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November 26, 2008 Weblog:

Real News Network: Resistance to the 2010 Games

The Real News Network has a new piece up about resistance to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

November 19, 2008 Weblog:

Finer than Vancouver's finest?

The "Downtown Ambassadors" are a public/private security force funded by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the City of Vancouver. In this video, a red-jacketed "ambassador" is caught in action in Gastown.

Vancouver's new Mayor Gregor Robertson has promised to scrap city funding for the program.

October 24, 2008 Weblog:

Colombia: Bombs in Bogotá, Minga, General Strike, President fesses up...

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Many things going on in Colombia over the last couple of days, best captured [in English] by the ever articulate Mario Murillo in his post Who is behind today's six bomb blasts in Bogotá?

Mario guides us through some of the happenings, including:

-Six bomb blasts in Bogotá

-The continuation of the Minga led by Indigenous people from Cauca, on the march to Cali, now joined by Indigenous movements from across the country

-A successful general strike

-The ongoing strike by sugar cane cutters

-President Uribe's admittance on CNN that the army fired on Indigenous demonstrators

-The resignation of the head of Colombia's Department of Administrative Security (DAS)

Also worth checking out: The five demands of the Minga. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales interview Mario Murillo and Rafael Coicué on Democracy Now! Finally, for Spanish speakers, TV footage of Rafael Coicué on CNN.

Photo: Marching to Cali, day one by Joris van der Sandt

October 23, 2008 Weblog:

Fiftieth anniversary of the Springhill Mine disaster

Today is the 50th anniversary of the third Springhill coal mine disaster.

The CBC has some archival TV footage from the days following the disaster. Seventy four men were killed in the disaster, and 100 miners were trapped underground for almost nine days before being freed.

Prior to the deadly events of 1958, there were two large mine disasters at Nova Scotia's Springhill Mine, one in 1956, and another in 1891.

October 20, 2008 Weblog:

Real News Network clip on US - Colombia free trade

Nice clip by the Real News Network about the recent mention of Colombia in the US presidential debates.

October 17, 2008 Weblog:

Interview: Indigenous resistance and state repression in Colombia

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Update from Cauca, Colombia: Indigenous resistance and state repression is an 8 minute interview with Manuel Rozental, recorded on the evening of Thursday, October 16th.

Rozental talks about the status of the mobilizations and their significance on a national level, the repression faced by the movement, and the five point agenda being demanded by the communities in resistance.

More info at radio4all.

Photo by Simone Bruno.

October 14, 2008 Weblog:

Update - massacre 'imminent': Indigenous uprising continues in Colombia

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This just in from Mario Murillo:

"...all the communities gathered in the locality of La Maria, in the department of Cauca, are completely surrounded by the Colombian Army. Apparently, the security forces are preparing to carry out an armed assault against the civilians involved in the protest, which began on Sunday, October 12th. Organizers estimate that there are over 10,000 people currently at La Maria and surrounding areas."

After a two-day minga, or popular mobilization which included the participation of over 12,000 people in the Cauca region of Colombia, Indigenous movements are continuing to maintain highway blockades and demand justice and reparations.

From today's communiqué:

"We are risking life for liberty. We have dignity and we reclaim respect. The order that has obligated to take these actions is violent. We are not prepared to continue dying alive. No More."

Other sectors have announced or enacted their solidarity with the Indigenous uprising in Cauca including workers' unions, and the striking sugar cane sector. They are currently asking folks to put pressure on the Colombian government to ensure that their resistance is not met with brute force. Update: your support is urgently needed. Please take a moment to write or fax the Colombian ambassador, Jaime Girón Duarte.

To contact the Colombian Embassy in Canada:

360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, ON. - K1R 7X7
Tels: (613) 230-3760/1
Fax: (613) 230-4416
Email: embajada@embajadacolombia.ca

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

Active duty military force deployed to patrol US streets

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has been deployed to streets in the US. Amy Goodman has an excellent piece about the underreported shift of US soldiers from Iraq to US streets.

In December 2001, in the midst of restricted access to bank accounts due to a financial crisis, respectable, middle-class Argentines rose up, took to the streets, smashed bank windows and ultimately forced the government out of power, despite a massive police crackdown and a failed attempt to control the media. Here in the U.S., with the prospect of a complete failure of our financial system, the people have spoken and do not want an unprecedented act of corporate welfare. We don’t know how close the system is to collapse, nor do we know how close the people are to taking to the streets. The creation of an active-duty military force, the sea-smurfs, that could be used to suppress public protest here at home is a very bad sign.

October 5, 2008 Weblog:

Georgia Straight: The In-SHUCK-ch's road to reconciliation

The In-SHUCK-ch's road to reconciliation is a fine piece of investigative journalism by the Straight's Stephen Hui.

A 2005 report, Transformation: From Myth to Reality, commissioned by Canada, B.C., and the In-SHUCK-ch, calls the First Nation's communities "as isolated as any one can find in Canada", noting that the reserves lack safe road access and land-line telephones and aren't connected to the power grid. Without cellphone coverage, residents who have them communicate by two-way radio.

One hundred and eighty-seven, or 20 percent, of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation's 933 members live on its reserves, while the rest live in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and elsewhere. In a survey conducted for the 2005 report, most members residing off-reserve cited housing and employment as reasons for doing so. Sixty-five percent of off-reserve respondents said they want to live in the valley.

"Despite being relatively close to the Lower Mainland and to the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, the lower Lillooet River Valley has been left to economically stagnate—a direct result of the lack of basic infrastructure," the report states.

October 2, 2008 Weblog:

'Spirit Train' protests continue towards the East

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Activists in Edmonton interrupted the 2010 Olympics Spirit Train stop-off there on September 29th.

Their actions came on the heels of a protest in Vancouver that marked the launch of the train. Vancouver's Olympics Resistance Network has called for mobilization as the train travels east.

A smaller demonstration against the Spirit Train took place in Calgary.

In Sudbury, the local Coalition Against War and Occupation (SAWO) is planning to protest the train as it rolls through on October 11th. The train's last stop will be in Montréal on October 18th.

September 24, 2008 Weblog:

Archival photos in the public domain

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I've just discovered pingnews.com's photostream on Flickr. It's loaded with interesting archival images that are not copyrighted. Enjoy!

Above: The Almightier, published in Puck Press, 1907 May 15.

September 24, 2008 Weblog:

Vancouver event about independent media on Friday 26th

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Dominion readers in Vancouver are invited to come to State of the Media, a discussion about alternative media, with folks from Coop Radio Vancouver, the Dominion, rabble.ca, Warrior Publications and AliveinMexico.

The event is on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m., at 706 Clark Drive (at Georgia St).

There will also be food & music (& probably dancing too).

See you there!

Photo by Dawn.

September 24, 2008 Weblog:

Dion: Liberals won't sign a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

Stéphane Dion spoke this evening to a crowd of over 400 students at the University of British Columbia.

During the question period, I asked him if he would support a Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Colombia.

Dion (in English, he had previously answered in French):

"The question was about, uh, if we will accept a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia. The way it was negotiated by the Conservatives we have no guarantee at all that the basic rights will be respected through this agreement, the workers rights, and so on. It [sic] is why we can not accept it."

September 18, 2008 Weblog:

Ipsos Reid: Half of Canadians agree with the 'Harper-as-Bush premise'

A new Ipsos Reid poll reveals that Canadians don't like too much about any of the leaders in the current federal election.

According to the Ottawa Citizen:

"Stephen Harper is a George W. Bush clone with a hidden agenda. Jack Layton is not the champion of the average "kitchen table" Canadian. Stéphane Dion is not a team player and is wrong on the environment and economy.

Those are the findings of a new poll that shows widespread dissatisfaction and disillusionment with Canada's three national party leaders currently vying for the job of prime minister in the federal election."

September 15, 2008 Weblog:

New website: Tar Sands Free BC

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Tar Sands Free BC is a comprehensive new website that has been launched as part of a growing movement against the expansion of the tar sands in North America.

Check back frequently for regular news updates on the tar sands in BC & the world.

September 13, 2008 Weblog:

Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong!

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Bolivia on edge after martial law declared screams a headline in today's Toronto Star. The Reuters piece blasts President Evo Morales for "banning protests," obscuring the cause of the violence inside of Bolivia almost completely.

Manuel Rozental, Colombian surgeon and activist, stated this morning that right wing groups [led by opposition regional governors] in Bolivia are hoping to pull off a "mediatic coup."

"Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong, the truth, the official truth will only come from the Government and popular organizations and their guidance must be sought," he wrote.

In a separate story, Reuters reported today that "Officials said at least 15 people -- mostly pro-government peasant farmers -- had been killed in clashes on Thursday with backers of the opposition regional governor."

Olivia Burlingame Goumbri wrote in Alternet that "Despite the fact that [Morales] represents the majority of Bolivians, refusals to recognize President Morales and his legitimate policy initiatives since he was first elected in 2005 have been a growing problem, and one that reflects racism."

Refusals to recognize Morales don't stop with the Bolivian elite, but reverberate through western government policies and the media.

» continue reading "Bolivia is popular, Bolivia is strong!"

September 9, 2008 Weblog:

Monbiot: "Trade deals are the new gunboats"

George Monbiot discusses fishing, free trade and modern day pillage in his article titled Rich countries once used gunboats to seize food. Now they use trade deals.

Monbiot writes: "Where once they used gunboats and sepoys, the rich nations now use chequebooks and lawyers to seize food from the hungry. The scramble for resources has begun, but - in the short term, at any rate - we will hardly notice. The rich world's governments will protect themselves from the political cost of shortages, even if it means that other people must starve."

September 9, 2008 Weblog:

Palin: Praying for a Pipeline

"I can do my part, by doing things like working really really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, about a $30 billion project that is going to create a lot of jobs for Alaskans, and we'll have a lot of energy flowing through here, and pray about that also. I think god's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that..." -Sarah Palin

September 6, 2008 Weblog:

On HBO's The Wire & two Americas

David Simon, executive producer and writer of HBO's The Wire, ruminates on Baltimore and the USA.

"Well, there are about 350 television shows about the affluent America, the comfortable America, the viable and cohesive nation where everyone gets what they want if they either work hard or know someone or have a pretty face or cheat like hell. That America is available every night, on every channel in the Comcast package.

For a brief time, there was one television drama about the other America."

September 1, 2008 Weblog:

Amy Goodman arrested at RNC in St. Paul

Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar from Democracy Now! were arrested today (September 1) at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

They are requesting that concerned journalists and citizens call Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

August 30, 2008 Weblog:

The Conservative message on the North? Militarize it.

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The Conservatives have already identified seven issues for what seems like an imminent election this fall: Health Care, Child care, Tackling Crime, Lower Taxes, Environment, Accountability and Arctic Sovereignty.

Afghanistan, according to the Conservatives, isn't an election priority for Canadians. Filling the North with soldiers, warplanes, and tanks, apparently, is.

Snippets from Conservative messaging on the Arctic, meant to be sent by Canadians as letters to editors, include:

"I’m glad our government is finally seeing the potential of the Canadian Arctic and is making real plans to protect and defend it... A serious military presence is what we need and that’s what Stephen Harper is giving us... we have to show the world we have the military means to assert our sovereignty... Conservatives are talking about respect for our Northern governments, economic development, environmental protection and increased military presence as means to assert sovereignty in our Arctic..."

Photo art by Matt Davis.

August 26, 2008 Weblog:

Fox News & Democracy Now at the DNC

Coverage by Fox News of the protests outside the Democratic National Convention. The chanting that begins around 2:20 is particularly humorous...

Check it in comparison with Democracy Now's coverage of the same event yesterday!

August 18, 2008 Weblog:

Colombia: ICC investigates extraditions

The International Criminal Court is sending Argentine attorney Luís Moreno to Colombia to investigate the extradition of paramilitary bosses from Colombia to the US.

The ICC will also investigate the connections between congresspeople and senators with paramilitary groups, a scandal known as parapolitica in Colombia.

The New York Times ran an article on August 15th titled International court may investigate Colombian rebels' backers, which portrays the ICC investigation as primarily related to the FARC and their international funding sources.

Information linking the investigations to the extraditions of paramilitaries and the parapolitica is buried in one sentence at the end of the NYT article. There is no mention of the FARC in the letter to the Colombian government from an ICC representative.

Instead, the letter from Moreno to the Colombian ambassador at The Hague warns the government that if justice can not be done by the Colombian judicial system, the International Criminal Court will intervene.

» continue reading "Colombia: ICC investigates extraditions"

August 15, 2008 Weblog:

DN interview with Jeremy Hinzman

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This morning on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez did an excellent interview with Jeremy Hinzman, the first US war resister to seek asylum in Canada. Last Wednesday, Canadian border services ordered Jeremy and his family to leave Canada by September 23rd.

From the interview: "...on June 3rd, the Canadian parliament passed a non-binding motion by a vote of 137-to-110 saying that US war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. However, the conservative government is refusing to enact the legislation."

"Right now, there’s a conservative minority government. Canada has a parliamentary system, and they hold the balance of power. And I wouldn’t say they’re lapdogs to the US, but they share many of the same values of the Bush administration and aren’t really sympathetic to what we’re doing."

Photo by R. Whitlock.

August 12, 2008 Weblog:

Video: Plan of Aggression in Northern Cauca, Colombia

This brand new video may help put into context yesterday's threats on these communities and their leaders.

The five minute short was scripted, filmed and edited by members of the communication network of the Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN).

August 12, 2008 Weblog:

Nasa communities in Colombia on Maximum Alert

The following was translated to English by La Chiva:

ALERT: CAMPAIGN OF TERROR BEGINS AGAINST INDIGENOUS NASA IN CAUCA, COLOMBIA

11 August 2008

Earlier this afternoon, the Association of Indigenous Authorities of Northern Cauca (ACIN) received the text of a threat by email, which we are attaching below for you to read. This letter of terror, signed by the CEC (Campesinos Embejucados del Cauca, or ‘Furious Peasants of Cauca’), announces that “at approximately 00:00 tonight, you will receive information regarding the murders at the hands of peasants of paHECES [1] and the ex-guerrilla heads of the CRIC, which will be confirmed by phone and a consequences of their disrespect.” In this threat, we are referred to as paHECES, or ‘excrement,’ exposing the racism of the author(s).

The 7-page threat states throughout its hateful and false content the decision to defame the indigenous process and the commencement of a campaign of terror and death. The context in which this letter has been sent is that of the parapolítica [2], with the clear collusion of the Colombian government:

The threats against the indigenous movement made by the President of the Republic, who has ordered the payment of rewards for the arrest of indigenous Senator Jesús Piñacué, who is mentioned in the threat;

The recent confession of the paramilitary member Orlando Villa Zapata, involved in the 1991 massacre in El Nilo [Cauca], that said massacre was planned in the Hacienda La Emperatriz in the presence of the landowners;

» continue reading "Nasa communities in Colombia on Maximum Alert"

August 10, 2008 Weblog:

DFAIT ministers: a defector and a senator

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A low profile June 25th federal cabinet shuffle saw David Emerson, a businessperson who was a star candidate for the Liberal Party and crossed the floor into a cabinet post with the Conservatives shortly after the 2006 election, become the minister of foreign affairs.

Montréal banker and Harper appointed senator Michel Fortier (pictured) was moved from minister of public works and government services to minister of international trade.

Christian Paradis became minister of public works and government services.

August 8, 2008 Weblog:

Extraction! now available online

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Extraction! Comix Reportage, winner of the 2008 Expozine Alternative Press Award for best English language book & published by the now defunct Cumulus Press, has just been released online as a series of PDFs.

Enjoy!

August 5, 2008 Weblog:

Monbiot: "Everything hinges on stopping coal"

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There is an excellent article by George Monbiot in today's Guardian titled "The stakes could not be higher. Everything hinges on stopping coal."

He quotes Al Gore as saying "I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants."

Newsflash, Mr. Gore: in some form or another, they are.

Monbiot goes on to explain that he's on his way to the climate camp outside the coal plant at Kingsnorth (in England).

As if they didn't have enough fossil fuel related issues on their plate with the tar sands, 70% of Canadian coal reserves are in Alberta.

Below, a couple of coal related notes for those who may not have caught them in the Dominion Paper's July in Review:

Goldsource Mines Inc., a junior exploration company, discovered coal in its search for Saskatchewan diamonds. The company's shares rose from 37 cents in late April to $14 per share. With energy costs on the rise, the company says a coal deposit discovery is more valuable than diamonds.

» continue reading "Monbiot: "Everything hinges on stopping coal""

July 17, 2008 Weblog:

Canadian Hypocrisy, CSIS, and Omar Khadr

The July 15 release of seven hours of footage of a CSIS agent interrogating Omar Khadr is the first footage released of an interrogation at Guantanamo, and the first time that footage of a CSIS interrogation has been made public.

Toronto-born Khadr has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay since 2002. He was 15 years old when he was accused of throwing a grenade that killed SFC Chris Speer in Afghanistan.

Romeo Dallaire is quoted in today's Guardian saying: "[Canada has] worked for years to assist other nations in eradicating the use of children in conflict. But our own country doesn't even want to recognise that our own citizen (is a child soldier). No matter what his politics are, it's totally irrelevant."

Chiming in on behalf of the small but powerful extreme right, hyper militarized Canuck class, the National Post editorial board had this to say today, in an editorial titled Keep Khadr Where he is: "...the question becomes, do we trust an American military tribunal to dispense justice? Frankly, we do."

This situation is so terrible, and so wrong in so many ways.

Click here for information on writing your MP & the PM demanding that Khadr be transferred from US to Canadian custody.

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