Fidel Siempre

Tribute to Fidel Castro on His 90th Birthday

by Dan Kovalik - CounterPunch

August 12, 2016 

On Saturday, August 13, the world will celebrate the 90th birthday of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro Ruz, the only individual ever to be acknowledged by the UN as a “World Hero of Solidarity.”

It is very hard to think of a more important world leader than Fidel. The contribution he has made to the world socialist movement, to the Third World liberation struggle and to social justice has been monumental – especially when one considers that he has been the leader of a tiny country with roughly the same population as New York City.

At the current time, the Colombian government and leftist FARC guerillas are engaged in a peace process in Havana, and are very near to reaching a final peace accord, in large part due to Fidel’s efforts.


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Propaganda Powers Western Aleppo Narrative

The battle for Aleppo and the hypocrisy of US war propaganda

by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

10 August 2016


This week marks two years since President Barack Obama initiated the latest US war against Iraq and Syria, launched in the name of combating the Islamic State militia. The American president cast the new military intervention as not only a continuation of the “global war on terrorism,” but also a crusade for human rights, invoking the threat to Iraq’s Yazidi population and insisting that he could not “turn a blind eye” when religious minorities were threatened.


The toll of this supposed humanitarian intervention has grown ever bloodier. According to a report released this week by the monitoring group Airwars to mark the anniversary, more than 4,700 civilian non-combatant fatalities have been reported as a result of the “US-led Coalition’s” air strikes (95 percent of which have been carried out by US warplanes). More innocent Iraqi and Syrian men, women and children have been slaughtered by American bombs in the course of two years than the total number of US soldiers who lost their lives during the eight years of the Iraq war launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.


All of Washington’s lies and pretexts about its latest war in the Middle East—as well as the decade-and-a-half of wars waged since 9/11—have been exploded in the course of the past several days as the US government and media celebrated purported victories by “rebel” forces in the battle for control of Aleppo, Syria’s former commercial capital. That the “rebel” offensive has been organized and led by an organization that for years constituted Al Qaeda’s designated Syrian branch, and the operation was named in honor of a Sunni sectarian extremist who carried out a massacre of captured Syrian Alawite soldiers, gave none of them pause.


So much for the hogwash about terrorism and human rights!


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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer, Lynn Perrin, Janine Bandcroft Aug. 10, 2016

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

August 10, 2016


In an example perhaps of the accelerated times we live in, Turkey's recent "Seven Days in May" ran its course in as many hours; but what has followed the Ides of July military coup wasn't covered in John Frankenheimer's classic 1964 film.


Since the failed attempt to oust him, President Recep Erdogan has conducted a wide-ranging purge of civil and military institutions, and moved with great speed to strengthen and enhance relations with Turkey's neighbours; neighbours like Russia, Iran, and Syria.


Ostensibly, yesterday's meeting in St. Petersburg between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on repairing the rift caused by last Spring's downing of a Russia warplane over Syria, but according to my first guest, there's much more behind this link up.


Listen. Hear.


 John Helmer is a long-time, Moscow-based journalist, author, and essayist; the only one, his site, Dances with Bears informs "to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties." He's been working from the Russian capital since 1989, thus making him the "doyen of the foreign press corps in Russia."

The Harvard educated Helmer is a former political science professor who has served as an advisor to the governments of Greece, the United States, and in Asia. He regularly lectures on Russian topics in China, Europe, and the US, and his book titles include: 'Uncovering Russia,' 'Urbanman: The Psychology of Urban Survival,' 'Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam and After,' and 'Drugs and Minority Oppression.'

John Helmer in the first half.

And; to assuage public concerns following the National Energy Board's controversial greenlighting of energy giant, Kinder Morgan's TransMountain pipeline expansion project, that would "twin" an existing pipeline, facilitating the transfer of Tar Sands bitumen from Alberta to Burnaby, the federal government struck a panel to conduct "public consultations" across British Columbia, where opposition to the plan is varied, organized, and vociferous. Now, the panel itself has become the focus of conflict of interest charges and protest.


Lynn Perrin is a Fraser Valley-based public policy analyst, environmental activist, and board member with the Pipe Up Network, an organization of "pro-information, pro-environment united people." She got involved with the proposed Kinder Morgan expansion plan when KM contractors showed up to clearcut greenspace in her neighbourhood.


Lynn Perrin and bumps in the NEB's plan to build public confidence in the TransMountain Pipeline Expansion environmental assessment process in the second half.


And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of good things planned in the coming week for the streets of our town, and beyond there too. But first, John Helmer and a New Byzantine Alliance on the Bosporus rocks a rollicking world order chess board.


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:
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Lost in America's Miasmic Electoral Blather: Dances with Mules, Or; They Shoot Elephants, Don't They?

The Greatest Show on Earth: How Billions of Words, Tweets, Insults, and Polls Blot Out Reality in Campaign 2016

by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch

August 7, 2016

Yep, it finally happened. In early May, after a long, long run, the elephants of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were ushered into retirement in Florida where they will finish their days aiding cancer research. The Greatest Show on Earth was done with its pachyderms.

The same might be said about the Republicans after Donald Trump’s version of a GOP convention. Many of them had also been sent, far less gracefully than those circus elephants, into a kind of enforced retirement (without even cancer research as an excuse).

Their former party remained in the none-too-gentle hands of the eternally aggrieved Trump, while the Democrats were left to happily chant “USA! USA!,” march a barking retired four-star general and a former CIA director on stage to invoke the indispensable “greatness” of America, and otherwise exhibit the kind of super-patriotism and worship of the military usually associated with... no question about it... the GOP (whose delegates instead spent their time chanting “lock her up!”).

And that’s just to take the tiniest of peeks at a passing moment in what continues to be, without the slightest doubt, the Greatest Show on Earth in 2016.


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Purge Splurge: Erdoğan’s New Turkey

Erdoğan’s Coup: Purging Domestic Critics, Gaining External Allies

by James Petras ICH

August 07, 2016


“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prepared a list of targets for arrest even before the coup (sic) was launched - European Commission official on Turkey (FT 7/19/2016).


For the past decade, the US intelligence agencies operating in Turkey have worked closely with the increasingly influential parallel government of Fethullah Gulen.
Their approach to power was, until recently, a permeationist strategy, of covertly taking over political, economic, administrative, judicial, media, military and cultural positions gradually without resort to elections or military coups. They adopted flexible tactics, supporting and shedding different allies to eliminate rivals.
In 2010 in support of Erdogan, they played a major role in arresting and purging 300 Kemalist – military officials. Subsequently the Gulenists moved to prosecute and weaken the Erdogan regime via revelations of family corruption uncovered by their intelligence officials and publicized by its mass media outlets.
The Gulenists shared several important policies with Washington which favored “the convergence” that led up to the July 15, 2016 coup.


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Agrippina on the Potomac: The Mythic Hillary Presidency

The Elective Affinities of Hillary Clinton

by Luciana Bohne - CounterPunch

August 5, 2016


God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. . . . He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples.”
— Senator Albert J. Beveridge of Indiana, during
the US annexation of the Philippines, 1898.

A grotesque power-fest at the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia left me feeling about Hillary Clinton the way P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster felt about his Aunt Agatha—“the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth.” There is something disquieting and secretively lascivious about her open-mouthed cackle. She doesn’t so much laugh as lusts.

She reminded me, too, of the mythical basilisk in the bestiary at the convention—the queen among the serpents.

The basilisk of legend, wearing a king’s crown on his head, is only twelve-fingers long, but his venom withers all living plants in his wake. His gaze is enough to kill, according to Pliny the Elder.

Only the droppings of a weasel have the potent odor to kill him, but it didn’t work with this basilisk. Her weasel endorsed her, embraced her, kissed her. His odor and her venom neutralized each other and merged into the unity party of the Serpent and the Weasel.


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Hiroshima's Abiding Reckoning

Hiroshima: the Crime That Keeps on Paying, But Beware the Reckoning

by Diana Johnstone - CounterPunch

August 5, 2016

On his visit to Hiroshima last May, Obama did not, as some had vainly hoped he might, apologize for the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the city. Instead he gave a high-sounding speech against war. He did this as he was waging ongoing drone war against defenseless enemies in faraway countries and approving plans to spend a trillion dollars upgrading the US nuclear arsenal.

An apology would have been as useless as his speech. Empty words don’t change anything. But here was one thing that Obama could have said that would have had a real impact: he could have told the truth.

He could have said:


“The atom bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ‘to save lives by ending the war’. That was an official lie. The bombs were dropped to see how they worked and to show the world that the United States possessed unlimited destructive power.”

There was no chance that Obama would say that. Officially, the bombing “saved lives” and therefore, it was worth it. Like the Vietnamese villages we destroyed in order to save them, like the countless Iraqi children who died as a result of US sanctions, the hundreds of thousands of agonizing women and children in two Japanese cities remain on the debit side of the United States accounts with humanity, unpaid and unpunished.


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'The Coming War on China': Scanning the Horizon with John Pilger

A Preview of The Coming War on China: Noted journalist John Pilger talks about China, Okinawa, and U.S. policy in Asia

by Maki Sunagawa and Daniel Broudy -  "Information Clearing House" - "FPIF"

August 04, 2016

Pilger Coming WarJohn Pilger is a world-renowned journalist, documentary filmmaker and author. He has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. His films have won television academy awards in Britain and the US. Two of his films, on Cambodia and East Timor, are rated with the most important of the 20th century. The Coming War on China is his 60th film.

-Daniel Broudy: You’re now finishing up work on your latest project the title of which, it seems, can also trigger feelings of considerable dread. The Coming War, maybe you’d agree, is pretty heavy. Can you describe the impetus for this particular look at world events, especially as you see them unfolding in East Asia?

John Pilger: The film picks up the theme of much of my work. It will set out to explain how great power imposes itself on people and disguises itself and the dangers it beckons. This film is about the United States—no longer sure of its dominance—rekindling the Cold War. The Cold War has been started again on two fronts—against Russia and against China. I’m concentrating on China in a film about the Asia-Pacific. It’s set in the Marshall Islands where the United States exploded 67 atomic bombs, nuclear weapons, between 1946 and 1958, leaving that part of the world gravely damaged—in human and environmental terms. And this assault on the Marshalls goes on. On the largest island, Kwajalein, there is an important and secretive US base called the Ronald Reagan Test Facility, which was established in the 1960s—as the archive we’re using makes clear—“to combat the threat from China.”


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Going After "Israel's" Palestinians

Palestinians inside Israel are under attack 

by Jonathan Cook  - The National

1 August 2016


Was it meant as an epic parody or an insult to his audience’s intelligence? It was hard to tell. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.


In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Mr Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”. Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.


Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Mr Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbours:


“I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.”
Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”
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Orwell Is the Order of the Day in Occupied Palestine

In news of the Orwellian world we live in

by Mazin Qumsiyeh -

August 4, 2016

But how do we keep sanity?

The key is to focus on the positive locally. Think globally and act locally is still good wisdom.

For every person who sells his soul to the devil, there is a person acting in good conscience to help make this a better world. For every person who is corrupt, there is a person working hard with good work ethics. For every free loader, there is a volunteer. For every dishonesty there is someone honest who calls it out.

I know because I interact with dozens of people daily of different backgrounds. 


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If Russia Didn't Do It, Who Leaked Hill's E-Mails? Who Cares!

Who Leaked the Damning DNC Emails? What Difference Does It Make?

by Gary Leupp - CounterPunch

August 2, 2016

The Democratic National Committee under Debbie Wasserman Schultz in fact served as the Hillary Clinton Coronation Organizing Committee, operating, step by step, to ensure that the front-runner would become the party’s nominee.
Some of us assumed all along that it was all preprogrammed. But then, on the eve of the coronation itself, leaked emails revealed to everyone that, indeed, top DNC officials conspired to defeat the Sanders campaign.
Just as the party leaders were lavishing praise on Sanders for bringing in so many new, enthusiastic activists—and stressing how close Clinton and Sanders have become programmatically—somebody released these emails that cannot but arouse further indignation among Sanders’ supporters (among others, who care about fairness).
How do the party leaders caught with their pants down respond? Not even bothering to pull them up, they point a finger. Russia hacked us. Putin is trying to influence the U.S. election in favor of Trump.



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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Terry Wolfwood, Susanne Hare, Janine Bandcroft Aug. 3, 2016

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

August 3, 2016


Congratulations contemporaries for having the good fortune to be living in a time of renaissance. To be sure, the World's a marvelous place, and this an astonishing time to be a part of it, no matter how passingly.

But, with great Yin comes more than a little Yang.

Just as we witness, almost daily it seems, the miracles of technological developments that edify and enhance human existence, there is too another side to our Janus-faced modern reality. As the new century dawned it brought with it the notion of 'Nuclear Renaissance.'

It was the hope of the atomics industry to inter past disasters like Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island, and to bury forever the terrifying collective memories of our lives lived at three minutes to midnight during the long Cold War. And of course, obliterate from history the twin atrocity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Listen. Hear.

Long-time Victoria-based activist and organizer, and local coordinator for Victoria's Women in Black, Terry Wolfwood will, with the Women in Black, be at Victoria's Inner Harbour this week, standing determined vigil in remembrance of the August 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Terry is also the Director and co-founder of the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, and her articles on peace and social justice are featured in Briarpatch, Peace News, and Third World Resurgence among other places.

Terry Wolfwood in the first half.

And; from Black Rain to the lack of same; the West Coast of Vancouver Island, renowned for its massive annual rainfall, is parched. Following last year's drought, and prior years seeing a diminishing rainfall pattern, the land is beginning to show signs of distress.

Susanne Hare is a long-time resident of the island's wild west coast. The Wickaninnish Island-based artist, environmental activist, and former co-chair of the Canadian Environmental Network has been at the heart of the battles to save Meares Island and Clayoquot Sound from clear-cut logging, fish farming, and a mining industry determined to level mountains if needs be to get at the gold they believe lies beneath the forests of the international recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. 

And now, as the sky will not rain, the ecological threat posed by continuing business as usual in the rainforest is greater than ever. Of the persisting clear-cuts, Hare says, "This logging and removal of the blue print of the forest that was inherited by all should be considered a crime against the planet and future generations."

Susanne Hare and threats old and new in and around Clayoquot 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 news of good things planned for the streets of our city and beyond in the coming week. But first, Terry Wolfwood and bringing an end to an unthinkable nuclear future by remembering our atomic past.


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:
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