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January 31, 2007 Weblog:

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The New Yorker has something of a literate puff piece on Hillary Clinton qua politician. Here's a little insight into the mechanics of being a Democrat (or Liberal, or politician, really):

After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a group of black students on campus were threatening a hunger strike if the Wellesley administration did not address their demands. It was the kind of situation in which, as a classmate recalled, “Hillary would step in and organize an outlet that would be acceptable on the Wellesley campus.

» continue reading "Hillary Rodham Clinton"

January 31, 2007 Weblog:

So Ann in Montreal

So Ann in Montreal

Legendary Haitian organizer, grandmother, folksinger and former political prisoner Annette "So Ann" Auguste was in Montreal this week. Cafe Toc Toc was packed last night for her appearance there, where Dominion contributor Isabel Macdonald's short documentary film, "Our Arms do Not Kill," an investigation into the role of the UN military occupation of Haiti, was also shown, and members of Kalmunity performed.

The Montreal Mirror covered So Ann's visit in their last issue. In a press conference on Monday, So Ann said that Canada was to blame for her imprisonment without trial. During her 800+ days in jail, Paul Martin visited Haiti and claimed that "there are no political prisoners in Haiti", and CIDA provided funding for NCHR and other organizations that took the lead in building bogus cases against So Ann and hundreds of other political prisoners. Many remain imprisoned.

» continue reading "So Ann in Montreal"

January 30, 2007 Weblog:

JTF2: Antisocial Operations

Today's Ottawa Citizen cover story about JTF2 contains a few nuggets of information:

The government wants the country's special forces units to be able to work more closely with similar units in the United States when reacting to incidents that potentially threaten North America. Canada's special forces will also play more of a role in training foreign militaries.

Emphasis added. JTF2's operations are completely secret, however, so there's no way of knowing who they're training, unless the government deigns to reveal it.

» continue reading "JTF2: Antisocial Operations"

January 29, 2007 Weblog:

All's quiet on the tar sand front...

Peter Cizek explains why: Scouring Scum and Tar from the Bottom of the Pit.

An indepth look at the "gigaprojects" rocking the North, and the web of NGOs tied up in corporate/ money who thus far have largely failed to respond to what Cizek calls an "environmental holocaust."

» continue reading "All's quiet on the tar sand front..."

January 27, 2007 Weblog:

Shame on...

Back in BC just in time to welcome a pack of gold-silver-nickel-copper toting criminals in suits to the Vancouver for the Association for Mineral Exploration conference, known as Roundup 2007, which will take place from 29 Jan to 01 Feb at the Westin Bayshore.

The list of sponsors is a veritable who's who in the international mining world. I am working on a list with notes to leaflet with, for the moment, I'll pick just one: Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.

Quote of choice: "If we can force Ivanhoe out of Mongolia, that signifies that we are a democratic nation. If we can’t, we will become the next Burma" -S.Ganbaatar, Ulan Baator, 2006.

» continue reading "Shame on..."

January 27, 2007 Weblog:

People and Ideas

The Globe's Business section reports that the new CRTC chief is "pro-consumer". No word about his stance on human beings or their ownership of the airwaves.

In a long backgrounder, Bloomberg notes that Bono is a tax-dodging capitalist.

Diana Johnstone wonders if the International Criminal Court is a worthwhile endeavour, in Counterpunch. Is the ICC capable of finding anyone innocent? Johnstone argues that it's not set up for that purpose. That, and the small matter that the "justice" meted out by the court is selectively applied.

» continue reading "People and Ideas"

January 25, 2007 Weblog:

Wal Town on tour

The überculture kids are videoblogging from their tour with the Waltown film, which is taking them from Victoria to Whitehorse to Saint John's.

January 23, 2007 Weblog:

The Serbian Radical Party

The press has repeated, ad nauseum, that the Serbian Radical Party, which won a plurality of seats in yesterday's election, is "ultra-nationalist", and in a few cases "far right". Unfortunately, there's almost no information about their positions or policies, other than they're against European integration and the extradition of General Ratko Mladic to the Hague.

On the second point, it's hard to argue with them. If one wishes to enforce international law, the way to do it is not to set up a US-funded kangaroo court that refuses outright to try war criminals on both sides. That's not justice, that's a farce. Enforcing international law is a great idea; enforcing it selectively just means it's not law and it's not international. And it's hard to get excited about non-international non-law.

» continue reading "The Serbian Radical Party"

January 21, 2007 Weblog:

"Ultranationalism," Serbia and You

Credit to the BBC for not only not using (at least in that article) the term "ultranationalist" to deride the Serbian Radical Party, which appears to be on its way to winning the elections (but probably not the government) in Serbia today, as many outlets undoubtedly will. The BBC gets extra points for alluding to the small fact that NATO dropped 20,000 tonnes of bombs on the country might have an effect on whether the majority of Serbs are willing to sacrifice their well-being to join the EU.

» continue reading ""Ultranationalism," Serbia and You"

January 20, 2007 Weblog:

Pre-which war?

A former Israeli Justice Minister, now the chair of a national holocaust memorial, had some fairly harsh words for the West Bank settlers. He compared the situation of the Palestinians to that of the Jewish diaspora in Europe before WWII:

"It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn," he said. "I was afraid to go to school, because of the little anti-Semites who used to lay in ambush on the way and beat us up. How is that different from a Palestinian child in Hebron?"

» continue reading "Pre-which war?"

January 19, 2007 Weblog:

Bruce Konviser on Serbia

In today's Globe, Bruce Konviser hits all the major notes of Globe and Mail foreign coverage: unspecified "pro-western reforms" are good, "nationalism" is "destabilizing", and why should any facts get in the way of us reporting that story once again.

I forgot the most important one: history doesn't exist, and if it does, it doesn't matter.

(For a long, fascinating, historical take on whether Serbia should join the EU, check out this essay of sorts by John Bosnitch)

» continue reading "Bruce Konviser on Serbia"

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

From Iran

Poya, a member of No One Is Illegal Montreal, is in Iran, and recently sent back a rather interesting report about life there and the country's political situation.

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

Workers dead, injured in Dubai

The Associated Press and AFP are reporting that four workers are dead and twenty-five injured in a major construction accident.

What none of the agencies (so far, that I've seen) are saying is that an accident this bad was pretty much inevitable, given the sub-human treatment of migrant workers who are building Dubai, and the incredibly strenuous conditions and long hours they are forced to work.

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

Reuters on Hezbollah

This Reuters story starts by saying...

Villagers in Shebaa were grateful to Hezbollah guerrillas for forcing out Israel. Now, some say Nasrallah's image has been damaged by the campaign he is leading against a government which they support.

...but ends by saying that "some" are religious leaders who are probably getting paid to oppose Hezbollah:

In Shebaa, some Sunni clerics and other local leaders have started criticizing Hezbollah, villagers said. "They are trying to impose sectarianism under financial incentives or ideological pressure," Ali said. "Frankly, it's political money."

» continue reading "Reuters on Hezbollah"

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

Barbara McDougall on Six Nations

Another interesting interview on the Autonomy & Solidarity website.

This is a very interesting interview done by CBC with Barbara McDougall who is representing the Canadian government at the negotiating table. She says some quite positive things about Six Nations and also critiques the people in Caledonia who are stirring up trouble...

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

Video Footage from Six Nations

I just came across some great interviews with people from Six Nations. I found Janie Jamison's words particularly kick-ass.

January 18, 2007 Weblog:

Mark Mackinnon's Counter-Excerpt

Mark Mackinnon sent in the highlighted article excerpt in response to the ongoing discussion about Mark MacKinnon's coverage in Lebanon.

For his remarks, read the discussion.

* * *

From "Hezbollah protestors rally against government," by Mark MacKinnon.

Published in The Globe and Mail on Dec. 2, 2006.

(snip)
The demonstrators accused the government, which has supported international calls for Hezbollah to surrender its weapons, of being run by the U.S. embassy. "Down with Feltman's government!" was a popular chant, referring to Jeffery Feltman, the U.S. ambassador.

» continue reading "Mark Mackinnon's Counter-Excerpt"

January 17, 2007 Weblog:

Mark Mackinnon Quotes Hezbollah

The following is a list of all the quotes (or near-quotes) I could find in nineteen articles written by Mark MacKinnon about the situation in Lebanon over a three week period. This serves as an appendix of sorts to our response to MacKinnon's response to the recent analysis of MacKinnon's reporting. But it also provides a degree of insight into how systematically MacKinnon avoids any discussion of the motivation factors behind the massive demonstrations that are still occupying downtown Beirut.

» continue reading "Mark Mackinnon Quotes Hezbollah"

January 17, 2007 Weblog:

Video of Guatemalan Village Destruction

A youtube video, originally posted on Rights Action's site. It goes hand in hand with the January 11 Paley article on Canadian mining company Skye Resources' involvement in the aggressive eviction of several indigenous Guatemalan communities.

January 16, 2007 Weblog:

Globe and Lebanon

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published a half-decent piece about the sit ins in Beirut. I can't help but wonder if the sudden improvement in coverage (which is to say, conformity with well-established facts) had something to do with this analysis that the Dominion published two weeks ago of Mark Mackinnon's wildly misleading coverage of the same protests.

The crux of that analysis was that Mark Mackinnon probably wouldn't mind telling the truth, but likes having his job and pleasing his editors better than he likes telling the truth. (Not unlike a lot of people, probably...) And that, given the opportunity, Mackinnon probably wouldn't have a personal problem with reporting accurately. It's just that when his editors want something different, his career takes precedence.

» continue reading "Globe and Lebanon"

January 16, 2007 Weblog:

HaitiAnalysis.com

Haiti Analysis is a new website featuring writing and, well, analysis about the political situation in Haiti. They're off to a good start, with a decent article on So Ann's visit to New York by Kim Ives.

“We are wasters of power,” she said of the Lavalas movement generally. “Several times we have taken it and each time we waste it.”

She reproached Préval for consorting with imperialism and playing into Washington’s game of repressing the masses and implementing neoliberal reforms such as privatization of key state-owned companies.

» continue reading "HaitiAnalysis.com"

January 12, 2007 Weblog:

RSF and Free Speech in Venezuela

There has been some fuss about the Venezuelan government's plan to remove the license for the Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) network. Rabble.ca even linked to it.

The main problem seems to be that an organization that receive funding from the US State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute (and then refuse to disclose the details) is calling it a crackdown on freedom of speech.

» continue reading "RSF and Free Speech in Venezuela"

January 12, 2007 Weblog:

Open Letter from Gitmo North

Mahmoud Jaballah, Mohammad Mahjoub, and Hassan Almrei have sent an open letter to Canadians about their indefinite detainment.

January 11, 2007 Weblog:

Cochabamba Unrest

The Andean Information Network, once its website is up and running again, has a few more articles about the current developments in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As well, this blog offers a good conglomeration of news stories, including translations from local press, on a variety of topics related to the country's politics.

January 11, 2007 Weblog:

Guantanamo North

There is a mounting campaign to "Close Guantanamo North", a reference to the "prison within a prison" at the Millhaven Institution. It's where the Canadian government is indefinitely detaining non-citizens under "security certificates", an "anti-terror" provision which allows the government to suspend the civil liberties of foreign nationals and hold them without granting access to evidence against them, if it exists.

» continue reading "Guantanamo North"

January 9, 2007 Weblog:

Fool me twice: Dion's Progressive Cred

Murray Dobbin has revised his assessment of Stephane Dion as "progressive". As unlikely as it is, it would be neat if this signaled a much faster turnaround in the public's willingness to take the hype of a supposedly progressive Liberal Party at face value. I confess to having very little faith that Canadians will ever stop voting Liberal unless they're really pissed off, but could it be that they'll do so without believing that for which there is no evidence?

At least then we could be reassured that Canadians are actually in

» continue reading "Fool me twice: Dion's Progressive Cred"

January 9, 2007 Weblog:

Greening the Reality Distortion Field

After 30 years, Steve Jobs still has the ability whip lot of people (well, journalists and geeks, anyway) into a frenzy of anticipation and speculation. The famed reality distortion field is stronger than ever. Why, I remember being a junior high kid compulsively reloading the MacWeek web site in a beta version of Mosaic on similar occasions. And "why?" is indeed the operative question. There's no rational reason to get riled up about this stuff, excepting perhaps that shiny things are neat. Oooh, shiny.

» continue reading "Greening the Reality Distortion Field"

January 8, 2007 Weblog:

Labels to embrace MP3?

According to this interesting analysis by Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired News, major labels may be getting reading to take their drops when it comes to online digital distribution. Buskirk cites a coming massive drop in CD sales and a desire to end Apple's and iTunes' dominance in digital music distribution as the main reasons. The analysis is optimistic to say the least, but it's fun to think that things like better treatment of artists, lower prices (read: prices circa 1970s) and cool new features are just around the cor

» continue reading "Labels to embrace MP3?"

January 8, 2007 Weblog:

The Good Shepherd

WSWS film critic Patrick Martin has a decent political critique of De Niro's CIA flick:

Nowhere in the film does De Niro touch on the principal impact of the CIA internationally: the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives and the trampling on the democratic rights of (literally) hundreds of millions of people in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. His Guatemala is a country where the CIA organizes the overthrow of the government without a visible bloodbath. His Congo is an exotic locale for romance and spycraft, not a place of civil war and ruthless struggle for control of vital natural resources.

» continue reading "The Good Shepherd"

January 7, 2007 Weblog:

Peacekeeping moves

According to the Times of London, the US is making a move to take over leadership of the UN's Peacekeeping forces. The report speculates that this is part of a strategy for getting US troops out of Iraq.

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