Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The individual must be incapacitated -- video interview with Denis Rancourt

Julia Tourianski interviewed me about my book. This is a short summary statement captured at the end of the long interview.

Brave The World also put out this meme on Twitter, which features a quote from my book:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Alwaght News interview with Denis Rancourt -- Every Day Must be Quds Day
Monday, July 6, 2015, 5:22 PM

Alwaght - Professor Denis Rancourt, a Canadian scholar who was fired from the university where he was teaching under Israeli lobby pressures, is of the opinion that everyday should be marked as the International Quds Day, stressing that world’s nations ought to close ranks against the arrogant powers’ murder campaigns and support popular resistance movements.  
“Any country that serves US geopolitical machinations is protected by the US regime, and is thereby shielded from war crime prosecutions, no matter how horrendous and obvious its mass murders may be. The history of this pattern is unambiguous, and the protection typically extends to the economic, diplomatic, and military spheres. This is especially true for Israel which is in a symbiotic relation with powerful Israel lobbies in the US, France, Canada, Australia, … In the UK the domestic Israel lobby is somewhat kept in check by strong popular activism that impacts electoral politics,” Dr. Denis Rancourt said in an exclusive interview with Alwaght news website.
He also said that the Saudi regime, by its actions and alliances, is an integral part of the empire that is attempting to exterminate Gaza’s life and spirit, and the Saudi regime’s war crime of aggression against the people of Yemen is most despicable. Israel is not the only active war criminal aggressor in the region. All will enjoy immunity under the empire’s disproportionate influence on world institutions until the newly balanced emerging world has sufficiently matured. 

Alwaght: In August 1979, the late founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as International Quds Day, calling on Muslims across the world to mark the annual occasion by holding street rallies. Millions of people around the world take to the streets on this day in a show of support for the people of Palestine, demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. What's your take on International Quds Day?

Rancourt: The International Quds Day is an important statement of recognition and of profound gratitude towards all occupied Palestinians who fight back and reject collaboration with the occupying force. We must honour and celebrate their inspiring, courageous and tenacious endurance, resistance, and dignified self-defence. Quds Day is a vital link to the extraordinary spirit and strength of occupied Palestinians, who are a world treasure in the global fight against organized oppression and evil. The world desperately needs Palestinians, and Palestinians need a conscious and moral world that respects itself enough to actually fight for justice. Every day must be Quds Day, and we must all be Palestinians. Our personal actions involving risk must oppose domination in every area of society, starting close to home in priority, and extending to all the peoples against which enslavements, genocides and wars have been and are being perpetrated.

We, free people of the world, owe much to Palestinians for their stellar and heroic resistance against a most brutal empire. That empire, which includes my country (Canada) as a participant in these global crimes, is vicious and immoral. It has enslaved and exterminated millions and millions of victims on all inhabited continents, in its insatiable quest for power and material gain. It strives for and imposes total and uncompromising dominance -- not just dominance over territory and national administrations, but over peoples and peoples’ minds and spirits also.

Quds Day is a statement that the dominant global empire will be stopped, and is being stopped, by the actuated will of people, who do not want to be dominated, by the actuated will of people who want freedom and influence over their own communities. Through widespread resistance, a new world is emerging as a mosaic of collaborating nations that control their own destinies and associations, and that do not want to be a plantation and killing field for a global empire. As this new reality is achieved, we must not allow Israel’s on-going genocide project to be continued any further, and we must not allow any more nations to be annihilated by total destruction. We must always stand against the empire’s brutal plans, most visibly, the on-going murder campaigns against Gaza, Palestine, Yemen, and Syria in the immediate, while continuing to support resistance in every region that it is manifested.

Alwaght: Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding that Israeli regime withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War. Despite pressures by international rights bodies, it seems that Tel Aviv doesn't plan to put an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and in fact is benefiting from the prolongation of the siege. Do you believe that Tel Aviv needs to keep the siege in place in order to safeguard its own existence and legitimacy?  

Rancourt: Israel’s blockade against the Gaza Strip, in combination with Israel’s periodic military massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and all-out destruction of public infrastructure, is an international crime of the highest order. There is no rational justification for the blockade against Gaza, unless the ultimate Israeli goal is progressive genocidal extermination and evacuation of Gaza. Israel’s policy and practice of periodic military slaughters and destruction of public and housing infrastructures, combined with an effectively permanent blockade, can only be objectively understood as a long-term Israeli goal to annihilate Palestinians. This is the on-going, systematic, and long-term Israel genocide that is clear for everyone to see, and that is explicitly managed by Israeli political and opinion leaders.

Israel’s mass crimes cannot be justified as part of any legitimate political or military tactic. There is no realistic existential threat to the Jewish State. Israel is the regional superpower, with one of the most powerful armies in the world. Israel’s fabricated myth of an existential threat is untenable in the face of its history and of the hard evidence. On the contrary, if anything it is Israel’s power, predatory designs, and influence and interference in the interest of empire that are a sustained threat to stability in the region.

There is no sign that enough will ever be enough. Israel could choose to respect human rights and the right of return, in negotiating reparations and resource sharing, or it can continue to practice its criminal campaigns. It has the power to make those decisions. There is every sign that Israel will never make just reparation decisions without sufficient global pressure.

Quds Day is one manifestation of a desire of world citizens to pressure their governments to bring Israel in line with international norms of decency. Quds Day should not be solely an expression of “hope” or solely an occasion for spiritual reflection. In my view, Quds Day also needs to be an affirmation of a moral contract to act and speak-out to exert needed political influence for good. When I have been honoured to be a speaker at Quds Day celebrations, I have expressed this view.

Alwaght: Israeli regime warplanes pounded residential areas in the Gaza Strip during Tel Aviv's 51-day war, killing and injuring thousands of civilians, mostly women and children. International rights bodies and the so-called advocates of democracy and human rights such the US and some Western countries are privy to the fact that the massacre of innocent people is a crime under international law. What has turned Israel into an immune regime while it has repeatedly violated international law by its ongoing atrocities?  

Rancourt: Any country that serves US geopolitical machinations is protected by the US regime, and is thereby shielded from war crime prosecutions, no matter how horrendous and obvious its mass murders may be. The history of this pattern is unambiguous, and the protection typically extends to the economic, diplomatic, and military spheres. This is especially true for Israel which is in a symbiotic relation with powerful Israel lobbies in the US, France, Canada, Australia, … In the UK the domestic Israel lobby is somewhat kept in check by strong popular activism that impacts electoral politics.

The UK is an example where represented active citizens can moderate some of the attempted excesses of the US regime. In response to such a democratic threat, the US and Israel have been using regional tensions and hired-thugs such as ISIS to attempt nation annihilation and dismantling through proxy wars, in targeted countries where collaborating elites cannot easily be installed, such as in Iraq and Syria. These fuelled proxy wars are the most despicable mass crimes imaginable, without declarations of war, without UN approval, and without the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
The Saudi regime, by its actions and alliances, is an integral part of the empire, the same empire that is attempting to exterminate Gaza’s life and spirit, and the Saudi regime’s war crime of aggression against the people of Yemen is most despicable. Israel is not the only active war criminal aggressor in the region. All will enjoy immunity under the empire’s disproportionate influence on world institutions until the newly balanced emerging world has sufficiently matured. 

A similar scenario of empire-supported fractioning and destruction was partly actuated in the Ukraine recently. The US regime is enthusiastic about fermenting war in such a way as to attempt to halt the inevitable global economic development of independent blocks, such as BRICS. Here and elsewhere, the empire’s now-common duplicitous use of economic “sanctions” is both morally criminal, in the potential harm caused to ordinary citizens, and geopolitically irresponsible, in the potential instability that is knowingly created. By any objective standard, the empire’s “sanctions” are mass criminal aggressions.

In view of the emerging world economic realities, the US regime is a failing empire with disproportionate military strength, which is a most dangerous situation. The best we can do in this transition period is to stop the ongoing nation destructions and genocides. And the best way to do that is to support the freedom fighters and resistors as much as we can by taking our governments out of the murderous US-led campaigns of destruction. We must impose domestic democracy as much as we can, in such a way as to protect Gaza, Yemen, Syria, and our own oppressed domestic populations that are needed in the unified struggle for actual democracy. This is why the present wave of US-empire campaigns of terror and proxy wars are currently accompanied by the most aggressive attacks against civil liberties in the US-aligned world seen in many decades, from criminalizing BDS and criticisms of Israel, to prosecuting thought crimes of every variety. Independent thought and democracy are the new undeclared enemies of satellite administrations such as France and Canada, and in the US itself. Even in Israel now, a world bastion of freedom of speech, Palestinian national politicians are being summarily imprisoned. These are all clear signs of a failing empire, and of an emerging generalized will to resist. More and more, every day is Quds Day.

Soon, I hope, in my naïve view, the Muslim world will find a way to unite and become the independent and powerful world leader that it deserves to be. It will further and effectively reject US regime interference, and any emerging interference, and it will negotiate and collaborate as an equal in the world, in the interest of its citizens and their diverse democratic ambitions. The fall of absolute US domination need not be a hell of destruction. It can be an occasion for unity and new possibilities. It can occur as an emergence of justice, with inspired and principled new and renewed leaders. This can even occur in the US and its satellite countries if we show these governments the way. Gaza is already eminently showing the way by its resourcefulness, determination, and pure courage; by its Sumud [Steadfastness]. Gaza calls for our involvement every day, which must be Quds Day.

Alwaght: Some certain Arab and Western countries have been always seeking to deflect world's attention away from the Palestinian Cause which tops the priorities of the Muslim world. What's your perspective on the issue of Cause of Palestine and the attempts to put it on the road of oblivion?

Rancourt: The Zionist project has shown itself to be an expansionist and genocidal project, rather than a benign national emancipation project. This has been more than clear to all observers for a long time. Israel is now seen for what it is: a criminal and rogue state deeply motivated by racist exceptionalism, with a majority population that apparently wants to exterminate Palestinians. Israel’s hate is the hate of a genocidal campaign. It can only be stopped by resisting the campaign and shunning the murderers. A sufficiently firm treatment of Israel can constrain it to follow international law, and to accept the needed reparations and equal-party justice-based negotiations regarding illegally occupied land and the right of return.

The US regime will continue to protect Israel’s immunity, even while the genocide is perpetrated, until the US itself sees Israel’s crimes as an intolerable liability. As the US Empire fails to maintain absolute dominance, even in its own backyard and over its own domestic population, it may come to see Israeli crimes as an intolerable liability. At that point, the US Israel lobby will also see the light. Therefore, this is a race for the survival of Palestine. Israel will do everything it can to steal and break Palestine before the circumstances of the faltering US and an awakening world put a definitive stop to the genocide. If Israel succeeds, the world will have lost Palestine, and we all will share responsibility for this greatest catastrophe. I just don’t know that Palestine can survive without our own real contributions to the global struggle, but I hope that Palestine can overcome even our cruel indifference if we cannot be moved beyond “remembering”.

Dr. Denis Rancourt was a professor for more than 20 years at the University of Ottawa, up to the highest rank of Full Professor, until 2009. In the fall of 2008, he was removed from all teaching duties under the pretext that he had granted A+ grades to 23 students in one course during the winter 2008 semester; however, it's quite clear to everybody that his outspoken criticism of Israel and his pro-Palestinian activism had triggered his dismissal from the university. Professor Rancourt's classes were always attended by tens of students and he was considered as one of the popular university professors at the Faculty of Science.
He has authored more than 100 articles published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, in the fields of physics, and environmental science. He is currently an independent social theorist and science critic, author of several social analysis articles posted on internet venues, and the author of the book “Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism” (Stairway Press, 2013). He is an active volunteer with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, and an experienced self-represented litigant.
Interview by Javad Arab Shirazi

Sunday, June 7, 2015

AT list of remarkable professional persons -- v2.0

Note: For older and newer versions of this list, click on the label "AT List". Newest additions are marked "*". Please make suggestions in comment.

This is version-2.0 of a tentative list of outstanding persons who have used their professional status to fight injustice, and who have thus disturbed power and suffered significant consequences.

Based on living professionals, these are folks who stand for what they believe, in the face of powerful and organized opposition.

Wesley Clark*

Yanis Varoufakis* (Reevaluating as per: LINK)

I welcome your suggestions (in comment below!) of those who should be prominently added to such a list.

And, from recent history:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Climate stupidity and human survival

By Denis G. Rancourt

This article accompanies a 2-hour public lecture I gave at the University of Ottawa on March 27, 2015, entitled "The science and geopolitics of climate change": VIDEO-LINK-Part-1, VIDEO-LINK-Part-2. The physics calculations of Earth's radiation balance described in Part-1 of the talk are from this paper: Rancourt, D.G., "Radiation physics constraints on global warming: CO2 increase has little effect", (3 December 2011). Links to my articles and interviews about climate are HERE.

The human animal has an instinct to identify potential dangers and to warn others. It is a built-in survival mechanism of any animal that lives in a group. And it is a strong and constant activity, re-enforced by environmental stressors.

This plays out on several time scales, from the immediate in the case of a potential physical assault, to the weekly in checking the weather forecast, to seasonal in preparing for winter, to life-long in planning for inevitable aging, to leaving good things for our grandchildren...

It is in our fiber to look ahead and to plan ahead, especially in the face of foreseeable or detected dangers.

The whole process can spin out of control when the danger is difficult to perceive yet could be lethal. Think of baboons who are on the lookout for a stalking lion. The slightest shadow movement can make them scream and run for the trees. It's a tense and highly volatile situation.

At this stage in our evolution we are faced with a pathological extension of our collective survival reflex, which is entirely fabricated by our high priests (government funded scientists and talking heads).

If these high priests were not here to tell us that the atmospheric concentration of the minor constituent CO2 is increasing, and that "global mean surface temperature" has increased by some 0.5 C in the last 100 years, then we would never know about these imperceptible causes of our certain eventual collective death as a species.

The priests explain that our certain extinction will occur from a rising sea level and changing regional climates. That these changes will cause mass migrations, ecosystem collapses, agricultural failures, famines, and disease. They also inform us that those who will suffer most are the most vulnerable inhabitants of the planet, as though this were a new feature of the effects of natural disasters.

Therefore, they urge, we must tax carbon emissions, apply cap and trade, and create a global carbon economy to limit CO2 in the atmosphere. And who better to coordinate it all than the World Bank, IMF, and such, given their stellar records in managing equitable development on this little rock. (Or is that economic enforcement of US regime supremacy?)

Forgive me for saying, but this all sounds rather nutso to me.

Nothing could be more like a religion than this crazy movement. We are expected to accept that an essential and growth-limiting plant nutrient (CO2: [1]) is a toxic pollutant, that the world will be destroyed because of our collective and intrinsic wickedness of emitting CO2, via floods no less.   

Take a deep breath (exhale if you dare) and allow me to state a few facts that might help put things into perspective.

The planet has been teeming with life for billions of years.

During that time, the global mean temperature has almost always been some 10 C higher than in the present geologic anomaly [2], in a manner uncorrelated with CO2 concentration [3]. That is the history of this same planet that we live on. During that time, the CO2 concentration has typically been 10 times higher than today's value, and it has rarely been as low as modern values, nor has it ever been lower than modern values.

There is no reason to believe that humans would not fare well on an Earth that is 10 C warmer, never mind 1 or 2 C. Land value would increase in the polar regions, and there would be intense reforestation and forest densification of the equatorial regions, with little possibility for controlling growth where it is hot and humid.

From what we know of our planet and the history of its biosphere, warming is not going to kill us off any time soon. None of the known mass extinctions (a relative term) in Earth's history can be reliably attributed to "sustained warming", whereas ice ages that have occurred recently (during human presence on the planet, in the last 1 M years) are expected to correspond to periods of decreased planetary life density, but saw mammals and human populations completely adapt. Basically, neither warming or cooling can kill us by any know mechanism ever observed. If anything, the opposite of "killer warmth" is observed on today's Earth, where both human populations and living biomass are concentrated near equatorial latitudes:

Therefore, we still have much time left to achieve human extinction by much more direct means than warming (or cooling) of any kind. We also have a lot of time and occasions to practice accommodating mass migrations caused by our wars and economic violence, in order to prepare for the "climate migrations".

Somehow there seems to be more public-opinion, political, and lobbying effort in implementing and developing the instruments of a global carbon economy than in developing the instruments to prevent wars of aggression, to cope with the consequences of natural disasters, to stop displacing and dispossessing local inhabitants, to enforce the Geneva Conventions, to stop the wholesale destruction of entire nations (Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran...?), to respect international law, ... not to mention reparations to the survivors of recent slavery, genocide, dispossession, and crass exploitation.

Rather than widespread vehement and actuated insistence on democratic control of local resources and institutions, based on individual realities on the ground, instead we have a sizable yet ineffective population of vocal do-gooders enthralled in spasmodic incantations against atmospheric CO2 emissions, as part of a Gaia-inspired religion perverted by the Christian concept of original sin; all of which de facto supports the carbon globalization schemes engineered by the US regime to attempt to constrain their emerging competitors and extort a development tax.

When has "globalization" ever been about justice, or about anything other than economic predation? When have good-will global efforts ever had any significant positive impact? [4]

Why pollute local struggles and liberation of the individual with tenuous claims about imperceptible dangers? And why put so much energy into insisting that the danger from CO2 is real? This seems like a classic example of seeking an overarching religious belief "solution" to real local problems that one cannot or will not confront.

"Climate justice" needs to be "justice". The comfortable-middle-class fetish for carbon co-opts the analysis, defuses the thrust for defending identity-tied interests, and sends legitimate demands straight into the atmosphere. Or, at best, it is simply irrelevant to real struggles.

In the main population, if all the fanatics that are screaming that the sky is falling would scream to stop the war machine that occupies every corner of the globe, then we could start moving away from the real manufactured disasters that wash over the planet continuously, which don't require satellite spectrometers to detect.

Instead of asking whether we can detect warming, whether intense weather events are actually more frequent, whether species extinction rates can reliably be measured, and so on, why not address the obvious: Humans are exploiting and terrorizing other humans, human conditions are constantly being attacked, and natural habitat is being destroyed for corporate benefit by eliminating local sovereignty.

Why turn to sanitized and intractable up-in-the-air questions when injustice and actual destruction is all around us? And why oh why pretend that humans can manage global carbon fluxes, manage the radiation balance of the planet, and control climate?

It's a planet!

If we are going to have a global religion, why not believe that justice leads to both short-term and long-term safety? Not justice that is planned and given to us, but justice that we acquire through struggle and liberation.

On the other hand if you must be irrelevant and must have your carbon fetish, then at least put it into a planetary perspective [5]:

  • The present (2010) rate of fossil fuel burning (0.8 x 10^13 kg-C/y) is 8% of global primary production (GPP)
  • The latter plant growth (GPP) uses only 0.07% of solar light striking the planet
  • Thus, fossil fuel burning represents 8% of 0.07% = 0.006% of solar energy rate of input (the sun is a sun and the Earth is a planet...)
  • The CO2 production from the burning of fossil fuel is approximately equal to that from human and domestic animal breathing
  • The combined biomass of humans and domestic animals is 0.04% of Earth's living biomass
  • Ants have transformed the planet's surface and its ecology far more than have humans
  • The total amount of fossil fuel burned to date (historically to 2010) by humans is 3.7 x 10^14 kg-C, less than half of the carbon contained in the atmosphere as a minor constituent gas
  • Dissolved CO2 in the oceans is 50 times more than the total amount in the atmosphere
  • Living and dead biomass-carbon (in soils, sediments, plant-cover, etc.) is probably much greater than carbon as CO2 in air and water
  • Thus, the total post-industrial fossil fuel burned to date represents less than 1% of the planet's global bio-available and exchangeable carbon, not to mention geological sources
  • As such, atmospheric CO2 is readily exchanged with and buffered by compartments of labile carbon that are much larger than the atmosphere, via flux mechanisms that science is barely beginning to understand (e.g., [1])


[1] Keenan et al., "Increase in forest water-use efficiency as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise", Nature 499, 324-327 (18 July 2013); Donohue et al., "Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe's warm, arid environments", Geophysical Research Letters 40(12), 3031-3035 (28 June 2013).

[2] Wikipedia article, "Geologic temperature record", accessed May, 2015, see "Overall view".

[3] Rothman, D.H., "Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the last 500 million years", Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 99(7), 4167-4171, (2 April 2002).

[4] Rancourt, D.G., "Some big lies of science", Activist Teacher (8 June 2010).

[5] Rancourt, D.G., "Is the burning of fossil fuel a significant planetary activity?", Activist Teacher (21 August 2010). ; Rancourt, D.G., "CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning is not more than from breathing", Activist Teacher (22 August 2010).

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, including in the area of environmental science, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Canadians, before you vote, remember the Liberals

There is no point replacing Harper with a brainless twit who will continue to drive Canada in the same direction. Trudeau is no Trudeau, when it comes to Canadian independence and fundamental values.

Trudeau is the continuation of the new Liberal line: Paul Martin, Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff ...

Martin destroyed the party by infighting to veer the country clearly towards US interests and increased integration into US geopolitical designs. Dion was a lame attempt to present a facade of reason, without any correction of direction. Ignatieff was a pathetic Harvard boy brought in like a hand puppet to manage the Martin take-over.

Canadians soundly and rightly rejected the Harvard boy. That would have been too much. But the boys in charge are clearly the same with Trudeau. Trudeau is pro-war, pro-Bill C-51, pro-integration with US foreign policy of destruction and intimidation, pro-foreign-owned capital and corporations setting the rules, and so-on.

Trudeau's entire strategy is to maneuver into your vote. There is no principle, no direction, no plan to make Canada work for Canadians, nothing other than photo ops, double messages, superficial posturing, and middle-class bribes that will dissolve quickly if they are ever implemented for the sake of short-term political advantage.

The Liberal party is a has-been for good reason. It no longer deserves the trust of Canadians.

There are still 30 (of 105) Liberal Senators. What have they done to oppose Harper's selling of Canada to US oil interests and US military adventures? I haven't heard a beep out of them. They know the workings of the system, yet they have not spoken to public opinion.

If you know a candidate in your riding and trust that candidate then vote for him or her. Otherwise, if you are looking to the party leaders and to the party history for change towards a strong and independent Canada that works for Canadians, then abandon the Liberals and vote strategically to not split the vote.

The NDP is far from perfect and far from uncorrupted by corporate influence, but it might find a desire and a backbone, given electoral power, to give Canada back to Canadians, all Canadians. It could bring us back towards some sovereignty and away from US criminality.

Canada needs the world, and could be respected by the wold, if it moved away from the self-destruction of having only the US and Israel as allies.

A new world is emerging, with a strong Russia-China-India alliance that cannot be intimidated. Canada and Europe can work together to talk some sense into the US-Israel desperate madness of domination by force, while preserving its sovereignty for Canadians, all Canadians.

Don't vote Liberal. That would give a very predictable and bad outcome. Vote for a chance at a better model and a better future.

Dr. Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is known for his applications of physics education research (TVO Interview). He has published over 100 articles in leading scientific journals, and has written several social commentary essays. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism. He is a columnist at Dissident Voice, and at Veterans Today.