Bolivia: Indigenous opposition stops Amazon road project, Morales backs down

Morales abandons Amazon jungle highway

On the march: Thousands of indigenous Amazonians made a 63-day trek from their villages to protest a proposed road through the heart of the Bolivian jungle.

LA PAZ, Bolivia — President Evo Morales said Friday that he was scrapping plans to build a highway through a nature reserve in Bolivia’s jungle lowlands, bowing to public pressure after a two-month protest march by Amazon Indians.

Morales did not abandon the idea of a highway through Bolivia linking Brazil with the Pacific coast, but said it would no longer cut through the pristine Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory National Park, or TIPNIS.

“And so the matter is resolved,” Morales told reporters. “For me, this is called governing by obeying the people.”

More than 100 protesters remained camped in front of the presidential palace Friday, two days after activists ended their trek from the Amazon reserve to La Paz, the world’s highest capital.

The march galvanized opposition to the Brazilian-funded highway and Continue reading

Occupy Oakland: The call for General Strike on November 2

GENERAL STRIKE & MASS DAY OF ACTION – NOVEMBER 2

Liberate Oakland, Shut Down the 1%
GENERAL STRIKE & MASS DAY OF ACTION
Wednesday November 2, 2011

Below is the proposal passed by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, 2011 in reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza. 1607 people voted. 1484 voted in favor of the resolution, 77 abstained and 46 voted against it, passing the proposal at 96.9%. The General Assembly operates on a modified consensus process that passes proposals with 90% in favor and with abstaining votes removed from the final count.

PROPOSAL:

We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

When Illegitimate Authority Dictates, the choice is Submission or Defiance

Opinions:”How the Patriot Act stripped me of my free-speech rights”

By Nicholas Merrill, Published in The Washington Post, October 25
Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can’t reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling “any person” that the government had approached me.National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.

A decade later, much of the government’s surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices. The government has used NSLs to collect private information on hundreds of thousands of people. I am the only person from the telecommunications industry who received one to ever challenge in court the legality of the warrantless NSL searches and the associated gag order and to be subsequently (partially) un-gagged.In 2004, it wasn’t at all clear whether the FBI would charge me with a crime for telling the ACLU about the letter, or for telling the court clerk about it when I filed my lawsuit as “John Doe.” I was unable to tell my family, friends, colleagues or my company’s clients, and I had to lie about where I was going when I visited my attorneys. During that time my father was battling cancer and, in 2008, he succumbed to his illness. I was never able to tell him what I was going through.

For years, the government implausibly claimed that if I were able to identify myself as the plaintiff in the case, irreparable damage to national security would result. But I did not believe then, nor do I believe now, that the FBI’s gag order was motivated by legitimate national security concerns. It was motivated by a desire to insulate the FBI from public criticism and oversight.

In 2007, this newspaper made an exception to its policy against anonymous op-eds and published a piece I wrote about my predicament. In August 2010, the government agreed to a settlement, and I was finally allowed to reveal my name to the public in connection with my case, but I am still prevented — under the threat of imprisonment — from discussing any fact that was redacted in the thousands of pages of court documents, including the target of the investigation or what information was sought.

I don’t believe that it’s right for Americans’ free speech rights to be bound by perpetual gag orders that can’t be meaningfully challenged in a court of law. The courts agreed, but the NSLs and the gag orders live on. Now the FBI is supposed to notify NSL recipients that they can challenge a gag order — but the government refuses to say how the court’s ruling has been put into practice, or how many gag orders have been issued, challenged or reversed. This information is especially important since internal Justice Department investigations have found widespread violations of NSL rules by the FBI.

During the recent debate to reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee — Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — warned that the government is interpreting the law to conduct surveillance that does not follow from a plain reading of the text. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry,” Wyden said. As someone who had to keep silent and live a lie for the better part of a decade, in the false name of “national security,” I know he’s right.

The writer is executive director of the Calyx Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes “best practices” with regard to privacy and freedom of expression in the telecommunications industry.

Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges discuss Occupy Wall Street with Charlie Rose

India: Maoists declare West Bengal government’s talk of peace “misleading” and insincere

End of peace talks: Naxal letter to Bengal interlocutors

Madhuparna Das, India Express

October 29 2011
Kolkata–The peace talks between the West Bengal government and CPI (Maoist) have come to an end with the Maoists calling them “misleading and senseless”.

A letter from CPI (Maoist) state secretary Akash to Sujato Bhadra, the leader of the six- member team of interlocutors, says the “peace talks” referred to by Mamata Banerjee government frequently did not make any sense. The state government should stop spreading the misleading news of peace talk being continued, it says. Continue reading

Turkey: Earthquake spurs prisoners struggle against “disposable” status

Turkish prisoners riot following aftershock, quake death toll now 432

26 October 2011

After a particularly strong aftershock rattled Turkey, terrified Turkish prisoners rioted after authorities refused to let them out.

Prisoners in the eastern city of Van set bedding on fire and security forces surrounded the prison to prevent any further escape attempts.

The aftershock comes on the heels of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that devastated Turkey on Sunday. In Sunday’s chaos, some prisoners had managed to escape. Continue reading

Greek protesters call president “traitor”, halt parade

Protesters pull police barricades during a protest against austerity policies in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece October 28, 2011. REUTERS/Grigoris Siamidis

[In the midst of ever-growing crisis, national celebrations are widely seen as bourgeois extravagances undeserving of popular support. -- Frontlines ed.]

By George Georgiopoulos and Daniel Flynn, Reuters

ATHENS | Fri Oct 28, 2011

(Reuters) – Greeks protesting at austerity measures demanded by foreign lenders blocked a major national parade on Friday to commemorate Greek resistance in World War Two, shouting “traitors” at President Karolos Papoulias and other officials.

The protest in Thessaloniki was echoed at smaller parades across Greece, including in Athens where marchers held black ribbons. It showed the extent of anger at the higher taxes and wage cuts sought by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in return for funds to avert a debt default.

The annual military parade in the northern city is one of the most symbolic events in Greece’s political calendar and commemorates the rejection of Italy’s ultimatum to surrender in 1940. It was the first time it had been cancelled. Continue reading

Egyptians say “We won’t pay! We won’t be crushed to pay the tyrant’s debts!”

[In a message that will resonate as battle cry throughout the world, Egyptians are moving beyond appeals for "debt relief" or "debt adjustments" or "refinancing" to declare "debt renunciation--we will not pay."  In many countries around the world, the majority of the wealth created goes toward paying the debts made by oppressive regimes in corrupt deals with imperialist banks, while the people's suffering grows.  "Debt renunciation" -- now! -- Frontlines ed.]

We Will Not Pay the Debts of Tyranny

Oct 28 2011

“In the transition from an oligarchy or a tyranny to a democracy…persons refuse to fulfill their contracts or any other obligations, on the ground that the tyrant, and not the state, contracted them”—Aristotle.

Egypt owes about thirty-five billion USD (or 210 billion EGP) in foreign debts, which impose on us an annual burden of about eighteen billion EGP. These debts were accumulated under the previous regime in accordance with its political and economic priorities. We are paying off these debts from our own pockets instead of spending on healthcare, education or social services. A number of activists and civil society organizations inside and outside of Egypt have, therefore, designated 31 October the global day for Egyptian debt cancellation. This is a prelude to a popular campaign that aims to remove this burden off the shoulders of the Egyptian people, who were neither responsible in any way for the decision to take on these debts, nor were they ever consulted in how these funds were spent. Continue reading

Nepal: Bhattarai, Dahal should quit party: Gajurel

RAJKUMAR KARKI

SINDHULI, OCT 25 -
In what could apparently be a sign of further crisis in the already troubled UCPN (Maoist), the party’s hard-line camp has intensified attacks on the establishment faction following the signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India.

Maoist Secretary CP Gajurel on Tuesday remarked that party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Vice-chairman and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai do not have the right to stay in the party.  Accusing them of giving up the revolutionary path, he demanded that the party bid them adieu. Speaking at a programme organised at Deurali of Sindhuli district, Gajurel alleged that the Maoist leadership has deviated from the revolutionary path though the leaders talk about revolution to retain their positions in the party.

Gajurel remarked that those who talk about peace by giving up revolution could not be Maoists in a true sense. Continue reading

The Guardian (UK): “If the Libyan War Was About Saving Lives, It Was a Catastrophic Failure”

[Those who were encouraged by the Arab Spring extending from country to country early this year--including into Libya, against the corrupt and brutal Gaddafi regime--have been sobered by the apparent suppression of the most democratic and revolutionary currents among the rebels, and the growing power of former Gaddafi officials, gangs, and neo-compradors in leading ranks of the rebel military fighters.  We can hope the revolutionary forces driven underground will surface again, and soon, and struggle to put Libya on course for truly revolutionary transformations.  But today, our hearts go out to the vast numbers who have suffered untold tragedies at the hands of vindictive, non-democratic, and non-revolutionary forces. -- Frontlines ed.]

Oct 27 2011

by Seumas Milne

As the most hopeful offshoot of the “Arab spring” so far flowered this week in successful elections in Tunisia, its ugliest underside has been laid bare in Libya. That’s not only, or even mainly, about the YouTube lynching of Qaddafi, courtesy of a NATO attack on his convoy.

The grisly killing of the Libyan despot after his captors had sodomised him with a knife, was certainly a war crime. But many inside and outside Libya doubtless also felt it was an understandable act of revenge after years of regime violence. Perhaps that was Hillary Clinton’s reaction, when she joked about it on camera, until global revulsion pushed the US to call for an investigation.

As the reality of what western media have hailed as Libya’s “liberation” becomes clearer, however, the butchering of Qaddafi has been revealed as only a reflection of a much bigger picture. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Qaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed – with their hands tied – by former rebel militia.

Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and Nato bombing. Continue reading