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Indigenous Activists Confront Ecuadorian Government

03.02.2001 07:53

Indigenous activist in Ecuador This week in Ecuador a confrontation between the government of President Gustavo Noboa and indigenous groups in the South American nation has escalated into the nation’s most powerful protests since January 2000, when a popular uprising inspired by the Council of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador (CONAIE) forced then-president Jamil Mahaud to relinquish power. Ecuador has experienced great unrest over the last year, as Noboa’s government and the International Monetary Fund, preparing the country for a US$304 million loan that could lead to almost US$2 billion in additional funding, have imposed economic “adjustments,” including the dollarisation of the Ecuadorian economy, wage restraint, the removal of subsidies and widespread privatization. According to Ecuadorian trade unions, churches, indigenous activists, students, women’s organizations, environmental groups and other social action organizations, these adjustments have led to increased economic hardship for the Ecuadorian people. In June tens of thousands of Ecuadorians participated in a general strike. Said Wilson Alverez, president of the Workers United Front: "We're going to take to the streets to reject the economic package, reject the miserable increases in salaries and the hikes in fuel and electricity costs." In Quito, riot police met protesters who tried to march on the government palace during the strike with tear gas.

This week’s protests against rising fuel prices resulted in the January 30 detention of CONAIE leader Antonio Vargas. (Vargas was soon released.) On February 1, Ecuadorian women's, environmental, human rights and labor organizations occupied the Consejo Nacional de Modernizacion (National Office of Modernization) in Quito in solidarity with indigenous demonstrators who have blocked roads and taken control of television and radio facilities around the nation. On February 3 the government declared a state of emergency, and tensions escalated aferward as several were killed and many injured in continued confrontations throughout the country. Indigenous leaders met with President Noboa and on February 7 made agreements that include lowering fuel prices and assuring the peoples' involvement in some economic policy making. Read the agreements in spanish or english.

Desert Nation to Host Next WTO Ministerial – Activists Cry Foul

02.02.2001 06:38

Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar Qatar, a small Middle Eastern nation known for its scorching heat, its desert terrain, its extensive petroleum exports and its ruling Al-Thani family, will host the World Trade Organisation’s next Ministerial. The WTO announced its choice on January 30. After the last meeting in Seattle in November 1999 led to mass protests and ended in a complete disaster for the organisation, few nations volunteered. Chile recently announced it was no longer interested in hosting the meeting, which left the Persian Gulf state of Qatar the only contestant. The fact that Qatar is not exactly known as a fierce supporter of human rights may come in handy, as Mr Moore is likely to fear more large-scale protests. According to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, staging the meeting there "send(s) the signal that it's okay to build the global economy on a foundation of repression.”

More about Qatar:

  • The population of Qatar is a mere 697,126 (July 1998 est.), which includes 516,508 non-nationals (July 1997 est.), primarily South Asians (mainly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Filipinos), Arabs and Iranians.
  • Oil accounts for more than 1/3 of Qatar’s GDP, about 80% of export earnings and about 2/3 of revenues.
  • There are 1,107 km of paved roads in Qatar. There are 635 km of oil pipelines.
  • Qatar is ruled by the Persian Gulf’s largest ruling family, the Al Thani; Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is absolute monarch.
  • The Al Thani regime tolerates no political opposition; political parties are illegal; the government does not allow political demonstrations.
  • Though they ostensibly have the right to strike, all workers, including foreigners, are prohibited from forming labor unions.
  • Following unprecedented local elections, the Amir is drafting a constitution that may allow for there to be a parliament.
  • In 1995 the Amir rescinded laws censoring the media; though most Qatari media practice a self-proclaimed self-censorship, Qatari-based Al-Jazeera, a satellite TV channel, has challenged the government.
  • There is not an IMC-Qatar. At least not yet.

Earthquake Claims Tens of Thousands India

26.01.2001 20:23

AHMEDABAD: India's most powerful earthquake in over fifty years rocked the subcontinent on the morning of January 27, killing over 50,000 people. Tens of thousands more are homeless. The 7.9 magnitude temblor in western Gujarat state, close to Pakistan's border, was felt as far away as New Delhi, Nepal, and coastal Bangladesh, perhaps 1,200 miles away.

When there is a tragedy like the earthquake in India, after a short period of international attention during which aid organizations rush in under the gaze of television cameras to provide food, clothing and other types of immediate assistance, focus shifts away from the area in crisis. This leaves the aid organizations, along with an array of multinational corporations and national governments with a specific interest in the crisis area, to "reconstruct" the area with little international scrutiny. As Znet commentator Leslie Cagan wrote after a devastating 1999 earthquake in Turkey "Disaster happens - either caused by nature or man (and I use that word very consciously) - and great money-making opportunities open up."

Exactly how do these "money-making opportunities open up?" The Center for Reconstruction and Development, a project of Equity International, Inc., "a leader in facilitating the economic development of emerging markets by bringing together multilateral lending institutions, U.S. and foreign corporations, and governments to encourage business and finance opportunities," opens many of them by connecting corporations like Alcatel, International Paper, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon with political and "development community" (i.e. the World Bank and IMF) leaders in order to "aid in the reconstruction efforts of countries and regions following natural disasters, war, or political transition." Since 1996, according to the Center's web site, over 2,000 major corporations, organizations, agencies, and governments, have participated in Equity's "reconstruction and development conferences" about reconstructing ravaged regions in places like Turkey, Central America and the Balkans. How do multinational corporations and governments work together to manage the "reconstruction and development" of regions of the world after a natural, or man-made disaster? Where will these interests focus next? One possibility: the lead story on the top of the Center’s web site on February 10 – "Earthquake in India Kills Over 50,000."

World Social Forum Convening in PortoAlegre, Brasil

25.01.2001 05:29

UPDATE: Youth and activists' statement about the World Social Forum focuses on Democracy both within our poltical systems and social movements and the need to confront capitalism, not just reform it. [ in english ] [ em portuguese ]

From January 25 to 30, the first World Social Forum is convening in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Planned to coincide with, and provide an active contrast to, the World Economic Forum that will be meeting in Davos, Switzerland during the same period. The World Social Forum seeks to organize unions, NGOs and social movements in the global struggle against neo-liberalism. Nearly 2,500 individuals representing social-change organizations from all over the world are expected to converge in Porto Allegre for the Forum, and throughout the week they will attend workshops and plenaries about creating viable global economic and social structures.

While internationally-known organizations like ATTAC and Le Monde Diplomatique were primary organizers of the forum, other groups have been more reluctant to participate. Some, like Federacao Anarquista Gaucha have criticized the Forum but are still supporting it. Others, like the publisher of the Organizer have accused the WSF of trying to put a human face on globalization. Some Brazilian activist organizations such as the Collective Acrático Proposal, the Comunidade Piracema, and Coletive Contra a Corrente are calling for a boycott.

Keep your browser pointed to IMC-Brasil for breaking news and coverage of this ambitious, complicated and controversial social experiment that intends to fight globalization by replacing it.

De retour de Porto Alegre - Réinventer la démocratie
Il y a-t-il au monde un lieu où les citoyens sont réellement impliqués dans les processus de décision, dans les orientations politiques, sociales, économiques et culturelles qui les concernent? Du 28 octobre au 4 novembre, une délégation de Socialisme sans Frontières est partie pour Porto Alegre, capitale de l'Etat de Rio Grande Do Sul, en quête d'une réponse.

Fórum Social Mundial - Porto Alegre
Entre os dias 25 e 30 de janeiro acontece na cidade de Porto Alegre o Fórum Social Mundial. Esse fórum pretende ser uma contrapartida de esquerda ao Fórum Econômico Mundial - o fórum anual que acontece em Davos e reúne representantes dos governos, das maiores empresas e dos grandes meios de comunicação. O Fórum Social, por sua vez, pretende reunir os sindicatos, partidos de esquerda, ONGs e movimentos sociais para discutir alternativas ao neo-liberalismo. Grupos e indivíduos ligados ao movimento anti-globalização, no Brasil e no mundo, divergem no julgamento do Fórum. A ATTAC e o Le Monde Diplomatique, organizadores do evento, fazem dele, evidentemente, uma defesa arraigada (veja artigo de Ignácio Ramonet); Noam Chomsky também defende a importância do Fórum; outros grupos como a Federação Anarquista Gaúcha, embora critiquem certos aspectos do Fórum chamam os grupos radicais e anti-autoritários a se reunir lá; o editor do jornal americano "The Organizer" acusa o Fórum de defender uma globalização com "face humana"; finalmente, alguns grupos ativos durante o S26 no Brasil como o CAP, a Comunidade Piracema e o Coletivo Contra a Corrente pedem pelo boicote ao Fórum.
Articles in English: (1), (2)

IMC NEWS BLAST | WORLD SOCIAL FORUM -- WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM : A compilation of photos, video, audio and text reports from the Indymedia's coverage of the WSF and WEF. Posted February 1, 2001.

Swiss Police and Activists Battle in Streets Outside of Globalization Forum

24.01.2001 16:05

Check out Davos Indymedia The World Economic Forum, which held its annual meeting from January 25 to 30 in Davos, Switzerland, faced angry anti-globalization demonstrators in several cities around the supposedly neutral nation. Founded in 1971 by Swiss-based German entrepreneur Dr. Klaus Schwab, the WEF has grown to become one of the world's most important conventions of "global leaders" such as corporate executive officers and heads of state. The WEF allows multinational corporations unprecedented access to the government decision-makers who influence their industries, and it grants governments an unparalleled opportunity to coordinate their operations with global business. Swiss police vowed not to allow protestors to "influence the course of the meetings", as activists in Melbourne, Australia, certainly did to the September 11th, 2000, WEF meetings there, but their heavy-handed tactics heightened the level of tension in the streets. That tension exploded into active confrontation for several days during the meetings, especially in Zurich.

IMC Switzerland provided breaking news coverage of the WEF meeting in several languages and will continue to post updates and analysis

Davos : programme de la contre-conférence Davos
Pourquoi aller à Davos?
Dr Schwab et son forum économique mondial
Forum de Davos: l'épreuve de force est engagée avec les anti-OMC
La tension monte à Davos entre les autorités suisses et la coordination
Anti-OMC Plate-forme d'action contre le Forum de Davos
Le World Economic Forum se réunit du 25 au 30 janvier à Davos. Formellement, il s'agit de son meeting annuel, juridiquement une Fondation de droit privé dont les membres sont les 1.000 premières firmes globales du monde, "celles qui mènent l'économie mondiale."

DAVOS, I globalizzatori in settimana bianca.
Anche quest'anno a Davos dal 25 al 30 gennaio, si terra' il Wef (world economic forum), l'appuntamentoannuale a cui partecipano i leader autodefiniti della politica dell'economia globale. In una settimana di cene e riunioni questisignori progettano ogni anno i passaggi fondamentali del percorsodella globalizzazione. Per fare solo un esempio proprio a Davos nel 1994 fu progettato il Nafta. Ma negli ultimi tempi il club deiglobalizzatori ha qualche problemino di immagine. Quindi, per salvarel'insalvabile, Il meeting Wef del 2001 sara' dedicatoa L'umanizzazione della globalizzazione: apertura al dialogo pertenere insieme efficienza economica ed equita' sociale. Sara' per aprireil dialogo che il comune di Davos ha gia' vietato il corteo di protestaprevisto per il 27 gennaio (appuntamento confermato dal comitato anti-Wef) ed e' stato allertato il corpo scelto dell'esercito e le spese per lasicurezza sono gia' di un miliardo e mezzo di lire?

Wipe Out WEF Coalition vs. the WEF official site.

IMC NEWS BLAST | WORLD SOCIAL FORUM -- WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM : A compilation of photos, video, and audio and text reports from the Indymedia's coverage of the WSF and WEF. Posted February 1.

Bush Inauguration Met By Active Dissent

18.01.2001 18:11

Anarchist dives from flag pole after replacing american flag with Anarchist flag Thousands of protestors were in the streets in Washington D.C. on January 20th, voicing their dissent as George W. Bush took the oath of office to become the 43rd President of the United States, in what has been called the largest Inauguration Day protest since Richard Nixon took office in 1973.

Reporters from the D.C. Independent Media Center covered the event, from Dupont Circle to the New Black Panther Party protest, from the men in blue to the radical women who protested Duhbya. Download the PDF summary of the Inauguration Day events, listen to J20 audio wrap-up and keep up with the IMC-DC newswire for reports that continue to come in. Read about Bush's cabinet members (from NYC-IMC) and download a copy of the IMC-DC's newspaper, The Independent Voice (900 kb pdf) to print and distribute in your neighborhood.

Independent Media Under Attack in Eastern Europe

18.01.2001 15:14

Ukrainian journalist Giorgij Gongadze Recent attacks on independent media sources and journalists in two of the former Soviet republics have called into question the freedom of the independent press to criticize government and financial leaders there. In Belarus, Inland Revenue closed the independent printer Magic as the result of a Supreme Court case allowing it to confiscate property of the Soros Foundation, which had supported the publication. The Belarusian high economic court has upheld the arrest of its publisher. Critics accuse President Lukashenka of targeting Magic because of its opposition to his administration. In the Ukraine, tape recordings have surfaced that allegedly feature the voice of President Kuchma ordering the kidnapping of Gieorgij Gongadze, a reporter for Ukrainska Prawda (the Ukrainian Truth), who had written about connections between Kuchma, the financial oligarchy and criminal organizations. DNA tests prove with 96% certainty that a body found in the countryside near Kiev this past November was that of Gongadze. Other recent attacks on independent media in former Soviet Union include the beating of a Russian journalist by police and the detention of Karabakh journalist.

Is Soros-funded Eastern European media such as Magic truly independent? criticism of Soros-funded B92 radio | Soros Foundation

For ongoing coverage of attacks on Eastern European independent media:

Thousands Expected to Protest Bush Inauguration

18.01.2001 05:53

Parade Route for the Coronation of President-SelectBush The inauguration of George W. Bush comes during a resurgence of political activism in America and throughout the world and is bringing more and more groups together in the struggle for democratic and progressive change. Bush's rapid effort to assemble one of the most pro-corporate cabinets in history has led to increased opposition by labor and environmental groups, students and social justice organizations. Moreover, mounting evidence that the GOP stole the presidential election by denying African-Americans their right to vote has created public outrage and is leading to a grassroots revival of the civil rights movement.

Thousands of people are mobilizing to protest on January 20th. Indy Media will be there to record the event as it unfolds.

Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq

17.01.2001 11:55

On January 17 1991, the lethal air strikes of Desert Storm light up the skies over Baghdad. Ten years later the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq continue, while Saddam Hussein's regime remains in power. As many nations support the removal of the economic sanctions, a US veto in the UN Security Council perpetuates Iraq's decade-long humanitarian crisis.
[ Halliday | Ali | Chomsky | Lennon | Barsamian | Red Cross | Background Info ]

Demonstration in London against the UN sanctions against Iraq, 16 Jan:
[ Picture gallery | picture montage | video | background of the action ]

Resistance to IMF policies in poor countries

16.01.2001 21:08

Since Seattle last year, the media has heralded the dawn of a new movement in Europe and America, epitomised by protests aimed at the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. However, this 'new movement', portrayed by the media as students and anarchists from the rich and prosperous global north, is just the tip of the iceberg. In the global south, a far deeper and wide-ranging movement has been developing for years, largely ignored by the media. What follows is a summary of protests and demonstrations organised by the southern poor. They are aimed at policies that hurt their livelihoods and, in some cases, undermine the democratic foundations of their countries. This 'hidden' movement has a global reach and signals a deep unease at economic policies that keep the poor in poverty.

Depleted Uranium Blamed for Mysterious Illnesses Among Soldiers

16.01.2001 06:46

Scientists and sick soldiers alike from several European nations blame contact with weapons composed, in part, of depleted uranium, for the mysterious ?Balkans Syndrome? that has plagued veterans of military conflicts in that region. Though the governments whose armies have used weapons cased in depleted uranium, a substance used in weaponry because it is hard enough to pierce tank armor, claim the munitions are safe for their soldiers to handle, recent reports have called the ?safety? of depleted uranium into question. Depleted uranium weapons were first used in the Gulf War and see continued use, activists claim, in places like the West Bank and Gaza.

Les armes en uranium appauvri
Les soldats malades suite à leur intervention en ex-Yougoslavie posent de nouveau le problème de l'uranium appauvri. La responsabilité de l'uranium comme unique cause des maladies chez les soldats devient possible. Que cette responsabilité se trouve confirmée ou non il ne faudrait pas pour autant oublier que des milliers de tonnes d'uranium appauvri ont été abandonnées dans le Limousin. [suite]

Syndrome des Balkans
2 points de vue et dessins sur les contradictions du débat concernant l'utilisation de munition en uranium appauvri.
C'est dangereux?
Et nous?

Chavez Withdaws From Nomination

09.01.2001 18:53

Labor Secretary-designee Linda Chavez plans to withdraw as a nominee for Labor secretary Tuesday, three Republican officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chavez intended to say she had become a distraction to Bush because of questions about an illegal immigrant who stayed in her house in the early 1990s. Chavez has been strongly objected to by the AFL-CIO on account her long history of anti-labor politics.
This isn't Bush's only nomination issue. Sen. Ashcroft is being bitterly opposed to as the nomination for Attorney General.

WEF Attemps to Overturn Constitutional Rights

08.01.2001 00:07

In preparation for the upcoming World Economic Forum meeting, the anti-World Trade Organization coordination committee formally submitted a request for a demonstration permit from the local authorities. Although they were initially denied the permit, the group successfully challenged the refusal in the Swiss Federal court, where the denial was overturned, acknowledging an absence of valid arguments for the permit's denial. Despite having the permit, the local government, police, banking institutions, and the WEF are trying to create a total prohibition of any type of demonstration and a full guarantee for the "smooth " meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. An attempt to prohibit the demonstrations will be a serious blow to the deeply held Swiss tradition of the fundamental right to meet freely and express opinions.

Die lokale Polizei des "global village" könnte niemals selber die geforderten Aufgaben und Massnahmen erfüllen, die von der Landschaft Davos gefordert werden: Ein totales Verbot jeglicher Art von Demonstration und die volle Gewährleistung für einen "reibungslosen" Verlauf des World Economic Forums. Dass ein totales Verbot der Demonstration ein schwerwiegender Einschnitt in das traditionsreichste und wichtigste Schweizer Grundrecht, das Recht sich frei zu versammeln und eine Meinung zu vertreten, darstellt, scheint nur von untergeordneter Bedeutung zu sein.

Die Anti-WTO-Koordination hat schon letztes Jahr formell ein Bewilligungsgesuch bei den lokalen Behörden eingereicht und deren fadenscheinig begründete Ablehnung bis vor das Bundesgericht gezogen. Das Bundesgericht rügte in seiner Erklärung das Fehlen rechtskräftiger Argumente für das Verbot, auf eine diesbezügliche Handlung der Bündner Behörden wartet mensch noch immer.

Aharon Shabtai Writes on the Situation in the Mid East

07.01.2001 23:07

Imc-israel was asked by Aharon Shabtai to publish some of his writings which give a different perspective on the Al-Aqsa Intifada.


I, too, have declared war:
You'll need to divert part of the force
deployed to wipe out the Arabs-
to drive them out of their homes
and expropriate their land-
and set it against me.
You've got tanks and planes,
and soldiers by the battalion;
you've got the rams' horns in your hands
with which to rouse the masses;
you've got men to interrogate and torture;
you've got cells for detention,
I have only this heart
with which I give shelter
to an Arab child.
Aim your weapons at it:
even if you blow it apart
it will always,
always mock you.

Reports Suggest Turkish Authorities Set Prisoners on Fire

06.01.2001 23:07

corpses suggest Turkish authorities set them on fire According to testimony collected by the People's Rights Watch- 2 lawyers, 2 doctors, 2 members of the Belgium parliament- the declarations of the Turkish prison authorities regarding the prison raids do not match reality. What seems to be the case, as was initially suspected, is that Turkish soldiers and police are responsible for the majority of deaths. Photographs indicate that not all of the prisoners set themselves on fire as the Turkish authorities have claimed. The prison authorities have reported that the 16 people who set themselves on fire threw themselves on the soldiers. Evidence indicates that they were set on fire by the Turkish authorities themselves.

Selon le témoignage rassemblé par la mission de la recherche de l?organisation de défense des droits de l?homme « People?s Rights Watch » (2 avocats, 2 médecins, 2 membres du parlement de la Belgique), les déclarations des autorités Turques vraiment n'apparient pas la réalité. Deux ou 3 prisonniers " ont commis le suicide " par le feu parce qu'ils ont préféré mourir au lieu du retournement en cellules de l'isolement. Mais les soldats et la police Turcs causent la majorité des décès. Les photographies indiquent que pas tous les prisonniers se sont mis sur le feu comme les autorités turques ont réclamé, même tout en affirmant que 16 personnes se sont mises sur le feu et s'étaient puis jetées sur les soldats.

Cm. Dalee: Russian Version

Two Weeks Left for Clemency

04.01.2001 23:07

President Clinton has publicly confirmed that Leonard's clemency petition has reached his office, and that it will be decided one way or the other in the very near future. A decision must be made before Clinton leaves office- with Bush Jr. taking the office, Peltier stands no chance of Clemency. Amnesty International considers Peltier to be a political prisoner who should be immediately and unconditionally released. The FBI demonstrated and worked against his request for clemency. A former FBI agent opposed the FBI's overt politicking. Marches in support of Peltier occurred around the country, including New York City. Listen to a Twin Cities IMC produced audio documentary on the Minneapolis actions here.

UPDATE, JANUARY 20 President Clinton did not grant Peltier clemency before leaving office.

Police Arrest 44 in Fuel Protests

04.01.2001 21:07

Police used tear gas to disperse more than 300 students protesting government subsidy cuts that have driven up fuel prices. In the last week, home cooking fuel prices have doubled, increased gasoline prices by 25 percent and upped bus fares by as much as 75 percent, from 8 cents to 14 cents. Police said 44 high school and university students were arrested after they tried to disrupt traffic around the state-run university in central Quito and six nearby public high schools.

Czechs Rally for Independent Media

04.01.2001 19:07

Tens of thousands of Czechs streamed into Wenceslas Square in the capital, Prague, last night to show their support for the journalists involved in an increasingly bitter newsroom strike at the state-owned Czech Television (CT). Holding banners and chanting, an estimated 100,000 people - the largest gathering in the square since the Velvet Revolution against communist rule in November 1989 - demanded that the country's political leaders end the standoff between the CT director, Jiri Hodac, and the journalists.

Israel’s Execution Policy Hits Known Palestinian Peace Champion

01.01.2001 21:49

Yesterday, an Israeli killer squad hit and killed a well-known Palestinian peace champion, the director general of the health inspection department of the PNA health ministry, Dr. Thabet Thabet, who was also the local secretary of the (Arafet led) Fatah PLO branch in Tul Karm on the Western border of the West Bank. This assassination is in line with a policy of execution of death sentences without trial.

Walden Bello Looks Back on the Global Protests

01.01.2001 19:14

The last year will probably go down as one of those defining moments in the history of the world economy, like 1929. Of course, the structures of global capitalism appear to be solid, with many in the global elite in Washington, Europe, and Asia congratulating themselves for containing the Asian financial crisis and trying to exude confidence about launching a new round of trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO). What we witnessed, nevertheless, was a dramatic series of events that might, in fact, lead to that time when, as the poet says, "all that is solid melts into thin air."

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