Saturday, December 20, 2008
Don't destabilize Russia, Putin warns foes
By Oleg Shchedrov Oleg Shchedrov
Sat Dec 20, 1:39 am ET
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Russia's foes on Friday against trying to destabilize a country facing broadening economic crisis, Russian news agencies reported.
Putin did not specify who might pose a threat to Russia's stability. But in the past, he has often blamed Western security services of trying to destabilize the country using opposition groups and non-governmental organizations as their instruments.
"Any attempts to weaken or destabilize Russia, harm the interests of the country will be toughly suppressed," they quoted ex-KGB spy Putin as telling an annual meeting of top spies and security officers ahead of their professional holiday.
Putin, who was the Russian president in 2000-08, has contributed greatly to the growth of influence of Russia's FSB federal security service, a successor of the Soviet-era KGB.
Many ex-KGB officers became key government and regional officials during his presidency forming his power base, which largely remained intact after Putin handed over powers to his successor Dmitry Medvedev in May.
Critics say that under Putin, security services have become excessively influential and expressed fears Russia could one day become a police state.
Rights campaigners have urged Medvedev to veto a cabinet bill ordering that professional judges rather than juries run trials involving terrorism, civil unrest and several other serious crimes.
They also urged Medvedev to block government attempts to impose high treason charges on people accused of "harming the constitutional order," which critics believe could lead to a political witch-hunt.
Analysts say the role of the security services is likely to grow even further as Russia plunges into an economic crisis marked by rising unemployment and financial woes that threaten the popularity of the government.
Avoiding civil unrest and maintaining political stability is viewed by the government as a top priority.
The Day of Security Officers is marked annually on December 20, a day when in 1917 Bolshevik rulers created the CheKa secret police to suppress their foes. After a string of transformations, the Cheka became the KGB.
As president, Putin always personally attended the holiday meetings of security officials. Medvedev, a former corporate lawyer with no security background, stayed away and sent his chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin to deliver his greetings.
Medvedev, who faced the challenge of a brief war with Georgia soon after becoming president which soured Russia's ties with the West, said security concerns remained paramount.
"In the past 20 years the world has changed but has not become a quieter place," Naryshkin said, reading out his letter, according to Interfax.
President John F. Kennedy made the following opening remarks at a White House dinner honoring a gathering of Nobel Prize winners,
Ladies and gentlemen:
I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet. Whatever he may have lacked if he could have had his former colleague Mr. Franklin here we all would have been impressed.
Jefferson in some cases could be called a prophet. So here are some quotes from Mr. Jefferson that seem very appropriate to repeat today.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks,
and corporations that will grow up around the banks, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
- In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
- China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Guatemala established gun control in 1964.. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
- Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:
- Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
- Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent
- Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
- In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!
It will never happen here? I bet the Aussies said that too!
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.
Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.
With Guns.............We Are 'Citizens'.
Without Them........We Are 'Subjects'..
During W.W. II the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED !
Note: Admiral Yamamoto who crafted the attack on Pearl Harbor had attended Harvard U 1919-1921 & was Naval Attache to the U. S. 1925-28. Most of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor & our Army had been deprived of funding & was ill prepared to defend the country.
It was reported that when asked why Japan did not follow up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the U. S. Mainland, his reply was that he had lived in the U.S. & knew that almost all households had guns.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul, MN, points out some interesting facts concerning the 2008 Presidential election:
- Number of States won by Parties: Democrats - 20; Republicans - 30
- Square miles of land won by Parties: Democrats - 580,000; Republicans - 2,427,000
- Population of the counties won by Parties: Democrats - 127 million; Republicans - 143 million
- Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by Parties: Democrats - 13.2; Republicans - 2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in rented or government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare."
Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
From the following, notice that only in the states of Alaska and Oklahoma where all counties were won by McCain/Palin.
December 10, 2008
Posted by Marc Morano – 9:36 AM ET - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.GOV
UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History'
POZNAN, Poland - The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.
The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & See: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]
Full Senate Report Set To Be Released in the Next 24 Hours – Stay Tuned…
A hint of what the upcoming report contains:
“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.
“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”
Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.
“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.
“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.
“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.
“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet.” - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.
“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.
“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.
“Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.” - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.
“Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” - Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.
“CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.
“The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds.” - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata. # #
In addition, the report will feature new peer-reviewed scientific studies and analyses refuting man-made warming fears and a heavy dose of inconvenient climate developments. (See Below: Study: Half of warming due to Sun! –Sea Levels Fail to Rise? - Warming Fears in 'Dustbin of History')
The Senate Minority Report is an update of 2007’s blockbuster U.S. Senate Minority Report of over 400 dissenting scientists. See here: This new report will contain the names, quotes and analyses of literally hundreds of additional international scientists who publicly dissented from man-made climate fears in just 2008 alone. The chorus of scientific voices skeptical grow louder as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses and real world data challenge the UN and former Vice President Al Gore's claims that the "science is settled" and there is a "consensus." The original 2007 U.S. Senate report is available here: Full Report Set To Be Released in the Next 24 Hours – Stay Tuned…
Meanwhile, while the UN climate conference is in session here in Poznan, the bad scientific news for promoters of man-made climate alarm just keeps rolling in. Below is a very small sampling of very inconvenient developments for Gore, the United Nations, and their promoters in the mainstream media. Peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute climate fears. The data presented below is just from the past week.
Peer-reviewed study: Half of recent warming was solar! - December 10, 2008
Excerpt: In this dose of peer-reviewed skeptical climatological literature, we follow Climate Research News. The blog was intrigued by a new article in Geophysical Research Letters that was accepted on Friday, December 5th. Eichler, A., S. Olivier, K. Henderson, A. Laube, J. Beer, T. Papina, H. W. Gäggeler, and M. Schwikowski: Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing - Recall that the Siberian Altai Mountains are found at the intersection of Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. The authors looked at 750 years worth of the local ice core, especially the oxygen isotope. They claim to have found a very strong correlation between the concentration of this isotope (i.e. temperature) on one side and the known solar activity in the epoch 1250-1850. Their data seem to be precise enough to determine the lag, about 10-30 years. It takes some time for the climate to respond to the solar changes. It seems that they also have data to claim that the correlation gets less precise after 1850. They attribute the deviation to CO2 and by comparing the magnitude of the forcings, they conclude that "Our results are in agreement with studies based on NH temperature reconstructions [Scafetta et al., 2007] revealing that only up to approximately 50% of the observed global warming in the last 100 years can be explained by the Sun." Well, the word "only" is somewhat cute in comparison with the "mainstream" fashionable ideology. The IPCC said that they saw a 90% probability that "most" of the recent warming was man-made. The present paper would reduce this figure, 90%, to less than 50% because the Sun itself is responsible for 1/2 of the warming and not the whole 50% of the warming could have been caused by CO2 because there are other effects, too. Note that if 0.3 °C or 0.4 °C of warming in the 20th century was due to the increasing CO2 levels, the climate sensitivity is decisively smaller than 1 °C. At any rate, the expected 21st century warming due to CO2 would be another 0.3-0.4 °C, and this time, if the solar activity contributes with the opposite sign, these two effects could cancel. Even if you try to stretch these numbers a little bit - but not unrealistically - you have to become sure that the participants of the Poznan conference are lunatics.
Flashback: New scientific analysis shows Sun “could account for as much as 69% of the increase in Earth's average temperature” (LINK) & (LINK)
Dr. Bruce West, A U.S Army Chief Scientist, Says Sun, Not Man, Is Driving Climate Change – June 3, 2008 – (LINK)
21 spotless days and solar magnetic field still in a funk – Meteorologist Anthony Watts Excerpt:
We are now at 21 days with no sunspots, it will be interesting to see if we reach a spotless 30 day period and then perhaps a spotless month of December.
New Arctic ice analysis reveals ‘No clear evidence of a delay in the start of the later summer/early fall freeze up or the start of the late winter/early spring melt’ – Excerpt: Based on analysis by William Chapman, author of The Cryosphere Today website, graciously prepared an analysis of the dates of the minimum and maximum Arctic sea ice coverage since 1979.
Oscillation Rules as the Pacific Cools – December 9, 2008 Excerpt: A cool wedge of lower-than-normal sea-surface heights continues to dominate the tropical Pacific, ringed by a horseshoe of warmer waters. The continuation of this long-term cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation stacks the odds against a wetter-than-average winter/spring in the southwestern United States. The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. […] Sea-surface temperature satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mirror Jason sea-surface height measurements, clearly showing a cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation pattern, as seen at: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/sst/sst.anom.gif . "This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation 'cool' trend can cause La Niña-like impacts around the Pacific basin," said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. […] This cool phase will likely persist this winter and, perhaps, beyond.
Report: Sea Level rise 'has stumbled since 2005' – Meteorologist Anthony Watts – December 5, 2008 Excerpt: We’ve been waiting for the UC web page to be updated with the most recent sea level data. It finally has been updated for 2008. It looks like the steady upward trend of sea level as measured by satellite has stumbled since 2005. The 60 day line in blue tells the story. From the University of Colorado web page: “Long-term mean sea level change is a variable of considerable interest in the studies of global climate change. The measurement of long-term changes in global mean sea level can provide an important corroboration of predictions by climate models of global warming. Long term sea level variations are primarily determined with two different methods.” - Yes, I would agree, it is indeed a variable of considerable interest. The question now is, how is it linked to global climate change (aka global warming) if CO2 continues to increase, and sea level does not?
Peer-Reviewed Study: Recent worldwide land warming' NOT 'a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land' - WorldClimateReport.com – December 3, 2008 ‘Rethinking Observed Warming?’ Key quote: “Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land.”
Alert: 2008 will be coolest year of the decade!- December 5, 2008 Excerpt: This year is set to be the coolest since 2000, according to a preliminary estimate of global average temperature that is due to be released next week by the Met Office. The global average for 2008 should come in close to 14.3C, which is 0.14C below the average temperature for 2001-07. [Note: For evidence of the panic apparently gripping the promoters of man-made climate fear, read the quotes in the article from the warming partisans absolutely assuring everyone that cool temperatures are “absolutely not" evidence that global warming is on the wane. Those same voices are usually absent when it comes to linking heat waves to global warming. ]
Flashback: Global Cooling? - 'Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof' - National Post – October 20, 2008
Report: NASA’s James Hansen "adjusts" a cooling trend into a warming trend - December 9, 2008 Excerpt: "[H]ere is what the data looks like before and after NASA GISS adjusts it. These are the USHCN “raw” and “homogenized” data plots from the GISTEMP website. The before and after is quite something to behold. ... What was down, is now up." "How not to measure temperature, part 79"
Geophysist: ‘It is time to file this theory in the dustbin of history’ – ‘Alarmists are in denial and running for cover'- Washington Times
By Geophysicist Dr. David Deming, associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. Excerpt: Environmental extremists and global warming alarmists are in denial and running for cover. Their rationale for continuing a lost cause is that weather events in the short term are not necessarily related to long-term climatic trends. But these are the same people who screamed at us each year that ordinary weather events such as high temperatures or hurricanes were undeniable evidence of imminent doom. Now that global warming is over, politicians are finally ready to enact dubious solutions to a non-existent problem. […] To the extent global warming was ever valid, it is now officially over. It is time to file this theory in the dustbin of history, next to Aristotelean physics, Neptunism, the geocentric universe, phlogiston, and a plethora of other incorrect scientific theories, all of which had vocal and dogmatic supporters who cited incontrovertible evidence. Weather and climate change are natural processes beyond human control. To argue otherwise is to deny the factual evidence.
Climate Chancellor' No More – Der Spiegel Excerpt: Angela Merkel is facing withering criticism for remarks she made on Monday that seemed to back away from her earlier commitment to tackling climate change.
Alert: Under the Weather: Internal Report Says U.N. Climate Agency Rife With Bad Practices - Fox News – December 4, 2008
Excerpt: As more than 10,000 delegates and observers gather in Poznan, Poland, to discuss the next phase in the battle against "climate change," a U.N. agency at the center of that hoopla badly needs to do some in-house weather-proofing. […] But the WMO, the $80 million U.N. front-line agency in the climate change struggle, and the source for much of the world's information in the global atmosphere and water supply, has serious management problems of its own, despite its rapidly expanding global ambitions. The international agency has been sharply criticized by a U.N. inspection unit in a confidential report obtained by FOX News, for, among other things, haphazard budget practices, deeply flawed organizational procedures, and no effective oversight by the 188 nations that formally make up its membership and dole out its funds. The inspection was carried out by a member of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), a small, independent branch of the U.N. that reports to the General Assembly and is mandated to improve the organization's efficiency and coordination through its inspection process. […] WMO did not respond to a series of questions from FOX News regarding its future programs, sent on the eve of the Poznan meeting.
16-year-old suggests sheep dung can help save planet Card business has really dung good - Daily Post North WalesExcerpt: The company makes its products at the Twll Golau Papermill in Aberllefenni Slate Quarry using sustainable fuel and materials. Every sheet of paper is made from recycled materials, including sheep dung, waste paper and discarded rags, using processes designed to affect the natural environment as little as possible. […]
Katie 16, from Tal-y-Bont, Conwy, was appointed to help spread the word on how Wales can reduce its carbon footprint and is urging other North Wales businesses to follow Creative Paper Wales’ example and adopt innovative approaches to the design and manufacture of products and the delivery of services.
Lord Christopher Monckton: 'Companies could be sued over climate change' Excerpt: The alarmist faction knows that, if it were to bring a case against a corporation whose executives were not minded merely to believe in the extremist presentation of "global warming" just because it is temporarily in fashion, they would lose. The case of Dimmock v. Secretaries of State for Education and for the Environment in the UK in 2007 was a very clear warning. The UK Government threw all of the resources of the taxpayer and of the Meteorological Office at the case, attempting to defend Al Gore's sci-fi comedy horror movie against the plaintiff's allegation that it was serially and seriously inaccurate. The Government failed and was humiliated. The judge, having heard both sides, said bluntly of Al Gore, and particularly of his unscientific allegation that sea level was about to rise by 20 feet, that "the Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view". A few more judgments like that and the "global warming" fantasy would rapidly collapse. End of scare.
OOPS, We Forgot Siberia! (M4GW) - Weather Stations in Coldest parts No Longer Reporting
Excerpt: The thing that these skewed chart never take into account is that when the Soviet Union fell in 1990 the number of reporting weather stations went form a high of 15,000 in 1970 to 5,000 in 2000. This takes some of the coldest places on the planet out of the equation like Siberia. # #
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
By Andrew Jacobs
Monday, December 8, 2008
BEIJING: Local officials in Shandong Province have apparently found a cost-effective way to deal with gadflies, whistleblowers and all manner of muckraking citizens who dare to challenge the authorities: dispatch them to the local psychiatric hospital.
According to an investigative report published Monday by a state-owned newspaper, public security officials in Xintai city have been institutionalizing residents who persist in their personal campaigns to expose corruption or to protest the unfair seizure of their property. Some people said they were committed up to two years, and several of those interviewed said they had been forced to consume psychiatric medication.
The article, in The Beijing News, said most inmates had been released after they agreed to give up their causes.
Sun Fawu, 57, a farmer seeking compensation for land spoiled by a coal mining operation, said he was seized by the local authorities on his way to petition the central government in Beijing and brought to the Xintai Mental Health Center in October.
During a 20-day stay, he said he was tied to a bed, forced to take pills and given injections that made him numb and woozy. When he told the doctor he was a petitioner, not mentally ill, the doctor reportedly said, "I don't care if you're sick or not. As long as you are sent by the township government, I'll treat you as a mental patient."
In an interview with the paper, the hospital's director, Wu Yuzhu, acknowledged that some of the 18 patients brought there by the police in recent years were not deranged, but he had no choice but to take them in. "The hospital also had its misgivings," he said.
Although China is not known for the kind of systematic abuse of psychiatry that occurred in the Soviet Union, human rights advocates say forced institutionalizations are not uncommon in smaller cities. Robin Munro, the research director of China Labour Bulletin, a rights organization in Hong Kong, said such "an kang" wards - Chinese for peace and health - are a convenient and effective means of dealing with pesky dissidents.
In recent years practitioners of Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, have complained of coerced hospitalizations and one of China's best-known dissidents, Wang Wanxing, spent 13 years in a police-run psychiatric facility under conditions he later described as abusive.
In one recent, well-publicized case, Wang Jingmei , the mother of a man convicted of killing six policemen in Shanghai, was held incommunicado at a mental hospital for five months and only released last Sunday, the day before her son was executed.
The Beijing News story about the hospitalizations in Xintai was notable for the traction it gained in China's constrained state-run media. Such Communist Party stalwarts as People's Daily and the Xinhua news agency republished the story, and it was picked up by scores of Web sites. At the country's most popular portal, Sina.com, it ranked the fifth most-viewed news headline and readers posted more than 20,000 comments by evening. The indignation expressed was universal, with many clamoring for the dismissal of those involved. "They're no different than animals," read one post. "No, they're worse."
Reached by phone on Monday, a hospital employee said Wu, the hospital director who voiced his misgivings to The Beijing News, was unavailable. The employee, Hu Peng, said local government officials had taken him away for "a meeting" earlier in the day and had also looked through patient records.
Although Hu said the hospital was not authorized to diagnose patients, he nonetheless defended the hospitalizations, saying that all the patients delivered by the Public Security Bureau were certifiably ill. "We definitely would not accept those without mental problems," he said.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Mon 1 Dec 2008, 0:45 GMT
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday urged supporters to work on a constitutional reform that would let him stay in office as long he keeps winning elections, a year after voters narrowly rejected this same proposal in a referendum.
The anti-U.S. leader is pushing forward the controversial proposal to eliminate a two-term limit for the president just a week after regional elections in which the OPEC nation's fractured opposition gained ground by beating Chavez allies in key states and the capital of Caracas.
"I'm ready to be with you until 2021," Chavez told a crowd of red-clad supporters in a televised address.
Chavez said reports of opposition governors and mayors sabotaging social programs and attacking government supporters convinced him he needed more time in office.
"Last year, when we lost the referendum, I said I should accept the decision of the majority," he said. "But now seeing what's happening, seeing more clearly the great threat of these fascists ... I say you were right, Chavez will not go."
Local media have also published reports that the outgoing pro-government officials allowed looting and stealing of equipment after they lost to opposition contenders.
Chavez said congressional leaders and supporters should formulate the reform effort, in contrast to the failed 2007 referendum to increase presidential power and lift a limit of two terms that he himself initiated.
Venezuela's constitution allows the Congress, currently controlled almost entirely by Chavez supporters, to propose a popular referendum via the electoral authority.
Polls show Chavez's popularity is near 60 percent thanks to heavy social spending of oil revenues that has built up support among the nation's poor.
But sympathizers have grown weary of poor trash collection, unchecked violent crime and the continent's highest inflation, which analysts say contributed to victory of opposition candidates in the recent vote.
Chavez on Sunday threatened to expel a Colombian consul in western city of Maracaibo on charges was working with newly elected opposition leaders to conspire against his government.
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro moments later said Colombia had agreed the official would leave Venezuela.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)