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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.

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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.

Storming the New Bastille: Climate of Change in a Changing Climate

Everything’s Coming Together While Everything Falls Apart: The Climate for 2015
by Rebecca Solnit  - TomDispatch
It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798.
But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life and such fundamentals as the distribution of power and the nature of government had been reborn in astonishing ways. The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again.

In that little junk shop on a quiet street in San Francisco, I held a relic from one of the great upheavals of the last millennium. It made me think of a remarkable statement the great feminist fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin had made only a few weeks earlier. In the course of a speech she gave while accepting a book award she noted,
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”

That document I held was written only a few years after the French had gotten over the idea that the divine right of kings was an inescapable reality. The revolutionaries had executed their king for his crimes and were then trying out other forms of government. It’s popular to say that the experiment failed, but that’s too narrow an interpretation. France never again regressed to an absolutist monarchy and its experiments inspired other liberatory movements around the world (while terrifying monarchs and aristocrats everywhere).

Americans are skilled at that combination of complacency and despair that assumes things cannot change and that we, the people, do not have the power to change them. Yet you have to be abysmally ignorant of history, as well as of current events, not to see that our country and our world have always been changing, are in the midst of great and terrible changes, and are occasionally changed through the power of the popular will and idealistic movements. As it happens, the planet’s changing climate now demands that we summon up the energy to leave behind the Age of Fossil Fuel (and maybe with it some portion of the Age of Capitalism as well).

Gaza's Dispossessed Digging Through the Rubble of Their Lives

Homeless Gazans Dig for Memories
by Mohammed Omar - Middle East Eye
GAZA CITY - Four-year-old Retaj Ayyad presses her 30-year-old father, Ayman Ayyad, to keep looking under the ruins of their home in search of her drawings, clothes, colouring pencils and teddy bears. All are irreplaceable but are now lost under the ruins of the family home, which was utterly demolished by Israeli military bulldozers during the war this past summer.
This is the first time since the conflict ended this August that the family has returned to their ruined home in Shejayeh, east of Gaza City.
They have to search by hand, having no heavy equipment with which to lift the rubble that remains after a bulldozer - part of a project under a Swedish-funded United Nations Development Program – helped to cleared the ruins of this and other demolished homes in Shejayeh, east of Gaza City.
Ayman eventually finds a bag of clothes, but the material has rotted after rainfall over the past few weeks. The discovery creates mixed feelings, and he wavers, unsure of what else he might come across as he digs.
“I am still looking for my belongings, clothes and furniture. For many months we have been given nothing like that from aid groups,” he said, raising his voice to make sure he is heard above the noise of the bulldozer, which continued to smash into rubble nearby.
“I am looking for everything I once owned. Thirty years of collecting things, the remnants of everything I once owned, have been knocked down in a matter of minutes," he said.

But now he has been forced to search for the simple things which can help him start his life again.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Franklin López, Janine Bandcroft Dec. 24th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
"Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Solstice, Greetings O! Returning Light in Desperate Times of Persistent Darkness," and welcome to GR's 2014 Xmas special. It's important we celebrate and acknowledgement Humanity's higher ideals, and potentiality now and then; especially because we spend most of our lifetimes enslaved to the basest of our species' instincts: fear, anger, avarice, gluttony, etc.
From the intimacy of our homes, and within our relationships at school, or in the workplace, tyranny is always either directly present or lurking, ready to spring from just below the surface of our everyday.
So, tonight we'll commemorate our collective better nature by looking in again on Franklin López, the Puerto Rico-born and raised, now Canadian hell-raising anarcho-syndicalist, award-winning director of films featured on Canadian mainstream teevee screens and at online places like, GNN, Current, BET, and DemocracyNow!
Listen. Hear.

Atlanta, Georgia's 2003's Emerging Artist of the Year, López may be familiar to most through the release of his 2005 video remix of Kanye West's 'George Bush Don't Like Black People' following the post-Katrina failures of both New Orleans, and the US federal government. He's also an artist, media activist, and founding member of subMedia, whose raison d'être is to stimulate "resistance movements that are working towards stopping the flows of hydro carbons, mineral extraction, natural resources and capital, through grassroots and underground organizing..." amongst other things.
Now, López is celebrating the release of the ' A Decade of Subversion' DVD. It's a chronicle of a "decade of flaming subversion..." and is "a loving collection of foul-mouthed anarchy."
Franklin López from San Juan, Puerto Rico in the first segment.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus author, and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our city and beyond there too in the coming weeks.
And; we'll have some Christmas surprises thrown in too. Like this, now traditional kick off for the Gorilla Radio X-mas Specials going way back, Ini Kamoze's 'All I Really Want for Christmas'.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Back to Panama: Remembering the War that Started It All

The War to Start All Wars: The 25th Anniversary of the Forgotten Invasion of Panama 
As we end another year of endless war in Washington, it might be the perfect time to reflect on the War That Started All Wars -- or at least the war that started all of Washington’s post-Cold War wars: the invasion of Panama.

Twenty-five years ago this month, early on the morning of December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Just Cause, sending tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft into Panama to execute a warrant of arrest against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. Those troops quickly secured all important strategic installations, including the main airport in Panama City, various military bases, and ports.

Noriega went into hiding before surrendering on January 3rd and was then officially extradited to the United States to stand trial. Soon after, most of the U.S. invaders withdrew from the country.

In and out. Fast and simple. An entrance plan and an exit strategy all wrapped in one. And it worked, making Operation Just Cause one of the most successful military actions in U.S. history. At least in tactical terms.
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The Conservative Canards: Year in News According to the CBC

Year End Interviews Part II - Conservative Canards
by Jim Miles, The Miles Report  - Axis of Logic

 Saturday, Dec 20, 2014


It is the time of year for the mainstream media to make its lists, check them twice with the pundits, and find out who is naughty and who is nice.

 While not officially a year end review, I have recently commented on Evan Solomon’s interview with General Breedlove in which mostly softball questions without curves or spins were gently lobbed at the General - who did a reasonably intelligent job of responding considering the knuckleball attempts on some of the questions.(1)


 The next year end interview I viewed was between Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s senior correspondent, and Stephen Harper, Canada’s neo-Conservative head of state.

 As with the former interview, the Mansbridge interview was rather innocuous, with responses essentially reflecting Conservative canards about the economy, climate change, and foreign affairs.


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