Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Justin Samuel the snitch

Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. - Animal liberationist Peter Young has agreed to a plea agreement with prosecutors in connection with 1997 raids on mink fur farms. Young may have been sentenced to 82 years in prison for the animal liberation charges and another 15 years for using a forged Virginia ID if found guilty. In accordance with the plea Peter may be sentenced to no more than two years behind bars, after which he will be subject to a ten year probation sentence. First Peter will have to plead guilty to two misdemeanor "animal enterprise terrorism" charges on Friday before a judge. His co-defendant Justin Samuel, who also evaded law enforcement for a number of years, took a deal in which he snitched on Peter and received the same jail sentence. According to Peter's supporters this proves that snitches who are "reviled by activists" are not even respected by the FBI.

New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. - Those too poor to relocate in the face of Hurricane Katrina help themselves to what is left behind. The storm has turned the area in to a toxic waste disaster and the governor has now ordered the National Guard to evacuate the survivors as flood waters continue to rise. The guard have been short handed as most of the members are in Iraq. Some police have stated that they will turn a blind eye to people who are taking necessities such as food and water from closed down stores, but many have taken the opportunity to also help themselves to other goods. Looters cleared out the entire firearms section of a WalMart and in a separate instance both a looter and a police officer were wounded in a shootout. Looters aren't the only people trying to make some money out of this disaster. Business in Memphis and other neighboring areas is booming with the dollars of the hurricane's refugees. The economy as a whole is expected to suffer. More Pictures

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mineral Wells, Texas - Inmates at prison run by Corrections Corporation of America fought their jailers with broken boards, sticks, broom handles and plumbing fixtures. Guards were able to quell the uprising with teargas and batons leaving twelve inmates with substantial injuries.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Adelaide, Australia - Protesters broke through police lines and rushed Prime Minister John Howard's car as he made his was to the South Australian Liberal Party's annual meeting. Many of the protesters where demonstrating against the war in Iraq and the state of many refugees who languish for years in Australian detention centres before many of them are deported.
Minas Gerais, Brazil - The Governador Valadares Jail in the South Eastern state of Minas Gerais came under attack by gunmen who tried to aid an escape attempt. Inmates inside the prison took advantage of the chaos by taking police officers hostage and staging a riot which destroyed parts of the prison and left two guards and two prisoners dead.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

New York, New York, U.S. - 49 more arrests continue to dog the New York City Critical Mass, which the New York Police Department has been harassing each month since last year's August ride, which coincided with the Republican National Convention. Hundreds of cyclists initially rode in four separate groups which met in different locations. The arrested were charged with parading without a permit, disorderly conduct and obstructing traffic. The London ride successfully challenged a new anti-protest ordinance which recently went into effect in the area around Parliament Square.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Diamond Fork, Utah, U.S. - Nearly one hundred police raided a rave style dance party with semi-automatic assault rifles, tasers, tear gas, and dogs, arresting over 250 party goers. The heavily militarized police, from multiple agencies, wore full camouflage and masks while shutting down the party which they said was unpermited. The Utah County Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services, which is responsible for issuing permits to mass gatherings like the rave, said that organizers had obtained the necessary permits prior to the event. The Sheriff's Office has attempted to further justify the police action by pointing to a number of arrests that were made for drug and alcohol related charges. Other charges included resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and one weapons violation. Attendees claimed that police acted very aggressively and used unnecessary force during the raid. Police in the Czech Republic made a similar raid on a rave last month which resulted in a nationwide scandal. Rave music and culture has a history of repression, particularly in Great Britain where a large radical political movement has developed as a result.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Newchurch, Staffordshire, England - The controversial six-year campaign, waged by animal liberation activists on behalf of thousands of guinea pigs bred for sale to the vivisection industry, will come to a close at the end of the year when the Darley Oaks farm closes. John Hall and his family made the announcement that they will be closing the facility because of pressure from animal rights groups.
Meishan County, Zhejiang, China - Villagers in Meishan County set fire to factory buildings owned by the Tian Neng Battery Co. to protest the amount of toxic waste it was dumping. A number of police cars were also burned and dozens injured when police officers tried to intervene on behalf of the factory owners. The factory is responsible for a large amount of lead pollution which has found its way into the local food and water supply. A number of children have died and others have suffered growth problems.

Cavalier, North Dakota, U.S. - James Thorlakson, 54, was being served with an order of protection when he shot his way past police, set fire to the courthouse and jail - then returned as the fires raged and shot Cavalier Police Chief, Ken Wolf, three times. Police initially tried to serve the order to Thorlakson, in rural Hensel, ten miles away from where he started the fires. After shooting the police chief Thorlakson was wounded by gunfire leading to his capture at a hospital 30 miles away. Both he and the police chief are reported to be in satisfactory condition. Insurance agents estimated that the fires caused $1 million in damages and officials have asked people to stay away from the courthouse which will remain inoperable for at least the next week.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

U.S. - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. - A counter-recruitment march aimed at Pittsburgh's main military recruiting station was dispersed by a police riot. Police tasered, pepper sprayed and beat anti-military demonstrators sending two women to the hospital. Among them were children, an elderly woman who was bitten by a police attack dog, and a man in a wheelchair who was knocked over. Six people were arrested in total. Police Sgt. Clint Winkler admitted that officers "started pushing the crowd" after commanding them to disperse. He said that the protesters were ordered to disperse because one of the demonstrators was involved in an altercation with a camera man working for the pro-military FOX News Network, who protesters say was acting aggressively towards them. The Army Recruiting Center on Forbes Avenue, in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland, has closed six times in recent months in response to anti-military demonstrations.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

U.S. - The skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel has caused independent truckers to stage protests in Florida and California. People in Alabama started stocking up on gasoline after hearing rumors of a similar trucker strike in their area. Some of the stations were left without any fuel and shortages were felt throughout the Tennesse Valley region. The recent unrest in Ecuador, which is one of the country's larger suppliers of crude oil, along with the possibility that the worlds oil reserves have peaked, are likely to contribute to the rising prices. The Ecuadorian government has warned demonstrators who have been protesting foreign oil corporations that troops may .begin shooting them in an effort to resume production.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Calipatria State Prison

San Diego, California, U.S. - Prisoners, at the Calipatria State Prison, attacked guards and attempted to take control of a portion of the facility yesterday. The riot lasted less than an hour but left one inmate shot dead by a guard and dozens of others injured. 20 guards were also hurt. On the same day inmates at a Canadian federal prison in Renous, New Brunswick refused to return to their cells and started a number of fires in the prison yards. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local firefighters helped to end the disturbance with teargas and fire hoses. Specific grievances of the inmates where not made public in either case.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Crawford, Texas, U.S. - The protest vigil of Cindy Sheehan, whose son died fighting in Iraq, and a small group of supporters has sparked a huge number of other anti-war vigils across the U.S. Cindy and other anti-war supporters set up their vigil on the road to George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford where he is taking a month long vacation. She is demanding a second meeting with the President and has vowed to continue her protest until then. Others may continue their demonstrations beyond any meeting Bush might hold with Cindy.

Ecuador - Protesters have cut the flow of oil from Ecudor to the United States to a trickle and have paralyzed two oil producing provinces in the Amazon. President Alfredo Palacio has responded by declaring martial law in the provinces, authorizing security forces to retake the oil fields, and legalizing government censorship of all news media in the regions. Ecuador is normally the second largest U.S. oil supplier on the continent, generating 530,000 barrels per day. Demonstrators, many of whom used dynamite to shut down the pipelines and roads, are demanding that foreign oil companies like U.S. based Occidental Petroleum Corp., Brazilian based Petrobras and Canadian based EnCana Corp. provide financing for infrastructure projects and more jobs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Sao Paulo building before residents were evicted

Land Struggles Around The World
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil - riot police violently cleared hundreds out of a downtown building that had been occupied by dozens of poor families. Squatters resisted police, throwing projectiles. Police responded with teargas and rubber bullets before breaking down the reinforced steel door.
  • Kitale, Kenya - Irish born priest Gabriel Dolan is set to stand trial after helping Kenyan peasants seize land which they had been displaced from.

Frankfort, South Africa - Widespread unemployment, lack of basic services, and rumors that the government had decided to forgo local elections, led to three days of rioting, culminating with demonstrators burning down three homes owned by African National Congress councillors.
Palmerston North, New Zealand - Police believe that the same person who threw two molotov cocktails at the Highbury Community Police Centre last April may have thrown another firebomb at an ATM last Monday. Palmerston North Detective, Sergeant Brett Calkin, says that they are still investigating both fires and that: "it is always difficult. There's an old saying that fire is a great cleanser. There is not a lot of forensics left at a scene."

Monday, August 15, 2005

San Diego, California, U.S. - Animal rights activists, Danae Kelley and David Agranoff, have been sent back to jail for an unspecified time only two weeks after being released. They are not suspects in any criminal investigations but the courts are attempting to coerce them into testifying before a grand jury about a 2003 Earth Liberation Front arson that resulted in $50 million in damages.

Campbell County, Tennessee, U.S. - A group of citizens associated with Katuah Earth First! and the Mountain Justice Summer campaign to halt mountain top removal have set up a roadblock on Zeb Mountain in Tennessee. At least three people have been arrested while shutting down National Coal's operation on the mountain. Coal companies in Appalachia, mine by blowing up the entire mountain tops and then bulldozing them into the valleys with massive machines. The practice causes extensive environmental damage, not only destroying mountain and valley ecosystems, but impacting entire watersheds.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Philadelphia, Mississipi, U.S. - Convicted murderer and former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen has been freed from jail only weeks after he was sentenced to 60 years in jail for planning the murders of three civil rights activists in 1964. Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon decided to release Killen on bond because he has appealed his conviction. Killen was kleagle, or klavern recruiter and organizer, for the Neshoba and Lauderdale County chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, and organized the killings of two white New Yorkers, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, and one black Mississippian, James Chaney, 21. Following the slayings he arranged the bodies to be hidden with a bulldozer.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Steven Vincent 1956 - 2005

New York, New York, U.S. - Recently murdered freelance journalist Steven Vincent was a key player in the gentrification of the Lower East Side. Before his tragic death in Basra, Iraq he was a major opponent of squatters and anarchists in the Lower East Side. In the 1980s he helped found the Democratic Action Club and became the group's unofficial minister of propaganda. With Vincent's help the club was able to elect, one of their own Antonio Pagan to City Council. Pagan played a pivotal role in evicting community centers like Charas El Bohio along with numerous squats, closing then curfewing Tompkins Square Park, and opening the neighborhood up to real estate developers. Vincent justified the anti-squatter views by spreading the myth that they were just “upper-class kids coming down to the Lower East Side to pretend to be poor for the glamour of poverty."

Tom Hurndall 1981 - 2004

Israel - Former Israeli Defense Forces sergeant Taysir Hayb has been sentenced to eight years in prison for shooting and killing British activist, Tom Hurndall. Taysir Hayb shot him in the head using a sniper rifle with a telescopic lens. Tom was in Palestine working with the human rights group, International Solidarity Movement escorting a group of children away from the soldiers when he was shot. Many criticize the sentence as too lenient but are hopeful that it will send a message to other soldiers.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

London, England - A wildcat strike has crippled British Airways Heathrow airport operations at the peak of their summer holiday season. 800 workers at caterer, Gate Gourmet, were fired driving more than 1,000 BA baggage handlers, loaders, drivers, and check-in staff to walk off the job in solidarity despite being officially represented by different unions. Fired employees, who are mostly Asian immigrants and women, were making just £12,000 to £16,000 a year. The company offered to reinstate the workers and change their ways if they agreed to come back to work. Union officials accused Gate Gourmet of using "heavy-handed US-style union-busting tactics," and refused to ask their members to return work in exchange for empty promises.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, U.S. - Craig Tonik, 19, who was arrested last April in connection to a $500,000 fire at Penn State's new School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Building, has pled guilty to three counts of institutional vandalism. He was sentenced to between two and five years in prison, but was recommended for a boot camp program. Police claim that the fire was set by Tonik and that he is a member of a gang called Terrorist Anarchist Ninja Guys, or TANG, who are responsible for graffiti left campus, a local church, and VFW hall.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. - Investigators claim that a single bullet brought the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department helicopter to the ground Saturday morning. The helicopter was shot down while investigating a burglary and the deputy inside was struck and injured.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Denver, Colorado, U.S. - Right-wing anti-immigrant hate groups are making a stink outside the Denver public library because it stocks publications in Spanish.

Reydarfjördur, Iceland - Protesters locked themselves to machinery at the Kárahnjúkar dam site and blockaded the road leading to the area, stopping construction for a number of hours. 24 people were arrested, some of whom alleged they were physically or sexually abused by police and private security personnel. The dam is being built by the Pittsburgh based Alcoa Company to power an aluminum smelting plant despite being ruled illegal by the Icelandic high court. Activists want the dam project abandoned because of the massive amount of damage it will do to Iceland's environment.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A burning Baghdad police car from a similar anti-jobless demonstration in 2003

Samawa, Iraq - 1000 Iraqis protested the lack of basic services and jobs with demands that the government resign. Marchers threw stones at police and government buildings and burned a police car. Iraqi Police in riot armor fired on the crowds killing one and wounding 40 others. Until this incident the mainly Shi’ite town had been known as a quiet and calm place. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had claimed in a recent interview that the insurgency was gradually loseing ground. Pentagon officials have announced that they plan to start withdrawing troops as of next year, but lawmakers contend that more troops are needed as this week's casualties reach 32.

Cuzco, Peru - After a brief truce, following at least one deadly shooting, anti-mining protesters are back at the blockades and are now accused of kidnapping three foreman from the British-run Rio Blanco copper project. The demonstrators are fighting to preserve their livelihood of growing coffee beans, which is endangered by environmental pollutants that come with a large mine. Investors and their allies in the Peruvian government and Catholic Church are trying to protect their $1.1 billion investment.

South Africa - Gold mining in South Africa has come to a standstill after miners nationwide went on strike. South Africa's mines contribute a huge 8% to the country's gross national product and 15% of gold output globally. 100,000 workers, most of whom are with the the National Union of Mineworkers, have stopped work and are refusing to go back underground for the small 5-6% pay raise which management has offered since the dispute began. The stoppage is now in its second day and is estimated to be costing $24m in lost revenue per day. Miners are demanding better pay and improved living conditions which have changed little since the apartheid-era. The strike is the first for the industry in 18 years but is also rare because white and black workers are maintaining solidarity.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bojong, Indonesia - Residents who live near the Bojong waste treatment plant have clashed with police for the eighth time since the plant was constructed in 2002. Residents are trying to keep the plant from opening because of the amount of pollution it will create. Police tried unsuccessfully to remove barricades demonstrators set up around the plant, but were held back by molotov cocktails and other projectiles. Police did not fire on the demonstrators, as they have in the past, and no arrests where made. The government has softened it's position on the facility in the face of determined opposition. They are now asking residents to allow them to conduct a trial run of the plant to prove that it will not produce hazardous pollutants. Residents, however, are refusing to compromise on their position - the plant must go.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Iraq - U.S. Marines have launched Operation Quick Strike, their third major offensive against insurgents in the Euphrates river valley since May. The operation comes two days after a large roadside bomb killed 14 Marines.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Kolkata, India - A large group of squatters, 5,000 of whom are scheduled to be evicted from their homes tomorrow, attacked the home and office of a local government official who could halt the evictions. At least 20 people were injured after police intervened.

Wabamun, Alberta, Canada - Angry residents have blocked Canadian National Railway tracks after a train derailment spilled a large amount of it's load of bunker fuel oil into an area lake. CN acted quickly to repair the train tracks following the derailment but has allowed the oil to spread and cause havoc on the environment. CN officials where scheduled to appear at a community meeting to update the residents on the cleanup effort, but neither the clean up effort or the officials ever showed up. The Village of Wabamun depends on the lake to attract tourists and vacationers who support it's economy, and as a source of clean drinking water. Since the accident the community has been able to truck in a five day supply of water but is unsure what it will do after that runs out.

West Bank, Palestine - Subversive English street artist Banksy left nine satirical paintings on the Palestinian side of Israel's partially built apartheid wall. He was threatened by Israeli soldiers who fired warning shots but was otherwise able to paint without incident. A protest against the wall later in the day left five injured and 17 arrested. Demonstrators have been trying to enforce international law by stoping construction of the wall and dismantling it. Israel has consitently defied the U.N.'s World Court who declared the wall illegal and has attacked and shot individuals who have tried to dismantle it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cuzco, Peru - Thousands of protesters have occupied the British-run Rio Blanco copper project in an effort to close down the operation. Police are reported to have killed seven of the demonstrators while trying to drive them from their positions. Another 40 people were injured, six or eight are missing, and 32 were arrested. One police officer was shot and injured when his gun was wrested from him. Area residents have demanded that the London based Monterrico Metals to abandon the site after they polluted area streams with toxic chemicals and in the process destroyed people's farm land. Both the Peruvian Government and the Catholic Church are attempting to end the disruption through negotiations. The mine managers say that they do not have any plans to leave the site and plan to make it the second largest mine in the country.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Marlboro, Johannesburg, South Africa - Violence broke out again between defiant squatters and the Red Ants - red-overall clad security guards employed by the sheriff to enforce court orders. The squatters have been living in a complex of 16 different occupied factory buildings since 1998. The government has offered them temporary housing in an effort to end the conflict but those who remain say they will believe it when they see it. Authorities have thus far been unable to show the temporary housing promised. In the meantime nearly 1000 residents have blockaded roads with burning cars and tires to keep out the Red Ants. There have been a number of confrontations in which the security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets leading to the hospitalization of some of the participants.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chizhou. China - A minor street confrontation between a rich man and a poor man has sparked large scale rioting, in China, for at least the second time in less than a year. A traffic accident involving a young student on a bicycle and a rich investor with his body guards provoked tens of thousand of the citizens of Chizhou to turn on the police and government in open revolt. Angry mobs attacked anti-riot police and police stations torching their patrol cars and looted a nearby supermarket bare.

The spark which ignited the uprising bore a striking resemblance to the October 18, riots which shook Wanzhou, in central China. In Wanzhou, as in Chizhou an upper class person assaulted a poor person on the street enraging the population. Beyond these two examples mass rioting has become a fairly common thing in China in the past year. In a country with widespread discontent and very few acceptable means for releasing it one wonders how long it will be before people decide that taking control of their city or village for just a night or two is not enough.

Monday, August 01, 2005

San Diego - Two animal rights activists 31-year-old David Agranoff and 21-year-old Danae Kelley have been released on bail, after spending 17 days in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury. The grand jury was convened in order to help catch those responsible for starting a 50 million dollar which leveled a newly built condominium project. The fire was set by members of the Earth Liberation Front, in August of 2003, to protest urban sprawl.

On the same night David and Danae where at a talk by convicted animal liberation activist Rod Coronado. Grand Juries are held in secret and allow those called to testify few rights. If one refuses to answer questions they may be held in jail as form of coercion but not punishment. David and Danae were released because the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided by a 2-1 margin that they would not testify regardless of how long they were incarcerated. The two are not suspects in the case.