‘Cars Flying Over Our Heads’–Footage of Hurricane Destruction in the Caribbean

An act of God, or an act of man?

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Reality and its Enemies – An Analysis (28 May 2017) by Lawrence Davidson

tothepointanalyses

 Part I – Reality

There is an ongoing reality that is destroying hundreds of thousands of lives in the Middle East. And though most Americans are ignorant of the fact, and many of those who should be in the know would deny it, the suffering flows directly from decisions taken by Washington over the last 27 years. Some of the facts of the matter have just been presented by the first Global Conflict Medicine Congress held at the American University of Beirut (AUB) earlier this month (11-14 May 2017). It has drawn attention to two dire consequences of the war policies Americans have carried on in the region: cancer-causing munition matierial and drug-resistant bacteria.

— Cancer-causing munition material: Materials such as tungsten and mercury are found in the casing of penetrating bombs used in the first and second Gulf wars. These have had long-term effects on survivors, especially those who have been wounded by these munitions. Iraqi-trained and Harvard-educated Dr. Omar Dewachi, a medical anthropologist at AUB fears that “the base line of cancers [appearing in those exposed to these materials] has become very aggressive. … When a young woman of 30, with no family history of cancer, has two different primary cancers – in the breast and in the oesophagus – you have to ask what is happening.” To this can be added that doctors are now “overwhelmed by the sheer number of [war] wounded patients in the Middle East.”

— Drug-resistant bacteria: According to Glasgow-trained Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at AUB Medical Center, drug resistance was not a problem during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988. However, after the fiasco of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, things began to change. In the period after 1990, Iraq suffered under a vicious sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations at U.S. insistence. During the next 12 years “Iraqis were allowed to use only three antibiotics” and bacterial resistance quickly evolved. Those resistant bacteria spread throughout the region, particularly after the American invasion of the country in 2003. Today, according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres analysis, “multidrug resistant [MDR] bacteria now accounts for most war wound infections across the Middle East, yet most medical facilities in the region do not even have the laboratory capacity to diagnose MDR, leading to significant delays and clinical mismanagement of festering wounds.”

Insofar as these developments go, it is not that there aren’t contributing factors stemming from local causes such as factual fighting. However, the major triggers for these horrors were set in motion in Washington. As far as I know, no American holding a senior official post has ever accepted any responsibility for this ongoing suffering.

 

Part II – Hiding Reality

As the cancers and untreatable infections grow in number in the Middle East, there is here in the United States a distressing effort to rehabilitate George W. Bush – the American president whose decisions and policies contributed mightily to this ongoing disaster. It is this Bush who launched the unjustified 2003 invasion of Iraq and thereby – to use the words of the Arab League – “opened the gates of hell.” His rehabilitation effort began in ernest in April 2013, and coincided with the opening of his presidential library. In an interview given at that time, Bush set the stage for his second coming with an act of self-exoneration. He said he remained “comfortable with the decision making process” that led to the invasion of Iraq – the one that saw him fudging the intelligence when it did not tell him what he wanted to hear – and so also “comfortable” with the ultimate determination to launch the invasion. “There’s no need to defend myself. I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

The frivolous assertion that “history will judge” is often used by people of suspect character. “History” stands for a vague future time. Its alleged inevitable coming allows the protagonist to fantasize about achieving personal glory unchallenged by present, usually significant, ethical concerns.

Those seeking George W. Bush’s rehabilitation now like to contrast him to Donald Trump. One imagines they thereby hope to present him as a “moderate” Republican. They claim that Bush was and is really a very smart and analytical fellow rather than the simpleton most of us suspect him to be. In other words, despite launching an unnecessary and subsequently catastrophic war, he was never as ignorant and dangerous as Trump. He and his supporters also depict him as a great defender of a free press, again in contrast to Donald Trump. However, when he was president, Bush described the media as an aider and abettor of the nation’s enemies. This certainly can be read as a position that parallels Trump’s description of the media as the “enemy of the American people.”

But all of this is part of a public relations campaign and speaks to the power of reputation remodeling – the creation of a facade that hides reality. In order to do this you have to “control the evidence” – in this case by ignoring it. In this endeavor George W. Bush and his boosters have the cooperation of much of the mainstream media. No sweat here: the press has done this before. Except for the odd editorial the mainstream media also contributed to Richard Nixon’s rehabilitation back in the mid 1980s. These sorts of sleights-of-hand are only possible against the background of pervasive public ignorance.

 

Part III – Closed Information Environments

Local happenings are open to relatively close investigation. We usually have a more or less accurate understanding of the local context in which events play out, and this allows for the possibility of making a critical judgment. As we move further away, both in space and time, information becomes less reliable, if for no other reason than it comes to us through the auspices of others who may or may not know what they are talking about. As a society, we have little or no knowledge of the context for foreign events, and thus it is easy for those reporting on them to apply filters according to any number of criteria. What we are left with is news that is customized – stories designed to fit preexisting political or ideological biases. In this way millions upon millions of minds are restricted to closed information environments on subjects which often touch on, among other important topics, war and its consequences.

So what is likely to be more influential with the locally oriented American public: George W. Bush’s rehabilitated image reported on repeatedly in the nation’s mainstream media, or the foreign-based, horror-strewn consequences of his deeds reported upon infrequently?

This dilemma is not uniquely American, nor is it original to our time. However, its dangerous consequences are a very good argument against the ubiquitous ignorance that allows political criminals to be rehabilitated even as their crimes condemn others to continuing suffering. If reputation remodelers can do this for George W. Bush, then there is little doubt that someday it will be done for Donald Trump. Life, so full of suffering, is also full of such absurdities.

And Now The Climate Has Turned Antisemitic

March 06, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

by Gilad Atzmon

Authorities have determined that tombstones disturbed at a  historic Jewish cemetery in New York this weekend were damaged by environmental causes and not by vandalism and Jew haters. It may suggest that weather also has turned against the chosen people. I am looking forward to see ADL’s reaction to this sudden cosmic change. However, the negligence in the Jewish cemetery suggests that the tribe might not care about its dead as much as it wants the rest of us to believe.

Hillary Clinton’s Global-Burning Record

Global Research, February 25, 2016
Hillary Clinton

On 17 July 2015, Paul Blumenthal and Kate Sheppard at Huffington Post bannered, “Hillary Clinton’s Biggest Campaign Bundlers Are Fossil Fuel Lobbyists”  and the sub-head was “Clinton’s top campaign financiers are linked to Big Oil, natural gas and the Keystone pipeline.” This description of her fits for a politician who does the lobbyists’ bidding while she provides liberal rhetoric that denies she will, and so who burns-up not only the planet but the trust of the liberals who have voted for her in the mistaken belief that because her label is “Democrat” and because she makes her appeals to women, Blacks, Hispanics, and other disenfranchised groups, she’s not actually representing (just like the Republicans do) their common-enemies, which go beyond such ethnic or other groups and constitute the top-0.0001%-economic-class that’s exploiting almost the entire public — including  women, Blacks, Hispanics, etc. 

Her record does show that she represents those lobbyists, not the public. As I had reported previously, the Hillary Clinton State Department’s two environmental impact statements on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline were triple-hoaxes that totally and scandalously ignored the proposed pipeline’s impact on climate-change but that did discuss the impact of climate-change on the proposed pipeline (as if anybody even cared about that); neither of the two studies had even one climatologist on the team that prepared the report; and the State Department didn’t do either of the reports themselves, but instead hired two oil-industry contractors that were proposed to the State Department by TransCanada Corporation, which is the company that was proposing to build and own the pipeline. So: those ‘studies’ were rigged to enable the President to approve the Pipeline — which he ultimately decided not  to do.

Furthermore, on 2 May 2013, Steve Horn headlined, “Digging Into TransCanada’s Lobbying History,” and he found that, indeed, Hillary Clinton was surrounded by TransCanada lobbyists while the reports were being prepared by TransCanada’s chosen oil-industry contractors. On 12 March 2014, I headlined “Keystone XL Pipeline Corruption With State Department Should Not Be Legal,”  and reported that, “The Office of Inspector General (IG) of the U.S. State Department has determined that all of the corruption that was entailed in the preparation of the Hillary Clinton State Department’s two Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) on the TransCanada corporation’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, and that is still present in the John Kerry State Department’s final EIS, was legal.” This didn’t mean that it was at all ethical. It was disgustingly corrupt, regardless of whether it was legal. But, he found: it was legal.

Hillary Clinton is also a big champion of fracking. In September 2014, Mariah Blake bannered “How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World,” and reported that, “As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana. It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs.” The energy-companies didn’t pay for those sales-calls by the U.S. Secretary of State; taxpayers did.

On 10 April 2015, New Yorkers Against Fracking sent a letter to Clinton, opening, “We, the undersigned citizens groups from across the United States, write to urge you to join the growing majority of Americans against fracking.” Probably, she will, verbally, ‘join’ them, but her record shows that she often doesn’t follow her word, but that she does reliably follow her money: where that points, she goes (but as much in the dark as she possibly can — ergo, her private email server being used for government-business).

She earns her keep, for the lobbyists, and for her financial backers.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Hezbollah Demands End to Waste Crisis ‘Farce’, Rampant Corruption

Local Editor

Hezbollah called for the end of the negative repercussions ‘farce’ to the crisis of waste and demanded ‘reasonable solutions’ that address the transition phase ahead of reaching a long-term strategic plan.

wasteIn a statement issued on Tuesday, Hezbollah affirmed the right of peaceful and reasonable protests, indicating that “just solutions would calm people down and pave the ground for actions in the people’s interest in this important issue.”

“The waste crisis clearly indicates who is responsible for it,” Hezbollah said, adding: “The extent of the popular explosion to demand a solution for it in all Lebanon proves the size of the environmental, social and moral disaster resulting from ill-management of such issue by the successive governments.” The statement was referring to the weekend protests led by the YouReek civil society campaign against the waste management crisis.

“The trash crisis is one of the faces of the accumulating and rampant corruption throughout the last two decades,” Hezbollah said. “We hoped that this sensitive issue would have been addressed positively, but unfortunately we were shocked by the scandal of the proposed prices of tenders” for the waste management.

Since the weekend, Lebanon has been plagued with the waste disposal crisis, with people bursting across the streets of the capital after being fed up with political corruption.

Source: Al-Manar Website

25-08-2015 – 20:46 Last updated 25-08-2015 – 22:00

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Israel’s Environmental Racism: Cancer-Causing Chemical Plants in Tulkarem

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tulkarem

The ISM website has posted an article about a protest held today by locals in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. The protest was against the presence of 11 Israeli chemical plants that have been located there and that have been linked to spiking rates of cancer in the area.

Tulkarem, with a population of 62,000, is located in the northern part of the West Bank, lying west of the city of Nablus and east of the Israeli town of Netanya. The city makes up just five percent of the West Bank’s population, but accounts for 20 percent of all cancer cases, according to the report. And the article offers a glimpse into why this might be:

The protest against Israel’s chemical plants have been continuous since Gushiri Industries, a manufacturer of pesticides and fertilizers, first arrived in Tulkarem in the mid-1980s. The plant used to be located in the Israeli city of Netanya, only 12 kilometers away. However, a 1982 Israeli court order said the company was violating pollution regulations, making the company relocate to the West Bank’s Area C, which is under full Israeli control. The court order came after a complaint filed by Israeli citizens.

In other words, the Israeli citizens in Netanya sued to have the plant shut down so that it wouldn’t be operating near their homes and endangering their health or the health of their children. Finding that Gushiri was indeed violating pollution regulations, a judge ruled in their favor. The plant shut its doors and moved to Tulkarem. Were the courts and other Israeli officials satisfied with this resolution of the situation? Apparently so.

The following comes from Wikipedia’s article on Environmental Racism:

Environmental racism is placement of low-income or minority communities in proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic wastepollution and urban decay. While there are competing views as to an exact definition, the interplay between environmental issues and social indicators are key to its understanding.

The primary contention issue in the definition is intent. Some definitions hold that only intentional discrimination against minorities in issues regarding the environment is what constitutes environmental racism, while others focus on the presence of unfavorable environmental conditions for minorities, intentional or not. A significant factor in creation of effective environmental segregation is the fact that low-income communities lack the organization and political power to resist introduction of dangerous technologies, as well as greater mobility of richer citizens away from areas falling into industrial and environmental decline.

If there’s any doubt in your mind as to whether the degradation of Tulkarem’s environment came about as a result of “intentional” pollution, perhaps the next paragraph from the ISM story might help clear that up:

Since the arrival of Gushiri Industries, ten other chemical plants have located nearby, the last one in 2007. The location of these plants have caused many local farmers to lose most of their land and contributed to unemployment and poverty in the area. Hence, many local Palestinians have been forced to work at these chemical plants, as the Israeli corporations are taking advantage of the low labor costs and the non-applicability of Israeli labor laws in Area C.

That’s a total of 11 toxic chemical plants, all Israeli-owned, all located in a Palestinian city with a population of just 62,000 people. I’m not a legal expert, but I’m guessing it probably would qualify as “intentional” environmental racism, at least by any reasonable standard of jurisprudence.

So what does all this mean in practice? What’s it like to be a local living in the city of Tulkarem? Here’s a bit more from the ISM story:

A representative from the Palestine Technical University (PTU), which neighbors the Gushiri chemical plant to the south and the Apartheid Wall to the west, said today that the smell is “unbearable” after 3 pm, which explains why most residents of Tulkarem always keep their windows shut. Residents living near the factories have also developed health issues including asthma, reduced lung capacity, skin ailments and eye infections. This is especially true for elementary students.

Additionally, it has been estimated that approximately 300 dunams, i.e. 300,000 square meters, of agricultural land is contaminated by emissions from the factories.

And finally, the article informs us of this:

The global civic organization Avaaz is currently running a campaign named “A child’s cry: Stop poisioning Palestine’s schools” to help stopping the chemical plants in Tulkarem. By signing a petition on their website, you can help putting pressure on the EU, their biggest market, to apply their strict(er) environmental regulations and impose an import ban on these factories.

This would, of course, be the same Avaaz which is campaigning for the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria, similar, presumably, to the one set up in Libya in 2011–the sameorganization, by the way, whose founders have been described, by at least one critic, as “imperialist pimps of militarism.”

Why would a group campaigning for “humanitarian intervention” in Syria be launching an advocacy campaign for Palestinian children in Tulkarem? What purposes are served? Perhaps they feel it helps give their organization “legitimacy”–something which, of course, the country of Israel forfeited a long time ago.

The only thing that can be said with any certainty, is that the present government of Israel has no intentions of ending its occupation. There simply are too many profitable advantages from continuing it, having a convenient place to dump toxic waste being but one.

By the way, the protest today took place outside the Gishuri plant. And how do you think it turned out? Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and shot one man in the abdomen with a rubber coated steel bullet. You can go here to read the full story.

The Most Contaminated Land in the Middle East

DateMonday, June 17, 2013 at 6:34PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Ynet reported today that Haifa District Court judge ruled that there was no causal link between Kishon River’s pollution and the illness of more than 70 Israeli Navy seal divers, despite expert claims that ‘exposure to one molecule’ could lead to illness.

For more than 25 years, the Israeli elite Navy seals used to dive and train in the Kishon River in the Haifa Bay, apparently, the most polluted river in Israel. Authorities were warned about the lethal concentrations of cancerous substances in the river for years.

The Haifa  District Court ruled Monday that there is no causal link between the pollution in the Kishon River and the illness of 70 former Navy commandos.

The divers’ suit was filed against the Haifa Municipality, Haifa Chemicals, oil refineries, and the Haifa Region Association of Towns, claiming they are responsible for the pollution and toxic waste in the river, including arsenic, nickel, chromium, cadmium, lead and benzene.

Seemingly it took 2000 years for the Jews to come back to their so-called  ‘promised land’ but just a few years to pollute the rivers and contaminate the land.

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