We are the first species on Earth that will have to limit itself for its own survival and that of all life.
This picture was designed in 1985 by Germain Dufour, and represented at the time the vision of the world in 2024. The picture was all made of symbols. At the back is "the wall" where a group of people are making sure those coming in have been properly check out before being let in. Many of the requirements for being let in have already been defined and described over time in many of the monthly Newsletters published by Global Civilization. In the middle is a couple with a child actually going through the screening process. At the front people from all over the world are waiting to be checked in as global citizens. The 2 star like objects that seem to be flying above the people are actually drone-like objects keeping peace and security.
Theme for this month
Table of Contents of May 2018 Newsletter
Dr Elias Akleh, Carl Anthony, Julia Conley, Jonathan Cook, Sally Dugman, Richard Eskow ,Johanne Hauber-Bieth, Dr Andrew Glikson, David Ray Griffin, William Hawes, Jay Janson, Elijah J. Magnier ,Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Deborah Parker, James Petras, Steven Earl Salmony, K M Seethi,Robert Snefjella, Joel Solomon , Gene Stone, Sophia Tesfaye, Ashokchakravarthy Tholona, Bill Van Auken, Charles Varni, Daniel Christian Wahl, Richard Westra, Nil Zacharias, Eric Zuesse (2).
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|April 17, 2018||
An Empire Built on Fear at Home and Abroad.
by James Petras, Information Clearing House
April 17, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Political leaders and the mass media deluge the public with a constant stream of frightening incidents caused by the enemy-of-the-week: nerve gas killing dozens of little babies in Syria, Russian-directed poison assassination attempts in England and terror incidents throughout Europe, requiring an increase in domestic police state surveillance and spying. Extensively monitored bank records, intrusive workplace controls, and all personal and, especially, political communications, are in the hands of state security officials or corporate security contractors.
Hundreds of prosecuting attorneys look forward to career-enhancing investigations in perpetuity, tracking the complex networks of extended personal and family links, including long forgotten acquaintances and the contents of casual conversations. Everyone may be subject to interrogations without warrant or explanation. And the ‘media’ cheers on the process.
Political trials and convictions in court and the media are rampant. Social, work-place and academic self censorship and blacklisting of dissident voices have become pervasive and accepted.
Elections and appointments are rigged by corporate and special interests to favor the most bellicose ideologues who manufacture the pretexts for war.
Political intimidation, trade wars and sanctions run amok .
‘Exceptional’ people in authority are defined by their power to bludgeon the majority into passive submission. Corporate mass media propaganda repeats brief and lurid messages calling for the death and destruction of the latest ‘fill-in-the-blank’ enemy.
War fever is everywhere infesting the weak minds of local opinion leaders, who echo the rants and raves of psychotic leaders without pausing to question.
Last week, the Mexican immigrant workers were described as dangerous invaders, drug dealers, rapists and threats to the every day life of ordinary citizens. Walls are being constructed and thousands of National Guard are called to the border to confront the invading agricultural workers and their families.
Before that, Muslims were broadly described as brainwashed terrorists, programmed to plant bombs at their first opportunity anywhere and everywhere – on mass transport, in congested amusement parks, in any public space where the innocent may be harmed. A draconian ban of the entry of Muslims has been instituted – including elderly parents joining their citizen sons or daughters.
After the latest maniac massacre of students, understaffed public schools, (but not private, elite schools), are urged to arm the teachers with baseball bats, rocks and guns. Instead of multiplication drills, terrified teachers hold daily and weekly drills in their over-crowded classrooms – stuffing their pupils into closets and bathrooms. Elementary school lunchtimes have become prison-like exercises in ‘total silence’ drills as if to fool the would-be shooter. Images of little Oliver Twist meekly whispering to an armed guard for a bathroom pass come to mind. Haunting some outraged parents is the fear that a mad intruder might set fire to the school suffocating scores of children locked in closets and bathroom stalls because ‘fire-drills’ have been superseded by ‘shooter-drills’.
Fear stalks the land! Where will it end?
An Empire Built on Fear
Domination is the driving force of US Empire builders. But today’s empire is built on fragile economic foundations. An Empire, which has aimed to dominate the world for the long duration, now stumbles over a series of military defeats abroad and increasingly relies on instilling fear, intimidation and propaganda on its domestic citizenry to regain its dominance.
Inculcating fear, especially at home, is the method of choice.
Since the ruling class of ‘the 1%’ seeks to maintain its world domination, based on increasing exploitation and widening inequalities, voluntary submission of the majority cannot be taken for granted.
The vast majority of citizens no longer trust the ruling elite. The school lessons in democracy and civic responsibility have lost their credibility. How can public school children, who now cower in closets, believe in citizen and constitutional rights?
Unending economic insecurity and the increasingly phony patriotic sideshows are beginning to stir up popular discontent. Large scale, long-term trillion-dollar bank bailouts and exorbitant military budgets are financed by the slash and burn of workers’ wages, job security, public services and the social safety net. Soaring medical costs are the primary cause of personal bankruptcy among the working and lower middle classes. A physician-pharmaceutical industry fueled opioid addiction crisis is narcotizing millions and killing well over one hundred Americans each day. The unemployed are prescribed multiple mood altering drugs to numb their anxieties about the future. Fear, incompetent medical care, self-destruction, despair and pain all lead to premature death causing the life expectancy among workers to drop for the first time in US history.
Professionals and opinion leaders, from teachers and physicians to journalists, have abandoned their ethics and enabled the mass deception and oppression of their students, patients and readers.
An empire, which fails to reward its supporters, like President Trump’s marginalized voters, and repeatedly reneges on its promises, can only rely on fear.
The fear we experience is brought about by the ruling class; repeated and embellished by the mass media; and made legitimate by local opinion leaders through face-to-face daily encounters. Teachers and terrified parents instill this fear into the very young without stopping to analyze the origins and motives behind the fear mongering.
The mass message tells us that we face daily threats from terrorists; that we must increase our vigilance; that we must constantly strengthen police state powers; that we must accept the use of advanced lethal police weaponry on our streets; that we must turn to informing on our neighbors and co-workers as potential terrorists, militants, activists, critics and immigrants embedded in offices, factories, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Meanwhile our oligarch-leaders bless themselves with massive tax-cuts and enjoy the greatest concentration of wealth in history.
Fear diverts attention from the imperial state as it engages in dozens of wars and occupies several hundred overseas military bases. The simplest comment that this has resulted in countless thousands of deaths and countless millions of destroyed lives, not to speak of the countless billions of dollars funneled into the bulging pockets of the ruling class, is censored from all public debate.
Fear permeates society: Communications are bugged and manipulated. People are afraid to discuss, let alone move to solve, their common socio-economic problems for fear of reprisals. The message to the many is ‘keep it to yourself or to your closest kin”.
Fearful people are compelled to publicly demonstrate their loyalty to the State – wear flag-pins and repeat illogical propaganda about the ‘enemy of the week’.
Peaceful objections to worshipping the symbols of the State are demonized and non-conformists, even among talented athletes, are punished by the State and see their careers demolished before the eyes of the entire society – collective punishment for any who resist injustice.
Fear and hopelessness feeds the opioid epidemic –with millions of workers addicted, a direct result of work place injury and job insecurity, as well as of incompetent medical care in the absence of a truly accountable national health care system. Physicians may have been ‘pressured’ to prescribe highly addicting drugs to workers, but they grew rich in the process.
Fear prevents speaking out and collective struggles.
Just turn on the television ‘news’: The demagogues for the ruling class direct the fearful masses to look downward instead of upward, to fear the poor or the immigrant, rather than the banker or the militarists.
Fear is converted to anger directed toward foreigners, Muslims, Afro-Americans, ‘deplorable’ (meaning poor, marginalized, working class) whites, war protestors and strikers.
Islamophobes, Russophobes and Sinophobes monopolize the channels of opinion. Any critic of Israel is fired and permanently blacklisted. Critics identifying the ‘neo-cons’, behind the current march to war, are denounced as crypto-anti-Semitites. The loudest war criminals are re-appointed to the highest political offices – despite their blood drenched past.
Fear and self-loathing go hand in hand to secure submission to the ruling class, which channels self-hatred toward political adversaries, external economic competitors and domestic victims (the poor, the marginalized and unemployed) – who cannot die or be locked up fast enough.
Pervasive fear is constantly invented and re-invented, to keep the populace on edge, unbalanced and in search of seemingly innocuous distractions to reduce anxieties.
Russia is described as an advancing menacing, murderous, blind juggernaut in order to induce popular compliance with unending arms build-ups and to provide cannon fodder for an impending nuclear war.
US organized and funded ‘regime changes’, led by terrorist proxies in the Ukraine, or direct invasion in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and the NATO encirclement of Russian borders and economic sanctions rely on fear mongering. The message is: ‘We must bomb them first or they (Russia, China, Syria, Iran…fill-in-the-blank) will launch a sneak attack on ‘us’.
The repeatedly elected Russian President Putin is demonized as a ‘KGB’ authoritarian who must be confronted by our ‘strong leader’ – the arbitrary, accidental, fearless Twitter-addict, and mad bomberPresident Donald Trump, aided by the Holy Alliance – Theresa May, Manny Macron, the Crown Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia and Benny Netanyahu. What will history make of a Declaration of War by Twitter! If any historians survive…
Fear is the last desperate weapon for retaining an unchallenged world empire. Fearful adversaries are compelled to negotiate away their defenses and disarm, like Iraq and Libya, and then allow the ‘empire’ to commence slaughter at will. Military threats directed against Iran are naked attempts to force them to dismantle their defensive missiles and cut ties with regional allies. The plan is to disarm and isolate Tehran, in order to launch an attack with impunity and— force 80 million Persians to submit to the combined wills of the US, Israeli and Saudi oligarchs.
China is threatened with trade wars and an air and maritime encirclement by the US military. This aims to strike fear in the Chinese leadership and force them to surrender economic sovereignty, financial markets and industrial competitiveness in order to reverse China’s growth and advances.
Step by step concessions by targeted nations will lead to great takeovers: The ultimate goal, since the time of President Harry Truman, is the re-conquest of the Asian giant, reducing the Chinese to beg with a rusted iron rice bowl.
Russia will be accused of endless poison gas attacks and war crimes everywhere and every week from Ukraine to the quiet lanes of England to the US-Saudi funded war against its ally Syria. These serve as a pretext for greater economic sanctions, cutting all possibility for debate and diplomatic resolution, leading to economic blockades and global war.
The American ruling class’ dream is to rule over a radiated world from the luxury of their billion-dollar bunkers! Even as they strike fear and hysteria in the citizenry, they expose their methods: the only real fear is the power of manufactured fear itself.
The ruling class has planted fear-mongers throughout both political parties. They only seem to compete over which is more successful in sowing confusion and fear among the voters: Millions of immigrants are rounded up from work and home; missile strikes and wars expand onto three continents; media and mass communications are largely controlled by the military industrial corporate complex; secret police investigations are routine; prosecutors seek to investigate even our grandfathers, long cold in their graves.
Fearful Americans are just spectators, ‘quiet Americans’ waiting for the next massacre, the next bomb to fall. They are told to cower in their bedrooms, while their children are shoved into closets. They are now fearful that the Russians (or this week’s ‘fill-in-the-blank’ intruder) will poison our pizza or bomb us to the Stone Age.
Wall Street fears they will lose China, the biggest financial market in the world, as‘the Donald’s’ trade war turns ‘hot’.
The Pentagon fears that its ships will collide in the Potomac River and some ‘temp’ contractor will push the wrong button.
The Senators fear losing their perks as they drag their young interns into basement bunkers…for their own safety.
The President, his Cabinet, UN representatives and senior advisors are afraid that the population might wake up to find that missiles and nukes can move in both directions.
By the time the masses finally discover that the greatest menace stalking the country is the fear-mongering propaganda: They will have read an epitaph for their untimely nuclear death.
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. https://petras.lahaine.org/
|April 17, 2018||
What is the Real Reason Behind the US – UK – France’s Attack on Syria?
by Elijah J. Magnier , Information Clearing House
April 17, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Donald Trump has climbed down from the tree he climbed up a few days ago when he gathered a large military force and firepower similar to “operation desert storm” (but without ground forces). “Plan A” consisted of a destructive attack on Syria to destroy its army, presidential palace, command and control bases, elite force, strategic military and ammunition warehouses, radar, defence systems and political leadership institutions.
Prior to the triple attack on Syria by the US – UK – France, intensive contacts were carried out by Russia and President Vladimir Putin himself – at around 04:00 am– to reduce the attack and go to a softer, less significant “Plan B”.
Russia, in its contact with several heads of state, rejected any hit that could cripple the Syrian Army and instructed the leadership in Damascus that the West would now think very carefully before radically changing the balance of power in the Levant.
But what is the real reason behind the US – UK – France’s attack? Is it the claim of the “chemical attack” on Duma? The Organisation for the prohibition of the chemical weapons is already in Damascus and its members visit Duma this Saturday to inspect the location where the claimed use of a chemical attack was alleged to have taken place. Why not wait for the results?
Sources in Damascus explain that the Syrian Army and its allies, supported by Russia, were carrying out a large attack on rural Idlib and had reached Abu al-Duhur airport when, all of a sudden, the military operation stopped. The entire spearhead force was moved to Ghouta. What happened?
Russia had informed the Syrian leadership of a large gathering of forces at Al-Tanf US-occupied military base on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, where tens of thousands of US proxies have received continuous military training. The Russians identified unusual military movements and understood that the US was preparing to push Syrian proxy forces to reach eastern Ghouta, linking itself with around 30,000 jihadists in Ghouta itself. This attack was planned to take place simultaneously with a diversion from Daraa, southern Syria, attacking south of Damascus so as to deceive the Syrian army and its allies into leaving smaller forces around the capital.
The US plan – said the sources – consisted in supporting its proxies and the Ghouta jihadists to reach Damascus and take full control of it. But the shifting of the military operation from rural Idlib to Ghouta spoiled the US plan to impose on Russia an enforced stay in Lattakia and Tartous confined to a limited place, and to finally change the Syrian regime. This “genius’s plan” would have spoiled all Russia’s efforts deployed through almost three years of heavy involvement in the war in Syria, and would have given the US the upper hand , just at the moment when Moscow and the Syrian Army were about to end the war, with only few more pockets left to liberate.
Russia’s hit in Ghouta broke the US plan into pieces, and imposed the withdrawal of tens of thousands of militants from Ghouta along with their families, to the north of Syria. The capital is now much safer, with the remaining area south of Damascus occupied by Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” group (ISIS) in Yarmouk camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad.
Today Russia rendered the US – UK – France strike meaningless, both in respect of its content and its objectives. Russia was able to impose that US – UK – France carry out only a “limited attack” of little value, and with not much chance of altering the reality on the ground in Syria.
When Russia vowed to shoot down missiles fired at Syria, Trump answered: “Get ready Russia because they will be coming, nice, new and smart”. Russia, after the hit, replied: “We have used the old Soviet anti-Air defence system against these smart, new and very expensive missiles fired by the Americans”. Not only that, the US-UK air strikes hit objectives which Israel bombards almost on a regular basis. By showing the capability to stop two thirds – as declared by Russia – of the incoming missiles, Syria is taking it as a kind of “training with live ammunition against any future Israeli attack on Syrian territory”. Israel is very disappointed and seems not at all pleased with this end result.
Showing restrain and control, the US Secretary of Defence James Mattis – he who said “the Pentagon still has no independent evidence to confirm that there was a chemical weapons attack in Syria last week”-contested any wide scale attack on Syria that could have triggered a direct Russian involvement and deadly return of fire against US objectives. Mattis accepted “an honourable strike” to save his boss’s inexperienced face. In point of fact, the trio’s strike on Syria seems have boosted the Syrian Bashar al-Assad’s reputation: the population celebrated in the streets of Damascus, and mocked the western attack on their country!
The trio avoided at all times direct provocation of Russia, circumvented Russian bases and operational theatres instead of overflying. Russia imposed its presence and provoked the US and French navy by carrying out a simulated air attack, to show its willingness to hit back. The Russian navy was positioned opposite the Lebanese coast to cover that angle and avoid blind spots.
Moscow managed to avoid a direct confrontation with Washington outside its territory: US military bases surround Syria (Israel, Jordan, al-Tanf, al-Hasaka, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrein, Iraq, Turkey). Russia remembers how Leonid Brezhnev fell into the CIA’s trap in 1979, supporting the Mujahedeen six months prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan- trap. Zbigniew Brzezinski said the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was deliberately provoked by the US: “It was an excellent idea. It drew the Soviets into the Afghan war and we gave them Vietnam”. Putin has avoided the same US trap almost 40 years later.
What is the next step?
All eyes are directed on the northern city of Idlib controlled by al-Qaeda now that the fate of Damascus is secured. But why Idlib?
The situation in Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus, seems directly linked to that of Fua and Kfarya. During the Zabadani negotiation, it was agreed between al-Qaeda and Damascus’s allies to keep away from al-Yarmouk, in exchange for the two besieged cities in the north of Syria. However, Damascus is now pushing to clean the capital completely, attempting to persuade its allies to bypass previous commitments.
As far as Daraa and Quneitra in the south are concerned, it seems no one in Syria seems willing to provoke the US and Israel at this tense moment; this will maybe be left to the end. In al-Badiyah, the Syrian steppes, ISIS is totally surrounded and can only wait to be exterminated in the coming months.
Idlib remains despite the Turkish-Russian-Iranian economical and financial agreement. There is no doubt about the existence of strong differences of an economic nature between partners over Syria.
Turkish President Erdogan expressed his support and later satisfaction with the US strikes on Syria. Russia answered by asking him to deliver the city of Afrin to the Syrian government. Iran’s special envoy for Syrian affairs Ali Akbar Velayati overtly stated that the next objective is Idlib. Therefore, it is now feasible for Turkey to pull out of its dozen observation bases around Idlib, even as Russia pulled out of Afrin prior to the Turkish attack. And Russia expects Erdogan to cancel the previously agreed sale of the S-400 missiles any day.
Thus, the compass points to Idlib, Rastan, Jisr al-Shoughour and the Syrian Army forces gathering in rural Lattakia, ready to divide Idlib after liberating the many villages around it.
This will bring the world to the next “chemical attack” appointment in the next operational theatre of the Syrian army and its allies. Would the US stand by al-Qaeda? Why not? It has never really been a question of the use of chemical weapons, since the US holds the largest stockpile of chemical weapons worldwide: the real issue is the defeat of the US faced with the dominance of Russia over the Levant.
Senior Political Risk Analyst with over 32 years’ experience covering Europe & the Middle East. Acquiring in-depth experience, robust contacts and political knowledge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria.
Elijah J. Magnier, Senior Political Risk Analyst with over 32 years’ experience covering Europe & the Middle East. Acquiring in-depth experience, robust contacts and political knowledge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria. https://ejmagnier.com
|April 20, 2018||
The U.S. Role in the Destruction of Syria.
by David Ray Griffin , Information Clearing House
In Syria, the goal of creating chaos has succeeded in spades. Mnar Muhawesh wrote: [F]oreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crack- down, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.
Of course, many Syrians were unable, or chose not to try, to reach Europe. Continuing her discussion of the refugee crisis created by the destabilization of Syria, Muhawesh added:
Other Syrians seeing the chaos at home have turned to neighboring Arab Muslim countries. Jordan alone has absorbed over half a million Syrian refugees; Lebanon has accepted nearly 1.5 million; and Iraq and Egypt have taken in several hundred thousand. . . . Turkey has [by 2015] taken in nearly 2 million refugees.55
By the end of 2015, the conflict in Syria had “displaced 12 million people, creating the largest wave of refugees to hit Europe since World War II.”56
Planning to Destabilize Syria
Some neocons had come into office with preformed ideas about destabilizing Syria. As mentioned earlier, Richard Perle and other neocons had prepared a 1996 paper for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, en- titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” It suggested that Israel seek peace with some neighbors while beginning to topple the regimes of its enemies, especially Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Although regime change in Iraq would be the first goal, it would be achieved primarily for the sake of “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria,” ultimately overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. In other words, the road to Damascus would run through Baghdad.57
When Bush and Cheney took control of the White House, a new largely neocon document, “Navigating through Turbulence: America and the Middle East in a New Century,” had the same message: “ e two main targets” of the new administration, the document said, “should be Syria and Iraq.”58 In 2001, a week after the 9/11 attacks, 40 members of the Project for the New American Century, led by Bill Kristol, wrote a letter to President Bush saying:
We believe the administration should demand that Syria and Iran immediately cease all military, financial and political support for Hizbollah [sic] and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the Administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.59
A few months later, Assistant Secretary of State John Bolton accused Syria of developing chemical and biological weapons and warned Damascus that it might be included in the “axis of evil.” Shortly thereafter, the State Department declared Syria to be a sponsor of terrorism, after which Congress made most US dealings with Syria illegal.60
The Bush-Cheney Hostility to Syria
The Bush-Cheney administration was hostile to Syria partly because Israel was hostile to Syria, and especially to its president, Bashar al-Assad. Syria had opposed Israel and especially Zionism; Syria had been aligned with Iran, which Israel considers its major threat.
More generally, Assad is an Alawite, which is a branch of Shiite Islam, and Assad has been viewed as, said Parry, the centerpiece of the “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Since Israeli leaders (and thus the American neocons) see Iran as Israel’s greatest enemy, the goal of collapsing the “Shiite crescent” has concentrated on bringing down Assad.61
More particularly, Israel has been hostile to Syria because it had sup- ported Lebanon’s paramilitary fighting force, Hezbollah, which defeated Israel militarily in 2006; and although Israel in the 1967 war took Syria’s Golan Heights—which now provides 15 percent of Israel’s water—Syria wants it back. More generally, Syria, with the assistance of Hezbollah, had prevented Israel from realizing its goal of taking control of land that, it claims, belongs to it by divine right.
There have been, in addition, several other reasons for the US hostility to Syria, Assad in particular. An overarching one is that Syria has remained independent of the US-dominated global order. For example, Syria has its own state-owned bank and has no IMF loans through which it could be ordered around. And Syria has refused to be included within the American empire. The document “Navigating through Turbulence” complained that “[m]aintaining a strong alliance with Israel” had not prevented “every state on Israel’s border, except Syria, from accepting America as their principal source of military aid and matériel.”62
As to why Syria did not want to be absorbed into the American empire: American politicians and media do not remind the world that four years before the CIA overthrew Iran’s elected government in 1953, it had over- thrown Syria’s government for the same reason—the price of oil.63
For a variety of reasons, “ousting the Assad
dynasty,” said Parry, had been “a top neocon/Israeli
goal since the 1990s,” so the Bush-Cheney
administration was from the beginning intent
on destabilizing Syria. In 2002,
Under-Secretary of State John Bolton named
Syria as one of the “rogue states” that “can
expect to become our targets.”64
Although the talks were supported by a large
number of senior Israelis, “the Bush
administration nixed them”— not
surprisingly, because Cheney was “an
implacable opponent of engagement with
Syria.”66 In 2007, the Bush-Cheney
administration, discussing “a new strategic
alignment in the Middle East,” distinguished
between “reformers” and “extremists,”
placing Syria, along with Iran and
Hezbollah, in the latter category. According
to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article “The
Redirection,” the US participated in
clandestine operations aimed at Syria as
well as Iran.67
In some areas, all agriculture ceased. In
others crop failures reached 75%. And
generally as much as 85% of livestock died
of thirst or hunger. Hundreds of thousands
of Syria’s farmers gave up, abandoned their
farms and ed to the cities and towns in
search of almost non-existent jobs and
severely short food supplies. Outside
observers including UN experts estimated
that between 2 and 3 million of Syria’s 10
million rural inhabit- ants were reduced to
Another false claim by White Helmets was that it was composed of “volunteers” and that it is “fiercely independent and accepts no money from governments.” In truth, it received funding from various governments, especially the U.K. ($65 million) and the US ($23 million), which had collaborated with Le Mesurier in creating the White Helmets. In particular, calling themselves “impartial,” the White Helmets claimed, “We’re not being paid by anybody to pursue a particular line.”153 However, Abdulrahman Al Mawwas, the chief liaison officer of the White Helmets, confirmed that the group was sponsored by the Western governments.154
In any case, this organization did have a very particular, twofold purpose: First, to demonize Assad as a butcher, who killed his own people indiscriminately, so as to argue the need for a no-fly zone (which was, of course, how the attacks on Iraq and Libya began). In campaigning for a no-fly zone, the White Helmets were working together with the public relations organization Avaaz, which had delivered a petition with 1,203,000 signatures to the UN for the Libya no-fly zone. In 2015, Avaaz began trying for a million signatures for a “Safe Zone” petition for Syria.155
Second, although the White Helmets served as a terrorist support group, “in the sense of bringing equipment, arms, even funding, into Syria,” said Beeley, their “primary function is propaganda,” as investigative journal Rick Sterling explained.156
Whereas the US press willingly accepts such propaganda, which supports our government’s negative description of Assad and hence Putin, independent journalists who have spent time in Syria, where they have talked to ordinary Syrians, have presented views of Assad that disagree radically with the claims of White Helmets and the US press. See, for example, interviews of journalist Eva Bartlett, who said, “The Media Is Lying to You!” and Vanessa Beeley, who said, “Everything the US Media Says about Aleppo Is Wrong.”157
Similarly, the highly respected journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote a Boston Globe article entitled “The Media Are Misleading the Public on Syria.” Although the truth about Aleppo was being reported by “brave correspondents in the war zone,” Kinzer said, their reports do “not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening.”158
David Ray Griffin is a retired American
professor of philosophy of religion and
theology, and a political writer.
|March 24, 2018||
Review: Humanity: The World Before Religion, War, And Inequality By Barry Brown.
by William Hawes in Book Review, Countercurrents
Genres: History, Culture, Society
In this groundbreaking work, author Barry Brown has managed to definitively prove humankind’s natural tendencies to be peaceful, cooperative, and egalitarian. Brown’s work is the first ever to document the history of humankind before and after the advent of warfare. Barry takes the reader on a tour de force through humanity’s prehistory as well as providing detailed evidence for his assertions about ancient mysteries such as the Venus statues, the original meaning of the swastika, his theory about the location of the Garden of Eden, and the real purpose of the Gobekli Tepe site, an enigmatic archaeological site in southeast Turkey.
Brown’s background as a journalist is his greatest asset, as he manages to make connections that are seemingly overlooked and/or downplayed by the world’s leading archaeologists, paleontologists, historians, and even evolutionary biologists.
One of Brown’s main supporting arguments can be found in a Scientific American essay which elucidates the nearly completely non-violent behaviors of chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest living ancestors, as well as the early fossil record of hominids, where no group warfare among masses of people is found before the advent of agriculture, cities, and hierarchies. This indicates that our biological nature is peace-loving, and that our tendency towards group violence has become normalized due to propaganda, socialization, and cultural factors. Although small cases of individual killing did occur in hunter-gatherer societies, these are outliers, not the norm. The first ninety-nine percent of human history was peaceful, without organized warfare.
Brown starts off documenting the evolutionary history of our primate ancestors, exploring the possibility that having a better sense of balance with a more complex inner ear, and the consciousness of having a center of gravity, is what differentiated Homo sapiens from other hominids. With the tenacity of an investigate journalist, Brown offers unique insights into the mysteries of the ancient world, including that: Venus statues were the world’s first book, an object for reflection and to stimulate insight regarding anatomy, culture, psychology, and femininity. Also, Gobekli Tepe was the world’s first university, as it shows no permanent signs of settlement or religious use, where people from all over the region could come to learn farming techniques, animal husbandry, and share culture. The swastika was a symbol of peace and friendship, a signpost for travelers of welcome and to encourage newcomers that friendly human settlements were nearby.
Barry’s Brown is the first of its kind to look at humanity’s history before and after the advent of warfare. His central argument is that warfare started approximately 4000 BCE in India, which is documented in the epic Mahabharata, of which a small part is documented in the Bhagavad Gita. Brown also notices a possible correlation in the Old Testament, where it is his interpretation that the Jewish people descended from Eastern India, near the Ganges River, which was the original “Garden of Eden.”
Social divisions were the precursor to war, as the forming proto-caste system in ancient India bred alienation, vertical hierarchies, patriarchy, wealth inequality, and families and clans demanding blind loyalty and obedience from their followers.
Brown’s contention that the war between the rival clans, the Kurus and the Pandavas, was the first war in history, which fractured social relations in India and spread suspicion, fear, and hatred throughout the premodern world. Divisions and hierarchical relations in ancient India were exacerbated to such a point that no person or group dared to challenge to reconcile the two clans. Elaborate musical and gaming events, clan rivalry, and mass religious rituals most likely were the precursors to the actual war, devolving into war games designed to let off steam and social tensions, which further devolved into actual warfare.
After this first great war, much of advanced Indian society shifted west to the Indus Valley civilization, where a democratic, egalitarian society flourished from about 3000-2000 BCE. However, the dark forces of empire, organized violence, and social hierarchies spread to Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, where they eventually gave rise to monotheistic, dogmatic religions, fear, insecurity, and permanent wars.
Brown explains how the wounds of ancient violence, strife and fear, this turn towards warfare and discord, remain with us to this day. When security is traded for liberty, where “freedom from” hunger, tyranny, and poverty is replaced by a selfish creed of “freedom to” do anything one likes with their time, private property, and money, humanity as a whole suffers.
The roots of global conflict go back to this change in our shared history, a shift from helpful, friendly, cooperative communities to fearful, divided, traumatized nations who now threaten the entire world with the crises of global warming, habitat destruction, and nuclear war, just to name a few. Barry Brown’s revelatory work shows us a clear path in how to return to our natural, peaceful state of being.
William Hawes is a writer specializing in politics and environmental issues. He is author of the ebook Planetary Vision: Essays on Freedom and Empire. His articles have appeared online at CounterPunch, Global Research, Countercurrents, Gods & Radicals, Dissident Voice, The Ecologist, and more. You can email him at email@example.com. Visit his website williamhawes.wordpress.com.
|March 24, 2018||
The Betrayal Of The Future.
by Dr Andrew Glikson in Climate Change, Countercurrents
A species which has invented combustion, electromagnetic radiation and nuclear energy orders of magnitude more powerful than its own physical potential, needs to be perfectly wise and in control lest it is overwhelmed by these powers.
As tipping points in the Earth’s climate amplify, including hurricanes, snow storms and wildfires, it appears to be beyond human power to contemplate the consequences of four degrees Celsius warming within less than a couple of centuries, a collapse of civilization and the demise of billions. The consequents of global warming have been underestimated as many cannot bring themselves to look at the unthinkable.
This reticence has penetrated the scientific disciplines themselves, as indicated by James Hansen, the prominent climate scientist, in his papers “Scientific Reticence: A Threat to Humanity”, “Dangerous Scientific Reticence”. Hansen states: “Several years ago I wrote a paper (Hansen, J.E., 2007) on scientific reticence, naively thinking that drawing attention to the phenomenon might ameliorate its incidence. Specific reference then was to likelihood of large sea level rise, which also is a central topic in our current paper (Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: Evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2°C global warming could be dangerous). However, here I address a broader issue of scientific reticence, because, I believe, the affliction is widespread and severe. Unless recognized, it may severely diminish our chances of averting dangerous climate change.”
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), while documenting the best scientific evidence by competent scientific authorities, has underestimates the consequences of global warming in its summaries for policy makers, in terms of:
Publication of climate updates in the mainstream media has become subject to barriers. Climate exhaustion has set-in, with journals commonly reluctant to accept science-based articles, often on the pretext they are “too complicated”, although publishing economic modelling papers and computer technology papers which are just as complex or more.
Most poignant is the reluctance of the political classes to listen to the science, an attitude that is bound to be considered criminal and worse by those who survive the climate calamity.
In his book “Defiant Earth” Clive Hamilton states: “Many intellectuals in the social sciences and humanities do not concede that Earth scientists have anything to say that could impinge on their understanding of the world, because the “world” consists only of humans engaging with humans, with nature no more than a passive backdrop to draw on as we please. The “humans-only” orientation of the social sciences and humanities is reinforced by our total absorption in representations of reality derived from media, encouraging us to view the ecological crisis as a spectacle that takes place outside the bubble of our existence” and “So today the greatest tragedy is the absence of a sense of the tragedy. The indifference of most to the Earth system’s disturbance may be attributed to a failure of reason or psychological weaknesses; but these seem inadequate to explain why we find ourselves on the edge of the abyss” and “Yet the Earth scientists continue to haunt us, following us around like wailing apparitions while we hurry on with our lives, turning around occasionally with irritation to hold up the crucifix of Progress.
In his book “First and Last Man” Olaf Stapledon describes a planetary civilization which, once aware of the ultimate fate of its planet, plunges into depression, distinct from the oblivious mindset of a majority of contemporary humans.
With this perspective, the failure of humanity to cope effectively with the unfolding climate calamity constitutes its Achilles heel. Further than attributing this failure to mercenary contrarians and to conviction-free politicians, this failure resides with the majority, bar the few courageous individuals who protest in front of mine gates and in small boats on the ocean. It is these people, rather than the comfortable elites, who are carrying the torch of humanity.
|March 26, 2018||
How The Military Controls America.
by Eric Zuesse in Imperialism, Countercurrents
Unlike corporations that sell to consumers, Lockheed Martin and the other top contractors to the U.S. Government are highly if not totally dependent upon sales to governments, for their profits, especially sales to their own government, which they control — they control their home market, which is the U.S. Government, and they use it to sell to its allied governments, all of which foreign governments constitute the export markets for their products and services. These corporations control the U.S. Government, and they control NATO. And, here is how they do it, which is essential to understand, in order to be able to make reliable sense of America’s foreign policies, such as which nations are ‘allies’ of the U.S. Government (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), and which nations are its ‘enemies’ (such as Libya and Syria) — and are thus presumably suitable for America to invade, or else to overthrow by means of a coup. First, the nation’s head-of-state becomes demonized; then, the invasion or coup happens. And, that’s it. And here’s how.
Because America (unlike Russia) privatized the weapons-industry (and even privatizes to mercenaries some of its battlefield killing and dying), there are, in America, profits for investors to make in invasions and in military occupations of foreign countries; and the billionaires who control these corporations can and do — and, for their financial purposes, they must — buy Congress and the President, so as to keep those profits flowing to themselves. That’s the nature of the war-business, since its markets are governments — but not those governments that the aristocracy want to overthrow and replace. The foreign governments that are to be overthrown are not markets, but are instead targets. The bloodshed and misery go to those unfortunate lands. But if you control these corporations, then you need these invasions and occupations, and you certainly aren’t concerned about any of the victims, who (unlike those profits) are irrelevant to your business. In fact, to the exact contrary: killing people and destroying buildings etc., are what you sell — that’s what you (as a billionaire with a controlling interest in one of the 100 top contractors to the U.S. Government) are selling to your own government, and to all of the other governments that your country’s cooperative propaganda will characterize as being ‘enemies’ — Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc. — and definitely not as being ‘allies’, such as are being characterized these corporations’ foreign markets: Saudi Arabia, EU-NATO, Israel, etcetera. In fact, as regards your biggest foreign markets, they will be those ‘allies’; so, you (that is, the nation’s aristocracy, who own also the news-media etc.) defend them, and you want the U.S. military (the taxpayers and the troops) to support and defend them. It’s defending your market, even though you as the controlling owner of such a corporation aren’t paying the tab for it. The rest of the country is actually paying for all of it, so you’re “free-riding” the public, in this business. It’s the unique nature of the war-business, and a unique boon to its investors.
Thus, on 21 May 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump sold to the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, an all-time-record $350 billion of U.S. arms-makers’ products, which they’re now obligated to buy during the following ten years, with an up-front commitment of $100 billion during just the first year, so as to make even that one-year commitment an all-time record. This deal is by far the biggest part of Trump’s boost to American manufacturers — but it’s only to military manufacturers, the people who depend virtually 100% on sales to governments, specifically to ‘friendly’ governments: to ‘allies’, such as, in this case, to the Saud family.
In fact, the Sauds’ war against their neighbor Yemen is a good example of just how this sort of operation (profit to the billionaires, bloodshed and destruction to — in this case — the Yemenites) works:
Yemen’s war goes back to the “Arab Spring” revolution in Yemen, which overthrew the U.S.-and-Saud-backed President, former Colonel and then General, Saleh. Wikipedia says of him: “According to the UN Sanctions Panel, by 2012 Saleh has amassed fortune worth $32-60 billion hidden in at least twenty countries making him one of the richest people in the world. Saleh was gaining $2 billion a year from 1978 to 2012 mainly through illegal methods, such as embezzlement, extortion and theft of funds from Yemen’s fuel subsidy program.” And, furthermore: “New York Times Middle Eastern correspondent Robert F. Worth described Saleh as reaching an understanding with powerful feudal ‘big sheikhs’ to become ‘part of a Mafia-style spoils system that substituted for governance’. Worth accused Saleh of exceeding the aggrandizement of other Middle Eastern strongmen by managing to ‘rake off tens of billions of dollars in public funds for himself and his family’ despite the extreme poverty of his country.” Saleh fled to Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Army installed the Vice President, and former General, Hadi to succeed him. Then, there was a second revolution, and, on 21 January 2015, the Shia Houthi tribe took over, and the rabidly anti-Shia Saud family promptly started their bombing of Yemen, using American training, weaponry and tactical and refueling support. The U.S. Government — like its ally the Saud family — is rabidly anti-Shia. That’s to say: The U.S. aristocracy, like Saudi Arabia’s aristocracy (the royal family), is rabidly anti-Shia. But, whereas for the Sauds, this is motivated more by hate than by greed, it’s more greed than hate on the U.S. side, because at least ever since the U.S. coup in the leading Shia country, Iran, in 1953, it’s been purely about greed, specifically that of the oil (and other) companies who also (in addition to the armaments-firms) control U.S. foreign policies. (For example, international oil companies need to extract and sell oil from many countries. They’re highly dependent upon the military, though not nearly to the extent that the weapons-firms are.)
The most recent poll that has been taken of American public opinion regarding America’s arming and training Saudi forces to fly over and bomb Yemen was taken during November 2017, tabulated on 28 January 2018, and finally published a month later, on 28 February 2018. This “Nationwide Voter Survey – Report on Results – January 28, 2018” asked 1,000 scientifically sampled American voters, “Question: Congress is considering a bi-partisan bill to withdraw U.S. forces from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Would you say that you support or oppose this bill?” It reported that, “Support” was 51.9%, “Oppose” was 21.5%, no opinion was 26.6%; and, so, 71% of the opinions were “Support”; only 29% were “Oppose.” That’s more than two-thirds supporting this bill to consider withdrawing U.S. forces from that war. But, when the vote was taken in the U.S. Senate, it was 55% opposing the bill, opposing, that is, consideration of the matter, and 44% supporting consideration of the matter (and not voting was 1% of the 100 Senators). 55% of Senators didn’t want the Senate to even consider the matter. Here’s how the issue had managed to get even that far:
On 4 December 2017, just weeks after that poll of Americans was taken, Russian Television headlined “Saleh’s death means a fresh hell beckons for Yemen”, and the U.S. Government’s participation in the bombing of Yemen then did increase. This event — the murder of Saleh — raised the Yemen war to broader public attention in the country that was supplying the bombs and the weapons to the Sauds.
On 28 February 2018, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was the lone sponsor of “S.J.Res.54 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)”: “This joint resolution directs the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting Yemen, except those engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda, within 30 days unless: (1) the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date, or (2) a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces has been enacted.”
On March 19th, NBC bannered “Senators to force vote to redefine U.S. role in Yemen” — that was merely to force a vote in the Senate, not actually to vote on the issue itself. However, given how overwhelmingly America’s voters opposed America’s arming the Sauds to slaughter the Yemenese, this vote in the Senate to consider the measure was the gateway to each Senator’s being forced to go public about supporting this highly unpopular armament of the Saudis; and, so, if it had gotten that far (to a final vote on the issue itself), the arms-makers might lose the vote, because Senators would then be voting not ‘merely’ on a procedural matter, but on the actual issue itself. So, this vote was about the gateway, not about the destination.
The next day, Breitbart News headlined “Administration, Bipartisan Interventionist Establishment Kill Aisle-Crossing Effort to Rein In U.S. Military Involvement in Yemen” and presented a full and documented account, which opened: “The Senate resolution invoking the War Powers Act to demand the administration seek congressional authorization or withdraw American support from Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen was defeated Tuesday by a vote of 55-44.” The peace-activist, David Swanson, headlined at Washingtonsblog, “Why 55 U.S. Senators Voted for Genocide in Yemen”, and he alleged that the vote would have been even more lopsided than 55% for the weapons-industry, if some of the Senators who voted among the 44 non-bloodthirsty ones hadn’t been in such close political races. The weapons-industry won’t hold against a Senator his/her voting against them if their vote won’t even be needed in order to win. Token-votes against them are acceptable. All that’s necessary is winning the minimum number of votes. Anything more than that is just icing on the cake.
So, this explains how the U.S. Government really ignores public opinion and only pretends to be a democracy. It’s done by fooling the public. On the issue of which countries are ‘allies’ and which are ‘enemies’, and other issues regarding national defense, all necessary means are applied in order to achieve, as Walter Lippmann in 1921 called it, “the manufacture of consent.” He wrote:
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power.
The CIA virtually controls the ‘news’ media.
Furthermore, even corporations that aren’t on that list of top 100 U.S. Government contractors can be crucially dependent upon their income from the U.S. Government. For example, since 2014, Amazon Web Services has supplied to the U.S. Government (CIA, Pentagon, NSA, etc.) its cloud-computing services, which has since produced virtually all of Amazon’s profits (also see “Cloud Business Drives Amazon’s Profits”), though Amazon doesn’t even so much as show up on that list of 100 top contractors to the U.S. Government; so, this extremely profitable business is more important to Jeff Bezos (the owner also of the Washington Post) than all the rest of his investments put together are.
The most corrupt part of the U.S. Government is the ‘Defense’ part. That also happens to be — and by far — the most popular part, the most respected (by the American public) part. That’s a toxic combination: toxic not only for a government’s domestic policies, but especially for a government’s foreign policies — such as for identifying which nations are ‘allies’, and which nations are ‘enemies’. This type of mega-toxic combination can’t exist in a nation whose press isn’t being effectively controlled by the same general group that effectively controls the Government (in America, that’s the richest few, by means of their many paid agents), the Deep State. In America, one key to it is that the ‘Defense’ firms are privately owned.
On March 24th, Zero Hedge headlined an opinion-article “The Death of Democracy” and Alasdair Macleod said that, “The Deep State is on course to take control of Congress. If this happens, it will be the next step in a global trend of side-lining democracy in the West, driven in large part by American foreign policy. It has led to governments everywhere increasing control over their people, in an inversion of democratic principles.”
Furthermore: “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has identified 102 seats as ‘competitive’ in its red-to-blue campaign programme. Eighty of these seats are vulnerable Republicans, and 22 are seats where the incumbent is retiring. 57 of the 221 candidates standing for the Democratic nomination in these 102 districts are current or past agents of the military-intelligence complex. And of those 102 districts, 44 have one of these candidates, 11 have two, and one has three. Furthermore, there are indications that the financial backers of the Democratic Party are supporting this influx of intelligence operatives, and that they are well-funded.”
Macleod went on to say that they’ve already apparently taken over Trump: “There can be no doubt that the chaos in the White House since Trump’s victory has reflected a fight behind the scenes for control of foreign policy, homeland security and military spending. It has been about the CIA’s ultimately successful attempts to ensure Trump backtracked on relevant electoral promises and complies with its own agenda. So far, Trump has backed down on Russia, North Korea, Iran and on military spending, suggesting he is well on the way to becoming the Deep State’s lackey. It now seems the CIA wants to control the balance of power in Congress.”
His conclusion is: “If the US military-intelligence complex manages to pack out Congress, it will be the killer blow for any democracy remaining in America. It will clear the field for a secret state organisation, which has shown little or no regard for human life and the rule of law, to accelerate its warlike agenda. It will have unfettered access to the national finances to accelerate its programme of global aggression, and damn the consequences for anyone else.”
|April 4, 2018||
U.S. And Its Press Lie Americans Into Invasions Routinely.
by Eric Zuesse , Countercurrents
The 2003 invasion of Iraq is the best-known example of America’s Government and press lying to fool its public to invade a foreign country that actually posed no threat to U.S. national security (so that America’s Defense Department was obviously America’s Aggression Department, and even its very name was a lie). However, that fraud and its resulting mega-violence were unfortunately typical, not at all exceptional, for the brutal American regime. This crucial but ugly fact will be documented here, so as to destroy (by clear facts) the lying U.S. regime’s supposed credibility — and this refers to both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party wings (and their ‘news’media), of our ruling aristocracy. (Same for America’s lapdog, UK.)
First, however: it’s important to document that both Americans and Brits were lied (and that word should be not only a noun, but also a verb, because “deceived” is far too soft a term for so heinous a consequence) into invading and occupying Iraq:
A crucial date was 7 September 2002, when George W. Bush and Tony Blair both said that a new report had just been issued by the IAEA saying that Saddam Hussein was only six months away from having a nuclear weapon. The IAEA promptly denied that it had issued any such “new report” at all, and the ‘news’ media simply ignored the denial, which the IAEA then repeated weeks later, and it again was ignored; so, the false impression, that such an IAEA report had been issued, remained in the publics’ minds, and they consequently favored invading Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein before there would be, as Condoleezza Rice warned the next day following Bush-Blair, on September 8th, a “mushroom cloud”. It was all just lies — lies that were believed by the public, at the time, and even believed by many for a long time after we invaded.
Some of these lies were derived from torturing detainees — torturing them to say what the U.S. and British regimes wanted them to say. But all were concocted by the perpetrating dictators. Like CIA Director George Tenet told his boss, George W. Bush, fooling the public into invading Iraq would be a “slam-dunk.”
Even today, many Americans still are successfully suckered into believing that torture extracts truths, instead of the desired lies, from suspects, to serve as ‘evidence’, in this ‘democracy’.
So: that’s the reality behind America’s destruction of Iraq — it was based upon lies from the Government, which were stenographically published and broadcast to the public as being truths, while the actual truths were being simultaneously hidden from the public — and the truth that the regime was lying didn’t get to reach us until we had already invaded and occupied the targeted country. That’s what happens when an evil regime fools its public, into supporting and doing its aristocracy’s invasion, at the taxpaying public’s expense, and psychopathically ignoring the massive horrors it is imposing upon the residents in the attacked country. This is psychopathy being displayed by a dictatorship — one that claims to be a ‘democracy’ and that demonizes other governments that it claims to be (and some of which, occasionally, are) dictatorships. With the ‘anti-communist’ excuse gone, only these types of lies still work; so, they’re used non-stop.
Here are other such instances:
Right now, the Obama-Trump regime, which use Al Qaeda in Syria to train and arm jihadists from around the world to go to Syria to fight and overthrow Syria’s Government and replace it by one that will be a stooge-regime of the U.S. aristocracy’s allied Saudi aristocracy (the Saud family), is, yet again, violating Trump’s promise to leave Syria as soon as ISIS is defeated. In contrast to the U.S. regime’s promises, Trump stays on in Syria after ISIS’s defeat and tries to carve out the northeastern part of Syria, now relying mainly upon Kurdish forces in Syria’s northeast, but also upon Al Qaeda-led jihadists in Ghouta and elsewhere, to serve as America’s “boots-on-the-ground,” for establishing the stooge-regime that the U.S. aristocracy and its allied Saudi and Israeli aristocracies want to control that land, so as to construct through it oil and gas pipelines to increase the invading aristocracy’s profits.
How can a news-consumer tell if a supposed ‘news’-medium is honest about Syria? Here’s a simple and reliable method: If the ‘news’-medium uses the term ‘rebels’ instead of “jihadists” or “terrorists” in order to refer to the people who are trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government, then you know it’s lying, because those aren’t ‘democrats’ in any sense: they are jihadists-terrorists who are aiming to establish in Syria a fundamentalist-Sunni, Wahhabist-Salafist, and rabidly anti-Shia, dictatorship there, which will be basically run by the Sauds. For example, on 2 April 2018, the BBC headlined “Uncertainty Over Rebel Deal in Ghouta” instead of “Uncertainty Over Jihadist Deal in Ghouta” or “Over Terrorist Deal,” and so the BBC is clearly a lying propaganda-outlet that cannot reasonably be believed, but whose reports one instead must independently verify before citing or quoting to others. Similarly, the prior day, the Telegraph had bannered “Ghouta ‘deal struck’ as rebel fighters evacuated” and thus made clear that it too is propaganda, not reliable news-reporting. To show how consistent these types of deception are through time, the Telegraph, on 6 March 2013, had headlined an editorial “To end the conflict in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has to go” and called his overthrow “Our moral obligation”. And, just two days later, they bannered “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’” — which ‘news’ would have been real news-reporting if only those ‘rebels’ (and what they actually represented) had been at all honestly described. The basic technique of propaganda is to lie in the framing of an issue. It’s so routine as to be endemic in the ‘news’-reporting in any dictatorship.
For yet another example: Any ‘news’-medium that refers to the overthrow in 2014 of Ukraine’s democratically elected Government, and its replacement by a racist-fascist (nazi) rabidly anti-Russian dictatorship, as having been not a coup but instead a ‘revolution’, is a rotten lying propaganda-medium, nothing better than that.
If the word “revolution” is used to describe the 2014 Ukraine overthrow, and the word “rebels” is used to refer to the fighters for the overthrow of Assad, not only is the medium consistently propaganda, but it is consistently pumping to precipitate World War III.
In my “The Nations that Accept Nazism Today” I documented that under Obama there were three: U.S., Ukraine, and Canada. And then in my “Trump Continues Obama’s Support of Nazism”, I documented that the number had declined to two — and now it was only U.S. and Ukraine. Those two news-reports (and my prior ones about Obama’s having backed nazism at the U.N.) were distributed free to all media, but only a few tiny media published any of them. The dictatorship needed to hide this shocking news from the public, not broadcast it to the public. The mainstream media (and some of the non-mainstream media) are fake-news media — and this comprises almost all of the ‘news’-media. On international relations, they’re just loaded with lies, and the key terms right now are, for Syria, “rebels” versus “jihadists”; and, for Ukraine, “revolution” versus “coup.”
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Originally posted at strategic-culture.org
|April 4, 2018||
Trump And US Deficits.
by Richard Westra in World, Countercurrents
President Trumps’ histrionics over the US trade deficit seem oblivious to the fact that neocon policymakers had already chosen decades ago amongst paths to “make America great again”!
Path one followed the post Second World War scheme where the US rebuilt erstwhile belligerents Japan and Germany into capitalist competitors. It then put a floor under the global economy with an international monetary system that had the dollar as hub currency but backed up by exchangeability with gold should this or that country accumulate more dollars than it wanted.
Bretton Woods international monetary system hinged on the US remaining competitive top dog. However, when it experienced balance of payments deficits in 1971, the first time since 1891, institutions like the International Monetary Fund were purposed to dole out the necessary recovery medicine. Yet the US took being outcompeted by Japan and Germany badly and, rather than take its medicine to make its manufacturing economy great again, tore up the playing field.
Nixon’s shock to the world by unilaterally ending dollar-gold convertibility was the first move in this gambit. However it only accelerated US domestic inflationary policies which combined with growing economic stagnation to produce “stagflation”. And it encouraged major allies to contemplate replacing the dollar as hub currency as US inflation was exported across the globe.
It was into this increasingly hostile environment for the dollar that FED chair Paul Volcker struck hard and fast raising US interest rates to stratospheric heights. This changed everything. First, the inflation dragon was quickly slain. Second, the dollar rapidly appreciated in world markets. Third, it restored global confidence in the dollar as hub currency. Finally, it streamed global money to into US dollar savings instruments and dollar denominated assets.
The problem with this dream suite is that under global conditions of recession and indebtedness, with rates of interest soaring above rates of profit and the strong dollar pricing US goods out of world markets, the US industrial economy disintegrated. Yet, for neocons, this provided the perfect storm to make America great again around a new economic orientation!
Step one in this scheme was to take advantage of the high interest rate induced debt crisis that struck the third world from the early 1980s to destroy whatever pretentions its leaders had of building their own developed, manufacturing economies.
Step two was to deregulate and liberalize US financial markets and compel major advanced economy allies to deregulate theirs. After all, with global money streaming into US savings instruments and assets, and scant profitable investment opportunities in the real economy, why not empower Wall Street as the vortex through which all this booty flowed. Then, with a seamless financial world, Wall Street would become the global command centre spreading around the speculative, casino games it was hatching.
Step three is basically what we understand as globalization. Major US and other advanced economy transnational corporations disarticulated their production systems and offshored them to low wage third world countries that had been forced to deregulate and open to foreign investment as a condition of access to global credit. Japan created a template for this by organizing a network of supply companies across the East and Southeast Asian region during the 1970s and 80s. When China opened to the world Japanese corporations embraced it in their networks. By the 1990s, global transnationals of all stripes got in on the action in the region. Statistics soon showed Asia was becoming the centre of global manufacturing growth.
But manufacturing growth no longer equalled industrialization because production was sliced and diced into global value chains that took high value added knowledge and design inputs from advanced economies, added medium value added components to them in East and Southeast Asia, and then assembled the goods in China. Manufacturing, like global trade, was increasingly marked by intermediate goods or sub-products destined for low wage assembly mills.
However, let us get back to the US economy under neocon tutelage. Remember, the disintegration of the US industrial machine left the US labour force jobless or facing low paid precarious work. Paralleling this was tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy along with US military adventures which set off rounds of bloating budget deficits. Adding globalization into the mix means swelling trade deficits as consumption goods are increasingly imported. Given the fact that Americans can’t save because they’re saddled with debt, the big question arises – where’s the money running the US economy coming from?
Here we arrive at neocon step four. Dollarize the world! With the dollar as world money states must either sell more than they buy to accumulate dollar surpluses. Or they have to borrow dollars to buy. Then maintain a volatile global financial system forcing countries to hold US dollars as a significant component of their national reserves to battle back speculative attacks on their currencies. Finally, leave buying US Treasury IOUs and dollar assets the only “sure” game in town for the dollar savings of countries like China and Japan you buy most of your goods from. This makes their positive net international investment position a mirror image of your negative one.
Hence, with the dollar as world money the US gains an automatic borrowing mechanism giving it global policy autonomy denied other states. Given a current account deficit financed by savings of the world, US government spending on global militarization and other priorities can expand without “crowding out” private sector borrowing. Notwithstanding a low savings rate, domestic borrowing exercises little pressure on interest rates which hover around zero. In the end, the US spends well in excess of its domestic savings plus government tax revenues while no longer engendering price inflation.
To become great again, the US parlayed the world’s largest national debt, its trade deficit, budget deficit, capital account deficit and savings rate deficit, into a position in the global driver seat through the dollar remaining global hub currency.
|April 15, 2018||
Syria in Disarray: Implications of Airstrikes.
by K M Seethi in Imperialism, Countercurrents
The airstrikes launched by the US, Britain and France in Damascus and nearby areas on Friday night have worsened the already volatile situation in Syria. The ‘precision’ strikes were purported to destroy Bashar Al Assad regime’s alleged chemical weapons capability. The Anglo-French-American attacks were in response to the “chemical weapons attack” in Syria’s Douma. Curiously, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was expected to start its work on 14 April to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. Now the question is whether OPCW team will be allowed to carry out its task in the background of a series of airstrikes launched in the alleged sites. Observers said that these attacks have only disrupted the conduct of an impartial investigation. Meanwhile, it was reported that Syria’s air defence systems intercepted as many 71 out of more than a hundred cruise missiles.
Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador in Washington, accused the Western powers of undertaking “a pre-planned scenario” in Syria. He even warned that “such actions will not remain without consequences. All responsibility for them rests upon Washington, London and Paris.” According to Dmitry Sablin, a Russian jurist, the strike on Syria sought to sabotage the OPCW investigation. He said: “… the strike on the very same day when the OPCW mission had to start its work says that nobody is interested in the truth. Just like with the Iraqi WDM, this is only a pretext. This has been done intentionally to disrupt the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta,” Sablin added. Other Russian officials said that the US has the largest arsenal of chemical weapons in the world and it “has no moral right to accuse other countries.”
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari said at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday that his country had invited an OPCW fact-finding mission to come to Syria and visit the site of the alleged incident. We were ready to provide all necessary conditions for a transparent work of this mission. We expected this team to begin work within hours, he said. The Russian envoys argued that there was no ‘reliable evidence’ of any chemical attack. “Our specialists found no traces of the use of toxic agents. Douma’s residents know nothing about the attack. All information about the alleged attack comes from anti-government forces that are interested in such development of the situation,” adding that Russia has evidence indicating that “it was a provocation involving secret services of a number of countries,” they said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry questioned the claims of some agencies such as White Helmets, that the government used chemical weapons in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The organization’s website posted information on April 8, stating that chlorine bombs were dropped to kill civilians. The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that White Helmets were an “unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods.” The Russian agencies, meanwhile, examined this in Douma and found no traces of chemical weapons. It may be noted that this town became the last opposition stronghold in capital. The Syrian army recaptured the town in the days following the attack. Then the question raised was whether the army making headway in the operation had to resort to such a course of action. That the date chosen for the attacks also coincided with the arrival of the OPCW fact-finding mission in Syria raised many eyebrows. Is it that the three major powers had a skeleton in the cupboard?
Russia and Iran have openly condemned the attacks. There are indications that the ground situation in Syria would witness further escalation in the days to some. President Trump hailed the strikes carried out by the trio as “perfectly executed” and declared that the “Mission Accomplished.” But the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the Cold War was “back with a vengeance,” warning about the dangers of escalation over Syria. He said. “The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present.”
If the situation gets further worsened, Syria will witness another spell of disaster. Since the beginning of the war in 2011, more than half a million Syrians have been killed, nearly a million have been maimed, and 14 million – more than half the Syrian population – have been forced to flee their homes. As many as 6 million have moved abroad and registered as refugees. Now, in the seventh year of war, these 14 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance within the country and abroad. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that nearly 5 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and nearly 7 million are internally displaced within Syria. About a million have sought asylum in Europe. Germany, which has more than 3 lakh applications, and Sweden with 100,000, are EU’s top receiving countries.
There has been a colossal loss of material resources over the last seven years – by way of damaging and destroying healthcare centres and hospitals, schools, utilities, and water and sanitation. Historic sites and market places have been reduced to ruins. Long years of civil war broke the base of business and social life in Syria. Consequently, millions scattered, creating the largest refugee and displacement crisis of the century half of people affected by the excruciating agonies were children. In a report, UNICEF estimated that 85 per cent of registered Syrian refugee children were living below the poverty line. Besides, 94 per cent of children below 5 living in host communities were “multi-dimensionally poor,” implying that they stood deprived of a minimum of two out of the five basic needs – education, health, water and sanitation, child protection and child safety.
The UNICEF assessment brought out earlier said that the Syrian refugee children and their families living in host communities were experiencing deprivations of multiple kinds. They included:
4 out of 10 Syrian families do not have enough food for an adequate diet, with an additional 26 per cent vulnerable to becoming food insecure; 45 per cent of Syrian 0-5 year olds have no access to proper health services including vaccinations and disability services; 38 per cent of Syrian children cannot go to school, due to distance, cost, lack of space etc as reasons for dropping out or not enrolling; For children aged 6-17 years, child labour and violence have become major challenges; 16 percent of Syrian children from 0-5 years are lacking a birth certificate, which will present challenges and expose them to additional risks as they grow up.
Do the three Western powers who unleashed airstrikes in Syria realise the gravity of this huge human insecurity of Syrians in the country and abroad? If the establishments they destroyed in Damascus were actually ‘chemical weapons’ factories (with potentially dangerous substances), what would have been its impact on the living beings and the environment? Will they not lead to another ‘chemical-industrial tragedy’ with huge loss of population? Why is that these three powers were so hurry to undertake the operations on 14 April – the day the OPCW fact-finding mission was set to start its investigation? The hands of US, UK and France are obviously tied with innumerable questions that have nothing to do with the Syrian government’s ‘chemical weapons capability.’ These questions have more to do with the larger geopolitical interests of these powers and their ‘prosperous’ military-industrial complex. Setbacks in international commodity trade are now compensated by booming weapons’ business. Trump’s ‘fair trade’ is nothing but a chimera for ‘free trade’ in defence and unfair practices in geopolitical circuit routes.
The author is Professor, School of International Relations and Politics, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
|April 20, 2018||
Stop this pipeline.
by Deborah Parker in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents
The rights of Tribal Sovereign Nations and our shared climate and environment are in jeopardy today because of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—and I’m asking you to join me in taking a stand.
When President Donald Trump was elected, the world looked to Trudeau to be a strong progressive voice and leader. Instead, he’s close to selling out our environment—and First Nations communities—to give government assistance to Texas-based company Kinder Morgan (formerly Enron Liquid Pipelines) to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. This would be the biggest tar sands pipeline on earth, shipping 890,000 barrels of oil from Alberta to the coast per day—the equivalent of 34 million new cars on the road every year.
I expected this of Trump, but from Trudeau, it feels like betrayal. He knows as well as we do that we’re in a climate crisis, and we all stand to lose big—especially First Nations people. Big polluters have called the shots for decades while indigenous communities, low-income communities, climate scientists and environmental activists have been shut out of or, at best, held at arm’s length while our elected officials cater to Big Oil and Gas and their shareholders’ profits.
It’s not too late to hold Trudeau to account before he makes a huge mistake. Show your solidarity with the First Nations and our Canadian neighbors fighting their Parliament to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline—sign the petition.
The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People would be torn apart with Trudeau’s approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Our environment is at its breaking point, and no one knows this better than the First Nations in Canada, and Native American communities like the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, of which I am a part.
I know we can do this. Together, we’ve taken stands to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, Keystone XL, and countless other pipelines that threaten our land and water. Over 250,000 of us signed the #NoDAPL petition, and we raised more than $200,000 for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. We have the power to do it again, and stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline if enough of us take action right now.
Will you add your name to the petition opposing the Trans Mountain Pipeline in solidarity with thousands of Canadian and First Nations people standing up to Big Oil and Gas and a government that is putting profits before people?
There is no big money or benevolent corporation coming to save us. We have to be the change, and change is the only thing that can save our planet from the greed and recklessness of the fossil fuel lobby. Please join me, and my dear friends in Canada, in raising your voice in solidarity with the rising international chorus for environmental justice today.
Deborah Parker is a member of the Tulalip Tribe, as well as
|April 20, 2018||
Are Harmful Ultraviolet C and Increased Amounts of Ultraviolet B Reaching Earth’s Surface?
by Robert Snefjella in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents
Ultraviolet C (UV-C) is the most dangerous part of the Ultraviolet spectrum, A, B, and C. UV-C coming from the sun has hitherto been declared by science as not damaging to life on earth due to its being entirely absorbed by the atmosphere.
Most UV-B, which is also a hazard but less so than UV-C, was also deemed to be nearly entirely absorbed by the atmosphere. A new study claims that some UV-C is coming through the atmosphere and striking the earth. Also, the amount of UV-B striking the earth is said to be greater than previously asserted.
The study is titled ‘Deadly Ultraviolet UV-C and UV-B Penetration to Earth’s Surface: Human and Environmental Health Implications’. The study’s authors are J. Marvin Herndon, Raymond D. Hoisington, and Mark Whiteside. The paper was published on March 30, 2018, by Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International. 
This study points out that a previous study, from 2007, (D’Antoni et al. 2007) also found that UV-C and more UV-B than expected were reaching Earth surface, and that the previous study had inexplicably not been followed up on, to determine its validity.
The recent study by Herndon et al. may help in part to explain a mysterious and extremely ominous recent-years change to Earth environment: the puzzling mass death or massive reduction of many lifeforms in many parts of the planet.
Examples of evidence of mysterious die offs in recent years: Dana Durnford’s 15000 mile coastal journey by water in 2015 documented the massive destruction of flora and fauna along Canada’s west coast (Durnford summarized his observations with the words “everything is missing”, and many pictures ‘before and after’ can be found at his website Nuclearproctologist.org ); the numerous reports in recent years of unprecedented death, disease, and decline or absence of life out in the North Pacific Ocean itself ; or the roughly three quarter decline in insects over the last quarter century in German nature preserves (Hallman et al. 2017) . The latter scientific study is consistent with the anecdotal observations of countless individuals in many areas of the Northern hemisphere: numbers of insects in many rural places have obviously declined over the last generation.
Coincident with the above have been: varying degrees of depletion of protective ozone over the last decades; the introduction over the last generation of increasing amounts of intentional experimental materials into the atmosphere (geoengineering)  in conjunction with military or experimental electromagnetic inputs; and all of these coincident since 2011 with the ejection into the biosphere and atmosphere of massive amounts of radioactive emissions from the explosions and meltdowns of nuclear reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi, in Japan .
Who knows what harmful anomalies or disastrous surprises have already followed or are in store from the unprecedented conjunction of these factors, factors which include the very extremes of military arrogance and duplicity?
The Herndon et al. study’s unwelcome conclusions and bold statements will no doubt be derided, challenged or ignored by many other scientists as well as the military-related disinformation system; but to their credit the authors have taken the field, made their challenging statements and called for further independent study. The word independent is key. The authors call for further measurements of solar radiation, at different locations, elevations, and atmospheric conditions, around the planet, to confirm or invalidate their findings.
Such independent and integrity-based science pertaining to military-related subjects is now far more rare than common. An example of the kind of military-related disinformation matrix that we are subjected to is given in Rosalie Bertell’s book PLANET EARTH The Latest Weapon of War. When working on a US military-related project, cunning dishonesty is mandated by the military:
Cover stories about projects must be believable and cannot reveal any information regarding the true nature of the program.
In the Herndon et al. study, many measurements were made over a period of one year in Northern California.
From the study:
“Results: Our multifold measurements of solar irradiance spectra demonstrate conclusively that all wavelengths in the spectral range 200-400nm reach Earth’s surface, contrary to the widespread perception that all UV-C and the majority of UV-B never reach the surface. We confirm the surface UV-C measurements of D’Antoni et al. (2007) that were disputed, based on faulty computer model calculations of atmospheric ozone, and thereafter ignored by the geoscience community.”
“Conclusions: The veracity of our data and D’Antoni et al. (2007)’s data call into question the validity of atmospheric ozone models. Further, we call into question the simplistic supposition of the Montreal Protocol that chloro-fluoro-hydrocarbons are the primary cause of ozone depletion, and point to the very heavy burden of halogens introduced into the atmosphere by ongoing jet-sprayed coal-fly-ash geoengineering…. We provide introductory information on the devastating effects of UV-B and UV-C on humans, phytoplankton, coral, insects and plants. These will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent articles.”
The study is refreshing in that it includes forthright references to the taboo subject of massive ‘geoengineering’ – really geo-atmosphere-experimentation – that has been carried out in Earth’s atmosphere for decades now: a possibly catastrophic experimentation that has been camouflaged by lies and secrecy, and carried out without any public discussion, let alone consent.
From the study’s Introduction:
“The geoscience community and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has misled the public and the scientific community by not taking into account the consequences of aerial particulate spraying on climate. Even those who study the atmosphere do not mention the obvious spraying.”
“[Our] measurements … indicate the probable debilitation of Earth’s biota caused by the levels of UV-C radiation we recorded over the course of one year.”
From the Results and Discussion portion of the study:
“For more than four decades, the geoscience community has increasingly functioned on the basis
of committee/political standards rather than long held scientific standards. When an important contradiction arises in science, scientists have an obligation to attempt to ascertain the veracity of the contradiction and, if warranted, to correct the former contradicted understanding.”
“The discovery by D’Antoni et al. (2007) of UV-C radiation reaching Earth’s surface should have been the subject of intense investigation by NASA for two reasons, one scientific and one ethical.: Despite the implications of NASA’s 2007 findings for atmospheric science and despite their profound implications for human and environmental health, NASA failed to conduct a follow-up investigation.”
“This inaction begs the question: Is NASA complicit in as global covert activity, such as military’national-defense’ aerial jet-spraying of toxic coal fly ash that poses serious risks to life on Earth?”
“The consensus-approved model-driven irradiance storyline is badly flawed with regard to ozone viability and perceived threats to ozone depletion.”
“Covert geoengineering that jet-sprays massive quantities of ultra-fine coal fly ash places vast amounts of chlorine, bromine, fluorine and iodine into the atmosphere all of which can deplete ozone.”
The study notes the very broad and serious ecological threat posed by Earth-reaching UV-B and UV-C, including harm to the base of the food chain in the oceans. Corals, trees, insects, microorganisms, animals, humans, are all at great risk.
From the study’s Conclusion:
“Measurement of solar irradiance spectra in the range 200-400 nm demonstrates conclusively that all wavelengths in that spectral range reach Earth’s surface, contrary to the widespread perception that all UV-C and the majority of UV-B never reaches the surface.”
“[Called] into question [are] the validity of atmospheric ozone models.
Further, we call into question the simplistic supposition of the Montreal Protocol that CFCs are the primary cause of ozone depletion, and point to the very heavy burden of halogens introduced into the atmosphere by ongoing jet-sprayed coal-fly-ash geoengineering.”
UV-C and UV-B are not the only possible issues: cosmic rays add some small but significant percentage to ionizing radiation at the earth’s surface, and this percentage increases with elevation. Cosmic rays can damage electronics on earth, and outside the atmosphere and magnetic shield of Earth, present a potential lethal danger to space travelers. Are more so-called cosmic rays coming through the atmosphere? Given that the atmosphere is of late altered, what do we really know of this?
So many experiments; so many mysteries; so little understanding: For example, from the 630 page 1971 Oregon State U. study ‘Oceanography of the Nearshore Coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest Relating to Possible Pollution’:
“Relatively little is known regarding the ecological requirements of most species.”
Since the American military can now be relied upon to lie as default position, and to tell the truth as a kind of diversionary tease now and then, and since corporations and officials and institutions in direct or indirect relationship with military agendas now also revert to dishonesty as the default position, the citizens are in a kind of informational quagmire, opaque or bewildering or misleading for the unwary, and challenging at best for the wary. If military related malfeasance in the atmosphere is allowing more harmful radiation to strike Earth, the perpetrators can be sure to lie about it.
The potential for harm and killing power of UV-C is well known and has been put to many uses. Via technology, for instance, it is used to kill undesirable microorganisms in water, or disinfect hospital rooms. It is present in welding arc light and thus the great emphasis on proper eye protection when welding.
Too much exposure to the little bit of UV-B previously coming through the atmosphere is the cause of sunburns and implicated in many other health problems. If in fact life on earth is now being exposed to some UV-C, or more UV-B than previously proffered, this is bad news, and an extremely cautionary tale.
Whatever are the results of further independent research regarding the issues raised and assertions made in the Herndon study, they can be commended for daring to go where most spineless scientists dare not go: What is being done to the sky!? What unexpected catastrophes could be created, secretly, by this supremely arrogant mad science and technology overhead?
The use of the biosphere as a garbage dump is now generations old, with continents of plastic in the oceans as one of modernity’s most impressively stupid and irresponsible achievements; but using the sky above as the site of a massive ongoing military experiment, weaponizing the sky, is far beyond irresponsibility and stupidity, into the ominous realm of mad science conjoined with pernicious arrogance.
Destroying creation in order to enhance military capabilities is the ultimate pathology of the way of war.
From the above Executive Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014, from the World Meteorological Organization. Notice that the statement below is not willing to directly point out the obvious, that geoengineering has already been ongoing for decades, and has been increasing much over the past several years.
“While ODS levels remain high, a large stratospheric sulfuric aerosol enhancement due to a major volcanic eruption or geoengineering activities would result in a substantial chemical depletion of ozone over much of the globe.”
 Just about everything reported about Fukushima is suspect or false. For example, owner/operator TEPCO did not admit that there were multiple reactor meltdowns for three months after 4 reactors exploded and three melted down, and the Japanese government has largely successfully censored reality re Fuksuhima ever since. Did the 2011 Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan, with its massive ejection of noble gases into the atmosphere in the spring of 2011, have a deleterious effect on the atmosphere’s ozone creation and Earth protection processes?
After the Fukushima disaster, numerous anomalies and declines in North Pacific wildlife were reported. Could this be a result of the combination of increased radiation with increased UV-B?
Robert Snefjella is a retired Canadian farmer and contractor
|April 20, 2018||
World’s Greatest Military Has BRAVELY Bombed a Smaller Nation Again – Its 27th Small Nation Bombed.
by Jay Janson in Imperialism, Countercurrents
Americans bombed Syria again just as the its army with the help of Russia, had finally defeated the terrorist groups armed by USA and Saudi Arabia. List of 27 bombed nations show that Millions had to die, murdered right in their homelands, because of the support or indifference of ordinary Americans, with enough of them willing to follow orders, even when unlawful orders, to bomb and invade whatever nation instructed to
So, ‘exceptionalist’ Americans in military uniform have bombed Syria again. They bombed Syria again just as the Syrian army with the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah had finally, after seven years, defeated the terrorist groups, which had heavy weaponry and Toyota trucks supplied to them by United States and Saudi Arabia. The terrorist groups destroyed much of the country and caused the death of some 350,000 Syrian men, women and children. Many Syrians had their heads cut off by the fanatic terrorists. It has been an open secret that Americans and Saudi Arabians have been funding and arming them for some seven years.[HOW ISIS GOT WEAPONS FROM THE U.S. AND USED THEM TO TAKE IRAQ AND SYRIA, NEWSWEEK, 12/14/17 http://www.newsweek.com/how-isis-got-weapons-us-used-them-take-iraq-syria-748468]
No sense in paying attention to the West’s criminal media propagated pretexts for the US government and other Western Colonial Powers ordering their airmen to bomb and invade former colonies. It is now documented history that in each case the publicly announced and promoted pretext has been either a blatant lie or an absurdity.
Absurdities and lies notwithstanding, every genocidal action performed by the GIs of superpower USA, has had all the Caucasian populated nations of the world, to one degree or another, in solidarity with USA, or looking the other way in tacit acquiescence. Meanwhile, Mr. & Mrs. America have been watching their sons and daughters in uniform go off to bomb smaller and poorer nations than their own and be acclaimed as heroic.
American attitudes have been media altered from what this writer was taught as a child some seventy-five years ago. Back then when we saw a fight, we’d cheer for the little guy, and that bully on the block slapping around kids half his size made us angry.
This archival research peoples historian thought it might be an enlightening reminder of similar unjust bullying for some readers, especially readers in nations that have suffered being bombed by Americans in uniform, to scroll down a list of all the smaller nations Americans have bombed since the Second World War.
Look into any of these regime change bombings upon innocent populations by GI sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs. America, and it becomes clear that the defenders of their small but beloved countries are the real heroes facing American high tech missile weaponry and air power that can high altitude carpet bomb, strafe the ground and release fiery clouds of napalm.
The insane upside down version of history propagated on American mainstream media internationally via satilite will eventually be exposed for the evil insanity that it is. With the rise in economic power of Chinese civilization, the rapid increase of populations of the victimized Third World, and personal communication technology racing forward, new sources of information will soon be available.
But why wait for honest media from the victim nations for enlightenment.
Your author has included a little extra history of unlawful bombing events that have received little attention both in criminal media and independent and alternate media. In the list, the name of the nation bombed is followed by the population of that nation at the time of earliest unlawful bombing committed by Americans. The nations of smallest populations are at the top of the list.
Grenada population 100,000 –
1983 invasion, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, used, besides bombing, a parachute drop. There were Marine landings from Navy warships. Grenada had its Marxist government overthrown.
Kuwait population 2 million – During the American led coalition offensive in the Persian Gulf War, American, and American led Canadian, British and French aircraft bombed retreating Iraqi military personnel attempting to leave Kuwait on the night of February 26–27, 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and an enormous death toll, including refugees trying to flee Kuwait. Between 1,400 and 2,000 vehicles were hit or abandoned on the main Highway 80 north of Al Jahra, Kuwait, thereafter dubbed ‘Highway of Death’. Several hundred more littered Highway 8 to Basra.
Laos population 2.5 million – USA made Laos the most bombed nation per capita in the history of world – bombing was initiated by President Eisenhower and continued until 1975.
It failed to suppress communism. Laos has a communist party run government.
Nicaragua population 3.5 million The Reagan administration authorized the CIA to organize, fund, arm and train remnants of defeated dictator Somoza’s National Guard. The CIA run army operated out of camps in the neighboring countries of Honduras Costa Rica. It engaged in a systematic campaign of terror amongst the rural Nicaraguan population to disrupt the social reform projects of the Sandinista revolutionary government, destroying health centers, schools, and cooperatives. Murder, rape, and torture occurred on a large scale in contra-dominated areas.[Chomsky, Noam, Turning the Tide. South End Press, 1985].The United States also carried out a campaign of economic sabotage, and disrupted shipping by planting underwater mines in Nicaragua’s port of Corinto, an action condemned by the International Court of Justice as illegal. The International Court of Justice, in Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found, “the United States of America was under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua by certain breaches of obligations under customary international law and treaty-law committed by the United States of America”. During the war between the contras and the Sandinistas, about 30,000 people were killed.
Lebanon population 2.7 million In the fall of 1983, President Reagan dispatched the battleship New Jersey to Lebanon, authorizing naval gunfire and airstrikes. On December 4, 1983, the Syrians shot down two U.S. planes, and held one of the pilots, Lt. Robert Goodman, prisoner until releasing him to Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson.
Bosnia and Herzegovina population 3.8 million In 1995, in the air campaign code named Deliberate Force, 3,515 sorties were flown and a total of 1,026 bombs were dropped on 338 Bosnian Serb targets located within 48 complexes. The US and other NATO aircraft involved in the campaign operated from Aviano Air Base, Italy, and from the U.S. aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS America in the Adriatic Sea. (The German Luftwaffe saw action for the first time since 1945 during Operation Deliberate Force.)
Guatemala population: less than 4 million On 27 June 1954, a CIA Lockheed P-38M Lightning attacked Puerto San José and dropped napalm bombs on the British cargo ship, SS Springfjord, which was being loaded with Guatemalan cotton and coffee. CIA chosen regime change leader Castillo Armas began intensive aerial attacks, with the extra planes that President Eisenhower had approved. The brutal coup was widely condemned in Europe and led to decades of genocidal dictatorships.
Panama population 4.1 million
United States Bombing and Invasion of Panama, code named Operation Just Cause occurred between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990.) Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark estimated that 3,000 Panamanians died. Many sections of the city’s slums were destroyed.
Dominican Republic population 4.1 million
Bombing began on April 28, 1965. 42,000 American troops invaded the Dominican Republic. Dominicans were seen to be becoming insufficiently anti-Castro and anti-communism.
El Salvador population 4.9 million
In 1985, in El Salvador, a U.S. civilian pilot died on an CIA intelligence mission that ended in a crash on the side of a volcano near San Salvador. In 1983, US Army Sgt. Jay T. Stanley was wounded by gunfire while piloting a helicopter on a mission to establish an airborne communications link with a U.S.-trained rebel battalion in El Salvador. Civil war is of course the ubiquitous strategy of capitalist colonial imperialism. The United States provided huge amounts of military aid to the government of El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations. By May 1983, US officers took over positions in the top levels of the Salvadoran military, were making critical decisions and running the war.[How U.S. Advisers Run The War in El Salvador, The Philadelphia Enquirer, 29 May 1983] The United Nations has estimated approximately 85% of all killings of civilians were committed by the Salvadoran armed forces and death squads.
Cambodia population 6 million
On March 18, 1969, the United States began its Operations Menu and Freedom Deal, a four year long secret carpet-bombing campaign in the skies of Cambodia, devastating the countryside and causing socio-political upheaval that eventually led to the installation of the Pol Pot regime.
Libya population 6 million
2011 massive missile strikes and bombing by Americans and NATO nations military acted as an air force for the armed terrorists made in criminal media to appear as ordinary citizens in uprising fighting the Libyan Army and militias. Three months before the assassination of Gaddafi, Gaddafi addressed a wildly pro Gaddafi and pro Socialist Libya demonstration by an near million Libyans with a mile long green flag while British and French planes bombed Tripoli. This was simply not reported in Western media as NATO warplanes finished off the Libyan Army and militias.
After the total destruction of prosperous Libya, murderous infighting between the terrorists themselves and also against pro-Gaddafi tribes has continued on in what is now a waste land.[HUGE PRO GADDAFI RALLY IN TRIPOLI – RAW FOOTAGE, 7/2/2011, www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=14505
Cuba population 7.3 million
During the 1960s there were almost continual acts of sabotage, bombings and attempts on the life of the President Fidel Castro during CIA Operations Mongoose. [Worst CIA abuses, ‘family jewels,’ to be declassified, Washington Post, June 22, 2007] Henry Kissinger warned that if all operations were divulged, “blood will flow. For example Robert Kennedy personally managed the operation on the assassination of [Cuban President Fidel] Castro.” Kennedy was the attorney general from 1961 to 1964.
There was Central Intelligence Agency–Mafia collusion. The CIA conspired with a Chicago gangster described as “the chieftain of the Cosa Nostra and the successor to Al Capone” in a bungled 1960 attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba’s communist revolution, according to classified documents published by the agency. The Chicago ‘Outfit’ was to be given access to its former casinos if it helped overthrow Fidel Castro.
In 1976, CIA contacts blew up a Cuban passenger plane killing everyone on board including the Cuban Olympic Fencing Team.
Serbia (Yugoslavia) population, including Kosovo, 8.7 million
The USA 1999 bombing was code named Noble Anvil. A group of economists from the G17 Plus party has estimated the total damages to have been about 29.6 billion dollars”. The U.S. was the dominant member of the coalition against Yugoslavia, although other NATO members were involved. During the ten weeks of the conflict, NATO aircraft flew over 38,000 combat missions. “Dual-use” targets, used by civilians and military, were attacked; the targets included bridges across the Danube, factories, power stations, telecommunications facilities, headquarters of Yugoslavian Leftists, a political party led by Milošević’s wife, and the Avala TV Tower. The Yugoslavian government gave estimates of between 1,200 and 5,700 civilian deaths
Somalia population 10.5 million
More than 15 years of US genocidal interventions have caused great starvation, for US led war on the popular conservative Islamic Courts Union government made famine relief nearly impossible. The dis and misinforming ploy used in media coverage was that the Islamic Courts Union government would hide Islamists wanted by US for questioning about US Embassy attacks. This pretext was hyped up to justify the next round of carnage by intervention of US military allies Ethiopia, Kenya and finally the hated UN African ‘Peacekeeping Force,’ organized and militarily supported by the US.
January 3, 2007 – Ethiopians and U.S. airstrikes forced ICU withdrawal from Kismayo. (US airstrikes hit Badmadow Island; Chief of Staff to the Somali president: “US airstrikes killed 31 civilians.”) US warplanes from aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower were used in strikes. AC-130 plane rained gunfire down on the southern village of Hayo – “many dead bodies and animals.” reported Associated Press. The Islamic Courts’ Youth Wing, al Shabaab (Shabaab = “youth’ in Arabic), with great cost in deaths and casualties to themselves, heroically pushed the heavily weaponized Ethiopians back out of cities. In early December 2008, Ethiopia announced it would withdraw its troops. US kept this war going at great human cost after the US pro warlords conflict destroyed Somalia’s chosen government. [Between 2010 and 2012, more than a quarter of a million people died in the famine in Somalia” ” Famines are not natural phenomena, they are catastrophic political failures” Oxfam, 5/2013] This was true in Somalia’s case because during all the above decades famine relief has taken second priority to Western exploitive business interests in Somalia with genocidal consequences. Distribution of food, seed and medical relief intended for drought victims suspended, the International Red Cross announced. Aid for up to 1.1 million people was held up because local authorities blocked distribution of ICRC food and seed relief.
By January, 2013, Al-Shabaab with other militants had taken back cities conquered by the Ethiopians and the hard pressed Ethiopians withdrew when more the UN authorized African Union Force troops arrived. When again the forces of colonialism were on the verge of defeat, US proxy Kenyan Armed Forces were added into the soup of death, to accomplish what the Ethiopians had begun. Al Qaida elements have now long introduced themselves into the fray, and the mayhem overseen by the USA continues.
1993 – the ‘Blackhawk Down’ incident was an earlier brutal US air attack, which included indiscriminate firing down into the roof of a closed market, and ended with the sight of dead US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu being broadcasted around the world. Hundreds of Somalis and eighteen US Elite Force members lost their lives that day.
Congo population 17 million
In 1964, CIA and US planes bombs overthrew Congo’s first democratic government. CIA was complicit in the the assassination of its popular president, Patrice Lumumba, and the installing of the dictator Mobutu opening a fifty-four year history of constant civil wars that have taken many millions of lives.
Iraq population 18 million in 1991; population 26 million in 2003
Operation Desert Storm in 1991 began with the bombing out Bagdad’s infrastructure, and ended after Gen. Colin Powell had some 100,000 retreating Iraqi soldiers shot in the back from the air.
In 2003 invasion Operation Enduring Freedom and subsequent US military action continuing through to 2018, has brought more than 2 million Iraqi casualties.
Sudan population 26 million
In 1998, USA bombed out the only pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan with subsequent loss of lives for lack of critical medicine.
Afghanistan population 13.5 million in 1979; population 24 million in 2001
In 1979, President Carter had CIA invade Afghanistan with Pakistan and Saudi secret services fund, arm and train mountain warlord armies of terrorists – later paid Osama bin Ladin’s al Qaida ed al to attack popular women liberating socialist Kabul government and its Russian defenders. In 2001, Americans blitzed, invaded and murderously overthrew the Taliban government and occupied Afghanistan with a coalition included armed forces of every single nation of Caucasian population in the world.
Iran population 18 million in 1953; 38 million in 1980; 51 million in 1987
The CIA has publicly admitted that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in its Operation Ajax. 200 to 300 Iranians were killed.
In 1980, Operation Eagle Claw failed to retrieve American hostages in US Embassy. One Iranian was killed. His truck was rocketed and destroyed.
Operation Nimble Archer was the 19 October 1987 attack on two Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf by United States Navy forces. The attack was a response to Iran’s missile attack three days earlier on MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait. The action occurred during Operation Earnest Will, the effort to protect Kuwaiti shipping during the American assisted, Saddam Hussain ordered, eight year long Iraqi invasion of Iran. Iran subsequently filed a lawsuit against the United States for reparations at the International Court of Justice. The Court ruled, by 14 votes to two, that the retaliatory attacks by the U.S. Navy against certain Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in 1987 and 1988 constituted an unlawful use of force.
Yemen population 27 million
“U.S. forces have conducted multiple ground operations and more than 120 strikes in 2017,” [Statement, U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. [The U.S. Has Helped Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen for Almost Three Years. Congress Just Noticed, Slatest 11/14/2017] Nawar al Awlaki, age 8, was killed in an airstrike in Yemen ordered by President Trump. Since March 2015, bombings have so far caused more than 14,600 civilian deaths and injuries. Over three million people have been forced to flee their homes due to the bombing and fighting. 22 million people (75 percent of Yemen’s population) need emergency aid, the greatest number in any country in the world. There is famine and 100,000 cases of cholera.[Oxfam, 4/2018] 
Korea 1950 population 30.2 million (North 11 million; South 19.2)
all 38 cities of North Korea and most cities in South Korea were bombed into utter destruction, USA announced intentions: ‘fight communism.’
In 1905, USA recognized all Korea as Japanese Territory in return for Japanese recognition of Philippines as USA territory.
In September, 1945 US Army landed in the south, cut the peninsula in half, overturned democratic Korean government allowed by departing Japanese, declared martial law, flew in Syngman Rhee from Washington, arranged his election as president of ‘independent’ nation of South Korea. Rhee’s secret police and special forces massacred 100,000 communists, socialists, unionists, farmer organizers, members of overthrown government and people who opposed the division of Korea, before the Northern army invaded the South [Documented by South Korea Legislature’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission] When North Korean Army unified the peninsula in five weeks (as South Korean Army refused to fight their brothers of the North), US invaded again and bombed all cities flat, both North and South, before the Chinese entered and pushed US forces out of the North. US holds live fire exercises within ear shot of Pyongyang twice a year ever since.
Vietnam population 35 million:
USA dropped more than twice the bombs dropped in all of the Second World War in Europe, Asia and Africa on Vietnam. Millions of GIs took ‘tours of duty’ in Vietnam. In final body count, 15 Vietnamese are found to have died in their own country for each American who died there as an invader. USA announced intentions were to stop communism, but failed! Vietnam is still governed by its communist party today – pointless genocide.
Syria population 24 million in 2010 – (Syria’s population dropped to 17.5 in 2016). Since 2011, Syria has experienced an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, UK and Israel. Insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations cross the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department had immediately confirmed that it was supporting the insurgency. As of April 2018, approximately 350,000 Syrians have lost their lives. A monolithic unified slant media cartel restricts reports to ‘indiscriminate killing of civilians by the Syrian government.’ At present, roughly 2,000 American troops live in Syria, despite the Syrian government citing them as unlawful invaders. For months Americans have been bombing the very Islamic invaders, who had been receiving US aid, even heavy weapons for years supplied mostly from Saudi Arabia. This has been an open secret for years, headlined even in UK tabloid newspapers and admitted various times in mainstream media. [http://www.newsweek.com/how-isis-got-weapons-us-used-them-take-iraq-syria-748468]
Indonesia population 85 million In 1958, CIA had supplied one pilot and six B-26 bombers to ‘anti-communist’ rebels trying to overthrow the Indonesian Government. American pilot Allan Pope’s plane was shot and Pope accused of bombing the rural village of Ambon and killing many people and was sentenced to death.
Pakistan population 151 million –
Pakistan The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the following cumulative statistics about U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan (as of 17 September 2017): Total strikes: 429; Total killed: 2,514 – 4,023; Civilians killed: 424 – 969; Children killed: 172 – 207; Injured: 1,162 – 1,749 
Since the end of the unbelievably profitable for Wall Street Second World War, tens of millions of innocent children, women and men have died right in their own beloved countries during unlawful and prosecutable regime change bombings and invasions by Americans. All these tens of millions died so investors in the illegal and genocidal use of US Armed Forces, CIA, sanctions and US media could make money from wars that at the same time brought the investors increased financial hegemony and more opportunity for capital and power acquisition. These millions had to die, murdered right in their homelands, because of the support and/or indifference of ordinary Americans in all walks of life, with enough of them willing to follow orders, even when unlawful orders, to bomb and invade whatever nation instructed to.
All this hell and horror for millions of fellow human beings and their children could have been avoided if enough Americans had followed Champion Muhammad Ali, who stated before the US Supreme Court, “No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.”
Further reading on this subject:
Veteran Awareness of The Real Hero of the Vietnam War,Champion Muhammad Ali, OpEdNews, 11/12/2007
King Held All Americans Including Himself Responsible for US Atrocity Wars NOT His Government Click on the link and read and/or listen to King’s sermon that made headlines in bold print on newspapers around the world fifty years ago, and notice it is NOT addressed to the government but to all Americans. (King’s nightmarish sermon came 4 years after “I Have a Dream” at the March on Washington) King spoke to the people and not to the government which he dismissed as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” OpEdNews, 4/4/2018
GIs Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Were Criminals By International Law & US Army’s Own Law Regarding any order to invade and or kill in another country: “An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.” OpEdNews, 11/12/2017
Sharp, Jeremy M. Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations (RL34170) (PDF). Congressional Research Service (February 11, 2015). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
The Year of Living Dangerously – Indonesia and the Downed CIA Pilot, Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History, May 1958 https://adst.org/2013/04/the-year-of-living-dangerously-indonesia-and-the-downed-cia-pilot-may-1958/
Nearly 90 Percent Of People Killed In Recent Drone Strikes Were Not The Target. U.S. drone strikes have killed scores of civilians, many children among them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Huffington Post, Jan 03, 2017
Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and in the US by Dissident Voice, Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents and others; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign, and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign, which Dissident Voice supports with link at the end of each issue of its newsletter.
|April 20, 2018||
US Military-Intelligence Apparatus Presses for Further Strikes on Syria.
by Bill Van Auken in Imperialism, Countercurrents
A US military intelligence report leaked to the corporate media makes the claim that the April 14 missile strikes carried out by Washington in conjunction with both the UK and France have failed to destroy the Syrian government’s alleged chemical weapons capabilities. It makes the implicit case for more extensive and deadly raids that could trigger a military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia, which has troops in Syria backing the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.
The leaking of the report, which was featured by the New York Times under the headline “Missile Strikes Are Unlikely to Stop Syria’s Chemical Attacks, Pentagon Says”, and covered extensively by Reuters, came amid new reporting from the scene of the alleged chemical weapons attack that was the pretext for the April 14 missile strikes on Syria, exposing the incident as a fabrication.
Russian television broadcaster VGTRK interviewed a Syrian boy who featured prominently in a video posted by a “rebel” group that constituted the principal “evidence” of a chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city of Douma on April 7, which was invoked by Washington, London and Paris as the casus belli for an unprovoked act of military aggression carried out in flagrant violation of international law.
In the video filmed by the British and US-funded, and Al Qaeda-linked, “NGO,” the White Helmets, the boy is seen amid a chaotic scene of screaming adults and panic-stricken children being hosed down with water to counter the effects of the supposed chemical attack.
Speaking to the Russian television crew, 11-year-old Hassan Diab confirmed that he was the boy in the video. “Somebody was shouting that we had to go to the hospital, so we went there,” he said “When I came in, some people grabbed me and started pouring water over my head.”
His father, who like other residents of Douma said he had heard nothing about a chemical attack that day, told the Russian broadcaster: “I went to the hospital, walked upstairs, and found my wife and children. I asked them what had happened, and they said people outside were shouting about some smell, and told them to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they gave dates and cookies to the kids.”
The TV crew also interviewed medical personnel at the clinic where the video was filmed. One of them said that while people had turned up complaining of respiratory problems caused by dust from bombings in the city, he was surprised by the sudden influx of patients accompanied by the White Helmets film crew.
He recounted: “Some people came here and washed people. They said: ‘Chemical attack. Chemical attack.’ We didn’t see any chemical attack symptoms.”
A similar account was provided by a very different source, the right-wing pro-Trump US cable network USNN, which also managed to get a TV crew into Douma. Its correspondent reported that after interviewing some 40 residents, “Not one of the people I spoke to in the neighborhood [where the attack allegedly occurred] said that they had seen anything or heard anything about a chemical attack on that day.”
USNN also spoke to medical personnel at the clinic where the “rebel” video was filmed. One of them told the cable broadcaster that it had been a routine day until, “Suddenly, out of nowhere… a bunch of strangers burst into the room screaming that there was a chemical attack. They brought in alleged victims and started hosing them down with water.”
He added that the “strangers” were videotaping everything. “As soon as they washed everybody off, they packed up and they left.”
The doctors reported that they “didn’t see any indication of a chemical attack” and that the people brought in looked “totally normal,” with none of the symptoms of being affected by a chemical agent such as chorine or sarin. The head surgeon at the clinic also reported that on the day of the alleged attack, the facility recorded “zero deaths.”
The report by the right-wing US broadcaster also featured video of massive stockpiles of mortar shells and other weaponry found in Douma after the evacuation of the Al Qaeda-linked rebels, which the reporter recounted reached, in some cases, from the “floor to the ceiling.”
These reports largely echo the earlier account provided by the veteran British Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk of the Independent, who also reached Douma and interviewed a senior doctor at the medical clinic. The physician said a “White Helmet” had burst into the clinic shouting “Gas” and triggering a panic, which was then filmed by the group’s videographers. The doctor told Fisk that no one there was affected by gas poisoning.
The US, Britain and France have all claimed that they have proof that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack on April 7, but have yet to make public a shred of evidence.
Nor have they indicated what possible motive the Assad government, which has crushed the Al Qaeda-linked “rebels” in the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, would have for using chemical weapons on a population that was largely hostile to these Western-backed forces at the close of the Syrian military’s successful campaign.
The motive for fabricating such an attack, on the other hand, is obvious. It provided the pretext for a coordinated campaign by the US and its European allies that had been planned and organized long before April 7.
The latest reports from Douma have further underscored the criminal and corrupt role played by the US and Western corporate media, which has faithfully served as a propaganda conduit for the US-led war drive, while dismissing the mounting reports from the scene exposing the chemical weapons attack as a hoax as “conspiracy theories.”
Using the fake chemical weapons incident as a means of casting an act of imperialist aggression as a crusade for “human rights,” US, British and French imperialism launched the missile attack of April 14. This was part of a desperate bid to counter the strategic defeat suffered by the Islamist militias that the US and the other Western powers, along with the Saudis and other Gulf oil monarchies, have backed with billions of dollars in arms and funding since the CIA-orchestrated war for regime-change began in 2011. The last of the “rebels” withdrew from Eastern Ghouta just hours after the missile strikes. Civilians who remained have denounced the Western-backed militias as “terrorists” who deprived them of food and medicine and summarily executed anyone who opposed them.
Among the targets struck by American, French and British missiles was the Barzah Research and Development center, which Western intelligence agencies claimed was involved in chemical weapons production. Employees of the facility, however, reported that its work was developing chemical formulas for cancer drugs—in short supply because of the US and EU embargo against Syria—as well as antidotes for snake bites and scorpion stings that were distributed throughout the region. The research center, which has been repeatedly inspected and cleared by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was largely demolished.
OPCW investigators sent to Douma have reportedly been unable to reach the site because of security issues, including coming under small arms fire on Wednesday. The Western powers and the “rebels” they support on the ground in Syria have a clear motive for impeding even the semblance of an independent investigation that fails to come up with any evidence of the chemical attack invoked as justification for military aggression.
The unraveling of the official story of the events in Douma and the leaking of the US military intelligence report are no doubt more than coincidental.
The Times led its article on the report by stating that it concluded “the Syrian government is expected to resume its chemical weapons program, despite President Trump saying ‘mission accomplished.’”
Reuters said the report concluded that the missile strikes “had only a limited impact on President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks.”
The news agency went on to cite “US and allied intelligence” sources as claiming that chemical weapons were being “stored in schools and apartment buildings,” which one of the officials referred to as ‘human shields.’”
This reference is particularly ominous, providing what is effectively an advance alibi for future US attacks killing large numbers of Syrian civilians.
In sync with the US military and intelligence apparatus, the Democratic Party is pressing for an escalation of the US war in Syria. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday revealing that the House Democratic Caucus had held a meeting the day before to discuss how to unite the US Congress around the drafting of a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) to replace the one passed in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. That legislation, directed against Al Qaeda, clearly does not cover military operations against the Assad government in Syria, which has been battling US-backed Al Qaeda affiliates.
The Democrats, along with the predominant layers among Congressional Republicans, are pressing for the Trump White House to pursue a more aggressive military confrontation with both Syria and its principal allies, Russia and Iran, and to abandon Trump’s recent pledge to “bring the troops back home” from Syria.
“The policy is clear, the ability to achieve it is not,” said the House Armed Services Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington in a C-SPAN interview Thursday. “I don’t think lobbing missiles once a year, saying ‘mission accomplished’ and calling it good is going to achieve that policy objective.”
The “policy” Smith referred to is the overthrow of the Assad government in furtherance of the unfettered US domination of the oil-rich and strategically vital Middle East. With over 2,000 US troops—supplemented by proxy forces recruited from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia—occupying a third of Syria, including its main oil and gas fields, decisive layers within the US political establishment, spearheaded by the Democrats, are demanding a far more aggressive military policy that threatens to unleash a massive war with devastating consequences for humanity.
Originally published in WSWS.org
|April 16, 2018||
The Crime of the Tripartite Aggression Against Syria
by Dr Elias Akleh in Imperialism, Countercurrents
The American, British, French tripartite aggression against Syria last Friday, April 13th, is a grave international war crime violating article 51 of the United Nation charter, that forbids any state to attack any other sovereign state except in the case of self-defense, or with the consent of a majority of UN members according to chapter seven. Added to this crime is the American crime of threatening to attack another UNSC member nation; considered a crime according the UNSC charter.
Following Nikki Haley’s crime in the UNSC of threatening to attack Syria even without the Council’s permission, the US dragged the UK and France to commit the crime of attacking Syria under the justification of an alleged chemical attack in Douma. The terrorist sponsored “White Helmet” produced a clearly staged video of chemical attack against children, an act that had been repeated in the past and had proven to be fake. To vindicate itself Syria had invited in and guaranteed a safe passage to inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the allegation. Trump’s administration, knowing very well that the alleged chemical attack is fake, and without waiting for the results of the OPCW’s inspectors, behaved as investigators, judges, and executors, decided to attack Syria one day before the arrival of the OPCW’s inspectors.
In an apparent attempt to blackmail Saudi Arabia, Trump announced last week that he will withdraw the American troops from Syria. He also indicated that if Saudi Arabia wants the US to attack Syria they have to pay for the attack. Trump had just announced insultingly that the American forces are just mercenaries for hire. Apparently, Saudi Arabian MBS (Mohammad Bin Salman) had paid not only the US, but also the UK and France during his latest visits to these countries for the attack to happen. The UK and France were enlisted as partners in this crime in an attempt to give the attack some appearance of unanimity.
An American military armada was shipped to the Middle Eastern region, and with the American presence in its bases in some Gulf Arab States and in the Red Sea, an attack on Syrian targets was perpetrated during the early hours of Friday 13th. It was estimated that more than 110 Tomahawk missiles were fired in an attempt to overload Syrian defense systems. Yet Syrian forces were able to shoot down about 71 missiles demonstrating an exceptional defensive military capability. The rest of the missiles hit vacated facilities that had been previously bombed by Israeli forces. Israel had provided the coordinates of these facilities to the American forces. The attack, despite what tripartite had stated and Trump’s empty “mission accomplished” statement, was an utter military failure that had accomplished nothing, and at the same time had demonstrated the effectiveness of the Syrian defensive capabilities.
This criminal attack came under the justification of protecting the Syrian civilians from suffering any further chemical attack. The question that poses itself here is: how does the bombing of the chemical stockpiles and the resulting dispersion of these chemicals in the air would protect civilians? Did the American military take into consideration that such dispersion would expose Syrian civilians to chemical danger?
One would have doubts whether the American military had carefully thought through this attack, especially when there were reports of opposing opinions in the Pentagon. What are the real goals of the attack? Definitely it was not the alleged destruction of the chemical weapons since there was no precautions about the dispersion of chemicals after the bombing. The disposal of chemical weapons requires tedious safety preparations following intensive political negotiations.
It is very well documented that with the cooperation of other countries these three; US, UK and France, had been the major supporters of the terrorist groups attacking Syria. It has been observed that every time the Syrian forces gain an upper hand over the terrorist, an allegation of a chemical attack surfaces. These Western countries would perpetrate an attack, similar to last year’s attack on the Shayrat air base, to sabotage Syria’s victory and to boost the morals of the terrorists. If this attack comes to accomplish this purpose, then it came too late since the terrorists were defeated, had surrendered, and entered into an evacuation agreement with Syrian government.
One may think that this aggression had come because the US found itself out of any political negotiation concerning the future of Syria and wanted to force its presence. Such an attempt had failed since the attack had succeeded only in alienating the US further. This aggression had served only to demonstrate that the American “nice, new and smart missiles” are inferior to the relatively older Syrian defense systems. Russia was so confident of the effectiveness of the Syrian defensive missile system that the Russian forces sat watching idly without any interference as they had warned earlier. Besides, Russia is now supplying Syria with its latest very powerful defensive missile systems including S-300 and S-400 and more advanced military equipment.
If the intent of such an attack was to intimidate the Syrians into submission fearing American reprisals, as the US is accustomed in doing to some UNSC member states, then this goal had also failed, and succeeded only in boosting the morale of the Syrian population and strengthening their trust and support to Al-Assad government. Immediately after the end of the attack the Syrians went into the streets celebrating their victory.
Previous American and Israeli attacks aimed at strengthening terrorist positions and boosting the morale of what is called Syrian opposition. This attack resulted the exact opposite. The Syrian opposition leaders had already expressed their disappointment of such a frail attack that resulted virtually into nothing tangible.
Severe disappointment has also hit the hearts of Israeli leaders, the AIPAC; American Israeli lobby, and some Persian Gulf Arab states especially Saudi Arabia, who were pushing for the bombing of Syrian vital targets including Syrian air bases, ministry of defense, military bases, and even the presidential palace. Although these might have been the initial targets for the American armada, yet the Pentagon’s fear of a possible devastating wider military confrontation with Russia and Iran that would turn the whole region into hell, had led them to limit the attack to mere bombing of evacuated and deserted facilities.
Recognizing their military failure US, UK and France went back to the UNSC demanding the Council to issue resolutions to condemn the chemical use in Syria, to form an independent investigation to determine responsibility of chemical attacks, to demand a permanent seize fire and to allow unrestricted shipments of humanitarian aid to all parts within Syria, that would, undoubtedly, include hidden arms delivery to terrorists. In addition to their military war crime they also are demanding to be involved into what they called further political negotiations to be followed to achieve peaceful solution to the Syrian war.
This tripartite criminal aggression, and the failure of the UNSC to condemn it, clearly expose the criminality of the Western countries, and their utter disregard to any international law and to human lives. The complicity for this crime by the UNSC member countries make them partners to the crime, regardless whether are afraid of American reprisal or seeking economic rewards from Trump’s administration. This international body has become useless and obsolete the way it is now. It is unable to protect weaker countries and has not served to enhance world peace and justice but became a tool to legalize the crimes of strong and rich rogue nations such as the US, the UK and France and their Israeli terrorist tool. If this tripartite is allowed to attack one-member country without suffering any consequences, then it would be emboldened to attack any other member country any time it deemed to serve its “ambitions”
The long history of these three countries clearly demonstrate their contempt to all international laws and their disregard to international organizations. During the last two decades they had created and armed terrorist groups to lead their own proxy wars around the world, then under the claim of fighting terrorists they instead invade and destroy other countries. They had used fabrications and lies to attack and destroy weaker and smaller countries they coveted their natural resources and their geostrategic locations. US, UK, and France are the real triangle of evil creating and sponsoring terror groups to perpetuate wars.
Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab American from a Palestinian descent. His family was evicted from Haifa, Palestine, after the 1948 Nakba when the Zionists stole his family’s property. Then the family was evicted again from the West Bank during the 1967 Naksah, after the Zionist, again, occupied the rest of Palestine.
|April 16, 2018||
Striking Syria: The Real Reasons.
by Dr Chandra Muzaffar in Imperialism , Countercurrents
The United States government has once again shamelessly violated international law. There was no legal or moral justification for launching more than a 100 missile strikes against so-called chemical weapons’ sites in Syria on the 14th of April 2018. Unlike the last strike targeting a single airfield in April 2017 which was also in retaliation for President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of sarin gas against civilians, the US was joined in its assault this time by its allies, Britain and France.The three Western powers claimed that they had strong evidence that the Assad government had again employed chemical weapons in Douma on the 7th of April, killing scores of civilians, including children.
If the evidence was so compelling, why didn’t the US President present it to the US Congress and seek its endorsement for military action, as required by law? Why didn’t the British Prime Minister seek approval from her Parliament, instead of getting a Cabinet cabal to endorse her war plan? The French President also erred in this respect. One could go further and ask why Washington did not share the evidence it had with Moscow, Syria’s staunchest protector? Or, with other members of the UN Security Council, apart from Britain and France?
Is it because the so-called evidence was obtained from dubious sources — such as the terrorist group, Jaish al- Islam which was fighting the Assad government and in control of parts of Doumaon the 7th of April? Were the White Helmets, a fake civil defence outfit established by British intelligence and funded by both Britain and the US yet another supplier of ‘evidence’? Or as it has happened on numerous occasions in the past, was the ‘evidence’ generated by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence network, in pursuit of its own nefarious agenda ?
The source or sources of evidence of Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons is an issue that has to be explored thoroughly for an obvious reason. Since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, there have been at least half a dozen alleged episodes of Assad resorting to chemical weapons in order to eliminate his adversaries which after independent investigations have turned out to be false flag operations or gross distortions of what had really occurred. In fact, some analysts are of the view that a terrorist group had stage managed the 7th April Douma episode and then put the blame upon the Syrian government to justify foreign intervention. Ghouta in 2013 was also a false flag operation, according to the celebrated investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh. Let’s not forget that Syria’s neighbourhood has witnessed some major false flag operations including that monstrous lie about Saddam Hussein’s ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ in 2002-3.
What lends credence to this view about fabricating evidence and false flag operations is the actual situation on the ground. Why should Assad employ chemical weapons when he is on the cusp of total victory over his terrorist opponents and other militants? How does it benefit him? Why should he deliberately elicit the wrath of people everywhere when he is already in a position of strength? Besides, he had surrendered his arsenal of chemical weapons to the UN affiliated Dutch based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2013. This was verified by the OPCW. It was also the OPCW that established some time ago that one of the three facilities destroyed by Western missiles on the 14th of April was in fact a civilian pharmaceutical and chemical research centremanufacturing among other things drugs for cancer treatment necessitated by the embargo imposed upon Syria.
With all this as the backdrop, one is not surprised that the US and its allies chose to attack Syria on the eve of the visit of the OPCW to Douma to verify whether, and what type of, chemical weapons were used on the 7th of April. Were the aggressors afraid that the truth about the 7th April episode would expose them? Was the attack a move meant to render the OPCW investigation academic?
Given these and a multitude of other questions hanging over the allegation about Assad’s chemical weapons, why were the US and its allies in such a hurry to strike Syria? Before we attempt to answer that question, we must understand that the US and Israel have for decades regarded Syria, together with Iran and the Hezbollah, as the unyielding obstacle to their persistent drive to dominate and control the region. To put it in another language, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah constitute the triumvirate of resistance to the US-Israel Agenda of Hegemony over West Asia and North Africa (WANA). Israel in particular seeks to curtail and if possible crush each of the three for similar and dissimilar reasons. Since our concern is with Syriawe shall examine why the leadership of that country is in Israel’s radar.
For Israel, control over Syria’s Golan Heights is vital for its security. Israel’s notion of security is defined by its ability to control and dominate its neighbours such as Syria and Lebanon. The Golan Heights which Israel captured in the 1967 War was formally annexed on 14 December 1981. It is important to note that it supplies water to Israel and contains oil, gas and minerals. With annexation, Israel asserted its perpetual sovereignty over Golan which to this day international law recognises as part of Syria. To translate its illegal annexation into political reality, Israel has for a number of years sought to oust the independent minded government in Damascus and replace it with a puppet regime. It saw the uprising that broke out in March 2011 in a small township in Syria as an opportunity and backed the rebels. Very soon, the rebels were joined by militants, many of whom were linked to various terrorist outfits. These terrorist outfits such as Al-Qaeda were financed by countries in the region and trained and equipped by groups in WANA and from Europe and the US. It is not widely known for instance that Israel itself has provided arms to seven different terror groups in Syria.
By the middle of 2015, Israel and other supporters of these groups within WANA such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and those outside the region such as the US, Britain and France, were confident that they would be able to oust Bashar Assad, based upon the vast swathes of land and resources that the anti-Assad forces had seized. Realising that its longstanding ally in WANA was in mortal danger, Russia decided to intervene militarily in September 2015. It fortified the Syrian Army, and with the assistance of Hezbollah and Iranian advisers and militias, Russia intensified the fight against terrorist groups in Syria. Within 20 months it was obvious that the tide had changed. The Bashar government, buttressed by Russia, had regained control of most of Syria by the last quarter of 2017. Douma was in a sense one of the last footholds of one of the terrorist groups. With defeat staring in the face of not only the terrorists but also Israel, some other regional players and of course the US and its allies, the latter decided hastily to strike against Syria on the 14th of April.
Defeat in Syria is more than defeat in one Arab state. It portends a significant shift in the power balance in the entire region. Russia may well emerge as the pivot of this change with crucial roles for Iran and Syria and other players. It is a scenario that is totally unacceptable to the US and its allies like Britain and France. Incidentally, all three at various points in the present and the past have been imperialist powers in the region.
It is not a coincidence that in all these three countries, Israel and Zionism exercise inordinate influence. Israel has always viewed the US and to a lesser extent Britain and France as the protectors of a power structure in WANA that guarantees its own regional hegemony. It is because Israel and its protectors are now uncertain about their dominance that they have chosen to flex their muscles.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Malaysia.
|April 16, 2018||
7 Questions About the Syria Airstrikes That Aren’t Being Asked
by Richard Eskow in Imperialism, Countercurrents
“Mission accomplished,” says the President. What, exactly, was the mission? And what exactly was accomplished?
Donald Trump is being mocked for using this phrase in a tweet to praise what he claims was a “perfectly executed” airstrike against chemical weapons facilities in Syria. This recalls George W. Bush’s egregious evocation of the phrase in 2003 to claim an early end to the U.S. entanglement in Iraq, which is still ongoing fifteen years later.
History made a fool of Bush for that proclamation, which was printed on a banner behind the President as he delivered his speech proclaiming an end to the Iraqi conflict on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
But Bush’s foolish and lethal incursion to Iraq had the backing of virtually the entire national-security establishment. So did Donald Trump’s bombing attack on Syria, as did the bombing attack he ordered last year.
The Costs of Intervention
U.S. media, for the most part, reinforce the idea that intervention by our military is the preferred solution to global conflicts. Some of the same reporters who now mock Trump for saying “Mission Accomplished” cheered on Bush’s invasion of Iraq. They remember Bush’s errors, but not their own.
The media’s job, we are told, is to ask skeptical questions about the people in power. That didn’t happen much in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, and it’s not happening now. Here are the questions that should be asked – not just on the eve of a bombing attack, but every day we continue our disastrous and drifting military intervention in the Middle East.
1. Why couldn’t the military wait for inspectors to do their jobs?
Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international non-proliferation organization, were scheduled to arrive in Douma, Syria on Saturday, April 15 to begin investigating the reported chemical attack on civilians there. The airstrikes took place on Friday, April 14.
This is a disturbing echo of the 2003 Iraq invasion. There, too, the United States was unwilling to wait for international inspectors to discover the facts before beginning the attack. Fifteen years on, we know that didn’t work out very well. Why couldn’t the bombing of Syria wait for inspectors to do their work?
2. How do we know we’re being told the truth?
“We are confident that we have crippled Syria’s chemical weapons program,” said U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. That statement was echoed by military leaders. But a report from Agence France Presse suggests that one destroyed building, described by attacking forces as a chemical-weapons facility, was actually a pharmaceutical and research facility specializing in food testing and antivenoms for scorpion and snake bites.
“If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here,” said someone who identified himself as an engineer who worked at the facility.
Given our country’s long history of public deception from military and civilian officials, why aren’t we demanding independent confirmation of the airstrikes’ effectiveness?
3.Have strikes like these ever really “punished” a country’s leader – or “sent them a message,” for that matter?
We keep hearing the cliché that airstrikes like these are meant to “punish” leaders like Assad. This time was no different. And yet, it’s unlikely that Assad personally suffered as a result of this attack.
So who, really, are we punishing?
Then there’s this comment, from Defense Secretary James Mattis: “Together we have sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack.”
That was also the presumed purpose of Trump’s last missile attack on Syria, less than a year ago. Trump supporters claimed that attack sent a forceful “message,” too – to Assad, to Putin, the Chinese, and others. “With just one strike that message was sent to all these people,” claimed former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka.
The situation in Syria did not perceptibly change after that attack. And the day after this latest airstrike, Assad launched a new round of airstrikes of his own.
These airstrikes seem more performative than tactical – warfare as theater, but with real lives at stake. There must be better ways to send a message.
4. Why isn’t the full range of U.S. activity in Syria getting more coverage?
Thanks to widespread under-reporting of U.S. involvement in Syria, commentators can complain about “years of unmasterly inactivity by the democracies” with a straight face, wrongly blaming that nation’s disasters on a failure to intervene.
In a paragraph that was subsequently deleted from its website, the Washington Postwrote that the latest airstrikes “capped nearly a week of debate in which Pentagon leaders voiced concerns that an attack could pull the United States into Syria’s civil war.” As of this writing, that language can still be found in syndicated versions of the article.
We were pulled into that civil war a long time ago. The United States has more than 2,000 troops in Syria, a fact that was not immediately revealed to the American people. That figure is understated, although the Pentagon will not say by how much, since it excludes troops on classified missions and some Special Forces personnel.
Before Trump raised the troop count, the CIA was spending $1 billion per yearsupporting anti-government militias under President Obama. That hasn’t prevented a rash of commentary complaining about U.S. “inaction” in Syria before Trump took office. It didn’t prevent additional chaos and death, either – and probably made the situation worse.
5. Where are the advocates for a smarter national security policy?
There’s been very little real debate inside the national security establishment about the wisdom of these strikes, and what debate there has been has focused on the margins. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a senior State Department official under Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Obama administration, tweeted:
In other words: This attack will not achieve any tactical goals or save any lives. And it is illegal – just as chemical weapons attacks are illegal – under international law. It’s illegal under U.S. law, too, which is the primary focus of Democratic criticism.
But, says Slaughter, the amorphous goals of “drawing a line” and “saying enough” make it worthwhile, for reasons that are never articulated.
Michèle Flournoy, who served as Under Secretary of Defense under President Obama and was considered a leading Defense Secretary prospect in a Hillary Clinton Administration, said:
How can a country uphold international norms by violating international law?
If Trump lacks a coherent Syria policy, he has company. Obama’s policy toward Syria shifted and drifted. Hillary Clinton backed Trump’s last round of airstrikes and proposed a “no-fly” policy for Syria that could have quickly escalated into open confrontation with Russia.
The country deserves a rational alternative to Trump’s impulsivity and John Bolton’s extreme bellicosity and bigotry. When it comes to foreign policy, we need a real opposition party. What will it take to develop one?
Commentators have been pushing Trump to take aggressive military action in Syria, despite the potential for military conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. MSNBC’s Dana Bash accused Trump of “an inexplicable lack of resolve regarding Russia” – leaving the audience to make its own inferences – adding, “We have not been willing to take them on.”
In the same segment, reported by FAIR’s Adam Johnson, Bash complained that “the U.S. hasn’t done “a very good job pushing Russia out of the way,” adding that “we’ve let Russia have too free a hand, in my view, in the skies over Syria.” Her colleague Andrea Mitchell responded that “the criticism is that the president is reluctant to go after Russia.”
The Drum Beats On
This drumbeat of political pressure has forced Trump’s hand. He has now directed missiles against Syria, twice. Both attacks carried the risk of military confrontation with the world’s other nuclear superpower.
That risk is greater than most people realize, as historian and military strategist Maj. Danny Sjursen explained in our recent conversation.
Trump has now adopted a more aggressive military posture against Russia than Barack Obama. Whatever his personal involvement with the Russian government turns out to have been, it is in nobody’s best interests to heighten tensions between two nuclear superpowers.
The national security establishment has been promoting a confrontational approach, but they’ve been unable to explain how that would lead to a better outcome for the US or the world – just as they’ve been unable to explain how unilateral military intervention can lead to a good outcome in Syria.
7. Did the airstrikes make Trump “presidential”?
“Amid distraction and dysfunction,” wrote Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan for Axios, “Trump looked and acted like a traditional commander-in-chief last night.”
The constitutional phrase, “Commander in Chief,” was originally understood to underscore the fact that the military is under civilian control. It has devolved into a title that confers a quasi-military rank on the president. That’s getting it backwards. The fetishization of all things military is one of the reasons we can’t have a balanced debate about military intervention.
Besides, saying that an act of war makes Trump “presidential” – that’s so 2017!
Here’s a suggestion: In 1963, John F. Kennedy rejected his generals’ advice to strike Soviet installations during the Cuban missile crisis.
Rejecting reckless calls to military action: Now that’s a “presidential” act worth bringing back.
Richard (RJ) Eskow is Senior Advisor for Health and Economic Justice at Social Security Works and the host of The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow on Free Speech TV.
|April 19, 2018||
Fisk Puts to Test the Free-press Myth in Douma.
by Jonathan Cook , Information ClearingHouse
April 19, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Here’s how a free press, one owned by a handful of corporations, uses its freedom. It simply tells you what it is good for its business interests, or more generally for the political and business environment it operates in. It’s not interested in truth or airing all sides, or even necessarily basic facts.
The only restraint preventing the corporate media from outright lying to promote its material interests is the fear of being found out, of readers starting to suspect that they are not being told the whole truth.
If that sounds like conspiratorial nonsense to you, consider this single example (there are lots more if you trawl through my past blog posts). Let’s take the matter of veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk arriving in Douma this week, the first western correspondent to get there. Fisk is like some relic from a bygone era, when journalists really sought to arrive at the truth, often at great personal danger, not simply win followers on Twitter.
Until his arrival, all the information we were receiving about Douma in the west originated not with on-the-ground reporters, but with jihadist groups or those living under their Islamist reign of terror. That was true of the Youtube videos, the accounts from western reporters based far off in other countries, the human rights organisations, the World Health Organisation, and so on. The fog of war in this case was truly impenetrable.
So Fisk’s arrival was a significant event. He was clearly aware of the journalistic burden on his shoulders. Those still in Douma, after the jihadists fled, we can assume, are mostly supporters of the Syrian government. Even if they are not, they may be fearful of retaliation from the Syrian army if they speak out against it.
So Fisk, a very experienced reporter who has won many awards, was careful in the way he handled the story. Unlike many reporters, he is prepared to add context to his reports, such as the manner or tone of the person he talked to – clues to help him and us decode what they might really be thinking or meaning, rather than just what they are saying.
But the content of what he reported was incendiary. Just a few days after the US, UK and France had bombed Syria, in violation of all principles of international law, on the grounds that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Douma, Fisk interviewed a doctor at the clinic where the victims were treated. The doctor said no chemical attack occurred. The video footage from last week was genuine, the doctor added, but it showed civilians who had inhaled dust after a Syrian bombing attack, not gas.
Fisk’s account is clearly honest about what he was told. And the doctor’s account clearly is plausible – it could fit what the video shows. So, whether right or wrong, it is a vital piece of the jigsaw as we, ordinary citizens, decide whether our governments were justified – before United Nations inspectors had even arrived – in acts of aggression against another sovereign nation, and whether, in the case of the UK, Theresa May was entitled to act without reference to parliament. These are matters Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party, has been trying to raise in the face of a solid media consensus in favour of bombing.
Given this context, the UK media ought to have been putting Fisk’s report at the centre of their Syria coverage yesterday and today, especially the liberal Guardian, the paper that Labour party members have relied on for decades. So how did the Guardian fare?
The Guardian now has an enormous output of articles, not least its Comment is Free section. So it would be foolhardy of me to say with absolute conviction that the Guardian made no reference anywhere in its pages to Fisk. But if it did so, it was extremely well concealed. A Google search of “Fisk”, “Guardian” and “Douma” throws up nothing. I can locate nothing in searching the Syria news articles and the op-eds published in the physical newspaper either.
So the Guardian appears to have intentionally blocked its readers from learning about the Fisk report, even though it is highly relevant to an informed debate about western actions in Syria, actions that are themselves part of a political debate being led by Corbyn. Denying this information to its readers means the Guardian is actually helping to weaken Corbyn in his battle to hold May to account.
But it does not end there. The Guardian does briefly reference Fisk, it just does so without naming him. At the same time, the Guardian seeks to discredit his reporting using the very same, highly compromised sources that have been relied on till now from Douma. In short, the Guardian appears to be carrying out a damage limitation operation, refusing to report transparently Fisk’s revelations in an attempt to shore up the existing narrative rather than test it against the new narrative offered by Fisk.
Buried away in two lines in an article by Patrick Wintour and Julian Borger, we get this in today’s Guardian:
So Fisk, Britain’s most famous and respected Middle East correspondent (can you name another one?), is not only not identified but dismissed generically as one of a group of reporters “favoured by Moscow”.
A second report, headlined “Syrian medics ‘subjected to extreme intimidation’ after Douma attack”, by Martin Chulov and Kareem Shahin, far away in Beirut and Istanbul respectively, confidently denigrates Fisk’s account, again without identifying him or mentioning that he was there. Again, it merely alludes to the content of Fisk’s account and only in so far as it is necessary to undermine it.
Instead, it gives top billing to unchallenged claims by Dr Ghanem Tayara, a Birmingham-based doctor now in Turkey who is the director of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations, which favours the overthrow of the Syrian goverment.
After many paragraphs of Dr Tayara’s allegations against Bashar Assad’s government, Fisk’s account is given this cursory and hostile treatment near the end of the article:
These countervailing voices are important. They are another piece of the jigsaw, as we try to work out what is really going in places like Douma. But publications like the Guardian are consistently presenting them as the only pieces their readers need to know about. That isn’t journalism.
There are good reasons to be suspicious of everything that comes out of the Syria war arena, where all sides are treating the outcome as a zero-sum battle. But western corporate media are clearly not fulfilling their self-declared role either as an impartial messenger of news, or as a watchdog on power. They have taken a side – that of the governments of the US, UK and France, their regional partners Saudi Arabia and Israel, and what are by now mostly proxy jihadi fighters in Syria.
The Guardian failed the most elementary test of honest journalism in its treatment of Fisk’s report. It may be an egregious example but after many years of the Syria war it is very far from being unique.
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog
|April 18, 2018||
Beyond Sustainability? — We are Living in the Century of Regeneration.
by Daniel Christian Wahl in Counter Solutions, Countercurrents
Valuing Ecosystem Function higher than material things is the paradigm shift that determines whether we understand the meaning of our lives and survive or whether we remain ignorant and selfish and destroy our own habitat trying to gain more wealth or more power. If we reach this level of understanding, not only can everyone live on the Earth but the natural systems on Earth can reach their optimal ability to sustain life.— John D. Liu (2016)
There are some practitioners who work on sustainability with a regenerative development mindset. The reason why I would say it is time to move beyond sustainability is twofold. On the one hand the term itself has been coopted and some people now call their company sustainable because it has sustained growth and profits for a number o years in a row. The term sustainability begs us to explain what it is we are trying to sustain.
The term regenerative development, on the other hand, carries within it a clear aim of regenerating the health and vitality of the nested, scale-linking systems we participate in. At a basic level regeneration also communicates not to use resources that cannot be regenerated, nor to use any resources faster than they can be regenerated. Development in this context is “co-evolving mutuality” (Regenesis Group) — so biological and cultural evolutionary development, not in the sense of economic development (only).
The second reason is that I believe we need a reframe that honours the importance of getting to ‘sustainable’ while opening the possibility to deepen our practice and go beyond merely being sustainable to actually regenerating the damage humanity has wrecked on the planet since the dawn of agriculture, city states and empires.
You can think of the path towards regenerative development as a spectrum that includes and transcends sustainability. I first came across this in an article by my friend Bill Reed, entitled ‘Shifting our Mental Models’ from 2006. Bill described a journey that starts at what you might call ‘business as usual’ — basically not breaking the law and only damaging ecosystems and societies within the limits set by regulatory bodies.
This diagram has been adapted from an early version by Bill Reed and is based on his work with Carol Sanford and colleagues at the Regenesis Group. I have changed some of the wording and added content. The green and red writing above and below the x-axis is not referring to the quadrant it is in but simply to positive impact (green) and negative impact (red). This graphic is reproduced with permission by Bill Reed in my 2016 book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’
From business as usual we move to ‘green’ — doing a little more than we have to legally by polluting a little less, using less energy from non renewable sources, etc. This is a step often abused for greenwashing, yet it is a necessary step on the journey. Then we get to sustainable, the neutral point of impact — not doing any additional damage. Yet we have done so much damage since the industrial revolution that we need to do more than that if we want to sustain a human population of more than 9 billion, possibly 11 billion, people by mid-Century.
Loess Plateau in China — Source
As we move beyond sustainability and start to work on restoring damaged ecosystems, we can still do so in a mindset that sees humanity has masters and manipulators of nature rather than as participants in its life-sustaining processes. This engineering mindset to restoration can create projects that restore forests or ecosystems at first but do so in ways that are not systemic and integrative and hence these efforts and their effects might only be short lived or result in unexpected and negative side-effects.
If large scale restoration projects fail to emerge out of or at least be deeply grounded in careful adaptation to the biocultural uniqueness of place they might deliver short-term successes but fail to create enough meaning to motivate longterm participation.
This 90 second video was produced by the media team at IED, Madrid, while I gave a workshop for their Masters in Design and Innovation in 2015.
Regenerative development reveals the latent potential of a place by connecting the system to itself and the scale-linking context it is nested in. Part of this weaving of connections is about multi-stakeholder dialogue or reconciliation of different perspectives at a higher systemic level in ways that create win-win-win solutions for all life in that place.
Loess Plateau in China — Source
Only when we reconcile nature and culture and move towards understanding ourselves as part of life’s evolutionary journey and participants in life’s life-sustaining processes are we beginning to work regeneratively. As life, we are capable of creating conditions conducive to life. This is our true and proper work!
Large-scale ecosystems regeneration to reverse global warming, stabilize the climate and enable the transition to a biomaterials based economy of decentralized bioregionally focussed eco circular patterns of production and consumption is a path towards social and economic regeneration, resilience, subsidiarity and global collaboration in learning how to live well — together — on living spaceship Earth.
Permaculture Project in the Jordan Valley — Source
Regenerating the biosphere is an urgent necessity and could turn into a shared vision big enough to bring humanity together in all its diversity. We are called to be part of a maturation process of our own species and step into responsible membership of the community of life.
The 21st Century will be the century of ecosystem and Earth regeneration, otherwise the 22nd Century might see a greatly impoverished planet without us.
Evolution proceeds by diversification and subsequent integration of that diversity at higher levels of complexity. The integration occurs predominantly through collaborative processes that increase the health of the whole system.
Humanity has brought the community of life to the brink of the 6th great extinction period of life on Earth, reversing this trend and creating a healthier and more abundant world together could offer shared meaning that helps us to reframe our diversity as a source of creativity and resilience and find common ground as one human family on a fragile planet. Working regeneratively is working with the inherent potential of living systems — — human and the rest of nature — to evolve higher levels of synergy, symbiosis and co-evolving mutuality.
Illustration from Designing Regenerative Cultures
In short, regenerative development aims to optimize the whole system for all its participants rather than maximize individual parameters for a few to the detriment of many. It goes beyond not just doing no harm by regenerating healthy ecosystems functions, top-soils, forests and waterways, while also regenerating social cohesion and global solidarity and nurturing thriving communities and regional economies in global collaboration.
It is time to play your part in this work of civilizational importance. Let us come together for the healing of the Earth and her people. Let us ensure that the current epoch as we transition from the age of empire into the planetary era will be remembered as the century of regeneration!
The 4 Returns approach developed by Willem Ferwerda and the Commonland Foundation is creating a feasible pathway to begin this important work
Originally published by Medium
Daniel Christian Wahl: I have a passion for building bridges between diverse stakeholders, perspectives, disciplines, and worldviews. I bring innovation, creativity, and whole systems design to enterprises, projects, and educational programmes that foster effective collaboration in the transition towards a thriving and innovative culture of sustainability, resilience, and wellbeing. I look forward to collaborating with you.
|April 18, 2018||
Species Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature ‘Out of Synch’.
by Julia Conley in Climate Change, Countercurrents
The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature’s food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that human activity has contributed to has had far-reaching effects throughout the planet.
A paper by ecologists at the University of Ottawa examined 88 species on four continents, and more than 50 relationships between predator and pray as well as herbivores and the plants they eat, and found that food chain events are taking place earlier in the year than they have in the past, because of the warming climate.
“Most of the examples were about food,” Heather Kharouba, lead author of the paper, told the National Observer. “Is it available or is it not?”
In the study’s findings, Kharouba added, “everything is consistent with the fact it’s getting warmer…All the changes we see are exactly what we would predict with warmer temperatures and how we would expect biology to respond.”
“It demonstrates that many species interactions from around the world are in a state of rapid flux,” Boston University biology professor Richard Primack told the Associated Press. “Prior to this study, studies of changing species interactions focused on one place or one group of species.”
The scientists looked at research going back to 1951, which showed that in previous decades, birds would migrate, animals would mate and give birth, and plants would bloom later in the year, allowing the animals to find the food they needed at specific times.
These events have been occurring about four days earlier per decade since the 1980s, according to the National Observer. On average, the timing is now off by a full 21 days for the 88 species the researchers examined.
In Washington state’s Lake Washington, the very bottom of the food chain has been affected, according to the research, as plant plankton is now blooming 34 days earlier than the organisms that feed on them.
Even smaller changes can have a major impact on animal populations: plants in Greenland are now blossoming just three days earlier than baby caribou are born, throwing off the species that has survived on them and causing more of the animals to starve.
“It leads to a mismatch,” Kharouba said. “These events are out of synch.”
The “mismatch” could begin contributing to the endangerment of species that are unable to find food they’ve relied on, the researchers said.
Originally published in CommonDreams.org
|April 19, 2018||
Overpopulation Leading Into Other Troubles.
by Sally Dugman and Steven Earl Salmony in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents
The number of human beings on Earth was 2+ billion in the year of my birth (1945). In all of recorded human history there is no evidence to indicate that the human population was ever larger than it was then. Hundreds of thousands of years passed by without an incredible increase in absolute global human population numbers such as we have seen in one lifetime… in the past three score and ten years. During the past 70 years human numbers have increased by 5+ billion. There is only one question worth asking. Why have human numbers increased so rapidly in so short a period of time? The answer is simple. The spectacular capability of humankind to increase annual production and distribution of food for human consumption has given rise to the colossal growth of the human population in our planetary home.
One of the most significant unintended consequences of this bacterial-like growth of a mammalian species is the onset of the Anthropocene Era when Homo sapiens sapiens (self-named to signify ‘the wisest of wise’ species) became the momentary rulers of the world we inhabit. The skyrocketing increase of the human population on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth has given rise to a number of apparently unforeseen and exceedingly deleterious outcomes. Among these potentially catastrophic, human-driven results is climate destabilization. What is fortunately becoming relatively easy to see now here, as we observe what is happening through our naked eyeballs, is the manifold ways overproduction, overconsumption and overproduction activities of the human species are occurring synergistically and simultaneously threatening life as we know it, environmental health and future human well-being. The spectacular increase of these distinctly human, overgrowth activities is causing the unrestricted extirpation of global biodiversity, the relentless dissipation of limited natural resources, the unbridled degradation of the environment and the reckless threat to a good enough future for children everywhere.
In relation Sally adds:
As resources decline in part due to increasing human population, aggression will increase. This happening is obvious to take place.
Often small scale conflicts and larger wars will act out through proxies — the satellite states in the Middle East and elsewhere located in my view, i.e., the usual current hell that is being brought to people in undeveloped and war-torn countries that have desired pathways for oil pipelines to wealthy nations or resources wanted by corporations affiliated with wealthy powerful nations.
USA reminds me of an aging alpha male gorilla not wanting to lose his power and control. So he runs out of the forest, huffs himself up to look large and beats his chest. Then he does all that he can imagine to continue to enforce his rule, including presentation of images of rage.
I met Robert Meeropol a few times long ago. His mother was innocent, but executed, anyway, along with Julius Rosenberg, his father. … Consider that only a balance of power prevents issues like the Japanese nuclear bombing being repeated to date. Consider J. Rosenberg’s thinking on the topic or the whistle blower M. Vanunu. They both sacrificed a lot to keep our world safe … as have done many others across the globe.
One was a friend of my parents. She brought around 5,000 Jewish children in small groups out of Germany through an underground network much like the one during the Civil War to free slaves and she was a French resistance fighter.
My mother once found her peeing in the woods and asked the reason that she did that rather than use a bathroom. “Old habit” was the reply and with the fighter’s pants down, my mother saw the many scars from bullet wounds suffered by this woman.
Of course, with increasing overpopulation in the mix, more and more critical resources will be removed across the globe to serve the needs of people and the corporations in power. More and more fights (small and large) will result over the resources and more government involvement will result, especially with climate change in the mix causing assorted types of devastation like floods and wildfires.
What is to happen with climate change immigrants — people fleeing impossible conditions where they formerly lived? What is to happen as globally conditions in many different ways worsen? One can only guess. …
Nov 3, 2017 – Conclusions of climate–change science analysis are at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies. By Jeff Tollefson … The analysis warns that temperatures could increase another 4°C by the end of the century, with dramatic consequences for humans and natural ecosystems. The findings are at …
Dec 14, 2017 – When he’s lecturing about climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown sounds like a street-corner preacher shouting: “Repent. Change your ways. The end is near.” But it’s nearly Christmas and wicked wildfires are devastating California beauty. So Brown is obviously on to something.
Steve Salmony and Sally Dugman both live in the USA
|April 4, 2018||
Pour que règne la paix… Para que a paz reine ... For peace to reign ... Para que reine la paz ... Perché regni la
Johanne Hauber-Bieth, France, Cercle Univ. Ambassadeurs de la Paix, email@example.com
Pour que règne la paix…
P artout de par le monde il est trop de malheurs
O mniprésents surtout dans les cœurs, dans leurs pleurs…
U niment il faudrait savoir un jour se battre
R éunis avec foi, même à deux, trois ou quatre
Q ui sauraient rallier les bonnes volontés
U tiles ici bas, sans élans affectés
E t pleines de ce cran ou chante le courage
R égi par le credo, le désir et la rage
E ntrelacés d’amour, pour que domine enfin,
G énéreuse sur terre, obligeante et sans fin,
N imbée par la tendresse, une douce colombe
E xauçant un vœu cher ailleurs que dans la tombe !
L aisser parler ce qui compose “un bel humain”
A vec tendus vers l’autre et le cœur et la main
P our vaincre, tous ensemble, opposons notre ronde
A vec notre bravoure à toute guerre immonde,
I neffables d’Amour riche de grands bienfaits.
X énophiles soyons… POUR QUE REGNE LA PAIX !
Para que a paz reine ...
Em todo o mundo há muita miséria
Omnipresente especialmente nos corações, nas lágrimas ...
Deveria saber um dia para lutar
Reunido com fé, mesmo às duas, três ou quatro
Quem pode se juntar aos bons desejos
Útil aqui abaixo, sem momento afetado
E cheio dessa coragem ou cante a coragem
Governado por credo, desejo e fúria
Interconectados com amor, de modo que domina, finalmente,
Generoso na terra, obrigatório e sem fim,
Rodeado de ternura, uma doce pomba
Expressando um desejo, querido além do túmulo!
Vamos falar o que compõe "um homem bonito"
Estendidos um para o outro e o coração e a mão
Para vencer, todos juntos, vamos nos opor a nossa rodada
Com nossa bravura para qualquer guerra imunda,
Ineffables of Love ricos em grandes benefícios.
Os xenófilos nos deixam ser ... PARA ESSE PRAZER DA PAZ!
For peace to reign ...
Everywhere in the world there is too much misery
Omnipresent especially in hearts, in their tears ...
One should know one day to fight
Gathered with faith, even at two, three, or four
Who can join the good wishes
Useful here below, without affected momentum
And full of that guts or sing the courage
Governed by creed, desire and rage
Intertwined with love, so that dominates finally,
Generous on earth, obliging and endless,
Surrounded by tenderness, a sweet dove
Expressing a wish dear elsewhere than in the grave!
Let talk what makes up "a beautiful human"
Stretched towards each other and the heart and the hand
To win, all together, let's oppose our round
With our bravery to any filthy war,
Ineffables of Love rich in great benefits.
Xenophiles let us be ... FOR THAT PEACE RENDER!
Para que reine la paz ...
En todas partes del mundo hay mucha miseria
Omnipresente especialmente en corazones, en sus lágrimas ...
Uno debería saber un día para luchar
Reunidos con fe, incluso a las dos, tres o cuatro
Quién puede unirse a los buenos deseos
Útil aquí abajo, sin impulso afectado
Y lleno de esas agallas o cantar el coraje
Gobernado por el credo, el deseo y la ira
Entrelazado con amor, para que domine finalmente,
Generoso en la tierra, servicial e interminable,
Rodeado de ternura, una dulce paloma
¡Expresando un deseo querido en otro lugar que no sea en la tumba!
Deja que hable lo que constituye "un hermoso ser humano"
Estirados el uno hacia el otro y el corazón y la mano
Para ganar, todos juntos, opongamos a nuestra ronda
Con nuestro valor a cualquier guerra sucia,
Inefable de amor rico en grandes beneficios.
Los xenófilos nos dejan ... ¡POR ESA RENDICIÓN DE PAZ!
Perché regni la pace ...
Ovunque nel mondo c'è troppa miseria
Onnipresente soprattutto nei cuori, nelle loro lacrime ...
Uno dovrebbe sapere un giorno di combattere
Riuniti con fede, anche a due, tre o quattro
Chi può unire gli auguri
Utile qui sotto, senza impeto influenzato
E pieno di quel coraggio o cantare il coraggio
Governato da credo, desiderio e rabbia
Intrecciato con l'amore, così che finalmente domina,
Generoso sulla terra, premuroso e senza fine,
Circondato dalla tenerezza, una dolce colomba
Esprimere un desiderio caro altrove che nella tomba!
Lascia parlare cosa rende "un bellissimo umano"
Allungati l'uno verso l'altro e il cuore e la mano
Per vincere, tutti insieme, opponiamoci al nostro round
Con il nostro coraggio in ogni guerra sporca,
Ineffabili d'amore ricchi di grandi benefici.
I xenofili ci permettono di essere ... PER QUEL RENDER DI PACE!
|March 27, 2018||
Peace and Progress; Peace and Progress; Paz e progresso; Pace e progresso
Ashokchakravarthy Tholona , écrivain INDE, Cercle Univ. Ambassadeurs de la Paix, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and Progress
Poets of the world; - in unison
Let’s take this privileged occasion,
To impart a message of concern,
That; - Poetry is a potent weapon,
That can pave a way for compassion,
With appealing verses of passion,
To soothe hearts with a new vision,
For peaceful co-existence of humans.
Sharing humane feelings with concern
Reaffirming loyalty with dedication,
Upholding values of diverse traditions,
Conversing with creative inscriptions,
Poets; - with a love-filled concoction
Should unite the diverted civilization
With heart-pleasing poetic expressions
To restore dialogue for reconciliation.
Yes, poets of the world; - in unison
Let’s impart ‘World Peace’ teachings,
To share dejected feelings with concern
Of innocent victims of war and destruction,
Who need a humanitarian visualization,
To ensure Peace and Progress for realization.
Paix et progrès
Poètes du monde - à l'unisson
Prenons cette occasion privilégiée,
Pour transmettre un message d'inquiétude,
Cette; - La poésie est une arme puissante,
Cela peut ouvrir la voie à la compassion,
Avec des versets passionnants,
Pour apaiser les cœurs avec une nouvelle vision,
Pour la coexistence pacifique des humains.
Partager des sentiments humains avec inquiétude
Réaffirmer la loyauté avec dévouement,
Défendre les valeurs de diverses traditions,
Converser avec des inscriptions créatives,
Poètes - avec une concoction remplie d'amour
Devrait unir la civilisation détournée
Avec des expressions poétiques qui plaisent au cœur
Pour restaurer le dialogue pour la réconciliation.
Oui, les poètes du monde; - à l'unisson
Donnons des enseignements de «paix mondiale»,
Partageons des sentiments découragés avec inquiétude
Des victimes innocentes de la guerre et de la destruction,
Qui a besoin d'une visualisation humanitaire,
Pour assurer la paix et le progrès pour la réalisation.
Paz e progresso
Poetas do mundo - em uníssono
Aproveite esta oportunidade privilegiada,
Para transmitir uma mensagem preocupante,
isso; - Poesia é uma arma poderosa,
Pode abrir a porta para a compaixão,
Com versos emocionantes,
Para apaziguar os corações com uma nova visão,
Para a convivência pacífica dos humanos.
Compartilhe sentimentos humanos com preocupação
Reafirmar a lealdade com dedicação,
Defendendo os valores das várias tradições,
Bate-papo com inscrições criativas,
Poetas - com uma mistura cheia de amor
Deve unir a civilização desonesta
Com expressões poéticas que agradam o coração
Para restaurar o diálogo para reconciliação.
Sim, os poetas do mundo; - em uníssono
Vamos dar lições de "paz mundial",
Compartilhe sentimentos desencorajados com preocupação
Inocentes vítimas de guerra e destruição,
Quem precisa de uma visualização humanitária,
Para garantir a paz e o progresso para a realização.
Paz y progreso
Poetas del mundo - al unísono
Aprovecha esta oportunidad privilegiada
Para transmitir un mensaje de preocupación,
Este; - La poesía es un arma poderosa,
Puede abrir la puerta a la compasión,
Con emocionantes versos,
Para apaciguar corazones con una nueva visión,
Por la coexistencia pacífica de los humanos
Comparta los sentimientos humanos con preocupación
Reafirma la lealtad con dedicación,
Defender los valores de varias tradiciones,
Chatear con inscripciones creativas,
Poetas: con un brebaje lleno de amor
Debería unir a la civilización tortuosa
Con expresiones poéticas que complacen al corazón
Para restaurar el diálogo para la reconciliación.
Sí, los poetas del mundo; - al unísono
Vamos a dar lecciones de "paz mundial",
Compartamos los sentimientos desalentados con preocupación
Víctimas inocentes de la guerra y la destrucción,
¿Quién necesita una visualización humanitaria?
Para garantizar la paz y el progreso para la realización.
Pace e progresso
Poeti del mondo - all'unisono
Prendi questa opportunità privilegiata,
Per trasmettere un messaggio di preoccupazione,
Questa; - La poesia è un'arma potente,
Può aprire la porta alla compassione,
Con versi eccitanti,
Per placare i cuori con una nuova visione,
Per la pacifica convivenza degli umani.
Condividi i sentimenti umani con preoccupazione
Riaffermare la lealtà con dedizione,
Difendere i valori di varie tradizioni,
Chatta con iscrizioni creative,
Poeti - con un intruglio pieno d'amore
Dovrebbe unire la civiltà subdola
Con espressioni poetiche che soddisfano il cuore
Per ripristinare il dialogo per la riconciliazione.
Sì, i poeti del mondo; - all'unisono
Diamo lezioni di "pace mondiale",
Condividiamo i sentimenti scoraggiati con preoccupazione
Vittime innocenti di guerra e distruzione,
Chi ha bisogno di una visualizzazione umanitaria,
Assicurare la pace e il progresso per la realizzazione.
|March 21, 2018||
True Sustainability Must Include Social Justice Along With Environmental Protection.
by Carl Anthony New Village Press, AlterNet
The following excerpt is fromThe Earth, The City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race, by Carl Anthony (2017, New Village Press)
We need a new story about race and place in the United States. The civil rights movement brought forth a flow of narratives recounting valiant struggles to overcome racism and achieve social justice. Much environmental history has expressed concern for the destruction of forests, the degradation of landscapes, the uprooting and destruction of indigenous people, and the loss of species. All these concerns will continue to have force. But the experience of African Americans and other people of color has a key theme to add to the mix: the stories of the people who helped to lay the foundations of the nation despite being marginalized in an atmosphere of hostility and disrespect. Telling these stories and listening with compassion will help us heal and begin to understand that we are all, down to the core, sources of great creativity.
Conventional politics has operated as if there were a deep and unbridgeable gulf between environmentalism and social justice. Environmentalists revere and respect the natural world as a foundation for the life of future generations while social justice advocates are committed to equal opportunities for those who live in the present. When the first Earth Day happened in 1970, it was profoundly disassociated from the civil rights movement. It centered on protecting and restoring nature without acknowledging people’s need for social and economic justice. The environment and people are interrelated. Both demand our attention and respect. African Americans and other peoples who have labored in our cities and countryside, like all other humans, have not only a responsibility to care for planet Earth but also the right to share in its bounty.
It is clear that industrial growth is destroying life on Earth. We need a platform for all people to come together and decide to reduce our negative impact on the global biosphere. We cannot just say, “All we want is our fair share.” Nor can we say, “Save the planet by any means necessary,” and call the rest “collateral damage.” We are all in this together, and true sustainability must include social justice along with environmental protection.
Marginalized communities—subjugated economically and racially—have firsthand experience of what it means to build sustainability in the face of hardship. This cultural and individual resilience is a resource for leadership. We need to acknowledge the leadership emerging out of the social and environmental justice movements and work to dismantle the obstacles to leadership faced by people of color. The knowledge they can bring to our planning and environmental professions is invaluable.
Climate change is with us now. As global climate systems destabilize, our world is wracked with record-breaking high and low temperatures. Devastating storms and tornadoes are occurring with greater frequency. Droughts, wildfires, floods, and rising sea levels threaten to destroy homes and businesses and make traditional community lands uninhabitable. While we must continue working to mitigate climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we must also face the reality that Earth has already been pushed past the point where we might have avoided negative climate effects. As a result, we must work simultaneously toward mitigating the effects and helping our most vulnerable populations and climate refugees adapt.
Building resilience to climate change in vulnerable communities often entails technical responses: bolstering shoreline communities against flooding and sea level rise, training and equipping communities for emergency preparedness, and strengthening relief programs to deal with chronic stressors such as rising energy and food costs, heat island effect, and drought, as well as sudden disasters like flooding, hurricanes, tornados, and other extreme weather events that can cause massive destruction and displacement. Considering what we learned from working on the Six Wins Network, it is clear that creating sustainable and resilient communities in the face of climate change also provides opportunities for gaining greater social equity and justice.Increasingly, African Americans and other people of color are emerging as leaders and activists in urban agriculture and permaculture projects. One such leader is Will Allen. Born in 1949 to South Carolina sharecroppers who eventually bought a small farm in Maryland, Allen’s childhood was rooted in farming. Following a basketball career in which he was the first African American on the University of Miami basketball team that was life-altering (for himself and innumerable others), he returned to his roots and bought a nursery in foreclosure in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, region and began urban farming, eventually starting the nonprofit Growing Power, Inc. His leading-edge agricultural techniques include greenhouse farming, worm composting, and aquaponics (raising fish and produce together in a mutually nourishing, no-waste system). He has become a teacher to many, locally and internationally. Growing Power, Inc. is but one of many examples of organizations and projects aimed at enhancing resilience and empowering members of vulnerable communities (Bybee 2009).
Building community resilience also means supporting and strengthening community infrastructure such as neighborhood associations, churches, schools, day cares, senior centers, community gardens, small local businesses, local health clinics, community centers, recreation programs, art studios, museums, galleries, and local performing arts troupes. I have often heard it said that the number one factor in surviving a catastrophic event is whether or not you know your neighbors. Such community power not only fosters resilience when facing climate challenges but also enhances the experience of day-to-day living.12 While we advocate against processes and policies that break communities apart, such as gentrification, displacement of long-time residents and businesses, and discriminatory schooling, policing, and sentencing practices that decimate communities of color, we also build community resilience to face major climate challenges as they arise and improve conditions for vulnerable communities here and now.
Metropolitan planning organizations have attempted to treat planning for climate change and planning for regional equity as separate and unrelated, but there is no reason for social justice advocates to follow their lead. There are good reasons for aligning risk reduction and development of resilience in the face of global warming with the goals of regional equity. Public policies that respond to the need for adaptation continue to offer opportunities for low-income communities to participate in regional planning processes. We need to build multidisciplinary coalitions across geographic and social divides and look at our metropolitan regions as an interconnected system.
The challenge of global warming requires that we support the development of non-extractive and nonpolluting transportation choices, such as public transit and safe bicycle and pedestrian paths. A great deal of public attention has been focused on alternate energy sources. While this attention is important, equally significant is how we live together as extended families and viable communities. New community design strategies can reduce demand for energy while maintaining and improving the quality of life for everyone. An old drama of human achievement celebrated the rugged individualist who triumphs by extracting riches from nature and from the labor of workers. That myth is losing its appeal. An emerging new story recognizes the dignity and worth of all beings and celebrates the power of collaborative effort to solve challenging problems. Communities of color can be powerful models of sharing and intergenerational support.Alternate energy sources and other technical innovations are important elements in building a sustainable world, but we cannot expect technology to solve all our problems. We need to understand and acknowledge the unsustainable burdens that industrial civilization has placed on Earth’s natural resources and the effect those burdens have on ecological balance. The challenge of global warming requires that we move away from the global love affair with the automobile. Instead, we need to support the development of non- extractive and nonpolluting transportation and housing choices; we need to create diverse neighborhoods with housing near jobs and public transit with safe conditions for walking and bicycling. These opportunities will manifest differently in each region, depending on local environmental, geographic, economic, and political factors. But as the urgency of climate change continues to press decision makers into action in our states, regions, counties, and municipalities, disadvantaged communities and their allies must continue to step forward, collaborate, and make our voices heard in planning, designing, and building equitable and sustainable regions.
The innovations proposed to get us through the climate change crisis will require strong social consensus and local-to-global community building—elements usually left out of proposals. The strong sense of community we need in order to cope with climate change is undermined by growing racial disparities, both within the United States and between the global North and South. These racial disparities are exacerbated by the ongoing spatial division of the wealthy from the disadvantaged. Spatial apartheid limits access of low- income people of color to education, good jobs, housing, nontoxic environments, transportation, healthy food, and green spaces, resulting in alarming disparities in health, life expectancy, and economic well-being.
Climate change confronts us with many giant challenges—reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building community resilience to extreme weather, confronting poverty in our regions, and restoring and protecting the web of life on which our own lives depend. We each have a role to play in facing these challenges. Some of us will get involved in political processes, set up cooperative businesses or nonprofits, and find new ways of sharing space and resources. Others will create art, music, gardens, schools, and networks of mutual aid. The needs and the possibilities are endless. The voices of elders are joining with those of young people around the world who are expressing their care for the planet, their passion for justice, and their hope for a livable future. They must be acknowledged and encouraged. We must come together as one human family to care for Earth and for one another—working together, listening to each other’s stories, and appreciating and celebrating our diversity.
|March 30, 2018||
Republican Climate Denialism Has Sunk to a Staggering New Low Under Trump.
by Sophia Tesfaye Salon, AlterNet
Climate and weather are not the same thing, but good luck convincing the president of the United States of that basic fact. As if his tweets dismissing global warming as a “hoax” manufactured by the Chinese and his decision to pull the U.S. out of the multinational Paris Agreement on climate change weren’t depressing enough, now there is evidence that Donald Trump’s determination to make the Republican Party the “stupid party” has been a wild success.
As Americans have drifted further apart on a wide variety of issues over the past few years, perhaps nothing exemplifies the growing gulf between supporters of the two major parties more than climate change. (Gun control is a similarly divisive issue, especially now.) In the Trump era, Republicans appear to have significantly regressed in their beliefs about climate change -- which is admittedly saying something.
Fewer Republicans say they believe in a scientific consensus on climate change, a year into Trump’s presidency, than said they did shortly after he took office, according to a new Gallup poll. Released this week, Gallup's annual survey on the environment found that Trump has pushed Republicans to be more extreme on issues concerning the environment, specifically climate change.
While more Americans think that climate change will pose a serious threat in their lifetime than at any other time since 1997, according to Gallup, Republicans remain more skeptical than ever.
Only a third of Republicans said they worry about climate change or even acknowledge that it is already happening, down 3 percentage points from the year prior. Just 35 percent of Republicans believed global warming was caused by humans, compared with 40 percent at about this time in 2017, a few months after Trump took office.
In 2017, 53 percent of Republicans agreed that most scientists believe climate change is occurring. That number declined 11 percentage points during Trump’s first year in office to 42 percent in 2018. Just to clarify that: A majority of Republicans now reject not merely the idea that climate change is real, but the idea that most scientists believe it is real. That suggests an imperviousness to fact that goes well beyond unorthodox opinion into outright delusion.
“President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a ‘hoax,’ may have contributed to this widening divide by reversing a number of government actions to address the issue,” Gallup said regarding the data.The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 97 percent of climate scientists believe that global warming is caused by human activities. But according to a new report on Perceptions of Science in Americafrom the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, only 39 percent of U.S. adults trust climate scientists “a lot” to provide full and accurate information about the causes of climate change. Although last year was the second warmest year on record, behind only 2016, nearly 70 percent of Republican respondents told Gallup that the threat of climate change is "exaggerated," an increase from 66 percent last year. Only 4 percent of Democrats shared that view.
Trump has waged a successful war against the scientific consensus on climate change, but as with nearly all his most popular positions, he simply rebranded a belief that was widely held by many conservatives well before his ascendance.
Beginning with the Tea Party, the grassroots movement against the Obama administration that was heavily funded by GOP megadonors with personal investments in the fossil fuel industry, conservative Republicans have long embraced climate-change denialism. In 2013, Pew found that while 61 percent of Republicans who did not align with the Tea Party believed in climate change, 70 percent of Tea Party members did not.
Since then, Republicans have only grown more unified in their denialism. Now more than 59 percent of Republicans in the House, and 73 percent of Republicans in the Senate, doubt humans’ impact on climate change, according to a ThinkProgress analysis. During Trump’s first 100 days, the House and Senate voted against environmental protections 42 times. Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has removed numerous references to climate change from EPA documents, and reportedly ordered staffers to cast doubt on the scientific consensus about climate change and mankind’s role in the crisis.
Partisanship soaks into every public discussion in America, and Republicans’ response to their party’s denialism is to be expected in these increasingly polarized times. But the Trump administration's anti-scientific and counter-factual stance on climate also seems to be swaying the opinion of voters not affiliated with the Republican Party. Independent voters have grown more doubtful of scientists’ warnings about climate change over the past year, according to Gallup.
Even as the U.S. spent more money on weather-related disasters in 2017 than in any previous before, as devastating hurricanes battered several southern states and the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, independents who believe global warming is caused by human activities fell to 62 percent from 70 percent the year before.
Scientists believe that warming temperatures likely contributed to the destructiveness of last year’s storms, and the cost of climate change is only expected to increase. Still, in a strange and notable finding, conservative Republicans become less likely to agree that “there is ‘solid evidence’ of recent global warming due ‘mostly’ to ‘human activity such as burning fossil fuels’” the more educated they are, according to the report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Trump’s campaign against climate science is working on conservatives and independents, and that is certainly worrying. But there is some good news for climate sanity buried in the latest public opinion surveys. A majority of Republicans in swing states won by Trump in the last election — namely Ohio and Pennsylvania — said they were more likely to support a candidate committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, according to a poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted in conjunction with the Sierra Club.
Trump has led the Republican Party to become the only major political party in the developed world to reject the science on climate change, which leaves the door wide open for Democrats to take bold positions to tackle the crisis. As polling shows, moderation simply won't work to win over Republicans who are trapped in denial.
|April 5, 2018||
$100 Trillion Will Change Hands in the Next 20 Years—Here's How It Can Ensure Our Sustainable Future.
by Joel Solomon New Society Publishers, AlterNet
The following excerpt is from The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism, by Joel Solomon with Tyee Bridge (2017, New Society Publishers). Reprinted with permission.
Humanity is on the edge of a precipice.
We know the headlines. Ecological emergencies. Mass refugee flights from failing states. The distortions of late-stage capitalism eroding basic trust, tolerance, and hope. Common decency and respect is starting to seem anachronistic. Worship of money and celebrity rules the media, while our ties to land, loyalties, and love are severed.
Yes, it’s also “the best of times.” Many diseases have been eradicated or are manageable. Modern science and industry have brought sanitation, clean water, and industrial food to billions worldwide. Smart phones and the Internet give us access to unfathomable volumes of information.
There are competing trends. Decay and chaos on one hand, integration and regeneration on the other. As $100 trillion changes hands in the next twenty years, the question is, which future wins? Will this generational wealth transfer help us rebuild, or will it throw gasoline on the fires of rampant greed?
There are so many ways we can turn that money to transforming the world. We can rethink taxation to make it more fair. We can price carbon. We can create schools and hospitals for all. Feed the world sustainably. Make pollution and other externalities illegal and guard smart use of resources. What else could the clean money revolution accomplish with $100 trillion?
Thanks to the passion and wisdom of so many great leaders over the past fifty years, our basic ethical premises about self-interest, ecology, and life itself are starting to shift. We have further to go as a global culture that will only become more intertwined. Despite what some segments of our society would prefer, there’s no going back. What if we agreed that the meaning and purpose of life was not only to enjoy it, but to use our energies to ensure a liveable future for dozens of generations into the future? What if our Golden Rule and central religious belief was that we be responsible for leaving the Earth better than we found it, restoring it rather than degrading it?
$100 Trillion Vision
Here are some foundational elements for a resilient future civilization.
These numbers are symbolic. Please tear them apart. Do your PhD on the precise ones. Debate, skewer, and improve them. Map out more accurate visions with research. At this early stage the exact numbers are less important than recognizing the need for a massive shift of capital from destructive uses to regeneration.
That is our chance for a soft landing and a resilient future civilization.
There are precedents and estimates to get us started. The World Bank noted in 2010 that moving global economies to a net-zero emissions trajectory will take $700 billion to $1 trillion per year of investment. The sustainable business advocacy group Ceres has called for $36 trillion to be invested in clean energy between 2014 and 2050 in order to have an 80 percent chance of capping global warming at 2°C.
At Davos in 2014, World Bank president Kim Jim called for removing the $1.9 trillion in global subsidies to the fossil fuel industry — a number that includes externalities the industry itself causes — then turning that money toward clean energy investment.46 Many statistics exist to inform a $100 trillion shift.The point is, are these numbers wrong? How would we know? We need to study, discuss, map, design, and empower solutions strategies that show the way.
We now see how much money we will lose and how much human suffering we face from global warming and other ecological and social catastrophes. One scenario shows that up to $31.5 trillion of pension assets are overvalued with respect to climate risk.
There are no doubt efforts already underway to determine the costs of achieving needed changes. They are probably rapidly emerging for scientists, academics, economists, insurance companies, governments, and military. We should fund those doing the modeling, and popularize a map for shifting to a positive future history. We may still avert massive disaster, and empower a steady-state society of enlightened self-interest.
We need a financial plan for achieving a safe world in the next thirty years. This period will be crucial as social and ecological externalities come home to roost. We need a rapid reinvention of capitalism, finance, and wealth management. We need to rethink power and purpose. Otherwise this revolutionary moment where “the 20 percent could consciously shift trillions of dollars” will be replaced with “global meltdown, all bets are off, retreat to your bunkers, hope the military can protect you.”
Let’s remember our responsibility for the long game. To a “seventh-generation” vision, quarterly and annual results are only minor blips on a chart. We need MBAs and academics and investors and citizens to consider the world in five hundred years. Then we can map out the first fifty-year stage. Part of that is identifying a viable human population total that Earth can sustain, and planning for that. That’s evidence of a wise society.
I hope smarter people than me will help us clarify this roadmap to the future. Those of us with resources and influence can complement the visioning process by pushing intelligent conversations and policy change, and shifting our own investment decisions.
Find your purpose. Connect your actions to it. Step up and run for office. Lobby for fair taxes. If you own a business, shift toward a generative rather than a zero-sum extractive model.
We all have a role. We are ancestors. We are responsible for future generations.
|April 6, 2018||
Our Appetite for Meat Isn't Just Destroying the Planet's Ecosystems—It's Changing the Face of Earth Itself.
by Nil Zacharias, Gene Stone Abrams Image, AlterNet
The following excerpt is from Eat for the Planet: Saving the World One Bite at a Time, by Nil Zacharias and Gene Stone (2018, Abrams Image).
How good are you at geography? Don’t worry. No matter what you think the world looks like, you’re probably not imagining it like the world we're about to describe. That’s because the system we depend upon to feed our human population is largely invisible to the people who benefit most from it. Say hello to the new planet Earth.
Seventy-one percent of our planet is covered with water. But you probably knew that already.
What you didn’t know is that nearly half of the land that composes the rest of this beautiful planet consists of farm animals and crops that feed these animals.
And what you’re about to learn is that this system of agriculture isn’t just destroying our planetary ecosystems—it is changing the face of the planet itself.
If you really want to understand how the planet Earth came to look like this, all you need to know is that it takes 160 times more land resources to produce beef than it does to produce vegetables, fruits, and legumes. But that’s not where the story ends. Even chickens, pigs, dairy cows, and the other farm animals that make up our current farming system require a lot of space. After all, the livestock population is made up of more than 20 billion animals (including an unbelievable 19 billion chickens!), while the human population is 7.5 billion. When you take this into account, it’s not really surprising that the entire livestock system currently occupies 45 percent of the planet’s land surface. In comparison, 95 percent of the human population occupies 10 percent of the world’s land.
How Our Appetite for Meat Transformed Our Global Map
As the human appetite for meat, dairy, and eggs increased over the years, so did our dependence on an industrialized farming system that has livestock as its core commodity. One obvious drawback of relying on a system comprised of billions of living beings to feed our population is that those animals need to be fed as well. Additionally, raising livestock is not a short-term commitment, as most farming requires animals to be raised over months or years before they are ready to be slaughtered for meat. Or, alternatively, animals that are raised to produce milk or eggs must be kept alive for much longer. This requires a tremendous amount of livestock feed, resulting in 33 percent of arable land on the planet being used for its production.
Thus began our quest to find more pasture land to increase agricultural output. Feed producers resorted to creating pastures out of grasslands and woodlands, and our forests paid the price. As of 2012, there were around 800 million acres of forest in the U.S. Currently, 260 million acres (and counting) of U.S. forests have been clear-cut to create land used to produce livestock feed, and 80 percent of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is attributed to beef production.
So, what do we get out of this deal? At the cost of one acre of land, we get a yield of 250 pounds of beef. Sounds like a lot, considering you can get around 1,000 quarter-pound hamburger patties per acre.
However, the same amount of land can produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes; up to 40,000 pounds of potatoes; 30,000 pounds of carrots; or 20,000 pounds of apples.
It no longer seems like such a great use of space, does it?
Four Unusual Ways Industrial Animal Agriculture Contributes to Climate Change
1. Livestock Respiration
Just like humans, livestock breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. This may not seem significant, but consider that there are approximately 20 billion-plus farm animals living and breathing at any moment worldwide. A Worldwatch Institute report noted that “a molecule of CO2 exhaled by livestock is no more natural than one from an auto tailpipe . . . Today, tens of billions more livestock are exhaling CO2 than in preindustrial days . . .”
2. Burps and Farts
Cows, goats, and sheep are ruminants, which means they have to regurgitate and re-chew their food several times. This requires massive amounts of bacteria, which create a by-product called methane—a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than CO2. A 2008 study found that the
U.S. creates 49 million tons of methane every year, mostly from livestock. At the rate that meat and dairy consumption is increasing, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that methane emissions could increase 60 percent by 2030.
The 2.7 trillion pounds of manure produced by farm animals in the U.S.16 is teeming with nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas 296 times more warming than CO2,17 and which lingers
in the atmosphere for 150 years. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
calculates that 65 percent of N2O emissions are the result of livestock activities. Most N2O comes from the production of livestock feed, as well as managing livestock waste with nitrogen-based fertilizers.
The billions of farm animals raised and killed each year need to be transported by trucks from farms to slaughterhouses to grocery stores. When combined with all other sources of animal agriculture greenhouse gas emissions, the Worldwatch Institute estimates that the livestock sector is responsible for 51 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gases.
|April 5, 2018||
How Residents of One California County Are Taking on Big Oil.
by Charles Varni , AlterNet
San Luis Obispo is a biologically unique and diverse county on the central coast of California, renowned for its magnificent coastline, pine and oak-covered mountains, and extensive vineyards and wineries. The county has evolved into a world-class tourist destination, with an annual $1.6 billion tourist economy, over $960 million in agriculture production, and a large state university and growing tech industry.
The county overlies the deep and convoluted Monterey Shale formation, where shallow expressions of tar-sands harboring low-grade heavy crude oil placed our county on the radar of petroleum wildcatters for more than 100 years along with Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties. As the result of this attraction, San Luis Obispo has suffered over a century of petroleum disasters including massive explosions, spills, leaks and accidents totaling millions of gallons of oil and in one case requiring the total replacement of the small beach village Avila at San Luis Bay.
A tank farm fire in 1926.
In the past 30 years, oil supplies, production and transportation have diminished significantly. Currently, the county has one moderately sized production field 2.4 miles from the ocean at Pismo Beach (currently operated by Sentinal Peak Resources, a Colorado company), and one tar-grade oil refinery on the beach at Nipomo Dunes near the city of Oceano (operated by Phillips 66, a Texas company).
Because our local oil is dirty, a heavy crude tar-sand product which needs cyclic or steam flood injection to render it fluid enough for pumping, it's expensive to extract and refine, requiring nearly twice the energy to produce a barrel when compared to cleaner and less viscous resources in other regions.
At least 80 plumes of diluent, associated with leaks in pipelines that may have lasted for decades, were detected in and near the Guadalupe Oil Field at the Nipomo Dunes. These leaks have released an estimated 12 million gallons of diluent into the dunes, beach, groundwater andPacificOcean.
In 2014, Phillips 66 proposed to build a crude oil train terminal at its Nipomo refinery and import Albert a tar sand oil for reining. A countywide grassroots opposition movement began, spearheaded by residents in an upper-middle class, golf-centered retirement community located next to the refinery. Over nearly three years requiring months of hearings and an environmental impact report that identified 13 significant negative impacts, the County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors narrowly denied the project.
During this same period, Freeport-McMoRan, the prior operator of the Arroyo Grande Oil Field (AGOF), proposed a 481 well expansion of its existing 238 well cyclic and flood-steam oil extraction operation located just upstream from the Pismo Beach. At issue are unpermitted wastewater injection wells at the site and the necessity for an EPA aquifer exemption to expand the operation. In classic form, Freeport-McMoRan sold their operation, with the presumed added-value of a pending expansion approval, to Colorado operator Sentinal Peak Resources.
Frustrated with state and federal permitting and oversight agencies, SLO County Board of Supervisors, and inspired by a recently successful citizens’ initiative in Monterey County to ban new oil wells, fracking and underground injection of toxic oil wastewater, a new coalition was formed in August 2017. This new coalition includes water protectors, oil infrastructure blockers and climate change activists.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon signing the initiative.
The Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County's mission is clear: to qualify a citizens’ initiative that protects our limited coastal water supply, bans all new petroleum extraction in our county, and moves the county closer to a renewable energy economy as mandated by county leaders.
First, protecting our precious and increasingly scarce water resources from the threats posed by extreme petroleum extraction practices, such as fracking, acidizing, and deep injection of toxic wastewater is the core local resource preservation goal. We are entering our sixth year of extreme drought and local oil operations pump 22 barrels of water for every barrel of recovered oil. Current production of 1000 barrels a day of oil could increase, with pending approval, to 10,000 barrels with an additional 481 wells and 220,000 barrels (9,240,000 gallons) of wastewater per day, 15 percent of which is re-injected into the local aquifer as tainted waste.
Second, conserving local oil resources connects our initiative to adopted County General Plan Policies and Goals, as well as specific Climate Action Plans mandated by the State of California. Reductions of greenhouse gases and transition to renewable energy sources are keystones in local planning documents and our initiative concretely makes this manifest by sequestering local oil.
Our county overlies the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest oil reserves in the United States. Unlike the horizontal beds of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, which are relatively easy to frack, the Monterey Shale is massively convoluted by tectonics of the Pacific plates, and lies deep underground (from 5,000-16,000 feet). Currently, there is no fracking in our county and we often hear the argument that, therefore, there is no problem. However, as many others have learned, once fracking starts it is very difficult to stop. Our objective is to prevent it from ever happening here by changing the Land Use Element of the General Plan to outlaw petroleum extraction.
Third, this initiative, put forth by the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County, aligns us with like-minded groups across our state, country and planet—groups that are actively working to lessen the impacts of global climate change, that want to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases significantly, and that act in a spirit of empowerment to create the change locally which they want to see globally.
In neighboring Monterey County, Chevron, Exxon, and Shell oil companies spent $5.5 million to defeat a citizen’s initiative to ban new wells and fracking. When the citizens won with 56 percent of the vote in favor of the ban, Big Oil sued them in superior court, and this process continues in the state appeals court.
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and are forging new legal ground in the local fight to challenge fossil fuel infrastructure. Support for this effort can come in many forms.