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August in Review, Part II

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Issue: 79 Section: Month in Review

September 2, 2011

August in Review, Part II

Protests against pipelines, bombs over Libya, Mexico under attack

by Dominion contributors

People from BC's Lower Mainland protest the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Demonstrators walked past the company's existing line in Burnaby. Photo: Michael

People from around North America converged in Washington, DC, as part of a two-week series of sit-ins outside the White House to denounce the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would run from Alberta to Texas. Nearly 1,000 activists have been arrested. Nine people were arrested for blocking the transport of tar sands extraction equipment through northern Idaho. Residents of the Greater Vancouver area took to the streets in support of the actions in Washington, marching to the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby to speak out against pipeline expansions, tankers and tar sands.

Members of the Unist'hot'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation held their second annual gathering to oppose the expansion of pipelines proposed to traverse their territories. The event was hosted at the Unist'hot'en Camp in central BC, which sits directly in the path of the proposed Pacific Trails gas and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines.

The Grassy Narrows First Nation declared a major victory in its 11-year court case to halt industrial logging on its land. Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary-Anne Sandersen called on the federal government to respect its duty to uphold aboriginal treaty rights.

City officials in New York came under fire for refusing to evacuate 12,000 people held prisoner at Rikers Island jail before Tropical Storm Irene. Irene killed at least 42 people in the eastern US, caused massive flooding damage and left millions of people without electrical power.

Canadians from the the Air Component of Operation Mobile mount GBU-10 2,000-pound bombs to the CF-18 Hornet aircraft at a base in Italy before deployment to Libya. Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Canadian fighter jets played a disproportionately large role in the NATO bombing of Libya. “I must say that Canada in particular, being the smaller of the three air forces, once again punched well above its weight,” said a NATO source quoted anonymously in the National Post. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency was assisting the anti-government forces. According to anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani, "The most likely outcome of a military resolution in Libya will be an Afghanistan-type civil war."

Fifty-two people were killed when a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, was firebombed by half-a-dozen assailants linked to organized crime. Mexican President Felipe Calderon called the attack an "act of terror and barbarism." In the same week, casinos in Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa in the embattled border state of Tamaulipas were also bombed.

A mass grave containing 12 bodies was found near Ciudad Juarez, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. The latest find brings the number of bodies found in mass graves since last summer to at least 500.

Right wing General Otto Perez Molina polled ahead in pre-election Guatemala, prompting fears of increasing repression in the Central American country. "Perez's political team includes a significant number of generals and colonels with backgrounds in the intelligence service and military operations, who participated actively in the design of genocidal policies during the armed internal conflict," said activist Claudia Samayoa. Elections will take place in Guatemala on September 11.

Protests against the killing of a man by transit police in San Francisco continued throughout the month, leading to dozens of arrests. Anonymous, a group of politicized hackers, repeatedly hacked the Bay Area Rapid Transit website in retaliation for BART's decision to shut down cell phone service at their stations during one of the protests.

RCMP raided the offices of Calgary's Blackfire Exploration Ltd, a private mining company accused of corrupting local officials in Chiapas, Mexico. Blackfire is being investigated under Canada's Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

The Nova Scotia Citizens Health Care Network launched a campaign to "protect, strengthen and extend public health care" in Canada. The group warns that Nova Scotians might lose affordable access to vital services if Canada's health care system is not reformed before the current funding agreement between the federal and provincial governments expires in 2014.

Concordians for a Safer University Community in Montreal propelled their campaign for a sexual assault centre on Concordia University's campus into full speed to prepare for the start of classes. The group is looking to provide support for sexual assault victims and educate the university community in order to improve the institution's policies and procedures around sexual assault.

A news conference in Halifax organized by people with disabilities and their advocates criticized the provincial NDP government for cutting special needs assistance for drugs and treatments not covered by Nova Scotia's health insurance.

ASSE and the Federation etudiante universitaire du Quebec, representing 45,000 and 125,000 students respectively, announced they are organizing to resist tuition increases proposed by Jean Charest’s government last March.

Activists in New York held a rally to express their solidarity with Nafissatou Diallo, who brought charges of rape against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund. The charges were dropped by a Manhattan attorney. "Regardless of Diallo’s past and any changed versions of stories she may have made about what she did after the alleged assault, it does not mean she wasn’t raped," reads a piece by Feministing Magazine.

People accused of looting during the recent riots in England continued to be harshly sentenced. A mother of two was sentenced to five months in jail for taking a pair of shorts, and a 23-year-old was sentenced to six months for taking a bottle of water. Lawyers at the Magistrates' Court described the hearings as "a complete shit fight."

Wired.com reported that Canada's Department of Defense spent $500,000 on a prototype of a hybrid snowmobile. "Any invaders on the sacred tundra of Canada will be routed before they even know Canada’s valiant sons have zoomed up on them," wrote Wired in a sarcastic jab.

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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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