Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Carter Niemeyer on Wolves; Parenti--Disposable Planet; "Diplomatic Immunity" for the CIA

In This Issue:

- Carter Niemeyer on Wolves;

- Parenti--Disposable Planet;

- "Diplomatic Immunity" for the CIA


Been absent lately and thinking about a lot of things from the Middle East to Wisconsin, to Baker City, and to wolves and birds, but it is all pretty overwhelming right now. Still trying to get a handle on it all. I am reduced to forwarding some good links that I hope are worthwhile reading. Yes, I know about the wolf on cow attacks and ODFW collaring of Imnaha wolves in Wallowa County, and a good bit of hysteria coming out of the Middle East, but the available and incomplete isolated facts just don't mean much anymore--what we need is fewer emotional factoids and more background and context, which is too hard to come by. As things become clearer I will weigh in. In the mean time, here is a book and more worth considering:

Carter Niemeyer's Wolfer, and Thoughts on the Wolf Wars

Posted February 23, 2011 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places
Louisa Willcox’s Blog

". . . . In his book [Wolfer], Carter describes his efforts to create an arena where common interests could be fostered: they were successful with some individuals, but did not go as far as he had hoped. He had early premonitions of the challenges he faced in this area: “I’d end up slitting my throat by taking the wolf specialist job. I went out and did what I thought was a thorough, honest job and because of it, I was branded a traitor. Every time I said a wolf didn’t do it, I got my ass chewed by my supervisor. But I was unflagging in my opinion: wolf might be a nuisance because they were new, but they were not monsters, and I wasn’t letting bureaucrats or congressmen or anyone else change my mind about it. I didn’t understand why others around me refused to acknowledge this is the truth. The few wolves that wandered into Montana had nearly undetectable effects on ranching and didn’t seem to be that interested in livestock. I didn’t believe that injecting a sudden, larger population of wolves into America’s Northern Rockies could create any sort of burden for most ranchers, except maybe a psychological one. Having wolves around used to be the cost of doing business”.

In 1994, when Carter became involved in the effort to reintroduce of wolves from Canada to Yellowstone and central Idaho, those were radical sentiments for someone in the Wildlife Services, a rogue agency that has killed over 114,000 mammalian carnivores just in 2009 (and over 2.2 million animals total a few years before), many unnecessarily. And sadly, those sentiments are still rare, even though Carter has mentored a number of others inside this agency and out. For his mentorship, we are very grateful—but much more is needed to turn this recalcitrant agency around.

Carter talks a lot about the vulnerability of wolves in his book, and how easy it would be to reverse the enormous progress made to date under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act. “Having been a trapper and a hunter, and understanding what I did about wolf behavior, I could kill them without much effort if that kind of order came down. I wondered how many people knew how easy it would be. Just give me wolves wearing radio collars, a helicopter, a shotgun, deep snow and calm winds.”

A chilling thought…and one that is especially relevant today as Congress considers a suite of bills that would legislatively removing federal protections for wolves, Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer encourages wholesale slaughter of wolf packs (even potentially packs that do not have a record of killing livestock), and the state legislatures consider deeply troubling anti-wolf bills, including one that would prevent Idaho from prosecuting illegal wolf kills. In such a climate, it’s not surprising that a growing number of people have deep reservations about turning the keys to the car of wolf management over to the states, which have demonstrated fundamental hostility to wolves. . . . ."


Profit Pathology and Disposable Planet

By Michael Parenti

". . . .
The free marketeers have a deep all-abiding faith in laissez-faire for it is a faith that serves them well. It means no government oversight, no being held accountable for the environmental disasters they perpetrate. Like greedy spoiled brats, they repeatedly get bailed out by the government (some free market!) so that they can continue to take irresponsible risks, plunder the land, poison the seas, sicken whole communities, lay waste to entire regions, and pocket obscene profits.

This corporate system of capital accumulation treats the Earth’s life-sustaining resources (arable land, groundwater, wetlands, foliage, forests, fisheries, ocean beds, bays, rivers, air quality) as disposable ingredients presumed to be of limitless supply, to be consumed or toxified at will. As BP has demonstrated so well in the Gulf-of-Mexico catastrophe, considerations of cost weigh so much more heavily than considerations of safety. As one Congressional inquiry concluded: “Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense.”

Indeed, the function of the transnational corporation is not to promote a healthy ecology but to extract as much marketable value out of the natural world as possible even if it means treating the environment like a septic tank. An ever-expanding corporate capitalism and a fragile finite ecology are on a calamitous collision course, so much so that the support systems of the entire ecosphere—the Earth’s thin skin of fresh air, water, and topsoil—are at risk.

It is not true that the ruling politico-economic interests are in a state of denial about all this. Far worse than denial, they have shown outright antagonism toward those who think our planet is more important than their profits. So they defame environmentalists as “eco-terrorists,” “EPA gestapo,” “Earth day alarmists,” “tree huggers,” and purveyors of “Green hysteria.”

In an enormous departure from free-market ideology, most of the diseconomies of big business are foisted upon the general populace, including the costs of cleaning up toxic wastes, the cost of monitoring production, the cost of disposing of industrial effluence (which composes 40 to 60 percent of the loads treated by taxpayer-supported municipal sewer plants), the cost of developing new water sources (while industry and agribusiness consume 80 percent of the nation’s daily water supply), and the costs of attending to the sickness and disease caused by all the toxicity created. With many of these diseconomies regularly passed on to the government, the private sector then boasts of its superior cost-efficiency over the public sector.
. . . ."


American Detained in Pakistan is a CIA Operative Linked to Blackwater

Democracy Now--Headlines for February 22, 2011

U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for allegedly murdering two men was a CIA agent and a former employee of the private security firm Blackwater. Up until Monday, the Obama administration had insisted Raymond Davis was a diplomat who had acted in self-defense.

President Barack Obama: "With respect to Mr. Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, we’ve got a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future, and that is, if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s local prosecution."

U.S. News Outlets Knew about CIA Links, Kept Quiet at Government Request

The Guardian newspaper of London first reported Raymond Davis’s CIA link on Sunday and added that many U.S. news outlets knew about his ties to the CIA but did not report on it at the request of the U.S. government. On Monday, the New York Times and the Washington Post confirmed the CIA link and admitted to withholding the story. Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter who has been closely following the story. ....

Dave Lindorff: “The rather amazing thing about this story with Raymond Davis is how the New York Times and some other American news organizations hid this from the American public. They actually knew that Davis was working for the CIA even as the President at a press conference was saying that he was a diplomat, and they allowed that lie to get printed, for instance, in the New York Times without a correction, which is worse than hiding the information: it’s actually allowing the President to lie.”


This CIA agent is no diplomat

Craig Murray
guardian.co.uk, Monday 28 February 2011

". . . . But one thing I can state for certain: Davis (as we will call him for now) is not a diplomat and does not possess diplomatic immunity. There is some doubt as to who he really is, with the charges against him in Pakistan including one that he obtained documents using a false identity.

Watching Barack Obama's presidency has been a stream of bitter disappointments. His endorsement of Davis as "our diplomat" and invocation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations was, in its sheer dishonesty, as sad an Obama moment as any.

As a general rule, international treaties are written in very plain language and are very accessible. That is certainly true of the Vienna convention. Unfortunately I can see scant evidence that any journalists have bothered to read it. . . . ."


Warren Zevon

"The Envoy" (1980-82)

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