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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.

August 10, 2009 Weblog:

DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL IN HAITI

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AI Index: AMR 36/003/2009
by:

Amnesty International August 2009
all photos by wadner Pierre

APPEAL CASE: RELEASE RONALD DAUPHIN

Ronald Dauphin, a Lavalas Party activist, has spent four years in prison without trial for his alleged involvement in an armed confrontation between government supporters and opponents where several people were killed. He is the last remaining in prison of
16 Lavalas members and supporters who were arrested in relation to the killings and other crimes that occurred between 9 and 11 February 2004 in St. Marc’s neighbourhood of La Scierie, 100km North of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Amnesty International believes that the delay in bringing Ronald Dauphin to trial is unjustifiable and ispolitically motivated. The organization 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 International also calls on the Haitian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the 2004 events in La Scierie and bring to justice all those responsible for the killings and other crimes committed by both groups involved in the confrontation, in trials that adhere to international standards of due process and fairness. Impunity for these crimes must not prevail but justice is not served by depriving Ronald Dauphin of his rights.

» continue reading "DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL IN HAITI"

» view more photos in"DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL IN HAITI"

August 5, 2009 Weblog:

COMPARING THE HAITIAN AND HONDURAN COUPS HAITI LIBERTE

"Justice. Verite. Independance."

* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

August 5 - 11, 2009
Vol. 3, No. 3

by Kim Ives

Anyone who has closely watched Washington's mischief and dirty wars around the globe over the past few decades cannot have missed the uncanny similarity between the June 28, 2009 coup d'état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and that of February 29, 2004 against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Both men were abducted by an armed commando unit in the dark early morning hours, placed on a waiting plane, and then flown to a destination they had no choice in or foreknowledge of. Both were facing Washington-backed oppositions and pursuing, or at least flirting with, anti-neoliberal policies and anti-imperialist alliances. Both had large followings among their nations' poor majority.

Several journalists and bloggers have compared the coups, but two pieces stand out. The first is entitled "Haiti and Honduras: Considering Two Coups d'État" by David Holmes Morris, first published July 2 on The Rag Blog (http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/haiti-and-honduras-considering-two.html).

"The same United Nations that now condemns the coup in Honduras and demands Zelaya's return occupied Haiti militarily during the coup government of Gérard Latortue, often attacking Haitians demonstrating for Aristide's return, and occupies it still," Morris notes in his introduction.

Here are a few more excerpts from the piece:

» continue reading "COMPARING THE HAITIAN AND HONDURAN COUPS HAITI LIBERTE"

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

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[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 31, 2009 Weblog:

Occupation to save Old Growth Forest in Guelph

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Residents of Guelph, ON, have been occupying the proposed site of the Hanlon Creek Busines Park. The site is also home to Guelph's Old Growth Forest, and endangers local wetlands and the Jefferson Salamander, on Ontario's official threatened species list.

The occupation began on Monday, July 27th. They were notified that they would be evicted as of July 30th at 4pm, but the time came and went and protestors are still there.

More information is available on their blog at http://hcbpoccupation.wordpress.com, or contact them for interviews or more information at +15198206280, +15198206239 or hcbpoccupatio[at]gmail[dot]com. They are also inviting supporters to the site to lend a hand - a map with directions can be found on their website.

Photo by Sal Jefferson

July 29, 2009 Weblog:

A Look Back at the MINUSTAH Killing of 22 Year Old Haitian Kenel Pascal

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By: Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
All photos by: Wadner Pierre

It was 7:00 am on the 18th of June. Mourners filled the cathedral of Port-Au-Prince to honor the late priest, Gerard Jean-Juste. Most likely, none foresaw that the UN would bring its violent campaign against the Lavalas movement to the cathedral just after the service ended.

A UN troops arrived outside the church to arrest one of the mourners. As they sped away with their suspect, one of troops shot into the crowd. A man known as Kenel Pascal, of Delmas, was killed. The incident was captured on film.

Jean-Juste was an outspoken critic of the UN presence in Haiti and a prominent supporter of Jean Bertrand Aristide, whose democratic government was ousted in a coup of February 2004. Under the UN backed dictatorship of Gerard Latortue, Jean-Juste became Haiti’s most famous political prisoner.

More than 20 priests along with Bishop Andre Pierre and the Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot were in attendance. Bishop Andre Pierre spoke glowing of Gerard Jean-Juste at the funeral. However, many of the mourners recalled Jean-Juste’s stormy relationship with the church hierarchy in Haiti. While an international campaign, assisted by Amnesty International, was underway to release Jean-Juste from prison, the Catholic Church opted to deal Jean-Juste another blow by suspending him from church as punishment for his political activism.

» continue reading "A Look Back at the MINUSTAH Killing of 22 Year Old Haitian Kenel Pascal"

» view more photos in"A Look Back at the MINUSTAH Killing of 22 Year Old Haitian Kenel Pascal"

July 29, 2009 Weblog:

JULY 28, 2009: A MOBILIZATION TO KEEP MEMORY ALIVE!

By Hervé Jean Michel-www.haitiliberte.com

Hundreds of members of popular organizations marched through Port-au-Prince in a large and spirited but peaceful demonstration on Tuesday, July 28, 2009. They were commemorating the fateful day of July 28, 1915 when the United States Marines invaded Haiti and began a military occupation that lasted 19 years, from 1915-1934.

Today, our nation is under the boots of United Nations soldiers working at the service of the Haitian bourgeoisie and U.S. and French imperialism. Symbolically, the demonstrators began at the statue of Haiti's founding father Jean-Jacques Dessalines at Pont-Rouge and marched to the United Nations headquarters in the Bourdon district to demand the immediate departure of the U.N. Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), as the occupation force is called.

The UN Security Council mandate for the MINUSTAH expires on October 15, 2009.

Among the slogans written on banners and posters carried by the demonstrators were: "We want the departure of MINUSTAH and the immediate return of President Aristide!" and "We demand the vote and the application of the minimum wage of 200 gourdes!" and "Down with neoliberalism!"

It was in an atmosphere of great patriotic fervor that these compatriots marched so that they could make their demands heard by the Haitian leaders and their accomplices who help keep the country occupied.

Préval was denounced during the whole course of the march. The condemnation of the Haitian President illustrates how his policy of promoting neoliberalism has destroyed any credence he had with the Haitian people, who, in the aftermath of the February 7, 2006 vote, struggled with all their might to block electoral tricks aimed at subverting Préval's election.

» continue reading "JULY 28, 2009: A MOBILIZATION TO KEEP MEMORY ALIVE!"

July 29, 2009 Weblog:

SECRET FUNERAL FOR A MINUSTAH VICTIM HAITI LIBERTE

"Justice. Verite. Independance."

* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

July 29 - August 4, 2009
Vol. 3, No. 2
by Kim Ives

The young man who appears to have been gunned down by UN occupation troops after a funeral last month received an all but secret funeral himself on July 14 in Port-au-Prince because the priest and family were fearful of UN and Haitian government reprisals.

The victim has also been finally identified as Kenel Pascal, 22, of Delmas.

On the morning of June 18 outside the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, immediately following the funeral for Father Gérard Jean-Juste, troops of the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) fired at unarmed mourners who shouted angrily at them after they roughly arrested a man in the crowd.

When the fusillade ended, Pascal lay dying on the ground just outside a cathedral door, blood bubbling from his head and mouth. He died minutes later. His body was carried by the mourners a half mile to the National Palace. There they left the body in the driveway, laying blame for the killing on President René Préval (see Haiti Liberté, Vol. 2, No. 49, June 24, 2009).

Pascal was originally misidentified as "Ti Charles," then Charles Désir, then "Roudy."

His death was not certified by the Justice Ministry until almost a month later on July 13.

Lavarice Gaudin of the Miami-based Haitian rights organization Veye Yo, founded by Father Jean-Juste, helped organize Pascal's funeral. Most of the arrangements were made by Ketchine Joseph, a Veye Yo sympathizer in Port-au-Prince.

» continue reading "SECRET FUNERAL FOR A MINUSTAH VICTIM HAITI LIBERTE"

July 26, 2009 Weblog:

Haiti: Thousands March on July 15 while July 28 Mobilization is Prepared

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Thousands of demonstrators marched through Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on July 15 to mark the 56th birthday of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The demonstration, which was called by and adhered to by two rival factions of the Lavalas Family party (FL), was considered a great display of unity by its organizers.

At 9 a.m. the crowds gathered at the gate in front of Aristide's still gutted home in Tabarre. It was decorated with flowers and large photographs of the party's leader, who remains in exile in South Africa over five years after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'état against him.

The multitude then moved, like a great river, towards the capital.

Lavalas leaders said that the demonstration was a birthday present for Aristide. "Long live the return of President Aristide!" read some of the posters in the march. " Down with the MINUSTAH [UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, the military occupation force]! Release of all political prisoners! Reinstatement of all fired State employees! Down with the neo-liberal plan!"

Demonstrators also bitterly denounced President René Préval for betraying their expectations that he would help return Aristide to Haiti and fight neoliberal austerity and privatization. Tens of thousands of Lavalas partisans voted for Préval in 2006, helping him win the presidency.

"Our political organization will defeat all those who are working for its demise," declared Dr. Maryse Narcisse, one of the members of the FL's Executive Committee at the close of the demonstration at the Place of the Constitution on the Champ de Mars, the capital's central square.

» continue reading "Haiti: Thousands March on July 15 while July 28 Mobilization is Prepared"

July 23, 2009 Weblog:

Montreal: Alternative Media Open House

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Media makers in Montréal, take note... The first session of the Alternative Media Open House launched successfully last night at Nelson Mandela Park.

There are two more sessions, one on Friday and the next on Sunday.

"We are hoping to make connections with people in the communities we are doing the open houses in and to recruit a few new volunteers who may not have otherwise known these opportunities were open to them," says Courtney Kirkby, a radio producer at CKUT who's helping to organize the events.

The events offer free food, and are really about people getting to know each other.

"This is a unique chance to actually meet a wide range of media-makers in the city and find out what goes into a story and how independent, alternative journalism and news collectives can work," says Kirkby.

Event details are below... Enjoy!

--français ci-dessous--

Interested in community journalism?

CKUT 90.3FM & the Dominion present ALTERNATIVE MEDIA OPEN HOUSE in Côte-des-Neiges, Point St. Charles and the Plateau
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LOCATION: Saint Columba House
(2365, Grand Trunk @ rue Ropery)
TIME: 3:30pm-7:00pm
DATE: FRIDAY, July 24th
*Free food provided by Midnight Kitchen
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LOCATION: Maison de l'Amitié
(120 avenue Duluth Est, @ ave. Coloniale)
TIME: 1:30pm-4:00pm
DATE: SUNDAY, July 26th
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A chance to meet alternative, independent journalist, producers and editors. Find out how to get involved and how to gain media-making skills.

Contact: Courtney Kirkby, news@ckut.ca or 514.448.4041x6788

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Le journalisme communautaire vous interesses?

» continue reading "Montreal: Alternative Media Open House"

July 23, 2009 Weblog:

Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining: DEFENDING THE SACRED WIRADJURI HEARTLAND ["AUSTRALIA"]

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[Indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin and traditional landowner Mark Ekepa from Papua New Guinea listen to NEVILLE "CHAPPY" WILLIAMS denounce Barrick Gold mine in sacred heartland of Wiradjuri People. PHOTO: Sandra Cuffe, 2008.]
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RE-POSTING EXCERPT FROM 'MOTHER AFRICA' BLOG - http://justiceinunjustworld.blogspot.com/ - BY AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST EVANS RUBERA, OUTSPOKEN CRITIC OF BARRICK GOLD MINING IN AFRICA:

[...]

Neville Chappy Williams, who has consistently opposed the open-pit mine at Lake Cowal in the middle of the Murray-Darling Basin, has delivered documents to the Deputy Canadian High Commissioner, Mr René Cremonese, and the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra as part of the Global Day of Action against open-pit mining.

Neville Chappy Williams is a Traditional Owner of Lake Cowal and has fought many court cases against mining at Lake Cowal.

“It is my sacred duty to protect Lake Cowal and our ancient cultural heritage. We will never give up. I will fight to the bitter end.” Currently, he has halted the proposed expansion of the gold mine in Barrick v Williams in the NSW Court of Appeal.

“The Lake Cowal gold mine operated by Barrick Gold from Toronto, Canada is desecrating our sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri between the Kalara/Lachlan and the Murrumbidgee rivers in central west New South Wales."

[...]

July 22, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City

Press Release

- For immediate release -

ANTI-MINING GROUP TO STAGE 36 HOUR SIT-IN AT CANADIAN EMBASSY IN MEXICO CITY

Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO) marks Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit Mining in opposition to New Gold Inc.’s Cerro de San Pedro mine in Mexico

Mexico City, July 21, 2009 – Anti-mining activists are marking the first ever Global Day of Action Against Open-Pit mining with a 36-hour sit-in outside the Canadian Embassy building in Mexico City.

The action is being planned by the Frente Amplio Opositor (FAO), a coalition opposed to Canadian corporation New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro open-pit gold and silver mine in Central Mexico. New Gold Inc. is based in British Columbia.

“The sit-in is a nonviolent protest to demand that the Canadian government intervene in the case of New Gold’s Cerro de San Pedro mine”, said FAO member Juan Carlos Ruiz Guadalajara. “The mine is still operating despite having lost its environmental permit in a recent court ruling. We are reminding the embassy that we will continue to raise our voices against corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction”.

Mexican Secretary of the Economy figures reveal that more than 70% of all mining exploration, development and production projects in Mexico are owned by Canadian corporations. Canadian mining companies have benefited from legal reforms that the Mexican government adopted in order to accommodate NAFTA and draw foreign investment.

Open-pit mines, such as Cerro de San Pedro, have generated controversy due to their devastating environmental and social impacts.

» continue reading "Anti-mining group to stage 36 hour sit-in at Canadian Embassy in Mexico City"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website

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I just posted an article about yesterday's launch of the federal government's copyright consultations at the Vancouver Media Cooperative.

Something that didn't quite fit into the story, but that keeps nagging at me, is the website that the feds launched yesterday. The site supposedly has the intention of promoting this process.

I say supposedly for a number of reasons:

•the site itself is horrid to look at, harking back to the dying days of Web 1.0.

•the site does not appear to be linked to or from any other Government of Canada pages, including the Consulting with Canadians page.

•the site was launched yesterday, so existing traffic is nil. Though it does have a date stamp on the bottom which reads Date Modified: 2007-11-14

•the site lacks essential details, and yesterday's press release was posted as a blog entry.

The ministers responsible (Tony Clement/Industry, James Moore/Heritage) seem to think that opening a Twitter account is enough to propel the consultations into the wider consciouness.

When I asked them about this at yesterday's press conference in Vancouver, Clement responded that he hoped the consultation process would "go viral." Guess he hasn't seen the website.

For what it's worth, the second round table is currently under way in Calgary.

» continue reading "Feds launch six sizzling weeks of copyright talks, forget to redesign website"

July 21, 2009 Weblog:

Five things the Corporate Media doesn't want you to know about the Coup in Honduras

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1. It was a military coup carried out on behalf of corporate, national and transnational elites. "Restoring Democracy" though a military coup is akin to bombing your way to peace.

2. Coup participants were trained by the CIA and at the School of the Americas. Reactionary, anti-democratic US training grounds such as these are responsible for mass murder throughout the Americas.

3. President Mel Zelaya is a centrist, and his movements towards the "left," such as joining the ALBA trade block, are a result of massive popular pressure for change.

4. The constitutional referendum was not focussed on extending Zelaya's term limit. The referendum on the constitution marked the beginning of a popular process of participative democracy, which is extremely threatening to local and transnational elites.

5. Transnational corporations support the coup. Goldcorp has been bussing employees to pro-coup marches, other Canadian companies have stayed silent and are complicit in the coup.

Photo of demonstrators in Tegucigalpa by Sandra Cuffe

July 15, 2009 Weblog:

Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras

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LISTEN ONLINE TO THE SHOW!

Political upheaval continues in Honduras, after liberal leader Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup in late June. It is a battle that has played out not only in the streets of Honduras, but also on television screens and over radio waves across the world.

Some, including U.S. President Barack Obama and the Organization of American States, have condemned the ouster of the democratically-elected president, saying it was unconstitutional, illegal and a threat to democracy.

Others point out that Zelaya was pushing ahead with a referendum on term limits that Honduras’ Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional, and consider his removal the result of healthy checks and balances.

The Honduran military has clamped down on pro-Zelaya channels in the country and blocked the signal of Telesur, a left-leaning television network based in Venezuela. Other state-run media across Latin America have broadcast programs in support of Zelaya.

Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show on explored the coup in Honduras and how Latin America’s media industry — from state-run stations to independent websites — has become a political battleground.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosts the following panel of guests:

Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada­. Sandra has reported from Latin America for several years and is the Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org.

» continue reading "Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras"

July 14, 2009 Weblog:

Stuff White People Like: NDP Federal Convention

Our friends at Rabble bring us news that the latest NDP convention in Halifax this August will be a pretty white affair.

As can be gleamed from the convention speakers: "7 out of 7 featured speakers at the convention are white; 6 of them are men. 9 out of 9 headshots are of white people. For that matter 18 out of the 18 people pictured on this page are white. Seriously?"

While appealing to people of colour has rarely been at the top of the NDP agenda it's pretty amazing to see them totally absent from a major NDP convention. Especially considering organizers were able to squeak in an NHL defenceman and his Carbon Neutral Challenge.

July 11, 2009 Weblog:

Addiction to Death

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Addiction to Death
July 11, 2009

Apparently Grouse Mountain near Vancouver will now install a giant wind turbine to produce new energy. While this begins I am resisting nicotine valiantly, creating a convergence of thoughts.

Addictions do strange things to the mind. An addicted mind will come up with all sorts of rationalizations-- all merely designed to allow the space for the addiction to live itself out. The raw justifications are endless-- feeding the addiction as a means of rewarding ones self for taking a break from feeding the addiction, for example.

I should state these thoughts are an interesting bunch for me, even closer than usual as I fight off the nicotine monster. “Monster”is a very apt term for it as well; human beings caught in the throng of a major addiction tend to negotiate in their thoughts as if the addiction were at the other side of a negotiating table. Worse, in the case of cigarettes-- you are essentially negotiating with something that will kill you.

Thoughts abound-- “Maybe I can smoke only after meals,” one might say. “I only smoke at the end of the day” is another. “I don't know how else to relax,” “I don't have the time to deal with the stress of quitting,” ad infinitum. Or, perhaps better said-- ad nauseum.

The majority of these mental twists include the idea that one can hold on to the addiction, and somehow not reap the 'rewards'. So too, then, are notions of the current fad: “Green shift”. The Green Shift supposes (much like smoking 'light' cigarettes) that an entire society can continue to consume energy, with little more than a few bumps as we slowly, surely shift towards 'green' energy sources.

» continue reading "Addiction to Death"

July 10, 2009 Weblog:

Haiti is Under Occupation

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by Wadner Pierre
All photos by Wadner Pierre

Haiti is under occupation, what will we do to free it from the occupants? Now it's clear it is back to 1915-1934, if you know your history, you probably understand what it means.

Because it is illegal according the Haitian constitution for foreign soldiers step the soil of Haiti, all MINUSTAH workers(troops, police officers, civil workers) whether they are their against their will or not, they are illegal and have to leave this country. Some soldiers kill,assault, steal,abuse young poor people, farmers,police officers, students, state workers, and no justice has been giving to them.

UN has all power to decide for Haiti. Haiti's president, Mr. Preval is following his boos, Mr. Bill Clinton, he is so happy now as an irresponsible leader that former Pres. Bill Clinton will help him or be his boss, for now eh has nothing to worry about. Oh President Preval, what type of president are you? How do you feel as a chief of state, when you look at yourself in mirror? Now, there is no doubt that Haiti is back to 1915..., but this under cover of a so-called United Nations, why not the backers off imperialist's program in the world, that will be their best name to them.

Therefore, who knows or can tell, when Haiti will be a country, because now it is just a place. They violate the rights of Haiti being an independent country.No one can do anything for Haiti, excepts its children.

» continue reading "Haiti is Under Occupation"

» view more photos in"Haiti is Under Occupation"

July 6, 2009 Weblog:

Gonaives, a Destroyed and Abandoned City

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by Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
All photos by Wadner Pierre

Gonaives is a port city with an estimated population of 200,000. It is the sixth largest city in Haiti and is located approximately 110 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. In 2003, it was one of first places to come under the control of armed rebels who helped oust Haiti's democratic government on February 29, 2004. The coup was actually completed by foreign powers - primarily France, Canada and the US. Months after the coup, in September of 2004, Gonaives was hit by Hurricane Jeanne. Three thousand lives were lost. In 2008, with the damage done by Jeanne still unrepaired, fierce storms (Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna) battered Gonaives yet again. At least 500 were killed, over a hundred thousand made homeless. An astounding 800,000 were victimized by the storms if crop destruction and drinking water contamination are considered.

On my way to Gonaives

It was just after mid day on June 19th, two days prior to another round of senatorial elections boycotted by most Haitians, when my bus left Port-au-Prince with 70 other passengers. Before 2004, it would have taken about 2 hours to reach the city. Now it takes almost 5 hours. The so-called good part of the road is from Port-au-Prince to Montrouis in the northern part of the capital, also the last part of West department. Travelers are usually talkative in Haiti. They often discuss religion or political, economic and social issues. On this trip, they would talk mainly about the destruction visible everywhere in Gonaives. They complained about the state of the road and blamed political leaders in the Artibonite department and at the national level for the lack of reconstruction.

» continue reading "Gonaives, a Destroyed and Abandoned City"

» view more photos in"Gonaives, a Destroyed and Abandoned City"

July 4, 2009 Weblog:

DominionPaper.ca & MediCoop.ca contributing member reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras!

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to see the other 99 photos of the July 3 2009 march against the coup through the streets of Tegucigalpa: http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

please feel free to re-post, forward, etc my info... will be posting regularly to this blog, the MediaCoop.ca & all other media below & available to write articles of various lengths and focuses on short notice. get in touch!

grassroots reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras...

Sandra Cuffe

Freelance journalist, photographer, contributing member of DominionPaper.ca & MediaCoop.ca, and Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org

Honduran cell = (504) 9525-6778
Canadian cell = (514) 5... [while in Honduras, voicemail & text messages only!]
public email = sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
twitter = SandraCuffeHN
facebook = Sandra Cuffe
photos = http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda
video [content up soon!] = http://www.youtube.com/user/lavagabunda27
Honduras blog [content up soon!] = http://hondurassolidarity.wordpress.com
Dominion blog = http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/sandra
Akwesasne blog = http://akwesasnecounterspin.wordpress.com

July 3, 2009 Weblog:

Mourning met with State Violence

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By: Jeb Sprague, A Guest Author for Wadner Pierre's Blog

Hello, I would like to share some information and thoughts on the continued violent United Nations-Brazilian led-military occupation of Haiti.

After overthrowing Haiti?s democratically elected government (of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide) in February 2004, the United States,France and Canada put in place a neoliberal regime.

From 2004 to 2006, under a foreign installed dictatorship, Haiti was subjected to thousands of political killings, with thousands more exiled and illegally jailed, often under the watchful eye of UN authorities; this amounted to what some believe to be the largest human rights disaster in the western hemisphere over the last decade.

Today Haiti has an elected government that came to office in an"electoral" process tightly managed by elites and transnational technocrats.

Conditions for the poor have worsened with the outfall of the global financial crisis now greatly affecting developing aid dependent countries. Under the auspices of the UN military occupation, the sovereign course and focus on social investment programs by the former Aristide government are but a fading memory.

People are starving, unemployment and the costs of living soar,political prisoners such as Ronald Dauphin rot sick in jail, Human Rights leaders such as Lovinsky Pierre Antoine have been disappeared without investigation, the main political party/movement of the poor (Fanmi Lavalas) has been banned from running in elections, NGOs along
with right wing American evangelists and those civil society groups befriended by foreign embassies and SUV-sporting aid agencies hold immense influence.

But what I would most like to talk about is the life and death of Father Jean-Juste.

» continue reading "Mourning met with State Violence"

June 30, 2009 Weblog:

Gildan Activewear, from Haiti to Honduras

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Following a media blip after the 2004 coup in Haiti, Montreal's Gildan Activewear has again scored media attention in Canada, this time for its operations in post-coup Honduras.

The National Post reported today that:

While the day-to-day operations of Gildan’s manufacturing facilities are unlikely to be affected, an estimated 60% of its activewear and more than 50% of its socks are made in Honduras.

So after 30 years of peaceful democracy, [Desjardins Securities analyst Martin Landry] now believes investors will apply a geopolitical risk discount to Gildan. The analyst sees little risk that the country’s assets will be nationalized and suggested the coup may turn out to be a positive for Gildan if it brings back a more business-friendly government.

(Emphasis mine). I think it's time to set the Canada Haiti Action Network's team of intrepid researchers on Honduras, following the scent of a sweatshop-made t-shirt.

[Photo of street fighting in Tegucigalpa immediately following the coup by Oswaldo Rivas.]

June 30, 2009 Weblog:

Empty Streets, Empty Boxes: Haitians Reject Manipulated Election

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By: Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com

June 20th, 2009. Haitians appeared skeptical of the recent senatorial elections.

In Gonaives, sitting in a tap tap days prior to the election, Kener Docteur told Haitianalysis "I don’t feel or see this so-called election, I am not going to vote on Sunday.” Similar attitudes were echoed in conversation after conversation. This was ever more clear listening to people on the bus traveling back and forth from Port-Au-Prince to Gonaives.

On Sunday, the day of the elections,supporters of Fanmi Lavalas’ launched a campaign, they titled “Operation Closed Doors and Empty Streets”. With such a tiny turn-out, even according to foreign observers and journalists, the Lavalas organizers are now claiming their campaign was effective. Their call for the election stems from the earlier banning of the participation in the election by the countries CEP.

Early Sunday morning ,the boulevard Jean Jacques Dessalines was completely empty. Similarly empty, Lalue, Delams 33, boulevard Toussaint Louverture and so forth. During the election day, Haitianalysis visited the biggest electoral centers such as Carrefour Airport and Nazon.

The voter boxes were practically empty. One electoral guard said ”from the time we opened until now, around 50 people came to vote,” This was similar in other places: Lycee Marie Jeanne in Turgeot, the building 2004 on Delmas 2, the Lycee Antoine and Georges Yzmery in Ti Plas Kazo, the Lycee Petion-Ville. People even nearby the voting booths told us that the election was a total shame. “There is no election today because of disqualifying of Fanmi Lavalas,” cried out a man near an electoral center.

» continue reading "Empty Streets, Empty Boxes: Haitians Reject Manipulated Election"

June 26, 2009 Weblog:

Tar sands "as they are" provoke negative press coverage

Here's an interesting admission from the first edition of the Canada West Foundation's Oil Sands Media Monitoring Report:

Positive stories on the oil sands and the environment are rarely
defensive of the oil sands’ impact. Refusal to bow to pressure from environmental groups is a common topic, but more so is advances in technology that could reduce the impact of the oil sands: research into microorganisms that could aid in the reclamation of tailings pond water or carbon sequestration techniques. Negative stories attack the oil sands as they are, while positive stories tend towards describing what they could be.

(Emphasis mine). Considering CWF is a darling of Stephen Harper, there's something rather sweet about that admission.

June 23, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op, part 4

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A few of us from the VMC (including a couple of recent volunteers), took a day trip up to Sutikalh, one of the most successful, and seemingly least talked about acts of Indigenous resistance to the Olympics. It's about three hours from Vancouver if you don't stop along the way.

Picture 1: In May of 2000, members of the St'at'imc nation and their supporters set up a permanent camp near Melvin Creek, located between Mt. Currie and Lillooet, in order to stop plans to build an all-season ski and recreation resort in time for the Olympics. They are still there today.

Picture 2: Words really can't describe how beautiful the mountains are, or how amazing and unfamiliar it feels to breathe the air there.

Picture 3: The water too, was the best I'd ever had.

Picture 4: The "camp" headquarters.

Picture 5: One of many photos from an album dating back to the St'at'imc 2000 blockade to save their land.

Picture 6: Hubert Jim, or Hubie, one of the people currently living at the "camp." This photo was taken during an interview. Hubie has lived at Sutikalh since the 2000 blockade, and will continue to stand guard. "It's my fate. I'm a hereditary chief," he said with a wry smile.

Picture 7: Doug, also living at Sutikalh, comes and goes between there and Vancouver. He showed me his cabin, which a "crew from Denman island" helped him build with discarded shingles from someone else's house. It's small and surprisingly beautiful, with a wood stove inside.

People from 110 different countries have stepped through the doors of the camp since 2000, all by word of mouth.

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op, part 4"

June 22, 2009 Weblog:

Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran

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I'm probably not the only Dominion reader who has spent the past couple of days wondering how Canada is involved in US-led "Black Ops" in Iran.

Today I found a clue when I happened across Psiphon Inc., which was recently spun off from Citizen Lab, itself a branch of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the U of T.

"Canada's Psiphon Inc. on the Frontlines of Iranian Netwar," reads a June 19 press release by Ontario based Psiphon Inc.

"The company is employing dedicated 'psi-operators' - staff whose job it is to propagate Psiphon nodes and engage with the Iranian community both inside and outside Iran - working 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

"The psi-operators are using social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails [sic] lists and forums, to propagate connection information to Psiphon's 'Right2know' nodes, which contain customized content sourced from BBC BBC Persian, Radio Farda, YouTube and other websites and services banned by Iranian authorities," continues the release (which I transcribed here).

According to the Globe and Mail, which picked up on Psiphon's news release:

» continue reading "Exposing Canada's Role in US "Black-Ops" in Iran"

June 22, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op, part 3

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Picture 1: We attend a meeting of Vancouver's Anti-Poverty Committee, and give a brief presentation about the Media Co-op. People express a desire to contribute financially to the project but it is fairly clear that what we'd like more than anything from a group like the APC (who struggles with funding, like many other activist groups), is based on what they are directly working on: ideas for coverage of the 2010 Olympics, information on poverty in Vancouver, articles for the site.

Picture 2: Next, the VMC posse rolled into an Olympics Resistance Network (ORN) meeting in the DTES. After giving a run-down of Media Co-op goings-on, people broke out their laptops for a tech session of sorts; those who needed computer help got it.

Picture 3: Dave Dickson. An ex-police officer with the Vancouver Police Force. He was the Police's one and only "Downtown Eastside Liaison" for many years, and also acted as their "Native Liaison." He was one of a special team which investigated the Pickton case. Of many of the city's sex-workers, he says he has known them since they were in pre-school. According to him, although this is questionable, he has built up a trust with many in the neighborhood over the years, and now spends his time doing outreach with women on the streets. On the topic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, Dickson maintains that the police have never treated anybody differently based on their race; they have been abusive, sure, but not based on race. As kind and fatherly as he is, I find something integral left to be desired.

» continue reading "Vancouver Media Co-op, part 3"

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op, part 3"

June 18, 2009 Weblog:

UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest

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From the Haiti Information Project
Photos: UN arrests unidentified protestor minutes before opening fire on crowd during funeral for Father Gerard Jean-Juste

HIP - Port au Prince, Haiti -One protestor was killed as UN forces opened fire during a funeral for Catholic priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste. A human rights advocate and well-known supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas movement, Jean-Juste died on May 27 in a Miami hospital from complications following a stroke and long respiratory illness.

Eyewitnesses report today's shooting incident involving the UN began after mourners began chanting slogans for the return of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide outside of Haiti's national cathedral.

One of the protestors was seen inadvertently passing through a security barrier erected by UN forces and was detained. As the UN arrested him hundreds more rushed past the barrier and resumed chants for Lavalas and Aristide.

According to witnesses, UN troops on the scene began shooting indiscriminately at the crowd killing a young man identified only as "Junior" from the neighborhood of Solino.

Hundreds more protestors then took the body of the victim to the front of Haiti's National Palace where they began chanting, "Down with Preval" and "Long live Aristide."

» continue reading "UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest"

» view more photos in"UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest"

June 15, 2009 Weblog:

Media Release: Akwesasne Community Activists Arrested on "National Reconciliation Day"; bail hearing today in Cornwall

Kahwenoke, Akwesasne, Sovereign Mohawk Territory
June 15, 2009.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AKWESASNE COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS DENOUNCING CBSA AND POLICE HARASSMENT AND RACIAL PROFILING ARRESTED IN CORNWALL ON NATIONAL RECONCILIATION DAY

Bail hearing for Dwayne David set for 9:30am Monday, June 15th at 29 Second Street West, Cornwall, Ontario

On June 11th, dubbed "National Reconciliation Day" to conmemorate the one-year anniversary of the Government of Canada's official apology to First Nations for the residential school system, Akwesasne community residents Khristy Sawatis and Dwayne David were arrested by Cornwall police.

Dwayne David remains in police custody until his bail hearing, which has been set for 9:30am on Monday, June 15th, at the Ontario Court of Justice, located at 29 Second Street West in Cornwall, Ontario. Akwesasne residents, outside supporters, and media will all be present.

Only a few nights prior to his arrest, around the sacred fire at the main crossroads on Kahwenoke ("Cornwall Island") across the International Road from the now-abandoned Canadian Customs and Immigration building, David commented on the reaction to the apology of many traditional Akwesasne community members, many of whom are residential school survivors themselves: "The real people cried, because it wasn't real. It was a show."

» continue reading "Media Release: Akwesasne Community Activists Arrested on "National Reconciliation Day"; bail hearing today in Cornwall"

June 14, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7

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The Vancouver Media Co-op held a meeting several days ago for folks who are interested in helping with organizing, promoting events, and covering stories. About 7 or so amazingly solid folks showed up to our meeting on the back balcony of Spartacus Books. People threw around some great story ideas, agreed to taking on specific tasks (ie postering and flyering), planned a group trip to Sutikalh, talked about the structure and purpose of the co-op, as well as its goals, and shared contact information. It was an impressive tone-setter to say the least.

The bulk of Media Co-op work so far has consisted of talking to or emailing people, getting contact info for other people, talking to them, setting up meetings, and then talking some more. Several meetings with a diverse cross-section of folks linked to media production, cooperatives, and unions have been arranged and are slowly filling up the VMC calendar.

Picture 1: A demonstrator at a women's housing march put on by local group Power of Women (POW). The march was a dignified expression of anger at the government for authorizing mass evictions in poorer areas of the city (most notably the downtown eastside), as well as destroying potential social housing sites in favour of making way for the Olympic Games in 2010. Aboriginal people comprise about 3 per cent of BC's population yet make up over 32 per cent of the homeless population. Aboriginal women are particularly vulnerable to losing their homes.

» continue reading "Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7"

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 3-7"

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