Saturday, May 26, 2007

People across the British Columbia were shocked by the 14 day jail sentence handed down to 71 year old native Elder Harriet Nahanee in January, 2007 for peacefully protesting while inside an injunction zone (on unceded indian land) at Eagleridge Bluffs. Harriet served 9 days in prison at a maximum security pre-trial facility. She had filed an appeal, but became gravely ill and died from pneumonia shortly after being released from prison. A petition that raises specific concerns surrounding Harriet Nahanee's sentencing is in circulation. It demands that our elected officials call an immediate public inquiry into the handling of this case. Please honour a very courageous native elder by reading the petition, signing it and passing the link on to others on your contact lists. The Supreme Court of BC must be held accountable for their actions in this case. It is the duty of our elected officials to ensure that a full and public inquiry is held:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

From the Cape Breton Post (

It's easy to see through the green buzz
Is Nova Scotia going green? We might believe so, judging from the flowery words of a premier very cleverly endorsing the green buzz and announcing a green Nova Scotia for 2020.
But look at the facts: a rock quarry forced on Digby, a gypsum quarry on Windsor, tire burning on Brookfield, strip mining on Boularderie, band-aid solutions on the Sydney tar ponds, an open pit gold mine in Moose River - all close to houses.
The government acts as if it owns the land and, worse, the people. Its actions are opposite to what it says.
The premier says the province is purchasing lands to preserve them for Nova Scotians to enjoy nature.
Yet in Cape Breton, where we have moose, deer, pristine forests, and rare birds, he is having it all destroyed with strip mining.
We can all brace ourselves because 13 other potential strip mine sites in Cape Breton will know the same fate when the moratorium ends in a year.
No home, no land is sacred anymore in Nova Scotia. I drove to Point Aconi recently and was shocked at the huge devastation: thousands of trees, where a proud forest stood, now lie in every direction and across brooks oozing orange goo; a pit eight soccer fields large and 30 feet deep already (this is supposed to be surface reclamation) a few feet from homes. Dynamite is coming. It is so very sad.
Across wetland, on which one is not even supposed to hike for fear of affecting the hydrology, a two-mile-long road has been built to the power plant, allowing cheap trucking of bad coal. How can we believe a premier uttering promises for 2020 while doing nothing now? How long will he procrastinate?
Christiane Tanner
Westmount Road

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Deforestation: The hidden cause of global warming

from The Independent
By Daniel Howden

The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth's equator, is now being recognised as one of the main causes of climate change. Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes and automobiles and factories.
The rampant slashing and burning of tropical forests is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouses gases according to report published today by the Oxford-based Global Canopy Programme, an alliance of leading rainforest scientists.
Figures from the GCP, summarising the latest findings from the United Nations, and building on estimates contained in the Stern Report, show deforestation accounts for up to 25 per cent of global emissions of heat-trapping gases, while transport and industry account for 14 per cent each; and aviation makes up only 3 per cent of the total.
"Tropical forests are the elephant in the living room of climate change," said Andrew Mitchell, the head of the GCP.
Scientists say one days' deforestation is equivalent to the carbon footprint of eight million people flying to New York. Reducing those catastrophic emissions can be achieved most quickly and most cheaply by halting the destruction in Brazil, Indonesia, the Congo and elsewhere.
No new technology is needed, says the GCP, just the political will and a system of enforcement and incentives that makes the trees worth more to governments and individuals standing than felled. "The focus on technological fixes for the emissions of rich nations while giving no incentive to poorer nations to stop burning the standing forest means we are putting the cart before the horse," said Mr Mitchell.
Most people think of forests only in terms of the CO2 they absorb. The rainforests of the Amazon, the Congo basin and Indonesia are thought of as the lungs of the planet. But the destruction of those forests will in the next four years alone, in the words of Sir Nicholas Stern, pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than every flight in the history of aviation to at least 2025.
Indonesia became the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world last week. Following close behind is Brazil. Neither nation has heavy industry on a comparable scale with the EU, India or Russia and yet they comfortably outstrip all other countries, except the United States and China.
What both countries do have in common is tropical forest that is being cut and burned with staggering swiftness. Smoke stacks visible from space climb into the sky above both countries, while satellite images capture similar destruction from the Congo basin, across the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.
According to the latest audited figures from 2003, two billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere every year from deforestation. That destruction amounts to 50 million acres - or an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland felled annually.
The remaining standing forest is calculated to contain 1,000 billion tons of carbon, or double what is already in the atmosphere.
As the GCP's report concludes: "If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change."
Standing forest was not included in the original Kyoto protocols and stands outside the carbon markets that the report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pointed to this month as the best hope for halting catastrophic warming.
The landmark Stern Report last year, and the influential McKinsey Report in January agreed that forests offer the "single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions".
International demand has driven intensive agriculture, logging and ranching that has proved an inexorable force for deforestation; conservation has been no match for commerce. The leading rainforest scientists are now calling for the immediate inclusion of standing forests in internationally regulated carbon markets that could provide cash incentives to halt this disastrous process.
Forestry experts and policy makers have been meeting in Bonn, Germany, this week to try to put deforestation on top of the agenda for the UN climate summit in Bali, Indonesia, this year. Papua New Guinea, among the world's poorest nations, last year declared it would have no choice but to continue deforestation unless it was given financial incentives to do otherwise.
Richer nations already recognise the value of uncultivated land. The EU offers €200 (£135) per hectare subsidies for "environmental services" to its farmers to leave their land unused.
And yet there is no agreement on placing a value on the vastly more valuable land in developing countries. More than 50 per cent of the life on Earth is in tropical forests, which cover less than 7 per cent of the planet's surface.
They generate the bulk of rainfall worldwide and act as a thermostat for the Earth. Forests are also home to 1.6 billion of the world's poorest people who rely on them for subsistence. However, forest experts say governments continue to pursue science fiction solutions to the coming climate catastrophe, preferring bio-fuel subsidies, carbon capture schemes and next-generation power stations.
Putting a price on the carbon these vital forests contain is the only way to slow their destruction. Hylton Philipson, a trustee of Rainforest Concern, explained: "In a world where we are witnessing a mounting clash between food security, energy security and environmental security - while there's money to be made from food and energy and no income to be derived from the standing forest, it's obvious that the forest will take the hit."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

2 things


Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la Republica
Procuraduría General de la República
Paseo de la Reforma nº 211-213, Piso 16,
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06500, Mexico

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dear Attorney General,

I am writing to you today because I am concerned for the safety of Lydia Cacho. Lydia Cacho is a journalist and the author of Los Demonios del Edén.

On May 7th, Lydia Cacho escaped what seems to have been an attempt on her life.

I call on the authorities to order a full review of the protection provided for Lydia Cacho, in order to guarantee her safety. Please launch a full, impartial, and prompt investigation into the apparent attempt to cause the vehicle in which she was travelling to crash. Please ensure the results of this investigation are made public.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Timothy Schwinghamer

654 Upper Leitches Creek Road
Upper Leitches Creek NS B2A 4B5


His Excellency Emilio Goicoechea Luna, Ambassador for Mexico, 45 O'Connor Street, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON K1P 1A
Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres - CIAM Cancún A.C., Calle 12 poniente · 66 SMZA 63 Cancún, Quintana Roo 77500, México



Dear Diane Finley and Stockwell Day,

I am writing to express my urgent concern about Adil Charkaoui and call on you to conduct a fair and transparent review of the security certificate that was issued against Adil Charkaoui in May 2003.

The security certificate against Mr. Charkaoui has never been upheld by any court. Mr. Charkaoui's case has been suspended since March 2005 when the government was forced to withdraw a key decision on the risk Charkaoui faces if deported to Morocco.

What is known of the case against Mr. Charkaoui rests largely on information apparently provided by three individuals to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In 2004, the Federal Court agreed to set aside information from Abu Zubaydah in Mr. Charkaoui's file in light of testimony and reports that Zubaydah had been tortured while in US custody in Afghanistan and later held in a secret site with no oversight or accountability. In Feb 2005, Radio Canada made public a letter from Noureddine Nafiaâ, a second informer in Mr. Charkaoui's case, who wrote from a prison in Morocco recanting his confession, stating that he had signed his 'confession' blind-folded and under torture.

Finally, two weeks ago, it was revealed that Ahmed Ressam's information against Mr. Charkaoui was fabricated. Ahmed Ressam wrote a letter published by the Journal de Montréal on 20 April 2007 that information he provided against Mr. Charkaoui was false: "What I said to the investigators... was not true... I was confonted with difficult psychological circumstances, I did not know what I was saying."

Thus all the publically disclosed information against Mr. Charkaoui has been discredited, making it impossible to retain confidence in CSIS’s case and the highly secretive Security Certificate regime, which denies non-citizens their basic right to due process.

Mr. Charkaoui spent almost two years in prison (from May 2003 to February 2005) and has spent a further two years under conditions that Amnesty International has qualified as "among the most restrictive ever imposed in Canada" and that affect the freedom of his entire family. Four years without charge, under an unconstitutional process, on the basis of evidence that lacks all credibility, is far too long. It is time for the Ministers to act. As you have the power to act on this matter, I demand that you conduct a fair and transparent review of Charkaoui's file in order to withdraw the faulty certificate, to lift the restrictions on his liberty, and to clear his name. This is clearly warranted in light of Ahmed Ressam’s retraction and considering that previous evidence on file was produced by torturous means. Furthermore, given that the Supreme Court of Canada decision found the security certificate regime to be unconstitutional, I demand that the government act immediately to completely abolish the fundamentally unjust security certificate regime.