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Staying Sane in a Mad World

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"Whistleblower! See it, Say it."

Memo to Potential Whistleblowers: If You See Something, Say Something
by Norman Solomon - Global Research
Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.
 
I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week.

“It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.”
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Losing the Freedom to Speak: America After 9/11

What We've Lost Since 9/11: Taking Down the First Amendment in Post-Constitutional America
by Peter Van Buren  - TomDispatch
America has entered its third great era: the post-constitutional one. In the first, in the colonial years, a unitary executive, the King of England, ruled without checks and balances, allowing no freedom of speech, due process, or privacy when it came to protecting his power.

In the second, the principles of the Enlightenment and an armed rebellion were used to push back the king’s abuses. The result was a new country and a new constitution with a Bill of Rights expressly meant to check the government's power. Now, we are wading into the shallow waters of a third era, a time when that government is abandoning the basic ideas that saw our nation through centuries of challenges far more daunting than terrorism. Those ideas -- enshrined in the Bill of Rights -- are disarmingly concise. Think of them as the haiku of a genuine people's government.

Deeper, darker waters lie ahead and we seem drawn down into them. For here there be monsters.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jon Elmer, Dave Lindorff, Janine Bandcroft June 16th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
che kokoWhile much of Western Asia is roiled by the instability created by wars within their borders, (wars largely created from beyond those borders by the policies of the United States and its allies in NATO and Israel) the temperature of the ever-volatile situation in Occupied Palestine is heightened today due to the disappearance Friday of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Bellicose threats, and an unsubstantiated accusation against Hamas from prime minister Netanyahu has accompanied mass arrests and a furthering tightening of the siege against the Gaza Strip. This comes in the wake of Pope Francis' highly publicized trip to the Holy Land, and after the much criticized Hamas/Fatah Unitary agreement ostensibly led to Israel's withdrawal from the latest stumbling peace process.
 
 
Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance journalist and photojournalist specializing in the Middle East, and on Canadian foreign and military policy. Elmer has lived in and reported from Occupied Palestine for the better part of the last decade, while reporting too from more than a dozen countries from Nepal and Western Sahara, to the Basque country, and here in Canada. His articles and photographs are featured at the Journal of Palestine Studies, Le Monde diplomatique, The Progressive, and Al Jazeera English among others, and at his web site JonElmer.ca. Jon is also a contributor, with Anthony Fenton, to the book, 'Empire's Ally: Canada in Afghanistan.'
 
Jon Elmer in the first half.
 
And; the legendary author, George Orwell famously said; "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." While Orwell is credited, long after his death, in some quarters with the power of prophesy, an analysis he would surely be dismayed if unsurprised by, he may have been truly shocked by the completeness with which the United States has come to resemble his most dystopic book, 1984.

Just last week, the alternative investigative website, ThisCantBeHappening.net discovered, through the Freedom of Information Act, it had been declared a "threat" in a memo sent across the country by none less than the Department of Homeland Security's Director of the Washington DC Fusion Center’s Regional Threat and Assessment Center. And what was the threat? Writing about the role Homeland Security played, through its Fusion Center Network during the Occupy Wall Street movement.
 
Dave Lindorff is an award-winning investigative reporter, long-time muckraker, and founder of the online news site, ThisCantBeHappening.net. Dave's writing regularly appears online at Counterpunch.org and is featured too in some mainstream interests. Lindorff is author of the books, 'This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy,' 'Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains,' 'Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,' and co-authored with Barbara Olshansky 'The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush'. 
 
Dave Lindorff on posing a "threat" and This Can't Be Happening.net's proudest moment of recognition 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 up to speed with some of the goings on going on on the streets of our city, and beyond too in the coming weeks.

But first, Jon Elmer and the changing sameness of Israel's Palestinian occupation.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm 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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Planetary Ecocide and Graceful Leave Takings

After the harvest — learning to leave the planet gracefully
by Robert Jensen - Waging Non-Violence
Every time I read the latest bad-and-getting-worse news about the health of the ecosphere, such as last month’s report that the melting of some giant glaciers had passed the point of no return, I think back to a conversation 25 years ago that helps me put such news in perspective.
 
In a Minneapolis bakery where my new friend Jim Koplin and I had settled into a Friday morning coffee session to analyze the world, and gossip a bit, Koplin told me that he thought the most important task for human beings — as a species, not just as individuals — was “learning to leave the planet gracefully.”
 
At our regular table by the window, he said this matter-of-factly, not joking but also not overly dramatic about it. This was a judgment he felt obligated to share with me once our friendship had deepened, our conversations had gotten sufficiently serious, and he had determined that I could handle it.
 
Why would human beings need to learn to leave the planet gracefully? The answer — so painfully obvious today, as the evidence about ecological crises piles up, readily available to anyone who chooses to know — was clear to Koplin more than 25 years ago. Although he wasn’t prone to quoting scripture, I am, so let me offer a “why” in the words of Jeremiah from the Hebrew Bible:
 
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)
 

Cold War II: Refreshing the Iron Curtain

Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine
by Diana Johnstone - CounterPunch

NATO leaders are currently acting out a deliberate charade in Europe, designed to reconstruct an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West.

With astonishing unanimity, NATO leaders feign surprise at events they planned months in advance. Events that they deliberately triggered are being misrepresented as sudden, astonishing, unjustified “Russian aggression”. The United States and the European Union undertook an aggressive provocation in Ukraine that they knew would force Russia to react defensively, one way or another.

They could not be sure exactly how Russian president Vladimir Putin would react when he saw that the United States was manipulating political conflict in Ukraine to install a pro-Western government intent on joining NATO.  This was not a mere matter of a “sphere of influence” in Russia’s “near abroad”, but a matter of life and death to the Russian Navy, as well as a grave national security threat on Russia’s border.

A trap was thereby set for Putin. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.  He could underreact, and betray Russia’s basic national interests, allowing NATO to advance its hostile forces to an ideal attack position.

Or he could overreact, by sending Russian forces to invade Ukraine.  The West was ready for this, prepared to scream that Putin was “the new Hitler”, poised to overrun poor, helpless Europe, which could only be saved (again) by the generous Americans.

 

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Iraq: Reaping the Fruit of the Dragon's Teeth, Again

Hell’s Gate: The Iraqi Blitzkrieg and the Cult of Violence
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
The bitter fruits of the monstrous evil the United States inflicted on Iraq are ripening before our eyes. The blitzkrieg by ISIS, a radical militia so extreme that even al Qaeda disowned it, has swept through large swaths of the country and laid bare the sham of the government system imposed by the American invaders.
 
Having engineered the senseless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and provoked a murderous sectarian war, the Americans installed a government based along strict sectarian lines -- a choice that was guaranteed to exacerbate internal strife and produce weak, ineffective, disunited governments. And so we have watched the government of would-be strongman Nouri al-Maliki wither away into corrupt factionalism and brutal repression in its frantic and failing efforts to impose its will on the inevitable chaos.

This week we may be witnessing its total collapse, as its army -- built and funded by the American invaders -- is simply vanishing in the face of the onslaught by ISIS, which is itself funded, in part, by America's own staunch allies in the Gulf … and, via America's funding and arming of murky stew of Syrian rebel groups (which includes ISIS), indirectly by Washington itself.
 

Report Highlights Canadian Involvement in Illegal Resource Trade from Western Sahara

Canadian complicity in illegal resource trade from Western Sahara detailed in new report
by Friends of Western Sahara, Victoria
Two of Canada’s leading agricultural fertilizer companies have been revealed as being among the largest importers of phosphate mineral rock from occupied Western Sahara. The trade is directly contributing to Morocco’s illegal occupation of the territory, considered to be Africa’s last colony after Spain abandoned it in 1975.
 
The m.v. Olympus finished unloading this week and is still in Vancouver Harbour, the m.v. Ultra Saskatoon is making its way north along the US west coast: Agrium Inc. may now be achieving its planned one million tonnes annual import of phosphates, the largest continuing volume by any company, anywhere.
 
The scope of Canadian involvement is detailed in a report made public today by the non-governmental organization Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) entitled P is for Plunder. The complete report can be found online at: http://www.wsrw.org/a105x2905 and it lists the buyers, volumes, values and shipments from Morocco's export of phosphate rock from the territory.
 
International law and the Geneva Conventions on War forbid the commercial exploitation of resources in occupied lands by the occupier.
 

Uncle Sam Has You!

Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You -- He Already Has You: The Militarized Realities of Fortress America
uncle samI spent four college years in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and then served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. In the military, especially in basic training, you have no privacy. The government owns you. You’re “government issue,” just another G.I., a number on a dogtag that has your blood type and religion in case you need a transfusion or last rites. You get used to it. That sacrifice of individual privacy and personal autonomy is the price you pay for joining the military. Heck, I got a good career and a pension out of it, so don’t cry for me, America.

But this country has changed a lot since I joined ROTC in 1981, was fingerprinted, typed for blood, and otherwise poked and prodded. (I needed a medical waiver for myopia.) Nowadays, in Fortress America, every one of us is, in some sense, government issue in a surveillance state gone mad.
 
Unlike the recruiting poster of old, Uncle Sam doesn’t want you anymore -- he already has you. You’ve been drafted into the American national security state. That much is evident from Edward Snowden’s revelations.
 

Tracking the Real Threats: Homeland Security on the Heels of American Journalism

Department of Homeland Security Brands ThisCantBeHappening! a ‘Threat’
by Dave Lindorff  - ThisCantBeHappening.net
Disturbing news, but our proudest moment: ThisCantBeHappening! has just learned that our little news organization was listed, in an alert fired off to all 78 Fusion Centers by Kelly Wilson, Director of the Washington DC Fusion Center’s Regional Threat and Assessment Center, as a potential threat.
 
The stated role of the Fusion Centers, which were created (and lavishly funded) in the wake of 9-11, was to link federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in order to better detect and combat terrorists inside the US. So what about this threat posed by ThisCantBeHappening!, though? Well, as Threat Assessment Director Wilson explains in her alert, the threat is that TCBH! published an article suggesting that the Fusion Centers played a central role in orchestrating the attacks on Occupy Movement actions in cities all across the US.
 
As she states in her alert:
 
“Although at this time these reference to fusion centers and Occupy seems [sic] to be compartmentalized I wanted to make you aware of these references in case the national news media begins [sic] speculating about fusion center involvement.”
Wilson includes in her alert a headline and several key paragraphs from our Nov. 15, 2011 article (which was later proven by us and others to be totally accurate [1]), as well as a link to our entire article on those connections [2].
 

Designing Climate to Suit Us

Choices: Selecting the Climate We Want
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
Choices are one of the many benefits provided by our modern, affluent, consumer culture. A television universe of 500 channels should provide something for everyone's viewing preferences. Toothpaste? More different kinds than can be imagined. Breakfast cereal? The varieties are overwhelming. Cars? A model with specifications for every possible need. Don't like the long cold seasons? Just choose a warmer place for a winter holiday.
 
Such choices are more than comforting. Beyond lightening the burden of inconvenience, reducing the stress of adapting, and creating the illusion of security, our choices come with a satisfying sense of control and plentitude. And now, thanks to the wonders of technology, we can even chose our climate.
 
Yes, just like adjusting a thermostat, turn to the desired temperature, wait patiently for the greenhouse gases to take effect, and that's the climate we'll get. Furthermore, the science is so accurate that it even offers a range. This is why the October 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided choices between 0.3°C and 4.8°C by 2100.
 
It all depends on what we want.
 

Calling Out the GWOT: The True Goals of the Terror War

A Matter of Principle: The True Aims of the Terror War
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
The moral insanity of the Terror War continues to spawn more violence, more extremism, more repression, more injustice, and the total subversion of the "Western values," all of which it is ostensibly designed to defend.
 
A new piece by Patrick Cockburn in the Independent provides a grimly illuminating look at this insanity in action on a specific front: Syria. It's worth reading in full, but here is an excerpt:
 
The Syrian war has turned into a Syrian version of the Thirty Years War in Germany four centuries ago. Too many conflicts and too many players have become involved for any peace terms to be acceptable to all.. … It has become increasingly obvious over the past year that al-Qa’ida type movements, notably Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, have come to dominate or can operate freely in a great swathe of territory across northern Iraq and northern Syria. This gives Isis a vast hinterland in which it can manoeuvre and fight on both sides of what is a largely nominal Syrian-Iraqi border. …

Europeans have not yet woken up to the significance of these anarchic zones opening up on the shores of the Mediterranean in Syria and Libya. This is because the threat has been largely abstract but it is getting less so with the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels by a French jihadi who had been in Syria. US and European politicians do not want to explain why, 13 years after 9/11, when the “war on terror” was supposedly launched, thousands of al-Qa’ida militants have been able to carve out enclaves so close to Europe.

US and European politicians won't explain it because any honest explanation would expose the emptiness at the core of all their proffered reasons for the Terror War. They can't explain it because the Terror War system -- including the increasing militarization and repression in their own countries -- has now become organizing principle of Western society. Or rather, it is the latest incarnation of what has been the guiding principle of Western society since World War II: organizing society and the economy around war, either active war or the ever-present "threat" of war (assiduously exaggerated -- or even manufactured -- at every turn).