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30.07.2018 +972 Magazine

Ahed Tamimi released after eight months in Israeli prison
(Image by Haim Schwarczenberg, https://schwarczenberg.com Wikimedia Commons)

Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman are released after eight months behind bars for slapping an Israeli soldier.

By Oren Ziv

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who was arrested after being filmed for slapping an IDF soldier in her family’s yard, was released from Israeli prison Sunday morning, along with her mother Nariman, after eight months behind bars.

Upon their release, the two were greeted by Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, as well as other family members. Also present were MK Aida Touma-Sleiman, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists, along with news crews that spent the morning traveling back and forth between Jabara checkpoint and Rantis checkpoint in the early hours of the morning, after the army repeatedly changed the location of Ahed and Nariman’s release.

The two were eventually driven in an army jeep to the entrance of their village, Nabi Saleh, where they were released. There, Ahed briefly thanked her supporters and immediately went in the direction of the home of Izz a-Din Tamimi, who was killed a month and a half ago during a raid on the village. As she left the house, Ahed said “the popular struggle continues from the prisons and until the home of the martyr.”

Ahed, 17, was arrested in December 2017 after a video of her slapping an Israeli soldier during a protest in Nabi Saleh went viral. The incident took place a few hours after soldiers shot Ahed’s cousin, Muhammad Tamimi, in the head with a rubber bullet. Shortly thereafter, soldiers showed up in the Tamimi family’s home; Ahed and her cousin Nur confronted the armed soldiers, demanding they leave, after which Ahed slapped one of the soldiers, while her mother filmed the incident. The soldiers, who seemed unfazed, left the home without making any arrests. Only after footage of the confrontation went viral did IDF soldiers return to the Tamimi home in the early hours of the morning to arrest Ahed. Nariman and Nur were also arrested.

Ahed and Nariman are expected to visit the Muqata’a, the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in Ramallah on Sunday, where they will stop by Yasser Arafat’s grave and meet top PA officials. From there they will celebrate privately with family members before returning to Nabi Saleh. In the days after her release, Ahed will give interviews every day for one hour to all media outlets. Nabi Saleh will hold a large ceremony to celebrate her release this coming weekend. In the coming week she is expected to visit the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is at risk of demolition by the Israeli authorities.

29.07.2018 – New York City Amy Goodman

This post is also available in: Spanish

Resistance Is In the Air
(Image by social nets)

Last Monday, Elin Ersson, a young Swedish student, boarded a plane at the airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, bound for Istanbul. The plane was crowded as its crew prepared to take off. Ersson stood up in the aisle, protesting that a fellow passenger, an Afghan refugee, was being deported. She was livestreaming as she spoke: “I’m not going to sit down until this person is off the plane, because he will most likely get killed if he is on this plane when it goes up.” The government officials accompanying the refugee tried to force her away from them. Turkish Airlines flight attendants tried to take her phone. But she persisted.

The tension on the plane, in her voice and on her face was palpable. “The pilot has the right to say that he is not allowed to be on the plane. And as long as he is not on the plane, then I will comply.” As she waited for the captain’s decision, she calmly continued her live narration. She was accosted by an angry man who grabbed her phone, which she recovered. “I am very sorry that a man is going to die and you are more worried about missing your flight,” she told him. When told that she was inconveniencing passengers, she replied, “But they’re not going to die; he’s going to die.”

In the background, a man’s voice can be heard explaining the situation to other passengers in Turkish. Suddenly the cabin is filled with applause. She panned her camera around to show that the cabin was now filled with people standing as well. Ersson’s eyes teared as she continued to describe the reasons for her protest. Word came that the refugee was being removed through a door at the back of the plane. Elin Ersson stood at the front door, refusing to disembark until she could confirm that the refugee was actually on the ground. The protest only took 15 minutes, but might have saved an asylum-seeker’s life.

The plight of migrants and refugees, in both Europe and the United States, has become one of the central controversies of our time. Wars, violence, climate change and growing global inequality are driving people to leave their home countries seeking safety. In Europe, most refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan. Violence in the Central American nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are driving refugees north to the U.S. The journeys are long and dangerous.

Protests against the cruel anti-immigrant policies of President Donald Trump are diverse and fierce. From the airport protests against Trump’s “Muslim ban” in his first weeks in office, to vigils and sit-ins at the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, to the halls of Congress, people have been putting their bodies on the line to oppose the ongoing persecution of migrants.

Opposition to harsh immigration policies is resonating in electoral politics. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic candidate for Congress who upended the Democratic Party with her recent primary victory over a powerful incumbent, said in a recent interview with “Democracy Now!,” responding to Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that separated nearly 3,000 children from their immigrant parents, “We need to occupy every airport, we need to occupy every border, we need to occupy every ICE office, until those kids are back with their parents, period.”

This week, the nattering nabobs of nativism over at Fox News got their comeuppance when they tried to book Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democratic congressional candidate in Arizona who is pro-ICE. They mistakenly booked a different candidate, from Massachusetts. She knew her airtime was limited:

“Good morning. I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump. I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four, and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane. I’m actually Barbara L’Italien, I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community. I’m running for Congress in Massachusetts. I keep thinking about what we’re putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families, imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms, stop putting kids in cages, and stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court.” She was soon cut off by the befuddled co-hosts.

Creative protests and acts of solidarity, in concert with the determination and courage of the refugees themselves, are changing politics in the U.S and abroad. When Elin Ersson was reprimanded in the midst of her action, told that the Afghan man was being deported according to Swedish law, she replied, “I’m trying to change my country’s rules.” Rulebreakers, troublemakers dissenters: resistance is in the air.

24.07.2018 – Manila, Philippines Karina Lagdameo Santillan

Roots of Filipino Humanism (1)”Kapwa”
Nagmamasid (Observing) Mixed Media by Hermisanto. Rice on acrylic, on burlap. Image inspired by the bulul of the Ifugao peoples, carved wooden figures used to guard the rice crop and in ceremonies related to rice production and healing.

“Kapwa is a recognition of a shared identity, an inner self, shared with others. This Filipino linguistic unity of the self and the other is unique and unlike in most modern languages. Why? Because implied in such inclusiveness is the moral obligation to treat one another as equal fellow human beings. If we can do this – even starting in our own family or our circle of friends – we are on the way to practice peace. We are Kapwa People.” — Professor Virgilio Enriquez, founder of Sikolohiyang Pilipino.

Pakikipagkapwa. It means connecting myself with others, feeling myself in the other and having a sense of shared identity and a shared inner self. That sense of having a common human identity, community and destiny lies deep in our psyche…It’s the translation in our particular culture and history of a universal truth that tells us to treat others the way we ourselves want to be treated because at our innermost core we have a shared humanity.

I can’t help but reflect on how powerful this deep, age-old Filipino sentiment can be when rekindled and placed in action, in our homes, communities, schools or workplaces and yes, especially in our social and political life today.

This sense of a shared identity is reflected in many Tagalog words, words that carry with it sentiments and feelings that resonate at a subliminal level.

Kababayan means my fellow-countryman; root word– bayan, country. When Filipinos meet other fellow Filipinos, that instant recognition and connection spark up because, we are, kababayan.

Kaakbay means to support. The root word “akbay” conjures images of lifting up, shoulder on shoulder.

Kaibigan means friend; the root word is “ibig” which means to love.

Kasama means someone I am with, the root word “sama” means “to be with or be together with.”

Kaanak means one’s kin; root word being “anak” which means sons and daughters.

Filipino media has capitalized on the deep registers these words have on the Filipino psyche. One TV network is known as Kapuso, kapuso meaning being one at heart. Its rival network is the Kapamilya Network, meaning belonging to the same family. Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko (Love my Fellowman) is a decades-long public service program that has been providing assistance to the poor and the needy.

Researching into the origin of the word “Kapwa”, I came across this. It seems that the word originated from two words:
Ka– a union that refers to any kind of relationship, a union, with everyone and everything.
Puwang– space.

The word Kapwa refers us to that “space” that we share with others as fellow-Filipinos and fellow-human beings, sensing that “space” as being both a psychic and physical space. (And with that, we can imagine a time when life and work was more communal. When, after the day’s shared work was done, our ancestors would be sitting around in a circle, perhaps around a communal fire, under a starry night, perhaps drinking some rice wine, while discussing village concerns or simply sharing their stories.)

The list of Filipino or Tagalog words that start with the prefix ka- is long. While I am not a linguist, it signals the sense of sharedness and relatedness we have that underpins Filipino personhood. With the arrival of Western colonizers—first the Spanish, then the Americans, with the passing of time, this sense of shared identity has been suppressed, overlaid with Western individualism and values; and, a world-view that separates oneself from the other.

According to Professor Enriquez, Kapwa is the “unity of the one-of-us-and-the-other”. After extensively researching the cultural heritage of indigenous Filipino groups and tribes and their IKSP (Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices), he concluded that Pakikipag-kapwa is a core Filipino value underlying the Pagkatao ng Filipino (the Personhood of the Filipino). He maintained that “Kapwa implied moral and normative aspects that obliged a person to treat one another as fellow human being and therefore as equal.” Such a position was “definitely inconsistent with exploitative human interactions,”. But he also foresaw that this Filipino core value was threatened by spreading Western influences. “…once AKO (the I) starts thinking of himself as separate from KAPWA, the Filipino ‘self’ gets to be individuated as in the Western sense and, in effect, denies the status of KAPWA to the other.”

Today, most people who hear the word “kapwa” think it means neighbor. But standard Tagalog dictionaries like Vito Santos’ define kapwa as “fellow being” and “other person.” And older, Spanish dictionaries translate kapuwa as “both” and “the one and the other”, or “others.” From all this research, Enriquez concluded that the original Filipino idea of “others” was inclusive. He wrote: “The English “others” is actually used in opposition to the “self,” and implies the recognition of the self as a separate entity. In contrast, kapwa is a recognition of a shared identity, an inner self shared with others.” He also said, “A person starts having a kapwa not so much because of a recognition of status given him by others but more so because of his awareness of shared identity. The ako (ego) and the iba-sa-akin (others) are one and the same in kapwa psychology.”

As further described by Dr. Katrin de Guia, “Kapwa is a Tagalog term widely used when addressing another with the intention of establishing a connection. It reflects a viewpoint that beholds the essential humanity recognizable in everyone, therefore linking (including) people rather than separating (excluding) them from each other. Enriquez felt that this orientation was an expression of ‘humanness at its highest level’.” – from Kapwa: The Self in the Other, Worldviews and Lifestyles of Filipino Culture-Bearers

Pakikipagkapwa, seeing ourselves as connected with others, leads us to better relations within our families, with schoolmates or fellow workers. It leads towards concern for our community, our country and for our environment, both social and natural.

More importantly, it leads us towards putting the human being’s needs as the highest value, over and above other values be it Money, Power, Prestige, the State, Ideas and yes, even Religion.

The times we are living in are calling for us to awaken and rekindle that pakikipagkapwa that have been suppressed under centuries of colonial influence, a call to hark back towards our ancestral way of being in the world— one that is imbued with a deep sense of community, cooperation and solidarity.

It may be that the “mythic Filipino” is not dead and gone, just sleeping but ready to awaken, to inspire and reanimate the best qualities that we have residing in our depths.

Imagine what our lives, our society and our world be like if we, parents and children, leaders and followers, employers and employees, politicians and citizens practiced pakikipag-kapwa. On a personal level, the “kapwa” in us will consider the welfare and well-being of those whose lives we touch and will be more considerate of the effects of our action on them. On a community level, the “kapwa” in us will be concerned about what is happening in the immediate environment and will respond in whatever way is in reach to help make the community a better and safer place to live in. On a wider and social level, the “kapwa” in us will not tolerate disrespect for human rights, will value human life, each human life. It will not disrespect women, or dispossess minorities. Neither will it endanger human life, nature, and our planet by abusing and misusing our resources in the search for greater profit, ensuring that life on our planet will be sustainable for generations to come. It will reject all forms of injustice and discrimination.

This universal value of a shared identity as it expresses itself in our culture is also manifested in other cultures because it is rooted in our common humanity. Yes, we are Kapwa People and within us lives a powerful force that can help build a culture of peace.

Footnote: Many thanks to Dr. Katrin de Guia who, through her book and conferences, has made Sikolohiyang Filipino (Filipino Psychology) more accessible and relevant to a wider audience.

Source: De Guia, Katrin, Ph.D. Kapwa, The Self in the Other, Worldviews and Lifestyles of Filipino Culture-Bearers. 2005. Anvil Publishing Inc. Pasig City, Philippines.

22.07.2018 Pressenza London

Research shows four in five experts cited in online news are men
The world turned upside down, by Israhel van Meckenem the Younger. The wife is holding the sceptre and the man is spinning. (Image by Israhel van Meckenem the Younger., public domain)

Laura Jones, King’s College London for The Conversation

Who gets to speak? Who do we listen to? And whose opinions do we respect? These questions are always important, but even more so now, as the UK faces an uncertain future, and political leaders need to make some tough decisions. So it’s disappointing to learn that female voices continue to be marginalised in the nation’s news coverage. Women’s expertise is going untapped and unheard at a critical time.

An analysis conducted by the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power on behalf of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London has found that four out of every five people quoted as experts in online news articles by the main UK news outlets are male. The research analysed a representative sample of all news articles published online across a seven day period by major news outlets including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky, Daily Mail, Star, Express, The Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Mirror, Sun, and the Telegraph.

The imbalance is even greater for certain fields, such as foreign politics and business and finance, where men make up almost nine out of ten expert sources. And despite all the media campaigns and focus on equal representation in recent years, these figures haven’t materially shifted since a similar study was carried out in 2010.

So what’s driving this imbalance? It’s true that the UK is unfortunately still a country with a well-documented under-representation of women in leadership positions across various sectors (not least news journalism), and this certainly plays a part. But previous research has identified other factors. A tendency to rely on known contacts, reliable performers and suggestions from previous informants all militate against a widening of the expert pool.

And then there’s the question of who we consider to be an “expert”. Judgements about who is and isn’t credible play a large role in determining who gets to be a source, and therefore have a voice, in the national conversation. But judgements about credibility are not value-free. A series of studies have shown that we find the same information to be more credible when it is presented by a man, rather than a woman. Whether it be political tweets, articles about sport or abstracts for scientific papers, simply changing the name on the information has been shown to affect respondents’ judgement of the quality, competence or expertise of the content.

Updating the address book

These biases show just how hopelessly naïve it is to argue that expert sources should “just be the person with the best expertise”. This person is a chimera – for how on earth would this expertise be ranked? Any attempt to work out who they are would be influenced by biases, not only on the part of the journalist in terms of judging their credentials, but by the fact that those credentials were earned in a gender-biased world.

A related line of thought might concede a level of bias in the selection of experts, and yet contend that it doesn’t matter. After all, aren’t experts there to simply present the facts and give an objective assessment of reality? While I’m sure many academics would be touched by this level of faith in their pronouncements, it is far from the truth.

A fascinating study from earlier this year illustrates the point. After surveying more than 1,000 economists from 18 countries, the researchers found that female economists were far more likely than men to prefer government interventions over market solutions. They were also more likely to be in favour of increased environmental protection, to think that labour market policies were unequal, and were slightly more likely to disapprove of austerity. Such questions could hardly be less central to the future of society.

The differing views of female economists are not due to some inherent “redistributive gene” that is missing on the Y chromosome, but because such views rely on an analysis of certain approaches, and different life experiences will inform how we weight the associated costs and benefits. Indeed, as Sweden’s feminist government is showing, from foreign policy to which streets to snowplough first, the answer to policy questions changes when you include the perspective of the other half of the population.

The ConversationJournalists have a responsibility to seek out diverse voices, rather than “neutrally” hold up a mirror to society. Who we see explaining the world around us sends a strong symbolic signal about whose views we value, and what is possible for different groups of people. Surely if anything is going to challenge bias then it will be seeing female names in areas that society codes “male”. This may require extra effort from journalists to look beyond their existing networks, but with a wealth of resources – from The Women’s Room to SheSource and more – there is no longer any excuse not to make it.

Laura Jones, Research Associate at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, King’s College London

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

21.07.2018 – Israel David Swanson

Tell Israel to Allow Thinking in Its Schools
Ministry of Education offices on Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem

By David Swanson

Israel has passed a law allowing its Minister of Education to ban from its schools any person or group who criticizes Israel — apparently something that no teachers or students in Israel are supposed to do either (though some do). The hasbara, or pro-war propaganda, spin on this is that it is protecting Israel’s brave Troops from (rhetorical) “attacks.” But one of the chief targets of the law is understood to be Israeli troops who speak about what it is they do. And the law explicitly identifies for banning from schools those who advocate “legal or political” actions, which tend to be taken against those who make laws and political decisions, not against Troops.

Are recruits told that their military training will reduce them to such pitiful beings that they will magically suffer if children in a school somewhere speak critically of Israeli government policies?

If Israel were doing nothing wrong, if it had the ability to show with reasonable argument that it was doing nothing wrong, it would not need to go to such efforts to shield its young people from undesirable viewpoints. If it were trying to educate them to be thinkers and pursuers of justice, it would welcome all viewpoints. Instead it is banning advocates for peace and nonviolent rational debate and conflict resolution — violating basic principles of liberalism and also violating the law.

As Pat Elder has pointed out to me, Israel is party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which makes the minimum age for military recruitment 18, while allowing 17-year-olds to voluntarily enlist, as Israel does, if . . .

(a) Such recruitment is genuinely voluntary;
(b) Such recruitment is done with the informed consent of the person’s parents or legal guardians;
(c) Such persons are fully informed of the duties involved in such military service;
(d) Such persons provide reliable proof of age prior to acceptance into national military service.

But how can this be voluntary and fully informed in a state where anyone who mentions the actual “duties involved in such military service” is banned from entering any school?

When Israel ratified the above Protocol, it added this language:

“The Government of the State of Israel maintains the following safeguards in respect of voluntary recruitment into the armed forces so as to ensure that such recruitment is not forced or coerced: . . . Clear and precise explanation of the nature of the duties involved in military service is provided to both the person and the person’s parents or legal guardian.”

Clear and precise? What about true or accurate or complete?

What does Israel have to hide?

Well, nuclear weapons. Maintaining the threat of ending the world will be the task of some recruits.

Apartheid. Israel just passed another law to encourage the creation of Jewish-only towns, or what the United States calls sundown towns (Get your [black/Palestinian] ass out of [town name] before sundown). That will require help from military recruits.

Arming Nazis. Israel can’t get enough weapons to Nazis in Ukraine without the work of some of its well-educated recruits.

Genocide. Israel is gradually killing the entire population of the territories it seizes and occupies. An open discussion by honest seekers of truth and understanding might end up including some slight questioning of the morality of this.

That won’t happen in Israeli schools, unless the world condemns fascism EVERYWHERE it arises. Here’s an email address for the Ministry of Education: edusite@education.gov.il

19.07.2018 – Uk George Monbiot

Dark money lurks at the heart of our political crisis

Democracy is threatened by organisations such as the Institute of Economic Affairs that refuse to reveal who funds them

By George Monbiot for The Guardian

A mere two millennia after Roman politicians paid mobs to riot on their behalf, we are beginning to understand the role of dark money in politics, and its perennial threat to democracy. Dark money is cash whose source is not made public, and which is spent to change political outcomes. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, unearthed by Carole Cadwalladr, and the mysterious funds channelled through Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party to the leave campaign in England and Scotland have helped to bring the concept to public attention. But these examples hint at a much wider problem. Dark money can be seen as the underlying corruption from which our immediate crises emerge: the collapse of public trust in politics, the rise of a demagogic anti-politics, and assaults on the living world, public health and civic society. Democracy is meaningless without transparency.

The techniques now being used to throw elections and referendums were developed by the tobacco industry, and refined by biotechnology, fossil fuel and junk food companies. Some of us have spent years exposing the fake grassroots campaigns they established, the false identities and bogus scientific controversies they created, and the way in which media outlets have been played by them. Our warnings went unheeded, while the ultra-rich learned how to buy the political system.

So what is this organisation, and on whose behalf does it speak? If only we knew. It is rated by the accountability group Transparify as “highly opaque”. All that distinguishes organisations such as the IEA from public relations companies such as Burson-Marsteller is that we don’t know who it is working for. The only hard information we have is that, for many years, it has been funded by British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris International. When this funding was exposed, the IEA claimed that its campaigns against tobacco regulation were unrelated to the money it had received. Recently, it has been repeatedly dissing the NHS, which it wants to privatise; campaigning against controls on junk food; attacking trade unions; and defending zero-hour contracts, unpaid internships and tax havens. Its staff appear on the BBC promoting these positions, often several times a week. But never do interviewers ask the basic democratic questions: who funds you, and do they have a financial interest in these topics?

The BBC’s editorial guidelines seem clear: “We should make checks to establish the credentials of our contributors and to avoid being ‘hoaxed’.” In my view, the entire IEA is a hoax. As the documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis has revealed (ironically, on the BBC’s website), when the institute was created, in 1955, one of its founders, Maj Oliver Smedley, wrote to the other, Antony Fisher, urging that it was “imperative that we should give no indication in our literature that we are working to educate the public along certain lines which might be interpreted as having a political bias. … That is why the first draft [of the institute’s aims] is written in rather cagey terms”.

The two men were clear about its purpose: to become a public relations agency that would change society along the lines advocated by the founder of neoliberalism, Friedrich Hayek. It should not, Hayek urged them, do any actual thinking, but become a “second-hand dealer in ideas”. The IEA became the template for other neoliberal institutes. It was financed initially from the fortune Fisher made by importing broiler chicken farming into the UK. Curtis credits him with founding 150 such lobby groups around the world.

While dark money has been used to influence elections, the role of groups such as the IEA is to reach much deeper into political life. As its current director, Mark Littlewood, explains, “We want to totally reframe the debate about the proper role of the state and civil society in our country … Our true mission is to change the climate of opinion.”

Astonishingly, the IEA is registered as an educational charity, with the official purpose of helping “the general public/mankind”. As a result it is exempted from the kind of taxes about which it complains so bitterly. Charity Commission rules state that “an organisation will not be charitable if its purposes are political”. How much more political can you get? In what sense is ripping down public protections and attacking the rights of workers charitable? Surely no organisation should be registered as a charity unless any funds it receives above a certain threshold (say £1,000) are declared.

The Charity Commission announced last week that it has decided to examine the role of the IEA, to see whether it has broken its rules. I don’t hold out much hope. In response to a complaint by Andrew Purkis, a former member of the Charity Commission’s board, the commission’s regulatory compliance department claimed that the IEA provides a “relatively uncontroversial perspective accepted by informed opinion”. If the commission sees hard Brexit, privatising the NHS and defending tax havens as uncontroversial, it makes you wonder what circles its members move in.

I see such organisations as insidious and corrupting. I see them as the means by which money comes to dominate public life without having to declare its hand. I see them as representing everything that has gone wrong with our politics.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

  • This article was amended on 18 July 2018 to correctly attribute a quote.

18.07.2018 Pressenza New York

Earth First
(Image by Kevin Gill)

By Hadrien Coumans

With any bit of discernment it’s abundantly clear that we are rapidly heading towards catastrophe. Earth has a fever and is heating up. The scientific evidence of feedback loops, severity of storms, rising temperatures, rising oceans, disappearing of fresh water, acidifying oceans, species extinction, all point to a collision of contemporary civilization with reality. This is the result of humanity having created a uncalibrated, artificial existence to feed on an organic Earth. And yet an organic Earth in which humanity is undeniably a part of. We are entirely made of Earth.

An organic or Earth-centered existence, such as indigenous ways of life, is based on fundamental natural laws of reciprocity, balance and harmony, in other words, the very same definitions of health.

Earth is balancing our artificial human existence with climate change. In simple terms what we give to Earth, she gives back to us. We exist in her system and we are suffering the consequences of our own doing.

In current politics, the direction which Trump has taken up of “America First” policies of economic isolationism, xenophobia, anti-immigration and border walls on a political level clearly appease his base. A base of fear and anger –fueled often struggling lower and middle classes who have been fed the scraps of hyper-capitalism. There is poverty in the U.S. and as the saying goes in America, “someone’s got to pay.”

This toxic mixture of poverty and abrahamic style vengeance is igniting racism that has always been, at best, smoldering in the fabric of America. America First is terrifying and sickening, and familiar sounding to those of us who heard the stories of the horrors of the World Wars, Native American genocides, apartheid and slavery. It adds a permanent stain to the current U.S. human rights record. It’s 2018, children are missing and locked in cages after having been ripped from their parents’ arms.

The current human rights violations are reminiscent of the worst of the 20th century, but it is a different period.

The difference is that today these oppressive forces seek to maintain a dominance of artificial existence over Earth, in the face of climate change.
Science isn’t only working in and for academia. The U.S. intelligence body has known about climate change and its effects for a long time. They have models predicting outcomes, and it is doubtful that a rosy picture emerges for the coming decades in the classified research besides what’s been made public.
America First is the writing on the wall.

The U.S. will maintaining a position of extreme nationalism and isolationism in the storms of climate change. In the great disruptions of the disappearance of entire areas such as Florida and other coastal areas, massive drought in the center states, calamity will prevail and resources won’t be used for anyone else on Earth. Aid will only be allocated to citizens born on U.S. soil. Many nations such as India, running out of water and yet drowning under oceans will be left to manage on their own.

Massive movements of populations from coasts and areas literally on fire or too hot to sustain human life, will cause massive migrations across continents. The U.S. is anticipating massive internally displaced peoples and many attempting to enter the country. After all, the U.S. has been selling the American Dream for centuries and shouldn’t be surprised by the success of this campaign nor blame the consumers of this brilliant marketing.

The reality is that America is absolutely not ready for what is to come. It will inflict more suffering than is necessary.

As evidenced by Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the U.S. consistently showed it’s mighty mythology to be a projection of a sad and ineffective mouse. This is not a criticism of heroic individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty for country, it’s a spotlight to the bluff of a Nation which isn’t ready for receiving the destructive forces it has unleashed on Earth- for centuries. We exist in Earth’s system, therefore what we do the system, it is given back to us.

A revolution isn’t the answer. That would lead us to more of the same fragmented artificial ideas of political, economic, social “solutions”

We don’t have the luxury of time of indulging in more human attempts of artificiality separating ourselves from Earth.

We need a healthy existence which is Earth-Centered. We need to evolve.
There are people on Earth who have the knowledge to design a human existence from a blank slate, but the roots of knowledge run deep. They are the people who don’t subscribe to the Western constructs of humans separated from Earth, and understand that life is only because of Earth. They are the people who have always lived Earth-First.

The current leadership of the U.S. must get out of the way and let original, indigenous peoples step in and take the wheel, along with those who understand biology, ecosystems and natural laws.

Earth-First is our only future and we are running out of time.


Hadrien Coumans , Co-founder and co-director of Lenape Center – http://www.thelenapecenter.com

13.07.2018 Pressenza London

This post is also available in: Italian

Angry Trump Baby Takes Flight as UK Protests Tell President He’s Not Welcome
(Image by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

“The Crooked Rigged System threw everything it could at Me. But I am the most successful baby at everything I do (unparalleled)—I told you I would fly and here I am!”

 

The Ego has landed” in the United Kingdom, and the Trump Baby has taken flight.

As U.S. President Donald Trump made clear just how offended and “unwelcome” the 20-foot-tall blimp depicting him as a frustrated, diapered infant grasping a cell phone made him feel upon arriving in Britain for his first official visit, demonstrators let the balloon fly in front of the Houses of Parliament Friday morning to kick off anti-Trump protests that are expected to be historic in size and enthusiasm.

Trump’s arrival in the U.K. was marked by the release of a wide-ranging and bizarre interview the president conducted earlier this week with the British tabloid The Sun, in which he went on a tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan that was “dripping in racism” and admitted that he was bothered by the mass demonstrations in London and throughout the U.K.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London, I used to love London as a city,” Trump told The Sun. “I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”

After calling Trump’s attack on him “preposterous,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan—who initially rejected organizers’ efforts to fly the Trump Baby blimp—explained why he ultimately decided to allow the balloon to fly over London.

“Can you imagine if we limited freedom of speech because somebody’s feelings might be hurt?” Khan said.

14.07.2018 Craig Murray

The Holes in the Official Skripal Story
(Image by Craig Murray blog)

In my last post I set out the official Government account of the events in the Skripal Case. Here I examine the credibility of this story. Next week I shall look at alternative explanations.

Russia has a decade long secret programme of producing and stockpiling novichok nerve agents. It also has been training agents in secret assassination techniques, and British intelligence has a copy of the Russian training manual, which includes instruction on painting nerve agent on doorknobs.

The only backing for this statement by Boris Johnson is alleged “intelligence”, and unfortunately the “intelligence” about Russia’s secret novichok programme comes from exactly the same people who brought you the intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s WMD programme, proven liars. Furthermore, the question arises why Britain has been sitting on this intelligence for a decade and doing nothing about it, including not telling the OPCW inspectors who certified Russia’s chemical weapons stocks as dismantled.

If Russia really has a professional novichok assassin training programme, why was the assassination so badly botched? Surely in a decade of development they would have discovered that the alleged method of gel on doorknob did not work? And where is the training manual which Boris Johnson claimed to possess? Having told the world – including Russia -the UK has it, what is stopping the UK from producing it, with marks that could identify the specific copy erased?

The Russians chose to use this assassination programme to target Sergei Skripal, a double agent who had been released from jail in Russia some eight years previously.

It seems remarkable that the chosen target of an attempt that would blow the existence of a secret weapon and end the cover of a decade long programme, should be nobody more prominent than a middle ranking double agent who the Russians let out of jail years ago. If they wanted him dead they could have killed him then. Furthermore the attack on him would undermine all future possible spy swaps. Putin therefore, on this reading, was willing to sacrifice both the secrecy of the novichok programme and the spy swap card just to attack Sergei Skripal. That seems highly improbable.

Only the Russians can make novichok and only the Russians had a motive to attack the Skripals.

The nub of the British government’s approach has been the shocking willingness of the corporate and state media to parrot repeatedly the lie that the nerve agent was Russian made, even after Porton Down said they could not tell where it was made and the OPCW confirmed that finding. In fact, while the Soviet Union did develop the “novichok” class of nerve agents, the programme involved scientists from all over the Soviet Union, especially Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, as I myself learnt when I visited the newly decommissioned Nukus testing facility in Uzbekistan in 2002.

Furthermore, it was the USA who decommissioned the facility and removed equipment back to the United States. At least two key scientists from the programme moved to the United States. Formulae for several novichok have been published for over a decade. The USA, UK and Iran have definitely synthesised a number of novichok formulae and almost certainly others have done so too. Dozens of states have the ability to produce novichok, as do many sophisticated non-state actors.

As for motive, the Russian motive might be revenge, but whether that really outweighs the international opprobrium incurred just ahead of the World Cup, in which so much prestige has been invested, is unclear.

What is certainly untrue is that only Russia has a motive. The obvious motive is to attempt to blame and discredit Russia. Those who might wish to do this include Ukraine and Georgia, with both of which Russia is in territorial dispute, and those states and jihadist groups with which Russia is in conflict in Syria. The NATO military industrial complex also obviously has a plain motive for fueling tension with Russia.

There is of course the possibility that Skripal was attacked by a private gangster interest with which he was in conflict, or that the attack was linked to Skripal’s MI6 handler Pablo Miller’s work on the Orbis/Steele Russiagate dossier on Donald Trump.

Plainly, the British governments statements that only Russia had the means and only Russia had the motive, are massive lies on both counts.

The Russians had been tapping the phone of Yulia Skripal. They decided to attack Sergei Skripal while his daughter was visiting from Moscow.

In an effort to shore up the government narrative, at the time of the Amesbury attack the security services put out through Pablo Miller’s long term friend, the BBC’s Mark Urban, that the Russians “may have been” tapping Yulia Skripal’s phone, and the claim that this was strong evidence that the Russians had indeed been behind the attack.

But think this through. If that were true, then the Russians deliberately attacked at a time when Yulia was in the UK rather than when Sergei was alone. Yet no motive has been adduced for an attack on Yulia or why they would attack while Yulia was visiting – they could have painted his doorknob with less fear of discovery anytime he was alone. Furthermore, it is pretty natural that Russian intelligence would tap the phone of Yulia, and of Sergei if they could. The family of double agents are normal targets. I have no doubt in the least, from decades of experience as a British diplomat, that GCHQ have been tapping Yulia’s phone. Indeed, if tapping of phones is seriously put forward as evidence of intent to murder, the British government must be very murderous indeed.

Their trained assassin(s) painted a novichok on the doorknob of the Skripal house in the suburbs of Salisbury. Either before or after the attack, they entered a public place in the centre of Salisbury and left a sealed container of the novichok there.

The incompetence of the assassination beggars belief when compared to British claims of a long term production and training programme. The Russians built the heart of the International Space Station. They can kill an old bloke in Salisbury. Why did the Russians not know that the dose from the door handle was not fatal? Why would trained assassins leave crucial evidence lying around in a public place in Salisbury? Why would they be conducting any part of the operation with the novichok in a public area in central Salisbury?

Why did nobody see them painting the doorknob? This must have involved wearing protective gear, which would look out of place in a Salisbury suburb. With Skripal being resettled by MI6, and a former intelligence officer himself, it beggars belief that MI6 did not fit, as standard, some basic security including a security camera on his house.

The Skripals both touched the doorknob and both functioned perfectly normally for at least five hours, even able to eat and drink heartily. Then they were simultaneously and instantaneously struck down by the nerve agent, at a spot in the city centre coincidentally close to where the assassins left a sealed container of the novichok lying around. Even though the nerve agent was eight times more deadly than Sarin or VX, it did not kill the Skripals because it had been on the doorknob and affected by rain.

Why did they both touch the outside doorknob in exiting and closing the door? Why did the novichok act so very slowly, with evidently no feeling of ill health for at least five hours, and then how did it strike both down absolutely simultaneously, so that neither can call for help, despite their being different sexes, weights, ages, metabolisms and receiving random completely uncontrolled doses. The odds of that happening are virtually nil. And why was the nerve agent ultimately ineffective?

Detective Sergeant Bailey attended the Skripal house and was also poisoned by the doorknob, but more lightly. None of the other police who attended the house were affected.

Why was the Detective Sergeant affected and nobody else who attended the house, or the scene where the Skripals were found? Why was Bailey only lightly affected by this extremely deadly substance, of which a tiny amount can kill?

Four months later, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess were rooting about in public parks, possibly looking for cigarette butts, and accidentally came into contact with the sealed container of a novichok. They were poisoned and Dawn Sturgess subsequently died.

If the nerve agent had survived four months because it was in a sealed container, why has this sealed container now mysteriously disappeared again? If Rowley and Sturgess had direct contact straight from the container, why did they not both die quickly? Why had four months searching of Salisbury and a massive police, security service and military operation not found this container, if Rowley and Sturgess could?

I am, with a few simple questions, demolishing what is the most ludicrous conspiracy theory I have ever heard – the Salisbury conspiracy theory being put forward by the British government and its corporate lackies.

My next post will consider some more plausible explanations of this affair.

 

Originally posted here

UK Government preparing for Anti-Trump protests as “if London was burning down

11.07.2018 Pressenza London

This post is also available in: Spanish, Italian, Greek

UK Government preparing for Anti-Trump protests as “if London was burning down
“We’ve seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don’t let them march and rise to power,” said Guardian columnist Owen Jones. (Image by Stop Trump Coalition/Screengrab Via Common Dreams)

We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents,” said one organizer

As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s “embarrassing sham of a government” continued its slow-motion collapse on Monday with the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, British authorities scrambled to prepare for “unprecedented” protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit by launching a major police mobilizationaimed at containing what organizers have dubbed “The Carnival of Resistance.”

“Donald Trump likes to pose as an international tough guy, but it looks like he’s too scared to face protesters in London. If true, this is already a huge victory for protesters.”
Stand Up to Trump

Hundreds of thousands of Britons are expected to take to the streets nationwideon Friday in opposition to Trump, who is scheduled to arrive in the U.K. Thursday evening. The protests—which will include a 20-foot-tall angry Trump baby blimp flying over London—are expected to be so large that White House officials are reportedly concerned that the crowd-obsessed Trump could lash out at his British hosts.

“We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents,” Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist who helped organize the anti-Trump demonstrations, told TIME on Monday. “We’ve seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don’t let them march and rise to power.”

According to the British Sunday Times, White House officials are planning to do all they can to “shield” Trump from the demonstrations by keeping him on a tightly organized schedule, but this will be difficult as Britons have organized enormous demonstrations in major cities throughout the country.

Speaking to the Guardian on Monday, one chief constable said the police resources requested by the government to contain the mass demonstrations were on the level that would be required “if London was burning down.”

“Donald Trump likes to pose as an international tough guy, but it looks like he’s too scared to face protesters in London,” the group Stand Up to Trump declared in a statement, alluding to the U.S. president’s reported plans to steer clear of the streets of London. “If true, this is already a huge victory for protesters.”

The Stop Trump Coalition—a group of organizations that played a role in planning the nationwide actions—provided a map of the protests Trump’s team will be attempting to avoid.

Amid reports that the government is working to bring a major police presence to the demonstrations, Amnesty International warned British authorities against attempting to stamp out freedom of expression in an effort to “appease their visitors.”

Allan Hogarth, head of policy at Amnesty International U.K., said Trump’s visit is a major “opportunity for the U.K. to show that peaceful protest is an essential component of a free and fair society, not something to be shut down as a political embarrassment.”

Acknowleging that Trump must “be defeated primarily in the U.S.,” Global Justice Now organizer Sam Lund-Harket wrote in a blog post that it is the job of progressives in the U.K. to show solidarity with their American allies by turning out in large numbers to denounce the president’s destructive and hate-filled agenda.

“Under Theresa May, the U.K. is a key Trump ally, so it’s important that he can’t waltz in without significant opposition,” Lund-Harket concluded. “Luckily tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, will be flooding to London on Friday, July 13 to march against hi

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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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