Thursday, March 03, 2005

British anti-war activists occupied the Irish Embassy in London . . .

British anti-war activists occupied the Irish Embassy in London today to protest the possible ten year jail sentence facing Ireland's Pitstop Ploughshares defendants when they go on trial in an Irish court on March 7th.
The criminal charges facing the Irish peace activists (Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran & Ciaron O'Reilly) arise out of their non-violently disarming a US Navy Plane at Shannon Airport on Feb 3rd 2003.
This highly popular action had an immediate positive effect in reducing Ireland's complicity in war crimes as it led to a withdrawal (at that time) from Ireland of three of the four companies contracted to freight US troops and weapons through Shannon airport.The Irish Government continues to facilitate the US Military at Shannon Airport with thousands of US troops transiting through Shannon to and from Iraq each month. From the newswire:
Just after the embassy opened for business, the protestors peacefully chained themselves together inside of the building in Grosvenor Place, whilst others have hung a banner reading, “PITSTOP PLOUGHSHARES: NOT GUILTY” outside.

So begins the excellent "Irish Embassy In London Occupied By Anti-War Protestors" by Karen Fallon at Indymedia Ireland. Click the link to continue reading and, yes, we're doing the Indy Media round up.

Another excellent article is by nickleberry (UK Indymedia) who writes "Iraq-pillagers continue to be targetted:"

Thanks to the Coalition Provisional Authority's Order 39 the occupation of Iraq has coincided with a mass selling-off of Iraq's public assets. Here in the UK there has been an ongoing campaign opposing this process; a process which amounts in international law to the illegal pillage of Iraq.

This week four activists had charges pressed against them for an action in December against Windrush Communications Ltd. The four were charged with `aggravated trespass.' [
action photos action reports 1, 2]. The activists were seeking to provide Windrush Communications with a legal briefing outlining how Windrush's role in organising the Iraq Procurement Conferences is (and continues to be) illegal; when the people in the Windrush offices refused to receive the briefing, the building was occupied.
The Iraq Procurement Conferences are contract-signing events where company and corporation executives get together with other officials to organise the privatisation of Iraq. This is the blurb on their
web site: "Iraq Procurement is a global initiative focused on realising the enormous trade and investment potential of Iraq. Now established as the premier business summit for Iraq, the project brings together the key business leaders and decision makers devoted to the future development of the country."

NYC IMC has " NYC Activists Debate Anti-War Movement Direction, 2 Years On:"

Two years after it began, the War in Iraq grinds on with no end in sight. Following the re-election of George Bush, NYC IMC readers are debating the direction of United For Peace and Justice, the leading NYC anti-war umbrella group, and the future of the anti-war movement.
"Bring the troops home now!” was the urgent demand to the Bush administration from representatives of hundreds of peace and justice organizations who gathered here for the United for Peace and Justice National Assembly, Feb. 19-21."
[Read More]
But stop the war writes: "UFPJ needs to be exposed; it is not a legitimate progressive or antiwar organization. It is an organization founded to dilute and divert the antiwar movement, and to make sure it stays within the boundaries of corporate politics."
[Read More]
And xxx asks "Will there be a radical contingent on March 19? Are there any other demonstrations or open actions happening that weekend?" [Read More]

At the Melbourne Indymedia, andenator has "Who Profits? Who Pays? Corporate Australia in Iraq."

Australian corporations have been well rewarded for their governments' participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A host of companies have received contracts related to oil infrastructures, communications technology, transport, food distribution and much, much more. Whilst relatively small compared to the major projects given to US and UK businesses, Australia's corporate participation is by no means insignificant and Australia's role in general has helped give legitimacy to the "coalition of the willing" and its brutal occupation. As the Government prepares to send another 450 troops to the region it's crucial to deconstruct the reasons behind their eagerness to participate in the US led war. Whilst the war profiteering of Australian companies is the focus here it is certainly not the only reason for Australia's involvement, in fact larger geo-political considerations that tie Australia to the strategic interests of US power may weigh more heavily.
The war, declared over in April 2003, still rages despite the election and shows no sign of abating with the US and its allies refusing to leave and the insurgency continuing to maintain popular support. As the occupation terrorises ever wider sections of the populace, the US and allies seem unable to contain the revolt. Attempts to disrupt the elections are presented as proof that Iraqis are unable to govern themselves, justifying outside intervention to show them the path of democracy; which means a neo-liberal, market economy. Apologists for the occupation that might have initially opposed the war now say that we need to stay and "get the job done"

so as not to leave chaos in the wake of a withdrawal.
This opinion however is based on the premise that the job that the US is attempting is going to benefit the Iraqi people as a whole and lets the occupation off the hook as the chief cause of misery. How much worse could it get really? How much order and peace has the occupation brought?
100 000 people have died according to the British medical journal The Lancet, millions have been displaced and the New York Times conservatively estimates that unemployment rate is at 34% as of February. Others put the figure at 50-70%. Could ending the occupation be worse than this?

While we're "in" Australia, let's note our friend Luke of wotisitgood4 and his post today "winds of chains:"

* btw - how is iraq going, now that they are free not to have to vote again for a while...?
* there was a really cool interview on hardtalk (beeb) last thurs with the amgrunt who threatened to kill fellow amgrunts in an attempt to stop my lai. it was fascinating, and then i got dragged away and missed the rest of it. grrrrr. its not on their website unfortunately.
* Ray McGovern on attacking iran. read ray, as usual.
* speaking of iran, i think one of the posts that i lost t'other day was the one about a new swiftie book - by corsi i think - which makes the case that the moolahs have bought off all the dems. from what i gather, the book is finished, but they arent releasing it for a month. so just when 'we' are building up for the iranian war (june?), and protest by the dems will be positioned as 'the dems need to keep on the tehran tit'. nice.
* "'You get your troops and your secret services out of Lebanon so *that* good democracy has a chance to flourish," Bush said" blinky is such a f**king idiot. the *that* bit was like saying 'that good fellow', not 'so that...'. stupid f**king blinky.
* "How much oil is squandered in the struggle to secure it ?"
* "The war’s legality was an issue for the Blair government not due to any respect for international law, but because it feared future prosecution."

Billie notes that Las Vegas City Life contains another strong column from Saab Lofton:

If I'm constantly expected to absolve the pigs for their many crimes against the black community, then the suburbs can match my Christian forgiveness by leaving the so-called Third World alone for a change. I don't need to exact vengeance upon Metro for what it did to me in 2001 and y'all don't need to feel safe that damn bad. Hell, you people would feel safer if our military-industrial complex would stop conducting foreign policy the way a Mobster would.
Iran, 1953: Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh -- Iran's legitimately elected prime minister -- was a nationalist who merely wanted his country to control its own oil. Mossadegh was replaced with the CIA-backed Shah of Iran after a nine-hour tank battle costing hundreds of lives. In 1976, Amnesty International declared that the Shah's CIA-trained torturers were the worst on Earth. And the Islamic fundamentalism that replaced the Shah in 1979 -- the very fundamentalism that white folks can't stop going on about -- never would've gained prominence if we left Iran alone.
Iraq, 1963: After failing to assassinate General Abdel Karim Qassim, the founder of OPEC, a minor officer in the Ba'ath Party named Saddam Hussein hid in Egypt while keeping in touch with Cairo's U.S. embassy. When he returned to Iraq from exile, Saddam used CIA hit lists to purge 700 Iraqi left-wingers, and continued to purge his way up the ranks until he ran Iraq.
The bottom line is we haven't had any moral ground to stand on in the Middle East for at least the past 50 years. So don't expect any thanks for capturing Saddam Hussein or for that so-called election.

Lori sends "A tale of two mayors: Newsom and Brown share a stage but not a spotlight"
by Matthew Hirsch from The San Francisco Bay Guardian:

With Newsom's popularity soaring, he seemed to upstage Brown, even in downtown Oakland and in the midst of Brown's early campaign for state attorney general. Such is the fickle nature of the local press, which seized on a minor development in the labor negotiations at San Francisco's luxury hotels to pepper Newsom with the same questions he's been hearing for months.
Most interesting about the event, a rare public appearance featuring both Newsom and Brown, was that it brought together two big-city mayors who are crossing paths on the political spectrum. Brown has moderated his early staunch liberal approach since becoming mayor, while Newsom, elected as a business-backed centrist, has made a few bold moves to his left.
And their intertwining narratives extend back even further. The two share a deep family connection – dating to when William Newsom Sr., Gavin's grandfather, managed Jerry's father Pat Brown's campaign for San Francisco district attorney in 1943.
In those days, the Browns were regular guests at the Newsoms' Marina District home, which gave them a youthful glimpse of Jerry Brown the politician. "[Jerry] would come around and shoot hoops with the boys on the block, telling them to tell their fathers to vote Pat Brown for D.A.," William Newsom Jr., Gavin's father, told the Bay Guardian.
Later, after Pat Brown was elected governor of California, he and Newsom Sr. had a falling out over the controversial 1960 execution of Caryl Chessman, who was convicted in a series of kidnapping and rape cases in Los Angeles. "My father was furious with Brown," said Newsom Jr., a retired appellate court judge who, like his father (and son), is an ardent opponent of capital punishment.
The dispute over the Chessman execution, for which Pat Brown said he was unable to commute the death sentence, ruined the friends' relationship. But the bond between families endured.

Brad e-mails this from the Seattle Stranger, Sandkeep Kaushik's "OLYMPIAN IGNORANCE: Alleged Homophobic Outburst by Rental Housing Association Board VP Causes Furor in State Capitol." From the article:

A handful of advocates were exiting the main legislative building when they say they passed a man who loudly offered his troglodytic opinion of their activities. The leader of the contingent, Susie Saxton, executive director of CareBearers, a hospice organization in Yakima, was wearing a red "AIDS Awareness Day" T-shirt. She was accompanied by two other adults, as well as a 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old who had contracted HIV from his mother, who had herself become infected through a blood transfusion during kidney surgery in the late 1980s.
"Looks like its anal sex week," the man said as they passed him, according to Saxton. After the two young people repeated what the man had said, Saxton decided she could not let the incident pass. "I needed the kids to know that these things are not acceptable," Saxton says. She says she was particularly upset because the 16-year-old in her charge had already been victimized by discrimination: His family, after their AIDS status had become know, had been forced to relocate to Yakima from another rural community to escape harassment.
Saxton engaged the man, pointing out that the group was there to advocate for public health funding and asking him if he might not be ashamed of making such a derogatory comment, particularly in front of children. The man said he was not ashamed, Saxton recalls, and repeated his "anal sex week" comment.
"That was the statement, it was a killer, and he repeated it twice," Saxton says. When the man refused to give his name, Saxton, who hoped to identify him later, says he gave her the finger as she took his photograph.
The incident ended after Capitol security was called to the scene by a lobbyist accompanying the man. Security officials are compiling an incident report about the encounter, but that document had not yet been released publicly as of Monday evening. However, a draft version of the report confirmed the basic outlines of Saxton's account, according to several Olympia sources, who said it also named Novak as the man in question.
Because Novak is the first vice-president of the board of the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound, a landlords advocacy group, the incident could have significant political repercussions. Word of the incident quickly spread among legislators. "This sort of behavior from anyone who comes to Olympia is a tragedy not only for the individual but for the institution. It's a black eye for us all," says Representative Ed Murray (D-Capitol Hill), who is sponsoring, for the tenth consecutive year, a bill outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and other matters.

Mary Mapes is working on book about the CBS firings and the documentation of the memos (good for her). Mentioning that because Joe Hagan has a very important article in The New York Observer entitled "CBS News Producer Fired In Memogate Will Shop Her Book." Read the article yourself because it's pretty important. I can't pull quote because pretty much the entire thing is worthy of a pull quote. Basic breakdown. CBS didn't just have the idiotic panel (my term, not Hagan's -- but a sentiment shared by a number of people at CBS) trying to attempt to prove some legal issue (that had little to do with journalism -- even should a libel case have arisen), they also had an investigation into who gave the memos to Burkett.

To complete the investigation, they had to draw up a letter (which they did) and sign it for Burkett. They refused (even though what was in the letter wasn't controversial -- the non-illustrious panel's findings and execs at CBS agreed with the contents) and as such, Burkett would not help them determine the identity of the unknown man who passed him the memos (this little known investigation had narrowed down the possible suspects to six people).

That's not Hagan's full article. Again, I'd urge you to read it. I'm not doing it justice here.

[Note: Corrected on 3-8-05. "Winds of Chains" is the title of Luke's entry, not "Winds of Change." My mistake, my apologies.]