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Going Nuclear in the Antipodes: Australia’s Megadeath Complex

Mon, 2019-07-08 15:46

A nuclear fuel rod assembly bundle being inspected before entering a reactor. Photograph Source: RIA Novosti archive, image #132603 / Ruslan Krivobok – CC BY-SA 3.0

The antipodes has had a fraught relationship with the nuclear option. At the distant ends of the earth, New Zealand took a stand against the death complex, assuming the forefront of restricting the deployment of nuclear assets in its proximity. This drove Australia bonkers with moral envy and strategic fury. The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987 made the country a nuclear and biological weapons-free area. It was a thumbing, defiant gesture against the United States, but what is sometimes forgotten is that it was also a statement to other powers – including France – who might venture to experiment and test their weapons in the Pacific environs.

The Lange government had made an anti-nuclear platform indispensable to an independent foreign policy, one that caused a fair share of consternation in Washington. The satellite was misbehaving, and seeking to break free from its US orbit. “If we don’t pass this law, if we don’t declare ourselves nuclear free,” insisted Prime Minister David Lange, “we will have anarchy on the harbours and in the streets.”

An important provision of the Act remains clause 9(2): “The Prime Minister may only grant approval for the entry into the internal waters of New Zealand by foreign warships if the Prime Minister is satisfied that the warships will not be carrying any nuclear explosive device upon their entry into the internal waters of New Zealand.”

The reaction from the US Congress was a cool one: the Broomfield Act was duly passed in the House: an ally had been recast as a somewhat disregarding “friend”. It urged New Zealand to “reconsider its decision and law denying port access to certain US ships” and “resume its obligations under the ANZUS Treaty.” Various “security assistance and arms export preferences” to New Zealand would be suspended till the President determined that the country was compliant with the Treaty.

As Anglo-American retainer and policing authority of the Pacific, Australia has had sporadic flirts with the nuclear option, one shadowing the creation of the Australian National University, the Woomera Rocket Range and the Snowy Mountains hydro-electricity scheme. Australian territory had been used, and abused, by British forces keen to test Albion’s own acquisition of an atomic option. The Maralinga atomic weapons test range remains a poisoned reminder of that period, but was hoped to be a prelude to establishing an independent Australia nuclear force. Cooperation with Britain was to be key, and Australian defence spending, including the acquisition of 24 pricey F-111 fighter bombers from the US in the 1960s, was premised on a deliverable nuclear capability.

During John Gorton’s short stint as prime minister in the late 1960s, rudimentary efforts were made at Jervis Bay to develop what would have been a reactor capable of generating plutonium under the broad aegis of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Gorton’s premiership ended in 1971; Australia slid back into the sheltering comforts of Washington’s unverifiable nuclear umbrella.

The influential chairman of the AAEC, Philip Baxter, who held the reins between 1956 and 1972 with a passion for secrecy, never gave up his dream of encouraging the production of weapons grade plutonium. It led historian Ann Moyal to reflect on the “problems and danger of closed government”, with nuclear policy framed “through the influence of one powerful administrator surrounded by largely silent men”.

Nuclear weapons have a habit of inducing the worst of human traits. Envy, fear, and pride tend to coagulate, producing a nerdish disposition that tolerates mass murder in the name of faux strategy. With the boisterous emergence of China, Australian academics and security hacks have been bitten by the nuclear bug. In 2018, Stephan Frühling, Associate Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University fantasised about adorning the Australian coastline with tactical, short-range nuclear weapons.

It was a fantasy he was happy to recommend to audiences tuning in to the ABC’s Late Night Live. “In air and naval battle on the high seas, nukes can now be employed without significant risk of collateral damage much like conventional warheads.” Such thinking has the hallmarks of redux insanity in the field of nuclear thinking, the sort that deems such weapons equivalent in their characteristics to conventional types.

And what of the much vaunted US nuclear umbrella? By stepping out of it, Australia was surely making a statement of cranky independence. Frühling’s suggestion is symptomatic of a field filled with syndromes and disorders. “Before investing in a nuclear program I think we would have to make a genuine attempt at trying to draw closer to the United States and its nuclear arsenal.” By stepping out, you have to be stepping in.

His work exudes a lingering suspicion that the ANZUS treaty binding both Australia and the United States remains foamy and indistinct on the issue of territorial defence. Since Vietnam, there has been little by way of joint operations in the Pacific between the two. The treaty’s preamble outlining the allies’ need to “declare publicly and formally their sense of unity, so that no potential aggressor could be under any illusion that any of them stand alone in the Pacific Area” remains distinctly free of evidence and logistical heft.

Other authors who claim to be doyens of Australian strategic thinking also fear the seize-the-prize intentions of the Yellow Peril and a half-hearted Uncle Sam keen to look away from “the Indo-Pacific and its allies.” Paul Dibb, Richard Brabin-Smith and Brendan Sargeant, all with ANU affiliations, call for “a radically new defence policy,” which might be read as a terror of the US imperium in retreat. For Dibb, Australia “should aim for greater defence self-reliance.” This would involve “developing a Defence Force capable of denying our approaches to a well-armed adversary capable of engaging us in sustained high-intensity conflict.”

Such writings suggest an element of the unhinged at play. The paternal protector snubs the child; the child goes mad and seeks comfort in suitable toys. Brabin-Smith broods over the end of extended nuclear deterrence, “not just for us but for other US allies in the Pacific, Japan especially.” This might well precipitate nuclear proliferation in the Pacific, requiring “Australia to review its own position on nuclear weapons.”

Not wishing to be left off the increasingly crowded nuclear wagon, Australia’s long standing commentator on China, Hugh White, has also put his oar in, building up the pro-nuclear argument in what he calls a “difficult and uncomfortable” question. (Age does have its own liberating qualities.) Having suggested in 2017 that the China-US tussle in the Pacific would eventually lead to a victory for Beijing, he has his own recipe for a re-ordering of the Australian defence establishment. How to Defend Australia suggests what needs to be done and, as is the nature of such texts, what the bunglers in the security establishment are actually doing. It is also a paean about future loss. “We have been very fortunate to live under America’s protection for so long and we will sorely miss it when it is gone.”

White advocates an Australian Defence Force heavily reliant on sinking flotillas: “only ships can carry the vast amounts of material required for a major land campaign”. Sell most of the surface vessels, he urges; abandon existing plans to build more; build a fleet of 24 to 36 submarines and increase defence spending from the current levels of 2% to 3.5%.

Then comes the issue of a nuclear capability, previously unneeded given the pillowing comforts of the US umbrella, underpinned by the assurance that Washington was “the primary power in Asia”. White shows more consideration than other nuclear groupies in acknowledging the existential dangers. Acquiring such weapons would come at a Mephistophelian cost. “It would make us less secure in some ways, that’s why in some ways I think it’s appalling.”

The nuclear call doing the rounds in Canberra is a bit of old man’s bravado, and a glowering approach to the non-proliferation thrust of the current international regime. Should Australia embark on a nuclear program, it is bound to coalescence a range of otherwise divided interests across the country. It will also thrill other nuclear aspirants excoriated for daring to obtain such an option. The mullahs in Iran will crow, North Korea will be reassured, and states in the Asian-Pacific may well reconsider their benign status.

Conservation Groups Challenge Logging and Burning Project in Idaho Roadless Area 

Mon, 2019-07-08 15:45

Rowley Canyon. Photo: Katie Fite.

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest just approved the Rowley Canyon Wildlife Enhancement Project that would cut and burn 1,666 acres of sagebrush, juniper, maple, and mountain mahogany trees with mechanized, track-based, mastication equipment.  But nothing about this project even marginally enhances habitat for wildlife.  If the Forest Service accurately labeled the project, it would have been called the “Rowley Canyon Weed Enhancement Project” or the “Rowley Canyon Fleece the Taxpayer Project” or even the “Rowley Canyon Wildlife Destruction Project.”

That’s why the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Wildlands Defense, and Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Pocatello, Idaho this week challenging the project in the Elkhorn Inventoried Roadless Area in Southeast Idaho.

This senseless project will spend taxpayers’ money destroying important big game habitat and good sagebrush nesting habitat for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, as well as juniper, maple, and mountain mahogany habitat for native raptors and many kinds of migratory songbirds.

Being an Inventoried Roadless Area, this area has excellent wilderness potential and would be designated as Wilderness under the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) currently pending in Congress.  The measure, S. 827, already has 13 Senate co-sponsors, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, and 40 Representatives co-sponsoring it as H.R. 1321 in the House.  NREPA recognizes and would protect the Elkhorn Inventoried Roadless Area as an important wildlife corridor.

Roadless areas are legally supposed to be managed with no intervention.  They are supposed to be managed by Nature, which manages for free.  This is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and is actually nothing more than a make-work jobs program for Forest Service bureaucrats.  But the impacts are very real.

Native junipers are very important forelk and deer winter range.  They provide hiding cover, thermal cover, and forage. They also reduce snow depth by creating tree wells in the snow.  What the Forest Service is really doing is trying to increase grazing for cows — but even that is a misrepresentation because what the project will actually increase is invasive cheatgrass.

Bringing mechanized equipment in to log and burn in this roadless area will inevitably introduce cheatgrass as similar projects have done across the West.  Cheatgrass is a very aggressive weed that has proven almost impossible to eradicate, is inedible for wildlife or cattle after it dries out in early spring, and has seeds that are so hard and sharp they can penetrate the stomach and intestines of animals that try to ingest them. The seeds can also blind the eyes of nesting birds that use sagebrush habitat and replaces the forbs that sage grouse depend on to feed their chicks.

Additionally, burning large tracts of sagebrush, juniper, maple, and mountain mahogany habitat vastly increases wildfire risk, lengthening the fire season by two months in the spring and two months in the fall because once cheatgrass dries out it becomes highly flammable, creating extreme wildfire hazards annually. By comparison, peer-reviewed studies found undisturbed sagebrush, juniper, maple, and mountain mahogany habitat only burns every several hundred years in the Intermountain West.

Instead of enhancing wildlife habitat, the Forest Service will destroy it. Elk and deer will be driven out of public lands onto private lands and impacting the ability of Idaho’s wildlife managers to meet their big game population objectives.  Furthermore, the concentration of elk on private lands could also result in the transmission of brucellosis to cattle, which may well destroy the ranchers’ livelihood.

The Forest Service should have done an environmental analysis and given the public an opportunity to comment and ask hard questions like, “what is really getting enhanced, wildlife or bureaucrats’ wallets?”  Instead, the Trump administration decided to “categorically exclude” the project from an environmental analysis and public review, comment, and objection.  As advocates for the preservation of native ecosystems on public lands and the public’s right to have a say in the management of those lands, we were left with no option except to exercise our First Amendment rights and take the government to court — which is just what we’re doing.   Please help us fight Trump administration’s plan to destroy one of Idaho’s premier roadless areas.

5G Complexities and National Security

Mon, 2019-07-08 15:45

In case you missed the kickoff, there is an unprecedented ‘must win’ wireless race for the US to cross the 5G finish line before China as alluded to during the recent Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing on the Federal Commerce Commission.

The details were thin with no real discussion on the need for 5G or its complexities including the national security implications of China beating out the USA! USA! or any mention of its dangerous, toxic health consequences or the true implications on the Massive Internet of Things (MIOT) decoded as the Dastardly Dark Utopian Vision of Future Illusion which promises a generation of trans-humans. One already occurring aspect of the MIOT is when the overlap between government and the unelected tech giants becomes indistinguishable, representative democracy becomes passe.

During remarks at the White House in April (with Ivanka present to make her own comments), President Donald Trump said “Winning the race to be the world’s leading provider of 5G cellular and communication networks; we want to be the leader in this. We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. We just can’t let that happen. It is a race America must win.”

At stake, is at least a decade of global technological, economic and military dominance that would create three million new jobs, $500 billion in GDP and $275 billion in private sector investment. With over 300 million consumers, the US became the world’s tech and innovation hub as a result of its 4G global leadership. Adding $100 billion to the GDP with wireless jobs that grew at 84% and a $950 billion app economy, the US became the world’s strongest wireless economy and world leader in mobile broadband.

As a result of its leadership, today’s largest tech stocks continue to drive the US economy with a technical expertise that spawned the US-based mega tech companies (Google/Amazon/MS/FB/Twitter/MS). Many of those American-made companies have taken thousands of skilled jobs and lucrative contracts outside the US which is, after all, what the globalist agenda is all about. As 5G looms in an increasingly competitive global market, US dominance to sustain its competitive advantage is being put to the test.

National Security Council on 5G

Sometime in late 2017, the National Security Council briefed the Trump Administration on its recommendations for a comprehensive “Eisenhower National Highway System for the Information Age,” That system would include one centralized block network to be ‘built and run’ as a ‘nationalized’ government project with completion in three years in order to prevail against China. The document concluded with “The best network from a technical, performance and security perspective will be single block, USG secured, and have the highest probability for project success.”

The White House denied nationalization as an option, pointing out that the NSC is one of many federal agencies which will weigh in on 5G. At his April press briefing, Trump put the idea to rest with “And, as you probably heard, we had another alternative of doing it; that would be through government investment…. we don’t want to do that because it won’t be nearly as good, nearly as fast.”

China

Nevertheless, the document provides the NSC’s national security perspective on 5G and insights on other decisions yet to be made. Citing “cyber emergency we face on a daily basis” with a focus on ‘nefarious actors’ of ‘malicious intent,’ the NSC consistently warned that:

* “China has achieved a dominant position in the manufacture and operation of network infrastructure”

* “Fact: China is currently poised to lead the global deployment of 5G.”

* “Huawei more than doubled its market share in an 18 month period and in several areas or routing, it has caught or surpassed market leader Cisco.”

* “Notably the FBI continues to monitor market activity and risks associated with Huawei and ZTE.…permanently tasking the FBI to work with other intelligence agencies to monitor and regularly report to Congress and the Administration on the market activities and risks of Chinese infrastructure vendors would be valuable for national security.”

Part of the NSC document included excepts from a September 15, 2018 memo from former Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis with the following:

* “China has assembled the basic components required for winning the AI arms race.”

* “China has already catapulted into the lead for facial recognition to support its authoritarian regime.”

The CRS further identified China as “the dominant malicious actor in the Information Domain” in its June 12th “National Security Implications,” and pointing out that China is “…likely to deploy the world’s first 5G wide-area network” and that “Huawei has signed contracts for 5G infrastructure in over thirty countries including US allies.”

Since China’s National Intelligence Law requires that “any organization and citizen shall support, provide assistance, and cooperate in national intelligence work, and guard the secrecy of any national intelligence work that they are aware of” and as the Chinese government “extended a $100 billion line of credit to Huawei to finance deals abroad,” some analysts believe the implications of a government – corporate collaboration is the installation of backdoors and increased surveillance – as if the US is squeaky clean on its collaborations with Google and Amazon or organizing a cyber weapon attack like Stuxnet.

Standardized Cell Siting

The NSC asked the question “Can we standardize siting requirements? USG or Industry”

in recognition that each municipality across the country has different requirements and fees for siting small wireless facilities as required by 5G. The NSC went on to suggest “use national security to force nationwide standardization of siting requirements” and that the “bottom line is that a three year deployment time is not achievable without a nationwide standard for siting.”

Since the telecom companies are entirely too cozy with the FCC, a national security declaration is unnecessary to achieve a de facto nationwide standard for siting approvals. In September, 2018, the FCC obtained a Declaratory Judgment to Remove Regulatory Barriers for Deployment of Wireless Infrastructure for 5G Connectivity which will provide a ‘fast track’ to circumvent local delays to cell deployment. In response, cities across the US are opposing the FCC’s attempt to override local control decision-making regarding the installation of 5G wireless infrastructure.

In the words of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr

“The FCC is working to get government out of the way so the private sector can start building hundreds of thousands of cells needed for 5G. We excluded small cell from costly review procedures designed for 100 ft assigned towers. That decision cost $1.5 billion in red tape. FCC took another step in streamlining the local permitting process. That decision cut another $2 billion in red tape and will stimulate $2.4 billion in small cell deployments, 97% of which will be in rural and suburban communities.”

In addition, the Streamline Small Cell Deployment Act S.1699 was introduced on June 3 to ‘streamline’ the siting process for small cell deployment in rural and suburban areas. It has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee for a hearing.

US Telecom Manufacturing

Thanks to the 1995 NAFTA vote which began the redistribution of millions of skilled American jobs overseas and the extraordinary growth of American telecoms relocating jobs abroad, the NSC confirmed that

“Fact: US telecommunication manufacturers have all but disappeared” and that “Today only a handful of companies are postured to play a role in global 5G deployment” followed by the facile assurance that “Equipment manufacturers have expressed a willingness to move manufacturing facilities to the US in support of 5G.”

In addressing the issue of protecting national security from a tainted foreign supply chain, Mattis suggested “Added assurance can be gained by ensuring that we create an IT and telecommunications manufacturing base. By securing the supply chain, we can be assured that our network is built with safe components.”

The unavoidable question is that since a ‘safe and secure’ supply chain is of national security importance and that Chinese manufactured components could not be trusted and that American manufacturers would be the most reliable purveyor of the necessary 5G components, then how exactly will the US rely on ‘safe and secure’ components in the absence of its own manufacturing base?

Executive Order

On May 15th, President Trump signed an Executive Order declaring a ‘national emergency’ that

“foreign adversaries are increasingly exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage.”

The Order bans American telecom firms and US allies from selling US-made components to foreign telecoms while creating a banned “Entity List’ which will require a USG license for foreign telecoms in order to do business with US tech companies. The Order, which has broad bi-partisan support, did not address existing security risks of foreign made components currently embedded in US equipment while many rural carriers already rely on Chinese made equipment. According to the Order, the US would stop sharing intel with allies who persist in using Chinese equipment, fearing intercepted messages or sabotage.

Within days of signing the EO, Intel, Qualcomm and other US tech companies announced that they would cut off critical software and components to Huawei while Google, which has AI research centers built inside China’s information sphere, has suspended its ties to Huawei and dropped its technical support for Android. As the US telecom industry comply with the Order that “any Chinese equipment in the network could pose potential security concerns,” some US tech allies suspended their dealings with Huawei while some American chipmakers found ways around the ban by dropping the US-made label.

In addition, the Senate Commerce Committee introduced the “US 5G Leadership Act” which will fund $700,000 for removal of all Huawei or ZTE equipment or services from the US existing network in order to secure the 5G deployment.

While at the recent G20 Summit in Osaka, Trump reached a tentative trade deal with President Xi Jinping (with Ivanka at the conference table) unexpectedly reversing his position that US firms be allowed to sell to Huawei where there are no national security issues but leaving final resolution with Huawei to the end of negotiations.

In response, the Department of Commerce, which maintains the Entity List, has suggested it plans to continue Huawei’s ‘presumption of denial’ as it applies to a request for a business license. The thorny question remains how the US protects its national security with the use of out-sourced foreign suppliers or well meaning allies whose own security may have already been compromised.

To be continued….

 

Do We Need a Dictatorship to Respond to Climate Change?

Mon, 2019-07-08 15:34

Globally, June 2019 was the hottest June on record. Though it is tricky to attribute any particular event to anthropogenic climate change, scientists estimate that the likelihood of the month’s extreme heat was made five times more likely by human contributions.

This heat is no anomaly. The top ten hottest years on record globally have all occurred since 1998. This list includes every year since 2013, which is to say, 2012 was the last year that was not one of the ten hottest recorded. (See “The 10 Hottest Global Years on Record.”) Because 2019 is an El Niño year, when temperatures tend to be higher, some are already predicting that it will end up being the hottest year on record.

In India, people are running out of water. In the US Midwest, farmers are having difficulty planting crops. Greenland ice is melting at unprecedented levels. Drastic events continue to happen “sooner than predicted.”

This list of dire events could go on and on, but so could the list of measures we should be taking but are not.

I’m not talking about individuals changing light bulbs, going vegan, or giving up driving for cycling. Such actions only benefit the individual (i.e., lower electricity bills, improved health, nicer calves) and have zero effect on the system as a whole.

Given the stakes—famine, war, extinction—nothing less than a complete reorganization of society is required at this point. Most of what we in the techno-industrial world are doing now must be drastically curtailed or eliminated: the military, consumption-based economics, debt, animal agriculture, baby making, just to name a few. (See “What Does Eliminating Carbon Emissions In 10 Years Look Like?”)

So how do we implement change on such a level? Won’t it require centralized decision-making and top-down implementation? And not just a regulatory authority—à la the UN with teeth—but a “benevolent dictatorship,” to invoke a well-worn phrase? Don’t humans need to be forced to do the right thing, at literal gun point if need be? Some people think so.

Now, I don’t get around enough, but so far I’ve only heard this idea from fellow citizens of the techno-industrial world. I don’t know if people in Bangladesh (where farm fields are being inundated by rising seas) or on low-lying Pacific islands (where “Climate Change Is an Existential Threat“) or in Africa (a continent especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change) would agree that dictatorship is the only option, but I’m certain that when people here make the insistence that it says something about us for sure.

Which is: Here in the techno-industrial world, we live in a domineering society. Our dominant religion grants us “dominion” over all living things. Our workplaces are hierarchical. So are our families. Top-down arrangements are our default setting. We don’t have much experience doing anything any other way. The old adage that everything looks like a nail when you’re holding a hammer doesn’t go far enough for us; we’ve forgotten that we’re holding a hammer at all and now we mistake that limited tool for our hand.

Is our way the only way? Are our limitations everyone’s else’s? Are we “realistic” or do we lack imagination? Again, I haven’t traveled enough, but I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to suggest that we cannot judge all of humanity—and certainly not human nature—from a sample size comprised of the US in the present day.

We’re damn cynical about the whole world here in the US, but not—I repeat not—for good reason. To the contrary, I think our outlook is clouded by a nihilism that’s a product of our privilege. Our empire is declining and I surmise that the mood on a sinking ship is rarely festive. Our creative force here is depleted—materially and otherwise—and now we have our legacy to deal with: that we wasted our wealth on war. There’s no taking back the centuries of brutality against other humans, other creatures and the planet, and this is our karma: to be miserable and view everything through the pessimistic lens of the rich man made penniless and lying in the gutter. But it’s ourkarma, not everybody else’s.

So yeah, maybe we need a dictatorship—we here in the US—but if so, it’s not up to us to install it. If it’s time for us to take orders, it’s got to be from people who aren’t saddled with our shit. People who aren’t US Americans.

Need further justification for that? According to a new report from the United Nations Human Rights Council: “Developing countries will bear an estimated 75% of the costs of climate change… despite the poorest half of the global population contributing just 10% of global carbon emissions.” (See “Looming ‘Climate Apartheid’ Could Split the World into the Rich and the Dead, UN Warns.”) That’s who should be in charge: the people most affected. At some point, the logic of that could overwhelm other factors.

Is there any chance that the US could change course and take responsibility for its actions on its own? That the people could revolt, overthrow the corporate oligarchy, and set up an eco-republic that inverts our history of rapacity for a future of creativity?

Personally, I believe it’s possible for an individual’s outlook to change radically, sometimes within a short time frame—even instantly—due to extreme circumstances. So I wonder if the global climate crisis that’s unfolding could provide a similar catalyst on a collective level here. That’s what I”m rooting for.

However, in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote: “Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”

I’m not going to argue with King or Niebuhr. But I hope that certain “groups”—that is, the other nations of the world—prove to be exceptions to the rule.

In Afghanistan, We Have Three Dreams

Mon, 2019-07-08 14:24

Dear fellow human beings,

Some of us have wondered, “Are people today too disconnected and frantic to calm down, in order to solve global challenges together? Are we so polarized and self-absorbed that we cannot stop judging one another or insisting on our partisan ways?”

In Kabul, our thoughts and feelings are diverse, complicated and flawed, so we centre our three dreams on relationships.

We have felt much joy in creating this video-letter. We dedicate it to planet earth and to everyone in the human family.

We hope that each of us can take tiny actions to free ourselves from the ravages of money and power.

With love from Afghanistan,

Dr Hakim Young and the Afghan Peace Volunteers

In Afghanistan, We Have Three Dreams Video

We’re the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, and we have three dreams.

Our three dreams are about reuniting with nature and 7.7 billion other human beings!

Our dreams aren’t prescriptions. They’re music and movements, distilled from today’s nightmares.

What we hope to gain is love, not money or political power, because love will be good for all of us!

We will re-boot the operating systems that have programmed us to chase after fake money and power.

After years of rote exams, we have hardly learned anything about becoming finer human beings. So, we have resolved to educate ourselves to question everything, and to love everyone!

We’re like children whose instinct is to become friends. More than being dreamers, we’re do-ers. So, we’re building three earth GENeration dreams, GEN for Green, Equal and Nonviolent.

We dream of Green earth relationships!

We practise permaculture and use solar energy.

Why? We’re part of nature and can’t survive without her. Our Mother Earth isn’t a “thing” for us to utilize or set on fire, but a “being” for us to embrace.

We dream of Equal earth relationships!

We have started worker cooperatives because the world economy isn’t fair for the planet or for 99% of humanity.

Our community is self-governing. We don’t need a Director. All of us are leaders, but we’re not like today’s cash-elected leaders who’re some of the least desirable humans in the world.

We’re growing our web of Borderfree friends, because we’re from the same human family, the same tree of life. We want to be friends with all Afghans, US citizens, Russians, the British, Chinese, Koreans, Pakistanis, Indians, Iranians, Sudanese, Venezuelans and every human being!

Our human genome is 99.9% similar, so we reject racism, exceptionalism, male superiority, moralism and others, because all of these are neither scientific nor kind.

We dream of Nonviolent earth relationships!

We all want peace, but so far, we’ve wanted peace only for our own countries, tribes, political and religious groups. So war has continued, and as a result, I’ve lost my uncle Sakhi, and my close friend Tariq.

We’ve more space in our hearts for love and peace than for war, so we’re training ourselves to be nonviolent mediators. We’ll reason and empathize with our leaders and extremists, and we will reach an agreement without using any physical force!

War starts in our militarized minds, so picture the global war on terror as a smart phone. We think it’s necessary and that it works well. But really?

Some people think that, like a phone, war is necessary, But though war may work, it only works physically for a short while, and only works for a few individuals.

For the rest of us, war costs us everything! It’s time to throw it away!

Killing one another unsettles our human psyche. So, to those who have divided us with trauma, distrust, sorrow and revenge, we say, “We’re breaking free!”

Well, these three dreams are really one dream, because we can’t fix the climate, without fixing inequality or war.

Everyone and everything is related! We just can’t separate ourselves from each other, from the earth, or from you!

Okay, thanks for listening to our dreams. We’ve taken up enough of your screen time. So let’s get off screen, terminate our business as-as-usual, and pursue the authentic relationships all of us long for.

Remember, we make up 64% of the Afghan population below 25. We’re the new Earth GENeration. We’re the music and the movements within you, so we hope to meet you someday!

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau

The Ethics Lesson (or: To Kill a Shark)

Mon, 2019-07-08 14:05

The Ethics Lesson (or: To Kill a Shark)

For some it’s more important
To make money, turn a profit,
Than to kill a shark — to slice its fins off
And toss it back into the water
To drown, slowly, on the sea floor
And, for some, it’s more important
That that shark should live
Not because it’s part of a system
The argument utilitarians give —
That it’s better for us
That that shark should live,
Though it is —
But just because it’s wrong
To kill a shark, or anything,
if you don’t have to.
No, but, you don’t understand,
says person A
I have to kill the sharks to pay
My rent, my way…
to which I say, the ethicist said,
better to murder the landlord instead
That, at least, would be self defense.

 

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