cook

barretbrown2

What Does Russia Think of NATO?

So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime
The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador to Belgium and to NATO.

Kislyak spoke to a packed auditorium and took, I think, well over an hour of questions. He spoke frankly, and the questions he was asked by students, professors, and other participants were polite and for the most part far more intelligent than he would have been asked on, for example, Meet the Press.

He told the audience that Russia had known there were no WMDs in Iraq, and had known that attacking Iraq would bring "great difficulties" to that country. "And look what is happening today," he said. He made the same comment about Libya. He spoke of the U.S. and Russia working together to successfully remove chemical weapons from the Syrian government.
 
But he warned against attacking Syria now.

America's Chicken Hawks Take Flight Again

America’s War Hawks Back in Flight
by Danny Schechter - Consortium News
Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war. Again! Enemies R ‘Us!

 For a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and -refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple turned too complex to fuse into one sound-bite.

Former CIA official Thomas Fingar, now at Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what U.S. policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2,300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero,” he explained. “My first instruction was, ‘Reduce the number’.”

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: America's Chicken Hawks Take Flight Again

"Smart" World Conspiring to Create "Dumb" People

Gadgets Turning Me Into an Idiot!
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch
I feel challenged, at times dumb. I am constantly behind. And that is where the multi-nationals want me to be. That is how they want me to feel: a total retard, a failure.
 
Computers are evolving; smart phones, cameras and recorders are changing their operation systems. They are designed that way: a few months or years and into the garbage with them! Apple, ‘BB’, Canon and other manufacturers are making sure that everything changes with lightening speed, from the shape of batteries, to the size of plugs. Is your SIM now a ‘nano’ size? Or is it full size, or something in between?
And how do you download footage from your camera? Oh, you need new software, possibly new cables?
 
Whenever I buy a new phone, new camera or new computer, I have to spend several weeks or months trying to understand their complex manuals. And these days, many manuals are not even printed – they have to be studied online. And then, once I at least master some basics, it is time to get the next generation of the equipment, to throw the old, obsolete one into the garbage, without fully mastering it.
 
The way new-era-gadgets are designed is that after just 1-3 years they become obsolete: applications cannot be run or downloaded and everything becomes incompatible. Entire systems demand a periodical overhaul, but even overhauls have time limitation, at some point they cease to ‘be allowed’. And so, eventually, new equipment has to be purchased, and, that happens with increasing frequency.
 
We all know that this is how the ‘market’ works, that this is how ruthless, self-serving ‘entrepreneurship’ is shagging us. We are all bitching about it, but there seems to be nothing that can be done. We have simply become slaves of those vicious, greedy and twisted capitalist companies. We know that they only care about their profits and nothing about the advancement of society and humanity. They are clearly and determinedly robbing creative people, of both time and resources.
 

Disclosing the Neoliberal and Colonial Links Between Israel and Québec

Unraveling the neoliberal, colonial links between Québec and Israel
by Stefan Christoff  - The Media Coop
Political and economic relations between Québec and Israel have developed in major ways over the past decade. A process facilitated by the Parti libéral du Québec, with open complicity from the PQ, neoliberal colonial links articulated clearly in growing business collaborations and corporate military connections.

In 2008, the former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand lead an important political delegation to Israel, reported as having over forty people onboard, with both corporate and academic representatives from Québec, also including representatives from the FTQ’s Fonds de la solidarité. Bachand’s trip finalized a new formal economic and technology focused bilateral accord, existing in parallel to the Canada-Israel bilateral free trade agreement signed back in 1997, recently expanded under the Conservatives.

In signing the most recent Québec accord, Bachand stated that “by signing this complementary agreement, Québec is reiterating the attachment it has with Israel and its wish for a closer collaboration in the future.”

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Disclosing the Neoliberal and Colonial Links Between Israel and Québec

Clayoquot Sound: Mt. Polley Spill Company's Plans for Iconic World Environmental Heritage Area Draws Local Concern

Mount Polley in Clayoquot Sound?
by Friends of Clayoquot Sound
polley-breachOn August 4th the retaining wall for the tailings pond at the Mount Polley open pit copper mine failed.

There has been a lot of speculation about what “caused” the damn to fail and why the largest toxic breach in Canadian history happened.

For us here in Clayoquot Sound it is clear that any one of the potential causes, - faulty engineering, lack of government oversight, corporations cutting corners, or even (as was initially suggested) human error - could cause a tailings breach and irrevocable damage in any ecosystem surrounding a mining operation.

Imperial Metals, the company that owns and operates Mount Polley also owns two claims here in Clayoquot Sound, a copper deposit in Catface Mountain and the Fandora gold deposit in Tranquil Valley. Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) oppose developing these deposits and the Mount Polley disaster has served as a dramatic reminder of how important our work is.

FOCS has been working alongside the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation to get a mining ban on Tla-o-qui-aht traditional territory and prevent the risk of a Mount Polley-style event happening here. FOCS campaigner Emery Hartley and Tla-o-qui-aht councilor Terry Dorward were recently interviewed about their position on mining in Clayoquot Sound; you can hear that interview at this link (the segment starts at 14:48).

McGill Psych Lab Hides Military Ties in Somali-Canadian Study

McGill researchers concealed military ties from human subjects in violation of ethics rules
by Demilitarize McGill
Researchers funded by the Canadian military at McGill's psychology department lied to Somali Canadian research subjects about the military's involvement in a 2012 study, in a serious breach of research ethics. This disclosure is among several contained in a summary of findings newly published by Demilitarize McGill, a campus group opposed to military research.
 
In 2012 Professor Donald Taylor and graduate student Michael King of McGill reported to the "Socio-Cognitive Systems Section" of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) on military-funded research investigating young Somali Canadians and their ostensible propensity to support terrorism.
 
 
Though provisions of the Tri-Council Policy Statement, which governs research ethics across Canada, require informed consent to include a "statement of the research purpose in plain language" as well as "the identity of the funder or sponsor," McGill researchers communicated neither the military purpose nor the military financing of the research to subjects, according to the consent form included in the report.
 

Gaza Genocide: A Moral Perversity to Stun the Sensibilities

Why moral perversity of U.S. position in Gaza is stunning
by Roger Waters
I think it's safe to say that if U.S. neighborhoods were living under siege, folks like Rand Paul wouldn't take it

The carnage in Gaza continues after the latest collapse of cease-fire talks and over four weeks of asymmetrical bombardment by Israel. With the death of more than 2,000 Palestinians, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, the complicity of the American government has been exposed to the world as never before. Yet the mantra repeated ad nauseam by the U.S. government and media alike remains the same: Israel has a right to defend itself.
 
The moral perversity of the U.S. position is stunning. How can the U.S. government ask Israel to be more careful about civilian lives while simultaneously arming and then rearming the IDF so it can more effectively inflict such devastation on an imprisoned and occupied people?
 
The U.S. could act to stop the senseless slaughter but it won’t. Instead, it’s cheerleading. Members of Congress are mindlessly parroting Israeli talking points without a thought given to the Palestinian perspective or to preserving human life. Brimming with righteousness, they argue for turning Israel loose – Sen. Rand Paul in particular – and invoke Israel’s right to self-defense, despite the fact that, as the occupying power, Israel has an obligation to protect the Palestinians it rules, not massacre them.
 

Obama's Promise of More War in Iraq and Syria

Obama vows protracted military campaign in Iraq, Syria
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS
President Barack Obama delivered a militarist speech Tuesday to the annual convention of the American Legion in Charlotte, North Carolina amid reports that US spy drones are already operating over Syria and air strikes could begin there by the end of this week.
 
Obama told the veterans’ organization that “the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world,” a boast that is belied by the bloody debacle unleashed throughout North Africa and the Middle East by a string of US military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
 
Turning to the present intervention in Iraq following the overrunning of much of the country by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a split-off from Al Qaeda, the US president reiterated the formal pretexts for US military action: protecting “our diplomats and military advisors who are there,” and humanitarian assistance.
 
He vowed that “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq,” and declared that the “answer is not to send in large-scale military deployments.” Both formulations leave open the deployment of thousands of US “advisors” and Special Operations troops, which are not defined in military terminology as “combat troops,” a term reserved for full regular Army brigades and Marine expeditionary units.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kevin Pina, Yves Engler, Janine Bandcroft August 27th, 2014

 
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
che koko
 
The political situation in Haiti is hotting up and could erupt at any moment. At the heart of the fire this time is President Martelly's determination to again scapegoat Jean Bertrand Aristide, using charges of: "illicit drug trafficking, embezzlement of public funds, forfeiture and concussion, and money laundering." to distract the public from his failures to address the many serious issues Haiti faces.

As it stands, an arrest warrant has been issued for Aristide's failure to appear in court to answer charges on August 13th, and he is at home, surrounded by loyalists protecting the former president from the police.

Kevin Pina is an American filmmaker, journalist, educator, and broadcaster with Pacifica Radio's public affairs program, Flashpoints.

Listen. Hear.

Pina's film credits include: 'El Salvador: In the Name of Democracy,' 'Berkeley in the Sixties,' 'Amazonia: Voices from the Rainforest,' 'Haiti: Harvest of Hope,' 'Haiti: The UNtold Story,' and 'HAITI: We Must Kill the Bandits.' Kevin has lived and reported from Haiti, and was arrested by the infamous Baby Doc Duvalier for reporting on the abuses of that regime.
 
Kevin Pina in the first half.
 
And; Israel's bombardment of the captured population of the Gaza Strip continued this week with the Israel Defense Forces capping the seven weeks-long blitzkrieg by upping its game and targeting highrise apartment buildings. Predictably, the government of Canada remained mostly mute on the serial war crimes and crimes against humanity being conducted by its "good friend" Israel, throughout blaming Hamas, the governing body in Gaza, for Palestinians killed, maimed, and made homeless.

Late yesterday, (Aug. 26/'14) an "unlimited truce" was announced by Israel. Canada's Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird welcomed the truce announcement, but cautioned; "Israel will be forced to continue defending itself as long as Hamas continues its rocket attacks against civilians, and Hamas will be solely to blame for any further loss of life." Beyond raising questions about what sort of grip on reality minister Baird is capable of exerting, the Stephen Harper New Government's behaviour begs investigation of the Canada/Israel relationship, and how that relationship abets the horrors repeatedly witnessed in Occupied Palestine.
 
Yves Engler is a Canadian activist, lecturer, journalist, and author. Some of Yves' titles include; 'The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy,'Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid,' 'Lester Pearson's Peacekeeping The Truth May Hurt,' and his latest, 'The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.'
 
Yves Engler and Canada's tax-deductible aid to Israel's genocide in Gaza 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 up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our city in the coming week, and beyond there too. But first, Kevin Pina and the ritual pre-election smearing of Haiti's former president, Jean Bertrand 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. 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, Kevin Pina, Yves Engler, Janine Bandcroft August 27th, 2014

A Phoenix Moment: The Rise Again of Investigative Journalism!

The Fall and Rise of Investigative Journalism: From Asia to Africa to Latin America, Muckrakers Have Corrupt Officials and Corporate Cronies on the Run
by Anya Schiffrin  - TomDispatch
global muckraking bookIn our world, the news about the news is often grim. Newspapers are shrinking, folding up, or being cut loose by their parent companies. Layoffs are up and staffs are down. That investigative reporter who covered the state capitol -- she’s not there anymore. Newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune have suffered from multiple rounds of layoffs over the years. You know the story and it would be easy enough to imagine that it was the world’s story as well. But despite a long run of journalistic tough times, the loss of advertising dollars, and the challenge of the Internet, there’s been a blossoming of investigative journalism across the globe from Honduras to Myanmar, New Zealand to Indonesia.

Woodward and Bernstein may be a fading memory in this country, but journalists with names largely unknown in the U.S. like Khadija Ismayilova, Rafael Marques, and Gianina Segnina are breaking one blockbuster story after another, exposing corrupt government officials and their crony corporate pals in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Costa Rica. As I travel the world, I’m energized by the journalists I meet who are taking great risks to shine much needed light on shadowy wrongdoing.
 
And I’m not the only one to notice.
 

Robin Williams and America's Pathologically Unhappy

Robin Williams and the Happiness Industry
Robin-WilliamsI can't help feeling that Robin Williams was a victim of his industry: the happiness industry.

Williams was typecast for those parts with manic, unstoppable joy. Listen up, Aladdin! Williams' genie said, You're not suffering from poverty–what you need is a positive attitude! You know, put on a happy face! Let a smile be your umbrella!

Our culture despises and fears unhappiness. We pathologize unhappiness; we conflate it with a disease, "depression." And it's a disease we insist you can cure–so you don't spread your unhappiness germs to the rest of us. We stigmatize those who are unhappy, like we stigmatize those who are overweight: If you're fat, you just don't have any self-control. If you're unhappy, it's your personal failure to just buck up.

We laud the congenitally happy, like Ronald Reagan, the chipper Gipper, the Grinning Grandpa, who could unleash his death squads and smile all the while.

We are a nation of salesman, commercially optimistic. We don't like downers; we don't like people who spoil the party.

And so we push those who find themselves unhappy to medicate themselves–avoid The Deep, get out of the blues and join the Disney. Williams chose booze, pills and that most devastatingly addictive drug, fame cocaine.

(And no, I don't claim I'm exempt from the pull of let's-forget potions.)

Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Robin Williams and America's Pathologically Unhappy

The Times' Orange Revolution: Selective Outrage in Ukraine Reportage

Selective Outrage over Ukraine POWs
by Robert Parry  - Consortium News
guantanamo prisoners parade genevaThe New York Times has taken deep umbrage over an unseemly parade staged by ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine featuring captured Ukrainian soldiers.

The Times noted that the Geneva Conventions prohibit humiliation of POWs, surely a valid point.

But the Times – in its profoundly biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis – apparently feels that other aspects of this nasty civil war are less newsworthy, such as the Kiev government’s bombardment of eastern Ukrainian cities sending the death toll into the thousands, including children and other non-combatants.

Also downplayed has been Kiev’s dispatch of neo-Nazi storm troopers to spearhead the urban combat in ethnic Russian towns and cities in the east.
 
 
Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo
Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.
 
When the Times finally noticed this street-fighting role of neo-Nazi militias, that remarkable fact – the first time armed Nazis were dispatched by any government to kill people in Europe since World War II – was consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long article on a different topic, essentially a throwaway reference.
 
Similarly, the Kiev regime’s artillery fire on residential areas – killing many civilians and, over the weekend, damaging a hospital – has been treated by the Times as a minor afterthought. But Times’ readers are supposed to get worked up over the tasteless demonstration in Donetsk, all the better to justify more killing of ethnic Russians.
 

Sparring the Rod: Teachable Moments in Kabul

A Teacher in Kabul

by Kathy Kelly - CounterPunch
Kabul  - Here in Kabul, one of my finest friends is Zekerullah, who has gone back to school in the 8th grade although he is an 18-year old young man who has already had to learn far too many of life’s harsh lessons.
 
Years ago and miles from here, when he was a child in the province of Bamiyan, and before he ran away from school, Zekerullah led a double life, earning income for his family each night as a construction crew laborer, and then attempting to attend school in the daytime. In between these tasks the need to provide his family with fuel would sometimes drive him on six-hour treks up the mountainside, leading a donkey on which to load bags of scrub brush and twigs for the trip back down. His greatest childhood fear was of that donkey taking one disastrous wrong step with its load on the difficult mountainside.
 
And then, after reaching home weary and sleep deprived and with no chance of doing homework, he would, at times, go to school without having done his homework, knowing that he would certainly be beaten. When he was in seventh grade, his teacher punished him by adding ten more blows each day he came to school without his homework, so that eventually he was hit sixty times in one day. Dreading the next day when the number would rise to seventy, he ran away from that school and never returned.
 
Now Zekerullah is enrolled in another school, this time in Kabul, where teachers still beat the students. But Zekerullah can now claim to have learned much more, in some cases, than his teachers.