Monthly Archives: February 2011

( As the world follows the north African revolutions with bated breath, a less public north African revolt and tragedy is taking place in Athens and Thessaloniki. Three hundred non-documented migrants, mostly from the Maghreb, have entered the 35th day of a hunger strike. Many have been taken to hospital in pre-comatose condition and are reaching a state of non-reversible organ failure and subsequent death. Read More

(Democracy Now!) In the liberated city of Benghazi, where pro-Gaddafi forces have been ousted, Libyan people are now organizing a self-government structure to manage the city. One group calling itself the Coalition of the February 17 Revolution— which is made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, workers, students— just established a city council to manage the day-to-day activities of the city. Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat speaks with two female Libyan attorneys who are very involved in the coalition.

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Grave dangers face those living next to ash disposal sites connected to Chinese power stations

China’s coal-fired power plants dump enough toxic coal ash to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every two and a half minutes, according to Greenpeace. While investigating 14 power plants around the country in 2010 activists found many ash disposal sites situated illegally close to villages and residential areas, with terrible consequences for the people who live there…

Useful links: Greenpeace International


( Chemical giant dismisses allegations that it inflitrated Greenpeace in an effort to undermine its direct action campaigns

Following the recent undercover police scandal in the UK, the world’s largest eco-activist group is turning the tables on one of the world’s biggest chemical companies.

Greenpeace has field a lawsuit accusing The Dow Chemical Company of using private investigators to spy on the group, stealing thousands of documents and intercepting phone call details between 1998-2000. The lawsuit also names another chemical company – Sasol North American – as well as public relations firms employed by them and private investigators.

It accuses Dow Chemical of paying the private security firm Beckett Brown International to secure confidential information to ‘anticipate and frustrate’ Greenpeace’s public education and direct action campaigns. It followed reports by the campaign group in the late 1990s that identified Dow as the ‘world’s largest root-source of dioxin’, a cancer-causing chemical.

The corporate spying was uncovered in an investigation by a journalist from the magazine Mother Jones, after it was handed documents by a former insider with the private security firm, since dissolved.

Dow Chemical itself has so far refused to acknowledge it hired private investigators to spy on Greenpeace. It filed a motion earlier this week to dismiss the case saying it ‘lacks merit’ and was initiated to generate publicity for the campaign group.

Greenpeace campaigner Mark Flogel acknowledged they did want to expose Dow’s ‘dirty tactics’ and hoped that by winning the case they would make other corporations think again before sanctioning spying.

UK activists fight back

This is not the first time Greenpeace has been involved in a corporate spying case. In 2009, the French energy giant EDF was accused of hacking into the group’s computer systems in France. They were also alleged to have been spying on Greenpeace activities in the UK, as the campaign group was planning a legal challenge to EDF’s plans to build the next generation of nuclear power stations in the country. Investigations by French officials into the allegations are still ongoing.

The two Greenpeace legal cases are part of a wider fightback by environmental activists against corporate and state-sponsored spying. A newly created campaign group ‘No Police Spies’ is pushing for an public inquiry to expose the true extent of undercover police spying on political groups.

Bradley Day, a spokesperson for the campaign, said there was a suspicion of collusion between the police and corporate spying. He cites the private investigators Global One as one example. The firm is run by ex-special branch officers and on its website offers intelligence gathering on environmental and anti-corporatism activist groups.

‘What is so disturbing is that corporate spying is not a separate entity. There is so much cross-over even if indirectly with the police training up officers who then start up private investigation companies and recruit ex-officers,’ he said.

Useful links

Greenpeace website on Dow Chemical case

No Police Spies



China reacted today to constant and incessant calls to begin the world largest revoltion and probably the largest of the century. Large numbers of police – and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks – squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.

In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges.

Foreign journalists met with tighter police controls. In Shanghai, authorities called foreign reporters Sunday indirectly warning them to stay away from the protest sites, while police in Beijing followed some reporters and blocked those with cameras from entering the Wangfujing shopping street where protests were called. Plainclothes police struck a Bloomberg News television reporter, who was then taken away for questioning.

Police also detained several Chinese, at least two in Beijing and four in Shanghai, putting them into vans and driving them away, though it was not clear if they had tried to protest. Read More