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Obama's "Plan Colombia" Won't Stem Central America Violence

The Alliance for Prosperity Won't Help Central American Violence
by Dawn Paley  - The New Republic
When Americans began noticing a deluge of unaccompanied migrant children flooding to the U.S.-Mexico border, the immediate U.S. response was a stopgap. Youth were placed in shelters by the thousands, sometimes set up on military bases, which critics likened to detention centers and emergency hurricane shelters. Later, kids were placed with sponsors while their cases were processed.
 
Now, a longer-term response is taking shape. The Obama administration has recently jumped on board with the Alliance for Prosperity, a plan that touts development and peace for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. It promises to address the violence that's forcing children to flee in such Biblical numbers. Vice President Joe Biden's op-ed in the New York Times last week confirmed that President Obama would ask Congress for $1 billion to fund the Alliance For Prosperity, a name that recalls JFK's controversial Alliance for Progress. "Confronting these challenges," Biden wrote, "requires nothing less than systemic change …"
 
But the essence of what the Alliance for Prosperity promises is that more of the same—more local spending on infrastructure to facilitate foreign investment, more corporate tax breaks and free trade zones and more regulatory harmonization—will allow Central America to pull itself up by its bootstraps. And, yes, that outcome is as unlikely as it sounds.
 

Hegemony or Death: US All In on Ukraine

The Fallujah Option for East Ukraine
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
“I want to appeal to the Ukrainian people, to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the grandparents. Stop sending your sons and brothers to this pointless, merciless slaughter. The interests of the Ukrainian government are not your interests. I beg of you: Come to your senses. You do not have to water Donbass fields with Ukrainian blood. It’s not worth it.”  - Alexander Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic

Washington needs a war in Ukraine to achieve its strategic objectives. This point cannot be overstated.
 
The US wants to push NATO to Russia’s western border. It wants a land-bridge to Asia to spread US military bases across the continent. It wants to control the pipeline corridors from Russia to Europe to monitor Moscow’s revenues and to ensure that gas continues to be denominated in dollars.

And it wants a weaker, unstable Russia that is more prone to regime change, fragmentation and, ultimately, foreign control. These objectives cannot be achieved peacefully, indeed, if the fighting stopped tomorrow, the sanctions would be lifted shortly after, and the Russian economy would begin to recover.

How would that benefit Washington?
 
It wouldn’t. It would undermine Washington’s broader plan to integrate China and Russia into the prevailing economic system, the dollar system.
 

Cold Comfort: Abe Seeks Historical Rewrite for WWII Japan - Honest!

 
Japanese government pushes to revise US history text
by Ben McGrath - WSWS
 
6 February 2015
 
The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended its campaign to whitewash the crimes of the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s to the international level. Last week, Abe took issue with an American history textbook and its treatment of so-called “comfort women.”
 
“Comfort women” is a euphemism coined by the Japanese military for its practice of forcing women to act as sex slaves for soldiers prior to and during World War II. Approximately 200,000 women in Asian countries occupied by Japan were herded into “comfort stations” where the brutal conditions led many to commit suicide. Women were often lured with phony promises of work in factories.
 
Abe criticized history textbooks printed by McGraw-Hill Education dealing with the issue.
 
“I just looked at a document, McGraw-Hill’s textbook, and I was shocked,” the prime minister said. “This kind of textbook is being used in the United States, as we did not protest the things we should have, or we failed to correct the things we should have.”
 
The Japanese government has demanded that McGraw Hill revise the books. Officials from Japan’s Consulate General in New York met with the publishing company in December to voice their complaints. The company rejected Tokyo’s objections saying, “Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women’ and we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors.”
 

Worse than Hitler(s): Putin New "Bad Guy" to Justify "Good War"

Waltzing to Armageddon: The West's Dance with Death in Ukraine
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Last week, the Obama Administration announced it is sending troops to Ukraine to "train" the Ukrainian National Guard. The folly of this move -- which, as later stories showed, is only the beginning of a much larger U.S. military involvement in Ukraine -- is so astounding and appalling as to defy comprehension.

What it amounts to, in essence, is deliberately provoking a crisis that will bring the world closer to a nuclear war than it has been since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, all for the sake of a territorial and political dispute in one corner of Ukraine. In following this insane policy, Obama is backed by the full weight of the entire bipartisan political establishment -- and by the media establishment, which is eagerly pushing a maniacal anti-Russianism unseen since the McCarthy era.

Nowhere is the latter more true than among many "progressive" writers -- people who easily saw the catastrophic danger of the push to war with Iraq, but are now championing an identical advance to an unnecessary war. Whereas before they rightly resisted the primitive "humanitarian intervention" argument that "Saddam is bad, therefore the war is good" -- even it is carried out by a transparently rapacious imperial system which had already killed, by its own admission, more than half a million Iraqi children through years of murderous, senseless sanctions -- now they swallow that specious argument whole: "Putin is bad, ergo we must now trust that same transparently rapacious imperial system to pursue the same policies and propaganda and demonization against Putin and Russia that it did against Saddam and Iraq -- but this time, everything will turn out fine! This time, we'll be the good guys! This time, we'll be on the right side of history!"

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Worse than Hitler(s): Putin New "Bad Guy" to Justify "Good War"

Egypt's Secret War in the Sinai

The 'Great War' of Sinai: How to Lose a 'War on Terror'
by Ramzy Baroud  - Palestine Chronicle
The Sinai Peninsula has moved from the margins of the Egyptian body politic to the uncontested centre, as Egypt’s strong man – President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi – finds himself greatly undercut by the rise of an insurgency that seems to be growing stronger with time.
 
Another series of deadly and coordinated attacks, on 29 January, shattered the Egyptian army’s confidence, pushing it further into a deadly course of war that can only be won by political sagacity, not bigger guns.
 
The latest attack was a blow to a short-lived sense of gratification felt by the regime that militancy in Sinai had been waning, thanks to a decisive military response that lasted for months. When militants carried out a multistage attack on an Egyptian military checkpoint in Sinai, on 24 October, killing 31 and wounding many, the Egyptian government and media lines were most predictable. They blamed “foreigners” for what was essentially a homegrown security and political crisis.
 
Instead of reexamining Egypt’s entire approach to the poor region of North Sinai, the army moved to further isolate Gaza, which has been under a very strict Israeli-Egyptian siege since 2007.
 

TorStar Drinks the Ukraine Koolaid

Toronto Star Newspaper is Running with the Extreme Right in Ukraine
by Roger Annis - CounterPunch
The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, is running with the neo-conservative government in Ukraine and the extreme right-wing parties and paramilitary militias with which the government is allied. ​
 
That’s the conclusion that comes from reading the newspaper’s editorial opinion, its highly selective news offerings, and the articles of Star journalists that have been promoting the causes of the extreme-right in Ukraine.

As in the rest of mainstream media, the overriding theme of writing and publishing in the Star is that the war in eastern Ukraine is a war of “aggression” by Russia and “pro-Russian rebels”.
 

Not Finished in the Backyard, Yet: Venezuela's Real Time Coup

Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time
by Eva Golinger - Counterpunch
There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie. At every turn a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumors spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic. Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.
 
This week, as the New York Times showcased an editorial degrading and ridiculing Venezuelan President Maduro, labeling him “erratic and despotic” (“Mr. Maduro in his Labyrinth”, NYT January 26, 2015), another newspaper across the Atlantic headlined a hack piece accusing the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, and the most powerful political figure in the country after Maduro, of being a narcotics kingpin (“The head of security of the number two Chavista defects to the U.S. and accuses him of drug trafficking”, ABC, January 27, 2015). The accusations stem from a former Venezuelan presidential guard officer, Leasmy Salazar, who served under President Chavez and was recruited by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), now becoming the new “golden child” in Washington’s war on Venezuela.
 
Two days later, the New York Times ran a front-page piece shaming the Venezuelan economy and oil industry, and predicting its downfall (“Oil Cash Waning, Venezuelan Shelves Lie Bare”, Jan. 29, 2015, NYT).
 

Britain's Panopticon Comes of Age

Britain Launches ‘Big Brother’ System, Uploads One Third of Population to Facial Recognition Database

Under the pretext of “fighting terrorism” the British government has allowed the unthinkable to happen, as police have somehow managed to acquire and then upload what equates to approximately 33% of the UK population – 18 million ‘mug shots’ – into a nationwide, real-time facial recognition tracking system.
 
To describe what has happened to British society, one can no longer call it a “slippery slope”, as it’s abundantly clear from this latest news that Britain has already fallen off the edge, and is presently tumbling into a Orwellian canyon.
 
(Image Source: Pink Tentacle)
 
As 21WIRE revealed this week, facial recognition is only the beginning, as US authorities begin rolling out the TSA’s new “emotional recognition” surveillance technology systems nationwide – and soon to be implemented worldwide.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ian Birtwell, Jon Elmer, Janine Bandcroft Feb. 4th, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

It's sometimes difficult to understand the value of a thing; one person's garbage being another's treasure, etc. This is of no more than passing interest where consumer goods and other shiny trinkets are concerned, but when it comes to the natural world, the value of living things can differ greatly to a great many. A case in point is the seaweed we see casting up on the beaches of our island.

For some it's a smelly nuisance, for others a gardening boon, and for still others it's an opportunity to cash in on a growing food and cosmetics industry hungering for seaweed's constituent parts. Then there's the needs of the natural world.

Ian Birtwell is a London University trained research scientist who spent more than 33 years working with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Though retired from the public service now, Dr. Birtwell has lost none of his passion for our region's ocean ecology, or the desire to protect the health of the creatures that inhabit it.
 
 
When the provincial Ministry of Agriculture decide to allow commercial harvesting of seaweed along the beaches of eastern Vancouver Island in 2012, Ian and some like-minded scientists got together to study that decision's possible impacts and pitfalls. The study, 'Seaweed harvesting on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, BC: A Biological Review' addressing "specific concerns over the harvest near Deep Bay and Bowser" was completed in 2013; meanwhile, the "harvest" continues.

Ian Birtwell in the first half.

And; more than three years into a grinding civil war, life for Syria's citizens is only getting worse: Hundreds of thousands are believed killed, with uncounted, and uncountable, more wounded, while millions have been displaced, made refugees both within and outside the country. And there seems no end in sight.

Recent attacks from Lebanon's Hezbollah on soldiers of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms region of the Golan Heights prompted retaliatory Israeli bombing, spurring fears of another war in Lebanon. And as ever, the Palestinian diaspora is caught right in the middle, the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria hardest hit, being squeezed from all sides. Taken as a whole, it's a disaster of unmanageable scale, where chaos seems the only rule, and where certain cynical actors are doing their best to keep the flame of war stoked.

Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance photographer and photo-journalist who has reported from many of the World's most troubled regions. He's lived in and reported from Occupied Palestine repeatedly over the last decade and more, his dispatches being carried by Inter Press News Service, Al Jazeera English, Le Monde Diplomatique, and The Progressive among others. His website can be found at JonElmer.ca.

Jon Elmer and the bleeding heart of the "Arc of Instability" 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 what's good to do in and around our neck of the woods, and beyond there too, in the coming week. But first, Ian Birtwell and getting into the weeds with the seaweed profiteers.  

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

Staying on Top of Mt. Polley: Key and Missing Documents Preserved

More Key Information Coming Forward on Mt Polley Documents and Missing Documents

On Friday January 30, 2015, after four months of deliberation, including the review of almost a thousand documents, the BC government’s appointed expert panel released its limited report findings and recommendations concerning the Mount Polley mine tailings disaster.

It is the first of three separate investigations on the tailings disaster, one of the largest-by-volume in world history.

Accompanying the report, the government released 734 of the 847 “background” documents that were provided to the panel for internal review.
 
These selected 847 documents (some of which are duplicates) were sourced from the Mount Polley Mining Corporation, from the Corporation’s three engineering firms, Knight Piesold, BGC, and AMEC, from the BC Ministry of Mines, and from the BC Ministry of Environment, documents which span a 20-year period (1995-2014).

"Macro Environment" Turns Against Arctic/Offshore Oil

Arctic Oil On Life Support
by Nick Cunningham - Oilprice.com
Oil companies have eyed the Arctic for years. With an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil lying north of the Arctic Circle, the circumpolar north is arguably the last corner of the globe that is still almost entirely unexplored.
 
As drilling technology advances, conventional oil reserves become harder to find, and climate change contributes to melting sea ice, the Arctic has moved up on the list of priorities in oil company board rooms.
 
That had companies moving north, Royal Dutch Shell off the coast of Alaska, Statoil in the Norwegian Arctic, and ExxonMobil in conjunction with Russia's Rosneft in the Russian far north.
 
But achieving the goals of tapping the extensive oil reserves in the Arctic has been much harder than previously thought. Shell's mishaps have been well-documented. The Anglo-Dutch company failed to achieve permits on time, had its drill ships run aground, and saw its oil spill containment dome "crushed like a beer can" during testing. That delayed drilling for several consecutive years.
 
However, the first month of 2015 has darkened Arctic dreams even further.
 

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