A Twisted Potlatch: Pentagon's Vision of Givin'

The Pentagon’s Twisted Potlatch
by John Feffer - CounterPunch

April 25, 2016

Among the Kwakiutl and several other indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest, the potlatch was a ritual of hospitality. The host would invite guests to a big feast and then distribute gifts. The distribution was a way of demonstrating the host’s status: the more significant the gifts, the more important the host. Think: swag bags for the pre-celebrity era.
 
Although this sophisticated social ritual reflected the host’s generosity and connectedness to the community, the potlatch could sometimes lead to a destructive one-upmanship.
 
“At times these contests would escalate to the point where the distribution of property became inadequate for the expression of a chief’s disregard for wealth and property,” writes anthropologist Neal Keating.
“The next step would be to actually destroy property, often by burning it up. He might burn up his canoes, or his house, or the entire village.”
 
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Brazil's Sharks Circle As South America's 'Pink Tide' Recedes

The impeachment crisis shaking Brazil: An Interview with Ana Saggioro Garcia
by Todd Chretien and Bruno Ruviaro - Socialist Worker.org

April 20, 2016

Rousseff smileOn April 17, Brazil's lower house of Congress voted by a two-thirds majority to impeach President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers' Party (PT, by its initials in Portuguese), forcing her to relinquish office pending further procedures. The presidency now passes to Dilma's (as she is widely known in Brazil) former vice president Michel Temer of the conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), who only resigned from her cabinet last month.
 
Her government will now appeal the decision to the country's Supreme Court, before the final vote proceeds to the Senate in the coming months.
 
The carnival of reaction on display by conservative Congressional deputies during the vote [1] only demonstrates the contempt in which Brazil's elite hold the vast majority of the population. With a GDP in excess of $3 trillion, Brazil is the seventh-largest economy in the world, approximately five times larger than neighboring Argentina. What happens in Brazil matters for all of Latin America.
 
Faced with a newly ascendant right in Argentina and Venezuela and a worsening continent-wide economic crisis, a decade and a half of center-left and reform-oriented governments known as the "Pink Tide" is rapidly receding.
 
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No Good Arabs: Israel's Establishment Palestinians Marginalized

In Israel, an Ugly Tide sweeps over Palestinians
by Jonathan Cook - Dissident Voice

April 25th, 2016

Zuheir BahloulIn Israel’s evermore tribal politics, there is no such thing as a “good” Arab – and the worst failing in a Jew is to be unmasked as an “Arab lover”. Or so was the message last week from Isaac Herzog, head of Israel’s so-called peace camp.The shock waves of popular anger at the recent indictment of an Israeli army medic, Elor Azaria, on a charge of “negligent homicide” are being felt across Israel’s political landscape.

Most Israeli Jews bitterly resent the soldier being put on trial, even though Azaria was caught on camera firing a bullet into the head of a badly injured Palestinian, Abdel Fattah Al Sharif.

In the current climate, Herzog and his opposition party Zionist Union have found themselves highly uncomfortable at having in their midst a single non-Jewish legislator.
 
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The Al-Qaeda Who Wasn’t: Tortured Truth in the War on Terror

The Al-Qaeda Leader Who Wasn’t: The Shameful Ordeal of Abu Zubaydah
by Rebecca Gordon - TomDispatch  
 
April 24, 2016
 
The allegations against the man were serious indeed.
* Donald Rumsfeld said he was “if not the number two, very close to the number two person” in al-Qaeda.
* The Central Intelligence Agency informed Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee that he “served as Usama Bin Laden’s senior lieutenant. In that capacity, he has managed a network of training camps... He also acted as al-Qaeda’s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.”
* CIA Director Michael Hayden would tell the press in 2008 that 25% of all the information his agency had gathered about al-Qaeda from human sources “originated” with one other detainee and him.
* George W. Bush would use his case to justify the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program,” claiming that “he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained” and that “he helped smuggle al-Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan” so they would not be captured by U.S. military forces.

None of it was true.
 
And even if it had been true, what the CIA did to Abu Zubaydah -- with the knowledge and approval of the highest government officials -- is a prime example of the kind of still-unpunished crimes that officials like Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld committed in the so-called Global War on Terror. 
 
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For All Democracy, Rousseff Must Stand

Brazil Cannot Be Allowed to Fall
by Andre Vltchek  - Dissident Voice

April 23rd, 2016

Send tanks to the streets; park them in front of the Congress, Dilma! Restore order and restore democracy.

 
Enough weeping! Latin America has wept incessantly, continuously, for years, decades and centuries. Its people robbed of everything since the days of Columbus, since Potosi.

Tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions have been slaughtered here, in the last five centuries; first by the conquerors, then by their descendants and serfs, and finally by the Empire of Lies as well as the treasonous local ‘elites’.
 
Enough weeping, comrades! It is time to use force.
 
Whenever people stood up, whenever true Latin American heroes liberated their lands, by reason or by force, the bloodbath was administered almost immediately, from across the seas, or from the North.
 
Tanks rolled through the avenues and squares, and combat airplanes and helicopters sprayed bombs and bullets all over Presidential palaces, as well as the countryside. People were hunted down like animals, dragged to stadiums and factories, to underground cellars, and there they were violated, tortured and slaughtered.
 
That’s their democracy! Thank you, but no more of that.
 
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Renewable Electricity Generators Welcome the End of Fossil Power

90% of world’s new electricity coming from renewables: Welcome to the end of the fossil fuel era
by Damien Gillis - Common Sense Canadian

April 18, 2016

According to the International Energy Agency, a staggering 90% of all new electrical capacity brought online around the world in 2015 came in the form of renewable energy.

That same year, China invested a record $110 Billion in clean tech – virtually 100% of its electrical capital – and in 2016, it’s set to close 1,000 coal mines.

While Canada is shedding fossil fuel jobs like they’re going out of style, the world’s current economic powerhouses – China, the US, Germany, Brazil, Korea – are generating millions of new green jobs.
 
Solar installation class (Haggerston
Community College/Flickr CC licence)

In other words, the bust we’re witnessing in Fort McMurray and North Dakota is no mere blip – no typical, “cyclical” downturn.
 
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Honduras: Canadian Complicity in the Murder of Berta Cáceres

Canada Has Blood On Its Hands; Justice in Honduras Requires a U-Turn in Canadian Foreign Policy
by MiningWatch Canada

April 21, 2016

Ottawa - Today, First Nations women leaders, legal and human rights activists called on the Canadian government to take a lead in calling for an independent, international investigation into the murder of world-renowned Indigenous activist, Berta Cáceres, and an investigation into Canada’s engagement with the Central American country since a 2009 military-backed coup.

The group returned to Ottawa on Tuesday after a seven-day trip to Honduras that was organized in the wake of the brutal murder of Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres on March 2, followed by the murder of Nelson García on March 15.

Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder sparked unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. García was member of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), an organization that Cáceres co-founded.
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The Odessa House of Trades Massacre: Kiev's Promise at Two

The Fire Each Time
by Luciana Bohne - CounterPunch

April 22, 2016

Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, and suddenly there was light, and warmth, and the gathering at the hearth. The gods never forgave, and ever since periodically they thrust a torch into villains’ hands and watch the hearths burn and bring the roofs down. Civilization weeps, in Troy, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria.
 
In Ukraine, this May 2nd will mark the second anniversary of a fire, a show of force to demonstrate that Ukraine’s boss was the US-installed nationalist Kiev regime.

The House of Trades in Odessa was set on fire. Officially forty-eight people died, but witnesses, survivors, and journalists say the number may be tragically higher—perhaps up to 180.
 
Inside the burning building, people died of fume inhalations. They were also shot, suffocated by the toxic exhalations of a mysterious greenish gas, beaten to death on the ground after jumping out of windows. There were rapes, authenticated by autopsies.
 
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Israel's Paramedics Letting the Wounded Bleed

Israeli Paramedics Accused of Medical Violations
by Jonathan Cook - Dissident Voice

April 20th, 2016
 
Israeli ambulance crews adopt a policy of denying injured Palestinians treatment, say rights groups 
 
There is mounting evidence that Israeli ambulance crews are withholding treatment from Palestinians injured during a wave of attacks over the past six months, according to rights groups.
 
Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, a medical watchdog group, found that wounded Palestinians had been left untreated for as long as two hours.
 
In some cases, it is believed medical teams failed to tend to the injuries of suspected attackers as revenge, in the expectation that they would die from their wounds.
 
In parallel, says the group, Israeli soldiers regularly deny Palestinian crews in the occupied territories access to injured Palestinians in violation of international agreements. Palestinian ambulances have been regularly fired on and paramedics attacked as they tried to reach the scene.
 
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Proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Biggest Threat to US Waters: Report

Millions of barrels of tar sands oil barged within the Salish Sea since 2010
by FOE
 
April 21, 2016 

Proposed expansion of Trans Mountain Pipeline exceeds the capacity of defunct KXL pipeline proposal; will result in 7x more tar sands traffic by tanker

SEATTLE, WASH.A new report details an alarming increase in barge traffic transporting tar sands oil for refining and export between an oil port near Vancouver, BC and the U.S. Oil refinery in Tacoma, Washington. The Westridge marine oil terminal located in Burnaby, BC is the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline that currently carries 300,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen or tar sands oil -- or dilbit -- from Alberta, Canada for export.
 
This investigation was prompted by the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the sevenfold increase in tanker traffic exporting tar sands oil through the critical habitat of the endangered community of Southern Resident Killer Whales.
 
The inability to recover spills of tar sands oil with current technology, as reported by the National Academy of Sciences in 2016, led Friends of the Earth to evaluate how much tar sands oil Washington refineries receive by vessel.
 
“Trans Mountain is the one of the biggest threats to U.S. waters that few people have ever heard of,” said Fred Felleman, Northwest consultant for Friends of the Earth and author of the report.

“The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline poses the greatest risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Salish Sea as compared with the numerous other marine terminal proposals in the region. This project would be the final harpoon in the population of endangered southern resident killer whales.”
 
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The New York Election Theft Preview

New York voting fiasco just the warm-up for the November game
 
April 20, 2016 

Buckle up, America. The voting demolition derby that was the New York primary on Tuesday was merely the crash test for the coming voting wreckage in November: a carefully planned pile up.

First, live from New York….

Francesca Rheannon, whom you may know as the host of Writers’ Voice radio, did the civic thing by volunteering to work the polls in a town east of New York City.

“I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official. In my election district, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots. The last [election] I worked in, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot.”

That’s nearly one of four voters. Why? Their names had gone missing from the voter rolls.
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Corbyn and Sanders "Millions" vs. Blair and Clinton's MILLION$$$

Corbyn’s Millions, Blair’s Millions
by Media Lens  - Dissident Voice

April 20th, 2016

Clinton Bernie cnn debate bafflingWhile ‘social media’ like Facebook and Twitter are forms of corporate media, it is unarguable that they and other web-based outlets have helped empower a serious challenge to traditional print and broadcast journalism. For the first time in history, uncompromised non-corporate voices are able to instantly challenge the filtered ‘mainstream’ version of events. This certainly helps explain the rise of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, Podemos in Spain, and now Bernie Sanders in the US.
 
A key lesson learned by many people over the last few years is that supposedly neutral corporate media, in fact, have an unlimited capacity for finding fault with the actions and opinions of perceived enemies of elite power, just as they have an unlimited capacity for pardoning loyal servants.
 
The point was emphasised by an April 12 article in the Telegraph titled: 'Jeremy Corbyn’s £3million state-funded salary and pension revealed'.

Telegraph journalists Kate McCann and Steven Swinford found great and damning significance in the fact that:
 
Jeremy Corbyn has made more than £3million from the state in the past 30 years, according to official records. The Labour leader has made more than £1.5million in salary as an MP and will benefit from a generous £1.6million pension when he retires.
 
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