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June 6, 2011 Weblog:

Political prisoner Bassem Tamimi's statement at trial opening

http://www.popularstruggle.org/free-tamimis

Press release
Monday, 6 June 2011

West Bank Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi, to Judge: “Your Military Laws Are Non-Legit. Our Peaceful Protest is Just”
Tamimi, who has been held in custody for over two months, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and held a defiant speech explaining his motivation for organizing civil resistance to the Occupation. See his full statement below.

After more than two months in custody, the trial of Bassem Tamimi, a 44 year-old protest organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, finally commenced yesterday. Tamimi, who is the coordinator for the Nabi Saleh popular committee, pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against him.

In a defiant speech handed before a crowded courtroom, Tamimi proudly owned up to organizing the protest in the village saying, "I organized these peaceful demonstrations to defend our land and our people." Tamimi also challenged the legitimacy of the very system which trys him, saying that "Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East you are trying me under military laws [...] that are enacted by authorities which I haven't elected and do not represent me." (See Tamimi's full statement at court bellow).

Tamimi was interrupted by the judge who warned him that it was not a political trial, and that such statements were out of place in a courtroom. Tamimi was cut short and not allowed to deliver his full statement.

After Tamimi finished reading his shortened statement, the judge announced that the hearing's protocol has been erroneously deleted. However he refused to submit the full written statement to the stenographer. She went on to dictate a short summary in her own words for official record.

» continue reading "Political prisoner Bassem Tamimi's statement at trial opening"

April 19, 2011 Weblog:

Chasing Ghosts: Questioning the death of Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni, killed Friday, April 15 is the first international activist killed by Palestinians in the history of the conflict. Mystery surrounding his kidnapping and death leaves significant questions about the those allegedly responsible, the investigation, and the future of the region.

I didn't know Vittorio Arrigoni, the 36 year-old Italian ISM activist killed on Friday, allegedly by a Salafi resistance group in Gaza. The day he was killed, I put his picture as my Facebook profile, alongside a quote by him from two years prior. The week before, I had the picture of Juliano Mer-Khamis up there, with the following words: ""To be free is to be free first of all of the chains of tradition, religion, nationalism " - Juliano Mer Khamis, 1959 - 2011. How long is long enough to keep their pictures a Facebook profile? If these types of killings are becoming a trend, the answer may be - until the next one is killed.

The reasons for the two men's deaths are very different and the people who killed them very likely did it for very different reasons, but their proximity cannot be ignored. More importantly, the shroud of mystery surrounding their deaths and the impact they will have on the tiny community of Israelis and internationals working and volunteering in the Palestinian territories greys further the ever- present clouds on the horizon.

» continue reading "Chasing Ghosts: Questioning the death of Vittorio Arrigoni"

March 30, 2011 Weblog:

Canada: Israel’s New Army Buddy

Originally published at JNews

OTTAWA - It used to be that when you counted Israel’s top allies, the obvious names came to mind: Germany, the UK and, of course, the US. These days, Canada seems determined to soar to the top of that list, confirming the judgment of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister. While visiting Canada in 2009 he said, “Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone… We need allies like this in the international arena.”

And again, the current Canadian Prime Minister reaffirmed this relationship in his speech at a conference that equated criticism of Israel with antisemitism, where he declared that “There are, after all, a lot more votes in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francaphonie, or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost”.

Indeed, while presenting itself as an honest broker, Canada’s been an uncritical friend to Israel, especially since the election of the Conservative minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Under his leadership Canadian aid was redirected from UNRWA, the special UN agency that works exclusively with Palestinian refugees. Domestically, funding was cut to KAIROS, a faith-based group falsely connected to the global boycott movement, sending a chill through NGOs dealing with the Middle East conflict.

» continue reading "Canada: Israel’s New Army Buddy"

March 13, 2011 Weblog:

In the land of King David

PHOTO: Metal fence covers the streets of the Old City of Hebron, to prevent Israeli settlers who live in the apartments above from throwing garbage and bricks on the Palestinian merchants below. CREDIT: Lia Tarachansky

As the Israeli government endorses school trips to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israelis protest against the arrest of four hikers who killed a Palestinian during a similar tour.

Last month, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced a new programme – taking Israeli school children on tours to the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. It is scheduled to begin in September. This announcement follows closely on an investigation into the death of a 17-year-old Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli hikers on a tour in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In the past, such tours were permitted by the Israeli Civil Administration authorities but this announcement signals the first open government endorsement.

On 28 January 2011, the David and Ahikam Tours Company (link to Hebrew website) took a group of Jewish-Israeli hikers over the lands of the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron governorate. Youths from the village saw the group and threw stones. The hikers shot back, using live ammunition, wounding 23-year-old Bila Mohammad Abed Al-Qador and killing 17-year-old Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl.

» continue reading "In the land of King David"

January 19, 2011 Weblog:

Polls and protests paint a hopeful picture in Israel

Joint Israeli-Palestinian poll authors write rabbis' letter: "Our poll indicates that only minorities of Israelis and of Israeli Jews support these steps."

Recent months saw a ruthless barrage of disturbing articles on internal political developments in Israel. Articles that shine light on one ugly picture. Those painting the picture, pundits, journalists, peace activists and those of us who like to think of ourselves as anti-racist Israelis are painting it to be one of a rising tide in racism and state-repression. Some in Israel are saying these signs are but a warning, drawing parallels to 1935 Germany or the American south during the Jim Crow Laws. But as gloomy as the picture seems, new public opinion polls paint a different one. They paint a more hopeful picture, at least of Israel from within.

On Friday, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to oppose the rise of anti-democratic moves in Israel. They changed "Yehudim ve Aravim Mesarvim Lihyot Oyvim" a chant I heard often in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories. It means "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies." Some signs read "Orthodox Jews for Democracy", an attempt to counteract some of the actions of Orthodox Jewish leaders in recent months.

» continue reading "Polls and protests paint a hopeful picture in Israel "

December 27, 2010 Weblog:

Jonathan Pollack's sentencing statement

Monday, December 27, 2010

Your Honor, once found guilty, it is then customary for the accused to ask the court for leniency, and express remorse for having committed the offence. However, I find myself unable to do so. From its very beginning, this trial contained practically no disagreements over the facts. As the indictment states, I indeed rode my bicycle, alongside others, through the streets of Tel Aviv, to protest the siege on Gaza. And indeed, while riding our bicycles, which are legally vehicles belonging on the road, we may have slightly slowed down traffic. The sole and trivial disagreement in this entire case revolves around testimonies heard from police detectives, who claimed I played a leading role throughout the protest bicycle ride, something I, as well as the rest of the Defense witnesses, deny.

As said earlier, it is customary at this point of the proceedings to sound remorseful, and I would indeed like to voice my regrets regarding one particular aspect of that day's events: if there is remorse in my heart, it is that, just as I argued during the trial, I did not play a prominent role in the protest that day, and thus did not fulfill my duty to do everything within my power to change the unbearable situation of Gaza's inhabitants, and bring to an end Israel's control over the Palestinians.

» continue reading "Jonathan Pollack's sentencing statement"

August 12, 2009 Weblog:

Who profits from Israeli occupation?


More at The Real News

Boycotted by activists, the Israeli company AHAVA is backed by one of Israel's most powerful families
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Description: After the Israeli attack on Gaza earlier this year, the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign (BDS Movement) escalated all around the world. Now, activists are targeting AHAVA, an Israeli cosmetics company founded by and based in an Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank. The AHAVA company, as many others in Israel that are based in the Palestinian Territories or profit from their occupation are owned by the powerful Israel family - the Livnat family. The Real News investigates how the family's dynasty is invested in the economy of the occupation.

May 12, 2009 Weblog:

26/04 Derrick Jensen on Washington IMF protest

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Sunday, April 26th, 2009, a final march was held in protest of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank representatives' meeting. A weekend of demonstrations and direct actions was held to demonstrate people's anger at the policies of these financial institutions, as well as the recently allocated $1.1 trillion bailout to the IMF by the countries of the G-20.

December 18, 2008 Weblog:

LAST RESORT: Natives Stand Up

Canadian government plays divide and conquer with Algonquin indigenous peoples over logging

Video Description: The indigenous Algonquin community of Barriere Lake has been fighting with the provincial government of Quebec and the federal government of Canada for nearly twenty years over their land. Blockades they have set up in the late 1980s stopped illegal logging on their land and led them to sign a Trilateral Agreement with the two governments. Today, the community claims the agreement and all others that followed have not been honored, while logging companies plan to resume operations. In an effort to exert pressure on the government and the logging industry, the community has set up several blockades in protest. In response, the community's spokespeople and leaders have been arrested. Benjamin Nottoway, Barriere Lake's customary chief has been arrested at the last blockade and sentenced to two months in jail.

October 21, 2008 Weblog:

Canadian Pacific Rail attacked in Toronto- Molotovs and Fires

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The following is a communique posted on various sites and listservs.

[The contents of this post have been removed, due to the potential for police seizures, affecting our ability to continue serving this site. To read the original communiqué, go here.]

October 18, 2008 Weblog:

Palestinians Dismantle Isreali Roadblocks

As Palestinian villagers decide to take dismantling the Israeli occupation into their own hands, the Real News Network's Lia Tarachansky speaks to Jesse Rosenfeld on segregation and the West Bank. Checkpoints and roadblocks play a key role in separating Palestinians from Israelis and Israeli appropriated areas, from commercial areas, and from each other. Since the beginning of the second Intifadah in September 2000 the number of checkpoints in the West Bank increased to over 500.

» continue reading "Palestinians Dismantle Isreali Roadblocks"

October 16, 2008 Weblog:

Activists block the 2010 'Spirit Train'

No Olympics.jpg

By Dan Kellar for Rabble.ca
October 15, 2008

On Sunday October 12, activists from AW@L, Six Nations, Guelph, London, Kitchener, Toronto, Waterloo and Hamilton blocked the Olympic “Spirit Train” on the tracks as it approached Toronto, by locking down on the tracks and occupying a railway bridge.

This highly coordinated and well executed non-violent action was taken in solidarity with the Olympic Resistance Network of British Columbia, the Native Youth Movement of the Coast Salish People, and the Anti-Poverty Committee of Vancouver, who have called for actions against the Spirit Train and all 2010 Olympic related activities.

The non-violent action to block the Spirit Train was a resounding success as our goal to have national media coverage that actually spoke about the true issues surrounding the Olympics was met. Hopefully we have inspired others to take action as well. More and more people are gaining an understanding that the Olympics in general, and more specifically the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, are no longer about sports and culture, they are about profit for a small elite and wide scale environmental destruction through development of stolen First Nations land.

Canadian Pacific (CP) called the action a "serious safety risk", though no train was within five kilometres of the blockade as scouts were tracking the progression of the train from Sudbury. Also, the lock down team had full safety control of the situation by using a self-release device. CP followed their pre-set safety precautions and no one was ever put in danger.

» continue reading "Activists block the 2010 'Spirit Train'"

October 14, 2008 Weblog:

Olmert Admits Israel Must Withdraw

Israel/Palestine- Ehud Olmert passes leadership of the Kadima Party to Tzipi Livni and leaves a challenging legacy. In comments he made during an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Olmert admits Israel must withdraw from areas of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and even the Golan Heights, an area at the center of the Israeli-Syrian dispute.

» continue reading "Olmert Admits Israel Must Withdraw"

October 13, 2008 Weblog:

PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train

By Lia Tarachansky and Jesse Freeston

Vaughan, ON- On Thanksgiving Sunday, October 12th, 2008 roughly two dozen protesters blockaded the Canadian Pacific Rail just north of Toronto.

The blockade began at 5:30 p.m. and ended just after 8:00 p.m. Winnie Small, 20, attached herself to the rails in order to delay removal by police.

Alex Hundert, police liaison for the varied group of protesters, negotiated with the local police service, which was taken by surprise by the bridge blockade.

The group, consisting of Anti-War @ Laurier organizers, native organizers from the Six Nations reservation by Caledonia, and various individuals, was allowed to leave the blockade without arrests or conflict.

According to the police, who were in communications with CP rail on site, the blockade caused millions of dollars of economic damage and delayed trains all along the rail line.

Please stay tuned for The Real News Network video report later this week


Blockaders Set up lock down


Winnie Small, 20, locked down to the tracks with a "v" shaped metal bar


"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land" banner laid out by protesters

» continue reading "PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train"

October 11, 2008 Weblog:

Chiefs of Ontario intervene for Barriere Lake

Rt Hon Stephen Harper.Barrier Lake.October 10 08.jpg

Chiefs of Ontario intervene on behalf of Barriere Lake Algonquins.

Please see attached

October 9, 2008 Weblog:

Video: Algonquin Blockade Attacked by Police

NOTE: NORMAN MATCHEWAN, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE BARRIERE LAKE ALGONQUINS WAS PUBLISHED TODAY IN THE MONTREAL GAZETTE!

» continue reading "Video: Algonquin Blockade Attacked by Police"

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

CP Spirit Train will roll into Cooksville GO Station on Thanksgiving weekend

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TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2008 /CNW/ - On Monday, October 13, the Canadian Pacific Spirit Train will bring Olympic spirit to the Cooksville GO Station and surrounding community with a free festival from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Six-time Juno award winner Colin James headlines the event, while Olympic and Paralympic athletes bring the excitement of the games to this traveling outdoor festival promoting the Vancouver 2010 Games.

GO Transit is proud to have the Cooksville GO Station in Mississauga as the location for this festival stop. "We are happy to work with Canadian Pacific and help encourage national pride for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said GO Transit Managing Director Gary McNeil.

This free, all day event has something for the entire family to enjoy from musical performances to interacting with Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Visitors can also enjoy many activities and explore various exhibits. The Kids' Zone will offer workshops where families and kids can build their own mini Olympic wooden Inukshuks in honour of the Vancouver Olympic emblem. Other activities include trying out sledge hockey, a challenging Paralympic sport, or creating a video postcard message for Canadian athletes at the video booth.

For more information on the CP Spirit Train village, please visit
www.cpspirittrain.com for up-to-date event details, including concert and performance schedules, and an in-depth look at CP's historical involvement with the Olympics.

» continue reading "CP Spirit Train will roll into Cooksville GO Station on Thanksgiving weekend"

October 7, 2008 Weblog:

Algonquins Hospitalized After Police Attack

ABL police.jpg

UPDATE: An Algonquin man is hospitalized the morning after Quebec police shot him in the chest with a tear-gas cannister. A disabled teenage girl was also treated with oxygen in the local Health Clinic. Twenty two children under eight and two babies were caught in the tear gas shot by the police.

To view photos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, October, 7, 2008

Canada and Quebec use riot police, tear gas, and "pain compliance" on peaceful Algonquin families to avoid negotiations: 'pain compliance' perfect description of Conservative's aboriginal policy, say community spokespeople

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - Yesterday afternoon, the Conservative government and Quebec used riot police, tear gas, and "pain compliance" techniques to end a peaceful blockade erected by Algonquin families from Barriere Lake, rather than negotiate, as requested by the community. The blockade on Highway 117 in Northern Quebec began at 6:00am Monday, with nearly a hundred community members of all ages and their supporters promising to remain until Canada's Conservative government and Quebec honoured signed agreements and Barriere Lake's leadership customs. Around 4pm, nearly sixty Quebec officers and riot police encircled families after a meal and without warning launched tear gas canisters, one of which hit a child in the chest.

» continue reading "Algonquins Hospitalized After Police Attack"

October 6, 2008 Weblog:

Riot Police Target Barriere Lake Algonquin Blockade

aaabl.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, October 6, 2008

Quebec police threaten to mass arrest peaceful Algonquin road blockaders: Community determined to maintain blockade until Canada and Quebec honour their agreements and respect leadership customs

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - Families from the Barriere Lake First Nation in Northern Quebec set up a peaceful blockade at 6:00 am this morning, promising to maintain it until Canada and Quebec respect and implement widely praised agreements, and Canada appoints an observer to witness a leadership reselection in the community, and respects its outcome.

"We maintained a peaceful presence all day, but Canada and Quebec would now rather have the Quebec police arrest youth, elders and mothers, than deal in good faith with our community," said Norman Matchewan, a youth spokesperson, from the site of the blockade, as riot police from Montreal prepared to make arrests.

- 30 -

Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson : 647 - 227 - 6696, 514 - 831 - 6902

Michel Thusky, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 - 435 - 2171

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière
*******************************************
www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com
514.398.7432

-------------------------------------------
Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada
25 Cecil St., Unit 307
Toronto ON M5T 1N1
Tel: 416-423-5525; Fax: 416-423-7140
canada@cpt.org
www.cpt.org

MEDIA ADVISORY

October 6, 2008

Contact: Joel Klassen (613) 331-0969 (English & French);

Christine Downing 647-296-0969 (English)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

» continue reading "Riot Police Target Barriere Lake Algonquin Blockade"

October 6, 2008 Weblog:

Highway Blockade set up by Barriere Lake Algonquins

Barriere Lake Algonquins.jpg

Barriere Lake Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117:
Community loses patience with broken agreements and coup d'etat on Algonquin territory

Brief description: After exhausting all political avenues, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and many non-native supporters have just blockaded highway 117. They will maintain the peaceful blockade until both the Canadian and Quebec governments honour their signed agreements that would allow co-management of their traditional territory and resource revenue sharing, and until Canada respects their leadership customs by appointing an observer to witness a leadership selection in accordance with their Customary Governance, and in good faith recognize the outcome.

Click here for the Algonquins' full list of demands

Quotes from Barriere Lake Algonquin Spokespeople:

Michel Thusky, community spokesperson: "To avoid their obligations, the federal government has deliberately violated our leadership customs by ousting our Customary Chief and Council. In what amounts to a coup d'etat, they are recognizing a Chief and Council rejected by a community majority. The Quebec government is cooperating with the federal government too because they are using the leadership issue as an excuse to bury the 1991 and 1998 Agreements they signed with our First Nation."

» continue reading "Highway Blockade set up by Barriere Lake Algonquins"

September 30, 2008 Weblog:

A Letter from the RNC 8

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Dear Friends, Family, and Comrades:
We are the RNC 8: individuals targeted because of our political beliefs and work organizing for protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention, in what appears to be the first use of Minnesota’s version of the US Patriot Act. The 8 of us are currently charged with Conspiracy to Commit Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism, a 2nd degree felony that carries the possibility of several years in prison. We are writing to let you know about our situation, to ask for support, and to offer words of hope.

A little background: the RNC Welcoming Committee was a group formed in late 2006 upon hearing that the 2008 Republican National Convention would be descending on Minneapolis-St. Paul where we live, work, and build community. The Welcoming Committee’s purpose was to serve as an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body, creating an informational and logistical framework for radical resistance to the RNC. We spent more than a year and a half doing outreach, facilitating meetings throughout the country, and networking folks of all political persuasions who shared a common interest in voicing dissent in the streets of St. Paul while the GOP’s machine chugged away inside the convention.
In mid-August the Welcoming Committee opened a “Convergence Center,”a space for protesters to gather, eat, share resources, and build networks of solidarity. On Friday, August 29th, 2008, as folks were finishing dinner and sitting down to a movie the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department stormed in, guns drawn, ordering everyone to the ground. This evening raid resulted in seized property (mostly literature), and after being cuffed, searched, and IDed, the 60+individual inside were released.

» continue reading "A Letter from the RNC 8"

September 29, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins Slow Hwy 117

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, September 29, 2008

Barriere Lake slows down traffic on Highway 117: continues to pressure Minister Lawrence Cannon and his Conservative Government to respect Barriere Lake's agreements and leadership customs

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory Territoire Algonquin /- On the National Day of Political Action, at 1:30 pm, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake will slow down traffic on highway 117 to distribute flyers and raise awareness about the Conservative government's violations of their rights.

"The federal government must accept reasonable demands we've spent years trying to reach them about – that the government honour agreements they've signed with us and stop undemocratically propping up an illegitimate Chief and Council in our community," says Norman Matchewan, a youth spokesperson for Barriere Lake.

They want the Government of Canada to uphold an internationally lauded sustainable development agreement Barriere Lake signed with Quebec and the Conservative federal government in 1991. The Government of Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001.
To resolve the situation, Barriere Lake is demanding that the Government of Canada send observers to witness a leadership re-selection, in accordance with Barriere Lake's Customary Governance Code, in good faith recognize the outcome, and then cease all interference in their internal affairs.

– 30 –

Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819-435 - 2171

Michel Thusky, Barriere Lake spokesperson : (819) 435-2171

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière
*******************************************
www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com
514.398.7432
Reply

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September 11, 2008 Weblog:

TRNN journalists charged with unlawful assembly

TRNN journalists charged with unlawful assembly

Documentary report by Real News team arrested along with 818 people during the RNC

The right to assembly

» continue reading "TRNN journalists charged with unlawful assembly"

September 10, 2008 Weblog:

Six Nations Needs Urgent Support

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This morning, the Brantford Police arrested two young activists from 6 Nations, aged 17 and 19. The two were arrested in transit while trying to leave the campsite on Fen Ridge Court. Twenty cops in 8 unmarked cars pulled over the vehicle they were travelling in, and arrested the two teenagers who are currently in jail. Activists at the site in Brantford have asked for supporters to come to the site tonight and/or tomorrow.

The Hampton Inn site on Fen Ridge has been shut down completely for two weeks. It had also been shut down several times over the last few months by various representations from 6 Nations including Ruby and Floyd Montour, the Confederacy Council, the Men's Fire, and now grassroots activists including Boots Powless and a newly dubbed NYM-6 Nations. The current callout comes directly from the activists on site.

The group has maintained the site beside the Hampton Inn development site in a tepee for over 60 days, upholding the declaration put forward by the Men's Fire that these sites should be shut down pending settlement of outstanding land disputes. Further, all three sites that have been targeted from the base camp have been sited as posing ecological threats; the Fen Ridge industrial development area and the Oak Park Road development site are located in an environmentally sensitive area less than a kilometre from the Grand River.

A Callout for supporters to be physically on-the-ground as early as tonight has been issued from the camp. They are also asking for food and phone cards ("solo" brand).

To get to the site:

» continue reading "Six Nations Needs Urgent Support"

September 9, 2008 Weblog:

Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs

Originally published in the Canadian Dimension magazine, September/October 2008 issue

Guided by resource discovery and the heavy-handed rule of the free market, the mining of gold today is “rush-mining,” much as it was a century ago. From the Indigenous lands of Brazil to those in Canada, from Tanzania to the Philippines, whenever gold is discovered, local communities are forced to migrate or attempt to adjust to the new industry. In fact, only eleven per cent of the gold mined worldwide has a practical use in technologies like biomedicine or electronics. Meanwhile, seventy per cent is used for jewellery, with the rest going to investment. Some 35,000 tonnes of gold simply sit in bank vaults around the world, while the environment and innumerable communities are destroyed for its excavation.

Canada plays a huge role in this global market, being home to the largest gold-mining corporations in the world. At the very top reigns Barrick Gold, with others like Goldcorp, Gabriel and Pacific Rim close behind. Collectively they mine on every continent except Antarctica, on which mining is forbidden. But not all gold is excavated by large, corporate colonialists, nor is all of it done abroad. One quarter comes from artisanal or small-scale mining, and minimal but continuous extraction takes place at home (mostly in Ontario and Quebec.)

Countries in Central America and Central Africa have low environmental regulations and worker-safety requirements. They are resource-rich, and are therefore a lucrative destination for Canadian businesses. At home, even though most resource extraction takes place on Indigenous lands, we have relatively strict extraction, land-use and environmental laws, meaning most companies strive to mine offshore.

» continue reading "Golden Opportunity: Mining Against All Costs"

August 11, 2008 Weblog:

The Importance of Being disEarnest

OTTAWA, ON - On August 6th 2008, returning from a trip to the West Bank and Israel, Liberal MP and External Affairs Critic Bob Rae spoke in the Canadian Senate about his views on the crisis in Palestine. Many were disenchanted with the inconsistency of his message.

Rae flip-flopped on numerous points as they suited his message including the importance of the history of the conflict, the success of the Annapolis process, the legality of the occupation, and the basis for Canada's involvement in the conflict.

The event was hosted by the National Council on Canada Arab Relations and the Middle East Discussion Group.

August 7, 2008 Weblog:

Rae flip-flops over Palestine

OTTAWA, ON- Aug 6th, 2008- what began as a fairly balanced description of the historical record of the creation of Israel in Palestine, quickly became yet another bipartisan speech of the Liberal party. Strongly criticizing Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party’s actions in regard to Israel/Palestine, Liberal Party External Affairs critic Bob Rae failed to provide any concrete actions his own party intends to take.

“It was the emergence of modern Zionism that would set the stage for modern conflict,” He began. His proposed solution to this roughly century-long conflict is “recognition of two states, new governance for Jerusalem, limited right of return, and generous funding of a Palestinian state.”

Contradicting himself several times throughout his speech, Rae paid lip service to the social justice movement while adding to the pile of anti-Iran rhetoric.


“Iran’s president is a holocaust denier and refers to Israel by what can only be described as the most hateful of terms."

“Our role should not be of simple neutrality,” he said, adding, “Our friendship with Israel by no means can be indifferent to the Palestinian claim [for self-governance].” When challenged on his proposed plan of action, he reverted back to mediating and perpetuating the aging peace-process. Meanwhile, he admitted, “I don’t think the process today is particularly transparent.”

He further added to the confusion by concluding “it’s the parties themselves that are going to have to resolve the conflict.”

» continue reading "Rae flip-flops over Palestine"

July 24, 2008 Weblog:

Algonquins Demand Justice in Ottawa

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The past month has been a hotbed of indigenous social justice activity in Ottawa. The Algonquin community of Barriere Lake has organized and carried out several actions alongside local organizers and ally groups.

On June 26th, 2008 a dozen Algonquins and supporters occupied the office of MP Lawrence Cannon, Stephen Harper’s Quebec Lieutenant. Cannon is the also the Minister of Transportation and MP Responsible for the Pontiac Region in Quebec, in which Barriere Lake is located.

“We came here today to demand a meeting with the minister,” said Acting Chief Benjamin Nottoway in front of the MP’s office in Buckingham, QC. His demand of the minister was “to call for a leadership reselection in our community. We hope to get a response by today, or we will stay here as long as it takes.”

The aboriginal activists and allies unfortunately could not stay, as by five in the evening they were forced to leave the office. Six were arrested, detained, and released later in the night, greeted by a crowd of cheering supporters.

The chief’s promise to continue putting pressure on the minister was not in vain as on July 16th almost a hundred members of the reserve of 450 came to Ottawa for a three-day protest and camp-out.

We’re here to demand the minister live up to the promise that he made to us,” said former chief Jean-Morice Matchewan. “They never kept one promise that they made to us,” he continued.

» continue reading "Algonquins Demand Justice in Ottawa"

July 22, 2008 Weblog:

Chief of Barriere Lake Speaks

OTTAWA-Located two hours north of Montreal, the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake came to Ottawa to protest government interference in their reserve.
Demanding a meeting with MP Lawrence Cannon and a government-overseeing of governance reselection on their reserve, the community aims to correct a March coup d'etat carried out on their reserve.

The community's Customary Chief, Benjamin Nottoway, speaks with RabbleTV about the recent events on the reserve, the governance difficulties, and the struggle to protect the land.

Terry Matchewan, an Algonquin man who was part of the delegation to Ottawa was attacked alongside four other Algonquin men by Gatineau police and speaks of their targetting and wounds.

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