Scottish PSC human rights activists face political trial on same day as Palestinian citizens of Israel protest racist state

30 September, 2009

Tomorrow, Thursday Oct 1st, Edinburgh Sheriff Court SPSC campaigners in political show trial for ‘racism’

“Anyone who stands up for Palestinians is automatically accused of being ‘anti-Semitic’. I am Jewish and proud to be Honorary President of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-racist group that opposes Israeli apartheid.” — Marion Woolfson

Five SPSC members are facing trial on Friday for boycotting Israeli state-sponsored cultural ambassadors, the Jerusalem Quartet. The Israeli musicians, in the words of their admirers, believe that ‘a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement.’

While Israel was carrying out what the UN’s Goldstone report describes as “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in Gaza early this year, the Procurator Fiscal here in Edinburgh was preparing to drop the original Breach of the Peace charge in favour of new charges of “racially aggravated conduct”.

Boycott helped end South African Apartheid, and can do likewise with Israel. The TUC have now joined the STUC, and many others, in pushing for boycott of Israel until it stops its crimes.

Help us fight the move to criminalise boycott of criminal Israel. The same British authorities who support the siege of Gaza are working to stifle Israel’s critics here. The five accused are confident this trial will see the Israeli State and its British allies in the dock of the real supreme court: the court of public opinion.

Even if you can only be there for 10 minutes to show your support, please meet outside the court at 9.30am on Thursday, and stay for as little or as long as you can.

Thursday Oct 1st, 9.30am Sheriff Court, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LB Map:

Thursday Oct 1st: Palestinians inside Israel call General Strike in opposition to racism, incitement and discrimination

“The strike is part of the struggle of the Palestinian minority inside Israel for equal rights as we continue to face home demolitions in the Triangle and the Naqab (Negev); changing of the demography through Judaization of the Galilee and the Triangle; an increase in racial incitement; discrimination against our local authorities; new racist laws, such as the new Nakba law; hebraicizing the Arabic names of our towns and villages, with ultimate disregard of the common and historical Arabic name of these places; selling of Palestinian refugees’ properties; and an intensification of the intimidation campaigns and distortion of our national consciousness.”

High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel 28/9/2009

For more information see:

Gaza Freedom March Scottish PSC members will be joining the Gaza Freedom March on 1 January 2010. If you would like to join us please contact: or come to the Edinburgh or Glasgow meetings next week.

Edinburgh, Tuesday 6 October, 7.30pm Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace

Glasgow, Wednesday 7 October, 7.30pm 31 Arlington Street, off Woodlands Road

For more information see:

4. Stand up for Jerusalem! Tuesday 6 October, 7.30pm Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh Speaker: Liam O’Hare who spent some months living with Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

“The Hannoun family are one of 27 families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem facing eviction from their homes as part of a plan to implant a new Jewish settlement in the area. The family are refugees from 1948, after being displaced from their home in Haifa during the Nakba, and currently consist of 18 people, 6 of whom are children. They have lived in Sheikh Jarrah since 1956 when the Jordanian Government and UNRWA gave them their houses as part of a project to house Palestinians forced to flee their homes.

Since 1972, when Jewish settler organizations were successful in falsely registering the land with the Israeli Land registrar, the family have suffered the stress and anxiety caused by the constant legal battles involved in fighting for the right to stay in the homes in which many of them were born.”

For more information see:

Liam is available to speak at meetings across Scotland – please contact us if you are interested in hosting a meeting.

US Repression of Haiti Continues

4 September, 2009 — Project Censored

The US government plans to expropriate and demolish the homes of hundreds of Haitians in the shantytown of Cité Soleil to expand the occupying UN force’s military base. The US government contractor DynCorp, a quasi-official arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, is responsible for the base expansion. The base will house the soldiers of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH). Cité Soleil is the most bullet-ridden battleground of the foreign military occupation, which began after US Special Forces kidnapped and exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. Citizens have since been victimized by recurring massacres at the hands of MINUSTAH.

DynCorp’s $5 million contracts include expansion of the principal base, the rebuilding of the Cité Soleil police station and two other militarized outposts, as well as training support and procurement of equipment.

According to Cité Soleil mayor Charles Joseph and a DynCorp foreman at the site, the State Department’s US Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funding for the base expansion—a very unorthodox use of development aid.

Lawyer Evel Fanfan, the president of the Association of University Graduates Motivatd For A Haiti With Rights (AUMOHD), says that about 155 buildings would be razed as the base expansion moves forward. As of March 2009, eighty homes have been demolished. Most of the buildings targeted are homes, but one is a church.

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Haitian Narration By Burleigh Hendrickson

22 September, 2009 — Monthly Review

Laurent Dubois. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005. 384 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-674-01304-9; $20.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-674-01826-6

Laurent Dubois’s Avengers of the New World builds on a body of Caribbean scholarship that has been torn between trying to place Haiti’s independence from France into the larger context of late eighteenth-century transatlantic revolution and giving voice to revolutionaries whose histories are not always captured in the archives. Dubois credits such figures as C. L. R. James (Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution [1938; repr. 1989]) and Aimé Césaire (Toussaint Louverture: la Révolution française et le problème coloniale [1960]) for providing inspiration for this gripping narrative, which transcends their anti-imperialist political projects. James’s and Césaire’s works on the Haitian Revolution tend to heroize Toussaint Louverture, often overlooking his fleeting allegiances to both Royalism and the French Revolution, as well as the militaristic brutality he exercised over former slaves in order to ensure the persistence of the plantation system. Against all odds, “slaves became citizens in the empire that had enslaved them,” and Dubois’s goal for this book is to tell “the story of their dramatic struggle for freedom” (p. 2). While Dubois’s account of Louverture balances out more overtly politicized narratives of the Haitian Revolution, it is difficult at times to make out clearly articulated arguments. Readers who seek a traditional historiographic background outlining how this work fits into recent trends in the field may be sorely disappointed; however, Dubois’s gift for artful storytelling and his creative interpretations of French-weighted sources have breathed life into the tales of revolutionary slaves and free coloreds whose histories have been overshadowed in much of the extant work on the Atlantic world.

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On Board with Free Gaza…

29 September, 2009 —Free Gaza Movement

Dear friends of Free Gaza,

A little over a year ago, two small fishing boats from the Free Gaza Movement landed in the port of Gaza challenging Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians. Since then, people from around the world have joined us in affirming the importance and indeed the necessity of nonviolent direct action to challenge injustice. Recently, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed launched a fund to help support the efforts of the Free Gaza Movement to break Israel’s illegal blockade. First Lady of Malaysia, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor also pledged her support.

From Nobel laureates to parliamentarians and UN officials, thousands are hearing our message: when our governments are impotent in the face of massive human rights abuses, we, the citizens of the world must act!

We would like to introduce to you to some of the amazing people that have joined our voluntary Board of Advisors, representing an impressive diversity of background and experience. The list also includes some of the people on our Gaza Advisory Council (which is still growing).

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William Blum: Anti-Empire Report, Number 74 Ridding the world of the sickness of pacifism

29 September, 2009 — Anti-Empire Report, Number 74

Picture the scene: Afghanistan, two hijacked tankers filled with highly inflammable fuel, surrounded by a crowd of Afghans eager to syphon off some for free … What’s the last thing you want to do? Right — drop bombs on the tankers. That’s what a German military commander signaled an American drone airplane to do September 4. Kaboom!! At least 100 human beings incinerated. This incident has led to a lot of controversy in Germany, for Article 26 of Germany’s post-war Grundgesetz (Basic Law/Constitution) states: ‘Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.’

But NATO (aka the United States) can take satisfaction in the fact that the Germans have put their silly pacifism aside and acted like real men, trained military killers; although prior to this incident the Germans had engaged in some aerial and ground combat, there hadn’t been such a dramatic and publicized taking of civilian lives. Deutschland now has more than 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent in the country after the US and Britain, and at home they’ve just finished building a monument to fallen members of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), founded in 1955; 38 members (so far) have surrendered their young lives in Afghanistan.

In January 2007 I wrote in this report about how the US was pushing Germany in this direction; that circumstances at that time indicated that Washington might be losing patience with the pace of Germany’s submission to the empire’s needs. Germany declined to send troops to Iraq and sent only non-combat forces to Afghanistan, not quite good enough for the Pentagon warriors and their NATO allies. Germany’s leading news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported the following:

At a meeting in Washington, Bush administration officials, speaking in the context of Afghanistan, berated Karsten Voigt, German government representative for German-American relations: ‘You concentrate on rebuilding and peacekeeping, but the unpleasant things you leave to us.’ … ‘The Germans have to learn to kill.’

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Cuban Embargo: The President’s Words Versus His Performance: One More Prong of His Presidency Shifting Towards the Democratic Centrist Wing of the Party By Research Associate Sophia Weeks

28 September, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

President Obama has not taken any decisive steps to veer away from Washington’s benighted, near half-century trade embargo against Cuba. By refusing to take advantage of the opportunity to reject a longstanding and morally-bankrupt policy, which has achieved very few successes and which has been based on hypocrisy, double standards, and inconsistencies, President Obama has turned his back on the possibility of a new beginning for U.S. policy towards Latin America based on constructive engagement. At this point, Obama is sadly not the U.S. president bringing ‘change’ to the hemisphere as millions of North and South Americans had hoped. Rather, he has failed to fulfill his own foreign policy objective of reaching out to Washington’s unforgiving foes like the Castro brothers. The courage and political wisdom necessary to call for the termination of the embargo and new beginnings has proven devoid of stamina, replaced by a timorous approach composed of weak probes and minimal actions. It appears that the President does not wear the face of change for those who had reason to hope it would come about.

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US Army Prisoners Isolated, Denied Right to Legal Counsel By Dahr Jamail

28 September, 2009 — T r u t h o u t


The military's treatment of Army prisoners is "part of a broader pattern the military has of just throwing people in jail and not letting them talk to their attorneys, not let visitors come, and this is outrageous. In the civilian world even murderers get visits from their friends," according to civil defense attorney James Branum. (Photo: hiro chang / flickr)

Afghanistan war resister Travis Bishop has been held largely “incommunicado” in the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Bishop, who is being held by the military as a “prisoner of conscience,” according to Amnesty International, was transported to Fort Lewis on September 9 to serve a 12-month sentence in the Regional Correctional Facility. He had refused orders to deploy to Afghanistan based on his religious beliefs, and had filed for Conscientious Objector (CO) status.

Bishop, who served a 13-month deployment to Iraq and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, was court marshaled by the Army for his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan. Given that he had already filed for CO status, many local observers called his sentencing a “politically driven prosecution.”

By holding Bishop incommunicado, the military violated Bishop’s legal right to counsel, a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, according to his civil defense attorney James Branum.

The Sixth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts, and reads, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

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Everything You Know About Iran Is A Myth By Lawrence of Cyberia

27 September, 2009 – Information Clearing House

There are some terms that people in Islamic and Western countries should never say to each other, because they confuse and inflame more than they clarify. The most obvious ones would be ‘jihad’, ‘crusade’ and ‘great satan’. All of them are used in somewhat innocuous ways by the people who utter them, but mean something completely different – and much more inflammatory – to foreign ears.

I would like to propose a topical addition to the list of words that should never be used, and that would be ‘myth’. Specifically when it is used in the context in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian Brotherhood leader Mohammed Mehdi Akef have mentioned it in recent months, i.e. to speak of ‘the myth of the Holocaust’ (Egyptian Islamists deny Holocaust; BBC News, 23 Dec 2005) . They know what they mean by the phrase, and I know what they mean, but if they think that most people over here are going to hear it and respond with anything more profound than ‘Holocaust deniers!’ then they are deeply ignorant of how central is the Holocaust in U.S. perceptions of the Middle East, how superficial is the U.S. public discourse on relations with the Muslim world, and how much that discourse is framed by those who are pushing for a ‘clash of civilizations’ and who are currently fixated on finding a justification to bring about regime change in Iran.

Everyone knows what a myth is, right? It’s just a fairytale; an unlikely, invented story featuring toga-clad heroes of the ancient past. So when Ahmadinejad and Akef talk of the ‘myth of the Holocaust’ they are simply – as the BBC suggests in the report I linked to above – saying that the Holocaust never really happened, and can be written off as Holocaust deniers. Except that that’s not what a ‘myth’ is. (And I must be getting old, because I actually remember the days when any reporter employed by the BBC would have known the meaning of the word, and made some effort to render it accurately).

Let me tell you what a ‘myth’ really is.

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Gaza and the Goldstone Report: Your urgent action needed today

From a Human Rights advocate in Gaza:

Dear All,
Please consider taking these urgent actions and forwarding to all of your contacts. Unless the UN Human Rights Council endorses the findings and the recommendations of the independent UN Fact Finding Mission which found that the Israeli military perpetrated serious international law violations during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (over 1400 people killed including over 350 children) the perpetrators of these crimes will not be held to account, and undoubtedly further invasions will be carried out which destroy the lives of countless more civilians. The UN Human Rights is meeting in two days (Tuesday 29th September) so this appeal is urgent.

Best wishes,


Gaza: Your urgent action needed today

Dear Supporter,

There is a real danger that the best chance for accountability and justice for civilians in Gaza and Israel could be lost in the next few days – we need as many people as possible to email David Miliband right now to prevent this from happening.

An independent UN fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict has just published its findings. This major report outlines powerful evidence of war crimes and other violations of international law on both sides, consistent with the results of Amnesty’s own investigations. And the UK Government is reviewing it right now.

The UN Human Rights Council will debate the report next Tuesday (29 September), when a vote will be taken on how its recommendations should be acted upon.

Alarmingly, we understand that the UK Government (a member of the council) is not planning to support key recommendations, which Amnesty believe offer the best chance of ensuring justice and accountability, as a well as a deterrent to future conflicts. Instead, they appear to be taking a lead from the US Government in dismissing the findings.

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Video: Africom or Africon? Part 1

27 September , 2009

A reorganization of the U.S. command structure and another military imposition

In this four-part series, Rageh Omaar travels across Africa, investigating the consequences of US involvement in the region. In this first part, he investigates the genesis of Africom, the US military command for Africa which was launched in October 2008, and asks whether Barack Obama can turn US-African relations in a new direction.

Big Brother “Fusion Centers” Part of US Domestic Intelligence and Surveillance Apparatus By Tom Burghardtf

Mammoth Budget: $75 Billion, 200,000 Operatives

26 September, 2009 – Global ResearchAntifascist Calling…

Fusion Centers Will Have Access to Classified Military Intelligence

Speaking at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club September 15, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, disclosed that the current annual budget for the 16 agency U.S. “Intelligence Community” (IC) clocks-in at $75 billion and employs some 200,000 operatives world-wide, including private contractors.

In unveiling an unclassified version of the National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), Blair asserts he is seeking to break down “this old distinction between military and nonmilitary intelligence,” stating that the “traditional fault line” separating secretive military programs from overall intelligence activities “is no longer relevant.”

As if to emphasize the sweeping nature of Blair’s remarks, Federal Computer Week reported September 17 that “some non-federal officials with the necessary clearances who work at intelligence fusion centers around the country will soon have limited access to classified terrorism-related information that resides in the Defense Department’s classified network.” According to the publication:

Under the program, authorized state, local or tribal officials will be able to access pre-approved data on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. However, they won’t have the ability to upload data or edit existing content, officials said. They also will not have access to all classified information, only the information that federal officials make available to them.

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Honduran Coup Regime Mocks UN Security Council with Embassy Attacks By Al Giordano

25 September, 2009 — The Field


After today’s emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, US Ambassador Susan Rice emerged to read a warning to the Honduras coup regime:

‘We condemn acts of intimidation against the Brazilian embassy and call upon the de facto government of Honduras to cease harassing the Brazilian embassy.’

The wording is unequivocal. After investigating the claims (and the de facto regime’s denials) of constant technological and chemical attacks on the diplomatic seat in Tegucigalpa, and illegal impediment of ingress and egress to and from the embassy, where legitimate President Manuel Zelaya and at least 85 aides, supporters and some members of the news media are sheltered, the UN Security Council has concluded that said harassment i s real and it is ongoing.

If the coup regime believed that its use of chemical and sonic devices would render its attacks less visible, it has already lost that gamble.

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Housman’s Radical Books, London – Events Newsletter for October 2009



1. Housmans Peace Diary 2010

2. Peace House 50th Birthday Celebrations

3. Request for a volunteer electrician


4. ‘Black Shoes’ by Michael Obiora
Saturday 3rd October – 5pm till 6.30pm

5. ‘Payback ’ with Rosemary Hayes
Saturday 10th October – 5pm till 6.30pm

6. Five Issues presents:
‘Necropolis: rehearsing Koltes in such times’
A play by Kolkata Campus
Wednesday 14th October – 7pm till 8.30pm

R.A.G. Issue Launch & Colin Ward film screening
Friday 23rd October – 7pm till late

8. Zed Books present:
‘Lugo: The Priest of Paraguay’ with Hugh O’Shaughnessy
Saturday 31st October – 5pm till 6.30pm

9. Forthcoming Events


10. ‘Waiting For The Etonians’ by Nick Cohen

11. ‘Demanding The Impossible’ by Peter H. Marshall

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Video: The siege of Tegucigalpa

Repression ordered to the neighborhoods of the Honduran capital, forcing the poor to fight or starve

As the anti-coup resistance approaches 90 consecutive days of civil disobedience, it counts itself a new international ally. The government of Brazil has replaced the United States as international organizer in bringing down the coup government of Roberto Micheletti. The Real News gets an update on the situation in the capital from independent journalist Sandra Cuffe, and a fresh analysis from Al Giordano.

Produced by: Jesse Freeston

Al Giordano is an investigative journalist based in Chiapas, Mexico. He has spent most of the summer of 2009 reporting from post-coup Honduras. He is originally from the Bronx, New York. Since 2000 he has been the publisher of Narco News, which reports mainly on the US War on Drugs effects on the people of Mexico and Central America. He is also the founder of the School for Authentic Journalism and writes a blog called The Field which focuses on US politics.

Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada. She contributes regularly to The Dominion magazine in Canada, and Latin American political newsletter, Upside Down World.

You can find her photos from Honduras at:

US, NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History By Rick Rozoff

24 September, 2009 — Stop NATO

Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.

The number, based on as yet unsubstantiated reports of what U.S. and NATO commander Stanley McChrystal and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have demanded of the White House, range from 10,000 to 45,000.

Fox News has cited figures as high as 45,000 more American soldiers and ABC News as many as 40,000. On September 15 the Christian Science Monitor wrote of ‘perhaps as many as 45,000.’

The similarity of the estimates indicate that a number has been agreed upon and America’s obedient media is preparing domestic audiences for the possibility of the largest escalation of foreign armed forces in Afghanistan’s history. Only seven years ago the United States had 5,000 troops in the country, but was scheduled to have 68,000 by December even before the reports of new deployments surfaced.

An additional 45,000 troops would bring the U.S. total to 113,000. There are also 35,000 troops from some 50 other nations serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the nation, which would raise combined troop strength under McChrystal’s command to 148,000 if the larger number of rumored increases materializes.

As the former Soviet Union withdrew its soldiers from Afghanistan twenty years ago the New York Times reported ‘At the height of the Soviet commitment, according to Western intelligence estimates, there were 115,000 troops deployed.’ [1]

Nearly 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan would represent the largest foreign military presence ever in the land.

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Healthcare Revolution That is Second to None By Netfa Freeman

22 September, 2009 — Black Agenda Report


The U.S. health care jungle fares badly when compared to health care systems in other wealthy, capitalist countries. However, even western Europe and Canada can learn a great deal from the examples of Cuba and Venezuela, where health care is a human and constitutional right and the wellbeing of the people is central to the national mission. Now, that’s real socialized medicine.

‘Instead of closing public hospitals, as is happening across the US, Cuba and Venezuela are building them.’

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Caster Semenya: An Unlikely Challenger of Sexual Binary and Beauty Images By Jamala Rogers

24 September, 2009 — The BlackCommentator

The South African runner made international headlines when she won the 800 meters in a record-breaking 1 minute 55.45 seconds. Caster Semenya’s victory was eclipsed by claims that she was really a male and therefore had an advantage over her female competitors. Accusations of jealousy quickly came from family and friends; charges of racism came from the South African government. Both camps were unified that had Caster lost the race, her sexuality would not have become an issue.

Sarcastic and contemptuous comments have been made by Semenya’s competitors about her looks. The Young Communist League of South Africa defended her African features and urged resistance of the stereotypical beauty image of women that is ‘perpetuated by backward Eurocentric definition of beauty.’

Semenya’s record win led to gender tests by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The medical report allegedly concluded that Semenya is a hermaphrodite meaning that she has both male and female organs. The male organs are producing the large amount of testosterone responsible for Semenya’s deep voice and muscular build. It came as no surprise that the test results were leaked before Caster could be given the news directly.

The young athlete who once extolled ‘I am who I am and I’m proud of myself’ has now been reported to be under a suicide watch. She is said to be receiving non-stop trauma counseling at the University of Pretoria.

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The Real News Network – Zelaya's return to Honduras met with force

23 September, 2009

Ousted president makes surprise return to the capital, coup government responds with vicious crackdown

Eighty-six days after he was summarily kidnapped and forced out of the country by the military, and on his third attempt to return, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya appeared at the Brazilian embassy in the capital city of Tegucigalpa on Monday morning. Hondurans flooded into the streets to support his return, to which the coup regime responded by instituting a curfew. When thousands of Hondurans refused to adhere to return to their homes, the regime resorted to brute force. Produced by Jesse Freeston.

Óscar Estrada is a filmmaker and radio producer from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. He works with the organization Arte Acción, and has written several screenplays for narrative films and documentaries. Oscar splits his time between Honduras and the U.S., where he is an associate producer for May I Speak Freely Media, a project that produces media on human rights issues in Honduras. You can find Óscar’s updates on the Honduran coup on Adrienne Pine’s website:
Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada. She contributes regularly to The Dominion magazine in Canada, and Latin American political newsletter, Upside Down World.You can find her photos from Honduras at:

YES MEN HONCHO SPRUNG FROM CLINK: "Balls Across America" direct-action campaign launched

24 September, 2009

NYPD abuse of authority big factor in arrest

Andy Bichlbaum, co-founder of activist group the Yes Men, emerged after 26 hours in New York City’s central lockup with all charges against him dismissed.[1]

“The judge just laughed,” said Bichlbaum. “The police had a less well-developed sense of humor – and, it turned out, much less regard for the law. But all in all, I’m ecstatic that they arrested me.”

At 10am Tuesday, Bichlbaum was arrested and charged with trespassing, after he and 21 “Survivaballs” [2] gathered on New York City’s East River and announced they were to going to “take the UN by storm” from the water, since all the land approaches were sealed. Once at the UN, they would supposedly use the Survivaballs to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until they’d agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has demanded.[3]

The event was a “scenic and mediagenic way to call attention to what our leaders need to do in the run-up to Copenhagen,” said Bichlbaum. [4] It was also the official inauguration of the Yes Men’s “Balls Across America” series of civil disobedience actions, inspired by the call for direct action on climate change by website

Minutes after the balls began wading into the water, law enforcement swooped in on the protesters by land, sea, and air. In order not to harm their attackers, the balls admitted defeat and waddled out of the water and off the beach. Seven participants were given tickets for trespassing, and one – ringleader Bichlbaum – was whisked away to “the Tombs,” New York’s central processing facility at 100 Centre Street, due to an unpaid ticket for bicycle riding through Washington Square Park.

Bichlbaum’s arrest led to hilarious prime-time coverage on CNN.[5] Continue reading