Saturday, June 01, 2013

Criminalizing Criticism: First for the Crimes of Israel, Next...?

Stooges seek to criminalize criticism of Israel

by Stuart Littlewood - Redress

These 34 “commandments” must be obeyed, says the London Declaration on Anti-Semitism

Australian federal and state MPs have been indulging in an orgy of anti-anti-Semitism by signing en masse the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism. Over 100 have put their mark on it.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that even more of the nation’s 226 federal parliamentarians in Canberra are expected to sign up, and all 105 federal Liberal MPs and senators have done so.

About 300 other lawmakers from some 60 countries have also signed, according to a spokesperson from the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. Fifty of these are Canadians, 18 are British, six are Israeli and two are American (what, only two?).

Moreover, last month Australia’s Julia Gillard became the fourth prime minister to sign, after Britain’s Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and Canada’s Stephen Harper, who in 2010 signed the Ottawa Protocol, reaffirming the London Declaration.

The stooges’ pledge

So what exactly have they put their names to? The full document can be found here. It seeks to “draw the democratic world’s attention to the resurgence of anti-Semitism as a potent force in politics, international affairs and society”.

It is a tragedy that the London Declaration is a flawed document. The fundamental intent – to combat and end irrational hatred against a people – is too important to be subverted by the political objectives of Zionism. (Australian Green MPs)

The authors of this one-sided treatise (the aforementioned Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism) want their 34 “commandments” enforced by all the big battalions – national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, non-governmental organizations and civil society.

In the process, of course, efforts to expose the tightening noose of Zionism on those very same areas of politics, international affairs and society will be stifled.

  • Commandment no.1 states that “Parliamentarians shall expose, challenge, and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the state of Israel as a Jewish collectivity”.

Oh dear, how confusing. Here I was foolishly thinking the state of Israel was indeed some sort of Jewish collective since its founding document says:
We, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz Israel and of the Zionist movement hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel. The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles… We appral to the Jewish people throughout the diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding…

  • Commandment no.6 states that “Governments and the UN should resolve that never again will the institutions of the international community and the dialogue of nation states be abused to try to establish any legitimacy for anti-Semitism, including the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena…”

In other words, mustn’t pick on, criticize or punish Israel for its horrendous crimes. It’s an old tune.

  • Commandment no.24 states that “Education authorities should ensure that freedom of speech is upheld within the law and to protect students and staff from illegal anti-Semitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts”.

But what exactly constitutes “illegal anti-Semitic discourse”? And is this an attempt to make boycotting illegal? Surely, that would be an infringement of personal and civil liberty.

  • Commandment no.29 states that “Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes.”

The heavy hand of state censorship rides again.

“A flawed document”

There is good, sensible stuff in the declaration but it is laced with neurotic nonsense. The above are just a few examples. Readers will find more to annoy them when they see the full text, including its hectoring tone, and may feel the whole thing trespasses too far on their personal discretion and good sense.

To their credit two Australian Green MPs, John Kaye and David Shoebridge, have publicly refused to sign the declaration, saying that the document :

“wrongly conflates valid criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism” and is “an unacceptable slander on those of us who speak up for the rights of the Palestinians. Criticism of the state of Israel… that is motivated by concern for a people dispossessed of their land, the consequences of a state that is founded on a religion or ethnicity or the actions of a government that ignores UN resolutions, is a valid contribution to public discourse.”
They add: “It is a tragedy that the London Declaration is a flawed document. The fundamental intent – to combat and end irrational hatred against a people – is too important to be subverted by the political objectives of Zionism.”

They further argue:

When people of goodwill express their opposition to Israeli soldiers routinely humiliating Palestinians at checkpoints, the construction of an apartheid-style segregation wall through the West Bank or the brutal use of Israeli military force against civilians in Gaza, their motivation is not to denigrate the Jewish people but to highlight injustices perpetrated on the Palestinian people.

Is there a working definition of anti-Semitism? According to the European Forum on anti-Semitism:
Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

For example….

  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective – such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

When did fact become myth? Is Jewish ownership of large sections of the media a myth? Is the subservience of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the US government to Israel a myth? Is repeated interference in church affairs by Jewish groups a myth?

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Legitimate worries over dual loyalty are here to stay.

There’s more to chew on in this part of the document:

Examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

Self-determination? The Israelis have denied the Palestinians their right to self-determination for decades and just recently opposed their moves towards statehood. And let’s get this straight: critics require from Israel only the same standards of behaviour expected of other countries, i.e. conformity with international law, proper respect for humanitarian law and acceptable standards of justice. This is core.

Furthermore, the state of Israel is always welcome to demonstrate to the world that it is not a racist endeavour after all.

Wanted: a declaration against irrational hatred of all kinds, not just anti-Semitism

So, are you entirely comfortable with these “commandments”? Would you brandish the blue pencil or eagerly sign up like those fine, thrusting parliamentarians in Australia and Canada – and Brown and Cameron?

What’s the alternative? It seems to me that some Jews would do well to examine their own thoughts and deeds before pleading a special case. Tackling anti-Jewish hatred is a priority but not the only one. Hatred of non-Jews also needs to be curbed, and I’m thinking especially of the Israelis’ Arab neighbours – Christian and Muslim – whose lands, homes and resources they have stolen, whose economy, wellbeing and livelihoods they daily trash, and whose freedom, security and dignity they have long denied. This hatred often spills over into cruelty, murder and other atrocities such as out-and-out military assaults and mass bombing of civilians and infrastructure essential to life.

So here’s a suggestion for the promoters of both documents. Please delete the word “anti-Semitism” from the title and redraft to make it a fair and balanced undertaking against irrational hatred of all kinds.

That, hopefully, would earn universal support. Note the word “earn”. Reasonable, sensible people won’t be pushed and shoved.

It is astonishing how any self-respecting lawmaker could wholeheartedly subscribe to the declaration as it stands.

Yinka Dene Alliance Seeks Federal Assurances Northern Gateway Will Not Proceed


Yinka Dene Alliance reacts to BC’s announcement that it opposes Northern Gateway

by Yinka Dene Alliance

Nadleh Whut’en Territory (Fort Fraser, BC) - Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, speaking on behalf of the Yinka Dene Alliance, issued the following statement today as a reaction to the Province’s recommendation that the National Energy Board should not approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project. The province’s opposition to the Enbridge project was expressed in its written submissions to the Joint Review Panel.

“We acknowledge this significant decision on the part of the Province to reject the Enbridge pipeline. We as First Nations have long said that risk of oil spills to our lands and water is simply too great.

While we are encouraged by this news, the Province should be aware that First Nations are now looking for words to be followed up with concrete actions. We know that it is still possible the federal cabinet will approve Enbridge’s proposal.”

160 First Nations have already said no to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project by signing the Save the Fraser Declaration, which bans tar sands projects as a matter of Indigenous law. According to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our free, prior and informed consent is required for projects of this nature.

Fully recognizing the decisions of First Nations will also require the Province to work with us to prevent this project from being built. We look forward to meeting with the Province for a government-to-government dialogue in the near future.

“We expect the Province to use everything within its legal and administrative authority to ensure the Enbridge project does not go ahead.”

-30-



For immediate release

May 31, 2013

Contact:

Chief Martin Louie, Nadleh Whu’ten First Nation

Geraldine Thomas Flurer, Yinka Dene Alliance Coordinator

Geraldine Thomas-Flurer
Coordinator-Public Relations

Yinka Dene Alliance
135 Joseph Street
Vanderhoof, BC V0J 3A1

"Ask them how do we say sorry to the Mountains? Ask them how do we say
sorry to Mother Earth?" Dr. Sophie Thomas
 (We have ceremonies to give thanks, we never had ceremonies to say sorry to Mother Earth because we are respectful of the life she gives us)

Harper's Next Scandal: Detainee Torture Victims Rise to Finger Canadian Forces

Canada Detainee Torture Scandal to Resurface

by John McNamer

The Harper government believes it has successfully buried the mountain of evidence demonstrating Canada's longstanding complicity in torture and extraordinary renditions, both violations of international law. But the UN Committee against Torture wants answers from Canada June 1, 2013, about whether it has followed committee recommendations that would bring it into compliance with legal obligations. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court has indicated several times in recent years that it is considering a formal investigation into Canada's role in Afghan detainee torture.

Although the Harper government seems to believe it has successfully buried the mountain of evidence demonstrating Canada’s long-term, large-scale systemic complicity in illegal Afghan detainee torture and the CIA’s horrific worldwide “extraordinary rendition” scheme, this ghost may soon rise again to haunt all of Canada in a big way.

The UN Committee against Torture (UN CAT) last June followed its legal mandate to review Canada’s compliance with Geneva Convention obligations prohibiting detainee torture and complicity in detainee torture. The ensuing committee report took clear aim at Canada’s failures, specifically finding it to be “complicit in torture.”

Now the Geneva committee wants some answers, setting a June 1 deadline this year for a response from Canada.

The UN CAT also wants to know if Canada is following its recommendation to: "adopt a policy for future military operations which clearly prohibits the prisoner transfers to another country when there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture."

And to find out if Canada has adopted policies aimed at "prosecuting suspects and sanctioning perpetrators of torture or ill-treatment."

Following last June’s UN CAT report, the Harper government immediately showed open contempt by publicly criticizing the widely esteemed committee in the international media for pointing out Canada's deficiencies.

And it has since ignored the committee's recommendations, which would bring Canada into compliance with international law, by once again having an official policy in Afghanistan of transferring detainees to the United States – a nation known to torture.

Just three months after the committee’s report, the Harper government quietly, by way of ministerial directive, gave Canada’s national police force and the federal border agency the authority to use and share information that was likely extracted through torture. The government soon followed up in November with the introduction of Bill C-42, which forbids RCMP members from questioning the use of illegal torture-tainted evidence, under the threat of dismissal.

And, as far as we know, the Harper government remains steadfast in its position that self-confessed torturers such as former president George W. Bush will be allowed to freely enter and roam about the nation with complete government protection, despite Canada’s international obligation to bar entry or prosecute.

Human rights advocates and those concerned with the rule of law will be extremely interested in Canada’s upcoming response to UN CAT. But given the current government’s track record on accountability to UN agencies, it would not be much of a surprise if Canada does not even bother to defend itself with a response, particularly since no remedies have been publicly undertaken and the situation has actually worsened.

But this UN committee is not Canada’s only problem. Canada’s active role in support of the extraordinary rendition program was documented in 2009 by UN Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinen in a report to the UN General Assembly.

While the practice of extraordinary rendition was put in place by the US, it was only possible through collaboration from other countries, the report says. It identifies Canada as prominent among the countries that provided: "intelligence or have conducted the initial seizure of an individual before he was transferred to (mostly unacknowledged) detention centres in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan … or to one of the CIA covert detention centres, often referred to as 'black sites'".

The report continues: "The active or passive participation by states in the interrogation of persons held by another state constitutes an internationally wrongful act if the state knew or ought to have known that the person was facing a real risk of torture or other prohibited treatment."

The problem for Canada, and therefore for Canadians, is that there are officials who actually enforce obligations under international law: The International Criminal Court (ICC), which has publicly stated several times in recent years that it is looking into the possibility of a formal investigation into Canada’s specific role in detainee torture, and into NATO’s involvement in the torture of Afghan detainees.

Failure to meaningfully indicate to international authorities that Canada is accountable and will no longer be complicit in torture could be the Harper government’s fatal mistake which resurrects Canada’s infamous detainee torture scandal.




John McNamer is a longtime human rights activist and independent journalist. A Canadian citizen, he has worked in the past as a researcher and writer for Lawyers Against the War (LAW). McNamer was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service with the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. His report to the UN Committee against Torture can be accessed by scrolling down to Canada on the committee's website: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats48.*

*[ed's note: that link is not currently (June 1, 2013 viable. - ape]

Criminals Seek Max. Sentences for Patriots Manning, Assange, and Hammond

Gov Seeks Life for Manning; Hammond Could Face Ten Years

by TRNN


Michael Ratner: The government uses a sledge hammer to go after "truth tellers" Bradley Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Julian Assange.

Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Not Mentioning the War: India's Japan Cosying Up

India Places Its Asian Bet on Japan...and Asian Neo-Nationalism? 

by Peter Lee - China Matters

In a dismaying week for the PRC, India turned its back on China...and thereby drifted further away from the narrative of Japanese criminal aggression in World War II that China and the United States have exploited for the last half century.

The photo illustrating Pal’s entry in Wikipedia is his Yasukuni stele.

I don’t know if there is a term in the diplomatic lexicon for “deep tongue kiss accompanied by groans of mutual fulfillment”, but if there is, it seems it would be illustrated by the encounter between Indian President Manmohan Singh and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Tokyo May 27-29, 2013.

Speaking to an assembly of Japanese government and corporate worthies in Tokyo, Singh said:

Asia’s resurgence began over a century ago on this island of the Rising Sun. Ever since, Japan has shown us the way forward. India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia. Over the past decade, therefore, our two countries have established a new relationship based on shared values and shared interests.

Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our Look East Policy. Japan inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and it remains integral to Asia’s future. The world has a huge stake in Japan’s success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial.

India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom. We have increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other’s prosperity. We have shared interests in maritime security and we face similar challenges to our energy security. There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper. Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council.

In recent years, our political and security cooperation has gained in salience. Japan is the only partner with whom we have a 2-plus-2 Dialogue between the Foreign and Defence Ministries. We have also begun bilateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.

The romance was consecrated by an audience with the Japanese emperor and empress for Singh and his wife, and the announcement that the royal couple, apparently in Japan’s version of panda diplomacy, would be visiting India before the year’s end in only the second overseas trip for the aging emperor since 2009.

It should also be noted that India is studying Japan’s offer to sell an amphibious plane, the US-2, that would be de facto Japan’s first overseas military sale, though it would go out under the flag of “dual use”.

Compare and contrast Singh’s effusions in Tokyo with the proper but distant tone of the communique on Chinese PM Li Keqiang’s recent visit to India:

There is enough space in the world for the development of India and China, and the world needs the common development of both countries. As the two largest developing countries in the world, the relationship between India and China transcends bilateral scope and has acquired regional, global and strategic significance. Both countries view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors.

“Nettlesome neighbor” versus “strategic partner”. I think the picture is clear.

Much of the Indian coverage gave full rein to anti-PRC feelings (The Hindu being the exception, although it perforce titled its skeptical editorial on Singh’s Japan trip as “Love in Tokyo” ), implying that India’s vociferous China bashers were celebrating an overt shift in Indian government attitudes or, at the very least, Japan had been extremely thorough in its spadework with right-wing Indian media to cultivate a Japan-India alliance.

Times of India:

India, Japan join hands to break China’s ‘string of pearls’

First Post:

It’s true that no other country in the world today feels as threatened by China’s so-called “peaceful rise” as Japan. But then India too feels threatened by China. That is why Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister and a known India friend, had said in his address to the joint session of Indian parliament in the Central Hall in the summer of 2007 that the Indo-Japan relations were a “confluence of the two seas”, a phrase that he drew from the title of a book written by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh in 1655.

Abe is an unabashed China-basher who says he is determined to see that the South China Sea does not become a “Lake Beijing”. He has proposed an ADSD – Asia Democratic Security Diamond, comprising Japan, India, Australia and the US.

This is what Abe said in a signed article in December 2012: “If Japan were to yield, the South China Sea would become even more fortified. Freedom of navigation, vital for trading countries such as Japan and South Korea, would be seriously hindered. The naval assets of the United States, in addition to those of Japan, would find it difficult to enter the entire area, though the majority of the two China seas is international water.”

Abe has forecast that in about a decade Japan-India relations would overtake Japan-China and even Japan-US relations. “I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific,” he said in this article.

India and Japan were never as close to each other as they are today. The bonding is to become all the stronger in the near future. All thanks to China.

A brief note: the “Democratic Security Diamond” was originally bruited about in Abe’s first term and independently championed by US Vice President Dick Cheney back in 2007 as an effort to stovepipe freedom into Asia with the help of a conservative regional ally against the wishes of the rest of the Bush administration, which had decided to sideline Cheney's team and was rather desperately trying to engage the PRC on the North Korea nuclear issue.

Economic Times:

Japan occupies a large space in Manmohan Singh's heart, and he has logged enough frequent flyer miles to Tokyo to prove it. When he lands in Tokyo on Monday, Singh is certain to get the kind of reception that will show Japan reciprocates in full measure.
… Japan has the kind of technological and innovation heft India needs in spades.
Acknowledging this, the PM once famously listed three of India's relationships he described as "transformational" - US, Japan and Germany - that if India used these relationships wisely, they could help transform our nation. …
With Shinzo Abe back in power in Japan with a convincing mandate and a will to resuscitate Japan from its "lost decades", India has a unique opportunity. …
It is time India came out of the closet to strengthen the countries in the region: Indonesia, Vietnam and the real power in Asia - Japan. India should not waste its time looking for Japanese endorsement of Kashmir or Arunachal Pradesh, though many officials will tell you this is why we're kind of reticent with them. Instead, India should be more helpful on the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue - because if China gets away with this one, it will be unstoppable everywhere else.

Put China on the list of observers who came away with the impression of an Indo-Japanese lovefest.

For an illustration for the diplomatic equivalent of “green eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on” i.e. jealousy/envy/sour grapes, read this People’s Daily editorial which attempts to put the resolution of a minor border intrusion during Li Keqiang’s visit to India on par with the multi-course love feast between Singh and Abe (while diplomatically putting the blame for Singh’s dalliance on Abe’s shoulders):
Sino-Indian diplomatic miracle embarrasses Japanese politicians

“The clouds in the sky cannot blot out the sunshine of Sino-Indian friendship,” said Premier Li Keqiang when describing the Sino-Indian ties on the last day of his stay in India.

Before Premier Li Keqiang’s visit, the China-India border standoff was hyped up by international media. The divergence and contradictions between the two countries were also exaggerated as if the Sino-Indian ties had been strained suddenly.

But what surprised the media was that China and India properly solved the issue in a short time. During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit, the top leaders of both countries had sincere and candid talks and came to a series of strategic consensus and cooperation. The shift of Sino-Indian ties in such a short time is a miracle.

In the development of Sino-Indian ties there are several divergence and contradictions. Some countries see these differences as an opportunity to provoke dissension.

Not long ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Japan, India, Australia and the U.S. to jointly form a “Democratic Security Diamond” to compete with the ascendant China. He also proposed that Japan should promote “Strategic Diplomacy” and “Values Diplomacy” and made visits in countries around China. Some politicians just made themselves petty burglars on China-related issues.

The so-called “Democratic Security Diamond”, “Strategic Diplomacy” and “Values Diplomacy” among other new terms seem very strategic. But in fact they unveiled the narrow-minded diplomatic thoughts of Japanese government. The conspiracy of these petty burglars is doomed to fail…

It is difficult to shed the feeling that Indian commentators who detect an anti-China shift in Indian government policy are on to something.

Certainly, the JapanIndia affair has sound diplomatic and economic bases.

India is not happy about its immense trade deficit with China; Japan sees India as a cheap overseas labor source and Abe needs some big ticket deals with India to keep the economy humming and keep Abenomics out of the ditch.

Various national quid pro quos are at work—several billion dollars in Japanese loans, Indian support for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and a promise to work together to change the structure of the UN Security Council, to date notably China-heavy and Japan- and-India-free.

But an interested reader—and, for that matter the Chinese government—cannot escape the sense that Singh, encouraged by Abe’s vigorous approach to restoring Japan’s national and regional stature, has decided to place an open bet on Japan—a fellow democracy and, until recent years at least, acknowledged master of the global economic and financial game--instead of obstreperous, state socialist China in the Asian sweepstakes.

Therefore, I for once and very gingerly take issue with the esteemed Mr. Bhadrakumar’s conclusion that China’s assertiveness in Ladakh strengthened the hands of India’s China bashers and queered Li Keqiang’s trip and Sino-Indian relations overall. Given the apparent desire of Prime Minister Singh to opt for a Japan partnership, maybe somebody thought an Indian provocation in Ladakh would yield a timely and useful piece of anti-Chinese framing to the encounter in Tokyo.

Maybe Mr. Singh’s heart was in Japan from the beginning.

Guided by an admonitory op-ed in Global Times, I looked up “Radhabinod Pal“ on Wikipedia.

In Internet speak, TIL (today I learned) that Pal was an Indian jurist on the Japan war crimes tribunal in 1946. Pal was enamored of the anti-colonial rhetoric that accompanied the Japanese “advance” into SE Asia. He believed the United States had provoked Japan into war (the Japanese response was therefore not “aggressive”), was concerned with unpunished Allied wartime atrocities, and declined to endorse the “triumph of civilization” narrative of Japan’s defeat or the creation of “Class A” war criminal category that the Occupation used to prosecute the Japanese military and civilian leadership.

While acknowledging the commission of atrocities in the field (though a Nanjing Massacre skeptic), Pal voted for acquittal of the “Class A” defendants and prepared a 1235-page dissenting opinion—suppressed by the Occupation until 1952-- stating that the trial was a “victor’s justice” travesty.

So far so good.

After his dissent was published, Pal, unsurprisingly, became a hero to Japanese nationalists. Given the legal and moral flaws of the tribunal, the standard explanation is that Pal was simply a scrupulous jurist whose dissent got cherrypicked by nasty nationalists for verbiage that supported their claim that the only thing Japan did wrong in World War II was lose it.

Actually, as an article at Japan Focus by Japanese scholar Tekeshi Nakajima points out, in his dissent Pal went beyond challenging the legality and validity of the tribunal to excusing Japanese--activities? Aggression? Advances? Choose your favorite word-- on the grounds that Japan was getting picked on by the West.

This is rather obvious in Pal’s treatment of Japan’s incursion into Manchuria, which Japan did on its own kick without the excuse that the US was forcing it into war.

Pal probably found it extremely awkward that Japan, in his mind the front line of resistance to western colonialism, adopted nakedly colonial policies in its dismemberment of China and subjugation of Manchuria.

He attempted to resolve his difficulties by deploying what might be characterized as the “monkey see monkey do” defense—that Japan, deluded by the precedent, pretexts, and spurious legality of Western colonial intrusions, mistakenly adopted the same methods and, indeed, erroneously adopted the very idea that it needed to occupy Manchuria, from the West.

After dismissing the Manchurian and Marco Polo Bridge incidents as examples of simple overexuberance by officers in the field and not elements of a conspiracy to justify occupation of north and northeast China, Pal deployed the “delusion” defense, as Nakajima writes:
Pal regarded this as the reason for Japan’s attempts to establish interests which it saw as necessary for its very existence. Justice Pal said that carrying out a military operation driven by ‘delusion’ was not unique to Japan as it had been repeatedly practised on a large scale by Western countries for many years. Saying, ‘[a]lmost every great power acquired similar interests within the territories of the Eastern Hemisphere and, it seems, every such power considered that interest to be very vital’, Pal argued that Japan had the ‘right’ to argue that the Manchurian Incident was necessary for the sake of ‘self-defense’.34

Japan claiming national ‘self-defense’ in regard to its territorial expansion in China was in step with international society at the time, Pal said, and thus Japan’s actions stemmed from the ‘imitation’ of an evil practice of Western imperialism. Based on this premise, he concluded: ‘The action of Japan in Manchuria would not, it is certain, be applauded by the world. At the same time it would be difficult to condemn the same as criminal.’35

I, for one, find that Pal’s brief goes beyond the questioning of a dubious legal proceeding by a distinguished and experienced international jurist to rather dishonorable special pleading on behalf of his favorite country, Japan on the grounds of “everybody else was doing it, so it should have been OK, oops, make that that 'necessary'.”

Try that defense next time you’re caught cheating on your taxes.

And there’s this:

In 1966, the Emperor of Japan conferred upon Pal—who stated his lifelong admiration of Japan as the one Asian country that stood up to the West-- the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

The Pal dissent is more than ancient history; it is a cornerstone of the recent nationalist tilt of the Japanese government and the determination of Japanese nationalists to claim an untainted leadership role for Japan as the pre-eminent Asian practitioner of the modern arts of economics, democracy, and warfare (defeated but not discredited in the "great war"), as can be seen from this Telegraph report of the aftermath of the LDP’s victory at the polls in 2012:

"The view of that great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgement only that [Japanese] were condemned," Mr Abe told a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.

In his previous short-lived spell as prime minister, for 12 months from September 2006, Mr Abe said that the 28 Japanese military and political leaders charged with Class-A war crimes are "not war criminals under the laws of Japan."

Pal was enshrined at Yasukuni, which gives the lie to the claim that it is simply a war dead memorial and not a revisionist shrine.

Prime Minister Abe made a pilgrimage to Kolkata in 2007 to meet with Pal’s son and receive a couple pictures of Pal with Abe’s father-in-law, ex-Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who was detained after the war as a suspected Class A criminal but never indicted or tried.

For those who like their national history convoluted, it should also be pointed out that Pal was an admirer of the Indian National Army, which fought with the Japanese against the British in Malaya and Burma. When the British attempted to try the leaders of the INA for treason after the war, the combination of outrage in the Indian military and popular revulsion against the British exercise of justice was a crucial factor in Great Britain throwing in the towel and granting Indian independence.

So, by an alternate reading of history, Japan can claim credit for the decolonization of India as well as Malaysia and Burma.

Prime Minister Singh is unlikely to go the final mile in supporting the Japanese liberation narrative as his primary political patrons are the Gandhi family, which demands sole credit for India’s independence on behalf of Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Singh’s attitude to the potent symbolism of the Pal dissent and the Japanese decolonization narrative was displayed in Singh’s toast to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in 2005:

The dissenting judgement of Justice Radha Binod Pal is well-known to the Japanese people and will always symbolize the affection and regard our people have for your country.

On December 14, 2006, Singh upgraded Pal’s judgment to “principled” and an expression of Indian-Japan solidarity in his speech in the Japanese Diet. He stated:

"The principled judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal after the War is remembered even today in Japan. Ladies and Gentlemen, these events reflect the depth of our friendship and the fact that we have stood by each other at critical moments in our history."

This does not look like a matter of parsing the legal and moral flaws Pal detected in the war crimes tribunal. It looks like Singh’s heart, like Pal’s was with Japan—and its view that it got jobbed by history as written by the World War II victors and China benefited excessively from the unfair Japan = monster framing.

As memories fade of the concrete miseries of Japan’s romp through Asia, resurrecting the comforting abstraction of the Japan decolonization narrative is a potent political and diplomatic weapon, despite the fact that Japan has to be discreet in wielding it before the United States, which is completely vested in the Greatest Generation/triumph over evil version.

Anyway, maybe India thinks it’s time to repudiate the idea of war guilt along and give Japan back its rightful place in the sun (and consign its undeserving rival, the PRC, to the moral and geopolitical doghouse).

Singh did not have to endorse that reliable if somewhat misleading anti-Chinese bugbear “freedom of navigation” and claim an overt Indian strategic role in East Asia through the Look East policy.

But he did so in his remarks in Tokyo.

Our Look East engagement began with a strong economic emphasis, but it has become increasingly strategic in its content. …
Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our Look East Policy. Japan inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and it remains integral to Asia’s future. The world has a huge stake in Japan’s success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial.
India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom. We have increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other’s prosperity. We have shared interests in maritime security and we face similar challenges to our energy security. There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper.

For outside observers, India’s overt buy-in validates the idea of the anti-China alliance and the narrative that the PRC is a rogue actor that needs containment.

It appears that Singh decided to follow his heart and match Abe’s boldness with his own, making a risky move to help Abe's anti-China gambit succeed with some conspicuous Indian support.

My personal feeling is that Singh is going too far by “Looking East” and meddling in the China seas together with Japan, the world’s third-largest economy and committed China-basher, even if it is simply in retaliation for China’s conclusion of a “strategic cooperative partnership” with Sri Lanka and port-related initiatives –the notorious ‘string of pearls’- with India’s troublesome but less than intimidating neighbors Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

The confrontation between Japan and the PRC over the Senkakus may very possibly not end well, and having India sticking its oar in will probably not make things better.

If Singh’s ambitions go beyond playing the Japan card in order to wring better behavior out of China on South Asia and Himalayan issues to concluding an overt alliance with Japan against the PRC to alter the balance of power in Asia, I think he’s writing checks that the world—let alone India—can’t afford to cash.

History, as they say, will judge if Singh made the right bet. If it goes bad, people will be asking why he placed it so early in the game.

Global Times talked tough on the occasion of the Singh visit, putting the onus on Abe once again but presumably also sending a message to India not to end up on the wrong side of (long term) history (as well as reassuring itself that, despite the pretty unfavorable set of current circumstances, the PRC will come out on top in the end):

It will take time for Japan to face the reality that the once only great power in East Asia has to give way to China, whose GDP and marine strength will surpass that of Japan. The process will be tougher for Japan, which will be sincerely convinced some day.

The day will come sooner or later. The little tricks that Japan is playing are nothing but a struggle for self-comfort, which will not affect the development of Asia.

Japan is trying every means to hide its decline against China in order to boost its national morale, but China does not need to compete with Japan to regain confidence and prove its strength.

The conflict between China and Japan should not be regarded as a "strategic" game. In fact, the overall strategic future of Japan and China has already been determined. Gains and losses incurred by the frictions between China and Japan make no difference to the futures of either country. There is no need for China to exert too much energy on Japan.

As a growing but young giant, Chinese society will unavoidably have to deal with various conflicts with Japan. It will be a long journey for China to become mature enough so that a real great power will emerge with confidence.

This is not a final showdown between China and Japan, neither is it an opportunity for China to mend its broken fences with Japan. All China should do is "take it easy." China should be aware that Japan tricks can never impact China strategy. China should take the initiative to decide when and how seriously we respond to it.

But maybe Singh sees a once-in-a-career opportunity for rollback against the PRC with Abe in Japan, the US in Myanmar, and China’s problems with ASEAN on a prolonged, ugly boil.

It is already clear that India is slow-walking its negotiations with the PRC over a free trade agreement. If India and Japan both insist that China’s proposed regional trade zone regime, the RCEP, needs to look more like the TPP, negotiating initiative for all of the region’s trade pacts may switch over to Japan and India.

The PRC might decide it is a good idea to draw closer to the United States (which Abe is discreetly shouldering aside as he pursues his Japan-centric initiatives and promotes his vision of Japan as a victim of “victor’s justice”).

The PRC premier, Le Keqiang, found himself in the unlikely position of trying to reawaken nostalgia for the Potsdam declaration—which mandated the return to their owners of territories like Taiwan, the Pescadores, and Manchuria that Japan had stolen—during his trip to Germany. Beyond giving the PRC some kind of claim to the Senkakus, invoking the Potsdam declaration is probably meant to remind the United States of a happier time when the West’s writ was respectfully acknowledged and not covertly defied by the subjugated and defeated nations of Asia.

It will be interesting to see if the PRC decides that, given the Japan-India partnership, maybe the time has finally come to throw North Korea under the bus for the sake of Sino-US rapprochement.

On the other hand, if the weakened yen and Abe’s frenetic regional dealmaking fail to keep the Nikkei afloat and the long-expected revulsion against Japanese bonds (and the 240% of GDP national debt they fund) materializes and spikes Japan’s borrowing costs, Japan will be licking its wounds a few months from now and Singh will face some awkward moments in dealing with Beijing.

But for the time being, the vision (or to the PRC, the specter) of an active Japan-India alliance inciting and recruiting opposition to Chinese strategic and economic penetration in Asia offers the prospect of an interesting rejuggling of Pacific relationships.

Wilderness Committee: 'BC Environmental Assessment Powers Must Be Restored'

BC Government Must Take Back Its Power on Northern Gateway Review

by Wilderness Committee

VANCOUVER - The Wilderness Committee welcomes today's announcement that the BC government is not supporting the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker proposal, as presented in its submission to the Joint Review Panel reviewing the project. However, while the government has outlined the risks that British Columbians fear – a tar sands oil spill that threatens our coast, wildlife and communities – the province has not yet attempted to take back its right to an independent, made-in-BC environmental assessment.

"This announcement is positive news, and it clarifies that the government has been listening to British Columbians' concerns. Now they need to walk the walk and withdraw from the agreement that has taken away BC's ability to do our own assessment," said Eoin Madden, Climate Change Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

In 2010, the BC government signed an "Equivalency Agreement" with the federal government, which says that an environmental assessment of the Enbridge proposal carried out by the federal Joint Review Panel would constitute a provincial environmental assessment as well. It is important to note that the word "joint" refers to a joint review conducted not by federal and provincial governments, but by two federal bodies – the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

The Joint Review Panel will give its official recommendation when the review is complete, but with the passing of last year's Bill C-38, the final decision on the project rests with the federal cabinet.

"It appears the BC government has taken our concerns about Northern Gateway to heart, but at this stage in the federal assessment process, it's not their decision to make," said Madden. "If the province is serious about protecting our coastline and ensuring a safe healthy climate, it would do what it has the power to do and pull out of its agreement with the federal government – so that it has the real ability to stand up for BC and say 'No' to this pipeline."

– 30 –

For Immediate Release - May 31, 2013
For more information, contact:

Eoin Madden, Climate Change Campaigner, Wilderness Committee
The Wilderness Committee is Canada's largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.


Follow us: [http://www.wildernesscommittee.org]

Enbridge Too Far: Clark Pronounces Northern Gateway Dead, for Now

If Enbridge is a No-Go, Kinder Morgan Should Be Too

by Damien Gillis - The Canadian.org


BC Premier Christy Clark's decision to oppose formally the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline means the project is all but dead.

The announcement, which came in the form of the BC government's final written submission this morning to the National Energy Board-led review panel for the project, is only mildly surprising. Enbridge has suffered setback after setback throughout the multi-year review and even the Harper government - which retains the final say over the project due to the Liberal Government's secretive handing away of provincial sovereignty on the matter - has backed away from its ardent support for the embattled pipeline builder. In recent months Harper has shifted his focus to pushing through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast.

"British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project, including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents," Environment Minister Terry Lake noted.
"Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings."

That leaves one other major expansion route for the Alberta Tar Sands to foreign markets: US energy giant Kinder Morgan's proposal to triple its pipeline capacity to the port of Vancouver. This would result in a twenty-fold rise in tanker traffic through the Salish Sea compared with the early 2000s, before the company purchased the old Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to North Burnaby.

"The position adopted by B.C. on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project as currently proposed is not a rejection of heavy-oil projects," the Clark Government stated in its final Enbridge submission, leaving the door open to Kinder Morgan.

This makes no sense.

The basis upon which Clark rejected Enbridge - the company's failure to meet five conditions established by the Liberal Government a year ago - applies equally to Kinder Morgan's plan.

These conditions are as follows:
  • Successful completion of the environmental review process. In the case of Enbridge, that would mean a recommendation by the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel that the project proceed;
  • World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.'s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments;
  • World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines;
  • Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
  • British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers

The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, much like Enbridge, already fails in most of these areas.

The Coast Salish First Nations, through whose unceded traditional territories the pipeline and tankers would transit, have made their opposition clear over the past year.

Marine safety experts have repeatedly warned that neither the government nor Kinder Morgan are adequately prepared for a coastal oil spill. The company on retainer to provide these services, Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation, acknowledged at a Vancouver City Council meeting two years ago that it was certified to clean up a spill of 100,000 barrels, while these tankers would carry 650,000 barrels - possibly more if the company pushes to dredge Second Narrows and move up to larger Suezmax carriers.

The risks from the tanker route, while different from the proposed Enbridge project, are equally severe. These tankers would pass the economic heart of the province, its major population centres, its most important salmon estuary, important whale habitat, the vital farmland of the Fraser River Delta, the Gulf Islands, southern Vancouver Island and our political capital in Victoria. Throughout this journey, these ships would face daunting navigational challenges. Estimates for the cost of an oil spill in the Vancouver area range up to $40 Billion. An oil spill on BC's south coast would decimate our "Super, Natural BC" brand, which is at the heart of our $13.4 Billion tourism economy.

As for the economic benefits of the Kinder Morgan expansion to British Columbians...what benefits? A few dozen long-term jobs in the expanded Burnaby tanker terminal? Pitiful royalties and tax revenues for the province?

If the Enbridge pipeline isn't up to Christy Clark's standards, then the proposed Kinder Morgan expansion shouldn't be either.


Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Canada Less Kind: A Smaller Gunboat Diplomacy

Canada’s Gunboat Diplomacy

by Yves Engler - yvesengler.com

People seldom think of Canadian foreign policy when the term “gunboat diplomacy” is used, but they should. It is not just the USA, Great Britain, France or other better-known imperial powers that use military force as a “diplomatic” tool.

For example, Postmedia recently revealed that a Canadian naval vessel stopped a boat carrying Jamaica’s former prime minister. Bruce Golding was aboard his fishing trawler last spring when Canadian forces questioned him just outside Jamaican waters.

This incident led to the discovery that Canadian ships fired .50-calibre heavy machine guns in Jamaican territorial waters without authorization. Ottawa claimed the Canadian Navy’s actions were the result of outdated maps.

While this may be technically true the Canadian navy has long taken an aggressive posture in the region. In a 2000 book chapter titled “Maple Leaf Over the Caribbean: Gunboat Diplomacy Canadian Style” Royal Military College historian Sean Maloney writes: “Since 1960, Canada has used its military forces at least 26 times in the Caribbean to support Canadian foreign policy. In addition, Canada planned three additional operations, including two unilateral interventions into Caribbean states.”

In May 1963 two Canadian naval vessels joined U.S., British and French warships that “conducted landing exercises up to the [Haiti’s] territorial limit several times with the express purpose of intimidating the Duvalier government.” The 1963 mission was largely aimed at guaranteeing that Duvalier did not make any moves towards Cuba and that a Cuban-inspired guerilla movement did not seize power.

Two years later thousands of U.S. troops invaded the Dominican Republic to stop a left-wing government from taking office. Alongside the U.S. invasion, a Canadian warship was sent to Santo Domingo in April 1965, in the words of Defence Minister Paul Hellyer, “to stand by in case it is required.”

The next year two Canadian gunboats were deployed to Barbados’ independence celebration in a bizarre diplomatic maneuver designed to demonstrate Canada’s military prowess. Maloney notes: “We can only speculate at who the ‘signal’ was directed towards, but given the fact that tensions were running high in the Caribbean over the Dominican Republic Affair [1965 U.S. invasion], it is likely that the targets were any outside force, probably Cuban, which might be tempted to interfere with Barbadian independence.” Of course, Canadian naval vessels (which regularly dock in Barbados on maneuvers) were considered no threat to Barbadian independence. Intervening in another country to defend it from possible outside intervention may be the pinnacle of the imperial mindset.

Four decades later the Canadian Navy continues to be active in the Caribbean as the recent incident in Jamaican waters makes clear. In another example, a May 2008 Frontline magazine article describes a trip to the region aboard HMCS Iroquois designed “to reaffirm the fact that Canada takes the Caribbean seriously as an area of strategic interest.”

Canada’s military presence reaches beyond the high seas. In 2011 Ottawa signed an agreement to set up a small base to house soldiers and equipment at a base in Kingston and the newly created Canadian Special Operational Regiment has been heavily involved in training Jamaica’s military.

Canada has trained Jamaica’s security forces since not long after the country’s independence in 1958. Canadian Caribbean Relations in Transition explains: “[Canada] cooperated closely with Jamaica in setting up the latter’s national security organizations. Cadet training schemes were followed by reciprocal high-level military visits and consultations. Aircraft were sold to Jamaica and pilot training was undertaken. Technical assistance was initiated and expanded to include joint training exercises.”

Canadian military training in Jamaica has been particularly controversial. When “a battalion of 850 Canadian troops landed in the mountainous Jamaican interior to conduct a tropical training exercise” in the early 70s, Abeng, a leftist Jamaican paper, cried foul. The paper’s editors claimed Ottawa was preparing to intervene to protect MontrĂ©al-based Alcan’s bauxite facilities in the event of civil unrest and/or in case a socialist government took office.

While numerous books dealing with Canadian-Caribbean relations scoff at Abeng’s accusations, the archives confirm the paper’s suspicions. “Subsequent [to 1979] planning for intervention seems to bear out the Abeng accusations,” notes Maloney. Code-named, NIMROD CAPPER, “the objective of the operation revolved around securing and protecting the Alcan facilities from mob unrest and outright seizure or sabotage.”

Later, Canadian military planning resumed from where NIMROD CAPPER began with an exercise titled “Southern Renewal,” beginning in 1988. Maloney explains: “In this case a company from two RCR [Royal Canadian Reserves] was covertly inserted to ‘rescue’ Canadian industrial personnel with knowledge of bauxite deposits seized by Jamaican rebels and held hostage.”

Some Canadians might explain this away as overzealous military planning, but a historically minded Jamaican nationalist would have every reason to be concerned.

Canadian soldiers garrisoned Bermuda from 1914-1916 and St. Lucia from 1915-1919. They also replaced British forces in Jamaica from 1940-1946, as well as in Bermuda and the Bahamas during segments of this period.

Perceptions of race underlay the use of Canadian troops during World War Two. According to Canadian Defence Minister Norman Rogers, the governor of Jamaica “had intimated that it will be risky to remove all white troops.”

The situation in the Bahamas was even more sensitive. In June 1942 rioting broke out over the low wages received by black labourers. Canadian troops arrived in the Bahamas just after the riots and their main task was to protect a paranoid governor, the Duke of Windsor.

Not only does the current Canadian government engage in gunboat diplomacy, our country has a long, shameful and mostly hidden history of doing so.


Yves Engler’s latest book is The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. For more info: yvesengler.com

Turning Around Catface, Fandora Mines in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve


Imperial Metals Takes Heat for Properties in Clayoquot Sound

by Friends of Clayoquot Sound


“Murray Edwards, you are the main player in Imperial Metals, the hand controlling the Dragon that threatens our sleeping princess that is Clayoquot Sound. You are the prince who can stop the battle between the dragon and the people of the Sound before it begins, say NO to the costly and destructive mining projects in Clayoquot Sound.” – Michael Mullin, founding member of Friends of Clayoquot Sound

Wednesday, May 29th  Friends of Clayoquot Sound, the Wilderness Committee, Clayoquot Action, and representatives from both the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations held a rally in front of Imperial Metals Annual General Meeting. Imperial Metals owns two mineral properties in Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the largest intact stretch of old growth coastal temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island.

One mineral property, on Catface or “Chitapi” mountain, lies at the heart of the Sound. The other, the site of the old Fandora gold mine, lies at the head of the Tranquil Creek watershed. Friends of Clayoquot Sound has been fighting for the preservation of this area since its inception in 1979 and today takes that fight to Imperial Metals and majority shareholder Murray Edwards.

Murray Edwards is one of Canada’s wealthiest businessmen and is part owner of many Canadian enterprises including the Calgary Flames and “Resorts of the Canadian Rockies”. The challenge launched by Friends of Clayoquot Sound today is that they WILL hold Murray Edwards and his kingdom accountable for Imperial Metals’ actions in Clayoquot Sound.

While the rally was held outside the Terminal City Club, Friends of Clayoquot Sound member Eileen Floody was able to read a joint statement from Friends and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation inside the AGM. The statement iterated the firm opposition of the Tla-o-qui-aht against any mining in their territory. It also  reminded Imperial Metals that Clayoquot Sound has been a hot-bed of political controversy in the past and the people will not stand idly by while mountain tops are blasted away and tailings ponds are built over productive salmon streams.

“In 1984 MacMillan Bloedel thought they could clearcut Meares Island for profit – They were wrong.” … “ With Clayoquot opposition, any attempt to start a mine project is bound to fail, and is a waste of money” – FOCS board member Eileen Floody and Tla-o-qui-aht representative Terry Dorward

Press Release May 29, 2013

For more information please contact:

Emery Hartley, Campaigner for Friends of Clayoquot Sound
emery@focs.ca


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

As Goes Syria...

Syria escalation poses growing risk of regional war

by Bill Van Auken- WSWS

In the wake of the European Union’s vote late Monday to lift a ban on directly arming Western-backed “rebels,” there is a mounting danger of wider war. Growing military tensions in the region are likewise threatening to turn a Syrian peace conference, ostensibly backed by both Washington and Moscow, into a dead letter. Dubbed “Geneva II,” the conference is tentatively set to convene in mid-June.

On Tuesday, the Russian government condemned the EU for “throwing fuel on the fire” of Syria’s sectarian civil war and announced that it is going ahead with the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Syria.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a press conference in Moscow that the deployment of the advanced air defense batteries would serve as a “stabilizing factor” in the Syrian crisis by dissuading Western powers from launching direct military intervention.

The mobile, surface-to-air missile systems have been compared to the US Patriot and are capable of bringing down rockets as well as planes.

“We consider that such steps will restrain some hotheads from the possibility of giving this conflict, or from considering a scenario that would give this conflict, an international character with the participation of external forces,” he said.

While the deployment of the missiles would complicate any imposition of a “no-fly zone,” the action that began the US-NATO war for regime change in Libya, it is also directed against Israel, which has repeatedly carried out air strikes against Syria in the course of the two-year-old crisis. The latest of three known air strikes took place earlier this month and provoked an angry denunciation from Moscow, which is Syria’s long-standing ally and biggest arms supplier.

The Israeli government condemned the decision to deliver the Russian missile systems to Syria, claiming that the anti-aircraft batteries were not defense weapons, as Moscow has claimed, but rather “offensive” because their range made them capable of bringing down planes flying in Israeli airspace. Israeli officials also claimed that the weapons could fall into the hands of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite mass political movement and militia, which has resisted Israeli incursions into Lebanon.

Tel Aviv’s principal concern is that the missile systems could rob the Israeli military of its ability to carry out military aggression against Syria as well as Lebanon with impunity.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon threatened that the country’s military “will know what to do” if the missile systems reach Syria, an implicit threat of renewed air strikes that could draw Russia more directly into the conflict.

Meanwhile, the White House acknowledged Tuesday that it had been informed in advance of a provocative stunt staged by Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican and former opponent of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race, who made a brief foray just inside Syria’s border with Turkey to meet with the so-called rebels Monday.

The area that McCain visited is largely under the control of Islamist militias, including the Al Nusra Front, which has formally aligned itself with Al Qaeda. His host, the former Syrian general and defector Salem Idris, is the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. While it is by no means clear that Idris exerts any real control over the various militias and gangs that have taken up arms against the government, the ex-general used McCain’s visit to press Washington for more arms and direct military intervention.

“We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation,” Idris told the Daily Beast, which first reported McCain’s two-hour trip to Syria. “What we want from the US government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” the ex-general continued. “Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.”

The “rebels’” demand for US imperialist intervention in both Syria and Lebanon apparently dovetails with preparations being made by the Pentagon and the Obama administration. The White House has asked the US Joint Chiefs of Staff to draft plans for the imposition of a no-fly zone to be enforced by Washington and its key NATO allies, the former Middle East colonial powers, Britain and France.

The Daily Beast quoted two unnamed administration officials Tuesday as saying that the request came “shortly before Secretary of State John Kerry toured the Middle East last week to try and finalize plans for an early June conference between the Syrian regime and rebel leaders in Geneva.”

“The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it’s more advanced than it’s ever been,” one of the administration officials said.

The online publication reported that the White House had requested that US agencies consider a shift in policy toward directly arming the anti-Assad militias and recognizing the “rebels” as Syria’s legitimate government. It also noted that upcoming “Eager Lion” military exercises bringing 15,000 US and NATO troops, along with those of other US-aligned countries, to Jordan would provide the means of pre-positioning US military hardware for a Syrian intervention.

These preparations give the lie to the pretense that Secretary of State John Kerry is working with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to ensure a successful peace conference next month in Geneva.

While the Syrian regime has indicated its willingness to attend a meeting aimed at reaching a political settlement of the two-year-old war, there is no indication that the “rebels” are prepared to do likewise, nor for that matter that they have any coherent leadership capable of negotiating such an agreement.

The Syrian National Coalition, the rebel front backed by Washington, has spent the last five days holding a fractious conference in Istanbul. Attempts by the Western powers to lend the body a more acceptable veneer by incorporating a handful of secular opponents of the Assad regime have been repeatedly rejected by the opposition’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated leadership.

While the Obama administration and its allies are prepared to recognize the coalition as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people and even the country’s provisional government, it has become increasingly obvious that it has no significant popular support.

As the Abu Dhabi daily the National noted recently, the coalition’s secretary general, Saudi Arabian-based businessman Mustafa Al Sabbagh, was given his post after appearing at the group’s founding in Doha last November with 16 people he claimed were representatives of regional councils from across Syria.

“In fact many of them were his employees in Saudi Arabia, or his relatives,” the paper reported.

The crisis of the so-called rebels and the reversals the Islamist militias have suffered recently in combat with the Syrian army have only served to escalate the US and Western European preparations for direct intervention. Washington and its allies are determined to pursue their war for regime change as part of a broader strategy for redrawing the map of the entire region to serve their own predatory interests.

Taking It to the Shareholders: Enviro, First Nations Rally for Imperial Metals

Environmental groups, First Nations representatives and concerned citizens rally outside mining company AGM

by Wilderness Committee/ Friends of Clayoquot Sound

VANCOUVERThe Wilderness Committee, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, and Clayoquot Action joined representatives from the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and other concerned citizens in Vancouver today to peacefully protest planned mining projects in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Vancouver-based Imperial Metals Corporation – the company exploring options for the Catface (copper) and Fandora (gold) mines – is holding their Annual General Meeting at the Terminal City Club this afternoon.

The proposed Catface and Fandora mine sites are in Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht territories (respectively), and could have devastating impacts on water quality, ecology, and human health in the region.

"We are here to send Imperial Metals a clear message that mining is unacceptable in Clayoquot Sound, and that environmental values and First Nations' rights and concerns must be respected," said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

Clayoquot Action, a newly-formed group, has identified mining as one of the most serious threats to Clayoquot's biocultural diversity. Opposing Imperial Metals' proposal is at the heart of their efforts to protect the region.

"These mines would damage the landscape and present a toxic risk to the salmon that feed the old-growth forests – a toxic legacy that would endure for centuries," said Dan Lewis of Clayoquot Action.

The proposed mines are also contentious among local First Nations, and members of the Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations were at the rally to share their messages.

"Imperial's proposed Fandora mine would have negative impacts on our Nuu-chah-nulth ways and our efforts to ensure the well-being of our Tla-o-qui-aht people and our environment," said Tla-o-qui-aht Councillor Terry Dorward.

The Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS), originally formed in the late 1970s to fight destructive logging in the region, organized a bus from Tofino to bring local citizens to the rally.

"We will take any necessary actions to keep this destructive and unsustainable practice out of Clayoquot Sound. We've been holding the line since 1979, and we will continue to do so," said FOCS campaigner Emery Hartley.

– 30 –


For Immediate Release - May 29, 2013
For more information, contact:

Torrance Coste, Wilderness Committee
Emery Hartley, Friends of Clayoquot Sound
Dan Lewis, Clayoquot Action
Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Councillor

The Wilderness Committee is Canada's largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.

Click here to unsubscribe http://wildernesscommittee-mediareleases.cmail2.com/t/y-u-trijidl-pullyykiy-d/ from this list.

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Right Wing Crime Wave: The Ignominy and Crapulence of Canada's Political Class

Scandal and Corruption in Canada's Right Wing Governments

by TRNN


Leo Panitch: Toronto's right populist Mayor is accused of crack use and PM Harper accused of covering up corruption in the Senate - their more serious crimes are attacks on workers rights and on public services.

Leo Panitch is the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto. He is the author of many books, the most recent of which are: The Making of Global Gapitalism: the Political Economy of American Empire (Verso 2012); and, In and Out of Crisis: The Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives (PM Press 2010). In addition to his university affiliation he is also a co-editor of the Socialist Register, whose 2013 volume is entitled The Question of Strategy

First Time in Four and Half Million Years: Can Earthlings Survive Sky High CO2 Levels for Long?

The Planet Can't Keep Doing Us a Favour

by David Cromwell - Media Lens

Sometimes we get so sick of the phrase 'history in the making' that the brain tends to switch off. What is it this time?, we sigh. A new high-tech piece of military technology that will boost US killing power? A big jump in a newspaper's online advertising revenue? The world's best footballer, Lionel Messi, joining 'an exclusive list of adidas athletes to have their own signature product'? Sometimes the 'history' in question only stretches back a few years, maybe a century or two. Only very occasionally, if the claim is truly deserved, does it strech back to the earliest era of written records.

But now, with humanity's huge impact on the planet's climate becoming ever clearer, we need to go back several million years. Because climate-related news of history being made are about the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) reaching 400 parts per million (ppm). The last time CO2 was this high was probably 4.5 million years ago, before modern humans even existed.

Throughout recorded history, up till the Industrial Revolution, CO2 was much lower at around 280 ppm. But large-scale industrial and agricultural activity since then has seen humanity profoundly alter the make-up of the atmosphere and even the stability of Earth's climate.

'We are creating a prehistoric climate in which human societies will face huge and potentially catastrophic risks,' said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics.

According to Bob Watson, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former UK government chief scientific adviser:

'the world is now most likely committed to an increase in surface temperature of 3C-5C compared to pre-industrial times.'

As Damian Carrington noted in the Guardian, even just 2C is regarded as 'the level beyond which catastrophic warming is thought to become unstoppable.' But social scientist Chris Shaw has warned that even the notion of a single 'safe' global temperature rise is dangerous. He observes that:

'falsely ascribing a scientifically derived dangerous limit to climate change diverts attention away from questions about the political and social order that have given rise to the crisis.'

But for the corporate media, such questions are essentially taboo, and the global corporate and financial juggernaut, driven by the demands of capital, shows no sign of slowing down. Scientists calculate that humans pumped around 10.4 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in 2011, the most recent year analysed. A Nature news article reports:

'About half of that is taken up each year by carbon "sinks" such as the ocean and vegetation on land; the rest remains in the atmosphere and raises the global concentration of CO2.'

'The real question now', says environmental scientist Gregg Marland from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina , 'is how will the sinks behave in the future?' And biogeochemist Jim White at the University of Colorado in Boulder warns:

'At some point the planet can't keep doing us a favour.'

In other words, the ability of the planet's natural carbon 'sinks' to soak up humanity's CO2 emissions will diminish, and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 will rise at an increasing rate. What is so dangerous about climate change is not just the high level of CO2 today, but the speed at which it is increasing. In other words, climate change is accelerating.

Brian Hoskins, a leading climate scientist based at Imperial College, London, says:

'To me the striking fact is that human activity has already driven the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to a level more than 40 per cent above the maximum levels it had during the previous million years, and it is going to stay at least this high for thousands of years into the future.'

The very real risk of climate calamity will not be going away for some considerable time.

'It Is Irresponsible Not To Mention Climate Change'


On 20 May, a devastating tornado hit Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, and killed at least 24 people, including nine children, injured around 240 people, and destroyed hundreds of homes and shops, two schools and a hospital. It is not yet clear what the impact of global warming might be on tornadoes. A warmer climate may mean there is more moisture in the atmosphere and therefore more thunderstorms and tornadoes, says Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the UK's Met Office:

'But on the other hand, you might get changes in high-level winds which could decrease tornadoes. So it literally could be either way. We don't know.' (Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent, 'Scientists inconclusive about climate change impact on tornadoes', Financial Times, May 21, 2013; article behind paywall)

Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, agrees it's 'too early to tell' the impact of global warming on tornadoes, although he added:

'you'd probably go with a prediction of greater frequency and intensity of tornadoes as a result of human-caused climate change.'

For now, at least, it is not possible to directly attribute a particular tornado, even a large one like the Oklahoma event, to global warming. As Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told the New York Times in 2010:

'It's not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there's always an element of both.'

Moreover, as science writer Joe Romm notes:

'When discussing extreme weather and climate, tornadoes should not be conflated with the other extreme weather events for which the connection is considerably more straightforward and better documented, including deluges, droughts, and heat waves.'

However, he also adds:

'Just because the tornado-warming link is more tenuous doesn't mean that the subject of global warming should be avoided entirely when talking about tornadoes.'

In 2011, after a record series of tornadoes in the US, Trenberth had told Romm:

'It is irresponsible not to mention climate change. ... The environment in which all of these storms and the tornadoes are occurring has changed from human influences (global warming).'

In the wake of the deaths and devastation wreaked by the Oklahoma tornado, Romm has revisited the scientific evidence on global warming and tornadoes, and again highlights Trenberth's remark above.

But on the main BBC News television programmes, science correspondent David Shukman brushed the topic away:

'Tornadoes are nothing new. And so far there's no evidence that over the past century that climate change is causing more of them.'

There was only the briefest mention of climate change, then, by the BBC, and nothing was heard on the main television news programmes from any of the climate scientists who, as noted above, believe there could be a link with global warming. This is standard treatment. The reluctance or inability of BBC News to discuss fully and responsibly the seriousness of global warming, even when reporting related issues such as energy and industry, is something we noted in an alert earlier this year.

'Deniers Want The Public To Be Confused'


But sometimes luck simply runs out for high-profile, highly-paid journalists performing their clunking impressions of 'balanced' journalism. This was the fate that befell Sarah Montague of the much-vaunted BBC Radio 4 Today programme when she interviewed James Hansen on May 17. Hansen, the former senior Nasa climate scientist who first warned the world about catastrophic climate change in 1988, corrected the BBC interviewer when she said in her introduction that the global average temperature had not changed in two decades.

'Well, I should correct what you just said. It's not true that the temperature has not changed in two decades.'

The BBC interviewer blundered on:

'But there was a suggestion that we should have been expecting 0.2 of a degree and it has ...'

Hansen interjected:

'No. If you look over a 30 or 40-year period then the expected warming is about two-tenths of a degree per decade. But that doesn't mean that each decade is going to warm two-tenths of a degree. There's too much natural variability.'

Hansen continued:

'In addition, China and India have been pumping out aerosols by burning more and more coal. So you get from that, not only CO2, but also these particles that reflect sunlight and reduce the heating of the Earth. So [...] it's a complicated system, but there's no change at all in our understanding of climate sensitivity [to rising levels of CO2] and where the climate is headed.'

He was clear that the suggestion that global warming has stalled is 'a diversionary tactic' by deniers of the science. Why are they doing this?

'It's because the deniers want the public to be confused. They raise these minor issues and then we forget about what the main story is. The main story is carbon dioxide is going up and it is going to produce a climate which is going to have dramatic changes if we don't begin to reduce our emissions.'

The interview was an all-too-rare instance of a BBC journalist being confronted by someone who really knew what they were talking about on a vital issue for humanity, and able to put it across in a calm and articulate way that listeners could easily understand. It's not the first time the BBC Today programme has been caught out of its depth on climate science.

The false 'balance' in climate journalism is heavily skewed by the supposed need to share time between climate science and climate science denial. This is irrational 'journalism' by media professionals who have been seduced by a stubborn minority of people who 'refuse to accept that climate change is happening despite the overwhelming scientific evidence', notes Ryan Koronowski. This minority, particularly in the United States, are fanatic about fanning the flames of doubt and are often in powerful positions in the political establishment. These climate science deniers are often also free-market ideologues. Koronowski, deputy editor of Climate Progess, cites a recent study by researchers in Australia which found that:

'people who expressed faith in free-market ideology were also likely to reject [the] scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that burning fossil fuels helps to cause it.'

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study also showed that irrational scepticism towards scientific evidence extended beyond climate change:

'Endorsement of free markets also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer.'

Indeed, there is a long and shameful history of corporate disinformation and rearguard campaigns of deception to deny science. (See, for example, Andrew Rowell, Green Backlash, Routledge, London, 1996; and Sharon Beder, Global Spin, Green Books, Totnes, 1997.)

For many years now, there has been an overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. A new survey of more than 4,000 peer-reviewed papers showed that 97.1% agreed that humans are causing climate change. Suzanne Goldenberg reported on the Guardian website that:

'[The] finding of near unanimity provided a powerful rebuttal to climate contrarians who insist the science of climate change remains unsettled.'

Moreover:

'The study blamed strenuous lobbying efforts by industry to undermine the science behind climate change for the gap in perception. The resulting confusion has blocked efforts to act on climate change.'

This corporate-led blocking strategy is particularly cruel, indeed criminal on a global scale, given the catastrophic consequences of continued carbon emissions.

The Pan-Tentacled, Wall-Eyed And Parrot-Beaked Global Kraken


Political, military, industry and financial elites who take science seriously are well aware of the pressing reality of climate change, and worry about what it means for their global grip on power. Nafeez Ahmed observes that the US military is becoming 'increasingly concerned about the international and domestic security implications of climate change.' A US Department of Defense (DoD) document, published in February this year, warns that climate change will have 'significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to greater competition for more limited and critical life-sustaining resources like food and water.' Climate change impacts will likely also act 'as accelerants of instability or conflict in parts of the world' and 'DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on its facilities, infrastructure, training and testing activities, and military capabilities.'

The US military's stance on climate change is, of course, not motivated out of a heartfelt wish to be a benefactor for humanity. As Ahmed points out:

'The primary goal of adaptation is to ensure that the US armed forces are "better prepared to effectively respond to climate change" as it happens, and "to ensure continued mission success" in military operations - rather than to prevent or mitigate climate change.'

The elite response to impending climate chaos extends to capitalism's endless drive to burn ever more dangerous quantities of fossil fuel, even to the extent of moving into the Arctic as the ice melts. Ahmed notes that the region likely holds a massive 25 per cent of the world's remaining undiscovered oil and gas reserves. Fossil fuel companies from the US, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark already have their eyes on this northern prize, 'sparking concerted efforts by these countries to expand their Arctic military presence.'

Methane hydrates lying beneath the Arctic permafrost and the seafloor are tantalisingly now within reach. An attempt by the Tokyo-based state oil company Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to extract methane from far below the ocean 'shows promise': an odd way to describe a reckless operation that will further tip the balance in favour of climate instability. A Nature news story, 'Japanese test coaxes fire from ice', blithely told readers:

'Reservoirs of methane hydrates — icy deposits in which methane molecules are trapped in a lattice of water — are thought to hold more energy than all other fossil fuels combined. The problem is extracting the methane economically from the deposits, which lie beneath Arctic permafrost and seafloor sediments. But some scientists and policy makers in energy-poor, coast-rich Japan hope that the reservoirs will become a crucial part of the country's energy profile.'

Methane is an even more potent global-warming gas than carbon dioxide. That a country's 'energy profile' may be pumped up by exploiting methane, even as the planet burns, is surely a form of societal madness. It's sad that the madness extends even to the most prestigious of scientific journals. A corporate-friendly Nature editorial this month exhorted, 'Together we stand'. Those are nice-sounding words. But they are an unfortunate echo of the well-known farcical refrain from the UK's discredited 'coalition' government: 'We're all in this together'. The propaganda phrase conveys a convenient myth of a shared society with shared aims: a real democracy, in other words.

The Nature editorial springs from a similarly deluded mindset:

'Protecting the environment is an added cost that many politicians and business leaders would prefer to avoid. Not to bother makes things cheaper. And despite the rhetoric of environmental campaigners, that remains an uncomfortable truth, at least in terms of the climate problem. Carbon emissions are a hallmark of energy use — and it is cheap and available energy that has made the modern world.'

And perhaps destroyed it too. The blinkered editorial continues:

'The economic currency of gross domestic product, for so long used as a benchmark of a country's performance, could be tweaked to include social indicators and how well a country respects environmental criteria, such as the concept of planetary boundaries that should not be exceeded.'

The feeble call to 'tweak' social indicators, albeit to include 'the concept of planetary boundaries that should not be exceeded', is paltry indeed when Nature's editors cannot even acknowledge that powerful and destructive state-corporate forces are defending their 'right' to exploit the planet's resources and keep billions in poverty and servitude. The editors of Nature give little sign that they comprehend the inherent unsustainability of global capitalism, and they seem oblivious to the scale of corporate obstructionism and decades-long disinformation campaigns to thwart substantive action on climate. (Again, for example, see the books by Rowell and Beder, as well as our own books.)

If the world's leading scientific publication has failed us, perhaps we could turn instead to writers such as Edward Abbey. In his classic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey powerfully and poetically rails against the corporate ravaging of the environment. In one vivid scene, the four titular protaganists overlook the devastation wreaked by a huge strip mine in Arizona:

'Their view from the knoll would be difficult to describe in any known terrestrial language. Bonnie thought of something like a Martian invasion, the War of the Worlds. Captain Smith was reminded of Kennecott's open-pit mine ("world's largest") near Magna, Utah. Dr. Sarvis thought of the plain of fire and of the oligarchs and oligopoly beyond: Peabody Coal only one arm of Anaconda Copper; Anaconda only a limb of United States Steel; U.S. Steel intertwined in incestuous embrace with the Pentagon, TVA, Standard Oil, General Dynamics, Dutch Shell, I.G. Farben-industrie; the whole conglomerated cartel spread out upon half the planet Earth like a global kraken, pan-tentacled, wall-eyed and parrot-beaked, its brain a bank of computer data centers, its blood the flow of money, its heart a radioactive dynamo, its language the technotronic monologue of number imprinted on magnetic tape.' (Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang, Avon Books, 1975/76, New York, p. 159)

Abbey memorably sums up the whole corporate-industrial-military system as 'a megalomaniacal megamachine.' The strong, image-laden language gives a hint of what humanity is up against. It is not a matter of 'tweaking' the system, or asking the megamachine to be nicer. It needs to be dismantled and replaced with a cooperative human society that is ecologically sustainable. A good start would be to challenge the corporate media that limits the possibility of even discussing alternatives to the madness of global capitalism.