The Missing Women of Afghanistan: After 13 Years of War, the Rule of Men, Not Law
by Ann Jones - TomDispatch On September 29th, power in Afghanistan changed hands for the first time in 13 years. At the Arg, the presidential palace in Kabul, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president, while the outgoing Hamid Karzai watched calmly from a front-row seat.
Washington, congratulating itself on this “peaceful transition,” quickly collected the new president’s autograph on a bilateral security agreement that assures the presence of American forces in Afghanistan for at least another decade. The big news of the day: the U.S. got what it wanted. (Precisely why Americans should rejoice that our soldiers will stay in Afghanistan for another 10 years is never explained.)
The big news of the day for Afghans was quite different -- not the long expected continuation of the American occupation but what the new president had to say in his inaugural speech about his wife, Rula Ghani.
Gazing at her as she sat in the audience, he called her by name, praised her work with refugees, and announced that she would continue that work during his presidency.
Those brief comments sent progressive Afghan women over the moon. They had waited 13 years to hear such words -- words that might have changed the course of the American occupation and the future of Afghanistan had they been spoken in 2001 by Hamid Karzai.
No, they’re not magic. They simply reflect the values of a substantial minority of Afghans and probably the majority of Afghans in exile in the West. They also reflect an idea the U.S. regularly praises itself for holding, but generally acts against -- the very one George W. Bush cited as part of his justification for invading Afghanistan in 2001.
by Finian Cunningham - SCF For months now, Western mass media have been in lockstep with the US State Department and the NATO military alliance, promulgating claims of Russian aggression in Ukraine and towards Europe generally. The mantra-like repetition of these claims, with scant substantiation, resembles the Big Lie technique of Third Reich master propagandist Josef Goebbels. Told often and brazenly enough, the claims acquire normalcy as "accepted facts."
Western news media, from the BBC to the New York Times, uncritically peddle NATO and Washington claims that Moscow has "annexed" Crimea and infiltrated troops into eastern Ukraine to destabilise the pro-Western "government" in Kiev. Last month at the NATO summit in Wales, outgoing secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen asserted:
"So we continue to call on Russia to pull back its troops from Ukrainian borders, [and] to stop the flow of weapons and fighters into Ukraine."
by Jim Miles - Palestine Chronicle Once upon a time, Canada was able to create the illusion that it was the “peaceable kingdom”, an illusion accepted domestically and arguably by most of the rest of the world. This history has been well discredited with newer historical research outlining how Canada’s position as a “peacekeeper,” generally under UN auspices, remained effectively within the realm of U.S. foreign policy, just with a kinder gentler face.
Over the past decade, Canada has made a clear and distinct turn towards its inner ‘heart of darkness’, becoming much more overt about its right wing militarized alignment with the U.S. empire and its demands. It has done so to the extent of front-running – or trying to out do – the hubris and arrogance of the U.S. in its declamations of its self-righteousness concerning international affairs (with similar impacts on domestic affairs).
Much if not all of this is due to Canada’s (neo)Conservative government under Stephen Harper. Harper himself has declared that Canada will be a different nation when he is finished with his reign of office.
Reviewing John Pilger's Utopia - An Epic Story of Struggle and Resistance
by Jim Miles
In a clash of cultures, the one carrying the most guns, germs, and steel wins. In Australia as with all former British colonial possessions, cultural views are dominated by white society.
The First Nations of Australia, commonly referred to as the aborigines, have struggled through two centuries of subjugation by a white society that refuses to recognize the histories of the two peoples and their conflicting cultures.
As described by native elder Robert Eggington at the end of the film:
“In our culture, our laws, if we were to harm the land and to hurt that land the way in which it is being done today, we would be punished spiritually severely for that. White Australia doesn’t have a sense of belonging to this land and it only has a sense of belonging to the establishment and its institutions and its cities its built here. It doesn’t understand their country.”
Utopia examines the many contradictions and double standards, the many ignorances of the white population, and the many cruelties and violences that they have visited on the land and people of the First Nations of Australia. It is a captivating and hauntingly disturbing film as these actions are not simply historical incidents to be forgiven by some simplistic apology, but are actions that are occurring through the beginning of the Twenty-first Century without concern for essential human rights.
November is right around the corner, and befitting the monotonous return of a least loved season, this year it means too another turn of the civic election cycle. It's also time for our neighbours south to head to the polls for mid-term elections; and, as with all things it seems, America's November contest has outshone us again, with the big time fraud and election-fixing Stephen Harper and his insipid robo-callers can only envy.
Reporting investigator, Greg Palast is just returned to New York after a trip into the heart of Republican America, where he and his crack team of researchers recently wrapped a year-long investigation for Al Jazeera America; obtaining among other things the first-ever copies of the lists of targeted voters, that is; voters subject to being “scrubbed” from voter rolls. And surprise surprise, the list lurches heavily towards Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. Who could be behind such skullduggery? Stay tuned...
Greg Palast has been on the trail of ballot bandits for a long time now; breaking the story on George W. Bush's 2000 election win assist by orange juice heiress Katherine Harris' mass purgative of Florida's voter rolls.
Then, as an elections official, Harris disallowed thousands of Black "felons" access to the voter's booth. Small problem: they were innocent. Palast is also 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 appearing in Britain's Guardian newspaper, (who regard him as "the most important investigative journalist of our time...") and on the BBC flagship news program Newsnight, Greg's reports are featured stateside by The Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone, Harper's Magazine, and online at Truthout.org and at GregPalast.com. 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 in the first half.
And; though mere pikers compared to America's anti-democrats, Canadian politicians are learning how to spike the process here too. Federally, Stephen Harper's New Government of Canada has stifled federal employees of all stripes, barring especially scientists from talking un-minded to the press, and has allowed tax agency intimidation tactics against non-profit organisations with inconvenient politics to continue. Right here in BC meanwhile, the Chirsty Clark government recently proposed changes to the Society Act - something promising to effect, according to the West Coast Environmental Law Association, "community development organizations, church groups, secular groups, community organizations, and hunting groups" among many others. Particularly contentious is the seemingly innocuous provision, s.99.
Zaria Stoffman is an articling student with the Environmental Law Centre Society, or ELC right here at UVic. That society's mission is to "provide research and advocacy on public interest environmental issues" and provide for an social environment where "local communities, environmental groups, and First Nations have the legal tools and resources to advocate effectively for the restoration, conservation, and protection of this province's unique and diverse environment."
Zaria Stoffman and BC Liberals' Society Act engineering 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, Greg Palast and the purge this time.
It was revealed yesterday that the California State Water Resources Board has sent a letter to the EPA confirming that at least nine of those sites were in fact dumping wastewater contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants into aquifers protected by state law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, reveals that nearly 3 billion gallons of wastewater were illegally injected into central California aquifers and that half of the water samples collected at the 8 water supply wells tested near the injection sites have high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system, and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison.
BCCLA reacts to proposals for expanded powers for CSIS and to spy review body’s critique of CSIS accountability failures
by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association VANCOUVER – Carmen Cheung, Senior Counsel at the BC Civil Liberties Association, reacted this morning to reports that a security bill seeking to expand the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) powers may be tabled as early as today, and to the suggestion that “radical thoughts” expressed online might be criminalized:
“Rushed and reactionary lawmaking is unwise. The question that Canadians should be asking is not what additional powers government needs to protect public safety, but how existing powers are being used and whether the existing criminal law is being properly enforced.
“We must ask how the tragic events of last week came to pass, without jumping to the conclusion that creating new laws is the answer. In a free society, there is no such thing as perfect security. The prospect of an all-seeing, always-spying government that can lock people up merely for their thoughts, and not their actions is fundamentally at odds with our democratic society.”
There is more truth about American journalism in the film 'Kill the Messenger', which chronicles the mainstream media’s discrediting of the work of the investigative journalist Gary Webb, than there is in the movie 'All the President’s Men', which celebrates the exploits of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal.
The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote.
They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia.
The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.
The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power.
Why is the Pentagon making Ebola ‘therapeutic’ and CDC Patenting Ebola strains?
by F. William Engdahl - NEO The growing Ebola panic, being deliberately fanned by the criminally-irresponsible Dr Margaret Chan, the notorious “Swine Flu Pandemic” Director General of WHO in Geneva, and by the criminally irresponsible officials of the US Government Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is getting more and more absurd and more destructive by the day.
Not only do the official WHO “Ebola symptoms” list symptoms of common influenza or even severe colds. Not only is the only recognized “accurate laboratory test” for Ebola, the Kary Mullis PCR test identified by its inventor (for an entirely other purpose) Nobel Prize winning Dr Kary Mullis as utterly worthless to detect Ebola in a body.
In an interview Mullis stated, “Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.” PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature is unsuited for estimating numbers. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves.
Now we discover that a new company has gone into partnership with the Pentagon…to produce “an anti-Ebola virus RNAi therapeutic” (sic). On August 4, the US TV channel, Fox News carried this intriguing lead: “The experimental drug used to treat two American aid workers who have been infected with the Ebola virus has never been tested on humans before and was only identified earlier this year as part of an ongoing research program backed by the U.S. government and military…The Defense Department has long had a hand in researching infectious diseases, including Ebola.”
There is no question that, in the immediate aftermath and for several years following US military conquests, wars, occupations and sanctions, US multi-national corporations lost out on profitable sites for investments. The biggest losses were in the exploitation of natural resources – in particular, gas and oil – in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.
As a result some observers speculated that there were deep fissures and contradictory interests within the US ruling class. They argued that, on the one hand, political elites linked to pro-Israel lobbies and the military industrial power configuration, promoted a highly militarized foreign policy agenda and, on the other hand, some of the biggest and wealthiest multi-national corporations sought diplomatic solutions.
Yet this seeming ‘elite division’ did not materialize.
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch Milan Kohout is a thinker, performer, and professor. He was born in Czechoslovakia, where he lived before signing of ‘Charter 77’, and immigrating to the United States, where he became a naturalized US citizen.
Mr. Kohout got thoroughly disappointed with capitalism, and the Western regime.
For years and decades he has been performing all over the world, confronting Western imperialism, racism, capitalism and all the world’s religions, particularly Christianity, frontally.
The Discussion took place on October 12, 2014, in Klikarov, a small village in West Bohemia. Vltchek came to Czech Republic in order to give a political lecture at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts in the city of Pilsen, where Kohout teaches.
Both of them drove to a tiny and remote village of Klikarov, in West Bohemia, where they sat by a fishpond, and engaged in a discussion about toxicity of Western imperialism, capitalism and European/US propaganda.
Colonel Igor Strelkov, a native Russian, helped create and led the Novorussian forces during the critical phases of resistance to the Kiev regime. At the height of his success, he left active command and was replaced by local leaders. As Strelkov sees it:
[An] "Endless flow of [Ukraine government] military columns moves towards Donetsk and Makeevka areas and towards Gorlovka area. Troops are being moved at ever increasing pace.
Strelkov believes that heavily populated areas of Donetsk and Makeyevka are the targets. The Kiev government will create a false-flag, according to this scenario, with the aim of a "swift and decisive" victory. If things go according to plan, the largest population area of Novorussia will be under putative Ukrainian government control.