February 11th: The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

This Tuesday, February 11th, is The Day We Fight Back (against mass surveillance) — and we need your help to make it as impactful as it can be.

Time: February 11, 2014 all day
Location: GLOBALLLY
Website or Map: http://thegic.org
Event Type: activistevent
Organized By: theGIC.org

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Victory! India Saves ‘Avatar Tribe’ From Vedanta Mine

Many people wrongly believe that the fight for tribal peoples’ rights is unwinnable, especially when they’re pitched against huge multinationals like Vedanta. But this outcome shows that might isn’t always right. The Dongria’s determination, coupled with overwhelming public support, has set a new precedent for tribal rights in India.’

 YouTube“Mine, narrated by Joanna Lumley, tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondh tribe’s struggle to protect Niyamgiri, the mountain they worship as a God. London-based mining company Vedanta Resources plans a vast open-pit bauxite mine in India’s Niyamgiri hills, and the Dongria Kondh know that means the destruction of their forests, their way of life, and their mountain God…”

Victory: India saves ‘Avatar tribe’ from Vedanta mine

Vedanta had failed to seek the consent of the Dongria before embarking on the project and even built a refinery at the bottom of the Niyamgiri Hills, which cost the company an estimated US $800 million.

Survival International – “In a sensational victory in the stand-off between India’s ‘real Avatar tribe’ and British mining giant Vedanta Resources, India’s authorities have quashed the company’s plans to mine the Dongria Kondh tribe’s sacred hills, it has been widely reported.

The decision follows unprecedented consultations with Dongria Kondh villages surrounding the mine site, which were ordered by India’s Supreme Court and dubbed the country’s first ever ‘environmental referendum’.

All twelve Dongria Kondh villages involved in the consultation courageously rejected Vedanta’s project in the face of intimidation and harassment, but the final decision lay with the Ministry for Environment and Forests.

The crushing defeat will have global repercussions for companies intent on working on tribal peoples’ lands and should serve as a lesson that tribal communities’ prior consent must always be sought.

The Dongria Kondh are celebrating their victory over British mining giant Vedanta Resources.
© Toby Nicholas/Survival

 

Survival International has been at the forefront of a global campaign supporting the Dongria’s struggle against Vedanta Resources, and persuaded celebrities such as Joanna Lumley and Michael Palin to champion the tribe’s cause.

Actor Joanna Lumley, who narrated Survival’s short film ‘Mine’ about the Dongria’s plight, said about the victory, ‘I am thrilled and delighted by this marvellous news. It shows that there really is hope for the ’little people’ of the world, standing up against governments and the greed of large corporations. The strength and resilience of the Dongria Kondh people has been both inspirational and humbling.’”

Full Article On Survival International

Unveiling Afghanistan : The Unheard Voices of Progress

Just two months before Afghanistan elects a new President, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA and FIDH launch the Campaign “Unveiling Afghanistan: The Unheard Voices of Progress”, which aims to spark discussion and debate about building a society that protects women’s rights and human rights. Over 50 days, 50 interviews with influential social, political, and cultural actors will be published in the Huffington Post and in the major Afghan daily newspaper, 8 Sobh. 

*FIDH - These elections are a critical step in the democratic transition Afghans have been demanding. Civil society is in the process of re-building itself. It is time for civil society actors to express their vision for the future of their country and have it heard by the world, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Crippled by war, poverty, social divisions, and devastating underdevelopment, Afghanistan’s governing institutions remain weak, and the rule of law almost non-existent. In the face of overwhelming obstacles, the population maintains hope for a peaceful future. Ordinary citizens, in particular women and a new young generation of civil society actors, have unfailingly demonstrated their faith in progress, justice and democratisation in Afghanistan. These actors for positive change in Afghanistan are making their voices heard through the “Unveiling Afghanistan” campaign.

Serious security concerns have not prevented citizens from continuing to exert their right to participate in the democratic process, nor parents from sending their daughters back to school. Universities are overflowing and teachers keep their doors open. The international actors engaged in shaping Afghanistan’s future must acknowledge this progress and act to preserve it,” Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director of Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA, explained.

Women and girls in Afghanistan are defending their rights to attend school and universities. They are claiming their rights to the same employment opportunities as their fellow male citizens. They are exercising their political rights by voting and even standing as candidates in elections. New political parties and movements with pro-democracy agendas have been registered; educated and committed representatives have entered parliament. Sources of information have proliferated, with hundreds of successful radio stations, television channels and newspapers. Simultaneously, civil society has expanded, with new organizations, networks, cultural, artistic and sporting initiatives promoting civic participation and human rights, including women’s rights.

Unveiling Afghanistan gives voice to the demands of men and women for an open and inclusive society in Afghanistan. Critically, it will promote women’s participation in the electoral process, by building awareness and knowledge amongst women about their fundamental rights and electoral choices. In doing so, “Unveiling Afghanistan” seeks to contribute to the emergence of a culture of democracy, human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.”

Read the first interview on the Huffington Post blog “Unveiling Afghanistan”

Dr Humaira Qaderi “When are you going to burn yourself?”

* FIDH is an international NGO federating 178 human rights organisations in more than 100 countries. FIDH defends all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation. http://www.fidh.org

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END:CIV – What Would You Fight For?

Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: “If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?”

“A fierce critique of systematic violence and industrial civilization, End:Civ is not intended for garden-variety environmentalists. If you are anywhere below, say, an 8 on that sliding scale of pissed off, then this film is going to scare you…which means you should watch it.”

-Eugene Weekly

1aquote-derrick-jensen“There are very sober people talking about the possible death of entire oceans. The end of fish. If that’s not worth fighting for, what is?” Activist and author Derrick Jensen asserts that industrial civilization is murdering the planet and it must be stopped. We need to decolonize our hearts and minds. As soon as our allegiance is to the real world and not industrial capitalism, things become more clear. His books include A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, What We Leave Behind and Endgame.”

END:CIV- “The causes underlying the collapse of civilizations are usually traced to overuse of resources. As we write this, the world is reeling from economic chaos, peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation, and political turmoil. Every day, the headlines re-hash stories of scandal and betrayal of the public trust. We don?t have to make outraged demands for the end of the current global system – it seems to be coming apart already. 

But acts of courage, compassion and altruism abound, even in the most damaged places. By documenting the resilience of the people hit hardest by war and repression, and the heroism of those coming forward to confront the crisis head-on, END:CIV illuminates a way out of this all-consuming madness and into a saner future.

Backed by Jensen’s narrative, the film calls on us to act as if we truly love this land. The film trips along at a brisk pace, using music, archival footage, motion graphics, animation, slapstick and satire to deconstruct the global economic system, even as it implodes around us. END:CIV illustrates first-person stories of sacrifice and heroism with intense, emotionally-charged images that match Jensen’s poetic and intuitive approach. Scenes shot in the back country provide interludes of breathtaking natural beauty alongside clearcut evidence of horrific but commonplace destruction.”

A Whisper To A Roar

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”

- Voltaire

“As the powerful documentary A Whisper to a Roar demonstrates, Voltaire’s warning has never been truer than it is today. This film spotlights the perilous plight of pro-democracy activists in five countries as they mobilize against authoritarian governments that have been very wrong, in some cases for a very long time…”

The Square

I watched the documentary, “The Square” on Netflix today and was absolutely blown away by it.  It is a very complex documentary and it touches on issues that every one fighting to make a change in this world can probably relate to: Disorganization, facing overwhelming odds, risk of imprisonment, death…renewal and hope for a better world. I will give fair warning tho – this isn’t for the faint of heart or those who can’t focus on subtitles. It is POWERFUL in so many ways...it is sickening, discouraging, harsh, beautiful, terrifying uplifting, inspiring…what an emotional roller-coaster. I get chills all over again even now as I am sifting through the YT clips to share.

The one thing that struck me more than anything as I was watching, was just how right the ideas behind the Common Ground movement are. No matter what some of our differences may be, it is absolutely imperative that we start learning to look past them and turn our focus to what we have in common with each other. The whole world seems to be edging towards a roaring, revolutionary period as more of US, the peons of the world, get fed up with being stomped on by more and more of THEM – the current power-system holders. As things stand worldwide, THEY can stomp us with sheer force in 2 heartbeats…WE can only stand strong and “win” if we stand arm in arm, tight…Together…

“The Square movie is a documentary about the Egyptian revolution behind the headlines. Follow a group of activists in Tahrir Square, risking their lives to build a new society of conscience…”

“If you take out people & put people just like them from the same circle, from the same regime, then you didn’t take down the regime, you took down people…”

“Our main problem as revolutionaries, most of the time we only object and say, “No” and we never offer alternatives…”

Filming “The Square”

Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government’s Ever Sent

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

Motherboard – “That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the regime’s police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian legislation. In fact, it’s downright Orwellian (and I hate that adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear). 

But that’s what this is: it’s technology employed to detect noncompliance, to hone in on dissent. The NY Times reports that the “Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday.” Near. Using a cell phone near a clash lands you on the regime’s hit list.

See, Kiev is tearing itself to shreds right now, but since we’re kind of burned out on protests, riots, and revolutions at the moment, it’s being treated below-the-fold news. Somehow, the fact that over a million people are marching, camping out, and battling with Ukraine’s increasingly authoritarian government is barely making a ripple behind such blockbuster news bits as bridge closures and polar vortexes…”

Full Article

Peru: Gas Expansion in Amazon ‘Indigenous Reserve’

The Ecologist - “The Peruvian government is pushing ahead with plans to expand gas operations in a supposedly protected reserve in the Amazon despite calls by the United Nations to suspend them. 

The company leading the operations, Pluspetrol, moved one step closer to proceeding with the expansion of the Camisea gas project – Peru’s biggest ever energy development – following a report by the vice-ministry of inter-culturality (VMI) last week.

Pluspetrol’s plans include drilling 18 wells and conducting seismic tests in an ‘intangible’ reserve for indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and ‘initial contact’.

The reserve is also part of the buffer zone for the Manu national park, where Unesco says the biological diversity “exceeds that of any other place on Earth.”

UN special rapporteur visited in December

The VMI, Pluspetrol and the energy ministry are continuing to push ahead with the expansion plans despite recommendations made by the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, during a visit to Peru in December.

“As if the UN’s special rapporteur didn’t exist or hadn’t made an official visit”, was how Servindi, a Peruvian news website, responded to the VMI’s report.

Anaya made his recommendations in a formal, 2,714 word statement read at a press conference in Lima. One recommendation was that the government perform an“exhaustive study” of the indigenous peoples in the gas project region.

Another that it “shouldn’t proceed with the proposed expansion without previously and conclusively establishing that their human rights will not be violated.”

“It’s obvious that these groups are extremely vulnerable”, Anaya said at the end of his eight day visit.

Violence can be expected

Pilar Cameno, from Peruvian NGO DAR, told the Guardian that the expansion could lead to“violent encounters” between gas project workers and indigenous peoples, “increased mortality rates”, the loss of land and access to resources, and environmental contamination.

“The Peruvian state must heed the UN rapporteur’s recommendations and implement them”, Cameno says. “What’s at stake here is the survival of the indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact – not just as individuals, but as whole cultures.”

Full Article on The Ecologist

PERU FINES PLUSPETROL FOR DAMAGE TO AMAZON POND

Nov. 27, 2013

AP – “Peru’s environmental protection agency has levied a $7 million fine on the Argentine oil company Pluspetrol for damage in the Amazon jungle to a pond in the country’s biggest oil concession.

The fine follows a total of $13 million in other sanctions against the company imposed this year by the agency for oil contamination. Those included the largest single fine ever levied in Peru against an oil company.

Pluspetrol did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The company produces 15,000 barrels of oil daily in a lot in the northern state of Loreto where the environmental agency says the Shanshococha pond disappeared due to production activity.

Peru produces 62,000 barrels of oil daily.”

UnF*ck The World

YOU KNOW IT’S TIME.

TIME TO UNFUCK THE WORLD.

Unfuck The World is a global movement aimed to inspire everyday people to take positive ACTION towards Unfucking The World.

There is no gentle way to say it, this world is fucked up.

No positive action is too big or too small, and it’s the sum of our actions that will move the world in the right direction.

YOU have the power to Unfuck The World. Discover how you can join the movement.

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The Lion Sleeps No More

Anonymous 2013

Greetings world. We are anonymous. We are the people.

Governments of the world: take this message as your last will and testament. The game is officially over. Social media has given birth to something new. Now it’s time to set the record straight. This video is intended as that spark that gets delivered straight into the hearts and minds of the world. This video is an idea – a shared idea – so listen very carefully and make sure you are sitting down…

On the 5th of November 2013, Anonymous call for a day of global civil disobedience.

Screen-shot-2013-01-23-at-11.27.42-PM

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Barcelona Squatters Occupy Buildings Taken Over By Banks

“The social acceptance of what it means to occupy an empty building belonging to a bank that has also been rescued with public money has changed. In most cases when it comes to court the judge says it’s not a crime . . . we think the law will change. It’s common sense that where people are evicted and the banks have all these buildings that are empty, with no function . . . well, if they don’t give them some kind of use, then we will find a use for them.”

Excerpts, Irish Times – “In Barcelona’s medieval Raval neighbourhood, renowned for much of the 20th century as the hub of the city’s drug, prostitution and crime underworld, a cloth with an anti-bank slogan painted on it flaps in the breeze on the facade of a renovated building in the recently gentrified Plaça del Pedró.

Inside, in a sparsely furnished one-room apartment on the third floor, a photograph taped to a wall shows a suntanned, sporty-looking blonde in a black swimsuit reclining seductively across the bow of a luxury boat. She is gazing at the camera with confidence and a touch of nonchalance, as though secure in the expectation that life will always be this good.

Tania Hidalga (39) is the pin-up girl. Today, coughing relentlessly, she sits wearily on a donated second-hand sofa and looks across at her former self of seven years ago. “Yes, that was me, that was life then,” she says softly, between gasps. “Another world, eh?”

She was once the proud owner of an apartment on the Costa Brava near Empuriabrava, one of the largest marinas in the world, but Hidalga’s comfortable life fell apart after she lost her job as an administrative assistant in 2010.

Humiliating journey


Her relationship ended – her partner owned the boat – and she was evicted last year for not paying her mortgage after her 10 months of dole entitlement ended. She describes a humiliating journey between then and now.

For eight months she lived in a homeless shelter and depended on a nearby church for handouts of groceries. Nights were spent in fear: “There were drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes all living there. But that’s not me. I’m not a criminal – I’m a worker. I want to work and earn my living.” Her physical and mental health suffered severe setbacks. Now, she says, she is starting all over again in the Raval.

Anyone looking closely at No 5 Plaça del Pedró, however, will notice something unusual. The original lock on the building’s front door has been ripped out and replaced, and each studio- apartment door bears the marks of a cutter where the lock has been changed. Hidalga is not renting this flat. She is not even supposed to be here. But in July she and three similarly homeless families, with the help of housing lobby the Platform for Mortgage Victims (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, known as the PAH) broke into the vacant building, now owned by Caixa Banc, and took up residence.

“When we were moving in, the neighbours were all there supporting us and cheering us on – they even helped us,” says Hidalga, her eyes welling up as she proudly points out her fridge-freezer, bed and sofa, all donations from the local community…”

“…Hidalga and her new neighbours are the post-boom squatters, occupying one of 13 bank-owned properties taken over by the platform in Catalunya and used to house people who have been evicted after getting into mortgage arrears. Such occupations are illegal, acknowledges Gala Pin (32), a spokeswoman for the housing lobby, but she distinguishes this kind of takeover from typical squatter invasions.

“We are of course influenced by the squatter movement but there are two big differences: we always occupy buildings that belong to banks, or to big firms; and are always trying to negotiate with the owners in order to try to [pay] a social rent.”

The six-storey building was renovated by a property speculator who subdivided it into studios for short-term tourism rentals but who failed to get permission for the modifications. It lay empty for three years before falling into the hands of Banco de Valencia, which merged with Caixa in July.

The platform organises these occupations not as a first option but as a desperate last resort, says Pin.

Civil disobedience


“The law says it’s illegal but the platform practises civil disobedience only when there are no more alternatives. This is a tactic, a technique that has been used in the history of humanity for changing laws that were not fair. So maybe it’s illegal – but it doesn’t mean that it’s not legitimate.”

She points out that Banco de Valencia was bailed out with the help of €3 billion in public money, later supplemented by €4.5 billion from the Spanish government’s Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring. The platform is now trying to negotiate with Caixa Banc in order to secure the occupants’ tenancy at reasonable rent..” Full Story And Another Video On Irish Times

Like A Phoenix: Power Beyond The Fall

So…you want a revolution, eh? Pissed off…fed up…you know bad things are going bump in the night but don’t know which way to turn for help when officers are murdering people – and pets – all over the place. Your government representatives have gone deaf and blind. Your online activity is not only not private, but can and will be used against you in court…doors are getting bashed in, your milk is no longer legal, your neighbors can vanish and be indefinitely detained & families are being terrorized by armed and masked SWAT men in the middle of the night…

It is time to do something…NOW!!

Enough is enough!! Our founding fathers would not have stood for this and neither should we!! 

The time for a revolution is at hand…!

Or is it..?

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The Circle In The Square

♫ The time is now, our time has come
We show them how, what can’t be done
No matter what they say or they don’t say
We make a way out of no way
Against the gun, beneath the veil
Yes we can, too big to fail
We are the ones we’re waiting for
We save ourselves; Praise the lord ♫

♫ We are the night light bearers for night terrors
We are group dreamers, vision seekers and pall bearers
In aftermath of blight errors, blood type and marrow to the bone oaths
And beat hope into plow shares
We’re balancing the balance beam
Pulling strings from battle scene tapestries
And ravenous advocates for smaller teams
Pop the bubbles of crystal schemes
We are the sleep walkers for stalled dreams… ♫