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ISIS as Damascene Horse: Escalating the Wars in Iraq and Syria

The Escalating US War In Iraq And Syria
by Peter Symonds  -
The real scope and purpose of Washington’s escalating war in the Middle East is rapidly coming into relief as the Pentagon boosts its military forces in Iraq, more European allies commit warplanes and the media drumbeat grows for the US to directly target the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Since unleashing its bombing inside Syria on Tuesday, the US and its Gulf State allies have continued air raids on a daily basis, hitting targets associated not only with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front and the small, obscure Khorasan group.
After the initial, intense wave of air strikes, war planes attacked 12 small ISIS-controlled oil installations on Wednesday and conducted a further 10 strikes in Syria and Iraq on Thursday and Friday. To date, the US and its military partners have launched 43 strikes in Syria, and more than 200 inside Iraq since President Obama gave the green light on August 7.

Pirates and Political Strongmen: Obama Embracing Africa's New Heart of Darkness

Pirates of the Gulf of Guinea: In the Face of Rising Maritime Insecurity, AFRICOM Claims Success and Obama Embraces a Strongman
by Nick Turse  - Tom Dispatch
The Gulf of Guinea is the most insecure waterway, globally,” says Loic Moudouma. And he should know. Trained at the U.S. Naval War College, the lead maritime security expert of the Economic Community of Central African States, and a Gabonese Navy commander, his focus has been piracy and maritime crime in the region for the better part of a decade.

Moudouma is hardly alone in his assessment.

From 2012 to 2013, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence found a 25% jump in incidents, including vessels being fired upon, boarded, and hijacked, in the Gulf of Guinea, a vast maritime zone that curves along the west coast of Africa from Gabon to Liberia. Kidnappings are up, too.
Earlier this year, Stephen Starr, writing for the CTC Sentinel, the official publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, asserted that, in 2014, the number of attacks would rise again.

Head Count: Drama Queens and Propaganda Themes

ISIS and the USA: Expansion and Resistance by Decapitation
by James Petras
red queenIn order to overcome massive US and world public opposition to new wars in the Middle East, Obama relied on the horrific internet broadcasts of ISIS slaughtering two American hostages, the journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff, by decapitation. These brutal murders were Obama’s main propaganda tool to set a new Middle East war agenda – his own casus belli bonanza! This explains the US Administration’s threats of criminal prosecution against the families of Foley and Stoloff when they sought to ransom their captive sons from ISIS.
With the American mass media repeatedly showing the severed heads of these two helpless men, public indignation and disgust were aroused with calls for US military involvement to stop the terror. US and EU political leaders presented the decapitations of Western hostages by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) as a direct and mortal threat to the safety of civilians in the US and Europe. The imagery evoked was of black-clad faceless terrorists, armed to the teeth, invading Europe and the US and executing innocent families as they begged for rescue and mercy.
The problem with this propaganda ploy is not the villainy and brutal crimes celebrated by ISIS, but the fact that Obama’s closest ally in his seventh war in six years is Saudi Arabia, a repugnant kingdom which routinely decapitates its prisoners in public without any judicial process recognizable as fair by civilized standards – unless tortured ‘confessions’ are now a Western norm.
During August 2014, when ISIS decapitated two American captives, Riyadh beheaded fourteen prisoners.

Airstrikes and Airwave Shrikes: Media Shills' Shrill Support for Obama Syria Narrative

The Airwaves Are Still Heaving with Spin Two Days After US Airstrikes Against Syria
by Sharmine Narwani - RT
Undoubtedly the attacks were timed to occur on the eve of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, so ‘Coalition’ partners could cluster behind the decision to bomb a sovereign state, uninvited.
The irony, of course, is that they are doing so at the UN – the global political body that pledges to uphold international law, peace and stability, and the sanctity of the nation-state unit.
The goal this week will be to keep the ‘momentum’ on a ‘narrative’ until it sinks in.

Island Members of Parliament Seek Laxer Pathogen Poison Regs for Fish Farms

Release Poisons, Really?
by Alexandra Morton
Members of Parliament John Duncan and James Lunney are reaching out to the public regarding new salmon farm "regulations" that would allow the industry to release chemicals that kill fish. They would also allow for killing wild fish to control pathogens.
As one of the big Norwegian operators in BC considers selling out to Mitsubishi, we have three weeks to speak up about these proposed regulations.
Also there is a new film on salmon farming premiering this weekend at the Vancouver International Film Festival The ending will surprise you!
We need to decide if we want Norwegian and Japanese companies deciding which fish will live or die in BC.
Our voices are important. See my blog on how to comment on this.

Alexandra Morton

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, David Rovics, Emery Hartley, Janine Bandcroft Sept. 24th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
Media-memory being short, the name Michael Brown Jr. may elicit no more from most than a blank look; but, last month reaction to his untimely death threatened to burn down the town of Ferguson, Missouri.

At least that's the way the story was framed in the corporate media, (and repeated by state-sponsored correlative, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Brown was of course the black teenager shot dead in a hail of bullets fired by a police officer for the "crime" of jay walking; sparking the famously for a time community protests.
David Rovics is an inveterate American activist-singer-songwriter in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. David has played at demos too numerous to count for myriad issues both universal and circumstantial.
From his start busking Boston's subway to travelling across America and the broader world, he's earned his sobriquet as "professional flat-picking rabble-rouser" honestly.

Rovics was in Ferguson last month, checking out the neighbourhood where Michael was killed and attending his funeral. He reported on the great societal divide his visit revealed in an essay titled, 'Ferguson Reflections,' published at his website,, (where you can also find his catalogue of more than 200 tunes available for download).
David Rovics in the first half.
And; seven weeks after the Mount Polley disaster and the BC government is no closer to finding out why the mine tailings dam burst. But one thing certain, according to the minister responsible, Mary Polack: It's not the government's fault. Despite the BC Liberals' continuous cutting of public service personnel needed to make inspections and ensure corporate compliance, Polack says, quote; "To date there is no evidence that cutbacks have impacted on inspections and monitoring at Mount Polley." "Having said that," she continues, "it is one of the questions we want answered."
It's a question the residents of Clayoquot Sound would like answered too. Catface mountain looms high above the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve there, and that's where Imperial Metals, the producer of the estimated 24 million cubic meters of poisoned mining detritus dumped into Quesnel Lake and the Cariboo's ecosystem, want to open a gold and copper mine.
Emery Hartley is a natural-born and raised Vancouver Islander whose fascination and enthusiasm for nature led him to a University degree in Environmental Science and an ongoing activist career with the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. The Friends first formed in 1979 with a mandate to "protect and conserve the priceless ecosystems of the Sound and its surroundings."

Emery Hartley and friends fighting for Clayoquot Sound 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 some of what's good to do in and around the city in the coming week. But first, David Rovics and reflections from Ferguson.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

The Human Costs of Bad Journalism

High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
victoria-nulandThe costs of the mainstream U.S. media’s wildly anti-Moscow bias in the Ukraine crisis are adding up, as the Obama administration has decided to react to alleged “Russian aggression” by investing as much as $1 trillion in modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

On Monday, a typically slanted New York Times article justified these modernization plans by describing “Russia on the warpath” and adding: “Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders. 
But the Ukraine crisis has been a textbook case of the U.S. mainstream media misreporting the facts of a foreign confrontation and then misinterpreting the meaning of the events, a classic case of “garbage in, garbage out.” The core of the false mainstream narrative is that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis as an excuse to reclaim territory for the Russian Empire.

Proposed Changes to BC's Societies Act Has Jurists Worried

Proposed BC Societies Act could invite litigation against non-profits
by Andrew Gage - WCEL
We believe that BC’s incorporated societies – community development organizations, church groups, secular groups, community organizations, hunting groups, and, yes, environmental organizations such as West Coast Environmental Law Association – collectively make for a stronger British Columbia. That is why we’re outraged by a BC Government proposal that could be used by anyone who has a bone to pick with a society to drag it before the courts. If you’re concerned too, click here to send an email.
The BC Government is proposing a major re-write of the Society Act, to be named Societies Act – the legislation which governs approximately 27,000 non-profit organizations incorporated in British Columbia – and is inviting public comments until October 15th. While much of the proposed Societies Act seems unobjectionable, there are several provisions that concern us.

Big Tech, Big Brother: Who's Looking After Your Data Protection?

Are Apple and Google Really on Your Side Against the NSA?
by Bill Blunden - CounterPunch
In the past couple of days both Google[i] and Apple[ii] have announced that they’re enabling default encryption on their mobile devices so that only the user possessing a device’s password can access its local files. The public relations team at Apple makes the following claim:
“Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data… So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8″

The marketing drones at Google issued a similar talking point:
“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement… As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”

Quite a sales pitch? Cleverly disguised as a news report no less. Though it’s not stated outright the tacit message is: open your wallet for the latest gadget and you’ll be safe from Big Brother. Sadly, to a large degree this perception of warrant protection is the product of Security Theater aimed at rubes and shareholders.

Breaking the Gaza Taboo

Breaking the Last Taboo - Gaza and the Threat of World War
by John Pilger
"There is a taboo," said the visionary Edward Said, "on telling the truth about Palestine and the great destructive force behind Israel. Only when this truth is out can any of us be free."
For many people, the truth is out now. At last, they know. Those once intimidated into silence can't look away now. Staring at them from their TV, laptop, phone, is proof of the barbarism of the Israeli state and the great destructive force of its mentor and provider, the United States, the cowardice of European governments, and the collusion of others, such as Canada and Australia, in this epic crime.
The attack on Gaza was an attack on all of us. The siege of Gaza is a siege of all of us. The denial of justice to Palestinians is a symptom of much of humanity under siege and a warning that the threat of a new world war is growing by the day.

London People's Climate March in Pictures

Photos: The People’s Climate March, London, September 21, 2014
by Andy Worthington


In September 21, 2014, all around the world, hundreds of thousands of people in 166 countries took part in over 2,800 events calling for urgent, coordinated action on climate change.

The website for the New York City event — attended by an estimated 300,000 people — described it accurately as the “largest climate march in history.”

The trigger for the coordinated events around the world was the Climate Summit taking place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, where over 120 world leaders “will try to rally the political will for a new world-wide climate treaty by the end of 2015,” as the Wall Street Journal described it.

See my photos of the People’s Climate March on Flickr here.
I attended the event in London, which involved around 40,000 people, a largely sunny day and a very friendly atmosphere, and took the photos available on Flickr. It was a powerful demonstration of widespread concern about the climate that is an important antidote to the cynical and well-funded climate change denial lobby, and the general indifference of politicians, who sometimes make positive noises about the environment, but are more generally in bed with the polluters — and, in addition, find themselves unable to tell the truth to their electorates: that we urgently need to make the environment a priority, and that doing so has to involve curbing our own destructive appetites.