From Argentina to Greece: The Legacy of Che Guevara

Che Guevara once said “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”

Last month, while attending a conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution in Corinthos, Greece, I had the pleasure of meeting one of Che’s comrades, Calica Ferrer. Calica was a childhood friend of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

In 1953, when Calica was 24 – one year younger than Che – both of them traveled through Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, surviving on very little money. These experiences are recounted in Calica’s book “De Ernesto al Che” (From Ernesto to Che).

As Calica explains in this interview for The Real News Network, the dictatorships, poverty and anti-indigenous bigotry that he and Che witnessed during their travels molded Che’s revolutionary character.

Calica and Che separated in Ecuador when Calica was offered a job with a local football team, and Che carried on toward the north, along a path that would finally lead him to Fidel Castro. Fifty years ago, Che was executed in Bolivia by the Bolivian army.

My interview of Calica can be seen here:


Canada’s Extradition Law Exposes Professor Hassan Diab to a Kafkaesque Ordeal

Hassan Diab is a former sociology professor at the University of Ottawa. In 2008, France requested from Canada Dr. Diab’s extradition for his alleged involvement in the 1980 Paris synagogue bombing.

In June 2011, after a lengthy extradition hearing, the judge presiding over Dr. Diab’s extradition hearing described the evidence as “illogical”, “very problematic” and “convoluted, very confusing, with conclusions that are suspect.” The judge nevertheless held that his interpretation of Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to extradite Dr. Diab to France.

Three years ago, Dr. Diab was extradited to France by the Harper government. He continues to languish in a French prison. Since then, four French anti-terrorism judges have gathered testimony from several witnesses that Dr. Diab was in Lebanon at the time of the bombing. They have also obtained university records which show that Dr. Diab wrote and passed exams in Beirut then and that he couldn’t have been in Paris at the time of the crime.

French anti-terrorism judges have ordered Dr. Diab’s conditional release under electronic surveillance eight times, only to have their orders challenged by the prosecutor and overturned by an appeal court on every occasion.

On the 3-year anniversary of Dr. Diab’s extradition to France, I spoke with Dr. Diab’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, about his client’s Kafkaesque ordeal. My interview of Mr. Bayne can be seen here:


Is Canada a Rogue Nation on Climate Change?

For the Real News, I speak with Dave Bleakney, 2nd National Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, who is attending the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

As Dave explains, not only is the Trudeau government’s conduct at COP23 fundamentally inconsistent with its rhetoric on climate change, but the entire climate conference is failing to address the core problem that has generated the climate crisis. The core problem is an economic system that is founded upon endless consumption and greed.

My interview of David can be seen here:


Is Greek Democracy Dead?

In July 2015, after Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected austerity in an historic referendum, the ‘radically left’ Syriza party, led by Alexis Tsipras, agreed to impose upon the Greek people an austerity program that was even more severe than the program which voters had rejected in the referendum.

This capitulation to Greece’s creditors precipitated a revolt within Syriza. The revolt was led by Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of Syriza’s Left Platform and the Minister of Energy in the Tsipras cabinet. Mr. Lafazanis left Syriza with 25 other Syriza MPs to become leader of the new Popular Unity party.

During my trip to Greece last month, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Lafazanis for The Real News. According to Mr. Lafazanis, Greece no longer has a democracy and has become a mere protectorate of the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission.

My interview of Mr. Lafazanis can be seen here:


Is Carbon Trading Just a License to Pollute?

For The Real News, I speak with Scott Edwards, co-director of the climate and energy policy team at Food & Water Watch, about a new report which shows that carbon trading schemes are ineffective and cause environmental injustice.

Scott explains that California’s much-vaunted carbon-trading regime has not resulted in a reduction in carbon pollution. This should be of particular concern to residents of Quebec and Ontario, whose governments have joined California’s carbon-trading regime and who invoke their participation in that regime as proof that they are taking strong action to address the climate crisis.

My interview with Scott can be seen here:


Canada’s Pro-Israel Lobby Uses Fake News and Specious Assumptions to ‘Demonize and Delegitimize’ the BDS Movement

On November 8, 2017, the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) reported that Dr. David Kattenburg had commenced an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada.

In his application, Dr. Kattenburg impugns a decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to allow the importation and sale of wines produced in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

In his original complaint to the CFIA, Dr. Kattenburg correctly noted that wines produced in Israel’s illegal settlements are labelled as “Product of Israel” even though they are produced in Occupied Palestinian Territory, and that no state – not even the state of Israel – claims that the West Bank forms part of Israel’s sovereign territory.

CJN’s article also reported that Avi Benlolo of the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) purports to be “confident” that the Federal Court of Canada will dismiss Dr. Kattenburg’s application for judicial review. In explaining his confidence, Benlolo offered to the CJN no analysis whatsoever of the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) even though the CFIA explicitly based its decision on CIFTA.

Rather, according to Benlolo, Dr. Kattenburg’s application is “one more attempt to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, which has been recognized by provincial and federal governments as anti-Semitic.”

Whatever Dr. Kattenburg’s view of the BDS movement may be, Dr. Kattenburg has never argued that the CFIA has the authority to impose a boycott of settlement wines. On the contrary, his position before the CFIA and in his application for judicial review has consistently been that, for these wines to be sold to Canadian consumers, their true country of origin must be disclosed, and that Canadians are entitled to have accurate information when deciding whether to purchase these wines. This is a proposition with which we should all be able to agree – including Avi Benlolo.

Even more misleading is Benlolo’s claim that the BDS movement “has been recognized by provincial and federal governments as anti-Semitic.” Continue Reading ›

Greek Oligarch Evangelos Marinakis Faces Criminal Charges for Match-Fixing

When Syriza first took power in Greece in January 2015, it vowed to ‘crush’ the Greek oligarchy. Yet under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the oligarchy has arguably strengthened its grip on Greek media. In particular, wealthy Greek shipowner Evangelos Marinakis, who also happens to own Greek football club Olympiacos, recently acquired the media empire of the Lambrakis Group. Now, Marinakis faces criminal charges in connection with the alleged fixing of Olympiacos football matches.

In this interview, I discuss with Professor Michael Spourladakis, Dean of the School of Economics and Politics at the University of Athens, Syriza’s failure to reign in the oligarchy. My interview of Professor Spourladakis can be seen here: