Sandra Finley

Mar 242018

RELATED:  2018-03-22  Canadian government getting money from GM salmon sales    (Public-Private-Partnerships are so good for us!)

There are many postings about Salmon.   I just set up a category.  To generate a summary list, click on the small grey text at top left, under the Title of the posting.


This article by Dr. Mercola explains the reasons for the toxicity of the fish.   A significant factor is the fish feed (pellets).   A new video that explores salmon from the Norwegian fish farms is introduced.   I haven’t watched the video yet  – – the article is very good.   Especially when it gets past the first part, which many of us already know.   /Sandra

With thanks to Grant.  (You may wish to go to the URL).

 54 minutes

Story at-a-glance
  • Salmon farming is a disaster both for the environment and for human health, and tests show farmed salmon is about five times more toxic than any other food tested
  • In animal feeding studies, mice fed farmed salmon developed obesity and diabetes — effects researchers believe are related to toxic exposures
  • Besides pesticides and antibiotics used in fish farming, the most significant source of toxic exposure is the dry pellet feed, which contains dioxins, PCBs and other toxic pollutants
  • PCB concentrations in farmed salmon are, on average, eight times higher than in wild salmon
  • Farmed salmon also does not have the nutritional profile of wild salmon, containing more than 5.5 times more omega-6 fat than wild salmon, which further skews rather than corrects most people’s omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

By Dr. Mercola

If you’re aware of the health benefits of animal-based omega-3 fats and the fact that salmon is a great source, you may be shocked to discover that farmed salmon has more in common with junk food than health food. This is the grim reality revealed in Nicolas Daniel’s documentary “Fillet-Oh-Fish,” which includes exclusive footage from fish farms and factories across the globe.

Among the experts featured is Kurt Oddekalv, a respected Norwegian environmental activist who claims salmon farming is an unmitigated disaster, both from an environmental and human health perspective. Below the salmon farms dotted across the Norwegian fjords is a layer of waste some 15 meters (49.2 feet) deep, teeming with bacteria, drugs and toxic pesticides, and since the farms are located in open water, this pollution is in no way contained.

Farmed salmon also pose a more direct toxic threat to your health. Fish has always been considered a health food, but food testing reveals that today’s farmed salmon is one of the most toxic foods in the world. As noted by the producers of the film, “through intensive farming and global pollution, the flesh of the fish we eat has turned into a deadly chemical cocktail.”1

In a global assessment of farmed salmon published in the January 2004 issue of Science,2 13 persistent organic pollutants were found. Farmed salmon also does not have the nutritional profile of wild salmon. Rather than being a wonderful source of much-needed omega-3 fats, farmed salmon contains far more omega-6 than omega-3, which can have deleterious health ramifications, seeing how most people are deficient in omega-3 while getting far more omega-6 than they need.

Salmon Farming Is Not a Green Solution

More than half of the fish Americans eat now comes from fish farms.3 Aquaculture promotes itself as a sustainable solution to overfishing, but in reality, fish farms cause more problems than they solve. For starters, it takes 1.5 to 8 kilograms of wild fish to produce just 1 kilogram of farmed salmon, so the aquaculture industry is actually contributing heavily to the depletion of wild fish stocks rather than saving it.4

A salmon farm can hold upward of 2 million salmon in a relatively small amount of space. As with land-based factory farms where animals are kept in crowded conditions, fish farms are plagued with diseases that spread rapidly among the stressed fish. According to Oddekalv, sea lice, pancreas disease5 and infectious salmon anemia virus have spread all across Norway, yet consumers have not been informed of these fish pandemics, and sale of diseased fish continues unabated.

A number of dangerous pesticides are used to stave off disease-causing pests, one of which is known to have neurotoxic effects. Workers who apply the pesticide must wear full protective clothing, yet these chemicals are dumped right into open water.

The pesticides used have also been shown to affect fish DNA, causing genetic mutations. Disturbing examples of deformed cod are shown, and estimates suggest about half of all farmed cod are deformed in this fashion. What’s worse, female cod that escape from farms are known to mate with wild cod, spreading the genetic mutations and deformities into the wild population.

Nutritional Content of Farmed Fish Is Very Different From Wild Salmon

Farmed salmon suffer less visible but equally disturbing mutations. The flesh of the farmed salmon is oddly brittle and breaks apart when bent — a highly abnormal feature. The nutritional content is also wildly abnormal. Wild salmon contain about 5 to 7 percent fat, whereas the farmed variety can contain anywhere from 14.5 to 34 percent. For a visual demonstration of this difference in fat content, check out the video above.

The elevated fat content is a direct result of the processed high-fat feed that farmed salmon are given. But farmed salmon don’t just contain more fat overall; the real tragedy is the radically skewed ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fats.6 Half a fillet of wild Atlantic salmon contains about 3,996 milligrams (mg) of omega-3 and 341 mg of omega-6.7 Half a fillet of farmed salmon from the Atlantic contains just a bit more omega-3 — 4,961 mg — but an astounding 1,944 mg of omega-6;8 more than 5.5 times more than wild salmon.

While you need both omega-3 and omega-6 fats, the ratio between the two is important and should ideally be about 1-to-1. The standard American diet is already heavily skewed toward omega-6, thanks to the prevalence of processed foods, and with farmed salmon, that unhealthy imbalance is further magnified rather than corrected.

Farmed and Dangerous9 provides an example of a salmon feed label, and the ingredients are very telling in terms of where these excess omega-6 fats are coming from. The first nine ingredients in Skretting’s “Winter Plus 3500″ salmon feed are poultry meal, fish meal, poultry fat, fish oil, whole wheat, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, feather meal and rapeseed oil. These are all ingredients that no wild salmon has ever encountered and is about as far from a species-appropriate diet as you can get.

Farmed Salmon Are Five Times More Toxic Than Any Other Food Tested

Farmed salmon also contain far higher levels of contaminants than wild, in part because of their elevated fat content. Many toxins readily accumulate in fat, which means even when raised in similarly contaminated conditions, farmed salmon will absorb more toxins than the wild fish. Shockingly, research reveals the most significant source of toxic exposure is not actually the pesticides or the antibiotics given to farmed salmon, but the dry pellet feed.

Pollutants found in the feed include dioxins, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides and a number of other drugs and chemicals. When consumed by the salmon, these toxins accumulate in the fat. One study,10 which tested 700 salmon samples collected from around the world, found PCB concentrations in farmed salmon are, on average, eight times higher than in wild salmon.

According to the authors, “Risk analysis indicates that consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon may pose health risks that detract from the beneficial effects of fish consumption.”

Another group of scientists concluded that11 “Consumption of farmed salmon at relatively low frequencies results in elevated exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds with commensurate elevation in estimates of health risk.” Toxicology researcher Jerome Ruzzin has also tested a number of different food groups sold in Norway for toxins, confirming that farmed salmon contain the greatest amount of toxins of them all, and by a large margin.

Overall, farmed salmon are five times more toxic than any other food tested. In animal feeding studies, mice fed farmed salmon grew obese, with thick layers of fat around their internal organs. They also developed diabetes. Ruzzin notes that a theory gaining traction is that rising rates of obesity are related to the increasing number of toxins and pollutants we’re exposed to through our environment and food. In light of his own findings, Ruzzin has stopped eating farmed salmon.


What Makes the Fish Feed so Toxic?

To investigate why the fish feed is so toxic, the film visits a Norwegian fish pellet plant. Here, we find out that the main ingredient is eel, used for their high protein and fat content, and other fatty fish from the Baltic Sea. That’s where the problem begins, as the Baltic is highly polluted. Some of the fish have toxic levels of pollutants, which then simply get incorporated into the feed pellets.

In Sweden, fish mongers are required to warn patrons about the potential toxicity of Baltic fish. According to government recommendations, you should not eat fatty fish like herring more than once a week, and if you’re pregnant, fish from the Baltic should be avoided altogether. Swedish Greenpeace activist Jan Isakson reveals some of the sources of all this pollution. Just outside of Stockholm, there’s a massive paper mill on the bank of the Baltic that generates toxic dioxins.

Nine other industrialized countries surrounding the Baltic Sea also dump their toxic waste into this closed body of water. Dioxins bind to fat, which is why herring, eel and salmon end up accumulating higher amounts than other fish. So, as a result of being deemed unfit for human consumption, some of these fatty fish are now primarily used as fish food. Alas, in the end, these toxins wind up on our plates anyway whenever we eat farmed fish, especially farmed salmon.

One of the Best Kept Secrets of the Fish Industry

Some of the toxicity also stems from the manufacturing process of the pellets. The fatty fish are first cooked, resulting in two separate products: protein meal and oil. While the oil has high levels of dioxins and PCBs, the protein powder also adds to the toxicity of the end product. To this protein powder, an “antioxidant” called ethoxyquin is added. According to the filmmaker, this is one of the best kept secrets of the fish food industry — and one of the most toxic.

Ethoxyquin was developed as a pesticide by Monsanto in the 1950s. Its use is strictly regulated on fruits, vegetables and in meat, but not in fish, because it was never intended for such use.

Fish feed manufacturers never informed health authorities that they were using the chemical as a means to prevent the fats from oxidizing and going rancid, and so its presence in farmed fish was never addressed. Disturbingly, testing reveals farmed fish can contain levels of ethoxyquin that are up to 20 times higher than the level allowed in fruits, vegetables and meats.

What’s more, the effects of this chemical on human health have never been established. The one and only study ever done on ethoxyquin and human health was a thesis by Victoria Bohne, a former researcher in Norway who made a number of disturbing discoveries, including the fact that ethoxyquin can cross the blood brain barrier and may have carcinogenic effects. Bohne was pressured to leave her research job after attempts were made to falsify and downplay her findings.

Others have linked the secret use of ethoxyquin in Norwegian fish farming and the lack of scientific investigation into its effects to the Norwegian minister of fisheries and coastal affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, who also happens to be a major shareholder in a commercial salmon farm, and has held many high-ranking positions within the fishing industry.

Are You Eating Fish or Fish Waste?

Fish can be one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but in the industrial age you have to be really mindful of your choices. If you needed another reason to avoid processed foods, watch this film to the end, where it describes how fish waste has become a “highly valued commodity” used in processed foods. At less than 15 cents per kilo (2.2 pounds), fish heads and tails, and what little meat is left over after filleting, are a real profit maker.

Virtually nothing actually goes to waste anymore. Fish waste is washed and ground into a pulp, which is then used in prepared meals and pet food. Since food manufacturers are not required to tell you their products contain fish pulp rather than actual fish fillet meat, this product offers a high profit margin for food manufacturers. One tipoff: if the product’s list of ingredients includes fish without specifying that it’s made with actual fillet of fish, it usually means they used fish waste pulp.

Fish fraud is also commonplace. Investigations have shown that 1 in 3 fish labels is false or misleading. Typically, an inexpensive fish is mislabeled as a more expensive one. Some farmed fish are also passed off as wild. Since traceability is more complex in the processed food industry, due to the mixing of ingredients, that’s where most of the fish fraud occurs. It’s somewhat more difficult to pass off fillets of fish as another species, although that also occurs.

Healthy Seafood Options

It’s become quite clear that fish farms are not a viable solution to overfishing. If anything, they’re making matters worse, destroying the marine ecosystem at a far more rapid clip to boot. So, what’s the answer? Unfortunately, the vast majority of fish — even when wild caught — are frequently too contaminated to eat on a frequent basis. Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals and chemicals such as dioxins, PCBs and agricultural chemicals.

This is why, as a general rule, I no longer recommend eating fish on a regular basis. There are exceptions, however. One is authentic wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon; the nutritional benefits of which I believe still outweigh any potential contamination. The risk of sockeye accumulating high amounts of mercury and other toxins is reduced because of its short life cycle, which is only about three years. Additionally, bioaccumulation of toxins is also reduced by the fact that it doesn’t feed on other, already contaminated, fish.

Alaskan salmon (not to be confused with Atlantic salmon) is not allowed to be farmed, and is therefore always wild-caught. My favorite brand is Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, which offers a nice variety of high-quality salmon products that test high for omega-3 fats and low for contaminants.

Canned salmon labeled “Alaskan salmon” is a less expensive alternative to salmon fillets.  Remember that wild salmon is quite lean, so the fat marks — those white stripes you see in the meat — are on the thin side. If a fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is likely farmed. Avoid Atlantic salmon, as salmon bearing this label are almost always farmed.

Another exception is smaller fish with short lifecycles, which also tend to be better alternatives in terms of fat content, such as sardines and anchovies. With their low contamination risk and higher nutritional value, they are a win-win alternative. As a general rule, the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will accumulate.

Just make sure they’re not from the Baltic Sea, which is exceptionally polluted. Other good choices include herring and fish roe (caviar), which are full of important phospholipids that nourish your mitochondrial membranes.


Mar 242018
World Beyond War is planning an annual global conference in Toronto on September 21 and 22, 2018, at OCAD University (Ontario College of Art and Design University). We hope to help bring peace movements from Canada, the United States, and elsewhere more closely together.

You say you’re against war, but what’s the alternative? Let’s design and build an alternative system of global governance – one in which peace is pursued by peaceful means. Learn how at #NoWar2018!

We will explore how the rule of law has been used both to restrain war and to legitimize it — and how we can re-design systems to abolish the institution of war and uphold human and ecological justice.

The conference will take place on Friday Sept 21 (5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., doors open at 4:00 p.m.) and Saturday Sept 22. (9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.). Local groups may organize a film festival and a book event on Sept 20. A blue-scarf march through Toronto is planned for 2 p.m. on Sept 23.

We’ve posted the detailed agenda at

Speakers already confirmed include: Christine Ahn, Saul Arbess, Medea Benjamin, Leah Bolger, Anne Creter, Gail Davidson, Pat Elder, Norman Finkelstein, William Geimer, Doug Hewitt-White, Tony Jenkins, Peter Jones, Tamara Lorincz, James T. Ranney, Kent Shifferd, Alice Slater, David Swanson, Daniel Turp, Greta Zarro, Kevin Zeese. Read their bios here.

Register to attend with early-bird discount:

Donate to allow someone else to attend who otherwise could not afford to.


Sponsor (and, if desired, table).


Advertise in Program.


Volunteer to help in Toronto.

Send us ideas.

Rides and Lodging Board.


Peace Ambassadors:

Home Rule Globally.


Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Code Pink

Places doing events showing livestream or video:

Coop Anti-War Cafe, Berlin, Germany


Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s Facebook event page.


Mar 232018

Catherine McKenna was interviewed on CBC Radio – –

2018-03-18   Environment minister Catherine McKenna on contradiction at heart of Canada’s energy policy, CBC Sunday Edition

Three days earlier,  Justin Trudeau’s government sees nuclear energy as “an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket”and is lobbying foreign nations to include it in climate change talks – –

2018-03-15   Climate: Trudeau government is banking on nuclear power


Maybe I missed it;  I didn’t hear any mention of nuclear power in Minister McKenna’s presentation (CBC interview).   So let’s ask her.

I sent the following which also raises “follow-the-money” issue.

By the way,  I think (thought?) Catherine McKenna is one of the best Ministers we have.  Others view:  she faces the exact same dilemma that confronted all previous Ministers of the Environment.  When it comes to stark choices in federal policy between public interest and corporate interest, the latter always wins out.

After I made my observation and received the reply,  this came in:

2018-03-14  Offshore drilling too risky for U.S. Eastern Seaboard, but not for Canada? Chronicle Herald. (Minister McKenna approved BP to drill up to 7 exploratory wells off the coast of NS, wells up to twice depth of Macondo well of Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico disaster.)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Minister of Environment,  Catherine McKenna   Telephone: 819-938-3813

Represents  Ottawa Centre,,   Telephone: 613-946-8682

– – – – – – – –

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister,   Jonathan Wilkinson,  Represents North Vancouver;  

Hill Office,  613.995.1225,   Constituency Office,  604.775.6333,  

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

My letter to the Minister

From: Sandra Finley
Sent: March 20, 2018 8:48 PM
Subject:    Do you KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, Copenhagen, in May?


Dear Minister McKenna,


QUESTION 1:   Are you aware that the Ministry of Natural Resources under Jim Carr  – – “Canada” – – is pushing to have nuclear energy included as a solution, in Climate discussions at Copenhagen in May?

I caught most of your interview on CBC Radio, March 18th.  It was not apparent to me that you are aware.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


QUESTION 2:   Are you aware of former 4-term Liberal Cabinet Minister (under PM’s Martin & Chretien) Anne McLellan’s role on the Board of Cameco (nuclear industry)?

(Re  DSU:  Most of the deferred equity-based compensation paid to directors takes the form of deferred share units (DSUs)).


Securities Held

As of December 31, 2016

Year Cameco Shares DSUs Total Shares & DSUs Total value of Shares & DSUs Meets share ownership targets
2016 100 38,253 38,353 $ 538,478 Yes (145%)
2015 100 33,413 33,513 $ 572,066 Yes
Change –– 4,840 4,840 $(33,588)

For share ownership compliance, Anne’s shares and DSUs held at December 31, 2016 are valued at $929,756.00

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr,

Speech to the Canadian Nuclear Association on February 22, 2018:

. . .meeting again in Copenhagen in May and we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its place in a broad, high-level discussion on a global transition to a low-carbon economy,”


From spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada, Jerri Southcott:

Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.

(From   2018-03-15 Climate: Trudeau government is banking on nuclear power)


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The assertion  “nuclear . . . will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.”   struck me as incongruent.   Why would a political party in Canada promote the nuclear industry?  Canadian provinces, moving from the West eastward:

  • British Columbia‘s policy is no-nuclear. The Crown corporation, BC Hydro “reject(s) consideration of nuclear power in implementing B.C.’s clean energy strategy.”
  • Albertans fought down nuclear reactors on the Peace River (from 2007 until 2011 when Bruce Power completely bailed out of efforts to build reactors in Alberta).
  • Saskatchewanians fought down nuclear reactors planned for the North Saskatchewan River, 2009.

(Saskatchewanians also fought down 3 separate attempts by the industry to build a deep geological Repository for high level radioactive waste disposal in northern Saskatchewan.)

  •  Manitobans gained their experience at Pinawawa (“Whiteshell”) in 1978.   “No.”

(The High Level Radioactive Waste Act was assented to in 1987.  It is illegal to import radioactive waste into Manitoba.)

  • The citizens of Ontario have had enough experience to know the high cost of nuclear energy.

(Mayors of Cities around the Great Lakes, on both the Canadian and American sides, banded together to stop the transport of radioactive waste through their water supply bound for disposal on the other side of the Atlantic.   I don’t know the number of communities in Ontario that have said “No” to the disposal of radioactive waste anywhere in their vicinity.   For fifty years the industry has been trying unsuccessfully to get rid of their waste.   Meanwhile the old reactors in Ontario have to be dealt with, as they near end-of-life.  What happens then?)

  • The Province of Quebec put an end to nuclear reactors.

(The Quebec Legislature prohibited import of radioactive waste for storage in Quebec.)

  • Point LePreau has been a financial sinkhole for the people of New Brunswick.


What are the Liberals thinking?!    . . . Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future?      I kind of have to laugh.   Except that . . .  there’s a reason.   Always is.

WHY  are Canadians so opposed to nuclear energy?   . . .  It’s because the economics don’t make sense.    Most Ontarians, Quebecers, and New Brunswickers, provinces that have had nuclear energy, understand that.  And the rest of us learn from their experience.

Citizens become the paupers.


The question then, is, who wins?   Not in general terms, but SPECIFICALLY.  That is the role of investigative journalists, if we had any, to discover – – there ARE beneficiaries.   WHO are they?   . . .  follow the money.   I will get to that after this comment:

When a population fights a reactor because it will enslave them to very expensive electricity, at the cost of investing in alternatives, and

then turns around to fight the transportation of (the industry’s estimate in 2009, more now) 20,000 truckloads of accumulated high level radioactive waste, you may, as I did, come to view the nuclear industry as a Ponzi scheme.  Someone gets left holding the bag, at the end.   “Someone” is the good old, not-yet-angry-enough citizen.

It’s pretty simple:   a business needs a revenue stream to cover its costs.  The industry has old reactors in Ontario;  billions of dollars are being spent to extend their lives.   Costs go onto electricity bills.  The last “new” reactor began construction in July 1985,  more than three decades ago.

No new reactors means no new revenue streams to replace the old ones.

BUT,  simultaneously, the industry has (by its own estimates in 2009, more now) upwards of $24 billion for the cost of building a Repository for its accumulated waste.  That estimate does not include the cost of transporting all the waste to the site. (Some years ago, the industry was required to start putting money into a fund to address those eventual costs.  It has so far collected a small portion of the necessary money.)

There’s the Ponzi:

Without new reactors they don’t have a replacement revenue stream.  So, dwindling cash in-flow.  Large out-flows.  How are they going to pay the cost of accumulated waste disposal, an estimated $30 billion dollars?   I have no idea what their existing debt-loads are.  There are contaminated sites to be cleaned up, at large expense.  There isn’t one insurance company willing to sell insurance to them.    A new reactor requires capital investment.  But investors don’t line up when the potential for returns looks lousy.

No new reactors?  . . . in a Ponzi, the last guy to buy in (Ontario?) ends up footing the bill.   Most of the other provinces have said. “It’s not going to be us.”

UNLESS  . . .  unless the industry has access to the public purse to foot the bills, they’re hooped.  Seems to me.

The Liberals appear to be gambling that they can use spin doctors and count on ignorant voters.  I don’t think we are that gullible.


So WHY the big push, by the Trudeau Government, to commit Canada to nuclear reactors and to have other countries adopt them as a (false) answer to climate change?   . . .   follow the money.

When I read the words of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s parliamentary secretary,  we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its placeI went to Cameco’s website.  (If you don’t know Cameco, see

Who are the current Executive and Board members? 

 No longer:  Nancy Hopkins, Saskatoon corporate lawyer who had been on the Cameco Board since 1992, had Cameco shares and options worth $1,001,871 in 2008;  $1,843,273 in 2009.

The fight over the North Sask River reactor was in 2009.  As mentioned, the reactor was defeated.  Not good news for Cameco’s share value.

The Fukishima nuclear reactor disaster was in March 2011, seven years ago.  Cameco shares fell, but had been falling.  The high was in mid-June, 2007,  $59.46 per share.  The next high, mid-Feb 2011, $41.34.   Down to $18.41 by the end of 2011;  no recovery – – trading around $12.00  in mid-March, 2018.   Today’s share value is down by 80% over its June 2007 high.

If Nancy did not unload her shares, the value of her portfolio investment in Cameco has plummeted.  The same is true for other Executive members of Cameco.  But investment in Cameco shares is only part of the money.

What does the compensation look like for Cameco Executives?  What’s at stake for them, or for the aspiring executives to succeed them, if the industry can’t bring new reactors on-stream?  It will be compensation + perks + share value + intangibles of being on the Board (influence, connections).


(Ref, chart from:


Key Executive Compensation












Timothy S. Gitzel/President and Chief Executive Officer 4,772,534 4,720,325 5,099,097 5,917,347 5,924,134


Grant E. Isaac/Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer 1,818,511 1,760,075 2,791,418 2,076,531 2,558,113


Robert Steane/Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer 2,396,780 2,223,135 2,591,850 3,370,965 2,624,740


Alice Wong/Senior Vice-President and Chief Corporate Officer 1,246,179 1,172,529 2,198,320 1,552,552 1,679,768


Sean Quinn/Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary 621,360 2,381,550 1,700,442 1,660,150


These people are in the 1%, having been given access to a public resource, once owned by a Crown Corporation.   From 2013 to 2014 Key Executive Compensation rose by 43% (from $10 million to $15 million), at a time when their share value had been in uninterrupted decline since February, 2011.   And just after the CRA – – –

Grant Isaac was into his fourth year with Cameco (Chief Financial Officer), Nancy Hopkins, corporate lawyer, her 21st year on the Board, when the CRA went after Cameco, over offshore shell companies:

The uranium producer estimates it has avoided declaring $4.9-billion in Canadian income, saving it $1.4-billion in taxes, over the last 10 years.

2013-05-01   Cameco’s $800-million tax battle, Globe & Mail  

(Update:  2017-08-17 Cameco wins PROCEDURAL victory in offshore ‘transfer pricing’ tax battle, (not the end of the case)  Financial Post)


Citizens were pretty pissed.  We pay taxes, they don’t.  That’s not all.  Intolerable conflicts-of-interest:

Nancy served as a Director on the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan from 2005-2013, serving as the Chair of the Board in the last three years. Nancy also sat on the Board of Cameco Corporation (CCO on the TSX; CCJ on the NYSE) for 24 years, and, in that time, chaired the Compensation Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Governance Committee. (

During Nancy’s time as Chair of the University Board of Governors, the Provincial Government of Brad Wall transferred (2011) between $30 and $47 million to the University EAR-MARKED for the nuclear industry.  (  Nancy did not protect University autonomy by insisting that public funding of the University has to be “no strings attached”.  Further:

Grant Isaac was Dean of the Edwards School of Business at the U of S.   In July, 2009, Cameco Corp hired him; in 2011 he became Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.   In January 2013, Grant was appointed by the Government to the Board of Governors of the University.

(I met with Grant when he was still Dean of the Business School, to understand whether what is taught in Economics classes is still the same as it was when I was a student there, (1967-71).   Grossly deficient economic indicators, GDP, the ability of corporations to offload costs to the public to pay, etc..   The answer was “yes”.   Grant put it this way:   “If there was a way to change it, it would have been done by now.”   So, no problem teaching junk to students.   That was in 2008 when the faculty was still on strike (  Grant went to Cameco in summer 2009.  Would he have been selected if he had been active in seeking changes to a flawed economic system that is taking the planet to the brink?

(INSERT, UPDATE:  OTHER universities ARE doing something:   2018-03-21     Hallelujah! GDAE Textbooks for Economics Courses (Tufts University))

There are no laws in Saskatchewan to prohibit corporate (or union) donations to political parties.


In  2009, the President of the University, Peter McKinnon, was hosted at Cameco’s fly-in fishing lodge,  Yalowega Lake, in northern Saskatchewan.   The Lodge has its own gourmet chef.

McKinnon (who was dean of the Law School, before becoming President of the U) attacked those who challenged Nancy Hopkins’ conflict-of-interest (heavily invested in Cameco, Chair of the U Board of Governors, involved in decisions re allocation of university priorities and Government funding for the nuclear industry).  He angrily declared that there was no conflict-of-interest.

So,  WHO ELSE is on the Board?  And does it have any bearing on my question:

WHY the big push, by the Trudeau Government, to commit Canada to nuclear reactors?  It doesn’t make sense – – the level of resistance right across the country is high, and known.   The last “new” reactor began construction 30+ years ago.   To go into international negotiations and try to foist nuclear energy on other countries, when your own citizens won’t tolerate it, only undermines the integrity of Canadian business.    What’s up?


Anne McLellan?   She was brought onto the Cameco Board in 2006.  You may recall Anne – – for years, the only federal Liberal elected in the West (Edmonton).   Served 4 terms.  She was Federal Minister of Justice, of Health, of Natural Resources, Deputy Prime Minister, , ,  under Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.

A Liberal of influence.  Was awarded an Order of Canada.   After politics she went on corporate boards.   She earns more than a million dollars a year from her board work.  I assume there’s a reason why she was called to the Board of Cameco.


On February 11, 2016, as Natural Resources Minister, Carr purchased seven tickets to a NHL game featuring the Winnipeg Jets versus the Boston Bruins. His guests included the energy ministers . . . .

Carr represents the riding of Winnipeg South Centre,

Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, from Cobourg, represents the Ontario riding of  Northumberland—Peterborough South

Her speech to the Canadian Nuclear Association on February 22, 2018:

. . .meeting again in Copenhagen in May and we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its place in a broad, high-level discussion on a global transition to a low-carbon economy,”

Jerri Rudd,  “spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada”,  Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.”

who is she?  see    


Anyhow, there you go.   When I followed the money, on the thing that didn’t make sense to me – – if I know the list of provinces that have fought against nuclear and won – – the extent of the dedicated “no to nuclear”, surely the Liberal Party knows the same.   I conclude it is not the interests of Canadians that are being served.   Yet again.   Corruption trumps.


For your consideration, Minister McKenna.

For your sake, for the sake of  Tax-payers’ wallets, for the sake of democracy and integrity, I wish it was otherwise.

Best regards,

Sandra Finley




Mar 232018
Donald Trump campaigning in Sarasota, Florida, November 2016

During the 2016 presidential elections Bill Clinton believed his wife’s team had failed to learn one of the lessons of Brexit: working people felt alienated and there was an anti-establishment mood in the air. But his suggestions were politely acknowledged and then discreetly shelved by the number-crunchers in charge. “He’d report back from the field on what he was hearing at campaign events,” Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. “[The] response was always a variation on the same analysis: the data run counter to your anecdotes. Bill liked data, but he believed it was insufficient … He felt it was important to talk to voters and get a real sense for what they were feeling.” In the battle between raw numbers and raw emotion, the numbers won and Hillary lost.

Recent revelations that Donald Trump’scampaign paid Cambridge Analytica to target potential voters with bespoke messages would lead some to argue that Hillary’s problem wasn’t that her team privileged data over lived experience. The problem was that Team Trump had better data.

In an undercover recording for Channel 4 Cambridge Analytica’s head of data, Alexander Tayler, effectively claimed Trump owed his victory to his company: “When you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3m votes but won the electoral college vote,” he bragged. “That’s down to the data and the research.”

The still unfolding story of how personal information was leveraged for financial profit and political gain lays bare the vulnerability of democracy to new technology. The situation was bad enough. With social media lies can spread far faster than scrutiny can ever travel because people are now able to curate both their own news and the communities in which they distribute it. This is, partly, why 12 years after the start of the Iraq war, half of Republicans still believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (it didn’t) and two years ago 59% of Trump supporters still thought Barack Obama was not born in America (he was). Ignorance and bigotry need no help: in the fetid pit of prejudice and presumption they can breed and disperse freely. So to have private contractors harvesting personal information and using it to target the people they think are most susceptible to certain political messages, all for electoral gain and corporate profit, is disturbing. Facebook, which stands accused of failing to monitor how data collected from the platform was being used, should be held to account; Cambridge Analytica, which was allegedly linked to the leave side in the Brexit referendum , should also be investigated.

The questions raised in the past week about the harvesting of data, and the targeting of voters based on personal information that they may have parted with unknowingly, are serious. And yet to accept the claim that outside intervention was primarily responsible for Trump’s victory or the Brexit vote feels like an even more serious transgression.

There is a desire among some liberals, many even, to dismiss the events of recent years as something other than what they were – a massive political defeat. Some of this dismissiveness comes from a deeply illiberal place, that effectively insists people are too stupid to understand what they want or what is best for them. There is also a wish to avoid responsibility for failing to connect politically in the decades since the financial crisis with a message that resonated, and to seek instead a legal remedy or technical reprieve by impeaching the president or annulling the referendum.

There is no contradiction between accepting that the Russians, Facebook, ignorance, Cambridge Analytica or stupidity played a role and understanding that a far larger drama, which has been under way for far longer, makes sense of the role they were able to play. If Trump is removed by impeachment, so be it. But that will be an inadequate salve for the long-running sores that made him possible.

Cambridge Analytica didn’t invent the racism, misogyny and xenophobia that have corroded American political culture and made Trump possible. These social pathologies were eating away at our democracies long before social media was invented. Their roots are deeper, their reach farther and their influence greater than any algorithm could conjure.

The Russians did not tell Hillary Clinton to send surrogates to Arizona shortly before the election, when they would have been far more helpful in Michigan or Wisconsin. They didn’t tell her to give a speech at Goldman Sachs for $225,000 in the wake of a huge bank bailout or call half Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables”. Facebook hadn’t been invented when she was for the Iraq war before she was against it, or when she was against gay marriage before she was for it.

Social media platforms, nefarious bots and dodgy data companies can amplify views that are already out there and distort perspectives that already exist – but they cannot invent them. In short they can manipulate the supply of ideas, but they cannot create the demand for those ideas from thin air.

Trump’s victory and Brexit came in a time of growing economic inequality, wage stagnation, mass migration, rising xenophobia and racial tension. Bill Clinton was right – there was a mood out there. That mood emerged from material conditions that mainstream parties had made possible over the past few decades, through, among other things, illegal war, deregulation, trade liberalisation and vile rhetoric on immigration. And on both sides of the Atlantic liberals failed to either take responsibility for this or adequately respond to its consequences. Now they are paying the price.

None of this excuses the actions of those who have sought to mislead us nor denies the power of the memes, messages and misinformation that they have produced. With some help, what begins life as received wisdom can graduate to common knowledge and mature into a full-blown script that people recite without knowing where it came from or what, precisely, it means. “We just put information [like ‘crooked Hillary’] into the bloodstream of the internet and watch it grow,” claimed Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, who has since been suspended. “Give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape … So this stuff infiltrates the online community with no branding, so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”

We know these things made a difference. Given the narrow margins of defeat in both the Brexit referendum and the 2016 presidential election, it is an open question whether they made the difference that tipped us over the edge. That matters.

But either way, the question remains: what were we doing so close to the edge? And how do we get out of the pit we are now in? We do not yet have the answer to the second question. But we can be fairly sure we won’t find it in an algorithm.

Mar 232018

Alexander Nix, pictured here in 2016, was recently suspended from his position as the C.E.O. of Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the center of a data-mining scandal involving Facebook.

n 2006, a local pollster in Nepal was kidnapped by Maoist rebels while conducting opinion surveys on behalf of the American political strategist Stan Greenberg. The Maoists, who had been waging a long-running insurgency against the government, did not issue their typical ransom demands—money or weapons in exchange for the prisoner. No, they wanted the polling data that Greenberg’s team had collected, evidently to gauge the political climate in the country for themselves. The researchers eventually handed it over. In his book “Alpha Dogs,” the British journalist James Harding cites this story as an example of how the business of political campaigning is being remade, across the globe, by a profusion of fine-grained data about voters and their habits. Where the consultants of the nineteen-sixties and seventies obsessed over how to use television to beam ideal images of their clients into voters’ homes, today’s spinmasters hope that big data will allow them to manipulate voters’ deepest hopes and fears. “What’s the currency of the world now?” one of Greenberg’s partners asks Harding. “It’s not gold, it’s data. It’s the information.”


Twelve years later, the fixation on data as the key to political persuasion has exploded into scandal. For the past several days, the Internet has been enveloped in outrage over Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the shadowy firm that supposedly helped Donald Trump win the White House. As with the Maoist rebels, this appears to be a tale of data-lust gone bad. In order to fulfill the promises that Cambridge Analytica made to its clients—it claimed to possess cutting-edge “psychographic profiles” that could judge voters’ personalities better than their own friends could—the company had to harvest huge amounts of information. It did this in an ethically suspicious way, by contracting with Aleksandr Kogan, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge, who built an app that collected demographic data on tens of millions of Facebook users, largely without their knowledge. “This was a scam—and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, told the Times over the weekend. Kogan has said that he was assured by Cambridge Analytica that the data collection was “perfectly legal and within the limits of the terms of service.”

Despite Facebook’s performance of victimization, it has endured a good deal of blowback and blame. Even before the story broke, Trump’s critics frequently railed at the company for contributing to his victory by failing to rein in fake news and Russian propaganda. To them, the Cambridge Analytica story was another example of Facebook’s inability, or unwillingness, to control its platform, which allowed bad actors to exploit people on behalf of authoritarian populism. Democrats have demanded that Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, testify before Congress. Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, wants to talk to him, too. “Facebook needs to clarify before the representatives of five hundred million Europeans that personal data is not being used to manipulate democracy,” he said. On Wednesday afternoon, after remaining conspicuously silent since Friday night, Zuckerberg pledged to restrict third-party access to Facebook data in an effort to win back user trust. “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he wrote on Facebook.

But, as some have noted, the furor over Cambridge Analytica is complicated by the fact that what the firm did wasn’t unique or all that new. In 2012, Barack Obama’s reëlection campaign used a Facebook app to target users for outreach, giving supporters the option to share their friend lists with the campaign. These efforts, compared with those of Kogan and Cambridge Analytica, were relatively transparent, but users who never gave their consent had their information sucked up anyway. (Facebook has since changed its policies.) As the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has written, Facebook itself is a giant “surveillance machine”: its business model demands that it gather as much data about its users as possible, then allow advertisers to exploit the information through a system so complex and opaque that misuse is almost guaranteed.

Just because something isn’t new doesn’t mean that it’s not outrageous. It is unquestionably a bad thing that we carry out much of our online lives within a data-mining apparatus that sells influence to the highest bidder. My initial reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, though, was jaded; the feeling came from having seen how often, in the past, major public outcries about online privacy led nowhere. In most cases, after the calls to delete Facebook die down and the sternly worded congressional letters stop being written, things pretty much go back to normal. Too often, privacy scandals boil down to a superficial fix to some specific breach or leak, without addressing how the entire system undermines the possibility of control. What exciting big-data technique will be revealed, six years from now, as a democracy-shattering mind-control tool?

Yet I eventually found reason to be genuinely repulsed by the story. On Monday, the U.K.’s Channel 4 published video footage of an undercover sting operation that it had conducted against Cambridge Analytica. A man working for the channel, posing as a political operative from Sri Lanka, met with the firm’s representatives to discuss hiring them for a campaign. On camera, over three meetings in various swanky hotels around London, C.A.’s employees offer an increasingly sordid account of their methods and capabilities. The most unseemly revelation—and, in the context of the sting, the most ironic—comes when Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s C.E.O., seems to offer to entrap the client’s political rivals with secretly videotaped bribes and rendezvous with sex workers. (Nix was suspended on Tuesday.)

Like much of the best investigative journalism, the Channel 4 video gives viewers the queasy sense of a rock being overturned and sinister things being exposed to the light. It is difficult to watch the video without becoming at least a little suspicious of the entire business of democracy, given how large a role political consultants such as Nix play in it these days. Perhaps it is naïve to be scandalized by the cravenness of political consultants in the age of Paul Manafort, whose global democratic-perversion tour took him from buffing the image of the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in the nineteen-eighties, to running Trump’s campaign, or to fighting a fraud case for allegedly laundering his fees from the Ukrainian kleptocrat Viktor Yanukovych. But there was something shocking about the stark double identity of this posh “Old Etonian,” as all the British papers call Nix, who presented himself as a big-data wizard at marketing events but proposed basic gangsterism to clients in private. And in the same spiffy suit.

Watching the video makes you understand that the ethical difference between outright electoral corruption and psychographics is largely a matter of degree. Both are shortcuts that warp the process into something small and dirty. You don’t need to believe Cambridge Analytica’s own hype about the persuasive power of its methods to worry about how data-obsessed political marketing can undermine democracy. The model of the voter as a bundle of psychological vulnerabilities to be carefully exploited reduces people to mathematical inputs. The big debates about values and policies that campaigns are supposed to facilitate and take part in are replaced by psychographically derived messages targeted to ever-tinier slivers of voters who are deemed by an algorithm to be persuadable. The organization of all of online life by data-mining operations makes this goal seem attainable, while an industry of data scientists and pollsters pitch it as inevitable. Candidates, voters, and pundits, enthralled with the geek’s promise of omniscience, rush to buy in—at least until it’s used by someone they don’t like. Cambridge Analytica is as much a symptom of democracy’s sickness as its cause.


  • Adrian Chen joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016.

Read more »

Mar 232018

Recall:  this is pipeline and tanker EXPANSION.  It’s always “more”.   They are never satisfied, no matter the consequences.

Catch a quick overview at:  


From: Atiya Jaffar –
Sent: March 22, 2018 1:21 PM

Subject: This is Trudeau’s worst nightmare


Over 80 arrests at the Kinder Morgan terminal with more expected.

Dear Friends,

We are watching history in the making right now on the coast of BC. Since Saturday, over 80 people have been arrested taking bold action on Burnaby Mountain to protect the land, water, and climate from the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline. And more actions are expected in the days to come.  

We gave Trudeau fair warning to expect a massive uprising of non-violent resistance if he approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline and that’s exactly what we’re seeing. This is the moment for all of us to stand together in this fight. It’s time for us to “warrior up” as Coast Salish peoples at the forefront of the Kinder Morgan fight have called on us to do. Sign up today to join bold actions to #ProtecttheInlet.

[There are good photos – – I cannot upload them for you,  and I don’t know if there’s a URL I can send you to.  /Sandra]

The scale of resistance here on the West Coast has been massive, powerful, and at times overwhelming. Since Saturday, wave upon wave of concerned community members have marched to the Kinder Morgan terminal and tied themselves to the gates — blocking access to the facility for hours and breaking the company’s court-granted injunction. I was one of them.

On Tuesday, I was arrested at the Kinder Morgan terminal alongside fellow young people who are ready to fight for our future because politicians refuse to do so. Others who have taken bold action so far include the founders of Greenpeace, a former Kinder Morgan employee, a palliative care nurse who is determined “to fight for life,” an elderly couple who were both retired opera singers, and many more.

In addition to this resistance at the Kinder Morgan gates, on Monday, Terry Christenson, a 76 year old grandfather climbed atop a tree that Kinder Morgan has flagged for clearance and refused to come down until the pipeline was stopped. But the more of us the better. Can you sign up to join in the resistance for the next two days?

So many, like myself, have never been arrested before but all of us fear the impacts of this pipeline much more than the repercussions of an arrest.

Our pressure is working. We’ve gotten nonstop media coverage of our actions nationally and locally. Tens of thousands of people are starting to learn about this pipeline and the wall of opposition to it in Burnaby.

It’s clear the Trudeau government is getting nervous too. Everyday as more Indigenous leaders, youth, grandparents, engineers, teachers, nurses and community members get arrested in resistance to Kinder Morgan, Trudeau’s reputation as a climate leader and champion for Indigenous rights cracks a little more.

If you can’t join the bold actions, we’d love for you to help take this message to Liberal MPs. You can join the national day of action this Friday to deliver water from the Burrard Inlet to offices of members of parliament across the country. There will be over 50 water deliveries across the country. Find a delivery near you on the map.

More and more people across the country have their eyes on the situation on Burnaby Mountain. As growing waves of concerned community members are arrested to make way for a Texas-oil company’s massive pipeline and tanker project, we can expect a growing change in public opinion in favour of our movement. And we can take it one step further by reminding the Trudeau government that this fight is national on Friday.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to stand beside Indigenous leaders and people all across the country, like you, in this fight. Thank you for all the action that you have taken to stop Kinder Morgan.

I have a feeling we’re going to win,

Atiya is building a global climate movement. You can connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and become a sustaining donor to keep this movement strong and growing.

Mar 222018

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The Canadian government is getting money from the sales of the GM salmon.

The federal government is receiving 10% royalties from sales of the genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) salmon.

The royalties to the government are part of a 2009 $2.8 million-dollar grant agreement between the GM fish company AquaBounty and the federal government Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The royalties will be paid until the $2.8 million is paid back. However, if the GM salmon is not a commercial success, the company is not required to repay the government funds.

In 2013 the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change approved GM salmon production at Bay Fortune in Prince Edward Island (PEI) where GM salmon eggs are currently manufactured and then shipped to Panama for growing at a small pilot site. The company AquaBounty must seek approval from Environment and Climate Change Canada for commercial scale GM salmon production at their Rollo Bay facility in PEI which now under construction. Future payments to the government are linked to the federal environmental risk assessment of GM salmon production at Rollo Bay in PEI.

“We’re concerned that the government is responsible for regulating this GM fish and also has a stake in its success,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). Read and share today’s press release.

The GM salmon is sold on the Canadian market without labels for consumers.

CBAN and other environmental groups are calling on the government to halt any further assessments of the GM salmon until the government takes steps to increase transparency in the regulatory process and marketplace, including by establishing mandatory labelling of GM foods. Click here to instantly send your letter to the Minister asking for a full environmental assessment.

What do you think about the government getting money from sales of GM salmon? Send your comments to

Check CBAN’s guide “How to Avoid Eating GM Salmon”

Click here for details on the federal grant agreement.

And more information on the GM salmon see

Donate today to support CBAN’s research and monitoring.

This Week So Far:

Also, on Friday, Health Canada announced its decision to approve the genetically engineered Vitamin-A  enhanced “Golden Rice” for human consumption – despite the fact that it will not be sold in Canada. Health Canada says it is intended for use in countries where diets are typically low in vitamin A, primarily in Asia. Why did Health Canada review the safety of a GM food that Canadians will not be eating? Read our Tuesday press release for more information and analysis.

Yesterday, Europe approved the merger between Monsanto and Bayer – but the Canadian Competition Bureau has not yet approved it. If the merger is allowed, the new company could control around 30% of the world’s commercial seed market and 25% of agricultural pesticides. Four companies will control two thirds of the global seed market and around 70% of pesticides. This degree of corporate control could increase the price of seed, decrease choice in the marketplace for Canadian farmers, and stifle research and development. You can take action instantly at

Donate today to support our research and monitoring.



The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) brings together 16 organizations to research, monitor and raise awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 

PO Box 25182, Clayton Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3M 4H4

Phone : 902   852   5555

Donate >
Mar 222018
The Guardian is in the U.K.   This article uses the term “fly-tipping”,  not a term we use here.  I looked it up:  as I understand, it is “tipping”  (as in garbage being “tipped” from a truck at a dump) and “on the fly” meaning “in a hurry” or “on the run”.   In this context, it is done “in a hurry and on the run” because it is illegal to do.   It means illegal dumping, whether it’s of an old TV set into a ditch at night, or of radioactive waste into an ocean.
I posted the article in case people are unaware of the dumping of waste off the African coast, by “first world” countries.   Terry mentioned it in a Comment on radioactive waste dumping in Canada.
Trafigura is just another case of global fly-tipping. It’s all too easy for firms to protect profit and pass risk to the poor world

It was revolting, monstrous, inhumane – and scarcely different from what happens in Africa almost every day. The oil trading company Trafigura has just agreed to pay compensation to 31,000 people in Ivory Coast, after the Guardian and the BBC’s Newsnight obtained emails sent by its traders. They reveal that Trafigura knew that the oil slops it sent there in 2006 were contaminated with toxic waste. But the Ivorian contractor it employed to pump out the hold of its tanker dumped them around inhabited areas in the capital city and the countryside. Tens of thousands of people fell ill and 15 died. While the settlement says that the slops could at worst have caused a range of short-term low-level flu-like symptoms, and anxiety, it is one of the world’s worst cases of chemical exposure since the gas leak at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. But in all other respects the Trafigura case is unremarkable. It’s just another instance of the rich world’s global fly-tipping.

On the day that the Guardian published the company’s emails, it also carried a story about a shipwreck discovered in 480 metres of water off the Italian coast. Detectives found the ship after a tip-off from a mafioso. It appears to have been carrying drums of nuclear waste when the mafia used explosives to scuttle it. The informant, Francesco Fonti, said his clan had been paid £100,000 to get rid of it. What makes this story interesting is that the waste appears to be Norwegian. Norway is famous for its tough environmental laws, but a shipload of nuclear waste doesn’t go missing without someone high-up looking the other way.

Italian prosecutors are investigating the scuttling of a further 41 ships. But most of them weren’t sunk, like Fonti’s vessel, off the coast of Italy; they were lost off the coast of Somalia. When the great tsunami of 2004 struck the Somali coast, it dumped and smashed open thousands of barrels on the beaches and in villages up to 10km inland. According to the United Nations, they contained clinical waste from western hospitals, heavy metals, other chemical junk and nuclear waste. People started suffering from unusual skin infections, bleeding at the mouth, acute respiratory infections and abdominal haemorrhages. The barrels had been dumped in the sea, a UN spokesman said, for one obvious reason: it cost European companies around $2.50 a tonne to dispose of the waste this way, while dealing with them properly would have cost “something like $1,000 a tonne.” On the seabed off Somalia lies Europe’s picture of Dorian Gray: the skeleton in the closet of the languid new world we have made.

The only people who have sought physically to stop this dumping are Somali pirates. Most of them take to the seas only for blood and booty; but some have formed coastal patrols to prevent over-fishing and illegal dumping by foreign fleets. Some of the vessels being protected from pirates by Combined Task Force 151, the rich world’s policing operation in the Gulf of Aden, have come to fish illegally or dump toxic waste. The warships make no attempt to stop them.

The law couldn’t be clearer: the Basel convention, supported by European directives, forbids European Union or OECD nations from dumping hazardous wastes in poorer countries. But without enforcement, the law is useless. So, for instance, while all our dead electronic equipment is supposed to be recycled by licensed companies at home, according to Consumers International around 6.6m tonnes of it leaves the European Union illegally every year.

Much of it lands in West Africa. An investigation by the Mail on Sunday found computers which once belonged to the NHS being broken up and burnt by children on Ghanaian rubbish dumps. They were trying to extract copper and aluminium by burning off the plastics, with the result that they were inhaling lead, cadmium, dioxins, furans and brominated flame retardants. Tests in another of the world’s great fly-tips, Guiyu in China, show that 80% of the children of that city have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.

In February, working with Sky News and the Independent, Greenpeace placed a satellite tracking device in a dead television and left it at a recycling centre in Basingstoke run by Hampshire county council. It passed through the hands of the council’s recycling company, then found its way first to Tilbury docks on the Thames then to Lagos, where the journalists bought it back from a street market. Under EU law, used electronic equipment can be exported only if it’s still working, but Greenpeace had made sure the TV was unusable. A black market run by criminal gangs is dumping our electronic waste on the poor, but since the European directive banning this practice was incorporated into British law in January 2007, the Environment Agency hasn’t made a single prosecution. Dump your telly over a hedge and you can expect big trouble. Dump 10,000 in Nigeria and you can expect to get away with it.

If the mafia were to establish itself as an effective force in this country, it would do so by way of the waste disposal industry. All over the world the cosa nostra, yakuza, triads, bratva and the rest make much of their fortune by disposing of our uncomfortable truths. It suits all the rich nations – even, it seems, the government of Norway – not to ask too many questions, so long as the waste goes to far away countries of which we know nothing. Only when the mobs make the mistake of dumping it off their own coasts does the state start to get huffy.

The Trafigura story is a metaphor for corporate capitalism. The effort of all enterprises is to keep the profits and dump the costs on someone else. Price risks are dumped on farmers, health and safety risks are dumped on subcontractors, insolvency risks are dumped on creditors, social and economic risks are dumped on the state, toxic waste is dumped on the poor, greenhouse gases are dumped on everyone.

Another story that broke on the same day was the shifting, by Barclays, of £7bn of residential mortgage assets and collateralised debt obligations to a fund in the Cayman Islands. These were universally described by the media as toxic assets. Some traders also call them toxic waste. Everyone understands the metaphor even if they haven’t thought it through: the banks seek to dump their liabilities while clinging on to their assets. Perhaps it comes as no surprise to find that Trafigura also runs a hedge fund, or that Lord Strathclyde, leader of the Conservatives in the House of Lords, is a non-executive director of that hedge fund.

That party, like New Labour, advocates the continuing deregulation of business. The Trafigura case, like the financial crisis, suggests that in business there are people ruthless enough to shut their eyes to almost anything if they think if they think they can make money. Business without regulation is scarcely distinguishable from organised crime. Regulation without strict enforcement is an open invitation to mess with people’s lives. Tedious directives, state power and bureaucratic snooping – the interference that everyone professes to hate – are all that stand between civilisation and corporate hell.

Mar 212018   Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, May, Copenhagen?   My letter to Catherine McKenna.


2018-03-14   Offshore drilling too risky for U.S. Eastern Seaboard, but not for Canada?   Chronicle Herald.   (Minister McKenna approved BP to drill up to 7 exploratory wells off the coast of NS, wells up to twice depth of Macondo well of Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico disaster.)


TIME is an ILLUSION said EINSTEIN – (the space-time continuum) (10.5 minute video)


2018-03-18   New Book By Prof. Harry Glasbeek A Must Read     

provides readers with an analysis of the legal justifications used to replace moral and ethical values with the crimes of corporate capitalism


2018-03-18   Vaccines: Journalists’ “Shots” Sometimes Miss Their Mark. World Mercury Project. Includes “what’s in it for some (U.S.) doctors?”


2018-03-15   Study: How to Understand and Help the Vaccine Doubters


2018-03-13   Bell’s proposal for extrajudicial website blocking


2018-03-21   Hallelujah!  GDAE Textbooks for Economics Courses (Tufts University)

RE:  economic indicators


Mar 212018

A breath-taking example,  please forward to any Canadian who has doubts.  /Sandra

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  =

With thanks to Gordon Edwards:

like a bad dream . . .


NICE = Nuclear Innovation, Clean Energy


New posting on the NRCan web site:

(Department of Natural Resources, Canada)

From Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources

Gordon Edwards