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Going to the Dogs: Vancouver Transit Proposes Platform Dog Patrols

BCCLA says Translink shouldn't unleash plan for sniffing transit users
by BCCLA 
V
ancouver, British Columbia - The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says that Translink's proposal to introduce police dogs to sniff transit users is unjustified and will violate people's rights. Translink's plan, calling for the introduction of police sniffer dogs on Skytrain and select transit stations, was announced today. No date for implementation was announced.
   
"This represents a massive intrusion into the rights of transit users. Authoritarian regimes use animals to control people. We are supposed to be readying Vancouver as a showcase to the world of a peaceful and democratic country. Yet once again a security measure is being sprung on us without consultation or debate. Will anyone really believe that this proposal to engage in mass searches of the public is driven by anything other than the Olympics?" asked Rob Holmes, President of the BCCLA. "This is as bad or worse than the Victoria police stopping and screening all users of public transit on Canada Day, frisking them to check for alcohol."
 
  Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Going to the Dogs: Vancouver Transit Proposes Platform Dog Patrols

America's Security Charade in Iraq

Iraq's US Security Charade
by Ramzy Baroud
W
orld media rashly celebrated the "historic" security pact that allows for US troops to stay in Iraq for three more years after the Iraqi parliament ratified the agreement on Thursday, 27 November. The approval came one week after the Iraqi cabinet did the same.

Thousands of headlines exuded from media outlets, largely giving the false impression that the Iraqi government and parliament have a real say over the future of US troops in their country, once again playing into the ruse fashioned by Washington that Iraq is a democratic country, operating independently from the dictates of US Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker and the top commander of US troops in Iraq, General Ray Odierno. The men issued a joint, congratulatory statement shortly after the parliamentary vote, describing it as one that would "formalise a strong and equal partnership" between the US and Iraq.

  Add a comment Add a comment Read more: America's Security Charade in Iraq

Closing the Enbridge Gateway

Approval Process for Enbridge Gateway Flawed: BC First Nations
by Office of the Wet'suwet'en
A
resolution, passed at today's First Nations Summit meeting in Vancouver, calls on the federal government to establish an independent First Nations Review Process for Enbridge's Northern Gateway project. The resolution follows a November 6 gathering where Hereditary Chiefs, Elected Chiefs and representatives from six First Nations shared concerns about the Gateway pipeline and coastal tanker traffic. They agreed that current consultation attempts by the federal government and Enbridge do not meet a standard of genuine engagement with First Nations.

"Regulators are not respecting the fact that we have a responsibility to protect our ancestral territories, rights, title and interests," says David de Wit, Natural Resources Manager at the Office of the Wet'suwet'en. "Gateway is a major project with significant risks. Yet the federal government is advancing a decision-making process for Gateway without any provision for addressing Aboriginal Rights and Title. This is unacceptable."
 

Between the Queen and the Tribe

The Lady Between the Queen and the Tribe
by Gilad Atzmon
I
n spite of the fact that I monitor Israeli press and Jewish activism on a daily basis, I must admit that almost once a day I come across something new and refreshing about my ex-brethren. As it happened, yesterday I learned about an organisation named the “International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists” (IAJLJ). An association with such a name didn’t take me by complete surprise. By now I am used to the concept of ‘primarily-Jewish’ organisations and associations. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take any of us by surprise, Israel, as we know, is the ‘Jews-only’ state. Furthermore, Israel’s very few sporadic vocal opponents within the Jewish world tend for some reason to operate also in similar racially orientated primarily Jewish political settings such as ‘Jews For Peace’, ‘Jews for Justice in Palestine’, ‘Jewish Independent Voice’, etc.

Apparently, more than just a few contemporary Jews insist upon maintaining a form of segregation that allows them to operate ideologically, intellectually and spiritually within a closed racially or ethnically orientated circuit. I would agree that within the liberal democratic discourse, this is something we must accept and even approve. The ethos of multi-culturalism maintains that people of different and varied ethnic groups are welcome to celebrate their symptoms politically, ideologically and spiritually in isolation. Yet, as much as we may approve of any form of ethnic, spiritual or religious segregation, some of the primarily Jewish organisations claim to maintain a ‘universal agenda’ while pursuing ‘human rights’. An obvious question must be followed. If universalism is what they insist they are practicing or promoting, why do they do it in isolation? Why do they practice it in racially orientated cells? If humanism is what they are really after, why don’t they just join the rest of humanity in pursuing it?

A Little Recession Music, Please

Woody Guthrie: A little recession music, please
by Mickey Z.
If you were to open your mouth and belt out the words “this land is your land,” you could rest assured that someone nearby would add: “this land is my land.” The chorus to Woody Guthrie’s 1940 classic is common knowledge…as are the first couple of verses. But it ain’t until you get to the later verses—those often omitted from official versions—that you start comprehendin’ what good ol’ Woody had in mind:
 
As I was walkin’ I saw a sign there
And that sign said “No tresspassin’”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’
Now that side was made for you and me
 
In the squares of the city/In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office, I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me
 

Shock Resistance: Understanding Harper's Crisis of Democracy

'We can't lose this moment'
by Naomi Klein
K
im Elliott: As you outline so well in your book and in various interviews in the U.S. media, the current financial crisis holds the possibility of being one of those moments when the shock doctrine can best be applied. Can you comment on both the Harper government's economic and fiscal statement introduced last week, and on the Opposition's response to that - that is, the formation of a coalition - in the context of the shock doctrine?

Naomi Klein: Yes, absolutely. What I think we are seeing is a clear example of the shock doctrine in the way the Harper government has used the economic crisis to push through a much more radical agenda than they won a mandate to do.

At the same time we are seeing an example of what I call in the book a "shock resistance," where this tactic has been so overused around the world and also in Canada that we are becoming more resistant to the tactic - we are on to them - and Harper is not getting away with it.

What I think is really amazing about this moment is whatever happens next - whether we end up with this coalition or not, we will have an extremely chastened Harper. So the attempted shock doctrine has failed. I think we can say that decisively.
 

Guts, Goo and Obama's Imperial Dream

Continuity Error: Guts, Goo and Obama's Imperial Dream        
by Chris Floyd     
B
arack Obama's new "national security team" is a grim conglomeration of war criminals, warmongers and apologists for torture and empire who have been praised justly by some rightwingers as a continuation and validation of the Bush Regime's foreign policy. But despite the growing unease these choices have induced in some "progressive" quarters, they in no way constitute a "betrayal" on Obama's part. He has always made it abudantly clear that he stands squarely on the side of a militarist empire – expansive, dominating, brooking no challenge or hindrance to its actions or its preeminence. An empire conceived in bloodshed and dedicated to the proposition that no nation is created equal to the divine American state, whose "interests" – as self-servingly defined by whatever faction of the ruling elite holds temporary sway in Washington – must be pursued at any and every cost. A cost to be paid, of course, by the lesser breeds beyond the Homeland's borders, and, increasingly, by the American people themselves.

Obama's forthright stand on the issue of empire was evident throughout the campaign, in speeches, on his website, in his Senate votes and in his publicly announced positions – such as his always conditional, circumscribed promise to "end" the war in Iraq, on essentially the same terms by which George W. Bush claims to be ending it now. At no point in his much-ballyhooed "opposition" to the nation-gutting in Iraq did Obama ever once call it what it is: a crime. An abomination. An act of mass murder that has left more than a million innocent people dead.
 

Canada's Coup: Harper's Platform Gets the Plank

House Wrecker: Ending the Harper Threat to Canada
by C. L. Cook
T
he soon to be erstwhile prime minister Stephen Harper appeared tonight in a much hyped, but ultimately postage stamp sized address to the nation. Harper's brief message, less than half the length advertised to the networks, according to the CBC's Peter Mansbridge, delivered in as contrite a tone he could summon revealed little news.

As short as his speech was, Harper did find room to fit in a couple lies. Telling whoppers as blatant as any told south of the border these last years seems to be another Bush family trait the Harper regime has taken to heart. Harper tonight looked the camera in the eye, knowing millions of concerned Canadians were hanging on every word, and told one bald-faced lie after another.
 

Waiting for Michael: What's RAN's Policy on Great Bear Rainforest Protection?

Asking for clarification on RAN's position in the GBR collaborationist scheme
by Ingmar Lee
Dear Ran Forest Campaigner;  I am currently in the midst of a 1 1\2 month speaking tour around Europe, -with daily and nightly lectures at schools and university's across Germany and Denmark, on the topic of the 'BC Clearcutting Massacre.' I'm describing the desperate situation in Canada's Pacific primaeval forests and am explaining the connection between BC forest destruction and Germany's enormous paper consumption. Germany buys 17% of its source material for paper products from Canada. At 256 kilos of paper, per year, per person X 80,000,000 people, Germany is a huge contributor to Canadian forest destruction.
 
In particular, my talks focus on the, IMHO, shoddy deal over the so-called 'Great Bear Rainforest' and how BC's largest bureacratic environmental organizations, namely, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, ForestEthics and RAN have collaborated with government and industry with the resultant protection at just 30% of the intact forest there, -twice the size of Belgium. My environmentalism espouses the high-bar maxim that 'No More Commercial Extraction from Primaeval Forests', a concept which has found great resonance amongst my audience here in Europe.
 

Canada: Rights Concerns Cloud 2010 Games

CANADA: Native Rights Concerns Cloud 2010 Games
by Jon Elmer
A coalition of indigenous elders, social justice activists and community organisers is voicing opposition to the upcoming Winter Olympics, promising to continue their protests up to and throughout the 2010 games.

Taking advantage of a three-day media briefing hosted by the official Olympic body in late November, the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC), activists and native representatives invited the local and visiting international media to an office in the heart of the what is commonly known as Canada's poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, to hear "the other side of the Olympic story".

First the Vote, Then the Promise

Vote First. Ask Questions Later.
by William Blum
O
kay, let's get the obvious out of the way. It was historic. I choked up a number of times, tears came to my eyes, even though I didn't vote for him. I voted for Ralph Nader for the fourth time in a row.

During the past eight years when I've listened to news programs on the radio each day I've made sure to be within a few feet of the radio so I could quickly change the station when that preposterous man or one of his disciples came on; I'm not a masochist, I suffer fools very poorly, and I get bored easily. Sad to say, I'm already turning the radio off sometimes when Obama comes on. He doesn't say anything, or not enough, or not often enough. Platitudes, clichés, promises without substance, "hope and change", almost everything without sufficient substance, "change and hope", without specifics, designed not to offend. What exactly are the man's principles? He never questions the premises of the empire. Never questions the premises of the "War on Terror". I'm glad he won for two reasons only: John McCain and Sarah Palin, and I deeply resent the fact that the American system forces me to squeeze out a drop of pleasure from something so far removed from my ideals. Obama's votes came at least as much from people desperate for relief from neo-conservative suffocation as from people who genuinely believed in him. It's a form of extortion – Vote for Obama or you get more of the same. Those are your only choices.
 

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