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Staying Sane in a Mad World

On Staying Sane in a Suicidal Culture
by Dahr Jamail
joanna-macyIt was February 2005, and after several months of front-line reporting from Iraq, I’d returned to the US a human time bomb of rage, my temper ticking shorter each day.

Walking through morgues in Baghdad left scenes in my mind I remember even now. I can still smell the decaying bodies as I type this, nearly a decade later. Watching young Iraqi children bleed to death on operating tables after they had been shot by US military snipers has left an equally deep and lasting imprint.

Joanna Macy (photo: Adam Shemper)

My rage towards those responsible in the Bush administration bled outwards to engulf all of those participating in the military and anyone who supported the ongoing atrocity that was the US occupation of Iraq. My solution was to fantasize about hanging all of the aforementioned from the nearest group of light poles.

Consumed by post-traumatic stress disorder, I was unable to go any deeper emotionally than my rage and numbness. I stood precariously atop my self-righteous anger about what I was writing, for it was the cork in the bottle of my bottomless grief from what I’d witnessed. To release that meant risking engulfment in black despair that would surely erupt if I were to step aside, so I thought.

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dahr Jamail, Jesse Freeston, Janine Bandcroft Jun 30, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
che kokoTime passes, and things change, but somehow things seem the same too. Last week we featured Grant Wakefield's 2002 recording, The Fire This Time, a chronicle of America's 1991 invasion of Iraq. Wakefield's opus of pain and suffering was released in the weeks preceding America's 2003 invasion of Iraq. Eleven and a half years on, America is again sending in troops to a chaotic Iraq, but more importantly, it is feeding the maw of endless war with bullets, bombs, intelligence and micro-chipped gadgets; all the essentials to keep the killing going.

Dahr Jamail is a freelance journalist and author, whose book titles include: 'The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,' 'Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Iraq,' and he contributed the chapter, "Killing the Intellectual Class" to the anthology, 'Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned and Academics Murdered.'
Jamail was one of a very few unembedded journalists reporting from Iraq in the early days of the onset of war there in 2003, and he has returned to file Dispatches from Iraq in the years since; his last assignment being in 2013. Among Dahr’s many journalism awards are: the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism, The Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, and four Project Censored awards. His work has appeared at Truthout, Inter Press Service, Tom Dispatch, The Sunday Herald in Scotland, The Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Huffington Post, The Nation, The Independent, Al Jazeera, and at his own website,
Dahr Jamail in the first half.
And; Jesse Freeston is a filmmaker and video-journalist based in Montréal, Québec. Jesse was seminal member of the Real News Network, and has gone on to make the feature-length documentary film, 'Resistencia,' a chronicle of Honduran palm oil plantation barons' attempts to dislodge occupying workers in the Aguán Valley, and produce documentaries and file reports for teleSUR's USA de Verdad program. His latest project takes him again to Honduras to document, alongside fellow filmmaker, Beth Geglia 'Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital.'
Jesse Freeston and Revolutionary Medicine in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news from our city's streets and beyond. But first, Dahr Jamail and returning to Iraq.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:
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ISIS Recruits Diaspora Palestinians While Israel Kibbitzes Neighbourhood Conflict

ISIS (DAASH) Now Recruiting in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon
by Franklin Lamb - CounterPunch
Ein el Helwe camp - As Washington and London were affirming the past few days their intentions to continue to arm “moderate rebel factions” in Syria, Tel Aviv just announced it would like to be helpful by joining with “moderate Arab nations” to battle their mutual Muslim enemies.
Israel offered on 6/26/14 to help “moderate” Arab nations who may feel threatened by the lightning land grabbing offensive by Islamic militants in Iraq. As its foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, an arch Zionist Islamophobe and Arabphobe, met with Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris, he reportedly talked sweet about some Arabs and told Kerry that “the extremists currently operating in Iraq and Syria will try to challenge the stability in the entire Gulf region, first of all in Kuwait.”
A statement from his office added that “Israel could provide effective and reliable assistance to moderate Arab states who are dealing with extremists.”

Seeds of Hatred Past Sprout in Iraq

Reaping the Seeds of Iraqi Hatred
by Danny Schechter - Consortium News
iran-posterThe barbarians are at the gates,” says the headline of an article about the Iraq crisis by Patrick Cockburn, the veteran Middle East correspondent for the UK Independent.

A fierce critic of the U.S.-British war on Iraq, Cockburn is now urging the U.S. and Iran to collaborate in stopping the forces of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) that are sweeping through Iraq, a country that Cockburn loves more than the despotic politicians who have run it now or then.

Separating truth from propaganda has never been more difficult - Iranian poster commemorating shooting down of Iranian airliner by USS Vincennes July 3, 1988, killing all 290 people aboard.

The American media has taken up the cry for U.S. intervention with lurid coverage of ISIS, a force at first labeled “terrorists” and now “insurgents” or “militants.”

The difference is that ISIS now seizes and holds territory, operating like an army, not just killing civilians to spread fear. ISIS is said to be a spinoff of al-Qaeda but we don’t know how or if al-Qaeda still exists.

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The Sh*t This Time: Getting Even with Harper's 'Economic Action Plan'

I Lost My Job, So I Did This
by Shane - ShitHarperDid
I started volunteering with ShitHarperDid in 2011, appearing in our very first video that went viral during the election. Today I’m happy to share a very exciting new project with you. I think you will really enjoy it.

Two and a half years ago I said goodbye to my precarious job as a mental health worker and returned to college - at the ripe age of 32 - in pursuit of employment that would be more stable. After graduating from my Interactive Media and Design program with Honours, I secured a few wonderful references from my professors and I really thought to myself: “This is it! This is the first day of the rest of my life...”

I packed up and moved to Toronto to be closer to my family (and my favorite baseball team!). I was full of knowledge and drive and ready to do whatever was necessary to find a job that made use of my new degree.

But all I have found is unemployment, precarious work, unpaid internships and more unemployment. I’m not alone, unemployment for people under 35 in Canada is nearly double the national average.1 On top of that, as a person of colour I’m part of a population that still struggles for equal pay. * 

*For every dollar earned by white Canadians, racialized Canadian workers earn only 81.4 cents.2

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Fourth Amendment Down: Post Constitutional America and the Long War

Shredding the Fourth Amendment in Post-Constitutional America: Four Ways It No Longer Applies
van buren joad bookHere’s a bit of history from another America: the Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from their government. If the First Amendment’s right to speak out publicly was the people's wall of security, then the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy was its buttress. 
It was once thought that the government should neither be able to stop citizens from speaking nor peer into their lives. 
Think of that as the essence of the Constitutional era that ended when those towers came down on September 11, 2001. 
Consider how privacy worked before 9/11 and how it works now in Post-Constitutional America.

Leavetakings: Shades of Green Into the Sunset

The Last Shades of Green
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
This Shades of Green column is special in two regards. First, I am writing it in the first person singular — my 544 previous columns avoided the “I” to give its contents a scholarly and impersonal character and, therefore, to invite scrutiny, disagreement and debate in the respectful tradition of academia.
And second, this column will no longer be appearing in a its usual place in the North Islander as an insert in the Campbell River Courier-Islander and the Comox Valley Echo.
The senior editor of the Vancouver Island Newspaper Group, the parent body that now publishes the newspapers in which Shades of Green has appeared weekly since November 23, 2002, has decided that the column no longer fits its publishing objectives. So this is a time for perspectives and goodbyes.

Ummah Coming: Can the Caliphate Make a Comeback?

Reverting to the Ummah: Who is the ‘Angry Muslim’ and Why
by Ramzy Baroud -
Brother, brother,” a young man called on me as I hurriedly left a lecture hall in some community center in Durban, South Africa. This happened at the height of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, when all efforts at stopping the ferocious US-western military drives against these two countries terribly failed.
The young man was dressed in traditional Afghani Pashtun attire, and accompanied by a friend of his. With palpable nervousness, he asked a question that seemed completely extraneous to my lecture on the use of people history to understand protracted historical phenomena using Palestine as a model.
“Brother, do you believe that there is hope for the Muslim Ummah?” He inquired about the future of a nation in which he believed we both indisputably belonged to, and anxiously awaited as if my answer carried any weight at all, and would put his evident worries at ease.
Perhaps more startling than his question is that I was not surprised in the least. His is a intergenerational question that Muslim youth have been asking even before the decline and final collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the last standing Caliphate, by the end of the First World War.

Yes, Still At It: Ten Years Strong for Media Lens' Mission

'Gosh, Are They Still At It?'
A Media Lens reader quipped recently that he had discovered a solution to the climate crisis. Simply harnessing the energy produced by Orwell turning in his grave would provide a limitless source of cheap, clean energy.
The comment was prompted by the decidedly Orwellian news that the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland had been awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing. Orwell must have been spinning like a top to have his name linked with a journalist who works so hard to sell Western 'intervention'. In March 1999, Freedland wrote:

'How did the British left get so lost? How have its leading lights ended up as the voices of isolationism? How did it come to this...? Why is it the hard left - rather than the isolationist right - who have become the champions of moral indifference? For, make no mistake, that's what opposition to Nato's attempt to Clobba Slobba (as the Sun puts it) amounts to... either the West could try to halt the greatest campaign of barbarism in Europe since 1945 - or it could do nothing.' (Jonathan Freedland, 'The left needs to wake up to the real world. This war is a just one,' The Guardian, March 26, 1999)

In a 2005 article on Iraq titled, 'The war's silver lining', Freedland commented:
'Tony Blair is not gloating. He could - but he prefers to appear magnanimous in what he hopes is victory. In our Guardian interview yesterday, he was handed a perfect opportunity to crow. He was talking about what he called 'the ripple of change' now spreading through the Middle East, the slow, but noticeable movement towards democracy in a region where that commodity has long been in short supply. I asked him whether the stone in the water that had caused this ripple was the regime change in Iraq.
'He could have said yes...'

Getting Played by ISIS

Getting Played by ISIS? Welcome to the Club!
by Peter Lee - China Matters
Apparently ISIS is a business, a bloody and illegal business, sort of like the Mafia. That’s what I gleaned from a McClatchy report by Hannah Allam on the group’s finances, revealed at least by a trove of documents captured by the US, turned over to RAND a few months ago, whose conclusions leaked into the public sphere today.

Mosul was the Islamic State’s fundraising nerve center for years before the city fell to ISIS this month, according to Johnston’s analysis of the documents. A key to understanding the city’s enduring importance to the group comes from a Mosul “administrative emir” whose meticulous records from August 2008 to January 2009 were seized and added to the database.

In accordance with the Islamic State’s business model, Johnston said, cells were required to send up to 20 percent of their income from local enterprises _ such as kidnapping ransoms and extortion rackets _ to the next level of leadership. Higher-ranking commanders would examine the revenues and redistribute the funds to provincial or local subsidiaries that were in dire straits or needed additional money to conduct attacks.

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Looking Back and Looking Forward: Ten Years of Street Reporting and Counting

Street newspapers keep growing in B.C. - Victoria Street Newz founder looks back at 10 years of work
by Janine Bandcroft - Victoria Street Newz
I was raised in a middle-income family with no direct experience of poverty, its causes or consequences. My parents instilled in me a steadfast work ethic: if I worked hard and did my best at whatever job I took, regardless of whether I was washing floors or answering phones or waitressing, I'd survive. This philosophy worked for me. Then I got to university and began to comprehend what poverty is all about.
My social justice sensibilities expanded exponentially. I began connecting the dots between corporate capitalism's perpetual growth and profit-at-any-cost ideology, poverty, and environmental devastation. Armed with my bachelor’s degrees in English and education, and realizing that my profoundly radical awareness wasn't going to mesh well with the formalized system of education, I searched for a way to teach in creative and cooperative ways.
At a workshop organized by Victoria's Inter-Cultural Association (ICA), the topic turned to the need for more alternative and independent media; access to diverse internet media news wasn’t yet available. Paul Martin's 2001 federal budget, combined with the 2001 provincial election —which saw Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals take 77 of 79 seats in the legislature—resulted in dramatic austerity measures that we still feel today. Canada remains the only industrialized nation without a national housing plan. Victoria's street population began to increase visibly throughout the early 2000s, and we didn't have a voice.