Well, perhaps the time has come. I have shared this seldom, so most will not know that the political articles I’ve been posting here were merely placeholders for the time when I would be ready to write.
One of the main purported reasons I have been delaying is because so much has happened since I first decided I needed a blog, and in the decade(s) before then, that it might be impossible to unpack it all. Just for a few highlights, I’ve been evicted at least three times, fired three, robbed, mugged, swindled — and the stolen bicycle count is over 13 now. Time to talk, perhaps. Meanwhile, teeth were decaying one day as I lay in my red Dodge van with a lame 7th cylinder, baking in a supermarket parking lot in July 2009. I had cracked the rear French doors open, in hopes that a breeze from the driver window would wick away just a little of my sweat. I heard a teenage boy exclaim as he and his family walked past me, unaware of my audience: “Look Mom, it’s the Down By the River Van!” I did know who Chris Farley was, but had no familiarity with his famous skit. Nonetheless, I had a sinking feeling, the feeling…… of tooth decay. Soon enough I would learn this feeling had metastasized to include leukemia.
Okay, chemo tomorrow, and I’ve been late to the clinic too often.
Jamal Khashoggi: Where The Road to Damascus & The Path to 9/11 Converge
October 16, 2018
By Kristen Breitweiser, one of the four 9/11 widows – known as the “Jersey Girls” – instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks. Follow Kristen Breitweiser on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kdbreitweiser.
Road to Damascus Conversion: Derived from the Biblical story of Paul, the term “Damascus road conversion” is commonly used to refer to an abrupt about-face on a serious issue of religion, politics or philosophy. In this type of change, a single, dramatic event causes a person to become aligned with something he or she previously was against or support a position that he or she previously opposed. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-damascus-road-conversion.htm#didyouknowout
As a 9/11 widow who has spent the last 17 years fighting for accountability with regard to the 9/11 attacks that killed my husband and 3,000 others, I find the recent uproar over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder interesting and out of character for many of those decrying his disappearance and demanding an investigation and accountability.
Frankly, 9/11 Family members keep a running list of all those in Washington who have proved by their past actions to be against U.S. victims of terrorism and in support of nations like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nation with a long history of supporting global Wahhabist terrorism. As victims of terrorism, we are ever vigilant and watchful about all those named on our lists. We follow these folks actions, their speeches, their legislation, because we know that they are never looking out for our best interests as U.S. victims of terrorism. As a group, our institutional memory is broad and long. And we never forget.
That’s why we all happened to notice the uncharacteristic behavior of so many of those on our lists with the advent of Jamal Khasoggi’s disappearance. And it made us wonder why so many people, who had previously always blindly supported the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, were now so vociferously jumping Saudi ship.
What had caused this Road to Damascus conversion?
Take for example those who fought against the release of The 28 Pages of the Joint Inquiry of Congress(JICI) that detailed the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks for fear that The 28 Pages public release might harm the Saudi’s reputation and its very special relationship with the United States. A relationship, in large part, based on oil, weapons, money, and shared intelligence operations—things that have little to do with keeping American citizens safe. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=27164
Regarding The 28 Pages, CIA Director, John Brennan once said, “releasing a classified section of
Chevron Arbitration Ruling Against Ecuador ‘Completely Off Base’
September 18, 2018
Yves here. Due to having limited resources, we don’t spend as much time on smaller economies as I wish we could. This Real News Network story on Ecuador’s loss against Chevron seemed important in and of itself, and is also a compact illustration of how much the international order is skewed to favor multinationals.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News from Montreal, Canada.
As the Real News has previously reported, in 2011, the courts of Ecuador rendered a nine point five-billion-dollar judgment against Chevron, one of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. The Ecuadorian plaintiffs persuaded the Ecuadorian courts that from 1964 to 1992, Texaco, which was later purchased by Chevron, dumped polluted wastewater into open pits across vast swaths of Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian jungle, contaminating the water used by locals. Locals call the area the Amazon Chernobyl.
Indigenous tribes have seen their cultures decimated by the pollution. Ecuador’s environmental judgment against Chevron is thought to be the highest ever to emerge from a court, but Chevron is doing everything it can possibly do to block collection. After Chevron sold off its assets in Ecuador during the trial there, the Ecuadorian plaintiffs sought to enforce the judgment and jurisdictions in which Chevron owns, directly or indirectly, substantial assets. Chevron has threatened the villagers with a “lifetime of litigation” and has vowed never to pay the judgment. So far, it has been true to its word. The plaintiffs’ attempts to enforce the judgement in The United States failed.
Early this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected the plaintiffs’ attempt to enforce their massive judgment in Canada, another country in which Chevron indirectly owns substantial assets. Then, on September 7, an international tribunal found that Ecuador violated a treaty with the United States by allowing its court system to issue a nine point five-billion-dollar judgment against Chevron in this case. Now here to discuss this with us is Steven Donziger, a human rights attorney based in New York who has been representing these indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador’s rainforest for more than two decades. He joins us today from New York.
Thank you for coming back on The Real News, Steven.
STEVEN DONZIGER: Sure, it’s good to be here.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: So, Stephen, echoing earlier U.S. court rulings, this international tribunal, which rendered a five-hundred-page decision in this case on September 7, said the Ecuadorian case was tainted by fraud and corruption and that the nine point five-billion-dollar judgment cannot therefore be enforced lawfully. The tribunal detailed conduct by a judge they called “grossly improper by any moral, professional and legal standards.” How do you respond to those statements by the tribunal?
STEVEN DONZIGER:They’re just, in my opinion, completely off base. If there’s improper court proceedings it was done by the tribunal itself. I think we need to take a step back and understand the big picture here. The communities in Ecuador won the case in their home country courts because Chevron insisted the trial take place there and accepted jurisdiction there and promised to pay any adverse judgment. As the evidence in that case mounted against the company- and I’m talking about tens of thousands of chemical sampling results from water and soil samples that showed massive amounts of pollution that were and continue to cause a slow genocide in Ecuador to the indigenous groups.
Thousands of people have been affected. Many have
How much plastic does it take to kill a turtle? Typically just 14 pieces.
But we weren’t really sure whether plastic eaten by turtles actually kills them, or if they just happen to have plastic inside them when they die. Another way to look at it would be to ask: how much is too much plastic for turtles?Continue
This is a really important question. Just because there’s a lot of plastic in the ocean, we can’t necessarily presume that animals are dying from eating it. Even if a few animals do, that doesn’t mean that every animal that eats plastic is going to die. If we can estimate how much plastic it takes to kill a turtle, we can start to answer the question of exactly how turtle populations are affected by eating plastic debris.
In our research, published today in Nature Scientific Reports, we looked at nearly 1,000 turtles that had died and washed up on beaches around Australia or were found in nets. About 260 of them
Russia and the United States Don’t Need New Summits
© 2018 Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
The first full-fledged summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held in late July has not improved and, indeed, could not have improved the general atmosphere of Russia-US relations. And it has nothing to do with the US president’s indiscreet words about mistrusting his own intelligence agencies or seeing no reason to mistrust Moscow regarding its alleged meddling in the 2016 election, which made Russia even more of a domestic political football in the United States and further eroded the ability of the White House to pursue any policy toward the Kremlin other than confrontation.
Deeply rooted domestic political processes in the US (the clash between old and new elites, the fierce opposition of the establishment and bureaucracy, bordering on sabotage, to any attempt to deviate from the foreign policy mainstream, and the use of Russia as a pawn in this conflict) as well as global trends (Washington’s reluctance and inability to accept the reality of a multipolar world and Russia as an independent global centre), which in the near future will only get worse – all this guarantees that the confrontation between Moscow and Washington will continue for at least several more years. In fact,
As Syrian forces backed by Russia launch the final showdown in Syria against jihadist extremists in Idlib province, the potential for a U.S.-Russia confrontation has never been greater, as VIPS warns in this memo to the president. September 9, 2018
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria
We are concerned that you may not have been adequately briefed on the upsurge of hostilities in northwestern Syria, where Syrian armed forces with Russian support have launched a full-out campaign to take back the al-Nusra/al-Qaeda/ISIS-infested province of Idlib. The Syrians will almost certainly succeed, as they did in late 2016 in Aleppo. As in Aleppo, it will mean unspeakable carnage, unless someone finally tells the insurgents theirs is a lost cause.
That someone is you. The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use US forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus. We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war.
Big Difference This Time
Russian missile-armed naval and air units are now deployed in un-