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Demand Immediate release of Environmental activist PL SIGN PETITION #StandWithPiyush

PL SIGN AND SHARE , IMMEDIATE RELEASE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST PIYUSH SETHIA NOW https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Tamil_Nadu_Chief_Minister_Immediate_release_of_Environmental_activist_Piyush_Sethia/

 

Activist Piyush Manush, part of the Salem Citizen’s Forum, was arrested under charges of criminal intimidation when he chained himself to a road-roller on Friday to protest the construction of Mulvadi bridge.

On July 15th after meeting him in jail his wife was so upset because he told her he was being slapped and hit – but only when lawyer Maayan met him he has told him that he has been beaten badly by over 30 people – kept in solitary confinement and in dark rooms.

 

Manush chained himself to the road-roller along with two others as the first day of construction began for the Mulvadi bridge. They alleged that due procedure was not followed.

Swifter than ever, the police reached the spot and arrested them under three charges – disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, Punishment for wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation, a non-bailable offence.

The Mulvadi bridge will be built over a railway crossing, but will only allow one-way traffic. Manush and the forum suggested an alternative that will allow two-way traffic.

Those of you who know Piyush and his work already can appreciate how many “powerful” folks he would have antagonised through his selfless work. You will also remember how he was the first one to jump in to create bamboo rafts by spending sleepless nights to save floods-stranded Chennai citizens in that recent disaster. He is also well known for his work on lake revival and protection in Salem amongst many other causes.

Friends of Piyush have been silently putting in efforts for more than 8 days now with the hope each day that he will be released. However, the police is acting funnily and we need to make sure that he comes out, and comes out unharmed

 

 

Demand release of activist Piyush Manush, mass-email this letter to Jayalalitha

Here is NAPM’s appeal to Jayalalita govt to release environmental activist Piyush Manush. The letter is given below, and can be sent to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister at [email protected]
National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) condemns this complete arbitrary arrest of environmental activist Piyush Sethia, who has been a crusader for several national level issues including Bhopal Gas Survivors, rights of adivasis and founder of Salem Citizen Forum. He has worked hard to change the face of the city Salem by organising citizens led efforts to revive lakes, forests, wet lands and so on and is know for his work of promoting alternative handicrafts and creating environmental awareness.
His arrest on completely false charges can only be termed as political vendetta and an action by disgruntled officials who have been irked by several initiates Salem Ciizens Forum has taken over years now.
It’s condemnable that he is being tortured in the prison and his bail plea too has been rejected on not tenable grounds, while other two arrested along with him as has been granted bail.
NAPM is writing to Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu demanding immediate release of Piyush and demands action against the officials who are guilty for not following the law and also for inflicting torture on Piyush.
We stand in solidarity with Salem Citizen Forum, Piyush and his family in their struggle for the rights of the people and against environmental destruction.
In solidarity,
LETTER TO CHIEF MINISTER OF TAMIL NADU
Selvi J Jayalalitha,

Hon. Chief Minster, Tamil Nadu
Fax: 044-25671441

Thiru Apurva varma, I.A.S.,
Principal Secretary to Government
[email protected]

Respected Madam:

Sub: URGENT – RELEASE PIYUSH SETHIA FROM SALEM JAIL

We write as concerned citizens and environmental justice activists in support of Piyush Sethia of Salem, Tamil Nadu who has been arrested, denied bail and beaten inside Salem Central prison. Piyush is a noted environmental activist of Salem Citizen’s Forum (SCF). He has been booked under IPC sections 341,188, 353 and 506 (2).

On 8.07.2016, when Piyush and other members of SCF were protesting against the railway authorities for starting the construction work of Mulvadi gate over-bridge in Salem without giving prior notice to the people in the area and without laying an alternate road, police arrested Piyush and two other activists, Eesan Karthik and Muthu of SCF.

On 14.07.2016, the Salem Magistrate’s court dismissed Piyush’s bail application while granting conditional bail to the other two activists. Piyush has been kept in solitary confinement since the day of his arrest. And as per Piyush’s wife and his lawyer, Piyush is being subjected to physical and mental harassment and not allowed to receive reading material or allowed to speak to his wife and other supporters freely. Infact, some of the supporters in Salem are being intimidated and threatened via phone calls to isolate Piyush. According to Piyush’s lawyer, Piyush was beaten ‘for a good half an hour before they sent him to solitary confinement’. Yesterday Piyush informed his lawyer that ‘he was abused by a group of unknown persons numbering nearly 30 inside the prison several times’. We are shocked at this high-handedness of prison authorities and custodial assault on Piyush.

Piyush has done commendable work in the field of Environmental Protection and Climate Change mitigation. We would like to bring to your notice some of them:

  1. He leads Salem Citizens Forum to revive many water bodies in Salem city like Mukaneri,Ammapettai eri Kundukkal eri, Ismailkhan eri, Arisipalayam Theppakulam and Pallappatti well.

  2. He has created a co-operative forest in Dharmpuri extending upto 150 acres, with the support of his friends and well wishers. This mountain forest acts as a water catchment area for Ettimarathupatti Canal which supplies irrigation water to 17 villages in the vicinity.

  3. He has led many citizens’ initiative to protect the natural resources of Salem and its surrounding areas. He has also initiated many green and sustainable livelihood projects and protected the Salem, Yercaud and Hoggenekkal Dam areas from environmental damage.

  4. In the recent floods of Chennai and Cuddalore, Piyush and members of SCF, Nizhal and Dharmapuri People’s Forum mobilized 35 containers of relief material and tirelessly worked to reach the materials in time. This won Piyush a CNN-IBN award recently. He was also named as one of the advisors of Nilam, Neer, Neethi (Land, Water, Justice) initiative of Ananda Vikatan group which was kicked off following the floods to protect water bodies in Tamil Nadu.

We demand:

Immediate release of Piyush and all charges foisted against him and other activists be withdrawn forthwith.

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Anti-AFSPA Activist Irom Sharmila ‘Forcibly’ Arrested again #WTFnews

Sociimagesal activist Irom Chanu Sharmila was on Friday forcibly taken away by the police from a small makeshift shelter outside the government-run hospital in Imphal where she was continuing her fast after being released from jail on Wednesday.

Sources said 42-year-old Sharmila was being taken for a medical check-up after she declined to eat or drink.

After her release from a make-shift prison in Imphal, Sharmila supported by hundreds of womenfolk and social organisations had walked free from the make-shift prison at JN Government Hospital where a room has been converted into a jail for her. Soon afterwards she had begun her fast at a place near the hospital.

“I will continue to fast till my demand (withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act- AFSPA)) is met. The order of the Session Court that I am not attempting to commit suicide (by launching fast to remove the controversial Act) is welcome,” she had said.

Sharmila has been on fast for the past 14 years demanding withdrawal of the act and was recently absolved of the charge of trying to commit suicide.

A former journalist and social activist, Sharmila had launched her fast unto death on November 2000 after Assam Rifles killed 10 persons at Malom area here in an alleged encounter with insurgents.

She has been in jail for the past many years and was released from time to time and rearrested again and again under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide.

Manipur home minister Gaikhangam said the government was all prepared to protect and look after the health of the social activist.

Even after her release from detention, Sharmila had decided to keep her vow of neither entering her house nor meeting her mother till the government repeals AFSPA.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cops-arrest-anti-afspa-activist-irom-sharmila/article1-1254893.aspx

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#AFSPA Protects Army For Rights Violations , No Arrests Even As People Protest #Vaw

Mon July 21, 2014

By YASHASWANI SEHRAWAT

280

NEW DELHI: A decade has passed since the rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama, a victim of our great honored “Armed Forces” interminable barbarism through AFSPA. A decade has gone since girls from Manipur made headlines when they paraded naked with the banner “Indian Army Rape Us”. And this bygone decade has witnessed many similar acts of savagery by the Army and in response, only one constant action-inaction.

The state of Manipur was in state of furore and shambled with protests from every corner following the alleged rape and murder of Manorma in 2004. A dozen soldiers had busted into her house on a night in July and allegedly raped and tortured her. All attempts made by her brother and mother were only futile with brother badly beaten and mother knocked unconscious. An hour later she was taken outside only to be found dead, three miles away, the next morning. The police claimed that she was an insurgent who was shot while she tried to escape.

But the medical examiner had an entirely different story to tell. The examiner determined that she had been shot from close range while lying down, that stains on her dress were that of semen but that multiple gunshots to her vagina made any determination of rape impossible.

In another incident, a group of university students entered a railway compartment at Kokrajhar in Assam in the year 2005, unaware of their fate and the fact that that armed security persons from Haryana were travelling in it. The jawans closed the doors of the compartment and tried to molest the students. The Bodo student Union, aroused by their shouts stopped the train and tried to take action on the jawans. The police opened fire on them and four students died.

And there is an unending list of grave instances of bestiality, inhumanity and barbarity by the men in uniform.

However, the tragedy doesn’t end here. It only begins. Even after so many years of multifarious acts of misuse of power by the armed men, there has not been a single arrest. Not one man has even been charged with any crime. Simply no action has even been initiated.

What is even more appalling is the fact that there even wouldn’t be any action till at least a many many more years to come.

The Defense Minister Arun Jaitley has clearly stated a month back that the immunity law would remain in place until peace was secured.

The immunity law is actually the much talked-about Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). AFSPA, by its very nature, gives complete impunity to the armed men regardless of how heinous the crime they might have committed, leaving the victims of armed forces abuse without a remedy. Section 6 of the act establishes that no legal proceeding can be brought against any member of the armed forces acting under the AFSPA, without the permission of the Central Government.

And the stand of the Central Government is distinct from what the Defense Minister had said. Not only this government, but no government in the history of 56 years of the enactment of AFSPA has had the courage to go against it, for, going against it is equivalent to going against the army.

Palaniappan Chidambaram, in the K. Subramanyam Memorial Lecture at the Institute of Defense Studies last year had made transparent the real reasons for the inability to even dilute AFSPA, leave alone its repeal. He had said “We can’t move forward because there is no consensus. The present and former Army Chiefs have taken a strong position that the Act should not be amended (and) do not want the government notification … to be taken back. How does the government … make the AFSPA a more humanitarian law?”

AFSPA, which was only to be enacted for on an experimental basis for six months in the North-East, has continued for more than five decades. Looking from the security point of view also, AFSPA hasn’t achieved much, at least that’s what data reveals. In 1958, the year of introduction of the Act, there was only one “terrorist” group in the North East. Manipur had two groups when the State was brought under the Act in 1980. Today, Manipur has more than twenty such groups, Assam at least fifteen, Meghalaya has more than five. How, then, does the honored Indian Army advocate for AFSPA so aggressively that not even a little dilution is acceptable to them?

And it is not merely the human rights watchdogs or activists or social rights groups or the jholawallahs who opine the repeal of this Act. This isn’t the voice of one Irom Sharmila or the locals who have lived the draconian law themselves. Such viewpoints have forsooth come from the persons who have worked within the system and know the dynamics of the Act and of running the Government.

In 2005, the Jeevan Reddy Commission said that AFSPA should be repealed and the necessary clauses should rather incorporate in other Acts. R. N. Ravi, former head of the Intelligence Bureau for the North East is on record that AFSPA is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. Former Home Secretary G. K. Pillai has come out openly against the Act. Latest in the list is the Justice Verma Commission set up after the Delhi gang rape. It has stated in unequivocal terms that security persons who rape women should be judged under the same law that applies to the civilians.

But it appears that all these and thousands of other voices are swept under the carpet. It seems that AFSPA is not meant for the security of the citizens, as is intended, but instead, for the security and immunity of the armed personnel. Tens of thousands of Indian troops, deployed to the remote borderlands, with the mission to fight a decades-long armed separatist rebellion have rather waged a separate power war on civilians-the one where powerless, innocent civilians are raped and murdered by the powerful immune security forces.

Read mor ehere – http://www.thecitizen.in/afspa-protects-army-for-rights-violations-in-the-north-east-no-arrests-even-as-people-protest/

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Thailand: Editor Arrested for Facebook Comments #FOE #FOS

Military Authorities Detaining Dissidents, Critics
  • Thanapol Eawsakul,

    © 2014 Matichon TV
“Arresting an editor for a Facebook criticism of military rule shows just how far the junta will go to silence critics. The military can neither arrest all critics nor wish them out of existence.”
Brad Adams, Asia director

(New York) – The arrest of a magazine editor for posting comments critical of the military on his Facebook page is emblematic of the military government’s deepening disregard for fundamental rights and freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today.Thai military authorities should stop arbitrarily arresting and detaining peaceful critics of the May 22, 2014 military coup and of martial law.

Thanapol Eawsakul, the editor of Fah Diew Khan(Same Sky) magazine, was placed under a seven-day administrative detention order on July 5 and transferred to police custody.

“Arresting an editor for a Facebook criticism of military rule shows just how far the junta will go to silence critics,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The military can neither arrest all critics nor wish them out of existence.”

Thanapol posted a Facebook message at 3:30 p.m. on July 4 indicating that the military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), had ordered him to stop making critical comments about the military authorities. Thanapol told colleagues that he then received a phone call from an unidentified military officer asking for a private meeting on July 5 at a coffee shop in Bangkok’s Soi Paholyothin 7 neighborhood. The officer assured Thanapol the meeting was only to exchange opinions and that he would not be arrested.

On July 5, Thanapol went to the meeting at about 12:30 p.m. and talked for 10 minutes with a man in civilian clothes who was later identified as Lt. Col. Pasakorn Kulraviwarn. Then Thanapol made a telephone call to a colleague, saying he would be taken into military custody. Shortly thereafter, soldiers in civilian clothes escorted him to a car.

From the car, Thanapol told his colleague by phone that he was being taken to the 2nd Cavalry Division. Around 6:30 p.m., the authorities imposed the seven-day administrative detention under martial law and transferred Thanapol to the police Crimes Suppression Division.

The military had previously detained Thanapol on May 24, after he was summoned under a martial law order. When he was released on May 30, Thanapol had to sign an agreement that he would not make political comments, become involved in political activities, or travel overseas without permission from the NCPO. Failure to comply could result in a sentence of two years in prison or a fine of 40,000 baht (US$1,250).

Since the May 22 coup, the military authorities have severely restricted the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The authorities have targeted numerous dissidents and critics for censorship, arbitrary detention, and prosecution before military courts. More than 300 people have been held in military custody, including ruling party and opposition politicians, activists, critics, and journalists, as well as people accused of supporting the deposed government, disrespecting or offending the monarchy, or taking part in peaceful anti-coup activities.

The military authorities continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain people despite publicly asserting that the practice has stopped. In an apparent response to international condemnation, the NCPO announced on June 24 that everyone being held without charge in military custody had been released. Yet, the NCPO has provided no information about them.

Two days later, the military authorities announced that the formal summons procedure would be discontinued. However, Human Rights Watch found that on June 30 the NCPO issued at least one summons order without any public announcement, targeting Jom Petchpradab – an outspoken news anchor – and 17 other people.

University professors from Bangkok and other provinces have also been ordered to report to the military authorities, sometimes without written orders. In one such case, Hara Shintaro – a well-known Japanese professor at Prince of Songkhla University in the southern province of Pattani – was threatened with arrest on June 17 by the 4th Army Region commander, Lt. Gen. Walit Rojanaphakdee, who accused him of making comments that caused “disharmony in the society.”

“Arbitrary arrests of dissidents and critics are part of a wider human rights crackdown under military rule in Thailand,” Adams said. “Concerned governments should take a strong stand and demand that the military authorities fully abide by Thailand’s international obligations and build a road map for the restoration of a democratic government based on human rights.”

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Police register FIR against 32 people for ‘encroaching’ on POSCO land #WTFnews

Author(s): Ashis Senapati
Date:Jun 18, 2014

POSCO says people have already been compensated for land acquired; residents say their land was taken at gun point and have no means of livelihood

Some betel vine gardens uprooted during land acquisition have been regrown by residents (Photo by Sayantan Bera)Some betel vine gardens uprooted during land acquisition have been regrown by residents (Photo by Sayantan Bera)

People in Jagatsinghpur district, affected by the POSCO steel plant project, are in for some more trouble. The South Korean steel company filed a first information report (FIR) against 32 residents at Abhayachanapur police station on Tuesday. Their fault: they rebuilt their betel vine farms which had been flattened during land acquisition in Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang gram panchayats last year.

POSCO spokesperson Basanta Kumar Jena said his company had taken serious view of the matter. “The landowners accorded consent for acquisition of their betel vines. Accordingly, their betel vines were pulled down after GPS measurement and compensation amount was received by them. The whole process was videographed to keep the process foolproof. But recently some villagers illegally mended their betel vines and constructed houses because of which POSCO filed complaints against them,” he said.

Anirudha Routray, the inspector in charge of the police station, said that cases have been registered against the “encroachers” under sections 447 (criminal trespass) and 426 (commission of mischief) of Indian Penal Code. Police are investigating the case, he said.

“Under the given circumstances, the act of rebuilding of betel vines amounts to forceful land grabbing and breach of law. Officials have been directed to demolish the rebuilt betel farms,” said Sarat Kumar Purohit, tahasildar of Earasama. Criminal cases would be registered against the occupiers under provisions of Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act (OPLE), he added.

Read more
Pre-dawn police crackdown on village at POSCO site

Long road to justice 

The steel project, which was facing uncertainty because of stiff public resistance and court cases, got a boost after the district administration acquired 2,700 acres (one acre equals 0.4 ha) on July 4 last year in the three gram panchayats. POSCO had earlier proposed a 12 million tonne per annum (mtpa) steel plant. But later the steel company sought at least 2,700 acre to start an 8 mtpa plant.

In spite of POSCO getting clearance go ahead with the project, people have been resisting it. The rift between the POSCO and the land losers reached a flash-point on February this year when around 1,200 villagers, armed with shovels, dismantled the boundary wall and torched the POSCO office in Nuagaon, said Nirvay Samantray of Nuagaon

Due to long delay of the construction work of the steel plant, many locals managed to rebuild betel vines on their land despite getting compensation amounts, added Samantray.

“The officials demolished the betel vines at gun point because of which villagers have taken law unto their hands and have rebuilt the demolished paan farms. We have been exhorting them to rebuild their flattened betel vine farms as they lost their sole livelihood after the authorities forcefully demolished their betel vines,” said Abhaya Sahoo, president of people’s front, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) .

“When contacted, S K Mallick, district collector of Jagatsinghpur said: “The Union government has already revalidated environment clearance to posco to build a steel plant. Some persons with an ulterior motive rebuilt betel vine farms. The district administration will soon hold Rehabilitation Periphery Development Advisory Committee (RPDC) meeting in Jagatsinghpur to sort out land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and other issues.”

 

Read more here- http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/police-register-fir-against-32-people-encroaching-posco-land

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Gadchiroli Court rejects DU professor Saibaba’s bail plea #WTFnews

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur | June 14, 2014 2:23 am

SUMMARY

Bail plea of the first one to be arrested in the series, Hem Mishra, hasn’t come up yet.
saibaba-mainPrincipal and Sessions Judge of Aheri in Gadchiroli, D R Shirasav, rejected the bail plea application of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba and alleged Naxal courier Prashant Rahi, saying there was prima facie evidence showing their involvement in Naxal activities. Professor Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound, was arrested from Delhi last month, while Rahi was arrested from Gondia last year. Police had claimed to have recovered a lot of material — in paper and on hard disks and pen drives — to nail the two.

Bail plea of the first one to be arrested in the series, Hem Mishra, hasn’t come up yet. All three have been chargesheeted. While seeking bail, Saibaba’s lawyer pleaded his client’s innocence and also cited his physical disability, but the judge rejected the argument.

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Narendra Modi on ‘negative faces’ list: 4 students and Principal booked in Kerala #FOE #WTFnews

The campus magazine for 2013-14 was released on June 4 and one of its pages titled ‘negative faces’ featured a photograph of Modi.

modimask

The principal of a government polytechnic in Kerala and four students were among seven people booked by police on Tuesday over putting a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their campus magazine under a list of “negative faces” that also included Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Cases had been registered against four students, associated with the magazine, its Principal M N Krishnan Kutty, staff Editor Gopi and the owner of a printing press for offences under Indian Penal Code (IPC) including concealing design to commit offence, wantonly giving provocation, punishment for defamation and printing matter known to be defamatory. The polytechnic is located in Kuzhoor.

The campus magazine for 2013-14 was released on June 4 and one of its pages titled ‘negative faces’ featured a photograph of Modi. Others figuring in the collage include, sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran, Adolf Hitler, Al-Qaeda chief Laden and George W Bush, police said. They said the case was booked on a complaint by a social worker Subash.

The magazine was brought out by a team of campus editors of the institution, whose student union is stated to be controlled by a pro-Left campus outfit. The polytechnic authorities hinted that the magazine would be withdrawn as it has sparked a controversy. Local BJP workers staged a protest and burnt copies of the controversial magazine.

Read more here – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/modi-on-negative-faces-list-principal-6-others-booked/

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Greenpeace USA’s new leader: ‘You don’t have to chain yourself to something’

From the Story of Stuff to heading Greenpeace USA, Annie Leonard, talks about the challenges of building the environment movement in America

veteran environmental campaigner Annie Leonard has been named as the new Executive Director of Greenpeace USA on May 6, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Annie Leonard, a veteran environmental campaigner, is taking over as the new head of Greenpeace USA. Photograph: Erin Lubin/Greenpeace

One of the first things Annie Leonard was asked on being named the new leader of Greenpeace USA this month was: are you willing to get arrested?

“I said: ‘Absolutely! I just need to figure out who is going to drive the car pool’,” Leonard told The Guardian. “It’s going to be interesting being a single mum doing this,” she said.

The last time Leonard worked for Greenpeace, over 20 years ago, the campaign group was known – only half-jokingly – as “boys and their boats”, because of its reputation for dangerous, high-visibility actions.

She returns to lead the group after having made a name for herself by producing a series of web videos – Story of Stuff – that reached beyond the usual white, male and privileged supporters of environmental causes.

The first of her videos on throwaway culture went viral, making her one of the country’s most effective messengers on climate change.

While US President Barack Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize, activists demonstrate on the streets of Oslo.  Activists hold signs that read
 Greenpeace activists on the streets of Oslo urges US president Barack Obama to show strong leadership in Copenhagen climate talks. Photograph: Christian Slund/Greenpeace

Now, 40 million views later, her biggest job will be to transfer that broad outreach to Greenpeace, and turn climate change into a pressing, mainstream concern.

Environmental groups in America are still undergoing a painful post-mortem of their failure to pass climate change legislation during the early years of Obama presidency – when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.

That crushing defeat has since seen the birth of new activist groups such as 350.org and Bold Nebraska which are trying to block the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, and of movements to ban fracking in towns from Texas to Pennsylvania.

But in Washington environmental groups continue to soul-search about how toreach out to a broader audience – and how to overcome the well-funded climate misinformation campaign.

Leonard said her work would focus on climate change and exposing the influence of money in politics – furthering Greenpeace investigations into the Koch oil billionaires and other funders of the climate denial effort.

She will also work to activate the organisation’s base, including members who’ve left.

“That is the only way to mainstream these issues, if we had all the Greenpeace members around the country talking about these issues,” she said.

Greenpeace Climate and Policy Analyst Kyle Ash holds a photo album at the State Department in Washington with activists dressed as cheerleaders as they call on Secretary of State John Kerry to step up and protect the Arctic from oil drilling and the effects of climate change. Kerry will represent the United States at the Arctic Council meeting in May. The photo album is a collection of images from April 20 I Heart Arctic events across the United States on a global day of action.
 Greenpeace climate and policy analyst Kyle Ash, centre, and activists dressed as cheerleaders at the state department in Washington call onsecretary of state John Kerry to protect the Arctic from oil drilling. Photograph: Tim Aubry/Greenpeace

Getting arrested is not a prerequisite for engagement. “It’s like an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord,” she said. “You don’t have to sleep in the park. You don’t have to chain yourself to something.”

The organisation had to be receptive to all forms of activism, she said.

“There has been a bit of a hierarchy of the people who chain themselves to the fence or go on the big TV talk shows are somehow of higher stature and are more important than the people who make sandwiches. But making sandwiches for the protesters is really important too. We have to figure out a way for them to plug in too.”

Making that shift would help transform a movement where the biggest and best-funded establishment groups are still predominantly led by white males from privileged backgrounds.

Community-based and environmental justice groups are more representative of the US population. Once Leonard formally takes up her job, in August, all three Greenpeace organisations in North America will be led by women.

A police officer questions a Greenpeace activist dressed as
 A police officer questions a Greenpeace activist dressed as ‘Barbie’ outside Mattel headquarters where other activists dressed as ‘Ken’ dolls posted a giant banner with the message: ‘Barbie, it’s over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.’ Photograph: David McNew/Greenpeace

Leonard arrives at her position via her Story of Stuff videos. The videos, which debuted in late 2007, were deceptively simple: just Leonard, looking like and sounding like a perky suburbanite with her brown pony tale and button down shirt, and animated stick figures against a white backdrop.

She spoke at high speed and in plain English about how production, distribution and the inevitable waste involved in a consumer-driven economy was harming the planet – and made a connection to Americans who were ordinarily unmoved by conventional environmental campaigners.

At the time, the messaging was a shift for the fact-based, jargon-laced arguments environmental groups had been making on climate change. Leonard said she realised during making the videos and during the constant touring since that it was less important to dispense data about the problem of consumerism gone wild than to give people the sense they could do something to change it.

 The Story of Stuff, a ’20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns’

That realisation was 20 years in the making. The videos were a culmination of the work Leonard began at Greenpeace International in the late 1980s, travelling to Bangladesh and India to track the export of hazardous waste from rich consumer countries to the developing world.

Investigations by Leonard and others were instrumental in the passage of an international treaty, the Basel Convention, which cracked down on the trade.

Her memories of Greenpeace from that time was of an organisation that celebrated macho adventure.

“When I worked at Greenpeace in the late 1980s hardly any people had kids and the few people who had kids left at five and we thought they were total losers. We scorned them,” she said. “Not only did they leave at 5 they didn’t sit around and chat at the coffee machine. They worked and we thought: “ God, they were so uptight’.”

But times – and Leonard’s own circumstances – have changed.

Annie Leonard began her career at Greenpeace International in 1988 and is returning now to help the organization inspire and mobilize millions of people to take action to create a more sustainable future together.
 Annie Leonard began her career at Greenpeace International in 1988 and is returning now as its head in the US. Photograph: Erin Lubin/Greenpeace

Leonard said she could not have taken the job if Greenpeace had not agreed to let her work from her home on the West Coast.

She lives in Berkeley, with her 14-year-old daughter, in what sounds like a modern-day, middle-class version of a commune. Over the years, a group of long-term friends have bought up six neighbouring houses, knocking down fences to make one big backyard, sharing power tools and a pick-up truck and – when there is a crisis – child care.

She said the environmental movement had grown more welcoming to parents like herself over the years – but there was still some distance to go.

“No more eco-martyrs thinking that the earth can’t sustain us taking a vacation or leaving the office at six to have dinner with the kids!” she wrote in a follow-up email. “We still have distance to go in making the work accessible to working parents and single parents. I’d like to see child care more routinely provided at meetings, stipends for single parents who have to travel and other structural changes that remove barriers to full participation even for those carrying a heavy load at home,” she went on.

“Building a movement really does require all kinds of people, so it is our job to make this work accessible and relevant to all kinds of people.”

 

Read more here – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/23/-sp-greenpeace-usa-leader-annie-leonard#

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Arvind Kejriwal Submits Personal Bond, Released From Tihar Jail

Edited by Swati Gupta | Updated: May 28, 2014 00:41 IST

Arvind Kejriwal Submits Personal Bond, Released From Tihar Jail

Photo credit: PTI

AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal leaves after being released from Tihar Jail in New Delhi on Tuesday.

New DelhiArvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party who has been in Delhi’s Tihar jail for the last six days, was released from jail on Tuesday.

A Delhi court ordered his release from jail on Tuesday after he furnished a personal bond in a defamation case filed against him.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha accepted the bond filed by Mr Kejriwal’s counsel in compliance with the order passed by the Delhi High Court.

“It is also submitted that Arvind Kejriwal has written in his own handwriting that he is filing the personal bond in compliance with the high courtorder. In view of this, the personal bond furnished is accepted,” the court said, adding, “Let the accused be released forthwith.”

Earlier in the day, the court had condemned Mr Kejriwal’s stand and questioned why he had made furnishing the bond a “prestige issue.” “It is a small case. Why are you making it big? Why are you taking this as a prestige issue?” it asked. (‘Why is Arvind Kejriwal Making This a Prestige Issue?’ Court Asks on Row Over Bail)

Mr Kejriwal was jailed after he refused to furnish the bond needed in a defamation case filed against him by BJP’s Nitin Gadkari. He had since been insisting that the court should not ask him for one and argued that he has committed no crime.

On Monday, he moved the Delhi High Court for his immediate release. (Arvind Kejriwal Moves High Court Against Custody)

After Tuesday’s hearing, Prashant Bhushan along with his father advocate Shanti Bhushan went to Tihar jail and collected the hand-written consent letter from Mr Kejriwal to furnish the personal bond. (An Open Letter From Prisoner No. 3642, Arvind Kejriwal)

The AAP chief was first sent to judicial custody for two days. The court then ordered 14 more days in custody when Mr Kejriwal refused to give the bail bond.

Read more here — http://www.ndtv.com/elections/article/election-2014/after-court-rap-arvind-kejriwal-agrees-to-furnish-personal-bond-531517

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#India needs an anti-fascist force, says Dalit activist acquitted after 40 months in jail

The country needs an anti-fascist force, says activist acquitted after 40 months in jail
Sudhir Dhawale, a dalit rights activist accused of having Maoist links, was declared innocent on May 15.
Aarefa Johari · 
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On May 20, after spending three years and four months in Nagpur Central Jail for crimes he did not commit, dalit rights activist Sudhir Dhawale finally walked out as a free man.

His arrest in January 2011 had outraged social activists in Maharashtra. Dhawale is a well-known poet, political commentator and publisher of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, and had attended a dalit literary gathering in Wardha district just before he was detained by the police. He was charged with sedition and, under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and waging war against the state. Meanwhile in Mumbai, the police barged into his modest home where his young sons were alone, gathered several books as evidence and allegedly coerced his wife to sign the list of seized articles.

Last week, after the prosecution failed to prove even a single case against him, the sessions court finally acquitted Dhawale – and eight other political prisoners – of all charges. His acquittal has come four months after Arun Ferreira, another Mumbai-based social activist who spent five years in jail for being an alleged Maoist, was cleared of all charges against him. Just two weeks before Dhawale’s release, however, GN Saibaba, a Delhi University professor, was arrested by the Maharashtra police for allegedly having links with Maoists.

Despite being forced to spend 40 months in prison without bail, Dhawale is cheerful and completely unresentful. “I have been saying for a long time that the Indian state is fascist, anti-people and has been involved in the atrocities committed against marginalised people,” Dhawale told Scroll.in in Mumbai just before a meeting with members of the organisation that he founded, the Republican Panthers Jatiya Antachi Chalwal (annihilation of caste movement). The group works across Maharashtra to organise marginalised groups and respond to hate crimes, and Dhawale has already plunged back into work.

Unsurprisingly, his biggest concern these days is India’s newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party-led Democratic Alliance government under Narendra Modi. “As such, the BJP and Congress are two sides of the same coin, with similar ideologies that disregard the poor and the marginalised,” said Dhawale. “But the BJP – which is essentially the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] – is more openly fascist, so we will have to be prepared for more oppression.”

For nearly a year, the BJP has been criticising the former Congress-led government for being too soft on Naxalism, despite the fact that thousands of paramilitary troops are stationed all over central India’s Maoist-affected areas. “Usually, actual military forces are used to protect foreign borders, not fight a country’s internal wars. But who knows, the Modi government could do anything,” said Dhawale.

Most of the development that Modi has been promising, he claimed, will actually benefit multinational companies. “Most of these multinationals have their eyes set on acquiring land in central India, which is rich in natural resources but is also the place where most adivasis live,” said Dhawale.

Throughout his jail term, Dhawale had been occupied with trying to understand the nature of fascism and people’s movements. He wrote five political commentaries in prison, of which two have been published. One is about the Shiv Sena’s deceased founder Bal Thackeray. The second is on Anna Hazare and his movement against corruption. “Hazare did start a jan andolan, but it was obvious that it was a movement for the middle-classes, attempting to address only the symptoms of a corrupt system and not the system itself,” said Dhawale.

While Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal have become the face of people’s movements, Dhawale believes the focus needs to shift to the many smaller, scattered grassroots movements across the country that are already working for the marginalised. “With this new government, it is time for all these movements to come together, be vigilant and create a strong anti-fascist force.”

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