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American “Insane Asylum” History: Giving Names To Numbered Graves
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A nationwide movement to put names on the numbered gravestones in cemeteries at America's mental hospitals and abandoned "insane asylums" is underway. "It has been said that no families have come forward to claim their relatives (buried here)...WE are their family." In Massacusetts, the Danvers State Memorial Committee (DSMC) was formed in 1997, with the goal of restoring and properly memorializing the two Danvers State Hospital cemeteries. One of the first hurdles they faced was determining who was responsible for cleaning up, and then long term maintenance of, the cemeteries. A decision was made to press the state to be accountable for the cemeteries. But there were still problems, such as the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH) had the records for the closed hospital, and a private entity was soon to buy the state hospital property, and then the activists would have to get permission to clear the cemeteries from them, etc. The DSMC also reports there was considerable anger present at early meetings. Many were still very angry at past abuses they had suffered at Danvers State. They were adamant that the truth, not the sanitized version, of the hospital’s past be told. Some members of the DSMC felt the group was not the place for that anger. But the group did not shun those who were angry, and instead were able to harness their anger into a powerful force. Due to these discussions, the DSMC decided to ask for a formal apology as part of the return of dignity to those buried with only numbers on the hospital grounds.
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15 Aug 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / Human Rights : Social Welfare
Cyprus Govt. Admits CIA Campaign Against Indymedia
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The scandal is unfolding in gigantic proportions... and we can hardly keep up with the developments. Responding to a publicity and solidarity campaign by Indymedia, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has been forced to admit that they were acting under orders from the US Government to carry out an intelligence investigation of Cyprus Indymedia and of one of its founding members, Petros Evdokas, in order to assess whether he "constitutes a threat to US interests." Police had interrogated the family of Petros Evdokas a few weeks ago and, during the affair, inadvertently blurted out that the source of this investigation was a directive by the CIA. After a series of denials and cover-ups (chronicled below) the Police Headquarters issued an official statement on Friday admitting to everything that Indymedia had accused them of, namely that directives of the CIA and the US Embassy have priority over their own mission which, believe it or not, is to protect the tiny and independent Republic from foreign intervention. This campaigns to intimidate IndyMedia is part of a global trend, including the nation- wide "pre- emptive" raids and interrogations by the FBI of radicals in Boston and across the US in order to thwart preparations to protest at the two Republocrat party conventions.
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12 Aug 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Media
100+ Person Rally at Seaboard Corp. Office: Return the Land Now!
laloma.jpg"Here we are with Harry Bresky’s office behind us, and we’re here to say, ‘Give it back, Harry.’ The Ava Guarani and Kolla communities have made an urgent appeal for international solidarity. We have heard the appeal, and today we act upon it." This is one of many lines in an educational skit delivered today on the steps of the office of the Seaboard Corporation’s President and CEO, Harry Bresky, in Brookline, MA. Over one hundred activists gathered to express their disgust about Seaboard Corp’s complicity in the displacement of the Ava Guarani and Kolla communities from Salta, Argentina and allowing brutal repression of those re-occupying their native land.
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31 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : International : Race
Fifth Day of Protests, July 29th
head-held-high.jpgTo close the protests against the DNC, the police decided to attack the protesters. Tension mounted all day, starting with the 100-person Critical Mass bike ride at 8:30 am, which was trailed by a dozen bike cops. During the course of the day, there were also a number of independent actions by affinity groups. Throughout the day, activists reported being tailed by undercover police, a helicopter hovered above the Convergence Center, and several activists were temporarily detained and searched by the police. A permitted No Blood for Oil March, of 100-150 people, left Copley Square at 1:00, swelling to 500 as they marched towards the Fleet Center, site of the DNC. Upon arriving at Government Center, near the Fleet Center, a stand off with the police ensued, with the police eventually attacking protesters (on the excuse of a non-existent Molotov cocktail), arresting three people and sending at least one protester to the hospital. The protesters were released after six hours of jail solidarity work. Then final protest of the day was a queer kiss-in at 6:30.
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30 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : GLBT/Queer : Human Rights
Fourth Day of Protests, July 28th
silenced.jpgThe first major protest of the day, with 500 people, was a rally calling on the US government to respect human rights called, “What Have Become?: From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib?” Another 400-500 people gathered in Blackstone Park to support a local environmental justice group calling for funding for public health, not the bioterror lab being built in their neighborhood. A group of 10 pro-gay marriage activists disrupted a DNC meeting and were removed by the police. In the early evening a street theater action took place against the “Free Speech Zone”, with activist entering it with hands bound and heads hooded, while a group of DNC delegates condemned the “Free Speech Zone”. The police were becoming increasingly aggressive throughout the day, showing up in totally disproportionate numbers to the environmental justice rally, and arresting one activist while he was walking down the street.
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29 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Human Rights : Race
Speakers at Rally for Human Rights Wonder What the US Has Become
prisoners.jpgAs part of the on-going protests against the Democratic National Convention, on Wednesday, July 28, there was a rally of 500 people in Copley Square from noon to 2:00 pm. Sponsored by United for Justice with Peace, the main Boston-area anti-war coalition; Boston Mobilization, a local student activist group; the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); and the Kucinich for President Campaign, the rally was entitled, “What Have We Become?: From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib.” Speakers decried the US government’s violations of human rights, the Constitution, and international law in its conduct of the war “against” terrorism, citing such examples as the on-going detentions without proper trial in the US military base of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the American-run torture chambers in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
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29 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Human Rights : International
Dems Begin Damage Control Over Protest Pits
civil_liberties.jpgOn Wednesday afternoon, a "ad hoc" group of Democratic delegates held a press conference in the DNC protest pit with the stated intention to "speak out against the conditions within the protest zone" and "call on the Democratic Party leadership to also make a public statement opposing the zone."

But any possibility the event would represent real political movement on the convention floor was sooned dashed as the bright lights and cameras dazzled delegate spokespeople into the usual partisan song and dance blaming the protest pens on Bush and absolving the democrats of any responsibility.
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29 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Human Rights
Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
pinkcheerleaders.jpgThe green grass of the Boston Common, along with the civil liberties of several thousand people were trampled today by squads of police that continually marched, biked and cycled around and through the peaceful displays of the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar. Under the propagandized shield of "combating terrorism" and "preventing violence", the growing security state seeks to protect itself from the exploding numbers of the disenfranchised that will inevitably rise against it. And on the Boston Common, approximately 2500 people of all flavors celebrated "another world is possible" while ignoring the police. Live music on two stages, free haircuts, free massages, free bikes, and free hugs were just several of the ways people expressed their commitment to the creation of community and the living protest to consumptive living.
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28 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC : Human Rights : Organizing
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