Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Whoever came up with the list of items in schedule six of the Queensland government’s G20 (Safety and Security) Act has a heck of a criminal imagination.

They contemplated and then explicitly prohibited in legislation a most extensive list of threats from which world leaders and finance ministers must be protected during their brief visit to the Sunshine State.

Continue to full report

Dandelion Salad

Chomsky! Image by Canucklibrarian via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky

TheRealNews Jun 17, 2014

Chris Hedges speaks with Professor Noam Chomsky about working-class resistance during the Industrial Revolution, propaganda, and the historic role played by intellectuals in times of war.

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PN

by J.D. Heyes
NaturalNews.com
Apr 29, 2014

(NaturalNews) A woman who bought a bottle of Nestle’s Pure Life Water says she was threatened repeatedly by a company customer service representative who allegedly told her she would “slice her throat” and “watch the blood drain from you” after the woman called with questions about the product.

As a result of the alleged threats, Shimrit Ellis, the customer, filed suit against Pamela Vaughan, the customer service rep, and the company, Nestle USA, as well as Answernet Inc., in Philadelphia.

According to court documents, Ellis claims she bought the water on Aug. 5, 2012, then called Nestle’s customer service department to inquire about health issues related to fluoride.

“Shortly thereafter, plaintiff, Shimrit Ellis, started to receive very graphic and violent death threats by phone from an unknown female,” the complaint states.

“By way of example, inter alia, some of the treats [sic] that…

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Can the Million Mask March turn a vendetta into a victory?

Patrick Henningsen is a writer, investigative journalist, and filmmaker and founder of the news website 21stCentury Wire.com.

Published time: November 08, 2013 19:49

People participate in a march to the U.S. Captiol during the "Million Mask March" November 5, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)People participate in a march to the U.S. Captiol during the “Million Mask March” November 5, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla)

As a general rule, state-run and corporate mainstream media networks will only allocate coverage to certain demonstrations, namely those that are aligned with either state-sanctioned political parties or advocacy groups.

Anything else outside of that is normally swept under the control desk. The amnesty-immigration rally that took place on the National Mall in Washington DC during the government shutdown was given prime time by the media because it promoted a political party agenda. This is the globalist, corporatist way of keeping control over “consensus reality” regarding dissident movements. In other words: if it’s not on the BBC, or CNN, then it didn’t really happen.

That old stratagem of control is becoming less and less effective as word of mouth has also become globalized.

Despite the media blackout, this one was still hard to miss – an international Million Mask March organized by demonstrators around the globe and fronted by the hackivist confab known as Anonymous.

The million masks they are referring to are that of the Guy Fawkes caricature made hugely famous by the blockbuster film, “V for Vendetta,” which was adopted as the public face of hacker group Anonymous.

Marches took place at 450 locations in cities all over the world. Different regional groups had various, long lists of grievances, but you could boil it down to systemic corruption throughout government and censorship in the media – all for the benefit of corporations. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t the case everywhere.

Sparse mainstream media coverage of one of the largest events, in central London, was almost exclusively fashioned around celebrity personalities in attendance, like Russell Brand, who could be seen tweeting from Trafalgar Square, and who, amidst all the Guy Fawkes masks and black balaclavas – provided a recognizable anchor for media photographers and journalists.

At first, I was skeptical of this march for a number of reasons, not least of all because of the opaque nature of this version of civil disobedience – hiding behind a mask. Beyond the Hollywood references, what does it really mean?

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

This is perhaps the most profound – but not the most surprising aspect, of our brave new post-Snowden world, where a very significant social trend is defined by a disguise. It’s the idea that surveillance has become so pervasive that dissenters no longer wish to show their faces whilst protesting in public or in their parallel world online. Question: doesn’t this approach actually empower the state in the long run?

Where Hollywood forges a new reality, the real world tends to bend it back into place. Besides the obvious theatrical benefits, in the movie “V for Vendetta” the masked march was vindicated because the objective was achieved – parliament was successfully blown up, and the corrupt head of state and inner circle of corrupt politicians exposed and brought to justice. The scenes in London and Washington DC didn’t have as desirable an ending as maybe fans of the film might prefer. British police could be seen in their usual show of force – storm troopers bullying crowds, cherry-picking young males and bundling them into the back of police vans, and then driving onto the sidewalk with lights and sirens blaring. Crowds eventually dispersed and returned home.

It is an extraordinary thing that a piece of British tradition and folklore such as Guy Fawkes Day has made the rounds on the global popular culture circuit, and even more incredible that this mantelpiece of culture would be imported into America with such fervor. That was made possible because that piece of British history was first transformed into a DC Comics edition, and then into a larger-than-life mythology recreated by Hollywood, and not just for entertainment – but for profit, giant profits in fact. Turns out that the rights to the iconic Guy Fawkes mask made famous by the “V for Vendetta” film are owned by Warner Brothers – so a royalty on every mask purchased goes directly into the pockets of Hollywood fat cats. The irony for both the Million Mask March and Anonymous cannot be ignored. Both would aid in the transfer of millions of dollars out of the pockets of demonstrators, before trickling up to the very institutions and intellectual property moguls who are their sworn enemies, often referred to as “the 1 percent.”

In 2013, the 99 percent are still heavily reliant on the 1 percent for most things, from their smart phones to their symbology, and even for their counterculture. Why can’t the 99 percent fashion their own symbols and market the kind of iconography which Hollywood managed with the Guy Fawkes mask? No doubt, a few media executives and shareholders are snickering at this unique situation.

To get a better understanding of the Million Mask March, I decided to spend a few hours riding shotgun via the Internet. I joined their DC march around 4pm EST just before dusk on the East Coast from my remote viewing location in London via a Livestream link, courtesy of one demonstrator known as “James From The Internet.” The demonstration had split into two or three main groups; I was following the group heading toward the White House.

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

For anyone who hasn’t yet followed a live event through an independent video stream, you are missing what is probably the purist experience in live media – all the sights and sounds of a live event, with essential commentary, and no commercial breaks.

Video operator James was well prepared for the long DC march with his GoPro camera and a backpack full of extra batteries to power his camera and phone for the duration of the Livestream link. James was what every media ground correspondent should be, but so often isn’t – accessible, down to earth, and friendly.

At first glance, the event in DC resembled the Occupy movement in many ways – appearing to attract subscribers from a similar demographic, and using much of the same language and strap lines – “We are the 99 percent,” and decrying the crimes of “the 1 percent.” Occupy slogans were being chanted by the crowds. “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!” was followed by, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

You could hear the crowd chanting the famous Guy Fawkes line as they marched down Constitution Avenue, “Remember, remember, the 5th of November…”

Here is when I came to understand that this young crowd marching in DC was not at all one-dimensional, or as robotic as your garden-variety Occupy crowds. The chants continued to expand on previous calls, shouting, “Whose world? Our world!”

Things got more interesting as the column marched towards the US Federal Reserve building, chanting, “End the Fed, end the Fed!” A small group stopped for a brief rally at the steps of the building.

Passing the Federal Reserve, crowds pointed, and shouted: “Show me what hypocrisy looks like – that is what hypocrisy looks like!”

The conversation progressed: “We go to war in a foreign country, when all we have at home is bulls*** and hypocrisy!”

Up to this point, police had been mostly playing the role of shepherd, with some instigating and a few minor altercations. One masked marcher could be heard describing a brush with the police: “One cop kept asking us, ‘Who is the leader? We need to speak to him,” to which the protester replied, “There is no leader!” That exchange summed up how detached and out of touch law enforcement really is with what was going on that day.

Crowds were now closing in on the White House, chanting: “White House, Our House!”

Now in front of the White House lawn, this was perhaps the most encouraging part of this political adventure, and the point you knew this was not a Democrat party-steered, “Occupy-Lite” exercise. These kids had character, that was for sure. You could hear the crowd booming:

“Obama come out, we got some s*** to talk about! Obama come out, we got some s*** to talk about!”

Police moved in swiftly to form a barrier between the White House lawn gates and the masked crowd. One police officer could be heard asking people, “Please move back.” The crowd responded in kind. Soon after, James ended his Livestream transmission.

 

AFP Photo / Chip SomodevillaAFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla

The age of the globally-coordinated flash protest has arrived. In the last few months alone, a number of well-organized and highly intelligent global demonstrations have been staged to protest a range of issues, from western military intervention in Syria to the cartel activities of GMO giants such as Monsanto. In Britain, the anti-fracking protests and the rally against the privatization of the NHS outside of the Tory Party conference were also significant. Both delivered the numbers and their message, but were blanked by the mainstream media.

The Million Mask March delivered the numbers, but somehow the message got lost somewhere behind the mask. But what this group lacked in succinct communication and a packaged political message, they made up for in hard graft, commitment and determination. The level of mental and physical commitment should be applauded – 10 hours of continuous demonstrations and marching. Contrast this to the veterans’ march a few weeks earlier, where demonstrators were active and even dumped metal barriers at the White House gates, but only congregated for about three to four hours, before they dispersed and headed home.

Aside from that, this DC march showed a level of independence, political realism and intelligence that cut right through the stale left versus right political paradigm. If systemic corruption in government and collusion with corporate raiders is going to be reformed, then we will certainly need crowds who can elevate the conversation to a higher level – like this crowd did on the Million Mask March in DC.

This crowd was young, creative and energetic and used most of the tools available to them. They clearly have chosen this homogeneous mask as their means of self-expression, which may seem contradictory on the surface, but indicates a far deeper psychological argument. Everyone should pay attention, stop and ask why young people are reaching for the mask. It speaks volumes in terms of where social politics are for this generation.

Now for the next challenge: How will they make their V move from just a Vendetta to a Victory? If you remember, at the end of the film, everyone took their masks off revealing a sea of individuals sharing similar values.

In real political terms, that’s where the real power is.

Source: rt.com

Tibet, Activism And Information


Image via @tibettruth

The Anonymous assault against China’s regime continues to see Chinese government websites being hacked as part of an action called ‘Operation Tibet’. Yesterday, following news that 17 Tibetans had been arrested by Chinese paramilitary forces in Nagchu, Eastern Tibet, hack-tivists responded by crashing the site http://www.naqu.gov.cn for that region.

Today another Chinese government site has been hacked, http://www.pgsafety.gov.cn/ thanks to our friends over on Twitter for the heads-up on this latest action.

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Participants Required:

Want to give your perspective and opinion on the occupy wall street movement for a University Case Study?

NOW is your chance! Sydney Occupier Rebecca-Anne (AussieActivist (me!), Social Science student at University of Western Sydney (Maj:Peace & Development; SubMaj: Geographies & Urban Studies) is seeking occupiers and non occupiers to interview via Skype or other video calling program/s to discuss their experience with the Occupy Movement (on all levels inclusion or not). (ABOUT: Research from the school of Social Science and Psychology of UWS)

The case study is looking at the level of acceptance of the Occupy Movement within public space. The sense of “Belonging” or “Not Belonging” in the public space for eg: How has the group/activity been constructed as “out of place”, how does the group (occupy) respond; who constructed it as out of place and why.

All information will be kept confidential and no personal information will be used within the case study documentation for privacy of all. This document will only be accessible by the University of Western Sydney Academics and Professors. (This is only an assessment case study with no plans to be published in any journals but may be made “freesource” at the end of University Degree within full privacy as intended).

Questions will range from Basic Details (age, gender, socioeconomic status, occupation) to more indepth questions regarding your personal experience either within occupy or as a sideline citizen following the occupy movement or as a citizen opposed to the occupy movement.

I am available to take interviews from ANY global arena that has/had an occupy movement locally.

This case study will be used by AussieActivist for further research and analysis in the divide between the “haves” and “have nots” within both local Australian Society and Global Socities.

Interviews will commence in April and all questions will be sent before the interview to ensure participants understand the questions before interview.

Please feel free to email 17504283@student.uws.edu.au for more information regarding this case study participation.

For further information or to chat with me in real time. Please visit me on Twitter or feel free to email me.

PS: Would particularly like to hear from NYC, Oakland, Melbourne & London OCCUPIERS for first hand interviews regarding “belonging” in public space.

Occupy protests targeted by FBI counterterror units

Global Research, December 27, 2012
occupywallstreet

Internal Federal Bureau of Investigation documents released last Saturday by a civil liberties organization show that FBI anti-terror units across the US targeted and spied on the Occupy Wall Street protests even before they got underway in September 2011.

The secret documents, obtained by the Partnership for Public Justice Fund (PCJF) through Freedom of Information requests and published on the organization’s web site, show that the FBI used police informants and infiltrators to systematically monitor the activities of anti-Wall Street groups and share information about them with other federal, state and local police agencies as well as with private corporations.

The documents are heavily redacted. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that the so-called “war on terror” and the police-state laws and agencies established in its name are being employed to disrupt and suppress political dissent and protect the American corporate-financial elite against the growth of social opposition.

This direct attack on Constitutionally protected free-speech rights, begun under the Bush administration, has been expanded by the Obama administration, which treats virtually all forms of social and political protest as a potential criminal and terrorist threat. This confirms that the central target of the Homeland Security Department, the USA PATRIOT ACT, the Guantanamo gulag, the military tribunals, the gutting of habeas corpus rights and due process, and the policy of extra-judicial assassinations and torture is not Islamist terrorists, but the democratic rights of the American working class.

The documents show that FBI offices and agents across the country were conducting intensive surveillance against the Occupy movement in August 2011, a month prior to the first anti-Wall Street protests in New York City and the occupation of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the impending protests.

In Indiana, the FBI released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though it acknowledged that no specific date for a protest had been scheduled in the state. The Indiana FBI coordinated with “all Indiana state and local law enforcement agencies” as well as the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, the FBI Directorate of Intelligence and other national FBI bodies.

The FBI Campus Liaison Program enlisted both campus police and university officials in New York State to spy on Occupy protests carried out by students and professors.

Documents show that the FBI, the Homeland Security Department and private corporations coordinated their response to the protests via that Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector.” The DSAC discussed Occupy protests at West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.”

Naval Criminal Investigative Services reported to the DSAC on links between Occupy Wall Street and trade unions in the organization of the port protests.

The FBI in Anchorage, Alaska reported on a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011 concerning Occupy activities in Anchorage. A port security officer arranged with the FBI to attend a planning meeting of the protesters and report back to the FBI.

The Jacksonville, Florida FBI in October 2011 issued a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.” The briefing linked protests in Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories with “some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia contacted the FBI in the city “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies” as well as information received from “the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”

Similar memos from FBI anti-terror units in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham and Jackson, Mississippi; and Denver, Colorado speak of coordinated spying on Occupy protesters by federal, state and local police agencies, working in tandem with private financial institutions.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said: “[W]e believe this is just the tip of the iceberg… These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The intervention of the FBI and other federal agencies against the Occupy protests did not stop at surveillance. The massive scope and systematic nature of the spying exposed by the documents posted by the PCJF make it clear that the Obama administration coordinated the police attacks and court actions taken at the state and local level to suppress the protests and end the occupations. Mass arrests, tear gas and constant harassment were all employed in the course of the months-long protests.

This state repression was aided and abetted by the non-stop efforts of the anarchist and pseudo-left organizations in the leadership of the movement to channel it behind the trade union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party.

The Obama administration has increasingly utilized the anti-democratic methods employed to entrap Muslims in the US and prosecute them as terrorists—police infiltrators and provocateurs, fake terror plots concocted by police agents—to ensnare and frame up activists involved in protest actions against US wars abroad and attacks on living standards at home. Recent examples include:

* The arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges of five young men involved in protests last May against the NATO summit in Chicago. All five were implicated by undercover agents.

* The entrapment that same month of five young men in Cleveland by undercover agents, who lured the alleged “anarchists” into a phony plot to blow up a bridge.

* A series of FBI raids last summer on the homes of anti-Wall Street protesters in Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Olympia, Washington. Scores of heavily armed domestic terrorism agents used stun grenades and battering rams to smash through doors and threaten their victims with automatic weapons.

* The September 2010 raids ordered by the Obama administration on the homes of leaders of the Anti-War Committee and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis and Chicgao, justified under the “material support for terrorism” provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.

PCJF Executive Director Verheyden-Hilliard pointed to one aspect of the utilization of the FBI as a political police force against social opposition. “The collection of information on people’s free-speech actions,” she told the New York Times, “is being entered into unregulated databases, a vast storehouse of information widely disseminated to a range of law enforcement and, apparently, private entities.”

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration in March approved a vast expansion of the power of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to copy government databases on ordinary Americans, even if there is no reason to suspect them of criminal or terrorist activities. “Under the new rules issued in March,” the Journal wrote, “the National Counterterrorism Center… can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is ‘reasonably believed’ to contain ‘terrorism information.’ The list could potentially include almost any government database, from financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages to the health records of people who sought treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals.”

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Silver Lining

Press TV

A man has been killed by poisonous gas used by Bahraini regime forces in the ongoing anti-regime protests in the Persian Gulf state.

The victim, identified as Bassil al-Qattan, died on Thursday after inhaling tear gas fumes fired during a demonstration against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty in the capital Manama last week.

His death comes amid excessive use of tear gas and stun grenades by Bahraini security forces as they continue their harsh clampdown on peaceful demonstrators who are calling for democratic reforms in the Arab country.

Locals said they had witnessed extensive use of tear gas, pellet shotguns and sound bombs during the massive ‘Bahrain’s Martyrs Day’ demonstration in Manama on Monday, which caused severe and critical injuries to protesters.

Witnesses also reported that police made at least 25 arrests, including women, during the rally…

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Occupied Palestine | فلسطين


Oct 31, 2012 by Remi Kanazi

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RemiPoet
Website: http://www.PoeticInjustice.net
Purchase Poetic Injustice: http://www.poeticinjustice.net/purchase.aspx#.UI3EKGnuVv1

Producer: Tami Woronoff
Cinematographer: Mike McSweeney
Editor: Matthew C. Levy
Sound: Steve Burgess

*For video inquires please contact
the filmmakers via email: newflagfilms@gmail.com*

Nor·mal·i·za·tion: a “colonization of the mind” whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality…and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.

Those who engage in normalization either ignore this oppression, or accept it as the status quo that can be lived with.

In an attempt to whitewash its violations of international law and human rights, Israel attempts to re-brand itself or present itself as “normal” — even “enlightened” — through an intricate array of relations and activities encompassing hi-tech, cultural, legal, LGBT and other realms.

Normalization applies to relationships that convey a misleading or deceptive image of normalcy, symmetry…

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Anonymous are the people and the people are Anonymous.
United As One. Divided By Zero.
#OpNov5 #OpIndect #OpTrapwire

Please organize in these pads:

North America: http://piratenpad.de/p1KoBonJL1
South America: http://piratenpad.de/vHW5kWEaA0
Europe: http://piratenpad.de/oe25b3XPOs
Asia: http://piratenpad.de/tYDQ6wnPF3
Middle East: http://piratenpad.de/rxV4cZVPuZ
Africa: http://piratenpad.de/N3oRV8Bm9j
Australia: http://piratenpad.de/tb2MC9PWpk

IRC Channels:

Step 1: Go to the link, webchat.voxanon.org
Step 2: Type in a nickname, and channel name: #OpNov5
Step 3: Look at the topic at the top and proceed to your designated channel based on your continent location.
Step 4: Organize.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We WILL prevail.

Nasrallah: US, allies prevent Syria talks.

Nasrallah: US, allies prevent talks between Syria govt., opposition

Hezbollah supporters raise their fists as they listen to a televised speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah to mark the sixth anniversary of Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon in southern Beirut on July 18, 2012.

Hezbollah supporters raise their fists as they listen to a televised speech by Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah to mark the sixth anniversary of Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon in southern Beirut on July 18, 2012.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says the United States and its allies will not allow the Syrian opposition to enter dialogue with the Syrian government.

“Dialogue is prohibited in Syria because the Americans, the West, and Israel are not allowing the Syrian opposition to engage in dialogue,” said Nasrallah during a fast-breaking ceremony south of Beirut on Monday.

He reiterated that Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia have stressed that the fighting must end and the two sides should start negotiations without preconditions.


The West is seeking the destruction of Syria, Nasrallah went on to say.

The Hezbollah leader, meanwhile, condemned a violent attack on an Egyptian border post in the Sinai Peninsula, which claimed the lives of 16 Egyptian border security guards.

Unknown gunmen caused the fatalities, attacking the guards at a checkpoint in the vicinity of the Karm Abu Salem border crossing near the Sinai border with the Occupied Territories on Sunday.

“I send my condolences to Egypt’s president, the Egyptian Army, and the families of the martyr officers and soldiers,” the Hezbollah secretary-general added.

Nasrallah called the attack a suspicious incident that Israel would benefit from most.


“Every Muslim rejects this approach of killings, which threatens our societies the most. Israel and the Takfiri trend are the main things that threaten security and stability in the region,” he maintained.

The Hezbollah leader hailed the Lebanese nation’s resistance against Israel, saying the resistance is the regime’s main source of fear. “For Israel, the resistance is considered the main threat to its interests,” he concluded.

MSA/AO/HN

Note: This information is posted under the Copyright “fair use policy”. This information is provided free of charge and no monetary gains will be made by the sharing of this information. it is my belief that this information is important to the Global community. Original source identified and Website and Author stated.

internet brain child

Political protests come in many shapes and sizes. From online petitions to real-life rallies, hardly a day goes by without a minority group generously sharing their opinions via megaphone on the steps of Parliament. But Russian political punk-rock band Pussy Riot, are not your average political protestors. In March this year, three female band members stormed Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and performed a ‘punk prayer’ in which they asked Virgin Mary to drive away President Vladimir Putin. The trio were arrested for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and have been in jail since. Their trial is currently being held, and the deeply politicised Russian judicial system is causing global controversy.

What’s particularly unique about Pussy Riot’s protest – aside from their colourful balaclavas, their energetic dance style and their defiance of a political regime reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia – is their means of communication. The political…

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As Originally reported by EU Times on 15 April, 2012

Russia stunned after Japanese plan to evacuate 40 Million revealed.

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared by the Foreign Ministry on the planned re-opening of talks with Japan over the disputed Kuril Islands during the next fortnight states that Russian diplomats were “stunned” after being told by their Japanese counterparts that upwards of 40 million of their peoples were in “extreme danger” of life threatening radiation poisoning and could very well likely be faced with forced evacuations away from their countries eastern most located cities… including the world’s largest one, Tokyo.

The Kuril Islands are located in Russia’s Sakhalin Oblast region and stretch approximately 1,300 km (810 miles) northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater Kuril Ridge and Lesser Kuril Ridge, all of which were captured by Soviet Forces in the closing days of World War II from the Japanese.

The “extreme danger” facing tens of millions of the Japanese peoples is the result of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster that was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

According to this report, Japanese diplomats have signaled to their Russian counterparts that the returning of the Kuril Islands to Japan is “critical” as they have no other place to resettle so many people that would, in essence, become the largest migration of human beings since the 1930’s when Soviet leader Stalin forced tens of millions to resettle Russia’s far eastern regions.

Important to note, this report continues, are that Japanese diplomats told their Russian counterparts that they were, also, “seriously considering” an offer by China to relocate tens of millions of their citizens to the Chinese mainland to inhabit what are called the “ghost cities,” built for reasons still unknown and described, in part, by London’s Daily Mail News Service in their 18 December 2010 article titled: “The Ghost Towns Of China: Amazing Satellite Images Show Cities Meant To Be Home To Millions Lying Deserted” that says:

“These amazing satellite images show sprawling cities built in remote parts of China that have been left completely abandoned, sometimes years after their construction. Elaborate public buildings and open spaces are completely unused, with the exception of a few government vehicles near communist authority offices. Some estimates put the number of empty homes at as many as 64 million, with up to 20 new cities being built every year in the country’s vast swathes of free land.”

Foreign Ministry experts in this report note that should Japan accept China’s offer, the combined power of these two Asian peoples would make them the largest super-power in human history with an economy larger than that of the United States and European Union combined and able to field a combined military force of over 200 million.

To how dire the situation is in Japan was recently articulated by Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumura who warned that the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant may ultimately turn into an event capable of extinguishing all life on Earth.

According to the Prison Planet News Service:

“Matsumura posted [this] startling entry on his blog following a statement made by Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, on the situation at Fukushima.

Speaking at a public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on 22 March 2012, Murata warned that “if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 – with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground – collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4,” writes Matsumura.

In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421.”

Disturbingly, the desperate situation facing Japan is, also, facing the United States as Russian military observers overflying the US this week as part of the Open Skies Treaty are reporting “unprecedented” amounts of radiation in the Western regions of that country, a finding that was further confirmed by scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who have confirmed that a wave of highly radioactive waste is headed directly for the US west coast.Important to note is that this new wave of Fukushima radiation headed towards the US is in addition to earlier radiation events that American scientists are now blaming for radioactive particles from Japan being detected in California kelp.Though the news of this ongoing global catastrophe is still being heavily censored in the US, the same cannot be said about Japan, and as recently reported by the leading Japanese newspaper The Mainichi Daily News that reports:

“One of the biggest issues that we face is the possibility that the spent nuclear fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant will collapse. This is something that experts from both within and outside Japan have pointed out since the massive quake struck. TEPCO, meanwhile, says that the situation is under control. However, not only independent experts, but also sources within the government say that it’s a grave concern.

The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.

A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated that the storage pool of the plant’s No. 4 reactor has clearly been shown to be “the weakest link” in the parallel, chain-reaction crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.

Even though this crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war” and the US Military is being reported is now stocking up on massive amounts of anti-radiation pills in preparation for nuclear fallout, there remains no evidence at all the ordinary peoples are being warned about this danger in any way whatsoever.

As originally reported by EU Times Online Newspaper. EU Times have expressed permission for reproduction of articles.

Sudan’s disputed border town of Abyei is ablaze, with gunmen looting properties days after troops from the government in Khartoum entered the area, UN peacekeepers say.

The peacekeepers belonging to UNMIS, the UN mission in Sudan, said on Monday that the burning and looting was perpetrated “by armed elements” but it was not clear whether they were from the north or the south.

Omar-al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, said a “peaceful resolution” for Abyei would be found.

“We are efforting to solve the remaining issues and remove tensions in Abyei,” he said in a speech.

The developments in Abyei drew strong reaction from the US, with its special envoy to the country saying Washington would rule out dropping Sudan from a terrorism list if it continued occupying the oil-rich district.

Princeton Lyman said the “occupation” of Abyei by northern troops is “an extremely disproportionate response by the government of Sudan” to an attack on a UN convoy escorting the troops last week.

Envoy ‘optimistic’

But Lyman added that there was still hope of the two sides resolving the crisis.

“I am optimistic in this sense: These two entities – Sudan and soon-to-be independent South Sudan – need each other,” he told Al Jazeera.

“They have to collaborate for their own good, and while we’re now facing a major crisis in Abyei, we’re hopeful that the leadership, particularly president al-Bashir [in the north] and vice-president Kiir [in the south] will re-establish the spirit that they talked about … ”

Sudanese government officials in the north say their troops moved into Abyei – inhabited by two tribes backed by the south and north respectively – to drive the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) out, who they said had been occupying Abyei since last December.

The SPLA is the armed force of South Sudan, which held a referendum for independence in January and is due to become an independent state in July.

UNMIS strongly condemned the burning and looting in Abyei and called upon the government of Sudan to “urgently ensure that the Sudan Armed Forces fulfil their responsibility and intervene to stop these criminal acts”.

Hua Jiang, the chief public information officer for UNMIS, said the burning of property and looting was continuing on Monday.

She said the Sudanese troops from the north had prevented peacekeepers from “conducting our daily, routine patrol”.

“So we’re not able to get out of the compound right now to carry out our duty,” she told Al Jazeera from Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

‘Humanitarian disaster’

Thousands of civilians are reported to have fled southwards after northern SAF troops and tanks took control of the town on Saturday.

South Sudan also claims Abyei district, which has special status under a 2005 peace deal that ended 22 years of south-north civil war, and has called the occupation “illegal”.

Barnaba Benjamin, the minister of information in South Sudan, told Al Jazeera that north Sudanese troops had “illegally and unconstitutionally invaded Abyei”.

“What the Sudanese forces are doing now [is] they are looting the place; they are burning the place,” he said.

“They have made thousands of people – children, women and the elderly – a humanitarian disaster. This is what they have been doing. They didn’t find any SPLA troops in Abyei.

“Their claim that there are SPLA troops in Abyei is not true … They entered the town without any confrontation … So why are they there?

“Why are they bombing the civilian targets; the villages around? They are airlifting Misseriya Arab tribes into the territory to occupy the areas of Dinka Ng’ok.”

The nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe, which is backed by the north, grazes its cattle in Abyei. The Dinka Ng’ok tribe, backed by the south, lives in Abyei year round.

A senior official from the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the capital of the north, denied the reports of looting but called Abyei “a war zone”.

“They [troops] are not looting the place,” Didiry Mohammad Ahmed told Al Jazeera.

“We know that this place, right now, is a war zone. The army is struggling very hard to see to it that no looting happens, but nonetheless some isolated incidents had happened.

“We are doing our very best right now – working in tandem with the UN mission in the region – to ensure no looting takes place. Nothing can be traced back to our forces.”

Read the full report HERE  at – Al Jazeera English.

Ugandan police arrest opposition leader – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Ugandan police have arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye ahead of a planned protest over spiralling food and fuel prices in the capital Kampala.

A senior official from Besigye’s party , the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), said he was arrested on Monday as he prepared to go to work.

“Besigye was arrested as he left his house this morning and is being held in Kasangati” police station on the outskirts of Kampala, said Alice Alaso, the secretary general of the FDC.

Besigye, who came a distant second in the February 18 election that was won by Yoweri Museveni, the president, had threatened to stage Egypt-style protests if the election was rigged, but stopped short of staging a protest though he dismissed the vote as fraudulent.

On April 11 Besigye was arrested, along with several opposition politicians, for taking part in a march dubbed “walk to work” where marchers refuse to use their cars and walk to work as a protest against high fuel prices.

Al Jazeera’s Malcom Webb in Kampala said the high prices are an opportunity for the opposition to get people on the streets.

“People are unhappy; people are restless,” he said.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba confirmed the arrest and said it was in connection with the planned demonstration.

Besigye, 54, walked to church unobstructed on Sunday but his “walk to work” campaign has been roundly blocked.

Museveni has warned he will deal firmly with any unauthorised demonstrations and mocked Besigye in a press conference on Saturday.

“We made it clear to Besigye that you are not going to demonstrate or to walk. If you want to walk, go somewhere and take a walk,” Museveni said.

Ugandan police on Thursday clashed with protesters in Kampala and several other towns as Besigye appeared bent on opposing the regime.

Protesters say steep prices are due to bad governance, but Museveni, who has ruled the east African country for a quarter of a century, insisted drought and foreign factors were to blame.

“Food prices have gone up because of unreliable rain and the bigger market in the region. Will the world prices go down because Besigye has demonstrated?” he said.

The consumer price index grew by four per cent in March from the previous month and the country’s year-on-year inflation rate stands at 11.1 per cent.

Museveni argued that Besigye’s opposition campaign risked destabilising the economy further and urged Ugandans to act responsibly and use fuel sparingly

10th January, 2011 – Rebecca-Anne Fowler

Video from the Sudanese Australian Celebrations in Sydney last night for the start of Referendum.

The dancing and singing is amazing, these women are amazing, resiliant and so beautiful.  Thank you to the Sudanese Australian Community for inviting me to share this wonderful night with you all.

10th January, 2011 – Rebecca-Anne Fowler

The second day of referendum voting for Southern Sudanese in Australia has started again at 8am this morning. 

Last night i was invited by one of my Southern Sudanese friends William, to attend a celebration/meeting of Southern Communites after the first day of referendum voting ended.  The night was a mix of speech’s, dancing and celebration for the coming months ahead.

Speech’s were given by elders and leaders, women were dancing and singing and the mood was electric, the theme: A New Sudan. When anyone mentioned a New Sudan the place erupted into cheers, it was amazing to see the Unity of the Southern Sudanese Tribes in this room.   I myself was even called to give a speech. This was totally out of the blue and not expected. I did my best unprepared speech and got a huge round of applause. I felt so welcomed by all who attended.

It was also a great night for me to catch up with a few of my students and others whom i met at the Youth Conference in Sydney in NOV. I got to catch up with the wonderful Mr John Garang (not the late of course) and he was dressed in his military attire. He was happy to pose for a photo with one of his friends. 

After speaking with a few of the attendee’s last night, i got a brief feeling that the general consensus for this vote will be a separation. One of the speakers said “The Late John Garang fought for this freedom for us, our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who were killed in the war have fought for this for us, now it is our turn to fight for them by voting in the referendum for separation.” Words than rang so true with most of the attendee’s.

I also spoke with a former “lost boy” who whilst not going into full details of his life, i could see that it had taken a devastating toll on the life of many. This particular gentleman now works for ActionAid and is doing great things here in Australia for his own community and many other communities around the world. It is so inspiring to know that someone who has been tested in the most atrocious  of ways in life, has come through and is now giving back to community. I am inspired and at awe of these wonderful resiliant people who have come through devastating times to find some hope in their future. It simply amazes me.

This Tuesday i will be heading into the referendum centre here in Homebush Sydney and will be speaking with some Southern Sudanese on their hopes and dreams for the referendum. I feel so simply honored to be able to be a part of their lives here in Australia and to share their stories with the world is truly a blessing for me.

This year i hope to start writing a book with a few of my students, their life stories. Its going to be an amazing year for the Southern Sudanese communities and i wish them all the hope and happiness for their futures.

-Freeuganda

 

Speakers and Woman Dancing at Celebration

All Photographs Copyrighted to Rebecca-Anne Fowler. Please DO NOT Distribute WITHOUT Permission

So today is my second last day at the HARDA office for this years African Men’s English Program. Tomorrow we will be having our graduation for 2010 and my students are excited yet aprehensive.

“What will we do for the next 8 weeks?” is a common question that is arising. With both our classes and TAFE classes finished for the year the men seem to be at a loss at what they will do with their time. Alot of them are asking about employment over the holidays, what can they do to gain some casual employment.

I feel troubled by the prospects of them going back to the parks they were sitting in before we were able to gain their attendance.  With all the weeks of nothing ahead (f0r our single students) they are at a loss. It pains me that i can not do more. I feel like i’m sometimes caught between a rock and a hard place. But yet again, i am only one person. I do what i can to make the lifes of those around me better and i guess that is all i can do.

I am looking forward to our graduation ceremony tomorrow morning and i know my students are as well. They have invited their families and i am hoping to see a great turnout in support of them. I have started to receive the tutor reports and am amazed at how well some of them have come in the last 12 months due to our program.  It makes me feel like we are doing something worthwhile and giving back to those who need our help.

I have made some wonderful friends with the Sudanese males that i have been involved with and the stories they can tell, wow they will blow you away.

Just this morning one of my students was telling me that he finally got to speak to his sister last month after 24 yrs of absence. She had no idea he was living in Australia and had not seen him since he was a small boy. I think of my own family and not seeing my sister for 24 yrs and how hard that would be on my family so i can only imagine how hard it has been for him. Living here in Australia with NO family. A Lost Boy, still searching for the life he wants. It pains me to hear his stories, so we made a pact, we will go to Sudan together one day and meet with his family. I myself am not rich, i struggle on financially with my own family and life but somehow, someday, god will help us take this journey together, so i can retrace his steps, meet his family and learn more about how my fellow friends from southern sudan have been forced to live for far too long in unresolved war like conditions. Ipray for nothing more than peace for southern sudan and for my friends to be able to return home to a democractic society that they so enjoy here in Australia.

I have also been trying to get on here and blog about my experience at the Horn of African Youth Conference a fortnight ago but am having issues with my internet cable (kids have tripped over it one too many times and its not working) and then my camera decided it did not want me to print the pics on the SD card when i took it to officeworks. So once i have fixed the “Technical” issues facing me ill have the blog up and the pics of the weekend up as well. (I am blogging from the HARDA office this morn).

Also Please Please Please if you want to do something  for someone this Christmas purchase one of our Shirts or Products from ALL FOR CHARITY STORE and 100% of the profits made are used to support a Child Headed Household in Uganda of 5 Children. Betty the eldest girl is a budding scientist and we would love nothing more than to see her acheive her goals. For more information on Betty and her family, please VISIT HERE

-Freeuganda

Tuesday 23rd November 2010

I was at the HARDA (Horn of Africa Relief & Development Agency) office today as usual for my Tuesday Morning Volunteering to co-ordinate the African Men’s English Program. We had a great conversation at our Morning Tea session and i thought it was worthwhile to discuss.

John, (our dear leader) had raised the subject of how hard it was for African Refugee’s to gain employment in Australia and what services are available out there for further training. It was a great topic. A few of our students were really encouraged and opened up to us. “I worked for 20 months after coming to Australia as a printer” Santino from our level 3 english classed divulged. “In Sudan i worked as a printer in Khartoum”. He also added. “In Australia i learnt great lessons in my 20 months working, that quality of product is very important, the machinery is different and up to date in technology, that arriving on time to work is very important.” Santino advised. “I’ve applied for over 30 jobs in the Construction Industry” Spoke Ateem, “yet i’ve not gotten a job yet”. Ateem previously worked in construction for 12-18 months but was unable to continue his employment due to his english skills. This is why they attend our Mens English and Computer Classes, so he can gain a better understanding of the english language and how to adjust to life here in Australia in a casual and stress free setting. Even though they have completed 500 hours of English training through TAFE, they found that coming from a non english speaking country (in particular Dinka, tribal or Arabic languages) it is much harder to understand and learn english. They found that TAFE did not make them feel confident in learning the english language and they could not have too much extra help due to the high amount of students per teacher. Our courses offer low student to teacher ratio to ensure effective learning and absorbing of information.

This journey i have begun with the Southern Sudanese Community in NSW has been an amazing journey full of interesting, heart breaking and couraging stories of life. I really cannot fathome how there is so much racism and misinformation surrounding these lovely people living in our beautiful and free country. My dear Aussies, i ask of you to just take the time to get to know these wonderful and resilient people and the friendships you will make are ones that will last the tests of time. My friends have such wonderful faith and kindness to share with the world, their amazing culture and traditions are to be retained for their future generations and their expressions of love and life through dance and song is to be adored. They make the most amazing music and dances i have seen.

So its now time for me to sign off for tonight but i leave you with a refreshed and revamped website that i have been working on tonight to update my information as my paths entangle and my life takes on new challenges and projects, i hope to continue on this journey with you.
-Freeuganda

For two decades in northern Uganda, a cult-like rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) waged war against the government and local Acholi people, launching horrific attacks on villages, towns and camps for the internally displaced.

At the height of the conflict, the United Nations called northern Uganda one of the world’s most neglected humanitarian crises. Some 2 million people – about 90 percent of Acholiland – were uprooted from their homes and tens of thousands were killed or mutilated.

The LRA kidnapped thousands of children for use as fighters, porters and “wives”. Many were forced to perform terrible atrocities – including killing their families and other children. The rebels were also notorious for slicing off people’s lips, ears and noses or padlocking people’s lips shut.

A Sudanese-brokered ceasefire in August 2006 brought relative peace to northern Uganda. But rebel leader Joseph Kony has repeatedly refused to sign a final peace deal, demanding guarantees that he will not be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which wants to try him for war crimes.

Kony’s rebels have camped out in remote regions of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic since the peace process started.

During the worst of the conflict in northern Uganda many people fled their homes to live in camps. Others were herded into the camps by the Ugandan army during counter-insurgency operations. The makeshift settlements lacked food and clean water and were vulnerable to rebel attacks.

At one time, almost 1,000 people were dying every week from disease, poor living conditions and violence, according to a 2005 survey of internally displaced in Acholiland by Uganda’s health ministry, New York-based aid agency International Rescue Committee and several U.N. agencies.

Improved security since peace talks has allowed about half of the displaced to return to their villages while about a quarter have moved to transit sites near their homes, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre says. But many people, including the elderly, disabled and orphaned, are still stuck in the camps. Despite relative peace, the problems in the north continue to undermine the country’s gains since the bloodshed and economic chaos of the Idi Amin and Milton Obote years.

Northerners ruled Uganda from independence in 1962 until Yoweri Museveni, a rebel leader from the southwest, seized power in 1986. Some critics accused him of prolonging the conflict to subdue political opposition in the north – an allegation he denies.

WHO ARE THE LRA?


Patrick Odong, 13, whose jaw was smashed by a bullet in 2002 as troops battled rebels in his village.<br> REUTERS/Patrick Olum
Patrick Odong, 13, whose jaw was smashed by a bullet in 2002 as troops battled rebels in his village.
REUTERS/Patrick Olum

Museveni’s seizure of power prompted a number of popular uprisings in the north. The LRA emerged in 1992, comprising northern rebel groups and former Obote troops. At its helm was Kony, a former altar boy and self-proclaimed prophet.

Kony, an Acholi himself, turned resentment towards Museveni into an apocalyptic spiritual crusade that has sustained one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. Analysts say that aside from rabid opposition to Museveni, the rebels have showed no clear political goals during their insurgency.

Kony has said he is fighting to defend the Biblical Ten Commandments, although his group has also articulated a range of northern grievances, from the looting of cattle by Museveni’s troops to demands for a greater share of political power. A report by World Vision International says Kony’s spiritualism blends elements of Christianity, Islam and traditional Acholi beliefs to psychologically enslave abducted children and instil fear in local villagers.

In 1994, Sudan began backing the LRA with weapons and training and let it set up camps on Sudanese soil. Sudan was getting back at Uganda for supporting its own southern rebels during its 20-year civil war. It also used the LRA as a proxy to fight against the rebels. Sudan’s civil war came to an end in 2005 with a fragile peace deal. Khartoum says it has ended all support to the LRA. In 2002, Museveni launched a military campaign, “Iron Fist”, aimed at wiping out the LRA for good. Kony’s rebels responded by abducting more children and attacking more civilians. Some 10,000 children were seized in about a year. The number of displaced people shot up.

It was then that the phenomenon of “night commuting” emerged. Every evening tens of thousands of children trudged into towns like Gulu to sleep on the streets, rather than risk being kidnapped from their beds by the rebels. No one knows how many children have been abducted overall but the figure is widely believed to exceed 20,000. In October 2005, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Kony and other top LRA leaders, accusing them of multiple war crimes. Sudan agreed to let Ugandan troops pursue the rebels into its territory.

Within months, the LRA leaders sought refuge in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, rekindling historic tension between Kampala and Kinshasa. Operating from camps in Garamba National Park, in northeastern DRC, the LRA has attacked Congolese villages and towns, killed civilians and abducted children. Rebels have also attacked civilians across the border in Sudan.

HOPES FOR PEACE


A Uganda soldier sits on an amoured vehicle while escorting a U.N. convoy from Lira to Pader district, 2005.<br> REUTERS/ Joseph Akena
A Uganda soldier sits on an amoured vehicle while escorting a U.N. convoy from Lira to Pader district, 2005.
REUTERS/ Joseph Akena

South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, himself a former rebel in Sudan’s north-south war, began mediating between the LRA and Museveni after meeting Kony in the bush near the Congolese border in May 2006. The LRA declared a unilateral ceasefire in early August and by the end of the month there was a truce in place.

Rebels agreed to gather in two assembly points in southern Sudan while negotiations continued. However, most rebels drifted away from the assembly points and both sides accused each other of breaking their word. A key obstacle in the negotiations is the fact the ICC global war crimes court wants senior rebels handed over for trial. The LRA has vowed never to sign a final peace deal unless Kampala persuades the ICC to drop the case – something analysts say is unlikely.

Talks between the rebels and the government have frequently stalled since 2006. In January 2008, it was confirmed that the LRA’s deputy commander Vincent Otti was dead following rumours he had been killed in late 2007. Numerous LRA deserters have said Kony shot his number two after accusing him of spying for the government. The news raised fears of a wobble in the peace process because Otti, regarded as the brains behind the group in contrast to the volatile Kony, had been a prime mover behind the LRA joining peace talks.

A possible breakthrough came in February 2008, when the Ugandan government and LRA signed a deal stipulating that Kampala would set up special war crimes courts to handle the gravest crimes, while traditional justice known as mato oput would be used for others.

This homegrown solution has the support of the Acholis, who have borne the brunt of the conflict. But Kony has repeatedly failed to show up to sign a final peace deal. With patience wearing thin, Uganda, DRC and southern Sudan began a major offensive against LRA camps in Garamba in December 2008. A U.S. official said Washington had provided equipment and helped plan the operation.

Semi-autonomous southern Sudan said its troops wouldn’t cross into Congo, but it would block any fleeing LRA rebels. The LRA responded by looting local villages, killing hundreds and displacing tens of thousands. Ugandan troops withdrew in March 2009, and the LRA continue to terrorise parts of Central African Republic, DRC and southern Sudan.

GUNS AND DROUGHT PLAGUE KARAMOJA


A Karamojong warrior at an army disarmament operation, 2007. <br>REUTERS/Euan Denholm
A Karamojong warrior at an army disarmament operation, 2007.
REUTERS/Euan Denholm

Karamoja, a semi-arid region in Uganda’s northeast along the border with Kenya, has been affected by banditry and inter-clan warfare for decades. But the drought-prone area has experienced escalating levels of violence in recent years due to an influx of arms and competition over resources. The Karamojong people are a semi-nomadic pastoral tribe who depend on cattle for their livelihood.

Their way of life has been disrupted by disputes over shrinking water supplies and a flood of cheap semi-automatic weapons trafficked from conflicts in the Horn of Africa. The influx of guns has made frequent cattle raids more deadly. The government has attempted to tackle the widespread possession of small arms through a series of disarmament programmes.

In 2006, after persistent raids, revenge killings and warrior ambushes, it began using a more aggressive approach, in which the army has surrounded villages with tanks and helicopter gunships and forcibly searched for weapons. Dozens of civilians have been killed, and cases of torture reported during the forced disarmament campaign. Houses have been burned down and hundreds of civilians have fled the violence. Traditional nomadic movement patterns have also been disrupted. The number of reported incidents fell in 2008, says Human Rights Watch, but violations continue.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) says the government’s disarmament approach does not offer a sustainable solution to Karamoja’s insecurity because of the region’s economic and political marginalisation and limited ways to make a living. Karamoja is one of Uganda’s most impoverished regions, and lacks government services and institutions, including civilian policing. The neglect can be traced back to colonial times, when British administrators largely left Uganda’s northern tribes out of the process of modernisation.

Adding to the woes of poverty and violence, the population has been badly affected by successive years of drought. In May 2009 – during the hunger season – the entire population was experiencing food shortages, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The region suffered a severe famine in the early 1980s, and still has the highest malnutrition rates in the country. Its livestock has been decimated by disease since 2007.

According to World Health Organisation figures, the region has very high child and maternal mortality rates compared with the national average. Rights groups are also concerned about forced evictions. In one case cited by the United Nations, a group of women and children were kicked out of their homes on the grounds that they were providing intelligence information to warriors.

Meanwhile, the government has tried to get hundreds of Karamojong who have migrated to the capital Kampala to return to the northeast. Aid agencies are worried that returns have not been voluntary in some cases, and that the government has failed to provide adequate support.

via Reuters AlertNet – Uganda violence.

My Opinion

(“Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”)  – “Honestly who is this guy kidding? he is an expert in governance!? so why is his country full of corrupt politicians and military officials and its countrymen do not know, information is not made public? why do people have no access to clean water? why do you have rebels attacking innocent civilians, why, why, why? oh it must be because you have such great governance skills!

Sheesh, i have not heard such crap before as what i hear from this man repeatedly! Taking into consideration it was this man who abolished term limits for presidents, thus allowing him to be president as long as he wants to.  Acts of intimidation by military and politicians of the opposite party, tortures and abductions, missing people and murder.  Not to mention the current bill going through legislation that will effectively ban “free media”. Without media free from government control, just like Iran, the country will become a dictatorship country.  Museveni YOU ARE a Dictator. You overtook a government with military force (albeit he was a dictator too) and committed crimes against humanity yet you say it was all Dr Obote and his army, I suggest to you that it was NOT all him and that you also, are responsible for mass murder, conscription of children for military use, crimes against humanity and corruption.  Regardless of the crimes committed by  Dr Obote and his army, you sir are just as evil as him. You have dictated to your country men what they need to hear and not what is actually happening. You have twisted your reasoning and bargained your way into a position of power, like Kony, you will not relenquish that power, until you do, Uganda will suffer.

I think the Donor countries have every right to call out Museveni on his lack of governance not his expertise.  Alot of his countries budget is made up from donor funds sent by these countries.  If he has and still is letting down his countrymen by being a dictator, imagine how hard their lives would become if the donor countries pulled their funds, i suggest mass malnutrition and poverty and crime would seriously escalate. Northern Uganda has finally found some kind of peace and people are moving home from the IDP camps. The country is finally coming slowly with stability and yet this man continually pushes the boundaries with his “im holier than thou” attitude. He seems to think that he is superior to his fellow man.

I really hope that for the sake of All Ugandans, Museveni is not re-elected president again, as i feel that the country will stop going forward and rather start heading in reverse. All the things that have been achieved will become like a distant memory. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

The Report

President Museveni has hit back in a continuing row with donors telling them not to ask questions about governance. The President’s comments on Friday came on the same day this newspaper revealed that three senior western diplomats had written to the Electoral Commission over the slow pace of reforms ahead of next year’s election.

Put aid elsewhere

Speaking during the launch of a book on economic reforms in Uganda, President Museveni said donors should not tie development assistance to demands for better governance and democracy. “Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”

While President Museveni has previously told off donors, his latest comments come amidst growing local and international pressure on his government to improve governance and protect civil liberties.

The United States government, which is a key ally, has made democracy and good governance top of its agenda in Uganda under the Obama administration and is closely monitoring the road to the election.

The US ambassador to Uganda, Mr Jerry Lanier and his counterparts Martin Shearman (UK) and Joroen Verhaul (Netherlands) on March 3 co-wrote to Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission chairman, warning that a failure to carry out reforms could erode confidence in the EC and put the credibility of the 2011 election at risk.

The government has brought four Bills to Parliament in response to calls for electoral reform but donors, the opposition and independent viewers say these are inadequate.

President Museveni’s statement indicates the government’s unwillingness to respond to pressure to implement more radical reforms such as disbanding the Electoral Commission as called for by the opposition.

Donors still fund a third of the national budget but say governance failures are affecting development and national stability. The World Bank resident representative recently issued its strongest statement yet in a scathing criticism of the government’s failure to deal with corruption.

Opposition chips in
While the President wants to keep donors out of the domestic political sphere, the opposition wants more involvement by the international community.

Responding to the envoy’s letter to the Electoral Commission, the acting Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga (FDC; Busongora South), said: “The donors have the key; they pushed President Museveni to accept multi-partyism [in 2005] and when they called him over the Anti-homosexuality Bill, the President immediately changed his position.”

MP Kibanzanga added: “If the donors tell him to accept the electoral reforms we are pushing for as the opposition, there is no doubt Mr Museveni will accept them within days.”

Information minister Kabakumba Masiko, however, said it was irregular for diplomats to bypass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and transact business directly with domestic institutions. “They should use the right channel and work with [government] to concretise democratic gains in the country and the achievements so far made by the EC,” she said.

via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – Museveni hits back in row with donors.

By Milton Olupot

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has said he is ready to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), if he committed crimes against humanity.

The President said this during the launch of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Communication Bureau in Kampala on Friday.

Parliament last week passed the ICC Bill, three years after it was tabled. The Bill makes a provision in Uganda’s law for the prosecution and punishment for international crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Asked by journalists whether he would surrender any of the government officials or himself to the court now that Uganda had passed the Bill, Museveni said he would be willing to stand trial.

“I would be very happy to be tried. If I committed crimes against humanity, I should be tried,” he replied.

Mengo has threatened to drag some government and security officials to the ICC for quelling the September riots, in which more than 20 people were killed.

The President, however, noted that the law in Uganda allows for private prosecution. He wondered why those who talk about the ICC have not brought any criminal charges against security officers.

“Certainly if any of our officers committed any crimes, we would have tried them here,” he said. “Since we came to power, we have executed 123 people for killing others. Those going to The Hague are wasting their time.”

Responding to the question that LRA leader Joseph Kony was in Darfur and being facilitated by the Sudanese government, Museveni said Ugandan troops pursuing the rebels in the Central African Republic had sent a brief that Kony and a small group of his fighters had disappeared near Darfur.

He, however, assured Ugandans that Kony and his fighters would never come back to Uganda.

“If the Sudanese want to accommodate him in Darfur, that is upon them. Darfur is 1,000 miles away from Uganda. Why should I worry about a man who is 1,000 miles away?”

Kony and his commanders were indicted by the ICC in 2005. The court wants them to face trial for crimes against humanity. In their 22-year war, the LRA killed, maimed, raped and abducted civilians in northern Uganda.

The Bill passed last week is intended to enforce the law in Uganda after the Rome Statute was adopted by the UN in 1998 and ratified by Uganda in 2002.

It will enable Uganda to co-operate with the ICC in the investigation and prosecution of people accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It further provides for the arrest and surrender to the ICC of persons alleged to have committed crimes against humanity, in addition to enabling the ICC conduct proceedings in Uganda.

A total of 110 countries have ratified the Rome Statute. The US and China have not done so.

via Welcome To The Sunday Vision online: Uganda’s leading weekly.

My Thoughts

“President Museveni needs to stand trial for his crimes against humanity.  It is well documented and the early NRA used child soldiers as well as  forced conscription of children into the NRA. Museveni is just another tyrant who has only fixed the area’s that he wanted fixed. He may have bought relative stability to the south but what about the north? for 24 yrs he allowed Kony and his LRA Rebels to pillage, rape and abduct the Acholi and Luo of Northern Uganda. Then the Ugandan military pushed them over the border into DRC, Sudan and CAR – now the LRA are committing the same crimes in those countries.  As he say’s “why should i worry about a person who is 1000 miles away” – he never worried even when kony was in the North of Uganda. He didn’t care as Kony was more prone to attack the civilians than the soliders. Its as if Museveni wanted to destroy the Acholi. There are also documented cases of Museveni’s NRA pillaging, Raping and Torturing civilians in the North as well. Stealing cattle and maiming/murdering those who stood in the way.

Museveni MUST be investigated by the ICC and must be tried for his part in the NRA take over of DR Obote’s government.

I really feel for the people of Uganda, Amin, Obote & Museveni are all tyrannts, who have manipulated their government and rulings to suit themselves. They want the power and money and therefore will use it against any who challenge them.

My only hope is that the 2011 elections in Uganda are a Free and Fair election and that someone else is elected president. Museveni believes that Roads are the key to the country’s future. Infastructure, Electricity, Access to clean water and health care and what the country needs in order to survive, with less poverty and illness.

Mr Museveni, Shame On YOU! ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda