Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rough reception for Harper's stand-in

Stephen Harper is in the news again. This time it's about his decision not to attend the event himself.

"But even the mayor couldn't help Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, Harper's Quebec lieutenant and stand-in for the event. Fortier's remarks were swallowed up in a rising tide of boos, which then grew more deafening as much of the crowd began slamming their folding seats up and down. Harper has promised to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage in Parliament.

'Shame! Shame! Shame!' spectators cried, wagging their upraised fingers in unison."

I wonder about the polls...


Polls shows Harper is loosing ground.

Polls shows Harper is loosing ground.

"Despite a post-election surge in popularity for the Conservatives, a Decima poll of 1,009 people released Thursday showed Tory support has fallen to 36 per cent, compared to 30 per cent for the Liberals and 17 per cent for the New Democrats." - Stakes high for Harper:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

UNIFIL observers possibly killed by a so-called precision-guided missile

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, specializing in Middle East and United Nations issues, explains;

"The four UNIFIL observers were killed after somewhere between six and eight hours of consistent shelling, during which there were ten separate phone calls made by UN officials to the Israeli military, who agreed they knew it was underway and each time told them it would stop. It didn't stop. Instead, it culminated in a so-called precision-guided missile that led to the death of the four that you mentioned."

Democracy Now! | Ahead of New Confirmation Hearings, UN Ambassador Bolton Blocks Measure Condemning Lethal Israeli Attack on UN:

Australia, all talk but the wrong actions

Australia, all talk but the wrong actions;

CANBERRA, July 27 (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would support a major multinational force for Lebanon to disarm Hizbollah, but his foreign minister said that without a ceasefire it would be a "suicide mission".

"If the world community is serious, it will put together a force of tens of thousands. That force will act as an effective buffer, and it will have the power and the will to disarm Hizbollah," Howard told Australian radio on Thursday.

So who is he blaming here, the world community? Last time I looked on the map Australia was still on it too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Israel urged to shun cluster bomb; BBC News

"US-based Human Rights Watch says Israel has used cluster bombs in civilian areas during its assault on Lebanon."

See Wikipedia why cluster bombs are a threat to civilians

UN envoy says Israel uses disproportionate force in Gaza; People's Daily Online

"UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland said on Tuesday that Israel used 'disproportionate' force in its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

'This is very clear, a disproportionate use (of force),' Egeland told reporters while touring the Gaza power plant, which was destroyed in Israeli airstrikes last month."


Israel-Lebanon: The mounting toll

* Number of Lebanese people killed in the two-week conflict: 422, of whom 375 were civilians.

* A further 27 Hizbollah guerrillas have been killed and 20 Lebanese soldiers.

* Number of Israeli dead since the conflict began: 42, of whom 18 were civilians and 24 soldiers.

* Number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip since the capture of Cpl Gilad Shalit: 121.

* Number of Israeli air strikes on Lebanon yesterday: 100.

* Hizbollah rockets fired yesterday: 80.

* The Israel Defence Force claimed yesterday to have hit 10 Hizbollah buildings.

* That adds up to an estimated $1bn ($600m) in damage to infrastructure.

* Number of Lebanese bridges destroyed: 105

* The number of Israeli bridges destroyed: 0.

* Number of Lebanese ports bombed: 3.

* Estimate of the number of Lebanese people displaced in the fighting: 750,000.

* Lebanon has 2,000 UN troops who have been in the south since 1978.

* Israel's military spending: $9.45bn (in 1995); Lebanon: $540"


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why is there not a murmur of protest from Washington?

Independent Online Edition > Middle East: "Why is there not a murmur of protest from Washington?'
By Kim Sengupta in Nicosia
Published: 21 July 2006

Outside the cavernous US government-run holding centre in Nicosia, Mohammed Shami shook his head. 'I feel embarrassed to be an American. They have given Israel the green light to destroy Lebanon. What they are doing is wrong; it is immoral.'

Mr Shami, who is of Lebanese-American descent, arrived here with 1,000 fellow Americans early yesterday, part of the exodus to Cyprus expected to reach more than 80,000 people fleeing the ferocity of the conflict in Lebanon.


Annan condemns Israel's excessive use of force

BBC NEWS | Middle East | In quotes: Annan on Mid-East crisis: "Israel states that it has no quarrel with the government or people of Lebanon, and that it is taking extreme precautions to avoid harm to them. Yet a number of its actions have hurt and killed Lebanese civilians and military personnel and caused great damage to infrastructure. While Hezbollah's actions are deplorable, and as I've said, Israel has a right to defend itself, the excessive use of force is to be condemned."


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Canada rather deals with symptoms than cause of the problem

Canada wants Israel and Lebanon to guarantee they will not attack seven ships scheduled to pick up Canadians stranded in the strife-torn country, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said Tuesday.
The first of seven chartered passenger ships are expected to arrive at the port of Beirut on Wednesday. They will be able to transport an estimated 2,000 Canadians a day.
"We want assurances that those ships will be protected and afforded the utmost safety," MacKay said on CBC Newsworld.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Blog | Russell Shaw: The REAL Reason Israel Is Going Full-Frontal on Hezbollah - NOW | The Huffington Post

Israel uses kidnapped soldiers as pretext:

The Blog | Russell Shaw: The REAL Reason Israel Is Going Full-Frontal on Hezbollah - NOW | The Huffington Post

Friday, July 14, 2006

Israel aircraft strike economic ministry in Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike set the Palestinian Ministry of Economy building in the Gaza Strip ablaze early on Saturday, but there were no reports of casualties.

Witnesses said the building was badly damaged and still on fire after the strike.

The army confirmed the attack in Gaza City.


EU: Israel Uses "Disproportionate Force" in Lebanon

The worsening situation in the Middle East has captured the world's attention, including the European Union's, which has accused Israel of "disproportionate use of force" in Lebanon. Violence continued into Friday.

Here's the situation; on June 24 Israel abducted two Gaza civilians, a doctor and his brother. They were taken to Israel, but knowbody knows where they are right now.
The next day militants in Gaza abducted an Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit), which was followed by the response of Israel; attacks on Gaza. Hezbollah captures two (sic) Israeli soldiers. On Wednesday Israel began retaliating for the capture of two Israeli soldiers and sofar we are left with a death toll of 61.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

In Big Shift, U.S. to Follow Geneva Treaty for Detainees

In Big Shift, U.S. to Follow Geneva Treaty for Detainees - July 11, 2006

Neil A. Lewis, John O'Neil - The New York Times:

"In a sweeping change of policy, the Pentagon has decided that it will treat all detainees in compliance with the minimum standards spelled out in the Geneva conventions, a senior defense official said today.

The new policy comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling last month invalidating a system of military tribunals the Pentagon had created to try suspected terrorists, and just before Congress takes up the question of a replacement system in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

As part of its decision, the court found that a key provision of the Geneva conventions, known as Common Article 3, did apply to terror suspects, contradicting the position taken by the Bush administration." WHOLE STORY

I wonder if this will actually change the practises so common at Guantanamo Bay