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Daily Archives: 27/02/2011

(theecologist.org) 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

 

Source:
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/788055/dow_chemical_in_the_dock_as_activists_confront_corporate_spies.html

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


Video: Feb 26, 2011

(english.ruvr.ru) Feb 25, 2011 Several people were injured in the clashes that erupted between anti-government protesters and police in the Croatian capital Zagreb.

The protests against the Government of Jadranka Kosor began on Thursday evening in several Croatian cities including Zagreb.

The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of the government.

Law enforcement officers clashed with protesters gathered in Zagreb, after they tore down a road sign and tried to break through barriers. They dispersed the protesters with tear gas, arrests continue.

Source: http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/02/25/46046121.html

(activistvideo.org) Even the snow can’t keep the people’s voice from being heard at Madison, WI! What’s happened in Wisconsin has made the whole labor movement stronger and closer. None of this would have been possible without the support, dedication and solidarity of both union members and non-union members who understand more than they have in a long time just how much we’re all in this together.

by OneWisconsinNow Feb 26, 2011
Watch video: http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=2354

100,000 Strong at Madison, WI!

(thetake.org) In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave.

All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act – The Take – has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head.

In the wake of Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America’s most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They’re part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system.

But Freddy, the president of the new worker’s co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory.

The story of the workers’ struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former owners, are circling: if he wins, they’ll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive.

Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale.

With The Take, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. But what shines through in the film is the simple drama of workers’ lives and their struggle: the demand for dignity and the searing injustice of dignity denied.

Source: http://thetake.org/index.cfm?page_name=synopsis

Please support the filmmakers by buying this documentary on DVD.

 

Also there´s a book published in the subject:

The Silent Change, by journalist Esteban Magnani, has been translated to English. This new edition features a foreword by Working World co-founder Brendan Martin that situates the movement in the context of the current financial crisis.

Esteban Magnani was a key member of the crew that made The Take, and made extensive use of transcripts of the 240 hours of footage we shot for the film in writing this book. He has also been a member of The Working World since day one, and still works daily with recovered companies, helping them produce more and hire new workers through solidarity financing.

This new edition of The Silent Change includes Esteban’s update on the persistence and continued growth of democratic workplaces in Argentina. For anyone wanting to learn more about the extraordinary movement portrayed in the film, this book is a must-read!

Click to buy The Silent Change on amazon.com

Source: http://www.thetake.org/index.cfm