Saturday, May 07, 2016

Picturing American Values on the Ground

A Picture of American Policy: Waking From the Fever Dream 

by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

30 April 2016

[My column in the latest CounterPunch Magazine.

Last month I saw a picture, a photograph that burned down the Potemkin village of American politics that tends to rise in even the most skeptical mind during the fever dream known as the presidential campaign.

We all get caught up in it, especially those of us who've been following politics for decades, and were marinated for many years in a mainstream perspective.

I myself was raised as a "yellow dawg" Democrat in the South. The idea, of course, was that no matter who the Democrats nominated -- even it was a yellow dog -- you voted for them. My father -- perhaps to his credit? -- carried on with this ideal long after almost all of his fellow white rural Southerners had abandoned the Democrats for the dog-whistle racism of the modern Republican Party.

I remember well one of his most abiding pieces of political wisdom. It was 1984, and a neighbor of ours -- a big, hulking, slightly backward country boy who'd been devoted to my father since their school days -- told him: "Chief, I'm thinkin' about votin' for Reagan this time. What do you think?" My father leaned against the back of his pickup truck and said in a cool, even tone: "Buford, a man who'd vote for Reagan would eat shit." Buford nodded his head vigorously. "You right about that, Chief!" (But I'm sure he voted for Reagan anyway.)

So I'm well aware that it's hard not to get caught up in the horse race of the Grand Quadrennial Derby: "Was this a good move for Bernie? Will HRC take a hit from Bill's gaffe? Is Trump faltering? Will the GOP elites come around to Cruz?" And so and so forth with the myriad other permutations and speculations that can dazzle the mind -- and numb the moral sense -- while watching the political circus.

But then something will shake you -- or slap you -- awake. And so one day I saw a photograph someone tweeted from the Yemen Post. It showed a young girl -- 12, 14, the age was hard to tell. She was on her hands and knees face down in the dirt, trying to suck water from a hole in a dirty rubber pipe. And in that instant, all the silly, stupid, evil folderol of the campaign circus, all the earnest bunting that adorns the Potemkin village, fell away.

I saw the picture, and I knew -- once again-- this is America in the modern world. This is American foreign policy. This is what it is, this is what it does. This is a war that our Peace Prize-winning president has been conducting with his Saudi allies for more than a year. It’s been responsible for the "excess deaths" of 10,000 children, according to UNICEF. (Let's repeat that: TEN THOUSAND CHILDREN.) It has driven millions to the brink of famine. It has destroyed schools, hospitals, infrastructure. It has been a gigantic boon for al Qaeda by attacking its deadliest foes in Yemen, the Houthis, and giving it scope to spread. It is a humanitarian disaster and a moral outrage of the highest order.

And yet ... there is no outrage. There is scarcely any notice, beyond a bare minimum of "marginal" websites and a few stories deeply buried, and stripped of context, in the bowels of the mainstream press. In the past year, a "progressive" administration -- whose policies will be continued by either of the Democratic nominees (yes, even Bernie says he wants to see more Saudi militarism in the region) -- has been directly complicit in the deaths of TEN THOUSAND CHILDREN. And no one involved in the presidential circus -- not the candidates, not the media, not the analysts, not the horse race afficianados -- gives the slightest damn.

None of them -- and nothing in the sinister clownery of this election -- deals with the reality of what we are doing in the world. No one will speak of its true, deeply criminal nature -- not even the "radical," "revolutionary" "Democratic Socialist" candidate. So what, in the end, are they really talking about? They’re talking about nothing. They’re talking about bullshit. They’re talking about anything on God’s green earth — or rather, God’s bloodstained, gouged-out, dying earth — but reality.

The reality is a young girl forced to go down on her hands and knees to pry a few drops of water from a broken pipe. She could be your daughter. She could be you. She is a human being who did nothing wrong but be born in a place where a few "progressive" American elites -- headed by the Peace Prize-winning president -- wanted to play with their head-chopping, woman-hating allies to achieve and maintain dominance over the oil lands and their strategic environs.

In the end, it comes down to that brief scene in Warren Beatty's film, "Reds," where a plump, patriotic burgomeister from Portland calls on Jack Reed to explain "just what this war [WWI] is all about!" Reed rises amongst the tuxedos and pretty outfits at the gathering and says but a single word: "Profits."

That's why the Yemeni girl is face down in the dirt, scrambling desperately for water. That's all it's about, this "war on terror," that's the only thing it's ever been about: profits.

And whoever is elected, that's not going to change.

Getting Into Bed with the #FUVoters

Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters

by John Stauber  - CounterPunch

May 6, 2016

Politics makes for strange bedfellows they say, but often political differences that appear deep and fundamental are not so much that way, especially given a threat to the bipartisan political establishment.

Take the strange case of Mr. Donald Trump.

Today the same pundits of all stripes who predicted he could never win even one primary, then that he could never win the nomination, now are saying “have no fear, he could never be President of the United States.”

Who you gonna believe, them or your own lying eyes?

The strange bedfellows publicly aligned against Donald Trump for President include, of course, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment. But they also include the leading neoconservative voices who Hillary, Kerry, Biden and others echoed in pushing America into attacking Iraq, a war that created IS, killed over a million people, violated the Nuremberg convention, and may yet be lost. To the promoters of militarism and empire, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) crowd, Hillary fits the bill oh so much better than Trump.

Then there are the Koch Brothers, the family and cabal that has been both the bane of and a fundraising boon to Democrats and the professional progressives. What remains of the labor movement, the mainstream environmental movement, and the Democrats’ well-kept and immaculately groomed professional Progressive movement have feasted on the Kochs, made them (until now) the scariest force on the Right. Now they are suddenly aligned with the Kochs, because the family has signaled clearly that they would rather live with the Wall Street militarist Hillary, than succumb in any way to the nest-robbing Republican Donald Trump.

Speaking of the Progressive movement, add its 500-pound fundraising, mobilizing and Democrat Party front group MoveOn to the top of the list of those mobilizing against Trump among the Democrats. As always, MoveOn needs a cause and a reason for being that will fill their coffers and feed their need for petition signers, and Trump is now that guy. MoveOn’s contributors signaled support for Bernie, so the clicktivists at MoveOn have been making noise as part of the Feel the Bern movement. But with it clear now that the SuperDelegates have rigged a victory for Hillary, they have pivoted to opposing Trump. #Duh! Of course they have! Trump provides everyone who understands anything about fascism a great reason for voting for Hillary or anyone not named Trump. The Democratic progressives have been salivating for a fight with The Donald, and now they get him.

Bernie Sanders, of course, will ride the horse at the front of the Progressive’s charge against Trump. Before he announced his run, he clearly had decided to become a True Blue Democrat, no longer an Independent, if for no other reason than not wanting to face the vile, bile and hatred Ralph Nader has endured for the capital crime of running for President as a Green in 2000. Nader did not give us Bush, but the Democrats prefer to think he did and it is a belief they promote because it is essential to their fear-based strategy for winning elections and suppressing the sort of Left third party that Sanders could have instigated had he not thrown his lot with the Dems.

Bernie is still doing his fire dance with his Feel The Bern movement, many of whom somehow still fail to realize he was a bait-and-switch guy from the beginning, offering deep reform but always planning to deliver his army into the hands of Hillary in Philadelphia when the Democrats establishment, in the form of the SuperDelegates, remind him what they really think of his brand of Democratic Socialism. Yes, he will win more primaries, and no, it will not matter in the end. The John Nichols crowd, the pundits-cum-cheerleaders of the progressive wing of the Democrats, will do their best to sell the notion of Bernie making a difference by representing reform and the future of the Party. But Nichols and his type of progressive Dem pundit have become a self-parody, although those steeped in the True Blue Echo Chamber will never realize this.

Polls show that right now 75% of Feel the Bern folks are also Ready for Hillary. When The Nation and the rest of the Progressive elite, along with Bernie himself, are finished polishing up her chrome, Hillary will have the support of 95% of the Feel the Berners. And she desperately needs them.

The Hillary-By-Default coalition includes a growing list of Republican oligarchs led by the Bush family, so embarrassed and run over by The Donald. Indeed, given this zoo of strange bedfellows, who the hell will pull the lever for Trump? Who is left out side of this growing Left to Middle to Right to Corporate Libertarian movement against The Donald? Lots of people.

How has Trump done what he has done so far? It hasn’t been by mobilizing an intellectual elite, appealing to reason or by spending massive amounts of money that he has demolished and taken control of the Republican Party. Yes, he has surely mobilized the racist vote, but the Republicans have always had that. Here is his secret: Donald Trump, more than anyone yet, has revealed the extent to which most Americans hate politics, even more than most Americans hate Donald and Hillary, and they do.

Donald is riding the “Fuck You!” movement. He is the choice of millions and millions who are simply so sick of the political establishment–what I call (but they don’t) the Bipartisan Oligarchy–that they just want a grenade to roll under its tent. They want to frag both political parties, as in alienated angry US soldier fragging (killing) their gung ho young officers to express their feelings about service in Vietnam. (Better Google that, youngsters.)

Let’s call them Trump’s FU Voters. They are huge in number, hate politicians with a passion, don’t give a rat’s ass about the Koch Brothers or MoveOn, might not even like The Donald, but see him as a statement of rage and discontent, as way of giving the finger, a huge middle finger, to all the hacks and flacks and whores and pimps of both the Republicans and Democrats who have delivered America into the hands of the 1%, the professional political class who are perceived as the enemy.

The FU vote is yuuuge, and getting yuuuger.

Things are shit-canning across America and the world in so many ways, and here comes this brash jerk of a sexist celebrity billionaire with the sexy model wife, a contradictory emotional angry guy who has never ever held office or been in the military or done anything you are supposed to do to be dogcatcher, much less President, and they are ready to vote for him, to say “screw you” to everyone. Do not discount Trump’s strongest weapon, the FU Voter, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born, just before Christmas, 2016, like some new Hollywood release.

John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author. His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, Mad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception. In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to expose corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns. He retired from the Center in 2008.
More articles by:John Stauber

Hey Greenies: War Is an Environmental Issue Too!

Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard

by Joshua Frank - CounterPunch

May 5, 2016

“If we greens don’t broaden our thinking to tackle war, we may save some wilderness, but lose the world.”  – David Brower

News alert! Despite what you may have heard, the war in Afghanistan is still raging.

Nearly 10,000 US troops remain, and since 2014 the Obama administration has carried out almost 2,000 airstrikes on whatever they damn well please in the country.

No question the mounting Afghan death toll and the bombing of hospitals and civilian infrastructure ought to infuriate the few remaining antiwar activists out there; but the toll the Afghanistan war is having on the environment should also force nature lovers into the streets in protest.

Natural habitat in Afghanistan has endured decades of struggle, and the War on Terror has only escalated the destruction. The lands most afflicted by warfare are home to critters that most Westerners only have a chance to observe behind cages in our city zoos: gazelles, cheetahs, hyenas, Turanian tigers and snow leopards among others.

Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), which was formed in 2005 to address environmental issues, has listed a total of 33 species on its Endangered list.

In 2003, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released its evaluation of Afghanistan’s environmental issues. Titled “Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment,” the UNEP report claimed that war and long-standing drought,

“have caused serious and widespread land and resource degradation, including lowered water tables, desiccation of wetlands, deforestation and widespread loss of vegetative cover, erosion, and loss of wildlife populations.”

Ammunition dumps, cluster bombs, B-52 bombers and land mines, which President Obama refuses to ban, serve as the greatest threat to the country’s rugged natural landscape and the biodiversity it cradles.

The increasing number of Afghanis that are being displaced because of military conflict, UNEP’s report warned, has compounded all of these problems. It was a sobering estimation. However, it was an analysis that should not come as much of a surprise: warfare kills not only humans, but life in general.

As bombs fall, civilians are not the only ones put at risk, and the lasting environmental impacts of the war may not be known for years, perhaps decades, to come.

For example, birds are killed and sent off their migratory course. Literally tens of thousands of birds leave Siberia and Central Asia to find their winter homes to the south. Many of these winged creatures have traditionally flown through Afghanistan to the southeastern wetlands of Kazakhstan, but their numbers have drastically declined in recent years.

Endangered Siberian cranes and two protected species of pelicans are the most at risk, say Pakistani ornithologists who study the area. The war’s true impact on these species is not yet known, but President Obama’s continued bombing campaign is not a hopeful sign.

Back in 2001, Dr. Oumed Haneed, who monitors bird migration in Pakistan, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the country had typically witnessed thousands of ducks and other wildfowl migrating through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Yet, once the US began its air raids, few birds were to be found.

“One impact may be directly the killing of birds through bombing, poisoning of the wetlands or the sites which these birds are using,” said Haneed, who works for Pakistan’s National Council for Conservation of Wildlife.
“Another impact may be these birds are derouted, because their migration is very precise. They migrate in a corridor and if they are disturbed through bombing, they might change their route.”

Intense fighting throughout Afghanistan, especially in the White Mountains, where the US hunted bin Laden in the Battle of Tora Bora, has been hit the hardest. While the difficult-to-access ranges may serve as safe havens for alleged al-Qaeda operatives, the Tora Bora caves and steep topography also provide refuge for bears, Marco Polo sheep, gazelles and mountain leopards.

Every missile that is fired into these vulnerable mountains could potentially kill any of these treasured animals, all of which are on the verge of becoming extinct.

“The same terrain that allows fighters to strike and disappear back into the hills has also, historically, enabled wildlife to survive,” Peter Zahler of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) told New Scientist at the onset of the Afghanistan invasion.

But Zahler, who helped to open a field office for WCS in Kabul in 2006, also warned that not only are these animals at risk from bombing, they are also at risk of being killed by refugees. For instance, a snow leopard, whose endangered population in the country is said to be fewer than 100, can score $2,000 on the black market for snow leopard fur. That money in turn can help these displaced Afghanis pay for safe passage into Pakistan.

Bombings, however, while having an initial direct impact, are really only the beginning of the dilemma. As Zahler told me, “The story in Afghanistan is not the actual fighting – it’s the side effects – habitat destruction, uncontrolled poaching, that sort of thing.”

Afghanistan has faced nearly 30 years of unfettered resource exploitation, even prior to the most recent war. This has led to a collapse of government systems and has displaced millions of people, all of which has led to the degradation of the country’s habitat on a vast scale.

Forests have been ravaged to provide short-term energy and building supplies for refugees. Many of the country’s arid grasslands have also been overgrazed and wildlife killed.

“Eventually the land will be unfit for even the most basic form of agriculture,” explained Hammad Naqi of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Pakistan.
“Refugees – around four million at the last count [in 2001] – are also cutting into forests for firewood.”

In early 2001, during the initial attacks, the BBC reported that the United States had been carpet bombing Afghanistan in numerous locations.

John Stufflebeem, deputy director of operations for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the time that B-52 aircraft were carpet bombing targets “all over the country, including Taliban forces in the north.

“We do use [carpet bombing strategies],” said Stufflebeem.
“We have used it and will use it when we need to.”

Additionally, Pakistani military experts and others have made allegations that the United States has used depleted uranium (DU) shells to target specific targets inside Afghanistan, most notably against the Taliban frontlines in the northern region of the country.

Using DU explosives is not far-fetched for the United States. The US-led NATO air force used DU shells when it struck Yugoslavia in 1999. Once these deadly bombs strike, they rip through their target and then erupt into a toxic cloud of fire. Many medical studies have shown that DU’s radioactive vapors are linked to leukemia, blood cancer, lung cancer and birth defects.

“As US and NATO forces continue pounding Afghanistan with cruise missiles and smart bombs, people acquainted with the aftermaths of two recent previous wars fought by the US fear, following the Gulf and Balkan war syndromes, the Afghan War Syndrome,” wrote Dr. Ali Ahmed Rind in the Baltimore Chronicle in 2001. 
 “This condition is marked by a state of vague ailments and carcinomas, and is linked with the usage of Depleted Uranium (DU) as part of missiles, projectiles and bombs in the battlefield.”

Afghanistan’s massive refugee crisis, lack of governmental stability, and extreme poverty, coupled with polluted water supplies, drought, land mines and excessive bombings, all contribute to the country’s intense environmental predicament.

Experts unanimously agree, there simply is no such thing as environmentally friendly warfare.

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter @brickburner.
More articles by:Joshua Frank

Ignoble Savages: Exploiting Africa (for its own good)

The Long Ignoble History of Westerners Exploiting Africans (While publicly professing humanitarian ideals)

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

May 5th, 2016 

What do you call people who try to make people believe what they say but ignore the results of what they do? How about spin-sploiters?

After a few years of research I have come to realize that there is a long and ignoble history of Westerners exploiting Africans while touting humanitarian objectives. Unfortunately, this practice is not confined to the distant past.

A leading Canadian NGO official, who then founded Québec’s largest mining company, provides a recent example.

In a 2012 Gold Report interview titled “First, Do Good When Mining for Gold: Benoit La Salle” the President of the Société d’Exploitation Minière d’Afrique de l’Ouest (SEMAFO) boasted about the company’s social responsibility.

La Salle said:

“SEMAFO is not a company that mines gold, ships it out and, once that is done, breaks down camp and leaves. People see SEMAFO as being a very good corporate citizen. Today, many people believe that the CSR report is more important than our annual report.” 

This is a startling claim for an individual obligated to maximize investors’ returns but a cursory look at the company’s record suggests it has little basis in reality.

Those living near SEMAFO’s Kiniero mine, reported Guinée News in 2014, felt “the Canadian company brought more misfortune than benefits.” In 2008 the military killed three in a bid to drive away small-scale miners from its mine in southeast Guinea. BBC Monitoring Africa reported,

“the soldiers shot a woman at close range, burned a baby and in the panic another woman and her baby fell into a gold mining pit and a man fell fatally from his motor while running away from the rangers. Blaming the Montréal-based company for the killings, locals damaged its equipment.”

In September 2011 protests flared again over the company’s failure to hire local young people and the dissolution of a committee that spent community development monies.

Demonstrators attacked SEMAFO’s facilities, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Some also targeted a bus carrying company employees, prompting the authorities to evacuate all expatriate staff to Bamako in neighbouring Mali.

In 2014 the Guinean government’s Comité Technique de Revue des Titres et Conventions Miniers concluded that the Montréal firm evaded $9.6 million in tax. The Comité Technique also found that the company failed “to produce detailed feasibility studies” and was not “in compliance with new measures in the 2011 mining code.” The Comité Technique recommended that SEMAFO be fined and stripped of its mining rights in the country.

To the east, SEMAFO opened the first industrial scale gold mine in Niger. A 2007 Montreal Gazette business article headlined “Local Miner a Major Force in Niger: It’s not every day we receive a press release from a gold mining company that includes a warm personal message from the prime minister”, reported on the close ties between SEMAFO and Hama Amadou, then Prime Minister of Niger. “We work very closely with him,” said La Salle. “We’re part of his budget every year.”

La Salle described how the prime minister helped his company break a strike at its Samira Hill mine in the west of the country. “He gave us all the right direction to solve this legally,” La Salle said.

“We went to court, we had the strike declared illegal and that allowed us to let go of some of the employees and rehire some of them based upon a new work contract. It allowed us to let go of some undesirable employees because they had been on strike a few times.”

(In mid-2008 SEMAFO’s preferred prime minister was arrested on corruption charges stemming from two unrelated incidents.)

The bitter strike led to a parliamentary inquiry regarding environmental damage caused by the mine, lack of benefits for local communities and treatment of miners. Opposition politicians accused SEMAFO of paying “slave wages”. “The wages are very low,” explained Mohammed Bazoum, deputy chairman of Niger’s main opposition party in 2009.

SEMAFO was also accused of failing to pay both taxes and dividends to the government. Despite owning a 20% share in the Samira Hill mine, the government received no direct payments from the Montréal-based majority owner between 2004 and 2010. “Since this company started its activities, Niger has not seen a single franc despite its being a shareholder,” noted Abdoulkarim Mossi, head of a government committee set up to tackle economic and financial irregularities in the country.

Next-door, the company was close to President Blaise Compaoré who seized power in 1987 by killing Thomas Ankara, “Africa’s Che Guevara”, who oversaw important social and political gains during four years in office. La Salle worked closely with Compaoré for nearly 2 decades, traveling the globe singing the Burkina Faso government’s praise. After leaving office the Prime Minister between 2007–2011, Tertius Zongo, was appointed to SEMAFO’s Board of Directors and at a September 2014 Gold Forum in Australia SEMAFO officials lauded the government as “democratic and stable”. The next month Compaoré was ousted by popular protest after he attempted to amend the constitution to extend term limits.

After ending Compaoré’s 27-year rule community groups and mine workers launched a wave of protests against foreign, mostly Canadian, owned mining companies. In a Bloomberg article titled “Revolt Rocks Burkina Faso’s Mines After President Flees”, SEMAFO’s director of corporate affairs, Laurent Michel Dabire, said the company was looking to fund a new police unit that would focus on protecting mining interests in the country.

SEMAFO is an outgrowth of La Salle’s work for Plan Canada, part of a $1 billion a year global NGO. La Salle said that SEMAFO “was created in 1995 during my first visit to Burkina Faso as part of a mission with the NGO-Plan. I am the president of the administration council of Plan Canada and a director of Plan International. So, after the Plan organized visit to Burkina Faso provided me an opportunity to get close with national authorities, I decided to create SEMAFO to participate in the development of Burkina Faso’s mining industry.”

As Plan Canada’s designated Francophone spokesperson La Salle got to know Compaoré. “The president turned to me,” La Salle told another reporter, “and said that I should come back to his country with Canadian expertise to help his country develop its mining sector.”

La Salle procured mining expertise while Compaoré granted the Canadian a massive stretch of land to prospect. “The land package we have is way beyond what you’d see anywhere else in the world,” La Salle boasted.

Compaoré was good to La Salle. The Canadian ‘humanitarian” made millions of dollars from Burkina Faso’s (and Niger and Guinea’s) minerals. When he resigned after 17 years as president of SEMAFO in 2012, La Salle received a $3 million departure bonus, which was on top of his $1 million salary.

La Salle is just one in a long line of Westerners who’ve asked the world to believe what they say but ignore the actual results of what they do — a “spin-sploiter” — publicly professing humanitarian ideals all the while exploiting Africa.

Yves Engler is the author of Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Read other articles by Yves.

Greenpeace Leak Reveals TTIP as a Corporate Conspiracy to Enslave the People

Greenpeace Leaks Secret Pro-Corporate Trade Agreement


May 3, 2016

Jorgo Riss of Greenpeace says leaked TTIP documents show a huge transfer of power from people to big business and negotiators consulting with the corporate sector.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Hospitals as Battle Ground: Truth and Fiction in Aleppo

A Tale of Two Hospitals: Potentially Fabricated Bombing Incident vs Open Terrorist Targeting of Facilities in Aleppo

by Brandon Turbeville - Activist Post

May 5, 2016
Over the past few days, the Western corporate press has kicked into overdrive with reports of hospital bombings, dead civilians, and war crimes all blamed predictably on the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.

According to Western governments and their media mouthpieces, Assad’s forces have targeted civilian hospitals in order to . . . well . . . no one knows why Assad’s forces would logically target civilian hospitals.

Still, the Western harpies – both media and “human rights NGOs” – continue to hammer the unsubstantiated claims and misinformation at the tops of their lungs that the SAA is dropping bombs on civilian medical facilities.

The First “Hospital” : al-Quds

The bombing being attributed to the Syrian military is the destruction of the “al-Quds” hospital, an alleged Medicines Sans Frontieres hospital located in Aleppo. Even officially, however, it is important to note that the alleged “hospital” was not an MSF facility but one which was “supported” by MSF.

This might seem like a small technicality but it is actually an important difference since MSF (aka Doctors Without Borders) is well known to be anything but an impartial observer in the Syrian crisis. As Tony Cartalucci wrote in his article, “’Doctors’ Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claim Are Aiding Terrorists,” in 2013,

While it is often described by the Western media as “independent,” nothing could be further from the truth.

To begin with, Doctors Without Borders is fully funded by the very same corporate financier interests behind Wall Street and London’s collective foreign policy, including regime change in Syria and neighboring Iran. Doctors Without Borders’ own annual report (2010 report can be accessed here), includes as financial donors, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, and a myriad of other corporate-financier interests. Doctors Without Borders also features bankers upon its Board of Advisers including Elizabeth Beshel Robinson of Goldman Sachs.

Complicating further Doctors Without Borders so-called “independent” and “aid” claims is the fact that their medical facilities are set up in terrorist held regions of Syria, especially along Syria’s northern border with NATO-member Turkey. In an interview with NPR, Doctors Without Borders’ Stephen Cornish revealed the nature of his organization’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, where he explains that aid is being sent to regions outside of the Syrian government’s control, and that his organization is in fact setting up facilities in these areas.

Cornish admits:

Over the past months, we’ve had a surgery that was opened inside a cave. We’ve had another that was opened in a chicken farm, a third one in a house. And these structures, we’ve tried to outfit them as best as we can with enough modern technology and with full medical teams. They originally were dealing mainly with combatant injuries and people who were – civilians who were directly affected by the conflict.
In other words, the Wall Street-funded organization is providing support for militants armed and funded by the West and its regional allies, most of whom are revealed to be foreign fighters, affiliated with or directly belonging to Al Qaeda and its defacto political wing, the Muslim Brotherhood. This so-called “international aid” organization is in actuality yet another cog in the covert military machine being turned against Syria and serves the role as a medical battalion.

In a telling interview with NPR, which Cartalucci partially quotes in his own article, the Executive Director of DWB, Stephen Cornish, admitted the fact that the organization largely has provided medical aid to the death squads not just as a matter of unbiased Hippocratic Oath-based treatment, but what appears to be a “rebel”-based program.

Again, Cornish revealed,

Over the past months, we’ve had a surgery that was opened inside a cave. We’ve had another that was opened in a chicken farm, a third one in a house. And these structures, we’ve tried to outfit them as best as we can with enough modern technology and with full medical teams. They originally were dealing mainly with combatant injuries and people who were – civilians who were directly affected by the conflict.

Even assuming that the “civilians” Cornish mentions are truly civilians, Cornish’s team has also been focused largely on “combatant injuries” which is an interesting focus considering that the teams are mainly located within death squad controlled territory.

Indeed, Cornish removes all doubt about whether or not the death squads are receiving priority care as the interview continues. Cornish states,

So it is very difficult for civilians to find care. And one of the difficulties also is that a number of smaller surgeries that have been set up are either overwhelmed with combatants or primarily taking care of combatants. And what we would certainly urge is that all surgeries and all health posts also are accommodating the civilian population.

BLOCK: You mean, in other words, that the fighters are getting priority for medical care and the civilians are suffering for that.

CORNISH: Unfortunately, that is sometimes the reality on the ground. Some of the surgeries we visited, you could tell that because not only there were no civilians on the wards, but there were also no beds or toilet facilities for women. So it’s kind of a dead giveaway.

Returning to the question of the al-Quds hospital, however, it should be noted that the facility has been reported to be nothing more than a “field hospital” for terrorists trapped in Aleppo in the past, the bombing of which allegedly killed over 50 death squad fighters, at least according to reports by Ziad Fadel of Syrian Perspective. After all, the hospital was being run in the “rebel”-held area of Sukkari.

Some, however, dispute whether or not the hospital was ever actually bombed. Both the Syrian and Russian governments denied bombing the hospital to begin with. The Russians suggested that the “anti-ISIL coalition” was operating fighter jets in the area around the time of the bombing, implying that the bombing may have been conducted by the American forces, but the U.S. denies the Russian claim.

In addition to the question of whether or not the bombed “hospital” was a civilian operation or a combatant one, there is even question as to whether or not the field hospital that was bombed was actually al-Quds and, strangely enough, whether or not al-Quds ever actually existed.

For instance, Dr. Nabil Antaki, a doctor based in western Aleppo called into question the existence of al-Quds. After viewing the Channel 4 video showing the hospital moment before the attack, he responded that,

“This hospital [Al Quds] did not exist before the war started. It must have been installed in a building after the war began. I don’t know anyone in the East of Aleppo who could confirm this hospital is Al Quds.” 

The Second Hospital: al-Dhabeet

Yet if the pinnacle of war crimes and brutality is the bombing of hospitals, the United States was forced to eat its own words when, after only a few days of propagandizing the Western public with reports of SAA hospital bombing, its very own terrorist pets would begin openly firing missiles at another hospital in Aleppo.

Obviously, the United States made no mention of its own bombing of a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan earlier this year.

Still, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to condemn the rocket attacks aimed at the Syrian hospital by Western-backed terrorists, albeit in a manner which would not directly attribute blame to the U.S. proxy forces.

Indeed, on May 3, SANA news agency reported that,

terrorists fired 65 rocket shells on the neighborhoods of al-Neel Street, al-Siryian, al-Khalidyia, al-Mocambo, al-Sabeel and the surroundings of al-Rahman mosque leaving 11 civilians killed and 37 injured. A source at Aleppo Health Directorate said that most of the wounded civilians are children and women and their injuries are severe as the number of the killed civilians might increase.

Eva Bartlett chronicles the report in her own article “Hospitals Bombed: Aleppo Burning Under ‘Moderate’ Terrorist Bombs,” by writing,

Later, SANA’s correspondent in Aleppo reported that three women were killed, 17 other women and children were wounded and extensive material damage was caused by terrorist organizations’ attack with a rocket shell on al-Dhabeet Hospital in al-Mouhafaza neighborhood.”
SANA listed the attacked districts as: al-Midan, al-Furqan, Nile Street, al-Mukambo, al-Khalidiye, Jami’et al-Zahra’a, al-Ameriye, al-Ramousa, al-Masharqa, al-Muhafaza, al-Meridian, al-Serian, al-Sabeel, and al-Jamiliye in Aleppo city.

SANA’s Facebook update included numerous photos of the bombed al-Dhabeet Hospital, noting the number of dead had risen to at least 14, a number which will no doubt rise in the coming hours.

According to SAMA tv, the number of murdered has risen to 28.

Ruptly TV raw footage shows the disastrous impacts of the bombings, and–uncensored–some of the mutilated victims.

A tale of two hospitals indeed, at least from the point of the view of the West and the Anglo-Americans. In the Western media, one hospital bombing (if it actually took place) equals a war crime that warrants the condemnation of the world while the other warrants merely a forced, hesitant, and tepid complaint. Even the painful admission that bombing civilians and civilian hospitals is wrong was barely uttered out of Kerry’s mouth before it was accompanied by the requisite condemnation of the Syrian government and the elected President Bashar al-Assad.Yet the recent bombing of al-Dhabeet is nothing new in Syria. Western-backed terrorists have been launching assaults on hospitals since the beginning of the crisis. As Prof. Tim Anderson pointed out,

Over the past five years the al Qaeda groups have attacked 2/3 of all Syria’s hospitals and clinics, plus pharmaceutical factories, many of which were in Aleppo. [Most recent one should read ‘al Dabit’] Al Razi General Hospital (state) was also hit by the al Nusra coalition, just days ago.”

Anderson also pointed out a number of other attacks on hospitals such as those listed below.

–“al Watani hospital in Qusayr bombed by Farouq FSA, back in 2012.” (Video)

-“al Nusra-FSA suicide bomb al Kindi hospital Aleppo, December 2013.” (Video)

-“al Qaeda groups bombed Ibn Rushd hospital also in Aleppo, on 26 April.” (Video)

-“al Razi general hospital was also hit, just days ago.” (Link)

“Unsurprisingly,” Eva Bartlett writes, “instead of reporting on these documented instances of terrorists (filming themselves) attacking Syrian hospitals, corporate media and propagandizing “human rights” groups are instead filling front pages and tv screens with screaming accusations of the Syrian army and/or Russia having bombed a so-called MSF hospital in Aleppo.”



Obviously, the Western indignation over the alleged bombing of the al-Quds non-hospital was never anything more than propaganda aimed at drumming up support for greater U.S. military involvement in Syria and the increased attempt at destroying the secular Syrian government. At best, the information repeated to Western audiences was misconstrued. At worst, it was entirely made up.

Image credit

Brandon Turbeville article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Syria Propaganda: Spinning Doctors and Hospitals as Casualties

Syria: Challenging the MSF Narratives and Bias in Aleppo

by Rick Sterling - Dissident Voice

May 5, 2016

Dear MSF International President Dr. Joanne Liu,

Your organization is well regarded and influential. I appreciate that many good people work for and support MSF/Doctors Without Borders. However, I need to inquire about your independence and the consequences of your work in Syria.

I believe an objective look will reveal that while you are helping in some areas, you are causing harm in others.

Open Letter to MSF/Doctors Without Borders

Following are questions on this important issue:

1: As you know, Aleppo is a large city with the government forces holding western Aleppo while other parts of the city are dominated by armed opposition groups, primarily Nusra/Al Qaeda. About 1.5 to 2 million people live in the government areas with about 200 to 250 thousand in the areas controlled by armed opposition. So 80-90 % of the population is in government-controlled areas. This is rarely mentioned but seems important. Given this fact, is it true that you provide aid and support only to the opposition held areas?

2: On April 21 the Western and Gulf backed “High Negotiations Committee” announced they were quitting the Geneva negotiations. The next day, hundreds of mortars and bombs started being launched into western Aleppo from the zones controlled by Nusra and other terrorist groups.

These bombs are powerful, wounding and killing indiscriminately. Syrian journalist Edward Dark noted that western media and groups such as MSF were silent on this even though hospitals were being hit, dozens of children and civilians killed. On twitter he reported day by day …..

“West Aleppo is simply being obliterated by rebel shelling. A city of 2 million people is being butchered.”

“Carnage and devastation as ‘moderate rebel’ bombs fall on west Aleppo like rain”

“Terrorist rebel bombs are still falling like rain on west Aleppo. 15 people murdered at a mosque in Bab Faraj after Friday prayers”

“This is the hospital where my son was born. Dabeet Hospital in W.Aleppo completely destroyed by rebel shelling.”

Has MSF denounced these killings and attacks on hospitals in western Aleppo?

3: The unconcern about indiscriminate attacks and killing in government-held areas of Aleppo has also been denounced by Syrian-Canadian physician Dr. Nabil Antaki. He has recently written:

“With regards to recent events in Aleppo, I state very clearly that the mainstream media are lying by omission… All of us here in Aleppo are disgusted by their lack of impartiality and objectivity.

They only talk about the loss of life in east of Aleppo which is entirely controlled by Al Nusra…. These are their ‘moderate rebels’ …This same media remains silent on the daily losses and suffering endured in the Western areas of Aleppo living under the rain of mortar fire from these terrorist factions.

This media never mentions the continuous bombardment and the carnage we have witnessed in western Aleppo where every single sector has been targeted. On a daily basis we see dozens of people murdered…..

For three days now, these media outlets have been accusing the “Assad regime” of bombing an MSF hospital to the east of Aleppo and of killing the last pediatrician in the city. This demonstrates that, for these media, the only priority is this pocket of the city where terrorists are embedded. The three quarters of Aleppo under Syrian government control, where numerous pediatricians are practicing, is of no consequence.”

Dr. Liu, will you meet with Dr. Antaki? Perhaps he could give you a tour and confirm to you what he says. He is a well known and respected doctor in Aleppo and fellow Canadian citizen.

4: There are many discrepancies in reports about the April 27 attack on Al Quds Hospital. MSF Middle East Operations Manager Pablo Marco, interviewed the next day on CNN and PBS Newshour, said “there were two barrel bombs that fell close to the hospital …. then the third barrel bomb fell in the entrance of the hospital”.

Barrel bombs are only delivered by helicopters. In contrast, your press release the same day says “the hospital was destroyed by at least one airstrike which directly hit the building, “reducing it to rubble.”

A CBC report continued this version, claiming “An MSF-supported hospital in the northern Syria city of Aleppo is now a pile of rubble. Airstrikes brought down the building on Wednesday.”

The hospital photograph indicates it is not a “pile of rubble” and it’s unclear where the damage is. The sandbag reinforcement and damaged car in front indicate it might have been a battle scene but the rest is unclear. Which story is correct and accurate?

The number of fatalities has varied from initial death counts of 14 to later reports of over 50. How are these numbers verified?

5: MSF representatives Pablo Marco and Muskilda Zancada suggest is was a deliberate and intentional attack on the hospital. In an interview Ms. Zancada says “Al Quds Hospital has been functional for more than 4 years so it was basically impossible that this information was not known… The facts are pointing to this being a deliberate attack.”

In contrast with Ms. Zancada’s assertions, most Aleppans have never heard of “Al Quds Hospital”. The “hospital” did not exist before the conflict and the photo shows an unidentified apartment building. Is it accurate to call this facility a “hospital”?

Mr. Marco claimed that MSF supported personnel visited the hospital every other week so there must be many reports, documents and photos confirming whether it was a 34 bed hospital. Otherwise, it seems fair to say this was actually a medical clinic in the ground floor of an unmarked and largely abandoned apartment building.

6: Can Mr. Marco or Ms. Zancada please identify the damage inflicted by the airstrike (or barrel bomb) at Al Quds Hospital on April 27? The Russian Ministry of Defense has released a photograph indicating the building had similar damage in October 2015.

7: As you know, Nusra/Al Qaeda is considered ‘terrorist’ by all parties including the US, French, and Canadian governments. Does the Al Quds Hospital primarily or significantly serve Al Qaeda and/or other terrorist fighters? If so, are your supporters aware they are assisting fighters who launched bombs attacking western Aleppo as shown here and previously destroyed the once prized Al Kindi Hospital with a huge truck bomb as shown here? I appreciate you have a commitment to the hippocratic oath but given the widespread medical needs, why are you prioritizing assistance to Nusra/Al Qaeda?

8: Many videos from Al Quds Hospital feature members of the “White Helmets”. Are you aware the White Helmets was established by the US and UK with initial training in Turkey by a UK military contractor? Are you aware the organization is not independent or neutral and has explicitly called for western intervention in Syria? The origins of the “White Helmets” is documented here . There is an online petition denouncing this clever but cynical marketing campaign here.

9: Can you you please compare and contrast the videos showing attacks at MSF- supported Al Quds Hospital with videos showing attacks in western Aleppo? The videos from Al Quds Hospital are here and here with an animated one here. The attacks in western Aleppo including an attack on Al Dabeet Hospital are here, here and here. Do you see the difference between videos from armed opposition area vs. those from western Aleppo? Some look authentic and some look possibly staged.

10: We know that many Western and Gulf countries are providing funds to help the armed opposition in Syria. For example in 2012 the Canadian government said “the reason the $2 million was being channeled through Canadian Relief for Syria instead of the UN or International Committee of the Red Cross was because it was intended for Syrian opposition groups and was not humanitarian aid.” Is MSF directly or indirectly receiving grants or funds from the Canadian, French or US governments to serve Syrian opposition groups?

11: There has been a wave of media coverage of Al Quds Hospital and the death of Dr. Moaz (sometimes spelled Maaz). Some of the reports are clearly intended to tug at the heart and natural sympathy of people. Unfortunately propagandists can be effective in this area as they seek to manipulate public opinion.

There are many examples with the Kuwaiti babies and incubators being one of the most famous frauds as it successfully won public support for Gulf War 1. Both Amnesty International and the International Red Crescent were (unwittingly) part of the fraud.

My point is this: Some of the Al Quds Hospital stories are questionable and may be fraudulent. For example the letter from a fellow physician acclaiming Dr Moaz was published by “The Syria Campaign” which is the marketing creator of the “White Helmets”.

The letter is supposedly from a fellow doctor who might or might not be real. They use a false name yet claim he “manages the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo”. Another questionable piece of ‘evidence’ of the death of Dr. Moaz is the video supposedly taken just before the building was hit by missile or bomb.

It’s curious that the building would be destroyed and the CCTV cameras (several of them) survive and be ready for editing. Is this real or is it just another example of the “moderate rebel’ social media propaganda?

12: Biased media coverage on Syria serves to demonize the Assad government and prolong the conflict. It has made it easier for foreign aggressors to continue funding the proxy armies such as Nusra/Al Qaeda.

There is danger of vastly increased conflict and bloodshed if foreign governments or NATO intervene directly. In fact, calls for greater aggression are increasing in the wake of publicity around the attack at Al Quds Hospital.

Are you aware that the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia seemed to threaten an escalation of the conflict as he said “The world is not going to allow them to get away with this.”?

Dr. Liu, we agree with your insistence that medical personnel and facilities should not be attacked. That is in keeping with the Geneva Conventions on War.

There are other international laws, including laws against aggression and the right of self-defense. It is clear that the Syrian government is being attacked by proxy armies funded by a coalition of foreign governments in violation of international law and the UN Charter.

Will you investigate whether the criticisms expressed in this letter are accurate and take appropriate action? It seems that current MSF actions and statements on Syria are biased and effectively serving the coalition of governments waging war on Syria in violation of international law.

The bias and propaganda sustain the conflict and threaten to make it even worse.

Best regards,

Rick Sterling

Rick Sterling is a retired engineer and co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be emailed at:
Read other articles by Rick.

Report: Site C Dam Disaster for Wildlife in Northeastern BC

Wildlife Devastated by Site C Dam Construction in Northeastern BC 

by Roslyn Cassells - Stop Site C Dam 

April 28, 2016

Just imagine if Vancouver to Chilliwack was entirely submerged, drowning every living creature along that path...this is the scope of destruction and death caused by the construction of Site C dam in the Peace River Valley in northeastern BC.

Clear-cutting, river destruction, and earth moving has already begun at the Site C dam site in Treaty 8 jurisdiction. This despite 4 court cases, United Nations disapproval, and widespread public opposition.

"Follow the money" and see clear evidence the project benefits a select few economic and political elites with close ties to the BC Liberals, while having a huge and unmitigable negative effect everyone else.

At least 63 endangered, and/or federally & provincially listed species and ecological communities are being effected, including 30 species of migratory birds, 23 species of invertebrates, 6 species of mammals, 2 species of raptors, and one amphibian species.

Wildlife laws are being violated with impunity as the dam is pushed through by the BC Liberals, while dam construction contracts and plum posts at BC Hydro go to their BC Liberal insiders.

The Joint Review Panel found Site C dam violates the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which is federally regulated by Environment Canada. The Act does not allow for "incidental take" of migratory birds, their eggs, and nest sites. The same panel predicted 3 species of fish will be extirpated; and at-risk species such as the Western Toad, Baltimore Oriole, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Bull Trout, Yellow Rail, Nelson's Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, and 5 species of butterfly species status' would worsen.

Massive wildlife mortality will occur if and when the Site C dam's floodgates open, drowning an entire river valley 83 km long, a core wildlife habitat and biodiversity hotspot.

The federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) lists Peace River Valley Site C residents Canada Warbler, Common Nighthawk, and Olive-sided Flycatcher as threatened species, and the Northern Mountain Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Western Toad, Short-eared Owl, Yellow Rail, and Rusty Blackbird of special concern.

The federal Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada -COSEWIC, lists Peace Valley residents the Little Brown Myotis Bat, the Northern Myotis Bat, and the Barn Swallow as threatened; and the Grizzly Bear, Bull Trout, and the Horned Grebe of special concern.

Many Site C species are listed provincially. The Fisher, Short-eared Owl, and Broad-Winged Hawk are blue-listed. The Eastern Red Bat is one of many red-listed species there. (see attached report for more details)

There are over 300 wildlife and 400 plant species identified to date in the Peace River Valley, which Site C dam would destroy. The Peace Daisy and Persistent-Sepal Yellowcress will become extinct. The area is home to many rare plants of which 3 mosses, 10 lichens, and 38 vascular plants are at risk according to BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources.

Site C lies in the path of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. This is a wildlife corridor, a core wildlife habitat, essential for biodiversity and species' survival, which extends from the far north of Canada down to Yellowstone in the US. The building of Site C dam would impede migration, and the free movement of large mammals for breeding, birthing, and foraging along this corridor. The herds which now traverse the Peace River during their annual migration will drown in the deeper, wider reservoir of Site C. Many migratory species use the valley as a pit stop in long migrations. Soon the food, shelter, and safe passage they seek will be gone, reducing their chances of survival. Grizzly bears, black bears, elk, moose, deer, wolves, coyotes, wolverine, lynx, fox, sheep, and wild horses among others use this vital wildlife corridor.

A myriad of living beings are being killed by Site C dam. Little insects, worms, spiders, beetles, bees, dragonflies, salamanders, snakes, moles, voles, wood rats, squirrels, shrews, chipmunks, burrowing creatures who birth and nurture their young deep in the earth, or high up in a hollow tree...with their winged neighbours - bats, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, songbirds, thrushes, sparrows...along the river shoreline with the trout, minnows, whitefish, shiners and dace, muskrat, beaver, mink, otter, frogs, turtles, snakes, ducks, geese, swans, pelicans, kingfisher, herons, osprey and eagles...endangered and rare plants and riparian habitats.

Site C dam amounts to an ecological holocaust for the animals and the environment, a violation of Treaty 8 First Nations sovereignty and a nail in the coffin of the future of local First Nations youth, removal of food security for the 1 million the farmlands can feed, a huge cost to the taxpayer for a power project at a time when BC Hydro is powering down many hydro producers, all for the benefit of a handful of friends of the BC Liberals. There is not one defensible argument in it's favour. Stop Site C dam now!

Roslyn Cassells
founder Stop Site C Dam group
(over 500 members to date)

Please Share this Urgent Press Release - Wildlife devastated by Site C dam construction in BC's Peace River Valley

~for immediate release - April 28, 2016~

Please feel free to excerpt, reprint, and share any part of this press release or the attached/inline Wildlife Report with attribution.

In-line report follows

Wildlife of the Peace River Valley Endangered by Site C Dam (document download, web and facebook links, email alert list and politicians' emails)

"Mother Earth - militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action." - Berta Caceres, Lenca woman assassinated for her fight against a dam in her territory in Honduras in 2016

There are at least 63 endangered, red-listed, blue-listed, at risk, threatened, & of special concern species of animals who make Site C in the Peace River Valley in northeastern British Columbia, Canada their home. 30 species of migratory birds, 23 species of invertebrates, 6 species of mammals, 2 species of raptors, & 1 amphibian species from this list will be killed due to drowning, electrocution, starvation, loss of habitat, or physical impacts causing injury.

Thousands of other species will also suffer and die due to the Site C Dam. Wildlife will suffer great and irreparable harm, and the protections they are entitled to under BC, Canadian, & International law are not being enforced. The provincial BC Wildlife Act, the Species At Risk Act (SARA), the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC)-(federal), and the Migratory Birds Convention Act (an international act Canada is signatory to) are being blatantly ignored as politicians pursue their political ambitions with complete disregard to these and other laws, and to their duty to Canadians, Treaty 8 First Nations, and our precious and vulnerable wildlife.

The Site C Dam area is also home to many rare and unique plants of which 38 species of vascular plants are at risk (11 are Red-listed, 28 Blue-listed), 3 mosses are blue listed, and 5 lichens are Red-listed and 5 Blue-listed.

The Peace Daisy and Persistent-sepal yellowcress are found only in the Peace River Valley, and they would be extinguished by Site C Dam according to the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources; while Herriot's Sage and Old Man's Whiskers are found only in the Peace Region - their status increasingly imperiled.

The Joint Review Panel which examined the Site C Dam project stated it would cause "significant adverse effect on rare plants" and noted BC Hydro made no attempt whatsoever to assess traditional medicinal plants used by local First Nations. It further stated that some ecosystems would be entirely lost to the project...such as riparian & floodplain forests, tufa seeps, & mari fens which "cannot ever be recreated...their loss complete, permanent, irreversible" and that some ecological communities, including wetlands, would see their status become more precarious.

Site C Dam would result in the probable extirpation of 3 species of fish, a reduction in fish health and survival, and habitat changes which will effect fish genetics and long-term resiliency of fish populations. Scientists deemed these effects to be "negative, large, irreversible and permanent. They can't be fully mitigated."

BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources said the Site C Dam would likely push some species closer to extinction, and that species at risk "have low resilience to disturbance"

Environment Canada called the Peace River region a "biodiversity hotspot" and a vital east-west passage through the Rocky Mountains and the only one below 1000 m in the Yukon to Yellowstone wildlife corridor - essential to species' migration, large mammal movement, and biodiversity...a conservation priority and core wildlife habitat.

Environment Canada also noted 3/4 of BC's 247 bird species use the Peace region (of which 32 are at risk) before even considering migratory and wintering species. It also stated the project could cause mortality of migratory birds by killing individuals or destroying active nests. This is a violation of the Migratory Birds Convention Act which prohibits any person from killing a migratory bird or disturbing, destroying or taking a nest, egg or nest shelter of a migratory bird.

The Joint Review Panel scientists stated the Site C Dam project "would cause significant adverse effects on migratory birds which cannot be mitigated" and that "the region's wildlife has been already significantly impacted by the previous two dams"

And further that the losses of migratory birds to be permanent and unmitigable.

The Species At Risk Act lists Peace River Valley residents Canada Warbler, Common Nighthawk, and Olive-sided Flycatcher as threatened species, and the Northern Mountain Caribou, Woodland Caribou, Western Toad, Short-eared Owl, Yellow Rail and Rusty Blackbird of Special Concern.

COSEWIC, the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife lists as endangered the Little Brown Myotis Bat and the Northern Myotis Bat, the Barn Swallow as threatened, and the Horned Grebe, Bull Trout and Grizzly Bear as of special concern.

The Fisher is blue-listed, as are the Broad-winged Hawk and the Short-eared Owl.

The Eastern Red Bat is red-listed. Nelson's Sparrow, the Yellow Rail, and five species of butterflies are red-listed. Le Conte's Sparrow and the Eastern Phoebe are blue-listed. The Baltimore Oriole and Sharp-tailed Grouse are yellow-listed. Additional listed birds include Bay Breasted Warbler, Black-throated Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Conneticut Warbler, American Avocet, American Golden Plover, American White Pelican, Brant Goose, Cackling Goose, California Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Foster's Tern, Great Blue Heron, Hudsonian Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Short-billed Dowitcher, Wandering Tattler, and the Western Grebe...all residents of the Peace River Valley and Site C Dam area.

Provincially listed fish include Arctic Grayling, Goldeneye, Lake Trout, Pygmy Whitefish, Rainbow Trout, Large-scale Sucker, Northern Pike Minnow, Northern Redbelly Dace, Pearl Dace, Spottail Shiner and Spoonhead Sculpin.

The following provincially and federally listed species (and likely others) would see their status worsen significantly due to the Site C Dam: the Western Toad, Baltimore Oriole, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Nelson's Sparrow, Bull Trout, Yellow Rail, Eastern Phoebe, butterflies Old World Swallowtail, Alberta Arctic, Striped Hairstreak, Great Spangled fritillary, Coral Hairstreak, Common Wood Nymph, Uhler's Arctic, tawny crescent, & Arctic blue, Aphrodite fritillary.

Woodpeckers would lose a significant amount of vital habitat. This has a cascading effect on species which nest in old woodpecker tree hole nests.

The Northern Goshawk, Rocky Mountain Elk, Moose and Mule Deer are listed as species of concern.

There are over 300 wildlife and over 400 plant species identified to date in the Peace River Valley, although biologists suspect there are a number of yet unidentified species present, largely due to the lack of basic research funding over the years.

Who else lives here in the Peace River Valley and whose lives and homes will be destroyed by the Site C Dam?

A myriad of living beings, all interconnected and essential to their and our collective survival. Little insects, worms, spiders, beetles, flies, bees, wasps, dragonflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, salamanders, newts, snakes, mice, moles, voles, wood rats, squirrels, shrews...burrowing beasts, raising their young deep in the earth or high up in a hollow tree...the winged ones - bats, hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds, thrushes, woodpeckers, sparrows, duck, geese, swans, shorebirds...all of whom depend on the rivers, trees, and land for their homes, nests, foods, shelter, as a pit-stop in a lengthy migration.

Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, lynx, fox, coyote, wolf, wolverine, martin, weasel, fisher, beaver, river otter, cougar, muskrat, bison, mink, moose, elk, deer, sheep, wild many will die as their world is flooded?

Who will die because they cannot flee the flood waters because they are too little, not fast enough, not able to outrun the waters or fly away?

All of these animals' lives are equally precious. The rights and obligations to our First Nations under Treaty 8 must be upheld. Fertile farmland essential to our food security must be preserved, and we must learn to coexist in harmony with our natural world and all our relations.

The impending ecological holocaust appears not to matter to our political leaders. The billions of lives which will be ended, these vulnerable individuals, families, and communities - will be destroyed if our society allows political ambition to trump community, greed to trump sharing, and killing to triumph over coexistence.

A better world is possible, let's stand together to protect her!

Email these politicians responsible for violations against wildlife at Site C Dam in BC to demand they stop Site C dam: - federal Minister of Environment & Climate Change federal Minister of Natural Resources BC Minister of Environment Prime Minister of Canada - Christy Clark Premier of BC Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs federal Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood

Hunter Tootoo federal Minister of Fisheries federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General

On facebook join Stop Site C Dam for the latest on the campaign to halt this project:

Be sure to go to "more", then "notifications" to choose what you see.

Visit this link for this Wildlife Report (including graphics & free report download):

Get Site C dam email updates, send request to

Good website for periodic updates on Site C, you can sign up for their reports and sign a petition:

A video link from the Keep the Peace Stop Site C rally at BC Hydro on March 13 about Wildlife Going Extinct Due to Site C Dam, endangered, red & blue listed species, Species At Risk Act, Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Migratory Birds Convention Act violations at Site C dam project:

Joint Review Panel for Site C dam report link:

Protect BC's Endangered Species page:

Beautiful pictures of the Peace River Valley, people, wildlife, land...accompanied by original song and informative words...a MUST SEE!

Don't Mention the Tar Sands: Fort McMurray Fire as Climate Blowback

City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands is Burning to the Ground

by Roger Annis - A Socialist in Canada

May 4, 2016 (updated May 5)

Unseasonably dry and hot weather in Fort McMurray, northern Alberta has inflicted disaster on the city. The city which serves as the hub of one of the world’s largest climate-wrecking projects, the Alberta tar sands, is burning to the ground due to wildfires sparked by unseasonably dry and hot weather.

(Tim Fortin, Flikr Commons)

The wildfires began some five days ago in the forests west of the city and then worsened when strong winds carried the fires to the edge and into the city, creating quasi-apocalyptic conditions. The city center is burning, including the city hospital. Flights in and out of the airport were cancelled as of noon on May 4.

Residents fleeing Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 3, 2016 
(Terry Reith, CBC) 

Scott Long, executive director of provincial operations for Alberta Emergency Management Agency, is reported in the Globe and Mail daily on May 4 saying that the entire city may burn to the ground. “Based on the wildfire reports, the conditions – we don’t want that to happen; obviously we’re working towards preventing that – but it is a possibility that we may lose a large portion of the town, yes.”

Damage to neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray as of May 4, 2016 

Temperatures in northern Alberta have been way above seasonal normals, in the high 20s and low 30s (Celsius). More strong winds are expected through the evening and night of May 4 and 5 as cooler weather moves in.

According to CBC News on May 4, the building housing the command center of firefighting operations in Fort McMurray is threatened by the fire and operations had to be moved. The fire has consumed 10,000 hectares of forested and city land (app. 39 square miles). Some 1,600 homes and buildings have been destroyed.


The city was ordered evacuated on May 3. Most residents fled by road to Edmonton to the south. The rapid pace of the fire’s advance left many residents with very little time to flee. Roads were jammed, causing the normal exit time of ten minutes out of the city to stretch into hours. All four lanes of the highway connecting to Edmonton to the south were occupied by traffic exiting the city.

Thousands of residents have moved into the work camps at tar sands operations north of the city. Most of those operations are well north and are not threatened by the fire.

Update on May 5: The fires burning Fort McMurray continue to spread. The communities of Anzac and Lake Gregoire, located 40 km south of Fort McMurray, have been ordered evacuated. Tar sands extraction operations are not immediately threatened, but several are undergoing expensive shutdowns. About one third of Albert’s daily oil and bitumen production of two million barrels has been shut down.

The government of British Columbia has announced it is unable to send firefighting equipment and personnel to assist because similar hot and dry conditions that sparked the fires in Fort McMurray are causing unseasonably high numbers of forest fires in that province.

Resident Cassie White, 19, told the Globe and Mail that she feared for her life as she fled the city. Her southbound journey was stalled near Gregoire, just south of the city. “On the left was a big gas station; the flames jumped over the highway and blew up the gas station. It was torched,” she said.

“People were driving on the highway shoulder. There were flames maybe 15 feet high right off the highway. There was a dump truck on fire – I had to swerve around it – and there was a pickup truck on fire as well. The entire trailer park on my right was in flames. Roofs were coming down.”

A huge sheet of debris – possibly part of a roof – hit her car as she drove up a hill, she recalled. She saw police officers in oxygen masks and civilians breathing through wet cloths. “It almost looks like a zombie apocalypse,” she told the Globe.

Canada’s radio and television airwaves are swamped with reporting of the panicked escapes of the tens of thousands of residents of the city. Some were stalled at roadside leaving the city as their vehicles ran out of gasoline or their vehicle engines were disabled by smoke. CBC Radio One’s The Current program talked to survivors in its broadcast of May 4.

On the May 5 broadcast of The Current, McMurray resident Crystal Mercredi spoke of her harrowing and chaotic escape from the city, saying that emergency services were barely evident. “They evacuated us so late. So late that people were stuck in traffic, and people were calling the radio station, saying…’We’re bumper-to-bumper. We can’t move. Come and save us…we’re sitting ducks.’ ”

“My nephew got out of school an hour before it burned down,” Mercredi said. 
“They should not have had school yesterday. This was so poorly handled.” (An interactive map at the Current weblink shows the spread of the fire from May 1 to 5.)

The fire chief of the town of Slave Lake told the Globe that forest conditions in northern Alberta are the driest in 20 years. Chief Jamie Coutts and his department answered the call to travel the 400 km to Fort McMurray to fight the fires.

Karl Hill was a fire department captain in Slave Lake in May 2011 when a similar wildfire burned down a third of the small city. He told the Globe that like other firefighters in Slave Lake past and present, he felt a growing sense of unease in recent weeks due to warm and dry conditions across Alberta.

“This spring reminded me a lot of Slave Lake in 2011, in terms of the wind and the early warm weather. I’ve been nervous the last two weeks hoping that another repeat of Slave Lake didn’t happen in Alberta. Unfortunately, today seems to suggest that it has happened. It’s unbelievable.”

Until now, the 2011 fire in Slave Lake was the second largest property damage insurance claim in Canadian history. It was second to the ice storm that hit Montreal in January 1998. That year, a freak, freezing rain storm downed the giant power cables feeding Montreal from hydro-electric dams on the coast of James Bay, 1000 km to the north.

There is a grim irony that the service center of the Alberta tar sands behemoth is burning to the ground due to… rising global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Other factors that may be contributing to the disaster are the geographic planning of Fort McMurray, a city which has grown rapidly along with tar sands production itself during the past two decades, and the many decades of destructive, clearcut forest industry practices which are common right across Canada (see article).

There is great political tragedy that the burning of Fort McMurray coincides with political offensives by the supporters in Canada of fossil fuel extraction and burning. The federal government in Ottawa is unleashing a ‘social license’ campaign in favour of expanded tar sands pipelines emanating from the province of Alberta. The Government of Alberta and its NDP premier, Rachel Notley, is embarked on a parallel effort, while the premier herself is a lead attacker against the pro-planet Leap Manifesto and the movement promoting the manifesto.

The premier of the neighbouring province to the west, British Columbia, where this writer lives, is counting on the tar sands as a customer to the giant ‘Site C’ hydroelectric dam her government is bulldozing into construction. Site C was and is entirely superfluous to the province’s energy needs if the government was serious about shifting energy supply to renewables. The dam is conceived to realize the government’s dreams to sponsor the creation of a liquefied natural gas industry. But those dreams have been frustrated by the exigencies of the world market for fossil fuels.

A news story with photos and video of the raging fire in Fort McMurray is here in the National Post, one of the two daily newspapers in Canada, both conservative and pro-fossil fuels.

Scientific American has reported on May 4, 2016 the burning of Fort McMurray: Destructive Wildfire near Canada’s Oil Sands May Have Been Fueled by Global Warming, by Brian Kahn, May 4, 2016

The devastating natural disaster in Fort McMurray is “consistent” with climate change

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Coincidentally, two recent articles summarize harrowing indicators of an acceleration of destructive consequences of human-induced warming of the planet caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions.

‘Arctic Sea Ice is Falling off a Cliff and it May Not Survive The Summer‘ is a summary of the findings from temperature readings and sea ice conditions in the Arctic region. It is published on Roberts Scribbler on May 2, 2016.

The article reads:

“Back in the first decade of the 21st Century, the mainstream scientific view was that Arctic sea ice would be about in the range that it is today by around 2070 or 2080. And that we wouldn’t be contemplating the possibility of zero or near zero sea ice until the end of this Century. But the amazing ability of an unconscionable fossil fuel emission to rapidly transform our world for the worst appears now to outweigh that cautious science…”

Meanwhile,‘s always-gripping climate science reporter Dahr Jamail has penned a new article on May 2 in which he writes:

Each month as I write these dispatches, I shake my head in disbelief at the rapidity at which anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is occurring. It’s as though each month I think, “It can’t possibly keep happening at this incredible pace.” But it does.

By late April, the Mauna Loa Observatory, which monitors atmospheric carbon dioxide, recorded an incredible daily reading: 409.3 parts per million. That is a range of atmospheric carbon dioxide content that this planet has not seen for the last 15 million years, and 2016 is poised to see these levels only continue to increase.

Jamail’s latest article is here: As climate disruption advances, UN warns: “The future is happening now”.

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‘Governments across Canada not preparing as climate change causes more forest fires’

Excerpt from an article by Mike De Souza published in the National Observer on May 4, 2016:

… The Trudeau government was advised when it was sworn in last November that wildfires were getting worse. The bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada told their new minister, Jim Carr, that governments across the country hadn’t provided enough funding to help communities prepare for the worst.
The provincial, territorial and federal governments developed a Canadian Wildlands Fire Strategy in 2005, calling for “more resilient communities, improving fire management approaches to balance ecological integrity with protection of life and property, and implementing modern business practices.”

But Carr was told that governments didn’t invest enough money to support that strategy in the last decade. “Governments remain supportive of the Strategy, but progress towards implementation over the past decade has been limited, primarily due to fiscal constraints,” said the briefing notes, prepared for Carr.

“The frequency and severity of wild land fires have been trending upwards in the past few decades and summer 2015 was particularly severe. As a result, there have been calls from the public, communities and provinces for increased federal involvement in wildfire management.”

David Schindler, a University of Alberta scientist who studies the ecology of inland bodies of water, said there have been increasingly favourable conditions for forest fires in recent years. He noted that climate scientists have been predicting the increase in forest fires for at least a decade.

“What’s extraordinary up there is humidity has been very low and temperature very high,” Schindler said in an interview with National Observer. “Those are all ingredients for fire weather formulas.”

But he said that it would be hard for anyone to prevent an event like this one.

“My analogy with climate warming is like athletes on steroids,” Schindler said. “You can’t predict world records or who’s going to set them, but you can predict there’s going to be a higher probability of that happening.”