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Feeding the Fossil Fuel Monster: Letting the 3rd World Eat Smoke

Let Them Eat Carbon: Like Big Tobacco, Big Energy Targets the Developing World for Future Profits
by Michael T. Klare  - TomDispatch
In the 1980s, encountering regulatory restrictions and public resistance to smoking in the United States, the giant tobacco companies came up with a particularly effective strategy for sustaining their profit levels: sell more cigarettes in the developing world, where demand was strong and anti-tobacco regulation weak or nonexistent. Now, the giant energy companies are taking a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook. 
 

As concern over climate change begins to lower the demand for fossil fuels in the United States and Europe, they are accelerating their sales to developing nations, where demand is strong and climate-control measures weak or nonexistent. That this will produce a colossal increase in climate-altering carbon emissions troubles them no more than the global spurt in smoking-related illnesses troubled the tobacco companies.

 

The tobacco industry’s shift from rich, developed nations to low- and middle-income countries has been well documented. 

“With tobacco use declining in wealthier countries, tobacco companies are spending tens of billions of dollars a year on advertising, marketing, and sponsorship, much of it to increase sales in... developing countries,” the New York Times noted in a 2008 editorial. 

 

To boost their sales, outfits like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco also brought their legal and financial clout to bear to block the implementation of anti-smoking regulations in such places. “They’re using litigation to threaten low- and middle-income countries,” Dr. Douglas Bettcher, head of the Tobacco Free Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), told the Times.

 

The fossil fuel companies -- producers of oil, coal, and natural gas -- are similarly expanding their operations in low- and middle-income countries where ensuring the growth of energy supplies is considered more critical than preventing climate catastrophe. “There is a clear long-run shift in energy growth from the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of rich nations] to the non-OECD,” oil giant BP noted in its Energy Outlook report for 2014.

 

“Virtually all (95%) of the projected growth [in energy consumption] is in the non-OECD,” it added, using the polite new term for what used to be called the Third World.

 

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PetroChina's Days of the Long Knife

China’s Oil Giant At Center Of Corruption Probe
by Ky Krauthamer - Oilprice.com
Grins were on the faces of China National Petroleum executives this week as they celebrated a blockbuster 30-year deal for Russian gas. It was a good day for CNPC, the state-owned colossus at the center of China’s oil and gas webs and one of Eurasia’s biggest energy investors.

For some, however, those grins could soon turn to grimaces, because the deal comes against a backdrop of a series of high profile corruption investigations by the state, and CNPC has been caught in the dragnet. A former CNPC chairman is currently under investigation and a top executive of CNPC subsidiary PetroChina has just been arrested.

They are two of the biggest suspects in a spiraling drive against corruption that has become a hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s rule.

The crackdown on executives at some of China’s largest companies is yet more proof, if anyone needed it, that the Xi administration takes the latest anti-graft drive very seriously indeed.

But behind the arrests and investigations, some China watchers see signs of internal strife at the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party.

The list of energy execs under scrutiny by the national corruption fighting bureau, officially known by the Orwellian title, “Central Discipline Inspection Commission,” is getting longer every week.

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Pope Off the Wall: Francis Improvises on Holy Land Tour

The Pope at the Wall
by Mazin Qumsiyeh
Bethlehem - The children of Al-Rowwad from Aida Refugee Camp delivered a message to the Pope when he stopped to pray at the apartheid and annexation wall. They emphasized prisoners plight and the right to return home.

This impromptu stop was in my opinion the most memorable part of the Pontiff's visit to Bethlehem. The Pope recognized "The State of Palestine" (Google just did it too!) and also met with refugee children at Dheisheh and shared food with some family members who each had a story to tell him about horrific suffering under Israel's colonial occupation.

Christians and Muslims here were all genuinely touched by the visit of this more humble Pope and his gestures of understanding and solidarity. But most said they wished he would use his influence more to pressure the Zionist regime. The Western Zionist dominated media tried to hide things including the Pope's gestures of solidarity with us but social media was prominent and the story could not be ignored.
 

Controlled Burn: Greenwald's Conservative Revelations

Skyrockets in Flight: The Profitable Spectacle of Stylized Dissent
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
As we all know, Glenn Greenwald recently revealed that he is saving the biggest revelations from the Snowden NSA archive until last, likening his journalistic process to a fireworks show a that builds up to a grand finale. This is, of course, the very opposite of any kind of actual journalism, which leads with the most important information first.
 
The traditional method would seem even more imperative in this case, as we are dealing with material which exposes vast crimes and deeply sinister actions by a tyrannical government. Greenwald himself has incessantly told us how important this material it is, how dangerous the government’s depredations have become, how urgent it is that we learn of this danger and do something about it. And yet he admits — no, he boasts — that he has been withholding information about the most dangerous activities, the greatest threats to liberty, for more than a year … solely in order to make a big splash, “where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues.”
 
If the threat is so great, should we not know the worst up front, in order to recognize the scale of the danger and take action more quickly? But if “the finale, a big missing piece” can wait for more than a year to be revealed, then how “big” can it be?

(Updated below)

What the Big Russia/China Deal Means for BC's LNG Pipedreams

Implications for BC of the Russia/China Gas Deal
by Peter Ewart  - 250 News
On the surface, it’s just another trade agreement between two foreign countries. But this one is more than that. Much more. And it has serious implications for British Columbia.

Russia and China have just signed a deal for Russia to supply 1 trillion cubic metres of natural gas to China over a 30 year period.

The deal is estimated to be worth $400 billion and, according to Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom, is the biggest contract in the history of the country (BBC News, May 21). Russia has the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, with Iran being second.

In addition to this mammoth sale, the two countries have pledged to establish “a comprehensive energy cooperation partnership,” which hints of more such deals to come. Indeed, as one analyst put it;
“The opening of economic doors with China could well be the greater achievement.”
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, David Christopher, Peter Ewart, Janine Bandcroft May 26th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
che kokoFrom Gutenberg, the telegraph, radio waves, television, cable, and the Internet, communications has brought us a long way. Of Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the European printing press, based on a system of mechanical, moveable-type, the internet encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, describes the original information Renaissance saying:
 
"The relatively unrestricted circulation of information — including revolutionary ideas — transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities; [while] the sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class." 

Today, with the introduction of new legislation meant to halter the ultimate descendant of Gutenberg's genius, the Internet, the information elite is striking back.

As a global, information society, we are standing at the crossroad of a power paradigm that will determine perhaps the path humanity will take for the next century; a fork in our collective developmental trajectory that could well mean the difference between civilizational survival, or its, Our, untimely end.
 
 
David Christopher is Communications Manager for OpenMedia.ca, the "award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet."
 
OpenMedia has been at the fore in fight after fight against the repeated attempts of Canada's corporate culture, and their allies in government, to rein in and stratify access to that "[R]elatively unrestricted circulation of information — including revolutionary ideas — transcend[ing] borders." Christopher has transcended many of those borders himself, hailing originally from Ireland's west country, and studying History and Political Science at Dublin's famed Trinity College, before his work in communications moved him to Scotland, New Zealand, and found him finally shoring up here on the Pacific coast, right across the straits in Vancouver.
 
David Christopher in the first half.
 
And; last week, Russian leader, Vladimir Putin shook hands on a massive deal to supply Liquified Natural Gas to China. More than being the biggest such deal ever signed between two countries, it also serves to threaten the hegemonic American petrodollar, an arrangement that has subsidized the waning superpower's enormous international clout, while undergirding its fragile domestic economy. The deal too poses a threat to British Columbia's much touted plan to tie its economic future to similarly huge energy deals with the World's largest single energy market.
 
Peter Ewart is a Prince George-based writer and columnist with 250 News, amongst other online publications. In his recent article, 'Implications for BC of the Russia/China Gas Deal' he explores the dynamics of the Russia/China gas deal, and some of its possible ramifications.
 
Peter Ewart, and Christie Clark's attempt to saddle BC's economic future on the back of a bucking gas industry bronco in the second half.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz from our city's streets, and beyond. But first, David Christopher and standing in the way of Big Telecom's promise to create of the open internet an information caste system by saying No! to the Internet Slow Lane.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.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/
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Death Squad State Alive and Kicking in Colombia

The U.S., Colombia and the Spread of the Death Squad State
by Daniel Kovalik - CounterPunch
kovalikdead colombiaColombia continues to be ground zero for the U.S.’s crimes against Latin America, and its continued quest to subjugate the region.

Several recent events, virtually uncovered in the mainstream press, underscore this reality.

First, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report just this week detailing the grisly practices of paramilitary death squads in the port town of Buenaventura. [1]

These practices by the paramilitaries which act with impunity and with the tacit support of the local police, include disappearances of hundreds of civilians; forced displacement; and the dismemberment of individuals, while they are still alive, in local “chop houses.”
 
Official military photo of deceased, courtesy of Equipa Nizkor.
 
That the port town of Buenaventura was to be the model city of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is instructive as to what the wages of free trade truly are.
 

ISA Virus and Canada's Damnable Disregard for Salmon Safety

COVER UP ISA VIRUS - GET A PROMOTION 
by Alexandra Morton
Farmed salmon packageThe salmon virus, ISAv is a member of the influenza family and is feared around the world wherever salmon are farmed.

Similar to other viruses in the influenza family, ISAv has powerful shape-shifting properties. It tiptoes into new regions, a lethal shadow to the salmon farming industry.

At first it does nothing.

Every country, so far, has used this crucial phase to ignore ISA. It looks like they hope to avoid being branded ISA-positive and suffer the resulting trade restrictions that lower profits. But then, with very little warning ISA virus mutates, goes viral and strikes with deadly effect Norway, eastern Canada, Chile...

Dirty Democracy: America Soils Freedom and Equality

Down With Western ‘Democracy’!
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch
andre archipelagoA specter is haunting Europe and Western world — it is this time, the specter of fascism. It came quietly, without great fanfare and parades, without raised hands and loud shouts. But it came, or it returned, as it has always been present in this culture, one that has, for centuries, been enslaving our entire planet.
 
As was in Nazi Germany, resistance to the fascist empire is again given an unsavory name: terrorism. Partisans and patriots, resistance fighters – all of them were and have always been defined by fascist bigots as terrorists.
 
By the logic of Empire, to murder millions of men, women and children in all corners of the world abroad is considered legitimate and patriotic, but to defend one’s motherland was and is a sign of extremism.
 
German Nazis and Italian Fascists defined their rule as ‘democratic’, and so does this Empire. The British and French empires that exterminated tens of millions of people all over the world, always promoted themselves as ‘democracies’.
 
And now, once again, we are witnessing a tremendous onslaught by the business-political-imperialist Western apparatus, destabilizing or directly destroying entire nations, overthrowing governments and bombing ‘rebellious’ states into the ground.
 
All this is done in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom.
 

North America Continental Military Framework Marches Forward

Trilateral Defense Ministers Meeting Continues to Build North American Security Framework
by Dana Gabriel - Be Your Own Leader
As an extension of the North American Leaders Summit which was held in February, the defense ministers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico quietly met last month to discuss continental security issues. During the conference, they addressed shared defense and security challenges. This includes threats posed by cyber attacks and transnational criminal organizations.
 
The North American security relationship has evolved with Mexico being increasingly viewed as a valued part of the continental defense team. The U.S., Canada and Mexico are building the framework for greater cooperation on common security issues.
 
They are expanding security arrangements and are further establishing new institutions at a continental level. The trilateral defense ministers meeting, which received very little media attention is part of the process of integrating military planning and coordination into a North American security perimeter.

The Ultimate WMD: Fighting Unbombable Climate Change

The 95% Doctrine: Climate Change as a Weapon of Mass Destruction
by Tom Engelhardt  - TomDispatch
engelhardt united states of fearWho could forget? At the time, in the fall of 2002, there was such a drumbeat of “information” from top figures in the Bush administration about the secret Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and so endanger the United States. And who -- other than a few suckers -- could have doubted that Saddam Hussein was eventually going to get a nuclear weapon? The only question, as our vice president suggested on “Meet the Press,” was: Would it take one year or five?

And he wasn’t alone in his fears, since there was plenty of proof of what was going on.

For starters, there were those “specially designed aluminum tubes” that the Iraqi autocrat had ordered as components for centrifuges to enrich uranium in his thriving nuclear weapons program. Reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon hit the front page of the New York Times with that story on September 8, 2002.

Then there were those “mushroom clouds” that Condoleezza Rice, our national security advisor, was so publicly worried about -- the ones destined to rise over American cities if we didn’t do something to stop Saddam. As she fretted in a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer on that same September 8th, “[W]e don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” No, indeed, and nor, it turned out, did Congress!

And just in case you weren’t anxious enough about the looming Iraqi threat, there were those unmanned aerial vehicles -- Saddam’s drones! -- that could be armed with chemical or biological WMD from his arsenal and flown over America’s East Coast cities with unimaginable results. President George W. Bush went on TV to talk about them and congressional votes were changed in favor of war thanks to hair-raising secret administration briefings about them on Capitol Hill.

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