Praise and Humour for a Sharp Shooting Death

Emotional Rescue: Praise for Sea Victory Could Presage Carnage
by Chris Floyd
Everyone is glad that Captain Richard Phillips emerged unscathed from his capture by the Somali pirates who seized his ship on its way to bring food aid to Kenya. But the nature of his rescue -- still shrouded in ambiguity -- is a troubling portent. And its potential aftermath could be catastrophic indeed.
Somali fishers forced into buccaneering

It is of course a harrowing business to be captured and held at gunpoint, and Phillips is to be lauded for his selfless courage in offering himself as a hostage in place of his crew. But despite the manifest difficulty and criminality of the situation, it is unlikely that his life was in imminent danger. Since the upsurge of piracy off the Somali coast began, there have been almost no fatalities in the raids, and so far every hostage taken by the pirates has been released unharmed.

What's more, as McClatchy reports, the pirates who had taken Phillips were apparently out of ammunition and adrift in shark-infested waters by the time U.S. Navy ships caught up with them. They offered to give Phillips back to the Americans in exchange for their own freedom -- but were shot dead instead.
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Deepak Chopra on British Columbia's Grizzly Bear Hunt

Deepak Chopra on British Columbia's Grizzly Bear Hunt
by Pacific Wild
Pacific Wild is dedicated to protecting Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. BC's provincial election is on May 12th. Tell the BC government how you feel about environmental issues that are important to you.
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Where Piracy Begins: Somalia's Desperate Defense

Analysis: Somalia Piracy Began in Response to Illegal Fishing and Toxic Dumping by Western Ships off Somali Coast
by Democracy Now!
President Obama vowed an international crackdown to halt piracy off the coast of Somalia Monday soon after the freeing of US cargo ship captain Richard Phillips, who had been held hostage by Somali pirates since last Wednesday. While the pirates story has dominated the corporate media, there has been little to no discussion of the root causes driving piracy. We speak with consultant and analyst Mohamed Abshir Waldo. In January, he wrote a paper titled “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?”
While the pirates story has dominated the corporate media, there has been little to no discussion of the root causes driving piracy. We speak with consultant and analyst Mohamed Abshir Waldo. In January, he wrote a paper titled “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?” 
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Slain Canadian Returns from Afghanistan

Slain Canadian Returns from Afghanistan
by C. L. Cook
The body of Canada's 117th killed soldier arrived at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton today. Trooper Karine Blais died Monday when the armoured vehicle she was in was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Shah Wali Kot district near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Trooper Karine Blais died Monday when the vehicle she was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot district. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera/DND)
The 21 year-old Blais, the CBC reports, was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, popularly known as the 'Van Doos,' based in Valcartier, Quebec. Four others in Blais' vehicle were wounded in the attack.
Trooper Blais came from Les Mechins, Quebec and she is the second female Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Her family issued a statement, released through the Canadian Forces, reading;
"You are our ray of sunshine and you will always be in our hearts. Your sense of humour and your vivacity will remain forever in our memories."
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Condi to do Calgary

Condoleezza Rice coming to Calgary
The former U.S. secretary of state is coming to Calgary. The University of Calgary said Wednesday its School of Public Policy will be formally launched at a gala event on May 13, with the keynote address being given by Condoleezza Rice, former U.S secretary of state.

"The School of Public Policy is honoured that Condoleezza Rice has agreed to present the keynote speech at our inaugural event," said Jack Mintz, director and chair of the new School of Public Policy and Palmer Chair in Public Policy. "There is no better way to emphasize the purpose of the school than to have someone with her level of practical and theoretical policy expertise present our vision to the community."

Rice is expected to talk about the issues facing North America from a global perspective and how public policy organizations can help shape the future solutions for North America in the global landscape.

The U of C said more than 400 tickets have already been sold for the event.
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Will Afghanistan Get Me a Job?

Will the War in Afghanistan Get Me a Job?
by Brave New Films
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters; we bring you Cost of War, part three of our Rethink Afghanistan documentary, which delves into the financial costs of this broadening war.

As we pay our tax bills, it seems an appropriate time to urge everyone to Rethink Afghanistan, a war that currently costs over $2 billion a month but hasn't made us any safer.
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First Among Equals: Israel's Racist in Chief

Israel’s Racist in Chief
by Chris Hedges
It was unthinkable, when I was based as a correspondent in Jerusalem two decades ago, that an Israeli politician who openly advocated ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Israeli-controlled territory, as well as forcing Arabs in Israel to take loyalty oaths or be forcibly relocated to the West Bank, could sit on the Cabinet.
The racist tirades of Jewish proto-fascists like Meir Kahane stood outside the law, were vigorously condemned by most Israelis and were prosecuted accordingly. Kahane’s repugnant Kach Party, labeled by the United States, Canada and the European Union as a terrorist organization, was outlawed by the Israeli government in 1988 for inciting racism.
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Bush Six Face Spanish Indictment

The Bush Six to Be Indicted
by Scott Horton
Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo.
Torture proponent and former U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales one of six charged

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast.
Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
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The Bay's Battle of the Bag

The Bay vs. The Bag
by Free Range Studios
The bag’s got some powerful allies in the plastic industry who have been suing Bay Area residents to stop these bans. But these industry stooges are no match for a Free Range movie campaign!


We’ve teamed up with the crusaders at Save the Bay to create The Bay vs. The Bag campaign. Check out our two-minute movie that will make you say: “How’d they do that?!” Then take action to say no to the plastic bag industry.

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Witchhunt! The British Charities Commission and Viva Palestina

Why? Viva Palestina letter to Charities Commission from George Galloway
by George Galloway
To the Charity Commission; I have been travelling for many weeks in North Africa and the Middle East, Europe, and North America. I have returned to a London address I seldom visit to find a blizzard of correspondence from you. Your correspondence, when read together, as I have just done, seems to represent a wildly disproportionate and inappropriate reaction to our recent delivery of aid to the suffering Palestinians in Gaza, and must raise the question: Why?
The peremptory letters from you, and by you I mean the Charity Commission, are full of bluster and threat, issuing absurd deadlines to people it does not seem to occur to you are not even receiving your letters, either because they are working abroad (Ms Razuki and Mr Al-Mukhtar), travelling abroad on high profile political business (myself), or you are writing to them at the wrong address.

In my own case, Easter Saturday opened with your, latest, threat to go before a High Court judge in a bid to force me to appear before you. That will not be necessary. I look forward to telling you to your faces what I think of you. Which is this.
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Panetta's Tortured Defense of CIA Practices

Panetta's Defense of CIA Interrogators Undercut by New DoJ Disclosures
by Jason Leopold
CIA Director Leon Panetta has consistently stated over the past several months that agency interrogators who participated in the Bush administration's sadistic torture practices should not be subject to "any investigation, let alone prosecution," because they were following legal advice provided by the Justice Department.
In March, Panetta said he agreed to cooperate with a Senate Intelligence Committee "review" and "study" on CIA interrogation methods on the condition that he received assurances from committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Republican Co-Chair Kit Bond (R-Missouri) that they would not attempt to "punish those who followed guidance from the Department of Justice."

"That is only fair," Panetta said. "Their goal is to draw lessons for future policy decisions" and [they] won't seek to punish those who participated in the program.
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The Trillion Dollar War: Going Big with Obama

No Coincidences in Iraq
by Dahr Jamail | T r u t h o u t
Following George W. Bush's example of keeping war funding off the books, President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion in additional "emergency" funding for the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which, if approved, would bring the 2009 funding to around $150 billion and the overall costs of the two wars to nearly $1 trillion.

Obama was a harsh critic of the Bush administration tactic of avoiding placing the costs of both occupations in the overall military budget, yet now he is doing the same. This latest request is in addition to a $534 billion military budget the administration unveiled earlier in the week.
That budget was for fiscal 2010, and was an increase over the last Bush administration military budget from 2009.
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