Jailbreak Victoria

by Kristen Woodruff
Hi; I was released from custody a couple of days ago. It is hard to climb stairs while handcuffed and wearing shackles, I learned. But even such movements can be converted into a dance, if a strange and marginally painful one.
photo Pete Rockwell
I am the prison and the prisoner, the handcuff and the one being handcuffed. You can take the woman out of the tree, but you can't take the tree out of the woman. Still---jail is no place for a criminal, let alone one who has not yet been found guilty of any crime. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing to see so many people in the courtroom  looking out for me----so many angel-gods whose presence in the courtroom showed that love is stronger than anything else. Friendship is a force no judge, however corrupt, and no prison, however cruel, can ever defy.
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Mumbai: When Nine isn't Eleven

9 Is Not 11 (And November Isn't September)
by Arundhati Roy 
We've forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching "India's 9/11." And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we're expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it's all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, U.S. Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn't act fast to arrest the "bad guys," he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on "terrorist camps" in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India's 9/11.

But November isn't September, 2008 isn't 2001, Pakistan isn't Afghanistan, and India isn't America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.

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Middle East News Coverage: An interview with Press TV

Breaking the Stranglehold on Middle East News Coverage: An interview with Press TV correspondent Afshin Rattansi
by Joshua Frank
fshin Rattansi has for more than a decade worked in broadcast and print media around the world. In the UK, he has worked at The Guardian, the New Statesman, for every regional and national outlet of the BBC. In 1999, he helped to launch the developing world’s first global financial news and current affairs channel.
He is currently a news anchor for Press TV. Rattansi has written six novels including The Dream of the Decade - The London Novels. He recently spoke with Joshua Frank about Press TV.
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BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan

BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan
by bctc.com
Anyone interested in filing an objection to BC Transmission Corp's wide-ranging five year Pesticide Plan has less than one month to respond. The same Emerson who switched to the conservatives after election as a liberal, and 25 years ago advised then Premier Bennett, during that recession to cut public spending and is now Campbell's new economic advisor, also heads BC Transmission Corp.
Transmission lines go along and cross many waterways, and Emerson's forte is to put the public interest last, so we can expect cost-cutting measures in the implementation of this proposal which seeks to apply copper compounds to wooden structures including bridges, helipads, poles, and fences.
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Obama's "Brownies" in the Wings

Obama's "Way-to-Go, Brownie!" Moment?
by Greg Palast
as Barack Obama forgotten, "Way-to-go, Brownie"? Michael Brown was that guy from the Arabian Horse Association appointed by George Bush to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brownie, not knowing the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain from the south end of a horse, let New Orleans drown. Bush's response was to give his buddy Brownie a "way to go!" thumbs up.

We thought Obama would go a very different way. You'd think the studious Senator from Illinois would avoid repeating the Bush regime's horror show of unqualified appointments, of picking politicos over professionals. But here we go again.
Trial balloons lofted in the Washington Post suggest President-elect Obama is about to select Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. If not Klein, then draft-choice number two is Arne Duncan, Obama's backyard basketball buddy in Chicago.

Say it ain't so, President O.

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Obama's Conspiracy of Hope

Obama Conspiracy
by Mickey Z.
r. G.B. Shaw sez: “I often quote myself; it adds spice to my conversation.” With that concept in mind, I’ll remind you of something I said in a recent interview, re: St. Barack. Obama’s ascendancy, I posited, “is an excellent illustration of how the system handles dissent. A black face, a soothing voice and a vague message of change - all designed to keep the rabble pacified without changing anything at all.”

This, I submit, could be deemed the ultimate conspiracy theory.

The power elite, especially in the United States, share remarkably common interests and background. Corporate America is concerned solely with profits…period. Therefore, America’s foreign and domestic policy is logically geared towards that financial end—without any real accountability.
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Kagan’s Mythology of U.S. Exceptionalism

Robert Kagan’s Mythology of U.S. Exceptionalism
by Jim Miles
obert Kagan is a difficult subject to analyze.  At times his writing seems to be very honest and directly critical of U.S. intentions as well as being clearly honest about the sometimes “dangerous nation” aspect of its history and foreign policy.  Underlying it all however is his own patriotic blindness that ends up always supporting U.S. exceptionalism and uniqueness, always expressing the egocentric viewpoint that the U.S. is the indispensable nation.  The U.S. is not indispensable.
Nor is it a bastion of “democratic capitalism” that is the only way forward from here, here being a point in renewed history – according to Kagan – in which there are either “democrats” or “autocrats.”  Kagan does not see in shades of gray, countries and politicians are either one or the other.  His arguments, while seemingly coherent at certain points tend to dissolve into self-contradiction, the main contradiction being the solid criticism that “what you do speaks so loud I can’t hear what you say.” 
For all that Kagan tries to present as the positives of the U.S., of the underlying good intentions of the U.S. - at the same time recognizing its sometimes hard handed methods of interfering in other countries - he really does not understand that perceptions built on those hard handed actions over-ride all the rhetoric and jingoism about the greatness and indispensability of the U.S. as the world’s guide to a better world. 

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights @ 60: Canada in Retrograde

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights @ 60: Canadian Government Argues for Restricted View of Charter of Rights
n December 10, 2008 the Federal Court of Appeal will hear an appeal brought by Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association as part of the court challenge the two organizations launched in February 2007, seeking an end to the Canadian Forces’ practice of transferring detainees apprehended in Afghanistan into the custody of Afghan officials.
Notably, the Court will hear the appeal on International Human Rights Day, which this year marks the 60th Anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On a day governments around the world should be renewing and redoubling their commitment to universal human rights protection Canadian government lawyers will argue that Canada’s most important human rights standards, those enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, should be given narrow interpretation.
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Run of River: Private Power Fight on the Sunshine Coast

Wilderness Committee Wades into Private Power Fight on the Sunshine Coast
ancouver, BC - As the fight to stop the exponential growth of private hydro power projects across the province grows, a number of hotspots around the province have emerged. High on that list is the Sunshine Coast-Powell River region, which is home to over 180 river diversion applications  more than any other area in the province.

Wednesday December 10th is the first public hearing on an application by Stlixwim Hydro Corp for an environmental assessment certification for their “Stl’ixwim Renewable Energy Initiative” project. The public meeting is being co-hosted by Stlixwim Hydro Corp., and the BC government’s Environmental Assessment Office.
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Counting on Democracy: Coleman Franken Fight for Missing Votes

Coleman, Franken Spar Over Missing Ballots; Litigation Likely
by Jason Leopold
innesota’s still undecided senate race became a bit more dramatic Wednesday as the campaign of incumbent Republican candidate Norm Coleman objected to the way Minneapolis election officials have accounted for 133 ballots from a precinct that have been missing for a week.

Coleman’s campaign does not want the state canvassing board, the panel overseeing the recount between Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, to count the 133 ballots or use Election Day totals from the precinct in the overall recount. The precinct tallied 2,029 votes on Election Day. Coleman’s campaign said the canvassing board should use the vote tally from the hand recount, which is 1,896.

Franken would gain 46 net votes if the canvassing board uses the 2,029 vote total the Minneapolis precinct logged on Election Day. The ballots, which were inside a sealed envelope, disappeared last week. Local election officials spent three days searching for the ballots but their efforts were unsuccessful. They called off their search Monday.

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Gary Webb Remembered

We All Failed Gary Webb
by Robert Parry
ince Gary Webb’s suicide four years ago, I have written annual retrospectives about the late journalist’s important contribution to the historical record -- he forced devastating admissions from the CIA about drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan contra rebels under the protection of the Reagan administration in the 1980s. And each time I’ve written one of those stories, I have received e-mails attacking my acceptance of the fact that Webb committed suicide on the night of Dec. 9, 2004.
Some people want to believe that he was really assassinated by the CIA or some other government agency. But the evidence of his carefully planned suicide – as he suffered deep pain as a pariah in his profession who could no longer earn a living – actually points to something possibly even more tragic: Webb ended his life because people who should have supported his work simply couldn’t be bothered.
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Leaking Legacy: Canada's Ongoing Environmental Disaster

11 Million Litres a Day: The Tar Sands' Leaking Legacy
by EnvironmentalDefence.ca
or the first time, this report uses industry information to arrive at a conservative estimate of what the overall leakage from the tar sands tailings ponds is today, and also what it would likely be if proposed projects go ahead.

The results are staggering.

Already, the ponds are leaking over 11 million litres a day of contaminated water into the environment, which is equivalent to over 4 billion litres a year – enough to fill the Toronto Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) two and a half times.

And, should proposed projects go ahead on schedule, by 2012 this annual leakage rate would increase five-fold to 72 million litres a day, or over 25 billion litres a year – enough to fill the Skydome over 16 times

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Download the leakage calculation (118 kb)

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