Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nov. 10: The very strange case of SWN at Rexton

Before I begin the real topic of this, it's worth looking at Saturday's first page of the Whatever section. It has 16 students, mostly university students, talking about what remembrance day means to them.  All had conventional - and very wrong - information about it.

All but one said our soldiers died to preserve our freedom. In fact, Canada has had only three wars to protect its freedom - none of which is normally even mentioned on Nov. 11. All three times, the threat was from the US - the attack on Lower Canada in 1775, the invasion of the colonies in 1812, and the Fenian raids of 1866 to 1871. (There were further American threats in the early 1900s. In no other war has an invasion of Canada ever been a factor. Such an invasion of North America would have been militarily impossible in the two world wars. ( That's why the US took so long to enter World Wars One and Two. It knew no invasion was possible.)

A couple of students talked about our world reputation for peacekeeping. In fact, we don't have any such reputation because we haven't done peacekeeping for years. Our last "peacekeeping" was sending troops to help the US overthrow a democracy (Haiti), and appoint a US puppet as the ruler, thus keeping Haitians in poverty.

A Dutch student remembers the Canadian liberation with gratitude. Most Dutch still do. But most Dutch also forget that the Dutch collaborated enthusastically with the Naziis, tipping them off on people like Anne Frank, and supplying whole brigades of Dutch troops for the SS. When surviving Dutch Jews returned home, survivors from the death camps, they were commonly billed for property taxes assessed during their absence.

We fought to keep South Korea free? No, we didn't. When we went to South Korea, it was a dictatorship, and it still was one when we left. If we really fought wars for freedom, we would have sent troops to help the Vietnamese through the horrible slaughter inflicted by the US on them. (Nobody knows how many millions of Vietnamese, most civilians, were killed.)

Neither Afghanistan nor Libya threatened our freedom - or anybody else's at the time we sent troops .Indeed, nobody has ever explained why we got into those two wars at all.

That's not the fault of the schools. It's more the fault of news media that rarely tell us the truth.  (Besides, if schools did teach the truth abour our history, they'd soon have all the God save the Queeners demonstrating at the school doors, Norbert spewing venom,  and Alward scampering to redesign the history programme to please them all.)

It's even worse in the US where a majority of people believe that some 10,000 Iraqis were killed in the US invasion. In fact, the real number is a half million to one and a half million, depending on how you count them. And most American (and Canadians)  never even heard of the quarter million civilians slaughtered in Guatemala.
Now to SWN and Rexton.

The current phase of shale gas interest in New Brunswick has been going on for over ten years. Until two years ago, New Brunswick governments had not made public any expert advice on how to regulate it - or whether to allow it at all. No infrormation was given to the voters. How could it be? The government had none to give.

There were no significant regulations. How could there b?. The government had no studies on which to base regulations. To this day, we have not the slightest information  on who the regulators are, or how many.

The government now tells us it has the toughest regulations in the world. Well....

1. we have no idea what the regulations are in the rest of the world. Nor, I suspect, does our government. If it did, it would surely tell us why ours are the toughest. And how.
2. and to do that, they would have to tell us what OUR regulations are, and explain why those regulations are important - if they exist.
3. Our government doesn't have any studies it has conducted on which to base regulations.

Remember the Dr. Cleary report? It warned against shale gas. The government completely ignored it. It made no attempt to prove it wrong. It gave no reason for rejecting the only informed and impartial report we had. It just ignored it. And the Irving press followed the government lead every step of the way.

Oh, yes. There was also the Lapierre report. Too bad Lapierre had no qualifications to write it. Too bad he has a long history of writing the kind of  reports this government likes to see. To bad his acknowledged close friendship with the Irvings  places some doubt on his impartiality.

In short, we have no knowledge whatever of what our regulations are, what our needs are, what regulations other governments have. We have none because our government either has none or refuses to tell us, and the Irving press doesn't ask. Instead, our governments and the Irving press have fed us a steady diet of ignorance and lies.

Any electorate that would accept that as reasonable would be an electorate of damfools.

Then we come to another mystery. Why were no charges laid against  prof. Lapierre? It is surely illegal to sell services and information based on false pretences. And, in this case, it is surely even worse with the safety of hundreds of thousands of people at risk - not just because of shale gas but because of other "services" provided by Lapierre in the past..

One would think a premier would demand a thorough investigation if only to clear his name of any complicity. And one would think other people, influential people,  must be furious that their names might be unfairly tainted by association - names like SWN and Irving, for example. One would expect them to tell Alward to get off his butt, and clear this up.

But not a whisper.

One would expect every reporter in the province to be on this story. But the Irving press dismissed it in just one day, and without a word of criticism of Lapierre. Senators who overspent have been suspended, and have to repay the money they took. Lapierre gets not as much as a slap on the wrist, and doesn't have to repay a cent.

And our regulations, if we have any, the "toughest in the world" are based entirely on the Lapierre report. They have to be. Since it ignored the Cleary report,  the only official report the government has had to base rules on has been the Lapierre report.

Notice that I have not said a word about whether shale gas is good or bad - so don't waste your time sending me a note that shale gas is prefectly safe. I'm not talking about whether it's safe. I'm talking about the behaviour of governments, business leaders and newspapers in this province. And they all appear to be one, great lump of corruption and rot. And they all appear not to give a damn for this province or its people.

Then we come to what might be the really nasty part. Was it just a coincidence that native land was chosen for the opening of this shale gas season? Think back a little. Stephen Harper zeroed in for war on native peoples some time ago, and it had a great deal to do with their opposition to pipe lines in the West. Native peoples have also been concerned about the degradation of the environment as Harper has vitrually repealed all environmental protection in his rush to help billionaires make money out of resource extraction. The health problems appear to be particularly acute downstream from the Alberta oil fields.

Harper's declaration of war was made in a pamphlet circulated across Canada about a year ago by people like Goguen, the messenger boys from our master. In the pamphlet, Harper made unsubstantiated - and often untrue - statements about native misuse of money. The threat was clear. He was going to get tough with them there 'injuns' No more of this interference with God's great plan to pillage every inch of soil in Canada wtihout regard for the consequences. That pamphlet was deliberately racist and provocative.

Provocative. That could lead to violence. But who would gain by violence?

The government would. There are no groups in Canada who can beat the government at violence. Government will win every time.  (Billionaires don't need violence. They can always buy governments.)

Fast change of scene to New Brunswick. Who stands to gain in a violent confrontation with native peoples?

Yes. The provincial government. Every time. So couldn't they beat up on folks like you and me?

Well, they could. But there's lots of yous and mes. And, anyway, it would look bad.  But native peoples ----

As Harper's pamphlet  (unintentionally) showed, there is a broad streak of racism in Canadians. In fact, it's a broad streak in all societies. Canadians aren't worse; they're just  - just as bad.

Think of that handling of the last days of the blockade. Remember Alward's squeal of hysteria, "That was an armed camp.  Yep. Three guns and some knives. An armed camp to terrorize over a hundred well-armed police with dogs and - mysterious men in camouflage carrying combat rifles.

I live in in an apartment building with people mostly of my vintage. There are probably more guns and knive here than there were in that camp. Cars were set on fire? Who did that? How did it happen that a well-trained force left its cars abandoned in that way? I've seen a few riots. More than a few. I've never seen police leave their equipment like that.

And what does this term "paramilitaries" mean with reference to those men in camouflage? Are they a branch of the RCMP? Are they army? Are they hired from companies that supply mercenaries? Who are they? How come no reporter has asked those questions?

Now Alward won't continue talks with native peoples because, he says, they've made up their minds. Well, yeah. And Alward made up his mind even before he got elected. He has lied. He has withheld information. He has used, almost certainly knowingly, a phony ecologist to write a report. He has put lives at risk by ignoring the advice of the report from our Chief Medical Officer.

Maybe shale gas is harmless. Maybe we can drink it straight. Maybe it will restore my lost youth. But none of that is the point.

The point is that Alward, his government and our newspapers have deliberately lied to us and misled us for a decade. They and their bosses are playing for very big stakes. And if some people have to get hurt on the way, that's no problem.

Let's just make sure we don't hurt the wrong ones. Let's make sure we hurt just those that the bigots of New Brunwick think should be hurt. (yes, there are some bigots in New Brunswick.) I can see the headline in the TandT now." Them there injuns was defyin' law 'n' order. Serves 'em right."

And that will put a damper on any 'regular' folks who try that sort of thing.

Oh, I know. Alward isn't smart enough to think of any of this. True. But he knows how to do what he's told.


1 comment:

  1. Remember that they used the same tactic at the Toronto G20 summit. That one was even more obvious, there was no talk of police being swarmed or anything of the sort of hogwash excuse used in Rexton, police vehicles were similarly left behind the police cordon. Police know full well that these are an irresistible temptation to a few of the protester community.