I am a New Zealander- a ‘kiwi’ , a pakeha, a white male.
In 1200 AD these island lands had never seen a human, the land was almost completely covered in dense forest (what we call ‘the bush”) . Only one mammal lived here- the bat- perhaps blown by storms from Australia over 4000 kilometres away: – a few lizards, the seas teemed with fish and the remainder teeming wildlife were birds. When the white man (pakeha) came in the 1800s they reported that the sound of those birds’ dawn chorus was deafening- but no more.
We now live in a land where we have a few refuges of remainder bush where tourists can walk and believe they are once more in a primeval forest, but where the sounds of the dawn chorus is no longer deafening; where the pigs, possums and rats we introduced have played their part in the destruction of the bush , but where man has been the ultimate destroyer. Where the living world is silent, but the sound of man and his inanimate machines is everywhere.
We live in a land where introduced grassland ( where once was dense bush) feeds countless sheep and cows whose effluent pollutes our streams and rivers and the farmers’ fertilizers and pesticides destroy the living soil. We live in a land where humans do not care to notice the ongoing destruction of our natural world in the name of ‘progress’ or even more benightedly, “growth”. It is a tragedy that we use the word ‘growth” which talks to the living world , to greenery, and to life, to describe the destruction of our living world into a world of concrete and tar , electronics, steel and dead trees.
NZ Labour’s “Lets Get Moving” slogan for our upcoming general election, and the National Party’s slogans that everything depends on the economy, all represent a foolish, immoral and an intellectually bankrupt view that we can continue to destroy our natural world with human ‘progress’ and ‘growth’ without any repercussions.
However it is the New Zealand Green Party’s openly stated policy that more jobs and ‘growth’ are compatible with a sustainable future for the planet and New Zealand that really takes the cake. Those are more jobs that result in more of our once-living land sealed over, more trees and other vegetation destroyed, more insect species gone forever , more birds and other species irretrievably lost to the planet . Those more jobs and infrastructure are many more nails in the coffin of a world that sustains us humans and the rest of our precariously living world.
We have to change; right now, to a policy of no-growth; of a steady state economy which values and reveres all the life in our world. We desperately need political and economic polices which understand that the human ‘growth’ we have experienced over the past 100 years has been on the back of environmental destruction. We can no longer afford that trade-off; we have already traded away too much of our living world for cheap baubles.
We need to understand that all life is sacred. Not simply because it is a morally and humanly good thing to do- but because our future lives depend on it.
As the tragi- comedy trial of Julian Assange in London wends its way to its inevitable conclusion: (extradition to the United States); the day to day accounts of those few people (noted below in the links) permitted by the Court to view ‘proceedings’, shows a client British state determined to kowtow to the United States, regardless of the cost to its intended credibility as an upholder of international human rights.
We are reminded of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic-opera, ‘Trial by Jury’ of Victorian times in its absurdities: from the bombastic prosecutor, to the Judge who chooses to pretend the terrors inflicted by her government simply do not exist,
The contrast between Assange’s courage and morals in the face of the “Exceptional Empire”, and the duplicity of the mainstream media in either not reporting about the trial or continuing to excuse the depravity of the U.K and U.S. court systems, could not be more complete.
And once Assange is extradited and sent to the Eastern District of Virginia, where thousands of CIA staff are based at Langley, where traditionally “whistleblowers’ are tried and prosecuted and sent to jail , we will once again be reminded of those great freedoms we posses in the West- (provided we toe the line).
The longer Assange languishes (and perhaps dies) in some American prison for ‘terrorists” ( perhaps he can be sent to Guantanamo Bay so any actions against can be ‘extra-judicial’?) the more the United States “Shining City of the Hill will be exposed as the house of horrors it truly is.
And one last thought. How is it that the great ‘democratic’ institutions of the U.S. and U.K. government have spent millions on hunting down and imprisoning Assange for reporting the truth about their crimes, and not one dollar or pound has been spent in tracking down, trying and imprisoning those ‘patriots’ who have engaged in these war crimes by either those governments or their mainstream media?
The current actions of the U.K. and U.S. governments, in trying to suppress and punish Assange and Wikileaks, have demonstrated very clearly that those governments and state apparatus continue to fully support the very genocide, mass murder and torture that Wikileaks has exposed to the world.
It should be noted that while Navalny is certainly a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party from an anti-corruption point of view, and attains mythical status in Western mainstream media as Putin’s potential nemesis leading his ‘Russia of the Future’ political party , Nalvany’s has 3 to 5% support amongst Russian voters nationally and by whom he is often perceived as an extremist, means that he is currently little of a political threat to Putin. However Nalvany’s supporters in Russia and West allege, “state-run” media ignore him and the ballot boxes are always stuffed in Putin’s candiates’ favour. He may however have many enemies in both government and private corporate Russian circles.
Craig Murray, ex U.K. ambassador, whistleblower on U.K complicity in torture, supporter of Assange and other unpopular human rights issues, and now conveniently likely soon to be imprisoned by the U.K. government on some highly questionable charges , outlines below just some of the ‘peculiarities’ of the poisoning.
Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a “Novichok” for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from “Novichok”, accidentally according to the official narrative. “Novichok” did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.
“Novichok” is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?
Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.
Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.
Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok- Craig Murray
Curiously again, Navalny’s poisoning just happened to coincide with an intense level of blackmail and lobbying from the United States for Germany to renege on its agreement with Russia to provide Germany with cheap natural gas via Nordstream 2 pipeline ( to ensure Germany buys vastly more expensive U.S. gas) and the current political debacle occurring in Belorussia, where Poland, the Ukraine and the Nordic states are putting intense pressure on the Belorussian state to not sign up to the previously agreed political and military merging of Belorussia with Russia.
As Southfront notes, it would appear that the Navalny case and the colour revolution style demonstrations supported from those states, has prompted the Belorussian President Lukashenko; just recently re-elected on somewhat dubious grounds after obtaining 80% of the vote!- to once again change direction and support the merger with the Russian Federation.
It also appears somewhat strange that Germany has decided that a Russian national , supposedly poisoned on Russian soil, is the political business of the German state. Should Germany wish to pursue that line of political enquiry, then Germany should have rightly long ago sanctioned and demanded explanations from the United States, United Kingdom, France and other Western states for their appalling record of genocidal wars they they have engaged in.
All this alongside the ongoing attempt by Western intelligence agencies and their mainstream media “associates” to ‘fit up’ Russia and China with every possible charge of criminal activity and human rights violations, so that Western populations can accept and applaud the loss of access to Russian and Chinese goods, the need for more weapons and even the justification for war. It is important to recognise too, that the linkages between Western intelligence agencies are very strong, and often can be at odds with the positions of those in government, to the benefit of those who can make money out of death and destruction.
The U.S. and the U.K. are very much aware that their economic influence on the rest of the world is rapidly waning, and their historical methods of violence intimidation and corruption no longer have the power they use to, with the rise of China as an economic counterweight.
Thus we see a long term pattern of accusations of the use of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” or other mass human rights violations against states the U.S. and the U.K wish to first destabilise and then extract the profits from that destruction. The list includes Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China… Those countries that continue to violate human rights on a massive scale like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and many others are exempt from that pressure because they are already within the US/UK economic sphere . And of course the genocidal activities of the U.S. and U.K. in their endless colonial wars are simply brushed under the carpet.
Both the U.S. and the U.K. know that once China , in collaboration with its Belt and Road partners, achieves overwhelming economic ( and military) superiority, there will be many many British and American leaders confronting the International Court of Justice in the Hague for their crimes and the need for just compensation for those states they have destroyed over the past 100 years.
Follow the money….
Southfront posits some alternative reasons for Navalny being ‘poisoned’ here
Over the last few months (May, June, July 2020) we have seen increasing numbers of media articles lambasting the Chinese and Russian governments for various supposed or presumed crimes. In almost every case of these articles – little or nothing has been presented to argue an alternative view of this anti-Sino-Russian agenda ( which one would suppose to be one of the virtues of a ‘free” press).
We are told that the Chinese or Russians are ‘highly likely’ to have done this or that, often purely based on ‘opensource’ material- i.e. online authors with a variety of axes to grind about Russia or China, and who invariably use speculation , innuendo or simply falsehoods, to explain their prejudices and their sponsors.
Along with other U.K. media, The Guardian, once a British left-wing newspaper, now continually trots out anti-Russian propaganda, with the latest most absurd article being its allegation that Russian hackers had stolen information about a COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University. The newspaper reports failed to mention however that the Russian government had in fact previously purchased the vaccine information, so was somewhat unlikely to have also stolen it.
The fictions about Russian involvement in the tawdry Skripal affair and the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess have been meticulously pulled apart by Craig Murray and others and shown to not only be implausible, but impossible. However as Craig Murray reminds us, simply to argue that the Russian’s were highly unlikely to have been responsible for what happened to Sturgess or the Skripals, does not mean that the Russian government, like most large state agencies around the world- does not engage in illegal international activities.
It should be clear however that the ongoing farcical campaign against President Putin by the Western press, relates less to any real international Russian activities that breach “international norms”-and rather more to do with the annoying habit of the Putin administration of blocking ongoing foreign access to Russia’s state assets, which under President Yeltsin were appropriated by so-called Russian oligarchs and siphoned off through bank accounts managed via the City of London. Now in dire economic circumstances because of Brexit and COVID-9 lockdown, the British government is desperate to regain access to that little gold-mine.
Similarly with the U.S. economy in free-fall, the Americans are desperate to halt the rise of China. China is fast becoming a world leader on the economic and technological innovation front, and with largely comprehensive and safe response to COVID19, appears to have weathered much of the resultant economic storm from lockdown. In contrast, both the U.S. and the U.K. have demonstrated staggering levels of stupidity and incompetence in their response to the virus, which will mean ongoing risks to their economies for years to come.
Along with attacks on Russian and Chinese economic initiatives, we see ongoing American and U.K. attacks on Chinese and Russian vulnerabilities. In China those attacks focus on the Uighur separatist and jihadist concerns ( funded and trained in Syria by the Turks, the Saudis and Western intelligence ‘interests”) and the subsequent Chinese government crackdown on the Uighur population, and also on the Chinese response to sometimes violent demonstrations by young Chinese people in Hong Kong – which again have been supported in their battle for a fictitious Free Hong Kong (something that their former British colonial overseers only appeared to promote in the last few years of the colony once it become clear that HK was going to be returned to Chinese government rule) The waving of American and British flags, singing the Star Spangled Banner and the calls for the “Han Chinese’ to stay out of HK by Chinese Han HK protesters, only highlighted the absurdity of the issues they were demanding. Hong Kong could not survive a year without their economic lifeline to the mainland.
There is no doubt that the Chinese government will be ruthless in its crackdown on dissent, but we should not forget how ruthless both the Americans and the British have been in their exploitation of “the coloured races’ over the last 100 years; From the use of Hong Kong to funnel opium to addicts on the mainland right up to the Japanese invasion of HK in 1941 ( which was only stopped because the Japanese did not have access to the British controlled opium producers ), the atom bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Korean genocide where millions of North Korean civilians were exterminated as American and British ( and other ‘allies’ ) bombed every town and city in North Korea, to the millions dead in Vietnam Cambodia and Laos: Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen … the list of barbarity is endless.
But, through all of this, we should note that these competing nations appear oblivious to the rapidly developing climate catastrophe, now aligned with catastrophic species loss. War and human deprivation are key drivers of the degradation of our environment; alongside the insane drive for our global populations to ‘consume’ more inanimate things whilst destroying our living world.
Sadly , real human statemanship, intelligence and vision simply does not exist in our time of greatest need.
On 11th June 2020, the United States reacted with outrage that the International Criminal Court (ICC) intends to investigate the United States and Israel for crimes against humanity. How dare they? Surely the exceptional nation and its closest ally have every right to conduct mass-murder and torture with impunity?
By 2012, U.S. Congress had threatened that it would use military force to rescue any US citizens that were somehow called to account by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and has signed agreements with more than 100 governments pledging them not to hand over US citizens to the ICC. U.S. Secretary of State, Texan, Mike Pompeo ; the epitome of the “exceptional nation” in all its bravado, bullying and sheer brutality , has also recently threatened the families of ICC justices with ‘consequences’ should any indictments proceed.
Impact of sanctions
Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Libya, Yemen, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Palestine, and hundred other little hidden wars were American troops are engaged in “counter-terrorism” and ‘black sites’ of torture.
Only when it becomes the international norm that any war fought by an aggressor shall require full reparations to the victim state, will wars be finally deemed not to be financially advantageous. That day is coming; the United States should be aware that its leaders are likely to be prosecuted and condemned for the litany of war crimes they have committed since the most heinous of all- their merciless slaughter of Koreans in the Korean War, and that the reparations for their endless wars will be in the many trillions of dollars.
The United States and its allies will one day soon, no longer be able to inflict its savagery on the world.
George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers on May 25th 2020. Preliminary autopsy reports showed that George’s air supply was cut off at the neck by external ongoing pressure.
The videos of the event clearly shows police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George’s neck while George gasps that he can’t breathe. Derek seems to looking for approval from the 3 other police officers nearby.
President Trump is undoubtedly one of the most incompetent, ignorant and bigoted of U.S. presidents, and his actions both during the ongoing pandemic, and his response to the sometimes violent demonstrations that have occurred in response to George Floyd’s murder, have been extraordinarily counter-productive and dangerous. However it is clear that his actions are applauded by a large proportion of the United States’ population. Donald Trump is a symptom, not a cause, of America’s dysfunction.
America is a country where lying and cheating, cheap exploitation and unmitigated violence at all levels of society are projected as capitalism unfettered – an Ayn Rand society where anything goes, and to hell with anyone and anything else. Such a society (despite the country’s enormous wealth from its natural resources) is destined for disaster. Former President Obama was a master at saying all the right things, while continuing to lie, cheat, steal and murder on behalf of the “exceptional nation”.
It is a society and culture that has pursued the propaganda of selling “product” , no matter the cost to vulnerable workers or the environment, or the lies required to make that sale, with religious zealotry for over a hundred years. And as a consequence, where those who are not wealthy are not worthy. Adam Shatz ,in “America Explodes’ describes the phenomenon of systemic racism in America with great clarity.
The disjunct between those in power staying “all the right things” about prejudice poverty and violence, and the reality on the ground has in the past 20 years, grown to become an enormous sink-hole of hypocrisy. It is vital that all people recognise that actions and good conduct alone determine whether we are a force for good or evil in this world. Words are cheap.
And we have seen this commodification of “terror’ creep all across the globe in the last decade like a virus. Police officers around the world now dress in absurd black clothing or camouflage outfits armed with sub-machine guns. Such foolish role-playing dress-ups encourages police (often with minimal training in de-escalation and risk assessment) to behave like frightened ‘warriors’ in a war setting, where no such threat exist.
A supreme irony then that one of the bigger earlier demonstrations for “Black Lives Matter’ outside of the U.S. , was in Auckland, New Zealand.
However the lead global agency for systematic violence, brutality and torture must surely go to Israeli ‘security ‘ forces operating day and night against largely defenseless Palestinians for the past 70 years (with unequivocal and unquestioning support by the United States and its Western allies for this brutality) . And not because Palestinians are a threat to the huge Israeli military juggernaut, but because they have land that Israeli settlers covet.
What is needed therefore, is not simply righteous indignation and protestations at police brutality, but a systematic global assessment of where the fault lines that lead to to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable members of all of our societies, occur. Once those systemic and sociological drivers of violence and exploitation are identified – (and named-and they are both complex and many)- have been identified, then a complete overhaul of global societal values and systems is required.
Footnote:The current simplistic motions in the United States to “defund the Police” will create ever more divisions in an already fractured society and the potential for vigilante groups on the “right” and “left’ to determine ‘justice for others.
An impartial government policing system ( one federal system) with regulations that underscore that no police-person is immune from prosecution for violence; that recognizes but does not excuse, the roles that colonialism, slavery, discrimination, poverty and historical injustice have played in creating communities which tend to be more dangerous, and addresses those needs; that ensures that every police officer is extensively trained in de-escalation, conflict management, and only uses force as a very last resort (which can be prosecutable) and that the endemic U.S. culture of violence and gun use is recognised and addressed.
It may be useful to note that most of the statues and monuments about important people ( almost exclusively men) are of people who lives were dominated by the need for power, fame and/or money. These were damaged people often exposed to early trauma in their lives, and a determination to succeed at all and any cost.
To know where we have come from is to empower us. It is well to remember where other societies’ book burnings and erasure of history have led us in the past.
COVID-19 has demonstrated the remarkable limitations of rational decision-making in a number of Western countries; particularly in Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S; as well as the unlimited capacity for crazed behaviours of some leaders like President Bolsinaro in Brazil.
It would appear that western countries are not generally particularly good at keeping their populations safe.
We see countries desperately trying to ‘re-start’ their economies with subsidies and other mechanisms – attempting to create a return to the old world of constant growth.
We see the United States now calling in its allies and mainstream media across the world; ramping up the anti-Chinese hysteria to try and ensure China does not come out of this pandemic as a stronger super-power and world leader.
And here in New Zealand we see a government which has very capably managed the pandemic with evidence based practice, now pretending that we can return to old ‘normal” . A world of constant growth in a finite world: returning to the constant destruction of our ever more precarious living world for more human ‘progress’. –more tourism, more roads, more building construction more air-flights. …
No government money towards a few ‘greening’ projects can alter the fact that our ‘progress’ is rapidly destroying the living branch we humans are clinging to.
We need ano growth economy now! An economy which understands that if we continue to expand our human boot-print year upon year- we hasten not only all other species’ destruction , but also our own.
That point of no return may have already passed, but we need to act urgently to restore the natural world we are rely upon for our existence- more trees, more sustainable agriculture, and above all, total respect for all living things.
If we thought COVID-19 was big; the environmental crisis the world faces right now will eclipse everything we have ever faced. It’s time to try and reduce the risks to us all-now!
No wonder then, that there is a desperate need for the United States to try and re-assert itself as ‘world leader’ and master of the universe in the face of governments who share proved demonstrably more agile, smarter and more compassionate to the needs of their populations. The bully-boy of the globe is under threat: from within and without. Secretary of State Pompeo therefore exemplifies perfectly what America stands for- and what it has always stood for: greed, violence and lies. The new trade alliance with the U.K. one of the desperate last gasp attempts to maintain some hegemony in the world .
In places like New Zealand and other countries high on the ‘bucket list’ for wealthy people to visit , overseas tourism has slumped dramatically since the pandemic. Tourism operators and regulators are now calling for big media campaigns to artificially promote local tourism. It does beg the question as to why our society has to rely on manipulated media -driven purposeless consumption to survive.
Tourism is one of the primary human activities which are rapidly degrading our planet till it is no longer live-able for us or any other known species. Its reliance on massive air traffic flows and consequent very high CO2 production through long-haul jet plane engines, its reliance on building non-organic infrastructure like roads, hotels, tracks through nature and many other acts of ‘progress’, in natural environments and consequent human traffic, which rapidly degrade the lives of other species we are so desperate to see, are just two of the massively environmentally destructive activities of tourism that global human populations has been sold as a ‘must-have’ over the past 30 years.
It has to stop. It will stop, but surely better it is that we plan now for job transfers to essential and non-environmentally destructive activities, before we face a new inevitable likely larger shock to our crazy economic system, and consequently even more massive human dislocation, trauma and death . Unemployment deals a savage blow to people’s sense of hope and a bright future; let alone the impact it can have on access to food and health services . We know that global environmental collapse, and consequent complete economic collapse, is going to happen unless we shift our focus to providing just the essentials for human beings and stop destroying our world for nothing.
Our bizarre and psychotic magical belief in the ‘invisible hand ‘ of capitalism over the past 100 years to create wealth and happiness for all humans ( but not other species we rely on in this world for our survival)has created this appallingly stupid and callous human centric world system we live in; where other species become ‘products’ for our consumption; where the living and beautiful natural environment that surrounds us is simply there for us to make ‘productive’ by poisoning it with pesticides and fertilizers, or sealing it over with concrete and tar; where we do not think for a moment about the massive destruction of the lives of other species we destroy every day in our quest for ‘progress’- all those animals who we now know for certain have fears and thoughts and emotions and who we so callously and cruelly inflict pain and loss on every day.
We do not need this ‘progress’ that the media and business have propagandized into our hearts and minds for so long : we can in fact live more productive and contented lives being more attuned to the living world of which we are inextricably part of- but we have to change now!
Can the COVID-19 pandemic create a change of heart in humanity, and create a more just and sustainable world?
As we have seen in the past few weeks of the Coronavirus (or COVID19) outbreak, mankind continues to seek to eliminate all risk to itself.
Craig Murray elicits a lucid outline of the contradictions in such an approach. All living things are mortal. If we were immortal, the consequences for the planet would be even more horrendous than they are now.
Man’s current predilection for moving him or herself rapidly around the globe has allowed what would have been a very localised outbreak in Wuhan city, Yunan province, China, to become a global epidemic in a few short weeks. The response therefore in most countries in the world has been to eliminate movement to reduce transmission . Airline passenger numbers globally have dropped precipitously and factory production has stalled, resulting in a remarkably fast transition to an (at least temporarily) cleaner world and where other animals and vegetation retake their rightful place on the planet .
Other strategies however like those used to contain tourists in their cruise ships when a COVID19 infection occurs on-board by circulating air in the closed-system air conditioning units of the ships to every passenger, or the U.K.s initial strategy of ‘herd immunity’, or simply blind ignorance as in Sweden or the United States, where lockdowns have largely failed to occur because of economic slowdown fears, and have instead vastly increased the risk of contagion and thus increased long-term economic risks considerably.
However we also know that that the more transmission human to human that occurs, the more likely humans will adapt to the new virus, as will the virus itself adapt to humans and thereby reduce its impact on the body once infected. An acknowledgement that all humans (as do most other species) have large amounts of “foreign” living entities in their bodies which are constantly adapting to the changing human bioome, permits us to be more cognizant (even welcoming) of new bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies.
But we also need to acknowledge that those humans whose bodies are already compromised by other health issues are much more at risk from this new virus in our bodies. To save as many lives as possible, we need to slow the onslaught on our medical systems to a manageable level and thus help reduce the death rates..
The response to COVID19 has exemplified the frailties of humans. Our insistence that economic activity and ‘taming’ (destroying) our living world take precedence over all other matters, has been shattered by our new global understanding that the interconnected world we have created in the past few decades puts us all at immediate risk when new biological threats occur.
COVID19 has also presented in stark terms the childishness and stupidity of many of our leaders: from the U.K prime minister Boris Johnson happily shaking hands with COVID19 victims on a hospital visit and now recovering himself after being in Intensive Care, to the pathetic tantrums of Donald Trump petulantly threatening to de-fund the vital role of the World Health Organisation because they clearly demonstrate the bizarre inadequacies of the for-profit U.S. ‘public’ health system.
Perhaps though it is the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro who epitomises all that is wrong with such politicised state leadership; where decisions are made not in the interest of the country and its human population (let along other living entities there) but in the interests and petty ignorance of the leader alone- so he can cling to power regardless of the devastation and death mounting around him, But we also see some other bizarre enactments of the frailties of the democratic process; in Belarus, or in Nicaragua where the Sandinista government appears to basically deny they have a problem, or Sweden, relying on a rogue epidemiologist to undertake an experiment in ‘herd immunity’ on its older people and other vulnerable populations. Sadly Hercule Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ are not in evidence in any of these so-called ‘leaders’.
Politicians and mainstream media have continued their ongoing scaremongering about Russian threats to “our way of life”; and/or the Chinese apparently ( according to many Western politicians and MSM) for some obscure reason choosing to hide the fact that they had a pandemic for more than two weeks from their local population and the world, and have been covering up the data ever since . Why?- well because they are ‘evil people’ basically and not like us!- and because ultimately, if the United States is to retain its rapidly diminishing status as the ‘exceptional nation’, it is going to have to bomb the hell out of any up-and-coming nation that threatens its imperial hegemony in the world..
As had been noted by the World Health Organisation and many other epidemiologists, the Chinese government response to the Wuhan pandemic has been rapid and responsive and effective. More effective than other country’s response to date. However the mainstream media and other Western commentators like to spin it, the reality is that the amazing reduction in deaths and infections in Wuhan and across China has not been because “China is an authoritarian state’, but because it has mobilized all aspects of society; businesses, state organisations and community organisations in a very systematic way, and not because, as one U.S. epidemiologist has said: ‘ the most important( reason) is that the impact of physical distancing achieved in China has been hard to accomplish elsewhere, mostly because of the freedoms we correctly value in liberal democracies’.That commentary is simply a sad reflection of many Western countries’ lack of will, leadership and a cultural awareness of community and society rather than pure individuality and how the short term imperatives of the business economy ‘trumps’ everything else, including people’s well-being in our individualist neo-liberal world.
Knowing when a series of similar cases is in fact an epidemic is extremely difficult for any health agency; and given that COVID-19 is a totally new virus, the response to the epidemic in Wuhan was surprisingly fast. The work done in Wuhan is described in detail here. Western media continue to belittle that response and cast doubt on the accuracy of the data while all the time providing misleading death figures by often excluding non hospital deaths, and particularly people in aged care facilities, or people with other morbidities like cardiovascular disease who would not have died at that time without COVID-19 complications .
In a few years once the politics of all this faded on to something else, we will find that the death rate in Europe and the U.S. was substantially higher than has been reported to date. The equation is simple- what is a ‘normal’ death rate for a particular time period and location , and what was the rate under COVID-19?
Some writers have subsequently that the world must and will change because of COVID19: that we will become more caring and connected communities, that neo-liberalism has demonstrated its complete indifference, callousness and incapacity to respond to such global crises and the human suffering it causes, and will go down the plug-hole of history, or even that greed and selfishness will be inexorably replaced by caring and just communities. Sadly , it is very unlikely that any of those hoped for responses will occur in the sort to medium term.
For as long as this economic system can continue to exploit our living world and our less fortunate human populations, and a few people can make a huge amount of money; then the depredation of this planet will continue and the planet will continue its path to destruction.
It is not by the goodness in people’s hearts, or lecturing by this or that environmental group or the Extinction Rebellion, that much of the world’s populations will begin to interact in sustainable ways with our living world; it will be because they are forced to make pragmatic changes that allow they and their families and communities to survive in a rapidly changing climate and green world.
However there is hope. As we plunge headlong ever faster to environmental global disaster, global shocks to our fragile and senseless economic system will begin to multiply. Insurance companies will go bankrupt, debt-ridden incompetent governments will increasingly become unable to prop up existing exploitative companies, world tourism and air-traffic will decline precipitously, and people’s livelihoods will steadily become re-oriented towards sustainable activities and “essential’ service.
Then, and only then, will we begin the journey back to a sustainable world where we can live in harmony with our fellow living beings.
As the tongue in cheek image from Facebook demonstrates, we are indeed seeing animals and birds and presumably other more invisible species, reclaiming their birthright in our human oriented environments as human busi-ness recedes. So many humans are now rejoicing in being able to once again interact with our fellow species …
As Craig Murray notes in his summary of the proposal, the Kushner plan, and the responses to it from Western governments, underscore the long-term hypocrisy of Western nations and particularly the United States ( as the ‘honest’ broker) in pretending to support the much brutalized Palestinian people into believing there could ever be such a thing as a viable ‘two state solution”.
If it were not for the fact that successive Israeli governments since 1948, have terrorized, stolen, destroyed houses, lands and property, tortured and imprisoned many thousands of Palestinians (including many children) for the crime of wanting to retain their own homes and lands, then this could almost be some stupid farce; a joke by puerile amateurs who know nothing of history, and certainly nothing about human rights or even compassion.
If you have the stomach for it, read the daily litany of extreme abuse, racism and terror inflicted by Israeli army soldiers and “settlers” on the Palestinian people at https://imemc.org/
The news outlet IPSNews, notes: The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has described the much-ballyhooed US Middle East peace plan as “more like Swiss cheese– with the cheese being offered to the Israelis and the holes to the Palestinians”.
There is now only one solution; and that is a single state entity which recognizes all peoples in the lands of what is now Israel/Gaza and the West Bank as having equal rights: which recognises the right of return of those millions of Palestinians dispossessed of their lands and liberty since 1948 by the Israeli machine, and which provides appropriate compensation for those losses….