Fri Aug 22, 2014 08:38 Recent stories compiled by IMC editors worldwide
Historic Victory Against Israeli Apartheid at the Port of Oakland Fri Aug 22, 2014 07:08 | San Francisco Bay Area | ot
Video: Stop Dont Shoot. Portland Dawson Park Ferguson Solidarity 8.16.14 Fri Aug 22, 2014 06:53 | Portland | en
National Lawyers Guild on the Ground in Ferguson, Needs Help Wed Aug 20, 2014 07:09 | Boston | en
Fri Nov 29, 2013 15:41 (en)
Indonesian police have opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death. West Papuan activists and families have been forced to flee to the jungle for safety. Indonesian security forces are conducting scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians. The attacks are happening during the visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman with over 200 people arrested across West Papua. Journalists have also been attacked by Indonesian police according to Amnesty International...Read more at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia. The Indonesian Police chief says any plans to free Papua from Indonesia won't be tolerated, including Flag raising ceremonies on the West Papuan national Day, December 1st.
Calls for Independence by West Papuans have been made since the sham "Act of Free Choice in 1969". They have suffered a neglected genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military (2004) with continued Repression (2007). Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in 2010 and in 2011 rejecting special autonomy, demanding a referendum on independence. Indonesia plans to build 1,500 km of new roads in the next two years to accelerate ?development', increase military presence, and open up more illegal logging. Three Papuans highlighted the human rights abuses at the APEC meeting in Bali this year by scaling the Australian Consulate?s fence in the dead of night and hand-delivering a personal plea to open the Indonesian province to world scrutiny.
A new academic law and human rights report A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua (PDF), details the extent of the genocide and abuse of human rights. (Review by Greenleft) Activists have called for Australia to End pragmatic complicity in West Papua in response to comments by new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Imprisoned Papuan leader Selpius Bobii also responded saying, "We Live In Terror, Mr Abbott".
Related: Waging Nonviolence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia?s occupation of West Papua | West Papuan National Day Goes Global | West Papuans to join commemoration of Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat More Information: West Papua media Alerts | Freedom Flotilla
Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:07 (en)
Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate CrisisAnalysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement
Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe commented: "Big polluters were welcomed with open arms and the negotiations are driven by corporate interests. There is no room for people or planet. The Polish presidency's short-sighted coal-driven policy marks these talks out as one of the dirtiest yet."
International Trade Union Confederation joins the protest
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC, released a statement saying that at a time when climate science was warning of devastating impacts, democratic leaders have failed us in these negotiations. The ITUC observers walked in protest with the other NGOs.?We have been shocked by some of the wealthiest nations including Canada and Australia showing a lack of responsibility for ambitious targets and with almost all developed nations failing to commit vital finance and even questioning the need for ?just transition? measures for the world?s workers and their families.
?Trade unions remain optimistic on the capacity of social dialogue to ensure that Japan returns to the negotiations next year in Lima, Peru, with renewed ambition and leadership.
?The corporate dominance which is on show here is unacceptable. It is the same companies that advocate environmental and social responsibility that exploit workers and the environment through their supply chains.
?The ITUC will now mobilise workers around the world to ensure that democratic governments are held accountable for jobs, rights and the vital investment in transformational technologies in all sectors to ensure full employment and decent work,? said Sharan Burrow.
Enough is enough.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 ? the Warsaw Climate Conference.
The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.
The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens - with a ?Coal & Climate Summit? being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.
This week saw a ?finance ministerial? with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 ? on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.
We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, rich country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.
Therefore, organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. Instead, we are now focusing on mobilizing people to push our governments to take leadership for serious climate action. We will work to transform our food and energy systems at a national and global level and rebuild a broken economic system to create a sustainable and low-carbon economy with decent jobs and livelihoods for all. And we will put pressure on everyone to do more to realize this vision.
Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference, it is clear that without such pressure, our governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. We will return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.
ORGANISATIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS STATEMENT:
Current Status of COP19 Negotiations
In a media briefing in Warsaw by Climate Action Network International on Thursday 21 November 2013, Liz Gallagher from E3G.org gave an update on negotiations in the Adhoc working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP), which is the main negotiating track."So yesterday in the ADP we had a new text out. The text has been changed in both substance and structure, and the substance has been somewhat weakened and that is what I'm here to talk about.
In particular I want to talk about the 2014 deadline. NGOs from CAN are pushing very hard to have the 2014 as the deadline when countries should develop their offers and it is still not strong enough in the text. This is primarily because it is being used as leaverage by other countries which want to get more progress on finance.
I also want to explain why 2015 is so important. For those of you unfortunate to remember Copenhagen you will remember what happened in the final few days in the Bella Centre. I think we want to learn the lessons from Copenhagen. A few months before Copenhagen countries came out with their offers. and so there was very little time to do any discussion or preparatory work on what those offers meant. Many thought these offers weren't final, they thought that countries could go further and faster. That was not the case.
Because we had very little time to discuss these offers in the run up to Copenhagen, we didn't really understand what they meant for economic reform, for economic transformation to decarbonize.
Just talking about targets is not enough. We need to really get to grips with what these targets mean for the real economy. What they mean for our energy systems, what they mean for our transportation systems. If we don't have an understanding of that, we won't be able to know where the flexibility is, to increase ambition. But also where sunergies can be made between countries and how you can enhance ambition that way. Understanding and empathising with countries positioning and really understanding from where they are coming from and what they can do in their real economy is going to be key to success in 2015. It is key to successful climate diplomacy strategy to know what the other country can do, where it's flexibility is and what you have to do to enhance that.
I really want to make that clear that this is why we are pushing for 2015, well in advance of the 2015 final deadline because 2014 is going to be critical in order to have a successful agreement in Paris.
The second thing I want to talk to you about is finance. For those of you who were watching the screens yesterday you will see that some good news announced. We had a series of announcements over the past week, but in particular yesterday from the UK, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany and Japan.
Generally there was more money on the table for adaptation and some promises to put money into the GCF when it is fully operationalized. While this was good news, I would argue that we can't continue like this. Annual pledging is far from ideal. Organisations such as the World Bank have ten year replenishment meetings whereby countries come forward and put in for the next ten years. This idea about guarantee and predictability re finance is really really important if countries are able to plan and prepare projects on the ground.
In 2009 Hilary Clinton came to Copenhagen and talked about promising $100 billion of climate finance by 2020. Four years on we are still waiting. There is quite a lot of concern amoung civil society that this will be used as a bargaining chip in the final negotiations.
In particular, the US, Australia and Japan are being quite problematic in trying to develop this idea about guaranteeing and predictability of finance of $100 billion and we feel that others - developed countries - are in the comfort zone and quite happy to have a lack of clarity on how they will meet the $100 billion.
So we really need a roadmap to getting the $100 billion and we need more progess on the 2015 timelines. If we don't have progress on the roadmap to $100 billion we really are jeopardising the Paris agreement cause it is key to securing a more ambitious outcome."
There were several media questions. One of note came from a Canadian Media Co-op reporter who asked: What is the status that makes 2015 not another Copenhagen?
Liz Gallagher responded:"There is a series of things that need to come out of here which will give confidence to the 2015 agreement. One of those is this deadline and this idea that 2014 is the moment. We have the Ban Ki Moon summit, we have the whole range of different meetings, we have the Bonn ministerial. This is the time when countries need to be coming up with their offers.
Obviously finance which I have just outlined is a key to unlocking the progress on the 2015 outcome because many countries are using the 2015 progess as a leaverage point in order to get more finance.
The other issue is pre-2020 ambition. This is ambition before the 2015 agreement comes into force and the discussions there are pretty fragmented. Some countries think it should just be around the Kyoto Protocal parties, the Kyoto Protocol parties want it to be all countries that enhance their ambition. There is a whole kind of range of different issues, and there is the issue about HFCs. It is quite a fragmented process at the moment and it is still not exactly clear how it is going to play out.
Those three elements, the pre-2020 ambition, the finance, and then the overalll 2020 agreement are all... there is going to have to be balance between them as everyone is playing them off against each other."
Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:01 (en)
The weekend of 16th and 17th November saw tens of thousands of people in Canada and Australia out in the streets in over 260 protests against the climate policies of these countries. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers in Warsaw at COP19.
The Saturday protests in Canada occurred from coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic circle, more than 10,000 people gathered in over 180 events co-ordinated by Defend our Climate. Many protests focussed on stopping further expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines to move the bitumenous oil south to Texas, east through Ontario and Quebec, and west through British Columbia. On Sunday, more than 60,000 people attended climate protests across Australia, protesting the attempt to repeal carbon pricing and clean energy programs by the conservative Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected on 7 September this year, who denied any link between climate change and bushfires as unusually early and intense bushfires raged around Sydney.
Civil Society NGO and local Polish activists also staged a Climate Justice march in Warsaw in association with the COP19 climate change negotiations taking place. Super Typhoon Haiyan set the initial mood at the negotiations with Philippines negotiator Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño) saying "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". There is widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations in Warsaw with Japan and Australia being particularly singled out.
Related: Australia Indymedia - Tens of Thousands rally for Climate Action across Australia
Fri Nov 15, 2013 15:42 (en)
On November 8 Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall over Guiuan, Eastern Sama province in the Philippines, destroying coastal communities with ferocious winds and a storm surge of 6-7 metres (up to 20 feet). According to Dr Jeff Masters "Haiyan had winds of 190 - 195 mph (315 km/h) at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history."
Authorities of Tacloban City with a population of 220,000 and capital of Leyte province, gave an early estimate that perhaps 10,000 people died from this one city. Many people were surprised by the huge storm surge tidal waves that inundated much of the city. Many smaller coastal villages were also devastated with most buildings destroyed or suffering severe damage. According to the UN Reliefweb report on 14 November the number of affected people has increased to 11.8 million. The official death count from Typhoon Haiyan is currently 4,460 but with numbers still increasing. There were 921,200 people displaced and 243,600 houses destroyed. A total of 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance.
Related: Climate IMC: Typhoon Haiyan: This is a climate crime | Time for turning tears into anger says Walden Bello | Philippine groups demand action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks | Ejected from COP19 for expressing solidarity to the Philippines | Youth observers expelled from UN climate change talks for Philippines Solidarity | Indybay: Super typhoon Haiyan is climate wake-up call | They destroy We suffer Statement on Yolanda?s AftermathNon-corporate Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts: Waves for Water | Haiyan NYC Relief Project | Doctors without Borders | Oxfam International
In areas most severely damaged, Health infrastructure and medical services are severely damaged and medical supplies are low. According to health authorities, the population is at increased risk of tetanus as well as outbreaks of acute respiratory infections, measles, leptospirosis and typhoid fever. Water systems are damaged in many areas and 239 municipalities do not have electricity as of 13 November.
Trucks and fuel are urgently needed to deliver aid. Delivery of Aid packages and humanitarian assistance is severely hampered by debris on roads and congestion at Manila and Tacloban airports causing delays. There is minimal infrastructure in Tacloban to receive, store and handle goods. Restoration of the telecom networks has been slow due to the large volume of debris.
Impassioned plea for climate action from Philippines Diplomat
The Philippines lead climate negotiator, Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño), made an impassioned plea at the Warsaw UNFCCC climate conference in the opening plenary on Monday that it was "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". Attendees rose and applauded his speech. Subsequently Yeb Saño has declared a hunger strike until progress is made on climate action is made at the conference and launched an online petition. His fast has been joined by 50 other conference delegates and civil society youth representatives. Filipino academic and global south activist Walden Bello said it was Time for turning tears into anger. The use of a non-sanctioned banner resulted in 3 youth observers being ejected and banned for 5 years from UNFCCC conferences.
Significantly, last year typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines bringing death and destruction. Naderev Saño said at COP18:
"I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people."
He finished his short speech "I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"
The link between Typhoon Haiyan and Climate change
Many climate activists already connect the dots between climate change and more intense storms because of the unusually warm sea surface and sub-surface water temperatures. Indeed, NOAA measured record global sea surface temperatures in August 2013. The world's oceans are warming with Parts of Pacific Warming 15 Times Faster Than in Past 10,000 Years. Scientists have also revealed that Recent warming of the Greenland Sea Deep Water is about ten times higher than warming rates estimated for the global ocean.
Philippines activists in Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a network of 40 civil society organizations in the Philippines working on climate action in the international, national, and local levels, released a statement on November 11 demanding action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks. Many people in the Philippines like Rodne Galicha are calling Typhoon Haiyan a climate crime.
The Philippines Labor Party, (Partido ng Manggagawa) released a statement welcoming international aid and solidarity work but demanding more:"We want climate justice. Capitalist countries must be held accountable for climate crisis. They must be forced to pay the climate debt they owe to poor nations. Capitalist countries, we emphasize, were responsible for climate crisis. They emit more carbon to the atmosphere many times over what the poor countries do. It is the greenhouse gases emitted from capitalist industries which drove global temperature to rise to new levels. This causes climactic reactions like warmer and rising sea levels and which eventually lead to the formation of monster typhoons as in the case of Haiyan."
Visit Climate IMC for more recent news on climate related issues, extreme weather, climate science, and related climate protests.
Tue Oct 22, 2013 16:44 (en)
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and unidentified snipers attack Mi'kmaq women and elderly who were part of an anti-fracking encampment. Support pours in for Mi'kmaq attacked by police and snipers. Today, Monday, Mi'kmaq Warrior Tyson Peters shot with rubber bullet risks losing his leg after protecting woman from a bullet. [ From Global IMC Newswire ]
Tue Dec 18, 2012 18:11 (en)
Climate Negotiations are over for another year with little progress in Doha by any one's measure as the scientific statements on climate change and the impacts we are already feeling as evidenced in record Arctic melting, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, and Cyclone Evan in the South Pacific are growing much stronger.
Some of the latest scientific research shows:
Photos: Photos by World Resources Institute | Photos by Oxfam | The Verb: Climate March in Doha | The Verb: COP18 Actions Related: Deep emissions cuts urged at climate summit | Towards a Grand Compromise in the Climate Negotiations | COP18, another 'Conference of Polluters' | An open letter to governments and their negotiators | Climate compensation row at Doha | Forest Groups Protest False Solutions | IPCC's Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback! | Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point
We are hurtling along, actually accelerating our emissions, heading for a climate cliff towards a chaotic and dangerous future (See Guy McPherson on the end of the world) and negotiators think we can put on the brakes at the last minute. Unfortunately what action the global community takes using an agreement negotiated by 2015 to come into effect by 2020 will be far too little too late. Climate physics will trump all the hot air in climate policy negotiations.
It is the failure of leadership and ambition of industrialised countries like the United States, Canada and Australia in making the deep cuts to emissions necessary which is hampering and sometimes actively obstructing progress. The Bali roadmap in 2007 adopted the scientific projections of 25 to 40 percent emission cuts by industrialised countries on 1990 levels by 2020 for a 50 percent chance of not exceeding 2 degrees of warming.
"It is vitally important to remember that the dangerous experiment we are performing on the climate system through our emissions of greenhouse gases continues unabated, with global emissions still growing at an alarming pace. The climate system will not wait decades for the governments of the world to inch towards an agreement. This trend needs to be reversed quickly. The outcome of the Doha talks is therefore extremely disappointing, if not unexpected." commented Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, said "We leave this conference wondering when ambition will come back to the table. There will be no jobs in a dead planet, nor a Just Transition with this outcome" said Ms Burrow. "The more we wait for having ambitious emission reduction objectives, the more the transition will be unfair. We need time to build a Just Transition, to put in place the social policies to help working people fully participate in a sustainable economy. Delays will make our task difficult, almost impossible. In order to be Just, the transition must start now, " said Ms Burrow.
Civil society NGOs condemn lack of progress at climate talks
Leaders of Civil Society groups gathered just after the conclusion of the final plenary at Doha and made clear that it is still business as usual with little progress in negotiating emission reductions. Although nominally the Kyoto Protocol will continue until 2020, it is a shadow of itself and the first commitment period with Russia, Japan, Canada and New Zealand all withdrawing.
Read more at Climate IMC article
Thu Dec 06, 2012 15:38 (en)
During the weekend of 23-25 November, violent clashes occurred, as military police attacked activists and environmentalists on an area slated for an airport project in Notre-Dame-des-Landes ? a village near Nantes, while riot police violently dispersed a support demonstration in the city. The events have forced major media and politicians to publicly admit that there is an issue.
Tue Nov 27, 2012 21:43 (en)
The earth's climate system is facing a global meltdown with carbon emissions steadily increasing and business as usual emissions projections on a path of 4 degrees C (7.2°F) of global warming by about the 2060s and 6 degrees C (10.8°F) of warming by the turn of the century, just 88 years hence, according to a scientific report - Turn Down the Heat - by the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) (media release) done on behalf of the World Bank (media release). Some say the World Bank's call for slowing global warming ignores their own role.
This report comes after Hurricane Sandy devastated island nations in the Caribbean before landing on the north east coast of the United States, providing a wakeup call on climate change just prior to the Presidential election.
Also released this week, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warned that Greenhouse Gas Emissions Gap Widening as Nations Head to Crucial Climate Talks in Doha, while the European Environment Agency has warned in a new report Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation. A recent Price WaterhouseCoopers report warned that Business as usual Carbon emissions heading towards 6°C (10.8°F) of global warming this century. So there is widespread agreement from science and scientists, energy experts and experts in global economics and accounting that we are facing a climate meltdown.
The International Energy Agency warned in their 2011 World Energy Outlook report that we are on a 4-6 degree Celsius trajectory and that 80 percent of carbon emissions infrastructure has already been built and is in operation. We cannot afford to add any new carbon intensive infrastructure that will continue to pollute for 30-50 years, yet the World Resources Institute reveals nearly 1,200 Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plants, the majority in India and China.
But grassroots action is having an impact: thousands rallied against coal across India, and a very first Arab Day of Climate Action (Photos) organised by the Arab Youth Climate Movement occurred on November 10. In the US, the Sierra Club reports victories in stopping the coal rush.Climate IMC | San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia: Review of Turn Down the Heat | DC Indymedia: First Round of the Last Chance to Head Off More Climate Disasters
Sat May 19, 2012 22:45 (en)
Hundreds of people are blocking a street in Milano protesting for the eviction of a skyscraper of 32 floors they were occupying. Torre Galfa, near Stazione Centrale, has been taken the 5 of May by Macao, a group of artists, video makers, journalists, immaterial workers to make a new arts center, to strengthen relationships between art and society and protest against abandoned buildings. The tower, quite new, was abandoned since 1996 in a town were many new skyscrapers are built for the Expo 2015 and nobody knows if they will ever be used. For 8 days thousands of people came in Torre Galfa, a huge space freed for performances, lectures, workshops, ideas, and also where everybody restlessly worked to make the place safe and warm. Also academies, universities and intellectuals wanted to get a chance to help the creation of Macao. Macao was experimenting a partecipative process (and is still doing that in the street) that was changing the concept of art and culture, fighting precarious work and uncertainty, protesting for neglected buildings wich are maintained only for finance and capital logics, while people who want to share, create, research, do actions, be critical against the solutions offered to solve the economical crisis, which are far away from the needs of people, are excluded from institutional places.
Sat Mar 24, 2012 03:09 (en)
Viewpoint Discrimination and Selective Prosecution at Work in Charges Against Independent Journalists Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee has embarked on a full frontal assault against independent media in Santa Cruz by including four regular contributors to the independent news website Indybay.org amongst the eleven people charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after the occupation of a vacant bank building on November 30th, 2011. District Attorney Lee apparently believes it is his duty to dictate how events such as the occupation of the vacant bank at 75 River Street should be reported on by the media, and if he does not approve of the coverage, then journalists risk the DA bringing charges against them. Read More | Full Press Release from Indybay | En Español Pictured: Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy are Indybay photojournalists and Indybay editors who were reporting on the occupation. More Coverage: KPFA Evening News Speaks with Bradley Stuart Allen | Day Three of "Conspiracy" Frame-Up Hearing | Bogus Attack on Journalists Around November Protest Goes On and On | Preliminary "Conspiracy" Hearing for Two Reporters in the 75 River St. Persecutions | NPPA & Reporters Committee Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Photojournalist Covering Occupy Protest
Indybay Journalists Charged with Felony: Conspiracy to Make Media
Viewpoint Discrimination and Selective Prosecution at Work in Charges Against Independent JournalistsSANTA CRUZ, CA ? District Attorney Bob Lee has embarked on a full frontal assault against independent media in Santa Cruz by including four regular contributors to the independent news website Indybay.org amongst the eleven people charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after the occupation of a vacant bank building on November 30th, 2011. District Attorney Lee apparently believes it is his duty to dictate how events such as the occupation of the vacant bank at 75 River Street should be reported on by the media, and if he does not approve of the coverage, then journalists risk the DA bringing charges against them. Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy are Indybay photojournalists and Indybay editors who were reporting on the occupation. No charges nor arrests were made at the time, but warrants were issued over two months later on February 8th, 2012 ? for Bradley, Alex, and nine other individuals. Alex was arrested at his home before he could submit to the surprise warrant. Bradley and Alex were originally charged with felony vandalism, felony conspiracy, and two counts of misdemeanor trespass, but after a three-day preliminary hearing starting March 13th the felony vandalism charge against both was dropped. Alex and Bradley remain out of police custody on their own recognizance.
Selective ProsecutionOn the face of it, the misdemeanor trespass charges filed against both Alex and Bradley for documenting the occupation from inside of the building seem in line with a February 8th press release from the DA which declared that the "District Attorney's Office remains committed to enforcing the law." But the DA fails to mention that his office is not committed to enforcing the law consistently and that the charges against Alex and Bradley are clearly a case of selective prosecution. District Attorney Lee knows full well that a staff photographer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper likewise shot photographs from inside of the occupied bank building, yet Lee has chosen not to file any charges against him. Why would a District Attorney pursue such a selective prosecution?
Viewpoint DiscriminationUpon reading court filings and hearing statements made by the District Attorney during the preliminary hearing for Bradley and Alex, it is apparent that District Attorney Lee believes he is entitled to dictate the terms of media coverage in Santa Cruz County. In a brief filed prior to the preliminary hearing, DAs Lee and Rebekah Young wrote this about Alex's and Bradley's coverage of the occupation: "Their postings contain no interviews (or even attempted interviews) with representatives from the police, with the property owners, or with members of the community who might not have been in favor of the group's conduct." This is clearly viewpoint discrimination on the part of the District Attorney. According to Bob Lee's logic, if journalists do not interview police for a story, then somehow those journalists' rights and privileges as members of the media no longer matter.
Conspiracy to Make MediaAs for the most serious remaining charge, felony conspiracy, District Attorney Lee has offered absolutely no supporting evidence of a criminal collusion. The DA has not argued that Alex and Bradley had prior knowledge that the building would be occupied. The DA simply asserts that the mere act of newsgathering at an announced demonstration, which turned into an unannounced building occupation, constitutes felony conspiracy to promote trespass and vandalism. In the same preliminary hearing supplemental brief referenced above, the DA wrote: "The defendants' presence and postings... aided and abetted the organization's occupation of the property." From this, District Attorney Lee takes another leap by claiming that Bradley and Alex "effectively serv[ed] as the media arm of the organization; the group's propagandists." The "conspiracy" is nothing more than reporting on a newsworthy event. Ben Rice, who is representing Bradley, states, "As the control of 'news' is increasingly controlled by the '1 percent' we have to stop the government from deciding who or what sources may lawfully provide alternate sides to important stories. At Bradley's preliminary hearing, we presented evidence from expert witnesses that Indymedia and Bradley are legitimate news sources. We provided evidence that Bradley has been using his skill as a photojournalist for ten years to examine many of our world's most perplexing social problems. Bradley's focus on those issues is particularly important because so many of them are ignored by mainstream media. The judge's determination to keep the conspiracy charge alive should give all journalists pause."
Free Alex and Bradley! Independent Media Is Not a Crime!The National Press Photographers Association (NPAA) and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) wrote a Letter Brief addressed to the court seeking dismissal of charges. In a related joint press release, the NPAA and RCFP wrote: "This is just the most recent case where journalists have been interfered with and arrested while covering Occupy Wall Street protests throughout the country. In almost every case, those charges ? ranging from disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration to trespass ? have been dismissed or the defendant journalists have been acquitted." So why is Bob Lee pursuing these charges, at taxpayer expense, unless to unfairly promote one journalistic viewpoint over another by deterring independent journalists from closely reporting on social justice movements as they happen. Stop the harassment and intimidation of independent journalists! Drop the charges against Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy now! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------... About the Santa Cruz and SF Bay Area Independent Media Centers Santa Cruz Indymedia has been the Independent Media Center (IMC) for the Monterey Bay Area since 2001. In 2006, Santa Cruz IMC became regionally integrated with Indybay.org, the website of the San Francisco Bay Area IMC, itself online since 2000. Together these Northern California IMCs are a non-commercial, democratic collective of independent media makers and media outlets serving as the local organizing unit of the global Indymedia network. For more information and further updates about the case, see: www.indybay.org/mediaconspiracy ### ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Source articles:http://indymedia.us/en/2012/03/49211.shtmlhttp://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/03/20/18709755.php
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