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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 - PalestineChronicle.com
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.

Collective Punishment for Palestine

Collective Punishment in Palestine
by ISM
Occupied PalestineOn Thursday 12th of this month, three settler youth disappeared while hitchhiking in the Hebron area of the West Bank. No Palestinian group or organisation has taken responsibility for the disappearance.
 
15-year-old Mohammad Dudeen was murdered in the early hours of Friday morning (20th) after he was shot with live ammunition by the Israeli military. This was during a raid on his home village of Dura, near the city of Hebron.
 
Mohammed was not the only youth killed on Friday. The Israeli military raided Qalandiya refugee camp (south of Ramallah) and shot three youths with live ammunition. Mustafa Hosni Aslan, 22-years-old, was shot in the head and died of his wounds later the same day.
 
A Palestinian man in his sixties died of a heart attack on Saturday, 21st, after the Israeli military invaded his home. Hajj Jamil Ali Jaber Souf was at his home in Hares village, near Salfit, when the Israeli military violently broke in and attacked him. One of his nephews stated that the soldiers prevented the family from moving Jabber to a local clinic to receive medial treatment.
 

Presbyterians Move to Divest from Companies Profiting the Palestine Occupation

Presbyterian Divest
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance
In the past 10 days, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400, demolished many houses, destroyed contents and broken doors on hundreds of homes invaded in the middle of the night, blocked travel to hundreds of thousands, and continues to imprison thousands many on hunger strike for being held without charge for months.

One of the people they kidnapped is also Samer Aleisawi who is famous for having the longest hunger strike in history as a political prisoner. He was released only after human rights activists and human rights organizations exerted significant pressure on Israel. He was now kidnapped using the excuse of three missing colonial settlers (which maybe a false flag operation to detract from the suffering of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners).

In those 10 days, Apartheid Israel received nearly 100 million dollars from US taxpayers unaware of what their congress is doing with their money. And to add insult to injury the colonial apartheid state was given a vice president position in a UN agency that is supposed to fight colonialism. To say all of this is Orwellian would be the understatement of the year.

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Drowned by Profits: Absentee Landlords and Dead Renters

Drowning in Profits: A Private Equity Firm, a Missing Pool Fence, and the Price of a Child’s Death
by Laura Gottesdiener  - TomDispatch
Security is a slippery idea these days -- especially when it comes to homes and neighborhoods.
 
Perhaps the most controversial development in America’s housing “recovery” is the role played by large private equity firms. In recent years, they have bought up more than 200,000 mostly foreclosed houses nationwide and turned them into rental empires. In the finance and real estate worlds, this development has won praise for helping to raise home values and creating a new financial product known as a “rental-backed security.” Many economists and housing advocates, however, have blasted this new model as a way for Wall Street to capitalize on an economic crisis by essentially pushing families out of their homes, then turning around and renting those houses back to them.
 
Caught in the crosshairs are tens of thousands of families now living in these private equity-owned homes. For them, it’s not a question of economic debate, but of daily safety and stability. Among them are the Cedillos of Chandler, Arizona, a tight-knit family in which the men work in construction and the oil fields, while the strong-willed women balance their studies with work and children, and toddlers learn to dance as early as they learn to walk. Their story of a private equity firm, a missing pool fence, and the death of a two-year-old child raises troubling questions about how, as a nation, we define security in housing and why, in the midst of what’s regularly termed a “recovery,” many neighborhoods may actually be growing increasingly vulnerable.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Enbridge Resistance, Grant Wakefield, Janine Bandcroft June 26, 2014

 
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
che kokoHappy Solstice to all! Here in Canada, the Summer Solstice coincides with National Aboriginal Day, an event meant to promote respect and foster awareness of the many disparate First Nations' people residing within the colonial entity's claimed territory.

This year is an especially poignant one for many of those people and their Nations, as they find the promises of the federal government proven again to be so much lip service; especially where it comes to Canada's sworn responsibility to protect First Nation's ability to practice traditional hunting, gathering, and fishing on their lands and waters.
 
This government promised to consult the First Nations regarding mega-projects such as pipelines, where their lands may be effected, but it appears, as reflected in the Harper government's blessing of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, it is not prepared to do that in a meaningful way.
 
Listen. Hear.

What this failure means here in Canada's westernmost province is the beginning of what could be a protracted stand-off, pitting First Nations and environmental groups against the federal government and its allies in the transglobal corporate energy sector; what one First Nations elder described as a "declaration of war."
 
June 17th, I went down to what may be regarded as the opening salvo of this new reality, Victoria's No to Enbridge Rally, one of the many held across the country.

No to Enbridge in the first half.
 
And; the drums of war tempo increased last week as US president Obama announced he would send 300 special forces troops to Iraq, ostensibly to "train Iraqi soldiers". This is on top of the 275 troops ordered into the war torn country last week to bolster security at the US embassy in Baghdad, and the undisclosed numbers of troops destined for Jordan. It all spells expanded warfare in Iraq and Syria, and perhaps in other parts of the region too. As the sound of military jets overhead grows here in Victoria, it's time today to take a look back to - if not the beginning, then the more recent history of the Anglo-American Axis Powers' military invasions of Western Asia.
 
The Fire This Time in the second half.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus, and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us newz from our city's streets and beyond too. But first, No means No to Enbridge's pipe dream.

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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Washington Steps Up Military Intervention in West Asia

Washington Escalates Intervention in Region-wide Middle East War
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS
With nearly 600 Green Beret “advisors” and other US troops in or set to be sent to Iraq over the coming days, the Pentagon announced Friday that it is negotiating rules of engagement that the regime in Baghdad rejected two-and-a-half years ago, before the final pullout of the American military.
 
Key among these provisions, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, is blanket immunity from Iraqi or international law relating to the slaying of Iraqi civilians or other war crimes.
 
It was the refusal of the government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to accept such provisions in 2011 that scuttled negotiations on a status of forces agreement that would have kept some 10,000 US troops indefinitely deployed at a number of strategic Iraqi bases.
 
The Pentagon spokesman attempted to deflect suggestions that the Obama administration is exploiting the debacle in Iraq to blackmail the teetering regime headed by Maliki into submitting to US terms, thus paving the way for the permanent bases that Washington initially sought.
 
“What we were talking post-2011 was a fairly sizable force of American troops that would remain in Iraq for a long period of time,” Kirby said.
“What we are talking about here is a very small number, up to 300, whose mission will be of a limited duration.”
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The Eminently Sinkable SS Maliki

Washington’s Rats are Abandoning Maliki
by Dave Lindorff - CounterPunch
The rat, among mammals, is one of the most successful animals on the planet. Cunning, ruthless, competitive and above all adaptable — it is able to change its habits quickly as needed to accommodate the situation it finds itself in.
 
When it comes to foreign policy, the US government is swarming with rats.
 
Just look at the situation in Iraq. The US invaded the country in 2003, claiming it was a rogue nation that had, or was trying to develop, “weapons of mass destruction.” When it became clear that this was a lie, or at best, simply not true, the stated motive for the invasion was changed to “regime change,” and the goal became “bringing democracy to Iraq.”