Archive for June, 2005

Making Free Speech History

June 28th, 2005

One week to go until most of the activists in the UK converge on Scotland for the G8. Yesterday evening police seized the Bristol IMC server. Anyone spot a coincidence?

Indymedia is one of the only truly independent open-publishing news forums where anyone can voice their opinions and post news as they see it, as it happens, without fear of censorship. When the world’s mainstream media almost completely fails to cover the real issues behind protests, and regurgitates police press-releases in the face of the brutal oppression we’ve seen at previous G8 protests, an outlet for real, grassroots coverage from the people on the ground is vital to preserving free speech. Like I said, anyone spot a coincidence here?

The main UK Indymedia site seems to be buckling under a slashdotting of this story, so here are the details:

On Monday, June 27th, Indymedia Bristol’s server was seized by the police. An Indymedia volunter was also arrested during the raid. Last week, police demanded access to the server to gain the IP details of a posting. The alternative media outlet is receiving advice from civil liberties organisations and the NUJ. Before being legally forced to hand over the server, Indymedia Bristol stated: “We do not intend to voluntarily hand over information to the police as they have requested”. A further statement from Bristol Indymedia volunteers is expected soon.

This is the second time that law enforcement authorities have attacked Indymedia servers in the UK in the run up to a major event. Last October, just prior to the European Social Forum, Indymedia servers in London were seized in an international law enforcement operation – prompting a wave of protests and solidarity statements from a wide range of organisations [report]. This time, events are unfolding one week before the G8 Summit begins in Scotland.

In order to provide grass-roots non-corporate coverage during the G8 protests and events, Indymedia UK needs additional http mirrors to help decrease bandwidth costs. If you would like to help, you can donate here.

Time to Act

June 22nd, 2005

On 8th July activists, students, religious groups, and concerned citizens around the world will be taking action against the root causes of climate change. It will be the last day of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, and a key opportunity to create a wide-reaching shift in climate change and energy policy worldwide.

The Bush administration is now completely isolated on climate change. A poll that came out yesterday showed 83% support in the UK for Blair confronting Bush head on on climate, and the same day the Royal Society — one of the most respected scientific institutions in Europe — gave damning criticism of the Bush administration’s refusal to budge on energy and climate change policy:

A communiqué that does anything other than clearly accept the strength of the scientific evidence that greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, and offers a firm commitment to long-term substantial cuts in those emissions, will be regarded as a failure by the scientific community and a missed opportunity of historic proportions. — Stephen Cox, executive secretary of the Royal Society

This is not some group of eco-hippies.

The international pressure on Blair, as current chair of the G8, is growing, and we have to use this momentum to drive a political wedge between Bush and Blair, isolate the U.S. administration even further, to such an extent that the U.S. public and mainstream media wake up and stop buying the ‘uncertainty’ and denial rubbish the Bush administration keeps pumping out.

What are you doing on 8th July? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the debate on climate change is over. It is time to act.

[Our world is warming.]

June 16th, 2005

The scientific consensus is unprecedented, and evidence keeps pouring in. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment synthesis report showed us that climate destabilisation is already happening–right now–and much faster than we anticipated.

So what should we expect from our ‘world leaders’ at the G8 next month? Perhaps some visionary steps forward, towards a clean renewable-energy future? Bold targets for real at-source cuts to take us to sustainable greenhouse gas emissions levels? Well, that’s what we should expect, and it’s what we continue to demand, but it’s not what we’re getting. (California excepted.)

Our world is warming… erm… (maybe)

That’s the clear, visionary message from the ‘leaders’ of the world:

Text from leaked draft g8 communique on climate: '[Our world is warming]', bracketed, open for debate.

In draft international document land (somewhere I’ve spent rather too many long days) those square brackets mean something is still uncertain, disputed, and open for debate. The first leaked draft was bad enough, with no timetables or targets for emissions cuts. Now we see the reality of Blair’s ‘leadership’ on climate change: no targets, no timeframes, “zero carbon nuclear,” clean coal, and he hasn’t even managed to secure a recognition that our world is warming. It seems we have a problem.

You can download the latest leaked draft (two pdf documents) on the Channel Four News website. I’ve also mirrored it here.

Leaked Draft Communique [mirror]
Leaked Draft Plan of Action [mirror]

Emperor Bush?

June 16th, 2005

“So this is how Liberty ends, with thunderous applause.” –Padme Amidala, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

It was–at least according to George Lucas–more about the rise of the Third Riche than today’s political climate. The parallel with the rise of fascism in current world politics, however, is all too apparent. But at least George Bush is only here for another few years, right? Er… right?

Well not necessarily. I learnt today that five Republican congressmen are sponsoring an ammendment to the U.S. constitution to–quite simply–repeal the 22nd amendment. The twenty-second amendment is the rule in the bedrock of U.S. law that says presidents can only serve two terms in office.

Go California!

June 4th, 2005

California is officially going for it. Arnold ‘Governator’ Schwarzenegger earlier this week signed an executive order setting huge green house gas emissions reduction targets for the state: 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, just the kind of real target people who are serious about halting climate change have been demanding for years. I expect Bush is going to be livid! Nice one Arnie.

This the just kind of thing Blair needs to pull out if he’s going to get any respect for his so called ‘leadership’ on climate change at the g8. The leaked draft climate and energy communique quite simply didn’t cut it.

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