Obama vows protracted military campaign in Iraq, Syria
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS President Barack Obama delivered a militarist speech Tuesday to the annual convention of the American Legion in Charlotte, North Carolina amid reports that US spy drones are already operating over Syria and air strikes could begin there by the end of this week.
Obama told the veterans’ organization that “the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world,” a boast that is belied by the bloody debacle unleashed throughout North Africa and the Middle East by a string of US military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Turning to the present intervention in Iraq following the overrunning of much of the country by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a split-off from Al Qaeda, the US president reiterated the formal pretexts for US military action: protecting “our diplomats and military advisors who are there,” and humanitarian assistance.
He vowed that “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq,” and declared that the “answer is not to send in large-scale military deployments.” Both formulations leave open the deployment of thousands of US “advisors” and Special Operations troops, which are not defined in military terminology as “combat troops,” a term reserved for full regular Army brigades and Marine expeditionary units.
The political situation in Haiti is hotting up and could erupt at any moment. At the heart of the fire this time is President Martelly's determination to again scapegoat Jean Bertrand Aristide, using charges of: "illicit drug trafficking, embezzlement of public funds, forfeiture and concussion, and money laundering." to distract the public from his failures to address the many serious issues Haiti faces.
As it stands, an arrest warrant has been issued for Aristide's failure to appear in court to answer charges on August 13th, and he is at home, surrounded by loyalists protecting the former president from the police.
Kevin Pina is an American filmmaker, journalist, educator, and broadcaster with Pacifica Radio's public affairs program, Flashpoints.
Pina's film credits include: 'El Salvador: In the Name of Democracy,' 'Berkeley in the Sixties,' 'Amazonia: Voices from the Rainforest,' 'Haiti: Harvest of Hope,' 'Haiti: The UNtold Story,' and 'HAITI: We Must Kill the Bandits.' Kevin has lived and reported from Haiti, and was arrested by the infamous Baby Doc Duvalier for reporting on the abuses of that regime.
Kevin Pina in the first half.
And; Israel's bombardment of the captured population of the Gaza Strip continued this week with the Israel Defense Forces capping the seven weeks-long blitzkrieg by upping its game and targeting highrise apartment buildings. Predictably, the government of Canada remained mostly mute on the serial war crimes and crimes against humanity being conducted by its "good friend" Israel, throughout blaming Hamas, the governing body in Gaza, for Palestinians killed, maimed, and made homeless.
Late yesterday, (Aug. 26/'14) an "unlimited truce" was announced by Israel. Canada's Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird welcomed the truce announcement, but cautioned; "Israel will be forced to continue defending itself as long as Hamas continues its rocket attacks against civilians, and Hamas will be solely to blame for any further loss of life." Beyond raising questions about what sort of grip on reality minister Baird is capable of exerting, the Stephen Harper New Government's behaviour begs investigation of the Canada/Israel relationship, and how that relationship abets the horrors repeatedly witnessed in Occupied Palestine.
Yves Engler is a Canadian activist, lecturer, journalist, and author. Some of Yves' titles include; 'The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy,'Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid,' 'Lester Pearson's Peacekeeping The Truth May Hurt,' and his latest, 'The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.'
Yves Engler and Canada's tax-deductible aid to Israel's genocide in Gaza 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 up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our city in the coming week, and beyond there too. But first, Kevin Pina and the ritual pre-election smearing of Haiti's former president, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
The Fall and Rise of Investigative Journalism: From Asia to Africa to Latin America, Muckrakers Have Corrupt Officials and Corporate Cronies on the Run
byAnya Schiffrin - TomDispatch In our world, the news about the news is often grim. Newspapers are shrinking, folding up, or being cut loose by their parent companies. Layoffs are up and staffs are down. That investigative reporter who covered the state capitol -- she’s not there anymore. Newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune have suffered from multiple rounds of layoffs over the years. You know the story and it would be easy enough to imagine that it was the world’s story as well. But despite a long run of journalistic tough times, the loss of advertising dollars, and the challenge of the Internet, there’s been a blossoming of investigative journalism across the globe from Honduras to Myanmar, New Zealand to Indonesia.
Woodward and Bernstein may be a fading memory in this country, but journalists with names largely unknown in the U.S. like Khadija Ismayilova, Rafael Marques, and Gianina Segnina are breaking one blockbuster story after another, exposing corrupt government officials and their crony corporate pals in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Costa Rica. As I travel the world, I’m energized by the journalists I meet who are taking great risks to shine much needed light on shadowy wrongdoing.
I can't help feeling that Robin Williams was a victim of his industry: the happiness industry.
Williams was typecast for those parts with manic, unstoppable joy. Listen up, Aladdin! Williams' genie said, You're not suffering from poverty–what you need is a positive attitude! You know, put on a happy face! Let a smile be your umbrella!
Our culture despises and fears unhappiness. We pathologize unhappiness; we conflate it with a disease, "depression." And it's a disease we insist you can cure–so you don't spread your unhappiness germs to the rest of us. We stigmatize those who are unhappy, like we stigmatize those who are overweight: If you're fat, you just don't have any self-control. If you're unhappy, it's your personal failure to just buck up.
We laud the congenitally happy, like Ronald Reagan, the chipper Gipper, the Grinning Grandpa, who could unleash his death squads and smile all the while.
We are a nation of salesman, commercially optimistic. We don't like downers; we don't like people who spoil the party.
And so we push those who find themselves unhappy to medicate themselves–avoid The Deep, get out of the blues and join the Disney. Williams chose booze, pills and that most devastatingly addictive drug, fame cocaine.
(And no, I don't claim I'm exempt from the pull of let's-forget potions.)
by Robert Parry - Consortium News The New York Times has taken deep umbrage over an unseemly parade staged by ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine featuring captured Ukrainian soldiers.
The Times noted that the Geneva Conventions prohibit humiliation of POWs, surely a valid point.
But the Times – in its profoundly biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis – apparently feels that other aspects of this nasty civil war are less newsworthy, such as the Kiev government’s bombardment of eastern Ukrainian cities sending the death toll into the thousands, including children and other non-combatants.
Also downplayed has been Kiev’s dispatch of neo-Nazi storm troopers to spearhead the urban combat in ethnic Russian towns and cities in the east.
Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo
Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.
When the Times finally noticed this street-fighting role of neo-Nazi militias, that remarkable fact – the first time armed Nazis were dispatched by any government to kill people in Europe since World War II – was consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long article on a different topic, essentially a throwaway reference.
Similarly, the Kiev regime’s artillery fire on residential areas – killing many civilians and, over the weekend, damaging a hospital – has been treated by the Times as a minor afterthought. But Times’ readers are supposed to get worked up over the tasteless demonstration in Donetsk, all the better to justify more killing of ethnic Russians.
by Kathy Kelly - CounterPunch Kabul - Here in Kabul, one of my finest friends is Zekerullah, who has gone back to school in the 8th grade although he is an 18-year old young man who has already had to learn far too many of life’s harsh lessons.
Years ago and miles from here, when he was a child in the province of Bamiyan, and before he ran away from school, Zekerullah led a double life, earning income for his family each night as a construction crew laborer, and then attempting to attend school in the daytime. In between these tasks the need to provide his family with fuel would sometimes drive him on six-hour treks up the mountainside, leading a donkey on which to load bags of scrub brush and twigs for the trip back down. His greatest childhood fear was of that donkey taking one disastrous wrong step with its load on the difficult mountainside.
And then, after reaching home weary and sleep deprived and with no chance of doing homework, he would, at times, go to school without having done his homework, knowing that he would certainly be beaten. When he was in seventh grade, his teacher punished him by adding ten more blows each day he came to school without his homework, so that eventually he was hit sixty times in one day. Dreading the next day when the number would rise to seventy, he ran away from that school and never returned.
Now Zekerullah is enrolled in another school, this time in Kabul, where teachers still beat the students. But Zekerullah can now claim to have learned much more, in some cases, than his teachers.
The Kardashians and Climate Change: Interview with Judith Curry
by James Stafford - Oilprice.com Climate change continues to drive energy policy, despite the fact that there is no way to reconcile eradicating energy poverty in much of the world with reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is one of the many conundrums of the climate change debate—a debate that has been taken over by social media and propaganda, while scientists struggle to get back into the game and engage the public.
Judith Curry is an American climatologist and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as the co-author of over 140 scientific papers. Her prolific writings offer a rational view of the climate change debate.
In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, Curry discusses:
• The Koch-funded climate denial machine • Why the public is losing trust in scientists • How alarmist propaganda has skewed the climate debate • How climate change has contributed to a new literary genre • The impact of social media and the ‘Kardashian Factor’ • Climate and the ‘clash of values’ • Global warming or global cooling? • The Polar Vortex and ‘global warming’ • Extreme weather hysteria • Why climate change should not drive energy policy
Transference of Evil: Netanyahu, a Creature without Morality or Mercy
by William A. Cook
“…the pictures out of Gaza are heart wrenching and painful, the painful pictures of children dying… and the thousands of refugees. What goes through your mind when you see that?”
Bibi’s answer is not the “banality of evil” that Hanna Arendt saw as she witnessed Eichmann’s answers at his trial, an evil of “stupidity” that excluded rational thought.
“Hamas targets civilians, we don’t… They want to pile up as many dead as they can…the more dead the better” (Netanyahu interview with Wolf Blitzer, 8/20/2014).
This is a calculated response to transfer the evil to the victims of Israel’s superior power, to blame Hamas, the government of the people, for their own slaughter. It is indeed an intended deception to cloak the true intention that every living Gazan man, woman and child was and will be for the rest of their lives impacted by this horror so calculatingly leveled against a defenseless people, an evil that is decidedly not banal, it is an insidious, barbaric, malicious, merciless evil perpetrated by methodically guided intelligent, deceitful men, Zionists, both on the people of Gaza and on true Jews in Israel and all true Jews around the world.
Some of the volunteers for the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance I have not written much lately and this email may be personal and hard.
Our days start early and end very late. Our nights are also occasionally interrupted by calls from friends in Gaza or others who need some support.
In the past 48 hours, over 100 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli occupation forces. Many of those are in Rafah.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I am affected more by those I know than those who die that I did not know. For example, I cried after I hung-up the phone with Islam, a friend in Rafah who has four children and they can't sleep and their house shook and windows shattered as missiles rained on homes nearby. I cried because I know him and his handicapped son and his dilemma at whether to try to carry his son and run to the street or not.
But then I cried some more thinking of the many innocents who got killed and injured and who I dd not personally know and did not cry for them earlier.
Hello; I have been posting blogs on my onsite investigation into the situation around the largest mining disaster in history that tragically entered Quesnel Lake, where 1/4 of the Fraser sockeye rear.
The BC government's first response was that all the grey slurry pouring out of the mine was just sand, no different than an avalanche and that we got "lucky" - the water is safe to drink. That is not at all what the situation looks like and the people in the area and downstream have virtually no confidence in the BC government's assessment.
The federal government is completely missing in action - a stunning silence.
My sense is that this is very similar to the situation with European salmon viruses in BC waters. Government appears to be doing what they can to support the companies, not the public. However, this disaster is bad for the mining employees, as well as, the rest of the public. Everyone knew this was going to happen and government and Imperial Metals apparently just let it happen.
The BC government likes to promote itself as pro-industry, but have catastrophically failed once again in that capacity. Salmon farms have lost social licence and this mining disaster confirms they have transformed Canada into a third world country.
“Most of the Hunger Strikers Are Vomiting on the Torture Chairs”: Emad Hassan’s Latest Harrowing Letter from Guantánamo
by Andy Worthington In the long-running struggle by prisoners at Guantánamo to get US judges to order the prison authorities to stop force-feeding them when they are on a hunger strike to protest about their indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial, the focus in the last few months has been on Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian prisoner, cleared for release in 2009 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama appointed shortly after taking office, but still held, like 78 other prisoners cleared for release.
In May, in Washington D.C., District Judge Gladys Kessler delivered a powerful and unprecedented ruling in Mr. Dhiab’s case, ordering the government to stop force-feeding him, and also ordering the release, to his lawyers, of videotapes showing his force-feeding and “forcible cell extractions” (FCEs), where prisoners are violently extracted from their cells by a group of armored guards and taken for force-feeding after refusing to voluntarily drink the liquid nutritional supplements given to hunger strikers.
Guantánamo detainee, Emad Hassan
The order regarding Mr. Dhiab’s force-feeding was withdrawn by Judge Kessler shortly after it was issued, as she feared that otherwise Mr. Dhiab would die, but the videotapes have been seen by his lawyers, who described them as profoundly shocking — and 16 US media organizations are currently engaged in trying to get the videotapes released to the public.
Last week, Mr. Dhiab secured another victory, when Judge Kessler ordered the government to allow two independent doctors to visit him to assess the state of his health.