Monday, May 25, 2020

Seeing Connections with Cummings' Trip to the Country

Why Barnard Castle 

by Craig Murray

24 May, 2020 

Now it may be entirely a coincidence that the place to which he chose to drive for his eyesight test happened to be the site of the major factory of GlaxoSmithKline. It may be an entire coincidence that two days later, on the very day Cummings actually started work back in Downing Street he has stated was “to get vaccine deals through”, GlaxoSmithKline announced an agreement to develop the vaccine. 
One red flag to me is the number of trolls claiming GlaxoSmithKline only has a small and remote office in Barnard Castle. This is not the entire site, and in a further £96 million investment two new blocks are in construction or recently finished 

It is however plainly not crazy to ask the question. This astonishing Twitter pile-on against Clive Lewis for retweeting my piece says something very worrying, when you consider that the large majority of those piling in are supposedly part of the “opposition” and include many journalists. 

UPDATED: Dominic Cummings specifically stated now in the press briefing that he had been eager to “get back to work to get vaccine deals through, move regulations aside” and that is why he drove to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight. 

Donne with Covid: Begging the Misery of Neighbours


by John Helmer, Moscow


May 24, 2020

Pandemic or no pandemic, misery always and everywhere craves company.

After he had been running a high fever with diarrhoea and other symptoms, scribbling notes on the progression of his illness — London’s typhus plague of 1623 — John Donne not only wrote, famously, “no man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” He also added that publishing his fear shouldn’t be called “a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours… for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Love Lost in India: Modi and Hindi Nationalism

“We Thought You Were Muslim”: Police in India Apologize for Beating Hindu lawyer

by Alan MacLeod  - MintPress News

May 22nd, 2020
A group of Hindu policemen in central India beat a diabetic man seeking treatment at a hospital after they mistook him for a Muslim man because of his beard.

In the late afternoon of March 23, 32-year-old lawyer Deepak Bundele was on his way to a hospital in Madhya Pradesh state in central India. A diabetic, he was there to pick up lifesaving medicine. Before he could make it inside, he was accosted by local police. 

Meta Attacks on 'Planet of the Humans' Epitomize Film's Critique

Planet of the Humans Backlash

by Yves Engler - Wrong Kind of Green 

Journal of People, Peasants and Workers

May 11, 2020

The backlash may be more revealing than the film itself, but both inform us where we are at in the fight against climate change and ecological collapse. The environmental establishment’s frenzied attacks against Planet of the Humans says a lot about its commitment to big money and technological solutions.

A number of prominent individuals tried to ban the film by Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore. Others berated the filmmakers for being white, male and overweight. Many thought leaders have declared they won’t watch it.

In It with Both Feet: Bellicosity Bites Australian Trade Figures


by John Helmer, Moscow


May 20, 2020
One day after Australia was defeated at the World Health Assembly in a joint effort with the Trump Administration to attack China, and after Beijing retaliated, calling the Australian Government a US puppet, a joke, and chewing-gum on China’s shoe, Australia has telephoned Moscow for help. In a call initiated by Foreign Minister Marise Payne (lead image, left), Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked to boost Russian imports from Australia and send more Russian tourists to the country.

Lavrov replied that Australia should stop fabricating evidence of Russian involvement in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, and withdraw from the Dutch show trial which is scheduled to resume hearings in Amsterdam next month.

Canadian War Business Report: "Business Good!"

War, famine, and pandemic in Yemen but business as usual for Canadian arms exports

by Peggy Mason -

15 May 2020

Civil Society Organizations Decry Global Affairs Canada Justifications for Resumption of Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia
Photo: (created image of Cdn/ICC flags being crushed)

Today, in an Open Letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a coalition of Canadian civil society organizations expressed deep concern regarding the analysis contained in the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) document Final Report: Review of export permits to Saudi Arabia. The government document was published in April following the announcement that the moratorium on approving new permits for military exports to Saudi Arabia would be lifted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Covid's Cover Role in Devastating Indigenous Communities Worldwide

“COVID-19 is devastating indigenous communities worldwide, and it’s not only about health” – UN expert warns


May 18, 2020

The new UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, José Francisco Cali Tzay, today expressed serious concerns over the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on indigenous peoples beyond the health threat.

“I am receiving more reports every day from all corners of the globe about how indigenous communities are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it deeply worries me to see it is not always about health issues.”

The Ten-Step Gallows: Fast-Track to Totalitarianism

10 Steps to Turn a Pandemic into the Brave New Normal

by Catte Black - OffGuardian

May 20, 2020
Now, dear reader, I know you’re not a member of an institutionally sociopathic elite caste, trying to extend your power back to the good old days of supreme monarchs ordained by God himself. But imagine you were.

Imagine you were one of the richest people to ever exist, and your vast network of wealth and influence was based on some imaginary money and the widely cultivated belief that “there is no alternative”.

Back to Abnormalacies: Covid Echoes of "Novichok" and the Skripals' Poisonings


by John Helmer, Moscow


May 17, 2020

All the well-known plague novels make the same mistake. So unexpected, inexplicable, incurable, and comprehensively lethal was the plague for those telling its story, their conclusion has been that there can be no getting back to normal.

Not so in Russia. “Over the past week”, President Vladimir Putin declared last Thursday, “we have dedicated our efforts primarily to countering the coronavirus epidemic and preparing urgent measures to support the people and the economy… now that life is getting back to normal, it is essential that we deliver in a proactive and effective manner on the strategic objectives and large-scale projects with a long planning horizon and generate momentum.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

No Mow May: Doing Nothing for the Bees and Other Pollinators

‘No Mow May’ Campaign Asks Us To Leave The Lawn Alone To Help Save Bees

by Sara Burrows - Return to Now

via Popular Resistance

May 18, 2020
Not mowing in May results in more flowers and nectar all summer long for struggling pollinators. Wildlife organization urges us to leave lawnmowers locked up until June.
photo: Wildflower lawn Sussex

April showers bring May flowers, and if you like food, you should leave those flowers alone.

Guaido Denials Ringing Hollow

Venezuela: Guaido’s Leadership in Question Following Failed Coup Attempt

by VenezuelAnalysis

May 17, 2020
A letter from Silvercorp’s lawyers demanding payment has cast doubt on Guaido’s denials of involvement in a recent paramilitary operation.

Opposition leaders have reportedly lobbied Washington to change its Venezuela policy and replace Juan Guaido as head of the anti-government bloc.

Covid Revealing a Profound Sickness at the Core of Western Society

An Illusion Of Protection: The Pandemic, The ‘Criminal’ Government And Public Distrust of The Media

by Media Lens

May 18, 2020

Any notion that the UK government actually considers that its primary responsibility is to protect the health and security of the country’s population ought to have been demolished in 2020. The appalling death toll that continues to mount during the coronavirus pandemic is largely rooted, not merely in government ‘incompetence’, but in criminal dereliction of its core duties in a supposedly democratic society.

The UK has the highest death toll in Europe, and the second highest in the world (the US has the highest). On May 12, the death toll from official UK figures exceeded 40,000 for the first time, including almost 10,000 care home residents. A study by academics at the London School of Economics estimates that the actual death toll in care homes is, in fact, double the official figure: more than 22,000.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ingmar Lee, Davide Mastracci, Janine Bandcroft May 21, 2020

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

May 21, 2020

Welcome to Gorilla Radio's continuing efforts, NOT broadcast live from CFUV Radio in the basement of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria, but emanating live-to-tape via Skype from our home-based ... studios on this date, April 21st, 2020.

Despite floor to ceiling, seven days-a-week coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, little has been said about how those living in the more remote reaches of this country, Canada are coping.

Here in advertised, Super Natural British Columbia, thousands live far from hospitals and other amenities taken, until recently at least, as granted.

How is the extended shutdown of the economy effecting those communities, and what challenges and benefits do rural, and super-rural life present and afford in these weird times?

Ingmar Lee is a long-time BC-based environment defender, who describes himself as a "rotten, belligerent, iconoclastic, ungrateful, unrepentant, and unpleasant treehugger."

Listen. Hear.

Besides these qualities, Lee has spent a life-time investigating truth, questioning accepted wisdom, and making enemies of greedhead political fraudsters, money-grubbing business leaders, spinmeisters and the journalistic hacks at the CBC, CTV, and in the yellow press, who describe his years of dedication and accomplishments as "environmental zealotry", "eco-terrorism", and the deeds of "a raving nutcase."

Ingmar has appeared many, many times on Gorilla Radio over the past nineteen years, covering the issues those same critics chose to sacrifice on the alter of careerism.

Ingmar Lee in the first half.

And; never able to take responsibility for its ineptitude, (or criminality) America is busy today, months into the Covid-19 outbreak, poking an accusatory finger directly in the chest of China. That its blame campaign is transparently false, and the lethal combination of systemic corruption and colossal malfeasance that lay behind the growing death toll in the United States is patently obvious to almost everyone, seems not to matter to either presidential candidates, or to a media content to amplify their bilious indignation; it's an election year, afterall.

Davide Mastracci is managing editor at Passage, the Canadian online publication providing "thoughtful political, economic, and cultural ideas from a left-wing perspective." Mastracci's has previously worked at HuffPost Canada and Vice News, and has been published throughout Canada and overseas too. His recent article, 'Don’t Blame China For Your Government’s COVID-19 Failures' appears at

Davide Mastracci and a new take on an old peril in the second half.

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, Ingmar Lee and life on the edges of a crashing society.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Resisting Canada's Security Council Ambitions

Canada does not deserve a seat on the UN Security Council


May 19, 2020

Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage. Rather, Canada ranks among the twelve largest arms exporters and its weapons have fueled conflicts across the globe, including the devastating war in Yemen.

In a disappointing move, Canada refused to join 122 countries represented at the 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination. Ottawa has also been an aggressive proponent of the nuclear-armed NATO alliance, and currently leads coalition missions in Latvia and Iraq. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Covid Brings Out Spain's New Old Normal: A "Minimized" Online Presence, Censorship, Paid Informants, and Far-Right Reactivism

COVID-19: Podemos, social-democrats prepare to send Spanish police against workers’ protests

by Alejandro López  - WSWS

18 May 2020

The misnamed “progressive” Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos government is preparing for mass repression as it takes Spain out of lock-down, imposing the unpopular back-to-work policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez - Document warns of a 
“high probability” of growing social unrest in coming months...

This was revealed in a confidential 22-page document, “Delta Papa Order 21/20: Civil Guard Action in the Framework of the Transition Plan towards a New Normality,” signed by Lieutenant General Fernando Santafé and leaked to El Periódico last Tuesday. Santafé is the Chief of Operations Command of the Civil Guard, Spain’s paramilitary police.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Fourth Failure Leaves Guaidó's Rep in the Guano

Botched Infiltration of Venezuela Leaves Guaidó Tainted Beyond Repair

by Leonardo Flores - Common Dreams

May 17, 2020

Analyst Leonardo Flores takes a look at the different pieces in the opposition's most recent coup attempt.
People of Chuao, who helped detain one of the armed groups, were 
awarded a symbolic replica of Bolivar's sword. (Vice Presidencia)

The latest chapter in the ongoing effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government reads like a bad spy thriller: a group of mercenaries piloted speedboats from Colombia to Venezuela; half of them were killed or captured by Venezuelan security forces immediately upon landing, while the other half – apparently delayed by mechanical issues with their boat – surrendered to local police and militia the next day.  

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Covid Voices from the Grave: Thucydides' Lessons on the Plague of Our Times


by John Helmer, Moscow


May 14, 2020

Cardiology doesn’t expire when people die of heart attacks. Just so, no one should expect that when a man dies of the corona virus, or hundreds or thousands of men, the sociology of their pre-existing health, race, ethnicity, income, education, ideology – in short, their class in the old- fashioned meaning of the word — goes belly up at the same time. For understanding and prediction, sociology will always trump epidemiology — the basic reproductive ratio R0 of Covid-19 might run from 3 to 9, but the R0 of class struggle is many times more virulent.

It is therefore surprising that so many pundits, even the Russia-hate specialist Anne Applebaum, think to publish an interpretation of the sociology of the plague of ancient Athens, circa 430 BC; and taking Thucydides as their source, give lectures on how much the European and American societies can learn from him on Covid-19, but have failed to learn to date. At the same time as they depend on Thucydides for their lessons, they ignore the very first of his – that was his dismissal of the source and cause of the plague among the foreign enemies of the ancient Athenians. In other words, Thucydides wouldn’t be blaming China and Russia for Covid-19 now any more than he blamed the Spartans then.

Oglala Sioux Ordered to Allow Possibly Infected Passage

Checkpoint Closure by South Dakota Governor an Attack on Tribal Sovereignty


May 16, 2020

South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem publicly issued a letter to the Cheyenne River (CRST) and Oglala Sioux Tribes (OST) on May 8 ordering them to remove health checkpoints on roads crossing their reservations but did not directly deliver it to OST—“a sign of “disrespect,” according to OST President Julian Bear Runner.

The letter, which was dated May 8, was never actually received by Bear Runner, he explained during a recorded response to Noem. He learned of Noem’s letter through news reports and social media.

Getting Cold(er) on China: Stage Sets for a Next Long War

Corporate Media Setting Stage for New Cold War With China

by Gregory Shupak - FAIR

May 15, 2020

Corporate media are laying the ideological groundwork for a new cold war with China, presenting the nation as a hostile power that needs to be kept in check. 

The Washington Post (4/23/20) ran an article by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, the second sentence of which said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that, to a great degree, our very health is in Chinese hands; from medicines to masks, we are at Beijing’s mercy.” 

Rent Systems: Coronavirus Front Lines Capitalist Greed

Landlords: The Front Line of Coronavirus Greed

by Andy Worthington

May 15, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy, it is clear to anyone paying attention — a situation not encouraged by either our political leaders or the mainstream media — that its disastrous effects are extremely unevenly distributed.

End rent now: a protestor in Los Angeles

While some people are working from home on 100% pay, others — the essential workers of the NHS, pharmacists, those in the food industry, postal workers and other delivery people, public transport workers, and many others — have continued to work, often at severe risk to their health, because of the government’s inability to provide proper PPE or a coherent testing system. Other workers, meanwhile, have been furloughed on 80% of pay (up to £2,500 a month), while another huge group of former workers have been summarily laid off, and have been required to apply for Universal Credit, a humiliating process that also involves the requirement to try to survive on less than £100 a week.

Back into the Fray:The Risk/Benefit of Returning to Work

Between a rock and a hard place: Which workers are most vulnerable when their workplaces re-open amid COVID-19?

by David MacDonald - CCPA

May 15, 2020

With the COVID-19 curve flattening in many parts of Canada, provinces are rushing to re-open.

Quebec has already re-opened elementary schools outside of Montreal. B.C., Manitoba, and Alberta have or soon will re-open salons and barbershops. Following the long weekend, many Ontario businesses will be able to open back up.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Will Tell, Janine Bandcroft May 14, 2020

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

May 14, 2020

Welcome to Gorilla Radio, where we are still, as yet, NOT broadcasting live from the basement of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria, but are instead recording live-to-Skype this day, May 10th, 2020.

While millions breathe sighs of relief as jurisdiction around the World take the first tentative steps towards reopening after the unprecedented Covid shut-downs, others dare not venture out, or allow potentially infected people cross their thresholds. From the start, this pandemic has been Janus-headed, experienced very differently depending on ones health, income, area code, and most vitally, age. For elders, especially those in care home, Covid has been more plague than pandemic.

Dave Lindorff is an independent, award-winning journalist, author, and founding editor of the news website, Among the ‘Izzy’ Award for ‘Outstanding Independent Journalism” recipient’s four books, the most cogent in this moment is his 1992, ‘Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains’.

Listen. Hear.

Dave’s recent article, published under a joint agreement between and ThisCantBeHappening!, is ‘The Nursing Home Coronavirus Pandemic’.

Dave Lindorff in the first half.

And; as bad as this pandemic gets here in the West, in the Global South, where care homes, and state supported healthcare are not an option for the majority, things are by orders of magnitude more desperate. Worse still is the situation in those countries where governments embrace neoliberal economic doctrine and care little for those at the bottom of the class and economic spectrum. In India, after more than six weeks of rigidly enforced lockdown, food and medicine supplies, and the ability for internally displaced migrant workers to get home, are priority concerns; as is getting in this year’s crops.

Will Tell is an expat living in rural southern India, where lockdown measures have been eased somewhat, but says, “Migrant workers (literally millions of them) got stranded in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore (the major cities, that attract them) when the lockdown occurred.” Adding, “…[B]orders have been closed for nearly a month now, and it looks like a lot longer before they open.”

Will Tell and the pandemic over there in the second half.

And; long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with this week’s 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, Dave Lindorff and Covid-19’s expendables.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Monday, May 11, 2020

FT: All the Fit News to Print


by John Helmer, Moscow


Roula Khalaf (lead image, right) is the only editor of a major London newspaper about whom next to nothing important is obvious, not even her name. She was appointed last year by Tsuneo Kita (front row), chairman of Nikkei, the Japanese media group and owner of the paper, to succeed Lionel Barber as editor. 

On January 20 of this year, Kita assigned Khalaf a seat on the board of Financial Times Limited, the entity through which the Japanese run their marginally profitable London property. The UK company registration reveals that Khalaf is a maiden name, and that her legal name is Roula Khalaf Razzouk.

Spain Cracks Whip on Covid "Deconfinement" While Admitting Second Wave Outbreak Coming

Podemos pushes “back to work” as Spanish army expects new COVID-19 outbreak

by Alejandro López  - WSWS

11 May 2020

Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos government continues to lift confinement measures, even as internal Spanish army documents forecast this will provoke new outbreaks of the disease. The state is placing the lives of millions of workers going back to work in danger, putting corporate profits above workers’ lives.
Spanish PM, Pedro Sanchez

Today, over half Spain’s population will move to the so-called Phase 1 of the government’s deconfinement plan. Those living in harder-hit areas still in Phase 0 will have stricter restrictions on their movements, as under the previous confinement policy. But those in Phase 1 will be able to visit family members, attend funerals, go shopping, go to restaurants, hold meetings of up to 10 people, and open hotels, tourist accommodations and places of worship.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

"Prison Should Not Be A Death Sentence:" Covid Death and Infectious Outbreak in Quebec Prison

Noise Demonstrations Take Place Outside Montreal-Area Prisons Following Prisoner Death, Hunger Strike

by Anti-Carceral Group

May 10, 2020

At 2pm today, a caravan of over 30 vehicles visited the Federal Training Centre prison in Laval and the Bordeaux jail in Montreal, demanding the immediate release of all prisoners in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vehicles, decorated with slogans such as, ‘Prison Should Not Be A Death Sentence,’ & ‘Free All Prisoners,’ honked their horns, made noise, and held banners in solidarity with those inside.

“We’re here today to show people inside these prisons that they’re not forgotten and that we’re out here working for their release,” said Ellie Santon, a participant in the demonstration.