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GM Crops Run Wild

02.01.2003 00:42

Rooting out GM crops in the UK In 2002, Santa Claus brought children no old-fashioned sweets, but the knowledge of contamination of crops and weeds by genetically modified (GM) crops. The final report on gene flow from oilseed rape from UK Farm Scale Trials was published on 24 December 2002 by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and shows that GM oilseed rape (canola) interbreeds with conventional rape and weeds.

Read: entire feature | Aug 4, 2002 feature

Online Action For Media Diversity

31.12.2002 17:14

As the January 2 deadline for public commentary on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media ownership rules draws near, many media activists are joining an electronic action to prevent further consolidation of corporate media. FCC Chairman Michael Powell, son of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, has expressed his desire for less regulation. You can express your views to the FCC through a simple web form available here.

For information on the specific rules under review, visit the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers.

Supreme Court on Occupation: &quot;No comment&quot;

31.12.2002 16:46

On Monday, December 30, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition of eight IDF reserve soldiers who are refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories, but avoided making a "watershed" ruling of the legality of the occupation, despite one being specifically sought in the context of international humanitarian law. Meanwhile, corporate media appears to forget that the Red Cross has ruled on that for decades.

The petition was brought by Lt. David Zoneshine (reserve), as part of the Courage to Refuse movement. Usually, Israeli conscientious objectors are simply jailed (and often harassed) without deferment to the Supreme Court. In this case Lt. Zoneshine specifically requested a court-martial so as to present legal defence and argue against imprisonment. Such an action carries a much harsher punishment within the military judicial system and following the failure of the petition, he has now been returned to jail, along with many others already there.

Founded in January 2002, Courage to Refuse has grown to 511 members who have all vowed to resist the Occupation, declaring their unwillingness to fight "beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people."

Thing.net Fights Net Eviction

30.12.2002 19:31

The Thing's logo Due to pressure by Dow Chemical, Verio, an internet provider held by the Japanese enterprise Ntt, has decided to withdraw hosting of the service provider Thing.net, starting February 28. For more than 10 years, Thing.net has hosted hundreds of art sites belonging to individuals, organizations (e.g., RTMark) and institutions (e.g., The Museum of Modern Art of New York), publisher's sites, sites that provide alternative information (e.g., Autonomedia), and activist sites.

What motivated the chemical giant is a website by The Yes Men, which documents and parodies the sick economic mechanisms behind neo-liberalism. The group dedicated part of their site to the multinational Dow Chemical, which had recently acquired Union Carbide, infamous due its culpability in the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India.

Read: entire feature | Italy IMC feature

Angelinos Defend Democratically Elected Government of Venezuela

29.12.2002 18:00

On December 14, Southern Californians rallied outside the Westwood Federal Building in support of President Hugo Chavez's government in Venezuela. View photographs and read comments inspired by the demonstrations [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]. Northern Californians held a similar rally on December 18 at the Venezuelan consulate [ 1 ]. Read more: [ 1 | 2 | 3 ].

Read: LA IMC feature | Dec 23 feature | Dec 10 | Apr 14 | Apr 13

Calais Demo Against Border Regime

29.12.2002 17:59

On Sunday, 15 December, about 500 people from France, the UK, and the Netherlands demanded freedom of movement [ 1 ] and humanitarian support for thousands of refugees left without shelter in the Calais region since the closure of the Red Cross camp in Sangatte on 5 November. After the camp was closed a month ago, leaving thousands of refugees from the allegedly "safe countries" Afghanistan and Iraq with no shelter, no sanitary utilities, no food and no money in the streets of Calais.

Read: entire feature | Dec 9 feature

More information is available from the National Coalition of anti-Deportation Campaigns, the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism (CARF), and International Organisation M Watch.

Santa Claus and Saintly Consumerism

28.12.2002 20:28

The Christmas tradition is one of the strongest traditions of European culture. It grew from the fledgling Christian movement in Rome. In 350 A.D. Pope Julius I combined various celebrations in declaring the official date for Christmas would be December 25. It is commonly understood by historians that this date was chosen to coincide with pagan celebrations to encourage conversion to Christianity, and has no relation to the real birth date of Jesus.

For over 1500 years since, the Christmas tradition has played a role in the Christian ideological domination of Europe. With the rise of industrial capitalism, the dominant ideological function of Christmas has been to promote a blatant consumer culture. Santa Claus has been the favourite gimmick, even if he is not a Coca Cola creation. This ideological shift is resented by some Christians, and opposed by ecological and anti-consumer activists, who recognise consumerism as leading to increased pollution, destruction of wildlife habitats, creates waste and greater tension between the rich and the poor.

It is becoming more common for people to look for alternatives traditions to a consumer Christmas. Buy Nothing Christmas is encouraging people to send each other Christmas Gift Exemption Vouchers. Makes a nice change to Myer or K-mart vouchers, yeah?

Successful Human Clone Reported

28.12.2002 14:08

The announcement in Hollywood, Florida by Clonaid that a human being has been successfuly cloned has been met with skepticism and expected sensationalism in the mainstream media. For years opposition to human cloning has come from scientists, feminists, progressive activists, and some quarters of the religious community such as the Methodists.

Some say human cloning could lead to a separate, and intentionally unequal, human species. Others see the technology as immoral, with humankind playing God. Many in the field of science and medicine support various forms of cloning, creating a great deal of debate over ethics and procedures. Interestingly, some members of the gay community support cloning human cloning, and there is a controversy among progressives over the difference between therapeutic stem cell research and the cloning of humans.

Read: entire feature

Welcome to the Christmas IMC's

27.12.2002 17:38

We'd like to extend a welcome to five new indymedia centers which have joined the network in December. Three of these - Hungary; Lille, France; and West-Vlaanderen, Belgium - offically joined the indymedia network on Christmas day. The other two are the Paris and Cleveland collectives which have been revived and are rejoining the network. Want to know about starting an indymedia center? Just click over to New IMC Information.

Joe Strummer &amp; The Clash - The Best of Punk

27.12.2002 17:32

Joe Strummer, singer for the politically motivated punk rock band The Clash died Sunday, December 22 of a heart attack. His death is mourned by political activists, punk rockers, and others.

"The best music liberates, like Bob Marley, The Clash and James Brown..." Bruce Springsteen

Human Rights Activists Seek Justice for Acteal Massacre

26.12.2002 18:44

The investigations of the massacre in Acteal, Chiapas on December 22, 1997 continue. On that day, 45 indigenous residents of Acteal, the majority of whom were women and children, were massacred by paramilitaries. In the last five years, there have been three investigations, and 87 indigenous people and 14 ex-public servants have been charged, including police and ex-millitary personnel. Charges include homicide, assault, unlicensed shipment of firearms, and other violations. In some cases, principally in the proceedings against ex-public servants, charges of possesion of firearms were dropped, while charges of homicide and assault remained. Almost all of the cases are now near conclusion. Acteal and neighboring communities continue to struggle with poverty, refugees and the return of them therein, and a host of a lack of basic needs such as electricity, basic education and health care.

Read: entire article - en espanol | Las Abejas interview - en espanol | background | Dec 23, 2001 feature

Auckland, Wellington Protest Against War

26.12.2002 18:42

On December 14, about 500 people participated in the Global Peace and Justice Auckland (GPJA) rally titled "An Xmas Message for George Bush: Peace, Not War for Iraq." Assembling at QE2 Square with speeches, the group moved on to chant and sing outside the US Consulate General in Customs Street. The mood of the rally was determined, and energy high. An open mic gave voice to Women for Peace, the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and others, while graphic banners, chants, and a wheelie bin soundsystem kept the pace lively as the demonstration turned into a spontaneous march up Queen Street to Aotea Square.

The same day, over 500 people in Wellington marched the streets [ 1 | 2 ] in the biggest demonstration in the city to date against the impending war on Iraq. Peace Action Wellington has networked amongst Wellington activists and grassroots groups, unions, political parties, students, artists and entertainers opposed to a war on Iraq, with the aim "to create public space for engagement on the issues, to provide positive gestures for peace and a strong voice of protest."

A White Christmas Isn't Always Free

26.12.2002 11:26

Ta'ayush arrives. No snow, shopping, or joy in Bethlehem this Christmas eve. A peace and freedom joint demonstration by Fatah and Ta'ayush, in front of the Church of Nativity, left an after taste, like too much candy.

Early morning, a small group of Ta'ayush activists from Israel smuggled into the city, ensuring no repeat of last year's disappointment, when the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stopped the demonstration at a checkpoint. The smiles and laughs their climb over muddy roadblocks brought a few Palestinians, and the solidarity expressed in meetings with locals and leaders made things sweet. But when another 150 Ta'ayush activists were allowed across the checkpoint the action got covered in sugar coating; many Ta'ayush actions end at checkpoints.

Aware that the IDF's leniency was a PR trick by Israel, spun to highlight it's democratic nature and humanistic occupation, the activists tried to make the best of things. But the Israeli right's power was hard to ignore. Meanwhile, the empty streets had something else to say - the world's Christians forgot Bethlehem's birth scars; shopped and prayed elsewhere this season. Here's wishing the city heals before the next Stone Age.

Watch: video and view photographs [ 1 | 2 ].

Activists Defend Hospital in Wroclaw

25.12.2002 05:42

sit-down In recent months, labor protests have spread in Poland due to negative effects of privatization and the country's worsening economic condition. Last year, the threatened liquidation of the shipyard in Szczecin forced workers to take to the streets in Szczecin and Poznan, while miners from Upper Silesia are on strike alert. Recently, major protests have been held in Ozarow near Warsaw over the fate of a cable factory.

In Wroclaw, a dramatic struggle for the survival of one of the main hospitals in the city has emerged. The protest of the workers of the Rydygier Hospital has lasted since October 2001, when the local authorities decided to shut down the facility. From the beginning, the protest has been organized without any formal workers organisation, instead cooperating with local anarchist and squatters' groups. People established the Komitet Obrony Szpitala (Commitee to Defend the Hospital), which was made up of mainly women - doctors and nurses.

Read: report about protests | Dec 11 feature

Grassy Narrows Blockade Continues, Two BC Blockaders Jailed

25.12.2002 05:40

Respect Our Land The long-threatened blockade of a logging road just north of the Grassy Narrows First Nation Reserve, 75km north of Kenora in northwestern Ontario, remains strong and support is growing [ 1 ]. Between ten and thirty people are camped out at the main blockade at any one time and there has been increasing support from other First Nations Communities and non-Native people.

Read: entire feature | Dec 17 feature

More information is available from the Grand Council of Treaty #3 for the Anishinaabe Nation, the Skwellwek'welt Protection Center, and the Canadian First Nations Treaty Map Index.

Santa Claus Busted in Iceland!

24.12.2002 13:15

Even though it's Christmas, Iceland's Santa Claus, also known as Thor Magnunsson and as the founder of the Peace 2000 charity that organized "Santa Peaceflights" to war torn countries, was summoned by the Reykjavik District Court Judge on a charge filed by the State Police. Authorities are reportedly demanding a three year jail sentence for the peace activist and former Icelandic presidential candidate. Santa Clause was arrested on 22 November for an e-mail warning that Icelandic passenger planes are to be used by the government and NATO to transport weapons and troops if war is waged on Iraq. The message stated that private carriers Icelandair and Air Atlanta are on standby for such military activity. Merry Christmas? Peace on Earth? We don't think so.

Corporate Media and the &quot;National Strike&quot;

23.12.2002 20:01

After carrying out a more than three-week "national strike," or lock-out, and despite a helping hand from the Associated Press and other media agencies, the Venezuelan elite has so far failed to force President Chavez to resign. In implementing reforms which benefit primarily the poor, Chavez has inspired well-funded opposition by oil barons and other business leaders, union bureaucrats and portions of the military, with the complicity of corporate media.

The Organization of American States voted overwhelmingly on December 16 to reject any future coup attempt in Venezuela or alteration of that nation's constitution. US religious and labor organizations and some members of Congress have asked President Bush, who had previously called for unconstitutional early elections, to support democracy by opposing any move to oust Chavez by force.

Read: SF IMC interview with Al Giordano of Narco News | Dec 10 feature | Apr 14 | Apr 13

Iraqi Freedom Fighters Criticize US, Make Plans for Real Democracy

23.12.2002 04:33

Iraqi Refugees Protest for Democracy While the world media focuses on the US and UK troop movements the people of Iraq are faced with the daily aggressions of sanctions, bombing and dictatorship. Recently in London several Iraqi Oppositon groups met to plan for democracy in Iraq. This meeting was boycotted by many of the leading opposition groups in Iraq, like the Iraqi Communist Party and the Shi'a based al-Daawa Party, citing the congress as merely a US plot to put in a new dictator over Iraqi people once Saddam Hussein is eliminated. Caught between the US and Saddam Hussein remain the Iraqi people and the growing democracy movement among Iraqis living within Iraq and as refugees in host nations.

Read: entire feature

December 20: One Year Later

22.12.2002 07:56

One hundred thousand rally in Buenos Aires on 20 December

Over 100,000 protestors marched throughout the streets of Buenos Aires to mark a year since the fall of former President De la Rua and to continue the demand, "Que Se Vayan Todos" (All the Politicians Out!). Marchers met in the Plaza de Mayo to celebrate a year of grassroots organizing and to reject the capitalist system and government that have created a deepening crisis in Argentina. This mass protest was held one day after a series of nationwide dispersed actions and caravans on December 19 [ 1 | timeline ].

Read: entire feature | Dec 20 feature | Dec 19 | Dec 18 | summary preview

Corporate &quot;Personhood&quot; Confronted in US

21.12.2002 21:23

The struggle to halt the complete corporate takeover of the US had a recent victory in the state of Pennsylvania. Officials of Porter Township, Clarion County, north of Pittsburgh became the first local government in the United States to eliminate corporate claims to constitutional privileges. A questionable interpretation of an 1886 US Supreme Court ruling gave corporations the same constitutional rights as private citizens by defining them as legal persons. "Corporations were conceded personhood, and a long list of civil and political rights such as free speech, and property rights, the right to define and control investment, production, and the organization of work." said Richard Grossman of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) in a history of corporate hegemony.

Read: entire feature

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