TBR News January 8, 2018

Jan 08 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 8, 2018: “During the late 1940s, the question of homosexuality in government was coming to the forefront in America along with a long-festering fear of communist infiltration.

There is no doubt that many government employees were so inclined and openly recruited others of their persuasion to also seek government service. This was not to promote sedition but merely to have congenial working conditions, and perhaps, even more congenial after-hours activities.

Intelligence officials do not tend to be moralists or they would not be in their occupations, and their basic concerns insofar as homosexuality is concerned is a vulnerability of the subject to outside pressures and very possible manipulation by outside persons or agencies to gain influence or confidential information.

The Russians are well known to exploit sex as an effective tool for recruitment or entrapment, and this exploitation certainly did not stop with Glasnost or the subsequent disintegration of the former Soviet Union.

Just before the end of that geopolitical entity, a scandal involving a homosexual prostitution ring surfaced in Washington at the highest levels and the major concern expressed at that time was the possibility that the KGB might very well be involved.

One of the people involved was a White House press aide who briefed President Reagan daily on press matters.”


Table of Contents

  • Apple investors call for action over iPhone ‘addiction’ among children
  • Jeremy Hunt attacks Facebook over app aimed at children
  • ‘We Are Seeing What Happens When the U.S. Pulls Back’
  • Why does Israel fear the BDS movement so much?
  • Judge ends case over armed standoff in Nevada land dispute
  • Bundy goes free: Judge dismisses case against rancher after mistrial
  • Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?
  • Weather disasters cost U.S. record $306 billion in 2017: NOAA
  • Sanchi: Burning tanker off Chinese coast ‘in danger of exploding’


Apple investors call for action over iPhone ‘addiction’ among children

Open letter highlights growing concern that Silicon Valley is damaging youth and urges new parental controls, child protection committee and release of data

January 8, 2018

by Samuel Gibbs

The Guardian

Two of the largest investors in Apple are urging the iPhone maker to take action against smartphone addiction among children over growing concerns about the effects of technology and social media on the youth.

In an open letter to Apple on Monday, New York-based Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) said the firm must do more to help children fight addiction on its devices.

“There is a developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility,” said the investors, who collectively control $2bn of Apple stock.

“Apple can play a defining role in signalling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.”

The group urged Apple to offer tools to help children avoid addiction and give parents more options to protect their children’s health through monitoring usage. Apple’s iOS already offers limited parental controls, including restrictions on apps, use of features such as location sharing and access to certain kinds of content.

But the investors said that Apple should allow parents to be able set the age of the user of the phone on setup, and implement limits on screen time, hours of the day the phone can be used and block social media services.

They also proposed that Apple should establish an expert committee including child development specialists, which should produce annual reports, and offer Apple’s vast information to researchers on the issue.

The investors cited several studies on the negative effects on children’s mental and physical health caused by heavy usage of smartphones and social media. These range from distractions in the classroom and issues around focus on educational tasks to higher risks of suicide and depression.

The open letter reflects growing concerns on the long-term impact of technology such as smartphones and social media on children. Technology firms are yet to publicly acknowledge the issues around children and their company’s creations, but even Silicon Valley heads have started to raise the alarm. Former Facebook president Sean Parker described the site as made to exploit human vulnerability, saying: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Another former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, said he specifically opted out of social media because it was “eroding the core foundations of how people behave”.

“I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit,” said Palihapitiya.

With many apps, sites and devices being designed to be as addictive as possible to grow user numbers and maintain eyeballs on screens, children are increasingly being either seen as collateral damage or specifically targeted as the next generation of users.

Apple did not comment.



Jeremy Hunt attacks Facebook over app aimed at children

‘Stay away from my kids,’ health secretary tells US social media platform after trial of new service designed for under 13s

December 5, 2017

by Rowena Mason

The Guardian

Jeremy Hunt has publicly attacked Facebook for releasing a version of its Messenger app aimed at children, and called on the social media company to “stay away from my kids”.

The health secretary accused the company of “targeting younger children” after Facebook announced on Monday that it was conducting trials of an app called Messenger Kids in the US, which is designed to be used by pre-teens.

He said the company was failing to act responsibly despite having assured the government that it would not target its service at children, who can only use the main social media website if they are over 13.

Not sure this is the right direction at all,” he tweeted. “Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!”

Asked if Theresa May agreed, a No 10 spokesman said Hunt was leading for the government on the health effects of social media on children.

Launching the app, Facebook said it had consulted widely and would require a responsible adult to set up an account for their child with all contacts added and approved by parents from their main Facebook account.

The child would not be given their own Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13. Instead, the app operates as an extension of the parent’s account.

Facebook also said it would block children from sharing nudity, sexual or violent content, and have a dedicated moderation team to respond to flagged content.

Facebook had no immediate response to a request for comment on Hunt’s intervention.

But in a blogpost for the launch, Facebook’s Loren Cheng said: “Today, parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate.

“So when we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking.

“In addition to our research with thousands of parents, we’ve engaged with over a dozen expert advisers in the areas of child development, online safety and children’s media and technology who’ve helped inform our approach to building our first app for kids.”



‘We Are Seeing What Happens When the U.S. Pulls Back’

In an interview, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urges Germany to pay greater attention to the future of the EU. He warns that there are no vacuums in international politics and that when the U.S. withdraws, Russia or China step in.

January 8, 2018

Interview Conducted by Christiane Hoffmann and Klaus Brinkbäumer


DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Gabriel, let’s get the new year started with a couple of predictions. If you were to imagine a German foreign policy in 2028, what would it look like?

Gabriel: I hope that it will be part of a European foreign policy, because even the strong country of Germany won’t really have a voice in the world if it is not part of a European voice.

DER SPIEGEL: What will the core issues of this European foreign policy be?

Gabriel: It is clear that we need a foreign policy in which we jointly define European interests. Thus far, we have often defined European values, but we have been much too weak in defining mutual interests. To preempt any possible misunderstandings: We cannot give short shrift to our values of freedom, democracy and human rights. On the contrary. But political scientist Herfried Münkler is right: If you only take normative positions, if your focus is solely on values, you won’t find success in a world where others are relentlessly pursuing their interests. In a world full of meat-eaters, vegetarians have a tough time.

DER SPIEGEL: This political toughness is something Germany still hasn’t learned.

Gabriel: In the past, we could rely on the French, the British and, especially, the Americans, to assert our interests in the world. We have always criticized the U.S. for being the global police, and it was often appropriate to do so. But we are now seeing what happens when the U.S. pulls back. There is no such thing as a vacuum in international politics. If the U.S. leaves the room, other powers immediately walk in. In Syria, it’s Russia and Iran. In trade policy, it’s China. These examples show that, ultimately, we are no longer achieving either — neither the dissemination of our European values nor the advancement of our interests.

DER SPIEGEL: Are you actually certain that the U.S. still feels bound to NATO’s collective defense principles as outlined in Article 5 of the alliance treaty?

Gabriel: We are pleased that Donald Trump and the U.S. have affirmed Article 5, but we should not test that trust too much. At the same time, Europe could not defend itself without the U.S., even if European structures were strengthened.

DER SPIEGEL: How do you view Germany’s role in the world today?

Gabriel: We are a place many dream about today in the way the U.S. was a place all those looking for freedom, prosperity and democracy dreamed about from the 18th to the 20th century.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you mean Germany specifically or are you referring to Europe as a whole?

Gabriel: Surely the European Union as a whole stands for these dreams. But Germany, especially, because of its economic strength. Also because of its pacifism. When you think back today to a time more than 70 years ago when we were a terrible place, a place people were afraid of, it is a wonderful development that we have gone from being a terrible place to a place that people dream of.

DER SPIEGEL: You’re describing a rather overly-idyllic present day.

Gabriel: I am also aware that it isn’t easy for everyone in Germany to make ends meet through well-paid work in Germany. You have to have sufficient skills and work hard. And I also know that we have much too much poverty and inequality here. Still, our parents and grandparents built an incredibly prosperous and peaceful country. One shouldn’t, of course, play down the degree to which this is dependent on our economic strength. The truth is that Moscow, Beijing and Washington have one thing in common: They don’t value the European Union at all. They disregard it.

DER SPIEGEL: The fact of the matter is that Europe doesn’t appear to be very robust.

Gabriel: With a few exceptions, that also applies to most authoritarian-led countries. Often, economically and socially weak countries are led by men who are only ostensibly strong. The assertion of power, the instigation of confrontations outside the country, often conceals even bigger domestic problems. There’s a danger that this authoritarian style of politics is now making inroads into the Western world. And they all have in common the fact that they place their national interests over those of the international community. We Europeans do not do that. But that’s also why we tend to be laughed at by these authoritarian-led countries. I am convinced that we are living in an era of competition between democratic countries and authoritarian countries. And the latter have already begun trying to gain influence in the European Union and to divide us. The first cracks are apparent in Europe. We will have to do far more to defend our freedom in the future than we have had to do in the past.

DER SPIEGEL: Because our liberal democracy isn’t efficient?

Gabriel: Because there is a constant focus on output today. How does this or that contribute to prosperity? What does it contribute in terms of strength or technology, to political or military influence? Less and less is the question being asked as to whether developments are taking place in a democratic and free way. Europe is in a phase in which this output is no longer sufficiently visible or tangible. Youth unemployment is still far too high, we still haven’t solved our currency problem and living conditions in Europe are drifting apart. That is one reason why critics say that our Europe is based on yesteryear’s model. That’s a major danger for us Europeans: We must demonstrate that those who have this view of us are mistaken, that we can come to agreement, that we as a community of democratic and free nations are economically successful and are gaining political influence. To do so, we must learn to project our power.

DER SPIEGEL: Is it necessary for Europe to be feared?

Gabriel: No, not feared. On the contrary. Countries that work with us should feel safer than they would if they worked with non-democratic regimes. Why isn’t Europe building infrastructure in Africa instead of leaving it to the Chinese? Why haven’t we succeeded in promoting the economic development of our neighbors in the Balkans, instead conceding these countries to growing Russian influence? In an uncomfortable world, we Europeans can no longer sit back and wait for the U.S.A.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you mean that democracy must be made more efficient?

Gabriel: We’re a very efficient country. But this is not about efficiency — it’s about the long-term preservation of our European model of society. By the way, this claim that democracy and efficiency are contradictory is nonsense. That’s evident in the history of democracy itself, because it is only democrats who were and continue to be capable of learning from mistakes. A more appropriate question is to ask whether a country like China, which has been so incredibly successful economically, is actually inefficient in light of its environmental destruction and its corruption. In China’s perception, however, the democratic model is doubtlessly inferior.

DER SPIEGEL: Do you not also see Europe as being dysfunctional to a certain extent?

Gabriel: For years, we’ve been constantly hearing about a multi-speed Europe. It would be great if that were the case, because that would at least mean that we were all moving in the same direction, just at different speeds. The truth is that we have long had a multi-track Europe with very different objectives. The traditional differences between the north and the south in fiscal and economic policy are far less problematic than those that exist between Eastern and Western Europe. In the south and east, China is steadily gaining more influence, such that a few EU member states no longer dare to make decisions that run counter to Chinese interests. You see it everywhere: China is the only country in the world that has a real geopolitical strategy.

DER SPIEGEL: The strategy of dividing Europe?

Gabriel: No, but one of increasing China’s influence.

DER SPIEGEL: Values and interests can collide. Are values destined to lose such a clash?

Gabriel: No, it doesn’t have to mean that. For the time being, I am in favor of accepting this tension, of establishing it in the first place.

DER SPIEGEL: You have been accused of not being clear enough that you expect Iran to uphold values in light of the ongoing protests there. How do you view the situation? Are we currently seeing an Iranian spring?

Gabriel: That is difficult to gauge. The protests have so far been driven by very diverse groups. There is a lack of leadership figures and a joint political agenda. But it is also clear that there are reasons for discontent in Iran — economic and political reasons. We have told the Iranian leadership repeatedly that the country’s economic recovery can ultimately only succeed through greater international economic cooperation. And the precondition for that is not only that Iran refrain from developing nuclear weapons, but also that Iran’s role in the region become far more peaceful. We have offered to finally hold true negotiations and talks on that issue.

DER SPIEGEL: Let’s get back to the conflict between values and interests, which leads us to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gabriel: I speak of honesty and perseverence. We have reduced our economic support of Turkey because of the arrests and human rights violations there.

DER SPIEGEL: Your Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Cavusoglu is hoping for quick improvement in German-Turkish relations. He calls you a “personal friend” and you also invited him to visit you at your home in Goslar. Is that not a bit much given that German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, the Turkey correspondent for the German daily Die Welt, has been held in a Turkish jail without charge since February?

Gabriel: My Turkish colleague invited me to visit him a few weeks back. Much has happened in the time since — a number of Germans have either been released from jail through decisions made by the Turkish judiciary or have been able to leave Turkey. And now I’ve invited him to visit me. The situation certainly won’t get any better if we don’t speak with each other — neither for our countries or for the individuals who find themselves in jail. And the Yücel case, of course, is of paramount importance. We are now awaiting the charges against Yücel so that a response can finally be given. At least he’s been taken out of solitary confinement. Here, too, the Turkish justice system has reacted to our requests.

DER SPIEGEL: Why is this case so complicated?

Gabriel: It is very, very public.

DER SPIEGEL: It has been alleged that Turkey has also received military equipment from Germany.

Gabriel: Turkey is a NATO partner and a partner in the battle against IS (Islamic State). That’s actually a reason not to have the kind of restrictions in place on defense exports that we have, for example, against some countries in the Middle East. Despite this, the German federal government has refrained from authorizing a significant number of defense exports. That will remain the case for as long as the Yücel matter remains unresolved. But to get back to the tension between values and interests: The focus cannot just be on how German prisoners are doing right now in Turkey. We are interested more broadly in overall developments in Turkey. That doesn’t just include the debate about democracy and human rights, but also very uncomfortable questions.

DER SPIEGEL: Which ones?

Gabriel: Turkey is currently seeking to make itself more independent from Europe and is turning to the east. Is that in our interest? Does it help us bolster Western values in Turkey, or at least here at home? Or are we making ourselves weaker overall? At the same time, Turkey is violating our European moral concepts. It’s a difficult conflict to endure, and it leads to necessary disputes and debates. We need these debates — the belief that we must only retreat to values to always be on the safe side is wrong. But what we do need is an open discussion of the issue. Constantly accusing each other of betraying values neither gets anyone out of jail nor does it stengthen us.

DER SPIEGEL: The German chancellor doesn’t like those kinds of debates.

Gabriel: But there’s no way around it: We have to discuss the challenges facing foreign and security policy with the German population. And without reverting to canned, fully formulated answers for everything. Unfortunately, we have no experience and no real structure for strategic considerations. We don’t have a think tank culture. One of the tasks of foreign policy will be to develop these intellectual capabilities in Europe and Germany.

DER SPIEGEL: That would mean having a former foreign minister switch to a foundation, a think tank, rather than going into the private sector.

Gabriel: Yes, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea. But it wasn’t my intention to apply for such a position in this interview.

DER SPIEGEL: Are Germany’s partners abroad more bemused by the current stalemate in Berlin, by Germany’s ongoing lack of a government? Or are they seriously concerned?

Gabriel: I’m hearing different things, but there is concern that stable Germany is no longer quite so stable.

DER SPIEGEL: What is your view?

Gabriel: I don’t share this concern because, economically and politically, our country is extremely stable. There are countries with functioning governments whose institutions don’t work. But here, the opposite is true right now. My only concern is about Europe. There’s a risk we will run out of time. We have been blessed with a pro-European French president, but we are also approaching the next elections for the European Parliament in 2019, and it will be important for pro-European parties present a credible answer to the anti-Europeans on the left and the right.

DER SPIEGEL: Chancellor Merkel has left Emmanuel Macron waiting for months now.

Gabriel: It is better to provide a good answer rather than the wrong one given by the FDP (Free Democratic Party). Macron’s idea is that of a Europe that protects its citizens. That is underpinned by defense, the fight against terrorism, but also fair social standards and the battle against tax evasion by major corporations. It’s a very good plan. I hope that we will have a clear decision on working together with France in the spring.

DER SPIEGEL: Which answer to Macron’s proposals should the next government provide?

Gabriel: Madame Merkel knows very well that the CDU (Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union) and the CSU (the Bavarian sister party to the CDU, with which it shares power nationally) must change their European policies. The FDP’s nationalist-liberal position on Europe is presumably one of the reasons the attempt failed to form a Jamaica coalition government (which would have seen the CDU, FDP and Green Party govern together). I don’t know if a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats (SPD) will be reached. But if it is, it will be the first such coalition agreement in which Europe is the focus. If you were to ask me, in retrospect, what we did wrong in the last grand coalition … …

DER SPIEGEL: … … indeed an excellent question … …

Gabriel: …… then I would say that we paid too little attention to Europe. We wrote a chapter in European history in which the Germany-centric economic views of (then German Finance Minister) Wolfgang Schäuble played too great of a role. That was a mistake.

DER SPIEGEL: You have the opportunity to correct that.

Gabriel: We will see if the Christian Democrats want to join us in taking this step toward a new form of European cooperation. At the moment, the CSU is focused on other issues. Rather than investing in Europe, they want, in all seriousness, to double the defense budget. Right in line with Donald Trump. I am extremely certain that the SPD will not support such a thing.

DER SPIEGEL: But you yourself have said that Germany and Europe must command more respect militarily.

Gabriel: There is nothing wrong with a reasonable increase in defense spending. But doubling it? That would be more than 70 billion euros — and that’s per year! France, as a nuclear power, spends more than 40 billion euros. Do we truly believe that our European neighbors would be pleased to see an enormous central-European army arising in Germany in 10 years’ time?

DER SPIEGEL: Are you suggesting that our European partners are afraid of a highly armed Germany?

Gabriel: The first French people have already asked me if we are really serious about it.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Gabriel, you told us not long ago that being chairman of the SPD party was the pinnacle of your career. But doesn’t your current position as foreign minister trump that office?

Gabriel: You can’t compare the two jobs.


Gabriel: When I was 15, I joined the Falcons, a children’s and youth movement of the social democratic workers’ movement. And I am familiar with a social democracy that hardly exists anymore today. The history of this party …

DER SPIEGEL: … … so romantic and glorious …

Gabriel: … … it’s easy to make fun of if you lose sight of the battles fought by the Social Democrats, for which they have all too often had to pay with their lives to defend and establish freedom and democracy in Germany. Few of the things that we treasure in our country today would exist without this SPD. But I also admit that pretty much every chairman of this party, Germany’s oldest democratic party, has had an extremely emotional relationship with the SPD.

DER SPIEGEL: Is foreign policy less emotional?

Gabriel: We should actually hope for foreign policy to become less interesting. “Banking has to be boring again” was one of the sentences you heard during the financial crisis. We can only wish that that will once again become true of foreign policy. But it appears it will take a while before it gets boring again, even though it would be better that way.

DER SPIEGEL: Have you also experienced great stress or had sleepless nights as a result of your current position as foreign minister?

Gabriel: Standing in a Somali refugee camp full of 150,000 refugees and not having a clue how to help them — that’s not the kind of thing you can just put out of your mind. There was a moving moment. I showed my five-year-old daughter pictures from Somalia in order to explain to her why I had been away. She then stood up, went to her room and retrieved her piggy bank. She said: You can take this with you for the children there.

DER SPIEGEL: Sounds like a future SPD member.…

Gabriel: The fact that she’s otherwise unwilling to share anything at all actually speaks against future membership in the SPD. (laughs) But that’s also why it was so touching.

DER SPIEGEL: What do you think is coming your way Mr. Gabriel? Do you think you will soon have to leave your office as foreign minister?

Gabriel: It’s always better to assume so. After all, (former German Chancellor) Willy Brandt was right when he said that we are elected and not chosen.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Gabriel, we thank you for this interview.


Why does Israel fear the BDS movement so much?

January 8, 2018

by Ali Al-Arian


New York City – Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel seemed to confirm a long-held suspicion among many long-time observers: The United States is not interested in a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli impasse that adheres to international law, instead supporting Israeli demands to annex more Palestinian land and create an ethnonationalist state with as few Palestinians as possible.

Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to be forcibly removed from their homes in East Jerusalem to create “facts on the ground” that serve as Israeli talking points for why Jerusalem is already Israel’s de facto capital.

With both Trump and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley displaying just how far they are willing to bully other nations into falling in line, ordinary activists are left to contemplate how they can force Israel’s hand to abide by international law.

Here is where the BDS movement comes in. It was launched in 2005 by more than 250 Palestinian civil society organisations calling for the international community to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. The movement’s founders closely studied the Boycott Apartheid South Africa movement that was launched in the 1950s and gained traction in the ’80s.

While that movement grew for 30 years before reaching global prominence, BDS for Palestine has significantly affected the global conversation on Israel’s occupation in just 12 years.

Its success is partly due to a focus on tactics rather than a clear-cut “solution”, giving ordinary citizens of any country the ability to participate without trapping themselves within the parameters of the media’s controlled discourse of “the peace process”.

This is not to suggest the BDS movement does not have broad goals. Its three demands are an end to the occupation of Palestine, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homes.

In contrast to the endless, abstract debates of one-state versus two-state solutions, the BDS movement highlights the most pressing reality of the conflict: the suffering of a population at the hands of a government intent on denying them rights on the basis of their ethnicity.

This emphasis on Palestinian human rights has allowed the movement to build alliances with local movements across the world.

There are prominent examples, such as the alliance with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, but also many others worldwide.

In Rio de Janeiro, I saw local BDS activists team up with a movement from Brazil’s favelas to protest the use of the caveirao, an armoured military vehicle that Brazilian police special forces use when entering impoverished neighbourhoods.

Dozens of young children, residents of the favelas, were killed by these vehicles, which are imported from Israel. In fact, these elite security forces, which have been linked to civilian deaths among Brazil’s lower class in the favelas, are often trained in Israel.

Activists have pointed out that police forces in several other countries, such as the US and Argentina, accused of using excessive force, have also trained in Israel.

They have also exposed records of Israeli arms sales to Myanmar, a country accused of crimes amounting to genocide, as well as South Sudan, India, and other states accused of atrocities against their populations.

These connections have convinced local activists of the connectedness of their struggle with the Palestinians. This has, in turn, had the effect of making Palestine a mainstream, progressive issue – at least in Western countries.

However, the ascendancy of Palestine as a prominent issue has come as the result of years of small victories and some lost battles.

In 2017, the popular UK band Radiohead insisted on performing in Tel Aviv despite calls for a boycott. The performance was labelled by the media to be “controversial”, not only because of the expected protest among pro-Palestine activists, but also because of the outcry among other communities of progressive artists – showing that support for Palestinian rights is no longer the fringe position it once seemed to be.

To be sure, there remain tremendous battles along the way for this movement, particularly when it comes to the Israel lobby in the US, which has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting BDS on college campuses, while trying to outlaw it both nationally and on a local level.

In 2017, the lobby was even able to make relief efforts for some victims of Hurricane Harvey in Dickinson, Texas, conditional upon an agreement that they do not support BDS.

However, these efforts empowered the local movement, offering it even more publicity. Whereas the chances of a city in Texas hearing about BDS would have been minimal before, the move brought national media attention and controversy, forcing Dickinson to remove the requirement for hurricane relief aid.

The challenges along the way for the growing BDS movement are many. Although some consider its decentralisation a strength, the movement lacks charismatic leadership, proper funding, and organisation required to mount a significant challenge to the powerful Israeli economy.

As right-wing ideologies and neoliberal policies ascendant in many countries push them into further military and economic alliances with Israel, the future of the BDS movement is at once full of formidable challenges and unparalleled opportunity.


Judge ends case over armed standoff in Nevada land dispute

January 8, 2018

by John L. Smith


LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed the criminal case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and three other men on charges stemming from an armed 2014 standoff with federal law enforcement officers over a cattle grazing rights dispute.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case “with prejudice,” meaning that Bundy, two of his sons and a militia member will not face another trial.

Navarro, who declared a mistrial last month, cited prosecutors’ multiple withholding of evidence from defense lawyers and other evidence violations in dismissing the case.

She told a packed courtroom in Las Vegas that the violations prevented a fair trial and amounted to prosecutorial misconduct.

Bundy family members wept in the spectators’ section of the court after the ruling. Prosecutors appeared stunned by Navarro’s rebuke.

The 2014 revolt at the heart of the trial was sparked by a court-ordered roundup of Bundy’s cattle by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, after Bundy had refused for two decades to pay fees to graze his herds on federal property.

Hundreds of supporters, many of them armed, rallied at his ranch in a show of force to demand the return of his impounded livestock.

The case has galvanized right-wing militia groups challenging federal authority over vast tracts of public lands in the Western United States.

Reporting by John Smith, Writing by Ian Simpson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien


Bundy goes free: Judge dismisses case against rancher after mistrial

January 8, 2018


Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons were released by a federal judge in Las Vegas, after she dismissed with prejudice all charges against them. Prosecutors’ failure to disclose evidence had led to a mistrial.

US District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled Monday that the government committed “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” in the process against Bundy and his sons in relation to the 2014 armed standoff with federal agents over grazing rights.

Federal prosecutors willingly withheld evidence from defense attorneys, violating the Brady rule, Navarro said. She dismissed all charges against the Bundys and their co-defendant Ryan Payne “with prejudice,” meaning that the government will not be able to prosecute the case again.

“A universal sense of justice was violated,” Navarro said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On December 21, Navarro declared a mistrial, finding the prosecutors in violation of the defendants’ due process rights. The government refused to turn over FBI memos and other documentation until after the October 1 deadline and repeated requests from the defense counsel, the judge said.

On December 21, Navarro declared a mistrial, finding the prosecutors in violation of the defendants’ due process rights. The government refused to turn over FBI memos and other documentation until after the October 1 deadline and repeated requests from the defense counsel, the judge said.

Bundy, 71, and his sons were charged with a total of 15 counts of criminal conspiracy and other violations following the confrontation with federal agents in April 2014. Agents with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) descended on Bundy’s ranch that month and began to round up his cattle, saying he had failed to pay grazing fees for 20 years. On April 12, hundreds of armed supporters arrived at Bundy’s ranch, leading to the standoff with federal authorities. Outnumbered government agents soon retreated from the property. No shots were fired.

The situation calmed down after Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Bundy and newly confirmed BLM Director Neil Kornze.

An 18-page memo written by BLM Special Agent Larry C. Wooten, leaked last month, described nearly three years of misconduct by the agency in investigating the 2014 standoff, according to the Las Vegas-based KSNV.

“I routinely observed, and the investigation revealed a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct,” Wooten wrote to Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew Goldsmith, “as well as likely policy, ethical, and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff at the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.”

In January 2016, Bundy’s sons Ammon, 42, and Ryan, 44, led a group of armed activists in “occupying” a wildlife refuge in Oregon for 41 days, after federal authorities ordered two local ranchers to serve time in prison over a brushfire that damaged federal property. One of the occupiers was shot and killed by authorities. The Bundys were charged with a number of felonies, but were acquitted by a jury in October 2016.



Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

In this extract from his new book, Johann Hari, who took antidepressants for 14 years, calls for a new approach

January 7, 2018

by Johann Hari

The Guardian

In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression – one that was quickly swept aside, because its implications were too inconvenient, and too explosive. American psychiatrists had produced a book that would lay out, in detail, all the symptoms of different mental illnesses, so they could be identified and treated in the same way across the United States. It was called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In the latest edition, they laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression – like, for example, decreased interest in pleasure or persistent low mood. For a doctor to conclude you were depressed, you had to show five of these symptoms over several weeks.

The manual was sent out to doctors across the US and they began to use it to diagnose people. However, after a while they came back to the authors and pointed out something that was bothering them. If they followed this guide, they had to diagnose every grieving person who came to them as depressed and start giving them medical treatment. If you lose someone, it turns out that these symptoms will come to you automatically. So, the doctors wanted to know, are we supposed to start drugging all the bereaved people in America?

The authors conferred, and they decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms of depression. None of this applies, they said, if you have lost somebody you love in the past year. In that situation, all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”, and it seemed to resolve the problem.

Then, as the years and decades passed, doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. All over the world, they were being encouraged to tell patients that depression is, in fact, just the result of a spontaneous chemical imbalance in your brain – it is produced by low serotonin, or a natural lack of some other chemical. It’s not caused by your life – it’s caused by your broken brain. Some of the doctors began to ask how this fitted with the grief exception. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances – losing a loved one – might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate for the next 40 years? What about if you are alone and friendless?

The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. This was a debate that mainstream psychiatry (with some exceptions) did not want to have. So, they responded in a simple way – by whittling away the grief exception. With each new edition of the manual they reduced the period of grief that you were allowed before being labelled mentally ill – down to a few months and then, finally, to nothing at all. Now, if your baby dies at 10am, your doctor can diagnose you with a mental illness at 10.01am and start drugging you straight away.

Dr Joanne Cacciatore, of Arizona State University, became a leading expert on the grief exception after her own baby, Cheyenne, died during childbirth. She had seen many grieving people being told that they were mentally ill for showing distress. She told me this debate reveals a key problem with how we talk about depression, anxiety and other forms of suffering: we don’t, she said, “consider context”. We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives, and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, Joanne explained, it would require “an entire system overhaul”. She told me that when “you have a person with extreme human distress, [we need to] stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.”


I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him – crouched, embarrassed – that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why.

However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened. The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through.

I started to research my book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, because I was puzzled by two mysteries. Why was I still depressed when I was doing everything I had been told to do? I had identified the low serotonin in my brain, and I was boosting my serotonin levels – yet I still felt awful. But there was a deeper mystery still. Why were so many other people across the western world feeling like me? Around one in five US adults are taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem. In Britain, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in a decade, to the point where now one in 11 of us drug ourselves to deal with these feelings. What has been causing depression and its twin, anxiety, to spiral in this way? I began to ask myself: could it really be that in our separate heads, all of us had brain chemistries that were spontaneously malfunctioning at the same time?

To find the answers, I ended up going on a 40,000-mile journey across the world and back. I talked to the leading social scientists investigating these questions, and to people who have been overcoming depression in unexpected ways – from an Amish village in Indiana, to a Brazilian city that banned advertising and a laboratory in Baltimore conducting a startling wave of experiments. From these people, I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise – alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse.

Once I learned this, I was able to see that a very different set of solutions to my depression – and to our depression – had been waiting for me all along.

To understand this different way of thinking, though, I had to first investigate the old story, the one that had given me so much relief at first. Professor Irving Kirsch at Harvard University is the Sherlock Holmes of chemical antidepressants – the man who has scrutinised the evidence about giving drugs to depressed and anxious people most closely in the world. In the 1990s, he prescribed chemical antidepressants to his patients with confidence. He knew the published scientific evidence, and it was clear: it showed that 70% of people who took them got significantly better. He began to investigate this further, and put in a freedom of information request to get the data that the drug companies had been privately gathering into these drugs. He was confident that he would find all sorts of other positive effects – but then he bumped into something peculiar.

We all know that when you take selfies, you take 30 pictures, throw away the 29 where you look bleary-eyed or double-chinned, and pick out the best one to be your Tinder profile picture. It turned out that the drug companies – who fund almost all the research into these drugs – were taking this approach to studying chemical antidepressants. They would fund huge numbers of studies, throw away all the ones that suggested the drugs had very limited effects, and then only release the ones that showed success. To give one example: in one trial, the drug was given to 245 patients, but the drug company published the results for only 27 of them. Those 27 patients happened to be the ones the drug seemed to work for. Suddenly, Professor Kirsch realised that the 70% figure couldn’t be right.

It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year. I had thought that I was freakish for remaining depressed while on these drugs. In fact, Kirsch explained to me in Massachusetts, I was totally typical. These drugs are having a positive effect for some people – but they clearly can’t be the main solution for the majority of us, because we’re still depressed even when we take them. At the moment, we offer depressed people a menu with only one option on it. I certainly don’t want to take anything off the menu – but I realised, as I spent time with him, that we would have to expand the menu.

This led Professor Kirsch to ask a more basic question, one he was surprised to be asking. How do we know depression is even caused by low serotonin at all? When he began to dig, it turned out that the evidence was strikingly shaky. Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

I didn’t want to hear this. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would run wild, like an unchained animal. Yet the scientific evidence was showing me something clear, and I couldn’t ignore it.


So, what is really going on? When I interviewed social scientists all over the world – from São Paulo to Sydney, from Los Angeles to London – I started to see an unexpected picture emerge. We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air. It turns out that, in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many – perhaps most – people. I kept learning that, in very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us.

Let’s look at one of those causes, and one of the solutions we can begin to see if we understand it differently. There is strong evidence that human beings need to feel their lives are meaningful – that they are doing something with purpose that makes a difference. It’s a natural psychological need. But between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing – our paid work. They found that 13% of people say they are “engaged” in their work – they find it meaningful and look forward to it. Some 63% say they are “not engaged”, which is defined as “sleepwalking through their workday”. And 24% are “actively disengaged”: they hate it.

Most of the depressed and anxious people I know, I realised, are in the 87% who don’t like their work. I started to dig around to see if there is any evidence that this might be related to depression. It turned out that a breakthrough had been made in answering this question in the 1970s, by an Australian scientist called Michael Marmot. He wanted to investigate what causes stress in the workplace and believed he’d found the perfect lab in which to discover the answer: the British civil service, based in Whitehall. This small army of bureaucrats was divided into 19 different layers, from the permanent secretary at the top, down to the typists. What he wanted to know, at first, was: who’s more likely to have a stress-related heart attack – the big boss at the top, or somebody below him?

Everybody told him: you’re wasting your time. Obviously, the boss is going to be more stressed because he’s got more responsibility. But when Marmot published his results, he revealed the truth to be the exact opposite. The lower an employee ranked in the hierarchy, the higher their stress levels and likelihood of having a heart attack. Now he wanted to know: why?

And that’s when, after two more years studying civil servants, he discovered the biggest factor. It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed – and, crucially, depressed. Humans have an innate need to feel that what we are doing, day-to-day, is meaningful. When you are controlled, you can’t create meaning out of your work.

Suddenly, the depression of many of my friends, even those in fancy jobs – who spend most of their waking hours feeling controlled and unappreciated – started to look not like a problem with their brains, but a problem with their environments. There are, I discovered, many causes of depression like this. However, my journey was not simply about finding the reasons why we feel so bad. The core was about finding out how we can feel better – how we can find real and lasting antidepressants that work for most of us, beyond only the packs of pills we have been offered as often the sole item on the menu for the depressed and anxious. I kept thinking about what Dr Cacciatore had taught me – we have to deal with the deeper problems that are causing all this distress.

I found the beginnings of an answer to the epidemic of meaningless work – in Baltimore. Meredith Mitchell used to wake up every morning with her heart racing with anxiety. She dreaded her office job. So she took a bold step – one that lots of people thought was crazy. Her husband, Josh, and their friends had worked for years in a bike store, where they were ordered around and constantly felt insecure, Most of them were depressed. One day, they decided to set up their own bike store, but they wanted to run it differently. Instead of having one guy at the top giving orders, they would run it as a democratic co-operative. This meant they would make decisions collectively, they would share out the best and worst jobs and they would all, together, be the boss. It would be like a busy democratic tribe. When I went to their store – Baltimore Bicycle Works – the staff explained how, in this different environment, their persistent depression and anxiety had largely lifted.

It’s not that their individual tasks had changed much. They fixed bikes before; they fix bikes now. But they had dealt with the unmet psychological needs that were making them feel so bad – by giving themselves autonomy and control over their work. Josh had seen for himself that depressions are very often, as he put it, “rational reactions to the situation, not some kind of biological break”. He told me there is no need to run businesses anywhere in the old humiliating, depressing way – we could move together, as a culture, to workers controlling their own workplaces.


With each of the nine causes of depression and anxiety I learned about, I kept being taught startling facts and arguments like this that forced me to think differently. Professor John Cacioppo of Chicago University taught me that being acutely lonely is as stressful as being punched in the face by a stranger – and massively increases your risk of depression. Dr Vincent Felitti in San Diego showed me that surviving severe childhood trauma makes you 3,100% more likely to attempt suicide as an adult. Professor Michael Chandler in Vancouver explained to me that if a community feels it has no control over the big decisions affecting it, the suicide rate will shoot up.

This new evidence forces us to seek out a very different kind of solution to our despair crisis. One person in particular helped me to unlock how to think about this. In the early days of the 21st century, a South African psychiatrist named Derek Summerfeld went to Cambodia, at a time when antidepressants were first being introduced there. He began to explain the concept to the doctors he met. They listened patiently and then told him they didn’t need these new antidepressants, because they already had anti-depressants that work. He assumed they were talking about some kind of herbal remedy.

He asked them to explain, and they told him about a rice farmer they knew whose left leg was blown off by a landmine. He was fitted with a new limb, but he felt constantly anxious about the future, and was filled with despair. The doctors sat with him, and talked through his troubles. They realised that even with his new artificial limb, his old job—working in the rice paddies—was leaving him constantly stressed and in physical pain, and that was making him want to just stop living. So they had an idea. They believed that if he became a dairy farmer, he could live differently. So they bought him a cow. In the months and years that followed, his life changed. His depression—which had been profound—went away. “You see, doctor,” they told him, the cow was an “antidepressant”.

To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place. We can do the same. Some of these solutions are things we can do as individuals, in our private lives. Some require bigger social shifts, which we can only achieve together, as citizens. But all of them require us to change our understanding of what depression and anxiety really are.

This is radical, but it is not, I discovered, a maverick position. In its official statement for World Health Day in 2017, the United Nations reviewed the best evidence and concluded that “the dominant biomedical narrative of depression” is based on “biased and selective use of research outcomes” that “must be abandoned”. We need to move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’”, they said, to focusing more on “power imbalances”.

After I learned all this, and what it means for us all, I started to long for the power to go back in time and speak to my teenage self on the day he was told a story about his depression that was going to send him off in the wrong direction for so many years. I wanted to tell him: “This pain you are feeling is not a pathology. It’s not crazy. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. I know how much it hurts. I know how deeply it cuts you. But you need to listen to this signal. We all need to listen to the people around us sending out this signal. It is telling you what is going wrong. It is telling you that you need to be connected in so many deep and stirring ways that you aren’t yet – but you can be, one day.”

If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.

  • This is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari


Weather disasters cost U.S. record $306 billion in 2017: NOAA

January 8, 2018

by Blake Brittain


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Weather and climate-related disasters cost the United States a record $306 billion in 2017, the third-warmest year on record, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday.

The federal agency’s report underscores the economic risks of such disasters even as President Donald Trump’s administration casts doubts on their causes and has started withdrawing the United States from a global pact to combat climate change.

The agency said western wildfires and hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma contributed to making 2017 the costliest year on record. The previous record was $215 billion in 2005, when hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita slammed the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the average annual temperature for the contiguous United States was 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit (12.6 degrees Celsius) in 2017, 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average and the third-warmest since recordkeeping began in 1895, following 2012 and 2016, the agency said.

“Natural disasters have caused a record-setting amount of damage in the U.S. this year,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois tweeted in response to the report. “There’s no denying that climate change will cost the U.S. trillions more in the next decade and that we have a financial and national security reason to act.”

Scientists have long concluded that carbon dioxide and other emissions from fossil fuels and industry are driving climate change, leading to floods, droughts and more-frequent powerful storms.

Trump, a Republican, has promised to boost U.S. oil, gas and coal production.

Reporting by Blake Brittain; Editing by Susan Thomas and Lisa Von Ahn


Sanchi: Burning tanker off Chinese coast ‘in danger of exploding’

January 8, 2018

BBC News

There are fears of an environmental disaster in the East China Sea as a tanker continues leaking oil two days after colliding with a cargo ship.

Chinese officials have told state media the Sanchi is in danger of exploding and sinking.

Rescuers trying to reach the burning tanker were beaten back by toxic clouds, the transport ministry says.

The body of one crewman, among the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis on board, has been found. The rest are missing.

Where, how and when did the accident happen?

The Panama-flagged Sanchi was bringing its cargo of oil from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal, carrying grain from the US, in the East China Sea. The incident occurred about 260km (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai.

The collision, in the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta, occurred on Saturday evening.

The exact cause of the collision is not yet known.

Why is the Sanchi’s oil so dangerous?

The tanker, run by Iran’s leading oil shipping operator, has on board 136,000 tonnes of condensate, which is an ultra-light version of crude oil.

That is about one million barrels and at current prices is worth roughly $60m (£44m).

The Sanchi will also be carrying a certain amount of heavy – and toxic – shipping fuel.

Condensate is very different from the black crude that is often seen in oil spills.

It exists in gas form within high-pressure oil reservoirs and liquefies once extracted.

It is highly toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular crude oil.

Condensate, which does not need the heavy refining process of denser crude, creates products such as jet fuel, petrol, diesel and heating fuel.

So is it bad for the environment?

Condensate is certainly toxic. It is both colour- and odour-less, and a lot harder to detect, contain and clean up than heavy crudes.

Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, told the BBC there was another difference: “It’s not like crude, which does break down under natural microbial action; this stuff actually kills the microbes that break the oil down.”

It cannot be picked off the surface like heavy crude.

Dr Boxall said the best hope was to put out the fire and stop the ship from sinking.

“If she sinks with a lot of cargo intact, then you have a time bomb on the sea bed which will slowly release the condensate.”

He added: “There could be a long-term exclusion of fishing for many hundreds of kilometres in this area.”

How is the rescue going?

The Sanchi was still ablaze on Monday morning.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said weather conditions were “not that favourable for search and rescue work”.

There are no signs of survivors among the 32-strong crew, although the 21 Chinese nationals on the grain freighter were rescued.

China has sent several ships to carry out search-and-rescue operations, while South Korea helped with a coast guard ship and a helicopter.

The US Navy also sent a military aircraft to help with the rescue efforts.

How does this compare with other oil spills?

It is impossible to say at this point because it is unknown how much oil has been, or will be, spilled.

The Sanchi’s one million barrels is about 35 million gallons. Even if all of it spilled, it would be less than the major ship disasters listed below, but more than three times the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, which is considered one of the world’s worst environmental disasters.

So, how much the spill affects the environment depends on the location where it occurred. The Atlantic Empress incident listed below – the record spill from ships – saw little oil reach coastlines

There are also a lot of different types of spill. Arguably the worst was the deliberate release of up to 500 million gallons by the Iraqis in January 1991 during the Gulf War. The resultant slick covered some 10,300 sq km (4,000 sq miles).

As far as ships are concerned:

  • The Atlantic Empress and Aegean Captain collided off Trinidad and Tobago in 1979. The Atlantic Empress exploded and 26 crew members died. The 90 million gallon oil spill is a record from ships
  • The ABT Summer exploded off Angola in 1991, spilling about 80 million gallons over 200 sq km
  • The Castillo de Bellver caught fire and broke apart off Cape Town, spilling 78 million gallons
  • The Amoco Cadiz spilled almost 69 million gallons after running aground off Brittany in France in 1978
  • The Torrey Canyon hit a reef off Cornwall, England, in 1967, spilling 36 million gallons of crude and affecting almost 200 miles of coastline
  • The Exxon Valdez only spilled 11 million gallons in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989 but was a major environmental disaster




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