Alykhan and Ezra’s ethical snake oil

Economic Action Plan

By Alison@Creekside

Alykhan Velshi’s wee blog Ethical Oil, named after Ezra’s book, has relaunched with an expensive new look and some spiffy ethical oil pop-up campaign ads to greet you when you enter the site. You can choose either good or evil — you know, conflict oil = woman being stoned to death vs. ethical oil = woman becoming a mayor.


“When petroleum reserves were deposited around the world, it is unfortunate that they were all given to the world’s bastards. With the exception of Canada, most of them are with the world’s bastards. You need to recognize that when you are buying oil.”

Seems a bit hard on poor old Norway, given recent events, and aren’t we launching the Pan European Oil Sands Team, our tarsands PR blitz directed at the EU, from Britain these days?

Also confusing the matter is China’s recent investment in tarsands companiesSteve’s new bff — and Canadian tarsands companies’ own foreign gas and oil plants, inconveniently located in “the world’s bastards.”

I added the third panel above to one of Velshi’s pop-ups because, as Senior Suncor VP Mark Little explained last year:

“it’s much more expensive to produce a barrel of oil synthetic crude oil from oil sands than to produce a barrel of conventional oil or gas in either Syria or Libya”

— yes, that’s world bastard Syria PM Bashar al-Assad in the picture touring Suncor’s $1.2 billion Ebla Natural Gas Plant in Syria a year ago —

“So these foreign operations can help provide the near-term cash flow and return on capital needed to invest in long-term growth in the oil sands.”

Velshi, former American Enterprise Institute intern and communication director to John Baird and Jason Kenney, told the Globe and Mail that he, however, will not be accepting donations from “foreign operations”:

“I won’t take money from any foreign corporations, any governments.”

Pressed about Canadian corporate donations, he said he wouldn’t refuse any.

Two weeks ago on the site, Velshi was soliciting donations to help him cover the $261 fee he estimated it would cost him to launch an investigation into environmental groups lobbying government:

Help EthicalOil.Org Make an Access to Information Request

“Let’s shine a light on the professional lobbyists paid to lobby the government against ethical oil from Canada, its oil sands, and other liberal democracies. Lobbyists? Yes, that’s right. Opponents of ethical oil have hired professional lobbyists who are now registered with the Office of the Lobbying Commissioner of Canada to lobby senior government officials behind closed doors.”

Yes, Alykhan, that’s how lobbying works — you register as a lobbyist with the government.

Alykhan-VelshiThe Globe and Mail makes a small frowny face about whether Velshi is “violating the federal law that forbids former aides from lobbying for five years after leaving government” — as if none of us have noticed the revolving door between government, oil bidness corporations, and federal and Alberta government-funded energy “sciencey” front groups like the Canada School of Energy and Environment, headed by Steve’s former fraudster “mechanic” Bruce Carson, and the Suncor-sponsored National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

“Documents released last fall, obtained by Postmedia News, revealed at the time that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government had developed a major public relations partnership involving several federal departments, along with the industry and the Alberta government, to improve the image of the oilsands on the international stage and delay action to slash industrial pollution.”

Ethical snake oil.

Update: Brilliant post from Your Heart’s on the Left: Unethical Oil, with more alternative oil posters.

Ottawa expands its terror kit


By Alison@Creekside

zubaydah_wcapYour government announced on Friday that it needs more powers to combat terrorism.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson: “These provisions are necessary to protect our country from the threat of terrorism.”

A redo of the panicky, now-defunct Anti-terrorism Act of 2001, the new Combating Terrorism Act includes preventive arrest and forcing people to testify at secret hearings about terrorist acts that might happen in the future, and if you don’t like it you can go to jail for up to a year with a judge’s option to extend.

There are more safeguards included this time round — you can have a lawyer! at any time! — which will only allow the Libs to go along with it so as not to be painted as soft on terrorism. Mark Holland, the Liberal critic for Public Safety and National Security, is already looking to cave.

The argument in favour of anti-terrorism legislation is that criminal law only deals with crimes already committed. What to do about those who feel that crimes perpetrated by the state against their people require a response like blowing things up?

The argument against it is . . . well, let’s look at how they’re doing with the laws they’ve already got. From the April 1st Ottawa Citizen:

“The federal government case against Ottawa terror suspect Mohamed Harkat appears to have suffered a significant blow Wednesday when a document was introduced in court showing that Abu Zubaydah, once considered a master terrorist and 9/11 mastermind, actually had nothing to do with the attacks.

“Even more surprising, the document, which quotes U.S court filings declassified last week, shows that Zubaydah, once believed to be one of the top leaders in al-Qaeda, was not even a member of the terrorist group.”

The unfortunate Abu Zubaydah got waterboarded 83 times in the US, coughed up Harkat’s name, and the Canadian government obligingly held Harkat for 3 1/2 years.

A clue about the reliability of Abu Zubaydah’s “testimony” might have been found in his confession to terrorist acts committed after his imprisonment, but sadly, no, it wasn’t.

Abdelrazik? “Closely associated” with the same hapless Abu Zubaydah.

Result? Abdelrazik was tortured, then exiled in Sudan for six years. He’s still on the UN’s 1267 terror list, and the Canadian government has frozen his bank account and he can’t work.

Help him get off that list? Blow me, torture_trackssaid Minister of Public Security Peter Van Loan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon.

Maher Arar — the first inkling for many of us that something had gone terribly wrong.
Adil Charkaoui — in custody 21 months, now free.
Hassan Almrei — in custody for eight years, now free.
Mahmoud Jaballah — in custody for six years, now free.
Mohammad Mahjoub — in custody for seven years, freed, requested return to jail in 2009 to protest bail conditions worse than jail.
Benamar Benatta – rendered to US for 5 years
Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin

And then there’s the ever-expanded definition of what constitutes terrorism.

According to Jason Kenney’s “infandous” Mr. Velshi, George Galloway’s proposed visit to Canada last year to give a speech entitled “Resisting war from Gaza to Kandahar” was sufficient for him to brand a sitting British MP on tour in the US “a terrorist supporter.”

Nothing about these vile clowns inspires any confidence in their wanting to accrue more secretive powers to their already abused arsenal of abominations.