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September in Review

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Issue: 79 Section: Month in Review

October 3, 2011

September in Review

Troops in Libya and Afghanistan, the people take Wall Street, KI refuses mining

by Dominion contributors

A Canadian soldier aboard the HMCS Vancouver during a training exercise in waters off Libya's shores. Photo: Corporal (Cpl) Brandon O'Connell, MARPAC Imaging Services, Esquimalt

In Libya, NATO announced a three-month extension of its bombing campaign. Canada will continue to participate in the mission after what the Globe and Mail called a "symbolic debate" in the House of Commons. Six hundred Canadian troops have been deployed as part of the NATO mission in Libya, which has cost Canadian taxpayers at least $60 million thus far.

A bomb exploded outside of a US military base in Afghanistan, killing five Afghans and wounding 77 American soldiers. "The Afghans have an endless stamina for a long war...Through a country-wide uprising, the Afghans will send the Americans to the dustbin of history like they sent other empires of the past,” read a statement released after the bombing and attributed to the Taliban. The following week, it was revealed that Canadian troops actively defended a NATO compound in Kabul after another attack killed 16 Afghans. Six hundred military trainers and 1,300 Canadian troops are serving in Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper told the CBC that his government plans to bring back parts of the Anti-Terrorism Act that expired in 2007. The anti-terror law increased police powers, giving them a right to hold people captive for up to 72 hours under "preventative detentions" and to make arrests without warrants.

In addition, Harper's government re-tabled Human Smuggling Bill C-4, which proposes 12-month mandatory detention for asylum seekers and other regressive measures against migrants and refugees. The reintroduction of the bill "is despite previous Bill C-49 being rejected by all opposition parties and hundreds of community, legal, health, human rights and migrant justice groups," according to No One Is Illegal-Vancouver.

The Conservatives also announced plans to advance legislation to make it more difficult to "ban, limit or otherwise disrespect the Canadian flag," according to a report in the Toronto Star.

US border police indicated that they would consider building fences along sections of the US-Canada border to deal with "trouble spots where passage of cross-border violators is difficult to control."

A federal judge in Alabama upheld provisions that make the state's legislation against immigrants the most regressive in the United States. In Alabama, it is now a state crime to be an undocumented migrant, and schools are required to collect information on the immigration status of students.

Thousands of people occupied Wall Street in New York City and in other cities across the United States. "On September 17, 2011, people from all across the United States of America and the world came to protest the blatant injustices of our times perpetuated by the economic and political elites," reads the New York General Assembly's draft Principles of Solidarity. At least 80 people were arrested for participating in the action, and many others, including journalists, faced indiscriminate police violence. On Saturday, October 1, 700 people were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge, though some organizers accused the police of drawing them onto the road in order to be able to arrest them. Calls for similar occupation actions in various Canadian cities were issued, with a national day of action planned for October 15.

Three people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded as demonstrators stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Demonstrators continued to gather in Tahrir Square to try to maintain the revolution's momentum and to protest the military-led post-Mubarak transition.

Vancouver protest against Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: Murray Bush -- Flux Photo

Israeli Foreign Minister and notorious racist Avigdor Lieberman visited Canada, proclaiming, “Canada is our best, most reliable friend in the world." Protesters sent a message that Lieberman was not welcome in Vancouver. “People in Canada have the right to know that Avigdor Lieberman is a racist, far-right-wing Israeli minister who should not be welcome in Canada—it is Lieberman's government who makes peace impossible,” said Khaled Barakat, a Palestinian community activist in Vancouver.

In northern Ontario, members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) nation called on the provincial government to force God's Lake Resources out of their territory. “Ontario has failed in its duty to recognize our rights to express our spirituality and protect our sacred sites and burials under international, Canadian and KI law,” said Chief Donny Morris in a press release. “Premier McGuinty must intervene immediately to right this wrong or he will be personally responsible.”

Hundreds of people converged on Parliament Hill for a protest against the the Conservative government's climate policies, the expansion of the tar sands and TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, the construction of which Prime Minister Harper described as a "no-brainer." 200 people crossed a police fence and most were detained and given trespassing tickets. The Conservative government and oil companies have been mounting a global promotions strategy to beat-back escalating pressure from the environmental movement.

In Guatemala, former army general Otto Pérez Molina won the first round of presidential elections. The vote will go to a second round on November 6.

The government of Evo Morales drew criticism following police violence against Indigenous people protesting highway expansion in Bolivia. "I do not agree with the intervention in the march and I cannot justify the measure when other alternatives existed," wrote Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon in a letter of resignation following the police crackdown, which left many wounded.

Thirty-five bodies were dumped near a hotel in the Mexican port city of Veracruz, sparking outrage about the country's increasingly violent war. "It's lamentable about the assassination of 35 people, but it's more so that these people had chosen to dedicate themselves to extortion, kidnapping and murder," wrote the Governor of Veracruz State on his Twitter feed, continuing the state strategy of blaming the victims of violence for their own demise.

Six thousand prisoners in California resumed a hunger strike against the inhumane conditions in the state's prisons.

In the state of Georgia, Troy Anthony Davis was murdered by the state as thousands gathered outside the prison to protest his execution.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spent tax-payer dollars on gold-embossed business cards that also left out the word "Canada," which is against government rules. "Why is he giving taxpayers the gold finger?" asked Liberal MP Scott Brison.

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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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