Syrians mount biggest protests Ever

By Khaled Oweis
Reuters
July 15, 2011

Syrian security forces shot dead at least 12 protesters on Friday as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country in the biggest protests so far against President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad, facing the greatest challenge to 40 years of Baath Party rule, has sought to crush demonstrations. But although rights groups say some 1,400 civilians have been killed since March, the protests have continued unabated and swelled in size.

“These are the biggest demonstrations so far. It is a clear challenge to the authorities, especially when we see all these numbers coming out from Damascus for the first time,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Police fired live ammunition and teargas in the capital Damascus, killing five people, and in southern Syria near the Jordanian border, where four people were killed, witnesses sand activists said. Three protesters were shot dead in the northern city of Idlibm, they said.

“We are in Midan and they are firing teargas on us, people are chanting,” a witness said by telephone from the center of Damascus.

In the city of Hama, scene of a 1982 massacre by the military, live video footage by residents showed a huge crowd in the main Orontos Square shouting “the people want the overthrow of the regime.”

At least 350,000 people demonstrated in the eastern province of Deir al Zor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian forces shot dead two pro-democracy protesters there on Thursday, residents said.

Despite being the center of Syria’s modest oil production, Deir is among the poorest regions in the country of 20 million. The desert area has suffered water shortages for six years which experts say have been caused largely by mismanagement and corruption, and have decimated agricultural production.

As well as police and the army, Assad has also deployed irregular militia known as shabbiha from his Alawite minority sect, a branch of Shi’ite Islam. Sunni Muslims are the biggest group in Syria.

International powers, including Turkey, have cautioned Assad against a repeat of massacres from the era of his father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, who crushed leftist and Islamist challenges to his rule. This culminated in the killing of up to 30,000 people in Hama in 1982.

The U.S. and French ambassadors visited Hama in a show of support last Friday. Three days later their embassies were attacked by Assad loyalists. No one was killed in the attacks, which were condemned by the United Nations Security Council.

FBI targeting political activists as terrorists

RT
May 25, 2011

Anti-terrorism resources are being used to target environmentalists, peace, animal and political activists who hold different views than the government.

It was recently revealed that a counter-terrorism firm spied on individuals who attended film screenings of the documentary Gasland. The film focuses on the practice of natural gas fracking and what impact it has on the environment and in the communities where it is used.

The FBI and other government agencies are cracking down on those who are not willing to say in line with the status quo.

In Pennsylvania, activists have faced terrorism charges for writing slogans in chalk on sidewalks. In California, 27 individuals are set to go on trial stemming for protest actions Elsewhere 23 anti-war, pro-labor and international solidarity activists may face a grand jury on trumped up charged. The FBI boasts 164,000 suspicious activity reports that are made up of activists who do not follow the governments view on matters.

The US government is using taxpayer money to squash the competition as opposed to protecting the American people from true terrorist threats, all while stomping on freedom of speech rights.

Carlos Montes, a co-founder of the Brown Berets Chicano Movement explained there is a marked rise of the US government using tools at their disposal designed to fight terrorism to impose oppression on political activists.

The protest movements are directly exposing and challenging the lines that the US government puts out,” he said, yet law enforcement authorities continue to crack down without just cause. “It’s a war against dissent.”

The government is working to stop the movement which is merely seeking to exercise its right to free speech and the right to protest

They’re trying to stop us but we’re not going to let them do it,” Montes added.

Watch the video report here.

Governments order Youtube to Censor “certain videos”

By Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
May 20, 2011

In a frightening example of how the state is tightening its grip around the free Internet, it has emerged that You Tube is complying with thousands of requests from governments to censor and remove videos that show protests and other examples of citizens simply asserting their rights, while also deleting search terms by government mandate.

The latest example is You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.

Peake was ruling on a case involving Roger Hayes, former member of UKIP, who has refused to pay council tax, both as a protest against the government’s treasonous activities in sacrificing Britain to globalist interests and as a result of Hayes clearly proving that council tax is illegal.

Hayes has embarked on an effort to legally prove that the enforced collection of council tax by government is unlawful because no contract has been agreed between the individual and the state. His argument is based on the sound legal principle that just like the council, Hayes can represent himself as a third party in court and that “Roger Hayes” is a corporation and must be treated as one in the eyes of the law.

The British government doesn’t want this kind of information going viral in the public domain because it is scared stiff of a repeat of the infamous poll tax riots of 1990, a massive tax revolt in the UK that forced the Thatcher government to scrap the poll tax altogether because of mass civil disobedience and refusal to pay.

When viewers in the UK attempt to watch videos of the protest, they are met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”

We then click through to learn that, “YouTube occasionally receives requests from governments around the world to remove content from our site, and as a result, YouTube may block specific content in order to comply with local laws in certain countries.”

You can also search by country to discover that Google, the owner of You Tube, has complied with the majority of requests from governments, particularly in the United States and the UK, not only to remove You Tube videos, but also specific web search terms and thousands of “data requests,” meaning demands for information that would reveal the true identity of a You Tube user. Google claims that the information sent to governments is “needed for legitimate criminal investigations,” but whether these “data requests” have been backed up by warrants is not divulged by the company.

“Between July 1 and Dec. 31 (2009), Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil,” reports PC World. “The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000 requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries.”   Read Full Article…

Massive Austerity causes Wave of Protests in Europe

Is this the beginning of a mass wake up against the tyranny and irresponsibility of the bankers and elites of the planet?

AP

Anti-austerity protests erupted across Europe on Wednesday – Greek doctors and railway employees walked out, Spanish workers shut down trains and buses, and one man even blocked the Irish parliament with a cement truck to decry the country’s enormous bank bailouts.

Brussels International Airport stop to a halt on September 26. (AP)

Tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Brussels, hoping to swell into a 100,000-strong march on European Union institutions later in the day and reinforce the impact of Spain’s first nationwide strike in eight years.

All the actions sought to protest the budget-slashing, tax-hiking, pension-cutting austerity plans of European governments seeking to control their debt.

In an ironic twist, the march in Brussels comes just as the EU Commission is proposing to punish member states that have run up deficits to fund social programs in a time of high unemployment across the continent. The proposal, backed by Germany, is expected to run into strong opposition from France.

“It is a bizarre time for the European Commission to be proposing a regime of punishment,” said John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, which is organizing the Brussels march.

“How is that going to make the situation better? It is going to make it worse,” Monks said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.

Unions fear that workers will become the biggest victims of an economic crisis set off by bankers and traders, many of whom were rescued by massive government intervention.

Several governments, already living dangerously with high debt, were pushed to the brink of financial collapse and have been forced to impose punishing cuts in wages, pensions and employment – measures that have brought workers out by the tens of thousands over the past months.

Transportation has been affected in Spain, where workers decided to protest against cuts. (AP)

“There is a great danger that the workers are going to be paying the price for the reckless speculation that took place in financial markets,” Monks said. “You really got to reschedule these debts so that they are not a huge burden on the next few years and cause Europe to plunge down into recession.”

In Spain, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist government is under severe pressure because of the hugely unpopular measures put in place to save Europe’s fourth-largest economy from a bailout like one that saved Greece from bankruptcy.

The cuts have helped Spain trim its central government deficit by half through July but the unemployment rate stands at 20 percent, and many businesses are struggling to survive.

The strike Wednesday was Spain’s first general strike since 2002 and marked a break in the once-close relationship between unions and the Socialist government.

Whistle-blowing picketers blocked trucks from delivering produce at the main wholesale markets in Madrid and Barcelona. Strikers hurled eggs and screamed “scabs” at drivers trying to leave a city bus garage in Madrid.

The salary cuts for civil servants, pension reforms and new laws that make it easier for companies to fire workers were rushed into law quickly in Spain, without traditional negotiations between management and workers.

Greece, which had to be rescued by the euro-nations this spring to stave off bankruptcy, has also been forced to cut deep into workers’ allowances, with weeks of bitter strikes and actions as a result.

Bus and trolley drivers walked off the job for several hours while Athens’ metro system and tram were to shut down at noon. National railway workers were also walking off the job at noon, disrupting rail connections across the country, while doctors at state hospitals were on a 24-hour strike.

Greece has already been suffering from two weeks of protests by truck drivers who have made it difficult for businesses to get supplies. Many supermarkets are seeing shortages, while producers complaining they are unable to export their goods.

Truck drivers’ unions voted late Tuesday to continue their protests against plans to liberalize their tightly regulated profession, despite a government threat to force them back to work or cancel their licenses.

Greece’s government has imposed stringent austerity measures, including cutting civil servants’ salaries, trimming pensions and hiking consumer and income taxes. Several other EU nations are also planning actions.

In Dublin, a man blocked the gates of the Irish parliament with a cement truck to protest the country’s expensive bank bailout. Written across the truck’s barrel in red letters were the words: “Toxic Bank” Anglo and “All politicians should be sacked.”

Police arrested a 41-year-old man but gave few other details.

The Anglo Irish Bank, which was nationalized last year to save it from collapse, owes some euro72 billion ($97 billion) to depositors worldwide, leaving Irish taxpayers with a mammoth bill at a time when people are suffering through high unemployment, tax hikes and heavy budget cuts.

Many experts say, no matter what unions try, the towering government debt across the continent will force drastic changes in Europe’s labor situation.

“The party is over,” said former EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein at the financial Eurofi conference in Brussels. “We shall all have to work longer and harder, more hours in the week, more weeks in the year, and no state pension before the age of 67.”

The unions say, however, the party was only there for society’s upper crust, and workers are being forced to pay the bills. The crisis has left 23 million people unemployed in Europe, Monks said.

Europeans are fed up with the elites and get to the streets

Spain’s parliament has passed a €15bn (£12.7bn) austerity package by just one vote, leaving the Socialist government nakedly exposed to popular fury.

Telegraph

Its glaring lack of political solidarity is the latest sign of rising resistance to deflation policies across the eurozone.

Prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero had to rely on the abstention of Catalan nationalists to push through public sector wage cuts of 5 percent this year and a freeze in 2011.

The 1930s-style pay squeeze was effectively imposed upon Spain by Brussels as a quid pro quo for the EU’s €750bn “shield” for euro zone debtors. It is a bitter climb-down for a workers party that vowed to resist salary cuts. Public sector unions have called a strike on June 8 to protest an act of “ultimate aggression” against the people.

The conservatives voted against the measures, prompting a fiery rebuke from finance minister Elena Salgado. “Unpatriotic, irresponsible, and hardly very European: one day they will pay for this,” she said.

The measures include cancellation of the €2,500 “baby cheque” and lower pension benefits. Mr Zapatero hopes to cut the deficit by an extra 1.6pc over GDP over two years, though unemployment is already 20 percent. The deficit will fall from 11.2pc in 2009 to 6pc this year.

Raj Badiani from IHS Global Insight said cuts may not be enough. The government is relying on growth projections that are “far too optimistic” to do the heavy lifting of the deficit reduction.

In Italy, the main CGIL trade union is launching two sets of strike in June to protest “unjust and unsustainable” cuts announced on Tuesday night, claiming that axe falls squarely on ordinary workers. “Those who earn over €500,000 won’t have to put up a single cent,” it said.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the sovereign bond scare sweeping the euro zone had forced Italy to build up a security buffer. “This crisis has been provoked by speculation and is like no other. These sacrifices are necessary to save the euro,” he said.

The €24bn austerity package (1.6pc of GDP) over two years aims to cut the bloated bureaucracy, chiefly by reducing grants to regional governments.

“Italy’s spending is out of control: this irresponsible system worked as long as we could devalue the currency,” said Mr Berlusconi. “