Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One Hand Clapping: Organization Applauds Harper's Israel Position

PEJ News - Canadian entity, the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD), representing itself as " a non-partisan, multi-ethnic, multi-denominational organization" says it "applauds Stephen Harper's clarity on Middle East Crisis." Surprising then, given the CCD's avowed interest in promoting peace and the spread of democracy, they would choose to support a man who considers the hundreds of violent deaths, thousands of casualties, and myriad human rights violations daily committed against civilians in Lebanon and Palestine at the hands of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) a "measured response" to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by alleged members of the Lebanon-based, Hezzbollah. Surprising until you scratch below the Canadian Coalition's veneer.


One Hand Clapping:
Organization Applauds Harper's Israel Position

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
July 18, 2006

Though on their website, the CCD broadly claims its pre-eminent concern for peace and democracy, a closer look reveals a narrow definition of those familiar pillars of western civilization, and overriding, ulterior motives behind the motherhood rhetoric.

Beneath the breathless bromides to Canada's "multicultural society," a "model" to the world, it quickly becomes apparent, the Canadian Coalition is less interested in bringing Canada's famed tolerance and democracy to the world, but rather in reshaping the country's foreign policy. The CCD are more interested in Canada providing cover for its "sister democracies," democracies like India, the United States, Taiwan, and Israel. They complain, Canada has "consistently failed" those paragons of human progress, but more has failed to join the attack against "our sister's" enemies.

The peace lovers at down at the CCD suggest Canada could do more to support "democratic movements" in Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, "Assyrians throughout the Muslim world[?]," Christians and Animists in Sudan, and Hindus in Kashmir. Curious, the CCD shares a lot of the concerns of its like-minded southern counterpart, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), home to so many of the so-called "neo-con" architects of U.S. policy in the Middle East since the ascendancy of George W. Bush.

"CCD commends the Stephen Harper government and in particular Foreign Minister [sic] Peter MacKay for bringing a new era to Canadian foreign relations. In only six months since its election in January, this government has taken steps to position Canada as a global leader in a pro-democracy foreign policy."

And why the "particular" praise for Mr. Mackay?

Some encouraging bullet points explain.

July 10 - Minster MacKay’s clear statement about the “culture of impunity that prevails in Iran” on the anniversary of the murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi by Iranian authorities;

June 21 - Minister MacKay’s expression of “disgust at the fact that Iran would choose to include … [Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi, implicated in the murder of Zahra Kazemi] in its delegation to a new UN body intended to promote … human rights”;

May 12 - Support for the defence of Canada by Peter MacKay and National Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor by renewal of the North American Aerospace Defence (NORAD) Agreement;

March 29 – Announcement by Peter MacKay that “Canada will have no contact with the members of the Hamas cabinet and is suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority” following the election of a Hamas-dominated government to the Palestinian Authority;

Queer, the defenders of democracy applauding the suspension of assistance to the duly, and democratically elected government of Palestine. But again, maybe not so odd when considering the Canadian Coalition for Democracies includes only those democracies it deems "real."

Not a peep can be heard coming from the CCD regarding the attempt to subvert democratic governments in Venezuela, Haiti, or the United States (which Stephen Harper garners praise for his "mature and constructive relationship with..."). Nothing forthcoming on the Mexican election fiasco either, I expect.

The CCD's recent press release does get one thing correct; they say, "Many Canadians have been troubled by Canada's foreign policy."

Though Stephen and Peter don't deserve all the credit, Canadian foreign policy today bears little resemblance to what Canadians have come to expect over the last half century. And though the Canadian Coalition for Democracies is happy with Harper for the moment, they still have a long way to go to get to that place where they can finally rest, knowing their work is done.

How long it'll take is a matter for speculation; but we'll recognize it when we see in Canada a mirror image of the other great democracies, epitomized by the likes of Israel, India, Taiwan, and the United States of America.

Then we'll know the nation has reached its CCD destination.

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.

For a look at the friends who influence the thinkers at the CCD.

CCD Watch

Rabble.ca Babble string on CCD

Juan Cole on AIPAC

CDD Mission Statement: Exerpt - "We have failed to clearly and unequivocally tell those who seek a better life in Canada that they are welcome, but only if they check their hatreds at the border. The validation that past Canadian governments have given to tyrants and terrorists and their apologists has made it easier for them to deny freedom and spill the blood of innocents around the world. Tragically, some of that innocent blood is on Canadian hands."

Profile of CCD funder, Milton Shier

Links provided by the CCD

A video clip of Prime Minister Harper's statements yesterday on the crisis in the Middle East is at:

If you would like to comment on this statement or other topics relating to foreign policy, please visit our public message forum and post your comments:

For more information, please contact:

David Harris, Senior Fellow for National Security

Canadian Coalition for Democracies
PO Box 72602
345 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 3J0 Canada

Web: http://CanadianCoalition.com
Public Forum: http://canadiancoalition.com/
Email: admin@CanadianCoalition.com

Canada's "Dunkirk" in Lebanon

Canada's "Dunkirk" in Lebanon

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - What is Canada's position on the "conflict" currently unfolding in Lebanon? It's a simple question, one posed repeatedly by CBC's 'The National' host, Peter Mansbridge of Canada's minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay tonight, with little effect. Who speaks for Canada, according to the minister, is: The G8.


Canada's "Dunkirk" in Lebanon

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
July 17, 2006

That's just great! A day following the immolation of a Canadian family, visiting relatives in Beirut, beneath an Israeli bomb, all the representatives of this country, those whose visages project the nation's image across the world, can bring themselves to say of this war crime come home is: "Go ask the G8 what we think about this."

Couched by ever insouciant anchor, Mansbridge to perhaps transmit the mildest of rebukes to the masters of the Israeli juggernaut currently taking a neighbouring nation to pieces, cloaking it's naked aggression behind the veil of "provocation" by "terrorists," according to Mackay, the kidnap of the now world famous soldiers by Hezbollah was an entirely "unprovoked" attack laying at the heart of this current "escalation."

But Montreal's El-Ahkras family were not the first clan blasted to pieces by Israeli bombs falling from above. Perhaps The National's host was too genteel to mention the families perished during Israel's on-going terror campaign, fetchingly called, "Summer Rains," but he might have thought to educated the minister, and the Canadian people paying his salary to inform them of the facts, as printed in several "credible" corporate news organs: Those claiming to hold the captured soldiers clearly say their actions were a direct response to Israel's murder and mayhem campaign, its "Killing in the Rain" terror production shooting now in Palestine.

That high ranking Hamas officials, kidnapped from Gaza two days before the initial taking of the young Israeli corporal there might be construed, by one with a mind for detail and memory capacity, as a "provocative" act too has evaporated the short memory span of minister Mackay, and again found not worth a mention by Mansbridge.

It's amazing, comical but for the horrendous realities occuring today in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and elsewheres, to watch the linguistic gymnastics of State representative and State broadcaster, literally squirming to avoid anything resembling a criticism of the single most profligate scofflaw on the world stage, save the towering hypocrisy of its benefactor, Israel.

Quickly cut to...

The aftermath of Hezbollah's rocket attacks against cities within Israel. Here documenting the people effected. It's despicable cowardice to rain bombs on civilians. And deplore attacks against civilians anywhere.

Neglected by the CBC; pictures of the dead of Lebanon. They reduced to statistical oblivion.

Video is available of those most horribly effected by the Guernica on the Levant; pictures of limbless babes, headless mothers, uncles, aunts, fathers, sons and daughters rendered to a pulpy mush, reduced to raw hamburger goo, held in the arms of the survivors, shocked and frantic to salvage something of the life that once dwelt there. Can you watch that?

No? Me and Peter either. It's on to the panel discussion... after the break.

But, before that the round table convenes to roundly agree: Iran and Syria are really to blame for wiping out the El-Ahkras family in Beirut. This astonishing leap of logic proffered by Andrew Coyne, of the vaunted 'National Post.' The Post is the crown jewel of the crapulent, Canwest Global media monolith, the same made infamous by their May 19th front page doggerel, 'Iran Eyes Badges for Jews,' a ham-fisted propaganda effort questioned on-line by the Post itself moments after it hit the streets; a journalistic low your writer recorded at the time.

Back to Dunkirk!

Perhaps it was Peter Mansbridge's last stab at redemption? Or, maybe it's the limit we can expect from those slaving away in the corpo/State media, but Pete slyly inserted a reference verboten in any discussion of things Israel: The Nazi Comparison. Mansbridge opened his remarks, on the new subject to divert from the murderous behaviour of the Israeli's against their nearest neighbours, the topic is shifted to, "What to do about the thousands of Canadian remaining alive under the Israeli barrage against Lebanon?" There, Peter, or his producers, tag the piece, 'Canada's Dunkirk in Lebanon.' Or something likewise.

Finally: A glimmer of truth emanates Canada's "trusted" news source. Of course, this refers to the evacuation of British and Canadian soldiers from France following a disastrous invasion feint against Hitler's Nazis, designed by the dismal military "strategist" Winston Churchill (he too of Gallipoli fame). Peter hits it right on the head: As the Nazis, indomitable at that moment, a small force of battle damaged are pushed into the sea, Israel is all-but-for the swastikas, inheritors of that grotesque philosophy.

In everything they've done these decades past, and continue now at a quickened pace, Israel resembles perfectly the fascist ideologies that paradoxically parented the nascent "State" of Israel. The examples are legion, and are daily made more evident. It is a lawless regime, doing as much damage to its own citizens as it metes out to its perceived enemies. It is a violent, remorseless destroyer of worlds; killing it almost seems, for its own sake; stoking a fire that threatens now to inflame the entire region, and the world.

In Canada, primary supporter of Israel's and America's brutal, Iraqesque sanctions, levied for no other reason than Palestinian's temerity to elect a government unsuitable to Israel during the hyped elections there last January, the continued deprivation of the Hamas government of monies, medicines, food, and any hope of escape their walled concentration camp "country," is not considered "provocation." In fact, it's just another unmentionable aspect of the "conflict" unfolding over there.

Of course, as the government has no idea what to do about the Canadians currently trapped beneath the aerial destruction of Lebanon, Peter's second "Dunkirk" in Lebanon, (and Afghanistan, for that matter) might better have been tagged, 'Canada's Second Dieppe.'

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor at PEJ News, and host of 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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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gorilla Radio for Monday, July 17, 2006

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - This week: American journalist, Bob Nichols on the worldwide toxic legacy of Depleted Uranium; Jon Elmer on Israel's burgeoning destruction of the Middle East; and Victorian abroad, Ingmar Lee from India, and the view from the top of the world.


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday,
5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable,
and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca

It’s the war crime that keeps on killing. Long after the collateral victims of America and her allies’ bombs and missiles are buried, those bombs, bullets, and missiles continue to pose a deadly hazard. For a new generation of atrocity, a new weapon has been devised and deployed. Depleted Uranium is simply the most pernicious instrument of war ever conceived, and since its early use by the Israeli Defence Forces against Arabs in 1973 it has spread its toxic legacy. Bob Nichols is a correspondent for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and a recipient of a Project Censored Award for his writings on the effects of DU. He’s a long time anti-radiological weapons activist, currently working to complete a book revealing the horrendous potential fifteen-plus years of “nuclear war” promises the soldiers using them, those at the receiving end, and the rest of the planet. Bob Nichols in the first segment.

And; last week the crypto-fascist, racist and criminal government of Israel declared war on its neighbour Lebanon after launching air and artillery attacks against that country’s people and civilian infrastructure. It opens a second front in Israel’s unilaterally declared aggression against Arabs, most notably the Palestinian population of concentration camp, Gaza. Jon Elmer is a Canadian freelance journalist and photographer, and creator of the web news site, From Occupied Palestine.org. Jon has lived and reported from Gaza and will join us in the second segment, in another all too frequent appearance, to discuss the further deteriorating situation in Palestine.

And; from his new digs in Pondicherry, India long-time Victoria environment and social justice activist, writer, and friend of Gorilla Radio, Ingmar Lee and the view from the other side of the world. Ingmar Lee in the third segment. And; Janine Bandcroft may be here to bring us up to speed with some of the groovy things she’s been up to in and around Victoria this busy summer season.

But first, Bob Nichols and the toll of America’s doomsday weapons now deployed in Central Asia.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site: http://www.pej.org.

You can check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media. Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, William Bowles, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Murray Dobbin, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Anthony Fenton, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Chris Floyd, Connie Fogal, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Jason Leopold, Jeff Leys, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Mike Palecek, Michael Parenti, Robert Parry, Kevin Pina, William Rivers Pitt, Justin Podur, Jack Random, Sheldon Rampton, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Steven Staples, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Paul Watson, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.

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Day of the Bright-Eyed Dog

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The stars are awry. This turbulent week around the orb, this madness passing as diplomacy and responsibility has revealed, in shockingly clear contrast, we are standing on the rim of the abyss.


The Day of the Bright-Eyed Dog

C. L. Cook

Pej News
July 14, 2006

A noble portrait below my prospect, an accident of "nature," in the form of an oil stain, appears in the parking lot. In relief, it's a dog with blazing pine cone eyes, staring accusingly, behind a terrier's silhouette. Sometimes you're arrested in the most unlikely moments by things meaningless on their face, but that resonate in queer contexts, if pressed for the details of which, you would be at a loss; magic perhaps?

Jesus appears periodically in tacos, rain stains, and is a hauntingly familiar amidst potato chips; so, it's no surprise to me to conjure figures from Rorschach blots on the tarmac. That's what people's brains do; create sense from a meaningless randomness. Out the fallen cones, perfectly symmetrically lain in my imaginings, came figures reminding too of a chance encounter today with an odd eye-coloured mutt.

In speaking to animals one must maintain a respectful tone. It may seems mad, but the most sceptical cynic cannot deny moments of transcendent communion with the "other," animals and plants whose voices, in your mind's ear you hear.

It is, accordng to Sue, the optometrist astrologist, a strange moon, and ominous solar house ascending as we commiserated our crazy F-ed up week today. There is more much than is dreamt of within your philosophy, Horatio!

What can be divined in the eye of a dog?

There were a pair of lab cross siblings straining the tether today on the sidewalk downtown. Through my car, window one looked revealing eyes of pale blue; shining eyes, curious and alive. This dog, I'm near certain, knows nothing of the bombing campaign currently conducted by fascist Israel over Palestine and Lebanon. S/he (I didn't look that closely) doubtless kens not why the 'apes-that-feed' would fall upon one another as they are apt to do. Living largely in their noses, it seems to me their sniffing now questions survival.

The stories of animal raising the alarm of impending disasters are rife in history past, and more recent. 'Elephants Warn Phuket before Tsunami,' (or something likewise) spring to mind; but deeper still than this geologically determined prescience attributed our co-creatures, is nascent animal consciousness.

As that quizzical, questioning , cock-headed Labrador's stance, I too wonder: "Why do the apes behave such?

Blue eyes are not necessarily signs of Aryan intent; oft times, it's just another colour, one of a palette making up us all. As we stand today, peering over the precipice, the dogs may have a tale to tell we cannot afford missing.

A single planet, and lone star are peering through the cloud cover tonight. Hanging in their solitudes o'er peaceable little Victoria, they appear beacons of a hope we apes and dogs all can, living on our single planet, find peace tonight.

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.

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Picture Perfect: Victoria Models Future Media

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Already a poster child for the corporate monopolist vision of information dissemination for the 21st century, one-paper Victoria, British Columbia seems now destined to become a one T.V. station town too. Bell Globalmedia Inc. has successfully gobbled up CHUM Ltd., and today the axe first fell on more than a dozen media workers at A-Channel, the city's second television station.


Picture Perfect:
Victoria Models Future Media

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
Jully 13, 2006d

As Israel declares war on the Muslim world, in green and pleasant Victoria another "war" has killed the current careers of at least 17 citizens. Yesterday's media buyout of CHUM by Canadian communications industry megalith, Bell Mediaglobal Inc., (yet to be approved by the flaccid Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) resulted in CHUM organ, A-Channel Victoria lopping their morning program and 17 paid positions.

Or so reports media "rival," Canwest Global.

Victorian's local media choices have become paradoxically slimmer as the mutlti-channeled, broadband world expands. A one daily newspaper town, save media-mogul to be, David Black's "community" weekly newspaper chain's recent foray into a daily reposting of wire stories, the Times Colonist is itself affiliated with one of the town's two T.V. stations; radio stations; and, assorted web assets. Victoria is the living image of Big Media's future vision for Everytown, Everywhere.

Canadians, and Victorians particularly, are the most narrowly informed peoples of the western world. Yes, "we" know more about America than most Americans, and more too about many other nations than those own nation's citizens, but how much, smarty-pants Canuck, do you know about Canada?

Do you know the names of Canada's [sic] interlocked billionaire families, and the goings on of their interests in business and politics? Does "your" media go out of their interlocked, club-cultured way to inform you?

Bell Globalmedia Inc. has already said Victoria's A-Channel is toast. But are they surrendering a promising small C-city market? Not exactly. Both leviathan communication entities, Canwest and Bell have been wheeling-dealing, cutting up turf together; in effect acting as a cartel, possessing the nation's information management infrastructure.

And it's a natural culmination of a shared philosophy that disregards human values, as tradition would have it, favouring instead the steely bottom-line mentality the Chicago School of Economics, and other Friedmanian economic schools, espousing a single mantra motto:

Profit is all, and end all!

For me, I could give a s*it! I don't believe any of the crap coming from CH, or it's "competitor" A-Channel. The CBC, American Networks, and Cable outlets too have earned my studied neglect.

Following months of bombardment of Palestinian infrastructure, for example, those twits tonight, (yeah, I peeked in) would have me wring my hands at poor Israel's suffering as a few score Kassam "rockets," glorified pipe-bombs, landed amidst they the privileged Israelis. Equating those attacks to the wholesale barrage of Gaza, the West Bank, and now Lebanon too, all ostensibly to save kidnapped soldiers, the news fit to broadcast is no better on any of the corporate organs than Israel "Izzy" Asper's infamous promise to never on any Canwest global platform, criticize the actions of the criminal Israeli government.

So, what's news?

That thousands of children, women, and men, guilty of nothing more than being Palestinian within a rifle butt's reach of the long arm of Fascisto-racist Israel hardly merits mention. This, despite the painfully explicit missives sent the media by reputed groups connected to the abductions, which state their aims as freeing those women and children held in Israel's gulags. But true to the coarse nature of Victoria's 'Asper family' controlled, Canwest Global, these same that rule more than 70% of this country's "major" media, their "competitors" ring the same bell, barely bothering to change the wording.

So, as the wars "escalate" Victorians can expect to learn less, the more they watch, read, and listen to local media. It's a model the rest of the "free world" should find instructive, and better get used to.

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcst from CFUV at 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.