A ‘Terrorist’ in New Zealand

On 3rd September 2021, a Sri Lankan refugee,  Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen, 32, living in Auckland New Zealand , stabbed 6 people with a knife he had just picked up from a supermarket shelf.

According to later reports the man had been once again seeking asylum in New Zealand for some years, but had been denied because of previous violent actions and an interest in ISIS literature, and had been released from a New Zealand prison 3 years before the attacks.

During the subsequent years from Ahamed’s release, he had been constantly followed by Police when out and about in Auckland, to monitor his actions and keep others safe.

Auckland was in lockdown 4 at the time of the supermarket attack- masks required and no less than 2 metres between people in places like supermarkets. Within hours the New Zealand prime minister was announcing that this was a ‘terrorist attack’, and that the man was known to her. However Ahamed Aathill Mohamed made no known statements about allegiance to ISIS immediately before his death, and no terrorist organization attributed the stabbings to themselves.

The terror, trauma and physical danger to those he attacked is beyond question, and this blog does not in any way endorse his or any other person’s violent behaviour to others.

With 60 seconds of his knifing of 6 people in the supermarket, he was fatally shot 7 times by Police with semi automatic weapons, who had been following him.

We might contrast his fatal shooting with the response of the Police to a knife attack by a New Zealand European in Dunedin some 4 months before, when at least 4 people were injured. The man was apprehended without injury, and is now in gaol, and has been described as having a mental health issue.

Or again the horrendous Mosque shootings in Christchurch in March 2019 where 51 people were killed and 40 injured, by a white supremacist using automatic rifles, the white male was subdued, unharmed, heroically by a police officer.

While we acknowledge that every violent incident is different and must necessarily be handled differently by Police, it does seem strange that a man in an enclosed supermarket aisle with a kitchen knife, could not be subdued without fatal consequences, by a number of police officers who were presumably wearing protective clothing.

Police subsequently noted that their policy is to shoot for the largest body surface area (i.e. the torso) so that they don’t miss the target, but clearly other options than shooting the attacker were possible, or alternatively those seven shots could have immobilised him in that enclosed space, without causing his death.

We know that Ahamed’s life history before his arrival in New Zealand as a young man was incredibly traumatic- witnessing his father being kidnapped and almost killed, and himself being tortured by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The Spinoff notes that Ahamed ‘had been in New Zealand since 2011 when he arrived on a student visa. He made a claim for refugee status soon after, but was declined. He appealed, and was granted the status the following year. The prime minister said on Friday that his claim was based on a fraudulent document’

We also know that Ahamed had been on remand (i.e. charged with an offence but not convicted in court) in New Zealand for threatening activities for some years before his conviction – during which time he was held in prison, but was not able to access any supports that might have reduced his risk to himself or others because he had at that stage not been convicted and the government was attempting to deport him. Additionally once released from gaol after his conviction, he was constantly tailed by armed Police; actions which would not have helped his fear and paranoia.

It is clear that Ahamed was acutely distressed because of his trauma, but did not receive the necessary supports by New Zealand authorities to reduce the impacts of that trauma and distress. Instead, he was immediately labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the New Zealand prime minister and the New Zealand media after his death, and there was no call for an independent review into his death.

Is it coincidental that 3 violent attacks were handled so very differently by Police; that a dark skinned man could so easily be deemed a terrorist and shot dead, but two white males, despite the acute violence of their attacks, be subdued without fatality?

We are informed that the New Zealand government, in a knee-jerk reaction to this attack, now wants to ‘tighten’ the responses around ‘terrorist activities’. Andrew Geddis has noted that the draft legislation’s proposal, allowing for people to be prosecuted for planning an activity, but not actually executing that plan , is currently an unheard of judicial procedure in New Zealand.

Listen to the University of Otago Peace and Conflict studies debate about the ‘terrorist attack’ below.

We need to acknowledge too, that no act of violence is acceptable; whether it be in a persons’ home, a random attack in public, a terrorist attack, or violence by the state.

The terror of those 2997 killed, and the trauma experienced by those many bereaved and the first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, are very real and still raw. However the barbaric responses to those attacks by the United States and their ‘Coalition of the Willing’, defies both logic and humanity. Millions of people in Arab nations killed, economies and environments ravaged, and thousands tortured or drone murdered, with the rationale being suppression of terrorism, rather than the reality of more arms sales and theft of foreign resources, and the resultant creation of more angry terrorists.

As Chris Hedges notes, those responses are the work of evil killers. The fact that ex President George W Bush can stand up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and be applauded in Western media for his demonic destruction of Iraq, and Afghanistan, defies belief.

In any sane and just society, such a man ( along with the deranged Tony Blair and their other neoliberal cronies)

Tony Blair shaking hands with Mike Pompeo (ex U.S. Secretary of State)

would have long ago been locked away for their lifetimes – for the common good.

What we desperately need now is for ex-colonial states like New Zealand, to show global leadership in addressing terror threats, in the absence of leadership from the larger powers.

We need to undertake more research to explore opportunities to better respond to threats of violence, to implement strategies that reduce group and individual threats of terror; through acknowledging the genuine basis of the anger, trauma and fear that created those threats, acknowledging that often our state responses to ‘terror’ threats by ‘others with dark skins’ is a relic of our racist and colonial history, (as witnessed by New Zealand Police’s infamous ‘anti-terrorist’ raids into the Ureweras in 2007); and beginning to treat responses to terror threats as a normal and just and equitable part of our range of enforcement and judicial responses to violence, which respects everyone’s human rights, rather than something that needs to be responded to beyond the normal rule of law.

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Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300384815/man-shot-dead-by-police-six-injured-after-terror-attack-at-aucklands-lynnmall-countdown

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/09/auckland-terror-attack-new-zealand-reacts-in-shock-to-new-lynn-stabbing.html

https://www.dw.com/en/new-zealand-man-stabs-5-in-supermarket-knife-attack/a-57479834

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_mosque_shootings

https://www.police.govt.nz/major-events/new-lynn-incident-operation-rally

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/05/new-zealand-stabbings-officials-tried-for-years-to-deport-terrorist-prior-to-auckland-attack-jacinda-adern-says

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/341457/ten-years-on-from-the-urewera-raids

‘Highly Likely’ in Afghanistan

The last United States and its ‘partners” troops have now left Afghanistan after almost 20 years of futile war with the Taliban.

The chaotic tragedy over the last week of desperate Afghans wanting to leave Afghanistan via Kabul Airport for a better and safer life, is now also over.

In the final few days of the exodus, the Taliban apparently informed United States forces of a likely threat from ISIS Khorasan forces at Kabul Airport. A suicide bomber duly arrived at one of the U.S. entry points to the airport and blew himself up, killing himself, an indeterminate number of Afghans (in the 100s), and 12 U.S. force personnel.

It would appear from Afghan accounts on the ground that the U.S. soldiers in the surrounding watchtowers then panicked and opened fire with automatic fire on the Afghans below- killing at least another 100 people.

Subsequent to the ISIS attack, the U.S. president stated in the usual petulant child-like way of American presidents that, ‘vengeance shall be ours’; rather than a thoughtful and lawful approach to such acts of premeditated murder which act to limit the risks of further attacks.

 “To those who carried out this attack … we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”-Joe Biden

(Interesting to note that President Jo Biden also noted the ‘droned’ Iranian General Suleimani as a terrorist threat they had ‘eliminated’ in the past. Suleimani has been well vindicated as the key person managing the destruction of the ISIS threat in Iraq

Miraculously U.S. forces already knew the location of the planners of the ISIS attack and duly dispatched a drone to kill the planners and further attackers. (why the attackers weren’t arrested or killed before the attack is not explained)

The U.S. subsequently reported (as per usual) that it was ‘highly likely’ that the ISIS K planners and bombers had been killed in the drone attack. Given the history of U.S. drone attacks it is also ‘highly likely’ that those killed were guilty of owning several goats that were coveted by a neighbour who had then reported them as ISIS K combatants to the authorities.

One notes that the images of the vehicle supposedly hit by the subsequent U.S. drone attack show a somewhat burnt out vehicle-not a vehicle with a bomb on board, as claimed by the Americans , which would have disintegrated with the explosion of the ISIS bomb, after the drone missile impact.

Unsurprisingly the ruling Taliban have objected to the U.S. launching drone attacks on sovereign Afghan territory, but any objections by the Taliban will be ignored as the U.S. continues to bomb and drone Afghans that it believes are ‘highly likely’ to be terrorists. Only once the Taliban acquire anti-air missiles ( as the Mujahedeen before them did ) will the scourge of drone warfare be over.

With the elimination of U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, the Taliban are now free to follow up in every corner of the country, the threat that their mortal enemy ISIS, poses to Afghan security.

We know for certain that the United States did indeed facilitate the rise of extremist Wahhabist movements including Al Qaeda across the Middle East-in collaboration with U.K. ‘special’ forces, the Saudis, Turkey and some of the Gulf ministates; initially to confront the Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and later to attack any secular government that the American and their ‘partners’ saw as a threat to their control of local resources.

We also know that the Iranians, Syrians and Russians have long complained about the U.S. facilitating the rise and ongoing support of ISIS groups in the Middle East, including the transport by helicopter of ISIS remnants from Syria into Afghanistan, and training and support by the Israelis of ISIS Syrian teams. How true are those statements from the Russians Syrians and Iranians? However we do know that the American’s definition of what they have traditionally called ‘moderate’ jihadists in the Middle East, is not one shared by many.

Despite the calls for an end to the drone murders, it is ‘highly likely’ that the Americans will continue to provide any excuse to continue to “precision’ bomb, drone and assassinate anyone they believe is not in their best economic interests and will support a new Mujahideen to confront the now more moderate ruling Afghan Taliban.

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Other Links

https://richardfalk.org/2021/08/29/crime-and-punishment-in-afghanistan/

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/blowback-taliban-target-us-intels-shadow-army/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09592318.2020.1777618

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201802211061871761-us-helicopters-transporting-daesh/

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/31/c_1310158468.htm

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/did-the-us-support-the-growth-of

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/31/c_1310158157.htm

Western Hypocrisy on Afghanistan

As Hollywood has noted, and later U. S. records confirm, the predecessors to the Taliban, the U.S. funded and armed brutal Afghan Mujahideen or jihadist freedom fighters were instrumental in securing the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s , who were supporting the communist secular Afghan government in Kabul. A government it should be noted, who fully supported the rights of Afghan women to be educated, to work and live a life equal to men.

After several years of extreme violence and turmoil across Afghanistan, the Taliban came to power in the late 1990s,

As Consortium News notes: The triumphant Taliban imposed harsh Islamic law on Afghanistan. Their rule was especially cruel to women who had made gains toward equal rights under the communists, but were forced by the Taliban to live under highly restrictive rules, to cover themselves when in public, and to forgo schooling.

The Taliban also granted refuge to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who had fought with the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Bin Laden then used Afghanistan as the base of operations for his terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, setting the stage for the next Afghan War in 2001.

After the 9/11 attacks in New York by Al Qaeda, the Taliban agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. However their offer was refused, and instead President Bush launched a war to remove the Taliban from power beginning with a brutal bombing campaign in October 2001

If the purpose of Bush’s Afghan war was not to trap Osama bin Laden – what was the purpose?

The United States had been negotiating with the Taliban for an oil pipeline to traverse Afghanistan from Central Asian oil fields, and appeared to be on relatively good terms with them.

It was only much later that the hype about a humanitarian intervention for women’s rights etc came to the fore in Western media. However this supposed human rights agenda by the United States and the United Kingdom is contradicted by their wholehearted support for the brutal Mujahideen the Saudi regime, and their unconditional support for the Israeli genocidal actions against Palestinians (amongst many other brutal regimes supported and armed by Western governments)

This was simply one more racist colonial invasion; putting more money into the pockets of U.S. war profiteers.

See below, John Pilger’s video ‘Breaking the Silence’ from 10 years ago in Afghanistan

http://johnpilger.com/videos/breaking-the-silence-truth-and-lies-in-the-war-on-terror

As a Western person I oppose discrimination against any person of any gender or race- however I also oppose the barbaric use of violence to impose one’s will on others we do not agree with- something my country New Zealand has been complicit in along with other Western white countries.

Setting up an indigenous Afghan army funded and trained and managed by foreigners to oppose local people who they may in fact know by tribe or family, and who are trying to defend their country from invasion, was always a recipe for failure. Such troops’ only motivation could be their paycheck, not patriotism for their country: so when the occupation force goes in the dead of night, the money goes with them and the local funded military disintegrate- they have nothing to fight for.

Similarly a ‘democracy’ funded and approved and beholden to an occupying power is not a democracy -it is a mockery of ‘democracy’.- and an extraordinarily corrupt one at that– why else would you pretend to lead your country whilst under an occupying power?

As Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence note in ‘The Scrum’: Ashraf Ghani, (the last of the U.S. appointed Afghan ‘Presidents’) was among the more preposterous creations of the Obama administration, a man who personified our American presumption that we can go around the world making all others in our image without reference to histories, cultures, or political traditions. 

We know the colonial occupation forces killed many thousands of civilians (through bombing campaigns, drone murders, the brutal occupation and destruction of villages and people’s homes and the use of torture at Bagram airbase and other locations in Afghanistan- civilian losses that the occupying forces continue to largely deny.

New Zealand’s ex-prime minister Helen Clark’s commentary on the resurgence of the Taliban might be interpreted as disingenuous, were it not for the fact that she is a United Nations employee and knows full well the extent of the indiscriminate murder, torture and destruction, let alone the phenomenal levels of corruption by NGOs supposedly ‘re-building Afghanistan’ committed by the occupying powers in their 20 year presence in Afghanistan.

We might also note the opium and heroin rat lines from the Afghan poppy
fields which miraculously came into full bloom (Afghanistan  now supplies by  far the largest  share of opium in  the world), after the American occupation
and which will now , once again, be shut down by the Taliban. Mysteriously drug trafficking explodes in volume in those areas where Western intelligence
operatives, and particularly the CIA, are heavily involved: Colombia,
Afghanistan, Laos….

The New Zealand presence in Afghanistan is one more shameful example of our complicity in the United States’ war crimes..

While there will be many in Kabul and other major Afghan cities who have come to enjoy Western values, comforts and the easy money that came with the occupiers, there will be many many more Afghans who are thankful that the brutality and systematic racism of the Western occupying powers is finally at an end.

The lessons other vulnerable countries have learnt from Western occupying powers’ brutal occupation of Afghanistan will not be soon forgotten..

Nor will the boys coming home from that 20 year war be immune to its effects on the psyche..

“One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”
– Booker T. Washington

That is not to say Afghanistan is going to become some liberal, rights respecting country any time soon: traditional rigid views about women’s rights and other ethnicities and belief systems -particularly in rural areas, are gong to prevail for some time to come. And Sharia law is not exactly a very forgiving dogma; but there are signs that the new Taliban leadership recognise that they will have to adapt to the modern world if they are to be accepted by the wider international community, especially investment from Chinese and  other neighbouring countries. Certainly, as of 17th August 2021, the Taliban command have so far largely behaved with honour and discipline for the defeated.

It should also be noted that the Taliban are not ‘terrorists’ and in no way resemble ISIS or the earlier Mujahideen . While they may have sheltered Al Qaeda in the past, they have no record and no stated intent of terrorist actions outside (or within) Afghanistan.

And it should also be remembered that the Taliban’s astonishing victory in the past week has been at minimal cost of human life and suffering; a victory, as Pepe Escobar notes, contrived by ” lots of persuasion, tribal deals, zero columns of tanks (and) minimal loss of blood”.

It is  time now for the new Afghan  government to  demand reparations from all those Western  occupation governments for the deaths,  torture,  trauma and misery;  and land and property losses of the last 20  years.

Perhaps Westerners could also remember, for the future, that the way for outsiders to encourage change in any other society, is to demonstrate your positive values: your generosity, your honesty, your capacity to forgive and your willingness to listen…

Postscript

As Richard Falks  and others note, what follows next in Afghanistan  will  depend not only on how the Taliban keep  their promises of greater tolerance , but also  on  the United States and its Western  occupying allies respond to the Taliban in power.  To  date Western media is hyping up  the threat  and supposed savagery of the Taliban  to extraordinary  degrees  (my local  New Zealand  TV news channel  interspersed commentary of the Taliban  with video of ISIS troops marching in uniform) and the  U.S.  withholding of Afghan federal  reserve money  and aid by  other Western countries . Without the  Western aid that  Afghanistan infrastructure has come to  rely on  over the last 20  years,  severe hardship  and starvation will  be the lot of Afghans already  brutalised by  this pointless war.

It is now likely that  further Western brutal  adventures, such  as the Afghan occupation , will not be viable options , as China particularly expands its  somewhat  more benign influence in  the region.

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Links

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/16/20-years-invasion-afghanistan-unnecessary-post-imperial-fantasy

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126081418/utterly-surreal-and-devastating-former-pm-helen-clark-shellshocked-to-be-back-where-we-were-in-afghanistan-as-taliban-take-over

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/08/16/diplomacy-not-bombs-anti-war-voices-say-afghanistan-shows-need-stop-any-further?

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/the-islamic-emirate-of-afghanistan-back-with-a-bang/

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/08/16/afghanistan-history-taliban-collapse-504977

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/08/afghanistan-taliban-press-conference-notes.html#more

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/08/16/hollywoods-dangerous-afghan-illusion-2/

https://thescrum.substack.com/p/and-now?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/17/the-u-s-government-lied-for-two-decades-about-afghanistan/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/16/what-the-classroom-didnt-teach-me-about-the-american-empire/

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/we-failed-afghanistan-not-the-other?

https://www.sigar.mil/interactive-reports/corruption-in-conflict/lessons.html

As Kabul Is Retaken, Papers Look Back in Erasure

https://annebonnypirate.org/2021/08/17/afghanistan-the-end-of-the-occupation/

https://wikileaks.org/wiki/CIA_report_into_shoring_up_Afghan_war_support_in_Western_Europe,_11_Mar_2010

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232167.shtml

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232142.shtml

https://richardfalk.org/2021/08/23/everything-went-wrong-in-afghanistan/

John Pilger: The Great Game of Smashing Nations

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/wests-meddling-has-caused-calamity-afghanistan

The ‘Coming’ Climate Crisis

We are told that if we do not change our ways, reduce carbon emissions, ‘soon’ it will be too late.

If we haven’t guessed by now , that ‘soon’ is right now. We are already in a climate crisis- of massive fires out of control in the United States, in coastal Mediterranean areas, in Siberia to name just a few. Of “Once in a 100” or 200 year floods, of temperatures in parts of the world that are close to killing any living thing.. We are there – right now…and its not going to get better any time soon- no matter what we do.

This is not a ‘crisis’ that will go away if we just behave ourselves.

This is a crisis that will be with those who survive on this planet for at least the next thousand years- and many more years than that, if we cannot reduce our carbon consumption and start planting trillions of trees.

Even if we were to stop creating more carbon dioxide right now, the planet will continue to warm, the climate will become more unpredictable and unstable. And of course our great politicians are not talking about anything as radical as eliminating our carbon footprint any time soon!- no!- they want us to reduce the ‘rate of increase’ of carbon by 2030 or 2050 or – some other target date far away…that doesn’t impact on their corporate ‘sponsorship’.

However, right now that rate of increase of carbon emissions is just going higher and higher- we are indeed ‘accelerating towards the cliff’.

But somehow many of us continue to believe that those great human minds will save us with some new technology -perhaps detonating some nuclear bombs to provide a nuclear winter for us, or sending dust particles into the atmosphere!

Are we consuming more and more to cope with our fears for the apocalyptic future?- bigger and bigger cars, more and more tinsel and useless consumption, more and more glorification of killing of defenseless animals for pleasure- hunting and fishing ?

But the answer , while not immediate, is simple.

  1. We have to adjust to a world where the climate is warming rapidly- first by accepting that infinite ‘growth’ on a finite world is just plain stupidity. We need to rapidly traverse to global no-growth economies.
  2. We need to try and reverse our rapid destruction of nature around us- encourage insect, bird and other non human populations to rebuild in the face of a rapidly warming world- create new perpetual habitats for other species, stop the chemical spraying, return habitats to their natural states as much and as quickly as possible .. and most importantly, plant more indigenous forest- not for forestry- but for life!
  3. We need to acknowledge that technology is not going to ‘save’ us from the climate crisis- in fact it is one of the significant causes of species loss and habitat destruction that is killing our planet.
  4. We need to acknowledge that humans simply need to support nature to get back to doing its job of making this planet a living world for every remaining species here – there’s nothing fancy about it, it won’t create many new jobs, and it wont seem like ‘progress’ – but it will save us.
  5. We need to encourage politicians to stop lying about what they intend to do about the environment and the climate. There’s no money in it from their company ‘sponsors”, and its not going to boost their fragile egos.
  6. Saving the planet from global heating and species loss is not a side issue to any decisions any of us make. Every bit of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ we make as humans must now put the cost to the climate and species loss at the forefront of EVERY decision. In most cases, human ‘progress’ is not worth the cost to the planet.
  7. We need to accept that we don’t need ‘more’. Teaching people how to be thankful and at peace with what they have and how to re-build their connection with nature – along with a respect for all living things.-that we don’t have a God-given right to treat other living entities as resources.

It’s not going to be easy- but it is simple…..

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Links

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01092-9.epdf?

https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-warmer-than-its-been-in-125-000-years/

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/09/code-red-for-humanity/

Toeing the U.S. Foreign Policy ‘Line’

New Zealand has been the last 5 Eyes nation to sign up to the American ‘line’ that China is a grave threat to all us righteous white folks.

We are now informed that New Zealand is gravely disturbed by China’s actions , and particularly by its alleged ‘state-sponsored’ ‘malicious-cyber-activity” among many other sins real and constructed. While the ‘evidence’ relies on the usual ‘highly likely” scenario ( i.e. ‘we really don’t know who did it, but we know the Chinese are evil guys, so it must be their fault’), hard facts on the issue are strangely hard to come by….

And strangely too , after sitting on the fence in the ongoing confrontation between the United States and China for some time, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Adern, after a one to one conversation with President Biden before the recent ASEAN online conference, has now confirmed New Zealand hostility to all things China. A little strong-arming of a small Pacific nation goes a long way, in U.S. eyes.

And one assumes that New Zealand’s illustrious ‘intelligence’ community has not heard of the U.S. Vault 7, where ‘cunning’ National Security Agency staffers have constructed hacking tools that can insert other national identity markers (including Russia and China) into their hijack software – to make it seem like the hijacking comes from another country, and not the squeaky-clean U.S.

We may also be puzzled why the New Zealand government and other Western nation, has not raised alarm bells about the Israeli ‘state sponsored “Pegasus” hijacking software- sold everywhere to all good tyrants who want to eliminate their political opposition?

However we can be assured that New Zealand is on the right side of justice in adhering to its good white Anglo Saxon 5 -Eyed heritage 0f the United States, U.K. Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and now the U.S. Asian colony of Japan), in condemning the heinous acts of the Yellow Peril commies in mainland China.

While mainland China certainly has many problems, and many harsh responses to internal opposition, if we were to look closely we might find that our good Anglo Saxon global community is not as squeaky clean in terms of its treatment of internal minorities, and decidedly not in its brutal treatment of people of other ‘races’ in other countries. And we might also find that the U.S security apparatus is one of the predominant sources of cyber breaches and hijacking of IT systems across the globe.

The real issue is simply that mainland China is a mortal threat to the long-standing United States’ brutal and belligerent attacks on other nations for fun and profit. Its ‘rule based order’ – where the ‘rules’ are made by the U.S. regardless of rights, freedom and justice- and the world obeys- is under threat from China as it rapidly becomes the predominant economic global power.

Every day now we see the Western mainstream press hyping up the ‘threat’ of “Communist China”. As always The Guardian is superlative in its role as a propaganda arm for Western intelligence; it’s latest article on how the devious Chinese are going to benefit from re-building Syria (after Western sponsored jihadists and Western military occupiers attempted to create a jihadist hellhole there) is a great case in point.

And just as the United States has systematically brutalised sanctioned and murdered the populations of socialist countries that prefer an independent economic and foreign policy, for fear that the socialist model would in fact prove more efficient and fairer to their populations, and thus a role model for a socialist America; so China’s ultra-efficient decision-making processes which prioritise the health and wellbeing of all of its population, and has brought millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty and hunger in a few decades, is a major threat to America’s ‘world order’.

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Links

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2107/S00143/new-zealand-condemns-malicious-cyber-activity-by-chinese-state-sponsored-actors.htm

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/war-games-despite-pandemic-threat-great-barrier-reef

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/new-cold-war-china

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?

‘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/