The Anti-Empire Report #148
by William Blum
February 4th, 2017
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland
"Since Yalta, we have a long list of times we’ve tried to engage positively with Russia. We have a relatively short list of successes in that regard." – General James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense1
(If anyone knows where to find this long list please send me a copy.)
This delusion is repeated periodically by American military officials. A year ago, following the release of Russia’s new national security document, naming as threats both the United States and the expansion of the NATO alliance, a Pentagon spokesman declared:
“They have no reason to consider us a threat. We are not looking for conflict with Russia.”2
Meanwhile, in early January, the United States embarked upon its biggest military buildup in Europe since the end of the Cold War – 3,500 American soldiers landed, unloading three shiploads, with 2,500 tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles. The troops were to be deployed in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary and across the Baltics. Lt. Gen. Frederick Hodges, commander of US forces in Europe, said,
“Three years after the last American tanks left the continent, we need to get them back.”
The measures, General Hodges declared, were a “response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. This does not mean that there necessarily has to be a war, none of this is inevitable, but Moscow is preparing for the possibility.” (See previous paragraph.)Add a comment
Human Extinction 2026
by Robert Hunziker - Pacific Free Press
February 3, 2017
Los Angeles - Human Extinction by 2026, a controversial/questionable idea, is examined in some detail on the web site: arctic-news.blogspot.com.
Within the posted article, a bright red box highlights the hypothesis: “Will Humans Be Extinct By 2026?” Of course, simply posing the question is tantamount to endorsing the conclusion in the affirmative.Also of recent, but not directly related to the extinction article, scientists moved the infamous Doomsday Clock ahead by 30 seconds closer to midnight because of rising global nationalism and failure to confront both nuclear weapons and climate change, coincidentally as Trump takes over control of the big red button, which is mythological.
By definition, an article dealing with human extinction is highly provocative and touchy and generally dismissed as balderdash. After all, it sounds kinda crazy. Still, the named article: “Will Humans Be Extinct By 2026?” warrants serious consideration.
Here’s why: The Arctic News blog is an amalgam of serious research by topnotch scientists that “speak to truth.” They endorse the distinct possibility of an extinction event that will catch humanity flat-footed.
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Plastic and Capitalism Are Killing Ocean Life
by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice
January 31st, 2017
For 21st century capitalism the more disposable the better. Ocean life and human health be damned. According to a recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study, the world’s oceans are set to have more plastic than fish by 2050.
At the current rate of production and disposal the net weight of plastic in the oceans will be greater than that of fish in a little over three decades. There are currently 150 million tonnes of plastic debris floating in the world’s oceans.
Most of it takes centuries to break down.
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Clamoring for Israeli Approval: Trump’s Election Promises Will Haunt Him
by Ramzy Baroud - ramzybaroud.net
February 1, 2017
US President Donald Trump promises to be pro-Israel in every aspect. ‘I'm the best thing that could ever happen to Israel,’ he boasted at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum in Washington DC, in December, 2015.
For a brief moment, Trump appeared as if rethinking his unconditional support for Israel, when in February 2016, the Republican presidential nominee pledged ‘neutrality’ between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Let me be sort of a neutral guy,” he said during an MSNBC town hall meeting. Since then, this position has been surpassed by the most regressive rhetoric, beginning with his speech before the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) conference, the following month.
As for Israel, its expectations of the US President are very clear: unconditional financial and military support, blank check to expand illegal settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and an end to any form of political ‘pressure’ through attempting to revive the so-called ‘peace process’. Not that Trump has had any qualms with these expectations.
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.ca
February 1, 2017
Three presidents and fifteen years into the long war the George W. Bush promised, the prison at Guantánamo Bay symbolizes both America's abrogation of international conventions on the treatment of prisoners, and the failure to end the global paranoia, arms races, and proxy turf battles of the Cold War era.
Any hope for the alluded "peace dividend" following the collapse of the Soviet Union is long forgotten. In fact, the world is poised again above the abyss as accusation and sabre-rattling replaces diplomatic discourse between remnant Russia and the financially fragile United States.
And, into this china shop blusters Donald Trump, who says he would like keep Guantánamo open, and "load it up with bad dudes" among other things.
Andy Worthington is freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker, and singer-songwriter who has made an annual pilgrimage to America from his native Britain to lobby for the infamous prison's closure, and he was there again last month in the run up to the Trump inauguration.
Andy's book titles include: 'Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, 'Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion', and 'The Battle of the Beanfield.' He also co-directed (with Polly Nash) the documentary film, 'Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.'
Andy Worthington in the first half.
And; there's no bigger china shop in the world than China, and bull moose Donald has done little to disguise the cross-hairs his administration has drawn on the global economic superpower's business.
For the last half of his tenure, Obama tried repeatedly to orchestrate his so-called "Asia pivot," an effort to move America's foreign policy focus back to the Pacific where it's uncontested half-century of dominance has come under challenge. What will a Trump administration do to make America's hegemony in Asia great again; and how will China receive its efforts?
Peter Lee is a freelance journalist writing on East and South Asian affairs as they intersect with US global policy. He's the driving force behind the Asian affairs website China Matters, providing critical updates on China and Asia-Pacific, and his articles also appear at Asia Times, and at CounterPunch.org, among other internet news sites. News sites like Newsbud.com who just last month launched Peter's weekly report, China Watch.
Peter Lee and a not so Happy Chinese New Year for America's Year of the Bull in the second half.
And Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour to, in association with Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus, Janine Bandcroft, bring us news of good things planned for the coming week in and around our town and beyond. But first, Andy Worthington, an Englishman in New America.
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.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/Add a comment
Football Is Trumpball Lite: Can Kaepernick Save Us?
January 31, 2017
The Super Bowl is superfluous this year. Who needs a reality show about violence, domination, and sexism, not to mention brain damage, now that we have Trumpball, actual reality that not only authenticates football’s authoritarianism but transforms us from bystanders into victims?
Before this game is over, the players may swarm the grandstands and beat the hell out of us. Pro football actually helped prepare us for the new president’s upset victory by normalizing a basic tenet of jock culture: anyone not on the team is an enemy, the Other. And it’s open season on opponents, the fans of opponents, critics, and women (unless they’re cheerleaders or moms). Trash talking is the lingua franca of this Trumpian moment, bullying the default tactic.
Yet pro football has also provided us with the single most vivid image of current American resistance to racism. Last summer, before a pre-season game, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the playing of the national anthem as a symbol of his refusal “to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
As the season progressed, he started going down on his right knee when the anthem began, revealing that he was wearing black socks decorated with pigs in police hats. These, he said, represented “rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments.” He would eventually stop wearing them, convinced that the socks were a tactical mistake.
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by Satya Sagar - PacificFreePress.com
January 29, 2017
The Indian ruling class have become Slum Lords and India has become, what can only be called a Slumdog Republic.
It was always the worst kept secret in India, but has now finally become official – those who run the Republic of India do not need the Public of India at all. What is worse, they in fact see the latter as a grave threat to their very existence. All this was amply evident on Republic Day this year, as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister unfurled the Indian flag at Chennai’s Marina Beach.
There was much pomp and show but a minor detail was somehow missing from the scene – there was no audience. While the tricolor did flutter prettily in the cool sea breeze to the melody of the national anthem, it did so ‘amidst tight security’ and to empty stands.
The absence of people at the ceremony in Chennai had a background to it of course. In the run up to the Republic Day event, for nearly a week, over thirty thousand people had gathered at the same venue to demand the lifting of a ban on the traditional Tamil bull-taming sport of jallikattu.
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White Silence Equals Violence: Awaiting a Verdict
by Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Non-Violence
The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015 outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex.
Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head. Several witnesses say that he was handcuffed and motionless when he was shot dead. The police officers have been cleared of all charges and are back on the job.
Dan and I are among 25 defendants charged with obstructing a Minneapolis Metro transit vehicle on April 11, the opening day of the Minnesota Twins baseball season.
The Legal Rights Center lawyers working with us arranged a calendar so that small groups would be tried weekly. Earlier this month, two people were acquitted of all charges and one person was convicted.
Trump, Atomic Bombs and Confused Japanese Samurais
by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice
January 26th, 2017
Goodbye President Obama! Japan is mourning your imminent departure. It is mourning because you were such a good friend, an exceptionally predictable ruler, and a truly traditional imperialist. You spoke so well, and tormented all those unruly colonies with admirable zeal and effectiveness!
What is soon coming is untested and therefore frightening. Obedient and disciplined Japan historically detests unpredictability. It doesn’t really mind prostituting itself, but only if it brings great tangible benefits and as long as strict protocol and decorum are fully respected.
The upcoming scenario could be frightening: Who knows? That new big ugly chap across the ocean could soon ruin all etiquette; calling whores and profiteers by their real names. The Japanese government and big business are now shaking in dread, day and night. What changes are coming? How to please the new foul-speaking lord?
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This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
January 24, 2017
Welcome to a new world disordered. For some the coming of Trump means the hope a systemically corrupt America can be restored to a state of grace and greatness. Others wonder where and when that alluded to state existed.
Either way or both ways one thing is sure, changes are a-comin'. In office only a day, Trump announced America's withdrawal from the TransPacific Partnership, or TPP. Could the long implied abrogation of NAFTA, the trade and investment deal linking the U.S., Canada, and Mexico be far behind?
Tim Boultbee is a human rights activist whose interest in Mexico and Central America began during the dark decade of Ronald Reagan's Dirty Wars down there.
Tim traveled to Nicaragua then to see firsthand the effects of the US-sponsored Contra terrorist campaign against the country's mainly rural poor and, when the Zapatista's rose up in Chiapas, (the day the NAFTA treaty was announced) he went down to serve as a human rights observor in 3 Zapatista communities.
Tim Boultbee will be presenting 'Human Rights in Mexico: What’s next?' with Claudia Barrueta Martinez as part of a CAFÉ SIMPATICO BENEFIT SUPPER this Friday January 27th at 1923 Fernwood Rd.
Tim Boultbee in the first half.
And; former CFUV broadcaster and environmental champion, Peter Verin died last week. The Reverend Al Tysick conducted a service Thursday near Peter's centre of operations at the corner of Quadra and McKenzie, close to the recycling depot. I went down to hear the tributes to this most singular Victorian.
Peter Verin Presente! in the second half.
And; Christina Nikolic will be standing in for Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of the good things planned in, on, and around the streets of our city and beyond in the coming week. But first, Tim Boultbee and Human Rights in Mexico! What Next?
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.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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Wolf and Cougar Slaughter to Aid Revelstoke Caribou Masks Extensive and Ongoing Caribou Habitat Destruction
January 23, 2017
A recent BC government document claims that the protection of large amounts of mountain caribou habitat near Revelstoke has failed to increase the number of caribou in the Columbia Forest District. It states that the “next step” is to slaughter wolves from helicopters, and kill cougars.
This would represent an expansion of the helicopter wolf slaughter in BC from the South Selkirk and South Peace regions to the Revelstoke area.
However, according to a letter sent to the government by the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS), the report’s claim of large amounts of habitat protection in the area masks some dirty secrets. “We looked at the caribou reserves near Revelstoke on GoogleEarth,“ says Craig Pettitt, a VWS director.
“We were shocked to see that they are fragmented by hundreds of clearcuts, many of which were already there when the reserves were supposedly ‘protected’. These are not protected areas by anyone’s standards, and it certainly isn’t mountain caribou habitat. It has long been known to science that mountain caribou cannot survive in a patchwork of clearcuts and roads.”
Government has always claimed that the new habitat protection in 2009 was to be added to previous protection. But in the Revelstoke area, that has turned out to be false. The government “protected” about 7,400 hectares in 2009, but removed an almost equal amount from protection in old-growth forest reserves. And claims that logging was banned from the new caribou reserves appear to have been equally false in this particular planning unit: logging has continued inside of them.
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The Collective "Wisdom" of the U.S. Intelligence Community
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
January 22, 2017
They call themselves the U.S. “Intelligence Community,” or the IC. If you include the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which in 2005 began as a crew of 12 people, including its director, and by 2008 had already grown to a staff of 1,750, there are 17 members (adding up to an alphabet soup of acronyms including the CIA, the NSA, and the DIA).
The IC spends something like $70 billion of your taxpayer dollars annually, mostly in secret, hires staggering numbers of private contractors from various warrior corporations to lend a hand, sucks up communications of every sort across the planet, runs a drone air force, monitors satellites galore, builds its agencies multi-billion-dollar headquarters and storage facilities, and does all of this, ostensibly, to provide the president and the rest of the government with the best information imaginable on what’s happening in the world and what dangers the United States faces.
Since 9/11, expansion has been the name of its game, as the leading intelligence agencies gained ever more power, prestige, and the big bucks, while wrapping themselves in an unprecedented blanket of secrecy. Typically, in the final days of the Obama administration, the National Security Agency was given yet more leeway to share the warrantless data it scoops up worldwide (including from American citizens) with ever more members of the IC.
And oh yes, in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump, several of those intelligence outfits found themselves in a knock-down, drag-out barroom brawl with our new tweeter-in-chief (who has begun threatening to downsize parts of the IC) over the possible Russian hacking of an American election and his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the process, they have received regular media plaudits for their crucial importance to all of us, our security and safety, along with tweeted curses from the then-president-elect.
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