Monday, June 30, 2008

Only in Canada



According to this G&M/CTV/Strategic Counsel poll, 82% of Canadians are now opposed to the Iraq war but their three "most admired" politicians are the ones who have voted to support it.
A more interesting poll would have been to ask what percentage of people are recently coming to the conclusion that Iran was behind 9/11.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Steve gets a medal

Prime Minister Harper receives international human rights award :
"the B’nai Brith International President’s Gold Medallion, in recognition of the Government’s efforts to fight discrimination and uphold human rights in Canada and around the world."

In presenting the award, the B'nai Brith international president cited four "actions the Prime Minister and the Government have taken to advance human rights and oppose discrimination".

Of the four, two concern support for Israel, one is "unequivocally supporting Canada’s role in the UN-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan", and the fourth ... the fourth is "delivering a heartfelt apology" to the First Nations.


Irony could not be reached for comment.


And from NaPo : PM calls UN conference an 'anti-Western hatefest'
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a delegation of B'nai B'rith members yesterday that Canada is refusing to participate in a United Nations conference on racism :
"We will not be party to an anti-Semitic and anti-Western hatefest dressed up as an anti-racism conference."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Exxon Valdez ruling - a licence to spill

Twenty years ago the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound off Alaska, killing 250,000 seabirds, 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales. Not to mention what it did to First Nations' livelihood.
A 1994 federal jury in Alaska originally awarded $5 billion in punitive damages. A federal judge later reduced it to $4.5 billion, and the appeals court further cut it to $2.5 billion.

On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the $2.5-billion ruling and the new figure is $507.5 million in damages.
It takes Exxon less than two days to make $2.5 billion in revenue.
In 1969 the Valdez Port was purchased from the Chugach Natives for $1 and Exxon's promise to protect their fishing and seal hunting grounds from oil, including the use of "state -of-the-art" radar equipment.
"At the helm, the third mate would never have collided with Bligh Reef had he looked at his Raycas radar. But the radar was not turned on. In fact, the tanker's radar was left broken and disasbled for more than a year before the disaster, and Exxon management knew it. It was just too expensive to fix and operate.
...the reckless acts of the industry consortium, Alyeska, which controls the Alaska Pipeline.
Several smaller oil spills before the Exxon Valdez could have warned of a system breakdown. But a former Senior Lab Technician with Alyeska, Erlene Blake, told our investigators that management routinely ordered her to toss out test samples of water evidencing spilled oil. She was ordered to refill the test tubes with a bucket of clean sea water called, "The Miracle Barrel."
Palast continues here.
Couldn't happen again though, right?
Two words, my friend : Gary Lunn
Update : Greg Palast link fixed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So long to The Way of the Metal Fist

Sandra Buckler resigns.

Buckler : "(French bouclier 'shield', from old French bocle, boucle 'boss') is a small shield gripped in the fist -- it was generally used as a companion weapon in hand-to-hand combat, useful in deflecting the blow of an opponent's sword or mace.

The primary use of the buckler is to protect the sword hand. The buckler's lightness and curved center made it excellent for deflecting attacking blades. Such a deflection would leave the attacker open for a rapid counter-attack.

"Metal fist": A buckler can be used to directly attack an opponent by punching with either its flat face or its rim."

h/t : Way of the Metal Fist

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ashley Smith


"If I die then I will never have to worry about upsetting my Mom again.
I will call my Mom before bed and have one more chat. Somehow I have to let her know that none of this is her fault. I don’t know why I’m like I am but I know she didn’t do it to me. "

How did a New Brunswick teenager arrested for throwing crab apples at a postal worker wind up spending six years in prison, the last 11 and a half months in solitary confinement, the last month without a mattress or a blanket, before committing suicide at age 19 one month before she was eligible for release?

After five investigations, the transferring out of the warden and deputy warden, the firing of four guards and criminal charges laid against another four, and a recommendation that TASERS™ no longer be used against mentally unstable inmates, the ombudsman for Canada's federal prison system yesterday released The Ashley Smith Report, aimed at preventing similar deaths.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Arar

"The similarities with Mr. Arar's case are compelling. In both instances, a Canadian citizen is fingered by CSIS as a terrorist suspect. In both cases, no charges are laid in Canada. In both, the person is arrested and imprisoned abroad. In both, Canadian officials say there is little that they can do because the person is in the country of their other citizenship."
The above quote is from the Globe&Mail in their front page story in April about Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian/Sudanese imprisoned and allegedly tortured in Sudan for two years at Canada's request. Frequently visited by CSIS officials, he was eventually cleared by Sudan of all allegations that he was a terrorist or a member of al-Qaeda and released. Sudan offered to fly him home to Montreal but Canada obstructed the deal.
Since then he has been "sheltering" and living on handouts at the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, except for that five months when he was reincarcerated after threatening to make his case to Prime Minister Martin on the PM's visit to Sudan. Canada has refused to renew his passport or to transport him back to Canada on any of the subsequent government flights between Canada and Sudan.

The G&M returned to Abdelrazik's plight today (bold:mine) :
"In a telephone interview Monday, Mr. Abdelrazik said he told a Canadian diplomat he was being repeatedly beaten by Sudanese interrogators in 2004 or 2005. "He didn't care," Mr. Abdelrazik said.
Mr. Abdelrazik, who was to submit a sworn affidavit about his torture in Sudan to Federal Court in Ottawa Monday, confirmed all of the details in the draft document, including that he was interrogated by CSIS agents while in a Sudanese jail. However, the document remained unsigned because Canadian diplomats refused to deliver the faxed draft to Mr. Abdelrazik to sign."

What?!

"Canadian government documents, which came to light in April, revealed he had been imprisoned in Sudan "at our request," meaning at the request of Canadian agents.
In its response, delivered Monday, the Justice Department opted not to dispute the assertion that Mr. Abdelrazik had been imprisoned at Canada's request, in effect conceding the fact before the court.

The documents presented in court, coupled with Mr. Abdelrazik's accounts of torture, suggest Canada secretly arranged for Sudan to arrest and imprison him, then sent Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents to interrogate him in a Sudanese prison while diplomats knew that he was being tortured but ignored that fact.

Canadian diplomats in Khartoum refused Monday, for the second day in a row, to permit Mr. Abdelrazik to sign the affidavit; his signature would have made it a sworn affidavit.

"The matter is under litigation and we cannot comment," said Anne Howland, spokeswoman for current Foreign Minister David Emerson. Other senior officials said the file is actually being handled in the Prime Minister's Office."

I'll just fucking bet it is. To read the anguished but impotent and self-serving hand-wringing by Foreign Affairs officials, go here:

"I wish I had a magic wand and make this case go away ... I find it unethical to hold him like this in limbo with no future, no hope and all because ... Obviously I cannot address the issue of the no-fly list ..."
"Mr. Abdelrazik "has reached the end of his rope, he has no money, no future, very little freedom and no hope. Should this case break wide open in the media, we may have a lot to explaining to do."
Well, it's broken open now so deal. Just send a fucking plane already.

If you can do it for Brenda Martin, you can do it for Abousfian Abdelrazik.


Bloggers, readers, start your engines.
Write a letter, make a call, send a fax to :

David Emerson, Foreign Affairs :
Telephone: (613) 943-0267 or Fax: (613) 943-0219
EMail: Emerson.D@parl.gc.ca
2148 KingswayVancouver, British Columbia
V5N 2T5Telephone: (604) 775-6263 or Fax: (604) 775-6284

Stephen Harper : E-mail : pm@pm.gc.ca or Fax: 613-941-6900

h/t to Roger in Comments at the Beav for the reminder to post this access info.
Bees, honey, vinegar, no crayon - you know the drill.

Is anyone else sensing some kind of pattern here?

Yesterday in Ontario :
Man causes public disturbance.
Police TASER™ man.
Man dies.

Two weeks ago, a federal jury in California did :
"A federal jury has held Taser International responsible for the death of a Salinas man in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday, and awarded his family more than $6 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
An attorney for the family called the verdict a “landmark decision,” and indicated that it was the first time Taser International had been held responsible for a death or injury linked to its product."

Here is how Taser International reported it in their news release :
"Jury Finds Extended Taser Device Application 15 Percent Responsible for Arrest Related Death"
TASER™ is appealing the decision.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Operation Enduring Pipeline



If asked, Canada would help the Afghan army defend a proposed $7.6-billion U.S.-backed natural gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India.

We've heard about this pipeline before. A bidding war for the contract between U.S. Unocal and Bridas of Argentina ended when the Taliban pulled out of negotiations just one month before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Afghan President Karzai, who either was or wasn't previously a Unocal employee, signed an agreement with the Turkman president this April to begin construction of the pipeline in 2010. Named TAPI after the four nations involved, it will run straight through Kandahar where Canadian troops are slated to stay till at least 2011.

Energy economist John Foster has written a report for the Canadian Council of Policy Alternatives, questioning the motives of the countries involved and outlining three reasons why the US wants it :

1) To limit Russia's influence in the region. Turkmanistan currently exports nearly all its gas to Russia.

2) To isolate Iran and their proposed rival pipeline that would run from Iran to India and Pakistan.

3) To forge links with India that would isolate India from China, who have already begun
their gas pipeline from Turkmenistan east through Kazakhstan to China.

Is this why Canada is in Afghanistan?

G&M : "Liberal Senator Colin Kenny - chairman of the Senate's national security and defence committee - said Canada has similar interests in the global energy market as the United States, and should not shy away from supporting U.S. geopolitical objectives. "I don't think we would be serving Canadian interests if we were ignoring American interests," he said."

John Foster says he wrote his report to foster debate about pipeline politics in the absence of any official statement from the Canadian government :
A PIPELINE THROUGH A TROUBLED LAND: AFGHANISTAN, CANADA, AND THE NEW GREAT ENERGY GAME

A very interesting read.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Clowncar terrorism - Update #2

in the ongoing trial of the Toronto 18, now the Paintball 11 :
Crown turns on own witness
Police mole accused of lying about so-called terrorist training camp
"In a stunning turn of events, a Crown prosecutor yesterday accused his star witness in the Toronto 18 terror case of fabricating some of the evidence about a so-called terrorist training camp."

The prosecutor accused the RCMP mole/informant of lying to protect the accused, because since being paid off for his info he has changed his story a couple of times.

Damn. Does this mean Canada will have to give back our membership in the DHS war on terra?
Naw. The important thing is to make the bust so you can use it to ramp up the hugely profitable war on terra even more. In 2001, US planes dropped fliers all over Afghanistan offering a bounty to anyone who busted as al-Qaeda anyone who pissed them off, netting over 700 "terrorists" for Gitmo. So far only 6 of them have been charged so we're still way ahead of the fuck-up curve here.

Bit of a bummer for the Toronto Paintball 11 though, no?
After 750 days in jail to date, 3 of them have been in solitary for two years and 7 are refused bail.
Four teenagers, presumably the same ones who cowered in their tent when the leaders hid in the bushes and made wolf and bear noises, have been released.
Suggest next time the RCMP search for a more credible scenario - possibly involving terrorists who can make lion and tiger noises.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The 4th North American Forum - it's a small world

All you really need to know about the fourth annual North American Forum currently being held in Washington DC is that the phrases "North America" and "our continent" and particularly "our energy resources" outnumber any references to the individual countries involved by about ten to one.

According to its website, the North American Forum is "a community of Canadian, Mexican and American thought leaders, whose purpose is to advance a shared vision of North America."
It is chaired by former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, and former Mexican Secretary of Finance Pedro Aspe, who is listed along with ConservaLiberal John Manley as the author of the book "Building a North American Community", the published report of the 2005 Task Force on the Future of North America.
You remember it : one N.A. resource pact for oil, gas, and fresh water; one passport; one foreign policy; one set of environmental, health, and safety standards; one immigration policy; one security perimeter; a suggested feasibility study on one currency union; and the introduction of a North American brand.

Anyway, before we get to excerpts from the speeches of this year's "thought leaders", here's an 'it's a small small one-perimeter North American world' note :
In his opening preamble, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte addresses a remark to US Secretary of State George Shultz :
"And I do remember vividly that when I was the Deputy National Security Advisor at the very end of the Reagan Administration, we went down together, I accompanied you, Mr. Secretary, to the inauguration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari as President, not knowing at the time that I would, soon thereafter, become Ambassador and have the opportunity to work so closely with Carla Hills and others, Pedro Aspe, Andres Rosenthal, on the construction of the North American Free Trade Agreement."

But Hills, Aspe, and Rosenthal didn't just work together on NAFTA; they were also contributing members of the Task Force on the Future of North America report, aka "Building a North American Community". Carla A. Hills was also Vice Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations at the time, and it was CFR and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives who commissioned the Task Force.
At the end of his speech, Negroponte takes questions from the floor : one comes from Carla Hills, another from Rosenthal.

Ok, on to the "thought leaders"!

US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates :
"We cannot achieve resilience or reach our full potential without security. This is tremendously important, given the kind of threats the North American continent faces at the dawn of the 21st century."
Gates praised Canada for its steadfast contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and the new Canada-U.S. Civil Assistance Plan which will enable Canada and U.S. militaries to support the armed forces of the other country during a civil emergency.
"The role of Afghanistan in the 9/11 attacks reminds us that this is no hypothetical scenario. We fight there now and in other distant lands to prevent another attack here at home."

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte :
"The North American community has made our peoples richer, our countries safer, and our region more competitive. There is much left to do to ease our citizens’ anxieties, but we must make clear that in a world that rewards integration and openness, the surest path to greater prosperity, security, and sovereignty is the North American partnership."

U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman :
"North America is critical to determining the path forward for global energy development, delivery and consumption.
In many ways, our collective success in shaping that future in a productive way will depend on our ability to come together and expand our regional cooperation in order to encourage the sustained investment in all energy resources - and in our energy infrastructure - that must occur on our shared continent.
We will become more reliant on safe and emissions-free nuclear power.
That is why President Bush has put such a priority on working with our partners in North America to establish reliable, productive, and cooperative mechanisms to improve our continent's energy security.
Experts from each of our three nations continue to work on a projection of North American supply and demand for oil and gas, electricity, and coal, as well as continental import and exports.
Just last week we hosted with the State Department this year's U.S.-Canada Energy Consultative Meetings at which our two nations discussed strengthened cooperation in areas including oil sands, natural gas pipelines, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power.
Let me just mention that, in regard to nuclear power, it is estimated that Canada has about 10 percent of the world's uranium reserves. Access to this vital supply will be indispensable to meeting increased demand for nuclear fuel on this continent.
We also will continue to work with Canada on developing and building our shared energy infrastructure - and let me say here that the United States government remains strongly committed to expediting the siting, permitting and construction of the pipelines that will help North America take advantage of our own natural resources."


Gosh that "North American brand" idea does seem to be coming along nicely.
Pathetic really, isn't it? Not two new ideas to rub together since their Task Force.

One last note : Remember all those newspaper articles a short while back from professional Canada slagger Michael Hart? I had forgotten until I looked up the names of the members of the Task Force that he was one of them. The book is available online here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

16 lakes to be "reclassified" as toxic dump sites

CBC : 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

Environmentalists say the process amounts to a "hidden subsidy" to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against the destruction of fish habitat.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."
That means mining companies don't need to build containment ponds for toxic mine tailings.

Catherine Coumans, spokeswoman for the environmental group Mining Watch : "Something that used to be a lake — or a river, in fact, they can use rivers — by being put on this section two of this regulation is no longer a river or a lake," she said. "It's a tailings impoundment area. It's a waste disposal site. It's an industrial waste dump."

Steve Robertson, exploration manager for Imperial Metals : "This is a project that can bring a lot of good jobs, long-term jobs, well-paying jobs ..."

When was the public review process that okayed subverting the Fisheries Act to allow public lands to be used as toxic dump sites for private interests?
I'll bet you're not at all surprised to learn that Sacred Headwaters is on that list.

Clowncar terrorism - the Toronto whatever-number-it-is-now

CBC : An RCMP informant who infiltrated an alleged homegrown militant group has acknowledged the person now on trial had little or no knowledge of the group's plans.
Having recently converted from Hinduism to Islam, the accused was eager to learn. So Shaikh told him the camp was a religious retreat where he would learn about the faith and also test physical skills, as laid out in the Koran.
Shaikh said the accused never heard a word of alleged plans to blow up buildings or behead the prime minister.

G&M : While the Crown contends the camp was intended as terrorist training, Mr. Shaikh [the RCMP informant] readily agreed the recruits were told they were going to a religious camp.
“That was the cover story,” Mr. Shaikh said.
“They weren't told anything about attacking Parliament?” Mr. Chernovsky asked.
“That's correct,” Mr. Shaikh said.

He said the campers could have viewed wearing fatigues, playing paintball or pretending to be Muslim fighters in Chechnya as a game of cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers, he added.
At one point, he said, the leaders hid in the bushes and made wolf and bear noises.
“They sat in the tent terrified,” court heard of the other campers. “They ended up huddled, shivering in the tent.”

This is the testimony of the prosecution's star witness.

The case so far : Getting the accused to join what they were told was a religious retreat and then prosecuting them for not doing something that they didn't know anything about.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Notes on the Kandahar prison break

NYT : Taliban Free 1,200 in Attack on Prison
"In a brazen attack, Taliban fighters assaulted the main prison in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday night, blowing up the mud walls, killing 15 guards and freeing around 1,200 inmates. Among the escapees were about 350 Taliban members.

The prison was recently the scene of unrest, with some 400 prisoners staging a hunger strike in May to protest their long detention without trial. Some had been held for as long as two years without trial, and some were being refused the right to appeal very harsh sentences, they said. More than 40 of the prisoners stitched their lips together with needle and thread to demonstrate their determination.

Some 300 women who came to protest outside the prison at the time said their relatives inside had been picked up by NATO and American military sweeps and were innocent but nevertheless held without trial for months and even years."

G&M : "The crumbling bricks of Sarpoza, the largest detention facility in Kandahar province, usually contain hundreds of inmates, from hardened Taliban prisoners to women whose only crimes were running away from their husbands."

Independent : "The country's prisons have been heavily criticised for the lawlessness inside their own walls. British officials in Kabul have warned that the capital's main jail risks being overrun by its inmates. There have been a series of riots where guards have lost control of entire wings for days at a time."

CBC : "A spokesman for the Canadian Forces, said troops were on the scene and had established a security perimeter in the vicinity.
"We believe the situation is under control,” Janzen said, without elaborating.

But Wali Karzai, president of Kandahar's provincial council and the brother of President Hamid Karzai, said "all the prisoners escaped. There is no one left."

Canada has spent $1 million on improvements to the facility, including new cell blocks and new windows."

Friday, June 13, 2008

A First Nation apology to Japan

In 1942, Minister of Munitions and Supply C.D. Howe re-opened a uranium mine at Great Bear Lake to supply uranium for the World War II atomic bomb program. Although the dangers of working with uranium were known at the time, no one in the government saw fit to inform the Dene First Nation of Sahtu, the Sahtugot'ine, who were hired to work the mine in Port Radium. After 20 years of unknowingly polluting their freshwater resource and irradiating themselves, the Sahtugot'ine workers started to die from lung, colon, and kidney cancers. They lost a generation :

"Deline is practically a village of widows, most of the men who worked as laborers have died of some form of cancer. The widows, who are traditional women, were left to raise their families with no breadwinners, supporters. They were left to depend on welfare and other young men for their traditional food source.
This village of young men are the first generation of men in the history of Dene on this lake to grow up without guidance from their grandfathers, fathers and uncles. This cultural, economic, spiritual, emotional deprivation impact on the community is a threat to the survival of the one and only tribe on Great Bear Lake."

As this Dominion article states : "The Sahtugot'ine were sacrificed for an effort that ultimately slaughtered hundreds of thousands.

On 6 August 1945, B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped Fat Man on Hiroshima, a city of 343,000, killing 100,000 people immediately and leveling the city.
In 1998, six members of the Sahtugot'ine went to Japan to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an atrocity that some Sahtugot'ine unwittingly had a hand in, a role they now regret."

Six Sahtogot'ine survivors, victims of the same atomic program that levelled Hiroshima, went to Japan to commemorate their complicity in an atrocity they hadn't known they had contributed to at the time. That's what grown-ups do when confronted with an unintended consequence of their actions. Perhaps those currently weaselling against the PM's apology to the First Nations on our behalf - I didn't do it! It was along time ago! - would like to consider how their argument stacks up compared to the First Nation apology to Japanese victims.

With thanks to Waterbaby for the Dominion article.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Apology Day

ReformaTory MP Pierre Poilievre apologizes to oil and uranium mining companies who "have to pay them [First Nations] royalties and that’s on top of all that money that they earn on their own reserves", questions the value of giving "compensation for those who partook in the residential schools", suggests "we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance" instead, and tops it off by asking, "Are we really getting value for all of this money?"

Creep.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oily the Splot


Hi! I'm Splotchy, the Con's new talking oilspill mascot.
Look for me on the little tv screen where you gas up at the pumps.
.
Hey, that's not fair! We have a contract through Retail Media Inc.!
.
... Retail Media Inc ... Retail Media Inc...
Hey I remember them! That whole in-and-out thingey ...
"According to a sworn affidavit, executives with Retail Media Inc., the Toronto "media buying" firm for the Conservatives, balked when investigators showed them an invoice on the company's letterhead.
The executives "didn't recognize" the invoice, similar to that filed by about 15 Conservative candidates among 67 from the 2006 election seeking more than $825,000 in taxpayer-funded rebates.
Marilyn Dixon, chief operating officer, suggested the invoice "must have been altered or created by someone" because they didn't look like the ones her firm submitted to the Conservative Party of Canada.
Now, the party is under investigation for filing returns with Elections Canada "that it knew or ought reasonably to have known contained a materially false or misleading statement" on advertising expenses."
.
But never mind that. Or Bernier's security breech. Or what Con operatives offered the dying Cadman. Or that we dismissed the vote passed by opposition parties calling for a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Or the leak to the press that Obama/Clinton didn't really mean their campaign statements to reopen NAFTA. Or the new softwood lumber penalties. Or our refusal to repatriate Khadr. Or the travesty that is the Toronto terrorist 18, scratch that, 11 trial. Or our continuing participation in Operation Enduring Freedom. Or regressive immigration practices shoved into a budget bill. Or the proposed treaty with the murdering Colombia regime. Or the SPP and sucking up to Bush.
Never mind all of that.
Just keep your eyes on this simple message to you :
TAXES ARE BAD. DION IS NOT A LEADER.
.

Monday, June 09, 2008

War resisters poll at CTV


CTV has a poll up :
Should U.S. war resisters qualify for permanent resident status in Canada?

Currently it's running :
69% YES ... 31% NO

GO!

World's first pregnant man


War criminals welcome in Canada this week

Old war criminals don't go on trial - they go on lecture tours.

General Colin Powell : Leadership in the 21st Century
Vancouver Convention Centre, June 12 @1:30pm

"Powell illustrates for audiences precisely what it takes to be a leader, providing strategies for "taking charge" during times of great change and great crises. Gen. Powell demonstrates how to remain focused, take responsibility and work towards improving processes, organizations and people."

Protest : June 12 @ 1pm


Henry Kissinger : Mastering Change/The Great Transition
The International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal
Hilton Bonaventure Hotel, June 9-12

Protest : Jun 11 @ noon


Kissinger is wanted for questioning by judges in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, France and Spain but apparently he is welcome here at $185 a plate, despite the fact Section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada if this person has committed an act outside of Canada that is referred to in Sections four to seven of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, including being a senior official in the service of a government that has engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations, a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ex-Sandinista voted President of the UN General Assembly

Well, the US never much cared for the UN anyway.

In his inaugural speech, the Rev. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said member states had to unite against "acts of aggression, such as those occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"The behavior of some member states has caused the United Nations to lose credibility as an organization capable of putting an end to war and eradicating extreme poverty from our planet."

Mr. d’Escoto, an American Roman Catholic priest, was Nicaragua’s foreign minister in the left-wing Sandinista administration that ruled Nicaragua from 1979-90. During this time the U.S.-financed Contra rebels killed 40,000 Nicaraguans in their effort to overthrow the Sandinistas. D'Escoto took the US to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for arming Contra rebels and won, a victory the US has never acknowledged.

In a 2004 interview on Democracy Now, d'Escoto called Ronald Reagan an "international outlaw" and "the butcher of my people."
"Because of Reagan and his spiritual heir George W. Bush, the world today is far less safe and secure than it has ever been," he said.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Chopping off heads - easy. Opening a can of tuna - hard

The continuing travails of the Toronto-whatever-it-is-now-after-you-subtract-the-undercover-paid-informant/instigators...

CBC attempts to introduce a little gravitas with their lede:
Accused in alleged Toronto bomb plot tapped to behead PM, court hears
"A youth charged in connection with an alleged 2006 plot to blow up buildings in Ontario was the group's preferred candidate to behead the prime minister because of his wood chopping skills, Crown prosecutors alleged Wednesday."
but it still comes down to what is on the wiretap :
"I know he’d cut off their heads," says the man, to which the other man agrees and says, "Did you see him? How he was cutting the wood?"
The men are heard laughing, then they struggle to open a can of tuna to spread on a bagel because no one can find a can opener.

We're getting closer and closer to the prosecution introducing the wiretap segment in which the terrorists are unable to agree upon who is the prime minister or where parliament is.
Looking forward to the CBC headline on that one; possibly something like : Plot to behead PM foiled by skipping civics class.

I do hope the Dept of Homeland Security is paying due attention here - we've gone to a lot of trouble to get this together for them.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Canada : Getting around our own principles

From "A History of Hypocrisy" by Regan Boychuk, in the Literary Review of Canada :

"In the 1980s, Canada was instrumental in creating and supporting the UN Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances, and in 2007 the Canadian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council reaffirmed that those responsible for enforced disappearances should not go unpunished. Nonetheless, as Human Rights Watch reported in 2006, Canada also worked aggressively to dilute key provisions of an international treaty on forced disappearances:

"To their disgrace, the United States and Russia strongly opposed the [treaty] effort, not least because each had begun using forced disappearances itself …
Canada contributed to this shameful opposition, not because it is known to forcibly “disappear” people, but apparently because Prime Minister Martin, eager to improve relations with the United States that had been strained under his predecessor, decided to run interference for one of his neighbor’s unsavory practices."
Despite the efforts of the U.S. and Canada, the text of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance—modelled after the UN Convention against Torture—was approved by the General Assembly in December 2006. Seventy-two countries have since signed it, neither the U.S. nor Canada among them. "

Mr. Boychuk then cites the 74 CIA flights made through Canada since 9/11 and Foreign Affairs department spokesman Rodney Moore's 2006 statement that "whether any particular rendition is lawful would depend on the facts of each individual case".

A depressingly familiar Canadian refrain, this public purporting to support progressive principles on the international stage while working secretly behind the scenes to prop up regressive American interests conflated with our own. More recent examples include our non-commitment commitment to Kyoto and our backroom watering down of the provisions against the use and manufacture of clusterbombs.


Professor Barry Cooper, friend to PM Harper, Senior Fellow at The Fraser Institute, and creator of a slush fund at the University of Calgary which accepted monies from Alberta oil and gas companies to help finance Tim Ball and his anti-Kyoto Friends of Science group, doesn't much care for Mr. Boychuk's essay on Canadian complicity in the history of torture.
After dismissing it as "smug, and wholly predictable, anti-Americanism", Prof. Cooper complains, "In contrast, one might consider the [ancient] Greeks" - no, I'm not kidding! - and complains that instead:
"Mr. Boychuk accepts the sentimental definition of the United Nations, namely inflicting severe pain or suffering."

Yes, do let's look at something entirely else instead, Prof. Cooper.
Asshat.
If we do not accept that we have been complicit and blind to that complicity, we will never learn how to stand on our own principles.

Dona Cadman statements "doctored"

Late breaking....

According to the PMO's office, Conservative candidate Dona Cadman's widely circulated statements regarding the Cons alleged attempt to bribe her now deceased husband Chuck Cadman with a $1M insurance policy have been "doctored".

Following weeks of Ethics Committee chair Con Art Hanger immediately adjourning every single ethics committee meeting rather than permit a motion calling for an independent investigation into the Cadman affair, the PMO's office privately hired two investigators to determine the authenticity of Dona Cadman's following statements. :

"Chuck was really insulted,” she said in a telephone interview with The Globe yesterday. “He was quite mad about it, thinking they could bribe him with that.” “They had the form there. Chuck just had to sign."

While the independent investigators never once used the expression "doctored" in their reports and were not available to the press for questioning, Con MP James Moore expressed annoyance at being questioned about it at the press conference he called to answer questions about it.

"Why is anyone still talking about it?" he said. "We just confirmed this afternoon that Dona Cadman's statements were doctored. Case closed"


Political hacks remain divided as to why the Cons have resurrected an incriminating scandal everyone else has long since forgotten about, but the emerging concensus is that it's because the Cons are stupid short-sighted opportunistic ratfuckers who just make shit up as they go along with no regard for the future consequences of their actions.


Correction : We posted earlier today that the Cons issued a statement to the effect that Dona Cadman's statements were doctored when evidently it was actually a journalist's taped conversation with Harper that was at issue. We apologise for any confusion.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Support Iraq war resisters in Canada

UPDATE : PASSED -137 Yeas to 110 Nays

Motion to "immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members...to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and...the government should immediately cease any removal ordeportation actions...against such individuals."

Sgt. Corey Glass has had his application to stay in Canada rejected and now faces deportation, making him the first Iraq war resister to be deported from Canada. He could be deported as soon as June 12.

Today at 3 p.m., parliament will vote on a motion to support U.S. Iraq war resisters in Canada.

The NDP motion calls on the Government of Canada to stop deportation of those who refuse to fight in Bush's illegal war. All three opposition parties have indicated their support, but then again there has been that business of sitting on hands when it's time to vote.

Anyone who didn't heed Laura's call to arms yesterday can still phone or send along a little note to their MP telling them you expect them to show up and support the motion. Use your inside voice.

Tell them you want the Government of Canada to
• rescind the deportation order against Corey Glass
• stop supporting Bush's illegal war in Iraq
• vote to allow war resisters to remain in Canada

Click here to find your M.P.'s contact info.

As Laura says :"
It is very painless! You can say something like "I live in ____ and I'd like to leave a message for _____." (Sometimes the first person who answers has to transfer you to someone else.)
Then say "I'm calling to urge ______ to _____."
The person on the other end is always friendly and will say nothing more than "thank you for calling, I'll pass on your concerns".
You don't even have to leave your name if you don't want to."

And don't forget to cc Steve :

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
phone 613.992.4211 or email pm@pm.gc.ca

Monday, June 02, 2008

'I Wish I Had the Taliban as My Soldiers'

A refreshingly frank Spiegel interview with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the crap we read in the Canadian media.

SPIEGEL: Some of your closest aides are suspected of stealing land, drug smuggling and having illegal militias, among them respected governors and police chiefs. Your attorney general, Abdul Jabar Sabet, just named a few of them, including the governor of Nangarhar. Why do you still protect these people?

Karzai: I am not protecting anybody. We are trying to govern Afghanistan and bring peace and stability. I know about the problems with the police. The international community finally agreed after two years of very intense and angry negotiations that the police are a problem and in the middle of 2007 they began to work with us. The checkpoints on the roads, for example, were developed during the years of the Soviet invasion, a time when the country became lawless and each local commander set up his own checkpoint to collect money.

SPIEGEL: During the Taliban times there were no checkpoints at all.

Karzai: That was the best aspect of the Taliban. They did a lot wrong, but they also did a few things right. I wish I had the Taliban as my soldiers. I wish they were serving me and not people in Pakistan or others. When we came back to Afghanistan, the international community brought back all those people who had turned away from the Taliban …

SPIEGEL: … you mean the brutal commanders who fought in the civil war …

Karzai: … who then became partners with the foreign allies and are still paid by them today for their support. It is not always easy for me to find a way that can enable Afghanistan's administration to function.

SPIEGEL: Dirty deals are still necessary for the stability of Afghanistan?

Karzai: Absolutely necessary, because we lack the power to solve these problems in other ways. What do you want? War? Let me give you an example. We wanted to arrest a really terrible warlord, but we couldn't do it because he is being protected by a particular country. We found out that he was being paid $30,000 a month to stay on his good side. They even used his soldiers as guards …

continued....

Also from Spiegel : Why NATO troops can't deliver peace in Afghanistan :
"Last year, 1,469 bombs exploded along Afghan roads, a number almost five times as high as in 2004. There were 8,950 armed attacks on troops and civilian support personnel, 10 times more than only three years earlier. One hundred and thirty suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2007. There were three suicide bombings in 2004."

The Pornography of Power


Journalist Robert Scheer on his new book "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America"
From a rough transcript of an interview on Democracy Now :
AMY GOODMAN: The Pornography of Power—why pornography?
ROBERT SCHEER: Because it’s not the real thing. It’s a trick. It’s like—I liken it to a lap dance. You know, you’re promising something that doesn’t exist. They’re promising security. These defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, they pretend they’re dealing with real issues in the world, and they’re not. They’re just getting your money, and they’re deceiving you."

"I say, we had a situation where Bush vetoed an extension of child healthcare that would have involved $7 billion, OK? That’s two subs that we don’t need that are built every year. Alright? We have the F-35, an airplane that’s a $300 billion program. Why do we need new planes? The F-22, a $65 billion program. So we are wasting trillions of dollars on this old-fashioned defense budget that benefits Boeing, benefits Lockheed. Everyone knows it’s a scam. Everyone knows there is no military function for this, there’s no national security. And what happened is they got a license to steal. 9/11 was their license to steal."

"The irony now is that when these defense hawks—when they challenge my book and they say, "Well, of course, we don’t need these submarines to fight al-Qaeda. They don’t even have a rowboat. And of course we don’t need, you, now, new stealth bombers to fight al-Qaeda. But there’s the China menace."
The irony is here, China is financing our arms development. They are charging us interest to lend us money to build weapons ostensibly to attack them, and they’re laughing up their sleeve. They know this is a joke."

"Imperialism doesn’t pay. You know, here in California, I’m paying, what, $4.40 for gas, and we have seized the second-biggest pool of oil in the world? And we’re now paying—you know, the price of oil has gone up six-fold since George Bush has been president, and you want to tell me imperialism pays?
So I think the failure of the neoconservatives really is the failure of the imperial model. The Germans learned that. The French learned it, the English. Everybody in the world knows old-fashioned imperialism does not pay for the average person. It pays for Halliburton. It pays for, you know, Exxon. But it doesn’t pay for the taxpayer."
Interesting that Scheer nearly dedicated his book to Richard Nixon, who, he said, "was a horrible man, and he killed a lot of people and should have been tried for war crimes. But the fact is that Richard Nixon was the enemy of the neoconservatives."

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