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Archive for August, 2007

>India’s own War On Terror

>Most people know that the world’s most populated Muslim nation is Indonesia with 234 million people of which 86% are Muslim. What people probably don’t know is that the country with the second highest number of Muslims is India where 13% of their 1.1 billion people are Muslim.

Another fact that most people don’t know is that India has been dealing with home-grown Islamic terrorism for decades. Is this terrorism created by poverty or oppression such as Western liberals claim as the root cause of 9/11, and other, atrocities? Hardly. Even India’s richest man is a Muslim.

From the Time Of India comes this article questioning why India hasn’t introduced similar laws to Western countries to deal with Islamic terror:

As bombings in Bali, Madrid, Mumbai and London provided chilling evidence that New York’s 9/11 was not a one-off event, a number of mature democracies like the UK, France, Germany, Australia, US and even New Zealand — all with decent track records on human rights — have either enacted new laws or tweaked existing ones to give greater teeth to their counter-terror operations (US’ record has been somewhat sullied by Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, but they were treated as war camps and weren’t meant for American citizens).

In India, where terror has taken a much bigger toll than in any of these countries, special laws were initially enacted and then withdrawn as they were found to be ‘draconian’. Was that the right thing to do? Are special laws, or even a relook at laws to make them more aligned for the purposes of fighting terror, necessary? TOI looks at the global experience to find answers to these questions.

Take New Zealand, first. After the first flush of concern following 9/11, support for anti-terror laws weakened until Bali happened. Of the 202 dead, three were New Zealanders. The reaction to this was swift — parliament passed the Terrorism Suppression Act with wide support. The law armed agencies to nip extremist organisations and gave them powers to track money trails. In six separate bills the agencies were empowered to deal with a wide range of offences, including infecting livestock and food contamination.

Wiretaps without warrants in emergency situations were allowed and laws aligned, like use of evidence gathered under one law was allowed to be used against an offence under another law. Any sort of support to terrorism was banned. Overall, these measures were not very different from those taken by other countries against techno-savvy terrorists.
Japan went a step further. Its constitution lays down a clearly pacifist foreign policy agenda, but the Bill to Respond to Armed Attacks for the first time allowed Japanese forces to consider a pre-emptive strike if the interests and safety of citizens were endangered.

Canada, too, enacted a special law against those who knowingly “either directly or indirectly” provide funds for terror crimes. This has apparently made fund raising for various causes more difficult.

Canada had no specific terror law. Post 9/11 is set down life imprisonment for those guilty of “instructing” anyone to carry out a terrorist strike and a 10-year jail term for harbouring a terrorist. It did away with the need to demonstrate electronic surveillance as a “measure of last resort” while allowing such surveillance. At the same time, it is viewing the setting up of DNA data banks of criminals and terrorists with favour.

Not surprisingly, these measures, as well as similar measures in Germany, UK, Australia, France and the US, faced strong opposition. The debate over special laws in legislatures and in the public domain have taken note of concerns over curbs on individual and human rights. Most laws have safeguards such as parliamentary oversight and independent reviews. CIA and FBI officials have to present testimonies to congressional committees. But, as the French law notes, on balance, collective security has been given precedence.

Indian laws don’t have any such skew at present. In response to a demand for bringing back the Prevention of Terror Act, it’s been argued back that Pota couldn’t prevent the 13/12 attack on Parliament. How was it then effective, or even desirable? Other democracies have, however, maintained that terrorists were very cunning and hence they might strike despite special laws, but these laws would make their operations tougher.

Hence, apart from enacting these laws, these countries have integrated laws to allow wiretaps, have doubled or trebled border guards, customs and investigators, enhanced coordination between banks and other financial institutions and regulators, made sharing of data banks easier, introduced video surveillance, mandatory maintenance of telephone records, designation of terrorist crime and, above all, fast trials and tough sentences for the convicted.

They have also brought down firewalls between intelligence agencies, police organisations, customs, immigration, airport security, border guards, white collar crime investigators and narcotics control. Countries like the US, Germany and UK have realised that the lines that divide these crimes are thin and that terrorist outfits with a global reach and agenda stride all these worlds with chilling ease.

Is all this relevant for us? In India, the variables of a terror attack are many — it has neighbours like Pakistan and Bangladesh, where terror groups like JeM, LeT and HUJI find shelter, and perhaps much more. Besides, there are no racial distinctions between the operatives of these groups and Indians, unlike in western democracies. On top of this, there are pockets in the country which appear to have been influenced by extremist doctrines; thus, it’s not as difficult to find logistical support in India as it is in western democracies.

Still, the US has enacted the PATRIOT Act in the teeth of liberal opposition and has prevented a strike on the American mainland since 9/11, even though it’s controversial — and many will add, stupid — engagement in Iraq would have given a lot of angry youngsters the ‘rationale’ to hit back at the US with means fair or foul. In UK, which has a mixed population, the laws are not as stringent as PATRIOT. It has has suffered 7/11, but also busted the Birmingham plot.

Apart from its practical aspects, targeting terrorism through special laws is a declaration of intent and signals the political and societal resolve to take on an enemy. It’s a call to arms and tells those on the frontline that the authorities recognise the nature of beast and are prepared to confront it. That there will be no half-measures in a war against opponents who do not believe in dialogue, rather are convinced that their cause will be served by killing innocents.

In India, we are still shying away from doing any of this in the fear that the wider powers given to agencies would be abused. Is that good enough reason to weaken the battle against terror? Or, should we have special anti-terror laws, and like in other democracies, make them open to legislative oversight and reviews? Will that give our warriors against terror a level playing field? TOI believes it will.

Puts the leftist blathering in our neck of the woods into some perspective, doesn’t it?

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Categories: Asia, War On Terror

>Greenpeace sees red over Australia and US preparing effective climate change response

August 30, 2007 3 comments

>It comes as no surprise that the ABC, which laughingly fancies itself as presenting a balanced view of the world, would promote a Greenpeace climate change propaganda piece by Ben Pearson, a clean energy campaigner for Greenpeace, on the front page of its website:

The draft APEC leaders’ declaration leaked to Greenpeace last week was vague as to what the meeting would agree to, and by when. But one thing was crystal clear: John Howard and George W Bush will try and use APEC to undermine international action to address climate change. And they will do this to protect the Australian export coal industry, and American fossil fuel interests.

The declaration was leaked directly from one of the APEC member nations. There is no doubt it is genuine, and the work of the only two major industrialised countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol; the declaration is made in the USA and covered in Australian coal dust.

There are no binding targets for action and no timetables by which anything has to be achieved. It is a declaration designed not to reduce greenhouse gases, but to reduce the political pressure Howard and Bush are feeling after years of climate inaction. The timetables that matter to them revolve around national elections in the US and Australia over the next 18 months.

The key political aim of the declaration is to get agreement on an ‘aspirational’ long-term greenhouse gas reduction target. Yet if APEC nations sign onto this goal, it will undermine efforts to extend and strengthen the legally binding targets that are at the heart of the Kyoto Protocol. The international community will meet in Bali in December to begin negotiations on new targets under Kyoto once the current ones run out in 2012. The APEC declaration aims to stymie progress at these talks.

Howard and Bush are implacably opposed to binding targets. Why? Because they work.

Aspirational targets, on the other hand, do not, as experience has shown across many different industries and countries. Greenpeace has labelled them “Bridget Jones” targets after the heroine in the eponymous book.

Despite her best intentions, Bridget is constantly failing to meet her ‘aspirational’ targets of drinking and smoking less. Her daily diary is a record of her failure. Aspirational targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions would be just as ineffective.

The Kyoto Protocol’s binding targets grew out of the international community’s recognition 12 years ago that the voluntary targets agreed under the original United Nations Climate Convention were insufficient.

As a result, a meeting of parties to that Convention in Berlin in 1995 concluded that an additional protocol had to be negotiated which would set legally binding targets for industrialised nations. Two years later, the Kyoto Protocol was concluded. To return to voluntary targets now would be to throw away the last 12 years of progress, and return to a system that was acknowledged as being ineffective in addressing climate change.

What is needed out of APEC is simple. Australia and the US could start by joining the rest of the international community in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. And the final summit communique must unambiguously endorse extending and strengthening that Protocol, starting in Bali this December. That means binding targets for industrialised nations.

There simply is no other way of avoiding climate change: the greatest environmental, economic and social threat that we face.

Well, that’s something I can agree with Ben on – climate change does indeed present the greatest environmental, economic and social threat we face.

Implementing the socialist, world-government solutions advocated by Greenpeace and their climate ilk will result in the same environmental catastrophe discovered when the Soviet Union collapsed.

For Climate Brown Shirts like Greenpeace to still be banging on about the ineffective, immorally expensive Kyoto Protocol shows that their thinking is stuck in a political rut with an agenda of promoting whatever policies are anti-capitalism, anti-business, anti-development and anti-people. To say that binding CO2 targets work is to completely disregard the fact that they have yet to make any difference in Europe where CO2 levels continue to rise. These people are profoundly dishonest.

The threat to our economy, society and environment has never been under greater threat – from Greenpeace and the environmental movement.

Categories: Australia, Climate Change

>United Nations to outlaw "Islamophobia"?

>That most morally depraved of organisations, the United Nations, is preparing itself to support Muslim nations’ position to deal with the world-ending problem of “Islamophobia”.

“Islamophobia” and the defamation of Islam are the most conspicuous forms of racism and intolerance today, and a global U.N. conference on racism planned for 2009 should come up with practical solutions to deal with them, an Islamic bloc representative told a preparatory meeting in Geneva Monday.

The 2009 meeting is intended to review a U.N. conference on racism, held in Durban, South Africa, just days before 9/11, but the 56-nation Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC) wants Islam to be high on the agenda.

“The world since 2001 has not remained static and witnessed new forms of racism and racial discrimination,” Pakistan’s representative to the U.N., Masood Khan, said at a meeting of the planning body, or “prepcom bureau,” according to prepared remarks.

Speaking on behalf of the OIC, Khan told the meeting that “there has been a stark rise in hate crimes, discrimination, racial profiling and intolerance against Muslims in many countries.”

He also said the 2009 gathering should focus on “the continued plight of Palestinian people and non-recognition of their inalienable right to self-determination.”

Khan’s reference to the Palestinian situation suggests that if the planning body has its way, the review conference may echo a major theme of the 2001 Durban meeting. Critics, including the U.S. government, said the Durban conference was tarnished by a strong anti-Israel bias, as some participants tried to revive the U.N.’s earlier “Zionism equals racism” position.

The 2009 meeting is currently being called the “Durban review conference.” Critics have labeled it “Durban II” – not a reference to the venue, which has yet to be decided, but because they predict a repeat of some of the controversies that prompted a walk-outby the U.S. delegation in 2001.

The Hudson Institute’s “Eye on the U.N.” project, which is observing the process in Geneva, described it Monday as the U.N.’s “latest anti-Jewish and anti-American extravaganza.”

U.N.-watchers’ concerns have been reinforced by the appointment of Libya to chair the prepcom bureau, and the inclusion among its 20 members of countries such as Cuba, Iran and Pakistan. The countries were elected by the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body, which has itself been criticized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others for a skewed emphasis on Israel.

Iran’s delegate, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, referred in his speech Monday to “new forms of racism” after 9/11, “under the pretext of so-called war against terror.”

The envoy for another prepcom bureau member, Egypt, speaking on behalf of the African nations, raised concerns including “the Israeli occupation of Palestine” and the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons caricaturing Mohammed, “which deeply hurt over a billion Muslims around the world.”

The Egyptian delegate also decried the “largely insufficient” steps taken since 2001 “to redress and reverse the situation of the descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.”

Along with Zionism, slavery was one of the issues that caused dissent in Durban.

The document that came out of the Durban conference “note[d] that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed [in the slave trade].”

“We further note that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and call on all those who have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so …” it added.

Islamophobia is, of course, a construction by activist Muslim organisations used as a label against enemies of its violent, expansionist doctrine.

When part of the evidence are the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper you know that the intolerance bar will be set at an intolerantly low level.

Categories: Islam, United Nations

>BBC Flying Pig moment of the day

>One of the world’s leading media outlets promoting the man made global warming myth and actively seeking to silence and discredit dissenters might have had somewhat of an epiphany:

Two of the BBC’s most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation’s plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster’s job to preach to viewers.

The event, understood to have been 18 months in development, would see stars such as Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross take part in a “consciousness raising” event, provisionally titled Planet Relief, early next year.

But, speaking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival yesterday, Newsnight’s editor, Peter Barron, and the BBC’s head of television news, Peter Horrocks, attacked the plan, which also seems to contradict the corporation’s guidelines. Asked whether the BBC should campaign on issues such as climate change, Mr Horrocks said: “I absolutely don’t think we should do that because it’s not impartial. It’s not our job to lead people and proselytise about it.” Mr Barron said: “It is absolutely not the BBC’s job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped.”

Planet Relief appears to contradict BBC guidelines on impartiality. In June a BBC-endorsed report set out 12 principles on impartiality, warning that the broadcaster “has many public purposes of both ambition and merit – but joining campaigns to save the planet is not one of them”.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “This idea is still in development and the intention would be to debate the issue and in no way campaign on a single point of view.”

Meanwhile, in a session at the festival yesterday titled How Green is TV, the documentary producer Martin Durkin attacked the BBC as stifling debate on climate change. Durkin, whose film The Great Global Warming Swindle attracted a large number of complaints when it was shown on Channel 4 this year, said: “The thing that disturbs me most is that the BBC has such a leviathan position … that if it decides that it is going to adopt climate change as a moral purpose, I have got a lot of trouble with that. I don’t think it is the role of the BBC to spend my money on a moral purpose.”

Given that the BBC’s website has many tens of thousands of words of man made global warming propaganda it is somewhat refreshing to see that some people, at least, can see that they’re far too biased.

Categories: Climate Change, Media

>James Hansen to join list of history’s scientific fraudsters?

>Here’s something to think about. Will NASA’s head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James Hansen, be viewed positively by history or join the list of famous scientific fraudsters, some of which are listed below.

Charles Dawson – Piltdown Man Fraudster

Charles Dawson (1864 – August 1916) was an amateur British archeologist who is credited and blamed with discoveries that turned out to be imaginative frauds, including that of the Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni), which he presented in 1912. Dawson was often present at finds in the archeological digs, or was the finder himself.

Trofim Lysenko – Genetics Fraudster

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (September 29, 1898–November 20, 1976) was a biologist and agronomist who was director of Soviet biology under Joseph Stalin. Lysenko rejected Mendelian genetics in favor of the hybridization theories of Russian horticulturist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and adopted them into a powerful political scientific movement termed Lysenkoism. His unorthodox experimental research in improved crop yields earned the support of Soviet leadership, especially following the famine and loss of productivity resulting from forced collectivization in several regions of the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. In 1940 he became director of the Institute of Genetics within the USSR’s Academy of Sciences, and Lysenko’s anti-Mendelian doctrines were further secured in Soviet science and education by the exercise of political influence and power. Scientific dissent from Lysenko’s theories of environmentally acquired inheritance was formally outlawed in 1948, and for the next several years opponents were purged from held positions, and many imprisoned. Lysenko’s work was officially discredited in the Soviet Union in 1964, leading to a renewed emphasis there to re-institute Mendelian genetics and orthodox science…Today much of Lysenko’s agricultural experimentation and research is largely viewed as fraudulent.

Woo-Suk Hwang – Stem Cell Fraudster

Hwang Woo-Suk (born 29 January 1953) is a South Korean biomedical scientist. He was a professor of theriogenology and biotechnology at Seoul National University (dismissed on March 20, 2006) who rose to fame after claiming a series of remarkable breakthroughs in the field of stem cell research. Until November 2005, he was considered one of the pioneering experts in the field of stem cell research, best known for two articles published in the journal Science in 2004 and 2005 where he fraudulently reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning. Both papers have been editorially retracted after being found to contain a large amount of fabricated data. He has admitted to various lies and frauds.

James Hansen – Climate Change Fraudster?

James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941 in Denison, Iowa), heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies[1] in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Earth Sciences Division. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at Columbia University. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He is a vocal critic of the Bush Administration’s stance on climate change.

There are few figures held in such high esteem by proponents of man made global warming as is James Hansen. Al Gore is perhaps better known globally but Hansen’s scientific credentials give weight to his global warming pronouncements.

Hansen’s claims of global warming are based on the data from the global temperature data set. Of this data set the most reliable has been that in the US itself, as it has had the least disruption due to external influences and has the most naturally scientifically inquisitive, data-rational society on earth.

The recent discovery that Hansen had made an error in the surface temperature record that changed the warmest year in the US from 1998 to 1934 and resulted in five of the ten warmest years of the 20th century occurring before 1940 (and before a large rise in CO2 emissions) was a discovery of significant proportions. When much smaller errors have been made by those opposed to the man made global warming thesis are discovered the pro-AGW crowd, supported by a scientifically ignorant but politically compliant media, make a huge song and dance and use it to discredit the Deniers’ arguments. Yet when this error was discovered it was met with barely a yawn from the media and accusations by Hansen that his opponents were ‘Climate Jesters’.

If that was the only error that had been made then a correction would be all that is needed. However, upon further discovery it transpires that significant doctoring of the US surface temperature record has been taking place resulting in a clear warming bias when the underlying data does not support that conclusion.

Will James Hansen join this rogues’ gallery of scientific fraudsters? It seems more likely than not when the false science of global warming is done and dusted.

Categories: Climate Change

>More on those pesky, inaccurate climate models

>Do those people not members of the Climate Brown Shirt brigade who support the hypothesis that we’re in a period of ‘unprecedented’ climate change understand that their beliefs are based on climate models that have never been right? Not even once. That trillions of dollars will be spent on the output of these profoundly wrong models?

Fortunately, the air has been somewhat let out of the climate change sails as more and more evidence comes to light that the whole proposition is based on dodgy data at best and downright fraud at worst.

I’ve pointed out some of the issues with climate models previously and, as I said a few weeks’ back, if ‘the science is settled’ then why does the IPCC need 17 climate models when only one should do?

One of the most strident critics of the anthropogenic global warming proposition has been Christopher Monkton, 3rd Viscount Monkton of Brenchley, a former scientific advisor to Margaret Thatcher. In this article he demonstrates that observations fail to match model predictions on one of the most important points – the lower troposphere.

The significant shortfall between the magnitude of modeled and observed altitude-vs-latitude trends of decadal temperature increase in the tropics. Prediction and observation overlap only in the first mile of the atmosphere, demonstrating that the observed temperature forcing by anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions is considerably less than the forcing predicted by the models and accepted by the IPCC.

The 20-model mean predicted temperature trend (heavy red curve) ± 1 standard deviation (thin red curves) is plotted against observations from RSS 2.1 (yellow triangles); the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s UAH 5.2 (yellow diamonds) Hadley Centre’s AT2 (green curve); IGRA (light blue curve); RATPAC (dark blue curve); and Global Historical Climate Network surface trend (blue square) (Douglass et al., 2007).

A report by the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP, 2006), says –

“For longer-timescale temperature changes over 1979 to 1999, only one of four observed upper-air data sets has larger tropical warming aloft than in the surface records. All model runs with surface warming over this period show amplified warming aloft.

“These results could arise due to errors common to all models; to significant non-climatic influences remaining within some or all of the observational data sets, leading to biased long-term trend estimates; or a combination of these factors. The new evidence in this Report (model-to-model consistency of amplification results, the large uncertainties in observed tropospheric temperature trends, and independent physical evidence supporting substantial tropospheric warming) favors the second explanation.

“A full resolution of this issue will require reducing the large observational uncertainties that currently exist. These uncertainties make it difficult to determine whether models still have common, fundamental errors in their representation of the vertical structure of atmospheric temperature change.”

Climate models have already been shown to overestimate by a factor of more than three the amount of water vapour in the air due to increasing temperature. Water vapour is the major feedback mechanism under climate models so the fact that observations don’t match predictions makes a serious dent in their credibility.

Now we have more proof that reality doesn’t match the models’ predictions – and it’s not even a close miss.

The credibility of climate science as a discipline gets closer and closer to eugenics every day.

Categories: Climate Change

>Sunday night Aussie rock

>The Bee Gees were a singing trio of brothers — Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb — that became one of the most successful musical acts of all time. They were born on the Isle of Man to English parents, lived in England and moved to Brisbane, Australia during their childhood years, where they began their musical careers. Their worldwide success came when they returned to England and signed with producer Robert Stigwood. The group’s name is derived from the initials “B.G.”, primarily standing for “The Brothers Gibb.”

It has been estimated that the Bee Gees’ record sales total more than 220 million, easily making them part of the list of best-selling music artists. Their 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame citation says “Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees”.

New York Mining Disaster

Gotta Get A Message To You

I Started A Joke

Tragedy

Categories: Australia, Music