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Washington Aiming Down an Oil Barrel: Obama's Energy Weapon

Obama’s New Oil Wars: Washington Takes on ISIS, Iran, and Russia
by Michael T. Klare  - TomDispatch 
It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. 
It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. 
The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops. It is, of course, that very same oil weapon.
Until recently, the use of the term “the oil weapon” has largely been identified with the efforts of Arab producers to dissuade the United States from supporting Israel by cutting off the flow of petroleum. The most memorable example of its use was the embargo imposed by Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on oil exports to the United States during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, causing scarcity in the U.S., long lines at American filling stations, and a global economic recession.

Joining America: Political Right and Left Merge to End Foreign Wars

Urgent: Right-Left Alliance Needed to Stop This War!
by David Swanson - Ron Paul Institute
Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren't telling people that ISIS might be coming to their neighborhood to behead them. There were other, smaller differences as well: Britain's opposition, Russia's opposition, and the difficulty of explaining to Americans that it now made sense to join a war on the same side as al Qaeda.
But there's another big difference between last year and this year. Last year was not a Congressional election year.
With elections coming this November, Congress declared an early vacation in September and fled town in order to avoid voting a new war up or down. It did this while fully aware that the President would proceed with the war illegally. Most Congress members, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Leader Harry Reid, believe that by allowing a war to happen without explicitly voting for or against it they can best win our votes for re-election without offending their funders.

Congress members have good reason to think that way.

No Dickens for Sinai's "Olivers"?

Sinai Hit Hard by Egypt's Child Labour Problem
by Mohammad Omer - Middle East Eye
Omer Sinai childSINAI, Egypt - The worn-out plastic sandals on his feet looked like they have travelled a great distance - to school, to his work and to his home, and everywhere in-between.

At 3am, he is stood shivering in the cold Sinai Desert night air, as he tries to sell his wares to truck drivers in a rest area. “Tissues for two pounds,” said 11-year-old tissue-seller Karim Mustapha.
“This is what I do right now to support my sick father and mother,” said Karim, who is just one of 2.7 million Egyptian children involved in such labour in Egypt.
8-year-old Mohammed sells nuts on the side of the road (MEE / Mohammed Omer)
This a meagre source of income for the Mustapha family - they are not on the agenda of any organisation in Egypt, so do not receive any donations from charities or welfare groups - and are among one of the poorest groups in the population who have no other option but to send their young children to work.

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Nutured by America: Baby Doc Lives and Dies Free

From Cradle to Grave, the U.S. Protected Jean-Claude Duvalier
by Fran Quigley
duvalier 9 2 07In February of 2013, I stood in a sweaty, overcrowded Port-au-Prince courtroom and watched as Jean-Claude Duvalier answered questions about hundreds of his political opponents being arrested, imprisoned, and killed during his tenure as Haiti’s “President for Life.”

Many of Duvalier’s rivals were held in the notorious three prisons known collectively as the “Triangle of Death”—Casernes Dessalines, Fort Dimanche, and the National Penitentiary. One political prisoner held in the Casernes Dessalines recalls being placed in a cell underneath the grounds of the National Palace, where Duvalier lived. The prisoner was led to an area so dark he could not see, but a guard’s torchlight revealed the man was locked in a room amid the skeletons of former prisoners.

At the court hearing I attended, Duvalier ducked responsibility, saying that the killing and oppression was done without his knowledge.

Then he walked out of that courtroom a free man, which is how he died earlier this month, at age 63.
The dictator in happier days

Mohammed Rising: Israel's Name Problem

Israel and the g-word: We need a better word than ‘occupation’
by Jonathan Cook
Israeli officials were caught in a revealing lie late last month as the country celebrated the Jewish New Year. Shortly after declaring the most popular boy’s name in Israel to be “Yosef”, the interior ministry was forced to concede that the top slot was actually filled by “Mohammed”.

That small deceit coincided with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the United Nations. He outraged Israelis by referring to Israel’s slaughter of more than 2,100 Palestinians – most of them civilians – in Gaza over the summer as “genocide”.

Both incidents served as a reminder of the tremendous power of a single word.

Most Israelis are barely able to contemplate the possibility that their Jewish state could be producing more Mohammeds than Moshes. At the same time, and paradoxically, Israel can point to the sheer number of “Mohammeds” to demonstrate that at worst it is eradicating the visibility of a Muslim name, certainly not its bearers.

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Biden's Balloon: Naming "Friends" Who Support America's Enemies

The Myth of Assad, ISIL, and Extremism
by Sharmine Narwani - RT
Who is to blame for the proliferation of extremist groups in Syria? The West often points a finger at Assad and his allies, but two secret US documents tell a different story.
It is difficult to find US officials directly claiming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in league with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but you will find plenty who will allude to it using specious reasoning.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is one of many who have sought to encourage this narrative:
“There is evidence that Assad has played footsie with them (ISIL), and he has used them as a tool of weakening the opposition. He never took on their headquarters, which were there and obvious, and other assets that they have. So we have no confidence that Assad is either capable of or willing to take on ISIL.”

That logic forms the basis of several key arguments used by Syria’s opponents to suggest a covert and symbiotic relationship between the Syrian government and Islamist extremists.

The Banker and the Dam (Almost) Nobody Wanted

Ex-TD Bank Comptroller: Site C Dam too costly, unnecessary, rushed
I’m here today to talk about the pending Site C decision and the budget and fiscal implications. This project will be the biggest public infrastructure project in the next 20 years if it proceeds. It’s estimated, currently, to cost $8 billion, which would increase the provincial debt by over 10 percent. We don’t have accurate information on costs, so it could well be more than that.
Time is short. By my calculation, I will be reviewing $800 million of government spending every minute, so I would ask you to please review the materials that are in your kit, all of which is in the public domain. Further to the previous presenter, I would encourage you, in particular, to have a look at the report on energy alternatives in the right- hand side of the folder, which covers many of the items that were discussed just now.
I’m not going to deal with First Nations issues, but I do want to say that those who suggest that the courts will somehow pay less attention or do less to protect treaty rights, such as those of West Moberly, as compared to proven aboriginal title of Tsilhqot’in, are mistaken.
[The following is a transcript of Rob Botterell’s recent speech to the BC Select Committee on Finance and Government Services. Mr. Botterell is a lawyer, former senior government official and former comptroller of TD Bank’s BC division.]

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Andrea Morison, Greg Palast, Janine Bandcroft October 8th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
Stephen Harper's New Government announced it will render a decision on the fate of the Peace River Valley on October 22. The crux of the matter involves the long-proposed and ever contentious scheme to dam again the Peace.
Site-C would be the third hydro dam on the river, and if placed where planned would reduce already dwindling wildlife habitat, submerging First Nations hopes of maintaining traditional livelihood opportunities in the region, while flooding too some of the province's best farmland.

Naturally, there's more than a few local detractors, and many more from down south are opposed; so, just who supports Site C?
Andrea Morison is spokesperson for the PVEA, Peace Valley Environmental Association. She holds a Masters of Natural Resource Management degree and has worked in that field in both Ontario and BC for more than 25 years; the last three years of which has been devoted to the PVEA's involvement with the environmental assessment process for Site C. Her prior experience is in forestry, and the oil and gas sectors.
Andrea Morison in the first half.
And; way down south, Argentina way, President Cristina Kirchner's government has done the unthinkable and defied foreign "adventure" capitalists' attempts to cash in on Argentine debt they bought for centavos on the peso when the country was on its financial knees. A US court has upheld the so-called vulture's claims, but Kirchner has so far refused to budge. It's meant massive pressure being brought to bear on the country, still digging itself out of a financial hole largely dug by the fascist regimes of the 1980's.
Reporting investigator, Greg Palast trained at Chicago's infamous School of Economics under Milton Friedman, Godfather of Trickle Down Economics and inspiration to the Gordon Gekko mantra of the era, "Greed is Good." He transitioned into journalism because the reporters he was feeding stories of malfeasance in high places routinely screwed them up, or allowed their editors bleed them white. But, as a trailblazing DIY investigator, he soon discovered; having a great story to tell doesn't mean the media will tell it. Palast ventured across the Atlantic, finding a home with London's Guardian newspaper, and later presenting his investigations on the BBC flagship television news program, Newsnight.
Greg Palast is the author of several books, including New York Times bestsellers, 'Billionaires & Ballot Bandits,' 'Armed Madhouse,' and 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.' His latest is 'Vultures' Picnic,' named by the BBC's Newsnight Review as "Book of the Year for 2012." In addition to Britain's Guardian, (who regards him as "the most important investigative journalist of our time...") and the BBC, Greg's reports are featured Stateside by The Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone, Harper's Magazine, and online at Greg Palast film exposés include: 'Billionaires and Ballot Bandits - The Movie,' 'Vultures and Vote Rustlers.' 'Why We Occupy - Palast Live!,' 'Big Easy to Big Empty,' 'Bush Family Fortunes, ' 'The Assassination of Hugo Chavez,' 'Palast Investigates,' 'The Election File,' and with Jeremy Scahill 'Big Noise: From Black Water to White Powder.'
Greg Palast and Argentina's circling vultures 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 from our city's streets and beyond there too. But first, Andrea Morison and seperating Site C promises from reality.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:
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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.