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May in Review, Part II

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Issue: 60 Section: Month in Review

June 1, 2009

May in Review, Part II

Workplaces raided, CSIS exposed, extractive industry AGMs crashed

by Dominion Staff

Members of the Nak’azdli nation, Central Americans and their allies converged outside Goldcorp's AGM, while others inside the meeting voiced opposition to large-scale mining on their land. Photo: Justin Berger

Nine women were arrested in a workplace raid at Lakeside Produce in Leamington, Ontario. “We are outraged by these arrests,” said Chris Ramsroop of Justicia for Migrant Workers. “These attacks destroy our communities. Instead of attacking the immigration system, we are attacking workers who put food on our table.” One arrestee is pregnant.

Guatemalans, Hondurans, members of the Nak’azdli nation and concerned Vancouverites protested outside Goldcorp's annual general meeting in Vancouver. Hondurans are demanding reparations for damage caused by the San Martin open-pit gold mine. In Guatemala, Mayan communities are demanding the Marlin mine be shut down. And in northern BC, the Nak'azdli nation are refusing Goldcorp's spin-off Terrane Metals to operate on their lands.

Thirty communities in the Northwest Territories united on a moratorium on tar sands development. "This is no longer just an issue for Albertans, and now poses a risk to all downstream communities in the Mackenzie Basin," reads the resolution.

Climate activists protested outside Duke Energy's annual general meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, while a dozen shareholders questioned the company's CEO for more than an hour from the meeting room floor. Their primary beef is Duke's proposed expansion of the Cliffside coal plant, which would cost $2.4 billion, and increase the plant's capacity to 825 megawatts.

The federal appeals court (4th Circuit) in Richmond, Virgina, opened the possibility for mountaintop removal coal mining to restart in Appalachia.

Seventeen people were arrested in West Virginia for civil disobedience against the highly destructive mining practice.

The inquest into the police shooting of Montréal teen Freddy Villanueva and two other men was suspended indefinitely. The Villanueva family and the other shooting victims withdrew from the inquiry process. "The population of Montreal North was very touched by the death of Freddy Villanueva and there is a sentiment that the government authorities are hiding the details surrounding the case," according to Alexandre Popovic of the Coalition contre la Répression et les Abus Policiers (CRAP).

A federal court ruling questioned allegations by Canadian Security Intelligence Service against Mohamed Harkat. Harkat, accused of being allied with terrorists, is one of Canada's Secret Trial Five – one of five Muslim men in Canada forced to live with a Security Certificate.

A Montréal graffitti campaign against police violence has spread throughout the city. The inquest into the police shooting of Fredy Villanueva has been suspended amid high tensions in Montréal Nord. Photo: flics-assassins.net

A Native warrior and father of five from the Ohlone & Chumash nations was arrested near Hope, BC. According to a press release from the Native Youth Movement, Shark's arrest was based on seven-year-old charges connected with protecting the land at Skwelkwek'welt, in the Secwepemc mountains. Shark is currently held at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Center.

The Vancouver Sun's reporter covering the 2010 Olympics acknowledged he wrote for the winter issue of the Olympic Review, the "official publication of the Olympic movement," published by the International Olympic Committee. Questions have arisen about conflict of interest: a journalist reporting on an organization that pays him. "I was waiting for you guys to call. Someone told me you were on this bullshit," Lee told The Tyee. Lee works for CanWest Global, an official media supplier of the Games, but not the official media carrier, which is BellGlobeMedia, owner of CTV and the Globe and Mail.

General Motors prepared to file for bankruptcy. GM is an Olympic sponsor, and VANOC claimed the company will still provide 4,300 cars for the 2010 Games.

California voters upheld Proposition 8, an amendment to the US Constitution that bans same-sex marriage. The 18,000 gay couples that married in 2008 will continue to be recognized as legally married. Supporters of gay marriage marched in Fresno, California, and will push to take the issue back to the ballot box in 2010.

Palestinian academics called for called for a British boycott of Israeli universities and post-secondary institutions, asking for "moral consistency," citing the academic boycott of apartheid South Africa.

In Mogadishu 45 people are dead and 49,000 people fled the city in the latest round of fighting between the Somalian military and al-Shabab, an anti-government group.

The government of Sri Lanka declared "total victory" over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Members of the LTTE countered that leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is alive and safe. According to the United Nations, an estimated 7,000 civilians have been killed in fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE since January.

Amnesty International's annual report expressed "serious concerns about the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of air strikes" by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. The report also condemned Canada for the RCMP's use of Tasers, and the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who is detained at Guantanamo Bay.

David Kilcullen, former counter-terrorism adviser to the Bush administration, said that US Predator strikes on Pakistan should be stopped. “Since 2006 we’ve killed 14 senior al-Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period we’ve killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area," he said.

The Independent revealed that the three highest-profile civilian massacres of the war in Afghanistan were committed by troops from the US Marines Corps' Special Operations Command, or MarSOC, which was created in 2005 on the orders of Donald Rumsfeld.

After a long debate in the House of Commons, Bill C-23, the legislation which represents the final step in the ratification of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, was withdrawn from the Order Paper by Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Solidarity, campesino and union groups in Canada and in Colombia have campaigned against the deal and consider the move a victory. Bill C-23 may be re-introduced in the fall.

US President Barack Obama was criticized for showing interest in proceeding with a Free Trade Agreement between the US and Panamá. Most of the more than 350,000 corporations based in Panamá do not carry out operations in the Central American country, which is one of the most notorious tax havens in the globe.

Canada, the US and other high-income countries opposed a treaty to protect the rights of the blind and reading disabled to access and share written material at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization. "The main aim of the treaty is to allow the cross-border import and export of digital copies of books and other copyrighted works in formats that are accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, dyslexic or have other reading disabilities, using special devices that present text as refreshable braille, computer generated text to speech, or large type," wrote James Love at the Huffington Post.

Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground who is now a university professor, was again denied entry to Canada. He was previously turned away at the border in January.

Mexico City blamed chronic water shortages on waste and over-consumption. The national water commission claimed that more than half the city's water is lost to outdated infrastructure and leaky pipes.

Activists in Victoria, BC, held a practice protest against a practice run of the Olympic Torch.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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