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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

Israel and Saudi Arabia: the rise of rogue states

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Israel

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On 10 July 1985, the bombing, sinking, and fatality aboard the Greenpeace ship, ‘Rainbow Warrior‘, taught New Zealand that as a small country we could be vulnerable to the perniciousness of foreign powers.

Despite being supposed allies; despite the blood of our soldiers shed for their liberation in two World Wars, faraway France sent a team of DGSE secret agents to our shores and committed what could only be described as an act of state-sponsored terrorism.

As a nation, we did not take kindly to being bullied by a foreign power. The NZ History website pointedly observed that;

This incident did much to promote what has been described as New Zealand’s ‘silent war of independence’ and was central to an upsurge in New Zealand nationalism. There was a sense of having to ‘go it alone’ because traditional allies such as the United States and Britain sat on their hands while France worked to block New Zealand exports. The failure of Britain and the United States to condemn this act of terrorism hardened support for a more independent foreign policy line.

Thirty three years later, and another nuclear-armed, aggressive nation is arrogantly throwing it’s weight around and trying to “have a go” at us – Israel.

NZ-Israel relations took a nose-dive last year when singer-entertainer Lorde decided to cancel her planned tour of Israel;

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The bitter reaction from Zionist individuals and organisations could only be described as  – at times – reaching levels of insane hysteria. A full page advertisement in The Washington Times by fanatic Rabbi Shmuley Boteach showed the intolerance to dissenting views by hardline Zionists;

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Obviously, Rabbi Boteach’s call to “support our campaign to defend Israel and promote human rights” (bottom of advert) didn’t extend to people having the right to make a decision on whether or not to tour the country he was “defending”.

Two young women who last year called on Lorde not to tour Israel have found themselves on the sharp, pointy-end of Israel’s hard-line extremism when it comes to criticising that country;

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Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab had appealed to Lorde in an open letter to join the cultural boycott of Israel.

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Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab wrote;

Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza strip. The occupation is considered an affront to international law and Israeli settlements in the area explicitly violate the Geneva Convention. The military occupation of Palestinian territories has resulted in an apartheid state. Palestinians living in the occupied territories do not enjoy the same rights Israeli citizens enjoy, they are denied freedom of movement and often basic services and necessities.

Today, millions of people stand opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again.

Israel’s violations are so brutal, Nelson Mandela’s own grandson, Mandla Mandela, said: “The settlements I saw here [in the West Bank] reminded me of what we had suffered in South Africa because we also were surrounded by many settlements and were not allowed to move from one place to another freely. Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.” He added, “Israel is the worst apartheid regime” and called for the continued support of the boycott movement.

They called on Lorde to follow in our country’s tradition of standing up to injustice;

Israel might seem like a world away from New Zealand but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking out and being on the right side of history. In 1981 New Zealanders took to the streets to protest the Springbok tour and South African apartheid. It’s remembered proudly now, so it’s easy to forget that at the time this stuff was seriously fraught. Many argued the politics of apartheid shouldn’t be brought into sport. People will say the same about music.

We’re not just writing to appeal to the past. We’re writing this because we know you agree that our part in movements for justice and equality shouldn’t just be a memory that gathers dust. We can play an important role in challenging injustice today. We urge you to act in the spirit of progressive New Zealanders who came before you and continue their legacy. In 2017, Lorde, reignite the spirit of 1981 and show the world that New Zealanders are the progressive forward-thinking people we say we are. Please join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.

I am in awe of the courage of these two young women.

In the interests of fair, free speech, The Spinoff also published a counter-opinion, by Dane Giraud from the NZ Jewish community.

For their actions, a pro-Zionist group in Israel called “Shurat Hadin” has sued – and ‘won’ a legal case in an Israeli Court – seeking ‘damages against Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab. The award was for 45,000 Israeli New Shekel ($NZ18,976).

According to a Jerusalem Post report;

In January, Shurat HaDin filed a lawsuit on behalf of Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel. The three all purchased tickets to see Lorde, and were refunded when the show was canceled. The suit demanded NIS 15,000 in damages for each of the teenagers, claiming that their “artistic welfare” was harmed as was their leisure time, “and above all damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews.” The lawsuit said that Lorde’s response on Twitter to the letter Sachs and Abu-Shanab penned showed a direct connection to the concert cancellation.

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“This is a precedent-setting ruling according to the Boycott Law,” [Shurat HaDin lawyer] Darshan-Leitner said Thursday. “This decision makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the State of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and need to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call, if they’re in Israel or outside it.”

Shurat Hadin” makes no secret of their hard-line Zionism and willingness to exploit “legal avenues” to further their cause;

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As their website clearly states;

Shurat HaDin is at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide. We are dedicated to taking action to protect the State of Israel and its citizens. By putting terrorists and their supporters on trial to compensate victims and block funding of terror, by fighting to end the use of social media for inciting violence and promoting terror, by defending Israel, its leaders, and soldiers against claims of war crimes, and by battling lawfare, BDS and other efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State, Shurat HaDin is using court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.

Former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer, Philip Giraldi, has accused ShuratHaDin as engaging in lawfare;

Lawfare, as the name suggests, is the concept of using the law itself as a weapon of war. What it has meant in practice is turning American courtrooms into battlegrounds between private actors and foreign litigants seeking leverage in international political disputes. As a court case just concluded this week [February, 2015] in New York against the Palestinian Authority highlights, the increasing abuse of Lawfare litigation in the U.S. courts may soon have dangerous and irreparable implications for American foreign policy interests in the Middle East.

Israel’s Shurat HaDin Law Center has featured in much of the Lawfare litigation, seeking to harass groups and individuals that it regards as hostile, tying them up with litigation so they become ineffectual or even bankrupting them when a friendly judge rules its way. Shurat HaDin is headed by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi, who have described their organization as a means of “fighting back,” particularly appropriate for Israel because “the Jews invented law.”

He pointed out;

More recently Shurat HaDin has been threatening to use litigation on American university campuses where it perceives that there is toleration of “an environment of intimidation and hostility” that fails to protect Jewish and Israeli students against alleged anti-Semitic harassment, by which it means demonstrations by Palestinian supporters and calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Shurat HaDin have links to Israel’s security agency, Mossad.

Clearly, Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab are the latest victims of Shurat HaDin’s ‘lawfare’ strategy to coerce  critics of Israel into silence.

Philip Giraldi‘s analysis is backed up by Waikato University law professor, Alexander Gillespie, who said this was an attempt to quell free speech;

“This is political theatre. This is not really a legal issue, this is about a court in Israel trying to create a precedent and it will have quite a large global impact.

A lot of people will start watching this because the fear will be that if you’re critical of Israel, no matter where you are in the world, you could be sued.”

However, Professor Gillespie said it would be difficult for Israel to enforce their Court decision to demand payment from the two women;

“In theory they can apply to the courts here to enforce their judgement, but it’s very unlikely that the judgement will be enforced because it’s completely contrary to our own laws.”

To their credit, Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab have bravely refused to cave to Israel’s abuse of legal process and have set up a ‘Givealittle’ page where donations toward their ‘fine’ will be forwarded to the  Gaza Mental Health Foundation.

Hopefully the New Zealand government will act decisively to defend two of it’s citizens from the brazen bullying by a foreign power. If our government fails to act to defend it’s citizen on our own soil, then it has become a weak vassal-state of a foreign regime.

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Saudia Arabia

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia – another “ally” of the West – has taken it’s war from the bombing of Yemen to it’s Consulate in Istanbul where apparently it has murdered Washington Post columnist, and critic of the Saudi regime, Jamal Khashoggi.

Not content with bombing and mass-killing in Yemen that has resulted in at least ten thousand killed and tens of thousands more dead from starvation, the Saudi regime has adopted Mossad-style techniques of using execution teams to kill critics. The weapons used to kill innocent men, women, and children in Yemen – such as forty children in a school bus – are American-made;

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Munitions experts said the numbers on this piece of shrapnel confirmed that Lockheed Martin was the maker of the bomb. – CNN

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Sensitive to ongoing reports of mass deaths of Yemeni civilians, Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, tried to “make good” on assurances that Saudi Arabian warplanes would take better aim in attacks on so-called rebel targets;

Pursuant to Section 1290 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA), I certified to Congress yesterday that the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.

In the same statement, Pompeo  also said how much the US government wanted peace in Yemen;

The Trump Administration has been clear that ending the conflict in Yemen is a national security priority. We will continue to work closely with the Saudi-led coalition to ensure Saudi Arabia and the UAE maintain support for UN-led efforts to end the civil war in Yemen, allow unimpeded access for the delivery of commercial and humanitarian support through as many avenues as possible, and undertake actions that mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Oxfam America’s  Scott Paul responded the only way possible to US support of Saudi bombing of Yemen;

“Today, the Trump administration once put its Gulf allies ahead of Yemeni families who are struggling to survive. With Secretary Pompeo’s certification, the State Department demonstrated that it is blindly supporting military operations in Yemen without any allegiance to facts, moral code or humanitarian law.”

Many of the horror-weapons used in Yemen were banned from sale to the Saudis by the previous Obama administration.  Trump reversed that ban in March 2017.

Trump has promised a controversial US$110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia will proceed – regardless of the current storm of international condemnation over the mysterious disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi; regardlss of the fact that the Saudi regime may be engaging in extra-judicial killings; regardless of the the alleged murder taking place within the borders of another country.

In a statement that shows – yet again – the utter moral bankruptcy of the man, Trump explained;

“I know they’re talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others, for this country. I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States. Because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China, or someplace else.”

And Americans wonder why they are hated throughout much of the Middle East?

Israel and Saudi Arabia – two regimes that brook no dissent. Both thumb their noses at free expression; democracy; and respect for human life. Neither are hesitant at using lethal violence to pursue their aims.

We certainly have no moral grounds to complain when Russia supports one of their own allies in the region. Russia has Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The US has Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi ‘Crown Prince’ Mohammed bin Salman.

Russia’s RT News may be a government mouthpiece, but on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Yemen,  and continuing arming of the Saudi regime, they make a valid point;

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The West should choose it’s friends in the Middle East more carefully.

And New Zealand should have as little as possible to do with Israel and Saudi Arabia as possible. They are both rogue states.

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References

NZ History: Nuclear-free New Zealand – Sinking the Rainbow Warrior

Rolling Stone: Lorde Cancels Tel Aviv Concert After Calls to Boycott Israel

Radio NZ: Rabbi continues criticism of Lorde

The Spinoff: Dear Lorde, here’s why we’re urging you not to play Israel

Shurat HaDin: Main Page

Jerusalem Post: New Zealand BDS activists ordered to pay damages over Lorde Israel boycott

The Hill: U.S. legislation abused by foreign entities

Radio NZ: NZ activist being sued in Israel calls it ‘publicity stunt’

Givealittle: Help Justine and Nadia raise money for Mental Health in Gaza

Jerusalem Post: Op. Harpoon – How the Mossad and an Israeli NGO destroyed terrorist money networks

Chicago Tribune: 50,000 children in Yemen have died of starvation and disease so far this year, monitoring group says

The Telegraph: Dubai Hamas assassination – how it was planned

CNN: Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US

US Department of State: Certification to Congress on Actions of Saudi Arabia and UAE in Yemen Under the NDAA

NPR: U.S. Stands By Saudi Arabia, Despite Criticism Over Civilian Casualties In Yemen

NY Times: Why Are U.S. Bombs Killing Civilians in Yemen?

CNN: Trump’s $110 billion Saudi arms deal has only earned $14.5 billion so far

Twitter: RT News – Yemen, Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia

Additional

The Electronic Intifada: Israeli lawfare “backfires” in New Zealand

NZ Herald: Israeli court – NZ activists must pay for Lorde cancellation

Other Blogs

The Standard:  Concert Woes

Previous related blogposts

Exclusive: Provocateurs attempt to disrupt March for Palestine, in Wellington!

New Zealand’s OTHER secret shame

Barbarians at the Gates

To any Israeli solidiers reading this

Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression

What to do with the Israeli Ambassador?

Do our bit: boycott Israeli goods and commercial interests!

Trumpwatch: One minute closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock

One minute to midnight?

It is ten seconds to midnight

Syria: the mendacities of the mainstream media (part rua)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 October 2018.

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Trumpwatch: What’s a few more nails in the planet’s coffin?

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… as long as those coffin-nails were “Made in America”.

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Trump’s First 100 Days can boast of several “achievements”. But not the variety that progressive-minded people – especially those concerned with global environmental problems and threats to peace – would welcome with a cheer.

Pimping for Coal

On 28 March, Trump signed another of his many Executive Orders – the sort of Presidential Executive Orders that in the past he railed against when Obama was President of the United States. As he ‘tweeted’ in 2012;

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This time, Trump was signing an Executive Order over-turning Obama’s policies of moving America away from using CO2-producing  coal for energy production. To avoid any accusation of “fake news” from Trump’s supporters, these are his actual words from the White House website;

 “ Today, I’m taking bold action to follow through on that promise.  My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.  We’re going to have clean coal — really clean coal.  With today’s executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, regulations not only in this industry, but in every industry.  We’re doing them by the thousands, every industry.  And we’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clear air.

Trump’s fairy-tale fantasies on “clean coal — really clean coal” and promising that Americans (and the rest of us on Planet Earth) would enjoy “clean water, we’re going to have clear air” was parroted by the  head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and self-confessed climate-change denier,  Scott Pruitt;

I believe that we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment. We don’t have to choose between the two.

Trump’s appointment of Pruitt was scandalous by any measure, especially as the former Republican Oklahomas attorney general sued the Environmental Protection no less than thirteen times.

Little wonder than the  Sierra Club  called for Pruitt’s resignation for mis-leading the US Congress on increasing levels of carbon dioxide leading to worsening  climate change.

Just as bad as Pruitt’s head-in-the-sand attitude toward anthropogenic climate change, is Trump’s reference to “clean coal”. There is no such thing, as Fortune magazine reported in October last year;

As for Trump, he failed to mention that no U.S. major clean coal plant is operational. He also neglected to say that the U.S. coal industry has been struggling partly because of the economics involved. The rise in low cost U.S. natural gas, as well as cheap wind and solar, has done as much to hurt the coal industry as have environmental regulations. When power companies close an aging coal plant, it makes more economic sense for them to build a new natural gas plant, or even solar and wind ones.

The article by Fortune’s Katie Fehrenbacher mentions two “clean coal” power plants that, after years of Federal taxpayer-funding and delays, have never become operational. A third “clean coal” power plant was due to be operational by the end of 2016 – but according to it’s builders is no longer  economic.

Any notion of “clean coal” appears to be a wishful fantasy in Trump’s mind.

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists summed up Trump’s vandalism of the environment;

The wrecking ball that is the Trump presidency continues. The executive order undercuts a key part of the nation’s response to climate change, without offering even a hint of what will replace it.

US National Parks: See it; Love it; Mine the #@$?%!*&$ out of it!

In a piece of cunningly written euphemistic double-speak and jargon, Trump’s Executive order on 26 April announced plans to review Monument lands (similar to National Parks) with an agenda for “economic growth”;

Designations of national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906, recently recodified at sections 320301 to 320303 of title 54, United States Code (the “Antiquities Act” or “Act”), have a substantial impact on the management of Federal lands and the use and enjoyment of neighboring lands.  Such designations are a means of stewarding America’s natural resources, protecting America’s natural beauty, and preserving America’s historic places.  Monument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.  Designations should be made in accordance with the requirements and original objectives of the Act and appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.

Though couched in nebulous bureaucratese,  alarms bells begin to ring with certain key phrases peppered throughout the Executive Order:   “the importance of the Nation’s wealth of natural resources to American workers and the American economy“; “Monument designations … may also create barriers to achieving energy independence“; “Monument designations … and otherwise curtail economic growth“; “appropriate use of Federal lands“; “including the economic development“; “properly manage designated areas“; etc.

Here in New Zealand, National’s half-arsed proposal seven years ago to open up Schedule 4 DoC conservation-land to mining was met with over-whelming public protest;

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Two and a half months later, National’s ministers caved to public anger. Their proposals sank without a trace.

Trump is yet to be confronted with similar fury from outraged Americans. In the meantime,  his Executive Order has called for the  re-classification of  landmarks of a historic or scientific nature;

“In making those determinations, the Secretary shall consider:

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(ii)   whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest”

Once re-classified as non-historic landmarks, non-historic and non-prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of non-historic or non-scientific interest” – then it’s “Drill baby, Drill!

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Trump’s Executive Order sought “consultation” with “the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy“, the “Assistant to the President for Economic Policy“,  and strangely,  “the Secretary of Homeland Security“.

The Trump Administration was seeking “consultation” with the Secretaries of Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy for obvious reasons: Trump was planning to commercially exploit the Monument parks.

What possible purpose could there be  for Trump to be consulting the Secretary of Homeland Security?

Simple: Crowd control.

As in;

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Trump was already making plans to react with an iron fist when Americans realised what their Glorious Leader was about to do to their Monument parks.

Protest would be met by force. Just ask the Native Americans who protested the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Trump takes a Dump on the Arctic’s Rump

On 29 April, Trump did the unthinkable (aside from launching the nukes and starting the Last World War) – he signed yet another Executive Order, the ‘America-First Offshore Energy Strategy’, authorising oil exploration in Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – both in the Arctic Ocean;

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq., and in order to maintain global leadership in energy innovation, exploration, and production, it is hereby ordered as follows:

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…as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, including the procedures set forth in section 1344 of title 43, United States Code, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, give full consideration to revising the schedule of proposed oil and gas lease sales, as described in that section, so that it includes, but is not limited to, annual lease sales, to the maximum extent permitted by law, in each of the following Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas, as designated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) (Planning Areas):  Western Gulf of Mexico, Central Gulf of Mexico, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, Cook Inlet, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic.

As Trump stated on the White House website;

This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration.  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban.  So hear that:  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.  (Applause.)  In addition, Secretary Zinke will be reconsidering burdensome regulations that slow job creation.  

The Order effectively reverses Obama’s final act of his Presidency, in December last year, where he placed large marine areas under Federal protection from commercial development;

President Barack Obama on Tuesday moved to indefinitely block drilling in vast swaths of U.S. waters.

The president had been expected to take the action by invoking a provision in a 1953 law that governs offshore leases, as CNBC previously reported.

The law allows a president to withdraw any currently unleased lands in the Outer Continental Shelf from future lease sales. There is no provision in the law that allows the executive’s successor to repeal the decision, so President-elect Donald Trump would not be able to easily brush aside the action.

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The lands covered include the bulk of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and 31 underwater canyons in the Atlantic. The United States and Canada also announced they will identify sustainable shipping lanes through their connected Arctic waters.

Canada on Tuesday also imposed a five-year ban on all oil and gas drilling licensing in the Canadian Arctic. The moratorium will be reviewed every five years.

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Environmentalists say drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic puts the waters at immediate risk, for oil and gas that would not come online for years, after a transition to cleaner energy sources could be under way.

“The Arctic Ocean is ground zero for the impacts of climate change, and any oil production there would be decades away and inconsistent with addressing climate change before it is too late,” the League of Conservation Voters said in a statement after the announcement.

Obama’s Executive Order was a complete 180-degree turn-around from his previous decision to allow Shell to test-drill in the Chukchi sea in August 2015. Shell’s exploration programme folded a month later, citing “the disappointing results of an initial well, the high costs of development and the  challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska“.

After he has finished despoiling the land, air, and waterways of the Continental United States, Trump’s decision to overturn Obama’s Executive Order and  allow oil exploration in the Arctic places one of the most fragile eco-systems at risk from environmental degradation;

Concerns have been raised over Shell’s ability to clean up a spill, should one occur, in an area covered by sea ice for much of the year. If one considers the example of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it took 87 days to cap, even though it happened in a fairly accessible region. In the Arctic, which is virtually impenetrable in winter, a similar gusher would be far more difficult to tackle. More to the point, the region’s ecology is about the most fragile on the planet and would be far more vulnerable to the impact of a major spill.

However the legality of Trump’s Executive Order attempting to overturn his predecessor’s Executive Order is questionable, with the increasing likelihood  of environmental groups launching legal challenges;

It’s unclear whether a new president has the authority to reverse those bans without Congress, says Robin Craig, an environmental law professor at the University of Utah. If, following this executive order, the Trump administration decides to go ahead and open up those areas, environmental groups will likely sue. But because there’s no precedent, it’s unclear what the outcome of those lawsuits will be. “Who knows whether they’ll win or lose,” Book says. “It hasn’t been litigated yet.”

But groups like Oceana are ready to fight. Drilling in Arctic waters is dangerous and there’s no proven way to clean sea ice from potential oil spills, Pyne says. “It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s stormy, and it’s covered in sea ice,” she says. And drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts is unpopular with businesses and residents in coastal states. Oil spill can negatively affect fishing and tourism, and states just don’t want to risk it. “Regardless who’s in the White House coastal communities and businesses do not want offshore drilling off their coast,” Pyne says.

More of Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-business, pro-exploitation policies can be found on the Forbes and National Geographic websites. The picture painted by Trump’s policy enactments (through one Executive Order after another) and appointees makes for disturbing reading.

This is not a happy time for Planet Earth.

Battle of the Bizarro Hair-Monsters

What is it with sovereign leaders with little hands and appalling hair styles?

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Not content with planning to  ravage his own country’s environmental heritage, Trump’s provocative bellicosity toward North Korea could spark a catastrophic regional conflict where millions might be killed, and the global economy sent spiralling into another debilitating recession.

In the past, Trump has resolutely condemned America’s involvement in international conflicts;

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Four years later, he has bombed  Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan – and threatening war with North Korea;

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This is a man-child confronted with complex international crisis; with minimal political  experience (except what he ‘consumes’ from US movies such as ‘Rambo‘, ‘The Green Berets‘, ‘Red Dawn‘, etc); with access to an arsenal of atomic weapons.

The world is still having to contend with the violent aftermath of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Trump is apparently hell-bent on more military adventurism?

Each day we wake up and the planet is still intact – is a miracle.

Words of Wisdom from a Trump Supporter

From Former Representative Joe Walsh (Republican, Illinois) comes this brutally candid admission;

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“ As a Trump supporter I do my best not to pay attention to what he says. If I pulled my hair out for every nutty thing he said, I’d be bald.”

Nothing further need be said.

The only questions that remain to be asked are;

  1. How much environmental damage can this man cause before he leaves the White House (or is impeached)?
  2. Will he spark The Last World War?
  3. Will humanity learn not to vote for demagogues that promise so much; deliver so little; and threaten everything in-between?

There have to be solutions to the failed experiment of neo-liberalism and globalisation that does not require madmen (and women) to be elevated to power.

As the 1930s showed us, demagoguery is a false road toward solving our very real problems.

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Postscript

On 30 April, Trump held a public rally in Nuremburg  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There  were no torch-light processions of goose-stepping Aryan-types in tight, gleaming, spit-polished, black jack-boots. It was a more informal affair.

Dress code, WASP-casual;

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For Trump, the ego-massaging rallies of last year’s election campaign have become an on-going campaign to keep his supporters ‘pumped’. Where have we seen that before…?

Oh yeah;

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Good old Big Bruvver and his Two Minute Hate sessions. (Just substitute Hillary Clinton for Goldstein; scream “Lock her up, lock her up!” instead of “Traitor, traitor!”, and you’ve nailed it. ‘1984’ or 2017, it makes no difference.)

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References

White House: Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act

Wikipedia: National Monuments

NZ Herald: Huge protest says no to mining on conservation land

Fairfax media: Government confirms mining backdown

Grist:  Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump, resurrects “drill, baby, drill” theme

Chicago Tribune: Dakota Access oil pipeline camp cleared of protesters; dozens arrested

Vogue: 6 Things President Trump Criticized Barack Obama For and Is Currently Doing Himself

Twitter: Trump – Obama’s Executive orders – 11 July 2012

White House: Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order to Create Energy Independence

The Guardian: New EPA head Scott Pruitt – ‘We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment’

The Atlantic: Trump’s EPA Chief Denies the Basic Science of Climate Change

Fortune: What Donald Trump Didn’t Mention About Clean Coal

Huffington Post: Scott Pruitt Has Sued The Environmental Protection Agency 13 Times

Common Dreams: The Sierra Club – Pruitt Misled Congress on CO2, Senators Should Demand He Be “Removed from His Position.”

Time: President Trump Signs Executive Order Rolling Back Obama-Era Environmental Regulations

White House: Presidential Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

Wikipedia: Chukchi Sea

Wikipedia: Beaufort Sea

Wikipedia: Cook Inlet

White House: Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order on an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

CNBC: Obama invokes 1953 law to indefinitely block drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans

The Guardian: Shell gets final clearance to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic

The Seattle Times: Obama protection of Arctic, Atlantic meant to thwart Trump desires to drill

The Guardian: Nature’s last refuge: climate change threatens our most fragile ecosystem

The Verge: Trump signs executive order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in Arctic and beyond

Forbes: The 4 Worst Things Trump Has Done For The Environment In His First 100 Days – And 1 Good

National Geographic: A Running List of How Trump Is Changing the Environment

Middle East Eye: 13 tweets Donald Trump sent warning US not to attack Syria

CBS News: U.S. bombs al Qaeda suspects in Yemen for 2nd night

New York Post: US unleashes dozens of missiles on Syria in response to chemical attack

The Guardian: Devastation and a war that rages on: visiting the valley hit by the Moab attack

The Mirror: Donald Trump warns North Korea is ‘looking for trouble’ and says US ‘will solve problem with or without China’

The Week: Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh: ‘As a Trump supporter I do my best not to pay attention to what he says’

Additional

ABC: Experts – Long road ahead for Trump offshore drilling order

Radio NZ: Trump signs Arctic oil drilling order

The Verge: Trump signs executive order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in Arctic and beyond

NASA: NASA Releases Detailed Global Climate Change Projections

NASA: 2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records

Other Blogs

Redline: Trump and how the ruling class rule

The Daily Blog: Andra Jenkin – One in a Million – Donald Trump’s Administration Achievements

The Daily Blog: Andra Jenkin – The Powers that Be

The Standard:  The patriotic millionaires

The Standard: Poor Donald

The Standard: Donald Trump and Florida

Your NZ: Trump wants ‘really clean coal’

Previous related blogposts

Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War

Trumpwatch: One minute closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 9 May 2017.

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PM unimpressed by protest outside his house – Afghans unimpressed by mass murder at weddings

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obama-drone-strikes- judge-jury-executioner

 

 

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On a quiet evening, in a leafy suburb in Auckland, around forty people gathered to hold a peaceful candle-lit vigil outside the mansion of multii-millionaire Prime Minister, John Key.

They were protesting at New Zealand’s complicit support of President Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan,  and Yemen.

Drones are remote controlled robot planes that carry deadly missiles packed with high explosives. When they detonate, unlike a single bullet, they will  injure, maim, or kill  anyone and everyone within a  60 metre radius. Sixty metres – nearly the width of a rugby field.

Drone strikes have been used to kill alleged “terrorists”. They have also killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

In December 2009, a drone attack in Afghanistan killed forty people, including twentytwo children and  twelve women, in a village called al-Majala.

Four years later, in December 2013, ten people were killed instantly and another five died later from their missile-inflicted injuries. All of them were innocent people on their way to a wedding in Yemen.

There are  reports of other wedding parties also being bombed by US drone strikes.

But even those who have been deliberately targetted by the American Empire, as designated “terrorist” targets, have not been charged, tried, or convicted of any crime. Unlike a man on a battlefield shooting at you, these so-called “terrorists” have not been proven guilty of any wrong-doing.

Question: when did it become OK for Americans to condone State-sanctioned executions, without due process of the law? When did it become ok to designate human beings as “terrorist targets”, without evidence,  and kill them?

Once upon a time, no US president would have countenanced such acts – State-sanctioned executions – without mass protests on the streets of every major city in that country.

After the terrible event that was September 11, the collective psyche of the American people  changed significantly. It became more fearful, anxious, and  susceptible to stories of terror. That fear has silenced Americans’ usual sense of what is right and what is unacceptable.

Americans have been terrorised into submission – but not by Al Qaeda terrorists.

With their silence, they condone the extra-judicial killing of human beings in other countries, without any cloak of justice.

This, in my mind, is even more terrible than the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers. This, to me, signifies that the United States of America has lost it’s ‘moral compass’.

Meanwhile, a group of people in Auckland held a quiet, peaceful, vigil outside the Prime Minister’s residence. The vigil was a protest at New Zealand’s participation of the so-called “Five Eyes Network”, which has most likely (according to John Key) provided useful information to the American Empire in it’s War of Terror against the rest of the world.

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PM Unimpressed by protest outside his house - NZ Herald

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– he was none too happy. Prime Minister John Key’s response was,

 “I’ve always been a bit of the view myself that it’s not really cricket.

He added,

“Yesterday was family day, the afternoon when I got back was Max’s birthday, and just generally speaking it’s our home environment.”

John Key and his family are lucky people. Lucky not to be living in Afghanistan or Yemen. Lucky  that it was Max’s birthday.

It could just as easily have been another country and another event.

Like a wedding party.

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References

Washington Post: Everything you need to know about the drone debate, in one FAQ

Al Jazeera: Yemenis seek justice in wedding drone strike

New York Daily News: Yemen officials: U.S. drone strikes convoy heading to wedding party, kills 15

The Nation: The US Has Bombed at Least Eight Wedding Parties Since 2001

NZ Herald:  PM unimpressed by protest outside his house

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john key supports state sanctioned murder

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 31 May 2014.

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