Planet Watch

US oil profligance and third world petro-violence: our readers write

Our January issue featured the story "Niger Delta: Behind the Mask" by Ike Okonta, which explored the concept of petro-violence, pioneered by Michael J. Watts of UC Berkely, in the context of contemporary Nigeria— where oil exploitation has only brought armed struggle and bloody repression to the most resource-rich part of the country. We also featured the story "Colombia: the Paras and the Oil Cartel" by WW4 REPORT editor Bill Weinberg, which documented how the Andean nation's brutal right-wing paramilitaries are terrorizing trade unionists who oppose the privatization of the state oil company, as well as peasants and indigenous peoples protesting the despoilation of their traditional lands and waters by breakneck oil exploitation. Our January Exit Poll was: "Would you give up your SUV to halt mass murder in Nigeria and Colombia? C'mon, tell the truth." We received the following responses:

"Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight

It now stands at five minutes to midnight. Before this change, it stood at seven to midnight, having moved forward two minutes in February 2002. That was the same position it stood at when the clock was unveiled in 1947. It is now closer than at any time since 1984, the peak of the Reagan arms race, when it was moved to three minutes to midnight. That, in turn, was the closest it stood since 1953, when the Soviets developed the H-bomb, and the Clock was moved to two minutes of midnight. The furthest it has ever stood was 17 to midnight in 1991, with the end of the Cold War. (Clock Timeline) From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Jan. 17:

John Mohawk, Iroquois leader and scholar, dead at 61

John Mohawk, a leading scholar and spokesman for the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee), died at his home in Buffalo, NY, on Dec. 12. Mohawk was an international voice for the soveriegn and territorial rights of the Iroquois Confederacy, a functioning system of government that predates the founding of the United States by some 600 years, and for the cultural survival of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Evolutionary theorist: humanity may "split in two"

From BBC, Oct. 17 (our commentary to follow):

Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.

Enviros sue Bush for supressing climate data

From the AP, Nov. 15:

Environmentalists sued the Bush administration Tuesday for failing to produce a report on global warming's impact on the country's environment, economy and public health.

Global warming link to Antarctic ice melt: study

From the UK Independent, Oct. 22, via Common Dreams:

Nothing else quite like it has happened at any time in the past 10,000 years. In just over a month an entire Antarctic ice shelf, bigger than a small country, disintegrated and disappeared, altering world atlases for ever.

October 7: Global No Car Day

This is one solution that the perennially annoying Thomas Friedman didn't advocate in his recent rant against the "petro-authoritiarians" who have got the USA by the balls. But we certainly do. From the web page of California's Buddhist Deer Park Monastery, Sept. 29:

Conspiracy theories in dropping oil prices

The New York Times Sept. 30 takes note of widespread conspiracy theories that the White House is manipualting oil prices:

A gallon of regular gas now averages $2.33, after rising above $3 in August. But given that even the current lower prices are higher than was common just a couple of years ago, the question of who will benefit politically from the drop is still hotly disputed.

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