Category Archives: Political

Somba Ke: The Money Place

Somba Ke: The Money Place
by Macdonald Stainsby

film review originally written for MRZine, 03/12/06

Not many discuss contemporary geopolitics in a way that brings together both the Manhattan Project of the 1940s and today’s global Risk-like die rolls for energy resources, but the producers of the documentary Somba Ke: The Money Place have made a film that does precisely that.

Somba Ke: The Money Place

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Ward Churchill and the Respectable Left

Ward Churchill and the Respectable Left
Macdonald Stainsby
Feb 7, 2004
originally written for Resist.ca

I remember deeply how in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 2001, there was a
tremendous number of the most vicious, racist and reactionary witch hunts
carried out–seeking to destroy anyone who would dare take a line different
than “freedom was attacked” in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade
Centre and Pentagon. There were those of us who, unlike Christopher Hitchens
and Doug Henwood (to name but two), were able to resist the need to line-up
with the new-and-improved ‘revenge’ imperialism that was about to begin a
mass slaughter of the Afghan people to install new rapists in the place of
the old, and to protect heroin traffickers and oil pipelines from our former
anti-Soviet allies who harbored yet more former CIA agents.  Of those of us
who did not immediately decide that we had no ability to stand and resist
witch hunts unseen since the days of “I have here in my hand a list of 205,
a list of names made known to the secretary of state”, many still wanted to
take a small part in the witch hunting going on. After all, jolly fun is
indeed jolly fun.

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The Right to Return and National Missile Defense: Vikings, Kalaallit Nunaat & “The Discarded”

The Right to Return and National Missile Defense: Vikings, Kalaallit Nunaat & “The Discarded”

- by Macdonald Stainsby

originally written for Left Hook, circa February 2005.

What currently remains of the antiwar movement in many places– in particular Canada– has rightly seen an importance to discussing Ballistic Missile Defense, or BMD, as an antiwar issue in the age of the “War on Terror”. However, there are issues involving BMD not even being discussed by the antiwar movement that sorely need exposure, education and hopefully, organization. And it all begins where the first European settlers, the Vikings, ended: on the largest island in the world.

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Scientists as Modern Colonialists: The Ancient One and Jack Metcalf

Scientists as Modern Colonialists:

The Ancient One and Jack Metcalf

Macdonald Stainsby

originally written for Left Hook

circa 2004.

A recent ruling on the “Kennewick man” bones has deep implications as yet another in a long line of scientific attacks on indigenous sovereignty. The recent court decision that the local Indians do not control the bones despite the non-ambiguous nature of laws passed on agreements between the nation and the American state is one more salt-grinding demonstration that sovereignty of First Nations is not something that a North American government is bound to respect. Not only is the ruling a legal blast to the existing treaties and legislation, it is proof that the “above politics” nature of “honest scientific inquiry” is a total hoax. Before we know it, this will allow a tidal wave of racist reaction from first-to-fifth generation settlers about First Nations not really being “first”.

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Devastation, Madagascar

Devastation, Madagascar

France’s Total and US based Madagascar Oil tangle with military governments to push tar sands projects forward

by Macdonald Stainsby

originally published in the Media Co-op

December 27, 2010

 

local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total's mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total’s mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby

 

Total’s proposed tar sands operation in Madagascar is potentially the dirtiest mining operation its kind in the world, in a region where the local people have few options but to live next to it. If, as some charge, Total helped bring down a democratically elected government in order to install a regime that would favour their tar sands project, it’s likely that international campaigns against Total and their social and environmental record could well expand.

In 2008 Total bought a 60% stake in the Bemolanga tar sands field, a field that they predict may operate at just under 200 000 barrels per day of bitumen using strip mining techniques developed in Alberta, Canada. The bitumen is less ‘pure’ in place, which means it will produce more toxic tailings and require even more water usage than the already notorious strip mines north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. If developed, the Bemolanga mine would rival the largest of the mines in operation today.

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Combining revolution with art

Combining revolution with art

| September 9, 2004

Originally published in Rabble.ca

When the world learned of the death of Aisha El-Zaben, 55, a participant in the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners held by the state of Israel, it was a sobering reminder of the tragedy of the struggle in the Middle East. So too, is the music of Al-Awda, a band from Palestine whose members were on a North American tour when the death was announced.

Having just recently finished the Canadian wing of the tour — to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto — the traditional as well as modern musical band is enthralling audiences with powerful songs from Egypt, Jordan and of course, Palestine itself from across the history of the 20th century. Once they began to play the audience was hooked with powerful rhythm, even before a note was sung.

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Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Extreme extraction could prove to be the meaning of GCC membership for Morocco and Jordan

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 21, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

graphic by Dru Oja Jay.
graphic by Dru Oja Jay.

 

AMMAN, Jordan–The Arab Spring sent shock waves through the regimes of the Middle East and North Africa, and in the face of demands for popular accountability alongside bread and butter issues, states throughout the region have devised strategies to try and avert popular upheaval.

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Oil in the Desert (Jordan)

Oil in the Desert

Will water be sacrificed to oil in Jordan?

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 13, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

Oil in the Desert

AMMAN, Jordan–In March of 2011, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan jumped headlong into unconventional oil extraction, and signed a deal with Karak International Oil (KIO), a subsidiary of Jordan Energy and Mining Limited (JEML–a British company) for the commercial mining of oil shale approximately one hour’s drive from the capital of Amman. Unlike most countries in the region, if you fill up your gas tank in Jordan, you are using imported oil— but the Kingdom is touting a future when extreme extraction will change that, and soon.

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Extreme Extraction (Morocco)

Extreme Extraction

Oil production plans could reshape Morocco’s economy and environment

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 17, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

Extreme Extraction

RABAT, MOROCCO– Many well-known voices trying to address the climate crisis on a global scale have posited that less developed countries without a full-blown industrial base can skip industrialization all together and transition away from fossil fuels. Ideally, the development that will take place in this scenario would result in the construction of infrastructure for a post-fossil fuel society.

But if Morocco is any indication, the complete opposite scenario looks more likely. Instead of skipping to climate friendly energy developments, Morocco is poised to begin extracting crude oil from unconventional deposits, the dirtiest fuel available. Mining rock for oil in Morocco would leave massive craters in post-fossil, green energy hopes.

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Apartheid Oil

Apartheid Oil

Crude trapped in shale could transform Israel into energy powerhouse

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 10, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op.ca and The Dominion.

Apartheid Oil

JERUSALEM– Major offshore gas strikes in 2009 and 2010 may soon convert converted Israel into a gas exporting country with self-sufficient energy. But perhaps more important than the gas under the sea is the mock crude trapped in husk dry sands and rock hard shale, reserves which could push Israel into the upper echelons of recoverable oil on the planet. Israel has long had a weakness economically and militarily because of their reliance on others for energy supplies.

What promises to be the most energy intensive form of oil recovery on the planet could reinforce Israel’s military might, while presenting a new threat to scarce water resources and the climate.

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