Saturday, May 20, 2006

Healthy Mind, Body, Planet Tour

Creating Kristallnacht: Hate Baiting at the National Post

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Canada's National Post broke a sensational story; a story so big, the flagship of the CanWest Global media monolith denied it's nationwide dailies, keeping the scoop to themselves. Today, the Post reported Iran has signed into law a provision requiring Iranian Jews and Christians wear identifying badges declaring their religious affiliation. Below the 18 point high headline, a picture of a man and woman, circa Hitler's Germany, each sporting the infamous Yellow Star of David stitched to their overcoats. It's a stunning development, one that should shock the world, and finally convince all of Iran's despotism. But of course, the National Post story is a complete fabrication; a fact Canwest itself is now "reporting."

Creating Kristallnacht:
Hate Baiting at the National Post

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
May 19, 2006

It sometimes seems we live in a time of unprecedented corruption, perfidy, and abomination; but, as Shakespeare said: "There's nothing new under the sun."

"Hitler" is a name often invoked in the media these days. The terrors of the Nazi regime, especially referencing its grotesque concentration camps, where State enemies were dispatched after suffering religious humiliation, torture, and God knows what else. The world has witnessed ruthless invasions and occupations, inflicted by a tryannical, rogue nation on its smaller neighbours; in the form of Hitler's Germany, the world watched, horror-struck, a racist, ideologically perverse campaign of global domination, whom's goal was no less than the enslavement of the entire planet.

Yes Bill, verily there is nothing new under the sun.

The story of Jewish suffering under the Nazis, both during the rise of fascism in Germany, through its progression to its inevitable ends behind the barbed wire of the concentration camps, reminds of the gruesome potential of collective barbarity. Even today, more than 70 years from the shocking and aweful ascension of Hitler and his henchmen, the remembrance of the legislated "branding" of German Jews, all made to sew the Star of David on their clothing, is a particularly poignant symbol of totalitarianism, the apposite of human decency, early warning of terrible portent.

It also serves a reminder of how quickly a society can be led into madness, an insanity that would allow the blasphemies, forever recorded in the annals of history. It's a story that demands reverent acknowledgment, repect, and a regular revisiting.

As indeed it is remembered in solemn ceremonies, news media, and motion pictures. It is a lesson hard learned by millions of our predecessors, and not to be treated cynically for political advancement, or commercial interest.

Though that's a message apparently lost on the editors of "Canwest Goebbels," as it's affectionately referred in some circles.

The logical extension of the avowedly pro-Israel media monster's pro-war propaganda-driven "information" dissemination philosophy, (as iterated by its late #1, Israel "Izzy" Asper, on his assumption of much of the former Canadian media magnate, disgraced Lord Black's, crumbling empire) today's Holocaust hijacking presented on the Post's front page nation-wide, and quietly being disavowed even now in its on-line edition, is the flowering of the Hate War waged by Canwest in the service of a greater and possibly perpetual state of war in the world. Canwest proved today worse, with this abortion of truth issued than their most jaded critics would believe.

I can't believe it!

I can't believe it took this long for the Likudite Canwest Global to descend to the eye-poking, nostril-gouging level it has in it's smear assault against "evil" Iran; as sinisterly personified singularly in the person of its president, another Hitler in the making, who given half a chance would create a nuclear-tipped missile to set fire to the world; beginning in Israel.

And he hates Jews, we're daily told; would have them all wear badges, immolate the nation, etc...

Yet, the story is bullshit.

Phoney as Saddam's WMD, the National Post published a pack of lies; lies told at a time when the rally cry to an unprovoked war of conquest and occupation in a far off land is the goal of a furious lobbying campaign in America, and around the world. Fake as the babies thrown from Kuwaiti incubators, abandoned to die on the cold, cold hospital floor, etc... used to "justify" the first Gulf War. The Post's 'Iran Eyes Badges for Jews, Christians?' is an incitement to disgust, fear, and the loathing of Iran, and its people, the ones likely to suffer should another front in the War on Terror be allowed opened.

Hate Crime

Unlike America, Canada has laws against crimes of incitement to hatred of identifiable groups, based on ethnic, gender, or sexual orientation parameters. What are Persian-Canadians, and the greater Muslim population of Canada, to make of the Post's story? What effects might they suffer at the long-knuckled hands of the National Post's misinformed readership? Will hasty on-line retractions of page one libel suffice to defer legal proceedings, or government censure?

Canada's newly arrived prime minister, Harper responded to questions from the Canwest reporter tasked to refute the front page fiasco, saying simply:

"Unfortunately we’ve seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action. It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the earth would want to do anything that would remind people of Nazi Germany."

Yes Stephen, it boggles the mind to be sure.

I'll remember to check the recycling for a front page copy tomorrow
to hang beside the yellowed Canwest call to arms for Iraq pinned on my wall.

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Comments are welcome at: pej(at)

[I generally highlight links to sources, but as Canwest is apparently in "purge splurge" mode, these below are the raw materials I found as of time of writing. - lex]

CanWEst Goebbles Plays the Holocaust Card
by ape Friday May 19, 2006 at 07:13 PM

Dismembering the Holocaust

CanWEst Goebbles Plays th...
canwestgobbles.gif, GIF image, 210x384


Experts say report of badges for Jews in Iran is untrue
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A yellow badge worn by Jews in Nazi Germany during the 1940s.(MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)
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Font: * * * * Chris Wattie, National Post
Published: Friday, May 19, 2006
Several experts are casting doubt on reports that Iran had passed a law requiring the country’s Jews and other religious minorities to wear coloured badges identifying them as non-Muslims.
The Iranian embassy in Otttawa also denied the Iranian government had passed such a law.

A news story and column by Iranian-born analyst Amir Taheri in yesterday’s National Post reported that the Iranian parliament had passed a sweeping new law this week outlining proper dress for Iran’s majority Muslims, including an order for Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear special strips of cloth.

According to the reports, Jews were to wear yellow cloth strips, called zonnar, while Christians were to wear red and Zoroastrians blue.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Iranian expatriates living in Canada had confirmed that the order had been passed, although it still had to be approved by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect.

Hormoz Ghahremani, a spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa, said in an e-mail to the Post yesterday that, “We wish to categorically reject the news item.

“These kinds of slanderous accusations are part of a smear campaign against Iran by vested interests, which needs to be denounced at every step.”

Sam Kermanian, of the U.S.-based Iranian-American Jewish Federation, said in an interview from Los Angeles that he had contacted members of the Jewish community in Iran — including the lone Jewish member of the Iranian parliament — and they denied any such measure was in place.

Mr. Kermanian said the subject of “what to do with religious minorities” came up during debates leading up to the passing of the dress code law.

“It is possible that some ideas might have been thrown around,” he said. “But to the best of my knowledge the final version of the law does not demand any identifying marks by the religious minority groups.”

Ali Reza Nourizadeh, an Iranian commentator on political affairs in London, suggested that the requirements for badges or insignia for religious minorities was part of a “secondary motion” introduced in parliament, addressing the changes specific to the attire of people of various religious backgrounds.

Mr. Nourizadeh said that motion was very minor and was far from being passed into law.

That account could not be confirmed.

Meir Javdanfar, an Israeli expert on Iran and the Middle East who was born and raised in Tehran, said yesterday that he was unable to find any evidence that such a law had been passed.

“None of my sources in Iran have heard of this,” he said. “I don’t know where this comes from.”

Mr. Javdanfar said that not all clauses of the law had been passed through the parliament and said the requirement that Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians wear special insignia might be part of an older version of the Islamic dress law, which was first written two years ago.

“In any case, there is no way that they could have forced Iranian Jews to wear this,” he added. “The Iranian people would never stand for it.”

However, Mr. Kermanian added that Jews in Iran still face widespread, systematic discrimination. “For example if they sell food they have to identify themselves and their shops as non-Muslim,” he said.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, acknowledged that he did not have independent confirmation of the requirement for Jews to wear badges, but said he still believes it was passed.

“We know that the national uniform law was passed and that certain colours were selected for Jews and other minorities,” he said. “[But] if the Iranian government is going to pass such a law then they are not likely to be forthcoming about what they are doing.”

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, said yesterday that Iran is “very capable” of enacting such a law but could not confirm reports that members of religious minorities must wear identifiable markers on their clothing.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action,” Mr. Harper said. “It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the earth would want to do anything that would remind people of Nazi Germany.”

National Post, with files from Allan Woods, CanWest News Service

© National Post 20Iran Eyes Badges for Jews, Christians?
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

House Folds: Harper Lip-Syncing Canada to War

PEJ News - It's fair to say, the honeymoon phase of Stephen Harper's minority government is over, and the bride's none too happy with his less than upright performance. Undeterred, Harper has urged his party rise again to make of Afghanistan the stick to assert his mastery of the House of Commons. Tonight Harper risked his party's newborn power, putting the Afghan Question in the crucible, making of it a test of confidence.

House Folds:
Harper Lip-Syncing Canada to War

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
May 17, 2006

With scant notice given his partners in the Parliament, Harper has put forward a motion to the House proposing legislation to ensure an extension of Canada's commitment to the United States, and a continued supply of troops and treasure for Afghanistan through 2008. He's betting the opposition fears forcing another federal election, the third, should his gambit fail and the government fall, in just more than two years; he's betting Canadian voters would punish such a move, and he thinks the Liberals think so too.

Stephen Harper's short tenure at Sussex Drive has some who supported the Conservative/Reform party union wondering today if they chose their man wisely. From the start, Harper displayed an arrogant willingness to set procedural precedents in a manner more suiting a president than prime minister; that is, if George W. Bush is to be considered the exemplar of presidential behaviour. He's made an enemy of the Ottawa press corp., and now refuses to consider anything, or anyone that falls outside his "stay the course" mantra.

The Harper Doctrine

"We cannot walk away quickly. If we need further efforts or further mandate to go ahead into the future, we will go so alone and go to the Canadian people to get that mandate.'' - PM Stephen Harper tells Parliament

Enjoying a mandate slimmer than the debatable 50% plus one granted Bush in 2004, Harper has shown, in the early days of his government (has it been only four months!), a dogged determination to make of Canada a perfect emulation of his philosophical hero, George W. Bush's America. Today in Canada's Parliament, Harper held forth, accusing any who would oppose his pledge, a blank cheque of blood and money to commit the nation to Bush's disaster in Afghanistan.

Buoyed following the faux debate on the Afghanistan debacle that brought not a single party's censure, Harper's inherited military muscularity must seem to he and his ruling tyros a bullet-proof shield they can hide all manner of "adjustments" to the country behind, and employ as cudgel to wield against the opposition. In his now revealed secret identity, Stephen 'Hawk' Harper is on the offensive, attacking any who would challenge "The Mission," charging they don't "support the troops."

NDP leader, Jack Layton reacted to the prime minister's innuendo, saying:

"This Prime Minister has refused to answer these questions and has said in no uncertain terms that if you question the mission you're against our troops. Well, let me be very clear, Canadians will not be lured into this false trap of the prime minister's borrowed sloganeering."

Layton, who was slow to wade into an Afghanistan debate while the Liberals, the initiators of Canada's calamitous policy there, were in power, has finally found voice, and an easy target in the person of Bush impersonator Harper. But, I doubt Harper's "sloganeering" was borrowed; the kind of spin coming out of Ottawa these days costs. Stephen has been given a professional make-over by the same idealogical flackery practiced south of the 49th that has served George, Tony, and Howard of Oz so well for so long.

One only hopes Harper didn't pay full fare for the over-worn rhetoric and practiced outrage he's currently inflicting the country with. Or, for that matter, full price for his newly elevated head flack, former corporate lobbyist, Sandra Buckler, whose political imagination seems limited to FOX News reruns of the base propaganda that has sustained the war against Iraq, while denying yet the proven fictions that led to it.

Ms. Buckler's resume includes service to De Beers Canada, Coca Cola, and Power Corp. She endeared herself further to the aforementioned miffed Ottawa press gang Monday, coyly insinuating the Harper administration would follow the George W. Bush template not only in its treatment of returned dead and wounded soldiers from foreign adventures, but ape too its methods of managing press access, blithely saying, the Tories were "getting to know the press corp," and discovering "what we like, and what we don't like."

For their part, the press is complaining about lack of access to the government, and an insulated PMO, reticent to inform the press, or the people of what they're getting up to.


The core of the administrations in the United States, Britain, Australia, and now Canada is the refutation of the popular will by those in power. The majority of Canadians polled on the Afghanistan issue have consistently rejected the country's involvement. Turning the democractic paradigm on its head, the few pulling the levers of public policy deny the will of the majority, deny in fact such a majority exists. As George W. Bush would say (doubtless to be soon echoed by an increasingly embattled Harper) "I don't do focus groups."

Blair can blunder along, keeping the course charted for him by the certifiable Maggie Thatcher, heedless of the hundreds of thousands marching in the streets and his party bleeds white, while John Howard is free to harumph in antipodal agreement, regardless of his fellow citizens. Democracy it seems is meant only for the Iraqi's and Afghans.

And Stephen's schtick?

From the House of Commons today, Harper offers this to Parliament:

"Canadians accept risks when those risks are in the service of a greater good, and we honour those who take risks and make the ultimate sacrifice by staying the course and supporting their mission. The events of September 11, 2001 was a wake up call, not just to Americans but to people in all free and democratic nations. Two dozen Canadians were killed as result of the attacks on the twin towers . . . Canada is not safe from such attack and we will never be safe from such attacks as long as we're a society that defends freedom and democracy."

Harper's hypocrisy is as transparent within the House as without. The prime minister continues to insist Canada's involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan is a United Nations supported, and NATO-run mission, though 'Operation Enduring Freedom' is explicitly and solely an American operation. As does his defence minister, Gordon O'Connor, Stephen Harper must believe Canadians too dim to know the truth of the matter; too stupid to recognize his Charlie McCarthy act on the Rideau.

And maybe he's right in that.

The House voted tonight on Harper's "two year extension" to Canada's commitment to the American-led occupation, winning their effort 149-145. With this landslide mandate, Harper promises to reshape the country, one confidence vote at a time, until molded into a tiny replica of his Republican ideal.

Step One: Ensuring an open-ended, illegal war abroad. Check.
Two: Get Tough on stuff. Check
Three: Fix the laws; create private prison industry at home. Pending.

With this endorsement, Harper needn't worry for at least another two years about "debating" Afghanistan; it's a done deal. How many Canadians will kill and die in those two years is something he will also fail to debate.

As if marking this dark passage, another Canadian soldier died in an offensive against "Taliban elements" west of Kandahar. Capt. Nichola Goddard has now the distinction of being the first Canadian woman in uniform to die in combat since WWII, and the seventeenth Canadian killed in Afghanistan.

Speaking of the fallen woman, Brig. Gen. David Fraser told the cameras, she died:

"Doing a job she liked; she loved."

Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Call to America's Second Loyalists: An Invitation to Americans

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The oft overlooked fact of what became the Confederation of Canada in media coverage of the sometimes fractious, always suspicious, special relationship between the "greatest trading partnership in the world," is the role "Americans" played in the creation of their neighbour north.

A Call to America's Second Loyalists:
An Invitation to Americans

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
May 16, 2006

Fearing the American Revolution would be more an instrument of enslavement than liberation, thousands fled America. Some of those were welcomed by British administered British North America, themselves desperate to grow the northern population before the inevitable military attempts of the ascending Yankees to annex Canada. And, those invasions would come, and be repelled on four different occasions, culminating in 1812.

I mention it to relieve some of those nervous cousins, on both sides of the line, who may yet eye warily the ancient foe next door. Though the north won the battles, ended so long ago, the south won the war, wearing away the economic sovereignty of what would be become Canada, and with it the nation's political heart. It's been a gradual process, but now in the early years of the twentieth century, that erosion has worn channels where barriers were, and created a pool where Canadians and Americans become indistinguishable, if not in culture in philosophy.

It is to those I reach to, those fearing the American Revolution now promising more to enslave than liberate, to again flee to Canada, adding to the too small, like-minded community of this country, and again prepare to defend the principles of truth, freedom, and the democratic ideals currently threatened in your homeland.

'Poor Man's Friend'

Jesse Winchester serenaded the late Pierre Trudeau, lauding him his leadership in resisting the American administration's efforts to extradite American sanctuary-seekers refusing to enter America's war against Vietnam in the late 1960's and early '70's. Those good people then allowed, through Trudeau's intransigence, inclusion within Canadian society enriched the nation, and today too call to their fellow Americans to resist again the United States' historical impulse to war and empire-building. They call for you to join the next front in the battle to save the democracy, where the need is dire:

"Join the fight to save democracy in North America; come save Canada."

Friend Eric Blumrich, one of your countrymen, lamented to me the spiralling descent into fascism a couple years, and wondered aloud if he should not come to Canada. I said he should leave immediately, but warned, Canada has only two or three years, before becoming an emulation of all he loathed at home then. With Stephen Harper's appointment as Prime Minister marks the finish line. Where once our nation offered shelter to conscientous objection, today Canada routinely would return refugees, be they from the Iraq, or marijuana wars.

Public Opinion be Damned

As in the majority of the nations comprising various 'Coalitions of the Willing,' Canadians repeatedly have rejected the current course of Canada's domestic and foreign policies; under both, the reformed Conservative Party, and their predecessors to power, the Liberal Party. But, the wars go on. And, Canada needs soldiers. People willing to stand on guard for principles we've left granted, in both Canada and America, for too long.

Bien Venue, Americain

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

Stay informed. Subscribe and get the best of PEJ News by email. Free.