India: Public Meeting Called for August 3 to Protest the Killings of Azad and Pandey

Jul 07, 2010: Writer activist Arundhati Roy speaks at a meeting in New Delhi protesting the killing of freelance journalist Hem Chand Pandey along with Maoist leader Azad

Public Meeting–Concerned Citizens & Forum Against  War on People

Protest against the Killing of Azad, Spokesperson of CPI (Maoist) and Journalist Hem Chandra Pandey

CONSTITUTE JUDICIAL INQUIRY INTO THEIR KILLINGS IMMEDIATELY

Speakers:  Agnivesh, Amit Bhaduri, Arundhati Roy, Ashish Gupta/ PUDR, B D Sharma, G Haragopal, G N Saibaba, Jagmohan, Manoranjan Mohanty, Mehar Engineer, Mrigank, PC Tiwari, Rajender Sachar/ Pushkar Raj/ PUCL, Rajkishore, RDF, SAR Geelani, Satnam, Sujato Bhadro, Neelabh, Pankaj Bisht, Sumit Chakravartty, Varavara Rao, And Others

Azad, the spokesperson of the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) along with a freelance journalist, Hemant Pandey from Delhi was murdered in cold blood in the early hours of 2 July 2010. The circumstantial evidence clearly shows that both were caught in Nagpur by Central and Andhra Pradesh intelligence agencies in a joint operation and killed in custody. Later their bodies were thrown in the Sarkapalli forest in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh by the police to cook up a story of an ‘armed encounter’.

According to the CPI (Maoist) sources, Azad, their spokesperson was caught by the intelligence agencies in Nagpur around 10 am on 1 July 2010. As per the family members of Hem Chandra Pandey, he left for Nagpur in the evening of 30 June 2010 to meet with his professional responsibilities as a journalist and hence thereafter remained incommunicado since the morning of 1st July.

On the morning of 2nd July, the Andhra Pradesh police cited the case of an armed encounter in the wee hours in the thick jungles of Adilabad district wherein two persons were killed. One of the deceased was identified as Azad alias Cherukuri Rajkumar while the other was declared unidentified. Continue reading

Protest against Vedanta over India mine project

[Amnesty International and Survival International led a protest of Vedanta shareholders, against a bauxite mine in India on Dongria Kondh lands.-ed.]

July 27, 2010

India-focused Vedanta Resources would face protests at its shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday from investors and pressure groups over its plans to establish a bauxite mine in an area sacred to indigenous people.

Pressure groups have long opposed a planned mine in India’s eastern Orissa state, but the sympathetic move by major asset manager Aviva Investors (part of insurer Aviva Plc) marks a more activist stance by institutional investors on social issues.

Aviva said it had organised a meeting on Friday of investors which in total hold around 5 percent of Vedanta shares with human rights group Amnesty International.

In order to show its concern over the Bauxite mining project and other issues with the company, Aviva said it plans to vote against three resolutions at Vedanta’s meeting on Wednesday, regarding the annual report and accounts, the remuneration report and the reappointment of the board member who chairs the health, safety and environment committee.

Vedanta shareholders will also confront more colourful protests as they enter the meeting, including two people made up as indigenous people from the hit film Avatar, which chronicles how a futuristic mining company threatens the existence of the Na’vi people. Continue reading

Activists protest in London over rape of Penan girls and women

By STEPHEN THEN

MIRI: International environmental activists from Survival International and Greenpeace demonstrated outside Oxford University in London Tuesday to protest against the rapes and sexual abuse of Penan women and girls in interior Sarawak.

These activists timed the protest to coincide with Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s visit to the university.

Taib was in London to attend the Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum.

Two days ago, Taib also spoke to some business people in London concerning investment prospects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

On Tuesday, Survival International director Stephen Corry emailed photographs of the protestors carrying banners and placards outside the Oxford building to the The Star.

”The protestors want the Sarawak Chief Minister to put a stop to the abuse of the Penans. Continue reading

Indigenous tribes occupy dam in Brazil, demand reparations

Amazon HOSTAGE: A group of about 100 workers are being held hostage by up to 400 Brazil native indians at the building site of a hydroelectric plant.

Jeremy Hance

mongabay.com

July 27, 2010

An indigenous group in Brazil has taken over a hydroelectric dam, which they state has polluted vital fishing grounds and destroyed sacred burial ground. They are demanding reparations for the damage done and that no more dams are built in the region without their prior consent.

The occupation of the dam began on Sunday when approximately 300 Indians from eleven different tribes took over the Dardanelos Dam in the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso. Despite wearing war paint and bows and arrows, the occupation was said to be non-violent and no injuries have been reported.

Initially the indigenous protesters held some 150 workers at the dam, but have since released the employees. The tribes are currently holding talks with government officials and representatives from the dam in hopes to come to an agreement to end the standoff.

A spokesperson with the Enawene Nawe tribe, one of the tribes represented in the action, told indigenous rights organization Survival International that “[they] joined the protest to raise awareness about the damage the dams cause, about the recognition of our land and the dangers of future projects like this”. Continue reading

Open Letter in Support of the Boycott of Arizona by the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

[This statement provides an important link connecting the oppositions to Israeli apartheid and American apartheid.-ed.]

27 June 2010

The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) endorses and supports the call for Boycott of Arizona on account of its manifestly racist laws, HB1070 and SB 2281.

SB1070 calls for police officers to require documentation from people to establish resident status. The law essentially requires police to engage in racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of appearance.1 SB 2281 outlaws the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona schools. It builds a pretext for the censorship of books and suppression of historical texts which are perceived by the state as political literature.2

USACBI calls attention to the similar plight of Palestinians in occupied Palestine.3 Analogous to Arizona’s policies, Palestinian narratives are suppressed by the state of Israel, including a new piece of legislation outlawing the commemoration of an nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.4 Israel also requires identification papers of Palestinians in order to engage in routine and essential daily tasks. These ID cards, which not all Palestinians are granted, forces many Palestinians from the diaspora to be foreigners in their own land and often denies them entry into their own country or results in expulsion from it.5 Continue reading

Fourteen Examples Of Systemic Racism In The US Criminal Justice System

By Bill Quigley

26 July, 2010

Countercurrents.org

The biggest crime in the U.S. criminal justice system is that it is a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.

Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. But the facts are overwhelming. No real debate about that. Below I set out numerous examples of these facts.

The question is – are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African Americans? Continue reading

Deportation of illegal immigrants increases under Obama administration

[Since Barack Obama became President, the rate of deportations has soared to over 1,000 a day.-ed.]

washingtonpost.com

By Peter Slevin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, July 26, 2010

In a bid to remake the enforcement of federal immigration laws, the Obama administration is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants and auditing hundreds of businesses that blithely hire undocumented workers.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration’s 2008 total and 25 percent more than were deported in 2007. The pace of company audits has roughly quadrupled since President George W. Bush’s final year in office.

The effort is part of President Obama’s larger project “to make our national laws actually work,” as he put it in a speech this month at American University. Partly designed to entice Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform, the mission is proving difficult and politically perilous.

Obama is drawing flak from those who contend the administration is weak on border security and from those who are disappointed he has not done more to fulfill his campaign promise to help the country’s estimated 11 million illegal residents. Trying to thread a needle, the president contends enforcement — including the deployment of fresh troops to the Mexico border — is a necessary but insufficient solution. Continue reading

Noynoy Aquino: New Face of Counterrevolution in the Philippines

Editorial, Ang Bayan, July 7, 2010  (Ang Bayan is published twice a month by the Communist Party of the Philippines.  www.philippinerevolution.com)

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is the new face of counterrevolution. Formally installed on June 30 as the new head of the puppet reactionary government, he is now the main advocate of US imperialist rule and that of the local big comprador bourgeoisie, bureaucrat capitalists and landlords.

On his shoulders rests the main responsibility of continuing the administration of the bankrupt semicolonial and semifeudal system, consolidating and running its state and suppressing any challenge to puppet reactionary power.

Just as US imperialism and the local ruling classes expected of him, Aquino focused his first few days on consolidating the puppet army. Aquino is well aware that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the main pillar of reactionary rule in the Philippines. It will also serve as his main instrument in wielding power and fulfilling his duties. Thus, he has gone allout in providing it support, promising more troops, new equipment and housing for soldiers. Continue reading

First in 9 years: No effigy burned after Philippines’ State of the Nation Address

JERRIE M. ABELLA, GMANews.TV,  July 26, 2010

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's effigy during her last SONA in 2009 was burned, in line with the tradition in protest actions of imagining the subjugation of the enemy. Ugat Lahi

One thing was missing during President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), and that was the symbolic burning of the president’s effigy outside the Batasan Complex.

This was because militant groups do not consider Aquino as their adversary yet.

“It’s too early to ‘burn’ him (Aquino),” said visual artist Max Santiago of Ugat Lahi, which has been making effigies of the country’s top leaders in the last 12 years.

Effigy-burning had been a regular spectacle during the SONAs of Aquino’s predecessors.

For this year, militants made an Aquino effigy not to condemn his month-old administration, but to pose challenges and remind him of the promises he made when he wooed voters in this year’s presidential campaign.

Harry Potter or Lord Voldemort?

Like the effigies for the last three presidents, this year’s drew heavily on references to popular culture.

The 14 feet by 15 feet papier-mâché cast from a terra cotta mask featured Aquino as a magician complete with a cape, a magic wand and a magician’s hat.

Aquino's "The Magician" effigy, clad in yellow and complete with a wand, cape and hat, draws a crowd of curios protesters during Monday's SONA. The effigy was not burned, a first after nine years.

“He can either be a Harry Potter or a Lord Voldemort,” Santiago told GMANews.TV, referring to the hero and villain, respectively, of the popular “Harry Potter” book series that has been turned into movies.

Regarding the effigy’s “solo performance,” Santiago said the bubbles that came out of its hands signified Aquino’s earlier promises that may not be realized.

Performance artists likewise emerged from the effigy’s hat, portraying such issues as the presence of American troops in the country, extrajudicial killings, and the alleged crimes of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino’s predecessor.

“There exists an illusion that Noynoy’s victory will signal the end of all of our problems. But the people must realize that at this point, everything is just PR job, just an illusion,” Santiago said. Continue reading

Israeli police mission to Haiti

[In the aftermath of the horrifying Israeli siege of Gaza, and the more recent killing of humanitarian aid workers bringing crucial food and building supplies to the blockaded  Gaza Palestinians, many may wonder why the UN would invite Israelis to join the suffocating occupation of Haiti. Is it a “humanitarian” fig leaf to help the Israeli’s “credibility”?  Or does it mark a further intensification of the US/UN oppressive occupation of Haiti?  It is not known whether Netanyahu choked when speaking of Israel’s “humanitarian aid” to Haiti.-ed]

Jul 25, 2010 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) — [Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser: “Israeli Police Mission to Assist UN Force in Haiti”]

The Cabinet decided this morning (Sunday), 25.7.10, to accede to a request from the UN and dispatch a group of police personnel to Haiti. The group, which works on a voluntary basis, will operate as a part of an Italian-Israeli-Serbian combined force.

The delegation will number 14 officers and will assist the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINHUSTAH). The mission’s goal will be to take part in upholding public order and stabilizing the situation following the severe earthquake that struck Haiti this past January. It will be recalled that the earthquake killed over 100,000 people, left hundreds of thousands injured and damaged the homes of approximately three million people.

Dispatching the mission and operating it for six months will cost an estimated NIS 2 million beyond those costs financed by the UN.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the police mission is an important component that expresses our nature and that of the Jewish people: “This is a Jewish and humanistic action and it follows up on the rapidly organized activity that preceded it after the Haitian earthquake.”

Source: Government Press Office, Jerusalem, in English 25 Jul 10

Afghanistan war logs: Wikileaks founder rebuts White House criticism

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Afghanistan: The war logs

Julian Assange rejects accusation that publishing thousands of secret US military files about the war in Afghanistan has compromised America’s national security

The founder of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks today defended his decision to publish thousands of secret US military files about the war in Afghanistan, faced with criticism from the White House for placing troops in danger.

Julian Assange said his organisation was currently working through a backlog of further secret material and was expecting a “substantial increase in submissions” from whistleblowers after one of the biggest leaks in US military history.

The documents have revealed unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and information about secret operations against Taliban leaders, as well as highlighting US fears that Pakistan’s intelligence service was aiding the Afghan uprising. Continue reading

NYTimes: View is Bleaker than Official Portrayal of War in Afghanistan

July 25, 2010

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.

The secret documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.

The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday. Continue reading

Rapidly Growing U.S.-India Military Ties

India Defence Minister A.K. Antony with Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen (New Delhi, Friday)

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2010 – The growth of military-to-military cooperation between India and the United States is “stunning,” and it is poised to continue to increase, U.S. officials told reporters here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in New Delhi to explore ways to increase the military partnership between the two nations.

“It is stunning how many things we are working on with the Indians … and how fast our partnership is growing,” said one U.S. official, speaking on background to reporters traveling with Mullen. “The chairman’s visit, obviously, is reflective of the important cooperation we have in terms of the defense side and the strategic partnership.” Continue reading

Olympia, Washington Food Co-op removes Israeli goods from shelves; first US store to institute boycott

[Internationalist solidarity is more than a phrase, a statement, or a single act.  It is a lifelong orientation to affirm our common humanity, a determination to end the oppressive and dehumanizing conditions that arise from imperialist power relations, and to bring an end to the system of imperialism, along with all the damage it has done.  It is a commitment to build a productive and creative world where the contributions of all are valued.  The motivations, visions, and politics of internationalists are forged in response to specific struggles against oppression.  While the particularities of these struggles generate a wide range of views among internationalists–often contradictory and sharply contested–the heartfelt assertion toward a common humanity is the basis of our unity and our struggle.

The Olympia Food Co-op boycott of Israeli goods is one step in a solidarity that has grown through the work of grassroots activists over many years.  Olympia is the home town of Rachel Corrie, the International Solidarity Movement activist who was killed by an Israeli militarized Caterpillar bulldozer that was destroying a Palestinian home.    (See: http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/).  Others, outraged at this horror, took up the challenge.  An Olympia Rafah (Palestine) Sister City Project was formed (http://www.orscp.org/), and sister city relations were established. The Olympia Rafah  Solidarity Mural Project (http://olympiarafahmural.org/) was planned, organized and created, as artists brought their vision and skills to join the grassroots solidarity movement.  (http://www.breakthesilencearts.typepad.com/).  The Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/755) was adopted by activists in Olympia who wanted to give material teeth to the struggle for solidarity, and the Olympia BDS committee (http://www.olympiabds.org/) was organized with ongoing educational efforts with film, speakers, and community discussions.  The struggle to launch a boycott of Israeli goods at the local Food Co-op was built, even as other BDS efforts in the area were taken up by students at Evergreen College. (http://www.olympiabds.org/2010/students-at-the-evergreen-state-college-vote-to-divest-from-israel.html).

Each step in this process has been attacked by the opponents of such internationalist solidarity–most prominantly by Zionist defenders of the siege of Gaza, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israel, and the Israeli killings of humanitarian aid activists. The struggle of internationalist solidarity activists in Olympia has yielded much experience, and the tools may be useful or adaptable for grassroots internationalists in other locales as well.-ed.]

July 19, 2010

Olympia, WA

The Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors has decided to boycott Israeli goods at their two locations in Olympia, Washington. At a July 15th meeting packed with Co-op members, the Board reached this consensus. The Co-op becomes the first US grocery store to publicly join the international grassroots movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel for its human rights abuses.Co-op board member Rob Richards explained, “My hope is that by being the first in the US to adopt the boycott we act as a catalyst for other co-ops to join in. Each additional organizational entity that joins may have a very small effect on the big picture, but drop by drop fills the tub.”

Noah Sochet, a Co-op member and OlympiaBDS organizer adds, “As a US citizen and as a Jew, I’m proud to say that my Co-op no longer underwrites the suffering in Palestine.”

In accordance with its mission statement, the Olympia Food Co-op has a longstanding boycott policy, which includes a boycott of China (for its occupation of Tibet) and a previous boycott of Colorado (for legalizing discrimination against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in 1992). The Co-op also has policies for rejecting items whose packaging feature exploitive or oppressive imagery.

One Israeli product is exempt from the boycott: “Peace Oil,” a brand of olive oil fairly traded from Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and the Galilee, will continue to be carried by the Co-op.

Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, Olympia WA

The boycott follows on the heels of a similarly historic event at the nearby Evergreen State College. On June 2, students at the Olympia-based college voted overwhelmingly to approve two resolutions calling on the college’s foundation to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as calling on the college to ban the use of Caterpillar equipment due to Caterpillar’s complicity in Israeli war crimes. The college is the alma mater of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by a weaponized Caterpillar bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003. Continue reading