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UN Iraq Human Rights Report Mum on US-caused Death and Atrocity

“Staggering” violence in Iraq: The legacy of US war and occupation
by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

21 January 2016
 
Describing current levels of killing and mayhem in Iraq as “staggering” and “obscene,” two United Nations agencies released a report Tuesday that recorded at least 55,047 civilian casualties between January 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015. The total included at least 18,802 civilians killed and another 36,245 wounded.
 
The report added that over roughly the same period, a total of 3,206,736 civilians, including over 1 million school-age children, have been driven from their homes by the violence.
 
The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein said the report failed to reflect the full human toll inflicted by the conflict in Iraq. The numbers reported killed or wounded, particularly in areas under ISIS control, undoubtedly fell well short of the real level of carnage. Moreover, many more had “died from lack of access to basic food, water or medical care,” he said.
 
The high commissioner added that the report “starkly illustrates what Iraqi refugees are attempting to escape when they flee to Europe and other regions. This is the horror they face in their homelands.”
 

Father of Killed American Presses Kerry for Answers on MH-17 Jet Shootdown

Kerry Pressed for MH-17 Evidence
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

January 21, 2016

The father of Quinn Schansman, the only American citizen to die in the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to release the U.S. data that Kerry cited in claiming precise knowledge of where the suspected anti-aircraft missile was fired.
 
One of the mysteries of the MH-17 case has become why the United States – after asserting that it possessed information implicating ethnic Russian rebels and the Russian government – has failed to make the data public or apparently even share it with Dutch investigators who are leading the inquiry into how the plane was shot down and who was responsible.
 
Quinn Schansman, dual U.S.-Dutch
citizen killed aboard Malaysia Airlines
Flight 17, July 17, 2014. (Photo Facebook)
 
Quinn Schansman, who had dual U.S.-Dutch citizenship, boarded MH-17 along with 297 other people for a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. The 19-year-old was planning to join his family for a vacation in Malaysia.
 

Progress of Denial: Pentagon Not Through with Iraq Yet

The Pentagon’s Progress: Will American “Successes” Lead to More Iraqi Military Failures?
by Nick Turse - TomDispatch
 
There’s good news coming out of Iraq... again. The efforts of a 65-nation coalition and punishing U.S. airstrikes have helped local ground forces roll back gains by the Islamic State (IS).

Government forces and Shiite militias, for example, recaptured the city of Tikrit, while Kurdish troops ousted IS fighters from the town of Sinjar and other parts of northern Iraq. Last month, Iraqi troops finally pushed Islamic State militants out of most of the city of Ramadi, which the group had held since routing Iraqi forces there last spring.

In the wake of all this, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter touted “the kind of progress that the Iraqi forces are exhibiting in Ramadi, building on that success to… continue the campaign with the important goal of retaking Mosul as soon as possible.”
 
Even more recently, he said those forces were “proving themselves not only motivated but capable.”
 
I encountered the same upbeat tone when I asked Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, about the Iraqi security forces. “The last year has been a process of constructing, rebuilding, and refitting the Iraqi army,” he explained. “While it takes time for training and equipping efforts to take effect, the increasing tactical confidence and competence of the ISF [Iraqi security forces] and their recent battlefield successes indicate that we are on track.”
 

Two Faces of New York Times' Nuclear Coverage: Damning Iran, While Praising US Arms Program

The New York Times’s Double Standard on Iran’s Nuclear Program
by Matt Peppe  - CounterPunch

January 19, 2016

As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified over the weekend that Iran has completed the measures necessary to comply with the nuclear deal reached last July with the P5+1 governments, the New York Times Editorial Board proclaimed “the world is now safer for this.”
 
They lauded the deal as a “testament to patient diplomacy” and President Barack Obama’s “visionary determination to pursue a negotiated solution to the nuclear threat.”
 
The Editorial Board takes for granted that Iran presents a threat. Iran has always maintained it has never intended to build nuclear weapons, and that it’s nuclear program was strictly meant to use nuclear technology as a source of energy production.
 
 

High and Dry in Mordor City: Detroit Water Activists Go to Trial

Water Resistance Trial Underway in Detroit
by Bill Quigley - HuffPost

Nov 20 2015

Mordor eyeA jury trial is underway in Detroit for human rights activists arrested for blocking trucks which were going to cutoff water to low-income families.
 
On July 18, 2014, dozens of people successfully blocked the trucks of the Homrich Inc., a private wrecking company that the City of Detroit contracts with to carry out water shutoffs. The trucks were leaving to cutoff water for Detroiters who were more than $150 past due on payments. After an eight-hour blockade nine people were arrested.
 
Those on trial said civil disobedience was their only option to address the grave public health crisis of mass water shutoffs, since the City of Detroit was under emergency management, which effectively strips all elected officials of decision-making power.
 
One of the people on trial is Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Detroit.
 
He told The Detroit News, "It was, at the time, the last vestige of democracy in the city."
 

TPP's Roshomon Tale: Raw Deal for Canadian Log Exports, Or Not?

Ambiguity in TPP side letter about raw log exports to Japan
by Peter Ewart - 250 News

January 20, 2016

Rashomon” was a film made back in 1950 by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The film revolves around the murder of a samurai warrior and various characters’ accounts of it. According to their own interests, each of the characters has a very different interpretation as to how and why the warrior was killed.
 
And so it goes with the issue of raw log exports from Canada to Japan under the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. In the negotiations, a side letter was agreed upon between the two countries that addresses log exports (1).

The Canadian government negotiators claim that this letter protects existing restrictions on these exports. However, the Japanese side appears to interpret the letter differently (2).

For example, the Japan Forest Products Journal (Oct. 23) claims that Canada has “agreed to ease” restrictions on raw log exports (3). According to a translation done by the Private Forest Landowners Association of BC, the Japanese Trade Journal (Oct. 10) has claimed the same thing. For its part, the Japanese government suggests that the TPP agreement will improve log export regulations and that this will result in higher prices for logs in Canada.
 
On the other hand, Rick Jeffery, CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association (which includes companies that export raw logs) says that the side letter maintains the status quo and does not involve lifting log export restrictions.
 

A Fed Facilitated Market Free-Fall

The Fed’s Role in the Stock Market Slide
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch

January 19, 2016
 
Dow Jones January 2016When the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P peaked in May 2015, investors were still confident that the Fed “had their back” and that any steep or prolonged downturn in stocks would be met with additional liquidity and a firm commitment to maintain zero rates as long as necessary. But now that the Fed has started its long-awaited rate-hike cycle, investors aren’t sure what to expect.
 
This growing uncertainty coupled with flagging earnings reports have factored heavily in Wall Street’s recent selloff. Unless the Fed is able to restore confidence by promising to take steps that support the markets, stocks are going to continue get hammered by economic data that’s bound to deteriorate as 2016 drags on.
 
For the last few years, investors have relied on the so called “Bernanke Put” to prevent significant stock losses while the real economy continued to sputter and underperform. The moniker refers to the way the Fed adds liquidity to the markets during periods of stress to put a floor under stocks.
 
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John LaForge, Matt Peppe, Janine Bandcroft Jan. 20th, 2016

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

 
Last week, international sanctions against Iran's civilian nuclear program were finally dropped. Despite no evidence of nuclear weapons development, the embattled country's agreement to stringent International Atomic Energy Agency conditions allows it join - in a still limited way - the World economy.

It all goes a long way in ensuring the IAEA's mission of "Atoms for Peace." But, what about those other atoms in other countries that are clearly not devoted to peace? The United States of America, chief amongst Iran's prosecutors, is the planet's single-largest repository of veritable nuclear weaponry, yet it suffers no sanction, or onerous inspection requirements.
 
And why, a quarter century after the fall of its Cold War nemesis, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is America still pursuing a policy of nuclear weapons development anyway?
 
 
John LaForge is a long-time staffer at Nukewatch, the Wisconsin-based nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group, whose countless articles on the topic have appeared in Nukewatch's quarterly and at online sites like: New Internationalist, Z Magazine, The Progressive, Earth Island Journal and at CounterPunch.org.
 
He's also co-editor, with Arianne S. Peterson, of the revised edition of the book, 'Nuclear Heartland: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the the United States.' A lot has changed since the first edition, issued in 1987 when Ronald Reagan's steely resolve rallied America, and Mikhail Gorbachov's Soviets promised imminent and total destruction, and yet America's nuclear arms program remains.
 
John LaForge in the first half.
 
And; President Obama delivered his final State of the Union Speech last week. It's the first step in America's transfer of power pageant, scheduled to culminate this time next year with the inauguration of Hillary Clinton, (or coronation of Donald Trump). From Honest Abe Lincoln, to Tricky Dick Nixon, the President IS for a time We the People; but how much real power does a president have in the modern context, and can that person's character exercise a moral authority potent enough to move America one way or the other?
 
Matt Peppe's analyses of U.S. foreign policy and Latin America appear on his blog, Just the Facts, and across the internet at prominent news sites like: MintPress News, Counterpunch, Latino Rebels, Countercurrents, Global Research, Dissident Voice, and others. His recent update to the article, 'Jimmy Carter's Blood-Soaked Legacy' takes on the elder statesman's real role in a brutal period of American history, questioning both the notion of Carter as, and the practical possibility of, a "good" American president.

Matte Peppe and Jimmy Carter, good president, or just another bad peanut? 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 goings on going on in and around our streets, and beyond, in the coming week. But first, John LaForge and the Nuclear Heartland, an answer to "Where have all the missiles gone...?"

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Canada's National Energy Board Continues "Flawed" Review Process for Kinder Morgan's TransMountain Pipeline

Rubber-stamp Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings begin despite public outcry
by Wilderness Committee
 
January 19, 2016

BURNABY, BCThe National Energy Board (NEB) begins hearings today as part of the federal review for the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, in the face of serious public concerns about the process and its lack of credibility.

In August, the Wilderness Committee joined 33 individuals and another organization to withdraw from the flawed federal review process, citing its various failures – such as limiting public participation and allowing proponents to withhold important information.

“It’s disheartening that we are going forward with the same old, broken process,” said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney.
“British Columbians were promised new hearings because we have no faith in the NEB to adequately assess the risks associated with this risky tar sands pipeline.”

The National Energy Board has been repeatedly criticized for its “biased” pipeline reviews, which do not allow for proponents like Kinder Morgan to be cross-examined and fail to consider the impact that tar sands pipelines will have on the climate.
 

Sanders Attack: How You Know When They're Worried

Rethinking Bernie Sanders: Attacking Wall Street and the Corrupt US Political System Makes Sanders a Genuine Revolutionary
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

January 18, 2016

I admit I’ve been slow to warm up to the idea of supporting Bernie Sanders.

Maybe it’s because I publicly backed Barack Obama in 2008 and quickly came to rue that decision after he took office.

But I have decided Bernie Sanders is different. It’s too facile to simply label him another “hope-and-change” Obama, or just another Bill Clinton liberal poseur, put in the Democratic race to lure left-leaning voters.
 
Bernie Sanders blasts Hillary Clinton during the
Jan. 17 debate for using the "Republican charge" of
lying that his Medicare for All plan would "dismantle"
Obamacare (Clinton and Republicans conveniently
forget to mention that while many would see their
taxes go up to fund universal healthcare, there would
be no more private insurance premiums, for either
individuals and families or employers).

When I wrote that I backed Obama, back in ’08, I said that it would be important for people on the left to stay organized and to press Obama, after election, to live up to his promises on health care reform, labor law reform and other issues. There will be no need to push Sanders on his issues if he wins.

Militarism and Greed Mean Canada Still a Net Climate Problem

World’s Climate Threatened by Greed and Militarism, Official Canada Remains Part of the Problem, Not Solution
by Roger Annis  - CounterPunch

January 18, 2016
 
A leading columnist in Canada’s Globe and Mail daily newspaper known in the past to voice concern about the global warming emergency has penned two columns recently in support of Alberta tar sands pipelines, including praising the efforts of the premier of Alberta to sell the construction of these project to an increasingly sceptical and wary public in Canada.
 
Jeffrey Simpson has argued for years for a more rational capitalist approach to energy production in which some account would be made for the global warming emergency. He co-authored a book in 2007 with several climate scientists titled Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge.[1] But his columns in the January 14 and 15 editions of the Globe reveal him as just a born again shill for the Alberta tar sands industry.
 
Simpson begins his Jan 14 column (accessible online to Globe subscribers only) with, “Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, to her government’s great credit, has tried for the first time to outline a comprehensive and serious plan for the province to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.”
 
Simpson is referring to Premier Notley’s fanfare announcement on November 22, 2015 purporting to be an energy “plan” with greenhouse gas reduction components.
 

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