Gorilla Radio Special – Covid Theirs and Ours with Chris Cook, John Helmer

An extended version of a discussion with journalist and author, John Helmer. Recorded April 4th, 2020.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer, Kay Gimbel, Janine Bandcroft April 9th, 2020

If you haven’t heard Vladimir Putin invented Covid-19 yet you likely will soon if you follow the Western corporate press. I’m being only slightly facetious; in the mainly American press Russia is in turn responsible for: The outcomes in French and Italian elections, Brexit, the Ukraine civil war and Crimea’s secession, assassinating still-living journalists, and attempting to murder a former KGB double-agent, once released from Russian jail and now held incommunicado by Britain, dividing the United States along racial lines, and of course crowning Donald Trump Idiot King of America.

These are just some among other things, (another of which being alleged complicity in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17); the only problem is, these allegations against “Putin’s” Russia consist of lots of media smoke with little evidentiary fire.

John Helmer’s a journalist, author, broadcaster, former political advisor to governments, and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears. He’s also one of the most widely read Russia specialists in the business world for his news-breaking stories on Russian base and precious metals, diamonds, mining, shipping, insurance, food trade, and business policy.

Helmer’s book titles include: ‘The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society’, ‘The Jackal’s Wedding – American Power, Arab Revolt’, (co-authored with Claudia Wright) the political memoir, ‘The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia’, and his latest, ‘Skripal in Prison’.

John Helmer in the first half.

And; while the global pandemic has made the World standstill, its done little to slowdown America’s belligerence towards its perceived enemies in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, China, and Venezuela, where the latest excuse offered for regime change is Covid-19-related drugs smuggling, allegedly employed by Nicolás Maduro to undermine the United States. You couldn’t dream this stuff up; except when you could.

Kay Gimbel is a retired seaman, union executive and human rights activist. He’s spent years observing the effects of Canadian mining operators on the lives and lands of the people of Central America.

From his first human rights delegation with Rights Action to Guatemala, through Honduras, to take testimony from the family and compadres of murdered activist, Berta Caceres, to his latest sojourn with The Asociation de Trabajadores del Campo to witness Nicaragua’s resistance to El Norte’s pernicious efforts to undermine its socialist evolution, Kay is all too familiar with the dark forces threatening peasant and indigenous communities in the countries of our southern neighbours.


Kay Gimbel and keeping vigilant on issues other than corona in the second half.

And; long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Bulletin of some of the good things still left to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, John Helmer and the West’s trouble with Russia.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Gorilla Radio Special Covid Shock with Chris Cook, Dr. Pablo Ouziel April 5, 2020

Due to entirely foreseeable but unacted upon circumstance, we are NOT recording live from the basement of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria, but continuing the broadcast via Skype interviews, taped live on this day, April 5th, 2020, to be broadcast over-air at CFUV 101.9FM in Victoria, and at CFUV.ca on the internet around the world.

Well, Winter has yet to relent in Victoria, throttling the neck of Spring like a miser’s purse-string death grip. Fitting the weather be bleak and stark and uninviting through the gray glass of the Western World’s “new normal”. Which will be the dictionary pick for the word of this year, I wonder. “Covid”, or perhaps “Lockdown”, or possibly Donald Trump’s doubtless most dearly hoped for: Remission? Just time will tell.

I spoke to my next guest in October of last year. Nearly six months, and a seeming life-time ago.Way back then, we discussed the political situation in his home-country, Spain; or more specifically, Catalonia. For the intro to that interview, I wrote: “Thousands have nightly filled the streets, while an estimated 2 million came out in protest in Barcelona to demonstrate against the court’s heavy-handed rulings. Hong Kong-style disruption tactics have spread too to Barcelona’s El Prat airport, while last Friday a general strike paralyzed the heart of Spain’s richest region.”

Hard to imagine a sight like that today, as the masses in Europe, the Americas, and beyond huddle in their houses, homes, and hovels fearful of a death-dealing bug they can’t see.

Dr. Pablo Ouziel is Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Victoria’s Political Science Department and Centre for Global Studies. His Fellowship Project at UVic is, ‘Democracy Here and Now: The Exemplary Case of Spain’.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Alan Hirsch, Taylor Scollon, Janine Bandcroft April 2, 2020

Those praying the US presidential campaign would finally end already may have found a receptive ear above, (or wherever these kinds of entreaties are heard). But, as the old saw warns, they might want now to have more carefully wished.

With the Democratic Party postponing 14 state primaries, (as of this writing) there are now growing calls for both parties to cancel national conventions and end campaign appearances.

It would be an unprecedented move that could well effect the way democracy is done in America for this election, and beyond 2020.

Alan Hirsch, is an Instructor in the Humanities and Chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College, and author of numerous works of legal scholarship and many books, including ‘For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights’, ‘Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future’, and the just released, ‘A Short History of Presidential Election Crises (and How to Prevent the Next One)’.

His articles appear at, among other places, the Washington Post, LA Times, Newsday, and Common Dreams, where I found his recent article, Is America Prepared for a Presidential Election Crisis? Hirsch asks “what if” Covid-19, or some other external forces, drive November’s poll into the shadows, or worse, onto the internet?

Alan Hirsch in the first half.

And; even before the latest crisis the news cycle was moving way to fast to follow. Every day, miles of newsprint and incomprehensible amounts of – whatever online journalism is measured in – spun and roiled, confounding the senses of Jane and Joe Blough. Fake or not, it seems there’s simply just too much news to choose from. But, can we citizens afford to take our eye off the direction in which our society is careening?

Taylor Scollon, publisher and co-founder of Passage, the new Canadian publication “offering left-wing perspectives on politics, economics, and culture,” I’m confident would say, “Hell, no!”

Taylor Scollon and Canada amidst the media maelstrom in the second half.

And; long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week, (yes, there are still things to be done). But first, Alan Hirsch and American election crises past, present, and prescient.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Janine Bandcroft, Christina Nikolic March 26, 2020

Welcome to the new, post-pandemic outbreak breakdown of Gorilla Radio. As regular listeners will know, CFUV has shuttered the studios, so live interviews are no longer possible. What I’ll present in the new not normal are live-to-Skype interviews on the most pressing issues of this weird moment. Janine Bandcroft is an educator and social events publisher, broadcaster, and she is too the ‘Green Vegan Grandma’ on Youtube, where her latest video, “What to do when there’s nothing to do” appears. Janine decided to self-isolate early on in the Corona virus crisis, and so has a head start on the rest of us.

Janine Bandcroft in the first half.

And; Spring has officially sprung, the toilet paper crisis has passed, and food security and social mobility issues are, or soon will foremost on our minds. While the initial shock of the new abnormal has ebbed, the next shoe to drop will be the failure of the supply chain. So, what better way to spend your mounds of self and/or imposed social isolation time than learning how to grow your own food! Christina Nikolic operates the increasingly busy, Organic Gardener’s Pantry. She also teaches organic horticulture. She is too a past director of SOUL, or the Society for Organic Urban Land Care, and spends, she says, what time there is left, “in the garden, smiling while spreading mulch.” But first, Janine Bandcroft and “What to do when there’s nothing to do”

Christina Nikolic and growing for your life in the second half.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Joe Emersberger Fundriving 2020

The Covid-19 interrupted Funding Drive 2020 show…

GR 10-58 101.9 FM ‘cfuv.ca’

Thursday March 19th, 2020

FundingDrive

11:00:00 2:00 Welcome to the strangest of the one thousand and fifty-eight Gorilla Radio episodes I’ve presented here at CFUV over the last 21 years.

This was to be my contribution to the 2020 FundingDrive show, but that, like so much else around us was not meant to be. The microbe that stopped the World has stopped us too, for now.

But, and it’s an enormous but, we will continue to produce radio, just not for the next while in the way we’ve done so for so long. That means, firstly; no more live broadcasting.

Virtually all of my shows have been done live from the basement of the SUB. There’s no replacing the energy of live performance, but we’ll try to bring the same urgency and vibrancy to our programming we always have.

For today however, I’ll bring in some music, and some segments of interviews past, and perhaps a little blatherskiting. And, I’ll remind; though the FundingDrive has hit a major roadblock, you can still express your support for the station and the show financially online at: supportcfuv.ca.

Here’s something from long-time go to band, Transglobal Underground’s great, Impossible Broadcasting disc.

11:02:00 5:24: Transglobal Underground – Impossible Broadcasting – 7-5

“ “ – The Khaleegi Stomp

11:07:30 2:00 Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation – Mandala

When Donald Trump treated the nation to his third State of the Union speech in January among the participants of his one-ring pantomime was Juan Guaido. Guaido’s specialty act is impersonating the president of Venezuela, (and to be honest, it’s the only act this pony knows). But, tricky Juan found a receptive audience in the US Congress, receiving a standing ovation from both sides of that body’s undivided foreign policy establishment.

Joe Emersberger is a Canada-based writer whose work appears at FAIR.org, VenezuelAnalysis, The Canary and is primarily focused on media lies, distortion, and confabulation. I talked to Joe shortly after Mr. Trump’s speech about Juan Guaido, Washington, and most importantly about Canada’s policy towards the duly elected government of Venezuela and democracy more generally.

11:09:30 21:00 Discussion w/ Joe Emersberger

11:30:30 :30 Cart(s) – Chris Chandler

11:31:00 3:00 Benjamin Zephaniah – Naked – Rong Radio

11:34:00 2:00 Orbital – The Fire This Time – The Box

11:36:00 20:00 Discussion w/ Joe Emersberger

11:56:00 4:00 Transglobal Underground – Impossible Broadcasting – Radio Unfree Europe

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Meghan Bell, Yves Engler, Janine Bandcroft March 12th, 2020

Today, as Pestilence astride its white horse stalks the World ready to scythe humanity down to size, it seems fitting we ponder our society, ourselves, and our priorities to know best what and who to save before the end of all else. Serendipitously, my first guest undertook just such a sorting task, before the dread Covid-19 cocked its ugly head into our collective consciousness, questioning the legitimacy of privilege and daring suggest meritocracy has little to do with the ordering of our social hierarchy.

Meghan Bell writes fiction and poetry, and her critical essays on wealth, capitalism, and mental health appear online at The Walrus, The Tyee, among other places, and at Passage, the “Canadian publication of thoughtful political, economic, and cultural ideas” where I found her essay, ‘I Was Born Wealthy, And Know Rich People Don’t Work Harder Than You‘.

Bell is too the past publisher of Room Magazine, and co-founder of the Growing Room Literary and Arts Festival, (going on NOW through March 15th in Vancouver). Meghan is also a member of Resource Movement, a “community of young Canadians with wealth and/or class privilege working toward the redistribution of wealth, land, and power.”

Meghan Bell in the first half.

And; as tax time rolls around do you find yourself wondering just what kind of government you’re paying for? When it comes to foreign policy, the tribute our current Liberal government wrings from your pockets on pain of imprisonment is getting you nothing more than branch plant corporate imperialism; just as was the case with its Tory predecessors.

Yves Engler is a Montréal-based activist, essayist, and author whose articles appear at Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle, Rabble.ca, and Pacific Free Press among other places. Yves is also a key organizer with Disruption Network Canada, which has mobilized activists to challenge politicians through peaceful, direct action.The latest of Engler’s eleven books, ‘HOU$E of MIRRORS: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy‘ questions the Liberals’ progressive pretense, while challenging the persistent national delusion that Canadians are “a benevolent force in the world” despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Yves Engler and throwing stones in Canada’s house of mirrors in the second half.

And; long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with this week’s Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Meghan Bell assessing society and our endpoint values.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Mark Worthing, Sharon J. Riley, Janine Bandcroft March 5th, 2020

It’s been more than a year since the BC government granted a court injunction allowing Coastal GasLink continue its work, laying a pipeline from the province’s interior to a planned gas processing plant to be built in Kitimat, unmolested.

The January 2019 interim injunction was extended in June, and on New Year’s Eve day, Madam Justice Church ruled again, in Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. v. Huson, for the company, denying Wet’suwet’en hereditary houses’ preeminence and empowering the RCMP to move in and arrest land defenders refusing to give way.

What happened next has played out on the lawn of the BC Legislature and across this country, Canada.

Mark Worthing is an activist, naturalist and journalist currently working with Sierra Club BC. He’s a founding member of Tanker Free BC, and has worked with a variety of environmental groups on various campaigns, and led Sierra Club’s Flathead River Basin biodiversity study.

Mark Worthing in the first half.

And; if the Coastal GasLink Pipeline v. Wet’suwet’en hereditary houses’ imbroglio instructs on the complexity of big energy projects in BC, Teck Resources’ abandonment of its massive Frontier mine in the Alberta Tar Sands amplifies the point, casting into doubt, (some contend) the viability of a Canadian oil industry.

Teck’s announced decision to pull up its Frontier stakes has been picked up since by each side of the climate debate to serve their respective interests, and used as a policy bludgeon by both federal and provincial political operators.

Sharon J. Riley is an Alberta-based investigative journalist for The Narwhal, whose essays, interviews and long-form nonfiction feature too at Harper’s, The Tyee, and Maisonneuve among others sites. Her recent Narwhal article, ‘11 things you need to know about the oilsands as Teck abandons plans for Frontier mine‘ is a guide and “explainer” for those still confused.

Sharon J. Riley and what the Teck manoeuvre says about and means for the beleaguered Canadian energy sector in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what’s good going on in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Mark Worthing and Coastal GasLink, a project gone and going too far.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Ape Goes to Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en Victoria Legislature Rally Feb 29, 2020

Went down to the Legislature for the rally called in support of Youth for Wet’suwet’en following incident they describe as “white supremacist” harassment.

“White supremacist vigilante groups have put a call out for people to use violence against blockades throughout the country today. If there is an ongoing blockade or action in your area numbers are needed to keep people safe.”

 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Nils Melzer, Steve Poikonen, Andre Vltchek, Janine Bandcroft February 27th, 2020

The extradition hearing for WikiLeaks publisher, Julian Assange began Monday in London. Assange was dragged, listeners may recall, from Ecuador’s embassy in that city last April 11th following a nearly seven years-long asylum there. He’s been held since in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison, or “Britmo” in conditions so appalling, UN Rapporteur for Torture, Nils Melzer demanded his immediate release.

Melzer also condemned the extradition case the United States has put forward, saying he very much doubted Assange would receive a fair trial should British courts hand him over to them.

Steve Poikonen is a columnist, broadcaster, organizer with Action4Assange, and co-host of the #FreeAssange Vigil. Steve also hosts the ‘Slow News Day’ podcast, available on Patreon.com.

Steve Poikonen in the first half.

And; never mind Venice; in a decision that will prove practically momentous, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo floated the idea of relocating the country’s capital, Jakarta from Java to Borneo. It seems, not only is the current capital polluted, corrupt, and holding top spot on the Human Misery Index of World cities, but at a mere 9 meters above sea level, the president thought it high time to move.

But, will it be a case of jumping from the boiling pot into the burning fire? Climate changes and massive deforestation have brought dryer weather to Borneo, where mega-fires threatening air quality throughout the region have becoming an annual event.

Andre Vltchek is an itinerant journalist, filmmaker, philosopher, and playwright. He has covered wars and conflicts around the World, going to the places and talking to the people most directly effected by state violence. He’s been travelling to Borneo for the last few years, recording the destruction of the natural environment and civic life there. He says, the capital move to the island will, “…further erode the environment and rob millions of hectares from the island and its people.”

Vltchek is also a prolific author whose latest books include: ‘China Belt and Road Initiative: Connecting Countries, Saving Millions of Lives’. ‘Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism’, ‘The Great October Socialist Revolution’, ‘Fighting Against Western Imperialism’, and, with Noam Chomsky, ‘On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare’. I spoke to Andre Sunday.

Andre Vltchek from Hong Kong in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things you can get up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Steve Poikonen and the prosecution of Julian Assange.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Andre Vltchek raw Feb. 23, 2020

Nevermind Venice; in a decision that will prove practically momentous, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo floated the idea of relocating the country’s capital, Jakarta from Java to Borneo. It seems, not only is the current capital polluted, corrupt, and holding top spot on the Human Misery Index of World cities, but at a mere 9 meters above sea level, the president thought it high time to move. But, will it be a case of jumping from the boiling pot into the burning fire? Climate changes and massive deforestation have brought dryer weather to Borneo, where mega-fires threatening air quality throughout the region have becoming an annual event.

Andre Vltchek is an itinerant journalist, filmmaker, philosopher, and playwright. He has covered wars and conflicts around the World, going to the places and talking to the people most directly effected by state violence. He’s been travelling to Borneo for the last few years, recording the destruction of the natural environment and civic life there. He says, the capital move to the island will, “…further erode the environment and rob millions of hectares from the island and its people.”

Vltchek is also a prolific author whose latest books include: ‘China Belt and Road Initiative: Connecting Countries, Saving Millions of Lives’. ‘Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism’, ‘The Great October Socialist Revolution’, ‘Fighting Against Western Imperialism’, and, with Noam Chomsky, ‘On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare’. I spoke to Andre Sunday.

Andre Vltchek from Hong Kong in the first half.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Gregg McElroy, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft February 20th, 2020

The undeterred vigilance of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, (and draconian federal government response to their steadfastness) has focused global attention in part on the long and ongoing environmental struggles in Canada and British Columbia.

While those struggles are myriad, encompassing every species within this region, the plight of Pacific Salmon is perhaps most emblematic of the systemic failure of colonial/settler economics in providing an ecologically sustainable social model.

The situation is dire now, with wild species population collapse already underway, and extinctions an increasingly probable eventuality.

Among the many creatures who won’t survive without salmon are the endangered southern resident Orca, and it was their survival that inspired the creation of the Canadian Orca Rescue Society.

Gregg McElroy is a long-time environmental frontline activist and co-founder of the Canadian Orca Rescue Society.

Gregg McElroy in the first half.

And; it’s been nearly two years since father and daughter Sergei and Yulia Skripal collapsed on a park bench in the middle of the picturesque town of Salisbury, in the heart of England. What followed was a tale of espionage, intrigue, and villainy; a story that seemed for a while even to threaten war.

John Helmer followed the Skripal saga more closely than almost anyone writing in the English-language press and says of the case, “The facts which you have seen, heard or read about the incident of March 4, 2018, have been falsified. Everything that has flowed from them is false too. Understanding this is a start to the other story, and so something solid to work from – not missed until now; more like seen but disbelieved.

Helmer’s a journalist, author, broadcaster, former political advisor to governments, and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears. He’s also one of the most widely read Russian specialists in the business world for his news-breaking stories on Russian base and precious metals, diamonds, mining, shipping, insurance, food trade, and business policy.

Helmer’s book titles include: ‘The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society’, ‘The Jackal’s Wedding – American Power, Arab Revolt’, (co-authored with Claudia Wright) the political memoir, ‘The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia’, and his latest, ‘Skripal in Prison‘.

John Helmer and ‘SKRIPAL IN PRISON’ – THE FIRST BOOK TO REPORT THE TRUTH in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week.

But first, Gregg McElroy, Orca Rescue, and the mission to bring salmon back to every river and creek in BC.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/