Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sighting: First rays

First Rays on Somenos Mountain. Looking west over Duncan, British Columbia, from Mt Tzuhalem | Chris Jackson, Feb. 25, 2014

First Rays on Somenos Mountain. Looking west over Duncan, British Columbia, from Mt Tzuhalem | Chris Jackson, Feb. 25, 2014

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US study: the prevalence of Roundup herbicide

Green Med Info (25 Feb.) – A NEW STUDY from the U.S. Geological Survey, accepted for publication online ahead of print in the journal Enviromental Toxicology and Chemistry, reveals that Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate) and its still-toxic degradation byproduct AMPA were found in over 75 per cent of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippi in 2007. Continue reading

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Venezuela: Who is Leopoldo Lopez?

By MAX BLUMENTHAL

Far right leader Leopoldo Lopez, who participated in the failed 2002 coup against then President Hugo Chávez, addresses a crowd on Feb. 18 in Caracas

Far right leader Leopoldo Lopez, who participated in the failed 2002 coup against then President Hugo Chávez, addresses a crowd on Feb. 18 in Caracas

(Feb. 20) – IT IS HARD to argue that many of those involved in anti-government protests in Venezuela don’t have legitimate grievances — widespread insecurity and media repression cannot be ignored — or that the government’s charges against opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, including “terrorism,” have been filed with sufficient substantiation.

But who is Lopez, and is there any evidence that his own methods are more democratic than those of the government he paints as corrupt and aims to topple through extra-constitutional means? Continue reading

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What’s going on in Venezuela?

UK academic Lee Salter, an expert on media coverage of Venezuela, gives his view on the reasons behind and aims of the current opposition protests.

The pro-government march in Caracas on February 18 (AVN)

The pro-government march in Caracas on February 18 (AVN)

IT’S difficult to briefly explain the situation in Venezuela right now. The difficulty lies in the fact that it is complicated, like most things. No matter how various political protagonists, human rights groups and news media would like to paint things as simple, black and white, they are not. To understand one has to dig down, deep.

A particularly galling video on YouTube explains that millions of students took to the street to protest about crime and the security situation. The comments by Venezuelans on said video are telling. In fact, what English-speakers hear about Venezuela is one of the biggest problems – if a Venezuelan speaks English, chances are that they are part of the small minority of the (relatively) ultra-rich who’ve been fighting to overthrow democracy since 1998. The curious thing about them is that they know what to say to whom and when. Continue reading

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Venezuela beyond the protests: The revolution is here to stay

By EVA GOLINGER, Postcards from the Revolution

(Feb. 20) – FOR THOSE of you unfamiliar with Venezuelan issues, don’t let the title of this article fool you. The revolution referred to is not what most media outlets are showing taking place today in Caracas, with protestors calling for the ouster of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chávez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil producing nation into a socially-focused, progressive country with a grassroots government. Demonstrations taking place over the past few days in Venezuela are attempts to undermine and destroy that transformation in order to return power to the hands of the elite who ruled the nation previously for over 40 years. Continue reading

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Documenting darkness: How the US thug state operates

Protest outside U.S. Embassy in Berlin, June 18, 2013.

Protest outside U.S. Embassy in Berlin, June 18, 2013.

By Tom Engelhardt*

TomDispatch.com (Feb. 20) – HERE, at least, is a place to start: intelligence officials have weighed in with an estimate of just how many secret files National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden took with him when he headed for Hong Kong last June. Brace yourself: 1.7 million.  At least they claim that as the number he or his web crawler accessed before he left town.  Let’s assume for a moment that it’s accurate and add a caveat.  Whatever he had with him on those thumb drives when he left the agency, Edward Snowden did not take all the NSA’s classified documents.  Not by a long shot.  He only downloaded a portion of them.  We don’t have any idea what percentage, but assumedly millions of NSA secret documents did not get the Snowden treatment. Continue reading

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The role of the media to disinform: Syria

Media-CulpaWestern news media reportage on the rampant criminal activities of foreign-backed paramilitary groups operating within Syria still relies heavily on unreliable sources frequently referred to as “activists.” Such spokespersons routinely claim the Syrian military are committing atrocities against the Syrian population, says JAMES TRACY*. The reports are often disputed by the Bashar al-Assad government and proven suspect or false when additional information is unearthed by independent researchers and alternative news media.

Global Research (Feb. 11) – IN JULY 2012 UK journalist Charlie Skelton reported that Western news outlets remain willing accomplices in a propaganda campaign being carried out by public relations practitioners. According to Skelton, “the spokespeople, the ‘experts on Syria’, the ‘democracy activists’ … The people who ‘urge’ and ‘warn’ and ‘call for action’” against the Assad regime are themselves part of a sophisticated and well-heeled propaganda campaign to allow NATO forces to give Syria the same medicine administered to Libya in 2011. “They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change,” Skelton reports,

and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.[1] Continue reading

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CNN, CBC: Fake image of a young child – again

We dot the i’s and cross the t’s: No, four-year-old Marwan fleeing Syria was not “alone” in the desert. The modus operandi behind the pervasive hoaxes being disseminated by the monopoly media augmented by anti-social media to facilitate intervention and subversion of sovereign countries

2014.2.19.Fake image of kid in desert

Media-CulpaAN IMAGE claimed by CNN journalists and rebroadcast on the state-owned CBC as well as CTV on February 17 to be of a 4-year-old Syrian child discovered alone near the Jordanian borders while his leg was cut and bandaged with plastic bags, is apparently part of a different image, where the family of the child are seen walking ahead of him and his leg is fine, euronews (and here), the London Guardian and the website Friends of Syria report. A CBC blog by John Bowman of cbcnews.ca also admitted later on Feb. 18 that “the fact that his family was just metres away was left behind.” Continue reading

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Air Force demands militarization of universities, industry

The future of post-secondary education: privatization and militarization

By Major Sonia Connock, RCAF Public Affairs

Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, spoke to more than 100 members and friends of the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM) on the afternoon of February 12th.

He spoke about creating the Air Force of the future by capitalizing on innovation. Continue reading

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Venezuelan president condemns riots as coup attempt

Plus: Cyberwarfare against Venezuela, and atatements issued by Cuba and Argentina condemning “clear attempts of destabilization”

VENEZUELA –We Are Maduro • Chavez Vive • Hands Off Venezuela

VENEZUELA –We Are Maduro • Chavez Vive • Hands Off Venezuela

President Maduro was democratically elected on 14 April 2013, says the release(Feb. 14 ) – RIOTS that occurred in Caracas and other big Venezuelan cities on Wednesday after student manifestations had the goal of toppling the government, President Nicolas Maduro (pictured) said Thursday in a televised address to the nation.

“Criminal violence was unleashed for the purpose of soaking Venezuela with blood, and the political objective was to topple the government,” Maduro said. “The fascists who took part in the manifestation” had a plan to break through to the Presidential Palace, he indicated. Continue reading

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End the occupation of Palestine – PAJU picket turns thirteen

ACROSS Canada, progressive and anti-war forces have developed new forms of actions to communicate and concentrate public opinion, rally their forces, and as a regular venue for serious discussion and organizing on the basis of unity in action. Weekly pickets are now being held in the cities of Halifax, Windsor, Ottawa and Montreal, among other places. Through these actions, held at high profile, publicly accessible places in the downtown area, Canadians combat the official marginalization of their movements through the cordon sanitaire and the disinformation of the monopoly media, advancing and popularizing such political demands as for an anti-war government and to oppose warmongering against Syria and Iran; Canada’s withdrawal from NATO; to free the Cuban Five political prisoners being held in US jails; and the demand to end the Israeli Zionist occupation of Palestine.

The oldest is in Montreal. Palestinian and Jewish Unity PAJU has held a weekly picket outside the Israeli consulate in Montreal since February 9, 2001, often in bitterly cold weather, to demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Continue reading

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Cuba forced to suspend US consular services

As a new Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans and even higher proportion of Floridians support re-establishing relations with Cuba

THE Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., has suspended consular services for the second time in less than three months because it has not been able to find a U.S.-based bank to handle its transactions. The Cuban government said Friday, Feb. 14, in a statement:

“In spite of the ​​huge efforts made, as a result of the restrictions in force, derived from the policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade by the U.S. government against Cuba, it has been impossible for the Interests Section to find a U.S.-based bank that could operate the bank accounts of the Cuban diplomatic missions. Continue reading

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Mass protests against Irish government’s assault on the Irish language

756 documented instances of discrimination of Irish speakers noted in the Irish Language Commissioner’s report for 2012

By Cuan Ó Seireadáin

Irish Government indifferent as Irish language commissioner quits and protesters take to the streets of Dublin | Getty Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/Why-the-Irish-language-is-dying-in-Ireland-.html#ixzz2tNRIvdnn  Follow us: @IrishCentral on Twitter | IrishCentral on Facebook

Irish language commissioner quits and protesters take to the streets of Dublin | Getty

(Feb. 13) – THE impending resignation of Irish Language Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin on February 23 has sparked a wave of protest all over Ireland.

On Saturday, February 15 speakers and supporters of the Irish language will gather in Dublin to make plain their dissatisfaction with the Irish and Northern Ireland governments’ lack of response to Ó Cuirreáin’s criticisms of their policies. The protest is expected to be the largest public demonstration of support for Irish since the protests of the Gaeltacht civil rights movement in the 1960s. Continue reading

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America: Land of the imprisoned (5)

Enslaved labour in U.S. privatized prisons

Truth Out  (Feb. 7) – THERE are now over 2 million people living behind bars in the United States. That’s half a million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. (And about two-thirds the population of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.– ed.)

The worst part is that once captured by the prison industry, inmates are forced to work for pennies an hour, providing cheap labour for some of the most profitable enterprises in the world, including the U.S. Military.

According to the Left Business Observer, “the federal prison industry produces 100 per cent of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98 per cent of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93 per cent of paints and paintbrushes; 92 per cent of stove assembly; 46 per cent of body armor; 36 per cent of home appliances; 30 per cent of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21 per cent of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”

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America: Land of the imprisoned (4)

The revival of mediaeval debtors’ prisons

Huffington Post (Feb. 12) – IN RECENT YEARS, local governments throughout the United States have locked up growing numbers of people for failing to pay their legal debts. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Brennan Center for Justice released a pair of wide-ranging reports on the practice in 2010. Now, a new report takes a closer look at the emergence of modern-day “debtors’ prisons” in Washington state, specifically. People throughout the state are often sent to jail because they can’t afford to pay the heavy fines and legal fees issued by county courts, says the report by the ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services. Continue reading

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US: Great moments in disaster journalism

Atlanta calls in it's emergency reserve of snowplows! (Thanks Marty)

Atlanta calls in it’s emergency reserve of snowplows! (Thanks Marty)

Mark Washburn, Charlotte Observer, NC  (Feb. 12) – IN CASE you’re not up with the latest, we are in the gorilla grip of an epic calamity of lost-mitten proportions, a savage siege of ice and snow that will alter our lives forever, if not inconvenience us for hours. Continue reading

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Harper’s capital-centred federal budget

– Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) –

THE Harper Conservative government delivered the federal budget for the country on February 11. The most important thing for the people to do when assessing the budget is to carve away the dogma and hype. The dogma of “balance” coupled with the hype that the budget provides an opportunity for Harper to regain some momentum for re-election conceal a deeply disturbing trend towards war and nation-wrecking.

The association of the word balance with a federal budget is meant to hide the anti-social offensive and nation-wrecking. The mass media and most of the intelligentsia bring shame on themselves for participating in the dogma of balance. The trite and some say silly talk of balance is a diversion from exposing Harper’s messianic crusade to destroy Canada’s social fabric while annexing the country into the United States of North American Monopolies and U.S. war machine. Continue reading

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Disinformation on gas attacks in Syria (15): US chemical weapons illegally left in Panama

The Obama regime has launched a new offensive against Syria as part of its warmongering, that allegedly it is refusing to dispose of its chemical weapons. The US repeatedly accuses the Syrian government of deception and violation of international law. But this disinformation remains silent on the danger posed not only by the huge arsenals at the disposal of the US but also by Israel and the other big powers, as well as the fact that the US is the largest stockpiler of chemical and biological weapons and regularly supplies them to other countries. The US has repeatedly postponed the timeline for disposal of its own arsenal of chemical weapons, the largest in the world, until 2020. Continue reading

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Sochi Games: Who’s going to watch? And what should we be on the watch for?

Sochi Winter Olympic Opens.Flames.The Opening Ceremonies are beginning now. Who’s going to watch? And what should we be on the watch for? Two US warships have entered the Black Sea. Hagel is huddling with everyone in Munich (Security Conference). Do you remember that Georgia invaded Ossetia during the Opening Ceremony of the China Olympic in August 2008? The attention of the world was diverted to Beijing. Will they do something in the Ukraine? We will not in the least be surprised. But the Russians are not idiots either … so we shall see. Amidst all the old stereotypes about Russia, the US has been very “cooperative” regarding security for Sochi, which was built as a luxury resort for the revisionists and oligarchs decades ago. Gorbachov’s villa is there. As for Ukraine, if they do it, the die will be cast for the whole world to see. Continue reading

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Sochi Games Opening Ceremony – From our archives: Russians’ response to TV poll hardly a surprise

Lenin-StalinHere are some interesting results of a popular poll of viewers in 2012 from the Russian TV show ‘Court of Time.’ The socialist period of Lenin and Stalin (pictured) was completely omitted in the rendition of Russian history and culture of the spectacular pageant at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Yet, far from being allegedly rejected, it still enjoys a high prestige in Russia, despite the best efforts of the revisionists, the oligarchs and Putin to bury communism. And perhaps this also explains the empty seats at the Opening Ceremony.

01.12.2010 – Svanidze and Co. have decided to judge the great Stalin era, having started a TV show “Court of Time” (judge of time) following the instructions of timeserver Medvedev about “de-Stalinization of the public conscience”, but like the TV show by anti-Soviet Lyubimov, we got the opposite effect – the people with their votes judged the time-servers, and pay tribute to Stalin.

Below are the published pictures from the TV program “Court of Time” with the results from the national (phone-in) vote. The results of the voting by the brain-washed by Svanidze & Co. TV show that the votes from the audience were completely the opposite, or roughly equal, such that many of the facts of our history are so striking and obvious that no lies and falsification can hide them. Continue reading

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Spirited actions of veterans and their supporters across the country

The Harper government’s three “Ds” for the military are now “Deny, Delay, Die” rather than “Defence, Diplomacy and Development,” says a young veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “The Prime Minister claims the opposition to the closures is trouble-making stirred up by ‘unions.’ However, the emcee pointed out that it is the Harper government which is being self-serving. Had it not been for the action of PSAC, veterans and others would have been in the dark and the government would have simply slipped the closures through Parliament without anyone knowing until after the fact.”

TML Daily (Feb. 3) – ON JANUARY 31, thousands of Canadian military veterans, many in their 80s and 90s, from World War II to the present, along with people from all walks of life including many representatives of trade unions, participated in actions at the Veterans Affairs Canada district offices slated for closure that day in eight cities across the country – Kelowna, Saskatoon, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sydney, Charlottetown and Corner Brook. A common demand at the actions was for the immediate resignation of Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino and Prime Minister Harper because of their despicable treatment of veterans. Continue reading

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Attacks on veterans and Veterans Affairs: Harper government’s despicable anti-human agenda

Signs at action in Sydney, Cape Breton, January 31, 2014.

Sign at action in Sydney, Cape Breton, January 31, 2014.

TML Daily (Feb. 3) – JANUARY 31 saw veterans and their supporters in action across the country to denounce the Harper government’s closure of eight district Veterans Affairs offices that day, plus the closure of another office in Prince George, BC that had already taken place. These offices provide crucial services to veterans, many of whom suffer from mental or physical injuries as result of their deployments. In some cases, these services are required on a day-to-day basis to allow the veterans to heal, recuperate and re-enter civilian life. In the case of permanent injuries, the veterans may require the services their entire lives. Continue reading

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New Brunswick government attacking public sector pensions

Defend the pensions we have! Fight for pensions for all!

Mass demonstration by more than 2,000 public sector workers and retirees in defence of their pensions, Fredericton, November 6, 2013.

TML Daily (Feb. 6) – ON JANUARY 1, Bill 11, An Act Respecting Pensions under the Public Service Superannuation Act, came into force in New Brunswick. The Act was passed under closure by the provincial Legislature last December. It repeals the Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) and converts the defined-benefit pension plan under the PSSA into a shared-risk plan for public sector employees and public sector retirees. This plan covers roughly 19,000 public sector employees and 13,000 retirees. Since that time, the Alward Conservative government announced that it would convert other public sector pensions to the so-called shared-risk plan. The passing of the bill was accompanied by a strident propaganda campaign according to which the defined-benefit pension plans were unsustainable, the PSSA plan had a $1 billion deficit and the government coffers, i.e., taxpayers’ money, were being plundered to pay for the pensions of the public sector workers, etc. Continue reading

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Neo-liberalism: Pennsylvania to privatize its bridges

shunpikeEllen Dannin, Truthout (Jan. 31) – The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced that the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett finally decided to take action on the state’s crumbling bridges. The action it is taking is to sign a 40-year contract to privatize Pennsylvania bridges.

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Sighting. Nuclear proliferation

One of these countries

 

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Sighting. One colour revolution that can be supported

Photo by Gürol Demirutku

Photo by Gürol Demirutku

A 64 year-old man in Istanbul decided to brighten the neighbourhood by painting rainbow colours on some wide, gray, crumbling stairs. When municipal officials sent workers after nightfall to hurriedly repaint the steps gray, volunteers come out to repaint those stairs that Huseyin Cetinel had spent hundreds of dollars on, they painted other stairs and walkways in cities around Turkey, posting photos on social media. A Pandora’s Box of colour had unwittingly been opened. VIDEO at Good News Network.

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