Trevor Selvam on the West Bengal Train Crash as a Casus Belli

West Bengal Police Inspector General, Bhupinder Singh

29 May, 2010

Countercurrents.org
By Trevor Selvam

First, the Ms. Quasimodo of Bengal and Indian politics, Mamata Banerjee announces that it was a “bomb blast” with great bombast. Then, Bhupinder Singh, the Police IG and KPS Gill-wannabee (who had earlier smeared and lied about Chatradhar Mahato’s insurance, property etc and never bothered to retract anything) says that two posters were found proving that the Maoist PCAPA had taken “responsibility ”for the train disaster. The two posters, it turned out, merely stated the intent of the local PCAPA the reasons for their on-going struggles.

Ms. Bomberjee also claimed that a pilot vehicle had passed by just before. She did not state how “before” it was. One hour, two hours, five hours, one day? After the entire place is “infested” with Maoists. Is it not?

Now the tone is changing gradually. A foot and half of fish-plates were found removed. A BBC cameraman has displayed the gap in one of their broadcasts. No evidence of a blast any longer. No evidence of gelatine, dynamite, ammonium nitrate. The foreign press had already expressed some caution, in their statements and terminology. But not the Indian press. They are so free, unfettered and dynamic when it comes to spreading innuendo!

The Maoists have officially stated that they had nothing to do with the incident to BBC and other reporters. There are now reports that the government has toned down its mischievous rhetoric and has stated that “Maoist involvement cannot be ruled out.” Continue reading

Whom Will We Honor on Memorial Day?

(Howard Zinn, noted historian and writer of A People’s History of  the United States, was a military veteran who became a leading anti-war activist against the US wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  He died January 27, 2010, at the age of 87.  He wrote about Memorial Day in the following essay).

Howard Zinn was arrested in the late 60s at a protest of the Vietnam War

by Howard Zinn

Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.

In 1974, I was invited by Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe, who had been bold enough in 1971 to print part of the top secret Pentagon Papers on the history of the Vietnam War, to write a bi-weekly column for the op-ed page of the newspaper. I did that for about a year and a half. The column below appeared June 2, 1976, in connection with that year’s Memorial Day. After it appeared, my column was canceled.

[Howard's words still ring true some 35 years later. How long before we learn and act? -- Ed.]

*****
Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.

It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause. It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.

There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?

No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again. Continue reading

Cynthia McKinney Mourns the Dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: People of the U.S. and the world must end Israeli impunity now!

I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act.  I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.

But I’m even more outraged that once again, Israel’s actions have been aided and abetted by a U.S. political class that has become corrupted beyond belief due to its reliance on Zionist finance and penetration by Zionist zealots for whom no U.S. weapons system is too much for the Israeli war machine, and the silence of the world’s onlookers whose hearts have grown cold with indifference.

I recently visited the offices of IHH, the Turkish humanitarian organization that sponsored one of the Freedom Flotilla boats, and that was targeted by the Israelis for its murderous rampage.  Reports are still coming in as to the full extent of the senseless Israeli violence.  Of course, I expect Israel’s apologists in the press and in the United States government to shift into high gear to support Israel’s lying machine.  Take note of their names.  The 12,000 internet squatters/written word grenade throwers, hired by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to defend Israel and attack peace activists online, are already busy spreading their orchestrated disinformation in cyberspace.  Be very careful what you read and believe from special interest press and the internet.  You could be reading one of Israel’s hired hacks.  As a news diversion from what Israel has just done, I suspect that we can also expect to see a lot of historical footage of war’s atrocities on television:  today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day long ago set aside to remember the sacrifices of U.S. war dead. Continue reading

Who are the U.S. Participants in the International Aid Flotilla?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

El Cerrito, CA, (Pal Telegraph) A decorated U.S. Navy veteran, a retired U.S. ambassador, a structural engineer, a former math teacher and a piano tuner are heading for the eastern Mediterranean to take part in the Freedom Flotilla, a multinational grassroots effort to deliver humanitarian relief aid to the besieged Gaza Strip by sea. They will represent the Free Palestine Movement (FPM), a California-based human rights organization that helped to purchase one of the ships and is sending reconstruction supplies aboard it. In all, the convoy will include at least eight ships, carrying 600 passengers and 5,000 tons of building materials, medical equipment, and school supplies. Continue reading

Stormy protests at the Israeli Consulate in Ankara

A stormy rally is being held at the moment at the Israeli Consulate in Ankara where Turkish people gathered to protest against Israel’s attack on ships carrying aid to Gaza, local media reported.

The six-ship convoy carrying aid for Palestinians and led by a Turkish vessel with at least 500 people on board set sail for Gaza from international waters off Cyprus on Sunday in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade of the territory. The flotilla was expected to arrive near Gaza at about 9 am Monday, according to officials.

Israeli forces on Monday attacked the ships, killing up to 16 and wounding more than 60 others. It is reported that IDF’s forces are waiting for arrival of the captured foreign ships at Ashdod port.

At least 16 dead as Israeli troops storm Gaza aid flotilla

SEE the initial on-board report of the attack by al Jazeera HERE: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/05/31/aftermath-israels-attack-gaza-flotilla

————————————————————–

READ down for the initial Telegraph (UK) report from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7789117/At-least-16-dead-as-Israeli-troops-storm-Gaza-aid-flotilla.html

Activists aboard an aid convoy bound for Gaza, May 30, 2010

Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as as 16 of those on board.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
Published: 7:21AM BST 31 May 2010

Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.

A spokesman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told that ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at “unarmed civilians”. But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.

“How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?” Ms Berlin said. “Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?

“We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us.” Continue reading

Indian Maoists: “We are being falsely implicated” in sabotage of railway

http://www.icawpi.org/en/peoples-resistance/statements/470-the-second-statement-from-cpi-maoist-on-the-train-accident

(In view of the train accident that took the lives of more than a hundred passengers  and left many more injured who had been travelling by Gnaneswari Express, the railways have been contemplating postponing train services along that route at night and re-scheduling its timings accordingly. In response, the CPI(Maoist) has issued a statement on 29 May 2010 that came out in a Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika published from Kolkata.  It was published on 30 May 30, 2010 under the caption ‘The Maoists ask the railways to ply trains without fear.’-ed)

Second Statement from CPI(Maoist) on the Train Accident

“We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it.”

CPI (Maoist) tells the Indian rail authorities to ply their trains

Let the railway authorities ply their trains on schedule. There is nothing to fear.  On Saturday, on behalf of the State Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Aakash issued this statement to the press. “We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it. There is no need to stop railway service on the plea of Maoist sabotage.  Let the rail authorities ply their trains. Nothing (no harm) will be done from our side”.

The Maoists stated: We gave a call for organizing a ‘Black Period’ from 23 May to 2 June; it was not directed against the railways. Besides price rise and operation by the security forces, it was also directed against the central government policy of selling out shares of public sector undertakings, taking US assistance for the defence sector and the creation of special economic zones. Our aim was to make propaganda and create awareness on these issues among the people. Wearing black badges, organizing processions comprise part of our programme, but there was nothing against the railways. The Maoists claimed: “Whenever there is any programme against the railways or a call for stopping railway services, there is a formal notification much before that date”. Continue reading

7 Greenpeace Activists Charged With Felonies in Anti-Drilling Protest

Port Fourchon, Louisiana, Greenpeace activists at the ship "Harvey Explorer" send a message to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: " Salazar Ban Arctic Drilling" as part of the protest. The activists used oil from the spill to paint the message "Arctic Next?" on the bridge of the ship, which is scheduled to depart for Alaska for drilling operations in July.

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York
05.25.10

Yesterday, Greenpeace activists staged a protest to highlight the fact that even now, as federal authorities are helpless to stop millions of gallons oil from gushing out of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore drilling is scheduled to continue in Alaskan waters. Seven Greenpeace members boarded the very ship that’s heading north in July to oversee drilling operations, and wrote ‘Arctic Next’ on the hull in oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon. They’ve all been charged with felonies.

All seven have been slapped with the felony charges of Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure and Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling. The protest was staged to coincide with the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s visit to Louisiana’s oil-impacted region to assess the damage. Continue reading

Protest at Chinese iPad maker Foxconn after 11th suicide attempt this year

Protestors made traditional Chinese funeral offerings to the dead at the headquarters of Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple’s iPad, after the 11th suicide attempt at the company’s factories so far this year

Protestors from SACOM (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour) burn effigies of Apple products during a demonstration near the offices of Foxconn in Hong Kong over the deaths of 11 workers. Photo: Getty

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
Published: 3:53PM BST 25 May 2010

A recruiter from Foxconn, where 11 Chinese workers have died in the past year, talks to job applicants outside the factory in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province. Foxconn Photo: AP

Li Hai, a 19-year-old man from the central province of Hunan, fell to his death from the roof of a dormitory building at Foxconn‘s Longhua factory on Tuesday morning, leaving the world’s largest electronics manufacturer in crisis.

A spate of recent suicides at Foxconn has highlighted the concerns over working conditions inside the giant Longhua factory, where 300,000 workers assemble goods for clients including Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Dell and Nokia. The deaths comes as Apple prepares to launch the iPad in the UK at the end of this week. Yesterday, Apple declined to comment on the situation.

The Longhua factory is the biggest in the world and is responsible for over 20pc of the annual exports emerging from Shenzhen, the one-time fishing village that has become one of the capitals of the world’s manufacturing industry.

In the lobby of Foxconn’s headquarters in Hong Kong, a group of around two dozen protestors laid mannequins to rest and conducted funeral rites. “We are staging the protest because of the high death rate [at Foxconn], with an abnormal number of workers committing suicide in the past five months,” said Debby Chan, a spokesman for the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour group. Continue reading

Thousands in Phoenix protest Arizona’s immigration law

The demonstration, the largest since SB 1070 was signed into law in April, draws a diverse crowd. Backers of the law hold their own rally at a suburban stadium in the evening.

Protesters in Phoenix rally against Arizona’s immigration law during a march to the state Capitol. (Joshua Lott, Reuters / May 29, 2010)

By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times

8:59 PM PDT, May 29, 2010

Reporting from Phoenix —

Under a broiling desert sun, tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday slowly marched five miles to the state Capitol to rally against Arizona’s controversial new immigration law.

There was no official crowd estimate, but the march was by far the biggest demonstration since Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23. The law makes it a state crime to lack immigration papers and requires police to determine the status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.

The law’s backers, who held their own rally at a suburban stadium Saturday evening, contend that the measure is necessary to protect against violence seeping across the border from Mexico. “Why not make the country like it’s supposed to be? Borders define us,” said Don Baggett, who came to the rally from a Houston suburb. Continue reading

Poem from India: Dantewada Strikes Back

[Dantewada is an area in southern Chhattisgarh whose people are currently under attack by tens of thousands of paramilitary and police forces as part of Operation Green Hunt.]

Dantewada Strikes Back

– Nishant


Dantewada strikes back.

Dripping with the blood of hundreds of children

Its bullet-ridden body gasping for breath

Humiliated, harassed, raped and mutilated

Dantewada strikes back

Breaking the encirclement

By hordes of thugs descending from Delhi and Raipur

By schools of jungle warfare

And institutes of counter-insurgency

By Washington, London, Tel Aviv, and what have you? Continue reading

Thousands protest “staged” killings in Kashmir

Sat, May 29 2010

SRINAGAR (Reuters) – At least 28 people were hurt in Indian Kashmir on Saturday when police fired teargas shells at thousands of demonstrators protesting the killing of three villagers in an alleged fake gun battle by security forces, witnesses said.

The fresh “staged” killings could trigger widespread protests across the Muslim-majority region where rebel violence is waning but anti-Indian sentiment still runs deep.

Late last month, army said its soldiers killed three Muslim militants while trying to cross over to Indian Kashmir from Pakistani side on Line of Control, a military control line that divides the disputed region between two nuclear armed rivals.

But three families in north Kashmir’s Baramulla area said the slain men were innocent relatives who had gone missing days before the border clash. Continue reading

CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA deny any involvement in Friday train derailment

http://icawpi.org/en/peoples-resistance/statements/467-both-the-cpi-maoist-and-pcapa-have-denied-their-involvement-in-the-friday-train-derailment

Statement from the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF):

Yesterday’s( 28 May 2010) Gnaneshwari Express and a goods train tragedy near Kharagpur in West Bengal  in which 80 people were killed and 200 injured was attributed to CPI(Maoist) and Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) by the media. The media unscrupulously played false news stories blaming CPI (Maoist) and Peoples Committee for two days. Some political parties like Trinomial Congress and the ruling CPI(Marxist)  also blamed these organisations without any verification.  Significantly Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has declined to attribute the blame on the CPI (Maoist) and also announced that there was no evidence of any bomb blast in the incident.

The Union Home Minister has ordered an enquiry to find out any possibility of sabotage. During the day the leaders of CPI (Maoist) clarified through a long statement that they were not responsible for the train tragedy and condemned any possible sabotage work if any force involved behind the incident. They have also expressed their condolences for the families of deceased. The PCAPA also clarified that their activists are not involved in this incident. They suspected the ruling CPI(Marxist) to have been involved in the sabotage desperately trying to tilt the public opinion against the fighting forces.

Purposefully the media did not cover the statement issued by the CPI (Maoist) while playing the false stories and commentaries blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident. Some all India newspapers like The Hindu wrote editorials blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident. Many other newspapers wrote major articles decrying the CPI (Maoist) as terrorist attributing the blame on them. Now when the clarifications come from CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA, will these media houses withdraw their false stories and give the facts to the people? Will they regret for propagating the false news?

These two days of false propaganda is made with a malicious intension of maligning the CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA. Continue reading

MINUSTAH (Brazil-led UN occupation force in Haiti) gases students; Massive protests in Port au Prince

By Kim Ives, Editor Haiti Liberté
May 26 – June 1, 2010

Thousands of Haitians march on May 25 in Port au Prince to protest attacks on democratic rights. Sign in front reads, "Down with occupation." By Haiti Liberté.

The President of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on Nov. 28, 2010, the Constitutionally prescribed date.

“The CEP is up to the task of organizing general elections in the country,” said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the Handicapped Sector’s representative on the nine member council, handpicked by President René Préval.

But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in streets around the country in recent weeks to demand, not just a new CEP, but Préval’s resignation.

“Nobody has confidence in Préval or his CEP to organize credible elections,” said Evans Paul, a leader of the Convention for Democratic Unity (KID) party and the political platform Alternative. Both groups, along with a number of other right-wing politicians and parties which supported the 2004 coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have joined in an unlikely alliance with popular organizations at the base of Aristide’s party, the Lavalas Family.

The alliance, called Heads Together of Popular Organizations (Tet Kole Oganizasyon Popile yo), has held three massive demonstrations of many thousands in the capital on May 10, May 17, and May 25, all calling for Préval’s resignation, Aristide’s return from exile in South Africa, and repeal of the “state of emergency law” that puts a foreign-dominated council in charge of Haiti’s reconstruction, among other demands. Continue reading

Orissa, India: Brutal Police Attack on Anti-POSCO Protestors, Leaving 100 Injured

27 May, 2010
Counter-currents.org

A fact finding team traveled to Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa to look into the human rights violations in the wake of May 15 police attack on the activists of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) and villagers affected by the proposed POSCO project. The team headed by retired judge of the Bombay High Court Justice H Suresh comprised veteran social activist Chitranjan Singh, Professor Kalpana Kannabiran, veteran public health doctor Dr. Punyabrata Gun, senior journalist Bolan Gangopadhyay and human rights activist and journalist Harsh Dobhal.

Upon its arrival on 24th morning, the team held detailed discussions with representatives of political parties, leaders of people’s movements, journalists, academics and other concerned citizens at Bhubaneshwar. On 25th the team traveled to Balituth, proposed POSCO site of Dhinkia, Gobindapur, Patana and other villages and interacted with the local residents and victims of May 15 police firing in an attempt to get first hand information. Following are the prima facie observations by the fact finding team and a detailed report would be compiled and published soon: Continue reading