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KN4M 4th of July

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2007
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      July 1, 2007
      Op-Ed Contributor
      Moving Beyond Kyoto
      By AL GORE

      WE — the human species — have arrived at a moment of decision. It is
      unprecedented and even laughable for us to imagine that we could
      actually make a conscious choice as a species, but that is
      nevertheless the challenge that is before us.

      Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed
      is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it
      hospitable for human beings.

      Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to
      put so much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding
      our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between
      Earth and the Sun. If we don't stop doing this pretty quickly, the
      average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known
      and put an end to the favorable climate balance on which our
      civilization depends.

      In the last 150 years, in an accelerating frenzy, we have been
      removing increasing quantities of carbon from the ground — mainly in
      the form of coal and oil — and burning it in ways that dump 70
      million tons of CO2 every 24 hours into the Earth's atmosphere.

      The concentrations of CO2 — having never risen above 300 parts per
      million for at least a million years — have been driven from 280
      parts per million at the beginning of the coal boom to 383 parts per
      million this year.

      As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are
      moving closer to several "tipping points" that could — within 10
      years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to
      the planet's habitability for human civilization.

      Just in the last few months, new studies have shown that the north
      polar ice cap — which helps the planet cool itself — is melting
      nearly three times faster than the most pessimistic computer models
      predicted. Unless we take action, summer ice could be completely
      gone in as little as 35 years. Similarly, at the other end of the
      planet, near the South Pole, scientists have found new evidence of
      snow melting in West Antarctica across an area as large as

      This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that
      affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of
      left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put
      simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and
      ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.

      On Sept. 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, "In our obsession
      with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all
      the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal
      threat to recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how
      quickly our differences would vanish if we were facing an alien
      threat from outside this world."

      We — all of us — now face a universal threat. Though it is not from
      outside this world, it is nevertheless cosmic in scale.

      Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost
      exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of
      carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the
      ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over
      the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in
      the atmosphere.

      As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59
      degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True,
      Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our
      star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is
      right next to the Sun. It's the carbon dioxide.

      This threat also requires us, in Reagan's phrase, to unite in
      recognition of our common bond.

      Next Saturday, on all seven continents, the Live Earth concert will
      ask for the attention of humankind to begin a three-year campaign to
      make everyone on our planet aware of how we can solve the climate
      crisis in time to avoid catastrophe. Individuals must be a part of
      the solution. In the words of Buckminster Fuller, "If the success or
      failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am
      and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?"

      Live Earth will offer an answer to this question by asking everyone
      who attends or listens to the concerts to sign a personal pledge to
      take specific steps to combat climate change. (More details about
      the pledge are available at algore.com.)

      But individual action will also have to shape and drive government
      action. Here Americans have a special responsibility. Throughout
      most of our short history, the United States and the American people
      have provided moral leadership for the world. Establishing the Bill
      of Rights, framing democracy in the Constitution, defeating fascism
      in World War II, toppling Communism and landing on the moon — all
      were the result of American leadership.

      Once again, Americans must come together and direct our government
      to take on a global challenge. American leadership is a precondition
      for success.

      To this end, we should demand that the United States join an
      international treaty within the next two years that cuts global
      warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more
      than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a
      healthy Earth.

      This treaty would mark a new effort. I am proud of my role during
      the Clinton administration in negotiating the Kyoto protocol. But I
      believe that the protocol has been so demonized in the United States
      that it probably cannot be ratified here — much in the way the
      Carter administration was prevented from winning ratification of an
      expanded strategic arms limitation treaty in 1979. Moreover, the
      negotiations will soon begin on a tougher climate treaty.

      Therefore, just as President Reagan renamed and modified the SALT
      agreement (calling it Start), after belatedly recognizing the need
      for it, our next president must immediately focus on quickly
      concluding a new and even tougher climate change pact. We should aim
      to complete this global treaty by the end of 2009 — and not wait
      until 2012 as currently planned.

      If by the beginning of 2009, the United States already has in place
      a domestic regime to reduce global warming pollution, I have no
      doubt that when we give industry a goal and the tools and
      flexibility to sharply reduce carbon emissions, we can complete and
      ratify a new treaty quickly. It is, after all, a planetary emergency.

      A new treaty will still have differentiated commitments, of course;
      countries will be asked to meet different requirements based upon
      their historical share or contribution to the problem and their
      relative ability to carry the burden of change. This precedent is
      well established in international law, and there is no other way to
      do it.

      There are some who will try to pervert this precedent and use
      xenophobia or nativist arguments to say that every country should be
      held to the same standard. But should countries with one-fifth our
      gross domestic product — countries that contributed almost nothing
      in the past to the creation of this crisis — really carry the same
      load as the United States? Are we so scared of this challenge that
      we cannot lead?

      Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when their
      future — indeed, the future of all human civilization — is hanging
      in the balance. They deserve better than a government that censors
      the best scientific evidence and harasses honest scientists who try
      to warn us about looming catastrophe. They deserve better than
      politicians who sit on their hands and do nothing to confront the
      greatest challenge that humankind has ever faced — even as the
      danger bears down on us.

      We should focus instead on the opportunities that are part of this
      challenge. Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as
      corporations move aggressively to capture the enormous economic
      opportunities offered by a clean energy future.

      But there's something even more precious to be gained if we do the
      right thing. The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience
      what few generations in history have had the privilege of
      experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a
      shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put
      aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a
      genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

      Al Gore, vice president from 1993 to 2001, is the chairman of the
      Alliance for Climate Protection. He is the author, most recently,
      of "The Assault on Reason."



      From The Sunday Times
      June 1, 2007

      Dead `Mossad spy' was writing exposé
      After mysteriously falling from a London balcony, Ashraf Marwan was
      found to be halfway through an expose of his life
      Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv

      AN Egyptian millionaire who mysteriously fell to his death from the
      balcony of his London flat after being named as a Mossad spy was
      writing a book that threatened to expose the murky world of Arab-
      Israeli espionage.

      Ashraf Marwan, the son-in-law of the late President Gamal Abdel
      Nasser of Egypt, was more than halfway through a book about the 1973
      Yom Kippur war - in which he is alleged to have played a key
      intelligence role - when his body was discovered last week.

      Marwan's death, which police are treating as "unexplained", has sent
      ripples across the Middle East and shocked some of Britain's
      wealthiest people.

      The 62-year-old financier was a former shareholder of Chelsea
      football club and counted Ken Bates, its former chairman, Adnan
      Khashoggi, the Saudi arms dealer, and Tiny Rowland, the late
      business tycoon, among his acquaintances.

      But it was Marwan's espionage activities that have surrounded his
      death with intrigue. Israeli intelligence sources claimed this
      weekend that he had been one of the greatest spies recruited by

      They said Marwan had supplied the Israeli secret service with a
      treasure trove of information, including the secret plans drawn up
      by Egypt's leaders to cross the Suez Canal and attack Israel in

      Ahron Bregman, an Israeli historian at King's College London,
      however, believes Marwan was a double agent who misled the Israelis
      over Egypt's plans for the war. This weekend Bregman said the
      Egyptian had left three messages on his answerphone last Tuesday,
      urgently asking him to make contact.

      "I was out, but eventually spoke to him at around 4pm," said
      Bregman. "He asked me about the recent libel case in Israel."

      The case involved two former Israeli intelligence officers, one of
      whom had accused the other of leaking Marwan's name as a spy.
      Bregman said Marwan had described the court case as "a headache" and
      asked to meet him at King's College the following day.

      "It was very clear that we were going to meet, but there was no call
      on Wednesday and I heard later in the day that he had died," said
      Bregman, who claimed in an Egyptian newspaper article in 2003 that
      Marwan had been a double agent. "He told me never to send anything
      to his address because it was watched. He was always very cautious
      and never referred to himself by name."

      Marwan fell four floors to his death from his flat at Carlton House
      Terrace overlooking St James's Park. Police are exploring three
      possibilities: that he was murdered, that he jumped - although no
      suicide note has been found - or that he fell.

      One possibility is that Marwan was taking medicinal drugs that made
      him faint. He had had three heart operations, according to a friend,
      Marwan, lived with his wife at the London flat where he died, was
      writing about the Yom Kippur war, in which he may have played a key
      intelligence role, and "had been very unwell".

      Other friends believe that he feared being assassinated after
      being "outed" as a Mossad spy.

      The son of an Egyptian general, Marwan studied at Cairo university
      where he met Mona, Nasser's daughter. He was 21 and she was 17. The
      couple married a year later and went on to have two sons, Gamal and

      Marwan was soon leading a double life. In 1969, according to Israeli
      sources, he slipped into the Israeli embassy in London and - before
      being ejected - told a security guard: "Send my name to Tel Aviv.
      They'll know who I am. I'll be back in a week's time."

      A week later one of Mossad's most senior controllers - known by the
      initial D - flew to Britain and lavished five-star hospitality on
      Marwan. It was the start of a 30-year relationship that saw highly
      classified information, including the minutes of meetings between
      Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, and other world leaders
      regularly passing into Mossad's hands.

      "It's as if we were sleeping in the bedroom of the Egyptian
      presidential couple," recalled an Israeli source.

      Marwan, who worked in Sadat's office, made only two conditions in
      return for his services: he was to be paid £50,000 for each
      significant meeting he had with his Israeli handlers and he insisted
      that D was to be his sole controller.

      Before long Marwan's raw intelligence became essential reading for
      Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister, and Moshe Dayan, her defence
      minister. "When information arrived from Marwan it was sent directly
      to the leaders," said an insider. "It was better than any John le
      Carre espionage thriller."

      By 1972 Marwan was a millionaire and had revealed details to Mossad
      about secret arms deals between Egypt and the Soviet Union,
      according to Israeli sources.

      But the best was yet to come. Marwan invited D to a meeting in
      London at which he handed his controller a suitcase full of
      documents outlining Egypt's plans to cross Suez and attack Israel.
      Intelligence sources claim that overconfident Israeli military
      chiefs ignored the plans and they were left to sit in a safe in Tel

      In September 1973 King Hussein of Jordan tipped off Meir that Syria
      was also about to launch an attack. Meir sought Marwan's advice.

      But Marwan could not be reached. Finally, only 24 hours before the
      outbreak of war, a message was intercepted in the Mossad HQ in Tel
      Aviv: "Meet me tomorrow in London."

      Marwan managed to leave Sadat's side by convincing the Egyptian
      president that he should travel to Libya to warn Colonel Gadaffi
      about the imminent conflict. From Tripoli, he flew to Malta and on
      to London.

      Mossad stopped El-Al's last flight to London as it prepared for take-
      off. The Boeing 707 waited on the tarmac for more than 30 minutes.
      Passengers saw a car speeding towards the aircraft and two fair-
      haired men climbed in. They were Zvi Zamir, the head of Mossad, and
      D, Marwan's controller.

      According to Israeli sources, Zamir rang Tel Aviv in the early hours
      of the morning and told colleagues: "Call Golda [Meir]. It's today
      at 6pm, both Syria and Egypt."

      Marwan's tardiness raised suspicions that he was a double agent but
      he was exonerated by Mossad. In Egypt Marwan remained a hero and was
      decorated by Sadat before moving to London, where he became active
      in the business world.

      Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, Marwan's former controller, D, received the
      news of his death with sadness. With Marwan's book unfinished,
      perhaps the motives for his secret life will never be fully



      From Times Online
      July 1, 2007
      Europe set to lift ban on GM crops

      The European commission is about to give the go-ahead to the first
      commercially grown genetically modified crops since a public outcry
      nine years ago halted their cultivation, writes Jonathan Leake.

      The commission has begun the final approval stages for at least four
      applications by biotech companies to let farmers grow GM potatoes
      and maize in British and European fields.

      The first crop is expected to be given the go-ahead by the end of
      this month. "We hope that it will have been approved . . . so that
      it will be ready for planting next year," said a spokesman for BASF,
      the German company that created the potato.

      Such a move could reignite the pan-European backlash against GM
      crops of the late 1990s, which forced the European Union to impose
      an effective moratorium on the crops in 1998.

      Since then no crops have been approved for cultivation, although
      permission has been given to import some varieties for animal feed.

      However, it has now emerged that dossiers on another three crops,
      all modified forms of maize, are being prepared by the commission,
      which will recommend they be approved for cultivation.

      They could be given the green light in time for next year's planting
      season. Applications for other crops, including rapeseed, are in the

      The acceleration of the process for approving GM crops follows
      mounting pressure from the American government. It has accused the
      EU of blocking free trade and threatened to take Europe to the World
      Trade Organisation.

      A commission spokesman said: "All the crops being recommended for
      approval have been scientifically assessed by the European Food
      Safety Authority. If the science supports the application we have no
      grounds for rejecting it."

      The GM potato produced by BASF has novel mixtures of starch and
      would be grown purely for industrial uses such as making paper, not
      human consumption.

      Most of the other GM crops under consideration by the commission
      are, however, designed for food or animal feed and are not very
      different to those that sparked the original consumer backlash.



      Leaders map out African Union overhaul
      by Chris Otton
      Sun Jul 1, 2007

      Leaders of the African Union began mapping out plans to forge a
      closer federation of states at a summit in Ghana Sunday,
      acknowledging the continent's current system of governance had to

      Fifty years after it became the first African nation to free itself
      from colonialism, Ghana was the venue of an AU meeting devoted to
      working out how the world's poorest continent can gain strength
      through unity.

      Ghana's President John Kufuor and AU commission chairman Alpha Oumar
      Konare both told heads of state they can fulfill the vision of
      Ghana's founding father Kwame Nkrumah who saw a unified Africa as an
      unstoppable force for good.

      "The question of unification is not in doubt.... What remains is the
      form of government and how and when to attain it," said Kufuor.

      "I am confident that at the end of our deliberations, we should be
      able to arrive at a common understanding on the sort of continental
      government we want for ourselves, and a roadmap with timelines on
      its realisation," he added.

      The three-day summit has been billed by some as an opportunity to
      forge a so-called United States of Africa, with Libya's President
      Moamer Kadhafi at the forefront of the pressure, urging a common
      defence and foreign policy.

      Other leaders however such as South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki
      are far cooler towards that and want the AU to be given time to
      build up its own institutions given it was only formed five years at
      a summit in Durban.

      Kufuor said the AU needed "structural improvements and nurturing"
      while Konare told the leaders there was "a real need for change, for
      transformation" of institutions which were still struggling to carve
      out a clear role.

      "The African Union Commission which should be the engine for the
      union does not have a well-defined status and character," he said.

      "We need to have a strong decision today because integration is a
      major political action."

      In his speech, Konare acknowledged some of the crises still
      confronting the AU, including the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region
      and civil war in Somalia.

      The AU's shortcomings were underlined at the last summit in Ethiopia
      in January when it failed to persuade any nation but Uganda to send
      troops on a peacekeeping mission to Somalia.

      Events in Addis Ababa were also marred by the continued bloodshed in
      Darfur which effectively scuppered Khartoum's ambitions of becoming
      president of the organisation.

      A force of some 7,000 AU troops has been unable to stop the carnage
      in Darfur and is now desperate to be bolstered by troops from the
      United Nations.

      Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is skipping the summit
      following the death of a close advisor in a car crash, went on a
      public relations offensive before it opened, accusing the West of
      hyping the crisis in Darfur because of its interest in his country's
      oil reserves.

      However Konare said it was time for Sudan to finally accept the
      presence of blue-helmet troops on its soil as part of a joint AU-UN
      force Beshir has agreed to in principle and backed a UN resolution
      to ensure its deployment.

      "We have made progress (on Darfur) because Sudan has accepted the
      hybrid force," he said.

      "Now we need to implement it, persuade our Sudanese brothers to
      implement it. What is lacking today is a UN resolution and fresh
      resources to deploy our troops on the ground."

      Following the opening speeches, leaders then went into a closed door
      session to discuss the plans for closer union.

      For all the talk of the need for greater unity, analysts believe a
      general strengthening of the AU commission, including increased
      funding, is the most likely outcome.

      "The most unlikely scenario is the immediate creation of a United
      States of Africa," said Delphine Lecoutre, an analyst at the
      Institute of Strategic Studies in South Africa.

      "That's a very long-term ultimate objective that the AU has only put
      its name to in order to calm Kadhafi down."

      Ghanaian government sources said Kadhafi was absent from the opening
      ceremony after being refused permission to address his peers.
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