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Essential Information

A compendium of articles, reports, essays and investigations into the effects of militarism on the environment and human society. Send additional documents to editor@envirosagainstwar.org.

 

FEATURED REPORTS

Report: US Secretly Used Nuclear Weapons in Syria (Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Foreign Policy Magazine & Doug Weir / The Ecologist)
The recent confirmation that the US used radioactive ammunition in two attacks in Syria in 2015 raises a number of troubling questions: Why was DU used; will it be used again; what will be done to address the health and environmental risks posed by radioactive contamination? DU is known to cause cancers and birth defects. Despite vowing not to use DU weapons in Syria, the US has now admitted that it has fired thousands of deadly rounds during airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas.

Troubling Questions Posed by US Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria (Doug Weir / The Ecologist & the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)
News that the US had used radioactive depleted uranium weapons to attack targets inside Syria first broke last October. But it was not clear at the time where the weapons had been used or what the US was shooting at. The news emerged shortly before the UN voted on a sixth DU resolution to control the use of these deadly weapons. The US was one of only four countries to vote against the text. On November 16 and 22, 1,490 DU rounds and 3,775 rounds, respectively, were used to destroy 399 fuel tankers

Trump Attacks Those He Can't Yet Control (Robert Reich / San Francisco Chronicle & Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine)
Commentary: With Republicans in the majority in Congress unwilling to cross Donald Trump, the job of containing Trump's incipient tyranny falls to three crucial centers of independent power: the courts, the press, and a few state governments. Which is why Trump is escalating attacks on all three, seeking to erode public confidence in them. The "fake news" charge is really perilous, a tactic designed to subvert the idea of an informed citizenry -- the basis of American self-government and freedom.

Lowest Rainfall in Over 50 Years Is Latest Threat to Children in Syria and Region (The United Nations International Children's Fund)
Parts of Syria are suffering their lowest levels of rainfall in more than half a century, placing more than 4 million children in the war-torn country at even greater risk. In 2014, a UNICEF report warned that "water scarcity in Syria is now so acute that it may soon drive more civilians to leave their homes, adding to the 6.5 million people already displaced by the conflict."

Trump's Shift On Yemen Risks Plunging The Country Into Famine (Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post)
Donald Trump may be on the brink of sparking a full-blown famine in Yemen -- all because of a subtle shift in messaging that risks effectively cutting off humanitarian relief to the war-torn nation. Former President Barack Obama's administration urged a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates not to attack the critical port of Hodeida which receives the bulk of humanitarian supplies entering Yemen. Critics warn that any disruptions to the port would be "sufficient to tip the country into famine."

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA (Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)
Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?

Five Things Scott Pruitt Can Do to Cripple the EPA (Annie Snider / Politico & Wenonah Hauter / EcoWatch)
Donald Trump vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Senate has just confirmed his man to do it -- climate denier Scott Pruitt. The new administrator and President Donald Trump are expected to move quickly to begin unraveling the agency's rules on water and climate change. Meanwhile, the White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber-stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt (lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Another Indigenous Environmental Activist Assassinated in Honduras (teleSUR English & Nina Lakhani / The Guardian)
Indigenous environmental leader and teacher, Jose de Los Santos Sevilla, was attacked and killed in his home early Friday morning by five heavily armed men according to Honduran media. According to an ex-soldier who now fears for his life, it was a unit trained by US Special Forces that was ordered to kill environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prizewinner Berta Caceras who was slain in March 2016. Honduran soldier claims US Special Ops have circulated a hit-list targeting local activists.

News Vet Dan Rather Calls Trump's Press Conference "Unsettling"; Sen. McCain Warns Press Attacks Are "How Dictators Get Started" (Dan Rather / Facebook & Jonathan Landay and Andrea Shalal / Reuters)
Dan Rather writes: "Donald Trump's press conference yesterday is one of the most unusual and unsettling from a president perhaps in our nation's history. It reminds me a bit of the final days of President Nixon's tenure." Meanwhile, Senator John McCain has defended the media against the latest attack by Trump, warning that suppressing the free press is "how dictators get started."

Mussolini's War on the Press: A Proven Tool of Fascism (David S. D'Amato / Libertarianism.org)
Italian dictator Mussolini insisted that "Fascism requires militant journalism" working "as a solid bloc" to advance "the Cause" -- by hiding conflicting evidence and marginalizing critics. Mussolini favored the proactive steering of the press, hardly subtle and clearly defining his expectations as supreme leader. In Fascist Italy, the resultant self-policing by the media was at least as important as actual legal prohibitions against openly criticizing Il Duce.

Hitler's War on the Press: Control and Cooptation (The US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
The elimination of Germany's multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by opposition political parties and allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment that were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. The Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending "Communist uprising," then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy.

Why Does Congress Accept Perpetual Wars? (Andrew J. Bacevich / The American Conservative)
Commentary: Nominally, the Senate Armed Services Committee and its counterpart in the House of Representatives provide oversight of US military activities. In practice, however, Congress' unacknowledged goal seems to be avoiding any meaningful oversight, especially in regards to nation's endless armed conflicts like the Afghanistan War. Oversight implies ownership and the US Congress has no desire to own a war that is the longest in US history and shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

Former US Ambassadors and Reform Jewish Movement Deplore Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy (Amir Tibon / Haaretz & Judy Maltz / Haaretz)
David Friedman's 'extreme positions' make him 'unqualified for the position of US ambassador to Israel, according to former American envoys to Israel -- Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham and William Harrop -- who cite Friedman's financial support of a radical West Bank settlement and his questionable condemnations of prominent US Jewish groups. Israel's Haaretz newspaper proposes 10 questions that Friedman needs to address.

Hurdles Ahead for Trump's Massive Proposed Pentagon Increase (Richard Lardner / Associated Press)
Analysis: Republicans control Congress so President Donald Trump's pledge to boost the Pentagon budget by tens of billions of dollars should be a sure bet. It's not. Trump faces skeptical Democrats whose support he'll need and resistance from fiscal conservatives opposed to repealing a 2011 law that set firm limits on military and domestic spending. Unless the president figures out a way to mollify the disparate camps, he'll have a tough time delivering on a signature campaign promise

Greenwashing Wars and the US Military (Ann Wright / Consortium News)
In September 2016, a congress of major conservation groups soft-pedaled criticism of the US military and other war-makers despite the massive damage they inflict on humans, animals, plants, cultural sites and the environment. Retired Col. Ann Wright asks: "How can you conserve nature when you are bombing nature in wars of choice around the world, practicing military operations in areas that have endangered species . . . and bombing islands into wastelands?"

Trump Nominates Key War Contractors to Top Pentagon Positions (Mandy Smithberger / The Project on Government Oversight)
Lockheed Martin is the top recipient of Pentagon contracting dollars, receiving $29.4 billion of taxpayer dollars in 2015 alone. Now, the company will have a lock on top Pentagon posts as well. Donald Trump has named a former consultant for a Lockheed subsidiary to be Air Force Secretary and a current Lockheed Vice President has been tapped as Trump's top contender to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Of course, filling top posts with former war contractors is not unique to the Trump administration.

The Top 20 Companies Profiting the Most From War (Samuel Stebbins and Thomas C. Frohlich / 247 Wall Street.com)
National security and warfare are big business. The US spent $598.5 billion, over half of its discretionary budget, on military and weapons technology in 2015. The 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies across the globe sold an estimated $370.7 billion worth of arms that year. Lockheed Martin's arms sales totaled $36.44 billion in 2015, by far the most of any company. US- and Western Europe-based firms account for 82.4% of arms sales by the 100 top military procurement companies.

Idaho Schools Ban Climate Science (Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)
Idaho lawmakers have approved new K-12 science standards that do not reference the established science of climate change and the impact of human activity on the environment. The Feb. 9 vote from the House Education Committee followed party lines. The 11 Republicans on the panel approved the proposed science standards -- but only after five paragraphs mentioning the climate change were removed from the initial draft. The committee's three Democrats voted against removing the climate change language.

Green Groups File Sweeping Lawsuit AccusingTrump of Usurping Congress's Powers on Regulations (Chris Mooney / The Washington Post & Donald J. Trump / The White House & William Boardman / Reader Supported News)
Three advocacy groups -- Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America -- have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit challenging Donald Trump's executive order requiring two federal regulations to be "identified for elimination" for every new one added -- arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress's powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Trump and Putin to "Drop Your Nukes" (Nuclear Are Peace Foundation & WagingPeace.org)
Commentary: At a press conference today, President Donald Trump said, "I want to do the right thing for the American people, and to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world." Nuclear weapons put civilization and the human species at risk of annihilation, which is why we published an open letter to Presidents Trump and Putin calling on the two leaders to negotiate the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump, the Bomb, and the Human Future (David Krieger / Nuclear Age Peace Foundation)
Donald Trump and the Bomb are nearly the same age. Which of them will prove to be more destructive remains to be seen, but in combination they are terrifying. The most positive policy proposal Trump will bring to the table as president is his desire to improve relations between the US and Russia, which have deteriorated badly in recent years. This is one hopeful sign that could lead to renewed efforts by the two countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and reverse current plans to modernize these arsenals.

Trump's First News Conference: In Unprecedented Fashion for a President, Trump Rips Press (Jonathan Lemire / Associated Press)
Never before has a president stood in the White House and so publicly maligned the press or attacked reporters by name, according to presidential historians. Not even Richard Nixon in the days of Watergate. Trump put claims of press prejudice at the center of his campaign in an unprecedented way and earlier this month falsely accused the media of refusing to cover terrorist attacks. Though Thursday's news conference was a messy, fact-challenged affair, it may well have cheered Trump supporters.

ACTION ALERT: Stop Steve Bannon -- No White Supremacist on the National Security Council (CREDO Action)
Right-wing puppet master Steve Bannon has gotten himself appointed to the inner circle of Trump's National Security Council, an appointment generally reserved for senior military and intelligence officers. Bannon, Trump's anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, domestic abuser top adviser should not be in the White House at all. His seat on the NSC is unheard of and the consequences for our nation could be horrific.

[view all featured report items] 

GENERAL IMPACTS

Green Groups File Sweeping Lawsuit AccusingTrump of Usurping Congress's Powers on Regulations
(Chris Mooney / The Washington Post & Donald J. Trump / The White House & William Boardman / Reader Supported News)

Three advocacy groups -- Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America -- have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit challenging Donald Trump's executive order requiring two federal regulations to be "identified for elimination" for every new one added -- arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress's powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
/know/read.php?itemid=18948

Radiation at Fukushima Getting Worse Six Years after Meltdowns
(William Boardman / Reader Supported News & The Asahi Shimbun & Nuclear News)

Radiation levels inside the collapsed remains of Fukushima Unit 2 reactor are significantly higher than "unimaginable." Whatever is going on at Fukushima has horrifying possibilities. The triple-meltdown disaster is still out of control. Meanwhile, TEPCO, the firm responsible for the catastrophe, is in charge of the clean-up and the Japanese government is more an enabler of cover-up than a protector. It took five years to discover that Cesium-137 fallout on Tokyo wasn't properly cleaned up.
/know/read.php?itemid=18926

Trump Orders 'Great Rebuilding' of Pentagon
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Dan Lamothe / The Washington Post)

During his first post-inauguration visit to the Pentagon, Donald Trump today signed an executive order for what he described as the start of a "great rebuilding of the Armed Forces," seeking to increase the size of the US military -- which already spends roughly as much as the eight next largest militaries in the world -- with new warplanes, new ships, new resources, and in increase in the number of special forces.
/know/read.php?itemid=18864

Trump's Talk Helps Move Doomsday Clock 30 Seconds Closer To Midnight
(Matt Ferner / The Huffington Post)

On January 26, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced that it had moved the Doomsday Clock's minute hand 30 seconds closer to midnight -- the hour symbolizing global catastrophe. Humankind is now just 2-and-a-half minutes from doomsday. The compounding factors prompting this grave adjustment (the closest the clock has been to midnight in a generation) include climate change, nuclear spending, political attacks on science and provocative statements from the new US administration.
/know/read.php?itemid=18856

ExxonMobil Facing Orders to Provide Background on Fake News Coverup of the Oil Industry's Impact on Climate Change
(Stephanie Ebbert / The Boston Globe)

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey won a major legal showdown against Exxon Mobil on Wednesday, when a judge ruled that the company must turn over 40 years of documents detailing a coordinated campaign to coverup, deny and obfuscate the company's knowledge that climate change was, in fact, happening and that the oil industry was, in large measure, responsible.
/know/read.php?itemid=18797

World War Three, By Mistake
(Eric Schlosser / The New Yorker)

George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized the US Nuclear Aresnal's launch-on-warning option. Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert. Launch-on-warning has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to destroy the planet in a matter of minutes.
/know/read.php?itemid=18748

Trump Inexplicably Calls for a New Nuclear Weapons Arms Race
(Dan Rather / Facebook & Madeline Conway / Politico)

Commentary: Nuclear weapons are not a game. They are not a toy for the petulant and ill-informed to boast about on off-handed tweets. Yet, in a series of impromptu statements about nuclear weapons, Donald Trump is threatening to upend longstanding US nonproliferation policy, even as his advisers contradict him and muddy his intentions.
/know/read.php?itemid=18749

Trump's Frightening "Nuclear Expansion" Tweet
(Rachael Revesz / The Independent)

One of the world's most famous scholars said he was "frightened" by Donald Trump's tweet on "strengthening and expanding" nuclear capabilities in the US. Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Mr. Trump's tweet was "one of the most frightening things I've seen recently". The statement could trigger a change in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock, the globally recognised symbol of how close we are to destroying humanity -- to be updated in 2017.
/know/read.php?itemid=18757

[view all general impact items] 

HUMAN IMPACTS

Report: US Secretly Used Nuclear Weapons in Syria
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Foreign Policy Magazine & Doug Weir / The Ecologist)

The recent confirmation that the US used radioactive ammunition in two attacks in Syria in 2015 raises a number of troubling questions: Why was DU used; will it be used again; what will be done to address the health and environmental risks posed by radioactive contamination? DU is known to cause cancers and birth defects. Despite vowing not to use DU weapons in Syria, the US has now admitted that it has fired thousands of deadly rounds during airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas.
/know/read.php?itemid=18961

Troubling Questions Posed by US Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria
(Doug Weir / The Ecologist & the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)

News that the US had used radioactive depleted uranium weapons to attack targets inside Syria first broke last October. But it was not clear at the time where the weapons had been used or what the US was shooting at. The news emerged shortly before the UN voted on a sixth DU resolution to control the use of these deadly weapons. The US was one of only four countries to vote against the text. On November 16 and 22, 1,490 DU rounds and 3,775 rounds, respectively, were used to destroy 399 fuel tankers
/know/read.php?itemid=18962

Lowest Rainfall in Over 50 Years Is Latest Threat to Children in Syria and Region
(The United Nations International Children's Fund)

Parts of Syria are suffering their lowest levels of rainfall in more than half a century, placing more than 4 million children in the war-torn country at even greater risk. In 2014, a UNICEF report warned that "water scarcity in Syria is now so acute that it may soon drive more civilians to leave their homes, adding to the 6.5 million people already displaced by the conflict."
/know/read.php?itemid=18964

Trump's Shift On Yemen Risks Plunging The Country Into Famine
(Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post)

Donald Trump may be on the brink of sparking a full-blown famine in Yemen -- all because of a subtle shift in messaging that risks effectively cutting off humanitarian relief to the war-torn nation. Former President Barack Obama's administration urged a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates not to attack the critical port of Hodeida which receives the bulk of humanitarian supplies entering Yemen. Critics warn that any disruptions to the port would be "sufficient to tip the country into famine."
/know/read.php?itemid=18957

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA
(Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)

Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?
/know/read.php?itemid=18958

Five Things Scott Pruitt Can Do to Cripple the EPA
(Annie Snider / Politico & Wenonah Hauter / EcoWatch)

Donald Trump vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Senate has just confirmed his man to do it -- climate denier Scott Pruitt. The new administrator and President Donald Trump are expected to move quickly to begin unraveling the agency's rules on water and climate change. Meanwhile, the White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber-stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.
/know/read.php?itemid=18959

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
/know/read.php?itemid=18960

Another Indigenous Environmental Activist Assassinated in Honduras
(teleSUR English & Nina Lakhani / The Guardian)

Indigenous environmental leader and teacher, Jose de Los Santos Sevilla, was attacked and killed in his home early Friday morning by five heavily armed men according to Honduran media. According to an ex-soldier who now fears for his life, it was a unit trained by US Special Forces that was ordered to kill environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prizewinner Berta Caceras who was slain in March 2016. Honduran soldier claims US Special Ops have circulated a hit-list targeting local activists.
/know/read.php?itemid=18953

[view all human impact items] 

LAND IMPACTS

Report: US Secretly Used Nuclear Weapons in Syria
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Foreign Policy Magazine & Doug Weir / The Ecologist)

The recent confirmation that the US used radioactive ammunition in two attacks in Syria in 2015 raises a number of troubling questions: Why was DU used; will it be used again; what will be done to address the health and environmental risks posed by radioactive contamination? DU is known to cause cancers and birth defects. Despite vowing not to use DU weapons in Syria, the US has now admitted that it has fired thousands of deadly rounds during airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas.
/know/read.php?itemid=18961

Troubling Questions Posed by US Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria
(Doug Weir / The Ecologist & the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)

News that the US had used radioactive depleted uranium weapons to attack targets inside Syria first broke last October. But it was not clear at the time where the weapons had been used or what the US was shooting at. The news emerged shortly before the UN voted on a sixth DU resolution to control the use of these deadly weapons. The US was one of only four countries to vote against the text. On November 16 and 22, 1,490 DU rounds and 3,775 rounds, respectively, were used to destroy 399 fuel tankers
/know/read.php?itemid=18962

Lowest Rainfall in Over 50 Years Is Latest Threat to Children in Syria and Region
(The United Nations International Children's Fund)

Parts of Syria are suffering their lowest levels of rainfall in more than half a century, placing more than 4 million children in the war-torn country at even greater risk. In 2014, a UNICEF report warned that "water scarcity in Syria is now so acute that it may soon drive more civilians to leave their homes, adding to the 6.5 million people already displaced by the conflict."
/know/read.php?itemid=18964

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA
(Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)

Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?
/know/read.php?itemid=18958

Five Things Scott Pruitt Can Do to Cripple the EPA
(Annie Snider / Politico & Wenonah Hauter / EcoWatch)

Donald Trump vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Senate has just confirmed his man to do it -- climate denier Scott Pruitt. The new administrator and President Donald Trump are expected to move quickly to begin unraveling the agency's rules on water and climate change. Meanwhile, the White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber-stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.
/know/read.php?itemid=18959

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
/know/read.php?itemid=18960

Former US Ambassadors and Reform Jewish Movement Deplore Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy
(Amir Tibon / Haaretz & Judy Maltz / Haaretz)

David Friedman's 'extreme positions' make him 'unqualified for the position of US ambassador to Israel, according to former American envoys to Israel -- Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham and William Harrop -- who cite Friedman's financial support of a radical West Bank settlement and his questionable condemnations of prominent US Jewish groups. Israel's Haaretz newspaper proposes 10 questions that Friedman needs to address.
/know/read.php?itemid=18950

Greenwashing Wars and the US Military
(Ann Wright / Consortium News)

In September 2016, a congress of major conservation groups soft-pedaled criticism of the US military and other war-makers despite the massive damage they inflict on humans, animals, plants, cultural sites and the environment. Retired Col. Ann Wright asks: "How can you conserve nature when you are bombing nature in wars of choice around the world, practicing military operations in areas that have endangered species . . . and bombing islands into wastelands?"
/know/read.php?itemid=18952

[view all land impact items] 

MARINE AND WATER IMPACTS

Lowest Rainfall in Over 50 Years Is Latest Threat to Children in Syria and Region
(The United Nations International Children's Fund)

Parts of Syria are suffering their lowest levels of rainfall in more than half a century, placing more than 4 million children in the war-torn country at even greater risk. In 2014, a UNICEF report warned that "water scarcity in Syria is now so acute that it may soon drive more civilians to leave their homes, adding to the 6.5 million people already displaced by the conflict."
/know/read.php?itemid=18964

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA
(Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)

Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?
/know/read.php?itemid=18958

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
/know/read.php?itemid=18960

Greenwashing Wars and the US Military
(Ann Wright / Consortium News)

In September 2016, a congress of major conservation groups soft-pedaled criticism of the US military and other war-makers despite the massive damage they inflict on humans, animals, plants, cultural sites and the environment. Retired Col. Ann Wright asks: "How can you conserve nature when you are bombing nature in wars of choice around the world, practicing military operations in areas that have endangered species . . . and bombing islands into wastelands?"
/know/read.php?itemid=18952

Green Groups File Sweeping Lawsuit AccusingTrump of Usurping Congress's Powers on Regulations
(Chris Mooney / The Washington Post & Donald J. Trump / The White House & William Boardman / Reader Supported News)

Three advocacy groups -- Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America -- have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit challenging Donald Trump's executive order requiring two federal regulations to be "identified for elimination" for every new one added -- arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress's powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
/know/read.php?itemid=18948

Drought Threatens Wildlife in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve
(Nation)

Crocodiles and hippos are dying as the Mara and Talek rivers, which traverse the game reserve, are drying up. Wildebeests and zebras are crossing the dry riverbeds, heading to Tanzania to seek greener pastures. Conservationists have raised the alarm, saying that the drying-up of the rivers, whose source is in the depleted Mau Forest, is one of a series of ominous signs that could lead up to an ecological disaster.
/know/read.php?itemid=18895

Solomon Islanders Struggle with Lethal Legacy of World War II
(Julian Ryall / Deutsche Welle)

Seven decades after Japan and the United States fought over these South Pacific islands, local residents are unearthing bullets and bombs that still have the capacity to kill and maim. The haul to date, on one small patch of the island, includes a number of 155 mm artillery rounds that would have been fired from US howitzers. This August marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Pacific campaign.
/know/read.php?itemid=18882

A Bad Day for the Environment in Senate -- With Many More to Come
(Bill McKibben / The New Yorker)

The Trump Administration had imposed a comprehensive gag order on employees of the Environmental Protection Agency. According to a leaked memo, "no press releases," "no blog messages," and "no social media will be going out," and "no new content can be placed on any website" until further notice -- perhaps an attempt to camouflage the other big EPA announcement, which was that the agency's grants and contracts had been temporarily frozen, effectively halting its work.
/know/read.php?itemid=18858

[view all marine and water impact items] 

OIL AND ITS ALTERNATIVES

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA
(Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)

Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?
/know/read.php?itemid=18958

Five Things Scott Pruitt Can Do to Cripple the EPA
(Annie Snider / Politico & Wenonah Hauter / EcoWatch)

Donald Trump vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Senate has just confirmed his man to do it -- climate denier Scott Pruitt. The new administrator and President Donald Trump are expected to move quickly to begin unraveling the agency's rules on water and climate change. Meanwhile, the White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber-stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.
/know/read.php?itemid=18959

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
/know/read.php?itemid=18960

Idaho Schools Ban Climate Science
(Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)

Idaho lawmakers have approved new K-12 science standards that do not reference the established science of climate change and the impact of human activity on the environment. The Feb. 9 vote from the House Education Committee followed party lines. The 11 Republicans on the panel approved the proposed science standards -- but only after five paragraphs mentioning the climate change were removed from the initial draft. The committee's three Democrats voted against removing the climate change language.
/know/read.php?itemid=18947

Radiation at Fukushima Getting Worse Six Years after Meltdowns
(William Boardman / Reader Supported News & The Asahi Shimbun & Nuclear News)

Radiation levels inside the collapsed remains of Fukushima Unit 2 reactor are significantly higher than "unimaginable." Whatever is going on at Fukushima has horrifying possibilities. The triple-meltdown disaster is still out of control. Meanwhile, TEPCO, the firm responsible for the catastrophe, is in charge of the clean-up and the Japanese government is more an enabler of cover-up than a protector. It took five years to discover that Cesium-137 fallout on Tokyo wasn't properly cleaned up.
/know/read.php?itemid=18926

Trump Names Another Climate Denier to Key Energy Post
(Steve Horn / DeSmog Blog)

GreenWire has reported that climate change denier Mike Catanzaro -- a lobbyist for oil and gas companies Noble Energy, Devon Energy, Encana Oil and Gas, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), and Hess Corporation -- will soon become a top energy policy aide for Presidential Runner-up Donald Trump.
/know/read.php?itemid=18918

Trump's Pipeline and America's Shame
(Bill McKibben / The New Yorker)

Commentary: The Trump Administration is breaking with tradition on so many fronts that it seems noteworthy when it exhibits some continuity with American custom. And so let us focus for a moment on the news that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will resume -- a development that fits in perfectly with a national cultural tradition going back to the days of Plymouth Rock: repressing Native Americans.
/know/read.php?itemid=18913

Huge Victory in War Against Wind Power; GOP Moves to Stop EPA from Reducing Greenhouse Gasses
(Stefanie Spear / EcoWatch & Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill to increase the use of wind and solar power to 25 percent by 2020, has been overridden by Maryland state lawmakers. Meanwhile, in DC, 114 GOP lawmakers have endorsed a bill that declares carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are no longer "air pollutants."
/know/read.php?itemid=18907

[view all oil and alternatives items] 

 

MILITARISM AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

Trump Attacks Those He Can't Yet Control
(Robert Reich / San Francisco Chronicle & Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine)

Commentary: With Republicans in the majority in Congress unwilling to cross Donald Trump, the job of containing Trump's incipient tyranny falls to three crucial centers of independent power: the courts, the press, and a few state governments. Which is why Trump is escalating attacks on all three, seeking to erode public confidence in them. The "fake news" charge is really perilous, a tactic designed to subvert the idea of an informed citizenry -- the basis of American self-government and freedom.
/know/read.php?itemid=18963

Trump's Shift On Yemen Risks Plunging The Country Into Famine
(Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post)

Donald Trump may be on the brink of sparking a full-blown famine in Yemen -- all because of a subtle shift in messaging that risks effectively cutting off humanitarian relief to the war-torn nation. Former President Barack Obama's administration urged a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates not to attack the critical port of Hodeida which receives the bulk of humanitarian supplies entering Yemen. Critics warn that any disruptions to the port would be "sufficient to tip the country into famine."
/know/read.php?itemid=18957

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
/know/read.php?itemid=18960

Another Indigenous Environmental Activist Assassinated in Honduras
(teleSUR English & Nina Lakhani / The Guardian)

Indigenous environmental leader and teacher, Jose de Los Santos Sevilla, was attacked and killed in his home early Friday morning by five heavily armed men according to Honduran media. According to an ex-soldier who now fears for his life, it was a unit trained by US Special Forces that was ordered to kill environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prizewinner Berta Caceras who was slain in March 2016. Honduran soldier claims US Special Ops have circulated a hit-list targeting local activists.
/know/read.php?itemid=18953

News Vet Dan Rather Calls Trump's Press Conference "Unsettling"; Sen. McCain Warns Press Attacks Are "How Dictators Get Started"
(Dan Rather / Facebook & Jonathan Landay and Andrea Shalal / Reuters)

Dan Rather writes: "Donald Trump's press conference yesterday is one of the most unusual and unsettling from a president perhaps in our nation's history. It reminds me a bit of the final days of President Nixon's tenure." Meanwhile, Senator John McCain has defended the media against the latest attack by Trump, warning that suppressing the free press is "how dictators get started."
/know/read.php?itemid=18954

Mussolini's War on the Press: A Proven Tool of Fascism
(David S. D'Amato / Libertarianism.org)

Italian dictator Mussolini insisted that "Fascism requires militant journalism" working "as a solid bloc" to advance "the Cause" -- by hiding conflicting evidence and marginalizing critics. Mussolini favored the proactive steering of the press, hardly subtle and clearly defining his expectations as supreme leader. In Fascist Italy, the resultant self-policing by the media was at least as important as actual legal prohibitions against openly criticizing Il Duce.
/know/read.php?itemid=18955

Hitler's War on the Press: Control and Cooptation
(The US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

The elimination of Germany's multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by opposition political parties and allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment that were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. The Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending "Communist uprising," then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy.
/know/read.php?itemid=18956

Why Does Congress Accept Perpetual Wars?
(Andrew J. Bacevich / The American Conservative)

Commentary: Nominally, the Senate Armed Services Committee and its counterpart in the House of Representatives provide oversight of US military activities. In practice, however, Congress' unacknowledged goal seems to be avoiding any meaningful oversight, especially in regards to nation's endless armed conflicts like the Afghanistan War. Oversight implies ownership and the US Congress has no desire to own a war that is the longest in US history and shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
/know/read.php?itemid=18949

[view all militarism items] 

WEAPONS OF WAR

Report: US Secretly Used Nuclear Weapons in Syria
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Foreign Policy Magazine & Doug Weir / The Ecologist)

The recent confirmation that the US used radioactive ammunition in two attacks in Syria in 2015 raises a number of troubling questions: Why was DU used; will it be used again; what will be done to address the health and environmental risks posed by radioactive contamination? DU is known to cause cancers and birth defects. Despite vowing not to use DU weapons in Syria, the US has now admitted that it has fired thousands of deadly rounds during airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas.
/know/read.php?itemid=18961

Troubling Questions Posed by US Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria
(Doug Weir / The Ecologist & the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)

News that the US had used radioactive depleted uranium weapons to attack targets inside Syria first broke last October. But it was not clear at the time where the weapons had been used or what the US was shooting at. The news emerged shortly before the UN voted on a sixth DU resolution to control the use of these deadly weapons. The US was one of only four countries to vote against the text. On November 16 and 22, 1,490 DU rounds and 3,775 rounds, respectively, were used to destroy 399 fuel tankers
/know/read.php?itemid=18962

Hurdles Ahead for Trump's Massive Proposed Pentagon Increase
(Richard Lardner / Associated Press)

Analysis: Republicans control Congress so President Donald Trump's pledge to boost the Pentagon budget by tens of billions of dollars should be a sure bet. It's not. Trump faces skeptical Democrats whose support he'll need and resistance from fiscal conservatives opposed to repealing a 2011 law that set firm limits on military and domestic spending. Unless the president figures out a way to mollify the disparate camps, he'll have a tough time delivering on a signature campaign promise
/know/read.php?itemid=18951

Greenwashing Wars and the US Military
(Ann Wright / Consortium News)

In September 2016, a congress of major conservation groups soft-pedaled criticism of the US military and other war-makers despite the massive damage they inflict on humans, animals, plants, cultural sites and the environment. Retired Col. Ann Wright asks: "How can you conserve nature when you are bombing nature in wars of choice around the world, practicing military operations in areas that have endangered species . . . and bombing islands into wastelands?"
/know/read.php?itemid=18952

Trump Nominates Key War Contractors to Top Pentagon Positions
(Mandy Smithberger / The Project on Government Oversight)

Lockheed Martin is the top recipient of Pentagon contracting dollars, receiving $29.4 billion of taxpayer dollars in 2015 alone. Now, the company will have a lock on top Pentagon posts as well. Donald Trump has named a former consultant for a Lockheed subsidiary to be Air Force Secretary and a current Lockheed Vice President has been tapped as Trump's top contender to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Of course, filling top posts with former war contractors is not unique to the Trump administration.
/know/read.php?itemid=18945

ACTION ALERT: Tell Trump and Putin to "Drop Your Nukes"
(Nuclear Are Peace Foundation & WagingPeace.org)

Commentary: At a press conference today, President Donald Trump said, "I want to do the right thing for the American people, and to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world." Nuclear weapons put civilization and the human species at risk of annihilation, which is why we published an open letter to Presidents Trump and Putin calling on the two leaders to negotiate the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
/know/read.php?itemid=18941

Report: First Atom Bomb Test Caused Generations of Cancer
(Russell Contreras / The Associated Press)

The world's first atomic bomb test caused generations of southern New Mexico families to suffer from cancer and economic hardship, according to surveys gathered by an advocacy group seeking compensation for descendants from the Tularosa area. The surveys released Friday detailed residents' stories from areas around the 1945 Trinity Test and argue that many Hispanic families later struggled to keep up with cancer-related illnesses.
/know/read.php?itemid=18919

Pentagon Spending: Up, Up, and Away!
(William J. Astore / AntiWar.com & Greg Corombos / WND Radio)

Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value. The Trump administration clearly values military weapons and wars. The Pentagon is due to get a major boost under Trump who has ordered the Pentagon to draft a "supplemental" budget for 2017 that would $40 billions more on top of the $600 billion the Obama administration budgeted. In 2001, it was estimated that the Pentagon, which has never been audited, had wasted more than $2 trillion dollars over the years. And that was 16 years ago.
/know/read.php?itemid=18915

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