Attila the Stockbroker poem on Welsh Aberfan children killed by coal waste

This video from Britain says about itself:

5 October 2016

Aberfan – The Untold Story; documentary.

1966: a terrible tragedy strikes at the Welsh mining village of Aberfan. A mountain of coal slurry engulfes a school, claiming the lives of 116 children and 28 adults.

In one morning, a whole generation wiped out.

Images of Aberfan’s terrible plight were broadcast around the world; it became the world’s first televised disaster and one of the defining moments of the Sixties.

At first the Labour Government of the time had seemed anxious to help, but their promises seemed to evaporate. And although the disaster had been predicable, heads didn’t roll.

Abandoned by government, the loss of a whole generation of children awoke in this small mining community a sense of its own power.

Driven by grief, anger and guilt, the village fought for justice. They took on the might of an uncaring government and won.

This is the untold story of Aberfan.

From British Poet Attila the Stockbroker, Friday 21st October 2016:


October 21st, 1966. A day I will never forget.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn
I was a proper little show-off.
‘Too clever by half’
said my Victorian grandmother
who lived in the flat downstairs.
‘You spoil him, Muriel.
Children should be seen
and not heard.
Be quiet, John!
When you begin to PAY a little
Then you can begin to SAY a little.’
There were plenty more such epithets.
If I asked what was for tea
on the days she was in charge of me
she’d always say
‘Air pie and a walk round’
or ‘Bread and pullet’
and when she read about the latest exploits of the royal family
or anyone else remotely wealthy or privileged
in the pages of her beloved Daily Express
she’d often exclaim with heartfelt approval
It’s not for the likes of us!’
(When, years later, I read
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
by Robert Tressell
and heard that particular servile catchphrase again
I felt retrospectively vindicated
in my instinctive determination back then
to do the exact opposite
of nearly everything she told me.)

Despite my grandmother’s best efforts
I was seen, heard
and then some –
in school and out.
Self-assured and confident.
Playing the violin and recorder.
Writing little poems and songs
and about to begin a massive project
about the American Civil War
based on the battle stories printed on the back
of the unbelievably gory bubblegum picture cards
we boys bought on our way to school.
Cards with titles like ‘Crushed By The Wheels’
‘Wall of Corpses’
and ‘Messenger of Death.’
(Two old pence for two cards
a fake Confederate dollar bill
and a piece of gum.
If you’re male and over 50, you’ll probably remember.
After endless swapsies and games of flickers
I eventually got the whole set.
That’s when I started the project.)
My form teacher liked me
and let me help other kids in class.
I had lots of friends
and if wannabe bullies hit me
I hit them back.
Like I say, a proper little show-off.

It was my ninth birthday.
At Manor Hall Junior School
when it was your birthday
you couldn’t wait till lunchtime –
but you had to.
Then you stood in front of everyone else
in the canteen
a big, colourful plastic cake was brought out
with proper candles on it
you blew out the candles
everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’
(even the kids who thought you were a show-off wanker:
the teachers made sure of that)
and you got the chance to grab a handful of sweets
from a big jar.
As far as I can remember
I was the only one
with a birthday that day
so I had everyone’s undivided attention.
I was really looking forward to it.
But I never got to show off
and I didn’t want to show off.
My ninth birthday was different.
It was October 21st, 1966.

Before we went to the canteen for lunch
and my little birthday cameo
we were told there was going to be a special assembly
in the school hall.
Everyone wondered what had happened:
even I realised they wouldn’t have one
just because it was my birthday.
The headmaster, Mr. Young,
came in looking very sad
and told us that earlier that day
a huge mountain of coal waste
had engulfed a junior school like ours
in a Welsh mining village called Aberfan
and many children the same age as us
had lost their lives.
He asked us to pray for them.
We all did.
Some of us cried.
They still sang ‘Happy Birthday’
in the canteen
a few minutes later
but it wasn’t a happy birthday at all.
I kept thinking about those children.
After I’d got home
and talked to my parents
and had my birthday tea with my friends
I tried to write a poem for Aberfan –
but I couldn’t.
The poem I wanted to write
was far too big for a nine year old.
We did a collection at school
the money was sent to the disaster fund
and then
as happens when you’re a child
with loving parents
at a supportive school
other things quickly came along
to take the sadness away.
But on my birthday
for the next few years
I always thought
about the children of Aberfan.

Years later, I learned
about the underground springs
below Colliery Waste Tip No 7
on the hill above the village
which caused the coal waste to turn to slurry
and crash down on the school –
springs easily spotted on maps
which were never even consulted.
I learned about the negligence
of the authorities
and the insensitivity of the press.
Some things never change.
I learned about the father who –
as the inquest into his child’s death
declared the cause to be ‘asphyxia and multiple injuries’ –
shouted out
‘No, sir. Buried alive by the National Coal Board.’
I learned how a ruling was made
that parents had somehow to prove
their childrens’ deaths had caused them anguish
before they could benefit
from the disaster fund –
and that some of the money
from that fund
was used to clear the other waste tips
above Aberfan
because the Coal Board
refused to pay for it to be done.
I learned about the long-term psychological effects
of the disaster
on the whole village.
In short
I learned how the lives of working class people were held cheap.
So cheap.

But that was much later.
Back then
I was a child.
A proper little show-off
who didn’t want to show off
on his ninth birthday
trying to write a poem
for children like him –
for the children
of Aberfan.

Peabody Energy’s Ebola profiteering exposed

This video from the USA says about itself:

Ebola: A Disease of Extraordinary Poverty

28 October 2014

Public health expert Allyson Pollock explains how poverty, sanitation and infrastructure contribute to the death toll in West Africa.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Peabody Energy exploited Ebola crisis for corporate gain, say health experts

Public health experts outraged after world’s largest privately-held coal company promotes its product in the fight against Ebola in Africa as part of a PR campaign to rebrand the fossil fuel as a solution to global poverty

Suzanne Goldenberg

Tuesday 19 May 2015 18.48 BST

Public health experts involved in the response to the Ebola crisis have condemned what they described as a ludicrous, insulting and opportunistic attempt to exploit the disease for corporate gain by the world’s largest privately-held coal company.

As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis.

Greg Boyce, the chief executive of Peabody, a US-based multinational with mining interests around the world, included a slide on Ebola and energy in a presentation to a coal industry conference in September last year. The slide suggested that more energy would have spurred the distribution of a hypothetical Ebola vaccine – citing as supporting evidence a University of Pennsylvania infectious disease expert.

The World Health Organisation believes nearly 27,000 people contracted Ebola in an outbreak of the virus in West Africa last year, and more than 11,000 died – although the international agency believes that is probably an underestimate.

Public health experts who were involved in fighting the spread of Ebola were outraged at Peabody’s suggestion that expanding energy access with coal generation could have hindered the spread of Ebola and helped with the distribution of a vaccine – especially as there is no approved vaccine against the disease.

Meanwhile, the medical expert cited by Peabody to support its claims told the Guardian he had never heard of the company – and that it had got his name wrong.

“There is no apparent merit or evidence to support such a thesis,” said Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Centre for Disaster Preparedness, and an advisor to the White House on the US response to Ebola. “Peabody has very specific and explicit corporate goals. I think this is a pretty far fetched leap from a global crisis to try to justify the existence of a company that is interested in producing and selling coal.”

Redlener added: “I think it’s an opportunistic attempt and somewhat desperate to relate corporate self-interest to a massive public health crisis.”

Skip Burkle, a senior fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at the university’s school of public health, said Peabody’s claims were “absolutely ludicrous”. “We are talking about public health infrastructure,” he said. “Energy is just one piece of it. There are so many other factors that have to come together.”

He went on: “The coal industry is going down but there are other answers to this and it is not to dump it in Africa. It is just an insult to the population.” …

The doctor whose comments were used to justify Peabody’s claims was relatively sanguine. “I know nothing about the coal industry,” Harvey Rubin, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania said.

He did say he intended to contact the company to correct his name – which was wrong on the power point.

Boyce had claimed in the power point that electricity shortages had hampered the fight against Ebola.

“Lack of electricity impairs ability to fight crises like Ebola,” the headline to Boyce’s powerpoint said.

It went on to quote Rubin – misidentified as Harry not Harvey – on the importance to public vaccination efforts of a reliable electricity supply.

“Let’s say someone does develop an Ebola vaccine. Distributing a vaccine would require continuous chain refrigeration,” Rubin said.

But he told the Guardian he was “agnostic” on the issue of power sources. He said there were already sufficient supplies of electricity in Africa for effective distribution of vaccines by using existing cell phone towers. “We can piggyback on those towers,” he said.

The Ebola claims surfaced amid growing pressure on Peabody Energy from the downturn in coal and a global anti-apartheid style fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Over the last two years, over 200 institutions and major investors have committed to selling off their stocks of oil, coal and gas, on the grounds that much of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change. Some institutions – such as Stanford University – have committed only to dumping coal, while hanging on to oil and gas holdings.

The Guardian supports the fossil fuel divestment movement, and through its Keep it in the Ground campaign has called on two of the world’s biggest charities, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels. The Gates Foundations’s Asset Trust has a $1.6m holding in Peabody according to the most recently available information. The Wellcome Trust does not appear to have a direct investment in the company. …

But the fossil fuel divestment movement has intensified Peabody’s campaign to rebrand coal. It is the dirtiest of fossil fuels which contributes heavily to climate change and causes large numbers of deaths because of pollution produced when burning it.

But in a power point presentation, prepared for the managers of the world’s richest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian government pension fund in June last year, Peabody executives argued that coal was positioned to be the fastest-growing fuel of the 21st century.

At the time, the fund had 64m NOK (£5.5m) in Peabody, down from 1.2bn NOK in 2010.

In the meeting, Peabody argued that “21st-century coal” was positioned to be the main driver of digital expansion, and of urbanisation of developing countries. It also said access to coal was the cure for global poverty.

The effort did not work. As of 31 December, the Norwegian government pension fund had dumped all shares of Peabody and other US coal companies, according to Urgewald, a German NGO which monitors the fossil fuel divestment campaign.

“So they were obviously not convinced by Peabody’s presentation,” said Heffa Schuecking, a campaigner for Urgewald.

While the West African Ebola epidemic has dwindled in size, a steady stream of new infections in Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as the reappearance of the disease in Liberia, point to a potential resurgence. The fact that the epidemic has not been contained in the 19 months since it began points to the deplorable health conditions confronting the region’s poor: here.

‘NEW PHASE’ OF EBOLA OUTBREAK Officials warned the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has entered a “new phase” after a case was confirmed in the urban area of Wangata, home to more than 1 million people. [HuffPost]

CONGO EBOLA OUTBREAK  DECLARED GLOBAL EMERGENCY The deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo is now an international health emergency, the World Health Organization announced after the virus spread this week to a city of 2 million people. [AP]

Big Oil’s pro global warming fake mass movement

This video from the USA says about itself:

Climate change is HOT

EXXON twists the facts

From Wildlife Promise blog in the USA:

Big Oil Funding Anti-ACES Protests

Polluters have already spent more than $100 million dollars trying to kill comprehensive climate and energy legislation. That money has wound up funding everything from misleading TV ads to forged letters to members of Congress.

Now Big Oil is rolling out a new tactic — trying to gin up artificial rallies:

“Taking a cue from angry protests against the Obama Administration’s health care restructuring, the oil industry is helping organize anti-climate bill rallies around the nation.

The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding rallies across 20 states over the August recess. […]

“We’re not about yelling at your congressman,” says Cathy Landry, API spokeswoman. But, she added, “We are about giving citizens a voice to make changes to the bill so that it doesn’t affect energy prices.””

It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to deny that you support the hooliganism we’ve seen at recent town hall rallies across the country. But with 71 percent of Americans supporting the American Clean Energy & Security (ACES) Act, clearly Big Oil feels like it has to play dirty.

See also here.

And here.

Oil Industry Backs Protests of Emissions Bill: here.

BP and Shell warned to halt campaign against US climate change bill: here.

American Flags Not Welcome At Oil Astroturf Rally: here.

Astroturf wars continue as more info comes to light on ‘Energy Citizen’ rallies: here.

Not Allowed in “Families for Coal” Group: Families: here.

Big Coal Denies Astroturfing by Citing … Astroturfing: here.

Climate Irony: Utah Ski Resort Owner Plans Giant Alaska Coal Mine: here.

Climate Progress reports on yet another feat of coal PR: A new campaign called the Federation for American Coal, Energy, and Security, or, for short, FACES of Coal. Welcome, FACES, to the party: Your compatriots will include Citizens for Coal, Friends of Coal, and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, now famous for their achievements in astroturf: here.

The Coalfields of Appalachia Are in a State of Emergency and Your Help Is Needed Now: here.

Astroturfing by the French Sarkozy government: here.

Anti war campaigners have torn into reports that the Iraqi government has approved a bid by BP to develop one of its oil fields.

Arctic Lake Sediments Show Warming, Unique Ecological Changes In Recent Decades: here.

Coal Industry Pays Fake Activists $50 to Wear Pro-Coal Shirts at Public Hearing. Rebecca Leber, ThinkProgress: “Apparently unable to find real activists, the coal industry paid astroturfers $50 to wear pro-coal t-shirts at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing. The EPA hearings were focused on the agency’s first-ever carbon standards for new power plants. This year, coal is throwing around its weight by spending tens of millions of dollars on media advertising and political contributions”: here.