Saturday, January 20, 2007

Daily Digest January 20, 2007

Joe Hueglin wrote:


ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - The driving force behind counterfeiting print this article
Like the illicit drug trade, the counterfeit trade is kept alive by willing buyers

HALIFAX HERALD - Baker’s razor: Here comes swipe two

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Communication is key to emergency planning

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Channelling rural rage

TORONTO STAR - Tory green blitz fails to convince

HAMILTON SPECTATOR -  Arar: America's deep shame

K-W RECORD - Where there's smoke . . .

WINDSOR STAR - Passports: The 10-year lifespan

REGINA LEADER-POST - Past questions

CALGARY HERALD - Leahy cuts to the chase

CALGARY SUN - Clear air in Arar affair

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Where is the service, Service Canada?

VANCOUVER SUN - Slow wheels of justice affect everyone from victims to the accused


Forces deny picking rescue plane before competition
Report suggests military set requirements for $1.3B deal so only one aircraft could win

Canadians scramble to compensate Afghan farmers for land used to build road

Canada still lets U.S. laws apply here

Canada urged to take Cuban, Iraqi refugees

Democrats chip away at Arar stone wall

Poultry plant closure: cracks in a flawed food system

The next big oil-price push

A safety net for the self-employed
Independent plan can boost savings

The spoils of globalism
Sure it's an unfair world, but eliminating greedy bosses won't help

The burden of America

Shades of Vietnam

Quebec hustles for offset aerospace work
'We won't settle for less than 55 to 60%' of Globemaster-related procurements

Renewed militancy of Quebec language groups could jeopardize linguistic peace

Poll shows Tories, Grits in dead heat

B.C. critical for Tory majority, Harper says

Tories trying to turn green

PM continues green push with alternative energy funding announcement in B.C.

Feds blasted for partisan tactics

Stéphane Dion
The next great PM? Or cold and arrogant?

Harper nips some green from Liberals

Khan loans being probed

Dion shifts nuclear stand

One year on, Harper's re-election no sure bet

Oh, how things change

Goading Liberals, Harper-style

Tories revive energy-efficiency program

Liberals throw stones in Khan affair while living in glass house

Assessment of year 1 - was one Right to be afraid of the blue ones?

PM's energy plan hailed
GREEN POWER I Renewable energy projects to get incentives

Police named to justice panels

New deal for cities lives on – but quietly

Border-crossings bill expected to be enacted

PROTECTING OUR PLANET I Rapid changes in Arctic environment provide clues to the content of a landmark report on our changing global climate

To tighten the monitoring

CWB future was the big issue

Ontario's whiff of totalitarianism

Selling the conservative soul

The key to success?: Don't think about it

Based on their records, how can you trust any of them?
Neither Ottawa nor Queen's Park have `clean hands'


# Harper annonce du financement pour des sources d'énergie propre

# L'affaire Khan: les libéraux ont vécu des expériences semblables

 Jack Layton veut réduire l'écart entre les riches et les pauvres

# Des fermiers afghans demandent des compensations pour leurs terres

Le MMF poursuit son opération contre l'anglicisation des raisons sociales

Ottawa retient des informations critiques

Inquiétudes autour de l'essai chinois

Cannon loue les efforts de Harper

Bilan de l'an 1 - Avait-on raison d'avoir peur des bleus?

Changements climatiques - Harper réactive des programmes qu'il a abolis

Resserrer la surveillance


Stratos Psarianos

"The scientific evidence is real and it's conclusive," said Mr. Baird, who attended the Stanley Park announcement. "It's time for the world and, more importantly, it's time for Canada to take real action."

Minister Baird, you have an opportunity to bring science, common sense and definitive action to an issue Canadians care a great deal about. Don't buy into extremist agendas; keep your feet on the ground here. And by the way --hold on to your boots, the weather has a habit of changing in this country.

Of course it's real. But no one knows what's behind it, how long it will last, how intense it will be, etc.
Ian Berg

I enjoyed the hyperbolic replies about climate change to my letter. But the influence of Big Oil seems to have waned judging by the results of the 2006 USA midterm elections. I am sure Michael Hendriks has a ready explanation for why the Democrats surged ahead.  As for Stephen Berg's reply, it was a fine work of "guilt by association" involving Frederick Seitz, loyybyist for RJ Reynolds but it's just as likely that "weird weather" is evidence of scientifically documented natural phenomenon like volcanic eruptions, sunspots, and El Nino.  Let's not forget that in 1975 some scientists were warning about global cooling and just this week California's orange crop has been devasted by freezing temperatures.
I'll say. In remember that back in the 70s, everyone around here "knew" that it was being caused by the Russians doing some sort of radar-like experiments in Siberia. It took YEARS for people around here to forget. And they never DID believe me that it was too nonsensical to be true. Mind you, I WAS 12 in 1975 so my opinions could be reasonably discounted. But still

Mark Hendriks

Yet more with Ian Berg:

> I enjoyed the hyperbolic replies about climate change to my letter.
> But the influence of Big Oil seems to have waned judging by the
> results of the 2006 USA midterm elections. I am sure Michael Hendriks
> has a ready explanation for why the Democrats surged ahead.

At the risk of cutting in on the debate you seem to be having with this
Michael Hendriks fellow, this is a clear non-sequitur.

The point was about the influence that "Big Oil" has over politicians,
not about how successfully they have manipulated public opinion.

Furthermore, as to the midterm elections, global warming was not the
sole issue, or even the big issue.  The democratic surge is largely
attributed to the increasing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.  What do
the results of the election tell us about the influence that Big Oil has
on George Bush?  Nothing.

Mark Hendriks

Stephen Berg

Re: Ian Berg's:

"I enjoyed the hyperbolic replies about climate change to my letter. But the influence of Big Oil seems to have waned judging by the results of the 2006 USA midterm elections. I am sure Michael Hendriks has a ready explanation for why the Democrats surged ahead.  As for Stephen Berg's reply, it was a fine work of "guilt by association" involving Frederick Seitz, loyybyist for RJ Reynolds but it's just as likely that "weird weather" is evidence of scientifically documented natural phenomenon like volcanic eruptions, sunspots, and El Nino.  Let's not forget that in 1975 some scientists were warning about global cooling and just this week California's orange crop has been devasted by freezing temperatures."

Ian, again you are wrong.  The results of the 2006 midterms were a result of the situation in Iraq rather than of increasing concern over global warming.  The confusion of the American people is the same from a few months ago to today, despite the additional warning signs (the onslaught of extreme weather).

Ian, you are correct that the planet is being affected by El Nino once again.  Some of the weather affecting North America is typical of such an event (warmer weather in the southern Prairies, rainstorms in the southeastern US, rain and windstorms throughout the west coast).

As for the freezing temperatures in California, this is El Nino at work, not some "global cooling" mechanism.  At times during such an event, massive low pressure systems are spawned off the Pacific which can bring with it very cool air from the north and from the upper atmosphere to the surface.  (Such systems are called cold core lows.)

However, you said "'weird weather' is evidence of scientifically documented natural phenomenon like volcanic eruptions and sunspots".  This is incorrect.  Volcanic eruptions typically cause a temporary global cool spell, while sunspots alter the amount of solar radiation reaching the planet causing temporary warm or cool spells.

The "global cooling" nonsense regarding 1975 was a result of poor science and extreme irrationality by the news media at the time.  You must know that today, peer-reviewed science is very exact and no such conclusions would be possible.

Stephen Berg
Winnipeg, MB

Robert Gauthier

Subject: "Turkey erupts in anger over killing," Benjamin Harvey, AP The Ottawa Citizen

January 20, 2007

Letters. The Ottawa Citizen:

RE: "Turkey erupts in anger over killing," Benjamin Harvey, AP
        The Ottawa Citizen, January 20, 2007

"Hrant's body is lying on the ground as if those bullets were fired at Turkey," journalist Can Dunbar said.

In Turkey, following the killing of political journalist Hrant Dink, it was reported in The Ottawa Citizen, "Thousands of protesters took to the streets," and "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan twice addressed the country to condemn the killing and to vow to capture those responsible."

Would that Canadians would be so passionate about violations of fundamental rights in Canada.

In Canada's 2006 Federal Election, there were no thousands of passionate protesters and the Prime Ministers, outgoing Martin, elected Harper, did not publicly speak out about the injustice of excluding Elizabeth May from the nationally televised debates.

On the contrary, Harper, Martin, Layton and Duceppe and all the other candidates in the election were complicit, by their silence, in the violation by the powerful, if illegitimate, Broadcast Consortium, of the political rights and the right of freedom of expression of the 308 Green Party candidates, in the 10 Provinces and 3 Territories, and of the rights of the 22,000,000 registered Canadian voters.

There are ways other than bullets to silence freedom of expression and to impede participation in the political process.

The threats to fundamental freedoms In Canada stem not from the Government but the media, in particular, the Broadcast Consortium and other members of its Parent organization, the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery Inc., combined with the usual, characteristic Canadian apathy.

Robert G. Gauthier,
Ottawa Ontario

John Halonen

   Where should we sit,
   Is it on the side of our Government,
   Is it on the side of our Hearts,
   Where we really know that the Truth is not on their side,
   Does it really make a difference,
   We will survive, and our future is not a concern,
   Don't we really want to protect our Children,
   They will outlive us all.

Would it not be nice to say that our Government protects us all
   rather than protecting themselves.

John Halonen
     Totally against a North American Union where Canadian citizens are not allowed to voice their opinions.

Caspar Davis

Subject: Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus

With North American Union looming on the horizon, and Mr. Harper's deep affection for the US, this is definitely of concern to Canadians. Why are Mr. Harper's Libertarian friends and other "small government" people not raising hell about this?

Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus
By Robert Parry
Consortium News
Friday 19 January 2007

In one of the most chilling public statements ever made by a U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales questioned whether the U.S. Constitution grants habeas corpus rights of a fair trial to every American.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

"There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there's a prohibition against taking it away," Gonzales said.

Gonzales's remark left Specter, the committee's ranking Republican, stammering.

"Wait a minute," Specter interjected. "The Constitution says you can't take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there's a rebellion or invasion?"

Gonzales continued, "The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended" except in cases of rebellion or invasion.

"You may be treading on your interdiction of violating common sense," Specter said.

While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative.

For instance, the First Amendment declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Applying Gonzales's reasoning, one could argue that the First Amendment doesn't explicitly say Americans have the right to worship as they choose, speak as they wish or assemble peacefully. The amendment simply bars the government, i.e. Congress, from passing laws that would impinge on these rights.

Similarly, Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution states that "the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

The clear meaning of the clause, as interpreted for more than two centuries, is that the Founders recognized the long-established English law principle of habeas corpus, which guarantees people the right of due process, such as formal charges and a fair trial.

That Attorney General Gonzales would express such an extraordinary opinion, doubting the constitutional protection of habeas corpus, suggests either a sophomoric mind or an unwillingness to respect this well-established right, one that the Founders considered so important that they embedded it in the original text of the Constitution.

Other cherished rights - including freedom of religion and speech - were added later in the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights.

Ironically, Gonzales may be wrong in another way about the lack of specificity in the Constitution's granting of habeas corpus rights. Many of the legal features attributed to habeas corpus are delineated in a positive way in the Sixth Amendment, which reads:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed … and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; [and] to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses."

Bush's Powers

Gonzales's Jan. 18 statement suggests that he is still seeking reasons to make habeas corpus optional, subordinate to President George W. Bush's executive powers that Bush's neoconservative legal advisers claim are virtually unlimited during "a time of war," even one as vaguely defined as the "war on terror" which may last forever.

In the final weeks of the Republican-controlled Congress, the Bush administration pushed through the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that effectively eliminated habeas corpus for non-citizens, including legal resident aliens.

Under the new law, Bush can declare any non-citizen an "unlawful enemy combatant" and put the person into a system of military tribunals that give defendants only limited rights. Critics have called the tribunals "kangaroo courts" because the rules are heavily weighted in favor of the prosecution.

Some language in the new law also suggests that "any person," presumably including American citizens, could be swept up into indefinite detention if they are suspected of having aided and abetted terrorists.

"Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission," according to the law, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in September and signed by Bush on Oct. 17, 2006.

Another provision in the law seems to target American citizens by stating that "any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States ... shall be punished as a military commission … may direct."

Who has "an allegiance or duty to the United States" if not an American citizen? That provision would not presumably apply to Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, nor would it apply generally to foreign citizens. This section of the law appears to be singling out American citizens.

Besides allowing "any person" to be swallowed up by Bush's system, the law prohibits detainees once inside from appealing to the traditional American courts until after prosecution and sentencing, which could translate into an indefinite imprisonment since there are no timetables for Bush's tribunal process to play out.

The law states that once a person is detained, "no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever … relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions."

That court-stripping provision - barring "any claim or cause of action whatsoever" - would seem to deny American citizens habeas corpus rights just as it does for non-citizens. If a person can't file a motion with a court, he can't assert any constitutional rights, including habeas corpus.

Other constitutional protections in the Bill of Rights - such as a speedy trial, the right to reasonable bail and the ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" - would seem to be beyond a detainee's reach as well.

Special Rules

Under the new law, the military judge "may close to the public all or a portion of the proceedings" if he deems that the evidence must be kept secret for national security reasons. Those concerns can be conveyed to the judge through ex parte - or one-sided - communications from the prosecutor or a government representative.

The judge also can exclude the accused from the trial if there are safety concerns or if the defendant is disruptive. Plus, the judge can admit evidence obtained through coercion if he determines it "possesses sufficient probative value" and "the interests of justice would best be served by admission of the statement into evidence."

The law permits, too, the introduction of secret evidence "while protecting from disclosure the sources, methods, or activities by which the United States acquired the evidence if the military judge finds that ... the evidence is reliable."

During trial, the prosecutor would have the additional right to assert a "national security privilege" that could stop "the examination of any witness," presumably by the defense if the questioning touched on any sensitive matter.

In effect, what the new law appears to do is to create a parallel "star chamber" system for the prosecution, imprisonment and possible execution of enemies of the state, whether those enemies are foreign or domestic.

Under the cloak of setting up military tribunals to try al-Qaeda suspects and other so-called "unlawful enemy combatants," Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress effectively created a parallel legal system for "any person" - American citizen or otherwise - who crosses some ill-defined line.

There are a multitude of reasons to think that Bush and advisers will interpret every legal ambiguity in the new law in their favor, thus granting Bush the broadest possible powers over people he identifies as enemies.

As further evidence of that, the American people now know that Attorney General Gonzales doesn't even believe that the Constitution grants them habeas corpus rights to a fair trial.

- --------

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'


                                            AGREE    55%      27
                                            BELIEVE IT IS NOT A NICE COUNTRY         43%     21
                                            BELIEVE CANADA OUGHT TO MERGE WITH THE UNITED STATES    2%       1
                                            49 votes total