CBC’s Censure of Media Criticism on Israel/Palestine

February 26, 2009

The News Release below is from the U.S. media watch group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting), challenging the CBC’s bias against Palestinians.

Press Release

FAIR Challenges CBC Ombud’s Report

2/4/09

As the BBC continues to come under fire for refusing to carry an aid appeal for Gaza, the U.S. media watch group FAIR is challenging the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for making false and biased claims after a campaign by groups that advocate for uncritical coverage of Israel.

The campaign was launched in response to CBC‘s October 23, 2008 airing of the 2003 educational documentary Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land. The film cited a FAIR report on U.S. media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict, prompting the CBC‘s French-language radio ombud Julie Miville-Dechêne to question the independence of FAIR’s research, referring to the organization as a “pro-Palestinian” and “militant group.”

FAIR is an independent nonprofit group whose research is widely cited by respected media scholars in both the U.S. and Canada. Its spokespersons have appeared on several occasions on the CBC to discuss issues ranging from media coverage of the Kosovo War to radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Faulting the film for “failure to account for the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip,” Miville-Dechêne also cited a 2001 FAIR study that found only 4 percent of U.S. network news reports “concerning Gaza or the West Bank mention that these are occupied territories” as an example of an “anachronism” in the documentary, because Israel had subsequently withdrawn military forces and settlements from Gaza.

Under international law, however, Gaza remains an occupied territory, because Israel continues to control its borders. FAIR’s finding of a chronic failure by leading American media organizations to mention the occupation is actually even more true today: a search of the Lexis Nexis database during the most recent war (12/2/08-1/18/09) reveals that the percentage of network news programs about Gaza or the West Bank that mentioned the occupation has fallen from 4 to only 2 percent.

While the ombud said FAIR’s 2001 finding that only 4 percent of U.S. news reports mentioned the occupation was “shocking,” the coverage on CBC‘s own evening newscast, The National, from the same period was roughly equivalent, with only 5 percent of reports concerning Gaza or the West Bank referring to occupation.

FAIR contributing writer Seth Ackerman, who authored the report, today issued a response to the president of the CBC, which is available online at:

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3712.

***

Feel free to respond to FAIR ( fair@fair.org ). We can’t reply to everything, but we will look at each message. We especially appreciate documented examples of media bias or censorship. And please send copies of your correspondence with media outlets, including any responses, to fair@fair.org.

Please remember to alert FAIR to any media bias you may encounter.

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CAF News Release: Response to Mr. Jason Kenney, M.P.

February 24, 2009

The following News Release by the Canadian Arab Federation is in response to Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney’s threats to cut funding to newcomer service agencies served by the CAF.

By these latest actions, Mr. Kenney shows that his government will use the threat of funding cuts to silence any voices it deems dissenting, especially those that dare to be critical of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, its egregious human rights violations, and its illegal occupation of Arab lands.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 19, 2009

Response to Mr. Jason Kenney, M.P.

The Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) finds it deeply regrettable that Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, has threatened to cut funding to newcomer service agencies served by the CAF and has used the remarks made by CAF’s president, Khaled Mouammar while Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, as an excuse to malign and intimidate Arab and Muslim communities who have suffered and continue to suffer from marginalization, threats and the muzzling of their voices.

We note with disappointment that this most recent attack on the CAF is part of a campaign waged by Mr. Kenney who has targeted and systematically vilified the CAF. In January 2008, Mr. Kenney smeared and stereotyped the Arab community during one of his exchanges with a Liberal MP in the House of Commons, and he described CAF as a racist organization in a speech in Bucharest Romania in June 2007. Mr. Kenney’s most recent attack on CAF came just 3 days ago at an anti-Semitism conference in London, England where he labeled the CAF and Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) as groups that promote anti-Semitism. This characterization is slanderous and untrue on a number of levels. The CAF works with many Jewish anti-Zionist groups on a variety of projects. Furthermore, Arabs are a Semitic people, so Mr. Kenney’s unfounded allegations and intimidating threats against the CAF misrepresent the organization and our community and work to inflame and divide Canadians. .

Since 1992, CAF’s settlement programs have demonstrated a solid record of success that is available for any interested party to examine and review. These programs are thoroughly audited and have been praised for the efficiency and dedication with which they are implemented. Threatening to cut funding for these programs is a form of indiscriminate and collective punishment upon people who require these services. We wonder what motivated the Minister to issue this threat. If it stems from a disagreement with our position on certain political issues, we strongly believe that this constitutes an infringement on our freedoms and rights as guaranteed by the Charter. We have consistently sought to empower our community to speak its mind and participate fully, openly and unabashedly in the Canadian democratic process. Mr. Kenney’s comments serve to set this endeavour back. Is the muting of our voices is now a condition for receiving funding and support from our government? This is a matter of grave concern to all agencies providing language and settlement services to immigrants and newcomers.

Mr. Kenney’s comments, whether intentionally or unintentionally, perpetuate negative sentiments towards Arab and Muslim Canadians. These come directly after the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released a report stating that “Canada should strengthen its domestic violence laws and stop religious discrimination against Muslims…and do more to improve the welfare of its Aboriginal citizens”.

We call upon the Harper government to adopt a zero tolerance approach to expressions of Islamophobia and Arabophobia (the latter of which is a form of anti-Semitism), in the public arena. The government must recognize Islamophobia and Arabophobia for what they are, pernicious evils that must be exposed, confronted and repudiated whenever and where ever they appear, evils so profound that they are ultimately a threat to us all.

The CAF will continue to provide its services to all Canadians and expects that funds will be unchanged for programs that we have implemented with excellence. The CAF will not be intimidated into silence and will defend the rights and freedoms of our communities as protected under the Charter. We will continue to combat racism and uphold the rights of racialized groups and human rights in Canada and abroad, as well as to vigorously expose the serious human rights violations perpetuated by Israel against the Palestinian people and its illegal occupation of Arab lands.

For more information, please contact:

Mohamed Boudjenane
CAF Executive Director
416-493-8635 x 23  ed@caf.ca

__________________________________________________
www.caf.ca

Established in 1967, the Canadian Arab Federation is a national, non-partisan, non profit and membership-based organization.  CAF represents Canadian Arabs on issues relating to public policy.


Algonquin Chief imprisoned for two months: Quebec criminalizes Barriere Lake Algonquins for peaceful protest, ignores signed agreements

December 11, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quebec judge imprisons Algonquin Chief for two months for peaceful protest: Crown asks for one year to send “clear message” to impoverished community

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – On Thursday December 4th a Quebec judge sentenced Barriere Lake Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway to forty-five days in jail, in addition to fifteen already served in pre-trial detention, for participating in peaceful blockades intended to draw attention to violations of Barriere Lake’s rights by the Canadian and Quebec governments.

Barriere Lake has been demanding that Canada and Quebec honour signed agreements and that Canada appoint an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in accordance with Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code.

“It’s shameful that the government of Quebec would rather throw me in jail than fulfill their legal obligations by implementing signed agreements,” said Acting Chief Nottaway, a father of six who passed his twenty-eighth birthday in jail last Thursday. “Meanwhile, the Government of Canada continues to interfere in our internal affairs while trying to wash its hands of responsibility for this situation.”

Nottaway was charged with three counts of mischief and breach of conditions stemming from March blockades on Barriere Lake’s access road and a November blockade on highway 117 outside the community’s reserve in Northern Quebec. Another blockade in October was violently dismantled by Quebec riot police, who used tear-gas on a crowd that included Elders, youth, and children. More than 40 members of the community of 450 have been charged for these actions.

“Quebec has now joined the company of Ontario, which put the leaders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation behind bars for peaceful protest. It seems like the provinces’ preferred method for dealing with our rights is to use the police and the courts to punish us until we forget about them,” said Marylynn Poucachiche, a community spokesperson who was arrested during the November blockade.

Crown Attorney France Deschamps asked Judge Jules Barriere for a sentence of 12 months, saying a “clear message” was required “to make sure Nottaway has no desire to do this again, and to discourage the group – because his supporters are waiting to hear what happens here.” Judge Barriere noted that the Crown’s request was “partly illegal,” as 6 months is the maximum possible sentence for summary convictions. But he agreed with Deschamps that a prison sentence was necessary, saying it was “important to pass a clear message to the community.”

The only message the Canadian and Quebec governments are sending is that they are willing to criminalize our community and split apart our families in order to avoid implementing precedent-setting agreements and respecting our leadership customs,” added Nottaway.

Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral agreement in 1998, but has stalled despite the 2006 recommendations of two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented.

On March 10th, 2008, the Canadian government rescinded recognition of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council and recognized individuals from a minority faction whom the Barriere Lake Elder’s Council says were not selected in accordance with their Customary Governance Code. On March 2nd and 3rd, community members had set up blockades on their access road to prevent members of this minority faction from entering the reservation, anticipating the Canadian government would try to illegally interfere in Barriere Lake’s internal customary governance for the third time in 12 years.

In 2007, Quebec Superior Court Judge Rejean Paul issued a report that concluded that the current faction recognized by the federal government was a “small minority” that “didn’t respect the Customary Governance Code” in an alleged leadership selection in 2006 [1]. The federal government recognized this minority faction after they conducted another alleged leadership selection in January 2008, even though an observer’s report the government relied on stated there was no “guarantee” that the Customary Governance Code was respected [2].

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to recognize and work with Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council.

-30-

Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2113

Notes

[1] http://web.resist.ca/~barrierelakesolidarity/resources/Rapport_du_Juge_Paul-versionANGLAISEcomplete.doc, pg 26-27
[2] http://web.resist.ca/~barrierelakesolidarity/resources/Riel_Translation_Letter_2.doc , pg 2

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière
*******************************************
www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com


IDEA Burlington – local event: human rights day event

November 27, 2008

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Guest Speaker

Bob LOVELACE

“STEPS TOWARDS FREEDOM IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD”

Bob Lovelace is making Canadian history. Being co-chief of the Ardoch Nation and an Algonquin, he together with other members of his Nation blocked the uranium mining company Frontenac Ventures from prospecting and exploiting his Nation’s land (under dispute by a land claim) without permission. For his actions, he was sent to jail. He will speak about his experience and the struggle facing indigenous land rights in Canada today.


DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR A VERY SPECIAL TALK BY ONE OF CANADA’S LEADING ABORIGINAL ACTIVISTS

Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2008, 7.30pm – FREE!

Location: McMaster University

Health Sciences Centre, 1A4

(at rear of hospital, near Health Science library)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, GROUPS 1, 8 and 21

Co-sponsors: CUPE 3906, Indigenous Peace Education, OPIRG, The Centre for Peace Studies and Development & Peace.

For more information, contact amnestygroup1@yahoo.ca.


Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At the RNC

September 2, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

www.democracynow.org

September 1, 2008

Contact:
Denis Moynihan 917-549-5000
Mike Burke 646-552-5107, mike@democracynow.org

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfully detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar.  These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar  is a transparent attempt to intimidate  journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.

Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ
##

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Walk for Justice FRIDAY 6:30 PM, welcome women to Toronto – TOMORROW

August 29, 2008

Walk4Justice (a 4,700-kilometre trek from Vancouver to Ottawa) Arrives in Toronto to Raise Awareness About Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

Welcome Reception: Friday August 29th, First Nations House (563 Spadina Ave.)
A meal will be served and the walkers will address the public & the media beginning at 6:30pm.

Hope to see some of you there!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Walk4Justice (a 4,700-kilometre trek from Vancouver to Ottawa) Arrives in Toronto to Raise Awareness About Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

(August 27, 2008) Hundreds of Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada over the last decades. These tragic deaths received little public attention until Amnesty International took the unprecedented step of investigating a host country, Canada. The organization linked the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Indigenous women to governmental polices and called the situation a human rights tragedy. While the public is well aware of the horrors that were committed at a Port Coquitlam Farm few know that one third of the women killed were Indigenous. Recently, in one weekend in Toronto the Native community lost Carolyn Connelly and Katelynn Sampson who was only 7 – both murdered.

The Walk4Justice publicly addresses the key issues faced by marginalized, missing, and murdered Indigenous women and their families. They will present a petition to Parliament Hill on September 15th and demand a national inquiry into these deaths and disappearances.

The Walk4Justice is organized by Gladys Radek, whose niece Tamara Chipman went missing on BC’s Highway of Tears, and Bernie Williams, a front-line worker in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, where many Aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered. The Walkers left Vancouver on June 21st and arrive in Toronto on August 29th.

The media is welcome at the following public events, organized to welcome and honour the Walk4Justice as they pass through Toronto:

Welcome Reception: Friday August 29th, First Nations House (563 Spadina Ave.)
A meal will be served and the walkers will address the public & the media beginning at 6:30pm.

Public Send-Off: September 2nd, 9am at Allen Gardens (across from the Native Women’s Resource Centre, 191 Gerrard St.). The Walkers will be continuing on to Tyendinaga on September 2nd, and arriving in Ottawa on September 12th. They will be on Parliament Hill September 15th.

A full day of events has been planned at Six Nations, where the Walkers will be welcomed by Bev Jacobs, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. They will also visit the Six Nations Polytechnic, where a tree has been planted in memory of Tashina General, murdered last Spring at the age of 21, and her unborn son, Tucker.

For more information, please contact:

− Audrey Huntley, No More Silence Network Toronto: 416-508-8632
− Gladys Radek, Walk4Justice Organizer: 778-839-0072
− Norma General, Grandmother to Tashina General (Six Nations) 519-445-4238
− Bev Jacobs, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada: 613-878-6922


Port Hope: Broken Pipeline releases uranium and arsenic into Lake Ontario

August 14, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Port Hope Ward Two residents demand Cameco Corporation stop dumping uranium into lake

PORT HOPE — Cameco Corporation must be made to stop dumping treated water still contaminated with uranium and arsenic into Lake Ontario from the Welcome Waste Management Facility, says a group of Ward Two residents.

The residents wrote Michael Binder, Ph.D, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission after receiving laboratory tests of water it found pouring out of a broken pipe on a public beach where Brand Creek empties into Lake Ontario.

The tests, done by Caduceon Environmental Laboratories in Peterborough, showed the water was contaminated with uranium and arsenic well above both the Interim Provincial Water Quality Objectives and the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines “but within the limits allowable by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Committee (CNSC)”.

The pipe carries treated water from the Welcome facility maintained by Cameco under licence number WNSL-W1-2339.0/indf., which was renewed for an indefinite period in 2002 by the CNSC. The license contains “no limits” for the release of uranium into Lake Ontario, and it sets arsenic levels that are 100 times higher than Ontario’s water quality objectives.

The Welcome site contains old soil with elevated levels of uranium, arsenic and radium. The pipe dates from 1957, but since 1978 there has been a system in place that is supposed to treat the collected groundwater prior to its discharge into the lake and whether they are illegal given the “… current Ontario Water Quality Objectives”.

The broken pipe was noticed by a pilot flying low over Lake Ontario and he chose to contact a Lake Shore Road resident. The resident has reported the break to Cameco and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and asked those agencies to investigate the questionable discharges.

Results of the tests paid for by local residents closely resemble Cameco’s own 2007 monitoring results from the Welcome pumping station, which are provided to the CNSC and the Municipality of Port Hope on a quarterly basis. The following table shows how those compare to federal and provincial water standards:

Interim Provincial Water Quality Objectives
Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines
Limits in CNSC license WNSL-W1-2339.0/indf.
Cameco monitoring July to September 2007
Resident water tests June-July 2008
(highest of 3)
Arsenic
.005 mg/L
.01 mg/L
.5 mg/L
<.005-.027
.02
Uranium
.005 mg/L
.02 mg/L
none
.03-.28
.246

(Interim Provincial Water Quality Objectives Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines Limits in CNSC license WNSL-W1-2339.0/indf. Cameco monitoring July to September 2007 Resident water tests June-July 2008
(highest of 3)
Arsenic .005 mg/L .01 mg/L .5 mg/L <.005-.027 .02
Uranium .005 mg/L .02 mg/L none .03-.28 .246
)

“Something has gone wrong here,” said Sanford Haskill, who owns waterfront property west of the broken pipe. “We are concerned that any toxic contamination is being allowed into the lake, but certainly it should not be happening just a few kilometers from Port Hope’s municipal water intake.”

He said the broken pipe provided the first opportunity for outsiders to test the effluent from Welcome. The pipe was built in 1956. “We hope the contamination indicates a very recent breakdown in the treatment system, and that Cameco quickly repairs it,” Haskill said. “God help the lake if it’s been going on for 40 or 50 years.”

Haskill said he is also concerned about Cameco’s lax scrutiny of its pipeline. “Winter ice is the only force that could have uprooted that pipe and sliced it open, and that means it has been spewing uranium and arsenic onto the beach for four months.

“It shouldn’t be left up to an individual to detect leaks from Cameco, or to uncover the inadequacies of the CNSC’s licenses. In light of what’s happened in the last year, this company simply has to do a better job of eliminating its pollution of Lake Ontario. Canadians and Americans who take their water from the lake should be outraged. This has got to stop.”

He said, he is also concerned that Cameco is not being forced to clean up the thousands of kilograms of uranium, arsenic and fluorides that have leaked into the ground underneath its UF6 plant. Some of it has reached the Lake, but the company says it doesn’t yet know how much.

This month marks the first anniversary of the discovery of that leak, and the plant has been closed ever since.

Contact: Sanford Haskill 905-885-8743.