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Book Review: “The Freedom” by Christian Parenti
The Freedom.jpgChristian Parenti went to Iraq and brought back a vivid description of what war in the 21st Century looks like without makeup. He calls it “The Freedom.”

Essentially, this is the story of occupied Iraq from a layperson’s perspective. The language is easy to read, casually littered with expletives. Brutal honesty provides a sense of how bizarre and surreal a war zone must be. Iraqis constantly explain to Parenti how grateful they are for their new “freedoms,” such as the freedom to languish for hours in 120-degree heat at US military checkpoints, the freedom to live in a country now covered with depleted uranium and people with cancer, and the freedom to be without work, electricity or water most of the time.

Journeying into the heart of hell with a forged Canadian press pass, Parenti parties with NGO staffers while bombs fall and embeds with both the US military and the Iraqi resistance. Refreshingly, he neglects any pretension of objectivity. His opposition to the occupation comes across freely. This book is thrilling to read and important as a documentary history of the war; but it offers a rather simple version of both the US government’s objectives for creating war in Iraq and the consequences this will have.
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11 Mar 2005 | Filed under: Review / International
Justice for Jeffrey Baez!
Jeffrey Baez was 22 years old on the early morning of December 4, 2002. He worked at McDonalds and as a freelance landscaping laborer, and dreamed of being a cartoonist. Jeffrey was born in New Jersey, and was living with his mother, Luz Minerva DiLones, a nurse's aide, south of Providence, RI.

But Jeffrey was unfortunate enough to be a young Latino man whose van looked, to Providence patrolman Merrick Cook, like one that had been reported stolen. Within minutes Baez had three police cruisers on his tail. After driving a few blocks, at what police admitted were low speeds, Jeffrey stopped the van at the corner of Potters and Dexter. The police radioed each other that he was about to "bail" out of the vehicle. Jeffrey stepped into the intersection and was knocked over the hood of Cook's cruiser. When he slid to the pavement, he was crushed under the wheels of officer Michael Otrando's police car.
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09 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
Become a video activist
IMCVIDEOGROUP2.jpgThe Boston Indymedia video group is looking for video artists, video collectors, filmmakers, and other volunteers to help produce our television show and help get progressive political work shown to larger
audiences.

The group has had a 1 hour TV collage shown weekly for the past 4 years on award winning CCTV in Cambridge. It features local coverage of community work, struggles and demonstrations along with indymedia films from around the world and other politically smart and satirical short films.

You can watch the Boston Indymedia show on Cambridge Public Access at 8pm every Tuesday and 5pm on Wednesdays on CH 10.
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09 Mar 2005 | Filed under: Announcement / Media
Springfield teachers fight back against control board
springfield1.jpgIn the midst of a Northeastern snow storm which eventually dumped over seven inches of snow on the area that day, over 800 teachers and their allies packed the Central High School auditorium March 1 for a public speak-out to tell the city's Finance Control Board: Hands off teachers and all city workers! The public forum, part of an ongoing campaign by the Springfield Teachers Association, exposed the control board's attempts to move money out of the already-strapped school budget to pay for other city expenses; its unilateral cuts in benefits that will cost city employees, including educators, thousands of dollars; and threatening even further cuts to the wages and benefits of teachers and other city employees.
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08 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Education : Labor : Race
Population Density Poses Challenge to Construction of BU Bioterror Lab
ebola.jpgThe New Year has brought some new bumps in Boston University Medical Center’s plan to construct their new security level 4 bio-containment safety laboratory (BSL4) on the bustling border where the South End and Roxbury meet. BU is planning to begin construction on the lab, which would enable researchers to investigate weaponized strains of the most deadly biological agents known to man, this summer.

And until recently, the year and a half of debate over the hotly contested plan certainly seemed to be balancing in BU’s favor. Backed by key players in Commonwealth politics, the project coasted through city and state permit and approval processes. Rose Arruda of the Roxbury community organization Safety Net told the Boston Globe on February 5 that since the group had begun their opposition to the lab, “People just ignored us. They’d say, ‘You are just a bunch of crazy activists.’”

But then everything went to hell at the BUMC press office in late January when the Boston Globe revealed that researchers had been doing everything short of seasoning the lunch meat in the cafeterias at their BSL2 labs with an infectious strain of the deadly disease tularemia. According to an article that ran in the Boston Globe on January 20th, the University had, on the previous day, “confirmed that on October 28 test results showed that researchers who had thought they were working with a harmless variety of the bacteria tularemia instead had been working with material that appeared to be contaminated and might have caused illnesses in three researchers.” The article stated that Massachusetts State law required BU to report their suspicions that infections had occurred within 24 hours.

It took the university 11 days.
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02 Mar 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Organizing : Politics : Technology
Springfield communities respond to police commission decision in Greer police brutality case
springfield_mass.jpgOnce again Springfield cops have been let off after brutally beating a Black man. But, as this outrage resonates in the community and more police terror is brought to light, a multi-faceted campaign led by oppressed communities and their allies are fighting back. The Springfield Police Commission voted 3-2 on Jan. 31 to let off four white cops accused of beating and choking Mr. Douglas Greer, a principal at a local charter school Nov. 4. According to Greer, principal of Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School, he was viciously beaten by the cops Nov. 4. Greer, who has diabetes, drove his car into a South End gas station after feeling ill. A worker at the gas station called police after he failed to rouse Greer, who had lapsed into the early stages of a diabetic seizure.
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26 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Race
While in Worcester, Kerry argues for an Expansion of the Military
video screencapture.jpgJohn Kerry just gave a major policy speech in Worcester, MA tonight (Feb.14th). Kerry announced that he will be proposing legislation to INCREASE the military by 40K troops and creating a "Military Family Bill of Rights". Kerry estimates his legislation would cost b/n $6.5 and $8 Billion. (about $4.5-5bil for expansion)

Copies of remarks and press releases included. Press releases actually provide very good media documentation of problems.

52 second video
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17 Feb 2005 | Filed under: News / Politics
The Future of the World Social Forum Process: Modest Reforms Needed
esktop_POA03_wsf2003_400_320.jpgPorto Alegre—With the fifth edition of the World Social Forum, a certain maturation and even “graying” has occurred. For some, the Forum is now passé, awaiting its demise before an ascendant and inevitable new “new.” For others, the Forum has become an annual reunion, a time to swap stories and reconnect with old friends. Over time, however, a serious, multifold critique has developed and needs to be addressed if the forum process is to remain useful. This is particularly urgent because the problems identified as compromising the WSF’s moral authority and political efficacy continue to grow.
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13 Feb 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / International : Organizing
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