Saturday, January 02, 2010

Nazis Planned to Help Fund Terrorist Attacks with Sale of Auschwitz Sign

It now appears that the theft of the ignominious sign from the front gate of Auschwitz
is linked to a plot by neo-nazi terrorists bent on carrying out a string of attacks in Sweden. The money used from the expected sale of the sign was to help fund the planned carnage. Amongst sites targeted by the nazis were the Riksdagen, the parliament building in Stockholm, as well as the foreign ministry and the home of the prime minister.

The following is from the Guardian.

Neo-Nazi Bomb Plot Linked to Auschwitz Sign Theft

Thieves contracted by a neo-Nazi group that planned to sell sign to fund attacks in Sweden, newspaper claims


Arbeit Macht Frei sign at Auschwitz

The Auschwitz sign before it was stolen Photograph: Irek Dorozanski/Reuters

It sounds like the plot of a Steig Larsson thriller: a band of eastern European criminals is contracted to steal an iconic piece of Nazi memorabilia, which is then sold to a mysterious collector to finance a neofascist bomb attack on the Swedish parliament.

But today it emerged that Swedish investigators are helping Polish detectives investigate the theft of the sign from Auschwitz, amid reports that the robbery was linked to a rightwing terror plot.

The wrought iron plaque reading Arbeit Macht Frei (work sets you free) which spanned the entrance at the former Nazi death camp was wrenched from the gate on 18 December, and recovered three days later, cut into three pieces, in a forest in northern Poland.

The robbery prompted Poland to declare a state of emergency, and provoked impassioned calls for the sign's return from concentration camp survivors and the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

The five men being held in police custody in Krakow in connection with the theft have been described by Polish prosecutors as common criminals who had apparently acted for financial gain.

But according to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the men were contracted by a neo-Nazi group which planned to sell it on to a third party, a foreign rightwing extremist or collector of Nazi memorabilia, with the aim of using the funds to finance a string of attacks in Stockholm.

Boguslawa Marcinkowska, the spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office in krakow, said: "The evidence that we have so far points to there being links with Sweden". Polish state television TVP1 quoted official sources saying that Swedish neo-Nazis were behind the theft.

Poland's justice minister, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, said: "The investigations have taken on a much broader dimension than we had initially thought".

The Swedish justice ministry has confirmed that it is helping the Polish police with investigations after the state prosecutor's office in Krakow lodged an official application asking for its help.

Separately, the Swedish security service Säpo, confirmed that it was investigating an alleged neo-Nazi plot to blow up the Riksdagen, the parliament building in Stockholm, as well as the foreign ministry and the home of the prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt. The aim of the plot, according to Säpo, was to create as much disruption as possible ahead of the 2010 parliamentary elections. It would not confirm or deny reports of a possible connection between the plot and the Auschwitz sign theft.

Polish investigators, who said from the start of the inquiry that they suspected the mastermind of the robbery operated outside Poland, would only say today that he or she "came from a European country".

The five suspected robbers, aged between 25 and 39, all have criminal records but none is suspected of having a neo-Nazi background. They were reportedly set to receive a total of 20,000 zlotys (£4,320) to share between them for the theft. The police told the Polish press agency PAP that they believe a foreign national, possibly the person who ordered the theft, visited the former death camp prior to the robbery in order to be able to plan it in detail.

The theft was carried out without attracting the attention of nightwatchmen or being caught on CCTV cameras. But in their haste to make off with the sign, the thieves dropped the letter i from the word Frei. It was found in the snow nearby.

The wider plot has the whiff of a thriller by the late Swedish writer Larsson, not least because he was an expert on right-wing extremism, a subject which he wove into many of his books.

Larsson sought to expose neo-Nazi activity in Sweden, forming in 1995 the group Expo-foundation, following eight murders for which neo-Nazis were held responsible. For several years the scene was considered small but particularly brutal.

There are plans next month to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in which around 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, died. Blacksmiths are meanwhile working on repairing the sign, which stands as a cynical commentary on the Holocaust, in time for the event.

Concern about the safety of the Auschwitz site, which is now a memorial and museum, has prompted local authorities to promise to install more close circuit television cameras and to review its security procedures.

Publicity surrounding the robbery has attracted financial donations from around the world.

• This article was amended on 31 December 2009. The original described Aftonbladet as a Danish newspaper, and Fredrik Reinfeldt as Sweden's president. This has been corrected.



Canada: It's Time to Pay the Piper

Canada, oh, Canada, you've got some explaining to do. When it comes to extracting mineral resources there is no country like Canada. Did I mention what happens in the process of that extraction? The land is destroyed. People's lives are destroyed. Did I mention we're not just talking about in Canada? Oh, that would be bad enough, but we're talking about people and lands all across the globe - from Panama to the Philippines from Tanzania to Guatemala. Indigenous people are the primary victims of Canada's rush for riches. Canada, oh Canada, who the hell do you think you are - the United States...

The following is from Intercontinental Cry.


Briefing on the Human Rights and Environmental Abuses of Canadian Corporations

With more than a thousand mining and exploration companies operating around the world, Canada is by far the most productive country when it comes to mineral extraction.

It is a source of great pride in some circles. However, as this briefing demonstrates, it is also a source of great fear and revulsion for tens of thousands of people around the world: the attendant victims of Canada’s mining industry.

In many cases, these victims, often residing on communally-held lands, are evicted from their homes and displaced without any form of compensation. Sometimes they are held back at gun point while their villages and property is destroyed; not to mention their graveyards, sacred sites, farmlands and other areas key to their culture and physical survival.

Local environments are also frequently contaminated with mercury, cyanide, uranium, arsenic and a host of other hazardous chemicals which families often end up consuming without knowledge, but with obvious consequences.

Further, when communities try to address these issues, either through direct confrontation and protest, by going to court, or by begging to be consulted before their lands and livelihoods are taken from them, they are frequently turned into criminals and treated as less-than-human beings: They are kidnapped, tied up, tortured, raped, shot, stabbed, burned, suffocated, executed. Others are arbitrarily detained by company security forces or arrested by state police, often because of false charges laid against them.

There are also cases where companies have used bribery, coercion and extortion to gain concessions which are inhabited and actively used by Indigenous People. And others where a company asserts it has consulted the local population and gained their “unanimous support” even though they have not.

This briefing is intended to provide an introduction to some of these aforementioned cases of abuse. It is by no means a complete accounting. However, time permitting, it will be extended upon request.

It is also intended to provide further evidence toward the need for legislation in Canada.

As you may know, Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, is currently being discussed in the House of commons.

Bill C-300 represents the best available chance to ensure Canadian corporations comply with the basic form of law, and especially human rights standards and environmental regulations, as MiningWatch Canada has previously noted.

If Legislated, the Bill would:

  • Put in place human rights, labour, and environmental standards that Canadian extractive companies receiving government support must live up to when they operate in developing countries;
  • Create a complaints mechanism that will allow members of affected communities abroad, or Canadians, to file complaints against companies that are not living up to those standards;
  • Create a possible sanction for companies that are found to be out of compliance with the standards, in the form of loss of government financial and political support.

The importance of such regulations, while making some Canadians squirm in their chairs, cannot be understated. Nor can they be buried by desperate-sounding claims that Bill C-300 would bring “Congolese style politics — with its constant threat of harassment and shake-down — to Canada”, that it “amounts to a limit on Canadian sovereignty,” and that it just isn’t necessary because companies “are already accountable… with respect to responsible behavior.” And anyways it doesn’t matter, because they’re not doing anything wrong.

Reality speaks for itself, regardless of what we want, what we prefer, or what we’d rather not think about so we can sleep care free at night. Tens of thousands of people around the world have no such luxury. Instead, they are forced to bare an irreconcilable cultural, physical, religious, social, economic, cultural and environmental burden while benefiting the least, if at all, from the Canadian company’s activities.

Guatemala

HudBay Minerals – In September 2009, two Maya Qeqchi were killed and more than a dozen injured in two separate attacks connected to HudBay Minerals’ nickel mine in El Estor, Guatemala. In the first attack, HudBay’s private security forces opened fire on the Mayas while attempting to remove them from their land. One person was killed and at least eight others were injured by bullets. The second attack involved a group of men armed with machine guns opening fire on a mini-bus. Again, one person was killed, and nine others wounded. This is but the latest in a long line of attacks and human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples in El Estor Guamatela who’ve only just ever wanted to live their own lives and meet their own needs, without being poisoned, molested and sacrificed.
(1) http://solidaridadconguatemala.blogspot.com/2009/09/comunicado-de-prensa-comunidades-de-el.html
(2) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/dawn/2947

GoldCorp – In February, 2009, a research team from the Pastoral Commission for Peace and Ecology (COPAE) confirmed that Goldcorp’s Marlin mine in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala, is poisoning local water supplies. Ever since the Marlin mine opened in 2004, the people of San Jose Ixcaniche have suffered from an array of serious health problems, including skin rashes, hair loss and unexplained “open wounds”. At least two infants from the community have died from unknown causes, since 2007. Despite the study, Goldcorp insists that there is no chemicals in the water, and that the health problems are the result of “bad hygiene”, a lack of water and “fleas”.

Goldcorp is also blamed for illegally purchasing local lands, depleting local water, negatively impacting crops and cattle, and damaging more than 100 homes as a result of digging and blasting at the mine. Some mine opponents have been “disappeared” and brutally murdered, while others have been arbitrarily arrested.
(1) http://www.rightsaction.org/articles/San_Miguel_022009.htm
(2) http://resistance-mining.org/english/?q=node/99
(3) http://www.catapa.be/en/news/500
(4) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2744
(5) http://intercontinentalcry.org/mining-re-sisters-from-guatemala/

Skye Resource – In early 2007, hundreds of police and soldiers forcibly evicted the inhabitants of communities living on their ancestral land, which the Guatemalan military government gave to the Canadian mining company INCO in 1965. Skye Resources now claims the land. In January, 2007, with the army and police at their side, company workers took chainsaws and torches to people’s homes, while women and children stood by. Skye Resources claims that they maintained “a peaceful atmosphere during this action.” In any event, the fact remains: it’s Mayan land.
(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K1XzNPTcMA
(2) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/899

Mexico

Continuum – According to local community leaders, 13 freshwater springs have
completely disappeared as a result of Continuum’s reactivation of the historic “Natividad” gold mine in Oaxaca. Local water sources have also been contaminated by the mine, effecting food security, and gravely impacting the health of the local indigenous population.
(1) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/1632

Fortuna – On May 6, 2009, a mass of federal and state police troopers brought a violent end to a community blockade near Fortuna’s Trinidad Silver Mine in the municipality of San Jose Progreso, Oaxaca, Mexico. The blockade was set up as a last resort, to resist any further contamination of their water supplies.
(1) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2644
(2) http://intercontinentalcry.org/violent-eviction-of-community-blockade-near-trinidad-mine/

New Gold – Situated near the Mexican village of Cerro de San Pedro, New Gold Inc.’s Cerro de San Pedro Mine was formally shut down in November 2009, after the Mexican Supreme Court canceled its environmental permit. The mine threatened to contaminate a region occupied by more than 1.3 million people. Incidentally, a similar ruling was issued by the same court in 2005, however, the company (along with the federal Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, or SEMARNAT) ignored it.

Since the mine was shut down, several Community members and activists have received death threats from mine supporters, and government officials attempting to visit the community have been “stoned in their vehicles by mine employees.”
(1) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2036
(2) http://intercontinentalcry.org/mexican-high-court-rules-canadian-gold-mine-illegal/
(3) http://faomontreal.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/members-of-the-fao-attacked-in-cerro-de-san-pedro/

Blackfire Exploration – Also in November 2009, Mariano Abarca Roblero, “a passionate critic of Blackfire”, was murdered in front of his home in Chicomuselo, Chiapas, Mexico. Mr. Abarca was a respected member of the community, who endured threats, prison and violence due to opposition the Calgary-based company’s mining project. Three individuals have been arrested in connection to the shooting of Mr. Abarca: one current Blackfire employee and two former employees.

Coincidentally, on December 8, 2009, the company’s gold mine was shut down by Mexican authorities. According to the Chiapas Secretary for the Environment, the company has wrongfully polluted the environment with toxins, and diverted streams and built roads without any authorization.
(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UUvYfZPKxQ
(2) http://intercontinentalcry.org/blackfire-mine-shut-down-over-environmental-concerns/
(3) http://www.miningwatch.ca/en/documents-show-corruption-and-intimidation-canadian-mining-firm-blackfire-its-mexican-operations-ott

Peru

Dorato Resources Inc. – In August 2009, Awajún and Wampis indigenous people in the Cordillera del Cóndor region of Peru, near the Ecuadoran border, issued a statement giving Dorato Resources Inc. 15 days to voluntarily leave their territory. According to the Awajún and Wampis, Dorato was granted their mining concession in contravention of Rule 71 of Peru’s Constitution, which prohibits foreign companies to operate a mine near a border. Further, Dorato’s mine is located in the ancestral territory of the Awajún and Wampis. But even so, they have not been consulted by the government or the company. This is a violation of ILO Convention 169, the adherence to which is considered mandatory.
(1) http://www.ww4report.com/node/7729
(2) http://amazonasindigena.blogspot.com/2009/12/provocacion-indigenas-awajun-y-wampis.html

IAMGOLD (IAG) – The Awajun and Wampis also find themselves dealing with IAG, taking much the same approach as with Dorato. However, there is one major difference here: IAG’s operation is completely illegal, at least, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Peru. Felipe Ramirez, a Director for the ministry’s Environmental Affairs office, stated in lat November, 2009, that the company hasn’t even so much as asked the govenrment for a permit to mine or explore on the Awajún and Wampis territory. “What they are doing is illegal,” the official states. IAG, on the other hand, denies any kind of wrongdoing on their part.
(1) http://intercontinentalcry.org/awajun-and-wampis-detain-gold-mine-employees/
(2) http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=347770&CategoryId=14095

El Salvador

Pacific Rim – A wave of Violence, kidnappings and death threats have been tearing through the northern state of Cabañas–where the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation has lost millions of dollars in its effort to exploit the region’s gold deposits. At least three prominent community leaders have been killed since the company’s El Dorado mine had its environmental license revoked in July 2008. Most recently, Dora “Alicia” Sorto Rodriguez was killed on December 26, 2009. “Alicia,” as she was known to friends, was eight months pregnant and carried her 3-year-old son in her arms as she was shot dead. The child was shot in the foot and is receiving medical care.

Amidst all of this, Pacific Rim is suing the government of El Salvador for refusing to let them go ahead with their mine, despite the overbearing environmental disaster that would ensue.
(1) http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=4118&updaterx=2009-08-13+02:14:31
(2) http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/2279/74/
(3) http://www.cispes.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=648&Itemid=1

Panama

Petaquilla Minerals, Inmet Mining – As a many as 24 local communities are opposed to the Petaquilla Gold mine project—which is owned by the Panama company Minera Petaquilla, and developed by the Vancouver-based junior company, Petaquilla Minerals and the Toronto-based company, Inmet Mining. The reason for the opposition, quite simply, is the “aberrant predation and destruction of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, where hundreds of hectares of virgin jungle and forest have been cut down, and where the mountain passes and rivers that made the area one of the most important in the world due to its rich biodiversity have been destroyed and polluted.” The communities say “they have never been consulted, but rather deceived, and their lands have been taken from them unfairly in many ways, including the destruction and burning of ranches of indigenous peoples, without even indemnifying the local residents.”
(1) http://ciampanama.org/es/noticias.php?idNoticia=380

United States

Barrick Gold – In early December, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked construction on Barrick Gold’s Cortez Hills gold mine because of the “irreparable environmental harm threatened by this massive project,” situated on the flank of Mount Tenabo, a site of great cultural and historical importance to the Shoshone People. However, just one day after the court issued its ruling, Barrick Gold announced that it did not recognize the ruling, and will not cease construction of the mine.
(1) http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2218
(2) http://intercontinentalcry.org/western-shoshone-prevail-at-ninth-circuit-court-on-mining-sacred-land/

Philippines

Central Gold Asia – Central Gold Asia, at the beginning of its activity, painted a rosy picture—complete with promises of employment and social development—before the eight local communities who would be impacted by their mine. After years of operation, however, the reality proved to be something else entirely. Farmers have been displaced with meager monetary compensation and relocated to lands which they cannot use for farming. Rivers have been closed off; while others have polluted, effecting rice fields and fish ponds and the waters sources of nearby communities. Worst of all, the port of Barrera, a long time source of livelihood for everyone living along the coastlines, is now a pit of toxic mine waste, which could easily overflow at any minute.
(1) http://intercontinentalcry.org/philippines-thousands-protesting-open-pit-gold-mine/

TVI Pacific – In Zamboanga del Norte, the indigenous Subanon are struggling to hold on to their culture and traditions. Based in Toronto, TVI Pacific, has made “a dumpsite” of Mount Canatuan, which the Subanon hold sacred, violated their customary law, and displaced them from their lands without compensation. Further, the companies security forces have threatened and physically assaulted the Subanon on numerous occasions.
(1) http://intercontinentalcry.org/canadas-tvi-pacific-faces-tribal-justice/
(2) http://pcij.org/i-report/2008/canadian-quandary.html
(3) http://www.miningwatch.ca/en/tvi-pacific-again-implicated-forced-evictions-its-canatuan-project-philippines

Placer Dome (Barrick Gold)
In 1993, the small island of Marinduque became the site of the worst industrial disaster in Philippines history. One of Placer Dome’s tailings dams unexpectedly burst, sending millions of tons of toxic waste down the Mogpog river. The resulting flash flood swept away everything in its path: homes, livestock, people. Three years later, a second tailings dam burst, sending even more waste down the Boac river in the opposite direction. Both rivers were biologically devastated. And the company refused to clean up them up, despite an order from the government of Marinduque. Instead, Placer Dome abandoned their mine project and snook out of the country. Today, both rivers remain biologically dead.

Almost ten years later, in 2005, the government of Marinduque filed a lawsuit against the company in a Nevada state court over both disasters, and or allegedly dumping waste in various freshwater areas. One year later, Barrick Gold bought a controlling share of the company. The case was thrown out in 2007, but it has since been reinstated.
(1) http://allan.lissner.net/mining-and-water-marinduque/
(2) http://pcij.org/stories/canadian-transnational-dumps-waste-responsibility-in-marinduque/
(3) http://protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=521

India

Aluminium Company of Canada (ALCAN), UAIL – For more than 16 years, local Indigenous communities in Kasipur have struggled to protect their lands and scared sites from UAIL’s presence in the Baphlimali hills of Orissa, India. Three villages were displaced by the company, while others—promised housing, schools and jobs by the government—continue to wait with empty hands. Several community members have also been thrown in jail under false charges of murder and theft. Others have been murdered. And the company has created massive rifts in communities by bribing individuals to keep them informed about local campaigns.
(1) http://www.montrealmirror.com/ARCHIVES/2003/112003/news2.html

Tibet

Continental Minerals, Silvercorp Metals, Eldorado Gold, Silk Road Resources, Maxy Gold Corp, Inter-Citic Minerals, Sterling Group Ventures Inc. – In 1999, the Chinese government launched the “Western Development Strategy”—a politically motivated plan to further consolidate control over Tibet through economic rather than military means. The strategy opened the floodgates to the destruction of Tibetan culture, identity, and their agriculture-based economies.

Tibetans want development in their territory and they want to end decades of poverty imposed by the Chinese government. However, at present they are denied the right to benefit and, since 1959, determine the use of their natural resources.
(1) http://stopminingtibet.com/

Papua New Guinea

Nautilus – Indigenous people from the Bismark Sea region of Papua New Guinea are deeply concerned about Nautilus’ experimental deep sea mining process off the East New Britain Coast. While the project has yet to move forward, the local population has never been consulted or informed about the real and potential effects of the mine. At a three-day conference in July 2008, indigenous representatives stated their emphatic opposition to the mine, stating their need and their right to maintain their health, livelihoods and resources.
(1) http://www.mediaglobal.org/article/2009-02-05/analysis-digging-in-neptunes-kingdom-the-first-deep-sea-mining-project

South Africa

Uranium One – The Toronto-based mining company, Uranium One—who’s “operations have been made possible with backing from the Canadian Embassy and CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) in South Africa”—has been accused of human rights abuses and the systemic violation of workers rights at their Dominion Reefs Uranium mine in South Africa. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board also has millions of dollars invested in the company.

For instance, in October 2008, workers alleged that they were denied access to protective gear while working in the uranium mine. The workers explained that they had nothing more than overalls. And now they suffer from a wide range of health problems, including cancer, asthma, and tuberculosis. In addition, four women have miscarried, and at least 12 workers have died since the mine opened in 2004.
(1) http://intercontinentalcry.org/uranium-company-accused-of-killing-communites-in-south-africa/

Tanzania

Barrick Gold – Tanzania’s Bulyanhulu and North Mara gold mines are monuments to everything wrong with the global mining industry. From day one, both projects have brought more harm than good to local communities. Several villages have been displaced, there have been murders and human rights abuses, the environment has been repeatedly contaminated, and workers have been frequently exploited.

Most recently, in July 2009, the Tanzanian govenrment banned the use of water from the Tigithe River near the North Mara mine to investigate allegations that the mine’s tailings dam was leaking. As many as 20 local villagers and more than 250 heads of cattle died in the weeks leading up to the move. A recent study found extremely high concentrations of arsenic and other chemicals near the mine.
(1) http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=22228
(2) http://allan.lissner.net/category/someone-elses-treasure-tanzania/
(3) http://intercontinentalcry.org/tanzania-government-bans-water-use-near-barrick-gold-mine/

Revolution in Iran



In Iran, the road leads to revolution...

The following was a message to members of the facebook group
URGENT: Solidarity with uprising in Iran by A.G.

People of Iran have moved beyond the pro- system opposition

The 27 December 2009 protest in Iran was a powerful blow to the totality of the Islamic regime. This was a blow not only to Khamanie's faction and his cronies, but also a blow to Mosavi's faction in opposition; it was a powerful response to the faction that advocates protecting of the system from opposition.

They – the pro-system oppositions.*- have tried to project the movement of the people of Iran as a movement for reform within the framework of the Islamic system. Of course people have time and again shown that they do not want to go back to the Khomanie's era. This was clear for everyone to see earlier in October and November protests, however the 27th was a landmark in this regard which openly and clearly showed that the people in Iran do not believe in any of the factions of the Islamic regime.

This was clear by choice of methods and forms of struggle and slogans that aimed at both factions and whole lot of the Islamic regime.

Khamanie's faction in power had been preparing the military forces and bajisi groups for months and had rounded up thousands of people before last Sunday. The Mosavie faction in opposition before the 27th had tried to confine the protest within the framework of the religious ceremonies, tried their luck, once more, to limit the people's protest to defending of the Islam, Khomeini's era and advocated peaceful protest, religious slogan etc; One other event that was used was death of Montazerie seven days earlier. The Mosavi Faction – the pro-system opposition– had called Montazeri, "the father of human rights in Iran" and were to use 27th as day of commemorating Montazeri.

What actually happened was to upset of these strategy. Men and Women, side by side, took to the streets with a clear political agenda of anti-government slogans and with confronting the military forces such as Pasdaran and Basiji's and on many occasions arrested these thugs and burnt their vehicles. The protesters also attacked the government thugs who were organised in religious groups for the ceremonies. There were no evidence that people were using the religious ceremonies and religious pretext to say what they wanted. They talked in their own clear language of anti-Khamanie, against the dictatorship and against they totality of the system of Velayat faghih.

This was a revolt with a clear political slogan without any reliance on the slogans and methods of "the pro-system opposition."

This was a defeat for the Mosavie as they had always advocated peaceful protests; people not only responded to the oppressive forces of the regime by chasing them and made them on occasions to give up and run away; the people also in reality faced off "the pro-system opposition" faction.

When we examine the last Sunday's events, we see a classic urban revolt against a dictatorship. The video clips of the day show how every street have been barricaded as in classic street battle formation with a more confident masses confronting the oppressive forces.

This situation forced the figure heads of "the pro-system opposition" both n Iran and abroad on many occasions to condemn violence and asked people to keep the protests peaceful. They actually coached their policy in stating that the government forces attacked the dignity of the religious ceremonies of the people by their violence. The same is of course is said by the other faction in power that it was the people who undermined the dignity of Ashura ceremonies.

As far as the people were concerned the question was not about upholding the dignity of religious ceremonies. The issue for people was to confront a brutal Islamic dictatorship and bring it down with all of its military and religious machinery. The Islamic government in Iran realises this; of course the faction in power wants to save the system by naked suppression and brute force, and the other faction wants to lead the movement in the dark alleys of working within the framework of the Islamic system.

The 27th December replied to both of these policies. People know what they want; they know their enemy well and are determined to overthrow this regime completely. This movement can only end with the victory of the people's revolution against Islamic republic and that day is now not too far away.

----------------------

This is a translation by Fariborz Pooya of the transcript of daily "10 minutes with Hamid Taghvaie" which is a TV program broadcast daily on New Channel satellite TV to Iran and Europe. This episode was broadcast on 30 December 2009.

*Mosavie and Kahroubi and their supporters call themselves protectors of the ststem of the Islamic regime and advocate return to the time of ayatollah Khomeini and early days of the Islamic government – when Mosavi himself was in power.

**Montazeri was one of the main architects of the Islamic system of Velayat fagheh which was the foundation for the government established by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 which was the basis of the relationship between Islam and the state as codified in his work Velayat-e Faqih of the government of the Islamic Jurists,"

Friday, January 01, 2010

Something is Rotten and it Ain't Just in Denmark

http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/07/24/mcjlogobig.pdf_600_.jpgThere are still folks who were swept up by cops in Copenhagen while protesting the climate summit controlled by Big Capital locked up in Denmark today. They've got something to say.

The following is from Mobilization for Climate Justice.

Statement from those still imprisoned in Denmark

January 1st, 2010


Something is rotten (but not just) in Denmark. As a matter of fact,
thousands of people have been considered, without any evidence, a
threat to the society. Hundreds have been arrested and some are
still under detention, waiting for judgement or under investigation.
Among them, us, the undersigned.
We want to tell the story from the peculiar viewpoint of those that
still see the sky from behind the bars.



>A UN meeting of crucial importance has failed because of several
>contradictions and tensions that have shown up during the COP15. The
>primary concern of the powerfuls was the governance of the energy
>supply for neverending growth. This was the case whether they were
>from the overdeveloped world, like the EU countries or the US, or
>from the so-called developing countries, like China or Brazil.
>
>At odds, hundreds of delegates and thousands of people in the
>streets have raised the issue that the rationale of life must be
>(and actually is) opposed to that of profit. we have strongly
>affirmed our will to stop anthropic pressure on the biosphere.
>
>A crisis of the energy paradigm is coming soon. The mechanism of the
>global governance have proven to be overhelmingly precarious. The
>powerfuls failed not only in reaching an agreement on their internal
>equilibrivre but also in keeping the formal control of the
>discussion.
>
>Climate change is an extreme and ultimate expression of the violence
>of the capitalistic growth paradigm. People globally are
>increasingly showing the willingness of taking the power to rebel
>against that violence. we have seen that in Copenhagen, as well as
>we have seen that same violence. Hundreds of people have been
>arrested without any reason or clear evidence, or for participating
>in peacefull and legitimate demonstrations. Even mild examples of
>civil disobedience have been considered as a serious threath to the
>social order.
>
>In response we ask - What order do we threaten and who ordered it?
>Is it that order in which we do not anymore own our bodies? The
>order well beyond the terms of any reasonable "social contract" that
>we would ever sign, where our bodies can be taken, managed,
>constrained and imprisoned without any serious evidence of crime. Is
>it that order in which the decision are more and more shielded from
>any social conflicts? Where the governance less and less belongs to
>people, not even through the parliament? As a matter of fact,
>non-democratic organisms like the WTO, the NB, the G-whatever rule
>beyond any control.
>
>We are forced to notice that the theater of democracy is a brokenone
>as soon as, one approaches the core of the power. That is why we
>reclaim the power to the people. We reclaim the power over our own
>lives. Above all, we reclaim the power to counterpose the rationale
>of life and of the commons to the rationale of profit. It may have
>been declared illegal, but still we consider it fully legitimate.
>
>Since no real space is left in the broken theater, we reclaimed our
>collective power - Actually we expected it - to speak about the
>climate and energy issues. Issues that, for us, involve critical
>nodes of global justice, survival of man and energy independence. We
>did marching with our bodies.
>
>We prefer to enter the space where the power is locked dancing and
>singing. We would have liked to do this at the Bella center, to
>disrupt the session in accord with hundreds of delegates. But we
>were, as always, violently hampered by the police. They arrested our
>boddies in an attempt to arrest our ideas. we risked our bodies,
>trying to protect them just by staing close to each other. We value
>our bodies: We need them to make love, to stay together and to enjoy
>lif. They hold our brains, with beautifull bright ideas and views.
>They hold our hearts filled with passion and joy. Nevertheless, we
>risked them. we risked our bodies getting locked in prisons.
>In fact, what would be the worth of thinking and feeling if the
>bodies did not move? Doing nothing, letting-it-happen, would be the
>worst form of complicity with the business that wanted to hack the
>UN meeting. At the COP15 we moved, and we will keep moving.
>
>Exactly like love, civil dosibedience can not just be told. We must
>make it, with our bodies. Otherwise, we would not really think about
>what we love, and we would not really love what we think about. It's
>as simple as that. It's a matter of love, justice and dignity.
>
>How the COP15 has ended proves that we were right. Many of us are
>paying what is mandatory for an obsessive, pervasive and total
>repression: To find a guilty at the cost of inventing it (along with
>the crime perhaps).
>
>We are detained with evidently absurd accusations about either
>violences that actually did not take place or conspiracies and
>organizing of law-breaking actions.
>
>We do not feel guilty for having shown, together with thousands, the
>reclamation of the independence of our lives from profit's rule. If
>the laws oppose this, it was legitimate to peacefully - but still
>conflictually - break them.
>
>We are just temporarily docked, ready to sail again with a wind
>stronger than ever. It's a matter of love, justice and dignity.
>
>Luca Tornatore - from the Italien social centres network "see you in
>Copenhagen".
>Natasha Verco - Climate Justice Action
>Stine Gry Jonassen - Climate Justice Action
>Tannie Nyboe - Climate Justice Action
>Johannes Paul Schul Meyer
>Arvip Peschel
>Christian Becker
>Kharlanchuck Dzmitry
>Cristoph Lang
>Anthony Arrabal

Fight Racism and White Supremacy: 2010 and Beyond

The struggle against racism and white supremacy is far, far from over. Whoever happens to be in the White House means very little to "young people in the hood." Ikemba S. Mutulu, a man well known within the Nevada prison system as a beloved teacher, as a man who knows of what he speaks, as a person one can turn to in times of troubles, as an organizer who is resolute in the fight for justice even behind bars, says, "There are no magic bullets or symbolisms that can kill the stink of racism in America." All of us who are refuse to accept the twin scourge of racism and white supremacy must redouble our work to eliminate them. 2010 is just another year.

The following is from the San Francisco Bay View.

The struggle ain’t over

by Ikemba S. Mutulu


Every day I see it, from the block to the college campus, on the idiot box (TV) and in the music. “My president is Black, my Lambo is blue, and I’ll be god damned if my rims ain’t too.” OK and I’m diggin’ this renewed sense of community as well, brought on by a Black man in the White House – especially one of Mr. Obama’s background, which is a step forward for all Americans to take pride in.

But the struggle ain’t over. Those who’ve given in to the euphoria of the moment need only speak with young people in the hood. Try telling them how far we’ve come from the lynchings, trained attack dogs, our leaders murdered and shut up in these pens on trumped up charges. Those youngsters will tell you that’s the same shit they see every day.

One Time just smoked a brotha at a liquor store last week. And their mothers and fathers are in the pen right now for some shit they didn’t do. Check what’s happening in the prisons throughout the country. The criminalization of religions identified primarily with people of color, and all of our true teachers and s/heroes from the slave rebellions on up to the civil rights era – we get slammed in the hole just for speaking their names.


Here at Ely State Max in Nevada, they’ve removed all Islamic literature from the library. But you can read up on witches and warlocks all day. No shit! And here it is I’ve never been part of a gang, but I am labelled a gang leader for teaching these young brothers about the history of struggle and rebellion against oppression among our people in America who our true teachers and leaders were: men and women like Marcus, Malcolm, Assata, Huey and George.

Back in California, the Terminator said it all when he gave the OK to murder Bro. Tookie, condemning him for acknowledging his teachers who helped to redeem him as a man, transforming himself from a destructive force in the community to a positive force for peace and unity. The fact Mr. Obama felt he had to bite his tongue and apologize for being critical of the Cambridge police who unlawfully arrested his friend, Professor Gates.

It’s all testimony to the fact: The struggle ain’t over. We must understand the momentum of this feel-good moment will not carry us – just as MLK needed Malcolm X for people to know what the alternatives would be if people of color in this country were not given their civil rights.

The thousands – largely young and Black – who demanded Tookie’s freedom outside San Quentin’s gate the night of Dec. 13, 2005, and agonized through his half hour long, torturous execution vowed that the struggle ain’t over. – Photo: Minister of Information JR


We need that same warrior spirit now – which is why even though I retired my G-hand long ago to push for peaceful means of change and working together, I refuse to repress or hide my anger at the brutality and barbarism I see every day, a lot of it taking place in our name. And I will not condemn the young Gs out there who carry that spirit of rebellion, or who maybe feel the way Bro. Lovelle did when he held court in the street. These are not monsters; these are young men who have been failed and betrayed by a corrupt system that doesn’t work.

It troubles me so many people actually believe somehow racism died upon the election of a Black president. But these courts are still falsely convicting and excessively sentencing Blacks and Browns by the thousands, the prisons are still implementing these archaic policies to strip us of our strength and humanity, the police are still murdering us like wild animals in the streets.

And the government’s foreign policies dealing with nations of color are still as racist as ever. They ignore the plight of our friends and neighbors, Haiti and South America, living in extreme poverty, while pursuing the mythical terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan – sending these unmanned drones to drop 200-pound bombs on the heads of innocent women and children, that are ironically navigated from a joystick right here in Nevada.

Shit, we still got judges in this country who refuse to marry interracial couples. And it is troubling still to hear some Whites speak as if Blacks and Browns owe them something for electing a Black president and allowing us to put a Latina on the Supreme Court. As if these things were given to us as a gift from the goodness of their hearts, rather than won from the blood and sacrifice of our own.

Ikemba, aka Marritte Funches, is legendary in Nevada prisons as a beloved teacher and has long been a friend and supporter of the Bay View.


That’s how you know the struggle ain’t over. Nothing in the history of America has ever been given to people of color. And, truth be told, the future of this country depends on us – on our efforts to bring America from under the shadows of its past.

But we as a country must shake off the fog and understand there are no magic bullets or symbolisms that can kill the stink of racism in America. We must continue to be conscious and work together to remove the flaws in our system that foster the divides of race, class, gender etc. We must clean up the courts, reform the prisons and bring personal accountability to the police departments, so that if a cop kills an innocent civilian, uses excessive force or lies to falsely incarcerate someone or cover up a mistake, they’ll be prosecuted just like anyone else.

Maybe when we do this, and we as a country have learned to reconcile our past, not only in our minds and monuments, but in our schools and textbooks, when politicians are no longer allowed to be bribed or bought off, when health care and higher education are respected as rights rather than privileges for rich people, then real progress can be claimed. But for now, the struggle ain’t over.

Send this brave and brilliant soldier in the struggle some love and light: Ikemba S. Mutulu, s/n Marritte Funches, #37050, P.O. Box 1989, Ely, NV 89301, and check out his work on the August Initiative at Augustinitiative.org.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Today Becomes Tomorrow or What the Hell is Going on Out There


For an interesting view of a world that might yet be, take a look at the novel, "The Execution Channel" by Ken MacLeod.

The following is from Socialist Review.

The Execution Channel

Book Review by Vicky Williamson, May 2007

Ken MacLeod, Orbit

The world of Ken MacLeod's The Execution Channel is a disturbingly familiar place. The flu pandemic has happened, as has the war with Iran. Omnipresent CCTV and security surveillance have destroyed civil liberties, and the "crisis" has destroyed democracy.

Sucked into instability by war, debt and "natural" disasters, the US is struggling to maintain its position as the world's lone superpower. Even its allies are reviewing their options.

Climate change has displaced millions of people, now eking out a living in Federal Emergency Management Agency camps, on the streets or as low paid factory fodder. Communist India leads the world in skills and China in manufacturing.

Britain, as ever, is placed in the precarious position of needing to ally itself with either the US or Europe. Troops are posted across the Middle East and Asia up to the Chinese border. But technological breakthrough may be about to end the stalemate.

Despite featuring MacLeod's often visited themes - near future dystopia, techno geekery and contemporary political concerns - The Execution Channel is quite a departure from the form of his nine previous books.

In an interview with SFSite MacLeod talks about what led him to write this novel in the light of other science fiction based on massive catastrophic events:

"Their catastrophes were always things that weren't likely to happen - walking plants, a wind from nowhere, giant wasps, volcanoes in Wales - instead of the catastrophe that everyone really feared. It was as if they were deliberately averting their gaze from nuclear war. That got me to the first point: to focus on what we really fear: nuclear attack, terrorism, torture."

More spy thriller than science fiction, The Execution Channel is full of the paranoia and the obsessive zealotry of security services in a world where power struggles between states obscure all else.

The story centres on James Travis, an IT engineer. His daughter, Roisin, is part of the anti-war movement, and his son, Alec, is in the army. Despite taking neither position, Travis is headhunted for French intelligence, ostensibly due to having made the statement: "I just hate the Yanks." When a nuclear explosion destroys a US controlled airbase in Scotland Roisin is witness to it as part of a peace camp outside.

The story is of the Travis family and of US conspiracy theorist and blogger Mark Dark trying to make sense of the events amid lies and disinformation.

Frequently in the wrong place at the wrong time, the characters are often surrounded by horrific violence-violence already taking place across the world today.

We've all seen reports of hooded prisoners naked, raped and terrorised in the news on a frighteningly regular basis. But most of us have seen the anti-war movement too. The movement that marched in its millions against war, and its associated racism and violence are mentioned in passing as a force too weak and ideologically divided to prevent the breakdown in society.

While politically I can't agree with many of the conclusions the author seems to hint at, what kind of dystopian vision of the future would it be if I could?

MacLeod is known for his ability to mix politics with science fiction and this is his best and most intense effort to date. It has a fast, witty and complex narrative, which keeps you turning the pages until the very end.

It may be too close for comfort, but we should be scared, we should be disturbed and therefore we should act.

The novel almost serves to prove how accurate the tag line is: "In a war on terror only terror can win."

Free Carrie


Carrie Feldman remains behind bars for refusing to give in to a crazed prosecutor and a repressive grand jury in Davenport, Iowa immersed in a witch hunt apparently aimed at anyone who has anything to do with animal rights activism.

The following is from Support Carrie and Scott.

Carrie to remain jailed pending appeal

As mentioned previously, an appeal of Judge Jarvey's ruling denying Carrie's release has been filed. The initial schedule would have taken more than 30 days, and so Carrie's attorneys filed a petition for her release pending the appeal. In response, it was merely rescheduled to be wrapped up within 30 days, and so Carrie will remain in custody at least until this is resolved. We have been informed that everything in her case now is sealed, and so do not have written motions to share. However, we will continue to update as things happen.

Please continue to write her, send her books, and to fundraise for her and Scott's defense fund. Info on all of those and more is available on our "What You Can Do" page.


Moldovan Church Blames Their Own Anti-Semitism on Jews

According to Moldovan Church leaders, Jews are responsible for the anti-Semitic rally a few weeks ago where a priest tore down a Hanukkah ( חֲנֻכָּה) Menorah and replaced it with a cross. Moldovan church leaders claimed. "We believe that this unpleasant
incident in the center of the capital could have been avoided if the
menorah had been placed near a memorial for victims of the Holocaust,"
officials of the Moldovan orthodox church said. Although the
church expressed respect for the "feelings and belief of other cults,"
it added that it was "inappropriate to put a symbol of the Jewish cult
in a public place connected to the history and faith of our people,
especially because Hanukkah… symbolizes the victory of Jews over
non-Jews."

What rubbish!

The following is from Jewish Heritage Travel

Moldova -- Anti-Semitism on Show

Exclusiv: momentele profanării (Video)
Photo from jurnaltv.md

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

This deviates somewhat from what I usually post here, but the video is so graphic that I decided to put it up. If you've never seen anti-Semitism in action, here's your chance. TV footage on jurnaltv.md of a group of 100-200 Orthodox Christian fundamentalists in Chisinau (Kishinev), the capital of Moldova, led by a priest, removing a Hanukkah Menorah placed by the Jewish community, replacing it with a cross, and then taking the Menorah and positioning it -- symbolically -- upside down. The priest and crowd spout paranoid anti-Semitic slurs.

Reactions have come from the Moldovan blog morninginmoldova.com and the MCA -- The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania.


The following is from the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

Moldovan Christians tear down public menorah

BUDAPEST (JTA) -- Some 200 fundamentalist Orthodox Christians in Moldova took down a public Chanukah menorah and planted a wooden cross in its place.

News footage showed a bearded priest leading the group in chanting anti-Semitic slogans during Sunday's incident. The menorah had been installed by the Jewish community in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

The group removed the large, metal menorah, which had been set up on downtown Europe Square, and placed it upside down on Stefan cel Mare Square, at the base of a statue of King Stephen the Great. Neither police nor onlookers intervened.

"The Jews can try to kill us, to traumatize our children," but Moldovan Orthodox believers will resist, the priest said, speaking into a sound system. Moldova, he said, was an Orthodox country, and the Jewish people are trying to "dominate people." Allowing the menorah to be set up had been "a sacrilege, an indulgence of state power today," he said.

Justice Minister Alexandru Tanese condemned the incident. The Orthodox Metropolitan promised to investigate and take action, according to reports.

Incitement to racial and religious hatred in Moldova is subject to a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

"It's a despicable act. We hope the government will take appropriate action against the perpetrators," said Mark Levin, executive director of NCSJ, an advocacy group for Jews in the former Soviet Union. "This is obviously something that should never have been allowed to happen."

In neighboring Romania, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism issued a statement urging authorities to take "immediate measures" against the perpetrators.

"Such an act committed by a priest with the Orthodox Church is totally inconceivable, and it takes us back to the days when the local population, if it did not participate, witnessed with indifference the crimes committed against the Jews," the center's statement said.

“The Moldovan government and the Orthodox Church must punish the perpetrators of this despicable anti-Semitic crime and send a clear signal to Moldovan society and to the Jewish community that the government and the church will not tolerate anti-Semitism,” said Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

In a letter to Nicolae Chirtoaca, Moldova’s Ambassador to the United States, ADL called on his government “to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this anti-Semitic crime.” The ADL letter said it was particularly shocked at reports that 15 to 20 police officers were at the site during the protest, but did little to intervene.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

INTERPOL in Bed with the Killer Regime in Iran


This report is two weeks old, but I was unfamiliar with the cooperation being provided by INTERPOL to the repressive regime in Iran.

The following is from the Workers Communist Party of Iran.


Warning! The Terrorist Islamic Republic Conspires Against Opposition Forces!


The Islamic Republic of Iran has embarked on a new round of terror against its opponents outside Iran. The Islamic Republic has recently lodged warrants with the INTERPOL for the arrest of a number of prominent and well respected opposition political leaders and activists accusing them of being involved in terrorist activities and organised crime. The INTERPOL has irresponsibly published the photos and details of these activists under its list of wanted people.

The INTERPOL has to date published the details of the following people: Asad Golchini; Ali Abdaly, Rasool Bnavnd; Rahmat Fatehi, Abdullah Darabi, Khaled Haj Mohammadi, Rahman Hosseinzadeh, Koorosh Modaressi, Mozaffar Mohammadi, Tofiq Pir-Khezri, Saleh Sardari and Salam Ziji, These people are all members or sympathisers of the Worker-communist Party of Iran – Hekmatist and veteran political activists and political leaders within the opposition movement in Iran.

The Islamic Republic authorities who have requested the arrest of these people are all guilty of mass killings in Iran and are currently being prosecuted in a number of courts in Europe and America for the murder and assassination of Gholam Keshavarz, Sedigh Kamangar, Abdulrahman Qasemlu, Sadegh Sharafkandi, Shapur Bakhtiar, Abdul Rahman Broomand, Fereydoun Farrokhzad, as well as bombings in France and Argentina. Responding to the request of a state notorious for its criminal and murderous behaviour is a shameful act on the part of the INTERPOL.

These days, thanks to greater political opposition to the Islamic Republic outside Iran and the awareness and defiance of the Iranian people, the regime is unable to dispatch its teams of terrorists to hunt the opposition activists. The INTERPOL has now been called upon to assist the Islamic Republic and hunt these activists and carry out the surveillance and supply the Islamic Republic with intelligence and if possible to capture and hand them over. Underestimating this collusion and the viciousness of the Islamic Republic will be a fatal mistake.

This action of the INTERPOL has already put the lives of theses people and the entire opposition forces in jeopardy. The INTERPOL's action has also led to an increase in level of intimidation and fear amongst the Iranian political activists. The INTERPOL is playing into the hands of the Islamic Republic in restricting the activities of the exiled Iranian political activists. The INTERPOL, intentionally or otherwise, is assisting the Islamic Republic with its terrorist activities outside of Iran

The Islamic Republic will not be content with the current list of its opponents. If this conspiracy is not thwarted the list of names will undoubtedly grow longer and extended to all political opposition activists.

If today the most respected and popular political activists and the victims of the Islamic Republic's terror are accused of terrorism and organised crime; if the jailed president of Tehran Bus Driver's Syndicate- Mr Mansoor Ossanloo, is accused of possessing illegal weapon and US dollar, we should be expecting more outrageous fabricated accusations levelled against other opponents of the regime.

If the Islamic Republic is left unchallenged, the opposition activists will have to endure fear and indignity at the hands of the one of the most murderous regimes in the contemporary history of humanity. The only way to foil this conspiracy is to tackle it head on.

The Hekmatist Party strongly condemns the INTERPOL for issuing arrest warrants for the opponents of the Islamic Republic. We demand that the INTERPOL withdraws these warrants. We will hold the INTERPOL and the police forces of its member states responsible for any harm inflicted on the Iranian opposition forces. We also hold INTERPOL responsible for the increased political oppression inside Iran as a result of its co-operation with the Islamic Republic.

We would like to declare that we are able to defend ourselves against the Islamic Republic ad its co-conspirators. We shall make them regret their action. We shall also fight this battle in courts of law in different countries across Europe and America. Furthermore we shall mobilise the widest possible number of Iranian opposition forces, groups and individuals as well as international institutions, trade unions, political ad cultural organisations and personalities and the public opinion against the Islamic Republic and the INTERPOL. We shall forge widest possible co-operation and counter the state terrorism of the Islamic Republic through our united and consorted efforts.

We, members of the Hekmatist Party, in the company of those appalled by this decision of the INTERPOL, will present ourselves to the INTERPOL and will force them to disregard the Iranian authorities request and thwart this conspiracy.

We call on all concerned political parties, institutions and progressive individuals to join this campaign in any way deemed appropriate. We shall, in due course, inform the public of any new developments and provide further information in this regard.


Worker-communist Party of Iran-Hekmatist

December 15, 2009

Marchers to Converge on Two Sides of Gaza Checkpoint


The Israeli Coalition Against the Siege will mark the first anniversary of the Gaza December 31, at 10.30 am by joining the rally at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Checkpoint initiated by the Monitoring Committee of the Arab Population in Israel. They will be met at the opposite site of the checkpoint by citizens of Gaza The group is made up of a variety of Israeli peace, left, anarchist, human rights and women's groups. An international group of solidarity activists will also be marching into Gaza on the 31st. So far the Egyptians have only allowed one hundred marchers to cross the border.

The following is from WAFA.


Rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday to Call for Ending Siege of Gaza

TEL AVIV, December 30, 2009 (WAFA)- To mark the first anniversary of the destructive offensive on Gaza, and protest the ongoing siege which causes terrible suffering to the inhabitants of the Strip, the Israeli Coalition Against the Siege will hold a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, December 1, 2010 at 6.30 pm. The Coalition said in a press release that the procession will leave the Rabin Square (corner of Frishman and Chen) and march to the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza, where a rally here will take place. Tomorrow, Thursday December 31, at 10.30 am, Coalition activists will join the rally at Beit Hanoun (Erez) Checkpoint initiated by the Monitoring Committee of the Arab Population in Israel. This action will take place simultaneously with a mass procession by inhabitants of the Strip in the direction to the checkpoint, initiated by the civil society organizations in Gaza. The press release said a year has passed since the Israeli offensive on the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, in which more than 1,400 people were killed, an additional 5,000 were injured and tens of thousands were left homeless. The blockade on Gaza continues and becomes ever tighter, making Gaza into an isolated enclave, whose inhabitants are cut off from their family members, from possibilities of study and livelihood and from the cultural, social and political life of their people. The press release added that those responsible for war crimes have not been prosecuted. They continue to walk free among us, as if they were not responsible to systematic and well-planned crimes against millions of human beings. The press release said that Coalition Against the Siege is composed of: Ahoti , Indymedia , Anarchists Against The Wall, Balad, Banki , Bat Shalom, Coalition of Women for Peace, Gush Shalom, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Social TV, The Alternative Information Center, The Campus is Not Silent, The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow , Hitahabrut-Tarabut, Zochrot, Hadash, Yesh Gvul, Combatants for Peace, The Highscool Refusers' Letter , Israeli Communist Party, Women In Black, Sadaka-Re'ut, New Profile, Student Coalition – Tel Aviv University, Ra'am-Ta'al, Movement of Democratic Women, and Ta'ayush.

Protests Inside Israel Against the Gaza Siege

Israeli Jews and Palestinians have been protesting all week inside Israel against the brutal siege of Gaza. There is plenty more to come.

The following is from Anarchists Against the Wall.

A week of action against the siege on Gaza

Be'er sheva demonstrationBe'er Sheva demonstration

As part of the events marking the first anniversary to Israel's brutal attack on Gaza, a small demonstration was held Tuesday in Be'er-Sheva, near the Ben-Gurion University. The demonstration called for the end of Israel's occupation and the prolonged siege on Gaza and held some 20 Palestinian and Jewish participants.
About 30 minutes before the time scheduled for the demonstration, early comers were shocked to see that vast numbers of police forces where already setting up near the university gates. There were 4 large 'Transits', 2 of them riot police, 2-3 regular police cars and about 20 police officers and 15 border policemen. The chief of police on the scene informed protestors that the vigil was illegal (which was of course untrue) and that he was already authorized to disperse the event and make arrests. Eventually demonstrators managed to carry their protest – with the police promising that next time they will surely arrest anyone demonstrating.

Be'er Sheva policeBe'er Sheva police

Meanwhile, both the Jerusalem (Hebrew) University and the Haifa University have canceled the permit given to students to hold memorial and protest events within university grounds, commemorating the attack on Gaza one year ago. These attacks on voices of dissent are in their own right a reminder of the days of the Gaza war, when 800 Israeli (mainly Palestinian) were arrested for demonstrating against the brutal attack.

Jaffa demonstration, 26.12.09 Jaffa demonstration, 26.12.09

Earlier this week, launching the one week long international campaign against the siege on Gaza, on the occasion of the first anniversary to Israel's war on Gaza, 500 Palestinian and Jewish demonstrators marched the streets of Jaffa Saturday night. Demonstrators were calling to end the siege on Gaza and the occupation as a whole, linked the local struggle of Palestinians inside Israel against policies of ethnic cleansing to the broader Palestinian struggle, and called for the prosecution of Israeli war criminals.
The demonstration ended with a remembrance rally near a local mosque.

Beach action, 27.12.09Beach action, 27.12.09

On the very next morning, Sunday, 25 Israeli activists tried to directly breech the siege by marching south towards the Gaza Strip on the Israeli beach of Zikim. As the activists were getting closer to an army barrier they were stopped by soldiers and police. A high ranking officer present told the demonstrators that he could not promise that he and his men will avoid opening fire at them if they proceed.
Challenging the legality of the siege, activists tried to cross the line of soldiers, and some even got into the sea, trying to swim around the barrier. The activists were soon stopped by the police, using motored water vessels and horses. 16 were arrested in suspicion of violating a military order, later to be released at the Sderot police station, but barred from returning to the area near Gaza for two weeks.

Trying to break the sea-geTrying to break the sea-ge


All the coming week's activities will be updated to this post as they happen.

THE LITTLE KNOWN CRISIS IN SUDAN


Darfur isn't the only place in Sudan where thousands are suffering. On the eastern side of the country refugees who have poured in largely from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia are surviving in barely livable conditions. Female refugees are especially at risk from human traffickers, and are often targets for rape and other forms of physical abuse.

The following is from AllAfrica.com.

Sudan: Refugees Continue to Pour Into East in Little Known Crisis, UN Reports

30 December 2009

On the opposite side of Sudan from the better-known crisis of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the conflict-plagued Darfur region, refugees are flocking into the eastern part of the vast African country at the rate of 1,800 each month, according to latest United Nations estimates.

The 66,000 refugees in camps in eastern Sudan - mainly from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia - face difficulties accessing basic services, education and protection, creating immense challenges in harsh surroundings, Africa Bureau Director of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) George Okoth-Obbo said.

"Acute poverty, persistent drought and deprivation, lack of access to health care and education, high levels of unemployment as well as land degradation and shrinking pastures" are hardships that refugees as well as the local population grapple with, he added.

Risks that female refugees in particular face are human trafficking, sexual violence, abuse and rape, he stressed, adding that ensuring protection is a high priority for UNHCR.

"Six thousand of these children lack primary education because refugee schools have not the capacity to absorb them," he said, noting that there are 15,000 children in the 12 refugee camps in the East. "Many more fail to attend secondary school because families cannot afford the fees."

Speaking about Sudanese refugees, Mr. Okoth-Obbo mentioned the successful repatriation in the south of nearly 330,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, 75 per cent of those in exile at the beginning of 2005, when the Government and southern rebels signed a peace agreement ending one of Africa's longest and bloodiest civil wars.

In Darfur, nearly seven years of war between the Government, its militia allies and rebels seeking greater autonomy have killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million more from their homes.

Copyright © 2009 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Anti-Fascists Take on Fascist ELAM on Cyprus

The Anti-Fascist Initiative (AFI) confronted the fascist group National People's Front (ELAM) in Nicosia, Cyprus on Sunday. The anti-racists outnumbered the racists by about seven to one. AFI marchers chanted "Fascism will not pass; Racism will not pass" and "ELAM equals Golden Dawn, neo-Nazis out of Cyprus". The two... groups were kept apart by scores of police.

The following is from the Cyprus Mail.

'We'll come at night and find you, traitor'

By Charles Charalambous Published on December 29, 2009


Far-right protestors cover their faces to hide identities

SUNDAY’S demonstration in the centre of Nicosia by far-right group National People’s Front (ELAM) and the counter-demonstration by the Anti-fascist Initiative passed off without incident, thanks to self-restraint by the marchers but also a very strong police presence which kept them apart.


The ELAM march “against illegal immigration” – estimates varied between 80 and 150 people participating – started at 5pm from their office near the Commerce Ministry, carrying a banner saying “‘Every foreign worker equals an unemployed Greek”.
Most of the predominantly young marchers were dressed in jeans and black tops, and carried Greek flags on thick short poles.


They headed down Makarios Avenue towards their stated destination of Eleftheria Square. They got as far as the intersection with Grivas Dighenis Avenue, where they were stopped by a deep line of police. They then spent an hour or so chanting slogans such as “ELAM, race, blood and honour”, “Foreigners out of Cyprus”, and “We’ll come at night and find you, traitor”.
Ending his address to the march and media representatives, ELAM representative Stratos Karanicolaou said: “We don’t want further adulteration of the Greek race in Cyprus. We are Greeks and Cyprus is a Greek island.”


The counter-demonstration organised by the Anti-fascist Initiative (AI) – a recently-formed informal network of anti-racist and anti-fascist groups – numbered between 700 and 1,000 people of all ages, and included members of Action for Equality, Support and Anti-racism (KISA), Alert, AKEL, EDEK and the Greens. Spotted among the marchers were Nicosia mayor Eleni Mavrou and Greens deputy George Perdikis.


KISA director Doros Polycarpou told the Mail yesterday that the turnout was gratifyingly higher than expected, despite the lack of formal representation by the main political parties, most of which had condemned the ELAM march in earlier public statements. He added that it was regrettable that the AI counter-demonstration was presented by some parts of the media as “just another KISA demo”, and the day was “over-simplified by some into an anti- and pro-immigrants matter”.


The AI march set off from Eleftheria Square at around 4pm, and headed down Makarios Avenue with the stated aim of peacefully preventing the ELAM march from proceeding towards Nicosia’s old town. They were stopped by police some 600 metres short of the intersection with Grivas Dighenis Avenue, and greeted the ELAM march with chants such as “Fascism will not pass; Racism will not pass” and “ELAM equals Golden Dawn, neo-Nazis out of Cyprus”.
The two demonstrations broke up peacefully at around 7pm. Police maintained a visible presence at strategic points in Nicosia throughout Sunday night, with the express aim of preventing any isolated incidents involving the marchers.


Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC yesterday, KISA president Doros Michael said that ELAM makes a point of playing on the general tendency – also reflected in the media – to emphasise the nationality of anyone charged with committing a crime or involved in a socially-questionable incident. “Unfortunately, many surveys have shown that Cypriots are very xenophobic, and ELAM is seeking to capitalise on this.”


Polycarpou said that AI will be continuing its efforts to engage the political parties, trade unions and other groups in setting up a more permanent network to prevent fascist organisations like ELAM from using the democratic process to further their anti-democratic views.
He said: “It is important to systematically address all aspects of ELAM’s activities, starting by looking at whether the things they are saying are legal under the Constitution and EU law, both of which forbid incitement of racial hatred. We need to raise awareness about their real political aims and slogans, compared to their statements against illegal immigration.”
Polycarpou added: “We have to consider the prospects for the future, with a possible solution to the Cyprus problem. It would not be difficult for inter-communal violence to be provoked with such people around.”

Health Care Reform: Not If You Are Black or Hispanic


Think the health care so-called reform bill is a vast improvement? Chances are your white.

The following is from New American Media.

Blacks and Hispanics Still the Biggest Losers in Health Care Reform Bill Gut

New America Media, Commentary, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Posted: Dec 28, 2009

President Obama, every Democratic and Republican senator and House member, the private insurers, major pharmaceuticals, liberals, progressives and many conservatives are virtually unanimous in claiming that the big reason for waging the health care reform war is to insure all, most, or many of the estimated 50 to 60 million uninsured Americans. Blacks and Hispanics have the most to gain from real reform. They make up more than half of America’s uninsured. Private insurers, pharmaceuticals and major medical practitioners fought a seven-decade battle against national health care regulation in large part out of horror at having to treat millions of uninsured, unprofitable, largely unhealthy blacks and Hispanics.

The overwhelming majority of black and Hispanic uninsured are far more likely than the one in four whites, who are uninsured, to experience problems getting treatment at a hospital or clinic. A study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that they are far more likely than whites to suffer higher rates of catastrophic illness and disease, and are much less likely to obtain basic drugs, tests, preventive screenings and surgeries. They are more likely to recover slowly from illness, and they die much younger. The cost of treatment and care for the millions who suffer chronic and major diseases—cancer, diabetes, asthma and heart disease--is exorbitant. Blacks and Hispanics have far greater incidences of these ailments than whites. According to a Kaiser Foundation study, a family of four without insurance currently would spend an estimated 15 percent of its total income on health insurance, if it had the money.

A fully functioning and funded public option might have covered a moderate number of those totally shut out of access to affordable, quality medical coverage. Obama and top Senate Democrats snatched it off the table in backdoor talks at the White House with private insurers and the pharmaceutical industry in the first months of his administration. The House version of the public option is cautious, moderate and would not fully kick in for a decade. Even then it would cover only a small number of the uninsured.

The House public option almost certainly will be the first casualty in the second round of warfare when House-Senate conference negotiators try to reconcile their two wildly-at-odds health care reform bills. The plan to extend Medicare coverage to millions more would have made a small dent in the number of uninsured and it was lightly floated and then just as quickly tossed. But the Medicare extension had even less chance of getting Senate traction than the public option.

The still undetermined number of uninsured will have to buy health insurance at a still undetermined cost from private insurers, and they’ll have to rely on the major pharmaceuticals for their prescription drugs. The government promises to provide subsidies to those too poor to pay (which will almost certainly be virtually all of the uninsured), enforce a mandate for private insurers to provide coverage to any and all, and to keep the cost of their coverage and drugs down.

That’s the promise. How much the government can and will pay is vague and tenuous. And with public jitters rising over the trillions of government spending and dueling projections on the end cost of health reform creating even more jitters, any dollar figure put forth on the amount of government subsidies for the poor is just guess work. But even if the government has the billions promised to underwrite insurance for those too poor to buy it, even under the most generous provisions of the subsidy plan, according to a Congressional Budget Office Report more than 40 percent would still not get a nickel of help. Yet they’d still have to pay the estimated hikes in premium coverage that they’d be forced at penalty to buy.

The ban on denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions won’t go into effect until 2014. The unanswered question when it finally does take effect is just how tough the government will be in policing the private insurers to make sure they don’t wiggle out of their agreement not to deny anyone coverage on medical grounds, or to arbitrarily raise the cost of coverage. The House and Senate bills are filled with talk of commissions, panels, task forces, integrity councils, and a big role for the departments of Health and Human Services and Justice to prevent fraud and abuse. There’s absolutely no mention of enforcement procedures, or what fines and penalties will be imposed for skirting the ban.

The House bill partly addresses some of the massive problems the uninsured face in getting coverage. The Senate bill addresses almost none of them. As it now stands, health reform is still not the cure for the chronic absence of health care that ails the millions of black and Hispanic uninsured.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book, How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press) will be released in January 2010.