Kuala Lumpur: Putting a nice face on state repression

[The Inspector General of Police in Kuala Lumpur is instructing cops that, no matter what they do, do it with a smiley face; put the iron fists in velvet gloves. -- Frontlines ed.]

Be good to look good

KL: A more approachable police force
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 10:50:00
Police

INSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar was recently reported to have said good-looking police officers would be assigned to give the force a friendlier look.

We should be aware we are always communicating through our facial expressions, posture and gestures, without saying a word.

When talking to others, our visual appearance has greater impact than our tone of voice. Surprisingly, what words we use matter less than how we use them.

Therefore, it is essential to look good to others rather than to just be good-looking. Even those with good looks can appear uglier when angry. Continue reading

Kuala Lumpur: Police To Detain Instigators, and will seize seditious shoes and trousers

June 29, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 (Bernama) — The police will detain anyone who uses words or displays symbols to instigate the people to join the illegal rallies planned by several groups in the city on July 9, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said today.

“Not only attire, but cars, buses, shoes, trousers and anything at all that smacks of sedition can be seized under the law,” he told reporters at Bukit Aman here Wednesday.

As such, he advised the people to stay away from the illegal rally for the sake of peace in the country. Continue reading

Egypt: Nearly 600 injured in violent Egyptian clashes

NEARLY 600 people were injured in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the Egyptian capital that flared last night and were still raging today, Al Jazeera reported. Protesters frustrated by the slow pace of reform under the interim military rulers since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in February clashed with security forces in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution. Protesters hurled rocks at security forces near the interior ministry. The security forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The health ministry said that 590 people were injured so far in the clashes. A total of 75 people were hospitalized, with 33 people still undergoing treatment today, the Al Ahram daily reported.

At the peak of the violence overnight, an estimated 3,000 protesters were in the square, and numbers swelled again today. Protesters chanted “The people demand the fall of the field marshal,” a reference to Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which will rule Egypt until the next elections, slated for September.

According to the interior ministry, the trouble started when a group of people stormed a theater where a memorial service was being held for those killed in the uprising against Mubarak, AFP reported.

A security official said that the group then headed to the state TV headquarters and was joined by hundreds who began to throw rocks before heading to Tahrir Square.

But activists said that the families of the victims were denied entry to the memorial in Cairo and beaten by police. Victims’ families are frustrated by the slow pace of the prosecutions of regime officials accused of orchestrating the crackdown before Mubarak’s fall.

The ailing former president has been charged with ordering the killings, as well as graft, but has not yet appeared in court.

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Jun 29, 2011 by

Egyptian police on Tuesday clashed with protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the revolt that swept former president Hosni Mubarak from power five months ago.  Officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, some of whom threw stones and firebombs.  Authorities said at least five civilians and 26 police officers were injured.  The clashes followed a sit-in outside the headquarters of Egyptian state television.  It was organised by relatives of those killed during the Egyptian revolution.

Continue reading

Nepal: Maoist Party factions negotiating terms to meet together

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UCPN (Maoist) struggles to resume Central Committee meeting

POST B BASNET/KIRAN PUN

KATHMANDU, June 28: As factionalism and disputes over the tactical line deepen the internal crisis in the party, Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal struggles to maintain his hold on the party and call a meeting of the Standing Committee, prior to resuming the Central Committee (CC) meeting that was postponed on Monday for three days.

According to sources, the Maoist chairman held rounds of meetings with Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya who leads the party´s hard-line faction, and Dr Baburam Bhattarai who leads the moderates, but to no avail.

At one of the meetings of the party top leaders, another Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha proposed Bhattarai as the party´s candidate for prime minister and Baidya had seconded the proposal. But in another meeting with Baidya, Dahal had tried to convince him that the party should rather forward the name of General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa as the prime ministerial candidate, terming Bhattarai as “rightist”.

“The chairman wants to break the tactical alliance between Baidya and Bhattarai that has been formed lately to cut him to size. Perhaps he plans to become prime minister himself finally after creating rifts among the senior leaders,” said a senior leader close to Baidya.
On Friday, 156 lawmakers from Baidya and Bhattarai factions had submitted a memorandum to the party demanding that the party implement its earlier decision to give women 33 percent representation in the Maoist share of the present council of ministers. The move clearly indicated that Dahal is in minority in the parliamentary party.
As the party´s wrangling factions have so far failed to mend fences, they continue to hold separate meetings of their groups to chalk out strategy. Continue reading

Athens: Fighting outside parliament on eve of Greece’s austerity vote

 

ReutersVideo on Jun 28, 2011

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By Daniel Howden in Athens, Independent.co.uk

June 28 - Demonstrators clash with riot police as Greece braces for austerity cutbacks.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011–Athens was rocked by a day of street battles yesterday on the eve of a critical vote on austerity measures demanded of Greece if the country is to avoid a potential disaster.

The escalating confrontation between people and political leaders, expected to resume today, has stoked fears of a banking and eurozone crisis that some analysts are equating with a “second credit crunch”.

A day that began with a peaceful show of force from Greece’s unions quickly descended into running battles between masked youths and riot police outside parliament yesterday.

With much of the country at a standstill thanks to a general strike and rolling power cuts, Greek MPs will vote later today on a package of austerity measures which are seen as essential by much of the rest of Europe but are unpopular in the country itself.

The Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos said that tanks may have to be sent into the streets to stem the chaos if the bill fails to pass and a run on Greek banks begins. Continue reading

Youth, Media, and the Art of Protest in North Africa

Transculturelles des Abattoirs, Casablanca

Jun 27 2011

by Loubna Hanna Skalli, http://www.jadalliya.com

“Everyone has his own way of fighting, and my weapon is art!” says Milad Faraway, a 20 year-old Libyan who created the rap group Music Masters with another young friend in 2010. Their song “Youth of the Revolution” urges “Moammar [to] get out” and end the violation of Libyans’ rights. “Qadhafi, open your eyes wide” sings another rap group Revolution Beat: “you will see that the Libyan people just broke through the fear barrier.” In neighboring Tunisia, twenty-one year old Hamada Ben Amor, known as El General, circulated on the internet his video song “President: Your people are dying” in an open address to Ben Ali during his last days as a dictator. For singing about peace, justice and freedom, Hamada faced jail time even after Mohammed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian street vendor, sacrificed his life for making the same demands. In Algeria, Rabah Ourrad one of the country’s lead rappers, built his popularity on “breaking silence” around the leaders’ corruption, greed and nepotism. Years prior to the recent revolutions that swept through North Africa and the Middle East, Moroccan youth political dissent transpired through the vibrant cultural movement known as the Nayda, or the Moroccan Movida as others call it. Rappers like H-Kayne, Zanka Flow, Hoba Hoba Spirit, and Bigg, are among many who captured the attention of the young generation in ways no political party or ideological current could. Continue reading

Lebanon’s left splits over Syria

The proximity and political relationship with Syria has left demonstrators at odds over Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown.

Matthew Cassel writing in Al Jazeera, 26 Jun 2011

In front of the Syrian embassy, two women hold signs condemning violence, repression and extremism, demonstrating in solidarity with Syrian protesters, while a crowd of supporters of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, gathers behind them [Matthew Cassel/Al Jazeera]

On a May evening in a crowded Beirut theatre, a large white sheet hanging from the ceiling displayed the projected video of Syrian filmmaker Hala Abdullah reading a letter, written in Arabic, to the audience:

At the start of the Lebanese civil war when the Lebanese right asked the Syrian regime to interfere, fearing the extension of the Lebanese democratic left and its control over Lebanon, the regime responded and intervened militarily because it was worried that a democratic and liberal leftist regime would develop and take root. We were still young and determined then and we acted against the Syrian intervention by protests that were repressed, and we wrote statements and we were put in prison.

“The fear then is not different from the fear today,” Abdullah continued in her letter – delivered as part of a Syrian film screening event organised by Lebanese activists in “support of the Syrian revolution”. The rare event was hosted at the Sunflower Theatre in southern Beirut, one of the only venues that allowed it, and highlighted both the closeness and complexities between progressive communities in the two countries.

More than 35 years after the rise of the Lebanese left and the start of the civil war, people across Syria have risen up against decades of oppressive Baath party rule in their own country. Since demonstrations began in March, rights groups estimate that security forces have killed more than 1,000 protesters, and rights abuses are believed to be widespread.

President Bashar al-Assad and his Baathist regime have drawn global condemnation for the brutal crackdown on demonstrators. However, Beirut-based activists, many who have worked together against issues like sectarianism and in support of Palestinian and other Arab revolts, now find themselves split over their positions on the protests in Syria. Continue reading

Confronting Torture in U.S. Prisons: A Q and A With Activists/Journalists James Ridgeway and Jean Casella

By Angola 3 News, AlterNet, June 13, 2011

http://www.alternet.org/story/151279/confronting_torture_in_u.s._prisons%3A_a_q%26a_with_activists_journalists_james_ridgeway_and_jean_casella

Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in California have announced they are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011 to protest the conditions of their imprisonment, which they say are cruel and inhumane. An online petition has been started by supporters of the strikers. While noting that the hunger strike is being “organized by prisoners in an unusual show of racial unity,” five key demands are listed by California Prison Focus:

1) Eliminate group punishments; 2) abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria; 3) comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to long term solitary confinement; 4) provide adequate food; 5) expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates.

Notably, Pelican Bay is “home” to the only US prisoner known to have spent more time in solitary confinement than the 39 years that Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, have spent–since April 1972. Imprisoned now for a total of 47 years and held at Pelican Bay since 1990, Hugo Pinell has been in continuous solitary for over 40 years, since at least 1971–probably even since the late 1960s. Pinell was a close comrade of Black Panther leader George Jackson, who organized a Panther chapter inside California’s San Quentin Prison, similar to the prison chapter organized by the Angola 3 in Louisiana. Continue reading

Peru: more killed in Puno, Huancavelica protests; demand investigation of García for repression

Submitted by WW4 Report on Mon, 06/27/2011

Naitonal Police troops and soliders fired on a crowd of protesters staging an occupation of the airport at Juliaca, in Peru’s conflicted southern region of Puno, leaving six dead and at least 37 injured. Protesters had succeeded in setting one of the terminals on fire when security forces started shooting. The protesters were Quechua campesinos from the neighboring province of Azángaro, who are demanding remediation of the local Río Ramis following its pollution by small-scale mining operations in the area of Ananea district, San Antonio de Putina province. The National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mining (CONACAMI) condemned the killings as “ethnocide and genocide…against the protests of the original Quechua people, defenders of life.” (La Republica, June 25; CONACAMI, Mariátegui blog, June 24)

In the south-central region of Huancavelica, protests are continuing in the fifth day of an indefinite civil strike called by the Defense Front for the Interests of Huancavelica. The strike was called to demand justice for three student protesters—including one minor—killed by the National Police June 21 during protests over budget cuts at the University of Huancavelica. Up to 100 were injured in the incident. (Mariátegui, June 24; AFP, June 22) Continue reading

India: 10,000 rally, demand release of political prisoners; prisoners on hunger strike

APDR demands release of political prisoners

Sujoy Khanra, TNN

JHARGRAM, June 24, 2011: The state government was yet to initiate measures to expedite the release of political prisoners, it was alleged at a rally organized by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) at Midnapore town on Thursday. Several mass organizations, including the PCPA and the Santras, Durniti o Samrajyabadi Aggrassion Birodhi Ganatantrik Mancha – the banner under which PCPA leader Chhataradhar Mahato had contested the Assembly election – took part in the rally that was attended by more than 10,000 people.

Thousands converged at the rally from areas near to Jhargram, Lalgarh, Sankrail, Nayagram, Binpur and Gopiballavpur. PCP leader Monoj Mahato and Chhatradhar Mahato’s wife Niyati Mahato were among those who addressed the gathering. The meeting was delayed after joint forces intercepted vehicles ferrying people to the rally at Manikpara in Binpur. APDR state general secretary Debaprasad Ray Choudhury contacted SP Praveen Tripathi after which the vehicles were allowed to pass.

“We are happy that the Mamata Banerjee government has undertaken developmental projects for Jangalmahal. It’s good that rice is being given to the people here at 2 but that is not enough. Mamata had promised that she will ensure the release of political prisoners and hundreds of others who have been held on false charges. So far, not enough has been done to free them,” said Niyati Mahato at the rally held at Vidyasagar Hall ground. Continue reading

India: Maoists reject President’s peace appeal, announce protest week

by JOSEPH JOHN, IndiaExpress.com
Raipur, June 27, 2011 : Rejecting President Pratibha Patil’s call for peace talks, Maoists have announced a ‘protest week’ from July 4 in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra and on the Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB), demanding immediate scrapping of the Army training school being set up in the foothills of Abujmarh in tribal Bastar.

Maoists announce protest week from July 4 in Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradash, Maharashtra

In two separate statements issued late last night, Communist Party of India (Maoist) central committee spokesman Abhay said the President’s call to Maoists to come forward for peace talks came at a time when a battalion-strong Army have already been sent in with the intention to involve them in the so-called operation green hunt.

Such a proposal for talks comes when governments and corporates have entered into memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to exploit vast mineral wealth in the region and security forces are unleashing terror and committing atrocities on the poor in tribal areas,” he alleged, adding that Maoist leader Azad ― who had initiated a process for peace talks with the government ― was killed in a fake encounter.

Maoists appealed to the people to impress upon the President to call off ongoing operations and withdraw the paramilitary forces from the tribal areas. They also want the Army training centre scrapped, as well as all MOUs and the land acquisition process. “If the governments accept these demands, Maoists will stop the counter violence,” the CPI (Maoist) spokesman said.

Abhay said the CPI (Maoist) would intensify the mass struggle against the presence of the Army in Maad region in Narayanpur district, Chhattisgarh as the area was home to ancient tribal communities.

Both government and Army have maintained their presence in Bastar was only for the purpose of training and not to run anti-Naxalite operations.

Philippines: Military abuse and extra-judicial killings are not “humanitarian”

Army chief hit over human rights remark

Sun Star, Saturday, June 25, 2011

ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Oban drew flak from a militant group for saying that the government’s counter-insurgency program is founded on “human rights.”

Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said initial results of “Oplan Bayanihan” show that some Filipinos were “displaced from their homes and communities, harassed, arrested and detained, tortured and killed” due to the policy.

The group has documented 17 persons killed through extrajudicial means from January to mid-June this year, bringing the number of people killed under President Benigno Aquino III to 45. Continue reading

Fatah-Hamas Discuss Release of Political Prisoners While Mutual Repression Continues

[As this article shows, neither Fatah nor Hamas, who have recently embarked upon some levels of co-operation with each other, have displayed the leadership or the authority to unite the Palestinian people in struggle today against the Zionist settler-colonial occupation and its imperialist partners and paymasters.  Many new grassroots initiatives (both within historic Palestine and throughout the diaspora), of varying degrees of independence from both Fatah and Hamas, are being discussed and debated. -- Frontlines ed.]
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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Dolev Rahat, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

Although the scheduled meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashal in the matter of establishing a Palestinian unity government was recently cancelled over disagreement on the identity of a new Palestinian prime minister, talks between Fatah and Hamas continue on the issue of political detainees.

Palestinian Legislative Council Member Muna Mansour (above) was attacked by West Bank PA police officers during a demonstration

In the framework of the national unity agreement signed in Cairo on 4 May, both Fatah and Hamas committed themselves to cease political detentions, and to free political prisoners already detained.

On Wednesday 22 June, Ashraf Jumaa, a member of the Fatah delegation to the Palestinian unity talks in Cairo, noted that both sides exchanged lists of people they define as political prisoners held by the other side. The reconciliation agreement determines that a committee will be established to discuss these lists and decide which are indeed political prisoners who must be freed.

On Wednesday Jumaa met with mothers and wives of political prisoners from Gaza, and noted a general dissatisfaction with the pace of progress in the matter of political prisoners and their release.

In the meantime it appears that the governments controlled by both movements continue to prosecute political activists of the other side. Continue reading

Detained Without Cause

Detained Without Cause: Muslims’ Stories of Detention and Deportation in America after 9/11

The Alwan Center of the Arts, Interfaith Center of New York, Muslim Progressive Traditionalist Alliance (MPTA) and the National Lawyers Guild NY Chapter

After 9/11 the Bush administration began abusing the Material Witness law by detaining American citizens — on American soil — without probable cause. While the Material Witness Law does allow for the government to detain witnesses to a crime if it believes those witnesses to be a flight risk, civil rights groups and the people whose lives have been ruined by these random arrests protest that the government is abusing the law to detain everyday Americans that it suspects may in some way be linked to terrorism.On Wednesday June 22nd, a group of panelists, including, Irum Shiekh, the author of the new Book Detained without Cause, gave an oral history featuring the voices of deported truck drivers, students, newspaper vendors, building contractors and their families who were swept up in post 9/11 raids. Many of these people were kept for many months in abusive isolation in Brooklyn’s MDC. We also heard from Martin Stolar and Sandra Nicholas, both NYC attorneys who have worked extensively with many post 9/11 detainees, including some in Irum’s book.Website: http://www.alwanforthearts.org/event/758