Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect the Pacific Coast

You could watch this excellent 16 minute doc from Damien Gillis just for the beauty alone.

It is BC's bad luck to lie between the bitumen of the Alberta tar sands and its final destination in China and the US. It is especially bad luck for the coastal peoples and the Great Bear Rainforest :

"The plan is to pump over half a million barrels a day of unrefined bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands over the Rockies, through the heartland of BC - crossing a thousand rivers and streams in the process - to the Port of Kitimat in the Great Bear Rainforest. From there, supertankers would ply the rough and dangerous waters of the BC coast en route to Asia and the United States. Dubbed the Northern Gateway Pipeline, the project is of concern for three main reasons:
1. It would facilitate the expansion of the Tar Sands, hooking emerging Asian
economies on the world's dirtiest oil;

2. the risk of leaks from the pipeline itself;

3. the danger of introducing oil supertankers for the first time to this part of the BC coast."

More at Pacific Wild. Pass it on.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Long John Flaherty's Talk Like a Prat Day

Long John Jim Flaherty's speech to the Canadian Club last week might well read like he was running for student council at Garden Gnome High, but at least he has finally nailed down that whole four legs good, two legs bad, one peg leg argument about coalitions :
In the global recession, the ship of state has had a difficult voyage.
But we can see the harbour lights.
And that’s just when a would-be captain and his ragtag crew are trying to storm the bridge.
If they seize the wheel, ladies and gentlemen, they’ll have us on the rocks.

Oh noes, pirate parties!

Flaherty, the Finance Minister of Canada, managed to fit the word 'coalition' 13 times into a speech in which the word 'economy' rated a mere 8. So are we in election mode? Fuck, no :

"The coalition led by Mr. Ignatieff has its own agenda – power, power, power.
Under an Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois government, nothing would be safe."

Sorry, wrong clip ... I scrolled too far ahead... ah, here we go :

"...there is, I regret to say, a political risk.
That is the risk of an unnecessary election, an election that would jeopardize our economic recovery, just as we enter the home stretch.
Canadians don’t want an election. Our government isn’t seeking one.
Ladies and gentlemen, an unnecessary election would put all of this at risk."
"Unnecessary election"?
Weren't you the same guys who already gave us an "unnecessary election" in 2008 because you had no freakin clue how to work with the other parties and you were hoping for a majority which would mean you wouldn't have to?
Canadians are tired of political instability.
They are tired of elections every two years.

Yeah, got it. You've said that twice now
And they know we need a stable government, to ensure our economic recovery and long-term growth.
There is going to be an election, sooner or later.
The coalition may make it sooner.
Regardless, when it comes, Canadians will face a stark choice.
The outcome will be a majority government, one way or another.
A stable, national majority under Stephen Harper’s leadership.
Or the reckless coalition of Michael Ignatieff, the NDP, and the Bloc Québécois.

Ok, forget the pirate thing. We've apparently metaphored into stables now. Stygian stables of steaming floor to ceiling horseshit.
"A stable national majority" under Steve the Unsteady?
The guy who rolls out of bed in the morning, spins the agenda wheel, and decides to axe anything with the word 'long' in it? Long form census one day; long gun registry the next.
Steve the Economist who pissed away a $13-billion dollar surplus in favour of a $40-billion deficit, who has the fucking gall to go on about our fragile economy while blowing $1.2 billion on summit security, and who padlocked the doors of Parliament twice in thirteen months rather than deal with living in a stable democracy.

You're not getting your Stygian stable majority, Steve, because even in a minority government you behave ridiculously like Darth Vader in the Deathstar cantine ordering up prorogies when you don't get your way.
You should have learned this from your last "unnecessary election".
Stability will only come from you learning to work nicely with the other elected , uh, pirates.
And that's why we keep giving them, not you, a stable majority of Canadian votes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Perpetual prison for protesters

Update : Betty's response below

An editorial in the National Post two days ago compared the peaceful civil disobedience and incarceration of 82 year old environmental activist Betty Krawczyk with that of 62 year old anti-abortion protester Linda Gibbons :
Two court injunctions; two women who violated them in a way that significantly harmed no one; prison time for both that would come as a shock to some violent offenders.
In it Chris Selley suggests that the "outraged supporters on both sides" should "consider joining forces" to look "the ferocious power of the state straight in the eyes" because "true civil libertarians must stand up for people they don’t like for the greater good".

In quoting from my blogpost on Betty K's Sept 22 hearing, Mr. Selley says he suspects that I would "decline the opportunity" to similarly defend Ms. Gibbons. I'm not convinced she requires further defence from me, given she has already recently received two stirring ones in The Sun and NaPo, further linked to by Selley in his weekly roundup, while the MSM has entirely ignored Betty this time round.

Selley on both protesters : "Not caring is pretty much where I’m at, incidentally."

Let me see if I can awaken those libertarian sensibilities of yours, Mr. Selley, in the one case here with which I am more familiar.

You wrote : "I happen to think court orders should be obeyed, and that those who defy court orders should be punished."

You probably already know Betty strongly agrees with you on both those points, but what has driven an otherwise law-abiding citizen to resort to defying that sensibility?

The government hires a corporation to clear publicly owned land. Members of the public protest. The corporation, on behalf of the government, gets a court order to prevent the public from making further protests and then the government arrests those who disobey it. The public's beef is actually with the government defiling public lands and not with the hired corporation, but the courts collude with the government in a SLAPP suit that leaves the public no legal recourse against the government. It's a built-in fail.

Are you quite sure you don't care about this, Mr. Selley?

In forwarding Selley's NaPo piece to me, Cliff at Rusty Idols said : "The point that all Canadians right, left and center have much to fear from the precedent of perpetual imprisonment for protesting is essentially true."

Yes it is.

Update : This blogpost was cross-posted at Back of the Book, where Betty left the following response :

Very good article. I am often compared to, or lumped in with, the anti-choice people but I am decidedly pro-choice. They are free to protest as they please, just as I am, but I am fundamentally opposed to their philosophy.
This attitude that women shouldn’t have control over anything, even their own bodies, is one reason, a big reason, in my opinion, that the world is in such a mess.

And of course it is about religious dogma that underlies the anti-choice people’s fervor that makes them so concerned about a fertilized egg and so uncaring of women. And this uncaring attitude about women slops over into being uncaring about the environment, because after all, they don’t really regard this earth as their home.
Thanks for caring.

Betty Krawczyk.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Combating Terrorism Act passes 2nd reading

On the same day the nation was preoccupied with the national Con/Lib competition for votes to kill/preserve the long gun registry, the Libs and Cons got together to slip the Combating Terrorism Act through second reading in the House - 220 votes to 84 in a classic Con/Lib vs NDP/Bloc split -just ten minutes before the long gun vote.

The Libs and Cons may disagree on whether it is either useful or an egregious invasion of privacy and civil liberties that Canadians should have to spend a few minutes registering a long gun online, but when it comes to locking Canadians up for 12 months without a warrant or compelling them to appear before a court based on some anonymous tip, they're both just fine with that.

The right to remain silent, the right not to be jailed without charge, the right to know what the charges are against you - pfft!

In reintroducing Bill C-17 for the third time on Monday - to reinstate provisions from the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001 - Justice Minister Rob Nicholson emphasized a fabulous new feature:
"The key here is that the person required to attend an investigative hearing is treated as a witness, not someone who is accused of a crime."
True, as long as your definition of "witness" includes being arrested if you don't comply and being detained for 72 hours if you do.

But what if you are also suspected of being likely to commit a terrorist crime some time in the future. Well, then :
"a judge can order the person's detention for up to 12 months."
But no worries. A brand new civil rights safety provision in this regurgitated version of 9/11 law stipulates that every 12 months the Attorney General and the Public Safety Minister - that would be Nicholson himself and Vic lock-'em-up Toews respectively - must "provide their opinions, supported by reasons, as to whether the operations of these provisions should be extended."

Liberal critic for Public Safety & National Security Mark Holland made some noises about balancing national security with individual liberty and how :
"the government has completely ignored most of the key recommendations that came from Justice O'Connor [re Maher Arar], which were supported by Justice Iacobucci and were repeated by the RCMP Public Complaints Commissioner Paul Kennedy"
but then two days later, he voted for it along with the rest of the Libs.

There were hours and hours of speeches in the House this Monday and Tuesday :

Lib Marlene Jennings said right off the bat on Monday that the Libs would be voting for C-17 to proceed to committee.

NDP Joe Comartin noted "there is no crime related to terrorism not already included in the Criminal Code."

Bloc Maria Mourani : Arar. CSIS supports info gained via torture. Why would we give them even more secret powers?

NDP Wayne Marston worried we were regressing to pre Magna Carta sensibilities.

Con Colin Carrie accused "the coalition" of being "soft on terror".

Bloc Serge Ménard noted that under the War Measures Act "almost all candidates who ran against Mayor Drapeau [in the Montreal elections] were incarcerated. A law which goes so far as to incarcerate political opponents has already been used once in our history," he said.

NDP Don Davies brought up the "preventative arrest of 1,100 Canadians arrested at G20 for simply walking in the street" and asked why a government so against turning people into criminals for refusing to answer the long form census was at the same time happy to lock people up for refusing to answer questions based merely on suspicions?

Lib Derek Lee said Canadians already don't have the legal right to remain silent. (he's wrong about that.)

NDP Bill Siksay noted that security certificates were intended to expedite deportation of non-citizens yet they have been used instead to jail people for up to eight years without a trial. Slippery slope.

As I said - hours and hours of debate.
But then NDP Libby Davies wondered why there were hundreds of pages in newspapers across the country dealing with the gun registry but not one mention of the debate on the Combating Terrorism Act.

Good question, Libby.
The papers were full of the return of the House and Slagging Period, in which C-17 was not mentioned, yet whenever the Cons and Libs get together to pass something really draconian, like the Canada Colombia FTA or this Bill C-17, suddenly the media loses all interest.

Here's another question. After much initial fanfare about how important this bill is in the fight against 'terrists', and with the Libs onside since June 2009, the Cons have allowed it to languish in limbo for the last 15 months. Now it's the first government order to be put before the House this week. Why is that?

Harper packs 'em in at the UN

Correction : Apparently Steve's speech was scheduled during quiet time at the UN.

The trolls over at Susan Delacourt's are claiming the photos reveal liberal media bias.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Betty Krawczyk's Sept 22 hearing

See update to post below.

I am so not a lawyer but if you have any questions about yesterday's hearing, leave them under that post and I'll try to answer them as best I can and then maybe people with a better grasp of law will come along and fix them up.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life sentence for Betty Krawczyk? Really?

updated below : Betty's Sept 22 hearing

Something has gone terribly wrong here.

Betty Krawczyk was 65 years old when she went to jail for Clayoquot Sound. It was her first ever time in prison.

She went to jail again at age 78 for standing in front of bulldozers in 2006 to protest the building of the Sea-to-Sky Highway through the Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics.

"There will be no logging here today," she said.

That time a court injunction also specified that she stay away from the bluffs. She didn't stay away and back into prison she went for another 10 months, this time for disobeying the court.

Somehow, instead of receiving the Order of Canada for her courage, Betty is now up to eight prison sentences - eight! - without this environmental hero and grandmother of eight having ever harmed a single person or piece of logging or construction equipment.
She shows up, she stands up for her beliefs, she gets arrested.

Her real crime in the eyes of the courts is that she challenges the legitimacy of the judicial system to criminalize dissent, to punish protesting :

"I won’t do community service should that be part of my sentence. I have done community service all of my life and I have done it for love. I refuse to have community service imposed on me as a punishment. And I won’t pay a fine or allow anyone else to pay a fine for me. I won’t accept any part of electronic monitoring as I would consider that an enforced internalization of a guilt I don’t feel and don’t accept and I refuse to internalize this court’s opinion of me by policing myself."
Back to jail for Betty K.
After serving out her last sentence in full, Betty appealed it on the grounds that the squelching of protest inconvenient to corporations and governments is an illegitimate use of the legal system.

The Attorney General's response to her appeal has been to cite a case ruling for chronic offenders, recommend the court re-sentence her under the rules of "accumulated convictions", and lock her up for life?

"When an accused has been convicted of a serious crime in itself calling for a substantial sentence and when he suffers from some mental or personalty disorder rendering him a danger to the community but not subjecting him to confinement in a mental institution and when it is uncertain when, if ever, the accused will be cured of his affliction, in my opinion the appropriate sentence is one of life."

"A serious crime"? "A mental or personality disorder"? "A danger to the community"?
"Life" ? For an appeal to a sentence she has already served?
Good God.
Shame on you, Michael Brundrett of the Attorney Generals Office.

It was extraordinary enough that a provincial government now happy to take credit for having "saved" Clayoquot Sound was willing to jail for two and a half years a person prominently responsible for having forced them to do so. It is beyond heinous that they should now attempt to rebrand her fight for social justice and responsible environmental practices some sort of "mental disorder" worthy of a life sentence.

Betty's appeal will be heard this Wednesday Sept 22nd at 10am at the Court House, 800 Smithe St., Vancouver. She is asking for your support at a rally at 9:30am on the back steps of the Court House at Howe and Robson just before the hearing.

Please come. If you can't, write or email a letter to your local paper, your MLA.
Anything will do - the important thing is to let them know you are watching.

Betty is willing to go to prison for her beliefs; please take a few moments to write a letter to stand up for yours.

Thank you.
Update Tuesday Sept 21. Her hearing is tomorrow and still nothing on CBC or in the papers!
Are they going to wait until afterwards again?
Hey, peeps, sound the horns and make a stink out there!
Will update tomorrow after I get back from the hearing.
Sept. 22. 8pm. Hi again.
The good news at Betty's hearing today was that Crown lawyer Brundrett said he is not seeking any increase to her already served 10 month sentence and was merely using the comparison to the 15 and 25 year sentencing of the two pedophile cases he cited to justify the "scope of appropriate sentencing". Sure.

Speaking on her own behalf in court today, Betty took on the unfair use of civil courts to stifle dissent by imposing heavy sentences on peaceful protesters. In a trial by indictment, she would have had access to trial by jury and the Charter of Rights to fight the charges. Instead, Betty got a summary trial, a process peculiar to BC, in which the Crown can use civil court - no jury, no access to the Charter - to do an end run around the usual criminal process.

Consider. You object to the bulldozing of crown land by the government and stand in front of the bulldozer. The bulldozer company gets an injunction to prevent you from obstructing their work.
The next time you stand in front of the bulldozer you are now automatically in contempt of court. Did you disobey the court order to desist? Yes, you did. Guilty. And every time you protest, the length of sentence goes up as the court protects its right to find you in contempt. You appeal your conviction to the Supreme Court but they decline to take the case. So back you go to the BC Court of Appeal to protest your sentence, the only legal avenue left open to you, but now you are operating under rules that only allow you to address the fairness of your sentence, not your original reasons for protesting in the first place.
At no point along the course of this legal nickel and diming did you get to defend your actions on behalf of the environment. Neat trick, eh?

This is exactly what happened to Betty, starting with her arrest at the bulldozing of West Vancouver’s Eagleridge Bluffs for the 2010 Winter Olympics..

Betty's considerable respect for the law and her expectation of the inevitability of serving time for contempt of court is not at issue, as she has said herself repeatedly.
Instead, what she is shining a light on here is a legal chill process which prevents peaceful protesters from getting a fair hearing for the original reasons for their protest.

Damn fine thing to hear an 82 year old great grandmother take this one on.
After Betty and Crown lawyer Brundrett made their submissions, the day ended without resolution and we have to wait for the next as yet unannounced court date to hear the judge's ruling. I am not hopeful that the Appeals Court is either willing or able to address the larger issue of legal chill for protesters that Betty wants to see resolved.
To be continued ....

Great job on this issue today on CBC's The Current, with Anna Maria Tremonti.

ETA : Today's rally outside the courthouse was dedicated to the memory of elder Harriet Nahanee (1935 - 2007), who died after being incarcerated for her protest at the Eagleridge Bluffs. Nahanee also refused to apologize for her "contempt". So should we all.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

While Steve clears some more brush at his ranch ...

... over at Maclean's it is being remarked that Stephen Harper is actually one of those "Toronto elites" John Baird has been slagging lately :

Richview Collegiate Institute : "Richview is well-known across Etobicoke for having a primarily upper class population..."

So naturally someone mentioned in the comments that Steve is writing a book and next up is ...

Holly Stick : Working title "Mein Puck".

LOLZ. Thank you, Holly.


Friday, September 17, 2010

US senators visit their Defense Dept jet fuel in Alberta

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach will be taking a tour of the tar sands today with three American senators, all members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

So while the good senators might be looking at this :

they will be seeing this :

That fuzzy bit in the red portion that takes up well over half the US Department of Defense Energy Consumption pie chart says : "Jet Fuel".
The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s leading consumer of petroleum, sucking up about 340,000 barrels of oil every day, more than the total national consumption of Sweden or Switzerland.
The Pentagon is the single largest institutional buyer of oil in the world, consuming an estimated 85 percent of the U.S. Government’s use of oil.
Canada is the largest supplier of oil and refined products to the US at over 2 million barrels a day, nearly half of which comes from the tarsands.
Stelmach has been busy lately with his advertising campaign to persuade the world that Alberta's oilsands are clean and secure.
Here's a jingle suggestion for you, Ed : "Supplying jet fuel to the US military to bomb Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq - it's what we do best."
Last night future Sun TV luminary Ezra Levant was on Alberta Prime Time touting his book "Ethical Oil", in which he argues that the oilsands are a superior ethical choice to using oil from human rights violating countries. The other guest was the remarkably unflappable Mike Hudema from Greenpeace who wasn't buying Ezra's bizarre moral equivalency.
It needn't be a false choice between two bad options, said Mike, at which point Ezra, who had introduced the country comparisons in the first place, accused Mike of equating Canada with Sudan.
Apparently undeterred at the prospect of being sued for libel by George Soros for misrepresenting Soros' Holocaust childhood to score points for Sun TV/Fox News North in his Sun editorial "George Schwartz, the Jewish Nazi", here is some of Ezrant's response to Mike last night :
"Goddamn coward ... you're a liar, a disgusting man ... bullshitter ... a con man ... a crook ... you little coward ... you bastard."
You can watch it here if you must. Personally I can hardly wait for further arguments in support of the superior ethics of the tarsands from Ezra when Fox News North hits the airwaves.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cons : long on guns, short on memory

ConMP Candice Hoeppner, Tony Bernardo, and Con MP Garry Breikreuz at the CSSA Blast in Calgary on April 2-3, 2010

CBC : NRA involved in gun registry debate :
Bernardo, a frequent guest on NRA chat shows updating U.S. gun owners on the fight to kill the Canadian registry, said the NRA was instrumental in helping him set up his Canadian lobby group, CILA, the lobbying arm of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), and a mirror group of the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA's lobbying arm.
Bernardo : "We have been working hand in hand with the NRA regarding international issues for the past three and a half years."
"The NRA’s Canadian Situation Infommercial ... was entirely set up by CILA. Its production cost was over $100,000 and was entirely paid for by the NRA."
CSSA media release, June 8, 2010 :
Team CSSA welcomes former Breitkreuz staffer as new Communications Director :
"While Brant was working with [Con MP] Garry Breitkreuz, he acted as liaison with the CSSA on a variety of gun-related issues, including the long-gun registry. The CSSA worked with the MP's office on Bill C-301 and later Bill C-391," explains Bernardo."
Manitoba Con MP Candice Hoeppner, sponsor of Bill C-391 to kill the long gun registry, Sept 14, 2010 :
"I’ve never spoken, e-mailed, had any contact. I don’t know anyone at the NRA."
Okey dokey then.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kory, the NRA, and the long gun registry vote

Photoshop inspired by Steve Harpo : "From my clammy pudgy hands"
(h/t Antonia Z)
Here's Steve's former communications director Kory Teneycke on CBC's Power and Politics, Sept 3, 2010 (Time mark : 6:50), comparing the Avaaz petition against a must-carry licence for Teneycke's Fox News North to a 'hypothetical' case of the NRA meddling in Canadian politics :
"We're having a debate on gun control right now in Canada on the long gun registry, a very hot debate. What if the NRA came into Canada with petitions and advertising campaigns, trying to influence Canadian policy and Canadian decisions? People would be outraged. People. would. be. outraged."
OK, Kory, let's go with that.
From the NRA website : Standing Guard by Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive VP :
"If all goes well in the Canadian parliament, Dominion gun owners will be freed from 14 years of living under the crushing weight of a bureaucratic, scandal-ridden, wasteful, invasive, $2 billion, error-ridden and inarguably worthless long gun registry."
"The NRA of America supports and endorses the work done by the CILA [Canadian Institute for Legislative Action] and strongly encourages all Canadian firearms owners to become CILA supporting members."
Tony Bernardo, head of CILA :
"We have been working hand in hand with the NRA regarding international issues for the past three and a half years...in fact, the NRA was instrumental in the formation of CILA…the NRA provides CILA with tremendous amounts of logistic support."
Foreign Policy, July 2006 :
In December, an NRA official was scheduled to offer a "legislative training workshop" at the annual meeting of CILA's parent organization.
"How do we protect our rights?" went the promo for the event. "By being more politically active and effective at the grassroots [level]. And who better to show us how than the most powerful lobby group in the world, the National Rifle Association and their Institute for Legislative Action."
CBC, today : NRA involved in long gun registry debate
Bernardo, a frequent guest on NRA chat shows updating U.S. gun owners on the fight to kill the Canadian registry, said the NRA was instrumental in helping him set up his Canadian lobby group, CILA, the lobbying arm of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), and a mirror group of the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA's lobbying arm.
The CSSA's communications director, Brant Scott, was previously an aide to Con MP Garry Breitkreuz, featured here on the NRA website.
CSSA media release, June 8, 2010:
"While Brant was working with Garry Breitkreuz, he acted as liaison with the CSSA on a variety of gun-related issues, including the long-gun registry. The CSSA worked with the MP's office on Bill C-301 and later Bill C-391," explains Bernardo."
Garry Breitkreuz is chair of Canada's parliamentary Public Safety and National Security Committee.
Back to the CBC :

Michael Bryant, formerly Ontario's attorney general, said the NRA has been agitating in Canadian political backrooms for years.
Canadians need to know the role the NRA has played in the gun registry debate, Bryant said.

"For a lot of people in Canada, if they knew that the NRA was part of the effort to get rid of the gun registry, they would think more about their views," he said.
"And they would think, 'well, wait a minute, I thought this was about, you know, wasting taxpayer dollars. The NRA's involved? Really? That makes me very uncomfortable … ' "

So. "Uncomfortable" or "outraged"? Your call, Kory.
Yep, I'll bet you're really really sorry now you reminded us of the NRA's reach into Canada, what with the Cons precious, the long gun registry vote, coming up on Sept 21st and all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

RCMP coup d'etat ; CSIS soup de jour

Yesterday my co-blogger Bob at the Beav posted the first part of this Postmedia story about the RCMP's intent to return to an emphasis on "national security" :
RCMP warn against threat of coup d’etat

He titled his post Canadian Coup de RCMP because the second part of that news story was about an alleged attempted coup against Lester Pearson perpetrated by the combined efforts of the RCMP and the CIA.
Shortly thereafter the Postmedia story disappeared off the web but has since reappeared this morning almost word for word at the Montreal Gazette : RCMP identify coup d'etat as threat.

I'll pick up the second part of that story where Bob left off in case it disappears again :
Over the past year, the Mounties have signalled a renewed emphasis on national security issues that have been pushed aside by law enforcement's preoccupation with global terrorism since 9/11.

In a major speech last fall, for example, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said while transnational terrorism and "homegrown" radicalization remain big threats, so too are economic espionage by foreign states, transnational organized crime, proliferation issues, illegal migration and other border-security issues.

While hyperbolic, the mention of a coup threat appears to reflect the force's return to a broader operational approach to guarding national security.

It's also not the first talk of a government overthrow.

The 1999 book Agent of Influence alleged the U.S. CIA plotted a de facto coup of Lester B. Pearson's government in the early 1960s.
Canadian author Ian Adams claimed that after the 1963 assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy, CIA counter-intelligence branch head James Jesus Angleton became convinced Pearson was an agent for Russian intelligence and supposedly had information from a Soviet defector backing him up.

"The CIA took great personal offence at Pearson's independent stands in foreign policy, his grain trades with the Soviet Union, his antiwar positions on Vietnam, and especially his friendly stance on Cuba," wrote Adams.

To get at Pearson, the CIA set its sights first on Canadian diplomat James Watkins, Canada's ambassador to Russia in the mid-1950s and a friend of the prime minister.
After 27 days of interrogation by the Mounties, the 62-year-old Watkins's troubled heart gave out and he died, apparently without supplying the confession the spymasters hoped could bring down the government.
Chilling if a Canadian ambassador died under RCMP "questioning" at the behest of the CIA. A defacto attempt at a Canadian coup de RCMP.
Although the story references "James Watkins", Holly Stick correctly noted the mistake at Bread and Roses - reporter Ian Macleod actually meant "John Watkins"

While RCMP Commish Elliott seems to be signalling that the RCMP wants a budget to return to handling national security intelligence issues, CSIS was created in 1984 precisely to separate domestic policing from spying.

Yesterday CSIS policy on torture-based evidence was muddied up again.

Much was made back in March 2009 of CSIS testimony before the public safety committee in which CSIS lawyer Geoffrey O’Brian admitted there is no absolute ban on using intelligence that may have been obtained from countries with questionable human rights records on torture.
Not possible to tell whether a particular piece of evidence was obtained through torture, he explained, allowing that Canada continues to share intelligence info with Egypt and Syria.

The following day CSIS Director Jim Judd explained that O'Brian was "confused" and Van Loan issued a statement to the effect that CSIS does not knowingly use any information obtained by torture, which is in effect pretty much what O'Brian originally said anyway.

Not noted in the media at the time was that 24 minutes into that committee meeting, when the same question was put to him, RCMP spokesman Gilles Michaud, then only eight months in the job, backed up O'Brian's comments on torture-derived info :
"I want to be clear here - there is no absolute ban on the use of any information by the RCMP."
which should come in pretty handy should the RCMP expand its scope back into the "national security" business .
The G20 police state shenanigans are looking more like a practice run all the time, aren't they?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gordo appointee cans Elections BC officer who axed his HST mailout

The popularity of Lotusland's estimable premier is currently running at 12%.

There are a lot of very good reasons for this but let's just go with what 83% of the people polled told Angus Reid : they don't trust the bastard.

Here's another reason, not that you'd know anything about it from reading our local press.
When Gordon Campbell was planning to mail out a plushy $780,000 pamphlet hawking the benefits of his new Harper Scam Tax to the same BC residents who were successfully gathering sufficient signatures to have that sucker repealed, Elections B.C. Deputy CEO Linda Johnson told him he couldn't do that. No advertising during the repeal drive, she wrote in her decision, because Elections BC is an independent office which covers referenda as well as elections.

Finangling Minister Colin "HST wasn't on my radar" Hansen was some pissed about that.

Meanwhile the chief electoral officer ended his term in June and Gordo appointed a temporary replacement, Craig James, formerly the clerk of committees, who immediately enraged everyone by not sending the HST repeal petition to committee until business groups could do a court challenge to it. Nice.

Now that same Craig James has fired Linda Johnson, 19 years the deputy chief electoral officer.

Ah, but it's not a firing, said some flack, they're just restructuring Elections BC without a deputy now.
Sure they are. Because what better time to fire the #2 person who has been deputy officer for 19 years than just three months after the #1 guy has left and just as a major confrontation on the HST is in the offing. And what the hell is a temporary Campbell-appointed CEO doing "restructuring" Elections BC anyway?

It would be good to hear something from Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James about this but unfortunately he is apparently away doing volunteer work somewhere for the moment.
Well, there'll be volunteer work aplenty after the recalls start.
thanx to RossK for the horrible pic. Yup, Gordo endorsed Steve's election.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Steve : Fresh muzzles all round for everyone!

According to Jane, Steve has a new initiative to protect the Cons from their own appallingly bad ideas.

Twenty-six committees, comprised of three senators and six MPs each, will vet "proposed legislation, regulations and even ideas" before they hit daylight or an uninitiated Con MP's lips. Under the watchful eye of John Baird and his former chief of staff, Rick Dykstra - both Mike Harris alumni - and with the parliamentary secretary from each ministry serving as the committee chair, the idea is to identify C.R.A.P. ideas - like gutting the census and building sports arenas in Con-convenient places - before they can set the curtains on fire.
"These permanent committees have a mandate to provide a new layer of troubleshooting ... to flag potential policy land mines to cabinet, catch issues that may fly in Ontario but won’t play well in Western Canada, help with communications strategy and reduce the dependence on ministers receiving advice from bureaucrats sitting in Ottawa."
Screw the policy making; let's ignore the already muzzled people who have spent their professional lives making policy and just troll for better PR in the Bushlands .
Mr. Harper asked several of his senior caucus members – Mr. Dykstra, ... Marjory LeBreton, the leader of the Government in the Senate; and former House leader Jay Hill – to work on the initiative."
That would be the same Jay Hill, now replaced as House bully by John Baird, who previously oversaw the implementation of the Cons dirty tricks manual, aka the Cons Guide to Chaos, for destroying the parliamentary committees.
You know, the same all-party parliamentary committees these new Steve-appointed Con committees are so obviously intended to eventually replace.

International Spurn A Moran Day

And not just this moran - all the morans.
If a moran burns a Quran in the forest and no one is around to plug and play it ...
Mike Thomas at the Orlando Sentinel (h/t Dammit Janet)
We created the Rev. Terry Jones from dust. And in two weeks, to dust he shall return. Then we'll move on to the guys who plan to run over the Quran at their monster-truck pull. Whatever it takes to keep your attention.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Prince of Pot's US prosecutor: "Our pot policy is dangerous and wrong"

Friday, Sept 10 Update : Sentenced. Five years.

In a guest column in the Seattle Times last Friday, the former US attorney who indicted Marc Emery in 2005 for selling pot seeds over the internet wrote :

"The U.S. war against marijuana has failed and actually threatens public safety and rests on false medical assumptions. Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong .... the law has failed, the public is endangered, no one in law enforcement is talking about it and precious few policymakers will honestly face the soft-on-crime sound bite in their next elections."

This includes our own homegrown cowards, principally Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Rob Nicholson, who had Marc Emery, a Canadian citizen, deported to the US in May to serve a five-year sentence that will begin next week.

As Lib MP Ujjal Dosanjh put it back in March when he joined forces with Con MP Scott Reid and NDP MP Libby Davies to present petitions from 12,000 Canadians in the HoC asking Justice Minister Rob Nicholson not to sign extradition papers :

"It appears to me that we have assisted a foreign government arrest a man for doing something that we wouldn't arrest him for doing in Canada."

The rhetoric from the DEA at the 2005 bust was absurd :

"Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General's most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets.

Today's DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement."

In a letter to his wife Jodie yesterday, Emery remarks on the importance of getting supporters to write to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and the US DoJ for the Saturday Sept 18th Marc Emery Support Day. I don't care if you don't smoke pot - I don't smoke pot - but write a letter or support a rally on Sept.18th. I'll stick up a reminder then.

History, ironically aided by his former prosecutor, is already moving to vindicate Emery. Too bad he still has to serve the time so that Canada can continue to suck up to the phony US War on Drugs.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Fox News North : Kory's cat and dog show

Here's Korncob Kory Teneycke on CBC's Power and Politics today, stating that his baby, Quebecor's Fox News North, never asked the CRTC for a must-carry licence—the kind that would require cable and satellite providers to include the channel in their basic package:

"We are not nor have we ever asked for mandatory carriage of this station where Canadians would have to be obliged to pay. We're saying that we would like to have it offered but theoretically it could be carried by no one."

"In a private letter sent to Quebecor on July 5, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected Quebecor’s request for a rare must-carry license. It would have guaranteed distribution by all cable and satellite firms – and the subscriber fees that come along with that distribution."
After the CRTC rejected the Fox News North must-carry application that Mr. Teneycke just told us they never applied for, Mr. Teneycke responded :

“We’re not particularly fazed by that letter"

and Serge Sasseville, Quebecor's VP of corporate affairs clarified :
"We'll get exactly what we're asking for at the end of the day.
We'll ask the CRTC exactly the same conditions we've been asking with a Category 1, and we're pretty confident we'll get it. You can ask for a must-offer even for other categories. It's only labelling. You can call a cat a dog but at the end of the day it's still a cat," he said.
Care for a redo on your cat and dog show performance tonight, Mr. Teneycke?

See also Pogge, Dammit Janet, Rusty Idols, and Kady for more on hate media and the suspicious sabotage of the Avaaz petition asking the CRTC not to buckle under pressure.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Banksters, Afghan style

Der Spiegel in July: "Billions of dollars are being secreted out of Kabul to help well-connected Afghans buy luxury villas in Dubai."

The Dubai villas are usually registered in the name of those issuing the loans, such as Sherkhan Farnood, deposed chairman of Kabul Bank, who transferred hundreds of millions of dollars from Afghanistan to Dubai in 2009.
In July Farnood boasted :
"Kabul Bank is so flush that it is building a 30 million headquarters, a cluster of shimmering towers of bulletproof glass."
Since yesterday Kabul Bank is more like a clusterfuck of shimmering droves of Afghans making bank withdrawals and the only bulletproof part is the time-honoured bankster strategy of asking the US Treasury for a bailout. Farnood today :
"If we survive Saturday and Sunday, we will be okay," said Farnood, who spoke at his luxury waterfront villa in Dubai shortly after his return to the Persian Gulf emirate from Kabul.
Mahmoud Karzai, brother to President Karzai, third largest shareholder in Kabul Bank and ... wait for it ... proud owner of a Dubai villa :
"America should do something. If the Treasury Department will guarantee that everyone will get their money, maybe that will work," said the president's brother, who rushed to Kabul on Wednesday from Dubai, where he spends most of his time in a Palm Jumeirah villa purchased with Kabul Bank money. "
Quick financial status update on your investment as a shareholder in those Dubai villas :
Canada's aid in Afghanistan will amount to $1.9B over the ten-year period ending in 2011, making Canada one of Afghanistan's largest donors. In the 2008/2009 fiscal year, Canada disbursed approximately $224M in Afghanistan but unfortunately the Dubai real estate market was already collapsing by 2008.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Down the memory hole : Two accounts of domestic terrorism

Out of the many many published accounts of Canada's newest domestic terrorism case, two appear to have disappeared down the memory hole.

Last night the Globe and Mail published a story on authorities apprehending the child of the so-called fourth terror suspect, Awso Peshdary. He's the one who was arrested Friday and interrogated for six hours, released, and immediately re-arrested on domestic assault charges dating back to April as a result of police having bugged his house for the last six months. That G&M story read :
Authorities seize child of man targeted in terror probe

The six-month-old daughter of Awso Peshdary is in custody of Children's Aid Society after police, unable to make terrorism case, lay charges of domestic assault.
The G&M included a link to a blog supportive of Peshdary which gave an account purportedly of Peshdary's wife going to the Elgin Police Station to inquire after her husband, being interrogated for five hours without a lawyer present, being coerced into making statements against her husband, and having her child apprehended. Is all this true? We don't know. 660 News reported the child being apprehended today.

But even if Peshdary is accused of assault and uttering threats to his wife, I thought, why apprehend her child from her while he is locked up?

I posted a link to both the G&M story and the blog account on the Bread and Roses forum last night where it was read and commented on by regulars, but by 11:26 this morning deBeauxOs reported at BnR that the G&M story was missing.
Gone. 404ed down the memory hole.

Now the G&M is notorious for rewriting their online copy so we waited for the new version to appear. Dr Dawg reported a new version, which incidentally is minus the phrase "unable to make terrorism case", but now it too is gone, as is the blog post purporting to be Mrs. Peshwary's account of events. Dawg has cached copies of the revised G&M story and the missing blog post : Abuse.

Last night at BnR, Pogge quoted the following from the original G&M account :

After al-Qaeda’s attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, Canadian police were given extraordinary powers to temporarily arrest suspected terrorists when a solid criminal case failed to materialize. Police were also given powers to compel individuals to testify against alleged terrorist associates.

Parliament voted against extending those powers in 2007. Now, the Conservative government hopes to revive them, meaning MPs are about to embark on a renewed debate as to whether counterterrorism agents have sufficient powers to deal with people on the periphery of a suspected plot.

As Pogge said last night, this is today's installment of Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm".

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