• Written by Yves Engler

SNC/Lavalin: Canada's Returning Rooster

Canada's Corrupt Foreign Policy Comes Home to Roost

by Yves Engler  - TRNN


March 3, 2019

Justin Trudeau’s government is engulfed in a major political scandal that lays bare corporate power in Ottawa. But, SNC Lavalin’s important role in Canadian foreign policy has largely been ignored in discussion of the controversy.

The Prime Minister’s Office has been accused of interfering in the federal court case against the giant Canadian engineering and construction firm for bribing officials in Libya.

Former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould claims she was repeatedly pressured to defer prosecution of the company and instead negotiate a fine.

Facing a 10-year ban on receiving federal government contracts if convicted of bribing Libyan government officials, SNC began to lobby the Trudeau government to change the criminal code three years ago.

The company wanted the government to introduce deferred prosecution agreements in which a sentencing agreement would allow the company to continue receiving government contracts. At SNC’s request the government changed the criminal code but Wilson-Raybould resisted pressure from the PMO to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the company headquartered in Montréal.

Incredibly, before Trudeau went to bat for SNC after the firm had either been found guilty or was alleged to have greased palms in Libya, Bangladesh, Algeria, India, Kazakhstan Tunisia, Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Cambodia and Zambia (as well as Québec).

 

 

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Halyna Mokrushyna, Mark Worthing, Janine Bandcroft February 28th, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

 

February 28, 2019

Five years on from the so-called "Euromaidan revolution" none of the reforms, or economic improvements promised by the victorious government of chocolatier, Petro Poroshenko have materialized. The situation in Kiev is not only now worse economically than under the usurped Victor Yanukovych, but also democratically, where according to my first guest there is less freedom and more political violence than ever.

Halyna Mokrushyna, Ph.D., is an independent researcher and journalist whose research interests include: the social and economic inequality and transition challenges of post-Soviet Ukraine, social memory and the politics of memory, Russo/Canadian relations, and the broader context of post-cold war East/West relations.

Listen. Hear. 

Mokrushyna's articles appear online at Truthout, Truthdig, New Cold War.org, and CounterPunch, where her recent article, 'The ‘Peacekeeper’ Vigilante Website and Freedom of Speech in Ukraine' chronicles disturbing incidents of media suppression, harassment, and violence against those criticizing the Poroshenko regime.

Halyna Mokrushyna in the first half.

And; the rampant development Victoria and environs has seen these last few years is showing no sign of slowing. On the contrary, the momentum is only building, gathering steam as it heads high over the Malahat, and westward towards Sooke. All that stands between the two fingers of this expansive boom is the wild forest and rugged country of the Sooke Hills. But that may not be for long. The Capital Regional District recently announced a plan to punch a highway through the Sooke Hills, ostensibly to provide an alternate up-island route to the Malahat.

Mark Worthing is an activist, naturalist and journalist currently working with Sierra Club BC. He's a founding member of Tanker Free BC, and has worked with a variety of environmental groups on various campaigns, and led Sierra Club's Flathead River Basin biodiversity study. Mark cut his journalistic teeth right here at UVic's Martlet newspaper, and working as a freelance journalist.

Mark Worthing and stopping a road running through the Sooke Hills in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to get up to in and around our town in the coming week, but first, Halyna Mokrushyna and under the gun and on the run from Ukraine's "Peacekeepers".

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon 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/

 

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  • Written by Yves Engler

Rankin Files: Neo-Con in NDP Clothing Says He's Hang 'em Up

Good Riddance to NDP MP Who Is Pro-Israel, Pro-US Empire

by Yves Engler


March 1, 2019

Victoria MP Murray Rankin’s recent announcement that he won’t seek re-election is a victory for NDP members who stand for Palestinian rights and oppose regime change efforts in Iran and Venezuela.
 
Since taking his place in Parliament seven years ago Rankin has been a leading anti-Palestinian activist in the NDP.
 
Israeli Ambassador Barkan with MPs Levitt, Sweet and Rankin, (far right) as well as former MP Irwin Cotler.
 
During Israel’s Summer 2014 destruction of Gaza, which left 2,200 Palestinians dead, he offered remarks supporting Israel (along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper) read at a Victoria Jewish Federation event to raise money for an emergency Israel Relief Fund. In 2016 Rankin went to Israel in a Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs organized trip and was one of the MPs who blocked the “Palestine Resolution” from being discussed at the NDP convention in February. In December Rankin joined Ambassador Nimrod Barkan and other prominent anti-Palestinian politicians (Michael Levitt, David Sweet, Irwin Cotler) for an event at the Israeli Embassy.
 
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Pablo Ouziel, Timothy A. Wise, Janine Bandcroft February 21st, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


February 21, 2019

Last week, Spain's political path followed its European neighbours into uncertain territory. The young Socialist Party government of Pedro Sánchez, the shortest-lived government since the fall of Franco, lost coalition support over the continued prosecution of Catalan separatists involved with the "illegal" October 1, 2017 independence referendum.

Elections have been called for April 28th.

Saturday, hundreds of thousands came into the streets of Barcelona to demonstrate against the trials, started just more than a week ago, and show support for the twelve defendants, ten former members of the former Puigdumont government and two grassroots activists, they believe are being prosecuted falsely.

Listen. Hear.

The court didn't help its credibility, ruling testimony from the former president, currently living in exile, would not be allowed.

Dr. Pablo Ouziel is Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Victoria's Political Science Department and Centre for Global Studies. He's a native of Barcelona, and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship project at UVic, 'Democracy Here and Now: The Exemplary Case of Spain' couldn't be more timely.

Pablo Ouziel in the first half.

And; were he alive today, Walt Disney might sing, "It's a small planet afterall." The World's population has more than doubled since old Walt's death in 1966, and the exponential increase in human numbers is the number one reason cited by proponents of the Green Revolution of that era, and reiterated by transnational agribusiness behemoths today, for the continued expansion of industrial scale agriculture and necessity of increasing the scope of genetically modified food crop organisms across the globe. It's a no-brainer, right?

Timothy A. Wise is senior researcher at the Small Planet Institute and director of its Land and Food Rights Program. He's also a senior research fellow at Tufts University's Global Development and Environment Institute and founded its Globalization and Sustainable Development Program.

Wise is too author of the book, 'Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico', and the recently released, 'Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food'.

Timothy A. Wise and the politics on your plate in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Pablo Ouziel and Catalans taking to Barcelona's streets again.  

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon 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/
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  • Written by John Helmer

Russia's Rosneft Dog in Venezuela Fight

Russia's Stake in Venezuela

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


February 17, 2019

Moscow - No ambition in Russia runs wider and higher than that of Igor Sechin, 58, chief executive of Rosneft. To help fill the Venezuelan treasury, deter attacks on President Nicolas Maduro, reinforce his army, and show the world he’s the Russian who can defeat both types of war the US is waging against the world – sanctions war and regime-change war – no bill would be too expensive for Sechin to pay.

And if he can do that, he will show that he’s the natural successor of President Vladimir Putin.

In point of cost for Rosneft, the Venezuelan strategy is relatively cheap. For the Russian military, who have created the most powerful army in South America (also a match for Canada ), with a decade of deliveries of air and ground weapons, the Venezuelan front is a fresh tester of American warmaking at low money cost and little risk of Russian casualties.

The combination of Sechin and the Russian General Staff to defend Venezuela is a potent weapon to demonstrate to the world that US threats are bluff.

So, win or lose on the battleground of Venezuela, at home Sechin is showing his Russian allies that he’s their winner in the presidential power contest ahead.

Not everyone agrees.

“Yes, the presidency is a matter of Sechin’s ambition; it’s also a condition for his survival,” comments a source who has known Sechin well.
“As to who his allies are, I am not able to tell because he has managed to come into conflict with everyone around Putin. But if Sechin becomes the Kremlin’s lead on Venezuela, then Sechin will lose his battle for the Kremlin.”


In wartime it can’t be expected that Venezuela and Russia are going to reveal publicly the balance-sheet of the debts between Caracas and Moscow; certainly not how the two plan to evade the sanctions imposed on arms deliveries, introduced by the European Union in November 2017, or the US sanctions and asset seizures which the US (and the Bank of England) introduced on January 28, 2019.

The Russian Finance Ministry refuses to say exactly how much Venezuela currently owes Russia. However, on January 29, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak (right) confirmed that semi-annual interest  payments of $100 million on sovereign debt of $3.15 billion were agreed in November 2017 , and are continuing; repayment of the principal is postponed until 2023.

“We have payments due in September [30] and March [30]. There are no overdue amounts. The last time the amount [paid] was more than $100 million; the upcoming payment, the same. We have a fixed interest rate.

“When the loan repayment period begins [in 2023], along with interest, part of the debt is extinguished, this is a classic scheme of repayment of the state debt.” 


Storchak conceded that following the escalation of US sanctions last month, “there will probably be problems. Everything now depends on the army, on the servicemen, how true they will be to their duty and oath. Another assessment is difficult to give — impossible.”

Russian reporters have been claiming that Venezuelan debts to Russia currently total $17 billion. This is guesswork; it started last year in reports by the Reuters news agency in Caracas.

The officially agreed numbers comprise the debt between Rosneft and Venezuela’s state oil company group, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) of about $5 billion; about $4 billion owed for Russian arms deliveries; $1.5 billion in loan collateral which Rosneft holds in CITGO, the US refinery and retail gasoline subsidiary of PDVSA; and $5.8 billion in obligations which the Maduro Government began negotiating with the Paris Club of government creditors starting last June.

These numbers don’t add up to $17 billion, and the Paris Club number isn’t broken down by creditor country claims. It’s known that the Paris Club aggregate includes $263 million owed to Brazil. How much of the balance — $5.573 billion — is owed to Russia and to China is not reported by the Paris Club. Nor are details of the off-budget financing of some Russian arms deliveries which may make the debt to Russia larger.

Rosneft was asked to clarify how much money it has paid out in loans to the PDVSA group, investments in joint oilfield development projects, and cash advances for future deliveries of Venezuelan oil. The company refuses to answer.

 

[For complete article, please see link here.]

 

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin (left) presents a sword to President 
Nicolas Maduro (right) in Caracas on July 26, 2016.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer February 14, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


February 14th, 2019

What do any of us really know?

For the most part, our understanding of reality is based on what we've been told; told by parents, teachers, friends, and the media. And who told them?

There is though another path to discovery. Go to the places where things are happening; talk to the people making them happen, then decide what's true.

But, and it's a vitally big but; be careful what you ask, for you could find out more than it's safe to know.

As the first cracks of the Soviet Empire's eroding iron facade opened, Australian-born author, political essayist, professor of political science, and policy advisor to presidents and prime ministers, John Helmer headed for Moscow, determined to establish what was to become the longest continuously operating foreign press bureau in the capital.

Listen. Hear.

From his position as an independent of single-national, or commercial sponsorship reporter, he ventured into the country's unpredictable, and often precarious economic transition period; a time that would see coup attempts, the undoing of international political superstar, Mikhail Gorbachev, and fall of Russia's communist system itself. It would too usher in the tempestuous Age of the Oligarchs.

Some of John Helmer's book titles include: 'The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society', 'Drugs and Minority Oppression', (with Claudia Wright) 'The Jackal's Wedding - American Power, Arab Revolt', 'Grand Strategy for Small Countries, Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,' (and with Ajay Goyal) 'Uncovering Russia'. His latest book is the newly out political and personal memoir, 'The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia'.

John Helmer and a special, Gorilla Radio double-yolker, getting to know too much about Russia.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time contributor to Gorilla Radio, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the three-quarter mark, bringing us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, the man who knew too much, John Helmer. 

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon 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/
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  • Written by Creative Commons

Making Up Minds Through Media Manipulation: Case Study, Venezuela

How the Media Manufactures Consent for Regime Change in Venezuela

by Alan MacLeod - VenezuelAnalysis

 
February 10, 2019
 

The latest extraordinary chapter in the bizarre world of Venezuelan politics is playing out before our eyes. After winning the 2018 presidential elections, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated in January, only for the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó -- a man whom, at the time, less than 20 percent of the country had even heard of -- to declare himself President.

Guaidó was immediately backed by the governments of the U.S. and U.K., with Vice President Mike Pence stating, "Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him."

I've previously cataloged how the media has been quick to echo the idea that Maduro is completely illegitimate and has been eager to position America's stance towards Venezuelan politics as one of a neutral arbiter.

 

Juan Guaido swore himself in as "interim 

president" on January 23 (EFE photo)
 

 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Daniel Kovalik, Denis Halliday, Christopher Black, Janine Bandcroft February 7th, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


February 7th, 2019

The Lima Group met Monday in Ottawa to make official its determination to overthrow the government of Venezuela, as detailed in its 'Ottawa Declaration'.

An offshoot of the Organization of American States, the Lima Group formed following the OAS's failure to agree on the forced removal of president Nicolas Maduro.

In addition to hosting the meeting, and adding its capital's name to the Group's declaration, Canada's foreign minister promised 53 million Canadian dollars in "humanitarian and development aid" to be delivered to what Chrystia Freeland termed, its "trusted partners" in the embattled South American nation.

Listen. Hear.

Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, essayist, and author of the critically-acclaimed books, ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia’, and ‘The Plot to Attack Iran’. The third in his “plot to” trilogy, ‘The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World’ is newly out and couldn’t be more timely. Dan has too served as an election observor multiple times in Venezuela, and other Latin American countries, and is just returned from Caracas.

Dan Kovalik in the first half.

And; despite a gruesome colonial past, and more recent history of supporting dictatorships, Canada still gets a lot of mileage out of its "democracy-loving" reputation. It scores a solid six on The Economist's annual rating of global democratic performance, and does almost as well on international justice indices.

In fact, Canada's "rule of law" bona fides is wielded more and more by the prime minister, even as the country diverges further and further from it.

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, and novelist who’s latest book is, ‘Beneath the Clouds’. Black’s articles on international law, politics and World events appear at New Eastern Outlook among other places, and his latest, ‘The Lima Group: International Outlaws’ serves as indictment of a gang of nations gone rogue.

Christopher Black and declaring Ottawa outlaws in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to around our town in the coming week. But first, Dan Kovalik and vultures kettling over Caracas.

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon 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/
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  • Written by Bill Henderson

Trudeau Must Go: Changing Canada's Climate Position

Trudeau Must Resign

by Bill Henderson - Pacific Free Press


February 4, 2019

 

"Real climate leadership means rejecting permits for new pipelines, saying no to more leasing or fossil fuel extraction, and putting policies in place to wind down this industry and encourage a just transition." - OilChange International 

 

Prime Minister Trudeau promised to be a climate leader. There is no issue more important to Canadians than protecting a safe climate. But subsequent to pretending leadership at the COP in Paris, Justin Trudeau has failed miserably at emission reduction. The Liberal's Pan-Canadian Framework mitigation plan is in tatters; the puny, ineffectual carbon pricing proposed turned into a tool for dividing Canadians.

Canada will not meet its Paris 2030 target - which was the old Harper-era too low by half measure to stay even below 2°C target. Canada must reduce GHG emissions by half (at least) by 2030, but instead we dither, wasting very precious time.

 

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  • Written by Christopher Black

Outlaw Lima Group Conspirators Meet in Ottawa

The Lima Group: International Outlaws

by Christopher Black - NEO


February 4, 2019

The covert and overt interventions taking place against Venezuela by the United States and its allies are a form of aggression and a violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter making the nations involved international outlaws.

The attempted coup against President Maduro may have failed so far but the jackals that instigated it have not given up their objective of forcing the majority benefiting from the Bolivarian revolution begun by President Chavez back to the misery the revolution is trying to save them from.

The United States and its allied governments and media, working with American military and civilian intelligence services, are pumping out a constant flow of propaganda about the start of affairs in Venezuela to mislead and manipulate their own peoples so that they support their aggression and to undermine Venezuelans support for their revolution.

We have seen this type of propaganda before, the fake stories about “human rights” abuses, economic conditions, the cries of “democracy,” the propaganda about an “authoritarian” leader, a “tyrant,” “dictator”, all labels they have used before against leaders of nations that they have later murdered; President Arbenz, Allende, Torrijos, Habyarimana, Milosevic, Hussein, Ghaddafi are examples that come quickly to mind, so that the same threats against Maduro are not just propaganda but direct physical threats.

 

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  • Written by Yves Engler

A Gathering of Vultures: The Lima Gang Descend on Ottawa

What the mainstream media doesn’t tell you about Venezuela

by Yves Engler


February 3, 2019

 



The corporate media is wholeheartedly behind the federal government’s push for regime change in Venezuela. The propaganda is thick and, as per usual, it is as much about what they don’t, as what they do, report. Here are some important developments that have largely been ignored by Canada’s dominant media:

At the Organization of American States meeting called by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 25 the Canadian-backed interventionist resolution was defeated 18-16.

The “Lima Group” of governments opposed to Venezuela’s elected president was established 18 months ago after Washington, Ottawa and others failed to garner the votes necessary to censure Venezuela at the OAS (despite the head of the OAS’s extreme hostility to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro).

Most of the world’s countries, with most of the world’s population, have failed to support the US/Canada push torecognize National Assembly head Juan Guaidóas president of Venezuela.

The UN and OAS charters preclude unilateral sanctions and interfering in other countries’ affairs.

UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur for sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, recently condemned US/Canadian sanctions on Venezuela.

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Astra Taylor, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft January 31st, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


January 31, 2019

From the barricades of France's Gilets Jaunes and America's Black Lives Matter marches, to Venezuela's Bolivarian reactionary mobilizations, and the "coloured revolutions" manifesting around the globe, it's clear: we're living in an age of political upheaval. But are scenes of the People taking to the streets an ominous precursor of chaos and civilization's end to come, or hopeful sign of civic renewal and democratic vibrancy?

Astra Taylor is a political activist, organizer, and co-founder of Debt Collective, a "community of debtors... working to build a new economy." She is too an award-winning filmmaker, whose credits include, 'Examined Life', 'Zizek!', and her most recent, 'What Is Democracy?', featured at the upcoming Victoria Film Festival.

Listen. Hear.

Astra's also the American Book Award-winning author of, 'The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age', and an essayist whose writing has appeared at The New York Times, London Review of Books, and The Walrus among other places. Her new book, 'Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone' is due out any day.

Astra Taylor in the first half.

And; the long-running fiasco that has become Great Britain's political reality may prove H.L. Menken's maxim: "Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right."

John Helmer is a journalist, former academic, government policy advisor, author, and broadcaster. He's the longest-serving Russia-based foreign correspondent, and sole western journalist directing his own news bureau, independent of any single national or commercial encumbrance, and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears, where his recent article, 'Novichok Full O'Nuts - In the Case of Sergei Skripal Police Commissioner Angus MacPherson Lifts the Lid' is one of a series chronicling the continuing inability, or unwillingness, of the May government to provide a consistent narrative surrounding the case that strained Anglo-Russian relations to breaking point.

John Helmer's titles include, (with Max van der Werff) 'The Lie That Shot Down MH17 - The True Story of Who Did', Grand Strategy for Small Countries, Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,' Russian State Strategy on the Cheap,' among others. His latest, newly released book is his political memoir, 'The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia'.

John Helmer and clearing finally the malodorous May miasma shrouding the mysterious Skripal affair in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in the coming week. But first, Astra Taylor asking, "Just What Is Democracy?"

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon 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/

 

 

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