Archive for June, 2009

Honduras Coup, Iraqi Oil & US Troops, Franken Senator

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Al Franken, comedian and now Senator from Minnesota will be entering office as early as next week, giving Democrats a potential 60 vote filibuster proof majority if you include the two independents Lieberman and Sanders. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that he won and Norman Coleman announced that he was giving up.
Now there really is no excuse. We should get national health care, a green economy, and wall street should be shut down or at least strongly regulated. The voice of the people has been heard. Now will the Democrats run with it or prove themselves to be the lackeys of big business most of us suspect them to be.

Sunday the President of Honduras got kicked out by a military Coup. He was escorted out of the country into Costa Rica. Obama and Chavez are in agreement that the Hondurans need to let the president finish out his term. The Financial Post had this to say.

“Honduras coup could bring more business-friendly government
Posted: June 30, 2009, 7:58 AM by Jonathan Ratner

Sunday’s military coup in Honduras has compromised the country’s growing reputation for stability and investors are reacting with nervousness about companies with operations there. Gildan Activewear Inc., which has its Central American manufacturing hub in Honduras with three large integrated textile facilities, saw its shares fall almost 10% on Monday.

Gildan plans to further expand production of t-shirt, socks and underwear in the country, so it is therefore key to its operations, according to Desjardins Securities analyst Martin Landry. Until the situation improves, he told clients Gildan’s share price will remain volatile.

“President Zelaya had alienated Honduras’ congressional politicians by joining the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, an alliance led by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez that seeks to integrate left-leaning Latin American countries,” the analyst said.

President Zelaya also led efforts to bring Cuba back into the Organization of American States and increased the minimum wage in Honduras substantially. But his attempt to abolish the four-year presidential term was seen by many as a first step toward more socialist policies, with echoes of Chavez-style politics.

While the day-to-day operations of Gildan’s manufacturing facilities are unlikely to be affected, an estimated 60% of its activewear and more than 50% of its socks are made in Honduras.

So after 30 years of peaceful democracy, Mr. Landry now believes investors will apply a geopolitical risk discount to Gildan. The analyst sees little risk that the country’s assets will be nationalized and suggested the coup may turn out to be a positive for Gildan if it brings back a more business-friendly government.

The VOA Voice of America has this to say.

“The U.N. General Assembly has condemned Sunday’s coup in Honduras that expelled President Manuel Zelaya from the country and has called for his restoration to power.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya addresses the United Nations General Assembly, 30 Jun 2009
In a vote by acclamation, the 192-member states of the United Nations agreed Tuesday not to recognize any other government in Honduras than President Zelaya’s.

President Zelaya then strode to the podium, embraced the Nicaraguan president of the General Assembly and began an hour long speech detailing why his ouster was undemocratic and illegal.

“A number of charges have been leveled against your humble servant in Honduras. But I have not been put on trial,” he said. “I have not been called to the stand to defend myself. Nobody has told me what my crime is, nobody has indicated what my errors [are], no accusations have been brought to my attention by any judge.”

Iraqis were celebrating the withdrawal of US troops from the streets into compounds out of sight and out of mind.
This from Yahoo News

“Iraqis celebrate US pullback but bombing kills 27
AP – Iraqi security forces patrol in central Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, June 30, 2009. U.S. troops pulled out … By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press Writer – 6/30/09
BAGHDAD – Not a single American soldier was in sight. Gone, too, were the American helicopters whose buzz has for years defined Baghdad’s background track. Left alone to protect the capital Tuesday were thousands of Iraqi troops and police manning checkpoints, with army tanks deployed at potential trouble spots and convoys of pickup trucks with machine guns roaming the streets.

But it was elsewhere, 180 miles to the north, that militants delivered their first deadly challenge to Iraq’s security forces on a highly symbolic day after the formal withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from cities at midnight.

A car bombing devastated a food market in the city of Kirkuk, killing at least 33 people and wounding 90. The early evening attack, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni extremist groups like al-Qaeda in Iraq, was the second in the Kirkuk area since a truck bombing killed 82 people on June 20.

The latest blast was a deadly example of the violence many Iraqis fear will increase with the departure of U.S. troops from urban areas, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s confidence in Iraq’s nascent security forces.

The bombing came hours after the U.S. military announced that four American soldiers were killed in combat Monday. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. forces since May 21, when three soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a roadside bombing in Baghdad.

“It reminds me that there are still dangers out there,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. soldier in Iraq, said of the American deaths. “There are still people out there who do not want the government of Iraq to succeed.”

The violence marred what otherwise was a festive occasion as Iraqis commemorated the newly declared National Sovereignty Day with military parades and marching bands in the capital.

Colorful paper balls and Iraqi flags were hoisted on blast walls at checkpoints as patriotic songs blared from loudspeakers on sidewalks.

Plastic flowers and streamers decorated police and army vehicles. One car had a red heart with the English word “Love” in the middle.”

Nice to think it might happen and the USA is on its way out.

In another development now that the USA is on its way out the Iraqi government thinks it can invite the world Oil Industry back in. Back in 1972 Oil companies were kicked out of Iraq by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athists leadership for exploiting the wealth of the country. Since then the infrastructure has suffered a lack of development.

Today the Iraqis held an auction the service the oil fields and it was a bust. Only one deal was made with BP and the Chinese National Petroleum Company.

This is an AP story on the CBS News Site.

“BAGHDAD, June 30, 2009
Iraq’s First Oil Auction Sputters
Government Counted on Foreign Bids For Licenses, But Just One Deal Struck

(AP) Iraq’s hopes for an oil-revenue fueled postwar recovery suffered a sharp blow Tuesday as the foreign oil companies it counted on to help develop its vast reserves greeted the country’s first oil auction in over 30 years with grumbles and just one deal.

Roughly a year in the making, the foreign licensing round was touted by Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani as a key step to boosting Iraq’s oil output to 4 million barrels per day and raking in cash the government desperately needs after years of sanctions and the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 left its economy in shambles.

But the process has been criticized inside the country from the start, and the poor showing at the televised event could offer opponents of the embattled al-Shahristani even more ammunition. It’s the kind of political unrest that helped keep the companies at arms length, despite a shot at 43 billion of the country’s 115 billion barrels of crude reserves.

“With this outcome, the Iraqi government becomes the desperate one,” said Samuel Ciszuk, Mideast energy analyst for London-based IHS Global Insight. “Al-Shahristani has been very focused on this round, and criticized for ignoring everything else, including the easy repairs that could have been done over the past couple of years.”

The televised event came as U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraqi cities, handing over security of urban areas to their Iraqi counterparts. The development, hailed by Iraqis as a sovereignty milestone, likely served to only further raise questions among oil companies monitoring events around the country before committing to big projects.

From the first field offered, disputes over how much the companies would get for producing over a minimum output target cast a pall on the process.

Under the 20-year service contracts on offer, the companies would be paid a per barrel fee for any crude they produce in excess of a minimum production target. But the price requested by all the companies was at least twice as high - and in a couple of cases almost 10 times higher than what the oil ministry was willing to pay.

Two oil executives from different companies at the auction complained that Iraq was offering too little money given the prevailing security risks and political uncertainty. They also complained that they were not given enough time to revise their bids - sometimes as little as 15 to 30 minutes. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company behind Exxon Mobil Corp., said it decided not to submit a bid in the opening round, but didn’t rule out doing so in future auctions.

It said it opted out after a “careful evaluation of the opportunities against Chevron’s standard investment criteria and our inventory of investment projects worldwide.”

The first field on offer was the day’s sole success story. But also underlined the government and the companies’ widely differing expectations.

Two consortiums, headed by British giant BP and Exxon Mobil, submitted offers for the Rumaila oil field - the largest prize on offer with 17.8 billion barrels in crude reserves.

The Exxon Mobil-led consortium, which included Malaysia’s Petronas, requested $4.80 per barrel for production over the minimum, while BP wanted $3.99 per barrel. The ministry was willing to pay $2 per barrel.

BP agreed to match the ministry’s price and won the contract for Rumaila.”

And that is the major news of the day. Other than the non stop Michael Jackson rumors. Latest is that Jackson’s children were not his but from a surrogate. No Jackson genius genes in them. Well maybe they will come out normal then.

Madoff Before The Judge, Discrimination In New Haven

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Madoff got 150 year sentence for stealing $65 Billion. One wonders if he would have got the 12 years his lawyers were asking for if this had happened in the middle of an economic boom. He has been made the scape goat for all the economic bad boys. What we really needed to do was to create coop banks, shut down wall street and give workers control of industry.
Fat chance that will happen. Instead we get a poster boy for the bad capitalist and the rest of them slink out the door with their bonuses and stocks in hand.They should be out there sweeping the streets like in that Abbot and Costello flick.

The Supreme Court decided that the white fire men in New Haven were discriminated against. 5 to 4 according to the court. 9 to 0 according to the right wing media. It seems that there is going to be a witch hunt to try and make a Puerto Rican woman a racist. If the Republicans are able to make that stick, then it will be obvious that the right wing still rules in America and Obama is the stopgap to keep people from rioting in the streets that the extreme left thought he was.
That may seem to be a bit of a stretch but, the issue is that the right wing has been attempting to flush what is left of the liberal agenda in America down the toilet.
I was optimistic at first when Obama was elected, but now the more I see what has happened in America since he has become president, the more I realize that there is simply no way for this system to be reformed. It must be overthrown and since that is unlikely in my life time or at least in the time that I am still able to move without a walker or a wheel chair, the best I can expect is modest reforms that are sops to keep the people from rebelling but in reality, no change that makes a difference to people who need it the average person and the people who are not in the top 10% income bracket.
I was getting soft for a while there, hoping for the best. But I am losing what little hope I had. Lets see what they do to turn health care reform into a joke. What it looks like we will end up with is the worst of both worlds, only private insurance and mandatory participation.

Mohammed Breaks a Move.

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

First I want to say that Mohammed left his home because of persecution. He was haveing visions comparable to epileptic fits and messages from god were being revealed to him. His wife encouraged him to pay attention to those visions and pretty soon he had a community of followers in his home town of Mecca.
In 622 C.E. Mohammed moved his converts to Medina. When the main mentor of Mohamed Abu-Talib, died in 619, his support in Mecca became tenuous among the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh. The Quraysh was the tribe that controlled Mecca. Mohammed’s wife Khadijah, also died about that time. After seeking an abode among the Abyssinian on the other side of the Red Sea and in the city of Ta’if, he was told by converts in Medina that he would be welcome there.
Mohammed had his people move there one at a time and he himself had to sneak out and hide in a cave with Abu-Bakir his lieutenant because there was a plot to kill him in Mecca. This move to Medina was the famous Hijrah and the official founding date of Islam the religion. This gave Mohammed a chance to make a clean break with the old ways that the new religion demanded.
This had created divided loyalties in Mecca that could not long be tolerated in the city where a pagan cult was centered and Bedouin pagans came from all over the desert to gather there to worship and trade durring truce months when feuds between rival clans were put aside. Mohammed claimed that the revelations from the Angel Gabriel that he was receiving, called the Qur’an, meaning the recitations was calling for mankind to put aside other gods or jinns, and to live an upright life as defined in the Qur’an.
Welcomed in Medina, where the clans were having problems. The city, an oasis had been founded or restored by Jewish Arab tribes who had been joined by pagans. Feuds had developed that were spiralling out of control the two main clans being the Aws and the Khazraj. Mohamed was brought in as a neutral third party to settle grievances. This judge was called a Hakim.
In Medina the followers of the new religion were called the Ummah and they were now creating what was like a new clan who no longer had loyalties to their old clans left behind in Mecca. Almost as soon as they got there they began to organize raids against the Quraysh tribes caravans. At first it was the people from Mecca, called Muhajirun or emigrants who formed the raiding parties. They failed at first then had a success in a raid durring the truce month. This was the raid at Nakhlah. This was significant and at first Mohamed’s followers were criticized in Medina for breaking the truce. But then Mohammed had a vision that explained to him that the Quraysh had performed a greater evil by not allowing the practice of Islam in Mecca and therefore the rules of the Pagans did not apply to the followers of the new religion. It also was incumbent on them to destroy all those who would obstruct the practice of the faith. This was a clean break with the old religion.
People who came to Islam came with a clean slate, Crimes committed before conversion did not count. But also besides personal wealth, no assets could be inherited from pagans once one had converted. Islam was now setting itself up as being opposed to the pagans in Mecca.
Soon after there was another raid in which the local Medina people participated. They were called Ansar or helpers. This raid captured an entire caravan and was being taken back to Medina when they met a relief force from Mecca that was twice as large as the 300 or so raiders in the party. But due to their elan and superior discipline they were able to beat the larger party. This was the fight at Badr wells. It was a turning point in the respect they now received among the people of Medina.
Shortly after that the Banu Qaynuqa clan was expelled from Medina over a dispute between them and some Muslims. The Banu Qaynuqa were Jewish and comprised the craftsman and small retail traders in the market. Mohammed had them besieged until they agreed to leave the city. It consolidated Mohammed’s position as leader of the city and was his way at getting back at the Jews for not accepting his version of monotheism. It seems that Jewish rabbis in the city pointed out the sketchy versions of the biblical tales in the version being promulgated by Islam.
After this incident there was a group called the Munafiqun or the waverers by Mohammed, it was led by Ibn-Ubayy who was to oppose Mohamed in some points. He was the one that tried to defend the Banu Qaynuqa clan. They persisted for a few years but after that all the pagan Arabs in Medina were expected to become Muslims and the Jews were expected to respect the Muslims not as a part of Jewish or Christian monotheism, but as a separate distinct Ibrahim’s religion. Up until then the Muslims had been praying to Jerusalem and following the Jewish holy days. Now they were to follow their own course.
Mohammed now declared himself to be the Ummi Prophet, the prophet without a sacred book. Ishmael and Abraham were seen as the founders of the religion with the Ka’bah rock in Mecca as a special place of worship as established by Abraham. They were to now pray to Mecca and the month of Ramadan was now to be a month of fasting. It was the month when the Qur’an was first revealed and was the month when the battle at Badr was fought. It was also determined that Mohamed would be given a fifth of all booty from the raids and he would be in complete control of that, just as the chiefs had been in the traditions of the Arab raiders before. As the leader he was also allowed to have more than the 4 wives his followers were limited too, this was mostly for the sake of political alliances.
Muslims were forbidden pork, a commonality with Judaism. Gaming and drinking wine was also forbidden as social disciplinary measures. Feuding was forbidden between Muslims and the financially weak were to be taken care of through the zakat, or alms tax on possessions. This tax, penalties for crimes and the booty would give the community a financial base that would help make them independent of the clan structure.
The family structure was moved from a clan base to a nuclear base with the husband responcible for the wife and children and retaining custody of the children. Every marriage had equal status before the law. Inheritance was to be primarily in the immediate family. Marriages were to be equal with up to 4 wives allowed and adoptions were not recognised. Infanticide was not allowed and the bride price was given to the bride. The man was not allowed to use the wife’s property and women could inherit though sons could inherit up to twice as much. Men as the providers of the family had the right to divorce, although later women had some right to divorce.
Slavery was still allowed but not between Muslims. Slaves were to be allowed their freedom as a gradual process and also as a penalty for breaches of conduct by the Muslims. The former slaves could not be adopted but they were expected to remain close to the families of their former owners.
Codes of decorum were expected between Muslims but they were fairly vague. When a faction who did not like Mohammed’s favorite wife A’ishah accused her of infidelity, it was decided in her favor but in the future it became a rule that 4 witnesses needed to be gathered to prove an infidelity. That is an example of a personal even becoming part of the Qur’an.
Some things such as the constitution of Medina determining the division of the groups in the city was Mohammed’s not the Qur’an. The expedition to Syria the Mu’tah was of indifference to the Qur’an but the 3 slackers who were slow in going to join the others was of concern. When the Quraysh refused to allow a pilgrimage to Mecca the Qur’an was silent. It was mostly concerned with matters of individual conscience and not matters of political policy, that was left to Mohammed and the leaders of the community. It intervenes to protect the property of orphans.
The Qur’an is more like a series of comments and admonishments to deal with living situations in real life. It is not written as a narrative but as the divine intervention in the day to day life of the followers. It thus does not read like a continuous tale but as a series of statements and reminders of the correct form of action in a given circumstance. As Marshall Hodgson wrote in his “Venture Of Islam”, “Mohammad’s community was not designed simply to redeem the elect from the world, leaving to the Devil those who failed to respond to its vision. It was designed to transform the world itself through action in the world.”

Alien Brain Travel, Japanese War Plans, Sky Saxon Dies

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Humans have primitive brains. They can be hooked up to devices and stimulated to create electrical power for a grid, that was tried by the robots. It was a miserable failure because the imaginary world created for these human brains was sterile and ultimately lacked imagination.
When human brains with their primitive emotional content are connected to our universe to create a travel device.
What we do is simply tap into the human sleeping brain. When humans are in their rest mode they do not need their brains to control motor functions. Beyond the unconscious actions regulating breathing, heart beat, & circulation, there is no need for the brain. It is a perfect machine for us to use.
We activate certain centers of the cerebral cortex in that center we allow the beginnings of a machine driven mechanism. We use the electrical energy to transport out of their world and into ours. It is more efficient than atomic propellants or space bending or exploding suns to drive through black holes. Not efficient and certainly messy ways to get around the galaxy.
The use of human electromagnetic and bipolarity’s, by bending synapses and curving around the corners of the crenelations we can use that to cause the shocks of leaping electrical current from one synapse to the other to leap us from one place to another. It is very simple.
The humans experience this as dreaming. We cover up the brain activity as if it were something called dreaming.

So much for alien space travel. When I discover more I will report on it. Now for something completely different and really interesting. Japanese war planning under Prime Minster Konoe.

The Japanese were attempting to create a co-prosperity sphere across Asia. They merely wanted to kick the gaijin out of Asia. They were even willing to ally with the Indians. If they had managed to unite with the Indians against the British, they might have won the war.
They considered themselves to be the natural leaders of Asia and considered the Chinese whom their own civilization was based as a civilization in decay that required a strong firm hand. Perhaps also they saw China as the Germans saw Russia, room to expand into and as a source of badly needed raw materials. If that was the case it would seem that Siberia would have made more sense, and a coordinated attack on Russia with the Germans might have been one that led to victory. The Japanese had already engaged in their war with China already and they could not antagonize the Russians even though they had beaten them once before an the beginning of the century. But when Germany attacked Russia, that was another story.

Below is a summary of the reasons behind the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, why they didn’t attack Russia and some of the reasons why they continued the war on China. It seems that the Army was almost a totally independent force in Japan of the period and the politicians were enablers of the Army plans. Or at least that is what they are saying here in Wikipedia.

“In June 1937, Prince Fumimaro Konoe became Prime Minister of Japan. Saionji had recommended Konoe to Emperor Shōwa despite his hesitations, because he felt that the Prince might be able to keep the Army in check and protect the position of the Emperor. One month after he came into office, Japanese troops clashed with Chinese troops near Peking Marco Polo Bridge Incident. The Kuomintang Army and its homeland allies saw this as an opportunity to seize northern China. Konoe yielded to pressure and dispatched three divisions of troops. He admonished the military to be sure not to escalate the conflict. The Army had no such intention, and within three weeks it launched a general assault.

Prime Minister Konoe began to realize that he was in a very difficult predicament. Much as he wished to contain the conflict, even considering personal diplomacy with Chiang, he and his cabinet feared that Japanese troops would not respect any peace agreement. He was also unsure that Chiang could control his own forces. In August, Chinese soldiers murdered two Japanese marines in Shanghai. Konoe agreed with the Army Minister to send two divisions to defend Japanese honor. His cabinet then issued a declaration, accusing both nationalist and communist Chinese of “increasingly provocative and insulting” behavior toward Japan. The declaration ended:

In this matter, the Chinese have contemptuously inflicted every sort of awful outrage upon Imperial Japan…. Imperial Japan has at long last exhausted its patience and is now compelled to take resolute action to punish the atrocious Chinese army and to bring the Nanjing government to its senses.

These incidents became the basis for a full-scale war against China. Fellow Cabinet members describe Konoe as remarkably passive during their discussions of how to respond to the Chinese. Konoe’s biographer suggests that his subject was shocked by how little control he had over the military, and at how factional the military itself was. One member confided to his diary, quoting Konoe, “Right now the civilian government is too weak to do anything. Worse, the military is so divided that we do not know who to deal with….”

To assure central control of the military, Hirohito created in October 1937 the Imperial General Headquarters, a structure completely autonomous from the government. Thus, even the supreme Army command had the right to take actions and inform the Prime Minister afterward.

In December, Imperial General Headquarters ordered the Army to drive toward Nanjing, the Nationalist’s capital. This was accomplished within a few weeks during which the Army committed the infamous Nanjing massacre. Such aggressive moves were received exuberantly by an elated public and press, inspired in part by the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement, as the Imperial army seemed invincible.

Konoe’s biographer reports that the seizure of Chiang’s capital left “the entire nation… lightheaded over the victory.” This was the apex of Japanese military success in China, and the government’s peace proposals to Chiang were suitably ambitious:

China would recognize the Japanese puppet regime of Manchukuo.
Chiang would cease cooperating with the communist forces, and join Japan in combating communism.
China would agree to continued Japanese occupation in certain critical areas.
China would allow local government in North China that would facilitate “co-prosperity” between Japan, Manchukuo, and China.
China would pay reparations.
The list of demands went on, essentially asking Chiang to accept Japan’s large involvement in continental Asia, and to head a puppet regime in whatever area Japan allowed him sway. Chiang refused.

Frustrated, Konoe’s government announced in January 1938 that it would no longer deal with Chiang, but would await the development of a new regime. When later asked for clarifications, Konoe said he meant more than just non-recognition of Chiang’s regime but “rejected it” and would “eradicate it”. Meanwhile, Konoe and the military pushed a National Mobilization Law (国家総動員法|Kokka Sōdōin Hō) through the Diet. This allowed the central government to control all manpower and material, and to ignore the Diet in times of war.

Army victories continued: Hsuchow, Hankow, Canton, Wuchang, Hanyang–but still the Chinese kept on fighting. Konoe was not the only one to be frustrated, the Army wanted a settlement so that it could transfer more troops to the north in order to be prepared for combat with the Soviet Union. Attempts were made to establish a puppet Chinese government, under Nationalist defector Wang Ching-wei, but this also proved unsuccessful. Konoe, stating that he was tired of being a “robot” for the military, resigned in January 1939.

Konoe was also discouraged over his failure to negotiate an end to the conflict in China Sino-Japanese War, having broken off the Trautmann Mediation with Chiang Kai-Shek (Jiang Jieshi). This action was also of great importance for the Communist Party of China, as it has been argued that following the Rape of Nanjing Chiang Kai-Shek’s failure to break off the Trautmann Mediation led to the perception that the entire Kuomintang was weak. Kiichirō Hiranuma succeeded him as Prime Minister.

The Army engineered Konoe’s recall in July, 1940. One of his first move was to launch the League of Diet Members Believing the Objectives of the Holy War to counter pacifists like deputy Saitō Takao who had spoken against the “holy war” in China in the Diet on 2 February.

Against the advice of his political allies, and the misgivings of the Emperor, Konoe appointed Yosuke Matsuoka as his foreign minister. Matsuoka was on good terms with the Army—indeed, he had been recommended by the Army. He was also popular with the Japanese public, having established himself as the man who angrily led Japan out of the League in 1933. Matsuoka was described as inventive, eloquent, headstrong, and quick to anger. Konoe knew he was not acquiring a tame cabinet member, but he hoped that Matsuoka would be able to navigate the deeply complex international waters to Japan’s advantage.

Konoe and Matsuoka based their foreign policy on a document that had been drawn up by the Army. Army theorists saw Japan standing on the verge of a new world. To secure its place, it must create a New Order in Greater East Asia, based on the proper alignment of Japan-Manchukuo-China. Dubbing this the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere,” Matsuoka publicly announced that this should also include Indochina (nominally French) and the East Indies (nominally Dutch). Within the government, it was agreed that Japan would try to secure its position in China, defuse the conflict with the Soviet Union, move troops into Indochina, and prepare for a military response from Britain and possibly the United States.

Konoe with his cabinet ministers, including War Minister Hideki Tōjō, the second row, second from the left (July 22, 1940)With the fall of the French government, and the creation of the Vichy regime, French Indochina was left completely vulnerable. In September, 1940, Japan pushed the local authorities to allow it to station troops in their territory. Meanwhile, Hitler had decided that a more firm alliance with Japan would secure a potential ally against the Soviets. He also hoped that this would increase United States anxiety over its Pacific flank, and disrupt the growing Anglo-American alliance, which was predominantly focused on Europe. This fit nicely with Matsuoka’s plans, and on September 27, 1940, the Tripartite Pact was signed. Japan, Germany, and Italy were now allied. Each pledged to recognize the other’s sphere of influence. Each pledged to come to each other’s aid if a new party (presumably the US) entered the fray. Each agreed that the pact did not change current relations with the Soviet Union. In fact, Germany assured Japan that it would help broker a neutrality agreement with the Russians—something that Matsuoka dearly sought.

The Germans followed through on their promise. In October, Ribbentrop proposed to Stalin the idea of a conference to reach a complete understanding about spheres of influence. The German Foreign Minister suggested that Foreign Minister Molotov come to Berlin to begin negotiations. Molotov duly arrived in November. George Kennan says that the Russians overplayed their hand. Believing that Hitler needed Russian neutrality in order to defeat Britain, Stalin prepared a strong set of initial demands, which Hitler had no intention of accepting. Hitler decided not to respond, and instead instructed his military to begin planning for an attack on the Soviet Union.

Matsuoka attempted to secure Japan’s position with a further agreement. On his journey back through Russia, he stopped in Moscow and negotiated a Neutrality agreement with Molotov and Stalin. Japan agreed to relinquish mineral extraction rights in the Northern half of Sakhalin, but otherwise made no concessions. For Japan, the pact made it less likely that the US and Russia would team up against them. Stalin, feeling that he had reduced the prospect of a combined Axis attack, was so pleased that he personally came to the station to see Matsuoka off. In one of the great ironies of the war, this neutrality agreement was honored by both sides—for different reasons—until 1945.

[edit] Konoe’s final term, attempts to avoid war with the United States
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (April 2007)

In April, 1941, a triumphant Matsuoka returned to Japan, convinced that he had played the role of world statesman. But Prime Minister Konoe had a surprise for Matsuoka. Through Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Kichisaburo Nomura , Konoe had in hand what he believed to be a promising peace proposal from the United States. The proposal included American recognition of Manchukuo, the merging of Chiang’s government with the Japan-backed government of Wang, withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and mutual respect for its independence, and even an agreement that Japanese immigration to the US shall proceed “on the basis of equality with other nationals and free from discrimination.” A meeting for negotiation between Roosevelt and Konoe was proposed for Honolulu, to commence as early as May.

There was only one problem with the document. Each side believed that it represented the starting position of the other side, but in reality, it had been drawn up by two American Mary knoll priests and two mid-level Japanese officials. The Japanese Ambassador to the US Nomura Kichisaburo knew this, but managed to give each government the idea that the other had already agreed to the draft as the basis for negotiation. Konoe was elated by this development, and began to line up support for the idea of a summit conference in Hawaii. But Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Roosevelt had no intention of bargaining from this draft. Throughout the next six months, Konoe continued to hope that somehow he would convince Roosevelt to meet with him and settle differences—without having to give up Japanese hegemony in East Asia. He never succeeded.

Opposition to Konoe’s diplomatic initiative began at home. Matsuoka was furious that Konoe had offered concessions behind his back. He bitterly opposed this line, believing that Japan must be firm with the Americans. Konoe was unable to wear him down, and was afraid of the Army’s reaction if he overrode the Foreign Minister. In the end, Matsuoka gutted the draft, replacing it with a reiteration of Japan’s “co-prosperity” policy. This document was conveyed to the Americans on May 12, and found to be unacceptable.

On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and once again Japan was caught completely by surprise. Hurried conferences took place at the highest levels. The question was whether this represented an opportunity for Japan. Both army and navy representatives agreed that the time was right for a military occupation of all of French Indochina. This would position them well for dominance of southern China, and of the entire region, including the oil-producing Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Matsuoka argued that, on the contrary, this was the perfect time to attack the Soviet Union.

In the end, the formal leadership group, called the Imperial Headquarters-Cabinet Liaison Conference, agreed on the “southern” strategy. Nevertheless, it also agreed that German progress should be closely monitored. If Hitler was successful, then Japan could strike when the Soviets were at their weakest. The Japanese would pluck the fruit “when the persimmon is ripe.” Matsuoka was not reconciled to this decision, nor to Konoe’s attempt to negotiate with the United States. He transmitted a provocative statement to Hull, and informed the Soviet Ambassador that the Axis agreement took precedence over the Japan-Soviet neutrality pact. Konoe resigned, only to form a new government without Matsuoka as Foreign Minister. The new Foreign Minister assured the Soviet Ambassador that Japan would honor the neutrality agreement, even though Germany was urging its Japanese ally to attack the Russians from the east.

On July 28, 1941, Japanese forces occupied all of French Indochina. The United States was forewarned of this move through its monitoring of Japan’s cable traffic. Roosevelt immediately froze Japanese assets in the United States. Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies government did likewise. Roosevelt also placed an embargo on oil exports to Japan. This was not expected by Konoe and the leadership group. The military had been certain that the US would not take this drastic measure in response to its southern move.

The Japanese military machine ran on American oil. Over 80% of Japan’s need was being met through US imports. On July 31, the navy informed the Emperor that Japan’s oil stockpiles would be completely depleted in two years. Konoe had been counting on the Navy to restrain the Army from its aggressive designs. Now, however, the Navy Chief of Staff Nagano argued that if war with the US is inevitable, it should start right away.

Konoe made one more desperate attempt to avert war. He proposed a personal summit with Roosevelt–in the United States if necessary–to come to some understanding. Konoe secured backing from the Navy and the Emperor for this move. The Army reluctantly agreed, provided that Konoe adhere to the consensus foreign policy, and be prepared to go to war if his initiative failed. Konoe secretly confided to a friend that he intended to grant further concessions to the US, including withdrawal from China, using direct authority from the Emperor. His friend cautioned that he would be assassinated upon his return. Konoe agreed that this was likely, but felt that it was worth the personal risk.

Roosevelt and Hull played along, even though they felt that negotiations were probably a waste of time. They also doubted that Konoe could make an agreement that was both acceptable to the US and to the militarists at home. Time was what they wanted most. Time to build more airplanes and ships; time to manufacture munitions and train new soldiers; time to rush more supplies to Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Roosevelt told Ambassador Nomura that he would like to see more details of Konoe’s proposal, and he suggested that Juneau, Alaska, might be a good spot for a meeting.

On September 5, Konoe met the Emperor with chiefs of staff Hajime Sugiyama and Osami Nagano. Alarmed, Emperor Showa asked what happened to the negotiations with Roosevelt. Konoe replied that, of course, negotiations were primary, and the military option was only a fall-back position if negotiations failed. The Emperor then questioned Sugiyama about the chances of success of an open war with the Occident. After Sugiyama answered positively, Hirohito scolded him, remembering that the Army had predicted that the invasion of China would be completed in only three months.

The next day the policy about the preparation for war against “United States, England and Holland” was formally proposed at the Imperial Conference. Hara Yoshimichi, the Privy Council President, observed that the plan seemed to put military action ahead of diplomacy. Standing in for the Emperor, he asked if that was the case. The Navy Minister made a reply along the lines that Konoe had stated in his private conference. Then there was silence. No other figure, including Konoe, attempted to answer the question.

The Emperor then stunned the gathering by speaking out. He stated that Hara’s question was an important one, and that it was “regrettable” that none of the senior leaders had addressed it. He then read a verse that had been composed by the Emperor Meiji:

Throughout the world
Everywhere we are all brothers
Why then do the winds and waves rage so turbulently?
He stated that he had often reflected on this verse, which represented the Emperor Meiji’s desire for peace, a desire that he shared. Stung by this unexpected rebuke, Navy Chief of Staff Nagano rose to defend the policy, assuring the Emperor that this consensus document was not a decision to go to war and that priority will be given to negotiations.

The Imperial Conference adopted the policy that would result in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The policy established a set of minimum demands that must be met through negotiations. If Konoe’s negotiations did not bear fruit by mid-October, Japan would commence hostilities against the United States, the Netherlands, and the UK. The minimum demands included a halt to the economic and oil embargoes, withdrawal of political and economic support for the Chinese Nationalist government, agreement to keep Western military forces in the Pacific at their current level, and non-interference in Japan’s attempts to bring “peace” to China. In other words, to accept Japanese hegemony over China, Manchuria, and French Indo-China, and Japanese military primacy in an even broader swath of the East.

While the Emperor received detailed reports from Sugiyama and Nagano about the operations in Southeast Asia and the attack of Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister Konoe made one last desperate attempt to avoid war. That very evening, he arranged a secret dinner conference with US Ambassador Joseph Grew. He told Grew that he was prepared to travel to meet Roosevelt on a moment’s notice. The ship had already been prepared. He was convinced that the United States and Japan could reach a true agreement, and when that happened, he would radio back to the palace, and the Emperor would issue a rescript ordering a complete halt to all aggressive activities.

Ambassador Grew was impressed with Konoe’s sincerity. He cabled back, urging his superiors to advise Roosevelt to accept the summit proposal. The State Department continued to think that an open-ended summit was a waste of time. If Japan were serious, it would begin meaningful and detailed negotiations that would be affirmed at a summit. Konoe’s last push for a diplomatic solution was taken in vain.

visibly distressed (fall 1941)Throughout September the Army and Navy continued to prepare for war. Konoe had hoped that the October deadline would not be observed. The Army and Navy leaders disabused him of this notion. Japan had to act soon, because of the oil embargo. Otherwise it would be conceding defeat through delay. This came to a head at a cabinet meeting on October 14. Army Minister Tojo Hideki stated that negotiations had failed, the deadline had passed. Konoe and his allies had become convinced that if the Army would only agree, in principle, to an ultimate withdrawal from China, a negotiated settlement could be reached with the US. This was brought up at the meeting and General Tojo responded heatedly:

To yield to the American demand and withdraw their troops, he exploded, would wipe out all the fruits of the China War, endanger Manchukuo, and jeopardize the governing of Korea. To accept troop withdrawal in name only would not benefit Japan either, he said. Withdrawal would mean retreat. It would depress morale. A demoralized Army would be as worthless as no Army. Our troops in China are the “heart of the matter,” he persisted. Having made one concession after another, why should Japan now yield the “heart?” “If we concede this, what is diplomacy? It is surrender … a stain on the history of our empire!”

At the close of this meeting, Konoe realized that he had lost the struggle with the military. He knew that many in the Navy were convinced that war with the United States would end in disaster. Yet he was not able to win Navy backing against the adamant Army stance. Navy Admiral Nagano summed up his service’s ambivalent attitude during this period by observing “The government has decided that if there is no war, the fate of the nation is sealed. Even if there is a war, the country may be ruined. Nevertheless, a nation that does not fight in this plight has lost its spirit and is doomed.”

Konoe resigned on October 16 1941, one day after having recommended Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni to the emperor as his successor. Two days later, Hirohito chose General Hideki Tōjō as Prime Minister despite the wish of the Navy and the Army, who would have preferred Prince Higashikuni. In 1946, he explained this decision : “I actually thought Prince Higashikuni suitable as chief of staff of the Army; but I think the appointment of a member of the imperial house to a political office must be considered very carefully. Above all, in time of peace this is fine, but when there is a fear that there may even be a war, then more importantly, considering the welfare of the imperial house, I wonder about the wisdom of a member of the imperial family serving [as prime minister].” Six weeks later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Konoe justified his demission to his secretary Kenji Tomita. “Of course his Majesty is a pacifist and he wished to avoid war. When I told him that to initiate war was a mistake, he agreed. But the next day, he would tell me : ‘You were worried about it yesterday but you do not have to worry so much.’ Thus, gradually he began to lead to war. And the next time I met him, he leaned even more to war. I felt the Emperor was telling me: ‘My prime minister does not understand military matters. I know much more.’ In short, the Emperor had absorbed the view of the army and the navy high commands.”

For those who don’t know, Sky Saxon, of the seminal LA garage band the Seeds, died.

Here is the Wiki version of his life.

“Saxon was born Richard Marsh in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Different sources suggest a birth year of 1937, 1945 or 1946). He began his career performing doo-wop pop tunes in the early 1960s under the name Little Richie Marsh.[5] After changing his name to Sky Saxon, he formed the Electra-Fires in 1962 and then Sky Saxon & the Soul Rockers.[6] In 1965, Saxon founded the psychedelic flower power band The Seeds with Jan Savage (guitar), Rick Andridge (keyboards) and Darryl Hooper (drums).[7] Hit songs for Saxon and the Seeds included “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” and “(You’re) Pushin’ Too Hard”, which became a top 40 song in 1967[6] and was covered by the Monkees.”

Cap and Trade Passes in House, Chinese Discover America

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Henry Waxman Congressman from California introduced and led the charge to pass the Energy Bill in the House of Representatives. It now goes to the Senate.
The Energy & Climate Change Bill passed 219 to 212. It was close. President Obama got on the phone and made the calls needed to convince freshman, blue state Republicans and rural Democrats. 8 Republicans voted for the bill and 44 Democrats voted against it. Nancy Pelosi worked hard on this. John Boehner, Republican House Leader gave an hour plus speech to draw things out, but eventually the bill passed.
It is a pretty weak bill. Lets hope the Senate doesn’t gut it any further.

Today Chancellor Merkel and President Obama met and held a press conference. Obama claims he appreciates her pragmatic approach to the issues of the day. Obama says they aggreed to avoid protectionism and he was impressed with the German commitment to clean & renewable energy. He also spoke of Iran.
Ms Merkel spoke in German and talked about Iran and chastised the Iranian government. She noted that there needs to be a good relationship between the USA and Russian and the Germans have made a point of establishing good relations and she mentioned the need for nuclear disarmament. She noted that the US approach to climate is a sea change from the former administration and she mentioned the upcoming Copenhagen conference coming up in December on climate change. She noted that progress will be made on the economy.
A NY Times reporter asked Obama about Iran. Obama noted that Mousavi in Iran is a representative of the forces of change. But he said it is up the the Iranian people, but a government that treats its own citizens with that level of ruthlessness has moved outside of universal norms. Obama said he did not take Mr Ahmadinejad’s calls for apologies seriously. He said that he needs to apologise to the Iranian people. That was the sound bite of the day.
A German reporter asked about closing Guantanamo. Obama said he is looking for help from friends and allies in dealing with the detainees. He basicly said nobody is offering to take any detainees in Europe.
Ms Merkel said that the Germans are not going to take any responsibility for the detainees.
When another reporter asked how events in Iran and Iraq are affecting US dialogue with Iran on nuclear issues, Obama said current events would have an effect. He said Iraq, despite a current uptrend in bombings, is progressing away from the levels of violence that once occurred. The big challenge is the political one for the Iraqis in determining how to share the resources.

But that is enough of that. I had to go to C Span just to get that bit of news. The regular channels are stuck on Michael Jackson.

So I went to the History Channel and they were talking about Chinese sailing ships and naval technology like mines.
The Chinese were developing mines for a thousand years made from pigs intestines and gunpowder. They would be suspended in the rivers to control the movement of warships. They had paddle wheel ships with up to 32 paddles that they used against the British in the Opium wars. How is it that the Chinese who were so advanced a thousand years ago got to be so far behind 200 years ago.
Their junk, the most advanced ship design at the time was able to travel all the way to the coast of Africa. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Chinese went all over Asia, to Africa and maybe to America. The claim is that the Chinese treasure fleet came to America 71 years before Columbus.

This is from Sail-World

“Did the Chinese Sail to America before Columbus?

It’s a theory. Now, someone is more than half way to proving that it probably happened. The Chinese Junk, the Tai Ping, manufactured and sailed as Chinese Junks were 600 years ago, has arrived in Hawaii half way across the Pacific on its return journey.

The Tai Ping arrived at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Honolulu in late December and is scheduled to leave in early February. There is one American on board, Hugh Morrow.

In April, Capt. Nelson Liu and a crew of eight left from Hong Kong and Taiwan to sail across the Pacific in exactly the same vessel used by Chinese sailors more than 600 years ago. In fact, the Princess Tai Ping that sailed into San Diego Harbor on Nov. 16, after stops in Vancouver, Canada; Seattle and San Francisco, was many times smaller than the historic Chinese junks that sailed the seas when China was at the zenith of its maritime power.

Given the historical fact that 10 anchors from similar Chinese ships have been found in the bottom of the ocean in various parts of the West Coast – and the theory becomes more than conjecture.

The Tai Ping, launched last January after six years of research and development, sailed from Taiwan to Okinawa and Japan, crossed 5,100 miles of ocean to Northern California, then sailed down to San Diego before coming to Hawaii.

Liu, 61, said the crossing from Japan to Eureka, Calif., took 69 days, with sea swells sometimes in excess of 15 feet and crew members sleeping in tiny crawl spaces covered by a row of hatches down the center of the boat.

‘I did something to prove our ancestors could do such a voyage,’ said Liu, a congenial, soft-spoken man in his 50s, during an interview before sailing back to China. ‘If we could do it, our ancestors could have done it,’ added Liu.

Everything he and his crew did was exactly as it might have been 600 years ago. They washed and did dishes with sea water – even brushed their teeth. And they ate what they caught along the way – mostly squid and mahi mahi. Tea was also prepared every day in the ancient way. And living quarters? Barely wide enough to house a duffel bag, but they managed.

Of course, there were concerns such as pirates and storms, but Liu is a man of experience who sailed around the world several times, although in modern, Western-type sailing vessels. In 1992, he crossed the Pacific ‘in the wrong season. We hit a typhoon,’ he explained. ‘But, on the other hand, the boat was tested. It sailed wonderfully, but I was scared to death.’

The experience also tested Liu and convinced him that the voyage of a lifetime could be done, so he set out to raise funds to make a longtime dream come true.

Just as the revival of the hokulea, or outrigger canoe, inspired Polynesians some 30 years ago, Liu wanted to bring the same pride to Chinese culture.

‘Our mission is to restore the craftsmanship and navigation techniques of ancient Chinese people, to honor the richness of Chinese maritime culture, and to applaud the glorious pieces in Chinese history,’ Liu wrote in a promotional piece published by National Geographic magazine.

Eighty-seven years before Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage, China’s most famous navigator, Zheng He (Cheng Ho), was sailing throughout the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, recording seven epic voyages to the Persian Gulf and faraway Africa. Zheng’s flagship was 400 feet long, much larger than the Princess Tai Ping, as well as Columbus’ Santa Maria. From the beginning of the 15th century, and for 28 years, he traveled some 60,000 miles, visiting more than 30 countries.

Liu set out to revive this tradition, which included building a replica of a Chinese junk from scratch and with the same materials used centuries ago, relying on records and documents from the Ming Dynasty to maintain accuracy. Not only is the appearance the same; so were the shipbuilding techniques, which meant no bolts, screws or anything synthetic.
While similar craft have been built using fiberglass and other synthetic materials, the Princess Tai Ping is all wood.
by Leonard Novarro/Sail-World Cruising 8:58 PM Sat 3 Jan 2009 GMT

This is from Archeology Magazine web site.

Rebuilding a Treasure Ship Volume 61 Number 2, March/April 2008
by Mara Hvistendahl

In its 15th-century navy, China discovers a model for its new global ambitions.
Using many 15th-century techniques, shipbuilder Fang Jiebo works on what will become one of the ribs of a reproduction of a massive “treasure ship” captained by the Muslim eunuch explorer Zheng He. Modern Chinese officials want to use Zheng He’s legacy to shape perceptions of their country’s rise to global prominence. (Ariana Lindquist)
An improbably small worker in gray coveralls tugs at a thick iron chain, his mouth set in a resolute line. The chain extends to an overhead pulley and back down to the midpoint of a massive square log that the worker is slowly, excruciatingly trying to turn on its side. Few tasks are too gargantuan in today’s China, but this is a bit much. The log is 52 feet long and weighs more than eight tons.

Finally, it tips over with a resounding thump. Once this log is sanded and varnished, it will become part of a titanic reproduction, based partly on archaeological evidence, of a boat captained by Zheng He, China’s legendary fifteenth-century explorer. T. J. Jia smiles approvingly from under his white supervisor’s hard hat. A good-humored man with wide-set eyes, his supple leather jacket and flawless English hint at a privileged background. He is a former Chinese foreign ministry official with an MBA from the Garvin School of International Management in Arizona. He stands in a large, hangar-like warehouse. Outside, the brown waters of the Yangtze River roil by. “We’ve had to import balau wood from Malaysia,” Jia says apologetically. “We don’t have it in China anymore. The forests are gone.”

This is just a slight inconvenience. Jia is deputy general manager of Dragon Boat Development Company, which is overseeing the project with the city of Nanjing. With a $10 million budget and a three-year timeline, he can afford to import wood for historical accuracy. The company even uses many fifteenth-century construction methods, which explains why the tiny workman uses a pulley instead of a forklift.

Porcelain rice bowls, with workers’ names painted on the bottom, were found at the site of a 15th-century shipyard. (Qi Haining, Deputy Director of the Nanjing Municipal Museum Archaeology Department)
China’s leaders are seizing on history as a tool to influence the perception of the nation abroad. Through a careful, calculated celebration of Zheng He and his travels, the government hopes to project an image of itself as open and benevolent–a powerful but peaceful nation interested in trade, not domination. But history and archaeology don’t always cooperate.

The story of the boat now being reconstructed begins in 1402, when a dynamic young prince named Zhu Di ousted his brother by force, usurping the Ming throne. For centuries, China had been dominated by Confucian advisers who convinced the emperors to spurn international commerce and look inward. Referred to as the Yongle (meaning “eternal happiness”) emperor, Zhu Di wanted to reinstate foreign trade, invite in foreigners, and unite “the four seas”–what China then saw as the rest of the world. The following year, he ordered the construction of a fleet larger than any in history, with 317 boats. Its centerpieces were majestic “treasure ships,” named for the wealth of goods they carried. According to historical sources, each ship boasted a tall, curled prow, nine staggered masts, and 12 red silk sails. Watertight compartments carried porcelain, silk, and tea for trading with distant lands. It is unclear how many such ships Zhu Di’s initial fleet included–a novel from the period suggests there were four–but each was apparently more than 400 feet long, or four times the length of Columbus’s Santa Maria.

The man the emperor chose to captain the voyages, a Chinese Muslim eunuch from among his closest advisers, was as imposing as the fleet he led. Standing over six feet tall, Admiral Zheng He had distinguished himself in an offensive against the Mongols in 1390 and again when the emperor seized China’s throne. As head of the fleet from 1405 to 1433, Zheng He led explorations of Vietnam, Siam, Malacca, Java, India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and other lands. He commanded 27,000 sailors, along with doctors, astrologers, translators, and pharmacologists. Eighty years before Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Zheng He reached eastern Africa. Before the death of the Yongle emperor and subsequent political shuffling put an end to his voyages, China ruled the seas. “We have traversed more than one hundred thousand Li [around 25,000 miles] of immense water spaces and have beheld in the ocean huge waves, like mountains rising sky-high,” boasts a tablet Zheng He had erected in Fujian in 1432, near the port from which he sailed.

Worker Fang Zaihua planes one of the 6 masts of the Zheng He ship reconstruction. The original ships had 12 masts, but this one has been scaled down to meet today’s Chinese maritime regulations. (Ariana Lindquist)
In 1424, the Yongle emperor died. Zheng He followed him in 1433, at age 62, dying at sea of unknown causes. In the next few decades, the Chinese elite began to question the cost of maintaining a large fleet. Just as Europe was launching its own maritime expeditions, power reverted to the Confucians, who scaled back the shipyard’s operations and eventually banned maritime trade altogether. By the next century, China had again closed out the world.

Zheng He’s legacy endures in the Fujian tablet, which was erected shortly before his death. “We have set eyes on barbarian regions far away,” it reads, “hidden in a blue transparency of light vapors, while our sails, loftily unfurled like clouds day and night, continued their course [as rapidly as] a star, traversing the savage waves as if we were treading a public thoroughfare.”

Once the replica treasure ship is completed, its planners intend it to follow a similar course, retracing Zheng He’s voyages. And, like its Ming predecessors, the ship will one day be part of a fleet. Dragon Boat is already fielding orders–a cultural bureau from New York’s Chinatown is among those expressing interest. When asked about the future, Jia smiles. “We will build another one,” he says. “And another one. And another one.”
Mara Hvistendahl is a freelance writer based in Shanghai.
© 2008 by the Archaeological Institute of America
www.archaeology.org/0803/abstracts/zhenghe.html”

Well you never know.

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett & David Carradine Dead

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Dead, dead, dead. That is what they have in common, that and the fact that they were all celebrities.
Carradine dieing from kinky sex age 72, just got a shrug from most people and fond memories of him in the TV show King Fu.
Fawcett got a few middle-aged erection memorials going from members of the Disco generation for whom she was a hot exemplar. She died of cancer age 62. A relativly normal death in this day and age.
Jackson, now he was a celebrity on par with John Lennon. Called the King of Pop, he was planning on a come back tour this summer in London when he died of cardiac arrest in his Bel Air home. The true prince of Bel Air. Jackson called himself the real Peter Pan, he never wanted to grow up. Perhaps because he never had a childhood being a singer in the family band the Jackson 5 at age 5, with hit songs at age 11.
Jackson had the great album Thriller, number one hit in the world in 1983. A decade later when I was in India I remember watching teenage Indian guys doing Thriller moves when they wanted to impress girls, or to show me that even in remote villages with no electricity, they were in touch with pop culture. That was when I realized what a star Jackson was.
I was a bit turned off by the chimp and prepubescent boy fetish. The nose thing and skin whitening was pretty wierd. But what the hell he was rich and he blew it. He bought the rights to the Beatles catalog just to piss off Paul McCartney. A real eccentric star. As has been noted, could you imagine him getting old and shriveling up? It was probably better for him to go now at age 50 than to linger.
I even bought a copy of Thriller and the Jacksons Greatest Hits last year. And I never cared for him back in the 80’s when he was at the height of his fame. But now I recognise Thriller as one of the last great American pop albums.

Reverend Al Sharpton is on CNN raving about what a genius Michael Jackson and his own mentor James Brown was.

Other matters if there are any.
Harlem, there is a Michael Jackson party in the street outside of the Apollo
theatre.
That’s it, its all Michael, all the time. American media has no other interest tonight, The one and only Billy Shears… 14 number one hits on the Billboard charts. The top pop stars ever Elvis, Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and then Michael Jackson.

Here is a list
“WASHINGTON, D.C. - In his career, Michael Jackson— known to many as the King of Pop— had 14 Billboard number one hits.

Here’s the list of his number ones, according to Wikipedia :

1972: ” Ben” (1 week)
1979: ” Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” (1 week)
1980: ” Rock with You” (4 weeks)
1983: ” Billie Jean” (7 weeks)
1983: ” Beat It” (3 weeks)
1983: ” Say Say Say” (6 weeks)
1985: ” We Are The World” (4 weeks) (this track is counted extra officially, considering that was credited to USA for Africa)
1987: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (with Siedah Garrett) (1 week)
1987: ” Bad” (2 weeks)
1987: ” The Way You Make Me Feel” (1 week)
1988: ” Man in the Mirror” (2 weeks)
1988: ” Dirty Diana” (1 week)
1991: ” Black or White” (7 weeks)
1995: ” You Are Not Alone” (1 week)

Meeting Quincy Jones while working on the movie The Wiz where he played the scarecrow, was what changed Michael Jacksons career. 1979 saw the release of “Off The Wall” and his career headed for greatness with Thriller released in 1982. Then came Bad in 1987, Dangerous in 1991, HIStory in 1995 and Invincible in 2001 his last album.
Michael was the first black star to breakout on MTV as the media is pointing out.

Hometown Gary, Indiana has had a prayer vigil.

Jesse Jackson remembers visiting Michael at Neverland when he was enduring the trial for child molestation and said he saw him being fed through an IV. He was too weak to eat.
Neverland will never be the same. Jackson says he missed his childhood and that was why he surrounded himself with children, to have a childhood of sorts for the rest of his life. And perhaps if he gets his way, Michael Jackson heaven will be an amusement park.

Sanford Affair. Baseball, LSD, Bagram & CIA

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Sanford, not his sons, was out of the country haveing an affair. Don’t cry for me Argentina… Nope not hiking on the Appalachian Trail. There goes another Republican candidate for 2012. First it was Ensign and now its Sanford. McCain was a famous womanizer but he at least was able to keep his affairs private.

Lets see, yesterday the Supreme Court allowed the Voting Rights Act to survive for another year. It seems that only member Uncle Tomas decided it was time for all the black folk to go back to the way it was before they got uppity and learned to vote.

The biggest bombing of the year occurred today in Baghdad when a bomb blast killed at least 70 people in an open market in a Shia neighborhood. This is preparation for the US troops to pull out of the cities in Iraq by the end of this month. A going away blast.

Today I heard the story of the No-Hitter on Acid. It was during an interview on NPR when Tod Snider, country singer/songwriter talked about his song about Dock Ellis.

So I looked it up and found this on a site called Shakespeare on Acid or something like that.

“Dock Ellis Says He Pitched 1970 No-Hitter Under The Influence of LSD

Thanks to Michael Horowitz of Flashback Books for providing this information which was printed in Lysergic World San Francisco, April 16-19, 1993
Los Angeles, April 8, 1984- Former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher Dock Ellis says he was under the influence of LSD when he pitched a 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

Ellis, now coordinator of an anti drug program in Los Angeles, said he didn’t know until six hours before his June 12, 1970 no hitter that he was going to pitch.

“I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn’t know it. I had taken LSD….. I thought it was an off-day, that’s how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, “Dock, you’re pitching today!”

“That’s when it was $9.50 to fly to San Diego. She got me to the airport at 3:30. I got there at 4:30, and the game started at 6:05pm. It was a two-night doubleheader.

I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria.

I was zeroed in on the (catcher’s) glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times.

The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”

The Pirates won the game, 2-0, although Ellis walked eight batters. It was the highpoint in the baseball career of one of the finer pitchers of his time, and arguably,one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports.”

So maybe all that acid I took as a kid didn’t fry my brains.

The CIA drugged scientists to see what they would do when under the influence.

“HOW CIA KILLED SCIENTIST IN LSD “EXPERIMENT”
AND RUMSFELD AND CHENEY
COVERED IT UP

Scientist’s death haunts family
By Fredric N. Tulsky
Mercury News
Courtesy of Eric Olson

The death in 1953 of a government scientist, Frank Olson, in a fall from a New York hotel window, is one of the most notorious cases in CIA history. Only in 1975 did Olson’s family learn that the CIA had slipped LSD into his drink, days before his death. President Ford apologized for an experiment gone awry, and promised that the government would reveal everything about the case.

But newly obtained documents show that the Ford administration continued to conceal information about Olson — particularly, his role in some of the CI A’s most controversial research of the Cold War, on anthrax and other biological weapons.

The documents show that two of the key officials involved in the decision to withhold that information were White House aides Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, today the nation’s vice president and secretary of Defense.

“These documents show the lengths to which the government was trying to cover up the truth,” said the scientist’s son, Eric Olson, who gave them to the Mercury News. “For 22 years there was a coverup. And then, under the guise of revealing everything, there was a new coverup.”

Rumsfeld’s office referred questions about the withholding of information to the CIA, where a media officer, Paul Nowack, said that CIA activities related to Frank Olson’s death were investigated by the Rockefeller Commission as well as subsequent congressional committees.

“The CIA fully cooperated” in those investigations, he said, and “tens of thousands of documents were released.” If anyone has new information, he said, “they should contact appropriate authorities.”

Contrary to the official explanation that Frank Olson was an Army scientist, Olson worked for the CIA, at the special operations division at Fort Detrick, the Maryland laboratory where biological weapons were tested.

Classified research Eric Olson said this week that a former colleague and friend of his father’s contacted him last year and described some of the closely guarded work his father conducted.

He said the colleague told him his father was among scientists studying the use of LSD and other drugs to enhance interrogations, as Cold War tensions ran high and Americans feared that captured soldiers had been brainwashed in Korea.

In the months before his death, the colleague said, Frank Olson had gone to Europe, where he observed the interrogation of former Nazis and Soviet citizens at a secret U.S. base. And, the colleague said, Frank Olson had knowledge of the U.S. biological weapons program.

Eric Olson contends that in the final days of his life, his father became morally distraught over his work and decided to quit. Personnel records show that agency officials were concerned that he was a security risk. Eric Olson believes the thought of Frank Olson quitting was a motive for the government to want him dead.

In 1993, Eric Olson arranged for his father’s body to be unearthed and examined by a forensic scientist, James Starrs. Starrs concluded that Frank Olson had probably been struck on the head and then thrown out of the hotel window.

Contact Fredric N. Tulsky at rtulsky@sjmercury.com or (408) 920-5512.”

Interesting story of government mind control experiments gone awry.

And what about techniques used in Guantanamo and at Bagram? Do you think that all those experiments on the Manchurian Candidate were just stories? The CIA played its part.

For instance was Sirhan Sirhan a Manchurian Candidate? He claims he has no memory of shooting Robert Kennedy. People who were there said he seems to have been in a trance when he was captured. Some say it happened, others say that in 1968 the CIA gave up on attempts to believe that a human can be programed to murder on cue unwittingly. 80 institutions were contacted to do CIA mind control experiments. This is reported on the Nat-Geo channel.

Atlantic Magazine
24 Jun 2009 03:01 pm

Torture At Bagram

One reason the government is determined not to let the extra photographs of prisoner abuse under Bush-Cheney come to light is that they would show that exactly the same torture techniques we saw at Abu Ghraib were systemic across every major theater of combat as the US turned into a rogue nation under Bush-Cheney. Bagram may well have been among the worst - and it’s still operating (though, presumably, without torture since the day after Obama’s inauguration). The BBC has been investigating some of the reports. Its story comports with everything we know about Cheney’s determination to torture prisoners using the techniques perfected by the Communist Chinese.

The BBC interviewed 27 former inmates of Bagram around the country over a period of two months… None were charged with any offence or put on trial; some even received apologies when they were released. Just two of the detainees said they had been treated well. Many allegations of ill-treatment appear repeatedly in the interviews: physical abuse, the use of stress positions, excessive heat or cold, unbearably loud noise, being forced to remove clothes in front of female soldiers. In four cases detainees were threatened with death at gunpoint.

“They did things that you would not do against animals let alone to humans,” said one inmate known as Dr Khandan. “They poured cold water on you in winter and hot water in summer. They used dogs against us. They put a pistol or a gun to your head and threatened you with death,” he said. “They put some kind of medicine in the juice or water to make you sleepless and then they would interrogate you.” ”

Torture has gone on at Bagram with the USA’s support. Possibly directly by the CIA. Obama says we do not torture anymore. He is closing Guantanamo. What about Bagram. Is it torture free or is it a free fire torture zone? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Obama Iran No CIA Plot. Bush Made Up Iraq Crimes.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Today at a news conference Obama says the CIA did not start the revolt in Iran. Now he did not say the CIA had nothing to do with events in Iran. He simply said that the CIA is not the instigator of events. This in responce to Iranian media broadcasts of seeming confessions by Iranians who claim the US and British agents influenced persons to riot.
I would agree with President Obama that there was a genuine expectation in a portion of the population in Iran for change and there was a genuine disappointment at the election results. Urban women, college students and professionals especially are disappointed. They want to get out from under the mullahs who they see as being out of touch with the modern world and not representing their interests.
My view is that Israel, and the elites in western Europe and the USA would like the current regime in Iran to go away. Having cut off the balls of leftist resistance in the Middle East, there is only the Islamic opposition. In the rest of the world there are few strong forces resisting capitalism. The remaining legitimate guerrilla movements around the world are mostly Islamic. Communist opposition is limited to places like Nepal. Socialist opposition is mostly in Latin America where Chavez leads the resistance, and there is no organised anarchist or green opposition except those allied with socialists and communists. That leaves the Muslims to carry on the brunt of the war against capital.
On NPR this afternoon a reporter who just left Iran was asked what the Iranian opposition wants. They want their freedom he said. When asked to define what that means the reporter stated that the protesters want to dress as they like, go to schools overseas, travel where they want without worrying about some places being politically incorrect. They want to say what they want when they want and to be able to explore opportunities in western countries.
Mostly what I got from what he said was that they want bourgeois freedoms that have more to do with a capitalist definition of freedom, freedom to shop, consume, make money and travel to places to make money without any other moral, legal or social restrictions. That seems to be pretty much it. Free speech is a good value and I agree with that desire. But the rest of these are peripheral values. Certainly we all would like to be free of government interference in our personal lives. But to equate the freedom to look for a job overseas with a fundamental right like the right to medical care, shelter and food is not exactly equivalent. There is an imbalance there and that is a problem with this whole thing in Iran.
People are fighting over issues that are not exactly life shattering. Yet they have made them into life shattering issues. When a dozen people get shot over the right not to wear a head scarf or the right to take a job in the USA rather one in Iran,that is raising the bar.
The Iranian State Media even claimed that the shooting of that woman last weekend might have been staged. Exactly my point when I saw it, not because it didn’t happen, but because it was broadcast without independent verification.

Blair and Bush met and decided in January 2003 that there was not going to be any weapons of Mass Destruction and so they needed to come up with another scenario. At least that is what the secret memo recently released to the media states. This is from the UK Guardian Newspaper, a reprint of a story in the Observer.

“Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq
Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK’s role in toppling Saddam Hussein.

The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action.

Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan “to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover”. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.

The president expressed hopes that an Iraqi defector would be “brought out” to give a public presentation on Saddam’s WMD or that someone might assassinate the Iraqi leader. However, Bush confirmed even without a second resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was “solidly with the president”.

The five-page document, written by Blair’s foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, and copied to Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the UK ambassador to the UN, Jonathan Powell, Blair’s chief of staff, the chief of the defence staff, Admiral Lord Boyce, and the UK’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, outlines how Bush told Blair he had decided on a start date for the war.

Paraphrasing Bush’s comments at the meeting, Manning, noted: “The start date for the military campaign was now pencilled in for 10 March. This was when the bombing would begin.”

Last night an expert on international law who is familiar with the memo’s contents said it provided vital evidence into the two men’s frames of mind as they considered the invasion and its aftermath and must be presented to the Chilcott inquiry established by Gordon Brown to examine the causes, conduct and consequences of the Iraq war.

Philippe Sands, QC, a professor of law at University College London who is expected to give evidence to the inquiry, said confidential material such as the memo was of national importance, making it vital that the inquiry is not held in private, as Brown originally envisioned.

In today’s Observer, Sands writes: “Documents like this raise issues of national embarrassment, not national security. The restoration of public confidence requires this new inquiry to be transparent. Contentious matters should not be kept out of the public domain, even in the run-up to an election.”

The memo notes there had been a shift in the two men’s thinking on Iraq by late January 2003 and that preparing for war was now their priority. “Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning,” Manning writes. This was despite the fact Blair that had yet to receive advice on the legality of the war from the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, which did not arrive until 7 March 2003 - 13 days before the bombing campaign started.”

Tisk tisk, legality, who cares about legality when there is a dictator to trounce and oil to control.

Crusaders and Muslims, Iranians & A Train Crash

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

The Trains were smashed today outside of Washington, DC. Latest report 2-8 people are dead. Is this an accident or a warning?

Obama signed the anti smoking bill today and acknowledged his own problems with smoking. He struggles to quit the habit, even to this day.

From Wikipedia
“The 1979 Iranian Revolution, which ousted the pro-American Shah and replaced him with the anti-American Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, came as a complete surprise to the United States government, its State Department and intelligence services, which “consistently underestimated the magnitude and long-term impli­cations of this unrest”. Only six months before the revolution culminated, the CIA even pro­duced a report which stated that “Persia is not in a revolutionary or even a “pre revolutionary” situation”

Ahmadinejad, in 1978-79 then a young leader of the Iranian revolution, was opposed to the occupation of the American Embassy. He wanted to occupy the Soviet Embassy according to a special on the National Geographic Channel. He was overrulled by others who thought it would be a good way to get back at the USA for letting the Shah of Iran go to an hospital in NYC for medical tests. The American Embassy was occupied and I organized the first demonstration in the USA, first a press conference in the United Nations and then a demonstration in the streets of NYC, to ship the Shah back to Iran in exchange for the hostages. If the USA had taken my advice, perhaps Reagan would not have been elected president.

From Axis News from an article about the Soviet Ambassador Vinogradov.

“From February 1977 until April 1982 Vinogradov was the ambassador of the USSR in Iran. The Islamic revolution, which took place during this period, caused an appreciable deterioration in Soviet-Iranian relations.

At the initial stage of Islamic revolution, Vinogradov was impressed by the national popularity of imam Khomeini. The Soviet ambassador sympathized with one of the spiritual leaders of revolution, Mahmud Taleghani, (for his leftist orientation, he was nicknamed “red mullah “). By the way, Taleghani died under rather strange circumstances in the beginning of September 1979 right after the meeting with Vinogradov. (Apparently, the adherents of Khomeini who considered Taleghani one of his main political competitors poisoned the “red mullah”). Soon after that there was a prompt deterioration of relations between Tehran and Moscow. The principal ideological contradictions of Shia fundamentalism and Russian communism; the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (December, 1979); connections of leftist Iranian organizations, in particular those of the Communist Party with special services of the USSR were the main reasons for that.
In January and in December, 1980 demonstrators protesting against the invasion of Soviet armies into Afghanistan twice attacked the embassy headed by Vinogradov.
Influenced by the events of 1979 - 1980, during the last one and a half years of his service, Vinogradov began to see the new Iranian regime in a rather negative light. In his reports to Moscow, he criticized more and more the methods of suppression of opposition, the absence of a precise economic concept, and the position of local authorities concerning the conflict in Iraq.”

The Iranians were invaded by Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein after the USA attempt to free the hostages by helicopter fails. The US government knew about the imminent attack but did nothing to stop it and helped the Iraqis according to the Nat-Geo program. This is a critical point. Iran was attacked by Iraq and the war lasted for 8 years. This caused the death of hundreds of thousands. Iran survived but was drained.

Iran supported the Lebanese radicals and helped form Hezbollah in 1982. The next year they were able to kick the Americans and French out of Lebanon blowing up the Marine Barracks.

Later when Seyed Mohammad Khātamī became the President of Iran. He was a moderate, a liberal cleric. The US and Iran became allies over the issue of the Taliban. The Iranian Embassy in Afghanistan was blown up and the staff were executed by the Taliban when they occupied Kabul. The Iranian allies in the north of Afghanistan became the main force that went on to destroy the Taliban after their leader was executed by Al Qaeda.
The Bush administration blew an opportunity to work with the Iranians when they called Iran part of the Axis of Evil. The Iranians wanted to aid the US in its war with Iraq just as they aided the US in the invasion of Afghanistan. Bush decided not to take their aid. Instead he let them know that they were now a target. Next on the list after Iraq. The Neo-con position had won out and those who wanted to work with the Iranians were pushed aside. At least that is what is stated in the Nat-Geo special.
The Swiss embassy gives a report to the US for a road map for a return to normal relations between the US and Iran. This was a week after the Bush speech that the war was over in Iraq. The state department decided not to pursue the contacts. This was seen as a slap in the face in Iran and thus the Iranians decided to support the insurgency in Iraq. Quid Pro Quo.
Then the Iranians decided to push for a nuclear weapon. The French tried to arrange for a peace making deal between the USA and Iran, by haveing the USA give Iran some spare parts in an exchange for a change in the Iranian position on nuclear weapons. Ambassador Bolton at the UN quashed the deal. Powell left the administration and it was now Condi Rice’s job. The Bush hard liners had dug a pretty deep hole. Ahmadinejad. the rock star of Iranian politics became president of Iran and the USA had a whole new ball game.
Bush has Rice warn the Iranians that the US would attack Iran if the Iranians kept supporting the resistance in Iraq. The Iranians made an offer, if the USA let them proceed with the nuclear plan, the they will stop killing American troops in Iraq.
The USA was proving to be unreliable and based on the North Korean experience they determined that it would be better to negotiate from a position of strength than weakness so we have the standoff and that was how things were when Bush left and the Obama people came in. The USA was ready for regime change and the Iranians were afraid that was what the US was all about.
I wonder what deal they made? Rice offered to let the Iranians have a seat at the diplomatic table and we would take regime change off the US program. The Iranians could have peaceful nuclear power if there is no bomb development. Real or illusion? No enrichment, no sanctions… and the Swiss had to issue 300 visas for Iranians to be in NYC. President Ahmadinejad came the deal was off and the status quo remained or so they say on the Nat-Geo special. Remember this is a Fox News channel.
There you have it. Now for the Crusades a long time fear in the back of the minds of all Muslims.

The Crusaders in 1096 took off from western Europe to attack the Islamic lands Syria and Palestine. After three years the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and slaughtered all the inhabitants. Jews, Muslims and Christians. All massacred. Over 30,000 people. The forces of Islam were fighting among themselves instead of uniting to seek revenge on the Crusaders.
Only a couple hundred knights stayed after the crusade. Christians from western Europe flocked to this now empty city. Edessa, Antioch, Tripoli & the Kingdom of Jerusalem were formed and Christians from Europe came to settle in the lands around the cities. Tourism came also and thousands made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Temple of the Holy Sepulchre was the main destination.
Knights Templar and Hospitalars formed fighting monastic communities to protect the tourists from raids by the natives.
Edessa was besieged in 1144 by Atabeg Zengi of Mosul. This was the first major reconquest.
In 1148 the Second Crusade was undertaken by King Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany united to attack Damascus for some strange reason instead of attacking Aleppo which would have allowed for the reconquest of Edessa.
On the way marching through Turkish lands. Conrad split his army into two divisions. The king led one of these, which was almost totally destroyed by the Seljuks on 25 October 1147 at the second battle of Dorylaeum.
Louis then caught up with the German remnants and he was beaten by the Turks as well. Eventually the leaders took ships to Antioch and left the army to struggle on by land. Many died on the way.
With a united army of 50,000 the crusaders attacked Damascus and failed. The defenders had sought help from Saif ad-Din Ghazi I of Aleppo and Nur ad-Din of Mosul, who personally led an attack on the crusader camp.

In the 1160’s the State of Jerusalem made an alliance with the Byzantine empire and attacked Cairo. Saladin was sent by Nur ad-Din to aid the people of Egypt and he was able to unite the people of Egypt with those of Syria to create a united Muslim kingdom.

From RICHARD WARREN FIELD’S INTERNET COLUMN
“Kingdom of Heaven:” Sorting Fact from Fiction
Guy of Lusignan became King of Jerusalem. Guy to be a weak-willed, vacillating leader, not competent to handle the challenges of his position. Just before the Battle of Hattin (portrayed in “Kingdom of Heaven,” though not named specifically), Guy was at first persuaded not to move out from the Christian fortresses to contest Saladin’s siege of Tiberias. But Reynald of Chatillon and the Master of the Templar Knights persuaded Guy that he must meet the provocation or be considered an ineffectual coward. So Guy ordered the march to Tiberias, without adequate water sources, and the Christian army was utterly destroyed in the trap Saladin set at the Battle of Hattin on July 4, 1187.
Saladin enjoyed overwhelming military superiority because of the destruction of most of the Christian army about three months before at the Battle of Hattin. Before leaving Ascalon, Saladin offered the Christian leaders in Jerusalem a generous proposition. They would be allowed to hunt and forage in the area until the following Pentecost, unmolested by Saladin’s troops. In exchange, the Christians would agree to surrender peacefully if by that time no rescue was coming. The Christians refused any terms. So Saladin vowed to take Jerusalem by storm, as Christians had in 1099.

Saladin was on the verge of keeping that vow when Balian asked for terms. Balian told Saladin that Christians were prepared to massacre all their Muslim prisoners and destroy the Muslim holy places in the city if Saladin insisted on storming Jerusalem. Saladin chose to save lives, Muslim and Christian, rather than keep his vow. The people were to ransom themselves to avoid slavery. When wealthy Christians left the city without offering ransom money to help poor refugees who could not pay, Saladin released many of the poor Christians without collecting their ransoms.”

Christians massacred thousands when they conquered Jerusalem. Saladin had an almost bloodless conquest after defeating the Crusaders at Hattin.

After that came the ill-fated Third Crusade. Frederick Barbarossa led an army of 100,000 men from Germany, but he drowned in a freak accident in 1189. His army lost heart and went home.
Richard the Lion-heart of England sold everything he owned to finance the campaign. He was joined by Philip of France and Leopold of Austria attacked Acre, captured it and massacred 2600 prisoners in the sight of Saladin. Richard argued with the other kings and they left. Richard took Jaffa in 1191. He marched on Jerusalem but a few miles outside of the city he decided he couldn’t capture Jerusalem. He didn’t have enough men left.
In the end Richard and Saladin made a truce and Richard gave up on attacking Jerusalem but was able to get Saladin to agree to let pilgrims come to visit Jerusalem.

Then the evil Fourth Crusade which was side tracked into attacking Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire. With Christian attacking Christian there was little chance of a return to Jerusalem and by 1291 the last Christian city in the Holy Land was lost to the Muslims.

Protests In Iran, Manipulated By Capitalists

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

The response of the government to the protests by cracking down and aparently shooting a dozen or so of them has created martyrs captured on cell phones and spread around the world by Twitter and Face book.
The NSA and CIA in conjunction with President Obama have made sure that these internet servers acted to support the opposition in Iran.
A few thousand protesters threw rocks and burned cars. The police cracked down. The government, by not allowing international media to cover the protests and thus chill out the images going out to the international audience has perhaps backfired by allowing the images to be controlled by the protesters. The question is what do the majority of Iranians think? The protesters are mostly students and the intelligentsia. What does that mean? We don’t get the media reporting from small town Iran, probably because there is nothing happening outside of Tehran.
Around the world the Iranian exile community, the former members of the Shah of Iran’s regime and their children are leading the protests. Western media seem to be playing up the opposition making it seem as if they represent the majority and the fact that the opposition messages were in English “Where is My vote?” indicates that the message is for the English speaking world. It is geared for the USA and an invitation for the USA to interfere. It makes me wonder, if this is an internal Iranian event, why are the signs in English among the protesters?
The protests have become smaller and the battles have become more violent. This happens here in the USA where anarchists and cops regularly battle it out on the streets when the major peace marchers leave the scene.
Anarchist battles with the cops in the USA get almost no media coverage. Partly because the anarchists represent a small portion of most protests and partially because the media understand that by broadcasting images of police violence they are risking engendering sympathy for the protesters.
Understanding that they know this why are they emphasising the violence in Iran? Simple, it is part of the government’s policy of regime change in Iran that is being promulgated by the USA. It has been an on going campaign and it was the plan proposed to Israel as an alternative to the bombing of the Iranian nuclear facilities. Let the Iranians do the dirty work for us is the Obama plan.
On CNN they are calling the dead woman in the twitter images an Iranian Joan of Arc. This is an image with no verification. For all we know she got up and wiped the fake blood off 5 minutes later. Only a very tiny fraction of the Iranian public have access to Twitter which even CNN has admitted. So when they say the people speak, they are saying in reality, the small number of people who we agree with are speaking.
If this succeeds then it will be the latest in the media manipulation by the USA and the Iranian exiles. united to overthrow the Iranian revolution.


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