Atrocity spin

A young girl whose Iraqi family was murdered by U.S. marines speaks out. And after hearing what she witnessed, it’s no wonder she says of the Americans, They kill people. Then they say ‘sorry’. I hate them.

Thanks to The Business of Emotions for the lead. The previous blog there predicts how Bush et al will use Haditha to save their political morality, by spinning it as an American Tragedy. Oh, that spinning wheel goes round and round.

I’ll bet the Harper is taking notes.


Geneva Conventions Out the Window!

Oh my god, nooooo! No, no, no!! This is not my Canada!!!

Troops told Geneva rules don’t apply to Taliban


Globe and Mail Update

WASHINGTON — Canadian troops in Afghanistan have been told the Geneva Conventions and Canadian regulations regarding the rights of prisoners of war don’t apply to Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters captured on the battlefield.

That decision strips detainees of key rights and protections under the rules of war, including the right to be released at the end of the conflict and not to be held criminally liable for lawful combat.

“The whole purpose of those regulations is to know if Geneva applies,” said Amir Attaran, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who has been pressing the Defence Department for details of its detainee policy for months.

How can we possibly live with this?!?

UPDATE 31May06:

Canadians following rules of war, O’Connor says News Staff

Prisoners captured in Afghanistan by Canadian forces will have the rights accorded to them by the Geneva Convention, Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor said Wednesday.

“When they take prisoners, they will always follow the rules of the Geneva Convention, no lower standard than that,” he told the Commons.

His comments are in response to an article published in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail.

That’s a relief!

UPDATE 2 02Jun06:

Have a look at this reminder to be wary of the puppeteer.

Another Nicaragua?

It’s deja vue! I seem to recall something like this going on in the 80s. I shared an office with the Tools for Peace administrator. From The Globe and Mail:

Bolivian president accuses U.S. of assassination attempt


Associated Press

La Paz — Leftist President Evo Morales said Tuesday the U.S. government had organized groups to kill him and said he believed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s assertion that Washington was preparing to overthrow his administration.

“I’ve been informed recently how the U.S. had organized teams — groups to persecute Evo Morales, to kill Evo Morales. They haven’t been able to and now we’re organized, from unions to this political party and they can’t stop us anymore,” Mr. Morales said, without giving more details.

Worth Working Toward

What would be the chance of this happening under the Harper’s regime?

A Minister of Peace for Canada

Weary of waging war, people everywhere are seeking ways of waging peace. We, the Working Group, are committed to the establishment of a Minister of Peace in the Government of Canada. We are convinced that this is an idea whose time has come and that there exists widespread, untapped public support for such an idea.

Given the escalation of violent conflict and insecurity across our world today, there has never been greater urgency nor a better window of opportunity to seed this intent in Canada, The proposed minister would hold peace as an organizing principle in our society. She or he would advance an agenda of individual and collective security based on the principle of the responsibility to protect life through activities promoting a culture of peace and assertive non-violence.

Certainly worth working towards. Read the full piece here. There’s more here, including contact information, listserv details and the full proposal.

Cons Mean-Spirited and Bloody-minded: Regina Leader Post

It is rare to find me in agreement with anything Regina Leader-Post financial editor, Bruce Johnstone, says. But here it is: Harper’s policies going the wrong way and I can’t argue that! In the article, he reports on the news conference/scrum when Ambrose was in town for the non-announcement on ethanol and he mentions Carol Skelton’s visit to Regina for $66,000 feasibility study announcement.

Buried deep in the piece is

More importantly, while the Harper government seems fixated on saving nickels and dimes, the bigger picture often gets missed.

Media reports are suggesting that the Tories are looking to axe deals the Liberals made with the provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This despite a recent report that Alberta’s GHG emissions rose nearly 40 per cent since 1990, while Saskatchewan’s jumped nearly 62 per cent — the highest in Canada.

It reminded me that this NDP government has to deal with its gas, oil, and coal fixation and put even more effort into alternatives.

Further down in the Johnstone article, he gets to the point:

So the Tories are going to save a few hundred million dollars by chopping GHG reduction projects, all the while saying they can’t meet the Liberals’ Kyoto targets.

Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy!

Similarly, the government chopped the EnerGuide for Houses program to save $45 million annually. Yet that same program levered probably 10 times that amount in energy-efficiency improving renovations.

It also reduced average energy consumption and home-heating bills by one-third and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent, or four tonnes per home per year. It’s understandable for the Conservative government to want to put its own stamp on policies, such as Kyoto. It’s another thing to systematically kill any program or project the Liberals had a hand in.

That sort of mean-spirited, bloody-mindedness is not in Canadians’ best interest.

Mean-spirited, bloody-mindedness! Wow! Nothing quite like telling it like it is, Bruce!

Ambrose Lies?

The Toronto Star suggests the Harperites are misleading the public on Canada’s Kyoto targets.

The Harper government fired the first salvos in this battle when Ambrose announced in the Commons April 7 that national emissions “are actually up by 30 per cent.” The Prime Minister then weighed into the fray April 25, saying Canada’s emissions had increased by 30 per cent above the Kyoto target.

Other Conservatives jumped on the bandwagon, claiming the failure of Liberal Kyoto policies was obvious because in 2003, emissions were up by only 24 per cent but then jumped all the way to 30 per cent in one year.

All those statements are factually wrong, according to the voluminous “National Inventory Report” prepared by Ambrose’s own department and filed last month with the UN’s Framework Convention for Climate Change, the agency that meets in Bonn.

Comparing emissions to 1990, the key base year in the Kyoto pact, the report concluded that:

  • Canada’s 758 million tonnes of emissions in 2004 were 26.6 per cent higher than the 599 million tonnes in 1990 — not the claimed 30 per cent.
  • After adjusting for better information, the correct figure for 2003 emissions was 25.9 per cent higher than in 1990 — not the quoted 24 per cent.
  • The year-to-year emissions increase was four million tonnes — one of the smallest annual hikes recorded — because less coal was burned in electrical power plants as nuclear plants came back into service.

Fudging numbers to make Kyoto commitments seem impossible to reach is deplorable for a party that campaigned so righteously to Stand Up for Canada! To whose Canada were they referring?

Yes, Canada is off-target on Kyoto but surely that is no reason to stop striving for the goals to which we’ve committed!

Thanks to LE REVUE GAUCHE – Left Analysis And Comment for the lead.

Flip-flop, flip-flop

After the bad press the Government of Canada received in the international community and at home, the Harperites appear to be changing their minds on Kyoto and proceeding to the second phase. One must wonder if the decision has anything to do with citizen action in Edmonton and Regina.

And the Harper is doing some serious back-peddling on the issue of media attendance at the repatriation of fallen Canadian soldiers. That’s most certainly because of the words of Capt. Nichola Goddard’s father:

I would like to think that Nichola died to protect our freedoms, not to restrict them. I cannot support the privacy decision. There was room on the tarmac for a military videographer and a still photographer. They did not intrude on our grief.”

And I wouldn’t be surprised if the buzz on the right and ongoing stories about the Parliamentary Press Gallery have contributed to the flipping and a-flopping. Of course the Harper will say he’s listening to Canadians (who all know his MO is to secure a Majority Conservative Government–may it never come to fruition!)

Thanks to The Galloping Beaver for the lead.