|A bomb shelter in Sderot (Photo by ‘Jewbask’)|
Friday, July 11, 2014
As predicted by me, I took all kinds of unholy crap for daring to even speak my mind about the latest round of total insanity going on in Israel and Gaza. "Why didn't I mention this?" "Why did you say that? " "You are a sorry excuse for a Jew". "Where were you when the rockets started falling? 'Blah, blah blah.
Guess what? I am about to do it again. Only this time the people who screamed yesterday will have to find some new things to scream today, and some who didn't scream yesterday will join the club today.
Do I care? Not really. Except for the fact that the "screamers" represent a large part of the problem to begin with.
You screamers want rocket talk, I got rocket talk for you.
Anyway, my friends and enemies, read on for a different take on all this and why I call this crap insanity...and racism...depressing...and more.
This is a story about what it means when anyone builds an ideology on blood...and purity...
The following is again, as yesterday, from +972.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
|SHE LIVES IN GAZA|
SHE IS NOT A THREAT TO ANYONE
SHE HAS DONE NOTHING TO ANYONE
SHE CANNOT HIDE FROM THE BOMBS
DOES ANYONE CARE
WHETHER SHE LIVES OR DIES
We watch the bombs falling on Gaza. We are told over and over about air raid sirens in Jerusalem. There is a rather stark difference don't you think. There are dead in Gaza. There are people in shelters in Israel. There is a difference. Granted I would not be thrilled if someone were firing rockets at my house, but I would be even less thrilled if warplanes were flying overhead dropping bombs on ME. The rockets seldom hit anything. The bombs usually do.
It never ends.
I won't even bother with arguing here about who did what to who and when. Where there is occupation, there will be resistance. Turn an entire people into prisoners and they will hate you and they will erupt. Lock a people up and they will feel toward the "guards" the same way I felt toward the guards when I was in prison. Throw a people out of their house/their land, and by golly, they tend to get angry.
Hamas is not without fault. I am not concerned much really with Hamas. They are amongst the last people I would want to run my home. Okay, so you don't need to tell me nasty things about Hamas. They are reactionary, religious madmen, but they have one thing going for them. They aren't occupying anybody. Would they even exist, would they rule the Gaza if the Palestinian People as a whole had not faced decades and decades of occupation, home demolitions, land thefts, racism, repression, jailing, military rule, road blocks, check points, discrimination, etc? Would Hamas exist if it were not for Israel? I can't really answer that question. I won't blame Israel for every ill that happens anywhere in the world. Still, I wonder, where would Hamas be without their counterparts in the world of zionism. Is it any wonder that many Palestinians cheer on Hamas, whether they have any interest in the ideology Hamas represents or not? Is it any wonder that prisoners cheer on those who poke the eyes of the prison guards? I mean really?
Those old fools who sit in the government offices in Jerusalem are no better than those they call Hamas terrorists. If anything they are far worse. They kill myriads without really even lifting a finger. They just whisper to someone and the bombs fall, people die. They just whisper to someone and a whole people are deprived of basic human rights. They just whisper to someone and a whole nation disappears. They whisper to someone, they slip on a kippot and pretend to be people. They are not people. They are monsters who have managed to lead their own nation down a very dark road of racism, occupation, and war. They are monsters who have besmirched the name of the whole Jewish People in a way no anti-Semite has ever come close to doing. They are monsters responsible for deaths, mutilations, depredations, and more. They must be held accountable. They never are. If I have to see the smirking face of Benjamin Netanyahu again, I am sure I will throw up. If I have to hear one more Israeli spokesperson, one more American rabbi justify the horrors that Israel is responsible for inflicting on a practically defenseless people, I will throw up. I'm a Jew and I will throw up. If I were a Palestinian, chances are not only would I throw up, but I would be thrown in jail, or maybe just eliminated entirely.
This shit has got to stop, but it doesn't...and I can't imagine how it will without some sort of horrible apocalypse, god forbid. How many peace processes, guidelines, journeys to peace, etc. etc. etc. do we have to suffer through?
The Palestinian People will not simply go away. The Jews will not be driven into the sea. No one is going anywhere except the grave..
There is no TWO STATE SOLUTION. I used to think there was. I was wrong.There is only a one state solution (until there is a no state solution everywhere). One state made up of Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and people with no religious connections whatsoever....just people. Until such a democratic, secular state exists, none of this will ever stop. The PLO used to call for a democratic, secular state, but who knows what they meant back then...and who cares. The past is only death anyway.
A democratic secular state in all of Palestine/Israel (call it whatever you want) is the only answer. That has to be obvious to anyone and everyone with any brains, with no sick motives. A communist society with direct democracy, with no theocratic pretenses of any kind, that would be something worth fighting to achieve. Yeah, right, I know. How do we get there? Beats the hell out of me. So I settle for the democratic secular state. Yeah right, how do we get there. Again, beats the hell out of me.
I am sick of even trying to write about this shit. No sooner will I post this then people on all sides of the political spectrum will start screaming at me about this or that.
Yes, those righteous folks who seems only interested in power, in vengeance, in hatred, in pompous BS, in winning this point or that, in pointing a finger this way or that will jump all over me for writing anything...it matters not what I have to say. It matters not what I do. It matters not what you say or do. I guarantee you, if you dare to say or do anything, you will hear from those people. You will be defiled, ridiculed, denounced, and decried.
Me, I don't really care about that sort of thing. I have been hearing that sort of stuff for decades. My skin is thick.
What none of those people seem to really understand (dare I say care about) is there are REAL people who do the dying, have done the dying, will continue to do the dying. Real people with families, with loved ones, with lovers, with friends, with hopes, dreams, fears, names. Real people.
I realize that my comments here are scattered. I realize they are coming out of emotions. I admit I spent little time analyzing anything, even my own comments. They can probably be picked apart. I just don't care right now. I have been here before. I will be here again.
Enough! I want to scream out "ENOUGH."
Big deal. I am sitting here at my computer. No one is shooting at me. No one is being blown apart next door. I can get up and watch TV, go to the store, read a book, get on with my life.
The post below from +972 is simple and stark. It is a list of just some of those who cannot get on with their lives. It tells you the names of the real people who are no longer amongst the living in Gaza...and it is already out of date.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
|Palestinians watch a World Cup football game on a wide screen on the beach of Gaza City.|
Somehow I doubt this can happen today
without the people having bombs dropped on their heads.
Getting ready to watch World Cup action. Will be rooting for Argentina (which seems to mean they will likely lose). Won't write much here. Have to say thought, the world goes on in its very nasty way. What follows is an interesting article which manages to connect the Cup in Brazil with what is happening in the middle east today.
We live in a global world...
The following is from Edge of Sports.
‘Exporting Gaza’: The Arming of Brazil’s World Cup Security
By Dave Zirin
When I was in Brazil for those first days of the World Cup, I was—with many other journalists—tear gassed by military police. I saw sleek, urban-outfitted tanks in the streets and I felt concussion grenades send subsonic shrapnel crashing into my eardrums. I didn’t see the drones flying overhead, but then again, no one without a Hubble telescope is supposed to see the drones.
I also saw militarism that was less high-tech, and more of the traditional boots-on-the-ground variety. Several of the favelas—precarious communities of the poor that were once sanctuaries for both outlaws and revolutionaries—are under full-scale occupation. This has sparked protests by favela residents against the violence of living under constant police subjugation
The level of high-tech hardware on display is hardly different from what we have seen at previous World Cups and Olympic games. Gunships and missile launchers have over the last dozen years become as much a part of the scenery as the FIFA Fan Park and Olympic Village. The problem, though, is not really how the media has yawned past these kinds of post 9/11 security imperatives (although this is a problem). It’s the way that in too many host countries the militarization does not go away when the mega-events end. Instead, it becomes the new reality. If you buy a drone you are not, as a security official in London told me in 2012, “going to just put it back in the box.” Surveillance culture becomes normalized, and through the Trojan horse of sports, a fresh Orwellian reality is born.
Brazil’s leaders are unashamed of this overwhelming show of force. The state has expressed grave concern, at different times, about protesters, crime and terrorism. Tragically, if not predictably, they have also chosen to see protest as an act of crime and even an act of terrorism unto itself. I witnessed this repeatedly, with the effect of turning the World Cup host into, as one activist said to me, “a facsimile of the old dictatorship.”
Concern about protesters, crime and terrorism have all undoubtedly played a role in the security buildup, but Brazil has also built up its armed forces dramatically in recent years as a way to show the world that its new global economic might would be matched militarily. Yet the presence of such overpowering—not to mention high tech—weaponry raises a critical question: Who is arming Brazil? Who supplies—and profits—from their new normal?
The answer is found in Haifa, Israel, at two different multibillion-dollar weapons and electronics manufacturers: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems. Rafael is a for-profit company owned by the Israeli state, while Elbit is a private corporation. Elbit’s earnings are up dramatically, with its drone airplanes providing crowd surveillance during the World Cup. As Chief Executive Officer Bezhalel Machlis said in an interview with Bloomberg, “The intelligence-gathering electronic and optics technologies of Elbit and our Brazilian partners are perfectly suited for the homeland security challenges at these events.” The providing of high-tech militarism caused their second-quarter net income to “rise 30 percent to $50 million.” Bloomberg News wrote antiseptically that Brazil’s desire to increase purchases of Elbit’s weaponry was “given fresh impetus after the Confederations Cup soccer tournament in June  prompted record numbers of people to take to the streets in protest at a range of issues including spending on state-of-the-art stadiums.”
As for Rafael, it was founded in 1948 by the newly established state of Israel to arm the country against those who once resided in its territory. Rafael has an even stronger foothold in Brazil than Elbit. As Flavie Halais, writing for Open Democracy reported last year, “Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has bought a 40 percent stake in Brazilian GESPI Aeronautics. Back in 2010, Brazil and Israel signed a security cooperation agreement, with news reports stating the agreement dealt specifically with the World Cup and Olympics. Since then, officials from both countries have met to develop partnerships for mega-events and Israeli security experts have given several conferences and workshops for Brazilian officials and members of the Municipal Guard.”
This flow of arms from Israel to Brazil has sparked a movement in Brazil led by the Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino–SP (Front in Defense of the Palestinian People–São Paulo), which is composed of dozens of Brazil’s civil society organizations and unions, and is a part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Last year they protested at the Latin American Aerospace and Defense fair in Rio attended by arms manufacturers from around the world all competing—with the help of scantily clad models—to arm Brazil for the World Cup and the Olympics. The event was seen as a triumph for the thirty Israeli arms manufacturers who were, according to an insider,given special access to Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer and Secretary of Defense Celso Amorim.
“What Rafael, Elbit and Global Shield are doing is exporting the very tactics used on the Gaza Strip,” said one activist to me in Rio. “They are taking neighborhoods of poverty and anger and creating Gaza in the favelas of Brazil. The goal of anyone who sees themselves as a part of civil society should not be more Gazas.” From even the most basic humanitarian perspective, this is unassailable, particularly given the events of this week, as collective punishment, bombings and demolitions, have been the state response to the discovery of three dead Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. We should be figuring out how to demilitarize Gaza so the 1.8 million people who call that strip of land home have freedom of movement and opportunity without the constant specter of military incursion. Exporting the “Gaza security model” to the cities of the future is a recipe for dystopia. Using the World Cup—and our collective love of soccer—to create that new normal is both frightening and enraging. This sport, created and nurtured by the poor across the world, is now being played in exclusion zones under the watchful eyes of drones in the skies and boots on the ground. We may be rejoicing in the beautiful game right now, but we also need to fight to reclaim it.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
|Alberta Tar Oil Sands|
It Don't Look Good To Me
It Looks So Bad
Here is some bad news that will not surprise you. A report entitled, "Environmental and Human Health Implications of the Athabasca Oil Sands for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Northern Alberta," has found wild caught foods in northern Alberta have higher than normal levels of pollutants associated with oil sands production. As a result, the report notes that indigenous people are shifting away from their traditional diet over fears of contamination. According to the Globe and Mail the study finds,
...contaminants in traditional foods such as muskrat and moose, and that aboriginal community members feel less healthy than they did a generation ago...
...this development, as well as upstream hydro projects, compromises the integrity of the environment and wildlife, which, in turn, adversely affects human health and well-being...
Said Steve Courtoreille, chief of the Mikisew Cree Nation.
This report confirms what we have always suspected about the association between environmental contaminants from [tar sands] production upstream and cancer and other serious illness in our community.
It's time the government does something. The reality is our people are dying.
Unfortunately, does anyone really expect the government is going to do anything...or really gives a damn.
Chief Allan Adam, ACFN Chief commented more to the point, "One thing most striking… is that both province and federal governments refuse to do anything about [the high rates of cancer]. Even though the pressure is escalating"
Dr. Stéphane McLachlan, who headed the team that prepared the report told journalists at a news conference on Monday,
On one hand, industry, notably the Oil Sands, cause a decline in the health of the environment and ultimately of community members. On the other hand, the existing health care infrastructure is unable to address these declines in human health. The communities are caught in the middle, and the impacts are clear and worrisome.
"There's something unique that is happening in Fort Chipewyan. It's a situation that is alarming and demands attention.
Indian Country Today writes on its webpage:
Among other health problems First Nations people in the region suffer are miscarriages, lupus and skin abscesses, which they attribute to the degradation of the traditional food they hunt and harvest. Beyond their health, "local traditional economies like fishing and fur trading have been decimated by industrial pollution and widespread habitat destruction, leaving many residents with no other option but to seek employment in the local oil sands mines. Today, the indigenous bands in northern Alberta are no longer able to safely sustain themselves off the land that has nurtured their lives for centuries," states borealcollective.com, a dedicated group of photojournalists who are committed to the documentation of injustice and inequities that exist environmentally, socially, culturally and politically in Canada and abroad.
The First Nation people of the region are not surprised by any of this. They have long suspected what is happening. For years, residents in Fort Chipewyan have asked government to look for potential links between industrial development and health issues to no avail. Updated statistics released in March by the Alberta Cancer Board confirmed clusters of rare bile duct cancer and cervical cancer in the remote community 300 kilometers north of Fort McMurray.
Jonathan Bruno, an ACFN member who does water quality monitoring for the community quoted at Climate Progress says:
Every time we complain about pollution and sickness to the government, they always come back and say its natural.But our elders and our land users — people who have lived off this land their whole life — they say it’s never been like this their whole lives. And we trust that.
We don’t feel safe unless all our food is tested. Fish, plants, big game — everything that we consume as First Nations, we’re going to sample.
More from Bruno and Climate Progress,
For Bruno, the loss of culture troubles him to the core. He remembers teaching his young son how to trap, hunt, and live off the land and then, the moment he was told there were limits, that he couldn’t eat fish without risking his health.
“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “For my son … He ate that year-round in our household, and for him to… for these professors and these universities to tell him there’s a limit on it…” he trailed off.
“I still eat it,” he continued. “I won’t put a limit on it, because that’s the way I was brought up. I’m 30 years old, and I ate that my whole life. So for somebody to tell me to quit eating it … I can’t just quit. If I get sick, I get sick. But that’s the choice I make.”
Of course this isn't all the bad news.
Canadian government researchers earlier discovered that oil-sands operations have puffed out mercury over 4.7 million acres of northeast Alberta, boosting levels to as much as 16 times higher than background levels. Mercury is a potent poison that’s frequently emitted by mining and fossil-fuel burning. It can harm the brains, hearts, kidneys, lungs, and immune systems of children and adults alike.
At the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk, Michael Toledano, writes, indigenous communities living on the frontlines of bitumen extraction in Alberta came together to pray, and to lead a march through the grotesque epicenter of a continental oil project.
Praying seems pretty futile to me, but Toledano has a different take.
It may seem defeatist to pray in the face of an industrial behemoth like Alberta’s tar sands, but it is actually an incredible show of strength. As millennia old traditions, these prayers have survived smallpox epidemics, policies of starvation, religious bans, torture in state sanctioned residential schools, and massive environmental degradation at the hands of mining, oil, and gas industries. Praying in the heart of Alberta’s tar sands is a palpable act of defiance—a clear refusal to go extinct after centuries of attempted genocide.
Anyway, the indigenous and the multitude up in Alberta don't need me to tell them how they should choose to fight.
The Walk itself,
...passed by open-pit mines, fields of dead earth, lakes of poison called ‘tailings ponds,’ soviet-style worker villages, and hydrocarbon refineries. The air reeked of sulphur and diesel, and many participants complained about burning eyes, sore throats, metallic tastes, headaches, and nausea.
Walk participant former chief of the Mikisew Cree, George Poitras explained,
Many Elders, hunters, fishermen, and trappers talk about how 20 years ago you could scoop water from your boat or Canoe driving on the rivers, on the lakes, without any concern... Nobody does that anymore.
Over in British Columbia, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told reporters during a major anti-shale pipeline rally in downtown Vancouver last month , "it's official. The war is on." He told a gathering of protesters there will be battles ahead in the courts with several lawsuits immediately looming. He added, that activists have to be ready to stop project proponent Enbridge Inc. from doing basic development work on the pipeline site.
There will be the need to go out onto the land and onto the waters and physically stop any effort on the part of Enbridge to do preparatory work, site preparation, surveying while this matter is in the courts.
Some of us here are going to jail because that’s what it’s going to take.
I am out of words.
The following is from The First Perspective.
FIRST NATIONS' CANCER LINKED TO OIL SANDS' TOXINS IN WILD FOOD: STUDY
Deeply frustrated by provincial denials of health concerns, two First Nations commissioned their own study using out-of-province university researchers to examine oil sands pollutants in their foods.
Two northern Alberta First Nations downstream of massive oil sands smoke plumes and tailing ponds released a human health study Monday, implicating the growth of the industry to many serious Aboriginal health concerns, including cancer.
The worry? Oil sands pollution is contaminating their wild food.
“I don’t know what it is that they’re hiding. What’s causing these cancers? Why is it so hard that they cannot take it out of their production, so it’s not hurting anyone or killing anyone?” asked Chief Steve Courtereille of the Mikisew Cree First Nation at an Edmonton press conference.
The new scientific study states the region's "country food" contains elevated levels of toxic metals and carcinogens, that members of the Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations traditionally eat.
But recent fears that oil sands pollution is contaminating the food, has led fewer people to eat it.
The research was partly funded by Health Canada and reviewed by federal scientists.
The wild foods include: moose, ratroot, duck, wild mint, spruce gum, pickerel, caribou, and Labrador tea. Fish are no longer eaten from the Athabasca River, due to government health warnings.
The study reveals these foods contained elevated levels of heavy metals and carcinogens, and that nearly a quarter of the Aboriginal participants -- 23 out of 94 -- had cancer, among other ailments.
Government not trusted
The push for the study was motivated by a deep distrust of provincial and federal health officials, who they say have "failed" to comprehensively study the issue, said the leaders.
“One thing most striking… is that both province and federal governments refuse to do anything about [the high rates of cancer]. Even though the pressure is escalating,” said ACFN Chief Allan Adam.
“We are being brainwashed by the Conservative government that everything is ok. It’s not,” he added.
Conservative Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s press secretary was reached in Ottawa to comment on the study, but a statement was not provided.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has previously said:
“Canada’s oil sands producers are deeply concerned about suggestions oil sands development is affecting people’s health, most specifically resident First Nations. Safety is our industry’s top priority and oil sands development must occur in a manner that keeps people safe, and benefits their overall quality of life.”
Questions about cancer in the oil sands have been swirling for months, since Alberta doctor John O’Connor raised concerns in Washington, D.C. in February with U.S. Senators about studies linking the oil sands’ pollution to elevated cancer levels.
O'Connor's remarks sparked an international reaction, and were followed shortly in March by comments from Alberta’s Chief Medical officer, who said his data review of cancer records showed that the “overall number of cancers is not significantly higher than expected” in the Fort Chipewyan area versus the rest of Alberta.
The new First Nations study released Monday provides further details of cancer cases: four incidents of breast cancer, four of lung cancer, and two each of cervical, colon, gallbladder, kidney, prostate, and stomach cancer as well as leukemia, said the report.
Also worrying for community members were: neurological illnesses (e.g. sleeping disorders, migraines, and stress), respiratory illnesses (e.g. allergies, asthma) as well as circulatory (e.g. hypertension, coronary) and gastrointestinal (e.g. gallbladder, ulcers) illnesses.
The study also found:
“Arsenic levels were high enough in muskrat and moose muscle; duck, moose, and muskrat livers; and moose and duck kidneys that they were of concern for young children.”
“Cadmium levels were again elevated in moose kidney and liver samples but also those of beaver and ducks, although muskrat samples were again low. Mercury levels were also high for duck muscle, kidneys, and livers as well as moose and muskrat kidneys, specially for children.”
“Total levels of PAHs and levels of carcinogenic and alkylated PAHs were very high relative to other studies on food conducted around the world,” said the report.
The report stated that exposure rates to these contaminants “were generally not of health concern” because of the low amounts of traditional foods that are now consumed as community members transition towards store-bought foods.
A feature-length documentary “One River Many Relations” will be released in October, to communicate issues about health impacts from the oil sands.
Excerpts have already been released.
Alberta universities 'too biased' - Chief Courtereille
The University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan, in collaboration with the bands, conducted the research.
The choice to go with out-of-province researchers was deliberate.
“Dealing with the Alberta universities were in our view not credible, because of the close ties to the Alberta government…” said Chief Steve Courtereille.
Dr. John O'Connor, who frequently attends to cancer patients in the Fort Chipewayan area said Monday:
"This (study) is just another piece of information which is on top of all other previous scientific reports that have come out," O'Connor said.
"God knows what difference this report will make. But if someone doesn't act, and come to their senses...we've always said comprehensive studies are needed."
Still, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s leader admitted, his nation shares the responsibility for allowing the industrial free for all, that’s led to so many changes to the environment in northern Alberta.
“We recognize we were partly to blame for granting the approvals of projects. What we are asking is a slow down of further development, in regards to what is going on in our region, and start cleaning up the mess, and putting down on paper in regards to what you’re putting in the Athabasca River,” said Chief Adam.
The oil sands industry employs 10 percent Aboriginal people, says the Alberta government. It also brings in $3.5 billion in royalties per year to fund the province's social programs.
CAPP says the oils sands is projected to more than double by 2030, to 5.2 million barrels per day.