Great Lakes Headed for Catastrophic 'Ecological Collapse'
- - Scientists: Greenland Glaciers Retreating
4) Israel readies forces for strike on Iran
- - Nuclear power's dirty secret

~Solstice ~
21 December 2005

18:35 Greenwich Mean Time (1:35 PM EST)
Seven years before completion of a 25,800 Mayan calendar cycle!

Editor's Notes:

This issue has been delayed due to a computer problem. The exploding breaking news these days is difficult enough to keep up with without technical problems. Item one is on the exciting victory for the people and real democracy in the Bolivian Elections. Congratulations to Evo Morales, and to the other countries where people are demanding less corruption in governments.

Item 2 is on another critical development exposing the hypocrisy in the oath taken by George W. Bush to defend and uphold the US Constitution. The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency was allowed to spy on hundreds of people without warrants. However, the leaked information, which took the NY Times about a year to print, was in time to help the Senate reject 'extensions to spying provisions in the Patriot Act.' The second part of this section is on Congressman Dennis Kucinich's introduction to a Bill to abolish the Federal Death Penalty.

Item 3 may require your taking immediate action to stop Republicans from adding Alaska Oil Drilling to the US Defense Bill. Please call your Senator to make sure they understand the treachery of exploiting one of our last remaining wilderness areas with dirty oil. The Congressional Switchboard telephone number is 202-224-3121.

Item 4 is more on the dangers of nuclear power and government insanity. Please note that this item, and my following poem, are related to that of the work of Bart Jordan. His update, expected this month, has been delayed again, but will be posted in January, 2006.

Awakening Earth in time, color, light, and sound,

a singer's soul transmits graceful measure;

while Haley keeps pace with human traffic survival

and a Cesium number points to trinity-defense-denial;

As madness mixed its gin into toxins

and the deep burning sensation remains to this day.

1) Leftist Morales Claims Victory in Bolivia
By FIONA SMITH, Associated Press Writer
December 19, 2005

The Socialist firebrand who claimed victory in Bolivia's presidential race repeated his promise to end a U.S.-backed crusade against coca plants, but said Monday his government would respect private property.

Unofficial results showed Evo Morales - himself a coca farmer - with a decisive lead over seven opponents that would make him the first Indian president in the 180-year history of independent Bolivia and solidify a continental leftward shift.

Morales was congratulated by Venezuela's self-proclaimed revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez and by the more centrist Socialist president of Chile, Ricardo Lagos. No early call came from the United States, and Morales said, "neither was I expecting one."

A State Department spokeswoman, Jan Edmondson, later said in Washington that "while official results have not yet been released, we congratulate Evo Morales on his apparent victory."

She said the U.S. has had good relations with Bolivia in the past and "we're prepared to work to build the same relationship with the next government."

Apparently trying to reassure foreign investors, Morales said his government would respect private property even as it asserts state ownership over Bolivia's natural gas reserves. Multinational companies would be paid to help in exploration and to develop the industry, he said.

Morales has been an irritant for Washington for years while he has built close ties with Cuban President Fidel Castro and Chavez. A State Department report earlier this year referred to him as an "illegal-coca agitator."

On Monday, Morales said a governing Movement Toward Socialism party "is not only going to respect, but is going to protect private property," although "vacant, unproductive land" would be turned over to farmers with no land or very little. His comments echoed policies already in place in Venezuela to grant the poor title to land owned by big companies or individuals that has been deemed unproductive by the government.

The site of the news conference - the offices of the coca growers union where he rose to political prominence - showed that his apparent victory did not mellow his crusade against U.S. coca-eradication efforts.

"We are betting on an effective fight against narco-trafficking because neither cocaine nor drug trafficking is part of Bolivian culture," Morales said.

He has not said how he will stop illegal drug exports, complaining instead that "the fight against drug trafficking has been a pretext for the U.S. government to install military bases ... and these policies will be revised."

Morales also defended coca - the raw material for cocaine - as an integral part of Bolivian culture.

Complete official returns were not expected before Tuesday, but three independent vote counts sponsored by Bolivian news media showed Morales at or above the clear majority he would need to win outright. If he falls short, Bolivia's congress would decide the winner, but it would be under enormous pressure to choose the clear front-runner.

No candidate in decades has won by such a landslide, marking a turning point in a country traditionally governed by the non-Indian elite. Like most Bolivians, Morales grew up in extreme poverty; only two of his six brothers and sisters survived childhood in Bolivia's bleak Andean highlands.

"The people have dealt him a very strong mandate," said Former Foreign Minister Gustavo Fernandez. He said congressional confirmation would be a "mere formality" if Morales falls short of a straight majority.

Fernandez considers the election a dramatic triumph for South America's leftists: After years of strikes, protests and barricade-building, the people are finally in the position to demand more power from entrenched ruling classes.

"This isn't just about Bolivia; this is happening across Latin America," Fernandez said. "There is now a wave of popular movements sweeping across the region, not only in Bolivia but also in Uruguay, Brazil and other countries."


Associated Press Writer Bill Cormier in La Paz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press

Originally posted at:

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- - Leftist claims victory in Bolivia
Story from BBC NEWS:

2) Bush spying claim causes US storm

- - Kucinich Introduces Bill To Abolish Federal Death Penalty Bill

Bush spying claim causes US storm
Published by the BBC NEWS
December 16, 2005


Allegations that President George Bush authorised security agents to eavesdrop on people inside the US have caused a storm of protest.

The New York Times says the National Security Agency was allowed to spy on hundreds of people without warrants.

The NSA is normally barred from eavesdropping within the US.

"There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," said Mr Specter, also a Republican, adding that Senate hearings would be held early next year as "a very, very high priority".

The allegations coincided with a setback for the Bush administration, as the Senate rejected extensions to spying provisions in the Patriot Act.

'Attacks foiled'

The New York Times said Mr Bush signed a secret presidential order following the attacks on 11 September 2001, allowing the NSA, based at Fort Meade, Maryland, to track the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people without referral to the courts.

American law usually requires a secret court, known as a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to give permission before intelligence officers can conduct surveillance on US soil.

'Sea change'

Administration officials refused to confirm or deny details of the New York Times report, but issued a robust defence of anti-terrorist operations, saying they had prevented several attacks - including one on targets in Britain.

In an interview with US TV, Mr Bush said the administration did not discuss ongoing intelligence operations to protect the country.

A former senior official who specialises in national security law told the paper that Mr Bush's move represented a "sea change".

"It's almost a mainstay of this country that the NSA only does foreign searches," said the anonymous source.

"This is Big Brother run amok," was the reaction of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, while his colleague Russell Feingold called it a "shocking revelation" that "ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American".

Intense concern

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said eavesdropping in the US without a court order and without complying with the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was "both illegal and unconstitutional".

"The administration is claiming extraordinary presidential powers at the expense of civil liberties and is putting the president above the law," director Caroline Fredrickson said.

To opponents of the Bush administration, the alleged bugging programme is reminiscent of the widespread abuse of power by the security services during the Vietnam War when anti-war activists were monitored illegally, says BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb.

That activity prompted tougher regulation of bugging.

In a separate development on Friday, the Senate refused to reauthorise provisions of the Patriot Act, extending government surveillance rights.

It is a sign of intense concern about infringements of civil liberties in the name of security, our correspondent says.

The White House is having a tough time convincing even its Republican supporters that the things it does in the name of the war on terrorism are always justified, he adds.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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- - Kucinich Introduces Bill To Abolish Federal Death Penalty Bill
Introduced December 14, 2005,
Co-Sponsored By 39 Members Of Congress

Washington, Dec 14 -

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), today, introduced legislation to abolish the federal death penalty. The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2005, currently co-sponsored by 39 Members of Congress, will put an immediate halt to executions and forbid the imposition of the death penalty as a sentence for violations of federal law.

For the complete article, see:

3) Ecosystems Plunge as Carbon Rise - Drilling in ANWR?

- - Republicans Add Alaska Oil Drilling to Defense Bill
- - How America Plotted to Stop Kyoto Deal
- - Great Lakes Headed for Catastrophic 'Ecological Collapse'
- - Scientists: Greenland Glaciers Retreating

Republicans Add Alaska Oil Drilling to Defense Bill
by Richard Cowan
Published by Planet Ark
December 19, 2005


WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans Sunday agreed to try to win passage of a controversial proposal to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil drilling, with a vote in the US House of Representatives..

The ANWR legislation, vigorously, opposed by environmentalists and many Democrats, was attached by House and Senate negotiators to an unrelated defense spending bill.

While the measure is expected to have an easier time in the House, it faces a tougher fight in the Senate, where a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans are expected to try to block it using special procedures not available in the House.

The ANWR proposal was coupled with the defense spending bill in a tactical move by Republican leaders, who hope enough lawmakers will be afraid to cast a vote against the bill for military funding, including money for the war in Iraq.

Republicans have tried for decades to let oil companies drill in the Alaskan refuge, which sits on Alaska's Northeastern coast and is roughly the same size as the state of South Carolina.

The Bush administration believes ANWR oil production could eventually reach 1 million barrels a day. However, drilling opponents say that raising US fuel standards for new cars, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles could save roughly the same amount of oil.

ANWR is home to caribou, polar bears, migratory birds and other wildlife. About 1.5 million acres of the refuge's coastal plain would be opened to drilling under the current congressional plan.

If Congress opened ANWR to drilling, the refuge's oil would not flow into the US market for an estimated 10 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Once the refuge reached peak production in about 2025, its oil would shave about 2 percentage points off the share that oil imports would have in meeting domestic demand, the EIA recently said. That would moderate US oil imports to a forecast 58 percent of total demand in 2025, equal to current import levels.

For the complete article, see:

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CHRONOLOGY - Congress Wrestles With ANWR Oil Drilling, see:
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Please consider taking immediate action to respond
to 'Republicans adding Alaska Oil Drilling to Defense Bill'.
Please call your Senator to make sure they understand the
treachery of exploiting remaining wilderness preserves.

The Congressional Switchboard telephone number is 202-224-3121.

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- - How America Plotted to Stop Kyoto Deal
Published December 8, 2005 by the Independent / UK

by Andrew Buncombe

A detailed and disturbing strategy document has revealed an extraordinary American plan to destroy Europe's support for the Kyoto treaty on climate change.

The ambitious, behind-the-scenes plan was passed to The Independent this week, just as 189 countries are painfully trying to agree the second stage of Kyoto at the UN climate conference in Montreal. It was pitched to companies such as Ford Europe, Lufthansa and the German utility giant RWE.

Put together by a lobbyist who is a senior official at a group partly funded by ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company and a fierce opponent of anti-global warming measures, the plan seeks to draw together major international companies, academics, think-tanks, commentators, journalists and lobbyists from across Europe into a powerful grouping to destroy further EU support for the treaty.

It details just how the so-called "European Sound Climate Policy Coalition" would work. Based in Brussels, the plan would have anti-Kyoto position papers, expert spokesmen, detailed advice and networking instantly available to any politician or company who wanted to question the wisdom of proceeding with Kyoto and its demanding cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

It has been drawn up by Chris Horner, a senior official with the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute and a veteran campaigner against Kyoto and against the evidence of climate change. One of his colleagues _ who describes himself as an adviser to President George Bush _ was the subject of a censure motion by the Commons last year after he attacked the Government's chief scientist.

Mr Horner, whose CEI group has received almost $1.5m (865,000) from ExxonMobil, is convinced that Europe could be successfully influenced by such a policy coalition just as the US government has been.

He thinks Europe's weakening economies are likely to be increasingly ill at ease with the costs of meeting Kyoto. And in particular, he has spotted something he thinks most of Europe has not yet woken up to. Most of the original 15 EU Kyoto signatories _ Britain is an exception _ are on course to miss their 2010 CO2 reduction targets. But under the terms of the treaty, they will face large fines for doing so, in terms of much bigger reduction targets in any second phase.


For the complete article, see:

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- - Great Lakes Headed for Catastrophic 'Ecological Collapse'

Published on Friday, December 9, 2005 by the Associated Press
Great Lakes Headed for Catastrophic 'Ecological Collapse': Report

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan - As wetlands disappear and shorelines are degraded, the Great Lakes are losing their ability to cope with environmental stress and ward off a catastrophic breakdown, scientists said Thursday."The immune system of the Great Lakes is weakened and it needs to be restored to prevent the ecological collapse of the lakes," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office.

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- - Scientists: Greenland Glaciers Retreating
Published December 8, 2005 by the Associated Press
by Alicia Chang

SAN FRANCISCO - Two of Greenland's largest glaciers are retreating at an alarming pace, most likely because of climate warming, scientists said Wednesday. The other glacier, Helheim, is retreating at about 7 miles a year - up from 4 miles a year during the same period.

For complete article, see:

For FN's resource page, see:
Mounting Evidence of Global Warming!

4) Israel readies forces for strike on Iran

- - Nuclear power's dirty secret

Israel readies forces for strike on Iran
By Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv, and Sarah Baxter, Washington

ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.

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- - Nuclear power's dirty secret
Published by The Independent,
a weekly publication in the Raleigh-Durham area.

New federal research shows that there's no safe level of exposure
to routine radiation coming out of nuclear power plants.

Why aren't regulators taking that into account
as utilities begin a campaign to restart the industry?

By Sue Sturgis

We the people of North Carolina and other states across the nation face a decision that will affect not only our own well-being and that of our children, but the well-being of countless future generations. Our choice is whether to allow utilities to meet our energy needs by building new nuclear power plants that routinely emit long-lived radioactive pollution to our already-contaminated environment.

November 30, 2005

The decision comes as a federal science panel has found that there is no safe level of radiation exposure--a fact not accounted for in current nuclear plant regulations.


It's true that reactors don't emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide as do facilities burning fossil fuels (although that doesn't make them a good solution to climate change, since they're about the slowest option to deploy and cost far more than other alternatives such as wind power and cogeneration, as Rocky Mountain Institute Director Amory Lovins detailed in a talk last month in Chapel Hill). But it's not true that nuclear plants are emissions-free. In fact, they routinely release radioactivity through leaks in the fuel rods, pipes, tanks and valves, according to NIRS. They also routinely release contaminated water in order to limit the presence of radioactive and corrosive chemicals that damage reactor parts. Entering the outside environment through plants' stacks and water discharge pipes, the radioactive pollution includes more than 100 different chemicals produced only in reactors and atomic bombs--substances including cesium-137, iodine-131, strontium-90 and tritium, an isotope of helium.

By breathing radiation-contaminated air, drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food, humans ingest these chemicals. They in turn release fast-moving subatomic particles into our bodies that smash into and break molecules, leading to cancer, birth defects and genetic mutations. Some of these substances seek out specific targets. Radioactive iodine, for example, aims for the thyroid. Strontium mimics calcium and goes for the bones. Tritium behaves like water, dispersing throughout the body and entering cells where it can disrupt DNA.

"The thing about radiation is that you can't see it and you can't smell it, so when the nuclear industry says they do not pollute, people can't provide evidence through their senses to challenge that," says Olson, who suffered health problems after being accidentally exposed to radiation while working in a medical school laboratory. "Yet all nuclear power reactors release radioactivity to the air and to the water."

And make no mistake about it--nuclear power is a choice, not a necessity. The choice is between spending $13 billion for more polluting nuclear power plants or aggressively pursuing energy conservation along with cleaner, more economically efficient sources of power such as solar, wind and biomass.

"The question is what additional exposures do we want to live with by choosing to produce electricity in nuclear reactors?" Wing asks. "What additional risks do we want to leave for literally hundreds of generations in the future?"

For the complete article, see:

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