Saturday, March 04, 2017

In High and Low Places: Trump's Embarrassingly Rich Enemies List

Is Obama Behind the Hit on Trump? How the Deep State Game is Played 

by Peter Lee - China Matters

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's now publicly accepted that the CIA, factions in the CIA, whatever, object to Trump and are making life difficult for him. The interesting question is, is President Obama just a passenger on the runaway Deep State train, thoughtlessly rattling through his hollow valedictories, or is he the conductor? or the engineer?

I was struck by this possibility while reflecting on David Ignatius' revelation on Thursday that intercepts showed that Trump's security adviser, Michael Flynn, had been on the phone with the Russian ambassador several times on the day President Obama announced the expulsion of the Russian diplos.

Hmmm. I thought. With all due respect, David Ignatius doesn't do reporting. He does top-drawer steno. He didn't dig this factoid out. It was fed to him. Specifically, the fact that Flynn's communications were being intercepted--normally, one would expect, the kind of tittle-tattle kept from the public eye under the rubric of "protecting sources and methods"--was being made part of the public discourse.

The next day, there was follow-up. Not just followup pundit regurgitation on the leak to Ignatius: followup confirmation by the Obama administration:

The Obama administration is aware of frequent contacts between President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, including on the day President Barack Obama hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday. ...

Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador were first reported by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. The official who spoke to The Associated Press was not authorized to confirm the contacts publicly and insisted on anonymity.

So, the story, relying on covert surveillance, that Flynn is canoodling with the Russian ambo is being determinedly and repeatedly fed to the press.

Consider: for eight years the Obama administration has been resolute/overbearing/fanatical, choose your adjective, in plugging leaks. But now we get this concerted blabberai.

Is Obama just phoning it in while his aides run riot at the end of his administration.


Is Obama condoning and perhaps even directing the hit on Trump--Obama in the library with a candlestick--while making sure his fingerprints aren't on the weapon?

Time to re-up one of my favorite pieces, on the 1954 campaign against Joe McCarthy. It's a useful corrective for young journos craving their "Murrow moment"--when the press seemingly rises up in spontaneous democratic revulsion to mete justice out on a demagogue.

But it also provides an instructive primer on how the executive branch can use the deep state, dossiers, allies in Congress and--of course!--a cooperative press to do its dirty work.

Spoiler: taking down McCarthy was the result of a carefully planned campaign executed by bureaucrats, spooks, and pols at the order of President Eisenhower and bringing in the press at the last stage to administer the coup de grace.

I wrote this piece a year ago. But as you can see, it stands up pretty well today, in the last days of the Obama administration and, possibly, the last days of Donald Trump.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Yes, the Press Might Do a Joe McCarthy on Trump; Just Not the Way You Think

I am not particularly impressed with protestations that the Fourth Estate is going to solve our Donald Trump problem by speaking truth to power, exposing his low, dishonest, and inflammatory rhetoric, and the filthy bigotry in which he traffics.

There’s a lot of people—a lot of voters—down in the sewer with Donald Trump. Apparently the smell doesn’t bother them.

Nor do I hold out hope that elite opinion-makers like Thomas Friedman will lead the stampede of asses that will trample Trump into well-deserved oblivion.

And I do not have much patience with the trope that all the media needs to do is put on its big-boy pants and stick it to Donald Trump in the name of decency just like the press did to Joe McCarthy in the glorious days of Ed Murrow in 1954.

This hagiography is enshrined in George Clooney’s biopic of Murrow, Good Night and Good Luck (excellent film, by the way), which characterizes Murrow as having the courage to step forth and confront McCarthy with a scathing series of televised exposes in March 1954 when nobody else would.

Indeed, Murrow took up the cudgels in 1953 when few others were willing. Murrow’s producer, Fred Friendly openly characterized the famous See It Now reports as pre-planned advocacy, not reporting. As quoted in Ralph Engelman’s biography, Friendlyvision: Fred Friendly and the Rise and Fall of Television Journalism, Friendly declared:

I think we were balancing how what we knew how to do well against what he did superbly well, which is to be a demagogue. And I’m sorry we had to do it that way. But it was the challenge of a lifetime, a desperate moment for the country, and not to have used it because of a series of rules that we would apply to ourselves and that Senator McCarthy would abuse to the ultimate would have made history judge us very harshly. [Engelman, pg. 125]

McCarthy was a world-class creep and demagogue. He was also an eager bottom-feeder in the murky waters of the American security state, which were lavishly chummed by J. Edgar Hoover with real and faux evidence to ensnare real, faux, potential, and imagined Communists. Eventually McCarthy got big and intimidating enough to upset a lot of people. Declaring the Democratic Party the “party of treason” and questioning the patriotism of two-time Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson was a start. But I think just the start.

We can take it as a given that certain media outlets were determined to stick it to McCarthy. But in deciding whether the media today has the mission and chops to properly identify an existential demagogic threat to the nation and righteously sh*tcan it, it would help to explore the assertion that CBS and prestige media were able to reach beyond its core audience of disgruntled Democrats and liberals to bring down Tailgunner Joe.

For a more plausible alternative, try President Eisenhower and his anger at McCarthy’s attack on the Army, which started with a gaudy search for Communists in the Army Signal Corps laboratory at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

Ike apparently no like.

President Eisenhower initiated a secret campaign to nail McCarthy in the beginning of 1954. The story was first told in the 1980s by Eisenhower staffer William Bragg Ewald in his book Who Killed Joe McCarthy? It will be told in greater detail in 2016 by David Nichols of Southwestern College, Kansas, in an as yet untitled book based on the Eisenhower archives and other declassified sources.

Here’s what Nichols had to say in an excerpt posted by the National Archives:

Eisenhower carried off his anti-McCarthy operation by means of rigorous delegation to a handful of trusted subordinates; these included Chief of Staff Sherman Adams; Vice President Richard Nixon; Press Secretary James Hagerty; Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr., and his deputy, William Rogers; Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the administration’s representative to the United Nations; and Assistant Secretary of Defense Fred A. Seaton, who collaborated with H. Struve Hensel, the Pentagon’s general counsel. While less intimate with the President, Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and Army counsel John G. Adams played critical roles. These men were expected, like foot soldiers in war, to put their lives and reputations on the line to protect the President and extinguish the political influence of Joe McCarthy.

Yup, even that devoted anti-Communist Richard Nixon saw which way the wind was blowing and signed on to ratf*ck McCarthy. And it looks like J. Edgar Hoover helped cut off McCarthy at the knees by repudiating a document McCarthy brandished during the Army hearings.

In January 1954 Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, Sherman Adams instructed the Army’s Chief Counsel to write up a report describing the harassment of the Army instigated by McCarthy’s pit bull, Roy Cohn, in the matter of fellow staffer David Schine, with whom Cohn appears to have been infatuated. By February, the job of preparing the report is in the hands of the Assistant Secretary of Defense and the General Counsel of the Army.

And then in early March, per Nichols…

Sherman Adams’s good friend, Vermont’s Republican Senator Ralph W. Flanders, ridiculed McCarthy in a speech on the Senate floor. Flanders words dripped with sarcasm: “He dons his war paint. He goes into his war dance. He emits his war whoops…”

Murrow quoted Flanders’ speech in his famous See It Now broadcast the same night .

Murrow’s legendary program makes for interesting viewing.

It was immediately recognized as a high-minded hit piece designed to show McCarthy at his least attractive. One of the more ham-fisted segments shows an apparently juiced Tailgunner Joe, his comb-over sagging into a bedraggled spitcurl on his forehead, engaged in some dinner-speech blather. As McCarthy struggles to keep his wits about him and finish his speech, the camera portentously pans to a rather naff mural behind him depicting George Washington in a heroic pose. Compare and contrast, the message here.

I was struck by a clip he showed of Eisenhower energetically asserting his prerogative to handle executive branch loyalty issues without congressional committees (i.e. McCarthy) butting in. Incongruously, the famously placid Eisenhower in his physical appearance and temperament strikingly resembled that famous shoe-banger Nikita Khrushchev.

The worst thing Murrow comes up with is catching McCarthy lying (or as we’d say today, “perhaps intentionally misrepresenting”) the ACLU as a proscribed Communist organization while he bullyrags a State Department boffin for a book he wrote in the 1930s.

The program concludes with Murrow’s justly famous peroration.

Then, per Nichols:

Those events set the stage for March 11, 1954. That day, on Eisenhower’s secret orders,Seaton released a 34-page, carefully edited account of the privileges sought for David Schine to key senators, representatives, and the press. The document ignited such a fire-storm of negative publicity that, on March 16, the McCarthy subcommittee agreed to hold televised hearings. McCarthy would temporarily step down as chair…

The hearings were broadcast by the fledgling ABC and DuMont networks with gavel-to-gavel coverage for 36 eye-glazing days. It will be very interesting if Nichols’ book addresses the hows and whys of the collapse of McCarthy’s poll standing (from the 50s to the 30s) during the hearings for the understanding of modern onlookers.

Here is a clip of the apparently cathartic “have you no decency?” slam from Judge Welch to the applause of the gallery. The indecency in question was McCarthy hounding Welch over the issue of a member of his team that Welch had to send packing back to Boston because he had belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, an organization HUAC deemed a Communist front. After the decency jab, Welch still had to deploy a hissy fit and end his examination in order to deflect McCarthy’s determined efforts to make hay out of the embarrassing incident, so it’s difficult for me to grasp how this was a decisive high-five moment for the anti-McCarthy team. But apparently so.

Much more effective in my opinion are the cutaways to the mesmerizingly sinister apparition of Roy Cohn, who looks and writhes like a hagfish impatient to swim off and burrow into a welcoming corpse.

On December 2, 1954, McCarthy was condemned by the Senate by a vote of 67 to 22. This is usually reported as “censure” but it wasn’t, as the contemporary account in the New York Times made clear. Richard Nixon presided over the session and finessed the adoption of the resolution. It took a lot of finessing and some low comedy to deliver a satisfactory outcome in the evenly-split (44 Rs, 44 Ds, 1 Independent) Senate.

The only transgression cited in the resolution was McCarthy acting like an insulting, high-handed jerk toward a number of senators who were investigating him. Apparently the investigation itself hadn’t produced anything deemed suitably awesome—or maybe it was always intended as just a waystation in the road to Senate condemnation. In any case, the anti-McCarthy forces simply nailed him for his demeanor.

People who remember Clarence Thomas’ “high tech lynching” stunt before the Senate Judiciary Committee will be amused to learn that one of McCarthy’s main transgressions was characterizing the proceeding against him as “a lynch-party” or “lynch bee.”

All 44 Democrats voted for the resolution. Twenty-two Republicans also voted in favor and twenty-two against, leading one to believe that Eisenhower-inflected party politics rather than good old small d/Large D/Murrow-fueled democratic indignation was in play. Senator Flanders, the good buddy of Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff Sherman Adams, introduced the resolution.

Afterwards, McCarthy faded away and died from hepatitis. Again, it will be interesting to see what Nichols has to say about any Eisenhower-related maneuverings that may have prevented McCarthy from bouncing back.

Murrow’s producer, Fred Friendly, became very close to Eisenhower, describing Ike after he left office as “a part-time correspondent for CBS News” because of all the TV specials the ex-President did with CBS Reports. I leave it to the inquisitive to explore when those close relations began, and whether the well-connected Murrow et. al. had any inkling that Eisenhower and his team were maneuvering to drop the hammer on McCarthy as the famous See It Now broadcast was assembled.

One of my favorite journo stories concerns the carefully choreographed leaking of the vital Army report to the press on March 11, two days after Murrow’s famous broadcast. Press coverage of the allegations created the outrage boomlet that midwived the fatal Army hearings. The anecdote comes courtesy of Art Spivak, then working for International News Service:

... the Army’s counsel, John G. Adams slipped to some senators and to the Baltimore Sun’s reporter Phil Potter a 34-page single-spaced “chronology” of efforts by Cohn, with McCarthy’s backing, to force the Army to give Roy’s recently-drafted buddy G. David Schine a direct promotion to lieutenant, assign him to serve his military term on the staff of the subcommittee, and enjoy sundry other favors. The bottom line was a charge that Cohn threatened to “wreck the Army” if his wishes were rejected.

Adams, a fellow South Dakotan and long-time friend of Potter’s, knew Potter would make use of the anti-Cohn, anti-McCarthy chronology, Potter, in turn, knew that the chronology was potential dynamite and his unsyndicated story would get nowhere unless other news outlets had it too.

The way Potter told it to me later, he therefore offered a copy of the Adams chronology to Arkansas Democratic Sen. John L. McClellan, ranking minority member of McCarthy’s subcommittee. McClellan was an arch-conservative and at first didn’t oppose McCarthy, but he grew to despise the Wisconsin Republican’s tactics. And so, with Potter’s guidance, McClellan invited a small group of reporters to his Fairfax Hotel apartment in Washington and leaked the chronology to them. I was one of those invited. Others included reporters for AP, UP, the New York Times and the Washington Post....

There was only one copy of the chronology available at McClellan’s suite, so the four other reporters and I laboriously hand-copied each of the 34 single-spaced pages of the document, passing each page to the other reporter until all were finished copying. We didn’t finish until close to midnight. From the hotel, I phoned a “bulletin” and brief story to the INS news desk in Washington, to catch the wire at the end of what we called the “A.M. cycle” for morning papers. ...

At the time, and for years afterward, I thought Adams had prepared and leaked his chronology on his own, in retribution for his and his Army colleagues’ treatment by McCarthy and Cohn.

Thirty years later, the full story came out in Ewald’s deceptively titled “Who Killed Joe McCarthy” book. Ewald provided chapter and verse on how Adams was only one player in a broadly mounted but confidential assault on McCarthy and Cohn by the Eisenhower White House, Department of Defense, and Department of the Army. The President himself was described as publicly silent but vitally active in orchestrating the developments that spawned the Army- McCarthy hearings. 

Yes. Faithful steno work and an inability to see the big picture and the guy behind the curtain—Eisenhower. That’s how the press helped bring down Tailgunner Joe.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how Donald Trump meets his political end, perhaps for some legal or tax entanglement. That is, if there’s anybody in the political establishment adept as Eisenhower who wants to remove a disruptive, independent-minded demagogue. If there is, I don’t doubt that the journalists will be ready to hold up their end.

Friday, March 03, 2017

US Military's Role in the Murder of Honduran Activist Berta Cáceres

Revealed: Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres' Suspected Killers Received U.S. Military Training

by Democracy Now

March 3, 2017

We discuss a new investigation that reveals further ties between the killing of renowned environmental activist Berta Cáceres, Honduran military intelligence and the United States. Cáceres was assassinated one year ago in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, just before midnight on March 2, 2016.

She was the co-founder of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. In 2015, she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people.

Eight men have been arrested as suspects in Cáceres’s killing — including one active army major and two retired military members. Two of these suspects reportedly received military training in the United States. 

We are joined by Nina Lakhani, a freelance journalist who has been based in Mexico and Central America for the last four years. Her recent piece for The Guardian is, "Berta Cáceres court papers show murder suspects’ links to US-trained elite troops." 

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Canada's Hand in Palestine's Ethnic Cleansing

Lester B. Pearson Enabled Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

by Yves Engler  - Dissident Voice

March 2nd, 2017

It’s no wonder Canadians are confused about their country’s place in the world when a leading advocate of the Palestinian cause praises the official most responsible for dispossessing Palestinians.

In an article about a recent poll showing Canadians have a negative attitude towards Israel, reject the notion criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic and believe the media is biased in Israel’s favour, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East leader Tom Woodley threw in a sop to official mythology. He wrote,

Lester B. Pearson won a Nobel peace prize for his role in mediating the Suez Crisis in 1956, and for many decades afterwards, many perceived Canada as an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East, trusted by both Israel and the Palestinians.” 

In fact, Pearson enabled the Zionist movement’s 1947/48 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. (During the Suez Crisis Pearson’s main concern was disagreement between the US and UK over the British-French-Israeli invasion, not Egyptian sovereignty or the plight of that country’s people, let alone Palestinians.)

Under growing Zionist military pressure after World War II, Britain prepared to hand its mandate over Palestine to the newly created UN. In response, the US-dominated international body formed the First Committee on Palestine, which was charged with developing the terms of reference for a committee that would find a solution for the British mandate. Canada’s Undersecretary of External Affairs, who made his sympathy for Zionism clear in a March 1945 speech, chaired the First Committee that established the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) in May 1947.

At the First Committee Pearson rejected Arab calls for an immediate end to the British mandate and the establishment of an independent democratic country. He also backed Washington’s push to admit a Jewish Agency representative to First Committee discussions (ultimately both a Jewish Agency and Palestinian representative were admitted). Pearson tried to define UNSCOP largely to facilitate Zionist aspirations.

The Arab Higher Committee wanted the issue of European Jewish refugees excluded from UNSCOP but the Canadian diplomat worked to give the body a mandate “to investigate all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine.” A US State Department memo noted that Pearson “proved to be an outstanding chairman for [the First] Committee.” The Canadian Arab Friendship League, on the other hand, complained that the First Committee plan for UNSCOP was “practically irresponsible and an invitation to … acts of terror on the part of Zionism.” The League continued, Arabs would “never refrain from demanding for … Palestine the same freedom presently enjoyed by other Arab states”, newly independent from colonial rule.

Opposed to the idea that representatives from Canada, Guatemala, Yugoslavia and other countries should decide their future, Palestinians boycotted UNSCOP. Despite the objection of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Undersecretary Pearson committed Canada to sending a delegate on the UNSCOP mission to Palestine. In justifying his position to External Affairs Minister Louis St. Laurent, Pearson claimed “to have withdrawn our candidate at this moment might have been misinterpreted and have had an adverse effect on the discussion.” In fact, Pearson was significantly more willing to follow Washington’s lead than the Prime Minister.

Canada’s lead representative on UNSCOP, Ivan C. Rand, pushed for the largest possible Zionist state and is considered the lead author of the majority report in support of partitioning Palestine into ethnically segregated states.

At the end of their mission the UNSCOP majority and minority reports were sent to the special UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question. Not happy with Pearson’s role in the First Committee, the Prime Minister would not allow the future Nobel laureate to chair the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question despite Washington’s request. Mackenzie King wrote that Pearson “lent himself perhaps too wholly to the desires of others,” a coded reference to the US State Department. Still, he played a major role in the Ad Hoc Committee.

At this forum Pearson rejected the Arab countries push to have the International Court of Justice decide whether the UN was allowed to partition Palestine. (Under US pressure, the Ad Hoc Committee voted 21 to 20 — with 16 abstentions — against allowing the International Court to adjudicate the matter).

The Ad Hoc Committee was split into two subcommittees with one focusing on the partition plan and the other on a bi-national state. At the Ad Hoc Committee’s Special Committee 1, Pearson worked feverishly to broker a partition agreement acceptable to Washington and Moscow. Preoccupied with the great powers, the indigenous inhabitants’ concerns did not trouble the ambitious undersecretary. He dismissed solutions that didn’t involve partition, which effectively meant supporting a Jewish state on Palestinian land. Responding to a bi-national plan proposed by the Ad Hoc Committee’s Special Committee 2, he claimed: “The unitary state proposal meant nothing — a recommendation ‘out of the blue and into the blue.’” Pearson said: “a [Jewish] ‘national home’ was a sine qua non [essential condition] of any settlement.” He later explained:

“I have never waivered in my view that a solution to the problem was impossible without the recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine. To me this was always the core of the matter.”

Pearson played a central role in Special Committee 1’s partition plan. Both the New York Times and Manchester Guardian ran articles about his role in the final stage of negotiations. Dubbed the “Canadian plan” the final Special Committee 1 agreement between the US and USSR on how to implement partition was “a result of the tireless efforts of Lester B. Pearson,” according to a front-page New York Times article. Some Zionist groups called him “Lord Balfour” of Canada and “rabbi Pearson”. In 1960 Pearson received Israel’s Medallion of Valour and after stepping down as prime minister in 1968, he received the Theodore Herzl award from the Zionist Organization of America for his “commitment to Jewish freedom and Israel.”

By supporting partition he opposed the indigenous population’s moral and political claims to sovereignty over their territory. Down from 90% at the start of the British mandate, by the end of 1947 Arabs still made up two-thirds of Palestine’s population. Despite making up only a third of the population, under the UN partition plan Jews received most of the territory. Pearson pushed a plan that gave the Zionist state 55% of Palestine despite the Jewish population owning less than seven percent of the land. According to Israeli historian Illan Pappe, “within the borders of their UN proposed state, they [Jews] owned only eleven percent of the land, and were the minority in every district. In the Negev [desert]…they constituted one percent of the total population.”

Undersecretary Pearson was not supported by the Prime Minister, who wanted to align Canada more closely with London’s position. While King was concerned about Britain, other government officials sympathized with the Palestinians. Justice Minister J.L. Isley said he was “gravely concerned” the push for partition did not meet the Arabs “very strong moral and political claims”. The only Middle East expert at External Affairs, Elizabeth MacCallum, claimed Ottawa supported partition “because we didn’t give two hoots for democracy.” MacCallum’s opinion wasn’t popular with Pearson who organized late-night meetings allegedly to make it difficult for her to participate.

Despite failing to convince her boss at External Affairs MacCallum displayed sharp foresight. At the time of the partition vote, notes The Rise and Fall of a Middle Power, “MacCallum scribbled a note and passed it to Mike (Pearson) saying the Middle East was now in for ‘forty years’ of war, due to the lack of consultation with the Arab countries.” She was prescient, even if she did underestimate the duration of the conflict.

Far from being an “honest broker”, a representative from the Canadian Arab Friendship League explained:

Our Canadian government at one time also favoured the creation of a federated State of Palestine which had at least some resemblance to a democratic solution. … Mr. Lester B. Pearson and Mr. Justice Ivan C. Rand changed that official position of our government. Instead of the democratic solution, these gentlemen did their utmost to impose upon the Arabs the infamous partition scheme. The Arab world, I am sure, will remember them.

A huge boost to the Zionist movements’ desire for an ethnically-based state, the UN partition of British Mandate Palestine contributed to the displacement of at least 700,000 Palestinians. Scholar Walid Khalidi complained that UN (partition) Resolution 181 was “a hasty act of granting half of Palestine to an ideological movement that declared openly already in the 1930s its wish to de-Arabise Palestine.”

What spurred Pearson’s support for Israel? Jewish lobbying played only a small part. The son of a Methodist minister, Pearson’s Zionism was partly rooted in Christian teachings. His memoirs refer to Israel as “the land of my Sunday School lessons” where he learned that “the Jews belonged in Palestine.” One book on Pearson notes “there was a lot said at Sunday school about the historic home of the Jews but nothing about the Arab inhabitants.” At one point Canada’s eminent statesman said he knew more about the geography of the holy land than of Ontario and in a 1955 speech Pearson called Israel (alongside Greece and Rome) the source of Western values.

More practically, Israel’s creation lessened the pressure on a widely anti-Semitic Ottawa to accept post-World War II Jewish refugees. At the end of the war the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was supposed to help resettle a couple hundred thousand displaced European Jews. When he was ambassador in Washington Pearson represented Canada at a number of UNRRA meetings where he faithfully defended the government’s position against Jewish immigration. After a meeting to discuss European refugees was moved from Ottawa to Bermuda, None is Too Many notes, “[Ambassador to Washington] Pearson exultingly wired [Undersecretary Norman] Robertson that the pressure was off and that, ‘in the circumstances,’ Ottawa was no longer ‘a possibility’ [to host the meeting]. And, he added, of even greater importance, Canada would not even be asked to take part in the conference.” Pearson believed sending Jewish refugees to Palestine was the only sensible solution to their plight.

But the refugee issue was less of a concern than US-British relations. In 1947 Pearson was concerned with Anglo-American disunity over Palestine, more than the Palestinian crisis itself. “I wasn’t thinking of trouble in terms of a war in Palestine,” he explained.

“I was thinking of trouble in terms of a grave difference of opinion between London and Washington. That always gives a Canadian nightmares, of course.” 

Pearson worried that disagreement between Washington and London over Palestine could adversely affect the US-British alliance and the emerging North Atlantic alliance.

Above all else, the ambitious diplomat wanted to align himself and Canada with Washington, the world’s emerging hegemon. “Pearson usually coordinated his moves with the Americans,” explains Personal Policy Making: Canada’s role in the adoption of the Palestine Partition Resolution. To determine their position on the UN Ad Hoc Committee, for instance, Canada’s delegation “found it especially important to know the American’s position.” A member of the Canadian delegation explained: “[we] will have nothing to say until after the United States has spoken.”

Of central importance to Canadian support for partition was the belief that a Middle Eastern Jewish state would serve Western interests. An internal report circulated at External Affairs during the UN negotiations explained:

“The plan of partition gives to the western powers the opportunity to establish an independent, progressive Jewish state in the Eastern Mediterranean with close economic and cultural ties with the West generally and in particular with the United States.” 

In a 1952 memo to cabinet Pearson repeated this thinking.

“With the whole Arab world in a state of internal unrest [after the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in Egypt] and in the grip of mounting anti-western hysteria, Israel is beginning to emerge as the only stable element in the whole Middle East area.” 

He went on to explain how “Israel may assume an important role in Western defence as the southern pivot of current plans for the defence” of the eastern Mediterranean. Pearson supported Israel as a possible western ally in the heart of the (oil-producing) Middle East.

Pearson does not represent an evenhanded, let alone justice-oriented, policy towards Palestinians. Instead, he should be placed atop a long list of Canadian officials who’ve aided and abetted their dispossession.

Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Read other articles by Yves.

Ape Goes to Victoria's Impromptu People's Town Hall Reception for Prime Minister Trudeau

Ape Goes to Victoria's Impromptu People's Town Hall Reception for Prime Minister Trudeau

by C. L. Cook -

Mar. 2, 2017

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a quick visit to Victoria and Esquimalt today, speaking with Mayor Lisa Helps and giving a press conference at the Naval base.

As Trudeau had passed on a previous Town Hall in Victoria, the folk decided to hold an impromptu session on the steps of City Hall prior to the PM’s arrival.

Much has been made of Trudeau’s reversal on his pre and post-election promise that the 2015 federal election would be the “last election using the first past the post system.”

Listen. Hear.

There are also concerns about the federal government imprimatur on the contentious Kinder Morgan pipeline project, bringing diluted bitumen across the breadth of British Columbia to Burnaby for trans-shipment to Asia, and the greenlighting of the Site C mega-dam project that will make a sacrifice zone of a portion of the Peace River country in the northeast of the province.

I went down to get some opinions. Below is the press release sent out by

No-Electoral-Reform Excuse Myth Busting

“Fear of both Proportional Representation, including the possible emergence of fringe or even Alt-Right parties, and a potentially divisive national referendum led Justin Trudeau’s government to abandon his promise of Electoral Reform” -CBC

To ensure Democracy and safeguard it against “the possible emergence of fringe or even alt-right parties”, the Allies imposed Proportional Representation on Germany and Japan after the WWII.

Our current first-past-the-post electoral system leads to U.S.-style two-party politics. It elected the Reform Party (the Canadian version of the Tea Party), Stephen Harper, and Donald Trump, and it could also easily elect Kellie Leitch. FPTP party system is more prone to be hijacked by “fringe or Alt-Right” groups than Proportional Representation is. PR safeguards against it.

To immunize the Canadian Democracy against “fringe or Alt-Right” groups, we need Electoral Reform and Proportional Representation; the very same form of Proportional Representation imposed by the Allies on Germany and Japan after the WWII.

There was no need for a “referendum.” How could you have a “referendum” on an electoral system not yet tried? Plus, we hire politicians to make decisions on our behalf. Harper had no problem ramming through Omnibus Bills, the “Unfair Elections Act,” and Prorogue the Parliament without the need for a pesky “referendum.”

There was no “consensus” when Justin Trudeau’s own father implemented the switch from Imperial to Metric. There was lots of opposition from the Conservatives, but he showed leadership and Canada is better for it. Ask any of those resisting the change: “How cold is it today?” and they will reply in Metric despite Mulroney Conservatives abolition of the Metric Commission 15 years later. Dinosaurs die hard. The very same Dinosaurs are resisting the Electoral Reform today. We need leadership; “no consensus” is an excuse.

And yes, lots of Greens and the NDPs, wanting to vote Harper out, and tired of their votes being wasted election after election, took this historic, once in a generation chance, to vote for Electoral Reform. Liberals pulled away NDP & Green votes to steal the election on a flagship promise of Electoral Reform they had no intention of keeping.

Today is a sad day for Canadian Democracy!

Of all the battles we have fought for Democracy in Canada, Electoral Reform is the most important, for if we lose this battle, we have lost the war on all fronts.

Electoral Reform is a Class War and the other side has more money, influence, connections, media…

To all the victims of deception, deceit, and dishonour, to those who feel betrayed and disenfranchised, the only sure way to get Electoral Reform & Proportional Representation is to force a NDP-Green Coalition prior to the next election.

– Tirdad Shirvani

www.ReformeElectorale.Ca (La Réforme Électorale)
www.ErRe.Ca (Electoral Reform / La Réforme Électorale)

Sons of Guantánamo: Trump's Black Hole Prison Revival

Guantánamo's Last 100 Days: The Story That Never Was

by Karen J. Greenberg - TomDispatch

March 2, 2017

In the spring of 2016, I asked a student of mine to do me a favor and figure out which day would be the 100th before Barack Obama’s presidency ended. October 12th, he reported back, and then asked me the obvious question: Why in the world did I want to know?

The answer was simple. Years before I had written a book about Guantánamo’s first 100 days and I was looking forward to writing an essay highlighting that detention camp’s last 100 days.

I had been waiting for this moment almost eight years, since on the first day of his presidency Obama signed an executive order to close that already infamous offshore prison within a year.

Tomgram: Karen Greenberg, The Forever Prisoners of Guantanamo

Here’s a little fact of our age: Rear Admiral Peter Clark is the 16th commander of America’s notorious prison complex at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, opened in January 2002, and it seems he won’t be the last. As the New York Times recently reported, the Trump administration is already readying a draft executive order that would direct the Pentagon to use that prison to “detain suspected members of ‘Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, including individuals and networks associated with the Islamic State.’” One such terror suspect, Abu Khaybar, held in Yemen by “another country” and long associated with al-Qaeda, is supposedly being eyed as the possible first new Guantánamo detainee since the end of the Bush era.

Consider all of this a guarantee that what might be the world’s most notorious prison will undoubtedly have a 17th, 18th, and 19th commander -- brought to you by the job-creating administration of Donald J. Trump who, during the 2016 election campaign, swore that he would keep that prison open and “load it up with some bad dudes.” In addition, instead of spending what he claimed was $40 million a month sprucing up Gitmo, he “guaranteed” that he would do it for “peanuts.” Post-election, according to no less of an authority than White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the president still "believes that Guantánamo Bay does serve a very, very healthy purpose in our national security." Of course, the Islamic State agrees with both of them that it would be “healthy” indeed -- for ISIS, that is, which has already staged horrific videoed torture and killing scenes, while mockingly dressing its prisoners in the orange jumpsuits Guantánamo made (in)famous.

All I can say is thank god that, despite promising on day one of his presidency to shut down Guantánamo within a year, President Obama didn’t issue an executive order in his last months in office to do so (as he certainly could have). It would have set a terrible example of executive overreach for President Trump and might have led him, despite endless Republican complaints about such overreach during the Obama era, to resort to rule by executive order himself. (Sad!) So all looks upbeat indeed when it comes to the future of Guantánamo-style extra-legality and to that crown jewel in what was once a Bermuda Triangle of offshore injustice, even if we don’t yet know whether the Trump administration will send U.S. citizens there. Unfortunately, not all Americans have experienced the benefits of Gitmo equally. TomDispatch regular Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and an expert on Guantánamo, who has written on that subject for this website for more than a decade, is certainly one of those. She tells her sad story today. Tom

Guantánamo's Last 100 Days: The Story That Never Was

by Karen J. Greenberg

I knew exactly what I would write. The piece would narrate the unraveling of that infamous detention facility, detail by detail, like a film running in reverse. I would have the chance to describe how the last detainees were marched onto planes (though not, as when they arrived, shackled to the floor, diapered, and wearing sensory-deprivation goggles as well). I would mention the dismantling of the kitchen, the emptying of the garrison, and the halting of all activities.

Fifteen years after it was first opened by the Bush administration as a crucial site in its Global War on Terror, I would get to learn the parting thoughts of both the last U.S. military personnel stationed there and the final detainees, just as I had once recorded the initial impressions of the first detainees and their captors when Gitmo opened in January 2002. I would be able to dramatize the inevitable interagency dialogues about security and safety, post-Guantánamo, and about preparing some of those detainees for American prison life. Though it had long been a distant dream, I was looking forward with particular relish to writing about the gates slamming shut on that symbol of the way the Bush administration had sent injustice offshore and about the re-opening of the federal courts to Guantánamo detainees, including some of those involved in the planning of the 9/11 attacks.

I was eager to describe the sighs of relief of those who had fought against the very existence of that prison and what it had been like, year after year, to continue what had long seemed to many of them like a losing battle. I could almost envision the relief on the worn faces of the defense attorneys and psychologists who had come to know firsthand the torment of the Gitmo prisoners, some still in their teens, who had been consigned to that state of endless limbo, many of them tortured psychologically and sometimes physically. I also looked forward -- and call me the dreamiest of optimists here -- to collecting statements of remorse from government and military types who had at one time or another shared responsibility for the Gitmo enterprise.

Unlike me, most critics and activist opponents of that detention facility had long ago given up hope that Obama would ever follow through on his initial executive order. Across the years, the reasons for doing so were manifold. Some turned pessimistic in the spring of 2009 when, five months after he took the oath of office, the president let it be known that indefinite detention -- the holding of individuals without either charges or plans to try or release them -- would remain a key aspect of Washington’s policy going forward. A collective cry of outrage came from the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and other organizations that had long focused on the legal, moral, and political black hole of Gitmo. From there, it seemed like an endless slide to the idea that even closing Guantánamo wouldn’t finish off indefinite detention. (The heart and soul of Guantánamo, in other words, would simply be transposed to prisons in the U.S.)

Some lost hope over the years as the process of challenging the detention of Gitmo’s prisoners in federal court -- known as filing a writ of habeas corpus -- increasingly proved a dead-end. After a couple of years in which detainees were granted release by the lower court approximately 75% of the time, reversals and denials began to predominate, bringing the habeas process to a virtual halt in 2011, a sorry situation Brian Foster, a prominent habeas lawyer from Covington and Burling LLP, has laid out clearly.

Then, in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress instituted a ban on the transfer of any Gitmo detainee to the United States for any purpose whatsoever -- trial, further detention, or release. If federal courts wouldn’t deal with them and federal prisons couldn’t hold them, then how in the world could Guantánamo ever close?

Still others lost hope as, in the Obama years, newly constituted military commissions that were meant to try the prisoners at Guantánamo became a collective fool’s errand. Since 2002, more prisoners (nine) have died there than have been successfully tried by those military commissions (eight). And of the eight convictions they got, two by trial and six by plea bargain, four have already been thrown out in whole or in part.

In other words, those commissions, the Obama administration’s answer to detention without trial, never worked. Pre-trial hearings, underway for years, in the cases still pending are expected to continue well into the 16th year since the attacks for which the defendants are to be tried took place. The chief prosecutor for the five 9/11 defendants who were brought to Gitmo in 2006 and charged in 2012, has recently -- without the slightest sense of irony or remorse -- proposed that their trials begin in March 2018. With appeals, they might conceivably conclude in the third decade of this century.

The Last 100 Days That Weren't

Add it all up and you had a steamroller of beyond-ominous facts suggesting that Guantánamo would never shut down. As the last days of the Obama presidency approached, it seemed as if I were the only person left with any faith that our 44th president would keep his day-one promise before leaving office. At times, I found my own optimism disturbing, but I couldn’t give it up and, to be fair to myself, I wasn’t just stubbornly refusing to add to the negativity around me. There were reasons for my optimism, however Pollyanna-ish it might have been.

After all, it was obvious that Gitmo was utterly shutdownable. After a century of tackling issues related to national security, the federal courts were more than up to dealing with whatever was involved in such cases (despite the claims of congressional Republicans). There was never any excuse for Guantánamo. By the end of the Obama years, there had been federal prosecutions of nearly 500 individuals accused of terrorism, including both the perpetrators of lethal attacks and individuals who had trained with the al-Qaeda leadership, and unlike at Gitmo, federal courts had lawfully and effectively put the guilty behind bars.

Classified evidence had been handled in a way that disclosed no sensitive information and yet allowed public trials to proceed. Juries had been repeatedly convened without risk to their well being, while perfectly reasonable security measures had been taken to protect courtrooms and court officers. True, the federal courts had largely run away from dealing with the widespread abuse and torture of prisoners in the war on terror, but in the one case in which a Guantánamo detainee, tortured at a CIA black site, had come into federal court, a judge had ruled that evidence obtained through torture could not be introduced and the trial had nevertheless proceeded swiftly to its conclusion.

In addition, although habeas proceedings had been yielding ever fewer releases of Gitmo prisoners, the tempo of hearings elsewhere to determine whether such individuals could be cleared and freed without trial had speeded up radically. In 2011, President Obama had initiated periodic review boards meant to identify individual detainees who no longer (or, in a number of cases, had never) posed a danger for release.

Then, in the fall of 2015, he appointed Lee Wolosky as special envoy for Guantánamo closure, again raising my hopes. I knew Wolosky, a no-nonsense lawyer who had served on the national security councils of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and he seemed like the sort of man who would know how to broker the sensitive diplomatic deals that would get the job done. In fact, his work would result in the release to various willing countries of 75 prisoners, nearly 40% of the Gitmo population Obama had inherited. By the time he left office and Donald Trump entered it, the prison population had dwindled to 41: five prisoners cleared for release who still remained there when Wolosky went off the job; 10 military commissions cases; and 26 detainees whom Miami Herald journalist Carol Rosenberg aptly termed “forever prisoners” (to be held in indefinite detention because they were considered too dangerous for release and yet there wasn't enough evidence to bring them to trial).

One more factor seemed to speak in favor of the logic of the prison being closed: the financial piece of the puzzle. The price per prisoner of keeping Guantánamo open kept soaring with each successful transfer of detainees. When Obama first took office, with 174 detainees in custody, the government was spending $4 million per detainee annually. With 41 detainees remaining, the cost has shot up to nearly $11 million per prisoner per year. This seemed to be potentially the most convincing argument of all, but as it turned out, Congress was unfazed by the extraordinary expense. It mattered not at all that transferring such prisoners to, say, the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, where the most notorious terrorism convicts are commonly held, would have dropped that cost to approximately $78,000 per year.

And then there were those rumors that Obama might circumvent Congress entirely and simply close the prison by executive order. In fact, in February 2016 Congress rejected a closure plan submitted by the Pentagon and by July the Obama administration had decided not to pursue the option of an executive order to close the base.

Above all, I knew one thing: if Obama ever actually made that decision, especially with President-elect Donald Trump intent on keeping the place open, it could be done remarkably rapidly. As I’d found out while researching my book on Guantánamo’s early days, the military unit assigned to open Guantánamo Bay in January 2002 had been given only 96 hours to put together an initial facility consisting of open cages, interrogation huts, latrines, showers, and guard quarters, as well as food services, equipment, and telecommunications set-ups, most of which had to come from the mainland. There was no reason the prison couldn’t be similarly dismantled in a few days, especially since closure would initially only involve moving prisoners and guards, not taking apart the facility itself.

It was easy enough to imagine the steps to closure: speed up the review process; convince Congress that $11 million per prisoner was an unacceptable price tag; and yes, even perhaps swallow for the moment the idea of indefinite detention in the United States. Unfortunately, I wasn't the president.

A Utopian Op-Ed on Gitmo’s Closing

As it turned out, of course, the pessimists couldn’t have been more on target. On Inauguration Day, Gitmo was still open, awaiting a new president who seems determined to fill it up all over again, ensuring that in the rest of the world -- and the Islamic world in particular -- the United States would forever be associated with a place into whose DNA was etched abuse, torture, and injustice. The war on terror, the forever war, would now have its forever prisoners as well.

Today, Gitmo’s closure appears to be as inconceivable as shutting down the unending war on terror that birthed it. I will never, it seems, have the opportunity to compare the departure of its prisoners to their arrival, never be able to run that terrible film, that blot on our country, backwards. The legislative path is already being set for Gitmo to be eternally ours. In mid-February, 11 Republican senators wrote a letter requesting that President Trump suspend the periodic review boards and turn Guantánamo back into a prison that accepts detainees. (The last new detainee had been brought there in 2008, during the waning days of the presidency of George W. Bush.) Now, the new administration has reportedly identified its first potential new detainee in nine years.

It’s easy enough to see why this is a bad idea. The backlash in the Muslim world (and not only there) will be intense and long lasting. Even a number of top-ranking officials from the Bush administration have come to this conclusion, including President Bush himself who noted that Guantánamo “had become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.” Former CIA Director David Petraeus has similarly pointed out that “the existence of Gitmo has indeed been used by the enemy against us.” Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen noted that Guantánamo “has been a recruiting symbol for those extremists and jihadists who would fight us.” Emphasizing America’s “dismal reputation,” former Republican Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and James Baker joined their Democratic peers Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright in recommending its closure.

For 15 years, opponents of Guantánamo have insisted that its existence could change the character -- and destiny -- of the country. In its refusal to honor domestic, military, or international law, it has already opened the door to a new exceptionalist vision of the law. Unfortunately, Guantánamo is now a fixture of our landscape, as much an institution as new standards for the surveillance of American citizens, which means I may never get to write that piece about its last 100 days unless I resort to fiction.

If I did, I’d skip all the details about the prosaic negotiations that would undoubtedly have to go on to close it. Instead, in my vision, the old-fashioned spirit of American justice and law would simply rise up organically from the body politic and reframe Guantánamo as the place of sadness and shame that it's been from its earliest days.

What I’d write would be too succinct for even the shortest utopian novel. Think of it instead as the utopian op-ed that no paper will ever publish, the one in which the desire to be lawful and a deep belief that decency and security go hand in hand prevailed. In my utopian fantasy, in the world I fear I will never see, in the American world whose absence I mourn to this day, Guantánamo will be closed not because of calculations related to its cost or the inefficiency of its military commissions or even global realpolitik. It will be closed because it’s the only right thing to do. Otherwise there will be another set of forever prisoners -- and I’m not thinking about the future terror suspects that Donald Trump will send there, presumably forever. I’m thinking about us. For as long as Gitmo remains open, whether we know it or not, we’re imprisoned there, too, and so is the American way of life.

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and author of The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days. Her latest book is Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. She will never write The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s Last 100 Days. Rose Sheela and Elizabeth Hilton contributed research for this article.

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 Karen J. Greenberg

Remembering Berta Cáceres, Demanding Justice

The World Demands Justice for the Murder of Berta Cáceres

by MiningWatch Canada

March 2, 2017
(Montreal/Ottawa) On March 2, 2016, Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, an organizer with the Lenca people’s resistance in Honduras, was murdered despite security measures that she had been granted given the constant threats against her.

Artwork: Pat Perry

Today, in Ottawa, in response to the call from Berta’s family and her organization the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and in the context of dozens of actions around the world, there will be a commemoration of Berta’s life from 7-9 pm at the Friends’ House (Quaker Meeting House, 91A Fourth Ave).

We will reaffirm our commitment to never forget Berta, her analysis and her struggle, and to continue demanding that justice be done.

A year since her assassination, there have been various irregularities in the investigation into her case and the attempted murder of Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, sole survivor of the attack. Eight people have been arrested to date, including members of the Honduran army, retired military, and employees of the Development Energy Company S.A. (DESA), which owns the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project being carried out on Lenca territory without their consent. Berta Cáceres’ family, COPINH and Gustavo Castro have denounced the lack of transparency and evidence of manipulation during the investigation by government authorities. 

Berta Cáceres is not the only victim of brutal repression of social movement leaders in Honduras.

“Since the June 2009 coup, those who speak out against injustice and human rights violations in Honduras face increasing risks and ongoing threats,” states Félix Molina, Honduran journalist who reported on the work of Berta Cáceres and the Lenca people, and who survived two attempts on his life last year.

In January, Global Witness published a report finding that there have been more than 120 environmental activists killed since 2009, making Honduras the most dangerous country to carry out such work. On March 15, 2016, two weeks after Berta Cáceres was murdered, Nelson García, another leader of COPINH, was killed. Only months later, in October, the general coordinator of COPINH, Tomás Gómez Membreño, suffered an attempt on his life.

Considering this context, various Canadian civil society organizations are circulating a solidarity declaration in support of COPINH that denounces technical and financial support that Canada is providing to the Honduran Attorney General’s office, arguing that this helps legitimate the context of impunity in which human rights violations are taking place. There are at least two high level officials in the Attorney General’s office with connections to the approval of the Agua Zarca project.

Please sign and share the online solidarity declaration here.

“Impunity in Honduras is not a problem of technical capacity, but rather a political problem. Canada’s continuing support provides political backing to an institution that lacks the will to clarify the facts behind the murders taking place,” remarks Karen Spring, Tegucigalpa-based coordinator for the Honduras Solidarity Network.

It is important to note that Canada has given largely unquestioning support to post-coup governments in Honduras since the November 2009 elections, which were widely denounced as fraudulent in Honduras and internationally.

“The Canada Honduras Free Trade Agreement, ratified in 2014, is yet another powerful tool for foreign investors in the context of already highly asymmetrical and repressive conflicts. Canadian investment has a strong presence in the mining, energy, telecommunications and tourism sectors in Honduras, and has been linked with abuses and threats against human rights defenders in several cases,” says Jen Moore for MiningWatch Canada.

During this election year in Honduras, diverse groups and solidarity networks are organizing around the world to denounce impunity in the country and the role of financial institutions and foreign governments. In the U.S., legislators first presented the Berta Cáceres Human Rights Act in June 2016, which aims to cease U.S. funding to the armed forces and police in Honduras, as well as to mega-projects that violate human rights. It will be presented once again this week.

Find more information about today's event in Montreal here. Sign and share the online solidarity declaration here.

Today, we join with many others to say: Berta was not killed, she multiplied!

Ottawa: Jen Moore,
MiningWatch Canada

Montréal: Marie-Ève Marleau,
Comité por los Derechos Humanos en América Latina (CDHAL),

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Extra-Terrestrial: NOAA Expedition Captures "Cosmic" Jellyfish Video in Pacific

Stunning Footage of 'Cosmic' Jellyfish Captured in NOAA's Expedition

via RT

March 1, 2017

Researchers were exploring the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa through remotely operated vehicle video observations in order to study the animals in midwater “in an undisturbed manner”.

The beautiful creature is part of the Rhopalonematidae family and can usually be found deep in the ocean.

READ MORE: NOAA delivers stunning first satellite images of Earth (PHOTOS)
The animal’s translucent reproductive organs can be seen in bright yellow in the footage, along with its digestive system in red. Scientist believes its two sets of tentacles are for optimum feeding at 3,000 meters underwater.

A Pure Hatred Borne of Love: Alt-Right's Downright Dirty Devotion to Trump

Re: Messages from the Alt-Right

by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

March 1, 2017

The other day I wrote a brief post on my political blog that made the alt-right trolls very mad. Their responses — most so encrusted with hate and filth I had to delete them — were very instructive. (Oh, and they also vowed to “destroy my life” through doxxing — when they were not directly threatening to kill me.)

They came from various places in the US. (It is incredibly easy to track down these people, who believe they are hidden behind their ludicrous pseudonyms). A suburban house in a small town in New Jersey. Another in Pennsylvania. An apartment in rural Michigan. A high school in a small Texas town. A care home (!) in Pennsylvania. And so on. I also explored some of their comments on other sites, where they really let themselves go. So here’s what I learned from my direct encounter with the alt-right — the movement for which Steve Bannon proudly claims godfathership, and which we are continually encouraged to “engage” with in order to understand their “concerns.”

First, the alt-right is incredibly, relentlessly, vociferously anti-Semitic. I mean, they hate Jews with an absolutely virulent passion. You can’t even describe how much they hate Jews, and how much they talk about hating Jews. At the same time, they do support Israel — as long as Israel is killing Muslims. And, I suppose, as long as Israel is far away. But American Jews, European Jews — they constantly, actively call for them all to be exterminated. As one of my deleted commenters said: “We will not allow the Jewish elites to continue to exist.” Their hatred of Muslims — which is also pronounced, of course — is nothing compared to how much the alt-right hate Jews. I’m not exaggerating; I literally do not know how to convey the intensity of this hatred.

Second, the ferocity of their hatred for Jews is matched by the ferocity of their love for Trump. They feel incredibly empowered and liberated by Trump’s election. Again, it is hard to convey the intensity of their devotion. They believe, fervently — and, I think, rightly — that Trump has come to make their dreams come true, to enthrone the white race on high and cast down, root out, suppress, repress — and eliminate — other races, ethnicities and beliefs. They believe the 2018 elections will cement white nationalism in absolute power — and they are eagerly waiting the signal to begin attacking all the hated Others, all the “enemies of the state,” and all the “race traitors” — like me — who oppose their beloved Master. Again, I am not exaggerating; if anything, I’m underplaying the depth of their passion, which borders on the erotic, for Trump — and for the prospect of beating, bashing and killing people.

Now I know most of the people that I’ve come in contact with are still on the margins of American politics. (I think of the poor guy in the Pennsylvania care home, probably dealing with the ravages of age and physical ruin, sitting in his lonely bed pounding out fantasies of world conquest: a pathetic figure, really.) But I think it’s important to realize that these attitudes and tendencies are now wired directly into the heart of the most powerful military-intelligence-law enforcement complex in human history. And I think it’s also important to realize that there are many such people — millions of them — sitting in the suburbs and rural towns and high schools of America, gorging themselves on these virulent hatreds … and seeing themselves confirmed and affirmed and empowered by the President of the United States. I don’t think it’s something we can dismiss lightly.

Buying BC: Pipeline and Gas Companies Inflate BCLiberal Coffers

Gas industry pumps up BC Liberal election with $1M

by Wilderness Committee

March 1, 2017

VANCOUVER - Research from the Wilderness Committee has revealed shocking details of how, since the last provincial election, fracking, gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies have donated over one million dollars to the BC Liberals. Amid controversy over the role of political donations in BC democracy, the money injected into this election by the gas industry raises questions about the government’s ability to protect the environment.

“Here you have an industry that is poisoning our water, decimating the landscape and polluting the atmosphere, but the people charged to protect these public goods are instead playing cheerleaders for a massive expansion,” said Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner at the Wilderness Committee.

“When this kind of money is thrown around in our democracy, it’s the environment that ultimately pays the price.”

Donations to the BC Liberals from fracking, gas pipeline and LNG companies have totalled $1,007,456 since the last election. Twin donations on Feb. 8 of $15,000 from Spectra Energy and $4,500 from Woodfibre LNG put the total over the million dollar mark.

“This industry receives billions of dollars in provincial tax breaks and subsidies from the very government they're paying to elect,” said McCartney.

“As someone who cares about the climate, that's depressing, but as someone who pays their taxes that's infuriating.”

When the government has a million dollar backing from an industry, local concerns struggle to be heard.

“We see time and time again this government side with frackers and LNG companies over the people they represent,” said McCartney.

“All this money in our politics sooner or later costs local communities and the global climate.”

Donations include $338,041 from Encana, one of the largest fracking players in BC’s northeast, and $114,540 from Chevron, which has a 50 per cent stake in Kitimat LNG. Other donations include $63,500 from Woodfibre LNG, who let Premier Christy Clark announce their final investment decision in November 2016.


For Immediate Release -
For more information, please contact:

Peter McCartney | Climate Campaigner, Wilderness Committee

Raw Deal: BC Timber Giants Shutter Mills While Keeping Public Forest Tenure

Forest industry – new ideas or old dogmas?

by Peter Ewart - 250 News

March 1, 2017

More and more logs are going to be shipped out of Timber Supply Areas in the Interior of BC as more and more mills are shut down. That was the message communicated last week by Dave Peterson, Assistant Deputy Minister, from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.

Peterson was speaking on a panel at the annual Conference of Association of BC Forest Professionals in Prince George which included representatives from the largest forest companies in the province, Michael Armstrong of COFI and Rick Jeffrey of the Coast Forest Products Association.

Essentially, all three panelists are saying the same thing. Nothing can be done about the large forest companies continuing to hold on to timber rights even after they shut down mills. Workers, First Nations, small and medium businesses, and communities will just have to live with the situation of logs being shipped out. Optimizing and maintaining the supply chain for the big forest companies is paramount.

But Interior communities such as Fort Nelson and Merritt think quite differently. In recent years, both have had mills shut down while logs are shipped out. And they have spoken out strongly against this practice.

For example, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality issued a statement at the end of last year about how the Municipality is “experiencing the downside of BC’s forest tenure system.” The statement explains how “changes to the BC Forest Act in 2003 … removed ‘mill appurtenancy’ provisions that required Forest License holders to process wood in the area where it was harvested.” Specifically, this change has rendered “collateral damage” on many small communities in the province and “threatens their economic sustainability”1.

In a resolution last year submitted to the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce asked the question:

“Should companies holding forest tenures be allowed to simply walk away from the facilities they operate in communities and forest districts where tenures are held? Given the high number of mill closures, the continued export of unprocessed logs (whether out of the country or out of community) and declines in value-added manufacturing, a review of forest policy in British Columbia is inarguably justified”2.

And then there is the issue of forest companies like Canfor, West Fraser and Interfor setting up dozens of mill operations in the Southern US while closing mills in BC. Again the message from government and the big companies is that nothing can be done about this practice. But why is that so? Shouldn’t the added value created from BC forests and BC workers be put back into BC industry and communities as first priority rather than exported to some foreign jurisdiction?

It is a similar situation with the export of raw logs from BC. For example, 26 million cubic metres of raw logs were exported from BC since 2013. As Ben Parfitt, from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives points out, “no previous B.C. government has sanctioned such a high level of raw-log exports on its watch or been so mute about the consequences”3.

The world is changing. Globalized corporations increasingly dominate the forest industry and other industries in Canada and around the world. But broad sections of people, including workers, Indigenous nations, small and medium businesses, contractors and resource-based communities as a whole, are being left out in the cold. This is happening not only in Canada but also in wide regions of the US as was evidenced by some of the issues that rose to the fore in the US presidential election regarding trade agreements, loss of manufacturing jobs, and other related issues.

However, the highest levels of government and big corporations in the province claim that nothing can be done. But is this true? Or is it another example of dogma and ossified thinking? Are there other alternatives?

As the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality points out, “mill appurtenancy” used to play an important role in economic sustainability for Interior communities. Indeed, requiring companies to process logs in or near the communities where they were harvested was important for province building in the 20th century. Should the BC government have thrown out that policy completely as it did back in 2003?

Why not engage communities in discussion about how a new form of appurtenancy could be brought into being that takes into account the changed conditions of today in terms of timber supply and other factors? Or to put it another way: why not institute new policies that would have the same effect as appurtenancy and ensure that communities, forests and the forest industry itself are sustainable? And the same applies to other issues. Why not communities having more control over forest tenure? Why not more value added industries?

Science, technology and research today are opening up the potentiality of wood to create literally thousands of new products from fabrics and pharmaceuticals to fuels, plastics, and new structural materials – all of these from a wonderful renewable resource. It is both bizarre and ironic that, while this multitude of possibilities is opening up for wood, the possibilities for BC forests (some of the richest and most diverse in the world) appear to be shrinking and narrowing. Unfortunately, dogma and ossified thinking tend to bring that about.

In this globalized world, we need new ways of thinking and new ways of empowering communities. Not old dogmas.

Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at:

1. Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. “Change and innovation to BC’s forest tenure system.” Fort Nelson, BC. November 15, 2016.
2. British Columbia Chamber of Commerce. “Proposed resolutions manual – 2016.”
3. Parfitt, Ben. “Raw logs and lost jobs: How the BC government has sacrificed forest communities.” The Tyee. February 27, 2017.

Trump Billions Proposed for Pentagon All Politics

Col. Wilkerson: Trump's Proposed $54 Billion Increase in the Military Budget Not for National Security


February 28, 2017

Larry Wilkerson tells Paul Jay that a massive increase in military spending is a disastrous policy, intended to serve the commercial interest of the military industrial complex, and the cuts to pay for it, are coming from all the wrong places.

Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making." 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Robert J. Sawyer, David Swanson, Janine Bandcroft March 1, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

February 28, 2017

Just because you can't believe something doesn't make it fiction. You may wish Donald Trump was never elected, and be clinging to the desperate notion the last forty two days are just a prolonged bad dream; rub your eyes, pinch your arm, and give your head a shake now, because this in no nightmare, it is real life, and it's just the beginning!

But how, you may ask, did this unforeseen, unforeseeable turn of events come to pass? How!?

Well, perhaps you weren't paying attention. Perhaps you just failed to notice the inexorable, determined disintegration of Western civilization. Sliding a bit with every delusional press release; inching nearer the abyss one drone strike at a time.

Listen. Hear.

If it makes you feel any better, not everyone was surprised.

Robert J. Sawyer makes a living inventing fantastic stories. The Canadian science fiction superstar is one of only eight writers to have bagged Sci-fi's triple crown, winning each of the Hugo, Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Awards for best novel.

Described as the "Dean of Canadian science fiction," Sawyer is also recipient of the first-ever Humanism in the Arts Award from Humanist Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada, the Hal Clement Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

Sawyer's 23 novels have featured regularly at the top of Canadian best-sellers lists and he was named by publishing trade journal Quill & Quire, one of "the thirty most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing." Sawyer's latest novel, 'Quantum Night' predicted the rise of a populist mad-man to America's highest office; a feat in art nature determined to imitate.

Robert J. Sawyer in the first half.

And; my second guest asks, "Can Canada Get Out of the War Business?" Probably not as long as Canadians entertain the comfortable collective notion of themselves as meek and mild do-gooders on the global stage; the nation everyone wants most to both be like, and have as a best friend. The truth is a little darker than a northern winter, and it's past time to spotlight the real role we play in the World.

David Swanson is a peace and political justice activist, journalist, radio host, and author whose book titles include: 'War No More: The Case for Abolition,' 'When the World Outlawed War,' 'War Is a Lie,' and 'The Military Industrial Complex at 50' among others. He's a past Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, director of, campaign coordinator for, and blogs at and David also hosts Talk Nation Radio.

David Swanson and endin' Canada's wicked, warrin' ways in the second half.

And; CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft, and/or horticulturalist extraordinaire, Christina Nikolic will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Newsletter, bringing us up to speed with some of what's good going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, stepping into a Trump twilight zone with Robert J. Sawyer and a Quantum Night.

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:

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.