Saturday, January 28, 2006

Missing Peacemakers Alive in Iraq

We are so grateful and heartened to see James, Harmeet, Norman and Tom alive on the video tape dated January 21. This news is an answer to our prayers. We continue to hope and pray for their release. All of us in Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) remain very disturbed by the abduction of our teammates. We pray that those who hold them will host them with the grace that so many of us in CPT have received as guests in Iraq. James, Harmeet, Norman and Tom are peace workers who have not collaborated with the occupation of Iraq and who have worked for justice for all Iraqis, especially those detained. We continue to believe that what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments in their illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people. We continue to call for justice and human rights for all who are detained in Iraq. The innocent should not suffer in the place of those who have done wrong. CPT has organized public actions for peace and justice for Iraqi detainees. This weekend major events are scheduled for Washington DC, Toronto and Chicago.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has long worked for the rights of Iraqi prisoners who have been illegally detained and abused. We were the first to publicly denounce the torture of Iraqi people at the hands of U.S. forces, long before the western media admitted what was happening at Abu Ghraib. We are among the few internationals left in Iraq working for human rights and peace. We hope that we can continue to do this work and we pray for the speedy release of our beloved teammates.

Christian Peacemaker Teams has been present in Iraq since October 2002, providing first-hand, independent reports from the region, working with detainees of both United States and Iraqi forces, and training others in non-violent intervention and human rights documentation. Christian Peacemaker Teams is a violence reduction program. Teams of trained peacemakers work in areas of lethal conflict around the world.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Copy (and edit) the message below, then click


Dear Premier Doer,

I ask you to grant immediate interim protection to the traditional territories of the Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids First Nations, as requested by these communities. Interim protections would allow these communities to move forward with their planning for a future World Heritage Site in the region.

These ecologically and culturally important boreal lands and waters sustain indigenous communities and are home to many rare and threatened wildlife species. I am very concerned that if you do not act to confer interim protection on this global treasure, the proposed World Heritage Site may be sacrificed before conservation planning can be completed.

These First Nations have the right to determine the fate of the forest that has sustained them for thousands of years. I urge you to seize this unique opportunity to act in accordance with your government's support for the future World Heritage Site. Please protect these boreal forest lands now, in order to ensure the creation of a World Heritage Site that will enrich your province, Canada and the entire planet.

Sincerely Yours,

Ian Mauro's "Seeds of Change"

Dear Blog Reader, "Seeds of Change" is a documentray about genetically engineered crops. I recommend you watch it. You can download the whole documentary for free. Just click here.

Another excellent documentary on the subject is called "The Future of Food." As far as I know, this latter is not available for free.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Selected quotes of Connie Fogal

Let us be very clear! The radio frequency ID now required in the USA and intended for Canada is a tracking device that will tell authorities where the holder of this PASS card is at any time. It is a location device. The acronym PASS card tells all. It is an abbreviation for People Access Security Service. The US-Canada border already has and has had for some time a device that reads your car's licence information instantly transmitting to the border attendant all your identification the moment you approach the border guard station. What did you think that flashing light was that snapped a picture of your car before you are allowed to cross the demarcation line? They do not need a PASS card to do the identification of the person passing through the border.

Subjecting citizens of democracies to tracking devices is a violation of and tragedy for freedom. S 6 (1) of the Charter reads "Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada." To require such a tracking ID card in order that one could move in an out of Canada violates this right. The Canadian Bill of Rights S 1(a) guarantees to Canadians the right to be free. To be tracked is not to be free.

Such location devices are already in some cell phones unknown to users. The justification made (if you discover the tracking capabilities) is that if someone steals your cell phones, authorities can instantly read the tracking information to locate the cell phone. The same authorities can locate where you are at any point of time so long as you carry that cell phone. Some clothing from Walmart, some automobiles also carry such tracking devices.

What is going on here is the imposition and implementation of a police state in Fortress America extending its territory over all of North America. Unless Canadians inform themselves of the process unfolding right now that fundamentally intends to deform Canada, we will all wake up soon to discover we do not have a democracy, nor freedom, nor a country.

On December 12,2001 John Manley, who was at that time the Liberal Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, entered an agreement with Tom Ridge, the USA Homeland Security Director, called the 30 point Smart Border Declaration. By that agreement both signatories on behalf of their respective countries promised to create a new regime of North America. That plan included, among other things, the promise to introduce the radio frequency ID cards, biometric identifiers in documentation (DNA markers, eyeprints, fingerprints), permanent resident cards, no fly lists (i.e., lists of people not allowed to fly), no passport lists (i.e., lists of people not allowed to renew their passports), surveillance of internet use, email, cell phone and fax communications, sharing of revenue Canada and census information (i.e., divulging all the personal and financial data of Canadians to the USA Homeland Security Office), and anti-terrorism legislation. Many other steps in this plan are also being effected. The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is working collaboratively with the United States Customs Service, the United State Immigration and Naturalization Service, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The question is, how can such dramatic, profound, liberty stripping, and nation dissecting processes be in the works, actually being effected without Parliamentary debate and decision? The nation's business and destiny have passed out of the control of our citizens and our constitution. When Tom Manley signed that Smart Border declaration and then began its implementation via various departments of government, he was exercising dictatorial practice. He began a process of regime change in Canada. This betrayal of the sacred trust of Canada is far more egregious than the corruption revealed in the Gomery Enquiry. It reveals systemic, deliberate self destruction and sabotage of Canada.

The Smart Border Plan mirrors the recommendations of a USA, Canada, Mexico Task Force which recommendations were divulged on May 17, 2005.This task force is composed of the leading CEOs of the most powerful corporations in North America, prominent former officials, like Tom Manly who now heads that task force, business men, and academic apologists from all three countries. They plan to unify North America. The recommendations include a common security perimeter by 2010 (Fortress America), a North American border pass with biometric identifiers, a unified border and expanded facilities, a single economic space, a common external tariff, a seamless movement of goods within North America, a North American energy strategy, a review of sectors of NAFTA that were excluded, a North American Regulatory plan that removes regulations, a permanent tribunal for disputes,an annual North American summit meeting.

So there you have it. This task force is the driving source and force of policy and practice that is changing the shape and fabric of Canada. Unelected, unaccountable, uncontrollable people and corporations are in control of our destiny, our lives, and our well-being.

In March of 2005 Prime Minister Martin and President Bush and President Fox signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement which adopts the Task Force
Recommendations. Martin, Bush, and Fox then assigned three cabinet ministers in their respective countries to implement the deal. In Canada they are Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign affairs, David Emerson, Minister of Industry, Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (the last being a new department flowing from Task Force demands). In June of 2005 the three ministers of each country reported their progress to date to the Leaders in a document called Report To Leaders, Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. They reference the intention that the deal be permanent, and irrevocable.

All of these agreements are being effected by a stealthy manoeuver of incremental presentation to Parliament and/or incremental bureaucratic departmental implementation. Some parts of the Smart Border Plan necessarily have to be dealt with in Parliament, like the liberty stripping anti-terrorist legislation passed in 2002, or the surveillance legislation to legalize spying on internet, email and cell phone use, etc. The surveillance legislation was before Parliament when the writ dropped and will be back after the new government convenes.

We have already reached the stage many of us warned against since the introduction of various international agreements like NAFTA came on scene. Members of Parliament are now irrelevant. They are impotent in the face of these international agreements that cede power out of the nation's control to an unelected unaccountable body of Chief executive corporate officers, retired government officials, business men, and academics. They will remain so unless they reverse these arrangements. This election is a sham under this changing regime...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Help Quebec win a pesticide ban

The final stage of the Pesticide Code of Quebec will come into effect on April 3, 2006. This will be a day to celebrate, not only for Quebec, but for the entire world. In Quebec it means that 7.5 million people and their environment will be protected from 20 active pesticide ingredients used for lawn care. The banning of these active ingredients means that 212 pesticide products will be eliminated from sale and use in Quebec. Implementation of the Pesticide Code sets an historic precedent for the health of communities everywhere.

However, at a recent conference held by the lawn care industry, it was announced that every effort would be made to remove 2,4-D from the list of pesticides to be banned. If the industry is successful, this would mean that 2,4-D could be sprayed on public spaces in Quebec communities, including where children play.

Please write to the Minister of the Environment urging him to keep 2,4-D on Quebec's list of banned pesticides. What happens in Quebec will set the stage for the empowerment of communities worldwide to win government action against toxins in the environment.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Re : Abdelkader Belaouni

Joe Volpe
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Anne McLellan
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Canadian Border Services Agency

Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Ministers,

I am shocked and angry to learn that Canada plans to deport Mr. Abdelkader Belaouni today. Mr. Belaouni is a man who has overcome great barriers, including a visual impairment, to create a secure and dignified life for himself in Montreal, after being displaced twice. I find it alarming that CIC has refused to grant Mr. Belaouni status, purportedly due to his inability to find work. This decision is discriminatory, because CIC failed to take into account his total visual impairment. Not only does this decision discriminate against Mr. Belaouni because of his disability, but it also ignores the significant contributions and strong connections Mr. Belaouni has made in his community of Point St-Charles, and in Montreal. Mr. Belaouni enjoys the support of over 30 organizations in Montreal, as well as the support of many Canadian citizens. The deportation of Mr. Belaouni will likely include detention in the U.S., pending his eventual deportation to Algeria. He will be particularly vulnerable in detention due to diabetes and visual impairment, in addition to the discrimination that he will face as an Arab and Muslim. Why would Canada deport a man to detention, deportation, and insecurity? He is a contributor to the well-being of his community. I urge you to exercise your power to stop the deportation of Mr. Belaouni, and to provide him with status here in Canada.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

From the Dec 27th Winnipeg Free Press:

by Dave O'Brien

More than 500 army troops, backed by helicopters, armoured vehicles and artillery, will turn downtown Winnipeg into an armed camp as part of a military exercise to train soldiers for the modern battlefield. Exercise Charging Bison will unfold for seven days and nights beginning April 30th next year, in what is believed to be the largest urban warfare training exercise of its kind ever held in Canada. There won't be live ammunition, but there will be laser weapons and a variety of blanks and simulated munitions that make noise and smoke or discharge harmless projectiles. The drill is designed to simulate the kind of complex conditions soldiers would encounter in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where conventional warfare is conducted simultaneously with humanitarian relief operations and nation-building, said Col. Kelly Woiden, commander of 38 Brigade. Urban battlefields are sometimes known as "three-block wars" because troops could help people on one block, fight insurgents on another, and guard convoys on another, Woiden explained. "We're going to create a realistic environment of the situation that individual soldiers can face today," he said. "You could be doing humanitarian relief one moment and then fighting a war the next. It is the most complicated terrain for a soldier." The operation is also part of a long-term plan to prepare 200 of the brigade's soldiers to support a 1,000-person task force in 2008, if necessary, he said. The 38 Brigade is a reserve unit responsible for a dozen formations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. It will provide most of the personnel for the exercise, although some will come from British Columbia and Alberta, and possibly from the United States, Woiden said, adding 17 Wing will also provide logistics support. About 100 police officers and civilians will be given a role in the exercise, either as opposing forces or relief organizations. The military may also recruit drama students from the University of Manitoba to play the roles of demonstrators or insurgents. "The purpose is to learn and we may rerun the same scenario several times," Woiden said. The operation will occupy a large swath of downtown Winnipeg from Balmoral Street on the west, south to the Assiniboine River, north to the CP Railtracks and east into The Forks and St. Boniface. Woiden said the exercise is still in the planning stages and the boundaries could change. A base camp will be established on the western edge of the city, but there will be smaller camps downtown, he said. The exercise will continue night and day, but Woiden said he did not anticipate any significant disruption of traffic or commercial operations. Military observers will keep score and determine who was killed and who was wounded during the exercise. "This is different than traditional training when the infantry were facing open ground in front of them, with soldiers in a different uniform," Woiden said. "This is much more complex because we don't know who the enemy is or where the threats are." Reserve units have been used in the past to fill out the ranks of the regular force, but Woiden said the military now wants the militia trained to higher level of combat readiness.

The mission
What: Operation Charging Bison will involve 500 troops training in downtown Winnipeg.
Who: The operation is run by 38 Brigade.
Why: It's designed to train troops in urban warfare.
Where: A base camp will be set up on the western edge of the city, but most of the exercises will take place in the downtown.
When: Day and night between April 30 and May 6.