In 2003, Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death in an Iranian prison. Then-prime minister Jean Chretien makes little noise about this other than recalling Canada's ambassador to Iran. After leaving office, Chretien went onto work for Petro-Kazakhstan, Inc., a company that has had dealings with China, Niger, Angola and Iran. In 2009, Obama, already keen on "dialogue" with Iran "without pre-conditions" takes a soft-serve approach to post-election violence in which protesters were shot and killed. In 2010, a Canadian blogger of Iranian descent faces the death penalty:
A Canadian-Iranian blogger credited with starting the blogging movement in Iran faces the death penalty over his writings, two watchdog groups said Thursday.
Hossein Derakhshan was arrested after returning to Iran in November 2008 and charged with "collaborating with enemy states, creating propaganda against the Islamic regime, insulting religious sanctity, and creating propaganda for anti-revolutionary groups," said Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and PEN Canada.
According to the two organizations, prosecutors are now calling for Derakhshan to face the death penalty after he was convicted by Tehran's revolutionary court earlier this year.
News of the sentencing request started filtering out on social media sites on Monday, and the CJFE and PEN said they confirmed the reports with his family.
"The proposed sentence is a travesty," said CJFE president Arnold Amber, calling on the Canadian government to intervene.
"Action must be taken right away because in Iran there is not necessarily a lengthy period before executions can be carried out. We are very concerned," he added.
Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, told AFP that Ottawa was "preoccupied" by reports Derakhshan may be executed and was seeking verification of the facts.
The Canadian government has also sought consular access to him.
However any further help Canada may provide in this case is "limited," Loubier said, as Tehran does not recognize dual citizenship.
Derakhshan is the third Canadian journalist to be arrested in Iran in recent years. In July 2003, Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in prison, and Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari was briefly detained earlier this year.
Why is Iran is still not taken seriously as a threat? They kill their own people; they have killed a Canadian. Iran is a bomb waiting to go off yet the powers that be are content on waiting.
China is desperate to destroy Japan:
China's self confidence as a world power is beginning to grow as evidenced by their forays into Latin America, Africa, and southeast Asia.
Now the Chinese Communists are flexing their muscles against rival Japan. The Japanese seized a fishing boat they say was operating illegally in Japanese waters. China has retaliated by halting the sale of some rare earth minerals to the Japanese.
China is a ruthless octopus. We should be backing Japan in all of this:
For many years the famine plagued children in southeastern Zimbabwe used the small, hard stones common to the region in their home-made slings and catapults to hunt birds for food. When it was learned that the stones were actually diamonds, the rush was on. People from all walks of life were drawn to the remote fields of Marange hoping to escape the crippling poverty and starvation that has gripped their country since Robert Mugabe came to power.
Buried in the soil of southeastern Zimbabwe is an unimaginable wealth in diamonds which could easily transform the poverty stricken nation into a thriving, modern and affluent society. When word of the miraculous discovery reached President Mugabe, the incorruptible leader wasted no time in sending troops to Marange to secure the diamond fields for the benefit of his regime. ...
Unable to properly exploit the vast wealth from the diamond fields, the Mugabe regime quietly entered into an agreement with China. Malone writes.
Working alongside henchmen from one of Africa's most murderous regimes-headed by Robert Mugabe-the Chinese are here to oversee Beijing's investment in the world's most controversial commodity: blood diamonds. High ranking officials of China's People's Liberation Army, they have been striving to escape detection for their role in this blood thirsty-but highly lucrative trade.
For here, carved out of the African bush, is a runway big enough for huge cargo planes. There is also sophisticated radar equipment, a fully operational control tower and comfortable barracks for the Chinese officials overseeing the entire operation.
Cargo planes bring in men and arms from China and leave with large quantities of rough uncut diamonds. The Chinese and their co-conspirators in Mugabe's military, force the locals to mine the diamonds at gunpoint under the most appalling of conditions. The Marange fields have been surrounded by three individual fences and a number of military outposts to ensure that the flow of diamonds and information will be kept under complete control of the regime. A local villager told Andrew Malone that.
Soldiers set their dogs on one girl, who was mauled and killed in front of her parents. The military said this was a warning to others to keep away from the fields; at least seven people caught near the fields were killed by the military in the last month alone and their bodies dumped.
Lucky Sibanda, a local man, showed me the wounds on his back where he was attacked by dogs after the military caught him by the fields. ‘These Chinese men have hard hearts,' he said. ‘They are taking away diamonds that could save this country. I hate them.'
The disclosures make a mockery of the Kimberley Process-the diamond watchdog set up in the wake of the diamond war in Sierra Leone-to allow Mugabe to sell gems from Marange-which is in the remotest, most inaccessible part of his impoverished nation.
In a secret meeting Andrew Malone met with "one of Mugabe's most senior intelligence chiefs" and learned that weapons acquired from the Chinese were being distributed to the military as they prepare for an aggressive new assault against the regime's opposition. The Zimbabwean official confirmed that the deal with China was "a government to government deal" and that "it has been signed at the highest level."
There is a memorandum of understanding between China and Zimbabwe-Beijing supplies weapons to us, and we allow them to mine diamonds.
Mocking the ‘monkeys in the West' who have been outraged by Mugabe's brutality, my source-a cold hearted killer-predicted that the diamond deal with Beijing would mean they could stay in power indefinitely.
‘You can write 1,000 stories, and print them 1,000 times, but it won't make any difference,' smirked the official. ‘We have all the diamonds, so we have all the weapons-and we kill anyone who tries to take anything from us.'
During the hour-long conversation, the intelligence source-whose identity I know, but who insisted I do not use his name or rank-also admitted that, without the Chinese pact, the ruling junta would have been driven from power. ‘But now we have all the guns we need,' he said.
Once the diamonds are flown to China, they are cut and graded. The best quality stones are sold to dealers in the Middle East and India where they make their way into the international diamond market. Lesser "commercial grade" diamonds remain in China where they are used for industrial applications to help feed their growing manufacturing sector.
Can someone explain to me why we are trading with this country?
A Surrey-based reporter says China's Ministry of State Security is threatening his family, life and livelihood for his critical coverage of the Chinese government.
Surrey resident Tao Wang moved to B.C. from China in 2007 and began working as a local general assignment reporter for the Canadian branch of Falun Gong-affiliated New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) in July 2009.
Most of his assignments for the international broadcaster have been innocuous, on topics such as the opening of the Canada Line, the Olympics and the harmonized sales tax.
However, some of his reports have been critical of the Chinese government and its practices. NTDTV is one of the few networks with dissenting views that broadcasts in the Communist nation.
"Some of the reports I think they don't like are on David Matas, the Nobel Prize nominee and human rights lawyer who spoke at the International Congress of the Transplant Society in Vancouver, talking about his investigation regarding organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China," Wang said. "I've also done reports on [Canadian Security Intelligence Service director] Richard Fadden's comments about foreign interference on Canadian governments."
He said the threatening phone calls began a month ago and have become increasingly harsh, escalating to the point of death threats.
Const. Peter Neily of Surrey RCMP confirmed to The Vancouver Sun that the detachment's major crimes section has launched an investigation into the matter.
"We're taking this very seriously and we're in the process of speaking with witnesses and trying to determine followup from here," Neily said. "I can also say we're engaged with the complainant in creating a safety plan. We'll review their current arrangements ... to make sure they're safe while we investigate our file."
Wang, who also owns a company in China that sells medical equipment to retailers, said the threats began in August when several of his company's clients were visited by agents of China's Ministry of State Security (MSS).
"They told them that I participated in illegal activities in Canada that are harmful to the national security of China and asked them to stop doing business with my company," a nervous-sounding Wang told The Vancouver Sun.
On Sept. 2, he said, a man who identified himself as an MSS agent passed a phone number along through a company manager in China, telling Wang to call him.
"I asked him why he interfered with my business and he said, 'You are a smart man; you should know the reason very well,' " Wang said.
"[Eventually] he said, 'Your activity in Canada is a threat to China's national security....' He said I must stop all activities in Canada, which, in my understanding, is my reporting with NTDTV. This is the only thing I do. He said if I don't follow instruction, they will take [further] action on my company."
On Sept. 14, an agent relayed another message via a company manager, this time telling Wang to submit a written guarantee not to participate in any political activity in Canada. When these requests went unanswered, Wang said he received another phone call from the agents — and a threat against his life.
"They said, 'You actually think there is nothing we can do to you because you are in Canada?' They also mentioned, 'If you ever go public on this, you are — in Chinese words — seeking death.' I believe it was a very clear message."
The same day, Sept. 17, two MSS agents went to Wang's company in China.
"[They] sealed up all bank accounts and inventory and threatened [all 10 of] my employees. They became jobless," Wang said.
Besides contacting the RCMP, Wang also went to his Member of Parliament. He said Russ Hiebert's office told him Wednesday it has asked the public safety and foreign affairs ministers to look into the matter. The ministers' offices did not return The Sun's requests for comments by press time, but Neily said the RCMP could team with other agencies for the investigation.
"With files of this nature, that may have an international repercussion, there are various agencies that we could liaise with in order to determine the scope of it internationally," Neily said.
The Sun's calls to the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Vancouver for comment were not returned.
Margaret Atwood is stupid:
Student interviewer: I was told recently that you were one of the believers who is of the opinion that the Moon landing was actually filmed ... could possibly have been filmed here.
Atwood: The question about the Moon landing is "why haven't we been back?" and it was done in an age when computers were as big as a couple of rooms. If you even look at the Space Odyssey, 2001, HAL the computer - and I think that movie came out in the late '60s - HAL the computer is huge. So we didn't yet have microchips so I just wonder how did they do that? Why haven't they done it again if it was so easy?
Student interviewer: What do you think of the argument to that question, usually most often I hear they say we haven't had a need to return.
Atwood: Well, you think about it. President Bush said we're going back or words to that effect and then people calculated how long it would take and how much money it would cost to actually do that. It was a long time and a lot of money. Just wondering, wondering about the belt of deadly radiation that people have to go through to get to the Moon and those strange shadows and why the flag rippled and a few things like that.
Student interviewer: What would have pushed them to pull off an entire hoax like that?
Atwood: Well, if it was and the jury is open and we'll never know. But it was the space race with Russia... space and arms race that was going on at the time.
We all knew it. We all wanted to say so in high school when our feminist teachers forced us to read her tedious crap. What more is needed for pasty educators to finally see how dreadful this "author" is? Why aren't better things read in high schools? High school students out there, rebel. Don't read Margaret Atwood's crap. Demand better books. Read the Bronte sisters (who have their own action figures). Don't read books because they are "Canadian". That doesn't always mean good. In Atwood's case, it means pure rubbish.
On the lighter side of things....
Or light-ish, anyway:
A woman fends off a bear with a zucchini:
Police say a Montana woman fended off a bear attack with an unlikely weapon — a zucchini.
Missoula County Sheriff's Lt. Rich Maricelli says a 200-pound (90-kilogram) black bear attacked one of the woman's dogs just after midnight Wednesday on the back porch of her home about 15 miles (25 kilometres) west of Missoula.
When the woman, whom police did not name, tried to separate the animals, the bear bit her in the leg.
Maricelli says the woman reached for the nearest object at hand on the porch's railing — a large zucchini that she had harvested from her garden.
The woman flung the vegetable at the bear, striking it and forcing it to flee.
Maricelli says the woman did not need medical attention. Wildlife officials were trying to locate the bear on Thursday.
The beast of the forest is scared of garden vegetables, apparently.
Buy the cheese. The bear isn't kidding.
Don't make him come after you!