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.
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.
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.
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.
(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).
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
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 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 .
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.
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 AREJust some of the key changes required :
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.
Financial and other encouragement for local food producers to become organic growers.
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.
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.
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.
Long term planning for ocean level rises, which will progressively increase; particularly road access to our coastal towns.
A U.K. February 2021 report by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, entitled ‘The Economics of Biodiversity’ outlines the ‘extreme risk’ the ‘world’, is being put by not taking into account the ‘rapid depletion of the natural world’.
While the overarching intent of the paper is to be applauded in attempting to reduce species loss, the underlying assumptions outlined in the paper about humans’ relationships to the rest of this living world are, to put it mildly, grotesque.
Prof. Dasgupta’s comment that ‘Truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognising that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them’, is truly bizarre.
The natural world (including the human species) does not exist to provide ‘goods and services’. This arrogant and ignorant perspective of the living world around us is the root cause of why the living planet around us, is dying. All living things on this planet exist in their own right and to construct a web of interdependent life around themselves; a web that humans have been unravelling at ever-increasing speed for the past 3000 years.
To view other living organisms as ‘good and services’ for humans, is not only to debase the sanctity of life, but also confirms our fundamental lack of understanding of how life on this planet life continues to maintain itself, and once thrived. The more humans choose some organisms as being ‘worthwhile’ ( for humans), and others not- the more we destroy the web that holds all life on this planet together.
There are many humans on this planet who have never known what it is to be connected with the living world around them – who look out their windows in the morning at the dead concrete jungle surrounding them and think this life. Who truly do think of the living world as a commodity solely for humanities’ use, and who never once consider that the view from their window would have once been a joyous riot of life- of birds, trees insects and many other animals. What humans have not known, we do not miss. The more humans become immersed in an inanimate world of concrete and tar, the more it becomes ‘normal’.
We do not comprehend what we have done to our world, and what awaits us at the end of this journey of ‘commodification’.
While the NZ Government’s decision to declare a climate emergency in New Zealand is to be applauded- currently there appear few mechanisms to achieve a carbon-neutral government by 2025. Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s touted response to have all government vehicles electric, is a case in point of the contradictions in environmental policy. There is an urgent need for all citizens to recognise the impact of product and service consumption.
While electric cars will reduce carbon emissions through vehicle exhaust pipes, the production of the required number of electric vehicles will result in further destruction of our environments- lithium mining for batteries , steel production, plastics production. to name just a few. A sleight of hand process that reduces emissions in one area and replaces it with more consumption in another- is simply deceitful and will not improve our environmental impact. Any climate “emergency planning (an ’emergency’ implies a short -term problem- this is not a short-term issue) must also address the collateral bio-diversity loss that is occurring in New Zealand and everywhere in the world.
We are replacing living entities with dead inert matter at a rapidly increasing rate- a recipe not just for an emergency, but a planetary disaster.
While moving to a steady state economy is the only plausible response to the disaster rapidly unfolding on our little plant; current levers of power and influence globally and in New Zealand clearly will not allow that to happen in the short -term.
Consequently , rather than moving gently and steadily to a slow-down and cessation of human ‘growth’ , we are rushing headlong and ever faster towards the precipice of environmental catastrophe, before we fall over…and reach ‘steady-state’ in a way that will cause huge immediate human and other species’ suffering and death.
To hopefully avoid that precipitous fall, I would suggest a measure that will in a relatively short time , allow all members of New Zealand society to appreciate we cannot continue this headlong dash to oblivion.
A requirement that all animate and non-animate goods and services in New Zealand carry a warning label which indicates how much the product has impacted on both climate change ( positive or negative) but also ( and more crucially) biodiversity. The labeling could be something similar to cigarette warning labels and provide an opportunity for purchasers to be aware of the environmental impact of their purchase, to compare goods’ environmental impact and to encourage producers to reduce their environmental footprint..
Over time this labeling would also provide an opportunity for government to additionally tax those products and services that were high in environmental impact, once public support had reached an acceptable level.
From there, the public debate on how to implement a sustainable steady state economy could proceed.
As you will be well aware, as you see the data continue to pile in at an ever increasing rate on global warming and bio-diversity loss , we now have little time and opportunity to change our trajectory.
The response to my email from New Zealand’s Ministry of the Environment courteously noted my suggestions, but declined to support it,noting that there were some unnamed private New Zealand companies interested in such an idea.
Subsequently my daughter has suggested that there would be web companies out there who could develop an app which could provide information online for ‘consumers’ on the relative carbon footprint and impact on biodiversity of products being sold.
The decision by regional delegates of the New Zealand Green Party to endorse a coalition with the New Zealand Labour Party after the recent New Zealand elections, has resulted in the two co-leaders of the Green Party once again acquiring ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet. Co-leader James Shaw is now ‘Minister of Climate’ and ‘Associate Minister for the Environment’, while Marama Davidson is now Minister for the ‘Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence’ and ‘Homelessness’.
In exchange for these small shiny baubles of power in a Labour dominated Parliament, the NZ Greens have sadly irrefutably demonstrated that they are more interested in holding on to ‘power’ rather than having a mission to save our environment.
The Greens would have been able to play a far stronger advocacy role for the natural world and a future for humanity if they had stayed out of Labour’s centrist and growth oriented government.
Labour’s election byline says it all- “Let’s Keep Moving”. One might be tempted to ask ‘what for?’ and ‘where to?” : and what happens when we , in the not so distant future, run out of those natural resources we have been so relentlessly exploiting in New Zealand for the past 200 years to ‘keep us moving’?
A Greens/Labour coalition is therefore an abomination for the natural world and for our futures in New Zealand. The coalition agreement puts a green-wash over the strategies and actions of this new government to ‘expand’ the economy, which will inevitably destroy more of our living world- more roads, more concrete, more houses, more agro-business …
It is not too late to construct a New Zealand political party that truly upholds sustainable environmental principles: a no-growth steady-state party. A party that acknowledges the realities of the limits to growth and the importance of restoring much of our living world.
It is simply not possible for N.Z. to continue to pursue a “growth” strategy for the human economy- for money. We urgently need a government that places a priority on protecting and expanding the living world, and which acknowledges the reality that humans are an intrinsic part of Nature- not something separate. Without a vibrant living world around us, we humans will inevitably perish.
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.
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.