Paris

Terror Types & Political Pandemonium

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on July 16, 2016

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Much going on over the last two days in the World of Collapse.  2 days ago we had the Truck Massacre in Nice, today there is ongoing an attempted Military Coup d'Etat in Turkey.  You just can't keep up anymore with all the shit going down!  I'm going to have to start publishing an article more than once a week!

Let's go in chronological order here and start with the Truck Massacre.  It occured in France, on Bastille Day, big Holiday like July 4th in the FSoA.  Tradition has it that people gather together and blow off fireworks in a simalcrum of the actual firefights that took place during the original wars/revolutions/battles for independence.  The National Anthem of the FSoA even celebrates this in the lyrics:

And thy rocket's red glare,
Thy bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through thee night,
That our flag was still there.

http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/~/media/images/gmcvb/miamiandbeaches/featured%20articles/fourth%20of%20july/fireworks-display-from-seafair-yacht-612x338.jpg

However, generally speaking these fireworks are not dangerous now, although a few Darwin Award Winners each year succeed in blowing off various parts of their own anatomy.  Still, they ARE a celebration of the Violence & War that it took to create their beloved Nation-State.

Problem here now is this violence is getting real again, and with lots of firecrackers going off and chinese rocket explosions, can the revelers tell the difference between them and guns or bombs going off?  Probably not, leading to mass confusion on the street in a large crowd of people.

In this case also, while apparently the perp had a gun and was firing out the window of his truck as he mowed people down, the main vector for death in this case was the truck he was driving.  This speaks to the issue of Gun Control and whether it would really make a significant difference in Terrorist Death Toll if the French or the FSoA succeeded in "banning guns", or at least the kind of semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 often used in these events.

In all likelihood, this would NOT make a huge difference, since those interested in delivering Death to unsuspecting people would find other means of doing it.  The Killer Truck is one example.  Car Bombs and Pipe Bombs another.  Arson where many people congregate such as Hotels, Theaters and Nightclubs another.  The commuter rail system also is highly vulnerable.  All you need to cause a derailment of a packed commuter train is a Crowbar on a section of track in the wee hours before rush hour.

On the other hand, will making more gunz freely available to the public to Open Carry stop or at least slow down the mass killings done by terrorists with their own gunz?  That depends to a large extent on the type of event it is and how smart or stupid the perp is.

In all cases, the perp has the element of SURPRISE against those he intends on shooting.  They don't know it's coming until the first shot fires off.  In the case of Orlando where the Shooter was actually mixed in with the crowd, a few people Packing Heat might have made a difference in the the final tally of Dead People.  In the case of the Dallas Cop Massacre, it would have made no difference whatsoever.  In that case, the shooter took an elevated position in a parking garage and it probably took a couple of minutes just to figure out where the shots were coming from.  Most of the dead cops probably were hit in the first 2-3 minutes, and you don't even need semi-auto for that, a bolt action with a clip would do the trick.  You gotta aim before you fire anyhow if you want Kill Shots, you can't just spray bullets willy nilly unless in the middle of a crowd.  Then the cops still standing had to figure out how to get to the guy, and even armed to the teeth themselves they didn't think they could do it by standard means, so they improvised a Robot to go in and blow the perp to Kingdom Come.  Even with CC permits, nobody is going to have a robot with them to do that job.

In the incident in Nice, there were plenty-o-cops around, France is after all still under a "State of Emergency" (aka Martial Law) since the last big attack in November and Charlie Hebdo before that.  However, it takes time to react to a truck careening through a large crowd of people, and then the cops gotta get in position to shoot through the windshield in order to take out the driver.  The Killing Field apparently was around 1 mile long, and the driver was doing maybe 30 mph during the spree.  That means he covered the whole mile in around 2 minutes.  There is no way to stop that, short of having Truck Control Laws and preventing people from driving trucks, which obviously would not be good for commerce.  If the truck had a Tesla Autopilot on it, it could have gone on even LONGER mowing people down even AFTER the perp was taken out!

http://news.images.itv.com/image/file/1039395/stream_img.jpg

Which then speaks to yet another method of mass killing, which is using RC Drones.  This has mainly been a Goobermint/Military sponsored method of MK to date, but the technology of RC is quite available to anyone.  Most consumer drones don't have power to carry much payload, but you can certainly adapt the controls to an Ultralight Aircraft capable of carrying a 200 lb load of explosives.  Such Ultralights can be built from motorcycle engines in the 250cc category for around $5000.  DEATH FROM ABOVE on the cheap!

So it is unlikely that a gun ban will do a lot to stop mass killing among those motivated to do so, by one means or the other.  How much being able to CC will help also is quite debatable.  It has a real DOWNSIDE in a crowd situation where it might be effective, which is that the cops don't know who is Friendly Fire and who the perps are?  So in all likelihood in a real melee, lots of the Good Guys shooting to help the cops would get shot by the cops!

This is why in all historical wars, the opposing sides wear UNIFORMS, and why the cops themselves wear uniforms.  In a battle, this identifies Friend from Foe.  In this type of assymetric warfare, the cops don't know WHO is friend or foe.  On the other hand, if the perps consider the cops as foe, they can easily be identified by their uniforms.  This of course puts the cops at a significant disadvantage in such a melee, especially in the case of multiple shooters targeting them specifically.  So far such a situation has not yet occured in the FSoA, but it is a regular feature of life for the Mexican Police Force.  The Drug Dealers know who they are, but they don't know who all the drug dealers are.  So they are targets, sitting ducks essentially.

Finally on this topic for today is a DISTINCTION which is not being made in the Media or by the Pols issuing out statements "condemning" the massacre.  This Dog & Pony Show is just STUPID, what would anyone do but 'condemn" this, unless they happen to side with the shooter?  Condemning the acts doesn't do a fucking thing to address the causes or to reduce them in frequency and in death toll.

The distinction not made is between Terrorist Acts pulled off by a Lone Wolf with his own personal grudges or unstable psychology and those pulled off by one or more perps who are motivated Politically and may be affiliated with some Terrorist Organization like Daesh.  Both types are the outcome of a collapsing civilization; both types can result in a relatively large death toll in a given event, but they have a different nature and the ability to deal with them in any effective manner as a result also varies quite a bit.

In the case of the Terrorist Attack in Paris in November where numerous targets were hit by numerous perps, this was pretty clearly a part of an Organization.  So in the aftermath of that, French & Belgian police went full on arresting the Usual Suspects in both countries until they could nail down who was in these cells and go after them.

In the case of all the other recent attacks mentioned, Orlando, Dallas and Nice, they all appear to have been pulled off by Lone Wolf Nut Jobs.  They may have expressed "allegiance" with the goals of Daesh, but that doesn't mean they have any contact with or direction from the center of this movement.  It just means they are looking for something to justify their actions and a Peer Group.  As individuals they have much in common with the organized Daesh in MENA.  They are also members of the underclass, they also have little opportunity for success wherever they live and they are also Muslims.  So it is convenient to align with Daesh, but they are not really part of an "International Terrorist Organization".

However, every time such a Lone Wolf successfully pulls off a Mass Murder, it gets attributed first to Daesh, and then second to Muslims in general, and the psychotic behavior of these individuals is then transferred through the mass media and the politicians as being attributable to ALL Muslims, and Islam in general as a brutal and medieval sort of religion.  Which all the main ones are really, they all developed well before modern industrial culture did.

What this does is to take the responsibility off your own Local Failures and then ascribe to "the other", who are demonized by Pols and the Media as responsible for the mayhem.  The fact is though, the local Home Grown Lone Wolves are simply reacting to the failures within their own local communities.  They are ALWAYS the underclass, at best they hold an hourly payheck job they can lose on any day, with no savings to carry them over.  They never made enough money to have any significant savings.  They often have Marital Problems, because when you have financial problems, marital problems and arguments quickly follow.  They often have drug and alcohol problems, because when your life is a mess and seems like it will be a mess as far on the horizon as you can see, you rely on alcohol and drugs to blot out the pain.  Often enough those are even Prescription Drugs, anti-depressants to keep you from getting too depressed about your situation, but that doesn't actually change your situation.  Whatever it is making you depressed is still there, you are just too wasted to realize it.

So in reality here, this really has little to do with religion, or even Organized Terror.  It's a social response to a collapsing civilization, and the folks "going nuts" or "getting violent" first are the folks at the bottom end of the society, the people with NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE.  There are more of those being manufactured by Industrial Civilization every day, so we can expect a whole lot more of this type of behavior moving into the future.  At least until somebody in power actually addresses the underlying problems of Resource Depletion and Population Overshoot, which is unlikely to occur anytime too soon.

Much more left to elucidate as far as the Roots of Terrorism are concerned, but in close follow-up to the events in Nice we had the SURPRISE  attempted Military Coup d'Etat occur in Turkey on Friday, conveniently enough after the markets closed for the weekend.  LOL.  So now let us move on to the second half of this discussion which to some people might not seem related, but in truth is very closely related to both types of Terrorism.

Turkey while it has seemed "stable" at least relative to places like Syria and Iraq is centrally located between just about all the major players here.  They have Iran on one side, Mother Russia on another and then NATO operating in Iraq.  They have their own internal divisions with Haves and Have Nots as well, the Kurds being the main Have Not and target inside Turkey for repression.

Then they have an incredibly corrupt regime in power run by Erdocrook, double dealing with ISIL on one side to buy oil and so keep money flowing into Erdocrook's Swiss Bank Account while at the SAME TIME theoretically "battling" the same folks over in Syria, where both NATO and the Ruskies drop the DEATH FROM ABOVE  every day, in the hope they might actually hit something besides women, children and hospitals so they can take out important people and WIN THE WAR!

Far as the Turkish military is concerned, who is it that actually has to cross the border into Syria and engage…somebody.  Said somebodies probably are not wearing any uniforms, and there are a lot of somebodies from different factions here.  So who do you shoot, and who will shoot at you?  You see the similarity with the CC carry problem in a demonstration with police present and shooting I trust.  I'll tell you who has to cross the border and do this insane sort of warfare where nobody is quite sure who the Enemy is, it is the typical Turkish Grunt, and he is probably even less happy about this shit than the truckloads of Amerikan Grunts returning from this Hell Hole and commiting suicide.  Not only can't they figure out who the enemy on the ground really is, they ALSO got Ruskie and NATO bombers dropping down the Death from Above, and based on history their targeting is not always so good.

So one can imagine here the morale amongst the Rank & File Turkish soldier is not so good, and they are not too happy about going out as Cannon Fodder in an Endless War that enriches Erdocrook while their own families at home are STARVING.  Eventually this dissention works its way up to the upper ranks of the military, they start finding it hard to get these grunts to Follow Orders.  Even though Erdocrook did a full purge of the military leadership a few years back, the folks he installed are likely under a lot of pressure from the ranks below.  Instead of a Mutiny within their own ranks jeopardizing their own leadership positions, they risk a Mutiny against Erdocrook themselves.

Besides Rank & File pressure, there's also various types of international pressure Erdocrook is under.  First he has been aligning mostly with the Saudis and attempting to set up an Islamic style Caliphate rather than the secular type of Goobermint Turkey has been running under since the days of Kamal Attaturk.  Second he has all the Refugee problems between Syria & Turkey, and then between Turkey & Greece, and Greece of course is now turning into just about as big a Concentration Camp for MENA refugees as Turkey itself is.  The rest of the Northern Europeans now don't want to let anyone out of those concentration camps, so the problem is backing up.

In a sense, this is not real different than what is going on in the Oil Market these days, now there is a glut in the distillates of diesel and gasoline, and they are running out of storage room as the demand continues to be less than the supply being dragged up, even if that supply is diminishing.  So at some point here a Firesale is going to be necessary.  EVERYTHING MUST GO!  90% OFF!

http://i.usatoday.net/money/_photos/2011/03/24/tips-liquidation-salex-large.jpg

While you can do a liquidation sale of petroleum products pretty easily, liquidation of a large portion of the Human Population is significantly more difficult and brings with it significantly more problems, such as we have witnessed in the last few weeks from Orlando, to Dallas, to Nice and to Turkey.  These are not unrelated and separate problems, they are all manifestations of a Collapse Dynamic that is ongoing and accelerating, which we have been tracking on the Diner for the last 5 years.  None of this is unexpected, the only thing that is real hard to put a finger on is the timeline.

Until the leadership acknowledges and owns up to the underlying problems, no real solutions are possible.  Even once you do own up to the problem, the possible solutions are mostly unpalatable, particularly those in power who wish to hold onto their perks in the current society.  In theory, a downspin and a transition to a lower per capita energy future could be managed, but not with the current leadership and not with the current system of maldistribution.  Both are a recipe for mayhem, and both must be removed before we can address our problems in an intelligent manner.

Maginot Line: Permaculture Realized, Part III

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Published on Peak Surfer on March 6, 2016

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"There's a problem with all utopian visions which is that sooner or later if you try to put them into practice you run into problems with the real world."

 

The following transcript, from an interview for Permaculture Realized podcast on February 2, 2016, has been lightly edited for corrections and readability.

Levi Meeuwenberg: How do you foresee some of these new approaches starting to be implemented and then get rolled out in the long term?

Albert Bates: If you're a country and you've just signed the agreement along with 195 other countries, the first thing you did to get to that was to come up with an INDC — which is your pledged national commitment — your contribution to reduce climate change. It was a promise. You had to make a pledge. So all the countries that came to Paris had already put in their INDCs and if you add up all the sum of the INDCs we still get to three degrees by mid-century, five to seven degrees by end of century. The ambition was way too low.

We knew that. But don’t fret — that was the opening bid. if you're in a poker game that was the ante. You had to put in that much to get in the game. Coming out of Paris what they put in was what they called “stocktake.” This is a new word for Webster’s. Stocktake is what's going to happen for various parts at three or five year intervals. There are a lot of attempts by oil-based economies like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Malaysia, the ones who have coal and stuff, to have the stocktakes taken out but the stocktakes stayed in the treaty so the Paris agreement requires a revision at close intervals now. There is a science stocktake in 2018, and then the next big one for the pledge system is in 2020. The stocktake which will happen in 2018 will look at the 1.5 goal and see what kinds of INDC revisions would be necessary to get and hold global warming to 1.5 degrees C.

Dare I say? We probably already know the answer. If you know anything about climate science you know that 1.5 is already baked in the cake. There's no way that we're not going to go sailing right through a 1.5 degrees celsius increase in global temperature of the planet. We're on that trajectory and there are so many feedback mechanisms, so many positive forcings which are already in play that 1.5 is a done deal. To try to set such an ambitious goal is ignoring the science to begin with, but I'm fine with high ambition so, sure, set that goal. It's kind of like building the Maginot line. If you're familiar with the history of Europe after WWI the French, who had fought all that trench warfare with the Germans which was really nasty, said we're going to pre-build a defensive line of bunkers – cement, barbed wire, trenches and all that – and massive earthworks all around our border so that we can never have this trench warfare slaughter again. We're going to build this giant wall – kind of like Trump's wall with Mexico – around France.

What happened in the Blitz? Germany just flew right over and dropped paratroopers on the other side. The French Minister of War, André Maginot, was fighting the last war. The Wehrmacht had a responsive strategic design process. They laughed all the way to Paris.

What they're doing now is building a Maginot line on the climate and saying that they're going to hold the line at 1.5. Well, I've got news for you, we're already past 1.5. But that's o.k. because what they're doing in that process is education, an interactive education process. We understand that when we're talking about governments and making them change, they change all the time. There are elections and changes in government and you get crazies in and you get different kinds of things happening, two steps back and one step forward. That's just normal in government. Just look at the difference in Obama in the first term and Obama in the second term in terms of climate change. I think partly that's laid at the feet of John Holdren who's the White House Science Adviser who got to meet with Obama on a regular basis and educate him.

I think that in the future we're going to have the same problem of educating governments over and over again. The weather is doing a lot of that for us so we don't really have to worry that much. The underground cities they built on the Maginot Line might even be good examples for urban design in coming decades, as long as they are not on coasts. But the idea of changing the way we farm is going to have to involve a major shift away from Cargill, Monsanto, and the agro industry and the way things are done now.

How do you make a shift like that? Frankly, I see it through tools like permaculture, home gardens, victory gardens, urban gardens. People looking for food security in these turbulent times when the economy is doing really badly and there issues with energy and the absence of energy after the crash of the fracking industry. So we're going to find ourselves where everybody is going to want food security and to do that they're going to have to learn how and to do it in a way that sequesters carbon. If we can produce electricity using clever stoves and things which sequester carbon as well as boost nutrient density that way — that’s the revolution. That can happen worldwide and the seed for that revolution, the starter in the yogurt, is all these little permaculturists running around like a yogurt starter culture.

A lot of different strategies are around to try to deal with climate and I don't begrudge their particular strategy. I think all of them are needed and I think that one of the things that we are going to see in the future is the idea that Bill McKibben launched in Paris and afterward and we’ll see it coming from him, Naomi Klein, Greenpeace, and others, which is that the new standard is 1.5 degrees by mid-century.

So essentially, the international agreement is to go carbon negative in the second half of the 21st century, which is in the actual language of the treaty – which requires 196 countries to eliminate fossil fuels by around mid-century, maybe a little bit after. I think that the ratcheting process may speed it up because the more we learn about the science and the more weather events happen, the more incentive there will be to ratchet up.

But the slogan that Bill McKibben coined was 'every pipeline, every mine — you said 1.5' and I can hear that chant in the back of my head as companies try to send railcar loads of shale oil through cities or carve new strip mines in the mountains or open new fracked gas wells which have already been leased but have not been drilled: “Stop! Every pipeline, every mine, you said 1.5!”

From a science standpoint it's absolutely impossible to hold to the Paris limits if you open up new fossil fuel mines and pipelines. You cannot have any new ones. You cannot have any more. You should be starting to shut down the ones we have. That's the only way to get there. We saw a lot of Fortune 500 companies signing on to this whole notion of going carbon negative or at least carbon neutral. There were one hundred and fourteen companies that signed the science-based initiative of going completely neutral and several of them have already achieved that. That's actually a coalition between environmentalists and business that's happening so now it's up to the environmentalists to hold the feet of these people to the fire, including the governments. So the protests are completely justified.

I had trouble with a lot of protests earlier because I'm a student of Mahatma Gandhi. I read Mahatma Gandhi when I was a high school student. I read pretty much all of his writings when he was a newsletter editor and his various collected writings so I understood the principles of Satyagraha which is seeking truth through peaceful means. One of those principles is to give your opponent every possible opportunity to correct their actions peacefully before you do anything to obstruct them or otherwise cause them harm – economic harm, I'm not talking about physical harm. When Gandhi would plan a march he would notify the authorities – “here's where we're going to be, come and arrest us if you want” – and when he goes into court (and remember he began as a lawyer in South Africa) he asks the judge to give him the maximum possible sentence. “Let's just go ahead and dispense with the trial, I'm guilty, put me in jail for as long as you want.” That's Satyagraha.

Here we have every pipeline, every mine and the moral justification is now there. Everyone's on notice. Everyone has been notified. There is no excuse now. Everybody has already agreed in principle that this must be done – no new pipelines, no new mines. So I think it's completely within everyone's privilege and in fact their duty to oppose anything new in the way of getting fossil fuels out of the ground.

Levi: What are some of the most effective ways? Let's say that we know that there are existing frack wells nearby, which is the case, should we approach the company, should we approach the government, should we go through legal means, or should we just occupy the space? What approach would you say would be best for getting that message out?

AB: I'm not going to dictate local initiatives. I think that this should come from the locality and everybody can best judge in their own location what is the best strategy. I think it's a little more problematic when you're talking about existing structures because those have to be withdrawn in a gradual way so there's a certain amount of latitude that must be there. I understand that. On the other hand if there's a new one then I think that it's perfectly justified to block the well-drilling rigs. It's perfectly justified to oppose them at every stage. For instance, they have to get state permits in every state to go in and drill. They have to get state permits to use the roadways. They have to have NPDES permits which are pollution discharge permits. All of those are places of entry where citizens and groups can go and make statements at those meetings and even protest those meetings if the state decides to ignore the legal requirement. They're outlaws if they ignore the legal requirement.
What needs to happen is the elevation of general public awareness about what the law now says. We're talking about international law which is the supreme law of the land under the U.S. constitution.

Levi: I hear a lot of talk about renewable energy, solar and all that – maybe too much. People who don't have an understanding of permaculture solutions or more holistic solutions or soil solutions see renewable energy as solving everything in some way. How do you see that being part of the picture?

AB: I spent a lot of my book, The Paris Agreement, on this. I blogged for a year leading up to Paris and took all those blogs and wrote an introduction and did a daily blog while I was in Paris. Then I spent a week or two afterward summarizing, synthesizing, and putting it all together to make the book. I put the book out on December 19th which was seven days after the Paris Climate Conference ended. It included the entire text of the treaty along with the year-long analysis that led up to it and I think the point of the book and what I spent a long time talking about was renewable energy and the myth surrounding renewable energy which I saw a lot of in Paris.

It's kind of this idea, this notion to just take out the dirty, greasy, black gooey stuff, the dirty smelly stuff, and the dirty powdery coal and all that which makes our hands black. We'll get rid of all that dirty stuff and we'll put in this shiny polished stainless steel, poly-composite graphite windmills and solar arrays and thermal mirrors and all these fancy new devices, this whole new tech industry which will suddenly transform the world and employ our entire population and give us clean energy, green growth jobs and so forth.

That's the utopian vision and there's a problem with all utopian visions which is that sooner or later if you try to put them into practice you run into problems with the real world. In the real world there are natural laws and one of those is energy return on energy invested. So we have to look at what is the actual cost in the life cycle of a solar cell or the life cycle of a windmill and how much energy is required to make a windmill? Are there steel components? How was that steel made? Was it made with sunlight? I don't think so. What about aluminum? What about some other fancy composites? What about the silicon wafers in the solar cells? Where did they come from and how were they made? What kinds of facilities do that?

Actually, I have to take an aside here and say that some years back, probably 20 years ago now, Solarex, a big solar company, built the first solar breeder which was a factory in Hyattsville, MD which was solar powered and which made solar cells so that's actually something which can be done. But if you look on the energy return on investment and the life cycle and so forth what you suddenly discover is we have been running on high-entropy, high-return, energy density. For instance, oil and coal and these other dense forms of stored solar energy pack a lot of calories per unit of weight or volume, but took 500 million years of sunlight to make. They're concentrated sunlight which has been stored in the earth.

That was our savings account which we went through in about 200 years. We're now switching over to a checking account, based on daily income – how much sun falls on the planet? Most of that's on the ocean. How much of that can be transformed into useful energy, how much can make liquid fuels? What we find is caloric return per unit weight or volume is much lower, an order of magnitude or more lower than what we were getting from fossil. So it's the first time in history that we're going from a denser form of energy to a less dense form. Every other time we've moved from whale oil to shale oil, from wind from canvas to wind from hydraulics and electromagnets and now we're going back the other way.

There's enormous power stored in ocean waves and tides and things like that. We can and will tap all those things to our benefit but compared to fossil fuels they're going to be a step back. We're actually going to have to contract. The economy is going to have to contract. It already is. What we're seeing now with the broader global economy is a major contraction that's already under way. It's what James Kunstler calls the long emergency. It's going to last a long time and it's going to be in stair steps. It's not going to come all at once.

But if we think that somehow solar power is going to change that trajectory, it's not. We're still going to have to step down. There's a lot of ground to be gained from increased efficiency and from employing low tech solutions and so on. Lifestyle is going to have to shift to reflect that change too. Most people don't understand that.

Personally, I think that megacities are doomed, especially coastal ones. Megacities are based on the import of resources from the periphery to the center. That's going to become much harder when transportation fuels are at much more of a premium. I think that the bioeconomy is the future. We're going to learn to cascade our crops to be able to get ecosystem services from the way in which they are designed and then some food and maybe some fuel and energy from that. Then biochar and carbon, which we're going to put back in the soil, is going to make a reversal in the climate trend and that cycle – actually already – of using bioenergy is seven times more cost-effective from an energy production standpoint than photovoltaics.

If you're going to install photovoltaics in a remote location on a village scale you'll find you'll have seven times more bang for the buck if you go with a biomass kiln and a local crop of food which produces a waste stream for that kiln and the kiln is pyrolytic, it's gasified and so it makes biochar and is therefore a whole business for you. It gives you pharmaceuticals, animal feed and other kinds of things which are of benefit to you. I think that's the future. The problem is that it's a much different future than most people envision and is certainly different than governments coming out of Paris thought was going to happen.

Levi: I would go as far as to say many people can't imagine or have lost this ability to imagine a world that is so vastly different from what it is now. Especially kids nowadays who have access to TV shows and the internet so they don't have to use their imagination as much so I think it withers a bit.

AB: Let me jump in and say something about that. I think that some of the things that people do with permaculture design courses and with introductions to permaculture, and through lectures to the public and so forth, those kinds of entries into what we do in that world are ways of re-educating the population not just to the crisis that we face but also to the things that you can do to make your life better even while the world is undergoing this monumental shift.

I've been teaching this course in Belize for many years. It's the eleventh time we've taught this course at this one farm, an experimental research station in Belize. It is the 50th permaculture design course that I've taught. The thing that I'm getting out of that is that we bring people from North America and Europe into this setting which is a very rural, rustic place. It's the Mayan world. If you go deeply enough into the Yucatan peninsula you find the Mayan world which hasn't changed a lot since Columbus. It's been globalized to a large extent. People wear the same clothes as people in the outside world and they have bicycles and drive cars so the outer things have changed. But the first language is still Mayan. It's still an indigenous population which has indigenous ways. I just attended a funeral ceremony here where I am in the Yucatan right now and it's as much Mayan as it is Catholic.

In the Mayan mountains where we go to the course we're really putting people into a time portal. It's like an adventure where you get to go to a different planet because we're tucked into the foothills of the Mayan mountains two miles up-river from the village of San Pedro, Columbia in southern Belize. You have to get there by an hour in a dugout canoe being poled up river. That's the only way to get there. There's a trail but you probably wouldn't want to try that with a pack, and you still have to ford the river. When you get there, suddenly there's this beautiful sight that's all renewable energy. The food for the course comes from the land every day. For twenty years they've been doing integrated agro-forestry, what the UN calls eco-agriculture, and applied biodiversity. For a quarter of a century really, twenty-six years, they've been there growing organic food and converting citrus and cattle farming to a biologically diverse polyculture. So when you make this trip, when you go through this time portal, you're transported back to a society which existed a thousand years ago and was in complete harmony with the seasons, kept its population within the limits of production of the local watersheds, and had an elegant, simple, wonderfully fruitful life and a community society. You stumble over stones which are parts of old pyramids. This is a long lost city complex of the Maya and was there at its peak a thousand years ago. This is actually the best way to live the future, to see steady-state economies of the past which had it figured out and which actually can change the climate back to the holocene from the anthropocene, given the tools. So I recommend not just our course in Belize which anyone can attend but also other courses in similar settings where there are still indigenous cultures, for a wonderful experience in seeing what the future holds.

Levi: I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing all your great messages, all this information, and spreading it and all that you're doing.

AB: Thanks. It's been great talking to you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COP21 was a FRAUD!

Global-Warming-Climate-Changegc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Geoffrey Chia

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 21, 2015

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We are on track for 8 to 10 degrees Celsius GATR and Paris COP 21 was a fraud

This is the most comprehensive and scientifically honest discourse about our climate future that I have encountered so far: http://www.apollo-gaia.org/harsh-realities-of-now.html

Dr David Wasdell is an impeccable source. The evidence and reasoning he employed, by summarising data and peer-reviewed research from many other scientists, demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that the massively underestimated conclusions of the IPCC were politically watered down deceit. It enabled false (but more politically palatable) assumptions to be adopted by the COP participants and meaningless goals to be pursued (which are not binding anyway). All in all, those international toings-and-froings have been a complete joke. James Hansen called the COP21 shenanigans “half assed and half baked” http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/climate/2015-paris-climate-talks/hansen

There was one benefit of COP21 however. The delusion that we still have a carbon “budget” to burn and that we still have some wiggle room to avoid disaster, does justify ongoing COP junkets for the COP junkies for next few years, before the airline industry collapses from financial Armageddon / Hi-NES depletion. May as well keep partying on the deck of the Titanic, while encouraging the crew to use chewing gum and spit to patch the gaping hole in the hull.

Dr Wasdell mentioned that an 8 degree Celsius global average temperature rise is a conservative estimate and 10 degrees GATR may be more likely.

We could face a global wipeout on the scale of the Permian-Triassic extinction, in which about 70% of land species and 95% of marine species perished. It is important to understand why the die-off was (and will be) worse in the oceans. Readers will be aware that many phytoplankton species require calcareous shells and ocean acidification can wipe them out. They form a large part of the base of the oceanic food pyramid. Less commonly appreciated is the physical fact that cold water contains more dissolved gases than warm water. This is why the cold waters near the poles, being oxygen rich, can support abundant marine life (in areas where there are also abundant nutrients). Warming oceans will liberate previously dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere, another adverse feedback loop which will aggravate global warming. Warm oceans will also contain very little dissolved oxygen, leading to the anoxic deaths of the majority of oceanic species. Anoxic oceans full of dead organic matter can promote the proliferation of bacteria which generate the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide, the liberation of which can kill not only marine organisms, but many land organisms when released into the atmosphere.

If it was the intent of homo stupidus to wreak ecological devastation which will persist for millions of years, we could not have done a better job.

Ten degrees GATR will certainly lead to an ice free world, with a very high eventual likelihood of human extinction (but not as soon as 2030 though). Unlike Guy McPherson and his flunkies, I do not regard NTHE as an absolute certainty and have outlined a possible survival strategy for a small number of humans:

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6469302-a-critique-of-some-of-guy-mcpherson-s-views-and-certain-nbl-hangers-on

In that essay, I tried to promote Guy as the possible initiator of such a survival project, to offer him a way out of the hole he had dug for himself. However rather than rise to the challenge, he continued to reject any possibility of human survival, to remain a prophet of doom and the titular head of a nihilistic death cult.

If anything, knowing that we face unstoppable horrific climate chaos should concentrate our efforts to plan for a difficult future now, while we still have some time and resources. A number of geographic pockets around the world will still be able to support comfortable human life for some decades to come. Those who can should seize the opportunity.

My message to everyone? Try to live for as long as you can, aim for the best quality of life you can, and do so without trampling over others. Understanding our imminent demise should, if anything, enhance our appreciation for life and motivate us to derive whatever joy we can, while we can, perhaps by engaging in random acts of kindness now and then. Stay away from those who choose to wallow in the mire of abject hopelessness and misery. Avoid those who prefer to curse the darkness rather than light a candle.

Wishing everyone a happy pagan summer* solstice.

Geoffrey Chia, 21 December 2015

*winter in the Northern hemisphere

Some long term climate scenarios

climate_change_action_protest-537x356gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 13, 2015

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Scenarios are not predictions, just ways of describing possible futures; useful in order to be prepared for unexpected events. The only rule in scenario building is that the assumptions should not be too improbable; such as involving time machines. And, yet, it seems that in some cases involving climate projections, time machines are a built-in assumption

The COP21 conference in Paris has brought again climate to the attention of the public and, from now on, there starts the real challenge: what can we really expect for the future of the earth's climate? As always, predictions are difficult, especially when there are many variables involved. Nevertheless, climate change is the result of physical factors that we can understand and we know that the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – if it continues – is going to lead us to a very unpleasant future.

If we look at the long-term future, the whole question rotates on whether we manage to stay below an increase in temperature that is believed to be "safe" (it might be 2 degrees C, but we don't know for sure), or we pass the limit and we find ourselves above the "climate tipping point" after which the system starts moving by itself toward more and more warming with all the associated disasters.

So, I thought I might engage in a little exercise of qualitative "scenario building" with a special focus on climate. Here are some scenarios; listed in no particular order. Some you could see as horrible, some as unlikely, others as overoptimistic. But they are just that: scenarios. The COP21 was a step in the right direction. Avoiding the worst outcomes will not be easy, but it is up to us.

1. Business as usual. In this scenario, things remain mostly as they are today; just gradually worsening. There are no major wars, no abrupt economic collapses, no sudden climate disasters. But temperatures keep increasing while the world's economic system is battered by one crisis after the other. So, the economy gradually loses the resources necessary to keep alive the structures that study and understand global problems: universities and research centers. As a consequence, global problems slip away from the collective consciousness. People get killed by heat waves, starved by droughts, and swept away by monster hurricanes, and still no one is able to connect all that to climate change, while the burning of fossil fuels, although reduced because of depletion, continues. In the long run, that would lead to the end of civilization by a whisper, rather than by a bang.

2. The climate panic.  This is the symmetric and opposite scenario to the above. As the climate crisis gets worse, we may arrive at a "perception tipping point;" maybe generated by some spectacular event (e.g. a monster ice calving from Antarctica or Greenland) or, simply, by the accumulation of evidence. A wave of climate panic would lead to a scramble to "do something" and things might worsen rather than improve them if, for instance, some extreme forms of geoengineering were attempted. However, it might also lead to positive results. For instance, a push for reforestation and for renewable energy would effectively mitigate climate change. It is not obvious that our civilization needs a burst of panic to be saved, but that might give us an extra chance.

3. The Seneca collapse. Before being hit by some climate disaster, the world's economy could experience a "Seneca collapse" as the result of resource depletion.  such a situation, people would have no time to worry about anything but their immediate survival and that would lead to climate change being completely forgotten. On the other hand, the economic collapse would cause a reduction in emissions probably well beyond even the wildest dreams of environmentalists. It is not obvious, however, that this would be sufficient to avoid to go above the 2 C limit.

4. The warring states. The present situation has been likened to the beginning of the first world war and there are serious risks that the ongoing conflicts will escalate into a major worldwide confrontation. In such case, all the worries about climate change would be immediately forgotten. A major war would likely boost the efforts to extract as much fossil fuels as possible, including, probably, the oil shales that pure market forces seem to be unable to extract (it may be that the current drive for war arises in part from this kind of considerations). That would lead to emissions spiking up, at least for the duration of the war. On the other hand, it is likely that any major war would rapidly peter out because of the lack of energy and resources to carry it on. So, the carbon spike won't last long. Still, it could do a lot of damage, making things even more difficult.

5. The nuclear holocaust. A variant of the war scenario, it assumes that one or more contenders would decide to play the nuclear card. That could take the shape of tactical or strategic nuclear bombing or also that of attacking the adversary's nuclear plants utilizing conventional weapons. In all cases, we would see a rapid drop of the carbon emissions as large industrialized areas would be destroyed or just rendered uninhabitable. A massive nuclear exchange would also generate so much dust in the upper atmosphere that the result could be described as a "nuclear winter" causing an extreme cooling that might do even more damage than warming. However, that would do nothing to change the long-run effect of the greenhouse gases already emitted in the atmosphere. The dust would eventually settle down and the warming restart with a vengeance.

6. Depopulation. Most current projections assume that the human population will keep smoothly increasing throughout the 21st century, plateauing at around 9-10 billion individuals, or perhaps more than that. However, the historical record shows that human populations rarely follow this kind of trajectory, more often tending to collapse after having peaked. A good case in point is that of Ireland, between 1845 and 1850, when population crashed to about half of the size it had at the peak. The world's population might collapse in the same way as the result of wars, epidemics, pollution, of someone playing games with biological weapons and it might not be impossible to lose several billion people in a few decades, or even faster. The result would be a strong reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions, albeit obtained at a price that nobody would want to pay. However, people would continue burning fossil fuels and the cumulative amount of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would continue increasing. So, it is not obvious that even this extreme scenario could lead to avoiding the climate tipping point.

7. The renewable revolution. Renewable energy is the wild card of the situation. It is already efficient enough that it can outcompete fossil fuels and it could grow fast enough to replace them before it is too late. Assume that people understand both the advantages of renewable energy and the desperate need we have to stop burning fossil fuels, then we could arrive at a "bottom-up" revolution in which we don't need government-enforced emission trading or a carbon tax. A situation in which even climate science deniers wouldn't be so silly to pay more for dirty fossil energy when they can have cheaper and clean energy. In the end, the battle for climate would be won when a consortium of renewable companies buys Exxon and closes it down. Problem solved and it is the beginning of a new era.

We could combine some of these scenarios together, or think of different ones. The only rule is that they shouldn't be too improbable. For instance, we shouldn't include scenarios dealing with an alien invasion of the planet or with the COP97 being held in Siorapaluk, in Northern Greenland, in 2074 finally arriving at a binding treaty on the phasing out of fossil fuels. Apart from this, the future always surprises us. Just don't forget that the future cannot be predicted, but that you can be prepared for it.
 

Climate Tactics Redux

climate_change_action_protest-537x356gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Steve Ludlum

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Published on the Economic Undertow on December 10, 2015

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The most effective policy is to pay people to conserve: to offer a basic income conditioned to meeting conservation standards; to pay citizens who do not have children or own cars.

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Figure 1: CO2 content of the atmosphere increases, now over 400 ppm. NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (click on for big).

Right now thousands of the world’s bosses and their underlings are meeting in Paris in an attempt to wrangle some sort of global reduction of warming gases without actually doing anything, from CNN:

COP21 climate change summit: ‘Never have the stakes been so high’

Leaders of 150 nations, along with 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, are attending the conference, called COP21. COP stands for Conference of Parties, an annual forum to try to tackle climate change on a global political level.

The leaders have one mission: Agree on legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions meant to hold global average temperatures short of a 2 degrees Celsius increase over pre-industrial global temperatures.

 

 

The cognitive dissonance is head-spinning: the delegates are flown first-class into Paris or in their countries’ official jetliners; they meander in long convoys of armored limousines from Five-star hotels to Michelin-rated restaurants where they are stuffed like geese destined to become foie gras. Eventually, the meetings end and the delegates jet off to other conferences elsewhere. Filling the otherwise boring interval between flights and limo rides is mindless pontificating and empty promises, all of it paid for by the same sorts of industries that emit most of the carbon pollution in the first place!

One would think bringing relief from what is becoming a runaway global meltdown would be an all-hands-on-deck emergency. You would be wrong … because the only action that will make a difference is to reconfigure our Westernized, garbage-producing society from the ground up, to ditch the gangrenous American Way and its polluting industries and their ‘products’ at once, starting with the hundreds of millions of worthless, non-remunerative automobiles. But the bosses and their minions are like children with their hands caught in the cookie jar; they refuse to give up anything even if it means total destruction. Their strategy is to end pollution is to wait until after everyone as become rich, countries will then be able to afford expensive pollution-remediation technology, that so far nobody has been able to produce.

We live in ridiculous times: bosses are working against themselves. The newer, less-polluting industries are subsidized by legacy versions. Because these standbys — such as coil-fired power stations — are critically important, they are given a continuous lease on life. The output of new and old added together increases ‘economic growth’ that cannot be willingly surrendered. As it is, when the growth fails to materialize on its own, every effort is made to gain it, regardless of consequences. Regardless of consequences. Regardless of consequences. regardless of consequences!

François Hollande’s 34 projects aimed at sealing France’s ‘industrial renaissance’

 

 

 

Driverless cars, nanotechnology and electric aeroplanes – François Hollande launches 34 projects aimed at sealing France’s “industrial renaissance”.

François Hollande denied he was returning France to a bygone age of state interventionism as he launched 34 state-aided projects aimed at sealing the country’s “industrial renaissance” – from futuristic fast trains to electric-powered satellites.

Unveiling the state-subsidised “industrial battle plans”, the French president insisted cutting edge research into “energy transition”, health and food and new technologies would help return France to its glorious industrial past in a globalised world.

Projects include plans to develop a car that can run 60 miles on two litres of fuel, electric aeroplanes, driverless cars, nanotechnology and “intelligent” fabrics, such as incubators made of a material that “cures” jaundice without medical intervention.

 

 

… and more pontification and empty promises. What the bosses refuse to understand is there will be the reduction of climate gases; this is an absolute certainty. The process appears to be underway, but not for the reasons often cited. Rather, it is resource constraints/peak oil, deleveraging, breakdown in credit infrastructure, bankruptcies and increases in poverty, ‘Conservation by Other MeansTM‘ whereby citizens are reduced to penury and are unable to afford resources in any form … no matter how low the prices go.

The fundamental problem of any emission-reduction strategy is the benefits and risks are in the future while costs accrue in the immediate present. It makes business sense to do nothing and push the costs into the future even though doing so causes them to multiply. An alternative strategy would be to de-emphasize the frontal assault on carbon and target other forms of pollution, by doing so mitigate carbon emissions indirectly. The idea is to break the main problem into smaller components and deal with them in detail. For instance there are multiple heat-trapping items besides carbon dioxide; there is soot, also nitrous oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, methane- and related, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride: some of these emissions are controlled, others such as carbon gas emissions have been reduced to some degree within the US and Europe by shifting manufacturing to other countries.

  • The means to manage pollution are familiar and have been deployed successfully for decades, such as the regulatory requirement to produce and market diesel fuel without sulfur. This requirement is uncontroversial, there are no arguments against it. The means to produce sulfur-free fuel exist now and have been proven cost effective. Management is relatively simple because diesel fuel is the product of a relative handful of large, centralized industrial facilities which can be monitored. If the facilities don’t produce the correct diesel they are easily shut down. After the introduction of sulfur-free fuel there are visible benefits both in the form of lower fuel user costs and cleaner air, the diesel fuel producers’ margins aren’t effected.
  • Administrative and technical tools to limit emissions can be perfected against more commonplace forms of pollution. Over time these tools can be improved enough to be effective against carbon emitters.
  • As components of the climate problem are chipped away, the problem shrinks, it becomes underwhelming. The final reduction of the carbon problem becomes a relatively modest exercise.

There is low-hanging fruit to harvest by reducing smog in developing countries where it is considered to be a naturally occurring by-product of progress. As Americans and Europeans discovered in the 1950s, the costs of smog can be unbearable. Clean air and non-polluted water are not luxuries but a basic requirement for a functioning country.

Once there are visible pollution ‘victories’ — whatever they might be — it becomes easier to produce follow-on victories. Right now there is nothing to the climate dilemma but one administrative failure after another … managers are perceived to be inept and untrustworthy, each failure making it more difficult to take effective action in the future.

  • To do nothing is to allow resource depletion and energy deflation to sharply diminish fuel consumption which will in turn reduce the output all hydrocarbon fuels including coal. Mining coal on an industrial scale is no longer a pick-and-shovel operation but requires vast amounts of petroleum. The coal customer must bear these costs otherwise, the coal remains in the ground. Resource depletion is the default solution to climate problems and is underway. The only word one must be mindful of regarding depletion is cost.
  • The world-wide increase in suburbs, cars, developments, infrastructure, mines and oil wells ironically renders carbon fuels too costly and valuable to waste. Cost is a hard school, but accelerated development is the most likely cure for climate ills because it is the most certain. The conjecture that billions of tons of fossil fuel resources are immediately available for conversion into climate gases is false, these resources are not affordable in a world visibly going broke.

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Kobane, Syria, 2015. Image by AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic: default climate gas management in action. Pollution is not emitted from these buildings. Consider changing the economic paradigm and look to Syria rather than Europe or the United States as the model customer for alternative energy. The shattered country filled with desperately impoverished people is somehow supposed to afford expensive replacement prime movers when they can barely afford what they have now.

  • Climate scientists are overexposed in the media and elsewhere, they should step off the public stage. Questions about climate should be answered with a terse, “no comment”. Climate change should become a hip and trendy insider secret, accessible by only a privileged few. This is strictly a cynical marketing ploy as the businessmen would rush to fill the information vacuum with obvious, self-defeating lies. Events and word-of-mouth would do the heavy lifting. Ominous silence from the science community would be terrifying … perhaps enough to stir individual action.
  • All climate scientists should get rid of their cars and other polluting luxuries: drive them to the junkyards and crush them. The scientists are either serious or they are not. If not, why should anyone else be?
  • Focus on ‘other’ ordinary pollution culprits: ozone, nitrous oxides, volatile hydrocarbon photochemical smog, soot, methane and chlorofluorocarbon gases used in refrigeration, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
  • The primary components of smog are particulates, nburned fuel and nitrous oxides. Ordinary smog is reduced by the use of catalytic converters and fuel management systems. The catalyst combusts the unburned fuel in the stream of engine exhaust gas. Unburned fuel, nitrous oxides in the presence of sunlight produces ozone which is poisonous to vegetation. This in turn accelerates the release of greenhouse gases from agriculture lands and forests. Attacking ozone is a tactic to attack carbon emissions indirectly.
  • There is a long history or successful management of photochemical smog sourced from vehicles, this effort should be expanded laterally … to countries without effective smog controls … and vertically … to include all kinds of engines. This includes fixed sources of ozone producing pollution such as generators and industrial prime movers; ship power plants and aircraft engines.
  • Catalytic converters should be retrofitted to older engines. Those that cannot be retrofitted should be removed from service and scrapped. A country-by-country approach or by way of the WTO, the setting of requirements for manufacturers; all of these approaches would be effective and non-controversial. Half of the world operates engines equipped with with these converters and does so at low cost, the use of them in the other half represents a manageable expense. The public benefit is cleaner air, fewer pollution-related health problems and less damage to agriculture. The private benefit is the sales of catalysts and replacement engines.
  • Soot- and soot-like particles are important components of climate change and is sourced from coal- and oil fired boilers, auto tire wear, brake- and clutch linings, diesel exhaust and from poorly performing gasoline engines, also from wood-burning and forest fires. Soot can be managed by using cleaner fuels, reducing open fires and using particulate traps on prime movers.
  • Eliminate chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants that are produced and sold in developing countries. CFC’s are potent greenhouse gases: production and sale of bootleg refrigerants is a marginal activity whose loss would not effect national economies at all. Unlike narcotics and other contraband, CFCs are produced only in a few large factories which can be shut down or modified to produce non-destructive products. What is needed is the administrative impulse to do so.
  • Institute a universal ban on 2-cycle engines including those which burn lubricating oil along with gasoline. Unburned oil and diesel fuel in the exhaust stream contaminates catalysts in catalytic converters; the poorly combusted oil is also a source of soot. There are four-cycle alternatives that do not burn lubricating oil, that allow the use of catalytic converters. A short phase-in period would retire or replace all 2-cycle engines including outdoor equipment, chain saws, scooters and mopeds.
  • Ban carburetors on gasoline engines. Carburetors are obsolete and generally only found in the US on smaller engines used off-highway such as portable generators and lawn mowers. Carburetors do not allow fuel to mix completely with the air and are a source of photochemical smog. Carburetors are replaceable with electronic fuel management systems such as fuel injection.
  • End the export trade in older vehicles and prime movers from the West to developing countries. Older vehicles are a large source of pollution. Ending this trade would be a step away from the proposal that every human is entitled to personal automobile transport without regards to the consequences. There are hundreds of millions of 2-cycle engines, carburetors and antiquated junkers in the world, removing them would make a noticeable difference at very low cost or even provide a return as the use of these things is subsidized.
  • End the trade in partially-refined and unblended low quality fuels including but not limited to leaded gasoline and high-sulfur diesel. There should be an industry agreement regarding fuel quality; an international standard to meet. This standard would cost a modest amount of money to implement; like CFCs, fuels are the products of a few large factories that can be managed.
  • Mandate the switch to low-sulfur fuels, gas scrubbers and catalytic converters on all ocean-going ships.
  • Mandate only up-to-date electric generating plants which use low-sulfur fuels and pollution reducing technology … all of which is readily available. A schedule to update power stations should be agreed to reduce then eliminate non-carbon waste gases … doing so would indirectly reduce the carbon emissions. Non-performing prime movers would be scrapped even those that are relatively new. A fifteen year old thermal plant that produces excess waste gases can be scrapped the same as the fifteen year old merchant ship that falls into the same non-performing category. ‘Forced updating’ is cost-free as the new plant uses less fuel than what it replaces.
  • Any sort of conservation policy is low-cost and highly effective. Conservation is the cheapest form of power generation as the plant not built represents billions of dollars of credit effectively earned. At the same time, tackling smog, particularly in developing countries, would demonstrate that managing carbon emissions is possible.
  • The most effective policy is to pay people to conserve: offer a basic income conditioned to meeting conservation standards; pay citizens who do not have children or own cars.
  • Eliminate fuel subsidies in all countries! This would accomplish a number of goals; a) reduce sovereign expenses in countries currently being bankrupted by their fuel subsidies; b) fuel consumption would be reduced along with auto fleets. This is because subsidies are more useful to those with sub-standard vehicles, c) carbon emissions would be indirectly reduced as there would be less fuel consumed: fuel pricing is a form of rationing.
  • Ending subsidies risks aggravating motorists. Drivers and their entitlements will have to be dealt with sooner or later, easy way or hard: the ongoing world-wide bailout of motorists is unaffordable. Once government gains any sort of ascendancy over drivers it becomes a far simpler matter to bring the hammer down on them with regards to climate gas emissions as well as fuel waste. The default strategy to constrain drivers is to do nothing. This leaves fuel shortages caused by drivers’ bankruptcy to do the dirty work.
  • Implement a world-wide moratorium on forest clear cutting. This is another easy fix that is practically cost free except to gangsters/Chinese who traffic in bootleg lumber. Commandos would earn their keep by killing loggers who would be otherwise paid not to log. Implementation would suggest a hard limit: this and no more! Forest removal and followup agricultural exploitation add only the smallest marginal additions to national GDP at the same time the costs to the environment and ability of the biosphere to absorb carbon are extraordinarily high. Deforestation by itself is a greenhouse gas emitter.
  • Implement and fund a world-wide program of re-forestation, wherever possible. The cost would be modest, the returns would be felt in areas where deforestation has led to degraded soils and watersheds. Reforestation can also be a jobs-providing platform.
  • It is important to reforest in ways that increase diversity making forests less susceptible to pests.
  • Implement more effective forest-fire fighting efforts. The costs would be modest measured against the increased climate costs of forest fires.
  • Put out coal mine- and coal seam fires. This is more low-hanging fruit.
  • End gas flaring from oil wells, refineries and terminals. Not only do the flares produce carbon gases but they are also tremendously destructive of insect life.
  • Eliminate ‘incidental’ methane leakage from oil and gas wells. Most oil and gas wells do not leak, those that do should be denied connection and ordered plugged immediately at drillers’ expense. Given a few such expensive duds, there would soon be no methane leaks from hydrocarbon wells.
  • Eliminate tax advantages and subsidies for fuel use in the US, the world’s greatest waster of fossil fuels. Accelerated depreciation, depletion allowances for oil reservoirs, income tax deductions for ‘business vehicle’ purchases, favorable royalty rates and low cost access to public lands, access roads by the state(s), borrow-and-spend highway subsidies, mortgage interest deduction, favorable treatment of capital gains, etc. Reforms would not cost anything but would reduce costs, the obstacle is politics.
  • Reformulate plastics so they degrade when exposed to sunlight or sea water. At the same time, place a ‘producer deposit’ — no different from the old-fashioned bottle deposit — on plastic factories for the packaging products they produce.
  • Reform agriculture. CAFO’s — concentrated animal feeding operations or very large feedlots — provide utility the CAFO operator only. These operations with their confined animals contaminate water supplies with animal waste; they also produce massive amounts of climate gases. Shutting down CAFO’s would be a low-cost tactic that indirectly reduces climate gas emissions.
  • Reform agriculture, make wider use of biochar.

 
Temperature trend 1

Figure 2: Warming scenarios from UNEP by way of Robert Scribbler: Efforts to reduce carbon emissions and warming look to fall short, leaving the world to heat up to massively destructive +4°C which would wipe out our agriculture.

  • End biofuel subsidies. Feeding cars and feeding humans together at the same time means that ultimately neither get fed. Biofuels are barely net-energy neutral and subsidy dependent, the beneficiaries are a handful of biofuel tycoons who would ‘lose’ with the elimination of subsidies.
  • Implement a world-wide moratorium on road building. This is yet another easy fix that is cost free, both it and the moratorium on logging are easily enforced by way of satellite surveillance. Another, related step is to eliminate World Bank subsidies for logging, road building, dam building and other environmentally destructive policies that also produce climate gases or reduce the ability of the biosphere to sequester carbon.
  • Electrify railroads and increase both freight and passenger capacity.
  • Ban land-grabbing in undeveloped countries by 3d parties. Much of the so-called ‘new’ farm land becomes biofuel plantations, cash crop industrial monocultures that produce climate gases.

The most effective step is to provide incentives — to pay people — to conserve. Subsidizing conservation provides a direct capital return on investment that remains with the recipient. Subsidizing consumption as we do now leaves consumer without the resource, without the subsidy and his children with a mountain of unpayable debts. He’s older and poorer even if his consumption suggests otherwise.

The most effective tool is good management. Individuals can effect small scale changes on their own, in aggregate they can do much. American cities are being made over by younger people acting as individuals, who have turned their backs on suburbia. Managing at-scale industrial processes and mandating engineering approaches is more effectively done by governments with the wit to take action.

Ironically, government activism here would save the tycoons from themselves: left to their own unrestrained cruelty and greed, the tycoons’ self-serving activities will continue to price resources beyond the reach of their customers. Eventually, both resource- and the tycoon ‘problems’ are ‘solved’.

With a bit of effort it is not hard to think of other, indirect forms of action against carbon gas emitters. The benefit of these alternatives is that they would not cost very much or would provide economic gains. Meanwhile, the climate crisis is deflated by a thousand cuts leaving (hopefully) our descendants to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Paris: Le Overture

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Publishes on the Peak Surfer on November 29, 2015

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"The ‘guard rail’ concept, which implies a warming limit that guarantees full protection from dangerous anthropogenic interference, no longer works. What is called for is a consideration of societally acceptable risk."
 

Today we are in Paris, site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21). We have been reporting from these conferences for this blog since early 2008, with the run-up to COP19 in Copenhagen. Each time there has been much ado about the potential for transformative action and each time, by the end of the two weeks, it turns into just adieu and see you next year.

The past three conferences in particular (Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, Lima 2014) were really just treading water, trying to iron out differences enough to proceed to a formal, legally binding document to be adopted here in Paris this year, in 14 days time.

In 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, the UN member countries negotiated an international treaty to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and to cope with whatever other impacts of reckless fossil fuel use were, by then, inevitable. These annual conferences at the beginning of every December were intended to reach those decisions.

It took only three years for the COPs to recognize that the minor emission reductions they had imagined at first glance in the giddy Summit at Rio would be totally inadequate. So, they launched negotiations to strengthen the international response and, two years later, in 1997, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol legally bound overdeveloped countries to emission reduction targets while giving the underdeveloping countries a pass. This eventually caused a lot of friction, because many of the countries who got passes, China and India for instance, took that opportunity to build hundreds of coal-fired power plants and become the world's leading greenhouse gas polluters.

The US Head Negotiator, Todd Stern, told the Guardian:

“We have a situation where 60-65% of emissions come from developing countries. That’s a good thing. It means that developing countries are developing. But you cannot solve climate change on the back of the 35%.

A watershed moment for the negotiating process occurred in Copenhagen when the world was on the verge of enacting a binding treaty to replace Kyoto, with everyone included and sanctions for scoff-laws. At the last moment Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama swooped in and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, substituting a voluntary pledge system (Independent Nationally Determined Contributions, all non-binding) that only 5 countries were willing to sign, but it was enough to torpedo the treaty. In a recent Presidential campaign debate Ms. Clinton called it one of her great moments of leadership on the climate issue, which rescued the Copenhagen talks.

It is true there were differences of opinion about how close Copenhagen was to actually sealing the deal. “By the time [Obama arrived in Copenhagen] things had already unravelled and then had to be put back together,” according to Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications at the White House. Rhodes said that in Paris Obama's tactics would be different. “The goal here is to give a push with heads of state at the beginning of the process and then allow [Secretary of State John] Kerry and others to finalize the details.”

The old protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. Despite the debacle in Copenhagen, most of the European countries hit their targets. Total emissions for all other overdeveloped countries rose by about 10 percent. China's rose about 10 percent per year and it is now the world's largest emitter. Canada was committed to cutting its greenhouse emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012, but in 2009 emissions were 17% higher than in 1990 and the Harper government prioritized tar sand development in Alberta. Canada's emissions are now up 34% from baseline and Australia is in similar territory. In Doha at COP18, 36 UN member states agreed to extend Kyoto for another round, beginning in 2013 and running to 2020 but without the major polluters on board it is a feeble effort.

Kyoto is generally viewed as a limited success. Among the overdeveloped, France, the UK and Germany achieved reductions of 7, 15 and 19 percent. In any event, these reductions pale when compared to the impact of peat fires in Indonesia, deforestation in Brazil or methane releases in Siberia.

At COP16 in 2010, the rest of the world, recognizing that the United States had been allowed to hijack the Copenhagen meeting, put the UN multiparty process back on track with the Cancun Agreements. Fast start finance (a.k.a. dollar diplomacy) brought pledges from the US and Europe to mobilize through international institutions, approaching 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012. Funding for adaptation was allocated to the most vulnerable underdeveloping countries, such as small island States and equatorial Africa, but nobody really knows whether or when that money will show up.

At Paris the various governments are “invited” to provide information on their efforts to reduce emissions (calculated, for the underdeveloping, as reductions on theoretical maximum development burn – Business As Usual, or “BAU” – to more modest, “responsible,” but nonetheless increased burns) and to please let everyone know how soon and by what means the promised great wealth transfer will take place.

Nonetheless, by slow increments, the noose is gradually tightening around the neck of fossil fuel companies and their government backers. All governments re-committed in Durban to a comprehensive plan that would come closer over time to delivering the ultimate objective of the Convention: to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would “prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system” and at the same time preserve the rights of the 5 billion world poor to “sustainable development.” Let us set aside for a moment the incompatibility of those two goals as their terms are presently defined.

Durban made two very important adjustments to the Cancun Agreements. First, that COP said that science will trump politics and that if it should be proven, for instance, that 2 degrees is not a sufficient guard rail to prevent human civilization from veering over the cliff into dangerous climate change, the goal can adjusted. A scientific review process was established to monitor the goal and “to ensure that collective action is adequate to prevent the average global temperature rising beyond the agreed limit.”

Secondly, the Durban COP said very firmly that the 2015 COP in Paris would deliver “a new and universal greenhouse gas reduction protocol, legal instrument or other outcome with legal force that would set requirements for the period beyond 2020.” This specification of a “legal instrument” or “legal force” was agreed to by the United States, China and the other key players right there in Durban with the whole world watching.

The likelihood Paris will produce a binding treaty was cast into doubt when the Financial Times interviewed US Secretary of State John Kerry a few weeks ago. Kerry told FT there were "not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto.”

French President Hollande immediately replied in the press that "if the agreement is not legally binding, there will be no agreement. We must give the Paris agreement, if there is one, a binding character in the sense that the commitments that are made must be kept and respected."

“This is not hot air. This is a real agreement, with real terms,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Backpeddling under fire, a spokesperson for the US state department told The New York Times that while the FT article "may have been read to suggest that the US supports a completely nonbinding approach … that is not the case, and is not Secretary Kerry's position".
 

Holocene (blue) – Anthroocene (red)

COP18 in Doha was, as we said, the start of the Paris prelude. One significant bump was release of The World Bank's "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided", showing that the world is on track towards a 4 degrees Celsius temperature rise, should the currently inadequate level of ambition remain. Doha responded to that challenge by triggering the Durban process to review the long-term temperature goal. They set up a Structured Expert Dialog – 70 wise men – that was to start in 2013 and conclude by 2015.

COP19 in Warsaw moved us a little closer. The rulebook for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) was agreed, together with measures to bolster forest preservation and a results-based payment system to promote forest protection. Overdeveloped countries met the target capitalization of $100 million for the Adaptation Fund, which can now fund priority projects. Governments established the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage to address losses and damages associated with long-term climate change impacts in countries that are especially vulnerable to such impacts.

COP20 in Lima was more of the same, more agenda-setting for the run-up to Paris and the signing of a formal treaty. It came close to faltering over the issue of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” (the distinction between the expected pledges from overdeveloped and underdeveloping Parties). At COP 17 in Durban in 2011, countries agreed that the post-2020 actions to be negotiated in Paris would be “applicable to all.” Alton Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists observed:

The differentiation issue nearly blocked the final decision in Lima, where the stakes were actually quite small. In Paris next year, the stakes will be quite high: nothing less than the shape of the climate regime for the next several decades. It will not be possible to paper over sharp differences on this issue with artful language that different groupings can interpret in a way favorable to their position, as happened in the last hours of Lima.


The anticipated report of the meeting of the 70 wise men, the Structured Expert Dialog or “SED,” was issued in February 2015 and reviewed by government delegates at the pre-COP meeting in Bonn in June. This is a very important 180-page document and bears spending some time to read.

The document divides the dialog into three parts: Theme 1 – the adequacy of the long-term global goal
 in the light of the ultimate objective; Theme 2 – overall progress made towards achieving the long-term global goal; Theme 3 — consideration of strengthening the long-term global goal.

It starts off addressing whether temperature is an adequate warning gauge for climate change:

Message 1: A long term global goal defined by a temperature limit serves its purpose well… Adding other limits to the long-term global goal, such as sea level rise or ocean acidification, only reinforces the basic finding emerging from the analysis of the temperature limit, namely that we need to take urgent and strong action to reduce GHG emissions.


That is followed by this rather disturbing chart:

On the Y axis or axis of ordinates is temperature change in degrees C. To the left of the vertical axis line is a set of brightly colored bar graphs representing corresponding risks of each degree of warming.

Things to note:

  1.  Two degrees is far from safe. It represents “dangerous interference with climate systems” to quote the Framework Convention.
  2.  At 1.5 degrees there is a high degree of likelihood we will lose unique and threatened systems and experience extreme weather events. (Note, the risk of extreme weather at today's 1-degree elevation is considered moderate). At 2 degrees these move into the deep red and the distribution of impacts becomes high, meaning almost no-one escapes.

On the X axis or axis of abscissas, are the cumulative total emissions of CO2 since 1870. Right now we have taken about 2500 GtCO2 out of the ground, resulting in a net atmospheric concentration of 400 ppm. The chart reports that we could probably go to 4000 GtCO2 and 580 ppm before we exceed the 2 degree limit. This is dangerous nonsense and one is left scratching one's head at how this could have been decided. It guarantees resumption of that food fight between India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and others about how many “parking spaces” in that big parking lot in the sky remain for “sustainable development” (read: still to be constructed coal plants).

Here is a short run-down of the other messages of the Structured Expert Dialog:

On Theme One:

  • Limiting global warming to below 2 °C necessitates a radical transition (deep decarbonization now and going forward), not merely a fine tuning of current trends.
  • Risks will be increasingly unevenly distributed; responses need to be made by each location.
  • The ‘guard rail’ concept, which implies a warming limit that guarantees full protection from dangerous anthropogenic interference, no longer works. What is called for is a consideration of societally acceptable risk.
  • At 4 degrees effects are non-linear; more than double 2 degrees. The catch potential of fisheries would be greatly reduced and crop production would be beyond adaptation in many areas. Sea level rise would far exceed 1 m.


On Theme Two:

  • We know how to measure progress on mitigation but not on adaptation.
  • The world is not on track to achieve the long-term global goal, but successful mitigation policies are known and must be scaled up urgently.
  • Under present economic regimes, spending on ‘brown’ technologies will continue to grow faster than spending on green technologies. 
  • Scaling up means putting a price on carbon and promoting low-carbon technologies, so that their share becomes dominant.


On Theme Three:

  • The ‘guard rail’ concept, in which up to 2 °C of warming is considered safe, is inadequate and would therefore be better seen as an upper limit, a defense line that needs to be stringently defended, while less warming would be preferable. 
  • Limiting global warming to below 2 °C is still feasible and will bring about many co-benefits, but poses substantial technological, economic and institutional challenges.
  • Parties may wish to take a precautionary route by aiming for limiting global warming as far below 2 °C as possible, discarding the notion of a guardrail but thinking more of a defense line or even a buffer zone.

We shall return to these themes in our next post. Tomorrow is the Summit's opening day. Those interested can follow us in real time on Twitter: @peaksurfer.

Hook Versus Crook

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Publishes on the Economic Undertow on November 17, 2015

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When reports of gunmen shooting up nightclubs and cafés in Paris emerged late Friday, the immediate thought was, “What are they going to take away from us now? What remaining liberty will we be forced to surrender … to make us safe?”

The second immediate thought was, “false flag’: what did the intelligence services have to do with this attack? Did they know the plot in advance and did they look the other way? Did they go farther and provide planning, target lists, information, money and supplies? Did they offer safe-houses, transportation or false papers? Who were the attackers? Were they what the media loudly trumpets them to be, Islamic State militants, or were they something else; common criminals or government operatives posing as militants?

These are questions not being asked, instead, there is the non-stop, televised fear mongering, the demand for retribution and the promise of more military action by otherwise inept bosses.

At some level, the agencies had to know of this attack in advance, they could not be so incompetent as to be unaware. Friday’s attack was the latest in a long series of militant strikes against civilians. In Europe as in the US, spy agencies have surveillance over everyone’s computers and smartphones twenty-four hours a day. Like the rest of the modern world’s children, jihadis cannot function without credit cards, Facebook and Twitter … online porn and ‘Candy Crush’. France is thick on the ground with informants and stool pigeons. Many of these are racketeers and hardened criminals who have no fear of jihadi violence and much to gain by trading information about competing gangs to the police. In the poor areas of Belgium; in Molenbeek and the grimy high-rise slums of suburban Paris and Lyon, in Marseilles and elsewhere, everyone knows what everyone else is doing. There are no secrets. Since Friday, the French and Belgian police have conducted 160 raids against terror suspects, they did not come up with names and addresses over the weekend … They knew.

France did not find targets in Raqqa, Syria and send jet aircraft and the other supporting infrastructure to strike them in 72 hours. All of the forces involved were set into motion long ago, the entire operation including the recent attacks appears to have been staged: French military preparations, pre-positioning of hardware and command structure in Jordan and UAE since early in 2015; the French air attacks on Syria; the tit-for-tat massacres in France, the media saturation and hysteria followed by the next level of military response and the urging on by the US and others in a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle. “The game is afoot,” cries Sherlock Holmes; the question is, what sort of game is it?

Militarism is a factor. War is a form of economic stimulus, a self- referential or self- advertising scam; a bastardized Keynesianism directed toward arms manufacturers and ‘service providers’. War has also historically been a way to seize and exploit resources. Western governments tend to avoid the blitz- and conquest approach because of costs. Instead, governments colonize indirectly by exporting political and social instability to targeted countries — particularly the petro-states — then importing consumption capacity along with the crude. This strategy aims to offset the decline in net petroleum exports as described by Jeffrey Brown, (Peak Prosperity):

“I started wondering in late 2005 what happens to oil exports from an exporting country, given a production decline and rising consumption. And, so I just started, I just constructed a simple little model. I assumed a production of about two million barrels a day or so at peak, consumption of one, and assumed production falls about 5% per year, basically what the North Sea did, and assumed consumption increases to 2.5% per year. What the model showed was that exports, net exports would go to zero in only nine years, even though a roughly modest production decline. So, the easy way to state it is giving an ongoing, inevitable decline in production, unless an exporting country cuts their domestic oil consumption at the same rate as the rate of decline in production, or at a faster rate, it’s a mathematical certainty that the net export decline rate, what they actually ship out to consumers will exceed the rate of decline in production. And, furthermore, it accelerates … “

Always pay close attention to what the bosses do and ignore what they say: targeted ‘destability’ is by itself evidence for the presumably defunct ‘peak oil theory’ as well as the establishment’s understanding and appreciation of it. Because fuel constraints are destabilizing by themselves; little additional prodding is required to unhinge vulnerable countries. When Syrians, Ukraines, Libyans, Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghans and others are unable to drive because they are car-less, road-less, dead, penniless or refugees, Americans drive in their place. “The American way of life is non-negotiable,” proclaimed George HW Bush in 1992; the inch-by-inch demolition of countries … including Greece, Spain, Portugal and France … is what ‘non-negotiable’ looks like.

IMG_0118

The amounts of fuel to be had by way of ‘consumption switching’ from the destitute countries of the global south is trivial, no more than a few hundred-thousand barrels per day; unraveling these countries is overture/practice for the larger game. The prizes are Europe, with its crude daily consumption of 12.5 million barrels; also China and Russia, with their daily output of 15+ million barrels per day. Should Europe be wrenched into consuming half of that current total, Americans will gain the balance. As China- and Russia’s economies collapse oil prices will crash even lower than they are now as more desperate barrels are dumped onto the world market.

The ongoing ‘crude oil glut’ is not the result of fracking technology or Saudi marketing strategy but a result of war and economic distress, purposefully applied wherever there are vulnerabilities. A devastated country with no government or business activity to speak of will continue to pump as much oil as it can, for as long as it can, to provide logistical support to meet increasingly urgent military needs … and to provide ‘safe spaces’ for antsy bosses, whomever they might happen to be, whomever they might happen to be, whomever they might happen to be!

Iraq7

Figure 1: Iraq no longer exists as a unified country but the fragments nevertheless extract 4 million barrels of light crude per day (Ron Patterson/Peak Oil Barrel). The appearance of excess supply glut has occurred during a period when gross crude production has been relatively flat. In the face of unlimited demand (not to be confused with consumption) there must be triage: to accommodate some users, other users have to levered out of the market … by hook or by crook.

Mazama France 111615

Figure 2: Hook vs. crook: French petroleum consumption has been declining steadily for economic reasons, chart by Mazama Science (click for big). French drivers guzzle 1.5 million barrels of MENA (Middle East, North Africa) crude per day. Paris has an interest in destabilizing these areas to absorb their consumption and make them more dependent upon French euros; the US has an interest in ruining France so that it’s millions of barrels of daily consumption might flow into American gas tanks.

The foregoing leaves out the fact that customers in France and elsewhere around the world are broke and becoming less able to afford fuel at any price.

Islamic State is the New Black.

ISIS and other, similar groups are the future revealing itself. Instead of science fiction-y high technology and ‘innovation’, singularities and robot immortality, there is 17th century barbarism. Along with Ukraine and Iraq, Syria is one more fiercely ugly place-of-the-moment where fantasy of unlimited material ‘progress’ and the reality of resource constraints collide. The West and the United States have caught themselves in a trap of their own making. The West requires resources from the Middle East and elsewhere to produce GDP expansion. The West’s (borrowed) fuel payments provide funding for messianic non-state actors that threaten the West itself. If you drive a car you must buy fuel, when you buy fuel you are funding ISIS and growing constellation of similar groups.

To buy fuel we borrow because using fuel is non-remunerative: it’s recreational like sitting in a café in the 11th arrondissement. We are ironically borrowing ourselves into bankruptcy so that we might support individuals whose intent is to murder us all in our nightclubs.

Because the West’s fuel payments are borrowed; the cost threatens the West ‘through the back door’. More expensive credit makes it increasingly difficult to destroy the militants: failing to destroy makes them more ‘efficient’. Our waste + borrowing + warfare cycle has created a Frankenstein monster that nobody can get rid of or control.

The same monster becomes the rationalization for governments to do whatever they will to control their own citizens with the citizens’ blessing. ISIS & Co. has become the end that justifies all means but one … what would fatally undermine the group … to give up the precious automobiles and all the high-cost, money/resource guzzling crap that goes with them.

It’s important to view what is underway in the world right now in both developed and developing countries through a petroleum prism. Economic distress in the OECD and elsewhere is a consequence of the high cost of- and lack of return on fuel consumption. Political ineptitude and social distress is a product of declining economic fortunes. The rise of militancy in developing countries is a consequence of consumption switching and military meddling by the West. Islamic militancy, like climate change has become another ‘wicked problem’, where proposed solutions are simply new problems in drag, with costs that cannot be discovered until the solutions are deployed and found wanting.

Ryan Lissa @ New Yorker observes that none of the Democratic candidates for president have a plan for removing #ISIS. The Republicans don’t have a plan, either. Nobody does because we don’t want to give up anything. We are desperate for pleasant outcomes, managers are satisfied to make minuscule adjustments on the margins which cannot ‘scale up’ resulting in failure.

Militancy cannot be removed from its context of neo-colonial exploitation of global south’s resources. We need to actually change our lifestyles, to make sacrifices, to give somethings up, our useless, costly toys. #ISIS is a consequence, an externality of our squandrous waste of irreplaceable capital. Sending in the air force fails because doing so wastes more capital even as prior interventions are what birthed and nurtured groups like #ISIS in the first place.

We have created a world where we must drive fifteen miles from the living room to the bathroom. We look to shift the costs of this folly onto others far away … which becomes too close for comfort when the refugees and militants arrive onto our doorsteps, begging for handouts or spraying bullets. Instability feeds on itself, whether it is in Raqqa, Somalia or Paris, South Sudan or Afghanistan = ‘Conservation by Other Means™’

Islamic State’ is an idea, not a country, it has little in the way of precious infrastructure to destroy. Bombing it is a waste of time and resources. The only way to get rid of the militants is to bankrupt them. That happens when the West and its imitators stop using fuel.

The fighting in the Middle East would end instantly if the US government instructed the petro-states Saudi Arabia and Iran to stand down or else … The Navy would halt the flow of tankers to- and from the Persian Gulf. It can do so safely from 200 miles away, out of range of (Iranian) aircraft or missiles. Without tanker traffic => no oil sales => no dollars or euros or pounds-sterling => no cash flow for hobby wars or other nonsense. Simply starting a public discussion about this option on television would cause the Middle Eastern oil powers and their proxies to make a run for the negotiating table. To do otherwise would be too risky: if consumers around the world were to free themselves from Middle Eastern crude for even a little while … there is no reason why they could not do so permanently.

The US should also embargo military hardware sales to combatants, it should freeze the combatants’ dollar funds held in the West’s banking system, including funds belonging to the Islamic State. The US leadership could get on TV and instruct the Americans in no uncertain terms to cut energy use in half in two years … to do so or else. Doing so would rid us of useless, bankrupting automobiles, for which so much blood is being shed.

Paris Massacre: Circle of Mayhem

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on November 20, 2015

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The Massacre in Paris last Friday has already had much of the expected Blowback.  France is under Martial Law, 1000s of Police, National Guard and Military units are patrolling the streets in Camo outfits and Black Robocop Gear.  The Ruskies have joined the Frogs to send their long range Bombers and Cruise Missiles in to further bomb Syria back to the Stone Age.  They do this because this method has clearly been so successful for the FSoA in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Right. Roll Eyes

The Saber Rattling is reaching deafening proportions as everyone from Hollandaise Sauce to Marine LePew  to The Donald first want to Glaze over the whole neighborhood there with Nukes, and after that Deport all the Muslims currently living in Eurotrashland or Amerika back to the nuclear wasteland!

Clearly, this Circle of Mayhem could only be treated properly with a RANT.

Snippet

In terms of asymmetric warfare, if in fact it's true that ISIS is responsible and has smuggled in 4000 Allah Akbars to wreak mayhem around Europe, then they should be following up with more attacks in other cities. Otherwise it smells more like a 9-11 style false flag, providing a good excuse for Euro countries to try to close their borders and refuse more incoming refugees.

 

Newz now also is that France has deployed their ONLY Nuke powered Aircraft Carrier to the waters off the Syrian coast. The purpose of which is to do precisely WHAT? The Ruskies are bombing in Syria and so is NATO already. One Frog aircraft Carrier here will make a big difference? What? More bombs dropped just means more refugees and more radicalized terrorists. Besides, their real problems aren't in Syria anyhow, they are right at home in Frogland, and Krautland and the Limeyland too!

Fear and Loathing in the West

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Publishes on the 22 Billion Energy Slaves on November 18, 2015

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One could hardly have called the Paris terror attacks unexpected. After all, we are constantly being told that murderous plots are being foiled but that others are being planned. I was about to go to bed on Friday night when I noticed the headlines. I turned on the TV and watched the rolling news coverage for a couple of hours before retiring. I felt sad about those people, most of them gunned down in their prime, but perhaps I had been dwelling upon the darkness of the human soul for too long because all I saw were a few more tally marks on a seven digit number filed under ‘War on Terror’. Yes, they were closer to my living room that, say, Yemen or Palestine, but physical distance should not count for much when death is being considered. 
 
And yet, the next morning it seemed like the whole world had changed. I walked to the corner shop to buy some milk just as it was getting light, and already someone had hung a giant French flag on a wall, presumably in solidarity. There was an intuitive feeling that something had changed on a deep level. As I drank my morning cup of tea and checked in on Facebook and various news sites it became immediately apparent that a very pungent genie had been let out of a bottle. Fear and anger bristled on the screen, alongside sorrow and solidarity. It might just have been a bunch of disaffected and murderous young men gunning down a collection of random civilians in a major European city, but the effect was as a bomb going off in the collective western psyche. Daesh had kicked the west in the goolies.
 
 
The blood had barely dried before French president François Hollande declared that his nation would be ‘pitiless’ in avenging the attacks. Jets were immediately dispatched to pound Daesh (as ISIS/ISIL/IS should properly be known – it is an insulting term that confers no legitimacy upon them, unlike the other acronyms) targets, and the president – who had been mocked as a ‘marshmallow’ – was afforded the strongman status he had so desired.
 
In Britain, too, the psychological ramifications were (and continue to be) deep. The shiny-faced David Cameron, who desperately wants us to be involved in bombing Syria but was thwarted by a popular resistance against such a plan, instantly appeared on television talking about ‘cutting off the head of the snake’ and proclaiming that “We’ll be bombing them by Christmas.” (I’m sure Christ will be happy.) A million fingers pointed at Syrian and Iraqi refugees, as if somehow this was their fault. “A refugee’s passport has been found at the scene of the massacre,” screamed the news and everyone nodded wisely and said “Told you so, you softy liberals.” Of course, when it later turned out to be false they didn’t shout quite so loud. In any case, what kind of suicide terrorist brings his passport to a massacre? Come on people, you can do better than this.
 
I, born in 1971, have never lived in a time of such hysteria. 9/11 came close, but even in the dark days of the Cold War, in which we children were told that we may, at any given moment, be given a four-minute warning before being nuked, this sense of hysteria was absent. Not so now. Perhaps it’s a side effect of rolling news channels, internet feeds tailored to suit one’s prejudices and social media, but it seems as if the effect of all this is an electronic catalyst for inflaming passions. In the past few days I have seen people – normal everyday people – call for all Muslims to be put in vast concentration camps, for refugees to be gunned down before they reach Europe and for the entire Middle East to be nuked. I have also seen suggestions that if you don’t agree with these sentiments you should be tied to a post and shot. 
 
I’ll just get my blindfold …
 
But it pays to take a step back from this madness, take a deep breath and consider how we, individually or collectively, can work to de-fang the monster that has been unleashed. I’m not talking about Daesh exclusively, I’m talking about the cycle of violence that is growing like a whirlwind, sucking in ever more people as it spins wildly out of control. Daesh is like a fire elemental, conjured up by evil magicians. Those magicians – some of whom know full well what they are doing, others less so –  are in both the east and the west. The fire tornado grows stronger and wider with every petrodollar donated by sympathetic nations and every bomb and bullet manufactured in the west and sent to the Middle East. There will be more massacres, for sure, whether it's London, or Copenhagen or wherever – we just don't know.
 
It also pays to realise some deeper truths. The conflict in Syria, which is fuelling so much fundamentalism and driving the tides of refugees moving towards Europe, is effectively a proxy war between the US and Russia. A deep trauma was inflicted on the Russian psyche after the battle of Stalingrad, in which over a million Russians were killed, and that trauma has never been allowed to heal. Germany, the aggressor, eventually lost the battle of Stalingrad after sustaining losses of several hundred thousand soldiers. But (west) Germany, following the war, was afforded the protection of the United States, which stepped in to the bombed out space to become the new global hegemon. As a result, Germany prospered, becoming one of the most successful industrial economies in the world. By contrast Russia, in the guise of the USSR, decayed from the inside out and eventually collapsed.
 
Before the USSR collapsed, it could have followed the time honoured tradition of trying to take down its enemies with it. They still had enough nuclear weapons to atomise most of mankind. But they didn’t. Instead, Mikhail Gorbachev, as General Secretary of the Communist Party, pursued a policy of peace in the spirit of glasnost (openness).  World War III was avoided, but instead of reaching out to shake its outstretched hand, the west made a grab for Russia’s throat. Since then NATO has been expanding eastwards for the last quarter of a century and the west – especially the United States – has been gobbling up companies and resources like a bunch of hungry puppies let loose on a dog food factory. All notion of ‘consequences’ flew out the window. History was proclaimed to be dead, ‘we’ had defeated the evil empire and ‘we’ would thus endure endless prosperity as a result. Hooray for us!
 
Of course, the Russians never saw it like that. Perhaps not immediately, but they caught onto the fact that the concept of democracy was not all it was cracked up to be. For, instead of it meaning ‘the right to choose your own destiny’ in reality it manifested as an economic concept that simply meant your economy would be ‘reformed’ in a manner that made it easy for foreign multinationals to plunder it, that you would be offered a ‘choice’ to vote for one of two insipid pro business-as-usual parties, and that you would lose your rights as a worker. Westerners have so far not been able to understand this reluctance to embrace ‘democracy’, even as the ground is eaten out from under them while they congratulate themselves on being ‘free’.
 
Unlike western leaders, President Putin, whom Dmitry Orlov memorably described as ‘a shark who eats other sharks’ is not stupid. Having cracked down hard on the thugs and Mafiosi who were making life miserable for the average Russian, Putin is a pretty popular guy. He might have Chechen blood all over his hands, but frankly most Russians don’t care, and it’s not as if he has ever denied it. So, seeing the US and its NATO allies make a mess out of every country they interfere with – a growing list that includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and many others – Putin has decided to draw the line at Syria, a country with which Russia has historic ties (and, let’s not forget, a strategically-important naval port). By launching bombing raids and committing ground troops to fight Daesh, Putin has (again) wrong-footed the increasingly inept-looking west. At the same time, by launching long-range cruise missiles that fly at altitudes lower than 100m, he has effectively sent the clear message: “Don’t mess with us.” With its ability to block NATO military communications, Russia has sent a very clear signal that it could take out US forces – a truth recently echoed by an American army commander "Russia would annihilate US in head to head battle". 
 
If there is to be no reconciliation with Russia and a chance for the country to heal its deep-seated wounds, then it appears that Putin will simply act in a unilateral fashion until the west comes along, cap in hand, asking to join him. Which they are (see today’s Guardian: “Putin: from Pariah to Powerbroker in one year”).
 
I don’t think there’s much doubt that before last Friday the United States and its allies were not much interested in destroying Daesh. There was much hand-wringing and saying ‘something must be done with these barbarians’, but on the other hand there was much profitable reaping of the whirlwind to be had. An endless war in the Middle East is endlessly profitable for the elite classes who parasitise our societies. Stocks in weapons manufacturers have jumped since Friday, national governments across Europe are suddenly able to award themselves sweeping powers, and the obedient mainstream media beats the drums for war louder than ever, whipping up the citizens into a frenzy of blood lust. To point out that our allies, such as Saudi Arabia, are funding Daesh – using money that we gave them to satisfy our oil addiction – is to invite ridicule. To point out that over a million have died in Iraq in an illegal oil war is to be labeled a ‘peacenik’. To ask why there was no similar outcry over the bombing in Lebanon the day before, or why such little fuss was made when a Russian plane full of holidaymakers was blown out of the sky over Egypt is to invites puzzled looks. 2,000 dead in Nigeria – yawn. “You have no respect for the dead in Paris!” arises the cry from the army of social media soundbiters whose profile pictures are uniformly plastered in the tricolor as if it means something.
 
Nevertheless, despite all this, there does remain some hope and it comes from the same place as the hopelessness. The mainsteam forms of communication are losing their power. They change their allegiances so often that it’s hard not to think of Winston Smith in 1984 trying to remember which country they were currently at war with Eurasia or Eastasia, and what atrocities the enemy is supposed to have committed:
 
“They have attacked an unarmed village with rocket bombs and murdered 4,000 defenseless, innocent and peaceful citizens of Oceania. This is no longer war. This is cold-blooded murder. Until now, the war has been conducted with honor and bravery with the ideals of truth and justice in the best traditions of mankind… until this moment. Brothers and sisters, the endless catalog of beastie atrocities which will inevitably ensue from this appalling act must, can, and will be terminated. The forces of darkness and treasonable maggots who collaborate with them must, can, and will be wiped from the face of the Earth. We must crush them! We must smash them! We must stamp them out! We the people of Oceania and our traditional allies, the people of Eurasia, will not rest until a final victory has been achieved. Death of the eternal enemy of Oceania. Death! Death! DEATH!” From 1984
 
It is to be hoped that emotions and fiery opinions may burn bright and burn out fast. But the drivers that put in motion current events are like deep ocean currents and for the time being these forces will have to play themselves out. The politicians and global military industrial complex demand our participation and ask that we join in unthinkingly – but we still have the free will to refuse to do so. A friend of a friend wrote something on Facebook the other day that I am going to paraphrase here:
 
“Here in France it’s just gone 11 O’clock and almost nobody has paid any attention to the decree that we observe two minutes’ silence. Life went on as normal, people spoke to one another in the streets and shops and carried on with their everyday lives. Yet every news site is saying that we are all fell silent when we didn’t – it’s all a gross exaggeration. This is just to let you know that most people here know they are being manipulated and refuse to be part of the narrative of a war machine.”
 
For my own part I decided to simply shut off all forms of electronic information on Saturday and instead gathered a handful of acorns and ash keys, 25 in total (that was all I could find). I planted them in pots of soil and with each one expressed the wish that by the time it had grown to maturity, so too would humankind, for the only way for a fire elemental to be dissipated is with an opposite element, such as earth or water. Call it a prayer for peace, if you like.
 
And perhaps it would also do us well to recognise that the world is changing into a different form which will be uncomfortable for many of us living cosseted lives. Our public institutions are crumbling, our financial and political systems are rigged and corrupt, our resources are becoming more scarce and unaffordable, and our ability to project power upon the rest of the world is waning. These things are simply what happens to civilisations in old age: there is nothing new under the Sun. The more energy we expend in fighting this change, the less there will be that is worth saving when we eventually face reality. Old forms die, new forms are born – it has always been this way. We consider it a ‘right’ that we should be able to drive cars, eat expensive meals in fancy restaurants and enjoy being showered in consumer goods, but we don’t accept that with every right there is a responsibility. We stand by and allow our governments to reduce foreign countries to rubble with barely a peep, and we turn a blind eye while the corporations that are given protection by those same governments plunder resources, pollute the environment and treat people as commodities to be exploited.
 

I now it’s a tall order to ask for these things to be understood – especially when the news media obsesses about such minutiae as whether the latest James Bond film (the fable of an emotionally-crippled man who travels around the world murdering people for the geopolitical advantage of his country – a character originally conceived of as high satire but now admired as a role model) has earned more money than some other film, or whether a television commercial for a shop is ‘genius’ or not. But we have to try. We have to wriggle free somehow. My kids know it’s all false, other kids I speak to know it’s all false, even some adults are starting to realise it’s all false. And therein lies some hope.

There Are No Safe Spaces

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation November 16, 2015
 

I’m not persuaded that world opinion will ever “make sense” of the Paris attacks. The non-linear rules the day. So-called Fourth Generation Warfare works because there are so many small arms loose in the world and any band of maniacs with a few machine guns and a pound of Semtex plastic explosive can create the equivalent of a war zone in a given locality.

As for the French military, the obvious first move was to bomb the ISIS “stronghold” of Raqqa. But haven’t the US and Russian air forces been doing exactly that for some time now? Either they’ve already bombed the place and everything in it to gravel, or air power is not what it’s cracked up to be — and we have plenty of reason to believe the latter after a decade of selectively pounding jihadists from Afgahnistan to Libya with nothing to show for it except a refugee crisis.

One thing seems assured: hard-line governments are coming soon. Politically, the West had boundary problems that go way beyond the question of national borders to the core psychology of modern liberalism. When is enough of anything enough? And then, what are you really willing to do about it? The answer lately among the Western societies is to do little and do it slowly.

The behavior of college administrators and faculties in the USA these days is emblematic of this cowardly dithering. Intellectual despotism reigns on campus and the university presidents roll over like possums. They don’t have the moral strength to defend free speech as the campus witch-hunts ramp up. The result will be first the intellectual death of their institutions (brain death), and then the actual death of college per se as a plausible route to personal socioeconomic development. The financial racketeering that has infected higher education — the engineering of the gargantuan college loan scam in tandem with the multiplication of “diversity” deanships and tuition inflation — pretty much guarantees an implosion of that system.

The cowardice in the college executive suites is mirrored in our national politics, where no persons of real standing will dare step forward to oppose the juggernaut of Hillary-the-Grifter, or take on the clowning Donald Trump on the grounds of his sheer mental unfittedness to lead a government. In case you haven’t noticed, the center not only isn’t holding, it gave way some time ago. The long emergency is showing signs of morphing into something like civil war. The Maoists on campus apparently want to turn it into race war, too.

So many forces are in motion now and they are all tending toward criticality. The European Union may not survive the reestablishment of boundaries, since it was largely based on the elimination of them. Spain and Portugal are back to breaking down politically again. The Paris bloodbath has discredited Angela Merkel’s plea for “tolerance” — of what is proving to be an intolerable alien invasion. The only political figure on the scene who doesn’t appear to be talking out of his ass is Vlad Putin, who correctly stated at the UN that undermining basic institutions around the world was not a good idea.

None of this is good, either, for a global economy constructed around long, hyper-complex, and fragile chains of obligation, the most critical being global finance and global energy lines. You think the Paris attacks were bad? Just wait until a few maniacs lob some explosives at the giant Ras Tanura oil refinery and shipping terminal on Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf coast. Imagine if that happens in the middle of winter, when Europe is freezing. Do you suppose the Big Brains in the Pentagon think about that? The West itself, including America, is a circus of soft targets. The softest ones are between our ears.

 

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Collapse Cafe Special Edition: Paris Massacre

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on November 16, 2015

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Our plan originally was to discuss Collapse Priorities.  What do you need to concern yourself with most first?  Is it Climate?  Is it Economics?  Is it Energy?  Is it Geopolitics?

The Plan was disrupted by what occured in Paris on Friday.  Geopolitics took center stage of its own accord.  When TSHTF, you have to adapt.

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A Tsunami of Human Overshoot

This Week in Doom, 11/16: The Paris Aftermath Edition

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Seeing Paris

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on November 16, 2015

 

"Something awful has happened in Paris. Out of it will be born something awful in the collective mind and the collective heart and the collective soul. "   –  Charles Pierce


Events in Paris have focused our attentions and energies like few other since 9/11/2001 and provided a serious harbinger of doom this week. Some people, lie-weary since 1963 and 2001, look first to the false flag and the shitmist of corporate media misdirection. Others look appropriately to the dead and the grieving. Others use the tragedy to weigh the heft of their favorite political cudgels, this with the blood still in the streets of Paris. A special House of Shame should be erected especially for these:

Mother Jones accumulated some of the worst reactions to the tragedy:

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 9.48.08 AM

 

At this point the conversation turns, as it has inside the Diner Forum, to cui bono? What seems unmistakeable is that  some will benefit. Clearly those who share ends if not means with the terrorists, which includes the Gates of Vienna/Stormfront crowd, Marine LePen, and cultural rightists of all stripes, neocons, neofascists, nativists, xenophobes, war munitions-makers, overseas contractors, builders of fences, closers of borders, and those who arm them. Authoritarians all.

And to this point, Esquire's Charles Pierce noted how Paris will skew the political process and essentially redefine the terms of political engagement by starting every question with, "In light of what happened in Paris." As seen from the small gill-net sampling of tweets from the social media sewer, look for

a momentary spasm of unreason and an easily dispersed cloud of spittle in our national dialogue. At worst, there will be a sort of undeclared truce between our two major political parties—which, after all, are funded in whole or in part by the same people—that domestic issues will have to go on "the back burner" because this has been declared a national-security election again, that the campaign will be less about keeping people solvent and more about keeping them "safe."  

And we know cui bono from that. The same Deep State as always. Pierce cites Robert LaFollette, the populist hero in Wisconsin who rose to oppose Woodrow Wilson's effort to drag the US into the First World War:

The poor, sir, who are the ones called upon to rot in the trenches, have no organized power, have no press to voice their will upon this question of peace or war; but, oh, Mr. President, at some time they will be heard… when the people today who are staggering under the burden of supporting families at the present prices of the necessaries of life find those prices multiplied, when they are raised 100 percent, or 200 percent, as they will be quickly, aye, sir, when beyond that those who pay taxes come to have their taxes doubled and again doubled to pay the interest on the nontaxable bonds held by [J. P.] Morgan and his combinations, which have been issued to meet this war, there will come an awakening; they will have their day and they will be heard. . . 

LaFollette was wrong. The US went to war, the masses failed to rise, and the longed for progressive moment dissipated at the sound of the martial drumbeat. And was then dispersed as the troops came home by the specter of the Red Scare, the Palmer raids, and the rise of one J. Edgar Hoover. This time, we are presented with the prospect of eternal war, one that will be "merciless" according to Hollande, against a enemy eager to use terrorism as a tactic to illustrate what foreign policy "blowback" looks like in the global North. Causing a generalized fear and mutual loathing on all sides, and a shot of martial adrenaline into the heart of a war-weary and broke American populace. 

At this point it matters less whether this was just eight guys who rolled into shore on the French Riviera in a sailboat with a couple of homegrown accomplices, or whether they are picking up their Kalishnikovs from street vendors or from CIA-provided containers. They had a support network.  Although questions remain:

French authorities on Saturday said the horrific rampage of bullets and explosions that left 129 dead in Paris on Friday was carried out by suicide bombers connected to the Islamic State who broke into three groups with a single objective: to kill as many people as possible.

France — and Europe — was once again confronted with the violence of homegrown terrorism. At least one of the seven dead assailants was a French national — a 29-year-old with a criminal record who had been previously monitored by French intelligence and linked to Islamist extremism. Two others, a senior Belgian official said, appeared to be Belgian foreign fighters, including an 18-year-old who had fought in Syria. A Syrian passport was found near the body of another assailant.

Indeed. Interesting how intact passports are always found on the body of or near the crime scene. Remember the passport found in the Charlie Hebdo shooting? One the one found after 9-11? Is that cordite I smell, or 9-11? And as to the false flag allegations, our governments wouldn't lie to us, would they?

Social media is certainly a reflection of the national mood, as many move to turn their Facebook profile picture into an overlay of the French tricolor, a gesture of solidarity as meaningless as it is facile. I have not done that and probably won't for reasons best articulated by another Faccebook friend named Diane:

I will not be updating my profile to support France. Sorry. It sucks that people died, always does. But more totally innocent black people are killed by our own cops in a month, every month than were killed there by terrorists. We have our own, unmentionable terrorist here. BTW, they have started killing poor whites too. Will THAT make us finally care?
France is bombing the shit out of Syria, and still collecting taxes from a bunch of African nations for its "losses" to slavery and their colonies there. Who mourns that?
I will not indulge in Islamophobia, because the refugees in Europe are going to pay for this, when these are the people they are running from. The people the US and the EU armed, trained and paid for to a great extent. The people they are trying to demonize.
Lastly, so many people have died in the Middle East this week…ISIS suicide bombers detonated themselves in the southern part of Beirut last Thursday, killing 43 people and wounding 239 and none of us painted our image in their flag.
… And still, innocents died! Yes, I feel for them with the same Mother's instinct that makes every Palestinian child mine, every Somalian child mine, every young Black father my son, every trembling Iranian girl mine.

Another perspective from a FB friend named Michael:

While we mourn the carnage in Paris, and gnash our teeth, and pull at our hair-shirts, it's a good time to remember that people are not separated from the actions of their governments. Blowback is hell.

We can trot out our righteous indignation, and our sense of victim-hood at the hands of “terror,” but, really isn't it just one of Newton's laws of motion?  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Islamic fighting units are not birthed in a vacuum. The “west” has been meddling in the Middle East for a century.

“Persian oil … is yours. We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it's ours.” FDR to the British Ambassador.

We mourn the carnage in Paris. We imagine our innocent selves at a concert, or a ballgame, or a shopping mall, and gunned down by crazy terrorists who hate us for our freedom, and decadent lifestyle. We're taught we are victims of terror. We're innocent. We have nothing to do with anything. We're just minding our own business, and people attack us for no reason, but the fact they're evil.

But we know this isn't true. The war didn't begin with them. 

But we are victims. We're victims of the policies of our own government. Policies we either don't care enough about to change, or we agree with them, or we're helpless before them. But, whatever, the truth is, in war 90% of the causalities are non-military. And in the Forever War, the battlefield is everywhere.

After we've destroyed nations, wrecked societies, killed hundreds of thousands, and displaced millions, is it any wonder folks would attempt to fight back? And once in a while land a punch?The last thing we should be is surprised. 

We mourn. But we should also understand. And we can't do that if we sweep history under the rug.

 

But sweeping history under the rug is what we do. Not for nothing did Gore Vidal refer to this country as "The United States of Amnesia."

It is easy for us to bow our heads in sorrow for the people of Paris. Yet there are Lebanese and Iraqi dead as well that don't make the news. All human sacrifices made, ultimately, to the interests of a neocon policy cabal that has made military might the primary implement of foreign policy, as well as the military industrial complex, war profiteers and multinational corporations who grow fat on the "rebuilding."

My tax dollars have been diverted to one war effort or another my entire adult life. At some point, one gets sick of tallying the deaths, the endless skein of gratuitous and unnecessary violence. Especially knowing that a handful of Satan's minions are amassing obscene profits from a trade soaked in the blood of innocents. 

If you find yourself likewise sick of this violence, this unnecessary shedding of the blood of the young and innocent on foreign soil, then do your homework and vote. Many lives depend on it here and abroad. And if you find yourself wringing your hands and justifying your non-participation by saying it won't change anything, then congratulations, and check out a mirror: you're an accomplice. But maybe you can make your Facebook a profile pic a tricolor and show us how much you care. 

 

Mark Twain articulated the the true costs of war as well as anyone ever as in the short story know as "The War Prayer." Twain's "aged stranger" appears in the midst of a church service blessing the troops, and adds "the rest of the story" to the pastor's heartfelt prayer:

O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

The Great Culling is at hand.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary in the triumph of hope over experience, and is grateful that he is not yet taking a dirt nap.

 

The Next Tango in Paris

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Published on Peak Surfer on October 31, 2015

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"Sweden has decided to decommission all its nuclear plants but has yet to propose a similar program to phase out its wind turbines."

 "Carbon-neutral is so 20th century. We really need to get beyond zero. That is what ecovillages can offer."
 

Andrei Protsouk

We were just concluding a conference call for Global Ecovillage Network delegates in the run-up to the UN climate summit one month from now in Paris when we said that. The discussion had turned to what our message should be. There is a very good program initiated by ten European ecovillages, called the Fossil-Fuel Free Community Challenge. It is very ambitious, and tracks what Sweden, already carbon-neutral, has recently pledged. 

It is one thing to gradually wean yourself from fossil energy by increments, such as by putting a tax on carbon at the source, as Al Gore tried unsuccessfully to do in 1992, or to strip the fossil industry of its obscene subsidies, as Bill McKibben urges. It is quite another to go cold turkey.

Costa Rica met its entire national power demand using renewable energy for 75 consecutive days this year, but that was only electricity, and anyway, it was Costa Rica. On a spectacularly windy day this past July, Denmark generated 140% of its electrical power from wind alone.

A recent study by Mark Jacobson, David Blittersdorf, and Tom Murphy, originally published by Energy XChange September 28, 2015, shows it is quite possible to switch the whole world to renewables right now, at no net cost. 

To get off carbon, Sweden will have to close its nuclear plants, which have a huge carbon footprint, about 16 kg CO2e per MWh despite what technophiles James Hansen, George Monbiot or James Lovelock may tell you after having drunk the Atomic Kool Aid. Wind power, by contrast, generates 10 kg per MWh. Sweden has decided to decommission all its nuclear plants, but has yet to propose a similar program to phase out wind turbines.

Personally we have no problem endorsing a massive switch to renewables and the sooner the better, but one also needs to place a caveat under that about it not exactly replacing fossil fuels. Nor will it salvage consumer culture.

If one were to think of it in terms of megajoules of energy, we were living off a current account of sunlight up until about 200 years ago, when we discovered that earth had been frugally putting aside a billion-year pension account all this time. That was supposed to help the planet go nova when the Sun runs out of hydrogen. What did we do? We started withdrawing, gradually at first, then faster, and now as fast as we possibly can. We have withdrawn a little more than half of that inheritance now, mainly the easy to reach part. We can't withdraw the remainder because (a) it costs more than we can afford to spend; and (b) it would fry the planet. So we are slowly coming to the realization that we may have to return to our former mainstay, the current income account; you know, the sunlight.

The savings account was a very rich endowment, though. Eating through 500 million years of fossil sunlight in 200 years enabled each of us to have hundreds of energy slaves at our beck and call. As Richard Heinberg says, a cup of gasoline can take a 2-ton truck over a mountain. How many horses would have to be fed how much grain to accomplish the same task? How many hours of wind generators charging batteries? Heinberg points out:

Making pig iron—the main ingredient in steel—requires blast furnaces. Making cement requires 100-meter-long kilns that operate at 1500 degrees C. In principle it is possible to produce high heat for these purposes with electricity or giant solar collectors, but nobody does it that way now because it would be much more expensive than burning coal or natural gas. Crucially, current manufacturing processes for building solar panels and wind turbines also depend upon high-temperature industrial processes fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas. Again, alternative ways of producing this heat are feasible in principle—but the result would probably be significantly higher-cost solar and wind power. And there are no demonstration projects to show us just how easy or hard this would be.

Zero carbon power, or zero fossil fuels, while a wonderful goal, and one put out by Greenpeace USA  and 350.org, will entail more sacrifice than many people, including even the Swedes, understand. For one thing, the energy return on invested energy (EROIE) is less than 4:1 for wind, which is marginal and produces only electricity, unless you are pumping water. Biofuels are 1:1.4, or negative return. Corn ethanol costs more Btu — and horsepower — to make than it can provide when combusted. Contrast fossil fuels at historical returns of 100:1 to 40:1 (although falling off the precipice now as we spend more to obtain less).

Electrification of all sectors — heating, cooling, industrial processes, and transportation — would be implicit to an all-renewable economy. But we would need to reduce total energy use by approximately 70 percent, maybe more, to make that switch. Efficiency improvements could potentially take us part way but not all the way.
 

Richard Young

If there is one thing ecovillages should be good at, it should be making crisis mitigation fun. We weary of the hair shirt approach to mitigating climate change. We can cut consumption and party too. But then Europe, particularly the Scandinavian countries, have a "set an impossible goal and lead by example" culture when it comes to climate negotiations. Not only have they not gotten any other countries to go along, but their own populations have balked at the austerity required, throwing out progressive governments and replacing them with conservatives, who are anything but conservers, Ponzi'ing up bigger mountains of debt and fattening the larders of banksters with the proceeds of liquidated public assets.

Sure, we have some great fossil-fuel free islands in Denmark and a bicycle autobahn in Germany, but honestly, how many businessmen do you know that would garage the BMW in favor of a 15-speed Hase Spezialräder for that meeting in Bonn, especially in winter?

The alternative we have proposed is to net sequester – go beyond zero – at the home, village and regional scale. The tools we have for accomplishing this are many – carbon farming, eco-agroforestry, biomass energy with carbon capture, and biochar in everything from clothing to buildings.

As we have posted previously, these simple changes can switch civilization from its current trajectory – one that ensures near term human extinction (“NTHE”) — to something we have been calling Civilization 2.0, which returns the planet to something approximating the comfortable Holocene in which we evolved, within a reasonable time. The time variable is the unknown here, because it is unlikely that COP-21, with its low ambition, will do much to speed the necessary conversion.

Will it be possible to live in the high style of consumer culture in our Civilization 2.0? No chance. But we can continue living, and have quite abundant, happy lives, and that is no small deal. The alternative really is NTHE.

George Monbiot writes:

Margaret Ellis

Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a deskilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

At the climate summit in Paris in December, the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?


Rob Hopkins writes:

Change happens in interesting ways.  For example, recently, a community campaign where I live challenged a large local charitable landowner's land use decisions, in particular its decision to submit large swathes of land for development.  The community campaign questioned the link between the organisation's stated values and its actions.  Looking back in hindsight, it's interesting to see how the change unfolded, and how there is no one single Great Change Moment to point to.  But at the moment when the then CEO of the organisation was brazening it out, telling everyone how the organisation was listening and responding when it was clear that he really wasn't, actually the ground had been eaten away from under him, and it was empty words, and a month later he had stood down.  Events were moving, the world around him was changing, he had been left behind.

Similarly the GDR, East Germany, looked to be robust, powerful and permanent in the days before the Berlin Wall came down.  In reality, we now know, it was holed below the waterline, undermined by the number of young people defecting to the West, corruption, rigged elections and much more.  But until the Wall came down, you'd never have known.  So how can we know, in the moment, which point in time we might point to as the moment when the change actually happened?  

While Paris looks likely to not be that Great Change Moment, perhaps it is we who need to take a different approach here.  Our role in Paris, or during that time, in my opinion, is not to see this event as a Great Change Moment, rather as just yet another important step in the ongoing – and of course massively urgent – building of a new, low carbon world.  Instead, we should focus, during that time, on celebrating what is already happening.  And there is much to celebrate. 


We travel to these fetes and hang out our wares so that passersby can notice and lodge our new meme somewhere in the back of their collective brain. When things get bad enough, the meme can move from niche to mainstream. It is already all ready. 

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Charlie Hebdo: Signs of False Flags

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on January 8 & 10, 2015

False_Flag

Discuss these articles at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

Paris Shooters Just Returned from NATO’s Proxy War in Syria

Shooters were radicalized in Europe, sent to Syria, returned, have been previously arrested by Western security agencies for terrorism and long on the watch-list of French and other Western intelligence agencies. Yet “somehow” they still managed to execute a highly organized attack in the heart of Europe.

January 8, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – In an all too familiar pattern and as predicted, the shooters involved in the attack in Paris Wednesday, January 7, 2015, were French citizens, radicalized in Europe and exported to Syria to fight in NATO’s proxy war against the government in Damascus, then brought back where they have now carried out a domestic attack. Additionally, as have been many other domestic attacks, the suspects were long under the watch of Western intelligence services, with at least one suspect having already been arrested on terrorism charges.

USA Today would report in an article titled, “Manhunt continues for two French terror suspects,” that:

The suspects are two brothers — Said, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32, both French nationals — and Hamyd Mourad, 18, whose nationality wasn’t known, a Paris police official told the Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

USA Today would also report (emphasis added):

The brothers were born in Paris of Algerian descent. Cherif was sentenced to three years in prison on terrorism charges in May 2008. Both brothers returned from Syria this summer.

The implications of yet another case of Western-radicalized terrorists, first exported to fight NATO’s proxy war in Syria, then imported and well-known to Western intelligence agencies, being able to carry out a highly organized, well-executed attack, is that the attack itself was sanctioned and engineered by Western intelligence agencies themselves,. This mirrors almost verbatim the type of operations NATO intelligence carried out during the Cold War with similar networks of radicalized militants used both as foreign mercenaries and domestic provocateurs. Toward the end of the Cold War, one of these militant groups was literally Al Qaeda – a proxy mercenary front armed, funded, and employed by the West to this very day.

Additionally, in all likelihood, the brothers who took part in the attack in Paris may have been fighting in Syria with weapons provided to them by the French government itself.  France 24 would report last year in an article titled, “France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms,” that:

President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that France had delivered weapons to rebels battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad “a few months ago.”

Deflecting blame for the current attack on “radical Islam” is but a canard obscuring the truth that these terrorists were created intentionally by the West, to fight the West’s enemies abroad, and to intimidate and terrorize their populations at home.
We Must Sidestep the Canards 
As with any false flag attack engineered by a government for the purpose of manipulating public perception and pushing through otherwise unjustifiable policy both foreign and domestic, a series of canards are erected to distract the public from the true nature of the attack.In the recent attack in Paris, France, the canards of “free speech,” “condemning radical Islam,” “tolerance,” and “extremism” have all taken center stage, displacing the fact that the terrorists who carried out the attack were long on the leash not of “Islamic extremists” but Western intelligence agencies, fighting in a Western proxy war, as a member of a well-funded, armed, and trained mercenary force that has, on record since as early as 2007, been an essential component of Western foreign policy.
Indeed, Al Qaeda and its various rebrandings are not the creation of “Islamic extremism,” but rather Western foreign policy using “extremism” as part of indoctrinating the rank and file, but directed by and solely for the purpose of serving an entirely Western agenda.
As exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article,  “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it was stated explicitly that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

To this day, the US, its NATO partners including Turkey, and regional partners including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are arming, funding, harboring, training, and otherwise perpetuating these “Islamic extremists” within and along both Syria and now Iraq’s borders.
In reality, without Western backing, “laundered” through the Persian Gulf autocracies and manifesting themselves in a global network of mosques jointly run by Persian Gulf and Western intelligence agencies, there would be no “Islamic extremism” to speak of. To focus on “extremism” as a cause, rather than as a means used by the true perpetrators of this global-spanning campaign of Western-sanctioned terrorism, is not only to perpetuate such canards, but to invite the perpetuation of this very terrorism we are shocked and horrified by.

West Apparently Maintaining Domestic Radicalization/Recruitment Centers 


The recent Sydney cafe hostage crisis featuring an Iranian dissident granted Australian asylum and featured in anti-Iranian propaganda, exposed a vast network of radicalization and recruitment run in the Australian city of Sydney, used to organize support and fighters to be sent to the West’s proxy war in Syria. The network included many notorious individuals, well known to Australian law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and many of whom had traveled to Syria, taken part in fighting alongside known terrorist organizations, and were allowed to return and continue their political activities in Australia.The Daily Mail’s article, “Why did police ask former terror suspect for an ISIS flag?” would state:

Counter terrorism police have contacted Sydney man and one time terror accused Zaky Mallah and asked him for an ISIS flag. 

Just over four hours into the Martin Place siege, officers the NSW Police Joint Counter Terrorism Team and asked him if he could give them an ISIS flag. 

Zaky Mallah, 30, from Westmead in western Sydney offered the Counter Terrorist police the flag that hangs on the wall of his apartment, the moderate Islamic Front flag, but ‘they weren’t interested’. 

The article would also state:

Two years ago Mr Mallah travelled to Syria and lived with the FSA rebels engaged in the bloody civil war against Muslim hardliner President Bashar el Assad ‘before it got crazy over there’. After returning home, he encouraged young people to go to Syria and engage in jihad to experience the freedom fight taken up against El Assad… 

As in Australia, France apparently also has a stable of former terrorists who had traveled to Syria and returned, all while on their watch lists – and in Australia at least – some of these terrorists are literally on security agency speed dials and are clearly a part of a network the intelligence community both monitors and in fact, maintains.

Such networks have turned out thousands of recruits to fight in NATO’s war in Syria. The BBC would report in an article titled, “Islamic State crisis: ‘3,000 European jihadists join fight’,” that:

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti-terrorism chief has told the BBC. 

Gilles de Kerchove also warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk of retaliatory attacks in Europe.

How exactly is the public expected to believe that such a vast number of terrorists can migrate overseas to fight alongside terrorist forces the West is currently, allegedly, fighting, without the West being able to stem such a tide? Clearly, just as arming Al Qaeda in Syria was done intentionally, so to have the floodgates been open, allowing European terrorists to both join NATO’s proxy war in Syria, and to return home and join NATO’s growing war against its own people.

Operation Gladio on Steroids 

Such networks don’t just mirror NATO’s “stay behind networks” formed during the Cold War, supposedly created to activate in the wake of a full-scale Soviet invasion of Western Europe, but instead used as a covert front of political and terroristic provocation – such networks today are a continuation of NATO’s secret armies.

NATO’s provocateurs used during the Cold War were a mixture of nationalists, anti-communists, former Nazi SS officers, and extremists of every stripe. Their particular beliefs were, however, ultimately irrelevant since they were used for a singular agenda defined not by these beliefs, but by NATO’s own agenda.

Many of the militants and extremists NATO used were liquidated upon the completion of the many false flag attacks NATO organized at the cost of hundreds of innocent European lives. Likewise, today, many of the gunmen or bombers involved in the long string of suspicious domestic attacks carried out by NATO’s modern “stay behind network” are either killed on sight, or imprisoned and forgotten.

While NATO’s Cold War operations appeared confined to conducting terrorism upon its own people, today’s networks are used to carry out both proxy wars overseas as well as to carry out terrorist attacks at home. The expansive nature of this network and the threat it poses to global peace and stability should be at the center of the Paris attack debate – not the alleged beliefs, religion, or supposed agenda of the attackers who, just like their Cold War counterparts, were nothing more than patsies and pawns amid a much larger and insidious game.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Paris Shooting Suspects Under French Radar for YEARS

Image: Dead men don’t talk. French security agencies successfully liquidate
all suspects in the recent Paris shooting.

January 10, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The Paris shooting suspects were no strangers to the French government and its security and intelligence agencies. One suspect, Cherif Kouachi, was arrested by French police in 2005, tried and sentenced to 3 years in prison for “association with wrongdoers with the intention of committing a terrorist act,” but his sentence would later be suspended.

Slate Magazine would report in their article, “The Details of Paris Suspect Cherif Kouachi’s 2008 Terrorism Conviction,” that:

Kouachi was arrested in January 2005, accused of planning to join jihadists in Iraq. He was said to have fallen under the sway of Farid Benyettou, a young “self-taught preacher” who advocated violence, but had not actually yet traveled to Iraq or committed any acts of terror. Lawyers at the time said he had not received weapons training and “had begun having second thoughts,” going so far as to express “relief” that he’d been apprehended.

Strange then that Kourachi and his brother would then be reported to have traveled to the Middle East to receive training from Al Qaeda, then to have fought in Syria in a war backed in part by France, before returning home and carrying out this most recent terror attack, all while being tracked by French intelligence. If Kouachi could be arrested for “association with wrongdoers with the intention of committing a terrorist act,” why wasn’t he arrested immediately upon his return to France for having received and employed military training by a terrorist organization?

CNN would report in an article titled, “France tells U.S. Paris suspect trained with al Qaeda in Yemen,” that:

Western intelligence officials are scrambling to learn more about possible travel of the two Paris terror attack suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, with new information suggesting one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with al Qaeda in that country, U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Additional information from a French source close to the French security services puts one of the brothers in Syria.

To explain how terrorists well-known to France’s legal system and intelligence community could simply “disappear,” the Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Overburdened French Dropped Surveillance of Brothers,” would attempt to claim:

The terror attacks in Paris that have killed 17 people over three days this week represent one of the worst fears—and failures—of counterterrorist officials: a successful plot coordinated by people who had once been under surveillance but who were later dropped as a top priority. 

The U.S. provided France with intelligence showing that the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo massacre received training in Yemen in 2011, prompting French authorities to begin monitoring the two brothers, according to U.S. officials. But that surveillance of Said and Chérif Kouachi came to an end last spring, U.S. officials said, after several years of monitoring turned up nothing suspicious.

It is a narrative that begs to be believed – considering the brothers had already tangled with the law, already traveled to Yemen to receive training from Al Qaeda, and with evidence suggesting they were indeed still being tracked since it is now known they have recently returned from Syria. The Wall Street Journal would also claim that France depends heavily on US intelligence, contradicting US intelligence officials who have said their information came from their French counterparts.


France reportedly has over 1,000 citizens under surveillance who have recently traveled to Iraq and Syria, believed to have fought alongside terrorists France itself has been arming. In an NBC article titled, “French Intelligence Is Tracking 1,000 Who Have Been to Iraq, Syria: Expert,” it is reported that:

“French intelligence is mostly focused today on more than 1,000 French citizens that traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2012,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, the author of “Zarqawi: The New Face of Al-Qaeda.” 

He added that one-fifth of them were being tracked around the clock. “This is a problem of resources,” he added. “We cannot follow everyone.” 

Brisard said the brothers had been “well known to French intelligence [for] several years now.”

Image: France helped NATO successfully hand Libya over to Al Qaeda
terrorists who – with NATO support – would use it as a springboard to attack
Syria. The ultimate goal is to use Al Qaeda terrorists to overrun Iran, then
southern Russia and western China. 
It is almost certain that the suspects were not only being tracked by French and US intelligence, but selected as prime candidates for pulling off the provocative attack in Paris last week – as part of a greater agenda of manipulating public perception to further crush civil liberties at home and expand hegemonic wars overseas. France is already occupying several of its former colonies in Africa, had participated in the destruction of Libya and its subsequent handover to Al Qaeda terrorist, who with NATO backing, used it as a springboard to attack Syria.
In fact, it is now confirmed that France had provided weapons to terrorists fighting the Syrian government since 2011. France 24 would report last year in an article titled, “France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms,” that:

President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that France had delivered weapons to rebels battling the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad “a few months ago.”

It is likely that if the Paris shooters were indeed in Syria, they may likely have been holding French-supplied weapons as they honed their skills later to be used to spill French blood in Paris.

Three Possibilities – All Damning  
There are really only three possibilities left for France, NATO, and the greater Western World. First, the attacks were known to be impending and were willfully allowed to be carried out with an insidious agenda lined up to fully exploit the public hysteria to follow. Second, the attacks were prodded along by French, US, or other Western or Western-aligned intelligence agencies. Or third, the global spanning surveillance state the West is erecting with the promise of making the world safe at the expense of our freedom has left us both unsafe, and without our freedom.

Determining the degree to which this attack was influenced or engineered by Western intelligence agencies will be difficult to establish. However, considering that NATO itself has been exposed in the past to have used extremist groups to carry out deadly terrorist attacks almost identical to the recent Paris shooting, means that Western intelligence agencies should be prime suspects until otherwise ruled out.

The shooters were well known to Western intelligence, were part of a Western proxy war in Syria, were under surveillance, most likely handled before and perhaps even during the attack last week, and were all subsequently “liquidated,” just as was done amid a wave of NATO-sponsored  terror attacks against Western Europe during the Cold War, now known as “Operation Gladio.”

Al Qaeda is NATO’s Mercenary Foreign Legion 
Even if these attacks were organized by “Al Qaeda,” the fact still remains that Al Qaeda was intentionally selected, armed, funded, and to this day backed in nations like Syria by the West, including France, in an effort to overthrow Damascus by proxy.

As exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article,  “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it was stated explicitly that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

Since 2007, it is clear that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) and various franchises of Al Qaeda operating in Syria are harbored in NATO-member Turkey, with convoys originating from Turkish territory supplying terrorists operating in Syria with an unending torrent of supplies. So even as the US feigns to be striking at the source of ISIS power – allegedly seized Syrian oil fields – in reality, the US, along with its stalwart Persian Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar – are at the same time supplying this proxy terrorist army with billions in aid year to year – aid that is immune to US airstrikes.

NATO Extremism

Image: ISIS is supposedly an independent terror organization living off the
lands it has supposedly conquered. In reality, it is clear it is instead an
invasion originating from NATO-member Turkey, with the aid not of oil
money from seized Syrian fields, but rather cash and weapons supplied by
NATO and the Persian Gulf autocracies.

However one attempts to examine the recent Paris shooting – it is clear it is not an issue of “free speech,” “Islamic extremism,” or a need to show “tolerance,” but rather an issue involving NATO sponsorship of terrorism worldwide, and the complicity or failure of invasive surveillance networks and intelligence agencies that either helped carry out the operation, willfully allowed it to be carried out, or missed it entirely indicating unforgivable incompetence requiring punitive action against those occupying the highest offices in the French government.

Whatever the case may be, what follows will be a shameless attempt to exploit the hysteria prevailing across much of Europe. The most immediate threat is the West not backing off from its sponsorship of terrorists fighting the government of Syria, but the doubling down of the very policy that produced the killers involved in the Paris shooting. Indeed, even as Western politicians wring their hands over the loss of life in Paris this week, the Military Times would report, astoundingly, that the US is going ahead with a plan to train, arm, equip, and back a new “rebel army.” In an article titled, “Syria rebel training could start in early spring,” it states:

The long-awaited coalition program to train the Syrian moderate opposition could begin by early spring, and officials are beginning to identify individual fighters who could participate, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Apparently, despite so-called “moderate Syrian rebels” being revealed as simply Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates, with many literally turning their US, French, British and other NATO-supplied weapons over to terrorist groups, the US desires to send yet more weapons, cash, and training – in what one could only call a deliberate attempt to feign opposition to Al Qaeda while willfully expanding their ranks and armories, as well as both their tactical and strategic capabilities.

It is no wonder then, why the Western media has attempted to focus so diligently on “Islamic extremism” as the cause of the recent Paris shootings. Should the emotional raw nerves of the European people not be manipulated, and were people simply to follow the money, they would realize NATO extremism was to blame. They would also realize that the backlash in the wake of the Paris shooting was not to help stem such extremism, but to only embolden it further.

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