Saturday, September 08, 2018

Trump Trial Balloons "Ruination" of Canada As Trade Negotiation Tactic

Trump warns he could cause the ‘ruination’ of Canada

by PressTV

Sept. 8, 2018

US President Donald Trump has warned that he would cause the “ruination” of Canada if he imposed tariffs on the cars being imported to the United States from Canada.

Trump issued the threat while travelling to a Republican fundraising event in North Dakota on Friday, the day when American and Canadian negotiators discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but they again failed to produce a deal. The NAFTA between the two countries were also held last week.

Trump has threatened to target Canada with the auto tariffs if Ottawa refused to make NAFTA concessions.

“Canada has been ripping us off for a long time. Now, they’ve got to treat us fairly,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.

“I don’t want to do anything bad to Canada, he continued, according to reports.
I can — all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating. If I tax cars coming in from Canada, it would be devastating.”

Later speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, he said,

“We cannot continue to get ripped off like we’ve been ripped off before.”
“Actually, on some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country,” he said.
“That’s how big it is. It’d be the ruination of the country. Now, they’ve taken advantage of us for many decades. We can’t let this happen anymore. We have a country to run.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said on Friday that the issue standing in the way of a deal was Canadian inflexibility on dairy.

“The United States would rather have a trade deal with Canada, but it has to be a good deal, right. And the word that continues to block the deal is M-I-L-K,” Kudlow said on Fox Business
“I’m just saying: let go — milk, dairy, drop the barriers, give our farmers a break, and we can fix some other things.”

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly said that he would pull the US out of NAFTA which was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico back in 1994.

He described NAFTA as the “single worst trade deal ever approved” by the US, and claimed that it has led to the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from the US to Mexico and China.

Last month, Trump threatened Canada with auto tariffs if Washington and Ottawa cannot renegotiate NAFTA.

Trump tweeted on August 10 that a deal with Mexico City is “coming along nicely,” but expressed dissatisfaction with Canada.

On March 8, Trump said that he was moving to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU, angering the US' top allies.

Bilateral ties between the US and Canada plunged to their lowest in decades and reached new depths at the 44th G7 summit, held in La Malbaie, Quebec, in June, when Trump abruptly rejected the joint statement and insulted his Canadian host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Earlier, Trudeau had insisted in a press briefing that Trump's decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum was "insulting" to Canadian veterans who had stood by their US allies in conflicts dating back to World War I.

In June, Canada launched a retaliatory trade war against the US by introducing fresh punitive tariffs on American summertime essentials.

Canada’s tariffs deliberately targeted more than 250 American products from those US states where Trump’s Republican Party is fighting hard to hold Congressional seats in the November midterm elections.

Israel's Continued Assault on Palestinian Rights and Lives

Assault Continues

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

September 8, 2018

The assault on Palestinians continues. Last week 4 homes in Al-Walaja were demolished. Dozens more await demolitions. Israeli occupation forces shot more children posing no treats to soldiers. Israel also offered the  freedom boats hijacked in international waters as they headed to Gaza for sale (an act of piracy).

The US also cut off its obligated contribution to UNRWA and now even its humanitarian few millions to Jerusalem Hospitals was also cut (all at the request of Netanyahu to his puppets in the US administration).

Photo: The National AE

Israel tightened grip on international travelers and denied entry (including volunteers at the museum). US  congress is approving more billions of tax money for Israel including a provision to force NASA to and ensured hijacking of US foreign policy. 25 years have passed since the treasonous Oslo accords (our second Nakba) and no one has yet apologized.

The first leaked excerpt of Al Jazeera's censored film on the Israel Lobby in the U.S. and names Adam Milstein as Canary Mission (propaganda website defaming human rights activists) funder. Al-Jazeera and the  government of Qatar capitulated to the lobby and did not air the documentary! I hope the leaks will force them to air it.

Which One Democratic State?

American Jews now have ‘a duty to oppose Israel,’ David Rothkopf says

Kairos Statement on the Jewish State (Basic) Law

Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments

Letter from our friend Benjamin (see also links below that)- anyone interested contact Benjamin directly:

“Hi my name is Benjamin Ladraa and I’m a human rights activist from Sweden. I just walked to Palestine from Sweden spending eleven months on road walking 5000km through thirteen countries. I did this journey in order to raise awareness about the human rights violations in Palestine. Now that i finished the journey I’m planning on doing a speaking tour where i share my experiences from Palestine, talk about the human rights  situation there and about the journey I did. I’m coming to the US in September and will stay until December giving talks and lectures and would very much like to give talks at as many venues as possible. I’m only me  however so I need some help with organizing speaking events. I hope you’re interested and I’d love to meet up when I’m there and do an event with you if possible.”
Phone/Whatsapp: +46768070861
Facebook: Benjamin Ladraa
Instagram: Walktopalestine

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

HumanRights newsletter

BREAKING NEWS: Trump "Amoral Ignoramus," Administration "in Chaos"

The New York Times Anonymous Op-Ed – A Neocon Generated Document?

by Philip Giraldi - AHT

September 8, 2018

It seems that the entire world now knows that an Anonymous senior official on the White House staff has described an administration in chaos, headed by an “amoral” ignoramus, which only avoids disaster because a patriotic cabal within the West Wing that “puts country first” and constitutes a “resistance” has blocked or circumvented the president when he tries to do something unwise or dangerous.

Or so the story goes.

My first admittedly quick reading of the op-ed “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” that appeared in The New York Times a week ago left me with the impression that it was a hoax, possibly concocted via the connivance of a lower level official in the national security apparatus who sold a dodgy package to the Times. The newspaper then cast aside all journalistic ethics to run with it in light of the near-simultaneous timing of the forthcoming Bob Woodward book Fear: Trump In the White House, which has a narrative that meshes nicely with the op-ed. The fact that the Times admits that it only had contact with the source, which may have been by phone, after dealing through intermediaries, suggests that they were hungry for the story and might not have carefully established the bona fides of the person claiming to be the author. And one has to wonder if the Times might have actively enabled a possible imposture to succeed or even engaged in some fabrication to delegitimize Donald Trump.

So it might just have been the latest symptom of Trump Delusion Syndrome, but then I read the piece through again and observed that the argument being made was logically consistent, i.e. that Donald Trump’s instincts and morals are so bad that he would end up destroying the American Republic but for the brave White House staffers who are taking steps to “box-in” the president on policies that those same staffers view as undesirable. Also, stylistically and syntactically, I noted how the writing and some on the contents reflect the worldview and linear thinking of someone who has been working in some aspect of national security. Indeed, it read like the sort of document that might have been produced by an intelligence agency.

Assuming that it actually was written by an individual in the Administration, one might profitably consider that many mid-level and even higher White House staffers are increasingly being drawn from the neocon ranks that infested the George W. Bush Administration. They hate their boss Trump and they also hate Russia, which features prominently (and somewhat oddly) in the op-ed.

In short, I now believe that the op-ed is serious, with intent to undermine the Trump Administration, written by someone or several someones in or close to the White House. The argument that the author should have gone public and resigned can be countered by two observations: first, the staffer might actually believe that he and his brethren staying in place and blocking Trump is for the good of the country. And second, if an increasingly paranoid Trump becomes consumed by searching through his staff for Anonymous “traitors,” he will become even more error and gaffe-prone, strengthening the case, if it should come to it, for impeachment.

The author’s possible neocon credentials surface in several places, starting with the reference to the “more robust military” before proceeding on to Russia. The op-ed describes how the good work of the dissidents in the White House, which he or she describes as “the Resistance,” have succeeded in “[calling out] countries like Russia…for meddling and [have them] punished accordingly” in spite of the president’s desire for d├ętente. It then goes on to elaborate on Russia and Trump, describing how “…the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But the national security team knew better – such actions had to be taken to hold Moscow accountable.”

The op-ed is also notable for its praise of recently deceased neocon icon Senator John McCain, urging all Americans to “follow his example.” It notes “Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.” One might point out that the combination of citation of McCain with expressions like “robust” military, “punishing Russia,” “malign behavior” and holding Moscow “accountable” are straight out of the neoconservative playbook. They are also assertions that can be challenged. McCain was a flat-out warmonger. The “meddling” in any serious fashion in America’s 2016 election has yet to be demonstrated and the Skripal spy case in Britain is also based on questionable evidence, while “malign behavior” depends on which side of the fence one is standing on. To heighten tension with nuclear-armed and capable Russia is not necessarily in America’s interest. And Anonymous also forgets that Trump’s margin of victory in 2016 came from voters who found his calls for mending relations with Moscow appealing.

In passing, one other bizarre feature of the op-ed is the description of Trump as “amoral.” Compared to Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama that is quite an astonishing observation unless once considers rape, starting wars as a foreign policy option and assassinating American citizens to be just part of the job. And also the author might wonder about his or her own morality as he or she is betraying both his or her boss and plausibly the oath taken to uphold the Constitution.

But who wrote the op-ed and with what intention pales besides what the Times document appears to reveal. A cabal of senior officials who were not elected by the American people might be acting together and have possibly seen fit to circumvent the elected president by refusing to carry out his instructions as well as by actively and deliberately narrowing his options over policy issues to reflect what they think is best.

One might reasonably have problems with much of what Donald Trump does and how he does it, but our Constitution derives from the belief that the president and congressmen ought to be elected by popular vote and subject to the will of the people. Like it or not, the people spoke in November 2016. Nameless and faceless officials, many of whom are appointed purely on the basis of political connections, do not represent voters any more than they necessarily have any correct understanding about what is going on in the world. Their track record would suggest that they are wrong far more than they are right.

The Washington consensus has proven to be disastrous both for the American people and for many others worldwide. Anonymous represents the Establishment or Deep State or neoconservatism, call it what you will striking back to bring down Trump. He or she is party to boxing in a president who, in his best moments, appears to be eager to bring change. Make no mistake, it all amounts to subversion of the intent of the Constitution of the United States and no one should regard “the Resistance,” if it truly exists, as patriotic or heroic.
Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

Jesus Not Who He Appears

Famalam: No White Jesus

by BBC Two

Canada: Carceral State

Why Canadian Prisoners Are Participating in the U.S. Prison Strike

by Jordan House - SocialistProject, The Bullet


September 7, 2018

Prisoners are once again on strike. Since August 21, prisoners have been engaging in various forms of protest in at least ten states. And prisoners in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, have also joined the protest wave, issuing their own statement and set of demands

While the strike has provoked heavy-handed responses by some prison administrations, it is too early to tell if the strike will be able to force concessions.

The U.S. prison system is often characterized as uniquely unjust – which it admittedly is in key ways. So, why have Canadian prisoners risked participating in a U.S.-based strike movement?

Adam Capay, a young First Nations man awaiting trial in the Thunder Bay Jail, caused national controversy in 2016 when it was discovered that he had spent fifty-two months in solitary confinement in a Plexiglas cell, lit twenty-four hours a day. 

Photo: Allison Jane Capay/askfm

In the words of the prisoners themselves, 
“The organizers of this protest assert that we are being warehoused as inmates, not treated as human beings. We have tried through other means including complaint, conversation, negotiation, petitions, and other official and non-official means to improve our conditions.”

At this point the size and character of the U.S. carceral state is well known: the U.S. has the largest prison population is the world, and it has one of the world’s highest incarceration rates. And the racial disparity evident in the U.S. prison system is staggering.

Added to this are issues related to private prisons, the exploitation of prison labour by private firms, and a myriad of other issues, that culminate into a punitive, revanchist, and oppressive correctional system. While the size of the U.S. prison system makes for difficult comparisons, many of its other issues do not. As the striking prisoners at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, also known as “Burnside jail,” are demonstrating, much of the critique of the U.S. prison system resonates with Canadian prisoners.

While the participation of the Burnside strikers in this latest U.S.-based prison protest wave is unique, protest by Canadian prisoners is not – prisoners in Canada have their own long history of struggle against the injustices of the system in which they are confined.

The Canadian Carceral State

The Canadian prison system – which includes the country’s immigrant detention regime as well as the federal and various provincial correctional systems – is plainly awful. Canada is one of only a few countries that indefinitely detains immigrants, a practice decried by the UN. While recent anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protests in the U.S. have drawn attention to the detention of immigrant children, much less has been paid to the fact that Canada also detains migrant children, some of them “unaccompanied.” For years, immigrant detainees in Ontario have drawn attention to the problems of the country’s immigration system and the conditions of their confinement by engaging in intermittent hunger strikes.

Canada’s incarceration rate is around 118 per 100,000 people. While this is significantly lower than that of the United States, it remains higher than most Western European liberal democracies. It’s also notable that this rate is close to that of the United States in the early 1970s, at the height of the prisoners’ rights movement. Although it’s hardly insignificant, the size of a prison system should not be the determining metric of its efficacy or character.

In its latest annual report, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Canada’s federal prison watchdog, identified a host of issues in the federal system including deficiencies in health care provision, especially in relation to mental health; low pay and high expenses; and lack of effective educational, vocational, and rehabilitative programming, as major issues facing Canadian corrections. While the annual report of the Correctional Investigator is helpful in understanding the nitty-gritty of the problems in the country’s prisons, it rarely spurs a meaningful government response.

Like the USA, racial disparity is also evident in Canadian prisons, with indigenous people in particular being hugely overrepresented. Indigenous people make up about 5 percent of the population, but account for around 27 percent of federally incarcerated adults. This trend is even more disturbing in Canada’s women’s prisons, where indigenous women account for 38 percent of the prison population.

The youth justice system is even worse – nearly half of incarcerated youth in Canada are indigenous. These rates of incarceration have caused some commentators to assert that Canada’s prisons are its new residential schools. Black Canadians are also vastly overrepresented in Canada’s prisons and jails. Only 3 percent of the general population, Black Canadians account for 10 percent of the federal prison population.

Canada’s prisons shouldn’t be understood simply as instruments of racial dominance – they also warehouse the country’s poor and mentally ill. A 2010 study by the John Howard Society of Toronto of provincial prisoners in the Greater Toronto Area found that one in five were homeless at the time of their incarceration. Half of men entering federal prisons are identified as having “Alcohol or Substance Use Disorders.” and over 40 percent of sentenced prisoners and those remanded into pretrial custody are unemployed at the time of their admission. The 2016 Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator states that “federal prisons now house some of the largest concentrations of people with mental health conditions in the country.”

The consequence of these issues can sometimes be fatal. Several high-profile deaths have triggered inquiries, such as that of Ashley Smith, a young mentally ill woman who hung herself in 2007, in full view of guards who were ordered not to intervene until she lost consciousness. In a 2015 case, Matthew Hines died after a “use of force incident” with guards. Initially, Corrections Canada told Hines’s family that he had died of a seizure after being found “in need of medical attention.”

It was later revealed that he had been beaten, restrained, and pepper sprayed by guards. Ten guards then placed him, handcuffed and with his t-shirt over his head, in a decontamination shower where he fell and hit his head.

A video taken by prison staff shows Hines, laying on the shower floor pleading to officers that he couldn’t breathe: “Please, please … I’m begging you, I’m begging you.” The incident resulted in charges being laid against two of the officers involved. In April of this year, both of the accused officers entered not-guilty pleas.

Meanwhile, prison walls haven’t been a barrier to Canada’s escalating overdose crisis. Rates of drug-related deaths doubled in federal prisons between 2010–2016. Due to variations in data collection, it is difficult to tally overdose deaths in Provincial jails, but it is likely that the numbers are even higher. In 2017, twenty-seven prisoners died of overdoses in Ontario’s jails alone.

Provincial prisons, like the one in Halifax, are notorious for their poor conditions – something so widely accepted that upon conviction, judges routinely reduce sentences for time-served in pre-trial detention. Staff shortages plague jails, commonly resulting in lockdowns. Solitary confinement – despite its tendency to cause and exacerbate mental illness – is used frequently and with little regulation.

The tragic case of Adam Capay, a young First Nations man awaiting trial in the Thunder Bay Jail, caused national controversy in 2016 when it was discovered that he had spent fifty-two months in solitary confinement in a Plexiglas cell, lit twenty-four hours a day.

The United Nations has declared that more than fifteen consecutive days in solitary confinement constitutes torture. The case only came to the attention of the press and Provincial correctional officials after a guard – the president of his union local – requested that Ontario’s chief human-rights commissioner look into Capay’s conditions, set off a review of solitary confinement in Ontario, and prompted federal rule changes.

Burnside has faced many of these issues including overcrowding, fatal overdoses, prisoner-on-prisoner violence, over-reliance on solitary confinement, and staff shortages that result in routine lockdowns. These issues are reflected in the demands of the prisoners striking at Burnside.

Resistance and Prisoner Protest in Canada

The striking prisoners in Burnside acknowledge that they are far from the first in the country to protest, stating “we recognize the roots of this struggle in a common history of struggle and liberation.” Indeed, Canadian prisoners have a long history of collective resistance against inhumane conditions and treatment. Sometimes this resistance has taken the form of hostage-takings and large-scale riots – such as the deadly ones at Kingston Penitentiary in 1971, British Columbia Penitentiary in 1975, and Archambault Penitentiary in 1982.

However, there is another, less-examined history of nonviolent collective actions by prisoners, including sit-down protests, work stoppages, and hunger strikes. As is made clear in their statement, this is the history in which the prisoners at Burnside are situating themselves.

The history of prisoner work stoppages stretches back to pre-Confederation, and although prisoner protests often failed or resulted in only minor improvements, they sometimes had more significant and longer lasting results. In September 1934, striking prisoners in BC demanded wages for prison work. The strike escalated into a minor riot that saw some property destruction and ended with protest leaders rounded up to face corporal punishment. Despite the successful repression of the protest, the demands for wages were won. At the beginning of January 1935, federal prisoners who worked began receiving a five-cent-per-day stipend.

The 1970s were turbulent times in Canadian prisons. One of the longest prison strikes in Canadian history started on January 14, 1976, when 350 prisoners at the Archambault Institution in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, began a work strike. The prisoners declared their solidarity with striking prisoners at St Vincent de Paul Penitentiary in Laval and demanded better conditions. The Archambault strike lasted 110 days. Although the action was primarily a nonviolent work stoppage, there was considerable violence over the course of the protest. Prisoners were beaten by guards and prisoner-strike breakers, and two guards were jumped by strikers.

Most spectacularly, a month after the strike began, two former St Vincent de Paul prisoners blew themselves up in an attempted bombing of a bus station in support of the Archambault strikers. Having been granted several of their demands, including recognition of a prisoners’ committee, the prisoners ended the strike. The next year, the prisoners’ key demand – the right to physical contact with visitors – was made policy by prison officials.

In the fall of 2013, Canada saw a nearly unprecedented strike in the federal system when prisoners stopped working their manufacturing, textile, construction, and service jobs to protest a 30 percent cut to their wages and the elimination of pay incentives offered by CORCAN, the government agency responsible for coordinating and managing prison industries. While unsuccessful at reversing these cuts, the strike demonstrated prisoners’ ability to coordinate protests across the country. Since that time there have been numerous smaller scale protests, hunger strikes, and work stoppages at various federal and provincial institutions across Canada.

Canadian prisoners – like others around the world – have also attempted to organize unions, to advance both their interests in relation to the conditions of their incarceration, and those of their labour within the institution. In 1975, The Prisoners’ Union Committee, an organization of former prisoners and radicals who had cut their teeth in the anti-war and women’s movements, and supported by the American Indian Movement, attempted to represent prisoners who were engaging in escalating work strikes and sit-down protests in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. The effort was unsuccessful, but resulted in the creation of Prisoners’ Justice Day, an annual day of work and hunger strikes initiated in 1975 and held every August 10 since.

The date of the first Prisoners’ Justice Day was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Edward Nolan, a prison organizer who died by suicide in his solitary cell in Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ontario. The event continues to serve as an annual day of remembrance of those who have died in Canada’s prisons.

In 1977, prisoners working in a privately run meatpacking plant operating out of the provincial jail in Guelph, Ontario successfully organized a local of the Canadian Food and Allied Workers Union, along with their non-incarcerated coworkers. In doing so, they became the first group of prisoners to be covered by a legally recognized collective agreement in North America. Their unionization resulted in the equalization of pay between prisoners and non-prisoners, among other benefits.

Most recently, in 2011, the Canadian Prisoners’ Labour Confederation (or “ConFederation”) began organizing around working conditions and pay in the Mountain Institution in Agassiz, British Columbia, with the goal of winning union recognition for federal prisoners. The effort fizzled after successive labour boards refused to adjudicate the case, ruling that federal prisoners fell outside of their jurisdiction and that they were not “employees,” but participants in rehabilitation programs.

Prison Justice Everywhere

Canada incarcerates too many people, and especially too many black and indigenous people. It routinely treats those it incarcerates as less than human, and overwhelmingly fails in its mission to deter crime and rehabilitate “offenders.” American progressives often – incorrectly – idolize Canada. Reducing the U.S. incarceration rate to one similar to Canada’s would clearly be an accomplishment for human rights and social justice; it won’t, however, necessarily address the plethora of issues endemic to prison systems, including Canada’s. The demands of the strikers in Burnside makes this clear. Any movement for social, racial, and economic justice in Canada, like the USA, will have to confront these issues and support prisoners in their struggles.

In response to the demands of the Burnside strikers, Jason MacLean, correctional officer and president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union – which represents workers at the jail – supported the prisoners’ demands to better food, a better library, and improved air quality. He was less supportive on other issues such as contact visitation rights, access to personal clothing, and improved exercise equipment. Most critically – and disappointingly – MacLean has dismissed the prisoners’ demands for improved medical care as unrealistic:

“I think everybody has a right to health care. We should all have better health care. I would make the argument that those that are incarcerated have access to better health care than most Nova Scotians do.

“I see what they’re saying, that they want to have more access, but that’s a hard thing, I believe, to sell to the public of Nova Scotia considering hardly anyone has a doctor anymore, and the acuity level of people in care who are being pushed out of hospitals as well.”

While it’s critical that prisoners have real and substantive access to quality health care, MacLean touches on a point that shouldn’t be dismissed. Prison conditions can only practically be “improved” relative to the general conditions of society. In his 1980 book Prisons in Turmoil, the groundbreaking convict criminologist and former organizer of the California Prisoners’ Union, John Irwin, makes this argument succinctly: “any help offered to prisoners must be available to free persons.”

As long as the general public lacks access to quality health care, education, housing, recreation, and other services, it should be unsurprising when such services offered in prison come under attack. Pioneering Canadian prisoners’ rights activist Claire Culhane puts it more poetically:

“We can’t change prisons without changing society. We know that this is a long and dangerous struggle. But the more who are involved in it, the less dangerous and the more possible it will be.” 

This article first published on the website.

Jordan House is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at York University, Toronto.

Who Among Us is Spartacus? Supporting Prison Strikes Across US & Canada

Prisoners Strike Across America & Canada to End Penal Enslavement


September 7, 2018 

Prisoners Across US and Canada go on hunger and work strike to protest no wages/low wages, end of solitary confinement, for education programs and an end to mass incarceration.

Marc Steiner reports on the organized mobilizations, begun August 21st, the anniversary of assassinated inmate, George Jackson in San Quentin prison, and scheduled to conclude September 9th, anniversary of the infamous Attica Prison uprising.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Passing: Actor, Burt Reynolds

Passing: Actor, Burt Reynolds

September 6, 2018

Israel's Military Censor Orders J.Post Pull Story on IDF Funding of Syrian "Rebels"

Report on IDF funding Syrian rebels pulled on request of ‘army’s censor’ – Jerusalem Post to RT 

by RT

September 6, 2018

The IDF has forced the Jerusalem Post to remove its explosive report on the Israeli military giving weapons to the Syrian rebels, the newspaper’s managing editor confirmed to RT.

We were told by the army’s military censor to remove that part of the story,” David Brinn, the managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, told RT as he replied to a request for comment.

The report, ‘IDF confirms: Israel provided light-weapons to Syrian rebels’, which claimed that the Israeli military acknowledged for the first time that it had provided money, weapons, and ammunition to the Syrian militants, was removed just hours after being published without any explanation.

Did IDF admit giving weapons to Islamists in Syria? Explosive Israeli news report vanishes 


According to Brinn, the story was removed “for security reasons evidently.” The IDF told RT that it would not comment on the issue.

The Jerusalem Post article was removed shortly after being published, but a version of the article can still be read using Google cache.

It claims that regular supplies of light weapons and ammunition to the Syrian militants holding the territories near the Israeli border were part of Operation Good Neighbor, which Israel portrayed as a humanitarian mission focused on providing Syrians with “food, clothes and fuel.”

Israel has been arming at least seven different armed groups in Syria’s Golan Heights, the report said. It added that the Israeli military believed that providing weapons to the militants was “the right decision” as they sought to keep Hezbollah and Iran away from Israel’s Golan Heights by such means.

The deleted report comes on the heels of another major disclosure. On Monday, the IDF announced that Israel has carried out more than 200 strikes on Syrian targets in the past year and a half.

Foregoing the Burdens of Proof: Theresa May's Thin Case in Skripal Poisoning

The New Allegations in the Skripal Case and the Standard of Proof

by John Helmer - Dancing with Bears

September 6, 2018

Moscow - The idea that a picture is worth a thousand words is only a century old. As old, that is, as publishing newspapers profitably has depended on selling advertisements to catch the eye of credulous readers.

Released in London yesterday, pictures of two Russians suspected of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal on March 4 are advertising. If being credulous makes you uncomfortable, try applying the burden of proof as British law requires in cases of murder.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons of September 5, setting out the case against two suspects, and the Russian government, for attempted murder by Novichok poisoning runs to 2,133 words.

Read them carefully. For the Skripal case file, click to open.

So far media reporting muddles whether charges have been formally presented in a court of law, or whether May’s announcement indicates “sufficient evidence” to do so, but stops short of the standard proceeding in murder cases. The Prime Minister acknowledged that no application to a court will be made to ratify an extradition request. This, she said, is because “Russia has repeatedly refused to allow its nationals to stand trial overseas, citing a bar on extradition in its constitution. So, as we found following the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, any formal extradition request in this case would be futile.”

In May’s statement to the Commons, she said the government’s “forensic investigation has now produced sufficient evidence for the independent [sic] Director of Public Prosecutions to bring charges against two Russian nationals.” She meant there is no formal charge proceeding, not yet. May added subjunctively: “were these two suspects within our jurisdiction there would be a clear basis in law for their arrest for murder.” Again, she meant there is no legal proceeding before a British court or judge.

Left: PM Theresa May making her prosecution statement in parliament on September 5. 
Right: Alison Saunders, currently UK Director of Public Prosecutions, who will leave office to join a commercial law firm next month. The post is appointed by the Attorney-General, a government minister subordinate to the prime minister.

The only legal proceedings the Prime Minister mentioned are administrative, outside court or the review of the evidence by a judge or magistrate. “With respect to the two individuals, as the Crown Prosecution Service and Police announced earlier today, we have obtained a European Arrest Warrant and will shortly issue an Interpol red notice.”

A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) can be issued in the UK, not by a court, judge or magistrate, but by a prosecutor. It is thus an administrative operation, without a judicial test of lawfulness. Here’s the explanation of the British procedure. Once the EAW was issued administratively, as the Prime Minister told parliament, the application to Interpol for a red notice on the names should follow, also adminstratively. But this has not happened yet. Try entering the names of the suspect aliases, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, into the Interpol Red Notice search archive, and the result is zero records.

Note that the Prime Minister identified the names of the two suspects as aliases. She added that the “two individuals named by the police and CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU.” The Financial Times has reported that “police have known the real identities of Petrov and Boshirov for some time, according to Whitehall officials, but decided to wait because they believed there was a slim possibility they might travel outside of Russia, presenting a possible opportunity to arrest them.” Why aliases have been announced now instead of real names, while warrants have been issued with both, has not been explained.

So far then, what has been presented in public is a case built on secret administrative processes and secret warrants signed by a prosecutor. The Prime Minister has provided one interpretation of the evidence. This may be the correct one. The burden of proof in criminal cases is on the Crown; so far the Prime Minister has avoided it.

The judicial test, if there ever will be one, would require the police and prosecutors to answer questions about the reasonableness of their evidence. The standard required in British law for conviction of the criminal offences alleged in this case is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The lesser standard of proof for civil litigation is the preponderance of the evidence or the balance of probabilities.

If the case presented in parliament yesterday had been presented to a judge, the looser standard might have sufficed for the issue of the warrant. The stricter standard would be required for a trial and conviction. The procedure adopted so far has avoided both standards and substituted advertising and public relations.

The Prime Minister’s statement of the allegations claims the poison was administered to the handle of the front-door of the Skripals’ house. Why then were the door and its handle, the crucial pieces of evidence for the alleged attack — highly contaminated ones at that — never sealed nor removed from the house, but allowed to remain open, visible and potentially poisonous to all throughout the investigation?

The front door of Sergei Skirpal’s house in Salisbury, following the March incidents. 

The Prime Minister said the evidence is that the poison was contained in a “small glass counterfeit perfume bottle”. This was brought into the country, she added, but not in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, who arrived from Moscow on Saturday, March 3, the day after the suspects. According to May, “the manner in which the bottle was modified leaves no doubt it was a cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and for the delivery method for the attack against the Skripals’ front door.”

The suspects paid a brief visit to Salisbury on Saturday March 3. The police describe this as “reconnaissance”. Nothing of consequence is reported to have happened, and no evidence has been released that the suspects approached the Skripal house during the Saturday visit.

The next day, Sunday March 4, the suspects reportedly got off the train from London to Salisbury at 11:48. Ten minutes later, CCTV footage shows they were near the Skripal home. That was at 11:58. Prime Minister May has reported “the police say [this] was moments before the attack.”

At that time the Skripals appear to have been at home; they have been reported by the Metropolitan Police as having driven to the Salisbury cemetery early that morning to visit the graves of Sergei Skripal’s wife and son, Yulia’s mother and brother. They then returned home from the cemetery. The new evidence from the Prime Minister puts them inside the house when the two suspects allegedly approached, and when at least one of them went up to the front door to make his alleged attack on the slim metal lever of the door handle.

Roughly an hour then elapsed, with the Skripals inside the house and the suspects much further away, out of sight, on foot, but not heading in a direct line towards the railway station.

According to the police timeline of the Skripals’ movements, announced by the police on March 17, just before 13:30 Sergei and Yulia Skripal left home, closing and locking their front door; got into their car; and drove towards the Salisbury city centre. By then the Skripals had either touched the door handle one after the other, or touched each other after one of them had touched the handle. The evidence of their behaviour at the car park, restaurant and pub indicate no symptoms of poisoning. The symptoms were not detected until 16:15 – approximately three hours after they and the door handle parted company. How the class of fast-acting poisons identified by the Prime Minister and prosecutors can have acted so slowly has not been made clear in the evidence.

The Skripals parked their car at the Sainsbury’s supermarket carpark at 13:40. The suspects entered the railway station at 13:50. No attempt appears to have been made by the alleged assassins to verify the outcome of their attack on their alleged targets. While the Skripals were drinking and eating, the suspects headed for London, and then for Heathrow Airport where they waited three hours for takeoff.

Noone has yet suggested that the suspects may have been known to Sergei Skripal and that he may have met with them inside the home or in the vicinity outside. The Prime Minister’s presentation to the Commons, and all official and media accounts published to date, ignore the possibility that Sergei Skripal was himself engaged in the operation involving the two Russians. It is known already that Skripal was planning a meeting with others soon after his restaurant dinner, and that he was anxious and angry that the slowness of the restaurant service might have made him late for the rendezvous.

It appears from May’s statement and the press reporting which has followed her that Skripal himself, a veteran of GRU, the same military intelligence organization to which the suspects allegedly belong, has not provided witness evidence for his knowledge of who the two men were or what the motive for the operation was.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Katrina at 13

Katrina: Two Weeks in September

Thirteen years on from Hurricane Katrina, I dug around in the old Peace Earth and Justice website for some of my writing on it as it unfolded. - ape.

Katrina: A Two-Week Timeline

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Today, ominous developments in the aftermath of the disaster wreaked on the Mississipi delta region continue. Press lockdowns, military occupation, and disturbing stories about the fate of those evacuated the city are being widely reported, on the net. Below, a timeline of Katrina from first landfall in Florida to the present produced by PEJ News.

Katrina: A Two-Week Timeline

C. L. Cook
PEJ News
September 11, 2005

Florida Smote by 'Stealth' Storm
August 26, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - In a record year of tropical storm warnings, many in southern Florida took the approaching tropical storm Katrina casually. But, what came ashore, killing several people and wreaking havoc with the state's power grid, was no mild blow.

New Orleans Sinking? Mammoth Katrina Spurs Evacuations
August 28, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The storm Floridians discounted as minor last week has spent the weekend gathering strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina has now ballooned to an unprecedentedly large and powerful Catagory 5, with sustained wind speeds nearing 280 kph, and gusts topping 300kph.

SuperDome Lockdown: Katrina's Prisoners
August 30, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - New Orleans' least fortunate, those too poor or infirm to flee Monday's killer hurricane, taking refuge in the city's Superdome football stadium today find themselves prisoners in a fast deteriorating situation.

[breaking 2:06pm pdt- Louisiana Governor announces an evacuation of one of New Orleans' emergency shelters due to rising water caused by the failure of a second levee protecting the city. Water too is accumulating in the biggest area of refuge, the SuperDome: Says situation "untenable" and the entire city must be evacuated as levee waters rise. And the rains have begun again.]

New Orleans Funeral March a Funeral for America?
August 30, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - It is a total disaster. The slow death of New Orleans, though defying worst case scenarios that have furrowed the brows of experts for years, is nevertheless a fait accompli. The failure of two vital levee guardians of the sub-sea level city means one of America's cultural icons, and arguably most important commerce ports is, as Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco says, "untenable." As analogue, the demise of the Big Easy mirrors the disaster that is George W. Bush's America.

Orleans Down the Drain, But Who's to Blame?
August 31, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - "You didn't hafta have been there in the past two days to be stung by what happened. Anyone who walked the streets or partied in NO, or watched Angel Heart (the movie), or walked the dusty roads along the Gulf saw an America that won't ever be again..." - Da'ud X Mohammad, New Orleans refugee

From Baghdad to Biloxi: Bringing Home the Guard

August 31, 2005

WarMadeEasy - Norman Solomon - The catastrophic hurricane was an act of God. But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is a continuing act of the president. And now, that effort is hampering the capacity of the National Guard to save lives at home.
Pointing Fingers in the Wake of the Flood
August 31, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - While the waters still rise in New Orleans and the monumental task of evacuating the entire city and environs begins, already accusing fingers are pointing directly to the White House and George W. Bush.

The "Disaster" President
August 31, 2005

thiscantbehappening - Dave Lindorff - The destruction of New Orleans--a catastrophe far worse than anything Osama Bin Laden could hope to wreak, considering the number of deaths, the closing down of a major U.S. port city for months, the destruction of an urban environment that will take years to repair, and the devastating disruption of one-fourth of the nation's oil production, which is likely to initiate a national recession--gives final proof of the stupidity and criminality of the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq and of the bankruptcy of the Democratic so-called opposition.

Fallujah, Louisiana
September 1, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Night is falling again in New Orleans, and reports aired by CNN paint a desperate picture. Without water, power, and hope for immediate rescue, the people stranded in the city face another night of thirst, hunger, deprivation, and now, reportedly, marauding armed gangs, and at least one insane sniper.

The Battle of New Orleans

September 1, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - Goaded perhaps by looped television footage of "looting" amongst the ruins of New Orleans, overwhelmingly displaying non-white participation, police and military spokespersons say "law and order" will take precedence to rescue missions as evacuation efforts continue in the stricken city. {lex}

"The Name of This Hurricane is Global Warming"
September 1, 2005

Democracy Now! - Shortly after he took office, the President reneged on his campaign promise to cut emissions from power plants. He then ordered the EPA to remove all references to the damages of global warming from its website. Vice President Cheney came out with his energy plan calling for 1,900 new power plants, most of them coal. This is the fast track to climate hell. And, of course, the President withdrew us from the Kyoto Protocol, so he is really going in the opposite direction from the rest of the world, and he really is following the dictates of the fossil fuel lobby. There's no question about it.

The Big "O": Abandoning New Orleans
September 2, 2005

Media Channel - Danny Schechter - DAY 5: No more water; the fire this time. Explosions rock and illuminate the darkness of New Orleans -- some from exploding gas lines and some from gunfire. Another night in a wet and dangerous town that is quickly coming to resemble a war zone in the Third World. It is a place filled with angry and hungry people, people who have felt abandoned and been abandoned for a long time-- even as help is said to be finally on the way.
The Hurricane and Bush's Criminal Negligence
Sepetember 2, 2005

IAC - September 1, 2005--With every hour that passes, we see and hear new stories of the horror and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. What makes these images more shocking is the realization that much of the death and destruction could have been prevented. Almost all of the death and destruction arising from the hurricane is the direct result of criminal neglect by the Bush Administration. This crisis was predicted in numerous reports and news articles and little, if anything, was done.

International Action Center

The Golden 72 Hours
September 2, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - It seems now to many, the "Plan" worked out by the myriad minions working at the Department of Homeland Security for disaster relief in America can most charitably be described as benign neglect. Much as the Bush administration has starved the very agencies that could and would have averted the current disaster in New Orleans, the reaction of the multi-billion dollar entities created in the wake of 9/11 instructs all citizens: "In case of disaster: You are on your own!"

"Take Your Rightful Share!"
September 2, 2005

Greg Palast - As the waters rose, one politician finally said, roughly, "Screw this! They're lying! The President's lying! The rich fat cats that are drowning you will do it again and again and again. They lead you into imperialist wars for profit, they take away your schools and your hope and when you complain, they blame Blacks and Jews and immigrants. Then they push your kids under. I say, Kick'm in the ass and take your rightful share!" - [roughly] Huey Long, 1927

"They're Washing Us Away"
September 3, 2005The Moscow Times - Chris Floyd - The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level. Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind."
"Them" Coming Home: Third World Redux in America
September 3, 2005

The Jazzman Chronicles - Jack Random - It is happening and my heart, like every ordinary American, has broken a thousand times. It does not look like America, no less the soul of America, but it is. Ultimately, it occurred to me that the sorrow of New Orleans bore a striking resemblance to an entry in recent history, one that should still be fresh in every mind and heart: It looked like Port au Prince, Haiti.

No News is Bad News: CNN's Evacuation of New Orleans
September 3, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook ? The message has trickled from the Atlanta corporate head office of CNN: In the Age of Rage, the flagship of American television journalism is to desert its post; as have hundreds of police and fire-fighters in New Orleans. If you have, as have I, been monitoring the coverage of the unprecedented disaster unfolding in the American south these last days, you may have noticed: CNN?s coverage consists today of almost entirely re-cycled footage and heart-tearing stories, while ignoring the real situation on the ground in that God-damned city.

Halliburton to Orleans' Rescue
September 4, 2005

ADE - Kurt Nimmo - It is mighty suspicious the New Orleans "refugees" (as the corporate media call the Americans removed from the disease-ridden swamp left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) are being relocated far and wide. Most of them will probably never return and will end up in ghettoes in Baton Rouge, Houston, and elsewhere (it appears Baton Rouge is being groomed as an expansive slum, since the rebuilt New Orleans will be a casino and tourist destination with time-share condos and luxury housing).
Whose Desire Would Burn the World
Sept. 4, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Speechless. The television remains off, I can't take it today. In print, the rolling misery of America, its veneer scraped as effectively as the Superdome's roof, revealing all many have known all along; but, seeing it is something else again. And behind this ghastly production, George W. Bush and his now infamous coterie stand in the wings, authors of this through their insatiable cravenous appetite, poised to profit the calamity.

Dear PEJ News: Full of Bewildered Anger
September 4, 2005

From: Cameron McLaughlin - To: "lex at pej" - Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 21:20:41 -0500 - I can't watch or hear news of New Orleans without breaking down right now. The best I can hope for is that the extremist right-wing radio stations here on the Gulf Coast are full of bewildered anger. So are many of the journalists who have seen the carnage and devastation for themselves.The sleeping giant may be waking, and the helpless ones may be beginning to realize that they and their cities may be the next to be sacrificed. Big Daddy not only can't and won't protect them, he will mock them by pretending to be their savior while privately affirming his indifference to them. Big Daddy is a reptilian psychopath who will let New Orleans drown while he strums the guitar and plays golf and his cabinet members attend Broadway shows and shop for shoes. He will reward gross incompetence and literally give the despairing victims of New Orleans the finger.

Black Nightmare
September 4, 2005

PEJ - The Red Cross spends 40% on administration according to their website. The number two organization that FEMA supports is "Operation Blessing" founded by Pat Robertson who 2 weeks ago said "Lets go and assassinate Hugo Chavez".

"Thanks, But No Thanks!" U.S. Rejects International Aid Offers
September 5, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The gross incompetence displayed by the Bush administration and it's budget-heavy Homeland Security, in these days, a week past the disastrous landfall of Hurricane Katrina, a week of inexplicable inaction on the part of the federal government, is now compounded as Bush thumbs his nose at international offers of aid.

Reverse Triage: An Inhumane Policy
Sepetember 5, 2005

PEJ News - F.H. Knelman, Ph.D. - The Katrina disaster is a classical case of reverse triage of class and colour. Triage is a French word referring to the priority with which a mixed group of wounded are divided into three groups and which group is the first to receive medical services. These three groups are (1) the severely wounded or ill; (2) those less seriously wounded and (3) those who have not been wounded or hurt. According to the principle of triage it is the first group that is initially evacuated for medical treatment. Reverse triage simply reverses this order. Under certain fairly unique conditions, reverse triage is practiced in war conditions, i.e. the non-wounded soldiers are evacuated first and the severely wounded are abandoned. In summary triage is a natural humane order of emergency needs, whereby the most vulnerable are treated first. In the case of New Orleans, we faced the need for mass triage. Instead it was a case of reverse triage as well as an exercise in bureaucracy.

US Troops in New Orleans Are Treating Hurricane Victims as Members of Al QaedaUrgent International Appeal
September 5, 2005

Wayne Madsen - U.S. troops in New Orleans are treating hurricane victims as members of "Al Qaeda." Reports coming to WMR report that the greater New Orleans area has been turned into a virtual military zone where troops threaten bewildered and hungry survivors who approach them for help. One resident of the unflooded Algiers section of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River reports that the 65,000 population of the neighborhood has been reduced by forced evacuations to 2000 even though there are relatively undamaged schools, parks, and churches available to house the homeless. The remaining population of Algiers is in urgent need of medical supplies. The same situation exists in Jefferson Parish and other areas in the greater New Orleans area. U.S. troops are treating the remaining people in New Orleans nd its suburbs as "suicide bombers," according to the Algiers resident.

"We're Angry, Mr. President"
An Open Letter to George W. Bush from New Orleans

Sept. 5, 2005

Times-Picayune - We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame. 

[Note: The Times-Picayune also authored an award-winning series of articles over the last two years questioning, and criticizing, the federal governments budget cuts and failures in providing New Orleans with the much needed funds for levee reconstruction, citing precisely the disaster New Orleans now face. - lex]

"Have You No Blame, Sir?"
September 7, 2005

The Nation - Katrina vanden Heuvel - As Republicans desperately cry out of one corner of their mouths to stop the blame game, they have been blaming everyone but themselves since this catastrophe.

No Cameras Please: Journalism Under Attack in New Orleans
September 7, 2005

Reporters Without Borders - In the days following the devastation of New Orleans, running battles between police and what they described as "looters" were strictly off-camera; a situation today extended to a ban on images of the bodies being recovered there. That there have been conflicting reports about who these "looters" were, most based on fleshtones, the real issue not yet at issue here is, "When is it O.K. to shoot a starving citizen in search of food?" - {lex}
Surviving the Flood
September 7, 2005

CounterPunch - This is a transcription of an interview Charmaine Neville, of New Orleans's legendary Neville family, gave to local media outlets on Monday, September 5.

Trapped in New Orleans: First By Floods, Then Martial Law
September 7, 2005

Counterpunch - LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY - The owners and managers of Walgreen's in New Orleans had locked up the food, water, pampers and prescriptions, and fled the city. Outside Walgreens' windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry. The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized, and the windows at Walgreens gave way to the looters.
Destroying the City to Save It: Hurricane Cassandra
September 7, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - News descending at this hour, fuelled by the relentless wind of CNN, and the rest of the elements comprising the agit-prop pretending to journalism (and serving the public weal) in that Untied State of America, currently relating the grim realities of the "graveyard that is New Orleans," exemplified best by five-star reporter and favoured hand-maiden to orchestrated calamity everywhere, Christiane Amanpour, would have the world believe, there is little option left for the beleagured government forces massed ready to pounce on the funereal remains inconveniently still assembled in New Orleans, but to massacre the remnants, witnesses of the Great Flood and its aftermath. The long awaited saviours must now 'Destroy the City in Order to Save It.'

Katrina Evacuees: FEMA Internees
September 8, 2005

ADE- Kurt Nimmo - Asked by Senator Nancy Pelosi if he'd call for FEMA head, Michael Brown's resignation, George Bush asked, "Why would I do that?" When prompted, it may be appropriate in light of the agency's disastrous performance during the crisis in New Orleans and all that went wrong, all that didn't go right, the President asked, "What didn't go right?" - {lex}

Katrina's Patsy: Who Are You, Mr. Brown?
September 8, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The guillotine blade is risen and heads will roll. Though the melons most suited to fill those baskets will be spared, it may provide solice that those that do, vile co-conspirators of the authors of Katrina, the crime that dwarfed 9/11, and eclipsing for now the toxic legacy of that other criminal quagmire, Iraq. Michael Brown, current head of FEMA and odds on favourite for first tete in the bucket, is tonight revealed by TIME On-line as having "discrepancies" in his resume.

[update: Sept. 10, 12:00 p.m. - Mr. Brown is now in the eye of the sh*t storm. He's been relieved of responsibilities overseeing the next phase of the Bush administration's management of the disaster.- lex]

Guns Not Butter for Louisiana
September 9, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Befitting the conduct of this emergency promising disaster, the Bush administration has only now, nearly a fortnight following the unleashing of chaos, decided to accept foreign aid for the victims of Katrina and the consequent New Orleans Flood. But, it's not the doctors and medicines promised by Castro, or the subsidized fuel offered by Chavez, or even the Urban Search and Rescue team unceremoniously sent packing back to Canada from the epicentre of the catastrophe they want; the intrepids at Camp Bush have put out a mayday to NATO, in the form of a deployment of its freshly minted military strike force.

"Go F**K Yourself, Mr. Cheney!"
September 9, 2005

Jackson Thoreau - Dr. Ben Marble, a young emergency room physician who plays in alternative rock bands and does art on the side, needs our help. Since he was the one who told Dick Cheney to "go fuck yourself" on Thursday, that's the least we can do.

The Nauseating Mrs. Bush
September 10, 2005

WMR - Wayne Madsen - Famous already for the nauseating response to a reporter's question concerning Iraqi civilian casualties that would result her little boy George's campaign there at the start of the carnage that is America's gift to the world, Barbara Bush, doyen of the Bush dynasty replied, "Why would I want to waste my beautiful mind thinking about that?" Responding to the plight of the displaced casualties of the great New Orleans flood "Babs" said, as she stood amongst the human chattel filling Houston's Astro Dome: ""What I?m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality . . .And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this --this is working very well for them." Compassionate Conservatism in full Texas Rose bloom. {lex}

Martial Law America
September 10, 2005

ADE - Kurt Nimmo - New Orleans is no longer part of America. It is a brave new world devised by FEMA and the Ministry of Homeland Security. In the new New Orleans, there are no constitutional rights. Not only are soldiers allowed to break down doors (as they do in Iraq) in violation of the Fourth Amendment and even ?shoot to kill? if they believe they are threatened (as soldiers in Iraq ?shoot to kill? grandmothers and kids at Israeli-styled checkpoints), now the Second Amendment no longer exists.

Of Alligators and Crocodile Tears: Bush Katrina Aid Plan
September 10, 2005 - Dave Lindorff - The Republican Congress (and their conservative Democratic quislings) have decided to show a little compassion for the victims of Bush Administration incompetence and nature's revenge by including a waiver in the bankruptcy bill to exempt them from losing their shirts along with their houses. They've also decided to postpone cuts in Medicaid, so as not to gut what little public healthcare remains in Louisiana during this crisis.

Katrina: Next Phase September 10, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Michael Brown, lately chief of FEMA's hurricane response efforts, has been 'redeployed." Perhaps in like-manner to tend the animals, as was the Navy pilot punished for the temerity of defying orders and actually rescuing people. Sadly, Michael Brown is no hero. But, neither is he the true goat. - {lex}

New Orleans Unmasks "Apartheid, American Style"
September 11, 2005

PEJ News - Jason Miller - What is the recipe for a toxic sludge potent enough to destroy a heavily populated city and inflict infection with a mere splash? Start with a force of nature powerful beyond belief. Mix in an ample supply of sewage, garbage, brackish water from Lake Ponchatrain, floating corpses of humans and animals, and various and sundry noxious chemicals. Blend well with a system of seriously inadequate levees resulting from cuts in federal funding. Of course this concoction would not be complete without heaping portions of racism, spiritual emptiness, and avarice fueling slow and inadequate federal relief efforts. 

Orleans Doctors "Put Down" Terminal Patients at Height of Flood September 11, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - George W. Bush arrives in Louisiana today as relevations of further horrors during the flood that followed hurricane Katrina's August 30 landfall. Doctors, caught between the rising waters and drug seeking hospital looters, were forced to make "unbearable" decisions during the evacuation.

A Martial Plan for Orleans
Septembher 12, 2005

Paul Craig Roberts - Lawlessness, the eruption of which was guaranteed by delayed relief, provides cover both for martial law, which suspends constitutional protections, and for the confiscation of legally owned private firearms in violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Everyone has by now seen the images of troops and police breaking into New Orleans homes and pointing weapons in the faces of residents. U.S. military even described survivors as "insurgents." (At time of writing news reports are confused whether martial law exists in New Orleans.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Daniel Kovalik, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft September 6, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

September 6, 2018

The American coup machine has taken its efforts to topple Nicaraguan democracy to a higher level. Addressing the UN Security Council yesterday, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley said, "With each passing day Nicaragua travels further down a familiar path. It is a path that Syria has taken. It is a path that Venezuela has taken."

That "path" to which the Ambassador refers in other quarters is called national sovereignty and self-determination; something anathema to the United States now in Nicaragua, as it has been, as Haley reminds, in Venezuela, a country currently suffering a vicious financial sanctions attack, and in Syria, a place America has done its utmost to destroy, and even now occupies militarily.

Listen. Hear.

But it's not just hawks like Nikki Haley gunning for Nicaragua; in a cunning bit of wordplay, Leila Swan of Human Rights Watch slays two recalcitrant Latin American birds in one sentence saying, "It's hard not to think about the early stages of Venezuela’s crisis while watching the brutal crackdown unfolding in Nicaragua." So what's really going on?

Daniel Kovalik is a human rights lawyer, essayist, and author who’s new book, ‘The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran’ joins last year's ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin’ in what could become a franchised chronicle of perfidy in high places.

Dan Kovalik in the first half.

And; Britain's prime minister addressed the nation's Parliament yesterday saying she had solved the Skripal poisoning case. Her accompanying presentation featured photos and maps and other visual aids, but contained little a prosecutor could use to justify charges being brought, let alone the actual evidence needed in court to secure a conviction. But no matter, the case is meant to tried in the court of public opinion, an arena Theresa May is desperate to "court" these days.

John Helmer is a long-time, Moscow-based journalist, author, and essayist whose website, Dances with Bears is the only Russian-based news bureau “independent of single national or commercial ties.” He’s also a former political science professor who’s served as advisor to governments on three continents, and regularly lectures on Russian topics.

Helmer’s book titles include: ‘Uncovering Russia,’ ‘Urbanman: The Psychology of Urban Survival,’ ‘Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam and After,’ and ‘Drugs and Minority Oppression’, among others. His latest article, 'The New Allegations in the Skripal Case and the Standard of Proof' takes aim at the latest media muddling of the Skripal case.

John Helmer and trying days for England's Queen of Hearts in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Daniel Kovalik and the plot to attack Nicaragua and vilify Daniel Ortega.

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: