Saturday, December 16, 2006

Toronto: Solstice Prison Justice Vigil at the Don Jail, Dec. 21st

Solstice Prison Justice Vigil, Thurs., Dec. 21, 5-6:15 pm, Don Jail, Toronto

Please join us....

A Vigil for Families Whose Loved Ones are Detained during this Holiday Season

Solstice Candlelight Vigil
Don Jail (550 Gerrard St East)
Thursday, December 21, 2006, from 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Organized by Family and Friends of Gary Freeman and Toronto Action for
Social Change

Although this vigil is organized by the Family and Friends of Gary Freeman (who is fighting extradition to the U.S. for an incident dating back to Chicago, 1969), we recognize that the pain of separation from loved ones we experience is multiplied by the thousands every year in this country, where far too many people are unjustly incarcerated because although there is law, there is no justice.

Message from the family:

The Messianic Hope is the dream that resides within each of us that we may see in our lifetimes a world dominated by truth, justice and peace.

In the Middle East, a mere two millennia ago, it is believed this hope took human form in the birth of a child; and that this child grew up to embody truth, to proselytize for justice and ultimately to give his life that there may be peace on earth.

Whether he was allegorical or historical is not as important as whether or not we are able to be stirred to love as he was. This is true if we are a member of an organized religious faith, atheist or agnostic. We can all strive to embody truth and to proselytize for justice because we must stop the carnage of humans destroying humans and humans destroying the earth.

What a fantastic time of the year the holiday season has always been for the Coelho-Freeman family. Yet, what a painful time of the year it has been since 2004 when our father and husband was unjustly snatched from us and incarcerated on an extradition warrant from the United States of America.

The Family and Friends of Gary Freeman will mark the third holiday season that the family has been shattered. Please join them and Toronto Action for Social Change (TASC) in a procession of hope that Gary Freeman and others unjustly incarcerated will be released and that truth, justice and peace as embodied in the Messianic Hope will guide us through this holiday season.

An appeal from the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada...

Canada's Secret Trial Detainees on Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Bay North,
Kingston, Ontario
Denial of Medical Treatment, Lack of Personal Safety Among Key Issues

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2006 -- For the second time this year, three men held at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (KIHC) -- a $3.2 million facility within Millhaven Penitentiary for security certificate detainees -- have gone on hunger strike to protest their conditions of detention. As of today, December 15, Mohammad Mahjoub has been without food for 20 days, and Hassan Almrei and Mahmoud Jaballah for nine days.

Most pressing among many demands is immediate medical treatment for Mr. Mahjoub, who has been denied access to medical care for hepatitis C and high blood pressure since September. The men are also demanding that a supervisor (not a guard) escort them between the "living unit" and the administration building (where they receive visitors and exercise). The men
are concerned about the potential for mistreatment at the hands of some (not all) guards at the facility, as well as about the fact that false allegations have been made against the men by some (but not all) guards at the facility. The presence of a supervisor is the only way they have to
guarantee their safety, and there is no reason why one cannot be available during daylight hours (the facility, which imprisons three men, is top-heavy with staff: two directors, two secretaries, seven supervisors, 12 guards).

The detainees also feel that one way of ending the negative way in which they are often treated is to replace Corrections Service Canada guards with individuals from the Canadian Border Services Agency.

KIHC officials claim Mr. Mahjoub can get his medication if he goes to the administration building, but he refuses to go without a supervisory escort. Medical personnel often come to the "living unit," but they are not bringing his medication there. Because Mr. Mahjoub fears for his safety and refuses to go to the administration building without an escort, he is being
punished, and his health is subsequently impaired. Such bureaucratic pettiness at KIHC is something out of a Soviet Gulag, not a 21st century democracy.

1. That the men have access to media, as they did when detained in Toronto. Currently, all media need to have prior approval, and interviews cannot be conducted in private. The men are justifiably uncomfortable having guards sit-in on interviews. They are also demanding that more time be granted to media interviews. Currently, one-hour blocs are available, but by the time media go through security and set up cameras, there is very little time to conduct proper interviews.

2. That an independent body or neutral mediator be appointed to deal with the many problems that continue to plague the KIHC. A translator must also be provided for any meeting where complaints are discussed and to assist with the documentation of written complaints. Currently, the men must submit lengthy written complaints (and all have limited written and spoken
English) that are almost always dismissed by staff at KIHC, with no route of appeal. The men currently have no one to appeal to who would play the role of independent ombudsperson.

3. Eliminate daily head counts. Given that there are only three men in the tiny unit, and they are constantly monitored, the men find that being told to stop throughout the day to stand and be counted is humiliating and unnecessary.

4. That the men be allowed to use phone cards to call family overseas. The KIHC is proposing that the men call through the most expensive plan available, which would be billed to their Canadian family (all of whom are on social assistance). Since calls are monitored, it makes no sense why a far less expensive calling card cannot be used.

5. That the men be granted the same rights as other federal inmates: access to a library, educational programs, and trailer visits with loved ones where they can stay together for three days every month.

6. That the men be permitted to leave their cells before dawn to bathe and pray, as required by their faith.

7. The men are not given a choice about what to have in their canteen, and the prices are triple what they are outside the facility. In the federal jail next door to KIHC, inmates choose what is in their canteen, and prices are lower.

Please send letters urging that Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials enter into serious, good faith negotiations, with a translator and neutral third party present, to meet these demands. (Sample letter below)

1. Write and Call Stockwell Day, Minister responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency (which runs the KIHC).

Stockwell Day, MP,
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995.1154

2. Claudette Deschenes
VP, Enforcement, CBSA
Phone (613) 952-2531
Fax (613) 952-2622

3. Write a support card to the detainees (let us know at if you have so we can monitor if mail is getting through): Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei can be reached:

Kingston Immigration Holding Centre
c/o CSC RHQ Ontario Region
440 King Street West
PO Box 1174
Kingston, Ontario K7L 4Y8

4. Join the National Days to Close Guantanamo North and South, January 11-15, 2007. Consider organizing a vigil in your community at the office of an MP, CSIS, RCMP, or federal building. Already planned are a film screening in Ottawa, a demonstration January 13 in Montreal, and a Martin Luther King Day action in Toronto. To join the national day of action with
a vigil or public event in your community please contact

Sample letters:

Claudette Deschenes
VP, Enforcement,
Canadian Border Services Agency
Dear Ms. Deschenes,

I am writing to support the demands of the detainees currently on hunger strike at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre . As you must know, the men were promised superior conditions to those they faced at the Metro West Detention Centre, but those promises have yet to become a reality.

As you may recall, the previous government forced two of the detainees, Mohammad Mahjoub and Hassan Almrei, to hunger strike dangerously long periods in 2005 (79 and 73 days, respectively) before any action was taken to meet what were, then as now, reasonable requests. This past summer, a number of hunger strikes occurred as well, a sign that conditions continue
to deteriorate.

I'm asking that you take the steps necessary to meet the very reasonable demands of these gentlemen so that the health-threatening hunger strike which they have undertaken may be brought to an end.

The requests of Mssrs. Jaballah, Mahjoub, and Almrei are eminently reasonable. Denial of medical treatment for whatever reason is illegal and immoral. To reduce access to medical care to an issue of compliance with petty prison rules is a scary reminder of the Soviet-era gulag. Mr. Mahjoub needs immediate access to his Hepatitis C and blood pressure medication either in the living unit or, if he is forced to go to another building to receive it, with the accompaniment of a supervisor. With 23 staff for the three detainees, there is no reason why this cannot occur.

It is clear as well that an independent third party needs to be appointed to deal with the daily problems that arise at the KIHC. In addition, a translator needs to be present during meetings between KIHC staff and the detainees.

I look forward to the immediate resolution of this problem.

Name, address

Stockwell Day, MP
Minister Responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency

Dear Mr. Day,

I am writing to demand that you intervene immediately to meet the reasonable demands of Canada's secret trial detainees who are once again on hunger strike at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre. As you may recall, the previous government forced two of the detainees, Mohammad Mahjoub and Hassan Almrei, to hunger strike dangerously long periods in
2005 (79 and 73 days, respectively) before any action was taken to meet what were, then as now, reasonable requests. This past summer, a number of hunger strikes occurred as well, a sign that conditions continue to deteriorate.

People do not forgo food unless there are good reasons to do so, and these men obviously have cause to go to these extreme lengths to get you to negotiate with them in good faith. The denial of medical treatment to Mr. Mahjoub is outrageous; he needs immediate access to his Hepatitis C and blood pressure medication either in the living unit or, if he is forced to go to another building to receive it, with the accompaniment of a supervisor. With 23 staff for the three detainees, there is no reason why this cannot occur.

Your agency has claimed the new facility will present better conditions for the detainees, yet this is simply not the case. I again urge you to intervene immediately and take steps necessary to prevent a further deterioration in the health of the detainees and, by extension, that of
their loved ones, whose stress during this time remains extremely high.

It is clear as well that an independent third party needs to be appointed to deal with the daily problems that arise at the KIHC. In addition, a translator needs to be present during meetings between KIHC staff and the detainees.

I look forward to your immediate action to resolve this crisis.

Name, address

OCAP Appeals to Supporters!


A rather strange case has come my way and I hope that perhaps I can find some help with this appeal.

A mother and her daughter live together in downtown Toronto. This family comes from Iran where the daughter was frequently harassed by the police for her art-work. After arriving in Toronto it was found out that the daughter was also being sexually abused by a family member. The young woman had mental health problems to begin with and these two facts have only made the situation much worse.

While this young woman is on anti-psychotic medicines, she is much better off without these medicines. One of the things we are attempting to do is find a doctor who can help her safely off these drugs.

One of the ways her mental health problem manifests it self is by yelling and loud crying, usually in the middle of the night. This upsets the neighbours which usually results in building security being called, this results in the police being called which results in the young woman being taken away in handcuffs to CAMH on Queen Street. This of course gives doctors the go-ahead to pump her full of the drugs which seem to make the whole situation much worse.

What we are hoping to find with this appeal is housing for this mother and daughter, perhaps a situation where someone has an apartment to rent that is a good distance from other tenants, definitely a situation where the police will not be called and the young woman will be given a chance to get off this horrible medication.

If you can help, please call Mike Coward or Don Weitz at OCAP. Thank you.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

Organizer of rally in Caledonia, Ont.,arrested at native occupation site

Gary McHale of Richmond Hill, Ontario, was arrested around noon today. He was the organizer of a protest today (Saturday) at the site of the Six Nations land reclamation, and the most vocal person against the Native occupation of their own land... McHale is not a resident of the Caledonia area.

CALEDONIA, Ont. (CP) - Police have arrested Gary McHale, the Richmond Hill, Ont., man who organized a protest Saturday at the site of the ongoing aboriginal occupation in this southwestern Ontario community.

McHale and Mark Vandermaas, of London, Ont., were arrested by Ontario Provincial Police around noon as they crossed into disputed territory, waving Canadian flags.

Police had warned McHale about such a move.
...Read full CP article here.

FSRN: Six Nations Protest

Free Speech Radio News [FSRN]: Six Nations Protest.

A Provincial court in Canada has ruled that protestors at the indigenous community of Six Nations in Ontario can legally continue a land reclamation protest which has sparked a national debate within Canada concerning land rights. Stefan Christoff reports from Montreal...

In February 2006, the indigenous community of Six Nations reclaimed a tract of south of Toronto which had been the location of a major housing development. The land granted to Six Nations by British authorities in the late 19th century had been occupied by a Canadian construction project.

For almost one year, indigenous protestors and their allies have camped outside at the location demanding that the Federal government recognize their rights to the land, sparking condemnation from Canadian politicians. This week, the Ontario Provincial court of appeal ruled that the land protest can continue indefinitely without being in contempt of court, a legal victory for the indigenous protestors.

Ongoing negotiations sponsored by Canadian authorities continue as the Six Nations protest enters its eleventh month. Jacqueline House is a spokesperson for the protest site in Six Nations. "It is a small step, in favor of what's right. We aren't foreigners to the land and stop treating us like we are."

The protest of Six Nations has highlighted serious questions across the country about Canada's colonial history.

OCAP Toronto Demonstration Dec. 18: Free Trevor Miller: Family and Supporters to Attorney General's Office in Toronto


Monday, December 18th, 2006
7:30 AM onwards
720 Bay Street
(Just north of Gerrard St.)

On Monday, December 18, 2006, family members, friends, and supporters of Trevor Miller, a Six Nations Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, will gather at the Attorney General of Ontario’s Head Office, to call for the immediate release of the indigenous political prisoner, held in a Hamilton jail for more than four months.

After being arrested near Grassy Narrows for charges related to the Six Nations Land Reclamation adjacent to Caledonia in southern Ontario, Trevor, 31, has been denied bail and no trial date has been set. This week, he was again ordered to remain in custody by none other than Justice T. David Marshall, an Ontario Superior Court judge who issued the injunction against the Six Nations Reclamation of the “Douglas Creek
Estate”, leading to an OPP raid, and whose continued efforts to suspend the on-going negotiations between the Six Nations peoples and the Canadian government were sharply overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday.

In the recent court appearance, Trevor asserted that he is not a Canadian citizen, but a Mohawk and a member of the Six Nations, clarifying that the Ontario court has no jurisdiction over him. He asked to be allowed to leave with his people and maintained that he was being held against the terms of the two row wampum. Stuart Myiow, of the Traditional Mohawk Council, requested that Miller be released to the traditional Council which will guarantee his appearance at all forthcoming court hearings. (There is precedent for this as the Traditional Mohawk Council has
intervened in previous court hearings and had prisoners released to them.)

In light of the continued detention of Trevor, preventing him from being with his three children, family members will travel from Six Nations to gather with friends and supporters outside the Attorney General’s office on Monday, to demand Trevor’s release and his right to be governed by the laws of his people.

Monday, December 18th, 2006
7:30 AM onwards
720 Bay Street
(Just north of Gerrard St.)

Media contact person: Trudi Miller, Trevor's mother, 519.717.3674



1. Listen to an interview conducted this week with Trudy Miller, Trevor's mother, and Angel Smith, Trevor's cousin, produced by CKUT in Montreal:

2. Mohawk Political Prisoner Challenges Jurisdiction of Colonial Courts

By Fiona Becker
November 30th, 2006

Over 50 people packed the Cayuga courthouse on Wednesday for Trevor Miller, a Six Nations Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, as Trevor declared to the court that the colonial Canadian system has no jurisdiction over him. When the judge walked into the courtroom for the pre-trial hearing of Trevor Miller, and the bailiff called “all rise”, only the cops and the lawyers stood up. When Trevor Miller walked in, however, the packed courthouse stood up, and they remained on their feet throughout the proceedings.

“I am a sovereign Mohawk man, you have no jurisdiction over me,” he said to the judge in tight handcuffs, with a freshly-shaven Mohawk and donning a traditional Haudenosaunee shirt.

Trevor Miller, 31, has been sitting in a Hamilton jail for over four months, after being arrested near Grassy Narrows for charges related to the Six Nations Land Reclamation adjacent to Caledonia in southern Ontario. Trevor Miller was denied bail in October, and has yet to be given a trial date. He is from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and is the father of three young children.

The court proceedings were attended by members of the Traditional Mohawk Council, who went before the judge and demanded his release. “You are holding him in custody illegally, and you’re breaking your own laws,” they said, with a Two Row Wampum in hand. The Two Row Wampum is one of the oldest treaties that exist between the Haudenosaunee and colonizing nations. It demonstrates, through beadwork, the separateness of the Iroquois to the Europeans, and allows for the collective use of the land as long and only insofar as the ways of the white man are not enforced on
the ways of the Onkwehonweh. “You are keeping him only for political reasons,” continued members of the council, “we demand that you release him and hand him over to the Mohawk traditional council, who operates under the Great Law of Peace.”

The Judge, though clearly uncomfortable, told Stuart Myiow of the Mohawk Traditional Council that he had neither authority to address the court nor to speak on Trevor’s behalf. Trevor’s court supporters then proceeded to demand that the judge release him. Both his mother and sister were in tears. “They do not regard our people as human beings,” Trevor’s mother, Trudy Miller, said.

Trevor will be challenging the jurisdiction of the court via the Attorney General, and returns to court for the 20th of December, at which point it will be over 5 months in custody. His supporters and friends are urging that people send letters of support to him while he sits indefinitely behind the state’s bars.

Letters of support to Trevor Miller can be sent to:

Trevor Miller
165 Barton Street East
Hamilton, Ontario
L8L 2W6
Range 5CR

3. More background information can be found at:

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

Word Warrior Murray Dobbin on Stéphane Dion

This is the 2nd installment of Murray Dobbin’s series of articles for Insider. The following examines Stéphane Dion’s new position as Liberal Party Leader.

Many thanks to Steven Staples of for the article and the permission to republish here.

Why the Pundits Were Wrong About Stéphane Dion
Special to Insider Subscribers
By Murray Dobbin

The political pundits, party strategists and Bay Street back-room boys are all scrambling to make sense of what happened at the Liberal leadership convention. Though this crowd is supposed to be ready to pontificate and predict no matter what the circumstances, the election of a dark horse candidate threw them all for a political loop. Stéphane Dion had been thoroughly rejected by the Liberal party elite — and that was supposed to be the end of him.

Liberal Leader
Stéphane Dion

But what the entrenched elite - including its media members - didn't count on was some clever organizing by the same determined and focused crew that helped Paul Martin steam roll to his Liberal leadership victory. But most importantly, they didn't count on Liberals being liberal. There was evidently a very powerful sentiment for change in the party, driven not only by the desire to rid itself of recent sponsorship scandal baggage, but simply to cleanse itself of thirteen years of arrogance and hubris. Both Dion and Gerard Kennedy shared small 'l' liberal values and Kennedy (is this man really a Liberal?) decided that winning wasn't everything.

Almost as if to punish Dion for proving them wrong the mainstream analysts immediately began writing the history of Dion as if he had already lost the next election. He has no charisma, his abrupt style irritated his cabinet colleagues, people in Quebec detest him, the West will give short shrift to another Liberal leader from Quebec, he is "tainted" by the sponsorship scandal. Yada, yada.

But they may be whistling another tune sooner than later. First of all, while Dion does have a higher geek reading than other politicians, placed beside the grim and icy Stephen Harper, Dion hardly comes off second best. And while he doesn't have charisma, Dion does have passion. Here's a guy who gets excited by policies - and the vision they can create if put together well.

The contrast between Dion and Harper will be as stark as between any two major party leaders in memory. Harper is openly contemptuous of government and of what Canada has become in three post-war generations. He would like to reduce the federal government's role to the military, CSIS, the RCMP and the Bank of Canada. Dion is a passionate believer in the positive, activist role of government. He ran a campaign based on three pillars: a strong (government guided) economy, sustainable development and social justice. Stephen Harper would have trouble even saying those words without retching.

This is not good news for the Prime Minister of Oilberta. By all accounts Canadians are more than ready for a political leader who is actually enthusiastic about making government serve people rather than the oil patch and Bay Street. Whether Dion is actually progressive on the broad range of issues beyond the environment is still not clear — nor is it clear that he can withstand the withering assault by big business if he dares challenge their carefully constructed status-quo. The Liberal Party gained the reputation for being the "natural governing party" by managing to be the party of both Bay Street and Main Street.

It is here that Dion's reputed intellectual arrogance may serve him well. Noted for being absolutely convinced of his views on the world he is a the polar opposite of Paul Martin who demonstrated that he had absolutely no idea what he believed. That is exactly the way corporate Canada liked it: a blank slate they could write on. But now, of course, thanks to the banning of corporate contributions to political parties (Jean Chretien's most important policy initiative) Bay Street no longer has the financial power to dictate to anyone - especially someone who has no roots in business, and no favours to return.

As for Dion's alleged pariah status in his own province, it is highly over-rated claim. A poll done the night of the leadership vote showed that 62% of Quebecers thought he was a good choice for Liberal leader. To be sure he is detested by the narrow nationalists of the BQ and PQ and the separatist elite. But their influence is waning, especially among a new generation of voters who are more interested in saving the planet than by nationalist fervour. Dion's commitment to the environment (his failure to convince an extremely right wing Martin cabinet to push harder on Kyoto was not for want of trying, and hardly a surprise) is real and will serve him well.

The Bloc's Giles Duceppe may, in Dion, face his toughest opponent of all the Liberal leadership candidates. The separatist elite will hammer away at his "hard-line" federalist stance. But Dion is not the hard-line federalist of the Trudeau and Chretien school: they would never have voted for the resolution declaring the Quebecois a nation. Dion did, and he meant it. And he has already carved out a unique spot with respect to the war in Afghanistan. He has called for a kind of Marshall Plan for the country, and would bring Canadian troops home long before 2009. That and his environmental platform have the potential for making the Bloc's obsession with nationhood look old and stale - and could restore Liberal credibility in Quebec a lot faster than anyone is predicting.

As for the other parties, Dion completely changes the political landscape in ways that neither Ignatieff nor Rae would have done. First, Dion's enviro credentials are seen as unchallengeable in that community. Even Elizabeth May has come out in support of his leadership. He will complicate things for both May and Jack Layton —though arguably Rae would have hurt the NDP more in Ontario. For the first time ever, the leader of one of the two governing parties will be able to appeal credibly to environmental voters (at exactly the time when the environment has become a top-of-mind issue) - and tell them they don't have to vote Green or NDP to be heard.

Dion may still falter. He has his work cut out for him in the West (though historically, the West has mostly liked leaders from Quebec) and Harper is a master political strategist who will take advantage of any Liberal blunders. But if Canadians decide, finally, that they are sick of seeing their country diminished, associated with the war-mongering Bush administration, and held in contempt by its prime minister, Harper will be in for a nasty surprise.

Murray Dobbin is a Vancouver-based writer and political commentator, and founder of Word Warriors (
He writes a regular column for the on-line journal

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Green Party of Canada: Ban toxic substances immediately to prevent cancer, says May

News Release
For Immediate Release

Ban toxic substances

immediately to prevent

cancer, says May

Ottawa, Dec. 13 - The federal government has pledged to re-evaluate what we already know about toxic substances accumulating in our environment and in our bodies: that these substances are killing us and must be banned immediately, said Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

"The government wants to take three years to re-assess 200 of the most dangerous chemicals," said Ms. May. "But the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) gives it the tools to ban hazardous substances within months.

"It's time the government showed that it's serious about protecting the health of Canadians by using the powers it already has under CEPA."

On Monday, 700 environmental scientists publicly criticized the Conservative government's recently announced plan to regulate toxic substances, saying that it fails to guarantee action to eliminate substances known to harm human health and ecosystems.

In a letter to the Environment Ministry, the scientists urged the government to use CEPA to regulate toxic and harmful substances such as the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ether (PDBE) and plastic softeners.

"CEPA is a fully functional legislative framework for dealing with industrial pollution yet the federal government continues to lag behind Europe and even the United States when it comes to regulating toxic substances," said Ms. May, citing the EU's emerging Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) framework which is expected to become law early next year.

The Green Party wants CEPA amended to cover non-commercial aspects of pesticides, leaving the registration, regulation and use of pesticides in the Pest Control Products Act but moving the banning of dangerous substances and handling of disposal and spills into CEPA.

Other laws such as the Hazardous Products Act and the Food and Drugs Act can sometimes be used to regulate such products but they do not address emerging human health and environmental risks. And their work has been made that much more difficult by recent Conservative budget cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The Green Party also wants substances shown to be significant risk factors in human cancer, immuno-suppression, endocrine disruption, neuro-toxicity and/or mutagenicity to be regulated within CEPA with the goal of reducing and/or eliminating exposure of vulnerable groups within society (pregnant women, the unborn, children, the sick, the poor and the elderly).

In addition, emissions of these substances will be subject to a Toxic Tax, offset by reductions elsewhere in the tax system. Green Party MPs would also work to ban the incineration of imported toxic waste.

Camille Labchuk

Authorized by the Chief Agent of the Green Party of Canada

You can read this message on the Green Party's website at

Read the Green Party's other latest News Release:

News Release
For Immediate Release

Harper Can't Dictate

Democracy, Green Party


Senate reform must be decided by people, not politicians

Iran: Good news and bad news

We have good news and bad news from Iran.

The good news first: several of the activists from the bus workers' union who had been arrested in recent days have been released from jail. These included Seyyed Davoud Razavi and Abdolreza Taraazi, members of the union's Executive Board, and Gholamreza Gholam-Hosseini.

Now the bad news: the union leader, Mansour Osanloo, who was arrested on 19 November, is still locked up.

Oslanloo is the focus of a huge international campaign involving global union federations, national unions, the newly-formed International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and, of course, LabourStart.

Our own online campaign has already generated over 4,500 messages of protest which have been sent to the Iranian government. 1,300 of those messages have come from the USA, 839 from Canada, 638 each from the U.K. and Australia, 226 from Norway, 106 each from Ireland and New Zealand, 57 from Sweden, 56 from Germany, and 39 from the Netherlands. Surely we can do better than that.

Over 40,000 of you who are reading this message have not yet sent out a message. I'm not talking to the wider world out there, the millions of trade unionists who may not know about this case. I'm talking to you -- to the 40,000 who have gotten emails about this and have not yet taken the time to respond.

Please do not ignore this appeal.

We know that these campaigns work. We know that the more messages sent from around the world, the greater the likelihood that our brother, Mansour Osanloo, will be released.

Right now, the Iranian government is feeling the pressure. They have released three activists in the last few days.

And as you may have heard, on Sunday, hundreds of Iranian students risked their lives to shout out messages of protest at a speech given by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Imagine the courage it takes to shout out "Death to the dictator!" in the face of a real dictator.

Imagine the courage being shown by Mansour Osanloo and family as they try to cope with brutal police repression.

It doesn't take courage for us to send off messages -- in fact, all it takes is about 30 seconds of your time.

Our campaign is now working in an unprecedented six languages -- English, French, Spanish, German, Norwegian and Polish. We know that you understand at least one of these languages.

Please click here now:

Please pass on this message -- spread the word. Workers rights are human rights!

Demonstration Monday Dec. 18th in Toronto for the release of Forgotten Mohawk Warrior Trevor Miller

The Forgotten Mohawk Warrior


On Monday December 18^th at 7:30 AM there will be a protest march to free Trevor Miller (the forgotten Mohawk warrior). Trevor is one of the people charged for defending the land in Grand River.

Trevor has been in preventative custody for over 5 months without bail and being denied due process.

The traditional leaders in Grand River told everyone charged in connection to the land reclamation not to attend their court dates, giving their word to everyone that they (traditional leaders) would handle the situation in court. The traditional leaders never went to court as they promised and hung Trevor miller out to dry, leaving him as the "forgotten Mohawk warrior".

Consequently, it is up the Mohawk people and our supporters to come to his aid.


In front of the Attorney General's office at 720 Bay Street in Toronto on Monday December 18^th at 7:30 am.

We are asking for any donations to help with costs.

For further info please contact Stuart Myiow in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake

(450) 638 4357 (514) 250-6683

** Tom Keefer diligently made up a leaflet that can be downloaded for the Monday protest for Trevor Miller.

Download leaflet here (pdf):

Tomgram: Turse, A Holiday War-on-Terror Travel Guide

How the year does cycle round! The holidays are already upon us and, before you know it, you'll be desperate for gift ideas. Next year, we, here at Tomdispatch, are planning to do our duty and roll out a real seasonal commercial bonanza for TD readers. Unfortunately, the factory at which we expected to produce our new line of products, including -- in honor of the coming Congressional investigation season -- Bush Administration Mug Shot Mugs and a whole line of Tomdispatch sports apparel for the computer-impaired, got outsourced before we could purchase it. But wait until next year -- and, in the meantime, lawyers and lovers of constitutional rights among you might pay a visit to ("Be a lawyer, don't dress like one), the amusing website of a former student of mine, where you can purchase "I [heart] Habeus" T-shirts and other less mentionables.

Fortunately, Tomdispatch did release two perfect stocking-stuffers just in time for the holiday season. For anyone eager to indict the President and his cohorts, a year-ending must-have is former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega's Tomdispatch book, United States v. George W. Bush et al., launched from this site only two weeks ago and already #33 on the New York Times nonfiction paperback bestseller list! Check out De la Vega's hilarious appearance on The Colbert Report (here and here) as well as the "Wings of Justice Award" that just gave her, and then rush to or the website of independent publisher Seven Stories Press and get one for everybody you know and love.

For those of you who would like a little extra company of a special sort -- a provocative thinker or two ready to sit down to a Holiday feast with you or entertain your New Year's visitors -- there's Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters. In addition, by buying both books in staggering quantities, you'll experience the holiday cheer of knowing that you are supporting this site for all you're worth. Now, prepare yourself for a pre-holiday treat, our traditional Nick Turse seasonal festival of suggestions, this year on how to get away in style. Tom

On Holiday for the Holidays

A Tomdispatch Christmas Travel Guide
By Nick ("Tongue Firmly in Cheek") Turse

Back in 2003, Tomdispatch offered you a list of "Hot as Depleted Uranium Toys for a New Imperial Age." In 2004, we gave you the inside scoop on how to "Make It a Merry Military-Corporate Christmas." And last year, it was all about timeless holiday values like militarism, jingoism, and barbarism, as Tomdispatch wished you an "All-American Christmas."

This year --instead of offering a buyers guide to Christmas favorites like the instantly classic T-shirt with Santa brandishing an automatic rifle, or the mouse pad featuring a B-52 bomber festooned with Christmas decorations, or even the children's "Peacekeepers" play set in which nearly all 100 accessories appear to be bazookas, rifles, pistols, mortars, grenades, mines, and other accoutrements we regularly associate with peace on Earth -- Tomdispatch will provide you with your own special holiday travel guide (with all the tips you need for that quick seasonal getaway). So find your passport, pack your bags, and let us transport you with a holiday travel guide so complete it can't be beat.

Travel Togs

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: Schwartz and Engelhardt, War without End

[Note for Tomdispatch readers: Today, a rarity at the site. Two pieces, officially identified as such and piled atop each other -- think of them like a double-decker bus -- each focused on a different aspect of the Iraq situation as Washington imagines it. First comes a little "political bedtime story" of mine about how Washington has tried to "fix" everything but reality itself; then, an important analysis by Michael Schwartz of just why the withdrawal option, increasingly popular for the American public, is such poison to Washington's movers and shakers. So dig in. Tom]

"Fixing" the War

By Tom Engelhardt

This is an old tale. Long forgotten. But like all good political bedtime stories, it's well worth telling again.

Once upon a time, there was a retired general named Paul Van Riper. In 1966, as a young Marine officer and American advisor in Vietnam, he was wounded in action; he later became the first president of the Marine Corps University, retired from the Corps as a Lieutenant General, and then took up the task of leading the enemy side in Pentagon war games.

Over the years, Van Riper had developed into a free-wheeling military thinker, given to quoting Von Clausewitz and Sun-tzu, and dubious about the ability of the latest technology to conquer all in its path. If you wanted to wage war, he thought, it might at least be reasonable to study war seriously (if not go to war yourself) rather than just fall in love with military power. It seemed to him that you took a risk any time you dismissed your enemy as without resources (or a prayer) against your awesome power and imagined your campaign to come as a sure-fire "cakewalk." As he pointed out, "Many enemies are not frightened by that overwhelming force. They put their minds to the problem and think through: how can I adapt and avoid that overwhelming force and yet do damage against the United States?"

As a result, Van Riper took the task of simulated enemy commander quite seriously. He also had a few issues with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's much vaunted "military transformation," his desire to create a sleek, high-tech, agile military that would drive everything before it. He thought the Rumsfeld program added up to just so many "shallow," "fundamentally flawed" slogans. ("There's very little intellectual content to what they say… ‘Information dominance,' ‘network-centric warfare,' ‘focused logistics' -- you could fill a book with all of these slogans.")

In July 2002, he got the chance to test that proposition. At the cost of a quarter-billion dollars, the Pentagon launched the most elaborate war games in its history, immodestly entitled "Millennium Challenge 02." These involved all four services in "17 simulation locations and nine live-force training sites." Officially a war against a fictional country in the Persian Gulf region -- but obviously Iraq -- it was specifically scripted to prove the efficacy of the Rumsfeld-style invasion that the Bush administration had already decided to launch.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Toronto: SCPI "Turkey dinner" protest, Dec. 18th

The information here is thanks to the The Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Website: Please visit their websites for more details about this and other important peace-related activities!

Across Canada on Dec. 18 actions are being organized to demand federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley continue federal funding of programs to reduce homelessness. A cornerstone of this program is SCPI -- Supporting Community Partnership Initiatives -- affectionately known as "Skippy".

Please, if you can, join the peaceful, spirited "turkey dinner" protest outside the SUN building at 150 King Street West in downtown Toronto at 12 noon on Monday, Dec. 18.

SCPI supports 2,900 unique projects across our country. SCPI won a UN-Habitat award for best practices in addressing the crisis of homelessness. SCPI projects are designed by local agencies and groups who know best the needs of homeless people or people at risk of homelessness.

The Harper government has not extended SCPI funding beyond March 2007. This means many SCPI projects are closing their doors now.

Street Health in downtown Toronto, for example, won't be able to continue an ID project which helps homeless people replace lost identification. Without ID no one can get a job, housing, health care, and benefits they may be entitled to. Without ID no one can get out off the streets. Who is going to replace this vital project?

On Dec. 8, 2006, CAW Council adopted a recommendation from the CAW President to support the campaign to save and expand federal funding to address homelessness and create affordable housing.

Your participation in the protest on Dec. 18 would be much appreciated.


Steve Watson,

National Representative -- CAW Education

Council of Canadians: Antonia Juhasz and the Iraq Study Group Report

Many of you will remember Antonia Juhasz from our most recent annual general meeting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

In an e-mail from today she writes, "Significant media attention is being given to the Iraq Study Group Report. Absent from virtually all analysis, however, is the fact that the Report calls for the privatization of Iraq's oil industry. Whether or not such privatization is achievable, the report makes clear that U.S. intervention in Iraq should continue until the country's oil is "secure." It is vital that we in the peace movement continue to demand loudly and clearly the end of BOTH the military and CORPORATE invasions of Iraq."

If you go to you can listen to an interview Antonia did today with Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now!" on this issue.

If you go to you can read Antonia's AlterNet article, "Oil for Sale: Iraq Study Group Recommends Privatization".

In this article she writes, "Put simply, the oil companies are trying to get what they were denied before the war or at anytime in modern Iraqi history: access to Iraq's oil under the ground. They are also trying to get the best deal possible out of a war-ravaged and occupied nation. However, waiting for the law's passage and the need to guarantee security of U.S. firms once they get to work, may well be a key factor driving the one proposal by the Iraq Study Group that has received great media attention: extending the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq at least until 2008."

To listen to the audio of Antonia's presentation at our AGM on the "Integrate This!" panel go to and scroll down to Plenary Session #3.

Brent Patterson
Director of Organizing
The Council of Canadians
700-170 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V5
1-800-387-7177 ext. 291

Full report

Peace on Earth Includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti....

Give the Gift of Peace - Donate to the Canadian Peace Alliance!


At the Canadian Peace Alliance Convention held in Ottawa delegates from all over the country agreed to a few specific actions over the next few months. Groups are organizing teach-ins to coincide with the new deployment of Canadain soldiers to Afghanistan in February and are working on federal election, outreach, media and resource working groups to make the most of our collective strength. We are asking people who may be interested in being involved in any of these working groups to please contact us at

Delegates unanimously agreed to support the international Day of action on the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. In Canada we will also of course be focussing on Canada's war in Afghanistan as well as the continuing violence in Iraq. The simillarities are striking. In fact, Canada is engaging the people of Afghanistan in a "counter-insurgency" campaign based on the Iraq model. Once again we will march to put an end to this violence.

This is the resolution that was passed. Keep checking out the CPA website for more convention reports which will be available soon.

Resolution on the March 17th, 2007 Day of action

Whereas, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue to cause great suffering for the people of those countries with violence increasing daily;

Whereas, the Canadian Peace Alliance opposed the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and helped to mobilize the people of Canada and Quebec to march against the invasions;

Whereas, the position of the CPA is that the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a broader campaign, led by the United States government and transnational oil corporations, to assert control over the Middle East region;

Whereas the Canadian mission in Afghanistan under U.S. command is to prop up the Government of Hamid Karzai, a U.S.- appointed former oil executive and his warlord supporters;

Whereas the primary goal of the mission is to secure by force, a Trans-Afghan oil pipeline corridor from the Caspian Sea through southern Afghanistan and Pakistan to North American markets;

Whereas Prime Minister Harper’s decision to escalate Canadian military participation in Afghanistan is counter to its traditional peace keeping humanitarian role, resulting in a rise in Canadian casualties;

Whereas, March 17th 2007 marks the 4th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq;

Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Peace Alliance call for a pan-Canadian day of action against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan for Saturday March 17 2007 and urge all member groups and partners to participate in that day of action;

Be it further resolved that the CPA continue to pressure the government of Canada to immediately withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan;

Be it further resolved that the CPA continue to pressure the government of Canada to call for an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq


Sid Lacombe
Canadian Peace Alliance
tel 416-588-5555
fax 416-588-5556

Monday, December 11, 2006

Organising our Coming Out at the United Nations / Report on ILGA's activities at the United Nations in 2006

Report on ILGA's activities at the United Nations in 2006

The statement delivered by Norway this Friday December 1 is but a step, a glorious and historic one with the greatest government support ever, in a process started in 1992 with the first speech on gay rights ever given at the United Nations in the name of ILGA. An arduous process which fortunately and unexpectedly went through an acceleration in 2003 when Brazil presented the first resolution banning discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity.

ILGA, as the only worldwide federation of LGBT groups, has played its role in this process. Our efforts to have sexual orientation and gender identity come out at the United Nations grew in importance in 2006 and organised around three aspects:

- Gaining the right to speak in our own name at the United Nations: the ECOSOC campaign
- Maintaining an LGBT presence at the Human Rights Council: read the speeches given by actists at the UN in October 2006
- ILGA held its XXIII World Conference in Geneva, home of the UN Human Rights Council


Patricia Curzi & Stephen Barris
International Lesbian and Gay Association

">Get involved! Make a donation to ILGA!

End The Corporate Occupation Of Iraq

These are a few interesting items from today's

The Corporate Occupation Of Iraq
by Antonia Juhasz,
The Iraq Study Group Report is right to flag Iraq's flawed reconstruction—but wrong in identifying the cause.

Morgan Freeman's Internet Issues
by Art Brodsky,
Here's why the movie star's problems with Net neutrality are the same as yours.

Human Rights For Katrina Victims
by Jeffrey Buchanan,
Gulf Coast residents are still being denied basic human rights by our government.


Where Your Money Goes
The increased debt of a large number of families is making a few people quite rich.

Slices From The Impeachment Pie
See what readers had to say about Friday's impeachment debate.
(To be posted this afternoon)

Tomgram: Jamail, Emails from the Front Lines of Iraqi Daily Life

[Note to Readers: For those of you who want a provocative and fascinating background overview of the ever-roiling crisis in the Middle East at this perilous moment, here's a recommendation. Don't miss the just published book-length conversation between Noam Chomsky and Lebanese scholar Gilbert Ashcar, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy.]

Right now, we have on the table a "possible exit strategy" from Iraq -- James A. Baker's Iraq Study Group report -- that, once you do the figures, doesn't get the U.S. even close to halfway out the door by sometime in 2008; and that report is already being rejected by the Republican and neocon hard right; by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who continues to plug for some form of "victory" ("The enemy must be defeated...") on his last lap in Iraq, while still flaying the media for only reporting the "bad news"; by a President who is still on the IED-pitted road to success ("Not only do I know how important it is to prevail, I believe we will prevail..."), has called for three other reviews of Iraq policy (by the Pentagon, National Security Council, and White House) in an attempt to flood Washington with competing recommendations, and is probably on the verge of "surging" 15,000-20,000 more U.S. troops into Baghdad.

All sides in this strange struggle in Washington would add up to so much political low comedy if the consequences in Iraq and the Middle East, the oil heartlands of our increasingly energy-hungry planet, weren't so horrific. As Andrew Bacevich, historian, former military man, and author of The New American Militarism, wrote recently in the Boston Globe, Iraq's many contradictions "render laughably inadequate the proposals currently on offer to save Iraq and salvage American honor. Dispatch a few thousand additional US troops into Baghdad? Take another stab at creating a viable Iraqi army? Lean on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to make ‘hard decisions?' One might as well spit on a bonfire."

Consider the strangeness of it all from the Washington perspective. The Iraq Study Group essentially wants to infiltrate the already largely sectarian army the Bush administration has set up in Iraq, an army incapable of handling its own logistics or, in many cases, planning its own missions, with 10,000-20,000 American advisors to do what the U.S. military has been unable to accomplish these last years. That largely Shiite (and Kurdish force) is already a motor for further violence. Adding vast numbers of (still largely untrained, surely resented, and undoubtedly resentful) advisors to it will only ensure that the "Iraqi Army" remains functionally a thoroughly recalcitrant American one into the distant future. This is the functional definition of a failed strategy from the get-go, but given the geostrategic la-la land that George Bush and Dick Cheney inhabit, it now passes for "realism" in our national capital.

For a touch of actual realism, it seemed reasonable to turn to those who have been living out the results of Washington's mad plans these last years -- actual Iraqis. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who has written regularly for Tomdispatch on our occupation of Iraq and, from 2003 to 2005, covered it in person, offers us at least a glimpse of the nightmare world that George Bush's "cakewalk" into Iraq inflicted on those in its path. Here are some of the people "stuff" happened to. Tom

"Today Is Better than Tomorrow"

Iraq as a Living Hell
By Dahr Jamail

The situation in Iraq has reached such a point of degradation and danger that I've been unable to return to report -- as I did from 2003 to 2005 -- from the front lines of daily life. Instead, in these last months, I have found myself in a supportive role, facilitating the work of some of my former sources, who remain in their own war-torn land, to tell their hair-raising tales of the new Iraq. While relying on my Iraqi colleagues to report the news, which we then publish at Inter Press Service and my website, I continue to receive emails from others in Iraq, civilian and soldier alike.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

MidEast Dispatches: Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics

This is the latest Mid-East dispatch from my friend and independent journalist Dahr Jamail, about the terrible, devolving situation in Iraq. As sectarian violence and resistance to US occupation continue to increase, the occupation troops lay siege to more neighbourhoods, while innocent civilians suffer the brutal casualties of this insane bloodbath.

Yet President Bush still maintains his "stay the course" agenda, even though it is clear that his own troops are fed up and speak out against this insanity. What will it take for this Administration to admit that they have caused total chaos in that beleagured country, and get out?? Why aren't the Democrats uniting in strong opposition to DEMAND troop pull-out? As long as the US-backed Coalition forces are in there as OCCUPIERS - and continue building permanent bases - Iraq does not stand a chance of becoming anything resembling a country.

Is oil so important to the neocon/neo-liberal American Empire that they will not stop until there is an Iraqi left alive??

Cornered Military Takes to Desperate Tactics

*Inter Press Service*

Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

*FALLUJAH, Dec 9 (IPS) - People living in areas where resistance to U.S.-led occupation is mounting are facing increased levels of collective punishment from the occupation forces, residents say.*

Siniyah town 200 km north of Baghdad with a population of 25,000 has been under siege by the U.S. military for two weeks.

IPS had earlier reported unrest in Siniyah Jan. 20 when the U.S. military constructed a six-mile sand wall in a failed attempt to check resistance attacks.

Located near Beji in the volatile but oil-rich Salahedin province, Siniyah has become a vivid example of harsh tactics used by occupation forces, who have lost control over most of the country.

"Thirteen children died during the two-week siege due to U.S. troops' disallowance for doctors to open their private clinics as well as closure of the general medical centre there," a doctor from the city reported to IPS via satellite phone.

The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from the U.S. military. IPS had to reach him by phone since the military blockade has cut the city off from the outside world.

"This is not the first time U.S. troops have conducted such a siege here, but this time it represents murder," the doctor said.

A U.S. military public relations officer in Baghdad told IPS on phone that the military was doing "what it had to do to fight the terrorists in and around Siniyah" and that "no medical aid is being interfered with."

When IPS told him it had received contradictory information from a doctor in that city, he replied, "that is just not true."

The siege has generated resentment against the Shia-dominated Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, who has failed to comment on the deaths. Sunnis have not missed the sharp contrast to his order to U.S. troops to lift their checkpoints around the Shia area of Sadr City in Baghdad.

Sectarian conflict has been rising between Shias and Sunnis, two differing followings within Islam. Sunnis are the majority worldwide, but Shias are said to be the majority within Iraq.

Abdul Kareem al-Samarrai'i, a leading member of the Islamic Party that participates in the Maliki government, stated on Baghdad Space Channel that the 13 children died in Siniyah "because of the siege and the U.S. army orders to deprive the town of any medical care."

Duluiyah, another small town roughly 60 km north of Baghdad has been under siege by the U.S. military for the last three weeks.

"They (U.S. military) applied the siege upon Duluiyah (close to Samarra) many times, the last of which partially ended last week," Samir Muhammad of the Samarra municipality council told IPS.

The Geneva Conventions forbid use of collective punishment. International law says the occupying power in a country is responsible for safeguarding the civilian population.

Fallujah in al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad continues to face attacks and harassment by the U.S. military, according to local residents.

"Why don't those people admit their failure and leave," 55-year-old Khalaf Dawood from Fallujah told IPS. "They are being hit and their soldiers are getting killed all over the city. All they are doing is killing civilians and suffocating the city economically as revenge."

Electricity supply in Fallujah was recently cut off for three days after resistance snipers launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. U.S. military vehicles are attacked regularly around the city.

Several local people told IPS that on average one civilian a day is killed by U.S. gunfire in Fallujah, while raids on houses have been stepped up heavily.

The U.S. military commander in Fallujah admitted to local media last month that at least five attacks on average were being conducted everyday against his troops and Iraqi army units. The vast majority of the population of Fallujah continues to demand unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from their city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province where Fallujah is also located, has deteriorated further. Residents told IPS that bombardment from U.S. warplanes and helicopters has killed many civilians.

IPS reported Nov. 17 that U.S. military had shelled several houses in Ramadi, killing 35 civilians.

A partial siege of the city continues, and residents are complaining that a new militia formed by Maliki's government in the name of "fighting terror" has been rounding up young men from the city.

The militia recently took control of the University of Anbar in Ramadi and started harassing students. U.S. soldiers blocked the main road to the university before the militia entered the campus.

"They even harassed the president (principal) of the university and accused him of being an al-Qaeda leader," a university professor speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "The principal is a professor in chemistry and a very peaceful man who has dedicated his life to science and supervising PHD and MSC graduates."

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailIraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media. Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

** Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail website **
** Website by **

Tomgram: Greenberg, In a Confessing State of Mind

An early impulse of Bush administration officials after the attacks of September 11, 2001 was to take off "the gloves," or, as CIA Director George Tenet put it (so Ron Suskind tell us in his book, The One Percent Doctrine), "the shackles." Those were the "shackles" that they believed had been placed on the imperial presidency after Richard Nixon came so close to committing the constitutional coup d'état that we have come to call Watergate, but that involved an illegal war (in Cambodia), illegal wiretapping, illegal break-ins, robberies, black-bag jobs and so many other crossing-the-line events. That was the moment that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the Bush administration advocates of a "unitary executive theory" wanted to return us to -- the impeachable moment.

The neocons and their patrons, especially our Vice President, wanted to unchain executive power, but that wasn't all. They weren't about to waste perfectly good shackles. Another impulse of theirs after the 9/11 attacks was to capture or kidnap, detain, secretly imprison, shackle, and torture their enemies, picked up on battlefields as well as peaceful city streets around the world. The accumulation of leaked documentation from their secret world has long indicated that they had torture on the brain. The urge to institute a torture regime had, perhaps, less to do with torture itself than with the knowledge that if you somehow gained the right to torture, you could gain the right to do just about anything; you could, in short, unchain the presidency in a major way.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Bush administration officialdom was that, before they reached for their waterboards, they reached for their dictionaries; and so, out of their world of secret imprisonment, humiliation, and pain emerged an unending stream of twisted definitions of otherwise common terms in classified but quickly leaked documents. Karen Greenberg, executive director of NYU's Center for Law and Security and co-author of The Torture Papers (which collected all those grim classified memorials to these last years of excess), now considers the most secret impulse of all revealed by this sordid collection of documents -- the impulse to confess. Tom

Impunity and Immunity

The Bush Administration Enters the Confessional
By Karen Greenberg

Confession, the time-honored, soul-soothing last resort for those caught in error, may not survive the Bush administration. It has, after all, long made a mockery of such revelations by manufacturing an entire lexicon of coercive techniques to elicit often non-existent "truths" that would justify its detention policies. And yet, without being coerced in any way, administration officials have been confessing continually these past years -- in documents that may someday play a part in their own confrontation with justice.

The Bush administration trail of confessions can be found in the most unlikely of places -- the very memos and policy statements in which its officials were redefining reality in their search for the perfect (and perfectly grim) extractive methods that would give them the detainee confessions they so eagerly sought. These were the very documents that led first to Gitmo, then to Abu Ghraib, and finally deep into the hidden universe of pain that was their global network of secret prisons.

Strangely enough, the administration confessional was open for business within weeks of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. It could be found wrapped in persistent assertions of immunity, assertions that none of their acts to come could ever be brought before the bar of justice or the oversight of anyone. The first of these documents was issued on September 25th, 2001. Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, writing for the Office of Legal Counsel, laid out the reasons for the President of the United States to assume broad executive powers in the war on terror. The last footnote of the memo declared, "In the exercise of his plenary power to use military force, the President's decisions are for him alone and are unreviewable."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Toronto: Protest the Harper Government Cuts

Picket at Jim Flaherty's Office

Homeless Funding Now!

Turkey Dinner and Picket outside of Flaherty's office
150 King St. W (Sun Life building)

Monday December 18
12 noon

The Federal Government has announced that the SCPI funding that many services rely on to operate may not be renewed. Already many programs have begun wrapping up service. Join us to demand that Federal Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, stop the cuts to homeless services planned for 2007.

Bus pick ups 11 am at PARC (1499 Queen Street W.) and All Saints Church (corner of Dundas and Sherbourne)

For more info call 416-760-4979 or

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

[ Prev 5 | Prev | Next | Next 5 | Random | List | Join ]