Sandra Finley

Jul 202019

May 25, 2019


FROM:  Sandra Finley

TO:  Govt of Canada,  Impact Assessment Regulations,  Consultation on the proposed Project List

Bill C-69 will exempt Small Modular Reactors and other nuclear/uranium reactors from impact assessment.


The elephant in the room is CORRUPTION.   You have to deal with it.


It did not make sense that the Liberal Govt would throw weight behind nuclear energy as a response to climate change (2018).    If you know the cross-Canada history in the last decade of the nuclear/uranium industry, no political party would champion nuclear.

When things don’t make sense, try “follow the money”.  Cameco, nuclear/uranium)

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.   . . .

Today’s (2018) share value is down by 80% over its June 2007 high.

And the CRA is after it:  through off-shoring  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.


WHY?  would  Bill C-69 want to exempt Small Modular Reactors and other nuclear/uranium reactors from impact assessment?  


It’s explained in an email I sent to Minister McKenna, posted on my blog (  ).   Please go to the posting for the first part of the email.


SECOND HALF OF THE EMAIL (the corruption):    

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?   What are the existing debt-loads?  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.

(The first part of the letter to Minister McKenna (at (  ) has

  • the record, by province, of “It’s not going to be us.”  And
  • sources for the following “Big push” by the Govt )

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 place,

I 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 (with McKercher, the “Liberal” law firm)  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“  (for good sound economic reasons – – as a tax-payer and consumer, I’m getting screwed), 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

= = = = = =


Bill C-69 will exempt Small Modular Reactors and other nuclear/uranium reactors from impact assessment.   For whose benefit?


The elephant in the room is CORRUPTION.   You have to deal with it. 


= = = = = =


Real-life examples of the propaganda you will receive from the industry.    From a presentation by the industry to the American National Academy of Science (NAS), in Saskatoon. The state of Virginia was under petition to lift its 30-year moratorium on uranium/nuclear.  The NAS came to Saskatchewan to collect information on first-hand experience with uranium/nuclear.


I sent the documentation of the propaganda, in support of what Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee was saying.

2018-04-23 Nuclear: In support of Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee, email to CBC (The Current).

= = = = = =

Corruption is a serious issue in Canada.   There are million-dollar salaries and perks to keep in place.  Some MP’s are very well rewarded upon retirement, for Good Service to Industry.  Bill C-69, no Impact Assessment for nuclear?  Ya gotta be kidding.
Submitted, with hope of a vote for the Public Interest.
Sandra Finley
(contact info)
Jul 202019

Proposal?   (Incomplete)    Two pasted together.

WHAT:  A series of 15 minute videos, themed around Justice system, Rule of Law.

GENERAL MOTIVATION:  We don’t have the Rule of Law.   It isn’t well understood.



Most people get it:   our governments are being run by Corporate Interests.   We have Corporatocracy, not democracy.

What does that mean for The Rule of Law?

I used to say The Rule of Law is essential to democracy.   If we don’t have the Rule of Law, we don’t have democracy.

What’s the problem with that statement?  . . . Look around.  Observe.  Oh!   You can have the Rule of Law, but the Laws get changed so they benefit the Corporations, not us!   We have Rule by the Wrong Laws.

Broad Steps in the Rule of Law:

  1. We elect the legislators, the people we want to write our laws for us.
  2. A group of legislators who are the majority, tell civil servants what laws to write.
  3. Civil servants write the Law.
  4. Legislators pass the Law.
  5. The people affected by the Law are told what the Law is.
  6. Police send citizens who don’t follow the Law to the Courts.
  7. Courts decide how the fines, jail, or community service will be applied to the person who “breaks the Law”.
  8. Within the Justice system we then have various bodies for managing the application of these sanctions to the “offenders”.



The  Justice systems in Canada, as we know it today, come from colonial powers, British and French.

The Laws of a nation are part and parcel of its political and economic interests.

A move from more democratic government to corporatocracy is a change in the power of economic interests.

It should surprise no one that along with that change there has been, and continues to be, changes to the Rule of Law.  The corporatocracy, the new centre of power, will have a Rule of Law that is subject to its values, which are different from democratic values.

It’s quite fascinating.  Trade Deals.

We elect the legislators, the people we want to write our laws for us.

A group of legislators who are the majority, tell civil servants what laws to write.

Civil servants write the Law.

Legislators pass the Law.

The people affected by the Law are told what the Law is.

Police send citizens who don’t follow the Law to the Courts.

Courts decide how the fines, jail, or community service will be applied to the person who “breaks the Law”.

Within the Justice system we then have various bodies for managing the application of these sanctions to the “offenders”.

= == = ==

JUNE 27, 2017

WHAT:  A series of 15 minute videos, themed around Justice system, Rule of Law.

GENERAL MOTIVATION:  We don’t have the Rule of Law.   It isn’t well understood.


“The system” for dealing with (Ashu Solo) – a charge of defamation brought against me, is indefensible.

And it’s the 3rd time (4th time, if the Lockheed Martin trial is included) that the threat of the legal system has been used as a tool of intimidation and coercion against me.

Translation (general):  the Charter Right to Freedom of Speech is as mythical as other elements of our Justice System.

Heightened awareness of the dedication with which people have defended the Charter Right to Freedom of Speech, in the face of death threats to them, their families, and work colleagues comes through Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton: Memoir.  The Ayotollah issued a fatwa against him, calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie, because he authored the book called The Satanic Verses.  Rushdie and some publishers stood ground, refusing to relinquish the Charter Right, because of its importance to human freedom and democracy.

The three instances, my personal experience, where the threat of the justice system as a tool to intimidate and coerce, was used to try and take away my Charter Right to Freedom of Speech:

  • Full-time Government scientist, employed by the department responsible for the regulation of the industry, simultaneously being paid under contract for years, by the industry: I was quoted in the newspaper as saying he was in a conflict-of-interest.  He hired a lawyer to threaten that he will bring charges against me (defamation) if I say such-and-such.  I replied in no uncertain terms that this was a mafia tactic, a common tool of the industry he works for.
  • When I was an elected member of University of Saskatchewan Senate, the University paid one of its lawyers to threaten me with legal action. Working with other Senators I had been challenging serious conflicts-of-interest at the University.   I replied to the threat, again in no uncertain terms, that I viewed the letter as a mafia tactic – – silence me, not with the threat of broken bones, but with the threat of being broken financially, using the tool of the justice system.
  • A charge of defamation was brought against me and co-defendants by a man who is in his mid-forties. He had been cyberbullying a woman who was under 30 years of age.  I forwarded a complaint from the young woman, for 3rd party, independent resolution.  The man then began a vendetta against me.  I have not backed down.   Eventually the man brought defamation charges against me and two co-defendants.   Today, 2 ½ years from the outset of legal action, the case is still in “pre-trial”, my legal bills are $30,000,  I have learned a lot about the ACTUAL use of the justice system as a tool of intimidation and coercion.


The commonality in the three examples, the Government scientist, the University, and the middle-aged man, is use of the charge of defamation, to create fear, and thereby silence people who offer opposing views.   The Government scientist, the University, and the middle-aged man, all tried to take away my Charter Right to Freedom of Speech.   In another instance, Statistics Canada and the Federal Justice Dept taught me about the mythical nature of our Charter Right to Privacy of personal information.  I will address that separately.

The justice system is in bad need of overhaul.  The issue has been raised many times over many years.  The people within the system have demonstrated that they are not the ones who should be tasked with re-design.   They have too much vested in the existing abomination.  I don’t use the word abomination lightly, it is based on my most recent experience of the system.

The activism work through my own network has been full-time for 15 years.  What I see is that things are not getting better.   We are losing ground when it comes to the rule of law and the sovereignty of Canadians.

I have a choice:   I can now dump another $30,000 into the pockets of lawyers, continue the banging of my head against the wall, or I can do a video series, have some fun and do some good.











  • George Bush nor Dick Cheney were arrested when they came to Canada
  • Montebello, police officers trained, disguised and deployed – provocateurs to turn a peaceful protest violent
  • Anti-terrorist squad of the RCMP on behalf of Encana at Dawson Creek, Tom’s Lake
  • RCMP visit organic farmers at behest of Monsanto
  • From the U.S., with impact around the world, the Wall Street Fraudsters, the Banksters, have not been brought to justice.
  • SLAPP suits, a tool of intimidation. From Government to Corporations to citizens.
  • G-20 Summit in Toronto


















[Computer, search Moore]





My name is Sandra Finley.  I am in competition for the most letters threatening to take me to Court.  What I, and others like me, do is to say what needs to be said.

In two cases, I fired back to lawyers, telling them that the mafia uses the threat of broken bones to intimidate and coerce people with fear.  It is well-known that corporations and institutions use the threat of the Justice system (will break a person financially) to create fear.  The intention is the same;  the tool is different.  It has nothing to do with Justice.

My response in those two cases brought an end to the threats.

In the other two cases, I stood my ground, the plaintiffs stood their ground,  with the consequence that I have 7 or 8 years of experience with the Justice system.

Four different times, the experience of just one citizen.

And Why would I even bring up my experience?  I shudder at what others have experienced in other parts of the system.   Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin has repeatedly, over years, admonished the legal profession about the need for change.   It’s not apparent that it’s happening.

(Aram’s points re Law.)

The Justice system is for keeping peace in the society, a tool for dispute resolution.  Because you and I pay the taxes to create and run the system, it belongs to us.   If it is not serving us, if the problems are chronic, if the people inside the system are having a tough time making it work FOR US,  well then,  it’s time to do something about that.

The remedies will come from outside the system, not from within it.  That’s clear.   And it’s true of every profession.  The remedies for the financial sector are not going to come from inside the banks and investment industries.  The remedies for our food supply are not going to come from inside the food industry.   The remedies for health, true prevention of disease and developmental problems, are not going to come from inside the medical and pharmaceutical professions.  The remedies for our universities are not going to come from inside the universities.

I think we have a competent Minister of Justice who is dedicated to the public good.  I know, as with any human being, that if she gets rest and sleep, has time for nutritious food, isn’t feeling guilty about neglecting her family because of the demands of her job,  has time for reflection, beauty and nature,  that she will be stronger.  She will excel even more.   To me, because bandaids have been used for so long, the problems are now so many and so entrenched that citizens need to pitch in.  It is not fair to expect one Minister of Justice to be responsible for the running, let alone the re-design of this behemoth called the Justice system.  The Minister is elected, vulnerable to becoming un-elected.  She is expected to become fully operational, responsible for the Justice system over night.  The first thing she is met with is volumes of briefing books, wielded by deputy ministers and staff who have been doing the job for a long time.  They are the experts and they know the files.  Some of them have come into strategic jobs in the bureaucracy through a revolving door with the corporates.  There’s the lobbyists and advisors on top of all that.

This video series is the contribution of my experience.  I hope it will be helpful.

There are many vested interests in seeing that our Justice system stays the same, just as there are vested interests in seeing that our political-economic and financial systems stay the same.

In order for “enlightenment” to prevail in our efforts to change the Justice system, the task cannot be left to those who have been incubated within the existing system.

The work has to be protected from the lobbyists, the crossing of palms with silver, if it is to serve the public interest, as the Law must do.

Videos, podcasts, and blog postings can be one-way communications.   That won’t work for what we need to accomplish.

Maybe these videos will be an addition to efforts that are underway.

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada was founded in 1918 to harmonize the … legislation based on identified deficiencies, defects or gaps in existing law, …

The ULCC 2017 Annual Meeting is in Regina, SK.   I approached them but unsuccessfully.



George Bush and Dick Cheney started coming to Canada in celebrity status following the end of their terms.

That was a big test of the Rule of Law.   Canada failed the test.  Why?

If you are a citizen in a democracy, your basic education will have equipped you to shout out the answer, immediately.

Did you?   (Geez!  I wish this was a two-way exchange.)

[Go to computer screen, to  Significance of the Rule of Law.   There is more than the following excerpt.  And the points are important.  The Rule of Law is undermined if it isn’t applied equally.]

All persons, regardless of wealth, social status, or the political power wielded by them, are to be treated the same before the law.

“The rule of law means that the law is above everyone and it applies to everyone. Whether governors or governed, rulers or ruled, no one is above the law, no one is exempted from the law, and no one can grant exemption to the application of the law.

“The rules must apply to those who lay them down and those who apply them – that is, to the government as well as the governed.  Nobody has the power to grant exceptions.”



To avoid confusion between you and me, I should tell you:

When someone says

  • Canada,
  • Democracy,
  • Rule of Law
  • (which is essential to Democracy).

I automatically tag on some words in my head:

  • Myth
  • Canada,
  • Democracy,
  • Rule of Law
  • (which means Democracy is hanging by a thread).


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — –  —


  • George Bush nor Dick Cheney were arrested when they came to Canada

Bush and Cheney were exempted, they were not treated equally, in spite of efforts by Canadians to insist on the Rule of Law.   They either had to be turned back at the border, or arrested if they entered Canada.  [Computer – –  ]

Bush was scheduled to speak in Geneva.  When Swiss citizens went to their authorities about the Rule of Law, Bush consulted with his lawyers, was advised that yes, he would be at risk of being arrested.   He cancelled his speaking engagement.   He didn’t leave the relative safety of the U.S.   I say relative because (Vermont)

[Go to top of blog page, to the “Arrest Geo Bush” button, to the chronology of International efforts to arrest Bush and colleagues]


  • Here’s another one.   Police officers trained, disguised and deployed – provocateurs

[Enter “Montebello” in Search.]


  • Anti-terrorist squad of the RCMP on behalf of Encana at Dawson Creek, Tom’s Lake
  • RCMP visit organic farmers at behest of Monsanto
  • From the U.S., with impact around the world, the Wall Street Fraudsters, the Banksters.  If the Rule of Law is real, not a myth, then the perpetrators would be in jail.  The Rule of Law means that everyone is treated equally before the Law, and NO ONE has the authority to grant exemption to another person.  No matter who they are.

The documentary film, Inside Job, narrated by Matt Damon does a nice job of laying out the frauds, and the failure to bring the perpetrators to trial.

These people are now in Canada, too.  [name the banks])   Larry Summers  . . .


  • SLAPP suits, a tool of intimidation. From Government to Corporations to citizens.


before going into my experience with the use of the justice system as a more sophisticated tool than thuggery, to intimidate and coerce,



Jul 022019
To learn that the most practical thing in life is to be idealistic is an enormous gift. –Godfrey Reggio


If Life Wins There Will Be No Losers

–by Ruth Gordon, syndicated from, Jul 02, 2019

You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

In recent years there’s been a global awakening to the momentous choice humanity now faces: do we cling to the old system and choose extinction, or create a new system that grants us a future worth living?

Movements such as Standing Rock, Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future are giving voice to the widespread longing for a tenable alternative to capitalism – our urgent need for new, regenerative ways of living: systems of life that use clean renewable energy, restore ecosystems, and re-position human beings as nurturers of social networks that enable us to be caretakers for the Earth.

In Fridays for Future, the weekly youth strikes kick-started by Greta Thunberg’s solo action of protest, a new generation are questioning the apathy of the societies they’ve been born into, marching under the slogan “System Change, Not Climate Change.” They are loudly demanding that we wake up, pull ourselves back from the brink of catastrophe, and put our energies into co-creating a system of life that can avert climate disaster.

The success of Extinction Rebellion, “a revolution of love, deep ecology and radical transformation,” is partly due to the ways in which their vision of building such a regenerative culture guides their methods of organization. It was the integrity of their commitment to nonviolence and the functioning support systems that emerged among members that made it so difficult for the police to make arrests during the recent ten days of protest in the UK.

Those who thronged the streets were nourished by the actions they took part in, which were creative and joyful. This led to results, with the UK Parliament declaring a climate emergency. It remains to be seen whether this will really influence decision-making in the UK, but it’s further proof that nonviolent action sustained by networks of real solidarity can create change.

Standing Rock set a precedent for this form of holistic activism. It was one of the most diverse mass political gatherings in history, hosting such historic scenes as US army veterans asking forgiveness from Native American elders. Its unique power to gather together Indigenous peoples, environmentalists, spiritual seekers and ordinary Americans was a tribute to the depth of intention at its core – people took a stand for life itself, for the water, for the sanctity of the Earth. It showed how a global cry of outrage can be transformed into a healing convergence for life.

Although President Trump’s executive order to go ahead with the pipeline was eventually passed and the camp violently evicted, the story did not end there. Resistance continues at Standing Rock, and its example has inspired many other water protectors to stand up in movements around the world. But how can we create a worldwide and permanent shift to regeneration in every sphere of life?

What could a regenerative culture look like?

In 2017, when members of the Tamera Peace Research and Education Center in Portugal heard about the resistance at Standing Rock, they accompanied the protest with prayer and reached out to its leaders in solidarity. This exchange led to the initiation of the annual “Defend the Sacred” gatherings, which foster a network of exchange and support among activists, ecologists, technologists and Indigenous leaders who share the vision of creating a regenerative cultural model as a response to the global crisis.

Tamera is an attempt by Europeans to restore community as the foundation of life, with the vision of seeding a network of such decentralized autonomous centers (known as Healing Biotopes) right across the world. Creating solidarity between diverse movements and projects requires deep investigation of the human trauma that so often creates conflict and derails attempts at unification. This is why Defend the Sacred gatherings focus on healing trauma through consciousness work, community building, truth, and transparency. The goal is to create bonds of trust among people that are so strong that external forces will no longer be able to break them.

The leaders of the gatherings know that we can’t create a regenerative culture solely by trying to ‘smash capitalism.’ Instead, we need to understand and heal the underlying disease that generates all such systems of oppression. This disease can be described as the Western sickness of separation from life, or “wetiko,” as it was named by the North American Algonquin people. Martin Winiecki (the gatherings’ co-convenor) describes it like this:

“‘Wetiko,’ literally ‘cannibalism,’ was the word used by the Indigenous peoples to describe the disease of white invaders. It translates as the alienated human soul, no longer connected to an inner life force and so feeding on the energy of other beings.”

Wetiko is the psychic mechanism that keeps us trapped in the illusion that we exist separately from everything else. Within the isolated selfish ego, the pursuit of maximum personal gain appears to be the goal and meaning of life. Coupled with the chronic inability to feel compassion for the lives of other beings, violence, exploitation and oppression are not only justified, but appear logical and rational. If we resist only the external effects of wetiko, maybe we can win a victory here or there, but we can’t overcome the system as a whole because this ‘opponent’ also sits within ourselves. It is from within that we constantly feed and support this monstrous system.

An important part of healing wetiko relates to healing our interracial wounds. It’s significant that Defend the Sacred was initiated in Portugal – the place from where so many perpetrators of genocide and slavery in the Americas and Africa set out. A new path towards a nonviolent future will emerge from creating spaces where we can acknowledge our violent past and gain insight about what we have done as a collective. Such spaces offer the possibility of finally stepping out of the futile pattern of oppression, guilt and blame.

Tangible visions of the future.

In a recent co-written book, Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins, There Will Be No Losers, participants in the gatherings offer a mosaic of short essays that present their shared vision, along with many different ways to put it into practice. These include ending fossil fuel dependence, healing natural water cycles in cooperation with ecosystems and animals, transforming economic structures from systems of extraction to systems of giving, re-centering the voice of the feminine, creating a planetary network of solidarity and compassion, and anchoring everything in spiritual connection with the Earth as a living organism.

Supporting the transition away from fossil fuels, some members of the group are developing decentralized alternative technologies based on solar energy, while others are creating open source blueprints that enable people without specialist knowledge to construct simple plastic recycling machines all over the world.

Continuing the work of Standing Rock, the last two gatherings focused on thwarting oil drilling threats in Portugal, and each included an aerial art action in which participants used their bodies to form giant images alongside messages to “Stop the Drilling.” These actions strengthened the growing resistance in Portugal to fossil fuel extraction, which won a significant victory in October 2018 when the oil companies involved announced that they were voluntarily withdrawing all plans to extract oil in the country.

The group is also working on an approach to climate change that goes beyond the mechanical question of carbon reduction or balancing inputs and outputs, to one that views the Earth as a living whole whose ‘organs’ all need to be intact for life to flourish. A key part of this approach is the widespread restoration of ecosystems through creating Water Retention Landscapes (a method of sculpting the land to help it absorb and retain rainwater where it naturally falls). Such landscapes heal natural water cycles, which in turn can rebalance the climate and protect forests from the increasing risk of wildfires.

Another central aspect of the group’s work is to create social systems that both support the revival of feminine power and reestablish a basis of mutual support between the masculine and the feminine. Since overcoming patriarchy cannot be achieved by simply demanding change, this means creating forms of human co-existence that do not replicate patriarchal structures, but, as Monique Wilson puts it (another contributor to the book and coordinator of One Billion Rising), instead allow women to rediscover solidarity and “remember their abilities to heal, to teach, to create and to lead.”

Imagine what would happen if all the separate movements for climate justice, racial justice, ending sexual violence and developing new forms of economy could unite around a shared spiritual center, just as they did at Standing Rock. Imagine if, drawn together by their love of life and their commitment to protecting our home, the Earth, they could come together to articulate a shared vision for a future that is more compelling to people than remaining in the current broken system. This is what our planet needs now.

To join this year’s Defend the Sacred gathering from August 16–19, please click here.

For more information on our new book, Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins, There Will Be No Losers, please click here.

This article originally appeared in the Transformation section of OpenDemocracy. It is republished here with permission. Ruth Gordon, originally from England, is a student at Tamera, a peace research and education center in Portugal, and a musician.


Jun 172019
The Anthrax Vaccine and Gulf War Illness
Story Highlights
  • In anticipation of biological warfare, military personnel were given the anthrax vaccine during the 1990s Gulf War.
  • After their service, Gulf War veterans suffered a wide range of debilitating symptoms that became known as the Gulf War illness or “Gulf War Syndrome.”
  • There were numerous concerns regarding the safety of the anthrax vaccine, which is considered by many to have been a major cause of Gulf War illness.

In the early nineties, the United States speculated that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had the capability of using biological weapons against military coalition forces in the Gulf War.1 In response to this potential threat, military personnel from the U.S. and other countries were given several  non-traditional vaccines, including anthrax vaccine, in addition to yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis B, pertussis and other vaccinations routinely given to soldiers.2

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) officials considered anthrax to be a likely organism that could be weaponized and a licensed anthrax vaccine had been stockpiled for emergency use since 1987.3 Military personnel from the United Kingdom also were given vaccines for anthrax, the plague and pertussis and Canadian military personnel received similar combinations.

U.S forces received experimental drugs, such as pyridostigmine bromide, and a different battery of vaccines, including anthrax vaccine and botulinum toxoid vaccine.1 No previous deployment in U.S. history had involved vaccination of large numbers of soldiers against biological agents.1

Gulf War Illness

Shortly after their service in the Gulf War in 1990-1991, returning American soldiers and civilian workers reported that they were suffering from debilitating symptoms such as severe fatigue, joint and nerve pain, headaches, memory loss, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia and respiratory and neurological disorders.4 This cluster of acute and chronic multi-symptom illness affecting veterans of the Gulf War became known as the Gulf War illness or “Gulf War Syndrome.”4

A 2014 report by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs concluded that Gulf War illness has been consistently reported in all studies of the health of Gulf War veterans. The syndrome has been documented to affect about 25-30 percent of Gulf War veterans, which is approximately 175,000 to 250,000 of the 700,000 U.S. troops deployed in the war.5 According to the report:

Studies published since 2008 continue to document poorer general health status and greater disability among Gulf War veterans than in contemporary veterans who did not deploy to the Gulf. Despite the extensive number of studies conducted with Gulf War veterans in the 23 years since Desert Storm, medical surveillance in this population remains seriously inadequate.5

The initial argument by government health officials seeking to explain the pattern of symptoms associated with Gulf War illness was that the symptoms were a result of stress psychological trauma suffered by the troops. However, more convincing evidence pointed to a combination of pharmaceutical, chemical and environmental exposures5 and the safety of the anthrax vaccine was prominently questioned because of continuing reports of a high number of serious reactions among those given the six dose series of anthrax shots. A GAO report in 2002 found that 85 percent of the troops given the mandatory anthrax shot reported reactions and that 16 percent had either left the military or changed their status in part because of the mandatory anthrax vaccination program.6

Off-Label Use of Anthrax Vaccine by U.S. Soldiers

Anthrax is a serious bacterial infection but is not contagious. It is usually contracted through direct exposure to an infected animal or animal waste products in contaminated soil when the bacteria enter the bloodstream of a person through a skin wound or by swallowing or inhaling anthrax spores. If left untreated with antibiotics, lethal toxins from the anthrax bacteria multiply in the body and can kill up to 20 percent of those infected.7

At the time of the Gulf War, BioPort Corporation, now Emergent Biosolutions, was the exclusive manufacturer of anthrax vaccine (BioThrax) supplied to soldiers8 and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had licensed BioThrax vaccine as effective based on evidence against cutaneous anthrax (acquired through the skin).9 However, there was no evidence for effectiveness against aerosol (inhaled) exposure, which is the weaponized form of anthrax that military personnel would be exposed to in a bioterrorism attack, and so the FDA had not licensed BioThrax as effective against inhalation anthrax.3

Therefore, when the DoD ordered that anthrax vaccine be given to soldiers heading to the Gulf War, as well as other military personnel during the 1990’s and early 2000s, it was an “off-label” (experimental) use of the vaccine.10 It violated the licensed use authorized by the FDA and published in the approved vaccine manufacturer’s package insert.3

This licensing issue was specifically highlighted in 1995 in a letter written to the vaccine’s first manufacturer, the Michigan Department of Health,11 from the director of the army’s Medical Chemical and Biological Defense Research Program stating that…

This vaccine is not licensed for aerosol exposure expected in a biological warfare environment.”3 Moreover, another report released by the Department of Defense’s anthrax project manager noted that, “protecting service members from aerosol exposure to anthrax can only legally be done if the FDA licenses the vaccine for that specific schedule and indication.3

Although individual physicians may legally use licensed vaccines for off-label uses in some circumstances, the physician is responsible for assessing presumed “off-label” benefits against potential risks for each individual given the vaccine.3 However, with mandatory vaccination programs, the risk-benefit decisions that should typically be made by the physician is eliminated. Therefore, under U.S. law mandatory vaccination programs  are not supposed to use experimental (investigational) vaccines but only those vaccines that have been licensed by the FDA for approved indications.3

Questions About Squalene in the Anthrax Vaccine

There were several reports in the 1990s that some experimental anthrax vaccines given to American soldiers during the Gulf War contained squalene—an oil based adjuvant that hyper-stimulates an immune response.  Squalene adjuvants were not licensed for use in the U.S. at that time, and there was evidence that  squalene-containing vaccines used in other parts of the world had been linked to severe brain and immune system dysfunction.12 Although the FDA states that aluminum hydroxide was the adjuvant used in the anthrax vaccine and not squalene, the FDA has confirmed that lab tests may reveal the presence of squalene.13

Interestingly, a study published in Experimental and Molecular Pathology in 2002 demonstrated that that the production of anti-squalene antibodies in patients with Gulf War illness is linked to the presence of squalene in certain lots of anthrax vaccine.14

A document on the FDA’s website notes:

Because of the difficulty of removing squalene-containing fingerprint oils from laboratory glassware, it is hard to know whether the squalene is truly present in some lots of the vaccine or is introduced by the testing process itself. DOD, FDA, and several civilian advisory committees agree that squalene at such low levels has no adverse health consequences.12

The National Vaccine Information Center  (NVIC) has argued that squalene adjuvants have not been tested in comparison to placebos in large trials published in scientific journals. Moreover, there are no studies specifically evaluating cellular, molecular and DNA changes in the body after squalene-adjuvant vaccines have been administered.12

The inclusion of squalene adjuvants in some lots of anthrax vaccine may have been authorized under section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which allows the FDA Commissioner to approve unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in “an emergency” to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions caused by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat agents when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.15

DoD Mandated Anthrax Vaccine for All Military Personnel Despite Safety and Effectiveness Questions

Questions about the safety of BioThrax vaccine, as well as its effectiveness against weaponized inhalation anthrax, were growing long before the DoD decided to not only continue giving anthrax vaccine to soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to expand the vaccination program to all U.S. military personnel and DoD civilian contractors. In 1996, in anticipation of mandating the widespread use of the anthrax vaccine in the military, BioPort Corporation submitted an investigational new drug application (IND) to the FDA to expand the approved indications for the vaccine to include (1) aerosol exposure to the insert; (2) switching to intramuscular injection and  (3) reducing the number of doses.3

On Dec. 15 1997, the Clinton administration decided to initiate the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program (AVIP), which made the anthrax vaccine mandatory for all 2.5 million active duty U.S. service personnel.3 A few weeks prior to the launch of the AVIP, Secretary of Defense William Cohen held up a five-pound bag of sugar on national television warning the public that if the bag did indeed contain anthrax, it could kill half of the population of Washington, DC.3

In March 1998, Secretary Cohen was publicly given the anthrax vaccine after which mandatory anthrax vaccinations began for all military personnel and DoD civilian contractors.3

This decision for mass vaccination was made despite the fact that the FDA had not yet approved any changes to the vaccine manufacturer’s package insert.3 In a report published in the American Journal for Public Health, the author Meryl Nass MD wrote:

Six months after the IND was filed, but before any supporting data to amend the original license was submitted to the FDA, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Dr. Stephen Joseph, asked the acting deputy commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Michael Friedman, for a go-ahead to use the vaccine, thus skirting the FDA’s normal regulatory procedures for amending a vaccine license. Less than 2 weeks into his new position, Friedman wrote back, “While there is a paucity of data regarding the effectiveness of Anthrax Vaccine for prevention of inhalation anthrax, the current package insert does not preclude this use.” However, Friedman’s words merely expressed his personal opinion and did not comply with the requirements of the Code of Federal Regulations for amending the vaccine’s label; therefore, they provided no legally acceptable justification for the vaccine’s off-label use.3

In June 2001, there was an announcement made that there would be a “slow down” of the AVIP. Interestingly, the FDA had not released any more anthrax vaccine supplies in over a year. DoD announced that the only groups scheduled to receive the anthrax vaccine were the same two groups originally receiving the vaccine before DoD broadened the program in 1998: research laboratory personnel at high risk for anthrax exposure and active Special Forces troops.3

After Sept. 11, 2001 and Anthrax Letter Bombs: Calls for Expanded Military and Civilian Anthrax Vaccinations

When the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, they were almost immediately followed by the release of anthrax-contaminated mail in the U.S. postal system, and there were calls for expanded use of anthrax vaccine not only in the military but also some suggested the vaccine also should be given to the civilian population.16

NVIC was among the groups and individuals that questioned the use of the reactive anthrax vaccine by large numbers of American civilians, pointing out there were logistical problems for anyone attempting to launch a successful bioterrorism attack using weaponized anthrax (or smallpox) on the U.S. population, which would require the failure of both extra internal and external homeland security measures put in place after 9-11.17

Judge Issues Temporary Ban on Mandatory Anthrax Vaccination of U.S. Troops

In March 2003, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC on behalf of U.S. military personnel and DoD civilian contractors forced to get BioThrax vaccinations, asking the Court to declare the vaccine “experimental.”18 In October 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that it was “illegal” for the federal government to mandate anthrax vaccinations, which by then had been given to more than 1.2 million troops since 1998.19 

Judge Sullivan issued an injunction banning the Pentagon from forcing military personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea and parts of Asia and Africa from being required to get anthrax shots without their informed consent until the FDA adequately reviewed and licensed the vaccine.

Congress has prohibited the administration of investigational drugs to service members without their consent,” Sullivan said. “This Court will not permit the government to circumvent this requirement.” Sullivan wrote, “The men and women of our armed forces deserve the assurance that the vaccines our government compels them to take into their bodies have been tested by the greatest scrutiny of all—public scrutiny. This is the process the FDA in its expert judgment has outlined, and this is the course this court shall compel FDA to follow.19 

In 2006, the Pentagon resumed mandatory anthrax vaccinations of troops after the FDA pronounced BioThrax vaccine as “safe and effective,” including against inhalation anthrax.20

Proposed Pediatric Anthrax Vaccine Trial

In March 2013, BioThrax manufacturer, Emergent Biosolutions, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed to conduct clinical trials of anthrax vaccine on American infants and children. According to an article in Nature, “Interest in a vaccination campaign was spurred by a 2011 modelling exercise, ‘Dark Zephyr’, which found that a release of anthrax spores in a city the size of San Francisco, California, would compel officials to vaccinate 7.6 million people—including 1.7 million individuals under age 18.”

The Alliance for Human Protection, along with NVIC and other health safety groups, opposed the trials, citing the vaccine’s poor safety record, including many documented cases of brain and immune system damage suffering by military personnel in the Gulf War.21 

Within a week, bioethicists with the US President’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, also advised against proceeding with the proposed pediatric clinical trials, stating that until a bioterror attack occurs, tests of anthrax vaccine or other anti-bioterrorism “countermeasures” should not pose risks greater than those that a child might encounter in daily life or during a routine pediatric checkup.


1 Peakman M, Skowera A, Hotopf M. Immunological dysfunction, vaccination and Gulf War illness. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 2006; 361(1468): 681-687.
2 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Vaccinations and Gulf War Veterans. Mar. 28, 2017.
3 Nass M. The Anthrax Vaccine Program: An Analysis of the CDC’s Recommendations for Vaccine Use. American Journal of Public Health 2002; 92(5): 715–721.
4 Null G. Gulf War Syndrome: US Veterans Suffering from Multiple Debilitating Symptoms. Global Research Feb. 19, 2016.
5 Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illness. Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 2014.
6 Roos R. Military anthrax vaccine shots caused many reactions, prompted some pilots to quit. CIDRAP Nov. 8, 2002.
7 National Vaccine Information Center. Anthrax and Anthrax Vaccine.
8 Weiss MM, Weiss PP, Weiss JB. Anthrax Vaccine and Public Health Policy. Am J Public Health 2007; 97(11): 1945-1951.
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use of Anthrax Vaccine in the United States. MMWR Dec. 15, 2000; 49(RR15): 1-20.
10 “Direct Order”–Soldiers Ordered to Take Anthrax Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction July 15, 2016.
11 Fisher BL. Biological Warfare and the Anthrax Vaccine. December 2001.
12 La Vigne P. FDA Approves Experimental H5N1 Bird Flu Vaccine with Reactive AS03 Adjuvant for U.S. Stockpile. 2013.
13 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. AVIP Questions and Answers–The Facts on Squalene. 2005.
14 Asa PB, Wilson RB, Gary RF. Antibodies to squalene in recipients of anthrax vaccine. Experimental and Molecular Pathology 2002; 73(1): 19-27.
15 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Emergency Use Authorization.
16 Rempfer T. The Anthrax Vaccine: A Dilemma for Homeland Security. Homeland Security Affairs 2009; 5(3).
17 Fisher BL. Biological Warfare and Anthrax Vaccine. NVIC Report December 2001.
18 Alliance for Human Research Protection. Lawsuit Filed Challenging the Legality of the Defense Department’s Anthrax Vaccination Program. AAPS Mar. 18, 2003.
19 Kaufman M. Court Orders Pentagon to Stop Anthrax Vaccinations. The Washington Post Oct. 28, 2004.
20 Lee C. Mandatory Anthrax Shots to Return. The Washington Post Oct. 19, 2006.
21 NVIC. U.S. Public Health Officials Support Pediatric Anthrax Vaccine Experiment. NVIC Newsletter Mar. 12, 2013.

Jun 142019

I support the call for the resignation of General Jonathan Vance.  Bad enough what is outlined in the article below.

What concerns me more is the intentional use of propaganda:

I recall:


Canada’s top military general needs to resign. Bruce Moncur,

http:   //


General Jonathan Vance. Photo: NATO/Flickr


The Canadian military is currently fighting a three-headed dragon.

First, there is the state of the equipment. Second there is the problem of endemic sexual harassment. And third there is the perilous mental health of those currently in military service and those who have left.

The current chief of the defence staff, General Jonathan Vance, was supposed to tackle all three heads of this monster, but he has failed in spectacular fashion.

It is no secret that the ships, planes, helicopters and submarines that the Canadian forces employ belong in museums rather than in operation. Recently, the Sea King helicopter finished 40 years of service. These helicopters are not just obsolete for the battlefield. In many ways, they have become a safety hazard to the government employees who use them every day.

The refueling ship that caught ablaze and had to be towed to Hawaii is just one example of the decrepit state of our navy. It was after this incident that the former Conservative government awarded a sole source contract to build a new refueling ship to a company in Quebec, Davie Shipbuilding in Lévis, across the river from Quebec City.

When the incoming Trudeau government took over in October 2015, rival shipbuilders, the Irvings of New Brunswick, asked several cabinet ministers including Scott Brison, a Nova Scotia MP, about reopening the procurement process to consider other proposals.

The Liberals had just swept Atlantic Canada, winning all 32 seats. They decided it was worth paying the $89-million cancelation penalty to the Quebec firm to re-open the process. That decision pushed the desperately needed ship’s production back years.

Someone leaked the information about this decision to the press and Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, the military’s second-in-command, was selected out of 73 possible whistle blowers and charged by the RCMP.

The subsequent two years have seen a persistent attempt to hinder the Canadian military’s Norman’s due process.

Norman was relieved of his position and denied compensation for his legal representation. In the end, when the prosecution abandoned the case, the government had to apologize to the vice-admiral.

General Vance accepted full responsibility for the Admiral Norman fiasco, but not before he, as chief of the defence staff, had received an increase in pay.

No progress over two decades on sexual assaults

On top of all this, General Vance has had to deal with a problem that has given Canada’s Armed Forces a black eye for decades: the sexual misconduct within the forces. So persistent is this problem that Maclean’s magazine could use the same headline about the victims of sexual assault within the Canadian forces twice, 20 years apart.

The military leadership announced a few years ago that sexual misconduct would be the chief of the defence staff’s top priority. Then came a booze-filled Department of National Defence flight, carrying former NHLer Tiger Williams to meet the troops on the front lines. Instead of spreading good will and raising morale, the former hockey star got himself accused of sexual misconduct.

Although the charges were dropped, the damage was done. The military decided to cancel these morale-building visits.

The auditor general’s 2018 report and a recent Statistics Canada study both showed that little to no progress on the sexual harassment file has been made in the three years since the current chief of defence staff assumed his role.

That is not a record of which anyone could be proud.

Then there is the very recent fiasco of the new Afghan Memorial. It was unveiled behind closed doors with only high-ranking leadership and civilian staff in attendance. The military brass did not invite any of the more than 1,800 soldiers injured in the Afghanistan operation injured; nor did they see fit to invite the families of the 158 soldiers killed there.

The ensuing outrage led to yet another government apology, with General Vance, yet again, shouldering the full responsibility. The damage to the mental health and well-being of the injured veterans, their families and the families of the dead was done, and no apology could assuage it.

Insensitivity to veterans and their families

I have had my own experience with the Canadian military’s insensitivity to the suffering and sacrifice of its front-line troops. As a member of the service excellence committee I attended the last veterans’ stakeholder summit. The veterans affairs minister, at the time, was Kent Hehr, and he presided over the whole affair.

This event coincided with the 10th anniversary of Operation Medusa, the 2006 Canadian-led offensive in Afghanistan, that saw 12 Canadian soldiers lose their lives. It was a deeply traumatic experience for all who took part, including me. Prior to the summit, I requested, through our committee, that Veterans Affairs give a presentation which would offer material that could help me and my colleagues find the mental health services we all needed.

Veterans’ Affairs denied this request, on the premise that it would take away from the “vibe” the stakeholders’ summit was trying to create.

I then asked if they would at least provide an information table for the veterans of Medusa in attendance, but that request was denied as well.

During the summit the chief of the defence staff did a Q and A with the assembled stakeholders, during which I asked him why this opportunity — probably the last where most of the battle group would be together — was wasted. His response was not merely to disagree. It was to yell and berate me. Three weeks later, one of the Operation Medusa veterans committed suicide.

This callous behaviour towards colleagues, subordinates and soldiers who died or were injured shows that the current chief of the defence staff is not fit for his command. He should do the honourable thing and resign his position before this contract comes to an end. His conduct and demeanour have been truly unbecoming of an officer.

Editor’s note, June 14, 2019: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the refuelling ship contract had originally been part of a bidding process; in fact it was awarded as a sole source contract to Davie Shipbuilding.

Bruce Moncur is a Canadian Afghan war veteran. In 2006, he suffered severe injuries during Operation Medusa in a “friendly-fire” incident between Canadian and American troops.

Photo: NATO/Flickr


Further Reading
Jun 142019

Defence Minister Jason Kenney, right, shares a laugh with Admiral William Gortney, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, middle, and Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command Lieutenant-General Jonathan Vance, left, during the Conference of Defence Associations Institute conference on security and defence at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS


There is a lot of excitement these days in the public affairs branch at National Defence headquarters about Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance and what senior officers are calling the “weaponization of public affairs.”

There are already different interpretations among public affairs officers about this new plan/terminology being attributed to Gen. Vance.

But the more common explanation provided to Defence Watch is this: There will be more strategic leaks by the Canadian Forces/DND to journalists who are deemed “friendly” to the military. Such leaks will consist mainly of “good news” stories or positive initiatives and the journalists will be required to heavily promote those.

Equally important, is the flip-side of this “weaponization” strategy. That is the targeting of journalists who are writing or broadcasting the stories that the CF/DND don’t want out in the public domain.

Journalists seen as “trouble-makers” are those producing stories about failed equipment purchases or uncovering details about severely injured soldiers not being treated properly or individuals being sexually harassed, etc., public affairs officers tell Defence Watch.  In other words, reporters who are producing what the CF/DND views as negative or embarrassing news stories.

The “weaponization” aspect will come into play with phone calls to media bosses, letters to the editor, etc. – anything to undercut the credibility of such journalists in the eyes of readers and their employers, NDHQ public affairs sources say. Other tactics aimed at these journalists could also be developed.

But will this strategy work?

Vance isn’t the first to attempt to bring pesky journalists to heel.

It was quite common for officials working for then Defence Minister Peter MacKay to phone editors of various publications to complain about reporters. Such officials would make demands for immediate changes to headlines or question how the gaffe-prone MacKay was being portrayed in articles and broadcasts.

Officers working for Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk would suggest journalists produce highly positive articles about their boss or not write about certain embarrassing topics that angered him. Those topics included equipment procurement problems and the poor treatment of physically and mentally injured soldiers. The payoff? Guaranteed access to the general (i.e. more interviews with Natynczyk).

Some journalists faced other issues.

Defence Watch readers might recall that it was revealed in 2013 that Canadian Forces military police launched an investigation regarding CTV journalist Bob Fife.

Fife’s “crime” was that he had dug up embarrassing information about Natynczyk who in 2011 spent more than $1-million using government aircraft to jet to hockey games and to a Caribbean vacation spot.

Nothing ever came of the probe by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. But critics saw the move as an intimidation tactic by the NIS against a journalist who was clearly not playing military cheerleader.

For sure, the “weaponization of public affairs” is certainly a catchy title.

But Vance’s “weapon” is arguably a little rusty.

These days DND/CF public affairs officers communicate with journalists mostly via emails. And those emails usually consist of pre-approved “talking points.”

Even such canned answers can take time to make their way to a reporter. It recently took DND public affairs a week to provide me with the current number of personnel in the military’s reserves.

UPDATE: Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance spoke to Defence Watch late Monday about his vision for the “weaponization of public affairs.”

He acknowledges this is a term he has used but believes his intention is being inadvertently misconstrued/misunderstood by some public affairs officers at NDHQ.

“It’s no surprise to me that there are those who would see weaponization as an aggressive, attack mode,” he explained.

But Vance tells Defence Watch that although his terminology might seem to indicate offensive operations against the media that is not his plan.

“I don’t consider it unfair you are reporting on it,” he explained. “In fact I’m happy you are. What I am taking about is operationalizing the public affairs branch. I want to make the public affairs branch better.”

Vance noted that the DND/CF public affairs team works hard but he is frustrated at a system that has been set up that often does not allow the Canadian Forces or DND to provide its viewpoints to the media and others.

“I want Defence to be a respected voice in the very important defence dialogue that goes on in the country,” Vance explained. “Sometimes I feel we lose that respect because we have incomplete information and not in a timely (way). We don’t do it on purpose.

Vance is now working on producing guidance for public affairs officers on what he wants.

“I was detecting our inability to answer questions in a timely manner and to be able to respond and deal effectively in a very dynamic and very fast paced information environment.”

“I don’t know whether there is a structural change that is required,” Vance noted. “Other nations have the ability to access subject matter experts and turn things around and get them back out.”

Jun 142019

Recommend:  listen to the video at this link.   The transcript is provided if you prefer.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared before a magistrates’ court in London Friday, saying his life was “effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors an extradition request from the United States, where he faces 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. Meanwhile, a friend of Assange’s, Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini, is still in prison in Ecuador, after being arrested April 11, the same day Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and has been jailed ever since without charges. We speak with Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and a friend of Ola Bini.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared before a magistrates’ court today, saying his life was “effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors an extradition request from the United States, where he faces 17 counts of espionage. Assange is the first journalist or publisher to be indicted under the World War I-era law.

While Assange’s case has dominated international headlines, far less attention has been paid to a friend of Julian Assange who’s been jailed in Ecuador since April 11th, the same day Assange was taken by force by British authorities from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Ola Bini is a Swedish programmer and data privacy activist who lives in Ecuador. He has not yet been charged with any crimes, has not been permitted to post bail for his release. The U.S. Justice Department has now said they want to question Ola Bini. Critics say Bini is being targeted because he knew and had visited Assange multiple times at the embassy in London, as well as for his own activism. This is a statement from his lawyers, Carlos Soria speaking last month.

CARLOS SORIA: [translated] This is an embarrassment. Our client is somebody who is innocent and who has contributed to the entire world the development of information privacy. And now, just because he is a friend to Julian Assange or because he travels, they put him in prison. There are no words for this, and we will denounce it both nationally and internationally. … We cannot allow Ecuador to look like this, like a state that persecutes people for the books they read, for the technology they use or for the simple reason of having a friend who is currently being reproached by the world. Before, Assange was appreciated for letting the world know the atrocities committed in other parts of the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Still with us is Vijay Prashad, the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Earlier this week, he published a piece about Ola Bini in the Daily Hampshire Gazette titled “My friend is in a prison in Ecuador.”

Why is he there? Why was he picked up, Vijay Prashad? Why was Ola Bini picked up and jailed in Ecuador the same day Julian Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorean Embassy and put in the Belmarsh Prison in London?

VIJAY PRASHAD: You know, Amy, this is a difficult story for me. I have known Ola Bini for many years. It is still perplexing to myself and to the friends of Ola of why he’s in prison, the El Inca prison in Quito, Ecuador. We don’t know why he’s in prison. There’s no charge against him. There has been some allegations made about his friendship to Julian Assange, but, you know, Amy, if that’s a crime, you and I should be in jail, as well. We have also met him. We have, you know, understood that meeting him is itself not a criminal activity.

Ola Bini is a programmer who spent most of his life trying to create tools to help human rights activists create a shield against surveillance by governments. People who are in the tech world might know the programs called the Tor Browser or Enigmail. These things were developed by Ola. He moved to Ecuador partly because he felt that with the government of Rafael Correa, it would be a good place to do the kind of work he was doing—precisely the opposite of what people are alleging of him, that he broke into this, that and the other government materials. In fact, the opposite: He would create shields to prevent governments from breaking into the kind of databases held by human rights defenders. You’ve got to remember that in the Snowden—Edward Snowden’s revelations, he said that the NSA had been routinely attacking the servers of human rights and other civil society organizations. It was precisely Ola’s mission in life to protect those organizations.

He was picked up on April 11th at Quito airport, while he was on his way to an advertised martial arts training course in Japan. He’s been held in prison for two months. There have been two hearings. No bail has been allowed. And no charge has been put forward. The prosecution in Ecuador has made it seem like a sinister thing that Ola has many computers and Zip drives and so on. You know, when I travel to places, I carry about 10 to 12 Zip drives. That’s because I keep a Zip drive for each story. It’s got nothing in it to seem to be something, you know, sinister or bizarre. These are things that software developers have. They tried to make him seem like a sinister character.

I was even told by another reporter that people were asking if Ola was the code cracker for Julian Assange, which he of course was not, and could not have been the code cracker at all when the materials passed on by Chelsea Manning came to the WikiLeaks organization. You know, that was one of the allegations that was floating around, not put on paper. Ola only met Julian when he was already in the Ecuadorean Embassy, long after the revelations of—very important, crucial revelations that came from Chelsea Manning, also now in prison.

I personally feel that the U.S. government, in trying to make a case against Julian Assange, has sort of swept up people that it thinks might have some evidence against Julian, for instance, having Chelsea Manning once more in prison, having Ola sit in a prison in Ecuador, squeezing them to see if they can either provide evidence against Julian—in Chelsea’s case, she has said she will not do so; in Ola’s case, he says, “I don’t have any evidence”—or that they will point the investigators in a direction to get Julian. I mean, we’ve got to understand that there is a vendetta by the American state against Julian Assange. That’s very clear. And I think there’s a lot of collateral damage around the world in the U.S. state’s attempt to put Julian either in prison for the full length of his life or near that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Ola Bini speaking last month to CNN en Español, CNN in Spanish.

OLA BINI: They will find nothing, because I haven’t done anything. The only thing I’ve done is being the friend of Julian Assange. … The minister of the interior, María Paula Romo, goes on TV, the same day as I’m detained at the airport, and talks, five hours before my detention order is written—says on TV that I’m detained. That feels to me like the government is out to get me.

REPORTER: Why do you have the impression that Moreno hates you?

OLA BINI: I don’t say in my letter that he hates me. I wonder if he hates me, because subjecting me to something like this, this kind of process where I’m put in prison without any evidence, when I know that I’m innocent because I haven’t done anything, that feels personal to me.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Ola Bini, again, speaking with CNN from jail. He was also asked by CNN about his relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

OLA BINI: Just as me, he believes very strongly in the right to privacy. So, the first time I went, I actually went to talk to him about these kind of things. … I kept coming back because I like him, because he’s a friend of mine, and I kept coming back because more and more people abandoned him. … I felt that it was my responsibility to do it. But also, it was my pleasure as a friend.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Vijay Prashad, if you could comment further? Again, he’s speaking from jail to CNN. In the case of Julian Assange, we understand that Ecuador was handing over all of his electronic equipment, his hard drives, etc., to the British government. What’s happening with Ola Bini’s electronic equipment, his phones, his computers? Has the U.S. requested that equipment?

VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, the United States has been giving the Ecuadorean officials so-called, you know, expertise and help in breaking some of the barriers that Ola–you know, Ola is a very clever person. He has put all kinds of protections to his materials. These are basically off-the-shelf protections called OTR, Off the Record, and so on. So, the Americans initially said that they were going to just assist the Ecuadoreans. Now it seems that the U.S. government has asked for this material to be handed over to the United States directly.

I just want to say something about Ecuador. You know, Ola was asked in that interview if Lenín Moreno hates him. That’s the president of Ecuador. It’s very important to remember that shortly before the Ecuadorean government handed over Julian Assange to the British police, the International Monetary Fund provided Ecuador with a loan of $4.2 billion, and there was also a commercial package of about $6 billion, so a total of $10 billion was transferred to the Ecuadorean government by the auspices of the IMF. This happened just before Julian Assange was handed over to the British authorities, just before Ola was arrested. I mean, we’ve got to understand the position. When you look at these things in sequence, it looks like there must have been a deal. This big, huge package was given to the Ecuadoreans.

At the same time, you know, there’s been an enormous leak of private information from the phone and Gmail account of President Moreno. This information, called the I-N-A or INA Papers, shows direct corruption by Mr. Moreno, including an apartment in Madrid, Spain, and so on. He’s been deeply embarrassed by this and has been lashing out, saying that there are Russian hackers inside Ecuador. In fact, the first arrest of Ola at the airport, the piece of paper he was shown had a Russian name on it, and it was said that it’s a Russian person. When Ola said, “That’s not me. I’m not Russian,” they took the paper away, went back, made a new document with Ola’s name on it and saying he was Swedish, and picked him up.

So, there’s a very strange story here, Amy. We don’t know all the parts of it yet, but we need to put the IMF into the picture. I think we need to put the fact that there’s pressure from the United States on Ecuador now, first, of course, to hand over Julian Assange, and now to, you know, in a sense, do something—we don’t know what—to Ola Bini.

AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, have you spoken to him in jail? What are the conditions like there?

VIJAY PRASHAD: The conditions are very difficult for Ola. Ola is a vegetarian. He has had a hard time there. And as he said very early into his arrest, that the conditions in Ecuador are bad for all prisoners, Ecuadorean and himself, who is a Swedish person living in Ecuador. He is a very decent and upstanding person. He refused to allow this to become merely about himself, saying the conditions for Ola Bini are bad; he said directly, they’re bad for everybody.

AMY GOODMAN: And Sweden—

VIJAY PRASHAD: But it’s been very difficult—

AMY GOODMAN: Is Sweden doing anything about getting him out?

VIJAY PRASHAD: The Swedish government called in the Ecuadorean ambassador, but Sweden has very little leverage on Ecuador. In fact, it doesn’t have an ambassador in Ecuador, just a counsel. We are hoping that pressure from the U.N. special rapporteur, David Kaye, who has called this an arbitrary detention, will have some impact on other European countries. Even the OAS special rapporteur has said that this is a very arbitrary, dangerous situation, should not be allowed. But, you know, the ability of these U.N. rapporteurs to move an agenda is very limited. And I’m afraid that the pressure from the United States government on Ecuador has basically invalidated the moral standing of European countries and even the United Nations.

AMY GOODMAN: Vijay Prashad, I want to thank you very much for being with us, director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. We will continue to follow Ola Bini’s case, as well as the case of Julian Assange, both picked up more than two months ago. Ola Bini remains imprisoned in Ecuador, and Julian Assange going through extradition hearings right now to the United States at the Belmarsh Prison in London.

Coming up, we look at Advocate, a new prize-winning documentary about the pioneering Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel, who spent five decades defending Palestinians who resist the Israeli occupation. Stay with us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
Jun 082019

I remember posting:

On Friday, November 2, 2018, a youth in Sudbury, Ontario was the first youth

in the Western Hemisphere to join Greta’s #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike.

I wanted Greta’s and Sophia’s actions to have meaning.   But I didn’t have a lot of confidence in North America.   I wondered if we’d hear their names again.

Last year, the first I knew of  Greta Thunberg and Sophia, an 11 year-old who set off the action in Canada:

2018-11-07   #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike Solidarity with our young people. SAVE THE DATE Friday, December 7, 2018 Climate Reality Canada, iMatter Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada.


Seven months later – –  hard to believe.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The First Time with Greta Thunberg  (Rolling Stone, March 6, 2019)

2:50 minutes

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

School Strikes Special  – – March 15, 2019  (worth a scroll through – pictures)

Today is an historic day. As I write, 100,000s of children and students have already walked out of school to strike for the climate. And their global call to action is only just beginning — with incredible images and video from Australia, the Pacific, Asia, Europe and Africa already flowing in. . . .

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The disarming case to act right now on climate change | Greta Thunberg  (TedTalk, Feb 13, 2019)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Greta is on the Asperger’s Spectrum.   In various communications she explains how the characteristics of Asperger’s have contributed to her ability to do what she’s done/does.   In one exchange, other students who are Asperger’s step forward.  It’s heart-warming to see what happens when they “come out of the closet” and connect.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Davos Video,  2.53 minutes 

At places like Davos people like to tell success stories.  But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.   . . .

I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is.

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist, has told world leaders: ‘I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.’  In an impassioned warning to act now on climate change, Thunberg told her audience at Davos: ‘Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t’


– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

2019-05-23 Young people have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too, mark your calendar SEPT 20. The Guardian

A call for mass, global resistance on  September 20, 2019.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ASIDE   (scroll down for the last items re Greta Thunberg)

I dropped the ball.

Three women single file on bikes

The first called out

Two shouted “louder”

I heard

Can’t believe

It’s all gone

Huge area

They cut them all down

Bull-dozed, bombed

Nature’s limbs and meat

Strewn and heaped

Big trees dead.

“Where?” got trapped in my mind

Tongue stopped

Muscles of the intuitive atrophied

Survival skills dulled


Reconnect, someone knows “where”?

Carbon sinks

The trees have to stay

Act like the house is on fire

Because it is

Homes to species

The trees have to stay

At places like Davos people like to tell success stories

But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag.


CTV Mother bear, two cubs destroyed

after attack in Powell River

Worst bear year because the berry crop dried up

Don’t say it was bulldozed

Cougar complaints are up across Vancouver Island

More of the animals are being shot dead.   Starving

Don’t say people like to tell success stories

But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag

Greta Thunberg and the children whisper

Pick up the ball Sandra

Re-activate survival skills

The trees have to stay

Act like the house is on fire

Because it is

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Greta Thunberg in the European Parliament committee on environment

1:00:33     Streamed live on Apr 16, 2019.   (Skip the first getting organized part.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –


From:  Sheri
Sent: May 29, 2019

Subject: great video . . .Students, “GLOBAL STRIKE FOR CLIMATE,  May 24 2019, Parksville B.C.”

(INSERT:  The local News article by a student leader was very good.  Sorry I can’t copy it.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Great, unbelievable, international momentum from a small beginning by Greta Thunberg.

Jun 082019
We can’t stave off global heating by ourselves.
Together, on 20 September, we can unleash mass resistance
School students protest against the climate crisis in Melbourne, May 2019

School students protest against the climate crisis in Melbourne, May 2019. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

Tomorrow, schoolchildren and students will be out on the streets again, in huge numbers, in 150 countries, at over 4,000 events, demanding that governments immediately provide a safe pathway to stay within 1.5C of global heating. We spent weeks and months preparing for this day. We spent uncountable hours organising and mobilising when we could have just hung out with our friends or studied for school.

We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence.

We have learned that if we don’t start acting for our future, nobody else will make the first move. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Once again our voices are being heard on the streets, but it is not just up to us. We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference.

So this is our invitation. Starting on Friday 20 September we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbours, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.

This is about crossing lines – it’s about rebelling wherever one can rebel. It’s not about saying “Yeah, what the kids do is great, if I was young I would have totally joined in.” It doesn’t help, but everyone can and must help.

During the French revolution mothers flooded the streets for their children. Today we children are fighting for ourselves, but so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or what happened in the Game of Thrones finale – while the planet burns.

This moment has to happen. Last year’s UN intergovernmental panel on climate change’s special report on global warming was clear about the unprecedented dangers of going beyond 1.5C of global heating. Emissions must drop rapidly – so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s we are living in a completely transformed world.

But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together.

So this is our chance – join us on climate strike this September. People have risen up before to demand action and make change; if we do so in numbers we have a chance. If we care, we must do more than say we do. We must act. This won’t be the last day we need to take to the streets, but it will be a new beginning. We’re counting on you.

Greta Thunberg, Kyra Gantois, Luisa Neubauer, Eslem Demirel, Vanessa Nakate, Noga Levy-Rappoport, Isra Hirsi, Zhang Tingwei, Angela Valenzuela, Martial Breton, Nurul Fitrah Marican, Asees Kandhari, Jessica Dewhurst, Alexandria Villasenor, Jonas Kampus, George Bond, Lena Bühler, Kallan Benson, Linus Dolder, Beth Irving, Zel Whiting, Marenthe Middelhoff, Lubna Wasim, Radhika Castle, Parvez Patel, Wu Chun-Hei, Anjali Pant, Tristan Vanoni, Luca Salis, Brian Wallang, Anisha George, Hiroto Inoue, Haven Coleman, Maddy Fernands, Bhavreen Malhotra Kandhari, Feliquan Charlemagne, Salomée Levy, Karla Stephan, Anya Sastry, Claudio Ramirez Betancourt, Vicente Gamboa Soto, Julia Weder, Lilly Platt, Balder Claassen, Kassel Hingee, Maria Astefanoaei and Pavol Mulinka are youth activists for Fridays for Future