Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ottawa: Thousands Protest Israel

After looking at a picture of the rally, I must say it was much larger then I stated earlier today. Perhaps 2000 people or more showed up. It was the convergence of the Lebanese community, the Palestinian community, the Anti-War community, and organized labour. Lebanese, Palestinian, Canadian, and CUPE flags flapped in the air. Where there were not flags there were plackards and banners to cover the rest of the way. The protestors circled the Parliament hill path with chants such as "What do we want? Cease-fire! When do we want it? Now!", "Shame Shame USA", "Stop the Killing, Stop the Crime, In Lebanon and Palestine", "End the Occupations Now!" and, "Mr. Harper when you hide; You let Canadians Die".One of the most powerful speakers was the Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. Labour has come out against what Israel is doing, as well as what Canada is doing in Afghanistan. CUPE Ontario has even joined a growing campaign of divestment and boycott of Israel. The current aggression has only increased Labour in their support of the Palestinian and Lebanese people. The last speaker who was a Muslim Lebanese faith leader who tied in that what is going on in Afghanistan is not peacekeeping and bridged the gap between the conflicts. Even two Members of Parliament joined the protest Meili Faille and Richard Nadeau of the Bloc Quebecois.

Similar protests were held all over the world, but Canadian protests included Montreal, Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Vancouver and fourteen more across the country. Internationally there were many protests including in the United States and in Israel itself. Tel-Aviv for example had over 2500 demonstrators. The world is once again saying no to war.

Image from YaYaCanada

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ottawa: Children provide hope during a Protest against such brutal murder

Well I got back from the protest condeming what Israel is doing in Lebanon and Palestine as well as our government's response to it. I'd say there were around 1200 - 1500 people who came out, but its always hard to judge numbers. As one of the speakers talked about the over 100 innocent children already killed I felt myself on the verge of tears. As people should know I adore children, and would go out of my way to defend them. However, children can give great joy as well and as I stood at the top of the stands (that were set up for the sound and light show) holding the TROOPS OUT NOW! banner which rests in my room, I was surrounded by children on either side of me, behind me and below me. Despite the odd accidental bump to the head by a flag they were playing with, they made me smile greatly and showed me the innocence of hope in the face of such murder and insanity.

I'm going to write more and hopefully be able to get pictures, on this later.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Site: Update

Sorry, I haven't been posting as regular as usual, I have been quite busy as of late. I unfortunately due to spamming will have to take off the option of full anonymity. This is not something I wanted to do, but is currently necessary.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Opinion: Lebanon and Gaza recent attacks

The current offensive by Israel is anything but justified by the capture of their soldiers. In both Lebanon and Gaza they are murdering hundreds of innocent civilians, not to mention the complete destruction of infrastructure. What is almost as disgusting is the blatant blind support of Israel. Israel is an apartheid state and an militaristic power with little respect for life.

Despite that criticism of Israel results in those people being denounced as anti-semetic or 'a self hating Jew'. Zionism is not a religious ideology it is an expansionist racist ideology which tries to crush dissent to its crimes. Jews or Israelis are not the problem, as many Jews speak out about the barbarity of the Israeli government. But, those who do speak out and work for peace are marginalized and told that they are not supporting what they are. A religion whose main tenants include, "Thou Shall Not Kill", "Thou Shall Not Steal", and "Thou shall not covet your neighbor's house..." goes directly against a militaristic, expansionist and, racist policies of the government of Israel.

For the first time I know people in the warzone. I already opposed war and occupation, but knowing two people who are currently in Lebanon only reinforces that fact. Over the weekend there have been protests in many cities against the continued aggression of Israel and the blanket support by countries like the United States and Canada. As this aggression continues resistance will only grow stronger.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Opinion: International Terrorism

I decided to post this as I will be gone for the weekend. This was from the same course as the Free Trade paper. I think I've seriously progressed since writing this but its still something interesting to read.

The Fall of the Soviet Union brought with it hope for a more peaceful future, a future that had been hoped for after many major wars such as World War One and Two. A concept of not having two opposing sides in constant opposition and struggle, that undermine world peace. President George W. Bush's famous speech after the September 11th terrorist attacks has undermined that concept of peace and reinvigorated a duality of being ' either with us or with the terrorists'. They have since used hegemonic control to lead a war on terror. The war on terror however, only further destabilizes the world in their defile of international law in the name of national security.

Terrorism creates an entirely mode of physical conflict in comparison to war. Conventional methods of military intervention are not effective in the ending of terrorism. The United States method of otherthrowing governments that are deemed bastions for terrorists has proven extremely ineffective. Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorist organizations since the fall of Saddam Hussein and, although the Taliban, who had close ties with Al Qaeda, in Afghanistan was overthrown the country is mainly run by regional warlords. This entire policy runs upon a concept that the United States can combat terrorists in other nation-states so, they do not have to deal with terrorists upon it's soil. This entirely conception of reality has flaws if one looks at September 11th and the London Bombings. The terrorists who flew the planes into the World Trade Center were trained at flight schools in the United States and, the London suicide bombers were British born. Terrorism is a new type of warfare, a international battle that in many ways cannot be fully won.

United States' foreign policy tends to create more problems that it later combats with military force. Here are three examples Panama in 1990, Afghanistan in 2001 and, Iraq in 2003. In 1990 United States troops invaded Panama and devastated the civilian population to capture the 'narco-terrorist' General Noriega. Noriega was a former CIA contact who had been on the CIA payroll when George H. W. Bush was CIA director. In 2001 the United States led a coalition to invade Afghanistan in order to disband the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had been given CIA money and training in the 1980s in an effort to stop the country from coming under Soviet control and, the Taliban had been honoured guests of George W. Bush earlier in his political career. The most currently talked about war is the war in Iraq. The United States led a “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq to quell terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction yet both of these reasons were false. The ruler they deposed was Saddam Hussein who had been given United States' support during the Iran-Iraq war and whose Ba'ath party had been given support earlier to launch a coup d'etat over the former government of Abdul Karim Qassim. These three conflicts are only a small example of United States' international involvement. The first and foremost change the United States government could do to prevent terrorism would be to stop funding terrorist groups or regimes, even if at that time the support is militarily convenient.

The worst part of United States foreign policy is its disregard for international law. The invasions of Panama in 1990 and Iraq in 2003 were direct violations of international law and were in fact condemned as illegal by many states around the world. The United States government did not stop with its illegal activities there. There have been growing scandles about unlawful detention, illegal invasions of privacy and, the use of torture. For the stability of world peace and to be in the moral right a state must follow international law especially in relation to the conduct of war.

The United States' approach to the war on terror goes against moral and legal conviction. International law and cooperation are the only way to ensure world peace. The United States has gone against the fundaments of peace and has been a major contributor to terrorism. To prevent further terrorism the United States should begin by ending their engagement in it and to work with the other many states of the world.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ottawa: Protest Against Israeli Crimes in Gaza

Yesterday, a couple hundred people met at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa. The mood was a mixture of solemn pain for what is going on in Gaza and on the other hand happiness from people reconnecting at the demonstration. A significant Palestinian protest has not happened in Ottawa for over two years. The buzz of Bluesfest played on in the back while in front of the protest many people were honking their horns in support.

It was set up by the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians. They were there to say no to the crimes Israel is currently committing in Gaza as well as Canadian complicity. Canadian foreign policy has changed to a position of protecting Israel, both in the UN and in terms of aid. Later that night candles were lit to remember those killed.

Pictures from YaYaCanada

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Opinion: Free Trade

The fall of the Soviet Union in the late 21st Century left the world with only one superpower, the United States, who adamantly pressured the rest of the world for free trade. The United States has become the hegemon of the world militarily and economically. Free trade has since proliferated from the United States lead hegemony's pressure and the creation of supranational organization such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and, the World Trade Organization. These policies work upon an assumption that free trade raises the world standards, and that it is necessary. In reality free trade lowers world standards, creates a larger gap between rich and poor and, harms the environment.

Globalization has allowed for trade at record speeds with products being transported around the world where they weren't able to before. Transnational corporations have become the leading benefiter of this type of trade and in particular free trade. Most of these transnational corporations however, are based in the North. They use a new form of global exploitation by going to countries in the South with the lowest wages and usually minimal political rights as well. China has become a major market for cheap labour even though, the citizens have little rights and, work in poor labour conditions. As seen in Columbia with Coca Cola where workers who were trying to unionise were assassinated (Harris & Lapin, 2005). This type of use of labour instead of raising the bar, as free trade proponents claim, lowers the bar by workers having to work for lower wages with low or non-existent benefits if they wish for the transnational corporations to set up shop in these countries. Workers in Northern countries however, loose their jobs as the companies go around the world looking for the lowest wages. This loss of jobs and the reduction of wages contributes to the growing gap between rich and poor.

Ever since humans started moving away from communal hunter-gatherer societies and into settlements there has been a certain amount of disparity between people. Inequality was high at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution however, it eventually became more equal as workers unionised and wages grew. In the post-industrial world inequality has been rising within countries, but even more so between countries. Free trade becomes one of the major causes of this as policies of privatization are enforced, despite the negative consequences on other countries from the variability of the market. Developing countries in the South are also pressured into becoming individual resource dependant. The term banana republic is an example of this, as certain countries in Latin America are pressured into focusing on fruit mainly for export to the North. However, if the market crashes on that product so does the economy of those countries who major in their production. Even still in the boom cycles of those products little goes to the actual farmers and instead goes to the transnational corporations and business elites that control their products from privatization. Thus the South becomes a resource and cheap labour market for the North and the gap between rich and poor grows.

Although there are many externalities placed upon workers with low wages, bad work conditions and, union busting one of the major externalities is the environment. Genetically modified food, chemicals and, pollution are pushed on governments and people throughout the world due to free trade. The repercussions of genetically modified foods at the moment is not known, yet they are being pushed on markets around the world, as an example, the World Trade Organization has even said that the banning of genetically modified foods in Europe was illegal. Chemicals can destroy land, lead to desertification or can get into water supplies and kill marine life and possibly humans as well. One example of forced products is MMT a deadly toxic fuel additive which was forced on Canada, by an American company through the use of the North American Free Trade Agreement. These transnational corporations which enter free trade can serious affect water supplies as well, an example of this was Coca-Cola in Plachimada India which made the water level fall from 150 ft below sea level to 500 ft below (Shiva, 2005: 168).These policies of forcing products on countries despite the affect on the environment is quite detrimental.

The lowering of labour standards, the growing disparity between rich and poor in the North and South and, the degradation of the environment due to free trade being a vessel for transnational corporations does not make the world better. Instead a new type of exploitation has been created under the name of something that is free. The free trade policies that are petitioned by these transnational corporations and supranational organizations should be looked at very carefully, so they do not erode the rights of countries and the citizens within those countries. There needs to be a clause to protect workers and the environment if there is to be any trade which brings society up.

Written a while ago, but due to being busy I found it fitting at this time. Important activist updates about Ottawa events will be coming soon.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Activist Image: Death Cult

This is from my friend over at the Apoplectic Press he states along with it " Actively seeking profit from war is one of the most unspeakably obscene aspects of capitalist pseudo-democracies. It boldly illustrates the underlying amorality of the free market and exposes the horrific lie behind the arguments of corporate sycophants such as Milton Freidman. If we believe financial growth is the ultimate good then we have missed entirely the point of being human and have made a date with our extinction. Apparently It seems the current plan to avoid being judged by history is to erase it.

The Deathcult graphic features corporations historically and currently collecting usurious profit from war and military destabilization. Their soulless lobbyists and associations ensure that the world is in a perpetual state of armed conflict.The fact that a sitting US president and his Vice-President (former oil men) literally have vested interests in the continuation of this wickedness is a crime beyond historical precedent. These sociopathic institutions despise peace. These corporate abominations rely on misery and body-counts for their quarterly profits to rise...and their investors demand that they rise without fail. These would be the first monsters to be tried and convicted in a Corporate Crimes Tribunal. These are the leaders of the Deathcult."

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Ottawa: Dead Soldier wanted home

According to the CBC the 17th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan wanted to come home. Cpl. Anthony Boneca was killed Sunday west of Kandahar. Kandahar is currently occupied by international forces under Canadian leadership. The mainstream news has said that it is a hotbead for Taliban resistence, but the numbers do not add up and the possibility of resistence simply due to outside occupation is not even mentioned.

The family of the recently killed soldier is calling for the troops to come home. Cpl. Boneca "...felt he had been misled by the military."[1] Stephen Harper stated that, "... On behalf of Canadians, I praise Corporal Boneca's courage and self-sacrifice and I take comfort knowing that his memory will live on in the spirit of fellow CF soldiers serving around the world, and in the hearts of his countrymen who pray for their safe return. ... As a country we stand proudly behind you."[2] On the contrary Mr. Harper you obviously do not support them. Maybe you stand behind them with a gun in their back making them doing what more do not want to then we know. If you support the troops bring them home from the war.

As the war rages on more military families will courageously speak out against this war. This is not the first family to speak out however, dissent against the war is not popular in the media despite about half of Canadians who oppose it. It is up to everyone to speak out against this war for those who cannot.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Press Freedom: Letter From Craig Murphy

I am sorry to trouble you, but believe that we now face a threat both to the Web and to Freedom of Information in the UK which must be challenged. The British government is arguing that government documents, even if released under the Freedom of InformAtion Act or Data Protection Act, cannot be published, on the web or elsewhere, as they remain Crown Copyright. They have required me to remove documents from my website on that basis, under threat of legal action - see the attached letter from the Treasury solicitors.

If you think about it for a moment, the government could thus cancel out almost the whole purpose of the Freedom of Information Act; information released would be just for the private use of an individual. Newspapers - or bloggers - could not publish it in any detail.

If accepted, this extraordinary use of copyright could keep literally everything - everything - produced by government a secret.

The documents in question are the supporting evidence for my book, Murder in Samarkand, which has just been released. The government continues to claim my story is untrue. There is one important advance in all this. Up until now the government refused to acknowledge the documents were authentic. Now Buttrill's letter specifically acknowledges all of the documents and claims copyright over them.

Some of these documents have already been published widely on the web (not least due to the efforts of many of you on this list), particularly the "Tashkent telegrams" on CIA and MI6 use of intelligence obtained under torture in the UK. Those are now admitted as authentic.

Some are new to the web. Perhaps the most important is the chart of the changes the British Government insisted be made to the book. These are extremey revealing for what they admit to be true - for example, only minor changes are requested in the key meeting between senior officials on the legality of using intelligence from torture, at which it was confirmed that this is US and UK policy.

Perhaps still more revealing is the insistence on removal of the assertion that "Colin Powell knowingly lied" when he claimed that bombs in Tashkent were the work of al-Qaida. The British government insisted on removal not because it was untrue - as detailed in the book, they know full well it is true - but because it would "Damage UK-US relations".

The changes requested were made in the book, because my publisher would not publish without. That is why the truth needs to be out there on the web.

It is on the face of it very strange that the British Government is going after me over the Copyright Act and not the Official Secrets Act. The answer is simple - under the Copyright Act there is no jury. A jury would never convict for campaigning against torture, and be most unlikely to accept that documents released cannot be published. The table of changes requested by the government is not even a classified document in the first place. But a single judge may be more malleable - John Reid had put a huge effort lately into browbeating judges over anything connected to the so-called War on Terror. As the government know very well I have no money to pay a small, or even large fine, they can get the book and documents banned and me in jail without having to convince any jury of pesky citizens.

How to fight back?

Well, we must not let the documents disappear from the web. There is as yet no legal ruling on these matters, Mr Buttrill's claims are only highly controversial legal contentions. So if you post the documents pending a court ruling, there is a danger you may be contravening the - civil, not criminal - law, but then again you may not. You would quite likely receive a threatening letter from Mr Buttrill. Now you have this email from me, NSA and GCHQ are almost certainly tracking you, (they can, incidentally, reciprocally spy in the other country for each other and then swap the info, because neither needs a warrant to spy abroad), but then they probably were already.

The publisher had firm and very expensive legal advice that it was not contravening any civil or criminal law to publish in the book links to web pages containing the documents. So you are almost certainly on safe legal ground in publishing this link to the Dahr Jamail site if you do not wish to mirror the docs yourself.

Feel free to publish this email and the letter from Mr Buttrill [attached].

It might also be helpful if we urged people to contact him, by phone, email or letter, and ask him complex questions about the fascinating and difficult legal and ethical questions thrown up by the government's position. As a government servant he's obliged to reply.

Finally, the government made plain to parliament that it would act against the book itself if it was published. As it only came out on Friday, no injunction yet but it could happen any time. So if you are interested in getting it, buy now and beat the injunctions! It is available from most online booksellers, though bookshops seem very reluctant to stock it.

Many Thanks,

Craig Murray

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Opinion: 7/7 One year On

Well today is the first anniversary of the 7/7 transit bombings in London. I remember specifically being worried about a friend of mine who was in London. In the UK today there will be a two minute moment of silence for those who have died.

One year later where are we? Security since 7/7 has become stronger only resulting in one innocent man being shot by police. The cause of the bombings was stated by the terrorists as due to British aggression. Yet, Britain still is engaged in occupation most notably of Iraq bringing much more terror down on Iraqi civilians. Instead of reaching out to Muslim and Arab communities Islamophobia and racism has continued to increase. This is certainly a sad day, but not only for those who lost their lives in London.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ottawa: Pride Never Dies

Today Queer Action met for the first time to create a radical community queer pride. There will be a week of events including workshops, movie nights, socials, queer readings, and club nights. The events will span from August 19th to August 27th. All events are non-corporate and grassroots, drawing on local community organizations and small queer businesses.

However, the Ottawa-Gatineau Pride Committee due to a $20,000 loan from Capital Xtra will be running some type of Pride. Most likely it will be much smaller and will include a parade and a pay outdoor festival. Queer Action will not directly shun the Pride Committee, but will provide many other choices to participate in outside of the Pride Committee actions. It is important not to divide oppressed communities, but it is important to make your community what you wish it to be.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

USA: Veteran Homelessness

Homelessness in America as well as many other western countries continues to be a problem. This is due to the growing economic inequality which is brought about by the current economic system if the right social institutions are not in place. In places like New Orleans homelessness has skyrocketed due to mismanagement and corruption after hurricane Katrina. Many poor residents in large public housing units have been locked out from returning to homes, while many bought mobile homes were left to rot unused instead of actually distributing them to the poor public.

There has been an increase in homelessness in another segment of the population however, Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans. Homelessness in military veterans is not a new phenomena in the United States. The Vietnam war left many vets on the streets to fend for themselves and some still are homeless after sometimes 25 or 30 years. Now with a new generation of veterans a new generation of homeless veterans are popping up. This is not surprising considering if one looks at the way economics plays into military service.

The most obvious reason contributing to veteran homelessness is the slashing of veteran benefits. The Bush administration has created the largest military budget in history, but at the same time cut military personnel's benefits. Its also important to look at unemployment and the use of the military in order to better oneself in life. Many people join the military in order to have some type of job as the number of Americans grow, but the number of American jobs shrink. After being released from the military with decreased benefits it is quite possible that many veterans from poor families will end up on the streets. The other major use of the military is a way to pay for extremely expensive post-secondary education. These individuals are pulled away from actually doing their degree and if also low-income it is possible to become homeless. The other major category are partially disabled veterans who find themselves unable to pay large medical bills and wind up on the street because of it.

Most homeless veterans are from the Vietnam war still, but with the wars still raging and the possibility of further US aggression against Iran, North Korea or, elsewhere the numbers of recent veterans on the streets will only rise. According to the Associated Press there are currently 200,000 homeless veterans on US streets.[1] With statistics like these it shows that the current government is not the one that is pro-military.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

USA: On July 4th

Not being American, I feel others should be doing the talking today. So, I will let the youth blogging sensation speak for me.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Tibet: Completion of Colonization Railway

The Occupation of Tibet is an issue that has existed for over five decades. Unlike the occupations of Vietnam, Palestine, and now Afghanistan and Iraq, Tibet has been put on the backburner in the West due to the occupation being by a foreign power. Due to the nature of the Tibetan landscape however, actual colonization and extraction of resources has been difficult for the Chinese government. Of course the military control of Tibet is a very different issue. Since the invasion there has been absolutely brutal military rule where even taking part of a peaceful demonstration results in arrest and torture.

The Chinese control over Tibet has not been weakening over the past few years, instead its been getting stronger. A major anchor of that occupation was finished Saturday the highest railway in the world going to Lhasa Tibet's capital. This railway will make it much easier for the Chinese to take natural resources from Tibet as well as to colonize Tibet. The finishing of the railway sparked protests in London as well as the unveiling of a banner that said "China's Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy" in Beijing. The Beijing protest was by three western activists Katie Mallin, 34 from the UK, Omi Hodwitz, 29 from Canada and, Cathy Ni Keefe, 36 from the USA. They were quickly detained by Chinese police after unfurling the banner.

For more information about the occupation of Tibet visit:
Free Tibet Campaign
Students For a Free Tibet
GNN Movie - Tibet: Faith in Exile

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Opinion: Canadian Patriotism

Well today is Canada Day a day to celebrate our country and the love of our own beer. I have always loved Canada Day as an amazing party and have in the past been generally a very proud Canadian. I saw Canada as a very large beautiful jewel of the world that is a beacon of freedom and light. When I got involved in activism and realized what Canada was doing that patriotism took a hit.

I learnt about Canadian History and how awful groups such as the First Nations were treated and how many were killed and many others were forced into programs to eradicate their culture. I also learnt about what we did to Chinese and Japanese immigrants at different points in time, where it took "three dead chinamen for one mile of railway" or something close to that racist sentiment at the time, or the Japanese during World War Two. I began to learn more about what Canada was doing today with the detention of people on Security Certificates as well as our rapidly growing imperialist foreign policy. Our foreign policy includes a coup d'etat in Haiti, the occupation of Afghanistan, now support of Israel, the pushing of genetically modified organism including the terminator seed, as well the silence on Guantanamo due to our own Guantanamo North. All these factors made it hard to be proud of Canada.

Then I revisited the issue after hearing all the American Patriotism as dissent south of the border. I realized that it is not patriotic to simply accept a system of imperialism, environmental degradation, as well as the erosion of human rights. What is patriotic is saying that you love Canada because, of such you will dissent and fight against anything that endangers democracy and smears the ideals of Canada. The ideals of Canada is certainly a jingoistic term, but that includes a country of inclusion, liberty, justice, and equality. Whether Canada has ever actually been there is another question. Regardless Happy Canada Day.

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