Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iraq to get a 'disneyland' ?

Disneyland comes to Baghdad in an entertainment park
Hmmmmm, people being blown up, no food , no water, nothing but an American style park???
There seems to be something not quite right here,the fact that the people who have brought about the destruction of Iraq, want to build an "entertainment" park, seems disturbing.

Judging by some of the comments at the news site I am not the only one who sees this as strange;

"Are you bored while your family is either dead, fighting or bearly surviving? no prob, the same people that destroyed your country and culture are now bringing you more shock and awe with the disney indoctrination park!" This is insulting, abusive, corrupt and shameless, a total inversion of values


This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've read about in a while. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in the Iraq war or the blatant disregard for international law by our military, let's just build an amusement park and make money off of whoever we haven't killed yet!"

An interesting perspective on the purpose of this park can be found here;

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

and on the ecomomic front....

Batten down the hatches, it is getting uglier and uglier:

Consumer confidence drops in April on inflation, job worries.


Housing prices drop at fastest pace ever


Home foreclosure rate continues ugly climb

Liberals should have pushed for Khadrs' release

Graham has regrets over Khadr



Canada's former foreign affairs minister says he regrets his government did not push harder to get Omar Khadr out of Guantanamo Bay as other countries did for their citizens.

Bill Graham, who was the Liberal foreign affairs minister for the two years following Khadr's July 2002 capture, said the political climate in the early years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and the reputation of Khadr's family made the case unpopular in Ottawa.

But Graham says now that the Toronto-born Khadr is the sole Western detainee remaining at the U.S. prison in Cuba and there are international concerns about the legitimacy of the Bush administration's military war crimes trials, the circumstances are different.



Britian and Australia got their citizens out, I guess Canadas' citizens are unworthy?

Monday, April 28, 2008

NATO supplied arms and water to Taliban??

Nato forces mistakenly supplied food, water and arms to Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, officials today admitted.


NATO says this was done mistakenly, but local politicians disagree.

Afghan politicians have said they do not believe the drop was an accident.


Why would local politicians believe that? Have their been other incident that have made them question, what exactly NATO is up to?


Then a NATO spokesperson has this to say;


"The forces on the ground are working to get the message across that we do not deliberately supply the Taliban with arms."


Why would that be necessary if it was a one time mistake?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Britan & US:Propaganda and media manipulation madness

The latest news regarding the lies of the British government involving Iran and the British military , seems eerily similar to an incident involving the US military and Iran.

A brief recap, a group of British soldiers had been caught, in what was alleged by Britian to be international waters, though disputed by Iran. Britan, of course, denied the claims made by Iran that the soldiers were spying.
It became quite clear that, indeed, the British were spying on Iran, in an interview done with Sky news just before his capture, Captain Chris Aire had this to say "Secondly, it's to gather int (intelligence). If they do have any information, because they're here for days at a time, they can share it with us." or this ""It's good to gather int on the Iranians," he said.

Sky News withheld this interview until after the soldiers were released by Iran. Interesting, that by withholding this interview the mainstream media allowed the British government to promote the misinformation that the Brits were not spying. Of course once the interview came out, the truth came out with it. Too late though, for the British people and the world, everyone was exposed to more wartime misinformation.

The other allegation made by Britian at that time,that of the soldiers being in Iraqi waters was again shown to be yet another false claim. Information brought to light by the Times UK, demonstrates that indeed, as Iran had claimed the soldiers were not in Iraqi waters. Also, the British government was quite aware of this fact at that time, despite the claims of Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, who repeatedly told the Commons that the personnel were seized in Iraqi waters.

Now, fast forwarding through the multitudes of media manipulations and governmental machinations to the story of a prankster , the illustrious, Filipino monkey, who almost caused an international incident between Iran and the US.

This incident had speeding boats, claimed to be driving towards or swarming US warships.
With shots fired by the US ships. Or not? Complete with threats from an alleged Iranian voice over the radios. Iran accused the US of faking the video from the incident. It appears that indeed they did. As the Pentagon conceded they had " stitched" together the audio and the video.

It seemed to be the bloggers that caused this one to fall apart, as many asked : Why in the U.S. Navy’s video was there no ambient background noise of water, wind and motors as the small open Iranian boats supposedly made threats to “explode” the warships?
Indeed, if the threats were coming from these boats why was the background noise not reflective of this?

After much ado about nothing, this one went away.

The British and the US incidents are similar in that they both involved Iran, at a time when the western powers are looking for a pretext for war with Iran, including one it seems that they could manufacture themselves. In both situations we see the western governments lying, and the medias' unquestioning complicity, including suppressing evidence to the contrary.




One of the best articles eventually written on this incident was published by the Asia Times, definitely not a mainstream western media source.
Written by Gareth Porter; How the Pentagon planted a false story
This story really covers all the bases, how the false US/Iran story was planted and spread throughout the media unquestioningly.

Afghan president escapes attack

Afghan president escapes deadly parade attack



KABUL (AFP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai escaped unharmed Sunday after militants attacked a high-profile military parade with rockets and gunfire, killing at least one person and wounding 11 including legislators.

The extremist Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the daring attack, denying however it was an assassination attempt on Karzai.

Bullets apparently from sniper fire ricocheted off the top of a stage where the president and other officials had gathered to review the parade, a witness told AFP.

There were also several large explosions, likely from rocket-propelled grenades, other witnesses said.

Karzai and dozens of assembled cabinet members, ambassadors and US military commanders ducked for cover as the onslaught began, officials said.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

FOIA documents reveal Britian lied in Iran incident!

Report reveals Iran seized British sailors in disputed waters.

not in Iraqi waters as Britian had claimed, repeatedly.
Newly released Ministry of Defence documents state that:

— The arrests took place in waters that are not internationally agreed as Iraqi;

— The coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was;

— The Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ coastal protection vessels were crossing this invisible line at a rate of three times a week; It was the British who apparently raised their weapons first before the Iranian gunboats came alongside;

— The cornered British, surrounded by heavily armed Iranians, made a hopeless last-minute radio plea for a helicopter to come back and provide air cover.



Friday, April 25, 2008

limits drug-sniffing dog use, unacceptable in a free society

Canada's high court limits drug-sniffing dogs


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada's highest court said police do not have the authority to randomly search student backpacks for drugs, in one of two rulings on Friday limiting the use of drug-sniffing dogs.

Justice William Ian Corneil Binnie said traveling by bus within Canada was not the same thing as traveling to Canada from another country when passengers should expect to be subjected a border search at the airport.

"Nobody should expect to be randomly cross-examined by the police when boarding the Vancouver to Calgary bus. This is unacceptable in a free society," Binnie wrote.



yeah to the justices, for a wise decision!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

PM Harper blowin NAFTA smoke!

So why would anyone even think PM Harper is "tough talking" when he makes comments regarding NAFTA.
The National Post columnist Terence Corcoran writes an op-ed piece called " An energy elephant", in which he some how sees Harper as a chest thumping he man, standing up to the US.
He makes note of Harpers "muscle-flexing tone", and uses the words " chest-thumping swagger and arrogance" to describe, a 'perceived' change in attitude in Canadian policy circles.

Bullocks! Never has there been a Canadian government so firmly in line with the US administration. Recently it has come to light that Canadian troops have been in Iraq, involved in a war that was never supported by Canadians. Iraq, however was a war that Harper, wanted to participate in. Does anyone recall his open love letter to war and against the wishes of the Canadian people and the elected majority government of the day.
If you have forgotten, let me refresh your memory:

Conservative Canadians Speak Out!
Wall Street Journal | 3/28/03 | Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day

Canadians Stand With You

By STEPHEN HARPER and STOCKWELL DAY

Today, the world is at war. A coalition of countries under the leadership of the U.K. and the U.S. is leading a military intervention to disarm Saddam Hussein. Yet Prime Minister Jean Chretien has left Canada outside this multilateral coalition of nations.

This is a serious mistake. For the first time in history, the Canadian government has not stood beside its key British and American allies in their time of need. The Canadian Alliance -- the official opposition in parliament -- supports the American and British position because we share their concerns, their worries about the future if Iraq is left unattended to, and their fundamental vision of civilization and human values. Disarming Iraq is necessary for the long-term security of the world, and for the collective interests of our key historic allies and therefore manifestly in the national interest of Canada. Make no mistake, as our allies work to end the reign of Saddam and the brutality and aggression that are the foundations of his regime, Canada's largest opposition party, the Canadian Alliance will not be neutral. In our hearts and minds, we will be with our allies and friends. And Canadians will be overwhelmingly with us.

But we will not be with the Canadian government.

Modern Canada was forged in large part by war -- not because it was easy but because it was right. In the great wars of the last century -- against authoritarianism, fascism, and communism -- Canada did not merely stand with the Americans, more often than not we led the way. We did so for freedom, for democracy, for civilization itself. These values continue to be embodied in our allies and their leaders, and scorned by the forces of evil, including Saddam Hussein and the perpetrators of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That is why we will stand -- and I believe most Canadians will stand with us -- for these higher values which shaped our past, and which we will need in an uncertain future.

Messrs. Harper and Day are the leader and shadow foreign minister, respectively, of the Canadian Alliance.
(Note the use of Sept 11/01 in connection with the attack on Iraq?)

My point in posting the letter? Mr. Harper has not stood for Canada or Canadians.
He has not acted ,previously or presently, in the best interests of the country or her citizens.
Why now would anyone actually think he is "talking tough" to the US?

Canada does hold the energy key for the US and one would think this would be used to the advantage of Canada. Is that the case, really? The NAFTA agreement will leave Canadians without energy, and will eventually leave Alberta in a polluted mess. The very idea of PM Harper standing up to the US administration, flexing his he man muscles is so absurd, it cannot be seriously considered.

Food Rationing USA continues......

Thai rice hits new record, feeding food fears.


BANGKOK (Reuters) - Rice prices in Thailand, the world's top exporter, surged to $1,000 a tonne on Thursday, feeding concerns about food security as far as the United States after export curbs by governments worldwide.

The surging price of food and fuel has sparked riots in Africa and Haiti and raised fears that millions of the world's poor will struggle to feed themselves. Some analysts, however, attribute much of the surge to panic buying by both consumers and governments rather than a dire shortage of supply.



Now Sam's Club has joined Costco, in limiting purchases of rice.


Sam's Club, a unit of retail giant Wal-Mart, said on Wednesday it was capping sales of 20-pound (9 kg) bulk bags of rice at four bags per customer per visit to prevent hoarding.

The previous day, rival Costco Wholesale Corp said it had seen increased demand for items such as rice and flour as customers, worried about global food shortages, stocked up.

"Everywhere you see, there is some story about food shortages and hoarding and tightness of supplies," said Neauman Coleman, an analyst and rice broker in Brinkley, Arkansas.

The chart below shows clearly how much the price of rice has increased since the beginning of the year. Rising from approximately $300 a ton to $1000 a ton, since the beginning of 2008.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SPP business sets agenda

Powerful council helping free-trade supporters win Round 3 of talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper might have reminded the U.S. yesterday how much it depends on Canadian energy imports – and thus, on NAFTA – but he neglected to mention the onerous terms for Canada. Or that an even greater grab for northern energy continues apace, without public consultation.

Rather, elaborate machinery set up to facilitate greater "harmonization" with U.S. policy hums along, its creators coming from the most powerful conglomerates in the United States and its successes independent of such trilateral leaders' meetings as this week's confab in New Orleans among Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexico's Felipe Calderon.

There's already an energy downside for Canada. Under the terms of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada can't ease up on energy exports to the U.S., even temporarily and including in times of shortage. NAFTA partner Mexico said no-go.

Russia shoots down spy drone from Georgia?

Russia Says Spy Drone Violated U.N. Agreement

Russia hit back at Georgia on Tuesday over the shooting down of a spy drone Sunday, saying the unmanned Georgian flight over the breakaway region of Abkhazia breached U.N. cease-fire agreements.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the drone had been shot down by separatist forces in Abkhazia. The Russian air force denied Georgian claims that a Russian fighter had downed the craft.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday clashed publicly with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the incident, just two weeks after NATO promised the small Caucasus state it would one day become a member of the military alliance.

Russia, opposed to NATO expansion nearer to its borders, is forging closer ties with Georgia's two breakaway regions.

The two regions are Abkhazia and South Ossetia, they brokeaway from Georgia in the 90's.
Russia has been tacitly supporting the regions autonomy, granting residents citizenship, encouraging their use of the ruble as their choice of currency.


Interesting after this incident on Sunday, we have;

Georgian official in US seeking support

WASHINGTON (AP) — Georgia's foreign minister said he wants the United States to make clear to Russia that steps toward recognition of two breakaway Georgian territories will have a price.

David Bakradze said in an interview with The Associated Press that he also is seeking to isolate Russia in an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council Wednesday.

Additionally, he planned to meet Wednesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen Hadley. He said he was seeking a strong U.S. condemnation of a move last week by Russia to establish stronger ties with the two territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


I am wondering where did Georgia get the drone? Why are they spying on these independant regions? If the US is concerned Russia will officialy recognize these two independant states, why then did they recognize Kosovo?



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food Rationing USA

Rice Shortage Prompts Costco Calif. Rice Rationing



Rice is a popular dish in many Bay Area homes, but now there's a shortage that is making the cost of the staple unstable.

The cost of a 50-pound sack of jasmine rice has soared to $21.99. There have been so many buyers flocking a Costco in Mountain View that two other brands of rice were completely sold out Monday.

Costco is now posting signs limiting how much rice you can buy based on your previous purchases. Our video report has more behind the reasons behind the ration, and how consumers are cutting back on rice.

The SPP Leadership Love Fest

Would Harper and Bush just get a room, please!

Harper praises Bush at 'Three Amigos' summit
Bush compliments Harper for leadership at NATO

I don't know what leadership Harper demonstrated at NATO?
Does going along with the Bush administration count as leadership?


Leaders to talk up trade

'Three amigos' defend NAFTA at annual summit amid criticism on U.S. presidential campaign trail


Barlow, who helped organize some of the high-profile protests surrounding last year's summit in Montebello, Que., said she's come to keep Canadians' attention on a deal that she alleges is being crafted in the dark, to serve the interests of big money.

"It's bad, it's elitist, it's corporate-driven," Barlow said of the SPP. She was on a tour yesterday of New Orleans' Ward Nine, still devastated after the Hurricane Katrina floods in 2005.

"It's still got cars overturned. It's still got homeless people," she said, decrying the contrast between that scene and the massive security for the leaders at some of the most expensive New Orleans hotels.

"The Security and Prosperity Partnership is prosperity for the few, security for the few and what's left in New Orleans for everybody else," Barlow said.




I saw somewhere else someone was referring to the 3 amigos as the 3 diablos! A more accurate description.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pentagon's hidden hand- managed media

an informative read, on how the media is managed through the presentation of the "right" people.


Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.




SPP brought to you by the Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute has a nifty little pdf, downloadable for your reading enjoyment.

It's entitled:
Saving the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership
The Fraser Institute puts' forth an interesting conspiracy theory, one that blames "left-wing economic nationalists in Canada and right-wing protectionists in the United States" as culpable for the fact that the"SPP is losing momentum in the public realm" Amazingly, the Fraser Institute doesn't even consider that the entire SPP process is flawed, as just one reason the SPP is losing momentum. It is conducted behind closed doors, without citizen oversight. Or, the fact that citizens in all three countries have no wish for deeper integration with one another, as another reason for the SPP's downfall. No, instead we have a shadowy right & left nationalists and protectionists, causing the loss of momentum.

There are plenty of citizens groups from the three countries that would love to participate directly. They are not allowed to, in fact they are shut out completely. Citizen groups surrounded and imprisoned by heavy security on the outside of the fence, resigned to wave placards and protest. While the participants , government and big business, move freely, discuss freely on the inside. An odd contradiction isn't it?


The report goes on to say "A list of results from the SPP talks since 2005 shows modest but useful outcomes." Modest but useful outcomes? In 3 years of this move towards integration the outcomes have been modest? I wonder, does the Fraser Institute , when claiming "modest outcomes " really mean, they would have preferred a done deal by now?


More from the Fraser Institute report: "This paper concludes that the Canadian government must create both shortand long-term strategies to expand and speed up the SPP goals. Re-branding the SPP talks and making them more productive, as well as explaining the specific objectives"

Speed up the SPP goals? Why would the Fraser Institue urge that? It's quite obvious there is alot of opposition in all three countries, is this why the report wants to hurry things along?
To reduce opportunities to oppose the SPP? To reduce the ability to get more information out to the public?

"Re-branding the SPP", well we should know what this is about, I hope? Rebranding has apparently become necessary, since the SPP has garnered, and rightfully so, abundant negative publicity in it's present form. What will rebranding include, a new name, new logo, a new angle of presentation, a fancy and expensive public relations campaign? Likely all of the above and more.

To save the SPP, the Fraser Institute has these proposals:

1) Define SPP or its successor as a process to create a NASRA but not a North
American (Political) Union.
2) Keep SPP as a working agreement among the executive branches, but provide
it with a better communications strategy and with more deliverables
both in terms of competitiveness and in terms of streamlined security regulations
so that the public can begin to understand the benefits.
3) Build a long term Canada-United States agenda on SPP issues.
4) Connect security and prosperity in the SPP so that the economic cost
becomes an essential part of the security calculation.
5) Explore a larger role for the private sector in finding regulatory convergence
and standards compatibility.
6) Create a “Vision for a New Border.” A vision of a “needs-based” border is
founded on the premise that only those features that cannot be done better
or more efficiently away from the border should be done at the border. This
vision includes:
 A gradual move toward a common external tariff by adopting the lowest
tariff between the two countries starting with industrial products that will
lead to the elimination of the Rules of Origin process.
 Gradual liberalization of temporary labor mobility for citizens of both
countries.
 Regulatory compliance reporting to be done at shipping points, which
can be administered by business itself and monitored electronically by
government.
 Dedicated border crossings for all goods that comply on regulatory and
security requirements.
 Mutually recognized security criteria for clearance for all persons entering
the two countries.
 A single, bi-national method of recording and securing biometric and
other secure electronic data, such as radio-frequency identification chips
to facilitate border crossings by speeding up inspections.
 Enhancing the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET) and closer
collaboration between intelligence and law enforcement agencies on
crime, smuggling, and terrorism to monitor potential border traffic well
before the threat may appear at the border.
 Final layer of inspection and supervision to be done at the border.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

SPP meeting of the 3 "amigos" or the NAU pre-nup


Not Counting Canadians: The Security and Prosperity Partnership and public opinion

From April 7–10, 2008, the Council of Canadians commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a survey of Canadians to find out how they feel about the major SPP policy directions and initiatives, including North American regulatory convergence, energy integration with the United States, bulk water exports, and the adoption of U.S.-style security measures in Canada. We also asked whether such a wide-reaching trilateral agreement should be brought to Parliament for a debate and vote.

Download the full report, Not Counting Canadians : The Security and Prosperity Partnership and public opinion (PDF 1.17 MB)




and another great info site

New Orleans People's Summit


yah, yah, I'll be following this over the next couple days.
So please don't get bored...
All of the real amigos in the three countries, have to keep an eye on these meetings done in secret, behind closed doors. There really is something underhanded and sneaky about that!






NAFTA-Not Another F'd-up Trade Agreement !

Business leaders to urge public support of NAFTA

"Top business leaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico will urge their governments to publicize their support of NAFTA, in an effort to counter calls by the Democratic presidential candidates to review the deal."

Business leaders urge governments ? To publicize their support of NAFTA?

A public relations campaign must be imminent. One that will emphasize alleged benefits of this trade agreement, despite the many and obvious drawbacks?

One can see that NAFTA has not been a boondoggle for the average Canadian who is now working harder, for less real wages (salary vs inflation) and are more in debt then ever before.
All the good paying manufacturing jobs are largely gone, relocated to 'lower wage' countries, or as is sometimes more accurate, to slave wage countries, where non-existent environmental and labour standards can be exploited to maximize profits. One need only take a look at the ever shrinking auto industry, or what used to be the textile industry in Canada, as but two examples of good paying job losses.

Perhaps this is why business leaders are urging the governments to publicize their support?
Since business has been the biggest benefactor and governments their enablers.
They can conspire together against the working Canadian.

Beside the wage and job losses, there is nothing in the trade agreements that protect energy and water rights, for Canadians. Never mind the total loss of sovereignty.

But, if through "publicizing" their support, government and business interests can make Canadians believe just the opposite , of what is obvious, well , what a public realtions coup that would be!


Slogans you will not see for this media blitz:

"Give it up , give it all up for free trade."

"Living wage, what for?"

"You don't deserve a break today, a 80 hour work week is coming your way."

if you got one to add, by all means please do!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

terror camp or fat camp?

Terror training or dieting?

"These guys were like religious people who just wanted to practise, y'know, their faith," the then-18-year-old is seen telling RCMP Sgt. John Tost, the day after a police swoop resulted in the arrests of the so-called Toronto 18. "I don't think they were planning to do something towards Canada or anything.

"Basically we were just chilling, reading the Qu'ran," the teenager recalled of the activities at the 12-day camp that took place in December 2005 near the town of Washago, Ont. "Some guys are lazy, y'know, they're gaining weight. For two weeks we just kind of worked out."

The workouts, he said, included playing around in the snow, chopping down trees, playing with paintball guns and jogging. He also admitted to shooting a gun, which he said was primarily handled by someone whom the officer reveals to be an informant

.



read the article and decide.

here's some questions regarding a ringleader, now free.

How is it possible that the alleged ringleader of a 'terror' group is now free?

That is how Quayyam Abdul Jamal was described when the Toronto 18 were arrested:

Jamal, 45, was the oldest of the 18 Muslim-Canadian suspects and was described in court documents as the ringleader of a group that was planning to bomb targets in downtown Toronto, storm Parliament and take politicians hostage.



When I go to the dictionary, I see the manner in which ringleader is defined as follows:a person who leads (especially in illicit activities).

So a ringleader is a person who leads, especially in illicit activities and a terror plot would definitely fall into the category of illicit activity. So why then has the ringleader , the leader, of the entire terror cell, just had all charges against him stayed?

Since he has had all charges stayed, what does that really say about the plot itself and the others arrested?
What does it say about the strength & credibility of the evidence?
Was the ringleader label a 'spin' put on the arrest to make the case seem more sinister?

The ringleader in his own words;

It wasn't until later, when Jamal looked over the Crown's evidence, that he says he realized that he might eventually be set free.

"I said, 'Oh, my god, they have nothing against me," he said. "I called my lawyer and said, 'What is there against me? Why am I here?'

What kind of a ringleader has no credible evidence that can be used against him?

questions, questions, questions?



Friday, April 18, 2008

No loyalty to the government of the occupiers?

Company of Iraqi troops abandons position after attack


BAGHDAD - A company of government troops in Sadr City retreated when they came under attack from Shiite militiamen who used the cover of a sandstorm, police said Friday.

The clashes overnight killed two people and injured nine, a police commander said. The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release the information, said it was unclear whether there were any casualties among the soldiers.

The reports of the latest setback for the Iraqi army come after government officials acknowledged that during fighting last month against Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra, more than 1,300 Iraqi soldiers and police deserted or refused to fight.

The police officer said militiamen belonging to the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched their attack shortly before midnight on army positions in Sadr City, a sprawling slum area of some 2.5 million people in eastern Baghdad.

Russia is making more friends in new places

Russia swaps Libya debt for deals


Russia has agreed to cancel $4.5bn (£2.3bn) of Libyan debt in exchange for major contracts for Russian firms.

The announcement came during a visit to Tripoli on Thursday by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

The two countries signed deals on energy co-operation, military assistance and construction of a 500km (310-mile) railway line in Libya.

Libya was a big importer of Soviet weaponry during the Cold War, when it accumulated large debts.

Russia's state gas monopoly Gazprom plans large-scale exploration and production projects with Libya's national energy company. They will include liquefied natural gas installations and gas-fired electricity plants in Libya.

Russia will provide the technology for Libya to build a major rail link between Sirte and Benghazi. Construction is expected to take four years.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the Toronto 18 and the Liberty 7

The Toronto 18, are now the Toronto 11, before that they were the Toronto 15 , but they did start out as the Toronto 18. Confused? I mean how can one promote something that has gone from the 18, to 15, and now 11 as a geniune threat? In particular how can one "sell" them as a terrorist group? Unless it is as the incredible shrinking terrorist group? There doesn't appear to be much real terror or terrorizing as was most certainly alluded to. In fact these alleged terrrorists are appearing more as victims of the Canadian justice system.

Seven stays in total, seven people , free again. Seven people whom, it is quite clear ,there wasn't any evidence to garner a conviction of any sort.
How is that possible , after all weren't they surveilled for years?

This case in Toronto has made me think of the Miami "terrorists". Recall those arrests, right around the same time? It seemed like terrorist cells were everywhere. But were they?

These 'terrorists' who eventually became known as the Liberty 7, have just had their second trial and again it was declared a mistrial! Can you imagine how flimsy the evidence must be? Think about the climate of fear and hysteria over terror and terrorism when not one but two juries, cannot be provided with enough evidence to convict?

"The decision is a setback for the Bush administration, which had touted the case as an example of the government's ability to prevent terrorist attacks but has failed to win convictions in two attempts."


Maybe the Harper government thought it better to just stay the charges, rather then risk looking foolish to the Canadian public. The Bush administration really doesn't have much to lose, as President Bush, is on his way out. Mr Harper on the other hand, would probably like to win a majority election in Canada, so it would be better to spare oneself the embarassement.

An interesting parallel between the Liberty 7 and the Toront 18 , is they were both led by government agents. An FBI informant, known as Brother Mohammed, was posing as an al-Qaeda operative. In the Toronto 18, it was a CSIS agent and star witness Mubin Shaik.

The Liberty 7 and the Toronto 18 were also without guns, weapons or ammo of their own, at the time of there arrest. In the Toronto 18 case it appears the only armed person, was the CSIS agent. Paintball guns really don't count as dangerous weapons, except on laundry day!

In the case of the Liberty 7, it seems the men were trying to con the FBI agent out of the money the agent was offering to finance the terror plot:

But Batiste testified that he was merely trying to con the informant out of $50,000 that was to be used to finance the "plot." Further, the government was not able to prove that the group had any weapons, ammunition or explosives on them at the time of their arrest in June 2006.


What will come of the Liberty 7 ? Will they be tried again, for a 3rd time? It's hard to see that as an option. As for the remaining Toronto 11, will there numbers be reduced again, with more charges stayed? Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Canada first to label bisphenol A as officially dangerous

Health Canada is calling bisphenol A a dangerous substance, making it the first regulatory body in the world to reach such a determination and taking the initial step toward measures to control exposures to it.

Although the government won't announce specific bans or restrictions, the designation as dangerous could pave the way for the hormonally active chemical to be listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which would allow Health Minister Tony Clement to issue specific measures to curb its use.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in modern industry. It is the basic building block for polycarbonate, the see-through, shatter-proof plastic that resembles glass, and is also used to make the epoxy resins lining the insides of most tin cans, along with some dental sealants, sports helmets, and compact discs.

isn't this a little overzealous?

Vancouver transit riders tasered for not paying fares



VANCOUVER — The country's only armed transit police have been tasering passengers who try to avoid paying fares.

According to documents provided in response to a Freedom of Information request, police patrolling public transit in the Metro Vancouver area have used tasers 10 times in the past 18 months, including five occasions when victims had been accosted for riding free.

In one incident, a non-paying passenger was tasered after he held onto a railing on the SkyTrain platform and refused to let go.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

crown stays charges against 4 in the " Toronto 18" trials

Crown to stay charges against four of 'Toronto 18'


BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Prosecutors today stayed charges against four men accused of participating in a homegrown terror cell.

Earlier today, charges were stayed against three of the men after they agreed to abide by certain court-ordered conditions for one year.

Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 45, the eldest of 18 people accused in Canada's largest terrorist sweep, Ahmad Mustafa Ghany and Ibrahim Alkhalel Mohammed Aboud signed peace bonds, finalizing their cases in a Brampton court Tuesday morning.

The men must adhere to several restrictions including not having contact with the other accused, adhering to a curfew, and not owning a firearm.

Today, charges were stayed against a fourth individual, Yasim Mohamed. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada said it was not contemplating any further proceedings against Mr. Mohamed at this time.

Australia wants to spy on e-mail

Band-Aid approach to cyber security



ALLOWING companies to intercept their employees' emails without their consent, as proposed by the Federal Government, would do little to protect the nation's critical infrastructure from a potentially devastating attack from hackers and terrorists, according to cyber security experts.

The assessment came as privacy and civil liberties groups expressed alarm that the new powers could allow employers to conduct intrusive searches that had little to do with security.


starving people and Canadian farmers are paid to kill pigs

Is this crazy or what?


Ottawa funds 10% cull of pigs
$50 million program will pay to eliminate 150,000 breeding sows

Amid soaring food prices and global shortages of some commodities, Canadian farmers are being offered $50 million by the federal government to destroy 150,000 pigs – or 10 per cent of the herd – this summer.

The program, announced in February, came into effect yesterday and is aimed at rescuing the industry from economic collapse.

Canada's hog farmers badly need help to cope with soaring feed prices and a higher dollar, said the Canadian Pork Council, which is administering the program.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Get rid of the penny ?!

Canadians are pondering the demise of the penny


Well, personally I say NO to getting rid of the penny!
What else would you think Penny of "penny for your thoughts" would say? ;-)

First and foremost reason for pennies to stay, retailers will use this as an excuse to round prices up, rather than down. Then we will all pay more, all the time.

Secondly, pennies are a good way to teach small kids a number of skills.
Saving pennies can quickly add up for small children, wether that means a trip to the corner store to get an icecream, to put money in a bank account, it is a very painless way for small kids to learn the about saving and counting, in the easiest manner, 1,2,3,4.......

Thirdly: They are a part of history and have even garnered a number of their own sayings:
"penny for your thoughts" : tell me what you think
"pennies from heaven" a windfall, a godsend
"find a penny, pick it up, and all the day , you'll have good luck"
"Take care of the pennies and the nickels will take care of themselves"

I could go on with the penny puns.....but instead I'll "change" my tune .

Pennies serve a purpose, always have and always will, in tough economic times, pennies will become more even more valued. Then , we'll see all those pennies, we have stashed in jars etc., will come out, and be spent. When that happens, we will think to ourselves " A penny saved is a penny earned"!

Keep the penny.

global instability and western credit crisis, globalisations folly

The news reports go from bad to worse with regards to food, or a lack of food in the world.
Well actually thats not quite right, it is the inaffordability of food that is the actual problem.

The most basic of food, rice, has increased in price 75 percent in just the past two months, the price of wheat has increased 120 percent in the past year. I wrote here, just 4 days ago, about the discontent these higher food prices were bringing. In Haiti that discontent has just resulted in the removal of the Prime Minister.

If this persists hundreds of thousands of people in impoverished nations will die. Malnutrition will increase amongst children, with lifelong repercussions.
The destabilisation of many countries and leaders, most already fragile, will lead to increasing global instability.

Increasing global instability, increasing global instability? What does that mean, really?

When I read that, what comes to mind is a fear that the cultish belief of "globalisation", as the way, the right way, the inevitable way, will be challenged and will be demonstrated as nonsense.

This concept of managing the globe, including its' inhabitants, resources and nation states, to the benefit and profit of the few, is totally , unfounded , unmanageable and unsustainable.
In fact , globalisation could be characterized as one of the craziest schemes yet, to control everything to the benefit of the biggest corporate players and their lackey governments.

Put quite simply globalisation is a business plan to manage everything, or should I say micro-manage everything. People, water , food, travel, animals, everything is seen as a "thing" to be managed or as is more fitting, controlled, so that business can have the most important condition it always craves to continue making profits. That condition is stability. Business loves stability, no suprises, no strikes, no wage demands, availability of resources. The more business can micro-manage the globe and it's inhabitants the more , it had hoped ,to increase stability which in turn increases profitability!!!

This is why we see the president of the World Bank calling for immediate action to deal with rapidly rising food prices that have caused hunger and deadly violence and threatened the economic stability of the world's poorest countries.

The World Bank, as an institution hasn't exactly been concerned about hardship in the past, in fact, the World bank along with the IMF through there policies have certainly brought much misery to bear on numerous countries. But, this time it is not one or two countries being managed through austerity measures. It is numerous countries, all at once, and they are unmanaged, the people are starving and they are angry and therein lies the problem.

So what the World bank wants is the western nations to ante up some food, and to do it quick, before this causes any further economic instability . Unfortunately the western nations have some troubles of their own, namely the made in the USA credit crisis, which is spreading like a virus, bringing along it's own instability issues, particularily in the western world.

My opinion, we ain't seen nothing yet.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

more info on Dioxins and PCB's

Dioxins and their effects on human health





PCB's

Monsanto old and new

Monsanto portrays its move into the GMO business, particularily through it's advertising, as a giant leap for mankind.
In its company literature, Monsanto refers to itself as a “relatively new company” whose primary goal is helping “farmers around the world in their mission to feed, clothe, and fuel” a growing planet.
Now, while all that advertising spins Monsanto as caring, nice company, the reality is Monsanto, isn't concerned with helping farmers or feeding the world, Monsanto just want's to help itself to massive profits and control of food resources. Monsanto wants you to help them accomplish this task, by believing this is all being done for your benefit.

Here's the reality:

Monsanato's early history, when it was growning into the industrial powerhouse it is today, was far from environmentally friendly. For many years Monsanto produced two of the most toxic substances ever known— polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, and dioxin.

PCB's: Used as as industrial coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and other electrical equipment.They were exceptionally versatile and fire-resistant, and became central to many American industries as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, and sealants.
But PCBs are toxic. A member of a family of chemicals that mimic hormones, PCBs have been linked to damage in the liver and in the neurological, immune, endocrine, and reproductive systems. The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, now classify PCBs as “probable carcinogens.

Dioxin:
The name dioxin refers to a group of highly toxic chemicals that have been linked to heart disease, liver disease, human reproductive disorders, and developmental problems. Even in small amounts, dioxin persists in the environment and accumulates in the body. In 1997 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, classified the most powerful form of dioxin as a substance that causes cancer in humans. In 2001 the U.S. government listed the chemical as a “known human carcinogen.”

In fact Monsanto manufactured so much of these toxic chemicals, that there are entire areas of the US that remain, polluted to this day.
Monsanto in fact didn't really clean up these areas, but through the wonder of corporate maneuvering, dumped responsibility for them on to other companies.


"Young's e-mail said that Monsanto's chemicals division was spun off to become Solutia and that the agreement passed along the environmental liabilities. If Solutia failed to meet them, the agreement stipulated that Monsanto would assume responsibility, he said.

In 2000, another division of Monsanto's life sciences business merged with Pharmacia and Upjohn to form Pharmacia Corp. Then in 2002, the agricultural division of Pharmacia, once part of Monsanto's life sciences business, was spun off and later reemerged as a new version of Monsanto. Pharmacia was later acquired by Pfizer Inc.

The company that the Center contacted was the "new" Monsanto, whose officials said it is not associated with the waste that the company was connected to before the spinoffs and mergers took place."

Monsanto didn't clean up their multiple toxic sites, they made a new corporate identity for themselves, absolved themselves of responsibility for their pollution and left the mess for the taxpayers.

Therefore the new Monsanto, wasn't responsible for what the old Monsanto did?
Now we are supposed to believe with the help of advertising that Monsanto cares , for people and for the environment? Are you that gullible?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pennys' saying to ponder

"You must not kill your neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all your murderous impulses become patriotic heroism."
- Bertrand Russell

JPMorgan memo shows dirty tricks of mortgage trade

Now of course JPMorgan denies this memo was policy but the proof is in the pudding! As we watch the mortgage debacle, drag the entire world economy down, into a recession/depression.
Oh and who is getting the taxpayer bailouts??
The banks that caused all this trouble in the first place/


An internal JPMorgan Chase memo entitled "Zippy Cheats & Tricks" offers a peek into just the sort of dubious lending tactics that underpinned the U.S. housing market's deepening downward spiral.

Originally obtained by reporters at The Oregonian newspaper, the memo outlines step-by-step instructions on how to beef up mortgage applicants' stated incomes in order to help them qualify for home loans.

They read as follows:

"1. Make sure you input all income in base income. DO NOT break it down by overtime, commissions or bonus.

2. If your borrower is getting a gift, add it to a bank account along with the rest of the assets. Be sure to remove any mention of gift funds.

3. If you do not get (the desired results), try resubmitting with slightly higher income. Inch it up $500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets."

who's afraid of Iran, not Israel.

Israel's Tehran connection

If you've ever wondered about the definition of hypocrisy you'll find the answer right here.

Last month the Swiss foreign minister visited Iran and, together with President Ahmadinejad, attended the signing of a multi-billion euro contract for Iran to supply Switzerland with large amounts of natural gas over the next 25 years.

The US State Department immediately condemned the deal and said it would be investigating whether it breached the Iran Sanctions Act. Israel complained too, describing the Swiss minister's visit to Tehran as an "act unfriendly to Israel". Various Jewish groups also joined in the protests, including the World Jewish Congress.

This righteous indignation was entirely predictable but more than a little odd nevertheless. On March 30, the Swiss newspaper Sonntag retaliated with the revelation that Israel, supposedly observing an ironclad boycott of all things Iranian, has been buying Iranian oil for years.

am I suprised, not in the least!
an entirely good read, cause hypocrisy no no boundaries, or enemies, not really when it comes to oil.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Control the food , control the people

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.



When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.


Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.

Algae as energy, and no ones going to starve


an interesting read in it's entirety.




Algae: 'The ultimate in renewable energy'

"Algae is the ultimate in renewable energy," Glen Kertz, president and CEO of Valcent Products, told CNN while conducting a tour of his algae greenhouse on the outskirts of El Paso.

Kertz, a plant physiologist and entrepreneur, holds about 20 patents. And he is psyched about the potential algae holds, both as an energy source and as a way to deal with global warming.

"We are a giant solar collecting system. We get the bulk of our energy from the sunshine," said Kertz.

Algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50 percent of their weight is oil. That lipid oil can be used to make biodiesel for cars, trucks, and airplanes.

Most people know algae as "pond scum." And until recently, most energy research and development projects used ponds to grow it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The seeds of discontent have been sown.

There have been a number of recent news stories , indicating that food insecurity, will increase insecurity in general.

How is that possible? Well hungry people, people who cannot afford food tend to get angry.

Angry, hungry people tend to get active to change their circumstances. Particularily if they have children, to feed.

How the angry starving people get active is what may be cause for concern.

Here's a partial list of recent incidents of concern:

*Two days of rioting in Egypt over the doubling of food prices in one year!
*Riots in Haiti last week that killed four people
*P
rotests in Ivory Coast
*
Price riots in Cameroon in February that left 40 people dead

Rioting angry people can destabilize, weak governments.

But, your thinking, well these are 3rd world countries, they are always facing this type of situation at some point in time.

But, it's not just 3 world countries , it's countries that are alleged to be first world also.
Numerous media outlets in the US have reported on the fact that food stamp useage is at an all time high.

So what does the 3rd world have in common with the first world? Affordability. People cannot afford to pay for the food.

Josette Sheeran, director of the UN World Food Programme, said last month: "We are seeing a new face of hunger. We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before. We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it."

Now wait a minute, hold on here...... wasn't globalization supposed to be raising everyone everywhere out of poverty? Wasn't globalization supposed to make us all prosperous?
Well what happened?
How come it isn't just the usual third world countries that are having trouble "putting food on their families" as George Bush so eloquently puts it?
Why is it that we see even in the US, a country that is spending a phenomenal amount of money on war that American families cannot feed themselves.

It is claimed in the US that vanishing jobs are the cause of the problem, where did those jobs vanish to under the new global economic system? Why all those jobs went to third world nations. What? That doesn't make sense , if those first world jobs , went to third world nations, then why can't the third world nations feed their families?
What happened to the first world level of wages that were transfered to third world?
Well in this globalized economy ,of course, those wages were cut to maximize corporate profit.
The end result, it seems no one can afford even basic necessities.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Secret US plan for military future in Iraq





A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.
The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.

without time limit!? In other words, the US isn't going anywhere.

Critics point out that the agreement contains no limits on numbers of US forces, the weapons they are able to deploy, their legal status or powers over Iraqi citizens, going far beyond long-term US security agreements with other countries. The agreement is intended to govern the status of the US military and other members of the multinational force.
no limits on the numbers of US forces or weapons that can be deployed with what seems is unlimited power over Iraqi citizens?

interestingly:
The authorisation is described as "temporary" and the agreement says the US "does not desire permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq".
Does that seem legitimate?
If the agreement is temporary and the US does not desire permanent bases or military in Iraq, why would they leave the agreement totally open ended, with no time limits for withdrawal, no limits on troop numbers, no limits on weapons, etc.,

If they don't want a permanent military presence, why build so many massive bases and one of the most enoromous embassies in the world, bigger then vatican city!

In this case the actions of the US speak much louder then the words.


oh and that US embassy?



You don't build an embassy that is described as a city of it's own, 21 buildings on 104 acres, that is 10 times bigger then the US embassies elsewhere, unless your intending to have a major presence for a long, long , long time.

With its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewater-treatment facility, “systems to allow 100 percent independence from city utilities,”

Besides two major diplomatic office buildings, homes for the ambassador and his deputy, and the apartment buildings for staff, the compound will offer a swimming pool, gym, commissary, food court and American Club, all housed in a recreation building.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

who needs rendition elsewhere, we can do it in Canada

Let's reflect
Canada, free and democratic? With a fair judicial system for all her citizens, right?

Why was Saad Gaya, a young Canadian man who has been accused – but not convicted – of terrorism, kept in solitary confinement at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex for 23 1/2 hours a day for a whole year awaiting trial? Was that necessary? Was it reasonable?

well was it? Is this Syria? Is this Guantanamo? Nope this is Canada, what the heck is going on?
Is this how all prisoners are treated? I mean this was not even a convicted criminal, this was someone awaiting trial, innocent until proven guilty? Or guilty by ethnicity?


And what about the horror story told by another of the Toronto 18, a juvenile who has had the charges against him stayed? The youth, whose identity is protected by law, told his family a tale of psychological and physical abuse that calls to mind the intimidating treatment meted out to prisoners by American military jailers at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre for suspected terrorists.

Like others in the Toronto 18, the youth was kept in solitary for almost three months until his release on bail. When he told jailers he was cold or thirsty they told him he wasn't in a hotel, a member of his family reports. For two days, his cell had no pillow, blanket, water or toilet paper. And he says the guards pushed him to the ground, handcuffed and shackled him, and make him crawl along the floor.


I must say, I was stunned to read this, just stunned, this juvenile was not even found guilty of anything, as the charges were stayed. That means dropped.

Perhaps I have been naive about the judicial system in Canada, perhaps I had thought Canada was more civil, more decent, more democratic, apparently I was only fooling myself.


Terror suspects' troubling tales

toronto 18 documentary

If you take a gander over to You Tube, one can peruse an independant documentary called
Unfair Dealing: The Toronto Homegrown Terror Threat.
It is in 6 parts so be sure to watch them all.

lets not forget Afghanistan.

War Spreading Across Afghanistan



The war in Afghanistan is spreading across the country, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes this year, the international Red Cross said Tuesday during the visit of its president.

"There is growing insecurity and a clear intensification of the armed conflict, which is no longer limited to the south but has spread to the east and west," Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a statement.


At least 13,000 people have fled their homes since January because of the conflict, the Red Cross says. A spokeswoman said tracking where the people have gone is difficult because of limited access to dangerous regions.

"Their growing humanitarian needs and those of other vulnerable people must be met as a matter of urgency," Kellenberger said.


General David Petraeus comes to town.

Top US Officials in Iraq to Testify Before Congress


The two top U.S. officials in Iraq go before Congress Tuesday to present their latest assessment of the war.

General David Petraeus - the U.S. Commander in Iraq - and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. They are expected to discuss, among other issues, the so-called "surge" strategy, which increased U.S. forces in Iraq by about 30,000 last year.

The two men are likely to face questions from all three presidential candidates - Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain

Iraq, Iraq, what a mess, the west has made.

Another day, more fighting, more people displaced , more dead.
The war that was supposed to be a cakewalk, seems more to be the war without end.
Maybe that was the way it was always supposed to be anyway?

More fighting is reported in Sadr City, with hundreds fleeing the city.
Prime Minister Maliki wants the Mahdi army to disband , or it's supporter will not be allowed to run in the elections, or participate in politics-period.

Sadr supporters currently hold approximately 30 seats in the 275 seat Iraqi Parliament.
If there is legislation tabled to stop Sadr supporters from running politically, he does not have enough support within the Parliament to block the legislation from being passed.
His supporters say that banning them from politics would be unconstitutional.
I would think so, also.

If Sadr supporters can run in the election it is assumed they can make big gains.
Can they, if the Mahdi army is disbanded?
Will a disbanded army still have the support of the people?
If they do, is this Maliki move going to work against him?
By having an even greater challenge to his power in parliament?

Will Maliki be able to gain control of Basra?


Monday, April 7, 2008

Toronto 18

Yesterday in the Toronto Star, there were 2 very good articles, about some of the imprisoned men, from the perspective of their family members.
Yes , it has been emotional for them. How could it not be?
While the trials are on going , and who knows how long this may be for, I am going to put a link to the website " Toronto 18" in my faves list.
Why?
Because, it will offer readers an alternative viewpoint.
Since I am a believer in having as much information as possible on any given subject. This website will , I think, fill an important role in giving us all a more broader picture of these trials.
We may be able to read information there that we will not get anywhere else.
We will most certainly get a different interpretation of the events, with less sensationalization, and quite likely less fear mongering!
Now that will be refreshing.

food , or a lack of it, is food for thought!

The increase in staple food prices is leading to problems world wide.
Starvation, food riots, aid programs unable to feed the hungry, and an increase in food bank useage in the west.



Food prices to rise for years, biofuel firms say

Staple food prices will rise for some years, but should eventually fall to historical averages as harvests increase, biofuel company executives said on Thursday.

Soaring demand for better quality food from rapidly industrializing emerging markets such as China, supply shortages, increased demand for biofuels, and a surging appetite for food commodities by investment funds, have combined to push prices of basic foods higher and higher in recent months.

140 plus Muslim graves desecrated in France

Muslims constitute 8% of Frances population.

Muslim graves desecrated

LILLE, France (Reuters) - Vandals desecrated 148 graves in the Muslim section of a military cemetery in northern France, hanging a pig's head on one of the headstones, police said on Sunday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the attack "a hateful act" and around 100 police were sent to the Notre-Dame de Lorette cemetery near Arras to hunt for clues.


State prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi said the vandals struck overnight, daubing insults on the graves.

"They directly referred to Islam and there were also insults directed at the justice minister," Valensi said, referring to Rachida Dati, whose parents came from North Africa.

The desecration came almost exactly a year after youths daubed Nazi inscriptions and swastikas on Muslim tombs in the same cemetery in Ablain Saint-Nazaire.






Sunday, April 6, 2008

Canada too, will spy on citizens.

It hasn't been about terrorism in the US, it has been about monitoring the citizens.
As we have seen in the US, we will see in Canada.

Court ruling may clear the way for more digital surveillance


"This is an important and overdue piece of legislation. We're dealing with intercept legislation that has been around since the '70s, and every Canadian knows how technology has changed since then," said Pecknold, who is also a deputy chief with the Central Saanich Police Service in British Columbia.

But the telecommunications industry has notified the government it won't support the law in its current form, according to documents obtained this week by Canwest News Service under the Access to Information Act.

"The associations are very concerned by the fact that (the lawful-access legislation) is entirely silent on the question of compensation for operational costs, notwithstanding that the topic is currently a significant point of dispute between certain (law-enforcement agencies) and (telecom service providers)," states a joint submission to the government by the Information Technology Association of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.

The industry groups have proposed amending the law to "provide reasonable compensation" to service providers for intercepting private communications on behalf of law enforcement and handing over subscriber information.

Compensation has been a long-standing point of contention between telecommunications service providers and the police.

Some municipal police forces have refused to pay claims for compensation submitted by telecom providers.

But Pecknold says the Supreme Court ruling clarifies that any right to compensation must be spelled out in the law. "It reiterates the principle that every citizen, corporate or otherwise, has a responsibility to co-operate with the state in matters of public safety."

According to the documents obtained by Canwest News, officials at the Public Safety department were also closely watching the Telus case to see how it might impact lawful-access legislation.

Privacy advocates and civil-liberties groups have also raised concerns about the proposed law.

Some have speculated the Harper government is hesitant to re-introduce a law that could cause a public backlash over privacy issues.

But Pecknold said law-enforcement agencies are willing to work with privacy groups to address their concerns. And he noted the original bill was introduced by the Liberals, suggesting it would not be too difficult for the Conservatives to seek bipartisan support.

The Public Safety department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Bush and Putin agree to disagree

I guess that is as good as one could expect, two outgoing leaders holding views that are far apart on missile defence.

Putin, Bush ink 'strategic framework', remain apart on missile defence



Despite making little progress on the contentious issue of missile defence, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his US counterpart George W Bush on Sunday signed a 'strategic framework' declaration to set the agenda for their successors to keep their bilateral ties on track.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

toronto 18 becomes west point case study????

The CBC broadcast a documentary, called: The Al-Qaeda Code's

information on the documentary here
http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/alqaedacode.html

In this documentary, it is noted that West Point, is using this case as an instructional course to
" teach soldiers how to thwart radical groups" doesn't that seem, premature?

Isn' t that odd, given the trials has not even begun in earnest and no one has been convicted?

So how could it be worthy of a case study?

Especially, one with a leader/trainer who was/is a paid government informant.?

Interesting to note also:

Mark Johnston of Toronto's Nomad Films, says that at West Point he saw that the U.S. military has access to volumes of the Canadian defendants' e-mail exchanges.

how is that possible? How did West point get the e-mail exchanges? Wouldn't these be evidence in a trial, that hasn't even happened yet?

maliki flips then flops

I can't help but wonder ,what the heck is going on, was this Maliki's decision alone?
I doubt it , as I don't think he makes a decision in Iraq without consulting the US first.

What comes to my mind is a power struggle, with Maliki, trying to appear as if he is not totally in the pocket of the US. Hence we see the US distancing themselves from the turmoil in Basra, though it is quite clear they have been active all along.
Sadr, seems to have lots of support amongst the population , and has plenty of people running in a local election in Basra, they seem destined to win. The US can't lose control of this vital port city.



Iraq PM Reverses Course, Freezes Raids


In a dramatic reversal, Iraq's prime minister ordered a nationwide freeze Friday on Iraqi raids against Shiite militants, bowing to demands by anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr only one day after promising to expand the crackdown to Baghdad.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued the order after al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia fought government troops last week in Basra and elsewhere, hinted at retaliation if Iraqi security forces continue to arrest his followers.

A statement by al-Maliki's office, broadcast on government television, did not mention the Mahdi Army by name or give a timeframe for the freeze. It said the move was designed to give a "chance to those who repented and want to lay down their arms."

But the statement was issued less than 24 hours after al-Maliki told reporters he intended to launch security operations against Mahdi Army strongholds in Baghdad, including Sadr City, home to some 2.5 million Shiites and the militia's largest base.

how marketers exploit the blind spots in your logic

with the coming/present recession this seemed an appropriate article:

The author has shares this information in a new book
"Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions."

Why you're a big sucker



Question: What's one of our biggest, most illogical weaknesses as consumers?

A. "Free" offers. When the price of something is said to be zero, it blinds us. We get so excited, we fail to realize that we'll end up paying in some way.

Question: For instance?

A. When I bought a car a few years ago, I debated between two choices. One was less practical but had a special deal going for it: free oil changes for three years. This sealed the decision for me. Later I realized that since I don't drive much, it was only $150 to $200 in savings. And in the end I was left with a less practical car.




Friday, April 4, 2008

re: the toronto 18

This article I am linking to here, was written by Beenish Gaya. She is sister to one of the accused in the Toronto 18 trial.
She brings an interesting perspective to the on going saga and touches on the media circus surrounding this whole matter. In her writing, she notes a number of issues, I have written about in this blog.

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2008/03/refresher-on-toronto-terror-ring.html

But she definitely brings a more personal feeling to this matter.

An interesting thought she shares is with regards to the abrupt ending of the preliminary hearing. Where she makes the statement
"This strategic move unfairly gives the government the ability to keep up the drama and prolong the climate of fear."

She makes a good point , because ,by doing so the state, through the actions of the crown were able to do just that, keep up the drama through the media. The reporting of the sudden and sensational end of the preliminary hearing, the subsequent re-arrests of the men , garnered a whole new round of extensive media coverage replete with speculation and innuendo, fueled by the snippets of information slowly making it's way through the mass media.


She also mentions something else, which I again wrote about here, just the other day.

The unbalanced and sensational media coverage of the case and Islam, the growing trend of Islamophobia and the resulting hatred against Muslims clearly disadvantage and prejudice the accused. In fact, those who are identified closely with Islam are easily associated with terrorism through guilt by association and the presumption of guilt.


I wrote about it this way , though.

It does leave one wondering if the accused can get a fair trial, anyway.
The atmosphere of prejudice, that abounds towards Muslims, is reminiscent of the hysteria of the witch hunts of old.

You know, witch hunts , state sanctioned or at the very least implicitly condoned by the state, in which panicked , hysterical, fearful people, who somehow believed they were morally superior, went off torturing and killing people whom they had already deemed guilty and worthy of such persecution.

One is very nearly waiting with baited breath to see if some crazy new "test" can be dreamt up or approved of, in which society will be able to decide which muslims are "terrorists".



Though I am not a Muslim, nor a follower of the religion of Islam, it is not hard to see what is going on at this time. Let's be upfront, what is going on is an extreme bias towards people of this ethnicity/culture/religion.


A different perspective then the one we will get via the mainstream coverage.

Parody of Justice: Toronto 18 Suspects undergo Trial by Media

more NATO news

It is interesting to note the varying headlines, with regards to this latest NATO summit.

If I had to call, the winner in this summit, it was Putin's Russia. With Mr Bush really going home very nearly empty handed.

The fact that NATO said no, to the inclusion of Georgia and the Ukraine is pretty significant.
The Bush government had wanted these countries included, and had indeed pushed for it to happen, though it was reported that , this push would lead to divsions with in NATO. Sure enough, the cracks did appear. Two big cracks were Germany and France.

Germany and France are among the western European countries that have spoken out against granting Ukraine a so-called Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step toward potential membership.

With good reason, as they could find themselves with out gas and oil.


So it would seem that other then the push for admission by the US, and of course the leaders of the two countries, that there wasn't alot of support for these NATO admissions.
There certainly was no support for this move from Russia.

In fact, Putin made this quite clear at a press conference when he said "A powerful bloc at our borders will be seen by Russia as a direct threat to our security,"

So it would seem that Russia, for now, is likely pleased with the results.
Russia did make a concession to NATO. President Putin agreed to let NATO ship non-lethal equipment and supplies through Russian territory to Afghanistan, where the alliance is engaged at this time , including Canada.


How about President Bush and the US?

The allies did give President Bush a symbolic boost heading into his own one-on-one talks with Putin this weekend at the Russian resort city of Sochi. The leaders approved a communique endorsing Bush's plan to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe despite Putin's vociferous objections, and called on the Russians to join an integrated system.

Well it is a symbolic boost , but what will it translate to down the road?


It is interesting to note this:

NATO turned off the microphones and ushered out reporters before Putin gave his opening address, even though they had been allowed to hear Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's speech at a separate session earlier in the day. Russian Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin had complained bitterly before the summit that the plan to not let reporters hear Putin's address amounted to Western censorship of unwelcome viewpoints.

Hopefully we can find Putin's speech and read what he said that could not be reported on.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NATO says no to Georgia and Ukraine

This has got to really annoy the US administration. This is something the Bush administration was really pushing for and for obvious reasons Russia was pushing against.
Now what ?

NATO nixes Georgia, Ukraine membership


French and German concern over Russia's reaction dashed the two former Soviet republics' hopes of being granted a "membership action plan" that bring them into the alliance within the next five to 10 years.

But alliance Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said NATO welcomes the countries' aspirations to join. "We agree today that these countries will become members of NATO," he said.




hey but at least their aspirations to join are welcomed? Which really means nothing.


Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were concerned about provoking Moscow, which has warned of a new East-West crisis if NATO takes in the two republics. Both are on Russia's southwestern border, across key east-west oil and gas routes.

In other words , France and Germany could be left with no oil or gas.

So that was definitely a smart move on their part , if they want to remain in office that is.

US airstrikes in Basra again.

Isn't it amazing a government that has been distancing itself from the attacks in Basra , is back launching airstrikes again?

According to John McCain, the last attack in Basra was Malikis' decision soley and he couldn't understand why he had taken these actions without "consulting" with the US.
Of course, given direct US involvement, as we continue to see, this is just spin.
It is also interesting to note who really runs the show.
Since McCain thinks that the allegedly democratic leadership of an alleged independant nation needs to "consult" with the US before taking action in it's own country, who is running the show in Iraq?

U.S. air strikes return in southern Iraq
4:43am EST

updated at
Thu Apr 3, 2008 6:40am EDT

Iraq's Sadr calls for million-strong march

It appears Sadr is calling for a march after a bombing campaign in Hilla & Basra.


In Basra, a U.S. air strike late on Wednesday destroyed a house.

Reuters television pictures showed a woman's body in the rubble and rescue workers searching for more dead. Police sources said at least three people had died including a mother, father and son, and three were seriously wounded. A U.S. military spokesman said the strike killed "one enemy".


Why is Basra so significant?

Basra, which controls both Iraq's only major port and oilfields that provide 80 percent of its export income, has seen a turf war between rival Shi'ite political parties.



The government said its crackdown last week was an attempt to impose order in the lawless city. But Sadr's followers and other opponents say it was a campaign by parties in Maliki's government to suppress rivals ahead of local elections.

so much for democracy.