Arab League demands justice after leaked war files reveal crimes against Iraqi people

ABC/AFP, Oct 30, 2010

The Arab League has called for those behind the “crimes against humanity” contained in leaked Iraq war documents published by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks to be brought to justice. “These documents and what they have unveiled… constitute a crime equivalent to crimes against humanity and violations against the Iraqi people,” said Ahmed ben Helli, the Cairo-based organisation’s deputy secretary general.

“We must pursue those who committed this crime,” in cooperation with the Iraqi government, he said, quoted by Egypt’s official news agency MENA. Mr Ben Helli called for more documents to be released.

WikiLeaks last week published nearly 400,000 secret US military documents which offer a grim snapshot of the conflict from 2004 to 2009, especially of the abuse of civilians by Iraqi security forces. The heavily abridged logs appear to show that the US military turned a blind eye to evidence of torture and abuse of civilians by the Iraqi authorities.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the documents reveal about 15,000 more civilian deaths in Iraq than were previously known.

Morocco bans Al-Jazeera reporters over ‘irresponsible’ coverage

The Moroccan government must be feeling shaky if it has to ban Al-Jazeera

Earth Times, 29 Oct 2010

Rabat – Morocco has withdrawn accreditation from correspondents of the Arab television channel al-Jazeera because of their “irresponsible” coverage of the North African kingdom, the Communication Ministry announced Friday.  Al-Jazeera had violated the journalistic rules of “honesty, precision and objectivity” several times, the ministry said.

The Qatar-based channel’s coverage had tarnished Morocco’s image, downplaying its achievements in areas such as development, infrastructure projects, democracy and human rights, the ministry complained. It had also damaged Morocco’s interests in areas such as its territorial integrity, the communique said, in an apparent reference to Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara.

Al-Jazeera had not heeded several official warnings, the ministry said, explaining that Rabat had decided to expel the TV broadcaster after carefully evaluating its reports. The channel had also imported technical equipment without the required permits, the ministry added.

Al-Jazeera had reported critically on poverty in Morocco and on its policies in Western Sahara, a territory annexed after 1975, where separatists accuse Rabat of repression, observers said. Continue reading

Nepal: UCPN(Maoist) Nov 14 meeting to choose from diverging views

Republica, October 14, 2010

Kathmandu:  The Maoists have decided to take separate political documents prepared by the top three leaders–Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Vice chairmen Mohan Baidya and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai–to the party plenum, scheduled to begin November 14 in Gorkha district, for debate and discussion. A meeting of the top office bearers took a decision to this effect recently.

The last central committee meeting of the party had decided that Chairman Dahal would accomodate the views expressed in the separate documents prepared by Baidya and Bhattarai and prepare a new one for presentation at the plenum. As per the decision, the vice-chairmen duo will present their documents at the plenum if they are not satisfied with Dahal’s new document. “The leaders agreed to take the separate documents to the plenum as that would be more democratic,” said Maoist politburo member Narayqan Sharma.

In the past, party chairman Dahal mixed the lines floated by Baidya and Bhattarai, but both leaders have strongly pushed for their own line this time around and are against the “fusion of ideas”. Continue reading

Killing Reconciliation: Military Raids, Backing of Corrupt Government Undermining Stated US Goals in Afghanistan

The Obama administration says it is backing a strategy of “reconciliation with the Taliban”. But just back from Afghanistan, unembedded investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley say night raids by U.S. Special Operations forces are alienating many Afghanis, strengthening the insurgency, and undermining US attempts to win “hearts and minds” in the war. Video from interview on Democracy Now in New York City.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:
For the complete interview, transcripts and more information, visit http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/29/killing_­reconciliation.

India: Cop convicted of murdering Maoist 40 years ago

[In India, the wheels of justice turn exceedingly slow.  And in this case, the wheels would not have turned at all, except that the cop (who is now deceased) who did the killing, in a fit of guilt and remorse, told the story which brought the murderous orders of his commander to light.  This article does not connect this history with the "fake encounters" still being committed by police today.--ed]

K Lakshmana was found guilty of murder

October 28, 2010
Former IG gets life term for Naxal murder

Varghese was gunned downed by police in what they had then called as encounter

Former inspector general of police K. Lakshmana was  sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court here on Thursday for killing Maoist leader A. Verghese in a fake encounter 40 years ago.

This is the first time a senior police officer has been convicted for life for killing a rebel in a fake encounter.

Soon after CBI judge S. Vijayakumar gave the verdict, Lakshmana (78) was sent to the Thiruvananthapuram central jail.

Verghese’s brother A. Thomas said he was happy. “It is a lesson for those in khaki who take the law into their own hands,” he said.

Sakhavu Varghese, murdered by police (1970)

Former Maoist and activist K. Ajitha also described the verdict as a historic one. “It is an eye-opener. Though late, this will help many such aggrieved families get justice,” she said.

The judgment, which comes at a time when the country faces a renewed and a vastly strengthened variety of Naxalism, stressed the dedication and care required to deal with such a threat.

The police shot dead Verghese, then a 28-year-old political activist, in the Tirunelli forests (in northern Wayanad district) in February 1970, and said he had been killed in a shootout.

But former head constable Ramachandran Nair, probably under the stress of a guilty conscience, revealed in 1998 that he had killed Verghese on the orders of his superiors, especially Lakshmana, who was then a deputy superintendent of police. Lakshmana was later inducted into the Indian Police Service.

After Nair’s disclosure, A. Thomas moved the Kerala High Court seeking a CBI probe. The CBI prepared a charge-sheet against Nair, Lakshmana and P. Vijayan (83), who was the state’s director general of police in the 1980s. Continue reading

Indian occupation forces attempt to keep the lid on Kashmir news

    Murtaza Shibli
    Guardian.co.uk, 28 October 2010

    The current unrest in Kashmir has met with an increasingly brutal response from the Indian military.

    The news that the prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy may be arrested for her remarks about Kashmir is not surprising. It is a sign of growing Indian intolerance towards the issue. During the current phase of the Kashmiri intifada, the only Indian response to Kashmiri demands for justice and self-determination has been the use of overwhelming military force. More than 112 civilians – mostly youths – have been killed and several thousand injured, mainly by the Indian military and paramilitary.

    In the absence of strong international criticism, the Indian state has been emboldened to crush any dissent or demands of justice ferociously. Intimidating Kashmiri civil society has always been part of the standard Indian response, but it has grown exponentially over the last few months. In early July, the police arrested Mian Qayoom, president of the Kashmir Bar Association (the main lawyers’ body), for protesting against human rights violations. He was arrested under the draconian Public Safety Act, which authorises incarceration for up to two years if the authorities feel that the detainee may disturb peace and order or threaten the security of the state.

    Several other human rights activists, such as Ghulam Nabi Shaheen and political workers remain behind bars, along with hundreds of Kashmiri youths who have been detained for offences such as throwing stones at gun-toting Indian armed forces. Continue reading

India: Reactionary mob attacks Arundhati Roy’s house

Neha Alawadhi, The Hindu, Nov 1, 2010

NEW DELHI: A large group of BJP Mahila Morcha activists protesting Arundhati Roy’s recent remarks on Kashmir broke into the compound of the writer’s residence here on Sunday.

The mob assembled outside Ms. Roy’s house in the high-security diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri around 11 a.m. and shouted slogans against her for more than half an hour. “Curiously, three news channel vans were stationed outside our house even before the protest began…the mob was abusive and broke through the front gate of the house,” Ms. Roy’s husband, Pradip Krishen, said.

Ms. Roy was not in the house at the time of the attack. In a statement, she said the mob numbered as many as a hundred persons. The activists broke a few flower pots kept outside the house and dispersed before the arrival of the police. They were prevented from entering the house by the guard and servants.

Mr. Krishen later lodged a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station, following which police personnel were deployed outside the residence. He said this was the second such attack at their Kautilya Marg residence since June 2010, when some men on motorbikes pelted stones and smashed some windows.

Though Mr. Krishen had no idea about the identity of the protesters, he suspects that they were supported by a section of the Sangh Parivar “who have already declared their intention to harm and harass Arundhati Roy.” Continue reading

COINTELPRO: FBI’s War on Black America **(HIGH QUALITY)**

COINTELPRO: FBI’s War On Black America          Running Time: 53:53
An informative film on the FBI’s COINTELPRO conspiracy to kill major black leaders in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Arundhati Roy: “I’m bored of my critics”

http://icawpi.org/en/india-news/595-an-independent-kashmiri-nation-may-be-a-flawed-entity-but-is-independent-india-perfect

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Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 44, Dated November 06, 2010

‘An independent Kashmiri nation may be a flawed entity, but is independent India perfect?’

As a section of the political class and the media bays for her blood, author Arundhati Roy tells SHOMA CHAUDHURY why her opinions do not amount to sedition

Speaking her mind Arundhati Roy’s views on the Kashmir issue have invited brickbats from all possible quarters

The State has been contemplating charges of sedition against you for your speeches in Delhi and Kashmir. How do you understand sedition? Did you see yourself as being seditious? What was your intention in speaking from those two platforms in Delhi and Srinagar under the rubric — Azadi: The only way.
Sedition is an archaic, obsolete idea revived for us by Times Now, a channel that seems to have hysterically dedicated itself to hunting me down and putting me in the way of mob anger. Who am I anyway? Small fry for a whole TV channel. It’s not hard to get a writer lynched in this climate, and that’s what it seems to want to do. It is literally stalking me. I almost sense psychosis here. If I was the Government of India I would take a step back from the chess board of this recent morass and ask how a TV channel managed to whip up this frenzy using moth-eaten, discredited old ideas, and goad everybody into a blind alley of international embarrassment. All this has gone a long way towards internationalising the ‘Kashmir issue’, something the Indian government was trying to avoid.

One of the reasons it happened was because the BJP desperately needed to divert attention from the chargesheeting of Indresh Kumar, a key RSS leader in the Ajmer blast. This was a perfect opportunity, the media, forever in search of sensation, led by Times Now, obliged. It never occurred to me that I was being seditious. I had agreed to speak at the seminar in Delhi way before it was titled “Azadi: The only way”. The title was provocative, I guess, to people who are longing to be provoked. I don’t think it is such a big deal frankly, given what has been going on in Kashmir for more than half a century.

The Srinagar seminar was called ‘Whither Kashmir? Enslavement or Freedom?’ It was really meant for young Kashmiris to deepen the debate on what they meant by and what they wanted from azadi. Contrary to the idea that it was some fire-breathing call to arms, it was really the opposite — it was about contemplation, about deepening the debate, about asking uncomfortable questions. Continue reading

US-Chinese rivalry looms over Hillary Clinton’s visit to Vietnam

[The two articles that follow (promoting American interests) paint a detailed picture of the growing rivalry in Southeast Asia between US imperialism and China, which has emerged as an imperialist power in its own right.  While Vietnam like China is a thoroughly capitalist country with a one-party state that masquerades as "communist", and has been propped up by billions of dollars in foreign investment in all areas of its economy, it is worried about its big northern neighbor.  Now the Vietnamese government is being courted aggressively by the US in order to counter China's growing economic and military power. This will be a bitter experience for many Vietnamese who experienced the US war that killed upwards of 2 million soldiers and civilians and ravaged their country from 1965-75.  A US-Vietnam alliance may sail into some rough waters in the years ahead.-ed]

US Secretary of State Clinton appearing in Hanoi with Vietnamese general

 

China’s rise prompts Vietnam to strengthen ties to other nations

Washington Post, October 30, 2010

HANOI – Three weeks ago, an exhibition opened at the Vietnam Military History Museum. On one side of a long hall, the mementos of Vietnam’s 25 years of war against the United States and France – letters of surrender, quotations from Ho Chi Minh, hand grenades and AK-47 rifles – lined the walls. Nothing new there.

But on the other side, the History Museum was actually making history. Along those walls hung daggers, paintings and quotations from Vietnam’s struggle with another rival: imperial China.  Battles dating to 1077, 1258 and the 14th and 18th centuries were featured in intricate detail.

Putting China on a par with “Western aggressors” marks a psychological breakthrough for Vietnam’s military and is troubling news for Beijing. For years, China has tried to forge a special relationship with Vietnam’s Communist government. But China’s rise – and its increasingly aggressive posture toward Vietnam – has alarmed the leadership of this country of 90 million, prompting it to look differently at its neighbor.

Beijing risks losing its status here of a fraternal Communist partner and being relegated to its longtime place as the empire on Vietnam’s northern border that has shaped and bedeviled this country for centuries. That change of perception has led Vietnam to embark on an extraordinary undertaking to befriend the world as a hedge against China. And prominent among its new intimates is the United States, which is equally eager for partners to help it cope with Beijing. Continue reading

Support for Maoists in Andhra Pradesh still strong

58% in AP say Naxalism is good, finds TOI poll

The Times of India, Sept 28, 2010

Naxal land

India’s biggest internal security threat, as the Prime Minister famously described it, may be worse than you thought. That’s because even in Andhra Pradesh, where the battle against the Maoists has apparently been won, it turns out that the government is losing the battle for the minds and hearts of the people.

It’s a debate that’s been raging within the Congress, and outside it. Should the government adopt a largely law-and-order attitude towards the Maoists and deal with them like criminals or should the focus be more on cutting the ground from under their feet through a development agenda that wins over the population of the affected areas?

An exclusive survey of the once Maoist-dominated districts of the Telengana region by IMRB, well-known market research organisation, for The Times of  India has found that while attitudes towards the rebels are ambivalent, the condemnation of the government and its means of tackling the problem is quite clear.

The findings raise disturbing questions about whether focusing largely on the policing aspects of the problem may be a flawed strategy in the long run. They also throw up another poser: Has the battle in AP truly been won or can the Maoists stage a comeback in a few years? Continue reading

Report from Bangladesh: 10,000 people in 40 villages outside Dhaka resist army land grab

Bangladesh troops on patrol in Dhaka, 2009

Salute to the People’s Resistance in Rupganj against the Army

 

Yesterday, October 23, 2010, in Rupganj, at the outskirt of the capital Dhaka, around ten thousand people of forty villages started resistance simultaneously against the army, police, RAB [Rapid Action Brigade] and Awami fascists [People's League--the ruling party  in Bangladesh] to protest against the effort of the army of illegally grabbing people’s land to build quarters for their officers. In this incident many people have been injured being shot by police and Rab. A person died and ten are missing so far.

Agitated masses torched an army camp. Some local Awami League leaders along with several high police officials were beaten by people. Then the army took away their members from four camps through helicopters. In order to seize people’s land, the army had ceased all the selling and buying lands of that area. They led local brokers to collaborate with them.

This is an outburst of accumulated anger against the Awami fascists. At a time when the people’s situation is disastrous because of multiplying increase of daily goods like rice, dal, oil, when garment workers didn’t get wage for a minimum livelihood, peasants are compelled to till land by buying fertilizer, oil and water in excessive price, government is starting a new campaign from 1st November to clean hawkers from the streets, the conspiracy to wiping out the masses from their land is just like slaying the slain. Continue reading

South Africa in 2010: The Roller Coaster Country

Trevor Ngwane

2010-10-28,  Pambazuka News

The social weight of organised, mobilised workers is beginning to consolidate in South Africa. The September public sector strike was a shining example, writes Trevor Ngwane.

South Africa is a country on a roller coaster to disaster. A recent paper written by the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) attests to this. While the paper argues that the country is at a crossroads, a close reading reveals a deep anxiety and even panic among union leaders who are very worried and suggest that the country is heading towards crisis. I would say South Africa is already in crisis and unless there is a drastic and sharp turn to the left, the wheels are going to come off the roller coaster.

What is exciting about a roller coaster ride is its hurtling speed and unpredictability, simultaneously evoking feelings of exhilaration and fear. That is how it feels like living in this country these days. In the last couple of months or so, for example, one moment people were giddy with excitement as South Africa hosted the World Cup in June 2010. The government pulled out all the stops to make a success of the event: Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of achieving a successful hosting with up to R70 billion (US$9.6 billion) of public money spent.

Hardly a month later, health, education and other essential government services ground to a halt as 1.3 million public sector workers went on strike demanding a living wage. The government pleaded poverty but this was not convincing and the strike went on for three weeks, with dire consequences for ordinary people: Babies dying for want of medical care, students worried sick as they lost valuable time preparing for high school exit exams, families at a loss as government morgues failed to release the bodies of deceased loved ones for burial, and so on. The common humanity and collective excitement that was shared during the World Cup was replaced by anger and fear as the strike turned violent. It was as if it was not the same country.

The strike by government employees was the culmination of a year of heightened protests and strikes that had gripped the country beginning immediately after the April 2009 national elections, which saw Jacob Zuma of the African National Congress (ANC) become president of the country. Many would find the analogy of a roller coaster appropriate to describe Zuma’s rise to power. Indeed, during his campaign to become ANC president, he was described by his supporters as an unstoppable tsunami. Continue reading

Britain: Police repress convergence on weapons manufacturer for Israeli military

Bridget Chappell

The Electronic Intifada, 22 October 2010

Police cordoned off activists and outnumbered them three to one.

As Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza on 13 October, activists converged on Brighton, United Kingdom for the annual mass action against the local EDO/ITT factory that produces components used in weapons by the Israeli Air Force, amongst others, to devastating effect.

Faces clad, dozens of protesters attempted to break through police lines. Outnumbered by police three to one, the activists were chased down, detained and arrested. The surreal background symphony continued: photographers’ flashes, stubborn traffic attempting to worm its way through police lines, the chants of “Free Palestine!” and the unmistakable sound of a police chopper circling overhead.

The campaign against EDO/ITT is now in its sixth year and this was the fifth convergence of its kind. The British police’s heavy-handed crackdown on the action should perhaps be no surprise given the success of past Smash EDO convergences and the ongoing weekly protests against the factory.

The repression began in the early hours of the morning as dozens of activists sleeping in an accommodation center in Stanmer Park, located twenty minutes from the planned protest site, awoke to find the building surrounded by 27 riot police vans. Those trapped inside were only permitted to leave inside a police cordon — a mobile means of detention. Protesters who were able to reach the planned convergence space, a park close to the EDO/ITT factory, quickly met with an overwhelming force of riot police on foot and horseback.

Undeterred, protesters, numbering around 300, splintered off into smaller groups as the day quickly developed into an elaborate, and wholly unequal game of pursuit between activists and police. Sights such as a group of protesters, pursued by police, taking off into the woods carrying a large papier-mache airplane and inflatable hammers underlined the tragicomic nature of the demonstration. Two Israeli activists taking part in the action held an impromptu talk about the realities of day-to-day life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation to those held captive alongside them in a police cordon. Continue reading