United Europe Represses the Right to Protest Against NATO By Ivan Drury

10 April, 2009

On April 4th the leaders of the NATO member countries met on the French-German border in Strasbourg France for the 60th anniversary of NATO. At this meeting the U.S. was to propose an escalation of the war in Afghanistan and ask for greater troop commitment from NATO countries.

A major demonstration was organized to oppose this meeting, the occupation of Afghanistan, and to call for the dismantling of NATO. This demo also happened to coincide with the end of my time in Belarus, just days before my flight out of Germany back to Canada, so I was able to attend.

What Happened in Strasbourg

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THE WINTER OF OMAR BASHIR’S DISCONTENT Keith Harmon Snow

4 March, 2009

I recently received a phone call from an Australian man who identified himself as an investigator for the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands. The investigator and his colleague had read my story, ‘Merchant’s of Death: Exposing Corporate Financed Holocaust in Africa,’ and they wanted my cooperation to provide more detailed evidence about the warlords behind the massacres at Bogoro, Congo, described briefly in my story.

After some weeks of back and forth discussions and me revisiting notes and photos to see what I had, I sent them an email at the definitive moment, when they were hoping to receive a brief ‘dossier’ about the specific case—which they said ‘had generated a lot of interest’ at the ICC—and I shared my uncertainty about the ethics of collaborating with an ‘International Criminal Court’ that was only indicting black Africans. I indicated my concern for the witness ‘Sandrine’, a young girl discussed in my story who named names of commanders, dates of executions, and who herself used a machete in an ethnic massacre and was raped by militiamen. I noted that witnesses identified for the Rwandan Tribunal (ICTR) had been murdered or mysteriously disappeared, and noted my awareness of the injustice of the Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the disconcerting trajectory of the ICC.

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Inside the AT&T – NSA ‘Secret’ Relationship

In its submission to a San Francisco district court, the Obama Justice Department states that any disclosures concerning the relationship between AT&T and the National Security Agency would “cause exceptional harm to national security.” Here’s an AT&T engineer explaining just what NSA wants to keep from American citizens: that the NSA is engaged in the warrantless surveillance of all communications (whether telephone conversations, emails, IMs or in other forms) involving AT&T customers.

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AT&T and NSA entered into this agreement in flagrant violation of U.S. criminal law, with the assumption that the Bush Administration would not enforce the criminal law against itself or those who entered into criminal conspiracies with it. There is without a doubt an “exceptional harm to national security” here, and it emanates directly from NSA and the Department of Justice. The Jewel litigation should proceed so that the full extent of criminal wrongdoing can be charted–the first step towards stopping it and providing accountability for the instigators.

– By Scott Horton

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“Demonstration in Baghdad against US Occupation”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWfksMD4PAg3dRfDQaDW9c

Thousands of supporters of Shi’i leader Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in Baghdad to demand an end to the ‘US occupation,’ on the sixth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

From early morning, a multitude of youths, waving Iraqi flags and upholding portraits of Muqtada al-Sadr, assembled, despite the relentless rain, in Firdos Square, where, six years ago, Iraqis, together with US soldiers, toppled the statue of the former dictator.

‘All who oppose the occupation should participate in this demonstration,’ Sheikh Hazem al Araraji, a leader of the Sadr movement, exhorted from the rostrum.

In a communiqué read by one of the movement’s spokesmen, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is said to be in exile in Iran, called on US President Barack Obama, who made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Tuesday, to ‘support the Iraqi people and work to withdraw’ the US troops.

‘I urge the demonstrators to shake the hands of the brothers in the security forces,’ Muqtada al-Sadr said in his communiqué, nearly a year after the violent combats which pitted his militia, the Mahdi Army, against the regular Iraqi forces.

Muqtada al-Sadr, heir to a line of distinguished clerics, has always been opposed to the presence of foreign troops in his country.  His supporters repeatedly clashed with US soldiers in the holy city of Najaf to the south of the capital, in Basra in the South, and in his stronghold of Sadr City, a slum in the northeast of Baghdad.

The demonstrators set fire to a more-than-2-meter-tall effigy with a double face — George W. Bush on one side and Saddam Hussein on the other — and trampled on a US flag.

‘The ninth of April is a black-letter day: Saddam Hussein fell, but the occupation worse than his dictatorship began,’ said Abu Ali, a 42-year-old civil servant from Nasiriya in the south.

The regime of Saddam Hussein, who had ruled Iraq since 1979, was overthrown on 9 April 2003, after the US troops’ invasion of Iraq began on 20 March.

The former dictator was hanged on 30 December 2006, after being condemned to death a month before for the murder of 148 Shi’is in a wave of repression following an attack against the presidential convoy in July 1982.

The text above is a translation of ‘Manifestación en Bagdad contra la ocupación estadounidense’ (Página/12, 9 April 2009) by Yoshie Furuhashi.

Source: MRZine – Monthly Review

The Case Against Shell: Landmark Human Rights Trial (Wiwa v. Shell)

On May 26, 2009, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), co-counsel EarthRights International (ERI), and other human rights attorneys will bring oil giant Shell to federal court in New York for the start of a landmark trial for corporate accountability. CCR is pleased to make two exciting announcements as we draw nearer to the trial: we are launching a short film developed by CCR and ERI titled The Case Against Shell, and a new website, www.WiwavShell.org

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In the early 1990s, following decades of Shell’s environmental devastation in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, the Ogoni people of the region organized a non-violent movement against the oil company. Shell’s response? They armed, financed, and otherwise colluded with the Nigerian military regime to repress the non-violent movement — leading to the torture and shootings of Ogoni people as well as massive raids and the destruction of Ogoni villages. In one incident, Shell was building an oil pipeline and requested support from the Nigerian military. The pipeline destroyed Karalolo Kogbara’s farm and, as she was crying over her lost crops, the soldiers shot her. In a separate incident, Uebari N-nah was shot and killed by soldiers near a Shell flow station; the soldiers were requested by and later compensated by Shell. Furthermore, Shell helped develop a strategy that resulted in the 1995 executions of nine of the movement’s leaders, including internationally acclaimed writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Shell must be held accountable. As Ken Saro-Wiwa’s son, Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. has said about the upcoming trial against Shell, “We need to have people account for their role in the executions and the displacement of the Ogoni people, many of whom feel traumatized. It will be a relief. It will enable people to face the future. That’s the most important thing. Let’s account for the past, so we can move forward.”

Sincerely, Vince Warren
Executive Director, CCR

P.S. If you are in New York City, we are looking for volunteers to help throughout the trial. Come hear about this case at two upcoming events in Manhattan and plan to attend the trial.

If you are outside of New York City, please see our events page for events near you or organize an event.

For more information, go to wiwavshell.org.

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Serb Demonization as Propaganda Coup By Edward S. Herman

The successful demonization of the Serbs, making them largely responsible for the Yugoslav wars, and as unique and genocidal killers, was one of the great propaganda triumphs of our era.

It was done so quickly, with such uniformity and uncritical zeal in the mainstream Western media, that disinformation had (and still has, after almost two decades) a field day.

The demonization flowed from the gullibility of Western interests and media (and intellectuals). With Yugoslavia no longer useful as an ally after the fall of the Soviet Union, and actually an obstacle as an independent state with a still social democratic bent, the NATO powers aimed at its dismantlement, and they actively supported the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, the Bosnian Muslims, and the Kosovo Albanians. That these were driven away by Serb actions and threats is untrue: they had their own nationalistic and economic motives for exit, stronger than those of the Serbs.

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Craig Murray: Lies and Innuendo in the Ian Tomlinson Case

Violent+Police#11.jpgWe … need a radical reconstruction of a police force which thinks it can attack and kill members of the public with impunity, and of the legal framework in which they operate. The legal system has ruled in terms that police may kill people and then may lie about it in court.

We have reached the stage in the UK where we need a revolutionary change. We have to sweep out the old order of corrupt politicians whose one guiding principle is to keep their own snouts in the trough: of City bankers who are multi-millionaires from their bubble scams and whose lifestyles and jobs the ordinary people are now supporting by a massive tax and debt burden, while nobody guarantees the jobs of those ordinary people who fund it all.

We have to realise that the end of the centuries old prohibition of torture by agents of the state is of a piece with the freedom of the police to maintain the system of power by fatal force, in both cases without consequence. You cannot separate this brutalisation of power from the illegal war that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of our own soldiers, on the basis of a lie but really to secure oil.

The whole system stinks from the head like a fish. And people are starting at last to understand where the smell comes from.

Source: Campaign for a Democratic Europe

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2008/12/the_disgraceful.html

See also ‘New Video Clearly Shows Police Assault’ and,

“Police TSG has Violent and Racist ‘form”

Video: Who will stand up to the Bully Boys in Blue?

This is a video of the way Kent police treated climate protesters at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp in August 2008.

Using harassment, inordinate force and anti-Terror Law legislation the bully boys simply went ape-shit against a crowd of non-violent protesters. Their excuse for doing so was, according to one plod, that they had received intelligence reports requiring them to ensure the safety of the peace camp!!

Instead, what we see here is almost a dry-run for what was played out again with even more force and hi-tech oppression at the London G20. The police might be carrying-out the violence but behind them is a Nu Labour government which is providing them with all the means to do so. Ultimately, it is the politicians who must bear the responsibility on this attack against the British people.

While politicians queue up to tell us all how wonderful our police are, the facts keep pointing in the opposite direction…

No matter what the evidence politicians of all the main parties will trumpet the same line, we have the best police force in the world. Its that attitude that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson. The fact that all major polticial parties have treated policing as a vote winner on the back of tabloid editorials rather than for what is best for the country.

Year after year the failures and excesses of the police are ignored for to do otherwise would incur the wrath of The Sun and the rest of the gutter press. Instead politicians hand more and more powers to the police until they become drunk with authoritarian zeal. The end product is a police state, kettling and Ian Tomlinson.

When is any mainstream politician going to be honest enough to admit we have a piss poor police force that is now out of control?

Source: http://eurodemocrats.blogspot.com/2009/04/who-will-stand-up-to-bully-boys-in-blue.html


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An Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon: Why Haiti Can’t Forget Its Past By RICHARD MORSE

Dear Mr Ban Ki-Moon,

Thank you for the attention you have brought to the country of Haiti.

In response to your New York Times op ed piece [see below] I wanted to widen your perspective a bit.

I don’t pretend to represent anyone.

I’ve been living in Haiti since 1985. I grew up in New England with my Haitian mother and my American father during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Though my parents were both teachers, I’m nothing more than a musician/innkeeper. When I arrived in Haiti, the Creole pig, an indigenous Haitian pig which was the backbone of Haitian peasant life, had recently been wiped out because of a supposed threat of swine flu.

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Ingredients for a Disaster: NATO, Strasbourg and the Black Block By DIANA JOHNSTONE

NATO creates threats wherever it goes. That is its business. Whether in Afghanistan or in Strasbourg, the foreign military presence provokes violent rebellion, especially from young men who feel challenged. Their violent rebellion is cited to justify an increase in repressive violence. And so it goes…

This cycle of violence was played out last Saturday, April 4, in Strasbourg, where thousands of police and a small number of Black Block street fighters stole the show from what should have been the launching of a new European mass movement against NATO war policy. The peace demonstration was squashed and disintegrated by armed police as black-hooded youths threw stones and set fires.

In this cycle of provocation, there is no doubt who started it: NATO.

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