ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM- A moral dilemma

A MORAL DILEMMA – There is convincing evidence that most epidemics  including Covid-19, have actually been caused by animal exploitation.  In August, a white paper found that nearly every major zoonotic disease outbreak over the last 120 years is inextricably linked to animal exploitation including the use of research animals. (A zoonotic virus being one that originated in another species but infects and transmits among humans). Prior to the current Covid-19 pandemic, two million people were dying from zoonotic diseases each year.

IS IT A MARK OF IGNORANCE OR ARROGANCE WHICH LEADS US TO BELIEVE THAT WE CAN REDRESS THE BALANCE BY CONTINUING TO EXPLOIT SPECIES WE REGARD AS SUBORDINATE?

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)   the successor to SARS-CoV-1, the virus that caused the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak, is believed to have zoonotic origins linked to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. At the outbreak of the pandemic, conspiracy theorists confused the public with talk of ‘bat soup’ in Wuhan markets, disregarding the evidence provided by concerned virologists who warned of ‘an engineered virus… adapted through shared international research labs’ all of which use research animals. See: Who to Bless and who to Blame

A report from the UN has stated the number of zoonotic epidemics from Ebola to Sars to West Nile virus and Rift Valley fever is rising;  these are the infections which can be transmitted from animals to people. SARS-CoV-2 infections have now been reported in cats, lions and tigers, dogs and mink. We also now know that humans can infect other animals with SARS-CoV-2, such as domestic cats and even tigers in zoos. Despite growing evidence, Governments are ignoring the root causes: Recent research shows that animals have serious limits as models for studying human disease, species are inherently different with divergent immunology and immune responses. Yet medical science continues its relentless research extracting, selecting and mixing animal cell lines, creating recombinant vaccines which are administered to humans.

THE CURRENT GLOBAL OUTBREAK OF MINK INFECTED WITH COVID-19 IS A REMINDER, IF ANY WERE NEEDED, OF THE CONSEQUENCE OF IGNORING THE EVIDENCE.

A paper published in the prestigious journal ‘Science’ 08 Jan 2021: (Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on mink farms between humans and mink and back to humans) reported  this two-way transmission on mink farms. “Of the tested mink farm residents, employees, and/or individuals with whom they had been in contact, 68% had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection… ‘We conclude that the virus was initially introduced by humans and has since evolved.’…Sequencing has subsequently shown that mink-to-human transmission also occurred.’ 

Mink are factory farmed to supply the global fur trade. It takes about 20 to 30 pelts to make one long coat, 15 to 20 pelts to make a short one, prices begin at $1,000, a top-of-the-line sable fur coat can cost $150,000. In their natural state mink live near water and roam over several miles, living an average of 3 years. Farmed mink are bred and  housed in densely packed small wire cages in close contact with one another. They are killed at around 7 months old by gassing then pushed through metal machines which skin them. The conditions provide a perfect breeding ground for Covid-19 transmission.

Denmark is the world’s largest mink exporter. In April 2020, the Netherlands had an outbreak of Covid-19, by October, hundreds of Danish mink farms were infected. Outbreaks in Wisconsin, the biggest producer of mink in the US, quickly followed. To date, COVID-19 has been found on mink farms in a total of 10 countries, including Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden, Greece, France, Ireland, Canada and the US.

In November 2020 Denmark culled 17 million mink in more than 200 farms, killing both infected and healthy animals. Since the mass slaughter, hundreds of hastily buried dead mink were slowly pushed out of the ground by gas emitted from their decomposing bodies, leading to concern of further contamination  from the rotting corpses.

In Europe Efforts to ban fur farming are now accelerating. The Netherlands announced it would end mink farming in 2021 and France announced it would ban farming mink by 2025. Poland, is expected to follow and Ireland, with only three mink farms, has now decided to cull its farmed mink population, ending production.

Predictably the price of mink fur jumped after Denmark ordered the cull. Marc Kaufman, a fur merchant in New York City who sells a lot of mink coats commented: “Demand is there, and need for the product is there. If Copenhagen doesn’t farm the skins, Russia will. If Russia doesn’t, China will. Either way there is gonna be a supply because there is demand.”  

China’s mink farmers say they are benefiting from the Danish cull, a Shangcun trader and breeder estimating  his earnings had increased 30 to 50 percent. China’s  8,000 mink farms hold roughly 5 million animals, a skilled worker can skin about 350 mink a day. Discarded carcasses are  sold to local villages as meat, animal feed or fertiliser. In two decades China became the main export market for U.S. and European mink; demand for fur coats there now dwarfs that of every other country with an  estimated $50 billion annual industry. The state has reported no COVID-19 cases among mink, either on farms or in the wild.

ARE ANIMALS FOR EATING, WEARING, ENTERTAINMENT OR RESEARCH?

Accurate statistics for animal experiments are not available or even required by many countries and cannot therefore be effectively monitored. An estimated global figure of 192.1 million for the number of animals used for scientific purposes in 2015 is a low one. Research animals include mice, rats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, farm animals (including pigs and sheep), dogs, primates (including monkeys and chimpanzees) and cats. Frogs and fish are also widely used.  In addition to the pain of the actual experiments, laboratory animals are confined to cages, socially isolated, and psychologically traumatized..

Animals used in Covid-19 vaccine research

  • Mice – Common house mice and brown rats are the most frequently used in medical research. As ordinary mice are not susceptible to Covid-19, genetically altered mice are bred for the purpose.
  • Monkeys have a similar immune system to humans and are used in many coronavirus studies using African greens and marmosets, the most common type  used being the rhesus macaque,
  • Ferrets have a lung physiology similar to humans,making them ideal laboratory animals which can show similar symptoms to the disease and can spread airborne virus  to other ferrets in the same manner as human transmission.
  • Pigs are used in Covid-19 vaccine to test for suitability for human trials. Pigs are also being used to test the effectiveness of new types of ventilators, before they are tested on humans.
  • Hamsters display similar symptoms to humans when infected and are used to study transmission, the effects of the virus (particularly on the lungs), and suitable treatments.

 

 

GIVING THANKS IN 2020

In the debacle of Donald Trumps refusal to concede power, American families ponder on whether to meet to celebrate Thanksgiving in the current pandemic. The date might provide a meaningful opportunity to consider what has been gained and what lost since 1776. When the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth in 1620 fleeing religous persecution, the only Americans were the indigenous peoples. The first Dutch fur traders who had arrived in Albany in 1613 had been welcomed by native Americans who stated  “We have a canoe, you have a boat,” suggesting they link the two vessels and ‘float down the river of Life together.’ The predictable difficulty arose when some wanted one foot in the canoe and one in the boat.

Benjamin Franklin attended the Lancaster Treaty of 1744, inviting the chiefs of 6 Indian nations to attend. Mr. Franklin was intrigued with the governmental structure of the Iroquois’ League of the Six Nations, six Indian tribes under one ruling government. They discussed  good governance, representation, peaceful transfer of power, 2 political houses – and the power of the people. The Indians advised colonial leaders on how to create a government modelled after the Iroquois League of nations. On 17th Dec 1988, the U.S. Senate paid tribute with a resolution that said:  “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.”

THE PEACE MAKER 

Native American tradition holds that mankind is  subject to a higher authority and that people and all Creation are intertwined.  In an unknown time of great conflict many hundreds of years ago, a spiritual being arrived to teach the tribes the ways of Peace through an observance of Natural Law.   The formula was Peace-Equity- Unity… Power of the Good Mind.. He warned them  “Do not challenge the laws – you will not prevailWhen you become weak, afraid, the spiritual law will stiffen your spine, then you will survive…”Be fair to the people – Justice comes with fairness”  He taught Unity, that everyone must be of the same mind. This became the Iroquois Confederacy.

Great Turtle Island  is the name given to the continent of America by the indigenous people. The Tree of Peace was  planted by the Peacemaker, a symbol of The Great Spiritual Law with an eagle, a sacred symbol to the Iroquois, placed above the tree. The fifty chiefs buried their weapons beneath it, a marker that fighting was over. Peacemaker then took one arrow from a quiver, then three, then five, snapping them easily, putting several arrows together he showed it was impossible to break them, that together the tribes too would be unbreakable.

Peacemaker said “You shall know your nation through your women. Because the Earth is female the women will be working with the earth”  he chose a woman as clan leader and made women clan mothers. Society followed matrilineal form, land was vested in the women, when a girl was born she was a  land holder, women held the dwellings, horses and farmed land, and a woman’s property before marriage stayed in her possession. Every child born had a nation, a name, an identity and inheritance.

‘IF A LEADER DOES NOT PROVE SOUND, BECOMES CORUPT OR DOES NOT LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE, CLAN MOTHERS HAVE THE POWER TO TO STRIP HIM OF HIS LEADERSHIP AND HE IS REMOVED BY THE PEOPLE.’

Animal names were given to the original 50 chiefs and Clan Mother, Chief, Sub Chief and a male and a female Faithkeeper were appointed. On the death of a tribal chief it is Clan Mother who chooses the next leader, this must be agreed upon by consensus. Clans gather at an appointed time to judge the man, who must be a family man in good standing, honest, courageous, patient and tolerant. In this lengthy process all the laws are recited as a reminder, if he passes scrutiny he is appointed. The people are then asked Does anyone know a reason why this man should not be appointed”A Grand Council, an assembly of fifty chiefs or sachems, each representing one of the clans of one of the nations is the governing body. Chiefs are accountable to the current 7th generation and to future generations.They are instructed “not to let your generation be the one to fail.”. None of these positions carries remuneration.

An English colonists observed: “such absolute notions of Liberty that they allow no kind of superiority of one over another, and banish all servitude from their territories”

On April 4th 1744, Chief Canassatego gave a speech urging the contentious 13 colonies to unite, as the Iroquois had. Benjamin Franklin printed his speech: “We heartily recommend Union and a good Agreement between you our Brethren,” Canassatego had said. “Never disagree, but preserve a strict Friendship for one another, thereby you, as well as we, will become the stronger. Our wise Forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations; this has made us formidable; this has given us great Weight and Authority with our neighbouring Nations. We are a powerful Confederacy; and, by your observing the same Methods our wise Forefathers have taken, you will acquire such strength and power. Therefore, whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another”    He referenced the teaching that many arrows cannot be broken as easily as one. Native Americans believe this  inspired the bundle of 13 arrows held by the eagle incorporated into the Great Seal of the United States

Oren Lorens Jr, Native American Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy has said of the Founding Fathers:

  “They took an ember and lighted their own fire … they  said they wanted peace – a great light of peace at that time but the embers died down”

Thanksgiving was part of native culture, to give thanks for what has been received from  the Source,  this was adopted by the Pilgrims as a celebration of their new life. There were however two major differences in the cultures. The Iroquois Confederacy honoured community and freedom through mutual support, common land and common water, the Europeans did not understand the concept of sharing  natural resources and coming from a patriarchal society were reluctant to accept matrilineal kinship. The American Constitution did not therefore reflect The Great Law. Like much of the world, America fell prey to corporate greed and materialism, seduced by secularism and technology. Capitalism like Communism is bereft of spirituality for the law is transgressed when profit is elevated beyond sharing.

The emphasis on personal freedom, so much a mark of American identity, is perhaps seen today in the refusal to place the wellbeing of others first, as millions of Americans travel to meet family and friends despite appeals to defer Thanksgiving dinners for the greater good.  We might use this day to pray that the empty chairs at next years table will be few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEART OF THE MATTER – Human/Pig..Monkey/Pig

A CHIMERA IS AN ORGANISM OR TISSUE WITH AT LEAST TWO SOURCES OF DNA. GENETIC MODIFICATION IS CREATING LABORATORY DESIGNED ANIMALS TO MEET HUMAN NEEDS

An international team of researchers has created embryos containing both human and monkey cells (July 2019) Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute in San Diego  is spearheading the project with scientists from his own lab and those from the Murcia Catholic University in Murcia, Spain. The purpose of the experiment is to use chimeras to investigate ways of using animals to grow human organs for transplants. The research was conducted in China “to avoid legal issues”,

Monkey-Pig: New Scientist reported the birth of two chimera piglets in December 2019. Tang Hai State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology in Beijing conducts research into the growth of human organs in animals for human transplantation. The piglets had been  injected with genetically modified monkey cells five days after embryo fertilization.  The piglets died but were found to have DNA from macaque monkeys in their heart, liver, spleen, lung and skin. The scientists aim to repeat the experiments ‘to create healthy animals with a higher concentration of monkey DNA, eventually reproducing a ‘pig’ with an organ containing only monkey DNA.’ The research paper, published in Protein and Cell, said the results brought the team “one step closer to producing tissue-specific functional cells and organs in a large animal model.” Continue reading

A STEP TOO FAR?

In the 1920s, Ilya Ivanovitch, a Soviet Biologist Professor of Zoology, developed a method of Artificial Insemination for livestock to improve horse breeding stock. The method allowed 1 stallion to inseminate up to 500 horses and became the basis of livestock breeding today. Inadvertently it also became the fore runner of IVF (Invitero Fertilization) Ivanovitch went on to cross breed species, the zhorse a combination of zebra-46 chromosomes and horse-64 chromosomes and created further animal Hybrids:

 

Cross bred animals included:

Zebra/donkey = Zonkey

Mouse/Guinea pig – Muinea pig

Rat/Mouse – Rouse

Antelope/Cow – Zubron

 

HE  WENT ON TO CONDUCT RESEARCH INTO IMPREGNATING APES WITH HUMAN SPERM, SUPPORTED BY SOME OF THE MOST RESPECTED SCIENTISTS OF THE DAY. Continue reading

GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

THE WORDS HAVE A HOLLOW RING TODAY as the world views the horrific photograph of a little girl not yet 2, clutching her father, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, as both were swept to their deaths in the Rio Grande in an effort to seek asylum. Their mother Tania Vanessa Avalos, 21 watched as they drowned. The family  made their way to Mexico from El Salvadore, then spent the last two months in a migrant camp waiting for an appointment to apply for asylum to enter the US. A shelter director said that only 40 to 45 asylum interviews were being conducted there each week while there are 800 to 1,700 names on the waiting list. Ramirez became frustrated by the delay and decided to attempt to swim across the river. He deposited his daughter on the far bank and went back to assist his wife to cross but the child became confused and followed her father back into the water. Both drowned in the strong undercurrents as he tried to save her. Continue reading

JERUSALEM: A Pocket History

‘A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY’

 Whatever our faith we tend to view Jerusalem from our own  perspective. While  sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, the site is however much older than any of these religious traditions, artefacts show  it was first settled between 4,500–3,500 BCE. The original inhabitants of Jerusalem were Phoenician Canaanites, their culture is believed to have pioneered the Mediterranean system of agriculture, intensive horticulture, grain growing and commercial olive cultivation. Old Testament scripture states that the land is named after Canaan, a son of Ham, son of Noah, the ancestor of the Canaanite people. The Canaanites of the southern Levante worshipped a panoply of gods; the first known mention of the city of Jerusalem was in c. 2,000 BCE.

PHILISTIA  (present day Gaza on the Mediterranean coast of Israel) was the name of a region between Egypt and Canaan believed to be founded  c 2,100BC.  The Old Testament states that the inhabitants were Philistines. In Hebrew, Philistine literally means ‘of  Palestine’  (Phillistia). The name Jerusalem is of Canaanite origin, meaning “Founded by Shalem”:  Originally ‘Urushalim’ or ‘Urushalem’ the prefix uru means ‘founded by’, and the suffix salem or Shalem refers to the Canaanite ‘god of dusk, of the setting sun and of health and perfection’. The Sumero-Akkadian name for Jerusalem (1330 BCE) uru-salim, means “foundation of [or by] the god ‘Shalim‘ from Hebrew/Semitic meaning ‘to found, to lay a cornerstone’.

Though not a part of Canaan and never conquered by the Israelites, Phillistia was in the area said to have been promised to the Israelites by their God. The two nations were initially on peaceful terms but eventually warred for centuries. Goliath the giant was the Philistine from Gath,  killed by David  the shepherd boy (later King of Israel) with a slingshot stone. Under the later Roman occupation of Judea, Phillistia was renamed Palaestina,  the name Palestine and the Arab word Filistin originate from the Romanised Palaestina

According to the Old Testament  Abraham, the patriarch of Judaism, was born  in 1,813 BCE, he was a native of Ur of the Chaldeans, in Mesopotamia, now south eastern Iraq. Led by God Abraham settled in Haran, The Jewish Torah traces his  lineage through his twelve sons who became the ancestors of the twelve  tribes of Israel and his grandson Jacob.

The name Israel comes from the renaming of Jacob by the Hebrew god of the bible, following a heroic struggle when he wrestled with an angel. The Hebrew bible states the name is derived from ‘yisra’ meaning ‘to prevail over’ and ‘el ‘referring to ‘God, the divine’. Joseph the son of Jacob was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers but rose to prominence when he interpreted the dream of the pharaoh which predicted a famine in Egypt. Following the famine Jacob’s descendants, the Hebrews migrated to Egypt and under the patronage of Joseph, established a thriving community. After Joseph’s death the Hebrews were viewed as a threat to the indigenous population and were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.

Directed by God, Moses led the Hebrew slaves to freedom through the Sinai Peninsula to Canaan, the ‘land flowing with milk and honey’  as promised  to them by their God. Canaan had an indigenous population of both settled and nomadic groups; the Israelites were commanded  by their god to conquer Canaan. The  conquest occurred under Joshua in c.1,406BC. The  Book of Joshua states that Canaanites are included in a list of nations to exterminate and later described as a group which the Israelites had annihilated. (Today this has been equated with genocide.) The land was divided between the 12 tribes, the sons of Jacob but the tribes were divided and warred against each other for centuries.

According to the Bible, the Israelite history of the city of Jerusalem began c.1,000 BCE when the city  was sacked by King David  (a descendant of the tribe of Judah) who later united the 12 tribes of Israel. Solomon, his son, built the Temple of Jerusalem, after the death of Solomon the kingdom became fragmented and was split into two parts, 10 tribes of Israel and 2 of Judah. The city of Jerusalem was located in Judah.

In the Assyrian conquest (740 BCE) the tribes of Israel were taken captive and exiled. They never returned to their homeland and are referred to as ‘the Ten lost tribes of Israel’ who became  scattered over centuries in the global  diaspora. The tribes of Judah (Jews) were exiled in the Babylonian conquest  (587/6 BCE). After the Fall of Babylon to the Persians in 539BCE Cyrus the Great issued a decree allowing the right of return of the Jewish tribes to Israel to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. Some 50,000 returned  in 4 waves, the temple was dedicated in 516 BCE. Many of the exiles did not return to their homeland, most remained in Babylon or travelled westward and northward settling in what is now northern Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

The land which would in time become Israel was for centuries part of the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire. After World War One and the collapse of the Ottoman empire, the territory known as Palestine was  assigned by the victorious allied powers to Britain to administer under Mandate. This included land west of the River Jordan known by the Jews as the land of Israel. The terms of the mandate entrusted Britain with establishing  “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine so long as doing so did not prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities there.  In 1947 the United Nations, proposed partitioning Palestine into two states – one Jewish, one Arab – with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area to become an international city. A few days before the British mandate was due to expire in 1948  the World Zionist Organization declared the Establishment of the State of Israel.

BALFOUR DECLARATION – ‘Freedom is never gained by the oppression of others’

 

 

DIVIDE AND CONQUER – A STRATEGY

THE POLITICAL SPLIT NOW REPEATEDLY DEMONSTRATED IN ELECTION RESULTS , REFERENDUMS AND OPINION POLLS  IS A GLOBAL PHENOMENON, A FURTHER EXAMPLE OF THE DUALITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS  IN THE CURRENT TRANSITION TOWARDS UNITY OR CHAOS.

 A SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE:  When viewed in terms of consciousness, this manifests in  a lack of spiritual cohesiveness, marked by moral and ethical decline. Such markers in Time provide a wake up call,  a warning to humanity to return to observance of the governing cosmic law in order to avoid inevitable consequence. Cosmologists acknowledge  the geophysical division and fragmentation which takes place at the end of cosmic cycles, now manifesting as climate change.  Sociologists  and mental health care practitioners recognise the psychological trauma  and breakdown often associated with change and uncertainty which precedes any regenerative phase of renewal. Today political guru’s are confounded by the dynamic changes in which outcome cannot be predicted.

UNITY OR DIVISION:   The outcome of the current Israeli election is one more demonstration of division and fragmentation, a split in the national psyche.  With 95% of the vote counted, results show a tie, with the two major parties evenly split at 56 seats, the Likud Party led by Prime Minister Netanyahu is behind  by one seat.  Neither side has the 61 votes necessary to form a governing coalition in the 120-seat Knesset.

 

The UK Brexit vote on whether to leave the EU, split the nation and led to an unresolved constitutional crisis.

  •  In the UK 51.9% voted LEAVE and 48.1% REMAIN.
  • With the exception of Scotland and London the results of the remaining 11 regions eligible to vote illustrated an average split of 10%.
  • Northern Ireland voted  55.8%  NO  to 44.2% YES.
  • Wales voted 47.5% NO  to 52.5% YES.
  • In the Scottish referendum which debated Independence from Britain,  55.3% voted against independence with  44.7% voting in favour, the later Brexit crisis  influencing any potential second referendum.

Continue reading

JUST GEOGRAPHY!

TO BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS MEANT BY PEACE WE MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND WHAT IS MEANT BY WAR. 

  • Defence is the usual cloak worn to justify attack.
  • Wars are driven by conquest and plunder.
  • Resources are essential to the survival of empires,
  • Military might is essential to achieve access and occupation.

The invasion of Afghanistan presented as a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, to eliminate “Islamic terrorism” is now acknowledged as  a war of plunder to control resources. The objective – to sustain a geopolitical foothold in Central Asia and install western style ‘democracy’.Map_of_Central_AsiaStanding at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, Afghanistan is a land bridge bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, it is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, The invasion was a means to secure control  over the strategic trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.

Adjacent Turkmenistan possesses the third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran.Trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects already contemplated include the $8.0 billion pipeline project which would transport Turkmenistan natural gas across Afghanistan, described as a “crucial transit corridor”. Just as the Iraqi war was about oil, the Afghan war is about control of oil and gas; Afghanistan is adjacent to countries which are rich in both.

In June 2010 The Pentagon  announcement of the vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth went largely unnoticed by the general public. The statement that this was  ‘recently discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists’ is however refuted by the pre existing geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s. These confirm prior knowledge by the  US  of the existence of not only huge untapped gas reserves but vast reserves of copper iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, lithium, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver (Afghanistan, Mining Annual Review, The Mining Journal,  June, 1984).

emeralds

132043-850x563r1-pile-of-rubiesTo the east of Kabul vast deposits of Rubies, beryllium, emeralds, kunzite’s and gems that cannot be found anywhere else –stretch for hundreds of kilometres.

imagesAfghanistan is a cornucopia of the minerals essential to modern industry including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt and gold as well as rocks containing the rare metals beryllium, thorium, lithium and tantalum used in the air and spacecraft industries.

What has your mobile phone to do with the war in Afghanistan? “Lithium, an increasingly vital resource, is used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and BlackBerries and is key to the future of the electric car.” At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market with Bolivia and Chile the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. The Pentagon confirm that lithium deposits in Afghanistan showed the potential to be as large as those of Bolivia”

The Geopolitical Game Plan: As multi national mining conglomerates fight to achieve a foothold in the new race for supremacy, deals are being done. China’s National Petroleum Corporation, in partnership with a company controlled by relatives of President Karzai, is now pumping oil from the Amu Darya field in the north. The investment consortium arranged by JP Morgan Chase is mining gold while another Chinese company is trying to develop a huge copper mine. Meanwhile Copper and gold contracts are being tendered with others pending…..

For now the trillion-dollar reservoir of natural resources remains embedded in the soil for which so many have fought and died, sadly not for the cause they believed. We can be assured that the competitive interests of Russia, Iran and China will be met by those of the US and the members of the Nato Alliance.

See also:

Regime change and Democracy

Sounds like a Plan

WAS IT ABOUT OIL?

 In a CNN interview of October 2015 former British Prime Minister Tony Blair angered many when he made a token acknowledgment of his ‘mistakes’ over the Iraq War admitting there were ‘elements of truth’ to the view that the invasion helped promote the rise of ISL as a global terrorist group.

Hans Blix who headed the U.N. inspections in Iraq at the time of the war 220px-Hans_Blix_in_Vienna_2002 has said in his memoirs. “Today, I look again at the reasons why this terrible mistake — and violation of the U.N. charter — took place and explore if any lessons be drawn –

  • The war aimed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, but there weren’t any.
  • The war aimed to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq, but the terrorist group didn’t exist in the country until after the invasion.
  • The war aimed to make Iraq a model democracy based on law, but it replaced tyranny with anarchy and led America to practices that violated the laws of war.
  • The war aimed to transform Iraq to a friendly base for U.S. troops capable to act, if needed, against Iran — but instead it gave Iran a new ally in Baghdad

So was it about Oil?  Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world; the domestic oil industry was fully nationalised and closed to Western oil companies in 1972 and the   four major oil companies based in the US and the UK were excluded from contracts. Following the invasion in 2003 and  a decade of war,  the industry was largely privatised and completely dominated by foreign firms. Iraq’s oil production increased by more than 40% over five years to 3 million barrels of oil a day but 80% of this was exported out of the country while Iraqis struggled to meet basic energy consumption needs. Basic services such as water and electricity remained luxuries, with a quarter of the population living in poverty.

Quotes

 “Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” Gen. John Abizaid, Head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007.,

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”  Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan

People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.” Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel 2007

Was it attempted genocide? In a paper for the Association of Genocide Scholars at the University of Manitoba, Professor Nagi of the School of Business at George Washington University cited a secret US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document which he said amounted to “an early blueprint for genocide against the people of Iraq”. The DIA document revealed minute details of a fully workable method to ‘fully degrade the water treatment system’ of an entire nation” over a period of a decade. The sanctions policy would create “the conditions for widespread disease, including full scale epidemics,” thus “liquidating a significant portion of the population of Iraq”.

“Axis of Evil”… bush-cheney-rumsfeldGeneral Wesley Clark the former Supreme NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, describes ((2003 – Winning Modern Wars) his conversation with a military officer in the Pentagon shortly after the 11 September attacks, regarding a plan to attack seven Middle Eastern countries in five years: “As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. ,,,,,,,,  Deja vu!

See also:

Regime change and Democracy 

Just Geography!

 

 

POCKET HISTORY OF KOREA

Korea has suffered repeated invasion and occupation over the centuries, North Korea views American intentions as hostile and latest polls suggest that 94% of Americans view North Korea as a threat.. A glance at the history of the people  may assist us in gaining a better understanding of the ‘ paranoia’ which is often levelled at the country.

History: The Old kingdom was founded in northern Korea and Manchuria in 2333 BC. In 108BC The Han empire of China conquered the northern part of the Korean peninsula administering it for almost 400 years. South and central Korea were governed by the Gorveo Kingdom until its fall when the Korean peninsula became a united territory under the Josean dynasty which ruled over the region for more than 500 years, from 1392. In the subsequent colonial era wealthy and powerful nations extended control and influence over weaker nations using terms such as ‘protectorate’ and ‘sphere of influence’. Korea became a ‘protectorate’ of China with continuing conflict between China and Japan to gain power and influence over the peninsula.

1894 Korea was a ‘protectorate’ of China when Japan forced the Chinese to sign a humiliating peace treaty which ostensibly gave Korea ‘full and complete independence and autonomy’. In fact this was a ploy, enabling Japan to gain a foothold on the peninsula, providing access to a supply of rich raw materials.

1905 Korea was forced to sign a ‘protectorate’ treaty’ with Japan designed to open up Korean ports to Japanese trade. Japanese citizens were granted territorial rights and the Japanese forced the abdication of the Emperor of Korea, replacing him with his son as a puppet.1910 Japan annexed Korea exploiting the Korean people throughout the brutal occupation. 1911 Cultural erosion: An Imperial Decree forced Koreans to surrender their family names and adopt Japanese names, the Korean language was prohibited. 1932 Land Dispossession: Korean land owners, unable to provide the documentation to prove ownership lost their land to Japanese settlers. Dispossessed Koreans were forced to become tenants and made to pay over half their crops as rent, this resulted in many Korean women being forced into factories or prostitution to pay taxes.

1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation when Russia invaded and occupied North Korea and American forces moved into the south. The country was temporarily administered by the joint trusteeship of Russia and the US as allies, the intention being to grant independence after 5 years. As a result of the subsequent Cold War between Russia and America administration became contentious and the country was split into two parts to be administered separately.

1948 The two regions were divided at the 38th parallel, each with its own government. Both claimed to be the legitimate government and neither accepted the border as permanent.

 Kim Il Sung became the leader of North Korea from the division of the country, North Korea became a workers state with close alliance to the Soviet Union. South Korea was aligned to the US. 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea with the support of Stalin, the objective being unification, this is referred to by North Korea as the ‘Fatherland Liberation War’. A UN force came to the aid of South Korea, 88% of the military being American. North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign and China came to its defense with Russia providing ariel support. In China the war is called ‘The War to resist US aggression and aid Korea’.

1953 An Armistice ended the fighting but no peace treaty was ever signed, the two countries remain technically at war with the 38th parallel the boundary.1960s North Korea, supported by the USSR enjoyed a higher standard of living than South Korea, 1980s due to Japanese and American investment the economy of South Korea flourished. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in a loss of economic aid, adversely affecting the economy of North Korea. Since that time China has been North Korea’s only major ally.

2017 All attempts to impose economic sanctions to stop North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons have so far failed. North Korea insists that a nuclear defense system is essential in view of America’s perceived hostile stance, the 35,000 US personnel stationed in South Korea and the tens of thousands of American troops deployed in bases in Japan, Guam and the Philippines.

The most successful Commanders in history have been forced to choose between governing options.  Accommodate  – Negotiate – Withdraw – Attack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaping what we Sow

Some 30,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians, the ancestors of Native Americans, followed herds of animals from Siberia across Beringia, a land bridge connecting Asia and North America, into Alaska. By 8,000 B.C.E., these peoples had spread across North and South America. The tribal peoples were diverse but all Indians lived in organized societies with political structures, moral codes, and religious beliefs. The idea of private land ownership was foreign; all land was held communally and worked collectively. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni.

400px-4corner4 CORNERS REGION:  The United States acquired the four corners region from Mexico after the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848. Colorado Territory was created in 1861 and in 1863 Congress created Arizona Territory from the western part of New Mexico Territory. Gold was discovered in California just days before Mexico ceded the land to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under the treaty, Mexico recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million plus the assumption of certain damages claims.  The people of these newly created states share jurisdiction for the region along with  the Navajo Nation and Mountain Ute Tribe. Tribal nations living within the 4 Corners region  include the Hopi and other Ute. Continue reading

Profit and Power – Bubbles always burst

It used to be said that when the USA sneezes the world catches a cold. 1404442666Governments all around the world are poised, proverbial handkerchiefs in hand as China the second largest trading nation, devalues its currency. A move we are told which will affect the global economy. Why then was so little prominence given to the recent stock market crash described (by a Chinese financier) as ‘greater in its impact than the stock market crash of 1929’. The financial crash of 2008 has faded from our memory despite its legacy of unemployment, food banks, homelessness and bankruptcy. Unable to accept the reality of the failing banking system we refuse to seek alternatives and watch as nations fall prey to the ‘money as debt’ cycle. Continue reading

Global Migration – A Return

Screen shot 2015-08-02 at 18.04.47As a child of around 8 I was disturbed by a recurring vision I did not understand. I could clearly see the continent of Africa with which I was familiar from my school books, it was like viewing a map. As I watched, the map began to burn slowly, beginning at the top slightly to the left of centre then moving to the left and right where it it burned more quickly until the whole of the top section was alight. At this point the vision would fade, leaving me perplexed. Continue reading

The Karma of Genocide (1)

BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES:  The aim of colonialism is to exploit the physical, human, and economic resources of an area to benefit the colonising nation. Between the 1870s and 1900  Africa  ColonisationAfricaresisted European imperialist aggression, the attempt to colonise by foreign domination until finally Europeans  imposed their formal rule of law on African countries.. In 1884, leaders from 14 colonial powers, including the United States, Great Britain, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain, held the Berlin Conference where they divided the continent of Africa into 50 countries and claimed them for themselves. No African representatives were invited. Continue reading

The Karma of genocide (2)

TRAFFICKING: The Portugese travellers who discovered the Kingdom of Kongo in the 15th century reported a population close to half a million people, a highly developed state at the centre of an extensive trading network. Merchants traded in raw materials including ivory and a wealth of manufactured goods such as copper and ironware, raffia cloth and pottery all of which were highly profitable and in great demand in Europe.

In the 1800s the great explorer David Livingstone established his hospital then disappeared into the jungle to minister to the African natives before the famous meeting stanley-portrait2with Stanley in 1871. King Leopold II of the Belgians read about this meeting in The Times, igniting his desire to acquire land to increase his personal wealth. When the Belgian parliament resisted he decided to acquire the colony himself. The king commissioned Stanley to go back to Africa under the guise of an international scientific and philanthropic association, – to negotiate with the local chiefs. The 400 “cloth and trinket” treaties of the next four years were sealed by pacts. The African chiefs believing they were signing friendship pacts, they were in fact selling their land. Continue reading

The Karma of Economic Slavery (3)

BONDAGE: Slavery in Africa  existed throughout the continent for centuries before the arrival of white settlers but was a small part of the economic life until Europeans introduced a form of slavery which  devastated African life and society in theSlavery+Zanzibar+-+12 1400s. The Portuguese were the first to buy slaves and the Spanish the first to use enslaved Africans in the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. The Abolition of Slavery by Great Britain in 1833 led to the collapse of the international African slave trade economy resulting in European financial losses. This coincided with the colonisation of Africa and was the beginning of a commodity based trading system designed to serve the industrialisation of Europe.

Continue reading

Cui bono? Who benefits?

The definition of madness is said to be repeating the same error while expecting a different outcome. As we watch the oldest democracy in the world slide intoparthenon deepening chaos and confusion amid the  political wrangling on all sides it seems incomprehensible that a way can not be found to resolve the critical issues.   World markets waver, as potential global vulnerabilities are exposed while those in a position to do so are quietly but hastily shifting euros and dollars around the world. With bank doors firmly  closed Greek citizens que to withdraw their 60 euro daily limit at cash points,  concerned with how to feed their family today and pay their rent and mortgage tomorow.

2A0E533B00000578-3142193-image-a-57_1435499675411While acknowledging the many causes of the current chaos including  flagrant tax abuses, corruption and mismanagement by successive governments over many years, it is good to pause and reflect upon who benefited from the profligacy. Was it families, small businesses, the elderly, the poor?  Or as seems more likely was it those in a more fortunate position, able to manipulate the situation to their own advantage. Continue reading

Money as Power

                

                 “The love of money is the root of all evil”  Jesus Christ

Many might think that the wealth amassed by the Catholic Church is in conflict with the teachings of Jesus who advised his followers ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the man that has none’ and warned that ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’.

Where did the wealth of the church come from?

The medieval church had amassed its fortune over centuries of supremacy over the European monarchies. In more recent times during the Unification of Italy the Catholic Church was deprived of its papal states which included Rome itself and almost one third of the Italian peninsula. In order to a provide territorial  identity for the Holy See (the ecclesiastical governing body of the Catholic church) an agreement was made between the Kingdom of Italy represented by the fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holy See represented by Pope Pius XI . The Lateran Treaty of 1929 recognized the papal state under the name  ‘Vatican City’ as a full sovereign independent  state . A walled enclave located within the city of Rome, covering 110 acres, it is the smallest independent state in the world. Today Vatican City continues as an ecclesiastical monarchy ruled by the pope, the highest offices of State are all held by Catholic clergy.

Through this treaty Italy agreed to pay the Vatican State $39million dollars in cash  and $52 million in 5% government bonds as indemnity for the loss incurred when the papal states were incorporated into  Italy in 1870. In 1942 the Vatican was exempted from certain taxes on dividends however in 1962 the government placed a tax on all stock dividends. The Vatican refused to pay, citing the Lateran Treaty and threatened to sell its Italian stocks and shares which would have caused a financial collapse of an already shaky market and the fall of the government. They remained exempt.

Power is dependent upon networks: The Holy See is a separate and distinct sovereign entity recognized in international law since medieval times. It is the ecclesiastical governing body of the Catholic Church, operating from its home territory, Vatican City State.  Governance of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide  is by a  hierarchical structure of the pope, the College of Cardinals and the Curia ( a Latin term meaning ‘Court’ in the royal sense). The Holy See  maintains formal diplomatic relationships with 180 sovereign states, the European Union and others.

Power is defined in many ways, not least by money.  ‘Vatican Billions’ written in the 1980s by the late Avro Manhattan, revealed the vast wealth and influence of the Catholic Church around the world. He described  “the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe.’ Renowned for the secrecy of its operation, with no oversight, the Vatican Bank has been worryingly described as the perfect money laundering system 

The Wall Street Journal has said that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone are so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time. “The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest.’

“The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations… “In a statement published in connection with a bond prospectus, the Boston archdiocese listed its assets at Six Hundred and Thirty-five Million ($635,891,004), which is 9.9 times its liabilities. This leaves a net worth of Five Hundred and Seventy-one million dollars ($571,704,953). It is not difficult to discover the truly astonishing wealth of the church, once we add the riches of the twenty-eight archdioceses and 122 dioceses of the U.S.A., some of which are even wealthier than that of Boston.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels 
 is known to the local people as the Taj Mahony after their cardinal who had oversight of the project. It cost almost $200 million to build. The altar alone was said to have cost $5 million, the main bronze doors cost $3 million, $2 million was budgeted for the wooden lectern and $1 million for the tabernacle. $1 million was budgeted for the cathedra (bishop’s chair), $250,000 for the presider’s chair, $250,000 for each deacon’s chair, and $150,000 for each visiting bishops’ chair, while pews cost an average of $50,000 each. The budget presumably does not cover community outreach services which are not provided. Parishioners in need of  housing, food or money are obliged to use the neighborhood parishes.

For a history of the papacy see: Jesus Chronicles – The Lost Teachings Published by Epiphany Press. Available through Amazon