Saturday, May 24, 2014

Marching Against Monsanto, Marching for Freedom and Democracy

Marching Against Monsanto Is Marching For Freedom And Democracy

by Vandana Shiva -

I send greetings of solidarity for all the people gathered for the March against Monsanto.

Marching against Monsanto is marching for freedom and democracy, for health and safety, for seed and biodiversity.

People often ask me “Why Monsanto”?

My response is, we did not choose to target Monsanto, Monsanto chose to target our seed and food freedom, our scientific and democratic institutions, our very lives.

Monsanto has admitted it wrote the intellectual property treaty of WTO that allows seeds to be redefined as Monsanto’s intellectual property. And it is through patents that Monsanto, a poison maker, has become a seed giant, with the largest share in control over the seed market. In India it controls 95% of the cotton seed market, and the extraction of superprofits through royalties has trapped our small farmers in unpayable debt. 284,000 farmers have committed suicide in India because of debt linked to seed and chemicals.

Corporations like Monsanto were behind the EC Seed law that would have made diversity and seed saving illegal in Europe. The last parliament sent back the law to the European commission. We must ensure that the new parliament does not pass the law.

In the US, Monsanto used its money to undermine the Right of US citizens to Know what they eat. It is threatening the State of Vermont because it got a labelling law in place. And it now has introduced a bill in Congress called called The Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act which has earned itself the name the Dark (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

This is an assault on Democracy and people’s freedom.

While Monsanto announces that it is retreating from Europe, it is pushing GMOs on the Eastern European countries. And is pushing new trade treaties like TIPP, to undermine Europe’s largely GMO free status, and to get stronger IPR rights on seed.

Monsanto have claimed more than 1500 climate resilient patents, and are hoping to use the climate crisis to make even bigger profits. And recently Monsanto took over Climate Corporation, to control climate and weather data, and commodify it.

Monsanto wants superprofits through total control over nature and humanity.

We seek Seed Freedom, Food Freedom, and Earth Democracy, where all beings on the planet are free and the well being of all is protected, through sharing and caring, through love and compassion, through creating abundance for all.

The greed and violence of one corporation cannot be allowed to destroy life on Earth, the lives of our farmers, the lives of our children.

That is why we March Against Monsanto

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist.Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals.She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. She is the founder of Navdanya

Death Squad State Alive and Well in Colombia

The U.S., Colombia and the Spread of the Death Squad State

by Daniel Kovalik - CounterPunch

May 24, 2014 

Colombia continues to be ground zero for the U.S.’s crimes against Latin America, and its continued quest to subjugate the region. Several recent events, virtually uncovered in the mainstream press, underscore this reality.

First, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report just this week detailing the grisly practices of paramilitary death squads in the port town of Buenaventura. [1]

These practices by the paramilitaries which act with impunity and with the tacit support of the local police, include disappearances of hundreds of civilians; forced displacement; and the dismemberment of individuals, while they are still alive, in local “chop houses.” That the port town of Buenaventura was to be the model city of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is instructive as to what the wages of free trade truly are. Jose Vivanco of HRW called Buenaventura “the scandal” of Colombia. Sadly, it is not Colombia’s only one.

Thus, this past weekend, the VI Division of the Colombian Army entered the peasant town of Alto Amarradero, Ipiales in the middle of the night, and, without warrant and in cold blood, gunned down four civilians, including a 15-year old boy. Those killed were Deivi López Ortega, José Antonio Acanamejoy, Brayan Yatacue Secue and José Yiner Esterilla — all members of the FENSUAGRO agricultural union. [2]

The Army then displayed the bodies of those murdered for all to see, and falsely claimed that they were the bodies of guerillas killed in combat.

These are the latest victims of the ongoing “false positive” phenomenon in which nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed by the Colombian military and then falsely passed off as guerillas in order to justify the continued counterinsurgency program in Colombia and the U.S. aid that funds it. As my Colombian friend, Father Francisco de Roux, S.J., recently stated at a peace conference in Washington, “if these ‘false positive’ killings had happened anywhere else, they would have been a scandal!” However, having happened in Colombia, the U.S.’s closest ally in the Western Hemisphere, the killings have elicited a collective yawn from the media and policy-makers.

A damning report just released by the Fellowship of Reconciliation – a report which, in a just world, would have been covered on the front page of The New York Times — demonstrates how there is a direct correlation between U.S. military funding and training, particularly at the School of the Americas (aka, WHINSEC), and the incidence of human rights abuses, including “false positive” killings. [3]

As to the latter issue, the report concluded that;

 “[o]f the 25 Colombian WHINSEC instructors and graduates for which any subsequent information was available, 12 of them – 48% — had either been charged with a serious crime or commanded units whose members had reportedly committed multiple extrajudicial killings.” 

Moreover, “[s]ome of the officers with the largest number of civilian killings committed under their command (Generals Lasprilla, Rodriguez Clavijo, and Montoya, and Colonel Mejia) received significantly more U.S. training, on average than other officers” during the high water mark of the “false positive” scandal.

How revealing, then, that, as reported by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the head of the U.S.’s Southern Command, General John Kelly, recently explained to a Congressional hearing that the U.S. is utilizing Colombian military personnel to do military training in other Latin American countries in order to get around human rights restrictions which prevent the U.S. from doing the training directly. [4]

As Kelly explained, in a moment of candor:

“The beauty of having a Colombia – they’re such good partners, particularly in the military realm, they’re such good partners with us. When we ask them to go somewhere else and train the Mexicans, the Hondurans, the Guatemalans, the Panamanians, they will do it almost without asking. And they’ll do it on their own. They’re so appreciative of what we did for them. And what we did for them was, really, to encourage them for 20 years and they’ve done such a magnificent job. . . . But that’s why it’s important for them to go, because I’m–at least on the military side–restricted from working with some of these countries because of limitations that are, that are really based on past sins. And I’ll let it go at that.”

In other words, the U.S. is exporting the abysmal practices of the Colombian military – practices the U.S. has trained them in to begin with — throughout the region. Sadly, the silence in response to this nightmare reality is deafening.

Daniel Kovalik is labor and human rights lawyer and teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.





Canada's Bureaucrats Getting Ahead in the Fishy Business of Covering Up ISAv


by Alexandra Morton

The salmon virus, ISAv is a member of the influenza family and is feared around the world wherever salmon are farmed.

Similar to other viruses in the influenza family, ISAv has powerful shape-shifting properties. It tiptoes into new regions, a lethal shadow to the salmon farming industry.

At first it does nothing.

Every country, so far, has used this crucial phase to ignore ISA. It looks like they hope to avoid being branded ISA-positive and suffer the resulting trade restrictions that lower profits. But then, with very little warning ISA virus mutates, goes viral and strikes with deadly effect Norway, eastern Canada, Chile...

Chile tried to ignore ISA in 2007. The result was a highly virulent strain that caused $2 billion in damages. Now Chile can't get rid of it. New Zealand is attempting to wrestle away the stigma of ISAv positive results. In eastern Canada so many farms are infected Canada has stopped paying them to cull their fish and just lets the product go to market.

Trade laws make it hard for countries to protect themselves from viruses. So the World Health Organization for Animals (OIE), was formed. It lists the worst diseases as "notifiable." The 178 member countries, such as Canada, are obligated to report these diseases so trade partners can close borders and protect themselves without risking punishment. ISA is one of these notifiable diseases. The US does not want ISA infected farmed salmon, see article. But the companies using BC to raise Norwegian salmon are here because they want to sell to the US. The CFIA confirmed to the Cohen Commission that if ISA virus is found in BC, trade in farmed salmon will stop. See Salmon Confidential

So there is a lot of money riding on whether BC and New Zealand are recognized as ISA positive or not.

In this blog, I am taking the uncomfortable step of naming government officials and publishing documentation on decisions they are making around ISA virus in BC. You can decide whether their behaviour is justifiable and in the public interest or not.

Three government scientists have chosen to respond to ISA virus in a manner that critically elevates the risk of ISA virus spreading through BC:

In 2004, Dr. Simon Jones, senior Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) scientist in Nanaimo, received ISA virus positive test results in 100% the Cultus Lake sockeye and 50% of the east Vancouver Island chinook salmon tested.

Jones ignored these ominous results; never informed the Soowahlie First Nation, refused to allow publication of the data, and apparently did not report them to the CFIA.

When Dr. Rick Routledge of Simon Fraser University and I got similar positive results for Rivers Inlet and Fraser River salmon, the Cohen Commission reopened specifically to examine risk of ISA virus and still these data were not were provided by Dr. Jones. They remained hidden until the lab used to validate these results brought them to the commission. Download Cohen Exh 2045

It is understandable that Dr. Jones might have doubted such volitile results. But as a federal scientist any positive results for an internationally "notiable" virus should have caused him to follow up with extensive testing. He testified to the commission that he never tested for ISA virus again. Jones should have provided these results to the Cohen Commission, with extensive follow-up testing results and the CFIA should have been notified so that steps could have be taken to make sure ISA virus does not spread into Pacific salmon. Hiding these results was not in the public interest and not scientifically defensible.

Dr. Jones remains in his senior position in fish health with DFO.

In 2007, the BC Minister of Agriculture in charge of salmon farms asked the BC provincial veterinarian in charge of farmed salmon, Dr. Mark Sheppard, for a briefing on the risk of ISA virus to BC. The outbreak was just begining in Chile, with an understanding that it had arrived in Norwegian farmed salmon eggs.

Dr Mark Sheppard is a registered veterinarian with the College of Veterinarians of BC. He was in charge of the health of farmed salmon in BC.

However, in a confidential document, Dr. Sheppard briefed the Minister that BC was not at risk from ISA virus because, unlike Chile BC does not import live Atlantic farm salmon eggs. Download Cohen Exh 1679

This is astonishingly inaccurate. In 2007, DFO reports tens of millions of live Atlantic salmon eggs had entered BC for salmon farming and Dr. Sheppard was the man in charge of the health of those Atlantic salmon. How he could inform a minister that no live Atlantic salmon eggs had been imported to BC is hard to fathom! How could the minister fall for so ridiculous a statement? Where did all the millions of Atlantic salmon growing in pens in the Pacific come from?

I sent Sheppard's briefing to the College of Veterinarians of BC, through their complaint/disciplinary process. Every veterinarian operating in BC has to be a member of the CVBC. Veterinarians that misinform a minister regarding a notifiable virus have to be discouraged, otherwise BC has no defense against epidemics in the human food supply.

On April 29, 2014, Douglas S. Casey, Chair of the Investigation Committee of the Veterinarian College dismissed my complaint saying "... the essence of your complaint was considered by the Cohen Commission..." and the College of Veterinarians can dismiss a complaint if the complaint has been "appropriately dealt with in another proceeding."

Download CVBC letter Apr 29,2014.

The Cohen Commission did not "appropriately" deal with Dr. Sheppard's briefing to his minister. They made it a public exhibit, Sheppard did not deny he had written it and then the commission raced on with its massive assignment and tight timeline. There was no dealing with it at all. If the Veterinary College views this as sufficient, BC is at high risk of political interference in containing dangerous pathogens.

Dr. Sheppard now works for the federal government - still in charge of farm salmon health...

When the OIE reference lab at the Atlantic Veterinarian College, PEI, got ISA virus positive results in BC farm salmon samples, the CFIA initiated intense scrutiny.

This PEI lab accurately diagnosed Chile with ISA in 2007 - an outbreak that caused $2 billion in damages. This is the lab that created the ISA testing standards for the OIE. This is the lab New Zealand turned to when farm salmon began dying. The results from this lab where considered accurate until the moment samples from BC and New Zealand came up positive, two regions enjoying beneficial ISA-free trade status. At that point the lab was deemed unreliable, with no public evidence and punished.

On November 5, 2012, Dr. Brian Evans, then Chief Veterinarian and Food Safety Officer for Canada, wrote to the World Health Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to inform them that he supported suspending this lab because the ISA virus positive results for BC were "non-repeatable." The lab was suspended.

Download CFIA (Evans) Letter
By using the word "non-repeatable" Dr. Evans informs us that the tests had been repeated and that the results were not the same. But despite requests, I have never seen these tests.

A year later, the next Chief Veterinary for Canada, Ian Alexander, told me that, in fact, my samples had never been retested.

Download Letter to Alexandra Morton re ISA BC Salmon

This means the OIE was misinformed and that they suspend the lab with information that was not correct. There had been no verification testing done on the ISA positive samples from BC. Regardless of whether ISA is in BC or not the Chief Veterinarian for Canada should not have used the word "non-repeatable" if the tests had not been repeated. And the OIE should have been concerned that they had been misinformed!

This mean the Atlantic Veterinary College results stand unchallenged and BC is at high risk from European ISA virus.

So, I wrote to the OIE Director General, Dr. Bernard Vallat, to inform him that the positive results from his lab are, in fact, undisputed. The OIE's ability to prevent global animal pandemics is only as good as the information provided by the member countries. If a member country provides inaccurate information that is a serious breach in the effort to keep dangerous pathogens contained.

But Dr. Vallat avoided the subject, by writing to me "I encourage you to take up your questions with the relevant jurisdictions."

Since the CFIA was the "relevant" jurisdiction and also the source of my concern this was not helpful and completed dodged a critical look at the threat of ISA to the eastern Pacific.

Then the OIE hired Dr. Brian Evans to the number 2 senior position at the OIE, Deputy Director General

Dr. Brian Evans will now be managing emerging viral trends and trade implications worldwide.

I see this as a breakdown and failure of the system devised to protect the world from viruses that are travelling around the world at unprecendented speed and numbers in farm animals being bought and sold internationally.

In October 2013, Stephen Harper gave control of the CFIA to Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, because the Auditor General found the CFIA lacking in their protection of the human food chain.

Stephen Harper recognizes there are serious problems with the CFIA.

Today, Canada has yet another Chief Veterinarian (3rd in 4 years), Dr. Harpreet Kochhar. In January 2014, I briefed him by email that the CFIA has reversed its position on its handling of a botifiable virus, first saying the tests had been repeated, then saying they had not been repeated.

Harpreet has not answered.

Download Dear Dr. Harpreet Kochhar

From the evidence I have seen, I believe ISA virus is in BC. However, setting that question aside, the actions of these people are indefensible.

Jones should have gone back and carefully retested the Cultus Lake sockeye and the east Vancouver Island Chinook. Then he should have brought all those results to the Cohen Commission so that they could stand the test of scrutiny.

Sheppard should have informed the Agriculture Minister that in fact live Atlantic salmon eggs were being imported to BC, that none had been certified as ISA-free before entering the country, because ISA is not on Canada's egg importation forms and since the same companies were operating in Chile and BC, that BC was most certainly at risk from ISA virus.

Two successive Chief Veterinarians of Canada should have the same story about whether tests for a notifiable virus had been repeated or not. It is not acceptable that there are two opposite stories regarding a virus in the influenza family in farm animals.

And Dr. Bernard Vallat, should be concerned when a country cannot offer a solid line of evidence that one of only 2 ISA virus certified labs was wrong when it detected ISA virus sequence in BC and New Zealand. It is Dr. Evans who, in my opinion, should have been suspended until an investigation was completed on why he called test results "non-repeatable."

In closing, if you watch this May 11, 2014 segment of 60 Minutes you will see the senior lawyer for the Cohen Commission face the question; Is ISA virus in BC? This man was privy to half a million government and other documents. He could have said he didn't think ISA virus is in BC, but he didn't. He struggled to find the right words in the legal landscape of his profession and chose the words "I hope not" when asked if it will be too late when ISA is detected in wild salmon, which it has been by numerous government, academic and international labs.

I find this a terrible tragedy and I appologize to future generations that I could not stop this short-sighted dangerous stupidity. The magnitude of the risk due to this carelessness is something future generations will bear and I doubt they will be able to understand how all the mechanisms in place failed them. See more at:

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Down with Western Democracy!" America's Global War on Freedom and Dignity

Down With Western ‘Democracy’!

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

A specter is haunting Europe and Western world — it is this time, the specter of fascism. It came quietly, without great fanfare and parades, without raised hands and loud shouts. But it came, or it returned, as it has always been present in this culture, one that has, for centuries, been enslaving our entire planet.

As was in Nazi Germany, resistance to the fascist empire is again given an unsavory name: terrorism. Partisans and patriots, resistance fighters – all of them were and have always been defined by fascist bigots as terrorists.

By the logic of Empire, to murder millions of men, women and children in all corners of the world abroad is considered legitimate and patriotic, but to defend one’s motherland was and is a sign of extremism.

German Nazis and Italian Fascists defined their rule as ‘democratic’, and so does this Empire. The British and French empires that exterminated tens of millions of people all over the world, always promoted themselves as ‘democracies’.

And now, once again, we are witnessing a tremendous onslaught by the business-political-imperialist Western apparatus, destabilizing or directly destroying entire nations, overthrowing governments and bombing ‘rebellious’ states into the ground.

All this is done in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom.

An unelected monster, as it has done for centuries, is playing with the world, torturing some, and plundering others, or both.

The West, in a final act of arrogance, has somehow confused itself with its own concept of God. It has decided that it has the full right to shape the planet, to punish and to reward, to destroy and rebuild as it wishes.

This horrible wave of terror unleashed against our planet, is justified by an increasingly meaningless but fanatically defended dogma, symbolized by a box (made of card or wood, usually), and masses of people sticking pieces of paper into the opening on the top of that box.

This is the altar of Western ideological fundamentalism. This is a supreme idiocy that cannot be questioned, as it guarantees the status quo for ruling elites and business interests, an absurdity that justifies all crimes, all lies and all madness.

This sacrificial altar is called, Democracy, in direct mockery to what the term symbolizes in its original, Greek, language.


In our latest book, “On Western Terrorism – from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare”, Noam Chomsky commented on the ‘democratic’ process in the Western world:

"The goal of elections now is to undermine democracy. They are run by the public relations industry and they’re certainly not trying to create informed voters who’ll make rational choices. They are trying to delude people into making irrational choices. The same techniques that are used to undermine markets are used to undermine democracy. It’s one of the major industries in the country and its basic workings are invisible."

But what is it that really signifies this ‘sacred’ word, this almost religious term, and this pinnacle of Western demagogy? We hear it everywhere. We are ready to sacrifice millions of lives (not ours of course, at least not yet, but definitely lives of the others) in the name of it.


All those grand slogans and propaganda! Last year I visited Pyongyang, but I have to testify that North Koreans are not as good at slogans as the Western propagandists are.

“In the name of freedom and democracy!” Hundreds of millions tons of bombs fell from the sky on the Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese countryside… bodies were burned by napalm, mutilated by spectacular explosions.

“Defending democracy!” Children were raped in front of their parents in Central America, men and women machine-gunned down by death squads that had been trained in military bases in the United States of America.

“Civilizing the world and spreading democracy!” That has always been a European slogan, their ‘stuff to do’, and a way of showing their great civilization to others. Amputating hands of Congolese people, murdering around ten million of them, and many more in Namibia, East Africa, West Africa and Algiers; gassing people of the Middle East (“I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes”, to borrow from the colorful lexicon of (Sir) Winston Churchill).

So what is it really? Who is it, that strange lady with an axe in her hand and with a covered face – the lady whose name is Democracy?


It is all very simple, actually. The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”. Then and now, it was supposed to be in direct contrast to ἀριστοκρατία (aristokratia), that means “rule of an elite”.

‘Rule of the people’… Let us just visit a few examples of the ‘rule of the people’.

People spoke, they ruled, they voted ‘democratically’ in Chile, bringing in the mild and socialist government of ‘Popular Unity’ of Salvador Allende.

Sure, the Chilean education system was so brilliant, its political and social system so wonderful, that it inspired not only many countries in Latin America, but also those in far away Mediterranean Europe.

That could not be tolerated, because, as we all know, it is only white Europe and North America that can be allowed to supply the world with the blueprint for any society, anywhere on this planet. It was decided that “Chile has to scream”, that its economy had to be ruined and the “Popular Unity” government kicked out of power.

Henry Kissinger, belonging, obviously, to a much higher race and country of a much higher grade, made a straightforward and in a way very ‘honest’ statement, clearly defining the North American stand towards global democracy: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.”

And so Chile was ravaged. Thousands of people were murdered and ‘our son-of-a-bitch’ was brought to power. General Pinochet was not elected: he bombed the Presidential palace in Santiago, he savagely tortured the men and women who were elected by the Chilean people, and he “disappeared” thousands.

But that was fine, because democracy, as it is seen from Washington, London or Paris, is nothing more and nothing less than what the white man needs in order to control this planet, unopposed and preferably never criticized.

Of course Chile was not the only place where ‘democracy’ was ‘redefined’. And it was not the most brutal scenario either, although it was brutal enough. But it was a very symbolic ‘case’, because here, there could be absolutely no dispute: an extremely well educated, middle class country, voted in transparent elections, just to have its government murdered, tortured and exiled, simply because it was too democratic and too involved in improving the lives of its people.

There were countless instances of open spite coming from the North, towards the ‘rule of the people’ in Latin America. For centuries, there have been limitless examples. Every country ‘south of the border’ in the Western Hemisphere, became a victim.

After all, the self-imposed Monroe Doctrine gave North Americans ‘unquestionable rights’ to intervene and ‘correct’ any ‘irresponsible’ democratic moves made by the lower races inhabiting Central and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands.

There were many different scenarios of real ingenuity, in how to torture countries that embarked on building decent homes for their people, although soon there was evidence of repetitiveness and predictability.

The US has been either sponsoring extremely brutal coups (like the one in Guatemala in 1954), or simply occupying the countries in order to overthrow their democratically elected governments. Justifications for such interventions have varied: it was done in order to ‘restore order’, to ‘restore freedom and democracy’, or to prevent the emergence of ‘another Cuba’.

From the Dominican Republic in 1965 to Grenada in 1983, countries were ‘saved from themselves’ through the introduction (by orders from mainly the Protestant North American elites with clearly pathological superiority complexes) of death squads that administered torture, rape and extrajudicial executions. People were killed because their democratic decisions were seen as ‘irresponsible’ and therefore unacceptable.

While there has been open racism in every aspect of how the Empire controlled its colonies, ‘political correctness’ was skillfully introduced, effectively reducing to a bare minimum any serious critiques of the societies that were forced into submission.

In Indonesia, between 1 and 3 million people were murdered in the years1965/66, in a US -sponsored coup, because there too, was a ‘great danger’ that the people would rule and decide to vote ‘irresponsibly’, bringing the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), at that time the third most numerous Communist Party anywhere in the world, to power.

The democratically elected President of Congo, Patrice Lumumba, was murdered in 1961, by the joint efforts of the United States and Europe, simply because he was determined to use the vast natural resources of his country to feed his own people; and because he dared to criticize Western colonialism and imperialism openly and passionately.

East Timor lost a third of its population simply because its people, after gaining independence from Portugal, dared to vote the left-leaning FRETILIN into power. “We are not going to tolerate another Cuba next to our shores”, protested the Indonesian fascist dictator Suharto, and the US and Australia strongly agreed. The torture, and extermination of East Timorese people by the Indonesian military, was considered irrelevant and not even worth reporting in the mass media.

The people of Iran could of course not be trusted with ‘democracy’. Iran is one of the oldest and greatest cultures on earth, but its people wanted to use the revenues from its oil to improve their lives, not to feed foreign multi-nationals. That has always been considered a crime by Western powers – a crime punishable by death.

The people of Iran decided to rule; they voted, they said that they want to have all their oil industry nationalized. Mohammad Mosaddeq, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, was ready to implement what his people demanded. But his government was overthrown in a coup d’état, orchestrated by the British MI6 and North American CIA, and what followed was the murderous dictatorship of the deranged Western puppet – Reza Pahlavi. As in Latin America and Indonesia, instead of schools, hospitals and housing projects, people got death squads, torture chambers and fear. Is that what they wanted? Is that what they voted for?

There were literally dozens of countries, all over the world, which had to be ‘saved’, by the West, from their own ‘irresponsible citizens and voters’. Brazil recently ‘celebrated’ the 50th anniversary of the US-backed military coup d’état, which began a horrendous 20 year long military dictatorship. The US supported two coups in Iraq, in 1963 and 1968 that brought Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party to power. The list is endless. These are only some random examples.

On closer examination, the West has overthrown, or made attempts to overthrow, almost any democratically elected governments, on all continents attempting to serve their own people, by providing them with decent standards of living and social services. That is quite an achievement, and some stamina!

Could it be then that the West only respects ‘Democracy’ when ‘people are forced to rule’ against their own interests? And when they are ‘defending’ what they are ordered to defend by local elites that are subservient to North American and European interests?… and also when they are defending the interests of foreign multi-national companies and Western governments that are dependent on those companies?


Can anything be done? If a country is too weak to defend itself by military means, against some mighty Western aggressor, could it approach any international democratic institutions, hoping for protection?


A good example is Nicaragua, which had been literally terrorized by the United States, for no other reason than for being socialist. Its government went to court.

The case was called: The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America.

It was a 1986 case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in which the ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States and awarded reparations to Nicaragua.

The judgment was long, consisting of 291 points. Among them that the United States had been involved in the “unlawful use of force.” The alleged violations included attacks on Nicaraguan facilities and naval vessels, the mining of Nicaraguan ports, the invasion of Nicaraguan air space, and the training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying of forces (the “Contras”) and seeking to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

Judgment was passed, and so were UN votes and resolutions. The UN resolution from 1986 called for the full and immediate compliance with the Judgment. Only Thailand, France and the UK abstained. The US showed total spite towards the court, and it vetoed all UN resolutions.

It continued its terror campaign against Nicaragua. In the end, the ruined and exhausted country voted in 1990. It was soon clear that it was not voting for or against Sandinista government, but whether to endure more violence from the North, or to simply accept depressing defeat. The Sandinista government lost. It lost because the voters had a North American gun pointing at their heads.

This is how ‘democracy’ works.

I covered the Nicaraguan elections of 1996 and I was told by voters, by a great majority of them, that they were going to vote for the right-wing candidate (Aleman), only because the US was threatening to unleash another wave of terror in case the Sandinista government came back to power, democratically.

The Sandinistas are now back. But only because most of Latin America has changed, and there is unity and determination to fight, if necessary.


While the Europeans are clearly benefiting from neo-colonialism and the plunder that goes on all over the world, it would be ridiculous to claim that they themselves are ‘enjoying the fruits of democracy’.

In a dazzling novel “Seeing”, written by Jose Saramago, a laureate for the Nobel Prize for literature, some 83% of voters in an unidentified country (most likely Saramago’s native Portugal), decide to cast blank ballots, expressing clear spite towards the Western representative election system.

This state, which prided itself as a ‘democratic one’, responded by unleashing an orgy of terror against its own citizens. It soon became obvious that people are allowed to make democratic choices only when the result serves the interests of the regime.

Ursula K Le Guin, reviewing the novel in the pages of The Guardian, on 15 April 2006, admitted:

"Turning in a blank ballot is a signal unfamiliar to most Britons and Americans, who aren’t yet used to living under a government that has made voting meaningless. In a functioning democracy, one can consider not voting a lazy protest liable to play into the hands of the party in power (as when low Labour turn-out allowed Margaret Thatcher’s re-elections, and Democratic apathy secured both elections of George W Bush). It comes hard to me to admit that a vote is not in itself an act of power, and I was at first blind to the point Saramago’s non-voting voters are making."

She should not have been. Even in Europe itself, terror had been unleashed, on many occasions, against the people who decided to vote ‘incorrectly’.

Perhaps the most brutal instance was in the post WWII period, when the Communist Parties were clearly heading for spectacular victories in France, Italy and West Germany. Such ‘irresponsible behavior’ had to be, of course, stopped. Both US and UK intelligence forces made a tremendous effort to ‘save democracy’ in Europe, employing Nazis to break, intimidate, even murder members of progressive movements and parties.

These Nazi cadres were later allowed, even encouraged, to leave Europe for South America, some carrying huge booty from the victims who vanished in concentration camps. This booty included gold teeth.

Later on, in the 1990’s, I spoke to some of them, and also to their children, in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. They were proud of their deeds, unrepentant, and as Nazi as ever.

Many of those European Nazis later actively participated in Operation Condor, so enthusiastically supported by the Paraguayan fascist and pro-Western dictator, Alfredo Strössner. Mr Strössner was a dear friend and asylum-giver to many WWII war criminals, including people like Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor known as the “Angel of Death”, who performed genetic experiments on children during the WWII.

So, after destroying that ‘irresponsible democratic process’ in Europe (the post-war Western Empire), many European Nazis that were now loyally serving their new master, were asked to continue with what they knew how to do best. Therefore they helped to assassinate some 60,000 left-wing South American men, women and their children, who were guilty of building egalitarian and just societies in their home countries. Many of these Nazis took part, directly, in Operacion Condor, under the direct supervision of the United States and Europe.

As Naomi Klein writes in her book, Shock Doctrine:

"Operación Cóndor, also known as Plan Cóndor, Portuguese: Operação Condor) was a campaign of political repression and terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America. The program was intended to eradicate communist or Soviet influence and ideas, and to suppress active or potential opposition movements against the participating governments."

In Chile, German Nazis rolled up their sleeves and went to work directly: by interrogating, liquidating and savagely torturing members of the democratically elected government and its supporters. They also performed countless medical experiments on people, at the so-called Colonia Dirnidad, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose rule was manufactured and sustained by Dr. Kissinger and his clique.

But back to Europe: in Greece, after WWII, both the UK and US got heavily involved in the civil war between the Communists and the extreme right-wing forces.

In 1967, just one month before the elections in which the Greek left-wing was expected to win democratically (the Indonesian scenario of 1965), the US and its ‘Greek colonels’ staged a coup, which marked the beginning of a 7 year savage dictatorship.

What happened in Yugoslavia, some 30 years later is, of course clear. A successful Communist country could not be allowed to survive, and definitely not in Europe. As bombs fell on Belgrade, many of those inquisitive and critically thinking people that had any illusions left about the Western regime and its ‘democratic principles’, lost them rapidly.

But by then, the majority of Europe already consisted of indoctrinated masses, some of the worst informed and most monolithic (in their thinking) on earth.

Europe and its voters… It is that constantly complaining multitude, which wants more and more money, and delivers the same and extremely predictable electoral results every four, five or six years. It lives and votes mechanically. It has totally lost its ability to imagine a different world, to fight for humanist principles, and even to dream.

It is turning into an extremely scary place, a museum at best, and a cemetery of human vision at the worst.


As Noam Chomsky pointed out:

"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, “That’s politics.” But it isn’t. It’s only a small part of politics.
"The population has been carefully excluded from political activity, and not by accident. An enormous amount of work has gone into that disenfranchisement. During the 1960s the outburst of popular participation in democracy terrified the forces of convention, which mounted a fierce counter-campaign. Manifestations show up today on the left as well as the right in the effort to drive democracy back into the hole where it belongs."

Arundhati Roy, commented in her “Is there life after democracy?”

"The question here, really, is what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the Free Market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit? Is it possible to reverse this process? Can something that has mutated go back to being what it used to be?"


After all that brutality, and spite for people all over the world, the West is now teaching the planet about democracy. It is lecturing Asians and Africans, people from Middle East and Sub-Continent, on how to make their countries more ‘democratic’. It is actually hard to believe, it should be one of the most hilarious things on earth, but it is happening, and everyone is silent about it.

Those who are listening without bursting into laughter are actually well paid.

There are seminars; even foreign aid projects related to ‘good governance’, sponsored by the European Union, and the United States. The EU is actually much more active in this field. Like the Italian mafia, it sends covert but unmistakable messages to the world: “You do as we say, or we break your legs… But if you obey, come to us and we will teach you how to be a good aide to Cosa Nostra! And we will give you some pasta and wine while you are learning.”

Because there is plenty of money, so called ‘funding’… members of the elite, the academia, media and non-government organizations, from countries that have been plundered by the West – countries like Indonesia, Philippines, DR Congo, Honduras, or Colombia –send armies of people to get voluntarily indoctrinated, (sorry, to be ‘enlightened’) to learn about democracy from the greatest assassins of genuine ‘people’s power’; from the West.

Violating democracy is an enormous business. To hush it up is part of that business. To learn how to be idle and not to intervene against the external forces destroying democracy in your own country, while pretending to be ‘engaged and active’, is actually the best business, much better than building bridges or educating children (from a mercantilist point of view).

Once, at the University of Indonesia where I was invited to speak, a student asked me ‘what is the way forward’, to make his country more democratic? I replied, looking at several members of the professorial staff:

“Demand that your teachers stop going to Europe on fully funded trips. Demand that they stop being trained in how to brainwash you. Do not go there yourself, to study. Go there to see, to understand and to learn, but not to study… Europe had robbed you of everything. They are still looting your country. What do you think you will learn there? Do you really think they will teach you how to save your nation?”

Students began laughing. The professors were fuming. I was never invited back. I am sure that the professors knew exactly what I was talking about. The students did not. They were thinking that I made a very good joke. But I was not trying to be funny.


As I write these words, the Thai military junta has taken over the country. The West is silent: the Thai military is an extremely close ally. Democracy at work…

And as I write these words, the fascist government in Kiev is chasing, kidnapping and “disappearing” people in the east and south of Ukraine. By some insane twist of logic, the Western corporate media is managing to blame Russia. And only a few people are rolling around on the floor, laughing.

As I write these words, a big part of Africa is in flames, totally destroyed by the US, UK, France and other colonial powers.

Client states like the Philippines are now literally being paid to get antagonistic with China.

Japanese neo-fascist adventurism fully supported by the Unites States can easily trigger WWIII. So can Western greed and fascist practices in Ukraine.

Democracy! People’s power!

If the West had sat on its ass, where it belongs, in Europe and in North America, after WWII, the world would have hardly any problems now. People like Lumumba, Allende, Sukarno, Mosaddeq, would have led their nations and continents. They would have communicated with their own people, interacted with them. They would have built their own styles of ‘democracy’.

But all that came from the Bandung Conference of 1955, from the ideals of the Non-Aligned movement, was ruined and bathed in blood. The true hopes of the people of the world cut to pieces, urinated on, and then thrown into gutter.

But no more time should be wasted by just analyzing, and by crying over spilt milk. Time to move on!

The world has been tortured by Europe and the United States, for decades and centuries. It has been tortured in the name of democracy… but it has all been one great lie. The world has been tortured simply because of greed, and because of racism. Just look back at history. Europe and the United States have only stopped calling people “niggers”, but they do not have any more respect for them than before. And they are willing, same as before, to sacrifice millions of human lives.

Let us stop worshiping their box, and those meaningless pieces of paper that they want us to stick in there. There is no power of people in this. Look at the United States itself – where is our democracy? It is a one-party regime fully controlled by market fundamentalists. Look at our press, and propaganda…

Rule of the people by the people, true democracy, can be achieved. We the people had been derailed, intellectually, so we have not been thinking how, for so many decades.

Now we, many of us, know what is wrong, but we are still not sure what is right.

Let us think and let us search, let us experiment. And also, let us reject their fascism first. Let them stick their papers wherever they want! Let them pretend that they are not slaves to some vendors and swindlers. Let them do whatever they want – there, where they belong.

Democracy is more than a box. It is more than a multitude of political parties. It is when people can truly choose, decide and build a society that they dream about. Democracy is the lack of fear of having napalm and bombs murdering our dreams. Democracy is when people speak and from those words grow their own nation. Democracy is when millions of hands join together and from that brilliant union, new trains begin to run, new schools begin to teach, and new hospitals begin to heal. All this by the people, for the people! All this created by proud and free humans as gift to all – to their nation.

Yes, let the slave masters stick their pieces of paper into a box, or somewhere else. They can call it democracy. Let us call democracy something else – rule of the people, a great exchange of ideas, of hopes and dreams. Let our taking control over our lives and over our nations be called ‘democracy’!

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His discussion with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism is now going to print. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is now re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. He has just completed the feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Source and Conduit: Wikileaks Criticism of Greenwald's Failure to Launch

Michael Ratner: Twitter Storm Between WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald


WikiLeaks promises to name the 5th country where MYSTIC mega data collection program is applied.

Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.

Ukraine: Stinky Ink Everywhere, but Nary a Line to Think

The “Stinky Inky,” Part VII: Trudy Rubin’s Astounding Ignorance about Russia

by Walter C. Uhler

I live in Philadelphia. There was a time when I wrote book reviews and op-eds for The Philadelphia Inquirer. That period ended, however, thanks to the intemperate language I hurled at its editors for the far too many articles and columns they published that attempted to justify an invasion of Iraq. Subsequently, whenever I was moved by something in the Inquirer that was egregiously lousy, I would write an article about it. Some of these articles eventually were given the title, “Stinky Inky.”

Well, the “Stinky Inky” is at it again. Upset by events in Ukraine, Trudy Rubin is stinking up the Inky with her blatant anti-Putin propaganda. Beyond her inability to get her facts straight, Ms. Rubin has displayed a stunning ignorance of post-Soviet Russia.

For example, in her 23 March 2014 column titled, “A framework for a response to Putin,” Ms. Rubin began by misrepresenting what Secretary of State, John Kerry, meant, when he called Russia’s invasion of Crimea “a 19th-century act in the 21st century.” Mr. Kerry’s actual statement was: “Russia is engaged in a military act of aggression against another country, and it has huge risks, George. It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”

Mr. Kerry was much clearer when speaking to CBS. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.” But, presumably uncomfortable with Mr. Kerry’s poor choice of words – which conjured up memories of his support for President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, the most serious war crime of the 21st century — Ms. Rubin decided to bail out America’s Hypocrite of State by telling us what he really meant to say. “In other words, 21st-century rules of an interconnected world barred anything as atavistic as forceful seizure of European territory.” Changing Kerry’s words to mean “forceful seizure of European territory,” is something best left to a press secretary or an apologist, not an independent journalist.

Ms. Rubin also denounced Russia for threatening to use a gas cutoff as political leverage. Then, she hypocritically urged Western leaders to “brandish the energy weapon when they gather in Europe.” Finally, she also urged the West to provide weapons to Ukraine.

Now, it is true that many in the West thought that the collapse of the Soviet Union had brought “the end of history,” as Francis Fukuyama so memorably put it, and inaugurated what Ms. Rubin calls “21st-century rules of an interconnected world.” Democracy and markets had achieved their final triumph over ideology and geopolitical blocs. Now it was the fate of democracy and markets to complete their glorious and inexorable sweep across the rest of the world.

According to this conceit of Western triumphalism, the new liberal world order would render geopolitical considerations obsolete (except, of course, when the U.S. felt compelled to invade or bomb another sovereign state). Under the new liberal world order, the gentle penetration of sovereign states by the West’s free markets and democracy was natural and beneficial, even if such free markets and democratic institutions in the West had become pawns in the hands of the Western financial and corporate oligarchs known as the 1%.

(In a widely heralded scholarly study titled: “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded: “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts of U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” Thus, even the U.S. is not a democracy but an oligarchy.)

Nevertheless, any attempt to prevent the West’s gentle penetration was viewed as a violation of the natural and beneficial new liberal world order. And if such penetration in Europe brought benign NATO membership in its wake, so what?

However, what the cheerleaders for the new liberal world order have forgotten is the fact that both the United States and Germany – in the persons of Secretary of State James Baker and German Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher — made a decidedly geopolitical promise to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. They promised not to extend NATO east of Germany in return for Soviet assistance in the peaceful reunification of Germany under NATO. The Soviet leaders upheld their end of the bargain, but the U.S. – in the person of President Clinton – reneged.

In post-Soviet Russia, the new liberal world order took the form of “shock therapy,” which transferred enormous wealth to the oligarchs and severely impoverished millions of Russians during the 1990s. As a result of their experience, many Russians began to associate free markets with outright theft.

Russia’s political elite never forgot Clinton’s “stab-in the-back” on NATO enlargement. Neither did they overlook NATO’s revision of its strategic concept that, by 1999, allowed it to undertake offensive military action, even if none of its members had suffered an attack.

Moreover, while the world was touting the new liberal world order of markets and democracy, in 1998 Zbigniew Brzezinski, a prominent Polish-American Russophobe, was waxing geopolitical: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

“However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”

Mr. Brzezinski’s views were echoed in 2004 by the obnoxious neoconservative jingoist Charles Krauthammer. Talking about Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution, Mr. Krauthammer asserted: “This is about Russia first, democracy only second…The West wants to finish the job begun with the fall of the Berlin Wall and continue Europe’s march to the east…. The great prize is Ukraine.”

In December 2004, America’s Richard Holbrooke asserted that “NATO virtually defines our core zone of security in half the world, and danger lurks to the south and east.” He added, “Ukraine, as part of the greatest peacetime military alliance…, gives added comfort and stability to the eastern tier of NATO nations.” He then advocated for Ukraine’s admission to NATO by 2007.

Thus, in a profound misreading of Russia’s existential ties to Ukraine – the type that leads to war — Mr. Holbrooke not only arrogantly placed Ukraine in America’s “core zone of security,” he assured his readers that, because previous rounds of NATO expansion had not destroyed relations with Russia, there was no reason to believe that the addition of Ukraine would do so.

Russia’s political elites were sensitive to such threats. In fact, they fumed when political leaders in the West paid absolutely no attention to their increasingly vehement objections to NATO interminable expansion, seemingly aimed at Russia’s geopolitical encirclement.

Then, in Georgia in 2008, Russia finally fired a shot across the bow of the United States, Europe and NATO. Russia used Georgia’s massive shelling of Russian peacekeepers and others living in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, as sufficient reason to invade and split off pieces of Georgia.

Russia’s invasion shocked the new liberal world order folks in the U.S. and Europe. But in their many fulminations about so-called “Russian aggression” (usually followed by the words, “which will not stand”) nobody understood that Russia was telling both Georgia and NATO that Georgia would not be joining NATO, not unless both wanted war. Soon after Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, Dmitri Medvedev asserted: “We will not tolerate any more humiliation, and we are not joking.”

In March 2014, precisely because the new liberal world order folks didn’t learn their lesson in Georgia, Russia was compelled to fire another shot across the bow of the economic imperialists in the U.S. and Europe. It occurred after protesters in Kiev rejected a comprise agreement – reached by Yanukovych and the opposition parties on 21 February 2013 under the auspices of the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland – in favor of the violent overthrow of Yanukovych’s democratically elected government.

(I’m not pleased with anything that has occurred. But, pleased or not, for Russia, the prospect of Ukraine in NATO is an existential red line.)

Consequently, after Western diplomats recklessly cavorted with anti-Russia protesters in Kiev, and after those emboldened protesters (probably hijacked by Pravy Sektor) staged a coup, Russia simultaneously secured its Black Sea Fleet and smacked the West and Ukraine across the face by annexing the Crimea. Now, there will be no NATO in Ukraine, except, perhaps in area surrounding Lviv, the capital of Banderastan.

Unfortunately, you’ll find none of this in any column about Ukraine recently written by Trudy Rubin. Whether out of ignorance or malice Ms. Rubin does not acknowledge that Russia, like any other sovereign state, has national interests. Instead, out of ignorance or malice, Ms. Rubin simplistically makes Ukraine all about Vladimir Putin.

Out of ignorance or malice, Ms. Rubin’s column of 17 April 2014 was riddled with hysterical gibberish. Consider her inane assertion that “Putin can’t afford to attack NATO countries.” It’s a red herring, born out of hysteria.

Or, consider her prediction that Russia’s “power will wane when Russia’s gas income drops.” Virtually everyone familiar with Russia knew that it was negotiating a massive gas deal with China. Price was the only issue delaying agreement. Fittingly, a mere month after Ms. Rubin wrote her nonsense, the New York Times reported, “China and Russia signed a $400 billion gas deal on Wednesday, giving Moscow a megamarket for its leading export and linking two major powers that, despite a rocky history of alliances and rivalries, have drawn closer to counter the clout of the United States and Europe.”

(In fact, the Associated Press reported on May 21st that “China’s president also called for an Asian security arrangement that would include Russia and Iran and exclude the United States.”)

Other nonsensical assertions by Ms. Rubin in her 17 April 2014 opinion column prompted me to write a letter to the editor – which, obviously, the Stinky Inky failed to publish. My letter reads as follows:

“Russia is engaging in a massive propaganda campaign about events in Ukraine,” as Trudy Rubin notes.

But the West is engaging in a similarly massive propaganda campaign. Simply read NATO’s extremely biased 14 April rebuttal of Russia’s allegations. Unfortunately, Ms. Rubin also is spreading anti-Russian propaganda.

She is wrong to assert, Yanukovych’s ‘government fell not because of a plot, but because special Ukrainian forces, with advisers from Moscow, killed dozens of demonstrators.’ She appears to be unaware that ARD German television found evidence that much of the murderous sniper fire came from the Hotel Ukraina, which was tightly controlled by Kiev’s protesters.

She fails to mention the European Union-mediated agreement struck between the opposition and Yanukovych, only to be rejected by protesters led by extreme right-wing members of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor. Highly respected sociologist, Volodymyr Ishchenko — an expert in civil disturbances in Ukraine — claimed that the far right had hijacked the protest.

Russia responded to the coup by “taking Crimea.”

Dr. Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on Ukraine and right-wing parties in Europe says this about Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). “What is frightening, however, with Pravy Sektor itself is that it comprises many groups that I would call neo-Nazi. Fortunately, they also constitute a minor element of Pravy Sektor, but they are there. Dmitro Yarosh, who is the leader of the Trident, of Trizub-it’s the name of the organization — it may be not racist itself, but it cooperates with the real nasty people who are part of the Pravy Sektor, like Patriot of Ukraine.” [“Crisis in Ukraine: The Role and Responsibility of the West.” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, February 7, 2014.

Nevertheless, in a column titled, “A veiled threat to Ukrainian Jews” Ms. Rubin goes to great lengths, admittedly without any proof, to blame Russia for the obviously fake fliers – requiring Jews to register with the Donetsk People’s Republic — distributed outside a synagogue in Donetsk. But she whitewashes the anti-Semitism of the genuine neo-Nazis who led the protesters in their violent coup against a democratically elected government.

Yes, admits Ms. Rubin, Svoboda was denounced as “neo-Nazi” by the World Jewish Congress. But it “appears to be moderating its positions.” In the one sentence she devotes to Pravy Sector, Ms. Rubin simply notes that “Its leaders publicly insist the group is not anti-Semitic.” Well, that settles it then. Doesn’t it?

In her most recent opinion column on 21 May 2014, titled “Ukraine’s pivotal revolution,” Ms. Rubin spouts more propaganda. Once again it was a largely peaceful revolution lead by heroic protesters seeking the new liberal world order for Ukraine, not a protest transformed into a violent anti-Russia coup led by Pravy Sektor (Right Sector). Once again it was all about Putin, “with his bare-chested machismo, his homophobia, his odes to tradition and religious orthodoxy, and his disdain for the West.” Once again, Ms. Rubin failed to utter a single word about Russia’s legitimate national interests.

Once again there was her unwarranted certainty that “the violence of the revolution’s last days sparked by a pro-Russian government’s murder of demonstrators, was only a coda to months of peaceful protests.” In fact, a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached on the matter of the murder of demonstrators. However, Ms. Rubin, as well as readers seeking information that challenges her blatant propaganda, are advised to read an article by Yulia Latynina titled “The Rise and Fall of Right Sector.”

Ms. Latynina is a fierce critic of President Putin, but she makes a few observations about Right Sector and its leader, Dmitry Yarosh, that challenge Ms. Rubin’s propaganda. First, she assists in the demolition of Ms. Rubin’s canard about months of peaceful protests by claiming that Right Sector figured prominently in the heavy fighting on Hrushevsky Street on Jan. 19.” (Even the New York Times reported the use of stun grenades by protesters as early as 1 December 2013.) Ms. Rubin, wake up!

Second, she speculates that “someone close to Yanukovych gave Right Sector money so they would stop fighting.” But, “like a true revolutionary, Yarosh took the money, bought weapons with it and continued to fight.”

Third, Ms. Latynina notes that on February 20th, the center of Kiev “was closed off, no cars moved and people were dropping like flies under a hail of snipers’ bullets.” Yet, to get and from his meeting at the presidential residence “Yarosh would have had to pass through the gauntlet of sniper fire. What guarantee did he have that snipers would not shoot at him, or that he would manage to return alive from that meeting?”

Fourth, Ms. Latynina notes that “not a single Right Sector member was among the 100 Maidan protesters who died.”

Finally, Ms. Latynina suspects that President Putin “sincerely believed that the European Union is financing Right Sector.” Then, she concludes by observing, “Obviously, the EU is not financing Right Sector, but the organization definitely did receive a large sum of money from someone.”

There was a time when I thought Trudy Rubin was a thoughtful voice on world affairs and a credit to an often abysmally poor Stinky Inky. However, after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea – which shocked the new liberal world order people to their core – Ms. Rubin seems to have degenerated into yet another anti-Putin mainstream media crank.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

To the Minister Responsible, Re: Consideration of Site-C

Re: Consideration of Site C

by Andrea Morison, MA -  Peace Valley Environment Association

Minister of Energy and Mines and 
Minister Responsible for Core Review
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Re: Consideration of Site C

Dear Minister Bennett,

I understand that you are presently undertaking serious consideration of Site C dam to determine whether it is in the best interests of British Columbians. Our organization has undertaken considerable research on this issue and I would like to share some of the highlights with you along with some of the key recommendations of the Joint Review Panel on Site C. I trust you will find this information useful in your deliberations.

On the need for Site C

Observations/conclusions of the Joint Review Panel on Site C:

  • Given that there are significant adverse effects that would result from Site C, justification for the project must rest on an unambiguous need for the power. 
  • Alternative sources of power are available at similar costs, notably geothermal. BC Hydro should conduct more research into energy alternatives.
  • The Panel cannot conclude on the likely accuracy of project cost estimates and recommends that the costs of Site C be assessed by the BCUC.

BC Hydro has failed to fully demonstrate the need for Site C at this time.

 Additional key points

  • BC Hydro’s ‘Site C Clean Energy Project Evidentiary Update’, Table 5, pp. 12-13, states, “BC Hydro believes that the unique requirements of potential LNG customers may be better served by north coast supply.”

Energy economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer states:

BC Hydro’s analysis of future demand is based on a very serious market failure in the pricing of electricity.The average price for new industry is about $50/ MWh, but the cost of new supply, whether delivered from Site C or other sources, is $100/MWh or more. That clearly attracts more demand than economists would consider economically justified.

  • With Burrard in place, BC would have no shortfall of energy until 2033.
  • Even without Burrard, BC Hydro could meet the future energy needs of the province more cost effectively if they developed single-cycle gas thermal plants which can be built on an ‘as needed’ basis, strategically located and supply low cost energy to meet peak loads.
  • Like Burrard, single-cycle gas thermal plants could enable greater reliable use of non-firm and spot market supplies and would be far less costly than Site C. The savings would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
  • We wouldn’t be producing energy from gas turbines any more than we have to; in most years we would be using available non-firm hydro and purchases of spot-market energy, which forecasts tell us are going to be much lower costs sources of energy in the future than Site C.
  • BC Hydro didn’t provide appropriate cost comparisons to alternative sources of power in their analysis. The 1,100 MW capacity of Site C will result in an oversupply of energy for many years after it is commissioned. Clearly, if alternative sources of energy were used, they could be constructed on an incremental, as-needed basis, thus resulting in significant cost savings over time. We wouldn’t end up with a huge initial surplus of power for many years like we would with Site C.

On energy demand and cost

  • Observations/conclusions of the Joint Review Panel on Site C:
  • The Panel concludes that there are uncertainties regarding BC Hydro’s long term energy forecasts.
  • Basing a $7.9 billion project on a 20-year demand forecast without an explicit 20-year scenario of prices is not good practise.
  • The Panel recommends that BC Hydro construct a reasonable long-term pricing scenario for electricity and its substitutes and update the associated load forecast, including LNG demand and that this be exposed for public and BCUC comment in a BCUC hearing, before construction begins.

Additional key points

  • Erik Andersen, a retired economist who previously worked for the federal government as well as private corporations, has reviewed Hydro’s financial statements and reveals the following:
  • Between 2006 and 2009 domestic demand has mostly ‘flat-lined’ at about 50,000 GWhrs while BC Hydro, over a decade ago, forecasted demand to be well over 60,000 GWhrs by 2012.
  • BC Stats show that BC’s population growth rate is decreasing. During the decades of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, BC’s population grew by 26%, 19.3% and 20.8 %. In 2000, it shrunk to 12.3% and is expected to be 12.8% this decade. BC Stats has projected the growth rate to be +1.3% for each year beyond that to 2036. Despite this shrinking trend, BC Hydro has projected that residential accounts will increase at annual rates of between 1.3 to 1.7%. Given that BC Hydro residential customer accounts are about 2 million, meaning, on a simple average, every account has 2 people living behind the meter, then BC Hydro’s residential per capita demand is projected to increase at twice the rate that BC Stats expects the population to increase.
  • As hydro rates continue to increase, the public is likely to respond with conservation.
  • BC Hydro reported sales to “Others” is fiscal 2013 of 7,417 GWhrs. Auditors of BC Hydro’s financial report indicated that “Others” were customers outside of BC with long-term purchase contracts.
  • This is more energy than would be produced by Site C. In fact, even though Site C can supply a maximum of 5,100 GWhrs/yr, dams of this size usually only run at about half their potential.
  • Sales to “Others” were at $43/MWh, whereas Site C generated energy would be at least $100/MWh.

On the loss of valuable agricultural land

  • PVEA hired two extremely knowledgeable and highly accredited agricultural experts, each with over 40 years’ experience, to assess the value of the land in the Peace River Valley that would be lost if Site C were approved. The following key findings are critical to the decision on Site C:
  • The area of agricultural land that would be impacted by Site C is grossly under-represented. BC Hydro’s economic evaluation of loss resulting from of the construction of the Site C dam is based on 1,666 hectares of land; that only represents 13% of impacted farmland. The actual impact area is 31,528 hectares of Class 1 to 7 lands.
  • BC Hydro established a baseline for agricultural production in the Peace River Valley that is completely inaccurate: it created a utility rating system that has never been used or even heard of in the agricultural industry; and, it failed to account for the influence of the 50-year flood reserve on existing agricultural production in the Valley.
  • The productivity of the agricultural land in the Peace River Valley is unique not only in the Peace River region, but in Western Canada. It is capable of producing a variety of crops comparable to BC’s fertile Fraser Valley and in some cases the yields from the Peace River Valley are even higher than in those in southern BC.
  • As world prices for food escalate in response to inevitable climate change, population and fossil fuel pressures, the land BC Hydro plan’s to flood for Site C is our food security Plan B. It can produce fruit and vegetables for over a million people.
  • BC Hydro projects total economic activity resulting from agriculture in the Peace River Valley would total $215 million over 100 years. Even using BC Hydro’s own model, with its impoverished impact base of 1,666 hectares (5% of Site C impacted ALR) a more robust horticulture scenario suggests agricultural activities are capable of generating fully $2 billion from farm gate sales and secondary economic activity during this same time frame. This doesn’t measure values associated with human health resulting from better nutrition in Northern communities.
  • According to experts, Site C dam may have a 100-year life. The agricultural land in the Peace River Valley will support life in perpetuity.
  •  The Peace River Valley has extraordinarily high value for agriculture and the public interest is better served by allowing it to continue to sustain citizens through agricultural production rather than destroying it for power production. Power can be sourced from other alternatives; agriculture cannot. 

Given all of the above, it is clear that Site C is not in the best interests of British Columbians. I urge you to give serious consideration to the information I have provided and trust that, in considering the long term interests of the citizens of the province, you will not approve Site C.

(Please note that I can provide sources and approved references for all information provided in this letter.)

Andrea Morison, MA
Coordinator, Peace Valley Environment Association
Fort St. John, BC

The Holy Land the Pope Will Find

Pope, Israeli lies and more

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

The Pope is coming to Palestine, a country under a regime of apartheid and colonialism. The Zionists are greeting him by insisting that they will continue to occupy the site of the last supper and insisting that he visit "Yad Vashem" (a museum exploiting one tragedy to create more holocausts), and "Mount Herzle" named after the guy who is a key architect of ethnic cleansing and colonialism here that cost hundreds of thousands of Arab lives.

Christians here (and all other people) have become more and more active in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Zionist regime.

Meanwhile Palestinian leadership in Ramallah still seems mired in its old ways of sanctifying pope Abu Mazen. Text of signs here in Bethlehem initially welcomed the Pope as a guest of Abu Mazen not the guest of
Palestine; this text was changed after some uproar though Abu Mazen's pictures remained. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and many others complained about the unilateral moves and decisions by Abu Mazen without consulting the Palestinian people (and not just his key financially connected yes-men from Fatah). PFLP was promptly denied its financial share from the PLO umbrella (small as it  maybe since the PLO was subsumed to the Palestinian Authority and its corrupt officials).

These issues and problems portray a liberation movement gone awry after Oslo treacherous agreements. Yet, this does not take away from the justice of the Palestinian cause or the fact that it is inevitable that truth and freedom will prevail. Meanwhile we continue here struggling and sacrificing. Below are glimpses of reality and in particular please note the plight of youth assassinated and prisoners in "administrative detention".

Maybe the Pope will say something about this continuing suffering and the lies and mythology that make it all possible.

Israeli military commit crimes and are caught lying (again). This is not the first time the Israeli army  assassinates Children and lie about it. In this case two young people are shot with live ammunition and Israeli
military said they posed direct threats and that they only used rubber bullets.

Footage and other evidence was then released by Defense of Children International which shows the military lied.

After significant uproar, even the US State Department and CNN had to pay attention but the arrogant Israeli military is still sticking to its lies.

My letter to editor in response to a Zionist standard PR.

Palestinian Hunger Strike: “Either I Go Home – Or I Go in a Plastic Bag” -
See more at:

Interactive on Gaza under siege:

Newsweek says Israel won't stop spying on the US. Newsweek follow-up article on Israeli extensive spying on the US:

The Lab: by Yotam Feldman: A unique insight into the world of Israeli arms dealers selling weapons and experience around the world. Armies and police around the world are interested in the latest Israeli weapons and their military tactics, which have been refined by fighting in the occupied  territories. With unique access, Witness follows private Israeli arms dealers in their day-to-day work; making deals, attending arms fairs, shipping weapons, and inspecting armed forces overseas. This film reveals how the Israeli arms industry is making vast profits worldwide, and partly thanks to their activities in the occupied territories...
Aljazeera: Israel's Drone Dealers by Yotam Feldman People & Power investigates how Israeli drone technology - first tried and tested in Gaza - came to be used by the US and its allies in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

From Akka, the remaining Arabs reject continued ethnic cleansingمن عكا مش
طالعين !

Come visit us in Palestine and, stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

The Last Time I Saw Yafa: 66 Years of the Nakba

66 Year Nakba: I Saw Yafa, Land of Oranges

by Ramzy Baroud  -

In ‘Jaffa: Land of Oranges’, Ghassan Kanafani described his exile from the Palestinian coastal city of Yafa.

As a 12-year-old boy, he struggled to understand, but “on that night, though, certain threads of that story became clearer .. a big truck was standing in front of our door. Light things, mainly sleeping items, were being chucked into the truck swiftly and hysterically.”

A few decades after Kanafai wrote about his exile, I, an 8-year-old boy from a Gaza refugee camp, pondered on my own. When I stood at the borders of Yafa, the line of what was real and imagined suddenly became blurred. Once Palestine’s largest city, Yafa turned out not to be a figment of my grandfather’s imagination, or Kanafani’s, but a tangible space of sand, air and sea. The Palestinian-Arab identity of Yafa was evident everywhere.

I was a third grader on my first school trip. Gazans were still allowed to cross into Israel in those days, mostly as exploited cheap labor. My family was driven out of Palestine during the Nakba, the "Great Catastrophe" that saw the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. My family was comprised of simple peasants from the village of Beit Daras. The residents of my village were known for their love of couscous, and for their legendary stubbornness, courage and pride. Beit Daras residents saw in Yafa a center of many aspects of their lives. A commercially vibrant port city, known around the world for its oranges, Yafa was home to some of the largest markets in southern Palestine.

Yafa was a center for Arab culture, and a model of co-existence between religions. But British colonization of Palestine starting in 1917 then morphed into a mandate government in 1922, interrupting the natural historic flow that positioned Yafa as the beating heart of Palestine.

Strata of educated elites in Yafa had raised the level of political consciousness of the city to standards that would still be considered high by Middle Eastern criteria today. Politicians, artists, bankers, craftsmen and young and vibrant student communities gave Yafa a middle class that served an essential role in the fight against British colonialism and its Zionist allies many years before the Nakba and the creation of Israel.

Yafawi union members organized around labor rights with steadfast commitment. Arab laborers were being laid off and Jewish laborers coming from Europe were taking their place. That mobilization become part of the 1936 strike and revolution, Palestine’s first collective uprising that inspired generations of Palestinians, and still does today.

Numerous villages and small towns looked to Yafa for guidance, and sometimes survival. My grandfather, who owned a small piece of land in Beit Daras, was a craftsman who weaved baskets. Every few days, he hauled the best of what he made into the Isdud and sometimes al-Majdal markets hoping for a few extra Palestinian dinars to supplement his meagre income. But the best was saved for Yafa because the Yafawis had the best taste. He would put on his poshest outfit for this trip. After feeding his trusty donkey he would pile his baskets on the cart and embark on the long journey.

'Sido (grandpa) please tell us stories about your adventures in Yafa,' we would plead him, as he sat atop an old mattress in his special corner of a small, decaying house in a refugee camp in Gaza. His stories, which he conveyed with much suspense, trode a fine line between truth and fantasy. When I grew up, I realized that the fantasy was not simply his way to amuse us children, but also a way to express how Yafa represented my grandfather’s greatest triumphs and most humiliating defeats.

Fantasy helped him make sense of the world he had left behind. When the Arabs revolted in 1936, Britain hit back pitilessly. Not only did they kill, imprison and exile many Yafawis, they also defaced the city. Large parts of the Old City were erased never to be seen again. History was violently undone.

Grandpa was one of the thousands who defended Palestine to the bitter end. Although he was a peasant, who had taught himself how to weave baskets to survive, later he exchanged everything for an old Turkish rifle to defend Beit Daras, as nearby villages were falling in the hands of Zionist militias, one after the other.

Grandpa said much about how beautiful Yafa was. He would describe the gentle breeze of the sea as it greeted you upon your entrance to the city, and how it would make you feel as if your soul returned to you.

When Beit Daras fell after successive battles between Zionist militias and villagers armed with only a few rifles, grandpa’s soul was trapped forever.

When Plan Dalet, the master plan through which most of Palestine was violently conquered, was implemented following the calculated departure of the British forces, the capture of Yafa became the culmination of a violent campaign.

The highway between Yafa and Jerusalem was a theatre for heroic battles, culminating in the battle of Castal, a few miles away from Jerusalem.

Yafa, known as the "Bride of Sea" was conquered between April and May, 1948. A major exodus was already underway into Transjordan and Syria. Zionist forces belonging to the Haganah and Irgun set aside their supposed differences as they moved in against Yafa.

Three different military campaigns were launched simultaneously - Chametz, Jevussi and Yiftach - through which Yafa, areas around Jerusalem and the whole of eastern Galilee were seized. But when Yafa fell, the pride of Palestine was crushed.

The city was encircled, forcing thousands of people to flee by sea to Gaza or Egypt. Many drowned as small, overcrowded fishing boats gave in and sank. The Arab leadership had hoped the British would not allow the Zionists to conquer Yafa. They were ill-prepared. Civil defenses arrangements were almost non-existent.

The military disparity between Zionist militias (numbering at about 5,000 well trained fighters) and Arab volunteers (numbering around 1,500) was impossible to overcome without backing from the outside. None came. Men and women died in droves. Tens of thousands were on trek over land, but mostly by sea.

At the age of eight, I discovered that Yafa was not a fantasy. Much later in life, I discovered that Yafa, although conquered in battle, still stands through the collective memory of Yafawis everywhere.

While the term Nakba might be a fitting depiction of what befell the Palestinian nation in 1947-48, it is somud - steadfastness - that keeps the millions of refugees holding on tight to their right of return 66 years after the land of orange trees was conquered, and its somud that will keep Yafa alive, forever.

- Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).