Thursday, April 29, 2010

Un-Like Canada, F.B.I. Swears They Were The Good Cop In Khadr Affair

At a hearing into war crime accusations concerning the base at Guantanamo Bay the FBI testified that their interrogation of Omar Khadr was all very civil and professional. Said one FBI agent on Wednesday,"...comfortable and friendly once the hood and handcuffs were removed, including snacks and bathroom breaks." 


They said this contrasting the fact one of his Canadian army interrogators was involved in a case where the prisoner died and  some time later, in a different incident said interrogator was court-martialed for prisoner abuse . In a U.S. army investigation in the deaths of two other detainees at Bagram detention centre Sgt. Joshua Claus of military intelligence is described as using a litany of  coercive techniques when questioning the men.


Mr Khadr is also suing the Canadian government  for torture. His action alleges breaches of several constitutional charters guaranteeing the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
  
In a sworn statement Mr. Khadr states he gave false confessions after he was beaten, doused in freezing water, spat on, chained in painful positions, forced to urinate on himself  then used as a human mop, terrorized by barking dogs, subjected to sleep deprivation and rape threats. 
Home sweet home at Guantanamo Bay.  Photograph by CBC DocZone




Canada's Tory Party: Asses or Idealogues?

When one follows the attempts at policy-making by the Conservative minority government, inevitably the question gets asked: Are they a collection of asses or gang of idealogues? Well we here at NM&P have come to the conclusion, after much study, that they are a gaggle of Assalogues.

A beggar's crew of the self-interested, the entitled, the smug, they are Canada's Assalogues! And they do this yeoman-like work almost 60 or 70 gruelling days a year. Their courage knows only the bounds of their collective cowardice. The proud the few the 32%... the Assalogues!

In their latest display of the unweildly combination of assholery and "We're gonna' shove this down your throat," the tories have decided for all Canada that they will withhold money from groups that fund abortion in the developing world as part of their programs to improve women`s health. This provoked a sharp rebuke from the opposition in Ottawa and international aid agencies, who said it is irresponsible to deny the service to women in impoverished countries.

Mark Fried, policy co-ordinator for Oxfam in Canada, said he's discouraged by the federal government's position, adding that “imposing Canada's ideological beliefs is ridiculous.” To an Assalogue however this is meaningless criticism, mere blah, blah, blah!

In spite of the fact that these groups are doing what they can to aid the maternal health of women who are often the victims of war, rape and extreme poverty, as well as reduce infant mortality this does not stand in the way of Harper and Conservative Party sanctimony. How could it? Assalogues never let reason stand in their way.

The fact that, "Canada's position will make tracking funding and administering aid a logistical nightmare for recipient countries," as Mr. Fried pointed out, mattters not. The issue first raised by Liberal MP Lise Zarac, who noted, "rape is a weapon of war," and accused the government of denying victims in places like Africa the rights to abortion that are afforded to Canadians, is of no consequence to the Assalogues.

Well aware that they are dealing with a weak and spineless opposition they lash back at unity of the three opposition parties with regard to the issue. “The maternal and child health initiative is moving ahead,” Mr. Abbott said, and “the only way it can get derailed is if the unholy coalition decides that they will continue to do this kind of demagoguery over an issue that nobody wants to debate.”  They are wrong about that  but that is a mere trifle to an Assalogue.

Tomorrow, Sanctiholes!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Milliken Rules Harper is Not King

Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House, rules Stephen Harper is PM, not king and must comply with Parliment's request for documents relating to Afghan detainee issue.



Go to youtube to watch the rest of Milliken's ruling. Not everyone thinks the ruling is good for Canadian democracy.

It remains to be seen whether or not the opposition parties will display the requisite courage needed for this moment or compromise their principles.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stepehen Harper, A Man Built for the 19th Century

Every day this man remains the Prime minister of Canada is a shameful one. The latest outrage is the stated opposition to fund any maternal health projects that include abortion. This is how they announce their participation in a G8 initiative to improve the maternal health of women in developing countries.

The question of whether family planning would be part of the G8 maternal-health initiative is deemed important by most experts because many of the estimated 500,000 childbirth deaths in developing countries each year are caused by complications from women becoming pregnant too young and too often in quick succession.

Today in Parliment he did not, in stated terms, defend his stance. Instead, he ducked questions leaving members of the opposition somewhat surprised and confused as the issue is not abortion but trying to lend assistance to women who've been victimized by war, rape and poverty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

To Stephen Harper and Stonewalling

This says everything I wan to say to our PM.

War Criminals: Canada's Tories

The difference between the Canadian media and the American media is night and day. Even a reliably conservative newspaper like the Globe and Mail, can be trusted to report on any issue regardlesss of whom the issue favours.

It is worthy of note tha tthey have been resolute in their coverage of the Afghan detainee issue and even have gone so far as to end many of their pieces with the following and extremely significant caveat:

The commission is trying to investigate allegations that Canadians aided and abetted torture by knowingly handing prisoners over to abuse at the hands of Afghan officials.


Under the Geneva Conventions it is a war crime to do so.

I want to be very clear about this, I believe it is the policy, not the soldiers who are at fault here and it is the policy-makers not the soldiers who are guilty of war crimes. From what one can glean from the hearings, such as they are, the warnings went out as early as 2005 that the Afghans were using torture or worse on prisoners that were handed over. There were also repeated warnings from diplomat Richard Colvin on this very subject which he has testified:
 

 

 

And so with all the damning evidence before them and all of us, the tories prorogued Parlimaent in the hope the issue would go away. When that didn't prove to be as effective as they would like they took to simple, old-fashioned  stonewalling tactics that remind one of the Somalia inquiry. The opposition have made attempts to keep this issue in the public eye with some pointed questions but it is up to the public to remain interested and hold the Tories accountable.

 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some Days...

you wake up and it feels like the world you grew up in no longer exists; the values you were taught to respect and hold dear no longer have any meaning, the people who are the elected leaders of your country would much prefer to be dictators than be beholden to any stinking electorate. And you think to yourself this is fucked! I can't live in a world like this... it's gotta' change, and soon!

Deep inside your bones you feel like you're finally ready for that "go postal" moment, when you have yourself an epiphany: I'm sick! But so what? Pull your shit together, post something funny or life affirming and get on with it!

Tim Minchin is a very funny man.







Thanks to the k-man. Enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time To Quit Quebec? Part One

Ah, can't you hear the music now? Premier Charest and his Liberals are in trouble in the polls and the PQ is waiting in the wings. So, what else is new? In this forty year long boomerang we call an election cycle in this blessed province,where every election is an existential crisis, can anyone be honestly surprised that two to three years from now the Parti Quebecois will probably be elected and that five years of economic stagnation will ensue?

It's normal that political parties in power become tired, complacent and tempted. Corruption is probably the poison pill that the provincial Liberals will succumb to,and it won't matter that charges of judgeships being purchased by Liberal fundraisers (and their acolytes) stick or not. The smell alone will do.

The problem here is that the alternative, the only alternative is one that beggars belief. Besides the Liberals and the PQ, no other viable political formation exists. Distrust the Liberals, hate them even, but to have no choice but to park your vote with a gang of quasi/serious (depends on the season) separatists because the rot at the top cannot be ignored is to contribute to the corruption of what little national identity we have left in this country - Canada, that is.

What to do? Well, how about introducing a new political party here - federalist even! A real alternative. However, that will lead to a split of the anti-separatist vote thus ensuring many years of happy PQ ownership of Quebec City. That, combined with the permanent Bloc Quebecois presence in Ottawa, as Quebec's trusted representatives in the House of Commons, should ensure the inevitability of the continued decentralization of powers in favour of Quebec. And of course the more power Quebec appears to wield, the more Ottawa will attempt to appease. To buy and to give - in order to stay in the federation.

This roller coaster ride will see the provincial Liberals in power again, of course. The PQ in government will be stabbed by the same knives. But does anyone think we'll live long enough to see where this will end? It scares me to think that our generation will be long gone with the final lines of the lyrics to this nationalist song still to be written. 

Wasting No Time



An Al Jazeera report on eastern Afghanistan and the swiftness with which the Taliban moves in to fill the vacuum when US Forces moved on. The troops abandoned the position following a decision by General Stanley McChrystal, head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, to concentrate resources on urban areas.

Will this same thing not happen to the areas which Canadian Forces have worked so hard and given too much blood to secure? What is the end-game? Why are we there?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bannned in the 30 States, 42 Years Ago



I was lucky enough to grow up listening to Gordon Lightfoot`s music. One of my father`s few heroes. Wasn`t aware this song had been banned until I tripped over this CBC interview with him discussing the very subject. Seems absurd in retrospect... in fact it probably seemed pretty nutty back then too. The song has aged pretty well I`d say.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010

Canadian News

A bit of a slow news day as all things Guergis seem to be dominating Canada's MSM. Make of it what you will, but she and her husband do seem to be arrogant and surly which probably is what makes it fun for Canadian journalists to cover. Her husband and former tory MP from Edmonton, Rahim Jaffer, was charged with possession of cocaine a few short months ago,a deal to plead to a lesser charge came about because of a police strip search and that fact he wasn’t allowed to speak to his own lawyer (or so reports in the media indicate - I was of the opinion it had something to do with the important persons act).  Anyhow, Helena says the charges of her using cocaine are "bizarre." http://bit.ly/boI64I They may or may not be true but all things considered, they are hardly bizarre. On the issue, the PMO is spinning it strangely http://bit.ly/b20Tp4

A story that says the Canadian military "subcontracted torture" to the Afghan security service and shot an unarmed 17-year-old man in the back of the head, alleges an Afghan-Canadian who worked as an interpreter for the Canadian armed forces in Afghanistan. http://bit.ly/9GCQMm And a reminder of Canada's connection with Kandahar's ruthless palace guard http://bit.ly/dk2pbW

Thankfully, the conservative Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff has changed his mind about supporting Quebec's new user fees http://bit.ly/cwOqxB


To local Montreal news and our always reliable, racist constabulary! http://bit.ly/aHGAcf I make no apologies for all those in the force who do not fit this description. There are far too many Montreal police officers who behave or have behaved in this fashion and gotten away with it - are protected by the broherhood of the so-called thin-blue-line. Nothing is ever done about changing this dynamic and no one is ever punished, and so I am inventing a new term: professional profiling.  And I am professionally profiling them all as racists! How's that? At least no one gets pumelled or shot.

Back soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Canadian News for April 14 2010

On the Afghan detainee issue, Forces investigator says, "Nothing to see here! Everybody move along..." http://bit.ly/93umyX Diplomat Richard Colvin, begs to differ http://bit.ly/d9aD35 But he's being hamstrung by the torries in an unconscionable manner - even the conservative Globe and Mail describes it as being Kafka-like http://bit.ly/dhAvXr




Taser accused of intimidation of consultants and lawyers during the course of BC inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski http://bit.ly/aRXU8f Amnesty International called for a moritorium on the use of the device last year http://bit.ly/9Pq5xq



With user fees included in the most recent Quebec budget, it's important to look once again at user fee myths http://bit.ly/ctsW7S




Melting of Candian Arctic ice sheet accelerating http://bit.ly/d5otsZ

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Canadian News

Starting with protests against Charest's very unpopular Quebec budget which includes user fees http://bit.ly/bSBYfF  There's lots of studies on the myth that user fees help prevent abuse including this one http://bit.ly/ctsW7S  From our own Canadian Government study on the subject is this unequivocal statement Studies of user charges in some of these countries draw conclusions similar to the Canadian studies. Analysis has revealed that user fees do not enable governments to control health costs, that they risk leading to under-consumption of medical services by those who are the most ill, and that they are frequently ineffective when patients have supplementary insurance. http://bit.ly/cURpAd



Day 2 of the story that Charest's Liberals took payoffs http://bit.ly/dk7Y3T So far no proofs just annecdotal accusations. Of course, won't be shocked if it's true. The accusation was originally leveled by former Justice Minister Marc Bellemare. This promises to get interesting as Charest’s lawyers will be sending Bellemare a mise en demeure, warning him to retract or face legal action. To his credit Charest has already called for an inquiry into how Quebec judges are chosen http://bit.ly/cCC2S1



Nothing says intolerance like the SSJB yet again trying to restrict access to English schools http://bit.ly/bHNQQE It'd be nice if they'd just STFU for a change, or eve FOAD! (I mean the organization, not the people!)



Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin says Canada stymied detainee monitoring http://bit.ly/d9aD35 But there's no reason to investigate detainee abuse Force's investigator concludes http://bit.ly/93umyX "Nothing to see here! Everybody move along!" is not much of a defense and why do they expect it to work? Do they believe Canadians to be that complacent?



In an act that reflects their product the Taser people using intimidation to defend their product http://bit.ly/9fU1GV Amnest International suggests a moritorium on use of the device here in Canada http://bit.ly/9Pq5xq

Canada "misses" opportunity to join Pacific Free-Trade deal http://bit.ly/cPO2fT We know nothing's free in the 1st place so this might not be the worst thing in the 2nd place, esp. since the Torries suddenly like it so much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Canada Vying For Stool At Security Council

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon  confirmed that Canada is actively campaigning for a seat on the UN's top governing body. The two year-term on the Security council would start in 2011. There are two seats available, Canada will competing against Portugal and Germany. The result will be made public in the fall of 2010.

Some Mondays Do Suck!


Hey there, and welcome back! Hope the weekend and life were kind to you.

Canadian News

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your Government when it deserves it"...Mark Twain..

So, Canada's torries and military brass knew what was happening to Afghan detainees there can be no doubt http://bit.ly/dk2pbW Bondage, beatings and a few questions from the governor http://bit.ly/aqDBVm And yet Canadian military's top investigator says he was unaware of a Federal Court ruling that found there were "real and serious concerns" about the protection of Afghan detainees transferred to possible torturehttp://bit.ly/bMNxY8

Ah, Helena Guergis, awesome former minister at large, she's still an MP though http://bit.ly/anYFrQ Her husband's pretty awesome too http://bit.ly/bevPbe Really, he's something else http://bit.ly/c8U68Z 

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews warns pharmacies not to hold patients “hostage” in fight with the government over generic drug pricing.  http://bit.ly/9SzFng

Canadian Troops Part Of Congo Contingent

The Canadian Military is vying to take command of the UN's largest peacekeeping mission. The UN already has 20,000 "blue helmets" in the country. The force would come from the already beleaguered Canadian troops just off their post in Afghanistan.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Harper Appoints Well Qualified Director Of Communications

Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Dimitri Soudas one of his closest and most faithful aides. Soudas has worked for Harper for eight years, replacing John Williamson as director of communications.

On his resume are many points in his favor. Last December, he accused Canadian environmentalist Steven Guilbeault of being behind a spoof designed to embarrass the Canadian government at the Copenhagen climate summit. Although it turned out the Yes Men were responsible for the series of fake news releases that claimed Canada had committed to drastic greenhouse gas emission cuts. Then in July 2009, Soudas had to apologize for passing along incorrect information to Harper about comments made by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.


Earlier this year, Soudas had to close his Facebook account after he accepted a wanted criminal as a friend on the popular social networking site.