June 01, 2005

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part II

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part II

5. Bush Abomination’s #1 Failure: National Security
6. Bush Abomination’s #2 Failure: Economic Security
7. Bush Abomination’s #3 Failure: Environmental Security

Bush Abomination’s #1 Failure: National Security

CHRISTINA LAMB AND MOHAMMAD SHEHZAD, Captured Al-Qaeda kingpin is case of ‘mistaken identity,’ Times of London, 5/8/05: Bush called him a “top general” and “a major facilitator and chief planner for the Al- Qaeda network”. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said he was “a very important figure”. Yet the backslapping in Washington and Islamabad has astonished European terrorism experts, who point out that the Libyan was neither on the FBI’s most wanted list, nor on that of the State Department “rewards for justice” programme.
Another Libyan is on the FBI list — Anas al-Liby, who is wanted over the 1998 East African embassy bombings — and some believe the Americans may have initially confused the two. When The Sunday Times contacted a senior FBI counter-terrorism official for information about the importance of the detained man, he sent material on al-Liby, the wrong man.
“Al-Libbi is just a ‘middle-level’ leader,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, a French intelligence investigator and leading expert on terrorism finance. “Pakistan and US authorities have completely overestimated his role and importance. He was never more than a regional facilitator between Al-Qaeda and local Pakistani Islamic groups.”

Patrick Radden Keefe, The Inside, Boston Globe, 5/15/05: IT HAS BEEN more than two years now since Richard A. Clarke left the federal government he served for three decades, and more than a year since his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, when he turned to the families of the Sept. 11 dead, and said, ''Your government failed you, and I failed you." Yet over a recent lunch at a Manhattan restaurant, where the Dorchester-born former White House counterterrorism director was joined by his longtime deputy, Roger Cressey, Clarke seemed as much an insider -- and a celebrity -- as ever…
Inevitably, given his reputation as the official who saw 9/11 coming, Clarke's ongoing relevance will depend to a large degree on his ability to spot the next threat. And the emerging issue about which Clarke is most concerned today is that America's enemy is changing before its eyes.
''This is my 'Battle of Algiers' analogy," he said, referring to Gillo Pontecorvo's 1965 film about the Algerian revolt against the French. ''In 'The Battle of Algiers' the French have an organizational chart of the Algerian resistance and they eliminate all of them. And then they lose."
''For us," he continues, ''the Battle of Algiers is Iraq. Because we're doing Iraq, we're generating a whole new generation and we have no idea who they are."
Clarke believes that America could continue to capture and kill key Al Qaeda figures, but still lose the war on terrorism. Over lunch, he and Roger Cressey seemed almost nostalgic for the organizational clarity of Al Qaeda.
''If you've got a movement, you can't attack it," Cressey said. ''It doesn't have a nerve center. Al Qaeda was a rational actor."
''It was organized like a business," Clarke said.
''And the global Sunni extremist movement is not," Cressey added.
''I think there's a cycle," Clarke concluded. ''If you think of Al Qaeda as a curve, we're largely on the downside of that curve, but where that curve starts sloping down, the curve of the next wave, the next generation, is building up. And it's going to hit us in a little while."

Gen. Wesley Clark, War didn't and doesn't bring democracy, Washington Monthly:
Anyone who has traveled regularly to the Middle East over the years, as I have, knows that the recent hopeful democratic moves in Lebanon, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories have causal roots that long predate our arrival in Iraq, or that are otherwise unconnected to the war. American groups like the National Endowment for Democracy and numerous international organizations have been working with and strengthening reform-minded elements in these countries for years, and to some extent we are now seeing the fruits of that quiet involvement. But it is a mistake to believe that everything that is happening in the region—whether positive or negative—is a result of American military actions or rhetoric from Washington.
In Iran, for instance, the hopeful movement toward democracy went into remission after we invaded neighboring Iraq. Did our invasion cause democratic reform to falter in Iran? Not necessarily. There are many reasons—most of them internal—for why reform movements within a country wax and wane. But it is hard to claim that the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was responsible for pro-democratic reactions in some Middle Eastern countries, but not for anti-democratic reactions in others.
Each of the positive developments that are currently bringing hope to the Middle East was more directly the result of a catalyzing local event than the consequence of American foreign policy. The death of Yasser Arafat made possible the democratic breakthrough within the Palestinian Authority and the progress we're now seeing between the PA and Israel. In Lebanon, it took the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri and the outrage, both internal and international, that followed to spur Syrian withdrawal. And across the region, leaders like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have recognized the need to seek greater legitimacy by opening the door for democracy in order to stave off mounting threats from Islamic fundamentalists.
The administration has generally responded to these openings by adding to the pressure, calling for withdrawal of Syrian forces and for democracy. But like the rooster who thinks his crowing caused the dawn, those who rule Washington today have a habit of taking credit for events of which they were in fact not the primary movers. Many of them have insisted, for instance, that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was largely the consequence of President Reagan's military policies. As a military officer at the time, and a Reagan supporter, I would be happy to give the Gipper that credit. In truth, however, our military posture was only one factor. As in the Middle East today, individuals who labored for freedom within these countries performed the bulk of the work. Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, and other contemporaries looked at America as an ideal, not as the muscle, on every street corner. Other, truly transformative agents of Western influence, such as Pope John Paul II, the labor union movement, international commercial institutions, and the influences of next-door neighbors like the Federal Republic of Germany were at work…
As we work to help establish the conditions for democracy in Iraq, our most useful role elsewhere is surely behind the scenes. For example, the situation in Lebanon creates a power vacuum which could lead to the same kind of instability that ignited civil war there 30 years ago. We can, and should, be working diplomatically to provide the support, balance, and reassurances necessary for the revival of independent democracy in Lebanon. We should engage Syria to encourage cooperation in Iraq and liberalize its politics at home. At the very least, we should be helping to craft what comes next before we tighten the noose further on an already-shaky Assad. In our eagerness to help, we'd do well to heed the motto of my Navy friends in the submarine service: “Run silent-run deep.”
Democracy can't be imposed—it has to be homegrown. In the Middle East, democracy has begun to capture the imagination of the people. For Washington to take credit is not only to disparage courageous leaders throughout the region, but also to undercut their influence at the time it most needs to be augmented. Let's give credit where credit is due—and leave the political spin at the water's edge.

MICHAEL SCHEUER, Commentary: Al-Qaida's take on the U.S., United Press International, 5/4/05: This mock report to bin Laden, cleared for publication by the CIA, was written by Michael Scheuer a 22-year agency veteran who was the head of the unit charged with tracking bin Laden...Its heading: "The Bleed-to-Bankruptcy War." Its highlights (translated from Arabic)…Brothers, believe me, the Americans are either soundly asleep, unwilling to face reality, or fundamentally stupid. Based on my observations and discussions, they do not appear to have a clue as to what this war is about. This is, thanks to God, our greatest advantage. As examples, I cite the following for your consideration:
-- They do not understand out motivation; in American terms, "they have not figured out what makes us tick." Their political leaders of both parties, as well as their media, military, economic and social elites continue to claim al-Qaida hates America "for what it believes and how it lives" and not "for what the United States does in the Islamic world." Honestly brothers, only God's love for Muslim believers could have kept American elites so dense for so long. It is worth thinking and worrying about how long this self-imposed ignorance can last, but on that score there is also good news…
Brothers, the indictment of the United States you have so clearly broadcast has put them at a disadvantage, for to discuss those points openly would be to breed a firestorm in U.S. politics for each of them has become a "'holy of holies" and political poison.
Unqualified Support for Israel: To criticize this policy would be a martyrdom operation for any U.S. politician. End of story. Our claims that Israel leads America around by the nose are true. If I was not living here I would not accept this acontention, but in this country, thanks to God, criticism of Israel is not allowed. Men are called anti-Semitic and their careers ruined if they criticize Israel. The apostate Mubarak is criticized more openly in Egypt than is Israel in America.
Support for China, Russia and India Against Muslims: To question this would mean losing face with other great powers. The Americans do not seem to know how much their support for Putin's genocide against Chechen Muslims hurts them in the Muslim world. Brothers, only the Lord of the Universe could have put Bush so squarely on the side of butchers Putin and Sharon.
Energy Policy: This is unbelievable, Brothers, but three decades after King Faisal's blessed embargo, U.S. leaders are unwilling to install an energy policy that would remove Arab domination of their economy, and those of its allies. And just this month, the apostate Crown Prince Abdullah agreed to expand Saudi oil production by the end of the decade. Unbelievably, Bush welcomed this move, which will only increase America's dependence on Muslim oil, allow increased demand, and keep prices high. Imagine brothers, with the steady rise in the price of a barrel of oil from $35 to $55, our blessed financial supporters can increase their support for us to unprecedented levels. And of the irony, American parents are now paying exorbitant prices at the pump, and we are receiving a portion of those windfall profits to help us kill their soldier children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
Support for Arab Allies: We are safe on this one, too, Brothers. Energy dependence means that the talk of democracy building in the Islamic world will remain mostly talk. Indeed, pictures of Bush's recent kissing and hand-holding with the apostate tyrant Abdullah will tell Muslims all they need to know about U.S. intentions. American leaders also do not have the courage to tell their people that they have deliberately made a mockery of America's heritage of freedom -- which so much of the Muslim world still admires -- by supporting Arab tyrannies and police states for many decades in Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and elsewhere. And Brothers, while the Israeli lobby has a powerful influence on the American Congress and media, the Saudi lobby is just as powerful and successful. The apostate al-Sauds send their smiling English-speaking sons like Ambassador Bandar to America -- he owns the Congress -- and Prince Turki to Britain and our infidel enemies believe they are dealing with true leaders of the Arabian Peninsula. And even more, the al-Sauds buy the loyalty of retired ambassadors, generals and intelligence officers to lobby the Congress and White House on their behalf. All the while, and for this all praise is due to the Lord of the Universe, our blessed Ulema in the Land of the Prophet (peace be upon him), are using funds from the al-Sauds to finance and preach the spread of God's word around the globe, and nowhere more aggressively than under the nose of the Bush administration right here in the United States. Islam's huge coming generation of Muslim youth is being educated by our Ulema in what the Americans call Wahhabism -- an Islamic theology more martial and ruthless than the Salafism of al-Qaida. The American elites take the al-Sauds' word as they would take a hallucinogenic drug. It denies them contact with reality and they believe -- they truly do, Brothers -- that Saudi Arabia is their ally, and all the while Saudi clerics are lighting a worldwide anti-American fire. God is great.
Military Presence in Muslim countries: Another safe area for us. As the Americans build bases in the Islamic world, they have no notion they are voluntarily donning the cloak of 19th century European imperialism and energizing a new generation of Mujahedin fighting in God's path. U.S. leaders have no conception of how the rehabilitation of this imperialistic image hurts America, and rallies Muslims to brother Osama's views. May God keep the Americans ignorant of each Muslim's possession of an extremely long historical memory...
Finally, the American leaders do not see in Iraq they have opened a door for us to project our forces into Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and thence onward to Lebanon and Israel. Brothers, the Americans see Iraq as honey to attract mujahedin so they can be killed there. They fail to see that their military presence in Iraq not only gives us U.S. targets, but that it is helping to satisfy Brother Osama's goal of securing contiguous safe haven from which to infiltrate and attack the apostate regimes of the Levant and Turkey. It will be too late, God willing, when the Americans discover that the flow of non-Iraqi mujahedin through Iraq into the Levant, Turkey and the Gulf is far more dangerous to their interests than the mujahedin entering Iraq from Syria and Jordan…

Associated Press, Blix Blames U.S. for Nuke-weapons Stalemate, 5/10/05: Washington isn’t taking “the common bargain” of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as seriously as it once did, and that’s dimming global support for the U.S. campaign to shut down the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector said.
Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, by questioning the value of treaties and international law, has also damaged the U.S. position, Hans Blix said.
“There is a feeling the common edifice of the international community is being dismantled,” the Swedish arms expert said.
Blix, now chairman of the Swedish government-sponsored Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, spoke with reporters in the second week of a month-long conference to review the 1970 nonproliferation treaty.
Under the 188-nation pact, nations without nuclear weapons pledge not to pursue them, in exchange for a commitment by five nuclear-weapons states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — to negotiate toward nuclear disarmament…
Washington, for its part, wants the conference to focus on what it alleges are Iran’s plans to build nuclear arms in violation of the treaty, and on North Korea’s withdrawal from the treaty and claim to have nuclear bombs.
Blix told reporters there is “a great deal of concern” about North Korea and Iran among states without nuclear weapons.
But “that feeling of concern is somewhat muted by the feeling that the United States in particular, and perhaps some other nuclear weapons states, are not taking the common bargain as seriously as they had committed themselves to do in the past,” he said.
He cited Bush administration proposals to build new nuclear weapons and talk in Washington even of testing weapons, ending a 13-year-old U.S. moratorium on nuclear tests. He also referred to statements by Bolton, President Bush’s embattled nominee to be U.N. ambassador, devaluing treaties and the authority of international law.
“Why are you complaining about (North Korea) breaching the treaty if treaties are not binding?” Blix, an international lawyer, asked rhetorically. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0510-07.htm

Bush Abomination’s #2 Failure: Economic Security

CBC News, U.S. living beyond means, Dodge warns, 5/30/05: Bank of Canada governor David Dodge offered a bankerly rebuke to the United States on Monday for its borrow-and-spendthrift ways, which he suggested are a threat to world economic stability. Less directly, he chided nations such as China for rigging their currencies to boost exports while building up larger and larger foreign-exchange reserves, creating a lopsided world in which Asian savings finance U.S. spending…
His comments echo those of many economists who have watched the United States evolve from the world's greatest creditor nation to the greatest debtor as Americans saved less, consumed more and imported more. China, meanwhile, took over much of the world's consumer-goods manufacturing and used its export earnings to soak up vast amounts of U.S. debt…
Dodge said the imbalances won't go on forever.
"At some point, they will have to be resolved. Why? For one thing, a country's external indebtedness cannot keep growing indefinitely as a share of its GDP. Eventually, investors will begin to balk at increasing their exposure to that country, even if it is a reserve-currency country, such as the United States.
"For another thing, the buildup of foreign exchange reserves by Asian countries will, eventually, feed into domestic monetary expansion and lead to higher inflation. These imbalances will ultimately be resolved, either in an orderly, or in an abrupt, disorderly way."

Paul Krugman, The Chinese Connection, New York Times, 5/20/05: Over the last few years China, for its own reasons, has acted as an enabler both of US fiscal irresponsibility and of a return to Nasdaq-style speculative mania, this time in the housing market. Now the US government is finally admitting that there's a problem - but it's asserting that the problem is China's, not ours.
And there's no sign that anyone in the administration has faced up to an unpleasant reality: the US economy has become dependent on low-interest loans from China and other foreign governments, and it's likely to have major problems when those loans are no longer forthcoming…
Here's what I think will happen if and when China changes its currency policy, and those cheap loans are no longer available. US interest rates will rise; the housing bubble will probably burst; construction employment and consumer spending will both fall; falling home prices may lead to a wave of bankruptcies. And we'll suddenly wonder why anyone thought financing the budget deficit was easy.

TAVIA GRANT, Foreign investors sell U.S. assets, Globe and Mail, 5/16/05: International investments in U.S. securities dropped to $45.7-billion (U.S.) in March from $84.1-billion in February, the U.S. Department of Treasury said Monday, further evidence that foreign central banks may be diversifying their holdings away from U.S. assets.
The March inflows fell well short of the $70-billion economists polled by Bloomberg had expected. Moreover, it is below the $65-billion to $75-billion that is needed to cover the U.S. current account deficit and outflows of foreign direct investment, according to a report by Adam Cole, senior currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in London.
Overseas central banks were net sellers of U.S. assets for the first time since September 2002, he wrote. March's selling of U.S. dollar-denominated assets by official holders was the largest since August 1998, he said.
The numbers suggest foreign buyers of U.S. securities may be concerned about the U.S. trade and current account deficits, both of which have ballooned to records in recent months.

Michael T. Klare, The Intensifying Global Struggle for Energy, Tom Dispatch, 5/9/05: From Washington to New Delhi, Caracas to Moscow and Beijing, national leaders and corporate executives are stepping up their efforts to gain control over major sources of oil and natural gas as the global struggle for energy intensifies. Never has the competitive pursuit of untapped oil and gas reserves been so acute, and never has so much money as well as diplomatic and military muscle been deployed in the contest to win control over major foreign stockpiles of energy. To an unprecedented degree, a government's success or failure in these endeavors is being treated as headline news, and provoking public outcry when a rival power is seen as benefiting unfairly from a particular transaction. With the officials of numerous governments coming under mounting pressure to satisfy the needs of their individual countries -- at whatever cost -- the battle for energy can only become more inflamed in the years ahead.
This struggle is being driven by one great inescapable fact: the global supply of energy is not growing fast enough to keep up with skyrocketing demand, especially from the United States and the developing nations of Asia. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), global energy consumption will grow by more than 50% during the first quarter of the 21st century -- from an estimated 404 to 623 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) per year. Oil and natural gas will be in particular demand. By 2025, global oil consumption is projected to rise 57%, from 157 to 245 quadrillion BTUs, while gas consumption is projected to have a 68% growth rate, from 93 to 157 quads. It appears increasingly unlikely, however, that the world's energy firms will actually be able to deliver such quantities of oil and gas in the coming decades, whether for political, economic, or geological reasons. With prices rising all over the world and serious shortages in the offing, every major consuming nation is coming under increasing pressure to maximize its relative share of the available energy supply. Inevitably, these pressures will pit one state against another in the competitive pursuit of oil and natural gas…
Tensions are sure to rise, moreover, if Japan actually commences drilling in waters claimed by China. "If real exploration starts, we cannot totally exclude the possibility of Japanese private company ships having to face Chinese military ships," Junichi Abe, an analyst at the Kazankai Foundation in Tokyo, told a reporter for the New York Times. And if this were to occur, the Japanese government would come under enormous political pressure to protect those private vessels with planes and warships of its own, thereby setting the stage for an armed confrontation with China, whether intended or not.
Similar escalation could occur in other cases of disputed energy claims. In the Caspian Sea, for example, Iran seeks control over offshore oil and gas fields also claimed by Azerbaijan, an ally of the United States. In July 2001, an Iranian gunboat steamed into the contested area and chased off an oil-company exploration vessel operating there under Azerbaijani auspices. In response, the United States has pledged to help Azerbaijan build a small Caspian navy, to better protect its offshore energy claims. On April 11, John J. Fialka of the Wall Street Journal revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense will spend $100 million over the next few years to establish the "Caspian Guard," a network of police forces and special-operations units "that can respond to various emergencies, including attacks on oil facilities." Russia is also expanding its Caspian Fleet, as it too presses its claims to offshore fields in the region. Under such circumstances, it is all too easy to imagine how a minor confrontation could erupt into something much more serious, involving the U.S., Russia, Iran, and other countries.
Territorial disputes of this sort with significant energy dimensions can be found in the Red Sea, the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Guinea, and the Bakassi Peninsula (a narrow stretch of land claimed by both Nigeria and Cameroon) among other regions. In each of these areas, opposing claimants have employed military force on occasion to assert their control or to drive off the forces of a challenger. None of these incidents has led to a full-scale conflict, but lives have been lost and the risk of renewed fighting persists. As the global struggle for energy intensifies, therefore, the danger of escalation will grow…
Indeed, once a problem like energy security has been tagged as a matter of national security, it passes from the realm of economics and statecraft into that of military policy. Then, the generals and strategists get into the act and begin their ceaseless planning for endless "contingencies" and "emergencies." In such an environment, small incidents evolve into crises, and crises into wars. Expect a hot couple of decades ahead.

GENE EPSTEIN, IRAQ bites back, Barron’s, 5/15/05: THE PAT EXPLANATIONS FOR HIGH OIL prices are China's voracious appetite and the spread of SUVs. But it's starting to look like the Iraq war -- remember it? -- is one of the biggest reasons for the price hikes of the past two years.
Though the war was expected to lead to higher petroleum production by Iraq, the ongoing fighting since the fall of Baghdad has had exactly the opposite effect. Iraq's output has fallen sharply -- and that has hit Americans hard at the gas pump.
Two top energy analysts tell Barron's that a quick end to the insurgency could cause the price of oil to drop by as much as 20%. Frederick Leuffer of Bear Stearns and Mike Rothman of ISI Group each said in separate interviews that prices would fall by $5 to $10 a barrel, effectively erasing at least half and possibly all of the increases at gas pumps over the past year. Last week, the average retail price of regular-grade gasoline, including taxes, at $2.186 per gallon, down 4.9 cents from the week before but still 24.5 cents higher than a year earlier…
The hopes were dashed by an unanticipated problem: sabotage. About 80 oil installations were blown up in 2003, and nearly 250 in 2004, including almost 50 separate strikes on oil pipelines. Last week, a story in The Wall Street Journal about the appointment of a new oil minister quoted an anonymous ministry official in Baghdad remarking that the industry is "deteriorating, day after day."

Bush Abomination’s #3 Failure: Environmental Security

Guardian/UK Editorial, Climate Change: US Grassroots Revolt, 5/17/05: It would be easy to think that America doesn't doesn't give a fig for the rest of the world's concerns about global warming. President Bush has ignored his own scientists and kept the US out of the Kyoto treaty, and last week his chief climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, seemed to dash Tony Blair's hopes of a breakthrough at the G8 summit in July when he provocatively said that he saw no reason to take any speedy action. The ice caps may be melting and 19 of America's warmest years on record may have occurred since 1980, but the country responsible for a quarter of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions regrettably sees no reason to act. Wrong.
The White House is not America, and over the past few years concerned local authorities, institutions and groups of all political persuasions have quietly cocked a snook at the president by committing their communities to the same targets and timetables that the US would have been legally obliged to meet had it signed up to Kyoto. As of yesterday, 154 US local governments - representing more than 50 million people and responsible for 20% of all US greenhouse emissions - are part of a coalition that has pledged to reduce emissions by 7% below 1990 levels by 2012: more than Europe has committed to. Rather than fall for the White House line that meeting Kyoto targets means higher petrol prices and millions of lost jobs, they are taking industry and voters with them, dramatically cutting energy costs. Some, such as Salt Lake City and Seattle, have targets well below most European countries, and others are ditching SUVs and rethinking transport and heating strategies.
Not to be outdone, hundreds of universities have followed suit, But while these voluntary initiatives show America in a welcome light, they are, regretfully, not enough. If the world is to really address climate change, it needs the US government on every level to encourage, cajole, educate and insist on early action. George Bush should listen less to the vested interests of the oil and coal industries and more to his grassroots where common sense is often found. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0517-27.htm

Andrew Buncombe and Geoffrey Lean, Increase in 'Dead Zones' Starving the World's Seas, Independent/UK, 5/15/05: It has arrived early; it's bigger than ever and it promises a summer of death and destruction. The annual "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico - starved of oxygen, and thus killing fish and underwater vegetation - has appeared earlier than usual this year.
This is just one sign of a rapidly growing crisis. The number of similar dead zones in the world's seas has doubled every decade since 1960, as a result of increasing pollution. The United Nations Environment Program says that there are now 146 of them worldwide, mainly around the coasts of rich countries. Its executive director, Klaus Töpfer, calls their growth "a gigantic, global experiment ... triggering alarming, and sometimes irreversible, effects".
The Gulf of Mexico dead zone - which can cover more than 7,000 square miles - is mainly caused by fertilizers, flowing down rivers to the sea. Every year the Mississippi river - which drains 41 per cent of the United States - dumps 1.6 million tons of nitrogen in the gulf, three times as much as 40 years ago. Most comes from the highly productive corn belt, which helps to feed the world. The nutrients feed blooms of algae and phytoplankton. The algae drain oxygen from the water, as do the decomposing bodies of the plankton, when they fall to the seabed and die.
It hits a fishery that provides one-fifth of the country's entire harvest from the sea. As a result, catches of brown shrimp, the gulf's most important species, have dropped since 1990. The worst years match those with biggest dead zones, which appear to block juveniles from reaching their offshore spawning grounds…
The world's biggest dead zone is in the Baltic, where sewage and nitrogen fallout from burning fossil fuels combine with fertilizers to over-enrich the sea. Fish farming can also exacerbate the problem.
Nearly a third of the world's dead zones are off the United States - including a notorious one in Chesapeake Bay - but they also cluster round the coasts of Europe and Japan, and have reached China, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
World fertilizer use has soared tenfold over the past 50 years, mirroring the increase in dead zones. And half the natural wetlands that used to filter out nutrients before they reach the sea have been destroyed worldwide. Big farming states such as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa have drained more than 80 per cent of theirs.
But there is some good news. After the lobster fishery collapsed in the Kattegat Strait between Denmark and Sweden 20 years ago, the Danish government implemented an action plan, which dramatically cut pollution from agriculture, industry and sewage and restored wetlands.

Posted by richard at June 1, 2005 02:10 AM