Sunday, December 31, 2006

And the kangaroo hopped away with The Writ...

While we curse and stomp at the kangaroo court that sentenced Saddam to his death-by-hanging, I continue to be transfixed by the travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham [...deep breath...] that is 'justice' at Guantanamo Bay.
This New Years' Eve, Tim Golden of the NY Times provides us with a long yet oddly sterile summary of the evolution of "trials" at the base known as GTMO. Regular readers of H&O (hi Sis!) know how closely I have followed the treatment of prisoners at this base (nevermind our own, Canadian GTMO disgrace).
Reading Golden's review, one is tempted to downgrade the 'combatant' review hearings at GTMO to something worse than a kangaroo court (a wombat court?). Whatever it is, it isn't justice. Here's an example culled from Golden's opening passages:
At one end of a converted trailer in the American military detention center here, a graying Pakistani businessman sat shackled before a review board of uniformed officers, pleading for his freedom.
The prisoner had seen just a brief summary of what officials said was a thick dossier of intelligence linking him to Al Qaeda. He had not seen his own legal papers since they were taken away in an unrelated investigation. He has lawyers working on his behalf in Washington, London and Pakistan, but here his only assistance came from an Army lieutenant colonel, who stumbled as he read the prisoner’s handwritten statement.
As the hearing concluded, the detainee, who cannot be identified publicly under military rules, had a question. He is a citizen of Pakistan, he noted. He was arrested on a business trip to Thailand. On what authority or charges was he even being held?
“That question,” a Marine colonel presiding over the panel answered, “is outside the limits of what this board is permitted to consider.”
And why is the board not permitted to consider the basis upon which the prisoner is held? Why, it's simple: Habeas Corpus--"The Great Writ"--is dead. Gone. Buried. Another casualty of the war-on-terrah. Golden elaborates (ever so slightly):
Under a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in October, this double-wide trailer may be as close to a courtroom as most Guantánamo prisoners ever get. The law prohibits them from challenging their detention or treatment by writs of habeas corpus in the federal courts. Instead, they may only petition a single federal appeals court to examine whether the review boards followed the military’s own procedures in reviewing their status as “enemy combatants.”
Now, here's where a very reasonable-type person might ask: What about all of those people who were actually released from Guantanamo? How did they get out? Well, there is no consistent explanation for why certain prisoners are released. Par example, although it would appear that pressure from Saudi allies resulted in the release of 29 Saudis a few weeks ago (*cough* following Dick Cheney's powwow with the House of Saud *cough*), but what of David Hicks, the Australian man who's been languishing in GTMO since late 2001? Is John Howard that feeble-of-voice that he can't pressurize Bush for Hicks' release to the Aussie authorities? What of Omar Khadr, the Canadian teenager who was arrested in 2002 at the age of 15? Do we not care? Seriously?! Hell, I blame all of us for allowing this kid to rot down there. I don't care who his daddy was.
Say...while we're on Canada: do you remember Harper's ootrage in November over the Chinese government's detention of Huseyin Celil, a Muslim Canadian of Uighur descent? Oh boy, was he mad. He was gonna get tough with China, nevermind trade or 'relations,' Harper was gonna give them what-for about that Uighur guy, damn "the almighty dollar." Now that was odd. You see, I don't remember reading aboot Harper's outrage over the detention of 22 Uighur prisoners in Guantanamo. Nope. I heard crickets. Thomas Walkom noticed the crickets too.
You know, I realize that Harper doesn't read my backwater-blog ("Habeas Schmaebeas"), or even the great Thomas Walkom. But maybe, just maybe he'll read today's NY Times (back to Golden's piece):
The Uighurs’ sworn enemy was not the United States but the Communist government of China, which had long oppressed their people. The military accused the detainees of belonging to a separatist group that the Chinese authorities had persuaded Washington to list as a terrorist organization, but some experts on the region disputed that characterization of the group and the detainees denied any link to it.
The State Department, fearful that the men would be tortured if they were sent back to China, had already begun trying to place the Uighurs as refugees in Europe when their cases came for review at Guantánamo, officials said.
“We were shocked that they even sent those guys before the C.S.R.T.’s [Combatant Status Review Tribunals]” said one former national security official who worked on the matter. “They had already been identified for release.”
Because the Uighurs told very similar stories, Pentagon officials were confounded when at least five of them were determined not to be enemy combatants and the rest properly held, officials said. At least several of the Uighurs, including some found not to be enemy combatants, had their cases reviewed again, officials said. They described the impetus for doing so as “quality control.” But available documents show that at least one of the detainees, whose case was reviewed again, was finally found to be an enemy combatant. Five Uighur detainees were finally sent to Albania as refugees in May.
Can anyone read about the GTMO Uighurs and reasonably conclude that prisoners do not deserve the right to challenge their detention? No need for habeas corpus? You're not alone: 7 retired American federal judges filed a brief with the US Court of Appeals (DC Circuit), asserting that:
[...]"enemy combatants" should be allowed to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.
Seven retired federal judges from both political parties filed a friend-of-the-court brief in November, urging the appeals court to declare parts of the new law, which was signed by President Bush this fall, unconstitutional.
They said the law, which sets up military commissions to hear terrorism cases, "challenges the integrity of our judicial system" and effectively sanctions the use of torture.
The result? The brief was rejected on a technicality:
In a 2 to 1 decision yesterday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said it would not accept the judges' brief on a legal technicality, saying the title "judge" should not be used to describe former judges in legal proceedings.
[...] The appeals panel's more conservative judges, David B. Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph, issued the opinion, with Judge Judith W. Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, dissenting. Carl W. Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor, said it is unusual for such briefs to be rejected.
And the kangaroo hopped away with The Writ...

Read on, MacDuff!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerry, we hardly knew ye...

Hoo boy. President Gerald Ford, may he RIP, is telling tales from beyond-the-beyond. And, really...what better time to talk some trash? Woody takes off his bestseller-beret for a moment and adjusts his ratty ol' press-hat: "Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq," By Bob Woodward
In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.
"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."
[...] Describing his own preferred policy toward Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Ford said he would not have gone to war, based on the publicly available information at the time, and would have worked harder to find an alternative. "I don't think, if I had been president, on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly," he said, "I don't think I would have ordered the Iraq war. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer."
Well, cripes...thanks for telling us now, you dingbat. Jeez. What's this? There's more...
Woodward goes on to recount how Ford approached Kissinger in '75 about giving up his position as National Security Adviser (i.e. leaving Kissinger "only" Sec. State).
Kissinger was not happy. "Mr. President, the press will misunderstand this," Ford recalled Kissinger telling him. "They'll write that I'm being demoted by taking away half of my job." But Ford made the changes, elevating the deputy national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, to take Kissinger's White House post.
[...] Kissinger remained a challenge for Ford. He regularly threatened to resign, the former president recalled. "Over the weekend, any one of 50 weekends, the press would be all over him, giving him unshirted hell. Monday morning he would come in and say, 'I'm offering my resignation.' Just between Henry and me. And I would literally hold his hand. 'Now, Henry, you've got the nation's future in your hands and you can't leave us now.' Henry publicly was a gruff, hard-nosed, German-born diplomat, but he had the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew."
Ford added, "Any criticism in the press drove him crazy." Kissinger would come in and say: "I've got to resign. I can't stand this kind of unfair criticism." Such threats were routine, Ford said. "I often thought, maybe I should say: 'Okay, Henry. Goodbye,' " Ford said, laughing. "But I never got around to that."
At one point, Ford recalled Kissinger, his chief Vietnam policymaker, as "coy."
Kissinger "thin-skinned" and "coy"?! Who was he, Greta Garbo? 'Tis not easy being a war criminal, eh? Oh, the burns!
Better not tell that to the millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Chileans, & East Timorese who suffered so directly from Kissinger's "diplomacy."
Huh? East-Timorese?! Yes, so far I think that Amy Goodman's the only one to include that in their 'Ford is dead' round-up. Here's Amy speaking to Brad Simpson of the National Security Archives about Kissinger & Ford's complicity in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor:
AMY GOODMAN: Brad, you recently got documents declassified about President Ford and his role in 1975, in meeting with the long reigning dictator of Indonesia, Suharto. Can you explain what you learned?
BRAD SIMPSON: Yes. Gerald Ford actually met twice with Suharto, first in July of 1975 when Suharto came to the United States. And later in December of 1975, of course, on the eve of his invasion of East Timor. And we now know that for more than a year Indonesia had been planning its armed takeover of East Timor, and the United States had of course been aware of Indonesian military plans. In July of 1975, the National Security Council first informed Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford of Indonesia’s plans to take over East Timor by force. And Suharto of course raised this with Gerald Ford in July when he met with Gerald Ford at Camp David on a trip to the United States. And then in December of 1975 on a trip through Southeast Asia, Gerald Ford met again with Suharto on the eve of the invasion, more than two weeks after the National Security Council, CIA, other intelligence agencies had concluded that an Indonesian invasion was eminent [sic]. And that the only thing delaying the invasion was the fear that US disapproval might lead to a cut-off of weapons and military supplies to the regime.
AMY GOODMAN: How knowledgeable was President Ford at the time of the situation?
BRAD SIMPSON: Well, Ford was very much aware. He was receiving hourly briefings, as was Henry Kissinger, as his plane lifted off from Indonesia, as the invasion indeed commenced. And immediately afterwards Gerald Ford flew to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, or to Guam—excuse me, where he gave a speech saying that never again should the United States allow another nation to strike in the middle of the night, to attack another defenseless nation. This was on Pearl Harbor Day, of course. Realizing full well that another day of infamy was unfolding in Dili, East Timor. As thousands of Indonesian paratroopers, trained by the United States, using US supplied weapons, indeed jumping from United States supplied airplanes, were descending upon the capital city of Dili and massacring literally thousands of people in the hours and days after December 7, 1975.
But why help Suharto in this massacre? Goodman gets more insight from Allan Nairn (journalist and co-producer of "Massacre: the Story East Timor"):
ALLAN NAIRN: [...] when I asked Ford whether he did in fact authorize the invasion of East Timor, he said, “Frankly, I don't recall.” He didn't remember. And I believed him.
What Ford said was that there were many topics on the agenda that day with Suharto [2 days before the invasion]. Timor was not very high on the agenda. It was one of the lesser topics, and he just couldn't remember whether he had authorized this invasion, which ended up killing 1/3 of the Timorese population. And it's kind of an illustration of the fact that when, like the United States, you're a global power with regimes everywhere dependant on your weapons, you can start wars, authorize wars, take actions that result in mass deaths in a fairly casual way.
In this case, the US didn't have a great interest in East Timor. All the evidence suggests that they didn’t particularly care one way or the other whether Timor became independent. But as a favor to Suharto, who was close to Washington, who was their protégée, they decided to let him go ahead with the invasion. So, for just a marginal, fleeting gain – or, out of doing a favor for a buddy -- they ended up causing a mass murder that proportionally was the most intensive killing since the Nazis, a third of the population killed.
So that's it, eh? Suharto was a buddy. A pal. A hail-fellow-well-met. Pity about those dead bodies. We're gonna need some redacting pens and a few more Chevy Chase pratfalls to erase this...

Ok. Here's the thing: I know Ford will be most remembered for his pardoning of Nixon. A close second? Probably his graceless tumble down those airplane steps. But I gotta many of us twigged to the Indonesian invasion of East-Timor, yesterday morning? "Not I," said the little red-hen.

This omission from "the record" as we know it is a testament to the failure of so many institutions...journaMAlism, history-ographics. You name it. To experience the death of Ford as the loss of a benign caretaker-president is to miss the wakes of thousands-upon-thousands of lost souls.

Read on, MacDuff!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fun with Rex Murphy

Whaddyou want to bet that the G&M mandarins removed "humbuggery" from the original title?
Surely Canada's answer to George Will wouldn't stoop to writing about the war-on-Christmas?

[G & M intern]: Gen. Murphy! The secular-humanist phalanxes are amassing over the horizon!
[Gen. Murphy, pacing the G&M editorial Rm.]: The time for sugar-coating is over. I don't think I have to tell you...this could get messy. Very messy, indeed.
Cpl. Blatchford!
[Cpl. Christie Blatchford]: Yes, sir!
[Gen. Murphy, looking off into the distance]: We're gonna need a lot more tinsel.

Read on, MacDuff!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sen. Leahy wants to do right by Arar

Sen. Patrick Leahy wants to haul Attorney Gen. Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales before the new Judiciary Cmte. Key questions (aside from the important 'WTF, dude?!'): why is Maher Arar still deemed a "threat" to the US? Why are [Americans] still kidnapping...scuse me..."rendering" people to other countries' torture chambers? Here's today's Torstar piece by Tim Harper: "Key Democrat wants to know why Arar still barred from U.S. "
Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who will chair the judiciary committee in the new Congress, said Arar has the right to know what suspicions the Bush administration still harbour against him after he was exonerated by a Canadian inquiry.
"The Canadian government has now documented that the wrong thing was done to the wrong man," Leahy said. "It is time for the (Bush) administration to do what it can to redress this wrong, instead of perpetuating it."
[...]Leahy says he wants Gonzales before his committee to discuss the entire U.S. policy of rendition and he said in a speech last week he will no longer put up with non-answers shrouded in security concerns or promises to get back to him.
"It's not just this individual case," Leahy said, "but what does this say when someone's plane stops here, they have citizenship in a neighbouring country and we ship them back to Syria. "You know they are going to be tortured.
"This is beneath our country. And it does absolutely nothing to make us more secure and it is a gross human rights violation.
"One thing that can be done is our country should sit down with yours and say: How did we all screw up here?"
Arar's Toronto lawyer, Lorne Waldman, said he was "very encouraged" by Leahy's pledge.
Go, Mr. Leahy! I want front-row seats for your next hearing :)

Read on, MacDuff!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good Morning America: Judge, jury and gynecologist?

Cripes! Can we just leave the woman alone?
Angelina Jolie shot down pregnancy rumours yesterday (14.12.06) when she revealed she is taking the contraceptive pill.
[...] Angelina told US TV show 'Good Morning America': "If I was pregnant I shouldn't have been drinking wine last night! No, we're not. I'm on the pill.
"Next up on Good Morning: What you and your family need to know about Lindsay Lohan's pap results. Heh heh heh...they just might surprise you!"

And yes, I realize that I am perpetuating this tripe by posting about it. Bad blogger. Bad, bad, bad...

Read on, MacDuff!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Liquid Bomber case goes 'poof'--no kidding, eh?

Remember the apoplexy over the 'liquid bombers,' last August? Remember this guy, Rashid Rauf? [11 Aug 2006 BBC News]
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has named one of the two British nationals of Pakistani origin arrested in connection with an alleged UK plot to bomb planes. He is identified as Rashid Rauf. Both men were picked up in the cities of Lahore and Karachi last week. They were among seven people arrested in Pakistan. Intelligence officials later said more Pakistanis had been arrested in the east of the country in connection with aircraft terror plot.[...] UK police are questioning 23 people over the alleged plot to attack planes flying from the UK to the US.
Funny story...Pakistan's dismissing the terrorism charges against Rauf [13 Dec 2006 NY Times]:
A judge threw out terrorism charges on Wednesday against Rashid Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani descent whom prosecutors depicted as a major figure in a plot to smuggle liquid explosives onto trans-Atlantic airliners and detonate the bombs in flight.
The ruling means there are now no terrorism charges against two people once accused of being linchpins of a major bombing plot by Al Qaeda. The other is Tayib Rauf, Mr. Rauf’s younger brother, who was detained in Britain in August and was soon set free without charge.
[...] Reports of a bombing conspiracy created powerful strains between American and British investigators over the timing of a crackdown on suspects in which British authorities rounded up 25 people on Aug. 9 and 10, later charging 17 of them. The other eight, including Tayib Rauf, were set free without charges.
British officials involved in the case said that American investigators had pushed for quicker arrests but that the British had wanted to wait to gather admissible evidence.[...] Mr. Rauf has not been charged in Britain in connection with any airline plot, and a Home Office spokeswoman said no extradition request had been made in relation to a plot.
When I first blogged about this, I linked to an NBC news report explaining why the British were irritated by the timing of the "liquid bomb announcement." At the time, the Brits were worried that the US would "render" Rauf or "pressure the Pakistani government to arrest him." And, as surely as lunch follows breakfast, there were the reports of torture:
"“When they interrogated Rauf he broke. He told them what we believe was not even in the knowledge of the US and the British "— that they were actually planning to blow up airliners,"” one of the [British] officials said. "“When they had finished interrogating him for three or four days then they coordinated this information with the British authorities and they carried out the arrests in Britain,"” the official added.
Yes, I realize that >15 guys remain under investigation in the UK...all of a sudden I feel the need to 'Google Alert' each of their names. Stay tuned.
[UPDATE 12:09 AM 14 Dec/06]: Winter Patriot has much more background (promoted from his comments):
Today one British report is saying the dismissal of the charges against Rashid Rauf paves the way for an extradition -- so maybe it didn't really go POOF after all ... I'm not sure how they figured this out or whether they're right but that's what they're saying.
There's been a lot of lying and a lot of confusion about this case, all over the place. For instance, the piece you quoted from Dawn says Rashid was tortured for three or four days and then spilled the names of the others. But many of the early reports indicated that Rashid was arrested on the 9th of August and of course all the others were arrested on the 9th and 10th, so where are those three or four days?
There is much more to read on his blog--thanks, WP!

Read on, MacDuff!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How to get into military-prison construction without even trying

Here's a neat trick: pretend, for a moment, that you work for BushCheneyCo. and you want to build a $125 Million permanent facility at Guantanamo Bay. Word has it that you want the new digs to hold up to 1200 souls. You want primo kangaroo courts. You want it built yesterday but will settle for July '07. You wannu build it so bad:
  1. Your contractor friends have neatly affixed their bibs and they're pulling up to the gilded trough (a man can't live on no-bid Katrina pork alone);
  2. You know you've been keeping 400+ men in captivity (some for nearly 5 years) and the Supreme Court's been a-hasslin' ya to "try" them (or sumpin' fruity like that);
  3. You can't very well 'try' them in the garish light of a real US court-system, what with all the nosy people with steno-notepads (Seymour Hersh) or Blackberrys (CNN).
And time's running out. Pesky new Congress and that Henry Waxman dude with his 'subpoena' power. Heh heh heh...subpoena power. Sorry...that was a joke, right?
So what do you do? Clearly, you gots to get your new GTMO. Well sir, you'll get it but it won't be're gonna need to pull a mighty big rabbit outta yer 10 gallon hat. C'mon now...think! You're the DECIDER!
Pentagon Puts Guantanamo Court Project On Fast Track [Miami Herald, Monday, December 4, 2006]
The Pentagon is invoking emergency authority to expedite funding of a war-crimes-court compound at its Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England has informed Congress.
Defense spokesmen would not say when, if ever, the Pentagon had last invoked similar authority. Nor would they specify which military construction already approved by Congress would be frozen to fund the court project, which could cost as much as $125 million, according to U.S. government documents.
[...] England's letter cited "Section 2808 of title 10, United States Code" as authorization for the fast-track authority. The Pentagon would not elaborate, but it appears to be relying on a National Emergency Construction Authority Executive Order, which President Bush signed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Emergency Construction? That's it?! That's all you got, Decider-man? Frankly, I'm not sure you can pull this one off again. They're on to you with that "9/11 Executive order" shit. It is so played. Congress knows all your tricks and this time the House--or the Senate, as it were--isn't gonna stack the deck for you.
What's this? I believe Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) has your card...
US cancels Guantanamo complex plan
The Pentagon will not try to use emergency powers to build a compound to hold war-crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay, according to a member of a Senate panel that oversees funding for military construction projects.
The US defense department notified senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, on Sunday that it cancelled a contract order to build the new courthouse complex at the isolated base in southeast Cuba.
The US defense department said that the cancellation was because of concerns about the location and funds for the facility, according to a statement from Feinstein's office
She said in a statement late on Friday: "I thank the department for postponing plans to build a permanent courthouse at Guantanamo Bay. It's important this courthouse proceed through regular order, with public hearings, so that there is full knowledge of what is intended."
Smooth move, Feinstein. [/sarcastic clapping]
Decider: Rebuttal?
Will you 'see' her Congressional-oversight and 'raise' her your Executive Order #[indecipherable]?
Why not convene your crack team of Gonzales, Bybee & Woo. The torture brain-trust hasn't had anything juicy to work on in ages. They're gagging for it!
Better ante up, tough guy: They're makin a monkey outta you!

Ok. I know the Congress will cave. I know they'll give him his shiny new GTMO. Of course they will. But a gal can fantasize, no? Ah hell... in America Jr., three "security detainees" are still held in a small trailer at Millhaven (~Kingston, ON): "Canadian prison being called Guantanamo North"
A small trailer with six cells surrounded by razor wire and fencing on the grounds of Millhaven Prison is being called Guantanamo North by human rights activists.
Mahmoud Jaballah, who has been detained for more than five years without being charged, is one of three men being held in the trailer compound in the Kingston penitentiary on security certificates based on secret intelligence.
Jaballah said all he wants is a fair trial. "If I go to a fair trial ... I will have freedom," he told CTV News. Jaballah arrived in Canada in 1996. He was detained in August 2001 on a second security certificate after the courts rejected the first one as unreasonable.
Ottawa can use a security certificate to determine whether a foreign citizen poses a security threat. Under the certificates, the person can be held indefinitely without being charged, and without being told the reason for the detention.
Brian has much, much more background & updates on these men and their legal challenges at his site. Two of the original five men have been released on bail (Mr. Harkat and Mr. Charkaoui) but their status is still unresolved and they are far from 'out of the woods.'
[h/t to The Rachel Maddow Show for the "Emergency" GTMO Construction news]

Read on, MacDuff!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 16: Human Rights?

Yes, it's Day 16 of the *16 Days* campaign against gender-based violence. On today, International Human Rights Day, I thought it fitting to end my TakeBacktheTech ka-BLOGathon by taking a moment to reflect on these rights. As someone who started a blog due to a desperate need to spread-the-word about torture and war, I thought I knew what "human rights" meant. Think of the renditions, the torture, the kangaroo 'tribunals,' the 'ghost detainees,' the wars...I know these things go on in the world. But then I stop and think some more and see more outrages...
...think of kids walking days for potable water;
...think of people dying of cold on the streets;
...think of people dying of utterly preventable diseaases by virtue of where they live and who they are;
...think of women anxious and hyperventilating at the sound of footsteps in the dark;
...think of widows 'bequeathed' to their late-husband's brother;
...think of the family separated forever by 'other men's wars';
...think of sex slaves and human cargo;
...think of gays tortured, hung or stoned to death;
...think of sweatshops packed with women subjected to prostitution, sanitary-pad checks and--sometimes--very unsanitary abortions.
You know, it honestly took a review of this Declaration to force me to face-up to how egregious the violations truly are--yes, even here in Canada sometimes (pssst...Stephen Harper! Oh hell...he's not reading this). Mesdames et Messieurs, I bring you the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"--Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 16. (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26. (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29. (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
This marks my last ka-BLOG :( Thanks so much to my co-ka-BLOGGers and to the brilliant women at It has been a real honour to participate in the campaign. Peace & Goodnight---GDK.

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Ka-BLOG Day 15: Action for the Women of Darfur

Saturday was Day 15 of the 16 Days campaign against gender-based violence. Sunday is International Human Rights Day. The focus for this year's IHRD will be on Darfur. Late Saturday eve, a prominent group of women leaders called for peacekeepers to be sent to Darfur to protect women and girls from sexual violence. Here is the text of their letter:
The government of Sudan has so far proved unwilling or unable to protect its own civilians and has even armed and supported the Janjaweed militia responsible for many of these attacks. While the African Union peacekeepers have tried to address this situation, their efforts have not been enough to provide sufficient protection. The international community must now deliver on its responsibility to protect these civilians.
Only the immediate deployment of a robust and effective international peacekeeping force can now keep the Darfuri women and children safe. Pressure must be stepped up and maintained until the government of Sudan accepts such a force. Every day Darfuri women wait for effective protection is another day that more of them suffer one of the most appalling crimes against humanity.
Mary Robinson, Former UN high commissioner for Human Rights; Carol Bellamy, Former executive head of Unicef; Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy; Glenys Kinnock, MEP; Edith Cresson, Former prime minister of France; Sigrid Rausing, Philanthropist; Prof Fatima Babiker Mahmoud, Sudanese academic and writer; Prof Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Former German minister of justice; Nicole Fontaine, MEP; Agnes Nyoka Peter, Sudanese member of the National Assembly; Yakin Erturk, UN special rapporteur on violence against women; Emma Bonino, Italian trade minister; Pola Uddin, House of Lords; Fay Mansell, Chair, Women's Institutes; Graca Machel, Children's campaigner
This is where the true power of the internet & global communication comes to bear: we can help stop this! We can TakeBacktheTech and...
  1. better inform ourselves,
  2. spread the word,
  3. donate aid,
  4. pressure our leaders to act
...and then we can do it all over again tomorrow, if we have to (and we will).

To better arm yourself with the facts about sexual violence in Darfur, I highly recommend AllianceDarc's report at Even a cursory read-through the document tells us that the problem of rape is escalating in the region. Furthermore, it is clear that the consequences are terribly grave, indeed:
“More than 200 women have been sexually assaulted in the last five weeks alone around Darfur’s largest displaced camp, Kalma…This is a massive spike in figures. We are used to hearing of 2 to 4 incidents of sexual assault per month in Kalma camp.” [International Rescue Committee, Aug 2006]
[...] Left traumatised by the crime of rape itself, the consequences of sexual violence on women are long term. Some include:
  • Medical. The full range of health needs as a result of the severe effects of physical violence of rape is exacerbated by female genital mutilation (FGM) practised on the majority of women in the Darfur region. Medical consequences include internal bleeding, fistulas, incontinence and infection with sexually transmitted diseases such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV. The vast majority of survivors do not seek out nor have access to appropriate medical care.
  • Pregnancy as a result of rape. Both child and mother will likely suffer ostracism, trauma and further abuses of their rights. In addition to being thrown out of home, pregnant women have been reported arrested and detained in prison for illegal pregnancy.
  • Stigma and ostracism towards survivors of rape. In a testimony by a Darfur refugee in Chad, girls aged 9 to 13 who were raped while collecting firewood now have no prospect of marriage. [source]
  • Social and economic. Raped married or unmarried women may be rejected by their community and household without financial means for survival. [source]
  • Mental health problems as a result of stigmatisation, ostracism, pregnancy by perpetrators and irrecoverable destruction of survivors’ lives.
  • The low status of women further undermines the long-term consequences of rape. Impunity for rapists is promoting a climate of more violence against women as it increasingly is viewed as normal. The normalcy of violence, developed by impunity in general, is lethal for women and for building up new standards of ethics among humans.
To "Sound the Alarm" on Darfur and demand action from our world leaders, visit and sign the petition.

Amnesty International will mark the day with bloody clothes: "Darfur 'Washing Lines' of Bloodied Clothes"
Bloodied clothes hung on washing lines are being placed in public spaces in over 150 countries worldwide. The clothes represent the women and children who have been abducted, raped and killed by armed factions and government troops in Darfur, while the rest of the world dithers.
Amnesty International activists around the world are participating in the Global Day for Darfur (10 December), to urge the immediate deployment of a UN Peacekeeping Force in the Sudan. The focus of this Global Day of Action is 'sexual violence against women and girls' in Darfur.
AI and Human Rights Watch have also released a statement regarding the women of Darfur. In addition to rape, women are also subjected into 'sexual slavery':
On 7 October 2006, during an attack on Djimeze Djarma in Chad, a group of women were captured by Janjawid and held for 20 days.
“The men made us cook, fetch water, feed their camels and horses, and cook food for them. They would move between us and if we disobeyed they would beat us with their whips. We suffered a lot. I thought that I would be killed.” A woman interviewed by Amnesty International in Chad, November 2006.
To find a Dec 10th event near you, visit Remember to sign their petition! AI has also provided suggestions for writing your MP.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 14: Hope in faraway places

There are so many stories about which I've almost posted during this 16 days campaign. I don't want to forget to share them with you! The following stories do pertain to gender-based violence or feminism, but some are downright...umm...what's that word? Oh yes...hopeful!

Dalit women are determined to transform their pain into power:
In South Asia, Dalits – known as ‘’untouchables” and “outcastes” - have endured caste discrimination for centuries. The situation of Dalit women, one of the largest socially segregated groups in the world, is shocking. Dalit women are among the poorest; they face ‘triple discrimination’, as Dalits, as women and as poor. The caste system declares them intrinsically impure and “untouchable” and generally they are subjugated by men. Dalit women comprise the majority of manual scavengers, labourers who clean human excrements from dry toilets. Dalit women are targets of extreme violence, including sexual assault and forced prostitution.
[...]In the [Hague Declaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit women] the participants of the Hague conference call upon the governments of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to support the women in asserting their rights. The governments are called upon to address the failure of the justice system to protect Dalit women and to implement measures to close the vast socio-economic gap between Dalit women and the rest of the population.
"Giving Thanks to Voices of Women's Revolution: Up from Chiapas"
In her latest collaboration, 'Dissident Women,' published the week before Thanksgiving, [anthropologist Rosalva Aída Hernández] is one of several editors and writers who offer fresh studies about the ongoing indigenous women's revolutions of Southern Mexico, including a first-time-in-English publication of the 1994 Mayan document, 'Women's Rights in our Traditions and Customs.'
[...] "It is better that we women put down on paper that there are some customs that do not respect us and we want them changed," reads the Mayan document of 1994. "Violence-battering and rape-is not right. We don't want to be traded for money."
"The Shape of Water": (h/t
In an intimate encounter with five very different women in Brazil, India, Jerusalem, and Senegal (narrated by Susan Sarandon with introductory narration co-written by Edwidge Danticat) THE SHAPE OF WATER offers a close look at the far reaching and vibrant alternatives crafted by women in response to environmental degradation, archaic traditions, lack of economic independence and war. The documentary weaves together the daily life stories of Khady, Bilkusben, Oraiza, Dona Antonia, and Gila who, through candor and humor, infuse their communities with a passion for change. The women:
  • spearhead rainforest preservation (women working as rubber-tappers in the Brazilian rainforest);
  • sustain a vast co-operative of rural women (India: SEWA: the largest trades union in the world with 700,000 members);
  • promote an end to female genital cutting (FGC) (Senegal: communities abandoning FGC);
  • strengthen opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine (Women in Black in Jerusalem);
  • maintain a farm, Navdanya (in the foothills of the Himalayas) to further economic independence and biodiversity by preserving women’s role as seed keepers.
Before I go, please take a moment to visit 'In the Company of Wolves' and all of the other Ka-BLOGGERs out there. I'm really overwhelmed at how much effort they've put into this campaign. :) Lots of love, GDK/H&O.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 13: "Uncovered meat" or "Girl gone wild"?

It's Day 13 of the 16 Days campaign & Take back the Tech. Tonight's subject: SEX!

Ok, har har har...I've got your attention. Like shooting fish in a barrel, isn't it?

A lot of seemingly disparate stories have been gnawing at me lately. The only common thread is that they concern women's bodies.

An Australian cleric, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali:
If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without cover, and the cats come to eat it...whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.
Ariel Levy (author of "Female Chauvinist Pigs") describes life as a woman in a Girls Gone Wild culture:
Hot has replaced beautiful as the ultimate compliment and hot, according to Levy, means "f--kable" even when you're not -- legally, or inclined to. One of the strangest things about the rise of raunch, she argues, is the separation between how young women look today -- sporting more cleavage at family functions than most Hollywood stars of yore did at the Oscars -- and their actual desires or sexual activity. Women today, Levy says, are not more in touch with their sexuality as a result of all this display, and in fact they may even be less so. "It's about inauthenticity and the idea that women should be constantly exploding in little bursts of exhibitionism. It's an idea that female sexuality should be about performance and not about pleasure."
Playboy editor on trial in Indonesia:
Editor-in-chief, Erwin Arnada, has argued Playboy was good for developing a pluralistic society in Indonesia. But the prosecution told the South Jakarta court that the edition was lewd and broke the law, alleging that Mr Arnada selected revealing pictures of female models in underwear, some showing partially exposed breasts.
[...]"Photos, drawings and articles in Playboy Indonesia magazine were results of the defendant's selection. They were unsuitable for civility and could arouse lust among readers so they violated feelings of decency," said prosecutor Resni Muchtar, who is demanding the maximum sentence.
"The models also had inviting expressions on their faces," he added.
A female-female impersonator? Meet "The World Famous *BOB*":
Inspired by Drag Queens I set out from the farm to San Francisco to "run with the wolves". Ten years later I find myself bumpin' and grindin' with some of the current Burlesque scenes top shelf dolls all over the world.
A self described female-female impersonator, I've held on to the roots of Drag.
You know, maybe *BOB* (if that is her real name) is onto something here. What is sexuality for women, if not play-acting?

What is indecency if not uncovered (female) "meat"?

Truly? Seriously?!

I will never forget the giant Victoria's Secret display I saw in Denver, six years ago. It wasn't even particularly shocking, as far as lingerie ads go, but it sure caught my friend by surprise. You see, my friend's a father of a (then 2 year old) girl and all he could say was, "that is somebody's daughter!"

Sure, she's your daughter now...but in 10-15 yrs?
Play-acting meat.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 12: December 6th

Day 12 is for mourning, grieving & remembrance. I have done some of each today. Thanks to everyone who came out and to everyone who observed a moment of silence.
Peace & Goodnight.

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Ka-BLOG Day 11: Men & Mensch

It is barely Dec 6th and yet I can barely keep it together long enough to post. I am overwhelmed with sadness tonight and I need to cheer myself up. Today is perhaps the hardest of the 16 Days campaign: later today we will meet, reflect and honour the memories of the 14 women killed at l'École Polytechnique, in 1989. While we're doing that, our PM will further out-himself as a cynical pander-bear to the religious-right. Our friends to the south will be preoccupied with the toothless report filed by some Washington mandarins (the Baker-Hamilton study group on Iraq).

To exacerbate matters, you may find yourself in the company of men who "don't get it" and either openly-mock or challenge the very need to pay dignified remembrance to our lost sisters. Or, more benignly, you may notice your male peers in varying states of discomfort and at a total loss for "the right thing to say." To this latter group of men, I say this:

You don't have to say anything. Just being there, showing up & being good people is enough for me. Male participation in Dec 6 remembrance is so important. Yes, this is about stopping violence but it's not simply "our" day to wag-fingers and brand "you" with the collective shame of past wrongs. Dec 6 is about taking stock of where we are as a society and thinking of ways to heal our (sometimes very sick) relationships with each other.

The purpose of this post tonight is to pay tribute to men that contribute to this healing and recognize that stopping gender-based violence helps us all:
We don't think that men are naturally violent and we don't think that men are bad. The majority of men are not violent. Researchers have discovered many past cultures with little or no violence.
At the same time we do think that many men have learned to express their anger or insecurity through violence. Many men have come to believe that violence against a woman, child or another man is an acceptable way to control another person.
The problem does not stop with physical violence. There are forms of emotional violence--from sexist joking, to sexual harassment at work, to other domineering forms of behaviour. By remaining silent about these things, we allow other men to poison our working and learning environments.
The good news is that more and more men want to make a difference. Caring men are tired of the sexism that hurts the women around them.
We're not male bashers because we're men, working with men, who care about what happens in the lives of men.
{Oh! and I see they have a blog now, too: "People working to end violence against women" }
  • Men For Change: based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, these guys came together after the Montreal Massacre and devoted themselves to "promoting gender equality and ending violence in society." They've produced an educational program called "Healthy Relationships: Violence Prevention Curriculum". I was particularly impressed with the following:
This curriculum frequently makes reference to "male violence." This is not meant to condone or ignore violence that is perpetrated by women. However, the great majority of violent acts such as assault, rape and murder are committed by men. We believe that women who trample on the rights of others are also modelling themselves on the tough male stereotype. Therefore, the model itself is what warrants close scrutiny. The object is to help students of both genders learn the skills that build healthy relationships, which are based on sharing power with others as opposed to exerting power over others.
  • Stephen Lewis: as UN Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Lewis was quick to recognize the feminization of the pandemic through lack of power/consent (see Ka-BLOG Day 7 for more).
  • All of the men who've attended memorials with me over the years. I know you're in a different mental "place" than us-with-the-ovaries but it means so much to see you there.
  • The officers who helped me. I don't know how you cope with your awful, awful jobs. Seeing that child's 'thank you' drawing on your office wall reminded me how truly horrible your job must be sometimes.
  • To my brother & my husband--stand up guys both!
Ok, I'm gonna cry if I write any more tonight. I'll just leave you with this:
mensch or mensh (mnsh) n. Informa. pl. mensch·es or mensch·en (mnshn): A person having admirable characteristics, such as fortitude and firmness of purpose: “He radiates the kind of fundamental decency that has a name in Yiddish; he's a mensch” (James Atlas).

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 10: Recognizing online activism in Canada

Woohoo! Now this is great! Pam & Audra's gets serious ink in the Canadian Press: "Women upset with cuts to Status of Women Canada take protest to the web"
Audra Williams, who runs - an online clearing house of information about Status of Women and ways to take action - says Canadians need to see the funding cuts as the "writing on the wall."
"It's important to realize that minister Oda is in charge of Status of Women Canada and it seems to be an agency she feels should not exist," says Williams, who runs a small communications business in Halifax focusing on activism and independent businesses. "Anytime you can steer conversation towards an important issue and follow that up with what you can do, that's super valuable."
And even better? I learned about another group of women who are--literally--taking back "the tech" and working to restore SWC: Bravo to Joanne Hussey for starting [from the same CP article]:
Joanne Hussey says Prime Minister Stephen Harper owes her 29 cents - the amount of money, for every dollar, that Canadian women earn less than men. It's the message behind a campaign she and four other Halifax women have started, setting up a website and distributing pins and postcards to argue funding cuts to Status of Women Canada will only maintain that disparity.
And what began as a local project to pique interest in the Nova Scotia capital has quickly grown, with thousands of hits on the site and e-mails of support from across the country. "I think that it's really important the government knows that there isn't widespread support for these types of decisions," says Hussey. "We don't want our government making decisions that reverse strides that have been made over the last 20 and 30 years."
Although the article takes pains to note that Bev Oda hasn't visited either website, I think it's important to point out that Oda isn't really their audience anyway: the audience is us. If enough of us know about the cuts, and enough of us work to make the case for SWC, then funding will be restored. And just when I thought that nobody was listening...Dion uses his first opportunity in Question Period to call Harper on the carpet about the cuts:
“When the government is posting multi-million-dollar budget surplus, thanks to the previous Liberal government, why has the prime minister closed 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices across Canada, if it is not to cripple those who dare challenge his government's neo-conservative ideology?”
I'm no party-flack (neither Liberal, nor NDP, nor Green, etc...) but this certainly augurs well. After days of lamenting the fact that the L-Convention overshadowed all news about the SWC offices closing, I feel obligated to give credit where credit is due. Bravo, Dion! Bienvenue! {And if you do become our next PM, I will harangue you to live up to your word}

And a big, beautiful, booming "Bravo!" to Pam, Audra, & Joanne for your efforts!

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ka-BLOG Day 9: Because it's happening where you live

If yesterday's Ka-BLOG was global, today's is all about the local consequences of gender-based violence...and why federal cuts to the Status of Women Canada affect us where we live. Me? I live in Hamilton, where one of the Ontario SWC offices will shutter its doors come April Fool's Day. The Hamilton office has worked hard to meet the unique needs of our population: part 'big city'/professional, part 'post-industrial' working-class, and part 'New' Canadian. Think their work doesn't really matter? The Hamilton Spectator provides a summary of some of the reactions to the cuts:
The office and its full-time employee Evelyn Myrie arranged funding proposals of about $300,000 for women's and community groups in the area in the past year. Among them was $70,000 for a recent Women and Poverty report by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton. The study is a highlight of the city's roundtable task force on poverty reduction campaign.
[...] [Sandy Shaw at the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton] says the plan by the government to replace the offices with online funding applications and proposals ignores all the networking, policy and research work that is the focus of the offices.
Elizabeth Webb, program co-ordinator at the St. Joseph's Women's Immigrant Centre, says the Hamilton office and Myrie helped guide the agency through a $10,000 grant proposal for a gender-bias study. "Myrie is a significant woman in our social service community and we are losing that support, and this is demoralizing," said Webb.
[...] Lenore Lukasik-Foss, director of the Hamilton Sexual Assault Centre, said the closures, budgets cuts, elimination of "equality" in its mandate and structural changes imposed on the Status of Women was a "huge concern" for local agencies.
[...] The sexual assault centre received a $60,000 grant to make its services more accessible to diverse racial and cultural Hamilton groups and create pilot programs that could be shared across the province.
"You can't cut three-quarters of the offices (in the country) and not be saying something about the importance you're placing on women in this country," said Lukasik-Foss.
Clare Freeman, executive director at Interval House women's shelter, said the government's moves to limit the advocacy role of the Status of Women showed it didn't understand the barriers and oppression women still face.
Not specific enough for you, guys? I'm looking at you, wingnut-commentators at The Globe & Mail--the guys who claimed SWC never made any tangible impact on women's lives. Just "get a lawyer" or give the money to shelters! Well, how 'bout talking to the people that actually operate these shelters & respond to the phone-calls of women still shaking from sexual violence? Here's Krista Warnke of SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton & Area) in Friday's Spectator {links added}:
We need not look any further than the daily newspaper to be reminded of the brutality waged upon women.
  • Violence against women: Far-reaching effects, The Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 2 : "A single stab wound inflicted by her partner ended Shelley Joseph's life. The 40-year-old Hamilton woman died in July 2004 when her companion of one year stabbed her in the heart at her home. Seventeen months later, drinking and unable to deal with the loss of his mother, her 24-year-old son took his own life."
  • Man jumps to death after killing wife, child, The Canadian Press, Toronto, Nov. 6: "A man jumped to his death from a ninth-floor balcony early yesterday after calling police to tell them he had killed his wife and teenage daughter."
  • Rape victim's parents go public to help her, The Canadian Press, Banff, Alberta, Nov. 7: "Her pregnant daughter was working in Banff in July 2005 when she was brutally beaten, raped and strangled with her purse straps by a drifter from Kenora, Ont. ... The victim, who remains in a persistent vegetative state, is now in an Ottawa care facility."
  • Man planned to kill ex-girlfriend, Toronto Star, Nov. 7: "A man who evaded police for a decade was targeting his ex-girlfriend 12 years ago when he sprayed a busy nightclub dance floor with bullets that killed two men and injured four others, say prosecutors."
  • He pushed her, jury finds, The Hamilton Spectator, Milton, Nov. 17: "A Grimsby man showed no emotion yesterday when a jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the death of his common-law wife during a hiking trip on the Niagara Escarpment three years ago."
  • Lawyer accuses Crown of foot-dragging in HIV case, The Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 22: "Defence lawyer Chris Morris is asking Superior Court Justice Thomas Lofchik to order a stay of proceedings against Johnson Aziga, 50, who is to stand trial Jan. 8. The research analyst with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is charged with two counts of first- degree murder and 13 charges of aggravated sexual assault involving the deceased and 11 others with whom he is alleged to have had unprotected sex."
  • Man charged in wife's death, The Hamilton Spectator wire services, Toronto, Nov. 23: "A 34-year-old Mississauga man has been charged with murder in the death of his 29-year-old wife."
  • Young teacher groomed girls for sex: Crown, The Hamilton Spectator, Nov. 28: "A former Waterford high school teacher groomed infatuated female students to have oral sex and intercourse with him, according to a Crown prosecutor. Kristian Coulombe, 33, faces five counts each of sexual assault and sexual exploitation from 1999 to 2003."
SACHA, the Hamilton Sexual Assault Centre, the Women and Poverty council & the St. Joe's Immigrant Centre want to continue to provide meaningful services to our community. Harper is starving them out of existence.

{Photo courtesy of The Hamilton Spectator: SACHA's Take Back the Night, Sept 21, 2006}

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Ka-BLOG Day 8: Around the world in 30 links

Today is Day 8* of the 16 Days campaign & Take Back the Tech. I've spent a lot of time this past week visiting news-sites from around the world & learning how others have chosen to voice their protest against gender-based violence. From coffins in New Zealand, to keys in Israel , I think you'll find that people have found all manner of ways to take action & communicate their feelings about VAW. The list is presented in alphabetical order (by country):
  1. ARGENTINA: Women Have a New Tool against Discrimination [ (Argentina)]
  2. Shoes speak in the fight against violence towards women [, Australia]
  3. Legislation in Azerbaijan Fully Defines Punishment for Domestic Violence against Women – Azeri Justice Ministry Envoy [Trend (Azerbaijan & South Caucasus)]
  4. 68,660 Women repression incidents occurred in 5yrs [The Daily Star (Bangladesh)]
  5. Activists launch campaign against violence [Channel 5 (Belize)]
  6. Today is for awareness [Toronto Star (Canada)]
  7. CHILE’S WOMEN STILL FACE VIOLENCE: Nation Celebrates International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women [The Santiago Times (Chile)]
  8. Action demanded to stop violence against women [China Daily (China)]
  9. No Violence Against Women Day was commemorated yesterday [Dominican Today (Dominican Republic)]
  10. We're feminists and proud of it [The East African]
  11. Women to march against violence [Kolkata Newsline (India)]
  12. WAD campaign against crime on women begins [E-PAO (India)]
  13. Europe campaigns to end violence against women [Irish Examiner (Ireland)]
  14. Tel Aviv women: More angry than scared [The Jerusalem Post (Israel)]
  15. Amnesty calls for end to violence against women: "The Key to Her Freedom is in Your Hands." [The Jerusalem Post (Israel)]
  16. Tackling violence against women [Jamaica Gleaner]
  17. Feminism's New Faces [The Korea Times]
  18. Counselling centres help abused Moroccan women break their silence [ (Morocco)]
  19. Not a minute more: Ending violence against women [ (Nepal)]
  20. Coffin carries message about violence [The Northern Advocate (New Zealand)]
  21. Violence against women [The News (Pakistan)]
  22. Peruvian women march against domestic violence [ (Peru)]
  23. Women in Zamboanga call for end to violence against women [Minda News (Philippines)]
  24. Senegal: Raising the profile of abuse [ (Senegal)]
  25. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: Ministry honours activists [Seychelles Nation Online]
  26. One Man Can Campaign Toolkit Launched: resource to support South African men to take action to end violence against women [Cape Gateway (South Africa)]
  27. Adiós to the Little Red Man: While the street signs are feminised in Madrid province, Granada towns are tackling gender violence in society [The Olive Press (Spain)]
  28. Sri Lanka marks International Day for Prevention of Violence against women [Colombo Page (Sri Lanka)]
  29. The new feminists [The Guardian (UK)]
  30. More than a few good men: a lecture on american manhood and violence against women [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Indiana, USA)]

**This post is very late--it's officially Day 9 by now!

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