This video from the USA says about itself:
10 June 2017
This video, recorded in North America, says about itself:
Body-popping sage grouse – Nature’s Greatest Dancers: Episode 1 Preview – BBC One
By popping their brightly coloured air-sacs male sage grouse create a sound that can carry three km to attract females to their display ground.
By Chris D’Angelo in the USA:
6/07/2017 09:29 pm ET
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has called for a review of an Obama-era conservation plan for the greater sage grouse, a move that appears partially aimed at opening up more of the declining gamebird’s habitat to oil and gas development.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on a call Wednesday that the secretarial order he will sign Thursday will establish a team to review conservation efforts and make management recommendations within 60 days. …
“There have been some complaints by several of the governors that their ability to use federal lands — whether it’s for oil and gas, recreation, timber, across the board — that some of the heavy handedness on habitats don’t allow for some of those uses, and they’ve come up with what they believe are innovative plans and workarounds,” Zinke said. “And we certainly want to work with states if that’s their desire to do that.” …
Sage grouse, a ground-dwelling game bird with an elaborate mating ritual, used to number in the millions. Loss of sagebrush habitat from development and invasive plant species has decimated the bird population, now estimated between 200,000 and 500,000 individuals. Their current range spans some 257,000 square miles across 11 Western states, less than half of the species’ historic range.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2015 that, as a result of a collaborative efforts between federal, state and local parties, the greater sage grouse did not warrant protections under the federal endangered species list. Then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called it a “milestone for conservation in America.”
But the decision was criticized from both sides, with environmentalists arguing it would not do enough to protect the native bird, and oil, gas and mining interests saying it would hinder development.
Zinke said Wednesday that “no party that I know wants the sage grouse to be listed” under the Endangered Species Act …
Jim Lyons, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Interior Department official, said in a statement that the review could “compromise years of collaboration” and “appears to be a thinly veiled and unnecessary attempt to open up important habitat to oil and gas drilling, jeopardizing the important balance and flexibility offered in the existing plans.”
“Forget climate change, expanding land developments, or ongoing impacts from the fossil fuel industry,” McEnaney said in a statement. “By single-handedly upending this agreement, Secretary Zinke might just have landed the decisive blow to the sage grouse, and the unique sagebrush habitat of the American West.”
THE BATTLE FOR THE COUNTRY’S NATIONAL MONUMENTS “Twenty-seven national monuments designated or expanded since 1996, spanning more than 11 million acres of land and about 760 million acres of ocean, are threatened by a pair of executive orders signed by Trump in April.” [HuffPost]
This video from the USA says about itself:
6 June 2017
Max Blumenthal of Alternet’s Grayzone Project says President Donald Trump’s backing of the Saudi Arabian campaign against Qatar could be the “pilot program” for a wider regional agenda of U.S.-backed Saudi hegemony.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
With friends like these …
Wednesday 7th June 2017
Qatar does indeed support a variety of jihadist groups across the greater Middle East region just as Riyadh does, but they can’t agree on which to back.
Doha has a soft spot for al-Qaida-linked groups, not least in Syria where it has supplied the Nusra Front, since mutated into the Levant Conquest Front and latterly Hetesh, while its fellow Wahhabi dictatorship in Riyadh opted to back Isis.
The Qatari absolute monarchy has also thrown its weight behind the shadowy Muslim Brotherhood, which has a long record of opposing progressive secular movements in the Arab world.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas was affiliated to the brotherhood but has broken that link as its headquarters has been transferred from Doha to Gaza.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP outfit emerged from the same stable, as did Mohammed Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, which won Egypt’s 2012 general election before being overthrown in a military coup the next year after huge demonstrations demanded Morsi’s removal for imposing an Islamist constitution on the country.
US President Donald Trump appears supportive of the Saudi-led gang-up on Qatar, which hosts around 10,000 US military personnel and the al-Udeid US air base, while its new antagonist Bahrain provides accommodation for the US Fifth Fleet.
This could reflect his recent aggressive rhetoric directed against Iran, which acquires significance after Qatar’s message of congratulations to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his recent re-election.
Qatar began development in April of the South Pars/North Dome natural gas field — the world’s largest and jointly owned with Iran — just a month after Tehran announced that it would boost production.
Given Riyadh’s status as the leading exporter of crude oil, this indicates a potential market conflict in the arena of hydrocarbons.
Saudi Arabia and its allies declared a total ban on transport links, including transit, with Qatar, effectively driving its fellow Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member — at least for now — into the arms of Tehran.
Doha will also be forced to ask Iran to step into the breach over food since half of its supplies normally arrive via Saudi Arabia.
While Qatar puts a brave face on its peremptory isolation from the GCC club, neither Riyadh nor Washington will take kindly to its cosying-up to their arch-foe Iran.
Kuwait says it will seek to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but it is difficult find common ground between a tiny but extremely wealthy kingdom and its infinitely more powerful neighbour reinforced by the world’s only superpower.
The Iraqi government, to which Riyadh is also hostile, seeing it as a puppet of Tehran, has ordered its border with Saudi Arabia to be beefed up.
Saudi Arabia has already bombed Yemen into a state of ruin, with a cholera epidemic and massive civilian casualties, but it blames Iranian support for the Houthi Shi’ite rebel forces for its inability to subdue them.
This latest upsurge of regional tension underlines how wrong Washington and London have been to back absolute monarchies as long as they sign lucrative arms deals and calls for a diplomatic intervention.
This 6 June 2017 video is called Is Saudi Arabia preparing an annexation of Qatar?
By Keith Jones:
The Saudi offensive against Qatar and the global intensification of geopolitical conflict
6 June 2017
Backed by Egypt and its closest Gulf State allies, Saudi Arabia has launched a diplomatic and economic offensive against Qatar, a tiny, energy-rich neighbor. This offensive is aimed at forcing the emirate to fall fully in line with the Saudis’ belligerent stand against Iran and other of its predatory policies, including unstinting support for Egypt’s military regime.
US President Donald Trump gave the Saudi autocracy and its plan to forge a Sunni-Arab military coalition against Iran Washington’s full-throated support when he visited Riyadh last month.
rather: the Saudi monarchy’s Yemeni puppet government in exile
announced a series of measures against Qatar that stop just short of war.
They include: severing all diplomatic relations, travel, and economic ties with Qatar; denying Qatari aircraft, including all Qatar Airway[s] flights, the right to use their airspace; closing their ports to all Qatari vessels; and shutting down all broadcasts by Qatar-based al-Jazeera.
Saudi Arabia and its closest Gulf State allies are also closing their borders to Qataris and ordering all Qatari citizens currently in their countries to leave within two weeks.
These measures threaten to roil the emirate’s economy. A peninsula state whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia, Qatar is heavily reliant on food shipments from Saudi Arabia. News agencies report that long lines have formed at supermarkets in Doha as residents—fully 80 percent of the 2.3 million people living in Qatar are non-citizen foreign workers—scramble to stock their shelves and refrigerators.
In 2014, the Saudis and several of their allies suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar because Riyadh was rankled by the emirate’s opposition to the military coup that overthrew Egypt’s elected president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.
The current dispute is of a qualitatively different character, as exemplified by the Saudis’ imposition of an economic blockade that threatens to strangle Qatar’s economy.
Qatar, not without reason, has charged that Saudi Arabia is seeking to subject it to “guardianship,” i.e., to reduce it to the status of a vassal state.
The Saudis are accusing Qatar—as they have long accused Iran—of supporting “terrorism.” They claim it is backing the opposition to the royal family in Bahrain, the anti-Saudi Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the opposition to Saudi rule in the country’s largely Shia Al-Qatif region. Qatar has vehemently denied these claims.
Riyadh is also charging that the emirate is in league with ISIS in Syria. In fact, the ruling families of both sheikdoms have played a major role in the US regime-change war in Syria, helping finance, organize and arm various reactionary Islamist forces, including many of those that came together in ISIS.
The Saudis’ overriding objective is to force Qatar to distance itself from Iran, which it considers its principal rival for regional influence.
Qatar has developed extensive economic ties with Iran, including in the co-development of the massive South Pars Persian Gulf natural gas field. Until its ejection yesterday, Qatar was a reluctant member of the Islamic Military Alliance, the international coalition Riyadh formed ostensibly to fight terrorism, but which more and more openly has assumed the shape of a Sunni Arab alliance for waging war on predominantly Shia Iran.
Last weekend, in an attempt to placate the Saudis, Qatar reportedly ordered several leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that has ties to Iran, to leave the country. But the Saudis are treating this as too little, too late.
It cannot be excluded that the Saudis will threaten Qatar with military action in the coming days or weeks. They are already waging war, with US logistical support, in Yemen, causing an ever-widening humanitarian disaster, and in 2011 they led a military intervention in Bahrain so as to stave off the popular overthrow of its autocratic regime.
Trump and the cabal of generals who head his administration have repeatedly made clear that Washington has Iran in its cross-hairs. And whilst serious differences persist within the US political establishment over the Iran nuclear accord, the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, support America continuing to enforce sweeping economic sanctions against Tehran and threatening it with military action.
That said, nothing suggests Washington wanted, let alone encouraged, Riyadh to move against Qatar.
Nothing? Donald Trump on Twitter took credit for the Saudi-Qatari escalation. It looks like the United States establishment is divided on this.
Qatar is the forward headquarters of the US Central Command and thus a pivotal staging area for the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and the cockpit for war-planning against Iran. Bahrain, which is part of the Saudi’s anti-Qatar coalition, is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet.
The escalating conflict between Washington’s Gulf allies, complained the New York Times, “presents a fresh and unwelcome complication for the United States military.”
That the Saudis, with the support of Egypt’s US-backed military regime, acted independently of Washington in no way takes away from America’s primary responsibility for the growing aggressiveness of the Saudi regime, let alone the wars and sabre-rattling that threaten the people of the Middle East.
On the contrary, the Saudi offensive against Qatar should serve as a salutary warning as to the reckless and incendiary role of US imperialism. In its drive to offset the decline in its economic power through aggression and war, the US is arming and “emboldening” all sorts of right-wing, crisis-ridden regimes. Any one of these, in the pursuit of its own reactionary interests, including mere survival, could lash out at its rivals, provoking a crisis that quickly develops into a military conflict, drawing in the US and other world powers, daggers-drawn.
No less significantly, the sudden clash between Qatar and Saudi Arabia points to the explosive geopolitical tensions that run through the region and are ever more enmeshed in the conflicts between the major imperialist and great powers.
The series of predatory wars Washington has waged in the Middle East since 1991 has shattered whole societies, killing millions, rendering millions more refugees, and engulfing ever greater areas in war and destruction. Their cumulative impact has been the effective collapse of the state system French and British imperialism imposed on the region at the end of World War One and the fueling of a new struggle for the redivision of the Middle East.
The developments in Syria reveal most clearly that the repartition of the Middle East has already begun. While nominally a joint struggle against ISIS, the war in Syria has drawn in a host of great and regional powers—including the US, Russia, France, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel—each pursuing its own strategic interests. For US imperialism, Syria is a key front in its military-strategic offensive against Russia and Iran.
And it is not just Syria, but the entire region that is in flames. Given the Middle East’s economic significance as the world’s most important oil-producing region, and its pivotal geographic position as the hinge between Europe, Asia and Africa, all of the imperialist and great powers are increasingly compelled to intervene to assert their respective interests.
The US views its drive against Iran through the prism of its world strategy. This includes the need to prevent China from leveraging its plans to develop Eurasian economic corridors to forge a strategic partnership with Iran, and the need to prevent European capital from beating out corporate America in capturing Iran’s markets and oil concessions.
As Trotsky explained in the run-up to the second imperialist world war of the last century, the only alternative to the war maps of the great powers is the map of the class struggle. The only answer to the incendiary struggle of the rival capitalist ruling elites for natural resources, markets and strategic advantage is the mobilization of the international working class against war and the outmoded capitalist social order.
This video, from election candidate Nicholas Wilsn in Britain, says about itself:
4 June 2017
At a hustings in Rye on 3 June, where I am standing as an independent anti-corruption parliamentary candidate, a question was asked about law & order. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in answering it referred to the Manchester terrorist attack. I took up the theme and referred to UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia & HSBC business there. She spoke to and handed a note to the chairman who removed the mic from me.
By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:
Tuesday 6th June 2016
Opponent silenced for challenging Saudi deal
The Home Secretary is seeking re-election in Hastings, where anti-corruption activist and whistleblower Nicholas Wilson — also known as Mr Ethical — is standing against her as an independent candidate.
In footage taken of the hustings on Saturday, Mr Wilson speaks about Tory PM Theresa May’s strong links to Saudi Arabia and to HSBC through her husband’s job at US investment firm Capital Group.
Ms Rudd looks agitated before writing something on a sheet of paper and placing it in front of the chairman sitting next to her.
The chair then demands he gives him the microphone.
“Am I being censored?” Mr Wilson said, before claiming that Ms Rudd was planning to abolish the Independent Serious Fraud Office so that she could be in charge of prosecutions of financial institutions through the National Crime Agency.
Before giving up the mic, he adds: “This is censorship. I have suffered censorship for 10 years. People don’t know about these things because of censorship.”
Earlier this year Mr Wilson led a successful campaign against HSBC, forcing the bank to pay £4 million to thousands of its customers for unreasonable debt collection practices.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade told the Star after viewing the footage: “The government has a lot of questions to answer about its role in arming and supporting the brutal Saudi regime.
“Ministers should not be allowed to hide from the consequences of its arms sales and political support for one of the most oppressive dictatorships in the world.”
This video from the USA says about itself:
4 June 2017
Guest Host Sam Sacks (Writer & Co-Founder – The District Sentinel) talks with guest Farron Cousins (Co-Host – Ring of Fire Radio, Contributor – DeSmog Blog, Executive Editor – Trial Lawyer Magazine) about Trump taking his recent speech on pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement from big money special interests.
Trump, the ruling class and the Paris Accords. By Fred Goldstein, June 7, 2017: here.
Trump to mayor of sinking Chesapeake Bay island: Don’t worry about climate change.
Will the Trump administration censor climate scientists? Here.
The Trump administration has disbanded a federal climate change advisory committee.
INTERIOR SECRETARY SUBMITS RECOMMENDATIONS ON COUNTRY’S NATIONAL MONUMENTS Ryan Zinke reportedly wants to change several national monuments, but none are being eliminated. The New York Times reported that Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and two others could be “reopened for new mining or drilling.” [HuffPost]
This video from the USA says about itself:
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot Iraqi civilians killing 17 and injuring 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad.
The Blackwater scandals set to the Talking Heads’ classic Psycho Killer. The video is inspired by Jeremy Scahill’s book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:
… more signs that the US plans to take over the the oil-rich Syrian-Iraqi border region in its entirety.
Last Saturday, the New York Times reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider alAbadi had handed a contract to run the the Freeway 1 motorway from Baghdad to the Jordanian capital Amman as a toll road to military services corporation Constellis.
Under the plan, which has attracted criticism from the Iraqi media, Constellis subsidiary Olive Group would manage the road and stablemate Academi would provide armed escorts for convoys travelling along it.
Academi is the latest rebranding of mercenary firm Blackwater, four of whose operatives were jailed in 2015 for the 2007 massacre of 14 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.
The motorway forks east of Jordan and continues to the Syrian capital Damascus through the at-Tanf border crossing.
The road dominates the deserts of western Anbar province on the Saudi Arabian border, and could serve as a route for arms and recruits for Riyadh-backed extremists.
At-Tanf is occupied by US, British and Norwegian special forces backing Free Syrian Army (FSA) guerillas in their bid to seize the eastern city of Deir Ezzor and prevent Syrian government forces capturing it from Isis.
On Wednesday, coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon confirmed reports that Syrian government troops and allied militia … had not retreated from the Damascus-Baghdad road.
That was despite propaganda leaflets dropped by US planes warning them to leave and rocket artillery barrages by the FSA — which were met with Russian air force raids.
Col Dillon claimed the Syrian forces — which US jets bombed earlier this month in support of the FSA — were a threat to the illegally occupying coalition troops.
One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is ‘fun’ to shoot people. Emails seen by The Observer reveal that employees of Blackwater Security were recently sent a message stating that ‘actually it is “fun” to shoot some people’: here.
This video from the Netherlands says about itself:
9 December 2016
This statement accompanied the video that was shared with the audience at the Engaged Art Fair on Saturday 3rd of December at de Balie, Amsterdam:
“Which is a greater crime: the befouling of Art or the destruction of Life?
The ‘collateral damage’ of the oil business is: deaths, spills, wars and the injustice of the climate catastrophe. Such extreme situations call for extreme responses. Today we are blacking out Van Gogh’s Sunflowers because art sponsored by oil is not worth seeing. This is also collateral damage.”
Van Gogh’s Sunflowers were not really blacked out, only symbolically as part of a protest theatre play.
By Felicity Collier in Britain:
Monday 15th May 2017
CAMPAIGNERS led an “oily” protest in London yesterday against the British Museum’s sordid links with oil giant BP.
About 40 performers at the British Museum highlighted taxpayers’ expense in paying for BP’s sponsorship of the museum.
An “oily mob” performed theatre and song in glitzy costumes to raise awareness of the planet-destroying multinational’s ties with museums and galleries in Britain and abroad.
Chris Garrard from BP or Not BP? told the Star that taxpayers in Britain pay £110 million a year to fund cultural institutions such as Tate, the Royal Opera House and the National Portrait Gallery as well as the British Museum.
But BP pays a paltry £2 million a year — yet received government subsidies to the tune of £210m in 2015.
Mr Garrard described its British Museum sponsorship as a “deception.”
He added that what BP was doing was “being seen to be generous.”
“It makes a song and dance about sponsorship — but it actually is a drain. We could be using [government subsidies to BP to fund arts. The British Museum are trying to keep the figures hidden from the public.”
Signs exposing these sums were confiscated by museum security staff. And, bizarrely, several glittery bow ties and waistcoats were also taken away.
The group was expecting to host Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? — a rigged “gameshow” in which BP wins every time — inside the museum. They managed to perform some of it, as well as some songs and dances.
Mr Garrard said that BP recently signed a new deal with the museum for five more years and that the director did so without consulting trustees.
Using literary quotes to make points in its manifesto, BP or Not BP? describes the oil multinational as “the harlot’s cheek, beautified with sponsoring art.”
It added: “BP is conspiring to distract us from the naked truth of climate change, and by pursuing a future powered by more and more extreme fossil fuels, like tar sands, deep-water drilling and Arctic exploitation.”