Saturday, December 17, 2005

Anti-WTO Clashes Close Hong Kong

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Water cannons and chemical deterents deployed and mass opposition demonstrations economic summit.

Anti-WTO Clashes Close Hong Kong
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
December 17, 2005

Nearly a thousand protesters are under arrest following pitched battles with riot police
as World Trade Organization meetings wind down in Hong Kong, The Scotsman reports.

As in Seattle and Quebec City, thousands have come out to express their dissatisfaction with the economic direction being promoted by the WTO and its enforcer, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And, as in Seattle and Quebec City, their protests have been met with massive "security" obstacles and police violence.

More than 900 are incarcerated at this hour, and scores have been hospitalized after protesters breached police lines in what is being described as the worst street violence in the communist city's short history. Hong Kong police commissioner, Dick Lee says 41are in hospital, including five police officers. Speaking of those in police custody, Lee says: "If necessary we will make arrests. We will not let them go easily."

Protests have become increasingly violent.

From the beginning of the WTO event, police reacted to protests by South Korean farmers and activists from Europe and North America forcefully, deploying tear gas, and skin irritants, fired as a foam-like substance. Protesters have responded with bamboo Lhati sticks, and on Saturday charged a police line using one of the thousands of metal barriers erected to seperate the economic representatives of the world economy from the crowds.

Describing police response, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee went on television, warning police would, "[T]ake robust action to dispel these illegal and violent actions."

The protesters believe proposed trade deals will unfairly harm the economies of the world's poorest countries and people, while further favouring the rich.

C. L. Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News and host of the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Not Your Average Scandal: Bush Domestic Spying Impeachable?

GNN.TV - Anthony Lappe - The New York Times ran revelations George W. Bush signed off on an Executive Order empowering the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American peace activists, and any others deemed a "domestic threat" to national security. This runs counter to the law, and the little scandal among the myriad White House and Republican party scandals is causing a bigger than may be expected stir in Washington. -lex

George W Bush in Beijing

Watch the Video!

Leaks: Maximum damage to the White House
Anthony Lappe

The Bunker
Guerrilla News Network
16 Dec 2005

Today’s Times blockbuster that Bush signed a secret executive order in 2002 to allow the NSA to spy on American citizens without a court order couldn’t have come at a worse time for the White House. The Senate just happened to be voting today on whether or not to renew parts of the USA Patriot Act set to expire. The nays had it, in a striking blow to the administration.

The timing of the story is raising eyebrows. The Times noted the administration told them to not print the story, and the paper apparently capitulated, holding the report for a year. The paper claims it wanted to do “additional reporting.” The editors have refused to allow the authors, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, to talk to the press.

Drudge claims the story is timed to the imminent publication of a new book by Risen entitled “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Is it book marketing, or is something deeper going on?

Risen’s title raises the question of whether the highly damaging scoop is part of a larger effort to hurt the White House. Are intel officers looking for payback from a White House that leaks its operatives names and cherrypicks its intel to create a pre-text for a war that has become al Qaeda’s greatest recruiting tool?

Take last week: Just as the White House’s discussions with Sen. John McCain over his proposed “torture” amendment to the defense appropriations bill were reaching a critical stage, the Times’ Douglas Jehl reported that an alleged high-ranking al Qaeda operative who was tortured while in custody in Egypt (after being captured in Pakistan) provided unreliable intelligence about an Iraq-al Qaeda link to make the pain stop.

Then, back to this week, as the USA Patriot Act vote came to a head, NBC News reported they had obtained a 400-page Defense Department document [PDF with excerpts] that lists the activities of various antiwar groups, and ranks their “threat” level. NBC reports it’s the “first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.”

NBC military analyst Bill Arkin said, “It means that they’re actually collecting information about who’s at those protests, the descriptions of vehicles at those protests. On the domestic level, this is unprecedented. I think it’s the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military.”

The program is known as “Talon,” and is supposed to compile unconfirmed reports of threats to defense facilities. The Washington Post reports that the program is “part of a broader effort by the Pentagon to gather counterterrorism intelligence within the United States.”

See peace groups reax here on Democracy Now!

As the activists attest, the story isn’t new. The Pentagon has been actively trying to expand its domestic spying powers since 2002. Last summer, it lobbied Congress to allow more leeway in spying on Americans, just as reports of domestic military intelligence operations began to surface. Other documents obtained by the ACLU and other groups in the past two years under the Freedom of Information Act have showed that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been recording the names and license plate numbers of peaceful antiwar protesters.

But what seems new, and interesting, is these leaks appear to be strategically timed to inflict maximum political damage to the White House. Coincidence, or “state of war”?

UPDATE: Does Bush’s possibly illegal executive order constitute a call for impeachment? The Washington Monthly’s blogger Hilzoy thinks so.
Vote: Avg: 5.00 Votes: 9 Comments: 16 [Add]


Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts
Posted by Ecommunist on Thursday, December 15th 2005

BREAKING: Patriot Act renewal blocked in Senate
Posted by anthony on Friday, December 16th 2005

Al Qaeda's Golden Opportunity
Posted by ShiftShapers on Tuesday, October 11th 2005

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Gorilla Radio for Monday, December 12

Tooker on Bike

Gorilla Radio for Monday, December 12

This week on GR: Angela Bischoff on the perils of pharmaceuticals and the legacy of activist legend, Tooker Gomberg.

And; Coming to a farm and forest near you: Delores Broten on the B.C.'s Liberal's liberal spread of toxic "fertilizer."

And: Janine Bandcroft will bring us up to speed with all that's good going in and around Victoria this week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site:

You can check out the GR blog at:

Gorilla Radio for Monday, December 12
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
December 11, 2005

Who doesn’t want to change the world? Curious creatures that we are, humanity exists in two parallel realities, our internal and external worlds. Who wouldn’t wish a peaceful, sustainable existence for oneself and all the planet’s people and creatures?

But, which world do we address? Surmounting the impediments to change in the outer world seem impossible, yet millions dedicate themselves to trying, if only in their own small ways, to create a better, saner world. It’s a difficult undertaking not easily borne, where the grinding inertia of the status quo seldom gives ground to progress, and victories, when they do come, are miniscule.

On the other hand, the pharmaceuticals industry promises an easy way to see a rosier world: Just take a pill and the pain will go away. But at what cost this promise?

Angela Bischoff has worked toward justice and environmental sustainable for nearly twenty years. Living in four different Canadian cities, she and partner, Tooker Gomberg organized dozens of education and advocacy campaigns, half a dozen election bids, and created the activist website,

Since the untimely death of her partner, she’s been on a speaking tour to bring awareness of the downside and dangers of anti-depressants. Angela Bischoff in the first half.

And; toxic sludge is good for you! Good enough to eat in fact.

Or, so the government of British Columbia would have you believe. The newest scheme dreamt up by the brain trust on Belleville Street would allow pulp mills, the generators of some of the vilest industrial waste known to humanity, to package their slag by-products as “biosolids” to be then spread on the farms and wild lands of B.C.

Delores Broten is the Senior Policy Analyst for Reached for Unbleached, a B.C.-based environmental watchdog and activist organization. Delores Broten and stemming the tide of British Columbia’s pollution spreading policies in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, Angela Bischoff and the perils of the pharmaceuticals.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Anthony Fenton, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Chris Floyd, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Paul Watson, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.