What does this Indy do?

Posted: September 1, 2019 in Environmental articles
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It is virtually common knowledge that what we used to think of as real journalists have been wiped out. Some might say this might be overstating it. But working journalists do have to conform to corporate conglomerates which do fundamentally mold and constrain our speech freedoms.

There’s always marketing and catchy media outreach — “We understand the difficulties of editorial independence in these days of Big Media conglomeration especially what its effect is on the control of information. We possess a thoughtful cognizance of the impact that large corporate syndicates and bipartisan groups have on characteristically sound byte-oriented media product” — seen right here in this blog.

Independent journalists exist — “I exist” — as some famous philosopher once said, but for the most part it’s always been on the margins of the literary media landscape. This isn’t bad thing it is just fact.

Blogging is a contribution — as well. A contribution to the things that have happened by way of remembering them in writing. Blogs are archives, historical records. Hence this site, carefully preserved over more than 15 years. So enjoy!

Basically I am about analysis. My writing, which is essentially blogging now, is intended to give my view and perspective of observed events which are of interest to me.

I am a reader of people and defender of all that is aesthetic and uplifting to the human spirit. I classify myself as a curious thinker with an investigative bent and tendency toward being a bit of a policy wonk. I fault that to a background in political science. My subsequent journeys and travel took me toward opportunities for learning research methodologies on the subject of human pain, stigma and ruling or ‘power-etymology’. Etymology is the study of the history of words. And so — the etymology of-power —loosely defined in this instance — means observing at its origin and its development throughout history. Observing at historical points later I gravitated towards an interest in studying the tenets of symbolic-interactionism and out of this research-journey came a more pronounced commitment to anthropology beginning to emerge in animal welfare research.

The simplest way of putting it is I am geared toward analyses relating to or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature.

My fascination is in ‘interpreting the Anthropocene’, a somewhat loaded thing to think about perhaps. But in simple terms it’s usually presented as a concept or anthropological lens — an agreed or defined geological epoch dating from the start of major human impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, including but not limited to, mechanical and scientific *anthropogenic changes to our world and its animal habitats*. See more about this vast and wonderful subject here.

I warn you — There is a lot of ‘eclectic stuff’ on this site. It is presented as a smorgasbord of writing observations which hopefully draws some of your interest. I am a creative sort, you could say even artsy. I paint, I make things, I am into arts & crafts. I am all about hobbies, my favourite being gardening (botany) and ethnographic research in anthropology which looks at the relationships between human and animal kingdoms and how we’ve encroached on the four-legged and winged creatures of our ever evolving and fascinating world.

Happy reading!

Deeper definition for those interested…What do I mean by *anthropogenic changes to our world and its animal habitats*…observing both human and animal habitats and the conflicts for space which have arisen in a more pronounced way in the last century. Specifically research which looks at how humans have waded into [historically] animal territories and how this may inform on who ultimately has or will have rightful territoriality of Earth itself. Of course bringing up for the discussion here, the study of ‘Survival of the fittest’, a term associated with British naturalist Charles Darwin and his epic work On the Origin of Species fifth edition (1869) which argues that species best adapted to their surroundings are the most successful in surviving and carrying on their DNA and RNA.

Will humans be able to adapt to their changing world or will the viruses destroy them and the infernos burn them up?

This is the question of our time.

diane walsh oct 2014Welcome to my Blog! ..Well more like an overall info page about what you might like to know about me in the ‘reportage’ field.

I am usually based on the West Coast whilst the Canadian political landscape remains an active hub for me. I have history in the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) – and a little more recently – as a proud member of the Foreign Press Association (FPA) 2013-2018 in London and the National Press Club (NPC) 2017-2021 in DC. I am a 3x UN media accredited correspondent both New York (2010) and UN Geneva campus (2011, 2014). Cross-border issues  are key for me.

I classify myself as an investigative journalist.  I write for new media outlets as well as long-established print publications. I blend writing, videography and photo-journalism into creative-form.

What do I mean by investigative? Don’t worry I get that question a lot. Critical thinking about the world in which we live, advanced source-seeking and background-checking – probing deeply into research projects of my choosing (and/or those of my fave editors) and the pursuit of eclectic interviews with people I find the most interesting.

I’m not afraid of politically sensitive topics and on a good day being in possession of a signature style/forté for spontaneous and revealing Q&As (I’ve been told anyway). I’m easy to talk to and easy to reach. I enjoy covering international news items and I guess you could say I have a social justice bent.  Motivated to cover issues that have some social relevance and perhaps, in some small way, I try to help to improve people’s quality of life. I’ve enjoyed freelancing here and there for the odd random rag and for a couple of glossy mags covering various topics on internet trends, community politics, cultural (social) anthropology (see my blog posts), lifestyle choices & social identity – also the alternative music and fashion scene and eco-travel (something I like to dabble in on a more personal level).

That’s about it other than if you’d like to gab and share ideas about art please check my e-portforlio in the ‘Artwork’ TAB on this site. Would welcome hearing from you!

My twitter feed is @dwalshmedia.

~ Diane Walsh BA, MA  most recent Alums: st-andrews.ac.uk 2016  Postgraduate Certificate in Social Anthropology @univofstandrews

 (c) MediaGeode

Please email: mediageode AT yahoo DOT com if you’d like to republish anything from this site. Skype: [mediageode]

For additional archives https://twitter.com/dwalshmedia/status/638372842841571328?s=21

The Keila [Br)
UK National Archives, record of bombing of the Keila February 22, 1941

Source: https://warsailors.com/convoys/ob288.html

UK National Archives – July 24 1944

See below – for the quotation I mentioned this week 11/10/19 on Twitter @dwalshmedia from a recent Hong Kong resident speaking about protesters being criticized for disrupting worker commute.

November 12, 2019 – At this time, Hong Kong or HKSAR is understood to be the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC People’s Republic of China – a sort of hybrid, ultra-heated commerce zone – for China to be able to carry out its principle of One country – Two systems.

Hong Kong has its own legal system unique from the Law of the PRC and based on the combination of English common law which has evolved over time in local cases and with local legislation coded in the Laws of Hong Kong. The Basic Law guarantees: The continuation of the English common law system (laws based on judicial precedent) that has been practiced in Hong Kong for more than 170 years. It is on this basis that the masses of Hong Kong people that take to the streets and current political upheaval must be understood.

Historically the British occupied the island of Hong Kong in 1841, during the First Opium War. In 1841 China had to give Hong Kong up to the British signing the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 and ending the war.

Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 onward.

Hong Kong was occupied by Japan, from 1941 to 1945. When the Allies won WWII Hong Kong was surrendered back to the British, in 1945 until 1997.

In 1997 Hong Kong was transferred (returned) to China.

Administratively today Hong Kong is described as a devolved executive led within a socialist republic and includes; Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam; Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung; Council President Andrew Leung; and Chief Justice, Geoffrey Ma. Hong Kong’s legislature is called the Legislative Council. The region is nationally represented by National People’s Congress of 36 deputies and a Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of 203 delegates.

Hong Kong has not historically been used to the kind of political demonstration the region is currently experiencing. In 2019 protesters, in what has been dubbed the #FreeHongKong movement, made the claim that, all told, it could be said that more than a million residents have been attracted to its genesis. The region’s emerging democratic personality has evolved over a short time, with the birth of the Umbrella Movement being reported as 2014. There is a focus within the movement on a strategy and on historic English common law having penetrated the psyche of Hong Kong-ers, with human rights, universal suffrage, rule of law and free and fair elections are part of a more long term freedom-fight praxis.

The actual trigger for the current unrest is purported to have been the Proposed Extradition bill of 2019 which would allow China to target and extradite fugitives. The protests are believed to be a combination of well organized on-line demonstrations in Hong Kong against the Hong Kong government’s Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. In part because it was a visible demonstration just how not-autonomous Hong Kong was actually seen to be by the Central Government in China. Democratic reform is a key component of the battle in the streets, spurred on it’s been suggested by some onlookers by a reaction to Causeway Bay Books disappearances.

Of note, the Wikipedia on Hong Kong cities “nominee per-screening, discrepancies in the electoral registry and disqualification of elected legislators after the 2016 Legislative Council elections” as some of the reasons for the unrest.

The upshot, today, is democratic activists share the position that that China fully intends to micro-manage nominee suitability and stop any kind of widespread democratic development and so they’ve taken to resisting this crackdown unapologetically.

Seemingly, the moment the world has started watching intently and more visibly lending support on social media for #FreeHongKong, media images of a man set on fire by a masked flash mob emerge – on Nov 12, 2019.  “A man who argued with a group of rioters in Ma on Shan was doused with a flammable liquid and set alight.” (scmp.com, Nov 11, 2019). The police are calling it attempted murder and have launched an investigation. It is difficult to find a cohesive statement anywhere. One would have expected a push-back from protesters distancing themselves from the violence. Most of the media reports share the institutional response. The Guardian is reporting that police are claiming that “protesters are pushing Hong Kong to the brink of collapse.” (The Guardian, Nov 11, 2019). The timing is relevant.

“As Hong Kong’s protests rage on, Xi Jinping’s meeting with Carrie Lam and China’s fourth plenum promise more interference. The attention paid to Hong Kong during the fourth plenum and news that central government officials will come to the city to explain the meeting’s communiqué should arouse concern.”(Opinion: David Zweig, scmp.com, Published 9 am 12 Nov, 2019).

Seen by many democracy activists as China’s ‘appointed puppet‘, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive, is said to have the confidence of Chinese leaders and the Chinese police (PLA) will not necessarily show their faces on the streets of Hong Kong. Others would like to see Lam on her way out and believe that the unity and confidence displayed by China is just a smoke-screen for the Western press to make it look as though a total crackdown by specifically China’s military/security/police forces is not yet in the cards but is veiled threat felt on the streets everywhere nonetheless. China displayed massive military might on social media on Oct 1, 2019 and the warning to Hong Kong was clear as day.

Chinese leaders say they expect the local government to prioritize dispersing the unrest. Local officials have clearly failed to calm the unrest. They have never been required to act politically. They are ‘newbies’ in that sense. Protesters in Hong Kong continue to show confidence in the Telegram app and Bridgefly, with the reported loophole now fixed.

Advanced technology to capture the movements and faces of protesters is being employed including the use of artificial intelligence by government, reported the BBC World News, BBCNews.com, on Sept 23, 2019. Protesters apparently sawed through traffic posts and found evidence of a surveillance company. The report went on to say, protesters are using lasers to disrupt sensors. Goggles and germ masks are being worn as self-protection from tear gas.  The Valiant and The First Aider is described as a key category of protester. The former raises the freedom banner and challenges authority putting herself or himself in harm’s way, and the latter swabs the injured and speaks with the liberal media as a both a nurse and an endorser. The Black flag is issued by police when they intend to use tear gas. In response, protesters have lit barricades on fire. Protesters claim they are following Bruce Lee’s mantra, “Be water”.

This has all the ingredients of an escalating crisis – use of water cannons by police and police kettling of protestors. On Nov 11, 2019 the hashtag #FreeHongKong on twitter includes video of the protestor that was shot close range by police.

Protesters are being criticized for disrupting commuters and vandalizing subway stations. In a recent interview with a Hong Kong resident she expressed these thoughts:

This is wide open to agent provocateurs. Tsuen Wan is featuring in the news. The universities in Hong Kong (this space) are  hot spots. It appears to be becoming increasingly violent. The protests are disrupting working people trying to get on with their day. It is unclear who the head is or is there is a head. There is a lot of volatility about it. Random reaction. Hong Kongers have never had to fight for anything! It is like they are being handed over to a biological parent. They are trying to be independent. The movement needs to be non-violent, Gandhian. It has the appearances of anarchy. They are seeking emancipation. But they are not ready for self-government. China will not give up Hong Kong! Hong Kong is about commerce. When it comes to political training it is still in infancy.

BBC World News, Nov 12, 2019 at 5:45 pm PST reported on TV that the Hong Kong protests showed no signs of letting up. Markets are slipping and nervous investors look on. It all has the appearance as looking more like a conflict between the police and a growing protester intelligentsia. Protesters say they are being compelled to increase their precautions to self-protect.

Update: Nov 14, 2019 Reuters   ‪- ‘Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters

Nov 15, 2019 PBS News Hour ‪- ‘In Hong Kong, public outrage toward police rises as violence spreads’

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1824 Hong Kong bill

https://twitter.com/m_johnston1/status/1198411981222502400?s=2

November 25, 2019 New York Times- Hong Kong election mapped

June 30, 2020 Hong Kong Security Law explained – New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/world/asia/hong-kong-security-law-explain.html

 

Mediageode endorses (page 10 of 18): “700 civil society organisations and activists from 79 countries endorsed our campaign letter calling on the leaders of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence (GBV) to commit to ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM)” – Orchid Project

Mediageode supports the Walk to End FGM 2020 in Washington DC by Global Women P.E.A.C.E Foundation (Virtual Walk). Please read more info about scheduled award recipients including my suggestion as a award-nominee, Ifrah Ahmed, Somalia/Ireland

Oct 16-17 2020 Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Awards Ceremony and Virtual End FGM Walk 2020

Please support 2020 Campaign (Diane’s)

June 15, 2020

Walk to End FGM in 2020 will be virtual (COVID-19 considerations).

The award ceremony will occur on-line.

July 21, 2020 GWPF Awardees 2020

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation – @1globalwoman updates

“As a a member of the Awards Nomination Committee 2019 I have made a recommendation and submitted it for consideration: Ifrah Ahmed, Ifrah Foundation, Somalian-Irish Anti-FGM activist. Please stay tuned for logistical updates about the Walk and Award schedule.” – Diane Walsh (December 31, 2020 update).

Ifrah Ahmed, Ifrah Ahmed Foundation, Ireland/Somalia received her award on Oct 16, 2020 in a G.W.P.F. virtual ceremony. The event occurred on Zoom from Washington DC.

Pre-2020

Some history with #AntiFGMGlobal Activists

Hilary’s Burrage’s book: mentions and her books

https://www.ifsw.org/eradicating-female-genital-mutilation-a-uk-perspective/

https://www.fawco.org/global-issues/target-program/health/blog-health-matters/4337-fgm-recommended-book-list

Hilary Burrage’s Guardian Book Launch with E2E Founder Arifa Nasim

International solidarity links

My #AntiFGMGlobal art was exhibited at the University of Oxford thanks to Dr. Tobe Levin:

The G.W.P.F. Nominating Committee 2018 brings you this year’s Nominees

https://www.wizathon.com/walk2endfgm/?id=3136

What the awards are all about http://globalwomanpeacefoundation.org/2018/09/04/explaining-the-global-woman-awards/

For more info on #Walk2EndFGM 2018 hashtag #antiFGMGlobal on Twitter

Direct campaign 2018 link here https://www.wizathon.com/walk2endfgm/?p=display&action=team_Page&id=4809 Team Anti FGM Global – Women and Men Together  against FGM  @dwalshmedia

Please visit my FGM News Blog Page for more information. I hope you will consider attending this important event in Washington DC.

Update Oct 27:

Photo credit @1globalwoman G.W.P.F, Oct 26-27-2018 Washington DC #Walk2EndFGM

Eating horse meat and not realizing it

Paris France

When I was in the Marais district in Paris France, February 14, 2014, I ate “Steak Tartare” at Cafe Hugo accidentally ingesting horse meat. I was violently ill for 24 hours – needless to say, rather mentally discombobulated by the event as well. How could I have been so foolish and not realize what I was putting in my mouth?

A horrendous experience it was! I will never forget it. I had felt both guilty and betrayed. I had unwittingly succumbed to a so-called French-cuisine delicacy falling culprit to a vagueness in menu-explanation for tourists. The unpleasant incident however, did have one positive and constructive result – It inspired to make further inquiries about the sore taste in my mouth.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Three years onward, I present to you with some research adventures back in North America, which relate rather strangely back to the same subject: horse meat.

I have been a train passenger on the northern route from Seattle to Washington DC on a couple of occasions.

At one stage, on one of my cross-country trips, I was engrossed in the pleasant scenery outside the train-windows. But my emotions suddenly came over me as we approached near St. Cloud and I looked out my window horrified to suddenly see dozens of horses crammed into a single pen. It went by so fast. But I am 100% certain of what I saw.

The only reason why I was able to see over this pen fence is because I was in the dining-car, on the second floor of the train. At moving/standing ground-level, the fence would simply have been too high too see over.

The fence was high enough that no nearby passer-by would ever be able to see just how many horses were contained in there, crammed in, right next to each other.

If anyone knew there were horses even in there they might only be able to hear sounds?

No one could get close enough to the fence without being detected.

So the train-window is really the only possible way the actual numbers of captured horses could be observed.

I can remember it being a horrifying image. My first reaction was that this was a pen of horses destined for slaughter. No empathetic human would let that many horses be crammed in such a small space.

A bit later that same day I had a conversation with a gentleman in the same dining-car and he too had seen and been disturbed by the image. He too had seen it! My mistake was that I didn’t take his name as he could have been a second witness.

Information trail is hard to track

In speaking further with fellow train travellers the conundrum (I’ve been told) is this: When horses are destined-for-slaughter ‘the group’ doesn’t tend to be held in one place for long. The gathering spot frequently changes. So just because someone sights dozens of horses in a pen at one particular time doesn’t mean that if you go to that precise location in the future that you will be able to see ‘that same group’ or even a ‘second group’ of horses. Buyers know that the holding and transportation of horses destined-for-slaughter is controversial and that increasingly animal activists are monitoring auction houses where physically-compromised horses are being sold.

Buyers also know that it is extremely difficult for state officials to track them. They may own secondary companies such as trucking or moving companies. Enforcing USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) violations proves difficult needless to say. If horses are transferred across international borders, it should be that fuzzy documentation or concealment around transporting blind or injured horses might also be an area requiring red-flagging, especially if misuse of ‘Bute’ may also be at-issue.

I think it is worth going back to this location in Minnesota. The reason is precisely because the state is fertile ground for equine-abuse violations. Minnesota doesn’t prevent horse-slaughter. It is just kept somewhat secret. It’s worth noting;  Minnesota Statutes 2016 (31.621) requires a proper sign informing if the vendor is selling horsemeat in Minnesota. Enforcement is up to the Commissioner. It doesn’t address how the horse becomes horsemeat and what ‘signs’ are required in this instance. There are virtually no obvious enforceable regulations governing the treatment of horses prior to slaughter – including the protocols for the horse during the holding and transfer period prior to slaughter. This is one of the least monitored situations. Horses for slaughter are literally treated like red-meat before they are even dead.

In speaking with the Humane Society in Washington DC in mid-March 2017 it was suggested to me that it may have been a feed-lot. Say the precise address was known it is possible that Animal Cruelty, Rescue and Response Team might be prompted to make further inquiries. If any readers are aware of this site, please do get in touch at mediageode@yahoo.com.

According to an article in the Star Tribune, in 2013, ‘the speak’ from the state Agriculture Department official and from a representative of Von Hanson’s Meats, was that there did not appear to be any horse meat being offered in Minnesota for human consumption. The state seemed to be turning a blind eye because it is commonly known and accepted there was at the time (and still is) evidence of people in the state eating horse. Dr. Nicole Neeser, the state’s meat inspection program manager (in 2013) did not in principle have a problem with horse-meat being eaten in the state, saying…”From what I hear, it’s fairly tasty.” (Source: Star Tribune, Feb. 25, 2013). And if you read Trip Advisor reviews online in Jan. 7 2015, there is speculation that in some Inns horsemeat is making it onto guest/restaurant patrons dinner plates.

Also of concern is what is commonly referred to as the U.S-Mexico and/or U.S.-Canada horsemeat pipeline. Animal activists have zoned in on USDA backtags on U.S. horses travelling to a slaughter house in Mexico, able to be identified by the sign, Pemex  (they claim they’ve seen and collected evidence on this).

All this gave rise for support for HR 113 Safe Act, which asked voters to call their federal representatives asking them to co-sponsor it. I`ve learned that Patrick Meehan (R-PA) U.S. Representative was a co-sponsor of the Safe Act two years ago.

In 2015, the documentary film, “From the Kill Pen” collated various officials speaking out against horse-meat (Source: http://www.killpenmovie.com). Natalie Rosskopf, Administrative Director at the time for ELISA Technologies, Meat Species Testing – raised awareness about what is commonly referred to as ‘Bute’ – ButaJect (Phenylbutazone Injection) 200 mg/ml which, by federal law, restricts use of this drug by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian and is approved by the FDA. Not so regulated is its misuse or overuse. This is something that needs red-flagging.

These are some of the people who are referenced in the film. Potentially they could be of assistance in gathering further evidence. Governor Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico is a lead in the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife. John Holland is President of Equine Welfare Alliance. Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM, former USDA Chief Meat Inspector, is a lead in Citizens Against Equine Slaughter.

Also of note is some of the information I’ve gathered on a U.S.-Canada pipeline. Most relevant to me is a legal horsemeat and large wild-game butcher operating in Richelieu Quebec (a region with which I have personal familiarity) – including business ties sourced in Pennsylvania that have been flagged by animal rights groups.

The final issue that must be spotlighted is blended or mixed meat known as adulterated meat, getting into the food supply. This gives rise to the issue of people eating horsemeat unknowingly and unwittingly. This is especially probable when Minnesota state did at one stage (according to the article I sourced above) attempt to make the claim that no horsemeat is readily [if at all] publicly consumed. The facts are that the law clearly allows sale of horsemeat. There would be no way of knowing, or more to the point, being able to prove that horsemeat is only ever being included in pet food.

Many horses destined for slaughter are of course former (discarded) racing horses, lame horses, old or sick horses – deemed to have no monetary value other than what the buyer can get in their being destined for meat. This writer is concerned about is the manner in which these horses are treated at this stage of the ‘economic model’ and the lax attitude of state agencies in Minnesota. The laws on their books re: allowable horse meat sale – with a sign – opens the door to extensive and normalized equine abuse.

Jan 17, 2021 Twitter message

https://awionline.org/compassion-index

Further information:

SAFE Act FAQ final 1-2015

SAFE Act Factsheet 115th Congress

HORSE SLAUGHTER – MYTH FACT 2-25-13 – VP HG edits

 

Photo credit: Horse Moms

 On Feb 16, 2017 WaPo published an article on hidden horsemeat – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/02/16/horse-meat-and-genitals-hidden-in-juice-boxes-seized-by-dulles-customs-agents/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6b4847873cca