Canadian Mint Orders Tar Sands Protest Desist

Mint Demands Tanker Protest 'Cease and Desist'
by Dogwood Initiative
The Royal Canadian Mint has issued Dogwood Initiative with a cease and desist order regarding their current campaign to protect the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest from tar sands tankers and oil spills.
The Royal Canadian Mint has issued Dogwood Initiative with a cease and desist order regarding their current campaign to protect the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest from tar sands tankers and oil spills.

In letters sent to Dogwood Initiative and businesses involved in the campaign the Mint accuses the BC based non-profit of trademark violations and contravening the Currency Act (Section 11) by using Canadian coins for purposes other  "than as currency" and warns of possible summary convictions, fines and imprisonment.
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The Molten Core of Our Modern Madness

Heart of Darkness: The Molten Core of Our Modern Madness
by Chris Floyd   
Something momentous is happening over at "Once Upon a Time." Arthur Silber has at last begun his long-awaited series on "Tribalism": the deep-rooted, deep-rutted, largely unconscious mental-emotional structures that lock human beings into such horrifically destructive modes of behavior, on every level, from the most intimate and individual to the most public and universal.

The first two parts of the series (here and here) are up at his blog now, and both are marvelous, trenchant, and moving works.
Here you will find that rarest of things: a human voice -- distinct, unique, authentic -- speaking to you directly, with integrity, of deeply meaningful things. Here you will find a dimension of depth that has few if any parallels in political commentary anywhere today.
For while politics is the immediate context of Silber's visionary analysis, as he says, rightly:   
"Politics is only a symptom of a more fundamental condition. Unless we address these more fundamental concerns, the symptom will never be altered in a lasting way."
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A Pliable Population: Using Reconstruction as a Weapon

Gaza New Siege Mechanism
by Nicola Nasser
The rebuilding of Gaza has become the latest siege weapon. The Israeli occupation, the US that had backed its offensive, and the EU which did nothing to stop it are conspiring to turn the reconstruction process into a means to produce a suitable "peace partner" while the Arab summit in Kuwait hopes to use it to bring about Palestinian reconciliation.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government is urging all parties and others to look to it as the sole channel for administering the construction process on the grounds that it is the government formed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation that is recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Soon we will see that freezing reconstruction will become the tool of all those parties for extracting from the resistance what they have been unable to gain from three weeks of warfare and the long blockade that preceded it.

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by Media Lens
Writing in the Independent last week, Robert Fisk commented on the BBC's refusal to broadcast an appeal for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC):

"The BBC's refusal to handle an advertisement for Palestinian aid was highly instructive. It was the BBC's 'impartiality' that might be called into question. In other words, the protection of an institution was more important than the lives of children."

Even taken at face value, then, the BBC's decision was monstrous. But the idea that it was primarily motivated by a commitment to impartiality makes little sense.

In 1999, the corporation allowed its own high profile newsreader, Jill Dando, to present a DEC appeal for Kosovo at the height of NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia. This, also, was an ongoing and highly controversial conflict, one that involved fraudulent US-UK government and media claims of a Serbian "genocide" in Kosovo (claims which have since been quietly abandoned).
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Change We Can Believe In, Mr. President

Change (in rhetoric) We Can Believe In: The Anti-Empire Report
by William Blum
I've said all along that whatever good changes might occur in regard to non-foreign policy issues, such as what's already taken place concerning the environment and abortion, the Obama administration will not produce any significantly worthwhile change in US foreign policy; little done in this area will reduce the level of misery that the American Empire regularly brings down upon humanity.
And to the extent that Barack Obama is willing to clearly reveal what he believes about anything controversial, he appears to believe in the empire.

The Obamania bubble should already have begun to lose some air with the multiple US bombings of Pakistan within the first few days following the inauguration. The Pentagon briefed the White House of its plans, and the White House had no objection. So bombs away — Barack Obama's first war crime.
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A Thumb in the Eye of the Canadian Worker from HR Minister Finley

Minister's EI comments - An insult to the workers of Canada
by Peter Ewart & Dawn Hemingway
Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has explained why she, and presumably the Harper government, are opposed to raising Employment Insurance payments for unemployed workers, or making it easier to qualify.  “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay home and get paid for it,” she says.

In essence, she is saying that Canadian workers, in their hearts, are lazy and would prefer sitting at home to working.

If that is the case, how does she and her government explain that Canadian workers are considered to be among the most productive in the world?  They work in demanding, difficult and often dangerous occupations.  Whether it be bush work in –40 degree weather; in hot restaurant kitchens; in sawmills and pulp mills; in mines, steel mills and assembly plants; in fishing and farming; on oil & gas and construction projects; in hospitals and schools; in minimum wage service sector jobs: It is their labour which is the foundation of all wealth creation in this country.

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Stephen Gets Disaster Capitalism: Bye Bye Environment

Recession no excuse for environmental deregulation
by NDP
The Conservative government is trying to use economic hardship as an excuse to loosen environmental regulation, according to documents obtained by New Democrat Environment Critic Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona). The documents confirm recent suggestions by Conservative Ministers Raitt and Baird that Conservatives view rules that protect the environment as mere “red tape”.

“The assertion that federal environmental regulations are just a nuisance standing in the way of building infrastructure and creating jobs is completely baseless,” says Duncan. “I challenge Environment Minister Prentice to step up and defend his ministry and his legislated mandate, to protect the environment.”
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Cooperating, and Not with Karl

Cooperation, Rove Style
by Scott Horton
On occasion, he compares himself with Grendel, the half-human monster in Beowulf known for cannibalizing his victims. Other times he calls himself Moby Dick, the great white whale of Herman Melville’s epic. In truth Karl Rove enjoys playing both roles—the hunter and the prey, convinced he can outwit and emerge victorious over anyone who pursues him, especially dim-witted federal prosecutors and Congressional investigators.
So far, he’s succeeded.
In an interview with Murray Waas, Rove’s lawyer, Bob Luskin, drops a few more bombshells. Rove is going to cooperate with the special prosecutor looking into the U.S. attorney’s scandal, he says. Moreover, he reveals that Rove already has sat down and worked with a probe by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into irregularities surrounding the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
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Canadian Gaza Survivor Speaks Tonight

This Week on VOP Radio Harry Berbrayer
by Voice of Palestine
On Tue. Feb. 3, 2009 from 8:00-9:00pm (PST), Voice of Palestine will be interviewing Harry Berbrayer, a Jewish Canadian who has just returned from three weeks in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.  He was in the Palestinian city of Jenin when Israeli troops began the campaign of terror over Gaza.

We will be talking with him about his experiences in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and the reaction of the Palestinian people in the West Bank to the Israeli aggression. We will also talk with him about the Canadian Government and Western media's pro Israeli bias.
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A Black Flag

Black Flag
by Uri Avnery
A Spanish judge has instituted a judicial inquiry against seven Israeli political and military personalities on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case: the 2002 dropping of a one-ton bomb on the home of Hamas leader Salah Shehade. Apart from the intended victim, 14 people, most of them children, were killed.

For those who have forgotten: the then commander of the Israeli air force, Dan Halutz, was asked at the time what he feels when he drops a bomb on a residential building. His unforgettable answer: "A slight bump to the wing." When we in Gush Shalom accused him of a war crime, he demanded that we be put on trial for high treason. He was joined by the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who accused us of wanting to "turn over Israeli army officers to the enemy." The attorney general notified us officially that he did not intend to open an investigation against those responsible for the bombing.

I should be happy, therefore, that at long last somebody is ready to put that action to a judicial test (even if he seems to have been thwarted by political pressure). But I am sorry that this has happened in Spain, not in Israel.
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How Taxpayers Finance Fantasy Wars

The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon: How Taxpayers Finance Fantasy Wars
by Chalmers Johnson
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried, including those that made televisions and other consumer electronics, many types of scientific and medical equipment, machine tools, textiles, and much earth-moving equipment -- and that's to name only the most obvious candidates. They all lost their competitiveness to newly emerging economies that were able to outpace them in innovative design, price, quality, service, and fuel economy, among other things.

A similar, if far less well known, crisis exists when it comes to the military-industrial complex. That crisis has its roots in the corrupt and deceitful practices that have long characterized the high command of the Armed Forces, civilian executives of the armaments industries, and Congressional opportunists and criminals looking for pork-barrel projects, defense installations for their districts, or even bribes for votes.

Given our economic crisis, the estimated trillion dollars we spend each year on the military and its weaponry is simply unsustainable. Even if present fiscal constraints no longer existed, we would still have misspent too much of our tax revenues on too few, overly expensive, overly complex weapons systems that leave us ill-prepared to defend the country in a real military emergency. We face a double crisis at the Pentagon: we can no longer afford the pretense of being the Earth's sole superpower, and we cannot afford to perpetuate a system in which the military-industrial complex makes its fortune off inferior, poorly designed weapons.

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Pakistan's "Salvador Option"

Afghanistan and Pakistan's "Salvador Option"
by Tom Burghardt
With a rightist insurgency raging on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, the United States is resorting to a tried-and-true method to stem the rising fundamentalist tide: direct military intervention and massive violence.

On January 23, twenty-two people, including 8 to 10 alleged members of al-Qaeda, the rest civilians, were killed when CIA Predator drones slammed into houses in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

In the last six months of 2008, the CIA mounted some 30 such attacks. Inevitably, civilian casualties were high while American officials predictably reported that the strikes failed to kill "senior al-Qaeda commanders."

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