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Remembering Our Commons Heritage

Oct 01, 2014 Ray Grigg
The Wisdom of the Commons by Ray Grigg…
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So the Democrats Won – What About the American Empire?

Nov 14, 2006
by Shepherd Bliss The Democratic Party…
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She's Leaving Home: Out of Baghdad Burning

Sep 07, 2007
Leaving Home... by Riverbend Two months…
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Learning Terror: How Iraq Produced ISIS Leaders

America’s “Terrorist Academy” in Iraq Produced ISIS Leaders
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States.
 
Last week, Turkey joined the US-led coalition following a vote in parliament approving a measure to give the government the authority to launch military action against Isis in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Turkish involvement would come at a price, and that price would be the removal of al Assad.
 
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.”
–Nafeez Ahmed, “How the West Created the Islamic State“, CounterPunch

“The US created these terrorist organizations. America does not have the moral authority to lead a coalition against terrorism.”
– Hassan Nasralla, Secretary General of Hezbollah

The Farcical Prosecution of Stanley L. Cohen

The Ordeal of Stanley L. Cohen: Justice as Farce
by Chris Hedges - Truthdig
The use of the courts to erode our civil liberties, as well as expand the ability of the state and corporations to commit fraud and other crimes with impunity, has been accompanied by a campaign to silence the handful of activist attorneys who defend those demonized by the government. The state has imprisoned the great civil rights attorneys J. Tony Serra, who has served two terms behind bars, and Lynne Stewart. And it looks as if Stanley L. Cohen is now on the list. When lawyers who defend the unpopular must suffer severe punishment at the hand of the government, the judiciary is a farce.
 
Cohen has furiously battled back against the excesses of state power for 25 years. He has worked as an attorney for the leaders of Hamas, including Mousa Abu Marzook, whom Cohen prevented from being extradited to Israel after he was detained at Kennedy Airport in New York. Cohen represented the Kuwaiti-born cleric Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and a spokesman for al-Qaida. Abu Ghaith, who requested that Cohen handle his case after he was extradited from Jordan to the United States, was sentenced in September to life in prison.

Cohen has represented hackers, Occupy activists, the homeless, anti-war protesters, Muslim clerics, American Indian activists, Weather Underground members including Kathy Boudin, members of the Black Liberation Army and some of those who were charged in the 9/11 attacks. He brought a federal suit in Washington, D.C., to bar Israel from receiving U.S. aid, charging that the Israeli government carried out a “program of killing, torture, terror and outright theft” against the Palestinians.

He defended the PayPal 14 in Northern California, a Muslim radio station in South Africa and the accused in a “terrorist” case in Romania and has an ongoing case against Egypt in the African Union for its closure of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. He often worked on cases with Lynne Stewart, who was convicted of supporting terrorists by passing to the press some messages from her client, the blind sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, was disbarred as a result and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison before being released in 2013 because she has cancer. Cohen was a protégé of the attorney William Kunstler, with whom he defended Mohawk Indians who mounted an armed uprising in 1990 on a reservation in Quebec.

Rocking the Climate Boat to Midnight

The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises: Change in a Time of Climate Change
by Rebecca Solnit  - TomDispatch
solnit paradiseThere have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly -- from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways.

Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system. They insist that we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily.

I say: rock that boat.
 
It’s a lifeboat; maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing. Those who think they’re hanging onto a stable order are actually clinging to the wreckage of the old order, a ship already sinking, that we need to leave behind.
 

Canadians Organize Against Parliamentary War Declaration

Speak-out and organize to stop the US-led destruction of Iraq and Syria now
The Windsor Peace Coalition calls on all those in Windsor and Essex County who stand for peace and justice to join us in saying NO! to the U.S.-led destruction of Iraq and Syria.
 
The only “debate” about it in Parliament is over how Canada will be involved in a new US-led war in the region. Canadians don’t want debates on how best to invade, destabilize and interfere in other countries’ affairs; we want to end it.
 
It is brutally ironic that October 7 marks the 13th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan that was launched under bogus pretexts and which Canada is still embroiled in today through NATO.
 
Don’t let the warmongers in Parliament speak in your name! Don’t let them embroil us in another war of aggression under bogus pretexts that will only lead to more chaos and violence and crimes against the people of the world!
 
We call on all unions, political parties, community groups and everyone else to speak out NOW! Spread the word far and wide to co-workers, friends and family and through social and other media. Join in!
 

US Judge Gladys Kessler Orders Guantánamo Force-Feeding Videos to be Made Public

In Ground-Breaking Ruling, US Judge Gladys Kessler Orders Guantánamo Force-Feeding Videos to be Made Public
by Andy Worthington
Congratulations to Judge Gladys Kessler of the District Court in Washington D.C., who, yesterday, followed up on a powerful order prohibiting the government from holding a secret hearing in the case of Guantánamo hunger striker Abu Wa’el Dhiab, which I wrote about here, with an even more powerful order calling on the government to prepare for public release eleven hours of videotapes showing Mr. Dhiab being dragged from his cell and force-fed.

Sami-al-Haj force-feeding as depicted
by British artist, Lewis Peake 2008

This ruling is the latest in a string of powerful rulings by Judge Kessler, who, in May, briefly ordered the government to stop force-feeding Mr. Dhiab.
 
This order was swiftly rescinded, as Judge Kessler feared for his life, but she also ordered videotapes of his “forcible cell extractions” (FCEs) and his force-feeding to be made available to his lawyers, who had to travel to the Pentagon’s secure facility outside Washington D.C. to see them. After viewing them, Cori Crider, his lawyer at Reprieve, said, “While I’m not allowed to discuss the contents of these videos, I can say that I had trouble sleeping after viewing them,” and added, “I have no doubt that if President Obama forced himself to watch them, he would release my client tomorrow.”

From the Mouth of Biden: Veep Admits US Allies Fund/Arm Al Qaeda/ Al Nusra

Biden: Turks, Saudis, UAE Funded and Armed Al Nusra and Al Qaeda
by Sharmine Narwani - Mideast Shuffle
When Joe Biden gets candid, he really lets rip. The US vice president, speaking at the John F. Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, on Thursday told his audience – point blank – that America’s Sunni allies are responsible for funding and arming Al Qaeda-type extremists in Syria.

And he named names: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, specifically. Others – like Qatar – are undoubtedly complicit too, but Biden’s comments were made off-the-cuff during the question and answer period following his prepared statement.

Of course, much of what Biden said has been suspected for years by Syria watchers, but to acknowledge this outright during the early days of President Barack Obama’s much-vaunted ISIL-busting Coalition – featuring these very same Sunni Arab partners – is a jaw-dropping concession.

But that’s not all. Biden also managed to fundamentally undermine his administration’s efforts to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels today, by claiming there is no “moderate middle (in Syria) because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers.”

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If It didn't Exist...Inventing ISIS

What if the so-called Islamic State (IS) didn’t exist?
by Ramzy Baroud - Middle East Eye
In order to answer this question, one has to liberate the argument from its geopolitical and ideological confines.

Flexible language 

 

Many in the media (Western, Arab, etc) use the reference “Islamist” to brand any movement at all whether it be political, militant or even charity-focused. If it is dominated by men with beards or women with headscarves that make references to the Holy Koran and Islam as the motivator behind their ideas, violent tactics or even good deeds, then the word “Islamist” is the language of choice.

According to this overbearing logic, a Malaysia-based charity can be as ‘Islamist’ as the militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria. When the term “Islamist” was first introduced to the debate on Islam and politics, it carried mostly intellectual connotations. Even some “Islamists” used it in reference to their political thought. Now, it can be moulded to mean many things.

This is not the only convenient term that is being tossed around so deliberately in the discourse pertaining to Islam and politics. Many are already familiar with how the term “terrorism” manifested itself in the myriad of ways that fit any country’s national or foreign policy agenda - from the US’ George W. Bush to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. In fact, some of these leaders accused one another of practising, encouraging or engendering terrorism while positioning themselves as the crusaders against terror. The American version of the “war on terror” gained much attention and bad repute because it was highly destructive. But many other governments launched their own wars to various degrees of violent outcomes.

The flexibility of the usage of language very much stands at the heart of this story, including that of IS. We are told the group is mostly made of foreign jihadists. This could have much truth to it, but this notion cannot be accepted without much contention.
 

Remembering Our Commons Heritage

The Wisdom of the Commons
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
Heather Menzies explains in the Preface to her remarkable book, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good: A Memoir & Manifesto, how her creative life as an academic and promotional speaker was brought to a halt by a painful awareness of the local and global ecological disasters unfolding around her. “I'd identified the impasse of an overheated and dysfunctional global economy on a collision course with an increasingly distressed planet,” she writes, “yet had no alternative to offer.”
 
That alternative slowly became apparent to her, initially at Idle No More rallies where First Nations chiefs were speaking of “our sacred covenant with Creation” and “our sacred responsibility” to the land. It was their powerful sense of belonging that called Menzies to explore her ancestral roots in Scotland and to search for the meaning of the single word “Tullicro”, the only clue she had to her history.
 
This word led Menzies to discover and explore her family's origin in the Tullicro Commons of the Tay River Valley in the Highlands of Scotland, a place that nourished many generations of her forebears until the 19th century.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Scott Renyard, Jon Elmer, Janine Bandcroft October 1st, 2014

 
This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
Yesterday, the World Wildlife Fund's biennial Living Planet Report reported: "World populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell overall by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010." Imagine; within most of our lifetimes, half of the world's non-human inhabitants are no more, primarily due to anthropogenic activities. And yet, human desires are demanding ever more from the natural world even as our designs on nature diminish it.

Nowhere perhaps is that incongruity more palpable than right here in British Columbia where the majestic Pacific ocean's coming to shore is met by deforestation, industrialization, over-population, and the introduction of foreign species into an ecosystem unprepared to cope.
 
 
Scott Renyard is a filmmaking scientist whose screen credits include more than a 100 film and television projects; projects that have seen him wear many hats, including: writer, director, and producer; as he did for the award-winning documentary, 'Who Killed Miracle?' Long-time Victoria residents may remember the controversial death of the orphaned Orca "adopted" by the now defunct Sealand of the Pacific aquarium in Oak Bay.
 
Renyard's latest film, 'The Pristine Coast' debuted last week at Vancouver's International Film Festival. In it, Scott chronicles marine biologist, Alexandra Morton's epic undertaking to document the effects of Atlantic Salmon fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago and her efforts to protect the migration routes of wild Pacific Salmon all over the province.
 
Scott Renyard in the first half.
 
And; Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations' General Assembly this week. Just weeks after causing the deaths of more than 2100 Palestinian civilians, and destroying much of the Gaza Strip, an unrepentant Netanyahu lectured the Assembly on the need to further isolate and sanction Iran, a nation that has attacked no-one; ever. As the news circus moves on to other hotspots, the fate of captured Gaza and the Occupied West Bank is again overshadowed and forgotten.
 
Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance photographer and journalist who has lived in and filed reports from Occupied Palestine on and off for the better part of the last dozen years. He has too reported on indigenous movements in the Basque country, Western Sahara, and right here in Canada. Jon's work has appeared at myriad sites on the internet, including; Inter Press News Service, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Progressive, and Al Jazeera English, and at his web site JonElmer.ca.
 
Jon Elmer and staying with the Palestinian story 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 newz from the streets of the city and beyond. But first, Scott Renyard and defending British Columbia's pristine coast.

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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What BC's "World Class" LNG Deals Look Like Behind Closed Doors

“World-Class” BC LNG brings Third World deals with likes of Petronas
by Kevin Logan - The Common Sense Canadian
It’s possible that the majority of British Columbians would agree with developing our natural gas resources – even for export – if our own energy security was guaranteed, the economic benefits accrued to British Columbians and we did it all in such a way that we are able to maintain our international reputation as an environmental leader and awe-inspiring tourist destination.

However, contrary to the BC Liberal election campaign rhetoric, the government’s LNG development model offers none of this and with the Malaysian state-owned behemoth Petronas as their lead proponent, it’s guaranteed we will reach none of these objectives.

Most of Petronas CEO Abbas and BC Premier Clark’s
discussions have been behind closed doors

‘World-Class’ rhetoric ushers in Third World-style deals


Christy Clark has made of lot of claims to maintain her hold on BCs most powerful office, chief among them has been the bold but baseless proclamation that her government will erase BC’s fast burgeoning debt and fill a 100 Billion-dollar “Prosperity Fund” by developing our resources in nothing less than “world-class” fashion.
 
However, while such soundbites may win election campaigns in the developed world, the facts prove that the Clark government’s public narrative is thoroughly divorced from the Third World-style backroom reality that has been driving the BC Liberal LNG negotiation style.
 
But we have been calling them out for years.
 

How Do You Like Us So Far? Judging America's Nascent 21st Century Security State

Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century
by Tom Engelhardt  - TomDispatch
What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters. You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities. Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for... well, the salacious hell of it.
 
Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of "spycraft" gains its own name: LOVEINT.

You listen in on foreign leaders and politicians across the planet. You bring on board hundreds of thousands of crony corporate employees, creating the sinews of an intelligence-corporate complex of the first order. You break into the “backdoors” of the data centers of major Internet outfits to collect user accounts. You create new outfits within outfits, including an ever-expanding secret military and intelligence crew embedded inside the military itself (and not counted among those 17 agencies). Your leaders lie to Congress and the American people without, as far as we can tell, a flicker of self-doubt. Your acts are subject to secret courts, which only hear your versions of events and regularly rubberstamp them -- and whose judgments and substantial body of lawmaking are far too secret for Americans to know about.

You have put extraordinary effort into ensuring that information about your world and the millions of documents you produce doesn’t make it into our world. You even have the legal ability to gag American organizations and citizens who might speak out on subjects that would displease you (and they can’t say that their mouths have been shut). You undoubtedly spy on Congress. You hack into congressional computer systems. And if whistleblowers inside your world try to tell the American public anything unauthorized about what you’re doing, you prosecute them under the Espionage Act, as if they were spies for a foreign power (which, in a sense, they are, since you treat the American people as if they were a foreign population). You do everything to wreck their lives and -- should one escape your grasp -- you hunt him implacably to the ends of the Earth.

As for your top officials, when their moment is past, the revolving door is theirs to spin through into a lucrative mirror life in the intelligence-corporate complex.