Thursday, May 22, 2008


If you reside in the Philadelphia area you will want to try and make it TONIGHT to an important forum to be held just a few hours from now and sponsored by the CONCERNED BLACK LAWYERS.

CONCERNED BLACK LAWYERS to Hold Panel Addressing Police Brutality-Tonight

In the wake of recent events several local African American lawyers have formed an organization called CONCERNED BLACK LAWYERS to address police brutality and other alarming issues in Philadelphia's African American Community. The group will be holding a panel tonight on the issue:

Date and Time: May 22, 2008 – 7p.m. – 9p.m.
Location: First African Baptist Church – 16th & Christian Streets, Phila., Pa.
Contact: Damon K. Roberts, Esq. – 267-972-2451

Recently, after the firing of four Philadelphia police officers accused of brutality, Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter proclaimed: "I think this represents a new day in the Philadelphia Police Department and how we deal with these kinds of situations." - Philadelphia Daily News May 20, 2008.

CONCERNED BLACK LAWYERS will host a panel discussion to address:

Is it a new day in Philadelphia police brutality or is it more of the same ol' same ol'?"


Philadelphia Police Chief CHARLES RAMSEY
Civil Rights Attorney ISAAC H. GREEN
Civil Rights Attorney ADRIAN MOODY
Criminal Attorney KEVIN MINCEY – Mincey, Battle & McGahee, LLP
Former Chief Deputy City Sol., Civil Rights Division CARLTON JOHNSON
JERRY MONDESIRE – President, Philadelphia Chapter of NAACP
KENYATTA JOHNSON – Democratic Nominee for State Representative for the
186th District
REVERAND TERRENCE GRIFFITH – First African Baptist Church
MICHAEL COARD, ESQUIRE – The Law Offices of Michael Coard
WILLIAM JOHNSON- Ex. Dir. Police Advisory Commission
Former candidate for Philadelphia District Attorney, SETH WILLIAMS,


Contact for more information
Demetrius J. Parrish, Jr., Esq.
1616 Walnut Street, Ste. 700
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
(215) 735-3377
(215) 827-5420 (fax)


Passed in 2007, what is called in Australia the "intervention" was imposed on 72 largely indigenous communities in the NW Territory, regardless of their different needs and requirements. Its elements include removal of land permit systems, alcohol bans,increased policing, and welfare quarantining (the withholding of half the benefits of every resident and forcing them to obtain an identity card to purchase food and other essential items from nominated retail outlets).

The intervention is causing a new wave of dispossession and, as argued by Mutitjulu elder Vince Forrester, “a return to Apartheid”.

The Aboriginal Rights Coalition puts it like this:

"Welfare quarantines, the destruction of Community Employment Development Projects (CDEP) and the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal lands, businesses and services has forced thousands of people from their communities into urban centres. There they are met with racism and police repression - 190 people were taken into custody in Alice Springs on 4-5 April in an operation targeting 'anti-social behaviour'."

The ideas of paternalism, assimilation and the free-market driving the intervention, and pushed so hard by the Howard government, are impacting on Aboriginal policy across the country. From the Queensland government’s decision to continue holding stolen wages “in trust”, the “mainstreaming” of Indigenous services which continues, through to the burgeoning national roll out of punitive welfare policies, a policy consensus has emerged in government and media against self-determination."

But the federal government seems blind to what is happening and continues on with this disastrous policy.

Speaking at a demonstration (see picture) against the policy in February Walter Shaw from Tangentyere Council was cheered when he said:

“This intervention is racially vilifying and demonising our communities—that women neglect their children; that men abuse their children and that Aboriginal men and women are chronic alcoholics.

We want to move forward but this intervention feels like the last nail in the coffin for our people. We want to maintain our cultural existence and existences as Aboriginal people but we want to move forward so we can live side by side with all Australians... This intervention was supposed to be an idealistic vision from [former Howard minister] Mal Brough. He is no longer in his seat in parliament. This intervention should have been thrown out, along with him.”

Supposedly created to aid children, the policy is going in quite the opposite direction. Children are not aided when money that could be used for their health care is spent on buying new Toyotas for administrators from "down south", who do not have the appropriate experience or cultural knowledge to successfully implement programs. Children are not aided when their parents lose their jobs, as they have through the disbanding of the Community Development Employment Projects Scheme. The Age newspaper wrote, "While income may be the same, a move from CDEP to the dole takes away the dignity that comes with being employed, and causes frustration and unhappiness within the family."

Similarly, children are damaged by the income "quarantining" provisions through which a significant proportion of the family income is held back so that it can be used only to buy food in specific places, such as community stores (where the prices are up to two or three times those in town), or at Woolworths, ...if you happen to have a car and fuel to drive several hundred kilometres."

The group Women for Wik (an independent aboriginal group monitoring the interventions) says the policy is and will undermine key aspects of Aboriginal societies - country, kin and culture. Moreover, by using a top-down approach, it works against self-government and, in some instances, contravenes human rights. "This will not improve the lives of Aboriginal children," says the group.

Web Diary reports that Professor Mick Dodson, a member of the Yawuru peoples, and Director of the Australian National University's National Centre for Indigenous Studies speaking in Canberra last night said that just about every page of the 500 pages of legislation authorising the intervention breaks Australia's obligations under international human rights treaties it has signed, particularly the Convention outlawing racial discrimination.

Dodson said he was concerned about the recklessness with which politicians are now prepared to break the scared principle that one does not by law discriminate against people on the basis of their race, and the media's casual acceptance of this trend.

"This is not an intervention, it's an invasion of people's rights and liberties. The only positive is that it is a recognition of government failure."

Dodson says because of media laziness, most Australians didn't know what 'the intervention" was really all about. They didn't know that:

* There is no mention of the word 'child' or 'children' in the legislation, which violates the UN Convention of the rights of the child.

* The intervention would not create one new women's refuge or safe house in the 73 Northern Territory (NT) communities subject to it, despite the fact that only 5% of the communities already had either.

* The intervention would not fund one new child protection worker, or any extra child protection services.

* Instead it would create 725 new jobs in the public service, 300 of which are in the government agency Centrelink which administers the withholding of ALL Aboriginal people's welfare income, regardless of whether they were good parents or bad, on the sole basis of where they lived. There is no right of appeal, for anyone.

* The intervention would not fund any services for the victims of abuse, or for the perpetrators.

* Assets can be seized from Aboriginal bodies if even $1 worth of Commonwealth funding was in their mix - without any compensation.

* The intervention threw 8,000 Aboriginal people who worked through CDEP (The Community Development Employment Scheme) out of their jobs in exchange for only 1500-2000 replacement jobs.

Dodson added, "This is racist action not for the purpose of helping children, but to wedge political opponents. What troubles me most is the racial discrimination and the incapacity of the media to be outraged by this. Why are we ready to allow this to happen?"

"Australians think it's about protecting kids. The lazy media let that happen. And if you put your head up you get called a child abuser yourself. You get abused for saying, 'Hang on a minute, can we talk about this?'"

The following is from Green Left Weekly (Australia).

The new apartheid for Indigenous Australians
Tony Iltis

Since beginning its first parliamentary term with the symbolic apology to the Stolen Generations, the Rudd Labor government has promised a shift away from the hostility towards Indigenous Australians shown by the previous Howard government.

In particular it has pledged to prioritise closing the gap in living standards between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, exemplified by the 17-year difference in life expectancy. Rudd and Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin have touted the announcement in the May 13 budget of $1.2 billion to be spent over five years on Aboriginal affairs as a move to fulfill this promise.

However, not only have Indigenous organisations and service providers pointed out that this figure is insufficient, but almost a third is budgeted to continuing the federal intervention in the Northern Territory, initiated under Howard, whose draconian measures have actually increased Indigenous disadvantage. Furthermore, the government is expanding the scope of one of the more destructive aspects of the intervention: “income management” — a euphemism for replacing a proportion of people’s welfare payments with ration cards.

Pat Eatock, an Indigenous elder and activist in the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) in Sydney, told Green Left Weekly that the system was being extended both beyond the NT and to non-Indigenous parents on welfare, with welfare organisations having the power to recommend people be subject to it without any right of appeal. The East Kimberley and the Perth suburb of Cannington will be the trial location for the expansion.

Eatock recently visited the NT, meeting with Indigenous communities and organisations, health and legal service providers and the NT branch of ARC to investigate the effects of the intervention. She explained what “income management” means in practice.

“The ‘income management’ is the provision of three cards which allow one to shop in Woolworths, K-Mart or Coles. Initially people would travel up to 300km to collect their cards then return straight home to their communities and take the cards to the community store only to be told that they couldn’t use them — they could only be used at the three designated [shops].”

These cards will be replaced by electronic debit cards, also only usable at selected shops, under the foreshadowed expansion of the system.

The negative impact is not only on individuals but on the economic and social fabric of remote Aboriginal communities.

“The community stores, which, while in the past were often not very well developed in terms of providing a diversity of food products, nonetheless did serve a key service in the community. While they could have been improved, [there are] better methods than taking their customers away. Now they are going bankrupt.

“Before the intervention, the community stores, as a community service owned by the community, were non-profit organisations whose profits were the main way funerals were funded. So now, all over the NT, you’ve got bodies stacking up … There’s an average of about a death a week in any of the larger communities. And the bodies are stacking up because nobody can afford the cash donations. The extended families can’t,” she said.

“The other main effect of the card system is that people are going into town. Now if you’re getting more than 50% of peoples’ Centrelink entitlements being redirected through Centrelink, then the remaining 50% is needed for rent (which is automatically deducted), power and buying other essentials such as medicine. Everyone knows that a pension is not very much and by the time you’ve paid for all of that you’re lucky if you’ve got $10 to your name. When people go into town, travelling long distances, when all their money is used … how are they going to get back?

“There’s a whole demographic shift happening … The communities are diminishing in size, which in turn will allow the government to diminish funding as they become smaller and smaller. At the same time people are paying rent on homes in communities that they are unable to get back to live in. So the end result is that the town camps are growing exponentially.”

This is placing considerable stress on town camps. “The five camps in Alice Springs, the camps in Tennant Creek and Katherine and in Darwin are all having a huge influx of people”, Eatock said. “Bagot, in the centre of Darwin, went from 500 to 1200 people. You have 40 people staying in one three-bedroom house. There’s only nine refrigerators in the whole place.”

This is also increasing social tensions: “The people already living in these town camps are getting very irritated by other people in their space. The other aspect of people coming into town is that not everyone can get into the town camps. Many people are staying on the fringes of town, without any accommodation at all. Nowadays there are long-grass people, who are in fact homeless, despite paying rent on homes back in the communities. Many are self-medicating with alcohol because of trauma. A doctor I spoke to up there spoke of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Furthermore, while the intervention has been justified by both the Howard and Rudd governments in terms of combating child abuse, money allocated to programs to assist abused children has not been spent. Money earmarked for general health has likewise not been spent.

At the end of the financial year this money “will most likely return to general revenue”, Eatock explained, adding that medical service providers she had spoken to, such as the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, “had been begging for funds for years”.

She pointed out that no such reticence has been shown in allocating police resources as part of the intervention. “While many communities were seeking additional assistance where there were problems with drinking or domestic violence, they did not ask for the type of intervention that they got, where the police have star chamber powers.”

These “star chamber” powers have encouraged police brutality. “I heard of one story where the police entered a house — they just barged in — and searched the house and found a dozen cans of beer. They emptied them down the sink and then they left. But when they left, the occupant of the house indicated his displeasure and slammed the door behind them. They turned round and kicked the door down”, Eatock explained.

She said that while after the initial period the police appear to have given up on trying to get rid of alcohol from communities, harassment continues. “I did see the police arresting a woman in Darwin. The other people she was with were calling out ‘That’s a pregnant women you’ve got there!’ As they were putting her into the back of the van, a male policeman ran his hands all around the underside of her stomach checking out she had nothing concealed. I saw this and I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

Legal service workers told Eatock that by depriving people of cash, the “income management” had caused some people to engage in crime who had not previously done so. This meant that the Territory’s already high incarceration rate was increasing.

Eatock saw land acquisition as the Howard government’s motivation behind the intervention, with the legislation giving the power to governments to force Aboriginal communities to lease their land to the government for as long as 99 years. She cited the example of the Darwin town camp at One Mile Dam. “It’s only one mile from the centre of Darwin. This is valuable real estate, with skyscrapers going up all around. There is great pressure on the people to move out. In general, Aboriginal land in town camps has increased in value as the towns increase in size and suburbia surrounds camps that were once on the edges of towns.”

Eatock speculated that behind the attacks on remote Aboriginal communities are mining interests. “Eighty per cent of unmined uranium is under Aboriginal land … I suspect that the drift of Aboriginal populations to the towns because of the intervention may have been foreseen but not discussed.”

She said that she was not optimistic about the Rudd government. “Frankly the ALP government will continue to serve the people governments have always served: big money and big business. While there’s still minerals under the ground I’m pessimistic: we still have a right-wing government but a Labor right-wing government.”

She added that while Rudd never used the word “assimilation”, in all his speeches on Indigenous issues he talked about Aboriginal people “performing in mainstream society”, which she saw as code for the same thing: “adopting Western, Anglo-Australian thinking”.

While in Darwin, Eatock and members of the NT ARC met with WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert, to discuss strategies for making submissions to the three inquiries into the intervention that are currently taking place. One is a Senate inquiry, which Siewert is sitting on, the others being an Ombudsman’s inquiry into international human rights law obligations and a government internal inquiry. The NT ARC has been setting up complaints desks outside Centrelink offices in the Territory to get information for the submissions.

Eatock pointed out that by funding the continuation and extension of the intervention, the government was preempting the reviews.


Special masked Austrian police conducted a series of raids across that country early yesterday morning targeting animal rights activists. Raids took place on more than twenty apartments, houses and offices in Vienna, Graz, and Tyrol.

One of the targets was the office of Austria's most successful animal rights group
Verein gegen Tierfabriken (VGT).

As many as fourteen persons remained locked up.

The police justified the raids by saying the activists were members of a criminal organization. Specific charges are still unclear.

The blog My Own Private Emocide says it’s rumored that there are 30+ charges being prepared, which are most likely connected to the yearlong protests against the big clothing chain “Kleiderbauer.” There was a single illegal attack on one of their stores It is unknown who is responsible for this attack. Other than that, there have only been legal demonstrations on a weekly basis in front of multiple stores all over Austria. These protests have repeatedly been attacked verbally and physically by Kleiderbauer staff.

Harald Balluch of VGT-Austria speaking out against the raids warned, "Animal welfare will be criminalized...(the) allegations are absolutely plucked from the air. The VGT rejects criminal acts and violence and (has) distanced itself from all (such) offences. "

An ad hoc protest march of several hundred took place yesterday evening which ended at a police station where some of those arrested were held.

A press release printed on Austrian IndyMedia says,

"Solidarity with the wave of arrests ... is needed. No matter whether you are vegan, feminist, antifascist, against monitoring, nuclear power or police brutality -we are all meant (to be intimidated), even though currently only a few have been taken!"

People in prison need our support and solidarity."

The following is taken from Infoshop News.

Dawn raids against anti-fur activists in Austria
Thursday, May 22 2008

Starting at 6:00 a.m. today, houses, flats and storerooms belonging to animal rights activists were raided and the inhabitants arrested all across Austria. In several cases activists were woken by armed police and brutally handcuffed. They could only look on helplessly as their homes and possessions were ransacked by police.

Doors were kicked in by balaclava-wearing armed special units of police (WEG), who treated the activists as if they were dangerous terrorists. 14 people were arrested and are on remand. They've been charged with 31 different offences related to the campaign against the the fur-promoting fashion company Kleider Bauer, but most significantly of forming a criminal organisation under §278a of Austrian law.

Kleider Bauer is renowned for trying to silence its opponents through court order and restricting their rights to demonstrate. For almost 2 years now regular demonstrations have taken place outside various branches of the firm in the main cities in Austria. Of course, those arrested are among some of the most active in the campaign.

Solidarity with those arrested in Austria!

Abolish the fur trade!


A Greenpeace protest targeting an armament firm took on cluster bombs today. Protesters broke into the company's office in Madrid this morning to bring the message directly to the bosses. The company involved, Expal, is a manufacturer of the hideous bombs. This despite the fact that Spain has signed a treating prohibiting their use.

Expal is said to be the most important private company in Spain and one of the European leaders in the explosive and ammunition industry.

At almost the same time more than 100 campaigners against cluster bombs staged a lie-down protest in the middle of O'Connell Street in Dublin this morning (see picture).

Representatives of more than 100 states are attending a conference in Ireland this week which aims to ban the manufacture and use of cluster munitions. The United States, Russia and Britain - some of the most prolific users of the small munitions – are not attending.

Big surprise.

The United States will not agree to a ban on the use of cluster bombs because the weapons remain tactically useful for fending off advancing armies and for self-defence, a US official said Wednesday. "We think this kind of blanket ban is a mistake," said Stephen Mull, the US State Department's top official for political and military affairs.

Foreign Policy in Focus says according to the most comprehensive research to date, the vast majority of confirmed casualties from this type of weapon have been civilians. In the past 10 years, the United States has used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. These weapons also have an established track record of killing and injuring U.S. soldiers. During Operation Desert Storm, U.S. cluster submunitions were responsible for more U.S. troop casualties (80) than any Iraqi weapons system.

“Cluster munitions do not know when the war has ended,” said Mark Engman, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Children stumble over them long after the conflict has ended or pick them up thinking that they are toys.”

Yet the US thinks, "...this kind of blanket ban is a mistake."

The following is from Think Spain.

Greenpeace activists target cluster bomb factory

Around thirty Greenpeace activists broke into the head offices of the Expal armament company in Madrid this morning to "point the finger" at manufacturers of cluster bombs and demand that their prohibition.

The protesters broke into the reception area of the office building where they displayed cardboard cut-outs of mutilated victims and scattered a large number of artificial limbs around to symbolise all the innocent people around the world who have been either injured, mutilated or killed by this kind of weapon.

Furthermore, the protesters hung a large banner on the outside of the building with a photo of a mutilated child and the message 'Expal make cluster bombs that mutilate'.

They had hoped for a meeting with company directors to express their views and hand over an artificial limb and a video filmed in Cambodia of an 18 year old boy who lost both of his arms to a cluster bomb, asking: "please stop making these bombs."

Greenpeace also plan to deliver protheses and copies of the video to the Defence and Foreign Affairs ministries.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Canadian Press reports retired police officers, including one who traveled halfway around the world, are asking the federal government of Canada to keep Vancouver's supervised-injection site running.

Traditional, heavy-handed enforcement methods have been a failure in fighting drug use, they told a news conference on Tuesday.

Three retired cops, either members or supporters of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, endorsed the Vancouver Insite program which offers addicts clean needles, a safe place to inject and access to counselling and detox.

"We all agree that most of society's problems with illegal substances are not caused by those substances but rather by the over-enforcement of our drug laws through the war on drugs," said Tony Smith, a 28-year-veteran of the Vancouver police.

"We believe that drug addicts should not be treated as criminals but receive non-judgmental medical assistance for their addictions."

Keeping drugs illegal simply provides an opportunity for international traffickers to make huge amounts of money, he added.

The Insite program in Vancouver's blighted downtown eastside operates with an exemption from federal drug laws which expires at the end of next month.

Supporters, including the city's mayor, the provencial health minister, the provincial nurses association and the police chief, support the program. They say it saves lives, encourages the use of detox programs and hasn't lured more crime to the area.

Insite was the first safe-injection site in North America. When launched in 2003, Vancouver, the province and Ottawa supported the program, but it's time will run out on June 30 unless Ottawa elects to extend the exemption.

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement has not announced whether the clinic will be permitted to stay open. The Vancouver Sun says the Conservative Party doesn't want to be seen supporting an endeavour that "sanctions drug use." The paper points out the Party's core support came from those who agree with PM Stephen Harper's strong stand against crime and drug use

Liberal MP Keith Martin from British Columbia told the Hill Times he believes the Conservative government's plan is to try and eliminate harm-reduction from Canada's drug strategy all together. "I believe the government is putting on short-term extensions, so if they get a majority government they can kill [safe injection sites] all together."

Martin, who is also physician, said he worked in detox centres in B.C. on and off for 12 years and that seeing the "ravages of addiction" is what has made him such an advocate of Insite and other harm-reduction strategies.

"If the government fails to allow communities across Canada to have supervised injection, they will be committing murder. They will be allowing people to die that could have been saved," he said. "We have a moral obligation to help drug addicts."

Martin said he believes the Conservative government's opposition to Insite is rooted in an ideological aversion to the concept of harm reduction as a way of dealing with drug abuse, which he said is "appalling." He added: "The government takes an ideological moral position against addicts. I believe it's a medical issue."

Recently the International Journal of Drug Policy published articles by scientists from around the world condemning the federal government for interfering politically with the site's research.

Insite has been the subject of numerous peer-reviewed studies in places such as the New England Journal of Medicine, The lancet, The British medical Journal and the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. These studies have shown a reduction not just in harm to the addicts serviced but also a reduction in the "nuisance" that these people provide to others.

However, those who oppose the whole concept don't much care for scientific reports. They are on a moral crusade.

But supporters of Insite are on a crusade, too.

A convoy is rolling across Canada right now to raise awareness about the site and increase knowledge about how it saves lives. And to build support to keep it open.

Thomas Kerr, with the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, was one of the scientists responsible for the scientific evaluation of the facility.

"The scientific support for this initiative is overwhelming," Kerr said, citing more than 30 published peer-review studies that have supported the program.

"We should not right now be discussing if this facility should continue to operate, we should be asking the next question, which is: "How can we ensure that Canadians living elsewhere can enjoy the health benefits of such a facility?"

What follows is a lengthy article from and Drug War Chronicle.

Vancouver's Safe Injection Site Fights for Its Life -- Again

The only officially-sanctioned safe injection site in North America, Vancouver's InSite will have to close its doors June 30 if the Canadian federal government does not extend its exemption from Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. But while the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made no secret of its distaste for the program, it has very strong community, local, provincial, and international support, and its supporters are now engaged in a strong campaign to ensure its continued existence.

Situated on Hastings Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, home to one of the hemisphere's largest concentrations of hard drug users, InSite has operated since 2003, when it was granted a three-year exemption by the then Liberal government. With the advent of Conservative government, with its ideological opposition to programs that "encourage" or "facilitate" drug use, InSite's continued existence has been shaky. Twice, the Conservatives have granted the program temporary 18-month exemptions, saying that more research on its efficacy was needed.

But now, after five years of monitoring and evaluation, the results are in: According to peer-reviewed scientific studies, InSite increased the use of addiction treatment services, increased the use of detox services, reduced needle sharing, led to improvement in neighborhood public order and quality of life, resulted in no increase in drug-related crime, prevented overdose deaths, and helped reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among drug injectors.

As if the nearly two-dozen studies of InSite were not enough, the Conservative government last year commissioned its own study, "Vancouver's INSITE service and other Supervised injection sites: What has been learned from research?," which was released in early April. According to Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd, who was hired by the government to advise the committee overseeing the study, the research shows that InSite has no apparent negative impacts, has resulted in "modest decreases" in drug use, and has not disturbed public order.

In fact, said Boyd at a press conference announcing his findings, InSite should not only be continued, but the program should be expanded to other locations. "I think our data suggests... the building of additional facilities of a similar kind in neighborhoods where they are needed would yield benefits much in excess of the costs required for such projects," he said.

That's unlikely under the Harper government, which is ideologically opposed to such harm reduction practices and in fact removed funding for them from its anti-drug budget. As Harper put it last October: "Because if you remain an addict, I don't care how much harm you reduce, you're going to have a short and miserable life."

Harper has also scoffed at empirical evidence when it conflicts with his agenda. In a January speech to party faithful, he mocked opponents who cited falling crime statistics in challenging his emphasis on law and order. "They try to pacify Canadians with statistics," said the prime minister. "Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong, they say; crime is really not a problem."

More recently, Health Minister Tony Clement and his underlings have sounded similar themes. Science would not be the only factor in determining whether to continue InSite's exemption, Clement's undersecretary, Winnipeg MP Steven Fletcher told The Canadian Press earlier this month. While the government would make a "rational and thoughtful decision based on science," it must also take into account "the realities of the situation," Fletcher explained. "There's multiple sides to this and they all have to be taken into consideration," said Fletcher.

When pressed in parliament by Vancouver East MP Libby Davies, a staunch InSite supporter, Clement vowed to make a decision before June 30 and responded to her criticism about rejecting the science supporting the program: "We are the government that actually wants more research, that actually commissioned more research because we want to make sure this decision is the right decision for Canada, for addicts and for the community in Vancouver," he said. "That is the decision we have made, more research and more consideration. That is because we are open-minded and we want to make the best decision for Canada and Canadians."

Now, as the June 30 deadline looms, InSite's supporters have mobilized. Already this month, the International Journal of Drug Policy published articles by scientists from around the world condemning the federal government for interfering politically with the site's research, Boyd held his Ottawa press conference, advocates held a rally in a Downtown Eastside park featuring 1,000 white crosses to symbolize the people who didn't die from drug overdoses while injecting at InSite, Vancouver street nurses picketed the office of the Vancouver Police Union, whose president is a leading critic of the site, BC Nurses Association president Debra MacPherson held a press conference to tout the health benefits of InSite, and all three BC civic parties have signaled their joint support of the program.

"We're fully behind the effort to keep InSite open," said David Hurford, director of communications for Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. "It is part of the solution, not part of the problem, and it is a bottom-up solution from the grassroots. The federal government has said it supports grassroots decision-making, so why should bureaucrats from 3,000 miles away be making decisions for us here?" he asked.

The mayor's office is "working with local stakeholders to help communicate the benefits of InSite," said Hurford. "We wrote to the health minister last week asking him to keep the site open, and at a minimum, to extend the permits until all pending legal issues are heard."

Hurford is referring to a lawsuit pending in the BC courts that challenges Health Canada's jurisdiction over InSite. That suit argues that since under Canadian law, health care is the domain of the provinces, the federal government should not have control over InSite. But that lawsuit will not be settled by the end of next month.

Opposition politicians have also joined the fight. "This government chooses to view harm reduction as nothing more than dirty words, at the expense of protecting the safety and health of Canadians," said Liberal Party public health spokesperson Dr. Carolyn Bennett.

"The results from the InSite project show measurable evidence that it saves lives," said Liberal MP Dr. Hedy Fry, who played a key role in bringing the agreement that allowed InSite to open. "This has won it widespread support not only from experts in Canada but from the international scientific community, from the Vancouver police and from residents of the Downtown Eastside," said Dr. Fry. "It is simply irresponsible to ignore scientifically-based proof of the efficacy of harm reduction programs like this, and base public policy on ideology alone because real people suffer the consequences."

"The Conservative government must stop its unconscionable interference in scientific research on Vancouver's safe injection site," added New Democratic Party MP Libby Davies, who represents the Downtown Eastside. "Medical researchers from the University of British Columbia have revealed that Harper and his team have been suppressing evidence and denying funding to scientists who are looking objectively at the merits of Insite," she said.

"More than 20 medical and academic studies have been published showing the health and social benefits of InSite. We now have both scientific fact and evidence from users in our community that this facility is helping, not hurting the people of our city. The research record shows that Insite saves lives and increases public safety," Davies continued. "Harper doesn't understand that you can't just hide the facts whenever they don't suit your political agenda. We need a change in direction. It's time for this government to make decisions based on evidence instead of ideology -- InSite needs to be kept open."

"What we want is a 3 ½ year renewal of the exemption from the Controlled Substances Act," said Nathan Allen of InSite for Community Safety. "The fact that the Harper government has not granted this renewal shows they are very reluctant to support the community."

While the Harper government has previously said it needed more research to evaluate InSite's efficacy, that dog won't hunt anymore, said Allen. "They've already spent more than $1.5 million studying InSite, they've produced two dozen academic papers, and they've concluded that it has all kinds of positive impacts. We're wondering what questions the government has left to ask," he scoffed. "InSite has undergone the most thorough and well-funded scrutiny of any health clinic in the country."

In the event the government refuses to grant another exemption, Allen said he hoped it would respect provincial authority and local autonomy. "This has been a regional response to a local crisis here in Vancouver. We need to let the people here on the ground do what they need to do. If not, people will die," he predicted bluntly.

The clock is ticking for InSite, but the pressure is mounting on the Harper government. The next few weeks will determine if that pressure is sufficient to overcome the government's ideological opposition to the safe injection site.


Last week Moroccan secret services brutally attacked Saharawi students in the University Qadi Ayad in Marrakesh, while they were organising a peaceful demonstration to demand the Sahrawi peoples right to self-determination and independence.

A similar intervention took place the next day against the Saharawi students in the university Ibn Zuhr in Agadir, where the Saharawi students organised a demonstration of solidarity with their compatriots in Marrakesh.

During the assaults police surrounded the University of Marrakesh and tear gassed students. There were numerous injuries. Many students were beaten up,handcuffed, and jailed.

Also, yesterday the Court of Appeal in Marrakesh, Morocco, decided to postpone the trial of the Saharawi human rights defender Ennaâma Asfari to June 2nd, 2008. The decision was based on a request from Asfari whose lawyers weren't in court since the state had apparently forgotten to inform them about the trial date.

Meanwhile, today some 8,000 Polisario rebels, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, staged a marching procession at a dusty Western Saharan outpost to mark the 35th anniversary of the organization. Tifariti, where the parade was held, is one of six "liberated zones" or military camps on the border area which were won in the war by the rebels.

"We will continue to struggle as we have done for the past 35 years and all options are open," Polisario leader Mohammed Abdelaziz told the gathering.

The following is from The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State (ASVDH)

ASVDH statement on recent Sahrawi demonstrations, Moroccan brutality in Marrakech
20 May 2008

ASVDH has followed with great concern the painful and bloody events that took place at the University Alqadi Ayad in Marrakech, Morocco. Many Saharawi students were the victims of these violations, as well as the related arrest of the Saharawi human rights defender Mr. Ennaâma ASFARI, Co-Chairman of the French Committee for the respect of human rights and freedoms in Western Sahara (Corelso), and members of students from the democracy movement, and others have been victims of brutal attacks which caused serious injuries of various degrees.

Reportedly, some students have been manipulated by the Moroccan security services and intelligence and incited against others to create dissension between them which has a direct impact on their studies on the first hand, and on their political and cultural activities, among many other activities, on the second hand.

The situation of students at the University Alqadi Ayad becomes more problematic following the abuse of the Moroccan administration of the university in Marrakech especially with the problems of students who have been victims of food-poisoning (more than 22 cases), which has created an angry reaction from students usually led by students from the democratic movement. And instead of dealing with the situation and recognize the error, the administration has tried to conceal this serious mistake, and responded to the students with repression and arrests.

On the basis of the above, the ASVDH declares:
- Its absolute and unconditional solidarity with all victims, regardless of their origin and affiliations, and foremost with the Sahrawi human rights defender, Mr. Ennaâma ASFARI

- Calls for the release of the prisoner of conscience, Mr. Ennaâma ASFARI, and the Saharawi students and students of the democratic basist pathway who are considered by the ASVDH as POLITICAL PRISONERS

- Its severe condemnation of the repressive approach followed by security services against university students in Marrakech and in various universities in Morocco

- Its condemnation of the methodology of falsifying charges and police records and more other violations committed by the Moroccan authorities to counteract the activities of the human rights defenders and students

- Calls upon the State of Morocco to reconsider its security policies followed in the university and provide favourable conditions for study to all students and guarantee their right of expression and peaceful demonstration

- Requests the Moroccan State to assume all costs of hospitalization for all the victims and especially serious cases

- Requests the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience and political detainees, including the secretary general of ASVDH, Mr. Brahim SABBAR, and the president of the local section of the ASVDH in Boujdour, Mr. Mohamed TAHLIL


I've said it before and I'll say it again here at the Oread Daily we (and or me) try to make a distinction between the war and the soldiers who fight it.

Kids go off to war for any number of reasons.

I can't imagine any come home exactly the same way they left.

They are stuck in situations hardly any reading the Oread Daily can even imagine. They have to make decisions we don't have to face. They pay a price few of us can ever understand.

Those who die leave behind families filled with grief, with love, many with pride, some with anger, all with unanswered questions.

There have to some (besides a plethora of chickenhawks and tough talking politicos who somehow never found a way to actually fight in the wars they drum up) there for these men and women who do offer up their lives in battles not of their own making.

Today I give you the Patriot Guard, a group made up largely of motorcycle riding Americans who have made it their mission to see that these men and women are not forgotten and too insulate their families from the likes of those creeps out of Topeka, Kansas who get off by displaying their vile selves at funerals.

It's important to note, as Roland "Bogie" Boguszewski of Bradley, Illinois says in the article below, the Patriot Guard don't care if you're a hawk or a dove, rich or poor, vet or not, biker or walker, "The only prerequisite," Bogie says, "is respect."

I know a guy who rides his bike to guard funerals out here on the plains. He isn't pro war. He isn't a leftie. He is just a working guy, an ordinary American, not out to make a political statement, just out to do what he believes is right.

Can't fault a fellow for that.

It is not the title I might have chosen but the article below is from the Daily Journal in Kankakee, Illinois.

Patriot Guard all about respect for military
By Robert Themer

The cremated remains of World War I Pvt. Herman Tietke, of Morris, were placed in their final resting place Friday.

More than 50 attended the lost doughboy's services, with 25 Patriot Guard motorcycles and 10 vans, cars and trucks parked nearby, most flying or carrying American flags and the black-on-yellow Patriot Guard flags with the motto "Riding with Respect" and banners saying "Standing for Those Who Stood for Us."

Started in August 2005 by American Legion Riders Chapter 136 in Mulvane, Kan., to combat disruptions of military funerals by religious zealots, the Patriot Guards reported over 138,000 members nationwide at the end of April.

They are summoned to missions by e-mail. Patriot Guard groups were at three services simultaneously at the cemetery on Friday and another was expected, said Roland "Bogie" Boguszewski of Bradley, Missing in America coordinator for Illinois.

The guards have three types of missions:

* To attend funerals of fallen veterans at the request of the families, showing respect and shielding the mourners from would-be protesters;

* Welcome-home parades for returning military and send-off for those being deployed; and

* Help on the Homefront activities in support of military families.

Motorcycle riders are predominant in the Patriot Guard, but nonriders are welcome. Most members are military veterans, but that isn't required, either.

Respect for those who serve in the military is the common denominator.

"We don't care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you're a hawk or a dove," Bogie said. "It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your income is. The only prerequisite is respect."

Dennis Benge, of rural Manteno, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, has been on about 50 Patriot Guard missions in two years.

Friday's turnout "was pretty good, considering it was a weekday," he said. "I've done welcome-homes when there were 130-140 people."

Most of Friday's riders came from surrounding communities, but one was from Galesburg, he said. "They come from a long ways a lot of times."

Benge usually rides for missions in Northern Illinois, but good weather can find him in a Southern Illinois event.

Benge hasn't encountered funeral protesters. Bogie has -- at Naperville and Danville, the latter after Illinois passed a law restricting protests at military funerals. "They were scattered out every 100 yards or so with signs like "God hates soldiers" and so forth," he said. "We got guards riding at both sides of the hearse and family cars and protected the family from seeing them. We tried to make them invisible."

Bogie, a member for two years, isn't a veteran. His father was a World War II vet and two of his and Janet's children are in the military now.

Benge spent four years active in the Marines and 23 more in the Reserves.

"I'm retired now and 90 percent of what I do is with veterans," he said. He's on the board of the Kankakee County Veterans Assistance Commission and the advisory council of the Illinois Veterans Home at Manteno. He's sergeant at arms of both the Marine Corps League in Kankakee, which does honor guards, and the Leathernecks of Northern Illinois.

"I have five veterans meetings a month, plus these missions."

The other 10 percent of his time? Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots Christmas campaign.


Two sacked airport workers (pictured here) in Northern Ireland are on hunger and thirst strike for the second time in a month in a protest now to get payment of legal costs and hardship money from their union.

Their request to the union followed their victory in a landmark Employment Tribunal judgement in Belfast last year, which was won on the grounds that they had suffered discrimination on trade union and political grounds.

Having suspended their hunger strike in April when the union agreed to pay their costs, Gordon McNeill resumed it again this week. Yesterday he was hospitalised but has since signed himself out of hospital and rejoined the action again today where he was joined by a fellow worker.

The previous hunger strike ended with a promise from the union that they would pay the outstanding legal bill for the long court action taken by the sacked workers against their former employer, ICTS (Unite). Unite also said that they would make an offer of compensation to the shop stewards for the hardship which the actions of the union leadership had put them through. All this was to have been done by 30 April.

The 30 April deadline passed without any movement by the Unite leadership on any of these issues. Instead, on 8 May, the shop stewards received a letter from the union solicitor which went back on all the previous promises that had been made.

"We have learned that nothing the Unite leadership say can be trusted. Every member of the union would do well to note the way we have been lied to and fobbed off" Gordon McNeill

The three issues at dispute are: the promise to pay outstanding legal fees for the men’s Industrial Tribunal victory, the promise to fund the costs of the appeal by the employer against this decision, and the promise to pay compensation for the hardship caused by the union’s action.

The shop stewards are now saying that, if Unite make good their promise on the first of these issues and pay the outstanding legal bill, they will suspend their action. This would mean that the money they have already paid their solicitor would be released and returned to them.

Progressive television and film producer Ken Loach points out the obvious, "It is a fundamental principal of trade unionism to support workers in struggle. This situation should never have been allowed to develop. Tony Woodley, the General Secretary, should intervene now to resolve the situation in favour of Gordon and his comrades.”

If you want to show some support there is a petition you can sign at .

The following is from

Unite hunger striker Gordon McNeill in bad shape

Gordon McNeill is now on the fourth day of a hunger and thirst strike outside Transport House in Belfast.

His health is deteriorating rapidly and visibly. A healthy person might expect to live a week or so without food and water. Gordon suffers from a heart condition and has not recovered from the previous five day hunger and thirst strike at the start of April. He has already reached a critical stage.

Gordon has made it clear that he will refuse medical treatment if he is hospitalised.

"I am going to see this through to the end. Either the Unite leadership will give me justice or I will die. That is what it has come down to. Some Unite officials have been in contact with me but all they are offering are the same assurances that they have offered countless times in the past and have then reneged on.”

Support for the shop steward now on hunger strike at Transport House is mushrooming.

The protest is a result of the union's past collaboration with the ICTS management at Belfast airport, which resulted in four shop stewards and 20 other workers being unfairly dismissed.

Last September, a Belfast employment tribunal ruled that these workers were unfairly sacked and blamed both the management and the local T&G official for bringing this about. The huge legal costs amounting to over £200,000 have been loaded on the shoulders of the four shop stewards whilst the union refused any responsibility. The tribunal ordered ICTS to pay damages, also over £200,000, but this sum has been frozen pending an appeal to the High Court by ICTS.

Because of these legal obstacles, the shop stewards are facing eviction from their homes and hugely indebted. The solicitors who acted for the workers have said they cannot act any further without these costs being met. A number of issues are involved but as a sign of good intent, the shop stewards have said that if the union pays off the outstanding legal fees, they will call off the protest.

Unfortunately, the shop stewards feel that they cannot trust the union without this concrete gesture. On four separate occasions, the union promised to settle but all of these promises have been reneged upon.

Well known actor Ricky Tomlinson today spoke out in support. "I give my full support to the shop stewards. I myself spent twenty days on hunger strike in prison and have some idea what Gordon McNeill is going through.

The Unite leadership must make good the promises they made and must do so immediately to prevent a tragedy taking place."

Prominent playwright, Jimmy McGovern has also spoken out: "Remember the way the TGWU betrayed the Liverpool dockers? I bet you thought no union could ever sink so low again. I did too. We were wrong. The way in Unite has treated the Belfast Airport workers is a disgrace. Unite's leaders should hang their heads in shame."

At a lunchtime rally at Transport House Tony Maguire brought the support of the Northern Ireland Region of the Fire Brigades Union and Frank Bunting, Regional Secretary of INTO gave his support.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So for once I thought I'd blog a little bit about what appears to be a good plan currently being implemented by a city government.

I'm hoping the good plan works out the way so many dream.

I'm talking about something named the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan.

A critical element of the Revitalization Master Plan has been ongoing opportunities for public involvement in the process - something which is too often left out of such planning. And as you'll read below community involvement can make all the difference.

Recently one aspect of the plan "opened." in Long Beach. The Dominguez Gap Wetlands, a small, restored wildlife habitat area adjacent to the Los Angeles River which offers local residents the chance to experience the flora and fauna one might expect to find in a wilderness. It is model for what could be.

Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance (WANA) President Jill Hill says, “When you enter the wetlands, it’s a vision that you would never expect to see in this area. Coming into it, it looks like a trail, but once you enter and you see all the wildflowers, the water and the birds, it’s unbelievable.”

The first of its kind in the region, the wetlands project, along the east and west sides of the Los Angeles River between Del Amo Boulevard and the San Diego (405) Freeway, still offers flood protection along the river's urban lower reaches.

But it also helps improve groundwater quality, restores some native habitat and offers trails for walkers and horseback riders.

The blog Breathing Treatment points out the construction of the 37-acre east basin includes one mile of treatment wetlands, pedestrian and horseback trails, bird observation decks, woodland and riparian habitat and a bike trail rest station.

Some of the wildlife native to the area, including the red-shouldered hawk, the great blue heron, and the tri-colored blackbird, are returning to the region, according to county officials. Plants like purple sage, buckwheat, monkeyflower and willow trees are also part of the habitat.

The Los Angeles River flows 51 miles through some the most diverse communities in Southern California. It stretches 32 miles within the City of Los Angeles alone, from Owensmouth in the upper reaches of the northwest San Fernando Valley, all the way to the border with Vernon at the southern end of Downtown. The River is typically dry during summer months, and can become a river filled with racing waters during the rainy season.

The L.A. River has historically been polluted by stormwater and runoff that collects on the city streets and communities, due to littering and illegal dumping of automobile fluids and other contaminants.

Part of the plan is to educate the public to take action to prevent such pollution and to keep the area clean.

It all sounds good, doesn't it?

On the other hand, my friends, while every other community along the LA River is being gifted with parks, housing and community-community-building projects, one outfit seems determined to spoil it for those in downtown LA and demonstrate how so few can mess up a good idea so easily.

The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA) seems to think lining the river within the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council’s boundaries with block after block of wall-to-wall new factories is a swell idea.

Did I mention that contrary to what I happily reported above the CRA refused to hold even a single public meeting within downtown until public pressure embarrassed them into giving a single token meeting.

As for that meeting, the blog LA Cowboy reports:

"Because even though many of us attended a half-dozen of these public meetings in the Central Area to give our input – every single suggestion or request made by those of us Downtown regarding the river within Downtown LA Neighborhood Council’s boundaries was 100% ignored."

Except for a few street trees."

And, oh yes – if there were any palm trees discovered in the area – they would have to be removed and destroyed since palm trees were not considered sufficiently politically correct to be allowed in our neighborhood."

Again, behind closed doors, every decision regarding our community, every detail of our future down to what trees we would be allowed to have in our neighborhood, had already been made long before the first 'public' meetings were held."

Entrenched special interests within City Hall had already determined – that no matter what our community wanted – all we deserved along our river was factory buildings. No parks or anything serving the various communities that actually live in the area would ever be allowed since the goal was to have the area 'cleansed' of all residential uses."

Some also fear that in the city of Los Angeles up to 45 percent of communities (primarily Hispanic) near the River itself will have no access, or are not within walking distance to parks of any kind.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that a good idea doesn't go bad.

The following is from

We love it! We hate it! The L.A. River in Long Beach
Jenny Price

While the City of Los Angeles is busier than ever implementing its incredible, amazing, wonderful yearling master plan to revitalize the L.A. River, still the big river kudo this year so far goes to the brand-new Dominguez Gap Wetlands in Long Beach, where lovely new river projects have been sprouting steadily but with far less media attention and fanfare.

Brought to you by your public servants and your money—the L.A. County Public Works, using state (mostly) funds—this quondam big ugly ditch has now become a fifty-acre, mile-long quiet riverside wetland with a walking path through tens of thousands of blooming native wildflowers.

It is, without exaggeration, one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen in the L.A. basin—yes, hard by the 710 between the 405 and Del Amo Blvd. [To see it for yourself, you can enter from the north side off Del Amo just east of the river (park on Oregon); or enter from the south end at 4062 Del Mar Ave. off W. San Antonio Dr.]

And it’s one of the smartest things. Like a lot of L.A.’s upcoming master plan projects upriver, it’ll catch and clean up polluted stormwater runoff, and recharge and store our local water supplies. You know, that water—not the stuff that we use up to a quarter of our energy expenditures and ~1200 miles of aqueducts to import from northern California and the Colorado River.

That’s the good news. In the dubious-news column, the big L.A. River blooper this year so far goes to…the cabal of civic and business leaders in Long Beach who seriously propose to move the mouth of the river--and its assorted loads of trash and toxics--from downtown Long Beach a mile west to the port. This project has received, mercifully, little media attention outside Long Beach—please forget it after you read this—and qualifies as the worst really huge plan for the river since 1989, when a state assemblyman suggested that L.A. convert the river into a dry-season truck freeway.

What would be the best use, after all, of hundreds of millions of dollars (conservatively) of your money and several decades of efforts by your public servants? We could clean up the L.A. River, or, alternatively, we could divert the pollution to someone else’s neighborhood—and to the area that already happens to suffer the worst air quality, no less.

Moving the river would, of course, leave the blooming Dominguez Gap Wetlands high and dry. It would also make Long Beach’s ambitious master plan to revitalize its own nine miles of river—a plan that's not being nearly heralded enough--completely pointless.

The L.A. River is a lot like that just now: it thrives in parallel universes of imagination. In the older universe, it’s a reviled concrete anti-river of a sewer, a joke, and the place to dump the bodies in movies. And in the second universe, it’s now the Great Green Hope of the Future. It’s the inspiration for wildly ambitious plans to create a 51-mile greenway along the river corridor, which itself should serve as the backbone for a county-wide network of greenways, green streets, wetlands, and other projects that can give us the park and public space we need, clean up our polluted water bodies, and maximize our local water supplies.

Try a visit to the Dominguez Gap Wetlands. It’s a preview of the second universe.


A whole boatload of folks in India are ticked off about the construction of the Mapithel dam which will displace residents of the area. The dam has been under construction off and on since 1980 and since the very beginning the villagers have been demanding adequate rehabilitation and resettlement (RR) measures for them. Negotiations with the government have not been satisfactory at all.

In addition to those concerns are worries about the integrity of the construction already done. Reports that the wall of the Mapithel Dam was beginning to show cracks has alarmed villages despite the official clarification that there were no serious breaches.The villagers are rightly wary of the quality control that has gone into the construction of the dam so far.

In fact, Manipur Assembly Deputy Speaker Thounaojam Shyamkumar told reporters last week that the earthen dam under construction is posing a threat to the people of the area. He cited concern with a 30-metre crack that has appeared.

Citizens Concern for Dams and Development (CCDD) joint secretary Jiten Yumnam states that the explanation given by the engineers in connection with the cracks that have already started appearing on the concrete wall of the cliff where the spillway of the dam is being constructed are misleading.

It has been noticed that cracks have also appeared on the area where slope protection have already been done with grasses growing all over the surface.

This shows that no proper testing of the soil had been conducted and the execution of the work was sub-standard, Jiten contended.

The United Naga Council (UNC), All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM), Naga Women Union Manipur (NWUM) and Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) in a joint press statement earlier this month said that they would resist the construction of Mapithel Dam until conducting of proper assessment of environmental impact of the dam.

The organisations also demanded the Government agree to a comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement policy.

Citizens Concern for Dams and Development Chairman R Kasa said that the insistence of the Government to complete construction of the Mapithel Dam without making necessary arrangements for rehabilitation of the villagers whose houses, paddy fields and source of livelihood would be submerged under water deserved strong condemnation.

He said, the villagers affected by the construction of the dam do not want simple monetary compensation, but a suitable place to live, land to cultivate and other alternate means of livelihood like hunting.

Kasa added until and unless, arrangement for rehabilitation and settlement of the would be affected villagers is assured, construction of the dam would not be allowed.

In case the Government tries to use force, the villagers would not hesitate to lay down their lives for the cause, Kasa said.

The following is from the Sangai Express.

Rally staged against Mapithel dam

Raising strong objection to construction of Mapithel dam, thousands of people took out a protest rally in Ukhrul district headquarters today.

On the other hand, the Tangkhul Naga Long has declared that it would not allow construction of Mapithel dam under any circumstance.

The protest rally was jointly organised by the Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) and Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) and Tangkhul Shanao Long (TSL).

The protest rally which was also participated by a large number of students terminated at TNL ground where a public meeting was held.

All along the rally, the protesters shouted various slogans against construction of Mapithel dam.

Showing solidarity to the protest rally, all the shops and markets of Ukhrul district Hqs remained closed and taxi service was also suspended.

However, there was no disruption to Imphal-Ukhrul bus service and functioning of Government offices.

Addressing the meeting, director of the New Delhi based Inter-Cultural Resources Smitu Kothari asserted since the country gained independence, the Government has displaced more than 50 million people in the name of development.

Out of these, construction of dams accounted for displacement of two crore people.

Quoting a survey report conducted by Government agencies, Smitu Kothari said that the cost of living for 77 percent of the total population of India is just Rs 20 per day.

This shows that several lakhs of people have not been rehabilitated yet.

The development trend of India as observed in the last 15 years is marked by creation of special economic zones and selling out of the country's land and resources to multi national companies in the name of development projects, Kothari remarked.

Mapithel dam is also one such project and this is a threat to the people, Kothari said.

Later briefing media persons, TNL president Stephen Angkang asserted that the dam construction will not be allowed under any circumstances.

Observing that the Government has failed to fulfil any of the assurance it gave to the people, Stephen asserted that the people has no other option but to prevent construction of the dam.

TKS president PR Jordan dam affected people raised several demands to the Government.

But the State rather addressing the demands, declared that the anti-dam protesters were trouble-makers.

This is humiliating, he said.

On being asked whether dam construction should be allowed to proceed after the project is reviewed and resettlement and rehabilitation programmes have been taken up, he informed that people will not provide such option to the Government.


They're only workers.

That seems to be the message coming out of an Italian Ferrari Formula One factory which is the site of a possible tuberculosis outbreak.

Workers at Ferrari’s F1 lab in Maranello are less then pleased after being told to work on despite the TB outbreak.

They accused bosses of "putting cars before people" after a worker was rushed to hospital with the contagious disease.

One Briton at the Maranello complex said the TB was found in a routine check-up of a carbon fibre specialist in the "clean room", a contamination-free area of the works. He is in quarantine.

Ferrari lead the F1 constructors’ championship after drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa won the last four races.

The following is from

Disease outbreak at Ferrari F1 factory

Workers at Ferrari's Formula One factory in Italy have been told to keep working despite an outbreak of the infectious disease tuberculosis.

The British newspaper The Sun reports that a staff member was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with TB, a common and deadly disease that - if untreated - kills up to half of its victims.

The newspaper said the staff member was a carbon fibre specialist, and Ferrari confirmed that he has a 'mild form' of tuberculosis.

It is reported that the 25 technicians whose job it is to build Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa's cars for each Grand Prix are currently undergoing blood tests to see if they have also been infected.

Ferrari said Raikkonen and Massa will not need tests.

"We're not happy," a British employee is quoted as saying from Maranello.

"We think the lab should be shut down until we get an all-clear. It feels as if Ferrari are putting cars before people."