In a couple of days, the so-called US Justice Department will be announcing an “agreement” reached with five large banks, including two of the largest in the US -- JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup, the holding companies for Chase and Citibank -- under which these banks or bank holding companies will plead guilty to felonies involving the manipulation of international currency markets for at least the past eight years.
This is not really a plea deal, or what in the lingo of criminals is called “copping a plea.” It’s a negotiation in which the nation’s top law-enforcement organization -- the one that just sentenced a teenager to death in Boston in the Marathon bombing case, and that routinely sends ordinary people “up the river” for minor drug offenses or even tax fraud -- is taking seriously these banks’ concerns that if they plead guilty to felonies they might be barred by SEC rules from engaging in many profitable practices.
So -- get this -- the Justice Department is seeking assurances from the commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission that they will not enforce those rules against these particular felonious banks.
They say “may peace prevail on earth”, but every night, there are fires burning in the terrible slums of Nairobi, Jakarta, Guatemala City and Mumbai.
The World Education Forum is now taking place in Seoul, South Korea. UNESCO and Korea organized this colorful event. Everyone is talking, others are singing, and a few are dancing.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, is talking peace, and the head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, is talking peace.
Peace, peace, peace! It has been turned into one of those cliché words that are repeated in every political speech, words like “freedom” and “democracy”.
The military top brass claims it exists to defend peace. Leaders, who are giving orders to destroy entire nations, killing millions, demand peace. Neocon economists, financing war and profiting from it, demand peace. It seems like, these days, whoever murders, bombs, mutilates and robs is obsessed with, peace.
So what is peace, really? Is it a state of existence in which there are no missiles flying and no bombs exploding? Is it only that?
Perhaps you’ve driven past them at night: several towering panels lit up like a psychedelic art installation, with a 45-foot waterfall gushing down the side and onto the boulder-strewn, pedestal-shaped, very-much-manmade island.
The brightly painted structures seem harmless enough–if a bit out of place several hundred feet offshore from Long Beach’s affluent Bluff Park neighborhood–but what goes on behind the palm-lined façade is profoundly controversial and potentially very dangerous.
Oil island off the coast of Long Beach,
California - Photo, Chelsea Mosher
Built in 1965, the four THUMS islands–so named for the companies that first developed the sites: Texaco, Humble, Unocal, Mobil and Shell–were designed by esteemed landscape architect Joseph Linesch, who had a knack for turning blight into eye candy. While Long Beach’s Gas & Oil Department (LBGO) operates the islands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum (known as Occidental Long Beach Inc.) is contracted to perform the work of extracting fossil fuels from beneath the ocean floor.
For all the fanfare of yesterday’s press conference, you’d think Premier Christy Clark would have some big, new development to announce for her much-vaunted but yet-to-be-built LNG industry.
Sorry folks, nothing to see here.
All Clark had to offer was warmed up leftovers from the umpteen previous press conferences, media advisories and political speeches she’s been making for the past several years.
Petronas CEO Shamsul Abbas lecturing BC at last year’s LNG conference (photo - Damien Gillis)
Still no final investment decision from Malaysian energy giant Petronas – only “the beginning of the company’s final decision path toward an investment decision”, whatever the heck that means. The “path” to any real bucks being forked out by a single one of the 18 companies and global consortia proposing LNG plants is proving to be a long and winding road.
Members of Montreal's Haitian community to protest in front of Immigration Canada in anger and worry over quickly approaching deadline
by NON-STATUS ACTION COMMITTEE
Press point at 11AM (Monday, May 25) in front of the offices of Immigration Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency at 1010 Saint-Antoine Street in Montreal.
MONTREAL – On Monday May 25th 2015, members of the NON-STATUS ACTION COMMITTEE will gather before the offices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) in order to denounce the federal government's inaction with regards to the lives of thousands of people and families living in Canada who are affected by the lifting of the moratorium on removals to Haiti and Zimbabwe.
In December of 2014, the Canadian government announced the lifting of the moratorium that prevented the deportations of Haitians and Zimbabweans affected by the measure. Thus opening the path for thousands to be deported to their countries of origin, the government also granted a temporary stay until June 1st 2015, allowing the non-status people to make a humanitarian and compassionate claims application. Their actual number is unclear, but we estimate over 3,000 are affected. The great majority of those affected who are of Haitian origin reside in Montreal, and many have young children who were born here.
I lived in Anchorage for 10 years and spent much of that time climbing in and on the spine of the state, the Alaska Range. Three times I stood atop the mountain the Athabaskans call Denali, "the great one." During that decade, I mountaineered for more than half a year on that magnificent state’s highest peaks. It was there that I took in my own insignificance while living amid rock and ice, sleeping atop glaciers that creaked and moaned as they slowly ground their way toward lower elevations.
Alaska contains the largest coastal mountain range in the world and the highest peak in North America. It has more coastline than the entire contiguous 48 states combined and is big enough to hold the state of Texas two and a half times over.
It has the largest population of bald eagles in the country. It has 430 kinds of birds along with the brown bear, the largest carnivorous land mammal in the world, and other species ranging from the pygmy shrew that weighs less than a penny to gray whales that come in at 45 tons. Species that are classified as "endangered" in other places are often found in abundance in Alaska.
Now, a dozen years after I left my home state and landed in Baghdad to begin life as a journalist and nine years after definitively abandoning Alaska, I find myself back. I wish it was to climb another mountain, but this time, unfortunately, it’s because I seem increasingly incapable of escaping the long and destructive reach of the U.S. military.
I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week – but I’m still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.
It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome – and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It’s embarrassing because it’s clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush’s defence, there’s much to be learned from My Pet Goat).
I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others – and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.
And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack?
by Ramzy Baroud - The Palestine Chronicle "What is the Palestinian strategy?" is a question that I have been asked all too often, including on 15 May, the day that millions of Palestinians around the world commemorated the 67th anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1947-48.
The question itself doesn’t require much elaboration, as in, "What is the Palestinian strategy to combat Israeli military occupation, siege violence, apartheid and racial discrimination?" The painful reality is well known to many, although few take on the moral responsibility to confront it.
And the posing of the question is telling in itself. It wouldn’t be asked if there was a strategy in place, being implemented, and regularly revisited and modified. The question is a testament to all the failures of past strategies, and the political disintegration of any credible Palestinian leadership, currently represented by Mahmoud Abbas and his circle of wealthy businessmen and "politicians".
But the very idea of formulating a strategy would require urgent prerequisites that are currently lacking. These prerequisites are not only essential, but most critical if Palestinians wish to overcome the current stalemate and surpass the dead-end process that is the so-called "peace process".
Despite the Minsk II treaty signed in February, fighting between all sides within the former Ukraine has continued. Last night, for the third consecutive night, that fighting escalated with heavy artillery targeting the strategic, and psychologically significant, airport at Donetsk among other targets in and around the city.
While Western media has focused on the capture of two Russian soldiers earlier this week, renewing NATO calls for a Russian withdrawal from the conflict, Kiev coup leader, Petro Poroshenko claims the capture is proof his regime's real enemy is Vladimir Putin, saying;
"Can I be absolutely clear with you this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia."
Halyna Mokrushyna is a Canadian ex-pat Ukrainian whose articles during the past year about the war in eastern Ukraine can be found at: Counterpunch, Truthout, Truthdig, and New Cold War.org.
Mokrushyna is a former vice-president of the Ottawa branch of the Ukrainian National Federation, and as well as freelancing for the now-defunct Ukrainian service of Radio Canada International, was a regular contributor to Ukrainian radio programming in Ottawa. She holds a Doctorate in Modern Languages from Ukraine, and a Master's degree in communication from Ottawa University, where she is currently working towards a PhD in Sociology. Halyna was in Donetsk as part of a media tour of the eastern part of the country this past April.
Halyna Mokrushyna in the first half.
And; last week hundreds came out in kayaks, row boats, sailboats, on surfboards, and almost anything else that would float as part of the #ShellNo protest of Shell Oil's plans to send a massive offshore drilling platform to the Arctic Ocean. The rig, Polar Pioneer is currently moored in Seattle, (where city council recently passed a motion disinviting its presence) preparing to make its way to the north.
Greenpeace is sending its ship, the Esperanza to Seattle, and on a tour of BC's inside passage to rally opposition to Arctic offshore drilling among First Nations communities along the way. But those communities don't need Greenpeace's encouragement; opposition to the expansion of oil industry shipping is already strong.
Ingmar Lee is a long-time environmental defender who has appeared on Gorilla Radio many times over the last dozen years or so. He currently lives alongside the iconic Great Bear Rainforest on BC's mid-coast, where he has started a campaign to shut down the little-known operations of the Nathan E. Stewart, a 10,000 ton capacity oil tanker plying the waters of the inside passage. His 10,000 Ton Tanker Facebook campaign is growing exponentially with the recent addition of drone footage of the mysterious tanker garnering tens of thousands of views, and climbing.
Ingmar Lee and watching the Nathan E. Stewart 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 some of what's happening on the streets of our city, and beyond there too in the coming week. But first, Halyna Mokrushyna and the World's potentially most dangerous conflict growing hotter in Ukraine.
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!
Is love objective; is passion?
Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?
When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?
I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.
When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?
Canada's actions these days resemble less those of a democratic country than they mirror those of the 20th Century dictatorships. There and then, media supported the government, cheering victory, damning the enemy, while lionizing the Warrior ethos with great martial pageants. Nemesis of course followed.
Canadians have long looked towards America's restless militarism, couching criticism of its neighbour's grosser imperialist adventures saying, "A true friend gives good counsel, rather than flatter, or unblinkingly accept wrong-headed actions." There seems in 2015 little appetite left to defend such quaint democratic sentiments in Ottawa. In fact, there seems little sentiment here to defend democracy at all.
What does remain however is the fervent determination of Canada's state broadcaster, and private media interests, to beaver away protecting, polishing, and above all perpetuating the myth of a demonstrably false dedication to the ideals of democracy.
At the Ithaca, New York stop of The Solutions Grassroots Tour: “A Solar Home Companion” local organizer, Stephanie Redmond, asked a very important question of Josh.
She wanted to know when he was going to join the Seneca Lake Defenders and get arrested protesting fracked-gas storage in salt cavern under Seneca Lake.
A couple of nights later we were in Watkins Glen, our closest tour stop to the proposed gas storage site. We were there with local winemakers, business owners and many others who had joined the campaign to oppose the gas-storage under Seneca Lake.
Raincoast Conservation Foundation has launched a billboard information campaign addressing the inhumane slaughter of wolves that is occurring at the hands of the province of British Columbia.
For at least the next five years, the B.C. government intends to kill hundreds of wolves by means of aerial gunning in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions of the province.
The province is marketing the slaughter as a conservation plan to "save endangered caribou." The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations recently announced the first phase of the killing has been completed with an initial body count of 84 wolves.
This unscientific, unethical, and unwarranted wolf cull is a consequence of industrial logging and other human activity, which have transformed the caribou's habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover, and security these animals need to survive. Rather than address the real problem, i.e., the destruction of life sustaining caribou habitat, the B.C. government has chosen to scapegoat wolves. The aim of Raincoast's billboard campaign is to bring attention to that deplorable decision.