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November 18, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Appreciates ICC Recent Correspondence

November 17, 2009

The Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, an Indigenous Peoples of Canada, thank the Head of the Information and Evidence Unit, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court for their most recent correspondence regarding specific and subsequent communication submissions.

The Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, an Indigenous Peoples of Canada, are very appreciative of the valuable time and consideration given, and are pleased that the information that we have submitted will be maintained in the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court archives.

The Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, an Indigenous Peoples of Canada, appreciates all aspects of the correspondence and will certainly continue to maintain a strong interest in the work and mandate of the International Criminal Court, as well as continuing our expression of concerns with appropriate national and international bodies.

Yours sincerely,

Paula LaPierre
Principal Sachem
Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation
Kichi Sibi Anishnabe
Canada

November 12, 2009 Weblog:

Finance Minister Rejects Push for "Tobin Tax"

A proposal by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a global tax on financial transactions to fund bank bailouts has been rejected by Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, according to the CBC.

"That’s not something that we would want to do. We’re not in the business of raising taxes," said Flaherty.

A a global tax on financial transactions (also known as a Tobin Tax) was first proposed by economist James Tobin as a means of regulating out-of-control speculation in financial markets.

Brown's proposal was also rejected by the US.

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"

November 5, 2009 Weblog:

A Tale of Two Churches - One in Haiti, the other in New Orleans

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By Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com

In 2006 two struggles were going on in two different Catholic churches and in two different countries. At Saint Claire’s Parish, Tiplas Kazo, Delmas 33 (one part of Delmas County), Haitian parishioners, students, and community leaders stood up against the decision of the Archdiocese of Port-Au-Port to remove the late activist priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, who had been serving this parish for ten years. Simultaneously at Saint Augustine Church, in Tremé, New Orleans, a similar struggle was taking place. Students of different beliefs and backgrounds, civil right’s movement leaders and community leaders stood up against the unjustified decision of the New Orleans Archdiocese, to remove the elderly African-American priest, Father Jerome Ledoux, from the oldest African-American Catholic church in the United States. To explain the meaning of the people’s struggle at Saint Augustine Church, it is important to understand the history of this church and why it is so important for the African-American Catholic community to keep this church from closing after Hurricane Katrina.

The History of Saint Augustine Church

» continue reading "A Tale of Two Churches - One in Haiti, the other in New Orleans"

» view more photos in"A Tale of Two Churches - One in Haiti, the other in New Orleans"

October 31, 2009 Weblog:

An Urgent Appeal for SOPUDEP School in Haiti

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To those who believe that education is not a privilege, but rather a right for all, SOPUDEP Public School in Pétion-Ville Haiti needs your attention.

We are writing on behalf of the hardworking and dedicated Haitian educators of SOPUDEP School who wish to empower the most vulnerable children in their community. The children of SOPUDEP cannot afford to go to school is Haiti's highly privatized education system. Without SOPUDEP School in their community, these children would never learn to read or have access to a well-rounded education.

The Sawatzky Family Foundation is a registered Canadian charity created in 2008 with the sole purpose of providing financial support for SOPUDEP and raising awareness about this wonderful local social program.

The Sawatzky Family has personally paid the teachers’ salaries ($26,000 (US) for 47 staff) and the majority of the food program that feeds over 650 students five days a week for close to two years.

We have run short on our own resources and are urgently calling for immediate support. We are currently faced with the terrible possibility of cutting teacher salaries. This would force many of them to find other work just to get by, thereby reducing SOPUDEP's effectiveness. Turning away students would subsequently become a very real possibility.

We need a minimum of $6000 (US) to get through the next three months. We are currently preparing a longer-term financial appeal which will allow us to avoid such shortfalls in the future.

SOPUDEP School is a critical social program in Haiti, one that is integral to the future of its people. It is a unique program serving as an example of what free public education should look like in Haiti, and it is one that needs our care and support!

» continue reading "An Urgent Appeal for SOPUDEP School in Haiti"

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 29, 2009 Weblog:

Harry and the Akwesasne People's Fire

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With his CBSA helmet and raingear, honorary firekeeper "Harry" watches over the Akwesasne People's Fire on Kahwenoke ('Cornwall Island'). The fire has been burning at the main crossroads since May 1, 2009 and now, nearly six months later, a building constructed by community members so that elders and others may stay warm over the winter is nearly complete.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) building, abandoned since June 1st, looms in the background. CBSA abandoned the post within the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve when residents announced their rejection of the Canadian government's plan to arm the CBSA agents on June 1st. Police shut down the international Seaway bridges and border crossing just minutes before midnight June 1st, as hundreds of Mohawk residents gathered to protest the imminent arming of CBSA agents within their territory.

The bridge and border crossing were re-opened in mid-July, when CBSA set up a makeshift post at the foot of the bridge over in the city of Cornwall, Ontario. After decades of racial profiling and harassment, Akwesasne residents have now been facing heavy fines and vehicle seizures by CBSA if after crossing into New York they do not immediately drive straight through the island and get in the often lengthy one lane line-up on the bridge to report to CBSA. Island residents are also obligated to wait in the line and go through Canadian customs even when only traveling from Kahwenoke into Cornwall for groceries, appointments, or to pick up their children from high school.

» continue reading "Harry and the Akwesasne People's Fire"

October 16, 2009 Weblog:

Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes - by KITTOH

[Article by KITTOH reposted from the Eagle Watch e-list:]

Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes:
No More Nuclear Madness

by KITTOH

October 16, 2009

The nuclear industry raving lunatics want to build many more nuclear reactors all over the world, especially in Asia. They say it is for "peaceful" purposes only. They call it "green" energy. Wow! What an insult to people's intelligence.

We know that ANY nuclear development and proliferation are about making war and killing people, either quickly with bombs or slowly with nuclear waste.

Indigenous communities in Cree/Dene territory (Saskatchewan, Canada), Ongwehonwe and Nishnaabe territory (Ontario, Canada), Australia, Navaho/Pueblo Territory (New Mexico and Four Corners, USA), Kazakhstan, Niger and elsewhere are being targeted to accept the waste and to endure the devastation of more uranium mining. We have a responsibility to speak out against this insanity for the sake of our future generations who will inherit this horrible legacy.

It looks like somebody wants to foment nuclear war in Asia where the majority of the world's population live. China and Japan have nuclear technologies. India and Pakistan already have nuclear weapons. Pakistan is quickly being drawn into the US led war on Afghanistan. There is no end in sight to this insane carnage and destruction.

» continue reading "Stop the Expansion of Peterborough Nukes - by KITTOH"

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"

October 9, 2009 Weblog:

A Place at the Table?

A Place at the Table?
The Great Bear Rainforest and ForestEthics

from "Offsetting Resistance: The effects of foundation funding from the Great Bear Rainforest to the Athabasca River", a special report by Dru Oja Jay and Macdonald Stainsby.

Released September, 2009.

http://www.offsettingresistance.ca/

Nuxalk Nation hereditary chief Qwatsinas (Ed Moody) explains that logging was causing concerns for his people on the Central BC Coast around Bella Coola, and that resistance began because “In the boom of the 1960’s and 1970’s, a rush [for logging companies] to get all the timber they could” was already underway. In response, “There was action with the hereditary chiefs and the elder people, and eventually the band council.” In 1994, the Nuxalk Nation invited Environmental Non- Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) large and small into their territory to see large scale clearcut logging then well underway.

“We sat down and discussed the pros and cons of any kind of relationship, and we set up a protocol and signed a protocol agreement.” The alliance with Greenpeace and smaller ENGOs Forest Action Network, People’s Action for Threatened Habitat and Bear Watch, says Qwatsinas, “started out really basic. The key people signed the agreements and we had our goals and our objectives and what we want to do to protect the environment.”

“That was the common goal between the environmentalists and ourselves as the First Nation, the Nuxalk, still had the outstanding issue of the land question. There had been a process developed in British Columbia called the BC Treaty Process. We could see that it wasn’t what we wanted because it was very limited, was kind of corrupt and really bent towards the industry.”

» continue reading "A Place at the Table?"

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 28, 2009 Weblog:

“Build Back Better,” Says Dr. Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti: Part I

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By: Wadner Pierre

Since 1983, Dr. Paul Farmer has been working in the Cange locality of the Central department of Haiti. His organization Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) has won international recognition for its work. In August, former US President Bill Clinton, currently the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, appointed Farmer as his Deputy Special Envoy.

In early September, Farmer toured Haiti for the first time in his official capacity with the UN. The stated goal of the mission, whose motto is “build back better,” is to explore short and long term solutions to Haiti’s ongoing economic crisis. Haiti’s educational system, environmental problems and agricultural productivity were addressed in discussions with numerous sectors.

Farmer explained:

“We are not coming to dictate to people who have already been working in Haiti, but we can coordinate their work to make for better results. During my five days I met and listened to everybody, the President, the Prime Minister and other ministers in the government. And I met with the private sector, MINUSTAH, NGOs and the farmers.” Farmer stressed, “When I talk about the private sector, I don’t mean big business people only, but the ‘Madanm Sara’ [street merchants], the peasants who represent an incredible workforce for this country. We need to sustain them. And we also need to make sure that these people find capital to grow their crops and small businesses. And finally, their children should be able to go to school.”

However, Dr. Farmer noted, “This is not a political mission, but a mission to help people build back better Haiti. Haiti has its own potentialities and we can use them to develop Haiti.”

» continue reading "“Build Back Better,” Says Dr. Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti: Part I"

» view more photos in"“Build Back Better,” Says Dr. Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti: Part I"

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 25, 2009 Weblog:

They Tore Down the Kremlin-- and I Wasn't There

The lyrics to the song contained in this track are available here:
http://www.lyricsdownload.com/alarm-the-new-south-wales-lyrics.html 

They Tore Down The Kremlin-- and I wasn't there.
September 20, 2009. 

Macdonald John Enoch Stainsby.

I guess I should first explain why I am writing this article. It would not be at all inaccurate to say I'm trying to channel incredibly powerful emotions that have surfaced as a result of a recent short visit to Maerdy, south Wales in the Rhondda Valley. My family roots trace back to the town known as “Little Moscow” from the 1920's on. I have long known of our ties to this community but not the depth of those connections or what impact on me these ties would have.

I began my own personal journey in life that took me to revolutionary conclusions by necessity beginning when I was in high school but not becoming the path that I would take with my life until my early 20's, roughly 13 years ago. My reasons for moving towards the revolutionary transformation of society had almost nothing to do with our family history but were based on my own rational conclusions based on the state of the world. To this day when someone asks me why I'm a self-described revolutionary I still want to reply: “Look around you. Why aren't you?”

» continue reading "They Tore Down the Kremlin-- and I Wasn't There"

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 11, 2009 Weblog:

Afghanistan's Troubled Election

The Afghan Election Complaints Commission (ECC), with Canadian UN appointee Grant Kippen at it's helm, has published the first results of it's investigation into fraud in the presidential election, held on August 20th. On Thursday the commission announced it would throw out the ballots from 83 Afghan polling stations, where there is definite evidence of fraud. 51 of the problem stations were in Kandahar, 27 in Ghazni, and five in Paktika, according to ECC press releases. Of the 2300 complaints the ECC has received, the largest group concern irregularities at the polls, including ballot box stuffing. Other common complaints include allegations of intimidation, and lack of access to the polls, particularly for women. The ECC investigation is ongoing and could result in a fresh election.

Currently, as vote tallying continues, the three front runners in the presidential election are the incumbent Hamed Karzai with 54.1%, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah with 28 %, and Ramazan Bashardost with 9.2 %. 91.6% of polling stations have been tallied, so the counting is almost done, but further investigations into fraud could change things significantly. According to electoral law, if Karzai doesn't receive at least 50% of the valid votes, there will have to be a run-off election this fall. If enough ballots are invalidated as a result of the ECC investigation, Karzai could lose his current winning position, and fall below the necessary 50%.

» continue reading "Afghanistan's Troubled Election"

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 5, 2009 Weblog:

Haiti: SOS Education in Cap Haitian

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Some of the more than 50 children who finished school last year thanks for the Shada School Fund

Help Send 50 Youth Leaders to School in Haiti

The option of free primary schooling is something that most of us take for granted. This is not so in Haiti where free schooling is non-existent and public schools are inaccessible to the majority of students. Today 85% of Haitian schools are private and costs per student per year range from $10 at state schools to $400 in private schools. In addition to enrollment costs children are required to buy all of their own books and uniforms. For families with an annual income of $1000 who often have many children, school costs are prohibitive. Parents are forced to choose which of their children will attend school.

Kids often stop and start their education for financial reasons, repeat classes and often just plain drop out. Only 67% of Haitian children finish primary school and most never finish high school.

SOIL is an organization based in Cap Haitien Haiti that works on transforming wastes into resources through technology and empowerment projects, including ecological sanitation and garbage transformation contests. For the past 3 years SOIL has worked closely with the community of Shada, an urban area on the outskirts of Cap Haitien where 40,000 people live in a labyrinth of houses without a single road. Shada is one of the poorest communities in Haiti.

» continue reading "Haiti: SOS Education in Cap Haitian"

September 5, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Assert Aquifer of International Legal Concern

As a State does Canada have the right to destroy important international environmental and scientific evidence regarding the increasingly scarce life sustaining resource such as clean water?

As a State does Canada have the right to destroy important international environmental and scientific evidence regarding the long-term effects of radioactive materials and our natural environment?

The Kichesipirini asserts that the protection of aquifers such as this are matters of international concern and character.

The Kichesipirini asserts that these matters, the ready access and proper stewardship of clean and safe drinking water are human rights.

Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation continually asserts that environmental and economic issues in Canada are directly associated with our unresolved colonial past and that any long-term effective remedy must address this.

Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation has been continuously asserting internationally that it is in the best interests of all Canadians that Canada work to develop appropriate de-colonization processes for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

The Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation asserts that the protection of the Alliston Aquifer and its continued use as an important environmental monitoring resource must be considered a matter of international public interest and that it be in the best interests of the public to use this, in its highest condition, as a most appropriate background measure for monitoring nuclear and industrial contamination and determining effective remedial actions.

For further information please refer to;

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2858#comment-20027

September 4, 2009 Weblog:

Oliver Stone: New Movie on Hugo Chavez

A trailer for Oliver Stone's new movie, South of the Border.



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.

August 29, 2009 Weblog:

Michael Deibert and Elizabeth Eames Roebling Attack IPS Journalists Writing on Haiti

By: Kim Ives

About a week ago, an IPS story reported that Amnesty International called for the release of Ronald Dauphin and described his continued detention as "politically motivated".

In response, Elizabeth Roebling accused IPS of becoming an "outlet for spin" and directed members of the corbett list to a bitter response on Michael Deibert's blog. Deibert is the author of "Notes from the Last Testament," an account of President Aristide's second term, which was cut short by the February 29, 2004 coup.

Normally, I wouldn't bother responding to a mere political difference. But Deibert makes several personal attacks on the IPS piece's authors Wadner Pierre and Jeb Sprague that warrant correction.

Deibert's allegations are irrelevant to the accuracy of the IPS article. Readers can check the facts reported (most importantly, Amnesty's appeal on Dauphin's behalf ). Good journalism, like good scholarship, relies to the greatest extent possible on sources that readers can check.

Deibert wrote that Sprague "...works as a teaching assistant at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Sociology Department, focusing on crime and delinquency, subjects with which his past behavior [sic] no doubt gives him a close familiarity."

This is a baseless ad hominem attack. Sprague's PhD studies are not focused on crime and delinquency, and, if they were, would not justify Deibert's nasty insinuation.[1] Furthermore, teaching assistant duties are not the same thing as a graduate student's area of study, and, much less, evidence of a criminal background.

» continue reading "Michael Deibert and Elizabeth Eames Roebling Attack IPS Journalists Writing on Haiti"

August 27, 2009 Weblog:

Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas

by Isain Mandujano, published on Proceso.com.mx

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, August 26th. - After eight days of detention, the State Judicial system's Attorney General's Office (PGJE, for its Spanish acronym) freed activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was accused by Canadian corporation Blackfire Exploration Ltd of affecting the company's economic interests, due to the highway blockades led by Abarca Roblero.

According to the court document #033/FS10/2009 in the case taken up by the State Attorney for Relevant Issues of the PGJE, Abarca Roblero was accused of attacks against public roadways, criminal association, organized criminal activity, offences against the peace and the physical and public integrity of the collective and of the State.

Mariano Abarca was detained on August 17th by state police agents when he was leaving a primary school, where he left a letter requesting permission for the school premises to be used this weekend for the second national gathering of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria, REMA).

According to his lawyer, Miguel Angel de los Santos Cruz, the police were supposedly in possession of an "order to appear," which they never revealed.

"In theory, this order does not imply detention. However, when he was taken to the State Attorney's office and gave his declaration, his detention was ordered immediately thereafter. Because detention only permits the judicial system to hold someone for 48 hours, the order was requested for 30 days," he said.

De los Santos added that Abarca was detained for eight days in the PGJE detention center.

» continue reading "Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas"

August 20, 2009 Weblog:

HAITI: Calls Mount to Free Lavalas Activist

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By Wadner Pierre and Jeb Sprague

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 20 (IPS) - Government authorities in Haiti face recent criticism over allegations that they continue to jail political dissidents.

On Aug. 7, Amnesty International called for the release of Ronald Dauphin, a Haitian political prisoner. Dauphin is an activist with the Fanmi Lavalas movement of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He was seized by armed paramilitaries on Mar. 1, 2004 - the day after Aristide's government was ousted in a coup d'état.

According to Amnesty, "the delay in bringing Ronald Dauphin to trial is unjustifiable and is politically motivated". The organisation "opposes Ronald Dauphin's continued detention without trial, which is in violation of his rights, and urges the Haitian authorities to release him pending trial."

Amnesty noted that Dauphin's health has deteriorated severely in Haiti's National Penitentiary, which is notorious for the appalling conditions to which it subjects inmates. One of Dauphin's co-defendants, Wantales Lormejuste, died in prison from untreated tuberculosis in April 2007.

In May 2009, doctors examined Dauphin and called on the authorities to immediately transfer him to a hospital. But today, nearly five and half years since his original arrest, he has not seen his day in court and remains locked up.

Demonstrations in downtown Port-au-Prince, with hundreds of supporters, occur here on a weekly basis, calling for the release of political prisoners. They are organised by local grassroots groups such as the Kolektif Fanmiy Prizonye Politk Yo, Fondasyon 30 Septanm, Organizasyon AbaSatan, and the Group Defans Prizonye Politik Yo.

» continue reading "HAITI: Calls Mount to Free Lavalas Activist"

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