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October in Review

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Issue: 80 Section: Month in Review

October 31, 2011

October in Review

Occupy everything, decolonize everywhere, get your freak on!

by Dominion contributors

Vancouverites, some of whom are participating in Occupy Vancouver, throw a dance party in a downtown branch of TD bank as part of the Run on the Banks action. Photo: Murray Bush - Flux Photo

People participating in Occupy movements took over public parks and plazas across Canada, the United States and more than 80 other countries. In Vancouver, participants made a "run on the banks," disrupting business as usual and shutting down their accounts. In Halifax, people occupied the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry to provide information to passengers about the Occupy movement. In Oakland occupiers were violently dispersed by police only to regroup and call a general strike for November 2. Almost 3,000 people participating in the Occupy movement around the world have been arrested thus far.

Grassroots women's groups in Vancouver walked away from the BC Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry, calling instead for a "new fair, just, and inclusive inquiry that centres the voices and experiences and leadership of women, particularly Indigenous women, in the [Downtown East Side]."

The Assembly of First Nations denounced the Department of National Defense for gathering intelligence on Indigenous protests. “The fact that Canada would expend national defence resources to monitor our activities amounts to a false and highly offensive insinuation that First Nation advocacy is akin to terrorism or threats to national security,” said AFN Chief Shawn Atleo.

A fire in Nunavut's only jail brought attention to the cramped conditions in the prison, which will likely worsen with Bill C-10, the federal omnibus crime bill. "We have no treatment facility for counseling and addictions, and that is the driving force behind much of the criminal activity in this territory—the alcoholism and mental illness and domestic violence," said Janet Slaughter, Nunavut's Deputy Minister of Justice.

In Santiago, Chile, 10,000 people marched against Columbus Day and to demand the release of Mapuche political prisoners. "[October 12] signifies the arrival of the Spanish usurpers and all they brought with them, colonialism and imperialism," Manuel Diaz, a Mapuche leader, told news agency EFE.

Authorities issued arrest warrants for Guatemala's former President Oscar Humberto Mejía Víctores, and former military intelligence officials José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez and Luis Enrique Mendoza García. The Public Prosecutor is seeking to press charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for massacres that occurred between 1982 and 1983 in the Ixil region, during which time all three were members of ex-general Efraín Ríos Montt's military high command. Mendoza Garcia is also a graduate of the School of the Americas.

The Canadian Centre for International Justice filed a private prosecution in a Surrey provincial court to have George W. Bush arrested for torture. It failed.

Canadian Forces and Jamaican Troops carry out joint search and rescue exercises near Kingston, Jamaica. Photo: Master Corporal Shilo Adamson, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Talks continued between Ottawa and the government of Jamaica regarding the possible construction of a Canadian military base on the island.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Tripoli, Libya, where he announced Canada would spend $10 million disarming rebel groups. Canada's ambassador to Libya highlighted that the embassy plans to assist oil company Suncor and SNC Lavalin, which is building a jail, as they resume operations there. Meanwhile, the number of NATO drone strikes between April 21 and October 20 was 145.

People in Afghanistan protested the ten year anniversary of the NATO occupation of their country, which took place on the heels of September 11, 2001. "After a decade, Afghanistan still remains the most uncivil, most corrupt, and most war torn country in the world. The consequences of the so-called war on terror has only been more bloodshed, crimes, barbarism, human rights, and women’s rights violations, which has doubled the miseries and sorrows of our people," wrote Afghan activist Malalai Joya.

US President Barack Obama announced the "full withdrawal" of American troops from Iraq, though 4,000 to 5,000 defense contractors will remain in the country. The Pentagon is seeking to station more combat troops to another location in the Gulf, possibly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Private Members Bill C-354, the Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights), was retabled as Bill C-323, a more in-depth corporate responsibility bill for Canadian companies operating abroad.

The first round of talks for a free trade agreement between Canada and Morocco concluded in Ottawa.

In the US, Congress passed controversial free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

A second mass killing in the Northeast Mexican state of Veracruz marked the emergence of a new paramilitary group known as the Mata Zetas. Almost 1,000 Veracruz police were fired following the massacre, for failing "reliability tests."

In Toronto, Gary McCullough was acquitted on a weapons charge stemming from possession of a crossbow and chain saw during the G20 last summer. McCollough was jailed for over five months before being released on bail last December.

A new study showed that the Yukon River has much higher levels of mercury as compared to other rivers of a similar size. "We have several hypotheses about [the cause] and one of them is the thawing permafrost... which is in direct response to a warming climate," Paul Schuster, a hydrologist with the US Geological Survey national research program, told the Vancouver Sun.

The town of Hampton, New Brunswick, blocked shale gas testing after 70 residents protested outside a council meeting. Residents of Cornhill, NB, set up a roadblock to protest shale gas extraction.

A woman traveling from the US to Ireland arrived to find a Transportation Security Administration inspection ticket with the words "get your freak on girl" scrawled along the side packed into her luggage. The reason: she packed a $15 vibrator.

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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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