Sunday, April 27, 2008

USA: Gender & Sexuality at the Winter Soldier hearings

The Winter Soldier hearings occurred in March of this year talking about what US military veterans saw and experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq. The name came from similar independent hearings that occurred in the 1970s about the Vietnam war. One of the special panels at the recent hearing was the Gender and Sexuality panel talking about what womyn and queer people experience in the US military.

This first video is of Tanya Austin talking about rape in the military and how it is common practice for womyn to be sexually assaulted in the military. The result of which is no affect on the record of those who commit the crime.

The second video is of Jeff Key talking about being gay in the military and being expelled under the "don't ask, don't tell policy".

For more information about the Gender and Sexuality Panel or the Winter soldier hearings to to Iraq Veterans Against the War.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ontario: Mohawks under attack by OPP again

I was sent this urgent message of support for the Mohawk Nation:

From Mohawk Nation News:
MNN: April 25, 2008. Mohawks surrounded at the quarry in Tyendinaga. Ontario Provincial Police OPP fully armed with guns drawn. They are yelling through blow horns ordering the Rotiskenrekete to come down with their hands up, or else they are going to take them out.

The Rotiskenrekete have told the OPP they are not coming down from there.

We have been informed that help will probably not arrive in time. The OPP have said they are coming right away. There are 20 left at the quarry. Many have already been arrested.




Warchief: 613-243-4993

Jan Hill 613-961-8515 613-827-1547

Dan 613-919-1354

Rotiskenrekete 613-849-1314 613-827-4991

OPP Easter Headquarters 613-284-4500 L.G. Beechey Chief Supt. Commander Eastern Region

R. Don Maracle 613-396-3089 Cell 613-391-9249

Also for more information go Here.

They are in desperate need of support as they are standing off against both police and skinheads. There is a call out for the following supplies:

Needed urgently: deer meat, fish, non-perishable food, water, Camping equipment, communications equipment, fuel, gas, propane, mobile phones, phone cards, rain coats, gas masks, towels, soap, wet wipes, tooth bushes and tooth paste, bear spray, gloves, work shoes, boots, runners, socks, radios, two-way radios, hand held radio, flashlights, tents, lanterns, wood for the fire, cooking utensils, plates and silverware, first aid.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Canada: Can Military Suicides Soar

As reported by the CBC suicides in the Canadian Military have soared over the past year, literally doubling from the year before.

Year Suicides Regular force & reserves Rate per 100,000
2003 14 86,937 16.1
2004 17 90,772 18.7
2005 17 91,285 18.6
2006 20 96,318 20.7
2007 36 87,000 41.4

This is very much connected to the ongoing Afghanistan mission where soldiers are becoming overextended. These were listed as "sudden deaths" by the military in 2007 and are only the ones that are officially stated. It is possible that there are veterans who commit suicide after they have left the services. However, these numbers report the saddening increase in suicide rates among active duty personnel.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Activist Video: The Shock Doctrine

For anyone who has not come across the Shock Doctrine I highly suggest it.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Opinion: Ineffective Protests

As of late I have become more and more irritated with the ineffective protests which occur in this city. I've said before that Ottawa is the city of major issues and, apathetic action. Perhaps due to living in a political city most people simply tune out dealing with politics, or maybe it is due to the system that we live in which discourages action or at least marginalizes it. There seems this concern to not offend people, to not cause too much trouble, but feel some form of satisfaction from simply making some noise and then going home.

I find it interesting that for instance Canadians' opposition to our forces being in Afghanistan is comparable to that of Americans' opposition to the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. Yet at that point there was a consciousness of action throughout the United States from the multitude of movements building into it the Civil Rights Movement, the 2nd Wave Feminist Movement, the Prisoners Rights movement and, the First Nations Right movement. These were movements who were willing to take risks, risks that result in multitudes of people loosing their lives, but provided for better quality of life as well as preventing the silent deaths of others. The silent deaths of Blacks by lynching and other violence, the silent deaths of abused wives or womyn with illegal abortions, the deaths of prisoners by guards, the continuing genocide of the First Nations, the deaths of countless soldiers, Vietnamese and Laotians. Sadly many silent deaths still occur, but now there is an outlet for them not to happen.

For a protest to be effective there needs to be some sort of risk involved, whether that be individual or collective. Most of the protests these days in Ottawa have no real risk factor involved, they march down the street usually to parliament with their nice police escort and then everyone goes home. This type of protest for the most part is one thing that diverts people genuine rage at unequal systems whether economic, violent, racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise and in turn keeps in place the existing system of power.

First Nations seem to be one of the few alive movements left in this country that are willing to take risks. They are willing to risk going to jail blocking mining companies from destroying the land, to cut of trains and roads to make an economic impact and, to defend the broken morsels of Mother Earth that are left in their care. I think the reason for this is because, the First Nations have less to lose. Physical then cultural genocide have been committed against them, the land they were stewards of for the Creator have been taken and destroyed and, on the whole most First Nations live in extreme poverty man of which not even given some necessities of life such as clean water. So, they risk because, what else can they do.

What of the rest of us however, those of us with certain amounts of privilege. Most of us sit in our warm homes or ivory academic towers saying things like "oh how horrid" instead of taking real political action and risking that privilege. But, what of poor urban communities one might ask. Instead of exploding in social action, communities turn on themselves thinking if only I could best the person next door I can get some of that privilege. Believing the words of corporate made rappers or rockers that some day I will have that too.

What we need is liberation. What we need is action. What we need is real risk.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Afghanistan: Spring has Come Again

Every year in Afghanistan there becomes talk of the Spring offensive and, every year we see a huge uprising of attacks in comparison to the winter where they are much more limited. Most of the Canadian soldiers that are killed in Afghanistan are during the warmer months. It seems the Spring offensive has already begun as two British soldiers and 11 Afghan police died in Kandahar today, and 15 more died in the previous week. I hate to believe this summer may be worse then the last, but I see no foreseeable change for the better any time soon.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Video: CIA cocaine round up

I've discussed with some people about the CIA's dealing in drugs, primarily cocaine and heroin. It seems many people still have never heard this story despite it having been exposed time and again over the past two decades. Here are some good videos for those who do not know the story.

Recent Video about a CIA plane which crashed in September 2007 with 4 tons of cocaine.

A Guerrilla News Network Video about the history of the CIA drug trade including government whistleblowers.

A Guerrilla News Network Video of Gary Webb who uncovered much of the CIA dealing in drugs. He has passed on now but here is his story about the CIA drug story and about investigative journalism.

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