Saturday, December 02, 2006

Help Stop the Iranian Govt. from Jailing Four CourageousActivists

The Iranian Regime wants to jail Mahmoud Salehi for four years and has handed out sentences of two years to Jalal Hosseini, Borhan Divargar and Mohsen Hakimi. The deplorable conditions in Iran’s jails make such sentences a threat to the lives of these men. They are currently appealing the decision to deprive them of their liberty.

They were charged, under Iranian security laws, after they were involved in efforts to organize a May Day celebration in 2004 that was never allowed to take place. The location of the event, in the town of Saqez, was taken over by security forces and those who attempted to attend it
were attacked and arrested.

The repressive Iranian Regime wants to silence four men whose only ‘crime’ is to organize workers into a movement that can challenge exploitation and fight for a better life. The celebration of International Workers Day is no crime and only a brutal and morally bankrupt state power would act as if it was.

When, after June 15, 2000, three members of OCAP were facing jail time over bogus allegations of ‘participating in a riot’, one of these workers, Mohsen Hakimi, signed an online petition calling for the charges to be dropped against our members. That is an additional reason why OCAP issues this call in defence of the four. The main reason, however, is that the right to organize for workers’ rights in Iran is a precious one that needs defending. Their struggle is our struggle and it’s a duty to support them.

We are not crafting an appeal to the Iranian Government but simply asking supporters to put their names below this statement. Let the authorities in Iran know that you and others like you are aware of their ugly attempt to stamp out opposition. Let those who have the courage to stand up in Iran and demand rights for workers know that people across the world stand in
solidarity with them.

Whether you share the vision of the four convicted men of a world free of capitalist exploitation or whether you simply respect the right of people to dissent and workers to organize freely, please add you name below as a mark of support and solidarity.
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tomgram: De la Vega, A Predisposition to Invade

[Note: For those in the Santa Barbara area in California, Elizabeth de la Vega will be speaking on December 10th at a rally, one of many events being organized around the country for Human Rights (and Impeachment) Day. She'll be on stage with Ann Wright, Dennis Loo, and David Swanson (who also writes for among others. For more on this event and others that day visit Swanson's website.]

With the presentation of the first day of grand jury testimony from former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega's new book, United States v. George W. Bush et al., the case against the top officials of the Bush administration for defrauding the American people into war in Iraq comes to a provisional end at Tomdispatch. What the Bush administration did, De la Vega argued in "A Fraud Worse than Enron", Part 1 of her series at this site, was a crime, conceptually similar to the Enron case and should be treated as such. It was, in fact, nothing less than the Enronization of American foreign policy. It was also a crime for which there should be actual legal culpability and so, in part 2 of her series, she produced a hypothetical indictment for fraud against the main actors in the case, just as she had, over her career, presented numerous fra! ud indictments to grand juries.

Today, "FBI Special Agent Linda Campbell" begins to lay out that case for fraud by discussing the administration's "predisposition to invade Iraq." Those of you who want to read De la Vega's brilliantly argued full case against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell should promptly purchase a copy of her book either at Amazon, at the website of the independent publisher, Seven Stories Press, or at your local independent bookstore.

De la Vega's superb book, like the testimony of "FBI Special Agent Linda Campbell" below, is fiction of a high order, based on a deep knowledge of exactly what the Bush administration did to us and how they did it. What happens next is, in truth, in the hands of the same American people who were scammed by this administration. Only history will tell us the results. Tom

The Grand Jury Testimony

United States v. George W. Bush et al.
By Elizabeth de la Vega

Testimony of FBI Special Agent Linda Campbell

Assistant U.S. Attorney: Good morning everyone. We're back here in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. Let's start by looking at Exhibit 1 in your packets. It's a chart that lists the main points we're going to cover in the grand jury.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Ontario Health Coalition Toronto Event, Dec. 1st

Ontario Health Coalition Lecture Series Presents.....
Rising Up!
Reports on Social Movements

& Defending Medicare

with panelists:
Maude Barlow
National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians

Naomi Klein
Journalist and Author

Ana Gladys
El Salvadorean Citizens’ Network of Ontario

Natalie Mehra
Director of the Ontario Health Coalition

Moderated by Dora Jeffries,
Ontario Health Coalition co chair

tickets $20 proceeds to the OHC
Friday, December 1,
7 pm
St. Andrew’s Church

across from Roy Thompson Hall at King & Simcoe Sts,

Tickets available at Toronto Women’s Bookstore, 73 Harbord St; Another Story Bookshop, 315 Roncesvalles; the Ontario Health Coalition office, or by mailing a request for tickets with your return address and a cheque or money order to Ontario Health Coalition, 15 Gervais Dr., Suite 304, Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8 tel: 416-441-2502 no credit cards accepted.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ahmadinejad's open letter to the American people

UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a letter to the American people on Wednesday, accused their government of “coercion, force and injustice” and urged the United States to pull out of Iraq.

Ahmadinejad’s five-page letter also called on Washington to recognize a Palestinian state and cautioned the Democratic Party that, after gaining control of the U.S. Congress, they would be “held to account by the people and by history.”

The letter was given to the press by Iran’s Mission to the United Nations.


Read more here: "U.S. governs by ‘coercion,’ Iran leader writes
In open letter to Americans, Ahmadinejad urges pullout from Iraq"

Text of Iran president’s letter to the U.S.
'Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking'

Tomgram: Elizabeth de la Vega, Indicting Bush

Think of it as a milestone. This is now the first website to "indict" the President, the Vice President, and their colleagues for defrauding us into war in Iraq. I put that "indict" in quotes because what follows, as former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega makes clear in her new book United States v. George W. Bush et al., is "not an actual indictment." It can't be, of course; but consider it the second best thing.

De la Vega has, in her career as a prosecutor, prepared numerous fraud indictments and, as she argued in the first excerpt from her book posted at Tomdispatch earlier this week, "A Fraud Worse than Enron," what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their senior officials committed was a crime, not just in the colloquial sense of the word, but in the legal sense too (and not a victimless crime either). While their crime was of a magnitude that puts even Enron, no less run-of-the-mill fraud cases, to shame, it also has all the elements of a typical, small-time scam.

De la Vega's "hypothetical indictment" of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell that you are about to read remains, unfortunately, in the realm of fantasy. But only for now. Until our world comes more fully to grips with the criminal nature of the Bush administration's acts, you can at least turn to the full de la Vega book. A special project, produced in conjunction with Seven Stories Press, a wonderful independent publisher, it's officially published on December 1st (but available now).

You won't want to miss it. It's superbly done and -- though I hesitate to say it, given the nature of the subject matter -- genuinely enjoyable to read because De la Vega turns out to be as skilled a writer as she is a prosecutor, and applies both her talents to the book. So check out the indictment, read the first day of grand jury testimony (which will be posted at this site on Thursday), and in the meantime get the investigative ball rolling by purchasing the book at or, if you want to give all involved a few extra cents, directly at the Seven Stories website. After all, the excerpts at Tomdispatch can only give you a taste of the full case De la Vega makes. This book should be the political stocking-stuffer of the Holiday season. Tom

The Indictment

United States v. George W. Bush et al.
By Elizabeth de la Vega

Assistant United States Attorney: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're here today in the case of United States v. George W. Bush et al. In addition to President Bush, the defendants are Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who's now the Secretary of State, of course -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It's a one-count proposed indictment: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. I'll explain the law that applies to the case this afternoon, but I'm going to hand out the indictment now, so you'll have some context for that explanation. Take as long as you need to read it, and then feel free to take your lunch break, but please leave your copy of the indictment with the foreperson. We'll meet back at one o'clock.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: Elizabeth de la Vega, Bringing Bush to Court

Keep in mind, I've run for only a few years, but I've been a book editor in mainstream publishing for over 30 years. Sometime last spring, I was on the phone with former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega talking about books she might someday write, when she suddenly said to me, "You know what I'd like to do?" When I asked what, she replied, "What I've done all my life."

"What's that," I wondered innocently enough.

"I'd like to draft an indictment of President Bush and his senior aides, and present the case for prewar intelligence fraud to a grand jury, just as if it were an actual case of mine, using the evidence we already have in the public record. That's the book I'd like to do."

With those three decades of publishing experience, I never doubted that this was an idea whose time should come -- and now it has. De la Vega has drawn up that indictment -- a "hypothetical" one, she hastens to add -- convened that grand jury, and held seven days of testimony. Yes, it's a grand jury directly out of her fertile brain and the federal agents who testify are fictional, but all the facts are true. She understands the case against the Bush administration down to the last detail; and she's produced, to my mind, the book of the post-election, investigative season: United States v. George W. Bush et al.

It's a book project, produced in conjunction with Seven Stories Press, a superb independent publisher, and officially published on December 1st. I think it's simply sensational. It makes a "slam dunk" case for the way we were defrauded into war; despite the grim subject matter, it's a beautifully designed little book, a pleasure to hold in your hand; and, because de la Vega is a natural as a writer, it's also thoroughly enjoyable reading. With genuine pride, I'll be turning the website over to excerpts from the book this week, beginning with the posting of De la Vega's introduction on the Enronization of American foreign policy today. The actual "indictment" will be posted on Wednesday; the first day of grand jury testimony on Thursday.

I assure you, this is must-read event; no less important, this is a must-buy book that must be given over the holiday season to friends, relatives, those who politically disagree with you, and even perhaps sent to Congressional representatives. Please get the investigative ball rolling by purchasing the book at or, if you want to give all involved a few extra cents, directly at the Seven Stories website.

Today, United States v. George W. Bush et al remains in the realm of fiction, but tomorrow, if you lend a hand… who knows? Tom

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

International day of action: stop the attacks on Gaza, Dec. 2nd!

My good friend and peace activist Brian Hopkins of Halton Peace Network has a new website. It is a work in progress but already contains some important info about the International day of action in solidarity with the people of Gaza on December 2nd.

Protest the siege of Gaza! Protest the massacres!

International day of action in solidarity with the people of Gaza
Actions will be taking place across Canada and around the world

Saturday, December 2
Israeli Consulate
180 Bloor Street West

Over the past few months the actions of the Israeli army - cynically named in the summer months "Operation Summer Rain" and now bearing the title "Operation Autumn Clouds" - have devastated the Palstinian population in Gaza. Since June 1, 2006, over 300 Palestinian civilians, including 89 children and 25 women, have been killed by the Israeli military.

During the month of November alone, over 80 Palestinians have been killed in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Two women were killed protesting in front of a mosque that was laer destroyed; and 19 women, children and men were killed by Israeli artillery while asleep in their house.

The Gaza Strip is surrounded by a massive electric fence with all entry and exit controlled by the Isaeli military. Palestinians in the area have literally been confined to an open-air prison as Israel imposes a policy of enforced starvation on the population. According to the World Bank, unemployment levels reached 40% in the first quarter of 2006 and over 80% of the population are living below the povety line.

But here in Canada, Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Peter McKay have repeatedly refued to raise any condemnation of Israel's actions or to take any measures to prevent the continued killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of Palestinian livelihood. Instead, Harper and his cabinet speak of the "shared values" of Israel and Canada, or the "measured response" of the Israeli war machine.

Come out on December 2 to demand an immediate end to Canadian government support for Israel's apartheid policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Come out and let the people of Gaza know: they don't stand alone!

Posters and leaflets are available for download on the CAIA website:

Organised by
Canadian Arab Federation
Palestine House
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Brian Hopkins also has an excellent piece about donations needed at the Six Nations reclamation site and how to donate, plus a list of supplies & equipment needed.

Check out the site Brian Hopkins for full information! If you live in the GTA/Oakville/Burlington/Hamilton/Brampton area, be sure to visit Brian's site regularly for updated info and actions.

Mississauga, Ontario: Palestine House Vandalized

Palestine House Vandalized by Racist, Anti-Palestinian Graffiti

On the morning of
Sunday 26 November 2006, board members of Palestine
House were shocked to discover that the center had been vandalized the previous night with racist, anti-Palestinian graffiti. The words "Jews +
Nazi =
" had been written in large letters on the ground of the parking lot. A large Star of David had been spray-painted near the door of Palestine House.

alestine House is appalled by the association of a religious symbol such as the Star of David with racist graffiti and acts of vandalism. We affirm that our struggle is based on international law, and respect for all -
regardless of religion or ethnicity. We note that this attack occurs in the context of an increasing rise in racist, pro-Zionist organizations such as the Jewish Defense League (JDL). The JDL is an organization
described by the
US government as a rightwing terrorist group. Individual
s openly displaying JDL insignia have attempted to intimidate Palestinians and their supporters at recent demonstrations in Toronto.

The board of P
alestine House reject any attempt to hal
t our work in defending and promoting Palestinian rights. This attack occurs exactly one week before a demonstration is to be held in solidarity with the people
Gaza organized by Palestine House, the Canadian Arab Federation
and the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid. We urge all supporters to attend this demonstration and proclaim loudly that the Palestinian voice will never be silenced.
Palestine House
3195 Erindale station Rd
Mississauga, Ont
L5C 1Y5

The Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice
Open “The Windows of Dissent, in which activists take down the first fences on the streets and in their minds”
-Naomi Klein, GTA Activist

A Letter from Michael Moore

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do ...a letter from Michael Moore


Yesterday marked the day that we had been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet.

Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That's because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to "win" the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die.

....Read rest of Michael's letter on

Women in Afghanistan

When Britain and America went into Afghanistan in 2001, they claimed that the liberation of the country's burka-shrouded women was one of their top priorities. So did they deliver? Five years on, Natasha Walter visits Kabul - and is shocked by what she discovers.

Here is an excerpt from this Guardian UK article:
Since her historic speech, Malalai Joya has survived assassination
attempts and constant denunciations. "Here there is no democracy, no security, no women's rights," she says. "When I speak in parliament they threaten me. In May they beat me by throwing bottles of water at me and they shouted, 'Take her and
rape her.' These men who are in power, never have they apologised for their crimes that they committed in the wars, and now, with the support of the US, they continue with their crimes in a different way. That is why there is no fundamental change in the situation of women."

Joya talks like this to me, furiously, for more than an hour, almost weeping as she catalogues the crimes against women that still keep them in a state of fear: from Safia Ama Jan, the leading women's rights campaigner assassinated in Kandahar earlier this year, to Nadia Anjuman, a poet murdered in Herat last year; from Amina, a
married woman who was stoned to death in Badakhshan in 2005, to Sanobar, an 11-year-old girl who was raped and exchanged for a dog in a reported dispute among warlords in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan last month.

She is desperate for people to take account of the silent women whose voices we never hear. "Afghan women are killing themselves now," she says, "there is no liberation for them."

Read full article here.

Legal Opinion on British Nuclear Weapons

Greenpeace UK has commissioned an important legal opinion from Philippe Sands QC of Matrix Chambers ,"THE UNITED KINGDOM'S NUCLEAR DETERRENT: CURRENT AND FUTURE ISSUES OF LEGALITY". It is of considerable value in providing an authoritative account of the legal arguments against the renewal or extension of Trident on both international humanitarian law grounds and in terms of breach of the NPT. Much of it is of general use when considering the legality of nuclear weapons in general as swell as of Trident, or its possible replacement, in particular. You can find the opinion on:

World Court Project UK
Secretary, George Farebrother
67 Summerheath Rd, Hailsham, Sussex UK BN27 3DR
+44 (0)1323 844 269,

Working to publicise and have implemented the 8 July 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal status of the threat or use of nuclear weapons

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

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