Friday, 20 February 2009

Viva Palestina convoy ready to cross into Algeria

From viva palestina

17.00 GMT
En route for the border The bulk of the convoy is now en route for the Moroccan border town of Oujda (see map) and are expected to arrive in the early evening tonight. The Manchester boys (whose vehicles had broken) have now arrived in Oujda having been given a police escort. Having been delayed they are now ahead of the main convoy.

George Galloway has also issued a press statement on the release of three drivers from Burnley who had been held for a week in a supposedly 'intelligence-led' operation.
"Nine innocent people were prevented by the police from joining our convoy with vital aid to meet the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," said George Galloway this afternoon.

"The follow up action by the police, which has apparently included the strip-searching of an Imam and his wife in their own home in Blackburn, has gravely damaged their relations with the community whose trust they need to win...

..."I am writing to the Chief Constable of Lancashire to demand an explanation and will consult Viva Palestina's lawyers with a view to seeking compensation for the real financial and public relations damage we have suffered as a result. I will also be writing to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to demand action against those who seem to have abused their power and authority as a police officers to produce this really damaging outcome."

UWE occupation end with another victory for Gaza

From the UWE occupation blog
Victory to the UWE students' occupation!

After 3 days of occupying the atrium area outside of lecture theatres 2B25 and 2B20 the UWE students occupation in solidarity with the people of Gaza victory has finally been achieved.

Following a series of still ongoing intense negotiations with UWE Vice-Chancellor Steve West and Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rushforth a significant number of the occupiers' demands have been met.

Israel wants to demolish homes and make 1,500 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

From PIC
Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabayya, deputy head of the Jerusalem Committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that the Aqsa Mosque and other holy places in Jerusalem are under a fierce attack by occupation...

...violations included, demolition of home, bulldozing lands, land confiscation as well as assaults and arrests against Jerusalem citizens causing many confrontations between those citizens and the occupation army...

...He said, in a press statement on Thursday, that "January this year witnessed many violations against the citizens of Jerusalem, their families, homes and land by the occupation institutions and its army and police."

...Meanwhile, the Zionist municipality of Jerusalem is seeking to transfer 1500 Palestinian citizens from the Silwan neighbourhood, according to Haaretz newspaper on Friday.

The paper reported that the Mayor of Jerusalem will try to convince 1500 Palestinian residents of the neighbourhood, which is close to the Aqsa Mosque, to voluntarily move out of the neighbourhood.

The municipality intends to demolish the homes of those Palestinians under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

Binyam Mohamed back in UK 'within week'

Binyam Mohamed will return to the from Guantanamo witin the week the US and British governments have agreed.

Binyam was tortured in Pakistan and Morocco on the instruction of of the UK and US governments. The US accused him plotting to 'attack the US with a radioactive bomb'. Sound fanciful to you? It was and is. Binyam's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, does 'not expect' him to be detained on arrival in the UK. Let's hope not as he is innocent. [update 22:06 - Binyam is to be released without trial]

Binyam is a British resident who came to the UK in 1994 as a refugee from Ethiopia and sought political asylum. He was kidnapped (otherwise known as 'extraordinary rendition') in 2001 while in Pakistan. He has been on hunger strike at the Guantanamo torture centre and was being force fed by the US military.

Binyam was a convert to Islam and went to Afghanistan to see what an islamic state might look like. He was travelling back to the UK when he was kidnapped in Pakistan.

BBC staff send Gaza appeal protest petition to Thompson

Gaza appeal - BBC finds BBC not guilty

BBC Trust decides BBC director general Mark Thompson did nothing wrong by not showing the DEC humanitarian appeal for Gaza, indeed he had "acted correctly throughout".

Notwithstanding the fact that at the last count the BBC has received 40,000 complaints - was anyone really expecting the trust to come out with anything else?

But journalists and other staff at the Beeb are not taking it lying down. They launched a petition against Thompson.

From Media Workers Against the War
BBC workers petition Thompson on Gaza appeal

Following the decision by BBC Trust yesterday to back Thompson on his refusal to broadast the DEC Gaza aid appeal, a petition signed by almost 400 staff was handed to the director general’s office in White City today (Friday Feb 20) at 13.00. A copy of the petition was also be simultaneously delivered to the BBC Trust in Marylebone High Street.

The petition, in part, states: We strongly disagree with your assessment about the effect that such a broadcast would have on the impartiality of BBC. By denying the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza a chance of assistance, the BBC is actually taking sides. more

Internet for Activists Conference

From SolomonsMindfield
and here
We would like to invite you to our conference on the 14 March entitled "The Internet for Activists 2009". We are students who have seen internet tactics build successful campaigns and gain publicity for important issues.

Our aim is to set up a free conference where advanced internet activists can share their expertise with others and different activist groups can meet to share their own experience, both of the web and the street.

A one day conference on how to effectively use the internet for activism. Experts in their fields will give seminars, workshops, Laptop urgery and there will be stalls and food.

Full programme to be published once it has been finalised.

Student occupations round-up: UWE, UEL, Byam Shaw, St Andrews

picture from UEL occupation

Byam Sham School of Art
Negotiations ongoing. A. Warman (Principal) and R. Imeson (Dean of Students) – yesterday and meeting this morning with Jane Rapley, senior resource manager.

University of the West of England (UWE)
Security threaten to call in the police yesterday but had second thoughts and nothing came of the threat. Tony Benn MP sent message of support Thursday.

Video from UWE occupation

Western Eye student newspaper report

University of East London (UEL)
Occupation has moved to the East Building, increasing the visibility of the protest and in close proximity to the Vice Chancellor's office window!. Please send all messages of support to 07532104575 (Kitty Webster). Outcome of first round of negotiations 'very positive'. 500 students have signed petition in support so far. Received letter of support from lecturers' union on campus.

St Andrews University
University still saying they will not open negotiations while building is being occupied. University says it will continue to look into the contract with Eden Springs.

Manchester University

Contact the university’s Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert, to reques tthat he negotiates with us! Email:
Telephone: 0161 306 6010

New York University
Uni admin have agreed to open negotiations.Hundreds of supporters of the NYU occupation, along with the infamous Rude Mechanical Orchestra, have broken through the police barriers and TAKEN THE STREET!!! They are screaming and singing "We’re not gonna take it!"

3am Update: Still a Dance Party - Feb 20th, 2009 by Take Back NYU!
We are writing to you from inside NYU. There are still hundreds of dancing masses swelling at the exterior of the building. Morale is high. We are sticking this out.

See the occupation blogs on right further down page

Algeria and Morocco opening border for Viva Palestina convoy

Morocco and Algria open border
George Galloway welcomes freeing of convoy drivers

[19:00 GMT 19 Feb - Brilliant news about our brothers from Lancashire all being released. Yet another political arrest designed to make people fearful. - Resting at Sidi Harazem outside Fes - still waiting for people to catch up! Getting loads of planning done. Amazing reception galloway see twitter feed below]

Morocco and Algeria are to open their border to allow the Viva Palestina aid convoy to cross. This is an unprecedented move between the countries that have been in dispute with each other for years.

Viva Palestina convoy in Morocco- video

TV broadcast from Press TV on the arrival of the Viva Palestina aid convoy in Morocco.
The government has cancelled a big rally planned in Casablanca 'for internal reasons'. According to the Press TV report 100,000 were expected to attend. The governments of North Africa are clearly worried about the potential of this convoy to show up their own feebleness on the Palestine issue and to galvanise opposition among ordinary people frustrated by their rulers' policies at home and abroad. Security was also very heavy in Tangiers.