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Civilians caught in crossfire during Port-au-Prince raids

The head of the UN mission to Haiti has publicly acknowledged international peacekeepers carrying out anti-kidnapping raids into the poorest parts of the city have to do more to avoid civilian casualties. His comments come after a series of raids in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in which witnesses said a number of innocent bystanders were either killed or wounded by peacekeepers.

An Open Letter to the Women of Fredericton

February 2, 2007

An open letter to the women of Fredericton:

Every other Friday I stand with Women in Black and various members of the Fredericton Peace Coalition,in front of Fredericton City Hall. We stand in vigil for the victims of war and all forms of violence that are so prevelant in our world.

Lately we have been asked why we do not support our troops in Afghanistan. We are opposed to this war and our involvement in it,this does not mean, however, we do not support the men and women who find themselves having to fight. We are very supportive of them, we want them home, with their families alive and well, not coming home wounded or in body bags. We want them to be able to contribute to a world where violence is a thing of the past, something we
remember with shame.

Our government has involved us in this war, making it appear that by being there we are improving life for the people of Afghanistan and defending our way of life. However if one reads information from groups within Afghanistan such as RAWA (, international groups such as Amnesty International (, the United Nations and Human Rights Watch ( you quickly realise that we have not made life in Afghanistan substantially better for the people there, especially the women. Over 60% of the widows in Kabul believe that suicide is their only option. Last year there were over 50 reported deaths of women who set fire to themselves rather than continue to live under the conditions that exist in Afghanistan. The news that we receive paints a completely different picture than the reality of life in Afghanistan.

As to the arguement that by fighting in Afghanistan we are defending our rights here at home, I cannot see the logic in this arguement. How come there are only two options, fight or lose our rights? Surely there are other options than those? And who decided that if we refrained from going to war that we would lose our rights? If this war is to stop terrorism and therefore protect our country and its people then it is failing miserably. The incidents of terrorism around the world have escalated since the invasion of Afghanistan and Irag. We are now more in danger than we ever were
from “terrorists”. It has been said that for every “terrorist” or “insurgent” killed, another 15 takes his place. At this rate
Afghanistan is a war that we will never win and that will increasingly put our soldiers and ourselves in jeopardy.

I believe that a clear policy of non violence on our part is essential for solving the problems of Afghanistan. That what is
needed is not more soldiers, bullets and tanks but help for the people of Afghanistan to establish dialogue between the various interest groups within their own country. I believe that the women of Afghanistan need to be given the opportunity to play a much more important role in the rebuilding of their country. Peace will not happen as long as there is a war mentality directing the action or as long as the warlords are seen as allies in the fight against the Taliban. According to the Senlis Council there has been a 600% increase in violent attacks in the last six months in southern
Afghanistan. This is where our men and women are going.

I would like to see the women of Fredericton who believe that violence is not an answer to the worlds problems, and involving our country in this war is an act of violence, stand up and have their voices heard. Speak out; write to our politicians and the newspapers; involve yourselves in the various groups working for peace that exist in this community. And if you are able to, come and join us standing in vigil for the victims of this violence, those innocents who have no voice, who have no say in what happens in their lives. Do not let those in power or those whose business is war ignore your voice.

Our next vigil is February 9th noon to 1pm in front of City Hall. For information contact

Alisa Carnall

The Freedom of the Press Barons

The media and the 2004 Haiti coup

Good news on the Jean Candio case

On January 30, the Haiti Solidarity Movement in Canada and the U.S. and the Haitian people won a victory as Jean Candio was permitted to make his refugee claim, despite all the attempts by the U.S. and Canadian governments to stop him.

Africa set to strip Western giants of mining rights

African governments are gearing up to seize back valuable mining concessions from the global extractive giants.

Bullet points

A paramilitary leader confesses
FOR the victims of the violence of Colombia’s paramilitary militias, hearing their tormentors confess is painful, potentially liberating—and unprecedented. For those among the country’s politicians, military officers and officials who worked hand-in-glove with the outlaw groups, the revelations could land them in jail. essay contests -Modern War and Civilian Casualties

Though new technology may promise bloodless wars followed by peace, one man who lived nearby a bunker hit by a smart bomb, Hussein Abdallah, says this is impossible: “In every war there are civilian casualties, they will throw rockets, not stones. Always, innocent people will die.”

Small group airs beefs at NSP hearing

“NSP has a moral obligation to look at the real price of its profits,” group representative Yvette Michaud told the Utility and Review Board. “As a loyal customer of coal from Cerrejon, it should express its strong objection to the tactics used in the continued operation and expansion of the mine in Columbia.”

Hunger Strikers at Canada’s Guantanamo North: “We are slowly dying in here…”

Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada

(416) 651-5800,
January 30, 2007
“We are slowly dying in here…”
Weekend Scare Underscores Very Real Danger of Sudden Death for Hunger Striking Detainees at Canada’s Guantanamo North
Still No Medical Monitoring After Two Months Without Food
JANUARY 30, 2007 — “We are slowly dying in here,” Mohammad Mahjoub says over the phone on day 67 of his hunger strike, day 56 for Mahmoud Jaballah and Hassan Almrei. “Our situation is very bad.” The three men, held indefinitely under the much-criticized security certificate regime of secret evidence and deportation to torture, are kept at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre (KIHC), dubbed Guantanamo North.
Despite last Thursday’s visit by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who did not meet with the detainees, there has been no negotiation with the men, and no effort to end a critical situation that could turn deadly at any time.
Indeed, the detainees’ lives are on the line as staff at the facility play a dangerous game of roulette: despite considerable medical literature spelling out the need for daily medical checks of hunger strikers who have passed day 10 without food, medical staff have NOT conducted a single physical check on any of the detainees, who are subsisting on water and
juice. The need to check weight, pulse, blood pressure, respiration, electrolytes, and sodium and potassium levels, among other standards, is essential in preventing the kind of traumatic incident that occurred this past weekend.
On Saturday, January 27, Mr. Jaballah reports that he felt dizziness at about 3:15 pm, pressed the emergency button, and someone finally saw him at approximately 4 pm. He was very weak and unable to walk, and requested that if he needed to be taken to another area for medical help, that this be done with a wheelchair or cart. He was informed that a cart would arrive at 6 pm. He again felt quite ill, pressed the emergency button, fell down, and was rendered unconscious, only waking up in another section of the KIHC. He reports experiencing great pain that left him screaming, and a complete
lack of control over his body, with uncontrollable shivering and shaking.
“Because there has been no daily monitoring of blood, pulse, weight, or other vital signs, it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of this incident, but our consultation with a Toronto-area physician who has attended to one of the men during a prior hunger strike says that low potassium or sodium could be one cause, coupled with dehydration and possible heart
arrhythmia,” says Matthew Behrens of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada. “Needless to say, all of these can lead to a sudden life-threatening drop in blood pressure that could place any of the men in a coma.”
Daily calls from the detainees indicate they are so weak that they spend most of the day lying down. One has blood in his urine. Another is suffering the severe effects of high blood pressure. Another has broken out in severe skin rashes causing incessant itching, while a severely swollen tongue has not been dealt with either. All are weak and dizzy from two
months without food. And there is no end in sight.
The detainees, their families, and friends and supporters are concerned that Stockwell Day used his trip to KIHC to justify his preconceived notion of the situation, rather than use the occasion as an opportunity to actually learn the real reasons behind the hunger strike.
Stockwell Day did not get a full picture when he visited Guantanamo North. He was unable to taste the daily humiliation the men face at the hands of guards, nor to hear what it is like to be denied medical treatment for things like Hepatitis C, blood in the urine, or a double hernia. Day needed to hear what it is like to be held indefinitely, without charge, on secret
evidence, for upwards of seven years, as these men are living through, to understand that having a microwave and a TV in your facility does nothing to ease the pain of lengthy separation from families, the mental torture of being held on secret ‘evidence’ neither you nor your lawyer will ever get to challenge, and the daily fear of deportation to torture in Syria or
Day also did not get a taste of what it’s like when there is no oversight agency or ombudsperson to deal fairly with complaints, a key reason for the hunger strike that was in fact flagged by the federal government’s 2005/2006 Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator, which concluded “The transfer of detainees from Ontario facilities to the Kingston holding centre means that the detainees will lose the benefit of a rigorous ombudsman’s legislative framework to file complaints about their care and humane treatment while in custody. The Office of the Correctional Investigator is concerned that the detainees will no longer have the benefits and legal protections afforded by ombudsman legislation. Pursuant to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, a non-profit organization with no legislative framework, such as the Red Cross, is unlikely to meet the protocol’s requirement for domestic oversight.” (See below for full text of relevant section of the report)
Mahmoud Jaballah explains that despite initial hope that things might be better at KIHC than they were at Metro West Detention in Toronto, the punitive, mean-spirited atmosphere that has taken hold of the facility, especially after they initially raised minor complaints about guards’ behaviour, has become intolerable. Guards are regularly slamming cell doors, making rude comments, and making daily life difficult for the men, who are not allowed to speak to pre-approved media without those same guards present.
The threat they feel to their personal safety, and the even greater fear of false allegations being made against them, means they are now trapped in an Orwellian nightmare that could cause them their lives. The men are told that health care, which used to be available to them in their living unit, can now only be delivered in the next building. The men
say they do not feel safe going to the next building without a supervisor present so there is a witness to possible false allegations that could harm their chances for bail. [The facility is top-heavy with staff, including two directors, two secretaries, seven supervisors, 12 guards -- all for the three men] So unless they comply with petty and unreasonable prison rules, they are denied a basic human right.
Last week, a group of some 70 health workers across Canada challenged the lack of ethical standards at KIHC, and campaign representatives point out that the World Medical Association Declaration on Hunger Strikers (adopted by the 43rd World Medical Assembly Malta, November 1991 and editorially revised by the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006) states at point #5 that “Physicians attending hunger strikers can experience a conflict between their loyalty to the employing authority (such as prison management) and their loyalty to patients. Physicians with dual loyalties are bound by the same ethical principles as other physicians, that is to say that their primary obligation is to the individual patient.”
As each minute ticks by, the spectre of the Criminal Code of Canada looms larger, which defines as criminally negligent anyone who “in doing anything or, in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.”
1. WRITE /CALL/FAX Day, Finley and Harper. It is crucial that public pressure continue to be felt in Ottawa. It is such pressure that forced Day to go to KIHC; such pressure will be required to get negotiations going.
Specific points to raise:
a. The men be should provided with immediate and daily medical care in their living unit.
b. If the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre will not send in health care staff (something they did before September), the government must allow an independent outside doctor in to check on the men.
c. The federal government must immediately appoint a neutral mediator to deal with the problems, and set up a system to deal with ongoing issues that is balanced and fair (as per the concerns raised by the federal government’s own Office of the Correctional Investigator)
d. The men should not have to die for a little bit of dignity.
*Stockwell Day, MP
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 995-1702
Fax: (613) 995.1154
NOTE: Stockwell Day is the Minister responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency (which runs the KIHC). Demand that he meet immediately with the detainees or appoint a neutral party to immediately resolve the crisis at KIHC.
*Diane Finley, MP
Phone (866) 496-3400 (Simcoe constituency office).
NOTE: Finley is the new immigration minister. Ask that, as one of the two ministers responsible for signing security certificates, she meet with the families of the detainees (who have requested a meeting) and that she also take action to meet the reasonable demands of the detainees.
* Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Phone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: 613-941-6900
Write a support card to the detainees (let us know at if you have so we can monitor if mail is getting through). Mohammad Mahjoub,Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei can be reached:
Kingston Immigration Holding Centre c/o CSC RHQ Ontario Region
440 King Street West
PO Box 1174
Kingston, Ontario K7L 4Y8
Further info: Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, (416) 651-5800,

Israeli Knesset passes law to revoke citizenship of ‘unpatriotic’ Israelis

A new law passed Wednesday will allow the Israeli government to revoke the citizenship of citizens considered unpatriotic to the Jewish state of Israel. The law is expected to be applied especially to the 20% of Israeli citizens who are of Palestinian origin.