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TorStar Drinks the Ukraine Koolaid

Toronto Star Newspaper is Running with the Extreme Right in Ukraine
by Roger Annis - CounterPunch
The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, is running with the neo-conservative government in Ukraine and the extreme right-wing parties and paramilitary militias with which the government is allied. ​
That’s the conclusion that comes from reading the newspaper’s editorial opinion, its highly selective news offerings, and the articles of Star journalists that have been promoting the causes of the extreme-right in Ukraine.

As in the rest of mainstream media, the overriding theme of writing and publishing in the Star is that the war in eastern Ukraine is a war of “aggression” by Russia and “pro-Russian rebels”.

Not Finished in the Backyard, Yet: Venezuela's Real Time Coup

Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time
by Eva Golinger - Counterpunch
There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie. At every turn a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumors spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic. Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.
This week, as the New York Times showcased an editorial degrading and ridiculing Venezuelan President Maduro, labeling him “erratic and despotic” (“Mr. Maduro in his Labyrinth”, NYT January 26, 2015), another newspaper across the Atlantic headlined a hack piece accusing the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, and the most powerful political figure in the country after Maduro, of being a narcotics kingpin (“The head of security of the number two Chavista defects to the U.S. and accuses him of drug trafficking”, ABC, January 27, 2015). The accusations stem from a former Venezuelan presidential guard officer, Leasmy Salazar, who served under President Chavez and was recruited by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), now becoming the new “golden child” in Washington’s war on Venezuela.
Two days later, the New York Times ran a front-page piece shaming the Venezuelan economy and oil industry, and predicting its downfall (“Oil Cash Waning, Venezuelan Shelves Lie Bare”, Jan. 29, 2015, NYT).

Britain's Panopticon Comes of Age

Britain Launches ‘Big Brother’ System, Uploads One Third of Population to Facial Recognition Database

Under the pretext of “fighting terrorism” the British government has allowed the unthinkable to happen, as police have somehow managed to acquire and then upload what equates to approximately 33% of the UK population – 18 million ‘mug shots’ – into a nationwide, real-time facial recognition tracking system.
To describe what has happened to British society, one can no longer call it a “slippery slope”, as it’s abundantly clear from this latest news that Britain has already fallen off the edge, and is presently tumbling into a Orwellian canyon.
(Image Source: Pink Tentacle)
As 21WIRE revealed this week, facial recognition is only the beginning, as US authorities begin rolling out the TSA’s new “emotional recognition” surveillance technology systems nationwide – and soon to be implemented worldwide.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ian Birtwell, Jon Elmer, Janine Bandcroft Feb. 4th, 2015

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -

It's sometimes difficult to understand the value of a thing; one person's garbage being another's treasure, etc. This is of no more than passing interest where consumer goods and other shiny trinkets are concerned, but when it comes to the natural world, the value of living things can differ greatly to a great many. A case in point is the seaweed we see casting up on the beaches of our island.

For some it's a smelly nuisance, for others a gardening boon, and for still others it's an opportunity to cash in on a growing food and cosmetics industry hungering for seaweed's constituent parts. Then there's the needs of the natural world.

Ian Birtwell is a London University trained research scientist who spent more than 33 years working with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Though retired from the public service now, Dr. Birtwell has lost none of his passion for our region's ocean ecology, or the desire to protect the health of the creatures that inhabit it.
When the provincial Ministry of Agriculture decide to allow commercial harvesting of seaweed along the beaches of eastern Vancouver Island in 2012, Ian and some like-minded scientists got together to study that decision's possible impacts and pitfalls. The study, 'Seaweed harvesting on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, BC: A Biological Review' addressing "specific concerns over the harvest near Deep Bay and Bowser" was completed in 2013; meanwhile, the "harvest" continues.

Ian Birtwell in the first half.

And; more than three years into a grinding civil war, life for Syria's citizens is only getting worse: Hundreds of thousands are believed killed, with uncounted, and uncountable, more wounded, while millions have been displaced, made refugees both within and outside the country. And there seems no end in sight.

Recent attacks from Lebanon's Hezbollah on soldiers of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms region of the Golan Heights prompted retaliatory Israeli bombing, spurring fears of another war in Lebanon. And as ever, the Palestinian diaspora is caught right in the middle, the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria hardest hit, being squeezed from all sides. Taken as a whole, it's a disaster of unmanageable scale, where chaos seems the only rule, and where certain cynical actors are doing their best to keep the flame of war stoked.

Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance photographer and photo-journalist who has reported from many of the World's most troubled regions. He's lived in and reported from Occupied Palestine repeatedly over the last decade and more, his dispatches being carried by Inter Press News Service, Al Jazeera English, Le Monde Diplomatique, and The Progressive among others. His website can be found at

Jon Elmer and the bleeding heart of the "Arc of Instability" 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 what's good to do in and around our neck of the woods, and beyond there too, in the coming week. But first, Ian Birtwell and getting into the weeds with the seaweed profiteers.  

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:

Staying on Top of Mt. Polley: Key and Missing Documents Preserved

More Key Information Coming Forward on Mt Polley Documents and Missing Documents

On Friday January 30, 2015, after four months of deliberation, including the review of almost a thousand documents, the BC government’s appointed expert panel released its limited report findings and recommendations concerning the Mount Polley mine tailings disaster.

It is the first of three separate investigations on the tailings disaster, one of the largest-by-volume in world history.

Accompanying the report, the government released 734 of the 847 “background” documents that were provided to the panel for internal review.
These selected 847 documents (some of which are duplicates) were sourced from the Mount Polley Mining Corporation, from the Corporation’s three engineering firms, Knight Piesold, BGC, and AMEC, from the BC Ministry of Mines, and from the BC Ministry of Environment, documents which span a 20-year period (1995-2014).

"Macro Environment" Turns Against Arctic/Offshore Oil

Arctic Oil On Life Support
by Nick Cunningham -
Oil companies have eyed the Arctic for years. With an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil lying north of the Arctic Circle, the circumpolar north is arguably the last corner of the globe that is still almost entirely unexplored.
As drilling technology advances, conventional oil reserves become harder to find, and climate change contributes to melting sea ice, the Arctic has moved up on the list of priorities in oil company board rooms.
That had companies moving north, Royal Dutch Shell off the coast of Alaska, Statoil in the Norwegian Arctic, and ExxonMobil in conjunction with Russia's Rosneft in the Russian far north.
But achieving the goals of tapping the extensive oil reserves in the Arctic has been much harder than previously thought. Shell's mishaps have been well-documented. The Anglo-Dutch company failed to achieve permits on time, had its drill ships run aground, and saw its oil spill containment dome "crushed like a beer can" during testing. That delayed drilling for several consecutive years.
However, the first month of 2015 has darkened Arctic dreams even further.

America Following the Well-Worn Path to Ruin in Russia

Apocalypse Now and Forever
by James Howard Kunstler - ClusterFuck Nation
As a political psychoanalyst I find the Super-bowl halftime show the best concise index of how psychotic American culture is becoming from year to year, and the 2015 version signaled a complete break from reality, a nightmare of twerking robots in a hall of mirrors, as if America had utterly surrendered its tattered soul to some rogue motherboard pulsing deep within Dr. Evil’s subterranean palace of sin. Hence it is the perfect analog for understanding otherwise incomprehensible happenings such as the USA’s role in fomenting further chaos and mayhem in Ukraine.
How otherwise to explain things like this morning’s New York Times report that the USA “now supports providing defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s beleaguered forces, and an array of administration and military officials appear to be edging toward that position….”
Earth calling New York Times readers: I regret to inform you that this decision was already reached a year ago when we paid for the coup d’état against the elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, after the poor sap decided to not sign up with the EU but rather the Russian-backed Eurasian Customs Union. Whoops! You’re so out of here, Bub, State Department Under Secretary Victoria Nuland burbled in a clandestinely recorded phone call to the American ambassador. Will somebody please find Yats! Yes Yats! [UKR politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk] and plug the Bluetooth earpiece of power into his skull!

The Whys of America's Endless Wars

War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America’s Wars Persist
by William J. Astore  - TomDispatch
It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it “the long war,” an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent.
It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well. Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a “Groundhog Day” kind of repetition. 
Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.

The Killers: Fracking the World to Death

Capitalism Killing the Earth and Its People
by Finian Cunningham - PressTV

‘I see a bad moon rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see hard times today’
John Fogerty, Bad Moon Rising (1969)
John Fogerty’s classic rock song ‘Bad Moon Rising’, from the 1960s, could be the foreboding soundtrack for what is rumbling in America’s Midwest today.Earthquakes have now become a daily occurrence in Oklahoma and other Midwest states.
In the past, a baseline incidence of quakes was two or so a year. Now, the region is experiencing over 500 a year, according to official seismological records. So far, there hasn’t been “a big one”.
Most of the quakes have registered around 3 to 5 on the Richter Scale. But it seems only a matter of time before the Earth lashes back with deadly force.
A report this week in the Washington Post tells of widespread structural damage and personal injuries from the “swarm of earthquakes” that residents in Oklahoma are having to endure. With trepidation, ordinary people are fearing that a final calamity is crescendoing.
“The earthquakes come nearly every day now, cracking drywall, popping floor tiles and rattling kitchen cabinets. On Monday, three quakes hit this historic land-rush town [Guthrie] in 24 hours, booming and rumbling like the end of the world,” reports Lori Montgomery for the Post.

“After a while, you can’t even tell what’s a pre-shock or an after-shock. The ground just keeps moving,” says one resident. “People are so frustrated and scared.”

The oil and gas industry will, of course, deny any link between the new geological phenomenon and its increased drilling activity. But self-serving capitalists are hardly a reliable source.

Greek Earthquake Rocking the EU

The Greek Earthquake
by Conn Hallinan - CounterPunch
Almost before the votes were counted in the recent Greek elections, battle lines were being drawn all over Europe. While Alexis Tsipras, the newly elected Prime Minister from Greece’s victorious Syriza Party, was telling voters, “Greece is leaving behind catastrophic austerity, fear and autocratic government,” Jens Weidmann, president of the German Bundesbank, was warning the new government not to “make promises it cannot keep and the country cannot afford.”
On Feb. 12 those two points of view will collide when European Union (EU) heads of state gather in Brussels. Whether the storm blowing out of Southern Europe proves an irresistible force, or the European Council an immovable object, is not clear, but whatever the outcome, the continent is not likely to be the same after that meeting.
The Jan 25 victory of Greece’s leftwing Syriza Party was, on one hand, a beacon for indebted countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland. On the other, it is a gauntlet for Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and the “troika”—the European Central bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—the designers and enforcers of loans and austerity policies that have inflicted a catastrophic economic and social crisis on tens of millions of Europeans.

Lies and Damn Lies: Yatsy the Nazi Turns on Energy Sector Pals

Lies And Deception In Ukraine's Energy Sector
by Robert Bensh -
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly claimed it is doing its best to improve the oil and gas investment climate, but official statements are the opposite of the reality, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is leading the great deception.

According to Prime Minister Yatseniuk, Ukraine has taken a number of important steps to reform the energy sector, and has even achieved success in the formidable fight against rampant corruption, as well as signed open and transparent contracts for purchase of the natural gas from EU member states. Now he claims Ukraine is looking forward to Western companies' investment in Ukraine's gas transportation system.

"I would like to point out where we have succeeded: we have succeeded in overcoming corruption in the energy sector. Billions of dollars, which previously used to flow into the pockets of Ukrainian oligarchs, are now being brought out of the shadows. At present, Ukraine purchases gas under transparent and open contracts with European companies," Yatseniuk recently told a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Even the President has made misguided and naive statements this past week in Davos, declaring that "Ukraine will build new ways for receiving Norwegian gas and gas from Europe, and Ukraine will also produce shale gas." The stark reality is that these official statements are in no way reflected by government action, and the gas market players in Ukraine recognize the deception as does the energy industry as a whole.

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