Pakistan floods: Who is responsible, growing people’s anger

30 August 2010. A World to Win News Service.

“When the water came, we moved our women and children to high ground. Three of my daughters stayed behind to help the men pack up whatever belongings we could carry with us… within minutes, the current got too strong and the waters rose head high.” This is how a villager from Sardaryab, a village in northwest Pakistan, lost two of his daughters aged 16 and 17. He was only able to save his youngest daughter. “Their bodies were found three days later, dumped on the bank by receding waters about 6 kilometres down the river.”

Omar, another villager, describes the events in his village this way: “We could see the water rising across the entire area between my village and the river. At first we thought it was rain water, but it continued to rise,” he says. Everybody rushed to the nearby railway track which is on high ground. But Omar was slightly late.

“Three of our women were swept off their feet. We saved two of them, but the third, my brother’s wife, was lost. We found her body two days later.” (BBC, 5 August 2010)

This is the kind of story that Pakistani families who lost their loved ones or their home or what little belongings they had gathered over their entire lifetimes would tell you. Millions had to leave the land they had worked on to go to a supposedly safer place or a refugee camp. Continue reading

Press Leaks: Evidence that Afghan Leaders on CIA Payroll

Corruption on the US dime fuels the Afghan regime

By James Cogan

30 August, 2010, WSWS.org

A series of leaks to the New York Times and the Washington Post over the past week has revealed that members of the Afghan government headed by President Hamid Karzai are paid agents and informers of the CIA.

The revelations began on August 25 when senior Times’ correspondents Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti reported that a close aide of Karzai who is accused of corruption, Mohammed Zia Salehi, had been on the CIA payroll for “many years”. The information was provided by anonymous sources “in Kabul and Washington,” suggesting it came from high up within the US military or the Obama administration itself.

Two days later, the Washington Post cited other US sources alleging that the “CIA is making secret payments to multiple members of the Karzai administration”. The Post stated: “The CIA has continued the payments despite concerns that that it is backing corrupt officials and undermining efforts to wean Afghans’ dependence on secret sources of income and graft”. Continue reading

100 Maoists ambush police patrol in Chhattisgarh

"Operation Green Hunt": The government has deployed over 200,000 soldiers, police, and para-military forces, mainly in tribal (adivasi) lands. They have added Border Security Forces (BSF), as shown above, to fight this domestic war. Several BSF jawans were killed in the Chhatisgarh ambush by people's forces

http://www.way2online.com

August 30, 2010

Five security personnel were killed as over 100 Maoists ambushed a patrol in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region Sunday, leading to a gunfight, police said.

“Maoists ambushed a police patrolling party drawn from the Border Security Force (BSF), district force (DF) and special police officers (SPOs) in a thickly-forested area,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) T.J. Longkumer said over phone from Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar region.

He said the gun battle took place in Bhuski village in Kanker district, 250 km from capital Raipur, when Maoists ambushed the troopers. “It was a major ambush but our jawans fought bravely and fiercely…Maoists were in large numbers and estimated to be over 100,” Longkumer said.

Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan said that those killed were three BSF men, including a head constable and two constables, one belonging to the DF and an SPO.

He added that a chopper was sent to the attack site for rescue operations and evacuating an injured trooper. Police claimed that some Maoists were also killed in the gunfight but none of their bodies were recovered. Continue reading

Maoist Political Prisoner Exposes “Whose Development Is It, Anyway?”

Now that the Government has finally struck down the Vedanta mining project in Orissa, senior Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy, presently under arrest inside Delhi’s Tihar jail, writes about how mining giants are making obscene amounts of money at the cost of the poor while even the State fails to make any gains.-Open Magazine

International supporters of the Dongria struggle against Vedanta mining apply the message and image of the anti-colonial movie Avatar to the struggle

28 August 2010

By Kobad Ghandy

Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others—the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neo-colonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.— Eduardo Galeano in Open Veins of Latin America

It is ironic — the richer the land the poorer its people: Eduardo Galeano, in his above mentioned book said: “The Indians (local inhabitants) have suffered, and continue to suffer, the curse of their own wealth; that is the drama of all Latin America”.

In India too, the richest states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh are amongst the poorest in the country. Of course, unlike two centuries back in Latin America they no longer exterminate the local population. They induce slow death through starvation, disease and lack of livelihood. Development for some has always been at the cost of ‘development’ for the many.

Tantalum, a necessary ingredient of computers, cell phones, ipods, and so on, is to a large extent, extracted cheaply from Congo which has one-fifth of the world’s deposits. But to extract that (together with gold and tin) MNCs have tied up with warring warlords which has taken a toll of 5.4 million lives since April 2007. Killings continue at the rate of 45,000 per month and Congo has become the world capital of rape, torture and mutilation. Continue reading

New Orleans: Survivors Village Resistance on 5th Commemoration of Hurricane Katrina

http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content/ba-morning-shot-monday-august-30-2010

This is the Black Agenda Morning Shot for Monday, August 30, 2010 being brought to you by Kali Akuno from New Orleans, Louisiana. As Black August 2010 draws to a close, Black people in New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and throughout the country commemorated the Ma’afa or great calamity of Hurricane Katrina that struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29th, 2005.

The day was one of remembrance for those who needlessly lost their lives due to government incompetence and strategic neglect and those who were and remain displaced. It was also a day of continued resistance to the ethnic and class cleansing taking place in New Orleans and other Black and oppressed communities throughout the Gulf Coast.

Perhaps the most strategic act of resistance occurred in the St. Bernard Community of New Orleans where Survivors Village protested President Barack Obama’s visit of the Columbia Parc development, which rests on the site of the demolished St. Bernard Development. Continue reading

Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas: Double Agent

Obama watches as Netanyahu shakes Abbas' hand (file photo)

August 31, 2010

The Washington Farce

By JEFFREY BLANKFORT

This coming week we will witness the latest challenge for the man who is arguably the most extraordinary double agent in the Middle East. What is unusual about Mahmoud Abbas, or Abu Mazen, as he was known when his fellow Palestinians had yet to take his measure, is that most of what he does for his Israeli and US masters he does in plain sight.

To which of the two he is most beholden will be determined during his upcoming visit to Washington for the latest chapter in what has euphemistically been referred to as the “peace process” since it was launched in the aftermath of the Oslo Agreement. The odds are it will be Israel. In Oslo, it should be recalled, Abbas, as the chief Palestinian negotiator, played Neville Chamberlain for Tel Aviv, agreeing to surrender occupied Palestinian land with a view toward putting a permanent end to Palestinian resistance and, immediately, to the first Intifada. Continue reading

Associated Press: “Palestinian rivals crack down harder on opponents”

By KARIN LAUB and DIAA HADID (AP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have clamped down harder on opponents and critics in recent months — deepening a nasty split that could prevent Palestinian statehood even if peace talks with Israel kicking off this week succeed against long odds.

New reports by Palestinian rights groups highlight a surprising symmetry in the abuse that the U.S.-backed government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and his Iranian-supported rivals Hamas in Gaza inflict on each other.

Both governments carry out arbitrary arrests, ban rivals from travel, exclude them from civil service jobs and suppress opposition media, the rights groups say. Torture in both West Bank and Gaza lockups includes beatings and tying up detainees in painful positions.

Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah organization have harassed each other ever since the Islamic militant Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. However, the crackdowns have become more sweeping in recent months as each aims to strengthen its grip on its respective territory. Continue reading

Israeli Criticism of Zionism and of Israel’s Treatment of the Palestinians: The Academics and Activists

2009: Israeli activists protest against Israel's military operation in Gaza

by Edward C. Corrigan / August 21st, 2010

There are many Israeli critics of Zionism and anti-Zionist Jews in Israel where the conflict with the Palestinians is most apparent.1 In 1975 journalist Charles Glass estimated that 5 to 8 percent of Israel’s Jewish population fell into the anti‑Zionist category. Most of this opposition was of a “leftist” variety. However, Glass also stated that “they represent 50 percent of the only significant debate in the country.”2

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the renowned scholar of Judaism and philosophy and the editor of several volumes of the Encyclopedia Hebraica had the following to say about Zionism and Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians:

The big crisis of the Jewish people is that the overwhelming majority of the Jews genuinely desire to be Jewish ‑‑ but they have no content for their Judaism other than a piece of colored rag attached to the end of a pole and a military uniform. The consciousness and the desire to be Jewish did not vanish, rather they are transformed today into a Judeo‑Nazi mentality.3

Gideon Levy, the highly regarded columnist from the Israeli daily Haaretz, has also made a comparison between Germany in the 1930’s and Israel today. Continue reading

New York Times: Massacre of Migrants in Tamaulipas, Mexico

“We [the US] have delegated to drug lords the job of managing our immigrant supply, just as they manage our supply of narcotics.”

New York Times Editorial, August 29, 2010

The full story of the massacre in Tamaulipas, in northeast Mexico, awaits telling by its one survivor. The early news accounts are horrifying: 72 people, said to be migrants from Central and South America on their way to the United States, are waylaid and imprisoned by drug smugglers on a ranch 100 miles south of Texas. They refuse to pay extortion fees and are executed. The survivor, shot in the neck, hears their screams for mercy as he flees. After a gun battle with the authorities, the killers escape in S.U.V.’s. The dead, 58 men and 14 women, are found piled in a room, discarded contraband.

The temptation may be to write this atrocity off as another ugly footnote in Mexico’s vicious drug war. But such things do not exist in isolation. Mexico’s drug cartels are nourished from outside, by American cash, heavy weapons and addiction; the northward pull of immigrants is fueled by our demand for low-wage labor. Continue reading

The Revolutionary Work of a Political Prisoner: Maoist classes in Tihar Jail, India

Cops mull changing Khobad ward every two months

New Delhi, Aug. 28:

The battle to control Maoism has reached the Tihar jail’s barracks.

Exasperated prison authorities are thinking of changing Maoist ideologue Khobad Ghandy’s ward after every two months because he has been propagating ultra-Left ideology among fellow inmates.

Ghandy, 63, has built a captive audience inside Jail No. 3 at Tihar, his home for the past 11 months. He meets fellow inmates, who revere him, every day during his morning and evening walks and often holds “interactive sessions”.

He tells them he had fought for the poor throughout his life and that the government had failed to do anything for the people. The prisoners salute him after every session. Continue reading

Press reports reveal divisions over settlements; Israeli artists declare boycott

Prominent Israeli theatre artists boycott new centre in settlement

Israeli children walk past the new Theater in the Jewish settlement of Ariel in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Leading Israeli theater artists have pledged not to perform in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, stirring a heated debate in Israel over the settlements, which have been deemed illegal by the international community and built on occupied Palestinian land.

August 29, 2010

Jerusalem – Citing reasons of conscience, 36 prominent Israeli theatre directors, actors and writers have declared a boycott of a new cultural centre to be opened soon in a settlement in the West Bank town of Ariel, media reports said Sunday.

The group sent a letter to several theatre directors around Israel declaring their boycott aims.

Among those signing the letter was famous dramatist Joshua Sobol, author of, among other works, the triptych of plays, Ghetto, Adam and Underground.

“We wish to express our revulsion of the fact that theatres are planning performances in the new hall in Ariel,” the letter said.

“The actors below hereby declare that they will refuse to perform in Ariel, as in every other settlement,” it added.

The letter stirred controversy in Israel with some right-wing politicians calling for cutting the budgets of those theatres which do not perform in the occupied areas. Continue reading

India: Peace Talks mediator exits peace process, says govt is not serious

Sun Aug 29 2010

Kolkata : Swami Agnivesh had been assigned to act as a mediator between the government and the Maoists and bring them to the talks table, has decided to stay out of the peace process as according to him the UPA government lacks the seriousness to start negotiations with the Maoists.

“I have decided to stay out of the process until Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram show any positive response to the initiative. I have tried to communicate some information and messages, which I received from the central committee of the CPI-Maoists. I had asked the Prime Minister’s office to arrange an appointment with the PM, but even after a month I have not received any response from the PMO,” an irate Agnivesh told The Indian Express.

Earlier, Agnivesh had been requested to act as a mediator by Chidambaram.

“From July 20 onwards, I have gone to the PMO and approached the officers on phone more than 15 times. But I was not given any satisfactory reply. If the Prime Minister does not have time for a serious discussion, which is very important for the future of the country, they why should I bother about it? It is not my domestic work. So, I have decided to stay aloof from the peace process till I receive any positive response from the Centre,” he said. Continue reading

Irish artists pledge to boycott Israel

Irish Boycott Israel campaign also targets TESCO, which sells Israeli goods produced in settlements on occupied Palestinian lands

The Irish continue to put the world to shame with their fighting spirit and devotion to justice.

From the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

On the afternoon of Thursday 12th August 2010, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) officially launched the historic “Irish artists’ pledge to boycott Israel” at a lunchtime concert in Meeting House Square in Dublin. Present at the launch were 20 of the pledge’s current 150 signatories, including musicians Damien Dempsey, Donal Lunny and Eoin Dillon (Kíla), artists Robert Ballagh and Felim Egan, playwright Jimmy Murphy and actress Neilí Conroy as well as a crowd of supporters.

Pledge Signatories (L-R): Hassan Ould Moctar (musician), Philip Donnery (musician), Jimmy Murphy (playwright), Felim Egan (painter), Renate Debrun (artist), Sami Moukkadem (musician, writer), Rhona Clarke (composer), Dave Lordan (poet), Raymond Deane (com

Pledge Signatories (L-R): Hassan Ould Moctar (musician), Philip Donnery (musician), Jimmy Murphy (playwright), Felim Egan (painter), Renate Debrun (artist), Sami Moukkadem (musician, writer), Rhona Clarke (composer), Dave Lordan (poet), Raymond Deane (composer), Stephen Rothschild (artist), Steve Woods (film-maker), Bobby Ballagh (artist), Deirdre Murphy (dancer), Donal Lunny (musician), Damien Dempsey (singer), Trevor Knight (musician), Eoin Dillon (ceoltóir), Dearbhla Glynn (film-maker), Neilí Conroy (actor), Freda Hughes (IPSC chairperson)

The pledge, described by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as “a ground-breaking initiative”, has now been signed by over 150 Irish creative and performing artists including Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Seamus Deane, Sinéad Cusack, Jimmy MacCarthy, Margaretta Darcy and Conor Kostick. It commits signatories to boycotting the Israeli state under it respects international law, Continue reading

How the Cultural Boycott of Apartheid South Africa was Built: the Sun City story


Wikipedia.org

Artists United Against Apartheid was a 1985 protest group founded by activist and performer Steven Van Zandt to protest apartheid in South Africa. The group produced the song “Sun City” and the album Sun City that year.

Van Zandt, who had parted with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at the height of their success to go out on his own, traveled to South Africa to research his next record. He was interested in South Africa because he had read that the apartheid system was actually modeled after America’s system of Indian reservations, an issue that was his major passion. While in South Africa, he was distressed by a place called Sun City, an interracial gambling resort located in a bantustan, a nominally independent area supposedly ruled by black Africans, in the middle of an impoverished rural homeland. Continue reading