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Earth Day: like a day of mourning

imc, 23.04.2004 00:00

machine trashes Earth As Earth Day is marked in many nations it seems meaningless to some when few effective actions are seriously taken by industry and government to stem the growing tide of environmental degradation. The collapse of the bio-sphere is no longer wild speculation. Science confirms climatic disruption and seemingly endless sources of pollution are endangering all life on planet Earth. Issues like bio-diversity, forest health, and ecologically sound transportation, to name but a few, go largely unaddressed. Attempts to change business as usual on Mother Earth continue, however it is a daunting struggle.

U.S. soldiers seek asylum in Canada

imc, 21.04.2004 22:00

Soldiers Hinzman and Hughey U.S. Army privates Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman, both opposed to the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, are seeking sanctuary in Canada. Their struggle for political asylum may be viewed as a test case for future dissent by U.S. military personnel who object to being used as cannon fodder by the Bush regime to further its expansionist goals in the Gulf region.

Hinzman, as well as his young family, and Hughey are represented by Jeffry House, a Canadian lawyer who has begun the process of applying for refugee status and hopes to convince Canadian immigration officials that Jeremy and Brandon "should not have been forced to take part in an illegal war that violates basic norms of human decency."

[ Take action 1, 2 | Resisting militarism | Interview with Hinzman }

Akha and Indymedia Activist Arrested in Thailand

21.04.2004 09:20

Matthew Matthew McDaniel is a Human Rights activist that has been living and working with the Akha tribe in Northern Thailand since 1991. Recently he also got involved in setting up an Indymedia in Thailand. Last week he got arrested at the border between Thailand and Burma and he is now being detained at a deportation centre in Bangkok.

According to an activist that recently travelled through Thailand Matthews arrest puts not only his family but the whole village in danger. "By his sheer presence and loud mouth he was the 'protector' of the village, the police and military were reluctant to enter the village." According to a friend of Matthews the "village might be under attack". He said he doesn't know what the "Thai and the Burmese government are capable or willing to do".

Contact the Thai embassy in your country: list of Thai embassies worldwide

A17: International Day of Farmers' Struggle

21.04.2004 07:05

A17: MST occupies the INCRA office After the massacre of landless on the 17th of April 1996 in Brazil, in which 19 were killed and 69 injured by paramilitaires, Via Campesina (es, en, fr) has declared this day as the International Day of Farmers' Struggle (es, en). In a global campaign for Agrian Reform, Via Campensina calls for a change of the land and rural policies of the World Bank, but numerous other issues are taken up on this Global Day of Action. This year, actions took place in at least 26 countries.

In Latin America, a continental campaign against the FTAA (ALCA) called for protests against the new bi-lateral freetrade agreement TLC between Ecuador and the US (es, en). Actions took place on 15 April in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela (all es).

In Brazil (pt), the Landless Farmers Movement (MST) occupied the officies of INCRA, the National Office of Agricultural Reform.

In Europe, numerous (de) smaller actions and events took place, for example in supermarkets [1, 2, demanding fair prices for agricultural products, but also protesting against GM food [1, 2, 3 (de)]. In Germany, the a national demonstration took place for a GM-free agriculture(de). [ Via Campensina (en, es, fr) | Peoples Global Action (PGA) (en, es, fr, de) | biotechimc | ftaaimc ]

The weekly best of worldwide indymedia

20.04.2004 03:20

Each week, a regular contributor to Portland IMC publishes a conglomeration of stories from around the IMC network. The stories focus on resistance, community building, hope, and tactics; as an attempt to show readers that these things do exist in the world. And to help break people out of the small space of convenience and illusion that has enveloped many in industrialized nations, and look out into the world. Hopefully every week these stories will help raise awareness and hope that a different world is possible and we are the ones that will fight for it...and eventually win.

Boycott Weapons of Mass Dis-information

19.04.2004 23:59

turnoff tv week

Fewer and fewer people control the media that shapes our worldview. And nowhere does this play out worse than on our televisions, where the corporate agenda reigns supreme. The media's role seems to primarily be that of feeding society with one-way stories, infotainment and mind-numbing hype. To keep us amused, but rarely informed or inspired. How can we move past this malaise, beyond the hollow din of reality shows and celebrity news, and back to a life that matters?. TV Turnoff 2004 is no ordinary social ritual, it is a statement against the dead-end couch culture. And when millions of people let the screen fade to black this year, they'll also be helping to build the Media Carta movement, a campaign for the right of all citizens to access society's most powerful forms of communication.

What happens during a seven-day experiment in life without TV? A whole new space to think emerges. You find yourself passing time in ways you never expected. And you start to wonder: when I reach for the remote, who is really in control?. Last April 5 million people switched off.

1000 Have-Nots Storm Elite Hotel in Montreal

17.04.2004 18:13


Over a thousand angry protestors marched on Montreals posh St. James hotel yesterday, causing havoc and disrupting the tea-time of the idle rich. The protest was part of a province-wide day of action marking the one-year anniversary of the elections that brought Jean Charest and the Liberal Party to government in Quebec.

Since taking power, Premier Charest has initiated a re-engineering of the statea business-oriented restructuring of the provinces government, in an attempt to undermine the many social-democratic programs still running in Quebec. This has taken the form of anti-union laws, cuts to subsidized childcare, plans to reduce the number of people on welfare and other attacks on working people. One flyer for yesterdays protests stated, As if we didnt have enough trouble making ends meet with low salaries, precarious jobs, insufficient welfare and high rents, this government has given itself the clear mission of making us even poorer.

Protests against Fortress Europe

16.04.2004 06:57

Anti-deportation action Belgium In the Netherlands are there already 3 months of direct-actions, demonstrations, people who open their house for refugees. On April 10, there was a demonstration in which 15.000 people participated.
[ Picture reports 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 ]

In Belgium there was an action (pictures 1 | 2) against the collective deportation of refugees by military planes from the Benelux-countries(Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and also a demonstration at a closed center that exists already five years. In february, Iranian refugees were arrested when they wanted to hand over a petition to the Minister of Internal affairs. Earlier overview

In France there are actions in different cities. In Lille, 42 Guinean woman are holding a hungerstrike since April 1, they want a better place to stay: now 130 personnes have to live on 40 square meters. An occupation of an university some weeks ago was broken up agressivly by riotpolice, some people were beaten so hard they lost blood and had to go to a hospital. News from Paris

In Helsinki, Finland, there was a solidarity demostration against the deportation of more than 200 Roma from Finland to Slovakia. Report | Pictures.

Other European countries: Italy | Germany | Austria Feature on Roma. | Switserland | Map of Fortress Europe (pdf)

Mexico - Zapatista demonstration attacked by gunmen

14.04.2004 22:06

roadblockade where the demonstration was shot at Easter Saturday, 10th of April, a peaceful demonstration of Zaptistas for the right to access drinking water got attacked with stones, guns and fireworks in the highlands of Chiapas near San Cristobal de las Casas. Result of the ambush: 29 Zapatistas injured, amongst them three seriously and one person with life threatening injuries due to machete wound on the head, it is in the balance whether he will survive or not.
Update (13.4.2004): The Zapatistas in the hospital in San Cristobal de Las Casas are suffering poor medical attention and even worse are being harrassed constantly by the police. 125 zapatista families have fled their homes in the municipality of Zinacantan, Los Altos, Chiapas, fearing attack by militants of the PRD (Revolutionary Democratic Party). A press conference is declared by ngos including the network of community human rights defenders.
to read more:
english [1,2, 3],spanish [1,2,3,4,5], german [1,2,3], italian [1,2,3,4, 5,6, 7, 8,9]

West Papuans Boycott Indonesian Elections

14.04.2004 02:00

60 per cent of People in West Papua boycotted parliamentary elections held on Monday 5th April, including almost every native Papuan (40% of the population are Indonesian transmigrants). A group of 20 OPM (Free Papua Movement) attacked and capsized a boat carrying ballots, killing one police officer. The boycott has brought with it an increase in police deployment in villages across Papua. In the weeks prior to the elections, police shot dead two people and hospitalised three under the suspicion of campaigning for the boycott.

[West Papua News | Amnesty Report On Indonesia | Melbourne IMC]

NO Software Patents in Europe

Suso, 13.04.2004 19:20

No Software Patents

Thousands of sites are joining the FFII online-demo against the new attempts to legalize software patents in Europe. Worldwide sites like the GNU Project are closed with a protest frontpage the same way as a lot of European Indymedia nodes (Portugal, Galiza, Canarias, Madiaq, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Germany, Belgium, UK...) calling to the april 14 Brussels demonstration.

The purpose is to mobilize the entire society decrypting and broadcasting the techno&legal trap which the patent lawyers are trying to use to legalize the EPO's granted abusive patents. Even beeing covered by copyright laws, the Council of Europe is now pushing for unlimited software patentability ignoring the European Parliament's democratic decision that avoids software patents: that decision was taken with the support of hundreds of thousands of citizens (sign now!), thousands of SMEs and scientists and hundreds of economists.

The software describes methods like "adding two numbers" which are abstractions so generics as the expresion "joining two pieces". Software patentability prevents and limits software innovation because any new piece of code could be affected by any of those abusive patents like "progress bar" or "user interface" only usable with permission of their patent "owner". The needing of checking the 'patent state' of any new idea against EPO turns software development into a patent minefield, and this affects all software developers from GPL to proprietary ones, regardless of being gratis or not.

Diversity, undeveloped countries and minorized cultures are particularly disadvantaged by insolidarious and disruptive systems such as that of software patents. No corporation is interested in giving us software in our languages, or ways to adding our fundamental esences to construct those transnational flows of alternative communication which demonstrated their effectivenes in surpassing the mediatic silence and the official lies when events like the Prestige Oil Spill comes to our lives. Those flows are basically constructed with different tastes of non-patented software, and this is the reason because software patents give a few multinational corporations enormous additional power and promote unproductive concentration in the industry, thereby removing development opportunities from individuals, small entities and democratic states.

So join us saying NO TO SOFTWARE PATENTS IN EUROPE next April 14 at Brusells!

UPDATE: April 14 Demo Report (in Nederlands): [1, 2]
Photos [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Links to Several Photos of the Demo]

Ten Years of the Northwest Forest Plan: Eco-Resistance in Cascadia

13.04.2004 03:45

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Northwest Forest Plan, a Clinton-era rule enacted to address the decline of the Northern Spotted Owl and (supposedly) to create a truce in the "Timber Wars" of the 1980's and early 1990's. Although lambasted by radicals and criticized by some mainstream environmentalists, loss of support from big green groups on fighting the plan eventually led to its enactment.

While creating some protections, the Plan mandated that logging continue on 1,000,000's of acres of publicly owned National Forests. The Plan allowed for major loopholes, such as the infamous Salvage Logging Rider. Old-growth logging - with taxpayer funded corporate welfare subsidizing the destruction - continued, as did grassroots resistance. The rule of profit over life remained unchanged.

Enter Bush II. Of W's innumerable, well-documented environmental rollbacks, his changes to forest policy are amongst the most severe. Bush has made Cascadia (the Southern half of which happens to be in the United States) a special focus, visiting us (1, 2) under the strangest circumstances when he announces new forest-death laws. What little protection the Northwest Forest Plan offered is now in shambles, with the elimination of rare species and aquatic protections under the plan.

Cyclists take to the streets

13.04.2004 01:06

Critical Mass ride the Bolte Bridge Cyclists in Manila, Philippines are gearing up for Critical Mass: The 6th Tour of the Fireflies on April 18, 2004. The Tour of the Fireflies is an annual critical mass bike ride that first started in April 1999 and was organized by Firefly Brigade - a diverse group of bike enthusiasts and critical mass activists that is united for a goal to achieve an ecologically sustainable transportation in the cities. (See Manila Indymedia)

Critical Mass was started in 1992 in San Fransisco and 387 regular rides are presently listed at the www.critical-mass.org/ hub. Some of these rides are reported on at Indymedia. This year has seen Critical Mass against the Apartheid Wall in Tel Aviv, Israel; several Bikes not Bombs Critical Mass including Torrino and around Italy; and San Diego in the US. Portland cyclists viciously attacked by police on March 20 2003 as part of stop the war protests had all charges dropped in February 2004. There is even songs for Critical Mass.

[Critical Mass | Critical Mass Australia | Critical Mass Rides]

Uprising against United States Occupation

12.04.2004 00:40

Occupation inflicts more deaths Latest News: Hundreds dead in Massacre in Fallujah - IMC-UK.
Audio report: Paola Gaspiroli interview - mp3 [9.6MB]

Journalist Naomi Klein and Photographer Andy Stern report from Baghdad: April 9, 2003 was the day Baghdad fell to U.S. forces. One year later, it is rising up against them. Donald Rumsfeld claims that the resistance is just a few “thugs, gangs and terrorists.” This is dangerous, wishful thinking. The war against the occupation is now being fought out in the open, by regular people defending their homes and neighbourhoods - an Iraqi intifada. (Past reports: April 6, March 19)

[Occupation Watch | Breaking News on Iraq and antiwar protests at Arkansas IMC]

Women's Reproductive Rights Continue to Crumble

11.04.2004 21:10

Last week, President Bush signed legislation which created legal “person” status for fertilized eggs, embryos or fetuses, separate from the biological mother, making it a federal crime to harm a “child in utero.” Supporters claim it will allow for increased protection of pregnant women and stronger punishments for those who would harm them. Many similar state laws, though, have repeatedly been used to stifle a woman’s right to choose an abortion. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America was unable to stop the passage of S. 1019, the so-called “Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA),” despite a rigorous campaign. As of this week, PPFA is also fighting in federal courtrooms in California, Nebraska and New York City to challenge the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act,” signed into law by Bush in November.

The ban criminalizes a procedure called intact dilation and extraction, which can be used to terminate pregnancies after the first trimester, and has been labeled by many in the medical community as one of the safest procedures for second-trimester pregnancies, as well as necessary in many instances. Any "overt act" to "kill the partially delivered living fetus" is banned, punishable by up to two years in prison. The law fails to make any exception for a pregnant woman's health though and lawyers argued that this makes it unconstitutional. Many women will be making their way to Washington, DC on April 25 for the “March for Women’s Lives,” to demonstrate for their right to reproductive freedom and control of their bodies – in addition to protesting the Bush administration’s continuing efforts to access their medical records.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, women’s rights activists are still trying to get the government to repeal the Abortion Information Act 1955, which limits a woman’s ability to obtain information about abortions abroad.
For more on women’s reproductive rights: Bay Area IMC|Planned Parenthood Federation of America|Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project|National Organization for Women|NARAL

Maori land confiscation continues in New Zealand

10.04.2004 06:59

Maori protest more land rights confiscation The New Zealand Government recently introduced a bill that takes away legal and beneficial ownership of the foreshore and seabed from Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and gives it to the Crown. Maori tribes may be awarded 'customary rights' and 'ancestral connection' to foreshores and seabeds, but they have to go through court proceedings to get it. It is also unclear what 'customary rights' and 'ancestral connection' actually gives Maori. It does not include a right to development. Furthermore, if 'customary rights' is awarded to a tribe, the Crown retains the right to extinguish it.

Reaction to the bill has been swift: Peace Movement Aotearoa, Treaty Tribes Coalition, and Te Ope Mana a Tai are amoung groups to denounce the Government’s the policy.

Read More at Aotearoa IMC

[Analysis of Foreshore and Seabed Legislation | No raupatu in our time! | Maori Independence]

Michigan students hunger strike to support farm worker justice

09.04.2004 18:14

hungerstrike Central Michigan University has joined three other campuses in a growing U.S.-wide hunger strike to cut university contracts with Taco Bell, a fast-food franchise. Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, which owns several other fast-food restaurants chains and has 30,000 franchises internationally.

Taco Bell uses tomatoes picked by farmers under exploitative conditions. Tomato pickers routinely work 12-hour days and would have to pick 2-tons of tomatoes to earn fifty dollars in a day. Workers have not received a raise since 1978 and continue to earn between 40 and 45 cents for each 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick.

The hunger strike comes just one week after a protest at the Mount Pleasant Taco Bell, and a series of hunger strikes by students at Nortre Dame University and Grand Valley State University.

The hunger strike will run concurrently with a strike at the University of Florida. CMU students will also spend the week of April 12 in a tent city.

The campaign against Taco Bell has been led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a Florida-based group of tomato pickers. Their Taco Bell Truth Tour is an annual tour raising awareness of the conditions of tomato pickers and to build support for their struggle.

[Students Against Sweatshops GVSU | Coalition of Immokalee Workers | Michigan IMC]

Timoney 3 Acquitted On All Charges

08.04.2004 17:16

After three years of waiting and two days of testimony, Camilo Vivieros, Darby Landy, and Eric Steinberg were acquitted of all charges stemming from the 2000 Republican National Convention. They came to be known as the Timoney 3 after the then-Philadelphia police chief that alleged they had assaulted him, and that has a long history of assaulting protesters.

For justice to come: an interview with Jaques Derrida

., 08.04.2004 10:37

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Jacques DerridaThe Brussels Tribunal (14-17th April), an inquest into the agressive politics of the Bush government, can count on the support of many eminent intellectuals. The French philosopher Jaques Derrida, is one of the better known of these. However, his state of health will not allow him to participate directly in the commission and but he has invited the founder of this initative Lieven De Cauter into his home for an interview.

[ complete inteview |download PDF | The Brussels Tribunal > ]

The Iraqi Uprising

feature, 07.04.2004 00:49

According to a report filed from Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by coalition forces, opened fire on a demonstration there on Sunday. As the protesters returned to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, the US army followed with tanks, helicopters and planes, firing at random on homes, shops, streets, even ambulances. According to local hospitals, 47 people were killed and many more injured. In Najaf, the day was also bloody: 20 demonstrators dead, more than 150 injured. [photo essay] The Shiite uprising comes from the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, the younger, more radical rival of the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, following the closing of Sadr's newspaper last week.

The US media are groping in the dark for a new narrative. Even for supporters of the occupation, it is no longer believable to suggest that Iraq is on an inevitable path towards democracy; that the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly grateful for the American presence in their country; that attacks against American forces are the work of a few "dead-enders" or Islamic extremists allied with al Qaeda. This is clearly a popular uprising against an illegitimate occupying army.

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