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24.02.2018 – US, United States Waging Nonviolence

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Anti-Fascist Organizing Explodes on US College Campuses
(Image by David Andersson)

By Shane Burley,

On December 13, six members of the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents shared a statement titled “United Against Hate,” showing their opposition to the current negotiations happening between the university and white nationalist Richard Spencer. After a disastrous appearance at the University of Florida at Gainesville, which saw mass actions by the No Nazis as UF coalition, Spencer had set his sites on the University of Michigan for his so-called “alt-right” recruitment.

Students reacted quickly, organizing walkouts and building occupations at the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Eastern Michigan University, as well as satellite community colleges. Students 4 Justice, an organization formed in 2016 around ongoing issues of campus racism staged a walkout at the Ann Arbor campus on November 29.

The confederation of organizations took their inspiration from the growth of campus anti-fascist groups that have been taking on the appearance of alt-right figures like Spencer over the last year. Instead of waiting for Spencer’s appearance, students begin organizing once they learn that he is planning on coming to campus. This is the same impulse that has pushed towards the creation of ongoing organizations of students and faculty to deal with the ongoing pressure from alt-right organizations that see campuses as their prime recruiting ground. As 2018 begins, anti-fascist campus groups have exploded, changing the dynamic in universities to confront the kind of violence promised by the alt-right.

The making of a college-based anti-fascist network

Ever since 2015, when the Trump campaign emboldened white nationalist organizations under the alt-right banner, the movement’s figures and followers have targeted college campuses. College students are seen as upwardly mobile and are often from a different demographic background than traditional white nationalists. These organizations have also made targeting “progressive” areas a key part of their strategy, trying to provoke protesters for optics.

“Since a lot of these alt-right leaders are from the middle and upper classes, they relate to intellectual battles over street fights,” said Alexander Reid Ross, author of “Against the Fascist Creep” and researcher of far-right movements. “To turn the university into a site of struggle, they carefully cultivated an aesthetic and attitude that caters to an audience of middle-class students and faculty, who traditional fascist skinheads, Klansmen and Christian Patriot-types find it more difficult to reach.”

With the exception of historically black schools, universities are ideal settings for groups like Identity EuropaVanguard America and the Traditionalist Workers Partyto try and reshape the American consciousness. Since the arrival of alt-right groups, anti-fascist student activists have been turning ad hoc responses into lasting organizations ready for a response.

One of the emerging projects — the nationwide Campus Antifascist Network, or CAN — has expanded to quickly become the largest and most well represented of these groups on college campuses.

CAN was officially launched in August as student, staff and faculty activists began noticing that alt-right organizations were targeting universities amid a growing number of reports of racist harassment and hate violence on campuses. Working in tandem with the manufactured outrage of far-right media outlets like Breitbart, the trolling and harassment of students and faculty created the need for a national network of local chapters.

“It started because we had already been seeing a lot of hate speech on campuses, so we figured we needed some kind of a national group to address what we saw as a rise of this neo-fascism trying to worm itself into universities,” said Adam Miyashiro, a medieval literature professor at Stockton University, who sits on CAN’s steering and academic defense committees.

CAN now has more than a dozen chapters and more than 400 members in the United States. Chapters are popping up in Canada and the United Kingdom as well. With a horizontal structure that avoids hierarchical leadership, the model is intended to provide local chapters the autonomy to organize in their local region to the appearance of organized alt-right groups or threats of racist violence on campus. CAN has garnered the endorsement of a multiracial group of student and faculty groups and individual writers and educators, such as Junot Díaz, Steven Saliata, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Vijay Prashad.

Protesting Milo and ‘The Bell Curve’

At California State University, Fullerton, the October 30 appearance of former Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos pushed that campus’ CAN chapter to have its first organized response — a counter action that brought together a coalition of student and political organizations. The goal was to set a precedent that white nationalist figures like Yiannopoulos would not appear on campus unopposed. CAN built a large coalition of student groups from across the spectrum, such as black and Latinx student unions. While Yiannopoulos spoke to a captive audience of both students and outside community supporters, CAN held activist workshops, set up tables with political literature and created networking opportunities for larger activist coordination.

While there were some physical clashes between Yiannopoulos supporters and counter-protesters, things went relatively smoothly at the CAN-organized event itself.

“[Yiannopoulos supporters were] picking arguments, disrupting tablings and pretending to be media,” recalled Clayton Plake, a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University and a CAN organizer. “We are in the process of developing contacts, both with academic, activist and scholarly organizations that are all about empowering communities to stand up against the far-right threat and the state violence that comes along with it.”

At the University of Michigan, CAN activists took an even more confrontational approach when, on October 11, Charles Murray — author of the controversial book on race and IQ, “The Bell Curve” — began to speak. Critics have labeled Murray’s work as racist pseudo-science that is eugenic in nature. The CAN activists heckled Murray during his speech, and they projected the words “white supremacist” above him.

As the CAN network grows, organizers are also distributing organizing plans to “at-large” members in areas without a chapter so that they can easily respond to the alt-right groups recruiting or harassing students on campus.

“The threat is that they would go uncontested,” said Chris Vial, organizer with the University of Connecticut CAN chapter. “The danger of the alt-right presence or even just some kind of white nationalist group is that they politically organize and mobilize these kind of ‘casual acts of racism.’”

Putting Hatewatch on campus

The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, has a multi-decade history of targeting far-right groups through research and reporting, as well as community organizing and lawsuits. It has forced some of the largest white nationalist organizations in the country to close down, including the Aryan Nation, United Klans of America and the skinhead White Aryan Resistance. The group’s work has often been more journalistic and educational for state agencies. But in the last two years, in response to new campus-centered white nationalist associations, SPLC has built college chapters as well.

On October 30, the Columbia University chapter of the SPLC, along with coalition partners, including the Liberation Collective, held a march and rally in response to the appearance of far-right internet celebrity Mike Cernovich. Known for his virulent sexism, “America First” nationalism and conspiracy mongering, Cernovich was brought to Columbia’s Lerner Hall by the College Republicans for a speech.

“We don’t want white supremacy at our school or in the community it exists within. We want this school’s administration to know that [by allowing alt-right speakers] they’re playing games at the expense of black and brown lives and we will not be passive nor silent in this process,” said Jasmeen Nijjar, a social work graduate student and organizer with the SPLC campus chapter and the Liberation Collective.

At Cernovich’s event, anti-fascist activists lined people up to filibuster during the question-and-answer session, had protesters hold up signs during his talk and held an off-campus rally that marched through Harlem onto the campus. “Each action differs as it is based on the response and message we are trying to put out,” Nijjar said.

When Tommy Robinson, co-founder of the anti-immigrant English Defense League, gave a Skype lecture on October 10, members of the campus chapter of the SPLC organized a protest and shouted down his talk, rendering it inaudible. The Columbia administration took a harsh response to this activism, threatening 20 protesters with disciplinary action. Meanwhile, Nijjar and others were banned from Columbia University College Republicans events, though that was lifted after a couple of weeks.

On and off campus

While student and faculty-specific groups have a special stake in confronting white supremacy on campus, the broad-based anti-fascist movement also views the college terrain as uniquely critical. With alt-right groups making campuses their prime target, both to get a hip crowd of educated recruits and to try and reshape the institutions that set the country’s intellectual attitudes, many anti-fascist organizers are working to bring the larger movement back onto the campus as well.

The Virginia-based One People’s Project, founded by Daryle Lamont Jenkins, is one organization that has been campaigning around the public appearances of white nationalists for almost 20 years. The strategy he employs on campuses is two-fold, confronting the events as they happen by organizing counter-protests, and rooting out the figures on campus that are bringing white nationalists to campus.

“You can call out the Ann Coulters and the Milos all you want, but the fact of the matter is you have someone on campus who is giving them a platform,” Jenkins said. “Those people need to be called out effectively so they are not only not able to do that again, but they are going to have a hard way to go once they get out of college because everybody’s going to know what they’re about.”

The cultural shift in the alt-right made many young men who were radicalizing online believe that their participation came with few consequences. As the public revealing of personal information — a tactic known as “doxing” — against white nationalists expanded beyond just the core of anti-fascist organizing, it began hitting alt-right students especially hard. Those joining groups like Identity Europa in their college years are finding — upon graduation — that they limited their job potential, raising the social cost of participation while enrolled.

Some critics have said that doxing of alt-right activists leads to more dedication on their side, limits their “free speech” rights, and is an invasion of privacy. But by confronting those working to draw in new recruits at a vulnerable point in their early professional lives, doxing has proven to be one of the most effective anti-fascist tools for disrupting formal white nationalist organizations and shrinking the sphere of less committed supporters.

The organizers mobilizing against Richard Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida, Gainesville on October 19 — led in part by a coalition called No Nazis at UF — especially relied on the outside community, where many groups had been doing the work of tracking and confronting the far-right in the year since the election.

“The locals of the city were even more concerned because they didn’t want another Charlottesville happening,” pointed out No Nazis at UF organizer Omar Syed Muhammed. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Socialists of America lent support, including planning community events to make signs and showing their disappointment with the university administration’s decision.

Spencer’s attempts to recruit in Michigan sparked a mass student revolt, resulting in building occupations and student walkouts. Students 4 Justice were matched by organizations like Solidarity and Defense, an anti-fascist group that tied together the rise of alt-right groups on campus to the attacks on black churches in the region. As students returned to start their spring semester, the possibility of Spencer’s impending visit will hang heavy and act as inspiration for student groups that are quickly growing in response to his threat.

On January 18, Michigan State University finally gave the go-ahead to Spencer’s appearance despite the back and forth that has transpired for months. Spencer’s attorney, white nationalist activist Kyle Bristow, has promised to continue the lawsuits to force the alt-right’s way into campus venues, but in Michigan, and across the country, the number of anti-fascist campus groups promise to limit the scope that far-right appearances can have.


Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. His work as appeared in places such as In These Times, Truth-Out, Labor Notes, ThinkProgress, Roar Mag, and Upping the Ante. He is the author of “Fascism Today: What It Is and How We End It.” His most recent documentary “Expect Resistance” chronicles the intersection of the housing justice and Occupy Wall Street movement. His work can be found at ShaneBurley.net, or reach him on Twitter at @shane_burley1.

26.02.2018 – Manila, Philippines Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)

 

Manicani, Eastern Samar – Around 38 members including women and children of the Protect Manicani Island Society, Inc. (PROMISI) coming from the 4 Baranggays of Manicani Island converged near the foot of nickel ore stockpiles in Brgy. Buenavista of the island to jumpstart the island’s rehabilitation and put the words environmental protection into action by planting around 100 assorted timber trees.

Marcial Somooc, President of PROMISI, during his short speech at the start of the land reclaiming activity, said that the timber trees they were about to plant symbolize their desire to protect the environment especially their island. He also said that they chose a common area to plant the trees rather than on their respective backyards to send a message to their fellow island residents that protecting the island, as well as developing their island is a shared responsibility of all the residents and rehabilitating the mine site is a responsibility of Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC).

Last 2017, Hinatuan Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation, failed in its attempt to renew its expiring Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) until it expired on October of the same year.

Esayra Abucejo, member of PROMISI and one of the 30 strong campers at the DENR who called for non-renewal of HMC’s mining permit also joined the land reclaiming and tree planting, said, “This is only the beginning of our dream of finally healing our island and our relationship with our fellow community members.”

It can be recalled that on the 34th-day of their camp out in front of the DENR Central Office, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, during the dialogue facilitated by Bishop Crispin Varquez of the Diocese of Borongan with select PROMISI BOD members, said that DENR recognizes Manicani Island as part of the Guiuan Protected Landscape and Seascape and that any mining application in the island will be subject to existing laws including the NIPAS law.

Ms. Yolly Esguerra, National Coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), said in a separate interview that “the people of Manicani Island especially members PROMISI/SAMAMO have staked their lives for many years just to see their community free from mining”. She added that “Now that they return home to reclaim their land, it’s also time to unite its divided sons and daughters towards advancing development of the island, call for the rehabilitation of the mine site, and to ensure that no more mining will set foot ever in their small but beautiful island.

PROMISI recognizes that their struggle for a mine-free Manicani Island is long-term. They promise to continue pushing DENR to make Hinatuan Mining Corporation accountable for the damages made to the island’s environment and division among families, and more importantly the full rehabilitation of all mined sites in the island. Likewise, they continue to call on their Local Government Units to refrain from endorsing mining applications in their island because, among others, Manicani is a protected area and there is an existing provincial ordinance that bans large-scale mining in Eastern Samar.

 

24.02.2018 Pressenza IPA

This post is also available in: Italian

U.S. Escalates Syrian War
(Image by Black Agenda report)
“The commitment must be to end United States interventions and declare independence from anyone who is not firmly opposed to crimes cooked up in Washington.”
Reprinted with permission by Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist, 14 Feb 2018

 

The seven year-old war waged against Syria ought to be over by now. The jihadist forces backed by the United States, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were nearly all chased out of the country. The combination of Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces utilized Russian air protection to their advantage and ISIS was on the run.

All of the elements needed to bring peace to this country were in place. Far from being the evil force that Americans have been told to fear, Russia took the lead in winning the peace and in seeking a settlement among the various Syrian factions.

Donald Trump made a campaign pledge not to seek regime change but he has fallen in line with American imperialism and with his Israeli and Saudi allies. If they can’t unseat president Assad they are determined to carve Syria into their own spheres of influence. Peace is the last thing they want to see. Turkey is always the wild card. First among the regime changers, then against them, then using a fight against the Kurds to snatch its own territory. In just one week a Russian pilot was killed by jihadists, a United States airstrike killed 100 Syrians, and Israel and Iran played a dangerous tit for tat as they carried out attacks against one another.

“Russia took the lead in winning the peace and in seeking a settlement among the various Syrian factions.”

There can be no discussion about Syria that does not put the United States at the center of the conflict. Absent American backing none of the other war makers would have ever dared to lift a finger. Barack Obama took the lead in the plot but then demurred against further escalation in the face of British faltering and perhaps his own fear of the outcome. Trump is surely the most pro-Israel in a long line of presidents. He goes along with the influential lobby with complete conviction.

Syria is not the only target in this effort. Iran is also in Trump’s crosshairs as he keeps alive the 40-year old campaign to destroy that country. Of course Israel is implicated in any anti-Iranian activity and as the only nuclear power in the region always poses great danger to the entire world.

The potential for conflict is ripe as the United States is determined to throw a wrench into any process that might lead to peace. Worse yet there is silence in the United States Congress and blatant warmonger cheerleading in the corporate media. Leftish Democrats who at one time could be counted on to at least ask questions are long gone. Supposed progressives like Bernie Sanders support war and Zionist members of the House of Representatives and Senate are happy to join Trump in supporting anything that Israel wants.

“The United States is determined to throw a wrench into any process that might lead to peace.”

The non-stop Russophobia from the corporate media and politicians has done its damage. Anything that the Russian government wants has been labeled as evil and Democrats are happy to join Trump in bringing the world to the brink.

While Americans are told that Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un are threats to peace it is American presidents who put the world in danger. The name may be Clinton, Bush, Obama or Trump but the result is the same, chaos and death in pursuit of full spectrum dominance.

American presidents get away with their criminality because they govern an uninformed and confused populace. The average American is captive to corporate media lies and never looks elsewhere for information. Any narrative that counters the official story is deliberately disappeared from view and the result is ignorance and a tiny, ineffective antiwar movement.

All of the ingredients are present for a great tragedy unless the people speak up. The imperialists learned their lesson from Iraq and know better than to fully commit large scale troop deployments as Bush did. That is always a cause for public dissent and possible electoral defeat. Wars by proxy get a pass from people who care little about body counts unless there are American victims.

“Any narrative that counters the official story is deliberately disappeared from view and the result is ignorance and a tiny, ineffective antiwar movement.”

But the antiwar movement has no choice but to step up. Our numbers are small but there must be a commitment to stop this slow motion catastrophe from going any further. Any lingering connections with the Democratic Party must end once and for all. They will gladly go along with plans for war in Syria or elsewhere. The commitment must be to end United States interventions and declare independence from anyone who is not firmly opposed to crimes cooked up in Washington.

Every American president escalates what his predecessors began and now the world is on a precipice. It is a daunting task to revive a movement that has withered so badly. The odds aren’t good but inaction makes them even worse. What was once hyperbole is now reality. The United States has endangered the entire planet and only ordinary people can stop the catastrophe.

 

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere.
She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at
http://freedomrider.blogspot.com .
Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com

 

 

24.02.2018 Countercurrents

Why Washington Struck Russian Contractors In Syria?

By Nauman Sadiq

On February 7, the US B-52 bombers and Apache helicopters struck a contingent of Syrian government troops and allied forces in Deir al-Zor that reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Russian military contractors working for the Russian private security firm, the Wagner group.

In order to understand the reason why the US brazenly attacked the Russian contractors, we need to keep the backdrop of seven-year-long Syrian conflict in mind. Washington has failed to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

After the Russian intervention in Syria in September 2015, the momentum of battle has shifted in favor of Syrian government and Washington’s proxies are on the receiving end in the conflict. Washington’s policy of nurturing militants against the Syrian government has given birth to the Islamic State and myriads of jihadist groups that have carried out audacious terror attacks in Europe during the last couple of years.

Out of necessity, Washington had to make the Kurds the centerpiece of its policy in Syria. But on January 20, its NATO-ally Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch against the Kurds in the northwestern Syrian canton of Afrin. In order to save its reputation as a global power, Washington could have confronted Turkey and pressured it to desist from invading Afrin. But it chose the easier path and vented its frustration on the Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor which led to the casualties of scores of Russian military contractors hired by the Syrian government.

Another reason why Washington struck Russian contractors working in Syria is that the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which is mainly comprised of Kurdish YPG militias – have reportedly handed over the control of some areas west of Euphrates River to Deir al-Zor Military Council (DMC), which is the Arab-led component of SDF, and have relocated several battalions of Kurdish YPG militias to Afrin and along Syria’s northern border with Turkey in order to defend the Kurdish-held areas against the onslaught of Turkish armed forces and allied Free Syria Army (FSA) militias.

More significantly, an understanding between the Syrian government and the Kurdish leadership has recently been reached, according to which the government will deploy Syrian troops in the northwestern Kurdish enclave of Afrin in order to augment the defenses of the canton against the Turkish-led offensive.

One of the main reasons why Washington bombed the pro-government forces, which included the Russian military contractors, on February 7 in Deir al-Zor was to preempt the likelihood of such an accord between the US-backed Kurdish forces and the Russia-backed Syrian government from materializing in the wake of Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch in Afrin on January 20.

It’s worth noting here that the ethnic and sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq is actually a three-way conflict between the Sunni Arabs, the Shi’a Arabs and the Kurds. Although after the declaration of war against a faction of Sunni Arab militants, the Islamic State, the US has also lent its support to the Shi’a-led government in Iraq, the Shi’a Arabs of Iraq are not the trustworthy allies of Washington because they are under the influence of Iran.

Therefore, Washington was left with no other choice but to make the Kurds the centerpiece of its policy in Syria after a group of Sunni Arab jihadists overstepped their mandate in Syria and overran Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in early 2014, from where the United States had withdrawn its troops only a couple of years ago in December 2011.

The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are nothing more than Kurdish militias with a token presence of mercenary Arab tribesmen in order to make them appear more representative and inclusive in outlook.

Regarding the Kurdish factor in the Syrian civil war, it would be pertinent to mention here that unlike the pro-US Iraqi Kurds led by the Barzani family, the Syrian PYD/YPG Kurds as well as the Syrian government have been ideologically aligned because both are socialists and have traditionally been in the Russian sphere of influence.

Moreover, as I have already described that the Syrian civil war is a three-way conflict between the Sunni Arab militants, the Shi’a-led government and the Syrian Kurds, and the net beneficiaries of this conflict have been the Syrian Kurds who have expanded their areas of control by aligning themselves first with the Syrian government against the Sunni Arab militants since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in August 2011 to August 2014, when the US policy in Syria was “regime change” and the CIA was indiscriminately training and arming the Sunni Arab militants against the Shi’a-led government in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan with the help of Washington’s regional allies: Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, all of which belong to the Sunni denomination.

In August 2014, however, the US declared a war against one faction of the Sunni Arab militants, the Islamic State, when the latter overran Mosul and Anbar in early 2014, and Washington made a volte-face on its previous “regime change” policy and started conducting air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Thus, shifting the goalposts in Syria from the impossible objective of “regime change” to the realizable goal of defeating the Islamic State.

After that reversal of policy by Washington, the Syrian Kurds took advantage of the opportunity and struck an alliance with the US against the Islamic State at Masoud Barzani’s bidding, thus further buttressing their position against the Sunni Arab militants as well as the Syrian government.

More to the point, for the first three years of the Syrian civil war from August 2011 to August 2014, an informal pact existed between the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds against the onslaught of the Sunni Arab militants until the Kurds broke off that arrangement to become the centerpiece of Washington’s policy in the region.

In accordance with the aforementioned pact, the Syrian government informally acknowledged Kurdish autonomy; and in return, the Kurdish militias jointly defended the areas in northeastern Syria, specifically al-Hasakah, alongside the Syrian government troops against the advancing Sunni Arab militant groups, particularly the Islamic State.

Finally, in order to understand Washington’s objective that why it dared to bomb pro-government forces in Deir al-Zor on February 7 that included private Russian military contractors, bear in mind that it would be a nightmare scenario for Washington in Syria if its only trust-worthy allies, the Syrian Kurds, broke off their arrangement with Washington and once again entered a mutually beneficial alliance with Russia-backed Syrian government – a scenario which is quite likely after Washington’s NATO-ally Turkey’s repeated invasions of Kurdish-held areas in Syria, first the invasion of Jarabulus and Azaz in northern Syria during the Operation Euphrates Shield that lasted from August 2016 to last March, and now the military intervention in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on January 20.

Washington’s primary objective of bombing the pro-government troops on February 7 that led to dozens of Russian casualties was to create divisions between the US-backed Kurds and Russia-backed Syrian government. Clearly, one can’t negotiate and reach a defensive accord with a party whose backers are bombing you at the same time. But Russia has sagaciously downplayed the brazen atrocity and moved on with its efforts to reconcile the divergent interests of competing forces in the Syrian proxy war.


Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

22.02.2018 Robert Burrowes

Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe?
(Image by Anita Szeics)

Is Earth the largest garbage dump in the Universe? I don’t know. But it’s a safe bet that Earth would be a contender were such a competition to be held. Let me explain why.

To start, just listing the types of rubbish generated by humans or the locations into which each of these is dumped is a staggering task beyond the scope of one article. Nevertheless, I will give you a reasonably comprehensive summary of the types of garbage being generated (focusing particularly on those that are less well known), the locations into which the garbage is being dumped and some indication of what is being done about it and what you can do too.

But before doing so, it is worth highlighting just why this is such a problem, prompting the United Nations Environment Programme to publish this recent report: ‘Towards a pollution-free planet’.

As noted by Baher Kamal in his commentary on this study: ‘Though some forms of pollution have been reduced as technologies and management strategies have advanced, approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption.’ See ‘Desperate Need to Halt “World’s Largest Killer” – Pollution’ and ‘Once Upon a Time a Planet… First part. Pollution, the world’s largest killer’.

And that is just the cost in human lives.

So what are the main types of pollution and where do they end up?

Atmospheric Pollution

The garbage, otherwise labelled ‘pollution’, that we dump into our atmosphere obviously includes the waste products from our burning of fossil fuels and our farming of animals. Primarily this means carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide generated by driving motor vehicles and burning coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, and agriculture based on the exploitation of animals. This is having a devastating impact on Earth’s climate and environment with a vast array of manifestations adversely impacting all life on Earth. See, for example, ‘The World Is Burning’ and ‘The True Environmental Cost of Eating Meat’.

But these well-known pollutants are not the only garbage we dump into the atmosphere. Airline fuel pollutants from both civil and military aircraft have a shocking impact too, with significant adverse public health outcomes. Jet emissions, particularly the highly carcinogenic benzpyrene, can cause various cancers, lymphoma, leukemia, asthma, and birth defects. Jet emissions affect a 25 mile area around an airport; this means that adults, children, animals and plants are ‘crop dusted’ by toxic jet emissions for 12 miles from a runway end. ‘A typical commercial airport spews hundreds of tons of toxic pollutants into our atmosphere every day. These drift over heavily populated areas and settle onto water bodies and crops.’ Despite efforts to inform relevant authorities of the dangers in the USA, for example, they ‘continue to ignore the problem and allow aviation emissions to remain unregulated, uncontrolled and unreported’. See Aviation Justice. It is no better in other countries.

Another category of atmospheric pollutants of which you might not be aware is the particulate aerosol emitted into the atmosphere by the progressive wear of vehicle parts, especially synthetic rubber tyres, during their service life. Separately from this, however, there are also heavier pollutants from wearing vehicle tyres and parts, as well as from the wearing away of road surfaces, that accumulate temporarily on roads before being washed off into waterways where they accumulate.

While this substantial pollution and health problem has attracted little research attention, some researchers in a variety of countries have been investigating the problem.

In the USA as early as 1974, ‘tire industry scientists estimated that 600,000 metric tonnes of tire dust were released by tire wear in the U.S., or about 3 kilograms of dust released from each tire each year’. In 1994, careful measurement of air near roadways with moderate traffic ‘revealed the presence of 3800 to 6900 individual tire fragments in each cubic meter of air’ with more than 58.5% of them in the fully-breathable size range and shown to produce allergic reactions. See ‘Tire Dust’.

A study in Japan reported similar adverse environmental and health impacts. See ‘Dust Resulting from Tire Wear and the Risk of Health Hazards’.

Even worse, a study conducted in Moscow reported that the core pollutant of city air (up to 60% of hazardous matter) was the rubber of automobile tyres worn off and emitted as a small dust. The study found that the average car tyre discarded 1.6 kilograms of fine tyre dust as an aerosol during its service life while the tyre from a commercial vehicle discarded about 15 kilograms. Interestingly, passenger tyre dust emissions during the tyre’s service life significantly exceeded (by 6-7 times) emissions of particulate matters with vehicle exhaust gases. The research also determined that ‘tyre wear dust contains more than 140 different chemicals with different toxicity but the biggest threat to human health is poly-aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile carcinogens’. The study concluded that, in the European Union: ‘Despite tightening the requirements for vehicle tyres in terms of noise emission, wet grip and rolling resistance stipulated by the UN Regulation No. 117, the problem of reduction of tyre dust and its carcinogenic substance emissions due to tyre wear remains unaddressed.’ See ‘Particulate Matter Emissions by Tyres’.

As one toxicologist has concluded: ‘Tire rubber pollution is just one of many environmental problems in which the research is lagging far behind the damage we may have done.’ See ‘Road Rubber’.

Another pollution problem low on the public radar results from environmental modification techniques involving geoengineering particulates being secretly dumped into the atmosphere by the US military for more than half a century, based on research beginning in the 1940s. This geoengineering has been used to wage war on the climate, environment and ultimately ourselves. See, for example, ‘Engineered Climate Cataclysm: Hurricane Harvey’, ‘Planetary Weapons and Military Weather Modification: Chemtrails, Atmospheric Geoengineering and Environmental Warfare’, ‘Chemtrails: Aerosol and Electromagnetic Weapons in the Age of Nuclear War’ and ‘The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: “Owning the Weather” for Military Use’.

With ongoing official denials about the practice, it has fallen to the ongoing campaigning of committed groups such as GeoEngineering Watch to draw attention to and work to end this problem.

Despite the enormous and accelerating problems already being generated by the above atmospheric pollutants, it is worth pausing briefly to highlight the potentially catastrophic nature of the methane discharges now being released by the warming that has already taken place and is still taking place. A recent scientific study published by the prestigious journal Palaeoworld noted that ‘Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.’ This refers to the methane stored in permafrost and shelf sediment. Warning of the staggering risk, the study highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on Earth, was methane hydrate. See Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction’ and Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns’.

How long have we got? Not long, with a recent Russian study identifying 7,000 underground [methane] gas bubbles poised to “explode” in Arctic’.

Is much being done about this atmospheric pollution including the ongoing apocalyptic release of methane? Well, there is considerable ‘push’ to switch to renewable (solar, wind, wave, geothermal) energy in some places and to produce electric cars in others. But these worthwhile initiatives aside, and if you ignore the mountain of tokenistic measures that are sometimes officially promised, the answer is ‘not really’ with many issues that critically impact this problem (including rainforest destruction, vehicle emissions, geoengineering, jet aircraft emissions and methane releases from animal agriculture) still being largely ignored.

If you want to make a difference on this biosphere-threatening issue of atmospheric pollution, you have three obvious choices to consider. Do not travel by air, do not travel by car and do not eat meat (and perhaps other animal products). This will no doubt require considerable commitment on your part. But without your commitment in these regards, there is no realistic hope of averting near-term human extinction. So your choices are critical.

Ocean Garbage

Many people will have heard of the problem of plastic rubbish being dumped into the ocean. Few people, however, have any idea of the vast scale of the problem, the virtual impossibility of cleaning it up and the monumental ongoing cost of it, whether measured in terms of (nonhuman) lives lost, ecological services or financially. And, unfortunately, plastic is not the worst pollutant we are dumping into the ocean but I will discuss it first.

In a major scientific study involving 24 expeditions conducted between 2007 and 2013, which was designed to estimate ‘the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world’s oceans’ the team of scientists estimated that there was ‘a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons’. See ‘Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea’ and ‘Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time’.

Since then, of course, the problem has become progressively worse. See ‘Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific’ and ‘Plastic Chokes the Seas’.

‘Does it matter?’ you might ask. According to this report, it matters a great deal. See New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions’.

Can we remove the plastic to clean up the ocean? Not easily. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration has calculated that ‘if you tried to clean up less than one percent of the North Pacific Ocean it would take 67 ships one year’. See ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. Nevertheless, and despite the monumental nature of the problem – see ‘“Great Pacific garbage patch” far bigger than imagined, aerial survey shows’ – organizations like the Algalita Research Foundation, Ocean Cleanup and Positive Change for Marine Life have programs in place to investigate the nature and extent of the problem and remove some of the rubbish, while emphasizing that preventing plastic from entering the ocean is the key.

In addition, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity outlined a series of measures to tackle the problem in its 2016 report ‘Marine Debris Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity’. In February 2017, the UN launched its Clean Seas Campaign inviting governments, corporations, NGOs and individuals to sign the pledge to reduce their plastic consumption. See #CleanSeas Campaign and ‘World Campaign to Clean Torrents of Plastic Dumped in the Oceans’.

Sadly, of course, it is not just plastic that is destroying the oceans. They absorb carbon dioxide as one manifestation of the climate catastrophe and, among other outcomes, this accelerates ocean acidification, adversely impacting coral reefs and the species that depend on these reefs.

In addition, a vast runoff of agricultural poisons, fossil fuels and other wastes is discharged into the ocean, adversely impacting life at all ocean depths – see ‘Staggering level of toxic chemicals found in creatures at the bottom of the sea, scientists say’ – and generating ocean ‘dead zones’: regions that have too little oxygen to support marine organisms. See ‘Our Planet Is Exploding With Marine “Dead Zones”’.

Since the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in 2011, and despite the ongoing official coverup, vast quantities of radioactive materials are being ongoingly discharged into the Pacific Ocean, irradiating everything within its path. See ‘Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation’.

Finally, you may not be aware that there are up to 70 ‘still functional’ nuclear weapons as well as nine nuclear reactors lying on the ocean floor as a result of accidents involving nuclear warships and submarines. See ‘Naval Nuclear Accidents: The Secret Story’ and ‘A Nuclear Needle in a Haystack The Cold War’s Missing Atom Bombs’.

Virtually nothing is being done to stem the toxic discharges, contain the Fukushima radiation releases or find the nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors on the ocean floor.

Waterways and Groundwater Contamination

Many people would be familiar with the contaminants that find their way into Earth’s wetlands, rivers, creeks and lakes. Given corporate negligence, this includes all of the chemical poisons and heavy metals used in corporate farming and mining operations, as well as, in many cases around the world where rubbish removal is poorly organised, the sewage and all other forms of ‘domestic’ waste discharged from households. Contamination of the world’s creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands is now so advanced that many are no longer able to fully support marine life. For brief summaries of the problem, see ‘Pollution in Our Waterways is Harming People and Animals – How Can You Stop This!’, ‘Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act’ and ‘China’s new weapon against water pollution: its people’.

Beyond this, however, Earth’s groundwater supplies (located in many underground acquifers such as the Ogallala Aquifer in the United States) are also being progressively contaminated by gasoline, oil and chemicals from leaking storage tanks; bacteria, viruses and household chemicals from faulty septic systems; hazardous wastes from abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (of which there are over 20,000 in the USA alone); leaks from landfill items such as car battery acid, paint and household cleaners; and the pesticides, herbicides and other poisons used on farms and home gardens. See

‘Groundwater contamination’.

However, while notably absent from the list above, these contaminants also include radioactive waste from nuclear tests – see ‘Groundwater drunk by BILLIONS of people may be contaminated by radioactive material spread across the world by nuclear testing in the 1950s’ – and the chemical contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in search of shale gas, for which about 750 chemicals and components, some extremely toxic and carcinogenic like lead and benzene, have been used. See ‘Fracking chemicals’.

There are local campaigns to clean up rivers, creeks, lakes and wetlands in many places around the world, focusing on the primary problems – ranging from campaigning to end poison runoffs from mines and farms to physically removing plastic and other trash – in that area. But a great deal more needs to be done and they could use your help.

Soil Contamination

Our unsustainable commercial farming and soil management practices are depleting the soil of nutrients and poisoning it with synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics (the latter contained in animal manure) at such a prodigious rate that even if there were no other adverse impacts on the soil, it will be unable to sustain farming within 60 years. See ‘Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues’.

But not content to simply destroy the soil through farming, we also contaminate it with heavy metal wastes from industrial activity, as well as sewer mismanagement – see ‘“Black Soils” – Excessive Use of Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury…’ – the waste discharges from corporate mining – see, for example, ‘The $100bn gold mine and the West Papuans who say they are counting the cost’ – and the radioactive and many other toxic wastes from military violence, discussed below.

We also lose vast quantities of soil by extensive clearfelling of pristine forests to plant commercially valuable but ecologically inappropriate ‘garbage species’ (such as palm oil trees – see ‘The Great Palm Oil Scandal’ – soya beans – see ‘Soy Changes Map of Brazil, Set to Become World’s Leading Producer’ – and biofuel crops). This leaves the soil vulnerable to rainfall which carries it into local creeks and rivers and deposits it downstream or into the ocean.

Staggering though it may sound, we are losing tens of billions of tonnes of soil each year, much of it irreversibly.

Is anything being done? A little. In response to the decades-long push by some visionary individuals and community organizations to convert all farming to organic, biodynamic and/or permaculture principles, some impact is being made in some places to halt the damage caused by commercial farming. You can support these efforts by buying organically or biodynamically-certified food (that is, food that hasn’t been poisoned) or creating a permaculture garden in your own backyard. Any of these initiatives will also benefit your own health.

Of course, there is still a long way to go with the big agricultural corporations such as Monsanto more interested in profits than your health. See ‘Killing Us Softly – Glyphosate Herbicide or Genocide?’, ‘Top 10 Poisons that are the legacy of Monsanto’ and ‘Monsanto Has Knowingly Been Poisoning People for (at Least) 35 Years’.

One other noteworthy progressive change occurred in 2017 when the UN finally adopted the Minimata Convention, to curb mercury use. See ‘Landmark UN-backed treaty on mercury takes effect’ and ‘Minamata Convention, Curbing Mercury Use, is Now Legally Binding’.

As for the other issues mentioned above, there is nothing to celebrate with mining and logging corporations committed to their profits at the expense of the local environments of indigenous peoples all over the world and governments showing little effective interest in curbing this or taking more than token interest in cleaning up toxic military waste sites. As always, local indigenous and activist groups often work on these issues against enormous odds. See, for example, ‘Ecuador Endangered’.

Apart from supporting the work of the many activist groups that work on these issues, one thing that each of us can do is to put aside the food scraps left during meal preparation (or after our meal) and compost them. Food scraps and waste are an invaluable resource: nature composts this material to create soil and your simple arrangement to compost your food scraps will help to generate more of that invaluable soil we are losing.

Antibiotic Waste

One form of garbage we have been producing, ‘under the radar’, in vast quantities for decades is antiobiotic and antifungal drug residue. See ‘Environmental pollution with antimicrobial agents from bulk drug manufacturing industries… associated with dissemination of… pathogens’.

However, given that the bulk of this waste is secretly discharged untreated into waterways by the big pharmaceutical companies – see ‘Big Pharma fails to disclose antibiotic waste leaked from factories’ – the microbes are able to ‘build up resistance to the ingredients in the medicines that are supposed to kill them’ thus ‘fueling the creation of deadly superbugs’. Moreover, because the resistant microbes travel easily and have multiplied in huge numbers all over the world, they have created ‘a grave public health emergency that is already thought to kill hundreds of thousands of people a year.’

Are governments acting to end this practice? According to the recent and most comprehensive study of the problem ‘international regulators are allowing dirty drug production methods to continue unchecked’. See ‘Big Pharma’s pollution is creating deadly superbugs while the world looks the other way’.

Given the enormous power of the pharmaceutical industry, which effectively controls the medical industry in many countries, the most effective response we can make as individuals is to join the rush to natural health practitioners (such as practitioners of homeopathy, ostepathy, naturopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and Chinese medicine) which do not prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. For further ideas, see ‘Defeating the Violence in Our Food and Medicine’.

Genetic Engineering and Gene Drives

Perhaps the most frightening pollutant that we now risk releasing into the environment goes beyond the genetic mutilation of organisms (GMOs) which has been widely practiced by some corporations, such as Monsanto, for several decades. See, for example, ‘GM Food Crops Illegally Growing in India: The Criminal Plan to Change the Genetic Core of the Nation’s Food System’.

Given that genetic engineering’s catastrophic outcomes are well documented – see, for example, ‘10 Reasons to Oppose Genetic Engineering’ – what are gene drives? ‘Imagine that by releasing a single fly into the wild you could genetically alter all the flies on the planet – causing them all to turn yellow, carry a toxin, or go extinct. This is the terrifyingly powerful premise behind gene drives: a new and controversial genetic engineering technology that can permanently alter an entire species by releasing one bioengineered individual.’

How effective are they? ‘Gene drives can entirely re-engineer ecosystems, create fast spreading extinctions, and intervene in living systems at a scale far beyond anything ever imagined.’ For example, if gene drives are engineered into a fast-reproducing species ‘they could alter their populations within short timeframes, from months to a few years, and rapidly cause extinction.’ This radical new technology, also called a ‘mutagenic chain reaction’, combines the extreme genetic engineering of synthetic biology and new gene editing techniques with the idea ‘that humans can and should use such powerful unlimited tools to control nature. Gene drives will change the fundamental relationship between humanity and the natural world forever.’

The implications for the environment, food security, peace, and even social stability are breathtaking, particularly given that existing ‘government regulations for the use of genetic engineering in agriculture have allowed widespread genetic contamination of the food supply and the environment.’ See ‘Reckless Driving: Gene drives and the end of nature’.

Consistent with their track records of sponsoring, promoting and using hi-tech atrocities against life, the recently released (27 October 2017) ‘Gene Drive Files’ reveal that the US military and individuals such as Bill Gates have been heavily involved in financing research, development and promotion of this grotesque technology. See ‘Military Revealed as Top Funder of Gene Drives; Gates Foundation paid $1.6 million to influence UN on gene drives’ and the ‘Gene Drive Files’.

Why would the US military be interested?’ you might ask. Well, imagine what could be done to an ‘enemy’ race with an extinction gene drive.

As always, while genuinely life-enhancing grassroots initiatives struggle for funding, any project that offers the prospect of huge profits – usually at enormous cost to life – gets all the funding it needs. If you haven’t realised yet that the global elite is insane, it might be worth pondering it now. See ‘The Global Elite is Insane’.

Is anything being done about these life-destroying technologies? A number of groups campaign against genetic engineering and SynBioWatch works to raise awareness of gene drives, to carefully explain the range of possible uses for them and to expose the extraordinary risks and dangers of the technology. You are welcome to participate in their efforts too.

Nanoparticles

A nanoparticle is a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter. In simple English: Nanoparticles are extraordinarily tiny.

Nanoparticles are already being widely used including during the manufacture of cosmetics, pharmacology products, scratchproof eyeglasses, crack- resistant paints, anti-graffiti coatings for walls, transparent sunscreens, stain-repellent fabrics, self-cleaning windows and ceramic coatings for solar cells. ‘Nanoparticles can contribute to stronger, lighter, cleaner and “smarter” surfaces and systems.’ See ‘What are the uses of nanoparticles in consumer products?’

Some researchers are so enamored with nanoparticles that they cannot even conceal their own delusions. According to one recent report: ‘Researchers want to achieve a microscopic autonomous robot that measures no more than six nanometers across and can be controlled by remote. Swarms of these nanobots could clean your house, and since they’re invisible to the naked eye, their effects would appear to be magical. They could also swim easily and harmlessly through your bloodstream, which is what medical scientists find exciting.’ See ‘What are Nanoparticles?’

Unfortunately, however, nanoparticle contamination of medicines is already well documented. See ‘New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination’.

Another report indicates that ‘Some nanomaterials may also induce cytotoxic or genotoxic responses’. See ‘Toxicity of particulate matter from incineration of nanowaste’. What does this mean? Well ‘cytotoxic’ means that something is toxic to the cells and ‘genotoxic’ describes the property of chemical agents that damage the genetic information within a cell, thus causing mutations which may lead to cancer.

Beyond the toxic problems with the nanoparticles themselves, those taking a wider view report the extraordinary difficulties of managing nanowaste. In fact, according to one recent report prepared for the UN: ‘Nanowaste is notoriously difficult to contain and monitor; due to its small size, it can spread in water systems or become airborne, causing harm to human health and the environment.’ Moreover ‘Nanotechnology is growing at an exponential rate, but it is clear that issues related to the disposal and recycling of nanowaste will grow at an even faster rate if left unchecked.’ See ‘Nanotechnology, Nanowaste and Their Effects on Ecosystems: A Need for Efficient Monitoring, Disposal and Recycling’.

Despite this apparent nonchanlance about the health impacts of nanowaste, one recent report reiterates that ‘Studies on the toxicity of nanoparticles… are abundant in the literature’. See ‘Toxicity of particulate matter from incineration of nanowaste’.

Moreover, in January, European Union agencies published three documents concerning government oversight of nanotechnology and new genetic engineering techniques. ‘Together, the documents put in doubt the scientific capacity and political will of the European Commission to provide any effective oversight of the consumer, agricultural and industrial products derived from these emerging technologies’. See ‘European Commission: Following the Trump Administration’s Retreat from Science-Based Regulation?’

So, as these recent reports makes clear, little is being done to monitor, measure or control these technologies or monitor, measure and control the harmful effects of discharging nanowaste.

Fortunately, with the usual absence of government interest in acting genuinely on our behalf, activist groups such as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Organic Consumers Association campaign against nanotechnology as part of their briefs. Needless to say, however, a lot more needs to be done.

Space Junk

Not content to dump our garbage in, on or under the Earth, we also dump our junk in Space too.

‘How do we do this?’ you may well ask. Quite simply, in fact. We routinely launch a variety of spacecraft into Space to either orbit the Earth (especially satellites designed to perform military functions such as spying, target identification and detection of missile launches but also satellites to perform some civilian functions such as weather monitoring, navigation and communication) or we send spacecraft into Space on exploratory missions (such as the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity).

However, getting spacecraft into Space requires the expenditure of vast amounts of energy (which adds to pollution of the atmosphere) and the progressive discarding of rocket propulsion sections of the launch craft. Some of these fall back to Earth as junk but much of it ends up orbiting the Earth as junk. So what form does this junk take? It includes inactive satellites, the upper stages of launch vehicles, discarded bits left over from separation, frozen clouds of water and tiny flecks of paint. All orbiting high above Earth’s atmosphere. With Space junk now a significant problem, the impact of junk on satellites is regularly causing damage and generating even more junk.

Is it much of a problem? Yes, indeed. The problem is so big, in fact, that NASA in the USA keeps track of the bigger items, which travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph, which is ‘fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft’. How many pieces does it track? By 2013, it was tracking 500,000 pieces of space junk as they orbited the Earth. See ‘Space Debris and Human Spacecraft’. Of course, these items are big enough to track. But not all junk is that big.

In fact, a recent estimate indicates that the number of Space junk items could be in excess of 100 trillion. See ‘Space Junk: Tracking & Removing Orbital Debris’.

Is anything being done about Space junk? No government involved in Space is really interested: It’s too expensive for that to be seriously considered.

But given the ongoing government and military interest in weaponizing Space, as again reflected in the recent US ‘Nuclear Posture Review 2018’, which would add a particularly dangerous type of junk to Space, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space has been conducting an effective worldwide campaign since 1992 to mobilize resistance to weapons and nuclear power being deployed and used in Space.

Military Waste

The carnage and waste produced by preparation for and the conduct of military violence is so vast that it almost defies description and calculation. In its most basic sense, every single item produced to perform a military function – from part of a uniform to a weapon – is garbage: an item that has no functional purpose (unless you believe that killing people is functional). To barely touch on it here then, military violence generates a vast amount of pollution, which contaminates the atmosphere, oceans, all fresh water sources, and the soil with everything from the waste generated by producing military uniforms to the radioactive waste which contaminates environments indefinitely.

For just a taste of this pollution, see the Toxic Remnants of War Project, the film ‘Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives’, ‘U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds of Bases Gravely Contaminated’, ‘Depleted Uranium and Radioactive Contamination in Iraq: An Overview’ and ‘The Long History of War’s Environmental Costs’.

Many individuals, groups and networks around the world campaign to end war. See, for example, War Resisters’ International, the International Peace Bureau and World Beyond War.

You can participate in these efforts.

Nuclear Waste

Partly related to military violence but also a product of using nuclear power, humans generate vast amounts of waste from exploitation of the nuclear fuel cycle. This ranges from the pollution generated by mining uranium to the radioactive waste generated by producing nuclear power or using a nuclear weapon. But it also includes the nuclear waste generated by accidents such as that at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Again, for just a taste of the monumental nature of this problem, see ‘Emergency Declared at Nuclear Waste Site in Washington State’, ‘Disposing of Nuclear Waste is a Challenge for Humanity’ and ‘Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’.

While the London Dumping Convention permanently bans the dumping of radioactive and industrial waste at sea (which means nothing in the face of the out-of-control discharges from Fukushima, of course) – see ‘1993 – Dumping of radioactive waste at sea gets banned’ – groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace continue to campaign against the nuclear industry (including radioactive waste dumping) and to promote renewable energy.

They would be happy to have your involvement.

Our Bodies

Some of the garbage that ends up being dumped is done via our bodies. Apart from the junk food produced at direct cost to the environment, the cost of these poisoned, processed and nutritionally depleted food-like substances also manifests as ill-health in our bodies and discharges of contaminated waste. Rather than eating food that is organically or biodynamically grown and healthily prepared, most of us eat processed food-like substances that are poisoned (that is, grown with large doses of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that also destroy the soil and kill vast numbers of insects – see ‘Death and Extinction of the Bees’ and ‘Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown’ – and then cook this food in rancid oils and perhaps even irradiate (microwave) it before eating. Although microwave ovens were outlawed in the Soviet Union in 1976, they remain legal elsewhere. See ‘The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking’, ‘How Your Microwave Oven Damages Your Health In Multiple Ways’ and ‘Microwave Cooking is Killing People’.

Unfortunately, however, considerable official effort still goes into developing new ways to nuclearize (contaminate) our food – see ‘Seven examples of nuclear technology improving food and agriculture’ – despite long-established natural practices that are effective and have no damaging side effects or polluting outcomes.

But apart from poisoned, processed and unhealthily prepared food, we also inject our bodies with contaminated vaccines – see ‘New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination’, ‘Dirty Vaccines: New Study Reveals Prevalence of Contaminants’ and ‘Aluminum, Autoimmunity, Autism and Alzheimer’s’ – consume medically-prescribed antibiotics (see section above) and other drugs – see ‘The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade. Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade’ – and leave the environment to deal with the contaminated waste generated by their production and the discharges from our body.

Many individuals and organizations all over the world work to draw attention to these and related issues, including the ‘death-dealing’ of doctors, but the onslaught of corporate media promotion and scare campaigns means that much of this effort is suppressed. Maintaining an unhealthy and medically-dependent human population is just too profitable.

If you want to genuinely care for your health and spare the environment the toxic junk dumped though your body, the ideas above in relation to growing and eating organic/biodynamic food and consulting natural health practitioners are a good place to start.

Ordinary’ Rubbish

For many people, of course, dealing with their daily garbage requires nothing more than putting it into a rubbish bin. But does this solve the problem?

Well, for a start, even recycled rubbish is not always recycled, and even when it is, the environmental cost is usually high.

In fact, the various costs of dealing with rubbish is now so severe that China, a long-time recipient of waste from various parts of the world, no longer wants it. See ‘China No Longer Wants Your Trash. Here’s Why That’s Potentially Disastrous’.

Of course there are also special events that encourage us to dump extra rubbish into the Earth’s biosphere. Ever thought about what happens following special celebrations like Christmas? See ‘The Environmental Christmas Hangover’ or the waste discharged from cruise ships? See ‘16 Things Cruise Lines Never Tell You’.

Does all this pollution really matter? Well, as mentioned at the beginning, we pay an enormous cost for it both in terms of human life but in other ways too. See ‘The Lancet Commission on pollution and health’.

Junk information

One category of junk, which is easily overlooked and on which I will not elaborate, is the endless stream of junk information with which we are bombarded. Whether it is corporate ‘news’ (devoid of important news about our world and any truthful analysis of what is causing it) on television, the radio or in newspapers, letterbox advertising, telephone marketing or spam emails, our attention is endlessly distracted from what matters leaving most humans ill-informed and too disempowered to resist the onslaught that is destroying our world.

So what can we do about all of the junk identified above?

Well, unless you want to continue deluding yourself that some token measures taken by you, governments, international organizations (such as the United Nations) or industry are going to fix all of this, I encourage you to consider taking personal action that involves making a serious commitment.

This is because, at the most fundamental level, it is individuals who consume and then discharge the waste products of their consumption. And if you choose what you consume with greater care and consume less, no one is going to produce what you don’t buy or discharge the waste products of that production on your behalf.

Remember Gandhi? He was not just the great Indian independence leader. His personal possessions at his death numbered his few items of self-made clothing and his spectacles. We can’t all be like Gandhi but he can be a symbol to remind us that our possessions and our consumption are not the measure of our value. To ourselves or anyone else.

If the many itemized suggestions made above sound daunting, how does this option sound?

Do you think that you could reduce your consumption by 10% this year.?And, ideally, do it in each of seven categories: water, household energy, vehicle fuel, paper, plastic, metals and meat? Could you do it progressively, reducing your consumption by 10% each year for 15 consecutive years? See ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’.

I am well aware of the emotional void that makes many people use ‘shopping therapy’ to feel better or to otherwise consume, perhaps by traveling, to distract themselves. If you are in this category, then perhaps you could tackle this problem at its source by ‘Putting Feelings First’.

No consumer item or material event can ever fill the void in your Selfhood. But you can fill this void by traveling the journey to become the powerful individual that evolution gave you the potential to be. If you want to understand how you lost your Selfhood, see Why Violence?’ and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

You might also help ensure that children do not acquire the consumption/pollution addiction by making ‘My Promise to Children’.

If you want to campaign against one of the issues threatening human survival discussed briefly above, consider planning a Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

And if you wish to commit to resisting violence of all kinds, you can do so by signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

In the final analysis, each of us has a choice. We can contribute to the ongoing creation of Earth as the planet of junk. Or we can use our conscience, intelligence and determination to guide us in resisting the destruction of our world.

22.02.2018 Pressenza London

#NeverAgain: Parkland students lead thousands in rally to demand gun control legislation
(Image by Common Dreams video- screen grab)

We may be too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote and we will vote you out!”

by Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams

The steps of the Florida State Capitol building were crowded with thousands of students, teachers, parents, and advocates on Wednesday as survivors of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led a rally to demand gun control reforms including a ban on military-style firearms.

An estimated 3,000 people attended the rally, with many students traveling 450 miles from Parkland, where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people and injured 14.

The crowd chanted “Never again!” and “Shame on you!”—directing their anger at Florida lawmakers who on Tuesday voted against a motion to consider a military-style firearm ban for guns like the AR-15 that was used in Parkland as well as a number of other mass shootings in recent years.

“To shoot down a bill like that is absolutely abhorrent, to not even give it a chance to be discussed,” said Delaney Tarr, one of the Parkland survivors, who spoke at the rally. “That disgusts me and it disgusts my peers, because we know what we’ve been through and we know that this needs to be changed…To every lawmaker out there: you can no longer take money from the NRA…We are coming after every single one of you and demanding that you take action, demanding that you make a change.”

“We are out here advocating for change because of this Capitol’s failure to do their primary job by keeping us safe,” said Florence Yared, one of the students from Parkland. “Some of you said, ‘It’s too soon to talk about gun control.’ No, it is not too soon, no it is not the wrong time, there’s no better time than now to talk about gun control. If we wait, someone else might become a victim too. Your children might become victims too!”

Ahead of the rally, Parkland students marched to the office of Republican Governor Rick Scott, chanting, “You work for us!” Scott was attending the funeral of one of the Parkland victims, but the students spoke with some of the legislators who had voted on Tuesday about proposals including raising the minimum age to purchase military-style semi-automatic weapons.

Tarr expressed anger regarding the meetings, where she said representatives were dismissive of the students’ demands.

“We are not here to be patted on the back,” Tarr said. “We know what we want. We want gun reform, we want common sense gun laws, we want stronger mental health checks and background checks to work in conjunction. We want a better age limit. We want privatized selling to be completely reformed so you can’t just walk into a building with $130 and walk out with an AR-15.”

As the rally was underway, students in towns across Florida and in other states including Iowa and Pennsylvania, as well as Washington, D.C., staged walkouts in solidarity with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In Iowa City, teenagers marched in the rain chanting, “Enough is enough!” and “Keep your coins, we want change!”

“To Congress: you are responsible to every community that has lost due to gun violence and you have the power to change this,” said Yared. “And if you don’t, then we will change you. We may be too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote and we will vote you out!”

20.02.2018 – London UK Silvia Swinden

Brexit between the lines: plot to ditch EU safety standards on food and drugs
The UK/Republic of Ireland border at Killeen marked only by a speed sign marked in km/h (Image by Oliver Dixon Wikimedia Commons)

A document uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative unit (published accidentally by the Initiative for Free Trade) has revealed “a drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks”.

The report according to the Guardian involved right wing conservative groups such as “the Heritage Foundation, which has pushed for the lifting of environmental protections, and the Cato Institute, co-founded by billionaire oil barons Charles and David Koch. In Britain the project is being overseen by the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT), an organisation founded by the hard-Brexit advocate and Tory MEP Daniel Hannan.”…”Such a move would allow imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef to be sold in the UK for the first time.” It has also become known that the US use far more antibiotics in farming and imports of such animals may contribute to antibiotic resistance, a huge problem already.

It would also imply abandoning the EU “precautionary principle” that means testing properly new products before allowing them into the market in favour of the looser American model of earlier approval in the process and intervening only if problems arise. This leads to cheaper but lower quality products and standards.

It is no coincidence that many of the strong “hard” Brexit supporters have their eye on the profits to be made out of US-UK trade deals depicting the Brussels bureaucracy as an unfair constrain, when in reality in many areas it is a source of safety standards, in food, medicines, environmental protection and working practices.

The threat to British farming businesses which ‘could be wiped out after Brexit transition’ has already been highlighted, with its resulting increase in food prices. At present British farmers receive £3bn from the EU in subsidies that would of course stop after Brexit.

The National Health Service is haemorrhaging European workers uncertain about their position after Brexit (and fearful of the growing nationalist bigotry) at the same time that the (absence of) border between Northen Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the great success of the European guaranteed Friday Agreement which did so much to largely eliminate the violence in the conflict, is being discussed in search for a creative solution to prevent a return to the clashes of the past as being out of the EU will establish a hard border between North and South with immigration and customs controls, but for the time being none has been found. It does not help that the Conservative Government depends now on a group of ten Northern Irish MPs, the DUP, to have a tiny, and very conditional on having their way, majority in the Commons.

What is emerging more and more clearly is the human cost of Brexit for the sake of profit.

 

 

18.02.2018 – US, United States Pressenza New York

The US Needs “Eureka!” Moments Re: ‘Vetting’; ‘Displacement’; ‘Discernment’; ‘Integration’!

By Gary Corseri

“Eureka! Eureka! (I have found it!)”
–Archimedes

“Having played with fire, one knows inner forms, inner function.”
-–Kijima Hajime

Let’s first debunk the “fake news”! Famed scientist and mathematician, Archimedes, probably did not cry out “Eureka! Eureka!” (Greek for “I have found it!”) when he sat in a public bath in Syracuse, Sicily, discovering one of his—and our—“laws of buoyancy”!

But, as with most good, apocryphal stories—the parables in the Bible, for example—there are grains of truth, lessons to be vetted and discerned—pieces to be integrated into the bigger puzzle.

Here’s the story/myth: Hiero, the local tyrant, suspects a goldsmith of replacing a measure of gold with silver in a golden crown. Hiero contacts Archimedes to verify his suspicions. But…, how?

During a trip to a local bathhouse, “the Arch” observes that the more he sinks in the bath, the greater the displacement of water. And, that displaced water correlates with his body’s weight and volume! Now he reasons: gold is heavier than silver; therefore, a crown of silver and gold would be bulker than a crown solely of gold—thus displacing more water! “Voila!” he cries (or, more precisely, “Eureka!”) And he leaps out of the bath, runs naked through the Greek colony, declaring his discovery. (Whether or not the ladies were amused or alarmed is not reported….)

It’s a good story about the way critical minds work: they “vet.” They test ideas and propositions. They theorize and test their theories and then they vet their own conclusions with careful observations, records and consideration. They test—again and again. It’s a shining example of “trust, but verify”: The critical mind trusts the methodology—the sceintific/methodical/hypothetical approach. But the results need to be noted, verified, repeated. Modulations of methodology and results also need to be noted and recorded.

Can the US Empire learn a thing or two about critical thinking?

In addition to his “laws of buoyancy”—much less apocryphal than the bathhouse story—the Arch thought a lot about levers. “Give me a lever big enough,” he said—“and a place to stand…and I will move the Earth.” (When imperialist Theodore Roosevelt spoke about his “big stick,” was he echoing the ancient Greek? Or merely being “salacious”?) Do we have levers big enough now to “move the Earth”? Do we have “a place to stand”?

Let’s start with “vetting”!

In 2017 it seemed to have become a wing-sprouting, ubiquitous neologism. That’s because Trump had campaigned on “building a big, beautiful wall” along America’s southern border—“vetting” illegal aliens, as well as legal immigrants, passing through Mexico. Now that the victorious presidential candidate intended to carry through with his campaign promise, the opposition party suddenly balked: unfair to immigrants! Unfair to “dreamers.” Not in the “tradition” of America’s “nation-of- immigrants” policies.

What balderdash!

Odd how our “opposition party”—either one–always seems to make its strongest case—and loudest complaint—at just the wrong time! I recall John McCain squawking about “campaign finance reform” before that (s)election. After defeat, not a peep! (Why would he bother? He had lost, and he was a one-trick pony!) Back to the old system! After the 2016 election, we suddenly heard much more strident voices about the phoniness of the “electoral college”! When those vocal chords had belonged to those convinced they would win both popular and electoral votes—they had been mum on the subject! Not justice, not fairness, but opportunism rules our day.

Overload the system, and there can be no “vetting”! Much of our problem in the US today is not so much about “fake news” (a major problem in itself), but about a glut of news—both the fake and the legit. We are overwhelmed! What, and whom, to believe?

Don’t like “vetting”? Do you like your skin? If you don’t like “vetting,” remove your skin—a “vetting” agent between your internal organs and the enveloping world…of dust, toxins, microorganisms, etc. How about your lungs—“vetting” the air you breathe, taking in oxygen, expelling CO2? How about ideas? If we are lucky, we are “vetting” throughout our lives: determining what works, what doesn’t; who are the “good kids,” who are the “bullies”; what’s smart and what’s dumb; what lessons to take from teachers, parents, books, the arts; and what to file away—there if we need it (if we can discern). Cerebellum and cerebral “vetting”…to maintain physical and mental balance! And moral balance, too!

Why wouldn’t we want to “vet” who comes into America and who does not? Trump is right about this: “without borders, you have no country.” He might have said, “without skin, no body; just an exoskeletal-muscular system and a blob of organs.”

Our “nation of immigrants” mantra is nonsense. We’ve been a nation of conquerors from the beginning! The greatest growth in our numbers occurred in the 16-year period following the French and Indian War to our American Revolution! Americans don’t like to pay much attention to that war—probably because it had much more to do with defeating France’s “Indian” allies than with defeating the 60,000 French colonists. Britain’s 1,600,000 American colonists (in what would become the US eastern states), led by our “Great White Father”—General Washington—easily made mincemeat of the “savages” allied with the French. (“Savages,” btw, is how Jefferson referred to our “Original Peoples” in our “sacred” Declaration of Independence. Of course, most Americans never get past the first few flourishing, hyperbolic sentences. “All men are created equal”! Really?)

Having defeated the uppity, dandified French and their “savage” allies, we—i.e., the Brits–were now free to import boatloads of folks from Europe—mostly poor Brits, some Dutch, some Germans. “Immigrants!”—though, of course, only weathy white men could vote! (We were also mercilessly packing non-immigrant African Blacks into sailing “cattle cars,” destined for “concentration camps–i.e., “plantations–in the South.) We had nearly doubled our population by 1776—the year of our own “Glorious Revolution.” And we’ve been growing like crazy ever since—more than 160-fold since 1763! (And about 150% in just the past allotted 3-score and ten—about my lifetime up to now!)

And what was all that “largesse” about? Helping out “the wretched of the earth”? Much more to do with getting wealthy on slave labor in the South, indentured servitude and close-to (and sometimes worse than)-“slave labor” in the factories in the North. Much more to do with constant displacement of those remaining “savages” in that vast Western “territory” conquered from Mexico. More to do with consolidating the Empire, knitting it together with railroads, and stretching past its borders (it’s skin!) to conquer the Caribbean (by 1898; we already had the “Monroe Doctrine” justifying all that, didn’t we?), and then across the Pacific to conquer the kingdom of Hawaii, the betrayed Philippines (handy “coaling stations there!), butting heads with land-starved Japan, and always justifying all our conquests, all our “interventions,” with pleasant-sounding platitudes; e.g.:

“Give me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

Pretty good for a platitude…, but, what about “displacement”? Archimedes discovered the correlation between body weight, volume and displacement of water. It was measurable, quantifiable. In the US, we ignore “displacement.” Yeah, sure—we brought in all these “pioneers” from Britain, etc.—but what about the “savages” displaced? Yeah, sure, we bring in all these tawny, olive-skinned people from southern Europe—some relatives of mine included!–but what about the people “displaced” in our factories, spewing pollution to the now unemployed, no-longer-needed “deplorable” masses? (And consider this, George M. Cohan, et. al.: No doubt we would have far fewer people wishing to immigrate here if we made far fewer wars “over there”! And, is it not strange that no one talks about the Ehrlichs’ “Population Bomb” anymore?) The more the merrier? Really?

Is our “Labor Movement” getting a bit too big for its britches? Let’s pollute the “Movement”—bring in more immigrants! Let’s crowd our laboring masses into crime-ridden cities like Chicago and Detroit where they can be better “managed” by political “bosses” and our militarized police. And let’s just keep feeding the masses their fast-food slop, and fake-news and glut-of-news B.S.! The people are overwhelmed! They cannot “vet.” Education has been displaced by political, rhetorical nonsense. Media, including “the Arts”—their own kind of “media”—for the most part: titilate, inundate, reiterate, eviscerate and regurgitate! They don’t educate, certainly don’t elevate. Whether it’s a TV “anchor,” late-night mouthpiece “host,” Hollywood predator-producer, or some other hyped-on-self-importance android…for the most part the name of the game is degrade and evade. Students at the “best” universities do not learn “how” to think, but “what” to think. Techno-humans (and non-humans) displace the extended family, the nuclear family, the individual, et. al..

It takes most of us a long time to “discern”: to put the puzzle pieces together, to vet ideas and notions, weigh, observe and correlate. Do people still read books? Is there time? I finally got around to reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” last year! (One upsetting, unsettling capsule of a lesson learned: “Adulteration”!—of food, of truth. It’s been an egregious, omnipresent fact of life since Sinclair’s time…and before….) I still haven’t read “War and Peace”! Much as I like Mark Twain for work like “The Mysterious Stranger,” isn’t it time for our public schools to replace “Tom Sawyer” with “The Jungle”? Might we replace “Julius Cesar” with Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children”? Could we be a little more “relevant”?)

Life is short; and the grains of sand flow ever-faster through the hour-glass, and the algorithms now reach “conclusions” before we passing mortal beings can even stammer out a premise. What are our “human” values now? The very notions of “humanity” and “The Humanities” seem fading flowers.

One idea still lingers: after the vetting, and the discernment and recognition of the pain of “displacement”–the idea of “integration” remains.

After the old monuments are dismantled, what new monuments can we assemble? Do I have the right to destroy a man or woman’s pride in his/her heritage because it differs radically from my understanding? Does that “other” have a right to destroy my pride? Where are the teachers to help us understand our history, to help us reconcile our differences; to help us recognize who we are, who we have been, who we may become?

It is not a dreamy, nationalist, “melting-pot” fantasy we’ve nurtured, about forming a “greater Union”—as Lincoln had it. (Shall we tear down the Lincoln Memorial or blow up Mt. Rushmore? The greatest mass-hanging in American history was ordered by “rail-splitter!” and “Indian-fighter!” President Lincoln, when hungry, destitute and desperate Sioux “Indians” wandered off their open-air-prison-“reservation” to gather food for their starving families. Over 30 hanged in a few shivering moments. A spectacle to teach them kind their place!)

Whom shall we lionize; whom condemn? While victorious and prosperous Americans were jitter-bugging during the “Roaring Twenties,” German children were starving in the streets…and their parents prayed for a “savior”! Who is “innocent”; who is “guilty”? What generation has been free of folly…or delusions of grandeur…or solipsistic violence? Is the pain of disenfranchised Palestinian children less keen than the “never-forgotten” pain of the Jewish holocaust? Is that holcaust less terrible, or more terrible, than the holocausts of North and South American native peoples…, or those holocausts in Ukraine under Stalin, or in Russia during World War II when 20 million died; and Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Dresden? Their embers burn in our hearts evermore.

Not a greater “nation-state” to win the competitive economic battles ahead—and possible sanguinary battles—with an emergent China, a peristent Russia, or some new alliance based on the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) or OBOR (“One Belt, One Road”—China’s own super-version of the American rail system that knit our land-empire together, and our Interstate highways that changed our culture forever)! Nein! Nyett! No! We need a greater Eureka vision now!

When I think about “integration” it is Martin Luther King’s words that I hear—about “all God’s children” being “free at last.” That is the “freedom” and “integration” of a greater vision, a greater calling. But, how can there be “freedom” without knowledge, without understanding? (“Where shall wisdom be found?” Job wondered. “Where is the place of understanding?” And, a long time after, “The Preacher” pondered: “In much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” And yet, he pondered: “A wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”)

On this tiny, threatened planet–this electron whirling around our flash-bulb-sun–can we possibly transcend to a higher vision—a Carl Sagan/Archimedes kind of vision of that miniscule “blue-dot” of Earth in a spiraling galaxy? Transcend to a sensibility that courageously vets ideas and concepts rationally, educates our children honestly, and recognizes/discerns the pain we have inflicted by displacement, “deplorable” put-downs, and our ignorance and prejudices?

Can we rectify the names (as Kung Fu-tzu/Confucius taught)? Can we correlate, and balance the equations?…judge between real gold and fool’s gold? Is it too late? Is it time to give up?

Then…, who will tell the children?


Dr. Gary Corseri’s articles, poems, fiction and dramas have appeared in hundreds of global periodicals and websites. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has published 2 novels, 2 collections of poems, and a literary anthology (edited). He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and in universities in the US and Japan. Contact: Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.

16.02.2018 Aram Aharonian

This post is also available in: Spanish

NGOs, the attack on Oxfam’s credibility and the accidental coincidences

Oxfam, the Non-Governmental Organization, the same organization that in recent weeks had launched a devastating report on inequality in the world, has been left with its once high reputation on the ground, following a synchronized attack by the hegemonic press.

It is not about defending the disfunction of the NGO and its officials, but about making sure that only those who do not follow the scripts of the powerful are persecuted. The big NGOs have the same sins as the United Nations and the big corporations that send part of their staff to poor countries.

The Oxfam report noted that the crisis of inequality is worsening: 82% of the world’s wealth generated during the past year went into the hands of the richest 1% of the world’s population, while the poorest 50% -3. 700 million people- did not benefit in the least from said “growth”.

Our failed economic model is widening the gap between rich and poor. This model allows the wealthiest to continue to accumulate immense fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are undermined in their fundamental rights and have to struggle every day to survive with poverty wages, especially women, it added. Obviously the powerful did not like it.

When conservative politics return to power there are two budgets they eliminate or try to minimize: the social rights of citizens and development aid, always with the support of the local and transnational press. And while these denunciations take place, the international weakening of multilateralism is observed, the only way capable of curbing the risk of the use of cooperation as a business.

The truth is that NGOs in Latin America not only infiltrate ideologically the popular sectors – penetration from below and inside – with which they work directly in self-help and microenterprise development projects, in schools, neighborhoods, cooperatives, marginal communities, rural areas, factories, but also infiltrate ideologically the cadres of organizations and these, potentially qualified to invigorate the popular movement, give it political-ideological training and become promoters and companions of political-social change.

Local activity, an emblem of NGO action, is an ideological trap, since it dismantles the popular movement through false paradigms such as “helplessness” and also through competition for financial resources. And it works in parallel with the hegemonic project, because it allows the neoliberal regimes, transnationals and international financial entities to dominate macro-economic policy and channel most of the State’s resources as subsidies to export capital and to the payment of the external debt.

Oxfam International, a federation of civilian humanitarian organizations, is accused of violations committed by some of its members in South Sudan and Liberia, as well as members of its mission to Haiti after the earthquake that struck that nation in 2010 hiring prostitutes with money from the humanitarian organization itself.

Meanwhile, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) admitted that during the past year it has registered 24 cases of sexual harassment or abuse and 146 complaints of harassment in general. Therefore, 19 people were dismissed and another five sanctioned with various disciplinary measures. The count does not include the cases directly managed by the teams in the field and not reported to the headquarters.

Various foundations and NGOs have been identified by public scrutiny, even subjected to judicial processes, because they worked, in fact, as a screen for the commission of crimes, some of them serious. Others have been denounced as façade institutions for political and propaganda purposes of various governments, and some others, as instruments for the realization of fraud and diversion of resources, points out the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

Oblivious to all control and all regulation, some of these organizations arrogate to themselves the power to judge and condemn governments, companies, media and partisan formations, using the mantle of purity in which they have previously been covered, it adds.

Oxfam, Malcorra, the Clintons

Oxfam, which receives millions of euros from British and European institutions, and thousands of people, commissioned Helen Evans in 2012 to set up a mechanism to receive and process complaints about cases of sexual exploitation and all kinds of abuses such as those that occurred in 2010 in Haiti (relations with prostitutes and rape accusations) and several years before in Chad.

After leaving Oxfam, Evans communicated her findings to the Charity Commission (public body that oversees the NGOs and charities) and the Ministry of Cooperation. The Oxfam scandal will be used by all those who believe that development aid is wasteful.

The concealment existed: when the man who organized parties with prostitutes in Haiti agreed to leave and was able to find employment in another NGO that also sent him to Bangladesh. Seven years before the events in Haiti, that same man, Roland van Hauwermeiren, had been responsible for similar acts in Liberia, with another NGO.

But a similar event involving UN peacekeepers and the DAAT, responsible for cooperating with the deployment of the UN “peace missions” around the world (the then Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, accused of covering up sexual abuse of children in Africa) did not have the same treatment.

Anders Kompass, veteran Swedish human rights fighter and until then UN Field Operations Director, resigned after presenting an internal document denouncing the abuse documented by Unicef ​​of 16 children in the Central African Republic by the troops French Peace Corps and not having a single answer.

Both The Guardian and Foreign Policy pointed directly to the negligence of Malcorra and the UN high command to deal with this case, suspicions that increased when the world organization Aids-Free World leaked an interchange of internal UN mails between Malcorra, the person in charge of the Ethics Office Joan Dubinsky and the Deputy General Secretary of Internal Oversight Services Carman LaPointe, in which they planned how to deal with and diminish the impact of the Kompass accusations: an attempt to cover up at Machiavellian level.

A month earlier, Malcorra had organized a meeting in Turin, Italy, with Dubinsky, Lapointe and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, where the plan to cover up the scandal was designed.

German judge Thomas Laker, of the UN Dispute Court, decided months after the suspension of Kompass it was “prima facie illegal” and before such pressure, the then Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed an independent panel of three judges, who carried out the investigation. The resolution was clear: there was a “serious institutional failure, to pass the investigation -of violations- from table to table without stopping to study it”, and pointed to the responsibility of Malcorra. But there was no scandal of the dimensions of Oxfam.

The never-cleared death of former Haitian Klaus Eberwein who was to appear before the Ethics and Anticorruption Committee of the Senate of this country to declare against the Clinton Foundation for the appropriation of international donations by billions of dollars for humanitarian aid, but never reached the island.

It was not until 2016 that US media began to address a problem that Haitians have raised for years: that Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill had a terrible record in Haiti, where they have manipulated elections, poorly targeted earthquake reconstruction funds and undermined Haitian sovereignty.

The Washington Post reviewed how Secretary of State Clinton “pressured then-President René Préval with the loss of US and international aid unless the election results changed to conform to the OAS recommendation” (his), and that was how Michel Martelly came to power.

In June 2011, Haïti Liberté, in association with the magazine The Nation, began to publish a series that analyzed about 2,000 WikiLeaked secret cables, which among other facts indicated that “even before the Haitian government authorized it, Washington began to deploy 22,000 troops in Haiti after the earthquake of January 12, 2010, although officials of the US embassy said there was no serious security problem.”

The article “Washington supports famous brand contractors” explained how the Clinton State Department continued the policy of George W. Bush to work “closely with factory owners hired by Levi’s, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom to aggressively block a miser increase in the minimum wage for workers in the area, the lowest paid in the hemisphere. ”

To conclude, one of Hillary’s brothers, Tony Rodham, is in charge of a major gold mine on the island and has a contract for 26 years, after – together with his partners – he proposed a project to rebuild homes by a value of 22 million dollars after he proposed a housing reconstruction project with funds from the Clinton Foundation.

The role of NGO-ism

Since the 1980s, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have spread throughout the world, opening an important political, cultural and socio-economic space, practically in every corner of the planet. It is estimated that there are currently more than 10 million NGOs on the planet.

In India, for example, there is one NGO per 600 people. In order to achieve this, the globalized media highlighted day by day their role in education, the fight against poverty and illiteracy, the protection of the environment, the promotion of civil liberties, the protection of human rights, etc., but they hid its dark side. When their action bothers them, the scandals arrive.

There are approximately 40,000 NGOs subsidized by the US and European governments and created for the specific purpose of being instruments of the globalizers of Washington and Brussels.

The idea of ​​creating non-governmental organizations that could be used by intelligence services for the creation of social networks in Africa, Asia and Latin America for the purpose of promoting American interests emerged at the end of the first half of the 20th century, but it was only launched in 1961, driven by the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, when the US Agency was created by an executive order. US for Development (Usaid).

The American William A. Douglas in Developing Democracy (1972) noted that people in developing countries were like “children” who needed “a tutelage, regulation and control by the US government.” For Douglas, the process of global transformation could not be done through governments, it was necessary to create grassroots organizations in every place of the planet under the control of specialized American agencies.

These grassroots organizations in the 1980s took the form of non-governmental organizations that, under the control of the State Department, had to destabilize governments not related to US policy through subtle work, concealing their subversive purposes with some real programs like the fight against extreme poverty.

At the same time, it was precisely USAID that sent the famous American torture specialist Dan Mitrione to Brazil in 1960-1967, the Dominican Republic in 1965 and Uruguay in 1969-1970. USAID also actively participated in all the coups and attempted coups that took place in Africa, Asia and Latin America from 1961 until now, in close collaboration with the CIA, the MIS (Military Intelligence Service), the FBI, the DEA , the NSA (National Security Agency), etc.

While the Soviet Union and the socialist camp existed, USAID, along with other NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), did everything possible to contain the ideological influence of the USSR, being ideological and operative missionaries of the empire during the Cold War.

The revelations about the participation of the CIA and its covert organization, Usaid, in the murder of Patricio Lumumba in the Congo, in the death of Salvador Allende in Chile and in hundreds of attacks against Fidel Castro forced the NED to be put out of operation in 1983.

Its creator, Georgetown professor Allen Weinstein, was more specific when he declared in 1991: “The great number of tasks that we fulfilled today were 25 years ago the responsibility of the CIA.” A few years earlier, in 1986, the first director of the NED, Carl Gershman, recognized that his organization was a facade of the CIA.

Colophon

There are no coincidences. There is no doubt about the violations carried out by members of NGOs, UN peacekeepers, and the United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti (UNSTAMIH). But the broadside against Oxfam is more like a demonstration of strength by the world’s powerful against those who denounce the inequality and inequities of their model of plunder and subjection.

13.02.2018 Pressenza London

Jeremy Corbyn: nationalize, democratize electricity grid to avert climate crisis

[UK] Labour Party leader calls for ‘radical’ action to help avert climate catastrophe

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said making the nation’s electricity grid publicly-owned is the best course to “put tackling climate change at the heart of our energy system.”

Speaking Saturday at a conference in London, Corbyn decried the failure of privatization of public services and laid out an economic vision that addresses the climate crisis while narrowing inequality.

“The challenge of climate change requires us to radically shift the way we organize our economy,” he said.

The Attlee administration that presided over Britain following World War II and created the welfare state, he said, “knew that the only way to rebuild our economy was through a decisive turn to collective action.”

“Necessary action to help avert climate catastrophe requires us to be at least as radical,” he said.

The Tory-led government of Prime Minister Theresa May has not taken that radical action, Corbyn charged, instead having “licensed fracking, declared a moratorium on renewable levies while massively subsidizing fossil fuels, dithered over tidal, held back onshore wind, U-turned on making all new homes zero carbon, and is failing to take the necessary measures to meet our legal commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.”

As such, “A green energy system will look radically different to the one we have today,” he said. “The past is a centralized system with a few large plants. The future is decentralized, flexible, and diverse with new sources of energy large and small, from tidal to solar.”

“The greenest energy is usually the most local,” he said, “but people have been queuing up for years to connect renewable energy to the national grid.”

“With the national grid in public hands we can put tackling climate change at the heart of our energy system, committing to renewable generation from tidal to onshore wind.”

Such a grid would “act as the great leveler, distributing energy from where it is plentiful to where it is scarce and guaranteeing that everyone has access to clean, affordable energy all of the time,” he said.

“Anything else is not only unjust, it risks doing immeasurable harm to the climate cause.”

“Because we will only win support for the changes that are needed if we make sure that everyone shares in the benefits,” he said, echoing themes of his party’s manifesto. The benefits, Corbyn argued, are “not just in cheaper energy, an end to fuel poverty, cleaner air, and a sustainable planet, but also in the creation of new good jobs and industries in renewable energy and green tech across the country.”

According to the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group, Corbyn’s speech is a “must read for anyone who recognizes that ‘business as usual’ won’t cut it to tackle the climate crisis.”

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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