Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Nov 18, 2018, 11:22 AM
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 10
 on: Nov 16, 2018, 07:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Even Trump Can’t Stop Mocking Sean Hannity’s ‘Dumb’ Softball Questions

Trump craves friction to set off sparks and drama. Hannity’s slobbering extinguishes them.

Asawin Suebsaeng, Lachlan Cartwright
Daily Beast

Donald Trump’s close relationship—on air and off—with Sean Hannity hasn’t stopped the president from mocking the Fox News star behind his back for being such a suck-up, according to three sources who have independently heard this mockery. These sources asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss private conversations with the president, and in one case also to avoid incurring the ire of Hannity, whom they called a “perfectly nice guy.”

Trump’s many radio and TV interviews, always touted as “exclusives” and rarely making any news, have been widely derided by media critics and political observers as simpering propaganda. And the president himself, a man famous for demanding relentless validation and unwavering loyalty, feels the same way.

Trump has repeatedly—and sometimes for a sustained period of time—made fun of Hannity’s interviewing skills, usually zeroing in on the low-quality laziness of the host’s questions, the three people with direct knowledge tell The Daily Beast.

“It’s like he’s not even trying,” Trump has said, one source recalled, right before the president launched into a rough imitation of Hannity’s voice and mannerisms to complain that the questions about how “great I am” give him nothing to work or have fun with.

Another person who’s heard Trump make similar comments since his inauguration says they remember the president calling Hannity’s softball questions “dumb.” This source recalled a round of ripping on the TV talker’s interview style and cloying devotion to Trump that lasted long enough that the source glanced at their watch and started feeling sorry for Hannity.

“Election Day [2016], I actually called you, I said, ‘You’re gonna get bad news about… 5:15 that afternoon. You lost Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.’ And you won ’em all. Polls don’t mean anything, do they?” Hannity asked during his most recent Fox News interview with Trump this month.

“I lost them based on the fake news,” Trump replied.

“Fake news,” Hannity repeated.

The president’s recurring complaints often focus on how sycophantic the TV host can be, both on and off camera, with Hannity’s slobbering leaving no friction to generate the sparks and drama that Trump craves.

“He likes it as sport,” a Republican close to the White House said, describing the president’s long-running addiction to sparring with media figures.

White House spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment on this story as of publication time. Neither did Hannity. Fox News declined to comment.

“Trump does enjoy the back-and-forth with the press—look at this whole Jim Acosta thing,” said Jeff Lord, a Trump ally and former CNN political commentator. “The president can call on anybody he wants. He could have ignored Jim Acosta. He didn’t do it. And he didn’t do it because… they would have some chance to do some verbal jousting there.”

Lord recalled that when he interviewed the then-future president at Trump Tower in 2014, Trump had enthusiastically promised he would “fight back” hard against the “dishonest” press if he ran for the White House. “Donald Trump delights in the combat with these folks,” Lord added.

Despite mocking Hannity’s softball questions, the president “loves Sean,” according to numerous Trump friends and White House officials, and is said to value him as a close pal and prominent informal political adviser who has his finger on the pulse of conservative America in a way few do.

“Sean Hannity told me last night…” is a phrase often heard by those closest to the president.

But Hannity is hardly the first friend or ally Trump has professed his love for even as he routinely disrespected or debased that person behind their back. For instance, when Oscar-winning actress and Trump acquaintance Marlee Matlin competed on Celebrity Apprentice, he repeatedly made fun of her by calling her “retarded”—simply because she was deaf.

With Hannity, Trump hasn’t always restrained himself until his friend was out of the room. Ahead of one of the president’s closing rallies before the midterm elections this month, the 2020 Trump campaign announced Hannity would be appearing onstage with Trump as a “special guest.”

Fox News began telling news outlets the “special guest” designation was wrong, and that Hannity would only be at the rally in Missouri to interview Trump for his show. Hannity himself tweeted the day of the event, “To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the president,” and blamed any confusion on supposedly erroneous “reports” instead of Team Trump’s announcement.

In the middle of the political rally, the president called Hannity onstage anyway and told him to come up to the mic—which Hannity did to campaign with the president he supposedly just covers on air.

Hannity’s employer sprang into damage-control mode.

“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” the network said in a statement. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight, and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”

According to a senior administration official, Trump was aware of Hannity and Fox News’ stated position that the host would not campaign that night. The president simply “did not care” and did it anyway, the official said.

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 07:10 AM 
Started by Stacie - Last post by Stacie
Thank you Rad.  This has been very thought-provoking for me.


 on: Nov 16, 2018, 07:07 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Stacie

That was so well explained.  I want to compliment you on your prowess.  Thank you, this is so useful.



 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:58 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Julian Assange charged in secret, mistake on US court filing suggests

Court filing submitted by US authorities in an unrelated case mentioned existence of criminal charges against someone named ‘Assange’

Jon Swaine in New York and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Fri 16 Nov 2018 05.34 GMT

Julian Assange, a major target of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, has been criminally charged in secret, an apparent mistake in a court filing has indicated.

The court filing, submitted by US authorities in an unrelated case, mentioned the existence of criminal charges against someone named “Assange” even though that was not the name of the defendant.

The WikiLeaks founder, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since seeking asylum in 2012, is considered a wanted man by US law enforcement agencies after his controversial publication of classified diplomatic cables and other secret US government documents.

One of Assange’s attorneys, Barry Pollack, said it was a “dangerous path for a democracy to take” for a government to bring criminal charges against someone for publishing truthful information.

“The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed,” Pollack said in an email.

Earlier on Thursday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US was making preparations to prosecute Assange and was confident of being able to detain him and make him stand trial.

The court filing, written by assistant US attorney Kellen Dwyer, did not specify the nature of any charges against Assange. It was submitted to the federal court in the eastern district of Virginia, which handles many cases involving national security.

WikiLeaks is under investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, for publishing tens of thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. US intelligence agencies concluded that the emails were taken by Russian government hackers as part of an operation aimed at helping the campaign of Donald Trump.

The filing was a motion asking the court to seal charges, meaning they are kept secret from public view.

It argued that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged”.

It later said: “The complaint, supporting affidavit and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”

Legal analysts said the error was likely to have been caused by prosecutors copying and pasting from sealed documents outlining charges against Assange. Prosecutors are known to copy text from past court filings to make similar arguments in new cases, typically changing names and other relevant details accordingly.

Assange and his supporters have frequently claimed US authorities had filed secret criminal charges against him.

A spokesman for the Justice Department in Virginia’s eastern district would not directly address the question of whether the document meant Assange had already been charged by the US.

“The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing,” the spokesman, Joshua Stueve, said in an email.

WikiLeaks said on Twitter that the filing “reveals existence of sealed charges (or a draft for them) against WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange”.

WikiLeaks published more than 50,000 Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign, beginning with a batch taken from the party’s servers that was dumped online shortly before its national convention in July 2016. The leak prompted the resignation of the party’s chairwoman and disrupted Clinton’s campaign. WikiLeaks later published more emails taken from the account of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Assange’s group featured in Mueller’s indictment in July of a group of Russian hackers accused of carrying out the email thefts but was not charged itself. Identified only as “organization 1”, it was accused of receiving the stolen emails from the Russian operatives after exchanging messages.
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
Read more

The July indictment said WikiLeaks urged the Russians to give them the first batch of stolen emails in the days before the Democratic convention so it could publish them in a way that would “have a much higher impact than what you are doing”. The filings did not, however, say whether Assange’s group knew it was dealing with Kremlin-backed operatives.

The mistaken court filing was first noticed on Thursday by Seamus Hughes, an academic at Georgetown University and former US government official. It was filed in the case of a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi. It was submitted to court in Kokayi’s case in August this year and was initially sealed. The reason for its unsealing was unclear.

Kokayi, 29, is charged with coercing a 15-year-old girl to have sex with him and to give him pornographic images, and with sending her a video of him masturbating. However prosecutors told the court that investigators also collected “sensitive information relating to … national security” as part of the case. They told the court last week that they intend to use evidence gathered via electronic surveillance.


Ex-FBI counter-intel chief: Newly revealed Assange charges may be part of Mueller’s plan to target Trump

Raw Story
16 Nov 2018 at 06:45 ET

MSNBC “11th Hour” anchor Brian Williams broke in with breaking news on Thursday after the Department of Justice inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Williams was fortunate to have as a guest Frank Figliuzzi, the former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“So, Frank, what’s the significance of this development to you?” Williams asked.

“Well, this has deep meaning also for me personally, because I was in Washington at headquarters when the entire intelligence community was wrestling with what to do with Julian Assange and Wikileaks,” he noted. “And that the great debate about whether we should even treat him as a foreign power — they were doing that much damage to us.”

“Look, I said before on your show, Brian, I think the strategy for Mueller is to tell us the story of a corrupt president through the indictments of others,” he noted.

“Understand that our intelligence community has Wikileaks covered like a blanket — as if they are a foreign adversary,” he revealed. “So when Trump sees questions he doesn’t like to answer, he might be realizing that Mueller has so much more on the classified side than anyone ever realized.”

“And maybe –just maybe — that is [spying] coverage of Julian Assange and Wikileaks and their role with the Russians in the release of emails during the presidential campaign,” Figliuzzi continued. “We have to wait and see.”


WATCH: Rachel Maddow explains why new Mueller filing means big news is coming soon

Raw Story
16 Nov 2018 at 06:45 ET                 

The host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC explained on Thursday why it appears there will be major developments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — in the next 10 days.

Maddow reported on a new filing by the special counsel concerning the case of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The special counsel’s office had a Friday deadline to update the overseeing judge on Manafort’s cooperation with investigators following his guilty pleas.

“And here’s the part that makes the ominous music start up in your head and that makes us put the red banner on the bottom of the screen,” Maddow said. “In this new report they just filed, Mueller’s prosecutors have just asked the judge to please give them 10 days before they tell the judge what’s up with Manafort’s case right now.”

“Ten days? That is very strange,” she noted. “They say they’re not going to make tomorrow’s deadline, they would like a 10 day extension.”

“That is unusual,” she added.

“What’s going to happen in the next 10 days that will give the court a better picture of how helpful Paul Manafort has been?” she wondered. “Something’s going to happen between now and 10 days from now that will allow them to be of greater assistance in the court’s management of this matter?”

“What’s going to happen in the next 10 days?” she asked.

“There is a palpable sense right now that this is the — this is the time we have been expecting, this is the thing for which we have all been reading up on our history,” she concluded.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNAoZsJLXJ4


What happens when the intelligence community decides that Trump is too dangerous to be president?

Jefferson Morley, Independent Media Institute
15 Nov 2018 at 23:15 ET                   

A surge of public activism by former CIA personnel is one of the most unexpected developments of the Trump presidency, and it is accelerating.

Two former CIA officers—both Democrats, both women, both liberal—were elected to Congress on November 6. Abigail Spanberger, former operations officer, was elected in Virginia’s 7th District. Elissa Slotkin, former analyst, won in Michigan’s 8th District. Both Spanberger and Slotkin incorporated their intelligence experience into their center-left platforms. Their victories tripled the number of CIA “formers” in Congress. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), previously the only former intelligence officer on Capitol Hill, won re-election by defeating Gina Ortiz Jones, herself a former military intelligence officer.

They are hardly alone. Former directors John Brennan and Gen. Michael Hayden are among Trump’s harshest critics. Other former CIA leaders like Michael Morell and John McLaughlin are more circumspect. But as a group, they are far more outspoken about the current president than, say, former director George H.W. Bush was about President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. When Trump threatened to pull Brennan’s security clearance, more than 70 former intelligence officers signed an open letter calling Trump’s action a threat to free speech.

At the halfway point in Trump’s first term, these formers see themselves as a bulwark of an endangered democracy. The president and his supporters see a cabal of “deep state” radicals out to overturn the will of the people. With the appointment of Matthew Whitaker, an unqualified political operative, as Attorney General, Brennan said a “constitutional crisis” is fast approaching. The clash between a willfully ignorant commander in chief and a politicized intelligence community seems sure to deepen.

“I think the blatant disregard for the threat of foreign influence in our election and the demonization of the Intelligence Community was a turning point for a lot of us,” former branch chief Cindy Otis told me in an email. “…Critics can call me ‘The Deep State,’ but I joined the CIA under George W. Bush and the vast majority of people at CIA lean conservative on foreign policy/natsec [national security] issues.”

Six former CIA officers spoke to Deep State of the ideals of disinterested intelligence collection and analysis as the basis for their opposition to Trump.

“It is pounded into you: To be in the CIA, you have to be as objective as possible,” said Nada Bakos, author of a forthcoming memoir, The Targeter, about her CIA career. “Your personal beliefs don’t have a place in dealing with facts objectively.”

But history tells us the apolitical ideals of the agency have often been observed in the breach without provoking a revolt in the ranks. In the 1980s, former director Bush and a host of senior agency operatives joined the Iran-Contra conspiracy. They sought to subvert the Democratic majority in Congress that had banned covert intervention in Central America. The agency’s rank and file did not object. Indeed, many applauded when President Bush pardoned four CIA officials who had been indicted in the scandal.

After the 9/11 attacks, the consensus in Langley that torture was a permissible, effective and necessary counterterrorism technique no doubt struck many intelligence officers as apolitical common sense. But, of course, adopting “extreme interrogation tactics” was a deeply political decision that President Bush embraced, and President Obama repudiated. The agency deferred to both commanders in chief.

Trump is another story. Kent Harrington, a former station chief who served as agency spokesman, says historical comparisons miss “a huge and obvious point.”

“We are dealing with a level of ignorance and psychosis in the Oval Office and dysfunction in the so-called administration itself that makes drawing parallels, much less conclusions about Trump vs. previous national leaderships perilous to say the least,” Harrington wrote in an email.

The problem with Trump in the eyes of these CIA formers is almost pre-political. The president’s policy decisions matter less than his contempt for intelligence and the system that collects it.

“When we see things that are blatantly wrong, and the president is responsible, it is fair to speak out,” Bakos said in an interview. “If you’re silent, you’re part of the problem.”

The formers speaking out against Trump, she said, are simply defending “all the things that as agency officers we swore to uphold. The Constitution, as it was written. Freedom of speech. The values of democracy vs. nationalism.”

Former personnel know better than anyone that the CIA has a license to kill. The agency can spy, capture, bomb and assassinate. It can overthrow governments, foster (or smash) political movements, even re-organize entire societies, according to the inclinations of the president and his advisers.

CIA operatives could trust both neoconservative George W. Bush and internationalist Barack Obama with that arsenal because they believed, whatever their politics, both presidents were rational actors. With Trump, they can have no such confidence.

Trump’s contempt for the intelligence profession, weaponized in his “deep state” conspiracy theories, has agency personnel feeling professionally vulnerable, perhaps for the first time. An irrational chief executive has shattered their apolitical pretensions and forced them to re-examine what their core beliefs require.

Larry Pfeiffer, former chief of staff to Hayden, told me, “Until now I’ve been mostly a Republican voter at the national level because Republicans shared my views on national security. For a lot of people inside the national security community, that is not necessarily the case anymore. The Republican Party under Trump has abandoned people like us.”

When Pfeiffer told me, “Who knows? I might have to vote for Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders in 2020,” he sounded amazed by the possibility but not averse to it. Two years of Trump can do that to a former spy.

The point is not that the CIA is getting more liberal, says John Prados, author of The Ghosts of Langley, a history of the agency. Rather, the election results show that the voting bloc that supports the president now skews even more to the hard right. “The migration of [the] political spectrum to the right makes the agency look more liberal than it is,” he said in an interview.

“I find it sad—and maybe a few other adjectives—that Brennan now gets a pass for some of [the] things he did as director, just because he’s combatting Trump,” Prados said.

Prados also distinguished between former and current CIA personnel. While Trump has nothing but scorn for the former intelligence chiefs who blast him on CNN and MSNBC, he does have something to offer the agency’s current leaders: a policy mission they may find urgent.

“If Trump is going to carry out a secret war against Iran as he seems to want to do, who is our ally?” Prados asked. “Mossad [the Israeli intelligence service]? Who can work with Mossad? The CIA. If that is Trump’s Middle East agenda, the interests of current CIA people and the formers may diverge.”

But Harrington argues the crisis facing the CIA, and other federal agencies, goes beyond any one policy.

“Trump is not only relying on lies and falsehoods in his public statements, but I have to believe he is pushing back on the realities that are brought to him. Imagine Gina Haspel goes to the White House with a briefer to talk about the latest intel on—fill in the blank: North Korea’s missile program. What China is doing to supplant America in Asia. Where Europe wants to go with NATO. Does the president listen or care? Or even understand? We’re not in crisis on any one issue, but can we really say the government is functioning?”

Harrington expects the mistrust between the president and the intelligence community to grow in the next two years.

“No director of any federal agency can turn away the inquiries of the Democratic House,” Harrington said. “CIA people have to deal head on with the consequences of a president who is fundamentally not dealing with reality.”

If there’s one thing to be learned from talking to former CIA personnel, it’s the sense that the CIA system—powerful, stealthy, and dangerous—is blinking red about the latest news of an authoritarian leader in an unstable nation.

This article was produced by the Deep State, a project of the Independent Media Institute.


MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch predicts Trump will soon have an on-camera meltdown so bad even GOP can’t ignore it

Raw Story
16 Nov 2018 at 06:45 ET                   

MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch warns that President Donald Trump is going to completely melt down soon — and even Republicans won’t be able to ignore it.

Panelists on “Morning Joe” tried to analyze Trump’s renewed attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller, saying the frenzied tweets and clumsy admissions reflect reporting that the president and his lawyers have met for more than five hours this week to discuss the Russia investigation.

“He’s getting the questions from Mueller and freaking out,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski. “I know one cannot make that connection, but one can certainly surmise that at the time the questions from the Mueller probe are coming into this White House, at the time Democrats have control and the president is finally being educated of the fact that there is nothing he can do when he is compelled to hand over his tax returns and answer questions.”

“The president finally realizes for the first time in his life he is cornered and there is nowhere to go, and at the time that one might surmise his son is potentially on the list of those that might be indicted that this president is freaking out,” she added.

MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch predicted the meltdown would reach new depths as the walls continued to close in.

“The absurd moves he makes will get heightened,” Deutsch said. “We’re seeing a different guy now. Donald Trump a few weeks ago was scary, he was a Bond villain like Goldfinger, now he’s more like Dr. Evil, where he comes on and instead of getting angry, you kind of almost chuckle. There’s a patheticness to him that’s starting to show that hasn’t been there in the past.”

Deutsch said the president has lost the control he has always craved, and he worried how that new reality would affect his behavior.

“We’re going to see now a caged animal, and I think we’re going to see behavior so much more aberrant than anything we’ve seen,” he said. “I think we’re going to see something happen to Donald Trump on camera, some of the tweets go to a new level that even Republicans are going to start to come out from under the rocks.”

Host Joe Scarborough said Trump’s tweets are usually a mix of projection and confession, and Republican strategist Susan Del Percio said the spectacle was pathetic and alarming.

“It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic, frankly,” Del Percio said. “To have a president of the United States spinning out of control and focused only on himself, and not on our country, at this point is devastating.”

Scarborough pointed to Trump’s admission that he appointed Matthew Whitaker as interim attorney general to interfere with the special counsel probe, and said the president’s attempts to obstruct justice were obvious.

“He just walks into it,” Scarborough said. “Maybe for Christmas this year, somebody can just get a stamp and, just make it easier for him, that says ‘obstruction’ on it and just stamp it on his forehead — it’s so obvious. You look at what he said to Lester Holt, what he told the Russian foreign minister, what he told the Russian ambassador of the United States about the firing of (James) Comey. He obstructs in the light of day.”


Conservative Max Boot warns Trump’s attacks on Mueller are now a ‘code red situation for the rule of law’

Alex Henderson, AlterNet
15 Nov 2018 at 16:09 ET                   

President Donald Trump has been very active on Twitter this week, bombarding his favorite social media outlet with a flurry of tweets attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-related investigation—and NeverTrump conservative Max Boot, interviewed by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on November 15, cited those tweets as evidence that Trump is “feeling the heat.”

After the midterms, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with loyalist Matt Whitaker—who has been a vocal critic of Mueller’s investigation. Boot told Baldwin that when he read Trump’s recent tweets, he was especially troubled by the president’s reference to the investigation’s “inner workings.”

Boot said of Trump, “His henchman has just been appointed acting attorney general, and even though he has not shut down the Mueller investigation, the odds are that Whitaker has access to Mueller’s files. That’s why I thought it was very ominous today when Donald Trump tweeted about the inner workings of the Mueller investigation. He’s never referred to the inner workings before. It raises the question, in my mind: does he have access to those inner workings? Does he know what Mueller has? If so, this is really a code red situation for the rule of law.”

Outgoing Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake  has introduced a bill to protect Mueller’s investigation, and Boot told Baldwin it was “disgraceful” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t even bring Flake’s bill to the Senate floor.

“It’s just tragic how Republicans who claim to be invested in the Constitution are allowing Donald Trump to attack the rule of law in plain sight,” Boot told Baldwin.

During the CNN interview, Boot was also critical of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for his Trumpian claim that Democrats are trying to steal votes and commit voter fraud on a grand scale in Florida’s vote count.

“I thought (Rubio) was someone who was more principled and Reaganesque and would speak up for American democracy,” Boot asserted. “And here he is, undermining American democracy for petty partisan reasons….There is zero evidence of any fraud in Florida.”

Rubio, Boot complained, has been “transformed in Donald Trump’s image. The entire Republican Party has been taken over by Trump.”

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gds8bfLUtY0

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:44 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

After intense wrangling, UK backs a Brexit deal. Now what?

New Europe

LONDON  — Like white smoke from the Vatican announcing a new pope, the signal from Britain's Cabinet table says: We have a decision. After a year and a half of negotiating with the European Union — and fighting with itself — the U.K. government on Wednesday backed a deal to allow Britain's orderly exit from the bloc, and paint the outlines of future relations.

Prime Minister Theresa May's fractious Conservative government agreed on a deal that solves the key outstanding issue — how to ensure a frictionless border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit. The "backstop" plan involves keeping the U.K. in a customs union with the EU until a permanent trade treaty is worked out.

It's a breakthrough, but the path to Brexit day — just over four months away on March 29 — remains rocky. Here's a look at what is likely to happen next: BEELINE TO BRUSSELS May is due to update Parliament on Thursday on what has been agreed, while Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will likely head to Brussels to meet with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

Barnier declared there has been "decisive progress" toward a deal — the phrase that allows EU leaders to call a special summit to approve the deal. They have penciled in a meeting for Nov. 25. The deal consists of two parts: a legally binding withdrawal agreement — which includes the border backstop — and a looser framework for future relations. The two sides have given themselves a transition period until the end of 2020 to work out the details of future trade ties.

PERIL IN PARLIAMENT Once the EU has signed off on it, the deal also must be approved by the European and British parliaments May hopes to get it passed by U.K. lawmakers before Christmas. Business groups warn that most U.K. companies will implement Brexit contingency plans — cutting jobs, stockpiling goods, relocating production — if there isn't clarity by then about the terms of Brexit.

But she faces an uphill battle. May's Conservative Party doesn't hold a majority of seats in the House of Commons, and relies on 10 lawmakers from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to win votes. But the DUP says it will reject any deal that treats Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the U.K.

Several dozen pro-Brexit Conservatives have vowed to oppose any arrangement that keeps Britain in a customs union, and tied to EU trade rules, indefinitely. The main opposition Labour Party also says it will oppose any deal that doesn't offer the same benefits Britain currently has as a member of the EU's single market and customs union.

May is calculating that, faced with the prospect of a chaotic "no-deal" exit — complete with financial turmoil, gridlock at U.K. ports and shortages of essential goods — most Conservatives and some opposition lawmakers will crumble and support the deal.

UNCHARTED TERRITORY If Parliament rejects the deal, Britain enters unknown territory. Lawmakers could try to send the government back to the negotiating table with the EU, though there's no simple mechanism to make that happen. They could defeat the government in a no-confidence vote in an attempt to trigger a national election.

Lawmakers could even vote for a new referendum on EU membership, though it seems unlikely there would be time to hold one before the U.K.'s scheduled departure date. The U.K. will cease to be an EU member on March 29 — deal or no deal.

Iain Begg, a professor at the London School of Economics' European Institute, said rejection of a deal would trigger a major political crisis because Britain's patchwork constitution offers no "prescribed way out of that dilemma."

He said in that case, "we really are into a period of great uncertainty about what happens next. I think nobody can know how it would unfold."

Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:42 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

'Killing, abuse, sexual violence beyond belief': fears grow of all-out war in CAR

Experts warn collective failure of UN, donors and government has left Central African Republic on the brink
Global development is supported by

Rebecca Ratcliffe
Fri 16 Nov 2018 07.00 GMT

The UN security council has failed to agree terms for extending a peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic just days after a top aid official warned the country is at risk of sliding into full-scale war.

Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who warned the UN peacekeeping mission is overstretched, said wider efforts to end the conflict were also failing.

“The UN effort is not succeeding, the donor effort is not succeeding and the government is in no way steering the country toward good governance,” said Egeland. “Nor are CAR’s neighbours playing the role of being good neighbours stabilising the country.”

On Thursday, the mandate for the UN’s peacekeeping mission, Minusca, was temporarily renewed for a month, following disagreements over whether it should provide support to the country’s national troops.

Aid agencies have warned that Minusca desperately needs additional resources to improve the number and quality of the mission, which has struggled to contain the crisis and faced allegations of sexual exploitation. But Minusca has struggled to persuade countries to contribute troops, while the US wants to reduce cost. Experts believe the number of troops, which currently stands at 12,000, is unlikely to rise further.

“The mission is not even close to fulfilling its mandate of protecting the civilian population,” Egeland added. “Civilians are routinely targeted, killed, abused – the sexual violence is beyond belief”.

Over a 48-hour period beginning on 31 October, 27,000 people were forced to flee after a camp and surrounding homes were burned and looted following clashes in Batangafo, in the north of the country. The site was “virtually next door” to a UN peacekeeper base, said Egeland.

He added that pledges made at a Brussels conference in 2016 – when 2.06bn (£1.8bn) was promised by donors – had failed to bring about reconciliation and reconstruction in most areas of the country.

“If it [the conflict] continues like right now, full-scale war is much more realistic than any kind of reconciliation and reconstruction outcome we thought of in 2016,” said Egeland.

“This is a place where a hand grenade and loaf of bread are more or less the same price,” he said, adding that the prevalence of diamonds and other precious metals has intensified violence by armed groups. “It is very easy to get guns and grenades for a low price, and unemployed, desperate young men are even cheaper.”

Conflict broke out in CAR in late 2012, when Seleka rebels – most of them Muslims, and many from Chad and Sudan – overthrew François Bozizé. Predominantly Christian fighters, known as the anti-balaka, retaliated. The number of armed groups, often competing for natural resources, has since multiplied.

Funding shortages have forced agencies to adopt a short term approach, said Egeland, focusing resources on the most crisis-hit areas, only to withdraw support as soon as the emergency is perceived to have faded. In Carnot, in the east of the country, the Norwegian Refugee Council was forced to withdraw a school programme that provided education for young people otherwise vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups.

So far this year, the humanitarian response in CAR has received less than half of the $500m dollars needed. An estimated 1.27 million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the violence.

Ferran Puig, Oxfam’s country director in Central African Republic, said aid efforts were severely hampered by insecurity. “A lack of humanitarian access to some areas is really preventing us from moving around outside of the areas [that are] under control of Minusca. When you try to do humanitarian response to communities elsewhere, it’s very difficult.”

This summer, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned of a rise in attacks on aid workers in the country, which is among the most dangerous for humanitarian workers. A total of 118 incidents were recorded between April and June.

There are fears over increased violence in areas such as Batangafo and Bambari, in the centre of the country. In Batangafo, 10,000 people fled to a local hospital and many others to the bush after violence erupted two weeks ago, forcing medical staff to cut back services. Roughly 5,000 people remain on the grounds, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Staff there normally see an average of 1,000 people for malaria cases each week, but this had fallen to 60 last week following the eruption of violence. “In two weeks’ time we are going to have severe cases of malaria because people are not arriving in the hospital, they are living in the bush,” said Helena Cardellach, field coordinator for Batangafo for Médecins Sans Frontières, which supports the hospital.

Medical workers are also concerned about increased cases of diarrhoea, malnutrition and respiratory infections, especially among children under five.

The Norwegian Refugee Council has called for an urgent review of the humanitarian response in 2019, ahead of the country’s 2020 elections, which it is feared may lead to a further escalation of violence.

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:40 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of genocide in Cambodia’s ‘Nuremberg’ moment

Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea are the two most senior living leaders of regime that presided over deaths of at least 1.7 million in Cambodia

Hannah Ellis-Petersen South-east Asia correspondent
Fri 16 Nov 2018 06.13 GMT

The two most senior Khmer Rouge leaders still alive today have been found guilty of genocide, almost 40 years since Pol Pot’s brutal communist regime fell, in a verdict followed by millions of Cambodians.

Nuon Chea, 92, who was second-in-command to Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, 87, who served as head of state, were both sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity carried out between 1977 and 1979, in what is a landmark moment for the Khmer Rouge tribunals. The pair are already serving life sentences for crimes against humanity.

As senior figures in the Khmer regime, the court declared both men responsible for murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation imprisonment, torture, persecution on religious, racial and political grounds, enforced disappearances and mass rape through the state policy of forced marriages .

Nuon Chea, described by the court as “Pol Pot’s right hand”, was found guilty of all charges of genocide of the Vietnamese, former Khmer republic officials and the Cham Muslim minority. Khieu Samphan was found guilty of the genocide of the Vietnamese but was cleared of involvement in the genocidal extermination of the Cham.

The verdict, read by Judge Nil Nonn, gave a detailed account of some of the most horrific actions carried out by the regime, particularly focusing on the infamous S-21 security prison and execution site where tens of thousands were killed. Interrogations, and executions were carried out under the direct instruction of those in the “upper echelons, including Nuon Chea”, who oversaw S-21 for two years.

“The chamber finds that prisoners were brought to interrogation rooms, handcuffed and blindfolded, their legs chained during questioning” said Nil Nonn, adding that interrogation methods included “beatings with sticks, rocks, electrical wire, whips, electric shocks and suffocation and the extraction of of toenails and fingernails.”

As the list of the regime’s crimes were read out in detail, Nuon Chea asked to be excused from the court on the basis of ill health.

The judgment also emphasised that Khieu Samphan “encouraged, incited and legitimised” the criminal policies that lead to the deaths of civilians “on a massive scale” including the millions forced into labour camps to build dams and bridges and the mass extermination of Vietnamese. Buddhist monks were forcibly defrocked while Muslims were forced to eat pork.

David Scheffer, who was UN secretary general’s special expert on assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials and the former US ambassador at large for war crimes issues, described the genocide verdict as “very significant”. “This is comparable, in Cambodia, to the Nuremberg judgment after world war two,” Scheffer told the Guardian. “That is worth the money and effort.”

On Friday morning the courtroom in the capital of Phnom Penh was packed with families of some of the 1.7 million Cambodians who died between 1975 and 1979, through a combinations of mass executions, starvation and brutal labour camps, in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.

“It was such an evil regime and it was the worst example of what a government can do,” said prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian. “I think this verdict is a very timely and very necessary. The fact that these crimes happened 40 years ago in no way diminishes the impact of this verdict for those who were affected by the crimes, people whose parents were tortured and killed.”

While neither Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan disputed their roles as pivotal figures in the Khmer Rouge communist regime – whose repressive policies of agricultural collectivisation and social engineering led to famine and saw hundreds of thousands put into labour camps – they both denied genocide. By the time the regime was ousted by Cambodian dissidents and Vietnamese troops in 1979, about 25% of Cambodia’s population had died.

Victor Koppe, the lawyer for Nuon Chea, told the Guardian the case at the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia (ECCC) had been conducted “very unfairly” and had served simply to prop up a version of history that suited the current government. Many of today’s government figures, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, served in the Khmer Rouge regime before defecting.

“In 10 or 20 years from now, when the dust has settled, people will look back on this as a complete waste of time and energy and resources,” he said.

He was echoed by Anta Guisse, the lawyer for for Khieu Samphan, who said that due to the symbolic importance of securing convictions, neither of the defendants had been given a fair trial. Both Koppe and Guisse confirmed they would be appealing the convictions.

The Khmer Rouge trials have been plagued by criticism since the ECCC was formed in 1997 through a conjoined effort by the UN and the Cambodian courts to try the “most senior” Khmer Rouge members. It took nine years to get the first case to trial and, 12 years and $320m later, it has convicted only three men. Most of those responsible for the killings, including Pol Pot, died before they could be tried.

The first life sentence was handed to Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, who ran S-21 concentration camp in Phnom Penh where at least 14,000 people were tortured and killed. In 2014, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were then found guilty of crimes against humanity.

Their second trial, for genocide and mass rape, drew to a close in June last year but the verdict has taken 18 months to reach by the panel of three Cambodian and two international judges.

Many have criticised the tribunals for moving at a glacial, and very expensive pace, and being susceptible to political interference from Hun Sen’s government. Prosecutor Koumjian said he “wished things had gone faster and that more people had been prosecuted”.

But Alexander Hinton, director of the Centre for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, and UNESCO chair on genocide prevention at Rutgers University, said: “Justice is not perfect. But it’s better than no justice. And what’s the alternative? Impunity for mass murder.”

There are three Khmer Rouge commanders who are still awaiting trial but the future of the ECCC remains uncertain, mainly due to resistance from Hun Sen who has long opposed the trials and said that any more cases risked pushing Cambodia into civil war.

Hinton admitted that the political interference from Hun Sen’s regime had “tarnished” the legacy of the ECCC. “These tribunals are political through and through and this one is more than most” he said. “It has been plagued by accusations of corruption, political interference, and at times less than robust law.

“But in the end the court delivered,” he added. “There may just have been three judgments, but the process proceeded with the rule of law. I expect most Cambodians will take this court, warts and all.”

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:36 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Meet Femen, the ‘naked shock troops of feminism’ who greeted Trump with a topless protest in Paris

Members of feminist movement Femen are arrested Sunday by French police after demonstrating in front of the Arc de Triomphe as world leaders arrived for ceremonies commemorating the end of World War I.

By Antonia Noori Farzan
WA Post
November 16 2018

President Trump’s black stretch limousine was approaching the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday when a topless woman ran into the rainy street. With her long brown hair flowing down her back, she held up her arms outstretched in a gesture of victory. Though nearly impossible to make out, the words “FAKE PEACEMAKERS” were scrawled across her torso with black paint. She writhed and struggled to break loose as three police officers dragged her away.

Few were surprised when the radical feminist group Femen claimed responsibility, explaining on its website that it was protesting world leaders it considers war criminals. The Paris-based group, whose members have been described as “feminist terrorists” and “the naked shock troops of feminism” by one of its founders, has a history of pulling similar stunts. Though once little-known outside Europe, the group recently made headlines in U.S. media by protesting outside Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault retrial and disrupting a jazz concert featuring Woody Allen.

Femen’s methods are fairly straightforward: Topless women in flower crowns, their bodies painted like protest signs, disrupt public events by yelling feminist slogans and throwing their bodies at politicians and church leaders. The protests are generally only a few seconds long, since the activists are quickly escorted out of sight or arrested. But the resulting photographs of half-naked women being dragged away by police make for compelling imagery. On its website, Femen describes the group’s members as a “modern incarnation of fearless and free Amazons,” using their bodies to protest the patriarchy.

Femen was founded in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2008 by young women frustrated that they seemed to have few options in life besides becoming housewives or working as prostitutes, Inna Shevchenko, one of the group’s leaders, told The Guardian newspaper. In its early years, the group was largely focused on opposing Ukraine’s burgeoning sex trade. While protesting topless might seem to contradict the group’s anti-exploitation stance, Femen’s leaders argued that they were deploying their bodies as weapons.

“We are not making sexy sounds, we are screaming as much as we can with our political demands, we’re not showing a passive smiling body, we’re showing an aggressive, screaming body,” Shevchenko told The Guardian. “My body is always saying something. I use it as a small poster to write my political demand.”

Shevchenko fled Ukraine for France in 2012 after she chopped down a crucifix with a chain saw and began receiving death threats. Several other Femen members joined her, applying for political asylum in France and subsequently working to rebuild Femen as an international protest group focused on opposing sexism, oppression and authoritarianism. All of the group’s founding members were living in exile by 2013, according to the Paris Review.

“Each Femen demonstration is contrived to shock, generate publicity, and come off well on camera,” the Atlantic noted in 2013. “Though in theory any woman may join, almost all the activists are 20-something, fit, and attractive. In protest-spirited France, they quickly became media darlings.”

Calling themselves “sextremists,” Femen targeted, among others, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. They even disrupted Paris Fashion Week, jumping onto the runway at a 2013 Nina Ricci show.

As the group gained fame, its feminist bona fides came under scrutiny. A 2013 documentary, “Ukraine is not a Brothel,” argued that a man named Victor Svyatski, who had previously been described as a consultant to the group, had actually been integral to its founding and had masterminded many of the attention-grabbing stunts. “These girls are weak,” Svyatski told the documentary producers.

Shevchenko acknowledged that Svyatski had taken control of the movement, though she disputed the claim that he had founded Femen. “Having been born in a country in which feminism was unknown, in the best traditions of patriarchal society we just accepted the fact of a man taking control of us,” she wrote in a 2013 Guardian op-ed. “We accepted this because we did not know how to resist and fight it.” Realizing that sexism had infiltrated the organization was part of what motivated her to leave Ukraine for France and start over, she added.

Femen’s members consider atheism to be a fundamental tenet of the group’s ideology. Along with an end to the sex industry, the list of demands on its website includes the “immediate political deposition of all dictatorial regimes creating unbearable living conditions for women,” starting with “theocratic Islamic states practicing Shari’ah.” Femen has protested the compulsory hijab, angering Muslim feminists who point out that many Islamic women wear the hijab voluntarily as an expression of their religious beliefs.

"The idea of a Muslim feminist is oxymoronic,” Shevchenko told the Atlantic in 2013.

Comments like these have led to charges that Femen is anti-Muslim and that its members have a white savior complex. Amina Sboui, a Tunisian activist who faced death threats after she posted a topless photo on Facebook, quit the group in 2013, saying that she didn’t want to be associated with an Islamophobic organization. Sboui was jailed that year for painting the group’s name on a cemetery wall, and Femen held protests outside the Tunisian Embassy in France to demand her release. But after she was freed, Sboui told HuffPost that the group’s efforts were counterproductive.

“I did not appreciate the action taken by the girls shouting ‘Amina Akbar, Femen Akbar’ in front of the Tunisian Embassy in France, or when they burned the black Tawhid flag in front of a mosque in Paris,” she said. “These actions offended many Muslims and many of my friends. We must respect everyone’s religion.”

In recent years, Femen has broadened its choice of targets, aiming its guerrilla tactics at American public figures such as Allen, Cosby and Trump. Sunday’s protest, the group said, was intended to call out Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as Trump, for turning Armistice Day into “a funny performance that is only entertaining for those participating criminals.”

“Our activists have once again been arrested,” the group said in a statement. “Yesterday, they spent 10 hours in custody, and they have been charged for sexual exhibition. But this is only reinforcing our determination. Our fight is legitimate.”

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Why this stray dog stays on the rocky shore despite the crashing waves..


You have to see this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsKOPLM7RHM

 on: Nov 16, 2018, 05:32 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Canada's salmon hold the key to saving its killer whales

Desperate efforts to save the whales – and the Chinook salmon on which they depend – risk fishing communities losing a way of life

Leyland Cecco in Vancouver Island

Days before the start of the summer fishing season, when guides and outfitters on Canada’s west coast gamble their financial prospects for the year, fishing lodge owner Ryan Chamberland received devastating news.

The coastal waters of Vancouver Island, which he and four generations of his family had fished for salmon, would be out of bounds. The unexpected closure was part of a desperate effort by the Canadian government to save an endangered population of killer whales.

That same summer, Tahlequah, one of the threatened whales, nudged the lifeless body of her newborn calf for 17 days of mourning. Shortly after, the once-playful Scarlet, a three-year-old female orca, succumbed to a bacterial infection as scientists from the Canadian and US governments worked desperately to save her.

The unfolding tragedy of the southern resident killer whales – and the government response – has exposed a complex ecosystem in crisis. Chinook salmon, the whale’s main prey, are also disappearing. In an area heavily reliant on tourism and fishing, an impending collapse of the two species has led to feuding over how to stave off an ecological disaster.

“Shutting us down to create more prey for them is not going to do anything for their diet,” said Chamberland. After the news broke, he began receiving panicked calls from clients, looking to cancel trips planned months in advance. Shock quickly gave way to frustration for the young business owner. “I think it’s really scary that we are the target,” he said of the closures.

At the end of October, the federal government announced additional steps in its plan to save the whales, unveiling C$61.5m (£36m) in funding to establish protected zones, limit marine traffic and increase food sources for the whales. The funding comes in addition to a previously pledged C$167.4m for similar measures promised early in the year.

“We have an obligation both legally and from a moral perspective, from the context of sustaining biodiversity, to do what we can to protect and recover these whales,” the federal fisheries minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, told the Guardian. “The decline of biodiversity around the world we’re seeing is extremely sobering.”

The staggering body of evidence that marine waters are in trouble has prompted bitter finger pointing: fishermen blame the jarring noise of whale watching boat engines for the declining health of the whales. Whale watching companies in turn blame overfishing and agricultural waste dumped into the ocean. And First Nations face accusations they over-harvest salmon in some parts of the province.

In spite of the urgency, the crisis has been decades in the making: engine noise from commercial shipping, which has increased dramatically over the years, harms a whale’s ability to hunt. Toxic pollutants from agriculture and industry have built up in the whale’s blubber, and when they become stressed – often the result of hunger – the pollutants metabolise into their bodies, sickening them.

But many of the groups that spend time on the water agree: the largest and most troubling element of the whale’s trajectory to extinction is the disappearance of Chinook salmon – known by anglers as the “king salmon”.

For millennia, pods of orcas hunting along the rugged coast of British Columbia were a common sight. Held in high regard by First Nations communities, European settlers saw their voracious appetite for coveted Chinook salmon as a problem – going as far as lobbying for a cull of the whales they called the “blackfish”.

Today, there are only 74 of the salmon-eating killer whales left in the Salish Sea, known to researchers as “southern residents”. With a dwindling breeding population, the demographics aren’t promising: no successful births have been recorded over the last three years.

While the demise of the whales have captured the public’s sympathy, scientists worry that far less attention is given to the plight of salmon, a bellwether species for both the health of the whales and the ecosystem.

The remaining killer whales consume roughly half a million Chinook salmon per year, but years of overfishing, degradation of habitat and warming waters have crushed the once-healthy Chinook populations, along with other species of Pacific salmon. Even the sizes of salmon have decreased. Chinook once frequently exceeded 100 pounds (45kg). Now, they’re often less than half that weight.

The annual return of salmon on the mighty Fraser River, the largest source of salmon in the province and a feast for the whales, has become increasingly bleak. Millions of fish are disappearing, despite predictions they will return. Most of the known stocks of Chinook salmon around British Columbia are considered threatened or endangered, said Greg Taylor, a commercial fishing industry veteran-turned-conservationist.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has attempted to stem the decline of the Chinook, but its own staff complain of funding shortages. An internal memo, provided to the Guardian, detailed how the department couldn’t afford to continue a number of its salmon monitoring programmes. Following public scrutiny of the memo, funding was redirected to the programmes, but critics contend it represents a disregard for the health salmon stocks.

“People make the mistake that DFO’s mandate is conservation of fish. That’s not their mandate. Their mandate is sustainable fishing … Their clients are not the fish, their clients are the industries, the recreational and the commercial fishing industries,” said Taylor.

First Nations communities living along rivers in British Columbia have long relied on the predictable return of salmon for food and ceremonial purposes, and their collapse has hit them particularly hard.

For Gerald Michel of the Xwisten Nation in central British Columbia, the legacy of Canada’s folly in the Atlantic Ocean resonates deeply. Decades of overfishing and short-sighted mismanagement by federal government and the commercial industry resulted in the collapse of the cod fishery, with the fish only recently making a comeback following a strict moratorium.

“In some rivers, we’ve seen the numbers drop from the millions to the thousands,” said Michel. Having worked over the years as a fishery manager, Michel has witnessed the destruction of critical spawning streams through poor logging practices and dam construction – and says he has little faith in the government to be an effective steward.

In Canada, First Nations are constitutionally guaranteed the right to harvest salmon from the rivers, with a certain allocation for food, societal and ceremonial purposes, trumped by conservation measures. But numerous communities along the massive Fraser and Skeena Rivers have volunteered to dramatically scale back, if not halt, their annual harvest.

“Some of the First Nations say, ‘We’re bearing the brunt of first conservation,’ by limiting their fisheries,” said Gord Sterritt of the Upper Fraser Conservation Alliance. “I think we haven’t done enough to limit fisheries and curtail fisheries in the marine waters. The harvest … is huge and this year was no exception.”

Salmon spend much of their lives in cooler waters near Alaska. When fishing ships haul in large catches, they’re often grabbing salmon from rivers along the west coast, said Taylor, with no ability to determine the origin of the fish. The result is often an over-harvest of vulnerable river populations.

As the federal government eyes limiting the catch of Chinook in certain areas to help the killer whales, the closure of recreational fishing along a 70km corridor of the rugged coast of Vancouver Island has sent a chill throughout nearby small towns.

    Our community grew up with [fishing] rods in our hands

“Closures would crush us. At the gas pumps, restaurants, liquor stores, boat launches,” said Dan Drover, manager of an outfitter in Campbell River, a city dubbed the “Salmon Capital of the World” for its plentiful stock of Pacific salmon. “Our community grew up with [fishing] rods in our hands.”

The fisheries minister told the Guardian he wouldn’t rule out more closures for the region in the future. Earlier this summer, the US government closed salmon fishing along the mouth of the Columbia River for the first time in recent memory.

Along the thickly forested banks of the Quinsam River on Vancouver Island, the government released four million Chinook into the wild last year from its hatchery. Few return; most will fall victim to seals, fishermen, whales and temperature fluctuations. Those that manage to struggle back become an insurance policy for bad years. While scientists worry about an over-reliance on hatchery fish, which potentially forces competition between wild and hatchery salmon, they remain a key strategy for the government.

Other solutions have been proposed to help recover both salmon and killer whale numbers: the government has begun limiting marine traffic through areas in close proximity to the whales, forcing ships to slow down and quiet their engines. They’ve shut down fishing and have invested in stream rehabilitation.

The battle is winnable, say Taylor and Dr Deborah Giles, a whale researcher at the University of Washington. But progress requires a willingness to change behaviour and a recognition that past harvest quotas and government oversight have failed.

The Pacific Salmon Commission, an multinational oversight body, has called for an immediate reduction to the Chinook harvest to stave off impending collapse. Conservation groups have taken it further, calling for the complete closure of Chinook fishing.

“It is hard to ask people to look at themselves and see how they play into it. People fall in love with these whales, but aren’t necessarily yet willing to make change in their own life to help them,” said Giles. “We’re going to have to continue to ask ourselves what more we can do.”

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 10