Friday, April 22, 2016

The Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

George Soros: Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

by Vanessa Beeley -21st Century Wire

 April 22, 2016

“They [the media] are news-as-entertainment professionals – packaging glossy corporate content for maximum distribution and big bucks. The goal is not objective reportage. Their targets are quantifiable and highlighted in a business plan somewhere. Success is based on a simple formula: stay within parameters “understandable” to a wide audience that devours sound bites and familiar storylines on the hour, every hour. 

Like trained seals whose every desire, instinct and buying pattern has been measured by corporate media’s marketing department for the consumption of its advertisers, the audience demands satisfaction – and western media delivers it.” ~ Sharmine Narwani


The Madaya media circus still lingers on regardless of the multitude of proven anomalies and outright deceit of the mainstream narrative.  Deaf to either public opinion or investigation, institutions like the BBC consider they are above accountability to those who pay for their existence, the British public.

They considered it perfectly acceptable to release footage from Yarmouk 2014 and represent it as Madaya 2016..and when questioned, to remove the offending footage without explanation or responsibility for their obscurantism and misinformation tactics.

Thankfully, Robert Stuart, ardent campaigner against the BBC’s long running, hostile, anti Syria propaganda offensive did raise an official complaint and demanded answers that the BBC has, for too long, been allowed to avoid answering.

Al Mayadeen, Al Manar, Al Masirah TV channels and many others, representing the voices of the oppressed in the Middle East are being systematically excluded from Saudi funded Satellite channels and Israeli biased social media.  Press TV, headquarters in Tehran,  had its licence revoked by Ofcom in 2012
RT has come under relentless attack by the BBC since the “Kremlin launched its international media operation”.  The BBC lexicon never fails to maintain and celebrate the “cold war” terminology or to keep fear of the Russian “indoctrination”  stewing in peoples minds.

“But it [RT] is also coming under increased scrutiny over its lack of editorial balance and accusations that it is deliberately using disinformation to counter and divide the West.” ~Russia’s Global Media Operation Under the Spotlight

This astounding display of projectionism can only be matched by the Zionist ability to turn their own crimes against Humanity into a neatly packaged accusation that those they are oppressing, the Palestinians, on whose broken bones Israel has built its settlements, are the guilty and that Israel is exempt from judgement for its crimes which are committed in “self defence”.

Is the BBC embellishing the truth in “self-defence” or is it being creative with the truth in defence of our Government’s appalling neo-colonialist foreign policy which is ensuring the fomenting of sectarian divide in the Middle East to facilitate desired “regime change” in Syria & the wholesale slaughter of civilians in Yemen,  obliterated by  made-in-UK missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

These are just two examples of the BBC collusion in global de-stabilization and reduction of sovereign nations to perpetual conflict  or “failed state” status, ripe for economic and pseudo “humanitarian” NGO complex, stealth invasion and occupation and of course the bolstering of the Military Industrial Complex profitability index.


The following extraordinary statement is taken from a paper produced by the Wilson in the section titled “The Role of NGOs in Building Civil Society

“In some countries, local NGOs also have been funded to mount “people power” campaigns. As in the recent “color revolutions,” these campaigns are aimed at opening up political regimes to opposition parties and ousting leaders who were holding onto power through irregular methods. Viewed more broadly, all these programs supporting NGO activities and capacity-building are seen as ways to foster the progressive emergence of a broad civil society, one that both supplements the state in providing for public needs and makes governments more responsive to their populations.” 

The gloves appear to be off.  Here, the Wilson Centre is blithely exposing the NGO’s trojan horse policy with regards to its role as outreach agents for Imperialism in any resource rich or strategically important, prey nation.

It explains perfectly the funding of the people power, time for change campaigns that run in synch with any regional or national schisms that are then piggybacked by imported or locally fostered opposition movements to propel the Imperialist friendly movements towards regime change.

Of course there is never any intention from the behind- the- scenes- string- pullers of allowing the much acclaimed people power.  The goal is the now familiar power vacuum to be filled by an Imperialist compatible ruling entity that will ensure the completion of Empire’s hostile corporate take over bid.

You may be asking why is this relevant to the BBC truth distortion.  As explanation, please consider the inclusion of the BEEB in the Open Democracy website.  Then have a look at the Open Democracy impressive list of funders and donors.  No surprise for many of you that  George Soros, Open Society Foundation is on that list.  In fact, the only “philanthropic” mogul missing is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Then, let us consider who holds the purse strings of the majority of the primary propaganda rings and regime change facilitating NGO elements in Syria.

The yellow brick road of Neocon ambitions and imperialist missions- impossible in Syria leads unerringly to the global chaos strategist, George Soros, pedalling furiously behind his NGO Humanitarian shield.
First a reminder from The Wrong Kind of Green’s NGO myth shattering article, Syria, Avaaz, Purpose, the art of selling hate for Empire. 

“It should not be considered a coincidence that at the same time, a polished, sophisticated and highly financed “Save Syria” campaign is being created in the board rooms of the Empire’s favourite Harvard boys.

Where, under the organization Avaaz, the public hasn’t acquiesced to an air strike on Syria, the New York public relations firm Purpose Inc. has stepped in.”

[Purpose’s partnership with Soros, Open Society Foundation is highlighted in same article]

‘SYRIA CAMPAIGN’ ~ Latest Campaign: Break the Sieges

Syria Campaign break the sieges

This campaign was launched in conjunction with the #OperationMadaya propaganda storm, itself,  perfectly timed to coincide with the lawless & characteristically brutal execution of Saudi Arabia’s primary campaigner for Democracy, unity and freedom from the despotic House of Saud rule and subjugation, Sheikh Nimr al Nimr.

In true Manhattan corporate branding style, the Break the Siege high profile publicity campaign hit the streets running, just as public outrage was peaking and the Western media, inspired by Qatari governed Al Jazeera,  was rolling out repeat fake photographs. The familiar “Assad is the root of all evil” headlines served very nicely as backdrop for the dramatic, slick,  advertising campaign.  One might also be forgiven for thinking it had been prepared in advance.

Dr Al Jaafari

Dr Al Jaafari, permanent Syrian representative at the UN reduced such exploitative drama to the succinct truth with little histrionics & a great deal of dignity despite the ongoing media hostility against the Syrian Government.  This distinguished calm is now a familiar component of the Syrian, Iranian or Russian rebuff of Western hysteria.

Included under the Syria Campaign heading are Free Syrian Voices, March Campaign#WithSyria & Medics Under Fire all of whom are creations of

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad

NGOs/campaigns:The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices [3], The Syria Campaign [4] and March Campaign #withSyria ~ The Wrong Kind of Green.


Avaaz petition madaya

Yet another polished and unashamedly biased petition from Avaaz with very little relation to the reality on the ground in Madaya.  Click here for What the Media is not telling you About Madaya produced by SyriaGirl.
“Avaaz who, hand in hand with the Rockefellers, George Soros, Bill Gates and other powerful elites, are meticulously shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media – shaping public consensus…” ~ Cory Morningstar.

ANA press logo2

Ah now here we have a really fascinating can of worms, one that will be investigated in far greater depth in the follow up article with a few shock supporting this space.

However, for now, a very brief overview of Mr Rami Jarrah.  Previously known as Alexander Page in his heady BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera days as Avaaz sponsored “citizen journalist”, foreign correspondent smuggler and all round fixer on the regime change battle front in Syria. He and Danny Abdul Dayem, that well known CNN bombs and rockets studio actor were co-conspirators on the Avaaz Democracy band wagon.
Of course ANA Press makes all the usual laudable claims.

We are an independent organization that will not stand for any political affiliation, as this would affect our neutralism and honesty. We have not and will not accept funding from any political groups.” ~ Rami Jarrah

Interestingly when we take a peep behind that integrity curtain we find all these claims of neutrality are compromised by the Government agency and Corporate investment into these multiple crowd funding and influencing neocon proxies.

With very little effort we can trace ANA Press to HIVOS and SIDA and of course to SOROS.
SIDA: Development Aid agency affiliated to the Swedish Government, the EU, the UN & the World Bank.  George Soros figures most prominently in yet another vehicle for change programme in their portfolio “Making all Voices Count“.

“Making All Voices Count’s unique Research, Evidence and Learning component is working to better understand what works – and what doesn’t – in projects using technology topromote transparent, accountable governance.

The fund is financed jointly by Sida, USAID, DFID, the Open Society Foundation and Omidyar Network.”

Hivos has worked with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), an initiative of philanthropist George Soros, since 2005. The OSF work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. That mission is a perfect fit with Hivos’s policies.”

jarrah hivos 

Jarrah’s mission – to ensure that the voices of Syrians are heard around the world – embodies not only the spirit of CJFE’s International Press Freedom Award, but also that of the Alternative & Independent Media area of Hivos’ Expression & Engagement programme”

Moving on..or should that be Move On?

“Avaaz was created in part by MoveOn, a Democratic Party associated Political Action Committee (or PAC), formed in response to the impeachment of President Clinton. Avaaz and MoveOn are funded in part by convicted inside-trader and billionaire hedge fund mogul, George Soros.” ~ SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the art of selling hate for Empire.


Wissam Tarif was another one of the original poster boys for the regime change marketing campaign in Syria, launched almost exclusively by public opinion changers,  Avaaz in 2011 with a little help from their friends in CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera.  Again this will be explored in greater detail in a subsequent article.
This is one of Tarif’s early democratization of Syria pitches to the Oxford Research Group in 2011.
Wissam Tarif has since been promoted to senior campaign manager for Avaaz & remains a persistent advocate of global Open Democracy and the NATO US GCC, Israeli,  democratization of Syria.

“WT ~ “Unless the people of Madaya and other besieged towns in Syria get freedom as well as food, children will continue to starve to death. The United Nations has already brokered agreements for these sieges to be lifted, and now Ban Ki Moon must urgently ensure they are implemented to save thousands of lives and build confidence ahead of Syria peace talks later this month.”  ~ Operation Madaya, Avaaz calling.

Wissam Tarif, in the early days of the war on Syria, was a member of the Avaaz fifth column,  with Rami Jarrah/Alexander Page and Danny Abdul Dayem among thousands more, financed by over $ 1.2 million public money raised by the Avaaz petitions.

In 2011 Tarif was described euphemistically as an Avaaz campaign manager but he was also associated with a Spanish based NGO called INSAN, meaning human, in Arabic.

Insan search

Curiously,  when I delved into his connections I had difficulty locating INSAN which was rumoured to be based in Spain yet no such NGO came up with a Spanish address.  Eventually scanning Wassim’s contact page, I noticed his email address was directed to Insan International.  The website was listed as 


At the time of my initial investigation, INSAN had listed its partners on its website. Luckily I took a screenshot because when I went back to the website tonight to get the link, the partner link had been altered to “patner” and threw up an error 404 message.

Also, coincidentally, INSAN now has a brand new web page that even more coincidentally no longer displays information on its funding partners.

However, George Soros and the Open Society Foundation are obviously in the frame once more.


white helmet gun

The White Helmets have perhaps the most diverse array of backers and donors.  The Majority of which have been covered in previous in- depth investigations and include the CIA, UK Foreign Office, Syrian Opposition factions & mercenary assassin recruitment agencies, but naturally still following the yellow brick road back to Soros.

For a full analysis of the White Helmet’s funding ~ Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception Part 1 & 2

Madaya White Helmets

In the photo above, White Helmets displaying banners calling for the burning and destruction of Kafarya and Foua, two Idlib Shia villages under partial siege from Ahrar al Sham and Jabhat Al Nusra since 2011, full siege since March 2015. An “unbiased” display of naked Wahhabi sectarianism by the Humanitarian heroes, idolised by Western governments, media and audiences worldwide.

For further insight into the terrifying Ahrar al Sham and Al Nusra siege of Kafarya and Foua, please read Eva Bartlett’s series in Counterpunch:  Untold Suffering in Kafarya & Foua.

Following infographic is by UK Column.  Full interview on White Helmets here.

white helmet infographic (2)

SNHR [Syrian Network for Human Rights]

Soros the Puppet Master SNHR

“The SN4HR website has no information on who funds the group, and its website ownership information is hidden from public view but shows that it is hosted in the US.”

The organisation identifies itself as an outgrowth of “the revolution in Syria” (clearly a partisan organization, see at the very bottom of their home page) claims to be ‘a trusted source’ that supplies information about the Syria Conflict to all leading human rights organisations, charities and government departments including the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the US State Department.

“The network’s database and archives are considered as a reliable source and reference for international and local media outlets, and international organizations and agencies working in the field of human rights.”
Taken from:  Madaya: West Engineer another Humanitarian Media Hoax in Syria by 21st Century Wire.

..and in the same article we follow the route markers once more back to Soros..”there is no place like home


IMAGE: Ken Roth and George Soros discuss their successes.

“Soros-financed Human Rights Watch has played a major role in falsely portraying ISIS and Al Qaeda civilian bombings and other atrocities as the work of the Assad regime, building support for military action from the US and EU.”  ~ William Engdahl  Syria Plays Both Ends in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

HRW tim


Well hello Mr Soros.

Soros and Mukwege

“Soros, whose philanthropic leadership and dedication to the cause of human rights was honored with the 2015 Physicians for Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award, has been a PHR supporter since its inception in 1985. 

George Soros grasped, early on, that doctors play a vital role in preserving human dignity, a core human rights principle,” said McKay. “His faith in our cause paved the way for other supporters and helped to ensure that health professionals have the opportunity to use their skills as a means towards justice.” ~  PHR Press Release



IMAGE: George Soros with Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of MSF

MSF have made concerted efforts to distance themselves from their Interventionist advocate,  Co-Founder, Bernard Kouchner, to little avail, as Kouchner was still invited to comment on the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2015.

Once more the sole purpose of this article is to show how the NGOs having greatest impact on the ground in Syria, & in our media,  are connected to George Soros [among a myriad of undeniably biased and very partial-to-a-slice-of -Syria western governmental agencies.]

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a membership of over 2,500 organizations worldwide advocating for a fair, effective and independent International Criminal Court

The CICC is a project of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) and has secretariats in New York City, near the United Nations (UN), and in The Hague, The Netherlands. Taken from Wikipedia

The CICC steering committee includes Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The World Federalist Movement is funded in part by George Soros.

Medecins sans Frontieres and Medecins du Monde are both listed as members of the CICC, certainly in France.

NGO Partners
Another form of partnership is also of enormous importance to the Soros foundations: the relationships with grantees that over the years have developed into alliances in pursuing crucial parts of the open society agenda. These partners include, but are not limited to the following:

Médecins Sans Frontières, AIDS Foundation East-West, Doctors of the World, and Partners in Health for their efforts in addressing crucial public health emergencies that are often connected to abuses of human rights ~ Taken from an Open Society Foundation list of Partners.


Another Soros-financed NGO active demonizing the Assad government as cause of all atrocities in Syria and helping build publc support for a war in Syria from the US and EU is Amnesty International. Suzanne Nossel, until 2013 the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, came to the job from the US State Department where she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, not exactly an unbiased agency in regard to Syria” ~ William Engdahl for New Eastern Outlook


Infographic created by Professor Tim Anderson whose book The Dirty War on Syria is now on sale in E Book format at Global Research.

billionaires revolution


Open Democracy
OurBeeb: Has the BBC gone into partnership with Soros’ Open

Certainly when we view the webpage, its hard not to assume there is at least some degree of mutual back scratching going on.

“Funded by 95% of British homes via the licence fee, the BBC belongs to the people, not the government. OurBeeb is independent, non-partisan, and aims to ensure that the discussion about the future of British Broadcasting Corporation is in the hands of the British people.” ~OurBeeb

Did the British people have a say in the choice of Mr Soros as mentor and campaign manager for their publicly owned media broadcasting flagship whose power to alter public perception is legendary.

“How to ensure that the BBC itself is felt to be ‘ours’ by the public who fund it and whose many voices it claims to represent? At a time of cuts in public revenues and rapid technological change, the role of the BBC as overwhelmingly the main source of news towers over traditional party politics. It is time to reshape the debate on the future of the UK’s most important cultural institution.”


Then let us consider one of the fall outs from Operation Madaya.  The Open Democracy headline reads..

How is Citizen Journalism transforming the BBC’s Newsroom practices?

“User-generated content offers new ways of covering ‘black hole’ stories such as the Syrian conflict. But how do journalists make sense of what is happening on the ground?” 

How indeed?  There then follows a series of apologies for why the BBC journalists such as Lyse Doucet are not always able to be on the ground in Syria. Various spurious arguments are brought into play.

The death of Marie Colvin Sunday Times correspondent in Homs 2012.  No mention that Colvin was smuggled in without permission from the Syrian Government by, among others, Rami Jarrah. The beheading of suspected fifth columnist James Foley.  Not to mention, the danger of “foreign airstrikes” & Islamic State.

And why, might you ask, can the BBC not find the voices in Syria that decry foreign intervention or support their elected Government? Strangely, they are “unwilling to speak”.  Nothing to do with the fact that the BBC are known as anti Syrian propagandists by those people who would not trust them to report the truth as told from the Syrian people’s perspective.

Sharmine Narwani fiercely challenged the Western Media neutral observer status in her article:  Western Journalist: Visa Denied

“Because, right now, I honestly cannot think of a group of people less capable of verifying things in Syria than western journalists. And it is not because they aren’t physically there or can’t string together more than two words in Arabic. 

It is largely because they feast at the trough of their own governments’ narratives on All Things. Western journalists are heady with a sense of righteousness leached from the oxymoronic “western values” shoved down our collective throats. 

Those same western values that demand “accountability” and “transparency” from all nations – while offering cover for western governments to hack their way through Muslim and Arab bodies in endless “national security” wars.”

In hindsight, would we be deemed conspiracy theorists to consider that perhaps all these events have adroitly navigated us to this point of  utter news blackout but for that which serves our government’s globalist objectives?

Are we seeing the placing of the cherry on the regime change cake? Soros has apparently officialised the co-opting of the BBC into the Soros owned and orchestrated Syria propaganda ring and is funnelling their news source outreach operation into his perfectly constructed network of lies and multi headed anti Assad narrative generators.

The yellow brick road leads to Soros and the BBC is off to see the Wizard.  If only they were on a quest for heart, courage and brains.

Soros Sees Spain Seeking Aid

Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.

UK, US, UN Complicity with Saudi Genocidal War of Aggression Against Yemen

 UK, US, UN Complicity with Saudi Genocidal War of Aggression Against Yemen

by Vanessa Beeley - via 21 Century Wire

April 22, 2016

Yemen: UK Column Talks Live with Vanessa Beeley
As the Saudi, Yemen “peace talks” finally kick off in Kuwait, Vanessa Beeley spoke to Mike Robinson, host of UK Column LIVE daily news program. Vanessa Beeley has recently returned from the UNHRC, 31st Session, where she testified on behalf of Yemen against the illegal use of US supplied Cluster Munitions against civilian targets by the Saudi Coalition.

Vanessa Beeley exposes the war criminals on the UN Security Council who are backing the Saudi coalition aggression and collective punishment of the Yemeni people. 

In this programme Vanessa discusses the UK, US and UN complicity in a genocidal war of aggression and the crippling economic and humanitarian land, air and sea blockade of 27 million Yemeni people.

Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.

Canada's Complicity in the Murder of Berta Cáceres

Canada Has Blood On Its Hands; Justice in Honduras Requires a U-Turn in Canadian Foreign Policy

by MiningWatch Canada

April 21, 2016

Ottawa - Today, First Nations women leaders, legal and human rights activists called on the Canadian government to take a lead in calling for an independent, international investigation into the murder of world-renowned Indigenous activist, Berta Cáceres, and an investigation into Canada’s engagement with the Central American country since a 2009 military-backed coup.

The group returned to Ottawa on Tuesday after a seven-day trip to Honduras that was organized in the wake of the brutal murder of Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres on March 2, followed by the murder of Nelson García on March 15.

Berta Cáceres was a Indigenous, feminist and environmental activist and winner of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize whose murder sparked unprecedented outcry around the world for justice, truth and reparation in Honduras. García was member of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), an organization that Cáceres co-founded.

Delegations from twenty two countries turned out to participate in an international gathering organized by COPINH and others in Honduras last week. Despite the strong international presence, a caravan to commemorate Berta’s life along the Gualcarque river was violently assaulted on April 15.

“We saw first hand how police collude with violent men to protect powerful interests. When members of COPINH led a caravan of Honduran and international activists down to the Gualcarque river to commemorate Berta Cáceres’ life, police stood with their shields facing peaceful protesters while armed men behind them yelled threats at members of COPINH,” described Mary Hannaburg, member of the Mohawk Nation and Québec Native Women.
“When the same armed group threw rocks and threatened peaceful caravan participants with machetes, injuring at least eight people, no one was detained or arrested. Meanwhile, COPINH members have been treated as if they’re criminals and the right of the Lenca Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent over hydroelectric and mining concessions completely disregarded,” said Ms. Hannaburg.

Honduran investigators looking into the murder of Berta Cáceres were quick to go after members of COPINH after her assassination, calling it a crime of passion and trying without success to pin it on internal divisions within her organization. Meanwhile, they were slow to consider possible links with the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project and other megaprojects on Lenca territory, about which Berta was outspoken and had received numerous documented threats, leading to an order from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the Honduran state to guarantee her and COPINH’s safety.

“The only viable option for an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the murder of Berta Cáceres is for a team of international, independent investigators to be engaged under the auspices of the IACHR. Canada could take an important lead to urge the Honduran government to enter into such an arrangement,” stated Catherine Morris, delegation member and research director for Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Currently, the Honduran government is promoting involvement in the investigation of an OAS-backed anti-corruption unit in Honduras (MACCIH by its initials in Spanish).

“It would be deeply disturbing if the Canadian government decided to back this option, given that MACCIH neither has the mandate, the independence, nor the trust of Berta’s family and COPINH to properly engage in the investigation,” remarked Ms. Morris.

The delegation also questioned Canada’s role in Honduras during and since the 2009 military-backed coup, since which time over 100 activists fighting for land and a safe environment have been murdered.

The Canadian delegation visited a community in the department of Copán where Toronto-based Aura Minerals operates the San Andrés gold mine. They heard about the prevalence of health problems among children, as well as concerns about broken agreements, and the possible destruction of the community cemetery. Members of the local environmental committee in this area have also received death threats.

“The impacts that communities face around Canadian mining projects in Honduras are not much different from what we confront in Canada. But the situation is much more dire in the region right now for those who dare to speak out about impacts on health, land, sacred spaces and their community fabric,” stated Bev Sellars, Counsellor from Xat’sull/Soda Creek First Nation and Chair of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining.

Nonetheless, since 2009, in the context of widespread repression and impunity, the Canadian government ratified a free trade agreement with Honduras in 2014 and provided technical assistance to a new mining code passed in 2013 that provides little protections for people and the environment, while it favours companies.

“Canada has blood on its hands and unless things change significantly, a bad situation will only continue to get worse in Honduras and in other parts of Latin America where community activists are regularly criminalized and killed,” concluded Sellars.

For more information or to set up an interview with delegation participants, contact:
Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, jen(at)

Kiev Promise: Odessa's House of Trades Massacre at Two

The Fire Each Time

by Luciana Bohne - CounterPunch

April 22, 2016

Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, and suddenly there was light, and warmth, and the gathering at the hearth. The gods never forgave, and ever since periodically they thrust a torch into villains’ hands and watch the hearths burn and bring the roofs down. Civilization weeps, in Troy, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria.

In Ukraine, this May 2nd will mark the second anniversary of a fire, a show of force to demonstrate that Ukraine’s boss was the US-installed nationalist Kiev regime.

The House of Trades in Odessa was set on fire. Officially forty-eight people died, but witnesses, survivors, and journalists say the number may be tragically higher—perhaps up to 180. Inside the burning building, people died of fume inhalations. They were also shot, suffocated by the toxic exhalations of a mysterious greenish gas, beaten to death on the ground after jumping out of windows. There were rapes, authenticated by autopsies.

On that day, there was to have been a soccer match between the teams of Odessa and Kharkov. About 3,000 Ukrainian para-military fascists or “ultras” (they are called “Maidan activists” in the Western media) announced they would march in the center of the city. They were members of Pravy Sektor , Svoboda, and other Ukrainian groups who exalt the leadership of wartime Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera.

They were not spontaneous, independent agents.

A proper investigation would show that their actions were orchestrated by Kiev, then unleashing its Anti Terror Operation (ATO) in the Donbass with an act of fiery Wagnerian resonance. Odessa’s opposition movement to the Maidan, Kulikovo Pole (“Camp Kulikovo,”) determined to stop them. At 2 pm, about 400 Kulikovo men and women gathered in front of the House of Trades but were provoked into violent clashes. Kulikovo members took shelter in the House of Trades, where the horrors of that day began.

Survivors have noted that what occurred in the House of Trades in Odessa reminded them of what the Banderists had done in WWII in Galicia, in Western Ukraine, to the Poles, the Jews, and all those—Russians and Ukrainians—who supported the Soviet Union. Some noted the similarity between 2 May in Odessa and the massacre of Khatin (not be confused with Katyn) on 22 March 1943, when the Nazis, occupying Belarus, gathered 149 civilians in a building and burnt them alive as collective punishment for an action carried out by the partisan resistance. Others suggest that the purpose behind the aggression on the Kulikovo Pole group was to clear the square they had occupied before the anniversary on 9 May of the Soviet Union’s victory over the Nazis in WW II. The anniversary would have called to the square thousands of people, which would have strengthened the Kulikovo Pole movement’s opposition to the Kiev regime.

What appears to be evident is that the fire and brutality in Odessa, hero city of the Soviet Union for its resistance to Nazi occupation in WW II, was to serve as a lesson to all those who would stand up in opposition to the Kiev junta.

Today, after two years, not one of those responsible for the massacre is in jail, but some survivors still are. On March 27, about 100 neo-Nazi Ukrainians attacked a group of relatives of the victims, which every Sunday commemorates the massacre gathering at the House of Trades of Odessa. Though the European Union swear up and down not to be supporting the fascists, their support for Petro Poroshenko belies their vows. Survivors of the fire note that the fascists have become part of institutions: they head the police and the punitive battalions (Azov and Aidar), for example.

The latest report (16 March 2016) by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) documents the cost in distress to Ukrainians of the American-engineered coup, which in turn cost American taxpayers five billion dollars:

* In total, from mid-April 2014 to 15 February 2016, OHCHR recorded 30,211 casualties in the conflict area in eastern Ukraine, among Ukrainian armed forces, civilians and members of the armed groups. This includes 9,167 people killed and 21,044 injured.

* 6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs),

* 800,000 and 1 million IDP are living in territories controlled by the Government, where some continue to face discrimination in accessing public service

* 8,000 to 15,000 civilians cross the contact line on a daily basis, passing through six checkpoints in each transport corridor: three checkpoints operated by the Government, and three by the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic ‘with a stretch of no-man’s land in between. OHCHR has regularly observed up to 300-400 vehicles – cars, minivans and buses – waiting in rows on either side of the road. Passengers spend the night in freezing temperatures and without access to water

Distress is not all. The OHCHR reports summary executions, enforced disappearances, unlawful and arbitrary detention, and torture and ill treatment:

* Throughout the country, OHCHR continued to receive allegations of enforced disappearances, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and torture and ill-treatment of people accused by the Ukrainian authorities of ‘trespassing territorial integrity’, ‘terrorism’ or related offenses, or of individuals suspected of being members of, or affiliated with, the armed groups [meaning, Donetsk and Luhansk forces]

* During the reporting period, OHCHR documented a pattern of cases of SBU detaining and allegedly torturing the female relatives of men suspected of membership or affiliation with the armed groups. In addition to being a violation of the prohibition of torture, these cases raise concerns of arbitrary deprivation of liberty and gender-based violence.

* OHCHR remains highly concerned about consistent allegations of detainees being held in unofficial places of detention by SBU. These places are not accessible to the National Preventive Mechanism and international organizations. Reliable accounts from victims and their relatives indicate a widespread pattern of conduct across several SBU departments. Since the outbreak of the conflict, a network of unofficial places of detention, often located in the basement of regional SBU buildings, have been identified from a large number of reliable accounts from victims and their relatives. OHCHR recalls that the prohibition of unacknowledged detention is not subject to derogation.

* OHCHR has received alarming allegations that in Odesa [sic], detainees are held for up to five days incommunicado at the SBU building following their arrest, without any contact with their family or access to a lawyer. Information recorded by OHCHR indicates that, as of February 2016, 20 to 30 people were detained illegally and incommunicado at the Kharkiv regional SBU building. When asked about their fate and whereabouts, SBU officials have systematically denied any involvement. According to information gathered by OHCHR, the vast majority of those held in the Kharkiv SBU were [sic] not arrested in accordance with legal procedures and have not been charged, despite being held because of their presumed affiliation with the armed groups.

The OHCHR’s report on violence against women would have had the Western media hoarse with shouting “foul”—had the deeds been perpetrated by Russia:

On 8 December 2015, in Shchurove village, Donetsk region, SBU officers arrested a 74-year-old woman at her house while they were looking for her son. She was detained at the SBU building in Mariupol, charged with ‘terrorism’, and beaten. OHCHR visited her in the Mariupol pre-trial detention facility (SIZO). After OHCHR communicated this case to the Office of the Military Prosecutor, a criminal investigation was initiated into her allegations of ill treatment. On 27 January 2016, the woman was relocated to the SBU SIZO in Kyiv. OHCHR believes she is at risk of further abuse. The SBU informed OHCHR that she and her son are suspected of being informants for the “ministry of state security” for the “Donetsk people’s republic.”

OHCHR also documented the case of three women, who were detained in May 2015, in a town under Government control in Donetsk region. The victims included the wife of an armed group commander and her daughter. The latter was allegedly severely tortured, and both were allegedly threatened with sexual violence.

Such is the nature of the “maidan democracy” Victoria Nuland’s boss, President Obama, bestowed on Ukraine. Nor does there seem to be any lessening of support by the Obama administration to this oppressive US protectorate regime—a Nazi-era throwback. The 2016 US Consolidated Appropriations Act secures $250 million (“Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”) “to provide assistance, including training; equipment; lethal weapons of a defensive nature; logistics support, supplies and services; sustainment; and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine.” Moreover the US (you and me) will spend at least $658.2 million on “bilateral economic assistance,” “international security assistance,” “multilateral assistance,” and “export and investment assistance” for Ukraine in 2016. Since the Maidan coup in February 2014, the US has lavished on Ukraine $760 million in “security, programmatic, and technical assistance” and $2 billion in loan guarantees.

Was it “worth it”—burning people alive in the Odessa Trade Building on 2 May 2014 to consolidate Kiev’s power through fear? No doubt, from Kiev’s point of view it was totally worth it. Look at the loot they got. It certainly was worth it to the US neoliberal and military establishment—the transfer of wealth from our pockets to theirs.

But was it worth to us, the people in the US, who footed the bill for terror in Ukraine?

Sometimes I think that our consciences are so burdened by the guilt of crimes committed in our names and through the pilfering of our purses that one more drop of blood on our hands will tip us over, and we’ll finally cry out, “In the name of humanity, stop.”
Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at:
More articles by:Luciana Bohne

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Letting It Bleed: Israeli Paramedics Accused of Neglecting Wounded Palestinians to Death

Israeli Paramedics Accused of Medical Violations

by Jonathan Cook - Dissident Voice

April 20th, 2016

Israeli ambulance crews adopt a policy of denying injured Palestinians treatment, say rights groups 

There is mounting evidence that Israeli ambulance crews are withholding treatment from Palestinians injured during a wave of attacks over the past six months, according to rights groups.

Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, a medical watchdog group, found that wounded Palestinians had been left untreated for as long as two hours.

In some cases, it is believed medical teams failed to tend to the injuries of suspected attackers as revenge, in the expectation that they would die from their wounds.

In parallel, says the group, Israeli soldiers regularly deny Palestinian crews in the occupied territories access to injured Palestinians in violation of international agreements. Palestinian ambulances have been regularly fired on and paramedics attacked as they tried to reach the scene.

Physicians for Human Rights accused Israel’s leading medical bodies – the Israeli Medical Association, which lays down ethical codes, and Magen David Adom, which supervises ambulance services – of ignoring the evidence it has collected of such abuses.

“We have seen no serious response to our complaints, no investigations, not even an attempt to meet us. They don’t appear to want to give answers,” Mor Efrat, a researcher for the rights group, told Al-Jazeera.

Settler ambulance teams

Concern that some ambulance crews are adopting a policy of denying Palestinians treatment has been heightened by the increasing role of medical teams located in illegal Jewish settlements.

These paramedics appear to be openly flouting internationally established principles of neutrality that all medical staff are supposed to observe.

In December the leaders of United Hatzalah, a settler ambulance service implicated in several cases in which Palestinians have been refused treatment, visited a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Chaim Kanievsky, to receive instructions on what to do with Palestinians injured during attacks.

According to a report on the settlers’ website Israel National News, Kanievsky told them that if the injured Palestinian “was in a life-threatening condition, they should leave him or her to die”. Other rabbis have made similar calls.

The issue of Israel’s treatment of injured Palestinians was thrust into the spotlight late last month when a soldier from the Israeli army’s medical corps was caught on video executing a badly injured Palestinian in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, aged 21, had been shot and wounded during a suspected knife attack on a checkpoint. Before the medical corps soldier, identified this week as Elor Azaria, executed him by firing a bullet into his head, al-Sharif was left bleeding on the ground for more than 10 minutes.

Both army medics and two civilian ambulance teams, one of them United Hatzalah, refused to treat him. After the video was publicised, Azaria was arrested.

On Monday, an Israeli military court charged the soldier with manslaughter and inappropriate military conduct. However, there has been an outpouring of support for him, from the Israeli public, politicians and rabbis.

Delaying treatment

Efrat, of Physicians for Human Rights, said the failure by both the Israeli Medical Association and Magen David Adom to speak out against abuses committed by Israeli medical staff created the climate that made possible the events in Hebron.

Leonid Eidelman, head of the Israeli Medical Association, told Al-Jazeera the criticisms were “unfair” and that his organisation had “stated clearly that no political or personal preferences should influence treatment” of wounded Palestinians.

The criticisms of ambulance crews follow a heated debate among Israel’s medical authorities about whether staff should abide by the Geneva Conventions, which require them to remain neutral at all times and prioritise treatment based solely on the severity of injuries.

ZAKA, an Israeli organisation of community medical volunteers, has backed members who refuse to treat Palestinians before Israeli Jews. By contrast, Eli Bein, the head of the Magen David Adom, has said he expects ambulance staff to follow international humanitarian law.

Nonetheless, Magen David Adom has justified the failure of its paramedics to treat al-Sharif in Hebron last month, claiming they were waiting for authorisation from the Israeli army.

Army commanders told the Haaretz newspaper the claim was unfounded and was being used as a “pretext for delaying treatment”.

The stance of the Israeli Medical Association has been equally ambivalent, according to critics.

In 2008 the Association adopted an ethical code – based on a Talmudic injunction that “Charity begins at home” – to treat Israelis before Palestinians. Under pressure from Physicians for Human Rights, the code was quietly revoked in December.

Doctors told the Times of Israel website that the Association was afraid of a political backlash if it publicised the change. “Whatever their official positions, these bodies are not speaking out clearly against violations of medical ethics. And they are certainly not taking any action,” Efrat said.

Palestinian crew attacked

In addition to last month’s incident in Hebron, Physicians for Human Rights have highlighted several other clear cases of medical violations.

One of the most disturbing relates to 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi, who was shot during an attack in the Old City of Jerusalem last October. Witnesses, including an Israeli medic, told the watchdog group that Halabi was left untreated for two hours before paramedics pronounced him dead.

Israeli soldiers fired stun grenades at a Palestinian crew that tried to reach him. A request from Physicians for Human Rights to Israel’s justice ministry to investigate the incident has gone unanswered.

In a second incident, a week later in the Old City, a video shows Palestinian paramedics being beaten and pushed away as they try to reach Basel Sidr, aged 19. Their medical equipment was also damaged. Witnesses said an Israeli ambulance crew looked on for 20 minutes before a medic approached Sidr to check his pulse and declare him dead.

In another video, paramedics are shown denying treatment to Sa’ad al-Atrash, who was shot at least six times last October by soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron. Witnesses say he was left for half an hour lying in the street before being evacuated to hospital, where he died of his wounds.

There are strong suspicions that al-Atrash was shot by a trigger-happy soldier, in what Amnesty International called an “especially egregious” example of unlawful killing.

In another case, last November, 21-year-old Mohammed al-Shawbaki was left untreated by three Israeli ambulance crews for 30 minutes, while a Palestinian crew was blocked from approaching.

Efrat said they had also filed complaints to the Israeli police and army about 18 incidents in the past six months where Palestinian medical teams had been prevented from caring for the wounded. Only one investigation had been opened.

Pressure for action

Euro-Med Monitor, an international human rights group based in Geneva, has collected evidence of a further four cases where Israeli paramedics violated the Geneva Conventions by denying Palestinians treatment.

They include Ahmed Manasreh, a 13-year-old Palestinian accused of a stabbing attack in East Jerusalem last October. Videos show a Magen David Adom ambulance driving past Manasreh as he lay bleeding in the street, having earlier been run down by an Israeli vehicle.

Evidence of denial of treatment is likely to add to the pressure on two global organisations – the World Medical Association, and the International Committee of the Red Cross – to investigate the actions of their Israeli partner organisations.

A group of UK doctors launched a campaign earlier this year demanding that the World Medical Association expel the Israeli Medical Association for failing to act against Israeli doctors involved in the torture of Palestinians.

A number of reports by human rights groups suggest that, in violation of medical ethics, Israeli doctors are treating Palestinians who have been tortured in Israel’s prisons and interrogation centres. The documented abuses range from physical and sexual assaults.

A spokesman for the World Medical Association told Al-Jazeera it was not aware of the allegations and would be discussing them with the Israeli Medical Association.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Magen David Adom was an “independent” emergency service and any issues would be “addressed internally” by the movement.

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian politician and physician, said there was overwhelming evidence that Israeli ambulance crews were “consistently and systematically” denying treatment to wounded Palestinians.

“Israel should be removed from the [International Committee of the] Red Cross for these violations until it is prepared to follow internationally accepted codes of conduct,” said Barghouti.

• First published at Al Jazeera

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Report Rings Alarms for Salish Sea

Millions of barrels of tar sands oil barged within the Salish Sea since 2010

by FOE

April 21, 2016 

Proposed expansion of Trans Mountain Pipeline exceeds the capacity of defunct KXL pipeline proposal; will result in 7x more tar sands traffic by tanker

SEATTLE, WASH. — A new report details an alarming increase in barge traffic transporting tar sands oil for refining and export between an oil port near Vancouver, BC and the U.S. Oil refinery in Tacoma, Washington. The Westridge marine oil terminal located in Burnaby, BC is the terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline that currently carries 300,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen or tar sands oil -- or dilbit -- from Alberta, Canada for export.

This investigation was prompted by the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the sevenfold increase in tanker traffic exporting tar sands oil through the critical habitat of the endangered community of Southern Resident Killer Whales. The inability to recover spills of tar sands oil with current technology, as reported by the National Academy of Sciences in 2016, led Friends of the Earth to evaluate how much tar sands oil Washington refineries receive by vessel.

“Trans Mountain is the one of the biggest threats to U.S. waters that few people have ever heard of,” said Fred Felleman, Northwest consultant for Friends of the Earth and author of the report.

“The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline poses the greatest risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Salish Sea as compared with the numerous other marine terminal proposals in the region. This project would be the final harpoon in the population of endangered southern resident killer whales.”

The report, released today by Friends of the Earth with the title “Tar Sands/Dilbit Crude Oil Movements Within the Salish Sea,” details the shipments of tar sands within Washington State waters as well as the export of crude oil from the state. Specifically, it focuses on the barge movements of tar sands crude oil between Burnaby, BC and Tacoma, Washington within the Salish Sea.

“Many people may think that the battle over tar sands exports ended with the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline by the Obama administration,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels program director at Friends of the Earth,

“However, this report details that tar sands oil is currently moving over the waters of the Salish Sea, being refined at Washington refineries, and will increase sevenfold if the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion is approved. The threats from this dirty, climate disrupting oil are already apparent in the Northwest.”

Key findings from the report: 

Washington State is a major refining center where five refineries received 2,117 deliveries of crude oil totaling more than 695,000,000 million barrels over the waters of the Salish Sea between 2010 and 2014. Refineries receive an additional 180,000 bbls/day of crude oil from the Trans Mountain Pipeline as well as lesser amounts by rail that fluctuates with the price of crude.

Between 2010 and 2014 more than 10 million barrels of tar sands oil were barged on 132 occasions within the Salish Sea between the terminus of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Burnaby, BC and the U.S. Oil refinery in Tacoma, WA.

The oil barges Commencement Bay and Drakes Bay -- each with a capacity of 80,000 barrels -- towed by the tug Henry Sause and owned by the Sause Brothers made this day-long trip three times per month during the 5-year study period.

The route taken by the Henry Sause was from the Trans Mountain oil terminal south across Georgia Strait and Rosario Strait into Commencement Bay in Puget Sound. Numerous tugs and tows have run into trouble along this route due to the swift currents through Rosario Strait and the lack of maneuverability of tugs with tows leading the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a voluntary Marine Safety Advisory in 2015.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline moves approximately 300,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from the oil fields in Alberta to British Columbia. The proposed expansion would increase the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil and increase the number of tankers exporting crude oil through the Salish Sea from one per week to one per day.

Washington’s refineries exported 9,810,200 barrels of crude oil on 80 occasions between 2010 and 2014. All five of Washington refineries have used their docks as crude oil transshipment terminals enabling crude oil tankers to leave their docks bypassing the refinery. This demonstrates the oil industry’s ability to export crude oil without dock modifications.


  • Establish tug escort requirements for oil barges, as required in California, especially those transporting dilbit crude oil.
  • Station an Emergency Response Towing Vessel (ERTV) in the San Juan Islands to prevent and respond to oil spills.
  • Update Washington State contingency plans to address the challenges of responding to a dilbit crude oil spill.
  • Oppose the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline due to its 7-fold increase in dilbit crude oil tanker traffic.

The report and action page can be found at

Cyanide Spills and Raped Villagers Take Centre Stage at Barrick's Toronto AGM

Barrick Gold's rapes, cyanide spills and pollution take centre stage at Annual General Meeting

by Sakura Saunders

Calls for laws holding corporations accountable for crimes committed abroad grows

Toronto - Impacted community members will be joining human rights and environmental rights activists at Barrick's Annual General Meeting for the 10th year in a row.

For two decades, women and girls living near the Porgera mine have been brutally raped by the mine's security guards. Many suffer from lasting physical and emotional injuries, as well as marginalization and social isolation in their community. Barrick denied these assaults and only after investigative reports from groups like ATA, MiningWatch Canada, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, did the company admit in 2011 that there was a problem.

In 2012, Barrick set up a "Remedial Framework" to enable rape survivors to apply for limited benefits. More than two hundred women lodged complaints of rape and gang rape; local advocates believe that the actual number of victims may be even higher.

120 women accepted these packages without legal council and were required to sign an agreement promising never to sue Barrick for their injuries. Columbia and Harvard Law School wrote an in-depth report showing deep flaws in the process:

They will be highlighting:

  • adequate compensation for 120 women raped by Barrick guards in Papua New Guinea.
  • opposition to Barrick's Veladero mine which spilled 1 million litres of cyanide into the river system in Argentina.
  • villagers seeking resettlement away from Barrick and Goldcorp's leaking Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic
  • creation of laws in Canada that hold Canadian corporations accountable for crimes committed in developing countries.

WHEN: 12pm, April 26, 2016
WHERE: Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting, Metro Toronto Convention Centre 255 Front St.
VISUALS: Large Art Installation, banners and signs, and a live marching band

media contact: Sakura Saunders,


Rape Survivors seek just compensation

Eleven women represented by legal firm EarthRights International rejected the agreements offered through the Remedial Framework. Barrick Gold turned around and provided these 11 women received almost 10 times the compensation received by the 120 rape survivors in April 2015 before a case could proceed in US courts.

Once these 11 women received compensation - the 120 women - began to organize and agitate to get the same compensation. They occupied Barrick's offices, and have been raising their voices in Papua New Guinea - in the face of immense patriarchy and social constraints.

Spills and resistance at Barrick's Veladero Mine

In September of last year, a faulty valve on a pipe carrying cyanide solution spilled at Barrick's Veladero mine. Initially reporting the spill as small, within weeks Barrick revised the size of the spill from 15,000 litres to 224,000 litres and eventually to over a million litres of cyanide solution spilled into the river system.

United Nations Office for Project Services and the United Nations Environment Programme conducted a test of the surface water that showed no contamination had taken place. However, a subsequently released University de Cuyo report commissioned by the municipality of Jachal found the water unfit for consumption.

This study, as well as Barrick's initial decision not to inform the municipality of the spill, prompted a fierce resistance from Jachal, a mining town. This resistance has included pressure on the government for legal action, a permanent encampment (since October 2015) by protesters, and several big marches.

Just last month, Argentina's San Juan province announced it had fined Barrick Gold Corp. 145.7 million pesos ($9.82-million) on Friday for mining code breaches. Charges against nine former and current Barrick employees were also accepted by the province in connection with the spill. Now, reports have been released showing that the Veladero mine in Argentina had three cyanide leaks between 2011 and 2012. Barrick Veladeo mine is certified under the International Cyanide Management Code, and had an audit as recently as 2015. This code is considered by critics to be a voluntary code, funded and created by the gold mining industry.

Toxic pollution at Pueblo Viejo

Local reports and video confirms that the El Yagal tailings dam has overflown and can not handle more toxic waste from the Pueblo Viejo mine. Local residents complain that the pollution causes nausea, dizziness and vomiting and kids are often sent home from school sick on days because of smells coming from the mine. Locals estimate that the the livestock death count is up to 2200 since the mine opened in 2012. They are seeking resettlement away from this mine site as a long term solution for their community.

Documentation of the local resident's complaints has been carried out for the past 2 years by students from Western University in London, Ontario. In 2014, a student group visited the Pueblo Viejo mine and a group of students have since founded and organization called 'Mining Morality Canada' and is completing a documentary entitled 'The Weight of Gold'.

Studying the Effects of Shipping in the Salish Sea

Raincoast reps at Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference


Drift cards reach Alaska, a vision for salmon in the Lower Fraser River and more

[For a review of the conference, read Chris Genovali and Ross Dixon's report here.]

April 14, 2016

Sidney, BC - As scientists, First Nations and governments officials gather in Vancouver for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference this week, Raincoast biologists will report their findings that show the potential spatial extent of oil spills in the Salish Sea, as well as the lost connectivity of the Lower Fraser River to many streams and sloughs that once provided salmon habitat.

Raincoast’s drift card study, initiated in 2013, released hundreds of plywood ‘drift cards’ along Salish Sea oil tanker routes. It has now recorded more than 1800 recoveries, from Vancouver, throughout the Salish Sea and all the way to Alaska. The drift card method can inform oil spill response planning, model potential trajectories, and identify areas at risk of contamination. Each card carries a unique number and the message, “this could be oil.” As cards are recovered, the analysis of recovery locations is helping Raincoast and partners to develop an understanding of the potential spatial and temporal spread of spilled oil – see ( With project partners including the City of Vancouver, the Georgia Strait Alliance and the Friends of the San Juans, the study has now deployed more than 4,500 cards.

Raincoast biologist David Scott will present the findings from his Master’s project on the impacts of Lower Fraser River flood control measures on the connectivity of salmon habitat. These structures have played an important role is disconnecting hundreds of kilometers of rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and will be key in any discussion of managing salmon habitat.

The conference will also host a poster discussion on an initiative to develop a long-term vision for salmon in the Lower Fraser River. “Over the last decade agencies with a mandate to mitigate Fraser River habitat loss were dismantled and despite the efforts of various groups, salmon habitat is being continually degraded” said Raincoast’s Salmon Program Director, Misty MacDuffee. Raincoast working with First Nations, NGOs and others to identify long-term aspirational goals for salmon habitat in the Lower Fraser and is seeking input.

Canada's Practical Support of Saudi Atrocity

Canada’s $15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal: What History Tells Us

by T.J. Petrowski - CounterPunch

April 21, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is a “matter of principle” that Canada follows through with a $15 billion armaments deal with Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian state which funds international terrorism, stones women to death for the crime of being raped, and leads the world in public beheadings.

This decision has been sharply criticized by journalists, activists, and international organizations. In a public statement Amnesty International said that it has “good reason to fear that light armored vehicles supplied” to Saudi Arabia by Canada “are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights” in both “neighboring countries” and for ‘suppressing demonstrations and unrest within Saudi Arabia” [1].

Montreal students and a former Bloc Quebecois MP and law professor have filed a class action lawsuit to block the deal, citing that by selling weapons to countries with poor human rights records Canada is violating its own laws [2].

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, in response to criticism about how these weapons will be used, replied that Canada has undertaken similar deals with Saudi Arabia, and that country “has not misused the equipment to violate human rights” according to the government’s “best, and regularly updated, information.” [3] This is an outright lie.

In 2011 more than a hundred thousand protestors participated in an uprising against the undemocratic monarchy in Bahrain, calling for “political reforms, right of political participation, respect for human rights, stopping of systematic discrimination against Shias.” [4] The regime responded by banning all demonstrations, caging villages in barbed wire, firing live ammunition at doctors that tried to help injured protestors in hospitals, torturing some protestors to death in police custody, and calling in the military of Saudi Arabia.

1,000 Saudi troops crossed into Bahrain in armored vehicles not unlike those sold to Saudi Arabia by Canada throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The Canadian government has neither confirmed nor denied that Canadian armored vehicles were used to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain [5].

In Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have been at war with the country’s Houthi rebels, the U.N. has accused Saudi Arabia of war crimes [6]. The Saudi-led coalition’s war against the poorest Arab country has caused the deaths of more than 8, 000, displaced millions, and destroyed nearly all of the country’s schools, hospitals, and historical heritage [7].

Hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of starvation due to the violence and the Saudi-led coalition’s naval blockade in a bid to starve the country into submission [8]. Based on photos of Saudi ground forces in Yemen, the armored vehicles being used by the Saudi military bore a striking resemblance to those manufactured in Canada, while a retired Canadian general, speaking anonymously to the Globe and Mail, identified the armored vehicles as having been manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems, the same company manufacturing the armaments in the latest $15 billion deal [9].

An arms deal with Saudi Arabia raises serious questions about the role of Canada in the international community. Critics of the deal have said that if Canada follows through with selling arms to Saudi Arabia “we can kiss Canada’s human rights credibility goodbye.” [10] But such criticism presupposes that Canada has a credible human rights record. “Canada,” writes BJ Siekierski, “hasn’t suddenly been transformed from Boy Scout to arms merchant.” [11]

The history of Canada, both domestically and internationally, isn’t a history of a country dedicated to the defense of democracy and human rights, it is a history of an imperialist state built on the theft of Aboriginal land that faithfully serves as a junior partner to U.S. imperialism’s war of exploitation and subjugation of the world.

Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald, was an ally of the most racist section of the elite of that time. In the House of Commons he was in favor of a system of legalized racism, claiming Europeans and Chinese were different species, introducing “biological racism as a defining characteristic of Canadianness” [12].

While starving thousands of Aboriginal people to death by withholding food, MacDonald argued that the disenfranchisement of the Chinese people was imperative to protect the “the Aryan character of the future of British America” [13]. Liberal Prime Minister Mackenzie King wrote in his diary that after meeting Adolf Hitler he believed Hitler “might come to be thought of as one of the saviors of the world” [14].

Trudeau, like his father before him, is an avowed supporter of apartheid regimes. The late Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, “sympathized with the [South African] apartheid regime not the black liberation movement or nascent Canadian solidarity groups,” [15] while one of the first acts of the Justin Trudeau Liberals was to pass a Conservative motion to condemn all Canadians who exercise their democratic right to support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement as a form of resistance to Israeli apartheid [16].

Let us not forget the ongoing genocide of Aboriginal people in Canada. For more than a century Aboriginal children were taken away, sometimes at gunpoint and in handcuffs, to be shipped off to residential schools, where they were to learn how to “assimilate” and become “civilized” through a system for forced labour and re-education. The “Residential Schools were predicated on the notion that Indigenous children were less human than other children, so they were worked like animals in the slave labour many schools mandated” [17].

Thousands of children died from malnourishment, disease, physical and sexual abuse, with many buried in unmarked graves near the site of the schools. To this day Aboriginal people are more likely to be born into poverty, are less likely to graduate from high school, and have a shorter life expectancy than non-Aboriginal people.

Internationally Canadian foreign policy has been reflective of the country’s imperialist system of exploitation. Canada was among the 14 imperialist states that invaded the Soviet Union in 1918 in an effort to bolster the forces of the anti-Bolshevik White Army and stop the Russian working class from establishing socialist government [18].

More recently the Canadian military has been involved in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Mali, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. In Somalia, where Canadian troops were participating in the U.N. mission, Canadian ‘peacekeepers’ tortured and murdered a 16-year-old boy. In a sociopathic ritual that has repeatedly been documented wherever Western forces are active, these Canadian ‘peacekeepers’ photographed themselves with boy’s bloodied corpse like he was a trophy kill [19].

In Libya, a country that prior to the NATO-led intervention had the highest standard of living in Africa, the Canadian military supported al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorists that ransacked the country’s wealth, brutally murdering the country’s former leader Muammar al-Gaddafi by sodomizing him with a bayonet.

Nine years before Canada’s invasion of the Soviet Union trains “loaded not only with supplies, rifles, and ammunition, but also with machine guns and light artillery pieces” were dispatched to Cape Breton in preparation for the military occupation of the island, where miners and steelworkers were striking for improved working conditions and higher wages [20].

Such violence and disdain for the working class has been repeated throughout Canadian history. During the “Hungry Thirties,” striking miners in Estevan, Saskatchewan were murdered in cold blood by the RCMP [21], while the unemployed were rounded up and sent to labour in slave-like conditions in relief camps [22].

The deal to sell armaments to Saudi Arabia must be opposed on all moral and political grounds, but to be able to effectively oppose such a deal, the deal must be put into the historical context of Canada’s role as a junior partner of U.S.-led imperialism.















[14] William Cooper, Gentle Warrior: Standing Up for Australian Aborigines and Persecuted Jews, Barbara Miller, Page 191






[20] Mineworkers and Steelworkers: Labour in Cape Breton, Paul McEwan, Page 32


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T.J. Petrowski is a member of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League of Canada. His articles are available on his website
More articles by:T.J. Petrowski