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What Worth Despair? George Monbiot's Cheerful Solution to Political Inaction on Environmental Crisis

Answering Monbiot's Ounce of Hope Worth a Ton of Despair
by Michael Major
The 18th century american revolution harnessed citizenship, personal freedom, can-do community empowerment, humane aspirations, open debate and a deep appreciation for the pervasive shared wonderment and democratizing influence of accessible and compulsory public education. But it also gave free rein to resourcism, environmental exploitation, capitalism and colonialism.
 
Environmentalism rightly finds its source and inspiration in appreciation of nature, the appreciation of complex natural systems and in the revolutionary values which animated our best characteristics in the last 200 years of search for a way to live in peace and comfort with the world, its species, its nations and peoples and in genuine shared stewardship of our environment, our lives and our scarcest resources.
 
But according to Monbiot in order to gain political traction with the aristocrats, plutocrats, patriarchs, financiers, generals, industrialists, pragmatists and other would be rulers of the universe, our culture embraced the jargon of industrial efficiency, class entitlement and financial necessity and then we manufactured elite consent for a little green window-dressing on the expansionary fabrication of illusory fossil fueled progress.
 

Back to Iraq: America's Moral Insanity Revisted

Back to the Future: A Voice of Sanity on Iraq
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi writer who fled persecution by Saddam’s regime but who was also a powerful voice against the Anglo-American aggression against his country in 2003, exposes one of the many lies about Iraq that have infected both sides of the interventionist argument: that it is a land seething with ancient, irrepressible sectarian hatreds that can only be put right by separation.

It’s an important piece, worth reading in full, but here are some excerpts:

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Rallying Cry: Enbridge Green Light Roils Activist Pots

Rally tonight to ramp up the fight!
by Forest Action Network
Regardless of what you may have heard, the Enbridge pipeline is doomed. Coastal First Nations say no, the people of BC say no, and we plan to make it stick. Join us tonight in Victoria, Vancouver and Prince George.

Victoria, 7 pm at CTV News
corner of Pandora & Broad

- Victoria: We'll be meeting at the CTV News Building, on the corner of Pandora and Broad street, at 7pm. (Meeting at the media station allows us to amplify our voice.)

- Vancouver: 5:30 at Georgia & Hamilton.
- Prince George: 5:30 WED at the Civic Centre.

- Bring drums and noisemakers to demonstrate how loud our opposition is. Now is the time to make sure they can't ignore us. - Come prepared to brainstorm and organize to stop this pipeline. We support the decisions of dozens of frontline and First Nations communities.

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Dark Forces Stir Iraq's Sleeping Dogs of Civil War

Sectarian Monster Reawakened: Redrawing the Map of Iraq, Again
by Ramzy Baroud  - Middle East Eye
Labeiki ya Zaynab,” chanted Iraqi Shia fighters as they swayed, dancing with their rifles before TV news cameras in Baghdad on June 13. They were apparently getting ready for a difficult fight ahead.

For them, it seemed that a suitable war chant would be answering the call of Zaynab, the daughter of Imam Ali, the great Muslim Caliph who lived in Medina 14 centuries ago. That was the period through which the Shia sect slowly emerged, based on a political dispute whose consequences are still felt until this day.
 
That chant alone is enough to demonstrate the ugly sectarian nature of the war in Iraq, which has reached an unprecedented highpoint in recent days. Fewer than 1,000 fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) advanced against Iraq's largest city of Mosul on June 10, sending two Iraqi army divisions (nearly 30,000 soldiers) to a chaotic retreat.
 

"Whistleblower! See it, Say it."

Memo to Potential Whistleblowers: If You See Something, Say Something
by Norman Solomon - Global Research
Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.
 
I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week.

“It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.”
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Losing the Freedom to Speak: America After 9/11

What We've Lost Since 9/11: Taking Down the First Amendment in Post-Constitutional America
by Peter Van Buren  - TomDispatch
America has entered its third great era: the post-constitutional one. In the first, in the colonial years, a unitary executive, the King of England, ruled without checks and balances, allowing no freedom of speech, due process, or privacy when it came to protecting his power.

In the second, the principles of the Enlightenment and an armed rebellion were used to push back the king’s abuses. The result was a new country and a new constitution with a Bill of Rights expressly meant to check the government's power. Now, we are wading into the shallow waters of a third era, a time when that government is abandoning the basic ideas that saw our nation through centuries of challenges far more daunting than terrorism. Those ideas -- enshrined in the Bill of Rights -- are disarmingly concise. Think of them as the haiku of a genuine people's government.

Deeper, darker waters lie ahead and we seem drawn down into them. For here there be monsters.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jon Elmer, Dave Lindorff, Janine Bandcroft June 16th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
che kokoWhile much of Western Asia is roiled by the instability created by wars within their borders, (wars largely created from beyond those borders by the policies of the United States and its allies in NATO and Israel) the temperature of the ever-volatile situation in Occupied Palestine is heightened today due to the disappearance Friday of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Bellicose threats, and an unsubstantiated accusation against Hamas from prime minister Netanyahu has accompanied mass arrests and a furthering tightening of the siege against the Gaza Strip. This comes in the wake of Pope Francis' highly publicized trip to the Holy Land, and after the much criticized Hamas/Fatah Unitary agreement ostensibly led to Israel's withdrawal from the latest stumbling peace process.
 
 
Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance journalist and photojournalist specializing in the Middle East, and on Canadian foreign and military policy. Elmer has lived in and reported from Occupied Palestine for the better part of the last decade, while reporting too from more than a dozen countries from Nepal and Western Sahara, to the Basque country, and here in Canada. His articles and photographs are featured at the Journal of Palestine Studies, Le Monde diplomatique, The Progressive, and Al Jazeera English among others, and at his web site JonElmer.ca. Jon is also a contributor, with Anthony Fenton, to the book, 'Empire's Ally: Canada in Afghanistan.'
 
Jon Elmer in the first half.
 
And; the legendary author, George Orwell famously said; "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." While Orwell is credited, long after his death, in some quarters with the power of prophesy, an analysis he would surely be dismayed if unsurprised by, he may have been truly shocked by the completeness with which the United States has come to resemble his most dystopic book, 1984.

Just last week, the alternative investigative website, ThisCantBeHappening.net discovered, through the Freedom of Information Act, it had been declared a "threat" in a memo sent across the country by none less than the Department of Homeland Security's Director of the Washington DC Fusion Center’s Regional Threat and Assessment Center. And what was the threat? Writing about the role Homeland Security played, through its Fusion Center Network during the Occupy Wall Street movement.
 
Dave Lindorff is an award-winning investigative reporter, long-time muckraker, and founder of the online news site, ThisCantBeHappening.net. Dave's writing regularly appears online at Counterpunch.org and is featured too in some mainstream interests. Lindorff is author of the books, 'This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy,' 'Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains,' 'Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,' and co-authored with Barbara Olshansky 'The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush'. 
 
Dave Lindorff on posing a "threat" and This Can't Be Happening.net's proudest moment of recognition 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 up to speed with some of the goings on going on on the streets of our city, and beyond too in the coming weeks.

But first, Jon Elmer and the changing sameness of Israel's Palestinian occupation.


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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Planetary Ecocide and Graceful Leave Takings

After the harvest — learning to leave the planet gracefully
by Robert Jensen - Waging Non-Violence
Every time I read the latest bad-and-getting-worse news about the health of the ecosphere, such as last month’s report that the melting of some giant glaciers had passed the point of no return, I think back to a conversation 25 years ago that helps me put such news in perspective.
 
In a Minneapolis bakery where my new friend Jim Koplin and I had settled into a Friday morning coffee session to analyze the world, and gossip a bit, Koplin told me that he thought the most important task for human beings — as a species, not just as individuals — was “learning to leave the planet gracefully.”
 
At our regular table by the window, he said this matter-of-factly, not joking but also not overly dramatic about it. This was a judgment he felt obligated to share with me once our friendship had deepened, our conversations had gotten sufficiently serious, and he had determined that I could handle it.
 
Why would human beings need to learn to leave the planet gracefully? The answer — so painfully obvious today, as the evidence about ecological crises piles up, readily available to anyone who chooses to know — was clear to Koplin more than 25 years ago. Although he wasn’t prone to quoting scripture, I am, so let me offer a “why” in the words of Jeremiah from the Hebrew Bible:
 
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)
 

Cold War II: Refreshing the Iron Curtain

Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine
by Diana Johnstone - CounterPunch

NATO leaders are currently acting out a deliberate charade in Europe, designed to reconstruct an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West.

With astonishing unanimity, NATO leaders feign surprise at events they planned months in advance. Events that they deliberately triggered are being misrepresented as sudden, astonishing, unjustified “Russian aggression”. The United States and the European Union undertook an aggressive provocation in Ukraine that they knew would force Russia to react defensively, one way or another.

They could not be sure exactly how Russian president Vladimir Putin would react when he saw that the United States was manipulating political conflict in Ukraine to install a pro-Western government intent on joining NATO.  This was not a mere matter of a “sphere of influence” in Russia’s “near abroad”, but a matter of life and death to the Russian Navy, as well as a grave national security threat on Russia’s border.

A trap was thereby set for Putin. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.  He could underreact, and betray Russia’s basic national interests, allowing NATO to advance its hostile forces to an ideal attack position.

Or he could overreact, by sending Russian forces to invade Ukraine.  The West was ready for this, prepared to scream that Putin was “the new Hitler”, poised to overrun poor, helpless Europe, which could only be saved (again) by the generous Americans.

 

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Iraq: Reaping the Fruit of the Dragon's Teeth, Again

Hell’s Gate: The Iraqi Blitzkrieg and the Cult of Violence
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
The bitter fruits of the monstrous evil the United States inflicted on Iraq are ripening before our eyes. The blitzkrieg by ISIS, a radical militia so extreme that even al Qaeda disowned it, has swept through large swaths of the country and laid bare the sham of the government system imposed by the American invaders.
 
Having engineered the senseless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and provoked a murderous sectarian war, the Americans installed a government based along strict sectarian lines -- a choice that was guaranteed to exacerbate internal strife and produce weak, ineffective, disunited governments. And so we have watched the government of would-be strongman Nouri al-Maliki wither away into corrupt factionalism and brutal repression in its frantic and failing efforts to impose its will on the inevitable chaos.

This week we may be witnessing its total collapse, as its army -- built and funded by the American invaders -- is simply vanishing in the face of the onslaught by ISIS, which is itself funded, in part, by America's own staunch allies in the Gulf … and, via America's funding and arming of murky stew of Syrian rebel groups (which includes ISIS), indirectly by Washington itself.
 

Report Highlights Canadian Involvement in Illegal Resource Trade from Western Sahara

Canadian complicity in illegal resource trade from Western Sahara detailed in new report
by Friends of Western Sahara, Victoria
Two of Canada’s leading agricultural fertilizer companies have been revealed as being among the largest importers of phosphate mineral rock from occupied Western Sahara. The trade is directly contributing to Morocco’s illegal occupation of the territory, considered to be Africa’s last colony after Spain abandoned it in 1975.
 
The m.v. Olympus finished unloading this week and is still in Vancouver Harbour, the m.v. Ultra Saskatoon is making its way north along the US west coast: Agrium Inc. may now be achieving its planned one million tonnes annual import of phosphates, the largest continuing volume by any company, anywhere.
 
The scope of Canadian involvement is detailed in a report made public today by the non-governmental organization Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) entitled P is for Plunder. The complete report can be found online at: http://www.wsrw.org/a105x2905 and it lists the buyers, volumes, values and shipments from Morocco's export of phosphate rock from the territory.
 
International law and the Geneva Conventions on War forbid the commercial exploitation of resources in occupied lands by the occupier.