Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saudi's Heavy Hand Boosts Hezbollah Resistance and Hariri Support

Saudi's 'War on Lebanon' Backfires 


November 11, 2017

The standoff between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia is escalating in the aftermath of the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Lebanon has effectively declared war against it and ordered all Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon immediately. On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Saudi Arabia is holding Hariri against his will in a bid to exploit internal divisions and weaken the Lebanese state. Nasrallah's comments come one day after the US State Department fueled speculation about Hariri's status, refusing to say whether he is being detained in Saudi Arabia.

After being accused of forcing him to resign, Saudi Arabia's apparent detention of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has boosted support for Hezbollah, says author and professor Amal Saad

Can Congress Save the World? Convening on Climate Change

Hidden Dangers Lurking Behind the Scenes at Congressional Hearings on Cloud Seeding

by Robert Hunziker - Dissident Voice

November 10th, 2017 

OMG! Congress held hearings recently on geo-engineering techniques to stop the evils of global warming. Whew! The irony is absolutely fantastically mind-boggling, a real knee-slapper. Think about the paradox as Dr. James Hansen, the top climate scientist of NASA at the time warned Congress of the dangers of anthropogenic global warming way back in 1988, and it resulted in a major New York Times headline “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”

So, Congress has had 30 years to ruminate the global warming warning, never seriously addressing possible fixes, like conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a nationwide program, kinda like the Marshall Plan, which if started back then, we’d be closer to out of the woods today and closer to 100% renewable energy. But, back in the day Congress could only see their way to make the Space Station 100% solar-powered, hmm.

However, now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, meaning global warming/climate change is so real as to be the prevailing narrative, they’ve belatedly decided to hold hearings on how to put toothpaste back into a tube. Dr. James Hansen must be chuckling, maybe crying, maybe on his hands and knees in a rage of demonic laughter, who knows?

This story is full of irony like the most-absurdity award of all time. It’s also somewhat of an insult to the intelligence of serious scientist that worked on the global warming quagmire ever since the Great Anthropogenic Warming Warning of 1988. After all, Congress has flipped the bird at science all these years, denialism at its most potent. Even worse yet, nowadays science is totally demonized. Are we back in the Middle Ages?

Here’s the scoop: The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology recently held hearings on the potential for geo-engineering, or human-induced influence over the atmosphere to cool things down a bit, or maybe try to pull carbon out of the atmosphere instead of emitting it into the atmosphere like a house afire.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, how in the world is it possible, even remotely possible, to hold hearings about combating global warming by a Congress that has so steadfastly failed to recognize it in the first instance. They’re deniers! Aren’t they? Why are they worried about climate change all of a sudden? From an outside observer’s viewpoint, it’s kinda like watching the worst episode of The Twilight Zone, over and over, again and again, until a migraine splits one’s head wide open.

As one might suspect, there’s a hook: According to the NYT article “We Can Brighten Clouds to Reflect Heat and Reduce Global Warming. But Should We?” McClatchy DC Bureau, d/d November 8, 2017, here’s what Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who chairs the house committee, claims:

“As climate continues to change, geo-engineering could be a tool to curb resulting impacts… Instead of forcing unworkable and costly government mandates on the American people, we should look to technology and innovation to lead the way to address climate change.” (Notice the careful wording, never a mention of global warming, especially anthropogenic.)

As a consequence of those hearings, just imagine the activity in the halls of Congress: Representatives slapping each other on the back and teething big fat unlit cigars soaked wet drooling down chins, as a solution to public criticism of their pathetic denialism is at hand. Long live fossil fuels! If the committee can somehow demonstrate man-made solutions to curb the curses of global warming, which they’ve never recognized in the first place, then Congress has reason to continue, forever and forever more, their massive fossil fuel subsidy giveaways, and lots of payola along the way (oops, probably shouldn’t have mentioned that last item).

On second thought, maybe the cynicism of this article is too heavy-handed, but on the other hand, the big question mark remains: Why are climate deniers, meaning members of Congress, suddenly entertaining geo-engineering techniques to offset the dangers of global warming? What’s Up? Time and again over the past three decades, they’ve claimed no belief in anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.

Of course, the answer is found in the cynicism that motivated this article in the first place, which is: It’s a dream come true for congressional climate deniers. Now they have an excuse for the administration pulling out of the Paris climate accords and a rationale, even though paltry, for abject failure to address the issue over the past three decades. Who needs international accords or national policies to fix something when there is no risk to using fossil fuels till the cows come home? Answer: Fix “climate change” with geo-engineering. If this rationale seems too far out in left field, it pales in comparison to how far out of touch Congress has been to the global warming threat for endless decades.

Well, there is an unfortunate twist to the geo-engineering solution, as geo-engineering is still experimental. And, it’s a massive undertaking, literally as large as the planet itself, and nobody can say with certainty that it works, that it does not have nasty unintended consequences, that it solves the underlying problem of spewing too much CO2 into the atmosphere. In that regard, in all likelihood, it may be no more than a gigantic Band-Aid at best. The thing is, nobody really knows the outcome, nobody, absolutely nobody. It’s an experiment, period.

The experts that appeared before the congressional committee talked about cloud brightening by adding particles to clouds to reflect sunlight back into outer space, which, of course, is exactly what the icy Arctic itself has done for eons, until global warming melted its icy cap down to toddler size. The geo-engineering proposal utilizes high-powered nozzles to spray “saltwater droplets” onto the clouds, but the initial testing of that methodology proved difficult, if not impossible, because of corrosive properties burning through titanium and even burning through diamond. And, the experimentation continues.

They also talked about stratospheric aerosol geo-engineering putting reflective particles in the upper atmosphere, maybe using “calcium carbonate,” which is non-toxic. However, accomplishing such a major feat remains a very big unsolved puzzle. And, there are plenty of critics who fear unintended consequences, whatever those may be, and how could anyone know ahead of time?

Still, the very fact that a congressional committee entertained the idea of combating global warming is a real mind-blow, like coming off an acid trip, reconnecting with reality, everything seems kinda fuzzy. As the world slowly comes back into focus, it’s discovered that Congress is actively looking into geo-engineering techniques that hopefully stop the planet from runaway over-heating thereby spoiling the big party of record stock prices and neoliberal growth, ad-infinitum.

Meanwhile, the big picture event swirling around the global warming nexus continues: From Tokyo to Paris to Silicon Valley scientists and engineers in private settings are investigating solutions to the global warming threat, and geo-engineering is the preferred course of action. It’s believed that human intelligence is truly boundless, almost deific, in pursuit of technological miracles, similar to registered successes with the Internet and the Moonshot and maybe Mars.

But, whether the global warming quandary is bigger than all knowledge of science and engineering remains a very big question mark. Indeed, it is the biggest question mark of all time as well as the biggest threat since T-Rex bit the dust.

Along the way, wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if Congress really truly cared, even though belatedly and delinquently late to the upcoming World’s Biggest Weenie Roast of all time? Don’t count on it.

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at:
Read other articles by Robert.

Friday, November 10, 2017

When the Rubber Hits the Road: Trump Blinks on MH17 Story

The MH17 Information War – In the End Trump Blinked

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

November 10, 2017

It’s possible Donald Trump meant the little he has said about who was responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014. If he did, he didn’t mean it for long. If he didn’t mean what he said, with the retrospect of two years that comes as no surprise.

On MH17 there’s now no difference between former President Barack Obama, defeated presidential rival Hillary Clinton, and Trump.
Key to the lead images and the interview segments:
1 = Trump in October 2015 at Minute 0:32; 2 = Billy Six,
Min. 0:51; 3 = Elmar Giemulla, Min. 1:34; 4 = Joost Niemoller,
Min. 3:33; 5 = Christopher Black, Min. 4:38; 6 = John Helmer, Min. 7:30.

Trump has done nothing to answer with the evidence at the disposal of the incumbent president what the US Government knows about who and what shot down the aircraft, killing all 298 people aboard.

A year ago, independent German journalist Billy Six prepared a letter to Trump signed by an international group of reporters and lawyers. Read it in full here.

The letter reminded Trump what he had said on US television network MSNBC on October 10, 2015, when he was campaigning for election. He was asked “if you were president, would you hold President Putin and Russia accountable.” Trump replied:

“They say it wasn’t them. It may have been their weapon, but they didn’t use it, they didn’t fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you’ll probably never know for sure.”

At the time Trump said this, it was Obama Administration policy and official rationale for the escalation of sanctions against Russia in July 2014 to blame Russia, including President Vladimir Putin personally, for the destruction of MH17. The letter asked Trump as president to order a new internationally credible investigation, and to release the classified US satellite evidence the Obama Administration said it had.

Four of the signers have now been filmed in interview with Billy Six analyzing what Trump hasn’t done in office to remedy the holes in the official Dutch Government reports, which remain the accepted version of the western media.

 Watch the film by clicking here.

Genetically Modified You: Toxic Glyphosate Load Skyrockets Say Researchers

Exposure to Glyphosate, Chemical Found in Weed Killers, Increased Over 23 Years 

by Yadira Galindo - UC San Diego

October 24, 2017

Analyzing samples from a prospective study, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that human exposure to glyphosate, a chemical widely found in weed killers, has increased approximately 500 percent since the introduction of genetically modified crops.

“The data compares excretion levels of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid in the human body over a 23-year time span, starting in 1993, just before the introduction of genetically modified crops into the United States,” said Paul J. Mills, PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor of Family Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health.

Glyphosate is a key ingredient in the herbicide brand Roundup. Use of this herbicide has increased approximately 15-fold since 1994, when genetically modified “Roundup Ready” glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced. Historically, it is used on genetically modified soy and corn, but it is also sprayed on a substantial portion of wheat and oats grown in the U.S., said Mills.

“Our exposure to these chemicals has increased significantly over the years but most people are unaware that they are consuming them through their diet.”

In a paper published in the journal JAMA on October 24, Mills and a team of researchers compared urine excretion levels of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in 100 people living in a Southern California community who provided samples during five clinic visits that took place between 1993 to 1996 and 2014 to 2016. Samples were extracted from the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging (RBS), a prospective population-based investigation started by Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a co-author of the study.

“What we saw was that prior to the introduction of genetically modified foods, very few people had detectable levels of glyphosate,” said Mills.
“As of 2016, 70 percent of the study cohort had detectable levels.”

Of study participants with detectable amounts of these chemicals, the mean level of glyphosate increased from 0.203 µg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.449 µg/L in 2014-2016. The mean level of AMPA went from 0.168 µg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.401µg/L in 2014 to 2016.

In July, glyphosate was listed by California as a carcinogen. As exposure to this chemical has increased, interest in how much risk it poses to human health and what exposure levels are safe has become a topic of ongoing debate.

There are few human studies on the effects of glyphosate, but animal studies demonstrate that chronic exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides can have adverse effects, said Mills. The authors point to other studies in which consistently feeding animals an ultra-low dosage of glyphosate resulted in liver disorders similar to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in humans.

Mills said there is an urgent need for studies to thoroughly examine the impact on human health of the increasing exposure to glyphosate from the foods people eat.

The Herbicide Awareness & Research Project , an ongoing UC San Diego research program through which individuals can get their glyphosate level determined, will be looking more deeply into the RBS study to examine potential longitudinal associations with glyphosate exposure and clinically-relevant outcomes.

“The public needs to be better informed of the potential risks of the numerous herbicides sprayed onto our food supply so that we can make educated decisions on when we need to reduce or eliminate exposure to potentially harmful compounds,” said Mills.

Co-authors include: Izabela Kania-Korwel, John Fagan, Linda K. McEvoy, and Gail A. Laughlin, UC San Diego.
This research was funded, in part, by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA021187), National Institute on Aging (AG028507, AG007181), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK31801), Solomon Dutka Fund, Caroline Young Foundation, Westreich Foundation.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Saudi Palace Coup and Where's Hariri?

Marwa Osman Reports on the Saudi Purge

by James Corbett - The Corbett Report

November 8, 2017

The Lebanese Prime Minister has “resigned” on Saudi tv. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has rounded up a dozen other princes in the House of Saud in a startling move that threatens to upset the kingdom. Reports that King Salman will step aside for the crown prince abound. What on earth is happening?

Joining us to help sort through the rubble of this incredible week is Marwa Osman, a political analyst and commentator in Beirut.

Priti Pink-Slipped: Tory Minister Canned for Al-Qaeda Lobbying

Priti Patel Resigns - Israel Lobby Mourns The Loss Of A Valuable British Asset

by Moon of Alabama

November 9, 2017

A British Minister of Hindu heritage was fired after it emerged that she secretly met Israeli officials in Israel and elsewhere without informing the Foreign Office.

Back in Britain she then tried to arrange additional finances for Israel's arming of al-Qaeda in the Golan heights. The affair shines light on the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby on British politics.

Priti Patel was International Development Secretary, responsible for British aid to various countries and organizations. She is a Thatcherite Conservative, a vocal supporter of Britain's exit from the European Union and of Hindu fascism in India:

She has been a strong cheerleader of the Narendra Modi government, publicly praising a number of its policies including demonetisation.

In August Patel went on a "family holiday" to Israel. Instead of enjoying the beach she met dozens of Israeli officials from Prime Minister Netanyahoo down to the heads of Zionist aid organizations. She was shepherded by one Lord Polak, a long time Israel lobbyist in British politics. Polak accompanied her to every meeting. None of these were disclosed to the British Embassy, the Foreign Office or Downing Street. Cabinet rules demand that all such meetings are coordinated and briefed through these official channels.

Stuart Polak is a major character in Zionist lobbying in Britain:

Ennobled by David Cameron two years ago, Lord Polak is a veteran of Westminster’s corridors of power. He has taken literally hundreds of Tory MPs to Israel over the years, educating them about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and securing their support in parliamentary votes and the public arena.

Under his guidance, CFI became the biggest lobbying group in Westminster, holding lunches for 700 guests, making countless Downing Street visits, and developing contacts throughout Israel and the Middle East.

Polak fled when the media tried to question him about his Israel visit arrangements for Patel.

One of Patel's meetings was at an army hospital in the Israel occupied Syrian Golan heights where the Israeli military patches up al-Qaeda Jihadis which were wounded while fighting the Syrian government. Only last week the Israeli army in the occupied Golan supported a murderous attack of al-Qaeda Jihadis on the Syrian Druze village of Hader in the Quneitra area. The Jihadis in the Golan are surrounded by Syrian government forces. Their only supply line is through Israel occupied land. Druze in Israel who protested against the attack were arrested.

Back in Britain Priti Patel asked her department to move British aid money from Palestinian causes to the Israeli military operation in the occupied Golan. (Funny how the Guardian in its wrap-up fails to mention that point ...)

Additionally to her busy holiday, Priti Patel had two other meetings with Israeli officials which she similarly did not disclose.

When it became clear yesterday that Priti Patel's behavior would cost her her job, the British Zionist lobby launched a rescue attempt. Based on anonymous sources the Jewish Chronicle claimed that Prime Minister May had been informed about two of the meetings and had ordered Patel to not disclose them:

Number 10 instructed Development Secretary Priti Patel not to include her meeting with the Israel foreign ministry official Yuval Rotem in New York on 18 September in her list of undisclosed meetings with Israelis which was published on Monday, the JC has learned.

Downing Street immediately denied the claim and no other source backed it up. The blackmail attempt failed. The Jewish Chronicle also was at the forefront of the slander campaign that tried to smear the British labor leader Corbyn as anti-semite.

The Independent notes about the Patel affair:

[T]here is another point about all those meetings which Patel helpfully, if belatedly, detailed in her apologetic statement on Monday: their remarkable one-sidedness. Patel heads a department which has a long history of humanitarian and development funding for Palestinians. Indeed she has taken a close interest in that funding, going so far as to announce a review last year which has already resulted in notable cuts of some £17m. This includes, to the widespread dismay of NGOs, cuts in funding to Gaza, where humanitarian and economic conditions are generally agreed to be at their direst ever.

Cutting aid money to a devastated Gaza while handing it to the Israeli occupation army that supports Takfiris fighting Syria is beyond the already extreme British Zionist sculduggeries.

Prime Minister May is herself a strong Zionist. She recently celebrated the Balfour declaration in which, a hundred years ago, the British empire promised land it did not own to a people that did not exit at the cost of the owners and inhabitants of that very land. That promise, handed to a very influential Jewish banker, opened new credit lines for the British war against Germany. It also reinforced lobbying efforts in the U.S. for entering the war on the British side. May asked the British people to feel "pride" for the treacherous paper and completely ignored the devastation it caused for the Palestinian people:

The Israelis will be celebrating – and why not, for it set Britain’s seal on the future Israeli state in Palestine. Perhaps Israel would not have been created without it. But the fearful suffering and tragedy of the Palestinian refugees which was to follow in the coming years suggest that the Balfour letter – through its very wording – was certain to create a terrible wrongdoing which to this day curses the place we used to call the Holy Land.

In January AlJazeera broadcasted an in depth investigation on the Zionist lobby in Britain. It proved that the lobby is directed by and its slander campaigns run from Israel's embassy in London.

Peter Oborne and James Jones just published a long paper on The pro-Israel lobby in Britain. They find:

The Friends of Israel groups in the House of Commons have firmly established themselves in the interstices of British political life. Their heavy presence at party conferences is taken for granted, their lunches and dinners an ingrained part of the Westminster social scene, the donations a vital part of the political financing. An environment now exists where MPs and ministers feel cautious about criticizing the foreign policy of the Israeli state, wary of opening themselves to criticism on the home front.
While this pro-Israel lobbying is lawful, it is emphatically not transparent. We have shown in this pamphlet that journalists very rarely declare their [Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre] funded trips to Israel. We have also shown how patterns of donations from [Conservative Friends of Israel] members to Tory candidates are sometimes opaque.

Indeed, the financial structure of the CFI as a whole is obscure.
A similar observation applies to other pro-Israel pressure groups. While BICOM’s work is entirely legitimate, it is by no means transparent. They never declare, for example, which journalists go on trips and who they meet.

Oborne and Jones also find that the Israel lobby does not reflect the opinion and values of British Jews. It is an extremely right-wing syndicate arranged to disguise its sources of money and the foreign interests involved in it.

The Zionist lobby in Britain is vicious. It operates in the dark and hides its financing. This affair removes the curtain it uses to hide its malicious influence. It does not welcome the disinfecting sunlight this affair shines on it and is mourning the loss of its valuable asset.

Priti Patel has been removed as a minister but is still a conservative Member of Parliament. The new revelations about her and the sinister powers influencing her will hopefully convince the British voters to finally kick her out.

Trumping the Arctic: "Drill Baby, Drill" Back in the Far North

Drilling, Drilling, Everywhere... Will the Trump Administration Take Down the Arctic Refuge?

by Subhankar Banerjee - TomDispatch

November 9, 2017   

What happens in the Arctic doesn’t just stay up north. It affects the world, as that region is the integrator of our planet’s climate systems, atmospheric and oceanic.

At the moment, the northernmost places on Earth are warming at more than twice the global average, a phenomenon whose impact is already being felt planetwide.

Welcome to the world of climate breakdown -- and to the world of Donald Trump.

Porcupine River caribou migrating to the coastal plain
for calving, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Photograph by Subhankar Banerjee, 2002

The set of climate feedbacks contributing to further warming in the Arctic are about to be aided and abetted by President Trump, his Interior Department, and a Republican-controlled Congress. The impact of their decisions will be experienced around the world.

Tomgram: Subhankar Banerjee, The Destruction of a Vast Transnational Nursery?
Back in May 2013, a word came to mind that I wanted to see in all our vocabularies. It wasn’t the ever-present “terrorist” but “terrarist” and I meant it to describe people intent on destroying the planetary environment that had welcomed and nurtured so many species, including our own, for so long; in other words, human beings willing to commit “terracide.” I had in mind the CEOs of the biggest energy companies, the ones whose scientists understood global warming perfectly well decades ago and who still were ready to put their corporate money into supporting climate denialism. At the time I wrote:

“If the oil execs aren’t terrarists, then who is? And if that doesn’t make the big energy companies criminal enterprises, then how would you define that term? To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?”

Of course, that was in the good old days before Donald Trump and his cronies filled a whole administration to the tipping point with so-called climate skeptics and outright climate-change denialists. And this continues to happen, even as one report or study after another confirms that humanity and its fossil fuels are heating the planet at a remarkable rate and filling its atmosphere with carbon dioxide at a record pace. In the end, Trump and his crew may prove to be the biggest collection of criminals -- in terms of harm to this world -- ever. And it should be considered a historical irony (of sorts) that, on this issue, the Republicans, once the American party of the environment, are with them all the way.

If you want an example of what this means in practice, take Donald Trump’s secretary of the interior, former Montana Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke. In June, he addressed the American Petroleum Institute’s board of directors at Washington's Trump International Hotel (on the very day his department announced plans to get rid of an Obama era regulation on payments for drilling and mining on federal land) and he also chartered a plane owned by oil and gas execs at a cost of $12,000 to American taxpayers for a domestic trip that would have cost $300 commercially; meanwhile, he’s been doing everything in his power to open up America’s protected areas to energy exploitation, shrink the boundaries of such areas, slash the Park Service budget meant to protect them, and even make them more expensive for ordinary Americans to visit. And if you think that’s a mouthful of a run-on sentence, it only begins to hint at where this administration is heading with its energy fantasies about how this planet should operate. As TomDispatch regular Subhankar Banerjee, an expert on Alaska’s Arctic lands and seas, points out today, no previously protected spot is likely to be spared such attention. In this context, think of the Trump White House as the Exxon Valdez of administrations and a group of terrarists all rolled into one. Tom 

Drilling, Drilling, Everywhere... Will the Trump Administration Take Down the Arctic Refuge?

by Subhankar Banerjee


While the United States is still recovering from the deaths, suffering, and devastation caused by extreme hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as historically deadly wildfires across the West, Trump’s Department of the Interior is preparing a five-year strategic plan that never once mentions climate change or climate science. It does, however, plan to open previously protected public lands of all sorts to the increased exploitation of fossil fuels -- and Arctic Alaska is anything but exempt.

“Alaska [is] open for business,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told a cheering crowd at an Alaska Oil and Gas Association conference in Anchorage earlier this year. The secretary was visiting as part of a presidential mandate to “prepare our country to be energy dominant” -- even though the U.S. has been the largest global producer of oil and gas since 2012 and, in this era, has often been referred to as “Saudi America.” What that energy-dominance slogan signals is nothing short of the beginning of a war against environmental conservation, justice, and the planet as a welcoming habitat for all life.

“The only path for energy dominance is a path through the great state of Alaska,” Zinke assured the Anchorage audience. What he evidently wants to do is sell off the most ecologically and culturally significant places in the state to Big Oil. On the sacrifice block is a long endangered stretch of public land, Area 1002, or the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a biological nursery of global significance and a place sacred to the indigenous Gwich’in Nation. Like her father, also a Republican senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski is championing the task of opening the refuge to drilling by abusing the filibuster-proof budget process rather than debating this controversial issue as stand-alone legislation in Congress.

I first visited the Arctic Refuge in March 2001, spending a never-to-be-forgotten 14 months there during which, among so many other remarkable sights, I watched a polar bear mother playing with her two cubs outside their den in the Canning River Delta. As sea ice in the region continues to rapidly disappear, thanks to accelerating global warming, and as species like the polar bear that once used that sea ice as a primary denning habitat struggle for survival, the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge becomes increasingly significant as a land-denning habitat. And keep in mind that it’s a place that harbors the highest density of onshore polar bear dens in Alaska. Any seismic exploration and drilling activities in the refuge are expected to severely affect those bears. (Seismic exploration is the process by which subsurface deposits of fossil fuels and minerals are detected by using shock waves.)

On that first visit to the refuge, I witnessed caribou from the Porcupine River herd giving birth around our tent. Nearly 200,000 of them migrate more than 1,500 miles annually from their wintering habitats to the south to their calving grounds on the coastal plain and back again, the longest land migration of any mammal on Earth. In the summer months, I had difficulty sleeping because the sun quite literally never sets and birds sing around the clock. More than 90 species of them migrate from five continents and all 50 states to nest and rear their young on that coastal plain. No wonder the Gwich’in people call it “the sacred place where life begins.” 

A Vast Transnational Nursery

“Saddle up, it’s going to be a tough fight, but we come from survivors, we come from warriors,” Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee wrote in a Facebook post, as she faced the increasingly grim Trumpian future that seems to be in store for the preserve. To understand the situation she and her people find themselves in, join me on a brief journey into what might be called multispecies justice.

On December 6, 1960, after a decade-long campaign by conservationists George Collins, Lowell Sumner, and Olaus and Mardy Murie, among others, Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton signed Public Land Order 2214 setting aside 8.9 million acres in northeast Alaska as the Arctic National Wildlife Range. Its purpose: “preserving unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values.” Twenty years later, the “range” was renamed a “refuge” and more than doubled in size as part of the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act, or ANILCA, signed into law on December 2, 1980, by President Jimmy Carter. Protecting the habitat of the Porcupine River caribou herd was a crucial focus of the conservationists who helped create the refuge.

Just as the original refuge was being established, the Gwich’in were beginning their own advocacy for the protection of the caribou. “Our people have been raising concerns about the impact of development on the caribou since the sixties,” Gwich’in elder and activist Sarah James of Arctic Village told me during my visit to Alaska last month.

Jonathon Solomon from Fort Yukon, who would later become one of the most influential indigenous activists in Alaska, founded Gwichyaa Gwich'in Ginkhe (“people of the flat speak”) to fight a proposed dam on the Yukon River, which would have flooded 10 indigenous villages on the Yukon Flats. He also advocated for the animals whose habitats the dam might damage or destroy, including caribou, salmon, and waterfowl. In 1967, the project was shelved and in 1980, as part of ANILCA, the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge was established adjacent to the Arctic Refuge. This represented a major victory for the indigenous people and the conservationists who had united in defense of environmental justice. Without them, there would have been a mud-banked reservoir the size of Lake Erie and 10 indigenous villages under hundreds of feet of water, with salmon migrations blocked, and the loss of one of North America’s most productive waterfowl nesting areas.

In the early 1970s, a major Arctic pipeline project was proposed to carry natural gas from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields across the Arctic coastal plain to the Mackenzie River Delta, and from there south to Alberta, Canada. “Our people were very concerned about the potential impact on the caribou as the pipeline would traverse their birthing grounds in the Arctic Refuge and in Canada,” Sarah James told me. Jonathon Solomon helped organize opposition in the villages of the region. In his 1977 report, Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland, the influential Canadian jurist Thomas Berger recommended that “no pipeline be built and no energy corridor be established across the Northern Yukon.”

Berger further advocated for the establishment of a national park in the region, one in which the “native people must continue to have the right to hunt, fish, and trap.” His proposal prevailed. The pipeline was never built and, in 1984, in line with the land claims of the Inuvialuit people, a Northern Yukon National Park was established adjacent to the Arctic Refuge. In 1992, it was renamed Ivvavik National Park.

In the Inuvialuktun language, Ivvavik means “nursery” or “birthplace.” Fran Mauer, a retired wildlife biologist who has studied the caribou and worked for 21 years in the Arctic Refuge, explained to me that the Porcupine River herd uses the coastal plain that stretches across Alaska and the northern Yukon as one large birthplace and nursery. Any oil and gas development in that protected plain on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, however, would endanger the herd’s survival and so the way of life of the Gwich’in, who have always called themselves “the caribou people.” As a map prepared by the Gwich’in Steering Committee indicates, the habitat of the caribou overlaps their own traditional homeland of 15 villages spread across Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest territories. They depend on that vast herd for nutritional, cultural, and spiritual sustenance. Their map is an exemplary depiction of multispecies justice in which the border between the two countries is no more than a dotted line.

In 1995, based on Gwich’in land claims in Yukon, Canada, one more refuge, Vuntut National Park, was established adjacent to both Ivvavik National Park and the Arctic Refuge. Following a recent Senate vote that could portend the future opening of the refuge to Big Oil, Chief Bruce Charlie of the Vuntut Gwitchin (People of the Lakes) First Nation said, “Our mandate from our elders is to permanently protect the sacred calving grounds on the coastal plain of the refuge, and we will not stop our fight until that is achieved and our human rights are respected.” In this spirit, he and his compatriots urge us to set aside national territorial claims in favor of multispecies justice.

The four contiguous protected areas -- the Arctic Refuge, the Yukon Flats Refuge, Ivvavik National Park, and the Vuntut National Park -- should be thought of as a vast transnational nursery for innumerable species and a living testament to seven decades of hard work by conservationists and indigenous peoples from two countries. To destroy this interconnected, interdependent web of life by turning the “sacred place where life begins” into a vast oil field and so fossil-fuelize Donald Trump’s dreams of 1950s-style American glory, would be little short of a crime against both nature and humanity. In the wake of any such development, there will, of course, be the inevitable oil spills, toxic residues, and other environmental crises as ever more oil and natural gas are extracted from a planet that can ill afford to see them burned.

A Vast Reservoir of Intimidation, Myths, and Deception

In 1981, when President Ronald Reagan appointed James Watt as his secretary of interior and Anne Burford as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, conservationists became alarmed about the large-scale sale of public lands and waters to the extractive industries. In fact, the opening up of the Arctic Refuge coastal plain to oil and gas development would soon become a priority for the Reagan administration.

In 1984, seismic exploration was conducted on the coastal plain. At that time, federal scientists working at the Arctic Refuge’s office in Fairbanks, Alaska, were put under a gag order by the Department of the Interior and forbidden to discuss the value of the Refuge’s wildlife or wilderness with the media or the public, as biologist Pamela Miller who resigned in protest, becoming a conservationist and defender of the refuge, told me. In 1988, alarmed by developments in Washington and Alaska, all 15 Gwich’in villages called an emergency gathering and passed a resolution, Gwich’in Niintsyaa, which demanded that, “the United States Congress and president recognize the rights of our Gwich’in people to continue to live our way of life by prohibiting development in the calving and post-calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd.” They further requested that “the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be made Wilderness to achieve this end.”

Given the groundwork put in place by the Reagan administration and the Alaska congressional delegation, a bill to open up the refuge to drilling was nonetheless sailing through the Senate in 1989. In March of that year, however, an ironic twist of fate occurred. The Exxon Valdez, a giant oil tanker made national headlines by running aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling almost 11 million gallons of crude oil into its waters and polluting the region. In response to an environmental disaster on such a scale, congressional lawmakers pulled the plug on oil exploration and drilling at the refuge.

But that didn’t end matters. The Alaska congressional delegation renewed the push to open up the refuge as soon as George H.W. Bush took office. Ever since then, advocates of drilling have continued to peddle a laughable myth: that oil development would actually be good for the region’s caribou because, as George W. Bush would claim at a rally in the 2000 election campaign, those caribou “will come up against the pipe, nice warm pipe, they'll make love, and you'll have more caribou.”

Soon after moving into the White House, Bush once again made opening the refuge to drilling a priority for a Republican administration. In 2001, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources asked Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, who had infamously described the Arctic Refuge coastal plain as a “flat white nothingness,” for information on caribou calving and oil drilling there and she, in turn, queried the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the subject.

In a May 24, 2001, memorandum, the refuge manager wrote to his supervisor at the FWS: “During the period for which there are adequate records, Porcupine herd calving concentrations have occurred within the 1002 [coastal plain] area 27 out of 30 years.” That July, however, in a letter responding to questions about the dangers of opening the Arctic Refuge from Senator Frank Murkowski, Norton responded, “Concentrated calving occurred primarily outside of the 1002 Area in 11 of the last 18 years.” When questioned about this, her spokesperson insisted that the problem had been a typographic error, not an urge to mislead Congress. And so it’s gone ever since.

Recently, during a Senate hearing on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge, biologist and former research professor at the University of Alaska Matthew Cronin testified that caribou had not been “significantly impacted” by the oil fields in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay area. When Senator Al Franken asked if he received funding from the oil companies -- ExxonMobil and BP Exploration -- for his research, Cronin responded with a “yes.” Lois Epstein, Arctic Program Director of the Wilderness Society, who also testified, promised that she will submit a report challenging Cronin’s research, so that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee can make a “responsible decision” on the refuge.

At that hearing, the boosters of drilling also touted two other false claims made regularly during the Bush years:

* that drilling in the refuge will involve only a very small “footprint,” just 2,000 acres, even though the entire 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain would, in fact, be opened to oil and gas leasing, as well as a sprawling network of pipelines, roads, and year-round production infrastructure;

* that advances in technology make “modern” Arctic drilling environmentally safe, even though there have been “450 spills each year during 1996-2008” and “nearly one spill per day” between October 2012 and October 2017 in the existing Prudhoe Bay oil fields, as Epstein pointed out in her written testimony to that Senate committee. She also wrote that earlier this year, BP suffered a “production well blowout due to thawing permafrost,” thanks to rapid Arctic warming.

Already, the opening of the refuge is deeply enmeshed in the congressional tax “reform” process, as Senate Republicans are hoping to raise $1 billion over the next decade from the anticipated oil lease sales in the refuge to help defray their $2 trillion tax reform “giveaway” to the rich.

Last month, during my visit to Alaska -- a significant part of the state’s budget comes from oil revenues -- I witnessed much euphoria about protected public lands finally being “opened for business.” There’s nothing new about this. There was a similar euphoria over the Rampart Dam and Arctic Gas Pipeline, mega-projects that were, in the end, defeated by conservationists and indigenous activists. The world is better off today because of their foresight and hard work, and the planet richer in the diversity of life thanks to it.

I also witnessed voices of resistance getting louder as conservationists and indigenous activists girded themselves for what will be the battle of a lifetime. “Congress must take drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off the table,” Bernadette Demientieff wrote. “It’s up to all of us to protect this sacred place for generations to come.”

Opening up the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the crown jewel of that vast transnational nursery, to a world of harm at a time when the “sixth mass extinction” in our planet’s history is already underway could prove to be one of the crimes of the century -- of any century, in fact.

TomDispatch regular Subhankar Banerjee is the author of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land and editor of Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point. He is Lannan chair and professor of art and ecology at the University of New Mexico. An exhibition of his Arctic work, “Long Environmentalism in the Near North: Activism, Photographs, Writing,” is on display at the University of New Mexico Art Museum through March 3, 2018.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Subhankar Banerjee

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dahr Jamail, Andre Vltchek, Janine Bandcroft November 9, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

November 9, 2017

If popular culture is good for anything it's for providing a window on the zeitgeist; that ineffable yet immediately recognizable "spirit of the times." Following my TV's guidance then, the pervading essence defining us in this moment seems to be... the zombie. Brainless and soulless, devoid of imagination or self-awareness, though the maelstrom may rage about it, our zombie looks neither up nor down, but gazes directly ahead, able only to pounce on whatever happens to cross the narrow focus of its fixed eye.

Is it apathy, a feeling of powerlessness, or just the desperate need to ignore the impending catastrophe fueling our denial; making us now identify with the blissfully oblivious walking dead?

Listen. Hear.

Dahr Jamail is a Truthout staff reporter and author of books, 'The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan', 'Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq', and, with William Rivers Pitt, 'The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible'. His much anticipated forthcoming title is, 'The End of Ice.'

Jamail's column, Climate Disruption Dispatches features at, where his latest article, 'Scientists Warn of "Ecological Armageddon" Amid Waves of Heat and Climate Refugees' paints a picture of a climate calamity not merely coming but arrived.

Dahr Jamail in the first half.

And; this past week marked the centennial of Red October, Russia's socialist revolution that not only shook the world, but shaped the 20th Century.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist who's covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Vltchek's numerous book titles include: ‘Western Terror: From Potosi to Baghdad’, ‘Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear’, ‘Exposing Lies of the Empire’, and ‘Aurora’. His latest book is the freshly released, ‘The Great October Socialist Revolution: Impact on the World and the Birth of Internationalism.’

Andre Vltchek and revolutions remembered and those to come in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here with the Left Coast Events listing for good things to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Dahr Jamail and collective ADHD in the age of ACD.

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

Grand Theft Election: Trumping Democracy

Will the Trump/Bannon GOP Steal Virginia…and American Democracy?

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman - Columbus Free Press

November 6, 2017

A big chunk of American democracy is riding on Tuesday’s Virginia election. The outcome could turn on how well Democrats protect the right to vote… and the right to have the votes accurately counted.

If Democrat and anti-Trump activists do not work to guarantee everyone’s access to the polls, they could very well lose the election. The GOP has perfected the use of Jim Crow tactics to prevent from voting countless black, Hispanic and other ethnic citizens by electronic and other means. The Democrats have been weak at best at protecting those votes.

They can also expect a “last minute surge” for Republican candidates, followed by “glitches” in electronic voting machines, especially in rural areas where election boards are controlled by Republicans. If experience in states like Ohio, New Mexico, Wisconsin and elsewhere are any indicator, ballots will be “found” for the Republicans and “lost” for the Democrats in key swing districts. These could easily determine the outcome.

They can also expect a “last minute surge” for Republican candidates, followed by “glitches” in electronic voting machines. As election protection activist Mimi Kennedy puts it:

"Georgia’s Special Election 'glitched' last April, when Democrat Jon Ossoff’s totals went over 50% in his House race in the 6th District. That majority would have given him the seat outright. But tabulation in large Fulton County “glitched” for two hours, and when it came back up, Ossof fell below 50% and never recovered. This prompted the runoff election in June, which Ossof’s opponent - Georgia’s Republican former Secretary of State - won by a squeaker margin. When a lawsuit was filed to do forensics on the runoff, Kennesaw State University, which handles Georgia elections, wiped the servers clean but told nobody for months. When forced to admit the destruction of election records, the data managers called it "routine housecleaning."
"It is predictable that in rural areas of Virginia, where election boards are controlled by Republicans, problems might arise. For many of these counties, the return to paper ballots is brand-new. Ballots must still be counted by software. Experience in states like Ohio, New Mexico, Wisconsin and elsewhere indicate that “glitches” will occur, be blamed on unforeseeable error, and will benefit Republicans, not Democrats, in key swing districts. Experience also shows that questions asked in such cases will go unanswered, and results, however anomalous, will stand."

So far, the Democrats have been notoriously lax in fighting against such disenfranchisement and vote count theft.

According to election protection specialist John Brakey, Virginia now has electronic machines that provide ballot images. These, he says, must be preserved after the election for purposes of a meaningful recount. It is not yet clear if Democratic operatives are prepared to go to court or do whatever else is required to guarantee such scrutiny. If not, they may once again find that precautionary measures were the only way to avoid more losses from “glitches” that can never be rectified.

So far, the Democrats have been notoriously lax in fighting against such disenfranchisement and vote count theft.

According to election protection specialist John Brakey, Virginia now has electronic machines that provide ballot images. These, he says, must be preserved after the election for purposes of a meaningful recount. It is not yet clear if Democratic operatives are prepared to go to court or do whatever else is required to guarantee such scrutiny.

Much more is at stake here than just a few statewide offices

With the governorship will come control of the state’s re-districting—“gerrymandering”—-process for a decade to come. Should the Trump-right Republican Ed Gillespie become governor, he will conspire with the GOP-controlled legislature to re-draw the state’s Congressional and legislative districts in 2020.

In a state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, there are eleven Congressional districts. Gerrymandering has given seven seats to Republicans, four to Democrats. Thus a fair, non-partisan redistricting process in 2020 could shift as many as three or four seats in the US House of Representatives. That won’t happen if Gillespie is elected.

Despite a statewide Democratic majority, both houses of the Virginia legislature are controlled by Republicans.

This election will also determine Virginia’s next secretary of state, who will have control over voter registration rolls and vote counts in upcoming elections.

Republican control of the governorship and secretary of state’s office would be very bad news for those fighting the hate-based regime of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. Trump has been asked by the GOP to not campaign in the state. But fascist theoretician Bannon has called the election a referendum on “Trumpism without Trump.”

Bannon, Gillespie and their GOP operatives have saturated the state with vicious, blatantly racist anti-immigrant ads reminiscent of the infamous “Willie Horton” smears run by George H.W. Bush in 1988. Such fascist scare tactics allowed Bush to beat Michael Dukakis. GOP strategist Lee Atwater later apologized for those ads shortly before he died of brain cancer.

This year the Trump/Bannon GOP has saturated Virginia with horrific racist and anti-immigrant messages. They’re also using them in New Jersey, where there is a governor’s race, and elsewhere. Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Ralph Northam, has responded by saying he will oppose sanctuary cities in Virginia.

But the race has now become a test of how effective such hate-based propaganda can be.

It will also be a test to see if the Democrats are willing or able to protect the right to vote. And if they can guarantee a fair and accurate electronic vote count after those ballots are cast.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman co-wrote The Strip & Flip Disaster of America’s Stolen Elections: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft (, They broke most of the major stories about the GOP theft of Ohio’s 2004 presidential election.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Israeli/Saudi Bedfellows' Plot for Wider Mideast War and Conflict Revealed

"Explosive" Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

by ZeroHedge

November 7, 2017

 Early this morning, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable which had been sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the chaotic events that unfolded over the weekend in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, which began with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's unexpected resignation after he was summoned to Riyadh by his Saudi-backers, and led to the Saudis announcing that Lebanon had "declared war" against the kingdom.

The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, constitutes the first formal evidence proving that the Saudis and Israelis are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East.

The explosive classified Israeli cable reveals the following:

  • On Sunday, just after Lebanese PM Hariri's shocking resignation, Israel sent a cable to all of its embassies with the request that its diplomats do everything possible to ramp up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran.
  • The cable urged support for Saudi Arabia's war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.
  • The cable stressed that Iran was engaged in "regional subversion".
  • Israeli diplomats were urged to appeal to the "highest officials" within their host countries to attempt to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics.

Harvey's Army, or Revenge of the Hutt

Harvey Weinstein's Army of Spies

by Ronan Farrow - The New Yorker

November 6, 2017

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations.

According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

[For complete article, please see source here.]

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan.

The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press.

In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker.

Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

Red October: The Revolution is Dead. Long Live the Revolution

Long Live Great October Revolution!

by Andre Vltchek - Dissident Voice

November 7th, 2017

The world is in ruins. It is literally burning, covered by slums, by refugee camps, and its great majority is ‘controlled by markets’, as was the dream and design of individuals such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Führers like Kissinger and Brzezinski sacrificed tens of millions of human lives all over our planet, just to prevent nations from trying to fulfill their spontaneous socialist, and even, God forbid, Communist dreams and aspirations. Some tyrants were actually very ‘honest’: Henry Kissinger once observed, publicly, that he saw no reason why a certain country should be allowed to “go Marxist” merely because “its people are irresponsible”. He was thinking about Chile. He “saw no reason” and as a result, several thousands of people were murdered…

Ruining, wiping out entire countries, just to prevent them from ‘going their own way’, has been fully acceptable in the circles of politicians, military strategists, intelligence officers and economists who are based in London, New York, Washington, Paris and in other centers of the so-called “free world”, from where almost all dispensable lives of “un-people” inhabiting Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Oceania are being controlled unceremoniously.

The system of Western oppression often appears to be almost ‘perfect’. To a great extent it is certainly bulletproof.

But there is always one serious obstacle blocking the way of Western imperialism – the barrier that prevents it from fully controlling and ruining the Planet. That obstacle, the barrier, is called the Great October Revolution and its legacy.

Since 1917, for exactly one hundred years, there has been this ‘ghost’ haunting the European and North American empires: it is a ghost which whispers relentlessly about internationalism, about egalitarianism, about great humanistic dreams in which all people are equal, have exactly the same rights and opportunities, and cannot be exploited by one particular race, and by one economic dogma.

To make things even worse, this red and somehow very optimistic ghost does much more than just whispering: it is also singing, dancing, reciting revolutionary poetry and periodically taking up arms and fighting for the oppressed, even totally desperate human beings, regardless of the color of their skin.

One often wonders whether the ghost is really a ghost, or a living creature. Which makes it all even more frightening, at least for the tyrants and the imperialists.


The West is totally petrified! It tries to appear cool, in full control. It deploys its elaborate propaganda system, it regurgitates its dogmas everywhere; it injects them into arts, entertainment, news bulletins, school curricula, psychology, and even advertisements. It lies, twists facts, perverts history and constructs pseudo-reality. All available means are used; the ideological warfare is complete.

No matter what the Western Empire does, the red ghost is still here, all around; it is inspiring millions of educated and dedicated men and women all over the world. It is tremendously resilient. It never surrenders, never gives up fighting, even in those countries where all hopes and dreams appear to be totally destroyed. And where there are only ashes left, it at least never gives up haunting – frightening both the local elites and the implanted imperialist regimes.

While to many people living in the Western capitals, this red ghost is synonymous with the worst enemy, in most of the oppressed, occupied and humiliated nations, it represents the perpetual struggle against colonialism and oppression, and it symbolizes resistance, resilience, pride and the belief in a totally different world.


Imperialists know that unless this creature, the ghost and the hope it represents, are thoroughly destroyed, wiped out and buried somewhere deep underground, there can be no final victory, and therefore no celebration.

They are doing all in their power to discredit the ghost and the ideals it professes. They are presenting it in the bleakest colors, confusing people by connecting it with fascism and Nazism (while it is them – the Western imperialists – and their own system, that have been fascist and ‘Nazi’, for decades and even centuries).

They brutalize, terrorize and murder innocent people in countries that dare to decide to go Communist, socialist or simply ‘independent’. Such heinous acts are forcing the governments of embattled nations to become defensive, to protect their citizens, to take ‘extraordinary measures’. And these defensive measures are, in turn, described by the Western propaganda as oppressive, dogmatic and ‘undemocratic’.

The strategy and tactics of the Empire are clear and highly effective: you keep punching, molesting and harassing an innocent person who is simply trying to live her life. When she has had enough, when she decides to punch back, even arm herself, change the lock, you describe her as aggressive, paranoid, and dangerous to the society. You claim that her behavior is giving you the right to break into her house, to beat her up, to rape her, and then to force her into thoroughly changing her beliefs and lifestyle.

Right after the Revolution, 100 years ago, the Soviets gave the right to secede to all the former parts of the Russian empire. Sweeping democratic reforms were introduced. All the feudal and oppressive structures of Tsarist rule collapsed, overnight. But the young country was almost immediately attacked from abroad, by a group of nations that included the UK, the US, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Japan. Ruthless aggressions and foreign campaigns of sabotage radicalized the Soviet state, as they later radicalized Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, China, Venezuela and many other revolutionary countries.

It is an appalling, disgusting way of running the world, but it is highly effective; ‘it works’. And it has been done for so long, that no one is surprised, anymore. This is how the West has been controlling, manipulating and ruining the world for many centuries, enjoying absolute impunity, even congratulating itself for being ‘free’ and ‘democratic’, shamelessly using clichés such as ‘human rights’.

But at least now, there is a struggle.

The world used to be totally at the mercy of Europe and North America.

Until the Great October Socialist Revolution!


Recently, I wrote a book about The Great October Socialist Revolution, its impact on the world, and on the birth of internationalism. I had to write it. I had enough of reading and watching that entire anti-Soviet, anti-Communist propaganda bordello, that fundamentalist gospel; I had enough of being bombarded with brainwashing rubbish day after day, year after year, decade after decade!

[Excerpt] On 25 October (7 November, New Style) 1917, the day the battleship “Aurora” fired its symbolic  salvo at the Winter Palace Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), the entire world was awakened to an absolutely new reality. “So, with the crash of artillery, in the dark, with hatred, and fear, and reckless daring, new Russia was being born.” Wrote John Reed, an American author and journalist, who witnessed first-hand this amazing event that he then almost immediately celebrated in his immortal book “Ten Days that Shook the World”. John Reed came to a simple and powerful conclusion: “Imagine this struggle being repeated in every barracks of the city, the district, the whole front, all Russia. Imagine the sleepless Krylenkos, watching the regiments, hurrying from place to place, arguing, threatening, entreating. And then imagine the same in all the locals of every labour union, in the factories, the villages, on the battle-­ships of the far-­ flung Russian  fleets; think of the hundreds of thousands of Russian men staring up at speakers all over the vast country, workmen, peasants, soldiers, sailors, trying so hard to understand and to choose, thinking so intensely-­and The Great October Socialist Revolution deciding so unanimously at the end.

After working in more than 160 countries, in all corners of the world, witnessing the Western murderous drive against democracy and the free will of the people, I felt it was my obligation to at least explain my position on the event that took place 100 years ago in the city and in the country where I was born.

And in my book I did exactly that.

It is not what some would call ‘an objective’ book. It is definitely not some tiresome academic essay, full of footnotes and useless citations. I don’t believe in ‘objectivity’. Or more precisely, I don’t think that human beings are capable of being objective, or that they should even aim at that. However, I strongly believe that they should clearly and honestly say and define where they stand, without deceiving their readers.

And that’s precisely what I did in my latest book: I took sides. I clarified what the Revolution means to me. I recalled what it means to hundreds of millions of oppressed and tormented human beings worldwide. I quoted some of them.

The Great October Socialist Revolution was not perfect. Nothing in this world is, nothing ever should be ‘perfect’. Perfection is appalling, cold, and even imagining it is tremendously boring.

Instead, the Great October Socialist Revolution made a heroic attempt to liberate people from archaic beliefs, from feudalism and blind submission, from physical, intellectual and emotional slavery. It also defined all human beings as equal, regardless of their race and sex. It did not do it through hypocritical ‘political correctness’, which only spreads some second-rate sticky honey over the surface of shit, leaving the excrement itself intact; it cut to the core; it built a brand new lexicon, understanding of the world, and it created a totally new reality.

It returned hope to hundreds of millions of human beings who had already lost all faith in a better life. It gave pride and courage to slaves. It returned all colors and shades to the world, which was brutally divided between white and black, between those who had and had not, between those who were racially and ‘culturally’ destined to rule and those who were only destined to serve.

The West hated the red revolutionary ghost from the start. It hates it to this very day. It is because if Communist Soviet Union had won, that would have meant the end of colonialism and imperialism, as we know it. There would be no more plunder and destruction, no monstrous annihilation of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, no ruin of Syria; no mortal threat hanging over North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, no millions of men, women and children sacrificed on the altar of global capitalism as is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in so many other corners of the globe.

There would be nothing left of a racist, post-Christian global dictatorship; no system of twisted ‘values’ and no hypocritical ‘culture’ pushed down the throat of all conquered countries of the world, by a handful of historically gangster states, mostly located in Europe and North America.

The West fought the Great October Socialist Revolution from its first day. It fought the Soviet Union on all fronts, bathing it in blood, brainwashing its people and murdering its allies. It finally managed to injure it mortally in Afghanistan, breaking all the bones of the USSR first, and then of Afghanistan right afterwards.

Immediately after that, a rejuvenated campaign of indoctrination began. Its goal has been to fully obliterate the great legacy of the “Great October”. The West spared no means and billions of dollars were spent.

Naturally, what kind of ‘objectivity’ could one expect from a ‘culture’, from the part of the world which has been brutally tyrannizing and plundering the entire Planet for more than 500 years? How could it be lenient towards the event, towards the movement and country, which made the purpose of its existence the battle for the liberation of the world from imperialism and colonialism?


Now the struggle against neo-colonialist barbarity goes on, but under various banners. Red, Communist banners are still flying over China and Cuba, as well as Venezuela, Angola and other nations. There are many other colors of the resistance, as well. The coalition is broad.

But what is clear and essential is that The Revolution of 1917 inspired billions, consciously and sub-consciously.

What is also clear is that the West never really won. Had it won, it would not be shaking in fear, as it is now. It would not be oppressing free thought, overthrowing democratically elected governments, murdering the leaders who are struggling against its monstrous global regime.


To be frank, the ‘red revolutionary ghost’ is not really a ghost. It is still an extremely mighty creature. It is just hiding for now, regrouping, getting ready to raise its banners and drag to the battlefield all imperialist tyrants.

The West loves to talk about peace. It loves to lecture the world about ‘peace’. But its ‘peace’ is, in fact. nothing else other than a horrid status quo, in which there are only a few rich and mighty nations that are reigning over the world, and then there is the rest of humankind, one that consists of weak, miserable, submissive and servile ‘un-people’.

To hell with such ‘peace’! Such peace cannot last long; should not last long, as it is totally grotesque and immoral. It is not much better than the ‘peace’ on a slave plantation!

It is only the legacy of the Great October that can finish such a status quo. And it will.

The red ghost is haunting the tyrants. They are trying, but they just cannot expunge it from the hopes and dreams of the people who inhabit our Planet. The more scared the tyrants get, the more brutal are their deeds. And the more determined the people in the subjugated countries get.

100 years since the battleship Aurora fired its first salvo at the Winter Palace in Petrograd.

100 years since the world opened its eyes, realizing that a new world is possible.

100 years, and the Red October is still on the lips of people in Latin America, in Africa, Asia, everywhere.

Imperialists are brutal but naive. You can murder a man or a woman, you can murder thousands of them, even millions. But you cannot murder dreams. You cannot murder the courage of the human race, unless you murder the entire human race. You can kill, but you cannot permanently turn people into slaves.

During the Great October Socialist Revolution, people stood up. They rose. They smashed their chains.

They will rise again. They are rising again; just look carefully.

In the last 100 years, so much changed, and nothing changed. The hopes and dreams are still the same. And just as then, now, there is no peace without justice. And there is hardly any justice in the way our world is arranged.

Long Live the Great October Socialist Revolution!

Forward! As Hugo Chavez used to shout from his balcony: “Here no one surrenders!”

The red ghost is here, the ghost of the Great Red October. It is tremendously mighty. It is the ally of all oppressed beings. One day it will lead people to victory. There can be absolutely no doubt about it.

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 his tribute to The Great October Socialist Revolution, a revolutionary novel Aurora, and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: Exposing Lies Of The Empire. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website.
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