Canada Considers Cozying Colombia with Free Trade Bill

Canada's Parliament Considers Colombia Free Trade Bill
by The Mingas Collective
Dear friends: The Canadian Parliament is about to consider ratification of a “free trade” agreement with Colombia. The text of the agreement is nearly identical to the US-Colombia trade agreement and would have the same kinds of disastrous consequences for millions of Colombians.

We in the Mingas collective are in the midst of a campaign to convince the Canadian Parliament to reject the agreement. The Mingas collective is a group of individuals from across the United States, Canada and Colombia who are concerned with promoting sovereignty and economic development, strengthening democracy and improving labor conditions in Colombia. We are integrated within the Hemispheric Social Alliance and are active in North America, where we work in coordination with the Washington-based Alliance for Responsible Trade.
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Kenya: Government Targets Samburu Villages

Kenya: Brutal campaign of violence against indigenous Samburu villages
by John Ahni Schertow
Helicopters drop soldiers near a village after shooting villagersFor more than three weeks now, the Kenyan government has been engaged in a brutal campaign of violence against the indigenous Samburu people in north central Kenya.
Residents of Archer's Post watch helplessly as police take away their cattle and their economy. The government has also confiscated all of the Samburu’s cattle, leaving them without any access to food. Photo Credit: Cultural Survival

According to Cultural Survival (CS), the government, who claims to be chasing after “cattle bandits”, has “strafed the unarmed villagers with machine guns” from the air and “used clubs to beat them on the ground.” Further reports indicate that at least nine bombs have been dropped on Samburu villages, and a yet-to-be-identified caustic chemical was sprayed on group of children who were seeking refuge in the bush.

All of this is despite the court order obtained last month that barred the operation.
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Haiti's Electoral Charade

Electoral Sham in Haiti
by Stephen Lendman
Few people anywhere have suffered more for so long, yet endure and keep struggling for change. For brief periods under Jean-Bertand Aristide, they got it until a US-led February 29, 2004 coup d'etat forced him into exile where he remains Haiti's symbolic leader - for his supporters, still head of the Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party he founded in 1996 to reestablish links between local Lavalas branches and its parliamentary representatives.
Haitian president Rene Preval, somewhere between democracy and realpolitik

From then to now, nothing has been the same. UN paramilitaries occupy the country. Washington effectively controls it. President Rene Preval got a choice - go along or pay the price. He submitted knowing what awaits him if he resists. Nonetheless, he's disappointed bitterly.

Haitians suffered dearly as a result, deeply impoverished, at times starving, denied the most basic essentials, plagued by violence, a brutal occupier, police repression, an odious and onerous debt, and exploitive sweatshop conditions for those lucky enough to have a job in a country plagued by unemployment and deprivation.
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7 Lessons for President Obama

Mary McCarthy in Vietnam, Barack Obama in Afghanistan: Seven Lessons and Many Questions for the President
by William Astore
In 1967, outraged by the course of the Vietnam War, as well as her country's role in prolonging and worsening it, Mary McCarthy, novelist, memoirist, and author of the bestseller The Group, went to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to judge the situation for herself. The next year, she went to the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. She wrote accounts of both journeys, published originally in pamphlet format as Vietnam (1967) and Hanoi (1968), and later gathered with her other writings on Vietnam as a book, The Seventeenth Degree (1974). As pamphlets, McCarthy's accounts sold poorly and passed into obscurity; deservedly so, some would say.
Those who'd say this, however, would be wrong. McCarthy brought a novelist's keen eye to America's activities and its rhetoric in Vietnam. By no means a military expert, not even an expert on Vietnam -- she only made a conscious decision to study the war in Vietnam after she returned from her trip to Saigon -- her impressionistic writings were nevertheless insightful precisely because she had long been a critical thinker beholden to no authority.
Her insights into our approach to war-fighting and to foreign cultures are as telling today as they were 40 years ago, so much so that President Obama and his advisors might do well to add her unconventional lessons to their all-too-conventional thinking on our spreading war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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ICED: Canadian [sic] Immigration Round-Ups Continue

ICED: Canadian [sic] Immigration Round-Ups Continue
Ministers Van Loan and Kenney; On April 2nd and 3rd, CBSA raided three food processing factories where they held all workers at gun point.  These workers were herded into a cafeteria where citizens and permanent residents were separated from other workers.

These other workers, many of whom possess temporary work permits, were handcuffed and held on a bus for over eight hours. In unprecedented weekend hearings, most of the detained workers were tricked into waiving legal advice or the right to dispute their removal.

These illegal and egregious actions were followed by speedy requests for travel documents, as their original passports are held by unscrupulous, corrupt agents at TNT Recruitment. The Thai consulate has provided these papers and 41 of the arrested are being put on a plane on Sunday April 19th.

Removing workers from Canada in this way is arbitrary and illegal. The recruitment agency and the company which paid these workers $9.00 an hour for 12 hours of back-breaking and brutal work have not been charged.

Minister Van Loan, sign a notice to stop the deportations. Minister Kenney, grant all workers arrested full status. Stop using the economic crisis as an excuse to target migrant workers and their families!
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A People's President? New Film Uncovers the Story Behind Obama Election

Barack Obama, People's President: New Film Tells Unreported Story of Obama's Election
by Danny Schechter - Director, Barack Obama, People’s President
The election of Barack Obama may be long over but the campaign for change is still underway. For the first time in American history, a president is using the techniques he deployed in running for office in pushing for deeper change. Those who want him to go even further might want to master the approach he used.

It is no surprise that this significant political development is barely being covered in a media that loves to punditize, poll public opinion, and debate policy options in a top-down way. (Some like Fox are even trying to become community organizers) Yet by “covering” politics in this way, our mass media is missing the most innovative bottom-up grassrooots effort in recent memory.

I know about this because as a journalist and filmmaker, I set out to document just how Obama won the election. That story, told in the film Barack Obama, People’s President  (slated for DVD release this month by documents the online and on the ground techniques that were used to win the highest office in the land.
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HR 875, HR 759, NAIS and Monsanto

The End of Small Farms? What you should know (and DO) about HR 875, HR 759, NAIS and Monsanto
by Shelly Roche - Break the Matrix
America's small farmers are under attack through a series of bills presented under the guise of "food safety." I don't want to lose my freedom to grow, buy and eat real foods. Let's fight for our small farmers who not only need our protection and support, but actual freeing from government intrusion, control and harm.


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Hopeover: The Day After in Obamalot

Hopebroken and Hopesick: A Lexicon of Disappointment
by Naomi Klein - The Nation
All is not well in Obama fanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from re regulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack.

Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard. This is a good thing. If the super fan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.
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Non-Violence and Palestine

Non-Violence in Palestine: Timing and Intentions
by Ramzy Baroud
When one speaks of or advocates non-violence, does he promote such an idea because he believes that historically it has been a more effective means of liberation, or is it purely because he thinks that it is a more self-respecting means of struggle? 

In recent history, many advocates of non-violence have been celebrated as modern day icons. From Ghandi to King, songs are written in their honor, their life stories fill the pages of our children’s history volumes as noble examples of which everyone must aspire to emulate. Holidays are instituted in their honor and around the world; streets and boulevards carry their namesake.  Why is it that the “establishment” goes to such great lengths to lift up these individuals? Where are the holidays commemorating the life and sacrifices of Malcolm X, where are the stories of Crazy Horse or Geronimo?
Could it be possible that these figures remain in the shadows of pacifists because their ideals shook up the status quo just a little too much? When the “establishment” celebrates individuals for their non-violence, could that be another way of recognizing them for making just enough commotion, but not too much commotion?
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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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