• Written by Jonathan Cook

Abuse of Assange Greater Than a Matter of WikiLeaks

Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law

by Jonathan Cook - Jonathan-Cook.net 

via Consortium News

June 3, 2019

17 glaring legal anomalies provide overwhelming evidence that the WikiLeaks publisher has been the victim of political persecution.

 

It is astonishing how often one still hears well-informed, otherwise reasonable people say about Julian Assange: “But he ran away from Swedish rape charges by hiding in Ecuador’s embassy in London.”

That short sentence includes at least three factual errors. In fact, to repeat it, as so many people do, you would need to have been hiding under a rock for the past decade — or, amounting to much the same thing, been relying on the corporate media for your information about Assange, including from supposedly liberal outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC.

 

Assange: Victim of legal persecution.
(YouTube screenshot)

A recent Guardian editorial — the paper’s official voice and probably the segment most scrutinized by senior staff — made just such a false claim:

Then there is the rape charge that Mr. Assange faced in Sweden and which led him to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in the first place.

The fact that the Guardian, supposedly the British media’s chief defender of liberal values, can make this error-strewn statement after nearly a decade of Assange-related coverage is simply astounding. And that it can make such a statement days after the U.S. finally admitted that it wants to lock up Assange for 175 years on bogus “espionage” charges — a hand anyone who wasn’t being willfully blind always knew the U.S. was preparing to play — is still more shocking.

Assange faces no charges in Sweden yet, let alone “rape charges.” As former U.K. ambassador Craig Murray recently explained, the Guardian has been misleading readers by falsely claiming that an attempt by a Swedish prosecutor to extradite Assange — even though the move has not received the Swedish judiciary’s approval — is the same as his arrest on rape charges. It isn’t.

Also, Assange did not seek sanctuary in the embassy to evade the Swedish investigation. No state in the world gives a non-citizen political asylum to avoid a rape trial. The asylum was granted on political grounds. Ecuador rightly accepted Assange’s concerns that the U.S. would seek his extradition and lock him out of sight for the rest of his life.

Assange, of course, has been proven – yet again – decisively right by recent developments.

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Robert Hunziker

A Hole in the Planet: The Return of Ozone-Depletion

Ozone-Depleting CFCs Return 

by Robert Hunziker - CounterPunch

May 31, 2019

In August of 1987 the world came together after a panic-attack over ongoing depletion of atmospheric ozone, aka: The Ozone Hole. Subsequently, global agreements to stop ozone depletion became the first ever “universally ratified treaties in UN history.” The world banned CFCs.

 

  Photograph: ISS Expedition 23 crew – Public Domain


Thereafter, an era of good feelings about ozone restoration swept the world community and 25 years afterwards Science News magazine reported: “Ozone Hole at Smallest Size in Decades” d/d October 26, 2012.

Glory hallelujah! As a glorious Great Exhale spread across the land, similar to releasing pressurized air out of a humongous balloon, wheezing and hissing for days on end, in celebration of The Shrinking Ozone Hole! It was the first time in history that people celebrated a Shrinking Hole, and for good reason.

Ozone molecules are crucial to sustaining life. Those feisty powerhouse molecules shield the planet from destructive Ultraviolet B or UV-B, which can become big-time killers if left unchecked. According to NASA: “Without ozone, the Sun’s intense UV radiation would sterilize the Earth’s surface” which is a gentle way of saying “Mass Extinction.”

Add a comment

Read more

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Douglas Gook, Dan Kovalik, Janine Bandcroft May 30, 2019

This Week on GR

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

May 30, 2019

che kokoApproaching the fifth anniversary of the Mt. Polley tailings spill into Quesnel Lake and beyond little has been done to affect the way mining is conducted in this province. Imperial Metals, the company responsible for that disaster, among other things, has yet to be properly held to account for the damage its negligence caused. And it doesn't seem likely to be in the future.

With governments' unwilling to address this long-standing and ongoing failure of oversight a citizen-led initiative has begun. The BC Mining Law Reform Campaign launched a couple of weeks ago, and it is determined to succeed in bringing mining operations in BC to heel.

Listen. Hear.

Douglas Gook is a Quesnel-based ecology activist and farmer who’s focused on Eco forestry alternatives in the woods there and beyond for more than forty years. The former BC and Canadian Green Party candidate is a director of the BC Environmental Network and Spirit Dance Cooperative Community, and leads Forest Protection Allies, one of the many environmental organizations pressuring government to get effective cleanup processes going, and appropriate compensation for those effected five years after the infamous Mt. Polley spill.

He’s also one of a growing chorus who do not accept the Site C decision as final.

Douglas Gook in the first half.

And; despite the great hope for peace in Colombia, an announcement by the country's military of a "new" strategy to deal with what they say is a continuing insurgency, and against organized drugs gangs, has sparked concern of a return to the bad old days of death squads and the "falsos positivos" program of the civil war.

Daniel Kovalik is a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist and author. He teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and was until recently Senior Associate General Counsel for the United Steel Workers Union. Kovalik has observed elections in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia, where he too witnessed the 2016 peace plebiscite promising an end to the generational war there.

Dan’s also served as an attorney for Colombian plaintiffs in cases alleging corporate human rights violations, and is co-recipient of a Project Censored Award for chronicling the murder of trade unionists in Colombia. Some of his many book titles include the 'Plot To...' series: 'The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin', 'The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran', 'The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World, and his latest, 'The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the US Is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.'


Dan Kovalik and failing peace in Colombia 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 the good things going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Douglas Gook and citizens acting where government won't with the BC Mining Law Reform Campaign.

 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/

 

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Brian Davey

On Second Cogitations: An Open Letter to Media Lens

An Open Letter to Media Lens - XR: After sounding the alarm - What is "real change"?

by Brian Davey - www.credoeconomics.com

 

Dear David and David, sounding the alarm so that "real change" happens? As you say Cory Morningstar is well intentioned and she has a message too - she tells us what the elite agenda is. Their agenda would be "real change" all right - in the completely wrong direction. 


So Cory Morningstar has done us a favour. She might not express it as carefully as she might but we ought to try and understand what her message is too... I think you have only partly understood it.

I write as as a retired social ecological economist (if you ever retire) I broadly agree with her description. I've been involved in the climate movement for over 2 decades and despaired. Extinction Rebellion have done a tremendous job of releasing the passion - but what are its political aims? What kind of "real change"? My attitude to XR is ambivalent. I am impressed by their militancy and commitment. By their spirit of self sacrifice. But I am unimpressed by an absence of an idea what "real change" for them would be. And you too.

Tell us the truth about climate change? What is that and how is it different from the debate among climate scientists and at the IPCC period reports? Decarbonisation by 2025 = 4 times as fast as the call to halve emissions by 2030.

Since 80% of the UK energy supply is fossil fuel based it's not possible. I wish it was possible, but it isn't. Just constructing a wind farm can take 4 years.You would have to increase the rate at which renewables are constructed and installed by an order of magnitude. You could not do that without training more engineers and that takes 3 years and more.

All of this would take a lot of fossil fuels to achieve...

Add a comment

Read more

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Brian Davey, Jeb Sprague, Janine Bandcroft May 23, 2019

This Week on GR

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

May 23, 2019

Isolated from one other by walls made of media-induced divides, rather than considering the issues of the day in nuanced terms political discourse has increasingly become an identitarian, black and white battle between entrenched camps. From sheltered thought silos, it's possible to forgo the difficult task of thinking through problems, choosing instead to hurl abusive missives, (and more substantive missiles) at one another.

Despite this spreading plague of self-satisfied, diametric certitude, there still exists a middle ground. It's shaky, dangerous territory few would choose to make a stand on, but between the derision and scorn suffered from both extremities, it's in the grey zone between our only hope of collective salvation lay.

Listen. Hear.

Brian Davey is an economist who's spent most of his working life in the community and voluntary sector in Nottingham, England, particularly in health promotion, mental health and environmental fields. He is a co-founder of Ecoworks, a community garden and environmental project for people with mental health problems, member of the Feasta Climate Working Group, and former co-ordinator of the Cap and Share Campaign.

Davey is also editor of the Feasta book, 'Sharing for Survival: Restoring the Climate, the Commons and Society', and author of 'Credo: Economic Beliefs in a World in Crisis'. Brian recently posted at FEASTA.org the article, 'Greta Thunberg, PR and the “Climate Emergency”', an attempt to find common ground in the current climate crisis debate.

Brian Davey in the first half.

And; last week, officers of the US Secret Service Uniformed Division assisted US Department of State Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents in extracting from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, four remaining protesters, barricaded inside. It was the culmination of a six weeks-long stand-off, seeing noisome, and sometimes violent, confrontation between pro-government and counter-government supporters of Juan Guaido, the man recognized by the United States and some of its allies as the legitimate representative of democracy in that country.

Jeb Sprague is an educator, author, essayist and journalist whose articles can be found at the Grayzone Project, and The Canary, among other places. He lectures at the University of Virginia and is author of the books: 'Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class', and 'Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti'. Sprague is also editor of the book, 'Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania', and is a founding member of the Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism (NCSGC).

Jeb Sprague and the death of diplomacy in DC 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 going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Brian Davey and finding the middle ground in the middle of a climate emergency.

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/
Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Ramzy Baroud

Popsi Revolutionaries of a Dying Culture

Madonna’s Fake Revolution: Eurovision, Cultural Hegemony and Resistance

by Ramzy Baroud - Palestine Chronicle

May 21, 2019

Rim Banna, a famous Palestinian singer who translated Palestine’s most moving poetry to song passed away on March 24, 2018, at the age of 51.

Rim captured the struggle for Palestinian freedom in the most dignified and melodious ways. If we could imagine angels singing, they would sound like Rim.

When Rim died, all Palestinians mourned her death. Although a few international outlets carried the news of her passing at a relatively young age, her succumbing to cancer did not receive much coverage or discussion.

Sadly, a Palestinian icon of cultural resistance who had inspired a whole generation, starting with the First Palestinian Intifada in 1987, hardly registered as an event worthy of remembrance and reflection, even among those who purport to champion the Palestinian cause.

Compare Rim to Madonna, an ‘artiste’ who has stood for self-aggrandizing personal fame and money-making. She has championed the most debased moral values, utilizing cheap entertainment while catering to the lowest common denominator to remain relevant in the music world for as long as possible.

While Rim had a cause, Madonna has none. And while Rim symbolized cultural resistance, Madonna symbolizes globalized cultural hegemony - in this case, the imposition of consumerist western cultures on the rest of the world.

Cultural hegemony defines the US and other Western cultures’ relationship to the rest of the world. It is not culture as in the collective intellectual and artistic achievements of these societies, but as a set of ideological and cultural tools used by ruling classes to maintain domination over the disadvantaged, colonized and oppressed.

Madonna, along with Michael Jordan, the Beatles and Coca Cola represent far more than mere performers and fizzy drinks, but also serve as tools used to secure cultural, thus economic and political dominance, as well. The fact that in some cities around the world, especially in the Southern hemisphere, Coca Cola “flows more freely than water” speaks volumes about the economic toll and political dimension of cultural hegemony.

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Whitney Webb

Dancing While the Towers Burn: Newly Released FBI Docs and 9/11

Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News 


May 17th, 2019

New information released by the FBI has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

 

Four of the Israeli nationals arrested for “puzzling behavior” during the 
September 11 attacks are seen casually posing together in front of the 
Manhattan skyline while the September 11 attacks were in progress. | Photo #1
 

NEW YORK — For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other.

At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer,

“We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Caitlin Johnstone

What a Long Strange Road It's Been: Reflections of a Rogue Journalist

Reflections on This Weird, Wild Job of Mine

by Caitlin Johnston - Rogue Journalist

May 20, 2019

Sometimes really really famous people share my stuff and a deluge of haters rush in to admonish them for doing so because I am evil. I am still not used to either of these things.

I took a couple of days off for my wedding anniversary and during that time Susan Sarandon shared my last article, demanding to know why we’re not discussing the important fact that a document from the OPCW’s investigation contradicting the official OPCW findings on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria was not shared with the public.

Just as when Roger Waters promoted me on his Twitter account, any time I checked Twitter I saw a bunch of people arguing about whether or not I’m a secret Nazi or a plagiarist or an Assad lover or a racist, all in response to the sharing of an article that questioned a narrative used to support western imperialism. It’s a weird experience.

This whole job has been weird, really, and with some days off I’ve had time to reflect on that. I’ll write a proper article shortly, but I just wanted to tap out a few thoughts on this strange journey I’ve been on while they’re still on my mind.

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Christopher Black

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Christopher Black, J Ocean Dennie, Janine Bandcrcoft May 16, 2019

This Week on GR

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

May 16, 2019

It's difficult to believe we didn't see this coming. Everywhere Bellum Americana is in force today, the "rule of law" is no more. And, despite Trudeau's, or Chrystia Freeland's repeated invocations, that parrot is neither sleeping, nor getting back on its perch! It is dead: dead as the Magna Carta; dead as the Treaty of Westphalia; dead as the Nuremberg Charter. The sad truth is, we really are, finally, on our own.

Christopher Black is a Toronto-based criminal lawyer specializing in international war crimes cases, and executive member of the Canadian Peace Congress.

Listen. Hear.

Black’s articles on international law, politics and World events appear at New Eastern Outlook among other places, where a perusal of his latest efforts reveals the relentless assault by the empire and its satraps against international jurisprudence and nations in all quarters of the globe.

Christopher Black in the first half.

And; what worth a tree? How much for a forest? The inexorable mastication and digestion of British Columbia 's forests by timber interests and their servants in various governments is an old story - in human terms. For the last century and half, a mere fraction of the lives of the giant cedars routinely ground down for consumer products, nature has been regarded here as resource; merely an instrument to be used to secure the wealth, comfort, and ease of the settler caste. Now though, as with so many other systems, the coastal rainforest ecosystem has reached a tipping-point, one from which once crossed reclamation will never be possible.

J Ocean Dennie is with Friends of the Sooke Hills Wilderness, a grassroots group of concerned citizens advocating for the continued protection of wilderness areas threatened on southern Vancouver Island. His decolonizing advocacy work and environmental activism over the past few years includes: involvement with the Social Environmental Alliance, Indigenous Solidarity Working Group and Fish Farms Out Now!

J Ocean Dennie and stopping the road to ruin in the Sooke Hills Wilderness 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 some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Christopher Black and an international rule of law run amok.

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/
Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by M. C. Forte

American Exceptionalism: A Century of Innocence

American Exceptionalism, American Innocence 

by Maximilian C. Forte - ZeroAnthropology

May 12, 2019 

Review of American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News—from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. By Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong. Foreword by Ajamu Baraka. Afterword by Glen Ford. 256 pages. Published: April 2, 2019. New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN: 9781510742369. Hardcover, $24.99 US; e-Book, $16.99 US.

 

 


We live in a time which sees the US accelerating its accumulation of conflict worldwide: a trade war with China; sanctions and tariffs on “friends” and “enemies” alike; international treaties torn apart; international law dismissed and violated on an almost daily basis; escalating tensions and provocations that almost seem designed with the premeditated intent of precipitating war with Iran, or Venezuela, or North Korea; a new Cold War with Russia; an enhanced embargo against Cuba; and an ongoing, seemingly permanent occupation in Afghanistan.

Yet, in the midst of that, American leaders react with apparent protest at any consequences or responses—others are blamed for the apparent crime of responding to threats and aggression. How does one bring both of these facets—aggression and victimhood—together into one explanation?

As the US expanded and then inserted itself into the domestic affairs of nations in almost every corner of the planet, what role did the ideology of “American exceptionalism” play? How is “American exceptionalism” constructed, learned, and experienced? How are Americans both exceptional and “innocent”? What are the relationships between American exceptionalism, innocence, and racism and class domination? How is “humanitarian intervention” shaped by American exceptionalism and innocence? How do celebrities, Hollywood, the major news media, and sporting events help to cement American exceptionalism? Do “progressive” social movements of the American left depart from exceptionalism? How relevant is American exceptionalism to debates about immigration and borders? What are the solutions to the problem of American exceptionalism? Should the world be a world without America?

These are some of the questions that are resolutely tackled in a newly released book, which is the subject of this review.

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Ramzy Baroud

Fascist Mothers of a Brotherly Persuasion

Why Brazil should shun the Israeli model

by Ramzy Baroud - Arab News


May 12, 2019

Newly inaugurated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is set to be the arch-enemy of the environment and of indigenous and disadvantaged communities in his country. He also promises to be a friend of like-minded far-right leaders the world over.

It is, therefore, not surprising to see a special kind of friendship blossoming between Bolsonaro and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We need good brothers like Netanyahu,” Bolsonaro said after receiving him ahead of his inauguration in Brasilia on Jan. 1.

Bolsonaro is, “a great ally; a brother,” the Israeli PM replied.


But, while Bolsonaro sees in Netanyahu a role model — for reasons that should worry many Brazilians — the country certainly does not need “brothers” like the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu’s militancy, oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people, his racially motivated targeting of black African immigrants and his persistent violations of international law are not at all what a country like Brazil needs to escape corruption, bring about communal harmony and usher in an era of regional integration and economic prosperity.

Add a comment

Read more

  • Written by Whitney Webb

Monsanto, Bayer & the Vulture of Venezuela

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News 

via Aletho

May 6, 2019

 

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win.

However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.

"Vulture" Capitalist, Paul Singer
smelling an opportunity

Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.

 

Add a comment

Read more