Thursday, March 24, 2005

Indy Media: Around the world anti-war protests have been held on the 2nd anniversary of the attacks on Iraq

Around the world, anti-war protests have been held on the 2nd anniversary of the attacks on Iraq [see global pictures]. On Saturday 19th March in London, a massive protest took place, passing by the US Embassy where members of the Military Families Against the War laid a coffin to remember the 100,000 plus dead caused by the war. Organisers claimed up to 200,000 people had marched through the streets of London. [see Short report Statement to Blair + Bush Policing Pictures Anti-war Demo Pics Samba Protest Pics Creative Protest Images Stop the War Demo Pics Troops Out Images Portrait Pictures OutRage! Protest Samba Surveillance Policing Pictures + Report US Embassy Pics Assorted Protest Pictures Picture Story Placard-spotting Pics + Report Summer of Dissent Video Clips]

March 19th also marked the start of
'Counter Terror: Build Justice' - an International Month Of Peace Action. The "Troops Home" demonstration was organised by the Stop The War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Great Britain, and followed several days of activities at a Peace Camp set up in Trafalgar Square [see pics 1 2]. Protests also took place in Glasgow, Scotland with around 2000 people demonstrating [see pics and reports 1 2] and Dublin in Ireland [see pics and reports 1 2 3]. Over 50,000 people marched in Brussels against the new EU Bolkestein Directive, proposed new attacks on public services, and labour reforms in a European Action Day that took place just days before the EU summit. There were also anti-war protests in Athens (2, 3, video) Barcelona, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy (2), Melbourne (2), Poland (2, 3, 4, 5), Sydney, Johannesburg and many other cities.

That's from UK Indymedia which presents an amazing global look at the rallies from last weekend in an article entitled "Mass Anti-War Protests Mark 2nd Anniversary of Attack on Iraq."

This is what you didn't see. This is what you couldn't see in the mainstream media. In our country we obsessed over one story all week. (And still are obsessing.) We don't do that here.

Lynda: I don't need to be told the same talking point each day the way I'm getting on the radio and at other web sites. I'm a grown up. I tie my own shoe laces. I don't need to flash cards to bring me up to speed on the same damn issue every damn day.

Nor do any other members here, which is why we can discuss a story or provide a link. We don't have to hammer it home over and over and over.

Congratulations to Georgetown students for their persistance and for their victory. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read "Victory at Georgetown! "We won!" by Via Union City! from DC Indymedia:

Literally tasting the fruits of their labors, Georgetown students ended their 9-day hunger strike at noon today with bites of apples and strawberries as they declared victory in their 3-year campaign to win a living wage for campus workers.
"We're really happy," exhausted but elated hunger striker Mike Wilson told UNION
CITY. "It's been a real roller-coaster the last few days." Students had walked out of an unproductive negotiating session Tuesday afternoon and, Wilson says, were "shocked" when the Georgetown administration presented a new proposal last night that met nearly all their demands. The proposal came just hours before a midnight deadline for a settlement established by Metro Council President Jos Williams, who vowed to begin leading labor, religious and community activists in a series of 24-hour Solidarity Hunger Strikes today at noon.

Highlights of the agreement include a raise to a minimum hourly wage of $13 beginning this July, annual wage adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, and a clear affirmation of Georgetown's commitment to workers' right to freely associate and organize, as well as a pledge that the University will respect the rights of employees to vote for or against union representation without intimidation.

That's an important story. That's a victory for workers, that's an economic story, that's a story about the power people have when they pool resources and mobolize together. This is real news.

Here's some more real news, you've heard about it on Democracy Now!, but have you hear it anywhere else? "Neutality, Daily abuse at Shannon Airport" by Edward Horgan from Indymedia IE:

Thursday 24th March, plane load of US troops in uniform and armed at Shannon airport, and suspicious executive jets in security zone.
Irish neutrality is suffering daily abuse at Shannon airport. Several planeloads of US troops pass through Shannon each day, going and comming from the ongoing war in Iraq. Due to security restrictions it is now more difficult to monitor the transit of US executive jets that are being used for the rendition of kidnapped captives for torture in countries with undemocratic regimes, taht are clients of the US. Today, at 9 am World Airways with its cargo of troops, was at Gate 42, while two executive jets were located within the special security zone. At least one of these, coloured white and with the serial number N92405, was there overnight. The other was a bronze colour, and both similar is size and shape to Gulfstream models. If anyone can identify these jets so that we can "rule them out our torture enquiries", please let us know."

Please note, two photos are published with this article and they're asking that you let them know if you recognize the planes.

We'll also provide links to two Democracy Now! stories on this subject.

1) "Trial of Irish Peace Activists Opposed to U.S. Military Use of Shannon Airport Begins in Dublin."
Here's the summary on that story:
The trial of five peace activists begins today in Dublin, Ireland. Ciaron O'Reilly, Deirdre Clancy, Damien Moran, Karen Fallon and Nuin Dunlop - were arrested on February 3rd of 2003. They were arrested and face charges stemming from an action at Shannon Airport in Clare County. Shannon airport is a civilian airport that has been transformed into a pit stop for the U.S military. An average of 13,000 U.S. troops stop at Shannon Airport each month. On February 3rd - the activists - known as the "Pit Stop Ploughshares" - broke into a hangar at the airport, and damaged a US Navy war plane that was on its way to Iraq. They built a shrine with rosary and Islamic beads, a Koran a bible and photographs of Iraqi children. The activists face maximum sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Click the link to read, watch or listen.

2) "St. Patrick's Day Special: Irish Peace Activists Protest U.S. Use of Shannon Airport in Iraq War."

Here's the summary of that story:
Today is May 17th - St. Patrick's Day - when people across the country celebrate the Saint credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
To commemorate the occasion, we look at the case of three Irish anti-war activists who were acquitted after their arrest during a protest against President Bush.
The three were arrested in a small rowing boat in the river Shannon as they held up a sign that read "Bush Go Home" during the president's visit to Ireland in June 2004. The Irish government said they failed to obey instructions to leave a temporary exclusion zone set up for Bush's visit.
The judge dismissed the case saying there was no evidence of any refusal by them to comply with the instructions.

Again, you can read, listen or watch the story by accessing the link provided for this story.

Let's hop over to Australia and check on our friend Luke at wotisitgood4. From his post "im a warp president:"

* "An American Indian veterans' group awarded a "warriors medal of valor" Wednesday to former POW Jessica Lynch" LINK because she spoke out about the lies?
* "The U.S. military command in Iraq has blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car in which an Italian intelligence agent was shot to death in Baghdad, a newspaper said Wednesday." LINK
* speaking of sgrena, demnow excerpted 20mins of a docu called "Hotel Palestine: Killing the Witness ". whereforeartthou eason jordan? LINK
[. . .]
* scottritter: "The problem is, there is good reason to believe that the percentage of votes for the Shi'a was higher – much higher. Well-placed sources in Iraq who were in a position to know have told me that the actual Shi'a vote was 56 percent. American intervention, in the form of a 'secret vote count' conducted behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny, produced the Feb. 14 result." (vs 48%) LINK

Over at Houston Independent Media Center, Renee offers a look at their anti-war protests
in "Brief Report on Local Peace Events, so far..." by Renee :

Last night, Code Pink Houston activists took to the downtown streets for a walking requiem in honor of troops and civilians who've lost their lives in Iraq. KPFT News reporter Dianne Roberts says activists walked in pairs... with one person reading the names of coalition soldiers, and the other wearing a gag to represent the iraqi dead. The two disparate groups symbolized the difference in the way US media and government count the unnecessary losses of the Iraq war. This morning, Rothko chapel and students at the University of St. Thomas began an all day interfaith celebration of peace. Organizers told KPFT News reporter Sophia Vasssalikes that they hoped to promote inner peace so that people would support peace and justice in their every day lives. Then, this afternoon, also in the Montrose neighborhood, anti-war protesters gathered in Evan Chu Park and then marched down Richmond Avenue and down Montrose Blvd to Bell Park. Organizers estimate 300 people made up a diverse crowd. The family friendly protest attracted people of all ages. Groups from all along the political spectrum were there in large numbers – from young anarchists waving black flags and distributing new copies of an activist directory called the Alarm... to Clear Lake area Democrats. Also present to protest the protest were a handful of members of the conservative group, the Free Republic. The small group attracted some attention, including a challenge to a dance off from protesters with a portable boom box, but had little overall effect on the rally. At one point of the day's march, protesters stretched along Richmond avenue for 3 long blocks.

"Activists Dead SW Virginia" by alexis at tells a story we should be hearing about:

On Saturday, Niklan's body was found by a search party of friends within a few hundred yards of Sue's cabin outside of Blacksburg. This past Thursday, Sue's cabin had been burned to the ground in an apparent act of arson. Sue and Niklan's two cars were found parked outside the charred remains of the building. The badly burned remains of what is believed to be a dog were found inside.
Both Nik and Sue were active around varous social justice issues, such as opposing war in the Middle East, oppression in Central America, and violent mountaintop removal in Appalachia. The two were in their forties and spent several months in federal prison last year due to their participation in the annual School of the Americas protests in Georgia. These annual SOA protests coincidentally occurred this past weekend. The last time people report seeing Niklan was when he was due to leave to attend the protests 5 a.m. on Thursday.

There's a photo of the two. Please be aware of this story because this was last Saturday and where are the headlines in the mainstream media? Where is this story? gives us "March 19th Day of Protest" by Susan Lina Ruggles:

On March 19th, more than 500 people braved cold and sleet in Milwaukee to protest the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. They called on the Bush administration to end the war, bring the troops home, and rebuild our communities. The action was organized by the Milwaukee Coalition for a Just Peace.

Check out the photos and be proud of Milwaukee and all the other communities that came together to speak out. The mainstream media ignored it, but it made a difference and it is changing things on the ground domestically.

At Atlanta Independent Media Center, W. Goodwin covers "M19 - Atlantans Join Worldwide Anti-War Protests:"

March 19, 2005, was an International Day of Protest on the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Internationally, anti-war demonstrations ringed the globe, from Belgium to Brazil to Malaysia. [photos]. UK Indymedia has good coverage of the 100,000-strong London protest as well as english-language coverage of the continental demonstrations. In the United States, over ten thousand people took to the streets of San Francisco, and thousands took to the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. In Eureka, thousands braved the rain to demand an end to the occupation of Iraq and the immediate withdrawal of US troops. Indymedia.US has a wrap-up of the American demos.In Fayetteville, NC, home of Fort Bragg, a Southeastern regional rally sponsored by United For Peace and Justice drew 3000-5000 people (including a large contingent of Iraq Veterans for Peace) who marched to a city park for a large rally. Anger and sorrow were present in equal parts, as family members mourned the loss of their children, brothers, and parents to this senseless war.
Essays 1,2,3,4 ] from North Carolina Indymedia. One of the Speakers in Fayetteville was Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange and Code Pink. [IMC Atlanta Interview ] (excerpted from this week's Currents of Resistance.)
In Atlanta, on Friday the 18th, a 400-person march was held downtown. [Press Release] [Photos and Story 1],[Photos and Story 2] [More Photos] ...more photos available in the Media Gallery.

At Tennessee Independent Media Center, Bernie Ellis has "Voting Activists to Gather for National Election Reform Conference:"

On April 8-10, 2005, a National Election Reform Conference will occur in Nashville, Tennessee to focus on the 2004 election and the need for election reform.. The conference is supported by over 40 local, state and national election reform organizations and it will include plenary sessions as well as pre- and post-conference discussion groups on a host of important topics. This conference will bring persons of all political persuasions together to discuss current threats to our democratic process and ways to achieve meaningful election reform and election justice. The speakers we have assembled are among the most notable in the election research, election reform and election justice movements; including researchers and voting rights activists from Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and many other states.
Since November 3, 2004, there has been a groundswell of concern, and a plethora of evidence, that the conduct of the 2004 election was highly problematic. the evidence of voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, potential manipulation of electronically cast votes and other instances of election fraud was sufficient to have stimulated the Government Accountability Office and U.S. Representative John Conyers and other national leaders to begin to investigate the evidence of voter disenfranchisement and election fraud. This evidence also caused the U.S. Congress to suspend their routine business and to debate the merits of accepting Ohio’s electoral votes on January 6, 2005, a historic occasion that highlighted the many problems in Ohio and also served to shed light on similar problems in other states. With this Congressional debate, the American people’s responsibility to protect and maintain our democratic process was enumerated and enjoined. To date, there have been few opportunities for concerned citizens and researchers to meet to review the mounting evidence of threats to our democratic processes that the 2004 election revealed and to discuss the urgent need for election reform. This National Election Reform Conference is intended to provide a broad forum for the exchange of information, ideas and concerns about our election process.

See, some people are concerned about the vote. We've linked to Jesse Jackson Sr.'s article from In These Times today. Yes, there was a blackout on what happened in Ohio because apparently we can't talk about more than one story in our mainstream media.

Miami Independent Media Center offers a transcription of a speech given by Medea Benjamin (CodePink, Global Crossing) from the Forum on Dissent After 9-11 last Friday:

Medea Benjamin: I wanted to acknowledge that today is an anniversary and it's the anniversary of the one year bombing of the Madrid train. And I say that because it gives important lessons for us here when we talk about dissent. When that tragedy happened in Spain, how did the Spanish people react?
They came out into the streets immediately by the hundreds of thousands which would be equivalent to millions here in this country and they said no to terrorism and they said no to all forms of violence and they said especially no to war. (applause) And they did something else because their elections were coming up in just a couple of days and the polls showed that the government that was in power was supposed to win. But what happened?
The Spanish people said, "Wait a minute. I think our government lied to us." First of all, they put troops in Iraq when the vast majority of people in Spain were always against sending troops to Iraq. And, second of all, when this tragedy happened, they lied and pretended that it was ETA - the separatist group - and that it had nothing to do with Spanish troops in Iraq. And so the people said, "I think it is job of the people that when the government lies. We hold them responsible."
And they voted their government out of power. (applause) The new government, its first announcement was: We are bringing our troops back from Iraq. That is democracy. That is dissent that has power, action, effectiveness attached to it.
Why can't we get that kind of reaction in this country? Well, we talked about some of that tonight. I want to talk about the problem that we have when we are dissenters of getting our message out to the people. Cause you could be the lone voice in the forest doing the right thing but unless people can hear you, you're not gonna build a strong effective movement. And we have to recognize the huge obstacle we are facing with the corporate media. And I have tried - just like all of you have tried - to get our voices in the mainstream media.
I remember immediately after the US went and invaded Afghanistan. I organized a group of Sept. 11th family members to go to Afghanistan and come back to the United States and say: We have suffered such tragedy in our own lives and do you know that now the US by invading Afghanistan is creating that same kind of tragedy with civilian casualties every single day? Their voices - the most legitimate voices, the people who suffered the most on Sept 11th - they couldn't get their voices out in the US media. They could get them out all over the rest of the world and not in our own media.
This year, the US government after the election took it as a renewed mandate to go kill people and went and leveled the entire city of Fallujah... a city of 350,000 people. And our peace movement, as Max said, was in a big ebb. Y'know, we were just reeling after the election. People just didn't get out and protest. So we got members whose children were killed as soldiers in Iraq. Again, the families most effected by the tragedies of the Bush administration. We put out a call and said these families want to show that we love the Iraqi people. We don't want to kill them and destroy their homes. We want to help them.
We put out a call and immediately people responded and we got $650,000 worth of humanitarian aid. The family members went with us to the Middle East to take that aid. You would think that would be as huge story and it's an amazing profound story. We met for 10 days with Iraqis telling us of their tragedies and we told them our tragedies. And we cried and we hugged and we kissed and we bonded as a human family. Where was the US press? It was absent.

There was plenty of news in the last seven days. It just got drowned out. And we're all the worse for it. (My opinion.)

E-mail address for this site is By the way, I got e-mails that Mike Malloy was on vacation this week from The Mike Malloy Show. I know he was on vacation last week, but I don't think he's been on vacation this week. (He will take off tomorrow night for dental surgergy and they'll air a repeat -- he said that tonight.) My week's been too crazy to listen to his show this week but tonight I did catch Katrina vanden Heuvel on The Majority Report and I've been listening to Mike Malloy. He's made a strong point about avoiding the feeding frenzy on the only story the media seems interested in. He's talking about lead dust exposure for children right now. He's had other stories in the first half hour. Now I'm going by tonight because I missed the show otherwise this week. But my guess was that Malloy wouldn't turn his show into one story (he's too much of a pro for that). Again, he's announced that tomorrow night is a repeat. But if you're looking for news beyond the one topic, you should check out his show. And my apologies for not having the time to check it out earlier when the e-mails started coming in on Tuesday that they thought Malloy was on vacation.