True North Humanist Perspective - June 2015

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Lia Tarachansky

A Jew reports from Israel

Brilliant director, writer of critical analyses in prose and poetry

Lia Tarachansky's documentary on the heart of  the Israeli crisis

Israel/Palestine, 2013, 82 min — When the government tries to silence a history, a light is shed on the nation's biggest taboo. This is the story of those who fought to erase Palestine and created an Israeli landscape of denial. A Documentary by Lia Tarachansky, Naretiv Productions.

For a trailer of Lia Tarachansky's documentary On The Side Of The Road, revealing the seeds of the deadly turmoil in Israel/Palestine, and for an inside look at the broiling pro-war movement in Israel, please click HERE. There are five perpendicular parallel bars at the bottom and toward the right. Make sure they are highlighted to secure sound.

Our electoral system reconsidered

First past the post or proportional

'Proportional Rep. would have sunk Alberta's NDP majority'

By Bill Tieleman - Tuesday 26 May 2015
Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist whose clients include unions and businesses in the resource and public sector. Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. E-mail him at or visit his blog.
The Alberta New Democratic Party did a very smart thing in drawing up its 2015 provincial election platform — it dropped a promise to impose a proportional representation electoral system.

On Monday 25 May, Alberta's new NDP premier Rachel Notley was sworn in with her majority government and a mandate to change the province for the better after 44 years of increasingly decrepit Progressive Conservative rule.But if proportional representation had been Alberta's electoral system, the province would almost certainly have seen another Conservative government under Premier Jim Prentice — with Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean becoming a senior cabinet minister and his party supporting a new rightwing coalition government. (More)

On the other hand

Monday 1 June 2015

'2015 UK general election most unfair in history'

May’s general election was the most unfair in history with successful candidates winning their seats with the fewest number of votes, a new report has shown.

Half of all votes cast in the election – 22 million – went on losing candidates, 331 of 650 MPs elected on under 50 percent of the vote, and 191 with less than 30 percent of the electorate.

The report, published by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS), analyzed the number of seats each party would have won if different voting systems had been used, and found that in all but one case, the number of seats won by Labour and the Conservatives would have been far fewer, with smaller parties gaining more seats.

Using the proportional representation (PR) method, UKIP, which gained 12 percent of the vote during the election, would have won 80 seats, with the Green Party amassing 20 MPs.

Both UKIP and the Greens have backed a campaign for electoral reform after both of their parties won more total votes than the Scottish National Party (SNP), but were awarded just one seat each. The SNP meanwhile won 56.

“Support for UKIP surged at this election, making the party the third largest on vote share nationally (12.6 percent), overtaking the Liberal Democrats (who dropped from 23 percent to 7.9 percent). Yet this remarkable result delivered UKIP just one Member of Parliament. The Conservative Party received three times as many votes but 331 times as many MPs” the ERS noted. (More)

Thursday 28 May 2015

6 incredibly important things all should know about ISIS

An Atlantic profile reveals what the West needs to know

By Steven Rosenfeld
What American politicians, policymakers and 2016 candidates are saying about ISIS, the Islamic State, is setting a new standard for uninformed ignorance.

Gov. Scott Walker, a leading 2016 presidential candidate, has compared fighting them to taking on Wisconsin’s teacher’s unions. South Carolina’s hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham said they are terrorists who need to be killed abroad before they kill here. The other GOP contenders aren’t offering much besides saber-rattling clichés, ducking what to do about ISIS’s conquests, executions, enslavement and other horrors.

President Obama has not done much better. He said that ISIS is “not Islamic,” even as the U.S. military has been pulled back into one of the world’s worst war zones. Perhaps the only accurate comment came from the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, who said the Iraqi army lost its will to fight against ISIS in Ramadi, echoing what military officials secretly said about their South Vietnamese allies a half-century ago. (More)

Thursday 30 May 2015

BRICS summit in Russia to launch New Development

Bank and currency pool to rival IMF and World Bank

Russia expects to launch the $100-billion BRICS New Development Bank along with a currency reserve pool worth another $100 billion at the July summit in Ufa, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We expect to reach agreement in Ufa on the launch of practical operations of the BRICS Bank and a pool of currency reserves," Putin said on Thursday at a ceremony to receive the credentials of ambassadors of foreign states, TASS reports.

Putin recalled that the BRICS was created in 2006 under Russia’s initiative, and that the group "has already become an influential factor in world policy and economy."

"Russia is interested in further intensifying cooperation between the BRICS countries and developing new interaction mechanisms, including in the financial and economic sphere," he said.

An additional impulse would be given in the next days "to the development of inter-parliamentary relations, humanitarian and information cooperation, the intensification of contacts between trade unions and non-governmental organizations," he added.

The agreement on the establishment of the New Development bank was signed by the BRICS countries in July 2014. The bank seen as rival to the existing US-led institutions, the IMF and World Bank, will finance infrastructure projects and ensure the sustainable development of the group and other developing countries.

President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce Sergey Katyrin took over the chairmanship of a business council of BRICS, an economic association made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, on April 1. (More)

29 May 2015

'UK media ignored, failed to investigate Trident leaks'

The official UK reaction to whistleblower William McNeilly’s report on security lapses on Trident nuclear submarines is an insult to the public and the claims need to be investigated further, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT.

The allegations haven't received much attention in the British media, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he suspects there is a "standing D-Notice on all Trident nuclear weapons issues," meaning the media has been warned by the military not to report on the matter over security concerns.

RT: Why do you think such a warning might have been issued and what exactly is the media banned from covering?

Kristinn Hrafnsson: Well, I don’t have a confirmation of course about the existence of the D-Notice. But it is noticeable that the British media is mostly avoiding these very serious allegations set forth by McNeilly in a very detailed report. Of course at the outset it was dismissed by the Ministry of Defense, and it was downplayed in the usual way when you deal with whistleblowers. He was said to be sort of a lower rank and now knowing what he was talking about, etc.

But there is a way to silence whistleblowers, and that is by simply ignoring them. If it is not a D-Notice, then certainly the British media is mostly ignoring these serious allegations. They have failed to investigate thoroughly a very detailed report by able seaman McNeilly. (More)

Sunday 17 May 2015

‘Bigger role’ for US in Minsk II accords

Are you sure you're wanted Ms. Nuland?

By Phil Butler for RT.

Phil Butler is journalist and editor, and a partner at the digital marketing firm, Pamil Visions PR. Phil contributes to the Huffington Post, The Epoch Times, Japan Today, and many others. He's also a policy and public relations analyst for Russia Today, as well as other international media. You can find Phil's blog at

One year into the Ukrainian crisis, Washington reveals a desire to jump on the bandwagon of the Minsk peace accords – brokered by France and Germany. Not bad news, after all, but when it comes from Victoria Nuland...

News that US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Sochi to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin came as only a small surprise this week. In the wake of the most impressive Victory Day celebration ever across Russia, most experts agreed that the Russia people’s vigilance held a fairly massive sway over world public opinion afterwards. Western media was not oblivious to this either.

However much of a positive this trend may be, news that the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and sidekick Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt are on the loose again tends to quell hopes of peace.

On Saturday 16 May Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters she (and the United States of America) wanted to play a more significant role in the Minsk accords upcoming. To be honest, everyone I mention this to seems to come down with the shivers, whether they’re from western or eastern Europe. Given the US bureaucrat’s past tenor, and her “F” bomb flubs the United States could NOT do worse in belaying either Russian or rebels’ fears. (More)

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Chrétien invites Russia to attend dignitaries' meeting

Kim Mackrael
The Globe and Mail

Jean Chrétien asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to send a representative to a meeting of former world leaders when the group holds its next meeting in early June.

The former Canadian prime minister made the request when he met with Mr. Putin in Moscow in late April. The meeting took place amid heightened tensions between Canada and Russia over Moscow’s support for separatist rebels in Eastern Ukraine.

A Russian news channel released silent video footage of the encounter but did not provide details about what was discussed, and Mr. Chrétien has not addressed the meeting publicly. However, a source familiar with the matter said Mr. Chrétien suggested that Mr. Putin send a representative to the InterAction Council when the group of former leaders holds a meeting early next month. (More)

Tuesday 19 May 2015

US instructors frustrated with state of Ukraine army

Mistakes turn tanks on their heads as the fall off ramps

Ukraine's cash strapped army is to receive some three hundred million dollars in military assistance from America following the approval of Congress. While the money is still to appear, American soldiers are on the ground training Kiev's troops, but as Murad Gazdiev reports, frustration is already mounting with the Ukrainian army's capabilities. Click HERE for video.

EU not sure where Ukrainian

‘Frankenstein monster’ will lead it

'There is a kind of embarrassment with what’s going on in Ukraine now which the Western elites find very hard to defend. Of course it could be a greater game going on at the moment. We don’t know really why there has been this softening of tone towards Russia in the last few weeks. It could be that Americans are trying to get Russia to change its position on Syria. We don’t know. What is quite clear is that there has been a shift, and my guess is that the biggest fact certainly effecting the position of people like Merkel is the fact that their economies in Germany, in France, etc. have been hit badly by these Russian sanctions, and they were now looking for a way out of this mess that they’ve created themselves... And now the wiser heads in the West are looking for a way out of this and need Russia’s cooperation.' (More)

Thursday 23 May 2015

The ISIS mystery is unravelled

West's death-squad strategy:

How and why ISIS and Al-Qaeda

became ‘shock troops’ of global powers

By Dan Glazebrook
Dan Glazebrook is a political writer and author of
Divide and Ruin: The West's Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis

The ISIS suicide bombings Friday 23 May in Yemen and Saudi Arabia – killing a total of at least 43 people – is yet more bitter fruit of the policy pursued by Britain, the U.S. and France and their Gulf allies for the past eight years.

This strategy – of fostering violently sectarian anti-Shiite militias in order to destroy Syria and isolate Iran – is itself but part of the West’s wider war against the entire global South by weakening any independent regional powers allied to the BRICs countries, and especially to Russia.

The strategy was first revealed as far back as 2007 in Seymour Hersh’s article “The Redirection", which revealed how Bush administration officials were working with the Saudis to channel billions of dollars to sectarian death squads whose role would be to “throw bombs… at Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran and at the Syrians,” in the memorable words of one US official.

More evidence of precisely how this strategy unfolded has since been revealed. Most recently, last Monday saw the release of hundreds of pages of formerly classified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents following a two year court battle in the U.S.

These documents showed that, far from being an unpredictable “bolt from the blue,” as the mainstream media tends to imply, the rise of ISIS was in fact both predicted and desired by the U.S. and its allies as far back as 2012. (More)

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