Chronicling community action, revolutionary and revealing thought

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

From Alexandra Link:-

Hi guys,

Did you know that many Liberal Members of Parliament
are speaking out against Canada joining George W.
Bush's Star Wars scheme?

I think they deserve our support. I sent a message to
them, and you can too by visiting

The outcome of this decision is extremely important
and sending them a quick email will only take a few
seconds of your time.

Take care,

The link

Saturday, August 21, 2004


From OCAP's website:-

"OCAP continues to face a pressing financial crunch. We are days away from the next Raise the Rates action at a Liberal Party Fundraising BBQ, the fight goes on against City Hall, yet we are still unable to pay our organizers or cover everyday organizing costs. If you can send a donation please do as soon as possible. If not perhaps you could contribute books, CD.s, videos or other small items to sale taking place next weekend. If you have nothing to donate come and pick-up some items at the.
OCAP Solidarity Sale
Sunday August 22
12 Noon onwards
at Uprising Books-
6A Kensington Ave. (just north of Dundas)
all books, CD.s, Videos, DVD.s and other small items welcome and available

To drop off donations in advance please contact Marque at the OCAP office- 416 925 6939 or leave small items only at Uprising."

The link

"Nimby"ing with vulnerable neighbours

Things like this people in opposition to 20 Triller should read:-

From the Torobnt Star:-
"Safe and affordable housing cuts stress: People with mental illness need stability. Neighbours often don't want `crazy people' next door"

It reads like a blueprint of my experience at the public meeting held at the Masaryc-Cowan Rec Centre.

"When the neighbours are invited to community meetings to hear about plans for supportive housing, they are supposed to talk about the building — the height, the shadow, the parking. "Without exception, people who come don't want to hear about it — they come to say we don't want those crazy people here," says Witkowski. "Even though we've tried to do some education, it became apparent people have no interest in having misconceptions corrected."

Witkowski and Birnberg and others in the supportive housing community say people with mental illness and other disabilities have the right to live where they choose and do not need the approval of the neighbours.

It goes on to say, "Yet,once tenants move into their buildings, the protesters are silent."

Something they should remember.

The link

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Did you know?

City Bylaws actually make video boards - which I'm sure you've seen around town - illegal.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Prisoner Justice Day

Today's Prisoner Justice Day.

Here's a revolutionary thought:-

The U.S. has political prisoners.

No, really.

Try rethinking what you've assumed about who goes to prison, who gets executed, and... *why*.

Don't know where to start?

Here's a primer for you:- Try finding out about Mumia Abu Jamal. Perhaps hes not the cop killer after all. and perhaps, maybe, the implications for the US justice and prison systems is only part of the whole picture.

May I humbly suggest that one take a look at The Anti-Terrorism Bill (The Effective Death Penalty Act) of 1996. Why should you take a look at The Anti-Terrorism Bill (The Effective Death Penalty Act)? Because it ties in to what is happening today. It also ties into the encroachment of your human rights. I'll just put up a few things on the death penalty for you to consider.

The United States has the highest population of any country on earth living on death row. Over 1.5 million Americans are in prison, the highest prison population in the industrialized world. Over 80 countries in the world have abandoned capital punishment, including all those of Europe, Russia, and the former countries of the Soviet Union. The United Nations will not permit any of its tribunals, even the ones considering the genocide in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to impose the death penalty.

A higher percentage of the general population are in prison in the United States than were in prison in South Africa under apartheid, and a higher percentage than were in prison in the Soviet Union under their old system.

The only other country in the industrialized world with a death row is Japan, which in 1997, had 31 members on deateh row- 1/100th the size the the death row population in the United States at 3100, that time. The only reason there was that number instead of 6000 people on death row at that time was because, since 1977, 40 % were reversed by federal juddges because the federal constitutional law was violated in those trials.

The United States also has the distinction of having executed the greatest number of inmates who were children or teenagers at the time of their crimes of any country in the world. Five other countries in the world allow for the execution of juveniles: Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia. In the last 10 years the United States has executed more juvenile offenders than the other five combined.

The International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, studied the death row population in the United States and its history, and reached the conclusion that the death penalty, as it exists in the United states today, violates international norms of human rights.

Lawyer's associations, including the American Bar Association(voted 2-1 in 1997), the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Philadelphia Bar Association, have voted to stop the executions, and called for a moratorium. The Philadelphia City Council also voted 12-4 in favor a moratorium on these killings.

What is it about the death penalty is so troubling? The question is not how MANY people get the death penalty; it is WHO. None are millionaires, none are members of the upper middle-class, practically none are middle-class, and surprisingly none are members of organized crime... they are the poor, the uneducated, those who have themselves- as studies prove- been victims of sexual, emotional and physical violence in their childhood, those addicted to alcohol and drugs, and those of colour.

There have been about 18,000 people put to death in the 200 years of U.S.history, and of those 18,000 only 37 have been charged with taking the life of a person of colour; 85 percent of the people on death row are there for killing a Caucasian.

Since the death penalty was restored in 1977, 650 people have been executed. But 86 have also been released after their innocence was established, or it was ascertained that their trial process was so flawed there was serious question about their guilt. That's practically about 1 in 5. (From 1977-1997, of the 350 executed, only 5 have been charged with the killing of a person of colour. Of the death row convictions handed down, 40% were reversed by federal judges because constitutional law was violated in those trials. Had they not been reversed, there would have been 6000, not 3100 on death row at the time.)

When Bill Clinton was running for President he wanted an Anti-Terrorism Bill. Congress gave him the bill, but only on the condition that he accept a bill they tried to get in 1976, 1980, and in 1984. And had never been able to get in because it's so violative of the basic notions of the consitutional establishment. It "reforms" almost out existence the habeas corpus concept that has always been the bedrock of the American justice system. The Anti-Terrorism Bill and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 established almost insurmountable obstacles against filing federal appeals in death penalty cases, thereby setting the stage for a virtual wave of executions. It expedites the number of executions.

It also effectively stripped the federal judges of their right to review the state convictions. Federal judges must stand by and allow what state judges do to stand, and allow people to be executed even if their constitutional rights were violated.

That same year the highest constitutional court of Italy refused to extradite an Italian national to the U.S. because he faced the death penalty saying, as it exists today, it violates international law- the first time the highest court of another country passed judgement on the U.S.'s system of justice. Presently, 74 foreign nationals sit on death row in violation of the Vienna Convention. The violation is that they were not informed of their right to counsel from their homeland.

The original U.S. Constitution document had no human rights protections in it at all before the 10 amendments. What it DID have was habeas corpus. That bill effectively rubbed it out in 1996. with barely a ripple of protest.

In Canada no matter how heinous the crime, they must first produce evidence. The United Stated demands that of other nations, and someone saying sight unseen they have evidence and they're not going to show you, is unacceptable. The European Union, for example refuses to extradite anyone to the United States because they oppose the death penalty. Would the United States then bomb Sweden, Paris... ?

Tip of the iceberg for ya.

Friday, August 06, 2004

War on Drugs...?

Television footage shows planes flying and spraying coca crops (base ingredient for cocaine smuggled into the US), but what it doesn't show is when they fly over food crops like corn, and spray them, in addition to residential areas- and residents. Columbia central North central region, like the Southern, Northern and coastal Columbia, has been sprayed with the Monsanto-produced herbicide Glyphosate on three separate occasions. According to locals, the fumigations have caused miscarriages and severe skin ailments. The US-sponsored spraying has killed food crops, poisoned fresh water sources and left many without work.

Duster crop planes flew over communities an hour away as people converged for a meeting to discuss the situation on July 30th, indisriminately dousing another dose of Glyphosate the over their land. Thousands of subsistence farmers in the countryside were forced to abandon their lands after the damage caused by the fumigations. Many then struggle to survive below the poverty line within Columbian towns and cities. During the year 2003, the International Organization of Migration did a study and found that some 7,000 people were forced to abandon their lands because of their fumigations. Ecuadorians who live near the borders also have suffered damage to their health and lands also, even there is no coca there.

Six thousand complaints have been lodged by Columbia's Human Rights Ombudsman; over 8,000 requests have been registered with the US embassy in Columbia for indemnization for damage to food crops, animals and human lives; but neither the US nor Columbia recognise that aerial spraying damages life. On paper Plan Columbia'set up to repay victims who's suffered losses due to fumigation; of the 8,000 plus six alone have been indemized in the past 4 years.

On August 3rd at the hotel press conference, John Walters said "in most of the investigations" which he said were followed aggressively, the causes were people using herbicides, insecticides or fertilizers wrongly or too much, or due to diseases peculiar to "poor people working in jungle areas".

Oh, nice. So, basically it's not us, they're too stupid or too backward or to...?

Interesting. The American Medical Association released a statement that said fumigations have caused widespread illnesses, destroying pastures, food crops, poisoning livestock and displacing thousands of small farmers. They request the immediate cessation of aerial herbicide spraying in Columbia and the neighbouring countries until the health effects, and the local populations, have been properly studied.

Despite the fact neither the US or Columbian governments have ever conducted a proper scientific study to the effect of the herbicide Glyphosate, they continue to insist on using the aerial spraying to eradicate the coca.

And the effect to people growing coca?

Many continue cultivating, or they move to new regions to plant. In the past 4 years since Plan Columbia's been in effect, US analysts found no effect in the US drug trade has been the result. There's been no change, despite $3 billion given to police and military aid to spray in Columbia.

The peasant farming crisis is increasing.

The link

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Parkdale Tenants ASSociation Update

Frazer and Beverly live at 6 Elm Grove. Nothing's earth-shattering about their list of disrepair issues- no screen & window, squirrels in the chimney, front door lock problems, wires in the ceiling, their landlord came and ripped the wires out so there's now no light-
except for the sheer amount of horse paddy Frazer's gone through to implement resolving these issues. He has written to the city, Sylvia Watson, inspectors, trying to get info on his landlord. Frazer wanted copies of his work orders, he was told he couldn't get them; "Freedom of Information Act" (
Some speculate on "inspector schmoozing"; for those not familiar with this, it's when the City inspector goes "Hi, how are ya?" to the landlord, officially no money's being passed, and apparently the landlord voluntarily complies to fix things, so there's no work order done. People suspect there's also some cash being exchanged; There are persistent rumours that this is what happens all the time with the Wynns.

Back to your regularly-scheduled scaremongering

The US administration admits that new warnings of attacks on American cities were based on information gathered by al-Qaeda up to four years ago.

On Sunday, Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said the US had received "new and unusually specific information about where al-Qaeda would like to attack".

Yeah, RIGHT. Like the detailed reports of "Weapons of mass destruction"?!

"Some have suggested that the timing of the latest US government warning is designed to knock presidential challenger John Kerry off the front pages after his nomination as the Democratic Party's candidate last week."

(raises hand) I second that...

One news website asks as a poll question "How much information should the public be given when a terror alert is issued?"

My sentiment? *Everything*, including how recent the info is.