Saturday, August 09, 2014

Understanding America's Wars of Aggression

U.S. Wars and Aggression as Naji al-Ali Saw It

by Palestine Diary

U.S. Wars and Aggression. As Naji al-Ali Saw it.

Naji al-Ali wrote: 

"The child Handala is my signature, everyone asks me about him wherever I go. I gave birth to this child in the Gulf and I presented him to the people. His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself. I drew him as a child who is not beautiful, his hair is like the hair of a hedgehog who uses his thorns as a weapon. Handala is not a fat, happy, relaxed, or pampered child, he is barefooted like the refugee camp children, and he is an 'icon' that protects me from making mistakes. Even though he is rough, he smells of Amber. His hands are clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way. Handala was born ten years old, and he will always be ten years old. At that age I left my homeland, and when he returns, Handala will still be ten, and then he will start growing up. The laws of nature do not apply to him. He is unique. Things will become normal again when the homeland returns. I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."

Follow this link to read more about Naji al-Ali:

Video Info:
Art by Naji al-Ali.
Palestinian Folklore Song by May Nasr.
Editing: Palestine Diary.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Deregulation and Disaster: Liberal Economics Prove Environmental Apocalypse in BC

Mount Polley Mine Proves Liberal "De-regulation" Doesn't Work

by Rafe Mair - The Canadian

The Mount Polley Mine/Imperial Metals disaster is such that one scarcely knows where to start. Fortunately, the people of British Columbia have a writer like Stephen Hume, who in the Vancouver Sun tells chapter and verse about the failings of the Ministry of Environment’s statutory obligations to regulate.

You know, there must’ve been a date back when that all of the civic dignitaries and the executives of the company and a number of politicians had a glorious day opening the mine and telling everyone how safe it was and how the company’s record was perfect and that in the very unlikely event they missed something, why, there were always those faithful government inspectors to make sure that things were up to snuff.
Expect same (de)regulation of LNG, pipelines, tankers

This naturally got me thinking about the same things now being said about LNG plants and tankers; about Tar Sands pipelines and tankers. Same corporate public relations departments – same addle-headed politicians.

But, I can’t shake it! How come no one has to resign? This is a colossal screwup by the government of British Columbia. Is no one to blame? Whatever happened to the notion of ministerial responsibility?

I suppose the answer is that when you have political lightweights like the Christy Clark government, totally unmindful of their responsibility to stand by their actions, you’re not going to have anyone even pause for a moment to think that they should pay a price. The whole question of ministerial responsibility has become less and less fashionable as the years go by, but surely there must be some point where the screwup is so bad that someone must run up on their sword.

They should have seen this coming

Lest one think that the Clark government hasn’t had the faintest idea the trouble was brewing in the inspections department, Stephen Hume tells us that the University of Victoria’s Environment Law Center reported in 2012 that environmental assessment certificates issued by government were often “vague and unenforceable”… and that by 2008, the number of mine inspections had fallen to one half what they were in 2001. The Ministry of Environment staff shrank during that time by 25% and the chief mining inspector had insufficient staff to complete the annual the monitoring reports required. And – this has to shake you – the report said:

This ramshackle enforcement regime is not good enough for an industry that can create environmental and financial catastrophes.

Thus the Clark government knew that their enforcement system was inadequate to the task, yet when that breach of public duty spawned disaster, they pay no price!

The Campbell/Clark liberal government has been playing Russian roulette with the safety of British Colombians since it took office in 2001.

Same lax regulations applied to fish farms, IPPs

You may remember that one of the first things this government did was return all of fines levied against fish farmers for illegal practices.

Then came the “raping” of our rivers by private power concerns who were given the opportunity to bankrupt BC Hydro at the same time. These private schemes, which put up dams on the rivers which they prefer to call weirs, are under strict guidelines as to how much water they can use and when, in order to protect the fish. The trouble is that the companies have paid no attention whatsoever to these guidelines unless it suited them and the government hasn’t enforced them, nor has it demonstrated any intention to.

Thus, when you look at the failures of the Ministry of Environment as outlined by Stephen Hume, you see a systemic avoidance of enforcement going right back to the days the Liberals were elected. Yet no minister nor the government need take any responsibility for this!

“Red Tape” and other euphemisms

Enforcement rules are usually referred to by industry and their captive politicians as “red tape” and “de-regulation” or “streamlining” become buzzwords. It’s assumed that if all of these silly bureaucrats would stop trying to enforce idiotic safety regulations, we would all make lots more money. The notion perpetuated by industry is that every rule and regulation is there to stop them making money and, of course, distributing that generously amongst the less well-off in the community, and that these stupid bloody rules should all be tossed aside or ignored; that government regulation, whether it be by way of safety in a factory or a mine, or protection of fish and wildlife, are all bureaucratic nuisances set in place by “socialists” to prevent the entrepreneur from doing great things.

This is the history of these matters. When you read about the struggles of labor unions to get essential safety features into the workplace and see just how minor those reforms were and the fuss the politicians and industrialists made, you can’t believe that caring human beings with souls were involved on the corporate and government side.

Corporations have but one objective

The problem with the general public is that by and large it doesn’t understand what corporations are all about. Companies have one sole purpose: making money for their shareholders. Every penny that is taken from that undertaking is a penny misspent. This is not some sort of socialistic cynicism – it’s simply describes the beast. It has always been that way and it always will be.

Does anyone seriously think that entrepreneurs would go out of their way to voluntarily provide safety regulations and environmental protection and things of that sort that were adverse to their ability to make money? History is crystal clear on the point.

Of course, there are areas where it makes sense for companies to do the right thing by the general public. But it has to make sense on the balance sheet.

What about salmon?

Dead fish found downstream from Mount Polley
tailings pond breach (Chris Lyne)

I haven’t spoken about the sockeye salmon. Here we are in a year where huge returns are expected and the Quesnel run may be destroyed. It’s too soon to know what the total impact will be but it bodes to be huge.

The sad thing here is we’re not talking about natural disasters but man-made disasters that could’ve been and often were predicted but ignored. We’re like Charlie Brown and football – we know Lucy’s going to pull it away at the last minute, but we play the game anyway and we always lose. It’s as if we don’t want to know the answers.

Just what are the dangers associated with an LNG tanker crash? What will be the consequences of a Tar Sands tanker crashing in one of our beautiful and sensitive fjords? What will be the consequences of a punctured pipeline in the rugged territory they pass through from Alberta to the BC coast?
Lessons learned

This may seem unrelated to the Imperial Metals disaster, but it actually is very apropos. It is not just the likelihood of a disaster we must concern ourselves with but the extent of that disaster. We then must decide whether or not we’re going to take adequate steps to police these undertakings or just blissfully ignore them because the public relations departments of large companies tell us there’s nothing to worry about?

The Imperial Mine disaster story has legs. We now have in front of us a snapshot of what happens when large undertakings with potentially catastrophic consequences are not policed.

This is what happens when we leave it all to the Company.

This is what happens when a right-wing government takes over and decides to go easy on big business.

This is what happens when we allow ourselves to be deluded into buzz phrases such as “we’re being ruined by red tape”.

This is what happens when we turn a blind eye to common sense and assume that because nothing has happened yet, it’s not going to happen.

The Imperial Metals disaster proves, as if proof were necessary, that no large corporation will do anymore than it has to and then it will always place money in shareholders pockets ahead of money in public safety. It proves again, as if it were necessary, that governments in the pockets of industry will pay no attention to troublesome details like public safety and the security of our Wildlife.
What now?

The real question is what do we people think or care about this. If we believe that industry knows best and that our wellbeing depends upon our accepting their terms – so be it. We can’t be heard to complain about the consequences.

If, on the other hand, there is more to life than making money for foreign companies and we do care about the safety of our people, the preservation of our environment and the wellbeing of our wildlife, then we have to make some economic sacrifices. These economic sacrifices include not just passing regulations to ensure that those who invade our environment do so safely, but enforcing those regulations and being prepared to spend the money to do that.

Heads should roll on this one, but of course they won’t. Premier Clark hasn’t the faintest idea about responsibility of cabinet ministers to back up their mistakes with resignations. We the public should learn that laissez-faire government carries with it the inevitable consequence that the rich get richer and that the public and the environment in which they live get much the poorer.

If we don’t learn these lessons from this disaster, then we get what we bloody well deserve.

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for, and writes a regular blog at
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One Child Born Again in Gaza

One Child Born Again in Gaza

via Poor Moon FB


The Hannibal Protocol: Killing Lt. Goldin...and 150 innocents

The IDF’s ‘Hannibal Protocol’ and Two Criminally Insane Governments: Killing Lt. Goldin...and 150 innocents

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

The sickness of present-day Israel, on display over the past horrible month of the one-sided slaughter of nearly 2000 Palestinians (including over 400 children) in the fenced-in ghetto of Gaza, has finally reached its nadir with the ugly case of the deliberate Israeli Defense Force murder of captured IDF 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.

According to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, once it was determined that Goldin had been captured by Hamas fighters in the Gaza town of Rafah, the IDF initiated what it calls the “Hannibal Protocol” -- the deliberate liquidation of the captive -- to prevent his being used as a hostage to win concessions from Israel in future truce negotiations with the Palestinians. One reason for the almost instantaneous and ruthless Israeli decision to kill Goldin rather than attempt to rescue him, is that this captured soldier had the misfortune of being related to Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, making him a valuable prize indeed for Hamas.

And so began a massive bombardment of the entire residential area where Goldin was captured.

As Haaretz reports in an editorial [1] about this case of deliberate sacrifice of an IDF officer, headlined “What Happened in Rafah?”, the ensuing high-explosive blitz on the area didn’t just kill Goldin, but also indiscriminately killed over 150 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including many women and children.

Indeed, the paper states that the IDF:

“...shelled and bombed houses and their inhabitants indiscriminately, and as they tried to flee homes, hit them with shells and bombs in the streets.” 

The fatal bombing of a targeted UN-operated school in Rafah, which was condemned by the US government and by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, who called it a “criminal act and a moral outrage,” was part of that Hannibal Protocol action.

Now recall that President Obama was quick to label the Hamas capture of Goldin “barbaric.”

The trouble is, having rather absurdly deployed that term to characterize the capture by Hamas fighters of an Israeli soldier who was at the time reportedly exploring a tunnel and trying to capture or kill enemy fighters, though, what then does Obama -- what indeed does any person -- call the indiscriminate slaughter of 150 civilians in the interest of eliminating one of one’s own captured soldier?

Blown away by the IDF's Operation Hannibal: 
2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin and a UN school filled with refugees seeking shelter

Certainly the Hannibal Protocol is in itself “barbaric” in its cool calculus of denying the enemy a bargaining chip. But that term hardly seems to capture the horror of what was done by the IDF in this case. Clearly implementing the Hannibal Protocol would have been okayed at the highest level of the Israeli government, particularly with the relative of a top government official involved. And when a military organization or a government moves beyond just killing the captive and his immediate captors to slaughtering everyone in the surrounding area, we’ve moved way beyond a word like “barbaric.”

I’m a journalist, and part of my job is being good with words, but I admit I’m at a bit of a loss here. Perhaps “criminally insane” is appropriate, but that is usually a term applied to an individual. In this case, though, we are talking about a whole government, or at least the military establishment and the senior leaders of that government, taken collectively.

The mind reels. Can an entire government be criminally insane? Certainly what happened with this Hannibal Protocol incident suggests that it can.

Recall, though, that this crime extends well beyond the borders of Israel. For the bombs and shells that were unleashed by the IDF on the people of Rafah as part of this murderous Hannibal Protocol campaign were, for the most part, manufactured and provided, at taxpayer expense, by the United States of America.

This massive war crime is thus as much a US atrocity as it is an Israeli one.

And if the Israeli government is criminally insane, so is the US government for uncritically and unthinkingly backing it.

We knew the US government and its military were criminally insane back in the Vietnam War, when we were told that peasant villages were being burned to the ground by US troops on the theory that “we have to destroy the village in order to save it.” Now we’ve moved a step further towards the depths of insanity in backing an Israeli policy of “slaughtering a village in order to kill one of our own soldiers.” Even in the moral cesspool that was America's war on the Vietnamese people, the US military didn't sink to that -- they stopped at just slaughtering villages.


Tyranny: The Horror of a Past Revisited

Tyranny: The Horror of a Past Revisited

by C. L. Cook -

God knows, tyrants and their tyrannies have plagued humanity from before the beginning. While the Creator may recall they and their deeds in toto, we mortals tend to remember only the capital "T" tyrants, placing their names like warning posts along civilization's metaphorical seashore: Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, and of course the highest high tide hazard notice of them all, Adolf Hitler.

Add to these the myriad lesser tyrants of history and it becomes quickly apparent; our story is a quagmire of corruption, cruelty, repression, exploitation, bias, and prejudice, the source of which being the intransigent persistence of the strong to subjugate the weak through violence and perpetual injustice. This assault against equity is as evident in our daily lives, in our homes, workplaces, and communities, as it is writ large within the pages of the great tomes of history.

Rising and falling with the relentless regularity of the sea, it is against the constant tide of tyranny a dike is built; a great wall erected called the Law. Sheltered behind this, the many "little people" can determine a just course for society, and plan for the long journey of nation-building free of the fear the Big Men of history, captains of disaster all, will come a-crashing down on them as so often before.

Critical to its survival though is the strength of this dam to resist the ceaseless pressure exerted by the primordial within our nature, that compulsion to take by force what we cannot create, and to serve first and last only ourselves. That bad seed, leading some to believe might is the only right, and so it's alright to steal from, to ravage, and to kill with little concern the weak, is the actual turning away from justice and the Law; it is choosing instead to follow the well-worn path to civilizational ruin, the law of the jungle.

It's necessary to emphasize the obvious, because the self-evident is not always recognizable. It's difficult, for example, while witnessing the urbane and dapper Harvard law professor, Barack Obama standing before the global camera explaining in a measured tone the reasoning for the great violence he and his cohorts visit upon the defenseless daily to see the naked aggression he represents.

Were he dressed in animal skins and feathers, a bone through his nose and paint on his face, the conjunction between his words and the savage actions they demand may be easier to conjure; but, clad as he is, in a modest, worsted wool, single-breasted, two-button Hartmarx suit jacket and tie, single-pleated pants with inch-and-a-quarter cuffs, hair meticulously trimmed a quarter inch all-round, make-up done, and nails cut and buffed, it's hard to imagine the Kong heart beating within the king's breast. But, the beast is in there, pounding out a warning on its chest for all to see and hear:

"All options...all options...all options are on the table!"

All Options and No Option - The Promise in Practice

Barack Obama's first campaign for the presidency was a watershed moment in American and world politics. His mixed race background of course was significant, given both the profoundly racist history and continuing administration of systemic discrimination within the United States, but the real milestone achieved by Obama's candidacy was the distillation of democracy into the three word slogan: "Yes We Can!"

Beyond the catch-phrase, there's little to hang a hat on, substance-wise. While the U.S. was fighting in two acknowledged theatres of war, the democratic aspirant had little to say about the conduct of those, though he intimated he would do something to bring an end to one them. He talked boldly about the need for an end to the affront against justice and decency Guantanamo Bay represented, but said little about either the legality of the decisions made by the Bush administration, or his commitment to redress some of the dramatic circumventions of the American Constitution made by that administration.

Instead, Obama remained a Jerzy Kosinski-like blank slate character; Barack the Gardener, tabula rasa upon whom any expedient beliefs can be inserted or overlain as deemed necessary.

The moral vacuity of the man became apparent immediately after his election. In December of 2008, as Obama awaited inauguration, Israel began what it called, 'Operation Cast Lead.' It was a typical blood-letting entailing the bombing by land, air, and sea of Palestinians captive within the walled Gaza Strip enclave. In Israeli government parlance, another "mowing of the lawn" exercise to both eliminate through assassination, imprisonment, and bombing the hated Hamas hierarchy, while too destroying Gazan infrastructure and instilling a general sense of terror amongst the civilian population.

Though the exact numbers of casualties are difficult to know with certainty, an estimated 1,500 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority of these being non-combatants. Throughout the 22 days of Israel's "Christmas bombing" campaign, Barack Obama was holidaying, steadfast in his refusal to condemn, or even comment upon the carnage, maintaining it was not his place as president-elect to "meddle" in the affairs of the outgoing Bush administration.

Obama's non-engagement  then would prove a preview of the banality his administration would come to represent; tyranny less so for its actions than its omissions in the face of evil. This is not to forget the unprecedented number of drone missions to assassinate both perceived and suspected enemies, or the untold "collateral" casualties of these missions. Nor would I wish to fail crediting the Obama rule with the continued diminishing of Constitutional protections and undermining of international law, but these are more extensions of the previous administration's policies than they are independently dedicated efforts toward tyranny.

Upon ascension to office, president Obama insisted he was not interested in either the past crimes of his predecessor, or the ongoing criminality of his ally Israel. His administration dismissed out of hand the Goldstone Report, The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, a blistering indictment of Israel's crimes against humanity during Cast Lead, saying it was "one-sided" and did everything it could to have the report deep-sixed.

Thus the Obama administration, through it's refusal to act in accordance with international law, ensured Israeli impunity for its obvious criminality in 2008-9, setting the stage for repeat performances in 2012's so-called 'Pillar of Cloud' "landscaping" exercise, and its latest and greatest atrocity, 'Protective Edge,' already credited with killing 2,000+ Gazans, most of those civilians, and more than 500 said to be children.  

As gruesome as Israel's continued criminality is, it is merely a symptom of a much larger, much more pervasive failure. Through their unwavering support of the horrors committed, the western nations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and those of the European Union signal the globe:

"There is no more place for law and decorum left on the world stage." 

Diplomats and legal scholars can pack up and start their jobs search, for what counts today is brute force. Technological lethality and the ruthlessness to deploy it against the innocent are the hallmarks of the modern era, and no matter the nature of the monsters the new order warriors claim to be saving us all from, it is they who are the tyrants, terrorists, and savages. It is they who are not at but already behind the floodgates, busy pulling the stoppers out of civilization's fragile dam.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Vulture's Song: Obama Won't Cry for Argentina

How Barack Obama could end the Argentina debt crisis

by Greg Palast for The Guardian

US president need only inform a federal judge that vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer is interfering with the president's sole authority to conduct foreign policy. He hasn't. But why not?

The "vulture" financier now threatening to devour Argentina can be stopped dead by a simple note to the courts from Barack Obama. But the president, while officially supporting Argentina, has not done this one thing that could save Buenos Aires from default.

Obama could prevent vulture hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer from collecting a single penny from Argentina by invoking the long-established authority granted presidents by the US constitution's "Separation of Powers" clause. Under the principle known as "comity", Obama only need inform US federal judge Thomas Griesa that Singer's suit interferes with the president's sole authority to conduct foreign policy. Case dismissed.

Indeed, President George W Bush invoked this power against the very same hedge fund now threatening Argentina. Bush blocked Singer's seizure of Congo-Brazzaville's US property, despite the fact that the hedge fund chief is one of the largest, and most influential, contributors to Republican candidates.

Notably, an appeals court warned this very judge, 30 years ago, to heed the directive of a president invoking his foreign policy powers. In the Singer case, the US state department did inform Judge Griesa that the Obama administration agreed with Argentina's legal arguments; but the president never invoked the magical, vulture-stopping clause.

Obama's devastating hesitation is no surprise. It repeats the president's capitulation to Singer the last time they went mano a mano. It was 2009. Singer, through a brilliantly complex financial manoeuvre, took control of Delphi Automotive, the sole supplier of most of the auto parts needed by General Motors and Chrysler. Both auto firms were already in bankruptcy.

Singer and co-investors demanded the US Treasury pay them billions, including $350m (£200m) in cash immediately, or – as the Singer consortium threatened – "we'll shut you down". They would cut off GM's parts. Literally.

GM and Chrysler, with no more than a couple of days' worth of parts to hand, would have shut down, permanently;forced into liquidation.

Obama's negotiator, Treasury deputy Steven Rattner, called the vulture funds' demand "extortion" – a characterisation of Singer repeated last week by Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

But while Fernández declared "I cannot as president submit the country to such extortion," Obama submitted within days. Ultimately, the US Treasury quietly paid the Singer consortium a cool $12.9bn in cash and subsidies from the US Treasury's auto bailout fund.

Singer responded to Obama's largesse by quickly shutting down 25 of Delphi's 29 US auto parts plants, shifting 25,000 jobs to Asia. Singer's Elliott Management pocketed $1.29bn of which Singer personally garnered the lion's share.

In the case of Argentina, Obama certainly has reason to act. The US State Department warned the judge that adopting Singer's legal theories would imperil sovereign bailout agreements worldwide. Indeed, it is reported that, in 2012, Singer joined fellow billionaire vulture investor Kenneth Dart in shaking down the Greek government for a huge payout during the euro crisis by threatening to create a mass default of banks across Europe.

The financial press has turned on Singer. Commentators in the Wall Street Journal and FT are enraged at the financier's quixotic re-interpretation of sovereign lending terms in the way that the Taliban interprets a peace agreement. No peace, no agreement.

Singer has certainly earned his vulture feathers. His attack on Congo-Brazzaville in effect snatched the value of the debt relief paid for by US and British taxpayers and, says Oxfam, undermined the nation's ability to fight a cholera epidemic. (Singer's spokesman responded that corruption in the Congo-Brazzaville government, not his lawsuits, have impoverished that nation.)

As if to burnish his tough-guy credentials, Singer has mounted legal attacks on JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, BNY Mellon, and UBS, demanding they pay him the money that Argentina had paid them over the last decade. Furthermore, Singer's lawyers persuaded the judge to stop BNY Mellon, Argentina's agent, from making $500m in payments to Argentinian bondholders.

Surely the president would intervene. He didn't. He hasn't. Why?

I'm not a psychologist. But this we know: since taking on Argentina, Singer has unlocked his billion-dollar bank account, becoming the biggest donor to New York Republican causes. He is a founder of Restore Our Future, a billionaire boys club, channelling the funds of Bill Koch and other Richie Rich-kid Republicans into a fearsome war-chest dedicated to vicious political attack ads.

And Singer recently gave $1m to Karl Rove's Crossroads operation, another political attack machine.

In other words, there's a price for crossing Singer. And, unlike the president of Argentina, Obama appears unwilling to pay it.

Greg Palast is author of Vultures' Picnic and has produced a series of investigative reports on vulture funds for the Guardian, the Nation and BBC Newsnight.

No Excuses, London. Be There

National Demonstration for Gaza. Saturday 9 August. No excuses. Be there

by Stop the War Coalition

National Demonstration for Gaza
London Saturday 9 August
Assemble 12 Noon BBC Portland Place
March to Hyde Park via US Embassy

Hearing No Evil: If a Genocide Falls in the Forest...

If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

by David Swanson  - Consortium News

There’s a wide and mysterious chasm between the stated intentions of the Israeli government as depicted by the U.S. media and what the Israeli government has been doing in Gaza, even as recounted in the U.S. media.

With the morgues full, Gazans are packing freezers with their dead children. Meanwhile, the worst images to be found in Israel depict fear, not death and suffering. Why the contrast?

Israel justified its bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza by claiming that 
Hamas militants operated near schools, mosques and other civilian structures, 
as cited in this Israeli graphic supposedly showing a “terror tunnel” 
running near a school. (Israeli government photo)

If the Israeli intent is defensive, why are 97 percent of the deaths Gazan, not Israeli? If the targets are fighters, why are whole families being slaughtered and their houses leveled? Why are schools and hospitals and children playing on the beach targeted? Why target water and electricity if the goal is not to attack an entire population?

The mystery melts away if you look at the stated intentions of the Israeli government as not depicted by the U.S. media but readily available in Israeli media and online.

On Aug. 1, Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Parliament Moshe Feiglin posted on his FaceBook page a plan for the complete destruction of the people of Gaza using concentration camps. He had laid out a somewhat similar plan in a July 15th column.

Another member of the Israeli Parliament, Ayelet Shaked, called for genocide in Gaza at the start of the current war, writing: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Taking a slightly different approach, Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University has been widely quoted in Israeli media saying, “The only thing that can deter [Gazans] is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.”

The Times of Israel published a column on Aug. 1, and later unpublished it, with the headline “When Genocide Is Permissible.” The answer turned out to be: now.

On Aug. 5, Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, published a column with the headline “In Gaza, There Is No Such Thing as ‘Innocent Civilians’.” Eiland wrote: “We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization). . . . [T]he right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity.”

It’s all part of putting Gaza “on a diet,” in the grotesque wording of an advisor to a former Israeli Prime Minister.

If it were common among members of the Iranian or Russian government to speak in favor of genocide, you’d better believe the U.S. media would notice. Why does this phenomenon go unremarked in the case of Israel? Noticing it is bound to get you called an anti-Semite, but that’s hardly a concern worthy of notice while children are being killed by the hundreds.

Another explanation is U.S. complicity. The weapons Israel is using are given to it, free-of-charge, by the U.S. government, which also leads efforts to provide Israel immunity for its crimes. Check out this revealing map of which nations recognize the nation of Palestine.

A third explanation is that looking too closely at what Israel’s doing could lead to someone looking closely at what the U.S. has done and is doing. Roughly 97 percent of the deaths in the 2003-2011 war on Iraq were Iraqi. Things U.S. soldiers and military leaders said about Iraqis were shameful and genocidal.

War is the biggest U.S. investment, and contemporary war is almost always a one-sided slaughter of civilians. If seeing the horror of it in Israeli actions allows us to begin seeing the same in U.S. actions, an important step will have been taken toward war’s elimination.

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
/Pretending he just doesn’t see?/
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind/
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

David Swanson is an anti-war activist who writes at His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

American Hammer Seeks Asian Nail

When You’ve Got a Military Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail, US-China Edition

by Peter Lee - China Matters

Both the United States and the PRC are displaying a disturbing predisposition toward militarizing their national security strategies. It is understandable. An external military threat is easier to sell and explain than a complex national challenge of economic, social, and political competitiveness, and there is a large and influential coterie of officers, natsec types, and defense contractors that welcomes a military framing.

But the devil is in the details—the actual implementation of a successful policy—something that both the US and the PRC are, one can only hope, considering.

But the publicly available data is not encouraging.

I have a piece up in the current print edition of CounterPunch on the Chinese military (you can subscribe here, or purchase a PDF of the issue).

It describes the primary dynamic of the PRC’s maritime strategy: designing its program of regional assertiveness/encroachments in a way that prevents militarization of frictions and, in particular, avoids direct military confrontation with the United States.

On the one hand, the PRC throws its weight around with oil rigs, maritime surveillance vessels, and coast guard ships; on the other hand, the PLA Navy is a virtually invisible player when it comes to PRC moves in the East and South China Seas.

At the same time, the PRC conducts a discrete bromance with the US Navy.

Recently, the PRC participated in a US-organized naval get-together, RIMPAC, in Hawaii, and made the seemingly provocative decision to send a spy ship to shadow the exercise within the US Exclusive Economic Zone. Not a provocation, I opined, but a concession.

Previously, the PRC argued that military surveillance within its EEZ by US Navy vessels such as the USS Impeccable was illegal and, in 2009, made a point of harassing the Impeccable as it sailed back and forth inside the PRC EEZ off Hainan Island.

This gambit backfired spectacularly as Hillary Clinton used it as the justification for declaring the US interest in “freedom of navigation” at the ASEAN meeting in 2010, and a fulcrum upon which to hang the US pivot to Asia.

Since then, the PRC has for the most part backpedaled in order to provide no pretext for the US to accuse it of impeding freedom of navigation of US military vessels, and thereby remove "freedom of navigation" from the State Department's menu of actionable PRC transgressions in the South China Sea.

At the same time, the US Navy argued that a close reading of the Law of the Sea treaty (the US hasn’t signed it but the US Navy uses it as a guide for its multifarious activities in other peoples’ EEZs and territorial waters) did not preclude passage of US military vessels within the Chinese EEZ even if their activities were detrimental to the PRC’s security.

To strengthen its case, the US Navy also went the extra mile of confirming that it was actually tracking PLAN submarines and not just mapping the ocean floor, an activity that could be construed as having dual military/economic significance and therefore falling within UNCLOS jurisdiction.

So, I concluded, when the PRC sent a spy ship to RIMPAC inside the US EEZ it was tacitly acknowledging the US Navy's interpretation. And, given the PRC’s current unwillingness to aggravate the US military unnecessarily, that interpretation makes pretty good sense.

Admiral Locklear, while less than thrilled about the presence of the spy ship, agrees:

“The good news about this is it’s a recognition, I think, or acceptance by the Chinese that what we’ve been saying to them for some time is that military operations and survey operations in another country’s [maritime zones] are within international law and are acceptable, and this is a fundamental right that nations have,” Adm. Samuel Locklear III, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

So far so good.

However, diplomats and security brainiacs in the US, Japan, Philippines, and, potentially, Vietnam, are trying to find ways to counter Chinese non-military tactics by finding ways to redefine situations in military terms so that the overwhelming US military superiority (and its availability to Japan and the Philippines as treaty allies) can be brought to bear against the PRC.

The term of art for this repackaging is “grey zone conflicts”. This formulation has become a standard feature of Japanese defense planning; as US frustration with PRC non-military moves in the South China Sea has grown, it has also crept into discussions of what the United States can do to up its game on behalf of the Philippines and, potentially, Vietnam.

In the Japanese context, the scenarios involve deploying military force to deal with an ostensibly non-military PRC seizure of the Senkakus, or forcing a worrisome PLAN submarine to surface near Japan. In the South China Sea, the scenarios haven’t been fleshed out in the public sphere, but I suspect they involve things like interposing US Navy vessels between Philippine fishing vessels or oil exploration vessels and PRC ships at points of contention like Scarborough Shoal or Reed Bank.

I am pretty skeptical of the idea that PRC non-military moves should be countered with a military response and I have a certain suspicion that some within the US uniformed defense establishment feel the same way. Japanese military boffins and the Pentagon are continually hashing over “gray zone” definitions and rules of engagement and, in my opinion, the Japanese government has been leveraging its willingness to support a US priority—Japanese “collective self defense”—in order to obtain US support in “gray zone” scenarios.

Also as a matter of personal opinion, I must say that I consider the US push for “collective self defense” a strategic boondoggle even more flawed than the “pivot to Asia”, which is really saying something.

I find the US obsession with “CSD”—the idea that Japanese military forces must engage in war stuff not directly related to defense of the Japanese homeland—somewhat mystifying. Apparently, Pentagon planners are getting extremely nervous about the arms buildup in Asia—which tracks GDP growth and, therefore, is getting pretty darn big—and its implications for US military hegemony.

The idea is to combine US and Japanese muscle and field a bigger, more deterrent-credible force (in fact, I wonder if AirSea Battle—the total war with the PRC from the Malacca Straits up to Hokkaido scenario—was cooked up simply to demonstrate the impossibility of the US funding and implementing a completely dominant force in Asia by itself).

Japan is supposed to contribute its local strengths in minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare, and aerial surveillance, at least in the initial stage.

I guess the idea was “Japan can’t be a freerider anymore and needs to have some skin in the Asia-Pacific security game”.

Well, as far as I can tell, Japan under so-called “pacifist” constitution already had plenty of skin in the game—because it seems most credible US-PRC WWIII scenarios all involve US bases on Honshu and, in particular, long-suffering Okinawa, getting nuked.

That’s an agency problem—people on the same team but bringing divergent objectives--a problem the US avoided when it ran the military show unilaterally. Now, by trying to integrate Japanese forces into the US command, we’re giving an operational voice to people who face an immediate threat of getting blown up during the implementation of our grand strategy. Collective self-defense, to my mind, complicates and compromises the US deterrent posture.

In my opinion, if we feel we need to field more minesweepers and ASW and Orions to deter the Chicom menace, we should pay for them ourselves instead of hoping for a perfect understanding with our Japanese allies if and when World War III rolls around.

The agency problem has already revealed itself with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to re-establish Japan as a “normal” nation i.e. not constrained by the pacifist constitution imposed by the US after Japan’s defeat in World War II and able to necessary/useful/useless/and/or catastrophically stupid things in the realm of security affairs, just like any other regional power.

CSD—since it permitted the Japanese military to abandon a pure territorial-defense posture—was embraced by the Abe administration.

The Abe administration swung behind CSD and sold it—rather unsuccessfully, I should say, to an extremely skeptical Japanese public—with fanciful justifications like “without CSD Japan couldn’t shoot down a North Korean ballistic missile headed for the United States”.

Actually, the genuine attraction of CSD is that it allows Japan to pursue military relationships with neighboring countries i.e. implement a full-feature foreign policy including defense and security elements as well as the economic and other soft power carrots that sustained Japan’s regional presence over the last half-century.

And these foreign policy tools also allow Prime Minister Abe to pursue his preferred regional strategy—exacerbating tensions with the PRC just enough to push the Pacific democracies plus Vietnam away from the PRC and onto the Japanese security and, most importantly, economic side of a zero-sum equation.

Abe, it should be noted, is no America-firster. Like many Japanese conservatives, he rejects the World War II victor’s narrative and, like Putin, considers his nation’s diminished international clout as a tragedy and not a matter of geopolitical justice. In his US preferences, Abe is politically and emotionally inclined toward the Dick Cheney end of the ideological spectrum and does not consider it his main obligation and mission to smooth the way for Barack Obama in Asia. He’s looking out for Number 1—Japan—and caters to—and exploits—US preoccupations accordingly.

For those who pay attention, the CSD shoe dropped in July, as Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines addressed the significance of the cabinet decision that “reinterpreted” the constitution to allow CSD:

Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines, Toshinao Urabe, says the proposed “reinterpretation” of Japan's pacifist constitution would allow it to help if a country it has a “close relationship” with is attacked.

This means it would help defend the U.S., which is its only mutual defense treaty ally. Urabe said under the treaty, Japan is not obligated to use force in helping. The reinterpretation would enable it to do so.

But Urabe told reporters at a forum in Manila Thursday that in the case of other countries like the Philippines, which he said Japan also has a close relationship with, it would “depend on the situation.” He said Japan is most concerned with protecting its nationals if they are in vulnerable security situations.

“But basically this is a policy to defend ourselves in various situations which were not conceived before. And I think it’s important to make necessary preparation to various security situations,” Urabe stated.

Richard Heydarian is a Manila-based Asia geopolitical analyst. He said the proposal is widely seen as a way to keep China in check. “On one hand this will make it easier for Mr. Abe to have much more robust countermeasures against China’s territorial provocations in the Senkaku-Diaoyu,” he explained.

Heydarian said it is also a way for Japan to gain a foothold as a major security player in the region. He points out that Japan is bolstering its image as a security counterbalance to China that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can depend on.

There you have it. Instead of a unitary hub and spoke arrangement by which the United States, as the big kahuna, manages its ROK, Japan, and Philippines alliances bilaterally and monopolizes the Asian security space, CSD lays the foundation for a dual-hub system by which Japan constructs its own security arrangements with the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, and India in order to advance its own diplomatic, security, and economic agenda in Asia…which may involve working with Japan’s local interlocutors to accentuate the polarity between the PRC and its neighbors even when the United States for reasons of its own might be trying to wind down tensions.

CSD, in other words, accelerates the marginalization of the United States, rather than assuring its ascendancy. So, I don’t think the US foreign policy establishment should be slapping itself on the back for its great job in finally getting CSD on the books.

By the Peter Lee Law of Foreign Policy Verbiage—the amount of government and think tank output is directly proportionate to the bankruptcy of the policy it is meant to explain, justify, defend, repair, and/or obfuscate—I expect CSD to generate thousands upon thousands of pages of analysis and recommendations, as well as steady paychecks for hundreds upon hundreds of experts in the United States and Japan.

I also expect the new arrangement to contribute to a clutch of ugly regional crises in the years to come, especially if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency and accelerates the pivot dynamic of confrontation & polarization that enlarged the diplomatic space for the US in its role as the dominant military force in Asia.

A prominent US China policy insider, Robert Sutter, made the case for putting Hong Kong democracy and Taiwan independence in play in order to generate additional pressure points on the PRC. Actually, Sutter carefully deployed the passive voice in characterizing China’s vulnerabilities and, essentially, advocated threatening to put them in play, an important distinction since, once the US has signaled its support, local activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan will seize control of events, Japan will be tempted to stir the pot, and the United States will find itself as little more than a passenger on the freedom train.

I expect Hillary Clinton will feel compelled to demonstrate the muscularity of her own presidency in contrast to the “leading from behind” drift displayed by President Obama in his second term. The possibility exists that the Taiwan presidential elections will produce deadlock and an atmosphere of national crisis—abetted by a Maidanesque group of “Sunflower” student activists whose anti-KMT inclination is ripe for amplification by the pro-independence DPP opposition—that Clinton and Abe might find irresistible.

Ex-president and independence avatar Lee Teng-hui recently voiced the opinion that the Senkakus belong to Japan (Taiwan’s right to the Senkakus—a claim that, I might add, is very persuasive to anyone who looks at a map or, for that matter, knows that President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger also had strong feelings about the legitimacy of Taiwan’s position-- is a central plank of President Ma Ying-jyeou’s policy). If the DPP decides to cement its already strong ties to the conservative wing of Japanese politics by repudiating the ROC’s claims to the Senkakus, or even taking the next step of agitating for independence under the assumption that the US and Japan will decide that respect for the One China policy (and for that matter, for a certain degree of stability and control over events in East Asia) must take a back seat to Taiwanese self-determination, things could get very interesting for the PRC’s Xi Jinping.

Of course, Xi Jinping has not been sitting idly by.

He has acted forcefully and pre-emptively to insulate the CCP against the kind of shenanigans the US has deployed against the Russian Federation during the Ukraine imbroglio: delegitimization in the Western media, encouragement of democratic dissent, and sanctions keyed to US dominance of the global financial system.

A Taiwan crisis, therefore, may not compel the CCP to roll the dice in an existential war to sustain its claims to sovereignty in the Han homeland.

The western borders, however, offer challenges to control that the CCP has not yet demonstrably mastered.

I believe the most interesting and disturbing developments have taken place in Xinjiang, home to 25 million Uighurs who might interpret a crisis over the sovereignty of Taiwan and Hong Kong as an opportunity to advance their own claims to self-determination. Conditions have already become extremely fraught. In recent weeks there have been multiple bloody incidents, including one involving nearly one hundred fatalities (the World Uyghur Congress, an émigré group under the leadership of Rebiya Kadeer, has claimed actual fatalities were 2000, an assertion that under other circumstances might be open dismissed but now merits some more serious consideration) and can be spun as the massacre of Uighur demonstrators by Han security forces, an attack fomented by a group of aggrieved Islamists, or something in between.

US incitement is currently not on the table, even though the World Uyghur Congress, which sedulously tends its relations with the US government, has taken to calling Xinjiang “East Turkestan”, thereby throwing its hat in the ring on behalf of independence. Therefore, Western news outlets are bedeviled by the issue of whether the Chinese characterization of terrorists should be adopted, or whether the verbose formulation of “aggrieved Uighurs spontaneously venting their anger against an unjust and oppressive regime” should be employed instead. For the time being, some outlets have compromised by using the Chinese label, but using quotation marks “terrorists” as a distancing mechanism.

The assassination of the imam of the PRC’s largest mosque, in Kashgar, may eventually convince some fence-sitters in the media of the existence of an organized movement employing terror as a political instrument.

The PRC government, of course, has already announced its conclusions.

It has poured military and security forces into Xinjiang, and also employed some measures that have attracted a certain amount of bewilderment and mockery.

The PRC government seemed to go over-the-top in rewarding locals—30,000 locals by its count!-- who supposedly assisted in rounding up the alleged perpetrators of the recent massacre:

Authorities in far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have announced that more than 300 million yuan (about 48 million U.S. dollars) would be offered in cash rewards to those who helped hunt suspected terrorists.

More than 10,000 officials and local residents attended an award ceremony held in Hotan Prefecture Sunday, the first batch of the rewards.
Altogether 4.23 million yuan were offered at the ceremony to local residents for their bravery in hunting a group of 10 suspected terrorists.
Six people who offered key tip-offs leading to the location of the suspected terrorists were given 100,000 yuan each. More individuals and government agencies received cash rewards.

The LA Times’ Barbara Demick described harassment against students and government employees trying to honor the Ramadan fast, and a campaign against forbidden head coverings for women:

At one checkpoint near Kashgar's main mosque, three Uighur women in colorful, sequined calf-length dresses and a man in sunglasses sat under a large blue umbrella the weekend before last watching people shopping for the coming Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marked the end of Ramadan.

When a motorcycle drove by with two women and a toddler, they flagged it down and told the woman in back to dismount. The woman, who looked to be in her 40s, was wearing a long black-and-white striped dress, a patterned red scarf and a white veil that covered her mouth and nose.

Within minutes, a white van pulled up at the checkpoint with a large red sign on the side reading "Strictly Attack Terrorism and Protect the Stability of Society." The woman climbed in the van without protest and was driven off, presumably to a Project Beauty headquarters to be given a lecture on appropriate dress.

In the city of Karamay (an isolated oil outpost in the heart of the desert and, perhaps, the easiest place to test drive this kind of policy), per Reuters:

Authorities will prohibit five types of passengers - those who wear veils, head scarves, a loose-fitting garment called a jilbab, clothing with the crescent moon and star, and those with long beards - from boarding buses in the northwestern city of Karamay, state media said.

"Those who do not comply, especially those five types of passengers, will be reported to the police," the paper said.

By the traditional calculus of “hearts and minds” (or its Chinese variant, “hearts and minds and remorseless Han economic, cultural, and demographic infiltration”), these measures would be seen as ridiculously counter-productive.

Maybe the CCP is looking at the recent trendlines in Uighur-related mayhem and has come to the conclusion that “hearts and minds” isn’t going to cut it.

Or maybe the PRC has decided that China, as a rising world power, has to learn to play the militarized counterinsurgency game the same way the grand master, the United States, does.

I look at what the PRC security forces are doing in Xinjiang, and it reminds me of what the United States did in Iraq’s Anbar Province.

Those people determinedly engaged in Islamic practice—Ramadan, beards, headscarves—probably are self-identifying as potential security threats and end up in a database for surveillance, relational mapping, etc. Maybe it doesn’t yet resemble the massive database of social and biometric data the US acquired in Iraq, especially in hot spots like Fallujah (Centcom still holds on to a biometric database including retinal scans and thumbprints for 3 million Iraqis, 10% of the population of Iraq), but it’s a start.

The ridiculously over-compensated local anti-terrorist practitioners: they’re also in the system, as assets, like the Anbar tribespeople who, as a matter of principle and interest, provided tips and intel or at least passive acquiescence to the US in the war against al Qaeda. At the height of the Anbar Awakening, in 2008, the US military was paying $300/month salaries to 91,000 Iraqis, a bill of $16 million per month.

The only thing missing from this equation: the death squads (in Iraq, the Joint Special Operations Command) and drones (AfPak) that close the circle. I’m assuming the PRC has something similar.

I hope the PRC doesn’t believe it can crack the counterinsurgency puzzle better than the US effort that, despite multiple iterations and the outlay of tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars has failed to produce lasting gains in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I also hope the PRC is not looking at an example much closer to home, which might qualify as the only truly successful counterinsurgency/anti-separatist action in recent decades: Sri Lanka’s war of annihilation against the Tamil rebels that culminated with the obliteration of the Tamil forces and tens of thousands of civilian victims on a narrow spit of land in 2009, a humanitarian horror show made possible largely by the PRC’s steadfast, multi-year financial, material, and diplomatic support.

And the PRC must also look at the danger of alienating the Taliban of Afghanistan and other regional Islamist actors, who have heretofore cracked down on Xinjiang-oriented activity in response to Chinese economic and diplomatic blandishments.

Militarization of disputes simplify the statement of a problem, in my opinion, but makes resolution ever more difficult and remote. It is a temptation that, I hope, the PRC and the US can both resist.

US Intelligence Enables Israel

Greenwald: US Intelligence Enables Israeli Attacks


In Gaza, more than 1,900 people have now been killed by Israeli attacks. Four hundred and sixty of those were children. Well, new evidence or information has been released by journalist Glenn Greenwald, based on more Snowden document revelations, that some of those children and some of those people may well have been targeted with information supplied to them by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Now joining us to discuss his latest piece in The Intercept is Glenn Greenwald. Glenn's in Brazil. He's an award-winning journalist, a constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, including his most recent book, No Place to Hide. Glenn is founding editor of The Intercept, which just published his piece, entitled "Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. Is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack".

Glenn Greenwald tells Paul Jay that new Snowden documents show that American hands are in every war launched by Israel against Palestinians.

Glenn Greenwald is a founding editor of The Intercept, a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place to Hide, is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn's column was featured at the Guardian US and Salon. He was the debut winner, along with Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the abusive detention conditions of Chelsea Manning. For his 2013 NSA reporting, he received the George Polk award for national security reporting; the Gannett Foundation award for investigative journalism and the Gannett Foundation watchdog journalism award; the Esso Premio for Excellence in Investigative Reporting in Brazil (the first non-Brazilian to win), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award. Along with Laura Poitras, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. The NSA reporting he led for the Guardian US was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

China Creek Watershed and McLaughlin Ridge: Rallying to Save What Remains of Island Timberlands Clear Cut Practices

Rally to save China Creek Watershed and McLaughlin Ridge

by Wilderness Committee

PORT ALBERNIIn response to extensive clearcut logging in local old-growth forests by Island Timberlands Ltd., citizens from across the Alberni Valley and beyond will hold a rally outside Port Alberni City Hall tomorrow, August 7th.

Alberni Valley residents, First Nations members and environmentalists are deeply concerned about the destruction of ancient forests on McLaughlin Ridge, and the subsequent impacts to drinking water and endangered species.

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Sidewalk in front of 
Port Alberni City Hall
4850 Argyle St.
Port Alberni, BC
(view map)

The rally is being organized by Citizens for a Local Economy, and is supported by organizations including the Wilderness Committee.

– 30 –

Media Advisory - August 6, 2014

For more information, please contact:

Ellen Chambers, Citizens for a Local Economy

Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee

Going Up the Chain to Get to the Bottom of the Greig Seafoods Penned-Salmon Die-Off

Morton seeks answers from Grieg over farmed salmon die-off

by Alexandra Morton - Common Sense Canadian

Dear Mr. Per Grieg Jr. owner Grieg Seafood (

Several weeks ago I received reports that salmon in your Skuna Bay farms were dying in large numbers.

A “mort-sucker” removes dead farmed salmon from a Grieg pen in Nootka Sound (photo: Alexandra Morton)
I visited these farms in Nootka Sound and confirmed the reports were accurate.

 I wrote a letter to your CEO, Morten Vike asking what the fish are dying of, who made the diagnosis and the actual test results so that I could repeat the tests and verify.

Mr Vike did not answer my questions, instead he went to INTRAFISH and called my “allegations” “utter nonsense.” Mr Vike went on to say there had been an algae bloom and that “the fish in Nootka Sound are healthy.”

One week later, I returned to your farms called Concepcion Point and Williamson and filmed large hoses sucking hundreds of dead salmon out of your pens into rusting dumpsters. They were not “healthy,” they were dead and they were apparently garbage. I wrote to your CEO, Morten Vike a second time, but he has still refused to answer. This makes it appear that Grieg Seafoods is hiding the true reason the salmon in your pens are dying.

Large amounts of dying farmed Atlantic salmon not only present a risk to the wild salmon of Nootka Sound, they also pose a risk to the most important Canadian salmon stock, known as the Fraser Sockeye. Your company is taking the fish that are still alive amongst the dead, rotting fish, trucking them across Vancouver Island and getting them processed on Quadra Island where the outfall pipe pours into the migration route of the Fraser sockeye.

I have co-authored a scientific paper on this outfall pipe and the risk it poses to the wild salmon of western Canada.

You can see the film of the mort suckers and the details at:

I recognize that the governments of Canada and British Columbia are weak and ineffective in protecting wild salmon from the impacts of the Norwegian salmon farms that are sitting in every wild salmon migration route of southern BC, but that does not mean the Canadian people feel the same way.

Can you address the citizens of Canada in a manner fitting of a Norwegian company raising Norwegian salmon in the Pacific Ocean and give us the truth about why the salmon in your pens are dying? As you must know it is very unclear in Canada as to who owns the fish in your pens.

I await your reply,

Alexandra Morton
Independent Biologist 

– See more here

Meanwhile...Syria Terror War Grinds On

Gaza genocide and terrorism in Syria

by Eva Bartlett - In Gaza

Because I know so many of the people in that very small Strip, through my cumulative about 3 years there, I can’t stop myself from scouring the latest death toll updates to see if any of the families, farmers, medics, resistance I knew are among the martyred.

At the same time, I worry about new friends in Syria who–while Syria seems to have mysteriously fallen from the corporate media–still suffer from the terrorism of armed groups which shoot their mortars (filled with hundreds of jagged metal pieces, glass) on residential areas, on schools. Yesterday, a friend in Damascus updated me on the latest attacks, 9 shells on the city, which killed three civilians and injured (remember the jagged bits of metal and glass…) at least 20 [Sana reports on the mortars in Damascus and throughout Syria yesterday]. The same friend days earlier sent photos of minor damage to his home, not on ground level. Although like Palestinians, Syrians are taking this in stride, they are nonetheless, like Palestinians, living under terrorism.

Then there are the random, deadly car-bombings every now and then. And of course the presence of the despicable ISIS and their ilk, still be-heading Syrians who don’t live up to their fabricated version of religion, flogging others, be-handing others…This is all still going on, even though the corporate media does not deign to highlight these crimes.

I am grateful that more and more the reality of the Gaza genocide is getting told truthfully, with elements of truth even in some of the corporate media.

But, while there is supposedly a 72 hour ceasefire in place, without intending to be a sour pessimist, I have to say I’m waiting for the Zionists to violate it as they always do (see: Israeli Ceasefire Violations in Gaza and World Silence and Israel, not Hamas, is the serial truce-breaker, for examples, as well as my own experiences post 2009 massacre and 10 minutes into the ceasefire after the Nov 2012 massacre, as well as repeated violations in the days after, against farmers and against fishers).



Gaza truce enters second day as Israel and Palestine prepare for talks


Israel’s illegitimate, terrorist and criminal violence against Palestinians:

“Israel says it’s pummelling Gaza, killing civilians, and destroying civilian infrastructure to destroy tunnels the Palestinian resistance could use to kill or kidnap civilians. But how many times has the Palestinian resistance emerged from tunnels to kidnap or kill civilians? None. And how many Israeli civilians were killed by rocket fire in the year and half before Operation Protective Edge? Zero.

The use of violence by the Palestinian resistance against Israel is legitimate.
Over 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Jewish settlers in a massive ethnic cleansing operation over six decades ago. None were permitted to return. Today, the exile and diaspora community stands at five million. Palestinians who remained in the 80 percent of their country seized by Zionist settlers are second class citizens—non-Jews in a Jewish state. The remaining 20 percent of historic Palestine remains under the heel of a brutal Israeli military occupation.

To sum up: The violence of the Palestinian resistance is legitimate. The harm it has caused Israeli civilians is minimal. The violence of Israel against Palestinians is illegitimate. It is the violence of the oppressor enforcing its domination. The harm it has caused Palestinian civilians is immense.”


Another Eruption in Israel’s Permanent Colonial War on Palestinians:

“Abbas’s unity pact with Hamas was a retaliatory strike at Israel’s play-acting at negotiating. But with one of the world’s largest militaries, Israel is hardly motivated to negotiate. Backed militarily and diplomatically by the world’s hegemonic power, Israel has overwhelming bargaining power. Why would it make even a millimeter’s breadth concession? Better, in the view of the settler state, to use its US-supplied military machine to crush resistance and advance its colonial-settler agenda.

Netanyahu kicked off his new campaign to squeeze Hamas—or “mow the grass”, an Israeli reference to regular offensives against Palestinian resistance—by cutting off the $100 million of monthly tax revenue it collects on the Authority’s behalf.

Next, Tel Aviv ordered a June 11 airstrike on Gaza, violating the ceasefire, negotiated after the November 2012 Israeli assault on Gaza. Netanyahu said the airstrike was targeted at a Hamas police officer who had been involved in numerous rocket attacks against Israel. “This is the true face of Hamas,” thundered the Israeli prime minister. “It is continuing to plan terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens even as it is inside the Palestinian government.”

To intensify pressure, Israel announced it would build 1,500 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “saying it was retaliation for the creation of a Palestinian unity government with the militant group Hamas.” Israel’s housing minister Uri Ariel called the new construction—illegal under international law—”an appropriate Zionist response to the Palestinian terrorist government. I believe that these homes will be just the beginning.”

On June 12, Israel was handed a pretext to further heighten its crackdown on Hamas. Three Israeli youths, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and two 16-year-olds, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, were abducted in the West Bank. Netanyahu immediately accused Hamas of kidnapping the teens. …Producing not a speck of evidence to substantiate his claim, the Israeli prime minister insisted Hamas was responsible. Netanyahu, it should be noted, has a long record of fabrication in the service of political goals.

The outcome of Israel’s military offensive was consistent with an operation to degrade Hamas more than it was a police operation to locate abductees. The Israelis abducted 640 Palestinians, including Hamas’s top West Bank leadership, but charged none of them with kidnapping the three youths. They re-arrested and re-sentenced 75 Palestinians previously released in a 2011 prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. They raided 1,000 homes, universities and other facilities, including 10 Hamas-run institutions. And they heaped punishment on Palestinian political prisoners, subjecting them to extra cruelties, including cutting back on visits from their families. Additionally, they killed five Palestinians, and imposed restrictions on Palestinian exit from the West Bank to Jordan and Gaza, at the same time limiting travel around Hebron.”


Israel’s Reversion to Old Colonial Tactics: The Demonization of Gaza:

“We can start with how the Israelis, and their lobby headquartered in Washington, have managed to demonize Palestinians, with the result that Israel can undertake a massive slaughter and be barely criticized for it both by our media. We can begin with Israel’s request to the US government a couple of decades ago to label Hamas as a “Terrorist Group,” which our government happily agreed to do. Other people in other parts of the world have tried this tactic, with some success, but for the most part such rebels are labeled “insurgents.”

Demonization of those you occupy is an essential first step to allow a colonial power to do what it wishes with the people being occupied. How else can one explain the lack of meaningful protests by Americans, who have furnished the money and the weapons to the maiming and the slaughter by Israel of thousands of Palestinians in the many wars its Army has conducted against the Palestinians.

Lewis Lapham, interviewed by Bloomberg News, said, in January of this year, that following the Wounded Knee Massacre, General Miles investigated the shooting. In response to allegations that it was a massacre, soldiers came to the defense of the commander of the unit that had been in charge of guarding the Indians, Col. James Forsyth, saying “they couldn’t tell the men from the women since all were wearing blankets, and that in any case, “A Sioux squaw is as an enemy as a man.”

When the investigation report was sent to the Secretary of War, General John Schofield, who was commander of the Army, attached a note saying the troops had clearly bent over backwards to avoid killing women and children, while also denying that any troops had died in friendly fire.

The final report exonerated the US soldiers and blamed the massacre on the Sioux themselves, with many of the dead women and children supposedly killed by other Indians.

I have been watching Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, tell lies for the last three weeks, saying Hamas is the culprit shelling the hospitals and civilians gathered at markets, buying food.

But the demonization of the Indians in general and ghost dancers in particular enabled the Army to do what they did, much as Israel is demonizing Palestinians today, seeking to characterize Hamas as the cause of the fighting, and the culprit in the destruction of institutions and of countless numbers of women and children.

The demonization has been so effective, assisted by our media, that no media person, and certainly no national politician, has hardly raised an eyebrow at the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israel during the Gaza campaign. At the time of this writing Israel has deliberately shelled and bombed Palestinian hospitals, UN shelters where Palestinians run to what they believe is a safe haven. The photos we see of Gaza cities on television show nothing more than a huge pile of rubble. It is not clear where those Palestinians will live after Israel has finished its dirty work and leaves Gaza.

It is all part of Israel’s strategy of bombing Gaza’s Palestinians into submission—to show them who is boss, and to prevent any Palestinian from raising his or her hand in protest of the eight year blockade of the strip. Not even the most greedy and cruel Israelis believe they can kill all the Gazans, so they must satisfy themselves that it is necessary to control them. There is no thought of ending the occupation. That is the lesson the Israeli government has learned from other colonial powers around the world. The other lesson, that of the Warsaw Ghetto, quite obviously has been forgotten, except for that part that has shown Israel how to control those they occupy.


West’s Inaction on Gaza Underscores Bankruptcy of Doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention:

“There are no plans for the ‘international community’ to intervene in Gaza to protect civilians. R2P has always been a cover for imperialist conquest, a way to organize regime change—almost invariably to foster a free-trade, free-market, free enterprise economy friendly to investor interests–behind lofty humanitarian goals. It’s not needed for use against Israel.

Accordingly, intervention on behalf of Palestinians won’t be happening. Humanitarian intervention is carried out selectively, never against brutish regimes in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, or Kiev (whose army, assisted by neo-fascist paramilitaries, is shelling Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the country’s east.) These are all US allies, and US allies get R2P exemptions.

The doctrine of humanitarian intervention is a cover for assaults on states that Washington designates it enemies. Intervention doesn’t depend on whether a country’s government tramples human rights, or threatens its own citizens, or practices terrorism, or eschews liberal democracy, or violates international law. It depends on whether rulers are willing to allow their country to become fully integrated into the US-led global economy and bow to the international dictatorship of the United States.

If Washington cared one whit about international law and states that practice terrorism, it could hardly continue to send Israel $3 billion every year in military and economic aid. Indeed, it would have to address its own foreign policy shortcomings, from regularly trampling on international law to protecting anti-Cuban terrorists to carrying out terrorist bombing and missile strikes around the globe.

The West could intervene to stop the Israeli massacre in Palestine. To begin, Washington could cancel military and economic aid to Tel Aviv. Western governments could stop providing Israel with diplomatic cover. But none of this is happening.

Instead, Washington has done the opposite, intervening on Israel’s side, not against it, by replenishing the store of munitions Israel forces have used to destroy homes, mosques, hospitals and people in Gaza. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is allowing Israel to tap an ammunition stockpile to replace the 120 mm tanks rounds and 40 mm illumination rounds it has used to carry out a massacre in Gaza.

Not a single Israeli civilian died from rocket or mortar fire from Gaza from the November 2012 ceasefire until Israel renewed its assault on Gaza last month. Three Israeli civilians have died from rocket fire since—one-fifth of one percent of the total civilian casualties of Operation Protective Edge. For every Israeli civilian killed, 467 Palestinian non-combatants have been effaced by Israeli forces.

If Israel had a genuine interest in protecting its citizens from Palestinian rocket fire, it would never have broken its ceasefire with Hamas, blockaded Gaza to collectively punish Palestinians for electing Hamas in 2006 elections, continued its illegal occupation of the West Bank and effective occupation of Gaza, or continued to illegally expand Jewish settlements on the tiny fraction of historic Palestine Zionists forces haven’t already gobbled up.”


Hundreds of Palestinians abducted from Gaza by occupation forces, many remain missing:

“Over 200 Palestinians have been abducted by occupation soldiers on the borders of Gaza during the ground invasion of Gaza, transferred to undisclosed locations, interrogated, and abused, while those same occupation forces killed over 1850 Palestinians, wounded nearly 10,000 and destroyed thousands of homes.

These civilians, who refused or who were unable to leave their homes due to massive aerial bombing and shelling, were transferred to special camps set up inside occupied Palestine ’48, and interrogated for hours or days by military forces and the Shin Bet. Over 75 of them were released and left outside Beit Hanoun, and the remaining Palestinian civilians from Gaza remain unaccounted-for and under arrest, as well as wounded people, some of whom were released without treatment after two days of interrogation. Paramedics and wounded people were arrested on July 24 as they left Khuza’a.

Issa Qaraqe, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, cautioned on August 4 that some Palestinians who were captured by the occupation army may have been shot immediately after their arrest, as were civilians attempting to leave Khuza’a. Some of those detained were taken to occupation hospitals and another portion are still under interrogation. He warned that some of the missing may have been murdered by occupation forces or allowed to bleed to death without medical treatment, and called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross to act urgently to determine the fate of the Palestinians arrested in Gaza by the occupation forces and the circumstances of their detention.

Addameer issued the following statement on the urgent situation of Palestinians arrested from Gaza:

24 July 2014, occupied Ramallah – As the brutal assault in Gaza continues onto its seventeenth day, Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association expresses deep concern regarding the newly launched mass arrest campaign launched by the Israeli forces.

At least 150 Palestinians were arrested overnight in Gaza and forcibly transferred to an undisclosed detention center where they are now undergoing interrogation by Special Unit 504 in coordination with the intelligence services. The detainees are expected to undergo interrogation by the Shin Bet as well.

Also among those who have been arrested in recent days are ‘Ammar Shami, who was injured during the shelling and is now hospitalized during his detention.”


The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It:

“The view that Jews are a nation is the primary belief underlying Zionism. Other ideas too are inherent to Zionism, but no useful purpose would be served by discussing them all here. The notion of Jewish nationhood is a 19th-century invention, and like many other 19th-century inventions it is taking a long time to unravel and lay to rest. The following addresses the question of how the damage caused by the Zionist project might be reduced, or even reversed, by peaceful political means.

Zionism is a conceptual ideology in which it is assumed that part or all of the land of Palestine belongs to “the Jews.” Of course, we should all be free to assume whatever we want, but where such assumptions lead to organized conquests, expulsions, land dispossession or the kind of repetitive episodes of brutal violence we have just seen in Gaza, that is quite another matter.

Many words have been devoted to the question of how to attain “peace” between the Zionist colonists and the people who were living in Palestine prior to the Zionists’ arrival. This article is not about that kind of peace. Defining grounds on which to make peace within the status quo is not my concern here. What I have in mind is something far more fundamental: the return of Palestine, through political inducements, to the people we have come to call the Palestinians. It behooves those who seek an end to violence and a just peace to at least remain open to my argument, as follows:

By Palestinians, I mean all those who inhabited this region in the centuries during which it was under Turkish rule (1517-1917). Some of those people were Jewish. I include these Jews among the Palestinians, since they took no part in the Zionist colonization of Palestine from about 1890 onwards.

For about the past hundred years, this Palestine, excluding Jordan, has been regarded as an emigration destination for people calling themselves “Zionists.” These are people originating from a large number of countries where Jews have lived and still live today. I regard this emigration as unlawful, since it was forced on the local population by foreign powers.

The people who lived in this region did not have any resources either to repel this flow of emigrants or to conclusively disprove the political and ideological justifications that were presented for it.

The 1917 Balfour Declaration is regarded as one of these justifications. However, no one maintains that the then government of Great Britain had any authority to assign the land of Palestine to anyone other than the people who were living there. Similarly, although the United Nations assigned a portion of Palestine to the immigrants in the so-called Partition of Palestine in 1947, its own Charter stated that it had no right to do so without obtaining the consent of the mandate territory’s population.

…The colonial powers that controlled the primary financial and military resources within the UN in 1947 enabled these squatters to move in and subsequently helped them furnish their new home.

In his voluminous, carefully formulated book, A Just Zionism, Chaim Gans sets out to demonstrate that the Jews possess “historical rights” to the land of Palestine. Like many other commentators, I disagree; his entire line of argument is spurious. The proposition that some Jews living today are descendants of those who lived in Palestine thousands of years ago is at best a hypothesis. But even if a plausible case could be made for this hypothesis, this still does not provide any lawful basis for the Zionist dispossession of Palestine.

Gans therefore supplements the supposed “historical rights” by asserting that “the horrendous scope and nature of the persecution [of Jews] in the 1930s and 1940s provided justification for establishing Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel.” He repeats this argument in different ways in many places, all of them coming down to his conclusion that the Jews, like the original inhabitants, have rights, and must “therefore” share the land. This argument has all the logic of a criminal invoking the horrendous abuse he has suffered in childhood and the murder of all his siblings to explain why his crime is not in fact a crime at all.

This line of argument, the standard turn of phrase for those who are supposedly proposing a way out of this conflict, still has many supporters in Israel, in the United States, and in Europe. It is sheer obfuscation, however, and the twisted reasoning at its heart contains the origin of the conflict: a piece of land is given illegally to immigrants, after which this act is justified by advancing opportunistic arguments cast in a religious and historical mold, while carefully avoiding the proper description. What happened in Palestine, of course, was classical Western colonialism that can sustain itself only by dint of its superior military or economic resources and by enforced occupation.

However you look at it, the immigrants who went to Palestine from about 1890 onwards, or after the completely unlawful “partitioning” by the UN in 1947, are just that: immigrants. They descended on a mandate territory against the express wishes of the population and against the rules of international law as set down in the UN Charter. The population of Palestine and their leaders tried to put up some sort of resistance, with the primitive means at their disposal, but were defeated by the immigrants’ superior financial and military organization, derived from the West.

…It is time to call a spade a spade: Israel, as a colony, is a constant source of violence and conflict. It is not an ex-colony, nor is it an accepted part of the world for many. It is a territory in the Middle East under Western occupation, which possesses no political legitimacy now, nor can it ever acquire such legitimacy in the future because it has no raison d’être and cannot create one.

What I propose here is that the flow of millions of Zionists to Palestine be reversed. That the Zionists who emigrated to Israel should be offered a peaceful and generously compensated return to where they came from or the choice of any other destination. And that the descendants of emigrants who were born in Israel be invited to return to the countries of their parents/grandparents, or to go somewhere else as they choose.

In a well-crafted UN plan to decolonize Israel and reconstruct Palestine, the injustices that befell the Palestinians should not be repeated. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, never receiving a penny in compensation for the immense damage inflicted on them by the Zionist project. This is not the example to follow. So my proposal does not involve “deporting” Israelis from Israel, but giving them opportunities to build far better lives elsewhere which over time would unwind the Zionist project.

There is no end in sight to this violence, since the Israelis have reaped major benefits from it over the years, in the form of land and political domination. But if the world were to adopt a different strategy, namely that of ending the deportation and military subjection of the Palestinians, this would be a good step in the direction of reversing the single most fatal mistake of post-war Western politics.

In addition, we should make Israel’s economic life extremely difficult, as in the case of South Africa not so long ago. That such measures would greatly alter the political, moral and economic position of Israel will be obvious. A date should be set (for instance, 12 or 15 years after the start of the compensation program) on which the Palestinians will be given full authority over their entire territory. An authority that they should have been given on the basis of the UN Charter following the end of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948. Zionists who want to remain in Palestine could be offered the choice of doing so, but it would be up to the Palestinians to decide whether to grant this option. These ex-colonialists would not have any separate privileges, roads, laws, protection or enclaves. Within the Palestinian State, they would be subject to a different legal system than they are now.

…As long as the Zionists are left in charge they will never share the country; it was given to them and to them alone, by God and the atom bomb. They have used the past sixty years to make this crystal-clear. This leaves only one realistic solution: the complete dissolution of the colony, and the ending of the expulsions and land dispossession that was initiated in 1948. The only way to achieve this is by offering incentives for current and later generations of Zionists to resettle elsewhere, while removing the Western foundations of that colonization: the military, ideological, and economic support that sustains it.

…We must have the courage to finally end the Second World War, and to dismantle Israel in a sensible way.”


Gaza – is annexation Israel’s ‘permanent solution’?:

“When originally discovered in 2000, Gaza’s ofshore 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves were valued at $4 billion. Since then the Gaza Marine reserve has been re-estimated to 1.6 trillion cubic feet, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), while “offshore Gaza territory may hold additional energy resources.”

Israel is approaching a severe domestic ‘gas crunch’ pending the development of its own deep-water Leviathan gas field. Moreover it is now estimated that Gaza Marine’s exploitation could yield revenues of $6-7 billion per year.

And one thing is clear – Israel has no intention of letting Hamas anywhere near that money – nor even Fatah, which runs the West Bank, on any terms other than those that Israel lays down. In 2007 Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, stated:

“It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.” And needless to say, that would be entirely unacceptable.

For now, Israel get get away with its crimes, not only scot-free but to applause and material support. Hot on the heels of its attacks on ‘protected’ civilians, for example, as reported on CNN, the US decided to release stocks of munitions for Israel to continue its attacks:

“Among the items being bought are 120mm mortar rounds and 40mm ammunition for grenade launchers, the [anonymous US defense] official said. Those will come from a stockpile the United States keeps in Israel, which is worth more than $1 billion.”

While support for Israel in Europe falls away, elsewhere in the world, sentiment is turning to outright hostility. Bolivia now classifies Israel as a “terrrorist state”, and on 23rd July the UN Human Rights Council voted overwhelmingly (only the US voted against) to

“urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry … to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip …”

And only yesterday, the Palestinian Authority decided to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – a first move towards allowing the proto-state to file lawsuits against Israel for its alleged war crimes.

So what is Israel’s will? It could be this simple: to finish the job of 1948, when the indigenous inhabitants of southern Palestine were ‘ethnically cleansed’ from the land by Jewish militia, terrorised into abandoning their homes, towns and villages, and forced to seek refuge in the narrow strip of land that is Gaza.

The next step in this historic process would be to empty Gaza of its people. A drastic step indeed – but not an irrational one. It was all very well to keep 1.8 million Palestinians incarcerated in Gaza, so long as the land was of little value. But now, thanks to its offshore wealth, it’s a treasure trove.

So why can’t Israel simply take the gas, but leave the people where they are? In a word, rockets. So long as Hamas and other armed groups can target offshore gas infrastructure with their rockets, the gas is unexploitable. So not only must Hamas go, but the entire ‘sea’ in which Hamas swims (that is, the Palestinian people) must also go.

Moreover, so long as Palestinians control the territory of Gaza, they will also be able to assert and sustain claims of ownership of its offshore marine resources.

If it is indeed Israel’s intention to ‘cleanse’ Gaza of its people, then the attacks on civilians, and vital civilian infrastructure, make perfect sense. So too do Netenyahu’s warnings of a “prolonged offensive” and his call-up of another 16,000 military reservists, and the US’s release of further munitions into the fray.

There does remain one unanswered question: where are all the people to go? One answer is that many may die. Not from direct bombing and shelling – the total of dead, now approaching 1,400, is well short of having a ‘demographic’ impact on the territory. Even if 6,000 are killed by the time it’s all over, that would be only 0.5% of Gaza’s population.

But what could have a demographic impact is the effect of disease. If by some mischance the ebola virus, or cholera were to take root in Gaza, with its filthy water, lack of electrical power, failed sewage system and demolished hospitals, a great many more would surely die, perhaps hundreds of thousands.”


An Eyewitness to Shujaia Massacre

Israeli Army Whistle-Blower Gets Arrested After Posting ‘Israeli Troops Killed Gaza Civilians in Revenge’ on Facebook

**The Canadian Peace Alliance has an extensive listing of actions across Canada for Gaza. Check it regularly!