Some climate change and social justice events in Toronto in March and April

February 29, 2008
Calendar of climate change events for March and April, Toronto – compiled by Students Against Climate Change – most (but not all) events are at University of TorontoFrid., Feb. 29 – Science for Peace forum on sustainability and the environment – 1 to 5 p.m. OISE, 252 Bloor St. W. Room: Forum. Details for event:

Fri. Feb. 29 – Faculty of Law symposium on Canadian climate change policy. 12:30 – 2 p.m. Solarium (room FA2), Falconer Hall 84 Queen’s Park. Details:

Mon. Mar. 3 – Action plan to assist Sharbot Lake – Students Against Climate Change – 6 p.m. Rm 5250, OISE, 252 Bloor St. W. New article on the issues:
* Website for citizen’s inquiry in April:
Website for community association doing work on the issue:

Monday March 3, 11 a.m. Bloor and Avenue Road (SE corner) ‘Take the Tooker’ Bike Lane Demo. Join supporters of TaketheTooker, a group of Toronto cyclists advocating for a bicycle expressway along Bloor/Danforth, as we unfurl a 3 ft. by 144 ft. bike lane on Bloor! Ride on the lane! For more info, or 647 342 1964

Mon. Mar. 3 – Memorial for environmental activist Tooker Gomberg – 7 p.m. at the Friends House on Lowther, 60 Lowther St. The Ten Commandments for Changing the World.
Info. on Tooker and enviro. activism:

Tues. Mar. 4 – Lecture with climate activist, Patrick Bond, author of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society. – 7 p.m. OISE, 252 Bloor St. W. Room 2212. Details on event:

Tues. Mar. 4 – Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight without oil – with Richard Gilbert & Anthony Perl – 7 p.m. OISE, 252 Bloor St. W. Room 5250. Details:

Wed. Mar. 5 – Transportation without oil (same talk as above) – 11 a.m. – Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George, Room 2125.

Wed. Mar. 5 – Elizabeth May, lecture on international environmental policy – Hart House, Debates Room, 7:30 p.m. Poster:

Sat. Mar. 8th – International Women’s Day March. Toronto Committee and Women Working with Immigrant Women. Rally at 11 am (UofT OISE Auditorium, Bloor St. W. & St. George subway) proceeding with the IWD 2008 March at 1 pm through the downtown core and concluding with the IWD 2008 Fair, 3 – 5 pm at Ryerson’s University Student Centre (hosted by the Ryerson Women’s Centre).

Mon. Mar. 10 – talk with Stu Neathy of the Dominion magazine (probably the best alternative media in Canada) – 7 p.m. OISE, room, 252 Bloor St. W., room 5250. Tar sands isse:

May 14 – showing of “Toxic Trespass” on TVO. About lethal toxins in the Windsor, Sarnia air, from trucks and industry, causing high cancer rates there (they are also in Toronto of course, including from U of T’s natural gas smokestack).

Wed. March 19 – International Mining Day lecture, 6 p.m. Location TBA. Slideshow on Sharbot Lake (with guest speaker), tar sands, and uranium mining in Canada. OISE See:

March 20 – Thomas Homer Dixon and Ross Gelbspann on climate change – Isabel Theatre. (Sorry, I cannot verify dates or times for this. I heard of it through someone at the UTERN meeting and the Isabel Bade theatre info. line and website is incommunicado today).

March 15 – Anti-war rally (also an environmental event because war is a major contributor to environmental devestation on many levels). Details:

March 27 – Free Burma lecture and concert, March 27. Details to be announced.

March 29 – Earth Hour (turn off lights for an hour).
Urge the U of T administration and students to participate!

April (several dates, TBA) – Citizen’s inquiry into uranium and nuclear energy in four locations outside Toronto.

Students Against Climate Change will organize a ride for students to participate in the hearings

April 20 – Earth Day rally.

Additional issues . . .

* Kyoto Plus. This is THE important follow-up on Kyoto to watch for. Community and students groups should endorse it. “Kyotoplus – Stop Global Warming: A Proposal from Greenpeace Canada” If your organization wants to support Kyotolplus send an email to Arthur Sanborn, climate campaigner, Greenpeace Canada at

* Carbon tax for Canada. What you should know. In Germany the carbon tax currently imposed $900 per tonne; the propsed tax (proposed by industry) is for $10 per tonne to go up to $30 per tonne by 2020. See industry document:

* Caravan to end Canadian Involvement in Torture, Toronto-Ottawa, May 1-9, 2008. Join us for a journey through dozens of Ontario communities as we expose and challenge the many ways in which the Canadian government is increasingly involved, both directly and indirectly, in policies and practices that result in the torture of human beings. Sponspored by Homes Not Bombs. See

* Support the Mohawks of Tyendinnaga, still fighting theft of and unsustainable development of native land and violently attacked by OPP. Sign the petition to demand all charges against Shawn Brant (who non-violently blocked the 401 to call attention to this injustice) be dropped. Join the Shawn Brant facebook group, or sign petition at

In the works (not yet scheduled) from Students Against Climate Change:

* Revolutionary silk screen workshop with Sarah and Txus the activist clowns.

* Ritual to commemorate the loss of biodiversity at the bio-wall, Koffler Centre.

* Showing of the climate change film The 11th Hour, with Student Union (UTSU).

Several events related to social justice and environment from No One is Illegal:

Every Thursday at noon – Hot Yam hosts vegan local food lunch, International Centre, $5

Every Wed. 3 to 5, lecture by Prof. Danny Harvey on global warming, Earth Sciences building 1050, U of T. This is class, but several members of the public listen in because Dr. Harvey’s lectures are well presented and accessible.

Apologies for events I missed or wrong information. Please email to make corrections, if any, or for more information, or call 647-342-7995. See Students Against Climate Change blog:


Small victory for justice in Guatemala

February 29, 2008

Good news: President Alvaro Colóm announced on February 25 that he will open Guatemala’s military archives to the public. These archives will help bring Ríos Montt to justice.

Watch Amnesty International’s documentary “Justice without Borders” and get the full story on Ríos Montt and other international human rights criminals.

President Alvaro Colóm announced on February 25 that he will open Guatemala’s military archives to the public. These files are believed to contain crucial information on human rights abuses committed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996).

The release of the files is the realization of a key objective in Amnesty’s campaign to bring to justice ex-president General Efraín Ríos Montt and other former officials accused of genocide, torture and other crimes against humanity. We believe that the files contain information that will eventually help to convict them.

Amnesty International welcomes the opening of the military archives as a very positive step, although the real test will be whether this development results in prosecutions. AI researchers are currently organizing a mission to Guatemalan for early March, during which they will be gathering information to determine next steps in our campaign.

THANK YOU to all who have sent messages to the Guatemalan government urging the release of the files. Thousands of you have taken action, and today we can see what is possible when we join forces with the brave human rights defenders in Guatemala who every day risk their lives just to demand justice.


Vienna Colucci
Director, Program for International Justice and Accountability
Amnesty International USA

Watch AIUA’s documentary film “Justice Without Borders”
A day of action in support of justice for genocide in Guatemala
More info
See the latest entry from an observer of the Fujimori trial in Peru
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AIUA’s documentary film “Justice Without Borders” features a very powerful story segment on the long struggle to bring Efraín Ríos Montt to justice. ©ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images Take action!


Automated Killer Robots / Canada’s Inuit, more…

February 28, 2008

These are a few interesting news items from News Center:

Automated Killer Robots ‘Threat to Humanity’: Expert
Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.
[…] Read more

Canada’s Inuit Are the Canaries in the Coal Mine
For centuries, the Inuit have lived in harmony with possibly the harshest climate on the planet. Thanks to climate change, they are losing their traditional way of life as rapidly as the polar ice caps are melting. While this drama may seen remote and unimportant to those who defend what they believe to be their God-given right to burn fossil fuels, what befalls the Inuit may soon befall all of us. In simple terms, they are the canaries in the coal mine of climate change.
[…] Read more

Missing E-Mails May Never Be Found

Flooded Village Files Suit, Citing Corporate Link to Climate Change

Baquba Losing Life – And Hope

Anti-War Movement Wrestles with 1968

Public Broadcasting Activists Refute McCain Campaign ‘Facts’ on FCC Letters



Harvey Wasserman | Did Florida Nuke Plant Take State to the Radioactive Brink Again?

Robert Scheer | What the Times Didn’t Tell About McCain

William Hartung | Say It Ain’t So, Ralph!

Amira Hass | Gaza: The Breakthrough That Did Not Happen

John Nichols | Clinton’s Cringe-Worthy Moment

Noam Chomsky | The Most Wanted List: International Terrorism

and more…



Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA): Why Do McCain, Obama and Clinton Want a Bigger Military?

Eleven Conservation Groups Challenge Federal Wolf Delisting

Beyond Nuclear: Documents Debunk Myth of French Nuclear ‘Success’

and more…



MidEast Dispatches: Baquba Losing Life And Hope

February 28, 2008

Baquba Losing Life And Hope

Inter Press Service

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail*

BAQUBA, Feb 27 (IPS) – Life has been bad enough in Diyala province north of Baghdad after prolonged violence, unemployment and loss of all forms of normal living. What could be worse now is the loss of hope that anything will ever be better.

In Baquba, capital city of Diyala province 40km northeast of Baghdad, it’s all about staying alive. Most people have abandoned all projects and activities to sit at home in safety.”The Iraqi government achieved nothing, just death for this poor province,” Hadi Obeid, a now idle trader in Baquba told IPS. “If you look for rights, you will find death.”

“People of this province are dead,” says resident Luay Amir, who returned to Iraq in 2004 after living 16 years in Austria. “There is no sign of life to be seen. Faces are pale and lifeless, the city is desolate.”

People in the city, he said, “have no ambitions, no dreams. When they see each other, they greet one another saying, ‘good to see you safe’.”

The lack of electricity, clean water, security and jobs is clearly taking its toll.

“People are deprived of everything in this province, and it’s a miracle that life still goes on amidst this deprivation,” Abdul-Ridha Noman, an employee in the directorate-general of statistics told IPS. “People here have no goal except to move from today to tomorrow.”

Noman added, “But they are afraid of tomorrow because it might only bring death or loss.”

Many people have fled the violence, but also the hopelessness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 1.5 million Iraqis have fled to Syria by now. Many have gone from Diyala.

“They sold their properties to live away from terror,” Abdullah Mahjob, a 51-year-old schoolteacher in Baquba told IPS. “And they spent their savings to make their children safe.”

Ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, people in this city had dreamed of a better future for them and their children. Now, that’s a broken dream.

“Life is destroyed by the occupation and its corrupt government, and people have reached a point where nothing means anything to them any more,” local dentist Mudhafer al-Janaby told IPS.

“People are concerned about electricity because they see that the children need light because of the examinations. They search for fuel for kerosene heaters in the cold winter, and for their cars,” local farmer Iman Mansour told IPS.

“They are concerned how they will find medicines for the sick. They need to find work and then get to it, but there is a curfew, and the militants are everywhere. How can an individual plan for a future while surrounded by all these troubles?”

Rather than save for the future, people are selling what they can to survive right now. Many have begun to build shops in their homes; some simply rent their outer walls to shop owners.

“These very simple shops are a substitute for the big market at Baquba city,” says local resident Abdul-Latif Farhan. “Some people left their shops in the central market and opened these because of the militants and the absence of security.”

Some with larger houses are dividing them into two or three to get rental income. One way or another, people are extracting all they can from their own resources; the world outside has little to offer.

And, most blame the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad.

“The government can easily reduce the suffering of these people by providing fuel and other necessities,” grocer Fadhil Abdullah told IPS. “But instead, we all continue to suffer. There is no future for us.”

(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq’s Diyala province, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)

Think Dahr’s work is vital? We need your help. It’s easy! ***Order your copy of Dahr’s new book, Beyond the Green Zone

(c)2007 Dahr Jamail.

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Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Terrorists Wanted the World Over

February 27, 2008

Tomgram: NoamChomsky, Terrorists Wanted the World Over

One of Noam Chomsky’s latest books — a conversation with David Barsamian — is entitled What We Say Goes. It catches a powerful theme of Chomsky’s: that we have long been living on a one-way planet and that the language we regularly wield to describe the realities of our world is tailored to Washington’s interests.

Juan Cole, at his Informed Comment website, had a good example of the strangeness of this targeted language recently. When Serbs stormed the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, he offered the following comment (with so many years of the term “Islamofascism” in mind): “…given that the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox Christians, will the Republican Party and Fox Cable News now start fulminating against ‘Christofascism?'”

Of course, the minute you try to turn the Washington norm (in word or act) around, as Chomsky did in a piece entitled What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?, you’ve already entered the theater of the absurd. “Terror” is a particularly good example of this. “Terror” is something that, by (recent) definition, is committed by free-floating groups or movements against innocent civilians and is utterly reprehensible (unless the group turns out to be the CIA running car bombs into Baghdad or car and camel bombs into Afghanistan, in which case it’s not a topic that’s either much discussed, or condemned in our world). On the other hand, that weapon of terror, air power, which is at the heart of the American way of war, simply doesn’t qualify under the category of “terror” at all — no matter how terrifying it may be to innocent civilians who find themselves underneath the missiles and bombs.

It’s with this in mind that Chomsky turns to terror of every kind in the Middle East in the context of the car bombing of a major figure in Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement. By the way, The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove), a new collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, has just been published and is highly recommended. Tom

The Most Wanted List

International Terrorism

By Noam Chomsky

On February 13, Imad Moughniyeh, a senior commander of Hizbollah, was assassinated in Damascus. “The world is a better place without this man in it,” State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said: “one way or the other he was brought to justice.” Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell added that Moughniyeh has been “responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden.”

Joy was unconstrained in Israel too, as “one of the U.S. and Israel’s most wanted men” was brought to justice, the London Financial Times reported. Under the heading, “A militant wanted the world over,” an accompanying story reported that he was “superseded on the most-wanted list by Osama bin Laden” after 9/11 and so ranked only second among “the most wanted militants in the world.”

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: Jen Marlowe, Gaza Struggling under Siege

February 27, 2008

From Chiapas, Mexico and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta to West Africa (where a war against women is now underway), Tomdispatch has lately been traveling to some of the more scarred places on the planet. Today, Jen Marlowe, a documentary filmmaker and human rights activist (as well as the author of Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival) offers an account of her journey into the desperate human tragedy of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Marlowe has been visiting the Gaza Strip periodically since 2002, when she was living in Jerusalem while working on an Israeli/Palestinian peace-building program. She has participated in nonviolent demonstrations with Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists resisting the Israeli separation barrier being built, in part, through Palestinian lands and the growing system of Israeli-only roads on the West Bank. The deepening degradation of Gazans living under a merciless siege, visibly a living hell, is something she vividly captures at a personal level. Tom

The Tightening Noose

Gaza under Hamas, Gaza under Siege

By Jen Marlowe

Images from Rafah flicker on my computer screen. Gazans blowing up chunks of the wall that stood between them and Egypt, punching holes in the largest open-air prison in the world and streaming across the border. An incredible refusal to submit.

I learn via email that my friend Khaled Nasrallah rented a truck in order to drive food and medicine from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. He was acting for no humanitarian organization. He’s just a resident of Rafah, a Palestinian town which borders Egypt, with a deep need to help and an opportunity to seize.

Rarely does our media offer images so laden with the palpable despair that has become daily life in the Gaza Strip. The situation has bordered on desperate since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in October 2000, when Gazans could no longer work inside Israel and the attacks and incursions of Israel’s military, the IDF, became a regular occurrence. Closures on the Strip progressively intensified.

On January 25, 2006, Hamas, an acronym for “the Islamic Resistance Movement,” won the Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections, defeating the reigning secular, nationalist Fatah Party. Israel, the United States, and the European Union all refused to recognize the new Hamas government and many elements within Fatah also went to great lengths to ensure that it failed.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Is Canada protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time?

February 27, 2008

The opium trade now constitutes 40 per cent of the entire economy of Afghanistan. This is the highest harvest of opium the world as ever seen. But there is now more than just raw opium produced there.

In fact, Afghanistan no longer exports much raw opium at all. It now exports not opium, but heroin. Opium is converted into heroin on an industrial scale, not in kitchens but in factories. Millions of gallons of the chemicals needed for this process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads, improved by American aid, with NATO troops.

Our soldiers are in effect helping facilitate the distribution of opium. This leads me to ask these two questions: Are Canadian troops in Afghanistan in fact supporting the global heroin trade so that more people in my city of Brampton can become addicts? Is the Harper government complicit in the heroin business?

For the full story, read “Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time” — by Craig Murray, in the Daily Mail [UK]

In case any readers wonder about the veracity of Craig Murray’s information, here’s a bit about his background:

“My knowledge of all this comes from my time as British Ambassador in neighbouring Uzbekistan from 2002 until 2004. I stood at the Friendship Bridge at Termez in 2003 and watched the Jeeps with blacked-out windows bringing the heroin through from Afghanistan, en route to Europe.

I watched the tankers of chemicals roaring into Afghanistan.

Yet I could not persuade my country to do anything about it. Alexander Litvinenko – the former agent of the KGB, now the FSB, who died in London last November after being poisoned with polonium 210 – had suffered the same frustration over the same topic.”

**Craig Murray’s quote is from the same article linked above.