Unhappy Returns: Coming Full Circle in Iraq

Full Circle
by Dahr Jamail
Among things that have not changed in Iraq is one that I hope never changes. After a four-year-long absence, each of my meetings here with former friends and fresh acquaintances seems to suggest that adversity has taken its toll on everything except Iraqi hospitality and Iraqi generosity. I am awestruck to find the warmth of the Iraqi people miraculously undiminished through grief, loss and chaos.

I first met A (name withheld) in 2004 during my second trip to Iraq. He had accompanied Sheikh Adnan, a mutual friend, when the latter came to visit me in Baghdad. Several visits had followed. The two men would come to my hotel laden with delicious home-cooked meals, of which the first morsel had to be eaten by me, as per their custom. Their visits and the times we spent together brought me an experience of love and brotherhood, the type of which I had rarely known before. More significantly, those occasions had healed and sustained me as I grappled with the guilt and raw horrors of the occupation the government of my country had subjected their land to.

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You, Me and the Security Prosperity Partnership

You, Me and the SPP
by Paul Manly
Paul Manly’s latest film ‘You, Me, and the S.P.P: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule’ will premiere at 7pm on Thursday, February 5th in the main drama theatre in building 310 at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. It is also scheduled to screen at the World Community Film Festival in Courtenay on February 7th and at the World Community Film Festival in Vancouver at Langara on February 14th and in other cities as part of the traveling World Community Film Festival. Manly starts the film with random interviews on the street with two questions “Have your heard about the SPP, the Security Prosperity Partnership?” and “Have you heard about TILMA the Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement?”
 
 
 
 
 
 
None of the people he asks have heard anything about these two agreements and so his next question is why not? Unable to obtain interviews with any government ministers responsible for these agreements or with any other proponents, Manly sets out to find out what all the silence is about and what these agreements will mean to the citizens of Canada.
 
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Paul Manly, J9, Riki Ott, Zoe Blunt Feb. 9, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
This week: Nanaimo filmmaker Paul Manly asking, "What have you heard about the SPP?"; Victoria Street Newz publisher, Janine Bandcroft watching Victoria's shelter crisis; Salmon fisher, marine biologist, environmental defender, and author, Riki Ott on the long fight for justice in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster and the introduction of the 28th amendment to the constitution of the United States: the separation of corporation and state; and Victoria-based activist and writer, Zoe Blunt on this week's 'The Joy of Dissent and Speaking Truth to Power' event.
 
 
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com


 
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America Latina: Dirty Business, Dirty Wars

Dirty Business, Dirty Wars: U.S.-Latin American Relations in the 21st Century      
by Cyril Mychalejko     
Much is being made across the political spectrum in the United States about Washington's waning influence in Latin America. The region has seen an emergence of left and center-left presidents voted into office, many as a result of budding social movements growing democracy from the grassroots.
 
Some pundits and analysts are suggesting that this phenomenon is occurring because of the Bush Administration's perceived neglect of the region. Rather, what is happening is blowback from Washington's continued meddling in the economic and political affairs of an area arrogantly referred to as the United States’ "backyard."
 
Latin America's growing unity in rejecting the Washington Consensus remains fragile in the face of U.S. opposition. Washington has been quietly using the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, and a neo-cold war ideology to institutionalize a militarism in the region that risks returning us to the not so far off days of "dirty wars."
 
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Thankful: What Real Jews Feel Towards the Muslim People

Something To Tell The World!
by Rabbi Weiss
Animated message from Rabbi Weiss, expressing what a real Jew feels towards the Arab and Muslim people of the world!
 
 
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Families of Cole Survivors Not Alone in Wait for Justice

Families of U.S.S. COLE Sailors Unhappy with Delayed Justice Aren't the Only Sufferers
by Sherwood Ross
Truer words were rarely spoken than those uttered by Retired Navy Comdr. Kirk Lippold, the defense advisor to Military Families United, when he said the relatives of the sailors killed and wounded in the attack on the destroyer U.S.S. Cole in Yemen have been waiting eight years for the accused to be tried and that “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
 
If the phrase isn’t exactly novel maybe that’s because words to that effect appeared in the Magna Carta, a milepost of Western jurisprudence, back in 1215 A.D. The document also enshrined the right to habeas corpus, granting appeal against unlawful imprisonment.
 
 
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Meltdown: The Icelandic Economic Example

The Icelandic Volcano Erupts: Can a Hedge-Fund Island Lose Its Shirt and Gain Its Soul?
by Rebecca Solnit
In December, reports surfaced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pushed his Wall Street bailout package by suggesting that, without it, civil unrest in the United States might grow so dangerous that martial law would have to be declared. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned of the same risk of riots, wherever the global economy was hurting.
 
What really worried them wasn't, I suspect, the possibility of a lot of people thronging the streets with demands for social and political change, but that some of those demands might actually be achieved. Take the example of Iceland, the first -- but surely not the last -- country to go bankrupt in the current global crash.

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Harper Budget: A Profound Lack for Forestry

Federal Budget - A Profound Lack of Vision for Forestry
by Peter Ewart & Dawn Hemingway
It is ground zero for forestry in this country. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, over 200 mills have been closed, and many companies are teetering on the edge of shut down or bankruptcy.  This crisis began long before the current economic downturn, and, as a result, many workers and forestry-based communities in Canada have been facing this grim situation for two or three years, or even longer. They have made repeated calls for assistance over these last several years, but little has been forthcoming from the Federal Government. Now the Government says that, with its new budget, it is ready to take “action.”
 
Why has it taken so long to respond while thousands of laid-off workers and dozens of forestry communities have been “twisting in the wind” over these last several years? Only Stephen Harper and his government know the answer to that one.  In any case, the Federal Government has now put forth its much anticipated budget. So what is the verdict on it?
 
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Old Politics Undercuts the New

THE FARTS OF COMPROMISE:  HACKING THE STIMULUS
by Danny Schechter (author of Plunder)
It became clear Friday night that our economy may not recover until our politics do. To President Obama, the delays and endless Congressional carping about his recovery plan was  “inexcusable.”  He was reduced to reading the latest unemployment numbers aloud as if to say, what world are you guys in?

 “Last month, another 600,000 Americans lost their jobs,” Mr. Obama said. “That is the single worst month of job loss in 35 years. The Department of Labor also adjusted their job loss numbers for 2008 upwards, and now report that we have lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began.”

The President didn’t mention the Center for Responsible Lending’s new counter ticking off a new foreclosure every 13 seconds. Credit card defaults are at an all time high. There are fears that the bond market could be next to go with the dollar playing demolition derby.
 
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Canadian Law Enforcement: Not Just a Job, an Occupation

Not Just a Job, An Occupation: Canadian Police Policy for the New Century
by C. L. Cook
Robert Dziekanski's final words were replayed and translated last week for the Braidwood Inquiry into the Polish emigre's death at Vancouver International Airport in October of 2007.
 
Two Vancouver City Police officers face charges of assault and robbery against cabbie Firoz Khan
 
Facing four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), a distraught and confused Dziekanski, recorded on video earlier by another passenger throwing furniture about and ranting in Polish, reportedly said; "Leave me alone. Are you out of your minds?"
 
As the first of the taser charges surged through his body, Dziekanski could be heard calling out for assistance, begging for help from the "Polizia! Polizia!"

Dziekanski's confusion as to the identity of his assailants was replicated by cab driver, Firoz Khan who was beaten and robbed in front of a downtown Vancouver hotel in early February.
 
Khan was beset in front of the Vancouver Hyatt by an apparently drunken man seeking directions. When he was not forthcoming quickly enough, the irate drunk began pounding the elderly Khan. The assailant was joined by another man, the pair gleefully putting the boots to the now prostrate cabbie, yelling at him between blows; "We don't like brown people."  
 
As Dziekanski did in his final moments, Khan too cried out for the interdiction of the "Polizia," unaware the two men beating him were in fact off-duty Vancouver city police officers.
 
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U.S. Attorney Probes Closing in on Gonzales?

Gonzales May Face Obstruction Charges in U.S. Attorney Probe
by Jason Leopold
A special prosecutor appointed to investigate the firings of nine federal prosecutors in 2006 has built a strong case against Alberto Gonzales that may result in obstruction of justice charges against the former Attorney General related to the role he played in the U.S. Attorney firings, according to attorneys directly involved in the probe and lawyers defending former Bush administration officials whose clients have met with the special counsel.
 
According to legal sources, over the past several weeks Gonzales’s former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, has provided damaging information to Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Connecticut, about Gonzales. Sampson is said to have told the special prosecutor that Gonzales was far more engaged in the attorney firings than he had previously disclosed to Dannehy, in Congressional testimony and in interviews with Justice Department watchdogs.
 
 
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Sea Shepherds and the Whaling Pirates of the Ross Sea

Sea Shepherd Crew Remain On Guard Behind the Nisshin Maru: Update from the Ross Sea
by Sea Shepherd Society
Despite repeated assaults by frustrated and increasingly violent Japanese whalers, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin continues to stand guard behind the Japanese floating abattoir called the Nisshin Maru.
 
The three Japanese harpoon boats are not in the area but the Sea Shepherd crew is prepared to obstruct them should they return.
 

The Japanese have been accusing Sea Shepherd of trying to obstruct their props with ropes yet the whalers have been trying to do the same thing to the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. They are accusing the Sea Shepherd crew of throwing rotten butter (which the Japanese refer to as "acid") at them yet the whalers are throwing golf balls and chunks of metal at the Steve Irwin crew.  In addition, the Japanese are blasting the Sea Shepherd crew with water cannons and Long Range Acoustical weapons - a sonic gun that causes disorientation, nausea and deafness.
 
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