ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Critically endangered right whales are shrinking compared to past generations. New research finds that the whales are growing to be about three feet shorter than they were 40 years ago. Eve Zuckoff from member station WCAI explains. EVE ZUCKOFF, BYLINE: To find out how long and fat a North Atlantic right whale is without being overly invasive, scientists motor a few miles into Cape Cod Bay and launch a drone 200 feet into the air.
(SOUNDBITE OF DRONE FLYING)
ZUCKOFF: Using aerial photographs to measure the whales over time, the researchers concluded that the mammal's growth is stunted. Their shorter and thinner, says Joshua Stewart, the study's lead author.
JOSHUA STEWART: The sort of first inkling that we had came from the folks who were collecting the data in the field, where, as the story goes, they saw what looked to be a really young whale, you know, a calf or maybe a 1- or 2-year-old. But it turns out that they were actually 5-year-old or 10-year-old whales that were smaller than a typical 2-year-old.
ZUCKOFF: The main threat to their growth is entanglement in rope and commercial fishing gear. On their migration routes from Florida to Canada, the whales navigate a maze of those ropes that can wrap tightly around their flippers, tails and heads, often killing them. But when they do survive, the resulting stress from dragging heavy gear means the whale's energy is diverted away from growth and reproduction.
STEWART: So you can imagine if you were - you know, if you had a sandbag tied to you and you had to go about your daily business, you'd be burning a lot of extra energy just dragging that sandbag around.
ZUCKOFF: In fact, they found that female right whales entangled while nursing produce smaller calves. There are only about 366 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, so less energy for reproduction and resilience is an existential threat to the species.
Years ago, when Judy Collins still had a singing voice and a political voice, she did her WHALES & NIGHTINGALES album (1970) which found her singing with humpback whales on "Farewell to Tarwathie." It remains one of the most beautiful songs she ever recorded.
It's not surprising that Judy lost her singing voice. She's 82 and was a heavy drinker all of her life. It is sad and surprising that she lost her political voice and became nothing more than a fundraiser for the Democratic Party. Once upon a time, she stood against war and on the side of people.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, June 4, 2021. The Turkish government continues its assault on the Kurds, Qassem Musleh remains in custody, and much more.
As noted in yesterday's snapshot, the Turkish government has threatened Iraq, insisting that they make take their illegal bombings and raids further into Iraq. THE ARAB WEEKLY puts it this way:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Iraq that Turkey will “clean up” a refugee camp which it says provides a safe haven for Kurdish militants, threatening to take its long military campaign deeper inside Iraqi territory.
Turkish forces have stepped up attacks on bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside northern Iraq over the last year, focusing their firepower and incursions mainly on a strip of territory up to 30 kilometres inside Iraq.
But Erdogan said Makhmour, a camp 180 kilometres south of the Turkish border which has hosted thousands of Turkish refugees for more than two decades, was an “incubator” for militants and must be tackled.
AL-MONITOR's Amberin Zaman Tweets:
Hishyar Ozsoy, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, said if Erdogan could get the blessings of Baghdad and the United States, attacking the town of Makhmour “isn’t something he would not do.” Ozsoy told Al-Monitor, “For a long while Makhmour and Shingal have — alongside Qandil — been cited as targets by the Turkish government.” Shingal is another name for Sinjar, the Yazidi-dominated region overlooking Syria, which Turkey claims is a strategic foothold for the PKK.
An unnamed Iraqi official cited by Reuters said Turkey had complained last week to Baghdad about “terrorist activities” launched by the PKK “from their camp in Makhmour.” The official said security officials had sought to investigate claims but were denied access to Makhmour by PKK fighters. It’s unclear how the PKK would attack Turkey from Makhmour given its distance from the Turkish border.
“Instead of resolving the Kurdish matter through dialogue [the Turkish government] is determined to persist in its militarist policy, attacking everywhere, including civilian settlements and refugee camps,” Ozsoy said. “Rather than bomb Makhmour, the government should be responding to the question of why Makhmour was established to begin with and why tens of thousands of Kurdish citizens of Turkey are living in a refugee camps in Iraq.”
The area that Turkey wants to target for 'PKK' is also an area heavily populated by the Yazidis. Who are the PKK? Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
The PKK is not the inciting incident. The PKK is a response. It emerges after slaughter and persecution. Just as the Turkish government still refuses to take accountability for carrying out the Armenian genocide at the start of the 20th century, they refuse to take responsibility for their attempts to destroy, to eradicate, the Kurdish people.
The Kurds have no homeland so they've been pawns on the geopolitical chess board for years. Their struggle has largely been rendered invisible by a global media. Even now, as Recep threatens -- that is the word -- western outlets water it down to he 'warns' -- he's not warning, he's making a threat. He's talking of breaking more laws. But the western media insists that they are uses 'neutral' language. No, they are intentionally misleading.
We'll note this from AHVAL:
That's exactly what it is, the war you don't see.
On Thursday, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Salih, said, “cutting down forest trees is an environmental crime,” referring to Turkey’s cutting down of trees within the borders of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
This came days after forests in the north of Duhok governorate were exposed to, what activists and environmental organizations described as, genocide by Turkey.
“Encroachment upon State sovereignty, violence, and the displacement of civilians from their homes in Harur, Bativa and other border areas in Kurdistan Region, are inhumane practices that should not be ignored,” Salih tweeted.
He attached his tweet with a picture of logged trees, which social media users said, were cut off by the Turkish forces.
“Practical coordination between the authorities of the federal government and Kurdistan Region is our duty in order to stop abuses and hold the guilty accountable,” the Iraqi president added.
In other news of violence, GULF NEWS reports a Baghdad bombing last night claimed 2 lives and left fourteen more people injured. Sura Ali (RUDAW) notes that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombing:
Pro-ISIS websites published a statement from the group in which they
claimed their fighters detonated an explosive device at a "gathering of
the Rafidah [Shiite] infidels" in the Kadhimiya area, killing three
people and wounding more than twenty others.
The Iraqi military’s Security Media Cell said the blast was the result of an exploding gas pipe in a shop. It did not report any deaths, but stated some people were injured.
Staying with violence, militia commander Qassem Musleh was arrested last week with reports out of Iraq noting this was due in part to the assassination of two activists. KIRKUK NOW Tweeted:
Alzino 12 Tweeted:
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the arrest. Former prime minister Hayder al-Abadi has praised the move stating that no one is above the law. That point of view isn't found in Mina Aldbroubi's latest piece for THE NATIONAL:
Iraq’s refusal to release paramilitary commander Qassem Musleh a week on from his surprise arrest could lead to long-term security repercussions, experts have told The National.
Mr Musleh, leader of Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) operations in Anbar province, was arrested in Baghdad last Wednesday on suspicion of terrorism and in connection with the targeted killing of civil society activists and protesters.
Tensions in the capital skyrocketed when PMF fighters taking to the streets around the office of Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, prompting him to deploy Iraqi security forces and the elite Counter-Terrorism Service to protect the government and diplomatic missions.
The standoff sparked fears of violence as some armed PMF factions gathered at the entrance to the fortified diplomatic Green Zone in Baghdad. But, so far, the situation has remained stable.
A previous attempt by Mr Al Kadhimi to have PMF fighters arrested led to similar standoffs and threats of violence before the gunmen were ultimately let free.
But, Mr Musleh remains in custody and the Iraqi government believes it has solid evidence linking him to the recent assassination of activist Ihab Al Wazni in the southern city of Karbala. Judicial and security sources also told Reuters that he was wanted in connection to rocket attacks on US and international forces in Iraq.
The next step for Mr Al Kadhimi’s government will be to file charges and bring Mr Musleh in front of a judge.
'Experts' have not worried about what letting killers walk has meant throughout this nearly three year wave of assassinations targeting activists (and journalists) in Iraq. ''Experts'' haven't concerned themselves with the rule of law. Now 'experts' are concerned? Now?
The following sites updated: