Edward Snowden: “NSA Surveillance Is About Power, Not ‘Safety’”

By Edward Snowden

17 December, 2013
[Countercurrents.org published this note introducing Edward Snowden's open letter to the people of Brazil. "This letter was published today in the Brazilian newspaper A Folha in Portuguese and this original text was provided via the Facebook page of Glenn Greenwald's husband David Miranda."]

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those. Continue reading

India: Revolutionary Students Challenge the Heroism of Nelson Mandela

Democratic Student Union, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDecember 14, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Hero for the oppressors, A BETRAYER FOR THE OPPRESSED!

The mournings & praises from the imperialists and their agents, are Mandela’s “legacy” of brokering one of the biggest sell outs of the 20th century!

Ever since the death of Nelson Mandela on the 6th of December, the most flowery tributes have been showered on him by a wide spectrum of the ruling classes all over the world. While the face of US imperialism Barak Obama “led the world” in paying tribute to “his personal hero”, the speeches his lieutenants in Britian, much of Europe, and across the world reverberated the same. The mass murderer president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakshe who oversaw the genocide of the people of Tamil Ealam also had tears to shed for Mandela. The Indian state also gargled the same and declared a four day long state mourning. The same waves also reached our campus. From ABVP to the parliamentary pseudo-left AISA or SFI and their likes, several organizations vied with each other in presenting their laurels to their “hero”. This spectrum is certainly striking, and may even confuse a few as to the real “legacy” of Mandela. However in reality, it is precisely this unanimity of imperialists and their agents that is most revealing. Mandela’s so called legacy is built upon on an illusion, the seeds of which were laid by Mandela himself. It is extremely important that we break this collective iconization and the illusion of Mandela’s legacy. Continue reading

“Woman Kills Three For Last X-Box at Chicago Wal-Mart”

["Some American officials are calling a trip to the mall an act of patriotism as the United States tries to rebound and rebuild." went a common news refrain after 9/11/2001.  Today, "patriotic" consumers are enlisted into the hyperbolic fray between Microsoft's X-Box One and the latest Playstation, a war on which one reporter commented: "by taking part in the rivalry, you’re doing little more than fighting on behalf of a massive corporation without benefitting at all yourself."  Black Friday sales at Walmart and Target were successfully dominated by Microsoft's X-Box One.  A satirical (Daily Currant) account of a frenzied example of  "Round One", at Walmart in Chicago, is given below, and many who have heard this story believe it, because it rings true.  Unfortunately, there are many similarly frenzied but factual accounts of intense consumer fights over meaningless junk acquisition.  --  Frontlines ed.]
November 30, 2013, The Daily Currant

Walmart_exteriorA woman was arrested today for stabbing to death three shoppers at a Chicago-area Wal-Mart in order to secure the store’s last X-Box One.

Mary Robbins, a married mother of two, reportedly wrestled her competitors to the ground before fatally wounding them with a sharpened Phillips head screwdriver. 

The victim’s names have not yet been released, but are said to include a sociology student at Northwestern University, a chemistry teacher at at local high school and a young pregnant woman buying a system for her brother. Continue reading

Israel’s Colonial Conquest at Mexican Book Fair Draws Protests

Protest Israel’s honoured status at FIL!

Published on 12 November 2013
Written by Connie Hackbarth, Alternative Information Center (AIC)

 Israel was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mxIsrael was selected as guest of honour at the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair/Image: fil.com.mx

Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), slated for 30 November – 8 December, selected Israel as its guest of honour for this year’s event. A hasbara dream for Israel, the fair’s guest of honour “brings to the city its publishing industry and literary presence, as well as the best of its culture, including the performing and visual arts, music, cinema, gastronomy and folklore.” “Each night,” the Fair’s website notes “the Guest of Honour offers a performance at FIL’s Foro as well as several performing venues throughout the city that host events in an effort to display and achieve a transforming experience for the public.”

Prominent intellectuals in Mexico publicly condemned the selection of Israel as guest of honour, writing in the Mexican press that the creation of Israel “caused the tragedy of the Palestinian people, condemned to exile, oppression and dispossession…Coexistence was replaced by a state founded on ethnic and cultural exclusion which has denied the legitimate right of the Palestinians to a state and a territory.”

Signatories of the statement include Néstor Braunstein, an Argentine exile in Mexico and one of Latin America’s most prominent psychoanalysts, and Margit Frenk, the daughter of Jewish German refugees in Mexico and world expert in Spanish literature and Miguel Cervantes. 

Israel understands the importance of this honoured position, which according to fair organisers has over the years “consolidated the Book Fair’s international and multicultural character.” Israeli President Shimon Peres himself will be present to open the Israeli pavilion.

Statement signatories requested that a “pluralistic and representative roundtable on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be conducted during this year’s fair, and that Palestine be invited as the honoured guest in 2015. It is unclear at this stage if the fair organisers have responded positively to this public request.

Continue reading

The Border-Industrial Complex Goes Abroad

“Nothing will stop our national security officials from making this country more secure from one of the least pressing dangers Americans face: terrorism.”
In this Nov. 12, 2013 photo, a Haitian man crosses into Haiti along the border with Jimani, Dominican Republic. In September, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that being born in the country does not automatically grant citizenship, including people born to non-legal residents going back to 1929. The ruling is a reflection of deep hostility in the Dominican Republic to the vast number of Haitians who have come to live in their country, many brought in to work in the sugar industry and their descendants. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

In this Nov. 12, 2013 photo, a Haitian man crosses into Haiti along the border with Jimani, Dominican Republic. In September, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that being born in the country does not automatically grant citizenship, including people born to non-legal residents going back to 1929. The ruling is a reflection of deep hostility in the Dominican Republic to the vast number of Haitians who have come to live in their country, many brought in to work in the sugar industry and their descendants. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

It isn’t exactly the towering 20-foot wall that runs like a scar through significant parts of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Imagine instead the sort of metal police barricades you see at protests. These are unevenly lined up like so many crooked teeth on the Dominican Republic’s side of the river that acts as its border with Haiti. Like dazed versions of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the armed Dominican border guards sit at their assigned posts, staring at the opposite shore.  There, on Haitian territory, children splash in the water and women wash clothes on rocks.

One of those CESFRONT (Specialized Border Security Corps) guards, carrying an assault rifle, is walking six young Haitian men back to the main base in Dajabon, which is painted desert camouflage as if it were in a Middle Eastern war zone.

If the scene looks like a five-and-dime version of what happens on the U.S. southern border, that’s because it is. The enforcement model the Dominican Republic uses to police its boundary with Haiti is an import from the United States. Continue reading

Event honoring Edward Said prompts Zionist smear campaign against San Francisco State students

The mural honoring Edward Said at San Francisco State University.

An anti-Palestinian group is mounting an attack against students at San Francisco State University. Following an on-campus event honoring a mural of the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, the group asserted that an artistic stencil glorified “the murder of Jews.”

The university’s president, at the urging of pro-Israel advocates, has joined the condemnation of the students.

On 7 November, as part of the sixth annual event to celebrate the mural and Palestinian culture, activists with several allied student organizations, including the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), an indigenous student group, set up informational tables on the campus’s Malcolm X Plaza.

The SKINS’ table made various stencils available for students to express themselves using images and slogans. One slogan read “my heroes have always killed colonizers,” which has been used for years by indigenous cultural workers in commemorating the resistance to the genocide of First Nations peoples and other indigenous communities around the world.

For the last two years, for example, indigenous communities have held cultural events entitled “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” in San Francisco during Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a day reclaimed from the national holiday celebrating the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

It didn’t take long for local Zionist watchdogs to launch a vicious attack against the entire event, the student organizations involved, and even the co-sponsoring academic department on campus, calling it “anti-Semitic” and insinuating that the stencil “glorif[ies] the murder of Jews.” Continue reading

N.S.A. Promises to Stop Getting Caught Spying on Allies

October 29, 2013

nsa-keith-alexander-580.jpg

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Responding to the firestorm of controversy over its spying on European allies, the head of the National Security Agency said today it would do everything in its power to avoid being caught doing it in the future.

“There are two important jobs for every spy agency: spying on people and avoiding detection,” said the N.S.A. chief General Keith Alexander. “Unfortunately, at the N.S.A. we have only done the first job well.”

“We have abused the trust of some of our closest allies,” he said. “And none of this would have happened if they hadn’t found out.” Continue reading

“Senior” Imperialist’s Arrogance Resented by its “Junior” Partners

France and Mexico Angry With N.S.A.

By Brandon Cottrell
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States – As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in France today, Le Monde, an authoritative newspaper, published a report based on the secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.  It is expected that France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will discuss this issue with Kerry during his visit.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the claims are “totally unacceptable” (Photo Courtesy BBC).

Adding already to the previous disclosures of the N.S.A’s worldwide surveillances in Germany, England. Brazil, and Mexico, today’s report stated that the N.S.A. recorded over 70 million digital communications in France over the span of one month.  It is believed that businesses, officials, and terror suspects were specifically targeted.

France’s American Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, stated that, “These kinds of practices between partners are totally unacceptable and we must be assured that they are no longer being implemented.”  Additionally Manuel Valls, France’s Interior Minister, called today’s report “shocking” and that it “will require explanation.” Continue reading

Reparations for Slavery: A Just Demand, Constantly Blocked by Bourgeois Legal System

[In the systems whose wealth and power is rooted in historic plunder, enslavement, displacement and extermination, the demand for reparations ("to repair the damage") is routinely dismissed and denounced by bourgeois media and law -- as "unreasonable" or "unrealistic," at best, or, more commonly, as "irrational" or "greedy" or even "treasonous." -- Frontlines ed.]

For the sins of the fathers:  Caribbean countries sue for slavery, but what could it mean for SA?

Rebecca Davis, World (South African publication)22 Oct 2013
Rebeccaslavery

Fourteen Caribbean nations are to sue European governments for reparations for slavery. The Caribbean Community (Caricom) is bringing lawsuits to the International Court of Justice in the Hague against Britain, France and the Netherlands for their roles in the Atlantic slave trade. They argue that the social and economic legacy of slavery continues to disadvantage them to this day. It’s an interesting case, and it might prompt some reflection about South Africa’s own reparations issues. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Regional Caribbean organisation Caricom, through its British law firm Leigh Day, will seek to make the case in the Hague that through their colonial participation in the slave-trade, Britain, France and the Netherlands essentially contributed towards the stunting of Caribbean development, and now owe 14 Caribbean nations reparations for slavery and an apology.

Exactly how much money they want, and how they think it should be disbursed, is not yet clear. The figure mentioned by several media outlets has been that Britain paid 20 million pounds in compensation to slave-owners in the Caribbean almost two decades after the abolition of slavery in 1834. (The slaves got nothing.) This figure was massive even at the time, amounting to 40% of the erstwhile government’s budget, and would now be equivalent to about 200 billion pounds. Continue reading

Not One More Deportation: Tired of Futile Requests, Activists Block Deportations

San Francisco Blocks Deportation Buses

Just moments ago, dozens of undocumented immigrants and allies peacefully sat down in front of the San Francisco offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and blocked a bus filled with community members en route to deportation.

The action is occurring at 630 Sansome Street in San Francisco.

Today’s protest marks the expansion of a national movement to pressure the President to use his existing executive authority to halt painful deportations of immigrant community members – a move which will bolster efforts in Congress to win inclusive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented Americans. Continue reading

Capitalist China rapidly expanding its share of inter-imperialist contention and rivalry

[After Mao Zedong died 35 years ago, bourgeois forces within the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party led by the opportunist (revisionist or false-Marxist) Teng Hsiao-Ping seized power and began a ruthless period of destroying socialism and of capitalist profiteering and accumulation (under false banners of "market socialism",  "development" and "modernization").  After re-organizing the Chinese workers to serve, for several years, the established Western imperialists as a "cheap labor" resource, the Chinese bourgeoisie, concentrated in both "state-owned" enterprises and private corporations,  launched a more open imperialist drive with foreign investments, global resource acquisition, military force expansion, expanded trade relations, and corollary  diplomatic, media, educational, cultural, and joint-venture monetary and finance-credit initiatives.  The following article details one area of this expansion -- arms exports -- which inevitably creates new deals for parts supplies, operational training, logistical integration, joint military training exercises, and other aspects of new alliance formation.
All who oppose imperialism, and who have learned so much from the oppression of many imperialist powers such as the British Empire and US imperialism, must take note of this development of Chinese Social-Imperialism (socialist in words, imperialist in deeds).  While China is not the largest, and there are certainly many smaller, imperialist powers within the single imperialist world system, the people have no interest in taking the side of one imperialist versus another.  Only when the people's revolution destroys and banishes imperialism on a world scale will creative history on human terms truly begin. -- Frontlines ed.]

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/world/asia/chinas-arms-industry-makes-global-inroads.html?hp&_r=0

China’s Arms Industry Makes Global Inroads

October 20, 2013

BEIJING — From the moment Turkey announced plans two years ago to acquire a long-range missile defense system, the multibillion-dollar contract from a key NATO member appeared to be an American company’s to lose.

Members of Aviation Industry Corporation of China displayed a model of the JF-17 jet at an exposition in Beijing last month.

For years, Turkey’s military had relied on NATO-supplied Patriot missiles, built by the American companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, to defend its skies, and the system was fully compatible with the air-defense platforms operated by other members of the alliance.

There were other contenders for the deal, of course. Rival manufacturers in Russia and Europe made bids. Turkey rejected those — but not in favor of the American companies. Its selection last month of a little-known Chinese defense company, China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp oration, stunned the military-industrial establishment in Washington and Brussels.

The sale was especially unusual because the Chinese missile defense system, known as the HQ-9, would be difficult to integrate with existing NATO equipment. China Precision is also subject to sanctions from the United States for selling technologies that the United States says could help Iran, Syria and North Korea develop unconventional weapons. A State Department spokeswoman said this month that American officials had expressed to the Turkish government “serious concerns” about the deal, which has not yet been signed.

Industry executives and arms-sales analysts say the Chinese probably beat out their more established rivals by significantly undercutting them on price, offering their system at $3 billion. Nonetheless, Turkey’s selection of a Chinese state-owned manufacturer is a breakthrough for China, a nation that has set its sights on moving up the value chain in arms technology and establishing itself as a credible competitor in the global weapons market. Continue reading

Chile: Indigenous groups mark Columbus Day with protests

October 13, 2013, Al Jazeera

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday.  Luis Hidalgo/AP

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday.  Luis Hidalgo/AP

Protesters clashed with police in Chile’s capital Saturday during an anti-Columbus Day march organized by Indigenous groups, with activists calling for the return of ancestral lands and the right to self-determination on the 521-year anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Demonstrators in Santiago threw rocks and other objects at police who responded with water cannons. At least 10 protesters were detained by police, local media reported.

More than 15,000 people participated in the march, organized by the country’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, who have been in a long struggle with the government over ancestral land taken from them during colonization.

While Columbus Day celebrations took place across Latin America, the Mapuche affirmed, “we have nothing to celebrate”, according to the Santiago Times.

A press release by the group complained of mistreatment by the state, particularly against Mapuche political prisoners, and on-going land disputes in the south. Continue reading

Condemn Petraeus and Interim Chancellor Kelly! Uphold the CUNY 6 and the Campaign to End the Militarization of CUNY!

The interim CUNY chancellor William B. Kelly recently sent a letter  to the Board of Trustees regarding the September 17, 2013 demonstration against a fundraiser at Macaulay Honors College featuring “professor” David Petraeus and apologist for U.S. imperialism Fareed Zakaria.

The demonstration was organized by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, a united front in which the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC) is a leading participant.

While the interim chancellor’s letter mentions the demonstration, it consciously neglects to address the brutality that the NYPD used in arresting demonstrators. Instead the letter claims that “a few demonstrators resisted police efforts, and six arrests were made.” The letter continues: “The university takes every measure to ensure that Dr. Petraeus was able to teach and conduct scholarly activities, without harassment or obstruction.” Further, the institution “-will not tolerate disruption of the free exchange of ideas and the essential work of the university.” This is a mischaracterization of not only the events of September 17, but of the campaign as a whole. Continue reading

Bangladeshi workers set fire to factories

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

The Australian, September 23, 2013

ANGRY Bangladeshi garment workers have blocked roads, set factories alight and clashed with police for a third day as protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $US100 spread outside the capital Dhaka.

Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district near Dhaka, which is home to hundreds of factories, said on Monday “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.

His deputy Mustafizur Rahman said about 300 factories, which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, were shut on Monday to contain the violence as protesting workers attacked plants that stayed open. Continue reading