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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