August 2, 2013. Source: El Enemigo Común
From the United States, the heart of the empire that imposes its laws on the entire planet, thousands of voices of the most scorned and forgotten people are now being raised to show millions of men and women what dignity really is.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, July 30, 2013
The 30,000 prisoners who have launched a hunger strike in the prisons of California in the United States are our brothers and sisters. All these men and women who refuse to be silent, who are right to rebel, who defend their dignity by defying a powerful government to which the European governments have bowed down, deserve the respect and admiration of the whole world.
The United States is a country where freedom is reserved for the rich and well-to-do classes, big businessmen, financiers, and the political class. They are free to earn as much money as possible through the business of war and prison after having caused people to become obsessed with the danger of terrorism and criminality.
Note: The following video is extremely graphic and difficult to watch. However, Global Justice Ecology Project believes it is essential to understanding the inhumane torture being inflicted upon innocent hunger-strikers, many of whom have been accused of no specific crimes and are being detained indefinitely, at Guantánamo Bay.
The hunger strikers who are being tortured are victims of the American Empire. The US has a despicable history of ‘liberating’ peoples from oppressive regimes, while simultaneously torturing innocent civilians within its own prisons, at home and abroad, all in the name of the ill-conceived ‘War on Terror.’ In the ‘War on Terror’ the American Empire is responsible for more death, more suffering, and more destruction than all the other supposed terrorists combined.
-The GJEP Team
By Ben Ferguson, July 9, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, had agreed to submit his body and fame to a form of torture. The body bit would involve being chained to a feeding chair while doctors inserted more than a metre of rubber tubing up his nose, down his throat and into his stomach. His fame would hopefully draw attention to that fact that this is happening daily to 45 hunger strikers in Guantánamo Bay.
Reprieve has always been well aware that in its fight against human rights abuses there is no substitute for the court of public opinion. Clive Stafford Smith, the organisation’s founder, is often the first to volunteer himself for some sort of extreme treatment but, in his words, “nobody has the faintest clue who I am”. Which was why I had agreed to ask Bey.
We met at his hotel. David Morrissey, a patron of Reprieve, had brought in Asif Kapadia (the documentary maker behind Senna) to direct the film and together they discussed its style and aims. Meanwhile Kat Craig, legal director of Reprieve’s Guantánamo team, had called on Dr Adeeb Husain to perform the medical procedure and talk Bey through what was going to happen the next day.
Having volunteered to fast that day, Bey was tired and by now it was late. Despite this, he was attentive. His only request to the doctors was that they manipulate nothing and reproduce the experience of the detainees as accurately as possible. He hung on every word as Craig related the testimonies of Reprieve’s clients.
By David P. Ball. April 11, 2013. Source: Indian Country Today Media Network
Photo: Derek Montague/The Labradorian
A 74-year old Inuit elder has ended a hunger strike and been released from jail after being arrested along with seven others protesting the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River in Labrador.
But another of the arrestees says the protesters, who have been fighting for decades to gain full national recognition as Inuit descendants in Canada’s easternmost province, are undaunted.
“We’ve been pushed around for generations,” said Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council (formerly the Labrador Métis Association), who was taken into custody along with Elder James Learning for blocking roads to protest the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. “We will defend ourselves in the court system, but we will continue to assert our aboriginal rights to our traditional territory, and we will continue to mount protest after protest if that’s what it takes to have our views known and our rights respected.”
At issue is the Muskrat Falls power project, a $7.7-billion plan to build a hydroelectric power station and a new dam on the Churchill River. The project would also see massive transmission lines installed to supply power to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
From Weekly News Update on the Americas
Chilean authorities suspended a hearing for indigenous Mapuche prisoner Fernando Millacheo Marín on Feb. 12 after some 20 of Millacheo’s supporters, including women and children, were detained outside the courthouse in Collipulli in the southern Araucanía region’s Malleco province. Police agents attacked the crowd of about 50 protesters with a water cannon, according to Mapuche sources, and beat several women and handcuffed an 11-year-old. The detainees were charged with public disorder, and Millacheo’s hearing was postponed to Feb. 15. The authorities said the protesters caused the clash by hurling rocks at police agents, but Mapuche activists countered that the detentions were part of a wave of repression that included the arrest of Jaime Huenchullan, werken (spokesperson) for the Temucuicui autonomous community, along with an unnamed French national, while they were on their way to the hearing.
As of Feb. 16 Millacheo had been on hunger strike for 55 days and reportedly had lost 15 kg (33 lb). He is awaiting trial on charges of robbery, arson and attempted murder in incidents that occurred at the Chiguaigüe estate on June 16, 2012. Millacheo says he is innocent, and Mapuche activists consider him a political prisoner. This is his second hunger strike since his imprisonment: he participated in a hunger strike with four other Mapuche prisoners in the prison in Temuco in October. On Feb. 16 Millacheo demanded a new doctor, charging that he had been subjected to “racist treatment” by Roberto Baos Somarriba, a physician at the El Manzano prison in Concepción.
Another Mapuche prisoner, Héctor Llaitul Carillanca, agreed to end a 76-day hunger strike on Jan. 28 after meeting for several hours with representatives of nation and international organizations supporting Mapuche rights; the group included Llaitul’s mother, Florinda Carillanca, and his wife, Pamela Pezoa. Llaitul heads the Arauco Malleco Coordinating Committee (CAM), a militant organization pressing for restitution of traditional Mapuche lands. Visitors had said on Jan. 26 that the activist was near death. Another CAM hunger striker, Ramón Llanquileo Pilquimán, ended his fast on Jan. 31, also after 76 days. Agreeing to at least one of Llanquileo’s demands, prison authorities restored his access to weekend leaves starting on Feb. 8.
By John Ahni Schertow, February 8, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Most recent hunger strike by imprisoned activists over “politically motivated prosecutions” and state application of Antiterrorist Law comes to a close as conflict between Mapuche communities and the Chilean state intensifies. The Real News Network reports.
Note: From our allies at La Via Campesina
To the Government of Mexico
To the news media in Mexico and the World
To the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations of Mexico (UNORCA)
Monday, January 28, 2013
As the global coordinator of La Via Campesina, the world farmers and peasants movement, I write to give my total support to my fellow peasant leaders of the UNORCA in Mexico, who are protesting to stop the imminent approval by the Mexican government of large-scale commercial GMO maize plantations. Since, Wednesdat 23rd, they are sitting-in and carrying out a hunger strike at the Angel Monument in Mexico City, which commemorates Mexican independence from Spain. They are now struggling against a new form of colonialism.
With our presence in more than 70 countries around the world, in La Via Campesina we have seen the truth behind the lies of Monsanto and other transnational corporations when they promote the supposed benefits of GMO seeds. We have seen how the failures of these seeds have led to mass farmer suicides in India and to entire communities in the Philippines and in Paraguay falling sick, among other disasters. Now they want to contaminate the center of origin of one of the most important food crops for all of humanity. We cannot in good faith allow this to happen, as it could put the food sovereignty of all of humanity at risk.
I call on the Government of Mexico to reject commercial GMO maize planting, to cancel the permits already granted for open-field experimental and pilot plots, and to repeal the neoliberal seed and biosafety laws that have opened to door to GMOs in Mexico.
I stand together with my brothers and sisters of the UNORCA in their defense of humanity and the Mother Earth.
By Lauren McCauley, January 25, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
Photo: Dave Chidley/Canadian Press
First Nations leaders vowed Thursday to keep up the pressure on the federal government as they declared that the grassroots indigenous-rights Idle No More campaign was both unified and hear to stay.
“Make no mistake, the energy that’s coming from our people is not going anywhere,” said national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo, who just returned from a medical leave, in a press conference Thursday.
Referring to the increased pressure on the Canadian government to recognize the universal issues of individual sovereignty and environmental protections which have underscored the movement’s focus, Atleo continued:
It’s not only a single person in the prime minister. It’s the fact that this country is now recognizing that we need to address the issues and the relationship between First Nations and Canada, and there’s some shared objectives.
[The status quo is] not working not only for First Nations, it’s not working for Canadians and it’s not working for governments. And so we need to with great haste seize on this moment and say that we’re not going to let it go by.
January 24, 2013. Source: NY Times
Canadian native leaders vowed Thursday to carry on the fight for better living conditions as a chief at the center of an aboriginal protest movement ended her six-week hunger strike. Chief Theresa Spence, from a remote northern Ontario reserve, ended her hunger strike after holding negotiations with other aboriginal leaders and opposition members of Parliament. Canada spends about $11.1 billion a year on its aboriginal population of 1.2 million. But living conditions for many are poor, and some reserves have high rates of poverty, addiction, joblessness and suicide. Aboriginal leaders also say legislation by the Conservative government promotes resource development while reducing environmental protection for lakes and rivers on their lands.
Note: Following this short update from Mexican farmers who planned a hunger strike to protest the introduction of GMO corn in Mexico is “The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maize,” which outlines the threats that GMO seeds pose to Mexican farmers and culture.
-The GJEP Team
January 23, 2013. Source: La Via Campesina
Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, head of government of the Federal District, has betrayed the peasants of UNORCA mounting anti-riot police operation at the Angel of Independence. It had been negotiated with the City yesterday, an agreement to allow a peaceful sit-in and hunger strike against the imminent commercial release of transgenic corn planting on a large scale in Mexico (see link below for more information) . Despite the alleged agreement, when hundreds of farmers of 20 states of the republic came to settle, they found hundreds of riot police with shields preventing access to the monument, in what is being called a betrayal and a “pre-eviction. “
Alberto Gómez Flores, a leader of the UNORCA and coordinator of Via Campesina North America, said: “it’s very symbolic because they are preventing people of this country from being in front of the Monument of Independence from Spanish colonialism, and thus they are really serving their current masters, the new colonialists of Monsanto, DuPont and Pioneer. “He continued, “here we are a few meters from the U.S. Embassy, which also serves the same masters.” And ” we will stay here in camp, as close as we can be to the Monument, and if they come to evict us we will sit peacefully in resistence . They will not take us away from here.”
Filed under Actions / Protest, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
January 23, 2013. Source: La Via Campesina
Letter from the National Union of Autonomous Regional Peasant Organizations (UNORCA)
(Letter to the people and Government of Mexico: The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maiz)
This Wednesday, January 23rd, we will start a new phase in our struggle against the planting of GMO maize here in Mexico, consisting of a collective hunger strike held in front of the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City. National peasant leaders from our organization from more than 20 states of our republic will begin a sit-in at this very symbolic location.
This act of voluntarily using our own bodies for civic protest will remind us of our almost 30 million fellow Mexicans who cannot find enough food to fill their stomachs on a daily basis. We want to reach the hearts and minds of the people of Mexico and the World to share our grave concern for the health, culture and economy of our nation, eroded by a development model that only benefits a tiny minority, a minority which includes the transnational corporations that today conspire to appropriate for themselves one of the greatest heritages of our peoples: MAIZE.
We want to express our indignation faced with the terrible blow that would come with the imminent approval of large-scale commercial planting of GMO maize in Mexico, and we demand that the Mexican government place the interests of peasants and the majority of Mexican farmers above the interests of a few transnational corporations. After his official visit to Mexico in 2011, the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the United Nations, Olivier de Schutter, recommended that the government of then-president Calderón immediately suspend experimental planting of GMO maize, because of its impact on the rights of peasants, on biodiversity, and because of the importance of maize in the diet and culture of Mexicans. The government ignored that recommendation.