Saturday, March 31, 2007

Heartless military propaganda

OTTAWA — Radical natives are listed in the Canadian army's counterinsurgency manual as a potential military opponent, lumping aboriginals in with the Tamil Tigers, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad. The military is putting the finishing touches on the manual, but a draft version of the document obtained by The Globe and Mail outlines a host of measures the military might use to fight insurgents at home and abroad. The measures include ambushes, deception, and killing. The draft manual was produced in September, 2005, and recently released through an access-to-information request. A final edited version of the army manual is expected to be complete within months, but a cover letter states that the draft version was immediately circulated in 2005 to army units for military training. Its inclusion of "radical Native American Organizations" as a potential target of military action surfaces at a time of heightened tensions between aboriginals and the federal government.

Radical natives are listed in the Canadian army's counterinsurgency manual as a potential military opponent, lumping aboriginals in with the Tamil Tigers, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad. (Donald Weber/Globe & Mail) "The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims," the manual states. "Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve ('First Nation') level, through the threat of, or use of, violence," the manual states. The Mohawk Warrior Society was involved in the 1990 Oka crisis in Quebec, which spawned a 78-day confrontation with police and the military that left a police officer dead. The society normally describes more militant natives from the traditional Mohawk territory, covering parts of Quebec, Ontario, Vermont and New York State. Stewart Phillip, the Grand Chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs who recently predicted "a summer of aboriginal protest" in response to the perceived lack of action on native poverty in the federal budget, said he is "absolutely outraged" by the manual. "It's a complete attack on our political rights," he said. "What we're seeing," Mr. Phillip continued, "is the deliberate criminalization of the efforts of aboriginal people to march, demonstrate and rally to draw public attention to the crushing poverty that is the reality within our communities." Native leaders who are not regarded as militant have called for a summer of protest over a perceived lack of attention from Ottawa on issues such as native poverty and land claims. Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has responded with warnings of financial penalties for any native group that uses federal money to plan such protests. "Working together to find common solutions is a much more constructive way of dealing with issues than planning blockades," he said in a letter to The Globe and Mail this week. The manual defines an insurgency as "the actions of a minority group within a state who are intent on forcing political change by means of a mixture of subversion, propaganda and military pressure, aiming to persuade or intimidate the broad mass of people to accept such a change." Counterinsurgency, according to the manual, involves "much more" than simply military action, and can include psychological measures aimed at defeating an insurgency. Much of the manual appears to be aimed at Canadian missions in failed or failing states where various factions are fighting for power. Among the army's proposed measures are "deception operations" to fool the insurgent and "physical destruction" of the enemy. "Attrition will be necessary, but the number of insurgents killed should be no more than is absolutely necessary to achieve success," the manual states. The Canadian Forces were not able to find someone yesterday who could comment on the manual. It is therefore unclear whether this is the first such manual created for the military or whether natives have previously been listed by the army. The most recent protest by natives led to arrests and charges yesterday for three men connected to the blockade of Quebec's Highway 117 on March 12 and 13. The highway is the Abitibi region's main link to the south, and the blockade caused major concern for the residents of Val-d'Or and Rouyn-Noranda. Among those arrested was Guillaume Carle, the controversial leader of the recently formed Confederation of Aboriginal People of Canada. Mr. Carle led the protest of about 50 people, many of whom were carrying rifles. Mr. Carle has claimed in the past to have the support of the Mohawk Warrior Society, but people claiming to be from that society denied involvement.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Subject: An open letter to Cape Breton Islanders and the Premier of Nova Scotia

Dear Premier,

At what point will Cape Breton Islanders dismantle the causeway? What will it take?

It’s sad. There is no hope on the island for young people, largely due to the mismanagement of natural resources. Clear-cutting scars the highland hills. And strip mines, which predate the mining moratorium, continue. The strip mines are managed with neither the environment, nor the well-being of islanders, in mind. The hills are being chewed up, wells and brooks are being poisoned, and communities are becoming absolutely uninhabitable due to the constant and thunderous incursions of dangerous and unsightly machinery. For mere gravel to build new roads! Roads that only increase the efficiency with which the forests are clear-cut.

The strip mines have illegitimate environmental-impact assessments, which means that they are unregulated, but there seems to be no political will to put an end to the destruction. Most (if not all) of the strip mining operations on the island were approved AFTER extraction was already well under way. They got the "rubber stamp." If that isn’t illegal, it ought to be. I worry for the future of the island.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Former Black Panther denied entry to Canada

Maria Kubacki, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, March 23, 2007

OTTAWA -- The Canadian government is refusing Bobby Seale entry to Canada and denying students an opportunity to hear a legendary civil rights activist, according to a University of Ottawa group that invited the former Black Panther Party chairman to speak at an event this weekend.

The University of Ottawa branch of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) -- a student group dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice -- invited Seale to give the keynote address on racism and oppression at a conference this Saturday.

But they found out last week that he would not be allowed to enter the country, according to OPIRG board member and University of Ottawa student Michael Cheevers.

"We decided Bobby Seale would be awesome for this because he's not only an iconic figure of the civil rights movement but he also has some great messages against racism and oppression," said Cheevers.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day protesting the decision to deny Seale permission to come to Ottawa, Cheevers wrote that, "There are no valid reasons to prevent him from speaking in Canada now, considering he has been allowed to speak multiple times in this country since the 1960s, in particular to raise awareness in high schools about racism and related issues."

Seale, 71, was the chairman and co-founder, along with Huey Newton, of the Black Panther Party, an organization formed in 1966 to combat police brutality in black neighbourhoods but which evolved into a militant Marxist revolutionary group.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mohawks block off disputed quarry

Group wants gravel pit’s operations stopped, land claim settled
Friday, March 23, 2007
By Jeremy Ashley
DESERONTO/Osprey News Network

Clad in camouflaged apparel and hauling camping gear, more than 125 members of the mohawks of the Bay of Quinte community seized control of a gravel quarry on a disputed tract of land located along the northeastern outskirts of Deseronto last night. Shortly before 5 p.m., the winding access road leading to the Thurlow Aggregates gravel pit off of Deseronto Road was blocked off by mohawk protesters in several vehicles, including two school buses and an number of all-terrain vehicles. Protesters and members of the mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) band council say the move is to reinforce an earlier request to have the quarry’s operation stopped. Flanked by members of his council, MBQ Chief R. Donald Maracle said the event was to “basically send a message to Canada that it is unacceptable to continue to develop land that is unsettled.” The demonstrators say they are reclaiming a small part of 925 acres known as the Culbertson Land Tract, a parcel of land that they claim was illegally taken from the MBQ in 1832. Maracle said the occupation wasn’t formally supported by the MBQ band council. “The intervention that is occurring today is not officially sanctioned by the mohawk council, but the mohawk council certainly understands the frustration that young people have in achieving a resolution that’s in the best interest of future generations.

I’m here basically to point out that the government is not dealing fairly with our people and helping us settle these claims amicably.” Shawn Brant, a well-known mohawk activist, said the occupation of the quarry is expected to go on for quite some time. “Let me put it to you this way – once we’re dug in, it will take an air strike to get us out,” the 42-year-old said. “The quarry is something that strikes at the heart of the issue – it’s very difficult to have negotiations at a time when they’re taking out 10,000 truckloads of our land [per year]. It’s an affront to our process.” Establishing camps inside the quarry earlier in the evening, as many as 150 people acted as a “set-up crew,” Brant said. Native communities throughout the province have “been put on notice” about the group’s actions, and “all are waiting and it is our intention to draw up support as it’s needed.” Brant said it was his group’s intention “to close the quarry” but admitted the group “was a little reluctant about a long-term campaign … what we want to do is suspend his [quarry] licence until the land claim is resolved.” After a federal negotiator was appointed earlier this year, protesters turned their attention to the quarry, claiming the operation would be contributing material to the development of a new $30-million housing development in Deseronto and pledged to shut down the site.

Friday, March 23, 2007

English translation of BellaCiao callout

Proposal of Gerard Streiff, Sarah-Jane Mellor, Luca Di Nella, Laurent Klajnbaum, Roberto Ferrario, members of the Council of countryside [Does "Conseil de campagne" mean something else?] of Marie-George Dresser.

The writer Cesare Battisti has been just stopped in Brazil. He is under the threat of an extradition in Italy.

Battisti had found asylum in France, profiting from an unwritten rule that grants the former Italian activists the protection of the French State, provided that they give up armed struggle. But the current French government called this commitment into question by delivering Battisti to Italy three years ago. In Italy, he would be condemned for perpetuity, without hope of any appeal [?!] The writer should not be extradited.

Sign the petition:

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

Leader of the Islamic Republic
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shahid Keshvar Doost Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Monday, March 19, 2007

Your Excellency,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am employed by the University of Manitoba, Canada. I welcome the release of Zhila Bani Ya’qoub, who was detained on March 4th during a peaceful demonstration outside Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

I am concerned by the continued detention of Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr. Please have them released immediately and unconditionally, as they are being held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association. Both ought to be granted immediate and regular access to their families, lawyers, and to all necessary medical treatment. All charges ought to be dropped against those charged in connection with the peaceful demonstration on June 12th, 2006, or in connection with the peaceful protest on March 4th, 2007.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Timothy Schwinghamer
120 Dafoe Road, Box 524B
Winnipeg MB R3T 6B3

Cc: Mr. Abbas Assemi, ChargĂ© d’Affaires, Embassy for Iran, 245 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa ON K2P 2K2
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why Antarctica will soon be the only place to live - literally

By Geoffrey Lean
Published in The Independent 02 May 2004

Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

He said the Earth was entering the "first hot period" for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and "the rest of the globe could not sustain human life". The warning - one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist - comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as "very, very critical indeed".

The Prime Minister - who was launching a new alliance of governments, businesses and pressure groups to tackle global warming - added that he could not think of "any bigger long-term question facing the world community".

Yet the Government is considering relaxing limits on emissions by industry under an EU scheme on Tuesday.

Sir David said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the main "green- house gas" causing climate change - were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level - 379 parts per million - was 60 million years ago during a rapid period of global warming, he said. Levels soared to 1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life.

"No ice was left on Earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life," he said.

Sir David warned that if the world did not curb its burning of fossil fuels "we will reach that level by 2100".

Saturday, March 03, 2007



I am contacting you to express my concern that the Government of Mexico is violating the human rights of Oaxacan people. Although the government denies it, there are many instances recorded on video such as are accessible via the internet. I hope that the brutality of the Mexican government will be stopped immediately. A democratic dialogue with the people is required.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur, Dr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, was extremely concerned with the use of force to counter protests arising from deeply entrenched social issues. I would like to add my voice to Dr. Stavenhagen’s recommendation, that the federal and state authorities fully comply at all times with Mexico’s international human rights commitments.

I am particularly concerned by the fact that, in the past few weeks: hundreds of Oaxacans have been detained or disappeared; seventeen supporters of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca have been killed; torture is rampant; and the official instructions to hospitals and the International Red Cross are to deny medical care to the injured.

The movement in Oaxaca has millions of supporters, who come from all sectors of society. Please stop the brutal behaviour of the Mexican government. Maintain the human rights and dignity of the people.


Copy, Edit, and Mail this letter!

General Than Shwe
Minister of Defence/Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council
c/o Ministry of Defence
Ahlanpya Phaya Street
Yangon, Union of Myanmar

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I am contacting you because I am very concerned for the well-being of 5 Bangladeshi fishers: Juddha Jaladas, Syasta Jaladas, Hori Jaladas, Vogiroth Jaladas, and Chandranath Jaladas, all of whom are being detained in the Mungdow jail.

Two months ago, Juddha Jaladas, Syasta Jaladas, Hori Jaladas, Vogiroth Jaladas, and Chandranath Jaladas were driven by intense winds across the Naf River, from the Teknaf fishing zone to the Myanmar side. The law enforcing agency of Myanmar detained the fishers there. The fishers did not have any sophisticated device or compass to differentiate the territorial border. These Hindu minority fishers are extremely poor. In the absence of the earning members, their family members experience serious hardship. They frequently starve.

Please consider the issue on humanitarian grounds and respect the international standards of Human Rights. You must take the administrative steps necessary to release the fishers immediately and unconditionally. Doing so would save their families from economic and psychological distress and hunger.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Asatiwisipe Aki Traditional Lands

The time has come for Manitoba to strengthen its commitment by granting permanent protection of the Asatiwisipe Aki Traditional Lands under the Manitoba Parks Act, as requested by the Polar River First Nation.

Check out this article in The Dominion.