Archive for  March 2008

Home / March 2008
57 Posts

Aftonbladet: ”Hjälten” var en bluff (Nyheter)

11-septemberhjälte var en bluff

Var inte i närheten av Ground Zero

New York-polisen Fred Parisi har kallats hjälte för sina räddningsinsatser den 11 september. Han har även startat en fond för räddningsarbetare som han själv.

Det finns bara ett litet problem. Parisi satte aldrig sin fot på Ground Zero.

Avslöjandet kom i går samband med att han deltog i en manifestation i New Jersey för att samla in pengar till hälso- och sjukvård för räddningsarbetarna, skriver NY Daily News. Han syns på foton från manifestationen hållande i den amerikanska flaggan.

Greps för bedrägeri

Den 40-årige trebarnspappan greps då i ett helt annat ärende. Han misstänks ha svindlat 235 000 dollar från ett designföretag som han själv grundat. I samband med gripandet kunde man avslöja Fred Parisis bluff.

Parisi har tidigare startat fonden “9/11 Rescue Workers Foundation för att samla in pengar till räddningsarbetare som han själv.

På fondens pressrelease står det “Fred var där när andra planet träffade. Men vad som förföljer honom är minnet av vad brandmännen sa till honom innan de gick upp i byggnaden: Stanna här Fred, vi är snart tillbaka”. Enligt honom själv hjälpte han till att “rädda tusentals”.

Fick lungsjukdom

Fred Parisi säger sig även ha fått en ovanlig lungsjukdom på grund av sina räddningsinsatser efter den 11 september.

Avslöjandet att Fred Parisi aldrig satte sin fot på Ground Zero kom från hans arbetsgivare. Enligt New York polisen var han på Floyd Bennett Field i Brooklyn för att träna bilkörning vid tiden för attackerna.

Russians have been wrong about similar issues, I really hope they are wrong this time too.

It is very possible that an attack against Shia militia is a start up for an attack against Iran, but clearing the road from any possible retaliation from  Iran friendly Shia groups in Iraq, they can pave the way for a war against Iran. The same way Israel tried to clear up the Hezbollah arsenal and “crush” them in South of Lebanon 2 years ago.

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran’s borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

“The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,” the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran “that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost.”

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

Four nations in race to be first to go carbon neutral – Climate Change, Environment – The Independent

Four nations in race to be first to go carbon neutral

Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Costa Rica are all hoping to turn their economies green, but the challenges they face are formidable

By Geoffrey Lean and Bryan Kay
Sunday, 30 March 2008

It’s the race for the greenest of the laurels, the contest for the ultimate ecological accolade. Four countries are competing to be the first of the world’s 195 nations to go entirely carbon neutral.

They make a disparate line-up of runners, comprising the world’s most northerly and southernmost independent countries, its third largest oil exporter, and a state that long ago dispensed with its army.

The starting pistol was fired last month in Monaco – better known for its gas-guzzling Grand Prix than for such a determined race in the other direction – at the annual meeting of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Costa Rica formally signed up to go zero carbon, joining the Climate Neutral Network launched at the meeting. Achim Steiner, UNEP’s executive director, calls it “an idea whose time has come, driven by the urgent need to address climate change and the abundant economic opportunities emerging for those willing to embrace a transition to a green economy.”

He spells out the diverse challenges facing each of the contenders. Norway’s main issue, he said, was “emissions from oil and gas”, whereas most of New Zealand’s pollution came from agriculture. Iceland’s “central challenge” was “transport and industry, including fishing”, while Costa Rica faced the special circumstances of being a developing country.

In fact one UN member state already claims to have beaten then all. The Vatican announced last September that it was becoming the world’s first – but is widely held to have cheated. It said that it was winning the prize by offsetting its entire emissions for 2007 though planting trees to restore an ancient forest in Hungary.

But critics say that the true champion will have to achieve carbon neutrality at home – and point out that the Holy See has failed to count the carbon emitted by its travelling officials, or emissions from its buildings outside the Vatican City.

All the main contenders get much of their energy from renewable sources. Iceland has gone the furthest, already achieving almost complete carbon neutrality in heating buildings and in electricity generation. Its greatest asset is disclosed in the name of its capital city, Reykjavik, which means “bay of smokes”, referring to the plumes rising from its hot springs. Such geothermal energy now heats it and much of the rest of the country.

Only 1 per cent of its homes are heated by fossil fuels, and 99 per cent of its electricity is generated by geothermal and hydroelectric power. “But we have not entirely kicked our carbon habit”, writes its Environment Minister, Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, in the forthcoming issue of UNEP’s magazine, Our Planet.

“Our fishing fleets and our cars are still running on fossil fuels. Our car fleet is one of the biggest, per capita, in the world. And Icelanders tend to like big cars, as any visitor to our country will soon notice.” The country will give people discounts to buy eco-friendly vehicles and fit fuel cells to fishing boats, aiming to reduce its relatively small national emissions of carbon dioxide by 75 per cent by 2050.

On the other side of the world, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has already set her country the goal of being the world’s first carbon-neutral country. It aims to generate 90 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, and to halve its transport emissions per head by 2040. But the country has a particular problem with agriculture, which accounts for half its emissions of greenhouse gases.

Norway has set an even more ambitious target, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030, despite being the world’s third largest oil exporter. It already gets 95 per cent of its electricity from hydroelectric power, and heavily taxes cars and fuel: a 4×4 costs four times as much as in the United States. And it is planning to capture and store carbon in old North Sea oil fields. But Frederic Hauge – the head of Bellona, the country’s largest environment pressure group – is sceptical. “We are a nice little country of petroholics and that has made us lazy”, he says.

On paper at least, the poorest of the four countries is in the lead – Costa Rica plans to reach its goal by 2021. It has just released a plan of action, which relies heavily on planting trees to soak up emissions. Last year it planted five million of them, a world record, and the banana industry – the country’s largest exporter – has promised to go carbon neutral.

However, its number of cars has increased more than five-fold in the past 20 years and its air traffic more than seven-fold in just six, making its task far harder.

Oscar Winner Plans Abu Ghraib Photo Site – CommonDreams.org

Oscar Winner Plans Abu Ghraib Photo Site

by Jeffrey Ressner

Since Abu Ghraib first came to the world’s attention in 2004, nearly 300 photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse have been shown to the public. But soon an enormous archive of new material – including more than 1,500 other photos, unredacted court papers and interview transcripts – will be posted online by filmmaker Errol Morris, whose latest documentary “S.O.P.: Standard Operating Procedure” examines the scandal in horrific detail.0326 07

“I’d like all this material to be seen,” says Morris, who shot an estimated 200 hours of interviews for his two-hour film and used much of the extra material as research for an accompanying book scheduled for release later this year. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker (for “The Fog of War”) says he’s currently negotiating with several universities to host the large collection.

Using the current promotional site for his new movie to spark the larger project he envisions, Morris plans to create an interface in which clicking on each photo pulls up its context and circumstances – who took it, who else was present when was it shot and any salient testimony made to the commissions investigating Abu Ghraib. Morris sees his website as a growing historical archive, with new information added as more participants and witnesses come forward to speak.

Morris’ new film was publicly unveiled last month at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, where it became the first documentary to ever be nominated for the top award. (It ended up winning a jury grand prize instead.) Opening in several U.S. cities on April 25, the film will roll out to more theaters in May. Raw, brutal and unrelenting, it is also a vivid tone poem recounting the stories behind the well-known photographs and an attempt to uncover the truth of what happened outside the frame.

“We think somehow we know what Abu Ghraib is about because we’ve seen the photographs,” says Morris, “and I believe the photographs do not really tell us the real story. The photographs are both cover-up and exposé. The element of the cover-up is unknown, I suppose because it was covered up. It’s as simple as that. … I don’t think there ever will be justice until parts of the story are made public, and I am trying very hard to do that.”

Morris says few, if any, members of the public are aware, for example, that children were kept at the prison as hostages, ostensibly in order to make family members talk.

Morris also feels the popular perception of Abu Ghraib has been colored by both political agendas. “The left and the right – and I don’t think it makes much difference here – all assume they know what’s in the photographs,” he says. “In that sense, it goes beyond politics. Yes, the left will say it’s because of this administration’s policies, while the right will say it’s a few bad apples. But both [sides] stop at the photographs, because there’s a feeling we know what they mean and what they’re about. … I don’t think it’s been known at all.”

Whether they be big-budget narratives featuring major stars or low-budget documentaries, recent films about the Middle East have had a rough time at the box office.

“No End in Sight,” exploring the neo-conservative’s rationale for invading Iraq and the problems leading to the violent insurgency, became 2007’s second most successful documentary – and earned a miniscule $1.4 million. “Taxi to the Dark Side,” detailing the death of an Afghan taxi driver while he was being interrogated by U.S. soldiers, won the Oscar for best documentary in February, yet it has grossed less than $200,000.

But Morris has never chased commercial success. His films are meditations on the human condition, asking deep, probing questions that often don’t have simple answers. He realizes Abu Ghraib is something most Americans would rather forget than spend $10 to relive on a Saturday night. But he can’t shake the disturbing, nagging notion that the scandal will continue to haunt the nation until and unless it comes to terms with what actually happened.

Congress, under Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), has investigated the prisoner abuse scandal, but Morris thinks there is still more to the story.

“I have a feeling that everybody has kept hands-off of this because it’s seen as a political hot potato that perhaps doesn’t help anybody,” says Morris. “But Abu Ghraib goes well beyond the issue of torture – it’s about the abandonment of our military and the scapegoating of low-ranked soldiers. It’s that version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ where Mr. Potter wins and the little guys are blamed while the big guys walk away scot-free. It happened in My Lai too. Maybe there’s just some fear of proceeding further but, oddly enough, this stuff doesn’t go away. My Lai is still with us; so is the Dreyfus Affair.”

Besides the premiere of his new movie, the upcoming book and the accompanying website, Morris is keeping busy with plans for new films, an ongoing series of articles for The New York Times, as well as other projects.

During the last presidential election cycle, he made several commercials for MoveOn.org, and this year he may again helm some ads for one of the so-called 527 groups. It’s not something he’s entirely thrilled about, however. “I dread politics, I have to tell you,” he confesses. “It’s wandering into the true morass, the swamp. But I’d be happy to do it again.”

ODDS & ENDS:

With any new president comes a flood of new political appointments, so this week The Hollywood Reporter canvassed the “tele-cognescenti” to predict who could be selected as the next Federal Communications Commission chair under different administrations. Should Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton become the first woman commander in chief, pundits claimed FCC Commissioner Susan Ness might also become the first female chief.

Under a President Obama, the trade paper suggested Harvard Law School pal Julius Genachowski, former FCC Common Carrier Bureau chief Larry Stickling, policy director Karen Kornbluh or Commission vet Don Gipps. Sen. John McCain, who headed the Senate committee charged with oversight of the FCC, might select Disney lobbyist Bill Bailey, Google counsel Pablo Chavez or top adviser Charlie Black.

Candidates can’t stay away from Hollywood – or Hollywood cash. Clinton will return to Beverly Hills on April 3 for a fundraiser that’s billed as “an evening of live conversation and celebration” at the Wilshire Theater. Tickets start at $100 and go up to, yes, $2,300 – the limit for donors under federal campaign laws. McCain is also in the Los Angeles area this week, for a speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.