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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…