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April 18, 2007 Weblog:

Mackinnon on Post-Soviet Revolutions, take II

Early descriptions of Mark Mackinnon's new book, The New Cold War received a skeptical reaction from this corner -- to say the least -- and Stefan Christoff's and my critique of his coverage in Lebanon resulted in a bit of a scrap via email.

» continue reading "Mackinnon on Post-Soviet Revolutions, take II"

April 16, 2007 Weblog:

Seeking info on Quebec Government involvement in Haitian education

Can anyone have info or links regarding the Quebec Government's involvement in education in Haiti? darren.e@sympatico.ca

April 16, 2007 Weblog:

Journalism from the point of view of the poor majority in Haiti

One of the few Haitian journalists reporting from the point of view of the poor majority needs your assistance. Wadner Pierre has been regularly contributing to important solidarity sites such as HaitiAction and HaitiAnalysis and the Institute for Democracy and Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), but his camera is barely functioning. Darren Ell and the IJDH are selling 8x10 photographs taken by Wadner and Darren in the last year in Haiti to raise money for a new camera.

» continue reading "Journalism from the point of view of the poor majority in Haiti"

April 14, 2007 Weblog:

Ex Gratia?

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ACLU has resulted in a grim look at the killing done by US soldiers in Afghanistan, something which is rarely discussed.

Natually, Canadians are doing the same stuff, but that doesn't mean it will be discussed.

But someone could file an Access to Information Act request about Canada's "ex gratia" payments of no more than $2000 to the families of the people they kill.

April 13, 2007 Weblog:

Operation Narwhal will not be welcomed

Here's a pretty interesting press release coming out of Denendeh.

---

Government of Denendeh
DEHCHO FIRST NATIONS BOX 89, FORT SIMPSON, N.W.T. X0E 0N0 TEL: (867) 695-2355/2610 FAX: (867) 695-2038
e-mail: dcfn@dehchofirstnations.com

For immediate release TROOPS AT FORT SIMPSON WILL NOT BE WELCOMED

» continue reading "Operation Narwhal will not be welcomed"

April 13, 2007 Weblog:

Canadian Mining in Mexico

Upside Down World has published Mandeep Dhillon's excellent summary of Canadian mining companies operating in Mexico.

There are over 100 Canadian mining companies operating in that country alone.

Also at UDW, Grahame Russell looks at the Canadian Mining round tables as essentially a way to divert resistance to destructive mining projects.

April 11, 2007 Weblog:

SKYE RESOURCES: Response to CEO's comments on CBC

OPEN LETTER TO IAN AUSTIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SKYE RESOURCES

Ian Austin, President & CEO
Skye Resources
Suite 1203 - 700 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
V6C 1G8

April 11, 2007

Dear Mr. Austin,

To begin, we want to thank you for responding to the CBC’s request for an interview regarding Skye Resources in Guatemala. Your willingness to respond publicly to the situation in El Estor connotes your awareness of the need for a response to public concern over the operations of your company in Guatemala.

» continue reading "SKYE RESOURCES: Response to CEO's comments on CBC"

April 9, 2007 Weblog:

Vimy, a Break

Rick Salutin has a somewhat sane counterpoint to the Vimy fever that's going around these days.

April 9, 2007 Weblog:

Support Independent Journalism in Haiti!

The need for strong independent voices in Haiti is greater than ever. Here is your chance to support the work of a young Haitian photojournalist whose work is appearing on HaitiAction.net, Haitianalysis and other media important to the struggle for democracy. Wadner Pierre has been living and working with Father Gerard Jean-Juste for the last ten years. For the last two years, he has been reporting and photographing important human rights issues in Haiti. He brings to the world information and analysis directly from Haiti’s poor, something absent in the mainstream media.

» continue reading "Support Independent Journalism in Haiti!"

April 7, 2007 Weblog:

If they were smart...

...political parties would be buying ads in Quebec right about now, pointing out that Stephen Harper is a Leafs fan.

April 6, 2007 Weblog:

Prisoners

I haven't weighed in about the Iranian hostage crisis, but it's about time that I did. I'm shocked, shocked, to say the least, that a country would dare to unilaterally detain citizens of another sovereign country without trial, and subject them to questioning. Why, I'm sure it's only the massive media attention that kept them from dressing them up in orange jumpsuits, keeping them in humiliating conditions, and torturing them.

Iran has released them, but we cannot soon forgive this unpardonable violation of sovereignty and rights. Especially given that the British may have been in Iraqi waters. No foreign country has any right to enter those waters without Iraq's permission.

» continue reading "Prisoners"

April 4, 2007 Weblog:

Bosnian Serb Jailed

Dragan Zelenovic, a Bosnian Serb, pleaded guilty to charges of war crimes gruesome war crimes committed during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. That's well and good, insofar as the claims are true.

But the fact that Serbian war criminals are singled out, while the hundreds, possibly thousands of war criminals that have been backed in various ways or in the employ of the US government are free to do as they please makes the "justice" of such a decision meaningless, and discredits the court.

March 29, 2007 Weblog:

Rheostatics: Last Gig Tomorrow.

The band that "would seem to venerate Rush, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot in equal measure" takes the stage tonight at the Horseshoe and then at Massey Hall tomorrow to wrap up 17 years of relentlessly quirky, beautiful rock and roll.

The Star has a little retrospective.

He's bang-on, really. I've had some near-religious experiences at Rheostatics live shows, cherish a number of their songs ("Aliens (Christmas 1998)" is a fave) and have always found the lads – Dave Bidini, Martin Tielli, Tim Vesely and Michael Phillip Wojewoda, as well as past drummers Dave Clark and Don Kerr – a tremendous bunch of guys, but I'm by no means an aficionado because, to be honest, sometimes I find their more freewheeling antics quite impenetrable.

» continue reading "Rheostatics: Last Gig Tomorrow."

March 28, 2007 Weblog:

Victory for Reactionary Xenophobia: Quebec Election

The Quebec election was characterized by a great deal of discontent with the traditional establishment parties, the PQ and the Liberals. The remarkable thing about this election was that this discontent was successfully shifted from the policies that ostensibly pissed people off in the first place, onto to Muslims living in Quebec. Turning anger at unrelated issues into anger at immigrants is hardly a new political technique, but watching it happen here in Montreal is pretty astounding.

It sounds far-fetched to me, too, but the media, led by Quebecor's Journal de Montreal was able to stir up a lot of discontent about basically nothing (even the Gazette didn't buy it). The ADQ's Mario Dumont had been pushing this for months, hoping to get a bump in the polls from latent racist discontent. The PQ's André Boisclair got in on it, late in the campaign (see below). With the media's help, a few isolated incidents (a kid wearing a dull ceremonial dagger to school, a girl playing soccer in a headscarf) were turned into a debate about what "accomodations" are reasonable for Quebeckers to extend to immigrants. (One assumes the Mohawk and Algonquin nations ask themselves the same question, with a bit more substance.)

» continue reading "Victory for Reactionary Xenophobia: Quebec Election"

March 24, 2007 Weblog:

300, take II

Here's a letter I sent to the two corporate-owned alt-weeklies in Montreal. The Mirror didn't print it, and while I confess I haven't picked up the Hour yet, I'm not holding my breath.

* * *

Dear Hour,

During a visit to New York last week, I went to see the movie 300 on its opening day. The consensus among the New Yorkers I spoke to was that the timing of the movie was "septic," its appearance coinciding with the Bush administration building for an attack against Iran (with Harper and the Canadian media close behind). There, it seemed obvious that a movie that depicted pasty-white greeks slicing up their attackers--veiled and masked Africans and Arabs led by an eight-foot tall dark-skinned king wearing eyeliner, facial piercings, and sporting a throaty lisp--was politically and ethically problematic. The racism and homophobia permeating this movie were never in doubt.

» continue reading "300, take II"

March 20, 2007 Weblog:

Dominion Radio

The Dominion has jumped on the independent-media-does-radio bandwagon with a vengeance. Luckily, a bunch of us are radio geeks disguised by the printed word.

The first broadcast of Dominion radio, put together by the excellent Halifax crew of Hillary, Pierre and Stuart, is now online.

March 20, 2007 Weblog:

300

John Powers: "When I found out that 300 had been turned into a film and was due to be released this winter I described its timing as "septic." The comic book was a retelling of the story of Thermopylae - a story that has been used to psych up populations for war in democratic nations since year one of the French revolution. The original story, of warrior idealists protecting Greece against a huge Persian army, was a familiar one from childhood. Making a film from the story I grew up with now, with the US and Iranian administrations playing chicken with nukes and threats of attacks, would seem like tragically bad timing.

» continue reading "300"

March 15, 2007 Weblog:

Deaths In Police Firing In Nandigram, India

...maddening way to begin the International Day Against Police Brutality...

Amnesty International India is concerned at reports that atleast fifteen people were killed in police firing today in Nandigram which has been the scene of protests for the last few months against possible displacement due to a new chemical project in a proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Reports say that atleast fifteen people (there are varying reports on the number of people killed) were killed and over hundred people injured in police firing today in Nandigram, Eastern Midnapore district, West Bengal where farmers have been protesting an initiative by the West Bengal state government to acquire land.

» continue reading "Deaths In Police Firing In Nandigram, India"

March 14, 2007 Weblog:

Resistance and Hezbollah

There's a screening on Tuesday in Montreal's Mile End of what looks like a pretty interesting documentary about Hezbollah.

March 14, 2007 Weblog:

The "Reputational Imperative" of ILO 169

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has just released a new report on the International Labour Organization's Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169. The report is meant as a guide for the private sector "in relation to C-169."

The new IFC report basically sets up a "reputational imperative" for companies to comply with ILO 169, noting that "While a private company might feel the need to clarify that the law does not apply to it, a more fruitful approach may be to try to act in a way that is consistent with the principles of the Convention on issues such as consultation, land rights, and protection of indigenous peoples' cultures." (my emphasis).

» continue reading "The "Reputational Imperative" of ILO 169"

March 14, 2007 Weblog:

International Womens' Day assault

Police assaulted several marchers at an International Womens' Day demonstration last week. This thursday, a demonstration opposed to police brutality is being organized in Montreal as well.

March 13, 2007 Weblog:

Advertising. Free to decide.

ForeignOffice.com has a montage of the advertising and news clips that were part of the background and scenery in the film Children of Men.

(via Greg.org)

March 12, 2007 Weblog:

Native blockade in western Quebec

CBC: "About 50 aboriginal demonstrators blocked a highway in western Quebec's Outaouais region Monday in a protest over logging and living conditions."

March 12, 2007 Weblog:

Election in France

An interesting analysis of the 'bipartisan' racist political dynamics in France looks at the outta-nowhere centrist candidate François Bayrou vis-a-vis the right-wing and "socialist" candidates, Sarkozy and Royal:

And Bayrou has been making all the right moves. For example, when Sarkozy this week -- in a blatant appeal to Le Pen's electorate -- promised to create a new "Ministry of Immigration and National Identity," Bayrou immediately reacted with a strong denunciation of Sarkozy for "crossing the line" and linking the two concepts in a thinly-veiled racist appeal.

» continue reading "Election in France"

March 9, 2007 Weblog:

Intimidation, defamation and fear: Goldcorp in Guatemala

Vancouver based Goldcorp lodged a formal complaint today against Madre Selva, a Guatemalan ecologist collective, as well as against Flaviano Bianchini, an Italian biologist who carried out water quality studies near Goldcorp's Marlin mine in Guatemala. Bianchini's study found high levels of heavy metals, and the findings were released by Alvaro Ramazzini, the Bishop of San Marcos.

» continue reading "Intimidation, defamation and fear: Goldcorp in Guatemala"

March 9, 2007 Weblog:

The latest on Haiti from Canadian Television

To see the latest version of facts by Canadian mainstream TV on recent operations in Cite Soleil, go to the link below. It's in French, but my summary and criticism below is in English.

http://www.radio-canada.ca/actualite/v2/tj22h/#

It's a report called "Au coeur du mal" (Into the heart of Evil) by a big dude with Radio-Canada: Jean-Michel Le Prince. Let's ignore the title of the report. His report just reached probably over a million Quebecois and a couple hundred thousand Francophones outside of Quebec. In the report, he's embedded with the MINUSTAH troops and follows the recent mass arrests and gang hunt in Cite Soleil. I was there for the end of the operation. Check out the report and blog in your comments. Here's mine:

» continue reading "The latest on Haiti from Canadian Television"

March 8, 2007 Weblog:

Doctors Without Borders' Work with Women in Haiti

A representative of Doctors Without Borders in Haiti has asked me to remind people to the work they are doing with women in Haiti as a way of marking International Women's Day. If you go to their site, you'll find the following the informationl below.

English Site: http://www.msf.ca/en/news/newsreleases/2007/021907_haiti.html

French Site:
http://www.msf.ca/fr/news/newsreleases/2007/021907_haiti.html

- a brief introductory article to the Jude Anne hospital project
- web video interview with our Head of Mission on obstetric needs of women in Port au Prince
- photo slide show with captions

» continue reading "Doctors Without Borders' Work with Women in Haiti"

March 7, 2007 Weblog:

Support for Lavalas Runs Deep in Haiti

Almost every night in Haiti I would unwind at the end of the day by walking down from my hotel to a local family's shop, buy a beer, then sit with the owner and his family, chatting about various things with them and friends that came by. Five children, two parents, two chickens, 8 chicks and a cat lived in a 200 square foot home. His farm habits came from a previous life led in the countryside, fitting the pattern of growing chaotic urbanization in Haiti. Eventually, the father asked me for financial help for his girl's education (Haiti has one of the most privatized education systems in the world, or so I was told, and so it certainly seemed).

» continue reading "Support for Lavalas Runs Deep in Haiti"

March 6, 2007 Weblog:

Advice for Haiti Activists in Canada and US

Mario Joseph, the leading human rights lawyer in Haiti, granted me a long interview yesterday in Port-au-Prince. We discussed many things (published soon), but when I asked him about what activists should be doing in Canada and the US, he said: "Keep your eyes wide open, watch your governments closely, be sophisticated in your research." He expressed deep gratitude as well to all those who have been working for democracy in Haiti.

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