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November in Review, Part I

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Issue: 65 Section: Month in Review

November 15, 2009

November in Review, Part I

Kangaroo courts, poisoned babies, and Blackwater bribes

by Dominion Staff

A Blackwater helicopter over Iraq, 2006. [cc 2.0] Photo: John Rohan

Canadian Omar Khadr will be tried by a US Military Commission, but it is not clear where the hearings will take place or if Khadr will be transferred from Guantanamo Bay. Barry Coburn, Khadr's civilian lawyer, called the decision "devastating and shocking."

A US Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded at least 30 more at the largest army base in the country at Fort Hood, Texas. It is believed that accused Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on the base because he did not want to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

A NATO airstrike in Afghanistan killed 20 people, including a dozen civilians, in Badghis province.

Birth defects have spiked in Fallujah, Iraq due to toxic material left over from heavy fighting between US and Iraqi troops, according to an investigation by The Guardian.

Ex-Blackwater employees admitted that top executives of the US security company bribed Iraqi officials with over $1 million. The bribes were approved by the company after a September, 2007 massacre in which Blackwater employees killed 17 Iraqi citizens in Nisour Square.

Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, chief of land staff in the Canadian army, indicated in an interview that counter-insurgency would be at the center of Canadian military training over the coming years. "Counter-insurgency will not form the cornerstone of our operations, but it's right in the centre of our spectrum of capabilities we're going to train for," he told the Canadian Press.

"No to the culture of military coups." Mural, Mar del Plata, Argentina. Photo: Guillermo Roura

A US-backed deal was negotiated in Honduras, only to be declared "dead" shortly afterward by President Manuel Zelaya, who remains trapped in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Poor Hondurans suffered from hunger and a lack of medicine because of the coup regime.

Delegates at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Singapore backed out of a pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by half. The final resolution of the meeting, the last international summit before the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, read only, "We believe that global emissions will need to peak over the next few years, and be substantially reduced by 2050, recognising that the timeframe for peaking will be longer in developing economies."

Seven hours of combat between the FARC and the Colombian army killed nine soldiers in Corinto, a city in south west Colombia. It is reported that 30 members of the FARC were killed in the fighting.

Flooding killed 184 people in El Salvador, with another 58 people reported missing. Over 200 homes are destroyed, 2,000 people have been evacuated, and more than 14,000 people are staying in shelters.

Thousands of people in Okinawa, Japan, protested a US marine base in the region, just before US President Obama arrived in the country.

The City of Toronto won the bid for the 2015 Pan-Am Games. The announcement means renewed real estate speculation in the city, as well as four new Olympic sized swimming pools. "One tiny benefit of getting the Pan Am Games, if we can call it that, is that maybe all the Toronto mega-sport boosters will get it out of their system," and stop pursuing the Olympics, critic Helen Lenskyj told the Toronto Sun.

The RCMP stated that a body found in New Brunswick earlier this week is that of missing teenager Hilary Bonnell, of the Esgenoopetitj First Nation.

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) staff members circulated a counter-petition to preempt a petition against the CFS which students have been pushing for. The counter-petition includes a line that may cancel the right of endorsers to sign an anti-CFS petition. According to the people who posted the scanned copy of the petition on Wikileaks, "Anonymous sources can confirm that the CFS is not forthright to students about the hidden phrase within the petition that nullifies their signature."

NASA announced plans to begin radiation testing on monkeys, marking the first time in decades the US Space Agency will test on primates.

The mainstream media contributed to the hype around the H1N1 virus and the vaccination program being carried out by the Canadian government. "With the media focusing on deaths in the rare cases, such as otherwise healthy young children, clearly this isn't productive," Alan Cassels, a drug policy researcher, told the CBC. "Logic and rationality, not raw emotion, should govern our responses."

People in the state of Maine voted against same-sex marriage. The campaign against marriage equality was financially backed by churches throughout the US.

Seven hundred people protested the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party's nomination meeting in Red Deer, AB. "It was a message to the delegates that Albertans don't want to see Klein-style cuts in 2009," David Eggen of Friends of Medicare told the Edmonton Journal.

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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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