Sunday, November 27, 2016


PNN - Ground Truth, Native News,
Water Blues, Trumps New Choose

JOIN US and these special guests:
Dezeray - On Standing Rock and Palestinian Rights
Jeannie Economos, of the FARMWORKERS ASSOCIATION and her colleague Antonio will discuss the effects of Agricultural Chemicals on Farm Workers and their families
Scott Smith Chief Scientist of  Water Defense will discuss the Phosphate Mine leak and FLINT Michigans' continuing poisonous waters.
Brook Hines Senior Political Commentator  will address the feints, foibles, and folderol of the INCOMING IDIOCRACY and their visible magnificent and mendacious minions.
Ms. Stapleton from Adelaide has unfortunately succumbed and is under the weather she'll join us in the weeks ahead!

We may have some good news in the near FUTURE - the Florida Media Labs maybe expanding our offerings in the coming weeks ahead!

Solidarity & Peace


Rick Spisak News Director PNN 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/newmercurymedia/2016/11/28/pnn--ground-truth

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Grafting a Second Head onto the Body Politic
by RW SPISAK

Where we are today.

Neither of the two highly energized constituencies is going to find itself comfortable being served or "politely ignored" regardless of which figurehead of the two party system is "selected".

The question becomes how to bind the wounds that these two quite opposite constituencies suffer into one working civic whole again.

Now I will dispense with the naysayers quickly, especially those whose dream space is a civil war, with martial law and retraining camps or massive commercial gulags where Hispanic emigres or liberals or posse commitatis types are herded together by a vastly expanded Homeland security. If we turn our vast military strength inward our success will be terribly destructive and short lived.
An American Civil War II - would give all our enemies in the world - more than a free hand - it would plunge much of the world equally into chaos.
Think what China and Russia would do with a free hand in Asia, Africa and South America or worse Antarctica or even more ominously out in Space, the new high ground.

Done.

How do we graft a second head on the body politic which has grown comfortable with gridlock, and complacent in the face of so much need.

I will discuss 3 models.

The Shadow Government Model
The "India/Pakistan" or Vivisection Model
Hybrid/GMO model - the undiscovered country model.

Among the serious issues that must be faced is that we have for a variety of reasons seen our country evolve to a place where several seeming incompatible camps or constituencies are vying for power and social control. Decades of educational policy has encouraged a kind of social myopia which regards certain value  differences as incompatible with a "moral" civil life. And concomitant they would choose the route of legal sanctions to enforce observation of their particular lifestyle choices.

Let me point out a baker's dozen of these dilemmas.

1 Abortion / Anti Abortion
2 Sanctioned enforced civic prayer/ civic agnosticism
3 Racial separation/ Full participation
4 Cultural Diversity / Monoculture
5 Socialized Medicine / Medical Capitalism
6 Drug Control Policy / Legalize it!
7 Free Education / Corporatized Schools
8 Libraries / Sport Arenas for billionaires
9 Land Preservation / Universal Development
10 Organic Food Choices / GMO + Anything goes
11 Honor Treaties / Economic Genocide
12 Civic Parks / Amusement Parks
13 Wild lands / Zoos
14 Racial Profiling / Colorblind Law Enforcement
15 Quality Water Policy / Frack it
16 Investment in Infrastructure/ Capitol Driven Public Policy
17 Robust State Department/ Muscular Foreign Policy
18 Evolution vs Creationism

There are indisputably subtle variations and shades of grey among these but I hope to illustrate a few of the flash points where lifestyle and philosophical choices have ossified to a dangerous friction and either we begin actively work to "give each other the space" to Develop Communities of like-minded social mores or we see these now largely litigious (only occasionally bloody) battles become more destabilizing.

One might idealistically hope, that well and easily within the confines of the American experiment we might allow or at least acquiesce in "tolerance" for a wide range of cultural options.

Unfortunately the zealots among us, people who've come to believe that they, and their private arsenal are the "public enforcers" of their personal morality, seem all too ready to choose confrontation and are often armed with more than the color of law.

We see abortion clinics under attack, anti-cultural and racist attacks increasingly common and an almost daily diet of outrage with judicial and police excesses from coast to coast, that broadly violate a sense of fairness in what can still be cobbled together as a body politic. But civil justice, and even the rule of law frays as it loses the respect of the broader culture especially on so many simultaneous fronts. When the excesses and failures from the bench and behind the badge offend so many and are on HI DEF display on a screen near almost everyone it is civilization that bears the wounds.

And what compact of civilization can persist much less succeed, if trust in civil law has been destroyed?

End Part 1



Part II  - The Unusual Answers (Explored)

The Shadow Government Model

This is the easiest and least satisfying option. But it is the simplest, and least costly to implement.

This approach has many advantages. Among them, it could expand the opportunities for public discussions of serious issues that otherwise might have been ignored.
This approach can facilitate (whether formally or informally) a civic airing of grievances or at the very least, the discussion of perspectives that might otherwise not only be off the table, but too often literally invisible.

The fresh perspectives and insights available in an open public forum might also result in a wider range of solutions under consideration. It might very well profit us all opening up the discussion, not just for broader input, but from the added "Buy in" additional social cohesion will benefit us all.

This broader discussion might just enhance our options. And it might also serve as a pressure release valve that could go a long way to reducing the chance for uncivil behaviors. When the range of ideas under consideration are too narrow and participation is limited, the disenfranchised tend to object.

Recent situations might illustrate how we might have benefited from an opening up of the intellectual doors and throwing open the windows of wisdom.

EXAMPLE 1:
The exclusion of (Senator Sanders / Dr. Jill Steins / Gov. Johnson) from all of the public debates, did not benefit the public, regardless of how it served the interests of the two major private parties.]

EXAMPLE 2:
The only discussions before the public on GM Foods, or NUCLEAR POWER comes complete with the heavy thumbprint of commercial interests, little or no attempt made to present a balanced discussion of their inherent risks / problems, (most of which, remain largely unsolved) and almost never discussed in a public forum absent an immediate catastrophe, which overwhelms any cost benefit analysis, and tends to collapse under the weight of "what must be considered immediately. (See FUKUSHIMA / INDIAN POINT / Turkey Point)

EXAMPLE 3:
The same thing might be said regarding treatment in the mainstream media, of incidents of racial friction, when for example discussions of Black Lives Matter are nearly always framed in a context of Civil Unrest, rather than HUMAN RIGHTS. There seems never to be a time or place for Dispassionate discussion.

EXAMPLE 4:
The near invisibility of any serious public policy discussions of the issue of (Near Universal) PESTICIDE EXPOSURE or the broad ranging impacts of FRACKING BY-PRODUCTS and that is hardly an accident. Although it certainly serves narrow commercial interests.

EXAMPLE 5:
Finally the dangerous lack of public discussion of the nearly (fifty year wars) that has not only made the near east a war zone and a terror and refuge wellspring. But has consumed decades of resources both human and pecuniary. Again this lack of debate serves certain narrow commercial interests with huge consequences not just for Americans but for citizens and resources across the globe.

When war (foreign) policy is obtained, not through debate, but is instead (dialed up) obtained via contrived agitprop engineered to obtain a certain public (acquiescence/buy in) there is no desire in the circles of power for a broader (less controllable) discussion.

Shock and Awe” and “War on Terror” are little more
than carefully market-tested slogans.
SEE: "War to end all Wars" in an earlier era.

All too often, our only glimpses of what our government is actually up to, comes not from official sources, but from "WHISTLE BLOWERS" who are silenced as soon as possible. What is usually within view is the fleetingly visible “ice above the waterline” stories like "BILLIONS UNACCOUNTED FOR IN PENTAGON", "PALETTES of CASH BRIBES for WARLORDS" delivered to... pick one PAKISTAN, LEBANON, SYRIA, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN.

When / Where did the FOREIGN POLICY public debate actually happen? Isn't this a prime responsibilities of our very well paid part time civil servants in Congress. If not during the election cycle THEN WHEN? Tough issue? Very Complex? We're ready, even thirsty for a debate that is somehow never scheduled. Americans ache, but definitely bleed for such an open debate. Hastert Rule, be damned.

I beg to differ with our former Attorney General,
"Due Process", does not in fact mean, we secretly "did a process".
Drones and BLACK SITES are not a real solution to the lack of debate on foreign policy.

Another question quite deserving of debate, which we await is this:

EXAMPLE 6:
Why is there always money for WEAPONS SYSTEMS, (even unwanted dysfunctional expensive systems) but oddly no money for Flint MI Water System or any of the incompletely resolved Superfund Clean Up Sites, which continue to do further damage who have been "orphaned" with little explanation beyond boredom and lack of interest.

HOW IT MIGHT WORK:
A “Shadow Defense Minister”, or a “SHADOW EPA CHIEF” not so beholden to the industry, might be able to raise questions in a public forum that otherwise in MAX BACCUS's apt phase, would be “OFF THE TABLE”.

While the old civic adage, BIPARTISANSHIP PAUSES (ends) at the Shore, has been woefully misplaced of late. It might very well be deserving of exhumation.

What part a “Shadow Secretary of State” might play, could be limited to raising issues not quite comforting to the FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT an establishment that barely seems to listen to its own inhouse expertise much less allows for any out of the box thinking, or something far more robust like TESTIMONY before CONGRESS.

Alternatively Our "shadow” ministers or "secretaries" might hold their own hearings. They might "Write reports" or White papers and thereby stimulate discussion. This would insure discussions that might otherwise not happen, and just might encourage those outside the ring of actual civic power to raise questions and engage in debate. And no doubt it just might stimulate those in power to be more attentive" to a PUBLIC OUTCRY.

END PART II











Sunday, November 06, 2016



PNN - Rack Off - Excerpts from the Summit Presentations
Guests:

RWS - News Director
Brook Hines - Senior Political Commentator
Courtney Horne -Essayist -   Black lives matter and more
Karen Dwyer StoneCrab Alliance On the Hughes Well
Prof. Ingrafea / Context and History of Fracking
Scott Smith - CTO Water Defense
Jennifer Hecker - "What to do?" + Highest Credibility
Houston Cypress - Thoughts on Conference
Megan Sorbo - 10 Year Old Activist

Updates on Assange
Chelsea Manning and Justice
CannonBall, ND - Water Protectors

DR KAREN DWYER


LISTEN

Sunday, October 30, 2016

PNN 10/30
Questions for Sunday
1. TAKE BACK THE BONUSES - Suspended
2. ATTACKING  YEMEN at the behest of the
(Human Rights KINGS) the Saudis
3. HAITI's very slow recovery
4. Social Security itsy bitsy teeny weenie COLA
5. WAR on MOSUL - boots, spooks, drones, phones on the ground
6. Increases in Drugs Costs for ACA victims
7. Obama Care Successes & Failures (Only Winner Insurance Co's)
8. African Oil Issues (Spills and thrills)
9. Increasingly rapid number of Extinct and Endangered Species
10. PIPELINE ISSUES
11. Fukushima Continues
12. WHIPP reOpened
13. Snowden Public Service
14. Chelsea Manning's Suicide Watch
15. Assange - tool of Marx and Engels - a Trotskyite Plot?
16. Israel's Continued Expansion (Clinton promises New Largesse)
17. Facing the Chinese in SE Asia - Island Building and More
18. Problems in the Philipines anti-drug solutions in Duterte's Manilla
19. NO MONEY for FLINT - people still under POISON WATCH
20. Fracking Under the Ohio River
21. Spent Uranium tipped weapons used in Syria?
(James Corbett - 9/11 Truth Teller)

STORIES
1. Depleted Uranium  "SHELL YEAH!"
United States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria
US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict.
21 October 2016 - ICBUW
The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates - the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.
This US strike against an Islamic State fuel truck convoy on 18 November 2015 may have involved DU.
The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assembly resolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.
In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US had confirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating: “U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that:  “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”
CENTCOM confirms DU use
IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to "an error in reporting down range."
“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.”
Unclear why DU was used
The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored. ICBUW had earlier analysed the target information released by CENTCOM for the two dates in question. On neither date did CENTCOM explicitly state that it had launched attacks against armoured vehicles, with the majority of strikes against Islamic State light tactical vehicles, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and oil infrastructure. Such targets have been attacked regularly by the US-led Coalition, apparently without resorting to the use of DU.
The most unusual strike that ICBUW identified took place on the 18th November, when the US attacked 283 parked oil tankers, however the A-10’s alternative 30mm ammunition type – a high explosive incendiary round – would presumably have been sufficient to destroy tankers laden with oil.  Footage released from the strike is indicative of 30mm DU use.
Recently published data from the 2003 Iraq War showed that A-10s used more DU against targets that were not tanks or armoured vehicles, questioning the current US justification that DU was needed in Syria. Historic data from the Gulf War also demonstrated that most armoured targets destroyed by A-10s were targeted by Maverick missiles, not DU.
What must happen now
ICBUW and PAX are calling for urgent clarification from the US authorities on both the incidents and its DU policy for the conflict, and for them to swiftly release detailed and accurate targeting data to ensure that the relevant authorities can conduct clearance and risk awareness efforts and isolate and recover contaminated material. 
“Given DU’s nature as a toxic and radioactive heavy metal, and concerns previously expressed by Syrian civilians that it might be used, it’s deeply worrying that the US chose to use DU again,” said PAX’s researcher Wim Zwijnenburg. “The US should provide all target data and technical assistance to mine-clearance organisations and local authorities to ensure that swift clean-up operations for this low-level radioactive waste is undertaken to prevent Syrian civilians being exposed.”
“Public relations efforts are indicated”
The US has long been conscious of the stigmatisation of the use of DU weapons. As far back as 1991 the US military were advised that: “...fielding and combat activities [with DU] present the potential for adverse international reaction.” It was therefore predictable that Russian state media quickly highlighted news that DU had been used in Syria, with Russia’s embassies in Paris, Ottawa and London tweeting the news, as Russia sought to draw attention away from its own conduct in the conflict.
Russia has its own stocks of DU weapons and consistently abstains on DU resolutions at the UN General Assembly. It seems inevitable that, given the widespread global opposition to the use of the weapons, the Russian and Syrian governments will continue to use the news that DU has been used against the US and its coalition allies.
2. Cannon Ball, ND - This morning, at approximately 8am central, water protectors took back unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie as sovereign land under the control of the Oceti Sakowin, erecting a frontline camp of several structures and tipis on Dakota Access property, just east of ND state highway 1806. This new established camp is 2.5 miles north of the Cannon Ball River, directly on the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This site is directly across the road from where DAPL security dogs attacked water protectors on September 3rd.
To ensure the protection of this new camp from overtly militarized law enforcement, water protectors have established three road blockades:
1. North of the Frontline Camp, on Highway 1806
2. South of the Cannon Ball River, on Highway 1806
3. Immediately west of Highway 1806, on county road 134
Police have discharged weapons, using rubber bullets to shoot down drones being used to document the police activity and actions.
This frontline camp is located on the final three 3 miles of the proposed pipeline route, before it connects with the drill pad that will take the pipeline beneath the Missouri River. Active construction of the Dakota Access pipeline is 2 miles west of this frontline camp. Oceti Sakowin water protectors continue an on-going pledge to halt active construction as frequently as possible.
Mekasi Camp-Horinek, an Oceti Sakowin camp coordinator states, “Today, the Oceti Sakowin has enacted eminent domain on DAPL lands, claiming 1851 treaty rights. This is unceded land. Highway 1806 as of this point is blockaded. We will be occupying this land and staying here until this pipeline is permanently stopped. We need bodies and we need people who are trained in non-violent direct action. We are still staying non-violent and we are still staying peaceful.”
Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network organizer states, “We have never ceded this land. If DAPL can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland. We are here to protect the burial sites here. Highway 1806 has become the no surrender line.”
Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp, “We stand for the water, we stand on our treaties, we stand for unci maka- we stand and face the storm.”
3. Excerpt – The Long War on Syria
"Documents prepared by US Congress researchers in 2005 revealed that the US government was actively weighing regime change in Syria long before the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, challenging the view that US support for the Syrian rebels was based on allegiance to a “democratic uprising” and showing that it was simply an extension of a long-standing policy of seeking to topple the government in Damascus. Indeed, the researchers acknowledged that the US government’s motivation to overthrow the secular Arab nationalist government in Damascus was unrelated to democracy promotion in the Middle East.
In point of fact, they noted that Washington’s preference was for secular dictatorships (Egypt) and monarchies (Jordan and Saudi Arabia.)
The impetus for pursuing regime change, according to the researchers, was a desire to sweep away an impediment to the achievement of US goals in the Middle East related to strengthening Israel, consolidating US domination of Iraq, and fostering open market, free enterprise economies.
Democracy was never a consideration."
Gowans' book Washington’s Long War on Syria is forthcoming April 2017
4. And the "BLEEP" goes on FLINT STILL POISONED!
“I am glad that citizen oversight at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was highlighted as a next step. However, I believe that any citizen oversight commission that is instated should include many of the provisions included in House Bill 5404, 5405, and 5406 that make sure these bodies have the strongest available tools to protect public health, such as the revocation and revision of permits, and other abilities to take enforcement and investigative actions. I also believe we need to make sure that a variety of voices are represented on these commissions, including members of the public and representatives of local governments and environmental leaders. - Rep. Stephanie Chang
AND
IS THE WATER SAFE?
Flint, whose water source was switched in 2014 to save money while the city was under state emergency management, returned to a Detroit-area water system in October. But Flint's 99,000 residents still can't drink the water without a filter until the system has been made safe with corrosion-reducing phosphates, a critical step that was missing when Flint used the river for 18 months. The state is still distributing filters and bottled water at spots throughout Flint. The state health agency says the decision on whether to shower or bathe with city water "is an individual one."
IS THE END IN SIGHT?
The water quality has improved, yet when it will be deemed OK to drink unfiltered is unclear. Another round of testing will be completed in early October. It's also unknown when Flint will receive water from a new regional pipeline that is to draw water from Lake Huron. Lifelong resident Luke Waid said he remains so stressed about lead detected in his 3-year-old daughter Sophia that he had to leave his welding job at an aerospace manufacturer. "I'd get working and all I can think about is, 'Is she OK?'" he said. "It gets to be such a burden. I didn't want to leave her." Before the crisis exploded, Waid, 31, and his fiancee Michelle Rodriguez feared losing custody because of her lead levels, which they worry cause Sophia's symptoms such as irritability. Waid said it's hard to keep a "positive mind frame," not only for his daughter but much of anything.
5. TRACING CURRENTS COURTESY of FUKUSHIMA
Very little is known about ocean currents and generally about dynamics in the oceans. But radioactivity released into the Pacific by the Fukushima nuclear accident, which was quickly diluted to harmless levels, has allowed scientists to trace the ocean's currents.
JRC's expertise in nuclear measurements was instrumental in detecting and quantifying the radioactivity of sea-water samples. The study was carried out with a team of researchers from two Japanese Universities, following a campaign of sampling and measuring anthropogenic radionuclides in the North Pacific. It allowed natural processes using radionuclides as tracers to be studied.
The most important oceanographic conclusion from the study is that most of the surface water transported to the east towards the USA is submerged to a depth of 400 m near to the International Date Line and then turns towards south-west. This movement of the currents was not known prior to this study and will have an impact on e.g. computer models calculating global warming.
The accident in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 led to the release of huge amounts of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. During 2011 and 2012, Japanese scientists collected some 800 water samples and about 80 samples of plankton and suspended particles. In collaboration with the JRC, the samples were analysed, revealing very low levels of radioactivity. To measure such low radiation, the samples were placed deep (225m) underground to avoid interference from cosmic rays in the sensitive instruments.
Three radionuclides from Fukushima were detected in the samples from the Pacific: Caesium-134 (134Cs, half-life: 2.1 years), Caesium-137 (137Cs, half-life: 30 years) and the Silver isotope 110mAg (half-life 0.68 years). The zoo-plankton contained higher amounts of radiocaesium than particulate matter as it consumes organic matter and thereby accumulates caesium. The study of plankton is useful to understand the uptake in the food chain and estimate impact on biosystems of future releases. The measurements of the plankton showed that in all sampling locations the level of radiocaesium was in the order of 30 mBq/g (May/June, 2011) whilst only those samples collected up to 70 km from Fukushima (near to the epicentre of the earthquake) had measurable amounts of 110mAg.
6. 92% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution
World Health Organization
A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.*
"The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it," says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO.
It also represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO. The model is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
Air pollution's toll on human health
Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.
Nearly 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO's South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
Ninety-four per cent are due to noncommunicable diseases -- notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.
"Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations -- women, children and the older adults," adds Dr Bustreo. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last."
Major sources of air pollution include inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities. However, not all air pollution originates from human activity. For example, air quality can also be influenced by dust storms, particularly in regions close to deserts.
Improved air pollution data
The model has carefully calibrated data from satellite and ground stations to maximize reliability. National air pollution exposures were analysed against population and air pollution levels at a grid resolution of about 10 km x 10 km.
"This new model is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden of more than 6 million deaths -- 1 in 9 of total global deaths -- from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. "More and more cities are monitoring air pollution now, satellite data is more comprehensive, and we are getting better at refining the related health estimates."
The interactive maps provide information on population-weighted exposure to particulate matter of an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) for all countries. The map also indicates data on monitoring stations for PM10 and PM2.5 values for about 3000 cities and towns.
"Fast action to tackle air pollution can't come soon enough," adds Dr Neira. "Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cook-stoves, as well as renewable energies and industrial emissions reductions."
* WHO Ambient Air Quality Guidelines
WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world's population lives in places where air quality levels exceed "WHO's Ambient Air quality guidelines" for annual mean of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). WHO guideline limits for annual mean of PM2.5 are 10 μg/m3 annual mean.
PM2.5 includes pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and in the cardiovascular system, posing the greatest risks to human health.
Further information: http://www.who.int/phe/publications/air-pollution-global-assessment/en/
7. No Easement - We dont need no Stinking Easememt
KFYRTV reports,
 “The Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed that the company doesn’t have a written easement from the agency to build on Corps property.  A corps spokesperson says that Energy transfer has filed the paperwork for the easement but it’s still under review.”
“That’s true they don’t have the easement that’s required to install the segment that’s across the Oahe project,” said Larry Janis, Army Corps Of Engineers.
Janis says there is no timetable on when the easement will be granted, but the agency has issued a permission that allows the easement to be written.
Not only is there no written easement for the company to do the proposed work, but also there is a  court case awaiting judgement to try to stop the construction that violates Native American treaties.
Unfortunately the U.S. government has a long history of ignoring these treaties.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


PNN 10/23/16 - THE RIVER OF WISDOM

1 Senator Chuckie Schumar opines the TOP PRIORITY for the Democrats in Congress is Corporate TAX REDUCTIONS
What about cutting costs for ACA? What about improving Social Security Benefits and removing the TAX on Social Security ? What about Diplomacy over Saber Rattling? What about Education? What about Treaty Rights? What about Pollution? What about removing Corporate Welfare and Punishing War Profiteers - What about REAL ACCOUNTING at the Pentagon?
C O R P O R A T E T A X C U T S? ? ? Are you kidding?

2. Wikileaks - Hillary wonders aloud, "Is there not someone who can rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Actually her exact words were "Can't we just DRONE THIS GUY?" According to State Department sources.
The statement drew laughter from the room, which quickly died off when the Secretary kept talking in a terse manner sources said Assange after all was a relatively soft target "walking around freely and thumbing his nose without any fear of reprisals from the United States."

3. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council has voted to allow protesters to build a new camp on the reservation, so that permanent structures can be built protecting them from the Dakotas winter [  @aeagleshield ]

4. 12 Millions on or OFF the table
“No matter what happens, she will be in Morocco hosting CGI [Clinton Global Initiative] on May 5-7, 2015. Her presence was a condition for the Moroccans to proceed so there is no going back on this,” top Clinton aide Huma Abedin wrote to campaign manager Robby Mook in a November 2014 email revealed by Wiki­Leaks. In another email, Abedin warned that if Clinton didn’t attend, the $12 million would be off the table.

5. Hands, lets see a show of hands - How many of you have been offered MILLIONS OF DOLLARS of your spouse would show up for a meeting in the princedom of QATAR??

6. ATT/Time Warner Meger-itis?
Good news for anyone who thinks America’s leading telecom companies are too small and powerless — AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for more than $80 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The reported deal is is the largest merger of content and distribution since Comcast purchased NBC Universal in 2011.
The merger will provide AT&T with copious content to distribute via its wireless, broadband, and satellite TV infrastructure. The telecom has been aggressively seeking an entertainment empire to bring under its umbrella, so as to stock an over-the-top video service it hopes to launch by 2017. Acquiring Time Warner gives that video service privileged access to programming from TNT, TBS, CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros.’ film and television studios.
The purchase, then, will be AT&T’s attempt to occupy a profitable place in the age of cord-cutting. As the Journal noted on Friday, Time Warner’s portfolio of news, prestige programming, and high-value sports content is likely to stay in high demand among cable distributors, even if competition from streaming services forces them to shrink their bundles, to bring down monthly fees.
However, that scale could prove the deal’s undoing. Regulators expressed concerns about the Comcast–NBCU deal five years ago. And since then, the appetite for antitrust enforcement — particularly within the Democratic Party — has grown significantly.
Throughout her 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton has pledged to fight the “excessive concentration” of power within key industries. Whether a Clinton administration would deem AT&T’s ambitions excessive remains to be seen. The telecom giant has donated $196,952 to Clinton’s campaign this cycle, according to Open Secrets.

7. Chuckie Schumar TAx cutting FOR coRPSES
What about cutting costs for ACA? What about improving Social Security Benefits and removing the TAX on Social Security ? What about Diplomacy over Saber Rattling? What about Education? What about Treaty Rights? What about Pollution? What about removing Corporate Welfare and Punishing War Profiteers - What about REAL ACCOUNTING at the Pentagon?
C O R P O R A T E  T A X C U T S? ? ?  Are you kidding?

8. GOOGLE - SPYING Yes (and not exactly)
When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”
And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.
But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.
The change is enabled by default for new Google accounts. Existing users were prompted to opt-in to the change this summer.
The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.
The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.
“The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand,” said Paul Ohm, faculty director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law.
“It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” he said. “That wall has just fallen.”
Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville emailed a statement describing Google’s change in privacy policy as an update to adjust to the “smartphone revolution”
“We updated our ads system, and the associated user controls, to match the way people use Google today: across many different devices,” Faville wrote. She added that the change “is 100% optional–if users do not opt-in to these changes, their Google experience will remain unchanged.” (Read Google’s entire statement.)
Existing Google users were prompted to opt-into the new tracking this summer through a request with titles such as “Some new features for your Google account.”
The “new features” received little scrutiny at the time. Wired wrote that it “gives you more granular control over how ads work across devices.” In a personal tech column, the New York Times also described the change as “new controls for the types of advertisements you see around the web.”
Connecting web browsing habits to personally identifiable information has long been controversial.
Privacy advocates raised a ruckus in 1999 when DoubleClick purchased a data broker that assembled people’s names, addresses and offline interests. The merger could have allowed DoubleClick to combine its web browsing information with people’s names. After an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, DoubleClick sold the broker at a loss.
In response to the controversy, the nascent online advertising industry formed the Network Advertising Initiative in 2000 to establish ethical codes. The industry promised to provide consumers with notice when their data was being collected, and options to opt out.
Most online ad tracking remained essentially anonymous for some time after that. When Google bought DoubleClick in 2007, for instance, the company’s privacy policy stated: “DoubleClick’s ad-serving technology will be targeted based only on the non-personally-identifiable information.”
In 2012, Google changed its privacy policy to allow it to share data about users between different Google services - such as Gmail and search. But it kept data from DoubleClick – whose tracking technology is enabled on half of the top 1 million websites – separate.
But the era of social networking has ushered in a new wave of identifiable tracking, in which services such as Facebook and Twitter have been able to track logged-in users when they shared an item from another website.
Two years ago, Facebook announced that it would track its users by name across the Internet when they visit websites containing Facebook buttons such as “Share” and “Like” – even when users don’t click on the button. (Here’s how you can opt out of the targeted ads generated by that tracking).
Offline data brokers also started to merge their mailing lists with online shoppers. “The marriage of online and offline is the ad targeting of the last 10 years on steroids,” said Scott Howe, chief executive of broker firm Acxiom.
To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services." You can also delete past activity from your account.

9. Next Cold War Roundup 10/21/16
Civilians are used as human shields by jihadists in both Aleppo and Mosul. UN Human Rights Council voted for a war crimes inquiry in Syria. Russia produced evidence of a Belgian airstrike in Aleppo Kurdish village that killed civilians. ISIS claims a shootdown of a US A-10 warplane in eastern Syria. ISIS leaders are leaving Mosul and a corridor is open for ISIS fighters to flee to Syria. ISIS cells launched attacks in Kirkuk. US allies Turkey and Syrian Kurds are fighting each other in northern Syria.
Mosul
_ Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports “tensions” between members of the coalition fighting in the battle for Mosul, with Peshmerga, on the “Kurdish front” 30 miles east of Mosul, complaining that the Iraqi army hadn’t taken some of the villages they were supposed to take, and the Iraqi forces saying they were waiting for the Peshmerga to finish their bit. Some major western media seem somewhat eager to report negatively on the Iraqi forces, as demonstrated in this NBC report from Richard Engel on Wednesday.
_ A Pentagon spokesman said the villages in the area are historically Kurdish and the “ethnic dynamic” changes as you get closer to Mosul, where the Iraqi forces will be “more of the frontline troops.” Pauses during advances are done for logistical reasons, according to the spokesman. Some of the WSJ quotes came from a Peshmerga general who is the brother of Iraqi Kurdistan’s president, Masoud Barzani.
_ 5,000 US troops are in the area supporting the Iraqi coalition. Some are American and Canadian special operations forces on the frontlines calling in airstrikes. There are 10,000 Kurdish fighters and 18,000 Iraqi security forces, according to the Pentagon. The Kurds approach from 2 angles in the east, Iraqi forces from 2 angles in the south and southeast.
_ ISIS set oil wells on fire in the town of Hamdaniya as an attempt to stop the Kurdish Peshmerga advance.
_ The UN warned that ISIS is using civilians as human shields in Mosul.
_ Turkey continues to insist that it will play a role in Mosul.  US Sec. Defense Carter said “he will emphasize the importance of respecting Iraq’s sovereignty on his visit to Turkey on Friday.” Carter also “reaffirmed his support for the US-Turkey strategic alliance.”

10. WHO's BEHIND the Dakota Pipeline (80 Arrested)
Enbridge, along with Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners, Sunco Logistics and Marathon, are behind-the-scenes of the Bakken Pipeline — which includes the Dakota Access Pipeline — and are banking on a massive payoff at the community's expense. At $1.5 billion, Enbridge acquired the largest ownership stake.¹
An Enbridge-Spectra merger not only creates a mega-corporation, but also increases the power of Big Oil and Gas and emboldens them to continue to build the Dakota Access Pipeline over the objections of Native American water protectors. Beyond this project, they will continue to build out other pipeline and oil and gas export projects to maximize production, all at the expense of targeted communities and our climate. Send a message to block the oil and gas industry from consolidating and running rampant in our communities.
Dirty fossil fuel projects endanger our communities, and we have to look no further than Enbridge and Spectra to see how these corporations are harming us and destroying our environment. In 2010, Enbridge sent thousands of barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, and it was Spectra's pipeline that exploded in Pennsylvania earlier this year, severely burning a person.

Sunday, September 18, 2016




PNN - The Circle of Waters
9/18/16

1. Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention into the Earth’s climatic system. This is done through various means, one of which is the spraying of chemicals into the atmosphere via planes. Weather modification actually dates back to the 1940s, when the General Electric Company demonstrated that a cloud of super-cooled water droplets could be transformed into ice crystals when seeded with dry ice.

The Hughes Aircraft Company even has a patent dating back more than twenty years ago, to 1990. You can take a look at it here. It contains 18 claims to reduce global warming through stratospheric seeding with aluminum oxide, thorium oxide, and refractory Welsbach material.
Today, geoengineering programs are spread across various academic institutions. For example, if we look at  SPICE, a United Kingdom government funded geoengineering research project that collaborates with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Bristol, some of the proposed particles to spray in the atmosphere include
  • Sulphate/Sulphuric Acid/Sulphur Dioxide
  • Titania
  • Silicon Carbide
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Alumina
  • Silica
  • Zinc Oxide
SPICE is just one example of multiple programs. It’s always noteworthy to mention that geoengineering has also been used for more mundane purposes, such as to modify the weather in China for the 2008 Olympics. (source) This, to me, seems like a grossly irresponsible use of technology. In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest these programs are already operational, and have been for quite some time. Whether their true purpose is indeed to combat climate change, or something else, is still up for debate.
The CIA and other federal agencies control these programs, and under the guise of national security they remain classified. This means that if they are actually spraying things into the atmosphere, we would never hear about it. A 1996 report conducted by top military personnel in the U.S., titled “Weather as a Force Multiplier; Owning the Weather in 2025,” reveals the supposed urgency to implement these programs.
In addition to specific research programs sponsored by federal agencies, there are other functions related to weather modification which are performed in several places in the executive branch. Various federal advisory panels and committees and their staffs — established to conduct in-depth studies and prepare comprehensive reports, to provide advice or recommendations, or to coordinate federal weather modification programs — have been housed and supported within executive departments, agencies, or offices.

There are literally dozens upon dozens of documents like the ones you see listed above. As you can see, this has been the topic of discussion for many years, but most people are still unaware of it, and these programs have not been publicly discussed until now. That being said, many ‘prominent’ figures have voiced their concerns over the years.
The latest example would be HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud, humanitarian and daughter of King Saudi, when she compared geoengineering science and programs to weapons of mass destruction, arguing that their implementation is like setting off a bomb without the nuclear explosion. You can read more about in the specific article about her that’s linked below.
Personally, after researching this topic for years, I have come to believe that climate change, while a legitimate threat to our planet, is being used for alternative agendas, and I’m not the only one. It wasn’t long ago when the Australian prime minister’s chief business adviser said that climate change is a ‘ruse’ led by the United Nations to create a new world order under the agency’s control.
You can read more about his comments here. We see the same thing with the ‘war on terror,’ which is now littered with false flag terrorism, or the ‘war on drugs,’ even though the CIA seems to be the biggest drug dealer of them all. The list goes on and on. The global elite are no strangers to creating a problem so they can propose and justify the solution that will best serve their own ends. We seem to be approaching this point with climate change — it’s something that will require drastic measures to solve, so I wonder if geoengineering will be presented as the solution. I hope not.
Below is a video a video of the current CIA director, John O. Brennan, discussing the topic. What are your thoughts?

2. The new Snowden Movie
It turned out, last night was more than a live interview with Mr Snowden, it was a sneak preview of the new Snowden movie by Oliver Stone. The film was made with grace and respect. It was on a par with his (Oliver Stones') JFK FILM. Stone gives us a guided tour into the life of a gifted hacker, who through skills and his internal compass of honor rose rapidly in the elite of technical programmers. 
Quite effectively guiding us into the world of security hacking in a way that made clear Snowden's slow inexorable tilt (think of King slow bending arc of Liberty) to a place where he recognized that the "possible" wasn't always a positive achievement and "the good guys"  by circumventing all safeguards and stepping cunningly around constitutional limits, these guardians had become the barbarians not at the gate, but had become the barbarians that had loosed the hell of "the end of privacy" and a new global insecurity state. 
Superbly drawn, telling not just a human tale, and a intricate technological story.  But weaving in the Glen Greenwald, Laura Poitras Hong Kong press revelation and exposure story and keeping us cooped up, waiting with Snowden in that Hong Kong hotel suite, We too begin to succumb to a feeling of being exposed and vulnerable. We too are one human, poised against the security state, while trying to thread the needle of international media and real danger. Hoping to somehow keep his very endangered skin all in one piece. 
A story of high geekdom, and managing to explain effectively the precarious state of our vanishing liberties in the age of global interconnectivity.  Snowden in the post film chat gave us one other important set of metaphors about privacy.
He said, and I paraphrase - "PRIVACY is at its root the very center of self. We can have no freedom with out privacy. Freedom of speech alows us to define ourselves by what WE CHOOSE to reveal, and what we choose to keep inside. Our Constitutional guarantee of protection from unreasonable searches and seizure is at its core about PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS even the idea of ownership is impossible without a privacy right. And those who drag out that dangerous old saw - I you have nothing to hide... hardly ever recognize that was HERMAN GOEBBELS logic, when asked about the POLICE STATE " 
Highly recommended- 
PNN - Listen
  1. The Feds will soon be able to hack anyone (LEGALLY)
igital devices and software programs are complicated. Behind the pointing and clicking on screen are thousands of processes and routines that make everything work. So when malicious software—malware—invades a system, even seemingly small changes to the system can have unpredictable impacts.
That’s why it’s so concerning that the Justice Department is planning a vast expansion of government hacking. Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims. The unintended consequences could be staggering.
The new plan to drastically expand the government’s hacking and surveillance authorities is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant. If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1. With just six work weeks remaining on the Senate schedule and a long Congressional to-do list, time is running out.
The government says it needs this power to investigate a network of devices infected with malware and controlled by a criminal—what’s known as a “botnet.” But the Justice Department has given the public far too little information about its hacking tools and how it plans to use them. And the amendments to Rule 41 are woefully short on protections for the security of hospitals, life-saving computer systems, or the phones and electronic devices of innocent Americans.
Without rigorous and periodic evaluation of hacking software by independent experts, it would be nothing short of reckless to allow this massive expansion of government hacking.
If malware crashes your personal computer or phone, it can mean a loss of photos, documents and records—a major inconvenience. But if a hospital’s computer system or other critical infrastructure crashes, it puts lives at risk. Surgical directives are lost. Medical histories are inaccessible. Patients can wait hours for care. If critical information isn’t available to doctors, people could die. Without new safeguards on the government’s hacking authority, the FBI could very well be responsible for this kind of tragedy in the future.
No one believes the government is setting out to damage victims’ computers. But history shows just how hard it is to get hacking tools right. Indeed, recent experience shows that tools developed by law enforcement have actually been co-opted and used by criminals and miscreants. For example, the FBI digital wiretapping tool Carnivore, later renamed DCS 3000, had weaknesses (which were eventually publicly identified) that made it vulnerable to spoofing by unauthorized parties, allowing criminals to hijack legitimate government searches. Cisco’s Law Enforcement access standards, the guidelines for allowing government wiretaps through Cisco’s routers, had similar weaknessesthat security researchers discovered.
The government will likely argue that its tools for going after large botnets have yet to cause the kind of unintended damage we describe. But it is impossible to verify that claim without more transparency from the agencies about their operations. Even if the claim is true, today’s botnets are simple, and their commands can easily be found online. So even if the FBI’s investigative techniques are effective today, in the future that might not be the case. Damage to devices or files can happen when a software program searches and finds pieces of the botnet hidden on a victim’s computer. Indeed, damage happens even when changes are straightforward: recently an anti-virus scanshut down a device in the middle of heart surgery.
Compounding the problem is that the FBI keeps its hacking techniques shrouded in secrecy. The FBI’s statements to date do not inspire confidence that it will take the necessary precautions to test malware before deploying them in the field. One FBI special agent recently testified that a tool was safe because he tested it on his home computer, and it “did not make any changes to the security settings on my computer.” This obviously falls far short of the testing needed to vet a complicated hacking tool that could be unleashed on millions of devices.
Why would Congress approve such a short-sighted proposal? It didn’t. Congress had no role in writing or approving these changes, which were developed by the US court system through an obscure procedural process. This process was intended for updating minor procedural rules, not for making major policy decisions.
This kind of vast expansion of government mass hacking and surveillance is clearly a policy decision. This is a job for Congress, not a little-known court process.
If Congress had to pass a bill to enact these changes, it almost surely would not pass as written. The Justice Department may need new authorities to identify and search anonymous computers linked to digital crimes. But this package of changes is far too broad, with far too little oversight or protections against collateral damage.
Congress should block these rule changes from going into effect by passing the bipartisan, bicameral Stopping Mass Hacking Act. Americans deserve a real debate about the best way to update our laws to address online threats.

  1. Detention of Turkish Intellectuals
Repression of Turkish intellectuals elicits global response

Prolonging religious holidays to make them long vacations has been an established practice in Turkey. Religious holidays were seen as opportunities to heal social wounds and settle disputes. But nowadays, that practice appears to further deepen existing political and ideological fissures while enabling millions of Turks to hit the roads for short holidays.

At dawn on Sept. 10, the apartments of two Turkish opinion leaders and public intellectuals were raided by police in Istanbul. They have been under detention since the first hours of the nine-day-long Eid al-Adha holidays. Nobody has heard from them. Their lawyers could not find the prosecutor who signed their detention warrants because he was on vacation, and they were not allowed to see their clients.

The detainees are not only neighbors in the same condominium, they are also brothers. The elder brother, Ahmet Altan, 66, is a best-selling novelist, a veteran journalist and the former editor-in-chief of Taraf, the controversial daily that rocked Turkey with sensational news stories on the alleged coup preparations of the military against the Justice and Development Part government during the first decade of the 2000s.

The younger brother, Mehmet Altan, 63, is a professor of economics but is better known as a columnist who pioneered the trend called “Second Republicans” demanding the termination of the “First Republic” founded by Kemal Ataturk, whose guardian was the military.

Both are household names in Turkey, known for their irreconcilable hostility to anything related to the military. Yet, a public prosecutor — one of those who orchestrated the unprecedented crackdown in Turkey’s recent history — charged the brothers with colluding with the military. With no substantial evidence to prove the brothers’ association with the failed coup, the prosecutor brought up an unheard-of charge, accusing the Altans of participating in a coup plot by giving “subliminal” or “subconscious” messages in a television talk show a day before the coup attempt.

Subliminal” messages!

The Altans’ lawyers, who had no access to their clients nor to the prosecutor himself, uncovered the brand-new allegation from information the prosecutor’s office had leaked to the press.

The two brothers are spending the long religious holiday in detention and in unknown conditions. The Turkish media — those that are pro-government propaganda tools under the strict control of authorities and also circumscribed by the State of Emergency — has remained silent about the fate of their well-known colleagues. Some even found this an opportunity to settle scores using pro-government propaganda tools and to engage in vendettas.

As much as there is silence in the media of today’s Turkey, there is simultaneously an uproar in the world’s intelligentsia.

The detentions of Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan created an enormous backlash across the world, with hundreds of international intellectuals signing a letter of protest against the Turkish government. At the time of this writing, the number of international intellectual celebrities had reached 217, and the number continues to soar. [See related reading below.]

The campaign — initiated by Nobel laureates J.M. Coetzee of South Africa, the recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in literature, and Orhan Pamuk of Turkey, a 2006 Nobel winner — has been joined by Herta Muller of Germany, the 2009 Nobel laureate.

The signatories include very prominent literary figures from all around the world. The names of Elena Ferrante, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Hanif Kureishi, Julian Barnes, Elif Shafak and Gunter Walraff are just some among the scores of important pens.

Internationally acclaimed philosophers and sociologists have quickly joined in. Among leading intellectuals and academics are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Noam Chomsky — a familiar name for similar campaigns — international heavyweight and octogenarian American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, renowned French philosopher Etienne Balibar and his Irish colleague Philip Pettit. Many belong to the most prestigious learning institutions in the world.

Names ranging from British movie star Emma Thompson to her compatriot — the well-known playwright Tom Stoppard — and Nick Cave, a big-name musician with millions of fans around the globe, are united in solidarity with the Altans and other prominent Turkish intellectuals and journalists such as Asli Erdogan, Sahin Alpay and Nazli Ilicak, who were arrested during the witch hunt, which continues in the wake of the failed coup.

To bring together so many influential literary, artistic and intellectual heavy guns is no easy task. It serves as a clue to the severity of the repression of intellectuals in Turkey. It beckons with the call: Nobel laureates and prominent intellectuals of the world unite! Unite against the repression of Turkish intellectuals!

Indeed, the British online daily The Independent published an article headlined ‘Novelists fighting for jailed Turkish writer Ahmet Altan is the kind of modern diplomacy we urgently need’. Alessio Colonnelli wrote, “With Western leaders failing us, we need great international minds to act. They have a clear vision and an audience of tens of millions of people.”

He brilliantly stated, “These writers have huge international readerships, with their words translated into [dozens] of languages. Their timely reaction is precisely what has been lacking in the handling of diplomatic and cultural events such as these up until now. We are seeing the direct engagement of our finest minds in addressing brutality on our behalf. We pay for their work, and they speak for us; a personal relationship between writer and reader of the type we used to see regularly until the end of the 1970s.”

From Turkey to Egypt, the imprisonment of creative[s] and intellectuals has reached unprecedented levels,” read Colonnelli’s piece in The Independent — realizing that the governments of those countries are increasingly becoming a burden on the civilized world.

Turkey in particular–different from Egypt–is part of the Western world and a member of Western organizations, institutions and alliances. Turning their backs to such irregularities in Turkey for the sake of short-range interests and realpolitik is becoming a shameful act on the part of Turkey’s Western friends and allies.

It is getting to be more and more unsustainable. The growing reaction of the international intelligentsia is a glimpse of hope not only for the freedom of Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan — who are spending the long holiday in an Istanbul jail — but also for other jailed intellectuals and journalists and for Turkey itself.

Cengiz Candar is a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse. A journalist since 1976, he is the author of seven books in the Turkish language, mainly on Middle East issues, including the best-seller Mesopotamia Express: A Journey in History. Currently, he is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Stockholm University Institute of Turkish Studies (SUITS). On Twitter: @cengizcandar

Related reading:
World outrage over detentions in Turkey of writers and journalists, published by Platform 24, Sept 14, 2016 (updated on Sept 16, 2016)

The number of international writers and scholars supporting a letter protesting persecution of Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and other prominent writers in Turkey has reached 241 as of Sept 16, 2016.


PNN the Circle of Waters, whether dividing us or linking us, we must drink deep. We find ourselves discussing how we come together to protect each other and the sacred waters in a wonderful heart to heart with Nicole Williams a deeply committed member of the First Nations who has committed so much of her life as has her family to protecting the waters that surround and nurture us. She talks with us about the Standing Rock confrontation where the PROTECTORS have faced vicious dogs and pepper-spray and bulldozers are they try to awaken an understanding of the seriousness of the threats to their sacred burial lands, their precious water and the waters that ultimately nourish millions who depend on the Missouri River. We stand with her and with all those who oppose the poisoning of our Earth and her Sacred Waters upon which we all depend.

Brook and I will also be joined by Lucy Garin a psychologist whose family fled Armenia during the Turkish genocide and found refuge in Syria and Lebanon. Her young life was spent in these countries and she offers us a very different perspective than you might obtain from CNN or MSNBC.
Finally, we have the great good fortune to welcome a Progressive webcaster Gwendolyn Holden Barry who will share her insights both spiritual and political sharing with us the benefit of her long experience defending the Earth and her family.
Brook will as always share her political insight on the democratic party and the party movers and molders.
(Some much moldier than others)