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January 29, 2010 Weblog:

Honduras: The People vs. Pepe Lobo

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The inauguration of Pepe Lobo in Honduras Wednesday marked the consolidation of the June 28 coup d'état in the Central American country.

Undeterred, thousands of Hondurans gathered for a parallel inauguration ceremony, the presidential sash handed off to members of the popular resistance movement.

According to Dina Meza, a reporter from the streets of resistance, Pepe Lobo "took possession of the government, with a small presence of international dignitaries, and a minimal participation of Hondurans. Hundreds of military and police almost equaled the number of civilians in the area."

The morning of the inauguration there were early morning police raids and at least 41 people were detained, a worrying sign that repression and killings of social activists will continue under this new regime.

» continue reading "Honduras: The People vs. Pepe Lobo"

December 17, 2009 Weblog:

Reading La Prensa in Honduras

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Since I've been in Honduras, I've been hearing a constant refrain about the "medios golpistas," which is to say the pro-coup media. I avoided the papers for a while, preferring to listen to the radio, read online, and talk to Hondurans about the situation in the country (I generally do the same at home anyways).

That said, I caved and bought the paper today, and even though I was planning to spend the day transcribing, I feel compelled to write a post about flipping through La Prensa this morning over coffee.

"Government proposes break with ALBA" screams the headline on A1, with another story below on the assassination of the daughter of a pro-coup journalist.

The next three pages of the paper are dedicated to "The Keys of 2009," an ongoing series of unsigned opinion pieces presented as factual, objective reporting on the events that defined 2009.

Second of today's 12 "Keys" is a blurb titled "External aid pulled, commerce closed because of political crisis." I'm going to translate part of it here in an effort to get across the editorial perspective (again, masquerading as fact) in the paper.

The substitution of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales was like a bucket of icy water for the depressed national economy... The Internaional Monetary Fund - with who Zelaya had broken relations and had negated to sign a new memorandum of understanding with, was one of the first to distance itself from Honduras after June 28.

Not only is this a Non Sequitur, it's not true.

» continue reading "Reading La Prensa in Honduras"

December 16, 2009 Weblog:

Honduran LGBTT activist and coup resistor Walter Tróchez killed

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Prominant LGBTT activist Walter Tróchez was assassinated by gunmen in Tegucigalpa on Sunday, marking the 10th murder of a gay or trans activist since the June 28 military coup.

According to journalist Dina Meza, police did not visit the scene of the killing until more than 12 hours after Tróchez was killed. Meza wrote that his murder is "being managed with all the negligence possible by police investigators."

Tróchez was kidnapped and beaten on December 4, but managed to escape. According to sources close to Tróchez, police did not investigate the kidnapping.

From a letter Tróchez wrote less than a month before his death:

» continue reading "Honduran LGBTT activist and coup resistor Walter Tróchez killed "

December 10, 2009 Weblog:

Mel Zelaya Steadfast in Honduras

Reposting from the Media Co-op.

Mel Zelaya, the elected president of Honduras who was deposed in a military coup on June 28, is not leaving the country, as is being reported in the corporate media.

The first reports that he was to leave the embassy tonight came from the corporate media in Honduras, who have been active supporters of the military coup. Zelaya has been in hiding in the Brazilian embassy since 21 September.

Tele Noticias quoted an anonymous source within the defacto governement, who explained that Zelaya may be planning to leave the country this evening.

By 7:15pm, the corporate media had already gathered outside the Brazilian embassy, where there was a heavy police presence, but no sign of Zelaya’s supporters.

Andrés Thomas Conteris, a journalist inside the embassy, confirmed that Zelaya had no intention of leaving, in fact, he was preparing to have dinner.

The police erected a crowd control fence as supporters of Zelaya began to arrive and vocally demonstrate their support for the deposed president.

Small crowds yelled at corporate journalists, and news anchor was pushed to the ground. A scuffle ensued as heavily armed police pushed supporters into a parking lot across the street from the Brazilian embassy.

The police brought in reinforcements including an armored personnel carrier, and positioned sharpshooters in balaclavas behind their lines.

Anger against the coup regime is running high, and many Hondurans blame the corporate media for aiding the coup regime.

» continue reading "Mel Zelaya Steadfast in Honduras"

November 28, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Assassinated in Chiapas

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Mariano Abarca, a community activist known for his opposition to mining was assassinated last night in Chicomuselo, a town in Chiapas, Mexico.

Abarca was shot in the head and chest by a man on a motorcycle. He had been abducted in August, and again received death threats in the week prior to his death.

In a November 28 email to supporters, Gustavo Castro, an organizer with Otros Mundos AC in Chiapas, wrote:

[Mariano was] a dear friend, admired for his struggle against the Canadian mining company Blackfire, and a member of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA-Chiapas). Yesterday we spoke to him on the phone and he told us he had filed a complaint against the company. Today he's dead.

It is with great sadness that I write these words. I will continue to update here as more news becomes available.

Update: Here is the English translation of an article about the assassination from La Jornada.

November 20, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal: New camouflage to better fight the enemy within?

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Public Works and Government Services Canada has awarded a $25,000 contract to a BC firm in return for a controversial service -- the design of urban camouflage specifically suited to Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.

The contract requirements are as follows:

The Department of National Defence, Defence Research and
Development Canada - Suffield, (DRDC-S), AB, has a requirement to develop a Canadian Urban Environment Pattern (CUEPAT) based on the unique requirements of Canada's three major metropolitan areas, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The current CBR individual protective equipment (IPE) used by the Canadian military is provided in a woodland or desert camouflage. A camouflage suited to the Canadian urban environment is required when the milatary (sic) operates in urban terrain.

Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp, pride of Maple Ridge, BC, was the only firm invited to bid on the contract. The company has designed camouflage patterns for countries including Israel, Iraq and Malaysia.

» continue reading "Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal: New camouflage to better fight the enemy within?"

November 7, 2009 Weblog:

Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense

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The US-backed deal meant to restore a "government of national unity" in Honduras is dead. How dead depends on your taste for dictators.

Totally Dead, if you ask ousted president Manuel Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

"No, it's not dead, but maybe sleeping for the time being," if you doubted the US State Department's position on the deal.

Popular organizations around Honduras, after expressing an initial support for the reinstatement of Zelaya, have since denounced the deal.

"Once again, history has shown us that the United States is not anyone's friend; we were once again betrayed when we endorsed an agreement full of gaps and capricious interpretations," Indigenous activist Salvador Zúñiga told IPS.

The Civil Council of Popular and Inidigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) released a statement denouncing the coup and the negotiations on November 4.

In their statement, they "urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements," call for a popular constituent assembly, and give the following message to international supporters:

» continue reading "Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense"

October 31, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up"

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The AP is reporting that Honduran legislators have the final say over a US backed deal that would see the restoration of Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras.

However, Bloomberg reports that "opposition lawmakers could filibuster Zelaya’s return until after the elections, Antonio Rivera, the second highest ranking lawmaker for the National Party, said in an interview."

According to AP, which posted their most recent update at 0:00 PDT on October 31, the negotiations "drew praise from figures as diverse as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez." TeleSUR noted that while supportive, Chavez has not yet seen the agreement.

The negotiated solution comes as Zelaya and his supporters exhausted the last remaining poses for photographers in the Brazilian embassy. (Just kidding).

Seriously though, the negotiated solutions go along with what was laid out in the San José Accord back in July.

During a United Nations session in September, Zelaya expressed his disagreement with the San José Accord.

» continue reading "Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up""

October 9, 2009 Weblog:

Canada-Colombia FTA on life support, but still breathing

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Proponents of the the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (Bill C-23) faced a few hurdles over the past few weeks, but the deal is far from dead.

Bill C-23 is on the order paper for October 19th, when Parliament resumes after fall recess.

The deal has undergone eight days of debate in Parliament, most recently as subject to an NDP sub-amendment to a Bloc amendement to the bill.

The NDP's sub-amendment was meant to "stop the FTA from going to second reading, essentially killing the agreement," according to Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

The sub-amendment was jettisoned by the Liberals and the Conservatives (74 in favor, 194 against).

Next stop is for the Tories and the Grits to tackle the Bloc's amendment to the Bill, which according to activists tracking progress of the deal "will 'flush' out the positions of Liberals on C-23."

The following is the Bloc amendment on C-23:

» continue reading "Canada-Colombia FTA on life support, but still breathing"

September 30, 2009 Weblog:

Recent killings linked to Canadian-owned nickel mine in Guatemala

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Two Qeqchi leaders were shot and killed and over a dozen wounded this week near the site of a shuttered nickel mine in Guatemala.

The first shooting took place on Sunday, September 27 on land claimed by the community of Las Nubes, which Compañia Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN), a subsidiary of Manitoba's HudBay Minerals, also claims to own.

Early reports indicated CGN's private security guards opened fire while attempting to remove families from their land. Adolfo Ichi Chamán, a teacher and community leader, was killed by gunshot, at least eight more wounded by bullets fired from an AK-47.

Prensa Libre, Guatemala's leading newspaper, reported that during Chamán's funeral service yesterday, thousands of people marched through the streets of El Estor, demanding that the company and the local police chief withdraw from the area within 24 hours.

HudBay released a lengthy statement yesterday claiming that there were no evictions, but instead that "protestors" went on a rampage, attacking government vehicles, a local police station (where they allegedly stole automatic weapons), destroying a hospital built by a coalition of US NGOs, and wounding five employees.

Hudbay goes on to make the absurd claim that the protesters proceeded to open fire on each other.

» continue reading "Recent killings linked to Canadian-owned nickel mine in Guatemala"

September 27, 2009 Weblog:

Peter Kent Self Deprecates (all over Honduras)

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News out of Honduras today is that the interim government military dictatorship is to impose a 45 day state of emergency, during which time unauthorized meetings, freedom of expression, and travel will be restricted. The decree also legalizes the ongoing, arbitrary detentions happening around the country.

Forty five days of emergency measures will allow the military dictatorship to continue doing as they please with the folks resisting the coup until November 11. Elections are scheduled for November 29.

The military regime, led by Roberto Micheletti, also blocked the arrival of a delegation from the Organization of American States over the weekend.

Canada has refused to condemn the coup, instead joining the US in allowing it to continue unabated by promoting dialogue and negotiation.

In the run up to the current disaster, junior foreign minister Peter Kent had the gall to send a congratulatory message to Hondurans on their independence day (September 15).

"Although these are trying times, we value our relationship with Honduras, which has grown stronger through our cooperation in many areas of common interest," said Kent in a press release. Maybe he thought pretending the military coup didn't happen would make it disappear.

Kent, who's billed as a "Journalist, Late-Life Politician & Self-Deprecating Commentator" by a booking firm that represents him, refused to support President Zelaya's return last week.

» continue reading "Peter Kent Self Deprecates (all over Honduras)"

September 21, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa

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"They are sending a message of peace, but they're repressing the Honduran people."

Thousands of people have surrounded the Brazilian Embassy, where it is confirmed that President Manuel Zelaya is located. They are violating a curfew imposed by the military government, originally set from 4pm to 7am, which, according to Radio Globo, was just extended from 4pm today until 6pm tomorrow.

Those traveling towards Tegucigalpa from various routes are being detained by the police and army.

This is the latest on Radio Globo, one of the few radio stations in Tegucigalpa that has not lost all power. Radio Globo is using a generator to power the radio station, and can't receive calls or emails from the outside.

"Honduras is isolated from the rest of the world, because of the coup regime," said a radio host, calling on the world to intervene in Honduras in support of democracy and the restoration of Manuel Zelaya.

"They have converted the entire country into a jail, where there is no free movement, a curfew in the whole country," according to one radio commentator on Radio Globo. He explained that this curfew and the resulting detentions has made Hondurans from other places scared to come to the capital and take the capital.

UPDATE 19:39 PDT: Micheletti coup regime has canceled all flights tomorrow. Zelaya live on Radio Globo orders army back to barracks, says the people lead in Honduras. UN, OAS expected tomorrow. Zelaya calling on Hondurans to converge in Tegucigalpa.

Alternative URL for Radio Globo: http://96.9.147.21:8213

» continue reading "Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa"

September 20, 2009 Weblog:

Reuters gets it wrong on Guatemala Mining Project

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Reuters reported Thursday that there is no start date planned for the Hudbay (formerly Skye Resources) nickel mining project in eastern Guatemala.

Can't say this is much of a newsflash. I reported extensively on the unlikelihood of the project moving forward over a year ago.

But Reuters correspondent Sarah Grainger really gets it wrong when she writes:

Skye Resources, which acquired the project in 2004, came up against local opposition to the reopening of the mine, with squatters occupying company land and burning down a hospital and community relations office built by Skye.

I guess Ms. Grainger missed the part about company goons burning people's homes during violent evictions. The evictions were widely documented. There is no excuse for such a serious error.

Members of the army provide back-up to Guatemalan police during the eviction of Maya Qeqchi people, carried out on behalf of Skye Resources. January, 2007. Photo by James Rodriguez.

September 20, 2009 Weblog:

Conservatives Delay Vote on Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement

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Reports from Ottawa are that the Conservatives have notched the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement down on the order paper.

The deal, enshrined in Bill C-23, was expected to go to a vote after a second reading. The second reading, or at least part of it, took place last week. The vote didn't.

Here, I reproduce part of a message sent out from NDP Foreign Affairs critic Peter Julian on Friday.

This is our second victory, I guess it means that we’ve won the second round of the debate but there is no doubt that this Bill will be coming back, potentially in a few weeks time, while the House sits awaiting a pending election.

I think that we should celebrate another victory at a time when the government thought, with Liberal support, it could push it rapidly through within a couple of days.

I reported last week that some Liberals are now in support of the deal, but others, obviously, are less sure.

MP Jay Hill indicated Friday that Bill C-23 is no longer at the top of the Conservatives' list, but has been bumped down a notch behind the National Capital Act, which he expects to table after MPs return from constituency break.

I guess the phone calls and petitions are having some effect.

Photo of MP Scott Brison, Canada-Colombia FTA booster par excellence. He spent 96 hours in Colombia in August.

September 14, 2009 Weblog:

Urgent! Tell the Libs that We Say No to the Canada-Colombia FTA!

Received some notes from a CPAC observer today who said that some Liberals are speaking out againt the Canada-Colombia FTA.

This afternoon, he sent a message reading "Ok, they're in adjournment proceedings. Somehow, we got through another day of debate in parliament without a vote. Let's get on those phones, folks."

The call is out again, urgently, for people to call Liberal MPs and ask them NOT to speak out against the Canada-Colombia FTA.

Below, I re-paste a previous post on this issue, including phone numbers of strategic Liberals. The time to call is now.

++

Below is contact info for the Liberal leader, some influential Liberal MPs, Liberal members of the trade committee, and some Liberal MPs who narrowly won their ridings in the last election. Please send them messages urging them to oppose the CCFTA.

Ask your friends and faimly to do likewise.

1- Michael Ignatieff, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, ON, Tel: 416. 251.5510, Fax: 416.251.2845; Tel: 613.995.9364, Fax: 613.992.5880 IgnatM@parl.gc.ca

2- Bob Rae, Toronto Centre, ON, Tel: 416.954.2222, Fax: 416.954.9649, Tel: 613.992.5234, Fax: 613.996.9607
RaeB@parl.gc.ca

3- Maria Minna, Beaches-East York, ON, Tel: 416.467.0860, Fax: 416.467.0905 Tel: 613.992.2115 Fax: 613.996.7942
MinnaM@parl.gc.ca

***Here is list of Liberal MPs that are Members of the CIIT

Vice-Chair: John Cannis, Scarborough Centre, ON Tel: (416) 752-2358, Fax: (416) 752-4624; Tel: (613) 992-6823, Fax: (613) 943-1045
CanniJ@parl.gc.ca

Members:
1- Scott Brison, Kings-Hants, NS
Tel: (902) 542-4010, Fax: (902) 542-4184, Tel: (613) 995-8231, Fax (613) 996-9349
BrisoS@parl.gc.ca

2- Mario Silva, Davenport, ON Tel: (416) 654-8048, Fax: (416) 654-5083; Tel: (613) 992-2576, Fax: (613) 995-8202
SilvaM@parl.gc.ca

» continue reading "Urgent! Tell the Libs that We Say No to the Canada-Colombia FTA!"

September 14, 2009 Weblog:

Bob Rae: Liberals "will support" Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement

According to an email from Bob Rae about the Canada Colombia FTA, the Grits "will be supportive of the bill proceeding to committee."

The legislative information about the CCFTA (Bill C-23) has yet to be updated online. So no word yet as to how that went.

++

From: RaeB7@parl.gc.ca
Subject: RE: Liberals stand up against the Colombia Canada FTA
Date: September 14, 2009 7:46:59 AM PDT (CA)

Thank you for your message about the House of Commons debate on the ratification of the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, with its side agreements on labour and the environment, together with an understanding on investment and taxation.

If there is no election, as a result of a decision by either the Bloc or the NDP to support the Harper government, it is indeed likely that this bill will go to committee, where there will be substantial discussions on the impact of the treaty. The Liberal Party will be supportive of the bill proceeding to committee. Further support will depend on satisfactory answers to our questions and concerns.

I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia recently, and met with business and trade union leaders, as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and of course the Colombian government itself. I feel better informed about the situation, but am determined to listen and learn during the debate.

» continue reading "Bob Rae: Liberals "will support" Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement"

September 10, 2009 Weblog:

Tories set to re-introduce Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Bill C-23, the Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, is on the Order Paper for September 14th.

Below, a call to action from the folks managing the Stop the Canada Colombia FTA group on Facebook. I know I just wrote a blog post on how lame it feels to write letters, but in the interim, ¡vamónos!

++

Friends,

We have learned that the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is to be the first order of business when the House of Commons reconvenes on Monday. There are strong indications that the Liberal Party are intending to support the bill.

We managed to back them off once before - we need to do so again.

Below is contact info for the Liberal leader, some influential Liberal MPs, Liberal members of the trade committee, and some Liberal MPs who narrowly won their ridings in the last election. Please send them messages urging them to oppose the CCFTA.

Ask your friends and faimly to do likewise.

1- Michael Ignatieff, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, ON, Tel: 416. 251.5510, Fax: 416.251.2845; Tel: 613.995.9364, Fax: 613.992.5880 IgnatM@parl.gc.ca

2- Bob Rae, Toronto Centre, ON, Tel: 416.954.2222, Fax: 416.954.9649, Tel: 613.992.5234, Fax: 613.996.9607
RaeB@parl.gc.ca

3- Maria Minna, Beaches-East York, ON, Tel: 416.467.0860, Fax: 416.467.0905 Tel: 613.992.2115 Fax: 613.996.7942
MinnaM@parl.gc.ca

***Here is list of Liberal MPs that are Members of the CIIT

Vice-Chair: John Cannis, Scarborough Centre, ON Tel: (416) 752-2358, Fax: (416) 752-4624; Tel: (613) 992-6823, Fax: (613) 943-1045
CanniJ@parl.gc.ca

» continue reading "Tories set to re-introduce Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement"

September 10, 2009 Weblog:

Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied

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As the coup regime in Honduras mocks the "rule of law" behind a veil of tear gas, automatic weapons and riot shields, it's business as usual for Canada's junior foreign minister, Peter Kent.

Kent refuses to call for sanctions or to demand the return of President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed after a military coup on June 28, 2009.

I'd like to point readers to a July 5 letter by Colombian doctor and activist Manuel Rozental.

This is how Rozental predicted things would shake down on the day Zelaya was blocked from landing at the airport in Tegucigalpa:

Today Zelaya returns and it would be useful to inform people as there will likely be a staged performance from the media that will go something like:

"There are 2 governments and two Presidents. Both have solid reasons behind them. This is a deadlock that will lead to or has lead to bloodshed. The US and the 'international community' are in a difficult position to intervene. Most countries and governments support Zelaya. The US promotes dialogue."

As we've seen in the months since, Rozental's letter was accurate, to a T. The plan of the transnational elites is being executed.

Rozental's question, "How can we today, invite the defence of social movements?" Is a much more difficult one, which remains to be answered in a meaningful way by activists in North America.

» continue reading "Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied"

September 3, 2009 Weblog:

Conservatives announce $223,000 for Surveillance at Montreal Synagogues and Primary Schools

A quarter million dollars aimed at groups who are victims of hate crimes will flow to ten Jewish groups in Montréal, according to a recent announcement by the federal government.

The funding, which comes from the Ministry of Public Safety, "helps defray the costs of security infrastructure enhancements at not-for-profit community centres, provincially recognized educational institutions, and places of worship linked to a community with a demonstrated history of being victimized by hate-motivated crime."

Funds can be used for:

-security assessments (not to exceed 25% of total project costs)

-security equipment and hardware, such as alarm systems, closed-circuit televisions, digital video recorders, fences, gates, lighting, intercom systems;

-minor construction costs related to the project, such as contractor fees, labour, equipment rental, installation fees; and

-training costs directly related to the new security infrastructure

Ten Jewish organizations in Montréal will split the disbursement of $223,003.

The announcement brings to mind Yves Engler's recent piece, Silencing the Critics. He states:

» continue reading "Conservatives announce $223,000 for Surveillance at Montreal Synagogues and Primary Schools"

September 2, 2009 Weblog:

IMF bails out Honduras Coup Regime with $150 million

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Reuters' Spanish service and Venezeuala's Telesur are reporting that the IMF granted US$150 million to the defacto regime in Honduras, which is now into into its third month.

Both reports stem from a press release by the Honduran Central Bank (BCH).

The BCH release reads (in part):

"At the initiative of the twenty industrialized and emerging countries (G-20), presided by the Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown, the International Monetary Fund injects liquidity into the world economy and Honduras augments it's international reserves by $150.1 million."

The CBH release goes on to state that the money was received on August 28th. Telesur is reporting that the IMF will give another $13.8 million to the coup regime next week.

The IMF does not have an update on their Honduras page since before the coup happened. The BCH has not posted a press release in English since last year.

The only report on the payment in English thus far is posted on Iran's PressTV.

Photo of anti-coup protesters in Honduras by Sandra Cuffe. All translations above are unofficial.

July 23, 2009 Weblog:

Montreal: Alternative Media Open House

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Media makers in Montréal, take note... The first session of the Alternative Media Open House launched successfully last night at Nelson Mandela Park.

There are two more sessions, one on Friday and the next on Sunday.

"We are hoping to make connections with people in the communities we are doing the open houses in and to recruit a few new volunteers who may not have otherwise known these opportunities were open to them," says Courtney Kirkby, a radio producer at CKUT who's helping to organize the events.

The events offer free food, and are really about people getting to know each other.

"This is a unique chance to actually meet a wide range of media-makers in the city and find out what goes into a story and how independent, alternative journalism and news collectives can work," says Kirkby.

Event details are below... Enjoy!

--français ci-dessous--

Interested in community journalism?

CKUT 90.3FM & the Dominion present ALTERNATIVE MEDIA OPEN HOUSE in Côte-des-Neiges, Point St. Charles and the Plateau
***********************************************************
LOCATION: Saint Columba House
(2365, Grand Trunk @ rue Ropery)
TIME: 3:30pm-7:00pm
DATE: FRIDAY, July 24th
*Free food provided by Midnight Kitchen
***********************************************************
LOCATION: Maison de l'Amitié
(120 avenue Duluth Est, @ ave. Coloniale)
TIME: 1:30pm-4:00pm
DATE: SUNDAY, July 26th
***********************************************************

A chance to meet alternative, independent journalist, producers and editors. Find out how to get involved and how to gain media-making skills.

Contact: Courtney Kirkby, news@ckut.ca or 514.448.4041x6788

++

Le journalisme communautaire vous interesses?

» continue reading "Montreal: Alternative Media Open House"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website

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I just posted an article about yesterday's launch of the federal government's copyright consultations at the Vancouver Media Cooperative.

Something that didn't quite fit into the story, but that keeps nagging at me, is the website that the feds launched yesterday. The site supposedly has the intention of promoting this process.

I say supposedly for a number of reasons:

•the site itself is horrid to look at, harking back to the dying days of Web 1.0.

•the site does not appear to be linked to or from any other Government of Canada pages, including the Consulting with Canadians page.

•the site was launched yesterday, so existing traffic is nil. Though it does have a date stamp on the bottom which reads Date Modified: 2007-11-14

•the site lacks essential details, and yesterday's press release was posted as a blog entry.

The ministers responsible (Tony Clement/Industry, James Moore/Heritage) seem to think that opening a Twitter account is enough to propel the consultations into the wider consciouness.

When I asked them about this at yesterday's press conference in Vancouver, Clement responded that he hoped the consultation process would "go viral." Guess he hasn't seen the website.

For what it's worth, the second round table is currently under way in Calgary.

» continue reading "Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Five things the Corporate Media doesn't want you to know about the Coup in Honduras

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1. It was a military coup carried out on behalf of corporate, national and transnational elites. "Restoring Democracy" though a military coup is akin to bombing your way to peace.

2. Coup participants were trained by the CIA and at the School of the Americas. Reactionary, anti-democratic US training grounds such as these are responsible for mass murder throughout the Americas.

3. President Mel Zelaya is a centrist, and his movements towards the "left," such as joining the ALBA trade block, are a result of massive popular pressure for change.

4. The constitutional referendum was not focussed on extending Zelaya's term limit. The referendum on the constitution marked the beginning of a popular process of participative democracy, which is extremely threatening to local and transnational elites.

5. Transnational corporations support the coup. Goldcorp has been bussing employees to pro-coup marches, other Canadian companies have stayed silent and are complicit in the coup.

Photo of demonstrators in Tegucigalpa by Sandra Cuffe

June 30, 2009 Weblog:

Gildan Activewear, from Haiti to Honduras

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Following a media blip after the 2004 coup in Haiti, Montreal's Gildan Activewear has again scored media attention in Canada, this time for its operations in post-coup Honduras.

The National Post reported today that:

While the day-to-day operations of Gildan’s manufacturing facilities are unlikely to be affected, an estimated 60% of its activewear and more than 50% of its socks are made in Honduras.

So after 30 years of peaceful democracy, [Desjardins Securities analyst Martin Landry] now believes investors will apply a geopolitical risk discount to Gildan. The analyst sees little risk that the country’s assets will be nationalized and suggested the coup may turn out to be a positive for Gildan if it brings back a more business-friendly government.

(Emphasis mine). I think it's time to set the Canada Haiti Action Network's team of intrepid researchers on Honduras, following the scent of a sweatshop-made t-shirt.

[Photo of street fighting in Tegucigalpa immediately following the coup by Oswaldo Rivas.]

June 26, 2009 Weblog:

Tar sands "as they are" provoke negative press coverage

Here's an interesting admission from the first edition of the Canada West Foundation's Oil Sands Media Monitoring Report:

Positive stories on the oil sands and the environment are rarely
defensive of the oil sands’ impact. Refusal to bow to pressure from environmental groups is a common topic, but more so is advances in technology that could reduce the impact of the oil sands: research into microorganisms that could aid in the reclamation of tailings pond water or carbon sequestration techniques. Negative stories attack the oil sands as they are, while positive stories tend towards describing what they could be.

(Emphasis mine). Considering CWF is a darling of Stephen Harper, there's something rather sweet about that admission.

June 22, 2009 Weblog:

Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran

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I'm probably not the only Dominion reader who has spent the past couple of days wondering how Canada is involved in US-led "Black Ops" in Iran.

Today I found a clue when I happened across Psiphon Inc., which was recently spun off from Citizen Lab, itself a branch of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the U of T.

"Canada's Psiphon Inc. on the Frontlines of Iranian Netwar," reads a June 19 press release by Ontario based Psiphon Inc.

"The company is employing dedicated 'psi-operators' - staff whose job it is to propagate Psiphon nodes and engage with the Iranian community both inside and outside Iran - working 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

"The psi-operators are using social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails [sic] lists and forums, to propagate connection information to Psiphon's 'Right2know' nodes, which contain customized content sourced from BBC BBC Persian, Radio Farda, YouTube and other websites and services banned by Iranian authorities," continues the release (which I transcribed here).

According to the Globe and Mail, which picked up on Psiphon's news release:

» continue reading "Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran"

May 30, 2009 Weblog:

Brutal eviction at the Autonomous Social Centre in Montréal

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Quick roundup of mainstream news coverage: The Montreal Gazette on the squat and on the police raid, CTV on the evictions, backgrounder in The Hour.

--Reposting ASC Press Release--

4:45 pm, May 30th, 2009 - for immediate release. Riot squads brutally evicted the people occupying a building at the corner of St-Patrick and Atwater this afternoon. Yesterday night, about a hundred people took this building in order to set up the Autonomous social center in a permanent space. At the present time, everyone who was inside has managed to exit the building and to join the support demonstration. The demo, a few hundred people strong, has now taken to the streets.

Towards 3 pm, the police promised they would talk to the Social center's "diplomats" before intervening. At the set meeting time, the police rushed towards the fence that surrounds the building's backyard instead. At the time, a few dozens of people, including a few families with children, were enjoying the sun and playing music, talking and eating. The police broke the fence's locker and rushed towards the building's entrance gate while reading the first eviction notice received by the squatters.

» continue reading "Brutal eviction at the Autonomous Social Centre in Montréal"

May 29, 2009 Weblog:

Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario

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--Reposting--

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2009

Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario

Justice for Migrant Workers and No One is Illegal-Toronto condemn the latest workplace raids in Leamington, Ontario. In the early morning of Wednesday, May 27th, Immigration Enforcement swarmed Lakeside Produce arresting nine migrant workers, all women, [o]ne of whom is pregnant. They are all being detained in the Windsor County Jail.

“We are outraged by these arrests,” says 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.”

These latest arrests mark an alarming trend of workplace raids by the Canada Border Service Agency. In April, CBSA conducted large scale raids throughout the [Greater Toronto Area] and Southwestern Ontario, where over 80 migrants were arrested and deported.

Workplace raids will only serve to terrorize and intimidate workers into working for low wages and unsafe working conditions because they are constantly under the threat of deportation.

In the middle of this recession, the Tory government is spending money and resources on arresting people, throwing them into detention centers and buying their plane tickets, instead of supporting social services for those in need.

The Tory government is targeting racial and ethnic communities and is using the raids to inflame racism and bigotry. They are using migrant workers as scapegoats in this recession.

» continue reading "Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario"

April 21, 2009 Weblog:

Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back

Since the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was tabled on March 26th, people across Canada have been getting the word out and showing their opposition to the deal.

Popular rejection of the deal has spread far and wide, and has even reached Prime Minister Harper.

"There is a view in some groups that they don't like modern economic policy. They think you can make progress without it. They're entitled to their view," said Harper while in Trinidad and Tobago for the the Summit of the Americas.

Protest against the FTA is not limited to Canada. In Colombia, though the deal was essentially negotiated in secret, people are speaking out.

"To sign this deal would not only make Canada complicit in the innumerable crimes committed by the Colombian government, which crimes have been denounced by the United Nations and the Interamerican Court of Human Rights," reads a letter sent by dozens of Colombian organizations and individuals to MPs yesterday.

» continue reading "Harper pushes the Canada-Colombia FTA, the people fight back"

April 6, 2009 Weblog:

URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area

[[Reposting]]

Dear friends and supporters,

This is an URGENT NATIONAL ALERT being sent out by our allies in No One Is Illegal Toronto.

Approximately 100 (exact figures unconfirmed) migrant and
non-status workers have been detained in large-scale workplace enforcement
actions in Ontario, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area district.

There has been minimal media reporting on these huge-scale operations, a
local report on one of the raids in Bradford is available
here
.

* DETAILS ON THE RAIDS:

April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East
Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford/Simcoe County, the Canada Border
Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across
Southern Ontario, who are now languishing in detention centres.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved
ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status
people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Kanada.

On early Thursday morning, enforcement officers stormed into three
different businesses in Bradford and Markham where they arrested migrant
workers. CBSA even followed workers to their homes throughout the GTA and
surrounding areas. In total 80 people were arrested. They were placed on
GO buses, handcuffed and held immobile for hours.

"One of my relatives was arrested in the raid. She called me from jail
this morning. She and her co-workers are terrified that they may be
deported at any time," said Jonathan Canchela, chair of the Filipino
Migrant Workers Movement- and member of Migrante-Ontario.

» continue reading "URGENT: Migrant workers detained in Toronto area"

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Dominion Weblogs compiles the weblogs of Dominion editors and writers. The topics discussed are wide-ranging, but Canadian Foreign Policy, grassroots politics, and independent media are chief among them.

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