Japan: Protests Mount (again) over US’ Okinawa base–Can’t Stay, Can’t Move, Won’t Go

Protesters block delivery of U.S. base environment report to Okinawa government

JapanToday, National, Dec. 28, 2011

TOKYO — Japan’s years-long bout of indecision over plans to move a U.S. military base on Okinawa appeared to be descending into farce Tuesday when protesters stopped couriers from delivering a report.

Around 100 people opposed to plans to shift the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma to a quiet coastal spot on the southern island surrounded a delivery van carrying an environmental impact assessment.

Local media say the government-commissioned report, which Washington demanded be completed by the end of the year, is likely to say nature would suffer little if a giant runway-on-stilts was built in turquoise seas by a pristine shoreline.

Many Okinawans, angry at decades of having shouldered the burden of more than half of the around 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan, say they do not want the facility at Henoko on the east coast of the island.

They say another part of Japan should take the base, which currently sits in a crowded urban area of the island, near dozens of schools and hospitals. Continue reading

Analyzing the Global Revolt of 2011: “SPRING CONFRONTS WINTER”

[A speculative, ponderous piece from Mike Davis, the author of Planet of Slums.  While raising the linkages within the crescendo of the still largely-spontaneous global revolts, and raising and attributing profound strategic capabilities to the many semi-organized and largely unprepared players, this internationalist review of the explosive dynamics of the revolts of 2011+ bears scrutiny both as description and as projection of pregnant possibilities. -- Frontlines ed.]

——————————————————

New Left Review 72, November-December 2011 

mike davis, author of Planet of Slums

mike davis, New Left Review editorial

In great upheavals, analogies fly like shrapnel. The electrifying protests of 2011—the on-going Arab spring, the ‘hot’ Iberian and Hellenic summers, the ‘occupied’ fall in the United States—inevitably have been compared to the anni mirabiles of 1848, 1905, 1968 and 1989. Certainly some fundamental things still apply and classic patterns repeat. Tyrants tremble, chains break and palaces are stormed. Streets become magical laboratories where citizens and comrades are created, and radical ideas acquire sudden telluric power. Iskra becomes Facebook. But will this new comet of protest persist in the winter sky or is it just a brief, dazzling meteor shower? As the fates of previous journées révolutionnaires warn us, spring is the shortest of seasons, especially when the communards fight in the name of a ‘different world’ for which they have no real blueprint or even idealized image.

But perhaps that will come later. For the moment, the survival of the new social movements—the occupiers, the indignados, the small European anti-capitalist parties and the Arab new left—demands that they sink deeper roots in mass resistance to the global economic catastrophe, which in turn presupposes—let’s be honest—that the current temper for ‘horizontality’ can eventually accommodate enough disciplined ‘verticality’ to debate and enact organizing strategies. It’s a frighteningly long road just to reach the starting points of earlier attempts to build a new world. But a new generation has at least bravely initiated the journey.

Will a deepening economic crisis, now engulfing much of the world, necessarily speed a global renewal of the Left? The ‘bullet points’ that follow are my speculations. Designed to instigate debate, they’re simply a thinking-out-loud about some of the historical specificities of the 2011 events and the outcomes they could shape in the next few years. The underlying premise is that Act Two of the drama will entail mostly winter scenes, played out against the backdrop of the collapse of export-led economic growth in the bric countries as well as continuing stagnation in Europe and the United States. Continue reading

Drones over Af-Pak, Drones over Iran, now Drones above your head

[In the hands of repressive authority--what many now recognize as a growing police state--these drones vastly expand the tools to be used to spy on and repress targeted communities, suppress political opposition movements, and to control all activities which the powers that be--however tyrannical, racist, militaristic, or suppressive they may be--determine to be unauthorized and unacceptable to them.  They will intensify the invasions of privacy and the restrictions on social mobility of curfews, checkpoints, and walls. -- Frontlines ed.]

TPMMuckraker

One Nation Under The Drone: The Rising Number Of UAVs In American Skies

a Predator Drone

Jillian Rayfield December 22, 2011

A secret air show in Houston. An unmanned blimp in Utah. A sovereign citizen arrested in North Dakota.

Each of these is just one small part of the bigger story of the proliferation of unmanned aircraft use within the U.S., and each is likely to become smaller still if the FAA goes through with plans to loosen regulations governing domestic use of drones.

News reports about Predator attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan are common if not always complete, but what’s gotten much less attention is the increase in unarmed drones that are buzzing around within the U.S. itself. Primarily, unarmed Predator B drones are only used by government agents to patrol the borders for illegal immigrants, but there are a (very large) handful of other agencies and companies that use smaller, unarmed drones for a slew of other purposes. And that number is only expected to grow.

The FAA says that as of September 13, 2011, there were 285 active Certificates of Authorization (COA) for 85 different users, covering 82 different unmanned unarmed aircraft types.

Though the exact breakdown of the organizations who have authorization is unclear — and the FAA would not elaborate for “privacy” and “security” reasons — in January the Washington Post reported that as of December 1, 2010, 35% of the permissions were held by the Department of Defense, 11% by NASA, and 5% by the Department of Homeland Security. The FBI and law enforcement agencies also hold some, as do manufacturers and even academic institutions.

Between pressure from trade groups (like the drone manufacturers group the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), proposed legislation from Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to expand the number of drone testing sites in the U.S., and petitioning from states like Oklahoma for an approved 80-mile air corridor reserved exclusively for drone development and testing, there is great potential for drone use to expand within the U.S. in the next few years. Continue reading

Philippines: Chinese CP says it has disowned local rebels

[For over 30 years--since the death of Mao Zedong, when the revisionist coup led by Teng Hsiao-Ping overthrew socialism and restored capitalism--the Communist Party of China has been "communist" in name only.  A policy of suppressing revolutionaries inside China has been matched by opposing and disavowing, internationally, revolutionary movements, parties, and communists (including "Maoists").  The following article spells out this policy in more detail:  the CCP disavows relations with communists who are banned and illegal (ie, those who wage armed struggle and have not committed to legal and electoral reform within capitalist and oppressive regimes).  While this policy is not surprising for a regime which has reversed its earlier revolutionary path, what does surprise is that, around the world, some so-called "communists" and so-called "Maoists" continue to disingenuously refer to China as "socialist," "communist," or "anti-imperialist', despite the mounds of evidence to the contrary. -- Frontlines ed.]

————————————–

‘ZERO’ TIES WITH CPP
Chinese communist party says it has disowned local rebels
By Jerry E. Esplanada, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 27th, 2011
BEIJING—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is no longer a concern of the 90-year-old and 80-million member Communist Party of China (CPC), according to a top party official.Shen Beili, director general of the international department of the Bureau of Southeast and South Asian Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, has described as “zero” the Chinese ruling party’s ties with its Philippine counterpart.Shen told a group of visiting Asian and African journalists—including this reporter—taking part in a two-week media program sponsored by the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the CPC, that the party’s relations with the CPP “have been severed since the 1980s.”“The CPC and the CPP used to have relations in the 1960s and 1970s. But in the 1980s, we made adjustments in our party policies and our relations were severed,” she recalled.Shen emphasized that “as long as our counterpart groups in other countries (like the CPP) are banned or considered illegal by their host governments, then we cannot have normal party-to-party relations.” Continue reading

Turkey: Mass arrests of journalists aimed at suppressing pro-Kurdish information and voices

Wave of Condemnation as Turkey Arrests Yet More Journalists

by , 21 December 2001

Istanbul, Turkey- Dawn on Tuesday brought an unfortunate wake up call to many Kurds and especially to journalists as a wave of arrests across Turkey picked up 40 people, most of whom are journalists.

The arrests came under the premise of alleged links to the Union of Committees in Kurdistan (KCK). Turkish “anti-terrorism” police specifically targeted pro-Kurdish media, mainly DIHA and ETHA news agencies, the Özgür Gündem daily newspaper, the Demokratik Modernite magazine and the Gün printing press. Turkish state media alleged that the recent wave of arrests was part of a two year long investigation into the KCK and its members. In addition, French Kurdish photographer Mustafa Ozer, who works for the French news agency Agence France Presse, was detained, smiling as he was carried away by security officers.

This wave of arrests is only the latest in Turkey’s sustained assault against the KCK and all those affiliated with it. The new arrests brings the number of journalists alone in Turkish prisoners over 90, making Turkey one of the worst countries in the world for imprisoning members of the media. Along with journalists, Turkey has been undertaking a systemic campaign of arresting children, activists, academics, politicians, and arguably any other powerful voice of dissent in the country.

Although for the most part Turkey’s unjust actions against the Kurds go unnoticed, the arrest of 40 Kurds, most of whom are journalists, has received some of the criticism is deserves. Hundreds of journalists gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul to protest the arrests and demand that freedom of the press in Turkey be preserved and protected. “The imprisonment of journalists means the usurpation of our right for information” read the statement released at the demonstration. “We are here today to defend both our colleagues and the right of information.”

In addition, the international organization Reporters Without Borders released a statement saying they were “very concerned” by the latest arrests, and called on the Turkish government and authorities to “stop trying to criminalize journalism, including politically committed journalism.”

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also released a statement, calling on all those who support the right of information and freedom of the press to protest Turkey’s many human rights abuses.

The detention of 40 journalists, all seeking to reveal the same truth about the situation of Kurds in Turkey, is in fact affecting the entire profession of journalism. With 40 less people reporting on Turkey’s marginalization of the Kurdish community, Turkey is further quashing voices of dissent in the name of anti-terrorism and clearing the path for even more human rights abuses in the future.

This article first appeared on our website KurdishRights.org.