Thursday, September 9, 2010

Zapatista Communities: We Are Here, We Resist

Native peoples of the New World, even as they fell to disease and cultural onslaught, have fiercely resisted the colonial invader since 1492. In the case of the Zapatistas and their struggle against the loss of indigenous territory and indigenous culture, this resistance takes many forms, changing tactics with the times. The type of resistance varies according to the nature of the threat—armed resistance, passive resistance, vocal resistance, silent resistance. The very ability of the rural indigenous farmer—the campesino—to cultivate rocky hillsides while military helicopters circle above and troops stand just across the river awaiting orders to invade—a common scenario in Chiapas—is one type of hardened, passive resistance. In this sense, resistance has become the very soil in which native cultures grow.

Santos de La Cruz Carillo, a Wixarika (Huichol) lawyer from the state of Durango, and a delegate to Mexico's National Indigenous Congress, says:

What does resistance mean? Resistance means to defend what belongs to us as indigenous people: territory, resources, culture. If, among our peoples, we didn't have resistance, we would no longer exist as peoples. Thanks to our resistance, we have maintained our cultures.

For the Zapatista communities, resistance means rejecting handouts from the “malgobierno,” the bad government, and from any other national or international agency whose intention is not to build local self-sufficiency but to undermine it through paternalism, clientism, charity, or other forms of low-intensity warfare. This rejection is the “no” in the Zapatista slogan, “one no and many yeses.” Of course, for a people living at the margins of the capitalist economy, on poor soils and with only the most basic resources, this kind of resistance is accompanied by hunger, thirst, illness, and want. For the Zapatista communities, the decision to resist is a daily one, made next to a cold stove in an empty kitchen on yet another day without beans, let alone meat, or vegetables, or sugar.

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LA: Rampart Police Murder Manuel Jamines, the Community Rebels

Manuel Jamines, 37 year old indigenous man from Guatemala, murdered by Rampart police September 5, 2010.

The actions start on September 6th 2010.

People from the community storming the Rampart Police Station.

Pirate Bay down, police raids across Europe

UPDATE, 15:11 GMT: Site currently unavailable again.

UPDATE, 14:02 GMT: Pirate Bay site now back online in UK, though torrent trackers appear not to be working. Further news as soon as it's available.

Torrent-tracking site The Pirate Bay is currently unavailable as reports come in of co-ordinated police raids against file sharers across Europe.

Police in up to 14 countries carried out raids against suspected file-sharing servers this morning.

According to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, the bulk of police action seems to have taken place in Sweden.

Swedish Internet service provider ISP, which hosts both The Pirate Bay and whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, earlier denied rumours of a police raid, saying that officers had visited them to ask questions over two suspect IP addresses, and that no computers or other goods had been seized.

Swedish Prosecutor Frederick Ingblad confirmed to Swedish newspaper Expressen that WikiLeaks was not involved in the current action.

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Nuremberg is valid precedent for Iraq trials

By Dr Cesar Chelala, Gulf Times

Recently in Dublin, anti-war protesters threw eggs and shoes at Tony Blair. During a TV interview, he showed a flash of exasperation when asked to explain why people thought that he was a war criminal. His annoyance at the question is little consolation for the thousands of families who lost loved ones during that illegal war. Blair should be tried under principles established for the Nuremberg trials, together with former president George W Bush and his advisers who orchestrated the Iraq war.

The Nuremberg Principles, a set of guidelines established after World War II to try Nazi party members, were developed to determine what constitutes a war crime. Those principles could also be applied today, when judging the conditions that led to the Iraq war and in the process to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, many of them children, and to the devastation of a country's infrastructure.

In January of 2003, a group of US law professors warned president George W Bush that he and senior officials of his government could be prosecuted for war crimes if military tactics violated international humanitarian law. The group, led by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, sent similar warnings to British prime minister Tony Blair and to Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien.

Although the US is not part of the International Criminal Court (ICC), American officials could be prosecuted in other countries under the Geneva Convention principles, indicated Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Ratner likened the situation to the attempted prosecution by a Spanish magistrate, Baltazar Garzon, of the Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was held under house arrest in London.

Both former president George W Bush and senior officials in his government, as well as Tony Blair, could be tried for being responsible for torture and other war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. In addition, they could also be tried for violation of fundamental Nuremberg principles. In 2007, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC's chief prosecutor, told The Sunday Telegraph that he could envisage a scenario in which both Blair and then George W Bush could face charges at The Hague.

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Former MP in bid to prosecute Blair for war crimes

Former SNP MP Jim Sillars has launched a legal bid to prosecute Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes in Iraq under Scots law.

In a 10,000 word dossier delivered to Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, Mr Sillars submits that Tony Blair should be held to account for conspiring to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime and for starting the war in Iraq, both contrary to international law.

A previous attempt to raise a similar action in England failed because lawyers argued that it was not the place to deal with international law.

But Sillars claims Scottish courts have the power to try Blair for war crimes if they believe an established offence, such as murder, has been committed in the process. He said he had been told by legal experts that the Prime Minister has a case to answer.

Sillars said: "There can be no prosecution at the international criminal court because it doesn't have jurisdiction.

"There is no chance of a special court being established by the United Nations because Britain and the United States have the veto at the Security Council. There is no chance of a prosecution in England and Wales.

"But of course Scots law is an entirely different entity, an entirely different jurisdiction with different rules, procedures and instruments available to it."

And he warned: "The Lord Advocate would have to give a very good explanation why, with the evidence presented, she didn't instigate an investigation, because we have jurisdiction."

A Crown Office spokesman said: "We confirm receipt of correspondence from Jim Sillars. A response will be issued in due course."

~ WarIsACrime.Org ~

See also: British Attorney General Prosecute Blair For War Crimes

49 servers shut in Euro police raid on online piracy network

Police shut down 49 servers and detained 10 people in a Europe-wide raid in 13 countries against an online film pirating network, the Belgian prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

The operation, organised after a two-year investigation by Belgian police, was aimed at "groups pirating films and TV series in Dutch or international productions sub-titled in that language."

The raids on Tuesday night, coordinated by Belgian police and European authorities, hit Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Britain, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary, said spokesman Jean-Marc Meilleur.

He said police searched 57 high-capacity servers managed by four big release, or distribution, groups that together account for 80 percent of all new Dutch films downloaded illegally.

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Anti-Israel economic boycotts are gaining speed

The entire week was marked by boycotts. It began with a few dozen theater people boycotting the new culture center in Ariel, and continued with a group of authors and artists publishing a statement of support on behalf of those theater people. Then a group of 150 lecturers from various universities announced they would not teach at Ariel College or take part in any cultural events in the territories. Naturally, all that spurred a flurry of responses, including threats of counter-sanctions.

That was all at the local level. There's another boycott, an international one, that's gaining momentum - an economic boycott. Last week the Chilean parliament decided to adopt the boycott of Israeli products made in the settlements, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, which imposed a boycott on such products several months ago.

In September 2009, Norway's finance minister announced that a major government pension fund was selling its shares in Elbit Systems because of that company's role in building the separation fence. In March, a major Swedish investment fund said it would eschew Elbit Systems shares on the same grounds. Last month the Norwegian pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus because of their involvement in constructing settlements in the occupied territories.

The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge.

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WWII-era mass grave discovered in Slovenia

The bodies of about 700 people killed in the wake of World War II have been discovered in a mass grave in Slovenia, 65 years after they were herded into the woods and slain by antifascists seeking revenge on Nazi collaborators, an official said Tuesday.

Marko Strovs, who heads the government's commission for exhuming mass graves, told The Associated Press that researchers examined a pit in a forest near the town of Prevalje in the country's northeast last week and found the remains.

"Based on what we've heard from local people and what we've seen so far, there could be about 700 bodies buried inside," Strovs said.

Thousands of Nazi collaborators were executed by communist-backed antifascists after the war; in many cases, victims also included innocent civilians. Communist authorities in the former Yugoslavia, which included Slovenia until it dissolved in 1991, played down or denied postwar slayings, though other mass graves have since been found.

Strovs said the 21-meter (70-foot)-long by 3-meter (10-feet)-wide pit contains the bodies of men and women. Initial findings are that their hands were tied behind their backs.

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Spy Museum adds another former spy to staff in DC

The International Spy Museum in Washington has recruited an ex-spy as its new historian.

The museum said Monday that Mark Stout would become historian after spending 13 years in intelligence. He is the museum's first research chief with an intelligence background.

Stout worked at the CIA and the State Department in intelligence and at the Defense Department. He is earning a doctorate in history and holds degrees in political science, mathematics and public policy.

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END:CIV - Resist or Die

END:CIV is a film that examines our culture’s addiction to systematic violence and environmental exploitation, and probes the resulting epidemic of poisoned landscapes and shell-shocked nations. Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: "If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?" END:CIV is currently in production.

When ‘Scholars’ become Pawns of The Propagandists

By Shahid R. Siddiqi, Axis of Logic

Among those who lay claim to scholarship, yet instead of being objective in their analysis they openly promote bias, readily lend their pen to support vested interests and put their 'scholarly stamp of approval' on false propaganda to lend credibility, Mr. Selig Harrison immediately comes to mind.

At times in league with the Indian propagandists, and finding a willing partner in New York Times where his articles generally find space – he engages in smear campaign against Pakistan. In this, his ability of crystal ball gazing comes handy too.

In 2006, Mr. Harrison, who styles himself as a specialist on Balochistan, saw in his crystal ball the success of Baloch insurgency movements which he reported in his articles in the New York Times and the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique. He predicted that the world would soon see a Free Balochistan, an entity that would also include the Iranian Balochistan & Sistan province. Promoting a Pentagon dream authored by a retired Col. Ralph Peter in his treatise 'Blood Borders', Mr. Harrison also predicted that Sindhis will join hands with the Balochis.

Gilgit Baltistan

While he awaits that dream to come true, Mr. Harrison chose this time to adopt the script of the Indian propagandists about Pakistan's Northern Areas, now called Gilgit Baltistan. If in the process he made some gross misstatements, it is another matter. In his piece in the New York Times of August 26, captioned 'China's Discreet Hold on Pakistan's Northern Borderlands', Mr. Harrison claimed that: “A quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China”. He went on to state that the Chinese had deployed 7,000-11,000 troops in the area.

During his crystal ball gazing, Mr. Harrison rightly saw some Chinese faces in the Gilgit Baltistan region. But he made two errors: he counted their numbers wrong and he mistook the coveralls of the Chinese workers for military uniforms. They were neither 7,000 to 11,000 in number nor were they troops of the People's Liberation Army. In fact, they were either humanitarian team members sent by the Chinese Government at Pakistan's request to help in rescue and relief work for 25,000 people stranded after recent heavy floods and landslides, or they were construction workers engaged in the repair of Karakoram Highway and undertaking communication infrastructure projects along with Pakistani counterparts, under government to government arrangement.

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NJ Watchdog Sues State Over Carbom Auction “Secrets”

New Jersey Watchdog's battle over the "secret" records of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's cap-and-trade auctions will be waged in a Trenton courtroom.

Investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist filed suit against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in Mercer County Superior Court for "wrongfully and knowingly" denying access.  Under the state Open Public Records Act (OPRA), Lagerkvist is asking the court to order NJDEP to release documents showing who bought what at RGGI's auctions of carbon dioxide emission allowances.

In its first eight auctions, RGGI sold $662 million in CO-2 allowances, including $72 million in New Jersey permits.  Those costs are eventually passed along to consumers in higher electric rates.

At the auctions, utilities competed with speculators and financial heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lunch and JPMorgan Chase, as reported by New Jersey Watchdog last month in an investigative report – "The Secrets Ten States & Wall Street Don't Want You to Know." Authorities have refused to identify auction winners and how many permits each purchased.

New Jersey Watchdog initially sought the records from RGGI, but the New York-based regional non-profit cooperative contends it is not a public agency subject to OPRA.  The next request went to NJDEP, the agency that supervises New Jersey's participation in RGGI.

NJDEP claims it does not have the requested recordsdespite regulations mandating the agency to approve auction results, issue permits to winning bidders and oversee the allowance tracking system.

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Bee decline already having dramatic effect on pollination of plants

Researchers have found that pollination levels of some plants have dropped by up to 50 per cent in the last two decades.

The "pollination deficit" could see a dramatic reduction in the yield from crops.

The research, carried out in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, is the first to show that the effect is real and serves as a "warning" to Britain which if anything has seen an even greater decline in bees and pollinators.

"This serves as a warning to other countries," said Professor James Thomson at the University of Toronto, who carried out the research.

"For quite some time people have been suggesting that pollinators are in decline and that this could have an effect on pollination.

"I believe that this is the first real demonstration that pollination levels are getting worse. I believe it is a significant decline. I believe the pollination levels have dropped by as much as 50 per cent.

"Bee numbers may have declined at our research site, but we suspect that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor."

According to a previous study, England's bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of hives dying out over the last 20 years.

Butterflies and other insects are also in decline due to habitat loss and climate change.

The situation is so serious that the government has launched a £10 million project to find out what is causing bees and other insects to disappear.

~ more... ~


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