Peacing things together

Too many people I converse with believe the human capacity for peaceful co-existence is not possible.  I disagree.  We do have a deep capacity for peace, but it has not been fostered in our competitive, consumerist and corporatist culture, one that mines uranium and builds bombs. From the John Lennon and Yoko Ono 1969 Bed-In, a version of Give Peace a Chance edited with images of the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters.

 

And once you have one John Lennon piece, you might as well add another.  Imagine is probably my all-time favourite song.

 

 

Our capacity to imagine is weakened by the fast-paced and regulated lives we live, but when we do allow ourselves time and space to imagine all that Lennon talks about we can more easily climb on board Yusuf Islam’s (Cat Stevens’) Peace Train.

 

Here’s wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.  My gift to you: Sarah McLachlan’s version of John Lennon’s, So this is Christmas.

 

Peace out!

 

With love,

Berlynn@Politics’n’Poetry

War Resisters Supreme Court Decision Upcoming

War Resisters Support Campaign

In Regina, there is a vigil for peace ever Thursday at Noon on the Scarth Street Mall at 11th Avenue.

Supreme Court decision on Hinzman & Hughey expected on
THURSDAY NOV. 15th, 2007

The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to post its decision on whether or not it will hear the appeal by US war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey THIS THURSDAY at 9:45 am.

The decision will be posted at: http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/index.html (the case number for Jeremy Hinzman is 32112, and for Brandon Hughey it is 32111).

If the decision is negative, join protests in cities across the country. Check the take action page for listings of protest locations.

If the decision is positive, we will celebrate right across the country – but there will still be much work to do to ensure that US soldiers who refuse to fight in Iraq have refuge in Canada. In TORONTO, join us at 7 p.m. at Grossman’s Tavern, 379 Spadina Avenue (at Cecil Street) for a ‘Leave to Appeal’ party.

Panties for Peace!

This is too, too good! Grrls, package those panties and ship them away!

From the Inbox:

Women in several countries, including Australia, have begun sending their underpants to Burma embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown. “It’s an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture,” said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the “Panties for Peace” drive earlier this week.

The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country’s superstitious generals, especially junta leader General Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women’s underwear saps them of power, even if the panties are clean & laundered.

To widespread international condemnation, the military in Burma crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.

Hilton said women in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, England and other European countries had started sending or delivering their underwear to Burma missions following informal coordination among activist organisations and individuals.

“You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Send early, send often!” the Lanna Action for Burma website urges.

“So far we have had no response from Burmese officials,” Hilton said today.

BANGKOK

From: Lana Action for Burma
Breaking News

After a day of tri-panty dialogue, deep in the golden triangle due to the popular demand, the panties are back. Make sure your panties reach the intended target, SPDC. You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Clean panties are fine. Or those worn for an hour or two as well. Send early, send often!

This is your chance to use your Panty Power to take away the power from the SPDC and support the people of Burma.

Address For Thailand:
Myanmar Embassy
132 Sathorn Nua Road
Bangkok

CANADA
(Ottawa)SANDRINGHAM BUILDING, 85 RANGE ROAD, SUITE 902-903, ONTARIO KIN 8J6
Tel : (613) 232-6434
Fax : (613) 232-6435
Send Email

Head of Mission:
U Nyunt Tin (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary)

Deputy Head of Mission:
Daw Yin Yin Oo (First-Secretary)


Code Pink CoFounder Refused Entrance to Canada

I can hardly believe this! What is it with our border security? A little over the top, perhaps? I suppose that is because it’s now pretty much run by the United States, thanks to NAFTA and all.

Edited to add Alison’s addendum at Creekside.

Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright

 

WASHINGTON – October 3 – Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition. At the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. They will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC to ask the Canadian government to reverse its policy of barring peaceful protesters.

The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

 

Press Conference:

WHEN: Thursday, October 4th at 1pm

 

WHERE: Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

 

“In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women’s Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world,” says Benjamin. “For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country.” “The FBI’s placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies,” says Colonel Wright, who was also Deputy US Ambassador in four countries. “The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country.” Both Wright and Benjamin plan to request their files from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act and demand that arrests for peaceful, non-violent actions be expunged from international records. “It’s outrageous that Canada is turning away peacemakers protesting a war that does not have the support of either US or Canadian citizens,” says Benjamin. “In the past, Canada has always welcomed peace activists with open arms. This new policy, obviously a creature of the Bush administration, is shocking and we in the US and Canada must insist that it be overturned. Four members of the Canadian Parliament–Peggy Nash, Libby Davies, Paul Dewar and Peter Julian– expressed outrage that the peace activists were barred from Canada and vow to change this policy.

 

 

Action Alert: Anti-War Activist Targeted

Apparently, it is now illegal to be a peace activist. From the Feminist Peace Network, this action alert:

Anti-War Activist Targeted by Country Beginning With the Letter “C” Hint: It’s Not China or Cambodia

Sent: 24 Sep ‘07 13:53

The Alison Bodine Defense Committee is appealing to all progressive groups and organizations who fight for a better world to support the campaign to defend Alison Bodine, a US citizen who is being targeted by Canadian Border Services Agency for being an anti-war and social justice activist.

Originally from Broomfield, Colorado, Alison is a central organizer with Vancouver, Canada antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO), for three years was the president of the University of British Columbia’s Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally (CAWOPI), a long-time executive committee member of the UBC Social Justice Center, is a prominent activist in solidarity with Cuba and the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, and a supporter of immigrant and refugee rights in Canada and the US.
Near midnight on Thursday September 13, 2007, Alison was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when she attempted to legally cross the border at Peace Arch border crossing, travelling from Canada into the United States. Three days prior, Alison was harassed by CBSA officials while traveling from the US into Canada. The ordeal began after border officials searched her vehicle and identified her as a political organizer after they found various political materials and progressive newspapers in her car.
As an international student at the University of British Columbia who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Physics in June 2007, Alison has traveled between the US and Canada on dozens of occasions, and had never been denied entrance to Canada or asked to return to the US.

As she was returning to the US on Thursday September 13th, Alison returned to claim items confiscated earlier by the CBSA. Upon presenting her receipt to claim her materials, she was handcuffed and told she was under arrest, and that a warrant for her arresthad been issued across Canada. She was then taken into detention. This unjust and illegal imprisonment was met with a huge protest and organizing drive by the newly-formed Committee to Free Alison Bodine. Friday afternoon, on only 5 hours notice, 80 people came together at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Offices in Vancouver, demanding the immediate release of Alison Bodine. Media was also quick to pick up this important case, which was covered locally and nationally by newspapers, TV and radio.
Following all of this, Alison’s status took a major  turn. Officials constantly reminded her all day that there was no way she would be released from detention before Monday. However, at 8:00pm on Friday, Alison was given notice by immigration officials that she would be released from custody immediately until her Admissibility Hearing on Monday Sept 17th – a major victory in the campaign for her freedom. However Alison’s ordeal is not yet over. In the early afternoon of September 17th, Alison learned from a CBC reporter that the CBSA had cancelled her Admissibility Hearing scheduled for 2pm that day. Alison herself was never officially notified by CBSA.

At 1:30pm Monday September 17th, more than 50 supporters rallied outside the downtown Citizenship & Immigration Canada offices, especially because of the cancelled hearing, to demand that all charges against Alison be dropped immediately. The CBSA postponement of Alison’s hearing is a maneuver to delay because they know they won’t be able to prove the charges they have made up so far. It also shows they have decided to escalate this case to a more political level byfinding some different charges to bring because they know right now their case cannot win in a hearing.
Being without status in Canada, Alison’s situation is always uncertain, and she can still be arrested at anytime. All progressive, humanity loving people must unite around this case. We must understand that this is not just an attack on Alison, this is an attack on all of us. This is an attack on the basic democratic and human rights of all people, especially social justice activists, immigrants, refugees and all non-status people and non-residents in Canada. The illegal and unjust arrest and detention of Alison Bodine means the Government of Canada and its agencies want to continue and escalate the silencing of free speech and political expression and continue their terrorizing of people who oppose their policies at home and abroad and the new era of war and occupation. They are also testing and evaluating our response to defend ourselves against their attacks against us. The degree, seriousness, effectiveness and consistency of our defence impact their decision on how to further their repressive measures.

For this reason, we are appealing to you to join us in this struggle by endorsing this emergency campaign and by writing a letter of support demanding that the CBSA drop all charges against Alison. Please send this appeal to your email lists and friends. We must show the Government of Canada and their agency, the CBSA, that they cannot get away with trying to intimidate activists. We have attached a template support letter, as an example. Letters of support should be
sent to:

defendalisonbodine@hotmail.com

The CBSA might think that by delaying the Admissibility hearing this campaign will lose steam and the pressure against them will lessen. On the contrary, this campaign is only just beginning. People all across Canada and the world know about this case of political harassment and this will only gain momentum from here. This is a political case; Alison
has done nothing wrong or illegal. Alison, along with supporters in Vancouver and across the country will keep up the demand that the CBSA must drop all charges
against her and restore her full rights to travel between the US and Canada. For now, they have re-scheduled her Admissibility hearing for Friday, September 28th at 9am. In the time between now and then we will not back down, we will not slow down and
we will continue fighting!
Our fight is not over. Your support is essential to get all charges against Alison dropped!

WE WILL WIN
Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer: Nader

Ralph Nader is speaking out on the nuclear issue in the USA and he’ll be in Regina to talk about NAFTA and Corporatism on September 19 at 7:30 pm in Ed Aud.


From Common Dreams:

Taxpayers alert! The atomic power corporations are beating on the doors in Washington to make you guarantee their financing for more giant nuclear plants. They are pouring money and applying political muscle to Congress for up to $50 billion in loan guarantees, to persuade an uninterested Wall Street that Uncle Sam will pay for any defaults on industry construction loans.

Since 1974, there has not been a filled order for a nuclear power plant. Following the Three Mile Island near-melt down, many spills and shutdowns, then the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, the electric utility bosses found a negative Wall Street and a protesting public in their communities too much to overcome. They dropped nuclear power like it was a radioactive hot potato.

It was just too financially risky, bogged down with delays and cost over-runs, with too many spent fuel rods filling pools at the plants because no permanent storage sites for deadly radioactive wastes had been certified. Big time financing also dried up. Finally, risks of sabotage and nuclear proliferation became prominent national security problems in the post-9/11 era.

But the atomic power industry does not give up. Not as long as Uncle Sam can be dragooned to be its subsidizing, immunizing partner. Ever since the first of over 100 plants opened in 1957, corporate socialism has fed this insatiable Atomic goliath with many types of subsidies

Still, it’s tough to have to admit that after over half a century, this coddled industry still can not pursue its capitalist path into the market standing on its own feet.

So for years, the Nuclear Energy Institute, mouthpiece for the industry, dangled new, smaller, allegedly less risky (on paper, at least) designs as a way back.

Then the big break came-global warming fed by the burning of coal, oil and gas. Violá, atomic energy, its proponents declared, produces no greenhouse gases (apart from massive coal fuel emissions to enrich the uranium). “Nuclear power can be the answer.” This became the hyped theme for millions of dollars in advertisements and propaganda reports.

And they’ll be lining up at the trough in Canada, too.

Sharbot Lake Uranium Mystery

Hey Ontario, before you go to the polls maybe you should read up on the Sharbot Lake mystery, starting with this:

Frontenac never specifically stated how they got this permit from the Ontario government or how this colonial interloper ever gained the right to give anyone such a permit. Even in cases where there have been treaties, Canada’s Indian Affairs department has usually recognized that the indigenous peoples retain underground mineral rights. In this case, the Algonquins never surrendered the land in question. Ontario’s authority is based on pure presumption. It looks like outrighttheft from the Algonquins, who are being kept in the dark.

from:  The Answer, My Friend, is Glowing in the Wind…unravelling the Sharbot Lake Uranium mystery over at Harper Valley

We Are Moving Rapidly to an Abyss

From a September 3 interview posted on France’s, Action As Citizens for the Total Dismantling of Nukes website and which makes me think that the Bush-ites are really trying to create the conditions to go into Iran:

SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH MOHAMED ELBARADEI
’We Are Moving Rapidly Towards an Abyss’

Publication date : 13 September 2007

United Nations chief weapons inspector Mohamed ElBaradei spoke to SPIEGEL about Iran’s last chance to convince the world of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, his problems with the US government and his fear of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

ElBaradei, 65, an Egyptian diplomat with a law degree from New York University, has been the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1997. Working on behalf of the UN, Baradei’s job is to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

 

SPIEGEL: Mr. ElBaradei, the international community suspects that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this. Have we now reached the decisive phase in which we will finally get an answer to this central question of world politics?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yes. The next few months will be crucial for the overall situation in the Middle East. Whether we move in the direction of escalation or in the direction of a peaceful solution.

SPIEGEL: You have been given a central role. The new report on Iran by your International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could lead to more severe sanctions against Tehran.

ElBaradei: The international community will have to make that decision. We can only deliver the facts and our assessment of the situation. There are hopeful and positive signs. For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity — possibly the last one.

SPIEGEL: The US government has described Iran’s new willingness to cooperate as a transparent attempt to distract from its true intentions and from its continued development of the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon. Is the IAEA too gullible?

ElBaradei: I am familiar with these accusations. They are completely untrue. It’s not possible to manipulate us. We are not na�ve and we do not take sides. Our new Iran report also shows that the Iranian government is not adhering to the requirements set forth by the UN, which demanded an immediate stop to uranium enrichment.

 

Iraq Unmasks the American State

Interesting analysis, this, courtesy The Business of Emotions.  Long, but well worth the read.

I was particularly interested in these points about “America’s emotional and moral malaise” before the writer launches into how the Iraq Resistance shows the American State for what it is.

America’s Emotional and Moral Malaise
The explanation of Bush’s hold on the United States developed in The Business of Emotions over the past few years, can be summarized thus:

1. Without authentic emotions, the vital connection between thinking and feeling is lost and the ability to act, morally and politically, for oneself and for others, is compromised…

2. People who lack emotional authenticity are incapable of recognizing its absence in others…

3. People who lack authentic emotions are susceptible to the predations of emotional marketers…

4. Thinking without feeling, talking without meaning…

Thanks to

Dispelling the myths

International “Nuclear Power Fact File” Poster Campaign

Check out the posters.  (You can click on the arrows to move through the series.)

Print, post, and otherwise share them around. Dispel the myths lies that global capital likes to promote about nuclear power. 

Oh, and here’s one I adapted a while back.

Nuclear Power is a Dead End
Uranium will only last a few decades – what then?

Nuclear power – like the wasteful consumption of finite reserves of fossil fuels – is at a dead end. This is because the uranium, which is needed to operate nuclear power stations, is a scarce resource. “Fast breeder” reactors, with which it was hoped to stretch out the reserves for some time, have proven to be a failure on technical and commercial grounds. In just a few decades the nuclear power industry’s fuel reserves will run out.  Since oil and natural gas reserves will be used up in the foreseeable future, as well as uranium reserves, the human race can only meet its long-term energy needs by using forms of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency.

Nuclear Power is a Con Trick
Nuclear energy is dispensable for power supply

In order to claim more importance for nuclear power, the nuclear industry repeatedly overstates nuclear energy’s share of electricity generation. If one examines closely what contribution nuclear energy makes to total worldwide energy consumption, it becomes evident that nuclear power is of practically no significance for mankind’s energy needs. In 2001, nuclear electricity supplied only 2.3 percent of worldwide energy needs. Renewable energy’s contribution to world energy supply is already significantly greater. The human race can easily do without nuclear power’s marginal contribution. The risks of nuclear accidents, production of highly radioactive waste and the costs necessary for its disposal, bear no rational relationship to the slight short-term gain in energy that nuclear power provides. Nuclear power is both hazardous and superfluous.

Nuclear Power Gambles with our Lives
Risk of Worst-Case Scenario Nuclear Incident in Europe: 16 Percent

An accident could happen in any power station as a result of technical defect or human error, releasing large quantities of radioactivity into the environment. According to the official “German Nuclear Power Station Risk Study – Phase B”, a German nuclear power station in operation over some 40 years has a 0.1 percent probability of a worst-case scenario nuclear incident. In the European Union there are more than 150 operational nuclear power stations. The probability of a worst-case scenario nuclear incident is around 16% in Europe. That equates to the chances of throwing a 6 with the first cast of the dice. Worldwide there are some 440 operational nuclear power stations. The probability of a major worst-case scenario incident within the next 40 years is in the region of 40 percent. As the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl shows, a major worst-case scenario nuclear incident can be expected to cause several thousand fatalities.

Nuclear Power is a Waste
No one wants such a legacy

Every nuclear power station converts uranium fuel rods through nuclear fission into highly radioactive nuclear waste. Nuclear waste constitutes a life-threatening hazard because of its radioactive emissions. People, animals and plants need to therefore be shielded from it for several hundreds of thousands of years. Nuclear power stations have been in operation for some 50 years but to date no one knows how nuclear waste can ultimately be stored. Worldwide there is not one safe and secure disposal option for the highly radioactive waste produced by nuclear power stations In the short period of time that nuclear power has been used, it is leaving behind – in the shape of the resultant nuclear waste – a dead hand of historical dimensions for the Earth. If prehistoric man had already had nuclear power stations we would even today still be having to maintain a watch over his waste.

Nuclear Power is a Bomb Factory
Nuclear power promotes proliferation of nuclear weapons

Those countries which have developed and built nuclear bombs in recent decades began with a civil nuclear program. However, these civil programs were often only a cover for their military interests and provided them with access to the technologies and know-how for the design of nuclear bombs. This fact shows that the export and further proliferation of nuclear technology significantly increases the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.

Nuclear Power Cannot Save the Climate
Climate change can only be prevented by using renewables

The nuclear industry concedes that coal, oil and gas cannot be replaced by nuclear power. In order to replace a mere 10 percent of fossil energy in the year 2050 by means of nuclear power, up to 1000 new nuclear power stations would have to be built (at the moment there are about 440 nuclear power stations worldwide). Construction of these plants would – if ever realised – take several decades. Existing uranium reserves would then be rapidly exhausted. Even the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) admits that nuclear energy could not be expanded swiftly enough to stop climate change. The solution is quite different: various world energy scenarios show that the climate problem can only be solved by the use of renewable forms of energy in conjunction with efficient and economical energy technologies.

Nuclear Power Makes Less Jobs
Jobs? Wind power beats nuclear!

Nuclear power is capital intensive while renewable forms of energy are labour (job) intensive. For example, in Germany in 2002 some 30,000 people were employed in the nuclear industry. On the other hand, more than 53,000 people are presently employed in the German wind power industry alone. Overall, the renewable energies industry in Germany has already secured 120,000 jobs despite its as yet only small share of power generation. Further expansion of renewable energies is adding new jobs on a daily basis. Millions of new jobs could be created worldwide within the space of a few years by expanding the use of renewable forms of energy.

Alternatives to Nuclear Energy
100% of energy from sun, wind, water and biomass

In 2002, the German parliament presented an energy scenario according to which the entire German energy supply requirement could be achieved through the use of renewable forms of energy. If that is possible in Germany – a country with a small geographical area, high population and energy density and a high standard of living – it is possible anywhere. Meanwhile even the energy industry concedes that, by the year 2050, more energy could be provided from renewable sources worldwide than mankind is using today. The energy needs of this earth can be met through a mix of solar thermal power plants and solar electricity stations, wind farms, hydroelectric power stations and the various uses of biomass. In order to restrict growth of the energy requirement, economical energy technologies must come into play. Added to this, the rapid expansion of a world solar energy industry is an important step towards preventing wars over scarce resources such as oil, gas and uranium.

Shut down nuclear power plants.