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Vote Schmote

May 13, 2009 Janine Bandcroft
Voting's Just Not Enough by Janine…

Ecuador: Trans-National Mining versus Local Interests

Sep 22, 2010 Jennifer Moore
Ecuador: Small-Scale Miners Question…

Obama Regime: Toss NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Lawsuit

Nov 05, 2009 Tom Burghardt
Obama Regime: Toss NSA Warrantless…


Mount Polley's Catastrophic Mine Tailings Spill Could Have Been Averted: Whistleblower

Mount Polley Whistleblower Lost Job, Then Home
by Damien Gillis - The Canadian
Larry Chambers warned Imperial Metals that its tailings pond was bound to fail – and he was fired for it, the Likely, BC resident told media in Vancouver earlier today.

He and his wife, Lawna Bourassa-Keuster, have now lost their home on once-beautiful Quensnel Lake – too afraid to drink the cloudy and discoloured water, which they brought with them to Vancouver in a jar.

Christy Clark did come to Likely and at that time, she informed us that she would make sure that Quesnel Lake would be brought back to its pristine state,” said Bourassa-Keuster.
We haven’t seen or heard from her since.
We, like most of the residents, live in Likely for its beauty and peacefulness. This is heartbreaking to see.”Cloudy water from Quesnel Lake (photo: Damien Gillis)
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America's Flailing Africa Efforts: Losing Heart and Failing Minds in Africa

How Not to Win Hearts and Minds in Africa: Hushed Pentagon Investigation Slaps U.S. Africa Command’s Humanitarian Activities
by Nick Turse  - TomDispatch
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - Movie night in Mouloud, Djibouti. Skype lessons in Ethiopia. Veterinary training assistance in Garissa, Kenya. And in this country on the east coast of Africa, work on both primary and secondary schools and a cistern to provide clean water. These are all-American good works, but who is doing them -- and why?
As I sit in a room filled with scores of high-ranking military officers resplendent in their dress uniforms -- Kenyans in their khakis, Burundians and Ugandans clad in olive, Tanzanians in deep forest green sporting like-colored berets and red epaulets with crossed rifles on their shoulders -- chances are that the U.S. military is carrying out some mission somewhere on this vast continent. It might be a kidnapping raid or a training exercise. It could be an airstrike or the construction of a drone base. Or, as I wait for the next speaker to approach the lectern at the “Land Forces East Africa” conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it could be a humanitarian operation run not by civilians in the aid business, but by military troops with ulterior motives -- part of a near-continent-wide campaign utilizing the core tenets of counterinsurgency strategy.
The U.S. is trying to win a war for the hearts and minds of Africa. But a Pentagon investigation suggests that those mystery projects somewhere out there in Djibouti or Ethiopia or Kenya or here in Tanzania may well be orphaned, ill-planned, and undocumented failures-in-the-making. According to the Department of Defense’s watchdog agency, U.S. military officials in Africa “did not adequately plan or execute” missions designed to win over Africans deemed vulnerable to the lures of violent extremism.
This evidence of failure in the earliest stages of the U.S. military’s hearts-and-minds campaign should have an eerie resonance for anyone who has followed its previous efforts to use humanitarian aid and infrastructure projects to sway local populations in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan. In each case, the operations failed in spectacular ways, but were only fully acknowledged after years of futility and billions of dollars in waste. In Africa, a war zone about which most Americans are completely unaware, the writing is already on the wall. Or at least it should be. While Pentagon investigators identified a plethora of problems, their report has, in fact, been kept under wraps for almost a year, while the command responsible for the failures has ignored all questions about it from TomDispatch.

The Difference a Decade (or so) Makes: Canadian Forces to Iraq

What a Difference a Decade (or so) Makes: Canadian Forces to Iraq
by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press
Fresh from the NATO confab in Wacanadian special operations regimentles, Stephen Harper announced Canadian troops will be sent to Iraq, ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS.

Days before 9/11's 13th anniversary, and nearly eleven and a half years after George W. Bush's declaration of "mission accomplished" in America's war against Saddam Hussein, Canada will finally, (officially) have 'boots on the ground' in that benighted nation.

Candidates for the Canadian Special 
Operations Regiment train in Kamloops, B.C.
 (Lt(N) Meghan Marsaw/Combat Camera)

It's a move resisted in bygone days by former prime minister, Jean Chretien, and opposed vociferously then by his Liberal party and the left-leaning New Democrats. But, why is the official opposition, and the unofficial government-in-waiting now on board with the PM; and, what will Canadian Forces be doing when they get over there?

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Playing Alice at the Post: WaPo Through the Looking Glass on Ukraine Reportage

Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III – much as it did into World War I a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.
The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.
Yet, the once-acknowledged – though soon forgotten – reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.

Zero Sums: Perpetual War and Wall Street

The Zero-Sum Game of Perpetual War
by Bill Blunden - CounterPunch
blunden beholdReaders with a morbid sense of curiosity can visit a web site called NukeMap that allows visitors to witness the devastation caused by nuclear weapons of varying yields on a city of their choosing[i]. Herman Kahn, who was an armchair theorist from RAND during the Cold War, insisted that nuclear war was winnable[ii]. But a few hours with NukeMap will disprove Kahn’s folly and the baleful smiley face that he tried to slap over human extinction.
Against this backdrop it’s no wonder that recent developments in the Ukraine have been known to cause night terrors. Your author can vouch for this. Last week there was an earthquake in the Bay Area and at the outset I woke up mistaking it for a shock wave from sub-megaton warhead hitting Silicon Valley.
One could posit that what’s happening in Eastern Europe offers a look-see into the nature of the groups that are calling the shots in the United States.

A Disaster in the First Person: Mt. Polley As Seen from Ground Zero

The Mount Polley mine disaster
by Rod Marining - Common Ground
Marining PolleyOn BC Day, a holiday meant to celebrate beautiful BC, we were all having a beautiful time at the family cabin at Quesnel Lake, with hot sun, blue skies and a pristine lake.

That night, I slept on my new boat docked in front of the cabin and was awakened at 3:00 AM by a continuous roar – like a 747 jet was flying towards the town of Likely.
I thought the sound odd and then noticed the boat was rocking when just a minute before Quesnel Lake had been as smooth as glass. I knew that Polley Mine was only a few miles away, but I just returned to bed puzzled by the strange, distant noise.

Gotham's Black Hole: Death and Torment at Rikers Island

New reports of inmate deaths from beatings at New York’s Rikers Island prison
by Philip Guelpa - WSWS
1 September 2014
Two recently revealed incidents at the Rikers Island prison in New York City confirm that the horrific conditions, already documented in a number of previous reports, at the city’s largest prison are the result of systematic, institutionalized brutality, not isolated aberrations.
In one incident, documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal that inmate Angel Ramirez, 50 years old, was beaten to death by prison guards using night sticks (police batons) in July of 2011. Ramirez was reportedly suffering hallucinations during withdrawal from alcohol and heroin, and had earlier been denied his prescribed medication. In this impaired state, he attempted to hit an officer, but missed. Several officers then took him out of view of surveillance cameras and inflicted a severe beating, resulting in Ramirez’s death.
The news account states, based on information provided by the family’s lawyer, that Ramirez “died of numerous blunt-impact injuries that included a ruptured spleen, shattered ribs and a stomach filled with blood.” This contradicts the statements of the officers, who were interviewed eight months later, that the inmate was struck only once, and only in self-defense.

Expeditionary Force Formed, New NATO Terror Initiative Announced

UK announces new NATO military force, declares terror alert
by Robert Stevens - WSWS
NATO Fogg Cameron 14Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hosting this week’s NATO summit in Wales, is to announce that the imperialist alliance will create a new joint expeditionary force (JEF) of at least 10,000 troops for rapid deployment in crisis situations.

Previewing the plan Friday evening, the Financial Times reported that the new force is being created “to bolster NATO’s power in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

The FT said, “The force will incorporate air and naval units as well as ground troops and will be led by British commanders, with other participating nations contributing a range of specialist troops and units. Countries involved at present include Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands. Canada has also expressed an interest in taking part.”

The “model for the new JEF will be Britain’s expeditionary force with France, which has been years in the making and is due to be fully operational by 2016.”

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Chance Meetings and What's Coming Next to Ukraine

Two Chance Meetings While Traveling in Europe: It's all about Ukraine
by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening
On a trip to Europe for a two-week stay in Finland, my wife and I at one point found ourselves seated next to a congenial 30-something guy, dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. He said he was US Army major.
Initially, our conversation revolved around his little kids, and his complaint about how often he was sent out on “short assignments” in Europe far away from home. He also mentioned being somewhat hard of hearing after having been sent out on 250 missions in Iraq as a soldier in the cavalry, where he had been the gunner on a stryker armored vehicle. (He explained that he couldn’t wear ear protectors despite the constant loud roar of the heavy vehicle’s engine, “because you have to hear when you’re taking fire, and also to be able to communicate with the other guys inside the vehicle.”)
He was voluble, but discreet when it came to his current Army role, saying only that he had been reassigned from cavalry to “international relations,” which he later explained meant “handling relations” between US military forces and various countries’ militaries in the “European Theater.” He said he had become particularly busy since the beginning of the “Ukraine crisis,” but wouldn’t go into detail about what he was busy doing.
One could make an educated guess.

Cause and Effect: Remembering the Real Motives for 9/11

That Much Petroleum is That Much Bullshit: China Won the Oil War, and the Shale Oil Revolution is About to Shrivel Up
by Nicholas C Arguimbau - CounterCurrents
karsaiIn January, 2011, this writer published a four-part article in Countercurrents and elsewhere entitled, "The War: Did We Sacrifice A Million Lives And A $Trillion Cash Just To Hand Our Jobs To China?" It was long (around 40 pages), and I must admit a little confusing, because the information was so stunning that I had a difficult time understanding what I was reading.
The gist of the article was that Big Oil had asked Congress in 1998 to remove the Taliban so as to allow the building of a pipeline that would let Mideastern oil go to "the right markets." 
"The right markets"? Guess. The US and Europe, of course. 
Wrong. India and China. Those, it was explained, were "the right markets" because the oil market was stagnating in the US and Europe and actively growing in India and China. Hardly, it would seem, something for the US to go to war for. But, then, Wall Street is the government.
We went to war against the Taliban in 2001 shortly after the US officials who negotiated with the Taliban for permission to let the pipeline be built told them, according to two well-respected French journalists, "You can have a carpet of gold [if you allow the pipeline] or a carpet of bombs [if you don't]." Really? Yes. That's a 13-year-old story.

What Does Russia Think of NATO?

So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO
by David Swanson - War Is a Crime
The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador to Belgium and to NATO.

Kislyak spoke to a packed auditorium and took, I think, well over an hour of questions. He spoke frankly, and the questions he was asked by students, professors, and other participants were polite and for the most part far more intelligent than he would have been asked on, for example, Meet the Press.

He told the audience that Russia had known there were no WMDs in Iraq, and had known that attacking Iraq would bring "great difficulties" to that country. "And look what is happening today," he said. He made the same comment about Libya. He spoke of the U.S. and Russia working together to successfully remove chemical weapons from the Syrian government.
But he warned against attacking Syria now.