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Canadians Rally to Protest Sanctions and Pending War on Iraq

21.08.2002 13:32

Stop a la mascarade de l'onu During the 1991 Gulf War, coalition forces including Canada destroyed four of seven major pumping stations, 31 municipal water and sewage facilities, and bombed eight multi-purpose dams throughout Iraq. Recently declassified documents from 1991 entitled "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities" disclose how sanctions would prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens. The documents anticipate "increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease." A 1997 report (pdf) by UNICEF estimated the deaths resulting from the sanctions at 90,000 a year since 1990, 40,000 of those being children under the age of five.

In January of 2001, Canada sent the frigate HMCS Charlottetown to monitor the implementation of the embargo. Minister of Defence Art Eggleton noted that "Canada has been participating in the enforcement of UN sanctions against Iraq for 10 years." Although Canada has supported the oil-for-food program as alternative to total blockade, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Von Sponeck noted the program "couldn't possibly meet the needs of the Iraqi people".

On August 6th, the 12th anniversary of the imposition of sanctions on Iraq, and the 58th aniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, hundreds of Canadians took to the streets to oppose both the sanctions and the pending attack by the USA. The protests were organized by various organizations devoted to peace and justice. Hundreds marched in Montreal, and more protests [ 1 ] were held in Calgary, Victoria [ 1 ]. Meanwhile, August 5 was Armed Forces Day in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and protests were held at a military exposition [ 1 | 2 ].

Students End Three Month Strike at Public University of Sao Paulo

20.08.2002 14:28

Vende-Se Last Wednesday, August 14, students from the FFLCH (Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences School) at the University of Sao Paulo decided, in an assembly (pt) to end their strike which they had been holding (pt) for over 90 days, and return (pt) to classes. By a narrow margin vote (pt) (637 to 511), the meeting members considered an administration offer as a partial victory, and the movement made a commitment to continue its efforts to improve education at the school. FFLCH's students demand better teaching conditions, the hiring of 259 professors, and the provision of better living conditions in the university`s apartments.

The strike started (pt) with language students [ 1 ], who contend with some of the worst conditions (pt) in the university with overcrowded rooms and a lack of professors. In last the ten years, the school has lost 19% of its professors while another 32% are nearing retirement. The FFLCH has 19% of the students at the USP, but only 7.2% of the faculty. Despite these conditions, most of the teachers that had originally supported (pt) the stike reversed positions in June.

After significant pressure, several school meetings [ 1 ] and protests (pt) in the streets, a campus occupation (pt), protests during the Bienal do Livro (pt), and public classes (pt), the administration offered to hired 92 professors.

Kensington 87 Case Postponed Again

19.08.2002 10:47

Trevor Ngwame On Thursday, August 15, the Kensington 87, along with hundreds of members of various Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) affiliates, gathered at the Jeppe Regional Court in Johannesburg, South Africa. The protest was in solidartiy with arrestees appearing at the court, which arose from the April 6 march and demonstration at the house of Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo. This was the third hearing of the case. Speakers from the various affiliates of the APF as well as international global justice activists addressed a large crowd on the steps of the courthouse, and expressed full solidarity with the Kensington 87, called for the dropping of all charges.

It was clear from the court proceedings that the state does not have a case and that they are using successive postponements as a means of further harassment of the Kensington 87 in particular, and the anti-privatisation movement in South Africa in general. The protests sent a warning to the South African government and others who would criminalize dissent during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and beyond, that the voices of the poor and workers cannot be silenced.

Solidarity protests were held in New York City, London, and elsewhere. More information is available at the August 1 feature on the WSSD, the July 25 feature on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and a report about these "First Political Prisoners of Neo-Liberalism."

Ethiopian and Eritrean Refugees Protest in Jerusalem

18.08.2002 16:32

Ethiopian Refugees Protest Today is the seventh day of a hunger strike by a group of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees seeking asylum in Israel. Most strikers are claiming to have been persecuted for their political ideas. The UN granted the group refugee status according to the UN Convention on Refugees that was enacted in 1951. The Israeli Ministry of Interior is refusing to honor the convention, despite having signed it. Thus, the strike is taking place in front of the UNHCP in West Jerusalem in the hopes that foreign pressure on Israel will change the decision.

The Israeli government's consistent disregard towards this convention is ironic considering it was implemented to alleviate the suffering of displaced Jews following the Holocaust and World War Two. The group of strikers includes babies, women in the late term of pregnancy, as well as elders whose health is poor. Some are in need of medical care but refuse it. Unlike Israeli citizens, the refugees do not receive universal health coverage and have no means to cover medical expenses. Read a personal account on the strikers situation.

Internal Commotion, Internal Disruption

18.08.2002 01:38

State of emergency in Colombia On August 13, the new president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, declared a "state of internal commotion" seven days after his inauguration. The measure was invoked through the Colombian constitution, allows the government to bypass normal legislative procedures, restrict civil liberties, and put into place security measures. The measure lasts 90 days, but can be renewed twice, and has been implemented numerous times in Colombia's history.

The device was implemented after a week of intense fighting amongst the Colombian military, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and right-wing paramilitaries, which ended whith more than 100 hundred people dead. This latest round of fighting began with a bombing at Uribe's inauguration, which killed thirteen people and was attributed to FARC. Uribe is justifyng these provisons which divert finances and resources to the military in order "to counter terrorists and narco trafficants," and claims that the paramilitaries will be pursued with the same vigour as FARC.

For more infomation, consult the August 3 feature about continent-wide economic "state of emergency" South America has entered, the June 25 feature on attacks on unions in Colombia, and Narconews.

in italian: emergenza di stato

Thousands to Gather Calling for Slavery Reparations

17.08.2002 16:11

A year ago, the historic World Conferenc Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, (boycotted by the U.S.), issued a statement regarding 'Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Reparations for African People in the Diaspora'. Since this declaration, lawsuits have been filed in New York and New Jersey targeting corporations that profited from the slave trade. One lawsuit estimates that the wealth in the United States created by the unpaid wages of slave labor is today worth $1.5 trillion. The movement for reparations in the U.S. has been growing steadily over the last decade.

On Saturday, August 17, thousands are expected to converge in Washington to demand reparations for the descendents of American slaves. The Millions for Reparations rally, set to coincide with Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey's 115th birthday, will mark the first national gathering of African descendants demanding reparations, or economic compensation, for the damages caused by the enslavement of Africans in the United States.

For more information, listen to Democracy Now! coverage, discuss this feature, while WBIX radio and CSPAN will carry live broadcasts.

Forest Defenders Engaged in Ongoing Global Struggle

16.08.2002 21:03

pod climber

In the Cascadia Bioregion, northern California to British Columbia, forest defense activism is reaching a fever pitch. In Oregon, demonstrations have been called to stop old growth logging in Roseburg. Meanwhile, the FBI has made arrests in connection to an arson that destroyed logging trucks in Eagle Creek last year. Tree spikings continue, with the latest at the Prior timber sale and in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In northern California, forest defenders have challenged [ 1 ] the Maxxam Corporation, which seeks to fell even more old growth trees. The owner of Maxxam, Charles Hurwitz, is well known for engaging in questionable business practices.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has unleashed a development agenda for corporations in Ecuador. In response, indigenous peoples have come together to fight an oil pipeline in the Mindo-Nambillo Forest Reserve. Former Cascadia forest defender Julia "Butterfly" Hill was recently arrested for direct action forest defense in Quito, and tree-sits were established for the first time in Ecuador.

In Venezuela, while the threat to the Imataca forest is awaiting a court decision, indigeous peoples are leading the fight against deforestation. The U'wa people in Colombia celebrated victory over Oxy Petroleum, as the company pulled out of lands they threatened with deforestation and despoilment. Finally, indigineous peoples in Guatemala are organizing against Plan Puebla Panama.

Corporate Media's Willing Distortions Pave Way for War

16.08.2002 13:04

On August 8, a USA Today article that described how Saddam Hussein is "complicating U.S. plans to topple his regime" repeated a common myth about the history of U.S.-Iraq relations. Reporter John Diamond wrote that "Iraq expelled U.N. weapons inspectors four years ago and accused them of being spies." This statement simply isn't true, by a longshot - as noted in an action alert by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

The Bush administration has launched a PR campaign to 'sell' the U.S. abroad, and can be expected to soon launch another to 'sell' the idea of attacks on Iraq to the American public. It is likely that the following facts will be omitted:

  • US corporations were Iraq's major source - perhaps only source - of biological weapons materials just prior to the Gulf War.
  • International weapons inspectors were instructed not to report the nation of origin of any such weapons they found stockpiled in Iraq.
  • Weapons inspectors in the late 1990s were satisfied that Iraq's capabaility to sustain a biological weapons program had been effectively ended.
  • Iraqi weapons inspections were halted by the US government, not by Iraq.
  • The Bush administration does not want Iraqi weapons inspections to resume; in fact they arranged the ouster of Jose Bustani (former head of the treaty-established Organization for the Prevention Chemical Weapons) in the midst of his promising negotiations to reopen Iraq to inspections.
  • Iraq apparently poses no significant military threat to the US or to its regional neighbors.
  • The US government has produced no evidence linking Iraq or the Saddam Hussein regime to 9/11 terrorist attacks (and not for lack of trying).
  • A US military attack on Iraq, as an act of aggression, would be explicitly illegal under every relevant US and international law (see UN Charter sections VI and VII).

An expanded version of this feature is at the Seattle IMC.

'Borderhack!' Hits San Diego and Tijuana

15.08.2002 19:46

The Fence Borderhack! forms part of the 'No one is illegal' chain of bordercamps, which have been held on various national borders throughout Europe since 1998. From August 16-18, a camp will be established in Tijuana, Mexico next to the border fence. The event will include a campground on the beach, conferences, expositions of photography, digital art, documentaries, and interactive multimedia. The festival will also operate online, transmitting live video feeds, net radio, website updates. A similar camp titled 'Una festival de resistencia contra la frontera' examining similar issues will be held at the same time in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona.

In San Diego County, the INS and the U.S. Border Patrol are planning to complete the final stages of a three-tiered fence at the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence would run from the ocean eastward destroying environmental and cultural resources. In addition to the borderhack! festival, numerous groups are calling attention to border issues, including the Southwest Alliance to Resist Militarization.

Further coverage on these issues can be found in the July26 and July 21 features on the bordercamp in Strasbourg, and the June 7 feature on the No Border movement.

Students Strike Universitiy in Montevideo

15.08.2002 12:26

Huelga Gral en Montevideo About 3000 students from fourteen departments of the FEUU (Federation of University Students of Uruguay) voted in favor of a general strike for an indeterminate time, calling for (es) a "Strategy on the Crisis". They have rejected decisions made by the goverment, and demand the immediate implementation of a plan for feeding and attending to sanitation for the entire population of Uruguay.

The general strike [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | audio: 1 | 2 | 3 ] has since been followed by building occupations (es). Beginning Monday, August 12, students have held assemblies in the building of the Psychology department to organize protests and street blockades (es). The students are also using the university space to hold alternative classes on economic issues.

For more background on the crisis in Uruguay, Z Magazine has translated several articles about the crisis: Uruguay: A Wrecked Country, A Contradiction Called Uruguay, and A Report from the Ground. The Uruguay IMC soliciting donations so they can expand coverage of this crisis.

Ta'ayush Demonstration Attacked at Roadblock near Bethlehem

14.08.2002 19:41

Protesting the occupation On Saturday, August 10, members of the Israeli border police and army violently attacked a group of approximately 400 Arab and Jewish demonstrators [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]. They were attempting to enter Bethlehem from Jerusalem for a cooperative Palestinian and Israeli demonstration outside of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem against the occupation. The demonstration was organized by the joint Arab/Jewish organization Ta'ayush. The demonstrators were attacked by water cannons, horse-mounted police, and foot soldiers who beat and kicked demonstrators as they tried to pass. Several demonstrators were severely hurt in the attack, with one who needed to be taken away in an ambulance.

After twenty minutes of the assault, most of the demonstrators sat down in the road and began to chant several slogans and songs against the occupation and calling for the soldiers to refuse to serve. Approximately thirty minutes later, the demonstrators turned back from the settlement road and began to walk towards the main entrance into Bethlehem through the Gilo roadblock, singing as they marched.

Mmm, Mmm, Money! Campbell's, Cargill and the Companies that Control What You Eat

14.08.2002 14:20

Food is big business. It's a trillion-dollar-a-year industry in the U.S. and second only to pharmaceuticals in profitability. According to author David Korten, ten companies involved in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, processing and shipping now control more than 60% of the international food chain. Customers are left with few real choices, spending 90% of their food budgets on processed foods.

In the August issue of The Indypendent, the NYC Indymedia collective reports on the dark underbelly of the global food industry . We review the pioneering book, Hope's Edge , and examine why U.S. food aid often does more to line the pockets of of argo-business than reduce world hunger . We take a look at the rise of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement , hear from an Iowa farmer, and examine the ins and outs of dumpster diving .

As part of its special food issue, The Indypendent brings you the low-down on 33 major players in the food industry, running from A to Z in the global food chain. View a chart of the industry.

Activists Lockdown Against House Destruction in Nablus

13.08.2002 19:28

On August 13th, 2002, activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Nablus locked themselves down to the Atiti family house, which has been threatened to be bombed by Israeli army. The situation in Nablus is worsening, with increasing food shortages, and leaving ill and disabled persons stuck in their homes.

A group of activists from the ISM have worked in Nablus since August 2. On Wednesday, August 7, they were assaulted by Israeli army forces with tear gas, stun grenades, and gunshots in the air. The activists had gone with Palestinians civilians to the Nablus checkpoint to ask the army to let vans carrying food and medicines into the city. Following the protests, nine activists (from France, Ireland and US) were arrested, and later transferred to Ramle prison for deportation.

in Italian: Nablus: attivisti incatenati contro i bombardamenti delle case

Anti-FTAA Protest Draws 3000 In Northeast Brazil

12.08.2002 21:39

Marching Against the FTAA in Fortaleza, Brasil Last Thursday, August 8th, people from Fortaleza took to the streets (pt) to say no to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA - ALCA in Spanish and Portuguese). Several community organizations participated in the diverse parade (pt), as well as activists from political parties, workers' unions, high schools and universities, the Tapeba nation, the Gays, Lesbians & Supporters (GLS) movement, the Hip-Hop movement, and varions non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Moreover, some politicians used the march as an opportunity to campaign for upcoming fall elections, in which persons were paid to display signs (pt) of candidates in the march.

The protest began at two points in the city, and converged to march through several downtown streets, and stopped at a McDonald's restaurant where they gave out free Tapioca. The march ultimately ended at the Square of Ferreira in the city. For more, look at photos, including banners at the march, posters and signs, and marching Tapebas.

Labor Unites Against Covert White House Unionbusting Plans

12.08.2002 09:25

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is engaged in an historic battle with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). Working for months under an expired contract, 10,000 West Coast longshore workers face a threatened lockout by the PMA, which is attempting to eliminate jobs, cut healthcare and other benefits, attack workers' rights, and threaten public services. Allied with the PMA is the 'West Coast Waterfront Coalition', a front group for corporations who import $260 billion of goods through the West Coast ports each year from sweatshops abroad.

The union revealed last week that the Bush administration has formed a secret task force to consider federal intervention in stalled negotiations between the longshore workers and PMA. The Bush task force has reportedly threatened to break up the ILWU's coastwide contract, and to invoke a seldom-used provision of the Taft-Hartley Act allowing the government to prevent strikes when the "national health or safety" is imperiled. Moreover, they are discussing the preemption of possible ILWU actions by enlisting National Guard troops to operate the docks until the union is forced to agree to contract terms.

Rallies are being held on Monday, August 12 in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles and elsewhere. In the event of a lockout or strike, unofficial "action centers" in major ports around the world will support the ILWU workers. More information is available from the Portland IMC feature, the Seattle IMC feature, and the SF Bay IMC Feature.

Argentines Rally Against U.S. Treasury Secretary O'Neill

11.08.2002 17:57

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, August 6 on the last leg of his trip after visiting Brasil and Uruguay. Amidst rapidly increasing inflation, a commission from the IMF arrived a day earlier to determine their conditions for further loans. Despite requests from Argentine President Duhalde and other government officials for an emergency loan similar to those granted by the U.S. to Brasil and Uruguay, O'Neill did not grant one. As rescheduled elections for March 2003 approach, so does the likelihood of fresh loan defaults.

The visitors were greeted with protests against O'Neill, the IMF, and the Argentine government's policies. A visit by O'Neill to a Ford automotive plant was protested by its workers, as was another visit to a hospital. A march by the CCC and CTA unions was held on Tuesday, while the National Piquetero Block led protests on Wednesday. Several marches of assembly members and piqueteros coverged in the Plaza de Mayo to establish an encampment.

Noticias en espanol [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 ]

Community Center Eviction Leads to Protests

10.08.2002 23:47

Banner Drop in D.C. On Friday, August 9, a group of activists from Mayday DC, a coalition for the homeless, occupied the Franklin School, an abandoned school building in downtown Washington, early in the morning and issued a set of six demands to the City Council and Mayor's Office [ 1 | video ].

They were arrested and escorted out of the building at 11:30 am. The Franklin School occupation attracted a crowd of some 25 people, who chanted and shouted support for the four activists who barricaded themselves in the building. The occupation brought a large crowd of police and firefighters [ 1 ], including a police helicopter. The activists were charged with burglary after their arrest.

The activists are former occupants of Olive Branch House, an activist and service community that fed and provided other services to the city's homeless for decades, while fighting gentrification, before undergoing harassment and a politically motivated eviction [ 1 | audio | en espanol y ingles ] on August 7. They were protesting this closure, as well as the closing of La Casa, which provided services to homeless men.

Hackers Target Chinese Media Amidst Continued Tibetan Repression

10.08.2002 15:14

As China tries desperately to remake its image after entry into the WTO, the regime continues it's crackdown on Tibetan monasteries and Falun Gong hackers.

While China uses an imposter Panchen Lama to spead propaganda, they are releasing certain Tibetan political prisoners. Tanag Jigme Zangpo, an elderly Tibetan teacher who has spent most of the past 40 years in prison, has been allowed to leave Tibet and arrived in Chicago earlier this month.

At the same time, Chinese authorities in Tibet continue the destruction of monasteries, they have begun their own "War on Terror" by arresting Tibetan lamas on allegations of bomb attacks.

The regime is also battling a ever more sophisticated band of Falun Gong hackers and a shadowy group known as the Hong Kong Blondes. In recent months, various Chinese state satellite news broadcasts have been hacked into and replaced with video explaining to the Chinese people the repressive measures used by the government against non-violent Falun Gong members.

At the same time, people in Beijing complained of picking up their phones and hearing a five-minute recorded message from Falun Gong attacking the Chinese regime's attempts to silence the group.

Discuss this story and add more links regarding Tibet, the Falun Gong, and repression in China.

Protests Continue as Alternative Media Targeted in Montevideo

09.08.2002 19:55

Protestors in Montevideo Since massive protests against the Uruguayan government decision to close some banks and to freeze some personal bank savings deposits, the corporate media in that nation has started a campaign against alternative media sources. On August 3, police raided (es) the community radio (es) station "El Quijote", which was located in a poor neighborhood of Montevideo. They shut down the station and took all equipment. Newspapers have published (es) articles accusing radio stations and even Uruguay Indymedia (es) of inciting looting at supermarkets during the protests.

Uruguayan President Batle managed to get a $1.5 billion (U.S.) loan from the IMF and reopened the banks (es). Protests against neoliberal policies continues, however, with reaction coming from everywhere. Students have started (es) a strike and occupied a university building [ audio ], while Pit-CNT (Central of Workers) union began a general strike and went into the streets protesting [ 1 | 2 ] against the loan and its conditions.

The Uruguay IMC is in need of donations of equipment and money.

Families Fight Coca-Cola in Kerala for Water

09.08.2002 00:08

Coca-Cola plant in Kerala; photo by N. Jayaraman

Coca Cola Virudha Samara Samithy (Anti Coca-Cola Struggle Committee) organized a mass rally and public meeting at Plachimada, India on August 4, marking the 105th day of a campaign against the company. A spirited march proceded to the plant, accompanied by many from the surrounding communities, as well as numerous police. Speakers discussed the ongoing theft by Coca-Cola of water throughout the region, poor labor conditions inside the plant, and the complicity of Indian political parties in abetting multi-national corporations.

This ongoing struggle against this plant in the state of Kerala was launched on April 22, with a symbolic blockade and an ongoing continuous picketing/dharna by women and children belonging to the Eravalar and Malasar communities. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd established the bottling plant, and subsequently sunk more than 60 borewells on the premises, which is adjacent to a major irrigation canal, and several kilometers from numerous reservoirs and the Chitturpuzha River. Water in the area has both become depleted and polluted.

This more than three month long campaign has included blockades of the plant, lawsuits both against and on behalf of the protestors, destruction of advertisements, and numerous rallies and marches.

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