Saturday, August 23, 2014

7 Step Primer for Understanding Ukraine

Understanding Ukraine in 15 Minutes

by MIKE WHITNEY  - CounterPunch

If you want to understand what is going on in Ukraine, then you need to watch this 15 minute video with Putin advisor and friend, Sergei Glaziev. Glaziev explains how structural changes in the global economy and a shift to Asia have precipitated a desperate attempt by US policymakers to maintain their grip on power by instigating a war in Europe.

Sergei Glaziev, advisor to Vladimir Putin

Whether readers agree with this analysis or not, they will find Glaziev is brilliant, erudite and passionate in his beliefs. For that alone, the video is well worth the time.

I transcribed the video myself, and apologize for any unintentional mistakes in the text. Also, the “bold headings” are mine.

1. Structural Changes in the Global Economy are often preceded by Great Crises and War

The world today is going through an overlap of a whole series of cyclical crises. The most serious of them is a technological crisis which is associated with changes in the wavelengths of economic development. We’re living in a period when the economy is changing its structure. The economic structure that has been driving economic growth for the last 30 years has exhausted itself. We need to make a transition to a new system of technologies. This kind of transition, unfortunately, has always come about through war. That’s how it was in the ’30s when the Great Depression gave way to an arms race and then the Second War World War. That’s how it was during the Cold War when an arms race in space gave rise to complex information and communication technologies which became the basis of a technological structure that has been driving the world’s economy for the last 30 years. Today we are faced with a similar crisis. The world is shifting to a new technological system.

2. Putin pushes Free Trade Zone to ease transition to New Global Economy

The new system is humanitarian in nature and thus could avoid a war because the main carriers of growth on this wavelength are humanitarian technologies. These include health care and pharmaceutical industries which are based in biotechnology. They also include communication technologies based on nanotechnology which is making a breakthrough today. And they involve cognitive technologies that define a new sum of human knowledge. If, as President Putin has been consistently putting forward, we were able to agree to a mutual program for development, a general development zone with a preferential trade regime from Lisbon to Vladivostok, if we were to agree with Brussels to create a common economic space, a common area of development, we could find a sufficient number of breakthrough projects, from health to repelling space threats, to fulfill our scientific and technical potential and creating a steady demand from the state. which would give a boost to the new technological system.

3 Washington sees War in Europe as best way to Preserve its Hegemony

However, America has taken its usual path. To maintain their world dominance they are provoking another war in Europe. A war is always good for America. They even call the Second World War which killed 50 million people in Europe and Russia, a good war. It was good for America because the US emerged from this war as the world’s leading power. The Cold War which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union was also good for them. Now the US again wants to maintain its leadership at the expense of Europe. US leadership is being threatened by a rapidly rising China. The world today is shifting to yet another cycle, this time political. This cycle lasts centuries and is associated with the global institutions of regulatory economics

We are now moving from the American cycle of capital accumulation to an Asian cycle. This is another crisis that is challenging US hegemony. To maintain their leading position in the face of competition with a rising China and other Asian countries Americans are starting a war in Europe. They want to weaken Europe, break up Russia, and subjugate the entire Eurasian continent. That is, instead of a development zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which is proposed by President Putin, the US wants to start a chaotic war on this territory, embroil all Europe in a war, devalue to European capital, write off its public debt, under the burden of which the US is already falling apart, write off what they owe to Europe and Russia, subjugate our economic space and establish control over resources of the giant Eurasian continent. They believe that this is the only way they can maintain their hegemony and beat China.

Unfortunately the American geopolitics that we see playing out is exactly like the 19th century. They think in terms of the geopolitical struggles of the British Empire: divide and conquer. Pit nations against others, embroil them in conflict, and start a world war. Americans, unfortunately, continue this old British policy to solve their problems. Russia has been chosen as a victim of this policy while the Ukrainian people are the weapon of choice, and cannon fodder in a new world war.

First the Americans decided to target Ukraine to separate it from Russia. This tactic came from Bismarck. This anti-Russian tradition aimed to embroil Russia in conflict in order to take over the whole Eurasian space. The strategy was first put forth by Bismark, then picked up by the British,, and then finally by the leading american political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said on many occasions that Russia cannot be a superpower without Ukraine and that embroiling Russia with Ukraine will benefit America and the West.

For the past 20 years americans have been grooming Ukraine Nazism aimed at Russia. As you know they hosted remnants of Bandera the Second World War. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian Nazis were brought to America and have been carefully cultivated and nurtured during the whole post war period. This wave of immigrants descended on Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The idea of an eastern partnership was used as bait. It was first expressed by the Poles, and then picked up by the Americans. The essence of the eastern partnership, of which Georgia became the first victim. Now Ukraine has become one and soon Moldova will be one, to sever ties with Russia. As you know we are building the Customs Union, and a common economic space with Belarus and Kazakhstan which will soon be joined by Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Ukraine has been our long term partner. Ukraine is still in the ratification stage of the agreement with Russia which no one in Ukraine has cancelled yet. Ukraine is important to us as part of our economic space and for our centuries long ties and cooperation. Our scientific and industrial complex was created as a whole, therefore, Ukraine’s participation in European integration is quite natural and vital. The eastern partnership was created to prevent Ukraine’s participation in the Eurasian integration project. The meaning of the eastern partnership is to create an association with the European union. What is the association that was signed by Poroshenko with the European leaders? It is the transformation of Ukraine into a colony. By signing the agreement with the association, Ukraine loses its sovereignty. It transfers control of its trade, customs, technical and financial regulation, and public procurement to Brussels.

4 The Ukrainian Nazi junta is an instrument of U.S. policy

Ukraine ceases to be a sovereign state in its economy and politics. It is clearly stated in the agreement that Ukraine is a junior partner in the European union. Ukraine must follow a common defense and foreign policy of the EU. Ukraine is obliged to participate in the resolution of regional conflicts under the leadership of the EU. Thus Poroshenko is making Ukraine a colony of the EU and pulling Ukraine into war with Russia as cannon fodder with the intention of igniting a war in Europe. The purpose of the association agreement is to allow the European countries to govern Ukraine in the settlement of regional conflicts. What is happening in Donbass is a regional armed conflict. The goal of American politics is to create as many victims as possible. The Ukrainian Nazi junta is an instrument of this policy. They are carrying out mindless atrocities and crimes bombing cities killing civilians, women and children, and forcing them to leave their homes, only to provoke Russia and then draw the whole of Europe into a war. This is Poroshenk’s mission. This is why Poroshenko is rejecting any peace negotiations and blocking all peace treaties. He interprets any statement by Washington about de-escalation of the conflict as an order to escalate it. All peace talks which have taken place on the international level have brought a new round of violence.

We must understand that we are dealing with a Nazi state which is dead set on a war with Russia and has declared general conscription. The entire male population between 18 and 55 has been put under arms. Those who refuse will get 15 years in jail. This Nazi criminal power makes criminals of the entire Ukrainian population.

5 Washington is plunging Europe into War for its own Interests

We have calculated the the European economy will lose about 1 trillion euros for sanctions which are imposed on them by the Americans. This is a huge sum. The Europeans are already bearing the losses. There’s already a drop in sales to Russia. Germany is losing about 200 billion euros. Our most rabid friends from the Baltic states will suffer the worst losses. The loss to Estonia will be more than its GDP. The loss to Latvia will be about half its GDP. But that isn’t stopping them. European politicians are going along with the Americans without questioning what they are doing. They are harming themselves by provoking Nazism and war. I have already said that Russia and Ukraine are the victims of this war which is being fomented by the Americans. But Europe is also a victim because the war aims to target European welfare and to destabilize Europe. Americans expect the European capital and brain drain to America will continue. That’s why they are setting all of Europe on fire. It’s very strange that European leaders are going along with them.

6 Germany is still Occupied Territory

We should not just hope that European leaders (will develop an independent policy) we must work with European leaders from a new generation who are free from the American diktat. The fact that anti Soviet political elite had been formed during the post Cold War years in Europe. Then they very quickly became anti Russian. Despite the dramatically expanded economic ties and huge mutual economic interests between Europe and Russia, the Russophobia is based on anti Sovietism and still remains in the minds of many European politicians. It will take a new generation of pragmatic European politicians to understand their own national interests. What we see today is politicians who are acting against their national interests. This is largely due to the fact that Germany, which is the engine of European growth, is still an occupied country. American troops are still in Germany, and every German chancellor still gives an oath of allegiance to the Americans to follow in the footsteps of their policy. This generation of European politicians has failed to throw off the yoke of American occupation.

7 Nazism is on the Rise

Although the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore, they maniacally continue to follow Washington, in NATO expansion and capture new territories under their control. Despite the fact that they are already “allergic” to the new eastern European members of the EU. The European Union is already bursting at the seams, but this does not stop them from continuing their aggressive expansion into post Soviet territory. The new generation, I hope, will be more pragmatic. The last elections in the European parliament show that not everyone is fooled by this pro American anti Russia propaganda and by the constant stream of lies that are coming down on the European people. Traditional European parties lost in recent elections in the euro parliament. The more we speak the truth, the greater the reaction will be, because what’s happening in Ukraine is the revival of Nazism. Europe remembers the signs of the revival of fascism from the lessons of the Second World War. We need to awaken this historical memory so that they see in the Ukrainian Nazis, who are now in power in Kiev, the followers of Bandera, Shukhevych, and other Nazi collaborators. The ideology of the current Ukrainian authorities, has its roots in the ideology of Hitlers accomplices who shot Jews at Babi Yar, burned Ukrainians and Belarusians and annihilated everyone without ethnic distinction. This Nazism is rising today. Europeans must recognize their own death in this terrible confrontation.

I hope if we continue to spread the truth, we will be able to save Europe from the threat of war.

Note: Special thanks to Vineyard of the Saker for posting this incredible interview.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Ki

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mt. Polley - You Can Help

Mt. Polley - How You Can Help

by Alexandra Morton

Hello; 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. 

I am writing to ask that you sign and share a petition below to inspire government to clean up this mess. Imperial Metals knows how to move massive amounts of material, they need to apply this expertise to their tailing waste on land and underwater. If this is not cleaned up it is going to leech into the Fraser watershed for 100s of years impacting the ability for juvenile salmon to rear in Quesnel Lake (all sockeye spend a year in fresh water) and the entire watershed.

Clean up is not going to happen unless government knows the people demand action.

So, once again if we want wild salmon it is up to us. Here is the petition to save you the effort of going to my blog

Please check my blog as I will update it as this continues to unfold.

Thank you for your efforts on this.

Hope in Bad Times: Missives from Palestine's Museum of Natural History

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. Islam and his family will be traumatized for life. Hundreds of thousands will be even more traumatized. I can't even imagine a life of a girl who lost all her family members and carries emotional and physical scars for life.

Sometimes I think I carry scars too. Perhaps I cope because I am so lucky to have positive things to do daily to keep me from thinking too much. I am lucky because I can help others. I am lucky that I am surrounded by dozens of young volunteers that show us what life could be like in the future. Volunteers passing out fliers about boycotts, volunteers reclaiming agricultural lands, volunteers helping us build a natural history museum in Palestine, volunteers helping other volunteers cope with a difficult life, volunteers giving time and money to needy children, and volunteers doing media work (that should have been done by paid professionals).

Aida refugee camp where some of those volunteers live is really unlivable because of daily dumping of toxic gas and toxic stink water by the Israeli occupation forces. Its health impact is dramatic and far worse than respiratory illnesses.

People ask me about politics and claim it is too complex. I say it is simple and predictable. For thousands of years we had a struggle between wealthy greedy people who employ others to shoot and injure poor people so that they the wealthy people get richer. It was like that at the time of Jesus and it is like that today. Some (minority) who get offered a chance will join forces of repression and go with the flow of power. Others (also a minority) lead an active life that helps change things for the better for a lot of people. The majority in the middle remain apathetic.

More people need to see the truth and act on it. It is not too difficult even for those who were on the side of repression to change. Yonatan Shapira former Israeli Air Force captain became a refusnik and BDS activist and once wrote:

 "Most of my family came from Poland and many of my relatives were killed in the death camps during the Holocaust. When I walk in what was left from the Warsaw Ghetto I can’t stop thinking about the people of Gaza who are not only locked in an open air prison but are also being bombarded by fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones, flown by people whom I used to serve with. I am also thinking about the delegations of young Israelis that are coming to see the history of our people but also are subjected to militaristic and nationalistic brainwashing on a daily basis. Maybe if they see what we wrote here today they will remember that oppression is oppression, occupation is occupation, and crimes against humanity are crimes against humanity, whether they have been committed here in Warsaw or in Gaza". 

I only add, 'resistance is resistance.' Warsaw ghetto residents also dug tunnels and were also called terrorists by their tormentors.

In my 2004 book “Sharing the land of Canaan” I wrote:

“Palestinians were subjected to cruel and unreasonable treatment over so many years that many begin to doubt that justice is possible and many certainly believe coexistence impossible. Similarly, since many Israelis have been feeling embattled and attacked that many also feel that coexistence is impossible. A defeatist attitude develops and envelops not only Palestinians and Israelis but also may of their supporters. But either the societies coexist as peaceful human beings or they will perish as rival primate societies.…..A sense of hopelessness and desperation leaves many looking for “crumbs” of both material and psychological “food”. This is especially stressful when combined with the deep commitment by many to historical myths of grandeur or glory. I am not going to spend much time on the history of the Jewish, Arabic and Islamic civilizations (volumes have been written on these). Suffice it to say that our psychological profile is one that contrasts our existing condition with the perceived greatness of our ancestors and our prophets. We thus assume ourselves as a privileged group but this immediately contrasts with what we observe to be the destitute present situation as described throughout this book. This is especially true for the Palestinian people who are dispossessed. We can address the bigger issues of why 1.3 billion Muslims or 300 million Arabs (Muslims and Christians) have so little to say in the direction of world economies and social and cultural developments so dominated now by the US as a sole remaining power. But perhaps this too can be resolved slowly once the knot of friction in Israel/Palestine is resolved. Imagine the example set if this one place in the world, previously an example of violence, endemic hatred and tribalism, can transcend all this to build a truly shining example of coexistence and non-violence. Imagine the billions of dollars spent on armaments going to desalinate seawater, to build high tech industries, and truly harness the great minds of the inhabitants (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) for positive developments.…....Perhaps we need to teach children to value themselves, value teamwork, respect others and defend the rights of minorities. This is not as simple as it seems. Adults perhaps need to learn to accept, in a very positive fashion, views that are foreign to them. In other words, someone who speaks his views regarding issues should be listened to and respected regardless of how sacred the holy “cows” may be.”
I end with a quote from Howard Zinn (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times, p. 208):

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."


Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem University
Director, Palestine Museum of Natural History

New Facebook page:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Learning to Embrace Decay - Again

Learning to Embrace Decay

by C. L. Cook

In the Spring there will be growth in the garden.- Chauncey Gardener

Odd, at the height of summer, to consider the inevitable decay of autumn, but watching the blooms and dry arbutus leaves fall in the garden today I felt a moment of seasonal depression. Maybe it’s just the signs of the times catching up to me.

I’ve always held a morbid fascination for the 1930’s; its economic crash, dust bowls, and the rise of fascism. I suppose it was naïve to believe I would never get the chance to see its revival.

Reading the history, that ultimate exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking, any fool could see, the disastrous policy straws the politicians and pundits of that dirty decade grasped at to find their way out of the morass guaranteed the birth of monsters beyond imagining.

But, to be charitable to those long gone wonks, they hadn’t the benefit of historical precedent when they made their awful decisions. We can’t make the same claim.

What had seemed an endless summer of economic and social progress following the Second World War is now crashing to earth faster than a stockbroker from a skyscraper. And, the powers that be, those “others”, a-flounder in the deep end of capitalism’s cyclical tsunami, are again reaching for the straw man salvation of crypto-fascism. From the Terror War, a concept pioneered by Hitler, and the fiscal barbarity practiced by Gordon Campbell, (doomed policies, it turns out, plagiarized directly from that same benighted era), to farm failures and the revocation of fiscal controls on capital flows and industry, the sense of mechanical repetition transcends déjà vu. And all this without the excuse of ignorance.

It makes one wonder: “Does history matter in the face of a systemic death wish?”

We’ve all seen the fruits of the totalitarian state. Who, of sound mind and conscience, would want to repeat the horrors of the Gulags and Final Solutions of the past? But recent revelations of plans for vast concentration camps for American Muslims, and presumably others ‘out of tune’ with the current realities, and savaging of constitutional rights is pointing us down a road travelled before.

Which begs the question: “Is this a moment of collective amnesia, or simply the inevitable terminal stage of western civilization?”

A quick study of the history of what we call ‘human civilization’ reveals patterns of rise and fall, ebb and flow: The great flowering of culture, ideas, and ideals inexorably followed by the cruel usurpation of egalitarian principles by elites controlling political, economic, and military power; and then, the Fall. You don’t have to be a Gibbons’ scholar to see the similarities between imperial Rome and the current American Nepotocracy, or surmise where it’s leading.

There’s a promise of war in the autumn. The legions of America and her faithful allies will, if punditry be true, crusade to the next most brutalized country, after battered Afghanistan, and eject the infidels of Iraq. George W. Bush, like Caesar before him, is busy replacing the republic and no doubt dreams nightly of his laurelled visage beaming at the head of a tickertape parade. The great Pretender will preside clueless over the end of the democratic experiment, and his fascist winter interlude will unknowingly play harbinger to the next world order.

And the thought of that Spring’s possibilities is worth planting for.

Chris Cook hosts CFUV’s Gorilla Radio,
broad/webcast from the University of Victoria

Guantánamo Hunger Strikers and the "Torture Chairs"

“Most of the Hunger Strikers Are Vomiting on the Torture Chairs”: Emad Hassan’s Latest Harrowing Letter from Guantánamo

by Andy Worthington

In 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.

Guantánamo detainee, Emad Hassan

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.

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.

It may well be that the Obama administration will soon prevent Mr. Dhiab from causing them further irritation by releasing him to Uruguay, which has offered a new home to him and to five other men long cleared for release who, like Mr. Dhiab, cannot be safely repatriated.

However, two other hunger striking prisoners — Emad Hassan, a Yemeni, and Ahmad Rabbani, a Pakistani — have already submitted motions following up on the precedent established in Mr. Dhiab’s case, as I reported here. Rulings have not yet been delivered in these cases, but three weeks ago, Mr. Hassan, a prolific letter-writer, who, as Reprieve described it, has been “abusively force-fed more than 5,000 times since 2007 as part of the military’s efforts to break his hunger strike,” wrote a letter to Judge Kessler that was submitted by his lawyers, at the legal action charity Reprieve, in Abu Wa’el Dhaib’s case, even though Judge Kessler is not presiding over his own case.

In his letter, Hassan wrote about the latest developments in the force-feeding program, describing how “[m]ost of the hunger strikers are vomiting on the torture chairs,” and noting how what is happening now is reminiscent of the events of June 2006, when three long-term hunger strikers died, reportedly by committing suicide — although the official story has long been challenged by personnel working at Guantánamo at the time, and by serious discrepancies and omissions in the internal investigation that followed the deaths.

In his letter, which includes references to a specific prisoner who is believed to be Abu Wa’el Dhiab, Emad Hassan wrote:

Many times I write a letter to describe the events here, in detail. Specific[a]lly, the hunger strikes. I stop! I can’t keep up with it. I have to go with what is going now. As right now: the F.C.E. team took him to be fed. The SMO [Senior Medical Officer] boosted his feed to two can[s] of [E]nsure plus 1 can of TwoCal. It took ten minutes for his stomach to hold the formula [and he] then began vomiting horribly.

I stopped my writting [sic]. I could not continue untill [sic] my brother stopped. I took a pen to resume my writing. Six lines, again, my brother start vomiting. The tube came from my mouth as the liquid gush from his stomach through his mouth.

What’s happening now remined [sic] me of 2006 events! Most of the hunger strikers are vomiting on the torture chairs. Under the ventilation hole in the roof the air beat him on the head. Very, very cold. 74 degree. The nurse or corpsman come to one. Will you drink or the F.C.E. team? The threatening tone is unmistakable.

Mr. Hassan went on to describe Judge Kessler as “the one who shows kind of empathy, understandable and HOPE,” and stated:

You are not alone in the road of justice, listen with me to the first bishop woman, Barbara Clementine Harris [the first woman to be ordained as a bishop in the Anglican Communion, in 1980]: “No one expect[s] us to eliminate all the evils of the world, nor to liberate all those who are oppressed, nor to feed all who are hungry, or to house the millions who are homeless. But when the oppressed see one who fight[s] for liberation, their burden become[s] lightened because they know that somebody stand[s] with them.”

Mr. Hassan also asked:

Your honor: how one person, detainee his health condison [sic] [is] in danger and [he] could die! At the same time, send the F.C.E. team to pick him up to be fed. Isn’t [it] a contrad[iction ?] Is it?!

Your honor: It is a great responsible [sic] on your shoulder. Every ward [sic], action or hint from you will be taken sirious [sic]. There are many people watching you, a right and wrong pleas. Follow your faith. [...]

Your honor: I would like to remind you [of] some thing: Medical ethics in time of conflict is identical to medical ethics in time of peace,” the World Medical Association explaining that.

You honor: You are an human [sic]. Would you let anyone humiliate you, spit on your face, or let him abolish your existence! [T]hink about it.

Speaking to Jason Leopold of VICE News, Alka Pradhan, one of Mr. Hassan’s lawyers at Reprieve, said that it was “unprecedented” for a Guantánamo prisoner to be able to “speak directly to a judge.” As Leopold described it, Pradhan had “tried in the past to get Guantánamo’s strict security censors to clear letters written by other detainees to federal judges, but she was always rebuffed.”

Pradhan told Leopold:

“We were surprised the whole thing was unclassified. It’s amazing to see because it gives Judge Kessler an idea of what men are going through in their own words. Usually in a Guantánamo case the judge is dealing with a person she has never seen. There’s no way to make that human connection without this sort of evidence. This letter is the closest we can get to having the person’s face and voice in the courtroom.”

Pradhan also confirmed that her client continues to be force-fed twice a day, seven years after he first began his hunger strike. “They still take out tubes and reinsert them everyday,” she told Leopold. “He will occasionally drink the liquid nutrient. One of his nostrils is completely closed up. He only has one working nostril. But it gets infected and sore. That’s why he tries to drink the liquid nutrient.”

She also explained that she thought Mr. Hassan was “describing policy changes that have been implemented since the arrival of a new Guantánamo warden and commander of the detention facility last month,” as Jason Leopold put it.” She said, “Every time you get a new commander, they will tighten up the rules if they had loosened before, and that’s what I think we’re seeing.”

Leopold also spoke to Guantánamo spokesman Navy Capt. Tom Gresback, who claimed that “there have been no major changes to the force-feeding policies,” as Leopold described it, reading from the carefully-prepared script that describes hunger strikes as “non-religious fasting,” and force-feeding as “enteral feeding.”

“Enteral feeding provided by the medical staff at Joint Task Force-Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO) to the detainees who choose to participate in non-religious fasting is prescribed following strict Standard Operating Procedures which are based on established medical protocols,” Capt. Gresback said. “With the exception of modifying the SOP to now use a water-based lubricant, the SOP for enteral feeding at JTF-GTMO has not changed.”

He added, as Leopold described it, that “any procedures that have been characterized as violent at Guantánamo ‘are in compliance with US law’” — a claim that contradicts the assertions, made by medical professionals worldwide, that force-feeding is akin to torture.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here – or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

- See more at:

Gaza's Grinding Genocide: Peace Too High a Price for Netanyahu's Political Career

Gaza Changed Everything: Things Cannot Stay the Same after Israeli Genocide in Gaza

by Ramzy Baroud -

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.

For the bad – as in “radical,” “extremist,” anti-peace – Palestinian to exist, they have to be juxtaposed with the good Palestinian, represented in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and any faction, person or leader willing to, practically speaking, co-exist with the Israeli occupation. The PA went even further, by cooperating with Israel to ensure the demise of the Palestinian “radicals,” as in those who insist on resisting the occupation.

Thanks to the PA, the price for the Israeli occupation has never been so cheap. Despite repeated attempts at re-activating the so-called peace process, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu always found a way to torpedo such efforts, even those promoted by his closest allies in Washington. “Peace” is a major risk for Netanyahu, whose government is sustained by Jewish nationalists and extremists, who feel no particular need to end their colonization of the West Bank. Abbas had done a great deal to ensure that Israel feels no pressure to negotiate. Every attempt at resistance, even by standing peacefully with placards and banners in Ramallah’s al-Manara Square was crushed; often brutally.

Gaza, however, remained an exception. Israel’s brutality there has reached unprecedented levels, especially after Israel’s Cast Lead Operation, which killed and wounded thousands. Many predicted that the crimes in Gaza would turn the tide against Israel, but they didn’t. Israeli influence over the media was still tight enough that somehow they managed to, at least, neutralize the impact of Cast Lead. The advent of the Arab Spring and the devaluing of human life, as happened in Syria, Libya and Egypt, somehow buried the Israeli crimes in Gaza; however temporarily.

But Israel’s latest war on Gaza mounted to a genocide. Israel’s argument that it was “defending itself” was no longer a sufficient excuse. No amount of hasbara was enough to explain the burying alive of entire families, the summary execution of civilians, the pulverizing of entire neighborhoods, the gunning down of fleeing children playing at the beach during a deceptive moment of “lull,” the destruction of dozens of mosques and churches, the killing of civilians hiding in UN schools-turned temporary shelters.

It was particularly embarrassing for Israel, but also telling, that the Gaza resistance, which stood alone, fighting tens of thousands of well-armed invaders from tunnels, killed 64 Israelis. All but three were soldiers, mostly killed inside Gaza.

As the world was awakened to the level of devastation created by Israel in Gaza, many also became aware that such wrath is not independent from the fascism that has gripped Israeli society for years. In Israel, there is no longer room for dissent, and those in the highest positions of power, are the ones who openly and freely preach genocide.

In his excellent article in the American Conservative on August 06, Scott McConnell, wrote, “All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the center of power than Israel.” He elaborated, “In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology.”

This was discussed in context of statements made by Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset and a “top player in Israel’s ruling Likud Party.” Fieglin called for Palestinians from Gaza to be resettled in concentration camps, and all of Hamas and its supporters to be “annihilated.” Who can now, with a good conscience, protest those who infuse the Nazi analogy to what is happening in Palestine?

Meanwhile, in this age of social media, where mainstream news networks no longer have complete command over the narrative, no self-respecting intellectual, journalist, official or any citizen with a conscience can plead ignorance and stand on the fence of neutrality.

Gaza has indeed changed everything. Israel’s criminality and fascism should no longer be open for vibrant media debates, but it must be acknowledged as an uncontested fact. Our language, as in our perception, must also change to accommodate this uncontested reality.

To end the Israeli genocide and occupation, the wheel of continuous action must turn and keep on turning. Those who support Israel must be exposed, and those who facilitate the Israeli occupation and sustain its war machine are partakers in the war crimes committed daily in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. They must be boycotted. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement must grow and serve as the main platform for international solidarity.

Time for clever words and no action are long gone, and those who remain “soft” on Israel, for whatever reason, have no place in what is becoming a global movement with uncompromising demands: end the occupation, punish its sustainers, halt ethnic cleaning and genocide, end the siege, and bring Israeli and other culprits to the international criminal court for their massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ramzy Baroud is a PhD scholar in People's History at the University of Exeter. He is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Frenemies Ours: Washington's Schizophrenic ISIS Relationship

Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed: The Underrated Saudi Connection

by Patrick Cockburn  - TomDispatch

 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.
Tomgram: Patrick Cockburn, How to Ensure a Thriving Caliphate

Think of the new “caliphate” of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe’s colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood.

Had George and Dick not decided on their “cakewalk” in Iraq, had they not raised the specter of nuclear destruction and claimed that Saddam Hussein’s regime was somehow linked to al-Qaeda and so to the 9/11 attacks, had they not sent tens of thousands of American troops into a burning, looted Baghdad (“stuff happens”), disbanded the Iraqi army, built military bases all over that country, and generally indulged their geopolitical fantasies about dominating the oil heartlands of the planet for eternity, ISIS would have been an unlikely possibility, no matter the ethnic and religious tensions in the region. They essentially launched the drive that broke state power there and created the kind of vacuum that a movement like ISIS was so horrifically well suited to fill.

All in all, it’s a remarkable accomplishment to look back on. In September 2001, when George and Dick launched their “Global War on Terror” to wipe out -- so they then claimed -- “terrorist networks” in up to 60 countries, or as they preferred to put it, “drain the swamp,” there were scattered bands of jihadis globally, while al-Qaeda had a couple of camps in Afghanistan and a sprinkling of supporters elsewhere. Today, in the wake of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and an air power intervention in Libya, after years of drone (and non-drone) bombing campaigns across the Greater Middle East, jihadist groups are thriving in Yemen and Pakistan, spreading through Africa (along with the U.S. military), and ISIS has taken significant parts of Iraq and Syria right up to the Lebanese border for its own bailiwick and is still expanding murderously, despite a renewed American bombing campaign that may only strengthen that movement in the long run.

Has anyone covered this nightmare better than the world’s least embedded reporter, Patrick Cockburn of the British Independent? Not for my money. He’s had the canniest, clearest-eyed view of developments in the region for years now. As it happens, when he publishes a new book on the Middle East (the last time was 2008), he makes one of his rare appearances at TomDispatch. This month, his latest must-read work, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, is out. Today, this website has an excerpt from its first chapter on why the war on terror was such a failure (and why, if Washington was insistent on invading someplace, it probably should have chosen Saudi Arabia). It includes a special introductory section written just for TomDispatch. Thanks go to his publisher, OR Books. Tom 
[Excerpted from the first chapter of Patrick Cockburn’s new book, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, with special thanks to his publisher, OR Books. The first section is a new introduction written for TomDispatch.]

Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed: 

The Underrated Saudi Connection

by Patrick Cockburn

There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the U.S., Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army.

The reality of U.S. policy is to support the government of Iraq, but not Syria, against ISIS. But one reason that group has been able to grow so strong in Iraq is that it can draw on its resources and fighters in Syria. Not everything that went wrong in Iraq was the fault of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as has now become the political and media consensus in the West. Iraqi politicians have been telling me for the last two years that foreign backing for the Sunni revolt in Syria would inevitably destabilize their country as well. This has now happened.

By continuing these contradictory policies in two countries, the U.S. has ensured that ISIS can reinforce its fighters in Iraq from Syria and vice versa. So far, Washington has been successful in escaping blame for the rise of ISIS by putting all the blame on the Iraqi government. In fact, it has created a situation in which ISIS can survive and may well flourish.

Using the al-Qa'ida Label

The sharp increase in the strength and reach of jihadist organizations in Syria and Iraq has generally been unacknowledged until recently by politicians and media in the West. A primary reason for this is that Western governments and their security forces narrowly define the jihadist threat as those forces directly controlled by al-Qa‘ida central or “core” al-Qa‘ida. This enables them to present a much more cheerful picture of their successes in the so-called war on terror than the situation on the ground warrants.

In fact, the idea that the only jihadis to be worried about are those with the official blessing of al-Qa‘ida is naïve and self-deceiving. It ignores the fact, for instance, that ISIS has been criticized by the al-Qa‘ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for its excessive violence and sectarianism. After talking to a range of Syrian jihadi rebels not directly affiliated with al-Qa‘ida in southeast Turkey earlier this year, a source told me that “without exception they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the U.S.”

Jihadi groups ideologically close to al-Qa‘ida have been relabeled as moderate if their actions are deemed supportive of U.S. policy aims. In Syria, the Americans backed a plan by Saudi Arabia to build up a “Southern Front” based in Jordan that would be hostile to the Assad government in Damascus, and simultaneously hostile to al-Qa‘ida-type rebels in the north and east. The powerful but supposedly moderate Yarmouk Brigade, reportedly the planned recipient of anti-aircraft missiles from Saudi Arabia, was intended to be the leading element in this new formation. But numerous videos show that the Yarmouk Brigade has frequently fought in collaboration with JAN, the official al-Qa‘ida affiliate. Since it was likely that, in the midst of battle, these two groups would share their munitions, Washington was effectively allowing advanced weaponry to be handed over to its deadliest enemy. Iraqi officials confirm that they have captured sophisticated arms from ISIS fighters in Iraq that were originally supplied by outside powers to forces considered to be anti-al-Qa‘ida in Syria.

The name al-Qa‘ida has always been applied flexibly when identifying an enemy. In 2003 and 2004 in Iraq, as armed Iraqi opposition to the American and British-led occupation mounted, U.S. officials attributed most attacks to al-Qa‘ida, though many were carried out by nationalist and Baathist groups. Propaganda like this helped to persuade nearly 60% of U.S. voters prior to the Iraq invasion that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and those responsible for 9/11, despite the absence of any evidence for this. In Iraq itself, indeed throughout the entire Muslim world, these accusations have benefited al-Qa‘ida by exaggerating its role in the resistance to the U.S. and British occupation.

Precisely the opposite PR tactics were employed by Western governments in 2011 in Libya, where any similarity between al-Qa‘ida and the NATO-backed rebels fighting to overthrow the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was played down. Only those jihadis who had a direct operational link to the al-Qa‘ida “core” of Osama bin Laden were deemed to be dangerous. The falsity of the pretense that the anti-Gaddafi jihadis in Libya were less threatening than those in direct contact with al-Qa‘ida was forcefully, if tragically, exposed when U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens was killed by jihadi fighters in Benghazi in September 2012. These were the same fighters lauded by Western governments and media for their role in the anti-Gaddafi uprising.

Imagining al-Qa'ida as the Mafia

Al-Qa‘ida is an idea rather than an organization, and this has long been the case. For a five-year period after 1996, it did have cadres, resources, and camps in Afghanistan, but these were eliminated after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Subsequently, al-Qa‘ida’s name became primarily a rallying cry, a set of Islamic beliefs, centering on the creation of an Islamic state, the imposition of sharia, a return to Islamic customs, the subjugation of women, and the waging of holy war against other Muslims, notably the Shia, who are considered heretics worthy of death. At the center of this doctrine for making war is an emphasis on self-sacrifice and martyrdom as a symbol of religious faith and commitment. This has resulted in using untrained but fanatical believers as suicide bombers, to devastating effect.

It has always been in the interest of the U.S. and other governments that al-Qa‘ida be viewed as having a command-and-control structure like a mini-Pentagon, or like the mafia in America. This is a comforting image for the public because organized groups, however demonic, can be tracked down and eliminated through imprisonment or death. More alarming is the reality of a movement whose adherents are self-recruited and can spring up anywhere.

Osama bin Laden’s gathering of militants, which he did not call al-Qa‘ida until after 9/11, was just one of many jihadi groups 12 years ago. But today its ideas and methods are predominant among jihadis because of the prestige and publicity it gained through the destruction of the Twin Towers, the war in Iraq, and its demonization by Washington as the source of all anti-American evil. These days, there is a narrowing of differences in the beliefs of jihadis, regardless of whether or not they are formally linked to al-Qa‘ida central.

Unsurprisingly, governments prefer the fantasy picture of al-Qa‘ida because it enables them to claim victories when it succeeds in killing its better known members and allies. Often, those eliminated are given quasi-military ranks, such as “head of operations,” to enhance the significance of their demise. The culmination of this heavily publicized but largely irrelevant aspect of the “war on terror” was the killing of bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan in 2011. This enabled President Obama to grandstand before the American public as the man who had presided over the hunting down of al-Qa‘ida’s leader. In practical terms, however, his death had little impact on al-Qa‘ida-type jihadi groups, whose greatest expansion has occurred subsequently.

Ignoring the Roles of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

The key decisions that enabled al-Qa‘ida to survive, and later to expand, were made in the hours immediately after 9/11. Almost every significant element in the project to crash planes into the Twin Towers and other iconic American buildings led back to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was a member of the Saudi elite, and his father had been a close associate of the Saudi monarch. Citing a CIA report from 2002, the official 9/11 report says that al-Qa‘ida relied for its financing on “a variety of donors and fundraisers, primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia.”

The report’s investigators repeatedly found their access limited or denied when seeking information in Saudi Arabia. Yet President George W. Bush apparently never even considered holding the Saudis responsible for what happened. An exit of senior Saudis, including bin Laden relatives, from the U.S. was facilitated by the U.S. government in the days after 9/11. Most significant, 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report about the relationship between the attackers and Saudi Arabia were cut and never published, despite a promise by President Obama to do so, on the grounds of national security.

In 2009, eight years after 9/11, a cable from the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, revealed by WikiLeaks, complained that donors in Saudi Arabia constituted the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. But despite this private admission, the U.S. and Western Europeans continued to remain indifferent to Saudi preachers whose message, spread to millions by satellite TV, YouTube, and Twitter, called for the killing of the Shia as heretics. These calls came as al-Qa‘ida bombs were slaughtering people in Shia neighborhoods in Iraq. A sub-headline in another State Department cable in the same year reads: “Saudi Arabia: Anti-Shi’ism as Foreign Policy?” Now, five years later, Saudi-supported groups have a record of extreme sectarianism against non-Sunni Muslims.

Pakistan, or rather Pakistani military intelligence in the shape of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was the other parent of al-Qa‘ida, the Taliban, and jihadi movements in general. When the Taliban was disintegrating under the weight of U.S. bombing in 2001, its forces in northern Afghanistan were trapped by anti-Taliban forces. Before they surrendered, hundreds of ISI members, military trainers, and advisers were hastily evacuated by air. Despite the clearest evidence of ISI’s sponsorship of the Taliban and jihadis in general, Washington refused to confront Pakistan, and thereby opened the way for the resurgence of the Taliban after 2003, which neither the U.S. nor NATO has been able to reverse.

The “war on terror” has failed because it did not target the jihadi movement as a whole and, above all, was not aimed at Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the two countries that fostered jihadism as a creed and a movement. The U.S. did not do so because these countries were important American allies whom it did not want to offend. Saudi Arabia is an enormous market for American arms, and the Saudis have cultivated, and on occasion purchased, influential members of the American political establishment. Pakistan is a nuclear power with a population of 180 million and a military with close links to the Pentagon.

The spectacular resurgence of al-Qa‘ida and its offshoots has happened despite the huge expansion of American and British intelligence services and their budgets after 9/11. Since then, the U.S., closely followed by Britain, has fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and adopted procedures normally associated with police states, such as imprisonment without trial, rendition, torture, and domestic espionage. Governments wage the “war on terror” claiming that the rights of individual citizens must be sacrificed to secure the safety of all.

In the face of these controversial security measures, the movements against which they are aimed have not been defeated but rather have grown stronger. At the time of 9/11, al-Qa‘ida was a small, generally ineffectual organization; by 2014 al-Qa‘ida-type groups were numerous and powerful.

In other words, the “war on terror,” the waging of which has shaped the political landscape for so much of the world since 2001, has demonstrably failed. Until the fall of Mosul, nobody paid much attention.

Patrick Cockburn is Middle East correspondent for the Independent and worked previously for the Financial Times. He has written three books on Iraq’s recent history as well as a memoir, The Broken Boy, and, with his son, a book on schizophrenia, Henry’s Demons. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006, and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009. His forthcoming book, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, is now available exclusively from OR Books. This excerpt (with an introductory section written for TomDispatch) is taken from that book.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook and Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me.

Copyright 2014 Patrick Cockburn

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quebec's Mega-Pit Mines: Environmental Groups Unite to Rein Big Nickel Royaly

Open Pit Mega-mines in Quebec – Size Really Does Matter

by Coalition Québec meilleure

Open Pit Mega-mines in Quebec – Size Really Does Matter. Citizens’ coalition says independent assessment and new regulations are urgently needed. Citizens’ coalition says independent assessment and new regulations are urgently needed

Quebec, August 20, 2014
- As Quebec’s Environmental Assessment Office examines the largest open pit mine project ever proposed in Canada, Royal Nickel’s Dumont project in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, a coalition of citizens, doctors, environmental groups and unions is demanding that the Quebec government establish an independent review of the laws and standards for environmental protection, safety, and public health at open pit mega-mines.

In a substantial fifty-page report ( released today, members of the Coalition Québec meilleure mine ( demonstrate why they are concerned about the increase in massive low-grade, high-volume open pit mining projects across Quebec. A key part of the concern is the fact that many of these large projects are proposed to be in close proximity to residential areas or other sensitive sites.

We have the 2.5 kilometre-long mega-pit at Malartic and the proposed 3.5 kilometre-long pit in Sept-Îles but we now have Royal Nickel with its 5 kilometre pit. It would be the largest open pit mine in Canadian history and only 800 metres from people’s homes,” stated Ugo Lapointe, spokesperson for the Coalition. The proposed mine would affect residents in the municipalities of Launey and Trécesson in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec.

Environmental and Health Standards Not Respected

Members ( of the Coalition are troubled by the absence of a regulatory framework that deals specifically with these large open pit mines. The group is equally worried by the inability of the industry and public sector authorities to ensure compliance with the requirements that do exist.

Since the authorization of the Malartic open pit in 2009, the company has had 134 citations and 1,289 complaints over its failure to meet environmental and health standards. Neither the company nor the regulators have been able to do what it takes to bring the mine into compliance,” commented Nicole Kirouac, lawyer and resource person for the citizens’ group Comité vigilance de Malartic.
The current standards aren’t strict enough to protect the health of citizens, but mining companies still aren’t meeting them. The regulators either lack the means to enforce the standards or turn a blind eye to the situation,” noted Louise Gagnon of Regroupement pour la sauvegarde de la grande Baie de Sept-Îles.

We can no longer tolerate public health and the environment being put at such risk,” added Isabelle Gingras of Canadian Physicians for the Environment.

Authorities shut their eyes to biased environmental studies

In its report the Coalition clearly demonstartes how the Arnaud project in Sept-Iles and the Royal Nickel project in Launey/Trécesson presented models of the projects’ impacts and mitigation measures that are off-base and unreliable. This has not, however, stopped them from getting authorizations under the current regulatory system.

An unacceptable system in urgent need of change

The regulatory situation in Quebec is completely unacceptable and requires urgent changes to how we evaluate authorize and oversee large open-pit mines – especially those that are close to communities and sensitive areas,” stated Daniel Green of Société pour vaincre la pollution.

The Coalition is not alone in its concern. In three separate reports filed since 2009, Quebec’s Auditor General pointed out substantial weaknesses and gaps in the follow-up and monitoring of mines and other industrial projects. A 2011 report ( was directed to the Ministry of the Environment while reports in 2009 and 2013 were directed to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

More than 89% of people in mining area favour changes to the regulations for open pit mines

In 2011 regional organizations in Abitibi-Témiscamingue found that 89% of the 1,2000 people surveyed  wanted to see changes to the mining regulations with strict conditions for open-pit operations. The groups, which represented 12,000 members in the region and across northern Quebec, called for a public debate on open-pit mining. “While it was important to have this debate in 2011, in 2014 it’s become essential,” concluded Yvan Croteau of Action boréale.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Coalition Québec meilleure mine


Ugo Lapointe, Coalition Québec meilleure mine, 514-708-0134 (English and French)

Nicole Kirouac, Comité vigilance de Malartic, 819-354-1911 (French only)

Louise Gagnon, Regroupement pour la sauvegarde de la grande Baie de Sept-Îles (French only)

Dr. Isabelle Gingras ou Dr. Éric Notebaert, Association canadienne des médecins pour l’environnement, 418-965-6814 ou 514-978-6262 (English and French)

Daniel Green, Société pour vaincre la pollution, 514-245-4676 (English and French)

Original French version of the press release available here ( .

Ukraine in Crisis Yet

Ukraine Crisis Continues

by Paul Craig Roberts - ICH

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.

In other words, Washington and its presstitutes are protecting the lie that Washington and its media vassals successfully spread around the world and have used as the basis for further sanctions that escalate the conflict with Russia. Washington could not possibly make it clearer that Washington intends to escalate, not defuse, the conflict that Washington alone orchestrated.

Ditto for the alleged Russian armored column. The Russian government has labeled the story a fantasy, which it clearly is, but nevertheless Washington and its media vassals have left the story in place.

As English is the world language and as the European press follows the lead of the American presstitutes, the propaganda war is stacked against Russia (and China). Russian and Chinese are not world languages. Indeed, these languages are difficult for others to learn and are not well known outside the countries themselves. The Western media follows Washington’s lead, not Moscow’s or Beijing’s.

As facts are not relevant to the outcome, Moscow and Beijing are in a losing situation in the propaganda war.

The same holds for diplomacy. Washington does not engage in diplomacy. The exceptional country uses bribes, threats, and coercion. The Russian government’s diplomatic efforts come to naught. As Russian President Putin has complained, “Washington doesn’t listen, the West doesn’t hear us.”

And yet the Russian government continues to try to deal with the Ukrainian situation with facts and diplomacy. This approach is proving to be very costly to the residents of the former Russian territories in eastern and southern Ukraine. These people are being killed by air and artillery strikes against their homes and infrastructure. Large numbers of these people have been displaced by the Ukrainian attacks and are refugees in Russia. The Western media does not report the violence that Washington’s stooge government in Kiev is inflicting on these people. The Western media speaks only with Washington’s voice: “It is all Russia’s fault.”

The crisis would have been prevented if the Russian government had accepted the provinces request to be reunited with Russia as in the case of Crimea. However, the Russian government decided to avoid any decision that Washington could misrepresent as “invasion and annexation,” thinking that Europe would see Russia’s unprovocative behavior as reassuring and resist Washington’s pressure to enter into conflict with Russia.

In my opinion the Russian government over-estimated the power of diplomacy in the West. Washington is interested in fomenting crises, not in resolving them.

In the 23 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Russians have been of the opinion that Washington, not the Soviet government, was the party to be trusted in the Cold War. What the Russian government has learned recently is that Washington cannot be trusted and that the Soviet government’s suspicions of the West were very well founded.

Kiev’s military assault on eastern and southern Ukraine is not going to stop because Europeans finally see the light and object. Europeans not only stood aside for 13 years while Washington bombed civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and organized outside forces to attack Syrians, while isolating Iran for military attack, but also actively participated in the attacks. Europe has stood aside while Israel has massacred Palestinians on numerous occasions. For Russia to rely on Europe’s moral conscience is to rely on something that does not exist.

The continued slaughter and destruction of the Russian populations in eastern and southern Ukraine will eventually demoralize the Russian people and undermine their support of Putin’s government for failing to halt it. The Russian government’s acceptance of the slaughter makes Russia look weak and encourages more aggression against Russia.

If the Russian government intends to resolve its problems in Ukraine and to forestall Washington’s ability to further erode Russia’s political and economic relationships with Europe with more sanctions, the Russian government will have to turn to more forceful measures.

In Ukraine the Russian government has two alternatives. One is to announce that the ongoing slaughter and the unresponsiveness of Kiev and its Western backers to Russia’s efforts to end the killing with a diplomatic settlement has caused Russia to reconsider the provinces’ requests to be reunited with Russia and that any further attacks on these territories will be regarded as attacks on Russia and be met with a devastating military response.

The other alternative is for Putin to meet privately with Washington’s stooge and convey to the corrupt oligarch that enough is enough and that if the attacks continue Russia will accept the requests for reunification and protect the provinces. Putin would explain to Washington’s stooge that if he wants to retain the former Russian territories as part of Ukraine, he will have to work out satisfactory arrangements with the provinces. In other words, Putin would deliver an ultimatum, one that required an immediate answer so that the stooge couldn’t run to Washington and Washington would not have time to create a new propaganda.

Karl Marx regarded morality as a rationale for class interests. As each class created a morality to justify its interests, there was no basis for good will between people. With reform impossible, violence becomes the only effective method of change. Washington has its own version of Marx’s doctrine. As the exceptional country, history has chosen the US to prevail over other countries’ interests. Prevailing rules out diplomacy which requires compromise. Therefore, Washington, like Marx, relies on violence.

The Russian government cannot rely on diplomacy and good will if the West is relying on violence.

Perhaps s solution could be found by President Putin meeting separately with Merkel and Hollande and explaining that Russia cannot indefinitely accept sanctions based on lies and propaganda without taking more determined steps than Russian sanctions against European agricultural products. Putin could make it clear that if Europe continues to accommodate Washington’s assault on Russia, the flow of energy could be restricted or be turned off.

Additionally, President Putin might explain to the European leaders that the dynamics of Washington’s campaign to demonize Russia can escape control and result in war that would devastate Europe. Putin could tell Europeans that by disassociating from Washington’s foreign policy and adopting foreign policies that serve their own interests instead of Washington’s, Europeans have nothing to lose but their chains of vassalage.

Putin could explain to Europeans that Russia is prepared to guarantee Europe’s security and, therefore, that Europe does not need Washington’s guarantee against a nonexistent Russian threat.

If this very reasonable and diplomatic approach to Europe fails, then Russia and China know that they must prepare for war.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

The Traitors: How Nixon and Kissinger Sabotaged Peace in Vietnam for Political Gains

Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman - CounterPunch

Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—-with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.

The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.

Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.

In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”

Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”

“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.

Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”

Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”

But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.

In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.

But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.

According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.

In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”

In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.

Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.

Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first America president to resign in disgrace.

Bob Fitrakis is Editor-in-Chief of the Free Press and Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor. Read more Harvey Wasserman at

Racism Not the Only Constitutional Violation Committed by Ferguson Police/National Guard

Police Continue to Violate Press Freedom In Ferguson


With 11 journalists arrested thus far, investigative reporter Mike Ludwig describes how Ferguson police are using intimidation tactics against journalists.

Mike Ludwig is an investigative reporter for

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

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, 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: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.