Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dahr Jamail in IPS, Police detention in Warsaw, UK celebrates "DIY Culture," Kevin Doyle's "Interview: Postal Workers Under Fire"

At IPS (Inter Press Service) Dahr Jamail has an article entitled "Iraq: U.S. Claims Over Seige Challenged." Here's an excerpt:

As with the siege of Fallujah six months back, U.S. claims over the siege of the Iraqi town Al Qa'im are being challenged now by independent sources.
The U.S. military claims a "successful" end to the weeklong operation earlier this month around Al-Qa'im, a town about 320km west of Baghdad close to the Syrian border. The operation was launched against what the U.S. military saw as the presence of Al-Qaeda fighters in the town. Iraqi civilians and doctors in the area say no foreign fighters were present in the town.
Al Qa'im and surrounding areas have suffered great destruction, and many in the town population of 110,000 were killed, they say.
Abu Ahmed, a resident of Al-Qa'im, told IPS on telephone that "all the fighters here are Iraqis from this area."
He said continuing violations by U.S. soldiers had provoked people into confronting the occupying forces. He said troops had been raiding homes, sending women into the streets without their hijabs and entering areas where women sleep.
"The fighters are just local people who refuse to be treated like dogs," he said. "Nobody wants the Americans here."
Abd al-Khaliq al-Rawi, head of communications for the local government in Al-Qa'im said on Al-Jazeera television that the fighters were all local Iraqis. "We have not seen any outsiders. The fighters are from the area. They are resisting the occupation."

From the Independent Media Center, we'll note this "Police detained an independent journalist and charged him with assaulting a police officer!" Here's an excerpt:

On Mon 16th May in Warsaw, during politicians' talks during the third summit of the Council of Europe, demonstrations organised by grassroots citizens' movements from around Poland. The demonstrators protested against the hypocrisy of Council of Europe politicians and the inclusion of states in which human rights are violated (e.g. Russia and Turkey) and whose leaders are responsible for the war in Iraq.
After the demonstration, a conflictual incident with the police occurred. The full events were reported live by Independent Media - INDYMEDIA POLAND. When protesters started leaving to go home, police started checking people's identities and detained a selected number of people (see the film at
indymedia poland).
11 people were detained, including 3 members of Amnesty International, a woman journalist working together with Indymedia as well as an Indymedia reporter, who was filming the police behaviour during the demonstration with a film camera. The Indymedia reporter - Grzegorz Prujszczyk - was wearing a reflective orange vest with the word PRESS and was reporting and documenting the demonstration; he was in no way involved in the conflictual incident which had occurred earlier with the police. The police have filed against him summary charges of assaulting a police officer; the first court hearing occurred Wed 18th May (today). Neither family nor journalists were given access to him. The court decided to commit Grzegorz to (partial) police custody until the next hearing. He is threatened with a penalty with a maximum sentence of 8 years' imprisonment. Lesser charges were placed against 10 other people, for example, insulting police officers, and they were freed after about 20 hours of detention.

From UK Indymedia, Terrence e-mails "One year of DIY culture:"

The UK has had it's share of squatted political spaces over the decades but the last few years has seen something of a resurgence in activity, inspired by the strong social centres movement found in Spain and Italy etc. Social Centres have been springing up all over the country but their existance is often precarious, dependent either on maintaining rent or retaining a squatted property.
[. . .]

ramPARTY details and lineup
Other coming events:
22nd May -
Movimientos Day School
27th May - Post-criticalmass
G8 Bike Ride Benefit (flyer)
28th May -

From Ireland's Indymedia I.E., Bernado e-mails "Interview: Postal Workers Under Fire
by Kevin Doyle:"

Over the last year or so, the working conditions of staff in An Post have been the subject of cutbacks and attacks by its management and ultimately the government. This includes shutting the SDS Courier service, withholding pay-rises, and understaffing many sorting offices. The strategy is to undermine workers' morale and thereby to facilitate either privatisation or simply to weaken An Post in order to benefit private competitors. Kevin Doyle interviews a postal worker in Cork to find out the mood on the shop floor.
- What is the situation in An Post now?
Right now they are the focus of privatisation efforts in the public sector. They are not needed like ESB workers who can stop power, nor are they seen as essential like health workers. They are perceived as an easier target and are weaker.
- Was the recent shutting down of SDS a part of this strategy?
Yes, it had to do with the opening of the markets wider for the private mail companies that are already working in Ireland and making profit - like DHL, Federal Express etc. These companies only deal with parcels and packets and it's a profitable business. SDS provided the same service at low cost, which is what you expect of a public service, but now with SDS out of the way, it will be even better for the private operators. People need to realise how dangerous privatisation will be. Right now wherever you live in Ireland you get the service that anyone else gets... it's even. But privatisation will change that. The money is to be made in the high population density areas where post can be moved in bulk easily. So a lot of people and a lot of communities will lose out if privatisation happens. The service will become uneven and unequal.
- How is the privatisation issue being pushed?
An Post management is trying to convince the workforce that privatisation is the only way forward for the company. It is a EU directive, they claim, that cannot be ignored. It's a method of bullying. As part of this we see all the new investment in technology. But the new technology has not increased productivity. Similarly, they want to leave a lot of workers go, on the grounds that it would make An Post more efficient. Management claim they have no money to pay workers and yet the give themselves huge bonuses and salaries.

The e-mail address for this site is