Machiavelli And The Press Complaints Commission

PUTTING OUT THE PEOPLE'S EYES - Machiavelli And The Press Complaints Commission
by Media Lens
Last week, the Media Standards Trust (MST), an independent charity, published a report assessing the British media's capacity to regulate itself under the leadership of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). The MST report found that the current system is neither independent nor effective. Martin Moore, director of the MST comments:

"The current system is paid for by the newspaper industry, its rules are written by working newspaper editors, and almost half the Commission itself is made up of newspaper and magazine editors. [...] "You would be forgiven, as a member of the public, for thinking that the system was geared more towards protecting the interests of the press than the public." (Moore, 'A More Accountable Press - Part 1: The Need for Reform,' Media Standards Trust, February 9, 2009;)

The results of the PCC's work speak for themselves: if a member of the public makes a complaint against the press, he or she has about a 250:1 chance of getting an adjudication in his or her favour. Moore describes these as "pretty terrible odds".
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Burning Questions: What Does Economic "Recovery" Mean?

Burning Questions: What Does Economic "Recovery" Mean on an Extreme Weather Planet?
by Tom Engelhardt
It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain.

As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. "The great drying," Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it.
At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stored carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas considered largely responsible for global warming, into the atmosphere.
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War on Greed: Kings of the Bailout Scam

What would you do with an extra $18,000 in your pocket?
What would you do with an extra $18,000 in your pocket? That's the amount of extra cash each and every Burger King employee in America would have received last year if Goldman Sachs (one of the fast-food chain's largest owners) had shared its bailout billions with rank-and-file workers. Instead, Goldman Sachs squandered 6.5 billion of our taxpayer dollars on bonuses for their financial staff.
These were some of the highest bonuses on Wall Street! Meanwhile, Burger King workers earn wages averaging just $14,000 a year -- well below the federal poverty line for a family of three.
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Yoo's Values and Your Rights

Jurists: War on Terror Tactics Have Undermined Basic Values
by Scott Horton
At a press conference in Geneva yesterday the International Commission of Jurists released the results of its three-year study of new policies adopted by the United States, Britain, and other nations to address the war on terror. The Washington Post reports:

“We have been shocked by the damage done over the past seven years by excessive or abusive counter-terrorism measures in a wide range of countries around the world,” said Arthur Chaskalson, a member of the International Commission of Jurists, in a statement announcing results of a 3-year study of counter-terrorism measures since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights,” said Chaskalson, a former chief justice of South Africa.
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Spy Chief: We Have Seen the Future of Terror...and It's YOU!

Bad News From America’s Top Spy
by Chris Hedges
We have a remarkable ability to create our own monsters. A few decades of meddling in the Middle East with our Israeli doppelgänger and we get Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, the Iraqi resistance movement and a resurgent Taliban. Now we trash the world economy and destroy the ecosystem and sit back to watch our handiwork.
Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington’s new director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he said, a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.
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Island Timberlands and the Massacre of Vancouver Island's Remnant Old Growth Forest

Save Our Forests
by Richard Boyce
This Island in the middle of Englishman River is just 1km upstream from the Upper Falls and is adjacent to the boundary of the Provincial Park. 5 minutes with several people on the island February 12, 2009 as ISLAND TIMBERLANDS prepares to Heli-log this old growth forest. Brookfield Asset Management owns 51% of this Vancouver Island logging company while the remaining 49% shares are owned by the BC Liberal Government as part of the employees pension funds.
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Campbell Allows Heli-Logging to Edge of Englishman River Park

City Councillor and Son Narrowly Escape Island Timberlands’
Helicopter Logging Adjacent to Englishman River Provincial Park
Parksville City Councillor, Chris Burger, his eight-year old son and two local filmmakers had to run for their lives and dive under logs in the thick waste-high understory of what was once a pristine oldgrowth forest on a small island in the Englishman River upstream of Rathtrevor Provincial Park.
Photo Credit:  Scott Tanner – felled 350 year-old Douglas-fir in foreground, standing Douglas-fir, skycrane- ready with undercuts at stump level and felled 500-year old habitat tree in background. 
On Sunday afternoon an Island Timberlands’ skycrane helicopter suddenly appeared and began removing the massive 300 – 500 year old giant Douglas-fir trees from this tiny island in the Englishman River, where the group had been hiking.
“Councillor Burger, his son and two well-known local filmmakers, Richard Boyce and Phil Carson, were hiking on the island, located approximately 1 km from the provincial park, explains Annette Tanner, Wilderness Committee spokesperson.  “They were assessing and documenting the damage to the oldgrowth forest on the island, located in the middle of the Englishman River just a brief 15 minute walk from Englishman River Provincial Park.  Over $2 million has been spent on salmon habitat restoration in this officially designated community drinking watershed for the city of Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Nanoose, French Creek and surrounding communities.”
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Meltdown: "Eastern" Europe Reemerging

Eastern Europe is about to Blow
by Mike Whitney
Eastern Europe is about to blow. If it does, it could take much of the EU with it. It's an emergency situation but there are no easy solutions. The IMF doesn't have the resources for a bailout of this size and the recession is spreading faster than relief efforts can be organized. Finance ministers and central bankers are running in circles trying to put out one fire after another. Its only a matter of time before they are overtaken by events. If one country is allowed to default, the dominoes could begin to tumble through the whole region. This could trigger dramatic changes in the political landscape. The rise of fascism is no longer out of the question.

The UK Telegraph's economics editor Edmund Conway sums it up like this:

"A 'second wave' of countries will fall victim to the economic crisis and face being bailed out by the International Monetary Fund, its chief warned at the G7 summit in Rome....But with some countries' economies effectively dwarfed by the size of their banking sector and its financial liabilities, there are fears they could fall victim to balance of payments and currency crises, much as Iceland did before receiving emergency assistance from the IMF last year." (UK Telegraph)
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Target Gaza: No-One is Innocent

Israel’s Rationale for Murder: No One is Innocent
by M. Junaid Levesque-Alam
Israel’s official excuses for extinguishing over 1,300 Palestinian lives—half of them civilian and one-third of them children— are oft-repeated by its apologists: Hamas’ rocket fire made the invasion unavoidable, and its tactics made civilian casualties inevitable.

Do these positions dovetail with—or decapitate—history? Are they logical? Are they moral? Or are they smokescreens, designed to disguise troublesome facts about both Israel’s strategy and its very origins?

The reality behind the rockets

Israel’s first argument about Hamas’ rockets fails on several levels.

It neatly—and falsely—posits Hamas as the attacker and Israel as the defender. The only problem with this pleasant fiction is that Israel has been expelling, occupying, and imprisoning Palestinians long before Hamas even came into existence.
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Canadian Obama Welcoming Committee Gatherings Planned

On Thursday, February 19, to mark the first official visit of U.S. president Barack Hussein Obama to Canada concerned members of the South Asian community and their supporters from throughout the Lower Mainland plan to publicly express their protest against the continuing drone attacks on the sovereign territory of Pakistan and the continued occupation of Afghanistan.

Whatever "change" and "hope" Barack Obama promised to bring to the people of the USA and of the world, when it comes to Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is only a continuation of the drastic and irresponsible policies followed by George Bush.
Drop In Picket
12pm - 5pm, US Consulate 1076 W.Pender St.

Candelight Vigil
5:30 pm - 7pm Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson Sq.
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Learning from Lincoln (for Dummies)

by Danny Schechter (Author of PLUNDER)
Last week, television was filled with programs marking Abraham Lincoln's birthday. (The official holiday is February 16.) We watched reports on how the civil war erupted and was almost lost by the Union side. We were reminded of how many died and were wounded in that great, national tragedy.

We were also told how Lincoln was often despondent and forced over time to take stronger measures including the Emancipation Proclamation and the abolition of Slavery, even though, at first, he waffled, compromised, and proposed less definitive measures. Somehow, events end up driving policy and as the war got worse, the president found himself doing things he initially opposed or deflected.
Ultimately, he did move against slavery, justifying freeing the slaves at first as an economic and military blow at the Confederacy. Later he called it a moral issue. His last speech calling for voting rights for some freed slaves was the trigger that sparked racist actor, John Wilkes Booth, to become an assassin.
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jon Elmer, Janine Bandcroft, Steve Anderson Feb. 16, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
'The Lancet' released the preliminary findings of two clinicians exploring the weapons used against the civilian population of Gaza during Israel's 23 day military assault there. Jon Elmer and the Wounds of Gaza in the first segment; Janine Bandcroft and Victoria's continuously unaddressed shelter crisis and local events; and, defending Canada's net access with Steve Anderson from the crew.
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:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

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