Thursday, June 10, 2010

Canada is least in Venezuela

You learn something new every day.

Canada is really earning its stripes as the Israel's new BFF in the whole world.

This from Yves Engler, Montreal activist.

When will Canadians demand Ottawa stand up for justice for Palestinian people?

Compared to Ottawa’s cheerleading, most of the world was hostile to Israel’s actions [Gaza massacre]. Many countries criticized the killing of civilians. In solidarity with Gaza, Venezuela expelled Israel’s ambassador at the start of the bombardment and broke off all diplomatic relations two weeks later. Israel didn’t need to worry, since Ottawa was prepared to help out. The Canadian Embassy in Caracas took over Israel’s diplomatic relations there. Canada officially became Israel, at least in Venezuela.

I'm so proud (not).

Lighthouses or killer aircraft?

Ottawa has announced that 1000 lighthouses around Canada's coasts, 206 of which are in Nova Scotia, are "surplus to requirements" and will be sold off. Since this government has managed to put Canada into the deepest hole in a very long time and is still digging, very few will be acquired for public use. Our heritage sold off to balance the books of an incompetent administration.

In its usual doublespeak, the HarpoCons call this "an opportunity for coastal communities". Uh-huh. I believe you.

The story of the acquisition by Canada of 65 F-35 killer aircraft for the sum of $9B made me do a little math. Now, we know that $9B is a lowball estimate. The things are bound to double or triple in cost before this is all over and I can't even find an estimate anywhere of the maintenance costs.

But even the original figure yields the following:

The estimated cost to maintain the Cape Forchu Lightstation, taken over by volunteers, was $80,000 a year. Using this as an average, $9B would pay for the care and upkeep of all 206 NS lighthouses for 546 years.

Added bonuses? They don't make noise, use gazillions of gallons of expensive jet fuel, or kill anybody.

Toys for the boys or joy for the rest of us?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Photo essay of Afghanistan in the 1950's and 60's

For everyone who says that Afghanistan is a "medieval" country, this photo essay of Afghanistan in the 1950's and 60's may be an eye-opener, for those who have eyes to open, that is.

Once Upon a Time in Mohammad Qayoumi

Friday, June 04, 2010

Setting up North Korea

I'm not a big fan of totalitarian dictatorships but the recent attempt to put North Korea in the crosshairs for something it didn't do is either foolish, willfully mendacious or insane.

So, in answer to my question of "Why the hell would they do that?", the following articles clear things up a bit. It was either a "friendly fire" incident by a U.S. mine laying operation while it was playing war games with South Korea in the area, which was then lied about and covered up, or it was an accident by the South Korean vessel colliding with a reef.

At first, the U.S. in the person of Hillary Clinton managed to ramp up thoughts of war in the area and wring a new base on Okinawa from the Japanese, causing the downfall of the coalition government and the frustration of the wishes of the people who live on that beleaguered island.

After the dust settled and the new base was assured, everyone else started using the real story to their advantage, wringing concessions from the U.S. - more money to South Korea, more diplomatic and economic leverage from China, more influence on both sides by Russia.

So, here are the theories, all of which make more sense that the North Korean explanation.

A U.S. rising mine sank the Cheonan in a friendly-fire accident.

U.S. mine theory from another perspective

U.S. mine theory - part three

Russia's involvement in the region

And last but certainly not least, John Pilger on illusions that lead to real consequences, Korean and otherwise.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Plucky little Israel

The stories are all over the place today, in print and online, of the attack by Israeli commandos on a flotilla of ships laden with relief supplies for the people of Gaza. In the millions and millions of words, the Israeli military whines to the world that the people on board the boats "hit them with sticks".

Now, let's think about that for a moment. One of the most well-equipped military groups in the world - probably the most heavily militarized for its size - is complaining that someone hit them with sticks, for gawd's sake. These are the guys who rappelled down from a helicopter in the dark in international waters looking like the cast from Star Wars, automatic weapons at the ready and, by some reports, firing them as they hit the deck and somehow they are the victims. What are they putting in the water over there?

Of course, here in Canada we had a unique prospective on all this. Our land was graced by the presence of Bibi Netanyahu on an official visit to his BFF Stephen Harper and his neocon friends in faith, no doubt drooling at every word that dropped from Bibi's lips. He made a speech to about a thousand followers in Toronto and collected a load of money for Ethiopian (?) Jews in Israel, I believe. It was the "Walk with Israel" appeal.

Do I think the timing was an accident? No. I'm sure Netanyahu knew of the timing of the raid. He was where he thought he would be the most welcome. And he could always use the excuse that he wasn't at home when it all happened.

Canada is now considered to be Israel's closest ally in the world. For the life of me, I can't think why. Harper's reply to the press was along the lines of regretting the action - kinda like slopping red wine on your host's antique linen tablecloth - but saying they'd had a nice chat anyway. Shame about the massacre that messed things up.

At least two Canadians were aboard those ships. No word whether they're alive or dead. But they were dangerous - you know, peace and human rights activists. You can't get much more dangerous than that.

While the rest of the world reels in horror, Canada regrets the lost photo-op. Harper's guts must be tied up in a knot. He's such a control freak that he blows gaskets when he can't manage every aspect of his image to the public. The video of him pressing the flesh with Bibi for the cameras is a sight to see. It looks like Harper has just been handed a two-week-old mackerel that's been left out in the sun.

How much longer will the Canadian government officially back the Israeli regime? What exactly do they have to do before they're give a whack up the side of the head? When will our country stand up and tell plucky little Israel that it can't do what it plucking well feels like whenever it wants?

As usual, more questions than answers.