Thursday, December 02, 2010


Either capitalism takes a hike or it finally really will be the end of history. The environmental movement must become a revolutionary anti-capitalist movement or it ain't worth a hill of beans...and it needs to do it fast. What is linked here is just a small step forward...and we need big steps.


Statement by the CLOC-Vía Campesina on the Climate Summit in CancunPDFPrintE-mail
THURSDAY, 02 DECEMBER 2010 12:55
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
(November 29, 2010) As the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations  - CLOC / Via Campesina -we appeal to women, men, youth, children and elderly people worldwide to join the great global movement called "Thousands of Cancuns for Climate Justice" which is a clear demonstration not only that the peoples and social movements are engaged in the debate, construction and positioning of the discussion around climate change but also, that we are denouncing and resisting the model of development that has deepened the climate crisis.
In this regard, we affirm that the Peoples' Accord emitted at the Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, is one of the most interesting proposals.  We therefore demand that it be debated and further developed within COP 16, along the same approach that it was built on, that is, within the framework of the discussions and proposals of the peoples, social movements and organizations. As CLOC / Via Campesina we believe that the capitalist model based on the exploitation of natural resources, with the idea of unlimited progress, is primarily responsible for the environmental disaster that we are now experiencing. 
The impact of the climate crisis that affects all of humanity is the result of the implementation of this perverse model that prioritizes market policies at the expense of life itself. For farmers and peasants of the world, climate change has a direct impact on both rural and urban areas, with floods, droughts, disruption of natural rain cycles and the emergence of new pests, that are destroying small-scale agriculture and livestock that contribute substantially to feeding the majority of human beings, when hunger remains a major challenge for the world.
Faced with this situation, as the CLOC / Via Campesina, a historical movement that interconnects struggles at the continental level:
1. We bring our energies as La Via Campesina International, chanting our slogan "Peasant agriculture cools the planet", as our banner of struggle and resistance.  We believe this is a way to support a de-privatization struggle for life as a viable, existing and really possible alternative.
2. We declare the failure of the Cancun Climate Summit in wanting to impose an illegitimate "agreement", since the prior negotiating tables are managed by a handful of countries outside the genuine process of multilateral negotiations. We consider that blackmail is being used to try to bring off this imposition.
3. We support the demonstrations, forums, debates, meetings and activities conducted by social organizations and networks worldwide, this December 7, as a form of resistance to the decisions of the COP 16 in Cancun.
4. We reject strategies of profit-making, lobbying and commoditization by transnational corporations, banks and financial interests, the governments of industrialized countries and their international institutions, aimed at continuing to shirk their historic responsibilities.
5. We will unmask the false solutions of "green capitalism" with proposals like those of Monsanto in response to the climate crisis. There is concrete evidence of the negative impacts of global carbon markets, GM seeds, agro-fuels, geo-engineering, dams, mining, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, the "Clean Development Mechanisms" and current REDD projects which are being promoted without addressing the real needs of people.  These options are intended to generate windfall profits for these big corporations.
6. We reject any World Bank involvement in the creation of funds and policies related to climate change.
7. We promote the urgency of a process of preparation and discussion for the implementation of a Global Consultation on policies addressing climate change. It is necessary to do justice, to free those struggling for land and prosecute those who pollute and destroy.
8. Since Mexico is home to the Climate Summit, we take on the responsibility of reporting the environmental catastrophe caused to fishermen and women and for humankind in general, for the tragedy of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the British Petroleum Company - BP. We consider it a crime to humanity and an illustration of corporate disregard for human life and of the hypocrisy of governments
9. Finally, we underline the need to abolish the criminalization of struggles and of those who defend life. In this context, we urgently demand adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Peasants.
We peasant farmers cool the planet! Globalize the struggle, globalize hope!
November 29, 2010


Managing Director at Nomura, Dr. Hanno Kühn needs a ride to work.

From Bite Back Magazine.

received anonymously:
"GERMANY, 2010 This is a message to Nomura. LET FORTRESS WITHDRAW THEIR 70 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN TO HUNTINGDON LIFE SCIENCES! To make this message a little bit clearer the Managing Director at Nomura, Dr. Hanno Kühn, has to walk to work from now on. His car burned to the ground in the night of november 29th. Militant Forces Against Huntingdon"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


An interesting piece of history that doesn't add up. There must have been a financial problem with the neutron bomb for the military industrial complex, I figure (this is alluded to in the article but never made clear.


Samuel T. Cohen, Neutron Bomb Inventor, Dies at 89


Now batting for the homophobic team, SENEGAL.


Senegal: Law Promotes Violence Against Homosexuals

Senegal’s law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct is deeply destructive for many communities, particularly gay men. People live in constant fear of losing their jobs, their families, their livelihoods, their freedom, and their very lives because they are seen as different.
Dipika Nath, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch
Decriminalize Consensual Sexual Conduct; Punish Attackers
November 30, 2010
(Dakar) - Senegal's law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct among adults is discriminatory and invites abuse of homosexuals by both the police and the general public, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged repeal of the law, Article 319.3 of the Senegalese penal code, and called on the government to protect all members of society regardless of their sexual orientation and gender expression.
The 95-page report, "Fear for Life: Violence against Gay Men and Men Perceived as Gay in Senegal," includes interviews with dozens of people who have faced threats and violence at the hands of both the police and others in the community. It looks in detail at two key incidents: the "gay marriage" scandal of February 2008; and the arrest of the "nine homosexuals of Mbao" in December 2008. The report also examines several other cases that show how police arrests under Article 319.3 fan broader fear and suspicion.
"Senegal's law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct is deeply destructive for many communities, particularly gay men," said Dipika Nath, researcher in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch. "People live in constant fear of losing their jobs, their families, their livelihoods, their freedom, and their very lives because they are seen as different."
Article 319.3 punishes "unnatural" sexual acts with five years in prison and a fine. While the law ostensibly criminalizes conduct, not character, it is in fact used as a tool for targeting certain "types" of individuals, Human Rights Watch said. The law goes hand in hand with the government's failure to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from violence, further marginalizing an already vulnerable population. One of the interviewees spoke about the impunity with which the police mistreated him:
Actually, they [the police] didn't catch me having sex but assumed [that] from where I was and how I was dressed. They stripped me naked and beat me. I was detained for two months. They abused me, called me goorjigeen [and abusive names]. ... They stuck needles under my nails to get me to admit [I was gay]. ... They tore my head, forehead, and face. I was beaten on my arms, buttocks, back. The police called me women's names. ... This happened for three days at the police station. I was beaten every day. They also said they would kill me.
The first episode Human Rights Watch explored in depth began in February 2008, when Icône, a monthly Senegalese gossip magazine, published two dozen photos from a party in 2006 claiming the people in the photos were homosexuals engaged in a "gay marriage" ceremony. While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct in the pictures or elsewhere, police arrested several of the men in the photos. The men were soon released, but a massive public outcry, fueled by religious rallies, sermons, and sensationalist media coverage, led to a spate of threats and attacks over the following months, driving many gays into hiding or exile.
In December 2008, only days after Senegal hosted an international HIV/AIDS conference, police arrested nine members of AIDES Senegal, an HIV/AIDS association, accusing them of engaging in homosexual conduct. A court sentenced them to eight years in prison, again in the absence of any evidence of homosexual conduct. Though the men were released in April 2009, many lost their jobs, became alienated from their families and communities, and now struggle to survive.
The publicity and the denunciations in these cases surpassed anything Senegal's gay population had faced before, and the effects continue to be felt. The personal accounts in "Fear for Life" illustrate how a charge of homosexuality, even in the absence of evidence, is easily intimidating and can provoke attacks and ostracism. The violence and persecution also have a negative impact on public health, leading people not to seek health care and HIV testing, counseling, and treatment.
The report also explores the manipulation of public sentiment by some Senegalese political and religious leaders who have been instrumental in creating a climate of virulent homophobia. It also documents the prominent, one-sided, and at times hate-mongering coverage by many Senegalese media outlets.
Senegalese interviewed by Human Rights Watch described being insulted, beaten, stripped, threatened, and tortured in jail as well as attacked and blackmailed in the community, with no recourse to justice or protection from the police or from community members and religious leaders. Those who are arrested and face abuse at the hands of the police also face violence from members of the public after they are released.  More often than not, Human Rights Watch found, the police fail to protect people who face vigilante violence or threats of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.
Senegal is obliged under domestic, regional, and international law to protect and promote the rights of all Senegalese. Senegal is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, which guarantees the right to liberty and security of person to all and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention (article 9). It guarantees the right to privacy (article 17); freedom of expression and association (articles 19 and 22); and equality and non-discrimination (articles 2 and 26). Senegal's constitution also guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all of its citizens, including the freedom of expression and association, and the right to health (articles 8 and 12). Furthermore, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights prohibits discrimination on any ground (articles 2 and 19); and guarantees freedom of association (article 10); and the right to health (article 16).
"There can be no justification for allowing institutionalized violence against some members of society simply on the grounds of prejudice," Nath said.  "Failing to act while people live in fear and constant danger is a threat to both the rights of individuals and to public health."
Also available in:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There is no capitalist "solution" to climate change. Continuous and expanding accumulation of capital is the lifeblood of capitalism and the deathbed of the planet.


The Economist gives up on halting Climate Change

This weeks leads editorial in the international business magazine 'The Economist' shrugs its shoulders and walks away from the idea of controlling Climate Change. This is very significant for The Economist is not a climate change denial publication, for some time (at least as far back as 2006) it has accepted the scientific consensus that human caused Climate Change is a real process with extremely serious implications.  So it giving up the fight is a very big deal indeed, and one that contains serious lessons for the Climate Change reformists who continue to believe that if enough pressure is put on a deal can somehow be struck at five minutes to midnight.

The Economist is quite unpopular with the denialists because its a very 'respectable' business magazine without the slightest reek of Patchouli to it. Indeed it doesn't take long to find outraged climate change denial blogs that hate the Economist. They don't like this edition either because it acknowledges that Climate Change is happening but has just switched positions to saying "It won’t be stopped, but its effects can be made less bad." That by the way is literally the sub heading and the lead goes out to spell just what is meant by less bad.
The stated reason for the change of editorial line (always a big deal at the Economist, coming out against the Iraq War involved the previous pro-war editor stepping down) is the lack of interest in the forthcoming Cancun Climate Change summit. After saying this is in part because of the feeling that the failed Copenhagen summit was over hyped the Economist has to acknowledge that "there is a growing acceptance that the effort to avert serious climate change has run out of steam." The best it can go on to say is that "Perhaps, after a period of respite and a few climatic disasters, it will get going again"
The Editorial goes on the acknowledge the consequences of inaction, droughts in arid areas, floods in wetter areas and the "livelihoods of hundreds of millions, mostly in developing countries, at risk" leading to mass migration. Which leaves it stuck with advocating a more open migration policy (an idea where anarchists can agree but will also recognize that such a policy change will hardly result from widespread disaster that puts hundreds of millions on the move). And, err, development.
You should read the full editorial and like me I suspect you'll come away struck at just how weak the argument is.  Why publish it all you may wonder.
The problem for the Economist is that its a fan of mostly unrestricted free market capitalism and the idea that the market can somehow sort everything out. The COP process though has demonstrated that the market can not tackle Climate Change because the drive for profit militates against reaching any effective deal that could control CO2 releases. The Economist acknowledged this in part back in May when it wrote in another article that "However much bosses may care about the planet, they usually mind more about their bottom line, and when times are hard they are unwilling to incur new costs."  Yes quite, that could have come straight out of Workers Solidarity.
As a magazine that feels it needs to have an answer to all the worlds major issues this leaves the Economist rather stuck. So they have decided to have a go anyway and come out with something that can convince no one. There is no solution for the Economist because the only solution is a world where production for profit for the few is ended so that we can start to make rational decisions about what is produced and how that will be built around the environmental impact of production. The 'right' to pollute will no longer be treated as something that has no cost or a cost that can somehow be traded for an unrelated pile of dollar bills.
The implications for those who take Climate Change seriously are profound.  Above all else it shows why mistaking the importance of dealing with it as a reason to drop other struggles is a huge mistake.  Climate Change is not an isolated problem, it is an integral part of the way capitalism works.  The transformation required to create an economic system that can truly value the life sustaining properties of the environment is so complete that it requires a struggle against capitalism itself


NASA scientist James Hansen testified during day five of the trial of some climate activists in the UK...on their behalf.  He made clear that they were not the criminals here.

Hansen, a vocal critic of coal power, told Nottingham crown court: "The fact that we continue to burn more coal and build more coal plants shows governments are not telling the truth "If they are saying they understand climate problem but will continue to burn coal its easy for me to understand that young people get upset, because they know governments are lying or kidding themselves."



By Will McCallum
As I write, twenty activists are currently standing trial in Nottingham Crown Court for conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass. The night before the plan to occupy Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, the UK’s third largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, all 114 participants were arrested in a nearby school. All but 26 of the protesters had their charges dropped, and now twenty of them are finally making their case before a jury. Their case is unusual, though not unprecedented, as they put forward the claim that by preventing at least 150,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted, they would have been preventing a greater crime, a crime that E.ON, as the owner of several coal-fired power stations, is committing.

Though a bold claim, the defendants have several leading climate scientists (such as Jim Hansen, giving evidence today), politicians and other eminent figures on their side. It is therefore a claim that will hopefully see them acquitted of their charge, as the jury realise ‘conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass’ is relatively minor compared to the 300,000 deaths a year caused by climate change, and conservative projections of what aclimate-changed-world looks like.
Today the Ratcliffe 114 trial entered its second week with the defence opening their case. After the opening statements, in which the prosecution tried to demean the defendants by suggesting that the whole plan to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station was nothing more than a bit of a laugh, and they were only doing it because they couldn’t get tickets for Glastonbury, the prosecution spent the next few days making their case. Here were just a few of the high/lowlights:
  • Felicity Gerry QC, barrister for the prosecution, describing the plan to shut down the power station.
  • Felicity Gerry QC making a slightly incomprehensible point when she stated that ‘we all know what Jim Hansen’s going to say: that coal is bad and we’re all going to die’ – yes, thank you, he is of course the expert witness and may just have a point.
  • The prosecution unveiled the 114’s attention to health and safety when describing all the equipment, such as first aid kits, respiratory masks, gas detectors amongst many other items.
  • And finally, Raymond Smith, plant manager at Ratcliffe-on-Soar at the time of the arrest and first witness for the prosecution, admitted that the power station’s decision to use coal is based on it being the most profitable source of fuel, superseding any environmental concerns.
  • For a more comprehensive review of what has happened so far, just check out the defendants’ website on
Bizarrely, a former Labour MP, Alan Simpson, has managed to articulate my own personal view on the trial:
On the issue of coal-fired power stations they are right … carbon emissions will kill us all … As politicians we do not grasp the urgency of scientific warnings about how little time we have left to radically transform our whole thinking about sustainable energy systems. Inevitably, this leaves the challenge to be picked up by the public rather than by parliament. In doing so, it just doesn’t help if we end up locking up those who would save the planet rather than those who drive us towards climate crises.” Alan Simpson, former MP for Nottingham South.
Threatening to imprison these activists demonstrates our government’s inability to fully take into account the seriousness of climate change and the role that the UK must play in effecting change. Locking up twenty people whose lives revolve around raising awareness about the issue and taking action to slow-down man-made climate change is silencing twenty voices that are working far harder to reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050 than the government ever has – and they’re not even paid for the privilege. Keeping these activists under such close surveillance, leading to their pre-emptive arrest the night before the action is an example of our government’s misguided funding priorities: a country without NETCU (National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit), or a country without Ratcliffe-on-Soar? I know which one I’d choose.
The Ratcliffe defendants are not claiming that they were going to take part in a legal action, they are claiming that the legal system defending a multinational, high-emitting, environmentally immoral company such as E.ON, over the lives of all those currently affected and yet to be affected, is wrong. This is why the case is ground-breaking. The Kingsnorth Six was one positive step, but they were protesting against the building of a second power station at Kingsnorth. These activists are going one step further and directly challenging not just future environmentally criminal activities, but the energy industry and government policy as it exists right now. We need to be doing more, the government needs to be taking the issue seriously (not just taking a holiday to Cancun), rather than silencing those who are taking collective responsibility and tackling the issue themselves.


 Steven Pevar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in 34 years of suing more than 100 prisons and jails, the Idaho lockup is the most violent he has seen."This isn't even what we know of as a prison - this is a gulag," Pevar said.

What does it take for someone, anyone, from the Corrections Corporatio
n of America to be locked up in one of their "facilities" where their "residents" will know what to do with them.

From the Idaho Statesman.

AP Enterprise: Guards shown watching inmate attack

By REBECCA BOONE - Associated Press

The surveillance video from the overhead cameras shows Hanni Elabed being beaten by a fellow inmate in an Idaho prison, managing to bang on a prison guard station window, pleading for help. Behind the glass, correctional officers look on, but no one intervenes when Elabed is knocked unconscious.
No one steps into the cellblock when the attacker sits down to rest, and no one stops him when he resumes the beating.
Videos of the attack obtained by The Associated Press show officers watching the beating for several minutes. The footage is a key piece of evidence for critics who claim the privately run Idaho Correctional Center uses inmate-on-inmate violence to force prisoners to snitch on their cellmates or risk being moved to extremely violent units.
On Tuesday, hours after the AP published the video, the top federal prosecutor in Idaho told the AP that the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation of the staff at the prison, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America.
The investigation covers multiple assaults between inmates, including the attack on Elabed, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said.
A message left by the AP seeking CCA's reaction to the FBI probe was not immediately returned.
Lawsuits from inmates contend the company denies prisoners medical treatment as a way of covering up the assaults. They have dubbed the Idaho lockup "gladiator school" because it is so violent.
The AP initially sought a copy of the videos from state court, but Idaho 4th District Judge Patrick Owen denied that request. The AP decided to publish the videos after a person familiar with the case verified their authenticity.
The videos show at least three guards watching as Elabed was stomped on a dozen times. At no time during the recorded sequence did anyone try to pull away James Haver, a short, slight man.
About two minutes after Haver stopped the beating of his own accord, the metal cellblock door was unlocked. Haver was handcuffed and Elabed was examined for signs of life. He bled inside his skull and would spend three days in a coma.
CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, said it was "highly disappointed and deeply concerned" over AP's decision to release the videos.
"Public release of the video poses an unnecessary security risk to our staff, the inmates entrusted to our care, and ultimately to the public," the prison company said in a statement.
Violence behind bars and misconduct by guards is common, regardless of whether prisons are run by the government or private companies. CCA, which oversees some 75,000 inmates in more than 60 facilities under contracts with the federal government, 19 states and the District of Columbia, is no exception.
A year ago, CCA and another company, Dominion Correctional Services LLC, agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit in which the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission claimed male officers at a prison in Colorado forced female workers to perform sex acts to keep their jobs.
In January, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered some 400 female inmates transferred to a state-run prison after more than a dozen reports of sexual misconduct by male guards employed by CCA. Similar accusations were made in March at a CCA-run prison in Hawaii, and in May, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed CCA on probation and launched an investigation of whether a guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted women on their way to being deported.
Olson said the investigation is focused solely on the Idaho prison and not any of the other prisons operated by CCA.
Before the Idaho attack, Elabed tried to get help from prison staffers, telling them that he had been threatened and giving them details about drug trafficking between inmates and staffers that he had witnessed, according to his lawsuit. He was put in solitary confinement for his protection but was later returned to the same unit with the inmates he snitched on, his lawsuit said. He was on the cellblock only six minutes before he was attacked.
Steven Pevar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in 34 years of suing more than 100 prisons and jails, the Idaho lockup is the most violent he has seen.
"This isn't even what we know of as a prison - this is a gulag," Pevar said.
Pevar blames the violence on CCA and the former warden, Phillip Valdez, who was head of the prison when Elabed was attacked. Valdez was later transferred to another CCA prison in Kansas. The company refused to disclose its reason for moving him.
CCA officials maintain the prison is safe and run according to state and federal standards. But at least some of those standards appear to be violated in the video - including a requirement that emergency care arrive within four minutes of a disturbance. It took medical workers nearly six minutes to get to Elabed - a delay that can be life-threatening in serious injuries, according to state prisons officials.
"Nurses and medical professionals believe you need to get a heart beating and breathing started within four minutes or the person's going to die," Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said.
CCA spokesman Steven Owen said employees receive training and supervision designed to protect both themselves and the inmates.
"As Mr. Haver's wanton attack illustrates, correctional and medical personnel must often respond to render aid in dangerous situations, not knowing the extent of the risk they may face when they do," Owen said.
Owen also condemned the attack and said the surveillance videos were key to Haver's guilty plea in the beating. CCA was unable to answer additional questions surrounding the circumstances of the attack due to pending litigation, he said.
Elabed's family learned through medical records that CCA officials pulled him out of the hospital before he could get significant treatment and against his doctor's advice, in order to treat him at the cheaper in-prison facility, the family said.
Elabed, who was originally sentenced to two to 12 years for robbery, was ultimately released on a medical parole because he was too badly injured to be cared for in prison.
A slew of federal lawsuits detail beatings behind prison walls and long waits for medical care at CCA-run prisons in Idaho. Inmate Todd Butters said in his lawsuit he was denied X-rays after he was severely beaten by gang members on his cellblock for refusing to pay $5 a week in "rent." The Idaho Supreme Court threw out the case after finding Butters didn't take the necessary steps to try to solve the problem with prison officials before suing.
In another attack, inmate Daniel Dixon said he was denied X-rays and a doctor's visit after he claimed other inmates beat him until he had broken ribs and facial bones and other injuries.
State officials have long been aware of allegations of mistreatment and poor management at the Idaho Correctional Center, the state's largest prison. A review of hundreds of public records by AP found in 2008 that ICC had a violence rate three times as high as other Idaho prisons.
The AP found in a follow-up investigation that ICC had only marginally improved its violence rate and that inspectors were still finding rampant gang violence and extortion. State auditors have also found widespread problems keeping medical charts updated, excessive wait times for medical care and other problems with treatment.
Even though Idaho Department of Correction officials have increased oversight and top department leaders have spoken out about their concern over the medical issues, state lawmakers have renewed the company's multimillion-dollar contract with Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA and added 600 beds to the prison.
Idaho Department of Correction Director Brent Reinke said in a statement that he couldn't talk about the video because of pending litigation, but said the eight state-run prisons his agency operates are among the safest and most efficient in the country.
Reinke also said his department began beefing up oversight at the private prison three years ago.
"The Board of Correction acknowledges that when you put a group of people who have a history of criminal behavior together in one place, it is likely you will have problems. But that doesn't mean we should tolerate them," Reinke wrote.
Today, the 24-year-old Elabed isn't able to talk much about the assault. He has brain damage and persistent short-term memory loss.
"It's almost like Hanni's autistic after this. I feel like I'm talking to someone who's 12 or 13 years old," said his brother, Zahe Elabed.
Elabed's attorney, Ben Schwartzman, said the footage is tough to forget.
"Guard intervention was appropriate and could have happened in a way that would not have put the guards in danger of their personal safety," Schwartzman said. "They were spectators ... and that seems to indicate a level of callousness that I find shocking. It's an embarrassment to the institution and to the individuals."