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The Case of Salah Hamouri

Oct 26, 2011 Richard Lightbown
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BP's Slapstick Defense Merits Slap on Wrist Finding in Deepwater Case

BP and the Three Stooges Defense
by Greg Palast - Truthdig
Stooges 3Forget Stephen King. If you want scary, read U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s 150-page Findings of Fact released Thursday in the Deepwater Horizon case.

Although the judge found BP liable for “gross negligence,” some U.S. media failed to mention that Barbier let BP off the hook on punitive damages. And that stuns me, given that the record seems to identify enough smoking guns to roast a sizable pig.

Here’s a standout example:

Every rig operator knows that, before a rig can unhook from a drill pipe, the operator has to run a “negative pressure test” to make sure the cement has properly sealed the drill pipe. If the pipe is safely plugged, the pressure gauge will read zero. The amount of pressure BP measured at 5 p.m. on April 20, 2010, the day of the explosion? 1400 psi (see the findings, pages 62-65).

1400 psi is not zero. Stick a balloon in your mouth with zero pressure and nothing happens except that you look silly. Replace the balloon with a hose delivering a 1400 psi blast and it’ll blow your skull apart.

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Continued Violence at Barrick Gold's Porgera Sends Indigenous Delegation to Ottawa

Increased Violence at Barrick’s Porgera Mine: Indigenous Ipili send Envoy from Papua New Guinea to Canada
by Porgera Alliance/MiningWatch Canada
Ottawa - Barrick Gold’s Porgera Joint Venture Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has long been associated with extreme violence against local men and women by mine security and state police associated with the mine. The level of human rights abuses at the mine has spiked again this year.
 
In April, combined state police and army units were once again “called out” to Porgera by the PNG government to deal with Barrick’s ongoing inability to stop local people displaced by the mine from entering the pit and the mine’s massive uncontained waste flows in a desperate attempt to eke out a living from residual gold.
 
In June, MiningWatch Canada reported on the burning down of houses of the Tiene clan of the village of Wingima, adjacent to the mine, and associated human rights abuses such as the reported rape of local women by state police. This was a repeat of a similar mass burning of houses of the Tiene and other clans living near the mine by state police in 2009, reported on by MiningWatch and documented by Amnesty International.
 

MH17: NYTimes Printing News to Fit "Facts" on the Ground

NY Times Finds Conclusions Where None Exist in Dutch Flight 17 Downing Report: Making the news fit the politics
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening
The New York Times, which has been miMalaysianFlight17 before and after holessreporting on, and misleading its readers about the downing of Malaysian Flight 17 since the plane was downed last July 17, continues its sorry track record of flogging anti-Russian sentiment in the US and of supporting the post-putsch Ukrainian government in Kiev.
 
This time America’s leading “newspaper of record” is distorting the preliminary report of the Dutch Safety Board which has been leading an investigation into the cause of the Flight 17 crash that killed all 283 passengers and 15 crew members of a Boeing 777 aircraft flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia.
 
Frame of front windshield of Malaysian Flight 17 showing possible
bullet holes or rocket shrapnel, flight boxes and Flight 17 in the air
 
In an article published Wednesday, headlined “Report Finds Missile Strike Likely in Crash of Flight 17” and datelined Brussles, Times reporters Andrew Higgens and Nicola Clark write in their lead paragraph that “investigators, in their first account of the calamity, released evidence on Tuesday consistent with an attack by a surface-to-air missile but shed no clear light on who was responsible.”
 
They go on to write, however, on the basis of no evidence at all, that the preliminary report “...gave some indirect support to assertions by the United States and Ukraine that pro-Russian rebels shot down the aircraft with an SA-11, or Buk, surface-to-air missile.”
 
Both paragraphs are completely at odds with the report, and that supposed “indirect support” is never mentioned. And no wonder: it doesn't exist in the report.
 

NYT Leads Cheer for Obama's Perpetual War

Perpetual War Is Fine With the New York Times After All 
by Norman Solomon
The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending "perpetual war," the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now -- in response to Obama's speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end -- the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.
 
Under the headline "The End of the Perpetual War," published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech "the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America."

The editorial added:
 
"For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future."
 

What the Meaning of Is Is: Israel and ISIS

ISIS and Israel allies against a Palestinian state
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
An image speaks a thousand words – and that is presumably what Israel’s supporters hoped for with their latest ad in the New York Times.
 
Two photographs are presented side by side. One, titled ISIS, is the now-iconic image of a kneeling James Foley, guarded by a black-hooded executioner, awaiting his terrible fate. The other, titled Hamas, is a scene from Gaza, where a similarly masked killer stands over two victims, who cower in fear.
 
A headline stating “This is the face of radical Islam” tries, like the images, to equate the two organisations.
 
We have heard this line repeatedly from Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted “Hamas is ISIS” after the video of Foley’s beheading aired. Last week, in a speech addressed to the family of Steven Sotloff, ISIS’s latest victim, he called Hamas and ISIS “tentacles of a violent Islamist terrorism.”
 

Netanyahu's Gaza and the New Realities

Losing the Plot: Israel's Premier to Face New Gaza Reality
by Ramzy Baroud  - The Palestine Chronicle
Netanyahu’s war-turned-genocide in Gaza has backfired badly – his strategy has helped resurrect Hamas, the very movement he tried desperately to crush.
 
Aside from being a major military setback, Israel’s war on Gaza has also disoriented the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu like never before. Since the announcement of a ceasefire on 26 August, his statements appear erratic and particularly uncertain, an expected outcome of the Gaza war.
 
Since his first term as a prime minister (1996-99), Netanyahu has showed particular savviness at fashioning political and military events to neatly suit his declared policies. He fabricated imminent threats that were neither imminent nor threats, for example, Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Later, he took on Iran.
 
He created too many conditions and laid numerous obstacles for peace settlements to ever be realised. The late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, laboured for years to meet Israel’s conditions, and failed. Abbas has taken the same futile road. But Netanyahu’s conditions are specifically designed to be unattainable.
 

Putting Out Fires with Gasoline: More Wars Promised from Obama

Breach Birth: Bipartisan Bull Brings New War
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Trevor Timms' new piece in the Guardian is one of the best, most succinct articles I've seen on the insane rush into Iraq War III, which the Peace Prize President is announcing on Wednesday.

The same lies that were told the last time around ("Sleeper cells!" "Mass Destruction of our cities!" "Unprecedented evil!" "Imminent danger!") are being trotted out again, this time in Democratic drag.

Cheney and Obama, Kissinger and Kerry, working together to  beat the war drums -- who says bipartisanship is dead? 

As in 2003 (and 1991, for that matter), facts are thin on the ground -- but the bull is flowing thick and fast. So it's once more into the breach, with a military intervention to solve the problems caused by the last military intervention -- which will no doubt cause problems which can only be addressed by a future military intervention.

But hey, who cares? The new iPhone is here!!
 

Scotland's Looming Moment: Britain's Three Amigos Ride for El Norte

The Three Amigos Ride to Scotland
by Craig Murray

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign. 
 
In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.
 
Nobody in Scotland feels the slightest warmth towards these people, except for those paid hacks whose income depends upon their feeling such warmth (and there are too many of those, but still only a few hundred). 
 
One thing I can guarantee is that this rush of “superstars” will not meet my challenge of seeing 300 Better Together supporters in the same place.
 
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Inextinguishable: Gaza's Neverending Ceasefires

Ceasefires in Which Violations Never Cease: What’s Next for Israel, Hamas, and Gaza?
by Noam Chomsky  - TomDispatch
chomsky masters of mankindOn August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel's periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza.
 
Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it -- as Israel has officially recognized -- until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called "mowing the lawn" in Israeli parlance.
 
The most recent was more accurately described as "removing the topsoil" by a senior U.S. military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described "most moral army in the world."
 

Piketty and Environments of Wealth Creation

Thomas Piketty and the Dynamics of Wealth
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
piketty bookA 696 page book on economics is unlikely to be a publishing sensation. But Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is an exception. It quickly climbed to bestseller status in 2014 and has stayed there for months. Anyone who gives a serious thought to economics has found this difficult book by an obscure French professor to be mandatory reading. Scholars have ranked it as one of the most important books in economic history, placing it in the rarified company of such seminal thinkers as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx.
 
Why all the attention? First, Capital in the Twenty-First Century explains, with simple elegance, why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, a fundamental social problem that has fomented civil unrest in the past, is irritating modern cultures today, and is becoming an increasingly acute malaise as we wade further into the 21st century. Second, unlike most books on economics, Piketty has reversed the usual process of advancing a theory and then correlating it to reality.
 
Instead, he and his team undertook 17 years of exhaustive research that laboriously analyzed the history of taxation in almost 30 countries — the emphasis was on France, Britain and America during the last 300 years — and then drew conclusions from the evidence.
 
This empirical approach gives his ideas a special credibility that authorizes a thoughtful re-evaluation of modern economic practice. Third, Piketty has established that wealth inequality rises as an unregulated capitalist economy matures, the opposite of most current theory. And fourth, Piketty is not a Marxist describing a doomed system; he is an avowed capitalist who is trying to identify its faults so the economic system can be adjusted to becine more stable, sustainable and beneficial.
 
So, why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Simply put, the rate of return on capital tends to exceed that of economic growth. Everyone without money to invest — the wage-earners whose prosperity is directly linked to the gradual increase in society's collective wealth — finds that their rising prosperity is routinely surpassed by those who have money to invest. Over a period of time, the gulf between the rich and the poor widens.
 
This widening gulf eventually has dire social consequences.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Robyn Allan, Damien Gillis, Janine Bandcroft September 10th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
che kokoWelcome back to a new year here at the University of Victoria; though many future UVic students will NOT be in class this week, post-secondary education will carry on in British Columbia. Also carrying on is Big Energy's never-ending struggle to avoid environmental strictures designed to rein in the sector's worst practices.

Case in point: the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Pacific Pipeline project.

The Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Limited Partnership you'll likely remember is that other controversial pipeline hoping to twin its current capacity to transfer Tar Sands bitumen across the rugged Rocky and Coastal Mountain ranges, delivering to Vancouver's Burrard Inlet the stuff Alberta's dreams are made of.

Listen. Hear.

Getting approval for their scheme shouldn't be too great a problem, at least where receiving the National Energy Board's necessary imprimatur to forge on is concerned, as the federal regulator is already greasing the skids.
 
Robyn Allan is a researcher, author, and former corporate executive who has held many executive positions in the private and public sectors including President and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Vice-President Finance for Parklane Ventures Ltd., and Senior Economist for B.C. Central Credit Union. She recently produced and released the report: 'The National Energy Board Guaranteed Kinder Morgan a Fund to Push Pipeline Expansion Through Regulatory Review' an examination of the National Energy Board of Canada's relationship with Kinder Morgan and its decision to allow the company to pre-fund the "projected" future expansion of its Trans Mountain Pipeline ambitions.
 
Allan also served as the Economic and Financial Adviser to the Barrett Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of Condominium Construction in British Columbia and has taught Money and Banking, Public Finance and Micro and Macro Economics at the university level. She has too written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines including the Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Business in Vancouver and Enterprise Magazine. Robyn Allan is author of the book, 'Quest for Prosperity: The Dance of Success' and recently provided evidence on economic and insurance issues related to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project currently before the National Energy Board.
 
Robyn Allan in the first half.
 
And; as toxic spills go, the Mount Polley tailings dam failure is unprecedented in Canadian history. In fact, it's the single biggest environmental disaster of its kind anywhere. But according to British Columbia's minister of mines, it's all no different from damage caused by any one of the scores of landslides the province sees annually. Oh yeah, that and the more than 10 million cubic meters of toxic mining waste dumped into one of the B.C.'s most important environmental areas. But, in the days following disaster, Bill Bennett and the ruling BC Liberal party, the same that received huge campaign contributions from the operator of the mine responsible, Imperial Metals, deemed the water supplying residents of Quesnel Lake and environs safe to drink. Upon reflection, local health officials reinstated previously lifted drinking water ban, sending concerned residents mixed messages.
 
Damien Gillis is co-founder, with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, a web news site helping to fill the Canadian news media void. He's also a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker focusing on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - and working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. His film credits include: 'Fractured Land', 'Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast,' and numerous shorts featuring British Columbia's beauty and the imminent threats industry pose to its unique environment. Gillis is too a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.
 
Damien Gillis and clearing the turbidity of the Mount Polley Mine tailings spill in the second half.
 
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us news from our city's streets, and beyond there too. But first, Robyn Allan, the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, and National Energy Board promises made to Kinder Morgan.

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/