"A free press is the bellwether of democratic health," or so the saying goes. It's an accepted cliché to cast media as guardian and defender of the western ideal, but can we seriously consider the only thing standing between liberty and its sorry alternative is Sun Media, or Rupert Murdoch?
Far from championing the common weal, the over-concentrated, corporate interested fourth estate is today antithetical to the interests of Jane and Joe Blough; and, the sadder truth is: We can no longer count on the CBC to perform media's vital watchdog role either.
Happily, the vacuum created by that lack of enthusiasm within the Canadian media establishment to defend the country's democracy is quickly being filled by citizen journalists and community organizations who are bypassing traditional broadsheets and broadcasters to inform themselves and their neighbours.
In that spirit, this Saturday, May 30th the Lower Island News is presenting 'Changing the Media Landscape' at Oaklands Community Centre. It's a forum presenting an opportunity to get acquainted with the changing nature of modern media.
Jon Lee is a volunteer organizer with the Lower Island News, and he joins us in the first half.
And; the media told us invading Afghanistan was the correct response to the 9/11 attacks. In the years since the narrative has varied, but fourteen years later, and an uncounted number of dead, maimed, orphaned, and people made homeless, Afghanistan is worse off now than when the West's "noble Mission" began. And, the Taliban, supposed object of the invasion and occupation, are as powerful now as ever.
Nasir Shansab is a dual resident of the United States and Afghanistan. The businessman, political commentator, and author was an advisor to the Ronald Reagan White House during the Soviet invasion and occupation of his home country, and has shared his unique insight into the country's centuries-long history of war and resistance with numerous media outlets in the U.S. Nasir's first book, 'Soviet Expansion in the Third World: Afghanistan a Case Study' was published from exile in the United States during the Mujahideen's resistance to the Soviets. His just released second book is, 'Silent Trees: Power and Passion in War-Torn Afghanistan,' a thinly disguised fictional account of life between and during Afghanistan's latest wars and occupations.
Nasir Shansab and bringing voice to Afghanistan's silence in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of what's good to do in and around Victoria in the coming week. But first, Jon Lee and charting a changing media landscape.
Despite the Minsk II treaty signed in February, fighting between all sides within the former Ukraine has continued. Last night, for the third consecutive night, that fighting escalated with heavy artillery targeting the strategic, and psychologically significant airport at Donetsk among other targets in and around the city.
While Western media has focused on the capture of two Russian soldiers earlier this week, renewing NATO calls for a Russian withdrawal from the conflict, Kiev coup leader, Petro Poroshenko claims the capture is proof his regime's real enemy is Vladimir Putin, saying;
"Can I be absolutely clear with you this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia."
Halyna Mokrushyna is a Canadian ex-pat Ukrainian whose articles during the past year about the war in eastern Ukraine can be found at: Counterpunch, Truthout, Truthdig, and New Cold War.org. She is a former vice-president of the Ottawa branch of the Ukrainian National Federation, and as well as freelancing for the now-defunct Ukrainian service of Radio Canada International, was a regular contributor to Ukrainian radio programming in Ottawa. She holds a Doctorate in Modern Languages from Ukraine, and a Master's degree in communication from Ottawa University, where she is currently working towards a PhD in Sociology. Halyna was in Donetsk as part of a media tour of the eastern part of the country this past April.
Halyna Mokrushyna in the first half.
And; last week hundreds came out in kayaks, row boats, sailboats, on surfboards, and almost anything else that would float as part of the #ShellNo protest of Shell Oil's plans to send a massive offshore drilling platform to the Arctic Ocean. The rig, Polar Pioneer is currently moored in Seattle, (where city council recently passed a motion disinviting its presence) preparing to make its way to the north. Greenpeace is sending its ship, the Esperanza to Seattle, and on a tour of BC's inside passage to rally opposition to Arctic offshore drilling among First Nations communities along the way. But those communities don't need Greenpeace's encouragement; opposition to the expansion of oil industry shipping is already strong.
Ingmar Lee is a long-time environmental defender who has appeared on Gorilla Radio many times over the last dozen years or so. He currently lives alongside the iconic Great Bear Rainforest on BC's mid-coast, where he has started a campaign to shut down the little-known operations of the Nathan E. Stewart, a 10,000 ton capacity oil tanker plying the waters of the inside passage. His 10,000 Ton Tanker Facebook campaign is growing exponentially with the recent addition of drone footage of the mysterious tanker garnering tens of thousands of views, and climbing.
Ingmar Lee and watching the Nathan E. Stewart in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of some of what's happening on the streets of our city, and beyond there too in the coming week. But first, Halyna Mokrushyna and the World's potentially most dangerous conflict growing hotter in Ukraine.
Went down to see the legendary founder of Alternative Radio. Here's the blurb for the event. One of North America’s most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio show Alternative Radio—now in its 29th year—and with his books, written with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy, and Edward Said. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its “Top Ten Media Heroes.” He is the winner of the ACLU's 2003 Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism.
From the GR files: Monday, February 10, 2003
5:00:00 2:00 Welcome to GR, etc. All that’s missing from media reports of the long-rumoured Battle of Civilizations, (coming to a TV screen near you) is Reason. Rarely mentioned, and presumably soon to be forgotten, is any information providing a context for the conflict in the middle east. Amid the rabid rhetoric emanating from the Bush administration and its media organs, you may be forgiven your struggle to make sense of it all. Michael Parenti is one of America’s most astute, and persistent critics of U.S. domestic and foreign policy. ‘Democracy for the Few’, ‘Against Empire’, and ‘History as Mystery’, are just a few of his many books. He’ll be here in the first half to provide a bit of context for the coming storm and to discuss his newest book, ‘The Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond.’
Despite years of protest from broad segments of British Columbia's population, the plan to run pipelines from Alberta's infamous Tar Sands across the Rockies, and through the valleys and coastal mountains of BC, some of the most rugged terrain found anywhere, to Superports on the Pacific coast is moving forward.
But the coast is hardly the end of the treacherous journey for the condensate soaked bitumen torn from the northern boreal forests in massive strip mines. Once on the coast, tankers must then navigate through a network of islands and shoals, reefs and shifting sandbars before making its transpacific journey to Asia.
Vancouver Island environmental filmmaker, Richard Boyce kayaked along the proposed route these poison-laden leviathans would traverse and discovered the islands and other natural features the oil companies failed to chart in their PR campaigns.
Coastal Tarsands: Journey to the Deleted Islands is the result, and it will be airing in a special presentation this Thursday night right up here at the UVic's Cinecenta theatre.
Richard Boyce in the first half.
And; if you thought Jean Chretien's Sgt. Pepper attacks against APEC protesters in Vancouver in 1997, or the massively excessive police violence that came to be known as the 'Battle of Seattle' two years later was appalling back then, you truly hadn't seen anything yet. In the interim years, police in the United States and Canada have come to resemble a military occupying force more than peace officers. And it's not just the hardened attitudes and thuggish demeanor we've witnessed on television, and perhaps experienced at road stops, and check points differentiating today's police from those halcyon days when pepper spray and German shepherds were likely the worst things you'd face at a demo gone wrong. Now, the cops are armed to the teeth with the latest military grade surplus weaponry, and more.
Michael Gould-Wartofsky is a writer and researcher, scholar, artist, educator, and author. His writing has been recognized with Harvard's James Gordon Bennett Prize and the Times' James B. Reston Award. His articles have appeared at the Washington Post, the Nation, Salon, and the Jacobin amongst others, and his first book, 'The Occupiers: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement' is described as essential reading for "everyone interested in understanding not just the Occupy movement but recent US history in general."
Michael Gould-Wartofsky and the two sides of war and occupation in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our town, and beyond there too, for the coming week. But first, Richard Boyce and a journey through the deleted islands.
Dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in corporate and state media, Gorilla Radio airs live every Monday, 5pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM; online at: Gorilla-Radio.com