Gorilla Radio 2021 Year-Ender with Chris Cook, John Helmer, Steve Poikonen, Dan Kovalik, Keith Simmonds December 28, 2021

Welcome to GR’s Year-Ender episode.

Today I’ll play out this stained 2021 in four fitting quarters taken from four of this past year’s 52 Gorilla Radio programs…

There will be bloviating and some music too… First off, the threat of nuclear annihilation is back! America’s team NATO has pushed Russia against the atomic wall in Ukraine with the prospect of U.S. nuclear-tipped missiles parked within just a few minutes flight time from Moscow.

In November, Vladimir Putin reiterated his “red line warning” regarding that near proximity and the existential threat it represented, making clear Russian missiles were now on a “5 minute” flight time hair trigger.

John Helmer is the most often appearing guest over the 23 years GR has aired. He’s worked in and reported from Russia for the better part of the last thirty years, both before and since the disintegration of the Soviet system. Helmer’s a journalist, author, broadcaster, former political advisor to government, and principle behind the news website, Dances with Bears. Some of his many book titles include: ‘The Lie that Shot Down MH-17,’ ‘Skripal in Prison,’ ‘The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia,’ and ‘Hitler Didn’t Die in Berlin – He Moved to Melbourne Where He Runs the State Government of Victoria: A True Covid-19 Thriller’ among many others. Here’s John Helmer on NATO’s Ukraine gambit and the new nuclear race’s comeback.

Another Australian journalist, Julian Assange spent all of 2021 as he had 2020 and most of 2019 suffering maximum security lockdown in London’s Belmarsh Prison for the crime of revealing the crimes of empire. The political prisoners of 2021 after the break.

As well as the USA/NATO war machine’s pushing the World ever nearer the brink of catastrophic war with Russia – and perhaps China too – this year past, it has too worked diligently to undermine civil society at home. Part of that effort includes the shutting down of dissenting narrative online, none arguably more vital to understanding our state of perpetual warfare than WikiLeaks – author of The Afghan and Iraq War Logs, Guantanamo and Syria Files, Vault 7 CIA Hacking Tools revelations, and the devastating Collateral Murder video among many others.

Earlier this month, Britain’s appellate court overturned a High Court ruling denying a U.S. extradition petition on the grounds of prisoner Assange’s fragile mental and physical health, allowing he be rendered unto American Justice to face unprecedented charges against a journalist and foreign national that could amount to almost two centuries worth of confinement. His family and supporters, and independent medical investigators with the United Nations fear Assange will not survive even the pre-trial detention.

Steve Poikonen is an activist and host of the ‘Slow News Day‘ podcast – available at Rokfin. He’s also an organizer with Action4Assange, co-host of the #FreeAssange Vigil, and has participated in and helped organized multiple actions for Assange in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the U.S. I spoke to Steve several times over the course of the year on the slow progress of the political case against the publisher, the last time in October. Here’s Steve Poikonen on the continued Assange case charade.

That’s Steve Poikonen. You can support his work over at Slow News Day podcast on Rokfin.

You’re listening to Gorilla Radio’s send off of 2021. I’ve heard it said this year was merely a replay of the unloved 2020; if only it were true. In this part of the World, across all metrics of progressive thought, 2021 marks a drastic decline in human rights and civil liberties. And it seems about to be getting worse. Julian Assange wasn’t the only political prisoner held last year; whether Alex Saab in Cape Verde, or Meng Wanzhou in Canada, the much vaunted “rule of law” is increasingly seen for what it is: a sad joke. But the situation in Palestine is beyond even black humour. Israel’s child prisoners after the break…

As serious an abrogation of first principles Canada’s arrest and imprisonment of Huawai executive Meng Wanzhou was, or its continued failure to speak out for the political persectuion of Julian Assange is the country’s utter abandonment of Palestinian children to Israel’s military court system puts the lie to our claim – and self-regard – as an international human rights exemplar. ‘Canada Stand Up for Palestinian Children’s Rights’ is a coalition of human rights organizations who are currently engaged in a continuing awareness-raising campaign because our government has failed in its response to the systemic “kidnap, arrest, detainment, abuse, torture, and murder of Palestinian children…

Keith Simmonds is a United Church of Canada minister who served as a World Council of Churches human rights observer (Ecumenical Accompanier) in Palestine in early 2020. Stationed in Bethlehem he also spent time in Jerusalem, Galilee and Tulkarem. The ‘second career minister’ has too served as a labour and community organizer, volunteer firefighter and ERT team member, and worked as an assistant to provincial cabinet ministers among other things in a varied career.

That was Keith Simmonds of the United Church of Canada speaking on the ‘Canada Stand Up for Palestinian Children’s Rights’ a coalition of human rights organizations.

Again, you’re listening to Gorilla Radio’s 2021 Year-End show. I’ve chosen four of the 52 shows recorded this year, and so far it’s all been pretty grim news – that is after all the specialty here – but I won’t leave you on the precipice of 2022 without at least a quantum of hope, a scintilla of good tidings. Elections were held throughout Latin America in 2021, and, (with only the dubious exception of Ecuador) the Pink Tide – that is those governments advertising themselves as proponents for the common people – won office. A rising tide in for human rights in Latin America after the break.

Dan Kovalik has been a frequent guest on the show over the years. Dan’s a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist, author, and filmmaker. Dan has observed elections in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia, and he was down in Nicaragua to witnessed the reelection of man El Norte despises, Daniel Ortega. I’ll finish with Dan and thank John Helmer, Steve Poikonen, Keith Simmonds, and all the good folks at the station keeping the wheels turning week in and week out. There’s great programming coming up, but that’s all I’ve got for this year, until the next…

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: https://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.com

 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer, Dan Kovalik November 11, 2021

Welcome to Gorilla Radio, recorded October 31st and November 4th, 2021

November 1st marks the day Russia formally ends its diplomatic mission to the Western alliance’s military arm, NATO. Explaining the move, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the press, “[T]he basic conditions for common work no longer exist.” NATO spokesperson, Oana Lungescu called the break in relations regrettable, saying, “We have strengthened our deterrence and defence in response to Russia’s aggressive actions, while at the same time we remain open to dialogue...”

The break ostensibly follows the expulsion again from Brussels of Russian diplomats accused of being spies, but is really the culmination of years of allegations and unfounded charges leveled against the country by the West in what amounts to a determined campaign of diplomatic and media warfare.

John Helmer is a journalist, author, broadcaster, former political advisor to government, and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears. Among Helmer’s many books titles are, ‘The Lie That Shot Down MH-17’ ‘Skripal in Prison’, ‘The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia’, ‘Hitler Didn’t Die in Berlin – He Moved to Melbourne Where He Runs the State Government of Victoria: A True Covid-19 Thriller’, and the just hot of the presses, ‘Complete Dances with Bears Comic Book’, a “true to life comic book coated in laughter, the only antidote certain to neutralize Novichok in your underpants, or a BUK rocket headed for your jetliner.” Helmer’s recent article, ‘Little Boy & Fatman – The Two Info-War Bombs Dropped on Russia‘ chronicles the continued hard cover and paperback edition assault on the country.


John Helmer in the first half.

And; November 7th Nicaraguans go to the polls in national and local elections. It’s another test for long-time president, Daniel Ortega’s government; a test the United States and it’s ally Canada are eager to see him fail. Following years of crippling financial sanctions, and a determined media campaign of demonization and misinformation coming from the North, the question now is if Nicaraguan’s will continue to support Ortega 14 years into the former Sandanista guerrilla’s socialist reform program.

Dan Kovalik is a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist, author, and filmmaker. Dan has observed elections in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia – where he witnessed the 2016 peace plebiscite promising an end to the generational war there. Of Kovalik’s 2020 film, ‘Nicaragua: The April Crisis & Beyond‘ on 2018’s so-called uprising in Nicaragua, Oliver Stone said, “Kovalik helps cut through the Orwellian lies and dissembling which make so-called ‘humanitarian intervention possible.”

Dan is currently in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua preparing for the election.

Dan Kovalik and Nicaragua’s testing time in the second half.

But first, John Helmer and the media crusade keeping the New Cold War with Russia on ice.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dan Kovalik November 4, 2021

Welcome to Gorilla Radio, recorded November 4th, 2021

November 7th Nicaraguans go to the polls in national and local elections. It’s another test for long-time president, Daniel Ortega’s government; a test the United States and it’s ally Canada are eager to see him fail. Following years of crippling financial sanctions, and a determined media campaign of demonization and misinformation coming from the North, the question now is if Nicaraguan’s will continue to support Ortega 14 years into the former Sandanista guerrilla’s socialist reform program.

Dan Kovalik is a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist, author, and filmmaker. Dan has observed elections in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Colombia – where he witnessed the 2016 peace plebiscite promising an end to the generational war there.
Some of Kovalik’s many book titles include: ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia’, ‘The Plot to Attack Iran’, ‘The Plot to Control the World, ‘The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela’ ‘No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests’, and his latest, ‘Cancel This Book: The Progressive Case Against Cancel Culture’.

Of Kovalik’s 2020 film ‘Nicaragua: The April Crisis & Beyond’ on 2018’s so-called uprising in Nicaragua, Oliver Stone said, “Kovalik helps cut through the Orwellian lies and dissembling which make so-called ‘humanitarian intervention possible.”

Dan is currently in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua preparing for the election.

Today, Dan Kovalik and Nicaragua’s testing time.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Dan Kovalik May 13, 2021

Welcome back to Gorilla Radio’s Home Edition, recorded on the dates, May 7th and 10th, 2021.

War and rumours of it quickened yesterday, as Biden Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s whirlwind Sabre Rattling Tour touched down in Kiev. Blinken, freshly arrived from G-7 meetings in London, picked up where he left off chastening “authoritarian states” around the World he claimed were, “trying to play us against each other”. Presumably addressed to China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, countries who in another time might constitute an “Axis of Evil”, Blinken pointedly reminded, “… we hold our values of democracy, state of law, human rights and a global order based on rules against them, united and credibly.”

But is it all credible; does the new president and his energetic secretary really mean to marshal the troops for a new war of empire? A new series by the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill attempts to plumb the depths of the new President’s character and divine his intentions; an attempt my first guest says, while “impressive and informative…ignores certain unflattering historical facts and perpetuates a few popular misperceptions.”

Jeremy Kuzmarov is a journalist and author who serves too as Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine. He’s the author of four books on U.S. foreign policy, including: ‘Obama’s Unending Wars’, and ‘The Russians Are Coming, Again’ co-authored with John Marciano. His latest at CovertAction is ‘Did Jeremy Scahill’s Analysis Fumble the Ball in Its Indictment of Joe Biden as an “Empire Politician”?’

Jeremy Kuzmarov in the first half.

And; the so-called “cancel culture” was a common invocation of right-wing American politicos and Trump supporters who claimed their left wing and progressive opponents were using “cancellation” to silence legitimate debate and rights to free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Now, those voices of concern have been joined from the progressive side of the political spectrum by labour lawyer, human rights activist, author, and essayist, Dan Kovalik.

Dan is too a recipient of the David W. Mills Mentoring Fellowship from Stanford Law School, a frequent lecturer, oft sought television and radio political commentator, and his articles appear online at Counterpunch and Gorilla Radio Blog, among other places. His latest book is, ‘Cancel This Book: The Progressive Case Against Cancel Culture‘.

Dan Kovalik and turning the worm on Cancel Culture in the second half.

But first, Jeremy Kuzmarov and, Joe Biden: Tool of Empire, or merely tool?

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: https://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.com

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Kirsten Francescone, Dan Kovalik, Janine Bandcroft October 29, 2020

Welcome back to Gorilla Radio’s Home Edition, recorded live-to-tape via Skype on this date, October 26th, 2020.

There is jubilation in Bolivia, as the people’s representatives are again in power following the removal by force of arms last year of president Evo Morales’ MAS party. The party’s new iteration, under the leadership of Luis Arces, won an even larger majority than last time, sweeping away the coup perpetrators. Canada was among the first countries in 2019 to confer legitimacy on the coup, and following its lead Canada-registered mining company Orvana Minerals used the opportunity the extreme-right political shift presented to undo labour agreements already signed and sack its unionized workers.

Kirsten Francescone is the Latin America Program Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada. Kirsten lived and worked in Bolivia for five years prior to commencing her PhD in Anthropology and Political Economy at Carleton University.

Kirsten Francescone in the first half.

And; while the landslide election victory of Evo Morales’ MAS party was and is cause for elation throughout Bolivia and the Americas for those long-suffering under the heel of El Norte, Luis Arces’ supporters can be forgiven if their celebrations are tempered with caution, considering what happened the last time it won elections there.

Dan Kovalik is a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist and author. He’s also a recipient of the David W. Mills Mentoring Fellowship from Stanford Law School, a frequent lecturer, oft sought television and radio political commentator, and his articles appear online at the Huffington Post and Counterpunch, among other places. His latest book is, ‘No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests‘.

Dan Kovalik and Bolivia’s second chance in the second half.

And; CFUV Radio broadcaster and host of Plant Powered Radio, 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, Kirsten Francescone and following the foreign corporate/government power nexus in Bolivia.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: https://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, Dan Kovalik, Janine Bandcroft October 23, 2020

Welcome back to Gorilla Radio’s Home Edition, recorded live-to-tape via Skype on this date, October 21st, 2020.

Sunday’s landslide election victory of Evo Morales’ MAS party was and is cause for elation throughout Bolivia and the Americas this week; at least for those long-suffering under the heel of El Norte. But Luis Arces’ supporters can be forgiven if their celebrations are tempered with caution, considering what happened the last time a leftist government won elections there.

Daniel Kovalik is a lawyer, educator, labour, peace, and justice activist, democracy defender, journalist and author. A labor and human rights lawyer since graduating from Columbia Law School, Dan has represented plaintiffs in Alien Tort Statute cases arising from human rights abuses in Colombia. He’s also a recipient of the David W. Mills Mentoring Fellowship from Stanford Law School, frequent lecturer, television and radio political commentator, and his articles appear online at the Huffington Post and Counterpunch, among other places.

His latest book is, ‘No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using ‘Humanitarian‘ Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests’.

Today, Dan Kovalik and Bolivia’s second chance.