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Questions Arise About Role of Oil in &quot;War on Terrorism&quot;

12.10.2001 21:08

El Segundo Refinery -- photo from the Surfrider Foundation Chants of "No Blood for Oil!" filled streets around the world during the Gulf War when George Bush, Sr. was President of the United States. Now his son is in the White House waging a "War against Terrorism." But where do the politics of oil in Central Asia and the Mid-East figure in this time? Reports that Arab nations will soon control virtually all of the world’s oil exports seem to be a major factor in "Big Oil's" geopolitics. The U.S. Energy Policy proposed by President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney focuses on oil and fossil fuel, even though some energy analysts tell us the "End of Oil" is staring us in the face. Even the Far Right is questioning the Administration's motives in Central Asia.

Fearing energy blackmail by OPEC or new unfriendly cartels, Western nations have sought other sources for their petro-dependence. Beneath the Caspian Sea lie oil reserves though some say they are overrated. Exxon-Mobil (Esso) is heavily involved with the Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan. Afghanistan itself is considered by most analysts to be the best corridor for oil and gas pipelines such as the proposed Unocal project.

As war tensions heighten around the globe, discussions about fossil fuel and alternative energy become increasingly more pertinent. With the supply of oil dwindling and its political and ecological drawbacks increasing, more attention is being drawn to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, deployment of sustainable energy systems and conservation.



Questioning The Coverage of War

09.10.2001 04:55

Miguel Molina, of KPFA, from S29 Since September 11, U.S. media have provided the world with nearly constant coverage of the attacks and the international response. But according to media analysts such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and Mediachannel, corporate media are simply beating the drums of war. [READ MORE]



U.S. and Britain Begin Missile Attacks on Afghanistan

07.10.2001 17:51

U.S. and British bombing of Afghanistan continues today. On Sunday, October 7, the U.S. and Britain began the military phase of their "war on terrorism." The attacks came at 12:30pm NYC time and 11:30pm Afghanistan time. Official military claims are that only "strategic targets" such as "command and control facilities" near the Afghani cities of Kabul and Kandahar were targeted. Maps released by the BBC and reports from Afghanistan indicate that airports and roads used by both military and civilians have been hit, as has a U.N. aid office (four aid workers were killed). In addition to Kabul and Kandahar being bombed, other Afgan cities such as Jalalabad (bombed the most extensively), Konar, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif were also bombed. Although U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield has denied it, official Afghanistan claims are that 20 Afghani civilians have already been reported dead.

U.S. President Bush says that in addition to the bombsthe U.S. will be dropping food and supplies. International aid organization Doctors Without Borders questions the purpose and effect of this aid. "The United States of America," says Bush, "is a friend to the Afghan people." Hundreds of thousands of those people have already fled their homes to avoid the impending bombing. More refugees are expected to try desperately to cross the closed Iranian and Pakistani borders, which were apparently closed in response to U.S. & British diplomatic pressure. Eyewitness reports have been coming in depicting what such scenes look like on the ground, as the British daily Guardian correspondent, Ian Traynor, reported that the following scene in Charikar, Afghanistan was a normal one: "A three-year-old girl was perched on the handlebars of a bike being pedalled north by her 14-year-old brother; and an old man pushed a wheelbarrow as fast as he could up the road away from the war . . . Women in flight were a ghost-like sight, shuffling in the pitch dark, cloaked in their all-covering burqas, carrying babies in their arms and ragged bundles on their heads." U.S. critics fear such frightening scenes could accumulate to a near "genocide" of Afghan refugees and political unrest in Pakistan.

Though Bush, in his national address on Sunday claimed that "[the United States and Britain] are supported by the collective will of the world," polls by Gallup International indicate that up to 80% of the people in many European and South American countries favor extradition of the terrorists to the bombing of Afghanistan and don't want their countries to aid the United States in its attacks. Nations in the U.N. also have expressed reluctance to support a unilateral U.S. attack, preferring instead to coordinate an international, UN-based response that would question the causes of political violence.

Emergency peace and justice demonstrations are occurring throughout the U.S. and around the world. Meanwhile, subsequent protests are being planned throughout the upcoming weeks, adding to the hundreds of global anti-war protests that have taken place in the days since the September 11 bombings. Stay tuned to the Indymedia newswires for public reaction to the bombings, both those on September 11 in the U.S. and those ongoing in Afghanistan.

[List of Past U.S. Military Interventions | Q & A About the Taliban and Islam | the Global Indymedia "Peace & Justice" Site | the SF-IMC Indymedia "Against Racism and War" Site | Bi-lingual coverage: the Mexico City IMC | Cobertura en español: Argentina CMI]



Indymedia Releases Two Videos Placing Events of September 11 into Context

07.10.2001 17:31

Videographers from several Independent Media Centers and many associated video projects have collaborated to produce two videos about the September 11 hijackings/bombings, placing events into both emotional and historical context.

9.11: New York - The Aftermath "takes an in-depth look at public reaction in the New York area after the attacks. Citizens voice their opinions on the recent events and possible implications that may result as a consequence of the attacks, as well as anticipated U.S. military response." Produced for the Independent Media Center with efforts of the NYC-IMC, Paper Tiger TV and Big Noise Tactical. [Watch on-line] [Comment] [Order a copy]

Turning Tragedy Into War "counteracts the corporate media's war driven and racist spin on the recent events. The show critiques the media's coverage while providing a background of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East." Produced by Paper Tiger TV. [Watch on FreeSpeech TV's broadcast network] [Order a copy]



Australian Police And Security Staff Attack Asylum Seekers With Watercannons And Tear Gas

03.10.2001 09:18

From the Woomera detention center in Australia In the face of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and an exploding global refugee emergency, the Australian government has taken a hardline stance on the issue of asylum seekers. A package of legislation has drawn international criticism. And there has been a series of deaths in custody at the detention centres.

On Saturday, September 22, 260 activists from around Australia journeyed to the heart of the desert to see the Woomera detention centre and to pass on toys and messages of hope to the asylum seekers inside. The morning was peaceful with protesters joking with police, flying kites and playing music. Just after lunch a watercannon was unleashed upon the detainees. A second watercannon took it's place as tear-gas and batons joined the fray. Three or four detainees managed to cross the main fences before being recaptured by the police. Protesters crossed into the restricted zone refusing to leave until the watercannons withdrew.

The Woomera detention centre is contracted out to Australasian Corrections management, a subsidiary of US prison industry giant Wackenhut.

UPDATE 01/10/01 Troops have once again been brought in to move Iraqi refugees from the HMAS Manoora.

Listen to Real Audio
The Whole World is Watching: IMC-Adelaide recording as security forces attack refugees. (11min.)
Who Is To Blame? (25sec.)

MORE INFORMATION
Easter 2002 mobilisation [www.woomera2002.com]
No Border Network: October 13 International Day of Action[www.noborder.org/texts/call.html]
Borederhack! [www.neuroticos.com/borderhack]
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan [www.rawa.org]



Protests Against World Bank/IMF, War, Racism and Capitalism Start in DC, Worldwide

29.09.2001 09:36

no war In Washington D.C.: After the IMF/World Bank cancelled their fall meetings in the wake of unprecedented terrorist attacks in the United States, the Mobilization for Global Justice called off their street protests and focused energy on a People's Summit which began on Thursday. The Anti-Capitalist Convergence and a newly-formed anti-war coalition are holding rallies, which began with 3 days of squatting actions during the People's Repo followed by a banner drop on Wednesday.

This weekend, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence will begin their protest at 9am Saturday. A National March Against War & Racism will begin at noon. Autonomous zones are planned throughout the city on Saturday and Sunday. An Interfaith Service and Vigil will be held at 7:45pm. On Sunday, a Community March for Peace will happen at 11am, and the ACC will again be starting autonomous zones. On Monday, the United Public Housing Residents and the Anti-Capitalist Convergence will march to HUD, who is planning to demolish 707 public housing units in DC.

Around the Country: S29 protests against racism and war are being organized in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Madison, which join a growing movement against more death and destruction. Right-wing counter-demonstrations are also being attempted.



Demonstrations Counter European Union Finance Meetings in Belgium

27.09.2001 12:28

Photo by IMC-Belgium, from the demonstration in Liege After colourful protests in Bruges (EU-summit of trade) and Leuven (EU-summit of transport and environment), protests took place in Liege last weekend against the EU-Ecofin summit (summit for ministers of finance). 15,000 trade unionists from Belgium, Germany, the UK and France, as well as members of ATTAC and many community organisations, marched together on Saturday, September 22 to demonstrate their oppositon to the neoliberal policies of the European Finance Ministers. On Friday evening, September 21, despite the government’s claim that it wanted to dialogue with "anti-globalists," police checked IDs and searched vans and rucksacks of "unordinary looking" people. On Saturday before the S22-demo, police stopped a train from Antwerp; everybody (activists as well as other passengers) had to get out of the train and had ID's checked. Police searched all people, as well as their bags and clothes, and photographed everyone’s face. They arrested four.

The next protests questioning the EU will be in Ghent on October 19th against the informal EU-summit there (website url to be released the 1st of october) and in Brussels from the 13th till the 15th of December at the formal EU-summit.



Teach-ins, Vigils and Demonstrations Worldwide Call for Justice, Not War

26.09.2001 12:53

anti-war action in Berkeley, photo by Brian Marsh, SF-IMC As United States government officials attempt to rally the world's richest nation to arms, citizens around the globe have begun to participate in teach-ins, peace vigils, demonstrations and other public displays of dissent to question the logic of going to war to put an end to violence. Demonstrations have happened or are scheduled around in the world in cities such as Mexico City, Delhi, Sydney, London, Athens, Okinawa, Tokyo and other cities around Japan, Brasilia, Seoul, Montreal, Hamilton, Ontario, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Journalist Arthur Stamoulis has compiled accounts of peace and justice actions that have appeared on over twenty American Indymedia sites since the September 11 attacks.

A 70' long banner entitled "Wage Peace Now" was hung from a crane in downtown Denver on September 22.

On Saturday, September 29, several demonstrations originally planned in Washington,DC, to question the World Bank and International Monetary fund will now focus on peace and international justice. Please continue to post action reports, from the United States and around the world, to the Indymedia newswires.



Italian Government Searches, Arrests Anarchists

25.09.2001 13:25

Anarchists around Italy have faced an escalating a series of searches, investigations and arrests since the September 11 World Trade Center attacks shifted global attention away from the Italian government. Over the last two weeks Italian police forces have raided activist centers and searched the Villetta squat in Milan, arresting several anarchists and charging them with "resistance to public officials." Police are also accusing activists of "subversive association" and "subversion of the democratic order," charges from 1970s emergency laws against terrorism that enable the government to hold activists in jail on the basis of mere accusations that they are associated with government-designated terrorists. On Monday the 24th police investigated eight people and searched thirteen in Florence, seizing photographs, computer hard drives, flyers and other materials. Italian activists, especially those who demonstrated against corporate globalization at the G8 demonstrations in Genoa in July fear that the Italian government will continue to take advantage of events of September 11 to escalate attacks on the "anti-globalization" movement.



Day of Mourning Amid Ongoing Rescue Attempts

14.09.2001 16:26

New Yorker Gasps in Disbelief Thousands are still missing and many are presumed dead in the wake of the attack on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Tuesday, September 11. The search among the rubble for possible survivors and the bodies of victims continues. The United States proclaimed today a national day of mourning.
While most of the nation grieves, some are focused on revenge. Many are blindly attacking Muslims throughout the United States. Secretary of State Colin Powell was quoted in the mainstream media saying that Tuesday's plane attacks were the "equivalent of war" and that Osama Bin Laden is a "prime suspect". Various mainstream media pundits and politicians are making bellicose statements about possible use of "tactical nuclear weapons."
Others are asking for restraint Activists and politicians around the world are calling for calm and aid for victims. Some are examining their beliefs and discussing the ramifications or recent events.

A rumor spread around the Internet that CNN, claiming to be showing footage from last Tuesday of Palestinians celebrating upon hearing about the World Trade Center attacks, was actually broadcasting footage from 1991, has not proven to be true. See the original post that spurred the rumors and read the passionate discussion the post has generated. See also the retraction posted on IMC-Israel.

Local IMC Sites Covering the Attacks:

[Coverage in English: New York City IMC | Washington, D.C. IMC | Cobertura en Español: México City IMC | Argentina IMC | Cobertura em Português: Brasil IMC | Many Pictures From Philly IMC]



Israel Uses WTC/Pentagon Bombings as Diversion and Excuse for Increased Military Attacks on Palestinians

14.09.2001 09:38

Welcome to Adobe GoLive 4In the wake of the tragic World Trade Center/Pentagon bombings, the Israeli military and government has begun to use the world's focus on these matters and the expectation that the US diplomatic pressure will be off their backs, to increase the level of military incursions into populated Palestinian centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and further ethnic cleansing.

The government has made moves to tighten the grip of Jewish control over all of Jerusalem. Further, the Israeli military, which had previously surrounded the West Bank town of Jenin with tanks and troops, in retaliation for the bomb attack on Nahariya train station, which killed 4 Israeli soldiers, attacked on the evening of the 11th of September (the evening of the bombings in New York and Washington), killing 9 Palestinians and wounding dozens. The following day, the Israeli military surrounded and attacked Jericho, killing several people and wounding others. In another incident, two Palestinians were killed Sept. 11th and 12th when the taxis in which they were traveling stopped too close to an IDF outposts in the Gaza Strip and troops followed what are cynically called 'standard operating procedures', opening fire on the stationary cars. More of these incidents and many more can be read about here.

However, recently there has been a dramatic decline in the willingness of Israelis to enlist in the army and to take part in the occupation. Conscientious objection is on the rise dramatically. There were at least 26 objectors imprisoned since the beginning of the Intifada. This compared to only three imprisoned COs in the preceding year. They are, however, only the tip of the iceberg. According to data obtained by New Profile, in recent years, the relative amount of Israeli citizens that complete regular military service has dropped below the 50% line (now standing approximately at 44%).

You can read more on the subject of Conscientious Objectors in Israel here.



Multiple Explosions Rock NYC &amp; D.C. Killing Thousands: World Trade Center Buildings Collapse &amp; NW Side of Pentagon Destroyed

11.09.2001 11:31

Twin Towers Fall The United States remains in a state of shock following the hijacking of four commercial planes and subsequent suicide crash into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Thousands were killed and injured.

In NYC, both World Trade Center towers were hit by hijacked airplanes and subsequently collapsed. The first plane, American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45am (it had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard, all are presumed dead). 18 minutes later, the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center's south tower. Almost an hour later at around 10am, the south tower collapsed. The north tower subsequently collapsed as well, about 20 minutes afterwards. NYC Indymedia Newswire was beseiged with reports.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. , the Pentagon was hit by yet another hijacked plane . American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the northwest side of the Pentagon at about 9:43am. The Pentagon is the main office and command center of the United States military force and is a global symbol of U.S. power and domination. Also, United Airlines reported at about 11:30am yesterday that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, had crashed in Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh. There is strong speculation that its intended target was the White House or Air Force One. The confirmed death toll for all four planes is 266 people. The death toll for the Pentagon is expected to be well in the hundreds. At least 200 fire fighters in NYC are confirmed as having died, while 78 policemen at the scene were killed as well. Rescue workers reportedly expect a much higher death toll to grow in the coming days. In terms of injuries, NYC has reported that 2,100 people have been injured. The confirmed total death toll of all of the attacks has reached to 1,350 people. The attacks had a riveting effect on regularly scheduled events and functions across the country. All major federal buildings in D.C. were evacuated. Los Angeles and Chicago also evacuated their tall buildings, while events across the country were cancelled.

The NYC Primary was postponed, NYC bridges and tunnels were closed, and all U.S. air traffic has been grounded until further notice. Aircraft carriers have been sent to the NY Harbor and Chesapeake Bay from Virginia, and military aircraft (F-15s) were sent from Syracuse and McGuire Air Force Bases to patrol NYC, reportedly carrying air-to-air missiles. A state of emergency has been declared in D.C., northern Virginia and southern Maryland. The National Guard has been mobilized and the D.C. area miltiary command is under threat condition Delta, it's highest alert possible.

President Bush spoke to the country around 9pm last night and again this morning, denouncing the action, and vowed to track down those who planned it. He also said that the U.S. will make no distinction between those who committed the acts and the countries who harbor them. Secretary of State Colin Powell was quoted in the mainstream media saying that this is the "equivalent of war". In a press briefing yesterday, CIA officials spoke of having "credible evidence" that Osama Bin Laden may have been involved. Bin Laden and the Taliban deny this. It was also reported in the mainstream press that NATO will back a US response. With war tensions running high in the States, concern is growing about possible reactions toward people of Mid-eastern origin and progressives calling for calm. Around the globe, activists are turning their attention to this tragedy , sharing various viewpoints and discussing the ramifications.

WBAI In Exile (wbix.org) is currently giving up to the minute radio reports and you can get more info about internet radio, at: http://radio.indymedia.org

And check your local Indymedia sites for updates and information as well.

[ D.C. Indymedia Coverage. | NYC Indymedia Coverage | Commentaries from Z Magazine | Video of Pentagon Burning | Updated Video Feed Of Pentagon Burning Video of Second Plane Crash into WTC]



UN's World Conference Against Racism Faces Controversy in South Africa

01.09.2001 22:40

Visit southafrica.indymedia.org for continuing coverage After intensifying scrutiny of the racism embodied in policies of the United States government, South African government, Israeli government, other colonial governments, World Bank/IMF, and multinational corporations, Colin Powell announced that the U.S. would pull out of the conference on Sunday, citing concerns over discussion of apartheid in Israel. Canada and Israel also downgraded their involvement.

The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, continues amid much street protest and diplomatic controversy. South African President Thabo Mbeki angered many during his speech to the conference's NGO forum for his unwillingness to address the effects of his government's neo-liberal economic policies and their relationship to the intertwining issues of race and class. The United States delegation has pulled out of the conference after failing to convince the conference body to remove reparations and Zionism from the agenda, an attempt that fueled charges that the U.S. is dodging responsibility for current and historic racism promoted by its policies. Muslim countries united to deny observer status to the International Gay and Lesbian Association. The Government of India said calls by its National Human Rights Commission to include the subject of caste are inappropriate because caste is not racism, but dalits have many counterarguments and wish the issue to be discussed.

Independent black journalists with decades of distinguished media experience were denied press credentials, and wonder if this exclusion was motivated by a desire to appease the U.S. government.

Initial ceremonies were marred by angry confrontations between Palestinian and Jewish participants. Nonetheless, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson was greeted with thunderous applause when she took the podium and announced that the issue of Palestine would be discussed.

Thousands are taking to the streets of Durban to express views contrary to those being expressed in the conference. Coinciding with the conference, anti-privatization and anti-globalization activists called a general anti-privatization strike. African women have collectively banded together to bring their issues not only to the UN's table, but to people worldwide. Women'sNet, APC-Africa-Women, and Radio Internacional Feminista (FIRE) are reporting daily from Durban via email, bulletins, live streamed radio, online chat, and by hosting a local Cyber Café.

-- Landless People's Assembly launch the "Landless People's Charter"
-- Black Radical Congress Statement on the World Conference Against Racism
White privilege and racism in america.
-- Draft Declaration of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
-- World Conference Against Racism NGO Forum

See IMC South Africa and IMC San Franciso Bay Area for continuing coverage, analysis, and critique.

IMC-PRINT'S SPECIAL EDITION PDF ABOUT THE WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM



Afghani Refugees Refused Entry by Australian Government

01.09.2001 22:16

Supporters of Afghani Refugees Three hundred sixty Afghani refugees are being shipped to Papua New Guinea by the Australian navy. They have been held aboard the Norwegian freighter, MV Tampa, since being rescued at sea last week. From Papua New Guinnea they will be moved to Nauru and New Zealand for processing. Lacking adequate medical supplies and space for the refugees the Tampa diverted its course and made for the nearest port, the Australian territory of Christmas Island. The ultra-conservative Liberal Australian government has a hardline "anti-immigration" policy. Australian troops boarded the Tampa as it neared Australian waters and launched a failed attempt to take control of the vessel; they have since prevented press access to the vessel. The only outsider to board the vessel, the Norwegian ambassador, has stated there are serious concerns for the health of two of the people aboard the Tampa, and food supplies are running low. Protests have begun across Australia (in cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide) to support the refugees.



Protests in New Zealand Call Animal Experiments into Question

30.08.2001 11:44

On August 26 over two hundred animal rights proponents greeted scientists in Otautahi (Christchurch), Aotearoa (New Zealand), who had gathered for the 34th International Congress of Physiological Sciences there. The NZ Anti-Vivisection Society and other supporters used the occasion as an opportunity to raise awareness of the daily cruelty inflicted on animals in research labs around the world, like Engand’s Huntington Life Sciences laboratories which activists have recently challenged using a variety of tactics. Scientists justify their research by claiming there are no alternatives to using animals in experiments if they hope to cure human diseases. Others question whether animal experiments are necessary to achieve scientific advances and, in the larger sense, what a proclivity toward utilizing animals as humans see fit says about the character of those humans.



U.S. &quot;Fee Demo&quot; Program and the Privatization of Public Land

29.08.2001 06:27

In the United States in 1996 a program called "fee demo" began as a "demonstration program" to encourage "private-public ventures" to "commercialize, privatize and motorize" recreational opportunities on the United States' public lands. The private recreation industry, particularly the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), backed this initiative. This situation is part of a general trend of privatizing public services that has been occuring during the last few U.S. presidential administrations, and the present Bush administration is in full support of it. Such actions follow a general on-going trend of enclosure of the commons going back into history over two hundred years.

After five years, fee demo has proven to be a failure, at least for the purposes that Congress and the American public were told it would serve. Yet the legislation may be extended another four years this September.

Economics of Fee Demo
A public- private cost share agreement between the US Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition has paid for a public relations campaign designed to convince the public that fee demo was created to provide funding for needed maintenance of National Forests. In reality, the majority of the fees collected are spent on administration, overhead, law enforcement, sales commissions and collection costs.

Ironically, although this "demonstration fee" is supposed to show how many Americans support the user fees, there is no tally of how many people refuse to pay the fees or who have stopped visiting pay-to-play forests. Essentially, each forest pass purchased is a vote for fee- demo and the money collected is used as evidence that the program has been successful in raising revenues and should therefore be made permanent.

Public Opposition
Along with the SierraClub, the Native Forest Council, American Lands Alliance and over 200 organizations, the State of Oregon came out against the imposition of these fees this past April when the Oregon Legislature passed the Forest Fee Elimination Measure, which resulted in the State of Oregon writing letters to President Bush, V.P. Cheney and others urging Congress to abolish the NW Forest Pass. Oregon joined California, New Hampshire and numerous counties and cities throughout America that have passed similar resolutions. Activists are encouraging citizens to petition Legislative Representatives to oppose the extension.



Global Day of Actions Marks Anniversary of G8 Protests

22.08.2001 19:08

German A20 Demonstration On August 20 concerned anti-corporate activists around the world held marches, vigils and other demonstrations to mark the first month anniversary of the death of activist Carlo Giuliani during July’s G8 protests in Genoa. Protests occurred around the globe, especially in Europe, where there were 30 protests taking place in Germany alone. Activists wish to keep focus on those still in jail in Genoa, as well as on human rights violations by the Italian police. Though members of the PublixThatre Cavavan have been released, with charges still pending, according to IMC-Italy there are currently 16 G8 demonstrators still in jail in Genoa (15 Germans, one Italian). Plans are being made for a march in Genoa on October 20 to mark the three month anniversary of protests against the G8 Summit.



Prison Industry Conference Draws Criticism in Philadelphia

14.08.2001 11:58

IMC NEWS BLAST | THE UNITED STATES' PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX | AUGUST 20, 2001

This week's convention of the American Correctional Association, the United States' most powerful body of prison industry policymakers and corporations that profit from the increasing privatization of America's prisons, is the target of substantial criticism from community members who believe there must be alternatives to the nation's penal system. There are presently over two million Americans incarcerated -- the largest prison population of any nation, costing approximately $40 billion yearly to maintain -- and over six million Americans are either in prison, on parole or on probation. The prison population is disproporationally composed of members of minority groups, and nearly two-thirds of those in prison are there for non-violent offenses, primarily due to the "Drug War" and efforts to criminalize sex work.

Activists in Philadelphia are facing the ACA's yearly meeting, calling into question, with a counter-convention and a series of street demonstrations, the basis of a "prison-industrial complex." Activists are asking whether corporations such as Wackenhut and Abbot Laboratories that profit from incarceration would ever support efforts to re-conceive the American justice system. As government and corporations build more prisons, and with the growing number of political prisoners, inmates on death row and a continued increase in incidents of police brutality, both inside and outside of the system, many question the merits of running a social institution so important to the well-being of society as a profit-generating institution. This echoes the call of social movements around the world to halt International Monetary Fund-imposed privatization of government institutions.

Listen to Philadelphia's Radio Volta for 24-hour coverage of this week's ACA convention and protests, including daily audio wrap-ups:

mp3 audio: [ a10 | a11 | a12 | a13 | a14 | a15 | a16 | a17 ]

More info: [ Philadelphia IMC | SF-IMC's Prisons IMC | STOPtheACA.org ]



Ecuadorian General Strike Highlights Fight Against Neoliberalism

12.08.2001 18:13

Ecuadorians Protest Privatization and Government &quot;Reforms&quot; THE IMC-PRINT TEAM'S SPECIAL EDITION PDF ON ECUADOR

On August 8 and 9, Ecuadorian activists converged on key cities like the capital Quito, the port city of Guayaquil, and Esmeraldas in the West, using a diversity of tactics such as blockading roads and marching in front of government buildings in order to voice their opposition to several of the Noboa regime's policies. Activists expressed opposition to the government's IMF-backed structural adjustment, its bailout of the corrupt banking sector, privatization of the electrical sector, "restructuring" of the social security system, the decision to allow the building of a new oil pipeline despite the opposition of local communities and environmentalists, impoverishment of the population, the government’s cooperation with the US-backed "Plan Colombia", the dollarisation of the Ecuadorian economy, neglect of native peoples, and the US military presence in Manta.

This mass-mobilization follows weeks of civil disobedience actions, protest marches, and work stoppages across this small Andean country of 13-million people that has seen doctors, teachers, farmers, natives, environmentalists, leftists, labour unions, students, women, the retired, the poor and the oppressed sectors of the country march to press their various demands against the government. On July 28, as police attempted to disperse a doctors march, the security forces fired tear-gas near a maternity ward claiming the lives of 2 infants. Last February four unarmed native protesters were gunned down while staging a roadblock during a previous nation-wide mobilization aimed at bringing down prices for fuel and transportation.

These actions will culminate in the convening of a National People’s Assembly of Ecuador on August 18, 2001 in Quito.

Special Coverage from Indymedia



Roads Blocked, Workers Strike in Response To Budget Tightening

10.08.2001 19:59

la Marcha del 8/8 a Plaza de Mayo The Argentine Government announced its new austerity budget at the end of July, in order to be able to continue to pay its foreign debt. Public workers and pensioners are to lose 13% of their salaries, in a plan proposed by President Fernando De la Rua and approved by the Argentine Senate on Monday. These measures came along with the tightening of the budget for the provinces, the shutting down of public offices and more severe control over tax collection. Thousands of demonstrators have convened in Buenos Aires and throughout the country against these new "Zero Deficit" laws. Thirty thousand students, public workers, the unemployed and other people participated in the massive protest in front of the presidential office in Plaza de Mayo (Buenos Aires) on August 8.

Since 1991, Argentina's currency has been pegged to the US dollar, meaning that they have had to keep US$25 billion on reserve in order to prevent their currency from slipping. Currency devaluation would make it more difficult for Argentina to pay off its US$128 billion debt. Argentina is seeking billions of dollars of additional loans from the IMF to help it deal with the crisis. The austerity measures are meant to cut this year's expected US$1.5 billion national budget deficit.

One author's explanation of Argentina's austerity program

Special report about the repression in Salta (en espagñol)

Petition to stop the repression

Australian living in Buenos Aires gives an opinion of the effects of globalisation on Argentina

A journalist's opinion on who is to blame for Argentina's economic collapse

Ultimas novedades de IMC-Argentina




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