Wednesday, June 30, 2010

G20 : Rank and file cops knew 5 meter rule was bs

Further to yesterday's revelation that Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair knew the so-called five meter rule did not give him extra powers to violate Charter rights comes the revelation that the rank and file police performing the above actions on peaceful demonstrators also knew it :

By mid-afternoon Friday, [police spokesman Mark] Pugash said, police got new information informing them that, as both police and the province confirmed Tuesday, the regulation merely applied only to the area within the fence.

Police sent out a bulletin to police officers, Mr. Pugash said, but did not see a need to tell media or the public."

Which rather explains these officers' reluctance to cite that 5 meter rule when directly asked about it by the very people whose rights they were violating. 1000 odd arrests, the majority of them performed by police officers in full knowledge that what they were doing was both illegal and sanctioned by their superiors.
And now Blair announces there will be an internal inquiry? Fuck that. He has seriously compromised not only his own command but the integrity of the officers under him. Fire him.
Canadians Demanding a Public Inquiry into Toronto G20


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

G20 protest :The Battle of Toronto

The G20 protest has found its Leni Riefenstahl.

You might not be in the mood, in light of recent developments, to appreciate a video so clearly sympathetic to the police but this is nonetheless a beautiful and masterful piece of editing by Miguel Barbosa of Torenveda. That's him by the way yelling into his camera, " This is f*cked up."

Found via Back of the Book.


Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 Black Bloc get green light to rampage

A photojournalist followed and filmed 75 to 100 Black Bloc for 90 minutes and 24 blocks as they rampaged through the streets of Toronto smashing windows and torching police cars while police looked calmly on from several different locations. Why was this rampage allowed to happen? Police say they had already infiltrated a Black Bloc group and knew what to expect, but tonight the head of G20 security operations told an incredulous Susan Ormiston on CBC that the police had better things to do than attend to the Black Bloc. So much for "serve and protect" then if you're not a G20 fence.

The photojournalist is interviewed here by Paul Manly, who shot the footage of the three rock-toting police provocateurs at the SPP protests in Montebello back in Aug 2007 and wonders if this is a repeat performance. There's the question of the abandoned police cruisers and it was only after the rampagers dumped their black gear and dispersed into the crowd that the police attacked the peaceful protesters.

Well, perhaps not all of them dumped their black gear. Below some 20 plainclothes, including a couple of blackclad guys in hoodies, are seen making a run for safety behind a police line. The crazyangry woman who attacks the photographer scampers off with them.

After Montebello, we should demand to know exactly what these guys were up to here.


G20 : Security theatre bait cars

Protesters amuse themselves playing with the sirens and lights in two police cruisers inexplicably driven into the crowd and then abandoned in the middle of the street. Calling in to dispatch, making aeroplane noises on the mike for the crowd, and handing out tickets - it's all rather jovial.

Kid lights a paper fire on the passenger seat, someone else puts it out, and a short altercation about safety ensues. Another guy writes on the cruiser in green paint : "This is bait, aka a prop."

Kid on the mike in the cruiser : "For $1.2 billion dollars, thanks for all your photography. This will be on the news tonight justifying the whole event."

And later when the cars were torched for real it was. But some in the media remember the agents provocateurs at the SPP protest at Montebello.

The Guardian :

Many Canadians have become suspicious of police tactics since the Quebec police force admitted that it had disguised three of its own officers as rock-wielding anarchists in an attempt to provoke violence at a peaceful protest in the town of Montebello two years ago. Somewhat farcically, the three were exposed as agents provocateurs when they were found to be wearing official issue police boots identical to those of the uniformed officers "arresting" them.

"There are concerns that similar skulduggery may have played a part in Toronto this weekend, where the burning of three police cars quickly became the defining image of Saturday's otherwise peaceful demonstration. Questions are being asked as to why the police chose to drive the vehicles into the middle of a group of protesters and then abandon them, and why there was no attempt to put out the flames until the nation's media had been given time to record the scenes for broadcast around the world."

Indeed. The other three parts to this event are in the embedded related videos. Click on the title

G20 : National anthem provokes police riot

Peaceful G20 protest at Queen & Spadina from Meghann Millard . Full video at her link.

Cliff has a good aerial shot of the penned-in protesters.

Over 600 arrests as of tonight.

Update : A street's eyeview of same event, shot by Ryan Walker at the Torontoist :

G20 - Cops Charge Protesters at Queen and Spadina, After "O Canada" from Torontoist .

Sunday, June 27, 2010

G20 : Faith and Business Edition

Kady snagged this pic of the Inscribe the Bible bus parked outside Charles McVety's Canada Christian College at Karl Rove's speech for the G20 Faith and Business session on Friday.

Inscribe the Bible Canada is sponsored by B'nai Brith Canada and Texas millionaire televangelist Pastor John Hagee's Christians United For Israel. John Hagee Ministries rents office space from McVety for his Canadian operations at Canada Christian College, and McVety in turn is chair of CUFI Canada. B'nai Brith VP Frank Dimant chairs a department on Israel at McVety's college, where his appointment was attended by Jason Kenney. McVety, Hagee, and Dimant have all shared the podium at CUFI bunfests. End times are cozy times.

Anyway back to that bus and Inscribe the According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who originally launched the project :

"People of the World Inscribe the Bible" is a project in which anyone can inscribe a verse from the Bible in his native tongue and in his own handwriting.

The project was launched recently in Ottawa, Canada. [December 16, 2008] A day prior to the launching ceremony, Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Harper, inscribed the first verse."

Naturally there is a Canadian website with a bold if confusing graphic at the top :

Inscribe The Bilble informs us that all these hand-written bibles from all over the world will eventually be housed in the House of the Bible in the Bible Valley in Israel, where a full scale replica of biblical times with re-enactments of biblical stories and life 2000+ years ago is planned for a 15 mile valley.

Bible Valley :

"The Bible and Peace House will be the jewel in the crown of Bible Valley. The Bible Valley Project intends to develop an area of 25,000 acres adjacent to Jerusalem.

The Bible Valley Project will be composed of several sub-projects. Foremost will be the handwriting of 100 copies of the Bible in various languages by two million Bible lovers from around the world. This will be done in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bible House is one of the elements in Bible Valley dedicated to bringing the Bible back to Israeli society and Israeli society back to the Bible.

Bring Israeli society back to the Bible? Develop 25,000 acres adjacent to Jerusalem to look like biblical times? Rapture outreach tourism? Take it away, Max ...

Next CUFI bunfest is in a month in Washington DC.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20 demos turn ugly

This will be the new poster child moment from the G20 demos. It probably would have blanked out the more deserving contender anyway, but I think spraying urine on CBC reporters probably sealed it.
Illegal searches and detainments, McGuinty's attack on our Charter rights, preemptive house arrests, $1-billion in security? Pfftt. CTV is running 16 minutes straight of two burning police cars.
Realtime updates at cbcg20.

Friday, June 25, 2010

G20 : You won't recognize Canada

Excellent poster from PMOHarper
Would make a brilliant G10 commemorative stamp.
Make it viral.

G20 : Inside / Outside

Inside the G20 wives dined on chocolate canoe paddles and learned how to make canoe seats from a master craftsman :

Outside full riot gear was gathering at Yonge and College :

Photo via G20 live-blogging Torontoist, with more from The Star

"The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use [new expanded police powers]" said. Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit "It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion."

G8 Free Speech Farm/G20 Charter-free zone

The G8 Free Speech Farm - only a short leisurely 8 kilometer hike from the G8 site.
Meanwhile at the G20 downtown, the government of Ontario has designated the sidewalks and public spaces five meters from the security fence a Charter-free zone.
How's your legalese?
A guard or peace officer,

(a) may require any person entering or attempting to enter any public work or any approach thereto to furnish his or her name and address, to identify himself or herself and to state the purpose for which he or she desires to enter the public work, in writing or otherwise;

(b) may search, without warrant, any person entering or attempting to enter a public work or a vehicle in the charge or under the control of any such person or which has recently been or is suspected of having been in the charge or under the control of any such person or in which any such person is a passenger; and

(c) may refuse permission to any person to enter a public work and use such force as is necessary to prevent any such person from so entering.

Every person who neglects or refuses to comply with a request or direction made under this Act by a guard or peace officer, and every person found upon a public work or any approach thereto without lawful authority, the proof whereof lies on him or her, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $500 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two months, or to both.
OK, help me out with (b) here.
If you're a passenger in a car more than 5 meters from a "Public Work" fence but the driver is suspected of having previously driven inside that 5 meter perimeter, you have a choice of two months in jail or being searched by a "guard" for the crime of being in a public place. Is that right?
Is. That. Right?
Saturday Update : Well, here's the answer from Walkom
"But once the erosion of rights starts, it’s hard to stop. On Friday, Toronto police were stopping and searching people entering Allan Gardens, a public park about three kilometres from the fenced off-zone where the G20 leaders are due to arrive Saturday."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

G8 - Police arrest guy for driving around with guy stuff

The original G&M headline : "Police arrest man with arsenal of weapons near G20 zone"

has since been amended to read : "Police arrest man with cache including crossbow" but the URL still reads as above.

Personally I'd go with : "Police arrest guy for driving around with guy stuff in his car"

"Maybe he's a woodsman," suggested a CNN newsthingey, helpfully.

Yeah, and maybe, given that there was also a chainsaw, gas cans, a lot of tools, a crossbow, baseball bats, a scruffy white dog, and blankets in the car ... just maybe he's a guy driving around with all his worldly possessions strapped to the roof of his car because he has no where else to put it. Maybe he just got divorced or evicted; maybe he's a guy.

Other important G8/G20 security theatre busts :

Two AntiPoverty protesters arrested for having B&E tools - keys for entering her office.

Guy busted for being FN with a flag - twice.

Guy busted for having a water bottle and asking questions. Questions about the draconian new Public Works Protection Act

On the other hand ... Undercover Mountie escorted off Ryerson campus by campus security.

Update : Greg Weston was there : 'Perfect gentleman' likely off his meds: Father

He had tears in his eyes, and looked clearly distraught. There was no hint of anger or aggression.
“My dog,” he said plaintively to no one in particular. “Please someone do something with my dog.”

Greg did.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Karl Rove Charles McVety bunfest this Friday

Charles McVety will be hosting Karl Rove at his own wee G20 Summit in Toronto on Friday. As McVety describes Rove on his website, having purchased the URL two years ago :
Master architect of 75 presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns with an almost perfect winning record
but just in case you've never heard of 'Bush's brain', McVety adds that he is "seen daily on television."

Nice line-up of sponsors there : B'Nai Brith Canada, Canada Family Action Coalition, Conservative Values of Canada, Institute For Canadian Values.

But all is not well in Valuesworld. Charles is pissed with Harper, who he refers to as "Chairman", for supporting "one-world government" and embracing that well known commie John Maynard Keynes. As McVety explains in his essay on the site:

Keynes was well known for agreeing with Vladimir Lennon on how to bring down free market based societies

presumably in conjunction with other noted communist world leader/songwriters.

And, in case you'd forgotten, Charles also tells us that "CO2 is a natural necessary part of air", Hitler was a "Socialist" and "Iran is building nuclear weapons and threatening to "wipe Israel off the map". More from B'Nai Brith's Frank Dimant about that in the Sunday session.

"Mr. Rove's common-sense approach is a voice that leaders should take heed" says Charles.

Steve must be so proud.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Quagmire update

Afghanistan - compared with the same period in 2009:

Roadside bomb attacks - up 94%
Assassinations - up 45%
Suicide bombings doubled.

New Blackwater/XE contract to guard two US embassies - $120 million for one year, with option for 2 three month extensions

Protection money paid to warlords and Taliban not to attack US supply lines - $4-million a week.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New York Times Reports Vast Quantities of Bullshit

A brilliant take-off from The Flying Rodent (h/t dBOs at Bread and Roses) :

U.S. Identifies Vast Quantities of Bullshit in Afghanistan
The U.S. has discovered huge deposits of bullshit in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and possibly enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the war itself.
on the recent NY Times story :

U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan
"The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves ... The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium ... could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world"
Key NYT phrase : Afghanistan will become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium"
Well I guess it's catchier than : US Remembers Vast Amounts of Mineral Info in Old Russian Books Written in the 1980's or NY Times Stenos New Reason for Occupation of Afghanistan With Release of U.S. Geological Survey Report Already Online Since 2007.
Once it was considered in some quarters an anti-American conspiracy theory to accuse the US of occupying Afghanistan for regional control of mineral wealth. US funding of the 'Taliban' in the 80's to help stabilize the region for pipeline building has come full circle. Now it's apparently the new selling point.

How's that moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf doing?

While waiting for the ban to be lifted, the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Services, these guys, have approved five new offshore drilling projects since June 2.
An Exxon Mobil site at a water depth of 1,000 feet and a Marathon Oil site at 775 feet were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact.
A Chevron site 6,730 feet underwater and an Exxon site at 6,943 feet were approved after subjecting them to environmental reviews.
The MMS has approved 198 new deepwater leases - the step before the submission of drilling plans - in the central Gulf since the BP spill began.
According to Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center, of the 198 deepwater leases sold, at least 10 are owned by BP and are located over a mile deep.
Lease Sale 213 covers 36 million acres in the central Gulf off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
If federal regulators opt to cancel a lease once it's issued, the government must repay the company the fair market value of the lease or compensate it for the cost of its bid plus interest.
The Department of the Interior approves the leases, and then either the company gets to drill or the taxpayer pays them not to, with interest.
Pocket change you can believe in.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Libby Davies - in perspective

"Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"

~David Ben Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, to Nahum Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress, in 1956
The Jewish Paradox, p. 99. Grosset & Dunlap (1978).

"Uh ... '48. I mean, it's the longest occupation in the world but I'm not going to argue numbers - it's too long, right? This is the longest occupation in the world and people are suffering."

~ NDP Deputy Leader Libby Davies to blogger/interviewer David Katz, answering the question : "When do you believe the occupation in Israel started - '48 or '67?" at a rally protesting Israel's assault on the aid flotilla to Gaza

"The central remark causing the uproar was that Israel had been occupying Palestinian territory since 1948. This is factually correct. In the 1948 Israeli War of Independence (known to the Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’) more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave what later became the State of Israel. They have never been allowed to return. Much of the land that these people left had been designated by the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 as Palestinian territory," IJV-C spokesperson Haiven explained.

But pointing out this fact is not tantamount to denying Israel’s right to exist. Says Haiven, "Historians (including Israeli scholars like Benny Morris), governments and individuals all over the world acknowledge that Israel seized Palestinian territory in 1948 (and again in 1967) and expelled the Palestinian residents. Nevertheless, the prevailing consensus is that Israel has the right to exist within the territory it was occupying at the end of its War of Independence (the so-called ‘Green Line’.) Even the PLO has conceded this point."
~Independent Jewish Voices Canada condemns what it calls a “feeding frenzy” around NDP Member of Parliament Libby Davies, June 16, 2010.

By comparison, the noosemedia coverage of Steve and Bob Rae and Thomas Mulcair - all three parties! - condemning Libby Davies has shifted its focus from lawfare to strawfare.
The greater point here is : do we want our parliamentarians speaking their minds, or do we want them carefully tailoring their remarks to conform to Steve's bizarre and bullying framing of contentious issues like Palestine? Because if we let Steve away with that, we have already lost.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Libby Davies gets smeared

G&M : Harper wants NDP to fire deputy Libby Davies for criticism of Israel

CBC : Calls for NDP MP to resign after Israel comments

Star : Libby Davies in hot water for anti-Israel comments

What a complete load of bollocks.

We expect this kind of shoving to the front of the line to defend Israel from imaginary threats from Harper but what's your excuse, Bob Rae? Rae :
To deny the state of Israel's right to exist
Except she didn't.
and to propose an international campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against a legitimate member of the world community for over 60 years
And she didn't do that either.

Bob, don't you at least have staff who can do a modicum of research for you into what Libby Davies actually said before you try to outsteve Steve on Israel? Your behavior actually proves her point made in the vid below that people are afraid to even discuss this for fear of being branded anti-Semitic.

That she should be required to apologise for this at all, much less be threatened with being fired, is, to turn Rae's own words against Libby back on him :
to reveal a level of hostility and ignorance that is truly breathtaking
Watch it for yourself ...

Layton defended Libby on Power Play tonight and she stood beside him in the House today. Good because the NDP have not shown much courage on the issue of Palestine.
Libby Davies has nothing to apologise for.

More from Cliff at Rusty Idols.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rights and Democracy - remember them? - and the Canada-Colombia FTA

The Canada-Colombia-how-much-for-the-little-girl?-Free Trade Investment Agreement, or Bill C2, will pass third reading later today just as Martha Hall Findlay begins to get the feeling back in her lower jaw.

Last fall the parliamentary Trade Committee recommendations on C-2, then known as C-23, included one for an independent human rights assessment before the deal passed. Last fall this recommendation was considered integral to passing the agreement. This year the Libs don't much care for it, having jettisoned it in favour of Lib Scott Brison's preference for hearing about human rights abuses after they occur.

From 2007 through 2009, one of the recommendations read :
"that an independent, impartial, and comprehensive human rights impact assessment should be carried out by a competent body, which is subject to levels of independent scrutiny and validation; the recommendations of this assessment should be addressed before Canada considers signing, ratifying and implementing an agreement with Colombia."
And who was to do this human rights assessment?
"The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada draw on the work of the organization Rights and Democracy to give an independent body the mandate to conduct studies regarding the impact on rights and the environment when it is negotiating economic agreements with countries at risk, as in the case of the agreement with Colombia."
And look what happened to them.
They got a new chairman, a new president, four new board members, and a new mandate at the bottom of Steve's sock drawer.

What sort of work might R&D have recommended on a potential trade agreement with Colombia if they hadn't been gutted?

R&D Feb. 1, 2007 :
"Colombian paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso’s recent admission that he facilitated the disappearance and killing of celebrated indigenous leader Kimy Pernia Domico, winner of Rights & Democracy’s 2003 John Humphrey Freedom Award, raises new concerns that justice for victims of human rights abuses will not be served by Colombia’s current demobilization process.
R&D goes on to note that Kimy Pernia Domico had come to Canada years before to give testimony to Members of Parliament about :
"the devastating effects of an internationally-funded hydroelectric dam on the Embera-Katio’s traditional lands and livelihoods, a project which received $18.2-million in funding from Export Development Canada."
Say, how did that work out?

Land and Life, a 2007 doc film from Kathy Price, former CBC foreign affairs producer :
"examines the devastating impact of a hydroelectric project on the Embera Katío Indigenous people and raises disturbing questions about a Canadian crown corporation that provided financing."

Was the gutting of Rights and Democracy only about protecting Israel from criticism?
Maybe not. Maybe it wasn't supposed to blow up like that. Maybe, as they could not have forseen the death of Remy Beauregard, staff were not expected to rebel.
Maybe Steve thought the addition of a few new board members was all that was needed to get R&D to write him up some really enthusiastic reports on Colombia's remarkable progress in reducing poverty by 1% per year while simultaneusly increasing the gap between rich and poor for the benefit of whichever oil or mining project we are funding there this week.

That appears to be Scott Brison's job now.

On coalitions, mergers and aquisitions

Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay stood three separate times in the House on Friday to beg the Cons for recognition of the "important work" the Liberal Party had done to ensure the expected passage of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement at third reading today.

MHF to TradeMin Peter Van Loan :
Mr. Speaker, could the minister speak to the participation of Liberal Party, in particular of my colleague from Kings—Hants, [Scott Brison] that resulted in an addition to this free trade agreement with respect to human rights, of which Liberals are very proud? I believe it was singularly important in being able to get our support for it.
Could the minister speak to Liberals' very constructive participation in the process?
Well we didn't really need your unnecessary figleaf of a human rights amendment that allows Colombia to do its own year-end reports on its human rights atrocities, Peter Van Loan did not quite answer, but then Van Loan's Parliamentary Secretary Con MP Gerald Keddy graciously acceded to her request that the Libs be given credit for it :

I would say that I appreciated the intervention by [LibCon Scott Brison] ... We were, quite frankly, stymied at committee. We were not moving forward. It enabled us to move forward.
Martha Hall Findlay pressed ahead for more pats:
I will point out that earlier, the minister had said that the addition in terms of human rights was not necessary. I am glad to hear my colleague now acknowledging that in order to move this through and to get approval, in fact, the work by my colleague from Kings—Hants [Brison] and the Liberal Party was instrumental in getting this to the point of getting it through the House, so I thank my colleague for that.
Bloc MP Jean-Yves Laforest :
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Liberal member a question. How can she explain such a drastic change in the Liberal Party's position since last fall, both in committee and in the House, regarding possible support for a free trade agreement with Colombia?
This support was very clearly expressed at the Standing Committee on International Trade. Unanimous consent was reached regarding the need for an independent study—before Canada ratifies the agreement—on the Colombian government's respect for human rights and what it is doing to prevent human rights abuses. Why such a difference between the Liberals' position last fall and their current position?
Martha Hall Findlay now moves into full on Brison fluffer position :
In the end, we determined that it was better to adopt this position for Canada and for people elsewhere.
I would also like to say that the speeches given by my hon. colleague from Kings—Hants [Brison] on human rights greatly helped convince other Liberals that, as a party, we can now support that position.
Brison's speeches! LOFL.
NDP MP Peter Julian points out the very long list of Canadian and Colombian unions and aboriginal and African-Colombians that
"the Liberal Party systematically obstructed and refused to hear from. It shut off all debate before the committee. Two years ago, when we went down to Colombia, the trade committee came back with a unanimous recommendation to not proceed with this agreement."
Martha Hall Findlay says some more things about "the hard work and the excellent work" of Scott Brison and at least the Libs are trying to get along with the Cons, you know? Windows not doors, going forward and all that.

After QP, Transport Minister John Baird had one thing to say in response as debate on Canada-Colombia FTA resumed :

"Unanimous consent to resolve that Jack Layton is the leader of the official opposition, agreed."
I know - not quite the coalition/merger post you were expecting.
But it's the only one that's going on, as the Cons continue to ride the Libs for it.
Tuesday Update : Libs and Cons - 188 votes ... NDP and Bloc - 79

Scant news coverage today of what amounts to Canadian complicity in a death sentence for trade unionists, small farmers, aboriginals, Afro-Colombians, and the 4 million displaced inside Colombia. In 2009, half the assassinations of trade unionists world wide - 48 out of 100 - took place in Colombia.

Oh wait. Canadian Business Online has something :
House of Commons passes controversial Colombia FTA :

A Human Rights Watch report last year on a massacre in Colombia, and an Amnesty International report, concluded that things have gotten worse in Colombia.

In December 2008, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights criticized the Colombian government for its public stance against human rights advocates on its own soil. The stigmatization of such groups puts their ``life, security and valuable work at risk,'' it said.

Thank you for that, Canadian Business.
I am past disgusted with the fools and knaves and opportunists who represent Canada today.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The G8 security hive

Security compound near Deerhurst Resort for the two day G8 bunfest.
Portable trailers and a 'lake'! Those tiny dots at the lower left are cars.
Wouldn't it be cheaper to hold these things at the UN?

Friday, June 11, 2010

If it was my home / Hands Across the Sand

Go to your beach on June 26 at noon. Join hands. That's it.
NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy

Hands Across the Sand began in Florida in February to "protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida."
Well it's a global movement now and here's the Vancouver Canada page.

But don't we already have a ban on tanker traffic and offshore drilling in BC?
Natural Resources Canada - Review of the Federal Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities Offshore British Columbia

The Terms of Reference for the “Report of the Public Review on the Government of Canada Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities in the Queen Charlotte Region of British Columbia” state that “in 1972, the Government of Canada imposed a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic through the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound due to concerns over the potential environmental impacts.” However; the moratorium on oil and gas activities offshore British Columbia does not apply to tanker traffic.

Prior to 1972, a number of permits for oil and gas exploration were issued for offshore British Columbia. Due to environmental concerns, rights under those permits were suspended as of 1972 by way of Orders in Council, thus forming a de facto moratorium.
Thank you, Pierre Trudeau, for suspending those offshore oil and gas exploration permits in 1972.
However in 1982 the Canadian government brought in the Canada Oil and Gas Act which allows the permits to be "renegotiated into exploration agreements" and "the time frame for renegotiation to be extended and the rights continued to be valid."
In 1987, the Canada Petroleum Resources Act grandfathered the waiting exploration agreements.
"Thus, the moratorium continues to be maintained through government policy. No
activity can occur until the former permits are converted to exploration licences. The decision not to negotiate with industry to convert those permits is a pure policy decision. There is no statutory impediment to carrying out those negotiations."
Shorter Con : No actual laws against oil tankers or offshore drilling in BC
The above "Errata", by the way, were added to the Natural Resources Canada webpage just last year.

If it was my home uses Google Maps and the current situation of the Gulf oil spill to show what the extent of the disaster would look like overlaid on your neck of the woods. Click and it will find you.
The Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 was 41 million litres of oil. It can still be found under the sand.
US government scientists are now pegging the Gulf Oil disaster at an Exxon Valdez-size spill every 5 to 13 days, with more oil gushing into the sea in an hour than officials originally said was spilling in an entire day.
If it was my home ...
h/t Galloping Beaver co-blogger West End Bob for the Hands Across the Sand links.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fox News North - Fairly unbalanced

Corncob Kory Teneycke, a founding member of the Reform Party, ethanol lobbyist, and Steve's former communications director, has been busy rustling up a 24-hour rightwing cable news channel for Canada modelled on Fox News. It is contingent on whether Quebecor Media are successful in nabbing that all-important "basic cable" licence vital to beaming more US celebrity mudwrestling straight into your livingroom.
So far, the previous comedy stylings of Mr. Teneycke, the brains behind Oily the Splot! , have already won over David Akin, formerly of Canwest/CTV, to be its first TV host.

Earlier this year David Akin amused us all with his personal choice of questions for Steve at the year end interview. Proroguing Parliament? The Aghan detainee issue? Nope. Here was David Akins' final question to Steve as delivered by the National Post:

"Do (you) see yourself in a decade -- you may not be prime minister -- do you see a career for yourself after this? I don't sense you're the board of directors type but I don't know, maybe you are -- an academic? What do you want to do? Where are you in a decade?"
Practically serves as a Fox News North job interview all by itself, wot?

h/t to Ian, Waterbaby and Beaver co-blogger Bob by e.
Edited for spledding mistake

Libs pass the Cons budget, again

On Tuesday the following 30 Liberals passed the Cons budget bill by not showing up for the vote :

Larry Bagnell, Carolyn Bennett, Gerry Byrne, Denis Coderre, Irwin Cotler, Jean-Claude D'Amours, Ruby Dhalla, Stéphane Dion, Ujjal Dosanjh, Ken Dryden, Martha Hall Findlay, Hedy Fry, Albina Guarnieri, Andrew Kania, Jim Karygiannis, Derek Lee, Gurbax Malhi, Keith Martin, John McKay, Dan McTeague, Bernard Patry, Glen Pearson, Bob Rae, Pablo Rodriguez, Todd Russell, Michael Savage, Alan Tonks, Bryon Wilfert, Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Peter Milliken

Click on the name to see their full voting record.

Ignatieff termed the budget a "dumpster bill" and "an abuse of power" for, among other omnibus outrages, its provision to give the environment minister the power to bypass environmental assessments on major projects he wants passed. Then the Libs passed the dumpster bill, as they have every Con budget since Harper came to power 2008. (Thanks for the correction, Jurist)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Fake Lake - New! Improved!

Facing ridicule at home and abroad for his four day indoor G8 water feature, Steve fought back today by releasing a much more colourful artist depiction of the fakelake. Compared with Monday's picture, the new depiction features colourized canoes and someone hailing a waiter. Now that's more like it.
Hopefully this additional colour puts to rest any reservations the 88% of CBC readers polled who think this is a pile of crap might have been nurturing.

Funding both sides of the war

On a day marking the worst number of casualties NATO has seen in Afghanistan this year, the New York Times adds to recent reports of Afghan security contractors buying off the Taleban the next obvious step - Taleban and Afghan officials cooperating to hold NATO to ransom.
Rule of the Gun :

After a pair of bloody confrontations with Afghan civilians, two of the biggest private security companies — Watan Risk Management and Compass Security — were banned from escorting NATO convoys on the highway between Kabul and Kandahar.
The ban took effect on May 14. At 10:30 a.m. that day, a NATO supply convoy rolling through the area came under attack. An Afghan driver and a soldier were killed, and a truck was overturned and burned. Within two weeks, with more than 1,000 trucks sitting stalled on the highway, the Afghan government granted Watan and Compass permission to resume.

Watan’s president, Rashid Popal, strongly denied any suggestion that his men either
colluded with insurgents or orchestrated attacks to emphasize the need for their services.
But the episode, and others like it, has raised the suspicions of investigators here and in Washington, who are trying to track the tens of millions in taxpayer dollars paid to private security companies to move supplies to American and other NATO bases.

Although the investigation is not complete, the officials suspect that at least some of these security companies — many of which have ties to top Afghan officials — are using American money to bribe the Taliban. The officials suspect that the security companies may also engage in fake fighting to increase the sense of risk on the roads, and that they may sometimes stage attacks against competitors.

“We’re funding both sides of the war,” a NATO official in Kabul said.

The investigation is complicated by, among other things, the fact that some of the private security companies are owned by relatives of President Hamid Karzai and other senior Afghan officials. Mr. Popal, for instance, is a cousin of Mr. Karzai, and Western officials say that Watan Risk Management’s largest shareholder is Mr. Karzai’s brother Qayum.

The principal goal of the American-led campaign here is to prepare an Afghan state and army to fight the Taliban themselves. The possibility of collusion between the Taliban and Afghan officials suggests that, rather than fighting each another, the two Afghan sides may often cooperate under the noses of their wealthy benefactors.

We pay off the security contractors who escort our convoys not to bomb them or attack NATO troops; if we don't pay up, we get a little reminder from Karzai's relatives.

Harper's Afghanistan occupation MEPs emphasize building schools and promoting democracy.
They don't mention anything about racketeering.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The four day water feature

TorStar provides an "artists depiction" of the $2-million indoor fake lake, aka Lake ShamWow , being built to amuse the 3,000 expected G8 reporters unable to attend the real deal in Muskoka.
If I had two million dollars (If I had two million dollars)
Well I'd buy me a Muskoka lake (But not a real Muskoka lake - that's cruel.)
And if I had two million dollars (If I had two million dollars)
I'd build a replica of the Stock Exchange (Ooh it's all just pocket change)
And if I had two million dollars ...
Wait. Go back. They're building a replica of the Toronto Stock Exchange as well?
Plus those 3 to 4,000 reporters? According to Greg Weston, as part of their swag they're getting free “special summit edition” BlackBerrys. All of them?
Industry Minister Tony ShamWow says we're doing all this because we're proud of our country and want to show it off.
And if I had a billion dollars, I'd buy your Gov ...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Collective punishment by the numbers

CIA World Factbook 2010 - Gaza
Population - 1½ million
Median age : 17.5 years. Half the population is under 17½, putting it slightly ahead of Chad, Niger, and Uganda.
44% of the population is under 14 years old.
2% is over 65.
Population below the poverty line - 70%
Unemployment rate - 40%
Literacy rate - 92%
Arable land - 29%

Number of homes obliterated in last year's war - 3,500
Number of homes damaged - 50,000
"Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) almost 12,000 children under five years old still die from preventable causes each year, as do more than 1,800 children under 12 months old."

So. Despite horrific child mortality rates, half the population of Gaza are children living in rubble below the poverty line with a 60/40 likelihood of future employment.

As the CIA Factbook notes cryptically : "The rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest".

Bradley Burston, senior editor at Haaretz :
"We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege, which is itself becoming Israel's Vietnam.
We explain, time and again, that we are not at war with the people of Gaza.
We say it time and again because we ourselves need to believe it, and because, deep down, we do not. "

h/t Big News Network : 800,000 kids bearing brunt of Gaza blockade , which sent me off to check out their sources.

Friday, June 04, 2010

First they came for KAIROS ...

Gerald Caplan, G&M:
The Harper government, women’s rights and the cost of speaking out
The Tories are playing punishment politics with Canada’s progressive NGOs – and eroding civil society in the process

"Despite the chill on speaking out, this week the Canadian Council for International Co-operation announced its fear that its funding is likely to be cut. CCIC is Canada's preeminent coalition to end global poverty. Some 90 Canadian non-profit organizations, including most of the well-known ones, come together under the CCIC umbrella to monitor federal policies on foreign affairs, aid, trade and peace-building."

Betty Plewes, former CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, is not afraid to speak out. She wrote in Embassy Mag in May :

"At Foreign Affairs, the past year has seen the entire division focused on women's rights and gender equality eliminated.

In Pakistan and Kenya, two countries where women's rights violations and violence against women are profound and systemic, CIDA has cut funds that were explicitly dedicated to gender equality. In Canada, Match International, the only international
development organization devoted specifically to women's equality, has lost its funding.

Within CIDA, there is a noticeable retreat from gender equality work. Staff have recommended to NGOs that they remove the words "gender equality" from their proposal if they want a chance at funding."

This is what Senator Nancy Ruth was talking about when she recently advised NGO's to "Shut the fuck up" about abortion funding overseas. "If you push it, there will be more backlash," said Nancy Ruth.
Antonia Zerbisias covered much of this ground recently in Is Ottawa leaving women behind? with a great quote that "the women's movement is the canary in the coal mine" :
"Canadians are snoozing while they are losing their country,” says [Liberal SWC critic Anita] Neville.
“I don’t think people know or understand what’s going on. I don’t think they will realize it until it hits them personally."
Yeah, that's how it usually is - women and children always go first.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Dimitri Soudas - Still on the milk carton

The search is on for Youtube impressario and PMO Director of Disinformation Dimitri Soudas.
A House of Commons bailiff seeking to serve Soudas and another staffer with a summons to appear before the Ethics Committee was twice refused entry to the government offices where Soudas works by the security desk.
Soudas has been summoned to answer the Ethics Committee's questions on
"allegations of systematic political interference by ministers' offices to block, delay, or obstruct the release of information to the public regarding the operation of government departments".
The Search for Soudas continues via Google, where the number one search result reads :

Parliamentarian of the Year

Liberal Chair Yasmin Ratansi struggled to maintain order at the Government Operations Committee yesterday after Transport Minister John Baird, flanked by the Ministers of Asbestos and Creationism, showed up uninvited as witnesses in place of their staff.

Here Baird accuses the Chair of not knowing her job and lectures her on committee procedure in his trademark bullying pugnacious tone.

But it is Baird who is wrong here. He is correct that the rules allow him to sit in on committees as an MP if he likes. What he cannot do as a witness is raise motions and points of order, yet he does so repeatedly while bashing the Chair for not knowing the rules.

Later on at a Macleans gala, Baird received the Parliamentarian of the Year Award in a vote responded to by 202 out of 308 of MPs.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Interview with Hamas

Part One. Part Two is up at The Real News Network, with Part Three to come.

Canadian journalist and film maker Paul Jay was the creator and producer of Counterspin with host Avi Lewis, the gutsiest CBC news program ever in my opinion. Jay also founded Hot Docs! and is senior news editor at TRRN.

Usamah Hamdan was born in Gaza. Further bio and interview transcripts at the link.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Special Place in Hell : Israel lost at sea

Bradley Burston is a senior editor at Haaretz; his blog is A Special Place in Hell

The Second Gaza War : Israel lost at sea

We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege, which is itself becoming Israel's Vietnam.

A war tells a people terrible truths about itself. That is why it is so difficult to listen.

We were determined to avoid an honest look at the first Gaza war. Now, in international waters and having opened fire on an international group of humanitarian aid workers and activists, we are fighting and losing the second. For Israel, in the end, this Second Gaza War could be far more costly and painful than the first.

In going to war in Gaza in late 2008, Israeli military and political leaders hoped to teach Hamas a lesson. They succeeded. Hamas learned that the best way to fight Israel is to let Israel do what it has begun to do naturally: bluster, blunder, stonewall, and fume.

Hamas, and no less, Iran and Hezbollah, learned early on that Israel's own embargo against Hamas-ruled Gaza was the most sophisticated and powerful weapon they could have deployed against the Jewish state.

Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson:
We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam.

continued ...

Blog Archive