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Last-minute Charges Laid Against Mount Polley in Private Prosecution Against Mount Polley in Private Prosecution E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 05 August 2017 12:20

Last-minute Charges Laid Against 
Mount Polley in Private Prosecution Carol Linnitt - August 4, 2017

In a surprise eleventh-hour move, indigenous activist and former Chief of the Xat’sull First Nation, Bev Sellars, has filed charges against the Mount Polley Mining Corporation, owned by Imperial Metals, for the mine disaster that saw 24 million cubic metres of mine waste released into Quesnel Lake on this day, three years ago.


Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:18
NDP to probe lack of B.C. charges in Mount Polley dam failure E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 05 August 2017 12:14

August 4, 2017 5:56 pm By Gordon Hoekstra

The B.C. NDP government says it will determine why a deadline to lay provincial regulatory charges was missed in an investigation over Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings dam failure.

The three-year time limit to lay charges under B.C.’s Environmental Management Act ended .

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service-led investigation continues in conjunction with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but officials have not been able to say when it will be complete.

Federal charges are still possible under the Fisheries Act.

On Friday, Premier John Horgan said he was shocked to learn that no provincial charges will be laid in the 2014 dam collapse.

One of the largest dam failures in the world in the past 50 years, the Mount Polley collapse released millions of cubic metres of effluent and finely-ground rock containing potentially toxic metals into waterways, including Quesnel Lake, the migratory pathway for more than one million sockeye salmon.

Others also weighed in  citing disappointment over the lack of charges, including the federal NDP and Amnesty International.

With the support of several environmental groups — including Mining Watch Canada and West Coast Environmental Law — former Xat’sull First Nation chief Bev Sellars announced  she had filed private charges in provincial court under B.C.’s Environmental Management Act and the Mining Act over the Mount Polley dam failure. In a statement, she said she hoped the private charges could act as a “doorstopper,” buying time for the investigation to be completed and the potential for the province to carry on with charges.

Contents from a tailings pond are pictured going down the Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely on Aug. 5, 2014. JONATHAN HAYWARD /THE CANADIAN PRESS

In an interview , Environment Minister George Heyman said he would review how the Conservation Officer Service undertakes investigations to ensure they are expeditious.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:32
Indigenous Advocate Seeks Justice - Files charges against Imperial Metals Over Biggest Mining Spill in Canada E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 05 August 2017 12:03


Indigenous Advocate Seeks Justice - Files charges against Imperial Metals Over Biggest Mining Spill in Canada

Bev Sellars and Jacinda Mack, Vancouver, August 4 2017

Vancouver, August 4, 2017, 3h30pm. As today marks the third anniversary of the Mt Polley Mine disaster and the time limit to file charges under BC laws, Indigenous advocate Bev Sellars announces that she filed private charges against Mount Polley Mining Corporation (Imperial Metals) at the Provincial Court of British Columbia this afternoon in Vancouver. Sellars was acting Chief of Xat’sull First Nation when the disaster struck near her community on August 4, 2014.

This legal action comes after the newly elected Horgan government announced earlier this week it would not file charges before the August 4 deadline, stating that “an investigation was still ongoing,” and passing the buck to the Trudeau government to enforce the federal Fisheries Act in the matter.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:40
Rachel Notley's Pipeline Throwdown Will Never Win Over B.C. E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 20:31

by Chris Genovali - Huffington post 

The Alberta premier's audacious guarantee seems intemperate at best.

"Mark my words, that pipeline will be built," vows Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

With multiple lawsuits before the courts, including one by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and an anti-Trans Mountain provincial government taking power in British Columbia, Notley's audacious guarantee seems intemperate at best. However, if Notley's intention was to harden opposition in B.C. to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, she certainly accomplished that. Notley's inflammatory "mark my words" throwdown, coupled with her hectoring and lecturing that Kinder Morgan's oil sands pipeline and supertanker mega-project is in the best interests of British Columbians, will never win hearts or minds in B.C.

What Notley clearly does not understand is that many British Columbians consider the Salish Sea and its Southern Resident killer whales as priceless and irreplaceable; a worth immeasurable in monetary terms.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:51
Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 07:18

Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs
Chrystia Freeland



Dear Minister Freeland,

We are [I am] outraged by the position the Trudeau government has taken with regard to the escalating conflict in Venezuela. Once again the government has condemned Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, expressing serious concerns over the government’s plan for a Constituent Assembly, saying it’s “contrary to Venezuela’s Constitution”.  This is not only a flagrant interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation but is also factually incorrect.  Article 347 and 348 of the Bolivarian Constitution clearly outlines its legitimacy and establishes the president’s right to convoke a National Constituent Assembly.
Colonialism and Greed: Trump Considers Afghan War Expansion to Exploit Minerals E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 29 July 2017 09:18


Trump is reportedly being encouraged by corporate executives to take advantage of Afghanistan's mineral wealth


Trump appears committed to the belief that mineral extraction "could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in" Afghanistan, the New York Times reported. (Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr/cc)

As the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan approaches, President Donald Trump is reportedly being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to extend the scope of the conflict for one simple, greedy reason: to exploit Afghanistan's mineral reserves.

"This is like free PR for the Taliban about U.S. intentions under Trump." 
—Laura Rozen, AI Monitor

According to James Risen and Mark Landler of the New York Times, the Trump administration is "considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials" as the president is receiving encouragement from Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire head of DynCorp, and Michael Silver, the head of American Elements, a firm that specializes in "extracting rare-earth minerals."

"In 2010, American officials estimated that Afghanistan had untapped mineral deposits worth nearly $1 trillion," Risen and Landler note. This large figure reportedly "caught the attention of" the president, who has in the past argued that the biggest failure of the U.S. in Iraq was not"taking" the country's oil.

Trump is hardly the first president to notice and eagerly examine Afghanistan's mineral reserves.

"In 2006, the George W. Bush administration conducted aerial surveys of the country to map its mineral resources," Risen and Landler note. "Under President Barack Obama, the Pentagon set up a task force to try to build a mining industry in Afghanistan—a challenge that was stymied by rampant corruption, as well as security problems and the lack of roads, bridges or railroads."

Nonetheless, Trump appears to be committed to the belief that mineral extraction "could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country," despite warnings from security analysts that such a strategy could risk further deadly confrontations with the Taliban.

"That sort of habit makes some people rich in the business world, at the expense of making others poor. When you're talking about global politics and terrorism, however, people die, and nations fail." 
—Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

If Trump moves forward with a mineral extraction plan, Eric Levitz of New York Magazine adds, there is a serious "danger of feeding the Taliban top-notch propaganda. It's hard to win hearts and minds, when you're also trying to win minerals and mines."

But as Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes observes, such concerns are unlikely to move Trump, whose "greed has led the man to leave a path of destruction behind him on his pursuit of profit and glory."

"That sort of habit makes some people rich in the business world, at the expense of making others poor," Estes writes. "When you're talking about global politics and terrorism, however, people die, and nations fail."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump White House has been consulting with high-profile war profiteers who have argued that the way forward in Afghanistan is to further privatize military operations in the country. White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Jared Kushner reportedly "recruited" both Feinberg and Blackwater founder Erik Prince to lay out a war plan for the president.

Critics denounced this development as a step toward "colonialism," and commentators had similar words for Trump's apparent attraction to Afghanistan's mineral wealth.

Law professor and former White House lawyer Andy Wright concluded that the Timesreport lays bare Trump's "British Empire thinking," which places plunder over "threat-based security."

Ottawa calls for investigation into Saudi Arabia’s apparent use of Canadian-made armoured vehicles against citizens E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 29 July 2017 03:59


Ottawa calls for investigation into Saudi Arabia’s apparent use of Canadian-made armoured vehicles against citizens

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s department says she is “deeply concerned” that Saudi Arabia’s rulers appear to be deploying Canadian-made armoured vehicles in an escalating conflict with Saudi citizens.

Ms. Freeland has asked officials to investigate the matter. Global Affairs Canada released a statement shortly after The Globe and Mail published a story Friday on the apparent use of Canadian-made combat vehicles in Saudi Arabia’s violence-plagued Eastern Province.

Jeremy Corbyn speaks to Naomi Klein about creating a better world E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 21 July 2017 09:07

creating-better-world - Green Left Weekly/July 18, 2017

"Social justice isn't copyrighted," British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told Naomi Klein in an  on Thursday Common Dreams said that Klein, a left-wing writer and activist whose new book is  No Is Not Enough, spoke to the socialist Labour leader about discuss [sic] Labour's stunning results in last month's elections,the Trump administration, Bernie Sanders, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Grenfell Tower and much more.

Despite attacks from his own party establishment and hostility from all the corporate media, Corbyn led Labour to win the reatest rise in proproption of vote for Labour in any election since the end of World War II (with Labour winning almost 10% more than in the 2015 elections).

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 01:17
Venezuela Needs Dialogue and Negotiation to Avoid Civil War; Not Trump-Supported “Regime Change” E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 20 July 2017 12:44

This column was written for Tribune News Services, in response to the question, "Should the United States support regime change in Venezuela?" It was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency on July 19, 2017, and published by the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers.

The question of what role Washington should play in Venezuela’s crisis is a simple one, given its recent history. The answer is the same as it would be with regard to the role we would want the Russian government to play in US politics and elections: none at all.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:35
Chemical weapons from secret Canadian-U.S. mustard gas program in Panama to be destroyed E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:35

by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen<\p>

Scientists conducted race-based experiments on San Jose Island where they monitored how mustard gas affected the skin of blacks, Puerto Ricans, Japanese and Caucasians

The U.S. has agreed to destroy chemical bombs left over from a secret U.S.-Canadian test program that conducted mustard-gas experiments on various ethnic groups during the Second World War.

The eight bombs were discovered on San Jose Island, the site of an extensive wartime chemical weapons test program and, later, the location for several seasons of the Survivor reality TV series.

The weapons on the Panamanian island will be destroyed in September.

Canada’s Department of National Defence had warned years ago that Canadian-made mustard gas and other chemical weapons might still be found on the island, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen through the Access to Information law.

Photo: An unidentified Canadian soldier with burns caused by mustard gas gets treatment. Library and Archives Canada/CP]

The failure by the U.S. and Canadian governments to commit to cleaning up the contaminated island has angered Panamanian officials for years. The chemical bombs were discovered in 2002 but it has taken until now to get the U.S. to agree to dispose of the weapons.

More than 30,000 chemical bombs were detonated on the island during the U.S.-led program. One report indicated that there could be up to 3,000 bombs still intact and scattered in the jungles on San Jose.

Canadian DND scientists also noted in one report that in 1974 a worker at a construction site on the island suffered burns from a mysterious substance.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:13
World Rejects Nuclear Weapons in 122-1 Vote at UN E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 07 July 2017 22:25
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
by john halam
World Rejects Nuclear Weapons in 122-1 Vote at UN
At the United Nations in New York, a meeting convened by a December 2016 vote of the UN General Assembly has voted to make nuclear weapons illegal.
The decisive vote of 122 'yes' to 1 'no' vote took place this morning in the vast and packed Conference Room 1 just off the first sub-basement of the UN, after the Netherlands called for a vote. They were the sole 'NO' vote though Singapore abstained.
The vote was followed by prolonged cheers and clapping both from the many nongovernmental organisations present in the completely full Conference room 1 and in an overflow room, also completely full.
The President of the conference, Ambassador Elaine Whyte-Gomez of Costa Rica, could be seen with a number of other delegates, wiping away tears as the numbers flashed onto the electronic voting board.
As the vote was announced, she announced that there was a very long list of Governments that wished to speak about the decision. In fact as I write this release in the lunch-break that list has not been exhausted. 
The vote followed three weeks of often agonizing negotiations, as well as two days of preliminary negotiations in March. 
The Nuclear Prohibition Treaty arguably reinforces what is already implicit in both International Humanitarian Law and in article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), namely that nuclear weapons are illegal.
While it could be argued that nuclear weapons are already illegal this treaty for the first time provides an explicit multilateral legal instrument that outlaws them.
In taking the floor, country after country noted the historic nature of what was being done. Other weapons of mass destruction such as biological weapons and chemical weapons, as well as landmines, are illegal. Yet until today, a specific instrument outlawing nuclear weapons has not been in existence. Now, there is one. Governments also noted the critical role of civil society in bringing about this result, as well as its existential necessity.
People for Nuclear Disarmament's nuclear weapons campaigner John Hallam, who has been present for the full three weeks of the negotiation as well as participating in some of the conferences leading up to it, noted that:
" Nuclear weapons remain the only weapon that can destroy both civilization and much of the biosphere in less than a couple of hours and can do so by mistake - a mistake that has nearly taken place on upwards of a dozen terrifying occasions already."
"To eliminate nuclear weapons completely is an survival imperative that civilization cannot evade. Its clear that the overwhelming majority of the worlds Governments understand that narrow considerations of so called 'national security' cannot override the imperative of the survival of civilization and of the human species, which nuclear weapons place in jeopardy. We call on all Governments without exception, including especially the Governments of the 'official' nuclear weapon states and other states that possess nuclear weapons, to do their moral duty to the rest of the planet and to join the treaty and eliminate their nuclear arsenals."
"Ultimately, if we completely fail to eliminate nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons will eliminate us. Nuclear abolition is not a 'feel-good some-century' ambition. It is an urgent survival imperative and needs to be prioritised as such. The majority of the worlds Governments have shown that they understand that very well. Now the states that have nuclear weapons must come on board"
"We call on all Governments without exception, no matter what kinds of military alliances they may be involved with, to join the Treaty and to make the necessary changes in their security policies."
John Hallam,
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
United Nations
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:05
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