Thursday, November 16, 2017

Losing the Wild: Fish Farm Threat to Pacific Salmon

Losing Our Wild Salmon

by Susanne Lawson


November 16, 2017 

Tofino, B.C. - I am sitting in a boat near a Marine Harvest fish farm in the Broughton Archipelago...I walk outside and the air stinks of acrid, penned Atlantic salmon and feed pellets that are continuously sprayed into the pens. The sound of the sprayers never ceases.

It is depressing to see these fish leaping in the air trapped in these stinking pens. Salmon should never be in pens.

This farm has been occupied by local First Nations for almost three months now. There are multiple First Nations involved, very dedicated people.

There is a camp in the woods of kayakers standing by to help...they call themselves Kyactivists. These are public lands, public waters. There is another camp of people at a land based house nearby that was built by Marine Harvest which First Nations occupied. Marine Harvest has several land based houses for workers, leased quite permanently (it seems) for comfort and ease of access.

At the farm, 5 pens are empty as the protest has so far prevented more Atlantic salmon from being restocked and 4 are full of approximately 8 month old fish. Marine Harvest does not have permits to restock at this time yet are determined to go ahead.

There are about 4 to 5 boats belonging to supporters of the protest with people aboard them, providing support, transportation and warmth.

The weather has been stormy, cold and wet...it is mid November 2017.

First Nations people...Chiefs and their families, have maintained a presence here since August, with two young women, Molina Dawson and Karissa Glendale, in their early twenties, of the Musgmagw and Namgis First Nations, living on the floats. Chief Ernest Alfred and other hereditary First Nations of Alert Bay occupied Swanson Island fish farm and Wicklow fish farms this fall. Marine Harvest came in and stocked the pens in front of the Chiefs who were occupying the farm in full traditional regalia.

Seven people have set up a camp in the woods nearby, treating the area with great respect and understanding, one of them doing his doctorate in law and jurisdiction. It is a sweet space with big trees and a creek bubbling nearby, (photos available).

Marine Harvest has gone to court seeking an injunction to have everyone removed. The judge has given both parties until Dec. 14th to present their case and in the meantime the First Nations agreed to remove their occupation and buildings. Marine Harvest wants to go ahead and restock the empty pens with Atlantic salmon smolts despite First Nations demanded they don't.

Things are at a standstill right now, sad that nothing is preventing more Atlantic salmon and diseases to continue to prevail in B.C. waters, especially after such a concerted effort to bring about positive change to such a destructive process as fish farmig. So much and so many are losing ... commercial fishermen, sports fishing, families dependent on the wild salmon resource, bears, eagles, trout, marine life like seals, sea lions, and so much more...it is impossible to weigh the values of what wild salmon have provided for the coast.

Wild salmon are on the brink of disaster...wild stocks are crashing, Alaska has closed all Chinook fishing and bears and more have been starving on the coast. Sea lice are out of control all over the world where these farms exist and have been found on emaciated trout, ling cod, herring and more. An application for 18 hectares of pesticide use has been made for Clayoquot Sound waters by another fish farm company, Cermaq, owned by Mitsubishi and operated out of Norway. We are all losing while others are profiting from our loss.

How far does this go...until our amazing wild salmon are extinct? I hope for sanity to prevail.... If this doesn't turn around now, the irreplaceable loss of our wild salmon migration and all it nourishes will be one of the greatest regrets of this century.

Sincerely, Susanne Lawson, Tofino, B.C.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Death in the Cradle: Is Troika the End of Greek Democracy?

Is Greek Democracy Dead?

by TRNN


November 15, 2017

The Real News has returned to Greece for the fourth time in three years to explore the development of the economic crisis and in particular, to examine whether a given current economic reality is, it can be persuasively argued that Greece has began to emerge from that economic crisis.

And today we are with Panagiotis Lafazanis who is the leader of the party that was founded in 2015 in the aftermath of the rebellion within the governing Syriza party. That party is called the Popular Unity Party. And Mr. Lafazanis was the leader of the left-platform of Syriza before leaving Syriza to form Popular Unity with other Syriza leftist MPs who were not satisfied with the Tsipras government's adoption of an austerity program.



Panagiotis Lafazanis, former leader of Syriza's Left Platform and current leader of Popular Unity, says Greece has become a protectorate of the Troika

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Pablo Ouziel, David Rovics, Jainine Bandcroft November 16, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


November 16, 2017

More than six weeks have passed since the president of Catalonia defied the federal government, holding an independence referendum. The reaction by Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy was swift and definitive; declaring the upstart region's government null and void and Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, (along with several of his party's key ministers) criminals; and by decree rendering the independence movement itself effectively illegal.

Today, Puigdemont is in exile, out on bail in Brussels after being arrested on an EU warrant, and prime minister Rajoy has scheduled elections for a replacement government in Catalan for December 21st, Señor Puigdemont's participation being expressly unwelcome.


Listen. Hear.

Dr. Pablo Ouziel is a Post-Doctoral fellow at UVic whose project in progress is, ‘Towards Democratic Responses to the Crisis of Democracy in Spain: Forms of Participatory and Representative Civic Engagement.’

Pablo Ouziel in the first half.


And; next week Victoria will host inveterate American activist and singer/songwriter in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, David Rovics to town. It will be the first time I get a chance to talk to David since he dramatically dropped out of the US presidential race in 2015. We can now just wonder, if only he had stayed in the running, "What might have been?"

David Rovics bringing a world of politics and music to Victoria's doorstep in the second half.


And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events bulletin update of good things to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Pablo Ouziel and an increasingly darkening horizon for both Spain's and European democracy.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Censorgate: America's New Rush to Shut the Internet News Floodgates

America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News


November 14, 2017

Exclusive: Arriving behind the anti-Trump “resistance” and the Russia-gate “scandal” is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives, writes Robert Parry.

A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside
the Kremlin wall,
Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.

Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at Consortiumnews.com before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]

Muzzling RT


Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department’s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed “propaganda” that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.


Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address 
to UN General Assembly Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

This attack on RT was rationalized by the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda – and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.

However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT’s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.

Other RT “propaganda” included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from “fracking,” issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event – even if others have too – that constitutes “propaganda,” which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.

If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report’s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these “hand-picked” analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this “Intelligence Community Assessment” is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a “Kremlin stooge” or “Putin’s useful idiot.” [An earlier State Department attack on RT was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]

And, by the way, it was President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were “hand-picked.” That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama’s intelligence chiefs from three agencies – not “all 17” as the American public was told over and over again – and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as “the U.S. intelligence community,” even after major news outlets finally had to retract their “all 17” canard.

So, the myth of the intelligence community’s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government’s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.”

In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan’s ranting about “the Evil Empire,” some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report’s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.” Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not – or whether you like “fracking” and hate Occupy Wall Street – the opportunity to hear this information doesn’t constitute “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.”

The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.

For example, you’re not supposed to hear about the huge holes in the Syria-sarin cases, nor about Ukraine’s post-coup regime arming neo-Nazis to kill ethnic-Russian Ukrainians, nor about Israel’s evolution into an apartheid state. All right-thinking Americans are to get only a steady diet of how righteous the U.S. government and its allies always are. Anything else is “propaganda.”

Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report – or apparently even Clapper’s characterization of it as a product of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies. You’re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.

No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the “consensus” assessment from the entire “U.S. intelligence community.” And you must accept it as flat fact – as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn’t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn’t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous “Russian mole” whose journalism must be purged from “responsible” media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.

The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria


Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump’s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election’s outcome and removing Trump from office.


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with 
supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, 
March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance. The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance’s Russia-gate narrative.

An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including Consortiumnews.com, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department’s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.

Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, reports and studies were flying off the shelves detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn’t toe the State Department’s line.

The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even cheered plans for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems “fake” or “propaganda.” Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn’t.

Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about “all 17 intelligence agencies” signing off on the Russian “hacking” claim to be “true.” Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that this lie is the truth, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.

But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.

It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Seal Team Dark Side: The Mysterious Death of Logan Melgar

Killing of Green Beret Illuminates Dark Side of Famed Navy SEAL Team Six

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News


November 14 2017

Sergeant Melgar’s death is just the latest confirmation that the most celebrated and mysterious group of the U.S. military continues to function with minimal oversight and accountability — producing a climate in which even other members of the U.S. military are not safe.


After several months of investigation into the strangling of U.S. Army Green Beret Logan Melgar, the accounts of those at the center of the homicide investigation – two members of the famed Navy SEAL Team Six – have unraveled. The killing occurred while the SEALs and Melgar were on a secret assignment in the West African nation of Mali, where they were said to have been helping with training and counterterrorism efforts led by local and French forces.

Following Melgar’s sudden death, found by an autopsy to have been the result of “homicide by asphyxiation,” the two SEALs told their superiors that Melgar had been drunk and later became violent.

34-year-old Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar,
killed while on a secret assignment in Mali.

However, Melgar’s autopsy showed no presence of alcohol or drugs at the time of his death and several sources, including Melgar’s wife, stated that he did not drink.

Melgar’s wife later gave emails to investigators, including one in which Melgar told her that he had “a bad feeling” about two of his partners, both of whom were members of SEAL Team Six.

Now, as the Daily Beast reports, two special-operations sources have confirmed the likely reason for Melgar’s sudden death. Melgar had allegedly discovered that the two SEALs in question were illegally pocketing money from a fund used to pay informants in counterterrorism efforts. 

The SEALs had offered to let Melgar in on the scheme, but Melgar refused. A day later he was dead.

The New York Times noted late last month that the investigation “threatened to stain” the sterling reputation of SEAL Team Six. Indeed, the unit has practically become a household name in the United States following its reported participation in a 2011 high-profile raid on a compound that was said to have housed Osama bin Laden — owing in part to the enshrinement of the raid in a high-profile movie and book that were later found to have been highly imaginative in their portrayal of events.

However, despite its fame and repute for allegedly having “taken out” Osama bin Laden, SEAL Team Six has been no stranger to controversy, and Melgar’s untimely death is just the latest in a string of incidents that highlight the group’s more sinister side.


“Global manhunting machine” with little accountability 

 


A SEAL Team Six operator stands guard while on Close Protection
duty in Afghanistan. (Photo: public domain)

SEAL Team Six’s dark side has become more well known in recent years — in parallel with the group’s transformation from small elite squadron to “global manhunting machine” that has killed numerous suspected militants, as well as civilians, over this period. The testimony of former members and officers has revealed that the much-celebrated SEAL team now regularly partakes in so-called “revenge ops,” extrajudicial killings, mutilations of the deceased and other war crimes – crimes that were not only tolerated by the command’s leadership but also covered up.

Numerous high-profile raids performed by the SEALs since 9/11– such as a 2009 rescue mission meant to deliver Capt. Richard Phillips from the hands of Somali pirates — illustrate the less glamorous side of the group. That operation saw members of SEAL Team Six shoot and kill pirates – though the authorization to shoot was never given – and saw over $30,000 in cash previously taken by the pirates disappear. Though the SEALs were suspected of stealing the money, the money was never found and no charges were ever filed for its disappearance nor for the group’s decision to shoot without authorization. Despite the controversy, the mission was turned into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Hanks.

In addition, the mutilation of the bodies of the deceased became fair game for members of SEAL Team Six, as evidenced by the widespread practice of “canoeing” — in which rounds are fired into the foreheads of the deceased in order to split open the skull and expose brain matter. The practice – referred to by a former SEAL Team Six leader as “sport” — became so common that the head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees SEAL Team Six, was forced to require “full photographic accounting” of the dead to ensure mutilation was kept to a minimum.

Aside from such measures intended to rein in the group, SEAL Team Six is subject to minimal oversight. For instance, JSOC has self-investigated numerous inquiries of wrongdoing without passing them along to Navy investigators. In addition — according to Harold Koh, the State Department’s former top legal adviser, who provided guidance to the Obama administration on clandestine war — Congress has been largely uninterested in scrutinizing the command’s behavior. As a former SEAL Team Six leader told the Intercept, “You can’t win an investigation on us.”

Given SEAL Team Six’s culture of lawlessness and impunity, Sergeant Melgar’s death can hardly be seen as an isolated incident. Instead, Melgar’s death is just the latest confirmation that the most celebrated and mysterious group of the U.S. military continues to function with minimal oversight, control, and accountability — producing a climate in which criminality has become tolerated to the point that even other members of the U.S. military are not safe.



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Saudi Reality Check, Please

What’s Really Going On in Saudi Arabia

by John Chuckman - CounterPunch


November 13, 2017  
 
“Trump Says Saudi Elites Caught In Anti-Corruption Probe Were ‘Milking’ Kingdom For Years.”

This is just nonsense from Trump. Corruption is and has been everywhere in Saudi Arabia.

How else could it be with all the countless billions changing hands in a fairly closed society?

So, it is easy for a guy like the new Crown Prince to glance around and conveniently find some corruption among people he wants to discredit anyway.

It may go beyond merely discrediting them to having hundreds of billions seized by the Crown Prince. Not a bad day’s work.

What is going on is a kind of coup against the old order by the new usurper Crown Prince. His recent appointment was by a King well known for his senility, and it suddenly and surprisingly upset the established order of succession and all kinds of extended family compacts.

We likely will never know what truly happened in this secretive kingdom. But we do know the abrupt changes created lots of enemies who needed attending to, and that seems to be what is happening.

And the enemies have no friends in Washington to whom they can appeal. The old order in Saudi Arabia suffered terribly in the wake of 9/11, and despite great efforts to pacify the US with new levels of cooperation, it is now being swept out.

Now, whatever is considered good for a hyper-aggressive United States is coincidentally good for its de facto colony in the Middle East.

Trump himself has already proved to be one of Israel’s best-ever American friends. Israel has long had great influence, but it possibly never had it so good as it does now, as with a UN Ambassador who speaks as though she were a joint appointment of Trump and Netanyahu. Trump’s only competitor in this regard would be Lyndon Johnson.

The US and Israel closely embrace the usurper because he has proven his dependability with bloody projects like making illegal war on Yemen. That war is exactly like the proxy war waged by mercenaries – ISIS and Al-Nusra et al – in Syria except that in this case it is the open work of a nation-state. And now he joins Israel in making threats on Lebanon.

In all the Neocon Wars in the Mideast, great effort has been made, one way or another, not to have Israel at center stage, to avoid having Israel appear as aggressor. But, in fact, without the influence of Israel, none of these terrible wars would have happened.

Yes, the Crown Prince will be a dependable component in the years-long American-Israeli project of creating a new Middle East. The Crown Prince is essentially Israel’s man in Saudi Arabia, just as President el-Sisi is in Egypt. Israel is comfortable being surrounded by absolute governments, so long as they are absolute governments beholden to its patron, the United States.

Right now, the new Crown Prince is doing another bloody service for Israeli interests. The Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, was called to come to Riyadh in the King’s name for some business, as it turned out on false pretenses. Hariri had his plane surrounded and he was effectively arrested upon landing. Just pure modern piracy. Later, and who knows after what threats, he announced his sudden and unexpected resignation as prime minister, and he remains in Saudi Arabia.

It just so happens, in very recent time, Netanyahu and some of his officials have made some very ugly noises against Lebanon and even staged a large-scale set of war games, including calling up reservists, clearly threatening the country.

Israel just cannot stand the idea of Hezbollah being part of the Lebanese government whereas a reasonable observer would say Lebanon had achieved a peaceful balance in governing a land of many diverse political and religious groups.

After all, it hasn’t been that long ago since Israel helped catapult Lebanon into a terrible, bloody civil war, and it did so with its own bloody and unwarranted invasion of the country. Hezbollah, an organization which has never been a true terrorist group no matter what Israel goes on about, came into its own by opposing Israel’s long-term, illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon.

They were only defending what is theirs, but they made Israel look very bad, and that is an unforgivable offence. So, here we have the new Saudi Crown Prince doing more dirty work on Israel’s behalf, much as with his war in Yemen where he bombs civilians regularly, saving Israel from having to act on its own to get what it wants in someone else’s country.

You see, if Israel itself actually had to do all the ugly deeds it wants done in the region, the world would see it with blinding clarity for the pariah state that it truly is, starting wars incessantly. Proxies – whether mercenary gangs like ISIS and Al-Nusra in Syria or tyrants like the new Saudi Crown Prince in Yemen and Lebanon – are the latest fashion statement from Tel Aviv.

John Chuckman lives in Canada.
More articles by: John Chuckman

A Tale of Two Nuclear Powers: Comparing Israel and North Korea

A Telling Comparison: Israel versus North Korea

by Kim Petersen - Dissident Voice


November 14th, 2017

Missing from corporate media accounts is what causes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK aka North Korea) to be singled out for opprobrium for what, essentially, is developing a deterrent against any entity that would attack it.

A comparison with how the United Nations deals with North Korea vis-à-vis another member state state, Israel, is instructive.

Israel occupies Palestinian territory; destroys Palestinian olive groves and poisons Palestinian sheep; sprays Palestinian homes with sewage; sabotages Palestinian water supplies; cuts off power to Palestine; terrorizes Palestinians for hours at checkpoints, including the sick, infirm, and pregnant women, some who are forced to give birth at the checkpoints; stops fishermen from earning a living from the sea; shells hospitals, schools, and playgrounds; blows up kids on beaches; and commits myriad other war crimes. Israel has nuclear weapons and ICBMs. The last point is the only one that North Korea shares with Israel.

Yet only North Korea is vociferously criticized and sanctioned by the US and its allies. Is this fair? And is it just that North Korea is bullied and sanctioned for developing a self-defense?

Creation


Israel was brought into existence by the UN granting Palestinian land from Mandate Palestine to Jews, who happened to be mainly migrant Jews from another continent – Europe.

North Korea was created by World War II victors, predominantly the United States, splitting a country into two halves. Thereby, one ethnic group was separated from the other by a border.

Occupation


Whereas the Koreans are indigenous to Korea, Americans are occupying the territory of many Indigenous nations, as are Jewish Israelis (with the exception of Mizrahi Jews) occupying Arab territories.

Israel signifies a situation whereby one group of outsiders was favorably positioned by the UN to carry out an occupation of an Indigenous people.

The DPRK signifies a situation where a people indigenous to a territory were separated from kin by an outside entity. The self-determination of Koreans was not respected.

Notably, the US came into existence as a colonizer, a colonial-settler state, that remains in occupation of the territory of many Indigenous peoples; this includes the Hawaiian islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, and other islands of Micronesia, the Chagos archipelago, etc.

The Role of the UN


Over and over again, the US and NATO ideologues describe the DPRK as a threat. Why? What country has DPRK ever been at war with other than an internecine conflict with the Republic of Korea over half a century ago, a war into which the US inserted itself and the United Nations provided diplomatic approbation. Since the preamble to the UN Charter stated its determination to allay future generations from experiencing the scourge of war, what could be more hypocritical than for the UN to authorize war against another UN member?

The scope of the tendentiousness of the US and UN becomes fully transparent when the case of Israel is considered.

The case of Israel is another blight on the UN as it abnegated its Article 1 which calls for “respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.” The people of Mandate Palestine were not permitted self-determination, and the land was carved up. The Palestinian majority wound up with 42 percent of the land, the Jews were gifted 56 percent of Palestinian land, and Jerusalem was designated an international city. Palestinians rejected the plan. Subsequently Jews ethnically cleansed Palestinians from the land, waged wars, built settlements in occupied Palestine, and erected an illegal wall that has rendered the remainder of Palestine into discontiguous bantustans.




Israel has hardly been a sterling member of the UN, and the list of UN Resolutions targeting Israel is long. The list would be much longer were it not for the US wielding its veto power in the UN Security Council.

If indeed the UN is handling similar issues differently depending on who the member states are, then a question arises: How is the supposed neutrality and image of the UN as an honest arbiter affected by its differential treatment of members? And: What impact does this have for international justice?

Israel’s Wall and the DMZ


The World Court has ruled the Apartheid Wall (Wikipedia calls the 650-700-km structure that reaches a maximum height of 8 meters and cuts through much of the West Bank the “Israeli West Bank barrier”) to be illegal and ordered it torn down.

William Parry’s picture book — Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine (Pluto Press, 2010) — vividly drives home the oppressor-oppressed dynamic. The book portrays Israelis separating Palestinian families from one another, Palestinians being prevented from tending to their crops, Israelis inflicting economic deprivation on Palestinians, Israelis targeting of school children, and Israelis intended humiliation of Palestinian workers passing through checkpoints in the wall. Against the Wall also depicts the spirit, art, and determination of the Palestinian resistance, the anger of the occupied people, and messages to the world.

In the case of Israeli Jews, the wall is their statement of desiring separation from Palestinians. In stark contrast, the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula is a demilitarized zone forced by Americans on Koreans, many of who still desire reunification.

With the defeat of Japan looming in the closing days of World War II, the division of Korea was decided at the Potsdam Conference. North Korea states, “[T]he Korea question was decided according to the interests of the United States … contrary to the requirement and demand of the Korean people.”1 Koreans also blame Japan for the separation:

"Had the Japanese not occupied Korea, the United States could not have interfered in Korean affairs and the question of the 38th parallel would not have come into being. Therefore, Japan also takes blame for the division of Korea."2


Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph consecrated to liberation from Japanese occupation

Nukes and ICBMs


Although undeclared, it is well known that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, yet it escapes censure by the US and sanctions by the UN.

One might inquire how a state like the US with its huge stockpile of nuclear-tipped ICBMs has standing to criticize other states for doing what it does? Does this not pose a moral quicksand for the US? Also why does the US elude censure for not abiding by article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons?

Some Questions


If outsiders had allowed Koreans to decide their fate, if outsiders had not forcibly split the Korean peninsula, would Koreans be agitating, fighting to unify the Korean peninsula?3

If Palestinians had been able to determine and control immigration to their country, as is the case for nation states everywhere, would they have allowed a group of outsiders to establish an exclusive state for that group’s people negating their own state?

If the answer to both questions is no, then why are the Palestinians and North Koreans demonized for decisions made by outsiders that denied them their natural rights?

Conclusion


On the one hand we have a self-designated Jewish State that was carved out from a landmass colonized by Britain. Britain passed the matter to the UN which took a chunk of the land and gave it to others, without the consent of the Palestinian people who for millennia have lived, loved, played, worked, and farmed there. Israel, the Jewish state, ethnically cleansed 800,000 non-Jews from the land and later expanded its non-declared borders. Israel is clearly a racist state. All this was with the acquiescence of the US. Israel has been in contravention of several UN resolutions, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and has never been sanctioned by the UN. In addition, the US has exercised several vetoes in the UN Security Council to protect Israel from censure. As well, Israel became a nuclear-armed state with ICBMs. Does the US demand sanctions against Israel? No, it lavishes billions upon Israel each year; currently running at $3.8 billion a year. Most of this “aid”4 is in the form of military assistance — which is being challenged as violating US law against supporting secret nuclear states.

Korea, the state of the Korean people, saw its people separated into the two halves of the peninsula. This again was imposed from the outside, without the consent of the Korean people, chiefly by the US. North Korea has committed no acts of ethnic cleansing. On the contrary, it was the victim of major devastation caused by the US when the latter intervened in a civil war, committing numerous war crimes.5 The US threatened North Korea with nuclear weapons during the war on the Korean peninsula, had nuclear weapons stationed on South Korean soil for several years, has nuclear-armed warships docking in South Korea, has nuclear-armed warplanes and nuclear-armed submarines stationed in nearby Japan. Yet North Korea, in stark contrast to Israel, is singled out for the severest vitriol from the US and its western allies. The UN bends to the US through its Security Council imposing sanctions on North Korea although it has attacked no other country. It has pursued nuclear weapons and ICBM capability as has the US, Israel and the seemingly hypocritical China and Russia, the latter two nuclear states having voted for sanctions against North Korea.

A simple analogy should suffice: If a bully — much larger than you and who has used unrestrained violence against you in the past — threatens you with a gun, would you want to face the bully without a gun?

Is there a moral principle that would posit that North Korea should face the mightily armed US, a US which rejects peace with North Korea, without a deterrent to attack against it?

Unless one can reasonably answer yes to the preceding two questions, then the punitive actions targeting North Korea should cease immediately. If actions targeting any entity are required, then how about targeting the entity/entities that caused North Korea to seek a nuclear deterrent?

First published at Global Research.


Notes
1. Korea in the 20th Century: 100 Significant Events, (Foreign Languages Publishing House, 2002), p 98. 
2. Korea in the 20th Century, p 98. 
3. An earlier article looks at what was transpiring in Korea following the defeat of Japan: “A ‘Presence’ in the South of Korea.” 
4. It is farcical to refer to financial gifts to an OECD member state as “aid.” 
5. See Korean Truth Commission, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea: 1945-2001 (New York: 2001). 

Featured image is from Al-Monitor.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen.
Read other articles by Kim.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Trump's Artful Middle East Dodge?

Art of the Deal: Behind Saudi-Lebanon Crisis Is Trump's Middle East 'Peace Project'

by Patrick Henningsen - 21st Century Wire 


November 13, 2017

The recent ‘forced’ resignation by Lebanese PM Saad Hariri in Riyadh under the influence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and subsequent threats by Saudi Minister Thamer al-Sadhan against Lebanon and Hezbollah – have puzzled analysts as to the motivation behind this seemingly irrational series of events.

While true, Saudi Princes and their Wahhabi order have been slighted by both Shia-based popular mobilization movements’ eradicating ISIS from the region – Hezbollah in Syria, and the Hashed al-Shaabi in Iraqi – with Arabian Sheikhs having to watch their Gulf billions invested in the destablization of Syria and Iraq go down a blood-soaked drain of history – in reality, neither Lebanon nor its Hezbollah movement pose any direct threat to Saudi Arabia.

So who is directing these events?


Is this Saudi tirade just a case of an unstable young, soon-to-be king in 32 yr-old Crown Prince, consolidating too much power too soon, or is there more to it? Some analysts have been speculating that maybe Israel is the invisible hand pushing the oil Kingdom to do its bidding in the region as they both share a common enemy in Iran.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (right) also made the claim this week that Saudi Arabia has offered Israel ‘billions of dollars’ to attack Lebanon on its behalf, as well as accusing the Saudis of strong-arming Lebanese PM to resign on camera. Nasrallah knows that both Tel Aviv and Riyadh (with full US backing) have Hezbollah in mind when any threats are made toward Lebanon, but as Middle East analyst Eisa Ali explained on yesterday’s Sunday Wire radio program, this perceived joint-threat by Israel and Saudi has driven Lebanon closer to political unity on this issue.

Last night the Israeli press began to try and distance itself from a Saudi-led conspiracy, with Haaretz being the first to dismiss the ranting threats coming out of Riyadh, while simultaneously pushing the Trump Administration to the frontline.

Writer Amos Harel’s op-ed entitled, “Saudi Arabia Is Opening a New Front Against Iran, and Wants Israel to Do Its Dirty Work,” helps to reveal part of a still concealed agenda:

“As the days passed, the resignation seemed more like a Saudi dictate, stemming from Saudi Arabia’s displeasure at the way Hariri was compelled to cooperate with Hezbollah in Lebanon’s government.

It’s unclear if the Saudis will necessarily make do with these moves. The royal house is particularly close to the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia was one of the few countries, along with Israel, which enthusiastically welcomed Trump’s election, this time last year. Over the past year there have been a growing number of reports around the world of increasing diplomatic coordination between Riyadh and Jerusalem, accompanied by cooperation in intelligence matters. Israel and the Saudis see Iran as a common enemy, and both are frustrated at the West’s incompetence in dealing with Iran’s growing influence in what is known as the “Shi’ite Crescent” in the region.”

If Lebanon and Hezbollah do not pose a direct threat to Saudi Arabia, then what’s really going on? Is this really an American-led stage-managed drama that we are watching unfold now?

While the liberal Israeli press may be taking a stand-offish position in relation to recent events, you can be certain that Israel is very much involved in this process, albeit working diligently behind the scenes through an Israeli-friendly White House in Washington, and Netanyahu and Trump’s shared personal assistant, wunderkind Jared Kushner. Indeed, it’s through Kushner that we can track the real agenda which is in motion right now, as these latest events between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are directly linked to Donald Trump’s big-ticket item – the Israel-Palestine “Two State Solution” peace deal – which he had promised on the campaign trail. It’s happening as we speak.

Make no mistake about it: this ‘peace deal’ will become Trump’s major pièce de résistance for his first term, and his ticket to redemption heading into the 2020 election cycle. The question is, who in America will resist it?

Here Haaretz lets the cat out of the bag as to how this will be used to leverage Israeli interests:

“The string of events, starting with the Qatari crisis last summer, strengthens the assumption that this is part of a wider Saudi move, an ambitious attempt to reach a new regional order. On the diplomatic front this is linked to the internal Palestinian reconciliation, led by Cairo but which also requires financial backing by the Saudis and the Emirates. This won’t be all, apparently. The defense establishment and political circles in Israel are preparing for the likely possibility that the Trump administration will soon present Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a new document, in an attempt to jumpstart the stalled peace process. Such a move may be pursued in a coordinated way between the United States and the Saudis. Saudi ambitions may have other results as well.”

There it is. The Art of the Deal, and it’s not going to be Camp David style this time. It will be a transactional deal – to be fronted in part by Egypt, with Syria left out, and most certainly with large strings attached for Lebanon, likely designed to first isolate Hezbollah and then used to try and evict Iranian influence from the region. You can be sure of one thing though – if this ‘deal’ is being drafted by the US and Israel then you can be certain that it will not be well-thought out, and it will surely discount the interests of Syria, and the Shia majorities in Lebanon, and in Iraq too. This will be drafted as another neocolonial sectarian project.

And what about the Palestinians? It’s also a safe bet that any ‘deal’ drafted by the US and Israel will not be a very good deal for the Palestinians – who will be the last party considered in all of this high-flying talk of ‘peace and stability’ in the region.Will they get the right of return? Will their current situation really improve from such a deal? Looking at Israel and the US track record of running the ‘peace process’ in this part of the world, I’d say it’s highly doubtful.

What about Mohammed bin Salman’s purge and all of the detained Saudi billionaires and officials detained in the Ritz Charlton Hotel in Riyadh? What is the Crown Prince angling for out of this three-way deal?

For starters, how about cash from the west, and cash from China, needed for the Kingdom to attain its lofty ‘Vision 2030’ goals and the Kingdom’s vast privatization scheme? Trump already let that cat out of the bag when he declared that Saudi’s biggest state-run oil and construction firm, Saudi ARAMCO, should do its IPO and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That would mean an initial cash injection based on 5% of ARAMCO market cap – around $100 billion (that’s a total market cap of $2 trillion for this company!) to Saudi Arabia via western stock exchanges, and more to come if each year Saudi keeps gradually milking its state-owned golden cash calf.

This money will be used to help finance the Crown Prince’s new NEOM futuristic ‘smart city’ – but also ARAMCO will be the main contracting firm charged with building the new city – which means guaranteed returns for ground floor investors.

Who will those preferred initial share holders be? Trump’s friends, and the Chinese? Your guess is as good as mine.

So there you have it – now we know it’s the US, in conjunction with Israel, who are maneuvering behind the scenes, and who will observe a mutual Saudi-Israeli-American desire to keep Iran weak and mitigate its influence throughout the region. Easier said than done.

So these are some of factors are what’s really driving events that we see rapidly unfolding in the Middle East, but that’s not all that’s not well in Arab wonderland:

“An article in Haaretz this week by former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro asked whether the Saudis were pushing Israel into a war with Hezbollah and Iran.”

So which will come first – the war, or the peace?

It’s difficult to tell. Certainly, avoiding the war should be everyone’s first priority.

And how long with the west continue to ignore Saudi and the UAE’s (with US-UK military backing) mass atrocities in Yemen?

In the meantime, Lebanon is still in the dark as to when they will get their Prime Minister back.

Should Lebanon (once again) consider itself a target in the crosshairs of the great powers in their latest plans to reshape the region?

READ MORE ISRAEL NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Israel Files
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Britain's 'Tyranny of Correctness' Not a Priti Picture

Priti Patel and Jewish Conspiracies

by Gilad Atzmon


November 12, 2017

The British Jewish media is upset. Priti Patel, a cabinet minister responsible for international development, had no fewer than 14 meetings with Israeli politicians and political leaders. It seems that Patel didn’t clear any or most of these meetings with the Foreign Office. So Patel had to go and but now the British Jewish media is pressing the panic button.

The ultra Zionist Jewish Chronicle’s (JC) headline warns that the Patel Affair “will set us [the Jews] back 20 years.

The JC predicts that it will have “a devastating impact on British Jewry.” It may even “bolster antisemitic conspiracy theories and damage relationships with British politicians for a generation.”

This is the crux of the matter -- Jews hate ‘Jewish conspiracy theories.’ Why? Because Jews do not conspire or operate in clandestine manner. They do it all in the open.

Jews wrote the Balfour Declaration on behalf of Lord Balfour and made sure everyone knows who really wrote it. They make sure we know that it was Leó Szilárd and Albert Einstein who initiated the Manhattan Project. AIPAC, CFI, LFI and the CRIF openly push for immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran while JC writers Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch advocate these global wars in the media.

All this is not merely a ‘Zionist agenda.’ Jewish anti Zionists employ the same technique to claim that it is down to progressive Jews to define the boundaries of free speech on Israel. I reiterate -there are no Jewish conspiracies. Everything is done in the open. And this was Patel’s mistake. She foolishly attempted to conceal her loyalty to our foreign rulers.

In a country led by Theresa Je suis Juif, there is no reason for minister Patel to hide her subservience to the Jewish Sate. In a country where the biggest lobby group in the parliament is the Conservative Friends of Israel there is no reason for a minister to be shy about what may seem to be disloyal inclinations. With 80% of the leading party listed as CFI members, treachery is the norm. Patel didn’t have to hide her allegiance to the Jewish State, she should have done it all in the open, like the PM and Sir Eric Pickles (see picture above).

The JC confirms the,

“CFI is the largest group in Westminster with an open line to almost every Tory MP, dozens of other countries’ diplomatic and political groups, and influence in Downing Street for decades.” 

The JC doesn’t attempt to conceal how forceful the CFI is, however, it is honest enough to reveal that “one senior (Jewish) communal figure said CFI would now be regarded as ‘toxic.”

If you are looking for light Jewish entertainment, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) is the place to go. The CAA is a self-appointed Jewish thought police. It devotes its energies to the total castration of the Brits and their ability to think rationally, morally and independently.

The CAA provides a spectacle of anti-ethical thought totally foreign to the Western ethos.

“The resignation of Priti Patel,” the CAA writes, “ has unleashed some disturbing comments, including from politicians and journalists who have carelessly or deliberately evoked sinister stereotypes of powerful Jews.”

Let’s examine what the CAA considers to be a ‘disturbance’ and what is it they don’t want us to say: In an article in The Times, Policy Editor, Oliver Wright and Political Editor, Francis Elliott, cited an unnamed senior Conservative MP:

“Another senior Conservative MP claimed that Ms Patel planned to use her ministerial position in DfID (Department for International Development) to curry favour with Jewish Tory donors by supporting Israel. ‘The Israel lobby in the Party is hugely influential and this was about Priti cynically trying to win their support. She thought she could be the next leader.”

Confusing, don’t you think?


The JC admits that the CFI is the strongest body in Westminster, while the CAA insists that reference to CFI’s power and influence ‘evokes sinister Jewish stereotypes.’

The CAA openly attempts to police British journalism by stifling criticism of Israel. This shouldn’t take us by surprise. If Jewish power is the power to suppress criticism of Jewish power, here is the CAA exercising this power in broad daylight.

But there is good news. This power in falling apart now, and this may explain the panic within the JC’s ranks and the tantrum thrown by the CAA and other Jewish thought police organisations (CST, ADL, Hope not Hate, et al).

The ‘rationale’ of the CAA policing strategy deserves close attention:

“Under the International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government, ‘Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions’ is antisemitic.”

This is a revolutionary legal defence strategy. According to the CAA, X is not guilty of committing Y as long as X is stereotypically associated with committing Y. If X is guilty, for instance, of shoving a banana into someone’s eye (Y), the defence would be that shoving bananas into other people’s eyes (Y) is one of the stereotypes about X.

Similarly, the CAA claims it is anti-Semitic to refer to the Jewish Lobby as the strongest lobby in Westminster because the accusation is consistent with the Jewish stereotype of Jewish lobbies being influential.

Likewise we should vindicate Harvey Weinstein of any wrong doing because Larry David admitted on Saturday Night Live that predatory behaviour has become a Jewish stereotype. I expect Bernie Madoff to capitalise on this line of defence and appeal for his immediate release. Alan Dershowitz can also come clean about his bad habits by blaming them on Jewish stereotypes.

The paradox here is obvious, The CAA’s circular argument has nothing to do with any consideration of ethics, truthfulness or correspondence with reality. The ‘stereotype’ redeems the sin. By this logic the CAA itself is innocent of any wrong thinking because such a Jerusalemite anti-ethical intellectual pattern is also a Jerusalemite stereotype.

The CAA practically calls upon British commentators and politicians to fib.

“It is therefore incumbent upon those commenting on the Priti Patel affair to do so in a way that is proportionate and rational. It is a dangerous stretch to accuse Ms Patel of doing Israel’s bidding in order to please wealthy Jews who have the power to influence the selection of the next Conservative leader.” 

Neither the CAA nor any other Jewish body has offered an alternative rationale for Patel’s misconduct. The CAA demands that British journalists set aside their intelligence and common sense. They expect British politicians and commentators to put Jewish sensitivities first.

We are touching upon the core of Jerusalemite thinking – a tyranny of correctness that is removed from morality and Western ethos. Instead of ethics, we are told to follow Mitzvoth, regulations and commandments.

For the Brits, Priti Patel is a wake up call. It is a final reminder that for the nation to sustain its values it must search for its Athenian roots: philosophy, science and ethics as opposed to a tyranny of correctness that is anti ethical and zero principled.





 

Being in Time - A Post Political Manifesto, 

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and here (gilad.co.uk).



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saudi's Heavy Hand Boosts Hezbollah Resistance and Hariri Support

Saudi's 'War on Lebanon' Backfires 

by TRNN


November 11, 2017

The standoff between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is escalating in the aftermath of the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Lebanon has effectively declared war against it and ordered all Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon immediately. On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Saudi Arabia is holding Hariri against his will in a bid to exploit internal divisions and weaken the Lebanese state. Nasrallah's comments come one day after the US State Department fueled speculation about Hariri's status, refusing to say whether he is being detained in Saudi Arabia.



After being accused of forcing him to resign, Saudi Arabia's apparent detention of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has boosted support for Hezbollah, says author and professor Amal Saad

Can Congress Save the World? Convening on Climate Change

Hidden Dangers Lurking Behind the Scenes at Congressional Hearings on Cloud Seeding

by Robert Hunziker - Dissident Voice


November 10th, 2017 

OMG! Congress held hearings recently on geo-engineering techniques to stop the evils of global warming. Whew! The irony is absolutely fantastically mind-boggling, a real knee-slapper. Think about the paradox as Dr. James Hansen, the top climate scientist of NASA at the time warned Congress of the dangers of anthropogenic global warming way back in 1988, and it resulted in a major New York Times headline “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”

So, Congress has had 30 years to ruminate the global warming warning, never seriously addressing possible fixes, like conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a nationwide program, kinda like the Marshall Plan, which if started back then, we’d be closer to out of the woods today and closer to 100% renewable energy. But, back in the day Congress could only see their way to make the Space Station 100% solar-powered, hmm.

However, now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, meaning global warming/climate change is so real as to be the prevailing narrative, they’ve belatedly decided to hold hearings on how to put toothpaste back into a tube. Dr. James Hansen must be chuckling, maybe crying, maybe on his hands and knees in a rage of demonic laughter, who knows?

This story is full of irony like the most-absurdity award of all time. It’s also somewhat of an insult to the intelligence of serious scientist that worked on the global warming quagmire ever since the Great Anthropogenic Warming Warning of 1988. After all, Congress has flipped the bird at science all these years, denialism at its most potent. Even worse yet, nowadays science is totally demonized. Are we back in the Middle Ages?

Here’s the scoop: The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology recently held hearings on the potential for geo-engineering, or human-induced influence over the atmosphere to cool things down a bit, or maybe try to pull carbon out of the atmosphere instead of emitting it into the atmosphere like a house afire.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, how in the world is it possible, even remotely possible, to hold hearings about combating global warming by a Congress that has so steadfastly failed to recognize it in the first instance. They’re deniers! Aren’t they? Why are they worried about climate change all of a sudden? From an outside observer’s viewpoint, it’s kinda like watching the worst episode of The Twilight Zone, over and over, again and again, until a migraine splits one’s head wide open.

As one might suspect, there’s a hook: According to the NYT article “We Can Brighten Clouds to Reflect Heat and Reduce Global Warming. But Should We?” McClatchy DC Bureau, d/d November 8, 2017, here’s what Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who chairs the house committee, claims:

“As climate continues to change, geo-engineering could be a tool to curb resulting impacts… Instead of forcing unworkable and costly government mandates on the American people, we should look to technology and innovation to lead the way to address climate change.” (Notice the careful wording, never a mention of global warming, especially anthropogenic.)

As a consequence of those hearings, just imagine the activity in the halls of Congress: Representatives slapping each other on the back and teething big fat unlit cigars soaked wet drooling down chins, as a solution to public criticism of their pathetic denialism is at hand. Long live fossil fuels! If the committee can somehow demonstrate man-made solutions to curb the curses of global warming, which they’ve never recognized in the first place, then Congress has reason to continue, forever and forever more, their massive fossil fuel subsidy giveaways, and lots of payola along the way (oops, probably shouldn’t have mentioned that last item).

On second thought, maybe the cynicism of this article is too heavy-handed, but on the other hand, the big question mark remains: Why are climate deniers, meaning members of Congress, suddenly entertaining geo-engineering techniques to offset the dangers of global warming? What’s Up? Time and again over the past three decades, they’ve claimed no belief in anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.

Of course, the answer is found in the cynicism that motivated this article in the first place, which is: It’s a dream come true for congressional climate deniers. Now they have an excuse for the administration pulling out of the Paris climate accords and a rationale, even though paltry, for abject failure to address the issue over the past three decades. Who needs international accords or national policies to fix something when there is no risk to using fossil fuels till the cows come home? Answer: Fix “climate change” with geo-engineering. If this rationale seems too far out in left field, it pales in comparison to how far out of touch Congress has been to the global warming threat for endless decades.

Well, there is an unfortunate twist to the geo-engineering solution, as geo-engineering is still experimental. And, it’s a massive undertaking, literally as large as the planet itself, and nobody can say with certainty that it works, that it does not have nasty unintended consequences, that it solves the underlying problem of spewing too much CO2 into the atmosphere. In that regard, in all likelihood, it may be no more than a gigantic Band-Aid at best. The thing is, nobody really knows the outcome, nobody, absolutely nobody. It’s an experiment, period.

The experts that appeared before the congressional committee talked about cloud brightening by adding particles to clouds to reflect sunlight back into outer space, which, of course, is exactly what the icy Arctic itself has done for eons, until global warming melted its icy cap down to toddler size. The geo-engineering proposal utilizes high-powered nozzles to spray “saltwater droplets” onto the clouds, but the initial testing of that methodology proved difficult, if not impossible, because of corrosive properties burning through titanium and even burning through diamond. And, the experimentation continues.

They also talked about stratospheric aerosol geo-engineering putting reflective particles in the upper atmosphere, maybe using “calcium carbonate,” which is non-toxic. However, accomplishing such a major feat remains a very big unsolved puzzle. And, there are plenty of critics who fear unintended consequences, whatever those may be, and how could anyone know ahead of time?

Still, the very fact that a congressional committee entertained the idea of combating global warming is a real mind-blow, like coming off an acid trip, reconnecting with reality, everything seems kinda fuzzy. As the world slowly comes back into focus, it’s discovered that Congress is actively looking into geo-engineering techniques that hopefully stop the planet from runaway over-heating thereby spoiling the big party of record stock prices and neoliberal growth, ad-infinitum.

Meanwhile, the big picture event swirling around the global warming nexus continues: From Tokyo to Paris to Silicon Valley scientists and engineers in private settings are investigating solutions to the global warming threat, and geo-engineering is the preferred course of action. It’s believed that human intelligence is truly boundless, almost deific, in pursuit of technological miracles, similar to registered successes with the Internet and the Moonshot and maybe Mars.

But, whether the global warming quandary is bigger than all knowledge of science and engineering remains a very big question mark. Indeed, it is the biggest question mark of all time as well as the biggest threat since T-Rex bit the dust.

Along the way, wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if Congress really truly cared, even though belatedly and delinquently late to the upcoming World’s Biggest Weenie Roast of all time? Don’t count on it.

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com.
Read other articles by Robert.

Friday, November 10, 2017

When the Rubber Hits the Road: Trump Blinks on MH17 Story

The MH17 Information War – In the End Trump Blinked

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


November 10, 2017

It’s possible Donald Trump meant the little he has said about who was responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014. If he did, he didn’t mean it for long. If he didn’t mean what he said, with the retrospect of two years that comes as no surprise.

On MH17 there’s now no difference between former President Barack Obama, defeated presidential rival Hillary Clinton, and Trump.
Key to the lead images and the interview segments:
1 = Trump in October 2015 at Minute 0:32; 2 = Billy Six,
Min. 0:51; 3 = Elmar Giemulla, Min. 1:34; 4 = Joost Niemoller,
Min. 3:33; 5 = Christopher Black, Min. 4:38; 6 = John Helmer, Min. 7:30.

Trump has done nothing to answer with the evidence at the disposal of the incumbent president what the US Government knows about who and what shot down the aircraft, killing all 298 people aboard.

A year ago, independent German journalist Billy Six prepared a letter to Trump signed by an international group of reporters and lawyers. Read it in full here.

The letter reminded Trump what he had said on US television network MSNBC on October 10, 2015, when he was campaigning for election. He was asked “if you were president, would you hold President Putin and Russia accountable.” Trump replied:

“They say it wasn’t them. It may have been their weapon, but they didn’t use it, they didn’t fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you’ll probably never know for sure.”

At the time Trump said this, it was Obama Administration policy and official rationale for the escalation of sanctions against Russia in July 2014 to blame Russia, including President Vladimir Putin personally, for the destruction of MH17. The letter asked Trump as president to order a new internationally credible investigation, and to release the classified US satellite evidence the Obama Administration said it had.

Four of the signers have now been filmed in interview with Billy Six analyzing what Trump hasn’t done in office to remedy the holes in the official Dutch Government reports, which remain the accepted version of the western media.

 Watch the film by clicking here.


Genetically Modified You: Toxic Glyphosate Load Skyrockets Say Researchers

Exposure to Glyphosate, Chemical Found in Weed Killers, Increased Over 23 Years 

by Yadira Galindo - UC San Diego


October 24, 2017

Analyzing samples from a prospective study, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that human exposure to glyphosate, a chemical widely found in weed killers, has increased approximately 500 percent since the introduction of genetically modified crops.

“The data compares excretion levels of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid in the human body over a 23-year time span, starting in 1993, just before the introduction of genetically modified crops into the United States,” said Paul J. Mills, PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor of Family Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health.

Glyphosate is a key ingredient in the herbicide brand Roundup. Use of this herbicide has increased approximately 15-fold since 1994, when genetically modified “Roundup Ready” glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced. Historically, it is used on genetically modified soy and corn, but it is also sprayed on a substantial portion of wheat and oats grown in the U.S., said Mills.

“Our exposure to these chemicals has increased significantly over the years but most people are unaware that they are consuming them through their diet.”

In a paper published in the journal JAMA on October 24, Mills and a team of researchers compared urine excretion levels of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in 100 people living in a Southern California community who provided samples during five clinic visits that took place between 1993 to 1996 and 2014 to 2016. Samples were extracted from the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging (RBS), a prospective population-based investigation started by Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a co-author of the study.

“What we saw was that prior to the introduction of genetically modified foods, very few people had detectable levels of glyphosate,” said Mills.
“As of 2016, 70 percent of the study cohort had detectable levels.”

Of study participants with detectable amounts of these chemicals, the mean level of glyphosate increased from 0.203 µg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.449 µg/L in 2014-2016. The mean level of AMPA went from 0.168 µg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.401µg/L in 2014 to 2016.

In July, glyphosate was listed by California as a carcinogen. As exposure to this chemical has increased, interest in how much risk it poses to human health and what exposure levels are safe has become a topic of ongoing debate.

There are few human studies on the effects of glyphosate, but animal studies demonstrate that chronic exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides can have adverse effects, said Mills. The authors point to other studies in which consistently feeding animals an ultra-low dosage of glyphosate resulted in liver disorders similar to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in humans.

Mills said there is an urgent need for studies to thoroughly examine the impact on human health of the increasing exposure to glyphosate from the foods people eat.

The Herbicide Awareness & Research Project , an ongoing UC San Diego research program through which individuals can get their glyphosate level determined, will be looking more deeply into the RBS study to examine potential longitudinal associations with glyphosate exposure and clinically-relevant outcomes.

“The public needs to be better informed of the potential risks of the numerous herbicides sprayed onto our food supply so that we can make educated decisions on when we need to reduce or eliminate exposure to potentially harmful compounds,” said Mills.

Co-authors include: Izabela Kania-Korwel, John Fagan, Linda K. McEvoy, and Gail A. Laughlin, UC San Diego.
This research was funded, in part, by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA021187), National Institute on Aging (AG028507, AG007181), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK31801), Solomon Dutka Fund, Caroline Young Foundation, Westreich Foundation.