CSDM Meeting Wednesday October 25

This weekend, I conducted an interview with two parents on the S.O.S. FACE Committee, as well as an eleventh-grader at the school. It was for a report on the suspension of F.A.C.E. School Principal Nick Primiano, which aired today on CKUT‘s show OFF THE HOUR.

For those that were not able to tune in to CKUT today (90.3 fm in Montreal), I’ve made the report available on Odeo. It is also available for download on CKUT’s website in the archives section, as is the case with all of their programming.

To listen, press play on the player below:

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/2279821/view]

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US Vice President Dick Cheney has come to the conclusion that the recent up-swing in violence in Iraq is an attempt by militants to influence the upcoming US elections.

By doing so, the Vice President has not only confirmed that the violence has been hurting the Republican Party’s prospects in the November elections, but has also revealed how desperate the party is to get votes.

Cheney believes that insurgents are using the Internet to monitor public opinion in the US and that they are “very sophisticated users of it.”

North Korea Under Watch

October 29, 2006

Gathering Intelligence

Since the October 9 nuclear test, the world has been waiting for the next step from North Korea.

More reports have surfaces that the US and South Korea have been monitoring a North Korean test site, to determine if the North was planning a second test or not. In the meantime, it is also reported that North Korea has stepped up efforts to prevent any possible intelligence leaks, as early as October 15.

Ban Ki-moon in China

UN Secretary General-elect (and North Korea’s current foreign minister), Ban Ki-moon was in China this weekend to discuss bilateral relations. It was hoped that some progress on the denuclearization of Korea could be accomplished with this visit. So far, no announcements have been made.

Protests Across Canada

A series of rallies and protests are being held across Canada this weekend to oppose Canada’s presence in Afghanistan. Protests are being held from Vancouver to Fredericton. The protests at recruiting centres held yesterday did not draw big crowds, but today in Toronto and Montreal, significant numbers showed up.

Block the Empire

In Montreal, there were several protests held. One of which was organized by Block the Empire, with protesters voicing their opposition to the war on terror, but also making a link to imperialism and capitalism. The protest started at Guy metro and marched on to St. Catherine street making its way past the US consulate. Several speakers were on hand to, and several groups partook in the rally, including students from Concordia University, and several anarcho-communist groups.

The protest started modestly with about 50 people gathering at noon, but by 1pm, as the march proceeded through the streets of Montreal, the number grew to several hundred.

A highlight of the march on was a stop at a Canadian Army Recruitment Center on St. Catherine street. Protesters proceeded to tape posters on the doors of the building and placed flesh and bones (with the blood off the flesh) on the ground, to signify the troops dying in Afghanistan. The posters taped onto the doors stated “Enlist Now” & “There is no life like it”.

Protesters at Recruitment Canada

Symbols

While the turnout was significant and curious bystanders picked up leaflets handed out by organizers of the protest, some seemed disturbed by the overtly communist and anarchist symbolism of a large number of protesters. The hammer and sickle was very prominent on a group of protesters, while others carried red and black banners.

The leaflets which were handed out charged the US and Canada with imperialism and not only challenged the Afghanistan mission, but also invoked Lebanon and Israel, as well as Latin America. Canadian corporations like Bombardier were also named as accomplices in the imperialistic project. The protest had more political implications than just demanding a withdrawal from Afghanistan. And that may have turned off potential protesters — the ones that did not come out to rally, but ended up on the receiving end of leaflets.

The atmosphere of the event was both serious, in its discourse, and festive, in its form. A van drove along playing music, a marching band was around, and a group of clowns was running around and acting scenes. There was also no violence and police acted with respect to the protesters.

Protesters dancing.

In another defeat to US foreign policy, Iran today suggested that they had started enriching more uranium by activating new centrifuges. This announcement goes on to confirm the reports of IAEA chief ElBaradei from earlier this week.

President Bush reacted by speaking out against the action by invoking the international community to increase efforts in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In a pre-election statement, the President is once again suggesting that Iran is after nuclear weapons, and not nuclear energy as Iran has been claiming. The latter claim, in fact, has not been explicitly contested by ElBaradei. However, US foreign policy (along with other Western nations) has been directed at making Iran look like a nuclear offender.

The Republicans are also looking for ways to bolster support for the upcoming November elections. In terms of foreign policy, Iraq has been a failure. So bringing in Iran as a violator may make foreign policy look more successful as it seemingly confirms all that the US has been saying. However, there is no proof that Iran is in fact working on a nuclear weapon right now.

The CSDM has published the address of its president from Wednesday’s meeting and it can be found here (PDF).

Sylvain Arsenault, a spokesman for CSDM has made clear that the speculation that F.A.C.E. School as an institution is under threat is not the reality. According to the Arsenault the issue at hand has to do with one man — Nick Primiano — and the school, a pride of the CSDM, is not under any threat.

No statements will be made in regards to Mr Primiano until next Wednesday’s meeting, when the CSDM will be ready to make more information available.

Today, from 7:45 am to 8:30am, F.A.C.E. school students rallied for the return of their principal in their schoolyard. Students chanted “Face! Primiano!” and “On veut Primiano! Sans lui, c’est la panique” (“We want Primiano! Without him, it’s panic!”) accompanied by fellow percussion students.

About 50 students gathered in support of their suspended principal and managed to get significant support from drivers, who honked in support of the students. F.A.C.E. school teachers also seemed to welcome the students’ initiative in voicing their opinion.

One student had a poster demanding “answers,” alluding to the meeting that took place at CSDM headquarters this Wednesday.

So far, the CSDM has not replied to this blog’s questions.