Saturday, May 05, 2007

Public Enemy

Public as Enemy: Targeting You
by C. L. Cook

here will be investigations, promise the L.A. Police Department in wake of that entity's unprovoked attack against ethnic and social justice activists taking part in the nation-wide May Day immigrant rights demonstration.
While police brutality during protests is nothing new in America, what is different in this case was the L.A.P.D.'s brazen attacks against journalists; that is to say, capital "M" media workers, not the bloggers, Indy Media types, or assorted riff raff well used to officially sanctioned State violence employed against civilian demonstrators.This time the goon squad chose going after corporate T.V. crews covering the family-orientated events for FOX, and the Big 3 networks.

Though the little people too, naturally, received their lumps from the unrestrained police demonstration of raw malice and utter disregard for the people and principles they have been sworn to "serve and protect." It is reported, hundreds of "rubber" bullets, and tear gas cannisters were fired at the peaceful demonstration, many striking people in the back, as a police motorcycle charge followed by truncheon wielding riot cops stampeded the crowd.

Fill 'er Up

The May Day march is the second to focus on immigration issues since a Bush administration hard-line approach against "illegals" already working in the United States took effect last year. This year's latest effort, like those announced by the military in the on-going destruction of foreign lands, until recently dubbed 'The Global War on Terror,' the Immigration and Custom Enforcement branch, (ICE) too brands its actions; the latest sold as, 'Operation: Return to Sender.' But before the unfortunates caught up in ICE's broadening dragnet searches, there are mandatory stays in "immigration prisons." It's a very profitable, and growing sector of the so-called 'Prison-Industrial Complex,' and one White House favoured contractor, Halliburton has been quick to exploit. Halliburton, the infamous serial fraudster, renowned for its criminal billing practices and its cozy relationship to the current administration through former CEO, Dick Cheney, last year landed a 1.4 billion dollar contract to construct concentration camps across the nation looks ready to start filling them up.

Law suits have been filed, and the American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU) has, as ever, jumped into the fray, issuing strongly worded condemnations of the police action, etc., comparing the attack against the journalists as a repeat of similar blatant attacks carried out during the year 2000 Democratic National Convention. Those law suits will wend their weary way through the court system recently cited in the news as corrupted by the Republican Party political hacks controlling the Attorney-General's office. They may, under a possilbe future Democratic Party administration, eventually make it to the Supreme Court, stacked with the political hacks that made that 2000 election year a memorable precedent-setting one for the American political process. But by 2010, or whenever the facts finally see the light of a legal ruling, who will still care?

The Media is the Message

And that message is: Watch Your Step! As witnessed during the American military rampage through Afghanistan and Iraq, the shots across the media bow are no bluff. The Arab al-Jazeera network has the distinction of being the first news organization to have its headquarters in two war zones targeted and destroyed by the U.S., while scores of network and independent journalists, and their local support staff, are dead or wounded, killed and maimed since George W. Bush's ascension at Century's end. But is it fair and/or balanced to lay this at the feet of Bush and Gonzales, Cheney, Halliburton, and the L.A.P.D., when the Clinton administration bombed media operations in Yugolsavia, and killed dissenting citizens with impunity in Waco, and on Ruby Ridge?

A Growing "Enemies" List

Recall Richard M. Nixon, the extra-legal creep President, whom's bell tolled on the lawn of the White House, waving farewell to American public life from the doorway of his get-away chopper, escaping two steps ahead of impeachment, and perhaps worse? Nixon's infamous list, one then White House Counsel John Dean insists the Tricky One never saw, grew from a modest 20 names, to more than 30,000 before its titular author's career crashed. Likewise, the enemies list of this administration has, from tiny acorn size exploded to include an estimated 80,000 Americans (and foreigners), contained in the files of Homeland Security, and the plethora other alphabetized agents of the overarching American security apparatus; but to end there would do disservice to Georges' Bush and the efforts of their dedicated coterie. As a recently revealed army publication spells out to the soldiers of the realm, journalists are to be now considered "enemies" on a par with al-Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the army's Operational Security Guidelines (OPSEC), encourages the troops' keep an eye peeled for skulking journos, and any who would stoop to whisper in their pointed, rodent-like ears; to whit:

"[C]onsider handling attempts by unauthorized personnel to solicit critical information or sensitive information as a Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army (SAEDA) incident."

This directive applies too to the DoD contractors, a growing percentage of the "boots on the ground" forces overseas, and witnessed in the body of Blackwater, sent in as the Bush administration's reaction to Hurricane Katrina's landfall in New Orleans, and the subsequent breaching of the levies there, at home too. But the list doesn't end with the 80,000 individuals, or the entirety of the unimbedded press corps; American soldiers fond of blogging their thoughts from the front, or anywhere else are to be considered suspect too, that privilege recently curtailed, perhaps to be eliminated completely. Falling too under the shadow of this broad blog security umbrella would be those hundreds of thousands of Americans (and foreigners) who for reasons suspect by the administration continue to criticize U.S. policies at home and abroad, using the "internet."

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The answer to that famous question, posed most famously by L.A.P.D. beating survivor, Rodney King is: "Yes!" But, in George W. Bush's America, and the pseudo-vassal nations in its orbit, getting along means going along; nothing short of total adherence to the Leader and his Party line will due. Whether you be tinker, or tailor, soldier, or sailor, woe betide you if you fail, or are perceived to have failed to live up to those expectations of citizenship. You are, in short, either with US or you are the Terrorists.

As the CJR quotes Major Ray Ceralde, reputed author of the army's OPSEC paper:

"A person doesn’t have to be in the military or government to support OPSEC… As a Nation, we are in this fight together, and all Americans are encouraged to practice OPSEC."

Truly, an Army of One(ness); a nation divided upon itself, fulfilling at home what it accomplishes "over there," and bringing the terror back to the Homeland.

C. L. Cook is a contributing editor to, and host of the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio. You can check out the GR blog here.
For more on the targeting of civilian populations by police and military, please see:
The Lancet Study of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion of March, 2003.
The ACLU reaction to the storming of the march in L.A.
Democracy Now! coverage of draconian immigration policies under Bush

Tricky Dick Nixon's Enemies List

Friday, May 04, 2007

Parallel Conflicts: Iraq and Afghanistan are One

Four Million Refugees


Four years ago the U.S. and Britain unleashed war on Iraq, a nearly defenseless Third World country barely half the size of Saskatchewan.

For twelve years prior to the invasion and occupation Iraq had endured almost weekly U.S. and British bombing raids and the toughest sanctions in history, the "primary victims" of which, according to the UN Secretary General, were "women and children, the poor and the infirm." According to UNICEF, half a million children died from sanctions related starvation and disease.

Then, in March 2003, the U.S. and Britain --possessors of more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world combined --attacked Iraq on a host of fraudulent pretexts, with cruise missiles, napalm, white phosphorous, cluster and bunker buster bombs and depleted uranium (DU) munitions.

The British Medical Journal The Lancet published a study last year estimating Iraqi war deaths since 2003 at 655,000, a mind-boggling figure dismissed all-too readily by the British and American governments despite widespread scientific approval for its methodology (including the British government's own chief scientific adviser).

On April 11, 2007, the Red Cross issued a report entitled "Civilians without Protection: the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis in Iraq." Citing "immense suffering," it calls "urgently" for " respect for international humanitarian law." Andrew White, Anglican Vicar of Baghdad added, "What we see on our television screens does not demonstrate even one per cent of the reality of the atrocity of Iraq"

The UN estimates two million Iraqis have been "internally displaced," while another two million have fled --largely to neighbouring Syria and Jordan, overwhelming local infrastructure.

An attack such as that on Iraq, neither in self-defence nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council is, in the words of the Nuremberg Tribunal that condemned the Nazis, "the supreme international crime." According to the Tribunal's chief prosecutor, US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, such a war is simply mass murder.

Most Canadians are proud that Canada refused to invade Iraq. But when it comes to Afghanistan, we hear the same jingoistic bluster we heard about Iraq four years ago. As if Iraq and Afghanistan were two separate wars, and Afghanistan is the good war, the legal and just war.

In reality, Iraq and Afghanistan are the same war.

That's how the Bush administration has seen Afghanistan from the start; not as a defensive response to 9/11, but the opening for regime change in Iraq (as documented in Richard A. Clarke's Against all Enemies).That's why the Security Council resolutions of September 2001 never mention Afghanistan, much less authorize an attack on it. That's why the attack on Afghanistan was also a supreme international crime, which killed at least 20,000 innocent civilians in its first six months. The Bush administration used 9/11 as a pretext to launch an open-ended so-called "War on Terror" --in reality a war of terror because it kills hundreds of times more civilians than the other terrorists do.

That the Karzai regime was subsequently set up under UN auspices doesn't absolve the participants in America's war, and that includes Canada. Nor should the fact that Canada now operates under the UN authorized International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mislead anyone. From the start, ISAF put itself at the service of the American operation, declaring "the United States Central Command will have authority over the International Security Assistance Force" (UNSC Document S/2001/1217). When NATO took charge of ISAF that didn't change anything. NATO forces are always ultimately under US command. The "Supreme Commander" is always an American general, who answers to the American president, not the Afghan one.

Canadian troops in Afghanistan not only take orders from the Americans, they help free up more American forces to continue their bloody occupation of Iraq.

When the U.S. devastated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-1975), leaving behind six million dead or maimed, Canada refused to participate. But today Canada has become part of a U.S. war being waged not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in a network of disclosed and undisclosed centres of physical and mental torture, like Guantanamo Bay in --let's not forget --illegally occupied Cuban territory. And what we know about what the U.S. government calls terrorism is that it is largely a response to foreign occupation, and what we know about American occupation is that it is a way the rich world forces the rest to surrender their resources.

General Rick Hillier bragged that Canada was going to root out the "scumbags" in Afghanistan. He didn't mention that the Soviets, using over 600,000 troops and billions in aid over ten years, were unable to control Afghanistan. Britain, at the height of its imperial power, tried twice and failed. Now, Canada is helping another fading empire attempt to impose its will on Afghanistan.

Canadians have traditionally been able to hold their heads high when they travel the world. We did not achieve that reputation by waging war against the world's poor; in large part we achieved it by refusing to do so.

Canada must --immediately, and at the minimum --open its doors to Iraqis and Afghanis attempting to flee the horror being inflicted on their homelands. We must stop pretending that we're not implicated in their suffering under the bombs, death squads and torture. This means refusing to lend our name, our strength and the blood of our youth in this war without end against the Third World.

David Orchard is an author and Borden, SK farmer who ran twice for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party. He can be reached at tel .

Michael Mandel is an author and Professor of International Law at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He can be reached at

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Cruise Ship Dumping Ground


April 25, 2007 For Immediate Release


Ottawa, ON…. B.C. Senator Pat Carney today
called for implementation of rules prohibiting the dumping of sewage by cruise ships that are turning BC’s coastal waters into “cruise industry toilet bowls.”
She told senators that coastal communities welcome the cruise ship industry but are concerned about the ocean pollution it creates. Vancouver Port Authority estimates that the cruise sector creates more than 13,000 jobs and generates $1.3 billion in economic activity each year.
“Canada has no legal recourse to prevent cruise ships from dumping sewage except for voluntary guidelines developed by Transport Canada,” she said. “Because they are voluntary, there are no enforcement mechanisms or legal sanctions for breach of regulations.”

She cited the example of a cruise ship which was fined $100,000 for dumping sewage in US waters off Washington State but paid nothing to Canada despite acknowledging that it polluted Canadian waters three times. Cruise ships transport nearly one million passengers in BC during the cruising season, which starts in April, and have been described as being the equivalent of floating cities.
Existing rules under the Canada Shipping Act do not apply to the discharge of sewage by ships. Transport Canada published proposed regulations in June 2006 but they have not yet been finalized and put into effect.
Senator Carney has asked Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon to implement the new regulations as soon as possible “so that those who live in coastal communities can be assured that their offshore waters will not be one giant septic tank.”
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For further information:
Office of Senator Pat Carney
(613) 943-1433 or 1-800-267-7362