How They Hate Us: Society's Growing Civil-Civic Bifurcation

Cops Gone Wild
by Dave Lindorff
Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley has gone whining to his professional organization, the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Assn., asking for support in calling for President Obama to apologize for saying he acted "stupidly" in arresting Harvard Prof. Henry Gates after first suspecting the prominent African-American scholar of being a burglar caught breaking into Gates' own home.

Sgt. Crowley claims he was totally justified in making the arrest on a charge of "disorderly conduct" (later dropped by the police), because Gates, who actually had been forced to break into his own home during a return from a speaking tour in China when the front door was stuck, had allegedly become "enraged" when the officer confronted him and asked for identification. Crowley claims that Gates called him names, called him a racist, and threatened to file a complaint against him, and that as a result he arrested him.

President Obama said that this arrest, made after Gates had shown the officer both his Harvard faculty ID and also his drivers license, showing that he in fact lived in the residence in question, was stupid, but in truth it was much worse than that. It was a blatant abuse of power--one that has become all to common, and accepted, in today's America, where every cop's a "hero."
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Robert Jensen, Jon Elmer July 27, 2009

GR for Monday July 27, 2009
by C. L. Cook
Summer is perfect for more than languid reflections, lazily spun and warmly wound; it is also the time of hope and revisiting relationships.
 
 
Today, two seasoned guests of Gorilla Radio past agreed to repeat. Regurgitating too is the annual celebration of colonial dominion, known colloquially as, "B.C. Day." It was just after that day last year I talked with author, and activist, professor Robert Jensen following a chance encounter with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.
 
And; last week, last month, last year, and for the last ten years Gorilla Radio has aired, Jon Elmer has brought to us an insider's look at daily life within the siege of remnant Palestine. Stymied at Egypt's border crossing with Gaza: (see here)last week, Jon has since passed into the West Bank.
 
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
 
 
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Malalai Joya's Big Lie Afghanistan

Malalai Joya's Big Lie Afghanistan
by C. L. Cook
A few couple years back, Malalai Joya visited Victoria, and provided me the opportunity to speak with her as she prepared to address a crowd of supporters and well-wishers.
 
I asked her about one of the central tenets of the political and military intervention, by primarily western NATO powers, spearheaded by the US: The notion of humanitarian intervention in the name of 'protecting the rights of women in Afghanistan.'
 
Here's the link to my October 2007 interview with Malalai Joya, and below is a link to her recent article, published by the Guardian newspaper of London, July 26, 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inquiries into the 954 deaths in police custody since 1990 have all proved fruitless – and then this historic case comes along...
 
by Malalai Joya
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In the Shadow of the Spruce

In the Shadow of the Spruce: Report back from Wild Earth
by Zoe Blunt
Once upon a time, 800 years ago, a seed sprouted beside a river. The tiny seedling grew to be the largest Spruce in the country, a jagged gnarly moss-covered monster that blocks out the sun.
 
photo: © Sillett & Antoine 
 
It is covered with burls and shelf funguses the size of elephants. Ferns and berry bushes sprout from its upper branches. Great horned owls land on its crag in the middle of the night and coo like doves, and wood ducks nest in a hollow in the trunk, fifty feet from the ground.

One day not long ago, a handful of free-ranging young people fled the decaying city and roamed along the coast, leaving the highway and wandering restlessly for hours until they came to the Spruce. They gazed in awe at the hulking mountain-sized tree and the massive broken limbs the size of normal trees laying about on the ground. A sign near the Spruce warned people not to camp underneath its canopy, because falling limbs could crush a person like an ant.

The travellers said: “Here’s where we’ll make our camp, close to this giant Spruce but not too close, and we’ll invite all our friends and all the wild free-ranging people we know to share stories and learn from each other and play music and have a feast.” And that’s what they did.
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Getting in Touch with Sacha's Inner Zionist

Bruno: a Glimpse Into Zionism?
by GILAD ATZMON
Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest invention is a grotesque Austrian gay celebrity who comes to America to try to boost the ratings of his fashion television program. Bruno is one of the most repugnant characters ever to appear on the big screen, something Baron Cohen probably takes pride in. Bruno is Cohen’s third gross character in succession. At times it seems as if Cohen is seeking pleasure in being repelling. 
 
After mimicking an ignoramus stereotype of a non-black suburban male who revels in Black and Jamaican culture (Ali G) and a Kazakh misogynist, racist buffoon and anti-Semite (Borat),  Bruno can be grasped as another creative attempt to challenge the Western liberal discourse.

Those who insist on approving Cohen’s intellectual aspirations argue in his favor that he manages to bring to light some of our inherent Western diseases: racism (Ali G), xenophobia (Borat) and homophobia (Bruno). I am slightly doubtful of such an interpretation of Cohen’s intellectual endeavor.
 
None of Cohen’s protagonists can evoke empathic feelings amongst the people they harass. Instead they seem to compete amongst themselves for the ultimate Vulgar Award. Whether it is Borat, who approaches his host’s dinner table and his guests with his excrement in a plastic bag, or Bruno, who shares with us his anally intimate love games, Cohen’s protagonists are rejected for being truly and genuinely disgusting.


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Killing Presidents: Arafat

Who Killed Arafat and Why?
by Ramzy Baroud
Who killed Yasser Arafat? When the Palestinian leader was declared dead in a French hospital on Nov. 11, 2004, there was no way of knowing how questions related to his death should be phrased. Was he killed or did he die from old age? If he was killed, then who killed him and why? The “mysterious” nature of his symptoms gave birth to a theory that he was poisoned over a period of time, provided enough evidence that foul play was involved, even accusing some of those closest to him. Although the man’s story has been recorded in the ever-growing chronicle of the Palestinian struggle and Palestinians have somehow moved on, recent breaking news has blown his story wide open once again, breeding new controversy and stories of conspiracy.

Nearly five years have passed since Arafat died. During those years, a number of high-ranking Palestinian leaders, especially from the Hamas movement, have been assassinated by Israel in various and consistently gory methods. Among Palestinians, Arafat is referred to like all those killed by Israel, as a “martyr”, an indication of the widespread belief that his death was hardly the result of natural causes.

If Arafat was indeed killed and since his death was not caused by an Israeli airstrike or an assassin’s bullet, a key question has been lingering, giving rise to all sorts of answers — who killed Arafat and how?
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Vaccine Immunity: Impunity Ordered for Drugs Makers

Now Legal Immunity for Swine flu Vaccine Makers
by F. William Engdahl
The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has just signed a decree granting vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from any new “Swine Flu” vaccine.
 
Moreover, the $7 billion US Government fast-track program to rush vaccines onto the market in time for the Autumn flu season is being done without even normal safety testing.
 
Is there another agenda at work in the official WHO hysteria campaign to declare so-called H1N1 virus—which has yet to be rigorously scientifically isolated, characterized and photographed with an electron microscope — the scientifically accepted procedure — a global “pandemic” threat?

The current official panic campaign over alleged Swine Flu danger is rapidly taking on the dimensions of a George Orwell science fiction novel. The document signed by Sebelius grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies.
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Benamer Benatta and the Anatomy of a Canadian Rendition

Imprisoned for Five Years and Never Charged
by Benamar Benatta
I was the subject of an "extraordinary rendition" from Canada to the United States, where I was held for nearly five years and tortured as a terror suspect, even though I was innocent.
 
An extraordinary rendition is a transfer from one jurisdiction to another without lawful authority. When Canadian officials put me in the back of a car against my will and drove me over the border during the night of Sept. 12, 2001, and handed me to the Americans without legal authority, their actions fit with the definition of extraordinary rendition.
 
July 20th marks a bitter anniversary: three years in my struggle to get answers as to how and why the Government of Canada could have done this to me, in violation of domestic and international law.
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An American Hell

Don't Turn the Page on History: Facing the American World We Created
by Tom Engelhardt
We've just passed through the CIA assassination flap, already fading from the news after less than two weeks of media attention. Broken in several major newspapers, here's how the story goes: the Agency, evidently under Vice President Dick Cheney's orders, didn't inform Congress that, to assassinate al-Qaeda leaders, it was trying to develop and deploy global death squads. (Of course, just about no one is going to call them that, but the description fits.)
 
Congress is now in high dudgeon. The CIA didn't keep that body's "Gang of Eight" informed. A House investigation is now underway.

We're told that the CIA -- being the president's private army and part of the executive branch of our government -- has committed a heinous dereliction of duty. In fact, not keeping key congressional figures up to date on the developing program could even "be illegal," according to Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin. (Not that Congress, when informed of Bush administration extreme acts, ever did much of anything anyway.)
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Mexico Hold Up: Pastors for Peace and the Cuba Blockade Out of America

Cuba Journey - From Tampico - July 23 09
by Janine Bandcroft
a few of us have braved the tropical heat and wandered to an internet cafe in tampico. they wont let me plug in, their keys are different, so i dont know where all the punctuation is, i cant upload photos, i've only got an hour, so ill make this quick and try again somewhere later.

our two border crossings, in the north, were pretty much without incident. but last night, after driving all day, we got to the docks in tampico around 9 pm and had to wait a couple of hours before theyd let us in to unload the buses.

the people were out in the streets, as is common here, kids playing, elders chatting, and there was much hoopla when we arrived. especially at woodys party bus where the hip hop was blaring and folks were dancing. the dock people took the names of all the people on each bus, reconfirmed the drivers about three times, took license plate numbers as many times, then photographed the license plates.
 
armed military dudes showed up after an hour or so. we were instructed to remove license plates and cb radios from all the vehicles destined to cuba. and meanwhile, over the course of about 2 or 3 hours while all this was slowly unfolding, pastors representatives were negotiating our entry into the port.

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Afghanistan: The Beast and the Big Bloodbath

Afghanistan: "BIG BEASTS," BIG BLOODBATH
by Media Lens

Closing The Loop

The "big beasts" of the pre-digital media age are in big trouble, the Guardian tells us. In the last year, they have faced, not only structural challenges but the worst recession for a generation:

"As advertising revenues dried up, newspaper, television and radio owners - especially those in local media - faced a stark challenge: adapt or die.

"The result was tens of thousands of job losses and unprecedented uncertainty over how the media landscape will look in just a few years' time. How many national newspapers will survive? Can commercial radio avoid complete meltdown? How much are people prepared to pay for content online - if at all?" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jul/10/overview-mediaguardian-100-2009)

At the heart of the uncertainty lies the internet and how to make it pay. For 100 years the corporate mass media has flourished thanks to its monopoly of the means of mass communication. Reviewing the history of the British media, James Curran and Jean Seaton write that the industrialisation of the press in the early twentieth century triggered "a progressive transfer of power from the working class to wealthy businessmen, while dependence on advertising encouraged the absorption or elimination of the early radical press and stunted its subsequent development before the First World War." (Curran and Seaton, Power Without Responsibility - The Press and Broadcasting in Britain, Routledge, Fourth Edition, 1991, p.47)
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A Review of Halliburton’s Army

A Review of Halliburton’s Army
by Jim Miles
This is a book the Halliburton/KBR can live with.  It airs out their dirty laundry:  the bribes, kickbacks, the inefficient work, the near slave labour conditions of its subcontracted employees, the deaths from insurgent attacks and electrocution, massive overcharging on its invoices, poor record-keeping, and other serious allegations.  Yet for all that, the huge corporate profits taken in by Halliburton/KBR seem to reduce this to the cost of doing business, a business that now extends well into the future with the widening of the war into destabilizing Pakistan and Iran. 

Halliburton’s Army is a well-written record in three parts.  The first covers the histories of Rumsfield and Cheney and their many interlocking pathways through politics, the White House, and big business, in particular in this case, Halliburton.  The second part generally takes a historically sequenced run through the many complaints, allegations, and lawsuits that have accompanied Halliburton’s work through the Middle East and elsewhere (Nigeria, Bosnia).  The final section turns more towards the people who acted as whistle-blowers and the efforts towards investigation and punishment.
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