Saturday, May 26, 2007

Campout and Rally in Support of Iraj Ghahramani


==> CONTINUE TO EMAIL/FAX/WRITE LETTERS (click here for template and backgrounder)

Supporters of Iraj Ghahremani have decided to maintain a 24-hour continuous presence and campout outside Citizenship and Immigration offices indefinetely to place pressure on the government to stop the unjust deportation of Mr. Ghahremani.

Mr. Ghahramani is a well known comedic Iranian entertainer and has contributed greatly to the diverse community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply respected and loved by many. Mr. Ghahramani arrived in Canada on April 3,1999 and filed a refugee claim on the basis of the risk and persecution he faced in Iran. His rejection was based mostly on minor inconsistencies in his account in his application form versus his account during the hearing- speaking no English and in a state of high stress and anxiety. Because the government has failed to implement the appeal process required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002), Mr. Ghahramani’s fate has essentially rested in the hands of one person. As with so many other refugees, Mr. Ghahramani’s refusal is a reflection of the structurally flawed refugee system.We hope you will join in the struggle for dignity for Iraj.

* Spread the word about the rally on Saturday May 26 at 2 pm.

* To call and leave a message of solidarity at the campout, please call 778 552 2099.

* Drop by the campout whenever you can and share your solidarity: leave messages for Iraj, sign a letter, bring supplies (water, blankets etc).

* Sign up for a shift (even 1 hour sometime in the next few days) at the campout if you are able to. Please email us at or call 778 840 2009.

* We have received hundreds of support letters for Iraj- thank you! Pleasecontinue to call/fax/email Minister Stockwell Day and Minister Diane Finley to demand that they stop this deportation. Click here for SAMPLE LETTER .

* If you are interested in getting together a group of coworkers, members of your group, or members of your community to express your collective solidarity with Iraj, we would encourage you to organize a coordinated delegation to arrive at one time and pressure CIC to stop the deportation of Iraj. Please do contact us about this possibility at or call 778 885 0040.

Please stay in touch if you would like to receive future updates and thankyou for your ongoing support. In solidarity, No One is Illegal Vancouver

For more information, email or call 778 885 0040

Deportation looms for Vancouver's 'Dancing Santa

Deportation looms for Vancouver's 'Dancing Santa'. Canadian Border Services Agency extends Iranian's removal date to June 3 as Persian community rallies around activist

VANCOUVER -- Refugee claimant Iraj Ghahremani, 70, has danced as a "Santa Claus" in North Vancouver's Iranian new year festivals since he fled Iran in 1999. But now that Canada has denied him refugee status and ordered Mr. Ghahremani deported next week, the Iranian community fears it will lose a dancer much-loved by children, and that Mr. Ghahremani will be imprisoned in a country where it is forbidden to dance in public. Mr. Ghahremani and his lawyers are hoping to delay the deportation long enough to argue that his dancing - as well as his political activism - will mean imprisonment and punishment in Iran. Canada should let him stay, they say. "I want to bring happiness to the Persian community," Mr. Ghahremani said.

(Click here to read more)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Urgent Appeal to Support Iraj Ghahramani

Urgent Appeal to Support Iraj Ghahramani

This is an appeal for your support in the campaign to stop the imminent deportation of Iraj Ghahremani, a 70 year old, much loved member of the Iranian Community in the Greater Vancouver Area. His deportation date is scheduled for the end of May 2007.

Mr. Ghahremani is a famous comedic Iranian entertainer and has contributed greatly to the diverse community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply respected and loved by many.

Mr. Ghahremani arrived in Canada on April 3, 1999 and filed a refugee claim on the basis of the risk and persecution he faced in Iran. His rejection was based mostly on minor inconsistencies in his account in his application form versus his account during the hearing- speaking no English and in a state of high stress and anxiety. Because the government has failed to implement the appeal process required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002), Mr. Ghahremani’s fate has essentially rested in the hands of one person. As with so many other refugees, Mr. Ghahremani’s refusal is a reflection of the structurally flawed refugee system.

In 2007, Mr. Ghahremani filed a humanitarian and compassionate claim on the basis of his establishment within Canada, which included over 800 letters of support from community members. However this application was recently refused; primarily on the grounds that he has been receiving social assistance. As a senior, he is unable to pursue the difficult low-wage jobs that many immigrants and refugees are forced to take upon arrival to Canada. Furthermore, he has in fact worked intermittently over the past 8 years. This assessment ignores the reality that Mr. Ghahremani has contributed greatly through other means, that he has built a strong network in Vancouver, and that his value as a human being and as a senior cannot be simply quantified by his access to paid employment.

He has multiple family members here, firstly his wife with whom he is in a committed and loving relationship and who is a Canadian citizen. Their lives would be devastated, particularly as seniors who rely on each other greatly for support, friendship, and care giving, if they were to be separated by his deportation. Mr. Ghahremani’s sister and four-half brothers and their respective families also reside in Vancouver. His father, who was accepted in Canada as a refugee, also lived in Vancouver. Mr. Ghahremani was the primary provider and care-giver to his ailing father until he passed away in 2004.

Mr. Ghahremani’s physical health is fragile. His emotional health has been deeply impacted by the loss of his father and the daily anxiety and stress of a pending deportation and family separation.

We are seeking your support to assist Mr. Ghahremani, who faces increased risk of unreasonable hardship if he is deported to Iran due to his age, ill health, and lack of support in Iran. At his age Mr. Ghahremani already struggles to live a dignified life. He requires the support of his wife, brother, and sister for support, and since he has no family remaining in Iran he would not be able to care for himself if deported.

We are seeking your support to pressure the government to allow Mr. Ghahremani to stay in Canada with his wife and family. PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!

In solidarity, No One is Illegal Vancouver. For more information, email or call 778 885 0040

======> SAMPLE LETTER <========

Diane Finley Fédéral Immigration Ministre Ottawa Telephone: (613) 996-4974 Ottawa Fax: (613) 996-9749 Constituency Office Telephone: (519) 426-3400 Constituency Office Fax: (519) 426-0003 Email: and

Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Phone: 613.995.1702 or in Riding: 250.770.4480 Email: and Fax: (613) 943-0044 or in Riding: 250.770.4484

Dear Minister Findlay and Day,

Regarding: Iraj Ghahramani

I am writing to express my concern about the imminent deportation of Iraj Ghahremani, a 70 year old, much loved member of the Iranian Community in the Greater Vancouver Area. I am writing to ask that you use your ministerial discretion to set aside his deportation order and grant him Permanent Residency status.

Mr. Ghahremani has been living North Vancouver as a valuable member of the community for approximately 8 years. He has been married to a Canadian Citizen with whom he is in a committed and loving relationship. Their lives would be devastated, particularly as seniors who rely on each other greatly for support, friendship, and care giving, if they were to be separated by his deportation. Mr. Ghahremani’s sister and four-half brothers and their respective families also reside in Vancouver.

He is also a famous comedic entertainer and has contributed greatly to the rich and diverse culture of community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply loved and respected by many.

Mr. Ghahremani’s physical health is fragile. His emotional health has been deeply impacted by the loss of his father and the daily anxiety and stress of a pending deportation and family separation. Mr. Ghahremani faces increased risk of unreasonable hardship if he is deported to Iran due to his age, ill health and lack of support in Iran.

I am writing to you to express my support for Mr. Ghahremani and to urge you to stop all removal orders against him and granting him residency status in Canada immediately.



Why Canadians side with militant Indians

By any measure, indigenous people are right on several major issues. May 20, 2007. By Richard Day

It is well known in all quarters that the job of Phil Fontaine, as the head of the Assembly of First Nations, is to moderate long-standing tensions between his constituents and the Canadian government.

That's why it was rather surprising when Fontaine, speaking recently to the harrumphing curmudgeons at the Canadian Club, said that indigenous peoples and agents of the Canadian state are more likely to be meeting on the barricades than in the boardrooms this summer. That's enough to put any captain of industry off his lunch, to be sure, and it should be of concern to all of us.

(Click here to read more)

Honduras to US: Stop Deportations

Tegucigalpa, May 23 (Prensa Latina)

A record number of Honduran people deported from the US to that Central American country amounted to 8,546 this year, disclosed a source from Government Ministry Wednesday.

Rosario Murillo warned the ones deported by airplanes chartered by the US Migration Service might be more than 42,000 in 2007.

Murillo explained other 4,063 people were deported by land from Guatemala and Mexico. In general, she pointed out that the number of repatriates has gradually increased, while in 2006 US authorities expelled 24,666 undocumented, and in 2005 it was 18,941 deported.

(Click here to read more)

Collateral Genocide

Wrecking Iraq: One Million Dead, 2 Million Wounded,
3 Million Displaced. By MIKE FERNER. May 11, 2007

Two elements are necessary to commit the crime of genocide:

1) the mental element, meaning intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, and

2) the physical element, which includes any of the following: killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; or forcibly transferring children to another group.

Considering that such clear language comes from a UN treaty which is legally binding on our country, things could start getting a little worrisome -- especially when you realize that since our government declared economic and military warfare on Iraq we've killed well over one million people, fast approaching two.

(Click here to read more)

Depleted Uranium - The US Army has contaminated Hawaii!

KITV Hawaii Video - Hawaii Depleted Uranium - Leuren Moret/ Bob Nichols Commentary - No Place is Safe. The US Army has contaminated Hawaii!

T his is a devastating video on the use of forever lethal uranium weapons by the US Army in the former Paradise of Hawaii. The Army has contaminated Hawaii forever with a form of highly radioactive and deadly uranium weapons.

KITV Hawaii - Depleted Uranium Hawaii (2 Mins 33 Seconds)

(Click here to read more)

100 suspected illegal workers arrested

By MARCUS KABEL, Associated Press Writer. May 23, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Federal immigration agents raided a poultry plant Tuesday morning and arrested more than 100 workers who are believed to be illegal immigrants.

Most of those arrested at the George's processing plant in rural Butterfield were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, said Pete Baird, an agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations office in Kansas City.

(Click here to read more)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Immigration Raid Leaves Sense of Dread in Hispanic Students

By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN. May 23, 2007. WILLMAR, Minn.

The day before everything happened, Alex Sorto left Willmar High School as usual at 2:30, and grabbed a ride to his night job as a janitor at the Jennie-O turkey processing plant. He had been working there for four months, saving money for college tuition, and hoping to study art even though his mother wanted him to be a lawyer.

(Click here to read more)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Iraqi refugees overwhelming Syria

ALISTAIR LYON. Reuters. May 18, 2007

DAMASCUS — Syria may eventually try to restrain a flood of more than a million Iraqi refugees fleeing a nightmare that could get worse, international aid officials say.

The influx, swelled by 30,000 to 40,000 newcomers a month, is straining the resources of a country that has so far upheld an open-door policy dictated by its Arab nationalist ideology.

(Click here to read more)

Feds crack down on immigrant labor organizers

by David Bacon. May 19, 2007. The American Prospect

Red Springs, North Carolina (5/10/07) -- To organizer Eduardo Peña, "the raid was like a nuclear bomb" - more precisely, a neutron bomb, that ingenious weapon of the cold war whose radiation was meant to kill a city's residents, but leave its buildings standing. After the immigration raid of January 24 at the Smithfield pork slaughtering plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, the factory was still intact. The machinery of the production lines was fully functional, ready to clank and clatter into its normal motion. But many workers were gone, and much of the plant lay still.

That day the migra [agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Homeland Security Department] picked up 21 people, while trying not to alert the rest of the plant's laborers. One by one, supervisors went to Mexicans on the line. You're needed in the front office, they'd say. The workers would put down their knives, take off their gloves, and walk through the cavernous building to the human resources department. There ICE agents took them into custody, put them in handcuffs, and locked them up in a temporary detention area. Later, they were taken out in vans and sent to immigration jails as far away as Georgia.

(Click here to read more)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers By Barry Grey18 May 2007

A group of Democratic and Republicans senators on Thursday announced a bipartisan proposal to overhaul the US immigration system that contains punitive measures against undocumented workers currently in the US and regressive provisions that would prevent future immigrants from bringing parents, adult children or other family members into the country. Details of the proposed legislation, which runs 380 pages, remain sketchy. However, certain key points are clear.

The plan contains discriminatory and anti-democratic language provisions, requiring immigrants seeking permanent legal status to learn English, and mandates a massive expansion, to 18,000, of the border patrol police, the erection of 370 additional miles of fencing on the US-Mexican border, and a hi-tech employment verification system for immigrant workers. It would also establish temporary worker programs to vastly expand the number of immigrant workers brought into the country to serve as highly exploited cheap labor for agribusiness and other corporate interests. The plan would allow most undocumented workers who entered the US before January 1 to receive a temporary residency permit until they obtained a “Z Visa,” which would enable them to live and work in the US legally. However, they would have to pay a $5,000 fine and administrative costs before receiving the “Z Visa,” and face the prospect of waiting eight to thirteen years before achieving permanent residency.

(Click here to read more)

U.S. town opposes "Big Brother" Mexico border fence

U.S. town opposes "Big Brother" Mexico border fence Wed May 16, 2007 2:07PM EDT By Tim Gaynor

ARIVACA, Arizona (Reuters) - A pilot project to place a high-tech network of surveillance towers along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border has met boisterous opposition in this Arizona town, where some residents call it "Big Brother." The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is installing a network of nine towers with ground radar and night vision cameras to monitor a 28-mile (45-km) stretch of border near Arivaca, southwest of Tucson.

It is the first trial for the communications and technology arm of the government's Secure Border Initiative announced in 2005. Dubbed "SBInet," authorities say it will be extended across some 6,000 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders in segments in coming years. Residents of this remote, high desert ranching town of 1,500 people have packed four public meetings in recent weeks to oppose the project, which is due to go live at the end of next month. "It's like Big Brother. It will place the whole town under surveillance," community activist C Hues told Reuters as residents gathered for a meeting late on Tuesday with CBP and Border Patrol representatives. "The government will be able to watch and record every movement we make, 24 hours a day. It will be like living in a prison yard," she added.

(Click here to read more)

Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights

Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights & June 10 March by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; May 19, 2007

On 15 May 2007, 22 Black American professors, writers, religious figures, and other leaders issued a call to Black America to join in the June 10 March and rally, and break the silence on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

To Black America:

It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation. On June 10th, the national coalition known as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation ( will be spearheading a march and rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. We, the signatories of this appeal, ask that Black America again take a leading role in this effort as well as the broader work to bring attention to this 40 year travesty of justice.

(Click here to read more)

The new sanctuary movement

The fight against deportations The new sanctuary movement by Lee Sustar; May 18, 2007

A NEW faith-based movement to “awaken the moral imagination of the country” hopes to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants whose deportation would break up families. Calling themselves the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM)--a nod to the 1980s effort to assist refugees from Central America fleeing the carnage of U.S.-sponsored wars--churches and religious activist groups held press conferences around the U.S. May 9 to announce plans “to protect immigrant workers and families from unjust deportation” by giving shelter and material aid to the undocumented.

The initiative comes in the wake of efforts by immigrant rights activists to pressure local governments for sanctuary city policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. On May 8, Watsonville, Calif., became the latest city to declare itself an immigrant sanctuary. In other cities like Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland, activists have pressed city officials to reaffirm existing policies of refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

(Click here to read more)

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate by Cynthia L. Cooper; WOMENSENEWS; May 19, 2007

In preparation for the march for immigrant rights that drew tens of thousands to Chicago's streets on May 1, 2007, Anita Rico stenciled T-shirts with the face of the woman who most inspires her: Elvira Arellano. Since last August Arellano, an undocumented immigrant, has been holed up in a small Chicago church with her U.S.-born 8-year-old son Saul to avoid an order of deportation back to Mexico.

"She gave a face to the crisis that is going on," said Rico, a youth coordinator at Centro Sin Fronteras, a community advocacy group in Chicago. "The way the government is treating people, especially women, is very inhumane. She's taking a stance. It's how Rosa Parks took a stance. We're literally turning the pages of history." Arellano, named one of the People Who Mattered in 2006 by Time magazine, co-founded the Chicago-based United Latino Family, which lobbies to keep together U.S.-born children and undocumented parents. Before taking sanctuary, she spoke from the podium at an immigration reform march in Chicago. Arellano's recognition level was so high during the 2006 elections that photos of her and Saul were used to get out the Latino vote.

(Click here to read more)

WTO blamed for India grain suicides

WTO blamed for India grain suicides By Laurence Lee in Punjab.

Vandana Shiva, an anti-WTO campaigner, blames farmers' woes on the 'twisted trickery of WTO rules'

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is meeting in Brussels to try to salvage talks to bolster world commerce, focusing on the issue of agricultural trade. Rich countries want more access to emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil. But for India's 650 million farmers, the negotiations are reaping little but hardship.

The farmers of Punjab are seriously unhappy. As they sit in the summer heat, their union leader lists the problems he knows they are facing: pressure from imports, poverty, even suicide.

(Click here to read more)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One Billion To Be Displaced By 2050

One Billion To Be Displaced By 2050 By Agence France Presse

LONDON - At least one billion people risk fleeing their homes over the next four decades because of conflicts and natural disasters that will worsen with global warming, a relief agency warned Monday. In a report, British-based Christian Aid said countries worldwide, especially the poorest, are now facing the greatest forced migration ever — one that will dwarf those displaced by World War II. In what at the time amounted to “the largest population displacement in modern history,” it said, 66 million people were displaced across Europe by May 1945, in addition to the many millions more in China.

Today there are an estimated 163 million people worldwide who have been displaced by factors like conflict, drought and flooding as well as economic development projects like dams, logging and grain plantations, it said. “We believe that forced migration is now the most urgent threat facing poor people in the developing world,” said John Davison, author of “Human Tide: the real migration crisis.”

(Click here to read more)

Social Change and Building the Ties That Bind

Social Change and Building the Ties That Bind 15 May 2007 by Raúl Zibechi

“The question of power is not resolved by taking the government palace, which is easy and has been done many times, but rather by the building of new social relations,” said João Pedro Stedile, coordinator of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), at the 2005 World Social Forum. His comment reflects a new vision of social change, one that until recently was almost exclusively promoted by the Zapatistas of Chiapas, but that has been gaining traction in prominent sectors of Latin America’s new social movements.

Among the region’s most important social movements, the growing sense is that activists should concentrate on constructing social relations different from hegemonic ones, relations anchored in horizontality and reciprocity. Indigenous movements in Bolivia, Mexico and Ecuador, the landless in Brazil and the unemployed and recovered factory workers of Argentina all have something extremely important in common: their strength is born from the building of communitarian relations in the geographic territories they occupy.

(Click here to read more)

General Strike Paralyzes Pakistan

General Strike Paralyzes Pakistan By TARIQ ALI

Sixty years old this August, Pakistan has been under de facto military rule for exactly half of its life. Military leaders have usually been limited to a ten-year cycle: Ayub Khan (1958-69), Zia-ul-Haq (1977-89). The first was removed by a nation-wide insurrection lasting three months. The second was assassinated. According to this political calendar, Pervaiz Musharraf still has another year and a half to go, but events happen.

On 9 March this year the President suspended the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Unlike some of his colleagues, the Judge in question, Iftikhar Chowdhry, had not resigned at the time of the coup, but like previous Supreme Courts, had acquiesced to the bogus 'doctrine of necessity' that is always used to judicially justify a military take-over. He was not known for judicial activism and the charges against him are related to a ' corrupt misuse of his office', but its hardly a secret that Chowdhry's recent judgements against the Government on a number of key issues, including the rushed privatisation of the Karachi Steel Mills in Karachi, the demand that 'disappeared' political activists be produced in court and taking rape victims seriously, panicked Islamabad. Might this turbulent judge go so far and declare the military presidency unconstitutional? Paranoia set in.

(Click here to read more)

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham: He faces a US murder warrant. New evidence suggests he's the victim of Rex Weyler

On Thursday, Tuchone-Canadian John Graham, from the Yukon, enters a Vancouver courtroom to appeal his extradition to the United States on the charge of killing fellow activist Anna Mae Aquash 31 years ago. Graham says he has been framed by the U.S. to cover the government's own complicity in the murder. Meanwhile, a week ago, a former UBC professor and Amnesty International veteran, Dr. Jennifer Wade, received a chilling letter from U.S. prisoner Leonard Peltier that lends credibility to Graham's story. In April, former American Indian Movement (AIM) member Bob Robideau toured B.C., claiming to represent Peltier and accusing Graham of the murder. The Peltier letter casts doubt on Robideau's claims.

In the 1970s, Graham from Yukon and Aquash from Nova Scotia traveled independently to South Dakota, where vigilantes had killed literally hundreds of traditional native leaders. Some 300 murders of native people in and around South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, during a "reign of terror"
in the 1970s, remain unsolved. The FBI arrested Aquash many times and urged her to become an informant. She later told AIM lawyers that agent David Price threatened that if she did not cooperate "you won't live out the year." A South Dakota rancher found her body on February 24, 1976.

Although she had been shot with .32 calibre bullet in the back of the head, an FBI pathologist reported that she died of exposure. FBI agent Price claimed not to recognize her, and the government buried her in a nameless pauper's grave after severing her hands. When the body was later exhumed, the FBI story unraveled. Now, 31 years later, they claim AIM ordered the murder and that Graham pulled the trigger. Naturally, many native leaders suspect dirty tricks.

(Click here to read more)

Special Economic Zones - Neoliberal "Enclosures" In India

Special Economic Zones - Neoliberal "Enclosures" In India By Soumitra Bose

Specially Enclosed Zones for forming Capital through production or servicing within a nation-state and without the encumbrances of law of the native land is what gets called as Special Economic Zone (SEZ). What speciality of Economy this zone is going to provide is hazy not only from the content point of view but even from every angle of view one looks at it. Can a nation state, by definition, have multiple "economies" within its territorial boundary? Can an "Economy" be quantified through any stretchable definition of qualification as one co-existing with "others"? Is the usage of "Economy" over determined by factors other than "Economy" or if not then where is the line drawn to distinguish the exchange mechanism or production process or even production relation with the regulating rules relating to human rights, social benefits and even simple polity of the nation-state?

(Click here to read more)

Under-reported Indigenous Struggles

Some under-reported Indigenous Struggles and our need to be aware of them

In my day to day research I encounter many stories about different actions and events around the world which seem to go largely unnoticed.. I think it’s important that we are aware of them, particularly so we can take the time to know and understand their nature — which is especially important as more and more call for organizational change, and a fundamental shift in the general approach and goals of the movements and social actions we ourselves engage in.
In regard to this, I put together a select list of actions that took place over the 61 days of March and April. In doing so, it’s my hope that people will take a moment to think about each one as they relate to the actions and movements in colonial, civil society - particularly with regard to our own perceptions of how we stand, to the perceptions of indigenous people, and how they do.

(Click here to read more)

The Nakba has Never Ended

The Nakba has Never Ended Julia Pitner, The Electronic Intifada, 15 May 2007

With the celebration of Israel's 59th year of independence comes the mourning of the 59th year of what the Palestinians call Al-Nakba -- the disaster. Israel celebrated its Independence this week by "locking down" the Palestinians in their towns and villages through the total closure of all checkpoints encircling major Palestinian population centers. This year, the Palestinians will remember their nearly six decades of dispossession by marking the expulsion of vast majority of the people; splitting up of families; and the creation of hundred's of thousands of refugees, many of whom remain refugees today. They will remember the villages that no longer exist and the family farmlands that are now Israeli cities, shopping malls, forests, farms, and highways, places that Palestinians are not even allowed to visit. But those who remain in Palestine will also remember that they are still here, and they will swear that they will never again be forced to leave their lands and families. But this is a difficult oath to keep, not only because of IDF brutality, but also because of the structural, systematic violence of Israeli bureaucracy.

The sad truth is that while the Palestinians commemorate the Nakba of 1948, the disaster is ongoing up until today. Now, however, the oppression is subtler than the forced marches of the citizens of Ramla, the forced exodus of hundreds of thousands, or those who fled from violence or from the fear and confusion about what the Jewish militias were threatening or the Arab governments promising. It is a slow, forced exodus that is not exciting enough to warrant any airtime or column space. We are witnessing the slow but sure strangulation of Palestinian culture and existence in their homeland through Israeli bureaucratic policies and strategies. Palestinians are a people being squeezed to death, not only by a wall that cuts off farmers from their ancestral lands and splits families in two, but also by a system of paper, permits, proof, and permissions.

(Click here to read more)

Challenges for the New Sanctuary Movement

Justice for the Undocumented Challenges for the New Sanctuary Movement By ERIC JOHNSON-DEBAUFRE

On Wednesday, May 9th religious organizations in five U.S. cities announced the launch of the New Sanctuary Movement and pledged their determination to protect undocumented people against federal efforts to deport them. Modeled in part on the original Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, this new movement distinguishes itself in part by being both significantly more religiously diverse-at the New York launch, representatives included Rabbi Michael Feinberg and founder and amir of the House of Peace, Shaykh T. A. Bashir-and directed towards a larger and more diverse population of immigrants.

As a participant in the original Sanctuary Movement and someone who has in the past written about the need for revitalizing and expanding it (see "Building a New Sanctuary Movement," CounterPunch 5/19/06), I greeted the announcement with both surprise and enthusiasm. Undocumented people and their allies ought to be encouraged by the emergence of this New Sanctuary Movement and wish it all possible success. Nevertheless, as the founders of the New Sanctuary Movement no doubt know, this new movement faces serious challenges. The most significant source would appear to come from the larger culture in which the New Sanctuary Movement and, more importantly, undocumented immigrants find themselves. As several recent articles in CounterPunch make clear,
these challenges include the proliferation of both discourses that aim to disguise racism and nativism under the veneer of legalism and even, as in the May 1st attacks on migrants by the LAPD, physical violence.

(Click here to read more)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Canada to launch no-fly list in June

May 12, 2007. Tonda MacCharles, Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA – A Canadian "no-fly" list of people to be barred from boarding domestic and international airline flights is set to take effect June 18, just as the busy summer flying season gets underway.

The move, nearly six years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, amounts to a flight blacklist of people "reasonably suspected" by federal officials as immediate threats to the safety of commercial aircraft, passengers or crew. Under the rules, as passengers check in for flights, whether at kiosks or counters, their names will be automatically screened against the government's list, known as the "Passenger Protect" program.

(Click here to read more)

Public Terror: Escalating the War on Migrants

By Juan Santos and Leslie Radford. May 12, 2007

(LOS ANGELES) Immigration activist Roberto Lovato was there when the Los Angeles Police Department launched its brutal assault on a park full of migrant families with children last week in LA, and this is what he saw and understood. “I saw the LAPD,” he wrote “dragging the immigrants and the entire country into dangerous terrain, a new threshold in the . . . immigration war raging around the country.”

What he saw was more than an Iraq-style surge; this was an all out escalation, a new strategic plateau in the US government’s War on Migrants. Javier Rodriguez, an immigration activist with L.A’s March 25th Coalition, called it a “political decision” to “dismantle this [immigrant rights] movement.”

(Click here to read more)

Haitian Refugees: Capsized Boat Deliberately Overturned

Haitian migrants 'angry and revolted' at alleged boat ramming off Turks and Caicos. The Associated Press. May 8, 2007

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Survivors of the worst sea disaster to hit Haitian migrants in years were "angry and revolted" Wednesday as they accused a Turks and Caicos vessel of ramming their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized, killing 61 in shark-filled waters, a senior Haitian official said.

Reports about the alleged involvement of the Turks and Caicos boat has taken days to come out because the 78 survivors are locked in a jail-like detention center and barred from speaking to the media. Officials say about 160 migrants were jammed in the rickety sailboat when it capsized before dawn Friday, flinging most of them into the Atlantic Ocean less than a kilometer (a half-mile) off the Turks and Caicos Islands, 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Haiti.

(Click here to read more)

Tigris River becoming a graveyard of bodies

10 May 2007 BAGHDAD (IRIN) -

The River Tigris has long been a symbol of prosperity in Iraq but since the US-led invasion in 2003, this amazing watercourse has turned into a graveyard of bodies.

In addition, the water level is decreasing as pollution increases, say environmentalists. Pollution in the river is caused by oil derivatives and industrial waste as well as Iraqi and US military waste, they say. The river was one of the main sources of water, food, transport and recreation for the local population but after four years of war and pollution, it has been transformed into a stagnant sewer, according to environmentalists.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Barrick Boss Gets Served


Protest Barrick, a network of aboriginal communities from Australia, the U.S., Latin America and Asia, converged on Barrick Gold Corporation's shareholder meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre May 2 to serve the company an eviction notice from First Nation land. As shareholders entered the meeting, representatives of Nevada's Shoshone Nation and Australia's Wiradjuri handed them leaflets alleging water depletion and contamination from cyanide, a chemical used to extract gold from crushed ore.

Some demonstrators held proxy ballots and were able to enter the AGM to personally tell shareholders and chair Peter Munk what their communities are facing. "I approached Munk after the meeting to tell him how Barrick is desecrating our sacred site, our dreaming place [Lake Cowal],'' says Neville "Chappy" Williams, an elder of the Wiradjuri from New South Wales. The answer from Munk, he says, was "I'm so sorry.''

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Protests in Germany over raids

Protests in Germany over raids By MELISSA EDDY, Associated Press Writer Thu May 10, 3:15 AM ET

BERLIN - Thousands of people staged spontaneous demonstrations overnight in major German cities, police said Thursday, after nationwide raids against anti-globalization activists suspected of plotting to disrupt next month's Group of Eight summit.Hamburg police detained eight demonstrators who threw stones and bottles at officers securing the protests, staged outside the offices of a main activist group that had been raided. Another four demonstrators were arrested in Berlin, although protests there remained peaceful. Supporters of Germany's anti-globalization activists called the demonstrations hours after hundreds of officers, acting on a warrant from federal prosecutors, searched 40 offices and apartments used by left-wing protesters in Berlin, Hamburg and elsewhere.Prosecutors said they were investigating more than 18 people suspected of organizing what they called a terrorist group that planned to carry out firebombings and other violent attacks aimed at hindering or stopping the world leaders from holding the June 6-8 summit in the northern resort town of Heiligendamm.

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Trademarking Coffee: Starbucks cuts Ethiopia deal

Trademarking Coffee: Starbucks cuts Ethiopia deal by Anton Foek, Special to CorpWatch May 8th, 2007

Starbucks, the world's largest coffee shop chain, and the Ethiopian government are on the verge of unveiling a deal that the company hopes will end attacks on the company's carefully constructed ethical image. Starbucks spokesperson Bridget Baker told CorpWatch that "a licensing, distribution and marketing" agreement for three of Ethiopia's specialty coffees would be announced later this month. If the company recognizes Ethiopia's decision to trademark the three coffees, it would represent a significant climb-down for the multinational corporation that claims to sell "Coffee that Cares."
Starbucks change of mind would also represent success for an international campaign by Oxfam, a British-based not-for-profit organization. More than 93,000 people signed on to its call for Starbucks to complete an agreement with Ethiopia. An academic at the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School joined the attack with a stinging criticism of the company's stand, accusing it of hypocrisy and questioning its much-proclaimed social responsibility policies. Starbucks executives - running an ambitious global expansion plan that aims to increase the number of the company's coffee houses from 13,700 in 39 countries to 40,000 globally - were also aware that other companies, such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ("Fair Trade and Organic"), were cooperating with the Ethiopian initiative and winning praise for "exemplary" behavior.

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Feminism Then and Now

Feminism Then and Now By PAULA ROTHENBERG

It was the summer of 2002 and I was traveling through a medium-sized town in Hungary when I looked up and saw a young woman coming toward me. Fifteen or sixteen years old, she wore a shirt that proudly proclaimed her to be a "Dirty Girl."Six months later, in Philadelphia, I found myself speaking at a women's studies conference to an audience which included several young women wearing shirts with "Cunt" or "Bitch" written on their chest in an angry scrawl. Shortly after, I found myself in Panama watching a rotund 7 year old prance around in a hot pink tank top that shouted "Bling,.Bling." When I checked the web upon returning home, I discovered that "Dirty Girl" had been updated to "Stupid Dirty Girl" while another T shirt insisted "As long as I can be on top."

Are the young women wearing such T-shirts liberated women who have taken control of their own bodies and now reap the benefits of the women's movement or are they simply dupes? These experiences, and countless others like them, raise a broader question for me. They make me ask how the insights and goals of the Women's Movement have been transformed and translated as they have been integrated into popular culture and daily life?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Rebuilding Resistance in Lebanon

Rebuilding Resistance By Dahr Jamail 08 May, 2007Inter Press Service

BEIRUT, May 7 (IPS) - As reconstruction resumes in the heavily bombed southern Beirut district Dahiyeh, the signs are evident of a rebuilding of resistance against Israel and the U.S.-backed government, largely by way of increased support for Hezbollah. Hezbollah is leading much of the reconstruction. Dahiyeh was bombed by the Israelis last year because it was seen as a Hezbollah stronghold. At least 15,000 houses were destroyed.

Many local people accuse the U.S.-backed Lebanese government of refusal to help reconstruction in pro-Hezbollah areas like Dahiyeh. Foreign donors pledged more than 7 billion dollars in aid and loans at a meeting in Paris in January to help rebuild this nation of four million. Three of the biggest contributors where the United States, France and Saudi Arabia. All three are seen by the opposition as supporters of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and his allies Saad Harriri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

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Zapatismo & Queer Struggles

Zapatismo & Queer Struggles... or some observations to continue a conversation

"Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a gang member in Neza, a rocker in the National University, a Jew in Germany, an ombudsman in the Defense Ministry, a communist in the post-Cold War era, an artist without gallery or portfolio.."

Taken from a 1994 interview, it was actually his response to the media frenzy following an interview he had done with a San Francisco Chronicle reporter in which Marcos stated that he had been fired from a restaurant in San Francisco for being gay. The Mexican press ran headlines claiming that Marcos had "admitted" that he was homosexual. Coming from the early days after the uprising, this would turn out to be just one of many attempts to discuss queer sexuality and liberation struggle made by the Zapatista spokesperson over the past 13 years...Indeed, the language of the Zapatistas has attracted queer radicals since the early days following the 1994 New Years' uprising. The language of fighting for "a world where we [in the zap's case, mexico's indigenous] fit" and for "a world where many worlds fit" found obvious resonance with queer folks in struggle.

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Mohawks and Ottawa: More Than a Mine, A Metaphor

While The Mohawks and Ottawa Negotiated For The Land, The Land Itself Was Disappearing by Naomi Klein

After a group of Mohawks from the Tyendinaga reserve blockaded the railway between Kingston and Toronto two weeks ago, a near unanimous cry rose up from the editorial pages of Ontario newspapers and talk radio: Get Shawn Brant. Yesterday, Mr. Brant, a beanpole of a man, walked into a packed Napanee courtroom with his wrists and ankles shackled after handing himself over to the Ontario Provincial Police. According to court testimony, the arrest warrant on charges of mischief, disobeying a court order and breach of recognizance violated an agreement between police and demonstrators, who were given immunity when they peacefully ended the blockade. But Mr. Brant worried that the warrant for him would be used as a pretext for raiding a gravel quarry that he and several other community members from Tyendinaga have been occupying for the past six weeks. “We don’t want to bring that into the camp,” he told me.

The court granted Mr. Brant bail on condition that he is not allowed to “plan, incite, initiate, encourage or participate in any unlawful protest,” including those “that interfere in any way with commercial or non-commercial traffic on all public and private roads, airports, railways or waterways.” A trial date has not been set.

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Around Globe, Walls Spring Up To Divide Neighbors

Around Globe, Walls Spring Up To Divide Neighbors By Bernd Debusmann

What do Tijuana, Baghdad and Jerusalem have in common? They all have walls that divide neighbors, cause controversy and form part of an array of physical barriers around the world that dwarf the late, unlamented Iron Curtain. There are walls, fences, trenches and berms. Some are reinforced by motion detectors, heat-sensing cameras, X-ray systems, night-vision equipment, helicopters, drones and blimps. Some are still under construction, some in the planning stage.

When completed, the barriers will run thousands of miles, in places as far apart as Mexico and India, Afghanistan and Spain, Morocco and Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. They are meant to keep job-hungry immigrants, terrorists and smugglers out, thwart invaders, and keep antagonists apart. Their proponents cite the proverb “Good fences make good neighbors” but critics say they are a paradoxical result of globalization in so far as goods and capital can move freely but migrants cannot. By an irony of history, the United States — the country that hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 — has emerged as a champion wall builder.

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Mayday Immigrant Rights are Worker Rights

Video of Police attacks of NYC & LA May Day Immigrant & Workers Right Marches

LA police (including against Fox reporters!)

NYC (including confrontation with Minutemen)

Democracy Now MayDay Immigrant Rights Special

Stories include:

- May Day 2007: Hundreds of Thousands March for Immigrant Rights
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants took to the streets on Tuesday in protests in dozens of cities across the country. Calls focused on demanding a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, ending immigrant raids and deportations and rejecting anti-immigrant legislation. We speak with organizers of the day's two largest protests: Los Angeles and Chicago. [includes rush transcript]

-Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas Into Peaceful LA Immigration March In Los Angeles, an afternoon immigrant rights march ended when police fired dozens of rubber bullets and tear gas into the peaceful crowd. Families with young children were forced to flee for their safety. Eyewitnesses said police gave little or no warning before firing therubber bullets. [includes rush transcript]

-Hundreds of Students Walk Out of Classrooms to Support Immigrant Rights Students once again played a key role in the May Day protests. In LosA ngeles, city officials reported around six hundred students walked out ofclass to join the march for immigrant rights. Meanwhile in Detroit, dozens of students were arrested for taking part in a walkout that also protestedthe planned closure of dozens of schools. We speak with two student organizers. [includes rush transcript]

-A Look at the Forces Behind the Anti-Immigrant Movement We take a look at the forces behind the anti-immigrant movement with journalist Max Blumenthal of The Nation. Blumenthal says the ideas for the movement "did not come from a vacuum and they're not necessarily a rational response to a crisis. They come from the white nationalist movement, a movement that seeks to maintain what they consider the white character of then United States." [includes rush transcript]

IMF And World Bank Face Declining Authority As Venezuela Announces Withdrawal

IMF And World Bank Face Declining Authority As Venezuela Announces Withdrawal By Mark Weisbrot

Venezuela's decision this week to pull out of the IMF and the World Bank will be seen in the United States as just another example of the ongoing feud between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Bush Administration. But it is likely to be viewed differently in the rest of the world, and could have an impact on both institutions, whose power and legitimacy in developing countries has been waning steadily in recent years.Other countries may follow. President Rafael Correa of Ecuador announced last week that it was kicking the World Bank's representative out of the country. It was an unprecedented action, which President Correa punctuated by stating that "we will not stand for extortion by this international bureaucracy." In 2005, the World Bank withheld a previously approved $100 million loan to Ecuador to try to force the government to use windfall oil revenues for debt repayment, rather than the government's choice of social spending.

This is the way these two institutions have operated for decades. With the IMF as leader, and the U.S. Treasury department holding veto power, they have run a "creditors' cartel" that has been able to exert enormous pressure on governments over a wide variety of economic issues. This pressure has not only generated widespread resentment, but has also often led to economic failure in the countries and regions where the IMF and World Bank have had the most influence. Over the last 25 years Latin America has had its worst long-term economic growth performance in more than a century.

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Two Chinese Foreign Workers Dead in Alberta

Two dead, four injured in roof collapse at job site north of Fort McMurray (Roof-Collapse)

FORT MCKAY, Alta. (CP) _ Two workers were killed and four others injured Tuesday when a roof collapsed at a Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. job site north of Fort McMurray.The company said in a news release that the 2:30 p.m. accident involved a roof support structure at the tank erection site of the Horizon Oil Sands Project.“All authorities have been notified of this incident,‘‘ the company said in a news release.“The site has been immediately secured and injured workers are receiving appropriate medical attention by the on-site medical staff.‘‘A worker told CTV Edmonton it was windy and the large tank just flew apart.“I heard this horrible noise, just crashing steel, smashing, crashing, and I looked over and I saw bunch of steel flying, these huge towers they use for holding up the tank roof,‘‘ the unidentified worker said.All workers were evacuated from the site, the worker said.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said he received a few phone calls from union members at the site.“They told us there‘d been an accident on the Horizon site involving temporary foreign workers from China brought in by CNR or one of their contractors to work on a big tank farm on the Horizon site,‘‘ McGowan said.“Our understanding is that one of the big tanks collapsed and in the process at least two workers were killed and as many as four were injured.‘‘McGowan said he did not know what caused the collapse.“That‘s all we got before our members‘ cell phones were confiscated by management.‘‘Barrie Harrison, communications officer for Occupational Health and Safety, also said it‘s not clear what happened.He could not confirm if the workers were from China and did not know their ages or gender.

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Role of Settlers in Indigenous Struggles

The Role of Settlers in Indigenous Struggles Zainab Amadahy. Questions arising from the Six Nations land reclamation

By mid-March, 2006, when activist communities discovered the land reclamation at Six Nations of the Grand River, carloads of non-Aboriginal supporters from Toronto, Montreal and beyond made almost daily trips to the site loaded with supplies and youthful activists eager to staff the cookhouse, help out in the first-aid tent, or do a security shift. At night gaggles of underdressed youth would huddle at the fire, soaking up community gossip directly from “the real grassroots” (as one white activist described members of the Grand River community).

In the three months following the April 28, 2006 OPP raid on the Six Nations land reclamation, it wasn’t unusual to find times when there were more white settlers camped out on the reclaimed territory than members of the Grand River community. Some activists were there for the early morning raid and have described the experience of nearly being arrested in everything from public events to on-line downloadable videos. It’s worth noting that all the people charged by the OPP that day or since were Native; no non-Natives are facing charges, even though many were on the site before, during and after the raid.

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Azmi Bishara: Why is Israel After Me

Why is Israel After Me? By AZMI BISHARA

Amman, Jordan. I am a Palestinian from Nazareth, a citizen of Israel and was, until last month, a member of the Israeli parliament. But now, in an ironic twist reminiscent of France's Dreyfus affair--in which a French Jew was accused of disloyalty to the state--the government of Israel is accusing me of aiding the enemy during Israel's failed war against Lebanon in July. Israeli police apparently suspect me of passing information to a foreign agent and of receiving money in return. Under Israeli law, anyone--a journalist or a personal friend--can be defined as a "foreign agent" by the Israeli security apparatus. Such charges can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

The allegations are ridiculous. Needless to say, Hezbollah--Israel's enemy in Lebanon--has independently gathered more security information about Israel than any Arab Knesset member could possibly provide. What's more, unlike those in Israel's parliament who have been involved in acts of violence, I have never used violence or participated in wars. My instruments of persuasion, in contrast, are simply words in books, articles and speeches. These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews.

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The Revolution Will not be Funded

Are the Cops in Our Heads and Hearts? by Paula X. Rojas

Like many other activists on the left, I have been struggling with the contradictions found in organizing work here in the United States. I have worked in community-based organizing, both within and outside. My experiences both in the United States and in Latin America have shaped my analysis of the non-profit system as well as alternatives to this system. In the US I am involved in grassroots organizing work with a multigenerational community of poor and working class women of color in Brooklyn (Sista II Sista and Pachamama).

But what has most pushed my analysis has come from my work and experiences outside of the US, specifically in Latin America. As an adult I have spent a few years in Chile, my country of origin, supporting organizing efforts against the military dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet and the neoliberal “democracies” of the Christian Democratic Party that followed. From Chile, I had the opportunity to travel to La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, in 1994 and meet with local activists. In Mexico, I have worked with women’s groups around political and physical self defense in rural and urban areas. I also had various opportunities to visit the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, first spending 3 weeks in the Autonomous territories in 1999. In 2003 I had a few days visiting an encampment and a settlement of the MST (Landless Rural Unemployed Workers Movement) in Brazil and attended a continental gathering of Autonomous Movements in Argentina held at an occupied factory in 2005.

Through these experiences and many (mostly informal) conversations, over cheap wine and good music, with other compañer@s, organizers, friends and family in both Latin America and the United States, I have gathered these reflections that I want to share.

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Mining Company Barrick's Dirty Secrets Worldwide

Barrick's Dirty Secrets: Communities Respond to Gold Mining's Impacts Worldwide May 1st, 2007

Canadian-owned Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer, is exploring, building and operating huge, open-pit gold mines on nearly every continent on the planet. On average, gold mining today produces 70 tons of waste for every ounce of gold, while also consuming and polluting massive amounts of water. An estimated 50 percent of these mining operations occur on native lands.For many Indigenous peoples, who often rely on their environment for food and necessities, mining threatens not only their livelihood, but also their spirituality and traditional way of life. These new "modern mining" projects leave thousand-year legacies of acid mine drainage, destruction of ecosystems, disease, and regional climate change. Riches in the form of gold, silver and copper are exported to first world shareholders, leaving behind poverty, dependency and pollution. A new CorpWatch report details the operations of Barrick gold in nine different countries, focusing on the efforts on the part of the communities to seek justice from this powerful multinational.
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Barack Obama, Corporate Candidate

Barack Obama, Just Another Corporate Candidate By Joshua Frank

One cannot scale the ranks of the Democratic establishment without selling out to Washington insiders, and presidential aspirant Barack Obama is quite adept at playing the game. Since announcing his candidacy in early February, Obama has raised millions of dollars from corporate fat-cats and multinational corporations. While the young candidate has leaned heavily on law firms to which he has professional connections -- he’s also not been afraid to dip in to the trough of Big Business. And it’s a sure sign Obama is a real contender for his party’s nomination. When Howard Dean’s campaign began to gain momentum during the 2004 elections, the former Vermont governor had not flipped through his party’s corporate black book, and instead relied heavily on the grassroots to provide fuel for his presidential bid. The party’s elite, nervous and unsure that Dean could be one of them, taught the naïve doctor a harsh lesson: the establishment quietly sacked Dean for America because he had not accepted the way business is done in Washington.

There's no question that industry loves Barack. As of March 31, UBS, the second largest bank in Europe, has given over $165,000 to his campaign. The Exelon corporation, which is the nation’s largest nuclear plant operator, has donated almost $160,000. The investment Goliath, Goldman Sachs, has also fattened the pockets of Barack Inc. with over $143,000. Citigroup has given well over $50,000 with Morgan Stanley close behind at $40,000. Wall Street has Obama’s back.

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The Migrant Trap

The Migrant Trap By LESLIE RADFORD

The pre-dawn pounding at the door startles the family out of its sleep. "Police!" a voice bellows from the other side. Maybe a family member or neighbor is in trouble, maybe there's an emergency in the neighborhood. The door's unlatched and opened, and federal agents burst through. They grab the mother, handcuff her, and disappear her into the night. Agents in riot gear seal off the factory, locking doors and windows, and, pointing military rifles at the employees, sort them into two groups. One group is dragged out and dispersed to prisons a thousand miles away. Older sisters lead their younger siblings through local jails looking for a parent. A nun roams detention facilities clutching a nursing baby, trying to find the child's mother. It takes weeks and a lawsuit before lawyers and family members learn where all the workers have been taken.

The imprisoned have only two choices: struggle through a legal process they barely understand with official assurances they won't succeed and might endanger the rest of their family, or go into self-imposed exile abroad, away from their wife, husband, sons, and daughters, from their home and their community. This is not the extraordinary rendition of fingered terrorist suspects in some faraway land. This is the increasingly ordinary rendition of migrants from within the United States.

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Multiculturalism Kills Me

Multiculturalism Kills Me By Vijay Prashad

Not as much as straight-up racism. That's made a comeback these days. This year, the number of incidents of "black face" and other assorted throwbacks to Jim Crow racism is astounding. My own campus suffered this, as did Texas A&M (where the scandal broke just as President George W. Bush nominated its president, Robert Gates, to be his Secretary of Defense). Such Klan-variety racism is generally couched as juvenile thoughtlessness, lubricated with drink and drugs, although it doesn't feel like a prank for African American students. For them, this is terrorism of a domestic sort.
Colleges respond to such racism with a call for tolerance and diversity.

More diversity, less racism. That's the received wisdom. Diversity and tolerance are part of an ensemble of concepts that form the heart of liberal multiculturalism. College administrators rightly cast out cruel racism. Against intolerance of difference, they champion a diverse cultural life world and ask that we respect that which is unfamiliar. With experience comes comfort. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with such an attitude. Indeed, it is far better to have differences championed than denigrated. Liberal multiculturalism, whose main concepts are tolerance and diversity, provides a raft for students who otherwise would be on the frontline of juvenile cruelty. But, liberal multiculturalism does as much long-term harm as it does short-term good. Here are some of its problems.

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