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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 14,935

Journal Archives

Before the Dawn

by Kathy Kelly / June 29th, 2015

"I didn’t nap – I was fitful and couldn’t, my mind filled with images from a memoir, Guantanamo Diary, which I’ve been reading since arriving here. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s story of being imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2002 rightly disturbs me. In all his years of captivity, he has never been charged with a crime. He has suffered grotesque torture, humiliation and mistreatment, and yet his memoir includes many humane, tender accounts, including remembrances of past Ramadan fasts spent with his family."

Mohamedou Slahi (Photo Credit: International Committee of the Red Cross)

"I’ve never heard Muslims complain about being hungry and thirsty as they await the fast-breaking meal. Nor have I heard people brag about contributions they’ve made to alleviate the sufferings of others, although I know Islam urges such sharing during Ramadan and aims to build empathy for those afflicted by ongoing hunger and thirst. Mohamedou relied on empathy to help him through some of his most intense anguish and fear."

I was thinking about all my innocent brothers who were and still are being rendered to strange places and countries,” he wrote, describing a rendition flight from Senegal to Mauritania, “and I felt solaced and not alone anymore. I felt the spirits of unjustly mistreated people with me. I had heard so many stories about brothers being passed back and forth like a soccer ball just because they have once been in Afghanistan, or Bosnia, or Chechnya. That’s screwed up! Thousands of miles away, I felt the warm breath of these other unjustly treated individuals comforting me.

"From 1988 to 1991, Mohamedou had studied electrical engineering in Germany. In early 1991, he spent seven weeks in Afghanistan, learning how to use mortars and light weapons, training which would allow him to join the U.S.-backed insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. He was one of Ronald Reagan’s celebrated “freedom fighters.” In early 1992, when the communist supported Afghan government was near collapse, he again went to Afghanistan and, for three weeks, fought with insurgents to overtake the city of Gardez. Kabul fell shortly thereafter. Mohamedou soon saw that the Mujahedeen insurgents were fighting amongst themselves over power grabs. He didn’t want to be part of this fight and so he went back to Germany, then Canada and, eventually, home to Mauritania, where he was arrested and “rendered” to Jordan for questioning, at last arriving in Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Force Base on his way to Guantanamo."

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/before-the-dawn/

Defense Attorneys Demand Release of Thousands of CIA Black Site Photos

Published on
Monday, June 29, 2015
byCommon Dreams

"Who knows what is still out there?" defense attorneys ask. "What else is there? That’s what is appalling."

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Images reportedly depict black sites in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, as well as torture devices. (Photo: Prachatai/cc/flickr)

A recently unearthed cache of photographs of CIA black sites is threatening to further complicate the proceedings of the 9/11 military commission as attorneys for the men detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility are demanding the release of the documents as evidence of the U.S. torture program.

U.S. officials told the Washington Post that the roughly 14,000 photographs were discovered earlier this year by military prosecutors reviewing documents on the intelligence agency's interrogation program ahead of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

The classified materials reportedly depict "external and internal shots of facilities where the CIA held ­al-Qaeda suspects after 9/11" —including the infamous "Salt Pit" in Afghanistan—as well as sites in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania. While the images don't explicitly show the interrogations, there are pictures of naked detainees stripped naked for transport, as well as of torture devices, such as a waterboard and confinement boxes.

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/defense-attorneys-demand-release-thousands-cia-black-site-photos

'No to Austerity': Tens of Thousands Back Syriza at Rally in Athens

Published on
Monday, June 29, 2015
byCommon Dreams

'We believe that this ultimatum to the Greek people and democracy should be rejected,' write international academics

byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer

Protesters participate in a demonstration calling for a "No" vote in the referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Tens of thousands gathered in Athens on Monday night, adding their voices to the ranks of the Syriza government officials and international observers who are urging Greek citizens to act boldly and reject the terms of an aid deal offered by Greece's austerity-loving international creditors.

While numerous governments and financial institutions warned Monday that the referendum vote could determine whether or not Greece stays in the Eurozone, other critical implications loom.

A 'No' vote would be a clear rejection of austerity measures as well as other regressive and punitive policies being foisted on Greece by the so-called Troika.

On the other hand, notes Reuters, "a 'Yes' vote would pile pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resign—given his adamant resistance to opening the door to new elections and possibly a return to the negotiating table with creditors."

In fact, getting Tsipras out of the way appears to be a major goal of the European leaders and lenders, economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote on Monday:

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/29/no-austerity-tens-thousands-back-syriza-rally-athens


That is it exactly. We've seen it time after time after time - democratically elected leaders who are passionate about improving the lives of their people so damaged by the IMF, EU and World Bank's devastating austerity programs, are gotten rid of, one way or the other. The powers that be - the 1% of the world who run these brutal programs, cannot have a nation so indebted to them (or as in the case with Libya - not yet indebted to) by their predatory loans - breakaway nations, able to run their own economies and social programs and being successful at it. They want to own completely these indebted nations. My heart is with Greece. They need to do whatever it takes to end the brutal austerity and function free from the demands of their financial overlords as a genuine democratic nation.

WikiLeaks: US, Saudis Planned to Topple Syria's Assad in 2012

By TeleSur

June 29, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "TeleSur" - Whistleblower Julian Assange implicated the United States – along with the Saudi Arabian government – in a plot to overthrow the Syrian government.
Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday.

​"Saudi has been one of the dogs of the United States in the Middle East on a leash, and you think the man is walking a dog, but sometimes, if it is a big dog, the dog starts pulling a man," Assange told Russia 1 TV.

Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables.

​The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.

Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42279.htm

The Noose Around Syria's Assad Tightens

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/09/2015 11:51 -0400


Greek referendum: euro crisis explodes into dramatic climax

By Jérôme Roos
Source: Roarmag.org

The announcement struck like a bombshell.

Tsipras’ spectacular decision late on Friday to fly back to Athens and put the Eurogroup’s final bailout offer to a referendum — with the government advising voters to reject the deal — has stunned friends and foes alike.

Now, with depositors lining up at ATMs to withdraw cash, the Eurogroup refusing to extend the current bailout program, the ECB capping its emergency liquidity assistance for Greek banks, and Greece set to miss a €1.5 billion IMF payment on Tuesday, the long-awaited endgame is finally upon us. After five long and exhausting years, the euro crisis has exploded into its dramatic climax.

Those who now lambast the Greek government for its supposed “recklessness” in calling the referendum are profoundly mistaken. Yes, as I have argued many times before, Tsipras’ and Varoufakis’ belief that they could somehow extract an “honorable compromise” from the creditors was always extremely naive. But in the end it was the creditors’ utter contempt for democracy that pushed Tsipras with his back against the wall, forcing him to sign up to an agreement that they knew would split his ruling party and government.

Deliberately tabling one outrageous proposal after another, the creditors’ intention was clear from the very start: they were never even remotely interested in any positive “deal”; the only thing they would settle for was Syriza’s complete and total surrender — ideally followed by technocratic regime change inside Greece. Paul Krugman was therefore entirely right when he referred to the creditors’ ultimatum as “an act of monstrous folly.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/greek-referendum-euro-crisis-explodes-into-dramatic-climax/

Get your war reparations from Germany, Greece!

Outrageous Attempt at Killing the Deal with Iran

by Jan Oberg / June 25th, 2015

Internal elite power games in Washington are now putting Middle Eastern and global stability and peace at stake.

Here is the latest attempt at killing a deal with Iran that, to the sensitive reader with a minimum of knowledge of foreign policy and of the Iranian civilization, is little but one long argument for warfare on Iran in nobody’s interest – certainly also not in the interest of the citizens of Israel.

Is it just because it is summer time that intellectuals, media commentators and diplomats as well as friends and allies of the US conveniently have generally kept silent at irresponsible statements like this and the many before it?

Don’t they understand that the nuclear issue as such — not proliferation but possession — is humanity’s most important and that Iran has been the object of revengeful harassment since 1953 and punished for years for not having nuclear weapons?

Without a deal with Iran — a negotiated deal where not only Iran but all parties give and take something — the risk becomes very high that yet another devastating war will break out.

A small group of extremist pro-Israeli Iran-haters in the United States have no right to expose the Middle East, Europe and the world to such a risk in the name of an outdated militarist national security thinking.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/outrageous-attempt-at-killing-the-deal-with-iran/

Iran has the same right to nuclear energy, medicine etc. that every other nation in the world has. It sits on loads of oil, but lacks the refineries to process it and thus does not have the required energy for its population - exactly the same circumstances as here in Canada. Iran has signed on to the NPT long ago and called for a nuclear-free ME. But .... the west needs and wants war. I wish every warmonger would head over to personally fight ISIS and leave peaceful nations alone, but ........ PNAC! 7 countries in 5 years! They make me sick.

The settlers considered the Native Americans extremely belligerent.

After all, they were on 'their' land and had to be removed, those that didn't agree were killed and often tortured in horrible ways. Defense of their land and settlements was met with extreme measures - don't you agree? But they were definitely considered the bad guys (terrorists), just as the Palestinians objecting to their confinement, loss of land, homes, livelihoods, lives are and have been for so many years.

'Terrorists' wasn't a handy word back then, but absolutely it would have been applied exactly the same way.

Real 'Terrorism' - deliberately attacking civilians and civilian targets in the world's largest open-air prison and all the other goodies they've been subjected to that cause fear and utter hopelessness - just as for any other targeted people in the world.

That is WHY. It's not fucking rocket science.

Dutch citizens just sued their government over inaction on climate change ... and they won.

Cheers and cries of pure joy erupted as the judge handed down the ruling in the world's first ever climate liability suit.

886 Dutch citizens, including teachers, entrepreneurs, grandparents and students united to sue their government for its inaction on climate change. In a decision likely to reverberate across the world, the court ordered the state to reduce emissions by 25% within 5 years to protect its citizens from climate change.

A HUGE congratulations to all involved, including Urgenda, the group that brought the suit on behalf of the citizens.

Published on
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
byCommon Dreams

In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Says: Climate Action is a Human Right

Hague District Court says Dutch government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Urgenda Foundation supporters celebrate at the Hague District Court after a historic ruling ordered the Dutch government to slash emissions. (Photo: Chantal Bekker/Urgenda)

In a landmark ruling that many hope establishes a new global precedent for a state's obligation to its citizens in the face of the growing climate crisis, a Dutch court on Wednesday said that the government has a legal duty to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

The decision came in response to a lawsuit, launched in November 2013 by the Amsterdam-based environmental nonprofit Urgenda Foundation along with 600 Dutch citizens, which argued that the government was violating international human rights law by failing to take sufficient measures to combat rising greenhouse gas emissions.

"The state must do more to avert the imminent danger caused by climate change, also in view of its duty of care to protect and improve the living environment," read a statement from the Hague District Court.

Columnist Nick Meynen, who is one of 10,000 Belgians who on April 27 launched a similar case against their government, explained in a piece published by This Changes Everything on Tuesday: "It’s hard to find any country in the world with climate legislation in place that is in line with what the science requires. Somehow, governments have so far managed to get away with that. But the days of empty promises are over."

Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/24/historic-ruling-dutch-court-says-climate-action-human-right

Stop the privatization of Lagos' water

Corporate Accountability International

June 25, 2015

(no link, an email)

As you read this, millions of people in Lagos, Nigeria are faced with the daily task of figuring out how to get safe water. And we're not talking about a few low-income neighborhoods here. A whopping 90 percent of Lagos' 21 million residents don’t have daily access to safe water. Why? One big reason is that for years the World Bank has promoted the privatization of their city's water systems, strong-arming public officials and preventing the development of adequate public systems. It's outrageous.

And the people of Lagos have had enough. Our allies in Nigeria at Environmental Rights Action are leading a powerful movement to challenge corporate water privatizers and demand the human right to water. And we've got their backs. Just weeks from now, water justice activists from around the world are joining our friends in Lagos to set a roadmap that will protect the human right to water not just in Africa's largest city but around the world.

Millions in Lagos rely on costly or unsafe water sources such as poorly regulated wells, partly because the World Bank has pushed for a corporatized water system and prevented truly democratic public solutions from thriving for decades. For many, water arrives not through pipes to their homes, but through shared standpipes, or in jerry cans or cellophane bags. They're often forced to get their water from unknown sources at a markup charged by the few people who have access.

Recently, intense pressure from members like you and the people of Lagos forced the World Bank to back off yet another move toward privatization of the city's water. And this mighty grassroots movement in Lagos -- and around the world -- is making sure the new governor of Lagos commits to public water systems. The momentum is on our side, but we can't let up now.

Nigerian trade unionists push to stop water privatization

In Nigeria, tens of thousands of people are standing together to protect their water from global corporations. With one voice, they have taken up a call: Our Water, Our Right. They have issued a powerful demand for the Lagos government to reject privatization plans.

As mentioned in PSI’s report “Why Public-Private Partnerships don’t work”, which contains a combination of 30 years of research and assesses the PPP experience in both industrialised and developing countries, PPPs have failed to live up to their promise. They are often an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.

Lagosians like Akinbode Oluwafemi, Director of ERA, are rejecting the privatization plans that the World Bank has spent decades paving the way for, because they know the disastrous results of other World Bank-backed projects: Rates are hiked, workers are laid off, and families find it harder than ever to access clean, safe water.

The Nigerian unions said, “It is well past time that we got serious about resolving these problems. Access to clean and safe water and sanitation services is the minimum that we demand of our government. Is this really too much to ask? Is it even credible that, in the 21st century, we can’t ensure universal access to water and sanitation?”

That is why the stakes are so high. The World Bank and the global corporations it supports want Lagos to set the precedent for who controls water in Africa. The privatization of Lagos' water will put millions more lives at risk across the continent and we cannot let that happen.

PSI stands with the people in Lagos to defend their human right to water and sanitation, challenges the government to stand up to corporate water privatizers and supports Lagosians in their fight to keep their water in their own hands


Water Privatisation: A Worldwide Failure?

2015•02•20 John Vidal The Guardian

Like the IFC, most proposed awarding a single giant water company a long concession in return for providing technical expertise and millions of water connections.

But the companies, banks and donors all left, unable to agree with the federal or local authorities how to satisfy corporate demands, raise the billions of pounds inevitably needed, and convince the Nigerian public that international companies would fulfil their contracts and not make unreasonable profits from the sale of what was widely seen as a public resource.

For Orogobeni, his family, and more than 15 million other Lagosians, the impasse means continuing to pay local water suppliers a hefty premium for unsafe water.

About 80% of Lagos’s piped water supplies are thought to be stolen, only 5% of people receive it in their houses, taps are often dry, sanitation is non-existent across much of the metropolis and the hospitals are full of people suffering diarrheal and other water-borne diseases. All that has changed since the IFC’s abortive 1999 plan is that the demand for water has grown due to the arrival of millions more people in the city.

The latest organisation to have failed to negotiate a Lagos water agreement is the IFC — again. The private arm of the World Bank, which has lent more than $75 billion for water and sanitation projects around the world since 1995, has been in secret talks for more than a year with the city’s private water company about funding another possible private-public partnership (PPP) scheme. But this week it categorically stated that negotiations had broken down and were unlikely to resume for years

Where near-universal access to water has been achieved, it has virtually always been through a public commitment.

The rebuff is a blow to the IFC, which has long been the world’s largest funder of global water projects, providing advice for governments and loans for companies to take over and invest in under-resourced water and sanitation systems in developing countries, often as part of a broader set of privatisation policies. According to the IFC’s data, it completed 847 water projects between 1993 and 2013, nearly half of which were in Latin America.

Full article: http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/water-privatisation-a-worldwide-failure

Univision drops Miss USA pageant over Donald Trump's 'insulting remarks' about Latino immigrants

Trump accused Mexicans of bringing drugs, crime and rapists to the U.S. during campaign speech

CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2015 12:20 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 25, 2015 12:20 PM ET

FILE - In this June 16, 2013 file photo, Donald Trump, left, and Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady pose onstage after Brady won the 2013 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas, Nev. Univision says it is dropping the Miss USA Pageant and says it will cut all business ties with Donald Trump over comments he made about Mexican immigrants. The network said Thursday, June 25, 2015, it will not air the pageant on July 12, as previously scheduled, and has ended its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization due to what it called "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants" by Trump, a part owner. (Jeff Bottari/AP File)

Univision is dropping the Miss USA pageant and says it will cut all business ties with Donald Trump over comments he made about Mexican immigrants.

The network said Thursday it will not air the July pageant and has ended its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss USA pageant, due to what it called "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants" by Trump, a part owner of Miss Universe.

Trump says he was only criticizing U.S. policies concerning Mexico, not its people. He says Univision is in default of a five-year contract.

Miss USA presenter pulled out

Univision's decision is the latest in the fallout over Trump's remarks: On Thursday, Puerto Rican actress and Miss USA presenter Roselyn Sanchez severed her ties with the pageant. And on Wednesday, Colombian singer J Balvin cancelled a planned performance.

Full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/univision-drops-miss-usa-pageant-over-donald-trump-s-insulting-remarks-about-latino-immigrants-1.3127510
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