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The Politics of Bread in Kabul

Breaking Bread in Kabul
by Kathy Kelly  - VCNV

December 11, 2015

Here in Kabul, over breakfast with Afghan Peace Volunteers, or APVs, we easily recalled key elements of the conflict resolution and peer mediation “train the trainers” workshops that Ellis Brooks, with Voices for Creative Nonviolence-UK, had facilitated a week ago.

Peer mediators make “promises” before beginning a session: We won’t tell you what to do, we won’t take sides, and we won’t talk about this session with anyone outside of our room. While pouring tea and breaking bread, we recalled the hand signals Ellis gave us to help remember each promise.

Children at the Borderfree Street Kids School were also taught the peer mediation skills. I’m guessing that the street kids who work to supplement their family income can easily recall what Ellis taught them. They played games to show the importance of listening, and they learned to avoid blaming, exaggerating and “mind-reading” when mediating a dispute.

I watched the little children work in small groups to assemble cartoonized images of two donkeys, tied together, pulling against each other while heading for two heaps of food located in opposite directions. Each group succeeded, working together, in arranging the images so that the classic yet timely story ended with the two donkeys having figured out that they could both approach each pile, both be satisfied and both feed themselves, first at one pile and then the other.

Future Bright: Musk on Solar and Climate Change

Elon Musk talks Climate Change and Carbon Tax at the Sorbone 


2 Dec 2015

Elon Musk is at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to talk about the danger of climate change and his vision of what we can do to help the world transition to a sustainable future.

Kerry Says US NOT Seeking Syria Regime Change!

U-Turn? Kerry Now Says: ‘U.S. NOT Seeking Regime Change in Syria’
by Patrick Henningsen - 21wire

December 17, 2015

Surely, this is important news – but if you live in the United States, you wouldn’t know it ever happened.
US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Moscow earlier this week and following a meeting with Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. What came out of this conversation is a major departure up to this point in western foreign policy.
While US Republican Party debutantes were competing to see which candidate would be the toughest in “standing up against Russia,” and endless shilling for regime change in Syria, with GOP runners Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina all screaming that, “Assad must go”… Secretary Kerry made a stunning admission which was blacked-out by the entire US mainstream media, and drowned-out online because of Donald Trump and the GOP circus:
“The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” said Kerry.

This is a complete u-turn position from what Washington and its allies have been saying for the last 4 years. Why now? What happened to Kerry’s previous claims likening Assad to Hitler?

Turkish MP Charged with Treason for Revealing Ankara's Connection to 2013 Ghouta, Syria Gas Attack

The Ghouta chemical attack and the unraveling of Ankara's official story 
by Neil Clark - RT

December 16, 2015

Eren ErdemIt was the chemical weapons attack that so nearly led to direct war between the US, the UK, France and the Syrian government; a war which most likely would have delivered the whole of Syria to IS and Al-Qaeda extremists.

The horrific Ghouta attack of August 21, 2013, which killed hundreds of civilians, including many children, was blamed on President Assad and his government by Western political leaders and elite media commentators.
Those who dared to question this version of events were predictably denounced as ’conspiracy theorists’ and/or ’Assad apologists’.
Today, however, new evidence has emerged that questions the ‘official’ narrative. Could it be that, as was the case with Iraqi WMDs, we were lied to again by those individuals desperate to launch another ‘regime change’ war in the Middle East?
Interestingly, the US and its allies never publicly produced any hard evidence showing that Syrian government forces had carried out the attacks, but told us that it had to be them because no one else possessed or had the capability to use chemical weapons.
But now Turkish MP Eren Erdem has told RT that Islamic State terrorists, then going under the name of Iraqi Al-Qaeda, received all the necessary materials to produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey.

Trump's Moment in Vegas

Trump's Triumph in Glitter City
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch

December 16, 2015

In case you missed last night’s two hour steelcage GOP extravaganza, here’s the 26-second food fight between frontrunner Donald Trump and Jeb Bush that everyone is talking about.
Not surprisingly, the topic was one that dominated the discussion all night: What candidate is best qualified to savage civil liberties at home while bombing the rest of the planet into oblivion?

Judging by his ability to disembowel Bush in front of hand-picked audience of red-meat party loyalists, Trump appears to be the hands-down winner.
It should be pretty clear by now, that “ratings machine” Trump is more than a passing phenom that will suddenly vanish when voters see that he doesn’t really have a party, a platform or a good grasp of the issues. That’s not going to happen.

Running Man: Erdoğan: Portrait of a Backstabbing Pasha

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Portrait of a Backstabbing Pasha
by James Petras
Erdoğan began his ascent to power as a social reformer in opposition to the power elite; he was a rabble-rouser for popular Islam and social welfare.
Once he takes political power he enriches his family and the business elite and purges adversaries and rivals.
With political power and economic connections, he amasses personal wealth through illicit business transactions.

What Makes Recep Run?
The Making of a Modern Pasha

With political power and personal wealth, he seeks prestige and status among the Western elites by serving imperial interests: He shoots down a Russian military jet over Syrian territory and thereby threatens hundreds of Turkish businesses and loses a major source of personal enrichment. When the Russians threaten to cut off energy exports to Turkey, Erdoğan’s opponents suggest he heat his own palace and villas with cow dung this winter.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Carl Dix, Brad Hoff, Janine Bandcroft December 16th, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -

Yesterday, the jury in the Freddie Gray manslaughter trial against the first of six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray's wrongful death passed a note to the judge declaring themselves deadlocked following a first day of deliberation.
Gray died of injuries sustained either during his arrest, or while being transported in the back of a police van, and he joins Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and Alonzo Smith as another of the better known in a too long list of black people killed by police in suspect circumstances.

Thanks to the proliferation of cell phone cameras, and the increasing effectiveness of social networks, public consciousness of how Black America is policed is reaching outside the Black community; but it's not news to those within it.
Long before cell phones, Facebook, or Twitter hashtag campaigns, Carl Dix was fighting for the rights and dignity of all people. He spent two years in a military prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam, emerging to become a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and long before Hands Up and Black Lives Matter became a part of the modern media landscape, Carl initiated the 'October 22 Coalition to STOP Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.'

Twenty years later, Carl Dix has joined with Cornel West and many others to create the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and its campaigns Stop 'Stop-and-Frisk,' and #RiseUpOctober that brings almost 100 families of police murder victims together in New York City. #RiseUpOctober was out in the streets this week, standing in solidarity with Hollywood film director, Quentin Tarantino, whose latest film release faces the threat of a boycott organized by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police because of Tarantino's support of #RiseUpOctober and its call to "Stop the Police Terror."
Carl Dix in the first half.
And; as reports of Turkish complicity in the oil trade that sustains IS, or Islamic State, connections that go to the very top of the Turkish ruling elite, become more widely disseminated, new allegations of that country's involvement in supplying to its "terrorist" allies the sarin gas used in the infamous Ghouta gas attacks of 2013. You may recall, those attacks were blamed on the Syrian government, and were very nearly conflated then into a pretext for an all-out American attack against Syria. If nothing else, these new revelations remind, we have a very murky understanding of what's going on way over there; certainly not sufficient to make the life and death decisions going to war demand.
Brad Hoff is an author, journalist, educator and Managing Editor of Levant The former Marine has taught ancient and modern history at the college and high school levels, and has lived and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, spending most of his time in Syria prior to the 2011 uprising. His articles also appear at and Foreign Policy Journal among other on-line sites. Brad's latest article charts the curious career of ISIS commander, Omar "the Chechen" al-Shishani. I spoke to Brad in late September...
Brad Hoff getting a better idea of the players the Great Syrian Game 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 of good things coming to the streetz of our town in the coming week, and beyond there too. But first, Carl Dix and the fight to #Stop Police Terror.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm 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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Turkey's Link in the Infamous Ghouta Sarin Gas Attack in Syria

Turkey Smuggled Sarin Gas to Terrorists in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey is complicit with Washington, other rogue NATO regimes, Israel, and despotic Arab states in waging war on Syria - including smuggled use of various type banned chemical weapons, Assad wrongfully blamed for their crimes.

Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) opposition member Eren Erdem accused Ankara of covering up a major war crime, likely direct high-level involvement in smuggling materials used to make deadly sarin gas to ISIS and other terrorists - US proxy foot soldiers waging war on Syria. 
Various attacks occurred. The most notorious targeted the Damascus Ghouta suburb in August 2013, killing and injuring scores of civilians. 

News and Illusion: The Art of Marketing War

The Illusion of Western News
by Finian Cunningham - Sputnik
Multi-million-dollar advertising money has long been suspected as an unspoken filter for Western news media coverage. If the news conflicts with advertising interests then it is simply dropped.
Western complicity in Yemen's conflict is a case study. Add to that the celebrity sheen of Hollywood stars Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman. What we then have is an illustration of how ugly realities of killing and war crimes are cosmetically air brushed from public awareness.
Let's take three major Western media outlets — BBC, CNN, France 24. All are notable for their dearth of news coverage on the bloody conflict in Yemen. On any given day over the past nine months, these channels have rarely given any reports on the daily violence in the Arabian Peninsula country.

5,000 Days of Silence Broken: Shaker Aamer Speaks

Shaker Aamer Speaks: First Newspaper Interview Since Release from Guantánamo, in the Mail on Sunday 
by Andy Worthington

December 12, 2015

The Mail on Sunday today featured the first interview conducted by Shaker Aamer since his release from Guantánamo six weeks ago, and below are excerpts dealing with his life from 1989 to February 2002, when he arrived at Guantánamo, providing information not previously discussed — in particular, about the circumstances of his visit to Afghanistan and his capture.

As someone who campaigned for many years for his release — including in the last year with the We Stand With Shaker campaign I co-founded last November — it is wonderful to hear from him.

Speaking to David Rose, Shaker spoke about his experiences in the US after he left Saudi Arabia, where he was born in 1966, in Medina.

Russia Charges US/Turkish Complicity in ISIS Oil Trade

"US, Turkey Complicit in ISIS Oil Smuggling" - Russian UN Envoy
by TeleSur

Washington and Ankara stand accused of violating international law by failing to notify the U.N. Security Council of the Islamic State group’s illegal oil activities.
Washington and Ankara have violated international law by failing to provide the United Nations Security Council with adequate information on the Islamic State group's illegal oil activities, RT reported Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, to have said Monday morning.
Reminding his counterparts of U.N. Resolution 2199, which was introduced February 2015 as a countermeasure against the trade of “terrorist” groups operating in Iraq and Syria, Churkin pointed out that “countries are obliged to provide information” on the financial activities of the Islamic State group.
“That means the Americans had to provide such information, and of course Turkey, which should have reported any illegal trade going on there. They didn't do it,” Churkin told the RIA Novosti news agency.
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