Friday, July 29, 2011

Canadian Parliamentary Coalition for a New Battlefield

Avi Lewis interviews

MP Scott Reid, Chair, Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism;
Jonathan Kay, Editor, National Post;
Irwin Cotler, Chair, International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism; and
Amir Gissin, Israeli Consul General.

Excerpted from "Fault Lines - Canada-Israel: The other special relationship" December 2010

Lewis : "There's no wave of anti-Semitism in Canada?"

Reid :  "No no no, no, absolutely not. No, it's funny I've heard people who have criticized us, saying that we think this, but no, there is absolutely no spike in the kinds of anti-Semitic incidents that I think appall us."

Kay : "No I don't think anti-Semitism is a huge problem in Canada. In fact, as I've written, I think Canada is probably the least anti-Semitic country in the entire world - including Israel."

Cotler : "And I thought that this might appear as a kind of psychological disconnect because what we would be discussing would be global anti-Semitism but it would be taking place in the Canadian arena and people would look at it through the Canadian prism and say, you know, why are we doing this?"

Yes why are we doing this?

Lewis : "Here's how one senior Israeli diplomat views Canada."
Gissin : "The most important arena in the world for this new campaign, or rather new battlefield that, uh, on one hand have all those who want to delegitimize Israel, and on the other all those who want to present it in its full colours."

End of transcript.

Leave it to Steve to arrange for Canada to become an arena, a new battlefield for a new campaign on the new anti-Semitism, or as he put it to the international Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in Ottawa last December : "the choice between good and evil", when even the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee to Combat Antisemitism says there's "no spike" in the regular old evil kind in Canada today.

Meanwhile Pogge and John Geddes at Macleans are still asking questions about that undisclosed anonymous CPCCA funding.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ethical Snake Oil

Alykhan Velshi's wee blog Ethical Oil, named after Ezra's book, has relaunched today with an expensive new look and some spiffy ethical oil pop-up campaign ads to greet you when you enter the site. You can choose either good or evil - you know, conflict oil = woman being stoned to death vs ethical oil = woman becoming a mayor.

Velshi :
"When petroleum reserves were deposited around the world, it is unfortunate that they were all given to the world’s bastards. With the exception of Canada, most of them are with the world’s bastards. You need to recognize that when you are buying oil."
Seems a bit hard on poor old Norway, given recent events, and aren't we launching the Pan European Oil Sands Team, our tarsands PR blitz directed at the EU, from Britain these days?
Also confusing the matter is China's recent investment in tarsands companies - Steve's new bff - and Canadian tarsands companies' own foreign gas and oil plants, inconveniently located in "the world's bastards".

I added the third panel above to one of Velshi's pop-ups because as Senior Suncor VP Mark Little explained last year :
"it’s much more expensive to produce a barrel of oil synthetic crude oil from oil sands than to produce a barrel of conventional oil or gas in either Syria or Libya"
- yes, that's world bastard Syria PM Bashar al-Assad touring Suncor's $1.2 billion Ebla Natural Gas Plant in Syria a year ago -
"So these foreign operations can help provide the near-term cash flow and return on capital needed to invest in long-term growth in the oil sands."
Velshi, former American Enterprise Institute intern and communication director to John Baird and Jason Kenney, told the Globe and Mail that he, however, will not be accepting donations from 'foreign operations":
"I won’t take money from any foreign corporations, any governments.”
Pressed about Canadian corporate donations, he said he wouldn’t refuse any."
Two weeks ago on the site, Velshi was soliciting donations to help him cover the $261 fee he estimated it would cost him to launch an investigation into environmental groups lobbying government :
Help EthicalOil.Org Make an Access to Information Request
"Let’s shine a light on the professional lobbyists paid to lobby the government against ethical oil from Canada, its oil sands, and other liberal democracies. Lobbyists? Yes, that’s right. Opponents of ethical oil have hired professional lobbyists who are now registered with the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner of Canada to lobby senior government officials behind closed doors."
Yes, Alykhan, that's how lobbying works - you register as a lobbyist with the government.

The Globe and Mail makes a small frowny face about whether Velshi is "violating the federal law that forbids former aides from lobbying for five years after leaving government " - as if none of us have noticed the revolving door between government, oil bidness corporations, and federal and Alberta government-funded energy "sciencey"  front groups like the Canada School of Energy and Environment, headed by Steve's former fraudster "mechanic" Bruce Carson, and the Suncor-sponsored National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy .
"Documents released last fall, obtained by Postmedia News, revealed at the time that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government had developed a major public relations partnership involving several federal departments, along with the industry and the Alberta government, to improve the image of the oilsands on the international stage and delay action to slash industrial pollution."
Ethical snake oil.
Update : Brilliant post from Your Heart's on the Left : Unethical Oil with more alternative oil posters
Aug 16, 2011 Update : Ethical Oil Campaign Uses Stolen Faked Photos

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feds mistake motor oil for heroin, jail granny for 12 days

There's just so much wrong with this news story about Canada Border Services Agency arresting and jailing a 66 year old woman for 12 days for trafficking, possessing and importing heroin because their swab-test of a jar of motor oil in her vehicle incorrectly identified it as heroin. Why wasn't she allowed a phone call? Why did it take 12 days to get a lab report? But the explanation from CBSA spokesy Lisa White is the weirdest :
"CBSA officers are trained to look for clues or multiple indicators before referring someone for secondary inspection. CBSA officers consider many factors, including previous infractions, countries visited, nervousness, etc., in assessing who or what might be a risk. When CBSA officers suspect a possible presence of narcotics, a field test will be conducted. These may include narcotic identification tests, spray tests and detector dogs."
OK, but as subsequent testing revealed no trace of heroin at all, what "clues" tipped you guys off?
That she had no prior record? That she was a retired Girl Scouts administrator on her way to a regular bingo game? 

Reading the many comments desperately attempting to absolve CBSA below the Winnipeg Free Press article - that it was her own fault for having an unmarked jar of motor oil in her vehicle, that perhaps her son-in-law had heroin on his hands when he gave her the jar of motor oil that subsequently tested for no heroin, that heroin does look like motor oil after all, that maybe she was a mule doing a test run, that the CBSA are just doing their job - you realize the extent to which the terr'rists really did win and that this is how we wound up with Steve.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stockwell Day on the tragic shootings in Norway

CBC Power & Politics at noon Friday , edited
Evan Solomon : This raises again.the spectre of international terrorism. 
Stockwell Day : As recently as July 8 in Norway there was a dragnet for al-Qaeda suspects related to the Manchester bombing. Whether this group is tied to them we don't know ...

Solomon : A suspect has now been arrested. This looks like a multiple series of attacks that are going on. Now remember Norway did have a small number of troops in Afghanistan.
It's a very very fluid situation but it does raise all sorts of security issues about - this is a hackneyed phrase but on a day like this it suddenly has new poignancy - the war on terror.
We don't know whose taken credit for this, or responsibility for this attack but if indeed it is al Qaeda if indeed it is an extremist act that has any connection to what's happened in Afghanistan, how do we square that with what the PM said at the end of our mission there that Afghanistan and what's going on there is no longer a threat to global security?

Stockwell Day : Well the level of training that was going on in Afghanistan was extreme in exporting terror.
[Stock goes on about our accomplishments in Afghanistan] In Canada we've had the Toronto 18. Security has to be #1.

Solomon : The profile of these extremists ... Somalia - these are the places where extremists take root.

Stockwell Day : The single reason for this type of terrorism ... this type of terrorism will continue ... and we hope to be able to limit it through the 21 century ... is the result of extreme lunatic insane ideological teaching and it happens whether the people involved are from poor areas or wealthy areas. Don't forget Osama bin Laden himself was a multi-millionaire growing up in Saudi Arabia in a very very wealthy family. The Toronto 18 were all in good financial shape. Many of this extremist al Qaeda type extremist lunatic ideology that is even being bred in the US - these are coming from people who are not disaffected by poverty. This is the result of an insane extreme religious teaching and I encourage those within the broader community to reach out to extremists within their own community and they've got to get the message out to the young people that they are being told lies - that the afterlife for them is not what they're being promised.
Thank you, Doris.

BBC : Scores killed in Norway attacks
A massive bomb blast shattered buildings in the capital Oslo, killing at least seven people. Then a gunman rampaged through a youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party, killing 84 people. On Saturday police continued combing the island as a number of teenagers were still missing, feared dead.
Norwegian media identified the man as Anders Behring Breivik, 32. Police charged him for the island massacre and the Oslo bomb blast.

Police said the man was answering questions and they described him as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Feds unveil "world class" tarsands PR monitoring plan

This week saw our federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers, minus Ontario, trot out a joint communique describing the tarsands as "sustainable and responsible", even as the Cons were simultaneously slashing the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency budget by 43% and its staff by 33%.

Then yesterday Enviro Minister Peter Kent announced "a world class environmental monitoring plan" for the tarsands, based on recommendations from Bruce Carson and the Independent Oil Sands Advisory Panel.

The Toronto Star :
Environment Minister Peter Kent hopes a comprehensive new plan for monitoring the impact of the Alberta oilsands will boost the damaged reputation of the industry abroad.
“It will provide the facts and the science to defend the product which some abroad are threatening to boycott.”
“There is already a great deal of disinformation and misinformation both within Canada and abroad and we’re seeing it being used in a variety of ways — sometimes for a variety of purposes — to discriminate against the product of a great Canadian natural resource.”
Kent said he hoped the monitoring program would help alleviate concerns in Washington and speed up the approvals process.
Presumably Kent means speeding up the KeystoneXL pipeline.approvals process in Washington but gosh, he sure is pretty darn certain his new objective scientific monitoring plan is going to present the tarsands in a good light, isn't he?

And say, was it only a year ago that the Standing Committee on Environment review (6 Cons, 3 Libs, 2 Bloc, 1 NDP) considered the scientific testimony presented to its review of the tarsands to be so volatile and divisive that the committee held its last seven meetings behind closed doors before opting to scuttle its own investigation and destroy all copies of its draft report?

Maybe Kent's world class environmental monitoring plan could start by looking into whatever scared the crap out of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The NAFTA CETA TILMA SPP Beyond the Borders Security Perimeter deep integration corporate globalization bunfest

 Under NAFTA, provinces retained the right to administer their own government procurement contracts as they saw fit - water, power, highways, garbage, and local cultural/environmental/job stimulus programs.
In fact most of the regulations in Canada are provincial and municipal - which rather got in the way of the federal government's ability to cede whatever the US wanted under the massive deregulation program called the SPP, because the federal government's power to do so was always constrained by the provinces' authority over those regs.

 TILMA was supposed to get around this.
TILMA is an investors' rights agreement to gut the ability of locally elected governments to enact public policy for the environment, consumer protection, health care, education, and other social services - albeit with some limitations. TILMA's job is to allow corporations to directly sue a provincial or municipal government whose laws or policies might impinge upon their profits in the event a province was seen to favour, say, Local Joe's over some competing out-of-province outfit. This was promoted under the guise of harmonizing regulations between provinces - it's always about 'harmonizing', isn't it? - but as only Alberta and BC signed on, it was not implemented across Canada.

TILMA was intended to replace the less onerous Agreement on Internal Trade, which did not allow corps to sue governments directly but only to petition another level of government to sponsor a complaint on their behalf.

Erin Weir, CPPA blog, emphasis mine:
"A month ago, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments volunteered to be directly sued by investors under the Agreement on Internal Trade."
What, all of them?!

It is, as Weir notes, "TILMA by the backdoor", with "persons (individuals, businesses and other organizations)" able to sue for "financial penalties of up to $5 million" over public policy.

A mini NAFTA Chapter 11 for provinces. If passed next year, it will produce a considerable pre-emptive chill on any province or municipality favouring Local Joe's over ... well, anybody else looking to prevent them from doing just that.  
Weir :
"The Canadian government is simultaneously trying to negotiate similar provisions with much larger fines for investor-state disputes involving the European Union. Since the proposed Canada-Europe deal would include provincial governments, creating an investor-state dispute process encompassing provinces may help pave the way."
Yes, because the main sticking point preventing a Canada-EU free trade agreement in the past, as far as the Europeans were concerned, has been the Canadian provinces' stubborn reluctance to open up these local government procurement contracts to European corporations.

Embassy Mag on CETA :
"At the end of 2010, Canada asked for the inclusion of an investor-to-state mechanism in the deal, similar to Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is a controversial provision that allows corporations to seek compensation from states if government policies hurt their business interests."
Back to Weir on the AIT :
"The press release even notes “the importance of linkages between the Agreement on Internal Trade and international trade agreements."
As TILMA was to the SPP, so the Agreement on Internal Trade will be to the Canada-EU CETA free trade agreement, if they both pass.

From the Declaration in Support of a Canada-EU Trade and Investment Agreement, signed by the 101 corporations whose participation and recommendations are apparently vastly more important than yours :
"A Canada-EU agreement will provide European companies with a gateway into the vast North American free trade area."
Currently the US-Canada Security Perimeter Beyond the Border Working Groups are also beavering away harmonizing US and Canadian regulations - also entirely out of public sight.

And voilĂ  - the EU-NAFTA free trade zone.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why the Canada-EU free trade deal is a bad deal for Canada.

Economist Jim Stanford deftly savages the economic model behind Steve's promotion of the Canada-EU free trade agreement.
A $12-billion gain in our GDP? Would you like to see my pet unicorn later?

His original lecture "Out of Equilibrium" appeared here. Too long for either Blogger or Youtube, I've merely split it into two parts.

Friday, July 15, 2011

State Dept. hires TransCanada consultant to approve Keystone pipeline

Signs point to US approval of oilsands pipeline - Chicago Tribune

"The US State Department has completed two environmental impact statements on the [Keystone] pipeline with the help of Cardno Entrix, an environmental consulting firm that has said its biggest clients include TransCanada Corp., the owner of the Keystone pipeline system."

I hadn't heard this before so I checked out the Cardno Entrix website. See above graphic.

On June 1, 2010, Cardno, "an integrated professional services provider" acquired two US environmental consultancy firms, ENTRIX and ERI .

From Cardno’s ENTRIX and ERI Acquisition Strategy on "complementary markets":
•Acquiring ENTRIX and ERI will increase Cardno’s revenue from environmental consulting businesses –a growth industry.
•Cardno’s strategy is also to increase its proportion of revenue from resources and energy business including oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors.
Current Key Projects.
Keystone and Keystone XL Pipelines
Client: US Department of State and TransCanada
ENTRIX is the prime contractor for the preparation of two third party EIS’s for the US Department of State and TransCanada Keystone Crude Oil Pipeline System. The project features 1,702 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline (327miles in Canada and 1,375 miles in U.S.) with capacity for 900,000 barrels per day.

ENTRIX is preparing two Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Presidential Permits for international border crossing under the direction of Department of State and Department of Energy.
Well that's handy. And we already know much of the Koch-sponsored US House Energy and Commerce Committee is on board.

Funny thing - TransCanada is also a sponsor of our own government's quest for a national tarsands energy strategy.

Framing the future of a national energy export strategy

Corporate oilbidness sponsorship of next week's annual conference of federal and provincial energy ministers caused a few ripples in our  national  media yesterday.

The Government of Alberta Natural Resources webpage lists $180,000 in corporate sponsorship fees for the
"Framing the Future of Energy and Mines"
Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference,
July 16 - 19, 2011

Gold Sponsorship - $30,000
Silver Sponsorship - $20,000
Bronze Sponsorship - $10,000
Just like the Olympics!

Particular mention was made of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers' $30,000 gold sponsorship fee to a government conference where a national energy strategy will be discussed.

Yo, media guys! You know what would have been more useful? Coverage of CAPP's sponsorship of a federal cabinet ministers' meeting in Alberta last week to promote the tarsands.

Last week CAPP hosted Environment Minister Peter Kent, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, Minister of Public Works Rona Ambrose, and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy in a roundtable discussion following tours of Syncrude and Suncor.

Kenney said the tour enabled them to "go back to parliament and around the world, and defend Canada's oilsands as an environmentally responsible production of energy".
He said the tarsands "constitute the future engine of the Canadian economy" :
"We're talking in 25 years about over $2 trillion in economic growth estimated to be some $700 billion in federal and provincial government revenues. ... There was a lot of bad mouthing about this industry and our government has consistently stood up in defence of the Alberta oilsands ... we will stand up for this incredible growth of our prosperity."
Kenney also pledged his ministry's continued intention to "fine tune its immigration program" to deliver the skillsets the tarsands requires.

Fun fact : There are more than 20 Alberta MPs in the federal caucus.

Monday, July 11, 2011

John Baird struts and frets his hour upon the world stage

G&M today : Boycotting N. Korean term, John Baird vows to seek reform of UN arms panel

"The Harper government has decided to boycott the United Nations Conference on Disarmament for a month because it’s North Korea’s turn to take the helm."

WSJ, June 30, 2011 : NK Leads UN Conference

"For his part, the North Korean delegate assigned to lead the conference, So Se Pyong, said he would do his best to revitalize the conference. Then he announced a one-month vacation and said work would resume in early August."
Pogge : The adventures of Angry McPointy on the world stage

Friday, July 08, 2011

CPCCA : Waving at anti-Semitism

Yesterday the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism released its Final Report -two years in the making - on what co-chair and former Lib MP Mario Silva referred to as the "wave of anti-Semitism we are witnessing in our nation". A 71% increase.

Yet a mere seven months earlier in December, here is the CPCCA's other co-chair, Con MP Scott Reid (at the 13:33 mark) :
Avi Lewis : "There's no wave of anti-Semitism in Canada?"

Scott Reid : "No, no, no, no, absolutely not. No, it's funny I've heard people who have criticized us saying that we think this but no there is absolutely no spike in the kinds of anti-Semitic incidents that I think appall us." 
Yet there were both Reid and Silva yesterday - gravely intoning at their presser about the need for government to get involved because "Canada is witnessing an unprecedented increase in anti-Semitic incidents and hateful discourse".

What? Just since December?

Well no, because we're talking "the new anti-Semitism" here, or as Silva puts it : "demonizing Israel as an apartheid state."
Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, the report explains, unless you refer to its [current right wing] government['s policies] by the word apartheid.
Especially Israel Apartheid Week.
Especially on campus, where the first Israeli Apartheid Week in the world was held in Toronto in 2005, a movement now gone global.

Reports on campus 'new anti-Semitism' and its lefty or clueless profs and administrators take up 21 pages of their 80 page report. And they have recommendations :
All university staff and students should be encouraged to document and report antisemitic incidents whenever they occur.

We recommend that professors be held accountable for academic rigour of their curricula.

We recommend that Federal Government and/or the Inquiry work with the provinces to help administrators develop suitable tools and structures to deal with this burgeoning problem in an effective and principled manner.
On law enforcement : The Inquiry Panel recommends that police forces across Canada send their officers to the "Tools for Tolerance" program at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in LA.
On funding NGOs to do monitoring :
We recommend the creation of a permanent, publicly accessible “ambassadorial” position under the auspices of the most appropriate Department (Foreign Affairs, Justice, Multiculturalism) to develop and implement policies, projects and research on combating antisemitism, including the provision of funds to NGOs to further these aims.This office should also monitor implementation of priority recommendations and ensure compliance and accountability.
What, like Israel's NGO Monitor perhaps, the group Kenney credited in his defunding of KAIROS?
Well, we're right off the thought-crime map now, aren't we?

But what about actual anti-Semitic hate crime? Via StatsCan : Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2009 - but in my own words where not in quotes:
54% of all hate crime incidents reported in 2009 were : "mischief, (e.g. graffiti, vandalism to religious property)"

The second and third highest percentage in hate crimes was : "minor assaults (13%), in which little to no physical harm was caused to the victim, and uttering threats (10%)"
All the other hate crime categories were around 1 or 2%.
There were 283 hate crimes targeting Jews reported to police in 2009. 
"In 2009, hate crime rates were generally highest among youth and young adults. For both victims and persons accused of police-reported hate crime in 2009, the rate peaked among those aged 12 to 17 years and generally decreased with increasing age."
Teenagers and hateful graffitti.

Meanwhile 100s of unnamed First Nations women have been kidnapped, beaten, and killed.
No special $½-million committee for them. No Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Aboriginal Death on the world stage for them.
Hell, the Sisters in Spirit aren't even allowed to use their own name anymore and what federal grant money they had to research those missing women has been rolled over into a general RCMP missing persons fund end of that story.

Speaking of funding ....
CPCCA presser June 2, 2009 : "We will voluntarily disclose all sources of funding."

Scott Reid on video yesterday at CBC :

"We had a number of donors who donated on condition of anonymity and uh the uh we passed a bylaw to ensure that no donations from groups such for example advocacy groups, from trade unions, from businesses would be accepted. These were all individual donations ."
I'll bet. And after all that, you still haven't come up with a reasonable definition of your new anti-Semitism.
"Tools for Tolerance" indeed.
Update : The definitive smackdown from Dr. Dawg

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Canadian farmland vs American hedge fund

Local farmers 120km northwest of Toronto have four days left to win their battle to keep farmland and fresh water headlands from disappearing into a US hedge fund's limestone mega-quarry.

If only 3% of  land in Ontario is suitable for agriculture, why should any of it be lost to an open pit mine deeper than Niagara Falls to benefit US investors who acquired the land by passing themselves off as farmers ?


Laura K provides action links and the history leading to the July 10 deadline for the project's approval.
Avaaz has a petition to Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey. Please sign and pass it on.

Locals resisting the quarry certainly have their work cut out for them.
A good local article : High Stakes in the High Country lays out the opposition

The public face of Highland Companies in Melancthon Township is Michael Daniher of the PR firm Special Situations Inc.
"Daniher’s business partner is Paul Curley, a former advisor to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and other Progressive Conservative party leaders. He shares an office with two other agencies, Counsel Public Relations and Counsel Public Affairs. The latter’s president, Philip Dewan, previously the most senior political advisor to Premier Dalton McGuinty, is one of two lobbyists registered to work at Queen’s Park on behalf of The Highland Companies on issues of “agriculture, economic development and trade, energy, environment, transportation and natural resources.”
NDACT, a local group opposed to the quarry, lobbied to have the agricultural land protected as "specialty cropland".
"When the specialty crop designation somewhat curiously failed to win the support of the Ontario Potato Board, NDACT members noted that Bruce Wilson, Highland’s vice-president of farm operations, is one of the board’s directors."

Today's Orangeville Citizen : Highland remains confident in bid for new quarry

In spite of the Ministry of Environment’s (MoE) criticism of The Highland Companies quarry application, the company remains confident that the application will succeed.
and from :
The company’s spokesperson, Lindsay Broadhead, [note : of Hill and Knowlton] said they are aware of the public’s concerns regarding the quarry’s impact on local culture .
“It is important to reiterate that this process is not over. We welcome public scrutiny and feedback on the company’s plan including suggestions about how cultural and heritage concerns can be addressed ...”
she said, without mentioning the 30 heritage homes and farms already bulldozed by her employer. That flattened expanse in the top video? That's them. 
h/t West End Bob

Monday update : media coverage ;
 Global : Thousands of Canadians rally to stop mega-quarry. Good article.

Monday, July 04, 2011

"This is the Freedom Ride of this era"

"This is the Freedom Ride of this era - to get on this boat, make it to Gaza, to join our stories to their stories, to know that these oppressions can be ended."
Toronto Star reporter Jim Rankin is filing live reports from Greece onboard the Canadian boat Tahrir carrying 19 Canadians to Gaza, two of whom have been arrested and held without charges. The ship was boarded by the Greek authorities and towed back to port four miles short of international waters after making a run for it. It is now reportedly leaking diesel and taking on water, having been damaged while being detained.

Meanwhile ....
Haaretz : Israel, Greece mark growing ties with joint air force drill
Greek and Israeli air forces hold two-week-long drill as the two countries' ties tighten following Greek government's attempt to halt the Gaza-bound flotilla from departing.
The Guardian : Greek coastguard forces Gaza 'freedom flotilla' vessel back to port
"Spiros Spirou, the provincial official in charge of the Ionian islands, told the Guardian that he "admires and supports the activists' struggle" and said he would make no attempt to stop the ship if it left harbour. "Greece loves peace, but at this moment it can't confront more powerful economic forces," claimed Spirou, adding that official attempts to tie the flotilla up in bureaucracy and paperwork were merely a pretext to preventing it from sailing at all."
"more powerful economic forces"
Israel must be congratulated on outsourcing its Gaza blockade by extending military control of its coastal waters to include those of Greece.

h/t #AntoniaZ and #flotilla2

Steve & Dimitri spin asbestos


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