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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Janine Bandcroft - 2014 Year-Ender Dec. 31, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
Happy New Year! You know that means it's time for our annual GR Year-Ender show! 

It's been an eventful year here, and as has become the custom, I'll highlight some of the most impressive stories we covered during its course.


In a new news twist however, I'll mix in audio from story intros, and throw a little of the year's music featured to boot. 


So, first up a piece from the much utilized, GasCD compilation album, and Chritian Doscher's 'Straight Lines'.



TorStar and the Politics of Ukraine's War

Letter to Toronto Star: "Your Presentation of the War in Ukraine is Exceptionally One-Sided"
by Roger Annis -
Dear editor, I am very disappointed as well as disturbed by the article on Ukraine by your global economics reporter published in the Star on Dec. 23.

Your presentation of the war raging in eastern Ukraine is exceptionally one-sided and ill-informed. You offer no indication of who or what is responsible for the war.

You make a very shallow and selective description of the humanitarian consequences for the people of the affected region, leave alone the entire country.
And you give no indication of whether Canadians should be concerned over the side that the government in Ottawa has chosen in this war.

Toronto Star Dec 23, 2014
You do not report that the Ukrainian government, supported by Canada and by the NATO powers, has been bombarding the towns and cities of eastern Ukraine during the past seven months, including with the use of cluster weapons. You do not report on the people of the combat zone, including children, forced to live for months on end in bomb shelters, and those more than 1.5 million people who have been forced to flee the war zone for their safety, most to Russia.

I-S: Spelling the End of the Colonial Near East

The Challenge of the Islamic State and U.S. Policy
by Karl Meyer and Kathy Kelly -
What to do about the political mess in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State and related political movements?
Shortly after the end of World War II, the Western powers and the whole world began to recognize that the age of explicit colonial domination was over, and dozens of colonies were let go of and took political independence.
It is now past time for the United States and other world powers to recognize that the age of neo-colonial military, political and economic domination, especially in the Islamic Middle East, is decisively coming to a close.
Attempts to maintain it by military force have been disastrous for ordinary people trying to survive in the affected countries. There are powerful cultural currents and political forces in motion in the Middle East that simply will not tolerate military and political domination. There are thousands of people prepared to die rather than accept it.

Tearing Down Aamer's Walls: Roger Waters Comes Out for Shaker Campaign

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Calls for the Release of Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo
My friends, I’ve been offline for the last week, away from home with my family during this holiday period, staying in a house without wi-fi access. My apologies if you missed me, but I was also exhausted and run-down after the relentless work involved in the We Stand With Shaker campaign I launched with a colleague, Joanne MacInnes, on November 24, so I felt it was acceptable to have a short break.
The campaign we established was for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, calling in particular for David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, to drop the government’s official position — that the final decision about his fate rests in the hands of the Obama administration — and to demand his release and his return to the UK.

This is required of the PM under the government’s obligations to Mr. Aamer, a legal British resident who had been given indefinite leave to remain in the UK with his British wife and British children before his kidnap in Afghanistan (where he had traveled with his family to undertake humanitarian aid projects) and his rendition to Guantánamo in February 2002.
Andy Worthington, Joanne MacInnes of
We Stand With Shaker with music legend
Roger Waters at the launch of campaign
outside Houses of Parliament, Nov. 24, 2014
(Photo: Stefano Massimo).
Mr. Aamer was cleared for release from Guantánamo under President Bush in 2007, and again under President Obama in 2009. In addition, the British government has been requesting his return since 2007. His continued imprisonment is, therefore, completely unacceptable — and inexplicable too, unless one accepts, as I think is necessary, that both the US and the UK governments, at the urging of their security services, would prefer to send him back to Saudi Arabia, the country of his birth, where he would be prevented from talking about what — as the foremost campaigner for the prisoners’ rights within Guantánamo — he knows about various crimes committed by his captors in the “war on terror.”

Farmers Turning Tide on BC Salmon Habitat Destruction

Tide May Be Turning on Farms Destroying Salmon Habitat
by Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian
I come today in praise of the Vancouver Sun and trust that events don’t prove that I should’ve approached the mainstream media with my usual skepticism.
First, let me tell you a story from my early life which you may have heard and, if so, please bear with me.

Coho spawn in the darndest places

When I was a young lad, my friend Denis and I used to bicycle down to the Musqueam Indian reserve and fish two tiny creeks, one which we called Tin Can Creek, more properly known as Musqueam Creek.
With shiner lines, a tiny hook and a bit of worm, we would catch small cutthroat trout and, as with all young boys, rejoice at every second.
At Tin Can Creek, one day, a First Nations lad with a gaff came along, bent down over the edge and scooped out a fish which must’ve run 5 or 6 pounds at least. We were thunderstruck! If we’d known there were fish that size in the creek, it might’ve scared us out of fishing it!
Moments later, and a bit further upstream, the lad did the same thing. This taught me a lesson of a lifetime. These were coho salmon and this tiny creek contained their spawning ground.

Oil Slide: Is It a US/Saudi Conspiracy?

Did The Saudis And The US Collude In Dropping Oil Prices?
The oil price drop that has dominated the headlines in recent weeks has been framed almost exclusively in terms of oil market economics, with most media outlets blaming Saudi Arabia, through its OPEC Trojan horse, for driving down the price, thus causing serious damage to the world's major oil exporters – most notably Russia.
While the market explanation is partially true, it is simplistic, and fails to address key geopolitical pressure points in the Middle East. looked beyond the headlines for the reason behind the oil price drop, and found that the explanation, while difficult to prove, may revolve around control of oil and gas in the Middle East and the weakening of Russia, Iran and Syria by flooding the market with cheap oil.

The Oil Conspirators: Slippery Back Room Dealings Behind Price Drops

Irreversible Decline?
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
“Saudi oil policy… has been subject to a great deal of wild and inaccurate conjecture in recent weeks. We do not seek to politicize oil… For us it’s a question of supply and demand, it’s purely business.”  – Ali al Naimi, Saudi Oil Minister
“There is no conspiracy, there is no targeting of anyone. This is a market and it goes up and down.” – Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, United Arab Emirates’ petroleum minister
“We all see the lowering of oil prices. There’s lots of talk about what’s causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could.”Russian President Vladimir Putin
Are falling oil prices part of a US-Saudi plan to inflict economic damage on Russia, Iran and Venezuela?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seems to think so. In a recent interview that appeared in Reuters, Maduro said he thought the United States and Saudi Arabia wanted to drive down oil prices “to harm Russia.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales agrees with Maduro and told journalists at RT that: “The reduction in oil prices was provoked by the US as an attack on the economies of Venezuela and Russia. In the face of such economic and political attacks, the nations must be united.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the same thing,with a slightly different twist: “The main reason for (the oil price plunge) is a political conspiracy by certain countries against the interests of the region and the Islamic world … Iran and people of the region will not forget such … treachery against the interests of the Muslim world.”

‘Ya Russkii!’ or ‘Cubano soy!’

The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch
Last night, in Beijing, I sat in a historic Szechuan restaurant with a friend who happens to be a Chinese diplomat. We exchanged some stories, ordered food, and then, suddenly, my throat felt dry and my eyes got misty.
I bowed and thanked her for the heartfelt offer China made to rescue Russia.
Just before leaving my hotel, I read the news on the RT:
“China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in Yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.
‘Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,’ Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists. China Daily reported Monday: ‘If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.’”

By no means was I representing the Russian Federation here, in Beijing, nor was my friend representing China that night, at the dining table. It was an informal meeting attended by just a few friends, nothing more.
Not to mention that I am not really, ‘technically’ a Russian. Yes, I was born in Leningrad but almost my entire life I spent elsewhere… all over the world, to be precise. And in my veins, not that it really matters; it is also all confused… there circulates an explosive mixture of Russian, Chinese and European blood.
But lately, to be Russian, to me and to many others, is much more than just about blood. ‘I am a rebel; therefore I am Russian’, to paraphrase Albert Camus. Or: ‘I am Russian because I refuse to abandon the struggle.’
‘Ya Russkii!’ or ‘Cubano soy!’ It simply feels good, and makes one proud, and stronger.

Canadian Media Water-Carriers for Ukraine Neo-Con Job

The "Blame Russia" Mainstream Media Chorus over Ukraine as Viewed from Canada
by Roger Annis - New Cold War
Dec. 19, 2014
The Globe and Mail is the only newspaper in Canada spending time and resources to report from the war zone of eastern Ukraine.

Seasoned Globe reporter Mark MacKinnon has been in and out of there for many months. The newspaper published a substantial article by him in its Saturday edition of Dec. 6.

Shelling in Luhansk region early July 2014, 
photo RIA Novosti, Valeriy Melnikov

The article is a useful reference point for examining how mainstream media is presenting the story of the war in Ukraine to Canadians, for good and for bad.

Canada has been an enthusiastic partner with the United States and European Union in supporting the right wing government that came into power in Ukraine in February of this year, following the overthrow of the elected president. The new government went to war against its population in the east of the country (the region called ‘Donbas’) in April. That was its response to popular demands for more political autonomy and democracy for the region. Kyiv calls its war an “Anti-Terrorist Operation”.

Kyiv would have carried a war into Crimea as well, where opposition to the new government was also very high. But the population there took a decisive step to prevent that by voting on March 16 to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. (See my lengthy article of Dec. 10 telling that story.)

Canada has been supplying military equipment to Kyiv, and now we have learned that the first Canadian military personnel have hit the ground in Ukraine, in the form of a contingent of ten military police. Canada and Ukraine have signed an agreement providing for Canadian military personnel to commence a support role for the Ukrainian armed forces. The agreement is outside the framework of NATO and it explicitly states that is it not subject to any existing international treaties or conventions of war. Welcome to the new cold war.

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Canadian Media Water-Carriers for Ukraine Neo-Con Job

Amnesty International: "Humanitarian Disaster for Eastern Ukraine Looms"

Humanitarian Disaster Looms in Eastern Ukraine as Food Aid Blocked
by AI
Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move which will exacerbate a pending humanitarian crisis in the run up to Christmas and New Year, said Amnesty International.
“As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need. It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.
“These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control. Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”

Amnesty International has received information that the pro-Kyiv battalions, which include Dnipro-1 and Aidar, have blocked aid entering territories controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR).

Big, Rotten Apples: Using NYC Cop Killings to Derail Police Reform

Rot In the Big Apple: Bashing Critics Of Brutality Betrays Efforts To Reform Police
by Linn Washington Jr. - This Can't Be Happening
Last fall an apparently unbalanced survivalist steeped in anti-government paranoia murdered a Pennsylvania State Trooper and seriously wounded another Trooper during a sniper attack. Recently an apparently unbalanced man with a criminal past murdered two New York City policemen as they sat in their patrol car hours after he allegedly shot a former girl friend.
Authorities said Eric Frien, the man now charged with attacking the State Troopers, acted out of anti-government beliefs to “wake people up” because he wanted to make a “change in government.”
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who executed those two New York City policemen before he shot himself on a subway platform acted out of beliefs opposed to police brutality according to announcements from authorities based on Brinsley’s Internet postings.
Brinsley shot the officers as revenge for the police killings of Eric Garner in the Staten Island section of New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, authorities claimed, based on his internet messages. He reportedly rode a bus from Baltimore to NYC, authorities said. After shooting his former girl friend. In NYC, he then went to Brooklyn, where he randomly shot Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were on a temporary assignment there in a squad car.

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