Let's all give it up for the #MeToo movement. Sexual assault and abuse is a scourge older than Methuselah. Since the beginning of recorded time, Patriarchy has made a Hell on Earth for women and girls.
It continues to do so, and the fact Harvey Weinstein's career immolation served to spark awareness and activism going far beyond California is the singlemost hopeful development in human development in our still-young century; and perhaps it will prove even more profound should the roots of its promising initiation take a deeper societal hold.
But, there's something disquieting about the whole l'affaire Weinstein; something more disturbing than the ill-making mental image of a bloated Harvey the Hutt tonguing hapless starlets chained by their ambition before his gilded throne.
The unease goes beyond the casual aplomb shown by the perp sanguinely waving off accountability with a leer and shrug. It's more bothersome even than his half-hearted apologia, made as if revelations of his grotesque predatory behaviour were nothing new, nothing to get so worked up about, nothing like revelatory really at all.
The problem is, he actually, honestly could not get it; couldn't see where he crossed the line.
At the very beginning of the of the Skripal incident, the security services blocked by D(SMA) notice any media mention of Pablo Miller and told the media not to look at Orbis and the Steele dossier on Trump, acting immediately to get out their message via trusties in the BBC and Guardian.
Gordon Corera, “BBC Security Correspondent”, did not name the source who told him to say this, but helpfully illustrated his tweet with a nice picture of MI6 Headquarters.
Like the rest of Canada’s corporate media, the state-run CBC is virulently anti-Russia and a constant voice favouring the regime-change war in Syria. So it was something of a surprise to hear its national radio news report on April 22 provide evidence that counters the claims of a chemical weapons attack against the town of Douma, Syria in the region east of Damascus on April 7.
The CBC reported some of the information first reported by Robert Fisk of the UK Independent on April 17. Fisk spoke to medical personnel who treated what were later claimed by Western media to be victims of a chemical attack.
Photo provided to Western media by the Western-funded ‘White Helmets’ agency purporting to show victims of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018
They explained to Fisk that the victims treated that day were suffering from respiratory ailments caused by the dust, debris and concussion symptoms of explosions. The medical personnel were interviewed separately and broadcast on a YouTube channel in Syria; you can view the video here.
Military clashes were still taking place on April 7 between the Syrian government and the right-wing militias in control of Douma since 2012. A ceasefire agreement has since provided for the withdrawal of the militias and re-assertion of control of Douma by the Syrian government.
As Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook reported on April 18, Fisk’s reporting has been ignored or downplayed by Western media. The CBC reporting makes no specific mention of Fisk or his original reporting.
It was only a matter of time before the US government and its compliant media would once again put Nicaragua in their sights. And, that time has indeed come.
Last year, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA Act) which would cut that already-poor country off from loans offered by international financial institutions.
Citing the Alliance for Global Justice, Telesur reported at the time that, “‘[t]he Nicaraguan government uses foreign assistance from international financial institutions to support social spending on health and education which have become an ever larger proportion of the national budget.’”
Telesur explained that the NICA Act therefore, “poses a serious danger to the Central American nation’s economy and could result in a humanitarian crisis and waves of economic refugees that would flee toward the U.S. border, joining waves of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”
I am hopeful that the commendable discovery process involved in US litigation will bring to light further details of the genesis of Christopher Steele’s ludicrous dossier on Trump/Russia, and may even give some clues as to whether Sergei Skripal and/or his handler Pablo Miller were involved in its contents.
The decision by the Democratic National Committee to sue the Russian Government, Wikileaks, Julian Assange personally and the Trump campaign is an act of colossal hubris. It is certain to reveal still more details of the deliberate fixing of the primary race against Bernie Sanders, over which five DNC members, including the Chair, were forced to resign.
It will also lead to the defendants being able to forensically examine the DNC servers to prove they were not hacked – something which astonishingly the FBI refused to do, being instead content to take the word of the DNC’s own private cyber security firm, Crowdstrike. Unless those servers have been wiped completely (as Hillary did to her private email server) I know that is not going to go well for the DNC.
UK corporate media are under a curious kind of military occupation. Almost all print and broadcast media now employ reporters and commentators who are relentless and determined warmongers.
Despite the long, unarguable history of US/UK lying on war, and the catastrophic results, these journalists instantly confirm the veracity of atrocity claims made against Official Enemies, while having little or nothing to say about the proven crimes of the US, UK, Israel or their allies.
They shriek with a level of moral outrage from which their own government is forever spared. They laud even the most obviously biased, tinpot sources blaming the 'Enemy', while dismissing out of hand the best scientific researchers, investigative journalists and academic sceptics who disagree.
Anyone who challenges this strange bias is branded a 'denier', 'pro-Saddam', 'pro-Gaddafi, 'pro-Assad'. Above all, one robotically repeated word is generated again and again: 'Apologist... Apologist... Apologist'.
Claims of a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria on April 7, offered yet another textbook example of this reflexive warmongering. Remarkably, the alleged attack came just days after US president Donald Trump had declared of Syria:
'I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation.'
Though seldom spoken now, those past a certain age will remember the Dirty Wars waged in South America in the last half of the last century. Perhaps the worst of it was when The Dirty Wars soiled Central America: El Salvador, Nicarauga, Guatemala, and of course Honduras from where Gringo mastermind, John Negroponte coordinated Central America's share of the infamous Operation Condor.
The rise of leftist governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Sandinista reemergence in Nicaragua in the early years of this century was hopeful. Even in Guatemala truth and reconciliation commissions were established to acknowledge, if not punish, the genocidal horror visited upon the Mayan majority.
But that short-lived hope is ending. The fascists are risen again in Latin America, and Honduras is again in the middle of the nightmare.
Phil Little is a former Catholic missionary, retired teacher, and for the last five years has acted as "accompaniment" for social and human rights activists in Honduras at risk because, as he says, "the theory [is] that a person is less likely to be killed if accompanied by a foreigner, preferably a gringo."
That belief proved tragically over-optimistic in the case of murdered Honduran activist, Berta Cáceres in 2016. Phil will be at Cafe Simpatico tomorrow night, 1923 Fernwood Road, in the heart of Fernwood, with Kay Gimbel of CASC and MJAC, and micro-economist, Bill Feyrer presenting 'Honduras Today'.
Phil Little in the first half.
And; as Stephen Harper's Canada was first among nations to recognize and sign trade deals with the coup government of Honduras, so too has his successor been quick to adopt militarism, leaping in support of the recent bombing of Syria before it happened. But then, Justin Trudeau was only acting in accordance with the new understanding of Canadian values, as expressed by the Canadian Pension Plan. Your CPP long ago decided to adopt the ruthless morays of corporate war profiteers; and, you may be happy to know, the killing business has never been better.
Richard Sanders and how the CPP helped Canadians profit from the US/UK/France Air Strikes Against Syria, and will profit again the fires next time in the second half.
And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin and some of the good things to get up to around here for the coming week. But first, Phil Little and matters of life and death in Honduras, where corruption IS the operating system.
It's a great time to be in the war game! The Real News reports, "defense" company stocks at Northrup Grumman and Boeing have soared this year, while the latest launching of more than a hundred cruise missiles at Syria has proven a spectacular blast for Tomahawk maker, Raytheon.
But, as Wall Street celebrates the dazzling array of opportunities presented by America's military-investor complex, the recent blitzkrieg over Syria may too have revealed dark clouds on the war-profiteering horizon.
Apparently, some of those missiles didn't make their targets. In fact, if reports are to be believed, three quarters of the nearly two million bucks a pop Tomahawks were intercepted; brought down by Syrian air defenses.
What does this mean for the future of the Anglo-American Axis powers' war against the Middle East; and more importantly, what does it mean for the continued effectiveness of America's 21st century high-tech, high-explosive equivalent of 'Gunboat Diplomacy'?
John Helmer is a long-time, Moscow-based journalist, author, and essayist whose website, Dances with Bears is the only Russian-based news bureau “independent of single national or commercial ties.” He’s also a former political science professor who’s served as advisor to governments on three continents, and regularly lectures on Russian topics. Helmer’s book titles include: ‘Uncovering Russia,’ ‘Urbanman: The Psychology of Urban Survival,’ ‘Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam and After,’ and ‘Drugs and Minority Oppression’, among others.
John Helmer in the first half.
And; Victoria's own Christopher Wylie might not have broken the internet, but he's certainly rocked it. The storm created by whistleblowing revelations he's made about his former bosses at Cambridge Analytica and their "misappropriation" of Facebook client data to use for nefarious political ends cast uber-geek billionaire Mark Zuckerberg in a congressional hotseat, cost Facebook stock billions, and put the issue of protecting the personal in a post-privacy world in the middle of the media spotlight. But, is that all there is to the story?
Christopher Black is a Toronto-based criminal lawyer best known for his involvement in a number of high-profile, international war crimes cases. He's also a poet, essayist, novelist who's new book, 'Beneath the Clouds' is just out. Black's articles on international law, politics and World events appear at New Eastern Outlook among other places, and his latest, 'The Chris Wylie Story: A NATO Psychological Operation?' shifts the focus of the scandal to Wylie's unverified accusations implicating Russian interference with Brexit and allegations of Vladimir Putin's influence in the election of Donald Trump.
Christopher Black and who exactly is Chris Wylie and what‘s his game? in the second half.
And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on in and around our town for the coming week. But first, John Helmer and is the empire shooting blanks?
So a tiny independent radio station in Ireland managed to interview Robert Fisk on the ground in Douma, but none of the mainstream British broadcast media today has him on, despite the political fallout from our Syria bombing attack being the main news story everywhere?
Meantime MSM propagandists including Richard Hall (BBC), Dan Hodges (Mail) and Brian Whitaker (Guardian) and many more queue up to denounce Fisk on twitter from their cosy armchairs.
It bears repeating, information on the alleged gas attacks – which raises great doubt but which Fisk himself does not claim as definitive – is not the most important part of Fisk's article.
Sturgeon: 'A Fully Paid Up Member of the British Establishment'
The Hell of rule under the jihadists that we in the West are arming, funding, training, “military advising” and giving air support, alongside Saudi Arabia and Israel, is the indisputable and much more important element of Fisk’s report, as is the clear evidence he provides that the White Helmets are part of the jihadist factions.
When it comes to creating bogus news stories and advancing false narratives, the British intelligence services have few peers.
In fact, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6) has led the way for its American “cousins” and Britain’s Commonwealth partners – from Canada and Australia to India and Malaysia – in the dark art of spreading falsehoods as truths.
Recently, the world has witnessed such MI-6 subterfuge in news stories alleging that Russia carried out a novichok nerve agent attack against a Russian émigré and his daughter in Salisbury, England.
This propaganda barrage was quickly followed by yet another – the latest in a series of similar fabrications – alleging the Syrian government attacked civilians in Douma, outside of Damascus, with chemical weapons.
Ian Blackford MP, investment banker and now SNP Westminster parliamentary leader, has received an “intelligence briefing” from the security services and is satisfied with MI6 assurances that Assad attacked Douma with chemical weapons. The whirring sound you hear is Willie Macrae spinning in his grave.
The other whirling sound you hear is Charlie Kennedy spinning in his. Charlie – who was a friend since 1979 – once told me that the scariest walk he ever took was to get the security service briefing on the Iraq War.
He was scared in case the intelligence was actually convincing on Iraqi WMD – what would he do then?
Charlie said that when he saw the actual intelligence he was astonished by how weak it was, and left with a clear mind – and a lifelong distrust of MI6. But Charlie Kennedy, though we disagreed on Scottish independence, was a very decent man of great principle. Not an Establishment hack like investment banker Ian Blackford MP.
Political leaders and the mass media deluge the public with a constant stream of frightening incidents caused by the enemy-of-the-week: nerve gas killing dozens of little babies in Syria, Russian-directed poison assassination attempts in England and terror incidents throughout Europe, requiring an increase in domestic police state surveillance and spying.
Extensively monitored bank records, intrusive workplace controls, and all personal and, especially, political communications, are in the hands of state security officials or corporate security contractors.
Hundreds of prosecuting attorneys look forward to career-enhancing investigations in perpetuity, tracking the complex networks of extended personal and family links, including long forgotten acquaintances and the contents of casual conversations. Everyone may be subject to interrogations without warrant or explanation. And the ‘media’ cheers on the process.
Political trials and convictions in court and the media are rampant. Social, work-place and academic self censorship and blacklisting of dissident voices have become pervasive and accepted.
Elections and appointments are rigged by corporate and special interests to favor the most bellicose ideologues who manufacture the pretexts for war.