Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thru a Glass Darkly: Donald's Crack'd Mirror

Donald Trump and His ‘Magic Mirror’

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

January 27, 2017

By insisting that he is the legitimate winner of the U.S. popular vote and the man who drew the largest inaugural crowd ever, President Trump is behaving like the evil queen in “Snow White” gazing into a “magic mirror” and refusing to accept that he isn’t the “fairest of them all.”

To protect his giant but fragile ego, Trump concocts fantasies about three million to five million illegal votes – enough to cover his actual deficit of 2.8 million – and he disputes the obvious fact that his inaugural turnout was far less than Barack Obama’s.

Having attended both Obama’s inaugural in 2009 and Trump’s in 2017, I can assure you that Obama’s crowd was much bigger. While my son Jeff and I had to squeeze into and out of packed Metro stations on Jan. 20, 2009, we had no trouble getting on a train on Jan. 20, 2017.

Even at the outskirts of Trump’s inauguration, protesters far outnumbered celebrants. One vendor selling Trump-inaugural tee shirts remarked that he had been sitting there for four hours and had only sold five shirts.

Of course, none of that is too surprising since Obama was the first African-American president and Washington D.C. and its surrounding suburbs have large black populations as well as being heavily Democratic districts. In other words, it was easier for many Obama supporters to get to his inaugural than it was for Trump’s backers to travel longer distances to get to his.

As for the crowds on the Mall, Trump’s turnout was further depressed by the fact that large numbers of protesters, especially north of the inaugural parade route, clogged the security checkpoints. Some protesters even locked arms to slow the entry process.

So there were logical reasons – not reflective of Trump’s overall popularity – explaining why his numbers were a lot lower than Obama’s. But rather than accept this minor slight – as well as the fact that he lost the national popular vote by a significant margin – Trump has behaved like Snow White’s vain queen who can’t accept the inevitability of her fading beauty and the unwelcome news that someone younger has supplanted her as “the fairest” in the land.

Trump could have scored valuable political points by demonstrating some uncharacteristic grace, acknowledging that as the popular vote loser whose crowds fell short of Obama’s record turnout, he recognizes his responsibility to be the president of all the people and to respect dissenting opinions.

Instead, he marred his first week in the White House by pushing easily debunked claims that he was the victim of conspiracies to disparage his inaugural turnout and deny him a popular-vote victory.

More Dangerous Lies

While Trump’s refusal to accept unpleasant realities raises fresh concerns about his fitness for office – since his presidency will surely face some painful reversals and rejecting reality is a dangerous way to respond – he is certainly not the first president to lie to the American people.

One difference between Trump’s lies and many other lies, however, is that Trump’s are both more personal and more obvious. Only his most benighted followers will continue to contest his popular vote loss and the comparatively small size of his inaugural crowds. Most government lies are both harder to detect and more sinister in their consequences.

Think, for example, of President George W. Bush’s falsehoods about Iraq’s WMDs and Saddam Hussein’s alleged collaboration with Al Qaeda. That deceptive propaganda led to the deaths of more than 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, not to mention a price tag of more than $1 trillion and the spreading of chaos across the Middle East and into Europe.

President Obama also found deception a useful tool for herding the American people behind his administration’s foreign interventions. For instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials lied about Muammar Gaddafi engaging in “genocide” against the people of eastern Libya when that was clearly not true. But they wanted to justify another “regime change” project, so the truth was readily sacrificed in the name of the “Clinton Doctrine” and her idea of “smart power.”

Similarly, in trying to justify direct U.S. military intervention in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly claimed “we know” that Bashar al-Assad’s military was responsible for a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Kerry made the false claim of certainty to justify a “retaliatory” assault.

Although Obama ultimately decided not to bomb Syria’s army, he also asserted no doubt about Assad’s guilt. Obama declared in a formal address to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013, that

“It’s an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack.”

Yet, we now know that Obama’s own intelligence analysts were among those who questioned whether Assad’s military was responsible. I was hearing in real time from intelligence sources that a number of U.S. analysts believed that the attack might well have been a provocation by Syrian rebels to draw the U.S. military into the conflict on their side, a suspicion later confirmed by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

No Slam Dunk

And, we learned last year from The Atlantic’s long interview with Obama about his foreign policies that he was told by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that there was no “slam dunk” evidence implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks on Syria at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 30, 2013. [State Department photo]However, instead of informing the American people about these doubts, Secretary Kerry and President Obama insisted that there were no doubts. In other words, they lied – and those lies helped justify continued U.S. arms shipments to “moderate” rebels, who were largely under the command of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate which ultimately got possession of many of those sophisticated weapons.

To this day, the false sarin certainty remains part of Official Washington’s conventional wisdom with CNN’s Jake Tapper citing the “Assad gassed his own people” claim on Wednesday in challenging Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, about her decision to meet with the Syrian president during a recent fact-finding trip to the war-ravaged country.

Similarly, the Obama administration pushed propaganda themes to justify another “regime change” project in Ukraine, on Russia’s border. Obama’s State Department fed dubious and false claims to credulous mainstream reporters, including accusations that elected President Viktor Yanukovych was responsible for the bloodshed that preceded the putsch that ousted him on Feb. 22, 2014.

Obama and his team also concealed evidence about who was behind the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Though I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had determined that a rogue element of the Ukrainian military had fired the fateful missile, Obama withheld the intelligence community’s findings while the guilt was pinned on Russia.

Early last year when the father of the one U.S. citizen killed among the 298 dead on the flight was begging the U.S. government to open its files, a well-placed intelligence source told me that the request was given serious consideration but was rejected because the truth would “destroy the narrative,” which had made Russian President Vladimir Putin the villain and thus was a key factor in justifying the New Cold War.

By withholding the U.S. intelligence evidence, Obama gave the MH-17 murderers more than two years to get away and cover their tracks – and allowed the disreputable Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU, to take control of the supposedly “Dutch-led” investigation and thus steer the conclusions in support of the anti-Russian propaganda narrative. [See’s “Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report” and “The Official and Implausible MH-17 Scenario.”]

Double Standards

Obama’s secretive approach toward those pivotal events was in marked contrast to his eagerness to have his intelligence agencies brief reporters on allegations that Putin had helped Trump’s campaign and had blackmailed him over evidence of supposedly salacious behavior with Moscow prostitutes.

Even though Obama’s intelligence officials presented no evidence to support those accusations, the charges undermined Trump’s legitimacy as many Democrats echoed Hillary Clinton in calling Trump Putin’s “puppet.”

The contrast between Obama’s eagerness to release secret allegations to disparage Trump and Obama’s refusal to give the public substantive information for judging issues of war or peace reflects the elitism that came to infect Obama’s administration.

Information – or disinformation – was valued for guiding the American people in desired directions. Facts didn’t have an intrinsic value as a way to empower the public to understand the world and to make informed judgments. Instead, “information war” was viewed as a means to weaken and defeat “enemies,” part of “smart power.”

To cite another children’s fable, Obama’s administration went down the rabbit hole in its foreign policy where reality and logic no longer prevailed. But pretty much the entire Washington establishment was there, too, Republicans, Democrats and the mainstream media, so there was a self-reinforcing quality to the madness.

President Trump clearly doesn’t have the mainstream media on his side nor much of the establishment, so he cannot expect the kind of nodding acquiescence that greeted false claims by George W. Bush and Barack Obama – or, for that matter, presidents dating back generations.

But Trump does not help himself by destroying his own credibility by making easily debunked claims about crowd sizes and voter fraud, what one of his aides called “alternative facts.”

Still, Trump could reverse his image as a self-absorbed con man by standing up for real government transparency and showing genuine trust in the American people. He could start by declassifying evidence on the Syrian sarin case, the Ukrainian coup, the MH-17 shoot-down and other turning-point moments in recent history. He could show bipartisanship, too, by revealing some historic secrets about Republican administrations as they also sought to manipulate the American people.

Trump could arm Americans with real facts and show genuine respect to the citizens as the nation’s true sovereigns, the “We the People” of the U.S. Constitution’s opening words, not lambs for herding to the next war-of-choice slaughterhouse.

If he could stop gazing into that mirror, Trump could transform himself from being just one more villain feeding fantasies to the American people into a real-world hero by telling important truths. But he has gotten off to a very rocky start by telling some very petty lies.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ape Seeks Bicycle Parking: Feedback Desired

Ape Seeks Bicycle Parking: Feedback

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla Radio Blog

January 27, 2017

I'm doing research for a business providing automated bike shelters to Victoria's cyclists. They're from Europe (please see links) and are pretty amazing.

What I'd like to know is: would you be willing to pay to shelter your ride in one of these; and if so, how much would you expect to pay per use, or for a monthly pass?

It needn't be more than a sentence or two...or as much as you like!

My deadline 4 responses is Monday at 8:30 AM.

Any willing cyclistas willing to write up their feedback?

Here's two very interesting systems, (the first, the B-Igloo is my preferred).


When White Silence Equals Violence: Justice for Jamar

White Silence Equals Violence: Awaiting a Verdict

by Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Non-Violence

January 25, 2017

This morning, here in Minneapolis, six jurors decided beyond a reasonable doubt that I am guilty as charged and my co-defendant, Dan Wilson was found innocent.

The court case stems from an action protesting the execution of Jamar Clark, age 24, who died in the early morning of November 15, 2015 outside a north Minneapolis apartment complex.

Two Minneapolis police officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, were involved in the shooting. Jamar Clark died after a bullet was fired directly into his head. Several witnesses say that he was handcuffed and motionless when he was shot dead. The police officers have been cleared of all charges and are back on the job.

Dan and I are among 25 defendants charged with obstructing a Minneapolis Metro transit vehicle on April 11, the opening day of the Minnesota Twins baseball season. The Legal Rights Center lawyers working with us arranged a calendar so that small groups would be tried weekly. Earlier this month, two people were acquitted of all charges and one person was convicted.

Two days ago, Andrew Gordon and Priyanka Premo, lawyers from the Minneapolis Legal Rights Center who represented Dan and me, began the jury selection process. Yesterday, evidence was presented and the jury was asked to determine a verdict. The jury didn't arrive at a verdict last night. We felt grateful they did not rush to judgement on what many would see as a cut and dry case. The prosecution presented, as evidence, a photo of me standing, arms linked with others, in front of a bus.

Before the April 11 action, Black Lives Matter activists facilitated a retreat for about 100 Midwesterners who gather, annually, for a “Faith and Resistance” retreat. The retreats invite communities that operate Catholic Worker houses of hospitality, along with other companions, to gather for education, reflection and action. The communities try to live simply, share resources more radically and prefer service to dominance. They also promote nonviolent resistance to injustice.

During the retreat, we learned more about Jamar Clark’s execution and the many protest actions already organized by Black Lives Matter activists. In Chicago, I knew of an earlier execution that took place five miles from where I was raised. On October 20, 2014, a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, pumped 16 bullets into Laquan McDonald’s body after he had already fallen to the ground. Laquan's executioner was initially held without bail for one month. Officer Van Dyke was released on November 30th, 2014.

My court proceeding was exceedingly polite and well-mannered, like a game of “Mother May I” on steroids as lawyers preceded every action they took with an address to Judge Shereen Askalani: Your Honor, may I publish Exhibit #1 (hand it to the jurors). Your Honor, may I step to the side so I can view the video? Scripted, choreographed, utterly careful. In my mind’s eye, I kept seeing videos of people of color, like Laquan McDonald and Jamar Clark, dying in pools of their own blood.

The prosecutor insisted that any mention of the signs we had on April 11, signs that read “White Silence Equals Violence” and “Justice for Jamar,” could inflame the passions of the jury. Judge Askalani instructed our lawyers not to mention, in opening remarks, anything that would reveal our intentions for protesting.

It’s odd. In court, witnesses promise to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth” but then proceed to disclose only a tiny sliver of the truth in order to comply with the Court's myriad instructions. There was barely a mention of Jamar Clark, or of police executions. There was no discussion of the systemic racism that afflicts people in every community where people of color are executed with no questions asked. The police officers become the judge, jury and executioner. It reminds me of targeted assassinations conducted through drone warfare.

I wasn’t sure, this morning, if a jury of our peers would judge Dan and me criminals.

I am quite sure that I didn’t travel to Minneapolis with the intent of blocking a Metro Transit bus. I came in response to an unjust execution. I couldn’t find myself standing idly by, as though mesmerized, while these executions continue. Does anyone favor unjust executions? If we don’t favor them, how do we plan to stop them?

On April 11, 2016, I linked arms with people who wanted to raise voices, sound an alarm, and create a tension within the wider community that could initiate a discussion on police executions and violence. We linked arms with the knowledge other arms will ache for loved ones who will never return.

The jury rendered its verdict. My co-defendant, Dan Wilson, was found not guilty. I was found guilty. The prosecutor recommended the judge sentence me to 30 days in the Minneapolis Workhouse. Judge Askalani sentenced me to 10 days in the workhouse, but stayed the sentence, meaning it will be imposed only if I am arrested under similar circumstances within one year.

Although found guilty, I’ll still act in accordance with my belief that we didn’t act criminally. And, truthfully, we can never be acquitted of our responsibility to continue breaking the terrible silence surrounding unjust executions that afflict people of color in the U.S.

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Future So Bright: Atomic Trump and the Return to Asia

Trump, Atomic Bombs and Confused Japanese Samurais

by Andre Vltchek  - Dissident Voice

January 26th, 2017 

Goodbye President Obama! Japan is mourning your imminent departure. It is mourning because you were such a good friend, an exceptionally predictable ruler, and a truly traditional imperialist. You spoke so well, and tormented all those unruly colonies with admirable zeal and effectiveness!

What is soon coming is untested and therefore frightening. Obedient and disciplined Japan historically detests unpredictability.

It doesn’t really mind prostituting itself, but only if it brings great tangible benefits and as long as strict protocol and decorum are fully respected. The upcoming scenario could be frightening: Who knows? That new big ugly chap across the ocean could soon ruin all etiquette; calling whores and profiteers by their real names.

The Japanese government and big business are now shaking in dread, day and night. What changes are coming? How to please the new foul-speaking lord?

10 billion dollars will be spent — or should we say ‘invested’ — in the United States by Toyota car giant, in order to appease the new Emperor? Why not? Every penny of it is worth it! The Emperor has to be kept happy. Japan is ready to arm itself to the teeth, provoking both North Korea but especially China? Yes and yes again, as long as the global ‘balance of power’ so greatly in favor of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for decades, remains intact.

The Conservative Prime Minister of the country, Shinzo Abe, doesn’t want any ‘dangerous’ developments, any deviations. As far as he is concerned, things are just fine as they were. Not perfect, but fine. Japan has been exactly where it should be: on its back, ageing, but still desirable, eating mountains of caviar and oysters.


Things are, however, ‘developing’, rapidly and some would say, irreversibly. The new US president, Donald Trump, is clearly allergic to China as well as to several other Asian countries. He is preaching protectionism and an extreme form of nationalism, something that used to be synonymous with Japan’s trade and business practices of the past.

Somehow, this does not appear to be in Japan’s favor. Japan was allowed to be protectionist, in exchange for its unconditional political obedience. It thought that it was awarded almost exclusive privileges.

Now paradoxically, Japan is trying to save the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation free trade agreement, which Donald Trump is promising to nuke. Japan’s parliament even ratified the pact at the end of 2016. Foreign Policy Magazine (FPM) declared in its report published on January 2017: “Abe Wants to Be the Last Free Trade Samurai”.

In fact, Shinzo Abe is desperately trying to preserve Japan’s prominent position, at least in Asia, and mainly against China, which is intensively negotiating its own economic partnership agreement with several Asian countries called “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” (RCEP). Mr. Abe is also trying to push through his brutal neo-liberal reforms that are encountering resistance from the Japanese public.

FPM wrote:

TPP gives the government the handy excuse it now needs to take unpopular reform measures meant to give a new push to the Abenomics program. Blaming outsiders for such ‘un-Japanese’ actions is a popular political maneuver that even gets a special name ‘gai-atsu’.


Japan’s desperate desire to remain the regional superpower is pushing it even closer towards the West, and particularly the United States. Since WWII, the country has been fully dependent on Washington (and its market fundamentalist dogmas), to such an extent that it almost totally abandoned its own global vision and foreign policy.

In the meantime, Japan is trying to even further penetrate and subjugate various Southeast Asian countries, literally wrestling them away from the increasing influence of China and Russia. It is a very complex, often bizarre game, as Abe’s government is habitually acting by inertia, doing what was expected of it by the earlier US administrations, not necessarily by the upcoming one.

Once totally under Western control, the Southeast Asian monolith is beginning to crack: the Philippines under President Duterte and Vietnam after some fundamental leadership changes in early 2016 are moving closer towards China and away from Washington’s orbit. Even Thailand, one of the most dependable Cold War allies of the West is quickly discovering the countless advantages that come from a stronger relationship with Beijing.

In Asia, resistance against Western imperialism is on the rise, and Japan is in panic. It collaborated for so long that it lost all memories of acting independently. In exchange for betraying Asia, it used to reap great benefits; the gap between its astronomical standards of living and those in the rest of Asia used to be exorbitant, but now, the Human Development Index (HDI) rates such countries as South Korea, even higher. Socialist and fiercely independent China is catching up, not only economically but also in terms of science, technology and standards of living.

The essential question is never openly asked, but is creeping into the subconscious thoughts of many Japanese people: ‘Was it really worth it to collaborate so shamelessly with the West, and for so long?’

The more confusing and unsettling the answers, the more aggressive the behavior of many ordinary Japanese citizens: racism towards the Chinese and Koreans is on the increase. Often it is propelled by a frustration that accompanies defeat; sometimes it comes from shame.


The present is intertwined with history and its interpretation.

In Nagasaki, I discussed once again the complex intricacies related to Japan’s past, with the legendary Australian historian Geoff Gunn.

Japan never really took full responsibility for the tremendous pain it caused several Asian countries, but particularly China, where around 35 million people vanished during the brutal, genocidal occupation.

It is also silent about its role during the Korean War, and the crimes committed by its corporations in Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

However, it portrays itself as a victim, because of the atomic bombs that destroyed two of its cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – at the end of WWII, and because of the annexation of several of its islands by the Soviet Union.

Of course, the nuclear bombing of the Japanese cities by the US Air Force (or the fire bombing of Tokyo) was not meant to be a ‘punishment’ for the monstrous crimes Japan committed in China or Korea. It was simply a thinly disguised experiment on human beings, as well as an aggressive message and warning to the Soviet Union.

In Japan, everything is taken out of historic context. Collective memory is hazy. The occupation of several Asian and South Pacific countries, the alliance with the European fascist powers, WWII itself, the US occupation and consequent collaboration, Japan’s profiteering during the Korean War, as well as the constant siding with the imperialist policies of the West: it all has been covered by a comforting and softening duvet; by cozy make-believe pseudo reality.

While the horrendous US military and air force bases located in Okinawa and Honshu have been intimidating both China and North Korea, Japan has been distributing, hypocritically, all over the world its multi-lingual columns with “May Peace Prevail On Earth” signs, trying to feel good, and congratulating itself for its “peaceful constitution” (composed by the US after the War).

In 2016, Shinzo Abe’s close ally, Barak Obama, visited the Peace Park in Hiroshima City. He did not apologize to the victims of the nuclear blast. Instead, he posed with two traditional Japanese paper cranes, the local symbols of peace, and he spoke about the suffering of people during the wars. He wrote a message to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons, and then signed the book, putting the paper crane next to his signature.

How touching!

Servile Japanese media dutifully covered the event. Nobody died from laughter; nobody puked publicly, while recalling countless wars, deadly covert operations and coups as well as targeted killings that took place while Mr. Obama was the boss of his aggressive Empire.

A few months later, Mr. Abe visited Pearl Harbor. Like his US counterpart did in Hiroshima, he spoke about the suffering of the US servicemen based in Hawaii during the Japanese attack. He did not apologize, but he turned sentimental, even poetic.

At the end, almost everyone felt really well, at least those living in Japan and the West. Others do not matter too much, anyway!


Now the old script is quickly becoming obsolete. The new director is facing the stage, shouting at the actors, hitting seats with his cane, insulting protégés of his predecessors.

Japan is terrified. It likes continuity and certainty. It plays by the rules, the older the better.

This is not looking good. It may not end well, not well at all.

China and Russia are rising, indignant and finally united. Several Asian countries are switching sides. President of the Philippines is calling Western leaders ‘sons-of-whores’. India, now the most populous country on Earth, has gritted its teeth and ‘just in case’ got itself one more chair, now sitting on two.

At least some in Japan are now (secretly and quietly) suspecting that all along they were betting on the totally wrong horse.

How can a samurai break all his allegiances without losing face? How can he save his ass, when his armor begins to burn? It is not easy; the etiquette of honor is extremely strict, even if honor consists, if stripped of its decorative layer, of brainlessness and sleaze.

One possible and very traditional escape is a ritual suicide. It seems that Japan’s leadership is committing exactly that: it is raising the banner abandoned on the battlefield by the previous warlord, it is trying to gather some scattered allies, and then lead them to the futile battle against the mightiest creature on Earth – the Dragon, and by association, against the dragon’s friend and comrade – the Bear.

It is all beginning to look like a kitschy martial art movie, or like a desperate set of irrational moves performed by a gambler before he reaches absolute bankruptcy.

All this could be, however, extremely deceiving, as Mr. Abe is actually not a fool. He is playing a very high game and he may still have some chances of winning: if the new Lord, Mr. Trump, decides to exceed all previous rulers by his brutality and aggressiveness, and re-hire the old and well-tested samurai, Japan, for his deadly onslaught against humanity.

It is worth remembering that throughout Japan’s history, not all samurais were fighting for honor. Most of them were for hire.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary: novel Aurora and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: Exposing Lies Of The Empire and Fighting Against Western Imperialism. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter. Read other articles by Andre.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CAFÉ SIMPATICO BENEFIT SUPPER - Proceeds to families of the 43 Ayotzinapa disappeared Mexican students

Human Rights in Mexico: What’s next? 


January 25, 2017

  • Updates and discussion with Claudia Barrueta Martinez and Tim Boultbee
  • Vegan and non-gluten Chili, rice, tortillas, salad, dessert, coffee, juice, tea. BYOB.
  • Live music and door prizes 


Proceeds to families of 43 disappeared Mexican students.


Friday January 27, 2017

$15/$10 unwaged
Doors at 6 pm Dinner at 6:30 pm

1923 Fernwood Road  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Tim Boultbee, Peter Verin, Christina Nikolic January 26, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

January 24, 2017

Welcome to a new world disordered. For some the coming of Trump means the hope a systemically corrupt America can be restored to a state of grace and greatness. Others wonder where and when that alluded to state existed. Either way or both ways one thing is sure, changes are a-comin'.

In office only a day, Trump announced America's withdrawal from the TransPacificPartnership, or TPP. Could the long implied abrogation of NAFTA, the trade and investment deal linking the U.S., Canada, and Mexico be far behind?

Tim Boultbee is a human rights activist whose interest in Mexico and Central America began during the dark decade of Ronald Reagan's Dirty Wars down there.

Listen. Hear.

Tim traveled to Nicaragua then to see firsthand the effects of the US-sponsored Contra terrorist campaign against the country's mainly rural poor and, when the Zapatista's rose up in Chiapas, (the day the NAFTA treaty was announced) he went down to serve as a human rights observor in 3 Zapatista communities.

Tim Boultbee will be presenting 'Human Rights in Mexico: What’s next?' with Claudia Barrueta Martinez as part of a CAFÉ SIMPATICO BENEFIT SUPPER this Friday January 27th at 1923 Fernwood Rd.

Tim Boultbee in the first half.

And; former CFUV broadcaster and environmental champion, Peter Verin died last week. The Reverend Al Tysick conducted a service Thursday near Peter's centre of operations at the corner of Quadra and McKenzie, close to the recycling depot. I went down to hear the tributes to this most singular Victorian.

Peter Verin Presente! in the second half.

And; Christina Nikolic will be standing in for Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of the good things planned in, on, and around the streets of our city and beyond in the coming week. But first, Tim Boultbee and Human Rights in Mexico! What Next?

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

'The Blood of Extraction' Victoria Launch Friday January 25th

Book Launch: The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America


January 24, 2017
Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC) & UVIC Social Justice Studies (SJS) and the Central America Support Committee (CASC) present the Victoria launch of this important new book: 'The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America' by Todd Gordon and Jeffrey Webber.

Wednesday January 25th 7pm

University of Victoria

David Turpin Building, Room A-120

Author Jeffrey Webber will be the keynote speaker with a Q & A after his talk. Books will be for sale at the event and we will provide a book signing opportunity.
Noam Chomsky writes,

“This careful and comprehensive analysis of Canada’s economic policies and political interference in Latin America demonstrates in brutal detail the predatory and destructive role of a secondary imperialist power operating within the overarching system of subordination of the Global South to the demands of northern wealth and power. It also reveals clearly the responsibility of citizens of Canada and other dominant societies to join in the resistance of the victims to the shameful and sordid practices exposed graphically here.”

Rooted in thousands of pages of Access to Information documents and dozens of interviews carried out throughout Latin America, Blood of Extraction examines the increasing presence of Canadian mining companies in Latin America and the environmental and human rights abuses that have occurred as a result. By following the money, Gordon and Webber illustrate the myriad ways Canadian-based multinational corporations, backed by the Canadian state, have developed extensive economic interests in Latin America over the last two decades at the expense of Latin American people and the environment.

Latin American communities affected by Canadian resource extraction are now organized into hundreds of opposition movements, from Mexico to Argentina, and the authors illustrate the strategies used by the Canadian state to silence this resistance and advance corporate interests.

Please join our event on Facebook.

Monday, January 23, 2017

BC Liberals Plan a Slaughter in the Columbia Forest District

Wolf and Cougar Slaughter to Aid Revelstoke Caribou Masks Extensive and Ongoing Caribou Habitat Destruction

by Valhalla Wilderness Society

January 23, 2017

A recent BC government document claims that the protection of large amounts of mountain caribou habitat near Revelstoke has failed to increase the number of caribou in the Columbia Forest District. It states that the “next step” is to slaughter wolves from helicopters, and kill cougars. This would represent an expansion of the helicopter wolf slaughter in BC from the South Selkirk and South Peace regions to the Revelstoke area.

However, according to a letter sent to the government by the Valhalla Wilderness Society (VWS), the report’s claim of large amounts of habitat protection in the area masks some dirty secrets. “We looked at the caribou reserves near Revelstoke on GoogleEarth, says Craig Pettitt, a VWS director.

“We were shocked to see that they are fragmented by hundreds of clearcuts, many of which were already there when the reserves were supposedly ‘protected’. These are not protected areas by anyone’s standards, and it certainly isn’t mountain caribou habitat. It has long been known to science that mountain caribou cannot survive in a patchwork of clearcuts and roads.”

Government has always claimed that the new habitat protection in 2009 was to be added to previous protection. But in the Revelstoke area, that has turned out to be false. The government “protected” about 7,400 hectares in 2009, but removed an almost equal amount from protection in old-growth forest reserves. And claims that logging was banned from the new caribou reserves appear to have been equally false in this particular planning unit: logging has continued inside of them.

In the same letter to the government,VWS asked why logging is occurring in the reserves, but, five weeks later, the Society has received no reply.

Due to these deceptive, so-called conservation initiatives, the once-very-large mountain caribou herd around Revelstoke has been fragmented into 3 subpopulations, one of which is nearly extinct with only 4 animals, while another has only 10 animals. The third, which had 124 animals in 2014, has lost 85 animals since 1994, and biologists believe it may also be declining.

The biologists’ recent report acknowledges logging of habitat critical to animals’ survival “still occurs” in the Revelstoke region, and “high levels of heli-skiing and snowmobiling may be having some effect” on the caribou.

However, they make no recommendation to increase habitat protection, curtail heli-skiing, or expand snowmobile closures. They merely comment that reducing the rate of logging would be helpful.

Their report points out that the Columbia South herd that historically used Glacier and Mount Revelstoke Parks is now nearly extinct.

“The real truth is only 30% of the range of the Columbia South herd is in those parks, and it’s mostly high-elevation habitat. The critical low-elevation habitat is mostly outside the parks and has been heavily logged, with extensive clearcutting almost up to the park boundaries in some places. I have documented relatively recent clearcuts in mountain caribou habitat within a half kilometre of Mount Revelstoke National Park.”

“We are flabbergasted at how little evidence of significant wolf predation the report has to show,” says Pettitt. For example, the report cites one caribou calf recently killed by wolves outside the maternity pen; yet it acknowledges that eight calves died inside the pens over two years.

“What does it take to see that other factors may be killing the caribou?” says Pettitt.

At a public meeting in 2016, government biologists announced that an ungulate nutrition expert had examined mountain caribou from the Revelstoke area, and had found them to be in poor condition. Numerous scientific studies have said that caribou cows in poor condition can abort their calves or give birth to weak, unhealthy calves that don’t survive long.

“Poor condition is indicative of poor nutrition, excess energy expenditure and stress due to habitat loss and displacement by logging, heli-skiing and recreational snowmobliing,” says Pettitt.

“The tragedy is that there is a big question whether there is enough intact mountain caribou habitat left in this area to support the caribou even if all the wolves, cougars, deer and moose were annihilated. The killing of these animals simply represents the loss of more of the area’s wildlife to gratify human greed and pleasure at all costs.”

A copy of the government document, entitled “Next steps for Southern Mountain Caribou recovery in planning unit 3A, the Revelstoke Shuswap Region” is at:
or available from VWS upon request.

A copy of the VWS letter to government is available at:


Craig Pettitt
Anne Sherrod

Box 329, New Denver, British Columbia,
Canada V0G 1S0
Phone: (250) 358-2333,
Fax: (250) 358-2748,

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Just Call Me IC" - Uber Intelligenz Ohne Weisheit

The Collective "Wisdom" of the U.S. Intelligence Community

by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch

January 22, 2017  

They call themselves the U.S. “Intelligence Community,” or the IC. If you include the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which in 2005 began as a crew of 12 people, including its director, and by 2008 had already grown to a staff of 1,750, there are 17 members (adding up to an alphabet soup of acronyms including the CIA, the NSA, and the DIA).

The IC spends something like $70 billion of your taxpayer dollars annually, mostly in secret, hires staggering numbers of private contractors from various warrior corporations to lend a hand, sucks up communications of every sort across the planet, runs a drone air force, monitors satellites galore, builds its agencies multi-billion-dollar headquarters and storage facilities, and does all of this, ostensibly, to provide the president and the rest of the government with the best information imaginable on what’s happening in the world and what dangers the United States faces.

Since 9/11, expansion has been the name of its game, as the leading intelligence agencies gained ever more power, prestige, and the big bucks, while wrapping themselves in an unprecedented blanket of secrecy. Typically, in the final days of the Obama administration, the National Security Agency was given yet more leeway to share the warrantless data it scoops up worldwide (including from American citizens) with ever more members of the IC.

And oh yes, in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump, several of those intelligence outfits found themselves in a knock-down, drag-out barroom brawl with our new tweeter-in-chief (who has begun threatening to downsize parts of the IC) over the possible Russian hacking of an American election and his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the process, they have received regular media plaudits for their crucial importance to all of us, our security and safety, along with tweeted curses from the then-president-elect.

Let me lay my own cards on the table here. Based on the relatively little we can know about the information the Intelligence Community has been delivering to the president and his people in these years, I’ve never been particularly impressed with its work. Again, given what’s available to judge from, it seems as if, despite its size, reach, money, and power, the IC has been caught “off-guard” by developments in our world with startling regularity and might be thought of as something closer to an “un-intelligence machine.” It’s always been my suspicion that, if a group of smart, out-of-the-box thinkers were let loose on purely open-source material, the U.S. government might actually end up with a far more accurate view of our world and how it works, not to speak of what dangers lie in store for us.

There’s just one problem in saying such things. In an era when the secrecy around the Intelligence Community has only grown and those leaking information from it have been prosecuted with a fierceness unprecedented in our history, we out here in what passes for the world don’t have much of a way to judge the value of the “product” it produces.

There is, however, one modest exception to this rule. Every four years, before a newly elected president enters the Oval Office, the National Intelligence Council, or NIC, which bills itself as “the IC’s center for long-term strategic analysis,” produces just such a document. The NIC is largely staffed from the IC (evidently in significant measure from the CIA), presents “senior policymakers with coordinated views of the entire Intelligence Community, including National Intelligence Estimates,” and does other classified work of various sorts.

Still, proudly and with some fanfare, it makes public one lengthy document quadrennially for any of us to read. Until now, that report has gone by the name of Global Trends with a futuristic year attached. The previous one, its fifth, made public just before Barack Obama’s second term in office, was Global Trends 2030. This one would have been the 2035 edition, had the NIC not decided to drop that futuristic year for what it calls fear of “false precision” (though projections of developments to 2035 are still part of the text). Instead, the sixth edition arrives as Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress, an anodyne phrase whose meaning is summarized this way:

“The achievements of the industrial and information ages are shaping a world to come that is both more dangerous and richer with opportunity than ever before. Whether promise or peril prevails will turn on the choices of humankind.” According to the NIC, in producing such documents its role is to identify “key drivers and developments likely to shape world events a couple of decades into the future” for the incoming president and his people.

Think of Global Trends as another example of how the American world of intelligence has expanded in these years. Starting relatively modestly in 1997, the IC decided to go where no intelligence outfit had previously gone and plant its flag in the future. Chalk that up as a bold decision, since the future might be thought of as the most democratic as well as least penetrable of time frames. After all, any one of us is free to venture there any time we choose without either financing or staff. It’s also a place where you can’t embed spies, you can’t gather communications from across the planet, you can’t bug the phones or hack into the emails of world leaders, no drones can fly, and there are no satellite images to study or interpret. Historically, until the NIC decided to make the future its property, it had largely been left to visionaries and kooks, dreamers and sci-fi writers -- people, in short, with a penchant for thinking outside the box.

In these years, however, in the heartland of the world’s “sole superpower,” the urge to control and surveil everything grew to monumental proportions leading the IC directly into the future in the only way it knew how to do anything: monumentally. As a result, the new Global Trends boasts about the size and reach of the operation that produced it. Its team “visited more than 35 countries and one territory, soliciting ideas and feedback from over 2,500 people around the world from all walks of life.”

As its massive acknowledgements section makes clear, along with all the unnamed officials and staff who did the basic work and many people who were consulted but could not be identified, the staff talked to everyone from a former prime minister and two foreign ministers to an ambassador and a sci-fi writer, not to mention “senior officials and strategists worldwide... hundreds of natural and social scientists, thought leaders, religious figures, business and industry representatives, diplomats, development experts, and women, youth, and civil society organizations around the world.”

The NIC’s two-year intelligence voyage into a universe that, by definition, must remain unknown to us all, even made “extensive use of analytic simulations -- employing teams of experts to represent key international actors -- to explore the future trajectories for regions of the world, the international order, the security environment, and the global economy.” In other words, to produce this unclassified report on how, according to NIC Chairman Gregory Treverton, “the NIC is thinking about the future,” it mounted a major intelligence operation that -- though no figures are offered -- must have cost millions of dollars. In the hands of the IC, the future like the present is, it seems, an endlessly expensive proposition.

A Grim Future Offset By Cheer

If you’re now thinking about tossing your Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, and Octavia Butler novels into the trash bin of history and diving into the newest Global Trends, then I’ve done you an enormous favor. I’ve already read it for you. And let me assure you that, unlike William Gibson’s “discovery” of cyberspace in his futuristic novel Neuromancer, the NIC’s document uncovers nothing in the future that hasn’t already been clearly identified in the present and isn’t obvious to you and just about everyone else on the planet.

Perhaps Global Trends’ greatest achievement is to transform that future into a reading experience so mind-numbing that it was my own vale of tears. A completely typical sentence:

“The most powerful actors of the future will be states, groups, and individuals who can leverage material capabilities, relationships, and information in a more rapid, integrated, and adaptive mode than in generations past.”

Admittedly, every now and then you stumble across a genuinely interesting stat or fact that catches your attention (“one in every 112 persons in the world is a refugee, an internally displaced person, or an asylum seeker”) and, on rare occasions, the odd thought stops you momentarily. Generally, though, the future as imagined by the wordsmiths of the IC is a slog, a kind of living nightmare of groupthink.

Whatever quirky and original brains may be hidden in the depths of the IC, on the basis of Global Trends you would have to conclude that its collective brain, the one it assumedly offers to presidents and other officials, couldn’t be more mundane. Start with this: published on the eve of the Trumpian accession, it can’t seem to imagine anything truly new under the sun, including Donald J. Trump (who goes unmentioned in this glimpse of our future). Even as we watch our present world being upended daily, the authors of Global Trends can’t conceive of the genuine upending of much on this planet.

Perhaps that helps explain why its leadership felt so caught off-guard and discombobulated by our new president. In him, after all, the American future is already becoming the unimaginable American present, tweet by tweet. (And let me here express a bit of sympathy for President Trump. If Global Trends is typical of the kind of thinking and presentation that goes into the President’s Daily Brief from the Intelligence Community, then I’m not surprised that he chose to start skipping those sessions for almost anything else, including Fox and Friends and spitball fights with Meryl Streep and John Lewis.)

As the IC imagines it, the near-future offers a relatively grim set of prospects, all transposed from obvious developments in our present moment, but each of them almost mechanistically offset by a hopeful conclusion: terrorism will undoubtedly spread and worsen (before it gets better); inequality will increase in a distinctly 1% world as anti-globalist sentiments sweep the planet and “populism,” along with more authoritarian ways of thinking, will continue to spread along with isolationist sentiments in the West (before other trends take hold); the risk of interstate conflict will increase thanks to China and Russia (even if the world will not be devastated by it); governing will grow harder globally and technology more potentially disruptive (though hope lurks close at hand); and the pressures of climate change are likely to create a more tenuous planet, short on food and especially water, and filled with the desperate and migrationally inclined (but is also likely to foster “a twenty-first-century set of common principles”). In essence, in the view of the National Intelligence Council, for every potentially lousy news trend of the present moment projected into the future, there’s invariably a saving grace, a sense that, as the report puts it, “the same trends generating near-term risks also can create opportunities for better outcomes over the long term.” In fact, by 2028 according to one of its scenarios, we could be “entering a new era of economic growth and prosperity.”

In truth, even the grimmest version of the IC’s future seems eerily mild, given the onrushing present -- from a Trumpian presidency to the recently reported reality that eight billionaires now control the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50% of the planet’s population. (Only a year ago, it took 62 billionaires to hit that mark.) According to the Engelhardt Intelligence Council, the likelihood is that we’re already entering a future far more extreme than anything the NIC and its 2,500-plus outside experts can imagine.

The Global Trends crew seems incapable of imagining futures in which some version of the present doesn’t rule all. Despite the global wars of the last century that leveled significant parts of the planet, the arrival of climate change as history’s possible deal-breaker, and the 9/11 attacks, disjunctures are simply not in their playbook. As a result, their idea of futuristic extremes couldn’t be milder. In one of the report’s three scenarios, even the surprise use of a nuclear weapon for the first time since August 9, 1945 -- in a 2028 confrontation between India and Pakistan -- is relieved of most of its potential punch. The bomb goes off not over a major city, killing hundreds of thousands, but in a desert area. And at what seems to be remarkably little cost, the shock of that single explosion miraculously brings a world of hostile powers, including the United States, China, and Russia, together in a strikingly upbeat fashion. (By 2028, it seems that Mr. Smith has indeed gone to Washington and so, in Global Trends, “President Smith” heartwarmingly shares a Nobel Peace Prize with China’s president for the “series of confidence-building measures and arms control agreements” that followed the nuclear incident.)

I, of course, don’t have thousands of experts to consult in thinking about the future, but based on scientific work already on the record, I could still create a very different South Asian scenario, which wouldn’t exactly be a formula for uniting the planet behind a better security future. Just imagine that one of the “tactical” nuclear weapons the Pakistani military is already evidently beginning to store at its forward military bases was put to use in response to an Indian military challenge. Imagine, then, that it triggered not world peace, but an ongoing nuclear exchange between the two powers, each with significant arsenals of such weaponry. The results in South Asia could be mindboggling -- up to 21 million direct deaths by one estimate. Scientists speculate, however, that the effects of such a nuclear war would not be restricted to the region, but would spark a nuclear-winter scenario globally, destroying crops across the planet and possibly leading to up to a billion deaths.

Living in an All-American World

Such grim futures are, however, not for the NIC. Think of them as American imperial optimists and dreamers only masquerading as realists. If you want proof of this, it’s easy enough to find in Global Trends. Here, in fact, is the most curious aspect of that document: the members of the U.S. Intelligence Community evidently can’t bear to look at the last 15 years of their own imperial history. Instead, in taking possession of the future, they simply leave the post-9/11 American past in a roadside ditch and move on. In the future they imagine, much of that past is missing in action, including, of course, Donald J. Trump. (As a group, they must be Clintonistas. At least I can imagine Hillary wonkishly making her way through their document, but The Donald? Don’t make me laugh.)

Give them credit at least for accepting the obvious: that we will no longer be on a “unipolar planet” dominated by a single superpower, but in a world of “spheres of influence.” (“For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War...”) But you can search their document in vain for the word “decline.” Forget that they were putting together their report at the very moment that the first openly declinist candidate for president was wowing crowds -- who sensed that their country and their own lives were on the downhill slope -- with the slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Nor were they about to take striking aspects of present-day America and project them into a truly grim future. Take, for example, something that amused me greatly: you can search Global Trends in vain for all but the most passing reference to the U.S. military. You know, the outfit that our recent presidents keep praising as the “finest fighting force” in world history. Search their document top to bottom and you still won’t have the faintest idea that the U.S. military has been fighting ceaselessly in victory-less conflicts for the past 15 years, and that its “war on terror” efforts have somehow only fueled the spread of terrorist movements, while leaving behind a series of failed or failing states across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa. None of that is projected into the future, nor is the militarization of this country (or its police), even though the retired generals now populating the new Trump administration speak directly to this very point.

Or to pick another example, how about the fact that, in a world in which a single country -- the very one to which the IC belongs -- garrisons the planet with hundreds of military bases from Europe to Japan, Bahrain to Afghanistan, there is but a single futuristic mention of a military base, and it’s a Chinese one to be built on a Fijian Island deep in the Pacific. (A running gag of Global Trends involves future newspaper headlines like this one from 2019: “China Buys Uninhabited Fijian Island To Build Military Base.”) What will happen to the present U.S. military framework for dominating the planet? You certainly won’t find out here.

But don’t think that the United States itself isn’t on the mind of those who produced this document. After all, among all the stresses of the decades to come, as the IC’s futurologists imagine them, there’s one key to positive national survival in 2035 and that’s what they call “resilience.” (“[T]he very same trends heightening risks in the near term can enable better outcomes over the longer term if the proliferation of power and players builds resilience to manage greater disruptions and uncertainty.”)

And which country is the most obviously resilient on Planet Earth? That’s the $100 (but not the 100 ruble or 100 yuan) question. So go ahead, guess -- and if you don’t get the answer right, you’re not the reader I think you are.

Still, just in case you’re not sure, here’s how Global Trends sums the matter up:

“For example, by traditional measures of power, such as GDP, military spending, and population size, China’s share of global power is increasing. China, however, also exhibits several characteristics, such as a centralized government, political corruption, and an economy overly reliant on investment and net exports for growth -- which suggest vulnerability to future shocks.

“Alternatively, the United States exhibits many of the factors associated with resilience, including decentralized governance, a diversified economy, inclusive society, large land mass, biodiversity, secure energy supplies, and global military power projection capabilities and alliances.”

So if there’s one conclusion to be drawn from the NIC’s mighty two-year dive into possible futures on a planet we still garrison and that’s wracked by wars we’re still fighting, it might be summed up this way: don’t be China, be us.

Of course, no one should be surprised by such a conclusion, since you don’t rise in the government by contrarian thinking but by going with the herd. This isn’t the sort of document you read expecting to be surprised, not when the nightmare of every bureaucracy is just that: the unexpected and unpredicted. The Washington bubble is evidently too comfortable and the world far too frightening a place to imagine a fuller range of what might be coming at us. The spooks of the NIC may be living off the money our fear sends their way, but don’t kid yourself for a second, they’re afraid too, or they could never produce a document like Global Trends: The Paradox of Progress.

As a portrait not of the future but of the anxieties of American power in a world it can’t control, this document provides the rest of us with a vivid portrait of the group of people least likely to offer us long-term security.

The last laugh here belongs to Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and other authors of their ilk. If you want to be freed to think about the many possible futures that face us, futures that we will help create, then skip Global Trends and head for the kinds of books that might free your mind to think afresh, not bind it to a world growing more dismal by the day.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, as well as Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Tom Engelhardt

The New Boss and the Old Middle East

Transfer of Power in the United States

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

January 22, 2017

"Transfer of power" in the United States : The White House used to be occupied by Zionists of one tactic and now it is occupied by Zionists with a different tactic (both aiming for the same goals of hegemony and racism). Obama came to office promising to end the Israeli occupation and left having strengthened it.

Let us hope that Trump who came promising to strengthen the Israeli occupation will (through hubris) cause its demise.

The Trump speech was according to Gideon Levy of Haaretz eerily similar to "Deutschland uber Alles" Hitlerian speeches of the 1930's. Only time will tell what Trump and his Zionist coterie will do but it is already inspiring the ultra right factions of Netanyahu and his settler cabinet.

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or an animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Micah 2: “1 Woe to those who scheme iniquity, Who work out evil on their beds! When morning comes, they do it, For it is in the power of their hands. 2 They covet fields and then seize them, And houses, and take them away. They rob a man and his house, A man and his inheritance. 3 Therefore thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity From which you cannot remove your necks; And you will not walk haughtily, For it will be an evil time…”

The people are frightened and yet energized. Millions demonstrated in cities across the globe yesterday (women marches). The crowds demonstrating in Washington DC a day after the inauguration were certainly higher than attended the inauguration. Hundreds were arrested during the inauguration and some disrupted the inauguration with “We the people…”. People demonstrating either they preferred the first kind of Zionist occupation (Obama) or they support freedom from that occupation (hence lots of Palestinian flags). Stirrings of discontent also give an opportunity of dialog about things and to move to change which can only come from the people.

Locally here in Palestine, we see Zionism getting a green light to ethnically cleanse more with impunity. Netanyahu want the US to engage in more conflicts on behalf of his occupation (on Syria and Iran). Israeli forces destroyed many homes in the village of Um Al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev). They killed one Palestinian (a citizen of Israel). See In a related matter, Tzipi Livni (ex foreign minister) canceled a trip to Bruxles fearing questioning for Gaza war crimes.

Resistance in various forms continues. PMNH in collaboration with women committee of the religious ministry and Al-Rowwad Center volunteers planted trees near the segregation/apartheid wall in Aida refugee camp area. We had three foreign delegations last week. We enjoy working with local and international volunteers. Our fieldwork continues and the museum is busy almost 18 hours per day seven days a week (we also always have deadlines of proposals for grants and for coursework). We finished courses except one left with the final Wednesday at Birzeit University (in molecular biology. We started a new project looking at snail chromosomes. The past week we took two trips one to Aboud (near Ramallah) and one to South Hebron Hills today. Professor Zuhair Amr (Zoologist from Jordan) and Mr. Shadi Adawi (Medical entomologist) are here finishing up manuscripts. We are now publishing one or two papers a month. Here are the last two published articles that might be of interest:

-Khlaif, N and MB Qumsiyeh. 2017. Genotoxicity of recycling electronic waste in Idhna, Hebron District, Palestine. International Journal of Environmental Studies. 74(1):66-74. DOI: 10.1080/00207233.2016.1236650 (let us know if you like a reprint or PDF)

- Qumsiyeh, MB and EN Handal. 2017. Environmental Stewardship via a Nascent Natural History Museum in Palestine. Ornithological Society of the Middle East

Former Newspaper Editor Who Exposed CIA Found Dead

259 Journalists jailed worldwide. Seven by Israeli forces according to Committee to Protect Journalists (actually the number is much higher)

Come visit us

Mazin Qumsiyeh ~ A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home Professor and (volunteer) Director Palestine Museum of Natural History Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability Bethlehem University Occupied Palestine
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Selective Outrage and Salvaging the Irretrievable Trump

Selectivity in Trashing Trump

by Robert Parry  - Consortium News

January 21, 2017

To say that Donald Trump is an imperfect messenger for some reasonable messages doesn’t do justice to the word “imperfect.” But he is right to note that Official Washington has gone far off-track in recent decades and that the Establishment needs shaking up. For instance, in his Inaugural Address, President Trump made clear that he would break with the orthodoxy of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism that has led to endless wars in the Middle East and a dangerous New Cold War with Russia.
Police maintain barriers to control anti-Trump 
protesters near the presidential inauguration, 
Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo credit: Robert Parry) 

 Trump declared:

“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.”

That sentiment reflects a traditional U.S. approach to the world, followed by America’s first presidents who warned against “entangling alliances” and articulated best by President John Quincy Adams who said in 1821 that while America will speak on behalf of liberty, “she has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

Over the past several decades – even after the end of the Cold War –American presidents have violated this founding precept as they repeatedly went abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.”

These missions – designed and advocated by Washington’s dominant neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks – have not only wasted trillions of dollars and cost the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers but the projects have failed to improve national security, have led to massive bloodshed in the targeted countries and have undermined global stability.

No Accountability

Yet, it has been a sign of Official Washington’s disconnect from reality that the architects of these failed endeavors have escaped accountability and indeed have solidified their control over the foreign policy establishment and the mainstream news media.

Despite the bloody fiascos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and other unfortunate countries where the neocons and liberal hawks have prescribed “regime change,” these esteemed know-it-alls have systematically pushed aside all rivals, including old-school “realists” and peace proponents.

The confirmation gauntlets that have confronted Trump’s nominees for State, Defense and other national security posts have revealed a near-unanimous bipartisanship in favor of a continuation of neocon/liberal-hawk orthodoxy, demanding pugnacious approaches toward Iran, Russia, Syria and China.

So, while there is a great deal to worry about from President Trump and his administration – particularly an apparent hostility toward climate-change science, disdain for minority rights and the embrace of right-wing law-and-order nostrums – there could be a new opening for conflict resolution and a return to traditional diplomacy. Already, there has been a housecleaning at the State Department, where the biographies of some of the most prominent neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, have disappeared.

Trump’s Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson is regarded as a pragmatic businessman who has little patience for the destructive “regime change” strategies of the neocons and liberal hawks. However, because of that and Tillerson’s desire for better relations with Russia, many Democrats and some Republicans appear eager to block his confirmation and force Trump to pick someone more acceptable to the neocon/liberal-hawk foreign policy establishment.

Reasons to Resist

Progressives and Democrats have every right and reason to express revulsion at Trump’s crude remarks about women, Mexicans and others — and to resist Trump if he pursues the failed environmental, economic and domestic policies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. But there seems to be an attitude of rejecting everything associated with Trump.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]On Friday when I was moving among protesters on the outskirts of Trump’s inauguration, I noticed a large number of signs denouncing Trump’s interest in détente with Russia. There were repeated references to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to the CIA’s unproven claims that Putin approved the release of Democratic emails showing the party hierarchy’s hostility to Sen. Bernie Sanders and revealing the contents of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street and some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

This CIA-initiated narrative that Putin somehow rigged the election for Trump has become an accepted wisdom not only in Official Washington but among much of the Democratic Party and within the progressive movement. Little interest is shown toward the lack of evidence provided by the U.S. intelligence community and the dubious reasoning involved, since it would have been a huge gamble for Putin to have interfered in the U.S. election and then faced the likely outcome of an angry President Hillary Clinton seeking revenge once she took office.

There’s also a logical inconsistency in portraying Trump as a Manchurian candidate, since the idea of putting such a secret agent in the White House would involve the person talking tough against Russia during the campaign – to garner political support – rather than declaring publicly a desire for better relations with Russia, a position that was widely viewed as harmful to Trump’s chances.

Trump never hid his interest in avoiding a costly New Cold War with Russia and took a rhetorical beating for it, both during the Republican primaries and during the general election. That would not have been the approach of a true Manchurian candidate.

A Current Danger

But the current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.

There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.

Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.

If — in a rush to demonize and impeach President Trump — Democrats and progressives solidify support for wars of choice in the Middle East, a New Cold War with Russia and a Davos-style elitism, they could further alienate many people who might otherwise be their allies.

In other words, selectivity in opposing and criticizing Trump – where he rightly deserves it – rather than opportunism in rejecting everything that Trump says might make more sense. A movement built entirely on destroying Trump could drop Democrats and progressives into some politically destructive traps.

[For more on this topic, see’s “Neocons: the Anti-Realists” and “Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and