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West African Peacekeepers Take Control Of Monrovia

16.08.2003 23:08

ECOMIL peacekeepers finally gained control of Monrovia's port today, allowing food and other supplies to reach the starving populace. Some 200 US marines were also flown in from three warships - currently stationed within sight of Monrovia - to help with the operation. Liberians cheered the ECOMIL troops, singing the national anthem, "When the Saints Go Marching In." Rebels from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) held the port for weeks to pressure President Charles Taylor to leave the country.

As Taylor stepped down on August 11 after 14 years of brutal dictatorship which left over 200,000 people dead, Liberians sang and danced in the streets. For the first time since Taylor's 1989 bloody coup against former President Samuel Doe, Liberians have a sense of hope for the future.

Liberia, which was founded by freed American slaves in 1822, has a complex history with the US. American corporate interests have long exploited the country's natural resources: rubber, timber, gold and diamonds. The US government also used Liberia to promote its military interests, in exchange for financial assistance.

More Background Information:
The U.S. and Liberia...History, Rubber, and War BBC: A Brief Timeline.
PBS: A History of U.S./Liberia Relations.
U.S. Involvement in Liberia.
Pat Robertson and Diamonds.
Liberians Ask for Help, Will They Get It?
U.S. Requests Immunity for Peace Keeping.
Liberia, Junk Bonds, and Rubber.

What do you think? Should there be an intervention? What is the motivation for the U.S. to get involved? Why the delay in action?

Pacific leaders meet in New Zealand

16.08.2003 06:38

The leaders of Pacific nations are meeting in Auckland at the Pacific Island forum from 12th to 19th August. The nature of the discussion is weighed heavily in favour of economic issues to the detriment of social ones. Opponents say the discussion ignores social and environmental issues in favour of trade and investment issues. Proposed changes will impoverish the region by introducing free trade measures such as economic integration into a free trade bloc. Colonial powers have also been criticised for attending, since their potential inclusion into a regional trade agreement would tacitly reaffirm the sovereignty of these colonial powers over their Pacific colonies. Global Peace and Justice Auckland have called for a picket of the forum.

This comes after pressure by top ranking US official, Grant Aldonas, who is Under-Secretary of Commerce (International Trade), on the New Zealand government to repeal New Zealand's anti-nuclear law, as they say it hampers their efforts on the "War on Terrorism".

Australia continues to dominate Oceanic affairs, as John Howard, Austrailain Prime Minister, has adopted the role of Bush's deputy in the region with the "police action" in the Solomon Islands. While the corporate media are highly supportive of Howard, people on the ground and in the region, such as the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre are wary about the motives and effect of the military intervention.


16.08.2003 06:11

The largest blackout in U.S. history shut down cities across the Northeast U.S. including Detroit, Cleveland, New York City, and Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), among others. Power is slowly coming back in some areas, but many remain in the dark. There is still no word on what caused the massive power failure, although many are blaming deregulation. In its coverage of the event the corporate media has failed to mention the nation's lack of energy conservation programs and its notorious over-consumption.

The power outage seems to have been caused by a sudden spike in demand which overloaded the 'Lake Erie Loop,' a massive electrical grid that encircles Lake Erie, moving power from New York to the Detroit area, Canada and back to New York state. The first power outages were reported east of Cleveland, Ohio, and the blackout cascaded across the country, cutting power to millions in just nine seconds.

Flash Mobs: A new protest strategy?

12.08.2003 04:06

Flash Mobs are the latest Internet craze circling the planet. They are examples of smart mobs, a term coined by writer Howard Rheingold, which describes the use of modern technology to quickly mobilize people for spontaneous creative gatherings. It is only a matter of time before flash mobs are utilised effectively as part of a swarm protest strategy. There's been discussion in geek circles about using the idea of flash mobs in protests, including at Sydney Indymedia recently.

The concept of Flash Mobs can be traced to Science Fiction, the critical mass cycling phenomena, and the Situationists as psychogeographers who encapsulated the idea of the flash mob as the dérive, who created 'situations' for cultural subversion.

250.000 discuss and protest against WTO

11.08.2003 14:55

The action and discussion weekend (fr, en, de, es) that the French farmers' organisation Confederation Paysanne organised in Larzac (France) broke all limits. Organizers who were tabling on a 100.000 people attending their Anti-WTO rally in response to WTO intergovernmental talks in Cancun from 10th to 14th of September had to cope with about 250,000 paticipants turning up.
The Larzac meeting has yet again proved that resistance and debate against globalization is just as large and real after the Iraqi war as before, and it proves the need for political meetings of the global justice movement independent of actual summits.

The meeting was planned to take place where the nine farmers activists, among them Jose Bove, where put on trial because they help dismantling a Mc Donalds in ptotest against the WTO decission forcing the EU to accept US meat treated with growth hormones. Some 50,000 people showed up for the trial to shpw their solidarity. Bove was sentenced to 10 months prison, was arrested in June, and released on 2 August in a general amnesty.

Read more at IMC Paris, IMC Nice, IMC Nantes and discuss this feature.

Sherman Austin, anarchist webmaster sentenced to 1 year in prision

10.08.2003 17:48

Sherman Austin, webmaster of RaisetheFist.com, was sentenced on August 4, 2003, to one year in federal prison, with three years of probation. Judge Wilson shocked the courtroom when he went against the recommendation of not only the prosecution, but the FBI and the Justice Department, who had asked that Austin be sentenced to 4 months in prison, and 4 months in a half-way house, with 3 years of probation.

Listen to the Killradio.org interview with Sherman from August 6, 2003.
See Photos: Portraits of a Gentle Fighter.
See Cartoon: Sherman Austin Railroaded.

Read about Sherman's case: In his own words.
From the newswire: Lady Liberty Shot in the Foot...Again and A Message About Sherman.
Press Releases: Electronic Frontier Foundation, Online Policy Group.

Background Information: What the FBI Doesn't Want You to Know About RaisetheFist.com, Cryptome.org.

In Los Angeles, an emergency benefit to help Sherman is being organized.

[Read the entire LA IMC Feature on the Sherman Austin Ruling ]

NoBorderCamp attacked by police

10.08.2003 09:09

Hundreds of antiracist activists were attacked by German police during the next to the last day of a successful noborder camp. 70% of the remaining activists are considered to be criminals; the whole camp is said to be part of an international violent network of radical leftists. This led to a violent police action, hurting dozens of people.

One journalist had to be released for untenable accusations (he was said to have stolen a police camera).

Entire Feature

Remember Hiroshima, Nagasaki - No Nuclear Weapons

08.08.2003 04:56

At 8.15am August 6, 1945, a nuclear bomb was exploded 500 metres above the city of Hiroshima. It is estimated 140,000 people, mainly women, old men and children, died directly and in the few months after the bomb exploded. Its effects can still be seen today in the survivors and their descendants. Saturday August 9 is the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the city of Nagasaki. Historical research shows the use of nuclear weapons could have been avoided, and all those deaths prevented, if diplomatic alternatives had been properly pursued. The USA continues to use nuclear weapons of mass destruction, as in depleted uranium munitions, used recently in Iraq.

Rigged Elections On The Horizon

07.08.2003 03:04

With the 2004 Presidential election campaigns gearing up in the U.S., some voters and many activists are becoming alarmed over news stories about new voting machines failing inspections, being susceptible to tampering and leaving no paper trail. Some even believe the systems are designed for corruption. To make matters worse, voting experts trying to raise awareness of this flaw were recently barred from an election officials conference in Colorado.

Given the less than credible results of the last presidential election that put George W. Bush and his corporate and fundamentalist cabal in the Whitehouse, it stands to reason that U.S. citizens might be leery of using computerized voting systems similar to the one used in Florida for purging voter records. Such weapons of mass voting rights destruction are now being foisted on all 50 states by way of the Orwellian-named Help America Vote Act. Awareness of the ominous shadow looming over what's left of democracy in the U.S. appears to be slight,though one bill on paper trails is in committee. Certainly the corporate media isn't paying attention, but as the campaign heats up so too might the issue of massive vote fraud.

Illegal Detentions in the Occupied West Bank

05.08.2003 17:02

Early this morning the IDF illegally arrested 47 internationals, Israelis and Palestinians that were gathered at the Mas'ha peace camp trying to peaceably block the building of the Apartheid Wall and the destruction of a family's home. One of the Internationals, a US citizen from Los Angeles, reportedly was kicked in the stomach repeatedly and has broken ribs. Israeli peace activists went to the site and 8 of them have also been detained.

Near the camp, the house of one family will be trapped between the wall, if built, and the fence surrounding the neighboring settlement. Immediately after the detentions, a Caterpillar bulldozer moved in to demolish part of the family home.

The international detainees from Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Sweden, UK, US are being threatened with deportation. Three arrestees including one Palestinian have been formally charged with "violent assault." All detainees are being held at Ariel police station. People wishing to demand their immediate release can call the following numbers:

Ariel Police station: 972-3-906-5530
Police officers Hyam and Barem: 972-3-906-5406; 972-3-906-5416
Israeli Minister of Interior: Tel: 011-972-2-670-1648 or 011-972-2-629-4701; Fax: 011-972-2-629-4750

In the US: Contact your congressperson, the State Department (202)647-5150, and the White House.

UPDATE: Indymedia Italy is reporting that 36 of those detained have been released.

Montreal Mini-ministerial Report

04.08.2003 18:44

The World Trade Organisation's mini-ministerial meeting, at Montreal's Sheraton Centre, officially came to a close late last week. The meeting brought together finance ministers from 25 countries plus the European Union. One of the main objectives of the WTO event was consensus-building among what is in fact a minority of its members before their ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, September 10-14, 2003.

The struggle for global justice brought activists to Montreal for actions coinciding with the ministerial under the banner WTO's in Town! Shut it Down! A variety of actions took place in the streets throughout the three days.

More in French and English

Surviving the Bush Economy

03.08.2003 00:45

The new issue of The Indypendent asks why so many Americans remain unemployed despite assurances that the recession has ended. After reading the glum news lift your spirits by checking out an irreverent take on how to get a job.

This issue also explores the ongoing imbroglio over at the Pacifica Networkand provides coverage of the recent initiative to exonerate comedian Lenny Bruce.

Read all these stories and more by visiting an online story menu. || Subscribe to The Indypendent

Big Oil Gets Free Pass From Bush Regime Executive Order

02.08.2003 12:09

While it's no surprise that Big Oil runs the Whitehouse, a recent news story reveals that Bush regime related operations like Halliburton will be given carte blanche to do whatever they please in Iraq. Unreported in the mainstream media, Executive Order 13303, issued last May, gives an oil company complicit in human rights violations or guilty of environmental destruction in Iraq, immunity from lawsuits. According to Earth Rights International, "the document is apparently intended as a sweeping grant of immunity to individuals, corporations, agencies and others involved in Iraqi oil sales, marketing, or other oil-related activities."

Last week, The Institute for Policy Studies and the Government Accountability Project urged Congress to investigate and repeal the sweeping order. Like the recently reported U.S. corporate mobile phone monopoly being instituted in Iraq, Executive Order 13303 is yet another example of corporate colonization and a U.S. regime gone out of control.

Immigrants Escape from Italian Detention Centres

01.08.2003 06:49

Several breakouts have occured from Italian migrant detention centres in the recent period. In Torino 22 people escaped from a detention centre on Monday night after rioting and setting fire to matresses and other parts of the centre. Eleven so far remain free.

On Sunday, during an action by around 100 activists from the nearby NoBorder camp, 15 people managed to escape from detention centre at the military airport of Bari Palese. So far only three have been recaptured. More [it] Photos 1 | 2. About 100 people are detained in the camp.

Around 500 activists participated in a week long NoBorder camp in Puglia, southern Italy, which brought up many issues in regards to those who held noborder positions and the more institutionalised and parliamentary focussed groups. Activities included the occupation of a labour office, discussions around the issues of migration and demonstrations at the two nearby detention centres at San Foca and Otranto.

Summer Exchange of Food not Bombs

01.08.2003 03:29

Local Food not Bombs groups from eight cities in the Netherlands (Gratis Eten!), received a warm and happy welcome from Polish citizens and fellow-activists, when they toured around Poland (Jedzenie Zamast Bomb) in July and visited groups from the cities Poznan, Wroclaw, Gliwice and Bialystok. At all these places food was prepared collectively and given out for free on the streets. They also gathered to discuss setting up new groups, vegan food, daily struggles for survival, and unsustainable-unhealthy consumption and production patterns around the world, as well as unequal access to food and other means for sustainable living, caused by a growing machine of capitalist reproduction and its globalisation led by states and corporations.[ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]

Read: Entire Feature

Australian Students stage electronic sit-in protest

31.07.2003 09:42

Students protesting Higher Education 'Reforms' are organising an electronic sit-in on Friday 1st August, 2003 by logging onto http://www.dest.gov.au at 1.00pm to 2.00pm GMT +10.00 (see GMT Time Converter e.g. corresponds to 7.00-8.00pm Thursday Pacific Time Zone USA & Canada). The Government reforms will have the effect of keeping working class kids out of university and threaten to compromise equity and accessibility as never before, while the education budget was sacrificed to increase war spending.

Radio for Peace International Locked Out!

31.07.2003 08:53

Early last week Radio for Peace International a progressive shortwave station on the campus of the University for Peace in Costa Rica was locked out by armed guards working for the university. James Latham, RFPI General Manager, said that Mondays eviction notice represents poor judgment on behalf of the new administration at the University for Peace, a United Nations-mandated university established in 1980. At the moment RFPI is seeking mediation.

Apparently, the lockout has everything to do with the new director of the university, Maurice Strong, a Canadian power broker with a checkered history of both promising environmental efforts and dubious activities involving corporate globalization. As an example, Strong is director of the World Economic Forum Foundation and has a history with Big Oil. RFPI has co-existed peacefully with the past five administrations on the UN affiliated campus, but some observers believe RFPI's progressive programming is offensive to Strong and his fellow globalizers.

Seven thousand homeless workers might be evicted in Brazil

29.07.2003 01:19

On July 18 hundreds of workers occupied an empty 42 acre terrain owned by german corporation Volkswagen in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Since then, about seven thousand workers joined the camp. The terrain was public land donated in the 50s by federal government to corporations to "create jobs". It has been an unused land for four years and Volkswagen workers are on strike caused by job cuts in the factory. After failed negotiations with Volkswagen and city Mayor, court determined the eviction of workers. There are two thousand children in the camp and workers are willing to resist.

Please send protest letters to Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckimin and Sao Bernardo do Campo Mayor William Dib

[Homeless workers march to city hall | Pictures from camp | Video [1][2]

Forest defenders employing direct action to save old growth ecosystem

28.07.2003 20:30

Dozens of activists are entrenched in a fight to the finish in the Straw Devil timber sale in the Willamette National Forest in southern Cascadia, in the area temporarily called "Oregon". Two units of the sale were logged last week [photos], despite the efforts of tree-sitters and “cat & mouse” activities on the ground. One person was arrested. Unit 2 of the sale was the final resting place of the ashes of the forest defender known as Sparrow, for whom this action was initiated. One of the remaining uncut units has been the site of an all womyn’s tree-sit encampment.

Activists have vowed to stop the rest of the logging. A call for direct action, financial assistance, and various other forms of support has been made: logging will likely begin again within days. Activists have secured legal support for participants. To help, contact the Cascadia Forest Defenders.

The War Is Not Over

28.07.2003 04:55

While no major war seems to be going on, actions against war, armies in general and against the US army in Iraq continue. - An incomplete overview over actions of the last weeks.
Under the slogan Disarm DSEi 2003, preparations are under way to protest against Europe's biggest arms fair in London in September.

In the Netherlands, a group of militant anti-militarists Onkruit (nl) blocked a bus of Dutch Marines on their way to Iraq, after the Dutch government has decided to finally support the USA/UK by sending troops.

Read: Entire Feature

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