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Alive in Baghdad: Indymedia Reports from Iraq
55213185_4e4e14b085.jpgHere is the brief update. There is confusion over the number of casualties. The number reported by the US Military is nearly the same number we received from an Iraqi Police officer who was involved in firing on the second vehicle, which exploded near the Mosque in Firdos Square. He claimed there were approximately 4 killed and 16 wounded at that time.

The assertion that the attack was intended to take over the Hotel was not substantiated by any of the IPs or PSDs(private security) who we spoke with that were on the scene. He believed this attack to be similar to previous attacks, where the first bomb is intended to bring IPs and other security forces, and subsequent bombings are used to inflict mass casualties on the response teams.

Despite the loud gunfire long after the attack, no gunmen other than the IPs were reported to be in the streets. One BBC colleague reported to me that “The Iraqi Police tend to be quite trigger-happy.” Also, my fixer overheard an IP shouting “Be careful they are shooting everyone.” We now believe “they” almost certainly means other IPs, although we don’t have a first-hand report of IPs firing on each other.

There is still some confusion over the carbombings. We received an eyewitness report from a PSD that the first car was a Black Jeep Cherokee, it now appears this may have been the second vehicle, as the AP reports the first car was a white vehicle.

We will try to provide photos of the aftermath this evening.
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25 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Harvard Janitors Fight For Real Living Wage; Will Students Muster Renewed Support?
summers_rally.jpgCrashing cymbals, booming water cooler jugs and rattling shakers improvised from soda bottles and pebbles lent a boisterous sonic dimension to a rally by about 70 Harvard Janitors and a hand full of supporters outside the University's administrative offices on Massachusetts Ave. on the first Friday of October.

While super enthusiastic, the rally, which marked the first formal effort to draw public attention to the new round of contract negotiations between the janitors, represented by SEIU 615 and university last month, was also notably for the absence of a contingent whom many familiar with recent labor struggles at the university might have considered a key element.

Four years ago something between a gaggle and a gob of Harvard undergraduates were leading the charge at the university and across the country to achieve the outlandish utopian dream that folks they had far to much tact to refer to as ‘the help’ being paid a wage commensurate with the local cost of living.
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24 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor
Local Activists Raise Funds for Fair Trade
laFiesta.jpgFair Trade activists came together Monday night to raise funds for trade justice around the world in style. The model in the photo is wearing a scarf, hat and bag that were produced by workers paid fair wages in safe conditions and produced in a way that is more respectful of the environment. Photo by Christopher Brown.

Over 150 local activists celebrated trade justice in style and raised over $1,000 at the Fair Trade Fiesta at All Asia Café last Monday night. The fundraiser was hosted by the Boston Fair Trade Coalition in cooperation with Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community (UUJEC), Oxfam America, It’s Only Fair, Dean’s Beans, and other local organizations.
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19 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor
Anti-war movement wins Peterson's reinstatement; Tariq Khan still facing charges
nodraft.jpgAfter being 'banned' from campus, Charles Peterson, as of Oct. 8, has been reinstated at Holyoke Community College. This victory for the entire counter-recruitment and anti-war movement came only after massive worldwide support for Peterson and resistance actions including a march and rally on campus Oct. 6.

But the counter-recruitment movement is still being attacked relentlessly by the Pentagon and college administrations as the case of Peterson and Tariq Khan demonstrates.
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19 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Organizing
Gov. Romney Vetoes Retro Pay for Campus Unions
iporally3.jpgAs cost of living expenses, especially housing, skyrocket, Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney has leveled yet another vicious assault on union workers at the states’ 28 public colleges and universities. On October 5 Romney vetoed about $42.2 million in retroactive raises for thousands of workers, including union graduate student-workers, many of which live at or below the federal poverty level.
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11 Oct 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor
Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
antirecruit.jpgOn Oct. 6 over 100 students at Holyoke Community College and their allies in Western Massachusetts marched and rallied on campus to protest the ‘banning’ of student Charles Peterson, the U.S. war on Iraq and military recruiting on campus.

Calling the protest after its members were brutalized and maced by campus and state cops Sept. 29, the HCC Anti-War Coalition hand delivered its five key demands to the college’s President William Messner.

The demands are: the immediate lifting of the ban on Peterson, an immediate, unconditional public apology from the college; a pledge of non-retaliation against activists; a thorough and impartial investigation; and that military recruiters be banned from campus.
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11 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Organizing
The Continuing Legacy of Abu Ghraib
torture1.jpgAmman, Jordan -- Haj Ali is an Iraqi who was released from Abu Ghraib after five months when it was decided that he was “wrongfully arrested.” In the States many people seem to think that after the Abu Ghraib investigations, everything changed in Iraq, and this ended the mistreatment of prisoners that has often involved abuse at best and torture at worst. In fact these practices still go on, particularly in so-called “private prisons” and “party prisons.” I spoke with Haj Ali last night and he explained some of this to me.

Haj Ali, who was prisoner number 151716, was taken to Abu Ghraib on the fifteenth of October 2003. He was kept there for five months until he was put on a truck, taken to the desert and dropped off on the highway. The soldiers told him he was free because he had been “wrongfully arrested.”
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05 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International
Retirees and union members blow the whistle on GE’s low pension and health care benefits
DSC00854.JPGLynn, MA -- General Electric retirees led a rally in front of the Riverworks plant on Sept. 29 calling attention to the company’s skimpy pension benefits that have not kept up with the rising cost of living -- especially skyrocketing health costs. The retirees were joined by current GE employees, Local 201 and other union leaders, and several community supporters. At the rally, retirees used a cell phone to call GE CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt at the company’s corporate headquarters in Fairfield, CT. Unable to reach him, they sent a message by blowing whistles and playing a new protest song, “The Plight of the GE Pensioneer.”
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04 Oct 2005 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Social Welfare
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