Morning Report: April 18, 2005

SMCCDI needs your help. The Iranian activist organization "Student Movement Coordination Committee
for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI) is facing a budget shortfall which has forced them to take their website offline. 'The SMCCDI website gets 45,000 to 65,000 visits each day with [peaks] of 183,000 hits on key dates such as July 9th (anniversary of Students' Uprising of 1999). SMCCDI also sends its Reports, Statements and Urgent Calls to Action via its well developed mailing lists (peyk@daneshjoo.org or list@daneshjoo.org) with several thousands of subscribers.' Visit this post at Regime Change Iran to find out what you can do. (SMCCDI via RCI)

Scandal threatens Canada's ruling Liberal Party. Newsmax reports that Canadian public outrage over a scandal involving Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal Party may result in a gain for the Conservative party. 'Martin reiterated that he had nothing to do with the ethics fiasco, in which Liberal Party members are accused of having taken kickbacks from advertising agencies hired to promote federalism in the rebellious French-speaking province of Quebec. ... The scandal, based on a secret program that dates back to the 1990s and the Liberal Party leadership of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, erupted anew last Thursday when a judge probing the alleged misuse of public funds lifted a publication ban on testimony by a Montreal ad executive. The executive, Jean Brault, who faces fraud charges stemming from the now-defunct program, told the federal inquiry that senior Liberals forced him to secretly divert more than $818,000 to the party's Quebec wing in exchange for sponsorship contracts. During his six days of testimony, Brault spoke of hushed-up payments to Liberals in restaurants, money being given to a brother of Chretien, and reluctant contributions strong-armed out of employees.' While the domestic dispute does not directly affect Canada's foreign policy, a poster at Free Iran wonders whether this will translate into a more aggressive policy toward the Iranian regime, which is known to have been responsible for the brutal killing of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi. (Newsmax, Free Iran)