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 an 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, 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 dead 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

The ‘Moral Injury’ of Barbaric Wars

The United States has been fighting wars for 234 years of its 245 year existence since 1792. The United States is purely and simply a war machine- a country that profits by war: by extermination, destruction and torture of those who are weaker, for the purpose of extracting money.

The list of ‘foreign’ murdered populations, of genocide, of strangulation of countries through sanctions, blockades and ‘targeted’ killings goes on and on and on. This is a country defined by its barbarism.

Or watch Danny Sjurson’s account of what America stands for…

When, oh when, will countries that launch wars of aggression (which the U.S. is literally constantly doing) going to be forced to pay reparations for the trauma loss, destruction and theft they inflict on foreign ( usually non-white) countries?

Will the threat of reparations be enough to stop further senseless wars?

These are wars by common criminals, and should be responded to as such.

The invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago by the U.S. and its co-opted ‘allies’ is a supreme example of the total futility, stupidity and simple evil of the United States . Now withdrawing, while retaining the right to continue bombing Afghanistan at will- despite its agreement with the Taliban not to do so- the U.S. leaves behind a country destroyed and many thousands of Afghan lives lost or injured; for absolutely nothing.

And can we choose to forget the other evils that the United States has committed, with genocide against the Japanese civilian population, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Serbs, the Libyans, the Syrians… to name just a few recent examples?

Who can put a stop to this relentless wild and brutal rampage?

But as with all bullies, there is a consequence; a payback for those who bully and murder at will. The United States is not the most violent nation on earth without reason- the culture of violence permeates everything in America – leading to more and more mass shootings in the U.S. and a grotesque sense that violence solves every problem: so sublimely portrayed in almost every movie that comes out of Hollywood.

And as Kelly Denton-Borhaug notes, the moral decay and sadly often suicide of those who manage this death machine for the U.S.- the soldiers, the drone operators the ‘intelligence’ officers…the acid that eats away at one’s soul….

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Links

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/07/23/these-3-deceptively-simple-questions-can-shatter-the-mythology-that-sanctifies-u-s-imperialism/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/06/kelly-denton-borhaug-christianity-is-the-linchpin-in-americas-war-machine/

Where Farming & Environmental Catastrophe Collide

Recent actions by the New Zealand government to improve water quality in rural areas, to establish more natural areas (SNAs) to preserve New Zealand’s unique biodiversity and to improve environmental decision making when human development occurs, have incurred the wrath of rural communities across new Zealand.

Less than 150 years ago most of New Zealand was covered in indigenous forest with a predominantly bird and insect population and just a few species of mammals- (seals, bats and ‘native’ rats (kiore). Within a few decades of European settlement, most of the New Zealand landmass had been cleared of trees for agriculture, leaving a few pockets of native forest on private farms and some larger national parks. Native bird and other indigenous animal specie’s populations plummeted – largely because of habitat loss, but also because of the introduction of European predators like black rats stoats and feral cats along with European species of plants and trees and birds and accidental imports of insects.

With the introduction of beefs and sheep, large areas of New Zealand, including many parts of the mountainous “high country’, have been maintained in grasslands which are frequently sprayed in chemical fertilizers herbicides and insecticides to encourage grass growth. Soil fertility and water quality has consequently plummeted and erosion has become even more common. In many areas rainfall has also substantially declined with the loss of permanent forest, and often its replacement with North American pines for short -term timber production (pines which also dry and acidify the soil) and are then clear-felled, creating enormous damage to ecosystems.

As global temperatures rise, New Zealand as a southern Pacific island nation, is impacted significantly by ocean temperature and ocean current changes and the de-icing of Antarctica . As is occurring throughout the world, parts of the country, particularly eastern areas, are now more subject to both drought and sudden deluges.

As rain decreases overall, farmers rely more and more heavily on rivers and groundwater reservoirs to provide for their ever less sustainable farm management practices. Dairying, with its very high water requirements particularly, has exploded in recent decades in New Zealand.

In response, the New Zealand government has developed a rather half-hearted and inadequate response to the looming environmental catastrophe New Zealand and the world faces. The rural sector, by necessity, is one of the prime targets for changes to environmental processes in the hope that the inevitable environmental catastrophe can be at least delayed.

However, New Zealand’s comparatively rapid increase in human population and urban areas (from a very low base even 100 years ago) has also significantly impacted on the environment. Low land areas near the coast are particularly impacted by housing developments which totally destroy the natural environment and create major polutants, while draining areas of swamp and natural riperian areas with storm water drains – increasing the ocean’s toxicity

Naturally, the rural sector, mostly conservative by definition, rejects both the need for change and the changes themselves and see themselves as unfairly targeted by a predominantly urban voter based government. The proposed changes by this government will inevitably impact on their often substantial incomes by reducing stock numbers, changing to more expensive and holistic farming practice, and reducing the farming and fishing catchment.

Conservatives often believe that what is the reality now , was the reality in the past and will be so in the future. The current and developing Global Environmental Catastrophe will rapidly prove that viewpoint wrong. If the current intense heat and forest fires in North West America and in Siberia and extreme floods in Europe are not enough warning of what is to come- then nothing will- till we fall off the cliff.

Global markets will inevitably begin to retreat and collapse as the risks to global transportation exponentially increase with more frequent climate events, and their consequent insurance, become too costly. Countries will begin to retreat into their own internal trading milieu, state revenues will implode as ‘production’ begins to rapidly decline everywhere. Costs to national governments to preserve coastal urban areas from sea level rise, to relocate populations from at risk areas, and to compensate for more and more adverse climate events, will all impact on the capacity of national economies to ‘grow’ and a dawning realization that a steady state no-growth) economy is the only feasible option.

It is true that no matter what we do to reduce carbon emissions, we will see rapid increases in global warming. But we can start to mitigate the environmental destruction, loss of biodiversity and provide some cushioning from the ever increasing heat our living world will endure, by undertaking large scale plantings of indigenous forest which will not be logged, marine areas will not be bottom dredged and despoiled, but left to store carbon for millenia. And by holding on to our remnants of indigenous ecosystems for the future we ensure those indigenous forests will become precious storehouses of life and knowledge for the millenia ahead.

Farmers and others in the rural sector who simply see the need for the protection of our remnants of biodiversity as a short-term profit and loss equation that they are not prepared to face, are blind to the realities which confront us all.

Rather than face rapid and cataclysmic change resulting from unstoppable environmental pressures, because we think we can ignore the realities of environmental damage, we are all going to be far safer by systematically adapting to a rapidly evolving environment.

Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/125732953/enough-is-enough-canterburys-rural-mayors-lend-support-to-rural-protest

ANZACS- for King and Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

whitepoppies

Tourism & the Destruction of ‘Nature’

Much has been said and written about the importance of economies getting back to ‘normal’ after COVID-19 lockdowns. Recently New Zealand, has reopened normal airline connections with Australia, its second largest trading partner (after China) and a major source of tourists.

The New Zealand government’s decision to re-open air links with Australia has been partly driven by humanitarian issues of families isolated from each other across “the ditch” (the Tasman Sea), but predominantly to prevent the collapse of New Zealand’s large tourism industry.

Green algae

Little has been said however, on the impact the re-invigoration of New Zealand’s tourism industry will have on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Ironically the decision to create a travel bubble with Australia coincides almost to the day of the announcement from Moana Loa in Hawaii that their instruments have for the first time measured CO2 levels at more than 420 parts per million.

As an island nation, almost all tourists into New Zealand come by plane, and often from much longer distances than Australia (which is 4,163 kilometers away, or an air travel distance of 2,587 miles.). As Atmosfair notes, the burning of kerosene for airline engines is not the only major CO2 producer from jet planes. Jet plane veils and contrails, the build-up of the greenhouse gas ozone in a sensitive atmospheric floor, and the breakdown of methane, are also major factors in increasing CO2 levels and consequent global warming.

Suzuki notes that airtravel will continue to grow rapidly until 2050. If left unchecked, they could consume a full quarter of the available carbon budget for limiting temperature rise to 1.5 C. and …The global tourism industry is responsible for eight per cent of global emissions — more than the construction industry!’ and ...The total carbon impact of a single flight is so high that avoiding just one trip can be equivalent to going (gasoline) car-free for a year.

<p class="wp-image-3612" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-3612" style="width: 450px;" src="https://newantarcticacom.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/co2.png&quot; alt="CO2 Levels Mauna Loa">CO2 Levels Mauna Loa

Tourism also has a significant impact on biodiversity loss; which, even more than climate change; is the greatest risk to this planet. While some have claimed (including U.N. reports) that tourism can increase biodiversity by encouraging humanity’s awareness of the natural world, and bringing human resources to play which protect species and prevent habitat loss; the arguments are clearly specious.

Providing humans with access to our remaining pristine natural environments necessitates environmental destruction and habitat disturbance. Roads, walking tracks, platforms, toilets, helicopters, boats, water and electrical utilities and housing are just some of the methods by which habitats are degraded by tourist activities.

And that is to ignore the impact of the introduction of pollutants like human sewage, supply waste and the accidental introduction of non-native microbes, weeds, insects and animals.

It is time for us all to throw away the ‘bucket list” and learn to be more present in the here and now, and be content with what we have. Creating mini-gardens, communal gardens and re-growing natural spaces in cities can help us all to understand the world in which we live and with which we are defendant upon.

Learning to observe, respect and value the small pieces of the natural world that are all around us, and to which we are inextricably (and often unknowingly) bound.

The natural world is not something for us to ‘experience’ and take a snapshot of; it is all around us: it is part of us, it is ‘us’.

It is more than time for all governments to demand that all products and services consumed, including tourism, are clearly packaged to show the devastating impacts they have on our ever dwindling natural world via biodiversity loss and global heating.

Then we will at last, know the true costs of our consumer society.

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Links

https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/air-travel-climate-change/

https://www.atmosfair.de/de/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/06/we-have-act-atmospheric-co2-passes-420-ppm-first-time-ever

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/envi/two.html

http://iced.cag.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2013_wgea_Wild-Life_view.pdf

Recognising the Environmental Impact of Consumption

Tena koutou
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.
As a recent Israeli  study  amply demonstrates;  production of inert ‘stuff’  by  humans now literally out-weighs  the living  things on  this planet https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/09/human-made-materials-now-outweigh-earths-entire-biomass-study
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.
nga mihi

Footnote
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.
Yes please!

The Anti Sino-Russian Agenda

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.

The United States response  therefore, to issues like the Russian  Nordstream2 pipelines to  Europe and their determination to bring down Huawei’s  technological  leadership  in 5G  or the attempt to  undermine China’s Belt and Road   are simply  part of the U.S.’s  intent to  ensure the U.S.  retain its  global  economic leadership  for as long as it can so  that American big business can continue to  exploit its more vulnerable partners, while its internal  infrastructure crumbles.

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.

In Russia we saw U.K  and U.S.  media  creating fictitious articles about the little green (Russian) military men in Eastern Ukraine,  and Russian  tanks rolling over the border into  Ukraine , while extolling the virtues of those ‘patriotic’ Ukrainians of dubious lineage,  along with the constant analogies to Putin as  Hitler as Russia assumed peaceful control  of the Crimea ( for several  hundred years  populated almost entirely by  Russians) .

As the British and U.S.  begin  their rapid slide to long term  economic  depression, we shall  undoubtedly see more  strident and likely more ridiculous claims surface about the Russians and the Chinese. However as the Russia/ Brexit  media response has shown in  recent times;  it works!  Many of the British  and American  public are indeed  gullible and uneducated  enough to  believe anything that their government throws at  them. Yes, of course the Russians made Brexit  a reality by  putting a few articles in Russia Today  and Sputnik supporting the British  exit from the European  Europe!!

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.


Links

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/

 

 

A No-Growth Economy

Looking for Answers
Looking for Answers

COVID-19  has demonstrated the remarkable limitations  of rational  decision-making in  a number of  Western countries;  particularly in Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S;  as well  as the unlimited  capacity for crazed behaviours of  some leaders like President Bolsinaro  in Brazil.

It would appear that western countries are not generally particularly good at keeping their populations safe.

We see countries desperately trying to ‘re-start’ their economies with  subsidies and other mechanisms – attempting to  create a return  to  the old world of  constant growth.

We see the United States now calling in its allies and mainstream media across the world; ramping up the anti-Chinese hysteria to try and ensure China does not come out of this pandemic as a stronger super-power and world leader.

And here in New Zealand we see  a government which has  very  capably managed the pandemic with  evidence based practice, now  pretending that  we can  return  to  old ‘normal” .    A world of constant growth in a finite world: returning to the constant destruction of our ever more precarious   living world for more human ‘progress’. –more tourism, more roads, more building construction more air-flights. …

No  government money  towards a few ‘greening’  projects can  alter the fact  that  our ‘progress’  is rapidly  destroying the living  branch  we humans  are clinging to.

We need a no growth economy now! An economy which understands that if we continue to expand our human boot-print year upon year- we hasten not only all other species’  destruction , but also our own.

That point of no return may have already passed, but   we need to  act urgently to restore the natural  world we are  rely upon  for our existence-  more trees,  more sustainable  agriculture,  and above all,   total respect  for all  living things.

If we thought COVID-19 was big; the environmental crisis the world faces right now will eclipse everything we have ever faced. It’s time to try and reduce the risks to us all-now!



Links

https://theecologist.org/2020/may/18/case-degrowth-time-pandemic


 

Le Mesurier, Syria, Corruption & the OPCW

James Le Mesurier
James Le Mesurier

As Craig Murray  has eruditely noted,  even  the greatest of scoundrels who  die, have  wives, children  and other people who  love and care for them and who  mourn  their loss.

That James le Mesurier,  likely “ex”-MI6  operative and founder of the White Helmets, was a scoundrel  and a man  with  few ethics is indisputable;  however you would certainly  not know that  from  Martin Churlov’s fawning obituary  in  the Guardian .

What  however we do  get  from  that obituary  is an  acknowledgment of the close ties that  Le Mesurier and MI6 had and continue to have with  Israeli  secret  police and military  in  brutally putting down  what  Churlov describes as the Gaza “insurgency” ( a curious  but telling name for an  uprising against  the disgusting barbaric ( and internationally illegal) Israeli occupation and imprisonment of Gaza’s population). But again;  this should not come as a surprise;  we know the U.K.  intelligence  community’s and UK Military’s longstanding and ongoing involvement with  corruption,   torture  and murder across the Middle East , and its mercenary  longstanding involvement with   the Saudi  regime’s jihadist  terror and genocidal  campaigns against  Shiites.

If you believe Martin Churlov,  Le Mesurier was able to  somehow mysteriously  access large amounts of  Western government money  to  establish  and maintain and provide Western  logistics  to  a band   of humanitarian workers   who  operated in  areas where the officially recognised Syrian  Red Cross could not access because the jihadists would have killed them.

In  Wikipedia we are told (without any hint of sarcasm) that: The Times reported that Le Mesurier was “the subject of an intense black propaganda campaign for years by pro-Assad activists and Russian diplomats”.[28][29] The New York Times reported that the group and Le Mesurier were the target of “unfounded conspiracy theories”.[3] It was alleged that Le Mesurier’s British Army background meant that he was effectively operating as a British state agent.[30] Janine di Giovanni has written the claim he was a spy lacks any evidence.[31] The accusations, from those who are opposed to any Western involvement in Syria and are backers of the Assad regime, include bloggers connected to the English-language Russian media who claim the White Helmets and Le Mesurier were intending to push for regime change in Syria.[32][33]

One of  the White Helmet’s  key  functions ( unlike any other  internationally  recognised humanitarian  mission),  was to  publicise itself and the  supposed military actions of the Syrian Arab Army  (SAA) under Assad. The recent expose of reports  made by   the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) after the allegations by  the White Helmets of  SAA  chemical  weapons use in Douma,  clearly show corruption at  a senior level in the OPCW to  manipulate evidence and come to  conclusions not supported by  their investigators .

Le Mesurier died mysteriously;  somehow falling from  his balcony at his home  in Ankara to  his death in  the middle of the night without his wife hearing anything. And yes, security cameras reveal  no breach of security  at his home-  so  presumably-no  evidence of murder.

Did Mesurier jump  because he knew he was soon to  be exposed to  the world as the charlatan  he was,   and not the  humanitarian portrayed so  well  in  the White Helmet’s  expensive movie and Western mainstream  media?

White Helmets | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix – YouTube

Or was he pushed because he knew too  much? Perhaps we will  never know.

We do  know from TASS   however that  the British have been  getting increasingly concerned about the ongoing ever-deeper  incursions into  Idlib  in Northern Syria by  Russian  and SAA  troops,  where most of their intelligence operatives are working alongside the jihadists and particularly Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) , the Al  Qaeda affiliated  group funded by  the Saudis. A  captured British operative  in Idlib could reveal  much  of the  very  embarrassing support   by the British  French,  US and Turkey of  the jihadists (including the White Helmets),  and their  links to  Israeli operatives.

In  addition, “Old Boy” Boris Johnson’s Etonian and City of London  links might be put  even more at  jeopardy  if any  of this little escapade comes to  light during the current British  General  Election…

As with  U.S.  foreign policy, we need to  understand that  British realpolitik  is simply about the money.  How much  can I or my cronies   get  out of this next  little war?


External Links

The Sad Death of James Le Mesurier

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/13/james-le-mesurier-obituary

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/nov/17/british-government-army-accused-covering-up-war-crimes-afghanistan-iraq

https://tass.com/world/1089495

The USA’s History Of Controlling The OPCW To Promote Regime Change

The ‘White Helmets’ and the Inherent Contradiction of America’s Syria Policy

Who is James Le Mesurier?

OPCW Losing Credibility As Even More Revelations Surface On Douma

International Middle East Media Center- and Israeli violations of norms of humanity


Relevant New Antarctica Links

Lieutenant-General Soleimani & the Red Flag of Qom

No flies in Syria

The Downing of MH17 & Its Curious Convolutions

The Dutch investigation into  the  crash  of Malaysian  Airlines MH17 on 17th  July 2014 in  Eastern  Ukraine where  fighting between  “Russian-backed”  Eastern Ukrainian separatists and government forces was occurring , with  the death  of  all 298  passengers and crew,  has finally been  released.

The crash  followed the disappearance of another Malaysian  Airlines plane flight 370  over the Indian  ocean on 8th  March  2014:  again  with  all  passengers and crew lost-  a rather unusual  coincidence .

To  no-one’s surprise, the investigation has indicted 3 Russians and one Eastern Ukrainian,  who  will  be unlikely to  face the court because both  countries’  extradition laws would forbid  their extradition.

Several  hours before the investigation results were announced ,  the “independent” investigative online journalist  Bellingcat (according to  Wikipedia “Half of (Bellingcat’s)  funding comes from grants and donations, the other half from running workshops training people in the art of open-source investigations”,  released their more comprehensive list  of Russians supposedly involved in  hauling a BUK ground to  air launcher and targetting system across the Russian/Ukrainian  border,  shooting down  the civilian jet  and then  hauling it back  across into  Russian  territory. The reasons for going through  this elaborate process to  shoot down  a civilian  jet   with  Malaysian, Dutch  and Australian nationals on-board are not explored….

However the OffGuardian  notes that  Bellingcat’s funding is largely “from the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy’-   institutions not known  for their pro-Russian,  let alone neutral  stance on  anything.  Bellingcat  is well-known for his  very dubious  statements  and ‘proof” of direct  Russian  involvement in  the Eastern Ukraine war, his curious MI6 related account of the Skripal poisonings (well-debunked by  Craig Murray),  and his  accusations of Syrian (Russian  supported)  SAA involvement in  gas attacks against   civilians,  recently  debunked by  leaked  reports from  the OPCW.

The U.K.  express noted  that  ‘Dutch investigators maintain there is photo and video evidence showing the BUK system used to shoot down the plane came from the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade, which is based in Kursk, western Russia.” As far as can be  ascertained,  this “photo  and video  evidence’  had been  provided to  the investigative team  by  Bellingcat’s  ‘independent’ journalists.

And, as The Saker notes; the list of these (four)  “suspects” can be randomly expanded, up to the country’s top brass. After all, in order to transfer the Buk across the border, a whole interdepartmental operation is necessary. It is possible to take it only from a military unit. And before this – the (Russian) Ministry of Defence. It has to move to the border along roads and through settlements. This means the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which such a movement has to be coordinated with.

And lastly, protecting the border is a prerogative of the FSB. It is clear that any officer of any of the listed departments will not take part in such an operation without the approval of the highest administration.

Well, and the heads themselves will not involve themselves in such complex and dangerous work without having coordinated it first with the Supreme Commander – the president.

While such   further accusations  will suit many in the Russophobe West-  they  simply do  not stack  up  as being  possible, plausible  or rational. For what  possible reason would the Russian  Government authorise the shooting down of a Malaysian  civilian  airliner over  disputed  Ukrainian territory ?

The Dutch   investigators  say the missile launcher  crossed the border from the  Kursk  Oblast,  Russia, into Eastern Ukraine, and returned after the aircraft had been brought down,  a one way  distance of approximately 130 kms. The BUK launcher would have travelled at  a maximum  speed of 65 km/hour.

Despite an all-Malaysian  crew,  and Malaysian passengers being the second largest  group  of nationals on  the plane, and the  owner of the airline ,  Malaysia (along with  Russia)  was denied access to  the plane’s black  boxes and other parts of the investigation,  while the Ukraine,  who  may  or may  not have been  the guilty party,  was allowed free access and the right to deny the public access to  any parts  of the information collected by  the investigative team.  A curious state of affairs.

Malaysia only supports some aspects of the investigative team’s conclusions, and describes the investigation as “politically motivated”

There is much  dispute online about the weapon  used to bring down  the plane, but the current evidence does seem  to  suggest  a Russian -made  BUK type  ground  to  air missile with  a fragmentation head.  The missile appears to  have  hit the plane  primarily in  the cockpit area,  causing catastrophic immediate damage  and immediate loss of  flight recording –  although   curiously little external  damage   aft of the cabin  until  the plane hit the ground and exploded. Russia  maintains the missile numbers found indicate that  it was an  early version of the BUK missile which  was likely owned by  Ukrainian government forces,  but the investigation states that  it was a recent BUK version only owned by  the Russians.

A very  curious state of affairs…

 


Links

Discuss: MH17 “suspects” named

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/mh17-suspects-dutch-reveal-backgrounds-of-ukraine-separatists/ar-AAD7n40

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1134749/mh17-news-latest-malaysian-airlines-crash-russia-missile-ukraine

MH17: "New evidence", same issues

 

http://johnhelmer.org/malaysian-prime-minister-mahathir-accuses-us-and-allies-of-mh17-fabrication-violation-of-rule-of-law/

http://www.whathappenedtoflightmh17.com/about/

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Bellingcat

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2019/06/19/identifying-the-separatists-linked-to-the-downing-of-mh17/

The case of MH17 and the imitation of a Maidan in Georgia: the provocations of globalists