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Corporate Media Promoted Phony Stories in Iraq

23.05.2003 08:41

Draped in the flag Seemingly shameless and short on apologies and retractions, it was recently revealed that the corporate media in the U.S. once again fell for, or had complicity in yet another doubtful moment of glory during the invasion of Iraq that was not as advertised. Already looking sorry for such bogus news stories as the WMD "scoop", and the staged toppling of Saddam's statue, most U.S. mainstream news organizations also bought the "Saving of Private Lynch". Unfortunately for them, the alleged daring rescue was in reality a military cakewalk, as uncovered by the BBC.

Read the entire feature.

Cascadia Summer Begins

22.05.2003 16:33

up in the trees While the U.S. military machine attempts to bring the oil reserves of the Middle East under its control, another war is being fought, this one in North America itself, against the forests. The timber industry, working through its Republican and Democratic lackeys, has its sights set on the last 4-6% of the old growth trees that survive. George Bush's Orwellian-named "Healthy Forests Initiative" is taking aim at what little citizen oversight and environmental standards exist to protect delicate ecosystems on public lands. In response, forest defenders in Cascadia (which stretches from Northern California to British Columbia) have declared their intent to fight.

Read entire feature.

Indigenous Activists Beaten by Police

21.05.2003 22:38

Zapps against PPP On May 15, 2003, 300 people peacefully blocked the Pan American highway north of the town of Unión Hidalgo, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. They were demanding the immediate release of political prisoner Carlos Manzo. It's reported that at approximately 4 pm police forces fired tear gas on the protestors and began to brutally beat women and children in an attempt to break up the protest. The protestors had closed down traffic on the highway from 10 am to 3 pm to denounce the actions of the Juchitán police forces.

On the previous day police had detained Manzo, member of the Consejo Ciuadadano de Unihidalguense (CCU). According to eye witness testimony, Carlos Manzo was approached by 8 police officers saying they had a warrant for his arrest charging him with robbery and deprivation of liberty. Two other indigenous activists have also been arrested, Luis Alberto Marin and Francisco de la Rosa also of the CCU. Manzo, Marin and De la Rosa are 3 of 37 local indigenous leaders and environmental activists who have outstanding warrants for their arrests issued by the Attorney General's office of the state of Oaxaca.

4000 Demonstrate for Indigenous Rights

21.05.2003 07:31

Around 4000 First Nations and non-aboriginal people took to the streets of Kenora, Ontario to protest the First Nations Governance Act (FNGA). Kenora is the home riding of Bob Nault, Canadian Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and his proposed suite of Bills would mean drastic changes to Aboriginal rights in Canada. The event began with a gathering at the Kenora Recreation Centre. At noon the march began. It was peaceful, colorful and included people of all ages. Beating traditional drums and chanting slogans such as: "Bob Nault is a liar! Bob Nault is fired!", the march moved through downtown Kenora to the waterfront where a giant tent was set up to facilitate the many speakers who voiced their opposition to the controversial act, including FirstNations leaders, First Nations youth, speakers from grassroots organizations, and politicians.

Police Attacks Against Activists, Indymedia in St. Louis and Urbana-Champaign

19.05.2003 14:26

On May 16-17 in St. Louis police initiated a severe crackdown on activists during the protests against the pro-biotech World Agricultural Forum and concurrent Biodevastation 7 conference. The Biodev 7 conference, which was addressing issues of environmental racism, world agriculture and biowarfare, went on successfuly despite the heavy police presence. On May 16, St. Louis police - backed by federal agents - raided the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP), home of the St. Louis IMC, and the Bolozone, a collective housing project, in anticipation of the Biodevastation conference and expected protests at the WAF. Police arrested protesters and non-protersers alike, without any provocation. The Secret Service illegaly entered one person's home and later harassed his parents as well. St. Louis IMC is asking for support and for support of all those unjustly arrested.

At the same time that police were preparing the downtown area, on a public online forum called St. Louis Coptalk (SLC), police expressed a willful desire to harm peaceful protesters. One officer wrote, "Is it true we're going to be issued the new tazers before next weekend?" and another replied, "I want that 220 Volt model that blows the teeth out of their head, just before they crap their pants." The posts were soon removed from the web forum but Coptalk is still online. [read the whole story.]

Additionally,the Urbana-Champaign IMC performance space has been temporarily shut down by the city of Urbana for alleged fire code violations (follow-up article)

[St. Louis Indymedia | Urbana-Champaign IMC | Biodevastation 7]

Ice Mountain on Trial

17.05.2003 14:27

The fight against water privatization continues in Mecosta County, Michigan. There, the citizens group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is engaged in a legal battle with Ice Mountain Water, alleging that the bottling plant violaties Michigan's public trust principles. MCWC lawyers argue that Michigan's public lakes and streams are entrusted as a common good to the people of the state, and can therefore not be sold for profit.Ice Mountain has been pumping 100 gallons per minute from the Great Lakes Basin and hopes to increase that amount to 400 gallons per minute. When Ice Mountain arrived in Michigan and began building a bottling plant, it was immediately met with creative opposition by grassroots organizations such as MCWC and the statewide anti-privatization group, Sweetwater Alliance. While most of MCWC's energy has been concentrated on the legal dimensions of the situation, the Sweetwater Alliance has tended to focus on more public actions, from blockades to a 'Reclaim the Stream' canoe flotilla.

The trial began on May 5, and is expected to last over three weeks.

[Sweetwater Alliance | MCWC | May 13 feature | March 3 feature | Feb 21 feature]

read the full article to read the latest trial updates and to add your comments

Breaking News: Police raid buildings, arrest and detain Biodev activists

16.05.2003 21:01

St. Louis Police have raided the Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP) and the Bolozone, a St. Louis housing collective. The raids target participants of the Biodevastation7 conference and activists converging at the World Agricultural Forum. Observers at CAMP have reported that the St. Louis Police have handcuffed about 20 people, and City Inspectors accompanied by police are inspecting the building for violations. Ten people have been arrested at Bolozone. A post to the St. Louis IMC newswire encourages everyone to call Chief of Police Joe Mokwa at (314) 444-5624 to demand their immediate release and a stop to the harassment of the movement against genetic engineering and corporate agribusiness.

Biodevastation 7 Begins Today

16.05.2003 15:16

The Biodevastation 7 conference will begin May 16 in St. Louis. The Conference precedes and coincides with the World Agricultural Forum, an exclusive meeting of industry and private agriculture interests. Biodevastation will feature workshops, forums and speeches by conscientious scientists, farmers and other critics of agriculture-for-profit, genetically modified foods, and agriculture industrialists like Monsanto. The conference will be followed by a protest-convergence at the World Agricultural Forum.

Read entire feature.

Israel Cracks Down on International Solidarity Activists

15.05.2003 03:21

Israeli military forces are trying to stamp out the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a nonviolent direct action group active in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On April 16, Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Moshe Yaalon announced that he had given the order to "take the ISM out," because it limited the "freedom of action" of his troops. Over the last week, he made good on his order. Read More || ISM Timeline || ISM Statement || Armed with Principles || World Bank to West Bank: Reflections on the Global Justice Movement

Latest ISM report from Tulkaram || Latest ISM report from Jenin || Past Indypendent Coverage from Al-Azzeh/Beit Jebron || Past Indypendent Coverage from Bethleham || Past Indypendent Coverage from Gaza || "Why For Me Being a Jew Means Being for Palestine"

Further Corporate Takeover of U.S. Media Looming

14.05.2003 08:51

On June 2, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to vote on whether to "relax" the rules for owning American news media. For months, an expanding media democracy movement has produced an unprecedented amount of public opposition to FCC chair Michael Powell's proposed deregulation, as well as growing, bipartisan Congressional pressure for greater transparency and more public debate. Despite all this, Powell has refused to reveal the specifics of his proposed changes until after the June 2 vote. Observers note that if the FCC decides to allow further media concentration, the resulting stampede of mega mergers would give a shrinking handful of large, politically conservative corporations even greater influence over what is reported--or ignored--in the news. Such concentration is not limited to the U.S. Reportedly, Powell has encouraged the EU to follow the corporate model, ironically referred to as media convergence, a term used by global justice activists for coming together to struggle against globalization.

Critics say the publics ability to have open, informed discussion with a wide variety of viewpoints would be even further compromised if Powell's schemes are realized. They note that publicly-owned airwaves in the U.S. are looking more and more like private corporate property while the FCC and Bush appointee Powell appear for all the world like the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.

Media activists in the U.S. are urging people to take action, legislative, on-line, or direct, and some journalists are calling for more hearings. Meanwhile legislation to delay the change is being introduced in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

US Government Interfering in Nepal Negotiations

09.05.2003 16:27

For the past seven years the country of Nepal has been wracked by an insurgent "People's War." The war was initiated in February 1996 in the communist-dominated Rolpa and Rukum districts in far western Nepal when the dominant landlord forces used police force to thwart the communists from participating in parliamentary and local elections. Building on the desperate frustration borne of decades of violence against Nepal's mostly rural population in the name of "development," the war has quickly spread throughout Nepal with widespread popular support in the countryside as well as strong sympathies from urban populations frustrated with the corruption, greed, and lack of vision of the urban-based client development-regime. Starting in the "base areas" carved out in the west, the insurgents have extended their control to all the countryside, leaving just major urban areas and district headquarters in military control of the state.

From this position of strength, the insurgents this last month opened up peace negotiations with the state with the aim of bringing about major reforms and true democratization of the state. Even as these negotiations are being initiated, however, the US government has made statements and taken actions that are undermining the possibility of reconciliation. These and other issues are discussed by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, a central committee member of the Communist Party (Maoist), spokesman, and chief negotiator for the insurgents in an interview in Kathmandu.

Al-Thawra is Mourning its Dead

09.05.2003 11:15

"It is effective" says Fatme, of the looting of the museums and ministries, "By destroying a people’s heritage, you destroy their past and future. We have been made - to them - a people without a past - our records and archives are destroyed, burnt in the ministries. We become a people without names, no records to say we exist. It is not the objects themselves we are sad about, it is what they represented to us. We are the oldest civilisation, but we are presented to the world as terrorists, as fanatics. Only people who fight with small guns are called terrorists. Bush, who bombs us with cluster bombs, and strangles us with the embargo, is a 'civilised man'."

Read: Entire Report

US Navy Leaves Vieques After 60 Years of Bombing

09.05.2003 01:46

The US Navy bombing tests and military practice on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, has ended. On May 1, citizens in Vieques celebrated the first day in over 60 years without a US Navy bombing run. Puerto Ricans of Vieques objected to the US Navy's presence across many other ideologically divisive issues regarding the US. Until recently, the US Navy owned over two-thirds of Vieques. When the US bought this land in the 1940s, many families and farmers were forced out of their homes and off their lands to make way for military exercises, which began in 1947. Bush announced that the Navy would leave Vieques in June 2001, and it is widely accepted that it was the success of the protest movement that led to the this decision and to the US Navy's withdrawl.

Oil &amp; Empire - From Washington to the Gulf

08.05.2003 16:15

a gun at your head The present debate in the U.S. Congress over the flawed Bush energy plan may reflect concerns over questionable priorities like a far-reaching dependence on oil, the use of coal, higher fuel standards, global warming, or the next generation of nukes, but will congress really address Big Oil's occupation of the Whitehouse, the relationship between the invasion of Iraq and U.S. energy consumption, or future U.S. resource wars?

Given that the Whitehouse Energy Task Force scandal went nowhere in the courts or Congress, and that Bush regime damage repair is in full swing over Dick Cheney's Halliburton company and its dubious role in Iraq , can citizens in the U.S. actually expect to see congressional action over other related matters like the Bechtel-Bin Laden connection, Big Oil's bribery practices, or Israel's proposed pipeline into Iraq? Has the Empire completely overcome democracy at home while claiming to install it in Iraq?

The Bush energy plan serves as an indicator, but the issue goes far deeper. Energy resources are the life-blood of today's geo-political hegemony. The Whitehouse gives all the appearances of a crucible for world domination and a rogue regime out of control. A few members of Congress and some presidential candidates are speaking up about these issues. Demonstrations are taking place. But more action will be needed to confront an administration with THE worst environmental record in the nation's history, and a degree of super-power belligerence, lack of ethics, and an arrogance unparalleled in time.

The NYPD Goes to Baghdad

08.05.2003 03:09

TheIndypendent went biweekly earlier this spring and the May 1 issue is now available across New York City, online, and to subscribers.

The issue, "The NYPD's New Beat," examines the growing role of the New York Police Department in world police operations, including their controversial recruitment by Dyncorp International to police Iraq. We also examine NYPD actions at home, from the imposition of "Operation Clean Sweep" and "Operation Atlas" by the Bloomberg Administration to the increased "merchandising" of the NYPD.

In honor of International Workers Day, The Indy takes a look at the CINTAS organizing campaign and Worker's Memorial Day. Also, catch the real story about Argentinian elections from correspondents on the scene, share an interview with Reverend Billy, check out a photo essay on the Brazilian Landless Movement, and much more.

Click here to download the 12-page pdf.

Legal proceedings about the murder of Carlo closed

06.05.2003 19:53

Carl In the afternoon of May, 5 the judge Elena Daloisio decided: the enquire against Mario Placanica, the policeman of the paramiltary Italian police (Carabinieri) who shot Carlo Giuliani,the young protestor at G8 in 2001, is closed (it). The reason why this murder won't be prosecuted is not only that the cop was defending himself (motivation that was abdued also in a previous time by the accusatory lawyer Silvio Franz (it)), but also because for the 53th article of the Italian criminal code this is a case of legitimate use of weapons.This may constitue a possible and dangerous legal escape for other similar situations in the future, covering by legal consequences every murder a policeman could commit because of him being "on duty". Anyway, for this decision, there won't be any trial against the shooter, Mario Placanica, who is going to be completely aquitted.

Read: Entire Feature

Forest d'Hoppe occupied

05.05.2003 17:54

Hoppenbos On April 27th "Patdagach" (Bluebells) occupied the forest of d'Hoppe/La Houppe in Belgium. ( 1 | 2 | 3, reports (nl, fr, en))

For years the village and its surroundings have been terrorised by Marcel Fort, a local magnate that turns the beautiful forests in the outsirkts of the Ardennes into a toxic waste dump and sand pits. He puts up buildings and is constructing a road in the middle of valuable woodland, all of this illegally. By illegally taking sand, he has taken the highest hill top of the region off the map. In 2002, the wall of an illegal waste dump collapsed and burried 10 hectar woodland

The local council and the police turn a blind eye in exchange for heavy taxes Mr. Fort is happy to pay out of the enormous benefits he can make with these illegal activities. Patdagach has occupied part of the community forest and will not leave until all illegal activities are stopped, nature is getting restored and the water purified.

Mayday protests world wide

02.05.2003 15:49

Mayday in La Paz (Bolivia) This year's Mayday marches were very different in different parts of the world, ranging from several thousand participants to millions in some countries.

Up to 20,000 people protested in Buenos Aires (Argentina) at Brukman and on the Plaza de Mayo (sp) ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5). In Bolivia about 100,000 took part in a march in La Paz, and another 50,000 in El Alto (sp). 200,000 took to the streets in Colombia (sp).

In London, UK, the stage was set for a series of protests making the links between Arms and Oil as well as other issues. In anticipation of riots whole streets were boarded up, resulting in economic losses of 6 million pounds - even without any riots happening.

In Berlin, Germany, several thousand people took part in the Revolutionary May 1st, resulting in the traditional riots.

Other marches took place in Palestine, and in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Add Reports from other Mayday actions here

Hundreds of Radios Closed

02.05.2003 04:59

In an unprecedented offensive against free and community radios, Brazil's new elected "leftist" government has closed hundreds of small stations. Proportionally, more radios have been closed during Worker's Party three months government than any other government in Brazilian history. In Sao Paulo alone, over one hundred radios have been closed. In Pelotas, near Porto Alegre, all of the city's 16 community radios were closed. Community radio activists all over the country are mobilizing to pressure government to give more concessions to community radios. Free radio activists are doing protests demanding an end to repression. Radios are usually closed by heavily armed Federal Police agents and equipment has been illegally apprehended. Federal government says it can do nothing since the Federal Agency for Communication (ANATEL) is independent. ANATEL says they are only abiding by the law and that is up to the government to make any law change.

Brazilian activists call for international solidarity by sending Brazilian authorities messages protesting the closing of the radios:
Brazil's President Luis Inacio da Silva: cmpr@planalto.gov.br
Minister of Communication Miro Teixeira: radio.tv@mc.gov.br
Federal Agency for Communication

Read: Entire Feature

Mayday! Mayday!

30.04.2003 13:23

Mayday This year May Day has even more significance. Seemingly unrelated to the occasion, the nautical distress call "Mayday!" comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning "help me" - and is pronounced "mayday." But the people and the planet itself ARE in distress and in need of help. France and other nations tried to work within the framework of the United Nations to resolve the Iraqi crisis, but U.S. and British belligerence could not be overcome. Now Iraq is in chaos and the UN is in shambles.

The origins of May Day go back to ancient times when the bond between people and the Earth was stronger, long before humans began trashing the environment on the scale we witness today. Capitalism and corporate globalization have everything to do with environmental degradation, as well as oppression. May Day is also the Real Labor Day, and the labor movement has been the major force in confronting the ruling class and its operatives. The Haymarket massacre in Chicago was but one example of that confrontation. Anti-labor hysteria in 19th century Chicago reminds one of the present patriotic hysteria all over the U.S. The invasion of Iraq, like capitalism in general, encourages religious, nationalist and patriotic illusions and obscures other critical problems like poverty, ignorance and ecological destruction.

However, the spirit of May Day lives on. This year events are planned in Barcelona, Bolivia, Chicago, Italy, LA, New Jersey, San Francisco & Berkeley, the UK, Uruguay, and elsewhere. There's even Mayweek events scheduled.

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