CIVIC: URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Fully Fund Programs for War Victims in Iraq!

March 19, 2007

This just arrived in my inbox from CIVIC
(Campaign for Innocent Victims In Conflict)

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Tell Your Senator to fully fund programs that help the Iraqi people cope and rebuild after tragedy [click here to take action]

Dear CIVIC friend,

Four years have passed since the beginning of the war in Iraq and the plight of the Iraqi people continues to worsen.

Right now, your Senators are putting forward a list of what they are willing to fund in Iraq. We need your help to ensure they do the right thing and fully fund much needed humanitarian aid programs for Iraqi women, men and children harmed by the conflict.

Two important programs falling short of funding again this year are the Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP) and the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund (the Marla Fund). These efforts on behalf of the American people ensure Iraqis injured and suffering the loss of loved ones receive the help they need. Communities work together to rebuild; widows receive small business loans and business training; children and orphans of the war receive education; and, bombed homes and buildings are repaired.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Tell your Senator to fully fund ICAP and the Marla Fund. Add your voice to the growing chorus and help ensure that the people of Iraq get the aid they need and deserve. [click here to take this action]

Last year, we asked you to tell Congress you wanted increased funding for these two important programs. Together our voices ensured an additional $45 million. Without this money the work on the ground to help the Iraqi people would have ceased. We need your help again this year to ensure these vital American efforts to ease suffering in Iraq continue.

Thank you for adding your voice to this call for humanity in war.

Marla B

Click here to DONATE NOW!


DU-Uranium and the War: The effects of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq

March 19, 2007

It is estimated that 60% of Canadian Uranium exports are used in the manufacture of U.S. depleted uranium weapons. The Final Judgment of the Tokyo Tribunal for War Crimes in Afghanistan found that the U.S. use of Depleted Uranium Munitions constitutes war crimes under international law.

Uranium and the War

The effects of depleted uranium weapons in Iraq

By John Williams

In five billion years our sun will explode into a white dwarf and envelope the earth, according to NASA projections.

The half-life of uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years.

This means that by the time the Earth ceases to be a planet, only a little more than half of the depleted uranium (DU) that the United States Army is firing into Iraq and other countries around the world will be gone. The rest of the radioactive material will still be poisoning the Iraqi people.

The U.S. Army revealed in March 2003 that it dropped between 320 and 390 tons of DU during the Gulf War—the first time the material was ever used in combat—and it is estimated that more still has been dropped during the current invasion, though there have been no official counts as yet.

Depleted uranium munitions are extremely dense, toxic, and mildly radioactive. And despite mounting evidence of DU’s negative health affects for combatants and civilians alike, their use is increasing.

Read rest of this article here.

Political prisoner 6Nations – Chris Hill

March 19, 2007

Take a moment to check this out and pass it along. Chris is still in jail, arrested on charges relating to the April 20th police raid on the reclamation site.

To view a video with his mother, please click on the following link.

You can write Chris at:

Chris Hill
Wentworth Detention Center.
165 Barton Street East
Hamilton, Ontario

More information below…

Support Chris Hill: Six Nations indigenous prisoner
Stop the Criminalization of Indigenous Resistance to Colonial Land Theft! Free Chris Hill!

On January 3rd, Six Nations Police, in accordance with the demands of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), arrested and imprisoned Chris Hill, a 20 year old young Mohawk man of the Wolf Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, for allegedly “assaulting a police officer with a weapon” on April 20th, 2006 – the very day that the OPP and the RCMP invaded Douglas Creek Estates and violently attempted to evict the people of Six Nations from their land. That day, the OPP used tazer darts and batons on unarmed people, including women and youth, and arrested 16 people on a day that brought nation-wide attention to the struggle of Six Nations for land rights and autonomy.

Since the Haudonausaunee of Six Nations reclaimed Douglas Creek Estates, some 30 indigenous people have been charged by the settler-colony of Canada in relation to the Reclamation. Chris Hill is one of the latest to be charged. Interestingly, the warrant for his arrest in relation to April 20th was issued 6 months later in October of 2006. Since January 3rd, he has been sitting in Barton Street Jail in Hamilton, Ontario where he is locked up for 18 hours a day.

Chris Hill was denied bail on the basis of his record of “failure to comply” when he was a young offender. Chris Hill was denied access to legal aid on the basis of him not having a permanent address. His mother, Rhonda Martin, is a mother on assistance who just underwent surgery, and now faces lawyers’ fees in the thousands in order to be able to free her son.

Chris Hill sits behind bars for having defended his land. The proceedings at the Cayuga courthouse have proven to be extremely lengthy, as nearly all court appearances have resulted in remand after remand.

Chris Hill needs moral, political and financial support and solidarity. Please send reading material and write letters of support to Chris Hill for him to receive while he awaits a trial date. Furthermore, please contribute to Chris Hill’s legal defense fund. Please continue to demand the end of the criminalization of the Six Nations Land Reclamation.

Address your letters of support to Chris Hill to:

Chris Hill
Wentworth Detention Center.
165 Barton Street East
Hamilton, Ontario

To contribute to the legal defense fund of Six Nations:
Send checks marked “legal defense” to:

Janie Jameson
Ohsweken, Ontario

Alternatively, to support Chris Hill directly, send checks, marked “legal
defense” to

Rhonda Martin
P.O. box 383
Ohsweken, Ontario

May the stars carry your sadness away,
may the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
may hope forever wipe away your tears,
And above all may silence make you strong.

Chief Dan George

Private Property and China’s Farmers / more IPS news

March 19, 2007

The Week with IPS


Here are some of the most-read stories of the past seven days — and stories you shouldn’t go without reading.


CHINA : Property Law Denies Farmers the Good Earth

Antoaneta Bezlova

BEIJING – China’s national parliament passed a pioneering property law on Friday which, despite lofty sounding clauses and media hype, fails to safeguard the ownership rights of more than half of the population.


IRAQ: Give Us Some Real Political Leaders

Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD – Many Iraqis are now looking to local political leadership to fill wide gaps in a fractured government that is failing to provide security and basic needs.


IRAN: Anti-Stoning Women Activists Held Indefinitely

Kimia Sanati

TEHRAN – The indefinite detentions of the prominent lawyer Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, a leading campaigner against the award of stoning sentences for adultery, are being seen here as part of increasing pressure on women’s rights activists by the Islamic republic.


Bush’s Book List Gets More Islamophobic

Analysis by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON – Accounts of a recent “literary luncheon” at the White House suggest that President George W. Bush’s reading tastes — until now a remarkably good predictor of his policy views — are moving ever rightward, even apocalyptic, despite his administration’s recent suggestions that it is more disposed to engage Washington’s foes, even in the Middle East.


AFRICA: Millennium Development Goals Depend on Power Relations Changing

Moyiga Nduru

JOHANNESBURG – “The people of Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta are poor not because they do not have resources but because they do not have political power. Those who wield power in Nigeria are building skyscrapers in Lagos and Abuja while there is nothing in the Niger Delta. It is the same at the global level.”


GUATEMALA: One-Way Ticket Home

Inés Benítez

GUATEMALA CITY – “They catch you and treat you like trash,” said 38-year-old Julio Medrano, shortly after being sent back to his home country along with 116 other Guatemalans deported on a charter flight from the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.


IRAQ: Kurds Fear a New War

Mohammed A. Salih

QANDIL MOUNTAINS – The fragile quiet in this no-man’s-land is broken by a young fighter shooting into the air at a regular morning ceremony to “commemorate martyrs”.


Some More Unequal to EU Than Others

David Cronin

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s development aid chief has been accused of prioritising central African countries for which he has a personal fixation at the expense of other needy nations.


South Faults Double Standards on U.N. Top Jobs

Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS – When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took office in January, he made a public commitment to revamp the U.N. Secretariat, inculcate high ethical standards and make his new administration fully transparent and accountable.


SOMALIA: Conference Plans for a Chaotic Capital

Joyce Mulama

NAIROBI – Interim Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi appealed Wednesday for some 42 million dollars to secure his country’s capital, Mogadishu, and to fund a reconciliation conference in the war-torn state.


BOLIVIA: Living Outside of the Dike

Franz Chávez

TRINIDAD – “If you haven’t seen what has happened to our houses, get in the canoe; it’s safe, you won’t fall in. Go and visit the barrio,” says a woman in this north-central Bolivian city, and four teenagers invite this IPS reporter to climb on board for a tour.


And much more global news at:


Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), the world’s leading provider of information on global issues, is backed by a network of journalists in more than 100 countries. Its clients include more than 3,000 media organisations and tens of thousands of civil society groups, academics, and other users.

IPS focuses its news coverage on the events and global processes affecting the economic, social and political development of peoples and nations.


Visit Inter Press Service at

US: Why Conservatives Can’t Govern / Hometown Baghdad

March 19, 2007

Here are a few must-read headlines from


Why Conservatives Can’t Govern
by Robert L. Borosage,
Alberto Gonzales is the latest imperious conservative tripped up by his own ideological arrogance.

Forsaking Our Morality
by C. Welton Gaddy,
After four years, we ask: How much longer will this unjustifiable war continue?

Pirates Of Wall Street
by Philip Mattera,
For workers and their communities, private equity firms aren’t the white knights they pretend to be.

Burdening Brazil With Biofuels
by Lúcia Ortiz and David Waskow,
An ethanol pact between Bush and Lula da Silva may not be in the best interests of the U.S. or Brazil.


Dems Go Lukewarm On Global Warming
Pelosi opts for what is politically easy to do on climate change. It’s time to raise the bar.

Hometown Baghdad

View the first three episodes of Hometown Baghdad, a documentary web series following the lives of a few Iraqi 20-somethings trying to survive in Baghdad. See what life is like in a war zone.

New In News Worthy
Overlooked but important headlines of the morning.


Poll: Most Israelis Urge Palestinian Contacts

Bush Urged To Develop Overall Nuclear Arms Strategy

Statistical Analysis Debunks Climate Change Naysayers

‘No New Taxes’ Mantra Might Be Fading In States

Pentagon Installs Cameras To Crack Down On Abuse By Recruiters

American’s Jailing In Ethiopia Raises Questions About U.S. Role


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CBC Docs: Oil, the World Over a Barrel / Discussions about ‘The Ground Truth’ / more films

March 19, 2007

Last night I watched the chilling, compelling documentary premiering on CBC Newsworld, “The Ground Truth”. If you have missed it, I strongly urge you to visit the CBC Documentaries website to read about it and find out when it will be re-broadcast.

“The Ground Truth” is a searing look at how U.S. soldiers struggle to come to terms with their experience upon returning home. In the film, American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars talk candidly about their life-altering experiences — the emotional wounds that will never heal, the nightmares that will never end. They are trying to deal with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and an uncaring administration. A VA psychologist told a vet that she can’t help ‘conscientious objectors’ when the he told her of his feelings about what he witnessed in Iraq, and how that changed him about the war.

The sordid tales they tell of the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians — many of them women and children — will leave the viewer aghast and disturbed. One of the vets could no longer live with the enduring visions and he committed suicide. Some of the footage shows in graphic detail the horrors suffered by Iraqis.

This is a film that should be viewed by all Americans. However, it is highly unlikely that the US mainstream media would show anything resembling the truth. Consequently, most Americans are unaware of the realities of war and the crimes committed in their name.

Here are CBC Newsworld program highlights for this week:


A documentary series that explores the global oil industry in the form of a journey through the world’s most remote and challenging oil-producing regions. Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Bill Cran and his team of producers and directors turn their cameras on the politically unstable countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Ecuador and Angola, as well as the environmentally sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the tar sands in Alberta. All are areas targeted by the oil industry to meet the world’s insatiable and growing thirst for oil.

Read more about this series and follow Bill Cran’s journey online.

Airing Thursday March 22 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld


Read what viewers had to say about, The Ground Truth, filmmaker Patricia Foulkrod’s searing look at how U.S. soldiers struggle to come to terms with their experience upon returning home.


Please note that all films listed are 60 minutes unless otherwise indicated.




(Monday March 19 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)


Every year, Oxforshire GP Dr Sandy Scott, makes the arduous five-day trek up the Khumbhu Valley to the village of Pheriche. This cold, stark, but breathtakingly beautiful place will be home for the next three months, as he and a team of volunteers run the highest hospital in the world. This is medicine practiced at extremes. Their patients will include everyone from the elite of the world’s climbing communities, frostbitten and dying from pulmonary oedema, to gap-year trekkers with altitude sickness, and local children suffering from all the illnesses you might expect to find in one of the world’s poorest countries.


(Wednesday March 21 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)


The second arctic adventure from the couple that met and fell in love at the North Pole. Their dream was the biggest, the longest and the hardest possible ice expedition: the total crossing of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada via the North Pole.




(Tuesday March 20 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)


Morbidly Obese chronicles the lives, struggles and metamorphoses of the three patients before, during and after surgery-as they shed the pounds and work to regain their lives. Humanizing the plight of extremely obese people, the film explores the process of bariatric surgery, whereby surgeons re-arrange the large intestine, making the stomach the size of a thumb. After the surgery, one is unable to eat large quantities and loses weight quickly. By the end of the film, Antonio, Vanessa and Jean Pierre have all gone through amazing transformations.


(Thursday March 22 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)

THE PIPELINE (The first of a three part series)

Under the Caspian Sea lies one of the largest untapped energy reserves on the planet. It’s estimated that 200 billion barrels of oil are there. First discovered by the Soviets, today everybody wants a share. The West is building a massive pipeline to tap into the reserves and meet its never-ending demand for oil. When complete in 2005, the pipeline will be capable of pumping one million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian to tankers waiting in the Mediterranean Sea which will bring the oil to world markets.



Visit our website:

Heather Wokusch: Where Do the Democrats Go from Here?

March 19, 2007

More from Heather Wokusch from the annual Democrats Abroad meeting in Heidelberg, Germany.

HR 1234 “No More War” or Endless Surge: Where Do the Democrats Go from Here?

The annual Democrats Abroad meeting (this year in Heidelberg, Germany) continued in full force yesterday, with the backdrop of local protest rallies and marches against the invasion of Iraq.

Phone calls came in from presidential candidates Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and resolutions passed on issues such as global warming, ending the war in Iraq and preventing a military assault on Iran. The most heated discussion was whether the US should be more active in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – delegates couldn’t even agree on how to refer to the Palestinian Authority – but eventually the pro-active plan passed. All successful resolutions now head up to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Overshadowing this event has been the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, and here in Germany, repercussions from Bush’s wars are felt everywhere. In the news is a young US Army medic, Agustin Aguayo, who conscientiously objected to serving in Iraq and was recently sentenced to eight months in prison by a US Army court-martial. Also making headlines has been a group of German officers speaking out against the illegal use of German planes for troop support in Afghanistan, as well as the ongoing saga of Khalid El-Masri, the German citizen illegally detained and tortured as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.

Many attending the Democrats Abroad annual meeting are personally touched by Bush’s wars, with spouses or children serving in Iraq. There’s a sense of urgency yet disempowerment in fighting the war machine and yesterday, debate broke out on whether a diplomatic solution was even possible.

Elizabeth Kucinich reminded the group that back in October 2002, Rep. Dennis Kucinich had led the fight against Bush’s Iraq war resolution (his prescient analysis debunking the administration’s so-called justifications for war can be read here).

She also talked about Kucinich’s 12-Point Plan for Iraq which is backed up by HR 1234, a bill he introduced last month. “The Plan to End the Iraq War,” HR 1234, provides a coherent structure to pull out US troops and protect Iraqi nationals. It details an alternative to the failed reconstruction program and calls for Iraq’s “oil interests and other national assets” to not be privatized during the US occupation. Kucinich’s plan makes a lot of sense.

Meanwhile, of course, many other Democrats in Congress are betraying the voters’ trust by keeping our troops in Iraq and allowing an expansion into Iran.

Makes you wonder where the Party is going and what it means for 2008…

DNC reps attending the Democrats Abroad meeting parroted a consistent line: More money and more voter registrations will lead to a Democratic win in 2008.

I couldn’t disagree more. First, US electoral integrity is both a sham and rigged against Democrats. We need Congress to lose its complacency and address voting irregularities before it’s too late.

Second, Democrats benefited from the anti-war vote last November but are shamefully betraying that trust now. And the presidential candidates we are being collectively herded towards, Clinton and Obama, speak of peace yet have a record of voting to fund war. We can do better and we must.

It’s urgent. On a speaking tour across Germany for the past two weeks, I’ve met scores of locals and Americans currently connected to US bases, and more than once have been told of US military facilities abroad moving to threat levels unseen since the invasion of Iraq. Something big is in the works.

But I’ve taken some hope from meeting the dedicated group of Democrats convening in Heidelberg the past few days. Activists flew in from all over the world, at their own expense, to further the global impact of the Democratic Party – activists such as Cathleen Compton, an American teaching political philosophy in Italy. During a coffee break, Compton described helping students learn about the political structures influencing their lives, and I asked how we could do that on a national level. “With love,” she answered.

I want a president with the same wisdom and Kucinich is looking good.


A linked version of each article is available at

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