Wrongfully Convicted

Wrongfully Convicted
By Tim Pheotist
Do you feel like you’re living life on parole these days?

Reading the newspaper – watching the news – it’s almost like daily visits to a probation officer where one might be repeatedly reminded of one’s transgressions and directed never to even think about repeating the offense.
 
What’s the offense?
 
Living off the earnings of honest labour. How do you plead?
 
You’ve committed no crime, of course. You are wrongfully accused.
 
But you’re forgetting that a new crime has been invented. The crime?
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Save our Rivers, Save our Salmon

Vote to Protect Wild Salmon on May 12
by Save Our Rivers Society and Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Save Our Rivers Society and Watershed Watch Salmon Society are pleased to present this 3 minute preview of an upcoming documentary on the weight of scientific evidence against open-cage salmon farming.

Over the past several months producer Damien Gillis has been traveling up and down the coast, interviewing some of Canada's top 
fish biologists to share with the public the enormous threats to wild salmon from industrial feedlots jamming our ecologically sensitive coastal waters. 
 
Experts such as Alexandra Morton, Otto Langer, Drs. John Volpe, Gordon Hartman, and Craig Orr, First Nations leaders and eco-tourism operators all voiced their grave concerns about the industry - and our governments' failure to protect wild salmon from sea lice and myriad other impacts from farms.  The video is a reminder of the importance of our upcoming election on May 12 - an opportunity for all British Columbians to vote to protect wild salmon. 
 
 
 
See the Video!
 
 
 
We need to send a clear message that open-cage salmon farming cannot be allowed to continue killing wild salmon, the lynchpin of our ecosystems, coastal economies and communities.
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Iraq: Groundwork Laid for Renewed Chaos

Laying the Groundwork for Violence
by Dahr Jamail  | T r u t h o u t
Throughout history, those who collaborate with the occupiers of their country tend to end up hung out to dry, or dead. The occupation of Iraq is no different - collaboration and the poison fruits that come of it are on full display for the history books once again. Only now, the rapidity with which this is happening is staggering.

On May 5, the Iraqi military killed Basim Mohammed and detained his brother. Mohammed was a member of the Sahwa, the 100,000-strong Sunni militia composed mostly of former resistance fighters that the US created in order to use them to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as paying them off to draw down the number of attacks against occupation forces.

The Sahwa, who were supposed to be given government jobs either in security or in civil services, have been betrayed. Instead of being given the promised jobs, they have been consistently targeted by the Iraqi military, and at times the US military, which has left them vulnerable as well to attacks from al-Qaeda. As a result, they are walking off their security jobs for lack of pay, and have largely ceased their military operations against al-Qaeda. The predictable result is what we have been witnessing over the last months - a slow but steady increase in the number of attacks against Iraqi and US forces and a dramatic rise in the spectacular car bomb attacks in largely Shia areas that kill scores at a time.
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Death from the Air: Canadian Forces Lobby for Bombers

Action Alert: Stop CF-18 warplanes from being deployed to Afghanistan
by Ceasefire.ca
As you may have heard on the news, up to 100 Afghan civilians are feared dead as a result of U.S. air strikes. Now, I am writing to alert you of a potential major escalation of Canada’s war in Afghanistan: Canadian fighter-bomber warplanes.

Right now, the military is engaging in a lobbying campaign to have a squadron of our CF-18 Hornet fighter bombers deployed to Afghanistan. The planes would be used to attack suspected insurgents and to fight with Canadian and U.S. troops engaged in search and destroy missions. But they will also kill untold numbers of Afghan civilians in these attacks.

The deployment of CF-18 fighter bombers would be a major increase in our combat role in Afghanistan, and should be opposed by Canadians. Please send your letter to Prime Minister Harper right away. Bombing runs by similar warplanes used by the United States and other Western forces have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children. As well, U.S. pilots have already killed five Canadian soldiers.
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Clinton's Lost Promise

Clinton’s Unpromising Start
by Ramzy Baroud
Incongruous. One can hardly think of a more suited term to describe the new US administration's approach to peacemaking in the Middle East. Though there is little evidence that previous US administrations had genuinely attempted to play a balanced role in forging a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians, many hoped -- and a few still hope -- that Barack Obama's administration would bring about new standards.

However, if recent comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffice as a general indication of the administration's Middle East policy, then little change is on the horizon.

Clinton told US legislators 23 April that the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was Tehran; that without getting tough on Iran, Israel could not be expected to pursue peace with the Palestinians. "The two go hand in hand," she emphasised. What a baffling approach to peacemaking. In order for peace to prevail, Israel should engage Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority in "discussions" aimed at inspiring the isolation of Iran, for reasons entirely pertinent to US interests and Israeli "security".
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Army Experience: Teaching Kids Killing is Fun!

Army Experience Center bows to protest
by John Grant - Veterans For Peace Chapter 31, Philadelphia
The $12 million marketing experiment in brand-selling the US Army to Philadelphia youth and adults at the Franklin Mills Mall was forced to shut down for the afternoon on Saturday, May 2nd. Over two hundred protesters -- many from Washington DC, New York and other out of town locations -- expressed their outrage at tax dollars being spent to seduce teenagers to join the Army with violent video games and human-target shooting simulators.

Protesters gathered at Saint Luke's United Church Of Christ a mile south of the Franklin Mills Mall on Knights Road in Northeast
Philadelphia. There were speeches by Gold Star mother Sue Niederer and others, plus the reading of an eloquent Criminal Complaint
directed at both the Army Experience Center and the Simon Property Group, the owner of the Mall that rents space to the Army next to the mini Las Vegas game emporium Dave & Busters. The Army Experience Center features dozens of video stations available to young teenagers to play a host of violent video games like "America's Army," which comes in various versions, all designed around a mission that involves simulated first-person shooting with an automatic weapon directed at human targets.

Members of Philadelphia VFP Chapter 31 were joined by VFP members from the Long Island chapter, in the photo below in front of Dave & Busters. VFP members Phil Reiss and Louise Legun from Lehigh Valley were there, as was Ann Wright and VFP Board Members Elliot Adams and Patrick McCann. VFP member Bill Perry was there with his Delaware Valley Veterans For America group. At least two IVAW members were part of the march.
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How Wall Street Is Fighting Back And Winning

Wall Street on the Warpath to Stop New Regulations
by Danny Schechter
Dick Durbin knows his way around the Senate. He’s been there a long time, long enough to know how things really work. Over the years, the man from Illinois has come to realize that it’s not the elected officials who are in charge. Last week, he said it was the bankers “who run the place” acknowledging that Senators may be in office, but not necessarily in power.

Usually, the people who pull the strings stay in the background to avoid too much public exposure. They rely on lobbyists to do their bidding. They prefer to work in the shadows. They may back certain politicians, but coming from a world of credit default swaps as they do, they hedge their bets by putting money on all the horses.

They have so much influence because they have been reengineering the American economy for decades through “financialization,” a process by which banks and financial institutions gradually came to dominate economic and political decision-making. Kevin Phillips, a one time Reagan advisor and commentator, says our deepest problem is “the ascendancy of finance in national policymaking (as well as in the gross domestic product, and the complicity of politicians who really don’t want to talk about it.”

Curiously, despite the journalists like Bill Moyers and Arianna Huffinton who have been blowing the whistle on the role of the “banksters” in our political life, criticizing the Republicans and Democrats who deregulated the financial system, this issue seems to float above the heads of most of the public, much of the press, and even the activist community more drawn to punishing the torture inflicted on a few by a former Administration than the economic duress being imposed on the majority of Americans by a minority of the super rich.
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Iraq: Battleground Falluja '09

Combat Operations in Fallujah
by Dahr Jamail | t r u t h o u t
Indicative of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, on May 1 the US military reported the death of a Naval petty officer who was killed "on April 30 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq." The Department of Defense report went on to explain that the sailor "was deployed with an East Coast based Navy SEAL team." That same day, the military announced the deaths of two marines "killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces here April 30."
 
Woman gestures toward the wreckage of a car destroyed in a car bomb explosion in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Iraq Wednesday, April 29, 2009
 
The dateline for the latter press release is "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq." Apparently, all is not well in Fallujah and al-Anbar province. The US military, having met the fiercest resistance throughout their occupation of Iraq in these areas, is once again conducting combat operations there.
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Gordo's Great BC Hydro Heist

Great BC Hydro Heist
by MoveForwardBC.ca
MoveForwardBC.ca is an initiative of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (COPE 378).

After eight years of member-driven activism and advocacy in the face of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals aggressive and punitive attacks on fundamental social values, COPE 378 is using the coming election to fight back.

 
 
 
 
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Making Sex Constitutional

Sex workers in the midst of constitutional lawsuits
by Diane Walsh
Sex workers in two provinces are challenging Canada’s solicitation laws in different ways but with a common desire—to work and live with greater dignity.  In the province of Ontario, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case is well underway and is based out of Toronto.  The suit is being handled by well-known activist lawyer Alan Young.  As he’s an Osgoode Hall Law professor vital case preparatory work is being performed by articling students.  

The calendar is marked for October 6, 2009.  The Ontario Superior Court is scheduled to hear what’s become of this on-going constitutional challenge that has the aim to strike down three sections of the Criminal Code.  These include: prohibitions on keeping a bawdyhouse, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purposes of prostitution.  

In British Columbia it’s clear that the action is moving at a much slower pace. A judicial roadblock has been put in the way. On December 15 2008, Supreme Court Justice W. F. Ehrcke of British Columbia refused to proceed to hear the claims brought forward by the plaintiffs which are, Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United against Violence Society and Sheryl Kiselbach.
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Brand Obama

Buying Brand Obama
by Chris Hedges
Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East.
 
Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.

What, for all our faith and hope, has the Obama brand given us? His administration has spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street and insolvent banks in a doomed effort to reinflate the bubble economy, a tactic that at best forestalls catastrophe and will leave us broke in a time of profound crisis.
 
Brand Obama has allocated nearly $1 trillion in defense-related spending and the continuation of our doomed imperial projects in Iraq, where military planners now estimate that 70,000 troops will remain for the next 15 to 20 years. Brand Obama has expanded the war in Afghanistan, including the use of drones sent on cross-border bombing runs into Pakistan that have doubled the number of civilians killed over the past three months.
 
Brand Obama has refused to ease restrictions so workers can organize and will not consider single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. And Brand Obama will not prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, including the use of torture, and has refused to dismantle Bush’s secrecy laws or restore habeas corpus.

Brand Obama offers us an image that appears radically individualistic and new. It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country. Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different. Brand Obama does not threaten the core of the corporate state any more than did Brand George W. Bush.
 
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Gaza Tales: Aftermath # 8

Palestine-Israel: Aftermath (8) Life is blind
by PCHR
In this series of personal testimonies, PCHR looks at the aftermath of Israel’s 23 day offensive on the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing impact it is having on the civilian population.


Words by Malian/PCHR
Mahmoud before and after the attack that claimed his sight

Mahmoud

Mahmoud Mattar spent his 15th birthday in February this year, lying in the intensive care unit of Egypt’s Sheikh Zayid hospital. He is one of the 1,606 children who were injured during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza, some of who sustained horrific disabilities, head and spinal injuries, facial disfigurement, burns and amputation.

On Wednesday 7 January 2009, Mahmoud Mattar, then 14, was struck by a rocket near his home in Sheikh Radwan, Gaza City, that left him permanently blind and with extensive injuries. It was around 09:30 in the morning and Mahmoud was at home with his mother and siblings when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at al-Taqwa mosque, 150 metres away.

Mahmoud ran to see what had happened, and shortly afterwards a second missile hit the scene, killing two 15 year old boys, including Abdullah Juda, one of Mahmoud’s school friends. Mahmoud’s uncle, Nahed Mattar, 43, went to find his nephew while people gathered in the area.

Just as Nahed reached out to grab Mahmoud, a third rocket hit. “I had gone to find Mahmoud and bring him home,” said Nahed. “I saw the two boys who had been killed and their bodies were dismembered. People were trying to evacuate them because ambulances were unable to reach the area and the mosque had been destroyed, with just a minaret left standing.:

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