Archive | May, 2014

Statement from Gerry Conlon on political decision to intern Craigavon Two for life.

29 May

“Just heard that the government judges have upheld the convictions of the Craigavon Two.It is an appalling decision in light of the new evidence and witnesses that were called on behalf of Brendan and John Paul.

Anyone who attended the appeal hearing was struck by the compelling new evidence and the forcefulness of the new witnesses.What we have seen today is nothing short of disgraceful and a complete whitewash by the judiciary in order to protect corrupt and dishonest elements within the police.

The case of the Craigavon Two will not fade away as is hoped by the establishment but it will continue until justice is done and seen to be done.Those politicians who claim to represent and speak for nationalist,republicans and the working class should be outraged by this judgement,they now have an Opportunity to voice their concern and outrage at this blatant injustice.”

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The all candidates “discussion” on poverty

29 May

Given that there is an election going on i got an email in my official emailabout an all candidaites discussion on poverty
hosted by a group of people concerned about poverty. I forwarded it to a comrade who replied to the host as oppose to me
saying lets go distribute justice for injured workers, of course that was not our only aim, but i do get a laugh thinking
about the hosts reaction. So when i get an email Ill pick up at this address im like for what? to which he replied your
the one who sent me an email, finally i run through my head and figure out what he was talking about.

The event like many others was hosted at a womans shelter, but of course none of the woman were there and the people in attendance
were the usual people, but given were it was hosted it could be stated that the candidates did consult etc etc. Of course the table
where we sat was health given our interest in the discussion etc etc and Doug Rankin was there as well we were joined by anti poverty
people concerned about what is going on in our community. Like every so called consultation this was a discussion not a debate, in other
the room for asserting ones view is narrow and we are all suppose to get along and love each other and give each other hugs and such
ignoring the impact that the desisions made have a life and death impact on our community.

Someone handed me a RSM flyer calling for a boycott of the election and asked if that was my organization cause someone was tearing them down
I said no, and of course the next question was does my organization agree or disgree with voting, as if that was the only question on the table
and politics is simply do you vote or not vote as opposed to the everyday issues that affect us. I gave a political answer then said that although
I am not RSM I understand there position and frankly given the way politics are presented I totally understand why people shympathise with that
position.

The discussion at my table was actually pretty good and possibly one of the only reasons i attended, that we are actually allowed to discuss politics
during election time, although given the cartel like politics being promoted by the big partys this too is changing.The discussion of the problems we
are facing is important, the issue of course is to take it beyound simply informing the candidates of our views and then moving on, but rather how can
one move beyond that and organize the class.

The NDP candidate joined our table and whatever I think of party system she seem genuine and interested in our what we were saying, though she kept on
hunting for “the book” which someone said was the bible that contained all the answers. Still she talked from her experiance and tried to understand
what we are saying and gave imput. My question was very julianish in the sense that it has many issues entangled and it was pointed out that my one question
was actually six questions.

The Liberal candidate came next and hung out for two minutes before break when I went and as my friend likes to refer to my so called smoozzing,”greets everyone
shakes hands and kisses babies”(I can assure you i do not kiss babies). The representative of the conservative Wettlaugher saw me and pretty much ran away.
(me and Wayne have what you call history…lol)

The event ended with the candidates speaking and then a fifteen minute informal period of smoozing. This event like so many others thrown at election time
showed the problem with the system, that once every little bit you are allowed to be consulted, give your views and simply be ignored, and despite whatever views
people have on the importance of this election it is clear that once this election is over there will be few if any “consultative” events and we will be put back
to sleep once again and told to forget politics and leave it for our betters. This shows the need of going beyond electoral politics in the sense of continueing
these discussions among our peers and finding solutions our betters care nothing for. Whatever way one votes the ballot is simply not enough in the sense that
it creates the conditions to legitimize there rule as in if you do not agree with what isnt go on why dont you wait however many years and then vote for someone
else who will ignore you again and if a majority of the liberals are relected,as it is looking like it might they will hold this above our heads as a divine mandate
from god ignoring the fact that most people are sick of all the political parties. The solution is not simply just voting this way or that way but rather looking outside
this system that offers us nothing and creating alternatives based on our material conditions. Until we take up this task of strenthening our political organizations and doing
this we will always be held hostages to these theives who no matter how well intentioned they are, will continue this charade.

Pax Britannia

27 May

They have made a desert then called it peace

The recent “arrest” of Adams has once again brought Ireland to the attention of the world. Many were shocked to see
the leader of a political party arrested so long after the so called end of troubles.One only need open any news paper
to see articles about the “dark cabal within the PSNI” or comments aimed at gaining public sympathy for SF with
claims of a return to the “dark past” and the threats to the “peace process” in the Occupied Six Countys.

While most media and leftist are focusing on the arrest of Adams and its significance the larger question is ignored,
which is what are the present conditions in the Occupied Six Countys and has the peace process actually brought peace
to Ireland. Peace by definition is a state where force is not used as a mechanism of social cohersion, where people
are free to live there lives free from threat of the use of force. Is that the present situation?

Sartre in his book on Genocide defines occupation as a tool of genocide in the sense that the occupier has two choices
to use force to assimilate subjugate and eventually wipe out the people under occuption or withdraw. This is do to the fact
that occupation by its very nature is a violent phenomena which by its very nature creats a climate of conflict with hot
and cold periods. In other words repression resistance intensification of repression etc. For this phenomena to occur
there is a need to demonize and criminalize the subjugated people especially those whose principles refuse this subjugation.

The use of force need not be open in the sense of mass bombings etc. but can be carried out through low intensity methods
so prevalent after the loss of Anglo American imperialist forces in Vietnam. These methods include the process of Vietnamization
eg. instead of using there own forces the occupational power will find a collaborating class which in turn will recruit
from the ranks of the oppressed into there occupational force to adminster colonialism, attacks on culture and an attempt to
erase the history of the colonized, adminstrative detention of key political figures who speak out against the occupation
and a criminalization process of all who dare raise there head for self determination.

If one exaimines the present conditions in occupied Ireland one sees that the above mentioned conditions apply. From the forced
internment of political prisoners, to the recruiting efforts of those administering British rule to recruit the occupied in
there armed wing eg. The PSNI/RUC, to the demonization of Irish Republicans one sees that there is no peace not as the result of any
specific “armed group” but rather by the very nature of occupation itself.

If this is the case, which I think I have proved, the question we must ask ourselves is why then is there talk of a dark cabal etc
as opposed to a wholesale denucation of the system itself. The answer lies with Goebells one of the best propaghandists for occupation
which is the Big lie eg. if you repeat a lie over and over again by its very nature it becomes truth and is believed.

When they state for or against peace process or create this dicotomy one is forced to accept the idea that there
is peace in Ireland and anyone who rejects occupations is against peace as opposed to the truth which is that occupation in
and of itself is violence and as long as there is an occupation there can be no peace, not because of the acts of any of
the colonized but by the fact that occupation itself is violent.

So while the media focuses on Adams and darkforces and such the truth is again hidden, something that anyone who truly loves peace must oppose.

Anti-Gentrification Tent City!!

23 May

The neighbourhood of “Cedar Hill” has a longstanding history as a low income area in Kitchener-Waterloo. In 2005 the City of Kitchener passed a bylaw that specifically targeted Cedar Hill, by restricting any new dwellings built in the area except single family homes; with the exception of Duplexes/Triplexes but only if the landlord lives in a unit, and banned any new group homes and other social services from setting up there, which specifically affects the high concentration of low-income and working class folks and families that live and use the services located here.
This is just one example of the campaign to gentrify downtown Kitchener and its surrounding neighbourhoods that is already well under way. It’s time to take up space in downtown Kitchener and make it useful for the people who live here and their allies. This June from the 16th to the 20th, we plan to do this by facilitating a week of conversations, workshops, and community services aimed at community needs with a specific focus on gentrification.
In order to offer all the awesome programing we have planned we need your help! We need volunteers and equipment to get this vision off of the ground. If you are interested in helping out with any of the following groups or tasks please email katwombwell@gmail.com
– Child care volunteers
– Trauma and resource support
– Food prep, serving, and dishes volunteers
– Other – If you’d like to do whatever needs doing
– Freezer space (if you have this available please let us know ASAP as we are currently in the process of stocking up)
– Equipment (i.e. tents)
– Banner team (We need to make banners before the event)

Dirty Hands of Chevron Demo Was A Success!!!

21 May

Today people in Kitchener gathered to hand out flyers, hold signs, give out food and engage the public in a discussion on the crimes of Chevron particularly in Ecuador. Although most of the public was receptive we had a few idiots who yelled stupid things.

Despite this about 100 flyers were handed out and a positive discussion with members of the public ensued.

This was followed with the hanging up of placards with tape in key parts of the city.

unfortunately the cellphone/camera died so we only have a few pics which should be up tomorrow on Facebook.

All in all the event was a success

Joint Ceasefire by Revolutionary Armed Forces and People’s National Liberation Army Announced

21 May

On the morning of May 16, Pablo Catatumbo, spokesman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) Peace Delegation in Havana, Cuba, announced the third unilateral ceasefire, this time a joint ceasefire by FARC-EP and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the other guerrilla force in Colombia.

The ceasefire will start on May 20 and ends May 28. It is timed to coincide with the Colombian presidential election which takes place May 25.

Iván Márquez, head of the Peace Delegation, then read a message to indigenous people, and afro-Colombian, peasant, urban and peoples’ communities, as well as to the churches and social and political movements in Colombia.

The message is an emphatic call for unity, beyond any difficulties or disagreements that may have existed at any time or in any place. Unity is necessary to start the march on the road of radical transformations and to reach peace with social justice.

“It’s necessary to say that peace is a … right which is more important than anything else. If there’s no peace, there won’t be anything, not even a country. Uribe’s security is a deceit that only worsens chaos. Security for all Colombians can’t exist without peace,” reads the statement.

The insurgent forces stressed the need for a National Constituent Assembly, to give the floor to all sectors of society. It called for a united struggle, for example, in the case of the struggle for the Peasant Reserve Zones, which should be, they said, everybody’s struggle.

Likewise, the struggle for the ancestral territories of the indigenous people and the afro-Colombian communities is everybody’s struggle.

So too the struggle against transnational companies is everybody’s struggle.

All these struggles should converge in everybody’s conviction that a National Constituent Assembly is necessary to bring them about, the FARC pointed out.
The news of the ceasefire generated an immediate reaction in Colombia, Prensa Latina reports. Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro said that the ceasefire should be extended until the end of the peace talks in Havana and should be taken up by the government side as well.

Two of the spokespeople for the political and social movement Marcha Patriótica, Carlos Lozano and David Flórez, indicated that this was a postive development and also stressed the need for a bilateral and permanent cessation and for the military to respect the ceasefire declared by the FARC and ELN.

Joint Press Release by FARC-EP and ELN

The FARC-EP and the ELN have repeatedly stressed the need to convene a bilateral ceasefire, to channel the peace talks towards an effective and early reconciliation among Colombians.

The response has been the outright rejection by the regime, [which is] arguing that only the permanent offensive against the insurgency can guarantee peace in the country. “Peace is victory,” they repeat.

In contrast, and in order to promote more favorable conditions for the talks, we have declared unilateral ceasefires. Paradoxically, this generous gesture has led to the intensification of the offensive by the regime, putting our forces in unfavorable positions.

Today, with the forthcoming electoral contest for the Presidency of the Republic, there are many voices which, with a variety of arguments, ask us for a new declaration of ceasefire so that the electoral political climate will be characterized by the absence of obstacles.

The insurgency does not believe in the Colombian electoral system; we, like millions of compatriots, believe that corruption, clientelism, fraud and all kinds of dirty tricks lead to the illegitimacy of its results. Today’s scandals add more strength to our arguments.

However, we believe that such a strong national outcry should be addressed; we will see if the language and the orders of senior officials and members of the military and police leadership, [as a result of] our gesture, will change. We also do this as a beacon of hope for a bilateral cease-fire.

Therefore, we ordered all our units to cease any offensive military action against the state’s armed forces or the economic infrastructure, from Tuesday, May 20th at 00:00 am until Wednesday, May 28th at 24:00 pm.

Press Release on 24th Round of Talks-FARC-EP

20 May

Press Release on 24th Round of Talks

– FARC-EP, May 4, 2014 –

Havana, Cuba, site of the peace talks — The 24th round of talks has led to significant advances that put us on the verge of closing the third point of discussion: solution to the problem of illicit drugs. With our proposal on the creation of a Commission of Clarification on the Conflict, we have begun to prepare ourselves for the start of the discussion on the issue of victims.

In an interview with EL TIEMPO, Luis Carlos Villegas, Ambassador of our country in the United States, stated that Colombia will not abandon certain tools such as extradition, and that this could become an instrument to ensure the non-repetition of crimes by the FARC. What is this man, architect of the criminal Free Trade Agreement, talking about? His Free Trade Agreements have plunged many Colombian families into poverty, while many of them have been forced to grow illegal crops in order to survive.

Clearly, this kind of unfortunate statement — far from contributing to the peace we all want — sounds like blackmail, which is unacceptable. Anyhow, if Villegas’ extradition is the main tool to avoid recidivism in drug trafficking, the FARC would not precisely be its target, if we take into consideration that the production and marketing of illicit drugs has been permeating the whole country for decades, starting with the oligarchy linked to financial capital. They are so buoyant today, among other reasons, because of money laundering from drug trafficking and other not so holy businesses.

Drug trafficking is a transnational, capitalist business, which has evidently penetrated institutions and the national economy and became another aspect of corruption in politics and the dynamics of violence, worsening the social reasons that generated it. As a matter of fact, narco-paramilitarism, which has caused so much damage, especially to the broad masses of the poor, has been nurtured by this scourge.

The FARC-EP, as [a] political-military organization that fights for a revolutionary change leading to social justice and democracy, considers [it] necessary to assume a collective responsibility in order to solve all the problems which generate and maintain poverty, exclusion, injustice and confrontation. This includes the problem of drug trafficking that, together with the escalation of violence, places obstacles to peacebuilding, development and reconciliation.

It would be foolish to persist in blackmail without having any moral authority, or to continue poisoning the environment with aerial spraying, which has been questioned by all experts who study the phenomenon of illicit crops. Such acts obstruct the pace of progress in building the consensus required to come to a Final Agreement.

The FARC expresses its strong condemnation and rejection of drug trafficking in all its aspects, and reaffirms its commitment to contribute effectively, with the greatest determination, through practical actions, to the solution of the phenomenon of production and marketing of illicit drugs. At the same time we express our belief that with the joint assistance of the society and the authorities, assuming the implementation of a new policy to combat the scourge, based on a focus on human rights, public health and social care, we will be able to take Colombia out of this maelstrom of evil once and for all.

With these reflections, the FARC-EP assumes as its own the recommendations from the world of specialists on how to find … solutions, and thus proposes the following approaches:

1. Look for an open discussion and promote policies that effectively prevent and reduce the harms related to drug consumption and drug control policies. Increase investment in research and analysis of the impact of different policies and programs, and replace criminalization and punishment of drug users by health care and treatment for those who need it, encouraging different governments to promote the already designed models of legal regulation, to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and safety of citizens.

2. Establish better indicators and targets to measure progress, and challenge, rather than reinforce, common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence. Countries that continue to invest mostly in a focus of law enforcement (despite the evidence) should focus their repressive actions on organized crime and violent drug traffickers, to reduce the harms associated with the market of illicit drugs.

3. Promote alternative sentences for small-scale merchants and sellers of primary drugs and invest more resources in evidence-based prevention, with a special focus on youth. We should offer a wide range of options and easy access to the treatment and care of drug dependence, including substitution treatment and prescription of heroin, with special attention to those most at risk, including those who are in prisons or in some way locked up.

4. The United Nations system should provide leadership in the reform of global drug policy. This implies promoting an effective evidence-based approach, support countries so that they can develop drug policies that fit their contexts and respond to their needs, and to ensure consistency between UN agencies, policies and conventions. In conclusion, we need urgent action: since the war on drugs has failed, policies need to be changed right away.

Press Release

FARC-EP Western Bloc Comandante Alfonso Cano, reports to national and international opinion:

FIRST: That on the 3rd of May, we handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, three minors … 15 and 16 years old (we omit their names to protect their identity), who found a way to be admitted to different units of the FARC-EP, hiding their true age. This way, they joined before the age of 15, in clear violation of the rules of recruitment of our organization, which prohibit incorporation before the age of 15, in accordance with the provisions of the Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

SECOND: We started investigating the irregular situation of their arrival and their particular behavior, using counterintelligence methods and the version of events freely given by the three girls. We could then determine that before turning 15 and prior to joining the FARC-EP, they had been recruited, along with 7 other children, to accomplish this specific mission, by units of the National Police. This was done without the knowledge of their families. They were prepared in basic elements of militias and combat intelligence, under the stimulus of receiving a salary every month, and a larger sum was promised as a reward when they would accomplish the mission.

The period of time for them to stay in the guerrilla units had to be limited, in order to provide information that would lead to the death or capture of guerrilla comandantes, carry out sabotage and contribute to the localization of the group to be able to bomb it.

This is a recruitment of under-15s made by the Colombian armed forces, which, even if it hadn’t been done to carry out infiltration and espionage to the FARC-EP, is a war crime.

THIRD: The children, from the rural area Magüí Payan, Nariño, and El Bordo, in Cauca, once the mission was accomplished, had to desert, inviting other active guerrilla fighters [to join them], and report with weapons to the local Police.

The work of sabotage and espionage in service of the enemy are severely punished in our disciplinary regulations, as in any army at war. Considering the fact that they weren’t able to carry out any action of sabotage or espionage leading to the death or capture of any guerrilla fighter and given their status as minors, we proceeded to implement the provisions of Article 4.3 c) and d) of the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, and as provided in paragraph e) of this regulation, we have also proceeded to inform their families and hand them over to the International Committee of the Red Cross — ICRC — so that they can be helped to rebuild their lives somehow.

FOURTH: Before national opinion and the international community, we denounce these criminal, systematic and perverse acts carried out by the Colombian State. In violation of all codes governing the laws of war and international humanitarian law, it recruits children in order to infiltrate them in our organization and send them as cannon fodder without further preparation to fulfill such risky tasks as espionage.

FIFTH: In compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law that inspire our general and disciplinary rules — imperative foundation of the guerrillas’ legality — disciplinary actions will be applied to the comandantes who didn’t fulfill the compulsory duty of comprehensive verification, and who allowed three minors to join our organization as combatants, in contravention of the above mentioned rules that govern the recruitment procedures of the FARC-EP in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions and international treaties that establish the minimum age of 15 to join the armed forces.

SIXTH: We call on the Colombian state and its armed forces, to definitely outlaw these illegal, dehumanized, old and useless practices, in times when peace with social justice is the subject of talks in Havana and a broad national debate. They only reveal the true criminal character of the regime that applies them. We also express our willingness to explain in detail the circumstances that have allowed minors to join our organization (never as combatants while they are under 15, but in the rearguard)

An agreement of a humanitarian nature would be more than appropriate to alleviate the situation of combatants, but also of the non-combatant population, for the State continues to engage them in the conflict, creating networks of informants and promoting dirty practices like the ones we are denouncing now.

Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP