by Dahr Jamail | t r u t h o u t
Indicative of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, on May 1 the US military reported the death of a Naval petty officer who was killed "on April 30 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq." The Department of Defense report went on to explain that the sailor "was deployed with an East Coast based Navy SEAL team." That same day, the military announced the deaths of two marines "killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces here April 30."
After eight years of member-driven activism and advocacy in the face of Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals aggressive and punitive attacks on fundamental social values, COPE 378 is using the coming election to fight back.
by Diane Walsh
Sex workers in two provinces are challenging Canada’s solicitation laws in different ways but with a common desire—to work and live with greater dignity. In the province of Ontario, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case is well underway and is based out of Toronto. The suit is being handled by well-known activist lawyer Alan Young. As he’s an Osgoode Hall Law professor vital case preparatory work is being performed by articling students.
The calendar is marked for October 6, 2009. The Ontario Superior Court is scheduled to hear what’s become of this on-going constitutional challenge that has the aim to strike down three sections of the Criminal Code. These include: prohibitions on keeping a bawdyhouse, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating for the purposes of prostitution.
In British Columbia it’s clear that the action is moving at a much slower pace. A judicial roadblock has been put in the way. On December 15 2008, Supreme Court Justice W. F. Ehrcke of British Columbia refused to proceed to hear the claims brought forward by the plaintiffs which are, Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United against Violence Society and Sheryl Kiselbach.
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by Chris Hedges
Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East.
What, for all our faith and hope, has the Obama brand given us? His administration has spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street and insolvent banks in a doomed effort to reinflate the bubble economy, a tactic that at best forestalls catastrophe and will leave us broke in a time of profound crisis.
Brand Obama offers us an image that appears radically individualistic and new. It inoculates us from seeing that the old engines of corporate power and the vast military-industrial complex continue to plunder the country. Corporations, which control our politics, no longer produce products that are essentially different, but brands that are different. Brand Obama does not threaten the core of the corporate state any more than did Brand George W. Bush.
In this series of personal testimonies, PCHR looks at the aftermath of Israel’s 23 day offensive on the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing impact it is having on the civilian population.
Words by Malian/PCHR
Mahmoud before and after the attack that claimed his sight
Mahmoud Mattar spent his 15th birthday in February this year, lying in the intensive care unit of Egypt’s Sheikh Zayid hospital. He is one of the 1,606 children who were injured during Israel’s military offensive on Gaza, some of who sustained horrific disabilities, head and spinal injuries, facial disfigurement, burns and amputation.
On Wednesday 7 January 2009, Mahmoud Mattar, then 14, was struck by a rocket near his home in Sheikh Radwan, Gaza City, that left him permanently blind and with extensive injuries. It was around 09:30 in the morning and Mahmoud was at home with his mother and siblings when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at al-Taqwa mosque, 150 metres away.
Mahmoud ran to see what had happened, and shortly afterwards a second missile hit the scene, killing two 15 year old boys, including Abdullah Juda, one of Mahmoud’s school friends. Mahmoud’s uncle, Nahed Mattar, 43, went to find his nephew while people gathered in the area.
Just as Nahed reached out to grab Mahmoud, a third rocket hit. “I had gone to find Mahmoud and bring him home,” said Nahed. “I saw the two boys who had been killed and their bodies were dismembered. People were trying to evacuate them because ambulances were unable to reach the area and the mosque had been destroyed, with just a minaret left standing.:
by Humane Society International/Canada
Help us build a Bear Memorial in front of the BC Parliament.
But we need your help to do more!
Despite thousands of emails and letters sent to the provincial government, Premier Gordon Campbell is still unwilling to stop the slaughter of bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. This is why we desperately need your help to attract the premier's attention by bringing this issue to Victoria before the May 12th election.
It is the "enhanced reading" version, not the full production - but the same performer as in Vancouver, Adrienne Wong.
70 minutes Metro Studio (1411 Quadra) One Reading Only: Friday May 22, 6:00 pm
My Name is Rachel Corrie (Enhanced Reading) from the writings of Rachel Corrie edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner Neworld Theatre (Vancouver BC) Read by Adrienne Wong, Directed by Marcus Youssef Director of Original Production: Sarah Garton Stanley Stage Manager: Dani Fecko Photographs: Jon Elmer
Passionate, sometimes irreverent and always intelligent, My Name is Rachel Corrie explores an extraordinary young woman's singular experience in a region most of us only know from the news. Rachel Corrie sought to discover for herself the human impact of her own country's foreign policies on people thousands of miles from her home.
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by David Swanson
Our nation has more money than any other, more weapons than all the others combined, and a majority of its citizens believing it is, in some undefined sense, superior. But the people who live in the United States trail many other nations in basic measures of health and well-being. Almost uniquely among wealthy nations, we leave tens of millions of our citizens without health coverage, and many times that number with insufficient -- albeit expensive -- health insurance. We pay more per capita than anybody else for healthcare, and we get dramatically less for it. What gives?
While there is great variation among the systems used in other wealthy nations, and while their citizens have complaints as well, there is a feature that everybody else has found effective that we uniquely lack, and nowhere is there a nation whose people would willingly part with that feature in exchange for a system like ours. That feature is called single-payer. In a single-payer system, such as Canada's, a nation can have private healthcare, private doctors, private hospitals, and greater choice for patients than what we have. In such a system, no insurance company can tell you which doctors to see, or tell doctors which patients to treat. Nor are there different prices and procedures depending on what class of patient you are, whether you have insurance through your job or privately, etc. In such a system, you can go to whatever doctors you want, bring no bill home, and spend zero minutes per year dealing with insurance companies. In such a system, health insurance companies, at least as we now know them, cease to exist.
by Rafe Mair
As Consumer Minister I battled hard for consumers passing 33 pieces of legislation in two sittings, a record before or since. In the Ministry of Environment I stopped government killing wolves, stopped exploration for and mining of uranium and negotiated the saving of the Skagit River from being made into a lake by Seattle raising the Ross Dam.
In radio I fought against two disastrous constitutional exercises, Meech Lake and Charlottetown, the Kemano Completion Project, a gravel pit on the Pitt River, the fish farm issue and recently the private river swindle.
by Sherwood Ross
By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan. So much ammunition containing depleted uranium(DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”
“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine. Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.
Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, “The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control.”
Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, “For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed.” She adds, “the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive.”
Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader, has written: “Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned-out tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground.”
“Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults,” Caldicott wrote. “My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in 1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase in gross congenital abnormalities,” she wrote in her book, “Nuclear Power is not the Answer”(The New Press).
by William Blum
When Obama and his followers say, as they do repeatedly, that he has "banned torture", this is a statement they have no right to make. The executive orders concerning torture leave loopholes, such as being applicable only "in any armed conflict"2 What about in a "counter-terrorism" environment?
And when Obama says "I don't believe that anybody is above the law", and then acts in precisely the opposite fashion, despite overwhelming evidence of criminal torture — such as the recently leaked report of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Bush Justice Department "torture memos" — it's enough to break the heart of any of his fans who possess more than a minimum of intellect and conscience. It should be noted that a Gallup Poll of April 24/25 showed that 66% of Democrats favored an "investigation into harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects". If the word "torture" had been used in the question, the figure would undoubtedly have been higher.
by WTF Langford?
In case anyone needed evidence that the land-use process in Langford has devolved into bizarre, unintentionally-hilarious lunacy, here's People's Exhibit #217: the Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Developers have turned their covetous eyes to the farmlands of the Happy Valley, where they foresee a future of subdivisions, cheap condos and mega-dollar signs. But farmland is protected by the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve, and there are lots of rules about taking farmland out of the reserve to build condos and other crap. (This is a good thing; otherwise we'd be importing all our food from Brazil.)
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