Saturday, June 27, 2015

Kyiv Coupster In-Fighting Leads to Arrest of Alleged Assassins of Journalist Buzina

Arrests in Ukraine Over Murder of Journalist Oles Buzina

by Roger Annis - New Cold

June 23, 2015
Two suspects from the extreme-right in Ukraine have been arrested for the killing of Oles Buzina two months ago. The extreme-right is running rampant in the country but Western media is silent.

Two people were arrested in Ukraine on June 18 for the murder of journalist Oles Buzina on April 16, 2015. The two are said to be members of neo-Nazi paramilitary forces. Andriy Medevko and Denys Polischuk appeared in court separately on June 19. They were initially denied bail and ordered to appear again in court in August.

Polischuk was released on bail on June 23. He was greeted upon release by a crowd of Right Sector members.

Oles Buzina, 1969-2015

Bail of five 5 million hryvnia (US$230,000) was paid by Oleksiy Tamrazov, owner of the media conglomerate Media Group and one of the wealthiest gas/oil businessmen in Ukraine. (UNIAN News, June 23, 2015)

Both men are in their mid-20s. Korrespondent reported that a third suspect had been arrested. He was later released without charge.

The Ukraine news agency Interfax reports that Medevko is a member of the extreme right paramilitary battalion, Kyiv-2. It was formed with the participation of the ‘C14′ paramilitary group associated with the Svoboda Party. He has served as an aide to Svoboda Party member of the Rada (Parliament) Eduard Leonov.

Denys Polischuk, arrested for murder of journalist 
Oles Buzina (UNIAN photo, June 18, 2015)

UNIAN News reports that Polischuk is a member of the UNSO Battalion. It is an arm of the Social National Assembly, a fascist party.

Oles Buzina was a Ukrainian writer and journalist who was outspoken against the overthrow of the elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. He went on to oppose the civil war course in eastern Ukraine of the right-wing government that replaced that of Yanukovych. He was gunned down in broad daylight in front of his home in Kyiv.

Stealing and pillaging by battalions

The arrests of Oles Buzina’s alleged killers occurred as an internal squabble erupted between officials of the Kyiv government and leaders of another right-wing battalion. On June 17, Ruslan Onishchenko and seven of his cohorts in the ‘Tornado Battalion’ were arrested by Ukrainian police at the request of Gennedy Moskal, the appointed ‘governor’ of the Ukraine-controlled territory of Lugansk region.

They are accused of smuggling for profit as well as lawless actions against civilians, including thefts, assaults, kidnappings and torture.

According to, Ruslan Onishchenko has been convicted five times of violent crimes. Before the latest squabble, he was presented by Kyiv officials as a hero of its ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian television program Podrobnosti (TV-channel Inter) aired a story on June 19 containing recorded conversations of Onishchenko with his cohorts. The story was headlined, ‘Without tortures, life would not be a life’.

“Some soldiers of the Tornado Battalion have contacted us,” reported the program. “They have given us a recording of the conversation of battalion commander Ruslan Onishchenko with one of his deputies who uses the call sign ‘Mujahideen’. 

Daniel Al Takbir, aka ‘Mujahedin’, one of the 
arrested members of ‘Tornado’ Battalion (Facebook)

“This conversation is proof of the fact that the battalion is engaged in marauding and torture. We have checked the soldiers who gave us the tape recording via our sources, and they are listed as enrolled in the battalion.

“‘Without tortures, life would not be a life. Nothing raises your vitality as when you’re holding someone’s life,’ says the soldier with the call sign ‘Mujahideen’.”

“In an exclusive interview with Podrobnosti, the soldiers also told about the torture of people. Prisoners were kept in basements. They were beaten with sticks and sexually assaulted. In addition to performing combat tasks, soldiers were ordered by Ruslan Onishchenko to steal civilians’ vehicles and equipment.

“‘Most people who are found intoxicated or homeless were detained and forced to perform work for us–to build something, to weld something. Cars were simply taken by force from ordinary civilians. They were beaten with sticks– that’s all on the video, what was previously heard. They really raped one man, and Mujahideen recorded it all.

“‘We had ten prisoners. Onishchenko encouraged the taking of prisoners and gave the ‘green light’ to such actions. ‘These are your prisoners – do with them what you want’, he would say.'”

“‘He, too, would say that without torture, life is boring’, the fighters of the battalion told us.”

Sputnik News quotes Ukrainian Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios as telling a television program that of 80 of the group’s members investigated, half were found to have criminal records. The news agency says that Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has moved to limit the public relations damage by ordering the dissolution of the battalion.

It’s been a bad several weeks for Ukraine’s battalions. On June 11, the U.S. Congress voted to ensure that no funding or military training or equipping would go to the so-called Azov Battalion because of its openly neo-Nazi identification.

But a dissolution of that outfit is certainly not in the cards. Its role has been vigorously endorsed by Ukrainian government officials and it happens to control the industrial and port city of Mariupol in the southeast of Ukraine.

On June 13, the group staged a military parade through the streets of Mariupol to mark one year of its control of the city. On hand to cheer the “national heros” were no less than Interior Minister Avakov and National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov. Among those giving a speech to the ceremony with Turchynov and Avakov alongside was neo-Nazi leader Andriy Biletsky.

Another extreme-right party, the Right Sector, is keeping up its pressure on the Kyiv government not to relax the civil war they are jointly pursuing in the east.

Kid glove treatment of the extreme-right in Ukraine

Reports of torture and marauding by the extreme-right battalions in Ukraine are commonplace in the country. It is one of the reasons why opposition to the war is high, and growing. For example, a protest of more than one thousand people was staged on June 17 in the streets of Kyiv surrounding the U.S. embassy (video here). But barely a word of such news finds its way into the pages and broadcasts of Western media. A rigorous, de facto censorship prevails over anything that does not fit a ‘blame Russia’ narrative for describing the war in the east of the country.

Western editors, journalists and politicians politely call the far-right paramilitary battalions “volunteer” battalions and they parrot the line that Russia has a large, occupation troop presence in Ukraine.

Mainstream press is nearly universal in its description of the crisis in Ukraine as caused by “Russian aggression”, including a Russian “annexation” of Crimea in March 2014. For example, Canadian Press writer Murray Brewster writes in a syndicated article with a straight face on June 19, “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has made it clear there will be no reforms [that is, measures responding to the grievances of the people of eastern Ukraine] as long as Russia keeps troops in his country.”

In Canada, there has been across-the-board political support for the war being waged by the Kyiv government and its allied battalions. Recently, news of the role of the extreme right in the war in Ukraine (news only to those feigning ignorance or whose heads have been in the sand during the past 14 months) was ever-so-briefly reported following the vote in the U.S. Congress on June 11 to deny funding to some of the extremist battalions.

The U.S. vote caught Canadian politicians with their pants down. The more faint-hearted or embarrassed among them reacted with variants of, ‘Gee, I didn’t know. Someone should do something about this.’

One tactic to lessen international attention on the extremist battalions and gain them access to Western military training and arming has been to integrate them into Ukraine’s National Guard. When Canada’s defense minister, Jason Kenney, was placed on the hot seat following the U.S. Congress vote, he smoothly replied that only units of the National Guard and the regular Ukraine army would receive training from the military mission that Canada is soon to land in Ukraine.

The prominence of the extreme-right in Ukraine pre-dates its role in the overthrow of the country’s elected president in February 2014. An article in the September 27, 2013 edition of the Russian-language Korrespondent happens to feature a photo of a younger Andriy Medevko. He is delivering a Nazi salute. The article examined the widely-reported phenomenon at the time of neo-Nazi football hooligans running amok in Ukraine.

News reports of neo-Nazi hooliganism in Ukraine (and Poland) was de rigeur in certain international press in 2012 and 2013 when the European press descended on Donetsk for the Euro-2012 football tournament.

Here are some samples of media coverage in British newspapers in 2012:
The Daily Mail, May 27, 2012
The Guardian, June 1, 2012
The Telegraph, May 30, 2012

But such reporting was “switched off” in 2013 as the Euromaidan protest movement arose and quickly gained favour in Western capitals. The NATO military alliance saw in Euromaidan an opening to press its historic anti-Russia drive, so NATO’s narrative of a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine soon became the only accepted story in Western media.

In Canada, the fundraising efforts of the far-right battalions have been featured and promoted in two of the country’s largest newspapers—the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Elected members of Parliament of the three large parties in Ottawa as well as the premier of Canada’s largest province, Ontario, have happily joined in public forums and other events featuring spokespeople for the Right Sector and other extreme-right figures from Ukraine. The Globe and Mail continues to feature its battalion-fundraising reporting from last February by its leading writer on matters Ukraine, Mark MacKinnon.

Western media has been all but silent over the killings and jailings of journalists occurring in Ukraine. The few who reported the murder of Oles Buzina invariably referred to him as “pro-Russian”, referring to his outspoken writing in opposition to the murderous civil war in the country.

Ukraine has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists to work. But don’t go looking for that story in the world’s mainstream press—you won’t find it. Nor will you find a hint of the political repression being meted out daily by the combination of the Ukraine government and right-wing street vigilantes.

Will those arrested for the murder of Oles Buzina face justice? Time will tell. The pro-Euromaidan purging of Ukraine’s state and judicial apparatus which was codified in a law adopted last September is not aimed at fixing the injustices and corruption endemic to Ukraine’s economy and its judiciary. As the Vox Ukraine project reported in December of last year:

The discussion of judicial and general lustration in Ukraine is permeated by comparisons with Central European countries and their experience with lustration in the early 1990s. However, these comparisons are misguided, because both the goals and methods of Central European lustration were different. Central European lustration policies were mainly about exposing truth, rather than about punishing individuals. reports on June 24 that all five of the right-wing hooligans arrested in Kharkiv on June 11 for murderous attacks on foreign students have been released without charges. The attackers inflicted grave head and knife injuries on at least four students from Jordan.

The anti-Russian website ‘Human Rights in Ukraine’ is carefully critical of the Ukrainian government for the government’s absurd claim that the attack was perpetrated by the “Russian security service”. It worries that the attacks will harm the international reputation of Kharkiv and deter foreign visitors.

Roger Annis is an editor of the website The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. On June 12, he gave a talk in Vancouver, Canada reporting on his visit to Donetsk, eastern Ukraine in April 2015 as part of a media tour group. A video broadcast of that talk is here: The NATO offensive in eastern Europe and the class and the national dynamics of the war in eastern Ukraine.

Read also:

Large antiwar protest at U.S. embassy in Kyiv on June 17, by New Cold, June 22, 2015

Left parties in Ukraine form a ‘left opposition’, issue manifesto, June 12, 2015

Case ongoing of Alexander Bondarchuk: Ukrainian editor arrested and jailed for advocating national dialogue and curbing of the power of oligarchs, by New Cold, March 27, 2015

U.S. Senator John McCain and President Petro Poroshenko praise “volunteer” (extreme-right) batalions in Ukraine during recent McCain visit (related Associated Press article here.)

Destruction by Design: Iraq's Unnatural Black Fate

In Baghdad, Organized Destruction

by Cathy Breen -

June 26, 2015 
Two days ago an email came from an Iraqi doctor in Baghdad in response to a brief greeting I sent for the month of Ramadan.

“Thanks so much for remembering us…In fact we are the same if not worse. Our hearts are broken at the organized ruining of our country. We are targeted by those criminals and gangs coming from everywhere, even from the west who are all witnessing this drama and, if not supporting it, are keeping silent. We wonder what sin we committed to face this gloomy black fate. In fact, what is going on is beyond words.”

This courageous woman doctor never left the side of gravely ill children despite the great exodus of doctors due to kidnappings, assassinations and threats to their lives and families. Sadly she reports that another of her siblings has cancer, and she needs to leave the medical students for some days. This happens she says regretfully in “the critical time of final exams.” She herself is a cancer survivor and both her mother and sister had cancer. They have no choice, she says, but to go on and try to survive.

Another long-time friend is working in southern Iraq in a job that will soon end. He is away from his family in Baghdad, and it is dangerous for him in the south, but he has no choice with a wife and seven children to support. There was already an assassination attempt on his life in Baghdad and houses near their own have been bombed. There are nightly explosions and gunfire, assassinations and kidnappings. Approximately 200 people across Iraq have been killed each day in this month alone.

We have been frantically trying to find a safe place for him and his family to escape to. If they could go to Kurdistan they would join the ranks of the already three million IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) within Iraq. If they could get to Turkey, they might eventually get refugee status. But it is expensive there, they don’t speak the language, are not allowed to work and resettlement could take years.

Our friend emailed that his wife decided to send their second oldest son, 16 years, to her mother’s house due to kidnapping cases. “Two kids were kidnapped two days ago.” Ali, I will call the son, has exams and his grandmother’s house is closer to the school. When I stayed with this family for two weeks in 2013, one of Ali’s twelve year old friends was kidnapped and was never found.

The grandmother takes her grandson each day to school and sits against a wall under its shadow until Ali finishes his exam. She is “old and weak,” Ali’s father writes, “and honestly it is meaningless to think she could protect Ali as she can’t really protect herself. But I do appreciate her efforts.” Ali told his dad that his grandmother was causing him “too much embarrassment as she doesn’t understand the rules of the exams.” 
She always tries to enter the exam class to give Ali cold water because it is very hot. The first day the director of the exam allowed her to do this, but another day during the exam she tried again. This time it was not to give him water. She had cooked a rooster and told the staff that he had to eat well to do good on the exam! Ali was a little bit angry but his love for her “let him forget the embarrassing feeling!” He is “crazy in love” with his grandmother as she is the only grandparent left.

Ali was complaining to his father about the insufferable heat and lack of air cooling system, as well as the terrible mosquitoes. He uses a kerosene lamp for studying at night. The father was trying to encourage him by phone to overcome the difficulties saying: No pain, no gain. Ali responded “Dad, since we opened our eyes in this life, we have only known pain.”

Just yesterday two civilians were killed as Ali and his grandmother approached the school. This happened right in front of their eyes. His father emailed: 
“Ali couldn’t answer exam well as he saw the accident. Let us pray for his safety.”

Our friend and his wife worry excessively about their oldest boy, 18 years, as militia come to the houses seeking young men to fight ISIS, and they “will take young guys by force to do battle.” Although this son is needed to guard the house at night and help his mother, the mother felt compelled to send this son away too.

My friend concluded: “Cathy, It’s hard to sleep. Don’t worry. The family is still fine.”

Cathy Breen has represented Voices for Creative Nonviolence in many visits to Iraq. She lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing and the initial weeks of the U.S. invasion. She lives and works at Maryhouse Catholic Worker in NYC.

June 27, 2015 - #NextPortGaza

Freedom Flotilla III sets sail: #NextPortGaza

by Freedom Flotilla

Today, June 27th 2015 (4 am in Gaza), four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III set sail from their final European points of departure. Through nonviolent resistance they will challenge the illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza strip, which is running on its 9th year, sailing as always from international waters directly into Palestinian waters.

The Flotilla is due to reach Gaza in just a few days. Participants on board include 48 people, among them human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. This is the third Freedom Flotilla to sail, in addition to nine single boats that have undertaken to sail to Gaza, beginning in 2008 when several voyages reached Gaza City harbour and returned to Europe from their mission of bringing supplies and solidarity to the people of Gaza.

A converted fishing trawler, the 'Marianne of Gothenburg' left Sweden in May to join the flotilla and has made numerous stops along its journey around Europe. Marianne is carrying solar panels that would help  alleviate the serious problem of electricity in Gaza, as well .as medical equipment. Three other sailing vessels (Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II) are accompanying Marianne in its mission to break the blockade of Gaza, in
solidarity to the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. With different strategies and different itineraries, we will continue to sail until the blockade is lifted and Gaza’s port is open.

Dr. Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli Knesset, is on board the ships, as well as Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, the first president after the 2011 popular uprising. Members of parliament from
Spain, Jordan, Greece and Algeria are also on board together with members of European Parliament.

Four participants from Canada are on board : Robert Lovelace, member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Christian Martel, a trade-unionist and retired letter-carrier from Quebec City, Kevin Neish, an activist and marine engineer from Victoria in British Columbia, and Ehab Lotayef, an engineer and poet from Montreal. Ten participants and crew have been on previous missions. Media outlets on board the flotilla are Al Jazeera, Euronews, Maori TV (New Zealand), Al-Quds TV, Channel 2 TV (Israel) and Russia Today TV, as well as several independent print journalists.

Over 100 European Parliamentarians have signed a letter to the EU’s High Representative, Federica  Mogherini, in support of the Freedom Flotilla and calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza. It’s time to say "enough is enough", and that the international community stands in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza.

A full list of participants will be available soon at

In Solidarity

*Canadian Boat to Gaza*
Follow us on Facebook *
* and on Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza


*La Flottille de la Liberté III en route pour Gaza*

En ce jour du 27 juin 2015, quatre bateaux formant la Flottille de la
Liberté III ont quitté leurs ultimes points de départ en Europe. Par des
moyens de résistance non-violente, ils vont défier le blocus illégal de la
Bande palestinienne de Gaza, qui en est à sa 9è année, en naviguant comme
d’habitude des eaux internationales directement dans les eaux nationales

La Flottille est attendue à Gaza dans quelques jours seulement. Les
participants à bord incluent 48 personnes, dont des militants de droits
humains, de journalistes, d’artistes et de personnalités politiques venant
de 17 pays. C’est la 3e Flottille de la Liberté à prendre la mer, en plus
de neuf bateaux individuels qui ont entrepris de mettre le cap sur Gaza,
commençant en 2008 quand plusieurs voyages sont arrivés dans le port de la
ville de Gaza et sont rentrés en Europe, ayant accompli leur mission
d’apporter des produits et de la solidarité à la population de Gaza.

Un chalutier converti, le « Marianne de Göteborg », a quitté la Suède en
mai pour rallier la Flottille, faisant plusieurs haltes sur sa route autour
de l’Europe. « Marianne » transporte des panneaux voltaïques qui pourront
atténuer le grave problème d’électricité à Gaza, ainsi que des équipements
médicaux. Trois autres navires (« Rachel », « Vittorio » et « Juliano II »)
accompagnent « Marianne » dans sa mission de forcer le blocus de Gaza en
solidarité avec les 1,8 millions de Palestiniens du territoire. Avec
différents stratégies et itinéraires, nous continuerons de naviguer jusqu’à
ce que le blocus soit levé et que le port de Gaza soit ouvert à la libre

Le Dr Basel Ghattas, un député de la Knesset israélienne, se trouve à bord
de la Flottille, de même que le Dr Moncef Marzouki, ancien Président de
Tunisie, premier chef de l’État après le soulèvement populaire de 2011. Des
députés des Parlements d’Espagne, de Jordanie, de Grèce et d’Algérie s’y
trouvent également, en compagnie de députés du Parlement européen.

Quatre participants du Canada sont à bord: Robert Lovelace, Robert Lovelace,
membre de la Première nation algonquine Ardoch, Christian Martel,
syndicaliste et facteur à la retraite de Québec, Kevin Neish, militant
Victoria en Colombie Britannique, et Ehab Lotayef, un ingénieur et poète de
Montréal. Dix participants et membres d’équipage sont des vétérans de
voyages précédents vers Gaza. Les médias à bord de la Flottille incluent Al
Jazeera, Euronews, Maori TV (Nouvelle-Célande), Al-Quds TV, Channel 2 TV
(Israël) et Russia Today TV, ainsi que plusieurs journalistes indépendants
de presse écrite.

Plus de 100 élus du Parlement européen ont signé une lettre à la
Haute-représentante de l’UE, Federica Mogherini, exprimant leur soutien à
la Flottille de la Liberté et appelant à la fin du blocus de Gaza. Il est
temps de dire « Assez, c’est assez », et il est temps pour la communauté
internationale de se dresser en solidarité avec les Palestiniens de Gaza.

Une liste complète de participants sera accessible bientôt sur le site :


*Le Bateau canadien pour Gaza*

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Guarding Against Counterrevolution in Latin America

Latin American Revolutions Under Attack

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

June 27, 2015

Do not take the Latin American revolutions for granted.

They inspired the entire Planet. They brought hope to every corner of our scarred Earth. But now they are themselves in need of our support.

If left alone, they would thrive for decades and centuries. But the Empire is once again on the offensive. It is shaking with fury. It is ready to invade, to smash, burn to ashes all the hopes, all that which had been achieved.

Don’t believe in the “common wisdom” which proclaims that the rulers of the world simply “closed their eyes” more than a decade ago; that George W. Bush was “too busy” ravishing the Middle East, therefore “allowing” most of the Latin American countries to “sneak away” from the iron grip of the Empire.

Such “analyses” are as patronizing as they are false. The Empire never sleeps! What Latin America now has was built on its daring, its sweat, its genius and its blood – it fought against the Empire, courageously, for decades, losing its best sons and daughters. It fought for freedom, for justice and socialism.

The Empire was not “looking the other way”. It was looking straight south, in fury, but for some time it was too confused, too astounded, too shocked at what it was witnessing. Its “slaves” had risen and taken power back into their own hands. They showed to the entire world what freedom really is.

For some time, the Empire was paralyzed by rage and unable to act.

The Empire’s undeniable property, Latin America, inhabited by “un-people” born only in order to supply cheap labor and raw materials to the rich part of the world, was suddenly, proudly and publicly, breaking its shackles, declaring itself free, demanding respect. Its natural resources were now used to feed its own people, to build social housing, create public transportation systems, construct hospitals, schools and public parks.

But after the first wave of panic, the Empire began to do what it does the best – it began the killings.

It attempted to overthrow Venezuelan government in 2002, but it failed. The Venezuelan people rose, and so did the Venezuelan military, defending then President Hugo Chavez. The Empire tried again and again, and it is trying until now. Trying and failing!

“We are at war”, I was told by one of the editors of Caracas-based television network, TeleSUR, for which I made several documentary films. “We are literally working under the barrel of cannon”.


Ms. Tamara Pearson, an Australian revolutionary journalist and activist, who recently moved from Venezuela to Ecuador, explained the difficult situation in Venezuela, a country that is under constant attack from both the US, and the local comprador elites:

“People are suffering a lot. Basic food prices are high, much medicine is unavailable, and various services aren’t working. On one level, people are used to this – the business owners would cause shortages and blame the government before each of the many elections. But usually it’s less intense and lasts just a few months. But this has been going on and getting worse, since Chavez died – over two years now. There is no doubt that the US, and more so, Venezuelan and Colombian elites and business owners are a huge or even the main factor…”

All of revolutionary Latin America is “screaming”

As I described in two of my recent books, “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”, the Empire is using similar destabilization strategy against all countries that are resisting its deadly embrace.

Its propaganda is mighty and omnipresent. CNN and FOX TV are beamed into almost all major hotels and airports of Latin America, even in some revolutionary countries like Ecuador. Almost all major newspapers of the continent, including those in Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, are controlled by the right wing business elites. Almost all of the foreign news coverage comes from European and North American sources, making the Latin American public totally confused about Islam, China, Russia, South Africa, Iran, even about their own neighbors.

The local elites continue to serve foreign interests, their loyalties firmly with North America and Europe.

Every left wing Latin American government has been facing bizarre protests and subversion actions conducted by the elites. Destabilization tactics have been clearly designed in far away capitals. They were mass-produced and therefore almost identical to those the West has been using against China, Russia, South Africa, and other “rebellious” nations.

Propaganda, disinformation and spreading of confusion have been some of the mightiest tools of the fascist right wing.

“Economic uncertainty” is an extremely powerful weapon. It was used first in Chile, in the 1973 coup against socialist President Salvador Allende. Pro-Western Chilean elites and businessmen created food shortages, and then blamed it on the socialist government, using El Mercurio and other daily newspapers as their propaganda tools.

Peter Koenig, former World Bank economist and now prominent dissident and critic of the world neoliberal regime, wrote for this essay:

“Today Madame Bachelet, the socialist President of Chile has a hard time fighting against the Mercurio inspired Chilean oligarchs. They will not let go. Recently they invited the World Bank to assess the school reform package proposed by Bachelet, basically to return universities to the public sector. Of course, the ‘upper class’ of Chileans knew that the World Bank would come up with nothing less than predicting an economic disaster if the reform is approved. As a result, Bachelet made concessions – which on the other hand are not accepted by professors and teachers. It’s the first step towards chaos – and chaos is what the empire attempts to implant in every country where they strive for ‘regime change’.”

But one of the “dirtiest” of their weapons is the accusation of corruption. Corrupt pro-Western politicians and individuals who misused tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars of the peoples money and destroyed the economies of their countries by taking unserviceable loans that kept disappearing into their deep pockets, are now pointing their soiled fingers at relatively clean governments, in countries like Chile and Argentina. Everything in “Southern Cone” and in Brazil is now under scrutiny.

Koenig (who co-authored a book “The World Order and Revolution!: Essays from the Resistance” with leading Canadian international lawyer Christopher Black and me) shows how important is, for the Empire, destabilization of Brazil, one of the key members of BRICS:

“Brazil being a member of the BRICS is particularly in the crosshairs of the empire – as the BRICS have to be destabilized, divided – they are becoming an economic threat to Washington. Brazil is key for the non-Asian part of the BRICS. A fall of Brazil would be a major blow to the cohesion of the BRICS.”

There are totally different standards for pro-Western fascist politicians and for those from the Left. The Left can get away with nothing, while the Right has been getting away literally with mass murder and with the disappearance of tens of billions of dollars.

It is, of course, the common strategy in all the client states of the West. For instance, one of the most corrupt countries on earth, Indonesia, tolerates absolute sleaze and graft from former generals, but when progressive socialist Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, became the President, he was smeared and removed in a short time, on “corruption” charges.

After centuries of the Monroe Doctrine, after mass murder committed in “Latin” America first by Europeans and then by North Americans and their rich local butlers, it will take long decades to fully eradicate the corruption, because corruption comes with the moral collapse of the colonial powers and the local elites. Financial greed is only its byproduct.

The great pre-colonial cultures of what are now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia did not have corruption. Corruption was injected by Western colonialism.

And now, corruption under left wing, revolutionary governments still exists, since it is difficult to root out all the rats at once, but it is incomparably smaller than under the previous fascist right wing cliques!


The rich in Latin America are heartless, servile (to the Empire) and greedy in the extreme. Latin America has still the most unequal distribution of wealth on earth. True, it is much richer (and even its poor are richer, with some exceptions of Central America, Peru or Paraguay) than Africa or even in Southeast Asia, but this cannot be used as an excuse.

Even the most progressive socialist governments now in power would ever dare to touch, to slap the private enterprises too hard. From this angle, China with its central planning and controlled economy is much more socialist than Ecuador or Bolivia.

A few days ago, as I was flying from Ecuador to Peru, I read that the number of multimillionaires in Latin America was actually increasing, and so is the social gap between the rich and the rest of the societies. The article was using some anecdotal evidence, saying that, for instance, in Chile alone, now, more Porsche sports cars are sold than in entirety of Latin America few years ago. As if confirming it, I noticed a Porsche auto dealership next to my hotel in Asuncion, the capital of the second poorest country in South America. I asked for numbers, but Porsche manager refused to supply them, still proudly claiming that his company was “doing very well”.

So what do they – the elites” – really want? They have money, plenty of money. They have luxury cars, estates in their own countries, and condominiums abroad. What more?

As in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia or Kenya, and all over the West, they want power. They want to feel unique. They want to be admired.

The Socialist governments allow them to stay rich. But they force them to share their wealth and above all, they shame them. They are also trying to minimize the gap – through education, free medical care and countless social projects.

That is, of course, unacceptable to the elites. They want it all, as they always had it. And to have it all, they are ready to murder, to side with the darkest foreign interests, even to commit treason.


Increasingly, the interests of the local elites are very closely linked to foreign interests – those of the Empire and those of the private sector.

As I was told in Ecuador, by Ms. Paola Pabón, Assembly Member representing Pichincha area:

“Behind the involvement of the US, are some ex-bankers such as Isaiah brothers, who lost power here, escaped courts and went to live in the United States, but there are also huge economic powers such as Chevron. It means that there are not only political interests of the US, but also private, economic ones.”

Predominantly, the local elites are using their countries as milking cows, with very little or zero interest in the well being of their people.

That is why their protests against Latin American revolutions are thoroughly hypocritical. They are not fighting for improvements in their countries, but for their own, selfish personal interests. Those shouts and the pathetic hunger strikes of the “opposition” in Venezuela may appear patriotic, but only thanks to propaganda abilities to the Western mass media.

The elites would do anything to make all revolutions, all over Latin America, fail and collapse. They are even spending their own money to make it happen.

They know that if they manage to remove progressive forces from power, they could rule once again, totally unopposed, as their counterparts do in all other client states of the West – in the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

The temptation is tremendous. Most of the elites in Latin America still remember well, how it feels, how it tastes – to control their countries unopposed, and with full support from the West.


Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer and revolutionary thinker, once told me: “I keep repeating to all those new leaders of Latin America: “Comrades, do not play with poor people’s hopes! Hope is all they have.”

It appears that hope has finally been takes seriously, in Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

It was also taken seriously in Honduras, but hope was crushed by the US-orchestrated coup. In Paraguay, under a semi-progressive priest who preached liberation theology, hope was taken semi-seriously, but even that was too much in the country that had been ruled, for decades, by fascist cliques. In 2002, a constitutional coup followed by an appalling massacre of predominantly indigenous people, and fascism returned.

After these two setbacks, Latin America shook, but kept moving forward. Hugo Chavez died, or was murdered by the North, depending which theory you subscribe to. His demise was a tremendous blow to the entire continent, but still, the continent kept moving. “Here, nobody surrenders!” Chavez shouted, dying, but proud.

“President Correa of Ecuador is one of very few leaders of the “original project””, said Paola Pabón. “Lula in Brazil will not be able to stand for reelection, anymore, mainly due to corruption scandals. Mujica is not in power, anymore, and Cristina Fernandez will be retiring. Evo Morales does not have regional influence, and even Maduro does not have… For this reason, Ecuador is so important, strategically. If ‘they’ hit us, if there is a successful coup, it would be tremendous victory for them, to destroy a President with regional importance; who speaks for the region… and also, because Ecuador is one country where the government actually functions well.”

Walter Bustos, who used to work for this government, is alarmed by developments in Ecuador and the entirety of Latin America. Both he and Paula Pabón realize how fragile the Latin American revolutions are. While driving with me to an indigenous area of Riobamba, Walter lamented:

“In case there is a military coup in Ecuador, the difference between here and Venezuela would be enormous: while in Venezuela, Chavez incorporated the military into his revolution, in case of citizens revolution in Ecuador, we have no security; we cannot count on support of the military in case there is some armed, political or economic attack against us.”

Hugo Chavez was not only a great revolutionary, but also a tremendous strategist. He knew that any great revolution has to be fought, won, and then defended. Winning the battle is never enough. One has to consolidate forces, and uphold the victory. Chavez was first thinker, and then soldier.

Correa, Morales, Fernandez go forward, brave, proud but unprotected. Under their governments, the lives of ordinary people improve tremendously. That is what matters to them. They are decent and honest beings, unwilling to dirty themselves with intrigues, speculations and conspiracy theories.

But their great success will not gain them any recognition from the Empire, or from their own elites. The success of socialism is the worst nightmare for rulers of the world and their local butlers.

This is how President Salvador Allende died in 1973. He dismissed all rumors, and then all warnings that the coup was coming. “I am not going to arrest people just because of some suspicion that they may do something”, he used to say. After the coup took place, he died proudly, a true hero, committing suicide by marching towards the helicopter gunships and fighter jets that were bombarding the Presidential Palace of La Moneda. But he was not the only victim. As a result of the coup, thousands of Chilean people died, and tens of thousands were savagely tortured and raped. Chile did not die, but went to horrific coma, from which it only recently manages to recover.

Henry Kissinger summarized the moral corruption/collapse of this country’s regime when he uttered his memorable phrase:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

Despite his great intentions, President Salvador Allende failed his people. He underestimated the bestiality of the Empire, and the result were millions of broken lives.

Since then, the Empire’s selfishness and brutality only evolved. The more successful leaders like Correa become, the more real is the danger of a coup – of a devastating, deadly attack from the North, and subversion from within.

The fragility of Latin American revolutions is obvious. The elites cannot be trusted. They showed on many occasions how far they are willing to go, committing treason, collaborating with the West against their own nations: in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few cases.

Appeasing both the elites and the Empire, while fighting for social justice and true independence, is impossible. The elites want to have full control of their countries, while the Empire demands full submission. No compromise could be reached. The history speaks clearly about that. And the Empire demonstrated on countless occasions that Latin American democracy would be respected only if the people vote the way that suits Washington.

Latin America has to learn how to defend itself, for the sake of its people


Its closer and closer cooperation with China and Russia is essential. Coherent regional defense agreement should follow.

The next few years will be crucial. The revolutions have to be institutionalized; they cannot depend only on charisma of its leaders.

Constant sabotages and coup attempts, like those in Venezuela, should not be tolerated. They lead to chaos and to uncertainty. They break countries economically and socially.

It is clear what the Empire and its serves are doing: they are trying to push Latin American revolutionary countries against the wall, as they pushed, in the past, North Korea. They are trying to make them “react”, so they could say: “You see, this is true socialism, this defensive, hermitic and paranoid system.”

The path will not be easy. It will be dangerous and long.

Latin America can only survive through international cooperation and solidarity. It would also have to fight legally, at home and abroad. Those who are committing treason and those who are interrupting development of the country should face justice.

The left wing governments that are ruling South American countries won democratic elections: much more democratic than those in Europe and the United States. If the individuals and groups act against the expressed will of their own people, they should be taken to courts.

If a powerful country tortures other countries and shows total spite for their people, it should face an international legal system. The United States demonstrated, countless times, that it considers itself well above the law. It even forced several government in Latin America and elsewhere, to give its military personnel immunity. One of these countries is Paraguay, historically flooded with CIA, DEA and FBI agents.

In order to legally restrain the Empire, huge international pressure would have to be built. Like in the case of Managua, which legally sued the US for many acts of terror committed against Nicaragua. The Empire will most likely refuse to accept any guilty verdict. But the pressure has to be on!

All this would be meaningless without dedicated, constant coverage of the events by independent or opposition media, be they huge new state-funded networks like RT, TeleSur, CCTV or Press TV, of progressive independent media like Counterpunch, VNN, or ICH. It is essential that Latin Americans demand information from these sources, instead of consuming the toxic lies spread through CNN en Español, FOX, EFE and other right wing Western sources.

The battle for the Latin American people and for their freedom is on. Do not get fooled, it has been on for quite some time, and it is very tough fight.

Latin America is one of the fronts of the integrated fight for the survival of our Planet.

People who admire this part of the world, all those who have been inspired by Latin American revolutions, should participate in the struggle.

The best sons and daughters of this continent are now fighting in their own, quixotic way, as they always did: frontally, with exposed heart, totally unprotected. But their fight is just, and they are in this battle in order to defend the people.

Their opponents are rich, deceitful and brutal. But they are also selfish and they fight only for their own interests. They are not loved by their nations. If they lose, Latin America will win!

Those countries defending themselves against the Empire should unite, before it’s too late. Now as Latin America is rising from its knees, it becomes clear who are its foes and who are real friends, real brothers and sisters!

This scarred but stunning continent of courageous poets, of dreamers and revolutionaries should not be allowed to fall. In Caracas, Quito and La Paz, they are fighting for entire humanity.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

No Peace, No Justice for Clark Gov't on Site C Dam

The First Nations Leadership Council Demands a Fair Process for Treaty 8 First Nations in Court Over the Proposed Site C Dam on the Peace River

by First Nations Summit

June 25, 2015

VANCOUVER - The First Nations Leadership Council, composed of the executives from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit, and the BC Assembly of First Nations, is extremely concerned that BC Hydro plans to start construction activities on Site C Dam as early as July 6, despite the fact that the court proceedings are still in motion and a decision on Site C proceeding has yet to be determined.

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) will fully support the Treaty 8 First Nations to address this injustice and to prevent damage to the Peace River Valley.

The Treaty 8 First Nations received notice from BC Hydro that work at the dam site could commence as early as July 6. BC Hydro wants to begin blocking off the main channel of the Peace River with large booms, bulldozing down giant trees, stripping away river bank habitat vital to bear dens, obliterating eagle nests, and impacting over 337 archaeological sites. On May 1, 2014, the Joint Review Panel for BC Hydro's Site C proposals provided its report which included recommendations, conclusions, and rationale to the federal Minister of Environment and Environmental Assessment Office. Significantly, the report acknowledged the impacts to current uses and resources for traditional purposes by Aboriginal peoples if the project was to proceed.

Treaty 8 First Nations have applied for judicial review of Ottawa's decision to support the project, stating the impacts to First Nations as highlighted in the report have not adequately been considered and thus, the proposed Site C project infringes on the treaty rights of the Treaty 8 First Nations. The Federal Appeal begins the week of July 20, 2015. The BC government, along with its crown corporation (BC Hydro), has ignored the requests of Treaty 8 First Nations in northeastern BC to put construction on hold until the outcomes of the court proceedings are known.

"The provincial government seems to have tunnel vision when it comes to building this project. Pushing ahead with construction activities at this time is premature and dishonourable," said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit political executive.

"All citizens of BC should be deeply concerned; by denying the Treaty 8 First Nations their day in court, the government is making an outright statement that they are above democratic rights and the judicial system. This approach is unacceptable and an affront to the cultivation of constructive government-to-government relations between the provincial government and BC First Nations."

"The provocative activities that the BC government is recklessly trying to advance are irreversible, and will leave an irreparable and permanent scar on the land," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC.

"These deliberate actions will also indefinitely scar BC's relationships with First Nations. If construction begins, it will be understood as a clear message that this government has absolutely no respect for the Treaty 8 First Nation people, and is blatantly disregarding constitutionally recognized Aboriginal Title, Rights, and Treaty Rights. Further, rushing ahead of the courts to build this project is an irresponsible and negligent use of tax dollars."

"I remind British Columbians that the BC government's decision to invest in BC Hydro's Site C Dam was done despite a Joint Review Panel Report which was inconclusive in terms of the business case for the project, but certain in terms of the damaging impacts anticipated to lands vital to Treaty 8 First Nations," stated BCAFN Spokesperson, Chief Maureen Chapman.

"We should all be concerned that without clear rules surrounding environmental assessments and the approval of major projects, including changes to the processes which properly reflect Aboriginal rights and title, including treaty rights, energy infrastructure decisions and their implementation will be challenging for all involved," she concluded.


Many individuals are standing in solidarity with the T8FNs and have already donated close to $50,000 towards their legal fund. The Victoria-based non-profit charitable organization RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) is managing the T8FNs' Join the Circle fundraising campaign. For more information or to make a donation go to: .

The West Moberly First Nations and the Peace Valley Environment Association are inviting concerned citizens to join the tenth annual Paddle for the Peace on Saturday July 11, 2015. For more information on this event

SOURCE First Nations Summit

For further information: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, UBCIC: 250-490-5314; Chief Maureen Chapman, Spokesperson, BCAFN: 604-922-7733; Colin Braker, Communications Director, FNS: 604-926-9903

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Death Toll: Listing the Lamest Police Excuses for Killing Unarmed People

15 Most Outrageous Responses by Police After Killing Unarmed People

by Bill Quigley

Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police.

There have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, were of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toy guns, according to the Washington Post. Of the police killings this year less than 1 percent have resulted in the officer being charged with a crime. The Guardian did a study which included killings by Tasers and found 102 people killed by police so far in 2015 were unarmed and that unarmed black people are twice as likely to be killed by police as whites.

Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.

1. He was dancing in the street and walking with a purpose. On June 9, 2015 an unarmed man, Ryan Bollinger, was shot by police in Des Moines after “walking with a purpose” toward the police car. After a low-speed chase started when Bollinger was observed dancing in the street and behaving erratically, Bollinger exited his vehicle and began charging toward a police car. An officer shot him through the rolled-up cruiser window. The shooting is under investigation.

2. Thought it was my Taser. An unarmed man, Eric Harris, ran from the police in Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 2, 2015. After he was shot in the back by a Taser by one officer and was on the ground, a 73-year-old volunteer reserve officer shot and killed him (watch the video). While dying he yelled that he was losing his breath, to which one of the officers responded, “F*ck your breath." Police said the officer thought he was shooting his Taser and “inadvertently discharged his service weapon.” The officer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Running away from the police often provokes a police overreaction given several names, including the “foot tax” and the “running tax."

3. Naked man refused to stop. Anthony Hill, a naked, unarmed, mentally ill Air Force Afghanistan veteran, was shot and killed March 9, 2015 by DeKalb County Georgia police. Police said Hill refused an order to stop. The killing is under investigation.

4. Not going to say. On March 6, 2015 Aurora, Colorado police shot and killed unarmed Naeschylus Vinzant while taking him into custody. For the last three months, while the investigation into the killing continues, the police have refused to say what compelled the officer to shoot Vinzant.

5. Felt threatened by unarmed homeless man. On March 1, 2015, Los Angeles police shot and killed Charly Leundeu Keunang, an unarmed homeless man, after five officers went to his tent and struggled with him. Los Angeles police have killed about one person a week since 2000. An investigation is ongoing.

6. Taser didn’t work. On Feb. 23, 2015, an unarmed man, Daniel Elrod, was shot twice in the back and once in the shoulder by Omaha, Nebraska police after he tried to jump a fence to escape police who suspected him of robbery. Police said their Taser did not work, Elrod ignored their demands to get down on the ground, did not show his hands, and they felt threatened. Video was not made available and the officer later resigned. Elrod was the second person killed by this officer. No criminal charges were filed.

7. Armed with a broom. Lavall Hall’s mother called the police in Miami Gardens on Feb. 15, 2015 and asked for help for her son who was mentally ill. Hall, who was only 5'4", walked outside with a broom and was later shot and killed by police, who said he failed to comply with instructions and engaged them with an object. The killing is still under investigation.

8. Throwing rocks. On Feb. 10, 2015 an unarmed man, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, was fired at 17 times and killed by police in Kennewick, Washington. A video of his killing has been viewed more than 2 million times. Officers said he had been throwing rocks at cars, ran away and then turned around.

9. Taser worked but he didn’t stop. On Feb. 2, 2015, a Hummelstown, Pennsylvania police officer shot unarmed David Kassick in the back with a Taser. When Kassick went to the ground on his stomach, he was shot twice in the back. The officer said Kassick, who was running away from a traffic stop, was told to show his hands and not move, yet he continued to try to remove the Taser prongs from his back, and the officer believed he was reaching for a gun. The officer has been charged with homicide.

10. Car going 11 miles an hour was going to kill me. On Jan. 16, Denver police fired eight times at unarmed Jessica Hernandez, 17, who was killed after being hit by four bullets. The police said she drove too close to them when she was trying to get away and may have tried to run them down, so they shot into the windshield and driver’s windows. The police said the car may have reached 11 miles per hour in the 16 feet it traveled before hitting a fence. The police were not charged.

11. Armed with a spoon. Dennis Grigsby, an unarmed mentally ill man holding a soup spoon, was shot in the chest in a neighbor’s garage by Texarkana police on Dec. 15, 2015. The killing is under investigation.

12. Armed with prescription bottle. Rumain Brisbon, a 34-year-old unarmed man, was shot and killed by police in Phoenix on Dec. 2, 2014. After running away, he was caught and engaged in a struggle with the officer, who mistook a prescription pill bottle in Brisbon’s pocket for a gun. The police officer was not charged.

13. It was an accident. On Nov. 20, 2014, a New York City police officer fired into a stairwell and killed unarmed Akai Gurley. The officer, who was charged with manslaughter, is expected to say he fired his gun accidently.

14. Don’t mention It. On Nov. 12, 2014, an unarmed handcuffed inmate was shot multiple times by officers while fighting with another handcuffed inmate in the High Desert State Prison in Carson City, Nevada. His family was not told, and did not know he had been shot until three days later when they claimed his body at a mortuary.

15. Armed with toy gun. John Crawford was in a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio on Aug. 4, 2014, when he picked up an unloaded BB gun. When officers arrived, they ordered him to put down the gun, and started shooting, hitting him at least twice and killing him. In a widely viewed video, Crawford can be seeing dropping the BB gun, running away and being shot. Likewise, Cleveland police shot and killed a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy pellet gun on Nov. 22, 2014. Police said they shouted verbal commands from inside their vehicle in the two seconds before they shot him twice. In both cases, the police story of shouting warnings and orders looks iffy at best.

These are the responses of police authorities who face less than one chance in 100 of being charged when they kill people, even unarmed people. These outrages demand change in the way lethal force is used, reported, justified and prosecuted.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He is also a member of the legal collective of School of Americas Watch, and can be reached at

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ghost of Mt. Polley Haunts Seabridge Gold's Alaska Ambitions

B.C. and Alaska Indigenous Leaders Attending Seabridge Gold Shareholder Meeting To Protest Risky Mine Plan

by MiningWatch Canada

Canadian and Alaskan representatives calling for International Joint Commission review of what would be North America’s largest open pit mine

Toronto, June 24 - British Columbia and Alaska Indigenous leaders today are calling upon Seabridge Gold’s leadership and investors ( to prevent more disasters like Mount Polley. Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA)(NYSE:SA) is a junior mining company proposing what would be North America’s largest open pit mine, near British Columbia’s northwest border with Alaska.

The mine is located under an active glacier, as well as upstream from major salmon fishing waters and the Misty Fjords National Monument, a popular tourist destination.

“In the wake of the worst environmental disaster in Canadian history, Seabridge is still planning to use risky, discredited technology to store its mine waste,” said Annita McPhee of the Tahltan Nation.

“We don’t need any more Mount Polleys. The Mount Polley disaster changes everything.”

Seabridge is facing increasing opposition to the proposed KSM mine, sited at the headwaters of a key salmon fishery upon which Indigenous peoples on both sides of the border rely on for subsistence. Seabridge proposes to:

  • Use outdated mine waste storage methods discredited by the Mount Polley disaster investigation.
  • Mine under an active glacier.
  • Manage and treat an unprecedented amounts of mine water, possibly forever (up to 80 billion litres or 20.8 billion gallons per year) that could still result in water pollution at the Alaska border - 24 km (19 miles) from the mine.

“We’ve come to Toronto to ask Seabridge whether it will publicly support an International Joint commission review,” said Frederick Olsen Jr., representing the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group, a coalition of thirteen southeast Alaska Tribes. 

He continued, “We’re deeply concerned about the unprecedented downstream risks to our people, who rely on the health of our rivers for their livelihoods. As with the Pebble Mine, the long-term risks outweigh the rewards.”

The State of Alaska and Alaska’s congressional delegation are calling for bilateral discussions and Alaska Tribes and the capital City of Juneau ( have requested a full International Joint Commission review to address transboundary water pollution issues.

US-based Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada and are also attending Seabridge’s shareholders meeting to support the call for an International Joint Commission review of the KSM mine proposal.

Earlier in June, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forecast a prolonged period of low metals prices ( , raising questions about the feasibility of large multi-billion mine projects to attract financing.

A risk report on the proposed KSM mine ( , released last week, found that water treatment at the mine would constitute significant financial and operational risks, and the financial surety for the post-closure water treatment alone -- not including reclamation of the mine site -- would likely cost US$1 billion.

For more Information contact:

* Frederick Olsen, Jr., United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group/ Organized Village of Kasaan, Tribal Vice President (907) 617-9941,
* Annita McPhee, former president of the Tahltan Nation, (406) 546-8386,
* Bonnie Gestring, Earthworks, (406) 546-8386,
* Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch Canada, (514) 708-0134,

Questions asked at Seabridge Gold AGM (

Earthworks, Salmon Beyond Borders: Risk Analysis of Seabridge Gold's KSM project (

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Mining 2015 - The Gloves are Off (

Denied Immigrant Removal Agreement Between Ottawa and Queens Park Revealed

Secretive contract reveals Ontario and Border Services jointly responsible for detention injustice


June 24, 2015

TorontoThe End Immigration Detention Network is releasing a secretive contract between the Ontario and Federal government which shows joint responsibility for immigration detention violations. Ontario has denied the existence of this agreement on multiple occasions, and it has not been released in previous requests under the Access to Information and Privacy Act.

“This contract clearly shows that Ontario and Canada have been working together to deprive immigrants of their freedom without charges or trial, and creating prison conditions that are resulting in misery and death,” says Tings Chak, organizer with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network.

“It’s time to end the secrecy, and do a fundamental overhaul of the immigration detention system; immigration detention must end.”

The agreement came into effect on April 1, 2013 but was only signed by sitting Ontario Minister Yasir Naqvi on January 21, 2015. It must be renewed annually and can thus be cancelled in January 2016 by either party.

It came to light earlier this week after the release of a report on immigration detention by the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program and the death in immigration detention custody of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan.

The report can be downloaded at:

“Immigration detention is getting way out of hand. they are locking us up and forgetting about us. I have seen 4 people held in detention with me pass away while in CBSA custody, there is no end to detention and I am worried the next one will be me” says 50 year old Francis Davidson. Davidson has been in Canada 27 years and has been held in detention for the past 4 years. 

He continued, “I want immigration detention to end now.”

Further statements from immigration detainees can be found here.

Key facts about immigration detention & violations

  • Over 7300 migrants were detained without charges or trial in 2013. Approximately, one-third of all detention happens in maximum security provincial facilities rented out by provincial governments to Canada Border Services Agency. 60% of all detentions take place in Ontario.
  • There is absolutely no system to determine under what circumstances some detainees are held in one of three federal immigration holding centres (Toronto, Laval and Vancouver) and the rest in provincial jails.
  • The decision to detain or release is made by civil servants, who are not legally trained, known as Board Members. Board Members release rates vary arbitrarily between 5% and 38%. Release rates also vary by region, 9% in Ontario, and 26.5% in the rest of Canada. There is no comprehensive judicial oversight of these decisions.
  • Canada is one of the few western countries in the world without a time limit on detentions, thus some immigrants have been jailed for over 12 years without charges or trial.
  • Since 2000, at least 12 immigrants have died in CBSA custody according to news reports. CBSA has never publicly revealed details of deaths in its custody.
  • If arrested for a crime, immigrants are punished three times. First, for the crime itself, Second, by having their immigration status revoked or if it’s in process, denied, and facing deportation. Third, by being jailed, in some cases indefinitely.
  • CBSA has been found to use international smugglers to get fake documents to deport migrants to countries they have no connections to, as in the case of Michael Mvogo. See full details here.
  • CBSA regularly imprisons children. At the same time, it does not report on imprisonment of children with Canadian citizen insisting that they are ‘accompanying’ their parents.

Key aspects of the Contract

  • Though the contract refers to the “interests of public safety” as the justification for detention in provincial jails, immigration detention is ‘administrative’ imprisonment.
  • Payment (s. 8.1): Canada Border Services Agency pays Ontario a per-diem rate to imprison migrants. Ontario is paid an additional amount of 20% of the per diem rate to cover overhead and administration. Thus, Ontario directly profits from cruel and inhumane detentions that do not conform to basic due process guarantees and are contrary to international legal norms.
  • Health and Safety (s.2.11-2.14): Health and safety of immigration detainees is the responsibility of the province, except where the detainee is transferred to hospital, in which case Canada must assume custody within 24 hours, or a psychiatric institution pursuant to the Mental Health Act. Thus, Ontario and CBSA are jointly responsible for deaths in immigration custody.
  • Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s. 2.7 and 2.8.): Ontario may refuse to detain any immigration detainee whom Canada has requested be detained when its an operational necessity; (s. 2.9) Ontario limits detentions of certain individuals to not to exceed 30 consecutive nights, but CBSA and Ontario are working together to jail some detainees indefinitely.
  • Detention and Transfer of Immigration Detainees (s 2.19-2.19.3): Ontario shall detain persons as long as they are in CBSA custody or until this agreement is terminated. Ontario is choosing to maintain this agreement and indefinite detention along with CBSA..
  • Monitoring (s. 5); Red Cross “may meet with persons detained…according to access granted by Ontario”, however no independent monitoring has ever taken place. Ontario continues to deny the Red Cross monitoring access to immigration detention ranges.


Media Contacts:

Tings Chak, Organizer, No One is Illegal / End Immigration Detention Network

Stuck on the B-Side: Western Left's Bankrupt Battlefield of Ideas

The “B” Vocabulary: The Western Left and Its Sterile “Field of Ideas”

by Ramzy Baroud - Dissident Voice

June 24th, 2015 

Over the year, I realized that the term ‘left’ is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored ‘leftist’ western intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity.

But that has not always been the case.

My father was a communist, or so he called himself. He read the translated work of great communist and socialist thinkers, and passed on to me his own reading of what a socialist utopia could possibly be like.

Living in a squalid refugee camp in Gaza, locked in by a heavily militarized sea to the west, and various Israeli ‘death zones’ everywhere else, a proletarian utopia was a great idea, where the peasants and the workers ruled unhindered.

Of course, there was a reason that made the fantasy particularly meaningful. Before the establishment of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine, most Palestinians, who constituted the majority of the refugees after the war of 1948, were fellahin – or peasants. Following their forced expulsion into refugee camps, lacking land to cultivate, they became cheap laborers, especially after the war of 1967, where all of Palestine was colonized by Israel. No collective anywhere in the Middle East experienced such historical tension in a relatively short period of time as did the Palestinians.

My family, like numerous others, became peasants-turned-workers; in fact that marking became part of the refugees collective identity.

While the political manifestation of socialism failed in Palestine, socialist thinking prevailed: anti-elitist and revolutionary to the core. Even those who subscribe to other ideologies, including Islamic thinking, have been influenced one way or another by early Palestinian socialists.

But Palestinian revolutionary socialism, at its peak in the 1960s and 70s, was rather different from the ‘left’ I experienced living in the West. The latter seemed more detached, less risk-taking, driven by groupthink and lacking initiative. It was also patronizing.

Even in my early twenties, I still couldn’t comprehend how a group of self-proclaimed ‘leftist’, who largely existed on the margins of mainstream politics had the audacity to cast judgement on Palestinians for resorting to armed struggle to fend off a very vile and violent Israeli occupation, and busied themselves debating what constituted ‘humanitarian intervention’.

While socialist movements in the south, from Asia, to Africa, to the Middle East to South America took real risks to bring about social equality and political paradigm shifts, many in the West offered ‘solidarity’, yet largely reserved for themselves almost a total hegemony over the socialist political discourse.

They dominated and perfected the language, and dictated the platforms from which ideas – loaded with the right terminology, but vacant of any practical meaning and removed from real-life situations – are imparted.

Like the rest, I parroted the same language, of colonialism and imperialism, hegemony and class struggle, skipping from South America, to Angola and South Africa, to Indochina.

But many gaps in the perfectly summed-up understanding of the world befuddled me.

Firstly, I never understood why those who speak on behalf of the global ‘left’ are so far removed from the actual battlefield and mostly engaged in the ‘battlefield of ideas’.

Secondly, I found it strange that while leftists are meant to be critical thinkers, many of those who spoke as leftist gurus, tended to parrot recycled thoughts, which they embraced as if religious doctrines. ‘Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?’ I was asked by numerous leftists as if the inane question, which reflects more ignorance than inquisitiveness, is a talking point, handed down and repeated without thinking.

Thirdly, I found many western leftists largely oblivious to international conflicts that don’t involve directly or otherwise western hegemons. For example, there are many conflicts that are brewing in Africa right now, from Congo, to Burundi, to the Central African Republic to Sudan and elsewhere. Almost none of them ever register on the leftist radar as long as there is no palpable link to western governments or corporations. Only then, the lives of the Congolese, for example, would register; only then would Sudanese become ‘comrades’ and selected few of them would be celebrated as heroes, while others are cast aside as villains.

How long did the Syria conflict carry on before the western ‘left’ began to formulate a stance? Months. The conflict was just too involved, and initially removed from western engrossment that only few knew what to think. Only when western governments began pondering war, urged on by their regional allies, did the left began to formulate a position around the same old discourse. While the West and their allies had their own sinister reasons to get involved in Syria, the war in Syria, as the war in Libya before it, was not as simple as picking and choosing the good guys versus the bad guys. While vehemently rejecting western military crusades that have wreaked havoc is an admirable act, turning local dictators into modern-day Che Guevaras reflects recklessness, not camaraderie.

Fourthly, if conflicts throughout the so-called Third World are determined largely, if not entirely by western hegemons, then where is the element of agency in the local actors in these conflicts?

Are local populations so submissive and docile that they are hardly considered a factor in determining the outcomes of any conflict? What about regional players? How about the historical context of national and regional conflicts and struggles? Do ordinary people, when they behave as a collective, matter at all?

This belittling view of any other actor aside from western governments, although sold as if global solidarity, carries a degree of racism, where only the ‘white man’ determines the flow of history and outcomes of conflicts. Everyone else is either a helpless bystander or a ‘client regime’ that receive a ‘cut’ from the colonial spoils once the bad deed is done.

Which brings me to my final point: The left’s insistence on the ‘client regime’ theory is beyond limiting, yet, many find it impossible to challenge. When some rightfully noted that Israel had much greater sway over American politics than the traditional ‘client regime’ theory suggested, many leftist intellectuals threw a tantrum. For them, accepting that there might be a need to examine fixed ideas on how power relations play out, meant that the entire discourse is in danger of collapse, from Cuba, to Angola, to Indochina.

In 1984, George Orwell wrote of the ‘B vocabulary’, which “consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.”

While conflicts brew throughout the globe, demanding critical thinking, mobilization and action, many in the standardized western left are actively engaging in branding others who dare disagree with them (thoughtcrime). They resort to the Orwellian ‘newspeak’ and overused dogmas that seem to give them more comfort than true understanding of the world at large, a world that exists beyond the West and its ‘battlefield of ideas’.

Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. His latest volume is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). He can be reached at

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