Wednesday, June 30, 2010

G-20: Who is this man?

Ignore the YouTube title: we don't know his identity or whether he is a police officer. But if you do know who he is, get in touch with A Creative Revolution.

Note the woman in the crowd shouting "This isn't helping us." No kidding.

Ideas as weapons

Astute reader Craig draws our attention to one of the "weapons" seized by the Toronto Police this past weekend: a copy of "Upping the Anti," a radical journal that "provides a space to reflect on the state of political organizing in Canada."

That's more like it, guys. My old copy of "The Little Red Book" could barely raise a welt. :)

UPDATE: Co-blogger Balbulican, in the comments, takes a closer look at Collage #6: "I read the staple gun as a deft hommage from the Toronto police to the RCMP. Nice Dziekanski-esque touch."

Sex, lies and videotape

A prediction: Chief Bill Blair's internal investigation will clear the Toronto Police of wrongdoing in the Amy Miller affair--indeed, of any wrongdoing at all. Remember, you read it here first.

But it's not solely up to him any more. The case will, however, be a test of the efficacy of the Office of the Ontario Independent Police Review Director.

I wish Miller, her journo colleagues and
Director Gerry McNeilly good luck in penetrating the blue wall. It's the closest we're going to come, it seems, to a public inquiry.

An interesting video has emerged of what appears to be a police officer posing as a Black Bloc member (@0:45). Infiltrator? Agent provocateur?

On the public policy side, David Eaves has some pithy analysis this morning of what happens when police lie to the citizenry. Police Chief Bill Blair, as it turns out, not only lied about the 5-metre Charter-free zone, but also about the "weapons" put on display to justify police actions over the weekend. It seems that a fantasy knight is out a suit of chain mail and some dummy arrows.

But Blair shouldn't be alone in taking the fall, if fall there be. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Notice: comments

My apologies to readers who might have been trying to leave comments this evening--they don't appear to "take." I've asked the wonderful Echo folks to do something about this: in the meanwhile, please rest assured that this is not due to any heavy-handedness on my part.

UPDATE: Back in business. Fire away!

UPPERDATE: Well, no. Very much on-again, off-again, and comments are being plucked from sub-threads and placed in main threads.

Tell you what, gentle readers--I'm going back to work. Keep commenting by all means, though--it seems that they will appear, but only after quite a while.

UPPESTDATE: Notice from Echo--all fixed. Open for business once again.

Toronto police chief: "What 5-metre perimeter?"

Fire the liar:

When asked Tuesday if there actually was a five-metre rule given the ministry's clarification, Chief Bill Blair smiled and said, “No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out.”

Even though it wasn't accurate, the public was left to believe the province had given officers the power to demand identification and detain anyone with five-metres of the G20 site.

All weekend there were reports of police stopping people throughout downtown Toronto — often in areas nowhere near the G20 zone — demanding identification and to search bags and backpacks.

UPDATE: Unlike my friend Chet Scoville, I'm not considering giving Dalton McGuinty a pass on this. He was in it from the very start. Their lie gave the police free rein to effect illegal searches and arrests of Canadian citizens: both of them must be called to account. "Just kidding" doesn't cut it.

[H/t Chet Scoville]

If the Toronto police

had had months, not days, to play with their female victims...

[T]he pale-skinned, brown-haired girl—half Croat, half Muslim—spoke of being imprisoned with her mother and two dozen other women in the basement of a municipal hall in her home town of Teslic, in north-central Bosnia. Her jailers, Bosnian Serb irregulars, raped her and the others and forced them to have sex with uniformed Bosnian Serb troops deploying through the area. She and her mother each had to watch as the other was gang-raped three times a day, every day, for four months. Mirsada was released only when she became visibly pregnant, and her jailer-rapists said, “Go bear our Serbian children.”

Rape as a weapon of war. Rape as a weapon of the state.

Amy Miller - Alternative Media Centre, Independent Journalist from Darren Puscas on Vimeo.

G-20 : The Shape of Things to Come

Paul Jay connects the goings on inside the G10 with what happened outside. If you're about to embark on an G20 austerity program that will attack social/health programs for the poor the hardest, you're going to need to get those people acclimatized to not having any rights first.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Support your local police state

At 4 am on June 26/2010, I was awoken to 4 police officers in my bedroom (our side door entrance was closed but unlocked). The officer in charge (name unknown) was pointing a handgun at me and asked me my name and who else was in the house and then had one of his colleagues monitor me in my bedroom while they searched the rest of the house. They repeatedly said they had a search warrant and arrest warrant for me. At no point did they produce this warrant to prove my name was on it and I suspect they were lying. --John Booth, veterinarian, not a G-20 protester

While this idiot from the Toronto Sun does the "Support Your Local Police" shtick, a colleague of his who was actually there, instead of mouthing off from his comfy den off-site, reported what he observed:

Police were able to come into the crowd and single out suspects, taking them — bound with plastic handcuffs — to a nearby bus.

Maybe there was a new secret law enacted. Some cops thought this was pretty funny and like the sluggos causing trouble, wanted a fight.

"I just wish I could have pummelled the little bastards the day before, “ said one copper of the Black Bloc, adding it “would have been great to ring their skinny little necks."

However, there was no Black Bloc present and the us-versus-them climate created during this summit is one of the great disgraces of Toronto’s history.

And the love-your-local-cops National Post saw two of its photographers arrested without provocation--while, once again, their resident idiot sent up paeans of praise to the uniforms.

Two stories: those who were present versus loudmouth whoop-de-do columnists well out of the line of fire.

But let's end this, er, anti-climactically. Would Mr. and Mrs. Shaidle have been critical of overreaching by Toronto's Finest if they hadn't ended up being treated to a little of Harper's billion-dollar hospitality themselves?

Sometimes it's worthwhile having the rednecks exposed to a little reality. And this isn't Schadenfreude on my part. Do I support them on this occasion? Obviously. Civil rights are civil rights and there should be no political litmus test in that respect. I won't join those laughing at the unfortunate duo.

But at the same time I can't help posing an impudent question: if a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, does that sort of thing also work in reverse?

[H/t Chet Scoville and Stageleft]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

G20 : Rapture Outreach Tourism

Kady snagged this pic of the Inscribe the bus on Friday. It was parked outside Charles McVety's Canada Christian College for the Karl Rove mini-G20 Faith and Business speech - which was all about giving the US Dems a "whupping" apparently.
Inscribe the Bible Canada is sponsored by B'nai Brith Canada and Christians United For Israel, founded by Texas millionaire televangelist Pastor John Hagee. John Hagee Ministries rents office space from McVety at Canada Christian College, and McVety in turn is chair of CUFI Canada. B'nai Brith VP Frank Dimant chairs a department on Israel at McVety's college, and his appointment to that position was attended by Jason Kenney.

McVety, Hagee, and Dimant have all shared the podium at CUFI bunfests. End times are cozy times.

Anyway back to that bus and Inscribe the
According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who originally launched the project :

"People of the World Inscribe the Bible" is a project in which anyone can inscribe a verse from the Bible in his native tongue and in his own handwriting.

The project was launched recently in Ottawa, Canada. [December 16, 2008] A day prior to the launching ceremony, Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Harper, inscribed the first verse."

Naturally there is a Canadian website with a bold if confusing graphic at the top :

Inscribe The Bilble informs us that these hand-written bibles from all over the world will eventually be housed in the House of the Bible in the Bible Valley in Israel, where a permanent full scale replica of biblical times with re-enactments of biblical stories and life 2000+ years ago is planned for a 15 mile valley.

Bible Valley :
"The Bible and Peace House will be the jewel in the crown of Bible Valley. The Bible Valley Project intends to develop an area of 25,000 acres adjacent to Jerusalem.

The Bible Valley Project will be composed of several sub-projects.
Foremost will be the handwriting of 100 copies of the Bible in various languages by two million Bible lovers from around the world. This will be done in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bible House is one of the elements in Bible Valley dedicated to bringing the Bible back to Israeli society and Israeli society back to the Bible."

Bring Israeli society back to the Bible? Develop 25,000 acres adjacent to Jerusalem to look like biblical times? Rapture outreach tourism?
Take it away, Max ...

Next CUFI Show in Washington DC in a month.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Science And The Wiggle In Her Walk

Science gets into some pretty interesting stuff. One wonders if the authors of this paper, when they took that first BIO-101 survey course, knew that they would someday be trained professionals watching videotapes of Belgian women walking down the street, then guessing about their history of vaginal orgasm.

Best G20 poster so far

Well done, PMOHarper.
Would make a very good G20 commemorative stamp.
Update : But unfortunately this is the one that will stick.

Friday, June 25, 2010

G8 leaders - Pregnant With Promises

with thanks to reader Rachel Allred at World Vision.

Update : According to the TorStar liveblog, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his German counterpart Angela Merkel will apparently be watching the World Cup on Sunday instead. Good call.

No man's land

The province of Ontario has created a Charter-free zone in Toronto.
With a (now not-so) secret regulation. Who knew it was that easy?

[H/t Jay Currie]

Today's G8/20 security theatre buzz

Today's G8/20 security theatre buzz was a story about a guy being busted for driving around looking distracted with guy stuff in his car - a chainsaw, gas cans, water jugs, a lot of tools, baseball bat, a crossbow, a scruffy white dog, and blankets. Hazmat team in action above looks through this stuff as the guy sits on the curb in handcuffs.

This afternoon's G&M headline :

"Police arrest man with arsenal of weapons near G20 zone"

has turned into Greg Weston's header tonight : 'Perfect gentleman' likely off his meds: Father

"He had tears in his eyes, and looked clearly distraught. There was no hint of anger or aggression.

“My dog,” he said plaintively to no one in particular. “Please someone do something with my dog."

Pop quiz. Which do you think would have been the more effective strategy here?

Option 1 : Ask him "What were you taking yesterday that you aren't taking today?"

Option 2 : Handcuff the guy and call in the hazmat team.

Remember - you have nearly a billion in security dollars to justify here. Take your time ... don't rush it ...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

Quick notes before I bury myself once again in archival materials:

The good:
Toronto Pride, no doubt with the assistance of considerable pressure, reverses itself: Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will be permitted to march after all. And Jonathan Kay is having a hissy-fit, which is also good.

The bad:
"I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five" ...whoops, wrong quote. Once again, though, it's infiltrators at the very highest levels of government, blah, blah, or maybe not. CSIS director Richard Fadden should join General Stanley McCrystal and take some well-deserved time off.

The ugly: One of the most offensive pieces yet written about the Rights and Democracy imbroglio. As former journalist Terry Glavin would have it, opposition to the Clown Car Brigade now running the place into the ground has n
othing at all to do with manifest managerial incompetence, mutual back-scratching, untendered contracts and wacky public pronouncements--it's

*roll of drums*


UPDATE: (June 25) For the lazy and the hard of thinking, my refutation of Glavin may be found in the comments at the link.

UPPERDATE: (June 25) Good grief, I've been so distracted by Terry's flailing over at The Mark that I neglected to note Paul Wells' latest. Mea culpa, Paul.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Will Be An Interesting Story, No Doubt...

This is odd:

A Toronto man has been charged with explosives and weapons offences in what police are calling a G20-related arrest.

Police searched a house just after noon on Tuesday at 58 Elderwood Dr., in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Byron Sonne, 37, was charged with intimidation of a justice system participant by threat, intimidation of justice system participant by watch and beset, mischief, attempted mischief, possession of explosives for an unlawful purpose and possession of dangerous weapons.

And this is odder. A Google Image search for "Byron Sonne" comes up with this:

Byron Sonne. CISSP & Licensed Private Investigator, Halvdan Solutions. Senior Systems Specialist at Webkinz. Vulnerability and Exposure Research Engineer at nCircle Network Security. Vulnerability research specialist at FSC Internet Corp.

"Vulnerability research"? Ooookayyyy.....

crossposted from Stageleft

Why does Harper hate our troops?

$8 million already spent to slap down the sick ones. Read for yourself.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Karl Rove Charles McVety G20 Bunfest this Friday

Charles McVety will be hosting Karl Rove at his own wee G20 Summit in Toronto on Friday. As McVety describes Rove on his website, having purchased the URL for himself some two years ago :
Master architect of 75 presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns with an almost perfect winning record
but just in case you've never heard of 'Bush's brain', McVety adds that he is "seen daily on television."

Nice line-up of sponsors there : B'Nai Brith Canada, Canada Family Action Coalition, Conservative Values of Canada, Institute For Canadian Values.

But all is not well in Valuesworld. Charles is pissed with Harper, who he refers to as "Chairman", for supporting "one-world government" and embracing that well known commie John Maynard Keynes. As McVety explains in his essay on the site:
Keynes was well known for agreeing with Vladimir Lennon on how to bring down free market based societies
presumably in conjunction with other dastardly communist world leader/songwriters.

And, in case you'd forgotten, Charles also tells us that "CO2 is a natural necessary part of air", Hitler was a "Socialist" and "Iran is building nuclear weapons and threatening to "wipe Israel off the map". B'Nai Brith's Frank Dimant will be addressing that one on Sunday.

"Mr. Rove's common-sense approach is a voice that leaders should take heed" says Charles.
Steve must be so proud.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BP gets 10 new deepwater drilling leases in the Gulf

While waiting for the six month moratorium on granting new permits for offshore wells deeper than 500 feet to be lifted, the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Services, these guys, have approved five new offshore drilling projects since June 2.
An Exxon Mobil site at a water depth of 1,000 feet and a Marathon Oil site at 775 feet were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact.
A Chevron site 6,730 feet underwater and an Exxon site at 6,943 feet were approved after subjecting them to environmental reviews.
The MMS has approved 198 new deepwater leases - the step before the submission of drilling plans - in the central Gulf since the BP spill began.
According to Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center, of the 198 deepwater leases sold, 92 lease tracts are at deeper depths than the Deepwater Horizon well and at least 10 are owned by BP and are located over a mile deep.
Lease Sale 213 covers 36 million acres in the central Gulf off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
If federal regulators opt to cancel a lease once it's issued, the government must repay the company the fair market value of the lease or compensate it for the cost of its bid plus interest.
So the Department of the Interior approves the leases, and then either the company gets to go ahead and drill or the taxpayer pays them not to ... with interest.
Pocket change you can believe in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Ottawa Citizen: fair and balanced

 the FauxNews mode, that is. When you're piling on to accuse Libby Davies of political heresy, her side will not be permitted to see the light of day. Might disrupt the narrative. Cowards.

This is the lying rubbish the Citizen spewed:

Davies is saying that the Jewish state was illegitimate from the moment of birth -- that Israel is by definition an abomination, no matter the borders.

NDP leader Jack Layton needs to say publicly whether disgust for Jewish self-determination is official party policy.

And here is Libby's response to the Citizen's mendacity:

June 11, 2010
Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your June 11 editorial which refers to a video of me recorded last Saturday, and posted online (Hater's, Ottawa Citizen, June 11, 2010).

My reference to the year 1948 as the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory was a serious and completely inadvertent error; I apologize for this and regret any confusion it has caused.

I have always supported a two-state solution to the on-going Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have never questioned Israel's right to exist and the Palestinian’s right to a viable state.

New Democrats have long called for a peaceful, negotiated end to the conflict where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with secure borders. This is a policy I fully support.

I reject the allegation that I hate Israel, and I reject the assertion that I said that Israel is illegitimate or an abomination. Neither are true.

Libby Davies
MP Vancouver East

But, as noted, you won't be permitted to read this in the Citizen. There's an auto-da-fé goin' on, and the editors aren't about to allow anyone to rain on their bonfire.

A history lesson for Jack Layton

Go read.

A belated shout-out

 my friend Richard Warman.

You've stared amazed as Richard has fought single-handed against the forces of bigotry and hatred. You've marvelled as he's leaped over legal hurdles in a single bound. You've thrilled to his victories against the armies of the night. You've gasped as he's brought justice to super-villains who even now quiver in their caves, hovels and expensive hotel rooms.

And here at last is Richard himself, at his very own website. No longer do you have to rely on hearsay and cheap conjecture, on rumour and contumely. Flushed with his latest victory, nothing will stop him--and now you can get it all first-hand.

Way to go, Richard. And damn the torpedoes.

Abuse of process

Try to imagine this.

You are a Canadian citizen. One day you're accused out of the blue of a serious crime committed in another country several decades ago. You are jailed, pending an extradition hearing. The court allows you out on bail, but you must pay several thousand dollars a month out of your own pocket for a GPS monitoring device. Given that you have been unjustly fired from your job, this is difficult, but friends and family are helping out.

After several months, the case collapses.

Are you free?

Nope. Not in Canada, not in 2010.

The other country now wants to build an entirely fresh case, from scratch. The Canadian prosecutor, unusually zealous in this matter, is completely on-side. He also demands, incredibly, that your defence counsel not be allowed to bring expert witnesses to rebut the new "evidence," after they successfully shredded the old. Earlier, this Crown attorney had been caught using dubious "translations" of documents from the other country. He seems, in other words, to have an axe to grind.

And the judge, who has already granted the Crown lengthy adjournments, insists on continuing your onerous bail conditions on your own dime, and permits the other country several more months to invent construct its new case.

Meet Canada's Dreyfus, Hassan Diab.

The judge in the case, Robert Maranger, has been bending over backwards to permit the Crown to pursue its ends on behalf of France. He has permitted delay after costly delay to let this dreadful farce play out. His refusal to ease bail conditions is just the latest injustice perpetrated by our cracked legal system against a fellow citizen who, in days of old, was presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Such an obvious abuse of process by the Crown attorney
--the word "railroading" springs to mind--should be nipped in the bud with a formal complaint. The judge who has been facilitating the travesty should recuse himself. This legal proceeding should be a national scandal. But "should" is the operative word. None of this will happen. The anti-terrorist drama demands fresh sacrifices. And it's not as though the judicial victim's name is "Bob Smith."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Steve has had a vision

of Birnam Wood marching on his own personal Dunsinane.


The charming Canada-Israel Committee

Will "Queers Against CIC Homophobia" be allowed to march in the Toronto Pride Parade?

UPDATE: Apologies offered.
But what possessed the CIC?

[H/t Marky Mark]

Honour Killing

This week those uncomfortable with the Encroaching Dusky Hordes had great fun dancing on the corpse of Aqsa Parvez.

She was the young woman murdered by her father, Muhammad Parvez, and her brother, Waqas, in a "honour killing"; a 16 year-old kid who tried to enjoy the freedom she saw all around her, killed because her family brought with them the values of the Pakistani village they immigrated from in 1999. She had "shamed" them, and they murdered her. Based on quality of evidence, the Crown attorneys accepted guilty pleas to second-degree murder, which brings an automatic life sentence, and in this case parole eligibility after 18 years.

You can argue about whether or not the punishment fits the crime, but the bottom line is that a murder was committed and our justice system handled it. That the murderers felt culturally justified in their killing was irrelevant.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Braidwood Chronicles: conclusion

Thomas Braidwood's report has been released.

"I concluded that [RCMP Constable Kwesi Millington] was not justified in deploying the weapon, and that neither that constable nor the corporal honestly perceived that Mr. Dziekanski was intending to attack any of the officers.

"I concluded that the other two constables, during their testimony before me, offered patently unbelievable after-the-fact rationalizations of their police notes and their statements to [Integrated Homicicde Investigation Team] investigators."

"Shameful conduct." "[D]eliberate misrepresentations made for the purpose of justifying their actions."

And if it hadn't been for a man with a cellphone video, they would have gotten away with it. Perhaps they still will.

Full report here.

UPDATE: The report makes grim reading. One thing in particular stands out: the officers were unmitigated liars. Braidwood refers to their

desperate attempts to explain away important inaccuracies in their police notes and statements to homicide investigators. I think the public is entitled to expect that officers involved in a serious investigation, especially a police related death, will apply care and professional judgement in how they record their recollection of important events, especially when giving a statement to a homicide investigator. These two officers failed that test miserably. The public is equally entitled to expect that when officers testify under oath, they will be candid and forthright, and if their earlier notes or statements are shown to be inaccurate (as the Pritchard video showed in this case), they acknowledge the inaccuracy. These two officers did just the opposite by offering revisionist interpretations of their previous statements that were unbelievable. (p.243)


The initial claims by all four officers in their police notes and statements to IHIT investigators that they wrestled Mr. Dziekanski to the ground has been shown, by the Pritchard video, to be untrue. These were either innocent inaccuracies by the four officers or deliberate misrepresentations of what had happened. In my view, they were the latter, and they were made for the purpose of justifying their actions. But for the Pritchard video, we would likely never have learned what really happened, and these officers’ revisionist accounts would have lived on. (p.256)

Lots more about the Four Horsemen in this section of the report.

UPPERDATE: This sounds hopeful. BC is appointing a Special Prosecutor to review the testimony of the Four Horsemen.

For his part, Braidwood released this statement today:

“We strongly believe that the findings of the Braidwood Commission should have a follow-up. We therefore expect that the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch will reassess its decision from 12 December 2008 and reopen the criminal investigation or the Special Prosecutor will be appointed by the Attorney General.”

Robert Dziekanski: the RCMP's non-apology

Just to whet everyone's appetites before the main event later this afternoon (the release of the Braidwood Report), here is the RCMP's wretched Gary Bass on the apology offered a few weeks ago to Zofia Cisowski:

"Even though the word 'apology' worries some, we are not apologizing for the actions of specific members or saying anything about specific actions," Bass wrote in a March 31 e-mail to RCMP staff relations representative Brian Roach.

"I am apologizing for the loss of her son and where the (RCMP commissioner) says we could have done better, from my perspective, that relates to the fact we had to revise our policy and training."

We are immediately reminded of earlier internal clarifications. Same "horribly broken" organization, same hypocrisy, same sleaze. Nothing has changed. Maintiens le droit.

Fire. Them. All.

Or most of them, anyway.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued its report on the clowncar brigade formerly known as the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, or, more familiarly, as Rights and Democracy.

Regular readers here will find confirmed in the report what I and others have been maintaining all along: it's a dreary tale of administrative incompetence, questionable contracting procedures, and sleazy, ideologically-motivated administrative misbehaviour.

Some of the recommendations give the flavour of the findings:

Recommendation 4:
The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada strongly encourage The Board of Directors of Rights and Democracy to amend its by-laws so that all contracts above $10,000 in value are automatically subject to calls for tender.

Recommendation 5:
The Committee also recommends that the Government of Canada strongly encourage Rights and Democracy to publish all contracts greater than $2,000 on its public website.

Recommendation 9:
That the Privy Council Office remove the Board’s evaluation (and all documents related to the evaluation) of Rémy Beauregard [former Rights and Democracy President, hounded to his death] from all files.

Recommendation 10:
That the current Board of Rights and Democracy issue an apology to
Mr. Beauregard's family for any statements damaging his reputation.

Recommendation 11:
That the Government of Canada reconstitute the Board, with a new

Recommendation 12:
That the Government of Canada authorize the new Board to review the
appointment of Mr. Latulippe.

Almost needless to say, the "Conservative Party of Canada" issued a dissenting report, ending, not with a bang, but a whimper:

While we worked diligently with opposition members to agree on the body of this report, we cannot support ALL the recommendations pushed through by the opposition majority on the Committee.

We are not told which recommendations they agree with and which they don't. That will allow Stephen Harper maximum latitude, of course, to ignore everything that the Committee has had to say. And former human rights advocate Michael Ignatieff will be unavailable for comment.

[H/t readers in the comments and b/c]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trouble! (Oh, We Got Trouble...)

There is a very real possibility that Karla Homolka, one of Canada's most notorious serial killers, may be hired to play Santa Claus between November 15th and December 24th at the Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa this year.

Now, murderess Homolka herself has not explicitly confirmed her intention of applying for the job of Bayshore Santa. Nor has the Bayshore Shopping Centre indicated in any concrete way that they intend hire her, should she submit an application for the position.

But can Canadians afford to wait? Are we willing to leave the ball in her court?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Libby Davies

I would be remiss if I didn't say a word or two about my friend Libby Davies and the pit she has been lovingly lured into. And the folks now shovelling earth into that pit.

She stated that Israel had been "occupied" since 1948. Ask any of the countless tens of thousands of Arabs driven out of the territory at that time and they would agree. It's a fact of history. They call it the nakba.

Canada and the US and Spain occupied Indian
land in the Americas since 1492. The Māori of Aotearoa (now New Zealand) were displaced by Pakeha settlers from the late 18th century on; the Aborigines of Australia, by transportees from England; the Zulu and Xhosa and San of present-day South Africa by Dutch voortrekkers. More historical facts.

Does Israel have a "right to exist?" Canada? the US? New Zealand? Australia? South Africa?

Let's re-frame the discussion.

Arguably, most modern states have origins that some might consider, with reason, to be illegitimate. But no one is suggesting that they cease to exist, whether they have a "right" to exist or not.

First Nations and Inuit in Canada have negotiated land claims and even, in some cases, limited forms of self-government. In many other countries, various accommodations have been or are being made. In some, like Colombia, the indigenous people are still being murdered and displaced (with the recent blessing of Liberal and Conservative members of Parliament, for whom the blood of brown people is an inconvenient distraction). With respect to Israel, memories and folk memories of dispossession are a dominant narrative among non-Jewish populations, inside and outside the 1967 borders.

Someday there may, with luck, be peace in the Middle East. Vast accommodations will have to be made on all sides. But one cannot simply wish away the hard feelings that presently exist, or the events that caused them. One cannot pretend that Arabs were not routed in 1948, or dispossessed within the state of Israel in 1976. If and when there is a lasting settlement among the parties, this dispossession will be salient: if the solution is not a (likely unworkable) return of Palestinian refugees--here at home, Ottawa is not going to be returned to the Algonkian people--then suitable compensation will be part of the deal. Within Israel, Arab and Bedouin citizens will in turn have to be accommodated, their lands returned or appropriate compensation offered.

Davies spoke an historical truth, one that will have to be taken into account if there is to be a stable peace in the Middle East. But others have maliciously drawn a conclusion for her that she herself has not. The reality of Israeli occupation does not imply that Israel cease to exist in order to put things right. She has always favoured a two-state solution. Nothing has changed.

The reaction, however, has been appalling. One might expect pro-Israel lobby groups to pounce on any remark by a public figure that isn't uncritically pro-Israel.
But these organizations, which appear to have authority far beyond the numbers of constituents that they speak for, have once again brought Canadian politicians to their knees. Stephen Harper and his fellow Liberals has called for punitive sanctions against Davies. And Jack Layton has, absurdly, apologized to the Israeli ambassador.

For what? Again, Davies simply stated a fact. Yes, Jews have lived in the Middle East for millennia. Arabs too: Muslims since the seventh century. But the establishment of the state of Israel displaced large numbers of people from their ancestral lands. An inconvenient truth: but one that will have to be addressed if peace is to be achieved.

Shame on Jack Layton, and Thomas Mulcair, and the other trucklers joining the baying mobs. The truth, they say, will set you free. But sometimes, as Libby Davies has discovered, you don't get much of a head start.

More from Murray Dobbin, who has it right.

A couple of dozen give or take 2500

The National Post has an interesting article by Lawrence Solomon ( here ). In his article Mr. Solomon quotes from a paper by the climate scientist Mike Hulme titled Climate Change: what do we know about the IPCC? While the quotes were accurate, the context did not seem to be. So I decided to investigate a bit. When contacted by e-mail Professor Hulme confirmed that the "National Post article offers a meaning rather different to that intended and to that implied." (Note that this does not necessarily mean that he endorses my position. His own website has his own clarifying statements.)

Mr. Solomon claims that the IPCC misled people by saying that thousands backed its claims on manmade global warming where as Professor Hulme’s article says that only a few dozen did.

Mr. Solomanon’s argument fails on two levels. To begin with he does not define what the claim of the IPCC is which is important since IPCC makes many claims all discussed in their reports. In fact, this is one of the weaknesses of the IPCC process described by
Professor Hulme – by not being specific enough it can be vulnerable to misleading statements – as we see here.

However his larger failure is based on the erroneous assumption that saying that if only few dozen can understand the details of climate science, then the rest must not support their conclusion. This is false.
Professor Hulme’s article is very clear when it states that

Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgment, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields.

So while many scientists can say that their work supports the concepts described or that they can follow the argument, only a few are expert enough in detection and attribution studies to form an independent opinion about the human influence on climate. Of course there are another dozen or so who understand enough about oceanography to allow them to say what the influence of the ocean is on global warming and so it goes for the claims put forward by the IPCC. As we know, climate science is an interdisciplinary subject and since no one can be expected to know it all we must look to experts in each area to draw conclusions about that subject. This is becoming a very relevant point for climate science and I am reminded of the statement by Dr. Kitcher (in his article “The Climate Change Debates”) when he says “Serious democracy requires reliance on expert opinion”.

Unfortunately, instead of adding clarity to what the experts on climate say, Mr. Solomon chooses to instead further disingenuity; ironically embodying the very opposite of the point of
Professor Hulme’s article.

The Wogs Begin At Belleville

For cutting edge international analysis, I always turn to bloggers who think the Taliban are Arabs and who are confused about the difference between Japanese and Chinese.

Don't you?

cross posted from Stageleft

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


...time to spend a second billion.

[H/t Marie Ève, b/c]

UPDATE: Unconfirmed. Or is that a confirmation?

[H/t reader Les Miller]

Prosperity Gospel

Eleanor Clitheroe, former Hydro One trough-wallower and now an ordained Anglican priest, is struggling to get by on a yearly pension of
$307,644.96, and she wants more. To borrow the words of Scottish poet Alexander Scott, would somebody please kick her camel-fat backside through a needle's eye?

Jay Currie's anti-Semites

Those who don't make a habit of visiting Jay Currie's joint might want to pay a little visit to check out the rank Holocaust-denying anti-Semitism that is now appearing with alarming frequency there.

Not from Jay himself, of course. He's too busy pushing the "new anti-Semitism" nonsense to pay serious attention to the real thing.
But one of his commenters in particular, a decidedly creepy fellow from North Vancouver who calls himself "john begley," has been well and truly outed--and finds only defenders.

Back in the day, "begley" palled around with the now-mouldering anti-Semite Doug Collins, whose views of the Holocaust and the Jews is best summarized by himself:

I don’t believe in the gas-chamber story,” he said. “I don’t believe the six-million figure.”

Collins, whose columns for the North Shore News are being reprinted by a prominent anti-Semitic group in the U.S., claimed only one million Jews died – of starvation and disease and not in gas chambers.

“I don’t believe there was a systematic organization to eliminate the Jews,” he said in an interview.

“If they had a definite plan to wipe out the Jews, why did so many survive?”

Collins said he doesn't consider himself anti-Semitic or a neo-Nazi but added that "I can't say some of my best friends are Jews."

This was raised by one of Jay's readers in response to a couple of comments by "begley," defending "dear old Doug Collins" and claiming, disingenuously: "specifically collin’s remarks re the Holocaust were simply on the number of victims…..nothing more and nothing less…"

But "begley," who had torn off his mask and stomped on it, just didn't know when to quit. He was back at it yesterday:

as far as his Holocaust stuff goes i remember it was the numbers NOT the degree of sin that he argued….

which is fair enough in a sense…if i was jooish spokesman arguing for dollar retribution from the Germans i’d certainly run the numbers up as high as i could

Readers will note that the latter comment is a well-worn anti-Semitic trope, found routinely on neo-Nazi sites like Stormfront--and now brought to you courtesy of Jay Currie.

The oddest thing--or perhaps not? The other regulars at Currie's see nothing wrong with this, try to explain it away, throw a few rocks at yours truly and another reader for even bringing it up. And these are the very folks running around bleating about the "new anti-Semitism," sending skirmishing parties to Palestine House and pro-Palestinian protests, and routinely denouncing critics of Israel state policy as "anti-Semitic."

Is it reasonable to suspect that all this pro-Israel rah-rah is for some a mere blind, an alibi? There are far-right Europeans who ally themselves with Israel as a strategy, seeing in that country a bulwark against the Islamists, but that doesn't mean that some of their best friends are Jews. It's hard, in any case, to take seriously those who rail about the "new anti-Semitism" when they reveal themselves to be so complaisant about the old one.

The Worst Persons in the World

...all in one room. Faces of nightmare: Karl Rove. Charles McVety. Michael Coren. Frank Dimant. A conference not to be missed, at least if you're in the pentacle-and-black-wax-candle crowd.

Readers are invited to connect the dots.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rights and Democracy, and the Canada-Colombia FTA

The Canada-Colombia how-much-for-the-little-girl? Free Trade Investment Agreement, aka Bill C2, will pass third reading later today just as Martha Hall Findlay begins to get the feeling back in her lower jaw.

Last fall, the parliamentary Trade Committee recommendations on C-23 as it was then known - including one for an independent human rights assessment before the deal passed - was considered vital to obtaining opposition support. This year the Libs don't much care for it, having jettisoned it in favour of Lib Scott Brison's preference for hearing about human rights abuses after they occur.

From 2007 through 2009, C-23 Recommendation #4 read:
"... that an independent, impartial, and comprehensive human rights impact assessment should be carried out by a competent body, which is subject to levels of independent scrutiny and validation; the recommendations of this assessment should be addressed before Canada considers signing, ratifying and implementing an agreement with Colombia."
And who was to do this human rights assessment?

"The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada draw on the work of the organization Rights and Democracy to give an independent body the mandate to conduct studies regarding the impact on rights and the environment when it is negotiating economic agreements with countries at risk, as in the case of the agreement with Colombia."
And look what happened to them.
They got a new chairman, a new president, four new board members, and a new mandate at the bottom of Steve's sock drawer.

What sort of work might R&D have recommended on a potential trade agreement with Colombia if they weren't in Steve's sock drawer?

R&D Feb. 1, 2007 :

"Colombian paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso’s recent admission that he facilitated the disappearance and killing of celebrated indigenous leader Kimy Pernia Domico, winner of Rights & Democracy’s 2003 John Humphrey Freedom Award, raises new concerns that justice for victims of human rights abuses will not be served by Colombia’s current demobilization process."
R&D goes on to note that Kimy Pernia Domico had come to Canada years before to give testimony to Members of Parliament about :

"the devastating effects of an internationally-funded hydroelectric dam on the Embera-Katio’s traditional lands and livelihoods, a project which received $18.2-million in funding from Export Development Canada."
And then they ask a lot of awkward questions.
Say, how did that work out?

Land and Life, a 2007 doc film from Kathy Price, former CBC foreign affairs producer :

"examines the devastating impact of a hydroelectric project on the Embera Katío Indigenous people and raises disturbing questions about a Canadian crown corporation that provided financing."
Was the gutting of Rights and Democracy only about protecting Israel from criticism?
Perhaps not entirely.
Perhaps Steve thought the addition of a few new board members last year would be all that was needed to facilitate some really enthusiastic reports on Colombia's remarkable progress in reducing poverty by 1% per year while simultaneously increasing the gap between rich and poor for the benefit of whichever oil or mining project we are funding there this week.

Of course that's Scott Brison's job now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Curried Science

Jay Currie, that ambulatory laboratory of scientific rigour, poses the question: "Just how dead is CAGW?" And of course answers it: "The extremities are still twitching…but the Global Warming canard is in terminal decline."

Well, you can imagine how eagerly I followed his link to the Bayonet ("Skewering the Clueless!" GET IT? SKEWERING?) to witness this historic debunking. I'm wondering if maybe Jay linked to the wrong page, though. Because I didn't find much science there at all.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BP oil spill at your house

If it was my home uses Google Maps and the current situation of the spill to show what the extent of the disaster would look like in your neck of the woods. Click and it will find you.
The Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 was 41 million litres of oil. It can still be found under the sand.
US government scientists are now pegging the Gulf Oil disaster at an Exxon Valdez-size spill every 5 to 13 days, with more oil gushing into the sea in an hour than officials originally said was spilling in an entire day.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute estimates the spill at 3.8 million litres to 8 million litres per day.
The Montreal Gazette reports that after a 16% dip on the NYSE Wednesday due to "concerns over BP's ability to meet mounting costs", shares rebounded by more than 12% yesterday "partly because of speculation that Petro-China, Asia's top oil and gas firm, was considering making a bid for BP."
Meanwhile here in Canada, one of the provisions in the just-passed budget gives the environment minister the power to bypass environmental assessments on major projects he wants passed just as Enbridge insists it wants its Northern Gateway pipeline shipping tankers of tarsands oil to Asia via the BC port of Kitimat by 2016.

Last year Natural Resources Canada - Review of the Federal Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities Offshore British Columbia was quietly amended with an "Errata" that read :
"the moratorium on oil and gas activities offshore British Columbia does not apply to tanker traffic"
and as regards the grandfathered BC offshore drilling exploration agreements awaiting negotiation and approval :
"The decision not to negotiate with industry to convert those permits is a pure policy decision. There is no statutory impediment to carrying out those negotiations."

If it was my home ...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The IDF executes a high school student [updated with video]

The photograph is of Furkan Dogan
, 19*, a student at Kayseri High School who wanted to be a doctor. He was the son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan, Associate Professor at Erciyes University. Dogan was a Turkish-American dual national, with two siblings. (link link link)

He's dead.

The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

The New York Times, which had briefly reported this, has since excised it from its copy. All the news that fits, they print.

That's some lethal paintball gun, there, chaverim.

[H/t Lawrence of Cyberia and Rusty Idols]

UPDATE: (June 4)

I said "execution" and I meant "execution."

The nine Turkish dead were shot thirty times at close range:

The results [of the autopsies] revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

So we must assume, if we listen to the morally imbecilic hasbaraniks infesting the blogosphere at the moment, that the "terrorists" not only planned an ambush with no firearms, but decided that running backwards towards the IDF was a sensible mode of attack.

[H/t Holly Stick in the comments]

UPDATE: (June 10)

Furkan Dogan's last moments? (NB: the authenticity of this video, which appeared on Turkish newscasts today, is not confirmed.)

Meanwhile we learn, much to our shock, that the Gaza blockade isn't about security.

[H/t reader lenny]

UPPERDATE: It now appears that the video was "creatively edited."
Note: Reader "Zog" questioned the age of Dogan in the photograph, and he appears to have a point. Here is one from November 2008.

B'nai Brith drops the hammer again

...and Manitoba Provincial Education Minister Nancy Allan jumps to.

No children were hit by shells in Gaza. The IDF were firing teddy bears. Chantal Kreviazuk, who has spent a lot of time working on behalf of children caught in armed conflicts, is, under that caring exterior, obviously an anti-Semite.

Or maybe not.

Here's much, if not all, of her article (pp.145ff), h/t Curtis Brown, who has a good deal more to say over at Endless Spin Cycle. Way to upset even supporters of Israel, B'nai Brith.

UPDATE: Why not send Allan a note?

On the Not Mosque at Not Ground Zero

The anti-Muslim movement is a curious blend of old-fashioned racism, naive nativism, fear, and the brute, thuggish rage that infects a diseased minority in every generation and finds its scapegoat in every culture. Because it's irrational to its core, it shuns reasoned discussion, which it dismisses as weakness or "appeasement". Instead, it relies on theatre and crude sloganeering (Not All Terrorists Are Muslim, But All Muslims Are Terrorists!!) to make its "points".

One of the most recent flashpoints for these racist rage-junkies is the "plan" to build a "Mega Mosque" on the site of Ground Zero in Manhattan, as a clear act of aggression and provocation against the Forces of Decency.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Racketeering - Funding both sides of the war

On a day marking the worst number of casualties NATO has seen in Afghanistan this year, the New York Times adds to recent reports of Afghan security contractors buying off the Taleban the next obvious step - Taleban and Afghan officials cooperating to hold NATO to ransom.

Rule of the Gun :
After a pair of bloody confrontations with Afghan civilians, two of the biggest private security companies — Watan Risk Management and Compass Security — were banned from escorting NATO convoys on the highway between Kabul and Kandahar.

The ban took effect on May 14. At 10:30 a.m. that day, a NATO supply convoy rolling through the area came under attack. An Afghan driver and a soldier were killed, and a truck was overturned and burned. Within two weeks, with more than 1,000 trucks sitting stalled on the highway, the Afghan government granted Watan and Compass permission to resume.

Watan’s president, Rashid Popal, strongly denied any suggestion that his men either colluded with insurgents or orchestrated attacks to emphasize the need for their services. But the episode, and others like it, has raised the suspicions of investigators here and in Washington, who are trying to track the tens of millions in taxpayer dollars paid to private security companies to move supplies to American and other NATO bases.

Although the investigation is not complete, the officials suspect that at least some of these security companies — many of which have ties to top Afghan officials — are using American money to bribe the Taliban. The officials suspect that the security companies may also engage in fake fighting to increase the sense of risk on the roads, and that they may sometimes stage attacks against competitors.

“We’re funding both sides of the war,” a NATO official in Kabul said.

The investigation is complicated by, among other things, the fact that some of the private security companies are owned by relatives of President Hamid Karzai and other senior Afghan officials. Mr. Popal, for instance, is a cousin of Mr. Karzai, and Western officials say that Watan Risk Management’s largest shareholder is Mr. Karzai’s brother Qayum.

The principal goal of the American-led campaign here is to prepare an Afghan state and army to fight the Taliban themselves. The possibility of collusion between the Taliban and Afghan officials suggests that, rather than fighting each another, the two Afghan sides may often cooperate under the noses of their wealthy benefactors.

We pay off the security contractors who escort our convoys not to bomb them or attack NATO troops; if we don't pay up, we get a little reminder from Karzai's relatives.

Harper's Afghanistan occupation MEPs emphasize building schools and promoting democracy. They don't mention anything about racketeering.

Dave on the flagrant abuse of armed forces : Eyes shut and fingers crossed.