by Peter Van Buren
n the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don't get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates.
In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.
Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand
American Sniper, which started out with the celebratory tagline
“the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline
“the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game.
Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show.
Created on Wednesday, 18 February 2015 04:21
Written by Robert Parry
President Gollum’s ‘Precious’ Secrets
by Robert Parry
- Consortium NewsP
resident Barack Obama promised a “transparent” administration, reviving democracy by letting Americans see into the inner workings of their government as much as possible, an implicit criticism of the excessive secrecy of his predecessor, George W. Bush. But instead Obama’s presidency has been one of the most opaque and deceptive in modern history.
Not only has Obama continued to wrap the carry-over anti-terrorism wars in maximum secrecy but he has taken unprecedented steps to shut down leaks by prosecuting whistleblowers who talk to the press.
And, he has left standing his administration’s misleading rushes to judgment on key issues after U.S. intelligence analysts have refined or reversed the first impressions.
Gollum, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s
Lord of the Rings fantasy novels.
Whether on the Syrian sarin attack in 2013 or pivotal incidents in the Ukraine crisis – who was behind the sniper attacks in Kiev last Feb. 20 and who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last July 17 – Obama has withheld evidence developed by U.S. government analysts rather than undercut the propaganda value of the initial accusations.
Created on Wednesday, 18 February 2015 03:49
Written by Chris Cook
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
ifteen years into this new century, the promise of turning a new leaf on the way industry and governments operate in the World is wilted at the edges. But there is still hope and there are still people and organizations working every day to try curb the worst practices of those that would destroy the environment for the profit of their own.
One such organization is MiningWatch Canada
. Created in in 1999, MiningWatch says their mission is to provide quote:
"[P]ush back against the mining industry’s ability to rewrite laws, mislead the public, and bulldoze communities, workers, and ecosystems – literally – in its quest for profit."
Both in Canada and abroad, MiningWatch has laboured to empower communities affected by the extractive industry and its not always honourable allies in high places.
Jamie Kneen is Communications Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada and rejoins us in the first half.
And; the BC government is in the middle of a campaign to wipe out wolf packs in the South Selkirk. It says wolves are the culprits in the disappearance of the area's caribou herd, but local, long-time environmental watchdog group, the Valhalla Wilderness Society
begs to differ. Meanwhile, the helicopter assisted hunt goes on.
Craig Pettitt is a former Forest Service employee, and now serves as a VWS Director, and coordinator of the separate Valhalla Forest Watch program. His invaluable experience in the field has enabled him to document numerous violations of the Forest Practices Code, increasingly meaning field investigations of logging practices and landslides. Craig also runs workshops to teach resident groups how to monitor their wilderness neighbourhoods.
Craig Pettitt and fingering the real perps in the South Selkirk caribou disappearance in the second half.
And; Victoria Street News publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft
will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of coming good things to do in our town and beyond this week. But first, Jamie Kneen and MiningWatch keeping watch on the extractive industries fifteen years and more.
Created on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 20:46
Written by Tom Engelhardt
In Whose America? Machine Guns, MRAPs, Surveillance, Drones, Permanent War, and a Permanent Election Campaign
by Tom Engelhardt
never fail to be amazed -- and that’s undoubtedly my failing. I mean, if you retain a capacity for wonder you can still be awed by a sunset, but should you really be shocked that the sun is once again sinking in the West? Maybe not.
The occasion for such reflections: machine guns in my hometown. To be specific, several weeks ago, New York Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced the formation of a new 350-officer Special Response Group (SRG). Keep in mind that New York City already has a police force of more than 34,000
-- bigger, that is, than the active militaries
of Austria, Bulgaria, Chad, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Switzerland, or Zimbabwe -- as well as its own “navy,” including six submersible drones
. Just another drop in an ocean of blue, the SRG will nonetheless be a squad for our times, trained in what Bratton referred to
as “advanced disorder control and counterterror.”
It will also, he announced
, be equipped with
“extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns -- unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.” And here’s where he created a little controversy in my hometown. The squad would, Bratton added, be “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”
Now, that was an embarrassment in liberal New York.
By mixing the recent demonstrations
over the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others into the same sentence with the assault on Mumbai
and the Charlie Hebdo affair in France, he seemed to be equating civil protest in the Big Apple with acts of terrorism. Perhaps you won’t be surprised then that the very next day the police department started walking back
that the unit would be toting its machine guns not just to possible terror incidents but to local protests. A day later, Bratton himself walked his comments back even further
. (“I may have in my remarks or in your interpretation of my remarks confused you or confused the issue.”) Now, it seems there will be two separate units, the SRG for counterterror patrols and a different, assumedly machine-gun-less crew for protests.
Created on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 05:07
Written by Andre Vltchek
Sanctions Imposed on the U.S.?
by Andre Vltchek
nother year, another set of coups that we can expect to be administered by the West.
This year, it is all beginning in February. First the onslaught against Argentina and following that comes yet another coup against Venezuela, and its democratically elected, progressive government.
The coup has been thwarted. Venezuela prevailed!
“Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday that the government had thwarted a coup attempt which was being coordinated by Venezuela’s right-wing opposition with the support of the U.S. government.
Just the day before the revelations, opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma released a “transition plan” which involved privatization of the country’s oil, deregulation of the economy and accords with “international financial institutions” including the International Monetary Fund.”
Created on Monday, 16 February 2015 20:00
Written by Chris Floyd
The Wrong Kind of Victim: No Hashtag for Dead Hostage in ISIS War
by Chris Floyd
- Empire Burlesque
rdinarily the death of an American hostage held by Islamic extremists is the occasion of bellicose, ballyhooed, bloody shirt-waving rage, stoked in tandem by government and media. It usually evokes widespread calls for retaliation, for taking the gloves off at last and exterminating the barbarians once and for all. Today, it almost always comes with its own hashtag, so that people can immediately identify themselves with the victim, who is seen invariably as a martyr for the goodness and specialness of America.
But it turns out that some victims are less special than others. In a time when the killing of French journalists whom no American had ever heard of, working at at magazine no American had ever heard of, brings forth a flood not just of sympathy but of direct, personal identification with the victims -- JeSuisCharlie! -- the death of a young American woman captured by ISIS has been remarkably muted.
Where is the global flood of JeSuisKayla hashtags?
Not only has the death of 26-year-old Kayla Mueller failed to evoke the usual spasm of anger and grief -- it has actually been celebrated by some of America's most rock-ribbed, hardcore, give-no-quarter opponents of Islamic terrorism (which they broadly define as the merest expression of Islam in any form anywhere on earth).
Created on Sunday, 15 February 2015 18:39
Written by Robert Parry
The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory
The original falsehood behind the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them against America either directly or by giving them to al-Qaeda. The opening lie about the Ukraine crisis was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the conflict as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer much of Europe.
Yet, while the Hussein-WMD claim was hard for the common citizen to assess because it was supposedly supported by U.S. intelligence information that was kept secret, the Putin-Ukraine lie collapses under the most cursory examination based simply of what’s publicly known and what makes sense.
President Barack Obama talks with President
Vladimir Putin en route to the APEC Family Photo
at the International Convention Center in Beijing,
China, Nov. 11, 2014.- White House Photo: Pete Souza
Nevertheless, the New York Times – much as it did when it was falsely reporting breathlessly about “aluminum tubes” for Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons program – continues to promote U.S. government propaganda about Ukraine as fact and dismisses any rational assessment of the situation as crazy.