Cops own up to child deaths in raid

SHEENA K, Telegraph India

Bodies kept at the police station for identification. Picture by Bishwajeet Chakraborty

Raipur, June 30: Chhattisgarh police today admitted that the 18 victims of yesterday’s anti-Maoist operation included children and women but sparked fresh controversy by claiming they were all rebel cadres.

The admission came after the bodies were laid out in front of a police station to facilitate identification — a routine procedure — and journalists took photographs. It was clear that several of the victims were children and at least one seemed a girl.

The BJP government had also come under pressure from the Congress, which sent a team to the remote encounter site and claimed that “preliminary information” suggested at least three children “below the age of eight” and several women were among the dead.

The security forces had yesterday claimed to have killed 17 Maoists in a pre-dawn jungle swoop in Bijapur district — an injured rebel died later in hospital — but local people had alleged that most of those slain were villagers attending a meeting called by the rebels.

“As far as our information is concerned, more than a dozen innocent villagers were killed,” state Congress president Nandkumar Patel said today. Continue reading

India: More on the state’s false “Maoist” labels on adivasis killed by security forces

Day after encounter, villagers say no Maoist among those killed

Ashutosh Bhardwaj | The Indian Express | Sarkeguda, Bijapur |  Sunday July 01 2012

The bodies of 20 who were killed by the Central Reserve Police Force in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Friday.

On Saturday, over 40 hours after the “biggest encounter” involving security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, bodies of 19 alleged “hardcore Maoists and Jan Militia members” lay outside their huts in the three villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta in Bijapur.

Villagers alleged no government official had spoken to them or visited their homes, and no autopsies had been carried out on the bodies.

Several bodies appeared to have been brutalised. This correspondent saw deep, hacking cuts, apparently made by axes, on some chests and foreheads. A senior CRPF officer rejected the possibility that the wounds might have been inflicted by security forces. “Our forces have never done such things and will never do this,” the officer said.

Bijapur superintendent of police Prashant Agarwal said, “Proper post mortem was conducted in Basaguda thana. A team of doctors visited the thana and a report will be prepared.”

Policemen at the thana — where the bodies were kept for about 12 hours before being handed to the families — were unable to say when the post mortem happened. No stitches or other tell-tale marks of an autopsy were visible on the bodies that this correspondent saw in the villages.

At Sarkeguda, the spot deep in the Dandakaranya jungles 520 km south of Raipur where the encounter happened, the stench was overpowering. A rotting pig lay nearby, a bullet in its jaw and two in the torso.

Late in the afternoon, one by one, the villagers began to cremate the bodies.

Yesterday, Home Minister P Chidambaram said three important Maoist leaders, Mahesh, Nagesh and Somulu, had been killed in the encounter.

There is no Mahesh in the official list of those killed. There are two Nageshes. Continue reading

The Electoral Victory of Political Islam in Egypt

by Samir Amin | Monthly Review | 30 June 2012

The electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Salafists in Egypt (January 2012) is hardly surprising.  The decline brought about by the current globalization of capitalism has produced an extraordinary increase in the so-called “informal” activities that provide the livelihoods of more than half of the Egyptian population (statistics give a figure of 60%).

And the Muslim Brotherhood is very well placed to take advantage of this decline and perpetuate its reproduction.  Their simplistic ideology confers legitimacy on a miserable market/bazaar economy that is completely antithetical to the requirements of any development worthy of the name.  The fabulous financial means provided to the Muslim Brotherhood (by the Gulf states) allows them to translate this ideology into efficient action: financial aid to the informal economy, charitable services (medical dispensaries etc.).

In this way the Brotherhood establishes itself at the heart of society and induces its dependency.  It has never been the intention of the Gulf countries to support the development of Arab countries, for example through industrial investment.  They support a form of “lumpen development” — to use the term originally coined by André Gunder Frank — that imprisons the societies concerned in a spiral of pauperization and exclusion, which in turn reinforces the stranglehold of reactionary political Islam on society. Continue reading

Chhattisgarh, India: Villagers bury their dead as Maoists and CRPF forces trade charges

Aman Sethi | The Hindu

A tribal family grieves over the death of a victim of Friday’s police action against suspected Maoists at Sarkeguda in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Photo: Aman Sethi

SARKEGUDA, 1 July 2012 — The air is thick with rhythmic wailing and smoke from funeral pyres on the barren fields of Sarkeguda, Kotteguda and Rajapetta in the Kotteguda panchayat of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

“The funerals are being conducted one by one as there aren’t enough men to help out with so many bodies,” said Sangam Ravi, a resident. “Some have to be buried, but who will dig all the graves? Some bodies must be burnt, but then you need to collect the wood.”

A day after the Chhattisgarh police claimed to have killed 20 Maoists in an encounter in Bijapur, villagers have offered a sharply divergent description of the incident, claiming that the security forces fired at a peaceful gathering of villagers, killing 20 of them, including five children aged 12-15, and sexually assaulted at least four teenaged girls during the encounter.

“There were no Maoists present at the village that night,” said Madkam Ganpat of Rajpetta. “We had gathered to discuss the upcoming seed festival, which is held every year before sowing begins.” He said the meeting continued for several hours, when the participants were suddenly surrounded by a large contingent of the security forces.

Mourners surround a corpse at Sarkeguda village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. On Friday morning, the Chhattisgarh police claimed they had killed 20 Maoists in an operation. Yet villagers insist that the victims were innocent tribals attending a village meeting. Photo: Aman Sethi

“The forces immediately opened fire, all of us tried to run away but many were shot in the legs, back and chest,” he said. Kaka Saraswati was among those killed in the ensuing confusion. “She was only 12 years old,” said her mother Kaka Sinakka.

Several of the bodies seen by this correspondent had bullet wounds in the torso and the neck. Sabka Mitu, 17, was killed when his throat was slit by a sharp object. Several bodies also had lacerations from what could have been a knife or an axe.

Mr. Ganpat’s account was corroborated by a number of villagers who insisted that no Maoists were present at the meeting, but none could explain how six policemen were injured. “The forces had encircled us,” said Mr. Ganpat. “Maybe, they accidently shot each other.”

The firing lasted several minutes, the villagers said, after which the forces radioed for a tractor that took away a number of bodies. “The force then camped in the village and dragged me into the fields,” Devi (name changed), a 14-year-old girl, said in an interview. “They threw me on the ground, beat me, kicked me, tore my clothes and kept threatening to rape me.” She said three other girls were similarly molested.

Continue reading

India: Government attacks the poor under sham pretense–thousands arrested falsely or disappeared

Counter terror ops a facade for anti-people policies, say activists

New Delhi | Deccan Herald | 26 June 2012

Cases of men and women disappearing, false cases and illegal detentions have become rampant in the name of fighting “maoism and terrorism”, alleged activists at a convention held in Delhi on Tuesday.

Activists demanded withdrawal of the undeclared emergency imposed in 1975 terming it as a “draconian law” at the convention held on Anti-emergency Day observed on June 26. They said that a new wave of “counter terrorism” has been evolved “in the name of IPC” to terrorise people from backward communities.

Kuldip Nayar, who has been raising concerns over undeclared emergency for several years said, “In June 1975 the press was stopped because the government decided to impose censorship. But some media publications fought back. Similarly, today people need to fight back rather than depending on the government.”

Dr Binayak Sen, who spent two and a half years in prison said, “I took this message while walking out of the prison that it is our duty to fight for thousands who are imprisoned for no reason.” Continue reading

Indonesia: Ex-political prisoners stage plays to survive stigmatization

[Though this description of the 1965 events and massacre are re-packaged, and carefully cleansed of the CIA role; and the scale of the mass murder was much greater, this article from the Indonesian press does raise the largely unrecognized impact on a million political prisoners from that time, seen through the experience of elderly survivors. -- Frontlines ed.]

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Saturday, 06/30/2012

The commemoration of the abortive coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) is still a few months away, but former political prisoners always remember Sept. 30, 1965, as the day that changed their lives. Following the attempt, which claimed the lives of six Army generals, the Indonesian Military, with the help of mass organizations, prosecuted anyone thought to have links with the PKI. The precise number of fatalities has been disputed, but some put the number as high as 500,000. Those who survived the massacre lived with the stigma of communism and lost their civil rights. One of them, Nani Nuraini, is now 71 years old.

“Even though we are now aged and frail, we still keep smiling and fighting,” said Nani, who claims she has just been fighting for her rights. At the Central Jakarta District Court in 2008, she won the right to a lifetime identity card just like any other elderly citizen. In April, however, the same court rejected her request for rehabilitation.

She was arrested in 1968 and sent without trial to Bukitduri Women’s Penitentiary in South Jakarta for seven years, simply because, at a young age, she had performed as a presidential palace dancer at the party’s anniversary gathering in June 1965. Nani has lived with the stigma of being an ex-political prisoner and communist sympathizer ever since. Continue reading

India: “…1.8 million victims of police torture and violence every year…”

India’s record on custodial torture dismal

Anahita Mukherji | The Times of India | June 28, 2012

NEW DELHI: The Torture Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1984 (resolution 39/46) and it came into force on 26 June 1987 after being ratified by 20 nations. The Torture Convention completed 25 years of its presence earlier this week and it’s an opportune moment for India to introspect on its dismal track record of custodial torture.

According to a recent report on human rights in India, a study of 47 districts over a period of more than two years shows that on an average 1.8 million people are victims of police torture and violence in India every year . The release of the report, prepared by the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), a coalition of human rights bodies, coincided with India’s Universal Periodic Review on human rights at the United Nations.

The report cites data released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which reported an average of 43 deaths in police or prison custody every day in the decade 2001 to 2010. “These figures represent only a fraction of the actual number of deaths in custody as they reflect only the cases registered before the NHRC,” says the WGHR report.

The report points to the widespread and routine use of torture in conflict areas, leading to both physical and mental disabilities as well as impotence. “Common methods of torture in Kashmir and the North-East include assault, placement of an iron rod on the legs on which many people sit, placement of a burning stove between the legs and administration of electric shocks to the genitals,” adds the report. Continue reading

The Feds are watching — badly

[US imperialist xenophobia translates into bizarre and concentrated cultural ignorance, especially when replicated by aggressive, repressive government bureaucracies.  The harm inflicted on targeted communities is beyond measure.  This investigative report from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, an alternative weekly newspaper, traces the details of some recent revelations. -- Frontlines ed.]

by Yael Chanoff and Natalie Orenstein, San Francisco Bay Guardian, June 26, 2012

The FBI’s modern snoop program is racist, xenophobic, misdirected, dangerous — and really, really stupid

Muslims, the Internet — what isn’t the government spying on?

So, you’re a law enforcement officer in training for participation on a local Joint Terrorism Task Force. Or a student at the United States Military Academy at West Point, involved in the counterterrorism training program developed in partnership with the FBI. Or you’re an FBI agent training up to deal with terrorist threats.

Get ready for FBI training in dealing with Arab and Muslim populations.

Take note that “Western cultural values” include “rational, straight line thinking” and a tendency to “identify problems and solve them through logical decision-making process” — while “Arab cultural values” are “emotional based” and “facts are colored by emotion and subjectivity.”

Be advised that Arabs have “no concept of privacy” and “no concept of ‘constructive criticism’” and that in Arab culture it is “acceptable to interrupt conversations to convey information or make requests.”

“Westerners think, act, then feel,” an FBI powerpoint briefing notes, while “Arabs feel, act, then think.”

Those are some of the most dramatic examples of racial profiling and outright racist stereotyping revealed in thousands of pages of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Bay Guardian, the ACLU of Northern California and the Asian Law Caucus.

The documents show a pattern of cultural insensitivity, sometimes bordering on the ridiculous, not only tolerated by promoted as official instructions by the FBI. The records also show a broad pattern of surveillance of people who have engaged in no criminal activity and aren’t even suspected of crimes, but have been targeted because of their race or religion.

Pieces of this story have come out over the past year as the ACLU has charged the FBI with racial profiling and Attorney General Eric Holder has insisted it’s not happening. And some of the documents — which are not always properly dated — may be a few years old.

But none of it is ancient history: All of the material has been used by the FBI in the past few years, under the Obama administration.

This is the first complete report with the full details on a pattern of behavior that is, at the very least, disturbing — and in some parts, reminiscent of the notorious (and widely discredited) COINTELPRO program that sought to undermine and disrupt political groups in the 1960s.

The information suggests that the federal government is using methods that are not only imprecise and xenophobic but utterly ineffective in protecting the American public.

“This is the worst way to pursue security,” Hatem Bazian, professor of Near East Studies at UC Berkeley, told us.

CULTURAL STEREOTYPES

Dozens of documents attempt to describe “Arabs and Muslims” but other groups aren’t left out of the sweeping stereotyping and blatant racism and xenophobia that the FBI has used in its training guides. One training presentation is titled “The Chinese.” The materials give such tips as “informality is perceived as disrespectful.” The presentation warns “expect your gift (money) to be refused” but advises to give “a simple gift with significant meaning- tangerines or oranges (with stems/leaves.)” But “never give a clock as a gift! (death!)”

And if those in the training on “The Chinese” find themselves in “interactions with the opposite sex,” then “touching, too many compliments, may imply a romantic liaison is desired — be careful!” Continue reading

At Rio+20, Bhattarai, betrayer of Nepalese revolution, denounced by Brazilian Maoists

Bhattarai, revisionist and traitor, get out! Down with revisionism!
Long live Maoism! Long live the People’s War!

Protest at Rio+20

The Revolutionary Front for the Defense of the People – FRDDP (Brazil), repudiates the presence in our country of the revisionist traitor Baburam Bhattarai, current Prime Minister of Nepal, at the UN conference “Rio +20,” held in the city of Rio de Janeiro between 20 and 22 June 2012.

Bhattarai in collusion with Puspa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), betrayed the aspirations of the Nepalese people for a new society to put an end to
centuries of exploitation and oppression of feudalism, bureaucratic capitalism and imperialism.

The Nepalese people, who had been cruelly oppressed for centuries by feudalism and imperialism, took the path of armed struggle under the direction of
revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), in a heroic People’s War  in 1996.

For ten years the people’s war developed greatly, building a new power of workers and peasants, delivering and dividing land to the peasants in large parts of the country, representing a living hope for all the Nepalese people and the people of the world.

However, after these great advances, faced with the pressures of imperialism and reaction, the direction of the CPN(Maoist), headed by Prachanda and Bhattarai, betrayed the revolution and completely capitulated to imperialism and the bourgeoisie, and in 2006, made infamous peace agreements, under the baton of the UN to disarm the people and its glorious People’s Liberation Army, ending the glorious revolution initiated in 1996.

Prachanda and Bhattarai abandoned Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and joined revisionism, converted the  Maoist revolutionary party into a reformist and revisionist “Unified Communist Party of Nepal-CPN (Maoist).” These reformist leaders of the UCPM(M) betrayed the desire of the Nepalese people for a new society, exchanging, through agreements with imperialism, the struggle for a popular new democratic republic, into one more big government under the bourgeoisie and imperialism–exploitative and oppressive against the people–this time led by Bhattarai as prime minister.

Bhattarai, Prachanda, now equivalent to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Dilma and Lula in Brazil–real undercover agents of imperialism, that under the mask of “left” and “popular,” cheat and deceive the masses, in attempt to divert them from the revolutionary path, while committing the worst crimes against the proletariat and the people. Continue reading

“You can clean up a pig, put a ribbon on its tail, spray it with perfume, but it is still a pig”

[The capitalist state in the US has, from its very beginning, enforced its subjugation of the Africans enslaved, of indigenous who survived conquest and genocide, and many others subordinated through colonialism, including millions drawn from foreign conquests for cheap labor in the US.  These oppressed peoples have continued to be subjected to forms of "racist profiling" at the hands of police and other repressive agencies--harassment, stalking, persecution--which in New York City goes by the name "stop and frisk."  After years of literally millions of these encounters with abusive police--unquestioned by the mass media--massive protests have brought the issue to public light.  Now, as the political price for this ongoing abuse continues to rise, there are "reform" moves--for the police to be more polite, to issue apologies along with the abuse,  or for "stop and frisk" programs to get new names.  But  communities long targeted for such abuse have always known: even smiling police are still pigs in oppressed communities. The New York Times article, below, looks at the effects of this reforms. -- Frontlines ed.]

———————————

“The officers asked for ID. They threw in the word ‘sir.’ They are trying to belittle you by saying ‘sir,’ like being sarcastic in a way, like, ‘I’m really your sir. You have to do what I say.’’ — Barlo Jones, 28, Brownsville, Brooklyn

Rude or Polite, City’s Officers Leave Raw Feelings in Stops

By WENDY RUDERMAN, New Yok Times, June 26, 2012

Most of the time, the officers swoop in, hornetlike, with a command to stop: “Yo! You, come here. Get against the wall.”

They batter away with questions, sometimes laced with profanity, racial slurs and insults: “Where’s the weed?” “Where’s the guns?”

The officers tell those who ask why they have been stopped to shut up, using names like immigrant, old man or “bro.”

Next comes the frisk, the rummaging through pockets and backpacks. Then they are gone.

Other times, the officers are polite, their introductions almost gentle. “Hey, how’s it going?” “Can you step over here, sir?” “We’d like to talk to you.”

The questions are probing, authoritative, but less accusatory. “What are you doing here?” “Do you live here?” “Can I see some identification, please?” During the pat-down, they ask, “Do you have anything on you?” They nudge further: “You don’t mind if I search you, do you?” They explain that someone of a matching description robbed a store a few days ago, or that the stop is a random one, part of a program in a high-crime area. Then they apologize for the stop and say the person is free to go.

In interviews with 100 people who said they had been stopped by the New York police in neighborhoods where the practice is most common, many said the experience left them feeling intruded upon and humiliated. And even when officers extended niceties, like “Have a nice night,” or called them “sir” and “ma’am,” people said they questioned whether the officer was being genuine.

Michael Delgado, 18, said he was last stopped on Grant Street in East New York, Brooklyn. “I was walking, and a cop said, ‘Where’s the weed?’ ” he recalled. “In my mind, I’m like, ‘Yo, this guy’s a racist.’ He started frisking me, his hands were in my pockets, but I didn’t say anything because my mom always tells me: ‘No altercations. Let him do his thing.’ ”

When the stop-and-frisk was done, Mr. Delgado said, the officer left him with a casual aside to stay safe.

“Stay safe?” Mr. Delgado said. “After he just did all that?”

Last year, city police officers stopped nearly 686,000 people, 84 percent of them black or Latino. The vast majority — 88 percent of the stops — led to neither an arrest nor a summons, although officers said they had enough reasonable suspicion to conduct a frisk in roughly half of the total stops, according to statistics provided by the New York Police Department and the Center for Constitutional Rights. Continue reading

Odisha, India: Commerce and transport shut down by mass actions against government’s war on the people

Last month, in an earlier bandh in Odisha against petrol prices, mass actions shut down train service

Maoist bandh hits life in west Odisha

SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | The Pioneer | Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Further asserting their consolidation in Balangir district and other parts of western Odisha, the Chhattisgarh-Odisha State Committee of the CPI-Maoist on Monday called a 24-hour bandh affecting normal life in Balangir, Bargarh, Nuapada and other western Odisha districts. The bandh came demanding halt to anti-insurgent operations, release of Maoists and innocent tribals from jails and opposing the proposed constitution of NCTC.

According to reports, in Ghunsar village, the generator of Airtel tower was burnt down by the Maoists which was preceded by road blockades between Khaprakhol and Lathor and Khaprakhol and Nuapada. They also set fire to a kendu leaf godown in Khaprakhol block area. SP R Prakash said the blockades were cleared in the morning.

Almost all shops, business establishments, petrol pumps in Khaprakhol remained closed during the bandh.

Police seized posters and registered a case in connection with the burning incident. Only after investigation, will it be known who burnt the generator of the cell phone tower, Prakash said.

The 24-hour bandh had its impact on the western Odisha districts with vehicular traffic of all kinds coming to a grinding halt even as business establishments and Government offices were open in many parts during the day.

A report from Nuapada said that bus service was paralysed resulting in no movement from Nuapada to Padampur and Chhattishgarh to Khariar.

China: Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

[Workers strikes in China continue to grow in numbers and intensity.The following news report is an first draft of a translation. Later translations will be posted on Frontlines as they become available.-- Frontlines ed.]

Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, Zhenjiang District plow town, 2012-6-24
Rio Tinto Explosive Materials Factory, the entire factory staff from early May went on strike to protest against the company executives corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds. Employees at the plant entrance hang a large banner: “Give me my hard-earned money”, “anti-corruption grasping corruption” and so on.The company refused to respond positively to the demands of employees, instead only delayed, resulting in deterioration of relations and intensifying the strike.On June 22, workers clogged the road, causing traffic gridlock; blocked the factory gates, but let the leadership enter; and car blocked the door of the depots. The authorities dispatched hundreds of police in a confrontation with the workers.

Nighttime, the riot squad got orders to disperse the workers, the two sides clashed, police fired tear gas to suppress the workers, and a number of people were arrested.

Police broke into the factory, trapped the leadership away, taking away the blockage of cars, transported them away, and evacuated the explosives factory. Continue reading

The UN, int’l agencies, and the ‘has-been’ world capitalist system admit political/economic bankruptcy at Rio+20

Some came with high hopes, others were not so sure. But all left empty handed.

Rio+20, an environmental summit whose outcome made all unhappy

By Associated Press, June 23, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — It was hard to find a happy soul at the end of the Rio+20 environmental summit.

Not within the legion of bleary-eyed government negotiators from 188 nations who met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at the United Nations conference on sustainable development.

Not among the thousands of activists who decried the three-day summit that ended late Friday as dead on arrival. Not even in the top U.N. official who organized the international organization’s largest-ever event.

“This is an outcome that makes nobody happy. My job was to make everyone equally unhappy,” said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the conference, nicely summing up the mood.

In the end, this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences.

That result was hailed as a success by the 100 heads of state who attended. Given how environmental summits have failed in recent years as global economic turmoil squashes political will to take on climate and conservation issues, the mere fact of agreeing to talk again in the future constitutes victory. Continue reading

Al Jazeera video: “Is this the end of Egypt’s revolution?”


Published on Jun 25, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

The decision by Egypt’s electoral commission ends a week of uncertainty in a country without a parliament or a constitution, and a barely functioning economy. There is a new president, the country’s first elected leader. Mohammed Morsi, the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood. Is Egypt’s political limbo over? Guests: Hisham Kassem, Waleed El-Haddad, Adel Darwish.