As a federal election looms, Afghanistan observers are awaiting the late-January report of John Manley and his cherry-picked panel on Canada’s role beyond February 2009, when the current mandate expires.
On December 10, 2007, more than one-thousand protesters at the Vancouver Aiport helped to stop the planned deportation of Laibar Singh, a paralyzed refugee claimant from India. On the early morning of January 9, 2008, Canadian Border Services Agency officials again tried to deport Laibar Singh, attempting to remove him from a Sikh Temple in Surrey, British Columbia. But, hundreds of protesters blocked their way. Laibar remains with friends near Vancouver, but still faces removal.
Canada Must Stop Abusing Human Rights!
Vote on Bill C-3 Postponed!
Keep up the Pressure to Stop Secret Trial Legislation in Canada!
- Urgent Action Alert, Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada –
The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada points out that the vote in the Canadian Parliament on Bill C-3 did not take place prior to the holiday break in the House of Commons.
Stop Secret Trials in Canada is demanding “that Liberals, Bloc, and Conservatives NOT bring in new law to allow for indefinite detention without charge, secret hearings without the detainee or their lawyer present, draconian house arrest, and deportation to torture.”
The Campaign is calling on people to take the following actions:
We are collecting signatures on petitions and hope to have tens of thousands of names on them by February 15, 2008. Please download the petitions, take them with you everywhere, and send them in once filled out.
2. Contact MPs from Today through the end of January
We ask that you:
a. Call-in/email to demand that “Public Safety” committee members (listed below) reject the new bill and stop behaving in a manner that reflects that anti-democratic nature of security certificates by shutting down opposition;
b. Call your own MP and demand that they take a stand and vote against C-3. A list of MPs and how they voted (or whether they were even in the House) is available (click here). If your MP is an NDP-er or one of the two Liberals who have shown some backbone, please consider calling someone else on the standing committee (click here for their names and contact information).
On Tuesday, January 15 and Wednesday, January 16, the Campaign is also launching a Martin Luther King Day Freedom Caravan to Stop Secret Trials in Canada in Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, and Scarborough.
The organizers state that, “Groups of individuals will gather on January 15 and focus on westend MPs between 9 am and 4 pm. We will do the same for central and east end MPs on the 16th. Each hour we will focus on a new location for a peaceful vigil, presentation of information on C-3 (the new secret trials legislation that will be voted on at the end of January), and symbols of what MPs can use to help stop C-3. For example, former goalie and current MP Ken Dryden will be handed a ‘Block C-3′ hockey stick to help him save the Charter, etc. Others may receive a backbone, a copy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or similar symbols.”
Those interested in joining all or part of the caravan should contact the Campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 651-5800 to register. The organizers also request that, “If you have a vehicle and can help get people around during these two days, please let us know!”
On February 23rd 1984, Oscar David Hernandez Quiroa, who served as a volunteer fireman, was forcibly disappeared by the Guatemalan armed forces. (1) Nearly 24 years later, an act to dignify the memory of Oscar was carried out in the Volunteer Firemen Brigades’ Central Station in Guatemala City. Oscar’s mother, Blanca Rosa Quiroa de Hernandez, has been working non-stop since that 1984 afternoon so as to locate her son’s remains. Her determination to find out the final whereabouts of Oscar have led Mrs. Quiroa to participate in the founding of both the Mutual Support Group (GAM) as well as the Association for Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA) – both well established organizations with an important history in the country. In 2005, Mrs. Quiroa wrote a powerful letter to her missing son which was published in the book The Truth under the Soil: Guatemala, the Silenced Genocide and was read out loud by her during the event in tribute to Oscar.
Afghan president appoints an important Taliban commander as the new governor of Musa Qala district in the north of Helmand province.
How the nuclear lobby is spinning liberals, lawmakers, and grassroots environmentalists
The Harper government has bought new laser weapons to deploy in Afghanistan. These laser weapons, sometimes called laser dazzlers, are mounted on rifles, and are intended to temporarily blind, or “dazzle” people. General Rick Hillier says he wants soldiers to use them to keep Afghans away from military checkpoints and vehicles. But the truth is, these weapons may be more dangerous than General Hillier thinks, and could inadvertently blind innocent civilians – permanently! That’s why we need to be sure laser weapons are being passed through a rigorous, transparent testing mechanism.
Both investors and top government officials, who mostly have come from the West, are living like guests and have no intention to stay here for long. Even some ministers did not give up their foreign nationality and did not bring their families from abroad. They are sure that they have nothing to do with future of this country apart from their present personal interests. They are sure that they will leave or will be forced to leave as soon as the foreign occupation forces pull out of Afghanistan. Nobody in the government or among the investors really wants to rebuild this war-torn country.
The outgoing military ombudsman is criticizing Ottawa for failing to provide adequate support to families of fallen and injured soldiers, especially those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In an event more rare than the sighting of Haley’s Comet, the secret inquiry into the role of Canadian officials in the torture of Canadians Abdullah Almalki, Ahmed ElMaati and Muayyed Nureddin will be holding a rare two days of public hearings on January 8 and 9 in Ottawa. Up until this point, the inquiry has barred entry to the men and their lawyers, who have been unable to view documents, question witnesses, and get to the bottom of Canada’s complicity in their torture.