The United Nations & ‘Human Rights’

The recent article in the Guardian which notes that the world has the “worst cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetimes’, focuses on a rather selective set of human rights abuses. While no-one in the West at least, can argue that Russia is a ‘selective’ democracy and the Chinese Communist Party (while supported by the vast majority of mainland Chinese) rules the country with a strong and often repressive hand, those excesses pale into insignificance when we look at the human rights abuses perpetrated by many Western states across the globe.

Wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen (let alone their unconditional support for Israel’s slow genocide of the Palestinian people), by the West are indisputably gross human rights transgressions which require the U.N. to demand , on behalf of those populations, compensation from the aggressor. The U.N. is silent….

And let us not forget the Guantanamo Bay torture centre, nor the genocide against indigenous populations by Canada, the United States and Australia.

While Uighur ‘re-education’ camps, which significantly impact on some Uighurs’ human rights, certainly exist in Xinyang (China says these are to reduce the risk of Uighur Muslim extremism and terrorism promoted by Turkey, the Saudis and Western intelligence groups); current evidence tends to suggest that statements about genocide are a fabrication by those very groups.

The Uighur genocide stories can perhaps be likened to the U.S. state political propaganda theatre of American POWs captured by the Koreans and Vietnamese in the United States’ genocidal colonial wars against those two countries. No solid evidence exists of genocide of Uighurs, but we can make up a really good story with ‘anecdotal evidence’ and ‘statistics’ and newspaper headlines …..

In response to U.N. criticisms of Navalny’s political party in Russia being forcibly disbanded, and Hong Kong protesters and their Western funded protests militantly arguing for separatism from mainland China, we may yet have to see how Western countries respond to foreign countries funding political parties advocating separatism and sanctions of their own countrymen, on their own patch….

Indeed the continuing and increasing use of sanctions by Western countries against those countries they wish to destabilise is surely another key example of breaches of human rights of those populations. Cutting off access to food, energy and medical supplies and ‘withholding’ ( i.e stealing) money in state bank accounts from countries like Iran, Venezuela and Cuba are blatant abuses of those populations ‘ human rights.

As Telesure notes about Nicaragua: Human Rights Watch… has been notorious for taking a pro-State Department line on Latin America and even contains former State Department personnel on its board of directors. The former (the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation ) , meanwhile, is led by an anti-government partisan who supports imperialist sanctions on her own country. As The Canary reported in December 2018, Jagger has not only expressed support for the crippling US sanctions already in place but even called for the European Union, Canada, and other Latin American nations to issue their own set of sanctions as well.

And perhaps we could look at the multiple and gross human rights violations committed by the West’s ‘colonial’ troops in Africa in the past decade, or the ongoing catastrophe in South and Central America caused by the United States’ brutal Monroe Doctrine tactics.

Western led statements supporting greater freedom and democracy in Russia and China and other autocratic states that don’t kneel to Western business interests, should indeed be a wonderful ideal and a catalyst for freedom for all, were it not for that fact that those very Western governments- particularly the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and some other Western European countries, are also the countries that have waged savage wars across the third world to promote their own ‘interests’ ( i.e. money).

For some unknown reason, those countless wars of aggression by Western and predominantly ‘white’ countries; along with indiscriminant sanctions, torture, drone murders and the promotion of extremism in other countries, do not appear on the list by the U.N. advocate for human rights- one might wonder why that is?

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Links

https://www.qiaocollective.com/en/education/xinjiang

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/06/21/new-evidence-reveals-that-senator-john-mccain-and-other-high-ranking-vietnam-war-pows-may-have-lied-to-the-american-public-about-being-tortured-in-order-to-bolster-support-for-an-imperialist-war-that/

https://www.rt.com/news/527292-us-seizes-iran-presstv-websites/

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/06/22/660640/Yemen-Saudi-aggression-Saudi-Arabia-United-Nations-Children-Antonio-Guterres

https://www.telesurenglish.net/opinion/What-Media-Dont-Want-To-Tell-About-Arrests-in-Nicaragua-20210619-0011.html?

This is what Israel Stands For…

As a result of the backlash against Israel from Western media and human rights organisations as a result of the recent bombing and shelling of Gaza, Israeli supporters are going into overdrive in the United States, Germany, the U.K. and elsewhere to portray any criticism of Israel’s apartheid system against the Palestinians as antisemitisim.

One assumes that ‘antisemitism’ in this case applies to supporting the 70 odd year Palestinian struggle for the return of their homeland – and an end to the murder, brutality, dispossession and terror inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli state and its settler shock troops.

Even now we are told by mainstream media that the continuation of the bombing and shelling of the Israeli prison that is Gaza, is “in response” to incendiary balloons send from Gaza into Israel. The Israeli is just a little disproportionate as Activist Post notes: It is, unfortunately, always the case that no matter what Israel does, even when Hamas does not fire rockets, the story always starts with “but the Palestinians”. To say that a valid response to a balloon with a flaming object being sent to land and perhaps start a fire in lands stolen from Palestinians in Gaza, is an F-16 dropping tons of explosives on one of the most densely populated civilian areas on earth (half of which are children) is a tad ridiculous to say the least. That is kind of like your neighbor flicking a cigarette in your back garden and so you decide to blow up his home with a ton of C-4.

Strangely we are never told what Hamas and its allies in Gaza are ‘responding to’ from the Israeli side- 70 years of a savage brutality that occurs each and every day for Palestinians purposely trapped in that hell by the Israeli regime, where the majority of Israelis (just like ‘white’ South Africans before them) have incorporated sickening personal and systemic racism against Palestinians into their ‘culture’,in an attempt to absolve themselves of the crimes of the Israeli state machine and its settler terrorist groups.

Here is what Israeli stands for……

Or perhaps here at Electronic Intifada….

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israeli-mob-chants-genocide-jerusalem

Or perhaps you might like to read about the daily endless accounts of murder, brutality, theft and savagery conducted by everyday Israelis and their state machine against Palestinians, in a weekly report of the countless Palestinian sufferings every day at the hands of Israelis, by the International Middle East Media Center

THIS is what our so reasonable and democratic allies in the Western world continue to unconditionally support……

This ‘unconditional support’ by the West for Israel’s long-term barbarity is not an accident or simply ignorance of the realities in Palestine. These are deliberate policies of support for the slow genocide of the Palestinian people, because it suits “our interests’.

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Links

https://imemc.org

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israeli-mob-chants-genocide-jerusalem

https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid

‘Planning’ our way to Environmental Catastrophe

We desperately need to understand and acknowledge that preserving and sustaining the living world around us is not just a vital thing to do in order that humans survive, but to acknowledge that our world is in reality a living entity; we do not have the right to destroy it, to market it, to unravel it.
All life is sacred.

A recent (May 19 2021) article in Common Dreams by Richard Heinberg highlights the fact that at least some planners have known since the 1950s that our current human civilization based on fossil fuels will end- and that unless we slow down our global economy (‘de-growth’) we are in a for a very very hard landing, and not far off.

Perhaps like the genial but simpleminded U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, we believe that, in the words of Charles Dicken’s Wilkins Micawber, ‘something will turn up’, to solve our environmental problems. Somehow, somewhere, some yet to be discovered masterpiece of human engineering will magically solve the anthropomorphic climate heating and catastrophic biodiversity loss humans have caused.

Or, like John Kerry’s older master, we believe that reducing the impact of climate heating and species loss can be done while creating more jobs that create more climate change and loss of species. While “Green” technology will reduce the use of coal fired electricity and less combustion engine vehicles, it will only minimally impact on human economic ‘growth’, which is the key driver in increasing environmental destruction of the web of life which sustains us all- for now.

Or, perhaps we can just ignore the whole issue and hope it will go away- like Russia’s Vladimir Putin. A country that is at the forefront of climate heating, with Siberia set this year (2021) to more than meet last years record temperatures in May of 10C higher than ‘average’

Or , we can, as most political ‘leaders’ do, spout all the right words about protecting the environment and launch some new project that is superficially ‘green’, and then support and fund countless other national and local projects which directly destroy the environment; more roads, more factories, more industrial jobs, more housing, more corporate agriculture, more importation of migrants from poorer countries, more international tourism…… the list goes on and on

Why do we need ‘growth’?- what is its purpose?- does it lead us somewhere when it is continuously destroying the web of life that keeps us all alive?

There are a multitude of possibilities for a significant proportion of national populations to live sustainable and ‘growth-free’ lives; growing and sharing the abundance of nature. But of course those simple lifestyles do not translate into taxes, into corporate expense accounts, into how big your GDP is, or into state expenditure on ‘important’ projects that swell the egos of politicians and that provide a military budget for threatening your neighbours, or subduing your own population.

Once those so-called ‘growth’ projects are eliminated, there will still be more than enough state resources for free health and education for all, and a sustainable future for our children and the planet

We desperately need to understand and acknowledge that preserving and sustaining the living world around us is not just a vital thing to do in order that humans survive, but to acknowledge that our world is in reality a living entity; we do not have the right to destroy it, to market it, to unravel it.

All life is sacred.

As the 2010 ‘Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth‘ unequivocally states in its First Article; (1)  Mother Earth is a living being, and (2)  Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.

How could we have forgotten that?

Links

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/21/humanity-must-embark-new-relationship-natural-world-says-jane-goodall

https://www.unep.org/resources/making-peace-nature?

https://www.climateemergencyinstitute.com/

https://climate.copernicus.eu/latest-projections-future-climate-now-available

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/05/19/most-colossal-planning-failure-human-history

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/six-reasons-why-the-eu-isnt-as-green-as-it-claims/

Red Alert: Only One Earth

The Palestinian ‘Terrorists’

Since 1948, (over 70 years) Israel and its vanguard army- the “settlers”, have brutalised, killed, tortured, intimidated and stolen the land of the Palestinian people. For over 70 years Western media have assisted the Israeli regime in portraying Palestinians as terrorists and that every Israeli action against Palestinians is a ‘response’ to some terrorist act by the Arabs.

In this latest round of the Israeli attempt to destroy Palestinian resistance to 70 years of brutality and theft, we are told that Israeli military action is a ‘response’ to Hamas in Gaza firing rockets into Israel. In reality this latest round of hostilities is inextricably connected to the Nakba – the catastrophe of 1948 when Israeli settlers and an Israeli military , murdered thousands of Palestinians and displaced many more to refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and beyond, simply to steal their land.

Palestinians expelled from their homes at gunpoint during the Nakba; from bsdsmovement.net

As the Discourse Blog notes: “This is not a ‘clash’ between two equal sides. This is a straightforward attack by Israel on Palestinians. For days, the Israeli government has been systematically assaulting Palestinians worshipping at one of the holiest sites in Islam, during Ramadan, all while enforcing a move to ethnically cleanse a Jerusalem neighborhood of its Palestinian residents. Israeli forces have fired rubber bullets and stun grenades, injuring hundreds of people. The deputy mayor of Jerusalem has been filmed lamenting that Palestinian activists weren’t shot in the head“.

Ramzy Baroud of Common Dreams has a more detailed analysis of the attempted Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Sheik Jarrah community which sparked this latest response from Hamas. This ‘legalised theft’ of Palestinian property is beautifully outlined in this paragraph from Ramzy Baroud:

Last February, the Israeli Supreme Court awarded Jewish settlers the right to many Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Following a Palestinian and international backlash, it offered Palestinians a ‘compromise’, whereby Palestinian families relinquished ownership rights to their homes and agreed to continue to live there as tenants, paying rents to the very illegal Jewish settlers who have stolen their homes in the first place, but who are now armed with a court decision.

Human Rights Watch have finally decided in the past few weeks that only now is Israel guilty of crimes against humanity, of persecution of Palestinians and is an apartheid state – something that has been indisputable for 70 years!

Is this how people should be treated? How can you, how can we, accept this day to day 70 year humiliation of a people simply because others want their lands?

Ironically, Israeli settlers’ and the Israeli regime’s constant ‘acquisition’ of Palestinian land over the past 70 years means that an Israeli/Palestinian two state solution is no longer a viable solution.

The United States has for much of those 70 years since the Nakba, pretended to act as the independent arbiter between Palestine and Israel in various peace agreements- peace agreements that all sides knew were a farce and had no possibility of ever happening because Israel had overwhelming force and had no intention of stopping its acquisition of Palestinian land. Perhaps President Biden will in reality finally show some moral backbone and force the Israelis to agree to a full and fair settlement with its Palestinian population and the Palestinian enclaves it controls. However, given Biden’s latest response to Israeli atrocities is to say ‘the ‘Israeli bombardment of Gaza is not significant’, we can get a clear sense of Biden’s moral and ethical framework. (Note that the U.K., Germany and Austria have now (15/5/21), once again, also acknowledged their ongoing support for Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people)

The only solution now for Israel and Palestine is a single state where all its residents have equal rights and where dispossessed Palestinians have the inalienable right of return and compensation for the lives, properties and olive groves confiscated or destroyed by the Israeli state. This apartheid nuclear-armed regime will hopefully depart peacefully.

Rachel Aliene Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003) was an American activist and diarist. A member of the pro-Palestinian group International Solidarity Movement (ISM), she was crushed to death by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armored bulldozer in southern Gaza in 2003 as she tried to block it from destroying Palestinian homes in Gaza .

You can read the weekly list of casual mindless brutal war-crimes committed by the Israeli regime and its settler groups here at the International Middle East Media Center.

Postscript

With the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces now (as of 14/5/21) using their $3.8 billion dollars worth of gifted latest military hardware from the United States to bomb and shell Gaza, it is time to acknowledge that this rogue state must be controlled. An extensive United Nations neutral peace force must be put in place across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank to ensure safety for all of its populations, and Hamas and Israeli armed forces and settler terrorists must be immediately disarmed. Where I wonder is the West’s much vaunted “Responsibility to Protect” now?

The West’s ongoing support for the Israeli regime, and its slow genocide of the Palestinian people (that Israel has a responsibility to protect as the occupier of those territories), puts the lie to the West’s vaunted statements about supporting democracy freedom and human rights across the world.

There is no justification for Israel and its Western backers to use the horrors of the Holocaust to justify and legalise its horrific 70 year abuse of Palestinians.

Thankfully an Egyptian brokered ceasefire was declared between Israeli forces and Hamas and Islamic Jihad on 20th May. The message from Biden to Netanyahu in Israel was undoubtedly -‘stop the blitzgrieg, you’re damaging our and your international reputation’. Biden’s pledge to help restore Gaza but ensure no money went to Hamas, who are the legitimately elected government of the West Bank and Gaza, was assuredly a hollow one. The money will instead go to “President” Abbas from the Palestinian Authority, a venal entity who illegitimately govern the West Bank with the full support of the West and the Israeli regime.

Those in Gaza are thankful for this temporary ceasefire, but they know the Israeli war against them will continue regardless; the humanitarian blockades, the limiting of access to essential health services, clean water and sewage services, and the ongoing harrassment, murder and humiliation of Palestinians by the Israeli entity.

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Links

https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-the-palestinian-nakba

https://discourseblog.com/white-house-israel-attacks-gaza-psaki/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/11/israel-condemned-unambiguous-war-crime-after-destroying-gaza-apartment-tower

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/04/27/abusive-israeli-policies-constitute-crimes-apartheid-persecution

https://bdsmovement.net/news/palestinians-say-%E2%80%9Ctheir-independence-our-nakba%E2%80%9D

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/05/11/human-rights-experts-denounce-israeli-violence-confiscation-homes-east-jerusalem

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-aqsa-sheikh-jarrah-media-coverage-problematic-glossary?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/05/12/muna-palestine-yakub-israel-untold-story-sheikh-jarrah

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Only-the-US-Can-Resolve-Israeli-Palestinian-Tension-EU-Says-20210513-0011.html?

https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid

https://daniellarison.substack.com/p/biden-gives-netanyahu-free-rein?

original.antiwar.com/…/refusing-erasure-palestinian-resistance-israels-hopeless-fury-and-a-coming-cataclysm

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2021/05/17/refusing-erasure-palestinian-resistance-israels-hopeless-fury-and-a-coming-cataclysm/

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/05/19/israel-wiping-out-entire-palestinian-families-purpose

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/ceasefire-ends-israeli-terror-gaza-now

The International COVID 19 Vaccine Response

It is important to acknowledge the enormous grief and loss and suffering that a pandemic brings- those who lives were cut short , those who others relied on for their physical or emotional wellbeing, and those who made a wonderful contribution to a better life for all, while they were alive.

Prior to vaccine rollout in the ‘developed’ world, those countries that did best at reducing COVID deaths and infections were island nations- New Zealand, Taiwan, Iceland, Australia and even South Korea whose mainland border to the north is almost completely sealed. Being able to restrict access by humans from other countries played a huge role in reducing risk, and a sea border is a very efficient border wall once passenger flights are stopped or very closely monitored.

The most marked exception to the sea border rule is China, whose COVID restriction practices, while repressive to a degree, resulted in more freedom as a result of the control of the spread of COVID infection.

The map below from Our WorldinData.org for 3rd May 2021 illustrates the wide variation in death rates across the globe. Infection and death rates are a far more reliable indicator of a country’s effectiveness in managing the Covid crisis than simple numbers. A case in point being India , with a current horrific number of deaths (226,188 as of 4th May- but a rate per million population of only 163.9, as opposed to for instance the current rate of deaths in Bulgaria of 2390 per million but ‘only’ 16,609 deaths in total.

The map would suggest that while poorer countries have less effective formal health systems, they have an advantage of less mobile populations to spread the virus, and often greater access to open spaces where virus particles can more safely disperse.

However, once vaccines began to roll out, we begin to see a different story. Britain, a country with the highest death rate per million population for much of the earlier pandemic as a result of government incompetency and corruption, has now seen a remarkable reduction in deaths over the past month as the vaccine has been rolled out in a very systematic way. Similarly the United States, and some of the more wealthy European countries like Germany and the Scandinavian countries are also beginning to show marked improvements in death rates; in part because of tight lockdowns and the onset of summer with people spending less time in enclosed spaces , but mainly due to the vaccine roll-out.

Unsurprisingly, ugly power games between countries vying to be ‘top dog’ in the world, have resulted in extensive propaganda by all sides in rolling out vaccines to the world. These global power plays and the truly appalling greed of the pharmaceutical companies has also played a part in ensuring that the poorest countries do not get adequate access to vaccines, despite all the hollow platitudes from the United Nations and the propaganda from states.

One sublime example of the propaganda at play is this Guardian article which argues that because many Western governments are refusing to use the Russian Sputnik V vaccine because it is Russian (and dares to have the Russian flag on the box!), it is therefore a Russian ploy to sow dissent in the West. The fact that the esteemed (U.K.) Lancet medical journal has stated that Sputnik V has an enviable efficacy rate of 91.6%, doesn’t rate a mention. Sadly the article is one more demonstration of the global degradation of investigative reporting skills, understanding the difference between allegation and fact, and the capacity to use logical analysis. (but anything to further the ‘West is good/Russia bad’ meme)

The COVID epidemic has graphically illustrated the incompetency of many world leaders, and a reminder of the brutal sadism of many of them to kill innocent people in far away lands because of petulant power plays, jingoism and systematic racism.

Along with state power and incompetency, we have also witnessed the capacity of global pharmaceutical companies to capture the enduring essence of capitalism:- profits at any expense, including the loss of millions of human lives.

We need a better way……..

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Links

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/30/is-russias-covid-vaccine-anything-more-than-a-political-weapon-sputnik-v

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sputnik-v-vaccine-covid-brazil-russian-vaccine-ban-efficacy-recombination/

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/03/16/russia-slams-us-over-brazil-coronavirus-vaccine-pressure-a73250

https://ourworldindata.org/covid-deaths?country

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/24/chomsky-on-the-joke-of-russian-interference-and-the-savagery-of-us-sanctions/

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00234-8/fulltext

Ego Emere, Ergo Sum; (I buy, therefore I am)

J.G. Ballard’s ‘The Subliminal Man’, written in 1963, outlines a future 1960-ish world where the state ‘encourages’ the population to buy more useless things so that they work more hours to pay for them and therefore consume more… in a never-ending circle of supply and demand.

In ‘The Subliminal Man’, the population is locked into this endless cycle via subliminal messaging from huge electronic billboards next to the motorways…How far we have come since 1963!

Today one is struck by governments all over the world exhorting the public to go out and spend, go on holidays etc, once COVID 19 lockdowns are over, ostensibly to ensure that we have full employment and therefore more money in the system….

But the reality is that we are all locked into a crazy system that relies on ever increasing demand for ever increasingly useless items that need to be ‘sold’ to us as essential, as ‘must-haves’, or the ‘bucket-list’, so that we can afford to live the life we ‘choose’….

We are no longer consumers; we are the consumed.

The barrage of advertisements on our cellphones delivered via social media and the apps we use; the ever more strident advertisements on TV for another ‘latest product’; even the billboards on our highways, are all testament to the fact that those advertised things are really non-essential- otherwise they would not need to be ‘sold’ to us. We would simply purchase them when our old product stops working, when we really need them, or not purchase them at all.

The ongoing process to ensure ‘essential items’ are designed to be non-repairable, only replaceable, and that commodities are constructed with plastics and other materials that deteriorate rapidly, also ensures that we must continue to buy and consume.

Everything that humans now require to live becomes a commodity, a consumable, packaged and labelled and sold; from the food we eat to the water we drink, the sentient animals we depend on for food; perhaps soon too, the air we breathe. Only money now provides us with meaning …’we know the price of everything and the value of nothing’.

Given that societies’ globally almost all rely on this psychotic fragile consumer cycle – we are in deep sh*t.

We know our consumer behavior is pushing our living world to oblivion- destroying the remainder of the natural world and creating enormous amounts of toxic gases and plastics and ‘land-fill’-yet our governments continue to relentlessly promote this consumer society, while simultaneously talking about reducing carbon emissions and retaining biodiversity.

It is as if they don’t think there are any other options- but of course- there are- just not ones palatable to the businesses and global corporations feeding off our consumer addictions.

We all deserve a better life than this..

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Links

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/01/could-we-live-in-a-zero-growth-society/

ANZACS- for King and Country

(Note: this is a slightly re-edited version of a NewAntarctica post first published in  2014)

Every  year in this fair little country of New Zealand, we “celebrate” Anzac Day on 25th  April. We remember our “glorious dead” who  fought in  all  those wars for king and country;  beginning way  back  then  with  the  Second Boer War of 1899 in South Africa, supporting our British  countrymen  in  the British  Empire’s  fight against  the “evil” Boers, to  ensure  South  Africa could become a safe place for English  speaking white men to  colonise and rule over the black man.

Since then we have had the First  World War where 100, 000 New Zealand  men  (and some women) were shipped overseas, out of a total  population of just over 1 million people. 18,500 New Zealanders  were killed in  that  ‘war to  end all  wars’ and  more than 40,000 wounded. Anzac Day  “celebrates” the day  New Zealand and Australian  troops along with  troops from other parts of the Empire,  India, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland,  India, and Newfoundland  as well  as French  forces invaded Turkey   (a German ally) at Gallipoli ( or Gelibolu  as the Turks call it). IfYeBreakFaith_Victorybondsposter

The “Great War”, as it was once known, was initially at  least, a European  war  to divide up  the spoils of empire, with  each  countries’  soldiers  the cannon fodder for money  and power.

‘Only’ 2799  New Zealand soldiers died at  Gelibolu attempting to  break  the Turkish  defences in  the harsh  hills above the beaches, where 87,000  Turks died defending their homeland. Nothing in comparison to the many thousands killed and wounded  in  the trenches  in Flanders and other parts of France;  machine gunned, shelled and gassed by  the “Hun” -the Germans.

Yet  New Zealand collectively now  glorifies  Gallipoli;  it was apparently (according to later  New Zealand historians who  should know)  our “nation-building”  exercise.  Yet after that  first  world war to end all  wars,  every  cenotaph

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

in  every  little town  and city across New Zealand which  named their dead, inscribed  the lines “Lest We Forget”.  In my imagination perhaps , it is ‘lest we forget’  those  who  died for nothing;  the horror,  the stupidity , the inhumanity to man of soldiers at  war;  not “lest we forget” our glorious war dead.

Let us not forget  also, those brave conscientious objectors who  also chose to  suffer because of their fundamental  objection to  war.

Let us not forget  either, the many thousands of women and children  who  suffered at  the hands of those damaged men returning from the wars;  the family  and community violence caused  by  the trauma of war  and death.

     The Send-off: a Poem  by  Wilfred Owen: -English  soldier poet, 1918

And then  we have the “good war”;  the war  against the Nazis and the Japanese between  1939 and 1945,  where 140,000  New Zealand men and women were conscripted to  fight overseas.  Kiwi soldiers, while comparatively  small  in  numbers, played a significant role in  the European war  against  Germany  and later   against  the Japanese in  the Pacific. Could  that war have been  avoided  without appeasement of Nazi  and Japanese supremacism?  There are many  historians who  say , that  had the terms of  the  Versailles Treaty  not been so  punitive against  Germany , German nationalistic fervour would   never have produced  such  a cancer as the national  socialists (Nazis). Similarly there are those who  argue that  had the Japanese also been able to  obtain  their  Imperial   “place in  the sun” , Pearl Harbour would never have happened.   Hindsight is a wonderful  thing.

New Zealand’s obligations for self-defence against  the Japanese is  inarguable;  The Japanese were planning to invade New Zealand as part of their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,  along with invading Australia.  The evil  of the Nazis  is also  inarguable, and the horrors committed by  them; New Zealand soldiers helped to bring  those horrors to an end.  Ultimately 11,900  New Zealand soldiers lost their lives  in the second world war. However New Zealand is implicated  in the war crimes resulting  from  the bombing missions undertaken  by  the Allies against  German dams   and the firebombing of Dresden; Tokyo  and Kyoto .

And, we might  ask, why  weren’t we opposing the Japanese in their 1937-1945 horrific  occupation of China prior to  Pearl Harbour in December 1941?

New Zealand’s role in wars since the second world war has (aside from  several  small  UN peace-keeping missions) been less than exemplary.  4,700 New Zealand soldiers fought  in Korea  between 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, with 49  men  killed in  action. New Zealand  (under U.N. auspices but without Russian attendance at  that  security council  meeting ) was a party to  the genocide committed largely by  the Americans carpet bombing  every North Korean  town and city over that period.

Fighting as part of ANZUS, New Zealand enthusiastically  supported the American  pretext  for invading Vietnam from  1963 to  1975   ( supposedly to halt the insidious spread of Communism  (the ‘YellowPeril”) across Asia), while the New Zealand national  government  supported the  bombing by  the U.S. of  cities and towns across Vietnam  Laos and Cambodia, causing more than  a million deaths.  37 New Zealand  soldiers were killed in that  war and many more  afflicted by  the  impacts of “Agent Orange”, the chemical warfare “defoliant” sprayed by   U.S.  planes  over the jungles and hamlets of  South  Vietnam. 33 New Zealand soldiers were  also killed in the preceding Korean War where millions of Koreans were killed in that  largely forgotten  genocidal  war.

Once again  supporting the U.S., New Zealand  inserted a small  number of troops into  southern  Iraq  near Basra during the second Iraq War.  While for most of its service there, NZ troops were confined to base, it is highly likely that  NZ troops were  well aware of  the  wide-spread  torture and murder of Iraqi  civilians in  that  area by  British troops . New Zealand  is,  by  its support of that  war,  also implicated in  the deaths of  the  hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who  died as a result of a war  based on  the pretext of Saddam’s  non-existent  “weapons of mass destruction.”

New Zealand continues its commitment to “freedom  and democracy” by  supporting the Americans in Afghanistan.  Initially promoted to the public as an incursion  to eliminate Al Qaeda as a threat   after the 9/11  bombing of the New York  towers,  the war has dragged on since its inception in  2001 and morphed into  the elimination of the Taleban  (an Afghan  Pashtun  tribal  entity with  previous links to Al Qaeda). New Zealand troops have likely been  involved in capturing Taleban  fighters and sending them  to  the US Bagram air base in Kabul  for torture. A rather dubious analysis suggest that  up  to  20,000  civilian  casualties alone have been  killed in  Afghanistan  since 2001- the mortality  figures for direct  war impacts are likely to be  in  the many many thousands. ( the U.S. doesnt “do  headcounts” anymore.)

New Zealand continues to  be a key  member of the U.S. run  western  intelligence community “Five Eyes”, which   attempts to  maintain the U.S state’s power and control  over most of the world, and while NZ has  publicly been  cast  in  the shadows of ANZUS because of its nuclear-free stance, it in  reality maintains an  extremely  active role.

However , even with  the huge  amount of information provided  by  internet   and phone tapping  provided to  “Five Eyes”  intelligence ‘experts”, it is clear  that  those security operatives have over the years since the second world war, acquired a farcical  level  of incompetence and  lack  of intelligence and judgment. Their wild misinterpretation of other  states’  and non-state entities’ intent and motives has resulted in  massive  suffering to  millions of  human beings. It is highly likely that  incompetence is not going to be changing any time soon.

In summary,  ANZAC Day;  that  tribute of poppies and wreaths and guns , celebrates not  our glorious dead, but  the utter farcical  futility of war and the greed of the powerful.

At  the time of writing,  the jingoistic   drumbeats of war  are sounding to  fight once more   the Russian  threat  against  “poor little”  Ukraine.

As the late and great  Pete Seeger sang: When  will  we ever learn?

whitepoppies

“Cosying up to China’s communist rulers”

I note the U.K.s Daily Telegraph criticizm of the New Zealand’s stance in not following the white Anglosaxon “Five Eyes’ ‘intelligence’ group in condemning China’s excesses at home and abroad, and our ‘cosying up to China’s communist rulers’.

One wonders when the Daily Telegraph and other jingoistic British and other Western mainstream media, will begin condemning the U.K.s longstanding abuse of foreign populations; its enthusiastic military support for the House of Saud’s genocidal war in Yemen, its ongoing support of Wahhabist jihadists in Syria and elsewhere, its illegal deportation of Chagos Islanders so it can help its buddy in war-crimes, the United States, establish an air base there, the ongoing imprisonment of Julian Assange; human rights media activist on spurious charges, or even begin to question for a moment the Uyghur genocide allegations almost exclusively coming from the clearly disturbed Adrian Zenz

I am thankful that the New Zealand government and Foreign Minister Mahuta has the balls to stand up to the bullying by the U.K. U.S., Australia and Canada in their zenophobic racist attacks on China (whose sole aim is to ensure that the United States and its buddies can continue to engage in genocidal action around the world for fun & profit without constraint), but it is now time that New Zealand exits from this shameful alliance and closes down the Five Eyes spy station in Marlborough.

Five Eyes is an alliance of bullies and war-mongering murderers, and we as New Zealanders are currently actively supporting their drone murders against innocents, supporting illegal wars, and of helping to amp up a nuclear confrontation with China and Russia.

New Zealand has a proud history as a nuclear free nation.

We must leave Five Eyes now!

postscript:

A useful outline of America’s history with China from an American perspective

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Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/124914696/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-labelled-the-wests-woke-weak-link-over-reluctance-to-join-five-eyes-china-stance

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/04/21/jacinda-ardern-now-wests-woke-weak-link/

http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/nzs-top-protester-nicky-hager-to-speak-at-five-eyes-spybase-rally/

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/04/26/james-bradley-author-of-flags-of-our-fathers-1-new-york-times-best-seller-speaks-out-against-the-u-s-military-encirclement-of-china/

A Submission to my local Council on Environment Change

The Council’s 10 Year Plan’s ‘climate change’   position  is remarkable in its minimalism, absence  of vision and  lack  of understanding of the enormous impacts  climate change and biodiversity loss will do to the way we survive in our district  and around this country and the globe.  

All  previous measurements of CO2 levels in the past  indicate that while we are predominantly in  a latency  period as  oceans  continue to  absorb most CO2,  we are heading for long term  considerable  temperature and sea level  rises  for many millennium.

We cannot stop these changes occurring to our world, even if we were to  make good on our global  promises and reduce carbon  dioxide emissions substantially right now , but we can  take action now  to  somewhat mitigate the  extreme risks that climate change will bring to  both  humans, and other species that  we depend upon for our survival- both the known and the currently unknown species.

Additionally, there is now considerable evidence that the loss of species diversity globally is likely to significantly reduce  survivability risks for humans in the medium  to  long term. Retaining and restoring as much biodiversity in  our communities as possible is therefore just  as  vital as attempting to reduce the impact  of global heating.

Growing more trees that live for centuries is one of the key opportunities to reduce the impacts of rising levels of CO2, reduce species loss, provide some protection from intense weather events, enhance human wellbeing, and provide shade in summer and warmth in winter. 

BELOW ARE Just some of the key changes required :

  1. Develop  a  well-funded programme  to  develop  a local  nursery to grow native plants indigenous to  this locality, for both  Council  planting regimes,  and also  for property owners and community agencies.
  • Provide an educational resource (online and in person) on how to plant and grow more native vegetation and its importance to our communities and the planet.
  • Ensure all   available areas in the surrounding hills are replanted in native trees (not pines, which dry out the atmosphere and ground). This will not only create more habitat for native birds, insects and other biota, but also, once the trees are established, help restore rainfall levels in summer to what they were prior to settlement, and somewhat mediate temperature fluctuations.
  • Plant native plant corridors from the hills to the coast to ensure long term viability of native wildlife.
  • Ensure all existing non-pine tree’d areas are maintained and extended on public and private lands..
  • Plant all available park and reserve areas with native trees. There are far too many grass areas in our district with no trees, which serve no use, other than to employ lawn mowers and produce more CO2.
  • Ensure streams that have been buried in culverts are re-opened to the air, and the water margins planted in native plants.
  • Provide incentives for businesses to plant trees on their properties- e.g. rates rebates.
  • Provide stronger guidance  and enforcement of  local  agricultural  businesses  about their use of toxic pesticides,  artificial  fertilizers, and the considerable current threat  to  human  welfare of groundwater contaminated with fertilizer runoff, particularly nitrates.
  1. Financial and other encouragement for local food producers to become organic growers.
  1. Develop a project alongside other local councils and the NZ Transport Agency to develop a low emission public rapid light transit system using electric public vehicles.
  1. Council needs to be encouraging businesses and services to be truly sustainable and to use organic sources wherever possible whilst discouraging businesses that damage the remainder of our living environment through fines and regulation.
  1. Council needs to establish a bio-impact measure for all goods and services within its catchment. Ie a simple graded scale that measures a business’ impact on climate change and species loss, so that consumers can start to make more informed choices about the products they  consume.
  1. Long term planning for ocean level rises, which will progressively increase; particularly road access to our coastal towns.

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Postscript

My Council’s response below to anyone who made a submission to them on climate change… As can be clearly seen, there is no recognition that traditional cost/benefit analysis processes do not work when it comes to nature, and no recognition of the gravity of the environmental crises that have started to impact us, and will increasingly do so.

Nor is there any recognition of the other equally disastrous impacts of environmental damage; particularly species loss.

This planning strategy of burying one’s head in the sand is an option pursued by many local and central governments across the world…

Climate Change

We are experiencing more frequent weather extremes and effects, including floods, droughts and fires as a consequence of our changing climate. We have a large coastline, inhabited by thousands of residents. Adding to the complexity, much of our public infrastructure is built near the coast. Where to spend our time, effort, and funds to best prepare the <x> community for the likely effects of climate change and mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions is a key decision we needed to make. We asked you which of two spending options you preferred for Council to take to respond to climate change.

We decided to proceed with an affordable level of investment spread over the next 10 years. Once we have measured Council’s baseline emissions, we will investigate methods to reduce our emissions. The <x> Climate Action Plan is designed to be a living document. Suggestions from submitters and new knowledge (e.g. results from our emissions measurements) can be incorporated into a review of the Action Plan. The financial implications can then be worked through in further detail and consideration given to including them in future Annual or Long Term Plans.

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References

https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2020/cities-and-biodiversity-.html

http://www.fao.org/3/w2598e/w2598e06.htm

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1072292

The Russophobe Farcical Ride to War

Apparently we are expected to now believe that the Russians have now not only been paying the Taliban to kill U.S. occupying troops (likely ‘admitted’ after a little bit of healthy torture of a Talban suspect) but have also been blowing up Czech munitions dumps.

Apparently we are expected to now believe that the Russians have now not only been paying the Taliban to kill U.S. occupying troops (likely ‘admitted’ after a little bit of healthy torture of a Talban suspect) but have also been blowing up Czech munitions dumps. And that those pesky Russian GRU ‘intelligence’ operatives Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, identified by the ‘brilliant’ Western intelligence funded masterminds at Bellingcat (using Google Photos and other hi tech equipment) not only botched the poisoning of Sergie Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March 2018 , but had, 4 years earlier, botched the blowing up a Czech munitions dump, whose armaments were supposedly destined for the Ukraine after the Maidan anti-Russian coup in Ukraine.

This fits with the Skripal chain of events, where the most senior nurse in the entire British Army just happened to stumble across the Skripals, and where “military grade’ Novichok takes hours to actually work and then doesn’t kill the victims but then kills an innocent bystander some months later.

Curiously the Czech allegations were suddenly revealed 7 years later after the information had suddenly come to the hand of the newly installed Czech foreign minister, Jan Hamacek  (an enthusiastic supporter of NATO) , just before the Czech president was to have headed to Moscow to sign up for Sputnik V vaccines for the country, when tenders for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Czechia are just about to begin, (and which Russian companies would have had a good chance of winning), and a day after the Americans had announced more sanctions against Russians for somehow trying to influence U. S. elections in impossible ways.

And now we have the Le Monde in Paris creating little stories that the GRU had an espionage base deep in the Swiss Alps ( its gone now they say)

Presumably Western intelligence and their media arms are vying with each other on how far Western publics can be sucked in with ludicrous Russian plots.

“Hey guys, they swallowed that ridiculous story we made up about Gadaffi and the boxes of viagra for his troops to rape civilians, I’ll bet they swallow this one about Petrov and Boshirov again!”

The Russian government it would appear, has now lost its patience with the Americans after Biden deliberately insulted the Russian president as a ‘soul-less killer’, after years of sanctions of the Russian state, and will now make life very difficult for the remaining American diplomats in Moscow .

Diplomacy is thus now at an end between the two countries. In addition, the forceful tit for tat Russian response to the Czech expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff will mean that diplomatic efforts are also unlikely to occur in Eastern Europe in the near future.

The recent attempted coup and assassination of Belarus president Lukashenko, which Russia alleges was planned by Western intelligence operatives, has also not helped the current crisis.

War is becoming increasingly likely.

40,000 NATO troops are massed near Russian borders and 80,000 Russian troops and other units are stationed close to the Russian border with Ukraine.

Steadily increasing NATO military exercises along the border with Russia seem to presage an attempt by NATO forces to probe for weaknesses and then attack Russia, or at least provoke a response from Russia that Western media can proclaim is proof of Russian evil.

Not content with setting the scene for a war over Crimea (a territory occupied by the Russians since it ‘acquired’ it from the Turks in 1774), and the festering Donbass civil war in Russian speaking Eastern Ukraine; the Ukrainian Kiev government is now bizarrely accusing another Russian ally, Iran, of deliberately downing a Ukrainian airliner in the confused aftermath of the Soleimani execution by the United States.

Along with the escalation along Russian borders by the U.S. and its ‘allies’ – particularly the Baltic states, the Poles, Ukrainians, the English and the Australians-we see escalations by the Israeli racist regime against the Iranians, in the form of constant provocations , the most recent being the sabotage at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, and the provocations by the Americans in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

The decision by the Biden administration to withdraw some of it’s forces from Afghanistan by September 11 2021 , is indeed welcome and indicative of the total pointlessness of that 19 year war- other than to maintain a lucrative heroin supply trail for Western intelligence services. However the withdrawal is possibly also indicative of the American military’s recognition that fighting too many wars on two many fronts, is a recipe for defeat.

Alongside these aggressive actions go the sanctions designed to weaken Russia, Iran and China (and Syria, Venezuela and North Korea) for their temerity in not kowtowing to the American ‘world order’.

As American society and their economy continues to implode, we see increasingly desperate measures by the U.S. and their remaining ‘allies’ to try and contain and destroy those governments which do not support the American way of brutal colonial aggression.

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This short and innocuous tweet from U.S. Strategic Command on April 20th 2021, gives Russian and China clear warning that the U.S. is quite prepared to use nuclear weapons as a first option in resolving their differences.

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Links

https://www.rt.com/russia/521369-czech-republic-expels-russian-diplomats/

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/04/16/biden-afghanistan-war-privatizing-contractors/

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/521315-biden-sanctions-russia-putin/