Fortress North America Back on the Radar

Just want to get my .02 in on this one again, make sure all y’all know about it.  Alison, Greg, Dawg, Laxer and The Beav have the details.  Give them some love and go read them.

Then you might wanna take a look at this Globe & Mail article, too, to see the Wikileaks connection (courtesy Toedancer @ BnR).

 

UPDATE:  Had to add this little gem, for its title if nothing else: Welcome To Your Authoritarian Corporatocratic Security Surveillance State Of North America.

The fascist politicians on the SPP

I’m getting pretty damned sick of this government by stealth shit.  Here’s the Feb 28 SPP Statement by Ministers from Canada Mexico and the USA.  How can they do this without the support of the elected officials and through them, the people?  All these many years, I’ve been working under the assumption that Canada was a democracy.  What a flippin’ fool I am!!!

Feb 28 SPP Statement By Ministers

Posted on Monday, March 03 2008 by sthompson

U.S. Department of Commerce                                                       Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C. 20230                                                                   www.commerce.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2008

CONTACT: Rich Mills / Ann Marie Hauser
202-482-4883

Joint Statement by Ministers Responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America

In preparation for our leaders’ meeting in New Orleans on April 21-22, we, the ministers responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) met in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, to review progress on the five priorities identified by leaders in Montebello and to discuss cooperative approaches to common challenges and opportunities.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has been a tremendous success: trade and commerce among our countries have grown exponentially. Trilateral merchandise trade is approximately $900 billion in 2007, significantly contributing to economic growth and increased standards of living in all three countries.

The SPP builds on this dynamic relationship by providing Canada, Mexico and the United States a partnership to build a safer, more secure and economically dynamic North America, while respecting the sovereignty, laws, unique heritage, and culture of each country.

In order to give guidance and achieve results in advance of the April 2008 North American leaders’ Summit, we have reviewed progress achieved since Montebello and have directed officials to:

  • Competitiveness: Continue to implement the strategy to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and build on the Regulatory Cooperation Framework by pursuing collaboration through sectoral initiatives, with an emphasis on the automotive sector;
  • Safe Food & Products: Strengthen cooperation to better identify, assess and manage unsafe food and products before they enter North America, and collaborate to promote the compatibility of our related regulatory and inspection regimes;
  • Energy and Environment: Develop projects under the newly signed Agreement on Science and Technology; and cooperate on moving new technologies to the marketplace, auto fuel efficiency and energy efficiency standards ;
  • Smart & Secure Borders: Strengthen cooperation protocols and create new mechanisms to secure our common borders while facilitating legitimate travel and trade in the North American region ;
  • Emergency Management and Preparedness: Strengthen emergency management cooperation capacity in the North American region before, during and after disasters.

We also instructed officials to consider innovative ways to advance these five priorities, to enhance our dialogue and further our cooperation.

We recognize the work of our colleagues from the various agencies and departments that have contributed and will continue to contribute to advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation.

We acknowledge the challenges that transnational crime poses to our region and our assessment indicates that some accomplishments have been made. Nevertheless, we need to improve and strengthen our cooperative bilateral and trilateral mechanisms in order to identify innovative and committed solutions to eliminate those threats and assure the well being and prosperity of our people.

We will also explore new avenues of cooperation and convergence to address issues such as arms trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, counterfeiting, trafficking of people and smuggling, and border violence.

We also met with representatives of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), whose contributions and advice in building a more prosperous and dynamic North America have been invaluable.  We discussed the long-term challenges facing our three countries and how best to increase security and prosperity in North America, in order to make our region the best place to live, work and do business.  Accordingly, we reiterate our interest in maintaining an open dialogue with business leaders and other stakeholders.

We reaffirm our commitment to the objectives of the SPP.  We are convinced that greater cooperation and coordination will bring benefits to our countries.  As we prepare for the next leaders` Summit in New Orleans, we will continue to work together to ensure progress in the priority areas identified at Montebello and other areas where there is ongoing work.

From:

http://www.spp.gov/news/news_02282008.asp

Thanks to Vive le Canada for the info. 

Radioactive Leak @ US side of Lake Erie

Lots going down on the nuclear front.  I stumbled upon a pair of poets plugging Caldicott’s book at their blog, On the Wilder Side.  Nice to see other poets in the nuclear-free movement.

I almost missed the piece below; it was trying to hide itself in my inbox.  Reading it makes me wonder.  Why is Finley pushing for another reactor on Lake Irie?  How does the US nuclear industry’s regulation compares to ours?  And, will our regulations be forced to change because of the GNEP and the SPP?

Radioactive water leak found at Ohio nuclear plant on Lake Erie
January 7, 2008 – 21:08
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
AKRON, Ohio – Workers found a small radioactive water leak inside an Ohio nuclear power plant on Lake Erie, plant operator FirstEnergy Corp. said Monday.

The leak was on a weld that held two pieces of cooling pipe inside a reactor containment building at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, FirstEnergy said in a report filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The amount of water from the pipe was so small when discovered Friday that it was not quantified in the report, said FirstEnergy spokesman Todd Schneider, who described it as “moisture.”

“It involved water from the reactor, so it is radioactive water but it is within the containment building and nothing was released. Our workers were not affected,” he said.

The Davis-Besse plant, about 50 kilometres east of Toledo, had been scheduled for shutdown in February but FirstEnergy moved it up to the end of December when the NRC expressed concerns about the durability of certain kinds of welds at nuclear plants in general.

Schneider said the company was in the process of strengthening 16 welds when the leak was discovered at one weld. He didn’t speculate about what could have happened if the leak had gone unnoticed.

“The situation did not exist while the plant was operating,” he said.
“We do inspections and we would have caught a situation like this.”
A message seeking comment was left Monday with the Earth Day Coalition environmental group in Cleveland, which has criticized FirstEnergy’s safety claims in the past.

NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said it’s possible stress from the welding reinforcement, called an overlay, may have caused a crack.

“It’s not a big concern,” Mitlyng said.
“What FirstEnergy is going to do is get an understanding of the nature of the crack, then it will have to propose a solution for fixing it. Then our inspectors will review it.”

Schneider had no estimate on how long the evaluation of the leak may take or how long the plant will remain shut down.
The Davis-Besse plant was shut down for two years starting in 2002 after inspectors found an acid leak that nearly ate through a steel cap on the reactor vessel at the plant. It was the most extensive corrosion seen at a U.S. nuclear reactor.

By the time the plant returned to full power in 2004, FirstEnergy had spent $600 million making repairs and buying replacement power. The NRC required the plant improve its safety procedures.

FirstEnergy is the fifth-largest investor-owned utility in the United States

Thx, JimBobby

Fiacco Lies on a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & an Inland Port

Veering ever-so slightly off my no nukes agenda to slip in an I told you so.  Mayor Fiacco would not reveal the plans for this before the municipal election and now that he is safely back in office he can reveal his real plan.  Today P’n’P learns of the plan for a Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port which is part of the NAFTA Highway, the Security and Prosperity Agreement, the ecological devastation called the Tar Sands, and North American Union.

This gateway involves moving the rails from central Regina to the west side where industrial development is taking place and will likely increase dramatically without our approval.  It will increase land and air traffic which means more air and noise pollution.  It will move us closer to BushCo’s & HarperCo’s dreams of not only continental unity but also a continental currency.  At a time when we need to be doing our utmost to curb green house gas emissions, our City is promoting increased consumption and an increased use of fossil fuels!

Thanks for what amounts to lies, Mayor Pat, and for selling us out to the corporatist extremists. We’ll see you at the polls in less than two years.  And we will remember.

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port

The Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port, or “Prairie Gateway” is a virtual combination of services and a cluster of numerous transportation, distribution and assembly players working and investing together. This is the best way to maximize the existing transportation assets across an integrated region, with many transportation, production, storage, trans-loading, assembly, product identification and research resources working as a team. This base will draw additional investment, labour and technology as a catalyst for a host of new ancillary business service companies.

What is an Inland Port?

An Inland Port is defined less on the physical aspects of one location and more on the intelligent logistics and coordination of a multitude of services.  It has the following qualities:

  1. Is an organization or coalition made up of key transportation stakeholders
  2. Serves the regional trading area businesses and economy
  3. Facilitates growth for both import and export trade logistics
  4. A mechanism for cooperation, marketing the regions trade processing abilities
  5. Provides national coordination and collaboration among ocean port users

Why Saskatchewan?

Like the Kansas City Smart Port regional model, the Prairie-to-Ports Gateway & Inland Port will be anchored by “connecting” the three major cities of Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. This will promote regional asset and system optimization. It is proposed that Saskatchewan’s central continental location and lower costs would be of sufficient appeal to attract international investor attention. The high level of cooperation among the principal transportation centres of Saskatchewan, through the tri-cities will generate distinct advantages, including:

  1. Integrate and maximize the unique sub-regional advantages of each community to generate even greater synergies than each community could achieve by working separately;
  2. Provide a value-enhancing alternative to the various less coordinated and smaller scale and scope terminals, hubs or trans-loading sites existing in other parts of Canada;
  3. Foster freight movement productivity through modernization of regulatory reform (i.e. highway road weight limits) and preservation of freight-corridor efficiency on road, rail and air.

Racism Alive and Thriving in the RCMP & the SPP?

I haven’t heard much about the BRAR vs RCMP or the Dr. Chander Grover cases at all in the MSM.  Some info, including the media addresses to which this information has been passed, is below.  It would seem, in light of recent events, that our mainstream media are complicit, then, in maintaining our corrupt police force.  And that corrupt force is party to negotiations on a continental Security and Prosperity Partnership.  Aye karumba, folks!  Are we in for it!

From: bobhughes-scar@hotmail.com
To: spnews@sp.canwest.com;  newsroom@leaderpost.canwest.com; reginanews@rawlco.com; sasknews@cbc.ca; service@macleans.ca;
Subject: Shameful Cases of Exclusion and Abuse
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 17:06:48 -0200

Mahasti Khakpour, Project Coordinator
“Making Canada Inclusive and Safe’ Conference
Saskatoon,  Saskatchewan

Dear Ms Khakpour:
We received a brochure of your conference and it looks very good. I, personally am unable to attend the conference, however, we are assisting with several Human Rights cases,
two of which fit very well with the theme; BRAR vs RCMP and GROVER vs NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA.    ( we urgently ask for your participants’ help) 
—————————————
           Sgt. Yarinder Singh Brar‘s treatment by the RCMP casts a stain on the force and impairs it’s ability to serve all Canadians in a fair, equitable and competent manner. Sgt. Brar is an immigrant member of the RCMP, of the Sikh faith, who came to Canada in 1975.

           In 1987, after graduating at the top of his class, Sgt. Brar became an officer with the Halton Police Service. While serving there, he was recognized for a number of accomplishments; among other things , he 
initiated the Halton Ethnic Liason Program to attract more minorities to the force and he also received the Chief’s certificate for outstanding service.

            In 1989, with deep regret, he resigned from the HRPS to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a member of the RCMP. Since that time, including during his basic training at the Training academy, Sgt. Brar
has suffered ongoing racism, and retaliation for confronting this abuse.

             After completing his basic training, Sgt. Brar served in postings in Prince George B.C. and at  the Toronto Airport Detachment. At both of those postings, Sgt. Brar continued to face outrageous racial abuse
and retaliation!

             In 2003, Sgt. Brar was promoted to Cpl as an instructor at the Training Academy in Regina. Sgt. Brar
served as a great source of support for recruits who had their own experiences of racism during their training.
This we know from our own involvement with these recruits at the Training Academy.

             In 2003, Sgt. Brar was chosen to go to Sierra Leonne as a member of Canada’s U.N. policing Con-
tingent.  In Sierra Leonne, he performed superbly, as documented by reports and performance appraisals.
Nevertheless, he continued to experience the abuse of officials from the RCMP hierarchy. Two of his fellow
RCMP members bullied some of the local house staff, African Citizens, referring to them as “fucking niggers”,
“stupid fucking niggers”, and “stupid fucking bush monkeys”. When Sgt. Brar tried to bring this abuse to the attention of authorities, they failed to follow up on these serious issues.  Before Sgt. Brar finished his tour of duty in Africa, he was informed that his substantive position in the  Diversity Management branch at RCMP HQ
in Ottawa had been disbanded. Sgt. Brar was the only returning member from his tour of duty to not be placed into a job.

              Yes,  racism is alive and well in the RCMP. Canada’s national police force and identifying symbol is certainly NOT inclusive or safe.  Sgt. Brar, whose health and family continue to suffer the consequences of
this shameful behaviour, has further CHR Tribunal hearings scheduled for May 2008.   We know, only too well
the outrageous length of time that such processes take.  What Sgt. Brar and his family need NOW is ACTION!!

               WHAT MUST WE DO ?

               1)  Contact your MP and demand that the RCMP justly resolve this case with Sgt. Brar, without having
                    to continue with the costly, never ending Tribunal process.(there is some urgency to that action!
——————————
                2) Demand that a meaningful process be put in place within the RCMP to rid the force of their
                    accepted practices of denial, retaliation and silencing of anyone who dares to confront the
                    racism and sexism which is clearly rampant in the force.        
——————————————————————————————–

         Dr. Chander Grover’s case is clearly one  which shows how far the Government of Canada will
go to ensure that , as a nation, we are NOT INCLUSIVE and SAFE!!   

Dr. Grover is a Canadian scientist of East Indian origin who has been in a fight for equality in his employment with the National Research Council for the past TWENTY YEARS!!  Over that
time, the NRC has orchestrated  an exorbatantly expensive plan of harassment and discriminat-
ion against him, which was first contrived to destroy his then-highly successful research career in a leading technology field.  The NRC actions then advanced into overt acts of harassment and humiliation in the workplace, and then into organized attempts to adversly attack his pers-
onal well-being.

The NRC has already been condemned for their actions, TWICE, by a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which found that it’s actions were racially motivated. The government subsequently lost appeals and other actions in courts and other jurisdictions. However, the
government has all the lawyers and an  unlimited source of our tax money to carry on such
unjust battles almost in definitely. AND CARRY ON THEY HAVE!!

Released documents show that the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser secretly
investigated his case and informed the then Minister for Industry, Ms. Lucienne Robillard,
that the consequences of a settlement with Dr. Grover could involve millions of dollars and a
guaranteed job for him. The former government opted instead to adopt a ” new management
approach” for Dr. Grover, which grossly intensified the adverse actions taken against him with
the specific purpose of causing serious harm to him.

As unbelievable as it seems, Ms Robillard created a publicly-funded working group to work on what they termed the “Grover Problem” . The goal of the working group ( as defined
by NRC documents) is to organize and step up actions against Dr. Grover. This government
working group, which includes members of the Privy Council Office and other government
agencies, was given resources to hire additional legal, human resources, and communications
experts from the private sector to pursue this “problem”.  The government working group , as per NRC documents, was focused on results:  (a)  fire Grover; and  (b) GROVER DIES— in
order to find a final solution to the Grover Problem.

The plan devised by this group subjected Dr. Grover to intensified harassment and
humiliation, threatening his health in every way. He was bombarded with unjust threats of insubordination, suspension and termination ( 80 times in one year alone, showing disregard for
his health, as noted in a 2005 labour board hearing. the following was imposed: he was indef-
initely suspended without cause, and then dismissed without cause, was locked out of his office, was threatened if he contacted his work colleagues, had his salary stopped, and the remedies of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and other legal agreements were unilaterally cancelled.

In the course of doing so, they were successful in creating a caustic and stressful work environment expressly designed to adversly affect his health; such as , Health Canada
has since advised NRC that it is an unsuitable place for him to work, for health reasons. As
opposed to fixing this stressful workplace environment, NRC responded by unfairly terminating
his employment. They also refused to accept the sickness notes issued by certified doctors
and threatened to levy disciplinary actions.

The NRC, with Government of Canada support, has and continues to flagrantly flout the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and it’s own
policy in this regard.

THIS CONTINUING SHAMEFUL ACTION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA MAKES IT AN
UNDISPUTABLE FACT THAT CANADA IS NOT YET READY TO BE INCLUSIVE OR SAFE !!!

The Grover case has been covered extensivly by media over the past several years.
You can find more information at the following sites:

http://www.geocities.com/naboy.geo/Federalpublicservice/nrc/index.html

http://www.geocities.com/naboy.geo/Federalpublicservice/nrc/mediareports.doc

WHAT MUST WE DO?

!.)  Contact the Prime Minister and your MP and demand and end to the use of
your tax money for such shameful purposes , ( A letter from Dr. Grover to
the P.M. has so far gone unanswered) and ask that our human rights processes
be strengthened to the point that they are actually useful.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE CASES CONTACT BOB HUGHES AT THE
SASKATCHEWAN COALITION AGAINST RACISM  (306) 352-4698 OR THROUGH
THE E-MAIL ADDRESS ON THIS MESSAGE.

Security(?)! and Prosperity for whom?

I almost missed this one! The SPP and North American Union keep forging along, with old sexist language, to boot!

North American Forum 2007 agenda

Under the Joint Chairmanship of:
The Hon. George Shultz, Former U.S Secretary of State
The Hon. Peter Lougheed, Former Premier of Alberta
The Hon. Pedro Aspe, Former Finance Minister of Mexico

but working hard to co-opt progressive language:

North American Cooperation and Community

And it sent its participants home with inspiration:

This year, the North American Forum discussed:

- Strategic dimensions of the North American security and prosperity partnership (with Homeland Security and Canada Border Services Agency participation)
– Investing in competitiveness: new ideas and options for infrastructure, borders and business – Public/private partnerships, municipal bonds and border development
– NAFTA at 15: where do we go from here? – How to “create a North American Community?
– The social agenda of North American integration – Migration and development
– Energy in North America – Security, rationalization and climate change

Guest panellists included some familiar faces:

- David O’Reilly, CEO, Chevron Corporation
– Luis de la Calle, former Undersecretary of Trade
– Anne McLellan, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
– Carla Hills, Chairman & CEO, Hills & Co.
– Tom d’Aquino, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
– Ron Covais, President, The Americas, Lockheed Martin Corp.

Gotta wonder what it was the RCMP and Canadian military types brought home, eh? EXTREME VIOLENCE WARNING: Police States R Us

New port security measures threaten privacy, human rights, say workers

From the Council of Canadians:

New port security measures threaten privacy, human rights, say workers

November 8, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew

The Canadian section of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has filed a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada insisting that Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program (MTSCP) and the Application for Transportation Security Clearance form required under the MTSCP violates the Privacy Act.

According to the complaint: “The Security Clearance Form requires responses to invasive questions about a number of matters, including country of origin and city of birth; whether the employee has a passport, and if so, the passport number (leading to the possibility of cross-referencing for additional information); whether the employee attended a post-secondary institution, and if so, which institution and when; all addresses that the employee may have lived at for the past 5 years; all activities for the past 5 years, such as school or previous employment; all travel with stays in countries for more than 90 days during the last 5 years; whether an employee has a criminal conviction; and information about an employee’s spouse.”

Furthermore, “The Security Clearance Form requires the employee to consent to the release of the information contained on the form to governments of countries that he or she may have lived in or travelled to. If consent to disclose is not given, the Security Clearance will not be granted and the employee would not be able to work in designated areas.”

According to an article from Lloyd’s List posted on the Longshore and Warehouse union’s website, “Effective from December 15, security clearances will be required by workers at the container ports of Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver, as well as at the ports of Fraser River and North Fraser River in British Columbia. The regulations will also be applied at the control centres in Canada of the St Lawrence Seaway.”

On top of the privacy complaint, the union is “raising various issues with the Canada Industrial Relations Board at hearings in Vancouver,” said Tom Dufresne, president of the Canadian Maritime Workers Council, speaking with Lloyd’s List. “Dufresne also said the regulations are ‘discriminatory’ against workers not born in Canada.”

The MTSCP is coming into force in Canada as similar new port security measures, including biometric ID cards and fingerprint scanners, are causing anxiety south of the border. The goal of both sets of measures is to streamline port security across North America as spelled out by initiatives within the Security and Prosperity Partnership’s Security Annex. But the result will be more racial profiling, say critics, of which there are plenty.

As University of Toronto professor Deborah Cohen wrote in the Toronto Star last month: “It is not just union leaders who have come out against it. The B.C. Maritime Employers Association, leaders from the cruise ship industry and port security directors from Canada’s largest ports have all critiqued the proposed regulations. Three city councils in the port-dependent province of British Columbia passed motions calling for the federal government to restructure the program, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association recently condemned the potential abuse of civil and labour rights that the program sanctions.”