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Breaking: CIA Prison News

by Chris Kulczycki Tue Dec 6th, 2005 at 06:03:56 AM EST

ABC news is reporting:

Dec. 5, 2005 -- Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.
Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.

More below:

Read more... (13 comments, 788 words in story)

"The infliction of pain is eroticised."

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Dec 5th, 2005 at 02:31:40 PM EST

As many of us here try to keep the issue of torture alive in the blogosphere, the question of the causes of torture must arise. Why do seemingly normal people inflict pain on others? Do we train our soldiers to be cruel, or do the cruel become soldiers, or are we all cruel? Do our leaders really have so little regard for humanity, or do they believe that the end justifies the means? Is this a subject that no one wants to read about; are we in denial?

Having no training in psychology, I am hesitant to undertake the subject. It is both unpleasant and upsetting to ponder the depths of the depravity that the human mind can reach. It took me three hours to start writing this post--I didn't want to face it. As I Googled articles about torture, I found far too much about the pleasure and sexuality of torture; these are not subjects one can easily read about. Below is what I have compiled. There is much more to be said, but I don't have the stomach for it.

The title of this post is a quote from a Guardian by Professor Joanna Bourke; more of that article is quoted later.

More below:

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CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence Torture & Murder Ignored

by Chris Kulczycki Sun Dec 4th, 2005 at 08:46:46 AM EST

Why does the press ignore conclusive hard evidence of widespread torture and murder? As we strive to keep the pressure on our governments and media we cannot allow them to do this, to ignore the obvious.

On October 25, 05 the American Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of new and previously released autopsy obtained under the freedom of information act and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions. According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.

A CommonDreams.org article by Peter Phillips takes the corporate media to task for failing to cover this story, "at least 95percent of the daily papers in the US didn't bother to pick up the story".

More below

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Automotive Alliances in Japan, or `not another car diary'.

by Chris Kulczycki Sat Dec 3rd, 2005 at 08:34:50 AM EST

Since it seems to be automotive diary week here at ET, I wanted to share a series of neat charts showing alliances within the car industry. They're from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. and a few months out of date, but still very informative.

There are four charts, for Japan, the U.S., Europe and China that show the links between Japanese automakers and other companies. They show supply agreements, ownership arrangements, technical cooperation and licensing, and even sales cooperation.

I learned that Isuzu makes engines in Poland for the Honda Civic, that Porsche and Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) cooperate on sales, and that Volkswagen supplies engines to Mitsubishi.  

More below:

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Green Vehicle News

by Chris Kulczycki Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 06:46:33 AM EST

from the front page

Despite the recent retreat in oil prices, anyone who keeps up with energy news they'll soon be up again. And companies all over the world are rushing to develop new fuel-efficient vehicle technology. New battery technology has been announced; the first diesel-hybrid passenger car will soon enter production; a new electric car is available in the US for $9000; Virgin air wants to use renewable jet fuel, and Toyota is developing a brand new hybrid system as well as a plug in hybrid. Then there is the new fuel-cell bicycle...

Zoom below the fold to see it all.

Read more... (14 comments, 1549 words in story)

WSJ Slams Hybrid Cars

by Chris Kulczycki Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 04:05:40 AM EST

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Why do conservatives hate conservation? First there was the report commissioned by the US Chamber of Commerce that recommended a special fee on hybrid and alternative-fueled vehicles because they don't use enough gas (link). Now the Wall Street Journal publishes a fake letter from Toyota slamming the Prius.

Contrary to any loose statements made by our marketing partners in the environmental community and media, petroleum not consumed by Prius owners is not "saved." It does not remain in the ground. It is consumed by someone else. Greenhouse pollutants are released. Also, please note that the warranty and owner's manual say nothing about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. This is not an oversight. The Prius is an "oil-dependent" vehicle. It runs on gasoline, supplied by the same world market that fuels other vehicles.

So let's get this straight; saving gas is stupid because someone else will just use it.

Read more... (29 comments, 788 words in story)

Russian gas dispute puts European supply at risk

by Chris Kulczycki Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 12:27:22 PM EST

You may recall that both Jerome and I wrote diaries in the past month warning of the possible natural gas shortages in the UK this winter. Well, now the shortages may hit the continent as well, though for very different reasons.

Read more... (6 comments, 451 words in story)

Torture, Torture, more Torture, and Rape too

by Chris Kulczycki Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 06:14:26 AM EST

from the diaries, and bumped. We need more outrage. Spread this around.

I often write about energy. This is about the energy of outrage. It's renewable, and I want you to have some too.

There isn't enough outrage about torture, not to my estimation. After all, we only see a few stories about it every month. It's not like it's happening in our country. And the stock market is up, gas prices are falling, the Republicans are on the ropes, and its Christmas shopping season. Perhaps if we saw all those headlines at one time...

So I tried the new Guardian search engine this morning. I put in three keywords: torture, Iraq, and US. The results included exactly 911 articles. Is that karma or what? I went through every one of those 911 Guardian articles and selected the highlights. The results are below the fold.

Read more... (22 comments, 6091 words in story)

Pay up, or the Rainforest Burns

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 28th, 2005 at 12:58:19 PM EST

A group of developing countries wants to make a radical and ballsy proposal at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, which opens today in Montreal. The  "Rainforest Coalition" plans to tell the developed world that if they want to see the rainforests survive, they better pay up. That's right, the Rainforest Coalition is planning to hold the rainforests hostage; it's payola time, or out come the chainsaws and lighters. And I, for one, can't blame them.

More below:

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Cowabunga Dudes, Energy's Up

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 04:19:18 AM EST

From the front page -- DoDo

Excuse the bad surf lingo; it's an American thing. But this is about wave energy, not tidal energy; that was last week. Who doesn't love to watch waves crash against a rocky coast or surfers riding a perfect wave? And who doesn't love the feeling of a heeling sailboat bashing to windward in a steep chop, other than the fellow with his head over the transom?

Waves are formed by wind's friction over the surface of the water. They can travel incredible distances. That huge roller in Huntington Beach may have started as a ripple off the Hawaiian coast. Waves are pure energy moving through the water, energy that could be turned into electricity. Anywhere there are waves; there is free sustainable power. All we have to do is figure out how to capture it. Thanks to recent research that's starting to happen.

To learn of its potential, of working European and other prototypes, and where research is heading, dive below the fold!

Read more... (33 comments, 1087 words in story)

Leapfrogging Poverty

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 04:17:23 AM EST

Back from the front page ~ whataboutbob

Leapfrogging is bypassing traditional technologies and skipping to something better and often cheaper. It is a way for developing nations, not burdened with existing infrastructure, to rapidly hop into first world systems. And it's starting to work.

An example might be installing wireless communication systems and bypassing all the poles and wires we have here. Another is bypassing coal or gas powered electrical plants, and jumping, instead, straight to renewable power. Yet another is of building an information infrastructure based on open source principles. Much of this leapfrogging comes with the realization that prosperity can come from knowledge rather than capital, or that knowledge is capital.

Of course Leapfrogging works best with certain technologies such as communication, computing, and renewable energy. I wrote last week about how small renewable energy projects are lifting people out of poverty. This week I have some examples of larger systems and longer leaps.


Read more... (6 comments, 1468 words in story)

Why did 20,000 Starve Yesterday?

by Chris Kulczycki Sun Nov 20th, 2005 at 10:54:58 PM EST

Today's diary is a little different. It's a list of simple statistics and facts. Draw your own conclusions.

Number of people that starve each day: 20,000 (from The Hunger Project)

1.2 billion suffer from obesity (GlobalIssues.org)

Number of people suffering from malnutrition to the point where their health, productivity and life expectancy are impaired: 852 million (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

In the US, 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. (GlobalIssues.org)

Estimated cost to feed all the world's hungry and give them basic health care: $13 billion above current expenditure. (UN Development Program 1998)

Total estimated cost of Iraq war: about $700 billion (Institute for Policy Studies)

More below.

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World's Second Largest Oil Field Reaches Peak

by Chris Kulczycki Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:53:32 AM EST

According to AME info , a respected Middle Eastern economic news site:

It was an incredible revelation last week that the second largest oil field in the world is exhausted and past its peak output. Yet that is what the Kuwait Oil Company revealed about its Burgan field.

More below.

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The Littlest Blogger

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 07:17:09 AM EST

"George Bush is a poo-poo-head." At the age of four Alec had declared his political leanings. Now six and in first grade, our son asked for his own dKOS account. He watches me write diaries and sometimes even reads them and asks intelligent questions; he's a good reader for a six-year old. He listens to his mom, our friends, and I discuss politics. He knows about the three branches of US government, about how laws are made and he comes to vote with us. On Friday he said that he wanted to write his own diary.

This brings up some controversial questions. His mom thinks kids should be allowed to form their own views on politics as they grow, and not be forced to parrot their parents. I believe that our political views should be taught to our kids. I also think that civil engagement should be encouraged at an early age; it's a lack of civil participation at early age that later makes for apathetic citizens.

So I did a little research into politics for kids. And Alec wrote his diary. See the results of both below the fold.

Read more... (21 comments, 952 words in story)

Energy from the Moon

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 05:23:45 AM EST

Back from the front page ~ whataboutbob

One renewable energy resource that's rarely discussed here, but is already being developed, is the moon. The moon's gravity sends an almost unimaginable quantity of water sloshing back and forth between continents. It happens a couple of times each day and it's called the tides. As any sailor who's tried to beat home against a tidal current can tell you, the amount of energy involved is phenomenal.

There are already several tidal generation works around the world humming, or splashing, along and providing almost free electricity. Since most of our population lives near the coast, shouldn't we considering developing moon, I mean tidal, power.

More below

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Poverty and Energy

by Chris Kulczycki Fri Nov 11th, 2005 at 10:53:04 AM EST

Excellent diary on promoting renewable energy in the 3rd world ~ whataboutbob

One of the more effective tools in the fight against poverty is renewable energy. Many of the world's poor live in rural areas not served by electricity or even telephone. Though we often think of renewable energy in terms of wind farms, biodiesel plants, or huge hydroelectric works, it is often simple, low cost energy technology that can provide connectivity, cooking fuel, and electricity for millions.

More Below

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Microcar Blogging [updated]

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:42:42 PM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

I love little cars, so when I found a great site about a microcar museum in Madison, GA USA, of all places, I had to share it. Now I know that here at European Tribute you blog about bridges and trains. But despite having trained as a civil engineer I know little about either.

Micro cars were developed in Europe and became popular after world war two. It was a time of collapsed economies and fuel shortages. That's much like what we might expect after peak oil. I remember seeing some of these cars as a boy growing up in Warsaw.

BMW 600

And more below!

Read more... (26 comments, 258 words in story)

Peruvian Ex-President Fujimori Arrested in Chile

by Chris Kulczycki Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 10:50:08 AM EST

Ex-President of Peru Alberto Fujimori, 67, was taken into custody on orders from a Chilean judge, the police said. You may remember Fujimori as the Peruvian President of Japanese descent who between 1990 and 2000. Amid a huge corruption scandal he left Peru to attend an APEC summit in Brunei and then continued on to Japan  He resigned from in a fax sent from Japan after that country granted him citizenship.

Police arrested the 67-year-old at his hotel early Monday. Lawyers for the former Peruvian leader are reportedly already appealing the arrest. Peru had asked for his arrest as a first step to seek his extradition.
Fujimori arrived in Chile at a time of tense relations between Chile and Peru, after Peru's Congress passed a law last week in an attempt to reclaim sea territory from Chile.

More below.

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Microcredit update and a Message from Kiva founder

by Chris Kulczycki Sat Nov 5th, 2005 at 05:03:41 AM EST

Need some positive news...here's how small donations make big impacts, from the front page ~ whataboutbob

Note: I posted this diary on dKOS as an update to an earlier diary . That first diary was prompted by Colman's post here. Migeru suggest I cross post it here to "spark a little research on European microcredit agancies."

Dear Daily Kos Readers:

You are a remarkable group of people.  The instant we were introduced on Daily Kos was the instant that everything changed for Kiva -- and for the lives of many African entrepreneurs.  You have made a serious impact and I hope you can understand the depth of the change you have caused.  

I have spent the last week trying to explain to the African staff members what has occurred.  Many of them are familiar with blogs, but were previously unfamiliar with the impact they can have on the world.  These staff also try to explain to prospective entrepreneurs that the loans they receive come from individuals who want them to succeed more than anything else.  This is a rather new concept to most entrepreneurs in rural Uganda.  Before Kiva, many only knew about loan sharks in these areas who make peoples' lives miserable and charge extremely high interest rates.


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Let's Ban the GDP

by Chris Kulczycki Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 02:07:51 PM EST

There was a request to put this in the debate box, but since there is room for two only, will keep this close to top of recent diaries for a time ~ whataboutbob. (Actually, if it starts life as a diary it can't be moved to the debates box - Colman)

NOTE: The following was written for an American audience, but I think European Tribute readers will find that it also applies in certain European countries.

The GDP index is a dangerous thing; we should consider banning it. It does more damage than drugs, or guns, or hurricanes combined.

Neo-cons are particularly enamored of the GDP. "The GDP is up; great; we can afford to cut taxes for corporations and the rich" or "the GDP is down; darn; we'd better cut taxes on corporations and the rich to stimulate growth." They use the GDP as measures of national success.

GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is the total value of final goods and services produced within a country's borders in a year. That's a stupid way to judge how a country is doing. It's not even a particularly good way to measure the strength of an economy.


Read more... (41 comments, 2843 words in story)
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