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Making Nice with the Russian "Aggressor" - NATO's Remarkable U-Turn

NATO Trips on Own Lies with U-Turn on ‘Russian Aggressor’
by Finian Cunningham - SCF
NATO’s civilian figurehead Jens Stoltenberg this week urged Russia to be a partner against terrorism. He was speaking the day after the deadly gun attack on a magazine in Paris where 12 people, including three police officers, were killed by assailants purporting to be affiliated with radical Islamists.
 
During a visit to Germany, the NATO general secretary called upon Moscow to be “an ally in the fight against terrorism” – adding: “We think it is important that Russia, which is our biggest neighbour in Europe, and NATO are working together on important issues like fighting terror.”
 
Well, how about that for a screeching U-turn? After all, has it not become NATO policy, since the Ukraine crisis blew up last year, to terminate all security co-operation with Russia in a bid to ostracise the latter?
 

Who Is to Be Blamed for Terror Acts?

Who Should be Blamed for Muslim Terrorism?
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch
A hundred years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have a pair of Muslim men enter a cafe or a public transportation vehicle, and then blow themselves up, killing dozens. Or to massacre the staff of a satirical magazine in Paris! Things like that were simply not done.
 
When you read the memoirs of Edward Said, or talk to old men and women in East Jerusalem, it becomes clear that the great part of Palestinian society used to be absolutely secular and moderate. It cared about life, culture, and even fashion, more than about religious dogmas.
 
The same could be said about many other Muslim societies, including those of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. Old photos speak for themselves. That is why it is so important to study old images again and again, carefully.
 
Islam is not only a religion; it is also an enormous culture, one of the greatest on Earth, which has enriched our humanity with some of the paramount scientific and architectural achievements, and with countless discoveries in the field of medicine. Muslims have written stunning poetry, and composed beautiful music. But above all, they developed some of the earliest social structures in the world, including enormous public hospitals and the first universities on earth, like The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.
 
The idea of ‘social’ was natural to many Muslim politicians, and had the West not brutally interfered, by overthrowing left-wing governments and putting on the throne fascist allies of London, Washington and Paris; almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders.
 

Crooks, Cretins Count Among Clark's Nearest Allies in BC's Proposed LNG

Woodfibre LNG proponent has history of fraud, tax evasion
by Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian

Permit me to make some observations about the LNG situation in Squamish. What the people of Howe Sound do is their affair. I can only give them the benefit, if any, of my experience over the years.

We are not dealing here with honest people – it is not hyperbolic to call them crooks.
 
The powers behind Woodfibre LNG have been convicted of large tax evasion and substantial environmental degradation.

Sukanto Tanoto (right), the man behind
the proposed Woodfibre LNG project

Sukanto Tanoto, his family and associates have been consorts of the worst sort of financial manipulators in Indonesia – right up to the former President Suharto.

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Behind the Cartoons: Hebdo Attack Reveal Janus Head Nature of War on Terror

Conflict, not Cartoons: Hebdo Shows the Common Goals of Both Sides in Terror War
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Juan Cole has some insightful words on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. As he points out, the shooters were neither "attacking free speech" nor "defending Mohammed"; they were using a time-honored tactic of radical extremists (of all stripes): "sharpening the contradictions," hoping to provoke an overreaction that would lead to repression and persecution of Muslims in general -- thus helping the extremists recruit new members.

This is what bin Laden did with such spectacular success with 9/11: provoking an endless global war, with Western "interventions" and "targeted assassinations" and drone strikes that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people -- all of which, as our own security services tell us, have fed the flames of extremism and made the situation worse.
It would be nice if we tried a different approach, but this is not going to happen. By this time, the symbiosis between the West's military-industrial-security complex and the extremists it purports to fight is virtually complete.

Forging Democracy: The CIA's "Helping Hands"

CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy stress their commitment to freedom of thought and democracy, but both cooperated with a CIA-organized propaganda operation in the 1980s, according to documents released by Ronald Reagan’s presidential library.

One document showed senior Freedom House official Leo Cherne clearing a draft manuscript on political conditions in El Salvador with CIA Director William Casey and promising that Freedom House would make requested editorial “corrections and changes” – and even send over the editor for consultation with whomever Casey assigned to review the paper.

CIA Director William Casey


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I Was Ahmed Merabet: Muslim Policeman Among Dead in Paris

Je Suis Ahmed Merabet
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance

How many media outlets bothered to tell us that the injured French policeman executed by terrorists on the pavement was a Muslim French policeman by the name of Ahmed Merabet? 

These terrorists seemed like professionally trained maybe by a state intelligence service and yet “conveniently” forgot an identity card in the get-away car and are killed not apprehended. 

The timing of this incident was suspicious, too.

First it came a week after France voted in the UN Security Council to end the Israeli occupation that started in 1967 (i.e. with a sub-minimal demand supported by International law). Second, the terror attack happened just after the Israeli government said their largest number of immigrants in 2014 came from France and they want more colonial settlers. 

 

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A Big Abbas Bluff: Bringing Israel Before the Hague Dock

Palestinians at the Hague: Abbas’ big bluff on war crimes bid against Israel
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
Intense pressure from Israel and the US last week on members of the United Nations Security Council narrowly averted Washington’s embarrassment at being forced to veto a Palestinian resolution to end the occupation.

The Palestinians’ failure to get the necessary votes saved the White House’s blushes but at a cost: the claim that the US can oversee a peace process promising as its outcome a Palestinian state is simply no longer credible.

Looming is the post-peace process era. Its advent appears to have been marked by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ decision in the immediate wake of the Security Council vote to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

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Mahmoud Abbas and His "Authority"

The Problem with Mahmoud Abbas and His Authority
by Ramzy Baroud - PalestineChronicle.com
It was the moment many had been waiting for. On January 2, Palestine’s United Nations envoy, Riyad Mansour formally requested membership at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
 
“We are seeking justice for all the victims that have been killed by Israel, the occupying power,” he said.
 
There was no explanation why Palestine’s membership of the Rome Statue (through which the ICC is governed) was delayed in the first place; of why no justice was ever sought for thousands of victims in Gaza, and many in the West Bank and Jerusalem, although such membership would have been granted much earlier.
 
In fact, in 2012, Palestine’s status at the UN was upgraded, from an observer entity to an ‘observer state’. The move was largely symbolic, since it was an attempt at breathing life in the two-state-solution, which was long dead. But it had one single practical benefit – the coveted membership at the ICC. Finally, Israel could be held accountable for its war crimes; finally, a measure of justice was possible.
 

Evil Folly and Roots of the Paris Press Attack

A Hundred Years of Evil Folly: The Bloody Roots of the Paris Attack
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
As you might expect, the very secular "Angry Arab, As'ad AbuKhahlil, has some pertitent observations on the Charlie Hebdo attack. You should read the whole piece, but here are some excerpts from his "Notes on the shooting in Paris":
 
I feel strongly about the right to offend and to mock as an artist (and as a human being). That right should be absolute. .. Muslims do need to lighten up, and should feel secure enough to stomach mockery and satire against their religion. And they should not allow their enemies (even the bigots among them) to provoke them so easily....
... Yes, one should vehemently condemn the crimes against the cartoonist and writers and journalists but should in the same vein condemn the on-going French and US bombing raids that are taking place from Mali to Afghanistan, passing through Yemen and Syria. And those bombs are real and they are killing real people. Those are terrorist actions as much as the shooting in Paris was a terrorist action.
 
Western policies in Syria have produced, and will continue to produce, terrorist organizations the likes of which we have not seen since the creation of Al-Qa`idah. The enthusiastic policies of arming and sponsoring "rebel groups in Syria" are responsible for the proliferation of fanatical terrorist groups which will terrorize those countries that had sponsored them.
 
The source of all those terrorist groups is known: Gulf regimes and their Western sponsors. They have been indulging those regimes form the days of the Cold War. I was on the side of the left and progressive forces during the Cold War, while you--in the West--were on the side of those speaking the language of Jihad and...oil.

The direct roots -- and bitter fruits -- of actions like the attack in Paris and the depredations of ISIS in the ruins of American-raped Iraq go back 100 years, to the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, then forward through decades of fateful, and fatal, decisions by Western elites to support, advance -- and arm -- the most retrograde forms of Islam in order to prevent the rise of any alternatives to the authortiarian client states they favored in the region. At every turn, the West has exacerbated the century-long crisis within Islam, producing -- as AbuKhalil notes above -- a relentless series of extremist groups, each seemingly more virulent than the last, who, as he rightly says, "terrorize those countries that had sponsored them."
 
(For example, the latest news reports indicate that the Paris attackers probably had some kind of formal military training; they could well have fought in the Syrian "jihad" which the West and its extremist allies in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, have been fuelling for years with arms and aid. And who can forget -- except for 99 percent of the American political-media establishment, of course -- the original joint American-Saudi creation of the global jihadi movement in the late 70s and early 80s, designed as a "Great Game" ploy to goad the Soviets in Afghanistan?)
 

2014 Remembered: Year of the Drone

The Year in Drones
by Charles Pierson - CounterPunch
 2014 was a good year for US killer drones. In October, the US celebrated (if that is the word) its 400th drone strike on Pakistan. Unable to attend the festivities were the 2,379 Pakistanis killed by US drones since 2004. Of these, only 12% of the victims who have been identified have been linked to militant organizations, this according to an October report from the independent British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
 
Drone victims have been largely invisible to Americans. An exception is the family of Rafiq ur Rehman, a Pakistani schoolteacher. On October 24, 2012, a US drone killed Rafiq’s 67-year old mother while she was gathering okra behind the Rehmans’ home in Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
 
A year later, on October 29, 2013, Rafiq and his two young children testified before Congress. The Rehmans were brought to Capitol Hill by Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Robert Greenwald, director of Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. This was the first—and, so far, the only—time drone victims had testified before Congress. The Rehmans might just as well have saved themselves the trip. Only five members of Congress showed up to listen to the Rehmans’ testimony.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kathy Kelly, Kelly Carson, Joan Russow Jan 7th, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
Welcome to 2015! Christmas Day past, American president Obama announced the cessation of the US "combat mission" in Afghanistan, saying, "the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion." Part of that "responsible conclusion" is the inclusion of thousands of American forces who will, the president reassures:
 
"[M]aintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces and to conduct counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al Qaeda."

Those "counterterrorism operations" will doubtless include the continuation of aerial drone attacks, those anonymous assassinations from above responsible by some estimates for more than 28 innocents killed for every "terrorist" targeted; points left out of the president's press release.

Two week prior to Mr. Obama's Hawaiian Christmas address, Kathy Kelly was sentenced by a federal magistrate in a Jefferson City, Missouri court to three months in federal penitentiary for her trespasses against Whitman Air Force Base, but one home to the US military's drone program. 
 
 
Kelly is a long-time peace and justice activist, who has braved America's notorious judicial system many times before. She has lived amongst the people in Afghanistan too, feeling first hand the brunt of poverty and war there, and says of her conviction, "I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare." Adding,
 
"The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why."
 
Kathy Kelly is recipient of numerous awards for her peace service, including: Three nominations for the Nobel Peace prize; the Bradford-O'Neill Medallion for Social Justice; Oscar Romero Award; War Resisters League Peace Award; The Chomsky Award of the Justice Studies Association, and more. She's also co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness and Voices for Creative Nonviolence, has written too many essays and articles to relate, co-authored the book, 'Prisoners on Purpose: a Peacemakers Guide to Jails and Prison,' and wrote the book, 'Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad to Pekin Prison.'
 
Kathy Kelly in the first half.
 
And; over the weekend, citizens concerned about the decision by Oak Bay mayor and council to begin a deer cull marched to its leafy municipal hall to voice their collective objection to the scheme that would see more than twenty of the animals trapped and killed. The decision to carry out the controversial program was made late in 2013, designed to be enacted any time after January, 2015. Kelly Carson is spokesperson for DeerSafe Victoria, and says the Oak Bay plan is merely the beginning of a larger plan to eradicate deer across municipalities on the lower island.
 
Kelly Carson and collapsing the clover trap on Oak Bay's deer population cullers in the second half.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft is called away so will not be joining us at the bottom of the hour today, but vows she will return! So first up, Kathy Kelly, guilty of "criminal trespass to a military installation," preparing her return to prison.
 
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. And now heard at Simon Fraser University's http://www.cjsf.ca . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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