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2011 October | Activist News | Page 2
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The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

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Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Occupy London could be protected by Christian ring of prayer

Guardian
Oct. 29, 2011
By

Coalition of Christian groups plan to prevent forcible attempts to remove tents outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Christian groups have drawn up plans to protect protesters by forming a ring of prayer around the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, should an attempt be made to forcibly remove them.

As the storm of controversy over the handling of the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration deepened on Saturday, Christian activists said it was their duty to stand up for peaceful protest in the absence of support from St Paul’s. One Christian protester, Tanya Paton, said: “We represent peace, unity and love. A ring of prayer is a wonderful symbol.”


With senior officials at St Paul’s apparently intent on seeking an injunction to break up the protest, the director of the influential religious thinktank Ekklesia, Jonathan Bartley, said the cathedral’s handling of the protest had been a “car crash” and predicted more high-profile resignations from the Church of England.

The canon chancellor of St Paul’s, Dr Giles Fraser, and the Rev Fraser Dyer, who works as a chaplain at the cathedral, have already stepped down over the decision to pursue legal action to break up the camp.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, is attempting to mediate in the dispute. She said she had contacted the corporation, cathedral and protesters to offer a “neutral space” to sort out the impasse. The corporation had not yet responded, she said, although St Paul’s had acknowledged her offer. She said the protesters had been enthusiastic in their desire for dialogue and a peaceful resolution.

“It would have been easy to opt for a line of action that would have led to images of police dragging away protesters, but they want to talk.”

It was claimed last night that a highly critical report into the moral standards of bankers has been suppressed by St Paul’s amid fears it would inflame tensions over the protest. The report, based on a survey of 500 City workers who were asked if they thought they were worth their salaries and bonuses, was due to be published last Thursday.

But publication of the report, by the St Paul’s Institute, has been delayed in apparent acknowledgement that it would give the impression the cathedral was on the side of protesters.

Christian groups that have publicly sided with the protesters include one of the oldest Christian charities, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the oldest national student organisation, the Student Christian Movement, Christianity Uncut, the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust and the Christian magazine Third Way. In addition, London Catholic Worker, the Society of Sacramental Socialists and Quaker groups have offered their support.

A statement by the groups said: “As Christians, we stand alongside people of all religions who are resisting economic injustice with active nonviolence. The global economic system perpetuates the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. It is based on idolatrous subservience to markets. We cannot worship both God and money.”

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/29/christians-defend-occupy-london-protest 

Occupy Denver protesters, law enforcement officers clash; 20 arrested

Denver Post
Oct. 30, 2011
By Jordan Steffen and Michael Booth


In the most violent Saturday in more than a month of Occupy Denver demonstrations and marches, Denver police fired pepper spray and pepper balls at a crowd of protesters in Civic Center and arrested 20 people.

Two of the protesters were held for felony charges after police said an officer was knocked off his motorcycle and other officers were kicked, as they moved into the park to tear down illegal tents.

The first midafternoon confrontation had police and state troopers shoulder-to-shoulder pushing a group of marchers off the state Capitol steps, which is out-of-bounds to protesters without a permit.
Some of the Occupy Denver sympathizers then raced to set up tents in Civic Center, where city officials have allowed ongoing food tables and sleeping bags but not sleeping structures.


Protesters there surged around about eight police officers. Other officers responding to calls for help fired the pepper bullets, which resemble paint balls. One protester filming the scene — one of hundreds of cameras documenting police activity — was knocked out of a tree in the melee.

Five people were arrested in the first conflict, before 3 p.m. Hundreds of officers and SWAT members converged on the park, and Broadway was shut down for hours as police and protesters reached a tense stalemate.

About a dozen of the angriest marchers stood nose-to-nose with police and screamed profanities or anti-Wall Street slogans. Others tried to calm the situation, even while filming.

Just before 6 p.m., with ambulances waiting and police cruisers covering whole blocks around the park, officers donned gas masks and used megaphones to warn protesters that the remaining tents were illegal. Wielding long batons, a few dozen officers pushed into the park and formed a circle around the tents.

University of Colorado student Daniel Ellen tried to jump through a gap to help other protesters he feared were stuck in the tents but was knocked to the ground by police. He stood up and charged at them again, screaming in anger, took a blow to the temple with a baton and was pushed down twice more.

Full Article Here – http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19223274  

Occupy Nashville protesters released after second night of arrests

The Tennessean
Oct. 29, 2011
By Ivan Aronin

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security issued a statement on the Occupy Nashville arrests early Saturday morning, stating that they “enforced a revised state policy that makes the Legislative Plaza, War Memorial Courtyard, and Capitol grounds areas closed to the public from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. daily.”

“State troopers asked Occupy Nashville protestors to leave the Legislative Plaza around midnight. At 12:10 a.m. troopers removed 26 protestors who refused to leave…. A total of 72 state troopers were involved in the curfew enforcement.”


State troopers did not enforce the curfew when it went into effect at 10 p.m., when about 100 Occupy Nashville protesters were on the Plaza. At 11p.m., Tennessean journalists witnessed dozens of TPAC patrons crossing the plaza unimpeded.

UPDATED at 8 a.m.

Tennessee state troopers for the second straight night arrested Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime curfew imposed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in an effort to disband an encampment near the state Capitol.

And for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the protesters’ arrest warrants.

Early Saturday morning, Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza.”

Occupy Nashville protesters — including many of the 29 arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Friday — returned to the Legislative Plaza that evening and remained through the 10 p.m. curfew.

“To see it from the other side is even more infuriating,” said Chip Allen, one of the protesters arrested in the first raid. “When you’re in it, it’s almost surreal. This takes on a whole ‘nother flavor.”

The arrests came after a week of police crackdowns around the country on Occupy Wall Street activists, who have been protesting economic inequality and what they call corporate greed.

In Oakland, Calif., an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured during a protest clash with police Tuesday night. In Atlanta early Wednesday, helicopters hovered overhead as officers in riot gear arrested more than 50 protesters at a downtown park. In San Diego, police arrested 51 people who occupied the Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park for three weeks.

Full Article Here – http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111029/NEWS01/111029004/Occupy-Nashville-protesters-released-after-second-night-arrests?odyssey=nav 

Egyptian prisoner tortured to death, activists say

Washington Post
Oct. 28, 2011
By Ingy Hassieb

CAIRO — Rights activists and protesters paraded through Cairo’s streets on Friday bearing the coffin of a young man they said had been tortured to death in a maximum security prison, calling his treatment evidence that abuses are continuing at the hands of security forces more than nine months after Egypt’s revolution.

Essam Atta, 24, was killed Thursday after he was caught with a cellphone, relatives said. They said one of his cellmates had told them guards inserted hoses into Atta’s mouth and anus and forced in water and soap, causing vomiting and bleeding.


Protesters likened the alleged incident to the abuses, including corruption and the widespread use of torture, that pushed Egyptians to revolt this winter against President Hosni Mubarak.

Comparisons were drawn between Atta and Khaled Said, a young man who was beaten to death by police in the port city of Alexandria last year. Pictures of Said’s bloodied body were posted online and became a driving force behind the uprising. Now a picture of Atta’s corpse is circulating on social networking sites, and activists are calling for an investigation.

Aida Saif al-Dawla of the El-Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence declared Atta “the second Khalid Said” after briefly seeing his bloodied body at the Cairo morgue.

She said she worried that a proper autopsy would not be carried out and that authorities would try to cover up the causes of Atta’s death, as they did with Said’s.

Dawla said rights activists and the public would watch the case. “No one will be silent,” she said.

Atta was arrested in February, convicted of “thuggery” and sentenced to two years in prison by a military court. He had been charged with drug dealing in 2004 and carrying an unlicensed weapon in 2010, according to an Interior Ministry statement Friday.

The statement attributed Atta’s death to “unknown poisoning” and said prison guards tried to save him.

Egyptian activists have been campaigning to stop the hasty military proceedings in which Atta and more than 10,000 others have been arrested and convicted since the ouster of Mubarak in February.
The ruling military council also has expanded the country’s hated emergency law, whose removal was a key demand of the revolutionaries.

“I am convinced a lot more similar cases exist,” said Mona Seif of the group No to Military Trials for Civilians. “Such attempts to cover up the truth make me certain of it.”

Full Article Here – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egyptian-prisoner-tortured-to-death-activists-say/2011/10/28/gIQABPlRQM_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

Occupy San Diego protesters ousted after dialogue ended, police say

Los Angeles Times
Oct. 28, 2011

The San Diego police chief said a decision was made to clear Occupy San Diego protesters from the civic plaza Friday after talks broke down with protesters who refused to remove their tents.

Mayor Jerry Sanders, a former police chief, was informed in advance of the decision to remove the protesters and their belongings from the plaza behind City Hall, said Chief Bill Lansdowne.

An estimated 50 people were arrested in the early Friday morning sweep that took less than an hour.


There were no reports of injuries or use of tear gas. Police used plastic handcuffs to restrain those who were arrested.

“It was textbook,” Lansdowne said.

About 100 San Diego officers were involved, backed by deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.  Lansdowne said he was proud of the officers who arrived about 2 a.m. and ordered protesters to move or be arrested.

“Most of those who were arrested wanted to be arrested,” Lansdowne said.

In the first days of the occupation, police and protesters had a friendly dialogue, Lansdowne said. But in recent days as protesters began erecting more tents, dialogue deteriorated, he said.

Full Article Here – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/10/occupy-san-diego-2.html 

Business as usual: top directors get 49 per cent pay rise

The Independent
Oct. 28, 2011
By Stephen Foley

The directors of Britain’s largest companies were last night condemned as “elite greedy pigs” for pocketing a 49 per cent pay rise in the past year, while average workers failed even to keep up with inflation.

Unions exploded with fury after the publication of figures that showed how boardroom pay soared in the last financial year, thanks to rising salaries, bonuses and in particular the swelling value of directors’ long-term share plans. The statistics, compiled by Incomes Data Services, provide an annual snapshot of executive remuneration, as reported in companies’ most recent reports to shareholders, and show that the chief executives of the FTSE 100 largest companies earned an average of £3,855,172 last year. That is an average 43 per cent rise and, adding in other directors, total earnings rose by an average 49 per cent.

According to the report, the FTSE 100 chief executive with the highest earnings last year was Michael Davis of the mining conglomerate Xstrata, who pocketed £18.4m, closely followed by Bart Becht of Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Nurofen, Calgon dishwasher powder and Durex condoms.

Steve Tatton, the report’s editor, said the large increases represented the rising value of long-term share incentive plans, which were accumulated over time. “Britain’s economy may be struggling to return to pre-recession levels of output, but the same cannot be said of FTSE 100 directors’ remuneration. The generous remuneration packages that FTSE 100 directors now receive indicate a marked improvement in boardroom fortunes,” he said.
Union leaders’ outrage was only stoked by a second IDS report, also released yesterday, showing that the average private-sector pay award this summer gave workers a raise of just 2.6 per cent – half the most recent annual inflation figure.
“This is another shining example of how the elite greedy pigs who run our top companies behave,” said Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, which recently published a survey of 294 occupations covering 90 per cent of the British workers that showed they had seen drops in living standards of up to 20 per cent in some sectors.
“Apart from these FTSE directors and chief executives, everyone from plasterers to IT specialists, from travel agents to midwives, and hairdressers to police inspectors has seen the value of their earnings drop. It has got a lot worse in the past year as the recovery stalled,” he added.
The IDS report is set to reignite demands for the Government to curb executive pay, and the Unite union last night called for shareholders to be given more power to hold directors accountable. “The Government should strongly consider giving shareholders greater legal powers to question and curb these excessive remuneration packages,” said the union’s general secretary Len McCluskey. 
“Institutional shareholders need to exercise much greater scrutiny and control of directors’ pay and bonuses. It’s obscene and it shows that the City has learnt nothing during the financial troubles of the last four years.”
The TUC called for worker representation on company boards as a way of trying to narrow the gap between boardroom and shop-floor pay.
“Boardroom pay rewards are a brazen stitch-up,” said Brendan Barber, the TUC’s general secretary. “Top directors have used tough business conditions to impose real wage cuts, which have hit people’s living standards and the wider economy, but have shown no such restraint with their own pay. Reform should start with employee representation on remuneration committees, which would give directors a much-needed sense of reality.” 

Judge approves settlement for black farmers

Reuters
Oct. 28, 2011
By JoAnne Allen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday approved a $1.25 billion settlement in a decades-old discrimination case by black farmers, clearing the way for them to seek compensation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for being left out of farm aid programs.
The decision helps tens of thousands of farmers who had been denied part of an earlier 1999 settlement because they missed the filing deadline.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman wrote in an order approving the agreement that Congress by waiving the statute of limitations has further redressed “the historic discrimination against African-American farmers.” He called the settlement “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”
National Black Farmers Association president said it was “a very important step that should provide assurance to the black farmers that each of their cases will now move toward a resolution.”

The black farmers reached this settlement with the government in February 2010 to compensate them for being left out of federal farm loan and assistance programs for years because of alleged racial discrimination.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/judge-approves-settlement-black-farmers-042842779.html?nc 

U.S. Army sergeant to be tried for alleged Afghan sport killings

CNN
Oct. 28, 2011
By Patrick Oppmann

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (CNN) — It didn’t take long for Sgt. Calvin Gibbs to make an impression on his soldiers.

Gibbs, the new leader of 3rd Platoon, part of the Army’s 5th Stryker Brigade, had served a previous tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, and at 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds, towered over most of the platoon members.

Gibbs took over the platoon, stationed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in November, 2009. It was a low point for the group: A massive roadside bomb had injured their previous leader and left the team rattled. Gibbs wasn’t rattled though.


And, as several of his fellow soldiers would later testify, Gibbs promised his men they would have a chance to exact revenge on the “savages,” referring to the Afghan civilian population they were meant to protect.

Nearly two years later, Gibbs, 26, faces a military court martial on Friday for numerous charges, including the murder of three Afghan civilians.

He is the highest ranking soldier charged in what prosecutors say was a rogue “kill squad” that allegedly targeted Afghan civilians and made the deaths look like casualties of Taliban counterattacks.

He has also been charged with removing body parts from his alleged victims, such as teeth and fingers, to keep as souvenirs; planting “drop weapons” to fake attacks on soldiers; and intimidating several of his own unit members from speaking out against the unit’s alleged murder plots and rampant drug use.

After his May 2010 arrest in Afghanistan, Gibbs showed investigators a tattoo on his lower left leg depicting crossed pistols and five skulls. He told investigators the skulls were a way to keep track of his kills in both Iraq and Afghanistan, according to investigative interview notes shown to CNN.

Gibbs has pleaded not guilty. His attorney Phillip Stackhouse did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. Stackhouse said in a preliminary hearing this summer that Gibbs acted lawfully and that other soldiers who have testified against him were unreliable witnesses.

Gibbs, a Billings, Montana, native who is married with a young son, faces life in a military prison. His trial is expected to last a week.

Twelve soldiers from the Army’s 5th Stryker Brigade have been charged in the case, including five with murder. Three of the soldiers charged with murder — Spc. Adam Winfield, Pvt. Jeremy Morlock, and Pfc. Andrew Holmes — have pleaded guilty in exchange for their testimony. Spc. Michael Wagnon has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of murder, and awaits court martial.

Full Article Here – http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/28/us/afghan-sport-killings-court-martial/index.html

Greek protesters call president “traitor”, halt parade

Reuters
Oct. 28, 2011
By George Georgiopoulos and Daniel Flynn

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

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


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

“The Greek people are now fighting a major battle. They also fought one many years ago today … We must unite to overcome this crisis,” Papoulias said, adding that he had fought the Germans as a 15-year-old boy. “So who is a traitor? They should be ashamed!”

“I came to honor this historic city. There are some who want to prevent this celebration. I am very sorry,” said Papoulias, 82, appealing to Greeks to stand together in the face of the country’s economic plight.

The austerity measures demanded under an EU/IMF rescue of Greece have helped push its economy into its worst recession in four decades, driving unemployment to record levels above 16 percent.
Many Greeks accuse Prime Minister George Papandreou of sacrificing their wellbeing to foreign lenders.

Incidents marred parades and celebrations in towns and cities throughout Greece, held to commemorate the day when Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected a demand from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to allow deployment of his troops in Greece. The national holiday known as Ohi Day, or “No Day”, in Greek.

BAND STOPS

Despite a deal clinched on Thursday at an EU summit to cancel half the value of Greece’s 200 billion euro debt in the hands of private bondholders, many Greeks are deeply resentful of what they see as foreign meddling in their affairs, reviving memories of the wartime Nazi occupation.

EU paymaster Germany, which has been vocal in demanding economic and fiscal reforms in return for its financial support, has become a target for demonstrators’ derision.

Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/28/us-greece-protest-idUSTRE79R34J20111028

Anonymous downs Oakland police site after violence

SC Magazine
Oct. 27, 2011
By

The hacktivist group Anonymous is making good on its promise of digital retaliation against the Oakland Police Department for the force it used against protesters this week.

A distributed denial-of-service attack against the department’s website — www.oaklandpolice.com — is underway, and the website currently is unreachable.

In addition, members of the collective have begun releasing information about Oakland police officers, and the call is out for additional help.

“The time has come to retaliate against Oakland police via all non-violent means, beginning with ‘doxing’ of individual officers and particularly higher-ups involved in the department’s conduct of late,” read an Anonymous statement, posted to Pastebin.

An Oakland police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Doxing references the public release of information about individuals.

Anonymous’ operation, dubbed “OpUprise,” comes in response to the actions Tuesday night of Oakland police trying to squash a largely peaceful demonstration organized to protest the clearing of an encampment where Occupy Oakland members had been staying.

Full Article Here – http://www.scmagazineus.com/anonymous-downs-oakland-police-site-after-violence/article/215433/