MAC: Rally against Cluster Bombs on Parliament Hill tomorrow Thursday, March 1st with expert leaders of the Cluster Munition Coalition!

February 28, 2007

A new article was posted to the Mines Action Canada website:

Go to http://www.minesactioncanada.org/home/index.cfm?fuse=Home.Start to view the article now.

The article summary is below.

Title: Rally against Cluster Bombs on Parliament Hill tomorrow Thursday, March 1st with expert leaders of the Cluster Munition Coalition!

Summary: Come to Parliament Hill at 1pm on Thursday March 1st to commemorate Canadian Landmines Awareness Week and to show your support for a world free of landmines and cluster bombs!


Petition: Save CAPS!

February 28, 2007

Debra, over at April Reign has a really good, very worthwhile petition going about CAPs.

Please check it out and sign! If you don’t know what CAP’s are, read below: (from April Reign)

From the CAPs site

Industry Canada’s Community Access Program (CAP) gives thousands of Canadians affordable access to the Internet in places like schools, community centres and libraries. It provides access to those people who might not have computers or Internet access in their homes or workplaces.In my community this program has provided access to everyone from children to seniors, the very poor to travelling business people.

CAPs also provides tutoring programs so that even those who have never sat in front of a computer soon learn how “to surf the net.”

It has provided a source of education and entertainment for youth, a way to job hunt and send resumes for the unemployed and a way to research and to stay in touch for seniors in the area.

info here: http://aprilreign.breadnroses.ca/blog/wordpress/?p=152

here: http://caps.breadnroses.ca/

and the petition is here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/caps/index.html


Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Washington

February 28, 2007

Award-winning Chicago-based journalist Robert. C. Koehler wrote this hauntingly poignant piece about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall — a memorial to that other long, disastrous American war —  that was built almost 25 years ago.

You can’t stroll casually along these 500 feet of names, nor, it seems to me, can you even hold onto your prior thoughts. The chiseled names, line after line, column after column, panel after panel, seem to whisper themselves until, at the 10-foot-high juncture of the two wedges, the whispers are as deafening as thunder. This is sheer phenomenon, as non-ideological an experience as standing under a waterfall.

Read: “Stale Glory” on Common Wonders website.


4 Years Far Too Many — Help Make This the LAST Anniversary!

February 28, 2007

Please forward widely!

Dear friends of United for Peace and Justice,


Bill Adams — 1/27/07, Washington, DC
Photo: Mizue Aizeki

Bush’s escalation in Iraq is underway, and the bloodshed continues; dozens of people are killed and hundreds wounded nearly every day. And yet Congress, and its numerous presidential hopefuls, continues to dither on cutting the funding for the war and setting a timetable for withdrawal. Elected with an overwhelming mandate for peace, they can barely find the courage to pass a non-binding resolution to oppose the escalation, let alone stand up to the White House on plans to attack Iran.

On March 19th the fifth year of this illegal, immoral, disastrous war will begin, and we must mark this occasion with the loudest and widest demonstrations for peace that we can muster. ANSWER is organizing a March on the Pentagon on March 17, and Troops Out Now Coalition is calling for an Encampment to Stop the War beginning March 12 in Washington, DC. We encourage you to attend these actions if you are able to do so. At the same time, United for Peace and Justice knows that our movement must also be vocal and visible in every community across the country, around the 4th anniversary and beyond.

We must capture the momentum of the huge numbers of new people coming to the realization that this war must be stopped. UFPJ member groups and allies from Alaska to Florida are working hard to organize a wide array of actions, including vigils, marches, rallies, nonviolent civil disobedience and more, to mark this tragic milestone and to raise the demand to bring the troops home

We urge you to take a moment now to find an event to participate in, to begin planning one or to make your arrangements to go to DC. Whatever you do to mark the 4th anniversary, start spreading the word now to ensure a great turnout! To make Congress, the White House, the media and our communities take notice, we need to be loud and we need to be everywhere, saying, END THE WAR and BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

On January 27th, hundreds of thousands surrounded the U.S. Capitol to send a loud, clear message to Congress. Since then, our movement has been keeping the pressure on through initiatives like the Occupation Project, initiated by UFPJ member group Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Over the last few weeks, dozens of congressional offices around the country have been “occupied” by people demanding that their members of Congress pledge to cut off funding for the war.

And that momentum will continue through the 4th anniversary and beyond. Check the UFPJ calendar to find activities close to you, and be sure to post all activities you plan on that same calendar.

Several Major Events:
March 17, Rally for Peace in Fayetteville, NC: The home of Ft. Bragg, Fayetteville is also the place where an annual rally for peace is held on the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On Saturday, March 17th, this military town will be where military families, Iraq war veterans, and veterans of other wars will gather with people from throughout the South to march behind the banner demanding: Real Support for the Troops, Bring Them Home Now!

Veterans Caravan to the Gulf Coast: Veterans for Peace will launch its second caravan from Fayetteville after the March 17th rally, bound for the Gulf Coast, where the huge task of recovery and rebuilding remains far from finished. The caravan will include representatives from Veterans For Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, signers of the Appeal For Redress, and possibly several war resisters.

March 16-19, the Declaration of Peace Campaign, building on the work begun last fall, will engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and peaceful resistance in cities across the United States to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

More than 100 rural towns in Maine will participate in a campaign called “From Every Village Green.” The organizers have put together a straightforward step-by-step action plan for those who would like to hold such an event in their town, in Maine or elsewhere.

On March 16, the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq will gather for a religious service in Washington, DC. Gathering to call for an end to the U.S. war in Iraq and to make it clear that they oppose Christian support for this bloodshed, Christians from many denominations will pray for an end to the war beginning at 7 p.m. at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and then take part in a candlelight procession to the White House. Over 400 people have already committed to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the White House as part of this event.

How You Can Get Involved:
Check the calendar on the UFPJ website to find an antiwar activity near you — and then be sure to help get the word out and help make that event as large as possible.

Plan your own activity (and be sure to post it on the UFPJ calendar!):

  • organize a vigil in front of the offices of your members of Congress;
  • get people together to stand with signs and banners against the war in the busiest part of your town;
  • hand out leaflets to high school students to make sure they know the military recruiters are not telling the truth;
  • plan an act of nonviolent civil disobedience at the office of a military contractor, a recruitment station, or the district office of your Congressional representative;
  • organize a march through a part of your city or town where lots of people will see you, and in memory of Molly Ivins, bring pots and pans to appropriate events (i.e., not to silent vigils) and make some noise!

Collect signatures on our national petition to Congress: No matter what you are doing on and around the 4th anniversary, we hope you are talking to people about the war and how they can get involved. One tool you can use is the new petition being circulated by United for Peace and Justice.

Write letters to your local newspapers, call in to radio talk shows, and try to get media coverage for any antiwar activity you are involved in: Be sure to explain why you oppose the war, why you think it needs to end now, and why you don’t want a new war in Iran!

Together, we the people will end this war!


 

ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545
To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace.org/email


MCPJ, BCPJ and other peace groups, individuals will hold antiwar rally in Mississauga, March 17th!

February 28, 2007

 

MISSISSAUGA COALITION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

PALESTINE HOUSE

THE BRAMPTON COALITION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

THE BARRIE PEACE ALLIANCE

 

March 17, 10:30 am, at Hurontario & Dundas Streets (south-east corner)

We will then be proceeding by bus to join the Toronto events as a contingent.

Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice-
MCPJ
mcpj@resist.org
www.mcpj.org
https://verbena19.wordpress.com/

stop_the_war2.jpg


DND Funding for Canadian Universities

February 28, 2007

*Canadian Peace Alliance wrote:*

*Hawks get bucks to sell war*

*University centres hot on Afghan peace get left out of federal funding loop*

By PAUL WEINBERG

With the the release last week of the Senate’s oddly contradictory report on Canada’s Kandahar mission, the country is once again awash in foreign policy polemics. But can we really have a fair Afghanistan debate when so many of the sources we rely on for info are bankrolled by the Department of National Defence (DND)?

That’s the worry of peace studies experts who point out that a disproportionate number of those quoted by the media or penning op-eds on foreign affairs hail from the 14 defence, international studies and military history programs across the country receiving DND dole-outs.

Peter Langille, a University of Western Ontario professor specializing in conflict resolution, has a word for the scholarly recipients of such funds: “embedded.” He’s critical of the federal department’s $2.5 million yearly Security and Defence Forum (SDF) program, which shells out for research.

“It has a near monopoly over discussion and programs not only of defence issues, but also IR [international relations studies] within Canadian academe,” he says, referring to the prevalence of a paradigm inclined toward a long war policy and expansion of the military sector.

It’s a worry shared by Mark Vorobej, acting director at the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University. The problem for conflict resolution programs everywhere, Vorobej says, is that they don’t have powerful allies but instead have to shuffle along on ad hoc funding and indifference from university administrations.

“We have a solid track record of delivering a substantial bang for the miserly buck the university gives us, but after 17 years, we still do have not a single faculty position,” says Vorobej, referring to the fact his centre’s academic instructors are seconded.

Things are certainly lusher at the SDF-supported Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, headed by the oft-quoted David Bercuson, who champions a stronger defence sector and a sustained war against the Taliban. The last 18 months, he admits, have been good

ones for advocates of military preparedness. “I’d like to think that we have had some impact on government thinking, both the previous government’s and the current one’s,” he says.

It’s the same sense of satisfaction expressed by Queen’s University’s Doug Bland, chair of the DND-financed defence management studies program. He helped edit Canada Without Armed Forces?, which was instrumental in a $12.8 billion bump in military expenditures over the next five years in the 2005 federal budget.

Have proponents of a stronger military been able to set the tone?, I ask him. “Oh, absolutely,” says Bland, “in fact, I just got off the phone for an hour with somebody from CanWest News. The media come to us almost all the time looking for background.”

Kim Richard Nossal, head of political science at Queen’s and a member of a committee that decides which centres get SDF funding, believes Langille has got it terribly wrong. But he does admit that defence academics tend not to stray too far from politics as they are now arranged. “At one level Peter is correct. There are very few people who do defence studies from a radical perspective, that is, non-mainstream and critical of the government’s perspective.”

One such “non-mainstream” scholar is University of British Columbia’s Michael Byers, an international law expert who’s been critical of Canada’s current Afghan mission. He talks about the potentially “chilling” impact DND munificence can have on academic research. That’s why he says he maintains a distance from the SDF funds flowing into the campus’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, where he is academic director.

“Out of respect for my colleagues’ freedom of decision making, the only steps I’ve taken are (a) not to use or benefit from the SDF money, and (b) to request that my name not be listed as part of the UBC stable of experts on applications for renewal of the funding.”

Not all of the SDF centres, however, are exactly alike. York’s Centre for International and Security Studies, for one, promotes itself as more critical theory-oriented in areas like international relations than others. Last year, it had to go through considerable negotiation to fit the new scholarly priorities of DND, which include failed states, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and Canada-U.S. defence.

“There were very, very few references in York’s proposal to the word ‘defence,'” says DND’s Aaron Hywarren, who says SDF gets a thousand inquiries a year from reporters seeking quotes from its subsidized academics.

David Dewitt, former director of the York centre, defends DND cash as a way of fostering new scholarship, but he is concerned nonetheless about a “narrowing” of the SDF criteria.

“The situation right now between the Department of National Defence and the pressure of the SDF group on academics is problematic and troubling, but is, perhaps, one of those things that will change when there is a change in government,” he says.

This is not to say that all defence scholars are wont to bolster the military quotient of Canada’s foreign policy. It’s just that those who don’t have a difficult time, as Walter Dorn, a prof at the Canadian Forces College (affiliated with the DND’s Royal Military College) has discovered.

Last March, Dorn found himself in the middle of a controversy when the Minister of Defence received complaints about his articles lamenting the demise of peacekeeping. The college’s principal stood up for Dorn’s

academic freedom. The armed forces, Dorn says, resents “the public’s view that our soldiers are peacekeepers.”

But if not all military studies folk are hawkish, not all hawks get SDF funds for their research. Take the case of Jack Granatstein, York U professor emeritus and board member of the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute. He is near the top of the list of military experts quoted by the media, according a study by independent defence analyst

Steven Staples.

(Staples’s survey, which doesn’t include the Globe and Mail, concludes that from February to September 2006, General Lewis Mackenzie was quoted 224 times in the press, Granatstein 133, the Conference of Defence Associations 96, the Mackenzie Institute 63 and Bercuson 56. Staples

himself was the only conflict resolution expert to rate, with 126.)

Granatstein, along with Bercuson, pushes an agenda that includes closer Canada/U.S. military co-operation and an abandonment of peacekeeping.

But despite his high profile, he is demure. “I wish I had more

influence,” Granatstein says, chuckling on the phone. He is working on a new lobby org, Canadians for Defence and Security, aimed specifically at countering peace advocates like Staples.

Staples, however, is doing some retrenching of his own, setting up a new think tank, the Rideau Institute. “My concern is that this intolerance for any discussion of policy that deviates from the priorities of the brass is spreading into the general public.”

STUDYING WAR

/Recipients of the Department of National Defence’s SDF funds in 2005-06/

*York University* $120,000

*Wilfrid Laurier University* $95,000

*University of Manitoba* $100,000

*University of British Columbia* $120,000

*University of Calgary* $120,000

*Dalhousie University* $120,000

*University of New Brunswick* $55,000

*Université Laval* $95,000

*Université de Montréal and McGill University* $100,000

*Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University* $120,000

*Queen’s University* $290,000

*Carleton University* $120,000

news@nowtoronto.com

NOW | FEBRUARY 22 – 28, 2007 | VOL. 26 NO. 25

http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2007-02-22/news_story.php


The global effects of the ‘War on Terror’

February 28, 2007

New figures show dramatic rise in terror attacks worldwide since the invasion of Iraq

By Kim Sengupta and Patrick Cockburn

Published: 28 February 2007

 

Innocent people across the world are now paying the price of the “Iraq effect”, with the loss of hundreds of lives directly linked to the invasion and occupation by American and British forces.

Read: How the war on terror made the world a more terrifying place (The Independent UK)