The Evening Blues - 2-12-24
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues guitarist Francis "Scrapper" Blackwell. Enjoy!
Scrapper Blackwell - Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
"This genocide is not a genocide. Ceci n’est pas une pipe."
-- Caitlin Johnstone
News and Opinion
One under-appreciated moment from Tucker Carlson’s recent interview with Vladimir Putin came after Putin implied that NATO powers were behind the 2022 bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline. Carlson responded by asking why Putin wouldn’t present evidence of this to the world, so as to “win a propaganda victory.”
“In the war of propaganda it is very difficult to defeat the United States because the United States controls all the world’s media and many European media,” Putin replied, adding, “The ultimate beneficiary of the biggest European media are American financial institutions.”
I don’t know about the specific nature of his Nord Stream insinuations, but Putin is definitely correct about the strength of the American propaganda machine. Of all the fronts one could possibly choose to challenge the United States on, propaganda is surely the least favorable. The US empire has by far the most sophisticated and effective propaganda machine ever to have existed, operating with such complexity that most people don’t even know it exists.
In a “fact-checking” article titled “5 lies and 1 truth from Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson”, Politico Europe labels the above claim a lie on the basis that Russia has state-run media whereas US media is privately owned.
“The biggest news media companies are privately owned and operate without direct government control, in contrast to the state-controlled media landscape in Russia,” writes Politico’s Sergey Goryashko. “Russian state TV and the primary news agencies there are the property of the government, and the Kremlin controls other media or destroys those not willing to collaborate.”
At the bottom of the article is a line which reads as follows: “Sergey Goryashko is hosted at POLITICO under the EU-funded EU4FreeMedia residency program.”
EU4FreeMedia is a European Union narrative management operation set up to help integrate “Russian journalists in exile” into leading European publications, ie to provide maximum media amplification to Russian expats who have a bone to pick with the current government in Moscow. It is run with participation from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a US government-funded media op under the umbrella of the US propaganda services umbrella USAGM.
Applications for the EU4FreeMedia Residency are open! @RFERL is proud to participate in this program for young, independent Russian journalists to grow their reporting skills, build a network of fellow journalists, and more.
— RFE/RL Pressroom (@RFERLPress) April 26, 2023
I really couldn’t have come up with a more perfect illustration of what I’m talking about here than the US government and its European lackeys running a complex and elaborate project to further slant European media against the Russian Federation, which then manifests as a Politico article calling Putin a liar and claiming propaganda does not exist in the west.
There’s an old joke that goes like this:
A Soviet and an American are on an airplane seated next to each other.
“Why are you flying to the US?” asks the American.
“To study American propaganda,” replies the Soviet.
“What American propaganda?” asks the American.
“Exactly,” the Soviet replies.
In reality the nature of the US-centralized empire allows it to run a massive, nonstop international propaganda campaign through mass media platforms which are mostly privately owned. A diverse network of factors feeds into this dynamic which I’ve detailed in my unusually lengthy article “15 Reasons Why Mass Media Employees Act Like Propagandists”, but the gist of it is that anyone who’s wealthy enough to control a mass media platform is going to have a vested interest in preserving the status quo upon which their wealth is premised, and they will cooperate with establishment power structures in various ways toward that end.
The fact that these mass media outlets look independent but function as propaganda organs for the US empire allows its propaganda to fly into people’s minds without triggering any gag reflex of critical thinking or skepticism, which wouldn’t be the case if people knew those outlets were feeding them propaganda. Propaganda only really has persuasive power if you don’t know it’s happening to you.
The invisibility of US propaganda is further aided by the subtle methods by which it is administered, which we’ve seen exemplified beautifully in the coverage of Israel’s ongoing US-backed mass atrocity in Gaza.
In an article titled “Coverage of Gaza War in the New York Times and Other Major Newspapers Heavily Favored Israel, Analysis Shows,” The Intercept reports that a review of 1,000 articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times about Israel’s war on Gaza found that the outlets consistently used word choices which served Israeli information interests.
“Highly emotive terms for the killing of civilians like ‘slaughter,’ ‘massacre,’ and ‘horrific’ were reserved almost exclusively for Israelis who were killed by Palestinians, rather than the other way around,” The Intercept’s Adam Johnson and Othman Ali report. “The term ‘slaughter’ was used by editors and reporters to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 60 to 1, and ‘massacre’ was used to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 125 to 2. ‘Horrific’ was used to describe the killing of Israelis versus Palestinians 36 to 4.”
This is the sort of manipulation that a casual news consumer wouldn’t notice. Unless you’re on alert for bias and are keeping track of what words are and aren’t being used where, you’re probably not going to notice the absence of emotionally-charged words when reporting on Palestinians who are killed by Israelis.
This type of slant shows up in all sorts of ways, like today’s headlines about the IDF killing a six year-old Palestinian girl named Hind Rajab along with her family. Reliable propaganda organs of the empire like CNN, The New York Times and the BBC have respectively gone with the headlines “Five-year-old Palestinian girl found dead after being trapped in car under Israeli fire”, “Missing 6-Year-Old and Rescue Team Found Dead in Gaza, Aid Group Says,” and “Hind Rajab, 6, found dead in Gaza days after phone calls for help”. In contrast, Al Jazeera reports on the same story with the headline “Body of 6-year-old killed in ‘deliberate’ Israeli fire found after 12 days,” and Middle East Eye goes with “Hind Rajab: Palestinian girl found dead after being trapped under Israeli fire for days”.
It’s easy to spot the difference when they’re placed next to each other like I just did, but unless you’re really watching out for it and have a good background on what’s going on here you’re likely to miss what’s happening. If you’re like most people and don’t read past the headline, you’d never know from the imperial media headlines that the child was killed by Israel, and you’d certainly never know about her terrified phone call for help while trapped by IDF fire and surrounded by the bodies of her dead relatives. If you look to the legacy media and its algorithmically-boosted online iterations for information about the world, you went one more day with a distorted perspective of what’s happening in Gaza.
The western press constantly write headlines like this when trying to minimize the impact of someone’s death at the hands of a party they sympathize with, particularly with regard to Palestinians. Last month the BBC published an article titled “Record number of civilians hurt by explosives in 2023”, as though they were mishandling fireworks or something instead of being actively killed by Israeli bombs. The BBC later revised their atrocious headline, but revised it in the opposite direction, replacing “Record number” with “High number” to further minimize the impact.
Contrast this with the BBC’s headlines when it’s reporting on Ukrainians killed by Russian airstrikes. Here’s a recent one titled “Ukraine war: Russian air strikes claim five lives in Kyiv and Mykolaiv”, and another titled “Ukraine war: Baby killed in Russian strike on Kharkiv hotel”.
Got it? In Ukraine people die from bombs because Russia launched Russian airstrikes and killed them very Russianly, whereas in Gaza people get hurt by explosions because they got too close to some type of explosive material.
Last week The Washington Post ran an opinion piece titled “Is America complicit in Israel’s bloody war in Gaza?”, which is already a ridiculously skewed headline because the answer is self-evidently yes — implying that there’s any question of this skews things in America’s favor. But even this was too much for the Post’s editors, who re-titled the piece “Has the Israel-Gaza war changed your feelings about being American?” to keep Americans from thinking too hard about Israel’s bloody war in Gaza and their country’s complicity in it.
In a Wednesday article titled “Biden Tries Again With Arab Americans in Michigan”, New York Times editorial board member Farah Stockman wrote the absolutely insane line “The Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel seems to be affecting Biden’s election prospects.” And then The New York Times actually printed it.
Read that line again. She’s saying Arab Americans are rejecting Biden because of the October 7 Hamas attack, which is of course absurd; they’re rejecting Biden because he’s backing a genocide in Gaza. She wrote this nonsensical line because in the New York Times you can’t say things like “Israel’s genocide in Gaza” or “the president’s facilitation of crimes against humanity”, and you won’t be hired if you’re the sort of person who’d be inclined to. Instead we’re pretending that for some inexplicable reason Arab Americans are just hopping mad at Biden because October 7 happened.
But again, these little manipulations fly under the radar if you’re not on the lookout for them. Such is the brilliance of the US empire’s invisible propaganda machine. That’s why it’s very difficult to win a propaganda war against the United States, that’s why westerners have been so successfully manipulated into accepting a status quo of endless war, ecocide, injustice and exploitation, and that’s why the world looks the way it looks right now.
Benjamin Netanyahu appears determined to push ahead with a ground offensive against Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah but has claimed Israel will provide safe passage to the 1.3 million displaced Palestinians sheltering there.
Despite mounting warnings from aid agencies and the international community that an assault on Rafah would be a catastrophe, Netanyahu has reiterated his intention to extend Israel’s military operation against Hamas. Hamas stated that a new advance into Rafah would “blow up” ongoing negotiations to return hostages in return for a ceasefire.
“We’re going to do it,” Israel’s prime minister told ABC News in an interview aired on Sunday. “We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it.” He added: “We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”
As Israeli forces have expanded ground operations steadily southwards in their war against Hamas over the past four months, Rafah has become the last refuge for more than half of the strip’s population of 2.3 million.
It remains unclear where the large number of people pressed up against the border with Egypt in overcrowded makeshift tent camps can go. When asked, Netanyahu said Israel was “working out a detailed plan”.
In a call Sunday with Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden told the Israeli prime minister that Israel should not launch a military operation in Rafah “without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there”.
The call between the US president and Netanyahu was the first between the two leaders since Biden on Thursday used the phrase “over the top” to describe Israel’s military strikes in Gaza in response to the 7 October attack by Hamas.
Biden and officials with the United Nations have warned that an Israeli military ground offensive in Rafah, where about 1.3 million Palestinians are sheltering, would lead to a “bloodbath”. Israel’s military has appeared determined to move forward with the offensive while it remains unclear where the large number of civilians could be safely moved away from danger.
On Friday, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement asserting that the prime minister had ordered the Israeli military to submit a plan for the forced evacuation of the southern town of Rafah, where one million refugees from other areas of Gaza have been driven. Israel’s attack on Rafah would be a “massive operation,” Netanyahu’s office said. Given that Israel has ordered the people of Gaza to evacuate effectively all other areas of the region, the clear implication is that the population will be expelled into the Sinai Desert, with or without the permission of Egypt.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN, said Friday that “if the Israeli army … begins the so-called evacuating [of] the people from Rafah, where would they go?
“They’re saying they’re not allowing them to go to the north. They don’t want them to stay in Rafah—it doesn’t require a nuclear physicist to come to the conclusion that there is only one place for them to go, which is the Sinai Peninsula.” ...
The determination of the Netanyahu government to carry out the forced expulsions of the Palestinians from Rafah has produced hypocritical statements from the imperialist backers of the Israeli genocide. US President Joe Biden, speaking to reporters, said that Netanyahu’s “conduct of the response in Gaza in the Gaza Strip has been over the top.” The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borell stated, “Reports of an Israeli military offensive on Rafah are alarming. … It would have catastrophic consequences, worsening the already dire humanitarian situation and the unbearable civilian toll.”
Regardless of such statements, the United States and European imperialist powers have systematically enabled Israel to carry out the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Gaza, with the United States repeatedly declaring that there are no “red lines” for the number of Palestinians allowed to be killed.
Reuters reported Friday that Egypt has massively expanded the number of military personnel stationed on its borders with Gaza, deploying 40 tanks and armored personnel carriers to the area over the past two weeks.
A top US official admitted that the White House had made some missteps in how it has handled the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. President Biden has shipped 25,000 tonnes of weapons to Israel per Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, and refused to place any conditions on the aid the US provides to Israel. The unfettered support has allowed Israel to conduct a genocidal military campaign that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and pushed hundreds of thousands into famine.
On Thursday, Jon Finer, a deputy national security adviser, told Arab American leaders in Michigan that Biden had made “missteps” in handling Gaza and that Israel had no intentions of allowing Palestinian statehood. The aide made the remarks during a closed-door meeting, but an audio recording was leaked to the New York Times. ...
The mistakes Finer admitted Biden had made are rhetorical, such as not issuing a faster condemnation of calls for genocide from Israeli government officials. Many top Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, have made remarks that have incited the genocide in Gaza.
After the meeting, participants in the meeting were dissatisfied because Finer would not agree to any policy changes. The US has provided Israel with near-daily weapons shipments that allow the Israeli forces to continue fighting. Washington has refused to condemn any Israeli actions, even well-documented war crimes.
The US has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest offer for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, as the Biden administration has consistently discouraged diplomacy in the nearly two years since Russia launched its invasion.
“We are willing to negotiate,” Putin said. Referring to the US government, the Russian leader added, “You should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to the negotiating table.”
In response, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council told The New York Times that the US has no reason to believe Putin is being genuine.
‘Unlike 9/11, we’re fighting back’: Arab Americans in Dearborn are resilient in the face of Islamophobia
On the main street of Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, it’s common to see business signs in both Arabic and English script. A Lebanese grill sits across from a Yemeni coffee house, and next door a store sells hijabs. The Arab American National Museum, the only such institution in the US, is a half mile away from a playground and public elementary school in the third largest district in Michigan. ... But recent anti-Arab and Islamophobic rhetoric brought on by the Israel-Gaza war has fostered a sense of fear in the tight-knit community. A Wall Street Journal op-ed on 2 February called Dearborn the “jihad capital” of the US, which resulted in a rise in discriminatory online language aimed at Dearborn. On the same day, the New York Times published its own column that compared the US to a lion and Middle Eastern countries to insects, a choice that many criticized as dehumanizing and racist. ...
Residents who spoke to the Guardian said that the fearmongering and discriminatory attacks in the media reminded them of the time after 9/11, when threats were made against Muslim Americans, and mosques and personal properties were vandalized. Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), said that even though that period of hatred was more extreme, “today, many people feel on edge, because of the heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric … and violence against Muslims”. Just a few days ago, he noted, a 23-year-old Palestinian American in Texas, Zacharia Doar, was brutally stabbed in what police say was a hate crime.
Despite some people’s increased concerns about safety, others spoke about their community’s resilience and ingenuity in protecting themselves. Young Palestinian Americans in Dearborn are organizing rallies and urging residents to sign a pledge demanding that the New York Times retract its column. Volunteers are also hosting anti-doxing trainings to help pro-Palestine locals who are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to retain their jobs and school status without fear of their personal information being revealed online.
Dearborn’s Arab American residents say that the community has become stronger in the past 20 years since 9/11, and the people who came of age in the 2000s have now grown into leaders. In light of recent bigoted headlines and editorials, hate crimes, and other instances of Islamophobia, many of them feel empowered – more than ever – to fight back. ...
Mohamed Ayoub, a 53-year-old Lebanese American real estate broker, believes that the political solidarity among Arab Americans today is unprecedented. He said that the discrimination the Arab American community endured after 9/11 helped prepare them to stand up against hatred. “Unlike 9/11, we’re fighting back,” Ayoub said, referencing the politicians, school board members, organizers and business owners who have been vocal in their support of a ceasefire.
Imran Khan’s political party has declared it intends to form the next government after claiming a shock election victory, despite efforts by the opposition to take power in a backroom coalition deal.
Even as results showed that candidates backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party run by the incarcerated former prime minister Khan, had won the most seats, by Saturday night there was still little clarity on who would be forming the next government in Pakistan, adding to a climate of political turmoil.
Speaking to the Observer in Islamabad, the PTI party chairman, Gohar Ali Khan, emphasised the party’s intention to form the government, despite many obstacles in its path. While candidates affiliated with PTI won the most national assembly seats, it was not enough to claim a simple majority in parliament. Meanwhile, Imran Khan – their leader and choice for prime minister – is serving more than a decade in jail.
“The results are clear: we are the majority party and we’re going to be forming the government,” said Ali Khan. “Common sense must prevail. The people have spoken and they have given us the mandate to form the government. That needs to be respected before they come out on the street, even if we ask them not to.” He added: “The people have spoken, they want Pakistan to be independent, to be democratic.”
However, Ali Khan conceded that PTI faced “a tough situation”. While, officially, PTI candidates won more than 90 seats, this is many short of the 170 needed for an overall majority. The party says the true number won by PTI is 154 seats, but dozens were taken away in alleged widespread vote rigging and manipulation, which it is now contesting with the election commission. The US, UK and EU had raised concerns over the alleged extensive tampering of votes.
The Irish Republican Army’s executioners shot and secretly buried their victims in fields and bogs, leaving them to decay and enter the ranks of Ireland’s “disappeared”. Some were British soldiers, others were suspected informers or turncoats. Uncertainty about their fate and the location of their remains added a cruel twist to a brutal conflict.
They were not, however, killed by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland during the Troubles but by the so-called “good old IRA” in the south of Ireland during the 1919-21 war of independence. In less than three years, in fact, the founding fathers of the Irish state killed and disappeared five times more people than the Provisional IRA would do over 30 years, according to research.
“It’s well known that people in the north disappeared during the Troubles,” said Pádraig Ó Ruairc, a historian and archaeologist who has investigated the phenomenon. “What people don’t know and in some cases don’t want to admit is that the same thing happened in the fight for freedom in southern Ireland on a much wider scale over a much shorter period.”
Ó Ruairc has documented a secret, grisly tradition in The Disappeared: Forced Disappearances in Ireland 1798-1998, published this week.
Police in Georgia, together with federal agencies, are conducting a crackdown on activists involved in a continuing campaign against a controversial police and fire department training center known as “Cop City” that has included acts of arson and sabotage against equipment being used on the project.
This week alone saw Atlanta-area raids by law enforcement that took a woman out of her house with no shirt, left a naked photo of another woman on display after ransacking a room and dragged a man by his hair – while arresting none of them. The pre-dawn raids on three houses on Thursday were the third Swat-style operation in residential areas of Atlanta and nearby unincorporated DeKalb county tied to a movement that began in 2021 – and the first in which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) played a prominent role. ...
At least one of the search warrants for Thursday’s raid seen by the Guardian authorized the FBI to confiscate dozens of items from the raided homes – including laptops, cellphones, “Defend the Atlanta Forest” stickers and posters and personal journals.
The operation came after weeks of Atlanta officials promoting a campaign to catch activists linked to arson against construction and police equipment, all the while activists have been committing more acts of sabotage, alternating with nonviolent, civil disobedience. ...
Andre Dickens, the Atlanta mayor, told reporters that the right way “to make your voice heard” on the project was by doing things like “going to city council” meetings – even though the same city council has refused to verify and count more than 100,000 petition signatures from Atlanta voters seeking to put the question of whether the training center should be built on the ballot in an upcoming election.
Special counsel prosecutors have produced to Donald Trump a sealed exhibit about threats to a potential trial witness after the federal judge overseeing his prosecution for retaining classified documents ordered the exhibit turned over despite the prosecutors’ objections, people familiar with the matter said.
The exhibit was a point of contention because it detailed a series of threats made against a witness who could testify against the former president at trial, and the matter is the subject of a criminal investigation by a US attorney’s office. Prosecutors had wanted to withhold it from Trump’s lawyers.
But the presiding US district judge Aileen Cannon ordered the exhibit that prosecutors in the office of special counsel, Jack Smith, had submitted “ex parte” – or without showing it to the defense – to be transmitted to Trump’s lawyers after reviewing its contents and deciding it did not warrant that protection.
The Democrats’ national controlling committee complained on Friday that Robert F Kennedy Jr’s third-party presidential campaign and a fund supporting him are colluding against campaign rules to get the dynastic political candidate on election ballots. Kennedy and his Team Kennedy campaign are accused by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of accepting $10m to $15m in in-kind contributions from American Values 2024, a political action committee – or Pac – that supports Kennedy.
The DNC complaint alleges that the Super Pac is coordinating “its activity with Mr Kennedy and his campaign in a way that violates federal campaign finance laws”. Kennedy, who in November was polling higher, at 52%, in terms of voter favorability than Biden or Trump, is attempting to get on the ballot in at least 10 states.
The pro-Kennedy American Values 2024 Pac is supported by Tim Mellon, a Donald Trump campaign donor who has pumped $15m into its coffers. Co-founder Tony Lyons told CBS News that the Democrats’ complaint “is just another desperate DNC tactic to defame Kennedy, vilify him and drain his campaign funds”. But in a press briefing on Friday, DNC legal counsel Robert Lenhard said that “rather than doing the hard work itself using money raised in compliance with the candidate contribution limits, the campaign is taking shortcuts”.
Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, Kennedy’s campaign manager and daughter-in-law, told the outlet that the Democrats’ complaint “is a non-issue being raised by a partisan political entity that seems to be increasingly concerned with its own candidate and viability”. Fox Kennedy said the campaign had not received any signatures from the American Values Pac or any other Pac. The campaign had also avoided providing any information “that is not available to every volunteer and media outlet on our public website”, she added.
A study published Friday warned that a systemic collapse of the Atlantic Ocean currents driving warm water from the tropics toward Europe could be more likely than researchers previously estimated—an event that would send temperatures plummeting in much of the continent.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, could be headed for a relatively sudden shutdown that René Van Western, who led the Dutch study published in Science Advances, called "cliff-like."
For many millennia, the Gulf Stream has carried warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the eastern North American seaboard and across the Atlantic to Europe. As human-caused global heating melts the Greenland ice sheet, massive quantities of fresh water are released into the North Atlantic, cooling the AMOC—which delivers the bulk of the Gulf Stream's heat—toward a "tipping point" that could stop the current in its tracks.
An AMOC shutdown would cause temperatures to rise in the Southern Hemisphere but plunge dramatically in Europe. In the study's model, London cools by an average of 18°F and Bergen, Norway by 27°F. An AMOC failure would also cause sea levels to rise along North America's east coast.
"We are moving closer [to the collapse], but we we're not sure how much closer," van Westen toldThe Associated Press. "We are heading towards a tipping point."
The US Environmental Protection Agency is doubling down on its controversial finding that a toxic herbicide is safe for use across millions of acres of American cropland, despite what public health advocates characterize as virtual “scientific proof” the product causes Parkinson’s disease.
The agency in 2021 reapproved paraquat-based herbicides for use, but a coalition of agricultural and public health groups sued, charging that the EPA had ignored broad scientific consensus linking the substance to Parkinson’s.
The EPA agreed to reassess the most current science, but last week released a new draft report reaffirming the substance’s safety. But the lawsuit’s plaintiffs say the agency again ignored evidence of the Parkinson’s risk, including dozens of peer-reviewed studies sent to it by the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. By re-approving the “highly lethal” substance, the EPA has “violated the law” and put industry interests before public health, the plaintiffs allege.
“There is an incredibly overwhelming body of evidence on this that has been accepted by scientists across the globe, and the EPA’s decision really placed it at odds with the best available science,” said Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, a senior attorney with Earthjustice, the suit’s lead plaintiff.
The EPA’s decision is the latest salvo in a decades-long battle over the use of paraquat, which is a highly effective weed killer. Elsewhere, Syngenta, which produces the substance, has lost – nearly 60 countries have banned paraquat. A state-owned Chinese company bought Syngenta in 2017, but China still prohibits the product, as do the UK and EU.
The government of Trinidad and Tobago this weekend said it is considering what would be the island nation's first-ever Level 3 diaster declaration amid a worsening environmental disaster caused by an oil spill from a mysterious ship on the eve of the Caribbean country's famed Carinval.
As more than 1,000 emergency workers and volunteers raced to clean up the massive spill off Tobago's southwestern coast, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley told reporters Sunday that "cleaning and restoration can only begin as soon as we have the situation under control. Right now the situation is not under control."
Trinidad and Tobago is discussing declaring a national emergency following a massive oil spill from a “ghost ship” that ran aground and capsized this week.
At least 15 kilometers of Tobago's southwest coast were affected, including some of the Caribbean island's best… pic.twitter.com/Unv0OXeGHD
— The Informant (@theinformantofc) February 11, 2024
The spill came from a vessel of indeterminate origin that capsized off the coast of the Cove Eco Industrial Park on Wednesday. As Agence France-Presse reported, the ship—named Gulfstream—"made no emergency calls, with no sign of crew, and no clear sign of ownership."
Officials said the spill has affected over 25 miles of coastline and has damaged a coral reef and Atlantic beaches, threatening not only the environment and residents' health but also the vital tourism industry as the country prepares to host its world-renowned Carnival this week.
Farley Augustine, chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, told reporters Saturday that the government may declare a Level 3 disaster for the first time in the nation's history. Level 3 spills require "substantial" international support.
"Everything indicates that we are going in that direction," Augustine said.
There have been hundreds of oil spills off Trinidad and Tobago's coast over the past decade. These accidents rarely attract international media attention and often go unpunished.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Scrapper Blackwell ~ Blues Before Sunrise
Scrapper Blackwell ~ Kokomo Blues
Scrapper Blackwell - Papa's on the House Top
Scrapper Blackwell - "A" Blues
Scrapper Blackwell - Little Boy Blue
Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell - Midnight Hour Blues
Scrapper Blackwell - Goin' Where The Monon Crosses The Yellow Dog
Scrapper Blackwell - My Old Pal Blues
Leroy Carr And Scrapper Blackwell - Naptown Blues