A Planet of Another Colour: Reflecting on the Loss of Sea Ice

Loss of Planet Reflectivity an Impending Catastrophe

by Robert Hunziker - Pacific Free Press

September 19, 2016

The planet’s air conditioning system is on the blink, working intermittently, losing its glinting, lustrous white reflectiveness, as it turns deep blue, absorbing 90% of sunlight rather than reflecting it back into outer space. The repercussions of Arctic sea ice loss are immense.“Our planet has actually changed colour,” Peter Wadhams, A Farewell to Ice (Allen Lane an imprint of Penguin Books, 2016). Loss of Arctic sea ice has such an overriding powerful impact on the planet, it warrants this 206-page book.
“It is Man’s first major achievement in reshaping the face of his planet, and it is of course an unintended achievement, with dubious and possibly catastrophic consequences to follow.” (p.3)

“There is no period in Earth history that we know about where the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2 is as great as it is today.”


Professor Peter Wadhams brings fresh insight to the dynamics behind the interrelationship of Arctic sea ice and climate change/global warming. The conclusions by this preeminent ice scientist are sobering.


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Britons Take to the Streets in Support of Migrant Rights

Refugees Welcome: Thousands March for 'Humanity and Human Rights' in UK

by Jon Queally, staff writer - Common Dreams

September 17, 2016

Amid global crises that have seen people forced from their homelands in unprecedented numbers, citizens call on UK government to open doors to those in need

Pushing back against a tide of xenophobia which has gripped portions of Europe in recent years, thousands marched in central London on Saturday as they demanded the British government do more to help those forced from their homelands amid endless war in the Middle East and economic crises across Africa and beyond.

Under an overall message declaring "Refugees Welcome," many of the estimated 30,000 people marching carried signs reading "We Stand with You"; "No to Islamophobia. No to war."; "Safety is a human right"; and "No Human Being Is Illegal."


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The House of Saud's Journey to the Islamic Desert

 From religion to politics, Saudi Arabia feeling chill of isolation

by Sharmine Narwani - RT

15 Sep, 2016

At the end of August, a meeting of Muslim clerics and scholars convened in the Chechen capital of Grozny to forge a consensus on the subject of ‘who constitutes a Sunni.’ Sunnism, the 200 or so Sunni clerics from Egypt, South Africa, India, Europe, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Russia warned, “has undergone a dangerous deformation in the wake of efforts by extremists to void its sense in order to take it over and reduce it to their perception.”
The Muslim world is currently under a siege of terror, led by a deviant strain that claims religious authority and kills in the name of Islam.
So the Grozny participants had gathered, by invitation of the Chechen president, to make “a radical change in order to re-establish the true meaning of Sunnism.”
If their final communique was any indicator, the group of distinguished scholars had a very particular message for the Muslim world: Wahhabism - and its associated takfirism - are no longer welcome within the Sunni fold. Specifically, the conference’s closing statement says this:

“Ash’arites and the Maturidi are the people of Sunnism and those who belong to the Sunni community, both at the level of the doctrine and of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i, Maliki), as well as Sufis, both in terms of knowledge and moral ethics."


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Fooled Me Thrice: America Falling for the War Line Again

Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

September 14, 2016  

A British parliamentary inquiry into the Libyan fiasco has reported what should have been apparent from the start in 2011 – and was to some of us – that the West’s military intervention to “protect” civilians in Benghazi was a cover for what became another disastrous “regime change” operation.

The report from the U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms the U.S. and other Western governments exaggerated the human rights threat posed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and then quickly morphed the “humanitarian” mission into a military invasion that overthrew and killed Gaddafi, leaving behind political and social chaos.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003,
President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military
to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad,
known as “shock and awe.”

The report’s significance is that it shows how little was learned from the Iraq War fiasco in which George W. Bush’s administration hyped and falsified intelligence to justify invading Iraq and killing its leader, Saddam Hussein. In both cases, U.K. leaders tagged along and the West’s mainstream news media mostly served as unprofessional propaganda conduits, not as diligent watchdogs for the public.


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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Tim Shorrock, Elizabeth Yake, Janine Bandcroft Sept. 14, 2016

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

September 13, 2016

If you follow the news regularly, you can be forgiven for not knowing much other than Trump's latest harrumph, or Hillary's health scares, but there is still a World out there spinning, independent of America's election cycle. Last week, North Korea again tested the nuclear waters with its second weapon test this year. This time they claim to have detonated a Hydrogen bomb.

With a thumb aimed squarely at Uncle Sam's eye, a Korean Central News Agency release said, "The U.S. will be made to clearly see how the DPRK rises imposingly out of chains of sanctions, blockade and pressure." (The Obama administration recently responded to a series of North Korean missile tests with promises of more sanctions.)


We're all left to wonder, "What would/will president Trump do?"


Listen. Hear.


Tim Shorrock is a journalist, musician, and author of the website, Money Doesn't Talk, It Swears and the book, 'Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.' Tim's upbringing in the Far East especially informs his coverage of Japan and South Korea, and he spent much of the 1980's in Japan, following the financial intrigues of the then-biggest of the Asian Tiger economies. These days he's based in Washington, D.C.


Tim Shorrock in the first half.


And; living here, at this time, in this still magnificent remnant of creation called British Columbia, the sorrow of what of the wild world here has already been lost, and what is currently risked through unrelenting "resource" extraction may make it easier for we less imaginative, less passionate people to understand Grant Hadwin's last desperate act. The former logger and backwoodsman disappeared after felling, in a mad act of environmental apotheosis, the singularly majestic Golden Spruce, a tree sacred to all who beheld it.

Hadwin's life was immortalized in John Vaillant's book, 'The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed,' and now  in a film inspired by that book, ‘Hadwin's Judgement.’

Elizabeth Yake is one of the producers of the film, who will appear with John Vaillant and Ken Wu and TJ Watts at the fundraiser screening for the Ancient Forest Alliance in Victoria Thursday, September 29th at UVic's Cinecenta theatre.


Elizabeth Yake in the second half.


And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of good things planned for the streets of our city, and beyond there too, in the coming week. But first, Tim Shorrock and a World still restive, beyond the Beltway politics.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Seeing Snowden on the Silver Screen

 Snowden: Best Film of the Year

by David Swanson - War Is a Crime

10 September 2016 


Snowden is the most entertaining, informing, and important film you are likely to see this year. It's the true story of an awakening. It traces the path of Edward Snowden's career in the U.S. military, the CIA, the NSA, and at various contractors thereof.

It also traces the path of Edward Snowden's agonizingly slow awakening to the possibility that the U.S. government might sometimes be wrong, corrupt, or criminal. And of course the film takes us through Snowden's courageous and principled act of whistleblowing. We see in the film countless colleagues of Snowden's who knew much of what he knew and did not blow the whistle.

We see a few help him and others appreciate him. But they themselves do nothing. Snowden is one of the exceptions.



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Bringing the Philippines in Line Proving a Sonovabitch for Obama and His Successors

Hope for the Philippines?

by Gary Leupp - CounterPunch

September 9, 2016 

Son of a bitch (var. sonovabitch): Something that is very difficult or unpleasant. Used to express surprise, disappointment, anger, etc. (based on Merriam-Webster)

Rodrigo Duterte, elected president of the Philippines last May, was supposed to meet with President Obama in Laos on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting Monday. He had referred to Obama as a putang ina (“son of a bitch”) in a news conference, and earlier to U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg with what was reported as a homophobic slur.

(I understand that Duterte routinely uses the word bakla or “gay” to refer to elite men, but—like most Filipinos—actually is fine with gayness. The city of Davao, where he was mayor for many years, has lots of gay establishments and he had no problem with them. He supports gay marriage. When asked last year if he would mind if his son Paolo had a gay partner, he replied that he had no problem at all.


“It’s more of the human dignity than anything else,” he replied, adding in his typical manner combing English and Tagalog,
“All human beings are created by God, So kung rerespetuhin mo ang totoong babae, tooting lalaki, at ito namang isa kung medyo alanganin sa babae, lalaki, then he is also a creation of good. So kaya magrespetuhan tayo.” 

I don’t understand Tagalog but this sounds pretty tolerant. I’m inclined to think his putative homophobia is actually State Department hyperbole designed to discredit him. By the way, have you noticed how, following the rapid unexpected legal advances gay people have made in this country since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2003 recognized same-sex marriages, the U.S. government itself has rapidly and shamelessly come to make homophobia—still rampant in this country, and indeed normative until recently—a cause for the vilification of selected regimes abroad? Regimes such as that in Russia—where homosexuality is in fact legal, and tourist literature advertises the “warm and vibrant gay club scene” and bars and saunas in St. Petersburg especially? And have you also noticed the ringing silence about close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, where guys get tossed to their deaths off buildings if convicted of sodomy?)


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It's a Proxy World Afterall: America's Fracturing Empire

US Proxies and Regional Rivalries

by James Petras



US empire building depends on regional regimes’ support, especially in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. These proxy regimes fulfill valuable military roles securing control over neighboring regions, populations and territory. 

In recent times, however, we witness the same proxies developing their own tendency toward expansionist policies - in pursuit of their own mini-empires.

Client regimes with local or regional ambitions now present Washington with new points of contention. At a time when the US empire has been forced to retrench or retreat in the face of its prolonged losses, a whole new set of conflicts have emerged. The post-imperial war zones are the new focus.

Often, imperial client regimes take the initiative in confronting their regional adversaries. In other cases, competing proxies will brush aside their US ‘mentors’ and advance their own territorial ambitions. The break-up of the US-dominated empire, far from ending wars and conflicts, will almost certainly lead to many local wars under the pretext of ’self-determination’, or ’self-defense’ or protecting one’s ethnic brethren - like Ankara’s sudden concern for the Turkmen in Syria. We will examine a few of the most obvious case studies.


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Fall of the House of Karimov

Karimov Family Values

by Craig Murray

6 Sep, 2016

It is now important that Prime Minister Mirzieyev – who appears to be in control in Uzbekistan at the moment – produces Gulnara Karimova and shows that she is alive and healthy. The whereabouts of her daughter Iman are also obscure.

Twelve years ago President Karimov jailed his own nephew, Jamshid Karimov, for the “crime” of writing an article in a state publication which suggested modest improvements to his uncle’s economic policies.

Like other prominent dissidents, young Karimov ended up chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward being pumped mind altering drugs to re-educate him.

Nevertheless, when President Karimov’s daughter Gulnara was confined to house arrest two years ago, I was inclined to view it more as protective detention than real incarceration.

 Gulnara was wanted on fraud and corruption charges in Sweden, Switzerland, France and the USA. The US government has demanded she forfeit 550 million dollars. Her “detention” in Uzbekistan prevented her being subject to an embarrassing trial in a foreign state. Besides her ability to tweet and send sorrowful photos from her house arrest seemed to argue against real detention. But 18 months of complete disappearance have caused me to worry.


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Making Beginnings at Ending America's Military Mentality

A Good Beginning 

by Kathy Kelly  - VCNC

September 07, 2016

VCNV ShineIt seems that some who have the ears of U.S. elite decision-makers are at least shifting away from wishing to provoke wars with Russia and China. In recent articles, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Thomas Graham, two architects of the US cold war with Russia, have acknowledged that the era of uncontested US global imperialism is coming to an end.

Both analysts urge more cooperation with Russia and China to achieve traditional, still imperial, US aims. Mr. Graham recommends a shifting mix of competition and cooperation, aiming toward a "confident management of ambiguity."

Mr. Brzezinski calls for deputizing other countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to carry out the combined aims of the US, Russia and China so that this triumvirate could control other people’s land and resources.

It’s surely worthwhile to wonder what effect opinions such as Brzezinski’s and Graham’s might have upon how US resources are allotted, whether to meet human needs or to further enlarge the US Department of Defense (DOD) and further enrich the corporations that profit from US investments in weapons technology.


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Jumping the 9/11 Air Gap: Their Bombs and Ours

A 9/11 Retrospective: Washington's 15-Year Air War

Bombs Away! Their Precision Weaponry and Ours

by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch

September 8, 2016

On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda launched its four-plane air force against the United States. On board were its precision weapons: 19 suicidal hijackers.

One of those planes, thanks to the resistance of its passengers, crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

The other three hit their targets -- the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. -- with the kind of “precision” we now associate with the laser-guided weaponry of the U.S. Air Force.

From its opening salvo, in other words, this conflict has been an air war. With its 75% success rate, al-Qaeda's 9/11 mission was a historic triumph, accurately striking three out of what assumedly were its four chosen targets. (Though no one knows just where that plane in Pennsylvania was heading, undoubtedly it was either the Capitol or the White House to complete the taking out of the icons of American financial, military, and political power.) In the process, almost 3,000 people who had no idea they were in the bombsights of an obscure movement on the other side of the planet were slaughtered.

It was a barbaric, if daring, plan and an atrocity of the first order. Almost 15 years later, such suicidal acts with similar “precision” weaponry (though without the air power component) continue to be unleashed across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and sometimes elsewhere, taking a terrible toll -- from a soccer game in Iraq to a Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey (where the “weapon” may have been a boy).

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Uzbek Tyrant Dies, America Yawns

What Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know About Uzbekistan

by Ted Rall - CounterPunch

September 7, 2016

Death is usually a sad event. The passing of a world leader, particularly one who brought stability to a tense part of the Muslim world for several decades, is typically cause for concern. The death of Uzbekistani president Islam Karimov is not typical.

For the majority of the long-oppressed citizens of Uzbekistan, the end of one of the world’s bloodiest and most corrupt dictators — and, to our eternal shame, an American ally — is cause for joy and gleeful celebration. The SOB died 82 years too late.

Except for the time Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson called it “a small, insignificant state…Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan,” the hell on earth created by Karimov doesn’t get much coverage in the news media.

Few Americans could find this backwater on a map to save their lives. Yet Uzbekistan, once known as the underbelly of the USSR, is incredibly important. Which is why the rich and powerful – military generals, energy company executives, Hillary Clinton – know all about it.


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