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Cinco de Mayo History: An American Celebration of the Battle of Puebla
Obama Plans Rose Garden Celebration Amid Immigration Debate
By Liz Heron | ABC News
What is Cinco de Mayo anyway? Contrary to popular belief, it's not Mexican Independence Day, which is commemorated Sept. 16.
It actually celebrates the 1862 Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla and, according to many people, is more of a U.S. holiday than a Mexican one.
For the average Mexican, today is just another Wednesday, wrote Oscar Casares, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin.
"The holiday, which has never really been much of one in Mexico, crossed over to this side of the border in the 1950s and 1960s, as civil rights activists were attempting to build harmony between the two countries and cultures," Casares wrote. Read more.
Nation's first offshore wind farm approved for Nantucket Sound
By Wayne Drash | CNN
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday approved the nation's first offshore wind farm, signing off on a project that has bitterly divided Cape Cod over the last nine years.
The 130 turbines are to be located several miles from the Massachusetts shore in the iconic waters of Nantucket Sound. The interior secretary said Cape Wind, as the project is known, is the start of a "new energy frontier."
"The United States is leading a clean energy revolution that is reshaping our future," Salazar told reporters in Boston. "Cape Wind is an opening of a new chapter in that future, and we are all part of that history."
"Cape Wind will be the nation's first offshore wind farm, supplying clean power to homes and businesses in Massachusetts, plus creating good jobs here in America," he said. "This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast." Read more.
(Progreso Weekly Note: The following piece is further proof of the selective coverage that the mainstream media offer on the Cuba issue. As several independent analysts have frequently noted, all news that contradicts the image that the powers that be promote of Cuba as part of the “evil empire” is consciously ignored or minimized.)
At the recent UN Donor Conference on Haiti, Cuba announced a program to rebuild that country’s entire national health service. Although this was, arguably, the most ambitious and impressive ‘pledge’ of the 59 governments, regional blocs and financial institutions that made commitments, it was largely ignored by the leading U.S. media --and hence overlooked by most of the world.
The Cuban program, which is based on the highly effective system developed in that country, embraces primary, secondary and tertiary health care, and medical training. Some of the highlights of the Cuban plan are: Read more.
On April 20, Reuters headlined, "Arizona passes tough illegal immigration law," saying:
State lawmakers "passed a controversial immigration bill on Monday (April 19) requiring police in the state (to) determine if people are in the United States illegally, a measure critics say is open to racial profiling."
Called "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act," the Arizona House and Senate passed it, sending it to Governor Jan Brewer who signed it on April 23 to make it Arizona law.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) works for "a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States (for) all immigrants, regardless of immigration status....advocating for their full labor, environmental, civil and human rights."
"We are ALL Arizona," it said before the bill became law. "Stop the Criminalization of Immigrants, End Racial Profiling! Tell AZ Governor to Veto (this) Anti-Immigrant Bill," saying:
"The Arizona State Legislature just passed a law (SB 1070) that legalizes unchecked racial profiling by police of anyone they 'suspect' is undocumented. It would criminalize all undocumented immigrants as 'trespassers' and subject them to misdemeanor or, in some cases, felony charges for a new 'trespass' crime."
In a letter to Governor Brewer urging her veto, NNIIR said:
"If you sign SB 1070 into law, you will make Arizona a police state unprecedented in modern US history.
The Forever Drug War: Inside the Mexican Drug Wars Quickly Consuming a Nation
By Tomas Kellner and Francesco Pipitone | World Policy Journal via TomDispatch.com
On March 25th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment report, a massive account of drug trafficking within the borders of the United States. Its findings span the underworld of the domestic drug trade. Read it and you can find out about the 1.63 million kilograms of drugs seized in transit in 2009, the average price per gram of cocaine as of last September ($174.03, up 75% from January 2007), and the top in-country origination points and destinations for drug shipments intercepted by law enforcement officials (McAllen, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively).
Arguably, the most startling finding in this year's drug threat assessment involves Mexican drug trafficking organizations, or DTOs. The flow of Mexican drug trafficking into the U.S. is an unstoppable force, it seems: the DOJ’s 2008 report found that Mexican DTOs had established networks in at least 230 American cities. The 2010 report has no comparable numbers, but a Justice Department official, when asked why, indicated that the department was "reanalyzing" its numbers and predicted that the total, when known, would prove to be higher. Mexican DTOs, the 2010 assessment concludes, "are more deeply entrenched in drug trafficking activities in the United States than any other DTOs." They are the only ones to be found in each of the nine regions of the country defined by the department as part of its efforts to bust traffickers. In fact, the Mexican cartels now reportedly control most wholesale cocaine, heroin, and meth distribution in the U.S.
As Tomas Kellner and Francesco Pipitone of Kroll Associates write in a remarkably detailed and vivid account of the ever-expanding Mexican drug cartels, life in Mexico has taken on a distinctly murderous hue, as new waves of violence and crime spread to regions previously considered immune. Today's is the second major TomDispatch report on the U.S. drug wars of the moment -- the other being Alfred McCoy's investigation of Afghanistan's narco-state and of the 30-year drug war we've been waging there. Kellner and Pipitone's report was written for the latest issue of a quarterly magazine we greatly admire, World Policy Journal, and is being posted here thanks to the kindness of that magazine’s editors. TomDispatch, which posted Martin Chulov’s piece on the great Iraqi drought from the last issue of WPJ, plans to continue to post a provocative piece from each new issue. Read more.
U.S. Military Doing 'Limited' Drug War Work In Mexico, Napolitano Says
By Mark Memmott | NPR
"Our military, in certain limited ways, has been working with the Mexican military in their efforts against the drug cartels" inside Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told NPR's Robert Siegel this morning. Her comments were among the most extensive to date from a U.S. official about the U.S. military's role in the drug war raging across the border....
"Just to be clear," Robert continued. "Are you saying that (Mexican President Felipe) Calderon has expressed an openness toward a uniformed, U.S. military presence within Mexico?"
"Yes. Let me be very, very clear (because) this is a very delicate subject. ... Our military in certain limited ways has been working with the Mexican military in their efforts against the drug cartels. But, it is at the request of the Mexican government, in consultation with the Mexican government. And it is only one part of our overall efforts with Mexico, which are primarily civilian in nature." Read more.
In her 2002 book titled, "Water Wars," noted author, social activist, and ecologist Vandana Shiva called privatizing water:
- ecological terrorism;
- a global water crisis;
- along with overuse, waste and pollution, it can cause "the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth;"
- the road to "an ecological crisis with commercial causes but no market solutions; (they) destroy the earth and aggravate inequality; the solution to an ecological crisis is ecological, and the solution for injustice is democracy;" and
- water rights are natural and "usufructuary....water can be used but not owned;" it belongs to everyone as part of the commons as an essential "basis of all life....under customary laws, the right to water has been accepted as a natural, social fact."
Shiva lists nine water democracy principles:
Here's the story:
WINDSOR, Ont. — A prominent U.S. peace activist who has previously been refused entry to Canada crossed the border into Windsor Monday afternoon after three hours of questioning by Canadian border agents.
"I guess they didn't find my offences so offensive," joked Ann Wright shortly after emerging from the tunnel into Windsor.
The 63-year-old former U.S. army corporal was denied access to Canada three times in recent years after Canadian immigration agents noticed her name on an FBI watch list.
NATO Expansion, Missile Deployments And Russia's New Military Doctrine
By Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | February 12, 2010
"NATO´s eastward expansion and its push for a global role are identified as the number one threat to Russia....The U.S. is the source of other top threats listed in the doctrine even though the country is never mentioned in the document. These include attempts to destabilise countries and regions and undermine strategic stability; military build-ups in neighbouring states and seas; the creation and deployment of strategic missile defences, as well as the militarisation of outer space and deployment of high-precision non-nuclear strategic systems."
Developments related to military and security matters in Europe and Asia have been numerous this month and condensed into less than a week of meetings, statements and initiatives on issues ranging from missile shield deployments to the unparalleled escalation of the world's largest war and from a new security system for Europe to a new Russian military doctrine.
A full generation after the end of the Cold War and almost that long since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the past week's events are evocative of another decade and another century. Twenty or more years ago war in Afghanistan and controversial missile placements in Europe were current news in a bipolar world.
Twenty years afterward, with no Soviet Union, no Warsaw Pact and a greatly diminished and truncated Russia, the United States and NATO have militarized Europe to an unprecedented degree - in fact subordinating almost the entire continent under a Washington-dominated military bloc - and have launched the most extensive combat offensive in South Asia in what is already the longest war in the world.
This we know.
It has been speculated upon in open-source intelligence circles for years. So, there is little surprise for the rest of the world when it hears of China’s first major foray in its new role as a Superpower.
Although Americans might be surprised. That is, if they even hear about it before the Juarez, Mexico base goes live.
Well, why not?
China already pays for our military imperialism by loaning us the money to play soldier. So, why shouldn't the world's new Superpower just cut to the chase and open their own bases? Read more. Click "Read more" below to see the Economist magazine cover "How China Sees the World."
Aid plane turned away from Haiti airport, says medical charity
Médecins sans Frontières cargo plane carrying inflatable hospital blocked from landing at Port-au-Prince airport
By Mark Tran | Guardian.co.UK
A medical group today said one of its planes was turned away from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, despite guarantees given by the UN and the US defence department.
Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) received no explanation as to why the cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing yesterday and re-routed to Samana, in the Dominican Republic.
All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay. A second MSF plane is on its way and scheduled to land today in Port- au-Prince at around 10am local time (3pm GMT) with additional lifesaving medical material and the rest of the equipment for the hospital.
If this plane is also rerouted the installation of the hospital will be further delayed, in a situation where thousands of wounded are still in need of life-saving treatment, the group said.
"Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying life-saving equipment and medical personnel," a spokesperson said.
The inflatable hospital includes two operating theatres, an intensive care unit, 100-bed capacity, an emergency room and all the necessary equipment needed for sterilising material.
MSF teams are working around the clock in five hospitals in Port-au-Prince, but only two operating threatres are fully functional, while a third has been improvised for minor surgery due to the massive influx of wounded.
MSF doctors say they have never seen so many serious injuries as those sustained by victims of Haiti's earthquake. Read more.
If you shared my pain you would not continue to make me suffer, to torture me, to deny me my dignity and my rights, especially my rights to self-determination and self-expression.
Six years ago you sent your Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to perform an action illegal under the laws of your country, my country and of the international community of nations.
It was an act so outrageous, so bestially vile and wicked that your journalists and news agencies, your diplomats and politicians to this day cannot bring themselves to truthfully describe or own up to the crime that was committed when US Ambassador James Foley, a career diplomat, arrived at the house of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide with a bunch of CIA thugs and US Marines to kidnap the president of Haiti and his wife.
The Aristides were stowed aboard a CIA plane normally used for 'renditions' of suspected terrorists to the worldwide US gulag of dungeons and torture chambers.
The plane, on which the Aristides are listed as "cargo", flew to Antigua - an hour away - and remained on the ground in Antigua while Colin Powell's State Department and the CIA tried to blackmail and bribe various African countries to accept ("give asylum to") the kidnapped president and his wife. Read more.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country.
"What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport," Ortega said on Saturday.
The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake.
This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation.
The leftist Nicaraguan president denounced Washington's move in deploying military forces in Haiti, saying "It seems that the bases (on Latin America) are not sufficient." Read more.
The Right Testicle of Hell: History of a Haitian Holocaust | By Greg Palast
1. Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, "The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days." "In a few days," Mr. Obama?
2. There's no such thing as a 'natural' disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF "austerity" plans.
3. A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, "My sister, she's under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?" Should I tell her, "Obama will have Marines there in 'a few days'"? Note: Through our journalism network, we are trying to get my friend's medicines to her father. If any reader does have someone getting into or near Port-au-Prince, please contact Haiti@GregPalast.com immediately.
4. China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there.
5. Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.
6. From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It's all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people." Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.
7. Send in the Marines. That's America's response. That's what we're good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed — without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.
8. But don't worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They're from Iceland.
“Bush Was Responsible for Destroying Haitian Democracy”–Randall Robinson on Obama Tapping Bush to Co-Chair US Relief Efforts
We speak with TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson, author of An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President. On President Obama tapping former President Bill Clinton and former President George W Bush to co-chair US relief efforts in Haiti, Robinson says, “Bush was responsible for destroying Haitian democracy…Clinton has largely sponsored a program of economic development that supports the idea of sweatshops… but that is not what we should focus on now. We should focus on saving lives.” [includes rush transcript]
With all their woes, the last thing Haitians needed was the calamitous earthquake (the most severe in the region in over 200 years) that struck Port-au-Prince, surrounding areas, and other parts of the country on January 12 at about 5PM (2200 GMT), devastating the capital, possibly killing hundreds of thousands, injuring many more, and disrupting the lives of millions of people already overwhelmed by other crushing hardships.
An AP report said "journalists found the damage staggering even for a country long accustomed to tragedy and disaster." Many hundreds of thousands lost everything, including loved ones.
Tremors were felt across the country and throughout the region. Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, however, are in shambles. Rubble is strewed everywhere. Roads are impassable. One to Delmas collapsed down a mountain burying many homes underneath. The airport closed, then reopened so relief flights in began. Fires were burning across the city. The National Cathedral and Palace of Justice, Haiti's Supreme Court, collapsed. So did the Presidential Palace, UN headquarters, hotels, other municipal buildings, business structures, schools, hospitals, churches, everything in an event of biblical proportions.
A magnitude 7.3 earthuake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The epicenter of the quake, which was initially reported a magnitude 7.0 off the coast, was located inland, six miles west of Carrefour, and just 10 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince.
An AFP correspondent in the nearby town of Petionville said one three-story building had been toppled, and a tractor was already at the scene trying to dig out victims as people fled onto the streets in panic.
A hospital collapsed near the epicentre, and cries of people within the structure were reported by witnesses.
The quake prompted a tsunami watch for Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, the Pacific Tsunami Center said.
A major earthquake, of magnitude 7 or higher, is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage. There was no immediate report of casualties.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Raw footage video below the fold. Click "Read more." WARNING! Graphic footage.
The 2006 film about the Grenada 17 - Prisoners of the Cold War: Campaigning for the Grenada 17 - was uploaded to You Tube two days ago. It’s a must see and a reminder, as if we needed one, of the atrocities committed and that are continuing to be committed by the U.S. government, and of Reagan’s true legacy (in Grenada, El Salvador...).
The movie was made before a series of court decisions which resulted in the release of the 17 former members of the Grenadian Government, controlled by the New Jewel Movement (NJM), who were imprisoned after the US invasion in October 1983.
The invasion of Grenada, complete in a week, was denounced as illegal by the U.N. Security Council, by Margaret Thatcher and the British government, and others.
The NJM government was in power on the Caribbean island between 1979 and 1983, when events led to the killing of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some of his cabinet members, to the Bush like invasion of Grenada, to the manipulation and support of the U.S. media, to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib like torture, years of solitary confinement, and lengthy imprisonment of the Grenada 17, to, yet again, the disinterest of the U.S. people and their related complicity in yet one more U.S. illegal and unjustified military action.
The Arctic Ocean, in particular that part of it under the ice cap, is Russia's last retaliatory refuge, that spot on the earth where any element of its strategic forces is comparatively safe from a Western first strike and least targetable by interceptor missiles after such an attack.
That Canada has advanced to the front rank of Western nations confronting and challenging a disproportionately stronger Russia in the Arctic strongly suggests that it has been put up to the task. Being a smaller and weaker nation allows it to be cast in the role of a sympathetic victim of "Russian aggression," much like Estonia two years ago with alleged cyber attacks and Georgia last year after its invasion of South Ossetia. Leading Western elected officials were champing at the bit to activate NATO's Article 5 in the last two cases (even though Georgia is not yet a full member of the bloc), and Canada could provide a casus belli impossible to resist.
This year is ending as it began, with heightened U.S. interest in the Arctic Ocean. For energy, transportation and military purposes. Especially the third.
An American website has scanned and posted a 36-page document released by the U.S. Department of the Navy on November 10, 2009 called Navy Arctic Roadmap 
The paper states that "The primary policy guidance statements influencing this roadmap are the National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25 (NSPD 66/HSPD 25) and the Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21)."  The second policy document was issued by the U.S. Navy on October of 2007 and the first, the National Security Directive, was written on January 9 of this year. A previous article in this series examined the second in detail shortly after it was made public. 
The key components of January's National Security Directive are these, the first reproduced verbatim:
"The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight."
Thirty Thai men who were "tricked into a life of forced labor" after being promised lucrative jobs in the United States are just one symptom of the problem of modern-day slavery, CNN reported Monday.
According to the State Department, there are as many as 200,000 forced laborers in the US, with some 17,500 arriving every year. Read more.
Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel in charge of detainee policy for Mr. Obama, also announced his resignation this month.
The Defense Department official in charge of closing the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has resigned after only seven months in the job, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Phillip Carter, who was named deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, resigned last Friday because of “personal issues,” a Pentagon official said. Read more.
Gates lauded Canada as a "major contributor" to the Afghan war and for helping to "hold the line in the South before U.S. reinforcements arrived", following a mini-surge that began in the latter days of the Bush administration, and was subsequently bolstered by President Barack Obama's addition of over 20,000 troops to the conflict since last March.
While the world's top military elites gather inside a fortified hotel to discuss NATO's future, protesters question the organization's legitimacy, secrecy, and the lack of democratic debate about the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan.
An imposing 'United States of America'-emblazoned aircraft greeted visitors on the tarmac of Halifax International Airport Friday, as more than 250 of the Western world's top military leaders and their brain trust descended on the city for the inaugural Halifax International Security Forum.
Co-sponsored by the government of Canada and the U.S.-based German Marshall Fund think tank, over 60 percent of the attendees hailed from these host nations for what is being dubbed a World Economic Forum-style conference for militarists. Read more.
In the many metro stations of giant Mexico city, amidst the ugly smell of Pizza Hut and the newspapers vendors yelling out, “Gráfico! 3 pesos!”, youth crowd around the hand written posters recruiting for the national police daily. At 12,000 pesos (US$1000) per month, and with increasing unemployment and harder prospects for the country’s youth, the offer is very tempting.
Since the US-Mexico trade agreement, NAFTA, the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into the US seeking employment has risen to 500,000 a year. Add to this the financial crisis (Mexicans repeat to me “When the U.S sneezes Mexico gets pneumonia”) and Mexican president Calderon’s measures to handle the crisis, which consist in a “fiscal package” of an increased consumption tax including food and medicine, new communication taxes and decreased government spending. Then add the fact that the minium wage in Mexico today buys a third of what it bought twenty years ago, and you can see how the government’s firing of 44,000 electricity workers, members of the county’s most combative and independent union, SME (Mexican Electrical Union), became catalyst for a movement of people deeply angry at both an unfair economic system, and towards a president who, most studies admit, used fraud to win the elections in 2006.
The electricity workers were fired on October 10th. On October 16th, around 500,000 people marched in the capital in protest. One month after the firing the people’s anger still had not cooled, and on November 11th there were again massive marches, road blocks, full strikes and partial strikes all across the country. Read more.
Illinois prison top contender to house Gitmo detainees, official says
By Jessica Yellin | CNN
If the Bureau of Prisons purchases the 1,600-cell site, it would operate primarily as a federal prison and lease a portion of it to the Defense Department to house a limited number of Guantanamo detainees, one Obama administration official said.
There are about 215 men held by the U.S. military at the Guantanamo prison camp. Among the detainees are five suspects with alleged ties to the 9/11 conspiracy, including accused mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who will be transferred to New York to go on trial in civilian court, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday.
A prison in northern Illinois is the leading contender to house some detainees transferred from the federal facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, two Obama administration officials told CNN Saturday.
Officials from the department of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security and federal Bureau of Prisons will be will be visiting the maximum-security Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles west of Chicago, on Monday, the officials said.
Earlier Saturday, a statement from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's office said senior Obama administration officials would be visiting the Thomson prison to see whether the "virtually vacant, state of the art facility" could be of use to the Bureau of Prisons. Read more.
"What we are asking for with the blue helmets (U.N. peacekeepers) is that we know they are the army of peace, so we could use not only the strategies they have developed in other countries ... but they also have technology," Maynez said....Maynez said the United States could also contribute to the solution, adding that the U.S. might be forced to in its own interests. "We know that sooner or later, the violence will spill over into our sister city of El Paso, Texas," he said.
Business groups in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez said Wednesday they are calling for United Nations peacekeepers to quell the drug-related violence that has given their city one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Groups representing assembly plants, retailers and other businesses said they will submit a request to the Mexican government and the Inter American Human Rights Commission to ask the U.N. to send help.
"This is a proposal ... for international forces to come here to help out the domestic (security) forces," said Daniel Murguia, president of the Ciudad Juarez chapter of the National Chamber of Commerce, Services and Tourism. "There is a lot of extortions and robberies of businesses. Many businesses are closing." Read more.
Justice Denied After Seven Years of Pain and Struggle Officials Not Responsible For Kidnapping And Torture
Imagine it’s September 2002 and you are at JFK Airport changing planes on your way home to Canada, after a vacation in Tunisia. To your surprise, you are detained by U.S. authorities and interrogated for…13 days. The Bush administration labels you a suspected member of Al Qaeda and sends you against your will to Syrian intelligence authorities renowned for torture. You are tortured, interrogated and detained in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year before the Syrian government releases you, stating they had found no connection to any criminal or terrorist organization or activity. An exhaustive investigation by the Canadian government finds you innocent of terrorism or other wrongdoing and that government apologizes for its minor role. Arar v. Ashcroft, No 06-4216-cv. Wouldn’t you expect American law to afford you due process and a judicial forum in which to hold those who committed these outrageous violations of your constitutional rights fully accountable?
That’s what Maher Arar, a 39-year old Canadian citizen, expected when he was subjected to these outrages. But as of this week, the doors of American justice have been slammed in Arar’s face.
On Monday, a sharply divided federal Court of Appeals, by a vote of 7 to 4, dismissed Arar’s case, concluding that it raised too many sensitive foreign policy and secrecy issues to permit any relief. Read more.
Toward Freedom Written by Charlotte Dennett, Photos by Robin Lloyd
They threw shoes – so many shoes that hotel staff had to roll out a laundry bin onto the street to pick them all up, and even then, the bin could barely contain them all.
They chanted: "Bush: Assassin! Terroriste! Criminel!" and then, at the appropriate command, hurled more shoes toward the heavily guarded entrance of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.
They waved signs: "Don’t Duck!" and "1.3 Million Dead Because of Bush" and "Bread Not Bombs for the Children of Iraq." Some of the signs and chants were directed equally at Bush’s father. "You are a murderer too!"
And toward the end, they burned George W. Bush in effigy.
My friend Robin Lloyd and I were watching most of this noontime spectacle on October 22nd from inside the hotel, where we managed to gain entry flashing our press passes. Lloyd is a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the publisher of Toward Freedom Magazine (now on-line at TowardFreedom.com) which has continued a tradition begun by her father of chronicling Third World resistance to colonialism and now, imperialism. She agreed to accompany me to Montreal to witness what I expected to be a lively example of a growing world wide movement aimed at holding George W. Bush and his top advisors accountable for torture and other high crimes and misdemeanors during his eight-year administration. If we were lucky, we would also witness our former president deliver his speech about "Eight Momentous Years." He was addressing a well-heeled crowd invited by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.