Vancouver 2010 and the Coventry Declaration: "RCMP: Play Fair!"

Coventry Declaration approved by Play the Game delegates
by Play the Game
The Coventry Declaration was approved by conference delegates at Play the Game 2009, the sixth world communications conference on sport and society. The declaration calls upon the Canadian Government and Olympic authorities and to state their commitment to ensuring all Canadians and those visiting Canada will have their fundamental right to security of the person and freedom of expression protected as guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The audience at Play the Game was taken by surprise in the last session of the conference when the Canadian professor Chris Shaw revealed that he had experienced trouble entering Britain on his way to speak in Coventry. Upon his arrival Chris Shaw was held back by British authorities and questioned for an hour about the purpose of his visit.

Chris Shaw, who works as a professor of ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia, has written the book “Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games” in which he questions the value of hosting Olympic events such as the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in Canada.
In the subsequent debate, his compatriot and investigative reporter Laura Robinson added that in the first week of June, Chris Shaw had been confronted by two police offers in Vancouver who questioned him about his book, presumably because they found parts in it that they did not like. Chris Shaw confirmed this incident.

This led Laura Robinson to suggest that a declaration in favour of the legal right of Chris Shaw and anybody else to speak freely about the Vancouver Olympics.
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Pandemic: British Columbia and Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus

How Long Can B.C. Avoid ISA?
by Alexandra Morton
Dear Editor; Mary Ellen Walling has tried to make light of the risk of ISA virus entering BC waters.

I would like to ask the BC salmon farmers to stand behind this statement and test every one of their fish farms today for the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus and report back to the BC public.

This seems a small request given the scope of impact of this virus in Chile.  ISA virus, like bird and swine flu, is easily tracked and if it does arrive we will know where it came from and who brought it here.  The fish farm industry published several articles earlier this year on the high risk of this Global epidemic coming to BC: “How long can B.C. avoid ISA?”  ISA (Intrafish Jan 12, 2009)

“Far from coming under control the virus continuously alludes preventative measures, passing through the safety net of the most stringent control measures in the world. Aquaculture Fish Jefo Nutrition Inc. Fish Vet Group “  (The FishSite attached)

This prompted me to write the Minister of Fisheries requesting the BC border be closed to import of farm fish embryos (eggs).  The Minister erroneously responded that ISA does not travel in the eggs (see attached), when scientific publications are showing the opposite

If DFO is not going to take steps to protect the eastern Pacific from this virus, it will have to be up to the fish farmers.  I would suggest it would be cheaper for the industry to make the tests now, destroy any infected stocks, and close the border immediately than to risk being found responsible for an epidemic that could alter this coast forever.  If neither DFO nor the fish farmers are going to do this I invite the BC public to contact me and we will test for this virus ourselves.

Standing by,

Alexandra Morton  
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Gaza, a Boy, and a Leg

A Boy and an Artificial Leg: A Gaza Story
by Ramzy Baroud
His room is ready; the walls have fresh paint and my kids prepared a basket of chocolates and other treats to place beside his bed. They hung a poster on his door that has been decorated with colored pens and glitter that says “Welcome Shobhi!” I have taught them that “Sobhi” actually means the “morning light”, and that during his visit, he will not be treated as a visitor, but as a brother. They have compiled a list of fun places to visit, parks, the beach and maybe a ferry ride.

Two weeks ago, my family, after months of anticipation, were scheduled to be the host family for a very special and unusual exchange program for kids from Gaza to visit the US. Our host child, Sobhi was schedule to arrive on May 30th.

My family was excited and a little nervous, I noticed my wife taking every opportunity to share the news of the arrival of our special visitor. We call Sobhi’s family from time to time, realizing that sending a child off to a foreign land to live with a strange family can be unsettling for a parent. But I think our occasional conversations are putting everyone at ease.
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Veggie Pride: The Heart of the Matter

Veggie Pride
by Mickey Z.
Author of No Innocent Bystanders, CPR for Dummies, and 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know, speaks to the crowd at the 2009 Veggie Pride Parade on why just being vegan is not enough.
Want more MZ?
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Akwesasne: "OPP Attack Tyendinaga Supporters"

by MNN
It was one year since two grandmothers were brutally attacked by CBSA border agents at Akwesasne.  One was almost killed by a trauma induced heart attack.  We are trying to anticipate the strategy of the colonists.   

These corporatist forces recently attacked our brothers in the Amazon rainforest.  Helicopters flew overhead and shot and bombed them, massacring over a hundred unarmed untouched natives who still live in the rainforest, cut off from modern life, as their ancestors always did.  With only spears for weapons they weren't a threat. Their bodies were taken away and the blood was quickly cleaned up.

Here, the plan is to create situations where Mohawks are falsely seen as unruly or as terrorists.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to declare he has no choice but take control of our "reserves", put us under third party management, expropriate our communities and hand them over to his corporate backers.  He wants to hand over multi billion dollars of real estate to them. 

Akwesasne would be turned over to outsiders for resorts, casinos, condos and creating a playground for the elite.  Cornwall Island would become part of a NAFTA super highway complex.  We would be removed.  An American would be able to come into Canada without having to pass through a border checkpoint.  Kahnawake would become part of Montreal.  Six Nations would become part of surrounding municipalities.  Harper has to do this before he gets kicked out of office. 

This morning at 6:45 am the OPP came to the Skyway Bridge which the Mohawks of Tyendinaga had never closed down.  They slowed down traffic giving out information to support the Mohawks of Akwesasne.  The OPP and the band council Mohawk Police shut it down and kept the public off the bridge.  A squad of 150 to 200 cruisers and SUVs came in and practically massacred our people.  There was blood everywhere, which was quickly mopped by the OPP, using fire hoses to immediately wash down any evidence. 
14 were hurt.              
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From Personal to Political and Back

From the personal to the political-and back again By William Bowles
by William Bowles
The last few months have not been pleasant for me, wrestling with my own inner demons. Yeah, we Brits are not meant to be open about our inner selves, stiff upper lip and all that crap, and, in the scheme of things there are more than enough demons stalking the planet without me adding to them.

That said, what the fuck! Where do you think our demons come from in the first place! So in the midst of all the mayhem around us, here I am struggling to write, something that has up until now anyway, been the most natural thing in the world for me to do.

That such an innate act, that of creating should be denied to me, came as a shock. Denied my own voice, I felt imprisoned inside my own skull. But even writing about such things feels like an indulgence, after all who wants to read about my personal problems when the world is going to hell in a hand-basket?

The phrase ‘from the personal the political’ comes to mind, or am I just fishing for a hook? But this is at least a step forward, I mean actually committing pen to paper and assuming it actually ends up online.

So what gives?
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Israeli War Crimes Against Children During Operation Cast Lead

by Stephen Lendman
Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented the toll on Gaza's children and published it in May. It did so "in response to the unprecedented number of children who were killed (and injured) by (the Israeli Defense Forces) during the offensive on Gaza." According to international standards, the Convention on the Rights of the Child's (CRC) definition was used to apply to anyone under age 18.

PCHR reviewed IDF killing of Gaza's children since the beginning of the Second Intifada in September 2000, then focused on the 313 youth deaths during the recent conflict. Its evidence comes from eye-witness accounts of the willful targeting of civilians, including women and children. Also covered are the psychological scars and "alarming scale of physical injuries" leaving some children blind and many others (as well as adults) permanently disabled by the loss of limbs and psychological trauma.

PCHR's report bears testimony to Israel's contempt for international laws, its imperial agenda, culture of violence, disdain for peace, genocidal intentions, disparagement of Arabs and Islam, and its scorn for Palestinian lives and welfare.

PCHR presented 13 case studies in its report. Briefly discussed below, they represent a small fraction of the many hundreds killed and thousands more grievously harmed.

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The Cure for Layoffs: Fire the Boss!

by Naomi Klein
In 2004, we made a documentary called The Take about Argentina's movement of worker-run businesses. In the wake of the country's dramatic economic collapse in 2001, thousands of workers walked into their shuttered factories and put them back into production as worker cooperatives. Abandoned by bosses and politicians, they regained unpaid wages and severance while re-claiming their jobs in the process.

As we toured Europe and North America with the film, every Q&A ended up with the question, "that's all very well in Argentina, but could that ever happen here?"

Well, with the world economy now looking remarkably like Argentina's in 2001 (and for many of the same reasons) there is a new wave of direct action among workers in rich countries. Co-ops are once again emerging as a practical alternative to more lay-offs. Workers in the U.S. and Europe are beginning to ask the same questions as their Latin American counterparts: Why do we have to get fired? Why can't we fire the boss? Why is the bank allowed to drive our company under while getting billions of dollars of our money?

Tomorrow night (May 15) at Cooper Union in New York City, we're taking part in a panel that looks at this phenomenon, called Fire the Boss: The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago.

We'll be joined by people from the movement in Argentina as well as workers from the famous Republic Windows and Doors struggle in Chicago.

It's a great way to hear directly from those who are trying to rebuild the economy from the ground up, and who need meaningful support from the public, as well as policy makers at all levels of government. For those who can't make it out to Cooper Union, here's a quick round up of recent developments in the world of worker control. Add a comment
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Faith-based Stimulus and the HHS

by Jayne Lyn Stahl

With all the out of business signs popping up everywhere you look lately, who would have thought that the Office of Faith-based Initiatives is not only thriving, but has relocated to Health and Human Services.

Lost in the shuffle of manufactured controversy over the Sotomayor confirmation is another important nomination. Alexia Kelley, co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and considered by some to be a "dissident Catholic," is President Obama's pick to head the "faith office" at HHS, which raises the question--why do we need a "faith office" at HHS in the first place?

There are some who suggest quid pro quo -- Ms. Kelley, a loyal Obama supporter, has been repaid in kind with this nomination, but is this not more a case of quo than quid — status quo, that is.

Clearly, the president is trying to appease the religious right and, at the same time, reify his pro-choice agenda, with this nomination. But, what happens to a ship, or airplane, when all of the weight is moved to the center — it sinks faster.

It would appear that Obama's gift of a stimulus package to faith-based groups, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is baggage left over from the Bush years. Yet, once again, we must stand by and watch science, and medical mandates, placed in the hands of those whose primary identity is inseparable from their religious affiliation.

In fairness, Ms. Kelley has said her goal is not to eliminate abortion, per se, nor would she work with those who wish to overturn Roe v. Wade. That said, the group she co-founded solidly opposed choice, and her advocacy of what she calls "abortion reduction" makes one shudder at the thought of a possible quota of allowed procedures for federally funded clinics. After all, the former faith based group, along with their chieftain, George W. Bush, denied tax dollars to any federally funded clinic that did not promote abstinence-only.

Ms. Kelley is also said to oppose contraception, and may indeed be among those trying to convince themselves, and the rest of us, that life begins not only at conception, but at the moment of penetration. Add a comment
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Tomgram: Michael Klare, Goodbye to Cheap Oil

by Tom Engelhardt

Buckle your seatbelt, you may be going nowhere — and it could be a very bumpy ride. Oil futures have just passed $71 for a barrel of "light, sweet crude oil" (sweet for energy stocks, anyway) on its way to... well, we don't know exactly where, but it won't feel good, not at the pump and not in the economy either. In the Midwest and scattered other locations, gas prices are already at the edge of $3.00 a gallon and the height of summer isn't even upon us.

Much of this sudden rise has been fueled by OPEC production cuts, investor dreams of a global economic recovery (and so a heightened desire for energy), and the enthusiasm of market speculators. Explain it as you will, the price of crude, which hit a low of about $32 a barrel in December, as the planet seemed to meltdown economically, has doubled in recent months.

Oil is like the undead. Just when you think it's gone down for the count, it rises from the grave ravenous. As Clifford Krauss of the New York Times reported recently, gas prices have risen 41 days in a row, and yet the price at the pump is still "lagging behind the increase in the price of oil." According to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, consumers are now shelling out one billion dollars a day to keep their tanks full. (It was $1.5 billion last summer when the price of a barrel of oil hit an astronomical $147.)

Whether this is the energy version of irrational exuberance and a mini-bubble to be burst as further economic bad times hit or the reality of our near future, sooner or later, far worse is in store on the energy front, as Michael Klare, author of Rising Powers, Shrinking World: The New Geopolitics of Energy, makes clear. But don't listen to him. Instead, check out his latest energy scoop — the real news he found buried in the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy, whose seers have put irrational exuberance in mothballs and brought out the sackcloth and ashes. Tom

It's Official — The Era of Cheap Oil Is Over - Energy Department Changes Tune on Peak Oil

by Michael T. Klare

Every summer, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy issues its International Energy Outlook (IEO) — a jam-packed compendium of data and analysis on the evolving world energy equation. For those with the background to interpret its key statistical findings, the release of the IEO can provide a unique opportunity to gauge important shifts in global energy trends, much as reports of routine Communist Party functions in the party journal Pravda once provided America's Kremlin watchers with insights into changes in the Soviet Union's top leadership circle.

As it happens, the recent release of the 2009 IEO has provided energy watchers with a feast of significant revelations. By far the most significant disclosure: the IEO predicts a sharp drop in projected future world oil output (compared to previous expectations) and a corresponding increase in reliance on what are called "unconventional fuels" — oil sands, ultra-deep oil, shale oil, and biofuels.

So here's the headline for you: For the first time, the well-respected Energy Information Administration appears to be joining with those experts who have long argued that the era of cheap and plentiful oil is drawing to a close. Almost as notable, when it comes to news, the 2009 report highlights Asia's insatiable demand for energy and suggests that China is moving ever closer to the point at which it will overtake the United States as the world's number one energy consumer. Clearly, a new era of cutthroat energy competition is upon us. Add a comment
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Enraged About Corporate Greed? Kidnap Your Boss

by Christopher Ketchum

The French have taken to bossnapping — "sequestering" their bosses while keeping them comfortable and safe — to protest economic unfairness.

In answer to their own economic crisis, the French have taken up "bossnapping."

Here's how it works: An executive of a company, perhaps the CEO, stands before a group of his employees, puts his hands together, sighs, and then, with regret as smooth as brie, explains the fact that downsizing is needed to meet the exigencies of economic crisis (read: the preservation of profits in downturn).

The employees get pissed off — and bum-rush the boss. They trap him in his office, barricade the door, feed him espresso and baguette, and demand a fair deal.It's a sort of soft-touch storming of the Bastille.

And lo, it works. A few weeks back, this happened at the FM Logistics Co. in Woippy, France, as 125 workers charged into a meeting of five company managers and held the poor creatures hostage for a day. At least 475 workers at FM Logistics, which is owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., were facing the specter of "redundancy" as HP sought to move its printer packaging operations to the cheaper labor pool in Malaysia.
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Where's the Anger as the Wheels Come Off Obama's and the Democrats' Recovery Program?

by Dave Lindorff

My bank, a small regional institution that was not involved in sub-prime lending, and that was not a recipient of any TARP bailout money, cut off my home equity line of credit two weeks ago. They did it abruptly, with no notice—I only discovered it had happened when I tried to get a $500 advance from it to cover a payment I was making on my credit card. When I asked what was going on, the local branch manager informed me that “we are closing out a lot of credit lines while we reassess the value of houses in this region, which have been falling.”

Now, in my particular case this was ridiculous. First of all, in our county, just north of Philadelphia, property prices have been static, but not falling. Furthermore, I had taken out a standard $160,000 mortgage 12 years ago, with a substantial down payment, and it was now paid down to $60,000, and my balance on the home equity credit line was pretty small, so there was no way that we were in any way “under water”—in fact our equity in our home is much higher than it was 12 years ago and represents well over 50% of the value of the property.

The bank informed me that it was no problem. I could simply take out a new credit line, at no charge, and transfer the balance on the current line over to the new one. The only hitch: Instead of paying one percent over prime as I had been, I would be paying nearly 4 percent over prime on that balance, effectively doubling the cost of borrowing money.

This kind of thing is going on all across America, as banks that once spread around credit like a Philadelphia Democratic Party ward captain on Election Day, start tightening the screws on individuals and on small businesses.

While the Obama administration and the Treasury and the Fed are bulldozing funds into the coffers of the big banks, allegedly to get them to lend, the banks, from the largest to the smallest, are pulling back, afraid that borrowers will end up going bust on them--and with good reason, given the high and rising level of unemployment So much for economic stimulus efforts. Add a comment
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