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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 19, 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"

June 13, 2009 Weblog:

Michael Pollan describes swine flu two years before it's news

Reading Michael Pollan's 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma. The author is, it would seem, a prophet. Or maybe just a real journalist.

Stop me when this sounds familiar:

The unnaturally rich diet of corn that undermines a steer's health fattens his flesh in a way that undermines the health of the humans who will eat it. The antibiotics these animals consume with their corn at this very moment are selecting, in their guy and wherever else in the environment they end up, for new strains of bacteria that will someday infect us and withstand the drugs we depend upon to treat that infection. We inhabit the same microbial ecosystem as the animals we eat, and whatever happens in it also happens to us.

Not a very satisfying thing to predict, but it's not like informed people didn't see it coming.

June 12, 2009 Weblog:

NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full

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[Photo (2008) by Sandra Cuffe of an old Glamis mining claim stake in an area of traditional Quechan territory that is an ancient sacred trail between two sacred mountains.]

[Repost: http://www.indianlaw.org/node/424]

June 9, 2009

Fort Yuma, CALIFORNIA/ARIZONA -- Today, the NAFTA Tribunal in the Glamis Gold dispute against the United States released its long-awaited decision.

The Tribunal found that the State of California's and the United States' actions in regulating hard rock mining on public lands did NOT violate provisions of NAFTA.

"We were the first tribe to have our briefs accepted in a NAFTA claim dispute" stated Mike Jackson, Sr., President, Quechan Nation. "The award shows that the Tribunal understood that the Indian Pass area is a sacred area to the Quechan people, worthy of protection from hard rock mining. After battling the mining company for nearly fifteen years, it is good to have this decided. We encourage Glamis (now GoldCorp) to take immediate steps to put the matter behind all of us."

Such steps could include GoldCorp not appealing the decision and abandoning or otherwise relinquishing its mining claims so that the existing withdrawal of the area from new mining claims would absorb the area proposed for the mine. Glamis must also pay two-thirds of all proceeding costs.

» continue reading "NAFTA Tribunal recognizes sacred place of Quechan Tribe – denies Glamis Gold's claim in full"

June 10, 2009 Weblog:

The Funeral of Father Gerard Jean-Juste

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By Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com

People were there from the USA, Canada, and all over the Caribbean - people of different religions and cultures. Veye Yo, his organization, organized a viewing as did his family at Notre Dame D'Haiti church in Miami,

It was crowded for the two days as approximately 3000 people gathered. Catholic bishops from Haiti and United States were in attendance. People tearfully marched for hours in Little Haiti in front of Veve Yo headquarters where a stage was set to receive his body for the last time.

Lavarice Gaudin, a close ally in his struggles, cried out during the funeral service that "Father Gerry" was poisoned.

During a sermon that honoured Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Father Reginald Jean-Mary condemned the hypocrisy within the Haitian community in the US. He wondered who could fill the priest's shoes - continue his humanitarian work in Saint Claire's parich in Haiti or his political activism on behalf of the most vulnerable. Father Reginald Jean-Mary said "they killed Father Gerry for power, because he represented a threat to them as someone who could lead Haiti."

In attendance during the sermon were Ira Kurzban and Dr. Paul Famer, both close friends and allies of Father Jean-Juste. Some Haitian officials were in attendance but not in any official capacity.

Father Adonai Jean-Juste, the late priest's cousin, said "Father Gerry did not die for his family, but for the people of Haiti and the Haitian immigrants in the USA. He did not live for himself, but according to the gospel: feed people who are angry and preach the good news to the poor. He was a father to all in his life."

» continue reading "The Funeral of Father Gerard Jean-Juste"

June 10, 2009 Weblog:

Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 1-2

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Picture 1: The Vancouver Media Co-op tour kicked off in Victoria BC at the Camas Bookstore and Infoshop. About a dozen people showed up, and in spite of technical difficulties which prevented us from showing the Media Co-op's promo video (filmed in Halifax during our February tour), the discussion was a success, as folks were enthusiastic and interested in finding ways of supporting and collaborating with the Media Co-op on independent media projects that are already up-and-running in Victoria. An organizer from Indymedia Victoria attended the event and gave an update of events after the talk. Another organizer there is starting a news site called B Channel News in response to Victoria's mainstream A Channel.

Picture 2: After Victoria we headed to Nanaimo to speak to people at Radio Malaspina(CHLY), the town's campus community station. Four people came out, but they were incredibly enthusiastic and spent some time brainstorming ways that Nanaimo could fit into the Vancouver Media Co-op picture.

Picture 3: After the talk in Nanaimo we were interviewed on the Popular Participation Movement (PPM) news show. The PPM is a a group that mobilizes against war and empire. Most notably, they have staged theatrical demonstrations for four years in a row now to oppose Nanaimo's annual Empire Day celebration. The following morning, the Media Co-op snagged an interview on CBC Victoria news.

» view more photos in"Vancouver Media Co-op Tour, Days 1-2"

June 8, 2009 Weblog:

Irving Refinery Blues

Irving Refinery Blues

Please forgive me-- this may end up seeming like a rant in places, for I simply must get some things off my chest. I hope my prediction that it will make sense by the end is true.

I am a strong proponent of the idea that hitchhiking is simply one of the greatest forms of grassroots journalism. When you enter a new place, the odds are quite high that you are traveling with a local. If this is the case, then you will become immediately armed with “insider” information to which there is little match. The sorts of things I am often lucky to learn, in any case, would certainly not be told in any tourist information booth.

I woke up today in Riviere Du Loup, in Eastern Québec. I made a cold instant coffee and ate some granola bars before wandering across the highway to seek rides further East. I managed three rides fairly easily, each of them pleasant and warm, no hassles and even interesting tangents of separate activity here and there. But what I need to rant about was the ranting of my last ride of the day, a man named Doug who picked me up when I was but one ride from here-- Saint John, New Brunswick.

» continue reading "Irving Refinery Blues"

June 1, 2009 Weblog:

NOII-Mtl: Akwesasne Update - Mohawks vow to resist armed border guards

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From: No One Is Illegal Montreal

[English below]

[Une delegation des militantes de Montréal – incluant une membre de Personne n’est illégal-Montréal -- est présentement à Akwesasne (territoire Mohawk, à la frontière de l'Ontario, New York et Québec) comme témoins de la résistance communautaire contre les douaniers armés. Quelques articles expliquant la situation, principalement en anglais, mais aussi en français, sont ci-dessous. Il y aura des mises à jour de la situation à Akwesasne sur le blogue de Personne n’est illégal ici]

----------

“[The Canadian Border Service Agency] is a foreign oppressive force who occupies our sovereign community and territory. (They are) unwelcome, uninvited and now carrying firearms. For lack of a different description, that is considered by some an act of war.” – Larry King, member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory (quoted in Ottawa Citizen, May 29, 2009)

[A delegation of three non-native Montreal activists, including a member of No One Is Illegal-Montreal, is currently at the site of protesters at the Kawehnoke Port of Entry (Cornwall Island) on the Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne. Native protesters at Akwesasne are welcoming allies to stand in solidarity, and to witness their efforts to resist the imposition of armed guards on Mohawk territory.

The No One Is Illegal-Montreal website will have updates directly from Akwesasne, as well as maintain a mainstream and alternative news compilation, at the following link]

-- CBSA guards abandon posts

» continue reading "NOII-Mtl: Akwesasne Update - Mohawks vow to resist armed border guards"

May 31, 2009 Weblog:

Revolutionary Haitian Priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, Presente!

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Sunday, 31 May 2009

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/31

Published on Sunday, May 31, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

by Bill Quigley

Though Haitian priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste died May 27, 2009, at age 62, in Miami from a stroke and breathing problems, he remains present to millions. Justice-loving people world-wide mourn his death and celebrate his life. Pere Jean-Juste worked uncompromisingly for justice for Haitians and the poor, both in Haiti and in the U.S.

Pere Jean-Juste was a Jesus-like revolutionary. In jail and out, he preached liberation of the poor, release of prisoners, human rights for all, and a fair distribution of wealth. A big muscular man with a booming voice and a frequent deep laugh, he wore a brightly colored plastic rosary around his neck and carried another in his pocket. Jailed for nearly a year in Haiti by the U.S. supported coup government which was trying to silence him, Amnesty International called him a Prisoner of Conscience.

Jean-Juste was a scourge to the unelected coup governments of Haiti, who served at the pleasure, and usually the direction, of the U.S. government. He constantly challenged both the powers of Haiti and the U.S. to stop killing and starving and imprisoning the poor. In the U.S. he fought against government actions which deported black Haitians while welcoming Cubans and Nicaraguans and others. In Haiti he called for democracy and respect and human rights for the poor.

» continue reading "Revolutionary Haitian Priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, Presente!"

May 31, 2009 Weblog:

Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, A Man who Gave his Life For New Haiti

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By
Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com

I was 11 years old in 1996 when I first met Father Gerry in Saint Claire's
Parish. He had just become the pastor of the church. It was he who would
baptize me and later give me my first communion. He appointed me his
"right-hand" altar-boy after my first communion.

I was so proud when he said to Archbishop Miot during the celebration of
Saint Claire, on August 12th, 1998

"Wadner, he is my right hand, here. He helps me so much."

I lived with him between the years 1999 to 2008. I owe my education to him.
He was like an adoptive father to me. His advice was simple and direct:

"Wadner, remember the rules: pray,study, work, and eat."

One day I talked to him about the battle for a new Haiti. He said to me

"Wadner, remember as long as you shall live that a new Haiti is possible.
One day I will leave you. If I leave before you, the struggle must be
continued in the name of Jesus." He added with a smile "You understand, son?"

He became a political prisoner during the UN backed Latortue dictatorship
which ruled Haiti from 2004-2006. He was imprisoned on charges so
ridiculously fraudulent that Amnesty International designated him a "prisoner of
conscience" after his second illegal arrest by the Latortue regime. He was not
only arrested but treated with extremely brutality. His reaction to the
injustice he suffered was revealing of the type of man he was:

"I am a sinner, I forgive everybody who beat me, spit on my face, plotted
against me and my people, but I am sure the battle for democracy will
continue whether I die early or not. It is true, Twad [his nickname for me], they
will repent one day. I pray to God for that.".

» continue reading "Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, A Man who Gave his Life For New Haiti"

May 30, 2009 Weblog:

Brutal eviction at the Autonomous Social Centre in Montréal

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Quick roundup of mainstream news coverage: The Montreal Gazette on the squat and on the police raid, CTV on the evictions, backgrounder in The Hour.

--Reposting ASC Press Release--

4:45 pm, May 30th, 2009 - for immediate release. Riot squads brutally evicted the people occupying a building at the corner of St-Patrick and Atwater this afternoon. Yesterday night, about a hundred people took this building in order to set up the Autonomous social center in a permanent space. At the present time, everyone who was inside has managed to exit the building and to join the support demonstration. The demo, a few hundred people strong, has now taken to the streets.

Towards 3 pm, the police promised they would talk to the Social center's "diplomats" before intervening. At the set meeting time, the police rushed towards the fence that surrounds the building's backyard instead. At the time, a few dozens of people, including a few families with children, were enjoying the sun and playing music, talking and eating. The police broke the fence's locker and rushed towards the building's entrance gate while reading the first eviction notice received by the squatters.

» continue reading "Brutal eviction at the Autonomous Social Centre in Montréal"

May 29, 2009 Weblog:

Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario

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--Reposting--

For Immediate Release
May 28, 2009

Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario

Justice for Migrant Workers and No One is Illegal-Toronto condemn the latest workplace raids in Leamington, Ontario. In the early morning of Wednesday, May 27th, Immigration Enforcement swarmed Lakeside Produce arresting nine migrant workers, all women, [o]ne of whom is pregnant. They are all being detained in the Windsor County Jail.

“We are outraged by these arrests,” says Chris Ramsroop of Justicia for Migrant Workers. “These attacks destroy our communities. Instead of attacking the immigration system, we are attacking workers who put food on our table.”

These latest arrests mark an alarming trend of workplace raids by the Canada Border Service Agency. In April, CBSA conducted large scale raids throughout the [Greater Toronto Area] and Southwestern Ontario, where over 80 migrants were arrested and deported.

Workplace raids will only serve to terrorize and intimidate workers into working for low wages and unsafe working conditions because they are constantly under the threat of deportation.

In the middle of this recession, the Tory government is spending money and resources on arresting people, throwing them into detention centers and buying their plane tickets, instead of supporting social services for those in need.

The Tory government is targeting racial and ethnic communities and is using the raids to inflame racism and bigotry. They are using migrant workers as scapegoats in this recession.

» continue reading "Nine Women Arrested in Workplace Raid in Leamington, Ontario"

May 29, 2009 Weblog:

The ongoing outsourcing in Afghanistan

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The ongoing outsourcing in Afghanistan

Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar, Afghanistan will not be put in harms way, despite the oft-repeated political promise that all of Canada’s ground troops will be withdrawn by 2011. The responsibility of the security of these specialists-contractors themselves- will instead be provided by private companies, who will need to go through a selection process, according to Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Ron Hoffmann who spoke to journalists via video-conference, earlier this week.

This is not the first time that the Canadian government has decided to hire private security companies in Afghanistan. The British based firm, Saladin Security , has been protecting the Canadian Embassy in Kabul for many years, while many Afghan contractors including warlords, have been hired to protects convoys of Canadian personnel or provide a "security cordon" for high risk situations, such as roadside bombs going off.

» continue reading "The ongoing outsourcing in Afghanistan"

May 27, 2009 Weblog:

Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea

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[photo: Jethro Tulin reading a statement in front of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, right before the Barrick Gold Annual General Meeting, April 29, 2009. photo by Sandra Cuffe.]

Earlier today, indigenous Ipili human rights activist Jethro Tulin, executive director of the Akali Tange Association in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, registered and read a formal statement to the plenary of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. The statement follows below.

After the UNPFII ends this coming Friday, Jethro Tulin will be traveling to Washington DC for a series of meetings. Before returning to Papua New Guinea, he will be speaking at a series of public events in Montreal, Ottawa (tbc) and Toronto, between June 5th and June 9th.

For more general information, see ProtestBarrick.net

For more information about (or to help coordinate) events, contact: Sandra Cuffe, 514-583-6432, lavagabunda27@yahoo.es
****************************************

A Statement
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

Intervention by: Jethro Tulin, Executive Officer of Akali Tange Association (Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea)

Supported by: Asia Caucus, Pacific Caucus, Western Shoshone Defense Project (Nevada, USA), Peoples Earth, Society for Threatened Peoples International (ECOSOC), Indigenous Peoples Link

Item 7: Future Work of the UNPFII
New York, May 27, 2009.

» continue reading "Statement at UNPFII: Canadian Mining in Papua New Guinea"

May 26, 2009 Weblog:

An Alternative Memorial Day Celebration: reviving our radical collective historic memory

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MEMORIALIZING THOSE FALLEN IN DEFENSE OF THEIR COMMUNITIES

[aka How to Make Real Sure You're on the Terrorist Watch List]

New York City, May 25, 2009.

Flyer: Sakura Saunders
Photos: Sandra Cuffe
Inspiration: The Missing Plaque Project in Toronto

Image #1: Our flyer...

Image #2: Good ideas are FREE!

Image #3: The real news (Columbia University in the background).

Image #4: 3940 Broadway in the Washington Heights neighbourhood north of Harlem. The building was the Audubon Ballroom at the time of Malcolm X's assassination during a speech in the packed hall on February 21, 1965.

Image #5: Statue of Malcolm X in the lower left corner marks the spot of his assassination in what is now a museum known as the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

Image #6: Central Park at night.

Image #7: In front of the American Museum of Natural History, there is a peculiar statue. Theodore Roosevelt is riding majestically on horseback, flanked on either side by an African man and a Native American man, both on foot. Perhaps it is in fact meant as a subtly critical piece concerning forced marches, but the statue seems to embody the myth that one great country was built by all, side by side. It seemed like a good place (thanks for the tip, Ben!) to chalk: FREE LEONARD PELTIER, NATIVE AMERICAN P.O.W.

» continue reading "An Alternative Memorial Day Celebration: reviving our radical collective historic memory"

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May 23, 2009 Weblog:

UNPFII, IEN & REDD: Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples & U.N. credibility

Watch a Democracy Now interview with Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth about climate change. The interview is from May 22nd, at the end of the first week of the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) taking place at UN headquarters in New York City, May 18-29, 2009.

Last year, the theme of the UNPFII was climate change. Despite vocal opposition from the vast majority of the participating indigenous delegates, a document produced by the Permanent Forum chairs included support for a World Bank market-oriented carbon-trading initiative called REDD - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. When their voices of opposition and protest were not going to be immediately permitted to be heard, the indigenous caucus and in particular a vocal contingent from the Americas began a loud chorus: "!La palabra! !La palabra!..." ['We want to speak!']

The "May Revolt" occurred on May 2, 2008, on the very last day of the 7th session of the UNPFII. An excellent video of the "revolt" and interviews with Tom Goldtooth, Art Manuel and others was produced by activist Rebecca Sommer for Earth Peoples and can be found on youtube.

» continue reading "UNPFII, IEN & REDD: Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples & U.N. credibility"

May 21, 2009 Weblog:

UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool

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Greetings from the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York City, May 18-29)...

I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?

Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.

It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.

» continue reading "UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

» view more photos in"UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool"

May 19, 2009 Weblog:

Tamils Protest on Toronto Freeway - Photos

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Photos by James Clark, Megan Hope and Enid Godtree.

1. Thousands of Tamils converge on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway on May 10th for almost 4 hours shutting down a key artery in the City's road network. The protest was part of a series of actions in Toronto contesting the war in Sri Lanka and the Canadian governments actions or lack thereof.

2. People get a unique view of a section of the City normally over-run with cars going 80 kph. Tamils had previously shut down major sections of the City including a 4 day protest on University Ave.

3. One of many Tamil Tiger flags at the event. Tiger supporters were prevalent amongst the protesters, many of whom were calling for a separate Tamil state in addition to an immediate ceasefire.

4. Police tactics at the event were relatively non-confrontational. Protesters were allowed to come and go from the ramp and bring in supplies (coffee,food, blankets). Protesters who biked to the event to join the demonstration created the rare sight of bikes locked up to the guard rails on the Expressway.

5. One of many vigils. Protesters were totally peaceful.

6. Toronto Police, OPP and RCMP were called into the protest. Police discussing tactics with other units.

7. Riot Police form at one end of the protest.

8. A small group of police begin beating protesters before other police order them to stop. 4 are arrested.

9. Tamils agree to end the demonstration peacefully and march to Queen's Park (the Ontario legislature)...but not everyone gets away unscathed.

10 days later, the Sri Lankan government declares a conventional victory over the Tamils. The leader of the Tamil Tigers is declared killed.

» view more photos in"Tamils Protest on Toronto Freeway - Photos"

May 19, 2009 Weblog:

Haitian Government Raises Minimum Wage to $5.50 per day

May 19th, 2009

By Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com

Haitian labor activists applauded the Preval administration's decision to raise the minimum wage in Haiti from 70 to 200 gourdes ($5.50 USD) per day. However, the increase has been strongly opposed by Haitian industrialists. Georges Sassine, president of ADIH (an association of Haitian industrialists) warned that the wage increase would cost tens of thousands of jobs. He claimed that similar minimum wage increases in Cambodia have proven disastrous.

HaitiAnalysis asked Jose Cordero, an economist with Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), to respond to the arguments that Georges Sassine and other businessmen have made against the increase. Cordero said ”In the case of Cambodia, I am not sure what disaster they are talking about, but I know that between 2004 and 2007 the country grew at about 11% per year. When inflation rose in 2008, and real wages declined, many factory workers left their jobs to go back to the country or to other informal activities which provide them more revenue than their work at a factory."

Cordero also pointed out that "Workers (especially those making only the minimum wage) have a higher propensity to consume than higher paid workers or company owners. They also have a lower propensity to import. These mean that a higher wage will likely increase aggregate spending, which could stimulate local production, and employment."

Georges Sassine was quoted by the Canadian online journal, the tyee.com, as saying, "Do we want 100,000 jobs paying 200 gourdes (US$5) or 200,000 jobs at 100gourdes (US$2.50)? What's better? 200,000 people working if I were a politician"

» continue reading "Haitian Government Raises Minimum Wage to $5.50 per day"

May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Algonquins Again Reflect on History as They Continue International Assertions Despite Increased Pressures

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As we prepare to attend the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum we again remember why we continue to assert our traditional identity and its international character. The Indigenous Peoples of Canada, as organized according to our traditional nations and inherent identities hold certain precious rights important to ALL Canadians, and our common future together.

Please remember with us this important aspect of Canadian and international history and view our expression of commitment to our ancestors:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hSLXKAHh9M

May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini Jurisdiction Includes Inherent and Inalienable Role

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Aboriginal rights are the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Indigenous Peoples are the citizens of original nations. ALL descendants of citizens of those nations still qualify as natural citizens....and since their rights are inherent and inalienable....all benefits and rights belong equally to ALL descendants!!! Kichesipirini history proves the Indigenous Peoples founded Canada prior to sovereignty assertions of the British Crown. ALL Canadian domestic policy illegally robs ALL Canadians of their rights as citizens of the true nation of Canada.....and instead protects the interests of the British Crown....still.

The Indigenous Peoples of Canada still hold the rights, even if currently trapped beneath layers of domestic policy such as the Indian Act or generated false identities that erode the identities and rights of the original nations can still reverse the illegal population transfers and return to original nations.

The traditional role and jurisdiction of the Kichesipirini is to teach and lead in international trade and diplomacy. The Kichesipirini insist that they be provided the resources to continue in their rightful inherent and inalienable role in providing accurate and independent information for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The federal and provincial governments must release the resources needed for Kichesipirini to do so.

Please view for information regarding this important part of Canadian history and law:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn8Y7IAFcas&feature=related

May 16, 2009 Weblog:

Kichesipirini State "We Are Not Metis"

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Canada Domestic Policy Continues to Breach Constitution Through Illegal Demographic Manipulations

Manipulation #1- We are not Metis.
Aboriginal rights are inherent and inalienable. The Algonquin Nation has never signed a Treaty. We are still sovereign. We can determine our own identity according to international law. Program and services dollars only lure the ignorant and desperate.

Manipulation #2- Aboriginal rights belong to a certain race of people who can prove they are that race.
Blood quantum policies erodes the true rights of Indigenous Peoples. Race was never the issue. Natural citizenship is. Racism is a tool of colonization to break down the sophisticated Indigenous Nations.

Manipulation #3-The Canadian court system gives Indigenous Peoples their rights.
The domestic court system is an extension of the colonial legacy and is sworn to protect the interests of the Crown. The domestic court system can only articulate limited recognition of the existing Indigenous rights. Relying on courts can generate Strawman strategies & erode rights .

Fact: The Algonquin Nation has never ceded jurisdiction or title. Rights and benefits belong equally to ALL persons of Algonquin descent. Domestic policy uses monies to rob large numbers of people from appropriate compensations. Current rationalizations to continue eroding the rights of Algonquin descedants, and refusing to release appropriate revenues to enable Kichesipirini to provide accurate information raises serious implications for all public servants and Ministers acting within Algonquin territory.

For further information please view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuxksnqvnSI

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May 12, 2009 Weblog:

26/04 Derrick Jensen on Washington IMF protest

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

May 11, 2009 Weblog:

The Search for Maisy and Shannon

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On May 2nd, the search for Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander continued, on the Kitigan Zibi reserve, 8 months after the two girls went missing. The search was organized by the Odjick family, with the help of Amnesty International, which donated 2 buses to help transport volunteers from Ottawa who wished to help with the search. The two buses were filled, and many more showed up on top of that. All in all, over 240 people came to help scour the woods around the reserve for any clue at all that might lead to answers. Four member of the Missing Justice collective in Montreal attended.

The search was led by Search and Rescue Global 1, a pro-search team run entirely by volunteers. The SAR team was overwhelmed by the number of volunteers, so some people had to wait in the community hall for their turn to join a search team.

We were divided into groups of 15-20 people, with 2 team leaders. Everyone had a stick of some kind to help them push aside some of the thick brush that we would encounter. We lined up for instructions: we were to yell ’stop ‘ along with a number we had been given whenever we saw anything that might be a clue. A clue could be anything at all: a beer bottle, a piece of cloth, strange litter, anything.Then, a team leader would come and find us, look at the clue, and maybe choose to radio it in.

At times distracted by nightmarish visions of what we might find, at times pre-occupied with getting through the insanely thick bush unscathed, we walked through the woods, in as straight a line as possible given the fact that we were supposed to go through all obstacles as opposed to around them. There were a few times when we lost site of the people beside us, but it was never long before someone yelled ’stop.’

» continue reading "The Search for Maisy and Shannon"

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May 11, 2009 Weblog:

free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12

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[photo: One of several hands-on activities geared towards kids is the mining worker dress-up costume. The Xstrata folks did not mind this photo being taken under the Goldcorp-sponsored mining booth; instead, they appeared highly amused.]

[image #2: "Did you know?" counterspin fliers. Print & copy!]

A free Mining in Society fair is taking place at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre yesterday, today and tomorrow (May 10-12). The annual event is billed as a place to "learn about the important role the minerals industry plays in your everyday life!"

Kids' activities include panning for gold, dressing up as a miner, matching minerals and metals with everyday products, colouring in mining-related drawings, and many others. Hundreds of school-age children will be attending the fair today and tomorrow.

Aside from the kids' activities, there are plenty of booths with interesting information, maps, and plenty of free stuff. If you don't mind corporate logos on your pens, notebooks, water bottles, key chains, highlighters, and other assorted paraphernalia, then you can get your office supplies for the next year. My personal favourite is the little yellow Suncor truck! There is also a small career fair for those of you considering gainful employment with Goldcorp, Shell, Freeport, Suncor...

» continue reading "free "Mining in Society" fair in Toronto, May 10-12"

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May 8, 2009 Weblog:

Dominican Republic's Violence Against Haitians: Time to Act, Not Just Condemn

by Wadner Pierre- www.haitianalysis.com

A Haitian man was beheaded on May 1 in the Santo Domingo neighbourhood of Buenos Aires as onlookers applauded. Some reportedly used their cell phones to film the murder.

According to news reports. the murder was in reprisal for the beheading of Dominican man - a crime allegedly perpetrated by a Haitian national who remains at large.

The Dominican Republic (DR) and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola. Approximately 1 million Haitians live in the DR - typically doing the most arduous and undesirable work available in agriculture and construction. They are regularly subjected to mob violence and other abuse.

Haiti's foreign minister, Alrich Nicolas, called the lynching "barbarous" and delivered an official protest to the Dominican authorities. I am much more impressed by an open letter sent to Haitian President Rene Preval, which I published on my blog,

Haitian Woman citizen who lives aboard, asked the Preval's administration to act, not only to condemn. Indeed, we must press the Dominican Republic for reparations for its many crimes against Haitians.

The DR allowed itself to be used as a staging ground for rebels who helped overthrow Haiti's democratically elected government in 2004. In 1994, when the US finally ordered Haiti's military government to step down, the DR provided refuge to many of its most notorious members. Most infamously, there was the Parsley Massacre of 1937.

» continue reading "Dominican Republic's Violence Against Haitians: Time to Act, Not Just Condemn"

May 7, 2009 Weblog:

Asbestos, Quebec: A Graphic Novel/une bande dessinee

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[disponible en français ici.]

Asbestos, PQ: A Graphic Novel/Une bande dessinée is a new addition to Dr. Joy Parr's Megaprojects/Lostscapes website. Based on the dissertation research of Jessica van Horssen, this graphic novel presents a history of the town of Asbestos, Québec from the perspective of the Jeffrey Mine, the largest chrysotile asbestos mine in the world. Viewing the community's history from this perspective offers a new angle from which to view how people and place grow, change and depend on each other. Follow the triumphs and tragedies of this community at: http://megaprojects.fims.uwo.ca.

May 6, 2009 Weblog:

May 11: Mining Company to Stake Claim on Mount Royal

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For immediate and widespread distribution:

Québec – Canada – Americas

mining, human rights and citizens’ rights


an open-pit mine on the mont-royal?

see : www.royalor.com

citizens’-action

may 11 2009

Mont-Royal 1 :30 -2 :30

(at the gazebo at Duluth & Parc)

Representatives of different communities affected by Canadian open-pit mining projects will stake a claim on the mineral rights of the Mont-Royal. Their aim is to symbolically demonstrate the harms and prejudices faced by their communities whether in Québec, elsewhere in Canada , in Mexico , in Honduras , in Chile or in Papua New-Guinea. The claim will be duly filed with the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec.

Come one, come all to call for :

1. a reform of mining laws

2. the legal accountability of canadian companies operating abroad

3. a public debate free of « slapp » suits
________

In collaboration with Coalition québécoise sur les impacts socio-environnementaux des transnationales en Amérique Latine and many other organizations. For more information : Lazar Konforti 514.827.7486 lazar.konforti@gmail.com, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 514.398.4251 daviken.studnicki-gizbert@mcgill.ca. An event organized in conjunction with the Cadre des activités parallèles du 5e Congrès mondial d’éducation relative à l’environnement (www.5weec.uqam.ca), May 10 - 15 Palais des Congrès Montréal.

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