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Civilians injured by last weekend's US bombing raids have been crossing into neighboring Pakistan for medical treatment. Numerous civilian deaths have been reported inside Afghanistan since the beginning of the US air campaign by reporters inside the country and refugees fleeing into Pakistan. On Wednesday, the 31st of October, predawn US strikes destroy a Red Crescent dispensary in Kandahar, allegedly killing ten.
sources: The Daily Star News (Lebanon) | The Afghan Daily | myafghan.com | Red Crescent
There is a growing unease in the US and abroad over the war. In Oregon there will be a March For Peace on Saturday, November 3 in Salem. A peace rally will be held in Vancouver, Washington, on Sunday, November 4th. In Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square Women in Black meet every Wednesday at 1 pm to stand in an ongoing protest of war. The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition has also organized ongoing vigils at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the first to held this Friday, November 2, from 5-6 pm and continue at the same time and place thereafter.
US military admits that no mistake caused relief agency warehouse destruction: U.S. military official
MSNBC reports that the US military has admitted to targeting and completely destroying a Kabul Red Cross compound in two raids. The first raid, staged on the 16th of October, partially damaged the compound while the second, carried out the 26th of October, saw its complete destruction. The warehouses within the compound contained foodstuffs and other humanitarian supplies needed by starving Afghanis in order to survive the harsh winter that will soon fall on this impoverished and draught-stricken country. Within several weeks the first snows are due to arrive.
The US admission runs contrary to the official statement given earlier that blamed "human error" for the targeting of the warehouses.
"BOMBING RED CROSS ON PURPOSE" | full MSNBC story -scroll down | "Red Cross Stunned by Bombing" | International Red Cross | UNHCR (United Nations High Commision for Refugees)
Twenty six animal rights activists were arrested and dozens more brutalized by police during a protest against Stephens, Inc., in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, on Monday, October 29. The demonstration followed a weekend of actions intended to highlight the cruel treatment of animals by UK-based Huntingdon Life Services (HLS), and to force Stephens to withdraw its financial support from the laboratory company. HLS kills 500 animals a day, mostly for testing household products and cosmetics, and not for the "medical" purposes that their public relations firm claims.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) organized the events. People began arriving on Friday. Organizers met with police, who said their presence would be "minimal" if protesters did not "break the law" or become violent. Laws regarding public assembly and speech in Little Rock had recently changed, however, at the behest of Stephens, which pressured the Little Rock City Council into adopting a new ordinance regarding public assembly and speech. The result, brutal attacks by police on protesters, seems the intended result of the promulgation, and reflects a broader -- indeed global -- pattern of individual liberties being sacrificed to serve corporate interests.
Saturday started with a town meeting featuring speakers from activist, medical and academic backgrounds meant to "bring activists and the City of Little Rock together in mutual understanding". The meeting was followed by workshops on undercover investigation of labs, direct action, and constitutional rights. On Sunday, people gathered for a vegan barbecue and then embarked on a Parade of Homes; about 170 activists marched through the manicured residential streets where Stephens executives live to take their anti-HLS message directly to the decision-makers. Police followed the parade with a helicopter and horses, but caused little trouble.
Monday's demonstration at the Stephens headquarters in downtown Little Rock drew 200 activists with signs and puppets and 100 police in full riot gear with guns and gas masks. A protest pen surrounded by metal barricades had been set up for the demonstrators, but they quickly decided not to use it and took the streets instead. After a short march, activists lined up at the barricades, across from the police, and chanted positive animal advocacy statments. At some point an activist evidently tripped over one of the barricades, which brought down others with it. The activists stepped back, but the police charged, and the brutality began. Police pepper sprayed those trying to get away, set off a compression grenade and sent tear gas pouring through the crowd. At least two activists were shot in the face with rubber bullets at very close range. [ Monday, 1 | Monday, 2 ]
Despite this treatment, the activists took to the streets for a second march. They ended up behind Stephens, where they lined up in the street. This is when the arrests began in earnest. Police ripped masks off activists' faces and applied pepper spray from only inches away. Everyone was pushed around and abused, including the Indymedia journalist on the scene, despite her press pass. [ Monday, 3 ]
Stories of abuse in the jail began trickling in that night; police punched in the face one of the activists who had been shot in the face earlier. Those arrested may need help with bond money. A newswire story reports that in arraignments for those arrested yesterday in Little Rock, the judge ordered the activists to pay restitution, which implies guilt. In other words, the judge found them guilty without due process which is a fundamental violation of the constitution. A website has been set up to support the 26 arrestees. In related news, the North American Animal Liberation Front has taken credit for a strike against the Bank of America, Stephens' parent company, in Long Island.
Local Solidarity Action
Background: [ Portland Indymedia: The issues and the players | City of Little Rock: Anti-free speech ordinance | SHAC: October 29 website & VIDEO | In depth: "Vivisection or Science: a choice to make" ]
Despite popular opposition, public outcry, and civil disobedience, logging has resumed in Tillamook State Forest in the area known as God's Valley. The cutting is occuring in Area 4 of the Acey Line timber sale, where the Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA) and Hard Rain Alliance have set up two treesits. CFA held a non-violence and videography training last thursday to teach people how to be effective in protests and be prepared to face the level of police violence encountered at the last action.
The situation at the timber sale has been heated lately; loggers and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) attacked an activist (see feature, below), 3 people were arrested while documenting it, and 16 people protesting the attack were arrested in a civil disobedience action on October 6.
Sunday, CFA carried out a re-supply of the area 4 tree-sits. 60 people gathered to cross the line and bring supplies to the sitters who had been cutoff behind a closure. ODF, and the police, tacitly admitting how far over the line they crossed last time, were not there at all.
While much of the Western World has been obsessed with war and peace, activists in Ontario have been bringing the agenda back to what they percieve as the root cause of injustice, poverty, and violence in the world: Globalized Capitalism. From Toronto, to Hamilton, and Sudbury, and several places in between, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and the Ontario Common Front (OCF) have been holding actions intending to slow down or stop economic activity in city centers. On October 16, the financial district of Toronto was effectively shut down for several hours by 2000 protesters, despite the presence of 1500 riot cops.
The people at these actions -- who have included labor unions, anarchists, high school students, and others -- take issue with the conservative politics of the Tory-controlled provincial government. This current wave or resistance has not yet crested; more protests and rallies are still planned.
Coincidentally, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings initially scheduled for Sept. 29 in Washington, DC, but cancelled in the wake of the attacks on the East Coast, will now take place in Ottawa, from November 16-18. These institutions, which stand at the center of globalized capitalism, will likely face great protest that will be magnified by the energy currently building across the province.
On Tuesday, Tre Arrow held a press conference to discuss logging operations in the Tillamook State Forest and the injuries he suffered when he was attacked there earlier this month. Both ODF employees and loggers have been subjecting activists to extreme harrassment, going so far as to cut all the branches from a tree in which Tre had perched. After 45 hours in the tree, Tre fell from a height of 70-90 feet, and sustained serious injuries. Though wheelchair-bound for the time being, Arrow expressed confidence that he would heal soon, and pledged to continue the fight to save the trees. "I'll be right there on the front lines again," he said. This was his first public appearance after being released from the hospital.
PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste - "United Treeplanters and Farmworkers of the Northwest"), Oregon's farmworker union, has declared two more victories in its continuing struggle to gain recognition for workers at the Pictsweet Mushrooms plant in Salem and at NORPAC farms throughout the Willamette Valley.
Sodexho & NORPAC
PCUN believes that student activism played a large part in Sodexho's decision and PCUN president Ramon Ramirez is currently touring East Coast college campuses to encourage more student support.
Pictsweet and the Salem City Council
From the newswire: [ PCUN press release ]
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Christie Todd Whitman's arrival at Portland State University was marked by a herd of caribou and an activist in a tripod. The little publicized Society of Environmental Journalists conference welcomed Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, and Christine Todd Whitman, Adminstrator of the EPA, to speak at the Friday plenary session about the Bush agenda on environmental issues.
Activists erected a tripod right outside the large wall of glass windows of the Smith Memorial Center, where inside, conference participants attended panels on the wise-use movement, aboriginal whaling, consumption, toxic waste, and even a panel on civil disobediance featuring Donald Fontenot of the Cascadia Forest Alliance, Craig Rosebraugh of the North American ELF press office, and William Pickell, of the Washington Contract Loggers Association.
October 22 is a nationally recognized day of protest against police brutality. Events were planned all over the country. In Portland, about two dozen passionate young people gathered at 21st NE and Alberta for a local observance. Carrying handmade signs, and led by a young woman dressed as a raven, they marched throughout this mixed-race neighborhood, taking the streets most of the way. They brought with them a large puppet of the Grim Reaper, which represented the connections between corporate power and the "criminal justice system".
Reception by people in the neighborhood was positive for the most part, with many honking their horns as they drove past the small parade. Police presence was nil at the beginning of the march, but inexplicably heavy by the end. The first officer who arrived halted the parade by grabbing the arm of the puppet [pictured, above]. He then ordered everybody onto the sidewalk, but they quickly took the street again. In contrast to previous occasions, the officers did not attempt to break up the event, and the young people successfully made their statement for justice.
Update:The police, in a seemingly petty move, confiscated the giant puppet, which had been carried during parades in other cities, including Seattle in November 99.
Early AM on the 22nd, DCTU and the City reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. DCTU held off on striking past the midnight deadline as the negotiations were still underway, but finally at 5am began the strike. With pickets going up, both sides quickly reached an agreement.
In the final days leading up to the possible strike, other organizations planned acts of solidarity with DCTU. Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA) organized to support the scheduled pickets and plans were in place to picket Terminal 6 which would have been recognized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
The tentative contract must be approved by the union members over the next 10-12 days before it is finalized.
The final vote renewing the PJTTF ordinance for this year took place today in Council chambers. The vote was 4 to 1 in favor of renewal. Commissioner Hales again took a brave stance with the only "no" vote. Mayor Katz was in and out of the Chambers, attending to the city employee contract negotiations, so Commissioner Francesconi acted as Council president. Contrary to expectations, he allowed those who signed up on the "Communications" agenda to speak before the vote on the task force ordinance. Katz had earlier said that those signing up to comment would be able to speak only after the vote.
Today, about 200 people gathered outside the Schnitzer Theatre to protest against Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, who was giving a speech there. A group of a couple dozen counter-protesters were also on the scene. Hundreds of people lined up on Broadway waiting to get into the theatre, and barricades were placed around the doors so that only a few people could enter at a time. The Portland Police were out in full force, with about three dozen squad cars, two paddy wagons, five vans, a half dozen mounted officers, and a bomb squad truck, but did not misbehave during this event. There was very little contact among the protesters, counter-protesters, and speech attendees; all kept their distance for the most part though -- according to a newswire report -- the messages that each had were not necessarily mutually exclusive.
The Corvallis City Council voted 6-3 today to adopt a resolution opposing Fast-Track, or "Trade Promotion Authority," legislation. Fast Track delegates a large portion of Congressional powers on negotiating trade agreements to the President. Members speaking in favor of the resolution spoke of how trade agreements, such as the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), contain provisions encroaching on local government's authority. Opponents argued that fast-track was a federal matter, and thus out of their domain. The resolution adopted by the council referred to Article 1 of the Constitution, which delinates the rights of Congress, not the President, to negotiate trade agreements. The resolution directed the mayor to communicate the resolution to the Oregon Congressional Delegation.
Two Portland Indymedia reporters interviewed Mike Swaim, the Mayor of Salem, Oregon, on Friday, October 12. The conversation ranged over many topics: the current threat by Pictsweet Mushrooms to close its factory there in November, political activism and civil disobedience, fighting corporate developers, media accountability, money in politics, civilian oversight of police, the fracas over his public comments regarding the September 11 attacks on the East Coast, public participation in government and society, and the importance of staying true to one's values. In a separate venue, the reporters also spoke with a Salem resident who does not like the Mayor or the City Council.
[ Edited transcript of interview | "Not all Salem residents happy with Mayor Swaim" | Article and VIDEO of speech by Swaim on the Walk for Farmworker Justice | from Alternatives Magazine: "If It Smells Like Hell, It's Probably Pictsweet", by Mayor Swaim ]
In an unsurprising move, the City Council denied public testimony about the non-emergency PJTTF (Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force) resolution Wednesday and ended without any discussion.Commissioner Saltzman read a motion that appeared tohave been written for him by the Mayor, requesting that public testimony be taken in writing prior to the end of the work day on Tuesday the 16th. For the record, in order to suspend the Council rules they needed an affirmative vote of four members of the Council, but Mayor Katz simply said "any objections? hearing none, the motion carries." And the City Attorney present said he thought that was "sufficient." [ Read more ]
[ Source: Copwatch | Background: Portland | COINTELPRO [
The Eugene City Police Commission held a public forum today on "Media Access Issues". The commission has held roundtables on these subjects before but has yet to decide what action, if any, to take. Today's hearing featured commentary from the public, including people from the Portland Independent Media Center, the Eugene Register-Guard, the Eugene Weekly, the Springfield News, the ACLU, and the Society for Professional Journalists.
Eugene activists and independent media are concerned that any credentialing of individuals by police or government agencies will lead to censorship and will set a precedent of distinguishing only certain credentialed individuals as media while denying equal rights to others. Oregon media shield laws provide wide protection for citizens to produce and distribute their own media and do not require any media credentials whatsoever.
All those who testified agreed that access for the press at public events is very important, and that as few limitations as possible should be put on the media, both corporate and alternative. Cascadia Alive! covered the event and will broadcast footage next Wednesday, October 17, at 10pm on CTV Channel 97 in Eugene. Cascadia Alive! is rebroadcast in Portland on Multnomah Community TV, channel 21, on Sundays at midnight and Mondays at 10pm.
PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, "United Treeplanters and Farmworkers of the Northwest"), Oregon's farmworker union, is searching for a company to buy the Pictsweet mushroom farm. 150 workers have signed a petition urging a sale, rather than closing the plant. The workers are convinced that the farm can be run safely and profitably. Pictsweet management reported in September that the farm had lost money for the last three years, and announced its intention to end operations at the farm, which employs 300 workers. PCUN sources say that the boycott of PictSweet mushrooms will continue until the owners recognize the union.
Earlier this year Fred Meyer and Safeway implemented a boycott in reaction to the working conditions at the Salem Pictsweet plant.
[ Background, in Walk for Farmworker Justice feature | Sources for this feature: PCUN Salem Statesman Journal ]
The US and Britain began attacks on Afghanistan. Cruise missiles struck the cities Kabul and Kandahar as well as other targets. Further attacks are following.
The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition called an emergency protest for 4 p.m. in Terry Schrunk Plaza to protest the bombings that have begun in Afghanastan. Over 300 people showed up for a spirited rally that featured a variety of speakers and dozens of hand-painted signs. Drivers honked their support as they drove by. Police presence was low for this unpermitted march; one officer told Indymedia that they understood that there wasn't time to attain a permit on such short notice and that "free speech" rallies such as this were not considered problematic anyway. [Photos]
George W. Bush addressed the nation in a speech and said "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground.". . ."We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it."
Osama Bin Laden addressed the world by a pre-recorded tape that was released at the start of attacks. He said "And there are civilians, innocent children being killed every day in Iraq without any guilt, and we never hear anybody.". . ."And every day we see the Israeli tanks going to Jeanine (ph), Ramallah, Beit Jalla and other lands of Islam. And, no, we never hear anybody objecting to that.". . ."So when the swords came after eight(y) years to America, then the whole world has been crying for those criminals who attacked. This is the least which could be said about them. They are people."
Sixteen people were arrested in God's Valley today when they crossed the line into the "safety zone" around current logging operations in Area II of the Acey Line timber sale. They were protesting the recent attacks on other activists in the past three days, as well as the October 3rd commencement of cutting by Christian Futures (a logging company) that the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) allowed. These 16 join three others in jail who were arrested on Thursday. This direct action represents the first of its kind in an Oregon state forest, and was called by the Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA) and the Hard Rain Alliance, which recently worked together to set up treesits in the same area after surprise logging of dubious legality began in Area III in August. Of the 60+ people who showed up, about half were local residents, making this a cooperative effort between urban and rural forest activists.
The law enforcement response to those engaging in completely peaceful civil disobedience was violent, and would have been surprising had it not followed two days of serious intimidation techniques against other activists in the zone and what some would characterize as "attempted murder" on one particular protester in a tree.
Reporters from Portland Indymedia were on the scene, and they called in up-to-the-minute cell phone reports throughout the action. KBOO community radio, Portland Cable Access, and KMUN radio were the only other media organizations at the action. If any local television stations or newspapers present stories on the day's events, they will not be based on eye-witness reports, but only on official statements from the Clatsop County Sherriff's Department, which were delivered in an entirely different part of the forest, a ten minute drive and half an hour's walk away.
One Indymedia reporter was assaulted and threatened with arrest by law enforcement officers, but they let her go when they saw her press pass. [ Story and VIDEO ]
Those arrested are facing charges of interfering with a police officer, criminal trespass 2, and intent to commit a crime. Some have also been charged with resisting arrest, as well.
Indymedia recieved word on Tuesday that everyone has now been released.
Upcoming coverage: You can see more video of the action on cable access and at Portland Indymedia's upcoming monthly video showing. Details of times, channels, and places.
PRINT: A two-sided print publication containing Portland Indymedia coverage of these events is available at the Red and Black Cafe, on Division Street SE at 22nd. Take one, make copies, distribute. Help get out the news the corporate big boys ignored!
On Wednesday, October 3, the City Council voted to renew the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (PJTTF) by 4-1. Commissioner Hales cast the lone vote against. As it turns out, because the PJTTF was promulgated as an emergency ordinance, a unanimous vote was required to renew it. Therefore, the PJTTF currently exists without official city sanction. Mayor Vera Katz has re-introduced it to the Council on October 10's agenda as a regular ordinance, to go up for a vote at the October 17 meeting.
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