Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cons, not Senate, Responsible for Canadian Bills Being Put on Hold

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It’s a big day for Slippery Steve.

He’s dodged a bullet on responsibility for Omar Khadr.

He’s now stacked the Senate with fellow Cons.

Now, thank Jeebus, the Cons can get on with some serious work with the draconian crime bills that they’ve been trying to ram through the Senate.

Oh yeah.  They can’t.  They were all cancelled when the BS factory went into high gear and Slippery Steve put the locks on Canadian democracy and an inquiry into Afghan detainee issues.

What’s next?  Blowing up Parliament for Steve’s new castle?

This is getting ridiculous …

My suggestion:  the opposition MPs start earning their pay, get their damn act together (NOW!) and have legislation ready for March 3 that has two components:

  1. Abolition of the Senate
  2. Introduction of Porportional Representation

Never again, Canada.  Never again.

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Life After Prorogue

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We’re into Day 3 now of no government in Canada, even though folks like Tony Clement are negotiating horrendously draconian pieces of legislation related to communications and ACTA, and I wanted to wonder about what we (namely the 200,000+ interested citizens that joined the no prorogue Facebook page) should do next.

A lot of ideas are jumping into my head like popcorn, but I have an immediate suggestion:  we use the CAPP No Prorogue Facebook Page to push users to a “Legal Defence Fund for Richard Colvin (and other public whistleblowers)” page.  Slippery Steve needs to face up to the law of the land, even if he thinks he can alter it under our noses.

Richard Colvin has been left out in the cold by his government, but his people should not neglect him.

From there, I suggest we start to really actively manage our own democracy and send all 308 MPs a strong message that we’ve had enough of this bullshit.  This has to be a non-partisan act of solidarity to get rid of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Forever.

Understanding the Futility of Afghanistan

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As Canadians, we should be very aware and concerned about the implications of Harmid Karzai’s recent statement about the Taliban: (full story printed below).

As someone who’s been opposed to this war from the beginning, you don’t know how much a statement or suggestion like Karzai’s really throws me into a loop – and should throw every citizen of this planet into a loop as well.

As we all know, the ‘war on terror’ escalated to new levels after 9/11 following the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  After spending what I can only describe ‘hundreds of billions of dollars’ (given the level of secrecy concerning actually spend levels) and hundreds of thousands of lives gone to waste, this kind of a statement makes me wonder at the futility of the entire exercise.

Back here in Canada, citizens are talked down to when asked how much the war in Afghanistan is costing Canadian taxpayers.  The guess-timate is again probably about $25 billion per year, or about $200 BILLION dollars wasted on this effort since 2001.  Again, I’m forced to guess because the Cons treat this money like it’s their own and have decided we don’t have a right to know what we’re REALLY wasting on this effort.

Now that Karzai wants to spend money on ’employing’ Taliban soldiers, it throws this mess into an even deeper chasm of insanity because if that’s all they’re after, we should have either (a) done this in the first place or (b) understood that they’re ALL crooks and walked away from the table because as soon as you pay them once, they’ll be back again with either their palms open asking for more or fists clenched, wanting to exact revenge.

The best thing to do will be to remove ourselves from this NATO action and if the UN wants to be involved with this corrupt cesspool, we should offer services through the UN Peace Keeping Forces, UNICEF and other international bodies that are focused on setting things straight.

Original text of story:

Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai is trying to entice members of Taliban to surrender their arms to the government in exchange for cash and jobs. Taliban immediately rejected the proposal saying they cannot be bought.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is offering the Taliban money and jobs in exchange for their arms in an effort to address the long drawn insurgency in the country. Karzai’s plan echoed similar proposals by Washington to try and bring low and mid-level extremists back into mainstream society, but the leadership of Islamist insurgent groups remain hostile to negotiations. The Islamist militants have been fighting the Afghan government and foreign troops since the Taliban was outed in 2001 by US led invasion. “We know as the Afghan people we must have peace at any cost,” Karzai said in the television interview aired Friday ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan in London next week, where he will present the plan. “Those that we approach to return will be provided with the abilities to work, to find jobs, to have protection, to resettle in their own communities.” Apparently the Karzai proposal on monetary rewards and jobs for the insurgents will match the the pay of Taliban foot soldiers. The Afghan government forces are paid less than what the Taliban is giving to their members or foot soldiers. Karzai said that hard line insurgents who are known al-Qaeda members are not covered by the proposed monetary rewards. The Taliban leadership rejected the proposal saying they cannot be bought by money and bounties. “We insist on our previous stance that we will not negotiate with this government. Any negotiation now would mean accepting being a slave of America. Our goal is enforcing an Islamic government and withdrawal of foreign forces.”according to a Taliban spokesman. In a related development, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a long-term non-military strategy to stability Afghanistan and Pakistan which aims to to rebuild the Afghan farm sector, improve governance and bring extremists back into mainstream society.

Cui bono?

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Cult of the Cons With Slippery Steve at the Head

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I was going to laugh but then realized that this article posted by Montreal Simon (Are the Cons an Apocalyptic Cult?) was pretty damn serious.  And right on the money.

Well done.  As a blogger, I don’t really aspire to be an investigative journalist, but if I want to use quality questioning as a model, Montreal Simon wins the award and I’ll do my best to emulate it.

Admittedly, a lot of the post refers to other articles, but that’s what we’re supposed to do in order to ‘make our case’, right?  I found the summary and consolidation of the thoughts from a number of sources boosted the credibility of the argument and lead me to the same conclusion:  once Canadians realize that Harper and the Cons are a bunch of theocrats, the future of the Cons will be doomed.

David Kelly Post-Mortem to be Buried for 70 Years

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Who was David Kelly?  He’s the UN weapons inspector who questioned the legitimacy of the claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.  He questioned the machine.  The level of rage and indignation with the article (540 comments in total) tell the picture of a frustrated and annoyed populace.

David Kelly post mortem to be kept secret for 70 years as doctors accuse Lord Hutton of concealing vital information

Vital evidence which could solve the mystery of the death of Government weapons inspector Dr David Kelly will be kept under wraps for up to 70 years.

In a draconian – and highly unusual – order, Lord Hutton, the peer who chaired the controversial inquiry into the Dr Kelly scandal, has secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the results of the post mortem, and unpublished evidence.

The move, which will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death, comes just days before Tony Blair appears before the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.

It is also bound to revive claims of an establishment cover-up and fresh questions about the verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself.

Whistle-blower: Dr Kelly died after casting doubt on Government claims about Saddam’s weapons

Tonight, Dr Michael Powers QC, a doctor campaigning to overturn the Hutton findings, said: ‘What is it about David Kelly’s death which is so secret as to justify these reports being kept out of the public domain for 70 years?’

Campaigning Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has also questioned the verdict that Dr Kelly committed suicide, said: ‘It is astonishing this is the first we’ve known about this decision by Lord Hutton and even more astonishing he should have seen fit to hide this material away.’

The body of former United Nations weapons inspector Dr Kelly was found in July 2003 in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Government’s claims that

Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which could be deployed within 45 minutes.

Lord Hutton’s 2004 report, commissioned by Mr Blair, concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.

Tragic: Forensic experts at work in the Oxfordshire woods where Dr Kelly’s body was found in 2003

It was dismissed by many experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any culpability, despite evidence that it had leaked Dr Kelly’s name in an attempt to smear him.

Only now has it emerged that a year after his inquiry was completed, Lord Hutton took unprecedented action to ensure that the vital evidence remains a state secret for so long.

A letter, leaked to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that a 30-year ban was placed on ‘records provided [which were] not produced in evidence’. This is thought to refer to witness statements given to the inquiry which were not disclosed at the time.

In addition, it has now been established that Lord Hutton ordered all medical reports – including the post-mortem findings by pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt and photographs of Dr Kelly’s body – to remain classified information for 70 years.

The move will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death

The normal rules on post-mortems allow close relatives and ‘properly interested persons’ to apply to see a copy of the report and to ‘inspect’ other documents.

Lord Hutton’s measure has overridden these rules, so the files will not be opened until all such people are likely to be dead.

Last night, the Ministry of Justice was unable to explain the legal basis for Lord Hutton’s order.

The restrictions came to light in a letter from the legal team of Oxfordshire County Council to a group of doctors who are challenging the Hutton verdict.

Last year, a group of doctors, including Dr Powers, compiled a medical dossier as part of their legal challenge to the Hutton verdict.

They argue that Hutton’s conclusion that Dr Kelly killed himself by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist after taking an overdose of prescription painkillers is untenable because the artery is small and difficult to access, and severing it could not have caused death.

In their 12-page opinion, they concluded: ‘The bleeding from Dr Kelly’s ulnar artery is highly unlikely to have been so voluminous and rapid that it was the cause of death. We advise the instructing solicitors to obtain the autopsy reports so that the concerns of a group of properly interested medical specialists can be answered.’

Tonight, Dr Powers, a former assistant coroner, added: ‘Supposedly all evidence relevant to the cause of death has been heard in public at the time of Lord Hutton’s inquiry. If these secret reports support the suicide finding, what could they contain that could be so sensitive?’

The letter disclosing the 70-year restriction was written by Nick Graham, assistant head of legal and democratic services at Oxfordshire Council.

It states: ‘Lord Hutton made a request for the records provided to the inquiry, not produced in evidence, to be closed for 30 years, and that medical (including post-mortem) reports and photographs be closed for 70 years.’

Nicholas Gardiner, the Chief Coroner for Oxfordshire, confirmed that he had seen the letter.

Order: Lord Hutton has secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the results of the post mortem

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday today, he said: ‘I know that Lord Hutton made that recommendation. Someone told me at the time. Anybody concerned will be dead by then, and that is quite clearly Lord Hutton’s intention.’

Asked what was in the records that made it necessary for them to be embargoed, Mr Gardiner said: ‘They’re Lord Hutton’s records not mine. You’d have to ask him.’

He added that in his opinion Lord Hutton had embargoed the records to protect Dr Kelly’s children.

The inquest into Dr Kelly’s death was suspended before it could begin by the then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer. He used the Coroners Act to designate the Hutton Inquiry as ‘fulfilling the function of an inquest’.

News that the records will be kept secret comes just days before Mr Blair gives evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Friday.

To date, Dr Kelly’s name has scarcely been mentioned at the inquiry. One source who held a private meeting with Sir John Chilcot before the proceedings began said that Sir John had admitted he ‘did not want to touch the Kelly issue’ .

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: ‘Any decision made by Lord Hutton at the time of his inquiry was entirely a matter for him.’

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said yesterday that it would not be possible to search their records during the weekend.

The Mail on Sunday was unable to contact Lord Hutton.

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