On “Obama vs. Netanyahu” — What Does It Mean?

from the series, “All People’s Liberation”, by Collision Course Video:

The political establishments of the US and Israel — long time partners in settler-colonialist and ethnic cleansing projects against the Palestinian people in historic Palestine — had a series of exchanges from May 19-May 24, 2011, because the changing situation across the Arab world has prompted some differences in the US and Israeli agendas.

Breaking down these changing circumstances and agendas, and what they will mean for the Palestinian and other peoples of the Middle East, Dr. Hatem Bazian (UC Berkeley professor) and Jeffrey Blankfort (writer and radio host) had this conversation.

The video is by Collision Course Video Productions, for the series on “All People’s Liberation.”

On Kashmir India acts as a police state, not as a democracy

Delhi has been unwilling to solve this tragic and brutal conflict, and has scuttled any attempt at meaningful discourse

Sunday 29 May 2011

Kashmiri women confront Indian soliders during a protest over the killing of a student in Srinagar. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Many years ago, I met two journalists from India in London and we found ourselves talking about Kashmir. Mostly, they listened patiently to my impassioned tale of what goes on, but the moment I touched upon the brutal counter-insurgency methods employed by the Indian security apparatus in the disputed territory – among them notorious “catch-and-kill” operations to execute suspected militants – they looked incredulous, made a quick excuse and left. Later, I learned that at least one of them believed that Kashmiris liked to exaggerate the excesses of the Indian armed forces.

In the reaction of those two men, I had witnessed the frightening success of India’s policy of denial and misrepresentation on Kashmir. India’s decision to censor the Economist last week, following the publication of a map that shows the disputed borders of Kashmir, represents two unsurprising but ominous things: that the country’s age-old intransigence over Kashmir still runs deep; and its willingness to curb freedom of speech over what it sees as sensitive matters of national interest. On Kashmir India continues to behave as a police state, not as the champion of democracy and freedom that it intends to be. Continue reading

US government blocking information, controlling minds — another whistleblower attacked

AlterNet: “Let’s Fight the Obama Administration’s Crusade to Jail Another Journalist”

By Rory O’Connor, AlterNet
Posted on May 26, 2011, Printed on May 29, 2011

German theologian Martin Niemoller was a staunch anti-Communist who supported Hitler’s rise to power — at first. He later became disillusioned, however, and led a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 Niemoller was arrested for the crime of “not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement” and later was sent to concentration camps. Rescued in 1945 by the Allies, he became a leading post-war voice of reconciliation for the German people.

Niemoller is most famous for his well-known and frequently quoted statement detailing the dangers of political apathy in the face of repression. Although it described the inactivity of Germans following the Hitler’s rise to power and his violent purging of group after group of German citizens, his statement lives on as a universal description of the dangers of not standing up against tyranny.

The text of the Niemoller’s statement is usually presented as follows:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I was reminded of Niemoller recently when federal prosecutors issued a subpoena intended to force New York Times reporter James Risen, the author of a book on the Central Intelligence Agency, to testify at the criminal trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer. Continue reading

Tribune Magazine (UK): Tunisia’s brutal regime may be down, but it has shown it is not out

Since the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali was ousted by mass unarmed demonstrations, successive waves of protest and self-organisation have dismantled many of the old structures of that dictatorship.

by Amanda Sebestyen
Friday, May 27th, 2011

But earlier this month the old regime showed it could still strike back. The prospect of a coup by the old dictator’s party, which had one million members, after the elections in July led to further demonstrations. This time protesters were beaten and journalists – male and female – were singled out. It emerged that a censorship law had been secretly rushed through by the interim government. News from the Tunisian heartland, where the democratic revolution started, is being censored.

La Tunisie profonde is where the uprisings began. The Jasmine Revolution is seen as bloodless, but when you reach the small towns almost everyone knows someone who died, and almost everyone marched and organised against the regime. Since then, they have been setting up their own local councils, been central participants in the independent trade unions, made organisations for the graduate unemployed whose plight kicked off the uprising, held women’s marches, and begun court proceedings to prosecute the snipers who killed the young men and women demonstrators. Continue reading

Jewish-American activist: Why I disrupted Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

Why did I disrupt?

by Rae Abileah on May 26, 2011

Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke in the Capital on Tuesday, May 24? I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza, and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, when Netanyahu was praising young people rising up for democracy in the Middle East, and I took my cue to stand up from my seat in the Capitol Gallery, unfurl a banner, and shout, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”
Immediately, I was tackled, gagged and violently shoved to the floor by other members of the audience, many of whom were still wearing their badges from the AIPAC conference this past weekend. Police dragged me out of the Capitol gallery, and an ambulance whisked me to the hospital, where I was treated for neck and shoulder injuries and put under arrest for disrupting Congress. After I disrupted, Netanyahu said to his Congressional audience, “You can’t have these protests in Tehran; this is real democracy.”

Is it? What kind of a democracy do we live in when free speech is met with brutality and arrest? Continue reading

India: the “Operation Green Hunt” War on the People moves against Delhi students at JNU

Witch-Hunt Of JNU Students In The Name Of Proctorial Enquiry!

In a leaflet announcing speeches on campus by Arundhati Roy and Amit Bhaduri, campus activists used this image to depict repression in India. The university administration says the image is offensive and a crime against the Indian state under the Official Emblem Act, and those responsible "must" be punished.

By JNU Forum Against War On People

28 May, 2011
Countercurrents.org

The Indian state’s war against the people in the form of Operation Green Hunt launched almost two years back is aimed at facilitating the corporate plunder of peoples’ land, forests, and resources. In the process the state has unleashed a spate of violent repression of the people fighting against this corporate loot. Braving extreme forms of state repression, Green Hunt has been resisted and fought back by vast sections of the people across the country, including peasants, workers, adivasis, dalits, students, intellectuals, peoples’ movements and democratic organisations. Outside the country too, the Indian state’s war campaign in central and eastern India has been opposed by the pro-people organisations and individuals. They have all vocally protested the crimes committed by the Indian state and its armed forces in these regions on a daily basis – be it the murder of adivasi villagers and political activists in their hundreds, use of brutal torture, burning and loot of hundreds of villages, thousands of arrests and forced displacements in still larger numbers.

The JNU Forum against War on People, formed by the students of the campus two years back to oppose the onslaught of Operation Green Hunt on the people of this country, has consistently worked towards bringing out the ground realities of state terror and repression in these regions. Against the state’s and the corporate media’s attempts to hide this reality, the Forum has continued to acquaint the campus community of the ongoing war in India’s heartland, and the students and teachers responded positively by participating in each of its programmes in their hundreds. The huge mobilisation of the students of JNU at the call of the Forum, whether it is to protest the JNU visit of P. Chidambaram –the main architect of Green Hunt– on 6 May 2010, the public meeting addressed by Arundhati Roy and Prof. Amit Bhaduri on 5 March 2011, or various protest actions at the initiative of the Forum in the last two years seem to have become a cause of worry for the Indian state and its local representative – the JNU administration.

Seen in this context, the ongoing Proctorial Enquiry conducted against the Forum allegedly for violating the Official Emblem Act, appears to be nothing but an urban extension of Operation Green Hunt. This enquiry is apparently carried out by the JNU administration to probe whether an image used in one of the campaign material for the public meeting organised by the Forum on 5 March misused the official symbol of the Indian state. The image portrays the jackboot of the Indian state coming down to stamp out and crush the people protesting against its repressive policies. The administration claims that the artwork on the boot amounts to the misuse of the symbol as per the Official Emblem Act. Hence it has initiated this Proctorial enquiry against the Forum so that its members can be punished for this ‘crime’! In their eagerness to take punitive action against the students, the officials in the administration have forgotten that this image is readily available in the internet and other public domains. It has been widely used all over the country to depict the use of brutal force by the armed forces of Indian state against the people resisting Operation Green Hunt. This is an artist’s impression which exposes the reality of Indian state’s war on people today, and was used by the Forum keeping in mind the context of a public meeting which was to discuss ‘Operation Green Hunt: Unmasking the Reality of Democracy and Development.’ This image along with the public meeting – which was addressed by Arundhati Roy and Prof. Amit Bhaduri with more than 600 students in attendance in Koyna mess – indeed unmasked the fact that there is no democracy and freedom of expression or political dissent for those who oppose the repressive polices of the Indian state such as the Green Hunt. Continue reading

Gil Scott Heron, RIP (Revolution In Poetry) — 1949-2011

[The poetic pulse of generations seeking all forms of liberation grew with the rhythmic jazz voice/words of Gil Scott Heron, whose contributions are beyond measure and whose influence is unstoppable.  From the hundreds of his creative works we present two of our favorites -- both timeless and timely as they echo through the streets today. -- Frontlines ed.]

Gil Scott HeronAlien (hold on to your dream)

Gil Scott-Heron: Jose Campos Torres

from: The Mind Of Gil Scott-Heron (a collection of poetry and music) (Remastered 2000; Original 1978)

I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
I had confessed to myself all along, tracer of life, poetry trends
That awareness, consciousness, poems that screamed of pain and the origins of pain and death had blanketed my tablets
And therefore, my friends, brothers, sisters, in-laws, outlaws, and besides — they already knew
But brother Torres, common ancient bloodline brother Torres is dead
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more words down about people kicking us when we’re down
About racist dogs that attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down
But the dogs are in the street
The dogs are alive and the terror in our hearts has scarcely diminished
It has scarcely brought us the comfort we suspected
The recognition of our terror and the screaming release of that recognition
Has not removed the certainty of that knowledge — how could it
The dogs rabid foaming with the energy of their brutish ignorance
Stride the city streets like robot gunslingers
And spread death as night lamps flash crude reflections from gun butts and police shields
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
But the battlefield has oozed away from the stilted debates of semantics
Beyond the questionable flexibility of primal screaming
The reality of our city, jungle streets and their Gestapos
Has become an attack on home, life, family and philosophy, total
It is beyond the question of the advantages of didactic niggerisms
The motherfucking dogs are in the street
In Houston maybe someone said Mexicans were the new niggers
In LA maybe someone said Chicanos were the new niggers
In Frisco maybe someone said Orientals were the new niggers
Maybe in Philadelphia and North Carolina they decided they didn’t need no new niggers
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
But dogs are in the street
It’s a turn around world where things are all too quickly turned around
It was turned around so that right looked wrong
It was turned around so that up looked down
It was turned around so that those who marched in the streets with bibles and signs of peace became enemies of the state and risk to national security
So that those who questioned the operations of those in authority on the principles of justice, liberty, and equality became the vanguard of a communist attack
It became so you couldn’t call a spade a motherfucking spade
Brother Torres is dead, the Wilmington Ten are still incarcerated
Ed Davis, Ronald Regan, James Hunt, and Frank Rizzo are still alive
And the dogs are in the motherfucking street
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
I made a mistake