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Hope in Bad Times: Resistance and Continuity in Palestine

Some of the volunteers for the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance
I have not written much lately and this email may be personal and hard.

Our days start early and end very late. Our nights are also occasionally interrupted by calls from friends in Gaza or others who need some support.

In the past 48 hours, over 100 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli occupation forces. Many of those are in Rafah.
 
Sometimes I feel guilty that I am affected more by those I know than those who die that I did not know. For example, I cried after I hung-up the phone with Islam, a friend in Rafah who has four children and they can't sleep and their house shook and windows shattered as missiles rained on homes nearby. I cried because I know him and his handicapped son and his dilemma at whether to try to carry his son and run to the street or not.

But then I cried some more thinking of the many innocents who got killed and injured and who I dd not personally know and did not cry for them earlier.
 

Mt. Polley Disaster and How You Can Help

Mt. Polley - How You Can Help
Alex and Fraser bgHello; I have been posting blogs on my onsite investigation into the situation around the largest mining disaster in history that tragically entered Quesnel Lake, where 1/4 of the Fraser sockeye rear.
 
The BC government's first response was that all the grey slurry pouring out of the mine was just sand, no different than an avalanche and that we got "lucky" - the water is safe to drink. That is not at all what the situation looks like and the people in the area and downstream have virtually no confidence in the BC government's assessment.
 
The federal government is completely missing in action - a stunning silence.
 
My sense is that this is very similar to the situation with European salmon viruses in BC waters. Government appears to be doing what they can to support the companies, not the public. However, this disaster is bad for the mining employees, as well as, the rest of the public. Everyone knew this was going to happen and government and Imperial Metals apparently just let it happen.
 
The BC government likes to promote itself as pro-industry, but have catastrophically failed once again in that capacity. Salmon farms have lost social licence and this mining disaster confirms they have transformed Canada into a third world country. 
 

More Guantánamo Tales of Horror and Torture

“Most of the Hunger Strikers Are Vomiting on the Torture Chairs”: Emad Hassan’s Latest Harrowing Letter from Guantánamo
by Andy Worthington
emad-hassan-2In the long-running struggle by prisoners at Guantánamo to get US judges to order the prison authorities to stop force-feeding them when they are on a hunger strike to protest about their indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial, the focus in the last few months has been on Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian prisoner, cleared for release in 2009 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama appointed shortly after taking office, but still held, like 78 other prisoners cleared for release.
 
In May, in Washington D.C., District Judge Gladys Kessler delivered a powerful and unprecedented ruling in Mr. Dhiab’s case, ordering the government to stop force-feeding him, and also ordering the release, to his lawyers, of videotapes showing his force-feeding and “forcible cell extractions” (FCEs), where prisoners are violently extracted from their cells by a group of armored guards and taken for force-feeding after refusing to voluntarily drink the liquid nutritional supplements given to hunger strikers.
 
Guantánamo detainee, Emad Hassan
 
The order regarding Mr. Dhiab’s force-feeding was withdrawn by Judge Kessler shortly after it was issued, as she feared that otherwise Mr. Dhiab would die, but the videotapes have been seen by his lawyers, who described them as profoundly shocking — and 16 US media organizations are currently engaged in trying to get the videotapes released to the public.
 
Last week, Mr. Dhiab secured another victory, when Judge Kessler ordered the government to allow two independent doctors to visit him to assess the state of his health.
 

Media Continues Carrying Water for Israel's Gaza Genocide

Gaza Changed Everything: Things Cannot Stay the Same after Israeli Genocide in Gaza
by Ramzy Baroud - PalestineChronicle.com
After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are often deployed with one grand mission: to absolve Israel of any responsibility in their acts of carnage.
 
Not only do these apologists demonize Palestinians, but anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy has been blaming the victim. Such a tactic is nothing new in the way the so-called “Arab-Israeli conflict” has been presented in Western media, whose narrative has been much closer to that of Israeli official and media discourses than that of Palestinians. This continued despite the decades-long military occupation, successive wars, and countless massacres.
 
Specifically, since the Israeli siege on Gaza, following the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power in January 2006, Israel needed all of its hasbara savvy, alongside that of its backers in western countries to explain why a population has been brutalized for making a democratic choice. The sheer amount of deception involved in the cleverly knitted story which purposely mixed between Hamas and al-Qaeda (as they once did between late Yasser Arafat and Hitler), among other ruses was a new low, even by Israel’s own standards.
 
While the media demonized Hamas, the resistance and all the other “bad” Palestinians who voted for the movement, it intentionally ignored the fascism that was taking over Israeli society.
 

Failing the Grade: Washington Washing Out in War on Terror

Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed: The Underrated Saudi Connection
 There are extraordinary elements in the present U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the U.S. is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The U.S. would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. 
 
But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.
 
But U.S., Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition.
 
 

Ukraine's Crisis Roils On

Ukraine Crisis Continues
by Paul Craig RobertsICH
Having served Washington’s propaganda purposes, the downed Malaysian airliner and the alleged Russian armored column that entered Ukraine and was allegedly destroyed have dropped out of the news even though both stories remain completely and totally unresolved.
 
Washington’s stooge government in Ukraine has not released the records of communications between Ukrainian air traffic control and Malaysian flight 17, and Washington has not released the photos from its satellite which was directly overhead at the time of the airliner’s demise.
 
We can safely and conclusively conclude from this purposeful withholding of evidence that the evidence does not support Washington’s and Kiev’s propaganda.
 
We can also safely and conclusively conclude that the Western media’s sudden disinterest in the unresolved story and failure to demand the evidence kept secret by Washington and Kiev is in keeping with the Western media’s role as a Ministry of Propaganda.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, David Swanson, Andre Vltchek, Janine Bandcroft August 20th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
The war drum tempo in Western capitals has quickened. For the citizens of Ukraine, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and the other places where the Global War on Terra's horrors are felt, hopes for a normal life are dimming by the day.

But even as Ferguson, Missouri roils in scenes all too familiar to those distant places mentioned, Americans, largely, are yet to recognize the systemic root to the widespread violence.

David Swanson is a community activist and internet organizer extraordinaire, lecturer, former journalist and communications director for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, and author.
 
Listen. Hear.

David's book titles include: 'When the World Outlawed War,' 'Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union,' 'War is a Lie,' 'The Military Industrial Complex at 50,' 'Tube World,' 'Iraq War Among World's Worst Events,' and 'War No More: The Case for Abolition.' David Swanson's latest effort is with World Beyond War.org, a campaign to abolish finally war.
 
David Swanson in the first half.

And; though we're hearing little of last week's Casus belli for a greater war in Ukraine - the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 - the brutal shelling of the cities of Eastern Ukraine continues. More than 2,000 are believed killed so far, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the fighting. And there seems no end in sight.

Andre Vltchek is a globe-trotting, freelance investigative journalist and photographer who has covered conflict in dozens of the world's war zones from Bosnia and Peru to Sri Lanka, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Timor Leste. Andre was filing reports from Ukraine last month, leaving the embattled country literally mere moments before the ill-fated MH 17 was brought down.

Andre Vltchek is also a filmmaker, poet, playwright, and author who's bibliography includes the novels: 'Nalezeny,' and 'Point of no Return,' and the non-ficiton titles: 'Western Terror: From Potosi to Baghdad,' 'Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear,' 'Oceania,' (published by Expathos and a result of five years work in Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia), and, with Rossie Indira, 'Exile' a book of conversations with foremost Southeast Asian writer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Andre's dispatches from nearly every corner are featured online at CounterPunch, Z Magazine, the Asia Times, and Pacific Free Press among others.
 
Andre Vltchek and Ukraine behind the media hyperbole in the second half.

And, Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us a the bottom of the hour, bringing newz for the coming week in our city, and beyond there too.

But first, David Swanson and imagining a world without war.


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.  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/
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, David Swanson, Andre Vltchek, Janine Bandcroft August 20th, 2014

Ukraine Burlesque: Bizarre Energy Policies Leave Investors Spooked, Population Vulnerable

Ukraine's Next Crisis? Economic Disaster
by Robert Bensh - Oilprice.com
Ukraine's next crisis will be a devastatingly economic one, as violent conflict destroys critical infrastructure in the east and brings key industry to a halt, furthering weakening the energy sector by crippling coal-based electricity production.
 
The Ukrainian military's showdown with separatists in the industrial east has forced coal mines to severely cut production or close down entirely. This has led to an electricity crisis that can only be staunched by cutting domestic production along with exports to Europe, Crimea, and Belarus -- or worse, getting more imports from Russia.
 
In the coal centers of Ukraine's industrial east, Luhansk and Donetsk, fighting has forced the full closure of an estimated 50 percent of coal mines, while overall coal production has fallen 22 percent over the same period last year.
 
Key industry sources say they will potentially run out of coal in less than three weeks.
 
For Ukraine, the second largest producer of coal in Europe, this will have a devastating impact on the energy sector, which is in a state of emergency, unable to get coal to thermal power plants that provide some 40 percent of the entire country's electricity.
 

Media Choir Turns Ukraine Songbook Pages in Unison

The Powerful ‘Group Think’ on Ukraine
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
When even smart people like economist Paul Krugman buy into the false narrative about the Ukraine crisis, it’s hard to decide whether to despair over the impossibility of America ever understanding the world’s problems or to marvel at the power of the U.S. political/media propaganda machine to manufacture its own reality.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivering 
a speech on the Ukraine crisis in Moscow 
on March 18, 2014. - Russian government photo

On Monday, Krugman’s New York Times column accepts the storyline that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin instigated the Ukraine crisis and extrapolates from that “fact” the conclusion that perhaps the nefarious Putin did so to engineer a cheap land grab or to distract Russians from their economic problems.

“Delusions of easy winnings still happen,” Krugman wrote. “It’s only a guess, but it seems likely that Vladimir Putin thought that he could overthrow Ukraine’s government, or at least seize a large chunk of its territory, on the cheap — a bit of deniable aid to the rebels, and it would fall into his lap. …

“Recently Justin Fox of the Harvard Business Review suggested that the roots of the Ukraine crisis may lie in the faltering performance of the Russian economy.
As he noted, Mr. Putin’s hold on power partly reflects a long run of rapid economic growth. But Russian growth has been sputtering — and you could argue that the Putin regime needed a distraction.”

Or you could look at the actual facts of how the Ukraine crisis began and realize that it was the West, not Russia, that instigated this crisis.

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Media Choir Turns Ukraine Songbook Pages in Unison

Back in Iraq, Jack!

Back in Iraq, Jack!
by David Swanson - War is a Crime
President Obama may want us to sympathize with patriotic torturers, he may turn on whistleblowers like a flesh-eating zombie, he may have lost all ability to think an authentic thought, but I will say this for him: He knows how to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin fraud like a champion.
 
It's back in Iraq, Jack! Yackety yack!

Obama says the United States has fired missiles and dropped food in Iraq -- enough food to feed 8,000, enough missiles to kill an unknown number (presumably 7,500 or fewer keeps this a "humanitarian" effort).
 
The White House told reporters on a phone call following the President's Thursday night speech that it is expediting weapons to Iraq, producing Hellfire missiles and ammunition around the clock, and shipping those off to a nation where Obama swears there is no military solution and only reconciliation can help. Hellfire missiles are famous for helping people reconcile.
 
Obama went straight into laying out his excuses for this latest war, before speaking against war and in favor of everything he invests no energy in. First, the illegitimate government of Iraq asked him to do it. Second, ISIS is to blame for the hell that the United States created in Iraq. Third, there are still lots of places in the world that Obama has not yet bombed. Oh, and this is not really a war but just protection of U.S. personnel, combined with a rescue mission for victims of a possible massacre on a scale we all need to try to understand.
 

Immigrant Advocates Protest and Organize Against "Rushed" Deportations Following Ontario CBSA Sweep

CBSA rushes deportation of men rounded up in racial profiling anti-immigrant raids
by No One Is Illegal - Toronto
Toronto At least 5 of the 21 men that Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) racially profiled, force ID checked and detained with the help of Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Ministry of Transportation are being deported this Tuesday, August 19th at 9:30am, No One Is Illegal – Toronto has learned.

Immigration justice activists believe that these rushed removals are an attempt by CBSA to sweep under the rug the egregious racial profiling that took place in last week's anti-immigrant raids.
 
Over 50 people protested outside the Ontario Ministry of Corrections and Ministry of Transportation near Queen’s Park Monday, with demonstrators demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne curb the power of provincial authorities to collaborate with federal immigration enforcement and make Ontario a 'sanctuary' province.
 
See pictures: