Saturday, April 08, 2006

Female Bombers Hit Mosque in Turkey

Two female bombers have detonated explosives at a mosque in Turkey. One bomber died in the attack in the Black Sea city of Ordu on Friday, and the other was injured.
Full Story

Friday, April 07, 2006

Introducing the Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed

Introducing the Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed

The Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed

Dear Friends of the Climate Crisis Coalition and Signers of the Kyoto and Beyond Petition.

The Climate Crisis Coalition is now offering a free climate news digest by email, providing easy access to breaking climate-related stories. You can sign up for our CCC Newsfeed on our recently revamped website ( – it’s in the right-hand column. We only ask for your name, email and zip code. (We never share this information with other parties.) You choose “Weekdays and Sundays” or “Sundays only.” Previous issues are found at our News Digest Archive.

The weekday edition of our Newsfeed provides summaries and links to 5-10 recent and compelling stories about global warming and what people are doing to fight it. We are constantly amazed at the range of stories we have to choose from, many of which are provided to us by our readers. The Sunday edition provides a review of the top stories of the week, as well as stories that have broken since the Friday edition..

We are copying below today’s edition of the CCC Daily Newsfeed. Next Sunday will send you a copy of the CCC Newsfeed Weekend Edition. But that will be it. To continue receiving the Newsfeed, you’ll have to go to our site and sign up! (

Of course, if you find that our daily or weekly emails are too much (climate news can get a bit daunting – another reason for our emphasis on what people are doing and can do) you can always unsubscribe, but remarkably few people have chosen to do this. We think that you will find our Newsfeed to be a worthwhile service, and we hope you will join our rapidly growing list of subscribers.

Best regards,

Tom Stokes
CCC Coordinator

P.S. When you go to our website, be sure to check out the information about the upcoming April 29th March for Peace, Justice and Democracy and the April 30th National Strategy Meeting. We are playing a major role in both. This last weekend in April can be an important milestone in our efforts to slow, stop and reverse global warming and to turn our country around!

Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Click the highlighted headlines for links to these stories.

Kerry: Let review of Cape Wind proceed. By Kevin Dennehy, Cape Cod Times, April 4, 2006. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., urged colleagues Tuesday to allow a review of a proposed 130-turbine wind farm in federal waters on Nantucket Sound to continue its course without the added hurdle of a congressional amendment to allow Massachusetts to veto the Cape Wind project. Kerry contacted Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is on the House-Senate conference committee considering the measure authored by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. If approved, the project could be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

World’s forests continue to shrink. By Elizabeth Mygatt, Earth Policy Institute, April 4, 2006. Using data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Mygatt reports comprehensively on continuing deforestation and degradation throughout the world. The worst deforestation is in Africa, the second-worst in South America. In the last five years the net loss of forests has totaled some 37 million hectares (91 million acres). “A healthy planet needs healthy forests. Thriving forests regulate the water cycle and stabilize soils. Forests also help moderate climate by soaking up and storing carbon dioxide. In addition to these ecosystem services, forests provide habitat for diverse flora and fauna, offer cultural, spiritual, and recreational opportunities, and provide a variety of food, medicines, and wood.”

Methane flux and hydrology in Arctic tundra worrisome. EGU Media, April 4, 2006. Rises in both air temperature and river-discharge rates in the Northeast Siberian tundra are spurring fears that a powerful “feedback” related to increasing methane release will further accelerate the rate of global warming, according to a European Geosciences Union report.

Antarctic ice core reveals new data on climate change. India Times, April 4, 2006. “An ice core bored to a depth of 3 km in the Antarctic is providing new information on climate change in the past. A European research team, including members from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the German city of Bremerhaven, has conducted tests on the ice, which is up to 740,000 years old and is considered the world’s longest ice core. The core … reveals more than eight successive alternations of cold and warm periods.”

One Japanese ministry starts early-lights-out campaign. Agence France-Presse, April 4, 2006. “Japan's Environment Ministry has ordered workers to leave and lights to go off at its headquarters by 8:00 pm in a fresh campaign to cut greenhouse gases.”

‘Green’ Fund Founder Takes Questions. Grist Magazine, April 3, 2006. Carsten Henningsen, cofounder Portfolio 21, “a global mutual fund investing for a sustainable future,” answers questions from Grist.

We encourage readers to forward issues of CCC Newsfeed to friends and associates, with a cover note explaining that one can sign on for free at our (on the upper right, under "News About Climate Change"). For back issues visit our News Digest Archive.

Signals of War

When the US is ready to attack Iran, planespotters could be the first to know. Read this article by Paul Rogers for Open Democracy:

The countdown to war
Paul Rogers
6 - 4 - 2006
The timing and nature of a United States attack on Iran can be gauged by a close look at air traffic and base security in western England.

In the months before the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, most commentators expected that the developing crisis would end in some kind of diplomatic settlement, and that war would be averted. But not everyone took this view, and a few specialists attempted to assess the likely outcome of the United States's infliction of "regime termination" on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Among them were some experienced analysts at the US army war college, who pointed to the difficulties of any post-war occupation and the probability of an insurgency developing against occupying troops.

The views of such dissidents (a term appropriate in the context of the overwhelming balance of opinion at the time) were ignored, and the Iraq war went ahead with the results now evident in the daily stories of shattered lives and polarised communities.

Read rest of this article here:
Open Democracy

War Profits; Ethiopia; Media in the Middle East; Free Lunch in Buenos Aires

Check out TF News, Action and Analysis from Around the Web at

Articles for this week from, offering a progressive perspective on world events:

The Profits of War: Reconstruction in Iraq: by Eric Tsetsi:
From the beginning, the war in Iraq was meant to be a swift and relatively inexpensive operation. The Pentagon, particularly Donald Rumsfeld, envisioned a targeted bombing campaign followed by a trim, invading ground force, which in combination would "shock and awe" Iraq into surrender. The White House estimated the cost of the war would range from $50 billion to $200 billion. The expectations of both Rumsfeld and the White House have turned out to be highly miscalculated.

Donkoro Chaka: A "Deaf Bush" in Ethiopia: by Glenn Brigaldino:
The rare glimpses at Ethiopia through the cracked lenses of mainstream media distort more than they inform about the political crisis in this country of over 75 million people. The blurred picture that comes to the distant minds in Europe and North America usually includes a long history of famine conditions and war with neighbouring Eritrea.

The Media and the Middle East: by Ramzy Baroud:
There is little disagreement on the indispensable role of the media in influencing political debate and narrative, thus shaping public discourse.

There IS Such a Thing as a Free Lunch in Buenos Aires: by Mneesha Gellman:
The afternoon sun shines on the narrow strip of Puerto Madero, a trendy Buenos Aires, Argentina neighborhood situated near the banking district’s sky scrapers. Tourists stroll down cobble stone streets, admiring a bank-sponsored art exhibit of decorated cow statues. Argentines with money to burn sip lattes on shaded patios. At first glance, the prosperity is overwhelming. Yet in Buenos Aires, particularly since Argentina’s financial collapse at the end of 2001, poverty and wealth have become unlikely neighbors.

Between the Lines Radio: Immigrants in the U.S. Take to the Streets to Demand Equality; Corporate Drive to Privatize Water Systems Confronted by Growing Resistance Movement; Sacred Run Participants Hope Their Action Will Lead to a More Peaceful World And Underreported News Summary from Around the World.

Thank you for reading. Please share these articles.

Sierra Club of Canada: Government Cutting Everything but Emissions

Sierra Club of Canada – Press Release
April 7th, 2006

Government Cutting Everything but Emissions

(Ottawa) Sierra Club of Canada is calling upon the new Conservative government to come clean on what it is planning to do about climate change. The government statements about accountability and honesty should be reflected in how it handles the most urgent environmental issue before it. To date the only new initiative the government has said it will pursue is a tax credit for transit riders.

“What does starting from scratch mean? What does ignoring the Kyoto target mean? What does cutting the climate change budget mean?” said John Bennett Senior Policy Advisor for Energy of the Sierra Club of Canada (SCC).

Wednesday night on CBC Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said, "If it's not in the taxpayers' interest to fund programs that are not effective, then we are not going to."

He refused to confirm that the new Conservative government is cutting climate change spending by 40%. Yet Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has reconfirmed the government will go ahead with plans to make transit passes tax deductible. This is the corner stone of the Conservative government’s environment program. However, this is an expensive as well as ineffective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

“The government says it doesn’t want to fund ineffective programs but that is exactly what it’s going to do,” said Emilie Moorhouse, SCC’s Atmosphere and Energy Campaigner.

A 1999 study of the Transportation Climate Change Table concluded transit pass tax exemptions would cost $3 billion and reduce emissions by only 0.2 megatonnes, making it amongst the most expensive and least effective measures to reduce emissions.

More recent figures suggest the Conservatives’ $2 billion tax break for transit riders will reduce between 45,000 to 65,000 tonnes of emissions at a cost of over $2,000 per tonne.

Numerous studies suggest transit ridership is not responsive to the fare box; in other words, transit ridership does not change when fares are raised or lowered. Most riders choose the bus for reasons other than the cost. Providing a year-end tax saving would have even less impact than lower fares.

Sierra Club of Canada does not dispute the need for cost-effective climate change programs and supports the review of programs instigated by the former government last year. The cuts however are coming before the review has been released and without regard to its recommendations.

“I did a review of NRCan programs in 2003 and concluded that what was wrong with most of them was that they were unambitious and under-funded. I am personally shocked that any government would be cutting funding. There is an urgent need to reduce emissions,” said John Bennett.


For more information:

John Bennett: (613) 291-6888

Emilie Moorhouse (French): (613) 241-4611

Sierra Club of Canada press releases can be found at:

Sierra Club of/du Canada
412-1 Nicholas St., Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7
phone: 613-241-4611, fax: 613-241-2292 .

PDA Updates and Action Alerts

Updates and Action Alerts for American readers, from the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA):


"Stand Up. Take Action. Vote."

On the Move

Progressive Democrats of America
Field Update, Spokescouncil, and More - 04/06/06

The On the Move Update is a PDA report to our members that will be issued every Thursday. This report will highlight the efforts of PDA activists in three different categories: the weekly Field Update and the Chapter Newssection, which have been moved from the Inside/Outside Update, and Extras--news from the Spokescouncil and Issue Working Groups, and other items of interest. If you find this information useful, please consider making a donation:

Field Updates:

- Upcoming Conference Calls
- Field Director's Note

Chapter News: PDA Endorses Francine Busby for Congress
Extra: PDA Holds First DC Briefing
Action Alert: Support the Common Sense Budget Act
Field Updates:
Reminder - Congressional District Point People Call
All Congressional District (CD) Point People (and those interested in becoming CD Point People) are invited to join us tonight for our next conference call at 9 p.m. EST. (Be sure to adjust for your time zone.)
Our special guest will be Congressional Progressive Caucus Executive Director Bill Goold. Please join us for this informative call!

Date: Thursday, April 6 at 9 p.m. EST
Call-In Number: 1-641-297-4600
Access Code: 626860
We now have CD Point People in 132 of the 435 congressional districts!
Thanks to everyone who has stepped up! Check here to see if your CD is covered:
If your district is not currently represented and you would like to do the job, click here to volunteer:

Field Director's Note: PDA to Launch Issue Working Groups
Check out the On The Move report next week where we will unveil upcoming changes within our policy arm. We are in the process of revamping the policy pages on the website and will provide the details next week. If you are interested in joining one of our existing Issue Working Groups, or would like to start one of your own, please contact Sherry Bohlen:
Chapter News:
PDA Endorses Francine Busby for California's 50th Congressional District
April 6, 2006--PDA San Diego (North County), PDA San Diego Central Chapter and PDA have endorsed Francine Busby in the 50th Congressional District of California. Francine Busby is in a major battle. Randy "Duke" Cunningham left the House of Representatives in shame after being convicted of taking bribes, leaving the 50th Congressional District sans representative. On April 11, members of the traditionally conservative 50th will go to the polls to elect Cunningham's successor.
Read more:
Extra: PDA Holds First DC Briefing
By Joe Libertelli, PDA Board Member

On Tuesday, March 28, after a long day at the Congressional Progressive Caucus retreat, PDA staff, National Advisory Board members, and congressional and other allies "briefed" several dozen potential financial and political supporters on PDA at the Langston Hughes Room in the trendy new Busboys and Poets restaurant in DC's Shaw section.

After a welcome by owner, peace activist and PDA-backer Andy Shallal, Advisory Board Member Joe Libertelli described various aspects of PDA's politics and political strategy, Board Chair Mimi Kennedy outlined PDA's history, public events, and specific campaigns, and Executive Director Tim Carpenter covered PDA's current activities and future plans.

Read more:
Action Alerts
Thanks for participating in the National Call-In Day on Wednesday April 5. We're gaining momentum and need to keep it going. Please join us in our next effort: Support the Common Sense Budget Act: Email your Member of Congress

"...We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex..." This warning given to us by President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation has come to pass. Over fifty percent of our federal budget goes to the Pentagon, with trillions of dollars unaccounted for by Sec. Rumsfeld's own admission. It's time to set our budget priorities straight and hold the Pentagon accountable for every penny they get.

On March 4, Members of Congress Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter to their colleagues asking for support of the Common Sense Budget Act of 2006. Without diminishing America’s ability to fight terrorists, America can safely trim $60 billion (15 percent) from President George W. Bush ’s proposed fiscal year 2006
Pentagon budget, freeing up much-needed funding for America’s broader national security needs. The savings would be transferred back into the districts from which it came to improve education, to provide health insurance for every American child, and to invest in sustainable energy. It also provides monies for humanitarian relief, homeland security, job training, and deficit reduction.

For more info visit:

PDA is impressed with this example of leadership by Reps. Woolsey, Lee, and Nadler and expresses its appreciation for the other Members who have signed on: Reps. Conyers, Danny Davis, Grijalva, Honda, Jackson-Lee, Kucinich, William Lacy Clay, McDermott, McGovern, McKinney, Owens, Schakowsky, and Stark.

Email your Member of Congress today and ask that he/she co-sponsor this important legislation, which will ensure that our military can meet the challenges of the 21st century while helping Americans meet challenges at home.

Click here to find your Member of Congress:

Wage Peace Campaign: What's next?

For readers who reside in the U.S., here is some updated information about the Wage Peace Campaign of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC):

Your opinions needed!

Help set the course for our Wage Peace Campaign. Please share your ideas.

Take the survey >

Activism opportunities

Call your representative about supporting an open debate on Iraq >

Tax Day ideas >

March for Peace, Justice and Democracy on April 29 >

Last month, thousands of us showed how the majority of people in the U.S. - and worldwide - want peace in Iraq. It was an historic month demonstrating how U.S. public opinion continues to grow against the Administration's Iraq policy.

To follow up, we have several activist opportunities below. We also want to hear from you — please help us shape the Wage Peace Campaign.

Share your ideas for our campaign’s future

Please take a few moments to fill out a short survey about our campaign.

In our December survey, we learned that the majority of us wanted to work on local actions and send messages to Congress. Your advice shaped our latest actions, including sponsoring the war's third anniversary events and working on several messages to the House and Senate. What’s next?

Please take a few minutes to share your ideas >

House Republicans call for an open debate

Thanks to many of you who have called your U.S. Representative to support H. Res 543, the “discharge petition” asking an open debate on Iraq policy. Yesterday, three Republican Representatives, Walter Jones (R-NC), Wayne Gilcrest (R-MD), and Ron Paul (R-TX), held a press conference with the Win Without War coalition and have joined many Democrats in calling for open debate. For more information about this campaign, see

Please take a few minutes and ask your U.S. Representative to support the resolution. Follow the link below for talking points and to find your Representative’s phone number.

Tax Day activism ideas

April 17, Tax Day, is fast approaching. It is also a great opportunity to raise issues about the cost of war.

A recent study by the Congressional Research Service found that we are spending $9.8 billion a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to stop wasting money on war and invest money in Iraqi civil society and reconstruction, along with healthcare, education, and other human needs at home.

Visit the web site for Tax Day activism ideas >

Earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee began considering a supplemental funding bill that includes billions of dollars in Iraq spending. We need to keep our media campaign going to make sure that Congress knows that public opinion opposes more money for more war. Please send a letter to the editor asking Congress to vote against more war funding.

Use our online tool to send a letter now >

March for Peace, Justice and Democracy in New York City

On April 29, our partners in the United for Peace and Justice coalition and dozens of environmental, civil rights, and peace and justice organizations are sponsoring a march in New York City. Everyone is invited to attend.

For more information, see

I hope some of these ideas catch your imagination. If you have ideas, too, please take the survey and let us know what motivates you. I look forward to reading your answers.

Peter Lems signature
Peter Lems,
For AFSC's Wage Peace Campaign

Support the Six Nations Clan Mothers this Sunday

This is another important email I just received from Brian at the Halton Peace Network. I am re-posting it in its entirety:

Support the Six Nations Clan Mothers

The Ogwehoweh (Six Nations) people are camped out at the Douglas Creek Estates (aka "Henco") construction site in order to halt construction until a land claim can be settled peacefully. They did ask for a written promise from the government that the construction would be halted until it was resolved but the promise (or anything else constructive) was not forthcoming.

Six Nations Native protestors have occupied a Caledonia (just west of Hamilton) subdivision building site. The site is on native land sold by the government. The developer who purchased the land, Henco, went to the Ontario courts to get an injunction to remove the protesters from the land. In response, Judge David Marshall decreed that the protesters would be arrested, taken away, finger printed and then released. If the offenders were to return, they would be put on probation for a year.

Six Nations members responded by pointing out that they were on native territory and therefore the police would be acting outside of their jurisdiction. At no time did Judge Marshall or any other official ask for any documentation from Henco or the Ontario Government to prove the land had been handed over to the company after the federal government's 1784 agreement with the Six Nations.

A Peace Rally will take place this Sunday April 9 in Caledonia. I hope you can come, bring friends and spread the word. If you would like to come for a pot luck dinner after rally, just bring a dish to the rally; a map with directions to the potluck will be available at the rally.

The Ogwehoweh (Six Nation) people at the Caledonia land protest have said that they would welcome our support. We will show our support with a Peace Rally, asking for the Government to hammer out an intelligent peaceful and just resolution to the land dispute with the Clan Mothers and not to resolve it through macho means of force and guns which will only serve to entrench bitterness and break many hearts. Your support is needed.

Where: Caledonia -- take highway six (straight up Upper James) to Caledonia; go straight through town over the bridge, just past the big Canadian Tire on your right you will see the protest flags.
When: 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning (this Sunday April 9)

Please bring good spirits, a canned food donation or a blanket that is no longer needed or firewood.

People standing up for their land have been camped out on the site. They are in need of anything associated with camping (tarps, blankets sleeping bags etc), food to feed the families that are camped there, and firewood to keep warm. Maintaining the protest for over a month has also meant financial hardship for many.


For more information see:

For Peace and Justice,

P.S. For directions, search "Caledonia" at

Afghanistan to be debated in House of Commons - contact your MP

I just received this email from my friend Doug Brown of the Burlington Association for Nuclear Disarmament (BAND), and I feel it is important enough to re-post in its entirety and pass along to readers here. Please act on this asap.



doug brown wrote:
From: "doug brown"
To: "Burlington Association for Nuclear Disarmament"
Subject: Afghanistan to be debated in House of Commons - contact your MP
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 14:03:40 -0400

Dear Friends

Next week, the House of Commons will have a debate on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. Although the government has said they will not allow a vote on Canada’s combat role, it is important that MP’s take a stand against our large military intervention. (General Hillier and other officials are saying we will be in Afghanistan for more than 10 years!). It is important that we encourage our MPs to call for Canadian combat troops to be removed from Afghanistan. The real goal of the mission is to appease the U.S. after Canada’s refusal to formally join in the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq (we did help the U.S. with embedded soldiers and with logistical support). The U.S. objectives are the control of Central Asian oil and gas resources through the construction and control of pipelines.

There are many other reasons to call for the removal of Canadian troops related to the brutal nature of the occupation and to the corrupt Afghan regime we would be supporting. The conduct of the occupation forces led by the United States has resulted in abuses of human rights. The US has operated secret prisons in Afghanistan and has been involved in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killing of Afghan civilians. Canada must cease all support for the US occupation under these circumstances.

Members of the Afghan parliament are being financed by opium cultivation. The Taliban had many faults but they had eradicated opium production as of June 2001. The resurgence in poppy cultivation, which has come because of the invasion, is now more than double the amount of internationally dispensed aid. The warlord groups that now make up more that 60% of the Afghan parliament are the main organizers of that trade. We are supporting the drug trade in Afghanistan if we support the Afghan State.

More reasons for opposing Canada’s military role in Afghanistan are provided in the attached letter from the Canadian Peace Alliance to the NDP Caucus and in the recent Toronto Sun article by Eric Margolis.

Please call or email your MP as soon as soon as possible (before Monday!) and ask her or him to call for the removal of Canada’s troops from Afghanistan.


Doug Brown
Burlington Association for Nuclear Disarmament

The Canadian Peace Alliance is thankful that the New Democratic Party is raising the debate about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. This is a combat mission that is causing more violence and suffering for the Afghan people. Any clarity that can be gained by a debate will be helpful yet we are concerned that the NDP has not yet raised the call for troops to be removed from Afghanistan. It is, in our view, the only moral choice for ending the conflict and allowing for real democracy to flourish.

We are calling for troops to be removed for a series of reasons. The role of Canadian forces is to extend the influence of the central Afghan State in Kandahar province. The nature of that state is rarely discussed but it must be addressed. The Government of Afghanistan was founded on a deal struck between the warlord factions, the US and Hamid Karzai in Bonn Germany in December 2001. The deal was a power sharing agreement that has entrenched in power of some of the worst warlords and human rights abusers in the nation’s history. The documentation from human rights groups has consistently shown that the warlords are the chief source of violence and corruption in the country. We are supporting these warlords, which ensure that Canadians will continue to be attacked.

The conduct of the occupation forces led by the United States has resulted in abuses of human rights. The US has operated secret prisons in Afghanistan and has been involved in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killing of Afghan civilians. Canada must cease all support for the US occupation under these circumstances.

Members of the Afghan parliament are being financed by opium cultivation. The Taliban had many faults but they had eradicated opium production as of June 2001. The resurgence in poppy cultivation, which has come because of the invasion, is now more than double the amount of internationally dispensed aid. The warlord groups that now make up more that 60% of the Afghan parliament are the main organizers of that trade. We are supporting the drug trade in Afghanistan if we support the Afghan State.

It is often argued that we would help the people of Afghanistan if we change our tactics. Peacekeeping in support of the warlords is no better than combat in support of the warlords. We are supporting a government controlled by US forces in conjunction with drug runners and former Taliban commanders. How we support that government is not the issue. Any support for these enemies of democracy in Afghanistan has the effect of increasing violence. Recruitment for the Taliban and Al Quaida has increased in Kandahar since Canada arrived. Strangely, our military leaders seem clear on this issue. Major General Andrew Leslie said at the Couchiching conference last summer, "each time we kill a man overseas we are creating 15 more who will come after us".

There have been many interventions in Afghanistan over the past 30 years and none of than has had the best interests of the Afghan people at heart. Whether it was the invasion by the USSR or the US support and arming of the Taliban, each intervention has made life worse for the citizens of the country. Canada is now fighting alongside groups the US armed 5 years ago and against groups the US armed 10 years ago. The people of Afghanistan have had enough of that type of international help.

US foreign policy towards Afghanistan has been dominated by need for the Trans Afghan Pipeline. Dick Cheney while an executive at UNOCAL Corporation lobbied the Clinton Administration to support the Taliban because they supported the construction of the pipeline. The new pipeline project signed in spring 2002, called the Turkmenistan Afghanistan pipeline (TAP) has Canadian corporate involvement as well. Canadian oil and gas companies have signed multi-million dollar deals with the governments of the Caspian region for projects associated with the TAP. The person who signed those deals for the Canadian companies was none other than Jean Chrétien, our former Prime Minister and the man responsible for sending more than 8000 Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan. There is only one stumbling block to completion of TAP. The route, which goes through Kandahar province, has to be secured.

The people of Afghanistan want peace. The US and Hamid Karzai want oil. We are legitimizing that occupation by supporting the US and the Afghan State. There is not a shred of hope that either the Harper government or the Liberals have any interest in changing the nature of our involvement in Afghanistan. While Canadians debate potential changes in the intervention our soldiers continue to create more violence and anger in Afghanistan. The only choice is to call for the troops to be removed.

There are democratic forces in Afghanistan which are trying to bring about real change there but they are consistently undermined and attacked by the very state we are supporting. Malalai Joya, an MP from Farah province has just finished a tour of North America where she exposed the true nature of the Afghan State. She has received death threats for being outspoken and while she was here the government of Hamid Karzai cut her security funding. We can support these grassroots groups in Afghanistan but not while Canadian soldiers kill to support their enemies. We hope that our friends in the NDP can aid us in this our call for the troops to be removed now.


Syd Lacombe, Coordinator, Canadian Peace Alliance





April 03, 2006
Eric Margolis - foreign correspondent - Sun Newspapers

Three big lies about Afghanistan

The public is getting distorted news from Afghanistan because the North American media has substituted jingoism and flag-waving for reporting of hard news.

Afghanistan's complexity and lethal tribal politics have been marketed to the public by government and media as a selfless crusade to defeat the 'terrorist' Taliban, implant democracy, and liberate Afghan women. Afghanistan is part of the 'world-wide struggle against terrorism,' we are told.

None of this is true. In 1989, at the end of the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy and civil war. An epidemic of banditry and rape ensued.

A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, who lost an eye in the anti-Soviet jihad, armed a group of 'talibs,' (religious students) and set about defending women from rape. Aided by Pakistan, Taliban stopped the epidemic of rape and drug-dealing that had engulfed Afghanistan and imposed order based on harsh tribal and Sharia religious law.

Taliban was a religious, anti-communist movement that drew its power from Afghanistan's Pushtun (or Pathan) ethnic majority, the world's largest tribal group (Kurds are the second largest). Most of Taliban's energies were spent battling the remaining Afghan communists, united with various Tajik groups under the banner of the Northern Alliance, whose leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was a long-time Soviet KGB collaborator, and its military chief, Gen. Fahim, the former
director of the notorious Afghan secret police which executed and horribly tortured tens of thousands of victims.

Production of opium and heroin was stopped by Taliban, except in the North Alliance-controlled zones.

Taliban's rule was extremely harsh; its leaders were backwards hillbillies. Because the communists had infiltrated the nation in the 1970s through the education system - particularly female education - Taliban shut down many schools for girls, oppressed minority Hazaras, whom Taliban considered heretics, and, in an act of supreme idiocy, blew up Buddhist idols.

However, the US government viewed Taliban as a potential ally and gave it millions in aid until four months before 9/11. Washington was considering using Taliban and al-Qaida's 300 members to stir trouble in China's western Muslim regions, and in Russian-dominated Central Asia. But US aid was cut off after Taliban refused a contract from the US oil firm Unocal to build a strategic pipeline south from the Caspian Basin to Pakistan.

Taliban's leaders knew nothing of the 9/11 plans to attack the US, which was mounted in Germany. When the US demanded Kabul hand over bin Laden, Taliban refused. Bin Laden was a guest and national hero wounded six times in the anti-Soviet struggle. Taliban leaders refused to violate their honour by failing to defend an honoured guest. Taliban promised to deliver him to an international tribunal once the US submitted evidence of his guilt. The US refused, and promptly invaded Afghanistan.

Unable to withstand US power, Mullah Omar ordered his fighters to blend back into the Pushtun population and wage guerrilla war against the invaders. Taliban has been joined by the Hizbi-Islami movement of Gulbadin Hekmatyar and other tribal groups or individuals opposed to foreign occupation.

After Taliban's overthrow, Afghanistan fell back into the hands of the old Communist Party and war criminals, now allied with Russia, Iran and India, and drug warlords who control much of the chaotic nation. The US-installed 'democratic' Karzai puppet regime in Kabul rules only the capital.

The Talibs represented the most backwards sector of Afghan society. But they brought law and order, ended drug dealing, and fought the communists who killed 1.5 million Afghans. Today, women in post-Taliban Afghanistan are just as repressed as they were under Taliban, save for a few schools in Kabul. Women are equally repressed in Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia. Many Afghans share Taliban's social views, if not politics. The Uzbeks in the north - now US and Canadian allies - are in even more vicious and brutal than Taliban, and up to their turbans in drug dealing. The US and NATO are running a nation that supplies 80-90% of the world's heroin.

Most foreign journalists see none of this. They get the Cook's tour, led around by their noses by government or military P.R. specialists, and fed handouts. Call this blinkered news. At least the old Soviet media did a better job, occasionally criticizing Moscow's claims that it was implanting democracy, freedom and human rights in Afghanistan. The North American media has no such professional reservations.

Few reporters get away from the military and go see the reality beyond. Even fewer know about Afghanistan's tortured history. That's why we have been getting so much disinformation and so little honest reporting about Afghanistan.

Taliban is neither a terrorist group, like al-Qaida, nor an enemy of the United States. Washington should be talking to its moderate elements as part of a strategy to stabilize that nation, foster a genuinely popular national government that excludes terrorist groups, and ends Afghanistan's role as the world's premier narco-state.

"Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll

John Kerry's Resolution: Deadline for Iraq

John Kerry has come up with a resolution Deadline for Iraq. Here is his proposal, and he urges Americans to sign up as citizen 'co-sponsors'.

What do you, the readers, think about Kerry's resolution?
Dear Friend,

Half the names on the Vietnam Memorial wall were added after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. You and I have to do everything in our power to stop that from happening again.

Two weeks ago, President Bush said that the timing of complete withdrawal from Iraq "...will be decided by future presidents...."1 But this is our responsibility now, not the responsibility of future presidents or a future Congress.

I believe that American combat troops should come home from Iraq in 2006 - not the distant future as President Bush does. Furthermore, I believe we must set a May 15th deadline for the Iraqis to form an effective unity government. And, if the Iraqi politicians choose to ignore that deadline, then I believe things will only get worse and we will have no choice but to withdraw immediately.

It's not enough to express our convictions -- we need to back up our beliefs with concrete actions. Today I introduced a resolution into the Senate that will give members of both parties the chance to tell the president that our course in Iraq must change.

I am setting tough deadlines for action in Iraq, and you know as well as I do how fiercely the extreme right wing will attack us. So I'm asking you today to be a citizen co-sponsor of this important resolution. Show the White House and my Senate colleagues a groundswell of support.

Sign up today as a citizen co-sponsor of my Senate resolution

President Bush is willing to let American soldiers and their families wait endlessly, while risking life and limb, as some Iraqi politicians incite sectarianism to grow their personal power and private militias. But we are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction. The second was against Jihadist terrorists who the Administration said it was better "to fight over there than here." Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.

We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we stop serving as their best recruitment tool. Unpinning our military from Iraq will allow us to prosecute the war against Al Qaeda more effectively -- both inside and outside Iraq. And regaining our global options will also strengthen our hand in addressing the Iranian nuclear threat.

For speaking the truth, the right wing and their surrogates will question our courage and commitment. They're going to question our patriotism.

Only one thing will overcome this onslaught and put our country on the right path: a truly massive and visible groundswell of support for this call to bring home the troops. America has prospered throughout its history because we have never allowed bad leaders to pursue bad ideas for very long. The Bush administration uses fear as a weapon against dissent. But you have the power to stand up to this new McCarthyism: show the depth and breadth of support for a timely withdrawal by co-sponsoring my Senate resolution now.

Sign up today as a citizen co-sponsor of my Senate resolution

We want democracy in Iraq, but it's now the job of Iraqis to build it. Our troops have performed gallantly and heroically. The best way to keep faith with them is to set deadlines for bringing our troops home and getting Iraq on its own two feet. That's the only way to give their sacrifice its best chance of resulting in success.

Thank you,

John Kerry

1. White House press conference, March 21, 2006

Tell Mutual Funds to Take a Stand Against Global Warming

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges human kind has ever faced.

Some forward-thinking corporations have taken steps to address the serious threats to our health, economy, and environment, but many more continue to bury their heads in the sand.

Groups of concerned investors have successfully persuaded a handful of corporations to reduce their heat-trapping emissions. Unfortunately, major mutual fund companies have not joined these concerned investors in pressing companies in their portfolios to address global warming.

Click here to urge major mutual fund companies Vanguard, Fidelity and American Funds to take a stand against global warming today!

These mutual funds are out of touch with their investors. Seventy percent of mutual fund holders want their funds to support climate change resolutions, yet none of the top 100 mutual funds have voted in favor of climate change resolutions.

By failing to vote for climate resolutions, mutual funds are neglecting their responsibility to protect investors from companies that expose themselves to financial losses, lawsuits, and insurance problems by ignoring global warming.

Vanguard, Fidelity and American Fund are the three largest U.S. mutual fund families and they control seventy percent of the country's mutual fund investments. That's why it's so important that these mutual funds take join the majority of their investors in pressuring companies to clean up their act!
Click here to sign our petition to Vanguard, Fidelity, and American Funds today! You don't need to be an investor to sign this petition.

Amnesty International News Release on USA Front Companies Used In Secret Flights

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

USA: Front companies used in secret flights to torture and "disappearance"

Amnesty International today released a new report which exposes a covert operation whereby people have been arrested or abducted, transferred and held in secret or handed over to countries where they have faced torture and other ill-treatment. The report describes how the CIA has used private aircraft operators and front companies to preserve the secrecy of "rendition" flights.

Below the radar:

Secret flights to torture and 'disappearance', shows that the CIA has exploited aviation practices that would otherwise require their flights to be declared to aviation authorities. The report lists dozens of destinations around the world where planes associated with "rendition" flights have landed and taken off - and lists private airlines with permission to land at US military bases worldwide.

Amnesty International has records of nearly 1,000 flights directly linked to the CIA, most of which have used European airspace; these are flights by planes that appear to have been permanently operated by the CIA through front companies. In a second category, there are records of some 600 other flights made by planes confirmed as having been used at least temporarily by the CIA.

The report details the destinations and ownership of specific aircraft linked to people interviewed by Amnesty International who have been transferred illegally. For example one particular aircraft is known to have made over 100 stops in Guantanamo Bay. Another took Abu Omar to Egypt from Germany after he was kidnapped in Italy. Its owners have admitted leasing the plane to the CIA, but have said it is not used exclusively by the agency. There are 488 relevant recorded landings or take-offs between February 2001 and July 2005.

"The US Administration has tried to circumvent the ban on torture and other ill-treatment in many ways. The latest evidence shows how the Administration is manipulating commercial arrangements in order to be able to transfer people in violation of international law. It demonstrates the length to which the US government will go to conceal these abductions," said Amnesty International Secretary General, Irene Khan.

The report uncovers part of the mystery surrounding the practice of renditions. Secrecy surrounding rendition operations means it is impossible to know how many people have been arrested or abducted, transferred across borders, held in secret detention or tortured in the 'war on terror'. Information from governments themselves indicates that numbers are likely to be in the hundreds.

The report analyses new information about "black site" detention provided to Amnesty International by three Yemeni men recently released after a two-year rendition ordeal, which raises the possibility that they were held somewhere in eastern Europe or Central Asia.

Muhammad Al-Assad, Muhammad Bashmilah and Salah 'Ali Qaru spent 13 months in one secret facility before being flown to Yemen in May 2005 and eventually released last month.

"Their captors went to great lengths to conceal their location to the men, but circumstantial evidence such as climate, prayer schedules and flight times to and from the site suggest that they may have been held in eastern Europe or Central Asia," said senior advisor Anne FitzGerald. "But without further information from the US government and European authorities, it is impossible to verify exactly where."

Rendition is the illegal transfer of people from one country to another in ways that bypass all judicial and administrative oversight. The aim of rendition in the "war on terror" is usually to facilitate interrogation of suspects outside the reach of the law.

"Renditions are not just about transporting terror suspects from one place to another without red tape. The term sanitises the multiple layers of human rights violations involved," said Ms Khan.

"Most victims of rendition were arrested and detained illegally in the first place. Many were abducted, denied access to any legal process and have subsequently "disappeared". All of those interviewed by Amnesty International described being tortured or otherwise ill-treated."

"The callous and calculated multiplicity of abuses is shocking. People captured have been subjected to a range of abuses of human rights by a number of governments acting in collusion, and all of this has been shrouded by secrecy and deceit," said Ms Khan.

"The report shows not just how arrest and extradition procedures have been ignored, the ban on torture and other ill-treatment has been disregarded, but also how aviation practices have been undermined: in essence the rule of law has been put aside."

Amnesty International cautioned that states that tolerate these flights landing on their territory and companies that carry them out, may find themselves complicit in serious human rights abuses.

The organization called for the transfer of any detainee to other countries to take place with proper safeguards, including judicial oversight, and the use of official aircraft.

"All governments must prevent, investigate and prosecute those responsible for secret detention and rendition," declared Ms Khan.

Amnesty International called on the aviation sector to take specific and immediate action to ensure that aviation companies do not lease their aircraft in circumstances in which they may be used in renditions. The onus is on companies to ensure that they are aware of the end use of any aircraft they lease or operate and that they do not facilitate human rights violations.

Amnesty International called on governments to:

Insist that any plane or helicopter used to carry out the missions of the intelligence services be declared a 'state' flight, regardless of whether they are carried out using civilian aircraft.

Prohibit the use of airspace and airports for renditions and actively investigate suspected rendition cases.

Disclose the full extent of these practices and the fate of those whose whereabouts are still unknown.

Notes to editors

Estimated numbers of rendition victims:

The Egyptian prime minister noted in 2005 that the US has transferred some 60-70 detainees to Egypt alone, and a former CIA agent with experience in the region believes that "hundreds" of detainees may have been sent by the US to prisons in Middle Eastern countries.

The USA has acknowledged the capture of about 30 "high value" detainees whose whereabouts remain unknown, and the CIA is reportedly investigating some three dozen additional cases of "erroneous rendition", in which people were detained based on flawed evidence or confusion over names.

See also: USA: Human dignity denied: Torture and accountability in the "war on terror" (AI Index: AMR 51/145/2004)

Full text of the report will be available from 5 April at:
To obtain an embargoed copy of the report, contact Amnesty International Press Office (see details below).

Amnesty International is campaigning to stop torture and other ill-treatment in the "war on terror".

For more information, please go to the campaign home page:
All AI Documents on USA:
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USA: “The best kept secret in the aviation industry”?
The CIA rendition planes and where they have been:
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Past and current Amnesty news services can be found at:
for information about Amnesty International and for other AI publications.

Contact if you need to get in touch with the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tomgram: Robert Dreyfuss on the "D" Word in Iraq

It didn't take long after the invasion of Iraq began in March 2003 for one of the radioactive words of the Vietnam era to make its first appearance, even if in stunted, referential form. Media pundits, former military men, and others began fretting, even as American soldiers advanced, about the "Q word." They were, of course, worrying about entering the infamous "quagmire" -- the word many Americans had applied to Vietnam as the war there dragged on and on and on. Three years after the fall of Baghdad, with the Bush administration well into their Iraqi version of the quagmire, a couple of letters closer to the ultimate ABCs of political life, are now making their appearance. And little wonder.

Both of these probably began their journey from the political Internet into the mainstream in mid-February when, of all people, conservative icon William F. Buckley raised them both in a near-tombstone op-ed published in the National Review and entitled It Didn't Work. With that single piece, you could promptly add "D" and "F" to the Iraq alphabet. "One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed," Buckley wrote and in a single bound, "failure" made it onto the list of the Bush administration's official ills in Iraq. "Iraqi animosities," he added, "have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans." Buckley then suggested that the President had somehow to admit to this reality in order to ensure "the survival" of his larger "strategic policies." Offering a final line of advice, he ended: "And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat."

Defeat. The unthinkable. Call it the dreaded "D" word. And suddenly on the scene was the part of the Vietnam era that the President's high officials and neocon supporters never considered in their wildest dreams and so never spent a day preparing contingency plans for. Now, like it or not, believe it or not, they are in terra incognita and, to mix metaphors, visibly at sea.

Shibley Telhami of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy -- though he stuck with the "F" word (for failure) -- recently noted the obvious in a piece written for the Baltimore Sun: "Consider the stunning magnitude of the failure. Iraq has been the top priority for the world's only superpower for the past three years, and a central one for many regional and international powers. The United States, intent on keeping Iraq together, has spent more resources in that country than any state ever has spent on another in the history of the world. Yet the prospect of civil war and a divided Iraq are now greater than they had been at any time."

In fact, on the civil war front, things are already devolving at a rapid pace. As UPI's Martin Sieff pointed out, citing the recent monthly figure of 900 "sectarian killings" (which may actually be low), "Iraq is a nation of 25 million people. In the United States, that level of killing would proportionately equal almost 11,000 people killed in riots, reprisal killings and sectarian clashes in a single month." And that's not the half of it. In the midst of this growing horror, Bush administration policy is in chaos. But let me leave it to Robert Dreyfuss, who covers national security matters for Rolling Stone among other magazines, to reveal the contours of the present situation and suggest the ways in which the "D" word may be with us for a while.

Dreyfuss, by the way, is the author of a remarkable new book, The Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam -- a striking history of how, for the last half century, successive American administrations have bedded down with right-wing Islamic movements and what that has meant for our own moment. Tom

Cutting and Running in Baghdad

By Robert Dreyfuss

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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