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PEACE IN COLOMBIA 13.04.2002 09:41
Afro-Colombian Women's Rights Leader Speaks
Nimia Vargas, an Afro-Colombian human rights defender, spoke on Saturday, April 13th, to give a first hand account of her life and personal struggle in a country torn by war, and the devastating consequences for the Afro-Colombian community there. While in Portland, she is particularly interested in sharing her story with the African American, Latino, and Native American communities.

Vargas, co-founder of the Colombian Network of Rural Women and the Network of Choco Women, has worked for several years to support families displaced from Choco, and has played an important leadership role in the community's development. As an active participant in and leader of the Colombian women's movement, she specializes in issues of gender equality and community empowerment through social development. She plans to give testimony of the massacre of rural communities and the persecution of civilians caught in the crossfire of the current war between paramilitary units and the Colombia military, and the guerrilla forces.

According to national Colombia human rights and environmental groups, U.S. military aid is fueling the conflict and promoting the fumigation of food crops, which is causing destruction of arable lands. Furthermore, the U.S. anti-drug and anti-terrorism rationale is provoking unchecked violations of human and civil rights.

The public event was co-sponsored by the Peace in Colombia Action Group (PICAG), the American Friends Service Committee, and the Justice and Peace Action Network of the United Church of Christ, and is part of a series of lectures of a national speakers' tour organized by the Colombia Human Rights Network and the US Office on Colombia, Washington D.C.

In addition to the Portland event, she will speak at Oregon State University, Corvallis, on Monday April 15, at noon at the Women Center, participate in the Tax Day demonstration in Portland that afternoon, then will travel on April 16 to Seattle, returning to Washington D.C. for the National Mobilization on Colombia, April 19 - 22, 2002. Additional information on the event may be accessed: www.colombiamobilization.org or www.lawg.org

For further information, contact Andrea Cano, UCC Justice and Peace Action Network, 503 731 8874, or Kim Alphandary, Peace in Colombia Action Group, 503 554 9404.

Nimia Vargas' Portland Speech compels us to Action |School Of Americas Plan Columbia coverage

[ Former Governor of the Choco, Escapes to tell the truth | Communiqué from the Colombian jungles of Chocó | Paramilitarization of the Choco, Colombia | Speech by exiled former Colombian governor of Province of Choco | World Rainforest Movement on Violence & Deforestation in Columbia ]


Coup in Venezuela
12 April: Globalized Capitalism has tromped on Democracy again, this time in Venezuela where President Hugo Chavez has been driven from power by a military coup. Just such a power grab was predicted in a February 2002 Narco News article, which stated that "the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Morgan Stanley have come out in support of a 'transitional government' for Venezuela, supporting Chavez's removal from office." Goldman, Sachs & Co. had also fueled the coup-fire, characterizing Venezuela as "entering a profound recession," and stating that "there is fear of a political and economic collapse, the financial situation is in chaos, petroleum prices have fallen, the country has suffered massive capital flight." Professor James Petras of the State University of New York, correspondent for the Spanish magazine, Rebelión, however, stated that "the IMF and financial institutions are fabricating a crisis. There is no economic crisis. The economic problems facing Chavez have always been there, they are problems that Chavez inherited."

Chavez won the Venezuelan Presidency in 1998 and 2000 by the largest majorities in four decades. Using this enormous popularity, Chavez implemented an unprecedented number of reforms including: a new Constitution providing guarantees for indigenous and women's rights; free health care and education up to the university level; a restructuring of the judicial and legislative branches to reduce corruption; breakfast and lunch for schoolchildren year round, which led to an enrollment increased of over a million students; and a reinvigoration of OPEC that resulted in raising oil prices from $8 a barrel to $27 (though it has since fallen lower). Christian Perenti, professor at the New College of California believes that, under Chavez, Venezuela was "an example of a people struggling to create an alternative, attempting to reform capitalism into a more egalitarian, healthier system... In fact, perhaps Venezuela is the truest democracy in the world today."

Was, that is.

In other words, as "outside the whale" said in a comment posted to Indymedia, "Hugo pissed off the Oil Cos. The Oil Cos. conducted a coup. The Oil Cos. used media propaganda to provoke a civilian opposition. In short The Oil Cos. are in control not the people of Venezuela. Gee, Venezuela sounds kinda like America..."

UPDATE 13 April: Reports of citizen uprisings are coming from Venezuela. The majority still strongly support Chavez, and see him as a champion of the poor.report 1 | report 2
Meanwhile, the military appointed "pResident", Carmona, has called Chavez a dictator but has himself assumed dictatorial powers and taken it upon himself to dissolve the democratically elected Congress and change the name of the country, which the people selected last year.

The presidents of Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay have announced that they do not recognize the illegitimate regime of Carmona. Bush, himself an illigitimate pResident, has supported the toppling of democracy, once again revealing his and the United States' preference for dictatorial lackeys rather than democracy.

To follow this story as it unfolds, visit Argentina Indymedia (Español), Brasil Indymedia (Portuguese), and Global Indymedia (English).

[ "Coup in Venezuela: An Eyewitness Account" | Narco News: Kim Alphandary Reports on U.S. Coup Plot in Venezuela | PHOTOS (argentina indymedia) | Links to stories about Venezuela coup | More links ]


STUDENT ACTIVISM 12.04.2002 10:45
Wilson High School students observe National Day of Silence
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the United States Students Association sponsored a National Day of Silence on April 10. Students all over the country participated. According to the Day of Silence project website, the day began in 1996, when "then-18-year-old student Maria Pulzetti first conceived of the Day of Silence, after writing a paper on nonviolent protest and grassroots organizing. In the seven years since, the project has grown into a national effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of students in both high schools and colleges around the country."

Members of Wilson High School's Gay Straight Alliance (along with members of the Students for Social Justice) participated in the National Day of Silence. The kids did not speak for the entire day in order to accomplish the following: "Our silence is part of a national movement spreading awareness for and protesting the silence faced by victims of harassment, prejudice, and discrimination."

The students' silence served as a reminder to the school and community that there are people who are forced into anonymity every day. Among the kids' goals were to force people to see each other as individual people. One witness to the day described it thus: "Amidst the current chaos of the current school year, these students are an inspiration. We can cut funding, but not their spirit."


CIVIL LIBERTIES 10.04.2002 21:04
Seattle Police Department trying to shut down April 20 events
Seattle Police pose during 2001 New Year's Eve Party, Pike place marketAccording to Seattle activists, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has been pressuring Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) to close its campus for A20 events in that city. Events scheduled for SCCC are nonetheless still scheduled, and will include a teach-in at 2:00 p.m., a Reclaim The Streets Party at 4:00 p.m., and two marches (one permitted, one not) "against the IMF/WB/WTO/War, etc." at 6:00 p.m. If the SPD has its way, however, all classes and lectures for the day will be cancelled and the school locked up.

A20 is a world-wide day of protest against transnational financial institutions, corporate globalization, and the U.S.A.'s 'war on terror'. Thousands are expected to attend events in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

Seattle activists are also saying that a church across the street from the SCCC campus and another business in the area will also be closed after requests from the SPD, which claimed that "'anarchists' from Portland and Eugene are coming" to the A20 events. Members of the SPD also attended an SCCC faculty meeting, where they said that no parking would be allowed on Broadway on April 20 because people could store bombs in cars there. Say the Seattle activists: "The police are insane. They are crossing every line to intimidate people. We must assert our rights!!"

The activists are asking people to contact SCCC's president, Charles Mitchell, "to demand he upholds our constitutional right to assemble and not crumble under police demands."

12 April update: SCCC Faculty Senate urges President to keep campus open
In a letter to Mitchell, the SCCC Faculty Senate has called for him "to rescind his decision to close the building and show support for the student-organized teach-in that was to be held on our campus on April 20, 2002... We reject the role of the SPD and any other law enforcement body in limiting academic freedom and the civil liberties of Seattle residents."
[ Full story ]

13 April update: Misinformation spread by police and corporate media
The Seattle Police Department and at least one corporate media station in Seattle are spreading rumors and accusations about "possible vandalism" during A20 and named Portland groups Reclaim the Streets and ACC as probable culprits. Activists were not consulted for the story, quelle surprise. In contrast, Karen Strickland, president of the Faculty Senate at SCCC, voiced concerns about possible police behavior. "Given the history of the police responses to public gatherings like this," she said to Channel 5, "I'm somewhat concerned that they may react in a way that instigates or escalates the situation."
[ "Seattle Police warn of A20 vandalism" | "Seattle SPD warns that Portlands RTS group may cause property damage on A20" ]

Portland activists are arranging carpools for those interested in going to Seattle for A20: [ Details ]

Check in with Seattle Indymedia to follow this story, and for coverage of A20 events that day.

FOREST ACTIVISM 09.04.2002 15:27
Activists await proof of Eagle Creek timber sale cancellation
Though representatives of Vanport Manufacturing, the US Forest Service and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's office have announced a deal to cancel the Eagle Creek timber sales in the Mt. Hood National Forest, activists with the Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA) are skeptical.

The timber sales, which would affect the drinking watershed of 180,000 Oregonians, wildlife habitat and popular wilderness trails, have been the target of citizen activism for over five years. Since April 20, 1999, activists have continuously occupied old-growth trees in an area called "Sunset Grove". Perched over 150 feet high, activists are determined to stay in place until there is proof that the sale has been cancelled.

"The Forest Service has a long history of bending rules and breaking promises" said Rolf Skar, a CFA volunteer. "We won't come out of the trees until we see documented proof of the cancellation."

While the cancellation of the Eagle Creek timber sales would be welcome, activists are mindful of a larger picture. "Eagle Creek is a symbol of what's wrong with the federal timber sale program," said Ivan Maluski, a volunteer with CFA. "There are over 50 other sales in the Mt. Hood National Forest that threaten our watersheds, recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat. Any one of those 50 could become the next Eagle Creek. On a regional and national scale, the number of proposed timber sales and acres to be logged on public lands is staggering."

CFA and other groups have announced a massive rally for Friday, May 10th at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland to call for an end to commercial logging on public lands.

DEBATE 06.04.2002 15:49
So you want to be a rEvolutionary...
A recent post to the portland indymedia newswire encouraged people to wear masks at the Oregonian protest on Saturday, April 6. The author cited a Rocky Mountain Indymedia article which revealed that "the Denver Police Department currently maintains over 3,000 permanent files on peaceful political activists - calling them 'criminal extremists' and keeping watch on their vehicles, the homes of their friends, and monitoring their appearance at political rallies." The ACLU seems to agree, as does the Denver City Council, which recently passed a resolution calling for an end to this activity, as well as to the Ashcroft interrogations.

Government surveillance of political activists is nothing new, but still concerns many people; wearing masks at public demonstrations is how some have responded in an attempt to protect their privacy. Others find the efficacy of this tactic questionable, however, and a lively debate on the question to-mask-or-not-to-mask has been underway through comments added to the original post. The discussion has since branched off to include the methods of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, the music and culture of the Grateful Dead (and current Dead-esque bands), SUV "trustifarians", and drug use by activists. "drugs are another sort of mask that hide the real person from the world and most pathetically, from themselves," writes "drug-(free)".

indymedia is not a spectator sport. Join the debate yourself by using the "add your own comments" feature and make your own voice heard on these topics.

Fees threaten to silence web radio
According to Save Internet Radio, "America's fledgling Internet radio industry could be effectively killed on May 21st if the U.S. Copyright Office accepts the recommendations of its recent Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel ("CARP") recommendation concerning Internet radio royalty rates and establishes its proposed record-keeping requirements for webcasters."

During the Clinton Administration, Congress passed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), "which established that webcasters must pay 'performance rights' fees to record labels for the music they play... The CARP's recommended rates are currently more than 100% of most Webcasters' gross revenues.

"The Copyright Office is required by Congress to decide whether to accept, reject or modify the CARP's recommended rates by May 21, 2002. If they accept the CARP panel's recommendation, most observers believe that the decision will effectively kill Internet radio as an industry, as the decision could bankrupt all but the three or four largest webcasters."

This is another example of how an idea that might sound like common sense -- namely, copyright -- can be used against the interests of the public it purports to serve.


INVASION OF PALESTINE 03.04.2002 12:35
5 April - Brutality of Israeli Army continues in Palestine
Palestine Indymedia reports that "the Palestinian Red Crescent [the Muslim equivalent of the Red Cross] has announced the cessation of all its operations due the ongoing and massive Israeli assaults against its hospitals, clinics, ambulances, and medical staff in all areas targeted by the current Israeli military campaign.

News from Bethlehem:
photo: "Image of a 'shaheed', martyr, from Bethlehem. his name was Abood Issa Al Omari. he was 75 years old. He was shot and then denied access to medical care. He bled to death in his home." [ photo from Palestine Indymedia ]

April 05, 2002 12:30--"An emergency medical ambulance team delivered a Palestinian man with gunshot wounds to the emergency ward of al-Husayn Hospital after a humiliating and frightening experience. The ambulance driver and attendant were detained at gunpoint for three hours with their hands tied behind their backs and guns to their heads before being warned not try to save anyone else and allowed to retrieve the wounded man and return to the hospital."

News from Ramallah:
April 05, 2002 13:00--"American citizen Karen Wheeler and British national Dan Glazebrook were forcibly taken off a UPMRC ambulance one hour ago. They were arrested and taken to the Beit El military compound, the British embassy confirmed. Internationals began riding ambulances in an effort to get medical aid to the dying and injured. Palestinian civilians and medics incur even more danger on the ambulances because the IDF punishment is so severe therefore the international civilians have been attempting to provide medical assistance to the Palestinians under siege. The internationals are facing deportation. Buildings around the UPMRC have been destroyed and a clinic has been torn apart and all of the files stolen. Currently there are seven, brave Israeli women volunteering at the UPMRC."

For breaking news, check in frequently with Palestine Indymedia.

Eye-witness report from Palestine [portland indymedia exclusive]: "I honestly don't feel like writing, because it's so damn depressing but on the other hand I want people to know the truth of the crisis here in Ramallah... The Israelis lifted the curfew for 2 hours to let people buy supplies and just breathe fresh air. It was a madhouse. The streets were jammed and supermarkets were packed. It was mainly parents buying milk and bread for their kids.... We [went to the] Ramallah hospital, the scene of much controversy. What is happening there is that Israelis attempted numerous times to go in and take who they wanted, but hospital staff and foreigners refused to let them in."
[ Read more ]

Global outcry
Concerned citizens, friends of Paletine, national governments, and those who oppose Israel's tactics have been protesting these events worldwide. Read more about actions in: Belgium, Berkeley, California, San Francisco, Washington DC, Italy, and Dublin, among other places. Additionally, the U.S. Green Party has called for an end to the violence.

Alternate point of view
Though the present situation in Palestine can be seen in terms of a well-funded, mainstream-media-pimped campaign of Israeli terror against Palestinians, the underlying conflicts are complex and contentious. However, a single thread, almost Biblical for its tenacity and pervasiveness, links most wars: authority's tyrranical perversion of the general populace's shared values. One assertion is that Palestinian Authority religious leaders are "interpreting and teaching Islam selectively, using traditional sources to justify and even to demand uncompromising hatred of Jews and Israel."

Contacting your representatives
Activists in Boston have set up a website to help you contact your representatives. "Please write your senators, reps, and media to insure that they know about the situation in Palestine right now. Hopefully, if we can bombard them with enough e-mails, letters, and phone calls they will take the correct action and pull Israel out of Palestine."
[ Details ]

Historical background: Brief history of the Palestinian conflict


9.11 INVESTIGATION 02.04.2002 00:35
9.11 - What did the U.S. know, and when did it know it?
There is an old Persian proverb: "If you do not like the image in the mirror, do not break the mirror, break your face." It is time to pull our collective head out of the sand, take a hard look in the mirror, and then act.

Did elements of the US government have prior knowledge of, or actively participate in, the 9.11 attacks? If so, to what degree? These are questions worthy of serious investigation. Start researching "what really happened" on 9.11, and you'll find a large body of facts and questions suggesting that the story we have been told by the government and corporate media is in large part a fabrication.

This feature compiles and presents many of these suppositions and counter-evidence. Its purpose is not to draw conclusions, but to investigate the questions that are conspicuously absent in the post-September 11th media -- including, notably, the "progressive" media, both moderate and radical. The leftist intelligentsia, including people who are highly respected, and deservedly so, such as Chomsky, Zinn, Parenti, and publications such as The Nation, Zmag, The Progressive, Mother Jones and others have all avoided any inquiry into the collected evidence. In some cases, have gone so far as to actively marginalize such inquiry. [ Read more | Congresswoman Demands Inquiry ]

In part because of the remarkable lack of investigation into 9.11, and the almost total media blackout of anything other than the accepted story, many people just find it too hard to believe that elements of the government, military, CIA or other intelligence services could or would knowingly allow or instigate such an attack on the citizens of their own country.

Perhaps many people are not aware of how government deception has previously been at the heart of such matters: the burning of the Reichstag, the Gulf of Tonkin, Gulf War, Pearl Harbor, Operation Northwoods. These examples demonstrate that governments have historically been willing and able to fabricate incidents in order to start wars.[ Read more ]

The absence of coverage and investigation of 9.11 is not due to an absence of facts and questions, but rather to an avoidance and cover-up of the evidence. Once one sees this, accepts the frightening notion that elements of the government are quite capable of doing it, and also keeps alert to not getting caught in wanting to find government collusion, then one is ready to ask serious questions of the official story and examine the evidence honestly.

The events of Sept 11th: lack of scrambled jets, Bush's strange behavior, intelligence agencies say they are taken completely by surprise, yet within a few hours Osama bin Ladin is declared the perpetrator, and media response: [ Read more ]

The Official Story: the miraculous indestructible passport, suitcases and letters, fake drivers licenses, suicide notes, Korans and flight manuals, wild night on the town, FBI lists 19, er, 12 hijackers, flight schools and pilot training, Osama videos, and U.S. intelligence says it was clueless: [ Read more ]

What has been left out: financial investing, Bush/bin Ladin ties, Saudi Plane leaves U.S. on Sept 13th, US plans Afghan war in advance, Osama a CIA asset, Anthrax, removal of WTC evidence, Bush/Cheney limiting 9.11 investigation, woman dies in car crash, and other related stories: [ Read more | Cheney/Saddam connections | Global Crossing LTD investments | More on Global Crossing LTD | More on the CIA ]

What do you think about these questions and issues?
Add your voice to the debate.

WAR 30.03.2002 10:41
Israelis bomb birthplace of Jesus
2330 URGENT Update: Israeli Occupation Forces are staging a major confrontation at Manger Square in Bethlehem proper. They have bombed the sacred mosque that is found here (the birthplace of Jesus and a holy site for Muslims and Christians alike). At least 5 people are dead and at least 30 wounded so far. In addition, IDF is preventing any ambulances from arriving on the scene, allowing innocent people to bleed to death. 300 people, including families, fighters and journalists, are being held prisoners in the three churches of the square. IDF threatens to bomb them if they do not surrender.

2300 Update: The situation in Bethlehem continues to be intermittent clashes, tanks rolling by, APCs rolling by. IMC-Palestine is experiencing difficulty with communication because of the 24-hour curfew imposed by Israeli occupation forces. The situation continues to deteriorate by the minute, with IDF attacking Red Crescent and UN ambulances, religious buildings, television and communication stations and journalists. We will continue to update as possible. Please keep posting news coming out of Palestine so that we can document these days of Israeli terror.

From the portland indymedia newswire:

  • A day in the life of a Palestinian news reporter: "There are tanks all around the city including our building. They have ruined the city..I mean it is in shambles. I have no idea how it will ever be Ramallah again. They have bombed so many buildings, taken over homes, and kidnapped hundreds of men. They actually go on the loud speaker and say, "All men ages 15-30 must come with us." [ Read more ]

  • IT'S SARAH AGAIN, Palestinian Reporter: "Yesterday had to be one of the worst. Israelis have gone into all media stations and either taken over them or searched them. Well, the tanks ended up downstairs and they started breaking all the security cameras downstairs. The people across the street then called our office and told us the soldiers had entered our building. So, I get my passport out and put it in my pocket. I run into the corridor and start taping up the letters "TV" really big all over the walls and doors. Then my boss gets the bright idea to put us on the air in the office in case the Israelis come in and actually shoot us." [ Read more ]

For updates on this story, check in regularly with Indymedia Palestine and Indymedia Israel.


FOREST ACTIVISM 28.03.2002 19:04
Forest Activists Brave Snow and Cold, as Forest Campaign Heats Up
"Little did they know that once they got about a mile in that the snow-mobile track they had been walking in turned around and they were on their own. Let me tell you, the person in the lead paid for it, they switched off regularly, maybe every 50 steps. Even with snowshoes on they would sink into the snow to their knees. Then they'd have to pull their leg up and out to make the next step." "It was like climbing stairs for about 6 miles, it didn't matter if you were going up hill or down hill it was like climbing stairs."

Quoted from a newswire article about a trip up to Eagle Creek.Read More

This Weekend, March 29th-31st, Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA) is holding a Survey Campout.

People can learn how to survey for red tree voles, rare lichens, salamanders and more. Identify the species that can stop or delay timber sales. Last time CFA had a survey training in Mt. Hood they found the second most rare lichen in the U.S. There are carpools all 3 mornings. For more info

There is also a Wilderness Forum with Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Wednesday, April 3rd, 6:00 PM

While down in Humboldt County, more tree-sits have gone up

[ Cascadia Forest Alliance | Siskiyou Regional Education Project | Indymedia Forest Activism Page ]

COALITION-BUILDING 27.03.2002 18:48
Teamsters and turtles meeting next weekend at PSU
In 1998, a Steelworker locked out of his job at Kaiser Aluminum testified about job security at the Pacific Lumber Habitat Conservation Plan hearings in Eureka, CA. The entire auditorium fell silent and then erupted in applause before many of the Pacific Lumber workers present realized they were clapping for someone speaking against their parent company, the Maxxam Corporation. The voice of labor was being heard on behalf of both protecting jobs and the sustainable management of the region's forests.

An extraordinary and historic labor and environmental alliance grew out of the initial coalition of forest activists in California fighting the Maxxam Corporation's destruction of ancient redwoods and Steelworkers locked out of Maxxam's Kaiser Aluminum plants. In April 1999, fifty labor and environmental leaders gathered in Eureka CA to discuss their common interests. That summer, the Houston Principles outlining goals for a sustainable environment and sustainable jobs were written and endorsed by over 200 groups and individuals. The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment was born, with its debut at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Seattle in late 1999.

Next weekend, April 6-7, ASJE is holding its third annual membership meeting. Activities will include workshops, panels, and an election of board members. Portland State University is the location. This conference will be a great opportunity to become involved in ASJE, and strengthen turtles/Teamsters ties.

Inventing Reality
Michael Parenti Michael Parenti's 1986 expose of the press media ("Inventing Reality", St. Martin's Press, NY) seems even more relevant today. As corporations merge and the oligarchy grows in power and influence our outlets of information are falling more and more under the watchful eyes of the editors and owners. Parenti points out, time and time again, the subtle stranglehold conservative ideologies maintain over a staggering percentage of our printed information.

Parenti's logic is uncannily simple: capitalists own the mainstream press, the owner(s) executes final power (however indirectly or subtly) over the paper; therefore the press is ultimately pressured by capitalist tendencies which have the effect of stifling certain types of information that could be deemed anti-capitalist, as well as other types of "destructive" information. This tendency to stifle certain types of voices has incredible influence on the masses, who, in turn, sway the electoral process, which then in turn determines economic policy. Basically, there is a conflict of interest in the mass media in the benefit of the rich. There is an in-built cycle that increases the power and money of the few at the top of the hierarchy.

"Inventing Reality" has a similar approach and modus operandi as Rachel Carson's benchmark look at the pesticide crisis, "Silent Spring". By supplying the reader with an impressive number of figures and sources these authors provide a formula and reasoning for reaching their conclusion and the ability to research the information back to its origin. This is in drastic contrast to the tactics of the mainstream media, which, as a general rule, relies on "government sources" and other depersonalized sources of information, effectively blocking any research into stories.

Those interested in alternative media (and if you're reading this then that's probably you) should find "Inventing Reality" and keep searching via Parenti's sources. It's a great place to start trying to understand how things went wrong in the mass media and what we can do to change it. We're just beginning to change the press for the better and now we need to learn how a healthy and organic media system functions. Thinkers like Parenti will help us do just that.

Michael Parenti Interview on Independent Media

The Terrorism Trap
Michael Parenti Presentation at Portland State University

CORPORATE MEDIA 26.03.2002 13:36
Oregonian's bias obvious in (non-)coverage of global demonstrations; anti-Oregonian protest announced

The Oregonian revealed its pro-corporate bias again this week by ignoring an incredible gathering of 2,000,000 in Italy, where demonstrators marched for labor rights and against the Italian government. According to a newswire post, the Oregonian specifically ignores anti-corporate and pro-labor actions in Western countries, instead covering only dissent in countries such as Russia and China, with which the U.S. is competing. "They also failed to mention the protest in Vancouver, BC involving 25,000 against the loss of social services last year. At that same time they reported on a 300 person protest in a small village in China against corruption."

Another post to the newswire suggests that folks should contact the Oregonian and complain. Comments added to this suggestion by other readers, however, have opened a discussion about whether complaining is worth it since the Oregonian might very well be unsalvageable, and our time would be better spent building Indymedia instead.

Keeping an eye on the purposeful omissions and fallacious additions of corporate agents such as the Oregonian is one way of seeking truth in our propagandistic atmosphere. Everyone is encouraged to publish other examples to the newswire themselves.

[ "Coverage of the biggest labor rights march in history missing in the Oregonian" | "Biggest Labor March in History--the Oregonian doesn't care--call 'em" | "Up to 2,000,000 labor activists protest in Italy" ]

Protest at Oregonian on "Big Bad Business Day"
Citizen Works and local Green Party activists have announced an anti-Oregonian rally on April 6. Organizers plan to demand that Oregonian begin covering more important issues that it currently ignores.
[ Details ]

NATURE, POLITICS, PEACE 26.03.2002 10:48
Jane Goodall in Portland: 'Taking steps toward global peace'
Jane Goodall (image from www.janegoodall.org) A first person account of Jane Goodall's recent speech in Portland has been posted to the open publishing newswire:

Got a free ticket to see Jane Goodall at the Schnitz on Wednesday [20 March 2002], and I was not disappointed... It seems she is one in a series that started with the Barak visit that has as a "pro-globalization" focus... She took this focus in a different direction though, using as her theme, the title of one of her more recent books, "Reasons for Hope".

This is the first I have heard about the "Bush Meat crisis", which is apparently decimating the chimp population, as well as all the wild animals residing in the forests. Apparently there are complex effects of the influx of roads being built for logging/mining; Chimps are affected by diseases that humans bring, that they are susceptible to catching, as well as the snares set up to catch other animals that they also get caught by. Also, natives ride on on the logging trucks, shooting EVERYTHING, to satisfy the "taste" for wild and exotic animals within Africa and in other countries as well. The loggers' camps, even those doing "sustainable" logging, are in need of food. So 2000-3000 people in these camps pay locals to shoot animals in the area to feed them. This means that, "even if logging is sustainable, no life exists in the forest after logging companies leave."


WAR RESISTANCE 25.03.2002 09:27
War? Not with our taxes!
According to the War Resistors League (WRL), the US military machine currently consumes 46% of federal funds. As one newswire post says: "This is a military machine that fights not for peace, but, like all empires, for plunder. Those of us who have been lucky enough, despite the effectiveness of the US propaganda system, to be exposed to information that reveals the insidious character of the 'War on Terrorism', ought to feel compelled to act. And we must act, lest our hands be bloody."

The WRL advocates war tax resistance as one means, and promotes a few approaches. One can refuse to pay federal income tax, or work little enough that one has no tax liability. One can refuse to pay federal phone tax. At least two organizations, the War Resisters League and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee both offer information about, and coordinate activities around war tax resistance.

The War Resisters League Portland Chapter, a local group that promotes war tax resistance, has several upcoming events:

  • April 12, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m., at Pioneer square, they will join the weekly rally of the Portland Peace Response Coalition.
  • April 14, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., at the Central Library (801 SW 10th Ave), they will host an information session on war tax resistance.
  • April 15, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., at the Central Station post office (204 SW 5th Avenue), they will be distributing leaflets about war tax resistance.

[ More information on these events | War Resisters League | National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee ]

SCHOOL BOARD 19.03.2002 20:57
Portland Board of Education guts school district
The Portland Public School system is in trouble. Anyone with a modicum of familiarity with the Northwest's largest school district knows this has been the case for nearly a decade. Yet now Portland's 55,000 students are facing proposed cuts and staff layoffs as never before. The state is reeling from a $36 million shortfall, the district itself faces a $7 million hole.

500 protest proposed cuts
On Monday, March 18, at a School Board meeting, Members of SEIU, Jobs With Justice, the teachers' union, and many other community members crammed into the PPS district office to protest the proposed budget cuts. The nearly four hour meeting was highlighted by impassioned speeches from many people who will be impacted by these cuts. Members of SEIU Local 140 (the custodians' union) spoke eloquently on the inherent problems with privatizing the custodial work that they do. Parents spoke out about feeling unsafe with having transient, low-paid workers in the same building as their kids. Jobs With Justice folks spoke out about the struggle to maintain living wages, and various teachers also spoke in the custodians' behalf.

Board goes ahead with most cuts
Despite other pleas to keep elementary schools open, to spare teachers' health benefits, and to work creatively to find sustainable solutions for systemic problems, the Board decided to go ahead with most of the proposed cuts in the recommended budget. Said one witness: "In the end it was clear that the decisions had already been made, and that we were not being heard."

[ Full story | Background: "Portland Public Schools in crisis" | Copy of the recommended budget ]

Previous coverage
Portland School Board meetings have often been lively affairs with passionate citizen involvement. See these previous portland indymedia stories for details:

[ May 2001: "Direct action halts Board of Education meeting" | April 2001: "84 Custodians Laid Off by Portland Public Schools" ]

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER 16.03.2002 22:14
Activist responds to Congressional query with courage, humor
On February 12 of this year, Craig Rosebraugh, former spokesperson for the underground Earth Liberation Front (ELF), appeared by subpoena before the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Ecoterrorism. He refused to answer all but two of the questions, relying on his Fifth Amendment rights. On March 1, Rosebraugh received an additional 54 questions and was instructed by Representative Scott McInnis (Republican from Colorado) to respond by March 15. On March 15, Rosebraugh turned in his answers to Congress. Though he refused to address many of them--again, by invoking his Constitutional rights--he expressed his personal views on many topics with courageous forthrightness and a keen sense of humor.

"I decided to answer questions asking for my opinion because I am not ashamed of my personal political beliefs," Rosebraugh commented. "As I have repeatedly stated, the United States government is the most extreme terrorist organization in planetary history. I would not be honest with myself or the public if I did not acknowledge the desperate need for massive political and social change within this country."

[ Media Release: Rosebraugh Responds to Congressional Follow-Up Questions | Rosebraugh's answers to the 54 questions | portland indymedia feature on Feb. 12 hearing & local solidarity actions ]

"Bush Subpoenaed For People's Hearing On Eco-Terrorism"
In a related story, a newswire post has announced that George W. Bush, "principal spokesperson" for the Corporate Domination Front (CDF), has been subpoenaed by the People of the United States. According to the post, the People are concerned about Bush's involvement with eco-terrorism, his ties to independent cells of the CDF, and his complicity in 9.11, and have a set of questions of their own.

[ Full story ]

Laughing Horse Grand Re-opening this Saturday
Laughing Horse Books celebrated its grand re-opening Saturday, March 16th. Though there were rumours of its shuttering or moving, Laughing Horse Books was only closed for the month for building repairs and renovations, and remains at the same location, 3652 SE Division.

Laughing Horse is asking people to lend their support and spirits to this non-profit resource center.


GENETIC ENGINEERING 14.03.2002 00:22
Safeway next on NW RAGE's No-GMO campaign
NW Rage and the GE Free Markets Coalition are launching a national campaign demanding that Safeway remove genetically engineered ingredients from its more than 6,000 Safeway branded products. Last November, amidst a growing national and international concern regarding genetically engineered foods and their long term health and environmental effects, NW Rage and the GE Free Markets Coalition convinced Trader Joe's to stop using GE ingredients in their store brand products. Now it is Safeway's turn.

Claims of higher yields and lower pesticide use for GE crops have turned out to be misleading, and a significant number of farmers are resisting switching to GE crops, or are returning to non-GE seeds. The international market for GE crops is tight as many countries resist or outright refuse to import GE products. GE opponents say it is important for U.S. citizens to send a clear message, by attending protests, and/or writing and informing Safeway that they do not want to eat genetically engineered foods.

[ VIDEO of Safeway action | NW RAGE | NW Bioengineering Action Coalition ]

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