violent socpa arrest
Sam Love Lee live!
Drum'n'Bass to Atenco II (Radio Sabotje)
US ambassador to Iraq leaked concerns
Green scare (Indymedia Houston)
Campsfield hunger strike: telephone interview
Fur demonstrators vindicated
Sam Love Lee live again!
Contact improv on London Bridge
Climate camp will target Drax
Square resists eviction
Well, that was the sound of a man called Steve being arrested this Monday. His cries of pain were the result of the forceful attentions of three policemen. His crime? Carrying a placard that read "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act [George Orwell]" and "No man deserves punishment for his thoughts" (see police or HM government for further details) whilst standing outside the gates at Downing Street.
Two officers from Charing Cross police station declared that an illegal demonstration was taking place. The police then tried to report Steve but as he did not believe he was committing any offence. He only was willing to give his first name. Police threatened to arrest him, and he co-operated fully stating again that he did not believe he had comitted an offence but would go to court.
Despite his completely peaceful demeanour, the police insisted on handcuffing him. Steve refused to make this easy for them, and resisted passively, pointing out that he was not resisting arrest, but was resisting the unnecessary use of handcuffs. By now, three policemen were using various painful holds on him attempting to cuff him, and officer cx149 was witnessed kneeing steve hard in the thigh.
After struggling for some minutes, and attracting a large crowd of mainly tourist passers-by, the police finally managed to cuff the powerful but unruffled man. Steve kept his composure and his placid stance throughout. When they were trying to push him into the car, he calmly told them to let go of him and he would sit down himself. They finally got the idea, let go of him, and he quietly got into the back seat by himself with dignity intact.
By now, nearly fifty passers-by had gathered (mostly tourists), and Steve's supporters were busy explaining to them about the repressive socpa law and its violent use they'd just witnessed.
Steve was held in Charing Cross police station overnight then transferred to bow street magistrates where he appeared before a judge at about 1pm charged with organising an unauthorised demonstration, and with assaulting a police officer.
Steve was represented by a duty solicitor who advised he give his details to the judge - otherwise it would be possible he would face contempt of court and be jailed for up to three months. Having at least taken a principled stand, he finally relented and gave his name and address.
After another hour in the cells during which checks were made, he then returned to the dock, where the charges were officially put to him. He pleaded not guilty on both counts, and released on unconditional bail.
Physically, his left arm hurts from the excessively tight handcuffs, and his left thigh is also very painful. He has other bruises but is in good spirits.
Hundreds of thousands marched through the Mexican city of Oaxaca last Friday following attacks by police on an encampment of striking teachers in the main square earlier in the week. Oaxaca is Mexico's second poorest state, many lack even the most basic sanitation, and educational standards are low.
Among the teachers' demands are the impeachment of the state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, known by his three letter acronym URO. He is accused of siphoning hundreds of millions of pesos of public funds into unwanted public works. Earlier in the month the demonstrators had held a mock trial at which an effigy of URO was found guilty of theft, repression, assassination, and failure to consult the citizenry.
Police fired tear gas at crowds from helicopters as armed police stormed the square and the union headquarters. The violence left 11 dead and 100 wounded. Four journalists from the teachers' radio station Radio Planton were among the first of ten arrested. Students at the local university then used their transmitter to continue to report events but they too were later shut down by police, live on air. Their final transmission was an announcement that the police "will have to pass over our bodies to take away the microphone from us" and a call for civil society to take action against the repression. Then there was silence.
Amidst the extensive coverage online at narconews.com and indymedia sites world wide, this personal commentary by "other journalist" Nancy Davies made a lot of sense. She writes:
"In my view, this struggle is not concerned with supporting goals of either the teachers or La Otra. It is a citizen movement to rid the state of the PRI, whose control has been repressive and abusive, both physically and economically. The calls for “destitución” (that is, either resignation or impeachment) have grown louder.
The two sides drawn up within the city seem to fall into merchant-class vs. everyone else. In other words, it’s not an income division, but a business-owner vs. non-owner division, indicative of the government’s connections with capitalism and globalism. NAFTA and capitalist development have been a plague for rural Oaxaca, where the majority of the population lives, including the teachers.
The “developments” of Oaxaca follow WTO and World Bank demands — that is, put profits not social benefits first. The lack of social benefits includes the miserable education most children receive. The current president of Mexico is a former Coca-Cola executive, and Coke is the biggest consumer product in Mexico where potable water is not free. The development of natural resources, petroleum, gas, forests, tourism, as the teachers’ demands indicate, does not trickle down to most people.
The word “democracy” comes up over and over. Most of the voiced complaints against URO have to do with his “not consulting” before he embarked on the public works which destroy the city’s quality. But what people are really complaining about is public funds siphoned off for Madrazo (the PRI presidential candidate). The majority want health, education, sewage and drainage. In the city itself they want water projects. The ruling oligarchy thrive, while in Oaxaca directly across from the new Chamber of Deputies people live without electricity or drainage
What is truly different in Oaxaca here and now is the moment: the convergence of so many streams of the population united against the PRI."
PRI of course, is Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, which until 2000 had held the national presidency for 71 years, and is synonymous with corruption in the eyes of many.
Track: Drum'n'Bass to Atenco II Radio Sabotje
Last weekend Turkmenistani authorities detained Ogulsapar Muradova; her daughters Sana and Maral and her son Berdy; Elena Ovezova; Annakurban Amanklychev; and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev. Ogulsapar Muradova is associated with the Turkmenistan Helsinki Group (THF), which documents human rights abuses in the country.
Former THF member Ogulsapar Muradova, a correspondent for the US-funded Radio Liberty, was detained at her apartment on 18 June at around 5pm, by two Ashgabat city police officers who did not show an arrest warrant. A senior officer told her family that they were taking her “for a conversation”. Her daughters Sana and Maral went to the Interior Ministry building to try and get information about her. After midnight a secret service officer ordered them to bring their mother’s electronic equipment such as her computer and fax. When they refused he gave them a phone and connected them with their mother. THF director Tadzhigul Begmedova told Amnesty International from exile in Bulgaria on 19 June: “She seemed to have difficulty speaking. What she said was totally incoherent. We think they gave her psychotropic drugs.” Her daughters repeated that they would not cooperate, and returned home. On 19 June law enforcement officers came to their house and detained them too. They were reportedly taken to the Interior Ministry building.
Ogulsapar Muradova had been harassed for over a year to punish her for her human rights work and her affiliation with Radio Liberty. This has included keeping a close watch on her and her house, bugging her phone and cutting off her phone service for several months. The authorities reportedly threatened her to harm her children and to evict her from her apartment if she continued her work as a journalist.
Three law enforcement officers detained THF member Elena Ovezova on 18 June, in her apartment in Ashgabat. They did not show a warrant. In the evening her parents went to the Interior Ministry building but were given no information. Her mother, who is over 80, went there again the following morning. “When she returned home she had a heart attack. We don’t know what happened to her when she was at the police because she refused to talk about it,” said Tadzhigul Begmedova.
Sapardurdy Khadzhiev, a brother of Tadzhigul Begmedova’s husband, was reportedly detained in the evening of 18 June and taken to the Interior Ministry building.
Turkmenistan, north of Iran and Afghanistan, and east of the Caspian Sea, is an expanding desert, following the massive use of pesticides in its cotton fields in the Soviet era also has lots of oil and natural gas. Elections there are a joke, and its personality-cult president Saparmyrat Niyazov requires loyalty oaths from all his citizens, has eliminated all free media, unofficial religions, the arts, and even shut down the Academy of Sciences.
Internet activists in the US are campaigning hard to preserve the freedom of the internet from the designs of the big telecommunications corporations. The telecoms companies plan to reserve fast lane services for their own favoured content, while slowing access to independent sites and content. For example this April AOL blocked emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com, an advocacy scheme opposing the company's pay-per-email scheme. Canadian cable company Shaw charges an extra $10 for its subscribers to "enhance" competing internet telephony services. Activists are calling for "net neutrality" legislation to prevent such gouging.
For more see: savetheinternet.com and coanews.org
George Bush was reportedly buoyed up by his sneak visit to Iraq last week where he held talks with the new government there (should we say regime?) and had photo opps with his troops. But a simultaneous memo from the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad leaked to the Washington Post doesn't really seem to justify George Bush's smiles.
It documents the difficulties experienced by the embassy's local staff when they leave the Green Zone for home each evening. In 46C heat, power in many areas of Baghdad is on for between one and three hours in six, women are increasingly harassed if they do not wear the trad Muslim sack, and there is evidence of widespread ethnic cleansing between Sunni, Shia and Kurds all over Iraq.
Of most concern to the locals working at the embassy is the fact that this is widely known they will become immediate targets for militia, who barricade off streets to exclude outsiders in an atmosphere of poisonous paranoia.
For more see the indymedia website
The "green scare" is a term for the roundup of many earth and animal rights activists over the past few years in the US. Here we play an Houston Indymedia interview with activists Chris Caldev and Phil Potter.
Green scare audio
Antifur campaigners scored a victory last week in the High Court last week, allowing their weekly Saturday protests to continue basically unhindered as they have done since last October. Harrods is the last department store in the UK to carry real fur items, and fur farming was banned five years ago by the government. The ongoing legal battle has incurred up to £150,000 of legal costs, which Harrods have now agreed to pay. The store's legal tactics backfired badly: in evidence revealed to the court, two people who joined the protests in April were revealed to be private undercover agents. But as the campaigner's tactics were demonstrated by this to be peaceful and reasonable, the evidence gathered worked in the protestors' favour, and the protests continue.
For more see the caft website caft.org.uk/harrods
Cycling weather jingle
A moderate prevailing southwesterly airstream caresses the capital today, with big puffy cumuli in blue skies to look at, which should help morale if you're ploughing into it, and temperatures are a balmy 20C. Just about perfect.
Particulate levels are high once again in Brent's Neasden Lane and in Ealing's Horn Lane, and on Brixton Road nitrogen dioxides are in the moderate range. Motorists! Thanks for sharing!
The cycling weather is compiled from data from the Met Office and the London Air Quality Network. See londonair.org.uk.
Corporate contractors are hard at work in Aldermaston in Berkshire, busily developing the Orion laser facility, which enables complex nuclear materials testing, and will partially circumvent the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty. Over the last 12 months there have been regular blockades of the site in an attempt to cut the profitability of the project, as big as Heathrow's new Terminal 5.
blockthebuilders.org.uk is calling for contractors who don't want to co-operate with building weapons of mass destruction to call in sick on Monday 10 July (or just get a new job). Those who don't work there, but believe it is wrong to conspire to incinerate millions of innocent people can join the blockade.
In January this year the Minister for Planning approved a Hazardous Materials Plan for the Barrick Gold mine at Lake Cowal in New South Wales. The Plan was made public on 28 April, the day the mine officially opened.
The Plan, it was revealed, approved 6090 tonnes of sodium cyanide annually to be shipped from its place of manufacture in Gladstone, on the coast north of Brisbane by rail to Sydney and then inland by road and rail to West Wyalong.
Sodium cyanide is essential to the process of separating gold from its ore, but leaves a toxic residue that can leach into water sources.
None of the communities along this route have ever been consulted about this Plan. Here, Graeme Dunstan is in conversation with Sydney IndyMedia's Kieron about the potential hazard.
For more information, see http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/
Campsfield hunger strike: telephone interview with Kat from Oxford students refugee action
Track: England's Power and Glory - Mike Cooper
The Black Women's Rape Action Project & Women Against Rape are launching a rights sheet, petition, and dossier of cases in which immigration judges flouted international law and even their own guidelines when considering the asylum claims of women and girls seeking safety from rape.
That's at Trinity United Reformed Church, Buck Street in Camden at 11am on Friday. For more see www.womenagainstrape.net
A grim topic; for light relief later, check out the eight besuited dancers who will be performing a contact improvisation on London Bridge as city workers stream south that evening, designed to provoke in the spectator's minds questions such as: "Is it acceptable to be me? Is being me, better? Is being better, necessary? Is being normal, necessary? Is expressing myself, possible? Is "better" necessarily normal? Is the normal necessarily better? Is the other possibility, frightening? Is the other, frightening? Can I be other possibilities, still being myself? That's from 4pm on Friday on London Bridge.
The camp for climate action has announced that it will target Drax power station near Leeds in its action at the end of August. Coal-fired, the station emits 20.8 million tons of CO2 as it generates 7% of Britain's electricity each year, making it the UK's largest single emitter of the greenhouse gas. For more see climatecamp.org.uk
The Square occupied social centre at 21 Russell Square is under threat of eviction this Friday. They've organised a festival of resistance over the weekend there, which kicks off with a barricade building and banner making tonight, and an action against the eviction outside on the steps from 9am on Friday. They're obviously confident: on Saturday there are plans for talks and live music from noon until late, and Sunday will see a garden party and meeting on What next?
Palestine today outro