Wednesday, June 15, 2005

News from outside the narrow frame of the Times

From openDemocracy we'll note Rom Burgis' "Arresting development in Chile:"

A campaign that began with endangered swans and grew into an indictment of Chilean democracy was stonewalled on 10 June when police rounded up demonstrators in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Scores of protesters – among them politicians, unionists, lecturers and leading environmentalists – were arrested for "disturbing the peace" as they approached the presidential palace to deliver a letter demanding the closure of a controversial wood-pulp plant in the southern city of Valdivia. All were later released without charge.
"Everything was peaceful until the carabineros - sent in, I imagine, by someone in the government - arrived, triggering violence. It’s incomprehensible, the attitude the government took today. It is a crime against freedom of expression, against the constitution," said
Nelson Avila, a Radical Social Democratic Party senator among those detained.
Marcel Claude, Chilean head of the Oceana conservation group, was incensed. "This is an example of the famous Chilean democracy. When the citizenry wants to express itself to the president of the republic, he sends in the carabineros. The method he chooses is censorship and repression - the methods of the dictatorship. In Chile, the government ignores the people. Only the businessmen, who exist in the shadows with their vested interests, are heard."

We'll also note, from openDemocracy, David Coombes' "A different kind of revolution in Kyrgyzstan:"

In fact, a rather
different meaning of revolution is now used within Kyrgyzstan itself to describe the March events – one intended to take advantage of the sanctity of such a concept in what is still an overwhelmingly post-Soviet political culture. By defining them as a "real" revolution, Kyrgyzstan's new rulers have tried to settle a number of awkward questions about the motives (political and private) of those who led and encouraged them.
The major question concerns the legitimacy of the sudden elevation of Kurmanbek Bakiyev – from defeated opposition candidate in the 27 February-13 March parliamentary elections to acting head of state. But another issue is the responsibility of citizens (some of them arriving in Mercedes) who took advantage of the paralysis of the security services on the night of 24 March to join the mobs looting almost every major supermarket and shopping centre in Bishkek – whose Chinese and Turkish owners were targeted no less than locals suspected of links to the Akayev family.
In Kyrgyzstan, the revolutionary "myth" also sanctifies, as vanguard of a democratic uprising, members of the liberal intelligentsia who joined the charge on the “white house” seat of power – including students from the American University (and some of their professors), staff of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and various defeated candidates in the parliamentary elections.

Dominick e-mails, from The Irish Examiner, Yehia Barzanji's "Child street vendors killed in blast:"

A BOMB exploded outside a bank in the northern city of Kirkuk yesterday, killing at least 22 people, including child street vendors and pensioners waiting for their checks.
In Baghdad, the bodies of 24 men killed in ambushes were brought to a hospital.
A suicide car bomber also rammed his vehicle into an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing five soldiers and wounding two others in Kan'an, about 48 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraqi Army Col Ismael Ibrahim said. Two civilians were also wounded.
Two US soldiers were killed on Monday when a roadside bomb exploded next to their vehicle near the battleground city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the military said Tuesday.
At least 1,703 American soldiers have died since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

From The New Zealand Herald, Molly e-mails two articles (both by Reuters). First, "US house votes to cut UN contribution:"

America's contribution to the United Nations next year would be cut by $31.4 million (US$22) under legislation approved by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The proposal does not specify which US contributions to the UN would be reduced, Scott Garrett, the New Jersey Republican who wrote the measure said. It was attached to a bill that would provide $81.9 billion (US$58 billion) for several US agencies in the fiscal year beginning on October 1, including the Justice Department, NASA and the Commerce Department.
The House is expected to pass the bill on Wednesday. The Senate has not yet debated its version of the spending bill.

Second, "Republicans say Red Cross is working against the US :"

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which gets major funding from the United States, has lost its impartiality and is advocating positions at odds with American interests, a policy adviser for the US Senate Republican majority charges in a new report. The report, circulated among Republican congressional staff this week, asserts that the US Congress and the Bush administration "owe the American taxpayer -- and specifically the American soldier -- a thorough examination of how the ICRC currently works." But the organisation's website says it has a "permanent mandate founded in international law, a worldwide mission to help victims of conflicts and internal violence, whoever they are."

Molly: It's not Michael Jackson and it's not the disgusting Judith Miller's war on the UN, so apparently it's not news to The New York Timid.

Lloyd e-mails, from the Sydney Morning Herald, "Australian hostage in Iraq has been freed" (credited to "AAP and"):

Douglas Wood, the Australian hostage being held in Iraq, has been freed in a military operation, Prime Minister John Howard says.
Mr Wood, 63, was abducted in Baghdad in late April and on May 1, a militant group calling itself the Shura Council of the Mujahideen of Iraq released a DVD showing him begging for his life.
The government sent a special taskforce to Iraq, headed by prominent diplomat Nick Warner, to work to free Mr Wood. The Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, has also been in and around Iraq for a month in an effort to secure Mr Wood's release.

Pru e-mails to note, from the UK's Socialist Worker, "School students plan G8 protests -- "we will walk out again:'"

In 2003 school students sent shockwaves through the political establishment when they walked out in their thousands against the Iraq war.
Now the organisation formed out of those protests, School Students Against War (SSAW), is planning coordinated action against the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, this July.
Socialist Worker spoke to SSAW members from London who met last Sunday.
Tom Wills, who is studying for his A levels at a west London school said, "I'm going to Scotland to protest against the G8 -- and I think lots of other school students will as well.
"But if they can't make it there, they should demonstrate in town centres. I hope students will walk out of school."

Laraine e-mails to note this from Pacifica Radio:

Special CoverageJohn Conyers' Hearing on the Downing Street Memo - Pacifica Radio will be covering the event live, Thursday June 16 from 1 to 3 PM EST (live audio links will be available here).

From the UK's Independent, we'll note Mayra Pertossi's "Legal ruling in Argentina opens way to 'Dirty War' prosecutions:"

Argentina's Supreme Court has ruled that laws granting amnesty for atrocities committed during the so-called Dirty War between 1976 and 1983 are unconstitutional, raising the possibility that hundreds of people could be brought to court to answer for alleged crimes.
The Supreme Court struck down, by a seven to one vote, with one abstention, legislation passed in 1986 that forbade charges related to Dirty War disappearances, torture and other crimes. Human rights groups say up to 30,000 people disappeared during Argentina's seven-year period of military rule, in a crackdown on leftist dissidents.
As many as 3,000 officers, about 300 of whom are still serving in the armed forces, could be called for questioning, according to human rights groups, which estimated that up to 400 could face new charges.

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