Monday, 30 November 2009

Iraqi resistance hits US forces

AN IRAQI resistance group has released brief video footage of one of its latest rocket attacks on American occupying forces.

A report on the War in Iraq website said fighters from the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades first shelled US headquarters at the al Bakr air base with two rockets, scoring a direct hit.

In a second operation they shelled American occupation headquarters in northern Baghdad with two rockets, also hitting the target.

And thirdly they said they destroyed a "carrier of American occupation forces" with an IED in western Baghdad.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Northern England on recession riot alert

SOCIAL unrest could flare up in Yorkshire, UK, unless the problem of youth unemployment is tackled, the boss of a major quango has warned.

Regional newspaper The Star reported on November 28 that Tom Riordan, the chief executive of business organisation Yorkshire Forward, warned MPs the number of young people out of work is a "huge risk" to the region.

He said "one of the biggest risks" is that youth unemployment could spark social unrest.

Added the report: "His blunt warning will raise the spectre of the riots which broke out in 1981 – a time of recession and rising unemployment – in Liverpool and Brixton.

"There were 49,600 people under 25 claiming jobseeker's allowance according to the latest figures."

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Anti-WTO riots erupt in Geneva

RIOTS erupted in Geneva on Saturday during massive and angry protests against the World Trade Organisation meeting being held there from Monday.

Black Bloc anarchists smashed windows of banks and other capitalist premises and set fire to cars.

Said a report on Indymedia: "Police used tear gas, concussion greandes and water cannon. Further protests are scheduled with the WTO meeting starting on Monday 30th November, ten years exactly since the famous Seattle WTO protests."

According to the Associated Press, Eric Grandjean, a police spokesman, said Black Bloc protesters threw fire bombs at police from the march.

"They also damaged 12 businesses, including a bank at Place Bel-Air and a jewellery shop and a hotel on the Quai des Bergues," he added.

A BBC report, which includes a video, helpfully explained that the protest was being staged because of the arrival in town of the WTO "which protesters say works on behalf of big business and exploits the developing world".

Swiss paper Le Matin has a gallery of photos on its website. The protest involved 4,000 to 5,000 people.

NATO forces rocked by scandal

SCANDALS relating to the war in Afghanistan are rocking key NATO countries.

The current situation, with morale spiralling down to disastrous levels, was usefully summarised by the Canadian blog RedBedHead on November 27.

It wrote: "Canada's role in facilitating the torture of suspects - many of them likely innocent - has become a central public issue here. In Britain the revelation that MI6 supported torture against British citizens in Pakistan has become a major issue. And, now in Germany, where anti-war sentiment is very high, the prosecution of the war is causing deep political damage.

"Today the Labour Minister, formerly Defense Minister, Franz Josef Jung was forced to sign his own walking papers after it was revealed by the tabloid Bild that he knew about the killing of numerous civilians resulting from a Kunduz airstrike in September.

"The German army called in NATO fighters to bomb two fuel tankers that had been seized by the Taliban, even though there were numerous civilians taking advantage of the free fuel being provided to them.

"Jung had originally stated that he didn't know there were civilians killed but it has since been discovered that he was told on the day that the bombing took place and that he received a top secret video showing that the carnage included children.

"The German military's chief of staff in Afghanistan has also been a casualty of this cover-up, resigning earlier this week.

"Germany, which has 4,250 troops in Afghanistan has faced significant opposition at home to the deployment. This will, hopefully, further weaken the hand of the government to keep its troops there.

"All of these scandals are simply proof that the occupation of Afghanistan is a criminal operation that involves dehumanizing the locals to the point that bombing civilians, including children, is seen as nothing more than potential bad press that needs to be covered up. Same for torture, as we're seeing so vividly here in Canada. It's time to stop the killing by bringing the troops home."

Friday, 27 November 2009

New repression in Honduras

A NEW raft of repressive measures has been unleashed on the population of Honduras in the run-up to the phoney elections being staged by the military coup regime on Sunday.

The Narco News website has published what it terms the 'greatest hits' from this week’s barrage of decrees.

Decree PCM-M-029-2009

“Due to growing internal threats,” the Armed Forces will be deployed, in support of the National Police, to guard polling places, the custody and transport of ballots (before and after they are utilized by voters), and 5,000 members of the military reserve were deputized beginning on November 13.

Decree PCM-M-030-2009

This decree declares a “State of Emergency” nationwide, and places the regime’s “Secretary of State” inside the military command to oversee all activities related to the November 29 “elections.” This decree pretty much erases the previous order that the quasi-independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal would exclusively be in command of the Armed Forces in the month prior to the “election.” In other words, not even the window dressing added to give the vote a gloss of pseudo-independence could be tolerated by regime leader Roberto Micheletti, who has now placed a member of his Simian Council at that helm.

Decree PCM-M-031-2009

The November 29 “elections are under threat by groups that try to block their development with threats of all kinds, creating fear and disorder in the general population.” Therefore, says the decree, a nationwide ban on bearing all types of firearms went into effect on Monday, November 23, “until ordered otherwise.” (Memo to self: Make sure to write the National Rifle Association about Senator Jim DeMint's efforts in Honduras.)

Order number 2169-2009 of the Secretary of Government and Justice

“The conduct of Mr. José Andrés Tamayo Cortez is incongruent with constituional precepts and secondary laws of the Honduran State… that justify his characterization as UNWORTHY to have Honduran nationality and is ordered to be expelled to his country of origin.”

Executive Order 124-2009 authorizes the coup regime's media regulating organization CONATEL to close any media at will.

Narco News gave this message to the regime: "Dear Mr. Micheletti, members of his Simian Council, and all who back his anti-democracy coup: Have fun with your mock “elections” on Sunday.

"The only thing more interesting than the week to come – and there still may be some big surprises about to unfold from the ground level – is going to be the week afterward, as you enter your next squalid series of tantrums upon the realization that not even your own populace believes that your “election” was legitimate or worthy of respect. Your game of electoral make-believe will resolve nothing."

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Danish cops declare war on legal advice

DANISH police have warned climate change protesters not to publish legal advice in the run-up to the big international demonstrations in Copenhagen in December.

The Copenhagen Post reports that Mogens Lauridsen, deputy chief superintendent of Copenhagen Police, has condemned advice for protestors published on the internet, declaring: "These recommendations are aimed at people with a criminal agenda".

Explained an article on Indymedia: "The advice for protestors includes an explanation of laws which the police may use against them as well as their legal rights under Danish law.

"Such legal guides are often published ahead of protests to inform demonstrators of the risks they may face and advice about how police may act towards them - during protests and if they are arrested. They are of particular relevance where protestors are coming from other countries where laws and police procedures differ.

"The Danish police force, like all police forces, does not have an unblemished record when it comes to the treatment of protestors.

"Recently a letter signed by members of several British NGOs including Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Debt Campaign and Christian Aid was sent to the Danish embassy (and published in the Guardian) highlighting concerns over the curtailing of legitimate protest around the Copenhagen climate summit after new repressive public order legislation was proposed. The legislation proposed includes an extension of pre-emptive detention from 6 hours to 12 hours.

"National differences in public order laws also led a mainstream NGO coalition to ask for clarification over whether its members wearing panda costumes would be arrested on the streets of Copenhagen, since in Denmark the wearing of masks (or even the assumed intention to wear a mask) can be an arrestable offence.

"The people from around the world planning to protest at the Cop15 climate summit deserve to know how the police may treat them, and no civilised society should object to such information being published."

Police chief Lauridsen was quoted as saying: "If you haven’t done anything wrong then there’s no problem informing us what you’re doing in Denmark and why you’re here.".

But, as an Indymedia user comments: "So much for 'freedom and democracy!' If you haven't done anything wrong, it's no business of the police as to why you're in Denmark, or what you're doing."

British police 'abusing their powers'

DISPLAYS of force by police in riot gear threaten to undermine the very basis of the 'British model of policing by consent', a major report warned on November 25.

The policing of events like the G20 protests in London in April and the demonstrations at Kingsnorth power station in Kent have exposed poor leadership, widely varying tactics and a widespread misunderstanding of the rights of protesters, it said.

Denis O'Connor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said: "British police risk losing the battle for the public's consent if they win public order through tactics that appear to be unfair, aggressive or inconsistent," he said.

The Times reported that his findings showed some police forces trained officers in using riot shields to attack people, police abused their powers of stop and search and photographing of demonstrators and they often did not understand the law on the right to protest and the extent of police powers;

In the place of political leadership, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) had developed more and more policy making and operational roles without having to answer to the public in any forum, said Mr O'Connor.

The report said Acpo's roles in gathering intelligence on "domestic extremism" was not compatible with its current status as a private limited company.

"If Acpo is to be responsible for providing operational support and policy for the police service, it must have transparent governance and accountability structures."

Monday, 23 November 2009

'Wear black and rise up!'

WEAR black, take to the streets and rise up in memory of the men, women and children killed in the Israeli onslaught in Gaza a year ago.

That's the message from anti-militarist direct action group Smash EDO! as it launches details of its next big protest on Monday January 18.

Its activists have been campaigning for several years against a factory in Brighton, Sussex, UK, which supplies weapons parts to the military machine, including the Israelis.

Said the group this week on its website:
"For three weeks in January 2009, the bombs rained down on Gaza. At the end of Israel's brutal bombing campaign and ground offensive over 1400 Palestinians had been murdered, including 314 children.

"Here in Brighton EDO MBM/ITT manufacture some of the weapons components that devastated so many lives. All over the world thousands of people watched appalled at the carnage on the streets of Gaza. Thousands marched and raged at the destruction of peoples' homes and lives. On January 18th 2010, the anniversary of the final day of Operation Cast Lead, we will come together to remember the people of Gaza.

"We will not allow those who supported their pain and profited from their suffering to go unchallenged. We will not let this genocide be forgotten. On the first anniversary after their deaths, we will rise up. We will take to the streets. We will remember...

"Assemble at 1pm, wear black...

"More details, including the meeting place, will be published here closer to the date."

Sunday, 22 November 2009

British army chiefs attack USA

AN ASTONISHING attack on American arrogance by angry British military chiefs has been revealed in a newspaper report based on leaked secret documents.

While British political leaders are generally groomed to obey orders from Washington and keep their mouths shut, outraged army commanders have let the cat out of the bag regarding the one-sided balance of the 'special relationship'.

The report in The Daily Telegraph, on Monday November 23 refers to "deep hostiltity" towards the Americans among top British soldiers.

It quotes the British chief of staff in Iraq, Colonel J.K.Tanner, who served as chief of staff to General Stewart and of the entire British division during Operation Telic 3, from November 2003 to May 2004 as saying: “The whole system was appalling. We experienced real difficulty in dealing with American military and civilian organisations who, partly through arrogance and partly through bureaucracy, dictate that there is only one way: the American way.

“I now realise that I am a European, not an American. We managed to get on better…with our European partners and at times with the Arabs than with the Americans. Europeans chat to each other, whereas dialogue is alien to the US military… dealing with them corporately is akin to dealing with a group of Martians."

Col Tanner’s boss, the top British commander in the country, Major General Andrew Stewart, told how he spent “a significant amount of my time” “evading” and “refusing” orders from his US superiors.

At least once, say the documents, General Stewart’s refusal to obey an order resulted in Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir David Manning, being summoned to the State Department for a diplomatic reprimand - of the kind more often delivered to “rogue states” such as Zimbabwe or the Sudan.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Philippines 'could become another Afghanistan for USA'

PHILIPPINE revolutionaries are warning that their country could become another Afghanistan for the USA.

As US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a two-day visit, the National Democratic Front-Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) reiterated the demand of the Filipino people for the US government to immediately pull-out the US Pacific Command's 600-strong Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP) from Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines.

Should the US refuse and instead continue heightening its military intervention and escalate its participation in counter-guerrilla operations, Mindanao and the entire Philippines could become another Afghanistan, Iraq or Vietnam where its forces will be caught in a spiral of armed mass resistance, warned the rebels.

Said Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos, spokesman for the NDF-Mindanao, in a statement posted on the Fightbacknews website: "Despite persistent denials of Philippine and US officials, there is clear proof that US soldiers have been participating in counter-guerrilla operations jointly with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines.

"However, US military officials have been more forthright in bragging about the participation of American soldiers in operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayaff.

"This year, US military elements were documented to have had an active role along with AFP regular troops in four separate operations in the town of Quezon, and the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia in Bukidnon province. American soldiers penetrated local villages in search of local guerrilla units of the New People's Army (NPA). Since 2002, American troops have also been sighted in other parts of Mindanao, as well as in Samar, Panay, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.

"The NDF-Mindanao would like to warn Ms. Clinton that in participating in local counter-guerilla operations, US forces are bound to suffer a bigger number of casualties. Last September, at least two American soldiers were killed when ambushed in Indanan, Sulu by local armed groups. Earlier this year, an American soldier was wounded in Bicol when the AFP unit he was embedded in was ambushed by NPA Red fighters.

"Highlighting Ms. Clinton’s visit, the NPA has launched series of tactical offensives and sanctions across Mindanao as one way of underscoring the demand of the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces for the Obama government to immediately withdraw all its forces from the country and to end its interventionist policy.

"The NDF-Mindanao denounces the publicity gimmick of Ms. Clinton in her plan to have her picture taken with the victims of recent supertyphoons that left thousands homeless and more impoverished then before. This is hypocrisy of the highest sort!

"It is a historical fact that US logging and mining companies and big agribusiness corporations have been the biggest plunderers of Philippine natural resources and pollutants of the environment. The destruction that they have caused and continue to cause is the single-biggest cause of landslides, flooding and ecological imbalance. They are among the biggest landgrabbers that have displaced millions of peasants and indigenous peoples in Mindanao and the entire country.

"The US government is overlooking the responsibility of US monopoly corporations over the destruction of the Philippine environment. If Ms. Clinton and the Obama government were any sincere in the Filipino people's plight over the continued environmental degradation, they would compel logging and mining concessions and big agribusiness corporations, especially those which are directly-owned or are in partnership with US-based companies, to immediately stop their operations.

"Instead, the US brazenly took advantage of the calamities by deploying American troops for so-called humanitarian operations which only serve to mask US imperialism's military interventionism."

Police station firebombed in Brussels

RIOTS broke out in Belgium on Friday night, November 20, over the brutal and racist treatment of prisoners by police.

A report on RTL info
said youngsters had firebombed and damaged the main police station in the Anderlecht area of Brussels, having spread the word by text message.

The crowds also broke car windows and smashed up phone boxes and the state is expected to flood the area with extra police all weekend.

Anger erupted over reports of police maltreatment of prisoners at the nearby Forest jail earlier this year, during a strike by the usual wardens. A prison watchdog has reporrted instances of torture, degrading treatment and islamophobic insults.

7s7 Belgique reported that groups of rioters had met up around the Place de la Vaillance and near the Aumale metro station, before splitting up and reforming elsewhere.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Riots break out across France

RIOTS erupted in cities across France this week, with cars torched and a supermarket looted.

The outbreak was sparked by the Algerian football team's success in beating Egypt to qualify for next year's World Cup, but reflects a simmering anger in French society that is never far from the surface.

Said a report from AFP on November 19: "France has a large community of Algerian origin and about 12,000 of them turned out on the Champs Elysees in Paris to fete their team's win.

"Police intervened when some revellers began throwing bottles and other projectiles and smashing shop windows, a police spokesman said.

"Similar violent scenes took place in Marseille in the south, Lyon in the centre-east as well as in some northern towns, and youths set fire to around 150 vehicles in cities across the country.

"Trouble-makers burst into a supermarket in Vaulx-en-Velin in the Lyon suburbs and made off with electronic goods and telephones, police said.

"Six police officers were injured in the incidents."

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

US cops Taser ten-year-old

AMERICAN police used a Taser gun on a ten year old girl who had refused to take a shower, it has emerged.

Reported the Daily Telegraph on November 19:
"The officer had been called to the girl's home in Ozark, Arkansas, by her mother because she was behaving in an unruly manner and refusing to take a shower."

In a report on the incident the officer, Dustin Bradshaw, said the mother gave him permission to use the Taser.

When he arrived, the girl was curled up on the floor, screaming, and resisting as her mother tried to get her in the shower before bed.

"Her mother told me to take her if I needed to," the cop wrote.

The child was "violently kicking and verbally combative" when he tried to take her into custody and she kicked him in the groin.

He then delivered "a very brief drive stun to her back," the report said.

The local Police Chief Jim Noggle said no disciplinary action was taken against Bradshaw, but the girl will face disorderly conduct charges as a juvenile.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Greeks battle riot police in capital protest

IT'S started already - major clashes between Greek rebels and the state have taken place in Athens during an annual march to honor the 1973 anti-junta student revolt.

Said a report on the libcom website filed on Tuesday night, November 17: "The 36th anniversary of the Polytechnic Uprising against the colonels' junta has been marked by long and sustained battles with the police during which hundreds of people have been detained. At the time of writing all central Athens is off bounds.

"At the time of writing all central Athens is off-bounds and cordoned off by thousands of police forces as battles between protesters and police are developing after the end of the 36th anniversary march for the Polytechnic 1973 uprising and massacre.

"It was perhaps the most massive protest march commemorating the Polytechnic Uprising in the last 25 years. And despite guarantees from the government the presence of the police in the city of Athens was massive and provocative to the extend that the official organising bodies of the march refused to start their long way via the Parliament to the American Embassy (believed to be behind the 7 year fascist junta) if riot police forces did not withdraw.

"After 16:00 policemen arrested a young man claimed to be in possession of a molotov cocktail, while during the hours preceding the march a dozen of protesters en route to the Polytechneio were detained for carrying gas masks. Police blockades have sealed off large areas of the Athens centre and are all day conducting mass stop and search operations even in the remotest northern and western suburbs of the city."

Reported the Iranian TV station Press TV: "Students and adolescents were among the tens of thousands marching across the Greek capital, criticizing capitalism and NATO and calling for the legalization of undocumented migrants.

"Uniformed soldiers and sailors from the Greek military trade union marched behind a banner which read: “No soldiers beyond our borders. Dissolve NATO.”

"The protestors also called for the withdrawal of all US troops from Greece and the dismissal of certain police personnel, calling them traitors, murderers, and torturers."

Naxalite rebellion is 'anarchist'

INDIA'S Communist Party has joined the capitalist establishment in attacking the growing naxalite rebellion in the country.

Reported The Times of India: "CPM general secretary Prakash Karat on Friday said ultra-Left in India was nothing but part of Left-sectarian and anarchist trend.

"Stressing the need for 'political-idelogical exposure' of Maoists in India, Karat, however, cautioned the government not to treat them as terrorists and even admitted that they had struck a chord among tribals and a section of intelligentsia.

"Giving out a historical perspective on the growth of Maoists in India, Karat said wherever Left has grown, there has been Left-sectarian and anarchist trends. He cited Lenin saying how petty bourgeoisie was drawn to anarchism when it experienced horrors of capitalism."

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Greece: new tension ahead over police murder

GREEK rebels are preparing for another hot December of resistance, as some significant events loom up on the calendar.

"Before the cops’ trial however, there is the annual commemoration of the anti-dictatorial student uprising of November 17th, 1973. The ministry of public order (in its new doublespeak, ministry of “citizen protection”) is trying to keep the calm ahead of this date – and of course December 6th, the date of Alexis’ assassination, is not too far in the horizon."

The potential for unprecedented levels of insurrection in Greece in the weeks ahead has not gone unnoticed in the UK corporate media.

A hand-wringing liberal-leftist writing on The Guardian's website on November 15, and deploying the term 'terrorism' with notable frequency, said: "In a few weeks, Greece will commemorate the "December events", which began last year when a police officer killed a young boy in Exarhia, an area that's been described as a semi-ghetto of leftist dissidents and anarchists in the centre of Athens.

"Following this event, weeks of protests ensued and from there began a trajectory of decline on many levels of society, which ended with the fall of the undoubtedly inadequate government.

"Then, just three weeks on from the victorious election of a new government, and a wave of grassroots terrorism was making headlines. This was, apparently, unprecedented: it is said that never before had there been a substantial wave of terrorist activities during the honeymoon of a new government."

Irish army gears up for riots

THE IRISH state is preparing to use the army to suppress major civil unrest by spending a third of a million Euros on providing it with new riot gear.

Reported the Irish Independent on November 15: "The order, placed with Daniel Technologies of Dublin, includes protective knee and armpads, helmets and visors, while soldiers also have access to body armour, batons and shields. Enough material has been ordered to equip 500 soldiers.

"The equipment will be kept in barracks near locations where public order disturbances could break out. These are likely to include the Dail, the border and Shannon Airport. The last order for such equipment was in 2000.

"Tender documents show the order was for the 'supply of public order blunt trauma personnel protective equipment for use in public order, crowd and riot control operations at home and abroad'."

A Defence Forces spokesman was quoted as denying the army was being told to prepared for the proposed national strike on November 24.

A recent report from the IMF said Ireland was suffering the severest recession of any advanced economy.

It said the the country was in “the midst of an unprecedented economic correction” with losses at its banks predicted to swell to €35bn (£30bn) over the next two years.

“The stress exceeds that being faced currently by any other advanced economy and matches episodes of the most severe economic distress in post-World War II history,” the IMF said.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Wave of student resistance across Europe

A WAVE of student occupations against the latest neoliberal assault on education is sweeping across Europe.

Young people are waking up to the fact that "reforms" being brought in by their own local states are just part of an overall plan to commercialise universities - increasing fees and gearing them up to fulfill the narrow demands of business.

Said a report on the movement in Barcelona: "Under the auspices of the 'Bologna Process', a plan to homogenise European higher education, the Spanish state is enforcing a university reform that is threatening the public nature of education.

"The most detrimental aspects of this reform include the raising of tuition fees, making it increasingly difficult for working-class students to access higher education and increasing student debt, as well as facilitating the entry of private capital to the university, which threatens to change the priorities of the university’s education and research programmes.

"The ultimate goal of the reform is to strengthen links between universities and the capitalist market, moulding students for a precarious and unequal job market and rolling back public control over the key institutions of our society."

German Indymedia this week reported strikes in three Bavarian unis, plus occupations in Berlin, Mainz, Essen, Duisburg, Munster, Dresden, Schwenningen, Hamburg, Coburg, Tubingen, Aachen and Monchengladbach.

Said a report on the infoshop site, focusing on Austrian student resistance: "The Bologna process aims at extensive convergence with the Anglo-American education system. The goal is to enter competition in the global education market to strengthen its own economic position and increase research dependent revenues.

"Economization and competition logic are imposed on every level of the knowledge landscape."

A statement by students in Vienna issued this week demanded "education, not qualification!" It added: "We want education for all, to strive for a reasonable society, not just qualification according to economic profitability! Our aim is to enable all students to study independently and self-organized.

"We demand free access to higher education for everybody and the complete abolition of student fees."

Deadly strike against Pakistan secret police

INSURGENTS have struck a deadly blow against Pakistan's notorious secret police, the ISI, with a spectacular suicide car bomb attack on their offices in Peshawar on Friday morning.

Much of the three-story building belonging to Pakistan's national intelligence agency was destroyed, according to reports.

Said Radio France International: "At least five security personnel working at the provincial headquarters of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) were killed, according to officials, who put the overall death toll at ten. A second car bomb rammed into a suburban police station, killing three police officers."

The ISI has been at the forefront of the US-led campaign against the Taliban, who have increasingly operated inside Pakistan during the US occupation of neighbouring Afghanistan.

But there are also well documented links between ISI and Islamist insurgent groups, with the ISI often seen as the go-between linking western intelligence agencies and their enemies in the so-called War on Terror.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Political police raid dissidents' homes

BRITAIN'S political police have been accused of using "pure terrorisation" to try and crush dissent after brutal raids on the homes of animal rights activists in Hampshire and Worcestershire this week.

Campaigners from Fitwatch, which highlights police abuse of their powers in attacking dissdent groups, are linking the move to a damning series of articles in The Guardian which could force the police to carry-out a shake-up of their operations.

They said: "The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), and their sister organisation the National Domestic Extremist Team (NDET) are attempting to justify their existence by raiding and arresting four animal rights activists for conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

"NETCU and NDET are run by Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, will next month release the findings of his national review of policing of protests and has already signalled he anticipates wide scale change. His inspectors are considering a complete overhaul of the ACPO units, which they have been told lack statutory accountability.

"Wearing balaclavas, police officers from four different forces carried out the raids yesterday, smashing through doors and spending over ten hours searching two houses. Witnesses to one of the raids described the police as “intimidating” and “threatening”. "

Lynn Sawyer - a resident of one of the houses - who was not arrested stated “This was a massive fishing expedition to promote NETCU’s facade of effectiveness whilst attempting to stop protest through pure terrorisation.”

Apart from computers and mobile phones, the police were also apparently interested in financial documents, evidence of travel and association in support of animal rights extremism. Evidence of such extremism included banners, leaflets and a poster from VIVA, a well respected vegetarian/vegan organisation.

Fitwatch activist Emily Apple stated that “This was an entirely disproportionate policing operation undertaken by an increasingly desperate unit. The threatening nature of these raids and using items such as NGO posters and leaflets as evidence of extremism demonstrate NDET’s dubious definition of domestic extremism and their willingness to intimidate protesters and criminalise dissent.”

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Riot cops move against anti-monarchists

RIOT police were deployed to push back hundreds of anti-monarchist protesters during Prince Charles' visit to Montreal, Quebec, on Tuesday.

Reported CBC News: "The noisy protesters, mostly members of radical sovereigntist groups, chanted slogans against the monarchy. They also waved flags and placards reading, “Majesty go home.” Some of the protesters also threw eggs.

"The members of the separatist Société St-Jean Baptiste and the Réseau de Résistance du Québécois want an apology for what they say is the British monarchy's role in the alleged cultural genocide of francophones in North America over the last 400 years."

The report quoted one protester from the French-speaking province as saying: "I'm here to support democracy. I think a monarch is an obsolete institution, and it's not democratic.

"I'm here to speak in favour of democracy, republics and power to the people, not power to the monarchy."

West's secret links to al-Qaeda exposed

SECRET links between western intelligence networks and their so-called enemies are revealed in a fascinating article in the New Internationalist.

The author, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development and has writtten several books about the War on Terror.

He writes: "Islamist terrorism cannot be understood without acknowledging the extent to which its networks are being used by Western military intelligence services, both to control strategic energy resources and to counter their geopolitical rivals. Even now, nearly a decade after 9/11, covert sponsorship of al-Qaeda networks continues.

"If the ‘war on terror’ is to end, it won’t be won by fighting the next futile oil war. It will be won at home by holding the secretive structures of government to account and prosecuting officials for aiding and abetting terrorism – whether knowingly or by criminal negligence.

"Ultimately only this will rein in the ‘security’ agencies that foster the ‘enemy’ we are supposed to be fighting."

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Resistance steps up in Honduras

HONDURAN resistance fighters have responded to the trickery of the USA-backed military coup regime by launching an attack on a senior establishment figure.

Associated Press reported that gunmen ambushed a convoy carrying Honduras' top prosecutor Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi, though neither he nor his bodyguards were harmed.

After the right-wing military coup in June, it was Rubi who filed criminal charges against ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

The USA has widely been suspected of secretly being behind June's coup against a populist leader who had allied himself with Huge Chavez and the Latin American anti-imperialists.

On the surface, though, Washington had given the impression that it was working for the restoration of the democratically elected Zelaya, who has been under siege in the Brazilian embassy since being smuggled back into the country in September.

This culminated in a much-heralded "solution" to the crisis, which Zelaya rejected when it emerged it did not involve him returning to power as president or even any of his suppporters joining the cabinet.

Meanwhile, the chief US negotiator in producing the agreement in the capital Tegucigalpa, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon, clarified that Zelaya’s return to office is not a precondition for Washington recognizing an election on November 29 as legitimate. Rather, the mere signing of the accord legitimized the elections.

Reported the World Socialist Web Site on November 9: "This position was confirmed in the action of US Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who dropped his opposition to the Obama administration’s nomination of Arturo Valenzuela to become assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, replacing Shannon, who is to become US ambassador to Brazil.

"DeMint, a right-wing Republican and fervent backer of the Honduran coup regime, had held up the nominations as an act of protest against what he saw as the Obama administration’s support for Zelaya’s return to power.

"In announcing his shift on the nominations last Thursday, DeMint stated on the floor of the Senate that he was “happy to report the Obama administration has finally reversed its misguided Honduran policy and will fully recognize the November 29 election.

"DeMint continued, 'Secretary Clinton and Assistant Secretary Shannon have assured me that the US will recognize the outcome of the Honduran elections regardless of whether Manuel Zelaya is reinstated. I take our administration at their word that they will now side with the Honduran people and end their focus on the disgraced Zelaya'."

In the face of this betrayal, it is little wonder if the Honduran people are forced into armed resistance to the US-backed military regime.

Morale crisis in US army

AN AMERICAN military source has confirmed that morale in the US/UK military machine has plunged to crisis levels.

In an article entitled Mass Shooting Indicates Breakdown of Military, the US website truthout spoke with an army specialist who is an active-duty Iraq war veteran currently stationed at the
Fort Hood base, scene of this week's shooting (see previous blog).

The soldier is quoted as saying that the mood on the base is “very grim,” and that even before this incident, troop morale has been very low.

“I’d say it’s at an all-time low - mostly because of Afghanistan now,” he explained. “Nobody knows why we are at either place, and I believe the troops need to know why they are there, or we should pull out, and this is a unanimous feeling, even for folks who are pro-war.”

Fort Hood, located in central Texas, is the largest US military base in the world and contains up to 50,000 soldiers. It is one of the most heavily deployed bases to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Secrecy and corruption

ONE OF the few minor reforms brought in by New Labour in its early days in power has been ditched a few months before they probably hand over the reins to the Conservative Party.

Reported The Times on November 6: "Would-be judges will no longer have to declare if they are Freemasons, the Government said yesterday.

"The policy reversal was announced by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, after a threat of legal action forced a review. He said that it would be “disproportionate” to continue with the practice.

"The United Grand Lodge of England threatened legal action in May, prompted by a European Court of Human Rights decision. The judges ruled in an Italian case in 2007 that the requirement to disclose membership was a breach of the rights to privacy and freedom of association.

"It was Mr Straw who, as Home Secretary, introduced the policy in 1998 for police and judges. He announced that the Government would create a register of Freemasons working in the criminal justice system unless they were prepared to name themselves."

The ruling elite will always want to draw a curtain of secrecy around the details of their affiliations and private activities.

But the stark fact that the British legal and political system is thoroughly corrupt is no secret to any of us.

Friday, 6 November 2009

War machine imploding

WESTERN imperialism in central Asia looks closer to imploding today after two extremely serious incidents over the last few days.

First of all, on Tuesday, there was the Afghan policeman who shot dead five British soldiers at a military base.

And then on Thursday there was the US army psychiatrist, about to be deployed to Iraq, who allegedly shot dead 13 people and wounded 30 when he went on a rampage at Fort Hood military base in Texas.

It is not known whether there was any connection between the two, in that the US soldier may have been inspired by hearing of the Afghan policeman's actions.

But in any case there is obviously a severe risk from the point of view of the US/UK war machine that the situation will spiral further out of control.

On the one hand, the incidents will have created momentum for a fresh wave of desperate resistance to their military machine that may well lead to further attacks and, at the very least, renewed optimism for their opponents.

On the other, morale amongst US/UK forces, already seemingly at a low ebb, will be plunged into still greater depths, with untold consequences for military efficacity.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Why We Are Winning

LARGE-SCALE mobilisations against capitalist summits are still vital for the global resistance, ten years after the Battle of Seattle.

That's the view put forward in an article called Why We Are Winning posted on the American infoshop website.

It declares: "Without militant protests, every summit meeting would be a self-congratulatory public relations spectacle for the ruling class, a carefully scripted celebration of the wonderful job the neoliberals are doing running the world.

"Instead, because of us, they are increasingly exercises in naked repression that have to be defended rather than celebrated. After the riots in Seattle, the WTO held their next meeting oin the Doha peninsula in Qatar along the Persian Gulf. (As David Graeber put it, they preferred "to run the risk of being blown up by Osama Bin Laden rather than having to face another DAN blockade.").

"They didn't stay there, of course. The image of a group of unaccountable elites handing down unappealable edicts from a remote stronghold was too damaging to the neoliberal narrative of "democratic capitalism."

"Today, as the economic collapse radicalizes ever more of its victims, we have an opportunity to force all summits to be held in such protest-proof locations, to trap summit organizers in the PR equivalent of a secret undersea lair defended by sharks with lasers on their fins (only not as cool). But we can't do it by staying home and starting more reading groups. We need to be out in the streets, confronting our oppressors wherever they show their faces."

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

150 farmers occupy UN office

SOME 150 indigenous farmers took over a UN office in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas to demand the release of three jailed leaders, reported AFB on October 31.

The Tzotzil Indians, who also sought "refuge as internally displaced persons" during Friday's move, took this "desperate measure to attract attention and secure the release of three comrades," the Emiliano Zapata Farmers' Organization (OCEZ) said in a statement.

The OCEZ is a land rights group inspired by Zapata, a key figure in the Mexican Revolution that broke out in 1910. The three prisoners were arrested last weekend by the police and army on charges of using the group for drug and arms trafficking.

Food and clothes were provided to the farmers who spent the night and still remain at the UN building in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Another OCEZ leader, Jose Manuel Hernandez, was arrested on September 30 for expropriation and property damage.

The farmers accuse the government of Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state where Zapatistas launched an armed rebellion in 1994, of seeking to "criminalize social struggle."

Monday, 2 November 2009

Two dead as workers rise up in anger

WORKERS in Bangladesh rose up in anger after a clothes factory was shut down, owing them three months' unpaid wages.

Reported AFP: "At least two people died and 100 people were injured Saturday when Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets at thousands of garment factory workers rioting over unpaid wages, police said.

"The two people were killed after around 15,000 workers began hurling stones and rocks, prompting officers to retaliate, police said, in the worst industrial violence to shake Bangladesh as it struggles to cope with the fallout from the global recession.

"Police said the protesters, who worked for Bangladeshi-owned Nippon Garments, were demanding three months' back pay from owners who had shut down the factory, blaming a lack of orders."

The clash happened at Tongi, 20 km (12 miles) north of Dhaka.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Pharma giant loses legal case against protest

PHARMACEUTICAL giant Novartis has been foiled in a legal bid that would have imposed severe restrictions on protesters and set a frightening legal precedent.

Said a report on Indymedia on Saturday October 31: "Yesterday in the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Sweeney ruled against an application which sought to ban all face masks, animal costumes, "blood" splattered coats, and any banners that used the words "murder", "torture", "kills" & "abuses" on an animal rights demonstration. The application was brought by the pharmaceutical giant Novartis in response to a demonstration being held today by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty in Horsham town centre. If the case had gone ahead it would have set a very significant precedent.

"Novartis, represented by Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, had argued the demonstration incited criminal activity through "subtle" means. He was however unable to explain this took place and his arguments repeated failed to gain ground with the Judge. He also relied heavily on Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, which gives the right to privacy in the home and workplace. Mr Lawson-Cruttenden was arguing that this right should curtail the Article 10 and 11 rights on freedom of assembly and procession.

"The hearing was originally scheduled for October 20th, when it was agreed there would be an injunction under the Protection From Harassment Act put in place. However, Mr Justice Sweeney ordered Novartis to provide supporting evidence for the new changes they wanted made, including getting police statements, with the case to be heard on Wednesday, 28th.

"Though specifically asked by the judge, Mr Lawson-Cruttenden could not provide any case law to support his arguments as significant issues were being raised on how far a publicly advertised demonstration could be controlled by the civil courts, along with other issues. The judge gave his decision on Friday morning, refusing Novartis their application in a long judgement.

"The Defendants, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, were represented by Dr. Max Gastone, a lay representative, who said, "Novartis were seeking to control the ''atmosphere'' on a protest", which would have been a very draconian ruling if it had been granted. Even the police were wary about how what Novartis sought could have been enforced. However, it was also apparent that the real aims of the court case were two fold. One to get the precedent of these bans in place. The second was that Novartis are very touchy about having their name dragged exposed in public for their involvement in animal testing, and over the deaths associated with some of their products such as Prexige."

"Harriet O'Shea, a protestor at Novartis in Horsham, said, "It is a great relief to hear that this has not been banned. They are trying to make a mockery of legal protest. Why should I not be allowed to wear a beagle costume or a blood splattered lab-coat to make my point visually. Is that not very important in a free society. They may not like it, but the whole point is that Britain is supposed to be a free democracy, though Novartis do not seem to have realised that"."