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 →
["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
A 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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
The same week in which a Washington Post columnist claimed that interracial marriage makes people gag, a USA Today columnist has proposed using the U.S. military to aid those suffering in the Philippines — as a backdoor means of getting the U.S. military back into a larger occupation of the Philippines.
While the Philippines’ representative at the climate talks in Warsaw is fasting in protest of international inaction on the destruction of the earth’s climate, and the U.S. negotiator has effectively told him to go jump in a typhoon, the discussion in the U.S. media is of the supposed military benefits of using Filipinos’ suffering as an excuse to militarize their country.
The author of the USA Today column makes no mention of the U.S. military’s history in the Philippines. This was, after all, the site of the first major modern U.S. war of foreign occupation, marked by long duration, and high and one-sided casualties. As in Iraq, some 4,000 U.S. troops died in the effort, but most of them from disease. The Philippines lost some 1.5 million men, women, and children out of a population of 6 to 7 million.
The USA Today columnist makes no mention of Filipinos’ resistance to the U.S. military up through recent decades, or of President Obama’s ongoing efforts to put more troops back into the Philippines, disaster or no disaster. Continue reading →
[Reuters News Service on November 3, 2013, reported that "'Thus far there are indications that this is what they are intending to do,' Kerry said after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, referring to his recent remarks in Pakistan that Egypt’s military was 'restoring democracy'”.
The rules of Imperialists, and of junior partners of imperialists, means they do not have to explain, much less apologize. But even Human Rights Watch, which often downplays or ignores crimes by the US-led bloc, could not ignore this. -- Frontlines ed.]
In dealing with protest after protest, Egyptian security forces escalate quickly and without warning to live ammunition, with deadly results. Thirteen hundred people have died since July. What will it take for the authorities to rein in security forces or even set up a fact-finding committee into their use of deadly force? — Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director
(New York) – Egypt’s authorities have yet to announce any move to investigate security force killings of protesters on October 6, 2013. Almost four weeks after police used lethal force to break up protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the authorities have not said they have questioned, or intend to question, security forces about their use of firearms that day.
The clashes left 57 people dead throughout Egypt, according to the Health Ministry, with no police deaths reported.
“In dealing with protest after protest, Egyptian security forces escalate quickly and without warning to live ammunition, with deadly results,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Thirteen hundred people have died since July. What will it take for the authorities to rein in security forces or even set up a fact-finding committee into their use of deadly f Continue reading →
[In an amazing admission, an NSA official proclaims the government attitude that the people have no right to telephone or internet privacy: Because it's just the same as the common (though now challenged, in name) police "stop and frisk" policy and practice. -- Frontlines ed.]
NSA official cites ‘stop and frisk’ in effort to explain searches of phone records
November 4, 2013, McClatchy DC
By Ali Watkins— McClatchy Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The general counsel of the National Security Agency on Monday compared the agency’s telephone metadata collection program to the highly controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice used by law enforcement officers, saying the agency uses that same standard to choose which phone numbers to query in its database.
“It’s effectively the same standard as stop-and-frisk,” Rajesh De said in an attempt to explain the evidentiary use of “reasonable and articulable suspicion” to identify which phone numbers to target from the agency’s huge database of stored cellphone records. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
[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
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 →
October 17, 2013 — In wake of unprecedented protests in AZ, Bay Area groups urge national halt to deportations in order to jump start immigration reform
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 blockeda 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 →
TODAY in ELOY: #Not1More #Shutdown Ice Protest Latino Rebels Latino Rebels Published on Oct 14, 2013 Today at the Eloy Detention Center, protesters called for an end to deportations and a push to shutdown ICE.
October 14, 2013–Just now, protestors chained themselves in front of the Eloy Detention Center. Their action calls on the President to stop deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Through civil disobedience they say they’re exposing the inhumane imprisonment at the center of current immigration policy and the needless warehousing of the undocumented who could benefit from reform.
One of the protestors, 16 year old Sandy Estrada of Phoenix, AZ, whose brother has been detained in Eloy for nearly a year after being arrested on work-related charges, says, “I’m doing this to show my brother and all the other people inside that we support them and we will do what it takes to get them out. I want the President to know that everyone deserves to be with their families and that he can stop our pain.” Continue reading →
Yesterday, Herman Wallace was laid to rest after a memorial service befitting his liberation roots. New Orleans supporters, friends and family came together to create a magnificent send off for Herman, just the way he wanted it.
As a proud black man who struggled for justice for himself, his comrades, his people and all people, Herman wanted the remembrance to be in a community space and to provide a forum for many of his supporters to speak and most importantly to bring people together. As you’ll see from the photos below, it was a memorable occasion. You can also read the statement that Albert Woodfox wrote for Herman, featured below.
Join Amnesty for the second line parade in honor of Herman in New Orleans on Saturday, October 19, at 2:00 pm, starting at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 1210 Governor Nicholls Street, and concluding at the Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal Street.