Friday, 2 December 2011

Suit filed after NM teen cuffed for burp in class - Yahoo! News

Suit filed after NM teen cuffed for burp in class

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 13-year-old was handcuffed and hauled off to a juvenile detention for burping in class, according to a lawsuit filed against an Albuquerque school principal, a teacher and school police officer.

The boy was transported without his parents being notified in May after he "burped audibly" in PE class and his teacher called a school resource officer to complain he was disrupting her class. The lawsuit also details a separate Nov. 8 incident when the same student was forced to strip down to his underwear while five adults watched as he was accused of selling pot to another student; the boy was never charged.

The suit was one of two filed Wednesday by civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy, who says she has been fighting the district and police for years over the use of force with problem children. She says a review of school and Bernalillo County records shows more than 200 school kids have been handcuffed and arrested in the last three years for non-violent misdemeanors.

In the second lawsuit filed Wednesday, the parents of a 7-year-old boy with autism accuse a school officer of unlawful arrest for handcuffing the boy to a chair after he became agitated in class. New Mexico law prohibits officers and school officials from restraining children under 11.

The suits come one year after the same attorney settled a class action lawsuit against the district that was prompted by the arrest of a girl who Kennedy said "didn't want to sit by the stinky boy in class." And Kennedy says she has a number of other cases she is preparing over treatment of students in Albuquerque by school officials, school police, city police and sheriff's officers.

"I am trying to get all the stake holders in a room to get people properly trained to prevent this from happening," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the problem lies with the schools more than with the law enforcement agencies.

"It lands in the lap of the principal. There are good schools and bad schools. The principals ... who are handling their schools properly don't need to have children arrested. It's ridiculous."

A spokesman for Albuquerque Public Schools did not immediately return calls and emails seeking comment on Thursday. A police spokeswoman said the department does not comment on litigation.

One school board member, Lorenzo Garcia, said he had not seen and could not comment on the lawsuits, but he did say he was concerned about what appeared to be schools getting stuck on a "zero tolerance policy."

"Really, in my opinion, this really increases the whole idea of the schools-to-prison pipeline," he said

Occupy Chicago Scores Victories Without a Camp - The Huffington Post

Occupy Chicago Scores Victories Without a Camp
As Occupy Chicago nears its second month, its visible presence on the streets may have diminished, but its influence and reach has grown.

Three weeks ago, Chicago police evicted and arrested supporters of Occupy Chicago in Grant Park for the second time. Unlike other cities where demonstrations have been suppressed violently with batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades, Occupy Chicago's encampment was dismantled without a single instance of violence. A round of failed talks with the Mayor's Office ensued, and Occupy Chicago decided not to pursue a permanent encampment downtown. Instead, they continued to maintain a 24-hour presence at the intersection of Jackson and LaSalle and worked to strengthen their outreach into the community.

Since Occupy Chicago's eviction, national attention has drifted elsewhere. Drawn to dramatic scenes of officers in riot gear standing toe-to-toe with thousands of demonstrators, media representations have highlighted "clashes" with police. Likewise, a series of incidents on the East and West Coasts -- a sexual assault at Zuccotti Park in New York, a shooting near the camp in Oakland, California, two drug overdoses in Portland, Oregon, and the suicide of a veteran in Burlington, Vermont -- have fueled the perception that the encampments are a threat to public safety. Attention to the economic and social issues raised by the Occupy Movement has been diverted.

However, unburdened by the logistics of operating and defending an encampment, Occupy Chicago is blossoming with successful acts of outreach, education, and direct action.


Occupy Chicago has reached out to families. On November 5, 2011, in conjunction with the International Bedlam Society, they hosted "Keep Your Children Occupied" in Chicago's Grant Park. The family-friendly event featured "face painting, coloring, bubbles, hula hoops, live music, and sing-alongs."

Occupy Chicago has also reached out to area universities: On October 14, 2011, representatives discussed the history of the Occupy Movement at the University of Chicago. On November 10, 2011, Micah Philbrook and Josh Kaunert shared their personal experiences about Occupy Chicago at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana. On November 22, 2011 Occupy Chicago representatives will host an education forum about the Occupy Movement at the Political Science Honor Society and Politics Club at Northeastern Illinois University.


Aside from university outreach, Occupy Chicago has hosted numerous teach-ins on a broad range of subjects. For example, 150 people attended a discussion by Ben Joravsky from The Chicago Reader. Joravsky explained the history and current state of Chicago's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program. Although TIF funds are to be "used to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land and put vacant properties back to productive use," Occupy Chicago highlights the fact that the city has promised $15 million in TIF funds to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as an inducement to remain in the city. Likewise, the Hyatt International Corporation has also requested TIF financing to support the construction of a lavish hotel complex in Hyde Park on Chicago's near South Side. Occupy Chicago and others have asked that TIF funds instead be allocated for education and infrastructure in struggling neighborhoods.

Direct Action
Occupy Chicago's high profile direct actions bring their message to wider audience. On Thursday, November 3, 2011, members of Occupy Chicago "mic checked" union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at an upscale breakfast in the Union League Club of Chicago. Demonstrators interrupted Walker's speech and expressed disgust at his attacks on public workers' collective bargaining rights: "Governor Walker has vilified unions and insulted the 99 percent who depend on living wages and adequate benefits to support their families." The video of this event has been viewed nearly 300,000 times.


Occupy Chicago can also claim victory for postponing an event at the University of Chicago featuring former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Junior. The University of Chicago unexpectedly announced the postponement on Monday, November 14, 2011, the same day of the scheduled event. Ire about Paulson and Rice's appearance elicited a campus wide email from administrators a day earlier that warned students not to disrupt the event. Monday evening, over 200 people gathered on the chilly, muddy Midway of the University of Chicago. Students, community leaders, and members of Occupy Chicago denounced Paulson and Rice's past behavior and celebrated the postponement.

While these recent actions have brought renewed attention Chicago's chapter of the Occupy Movement, a real test of their influence will come on November 21, 2011 when SB 405 comes up for a vote. This legislation is tailor made for opposition by the occupiers. Sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton and championed by Rahm Emanuel, SB 405 cuts the taxes on electronic traders by as much as a third and would give the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) an estimated $120 million dollars. This giveaway to the CME of CBOE seems particularly egregious in the face of Emanuel's budget cuts which will directly affect the lives of working class Chicagoans. His budget will close three police stations and numerous mental health clinics, cut funding to the CTA, and increase fees for dog and SUV owners. Can Occupy Chicago energize the public to oppose this legislation before it passes?

Occupy Chicago is going strong as it prepares for its two month anniversary. The group has raised over $20,000, has over 36,000 fans on Facebook, and over 21,000 followers on Twitter. This occupation is not leaving

Affirmation: NESARA and First Contact Updates. - Page 807

Davos Annual Meeting 2010 - Queen Elizabeth II of England
[link to]

My Lords and members of the Economic Forum. My government's overriding priority is to ensure the stability of the Crown's Land Holdings taken in Colonial economic dominance.

My land holdings are essential in ranking me as the very richest individual today. The source of our financial treasure was the violent plundering of the southern hemisphere. Going forward legislation will commence to allocate some of my lands to ensure fairer and just distribution for those victimized and improve the lifelihoods of the world's poor.

NZ Food Security Warrantless searches of houses and marae for food and seeds, even with guns, are coming to NZ soon thanks to the Food Bill – unless you do something.

The following video shows a SWAT team raiding a health food store in California. The Food Bill paves the way for this to happen in NZ (yes, also with guns). This site deals with Solutions to this Very Big Problem. Please watch the video, listen to the audio, and read the text and comments.

Please also SHARE this site on Facebook with your groups and friends. Thank you.

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What is the Food Bill?

- A Government Bill introduced to Parliament in May 2010, which has since passed its first reading and been through a Select Committee review. It is awaiting a second reading as at 20 July. It may be enacted in the near future.

What are the problems with the Food Bill?

- It turns a human right (to grow food and share it) into a government-authorised privilege that can be summarily revoked.

- It makes it illegal to distribute “food” without authorisation, and it defines “food” in such a way that it includes nutrients, seeds, natural medicines, essential minerals and drinks (including water).

- By controlling seeds, the bill takes the power to grow food away from the public and puts it in the hands of seed companies. That power may be abused.

- The bill will push up mainstream food prices by subjecting producers to red tape and registration costs. Food prices are already rising due to increased energy costs and commodity speculation, while effective disposable incomes are falling.

- Growing food for distribution must be authorised, even for “cottage industries”, and such authorisation can be denied.

- Under the Food Bill, Police acting as Food Safety Officers can raid premises without a warrant, using all equipment they deem necessary – including guns (Clause 265 – 1).

- Members of the private sector can also be Food Safety Officers, as at Clause 243. So Monsanto employees can raid premises – including marae – backed up by armed police.

- The Bill gives Food Safety Officers immunity from criminal and civil prosection.

- The Government has created this bill to keep in line with its World Trade Organisation obligations under an international scheme called Codex Alimentarius (“Food Book”). So it has to pass this bill in one form or another.

- There are problems with Codex also. Codex will place severe restrictions on the content of vitamins, minerals and therapeutic compounds in food, drinks and supplements etc.

- The Food Bill means that non-Codex-complying producers can be shut down easily – thus it paves the way for the legal enforcement of Codex food regulations. Producers will be denied registration (which is discretionary) if they do not keep to Codex food production rules.

What are the implications for Food Security in NZ?

- The bill would undermine the efforts of many people to become more self-sufficient within their local communities.

- Seed banks and seed-sharing networks could be shut down if they could not obtain authorisation. Loss of seed variety would make it more difficult to grow one’s own food.

- Home-grown food and some or all seed could not be bartered on a scale or frequency necessary to feed people in communities where commercially available food has become unaffordable or unavailable (for example due to economic collapse).

- Restrictions on the trade of food and seed would quickly lead to the permanent loss of heirloom strains, as well as a general lowering of plant diversity in agriculture.

- Organic producers of heirloom foods could lose market share to big-money agribusiness outfits, leading to an increase in the consumption of nutrient-poor and GE foods.

If the bill is going to be passed anyway, what can we do?

- People must decide if they will allow the enacted bill to apply them individually. The hardest thing to realise here is that we actually have a choice. Yet we do. The Crown tells us we are subject to legislation only by our consent – in other words by our individual, informed choice – here.

This consent can be formally revoked using a notarised Claim of Right (see for a template). If such a Claim is not disputed by affected parties like the police, Ministry of Justice etc, the claimant is no longer subject to legislation (though still subject to Common Law).

- Those who choose not to be subject to the enacted bill and other prohibitive legislation individually can then take steps to protect their collective interests using the formal contract the Queen has with the Natives of this country – the contract being the 1835 Declaration of Independence and its subsequent variation, Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840.

Again, the hardest thing here is a mental hurdle that must be overcome – our indoctrination over, or simple weariness of, the constitutional law of this country. But again, once this is achieved, the final solution is elegantly simple. For more on this, see the Maori Customary Law website, which helps hapu to stand in their own Sovereignty by providing template documents for filing with the Crown. You can also meet Maori sovereignty experts from all around the country, at Te Tii Marae, Waitangi, on 27th and 28th October – Independence Day. For more, see whakaminenga.

Details about the Food Bill

The bill is here.

Under the bill, any “undertaking” (anyone) that “processes” (grows/produces) “food” (plants/anything that can be eaten/plant material/seeds) for “sale” (bartering/offering/giving away/feeding people/selling for reserve bank notes etc) OR that just “sells” (barters, gives away) any “food” (plants, seeds etc) however that “food” is acquired will need to be licensed by the government in some way, or have a specific exemption.

This is outlined in the Meanings Sections (Sections 8-10, and Section 12) that are appended below in Appendix B.

The bill is vague on whether seeds are food if for non-grain-producing plants or others where seeds are eaten, like sunflowers. In other words seeds for rice, potatos, kumara, wheat, barley etc are all “food”, but seeds for brassicas may not be… but may also be.

And further it’s very vague on whether giving away for no reward (amazingly) constitutes “selling” under the bill.

People may be outraged that they can’t grow carrots and regularly swap them with their neighbour two doors down for his potatoes (or face jail). They will clearly be criminals under this bill.

However this is all side-show stuff.

The key factor is seeds. In many cases they specifically are food, of course. Grain seed, seed potatoes, rice, maize, quinoa, many staples etc etc – as the bill stands all these will explicitly be controlled substances, with similar penalties for possession as drugs.

Regarding not-normally-eaten seeds, it’s a short hop (via a single court ruling probably) that they are “food” by virtue of both being plant material and being “capable of being used for human consumption” (Section 8, see Appendix B below).

So the Food Bill is wide open for seed control – for staples already, and the rest by dint of a court ruling (after seed banks are raided without warrant and seeds condemned, perhaps, and the actions challenged).

This being so, the unenforceability of prohibiting people from growing food for local distribution becomes a moot point. No good seeds means no good food (if any food at all) to distribute.

OK, so that’s the problem…  what are the solutions?

In NZ there are protections against this kind of thing through the Treaty, highlighted in the WAI 262 claim Tribunal findings recently released in relation to taonga species, ie those considered to have human benefit. Such protection is enforceable via the Queen under the 1835 Declaration of Independence, which was reinforced rather than supplanted by the Treaty (Tiriti version, the binding one).

Simply put, to stop people from being able to trade food they grow, or to get good seeds to grow it, is just basic treason (the crime of betraying one’s country) and a breach of tikanga and thus the Treaty. The solution therefore lies in the Treaty (the Tiriti version, which on the issue of sovereignty/tino rangatiratanga/ “full authority” is upheld by the English law rule of Contra Proferentem in contracts. Thus the Queen is bound to be subject to the “full authority” of regional rangatira by her own laws… and the rangatira can overrule any food police. Hence the Governor-General has veto controls in the Bill – he is the Queen’s representative, and needs veto power to act as the instrument of rangatira where they wish to exercise their authority – anything else is unconstitutional.)

Again, details of how to use tino rangatiratanga in this way are available via the Maori Customary Law website, which helps hapu to stand in their own Sovereignty by providing template documents for filing with the Crown. You can also meet Maori sovereignty experts from all around the country, at Te Tii Marae, Waitangi, on 27th and 28th October – Independence Day. For more, see whakaminenga.

Individuals or collectives of people can also contract out from under this legislation by revoking their consent to parliamentary representation. This is done via a properly served Claim of Right. See You can thus nullify your enforceable adherence to legislation enacted by a legislature you are no longer represented in. (See Appendix A.) By serving copies of your claim on all affected parties, you can enforce this contracting out upon agencies that would otherwise assume you’re subject. You file your Notice/Claim via a Notary Public, which leaves nothing up for any dispute that a judge might otherwise have to adjudicate over, and thus no case to defend.

It’s also worth noting that due to this point of consent, the legislation is neither in breach of the Tiriti, nor is it treason :-) . This is the only way it can be got away with.

With luck this is not rabbit-hole stuff for you. It’s actually very simple. By contrast, legislation like the Food Bill is designed to get lost in. It’s 400 pages of mind-bending rubbish. We have the right to not have to consider these bills, nor get lost in them, nor have them apply to us, and to just go about our peaceful business – especially when legislation is enacted by people who don’t read it, nor even have it read to them anymore, and who we’re not represented by anyway if we simply tell them so. Judges uphold this basic truth, one might add. It’s about being right.

Meanwhile, the Tiriti holds the key for the country as a whole. Judges are sworn to uphold this too, because they have sworn an oath to uphold the law, and the Tiriti is part of our constitutional law. If they don’t uphold it, it’s because not enough people are holding them to account because they are snoozing as to what their human rights are and how they’re about to be seemingly (but not really) taken away. Rather they’ve been given away, by consent.


PS: You can also save seeds, and keep them secure :-)

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Appendix A

Parliament Brief: The legislative process (from here).

“The law is the framework within which citizens consent to be governed. Democratic theory is that having elected their lawmakers (legislators), citizens recognise the legitimacy of the laws made ontheir behalf by the lawmakers and consent to abide by those laws.”

[In other words, if you tell your local MP that you revoke your consent for him/her to represent you, and don't vote, you can logically also revoke your consent to abide by all legislation enacted in Parliament - it being the case that you no longer recognise its legitimacy in relation to yourself because, as above, it no longer has any. Nice of them to tell us :-]

Appendix B

Meaning of food

8 Meaning of food

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, food—

(a) means anything that is used, capable of being used, or
represented as being for use, for human consumption
(whether raw, prepared, or partly prepared); and

(b) includes—
(i) plants; and
(ii) live animals intended for human consumption at
the place of purchase; and
(iii) live animals for human consumption that are sold
in retail premises; and
(iv) any ingredient or nutrient or other constituent of
any food or drink, whether that ingredient or nu-
trient or other constituent is consumed or repre-
sented for consumption on its own by humans,
or is used in the preparation of, or mixed with or
added to, any food or drink; and
(v) anything that is or is intended to be mixed with
or added to any food or drink; and
(vi) chewing gum, and any ingredient of chewing
gum, and anything that is or is intended to be
mixed with or added to chewing gum; and
(vii) anything that is declared by the Governor-Gen-
eral, by Order in Council made under section
355, to be food for the purposes of this Act; but

(c) does not include—
(i) any tobacco; or
(ii) any cosmetics; or
(iii) any substances used only as medicines (within
the meaning of the Medicines Act 1981), any
controlled drugs (within the meaning of the Mis-
use of Drugs Act 1975), or any restricted sub-
stances (within the meaning of the Misuse of
Drugs Amendment Act 2005); or
(iv) any cookware and related products; or
(v) any packaging (except edible packaging).

(2) To avoid doubt, neither subsection (1)(b)(iv) nor (v) requires
any ingredient, nutrient, or other constituent of any food or
drink or anything that is or is intended to be mixed with or
added to any food or drink to comply, on its own, with the
applicable requirements of this Act that specifically relate to
food in its final consumable form.

Meaning of food business

9 Meaning of food business

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, food busi-

(a) means a business, activity, or undertaking that trades in
food (whether in whole or in part); and

(b) includes a business, activity, or undertaking that—
(i) transports or stores food; or 35
(ii) sells food on the Internet; or
(iii) provides, for reward, premises (including mobile
premises) or services in connection with or for
the purpose of trading in food (for example, an
event organiser, an organiser of a market at which
food is sold, or a lessor); or
(iv) is declared by the Governor-General, by Order in
Council made under section 355, to be a food
business for the purposes of this Act; but

(c) does not include a business, activity, or undertaking
(i) carries on any other business besides trading in
food and, in the course of which, acts as an inter-
mediary between persons who trade in food by
providing, for reward, premises a place (includ-
ing mobile premises) or services (for example, an
Internet service provider or an auction site on the
Internet); or
(ii) trades exclusively in food-related accessories; or
(iii) lets for hire any equipment (such as marquees,
tables, and chairs); or
(iv) is declared by the Governor-General, by Order
in Council made under section 355, not to be a
food business for the purposes of this Act.

Meaning of processing and handling

10 Meaning of processing and handling

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, processing
and handling, in relation to food for sale, includes any 1 or
more of the following:

(a) preparing the food:
(b) manufacturing the food:
(c) packing the food:
(d) transporting the food:
(e) storing the food:
(f) displaying the food:
(g) serving the food.

Meaning of sale
12 Meaning of sale
(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, sale, in re-
lation to food,—
(a) means selling food for processing and handling or for
human consumption; and
(b) includes—
(i) reselling food for processing and handling or for
human consumption; and
(ii) offering food or attempting to sell food, or re-
ceiving or having food in possession for sale, or
exposing food for sale, or sending or delivering
food for sale, or causing or permitting food to be
sold, offered, or exposed for sale; and
(iii) bartering food; and
(iv) selling, or offering to sell, any thing of which any
food forms a part; and
(v) supplying food, together with any accommoda-
tion, service, or entertainment, as part of an in-
clusive charge; and
(vi) supplying food in exchange for payment or in
relation to which payment is to be made in a shop,
hotel, restaurant, at a stall, in or on a craft or
vehicle, or any other place; and
(vii) for the purpose of advertisement or to promote
any trade or business, offering food as a prize
or reward to the public, whether on payment of
money or not, or giving away food; and
(viii) exporting food; and
(ix) every other method of disposition of food for
valuable consideration.
(2) The sale, offer, or exposure for sale of any food is to be treated,
unless the contrary is proved, as a sale, an offer, or an exposure
for sale of the food for human consumption.
(3) The sale of any food for the purpose of being mixed with any
other food is to be treated, unless the contrary is proved, as a
sale if the bulk or product produced by the mixing, or any part
of the bulk or product, is intended to be sold.
(4) The supply of food by or on behalf of the Crown that is funded
directly in whole or in part by the Crown for the purpose
(whether in whole or in part), or that is funded by any other
means, is to be treated as a sale of the food, unless an enact-
ment provides otherwise.

Appendix C

Select Committee recommendations

Small scale businesses

We recommend amending clause 95 by inserting new subclause 95(5)
to provide an example of a person to whom the chief executive might
grant an exemption from the requirement to operate under a regis-
tered food control plan or national programme. This example con-
cerns someone who produces in his or her own home any food for
sale, and sells the food to a consumer only, and does not employ or
engage anyone else to assist in the production or sale of the food, and
does not otherwise sell or distribute the food.

The treatment of very small-scale food businesses has emerged as
a matter of particular interest in our consideration of the bill. Very
small-scale food traders, or “cottage industries” are not distinguished
in the bill. It would be difficult to quantify “small-scale” in terms of
profit, quantity of product, or number of people involved in the oper-
ation, and it is also difficult to define a “cottage” food industry. Do-
ing so could have the effect of inappropriately including or excluding
particular food-trading activities. Therefore we do not recommend a
generic “cottage industry” provision, and propose instead that any
exemption from the requirement to operate under a food control plan
or national programme regulations could be made on a case-by-case
basis through the exercise of the chief executive’s exemption power
under this clause.

SO, TO WRAP UP: Well, we’re not going to let a bunch of offshore lawyers have the last word.

Offshore lawyers, you say? Yes, you heard right. Kate Wilkinson, Food Safety minister, whose name appears on top of the bill, says she had Simply No Idea That Her Bill Covered Seeds. Nor, the Greens say, did they – even though they voted for the bill’s first reading and had representatives on the Select Committee that further approved it. (For both obfuscations, replete with spin, see here.)

Which all begs the question, do Parliamentarians even read this stuff? NO. Have it read to them? NO! Just the title is read in Parliament. How about, do they write it? No, lawyers do that.

So who are these lawyers, and where do they work from?

The idea that Kate Wilkinson does not know the implications of a bill with her name on it (or says she doesn’t) is pretty astounding. So again – who are her ghost writers? Where are these lawyers based? Freedom of Information Request, anyone?

We know the Food Bill is being pushed by the US Food and Drug Administration via its involvement in Codex Alimentarius (the “Food Book”), which is a decades-in-the-making initiative being foisted upon all World Trade Organisation member countries.

NZ is a WTO member. And all member states have to implement Codex or lose food trade disputes by default. So Codex implementation is spreading through WTO countries like a dominant gene.

And of course genes are in large part what Codex is about… spreading GMOs throughout the food supply, either by business practice or by hitching a ride on the regenerative process via cross-pollination. And thereafter royalties ensue, for the likes of Monsanto. Which, of course, is a major lobbyist of the US FDA and a proponent of Codex.

The lawyers that wrote the Food Bill, one way or other, some place or other, maybe even in Washington (read on) – well, they work for global commercial interests. They do not work for your interests.

It does come down to business in the end, and control. Control of the food supply. Control a nation’s food, and you control its people. What is certain about the Food Bill is that it takes control away from home gardener networks (which have to operate as networks to share food and seed meaningfully) by making them illegal, and it gives it to those who can afford the expensive registration costs of being Food Bill compliant – to commercial food businesses. Who are then beholden to the Codex architects.

This is so because these commercial business will have to adhere to Codex Alimentarius food regulations handed down by the US FDA via the WTO and NZ Govt, or they will have their operating licences revoked. So the food they grow will be Codex compliant – which means irradiated, GM, hormone-injected, pesticide (poison) laden, life-force devoid food that’s lacking in nutritionally important vitamins and minerals.

Good for agribusiness, bad for you.

In short, this Bill could kill you. Or your children. But don’t take our word for it. Research Codex for yourself.

Does Kate Wilkinson know this? Yes. She knows most, if not all of it.

Is she trying to cover it up or spin it? Yes.

Wilkinson has a track record of concentrating attention stage right while something very detrimental happens stage left. For more on this, consider the 2010 Mining Schedule 4 Conservation Land debate she staged as Conservation Minister – it was all about defusing the uproar over the fact Schedules 1, 2, and 3 were to be mined. They never intended to mine Schedule 4. It was a blind. Simple duplicity. And the media, public and Greens took it hook, line and sinker.

The Food Bill has had no coverage in the mainstream on the issues that will actually affect people – like do they suffer from malnutrition or food toxicity? And the deception runs very deep. First you must know about the bill, which until two months ago was totally under the radar. Then you must delve into its 400 pages of mind-bendery. Then you must read between the lines with an eye to its provenance – the US FDA and global commercial interests. Finally, you must get the word out – tricky, when the mainstream is wary of stories that stink to high heaven of high-level commercial and political c-c-conspiracie.

Still with us? Good!

So, to wrap things up, when you consider how NZ actually gets its $300m-a-week debt-backed loans – with “The Crown” being a registered corporation in Washington DC called Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand, that offers our labour and resources as securites on said loans that can never be repaid because there’s more debt in global circulation than credit (that actually bundles up and trades those securities on stock exchanges like the LSE)… well NOW you start joining dots in the bigger picture that hitherto only our PM and Cabinet and judiciary were privy to (plus us).

Basically, international bankers own NZ, thanks in no small part to our former Merryl-Lyncher PM John Key hooking them up with great material securities for their house-of-cards moneylending services. So who do you think really wrote the Food Bill? Well, it was bankers probably. With accounts at the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

We are caught in a web called Debt Slavery, through our ignorance and ultimately our consensual inaction. And very soon, it could cost us dinner on the table.

But word is quickly spreading – about the Food Bill, at least. Please, do your bit – SHARE a link to on Facebook, print this out and pass it around at farmers’ markets, link in from your blogs and ring around local organic food suppliers and ask them if they’ve heard of the bill. Get their email addresses, send them the link and ask them to forward it and place printouts of this page at their point of sale. You could even hand out copies outside New World ;-)

Once you’ve got the word out, DO something. File a Claim of Right prior to the election (and don’t vote). Better still, become adopted by a hapu, because hapu can issue Orders overriding all parts of this bill for their districts (rohe). The Governor-General has to and will respect such orders, and exempt whole regions falling under hapu rangatiratanga that exerise their rangatiratanga. He is constitutionally bound to do so, and the bill gives very clear provisions for his intervention – it has to.

The bottom line is that kids in New Zealand are already suffering malnutrition from rising food prices. This Bill will make food even more expensive, and less nutritious to boot. And you won’t be able to grow and share food properly, so you’ll be beholden to a failing pyramid-scheme global banking system.

In lawyer speak, this country is about to be severely rorted. Which means screwed. Do you give your consent?


Then cry “RAPE”, and loudly. And reach for your pepper spray.


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SEPTEMBER 1: BFM’s The Wire - interview with Rosie Ryburn. Listen here.

SEPTEMBER 11: Sunday Star-Times – Rob O’Neill reports on the Food Bill, albeit with multiple errors and on September 11, thus burying the news under Rugby World Cup hype and Twin Towers flashbacks. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 27: A Food Bill truth story hits number four on the What’s Hot page of Reddit – which is momentous :-) For the story, and comments, see here. Meanwhile, 6400 people have now crammed Kate Wilkinon’s inbox via, voicing their disgust at the bill. And eight out of ten of today’s top results on a google search for “food bill 160″ are protesting the bill.

So while the mainstream media keeps up its near-total silence on the Food Bill, real people are using their own networks to spread information about the most important thing for us after water – food. This tide seems to be gathering pace. Share, share, share…

Thursday, 1 December 2011

"Corporate America Is Using Our Police Departments As Hired Thugs" Ret Police Captain Ray Lewis - YouTube

Crossing Police Lines: US cops defect to OWS - YouTube

>Wikileaks - The Spy files

The Spyfiles

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files

Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for ’political opponents’ are a reality. Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry. Working with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as media organizations form six countries – ARD in Germany, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK, The Hindu in India, L’Espresso in Italy, OWNI in France and the Washington Post in the U.S. Wikileaks is shining a light on this secret industry that has boomed since September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year. WikiLeaks has released 287 documents today, but the Spy Files project is ongoing and further information will be released this week and into next year.

International surveillance companies are based in the more technologically sophisticated countries, and they sell their technology on to every country of the world. This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. Users’ physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is only on stand by.

But the WikiLeaks Spy Files are more than just about ’good Western countries’ exporting to ’bad developing world countries’. Western companies are also selling a vast range of mass surveillance equipment to Western intelligence agencies. In traditional spy stories, intelligence agencies like MI5 bug the phone of one or two people of interest. In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm. Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.

Selling Surveillance to Dictators

When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they uncovered listening rooms where devices from Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.

Surveillance companies like SS8 in the U.S., Hacking Team in Italy and Vupen in France manufacture viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and phones (including iPhones, Blackberries and Androids), take over the device, record its every use, movement, and even the sights and sounds of the room it is in. Other companies like Phoenexia in the Czech Republic collaborate with the military to create speech analysis tools. They identify individuals by gender, age and stress levels and track them based on ‘voiceprints’. Blue Coat in the U.S. and Ipoque in Germany sell tools to governments in countries like China and Iran to prevent dissidents from organizing online.

Trovicor, previously a subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, supplied the Bahraini government with interception technologies that tracked human rights activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar. He was shown details of personal mobile phone conversations from before he was interrogated and beaten in the winter of 2010-2011.

How Mass Surveillance Contractors Share Your Data with the State

In January 2011, the National Security Agency broke ground on a $1.5 billion facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come.

Telecommunication companies are forthcoming when it comes to disclosing client information to the authorities - no matter the country. Headlines during August’s unrest in the UK exposed how Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry, offered to help the government identify their clients. RIM has been in similar negotiations to share BlackBerry Messenger data with the governments of India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Weaponizing Data Kills Innocent People

There are commercial firms that now sell special software that analyze this data and turn it into powerful tools that can be used by military and intelligence agencies.

For example, in military bases across the U.S., Air Force pilots use a video link and joystick to fly Predator drones to conduct surveillance over the Middle East and Central Asia. This data is available to Central Intelligence Agency officials who use it to fire Hellfire missiles on targets.

The CIA officials have bought software that allows them to match phone signals and voice prints instantly and pinpoint the specific identity and location of individuals. Intelligence Integration Systems, Inc., based in Massachusetts - sells a “location-based analytics” software called Geospatial Toolkit for this purpose. Another Massachusetts company named Netezza, which bought a copy of the software, allegedly reverse engineered the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for use in remotely piloted drone aircraft.

IISI, which says that the software could be wrong by a distance of up to 40 feet, sued Netezza to prevent the use of this software. Company founder Rich Zimmerman stated in court that his “reaction was one of stun, amazement that they (CIA) want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work."

Orwell’s World

Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence agencies spy on individuals and ‘communities of interest’ on an industrial scale.

The Wikileaks Spy Files reveal the details of which companies are making billions selling sophisticated tracking tools to government buyers, flouting export rules, and turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights.

How to use the Spy Files

To search inside those files, click one of the link on the left pane of this page, to get the list of documents by type, company date or tag.

To search all these companies on a world map use the following tool from Owni

He was 22... She was 12... Lessons From the Dead in a No-Learning-Curve World | Truthout

He was 22... She was 12... Lessons From the Dead in a No-Learning-Curve World

by: Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch | News Analysis

He was 22, a corporal in the Marines from Preston, Iowa, a “city” incorporated in 1890 with a present population of 949.  He died in a hospital in Germany of “wounds received from an explosive device while on patrol in Helmand province [Afghanistan].”  Of him, his high school principal said, “He was a good kid.” He is survived by his parents.

He was 20, a private in the 10th Mountain Division from Boyne City, population 3,735 souls, which bills itself as “the fastest growing city in Northern Michigan.”  He died of “wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire” and is survived by his parents.

These were the last two of the 10 Americans whose deaths in Afghanistan were announced by the Pentagon Thanksgiving week.  The other eight came from Apache Junction, Arizona; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; Navarre, Florida; Witchita, Kansas; San Jose, California; Moline, Illinois; and Danville, California.  Six of them died from improvised explosive devices (roadside bombs), assumedly without ever seeing the Afghan enemies who killed them.  One died of “indirect fire” and another “while conducting combat operations.”  On such things, Defense Department press releases are relatively tight-lipped, as was the Army, for instance, when it released news that same week of 17 “potential suicides” among active-duty soldiers in October.

These days, the names of the dead dribble directly onto the inside pages of newspapers, or simply into the ether, in a war now opposed by 63% of Americans, according to the latest CNN/ORC opinion poll, but in truth barely remembered by anyone in this country.  It’s a reality made easier by the fact that the dead of America’s All-Volunteer Army tend to come from forgettable places -- small towns, obscure suburbs, third or fourth-rank cities -- and a military that ever fewer Americans have any connection with.

Aside from those who love them, who pays much attention anymore to the deaths of American troops in distant lands? These deaths are, after all, largely dwarfed by local fatality counts like the 16 Americans who died in accidents on Ohio’s highways over the long Thanksgiving weekend of 2010 or the 32,788 Americans who died in road fatalities that same year?

So who, that same week, was going to pay the slightest attention to the fate of 50 year-old Mohammad Rahim, a farmer from Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan?  Four of his children -- two sons and two daughters, all between four and 12 years old -- were killed in a “NATO” (undoubtedly American) airstrike, while working in their fields.  In addition, an eight-year-old daughter of his was “badly wounded.”  Whether Rahim himself was killed is unclear from the modest reports we have of the “incident.”

In all, seven civilians and possibly two fleeing insurgents died.  Rahim’s uncle Abdul Samad, however, is quoted as saying, “There were no Taliban in the field; this is a baseless allegation that the Taliban were planting mines.  I have been to the scene and haven’t found a single bit of evidence of bombs or any other weapons.  The Americans did a serious crime against innocent children, they will never be forgiven.”

As in all such cases, NATO has opened an “investigation” into what happened.  The results of such investigations seldom become known.

Similarly, on Thanksgiving weekend, 24 to 28 Pakistani soldiers, including two officers, were killed in a set of “NATO” helicopter and fighter-jet attacks on two outposts across the Afghan border in Pakistan.  One post, according to Pakistani sources, was attacked twice.  More soldiers were wounded.   Outraged Pakistani officials promptly denounced the attack, closed key border crossings to U.S. vehicles supplying the war in Afghanistan, and demanded that the U.S. leave a key airbase used for the CIA’s drone war in the Pakistani tribal areas. In response, American officials, military and civilian, offered condolences and yet pleaded “self-defense,” while offering promises of a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the “friendly fire incident.”

Amid these relatively modest death counts, don’t forget one staggering figure that came to light that same Thanksgiving week: the estimate that, in Iraq, 900,000 wives have lost their husbands since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.  Not surprisingly, many of these widows are in a state of desperation and reportedly getting next to no help from either the Iraqi or the American governments.  Though their 900,000 husbands undoubtedly died in various ways, warlike, civil-war-like, and peaceable, the figure does offer a crude indicator of the levels of carnage the U.S. invasion loosed on that country over the last eight and a half years.

Creative Destruction in the Greater Middle East

Think of all this as just a partial one-week's scorecard of American-style war.  While you’re at it, remember Washington's high hopes only a decade ago for what America’s “lite,” “shock and awe” military would do, for the way it would singlehandedly crush enemies, reorganize the Middle East, create a new order on Earth, set the oil flowing, privatize and rebuild whole nations, and usher in a global peace, especially in the Greater Middle East, on terms pleasing to the planet’s sole superpower.

That such sky-high “hopes” were then the coin of the realm in Washington is a measure of the way delusional thinking passed for the strategic variety and a reminder of how, for a time, pundits of every sort dealt with those hopes as if they represented reality itself.  And yet, it should have come as no shock that a military-first “foreign policy” and a military force with staggering technological powers at its command would prove incapable of building anything.  No one should have been surprised that such a force was good only for what it was built for: death and destruction.

A case might be made that the U.S. military’s version of “creative destruction,” driven directly into the oil heartlands of the planet, did prepare the way, however inadvertently, for the Arab Spring to come, in part by unifying the region in misery and visceral dislike.  In the meantime, the “mistakes,” the “incidents,” the “collateral damage,” the slaughtered wedding parties and bombed funerals, the “mishaps,” and “miscommunications” continued to pile up -- as did dead Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Americans, so many from places you’ve never heard of if you weren’t born there.

None of this should have surprised anyone. Perhaps at least marginally more surprising was the inability of the U.S. military to wield its destructive power to win anything whatsoever.  Since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, there have been so many proclamations of "success," of “mission accomplished,” of corners turned and tipping points reached, of “progress” made, and so very, very little to show.

Amid the destruction, destabilization, and disaster, the high hopes quietly evaporated.  Now, of course, “shock and awe” is long gone.  Those triumphant “surges” are history.  Counterinsurgency, or COIN -- for a while the hottest thing around -- has been swept back into the dustbin of history from which General (now CIA Director) David Petraeus rescued it not so many years ago.

After a decade in Afghanistan in which the U.S. military has battled a minority insurgency, perhaps as unpopular as any “popular” movement could be, the war there is now almost universally considered “unwinnable” or a “stalemate.”  Of course, what a stalemate means when the planet's most powerful military takes on a bunch of backcountry guerrillas, some armed with weapons that deserve to be in museums, is at best an open question.

Meanwhile, after almost nine years of war and occupation, the U.S. military is shutting down its multi-billion-dollar mega-bases in Iraq and withdrawing its troops.  Though it leaves behind a monster State Department mission guarded by a 5,000-man army of mercenaries, a militarized budget of $6.5 billion for 2012, and more than 700 mostly hire-a-gun trainers, Iraq is visibly a loss for Washington.  In Pakistan, the American drone war combined with the latest “incident” on the Pakistani border, evidently involving U.S. special forces operatives, has further destabilized that country and the U.S. alliance there. A major Pakistani presidential candidate is already calling for the end of that alliance, while anti-Americanism grows by leaps and bounds.

None of this should startle either.  After all, what exactly could an obdurately military-first foreign policy bring with it but the whirlwind (and not just to foreign lands either)?  As the Occupy Wall Street protests and their repression remind us, American police forces, too, were heavily militarized.  Meanwhile, our wars and national security spending have drained the U.S. of trillions of dollars in national treasure, leaving behind a country in political gridlock, its economy in something close to a shock-and-awe state, its infrastructure crumbling, and vast majorities of its angry citizens convinced that their land is not only “on the wrong track,” but “in decline.”

Into the Whirlwind

A decade later, perhaps the only thing that should truly cause surprise is how little has been learned in Washington.  The military-first policy of choice that rang in the century -- there were, of course, other options available -- has become the only option left in Washington’s impoverished arsenal. After all, the country's economic power is in tatters (which is why the Europeans are looking to China for help in the Euro crisis), its “soft power” has gone down the tubes, and its diplomatic corps has either been militarized or was long ago relegated to the back of the bus of state.

What couldn’t be stranger, though, is that from the whirlwind of policy disaster, the Obama administration has drawn the least likely conclusion: that more of what has so visibly failed us is in order -- from Pakistan to Uganda, Afghanistan to Somalia, the Persian Gulf to China.  Yes, COIN is out and drones as well as special operations forces are in, but the essential policy remains the same.

The evidence of the last decade clearly indicates that nothing of significance is likely to be built from the rubble of such a global policy -- most obviously in relations with China, America’s greatest creditor.  However, there, too, as President Obama signaled (however feebly) with his recent announcement of a symbolic permanent deployment of U.S. Marines to Darwin, Australia, the military path remains the path of least resistance.  As Michael Klare put it recently in the Nation magazine, “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the White House has decided to counter China’s spectacular economic growth with a military riposte.”

As Barry Lando, former 60 Minutes producer, points out, China, not the U.S., is already “one of the largest oil beneficiaries of the Iraq War.”  In fact, our military build-up throughout the Persian Gulf region is, in essence, guarding Chinese commerce.  “Just as American troops and bases have spread along the Gulf,” Lando writes, “so have China’s businessmen, eager to exploit the vital resources that the U.S. military is thoughtfully protecting... A strange symbiosis: American bases and Chinese markets.”

In other words, the single most monstrous mistake of the Bush years -- the confusion of military with economic power -- has been set in stone.  Washington continues to lead with its drones and ask questions or offer condolences or launch investigations later.  This is, of course, a path guaranteed to bring destruction and blowback in its wake.  None of it is likely to benefit us in the long run, least of all in relation to China.

When history, that most unpredictable of subjects, becomes predictable, watch out.

In what should be a think-outside-the-box moment, the sole lesson Washington seems capable of absorbing is that its failed policy is the only possible policy.  Among other things, this means more “incidents,” more “mistakes,” more “accidents,” more dead, more embittered people vowing vengeance, more investigations, more pleas of self-defense, more condolences, more money draining out of the U.S. treasury, and more destabilization.

As it has been since September 12, 2001, Washington remains engaged in a fierce and costly losing battle with ghosts in which, unfortunately, perfectly real people die, and perfectly real women are widowed.

He was 22 years old...

She was 12...

Those are lines you will read again and again in our no-learning-curve world and no condolences will be enough.

Freedom Rider

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Give 'Em Hell Michael Avery!

Michael Avery is a professor at Suffolk University Law School in Massachusetts. When he and his colleagues were asked to send "care packages" to troops stationed abroad, he had plenty to say about it.

Simply put, Avery questioned the very ideal that one must support the military and its actions around the globe. Needless to say, he has created a firestorm of criticism.

I have been thinking a lot about these issues lately. I used to say that the Bush administration was fascist but I now realize I was wrong. We have a system which is headed faster and faster down the slope to being fascistic and it will be so whether a democrat or a republican is president. As Avery points out, the Obama administration is Bush the sequel when it comes to diminishing our legal rights and promoting a national security state.

After a determined internet search I found Avery's email address and told him that I and many others support him. I am reluctant to reveal that address because I fear that he will get a lot more hate than love These are his words in an email sent to his colleagues.

"I think is is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings. I understand that there is residual sympathy for service members, perhaps engendered by support for troops in World War II, or perhaps from when there was a draft and people with few resources to resist were involuntarily sent to battle. That sympathy is not particularly rational in today's world, however.

The United States may well be the most war prone country in the history of civilization. We have been at war two years out of three since the Cold War ended. We have 700 overseas military bases. What other country has any? In the last ten years we have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary foreign invasion. Those are dollars that could have been used for people who are losing their homes to the economic collapse, for education, to repair our infrastructure, or for any of a thousand better purposes than making war. And of course those hundreds of billions of dollars have gone for death and destruction.

Perhaps some of my colleagues will consider this to be an inappropriate political state. But of course the solicitation email was a political statement, although cast as support for student activities. The politics of that solicitation are that war is legitimate, perhaps inevitable, and that patriotic Americans should get behind our troops.

We need to be more mindful of what message we are sending as a school. Since Sept. 11 we have had perhaps the largest flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act. Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Bush administration, and which continue during the Obama administration.

Why do we continue to have this oversized flag in our lobby? Why are we sending support to the military instead of Americans who are losing their homes, malnourished, unable to get necessary medical care, and suffering from other consequences of poverty? As a university, we should debate these questions, not remain on automatic pilot in support of the war agenda."

Mr. Avery's punishment has yet to begin. I'm sure that the university will be forced to take him to task or fire him, or burn him at the stake and then cut out his tongue. I also predict that some eager reporter will ask the Obama administration to comment.

Mr. Constitutional Law Professor killer in chief will no doubt toss Avery under the back wheels of a very big bus. Count on it.

Iceland Arrests Former CEO Of Failed Bank

Iceland's special prosecutor has taken Larus Welding, the former head of the failed Glitnir Bank, into custody, Reuters reports.

Glitnir Bank was the first of the top three Icelandic commercial banks to fail in 2008.

Former director of market trade Jóhannes Baldursson and former broker Ingi Rafn Júlíusson were also taken into custody and between ten and twenty other former employees of Glitnir Bank were also investigated.

They are expected to be held for a week, apparently to prevent tampering with evidence or witness coercion.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office released a statement that indicates their investigation will focus on four areas (via IceNews):

1. The purchase of Glitnir’s own trade of shares issued by the bank on the stock market. Also the bank’s purchase of and trade with shares issued by FL Group. 

2. Loans granted to various companies because of purchase of shares issued by the bank at the end of 2007 and in 2008. The original principal of these loans is believed to amount to almost ISK 37 billion (USD 310 million, EUR 231 million) in total. 

3. Trade with forward contracts on shares issued by the bank. 

4. Glitnir’s underwriting of the ISK 15 million (USD 126 million, EUR 93 million) stock offering by FL Group at the end of 2007, beginning of 2008.

The collapse of Iceland's three biggest commercial banks left $86 billion in debt (Iceland’s 2010 GDP was only $13.3 billion).

Carers Rights Day | Carers UK

Carers Rights Day

Carers Rights Day Carers Rights Day

Friday 02 December 2011

Families across the country are struggling with high household bills and worries about jobs. But families affected by illness and disability can struggle more than most - as they struggle with the additional costs of caring and often lost earnings as a result of illness and disability.  This means that there has never been a more important time for carers to know their rights and access all the financial and practical support they are entitled to.

Each year Carers UK runs Carers Rights Day, working with hundreds of local groups, businesses and charities across the country to support carers in their area.

The theme for this year's Carers Rights Day is simple: Money Matters - because without support, we know that carers can end in debt, struggling to pay essential bills and sometimes sick with the stress of it.

Carers Rights Day is about getting carers the information and advice they need to claim benefits, get a carer’s assessment and access support.

If you are able to run an event near you - big or small - we can offer free resources to help.

Events organisers can register here to receive an Organiser's Handbook.

Arundhati Roy: "The People Who Created the Crisis Will Not Be the Ones That Come Up With a Solution" | Truthout

Arundhati Roy: "The People Who Created the Crisis Will Not Be the Ones That Come Up With a Solution"

by: Arun Gupta, The Guardian UK | Op-Ed

Arundhati Roy, speaking at a Harvard conference in April, 2010. (Photo: jeanbaptisteparis)

The prize-winning author of The God of Small Things talks about why she is drawn to the Occupy movement and the need to reclaim language and meaning.

Sitting in a car parked at a gas station on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, my colleague Michelle holds an audio recorder to my cellphone. At the other end of the line is Arundhati Roy, author of the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things, who is some 2,000 miles away, driving to Boston.

"This is uniquely American," I remark to Roy about interviewing her while both in cars but thousands of miles apart. Having driven some 7,000 miles and visited 23 cities (and counting) in reporting on the Occupy movement, it's become apparent that the US is essentially an oil-based economy in which we shuttle goods we no longer make around a continental land mass, creating poverty-level dead-end jobs in the service sector.

This is the secret behind the Occupy Wall Street movement that Roy visited before the police crackdowns started. Sure, ending pervasive corporate control of the political system is on the lips of almost every occupier we meet. But this is nothing new. What's different is most Americans now live in poverty, on the edge, or fear a descent into the abyss. It's why a majority (at least of those who have an opinion) still support Occupy Wall Street even after weeks of disinformation and repression.

In this exclusive interview for the Guardian, Roy offers her thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, the role of the imagination, reclaiming language, and what is next for a movement that has reshaped America's political discourse and seized the world's attention.

AG: Why did you want to visit Occupy Wall Street and what are your impressions of it?

AR: How could I not want to visit? Given what I've been doing for so many years, it seems to me, intellectually and theoretically, quite predictable this was going to happen here at some point. But still I cannot deny myself the surprise and delight that it has happened. And I wanted to, obviously, see for myself the extent and size and texture and nature of it. So the first time I went there, because all those tents were up, it seemed more like a squat than a protest to me, but it began to reveal itself in a while. Some people were holding the ground and it was the hub for other people to organise, to think through things. As I said when I spoke at the People's University, it seems to me to be introducing a new political language into the United States, a language that would be considered blasphemous only a while ago.

AG: Do you think that the Occupy movement should be defined by occupying one particular space or by occupying spaces?

AR: I don't think the whole protest is only about occupying physical territory, but about reigniting a new political imagination. I don't think the state will allow people to occupy a particular space unless it feels that allowing that will end up in a kind of complacency, and the effectiveness and urgency of the protest will be lost. The fact that in New York and other places where people are being beaten and evicted suggests nervousness and confusion in the ruling establishment. I think the movement will, or at least should, become a protean movement of ideas, as well as action, where the element of surprise remains with the protesters. We need to preserve the element of an intellectual ambush and a physical manifestation that takes the government and the police by surprise. It has to keep re-imagining itself, because holding territory may not be something the movement will be allowed to do in a state as powerful and violent as the United States.

AG: At the same, occupying public spaces did capture the public imagination. Why do you think that is?

AR: I think you had a whole subcutaneous discontent that these movements suddenly began to epitomise. The Occupy movement found places where people who were feeling that anger could come and share it – and that is, as we all know, extremely important in any political movement. The Occupy sites became a way you could gauge the levels of anger and discontent.

AG: You mentioned that they are under attack. Dozens of occupations have been shut down, evicted, at least temporarily, in the last week. What do you see as the next phase for this movement?

AR: I don't know whether I'm qualified to answer that, because I'm not somebody who spends a lot of time here in the United States, but I suspect that it will keep reassembling in different ways and the anger created by the repression will, in fact, expand the movement. But eventually, the greater danger to the movement is that it may dovetail into the presidential election campaign that's coming up. I've seen that happen before in the antiwar movement here, and I see it happening all the time in India. Eventually, all the energy goes into trying to campaign for the "better guy", in this case Barack Obama, who's actually expanding wars all over the world. Election campaigns seem to siphon away political anger and even basic political intelligence into this great vaudeville, after which we all end up in exactly the same place.

AG: Your essays, such as "The Greater Common Good" and "Walking with the Comrades", concern corporations, the military and state violently occupying other people's lands in India. How do those occupations and resistances relate to the Occupy Wall Street movement?

AR: I hope that that the people in the Occupy movement are politically aware enough to know that their being excluded from the obscene amassing of wealth of US corporations is part of the same system of the exclusion and war that is being waged by these corporations in places like India, Africa and the Middle East. Ever since the Great Depression, we know that one of the key ways in which the US economy has stimulated growth is by manufacturing weapons and exporting war to other countries. So, whether this movement is a movement for justice for the excluded in the United States, or whether it is a movement against an international system of global finance that is manufacturing levels of hunger and poverty on an unimaginable scale, remains to be seen.

AG: You've written about the need for a different imagination than that of capitalism. Can you talk about that?


AR: We often confuse or loosely use the ideas of crony capitalism or neoliberalism to actually avoid using the word "capitalism", but once you've actually seen, let's say, what's happening in India and the United States – that this model of US economics packaged in a carton that says "democracy" is being forced on countries all over the world, militarily if necessary, has in the United States itself resulted in 400 of the richest people owning wealth equivalent [to that] of half of the population. Thousands are losing their jobs and homes, while corporations are being bailed out with billions of dollars.

In India, 100 of the richest people own assets worth 25% of the gross domestic product. There's something terribly wrong. No individual and no corporation should be allowed to amass that kind of unlimited wealth, including bestselling writers like myself, who are showered with royalties. Money need not be our only reward. Corporations that are turning over these huge profits can own everything: the media, the universities, the mines, the weapons industry, insurance hospitals, drug companies, non-governmental organisations. They can buy judges, journalists, politicians, publishing houses, television stations, bookshops and even activists. This kind of monopoly, this cross-ownership of businesses, has to stop.

The whole privatisation of health and education, of natural resources and essential infrastructure – all of this is so twisted and so antithetical to anything that would place the interests of human beings or the environment at the center of what ought to be a government concern – should stop. The amassing of unfettered wealth of individuals and corporations should stop. The inheritance of rich people's wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed.

AG: What would the different imagination look like?

AR: The home minister of India has said that he wants 70% of the Indian population in the cities, which means moving something like 500 million people off their land. That cannot be done without India turning into a military state. But in the forests of central India and in many, many rural areas, a huge battle is being waged. Millions of people are being driven off their lands by mining companies, by dams, by infrastructure companies, and a huge battle is being waged. These are not people who have been co-opted into consumer culture, into the western notions of civilisation and progress. They are fighting for their lands and their livelihoods, refusing to be looted so that someone somewhere far away may "progress" at their cost.

India has millions of internally displaced people. And now, they are putting their bodies on the line and fighting back. They are being killed and imprisoned in their thousands. Theirs is a battle of the imagination, a battle for the redefinition of the meaning of civilisation, of the meaning of happiness, of the meaning of fulfilment. And this battle demands that the world see that, at some stage, as the water tables are dropping and the minerals that remain in the mountains are being taken out, we are going to confront a crisis from which we cannot return. The people who created the crisis in the first place will not be the ones that come up with a solution.

That is why we must pay close attention to those with another imagination: an imagination outside of capitalism, as well as communism. We will soon have to admit that those people, like the millions of indigenous people fighting to prevent the takeover of their lands and the destruction of their environment – the people who still know the secrets of sustainable living – are not relics of the past, but the guides to our future.

AG: In the United States, as I'm sure you're aware, political discourse is obsessed with the middle class, but the Occupy movement has made the poor and homeless visible for the first time in decades in the public discourse. Could you comment on that?

AR: It's so much a reversal of what you see in India. In India, the poverty is so vast that the state cannot control it. It can beat people, but it can't prevent the poor from flooding the roads, the cities, the parks and railway station platforms. Whereas, here, the poor have been invisibilised, because obviously this model of success that has been held out to the world must not show the poor, it must not show the condition of black people. It can only the successful ones, basketball players, musicians, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell. But I think the time will come when the movement will have to somehow formulate something more than just anger.

AG: As a writer, what do you make of the term "occupation", which has now somehow been reclaimed as a positive term when it's always been one of the most heinous terms in political language?

AR: As a writer, I've often said that, among the other things that we need to reclaim, other than the obscene wealth of billionaires, is language. Language has been deployed to mean the exact opposite of what it really means when they talk about democracy or freedom. So I think that turning the word "occupation" on its head would be a good thing, though I would say that it needs a little more work. We ought to say, "Occupy Wall Street, not Iraq," "Occupy Wall Street, not Afghanistan," "Occupy Wall Street, not Palestine." The two need to be put together. Otherwise people might not read the signs.

AG: As a novelist, you write a lot in terms of motivations and how characters interpret reality. Around the country, many occupiers we've talked to seem unable to reconcile their desires about Obama with what Obama really represents. When I talk to them about Obama's record, they say, "Oh, his hands are tied; the Republicans are to blame, it's not his fault." Why do you think people react like this, even at the occupations?

AR: Even in India, we have the same problem. We have a right wing that is so vicious and so openly wicked, which is the Baratiya Janata party (BJP), and then we have the Congress party, which does almost worse things, but does it by night. And people feel that the only choices they have are to vote for this or for that. And my point is that, whoever you vote for, it doesn't have to consume all the oxygen in the political debate. It's just an artificial theatre, which in a way is designed to subsume the anger and to make you feel that this is all that you're supposed to think about and talk about, when, in fact, you're trapped between two kinds of washing powder that are owned by the same company.

Democracy no longer means what it was meant to. It has been taken back into the workshop. Each of its institutions has been hollowed out, and it has been returned to us as a vehicle for the free market, of the corporations. For the corporations, by the corporations. Even if we do vote, we should just spend less time and intellectual energy on our choices and keep our eye on the ball.

AG: So it's also a failure of the imagination?

AR: It's walking into a pretty elaborate trap. But it happens everywhere, and it will continue to happen. Even I know that if I go back to India, and tomorrow the BJP comes to power, personally I'll be in a lot more trouble than with the Congress [party] in power. But systemically, in terms of what is being done, there's no difference, because they collaborate completely, all the time. So I'm not going to waste even three minutes of my time, if I have to speak, asking people to vote for this one or for that one.

AG: One question that a lot of people have asked me: when is your next novel coming out?

AR: I have no answer to that question … I really don't know. Novels are such mysterious and amorphous and tender things. And here we are with our crash helmets on, with concertina wire all around us.

AG: So this inspires you, as a novelist, the movement?

AR: Well, it comforts me, let's just say. I feel in so many ways rewarded for having done what I did, along with hundreds of other people, even the times when it seemed futile.

• Michelle Fawcett contributed to this article. She and Arun Gupta are covering the Occupy movement nationwide for Salon, Alternet and other outlets. Their work is available at

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