UK Newswire Archive
26-06-2012 02:11Sri Lankan military goes amok on uprooted civilians in Vanni, 2 injured, 1 suffers heart attack
26-06-2012 02:05This afternoon, there will be a demonstration organised by Tamil groups opposite Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA from 4.30pm to 8pm.
Press Release from Counter Olympics Network
COUNTER OLYMPICS NETWORK - 24 June 2012 - for immediate release
WHOSE GAMES? WHOSE CITY?
CRITICS OF LONDON OLYMPICS ANNOUNCE LARGE SCALE EVENT TO COINCIDE WITH FIRST SATURDAY OF GAMES
The Counter Olympics Network (CON) announces a march and rally in London's East End on Saturday 28 July, assembling in Mile End Park (near Mile End tube station) at 12 noon, and marching to Victoria Park for a family friendly People's Games for All which will include speeches, entertainment, "alternative games", and children's events.
Already more than 30 organisations officially support the event, with more coming on board all the time. They include anti corporate campaigns, civil liberties groups, local trades councils, green groups, anti
militarists, community groups, other anti Olympics campaigns, disability activists, and others. It will be an event which symbolically "reclaims" the Games, a party to which everyone is invited. It will present a truer and more optimistic vision of Britain than the officially promoted one of a militarised and austerity ridden country that is content to be hijacked by millionaire politicians and their corporate friends.
The Counter Olympics Network links people and organisations critical of some or many aspects of the 2012 Games. Issues of concern include: - the corporate takeover of the Games (with sponsors that profit from sweatshops, poison local people, pollute the planet, and so much more); - the eviction of local people from their homes and businesses to make way for the Olympic sites, and prioritising the interests of global
corporations at the expense of small businesses;
- the privatisation of public space;
- the introduction of repressive policing and surveillance in conjunction with the Games, and the use of the Games to promote acceptance of the militarisation of society (in particular - siting missile launchers on domestic roofs in East London, employing 42,000 private security staff on top of the vast police and military presence, increasing stop and search powers which target and alienate local young people, placing warships on the Thames and at Weymouth, and introducing preventive detention and ASBOs to intimidate peaceful anti-Olympics protesters);
- the threat to both the lives and livelihoods of Londoners caused by the VIP Lanes for dignitaries on London roads;
- the encouragement of nationalism, in contradiction to the supposed spirit of the Olympics;
- the sanctioning of gender apartheid in Olympic teams;
- the "body fascism" mentality in elite sport;
- the hypocrisy of a Paralympics sponsor, ATOS, which is also responsible for wrongly removing welfare payments from tens of thousands of people with disabilities;
- the multi-billion-pound expenditure, much of it on temporary facilities, and most of it unnecessary at a time of supposed austerity.
CON helps to provide a co-ordinated voice for a wide range of groups which share the desire to provide a counterbalance to the overblown mainstream pro Olympics propaganda. CON is also concerned that the Orwellian security apparatus and regressive legislation put in place to protect brands, privilege, and privatised public space won't all disappear after the Games.
CON supporter Julian Cheyne said today, "The 2012 Olympics have turned into a corporate festival of world security, consuming billions of our money to increase private profits, while the elderly, disabled, sick, unemployed, young people and other groups are punished for a crisis caused by the finance industry. To stand by silently would imply we consent to this; and we do not. If you are as fed up with all of this as we are, come and join our Counter Olympics gathering on 28th July."
1) For further background on the Counter Olympics Network, see
2) The current list of (35) groups and organisations supporting the event is: ALARM
Athletes Against Dow Chemical's Olympic Sponsorship
Blacklist Support Group
Brent Trades Council
Coalition of Resistance
Defend the Right to Protest
Disabled People Against Cuts
Drop Dow Now
East London Against Arms Fairs
Hackney Green Party
Hackney Trades Council
Hackney Woodcraft Folk
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Haringey Trades Council
Islington Trades Council
Jewish Socialist Group
Lewisham People Before Profit
Lewisham Stop the War
Lewisham Trades Council
London Green Party
London Mining Network
Save Leyton Marsh Campaign
Stop the Olympic Missiles
UK Tar Sands Network
Waltham Forest Trades Council
Youth Fight For Jobs
3) Some of the major corporations behind the Olympics, whose activities CON supporters oppose, are BP, DOW Chemicals, McDonald's, Cadburys, ATOS, Coca Cola, G4S, EDF, and Rio Tinto. See the official London 2012 website (http://www.london2012.com/about-us/the-people-delivering-the-games/olympic-partners) for a full list of official Olympic sponsors. See also the article "London 2012 Olympics' shameful corporate sponsors" on the website of Games Monitor, a prominent CON supporter
4) For press enquiries, contact Julian Cheyne (by phone on 020-3560 4064 or 07988 401216, or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org) who can also put journalists in touch with experts on many of the specific issues of concern. Note that he is not usually available in the mornings but messages can be left on the landline or by email.
5) Besides the main CON website
(http://counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com), there is also:
CON's Facebook presence
(https://www.facebook.com/pages/Counter-Olympics-Network/392140590828714); and a Facebook page for the 28 July event
You can follow CON on Twitter (@counterolympics);
and also share news about the 28 July event on Twitter (#ProtestJuly28).
No limos! No logos! No launchers!
Several hundred people joined a demonstration outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon calling for an end to the extradition of British citizens to the United States under the one-sided Extradition Act 2003.
Several hundred people joined a demonstration outside Downing Street on the afternoon of Saturday 23 June calling for an end to the extradition of British citizens to the United States under the one-sided Extradition Act 2003. Supporters of Babar Ahmad, Richard O'Dwyer, Talha Ahsan, Gary McKinnon and their families came together to stop these extraditions to the US, where prisoner conditions are not compatible with human rights standards on this side of the Atlantic, and in many cases are tantamount to torture (extended solitary confinement, supermax prisons, etc.) and for the men to be tried in the UK if there is sufficient valid evidence for prosecutions to be brought against them.
Several of the men involved have been fighting extradition for many years now and in the case of Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan and others, are being held in prison without charge pending the outcome of their appeals. Speakers included Brent Kent, MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, solicitor Louise Christian, David Bermingham of the Natwest 3 who was extradited under this same law, Daud Abdullah from the British Muslim Initiative and family members. A message of support from Caroline Lucas MP was read out. Speakers called for the Extradition Act2003 to be scrapped and for allegations against British citizens to be tried in Britain. Many criticised the severity of both the American "justice" and prison systems. Particular criticism was made of some members of the current government, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who had spoken out strongly against the Act when they were in opposition but are now the architects of any extraditions of these men and other British citizens.
A letter was handed in by family members and a delegation following the demonstration. A parliamentary meeting on this issue was held on Wednesday 20 June.
Just yesterday, Wikileaks founder Jimmy Wales started a petition in support of Richard O'Dwyer, which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-stop-the-extradition-of-richard-o-dwyer-to-the-usa-saverichard
And Jimmy Wale's reasons for it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/24/richard-o-dwyer-my-petition
A film tour on the extradition of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan kicked off on Friday 22 and is currently travelling around the country in June and July: https://www.facebook.com/ExtraditionFilm During the film tour, the organisers are asking people to send the letter attachments below to Keir Starmer, Theresa May and Dominic Grieve concerning the extradition of Talha Ahsan.
Find out more about their cases:
© Aisha Maniar
On Saturday 23 June over a hundred people attended a demonstration organised by the IWW Cleaners' Branch in front of the John Lewis flagship store on Oxford Street. John Lewis prides themselves in caring for the well-being of their employees and sharing the profits of the company with them. Unfortunately, through outsourcing the company frees itself from this commitment with its cleaning staff.
Employed through a contractor, the cleaners are on the minimum legal wage of £6.08 per hour. They are threatened with 50% of redundancies with the remaining staff potentially covering all additional work. The workers cannot tolerate this. They demand the London Living Wage of £8.30 per hour. They say 'no' to redundancies and 'no' to increase in their workload. The protest on Saturday was called to make these demands as well as making the public aware of the dismal work conditions prevailing for cleaners in this company that so prides itself of its corporate responsibility.
A crowd of workers as well as people in solidarity turned up and made a lot of noise in front of the store for two hours. There were speeches from the members of the IWW Cleaners Branch, representatives of other IWW branches, other unions including PCS and RMT, and a Labour MP John McDonnell.
The strength of the union is the strength of the workers coming together to put pressure on the bosses. Today's demonstration, with its large crowd and energetic atmosphere was a great show of strength. The workers are balloting for strike action at John Lewis and will continue with weekly demonstrations until their demands are met.
reposted from IWW site - see link below:
"We face a hostile corporate assault on public spaces, art and communities. A large space in central London has been liberated for a one-day event: talks, debates, art, screenings, music and celebration." So said activists; Bread and Circuses, as they temporarily squatted A five storey house belonging to Anish Kapoor at Lincoln's Inn Field, that he bought in 2009 and left empty. It was brought to life for the weekend as part of an Unofficial unolympic protest highlighting Kapors connection to the Olympic sculpture he made of corporate steel.
The action was taken by a group calling themsleves 'Bread and Circuses' hoping to raise the issue of the government using the Olypics as "a smokescreen to take our minds off austerity measures, the global economic crisis and the commodification and privatisation of everything, even art".
Their site adds; "This event will take place from 4pm on Friday June 22nd in a beautiful space that has been left to ruin since 2009. Its owner is one of the wealthiest artists in the world and designer of London’s favourite mega-structure, the meccano on crack ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower. Apparently “public art”, it costs £15 to visit. This is a publicly funded piece of PR for a corporation guilty of various crimes, just like the Olympics. It is an example of how corporate power invades every aspect of our lives from sports to arts.
Boris Johnson said of the tower “Of course some people will say we are nuts – in the depths of a recession – to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art.”John Hilary from War on Want spoke about the need to "Celebrate the Olympics by reclaiming it, making it a public event rather than having it primarily as a corporate opportunity". He added "The Olympics is a symbol of monopoly capitalism." McDonalds, Coca Cola, Cadbury's, Dow Chemical's - we're lovin' it!"
An evening of music and laughter was had by all.
25-06-2012 11:02Tomorrow night Greg Palast launches his latest book Vultures' Picnic in the UK.
25-06-2012 10:55The EDL are marching in Bristol on the 14th of July. The counter-mobilisation is in full swing, so get involved.
Let's defend ourselves against the English Defence League!
The EDL are marching in Bristol on the 14th of July. The counter- mobilisation is in full swing, so get involved. There have been alot of posts on Bristol Indymedia about the EDL demo. Now is the time for our call to action. Come to Templemeads area and line the route at 10am on the 14th to give them the welcome they deserve. Stay alert. Stay mobile. Bring your mates
There are many many ways to show your opposition to the EDL: don't let them march, don't give 'em a lift in your taxi, put posters up in shops, don't serve them drinks, raise awareness about their farcical attempts to disguise their homophobia, chat to work colleagues, decorate the city.... do whatever you feel comfortable with but now is the time to get a crew together and take action against racism in our city.
We want to meet them at the station to stop them marching for any distance. We will resist them wherever they turn and we will be watching them. Let's defend ourselves against the EDL! Zero tolerance of fascism on our streets.
For more information email email@example.com Or see http://antifascistnetwork.wordpress.com Twitter: @stopedl #stopedl
Indymedia posts:http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/709150 http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/708817 Someone else has also set up a facebook page: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/195613943884582/
25-06-2012 10:55The EDL are marching in Bristol on the 14th of July. The counter-
mobilisation is in full swing, so get involved. There have been alot of
posts on Bristol Indymedia about the EDL demo. Now is the time for our
call to action.
Last week an empty social club on what used to be part of the BBC Pebblemill site was taken over and transformed into the new home of the Birmingham Social Centre.
25-06-2012 10:26Capitalism is going through a crisis but its alternative – socialism – makes fear. What is the relevance of the socialist perspective?
25-06-2012 09:21On Monday 16th July 2012 at 1pm a group of concerned citizens from Brighton and beyond will be attempting to inspect the EDO MBM factory in Moulsecoomb to further highlight the factory's complicity in the murder of innocent civilians around the world.
25-06-2012 08:10Up for grabs,getting serious about ending cosmectic vivisection.
24-06-2012 20:39Smash EDO are half way through a Summer of Resistance against EDO/ITT
Exelis. The aim of the summer is to intensify the pressure on the weapons
factory, with as many actions as possible taking place between the 1st of
May and the 1st of August. The more groups that take part the more effective it will be, so we need your help!
24-06-2012 13:58On June 21, The New York Times headlined "CIA Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition," saying: Operating covertly from southern Turkey, CIA operatives are "decid(ing) which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers." Weapons supplied include "automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition, (and) antitank weapons...." They're smuggled across Turkey's border through "a shadowy network of intermediaries...." They're also entering through Lebanon.
The recent coup against Paraguay's democratically elected president is not only a blow to democracy, but an attack against the working and poor population that supported and elected President Fernando Lugo, whom they see as a bulwark against the wealthy elite who've dominated the country for decades.
The U.S. mainstream media and politicians are not calling the events in Paraguay a coup, since the president is being "legally impeached" by the elite-dominated Paraguayan Congress. But as economist Mark Weisbrot explains in the Guardian:
"The Congress of Paraguay is trying to oust the president, Fernando Lugo, by means of an impeachment proceeding for which he was given less than 24 hours to prepare and only two hours to present a defense. It appears that a decision to convict him has already been written...The main trigger for the impeachment is an armed clash between peasants fighting for land rights with police...But this violent confrontation is merely a pretext, as it is clear that the president had no responsibility for what happened. Nor have Lugo's opponents presented any evidence for their charges in today's ‘trial.’ President Lugo proposed an investigation into the incident; the opposition was not interested, preferring their rigged judicial proceedings."
What was the real reason the right-wing Paraguay Senate wanted to expel their democratically elected president? Another article by the Guardian makes this clear:
"The president was also tried on four other charges: that he improperly allowed leftist parties to hold a political meeting in an army base in 2009; that he allowed about 3,000 squatters [landless peasants] to illegally invade a large Brazilian-owned soybean farm; that his government failed to capture members of a [leftist] guerrilla group, the Paraguayan People's Army... and that he signed an international [leftist] protocol without properly submitting it to congress for approval."
The article adds that the president's former political allies were "...upset after he gave a majority of cabinet ministry posts to leftist allies, and handed a minority to the moderates...The political split had become sharply clear as Lugo publicly acknowledged recently that he would support leftist candidates in future elections."
It's obvious that the President's real crimes are that he chose to ally himself more closely with Paraguay's left, which in reality means the working and poor masses of the country, who, like other Latin American countries, choose socialism as their form of political expression.
Although Paraguay's elite lost control of the presidency when Lugo was elected, they used their stranglehold over the Senate to reverse the gains made by Paraguay's poor. This is similar to the situation in Egypt: when the old regime of the wealthy elite lost their president/dictator, they used their control of the judiciary in an attempt to reverse the gains of the revolution.
Is it fair to blame the Obama administration for the recent coup in Paraguay? Yes, but it takes an introductory lesson on U.S. - Latin American relations to understand why. Paraguay's right wing - a tiny wealthy elite - has a long-standing relationship with the United States, which has backed dictatorships for decades in the country - a common pattern in most Latin American countries.
The United States promotes the interests of the wealthy of these mostly-poor countries, and in turn, these elite-run countries are obedient to the pro-corporate foreign policy of the United States (The Open Veins of Latin America is an excellent book that outlines the history).
Paraguay's elite is incapable of acting so boldly without first consulting the United States, since neighboring countries are overwhelmingly hostile to such an act because they fear a U.S.-backed coup in their own countries.
Paraguay's elite has only the military for internal support, which for decades has been funded and trained by the United States. President Lugo did not fully sever the U.S. military's links to his country. According to Wikipedia, "The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) provides technical assistance and training to help modernize and professionalize the [Paraguay]military..."
In short, it is not remotely possible for Paraguay's elite to act without assurance from the United States that it would continue to receive U.S. political and financial support; the elite now needs a steady flow of guns and tanks to defend itself from the poor of Paraguay.
The Latin American countries surrounding Paraguay denounced the events as they unfolded and made an emergency trip to the country in an attempt to stop them. What was the Obama administration's response? Business Week explains:
"As Paraguay’s Senate conducted the impeachment trial, the U.S. State Department had said that it was watching the situation closely."
“We understand that Paraguay’s Senate has voted to impeach President Lugo,” said Darla Jordan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs...“We urge all Paraguayans to act peacefully, with calm and responsibility, in the spirit of Paraguay’s democratic principles.”
Obama might as well have said: "We support the right-wing coup against the elected president of Paraguay.” Watching a crime against democracy happen - even if it is "watched closely" - and failing to denounce it makes one complicit in the act. The State Department's carefully crafted words are meant to give implicit support to the new illegal regime in Paraguay.
Obama acted as he did because Lugo turned left, away from corporate interests, towards Paraguay's poor. Lugo had also more closely aligned himself with regional governments which had worked towards economic independence from the United States. Most importantly perhaps is that, in 2009, President Lugo forbid the building of a planned U.S. military base in Paraguay.
What was the response of Paraguay's working and poor people to their new dictatorship? They amassed outside of the Congress and were attacked by riot police and water cannons. It is unlikely that they will sit on their hands during this episode, since President Lugo had raised their hopes of having a more humane existence.
President Lugo has unfortunately given his opponents an advantage by accepting the rulings that he himself called a coup, allowing himself to be replaced by a Senate-appointed president. But Paraguay's working and poor people will act with more boldness, in line with the social movements across Latin America that have struck heavy blows against the power of their wealthy elite.President Obama's devious actions towards Paraguay reaffirm which side of the wealth divide he stands on. His first coup in Honduras sparked the outrage of the entire hemisphere; this one will confirm to Latin Americans that neither Republicans nor Democrats care anything about democracy.