Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Yesterday the New York Police Department launched a campaign on Twitter which invited people to tweet pictures of themselves with “New York’s finest” using the hashtag #mynypd to promote a supposed good relationship with the community.

The tweet that started it all.

The tweet that started it all.

The campaign however didn’t work out too well for the NYPD as thousands of users sent in pictures of brutality at the hands of NYPD. Commissioner William Bratton pledged to make the use of social media one of the cornerstones of the NYPD’s effort to engage with the community, appointing Zachary Tumin as deputy commissioner of strategic initiatives to oversee the effort. However when asked about the negative depiction of the NYPD Bratton responded saying that he welcomed both types of photos. He said the department welcomed “the extra attention.”

“Was that particular reaction from some of the police adversaries anticipated?” Mr. Bratton said. “To be quite frank, it was not, but at the same time it’s not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media”

By midnight on Tuesday, more than 70,000 people had tweeted about police brutality, ridiculing the NYPD for a social media disaster and recalling the names of people shot dead by police.

 

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mynypd5                                mynypd7

 

mynypd8              mynypd9

 

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The mention of the small town of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina for most will conjure images and memories of the war that tore it apart 20 years ago; Images of bloodshed, bombs and snipers shooting from surrounding hillside. Combined with names such as Srebrenica and Prijedor, images of the first genocide broadcast, in colour, live on TV. Perhaps, even images of the ‘Sarajevo roses’ that remain, as a stark reminder of what happened to the streets of that city. Now a new uproar runs through this city’s streets, one of a different kind.

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Over two weeks ago demonstrators, activists and children began peacefully occupying the parliament square in Sarajevo. There protest is against their politician’s failure to adopt a permanent law on identification documents. This failure has caused great problems for children in the country in particular newborn children, who have been denied the right to receive ID numbers since February 2013 preventing them from obtaining passports or other documents necessary for travel. It was this that led to the situation that became the spark for revolt, the case of Belima Ibrisevic.

Ibrisevic was a newborn baby, sick and in need of medical treatment that she could not receive in her own country. However due the Ministry of the Interior’s inability to provide her with and ID number neither was she able to obtain the passport that would have allowed her to travel to Germany where she would be able to receive the treatment necessary. For the people of Sarajevo this was the last straw and on June 5th thousands began a protest which led to them standing in front of the parliament day and night. The following day the demonstrators organised a blockade of the parliament building that prevented MPs and Foreign investors from leaving.

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In February the law on ID’s was blocked by Bosnian Serb MPs who claimed that there needed to be change in the municipalities before new personal numbers could be issued. This has led to ruling class politicians, who still hold their power by playing on ethnic cleavages, accusing the demonstrations of being orchestrated by the ethnic opposition parties. But the demonstrators doth protest this claiming that they do not accept the government’s attempt to label the issue under a convenient ethnic flag for it is not an issue of race nor religion, but that the entire system is failing.

The protests have gained support, as other protesters have stood in solidarity with their peers in Sarajevo. Rallies in support of the occupiers have taken place in major cities around the Muslim-Croat Federation. The widespread solidarity show strikes a new chord in a country where people find it difficult to mobilise cross-ethnically. This change is part of a wider change taking place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In May 2012 a demonstration broke out, occupying Picin Park in Banja Luka, in opposition to plans that would see the removal of old trees from the park. Though this occupation may not have reached the scale nor notoriety of Istanbul’s Taskim Park it is without doubt notable in it’s being the first large scale demonstration activists have been able to organise since the war ended over 17 years ago.

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Like many contemporary movements, activists in Bosnia took influence from the Indignados, which led to a walking protest that lasted more than fifty days and gained those involved the epithet of Sijetaci, the Walkers. As well as issues of free and public space, opposition to the economic and social situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been at the centre of these protests. The Walkers of Banja Luka and the occupiers of Sarajevo show a new wave of resistance in the country that could unleash a long repressed anger at the way in which the ruling class treat politics like an oversized board game.

blockLast Friday thousands of demonstrators descended on the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt to protest against the troika – the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission – and the policies they have been implementing in southern Europe. The demonstration had been called by the Federal Blockupy Coalition (Blockupy). Martin Sommer, a spokesperson for Blockupy argues that the troika are “pushing austerity measures and making people in southern Europe suffer.” Activists were also protesting against other issues, including food price speculation unemployment and inflation. “The aim of this blockade is to prevent normal operations [at the ECB],” said Sommer, adding that some people who had tried to come to work had been sent home by the protesters.

Governments struggling with large debt burdens have cut spending and raised taxes, contributing to widespread recession across the euro zone, while many families are deep in debt or have lost their homes after property bubbles burst. Sol Trumbo Vila, a member of the Indignados movement and a co-ordinator of the Blockupy demonstration claims that “the troika are using the crisis to implement a long time decided neo-liberal agenda, privatising of public services, weakening of labour laws through their so called austerity measures.” Many of Frankfurt’s banks have urged staff to take Friday as holiday after a state holiday on Thursday. The demonstration was held roughly a year after police detained hundreds of people for defying a temporary ban on protests at a similar four-day event in Frankfurt.

Armed with signs bearing slogans such as “humanity before profit”, the protesters gathered in the rain to block roads including those leading to Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in the city’s financial district. They were met by armed police in full riot gear and accompanied by dog units. Trucks with water cannons stood by and a helicopter hovered overhead. At least 20 protesters held up inflatable mattresses with the slogan “War Starts Here” written on them. Police said some protesters had thrown stones and there were some clashes at the barricades, but the protest was generally peaceful.

Co-op Boycott Israeli Goods

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Palestine, UK

The Co-operative Group stresses that its move is not an Israeli boycott and that it will use other suppliers in the country that do not source from illegal settlements.

The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements. In a statement Britain’s fifth largest supermarket chain said “Following an audit of the Group’s supply chain, it will no longer do business with four companies, accounting for £350,000 worth of sales, as there is evidence that they source from the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories, the Group will also continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses in the occupied territories.”

Welcoming the supermarket chain’s move, Palestinian human rights campaigners said it was the first time a supermarket anywhere in the west had taken such a position. Hilary Smith, Co-op member and Boycott Israel Network (BIN) agricultural trade campaign coordinator, said the Co-op “has taken the lead internationally in this historic decision to hold corporations to account for complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. We strongly urge other retailers to take similar action.”

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which works to improve the conditions of Palestinian agricultural communities, said: “Israeli agricultural export companies like Mehadrin profit from and are directly involved in the ongoing colonisation of occupied Palestinian land and theft of our water. Trade with such companies constitutes a major form of support for Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, so we warmly welcome this principled decision by the Co-operative. The movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law is proving to be a truly effective form of action in support of Palestinian rights.”

As an estimated 160 far right supporter gathered in Aarhus, Denmark today for an English Defence League (EDL) led conference to build a pan-European movement against what they see as problems caused by growing Islamification of Europe, they found themselves outnumbered more than 20 to 1 by the 4,000 Anti-Fascists. The anti-fascist mobilisation and rally saw members groups such as Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and Anti-Fascist Action (Antifa) from across Europe stand up against far-right extremism and racism.

The events were largely skirmish free despite police fearing violence with Danish members of Antifa, the group believed to be heavily involved in violence which followed the eviction of squatters from a Copenhagen youth centre in 2006, planing to take part in the anti-EDL march. It was clear though that the tense atmosphere around the proceedings was only amplified by the start of the trial this month of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist and anti-Islamist who confessed to the murder of 77 people in Norway last July.

The EDL plan to have a national mobilisation in their birthplace, Luton on May 5th. After today it will be clear to Tommy Robinson and his far right thugs that Britain’s anti-fascists will be ready to meet the, on the streets.

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Barack Obama has told America’s allies that the United States will attack Iran before fall 2012 unless Tehran halts its nuclear program, a time frame that suggests Obama is willing to use war as a re-election campaign tool to rally the population around his leadership. According to a report by Israeli intelligence outfit DebkaFile, the window of opportunity for an attack before Iran moves the bulk of its nuclear processing underground is quickly evaporating.

“Obama’s announcement was not perceived as a general directive to US allies, but a guideline to blow the dust off the contingency plans for a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities which stayed locked in bottom drawers for three years,” states the report, adding that “Obama’s announcement spurred Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Israel into girding their navies, air forces, ballistic units and anti-missile defense systems for the challenges ahead.” The imminent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is part of a program to re-arrange the United States’ presence in the Gulf. This dovetails with numerous reports over the past few weeks that large numbers of U.S. troops are being stationed in Kuwait.

There have also been reports going as far back as February suggesting that various people have given Obama the option of Iran as a way to ‘save’ his political career. Rumors that Israel was preparing for an attack on Iran have been rumbling all summer, but they really came to the fore in early October when US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s October 3 Tel Aviv visit was used as an opportunity by Israeli hawks to convince Panetta to green light the attack. This week has seen a barrage of news and leaked information which confirms that Israel, the U.S. and the United Kingdom are all on a war footing in preparation for targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities.

DebkaFile has proven itself to be accurate in predicting the precise time frame of conflicts in the past, correctly reporting back in July that the war in Libya would come to a head in early September, which is when rebels seized Tripoli and Gaddafi went on the run. Should Obama and the United States’ NATO allies lead the attack on Iran, Israel itself is likely to take a back seat, according to reports which suggest the Zionist state will concentrate on defending the home front against likely reprisal attacks carried out by Hizballah.

The Fall Of A Tyrant

Posted: October 25, 2011 in International, Libya, Middle-East

Born in the small fishing town of Sirte, Colonol Muammar Gaddafi rose to become the ruler of Libya. For 42 years Gaddafi dominated Libya with a merciless single-mindedness until in August 2011 he was officially ousted from power following battles between loyalists and the National Transitional Council. As rebel forces approached Tripoli on August 21st Gaddafi’s response, true to form, was “We will fight to the last drop of blood. We will never give up.” On October 20th this claim for Al Qaddafi came to pass as Nato aircraft struck 11 vehicles in an armoured convoy speeding the late Libyan leader out of his hometown.

In a statement released on Friday Nato said “These armed vehicles were leaving Sirte at high speed and were attempting to force their way around the outskirts of the city.” The statement followed on to say, “The vehicles were carrying a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition posing as a significant threat to the local civilian population.”

Questions still remain over the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death, Nato remains adamant they were unaware that Gaddafi was in the convoy, reiterating that it was not Nato’s policy to target individuals. Supporting this statement a Libyan military official said Gaddafi was wounded in a Nato air strike before his capture. However, not all feel this to be the truth, a doctor who examined Gaddafi’s body said that his death was the result of a bullet in his intestines and a bullet hole in his head, both of which were sustained while in captivity. The United Nations human rights office called on Friday for a full investigation into the killing of Colonel Gaddafi and has voiced concerns that he may have been executed post-capture.

Sources have estimated that the financial cost of the UK’s involvement in the Libya conflict could be as high as £1.75bn – almost seven times more than government estimates, according to a new study. Research by a respected defence analyst suggests that the government has given a misleading picture of the costs of supporting the military operation, now in its eighth month, leading to demands of a proper spending breakdown. Concern over funding for the operation has been mounting, as government departments, including the MOD, have to cope with deep spending cuts because of the fragility of the economy.

“Everyone can now draw a line. This is the final curtain. This is the beginning of a new chapter,” declared Guma al- Gamaty af Gaddafi’s death was confirmed. For many though there are still some issues that still need to be resolved. In the case of Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi and his family on the key issues still very much on the table is that of the torture that went on under Gaddafi’s regime and with Gaddafi gone the focus is on the involvement of British authorities. This week the wife and children of Sami al-Saadi have launched legal proceedings against the British government and its intelligence agencies over the role they played in an operation that had Saadi’s family abducted in Hong Kong in 2004. From here they were flown to Tripoli and held for months in one of Gaddafi’s prisons as Saadi was tortured nearby. Saadi’s eldest child, Kahdija, now 19, has talked of the terror of being separated from her parents and taken to Libya where she knew her father would face torture at best. “The British government speak of human rights and justice – why were they involved with Gaddafi?” she asked “The people who put us through this should be held accountable. I want an apology: they stole my childhood” Like his family Saadi embarked on his own legal pursuit earlier this month joining a list of 30 cases alleging British complicity in their torture or rendition. Saadi’s wife and children were held in captivity for two and a half months. Their father remained imprisoned for six years.