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Disappearing Russia's Nuclear Potential: Down the Rabbit Hole with the Spinmeisters and Pundits

Playing Chicken with Nuclear War
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

March 2, 2015 

The United States and Russia still maintain vast nuclear arsenals of mutual assured destruction, putting the future of humanity in jeopardy every instant.

But an unnerving nonchalance has settled over the American side which has become so casual about the risk of cataclysmic war that the West’s propaganda and passions now ignore Russian fears and sensitivities.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

A swaggering goofiness has come to dominate how the United States reacts to Russia, with American politicians and journalists dashing off tweets and op-eds, rushing to judgment about the perfidy of Moscow’s leaders, blaming them for almost anything and everything.

These days, playing with nuclear fire is seen as a sign of seriousness and courage. Anyone who urges caution and suggests there might be two sides to the U.S.-Russia story is dismissed as a wimp or a stooge. A what-me-worry “group think” has taken hold across the U.S. ideological spectrum.
 
Fretting about nuclear annihilation is so 1960s.

Chicago's Police Black Site Draws Protest

Total Mainstream Media Blackout of Chicago Secret ‘Black Site’ at Homan Square
by Nick Bernabe - The AntiMedia

Chicago, IL — As the nation continues to react to the newly discovered ‘black site’ operated by Chicago Police, the mainstream media continues to bury it’s head in the sand.

National media outlets like Fox, MSNBC, and CNN are unsurprisingly refusing to touch this story, driving even further suspicion that the corporate media has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for big government and corporate America.

As we reported earlier this week, local corporate media was literally running stories about Homan Square that were direct copies from CPD’s public relations statements.

According to interviews conducted by The Atlantic, local mainstream reporters often agree with these disappear and torture tactics, so they refuse to do their jobs at uncovering what is going on there;

“I think that many crime reporters in Chicago have political views that are right in line with the police,” Tracy Siska said.
 “They tend to agree about the tactics needed by the police. They tend to have by one extent or the other the same racist views of the police — a lot of urban police (not all of them by any stretch, but a lot of them) embody racism.”

Meanwhile, a campaign we launched to shed light on Homan Square, #Gitmo2Chicago, trended nationwide last night on Twitter and today on Facebook — showing that the public at large is generally disgusted by these CIA-style tactics.

So while the corporate media posts 3 million stories about the color of a dress, the country is questioning the police state in a big way.

As I write this, a large protest is taking place in Chicago at Homan Square to shut it down, with more protests being planned across the country in the coming weeks.

But keep in mind, the Revolution will not be televised on Cable TV, but it will be on the internet. Watch live video from the protests here.

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Life in Gaza's Winter Wasteland

Winter in the Ruins of Gaza (1/2)
by TRNN

30 UN Agencies and International NGO's released a letter condemning the lack of reconstruction and development in Gaza after the war last summer. The pledges made in Cairo have not been received and there appears to be a tragic perpetual holding pattern when it comes to Gaza, says Pernille Ironside, Chief of Gaza Field Office, UNICEF - March 1, 2015


 
 
UN agencies and international NGOs operating in Gaza, 30 of them issued a letter, alarmed by the limited progress in rebuilding the lives of those who live in Gaza. And that is six months after the attacks they suffered last summer. To quote the letter,
 
"The Israeli-imposed blockade continues, the political process, along with the economy, are paralyzed, and living conditions have worsened. Reconstruction and repairs to the tens of thousands of homes, hospitals, and schools damaged or destroyed in the fighting has been woefully slow. Sporadic rocket fire from Palestinian armed groups has resumed. Overall, the lack of progress has deepened levels of desperation and frustration among the population, more than two thirds of whom are Palestine refugees."
Pernille Ironside is UNICEF's Chief of Gaza Field Office, where she is leading UNICEF's emergency response across the Gaza Strip in the occupied Palestinian territory. She has held this position since August 2013; and has served in various other roles since joining the United Nations in 2002, including in the Philippines, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as UNICEF's global adviser on child protection in emergencies at Headquarters in New York.
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Canada's State Policeman's Bill: C-51, A Legal Opinion

Bill C-51: A Legal Primer: Overly broad and unnecessary anti-terrorism reforms could criminalize free speech
by Clayton Ruby and Nader R. Hasan - Policy Alternatives
 
February 17, 2015

Six Muslim young adults stand in front of a mosque late at night in heated discussion in some foreign language. They may be debating the merits of a new Drake album. They may be talking about video games, or sports, or girls, or advocating the overthrow of the Harper government. Who knows? There is no evidence one way or the other. Just stereotypes. But the new standard for arrest and detention—reason to suspect that they may commit an act—is so low that an officer may be inclined to arrest and detain them in order to investigate further.
 
And now, officers will no longer need to ask themselves whether the arrest is necessary. They could act on mere suspicion that an arrest is likely to prevent any terrorist activity.
 
Yesterday, the Muslim men were freely exercising constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
 
Today they are arrestable.

Greek-Troika Standoff: Has Syriza Gone Off Half-Cocked?

Showdown in Athens
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch

A disagreement over the terms of a deal to provide a bailout extension for Greece, has set the stage for a final clash between the Eurogroup and members of the Greek ruling party, Syriza. Although the agreement was approved on Tuesday when a list of reforms were submitted by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to the Eurogroup, Varoufakis believes that changes to the original program give him greater flexibility to implement policies that will end austerity, reduce the ailing country’s primary budget surplus, and ease the humanitarian crisis that has persisted for 6 years.

Regrettably, no one at the ECB, the European Commission or the IMF shares Varoufakis’s views on the subject.
 
“Will the United States, Germany, the rest of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – collectively constituting the International Mafia – allow the new Greek leaders of the Syriza party to dictate the conditions of Greece’s rescue and salvation? The answer at the moment is a decided “No”.  — William Blum, The Greek Tragedy, CounterPunch

“The Greek economy is finished…. There is no power, no force within the Greek economy, within Greek society that can avert – it’s like – imagine if we were in Ohio in 1931 and we were to ask: What can Ohio politicians do to get Ohio out of the Great Depression? The answer is nothing.”  — Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister
 

From Al-Shabaab to Kazakh Critic's in-custody "Suicide": This Week in the Global Energy Business

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict: Global Energy Advisory
via OilPrice.com

27th February 2015

Al-Shabaab Reaches for Stature


The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab—pushed back in Somalia largely by African Union (AU) forces and forced to regroup—has released a video calling on jihadists to attack shopping centers in Western countries, most specifically the US, UK and Canada, and is threatening more terrorist attacks in neighboring Kenya, an emerging East African oil giant. Specific Western targets are listed as the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield Mall in Stratford, UK.

The FBI says there is no evidence supporting an imminent attack on the Mall of America, but intelligence-sharing is not exactly the forte of US intelligence agencies. At this point we would view the threat against Kenya as the most viable and investors on this oil scene should be on full alert.
 
The Western mall threats are likely two-pronged, with the primary goal of winning new recruits by harnessing the momentum of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Keep in mind, though, that while Al-Shabaab may not be a large group and it has been dispersed and had many of its power bases destroyed, it has a formidable intelligence unit of its own that has strategically taken over since the AU hit out at the group’s key positions.
 

Canadian Youth and ISIS: Is It So Difficult to Understand?

Not Difficult to Figure Out Why Young People Join ISIS
by Sandra Finley - The Battles
Please forward this to anyone you know who is an RCMP or police officer, or who works in security forces. Thanks!

It is not difficult to put forward a likely reason why some young Canadians are going to Syria to join the “terrorists”.
 
In 2010 I was contacted through social media by a young sister of Omar Khadr’s who had read a posting of mine. She was desperate, using facebook to raise awareness, getting help to bring her brother home.
 
My posting contained reports from the pre-trial hearing in 2010 of the depraved and highly illegal torture of 15-year-old Omar Khadr at offshore American prisons. (If my son had been treated the same I would hate the perpetrators.)
 
So figure it out. Lots of young Canadians KNOW what happened to Omar Khadr at the hands of we ourselves – “Westerners”. It was truly gross, unimaginable that humans can do these things to any living creature, let alone a 15-year-old boy.
 

US, UK, Poland and Canada Pumping Up Ukraine War Despite Minsk Agreement

UK joins US, Poland in sending military trainers to Ukraine
by Jean Shaoul - WSWS
 
26 February 2015
 
Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Britain is to send military “advisors” and “nonlethal aid” to Ukraine. The purpose, according to defence sources, is to “improve the survivability” of Ukrainian troops who have taken a beating from separatist forces in the east of the country.
 
The move is widely seen as a bid by Cameron in the run up-to the general election in May to counter criticism from the military and political establishment that Britain has become virtually invisible on the international arena. A parliamentary committee denounced the government for not being “active or visible enough” in dealing with the situation in Ukraine.
 
More crucially, it signifies that Washington and London are determined to arm Ukraine, up the ante against Russia, and further undermine the ceasefire agreed between Russia, France, Germany and the Ukrainian regime at Minsk earlier this month.
 
Britain’s deployment of a training force coincides with the deployment of a US battalion to train Ukrainian battalions, and expectations that other NATO countries will follow suit.
 
After the US announcement that it could directly arm the right-wing regime in Kiev at the beginning of the month, leading European officials publicly acknowledged that the world was on the verge of “total” war between NATO and Russia. London is joining the US and Polish governments in aggressively arming Ukraine and stoking the risk of world war.
 
Polish Defence Ministry official Boguslaw Pacek announced yesterday that Warsaw would send military advisors to help train Ukrainian non-commissioned officers.
 
The Ukrainian government is also trying to obtain military support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key US ally in the Middle East.
US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of backing the separatists and failing to abide by the Minsk ceasefire, though he admitted that there had been a lull in the fighting. “To date, neither Russia nor the forces it is supporting have come close to complying with their commitments,” he said, renewing warnings that Moscow would face further sanctions.
 
Cameron promised, “What we need to do now is deliver the strongest possible message to Putin and to Russia that what has happened is unacceptable. These ceasefires need to hold and if they don’t, there’ll be more consequences, more sanctions, more measures.”

Shortly afterwards, Royal Air Force jets were scrambled to escort two Russian military aircraft seen off the Cornwall coast, although both the prime minister and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon acknowledged that they had not entered British airspace.
 
Britain will be sending 75 trainers to western Ukraine in the next few weeks to provide instruction in command procedures, tactical intelligence, battlefield first aid, logistics, and the planning and execution of urban operations. They will also assess the training needs of the army’s infantry.
 
While Britain has deployed troops as part of NATO exercises in Ukraine, this is the first explicit British mission there.
 
Fallon denied that this was the beginning of a wider deployment of troops and claimed that there would be no mission creep. “We are not deploying combat troops to Ukraine and we will not do so,” he said, adding: “We should come to the help of a friend in need.”
 
In the next breath, however, he acknowledged that his officials were looking at what other training might be needed, in addition to that announced on Tuesday.
 
He also said that the Ukrainian government had requested all kinds of military equipment, but insisted that “at this stage” any British military supplies would be “nonlethal,” an indication that heavy weaponry as well as “nonlethal” supplies are indeed being actively considered.
 
Cameron called on the European Union to examine wide-ranging sanctions on Russia’s economy, which is already on the rocks due to the fall in oil prices.
 
His move to send British troops to Ukraine has the Labour Party’s support, according to Shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones. In what amounted to a call for stepped-up intervention, he asked how the plan accorded with “broader NATO strategy” on Ukraine, and “what the overall objective of the deployment is and how long has it been in the planning.”
 
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for military and technical cooperation while attending the IDEX military trade fair in Abu Dhabi.
 
In the wake of the virtual secession of the eastern manufacturing belt of the country following the Berlin and Washington-backed fascist-led coup a year ago, Ukraine has been forced to find new suppliers for its armed forces. Poroshenko said that Ukrainian companies had signed contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to accelerate the modernisation of its armed forces.
 
The UAE is the fourth-largest arms purchaser in the world, buying mainly from the US and to a lesser extent, France. Thus, any military deal between Ukraine and the UAE must have US approval.
 
The semi-feudal Gulf monarchy that presides over a migrant labour force forced to live in slave-like conditions is—in terms of arms per capita—the most heavily armed country on the planet. It has tried to build up its own defence manufacturing capacity and taken an increasingly open military role, sending forces to Kosovo and Afghanistan, and carrying out airstrikes in Libya, Iraq and Syria.
 
Speaking to reporters at the IDEX trade show, Poroshenko said that he hoped that Washington would agree to provide arms to Ukraine. He had reportedly planned to meet chief Pentagon weapons buyer Frank Kendall at the show.
 
He said of his talks with Washington, “We are in a very practical dialogue, and we hope in the very near future, we have a decision to help us attain defensive weapons.”
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Framing Iran: Stirling Whistleblower Case Reveals CIA Files on Tricks

Planting False Evidence on Iran
by Norman Solomon - Consortium News
 
February 26, 2015 


Prior to the U.S. intelligence community’s 2007 assessment that Iran was not working on a nuclear weapons program, there was a scramble among U.S. and Israeli officials to show that it was.

The CIA’s Operation Merlin also revealed that U.S. officials were not above planting false evidence, writes Norman Solomon.

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran’s 
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian gov't photo)

A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has work on a nuclear weapons program.

Why Does the Toronto Star Supports Ukraine's Nazis and Coupsters?

Toronto Star Promoting the Extreme Right in Ukraine
by Roger Annis - New Cold War
Feb 20, 2015
 
The three conglomerates that dominate print media in Canada—Torstar, which publishes the Toronto Star, the country’s largest daily newspaper; Woodbridge, which publishes The Globe and Mail, the largest national daily; and Postmedia, which controls the daily newspapers of most cities in English Canada–speak on Ukraine as though they all attended the same indoctrination sessions.

Viewed through their prism, Ukraine is topsy-turvy and bears little resemblance to reality. Human rights, moral standards and the concerns of the people of the east of the country are given no standing, no voice and no sympathy.

Insignia of Army SOS, one of the far right
projects promoted by Toronto Star writers
 
Among the three, the Star has distinguished itself in that three of its writers have used their column and article space to vaunt the fundraising projects of Ukraine’s extreme-right parties and militias and the Ukraine army. These are the forces which have been shelling towns and cities in eastern Ukraine and otherwise committing countless war crimes for the better part of the past year.

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How Americans Die: Threat Assessments Real and Imagined

The Grand Illusion
by John Chuckman - ICH 
In the years since 9/11, American police alone have killed at least twice as many Americans as died in that single large event, the annual toll of police killings being somewhere between 500 and 1,000, the variation owing to many such events going inaccurately reported by police.
 
Each year, somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand Americans are killed in automobiles, the level having declined in recent years. Each year about 15,000 Americans are murdered, down from about 25,000 not too many years ago. Each year about 100,000 Americans are killed by medical malpractice. About 40,000 Americans commit suicide annually. These are just a few causes of death in America, not the largest ones but some of the more interesting.
 
Let’s get a rough total estimate of what has happened to Americans from these causes in the time since 9/11. Just using the low number in each case for fourteen years, 7,000 Americans were killed by their own police, 420,000 were killed by something parked in their garage, 210,000 were murdered by fellow citizens, 1,400,000 were killed by friendly family doctors, and there were 560,000 who just decided to pack it in for one reason or another.
 
The total of these various causes of death rounds to 2, 600,000 deaths, nearly 867 times the number of Americans killed in 9/11, 867 collapsed sets of twin towers, nearly 62 collapsed sets of towers per year.
 
So why are we spending countless billions of dollars fighting terror, an almost insignificant threat to our well-being?
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kim Ives, Janine Bandcroft 25th Women's Memorial March Feb., 25, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
 
Next week marks another of Haiti's too many "days that live in infamy." Before the February 29th, 2004 sun rose on Port-au-Prince, soldiers sat in the shadow waiting for the signal to overthrow a president. As the sun set Jean Bertrand Aristide, the most popular of all popularly elected presidents in the Americas, would be a prisoner on a plane high above the Atlantic Ocean; destination unknown.
  
 Kim Ives is founder of, and contributing editor to, Haiti Liberté, a newspaper with offices in Haiti and New York. The Haitian-born Ives also has more than twenty years experience reporting with the paper, Haiti Progrès, and currently hosts the weekly WBAI New York radio program, 'Haiti: The Struggle Continues.'
 
Ives is too a filmmaker who has collaborated on many films documenting human rights abuses, trade struggles, and conflicts between the island's peasant farmers and corrupt State enterprise.
 
He's contributed to the books: 'Dangerous Crossroads,' 'The Haiti Files,' and Haiti: A Slave Revolution,' and appeared on many international news programs promoting the cause of Haiti's disenfranchised, travelling Canada and the U.S to deliver lectures on the persistently dire situation there.

Kim Ives in the first half.

And; Valentine's Day has for the last 25 years marked a more sombre remembrance than romance; it's the day Canadian women and their supporters march in memory of those afflicted by physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence. These women are the killed and disappeared and the march is an effort to bring to them "courage and committment to end the violence."

Sounds from the 25th Annual Women’s Memorial March in the second half.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's going on in and around our city in the coming week. But first, Haiti eleven years after Aristide.

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. And now heard at Simon Fraser University's http://www.cjsf.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/

West Goes South on Israel

Israel's New Asian Allies
by Jonathan Cook
It was another difficult week for Israel.

In Britain, 700 artists, including many household names, pledged a cultural boycott of Israel, and a leader of the Board of Deputies, the representative body of UK Jews, quit, saying he could no longer abide by its ban on criticising Israel.

Across the Atlantic, the student body of one of the most prestigious US universities, Stanford, voted to withdraw investments from companies implicated in Israel’s occupation, giving a significant boost to the growing international boycott (BDS) movement.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll found that two-thirds of Americans, and three-quarters of those under 50, believed the US foreign policy should be neutral between Israel and Palestine.

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