Saturday, June 30, 2007


Subject: Why anti-Atlantica protesters wear masks

I am writing in response to Jack Yazer’s letter (Black masks unnecessary for Canadian protests, June 30).

People in Canada are purported to be free in their expression and beliefs. However, everyone who harbors beliefs that endanger the status quo are targeted usually by the violent arm of the state, that is, the police or the military.

When attending any protest in Canada, it is advisable to bring a handkerchief soaked in vinegar in a sealed plastic bag, to use as a breathing filter when the crowd gets sprayed. This protection can be seen as obscuring your identity, which is nevertheless preferable to inhaling the crowd-subduing chemicals. Tightly sealed eye goggles are necessary, if not a clean gas mask with a fresh filter, long sleeves, and jeans to protect against the various irritating chemical sprays, powders, dogs, and police who drag arrestees.

There were (no doubt) many reasons why the legitimate anti-Atlantica protesters wore black masks. Jack Yazer was correct to identify that black masks are characteristic to the Palestinian intifada. Black masks are/were characteristic to the Chinese pro-democracy movement, the South African transition, the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Spanish anarchists, the (successful) anti-World Trade Organization Black Bloc affinity group strategy, and worldwide actions of ecodefense, etc. In fact, black masks are typical of direct action everywhere. Anti-Atlantica protestors may be identifying themselves as allies of these various movements by wearing black.

That said, infiltrators or agents provocateurs can disguise their identities behind masks as well!

Saturday, June 23, 2007



Subject: Take action to protect the inhabitants of San Isidro Aloapam

I am writing to you because I am very concerned by the stories I have heard about the attacks on San Isidro Aloapam, having to do with the destruction of the place known as Yyusuni. I hope that you will take action to free Juventino Cruz Pérez, Artemio Pérez Cruz, Juana Morales Pérez, Eutimio Méndez López, and Anastasio López Pérez, who were kidnapped by people from San Miguel Aloapam.

Please put an immediate halt to the repression and paramilitary activities, and guarantee the safety of the inhabitants of San Isidro. I believe you will pursue a just investigation of the facts and bring people to court regarding the torture and killing of the people of San Isidro Aloapam.

Please ensure that San Miguel Aloapam’s forest is managed in a non-destructive way. Please consider a program to heal the 3 to 4 ha of forested land affected by the Mexican pine beetle. Such a program ought to include the participation of all the stakeholders: the environmental groups, community members of San Isidro Aloapam, forest technicians, and neighboring communities.

I ask you to ensure that the agricultural conflicts in the region are dealt with peacefully and in conformity with the affected communities.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Prof. Al-Zubair Bashir Taha

Minister of Internal Affairs
Ministry of Interior, PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you again to express my concern for the lawyers and journalists detained on the day of protests against the construction of the Kajbar Dam, particularly Ghazafi Adulmotalib, Abuobaida Awad, Abualgasim Farahana, Imad Mirghani Sid Ahmed, Alam Eldin Abdelgaum, Dr Mohamed Jalal Ahmed Hashim, Raafat Hassan Abbas, Abdelhalim Abdulghani, Abdulaziz Mohamed Ali Khairi, Abdallah Abdelgaum, Osman Shamat, and Saad Mohamed Ahmed.

Please give them immediate and regular access to their families, lawyers, and any medical treatment they may require. Due to the lack of charges for any recognisable criminal offences against these men, they ought to be released immediately.

Please repeal Article 31 of the National Security Forces Act, which allows detainees to be held for up to nine months without access to judicial review.

Sincerely and Respectfully


Cc: Dr Abdel Moneim Osman Taha, Rapporteur, Advisory Council for Human Rights Khartoum, Sudan
Human Rights Committee, The Peoples Hall, Omdurman, Sudan
Her Excellency Dr. Faiza Hassan TAHA ARMOUSA, Ambassador for the Republic of Sudan, 354 Stewart Street, Ottawa ON K1N 6K8

Monday, June 18, 2007

I just sent this letter to the Cape Breton Post

Dear Cape Breton Post,

I hope your paper will publish this letter regarding “Group gathers at jail to support protesters” June 18, as I would like to express my disagreement to the Atlantica plan.
The proposals of Atlantica have been promoted by the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies director Brian Crowley, who is the special advisor to the federal Department of Finance, a position among the elite, from where he is making decisions that effect us all. Atlantica has been glossed-over entirely (perhaps intentionally) by the media and government. The proposal is unrealistic and pro-deregulation. If we allow it, the environment and people of Cape Breton will continue to suffer (as our forefathers did for the past 100 years) natural resource industry exploitation.
The containers that are proposed to arrive in Halifax would include colossal volumes of food and other consumer goods from Asia, i.e., from countries where environmental and human rights are lacking or nonexistent. Your paper outlined some of my concerns, and explained why we do not want to handle these products, in “Everything from dyes to formaldehyde used in foods in Asia” June 18.
Furthermore, the plan involves the use of guest worker truck drivers from Mexico. So, unionized truckers from the Maritimes should not expect any benefit. The modest economic benefits (due to Atlantica) come out of security budgets and go to the tiny group of industries that handle containers in Halifax. The economic argument for Atlantica is unsound. Direct access to US markets is available already via New York or California ports. The long-standing expansion of the Panama Canal, which will be complete within ten years, will cause the proximity claims of Halifax to evaporate.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Türk dilinde medrese olmalıdır her kese

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Your Excellency,

According to the Committee for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners, more than 500 political activists have been detained or have been the victims of enforced disappearance in recent weeks. I am writing to you with regards to the apparent enforced disappearance of Sa’id Metinpour. Mr. Metinpour is an advocate of linguistic and cultural rights for Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity. A Haqqimiz report stated that he was detained in Zenjan around midnight, May 25. Advar News indicated he, and Atiye Taheri, were stopped while returning home by plain-clothes Ministry of Intelligence officials who had arrest warrants for them.
Please discover and reveal the whereabouts of Mr. Metinpour immediately. If he is in custody, please grant him immediate and regular access to family members, to a lawyer of his choice, and to any medical treatment he may require. Please assure me that he is being treated humanely and is not being tortured or ill-treated.
A statement issued by the National Movement of Azerbaijan on June 2 claims that local newspapers are being pressured not to publicize information about the alleged arrest.
If Mr. Metinpour is being detained solely as a result of the expression of his conscientiously held beliefs, he is a prisoner of conscience, who should be released immediately and unconditionally.

Sincerely and Respectfully Yours,

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

Mr Seyed Mahdi Mohebi, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy for the Islamic Republic of Iran, 245 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa ON K2P 2K2
His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel, Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami, Baharestan Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Come and protest Atlantica in Halifax, June 13-16

This is an invitation for you to participate in a democratic forum (and protests) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have copied and pasted below some background information from as well as the schedule of events.

Please consider coming, or tell your friends in the region about the Atlantica plan, and the resistance against it. If you can't come, please be with us in spirit.


Atlantica is the abbreviated name for the Atlantic Northeast Economic Region (AINER), a cross-border trade concept spanning the Maritime provinces, Newfoundland, southern Quebec, and the New England states, i.e., Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and upstate New York. Its main proponent and originator is a right-wing think-tank group called the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), whose board of directors represents many big-business interests in the Atlantic region, although the plan is similar to North America's SuperCorridor Coalition's "Hemispheria" plan, or the Plan Puebla Panama, for that matter.

The proponents of Atlantica wish to develop a conduit to channel Asian goods to the United States through the Atlantic Provinces. Massive container ships called "post-Panamax" are too large to pass through the Panama Canal and Halifax is the closest North American port for ships from Asia via the Suez Canal. These containers would reach their destinations via "truck trains," resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions, higher fatal-crash rates per mile, as well as the likely expansion of superhighways through communities, wilderness, and farmland.

Atlantica is also about increasing exports of unprocessed resources, like energy and water, from Canada to the United States. The intent is to export oil and gas from the Atlantic offshore as quickly as possible on terms that favour industry and leave decisions regarding exports to deregulated markets.

The Atlantica tag line is "business without borders," which has a double meaning: business unhampered by the international border, but also unbound from what AIMS refers to as "policy distress factors" such as minimum wages, social program spending, environmental regulation, public ownership and unionization. This kind of language is eerily familiar to that of NAFTA and the FTAA, stemming from a neoliberal agenda that aims to dismantle "trade barriers."

The results of Atlantica would be to expedite a race to the bottom for the majority of people in the region. Knowing this, the governments and institutions involved have tried to negotiate and implement this policy undemocratically behind closed doors.

Town Hall Meeting
Description: Join the Council of Canadians, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and its affiliates for a community Town Hall meeting to discuss Atlantica and what it means for Nova Scotia. After the panel the floor will be opened to questions, comments and discussion about Atlantica and what we can do to stop it from going forward and promote an alternative vision that puts people and the Earth before corporate profits.
The panel will include:
- Scott Sinclair, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and author of the paper "Atlantica: Myths and Realities"
- Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
- Alejandro Villamar, Oxfam Mexico
Location: Scotia Bank Auditorium, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Building, Dalhousie University, 6135 University Avenue
Time: 7:00 pm

Picket against atlantica
Description: Start off the conference with a bang, bring placards, noisemakers and friends.
Location: WTCC (World Trade and Convention Centre)
Time: 8:30 am

Take Action Against NS Power!
Description: Confront Emera (big player in Atlantica) and NS Power's policies!
Location: Corner of Duke and Barrington
Time: 12:00 pm

Resist Atlantica Teach-in
Description: A full day of free workshops and DIY seminars on topics ranging from Atlantica 101and Deep Integration' to Know Your Rights Training and Political Puppet-making.
Location: The Khyber (1588 Barrington St)
Time: 10am – 5pm

Critical Mass Bike Ride
Description: Ride into the streets en masse against Atlantica! Come out with your bicycles, tricycles,skateboards, roller-blades or any other self-propelled vehicle for a good old-fashioned fun-filled festive flocking. Costumes are encouraged!
Location: Victoria Park (corner of Spring Garden and South Park)
Time: 5:00 pm

Rally and March Against Atlantica
Description: join the hundreds of groups and individuals for speeches, songs, and more in the interregional mobilization against Atlantica.
Location: Victoria Park (corner of Spring Garden and South Park)
Time: 12:00 pm

Reclaim the Streets!
Description: Games, fun, music and food. join us for some celebratory resistance to atlantica.
Location: Around the WTCC, downtown halifax
Time: 7:00 pm

Community Picnic
Description: Free food provided by halifax food not bombs, family friendly atmosphere and games. Speakers and music.
Location: Seaview Park
Time: Noon