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Monbiot Is a Hypocrite and a Bully

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | January 15, 2018

It is time for George Monbiot’s legion of supporters to call him out. Not only is he a hypocrite, but he is becoming an increasingly dangerous one.

Turning a blind eye to his behaviour, or worse excusing it, as too often happens, has only encouraged him to intensify his attacks on dissident writers, those who – whether right or wrong on any specific issue – are slowly helping us all to develop more critical perspectives on western foreign policy goals than has ever been possible before.

I do not lightly use such strong language against Monbiot, someone I once admired. But his column this week drips with hypocrisy as he accuses the right wing media of being the real villains when it comes to “no-platforming”. Monbiot writes:

But perhaps the real discomfort is that the worst no-platforming of all takes place within our newspapers. In the publications most obsessed with student silliness, there is no platform for socialism, no platform for environmentalism, no platform for those who might offend the interests of the proprietors. …

I believe that a healthy media organisation, like a healthy university, should admit a diversity of opinion. I want the other newspapers to keep publishing views with which I fiercely disagree. But they – and we – should also seek opposing views and publish them too, however uncomfortable this might be.

What free speech advocate would disagree with that? Except it is Monbiot himself who has been using his prominent platforms, at the Guardian and on social media, to discredit critical thinkers on the left – not with reasoned arguments, but by impugning their integrity.

Denied a platform

It started with his unsubstantiated claim that scholars like Noam Chomsky and the late Ed Herman, as well as the acclaimed journalist John Pilger, were “genocide deniers and belittlers”. It now focuses on childish insinuations that those who question the corporate media’s simplistic narrative on Syria are Assad apologists or in Vladimir Putin’s pay.

But worse than this, Monbiot is also conspiring – either actively or through his silence – to deny critics of his and the Guardian’s position on Syria the chance to set out their evidence in its pages.

The Guardian’s anti-democratic stance does not surprise me, as someone who worked there for many years. I found myself repeatedly no-platformed by the paper – even while on its staff – after I started taking an interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict and writing about the discomforting issue of what a Jewish state entails. My treatment is far from unique.

Now the paper is denying a platform to those who question simplistic and self-serving western narratives on Syria. And Monbiot is backing his employer to the hilt, even as he professes his commitment to the publication of views he fiercely disagrees with. That’s the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

‘Selfless’ White Helmets?

The latest installment of the Guardian and Monbiot’s long-running battle to silence Syria dissidents arrived last month when Olivia Solon, the paper’s technology writer living in San Francisco, developed a sudden and unexpected expertise in a controversial Syrian group called the White Helmets.

In the western corporate media narrative, the White Helmets are a group of dedicated and selfless rescue workers. They are supposedly the humanitarians on whose behalf a western intervention in Syria would have been justified – before, that is, Syrian leader Bashar Assad queered their pitch by inviting in Russia.

However, there are problems with the White Helmets. They operate only in rebel – read: mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS-held – areas of Syria, and plenty of evidence shows that they are funded by the UK and US to advance both countries’ far-from-humanitarian policy objectives in Syria.

There are also strong indications that members of the White Helmets have been involved in war crimes, and that they have staged rescue operations as a part of a propaganda offensive designed to assist Islamic extremists trying to oust Assad. (Solon discounts this last claim. In doing so, she ignores several examples of such behaviour, concentrating instead on an improbable “mannequin challenge”, when the White Helmets supposedly froze their emergency operations, in the midst of rescue efforts, apparently as part of a peculiar publicity campaign.)

Guardian hatchet job

Whatever side one takes in this debate, one would imagine that Monbiot should have a clear agenda in support of hearing evidence from all sides. One might also imagine that he would want to distance himself from Solon’s efforts to tie criticism of the White Helmets to a supposed “fake news” crisis and paint those critical of the group as Putin-bots. According to Solon:

The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

Those are the same algorithms that have been changed in recent months to make sure that prominent leftist websites are increasingly difficult to find on internet searches and their writers’ views effectively disappeared.

Yet Monbiot has been using social media to promote Solon’s cheerleading of the White Helmets and her hatchet job against on-the-ground journalists who have taken a far more critical view of the group.

As set out by Prof Tim Hayward, the Guardian’s response to criticism of Solon’s piece has been typical. The comments section below the article was hastily closed after many criticisms were voiced by readers. The journalists who were singled out for attack by Solon were denied a right of reply. A group of concerned academics led by Hayward who submitted their own article, which detailed publicly available evidence to counter Solon’s simplistic account of the White Helmets, were ignored. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s editors and the reader’s editor have ignored all efforts by these parties to contact them.

Given his claim to be an uncompromising defender of free speech and a fierce advocate of providing platforms to those who can back up their arguments with evidence, however discomforting, one might have assumed that Monbiot would at the very least have lobbied on behalf of Hayward and his fellow scholars. But not a bit of it. Yet again he has joined the dogs of the corporate media baying for blood. Instead he turned to Twitter to claim Hayward and Piers Robinson, an expert on propaganda, had “disgraced” themselves.

Undermining climate concerns

The many tens of thousands of leftists who defend Monbiot, or turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy, largely do so because of his record on the environment. But in practice they are enabling not only his increasingly overt incitement against critical thinkers, but also undermining the very cause his supporters believe he champions.

Climate breakdown is a global concern. Rewilding, bike-riding, protecting bees and polar bears, and developing new sustainable technologies are all vitally important. But such actions will amount to little if we fail to turn a highly sceptical eye on the activities of a western military-industrial complex ravaging the planet’s poorest regions.

These war industries fill their coffers by using weapons indiscriminately on “enemy” populations, spawning new and fiercer enemies – while often propping them up too – to generate endless wars. The consequences include massive displacements of these populations who then destabilise other regions, spreading the effect and creating new opportunities for the arms manufacturers, homeland security industries, and the financial industries that feed off them.

A true environmentalist has to look as critically at western policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and many other areas of the globe as he does at UK policy in the Welsh hills and the Lake District.

All indications are that Monbiot lacks the experience, knowledge and skills to unravel the deceptions being perpetrated in the west’s proxy and not-so-proxy wars overseas. That is fair enough. What is not reasonable is that he should use his platforms to smear precisely those who can speak with a degree of authority and independence – and then conspire in denying them a platform to respond. That is the behaviour not only of a hypocrite, but of a bully too.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amnesty International Is Barking Up The Wrong Tree

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | January 15, 2108

I have received a letter from Margaret Huang, Amnesty International’s executive director. She is fundraising on the basis of President Trump’s “chilling disregard for our cherished human rights” and his exploitation of “hatred, misogyny, racism and xenophobia,” by which he has “emboldened and empowered the most violent segments of our society.”

Considering the hostility of Identity Politics toward Trump, one can understand why Ms. Huang frames her fundraiser in this way, but are the Trump deplorables the most empowered and violent segments of our society or is it the security agencies, the police, the neoconservatives, the presstitute media, and the Republican and Democratic parties?

John Kiriakou, Ray McGovern, Philip Giraldi, Edward Snowden, and others inform us that it is their former employers, the security agencies, that are empowered by unaccountability and violent by intent. Certainly the security agencies are emboldened by everything they have gotten away with, including their conspiracy to destroy President Trump with their orchestration known as Russiagate.

The violence that the US government has committed against humanity since the Clinton regime attacked Serbia was not committed by Trump deplorables. The violence that has destroyed in whole or part eight countries, murdering, maiming, and displacing millions of peoples, was committed by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, their secretaries of state such as Hillary Clinton, their national security advisers, their military and security establishments, both parties in Congress. The murder of entire countries was endorsed by the presstitute media and the heads of state of Washington’s European, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese vassals. Trump and his deplorables have a long way to go to match this record of violence.

Whether she understands it or not, Ms. Huang with her letter is shifting the violence from where it belongs to where it does not. The consequence will be to increase violence and human rights violations.

The most dangerous source of violence that we face is nuclear Armageddon resulting from the neoconservative quest for US hegemony. Since the Clinton regime every US government has broken tension-easing agreements that previous administrations had achieved with Moscow. During the Obama regime the gratuitous aggressions and false accusations against Russia became extreme.

Why doesn’t Amnesty International address the reckless and irresponsible acts of the US government that are violating the rights of people in numerous countries and pushing the world into nuclear war? Instead, there have been times when Amnesty International aligns with Washington’s propaganda against Washington’s victims.

By jumping on the military/security complex’s get Trump movement, human rights and environmental organizations have increased the likelihood that rights and environment will be lost to war.

There can be no doubt that Trump is undoing past environmental protections and opening the environment and wildlife to more destruction. However, the worst destruction comes from war, especially nuclear war.

Would things be different if the liberal/progressive/left had rallied to Trump’s support in reducing tensions with Russia, in normalizing the hostile relations that Obama had established with Moscow? Would the support of the liberal/progressive/left have helped Trump resist the pressures from the neoconservative warmongers? In exchange for support for his principal goal, would Trump have mitigated industry’s attacks on the environment and vetoed the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that violates human rights?

We will never know, because the liberal/progressive/left could not see beyond the end ot its nose to comprehend what it means for the environment and for human rights for nuclear powers to be locked into mutual suspicion.

Thanks to the failure of the liberal/progressive/left and to the presstitute media to understand the stakes, the military/security complex has been successful in pushing Trump off his agenda. The damage that a mining company and offshore drilling can do to the environment is large, but it pales in comparison to the damage from nuclear weapons.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Canadian Research Adds to Worry Over an Environmental Threat the Pentagon Has Downplayed for Decades

By Abrahm Lustgarten | ProPublica | January 9, 2018

New research by Canadian scientists into the spread of a chemical commonly used in military explosives has confirmed some of the worst fears of U.S. environmental regulators tracking the threat posed by the Pentagon’s handling of its munitions in this country.

The Canadian research analyzed soil and water samples at nine sites where military explosives were detonated between 1990 and 2014, and came up with data about where and in what concentrations the explosive compound known as RDX, a possible human carcinogen, had turned up. Calling RDX “an internationally known problem,” which “has led to an international warning on possible soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination on military training sites,” the research described with actual measurements how RDX floats on the wind and seeps through soils into water supplies.

The researchers took water samples from groundwater at the explosives sites and found that in 26 out of 36 samples, the RDX that had made its way into aquifers exceeded levels considered safe. As a result, the researchers suggest that the data can be used to model RDX contamination at any site where munitions are routinely detonated, and for the first time, give environmental experts a way to quantify how much of it is spreading into surrounding communities.

RDX was considered a major military breakthrough when it was first developed for large-scale use on the eve of World War II, and to this day it remains a staple of the U.S. military’s war-making abilities, used in bombs, missiles and other weapons. And for decades, the Pentagon has known about RDX’s potential health and environmental threat. But the Pentagon has long maintained that the risk is not great, and it has both financed research and flexed its political muscle to have its view prevail. Most recently, the Pentagon has waged an intense fight to not have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency upgrade its classification of RDX’s health threat, a move that could expose the Department of Defense to billions of added dollars in cleanup costs.

At a minimum, the Canadian research — published Nov. 17 in the Journal of Environmental Quality — will add to the store of knowledge about RDX contamination. The research found that while the highest concentrations of RDX remained in a ring around the sites where munitions had exploded, pieces of explosive, perhaps as large as a centimeter, were carried on the wind and later settled in the soil. Surface and groundwater samples showed that the RDX ultimately did not quickly dissolve or degrade as it sank deeper into the earth, where it usually was carried into water supplies.

Harry Craig, one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s foremost experts on explosives contamination, has described RDX as the single greatest problem the U.S. faces when it comes to cleaning up thousands of toxic munitions sites across the country. In an email to agency colleagues, Craig described the Canadian research as both novel and useful.

ProPublica reported on the history of RDX and the Department of Defense’s long-standing campaign to minimize its risks and fight EPA regulation in December. RDX has been discovered at dozens of U.S. defense sites, and increasingly in public drinking water supplies around them. After early research by the U.S. Army determined that RDX was likely responsible for cancerous tumors in rats and mice, the Department of Defense has produced dozens of reports portraying RDX as more benign.

The new report from Canadian scientists confirms some things that the Pentagon had long sought to deny: that RDX contamination was likely to be present in most places where munitions were exploded or detonated, and that once it was present in soil, RDX moved easily into water supplies. The Canadian findings suggest that RDX contamination on or around defense sites in the U.S. could be even more widespread than is already known.

The Canadian report, authored by researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement, and at Defence Research and Development Canada, both in Quebec, lists several U.S. sites with concentrations of RDX contamination that had not been previously disclosed in environmental data the Pentagon had provided to ProPublica. At Fort Hood, in Texas, RDX was present at dangerous levels. The same was true at Fort Greely in Alaska and Fort Bliss in New Mexico.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Earth is ‘Pretty Prepared’ for Upcoming Mini Ice Age – Researcher

Sputnik – December 29, 2017

Fluctuations in solar activity could mean a mini ice age on Earth in the 2030s, according to a mathematical model of the sun’s magnetic field produced by scientists in the UK and Russia. Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, who led the research, told Radio Sputnik that the Sun regularly goes through a “hibernation stage.”

Sputnik: Are there any historical records of similar ice ages and what impact did they have on the environment and people?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: Yes, of course there are. The closest was the Maunder Minimum the 17th century, which lasted from 1655 to 1715, about 70 years, and we will have a slightly shorter ice age than there was 300-370 years ago.

Prior to that was the Wolf Minimum, which was something similar, during Roman times. They keep repeating every 350-400 years because the Sun goes through this [period of] minimum activity.

Sputnik: You’ve previously said that the magnetic waves from the Sun could become more active again in the 2050’s and that we have to be ready for the next big solar activity. What measures can be taken to prepare our planet for this?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: The planet is pretty prepared, it’s obviously been doing this for billions of years and survived. It has natural mechanisms which respond to solar activity in different ways. The problem will be for us to pass through the minimum of current magnetic field activity, which will come in the next 30 years, because I can only guess that the vegetation period will start reducing.

If you have less [solar] emissions, less radiation and a dropping temperature it means that vegetables won’t be able to grow properly, wheat can’t grow properly, so we might have a problem with some sorts of food which we will probably need to think through.When the Sun comes back, it will be like the previous 100-200 years, there will be some fluctuating activity but mostly a standard which people at the moment are very used to and have very nice models describing it.

Sputnik: Have you had any communication or reaction from other researchers regarding your study?

Professor Valentina Zharkova: I have strong support from a few hundred [researchers], maybe more. They invite me to international conferences for talks. I also have some people who criticize [my work] very strongly, these are mostly people who rely on the single [solar] dynamo model.

We just invited a Russian dynamo expert Elena Popova to help us to understand what we found, and this is how we got involved with the model. In our case, we assume there are two layers where the dynamo layers are generated and this is how our observations can be explained.

Those people who have worked all their lives producing rays from a single layer, they strongly resist [a different theory] for the reason that they invested so much time and effort in papers and other work. To some extent, it takes a while to accept new ideas but things are moving on because seismic observations show that the Sun has two cells with different regional circulations in the solar interior.

So, this idea of two dynamos is not alien, the Sun is trying to tell us, “Guys, look at me more carefully! And if they look more carefully they will discover that indeed it has these two cells which have been discovered.

We found two waves from magnetic field observations, not from theory. We got two of them [waves] with similar values. So, the Sun is telling us, “look, we have two waves, not one!” This is how we came up with the two dynamo waves, because the Sun has shown us this during observations.

December 30, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

DARPA Genetic Extinction Research a Mistake – Human Rights Watchdog

Sputnik – 11.12.2017

The US advanced military research body – DARPA – announced that it will invest tens of millions of dollars into genetic extinction research. While the official aim of this research is said to be fighting harmful insects, there are significantly darker speculations about the possible use of such a tool.

​Radio Sputnik discussed the possible dangers of this kind of research with Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director of the ETC Group, an international organization dedicated to “the conservation and sustainable advancement of cultural and ecological diversity and human rights.”

“When it is developed under an umbrella of a military research, you get a clear notion that there can be a dual purpose of this research,” Ribeiro told Sputnik.

Speaking about the official purpose of the so-called extinction technologies research — fighting malaria-bearing mosquitoes — she noted that even if one species of mosquito is eradicated, it will not influence the bacteria that causes malaria.

“[The malaria bacteria] will find another vector,” she stated.

So-called gene drive technologies allow for the artificial modification of the genes of a particular species, replacing unwanted genes with those that are seen to be beneficial, and the modified gene is then transferred to future generations.

According to Ribeiro, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity has been discussing the ethics of whether such a tool should be developed.

Specialists speculate that if gene drive technology is to be developed it must be done in ultra high-security Biosafety level-4 facilities with the most stringent level of precautions, possibly a laboratory on an island, as the threat such a tool poses — one which would inexorably spread throughout the world — has no comparable antecedent.

The Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD) explicitly forbids the hostile, military use of tools that modify the environment or the ecology of a so-called enemy country. The US, Russia and China are parties to this convention. What DARPA wants to develop falls into the category, according to Ribiero, as eradicating any species influences an ecology in ways that cannot be predicted.

The problem with the UN and the conventions it adopts is that they do not provide for sufficient monitoring or prevention of such weapons.

“The whole UN is about diplomacy,” Ribeiro said. “The military goes under their radar.”

According to watchdog head, the only reason the world knows about this research is because human rights groups like ETC make requests using the Freedom of Information Act, requesting information from public universities related to the development of the gene technology.

Due to its poor track record on reigning in abusers of technology, a moratorium or ban by the UN would not prevent the US military from developing any gene tool they chose, she asserted.

Earlier in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that US specialists are harvesting biological material in Russia, “purposefully and professionally.”

With the development of genetic extinction technologies, fears of creating an “ethnic weapon” that could target those with specific racial characteristics based on genetic sequences rise to the surface.

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Pentagon revealed as top funder of controversial gene editing tech

RT | December 5, 2017

The US military is the world’s top funder of a controversial gene editing technology capable of altering global ecosystems. Emails obtained by an environmental advocacy group show that the Pentagon has been secretly funding ‘gene drive’ studies.

Over 1,200 emails obtained through a freedom of information request by the ETC Group, a research and advocacy organization that focuses on ecological and agricultural issues, shed new light on gene drive research conducted by the shadowy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The US Department of Defense has pumped at least $100 million into a controversial technology known as “gene drives” – $35 million more than previously reported – making the US military the top funder and developer of the gene-modifying tech.

The technology is capable of splicing DNA strands in order to insert, alter, or remove targeted traits, and “drive” them through a population by ensuring all the offspring of the targeted organism inherit the alteration. Proponents of the gene-editing technology say it can be used to wipe out malaria-spreading mosquitoes, for example. Critics point out that the method could have unforeseen environmental consequences.

“You may be able to remove viruses or the entire mosquito population, but that may also have downstream ecological effects on species that depend on them,” the Guardian cited one UN official as saying.

ETC officials warned of the dangers the technology could pose if repurposed as a biological weapon.

“Gene drives are a powerful and dangerous new technology and potential biological weapons could have disastrous impacts on peace, food security and the environment, especially if misused,” said Jim Thomas, co-director of ETC Group. “The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the US military raises alarming questions about this entire field.”

The emails also revealed that a group of US military advisers have conducted two classified studies on genome editing and gene drives. The secret research, which focused on the potential military application of gene drive technology and use of gene drives in agriculture, included outside input from a Monsanto executive.

Gene drive promotion and development has also received assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation gave $1.6 million to the public relations firm Emerging Ag to exert influence on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the key body for gene drive governance.

Following calls in 2016 for a global moratorium on the use of gene drive technology, the CBD sought input from scientists and experts in an online forum. According to emails obtained by ETC Group, Emerging Ag recruited more than 65 experts, including a Gates Foundation senior official, a DARPA official, and scientists who had received DARPA funding, in an attempt to covertly influence the UN body.

A UN moratorium on the controversial technology would halt DARPA’s plan to test genetically-modified mosquitoes in Africa.

“While claiming potential health benefits, any application of such powerful technologies should be subject to the highest standards of transparency and disclosure. Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case,” Mariam Mayet, executive director of the African Centre for Biodiversity, told ETC. “Releasing risky GM organisms into the environments of these African countries is outrageous and deeply worrying.”

DARPA is no stranger to meddling with mother nature. In November, the military research agency announced plans to genetically engineer plant-based sensors as battlefield surveillance tech.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute: How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda

Chicago ALBA Solidarity / November 30, 2017

As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador[1] and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

This NACLA article[2] provides an excellent example. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and rightwing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, [3] Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Weber,[4] Jacobin, ROAR, [5] Intercontinentalcry, Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency, or the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

  1. The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”. [6]
  1. The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.[7]
  1. “The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.” [8] In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.
  1. Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a rightwing anti-Evo Morales political party.[9]
  1. The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.” [10]

REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

  1. These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government. (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”)[11] Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets. [12]

The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

  1. The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.[13]
  1. Anti- highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.[14]
  1. They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.[15]  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds.  That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. [16] Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.[17]

This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, [they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”[18]

Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyer belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking to closely into it.

It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. UpsideDownWorld is an excellent example of this.

Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from the Western domination.

Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature, in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played. To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

[1] https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/16/propaganda-as-news-ecuador-sells-out-indigenous-tribes-and-the-environment-to-china/

[2] https://nacla.org/blog/2017/08/22/why-evo-morales-reviving-bolivia%E2%80%99s-controversial-tipnis-road

[3] http://upsidedownworld.org/main/bolivia-archives-31/4864-bolivias-conamaq-indigenous-movement-we-will-not-sell-ourselves-to-any-government-or-political-party

[4] https://mronline.org/2011/08/20/separating-fact-from-fantasy-in-bolivia-a-review-of-jeffery-r-webbers-from-rebellion-to-reform-in-bolivia/

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[5] https://roarmag.org/essays/bolivia-authoritarianism-mas-elections/

[6] Fred Fuentes, Bolivia: Solidarity activists need to support revolutionary process; Rumble over jungle far from over http://links.org.au/node/2611

[7]   http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/09/26/end-to-usaid-spying-looms-in-latin-america.html

[8] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[9] http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/Pedro-Nuni-lideres-regionales-proyecto_0_1946805357.html

[10] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[11] http://www.coha.org/corrupted-idealism-bolivias-compromise-between-development-and-the-environment/

[12] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[13] Linda C.  Farthing, Benjamin H. Kohl Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change (2014: 52)

[14] http://links.org.au/node/2611

[15] http://amazonwatch.org/news/2011/0921-appeal-to-bolivian-president-evo-morales-protect-the-rights-of-the-indigenous-peoples-of-tipnis

[16] http://www.globalresearch.ca/usaid-spying-in-latin-america/5306679

[17] http://www.hispantv.com/noticias/ecuador/37659/eeuu-destino-$2000-millones-para-desestabilizar-america-latina

[18] http://links.org.au/node/2611

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Deception | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Times hails Belgian royal’s conservation of the Congo – a place ravaged by Belgian royals

RT | November 7, 2017

“Why would a Belgian royal risk his life to save a Congolese wilderness?” reads a somehow unironic headline in the Times Magazine this weekend. The question is posed alongside an introduction to Belgium’s Prince Emmanuel de Merode.

According to the profile, de Merode is “battling to preserve the Virunga National Park – and the people and animals who live there.” The story follows de Merode’s conservation efforts in the eastern Congo where the royal is leading the redevelopment of Virunga’s internal infrastructure, including the costly construction of a two-mile canal and a series of hydroelectric plants.

Referring to de Merode’s “staggering ambition” for the country’s power grid, the article reads: “For this plant alone has raised $22million, plus $12million for a 250-mile network to distribute its electricity to three towns on Virunga’s border.”

The piece includes dazzling tales of de Merode evading machine gun fire while flying his Cessna jet over territories held by militiamen, his battle to defeat poachers targeting endangered animals and his “visionary” bid to remake the region.

But given the brutal history of the Belgian monarchy in the Congo, and the historic transfer of wealth out of the country to its rulers in Europe, some readers quickly declared the piece not only tone deaf, but also a stunning display of ignorance.

It is estimated that more 10 million people were killed during King Leopold II’s reign over the Congo, a country allocated to Belgium in 1884 during the Berlin Conference to regulate Europe’s colonization of West Africa.

Rising demand for rubber worldwide meant that land in the resource-rich Congo was divided up by the king and given to private mining companies in order to boost production. These companies were allowed to operate with impunity, forcing local Congolese into labor to collect the rubber cheaply.

The Force Publique, the 19,000-strong native paramilitary army set up to protect the interests of the mining firms, were notorious for cutting off the hands of workers who refused to collect rubber, or failed to meet their quotas. Soldiers also took women and family members hostage in order to force people into work.

For some, De Merode’s fundraising to build his hydroelectric dam might be more easily taken on its merits if his ancestors had not used profits from the Congo to fund large-scale urban renewal projects back in Belgium.

Leopold himself claimed he never profited personally from colonialism, but the Belgian scholar Jules Marchal has estimated that he drew around 220 million francs – more than $1billion in today’s money – from the Congo in his lifetime.

For his part, de Merode does acknowledge some of his country’s crimes, namely King Albert’s theft of two million acres worth of subsistence farms to create the national park in the first place.

“Enormous benefit was given to the whole of humanity, but the price is being paid by the local people who are among the poorest on earth,” he said. “You have an enormous case of social injustice… Local people are extremely hostile. Many of them are desperate, with no livelihood, no income and nowhere to go.”

One wonders if his concerns about social justice extend as far as reparations.

READ MORE: Prince William warns there are too many humans

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

A Few More Who Think The Poor Ought To Have Access To Cheap Energy

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | October 31, 2017

If you were asked to name the most immoral thing going on in the world today, you would be hard pressed to come up with a better candidate than the campaign to keep the world’s poor in poverty. This campaign usually goes under the banner of “saving the planet” or “sustainability” or something similar. There are times when it feels very lonely out here in the small group pointing out the deep immorality of this campaign. For example, one such time was last April, when some hundreds of thousands of spoiled, wealthy Americans conducted what they called the “March for Science,” demanding that cheap and reliable energy be restricted and that the price of energy be increased to a level to make sure that the poor could never afford it. The entire progressive press and media cheered these people on.

In the camp of people calling out the “sustainability” campaigners for their immorality, I particularly favor the ones who don’t mince their words. These campaigners need to be harshly condemned. So today I’ll give a shout out to a couple of voices that aren’t afraid to say the obvious on this subject.

First, Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK participated in a debate at Cambridge University on October 26, where the question before the house was “This House would rather cool the planet than warm the economy.” Cambridge, like all elite universities these days, has become a center for advocacy of de-carbonization, of de-industrialization, and of making sure that poor countries cannot get energy that is cheap and reliable and that works. Benny’s full presentation can be found at the link. Here are a few excerpts:

[T]he fact that stopping economic development is even being advocated by some of the world’s most privileged students in Cambridge reveals how far removed this green bubble is from the harsh reality of billions of people who are desperately trying to escape poverty. Let’s not beat about the bush: If today’s motion would ever be implemented by some radical green government, it would lead to the death of millions of poor people in the developing world, astronomical mass unemployment and economic collapse. That’s because poor nations without economic growth have no future and are unable to raise living standards for impoverished populations. . . .

Climate and green energy policies have lead to is the biggest wealth transfer in the history of modern Europe — from the poor to the rich. . . . The proponents of today’s motion argue that economic growth should be sacrificed or at least curtailed in order to cut global CO2 emissions. Denying the world’s poor the very basis on which Britain and much of Europe became wealthy — largely due to cheap coal, oil and gas — amounts to an inhumane and atrocious attempt by green activists to sacrifice the needs of the world’s poor on the altar of climate alarmism.

“Inhumane” and “atrocious.”  I could have come up with even more such words, but that’s a pretty good start. Good job, Benny!

And here is another one, this time from reader Mikko Paunio, who sent me a link to his recent (October 30) article discussing why restricting fossil fuels and requiring expensive and intermittent renewables threatens public health in poor countries. The title is “Sustainability Threatens Public Health In The Developing World.”

Paunio points out that good public health requires large amounts of clean water, which in turn requires reliable and affordable power.

We take sanitary practices for granted in wealthier countries but hygienic practices require water in quantity and uninterrupted power to supply that water and related sewage systems.

And it’s not just clean drinking water that is at issue. Good hygiene and sanitation require water not only for drinking, but also for things like laundry, dishes, toilets and sewers.

Painstaking research has shown that the provision of clean drinking water brings down children’s diarrhoea risk by [only] around 20-25 per cent in a developing country setting (31,32). This is partly because purified water is a harsh environment for those enteric pathogenic microbes that would otherwise enter the system. However more importantly, it is because so many water washable diseases remain transmissible under unhygienic conditions. . . . [H]ygienic practices include personal hygiene, household hygiene i.e. linen and other laundry, kitchen hygiene (utensils and food), cleanliness of suitable surface materials especially in bathrooms. These require water in substantial quantities for ensuring hygiene by de-contamination and human-waste disposal, in addition to providing solely drinking water.  

And then there’s the question of air pollution, particularly the indoor variety. In countries without cheap and reliable electricity, the people of necessity turn to indoor fires of wood or animal dung for heating and cooking. The result:

Decentralized heating and cooking in homes in the urban areas of the developing world account for most ambient air pollution and perhaps 80-90 % of the WHO estimate of up to 6.5 million annual deaths linked to such air pollution.

So where are our national and international bureaucracies on addressing these critical issues?

Instead of addressing those [water and air pollution] issues in the most practical way possible, the US in 2013 declined multilateral (World Bank) aid to build centralized power plants in the poorest countries – because to be affordable they had to use coal. Instead, the US government sided with WHO and Dr. Margaret Chan and insisted on climate change mitigation for poor countries while giving China unlimited emissions until 2030.

Where did we go wrong? When guiding the “Our Common Future” report, Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland chose to deny crucial infrastructural urban development, such as the provision of fresh water supplies and the installation of sewerage systems, unless it could be done “sustainably”. But the countries that need such infrastructure are often unable to raise capital on their own and need multilateral assistance from rich countries. By mandating they could only have loans if they agreed to build things that would be too expensive, we doomed those countries to failure.

I guess I can understand how the bureaucracies can get involved in these efforts that lead to mass impoverishment and millions of deaths. After all, bureaucracies have an internal dynamic that makes them only interested in increasing their own power and prerogatives; the poor are just collateral damage. But how is it that the faculties and students of all elite universities, and the entire progressive media, have become part of this immoral endeavor? It’s impossible to understand.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | Leave a comment

International Community Starts Call for US to Ban All Nuclear Explosions

Sputnik – 21.10.2017

For over 20 years, the US has been signatory but not party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a 1996 UN ban on all nuclear explosions, for any purpose. With nuclear weapons back in the international spotlight, nonproliferation advocates have called on the US Senate to at last ratify the treaty.

Six of the nine nuclear states have not passed the CTBT: China, India, Israel (although Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons), North Korea, Pakistan and the United States. France, Russia and the United Kingdom are the only nuclear states to have signed and ratified the treaty — but the treaty can only go into effect when all 44 Annex 2 countries, nations that had or were researching nuclear power, ratify the treaty. In addition to the six nuclear state holdouts, Egypt and Iran are also Annex 2 states that have not ratified. The other 36 have done so.

Hans Blix, who once headed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), expressed skepticism that the US would ever pass the treaty, because Washington wished to keep “freedom of action for the United States.” He pushed for the US Senate to ratify the treaty, as it was signed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Bans of nuclear tests “should be the least difficult of all arms control issues,” Blix said to the press on Wednesday.

​On Sputnik Radio’s Loud and Clear, hosts Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek spoke to two prominent figures in the nonproliferation movement: Greg Mello, the executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear disarmament advocacy organization; and Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste watchdog with anti-nuclear power and nuclear weapon organization Beyond Nuclear.

Kamps chastised former US President Barack Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress of 2009-2010 for not ratifying the treaty. “It’s not so easy to ratify a treaty,” said Mello. “You need two thirds, in other words, you need 67 [US Senate votes]. Complicating it is that there are some Democrats that are part of the ‘war party.’ Whenever an arms control treaty comes into the Senate, there the war party — in both political parties — wants to attach conditions: benefits to the arms contractors and to the nuclear weapons labs. They demand a very high ransom for ratifying any treaty, and so the ransom required for the CTBT signing was the resuscitation of the nuclear weapons establishment after its bad years after the end of the Cold War.”

Mello also discussed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by the two largest nuclear powers, Russia and the US, in 2010. The treaty was meant to limit nuclear missiles, bombers and launchers. To pass it through the US Senate, Mello said, “the ransom required was basically the modernization and renewal of every single warhead and every single delivery system in the US stockpile, along with the factories.”

“So in other words, the Republicans, which held New START hostage, got everything they possibly could have gotten. To get that thing ratified, the cost ended up being so high that it can completely obviate the original purpose of the treaty, which was thought to be a step by some toward nuclear disarmament. But if you’re adding nuclear armament to get the treaty signed, then you can end up going one step forward, two steps back.”

“There’s a war party,” Kamps agreed. “It has its clutches in the United States Senate and it certainly has its clutches in the Pentagon. There are elements of our government, elements of our military that really like to have that option of nuclear weapons.”

They like it enough, Kamps goes on to say, to openly lie to the American people. “You know, from the early 60s until the early 90s, it turns out — we just found out from the National Security Archives a few years ago — that a lot of those underground [nuclear] tests leaked into the environment. Something like a third of the tests in the United States, a third of the tests in the Soviet Union, a third of the tests perhaps even in a place like China, were leaking through cracks and fissures — and sometimes even intentional venting of the radioactive contamination.”

“All the countries helped the others keep it secret for fear that their domestic populations would then start asking questions about their own nuclear weapons testing. The CIA, for example, helped to keep the Soviet and Russian underground test leaks quiet so that Americans would not ask any questions here about our own.”

Although the heyday of nuclear testing has ended, Mello claims that the tests continue in the form of subcritical tests. These are tests that use a very small amount of fissile material, such as uranium or plutonium, that cannot sustain a chain reaction. These “nuclear tests which don’t involve the significant fission yield are nonetheless nuclear tests just the same,” said Mello, “and they’re taking place in Nevada and also Novaya Zemlya [in Russia] and in the laboratories. With combining the data from these [subcritical] tests with computer models and very fast computers that are available to both countries, fast enough in Russia and plenty fast here, too, it is possible to get a lot of data and do a lot of nuclear weapon design.”

In other words, the superpowers stopped test-detonating monstrous bombs because advances in computer technology meant they no longer needed to. The US and Russia can keep their arsenals cutting-edge without exploding megaton-yield devices as they once did.

Kamps adds that there is a “trillion dollar nuclear modernization plan, under first Obama and now under Trump. They’re dabbling with new designs: new military applications, new military uses. It’s very dangerous, very problematic… we’re really in a race against time to try to abolish these weapons before they abolish us.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ugly Canadian face now belongs to Trudeau

By Yves Engler · October 14, 2017

The “Ugly Canadian” is on the march, but now with a much prettier face at the helm. Across the planet, Canadian mining companies are in conflict with local communities and usually have the Trudeau government’s support.

A slew of disputes have arisen at Canadian run mines in recent weeks:

Last week in northern central Mexico, community members blockaded the main access road to Goldcorp Inc.’s Penasquito mine. They are protesting against the Vancouver-based company for using and contaminating their water without providing alternative sources.

In Northern Ireland two weeks ago, police forced activists out of a Cookstown hotel after they tried to confront representatives from Dalradian Resources. Community groups worry the Toronto firm’s proposed gold and silver mine will damage the Owenkillew River Special Area of Conservation.

Last weekend, an Argentinian senator denounced Blue Sky Uranium’s exploration in the Patagonia region. Magdalena Odarda said residents living near the planned mine fear the Vancouver company’s operations will harm their health.

On Wednesday more than 40 US congresspeople, as well as the Alaska’s Governor, criticized the removal of restrictions on mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to half the world’s sockeye salmon production. In May, Northern Dynasty CEO Thomas Collier met the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency to ask for the lifting of restrictions on its Pebble Mine, which is expected to destroy the region’s salmon fishery. In a bid to gain government permission to move forward on the project, the Vancouver firm appointed a former chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior as its new CEO.

At the end of September, hundreds of families were displaced by the Filipino Army to make way for a mine jointly run by Australian and Canadian firms MRL Gold and Egerton Gold. The community in the Batangas Province was blocking a project expected to harm marine biodiversity.

In eastern Madagascar, farmers are in a dispute with DNI Metals over compensation for lands damaged by the Toronto firm.

In August, another person was allegedly killed by Acacia (Barrick Gold) security at its North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Last week, Barrick Gold agreed to pay $20-million to a Chilean a group after a year-long arbitration. The Toronto company had reneged on a $60-million 20-year agreement to compensate communities affected by its Pascua Lama gold, silver and copper project.

In mid-September, Eldorado Gold threatened to suspend its operations in Halkidiki, Greece, if the central government didn’t immediately approve permits for its operations. With the local Mayor and most of the community opposed to the mine, the social-democratic Syriza government was investigating whether a flawed technical study by the Vancouver company was a breach of its contract.

And in Guatemala, Indigenous protestors continue to blockade Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine despite a mid-September court decision in the company’s favour. Fearing for their water, health and land, eight municipalities in the area have voted against the Vancouver firm’s project.

The Liberals have largely maintained Stephen Harper’s aggressive support for Canada’s massive international mining industry. Last month Canada’s Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne backed El Dorado, denouncing the Greek government’s “troublesome” permit delays. Canada’s Ambassador to Madagascar, Sandra McCadell, appears to have backed DNI Metals during a meeting with that country’s mining minister.

As I detailed previously, the Trudeau government recently threw diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. Amidst dozens of deaths at Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine in Tanzania and an escalating battle over the company’s unpaid royalties/tax, Canada’s High Commissioner Ian Myles organised a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli. After the meeting Myles applauded Barrick’s commitment to “the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility.”

Two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on their repeated promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. Despite this commitment, they have adopted no measures to restrict public support for Canadian mining companies responsible for significant abuses abroad.

The ‘Ugly Canadian’ is running roughshod across the globe and pretty boy Justin is its new face.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

US vows to destroy its chemical weapons… despite being 5yrs behind schedule

RT | September 28, 2017

The US is already more than five years past its initial deadline for eliminating its chemical weapons arsenal, but doesn’t plan to complete the job before 2023. Russia, which had a similar amount of toxic agents, has just destroyed them all.

The US and Russia both declared some 40,000 tons of chemical weapons when they joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the late 1990s

The Americans pledged to destroy their stockpile by the end of April 2012, but still have two sites storing toxic agents, the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. As of 2015, the Colorado site had about 780,000 World War II-era artillery shells containing 2,611 tons of mustard agent. Their disposal is expected to be completed by 2019. The site in Kentucky stores over 500 tons of sarin, VX and mustard agents. A disposal facility there is scheduled to go online next year.

Washington’s failure to fulfill its obligation was highlighted on Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Russia eliminated the last few artillery shells filled with chemical weapons.

“Historically, Russia was one of the largest holders of chemical weapons and the US remains one. Unfortunately, the US is not observing the deadline for disposing of its chemical weapons. They have pushed the date back three times, citing a lack of funding. This, frankly, sounds strange,” Putin said.

Responding to the Russian president’s criticism, a US State Department spokesperson said the country is committed to completing the disposal of chemical weapons by 2023.

“The US government continues to focus on destroying the remaining portion of the chemical weapons stockpile stored in Pueblo, Colorado, and Richmond, Kentucky,” Sputnik cited the unnamed US official as saying. “The United States remains committed to the complete destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile by the end of 2023.”

The OPCH, the watchdog of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), marks its 20th anniversary this year. Currently, 192 nations are parties to the convention, with the exceptions being UN members Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan. Myanmar was the latest nation to join in 2015.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment