Delhi, India: Sedition case against Arundhati Roy; Will Nehru be charged also?

[See the second article, below, for Arundhati Roy’s argument that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru should be also charged (posthumously) for making the same remarks about the right of the Kashmiri people to choose whether they want to be part of the Indian state or to be independent.–Frontlines ed.]

The Hindu, 30/11/2010

Case registered against Arundhati, Geelani

Arundhati Roy

New Delhi: Following a court order, the Delhi Police on Monday registered a case of sedition against writer Arundhati Roy, hardline Hurriyat  leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, revolutionary poet Varavara Rao and others on charges of giving “anti-India” speeches at a convention on Kashmir, “Azadi: The Only Way”, held here on Oct. 21.

The case has been registered at Tilak Marg police station under Sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153 B (imputations, assertions, prejudicial to national integration), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi Range) Dharmendra Kumar said the complaint filed by Sushil Pandit in the court under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code has been converted into the First Information Report FIR after taking legal opinion on the matter. With the registration of the case, the police have initiated investigations. They have already obtained footage of the speeches made at the convention. “We will closely examine the speeches and file a report in the court by January 6, 2011 (the next date of hearing),” said Mr. Kumar.

The others named in the complaint include Delhi University professor S. A. R. Geelani who was acquitted in the Parliament attack case, Kashmir University law professor Sheikh Shaukat Hussain, Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Sujato Bhadra. Continue reading

Say No to Islamophobia! A Sign-On Statement

Please email info@al-awda.org t0 sign onto this important statement!

To:  All concerned people

Say No to Islamophobia! Defend Mosques and Community Centers! The Fight for Peace and Social Justice Requires Defense of All Under Attack!

There has been an explosion of racist attacks, verbal and physical, on masjids (mosques), proposed masjids, and Islamic community centers around the US. In episodes reminiscent of Kristallnacht, the Nazi destruction of Jewish synagogues and businesses, masjids have been picketed and vandalized and obscenities shouted at worshippers.

On September 11th the Tea Party and its allies plan to demonstrate at the site of the proposed Islamic masjid and community center in lower Manhattan. On the same day, Christian fundamentalists plan a “Burn the Quran” day at a Florida masjid.

Like Hitler before them, these bigots whip up hatred against a religious minority in the midst of an economic crisis. They want to divert popular anger away from the banks and corporations who rob millions of their jobs and homes. Hitler did not only target Jews, and the Tea Party bigots do not only target Muslims. They aim to build a fascist movement against all people of color, immigrants, union members, against the civil and human rights of all.. They must be stopped!

The Islamophobes also want to justify the murderous stream of bombs and missiles the Pentagon rains on the people of Islamic lands in wars that feed corporate contractors at the expense of our schools, hospitals, subways and communities. They want to justify continued U.S. funding of Israeli apartheid and a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran.

Reactionaries flaunt Islamophobic signs and wave American flags at an anti-mosque rally near the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2010 in New York City.

The Anti-Defamation League, part of the pro-Israel lobby, has allied publicly with this wave of Islamophobia, whose promoters explicitly advocate violence and even genocide. But even mainstream figures who defend some masjids and some Muslim rights on civil liberties grounds helped create a political and social climate that breeds Islamophobia.

After 9/11 the government and media launched a witch-hunt against Muslims and Arabs, encouraging individual violent attacks. Even before 9/11, demonization was used to justify support for Israel’s wars and U.S. efforts to control Arab and Iranian oil.

Since 9/11, as part of the bipartisan “war on terror,” tens of thousands of Muslim men were fingerprinted, questioned and registered. Hundreds were detained with no regard to their constitutional rights, often abused and tortured, in a campaign of preemptive prosecution mirroring the practices in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and overseas secret detention centers.Masjids have been subject to FBI and police surveillance, infiltration and intimidation.

We are told that Muslims must be presumed  guilty of “terrorism” until proven innocent – then denied the chance to prove their innocence. The government and media demand hypocritically that “moderate” Muslims denounce and inform on so-called “extremists.”

The Obama administration claims to support the right of the Cordoba Initiative to build the lower Manhattan masjid/center but fuels Islamophobia with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a stepped-up campaign of extra-judicial assassinations..

These attacks occur for one fundamental reason: To intimidate those who would oppose Washington’s wars abroad and growing economic misery at home.The government demonizes those who oppose its wars and its support for Israeli apartheid and aggression. It seeks to prepare public sentiment for a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran.

Attacks on Muslims and Arabs mirror the labeling of war opponents as “supporters of terrorism” during US wars in Central America and Vietnam, and the persecution is carried out in the spirit of the round-ups of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Islamophobia also serves to split potential allies in the fight against the deepening economic crisis. The attacks parallel the persecution and terrorist-baiting of unionists and radicals during previous depressions, as well as of fighters for the freedom of Black, Latin@ and other peoples of color who suffered the worst impact of such crises.

The attacks on Muslims parallel the scapegoating of mostly Latin@ undocumented workers, whose labor is key to the economy but whose status is used to pit workers against each other.

This understanding of the roots of Islamophobia and the resulting attacks impels us to mobilize and speak out whenever there is an attack on any Muslim individual or institution and call on our allies in every social movement to do the same.

We demand:

• End the attacks on masjids and Islamic community centers. Stop the government and media witch-hunt that sparks such attacks.

• End “preemptive” prosecutions and entrapment by government informants.

• Close Guantanamo, US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the CIA’s secret detention centers.

Free all Arab and Muslim political prisoners at home and abroad.

• End all attacks on immigrant communities, including racial and religious profiling, harassment, detentions, and deportations.

• Stop US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. End all US aid to Israel. No war or sanctions against Iran.

• Redirect the trillions of dollars from war to funds for jobs, education, healthcare, and humanitarian relief, at home and abroad.

Initial signers: Organizations:

Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

American Iranian Friendship Committee
Council on American-Islamic Relations–Connecticut (CAIR-CT)

Creative Nonviolent Resistance against Injustice (CNRI)

DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving

International Action Center

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Justice and Peace in Palestine Alliance (JAPPA)

Albany 
Labor For Palestine

NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia

New York City Labor Against the War

Palestine Rights Committee Albany

Palestine Solidarity Caucus of the United National Antiwar Conference

WESPAC

Women in Black Westchester

Women of a Certain Age

Individuals (organizational affiliations for identification purposes only):

Shamshad Ahmad, President, Masjid As-Salam, Albany, NY

Laurie Arbeiter, A.R.T. (Activist Response Team)

Tom Bias, President, Northwest New Jersey Peace Fellowship

Dave Capone

Rick Congress, Gaza Freedom March

Don DeBar
Hedy Epstein

Women in Black, St. Louis, MO & St. Louis Free Gaza Movement

Carol Gay, NJ Labor Against War

Marty Goodman, Transport Workers Union Local 100

Stephen Gross, Texas State University

Stanley Heller, host of “The Struggle” TV News

Fadi Kanaan, JAPPA-Albany

Roberta Koffman, UJP Palestine Task Force -Boston

Jim Lafferty, Director, National Lawyers Guild-Los Angeles

Cecelia Lavan, OP, Women in Black Westchester

Nydia Leaf, New York, NY

David Letwin, Al Awda-NY

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Michael Letwin, Labor for Palestine

Marilyn Levin, New England United

Joe Lombardo, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace

Jeff Mackler, Co-National Coordinator, National Assembly to End US Wars and Occupations

Joyce McKelvey

Laura Myerson, Cortlandt Manor, NY

Abu Nazem, Delmar, NY

Terry Phelan, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace

Joan Pleune, Granny Peace Brigade

Bobbi Siegelbaum

Kwame Somburu

Andy Thayer, Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism



US prisons, Muslims and torture in solitary confinement units

Muslims in US prisons, subject to long periods of solitary confinement

Oped News, September 3, 2010

US Prisons, Muslims and Human Rights Violations

By Bonnie Kerness

A former warden at Marion, Illinois said at a congressional hearing, “The purpose of the Marion Control Unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and in society at large.”

In 1986, I received a letter from Ojore Lutalo who had just been placed in the Management Control Unit at Trenton State Prison in New Jersey. He asked what a control unit was, why he was in there and how long he would have to stay. We knew little of control units then, except what we learned from the many prisoners who reached out to the AFSC [American Friends Service Committee] to mentor those of us trying to give voice to what was – and is still – happening.

Today the continued use of these instruments of torture coupled with the persistent misunderstanding and mislabeling of prisoners as Muslim extremists threatens the security of Americans both inside and outside prison walls, and eats away the moral and spiritual compass that purports to drive American justice.

After Ojore’s letter, we began hearing from people throughout the country saying that they were prisoners being held in extended isolation for political reasons. We heard from jailhouse lawyers, and prisoner activists, many of whom were Muslim who found themselves targeted and locked down in 24/7 solitary confinement. The AFSC began contacting people inside and outside the prisons to collect testimonies of what was going on in those isolation units which by definition are forms of torture. We had no idea how many people were experiencing this, the conditions in those units and how many control units there were.

One woman wrote “the guard sprayed me with pepper spray because I wouldn’t take my clothes off in front of five male guards. They carried me to my isolation cell, laid me down on a steel bed and took my clothes off, leaving me with that pepper spray burning my face.” Continue reading

Guarani, Tapiete peoples fight gas exploration in Bolivia

Guarani at a rally supporting Evo Morales' presidential campaign in 2008. Since then, the Guarani and other indigenous groups have developed increasingly sharp differences with the Morales government's strategy of prioritizing oil exploration and exports over protection of their land..

By Franz Chávez

 

LA PAZ, (IPS) – The explosive charges utilised in fossil fuel exploration in Bolivia’s Chaco region divert underground water flows, scare off wildlife and harm the environment, charge the leaders of local indigenous Guaraní communities, which have been blocking access routes to keep oil company employees from entering the area.

The notion that the government, led by President Evo Morales (who is of indigenous Aymara descent), is protecting the indigenous peoples of south- eastern Bolivia “is just words, the same as the discourse about defending Mother Earth,” Jorge Mendoza, head of natural resources for the Guaraní- Tapieté Council of Captains, told IPS.

The Council brings together the leaders, or captains, of the Guaraní and Tapieté communities, which in Yacuiba alone, 1,315 kilometres southeast of La Paz, number around 3,000 members.

On May 20 the leaders declared a pause in the blockade of the international highway that connects the city of Yacuiba to Argentina, and agreed to a dialogue with the Energy Ministry, but they have yet to reach an agreement. The sporadic blockades and clashes with the police began May 14, involving some 200 people from 47 communities.

With the failure of previous negotiations, the leaders of the native groups who live in areas rich in petroleum and natural gas in the Gran Chaco province, in the department of Tarija, resolved to seek direct dialogue with President Morales.

Tarija has reserves of 41.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 80 percent of the country’s total. Most of this fuel is exported to Brazil and Argentina. Continue reading

Indigenous resistance, from Colombia to Palestine

Live from Palestine, 16 September 2010
Anna Baltzer writing from Lopez, Colombia

“They only see our water, our land, our trees. They don’t care about us. They want the land — without the people on it.”

These words are not of a Palestinian farmer but of Justo Conda, governor of Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve in southwestern Colombia, whose community was repeatedly threatened with displacement under former president Alvaro Uribe Velez. Uribe, recently appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israel’s fatal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, has a notoriously horrific track record on human rights.

Less explored are the clear parallels between his government’s mistreatment of indigenous peoples of Colombia and Israel’s abuses of the indigenous people of Palestine.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colombia has one of the largest populations of internally displaced people in the world, numbering as many as 4.9 million. According to the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement more than 286,000 Colombians were uprooted from their land in 2009 alone. Approximately ten percent of the Colombian population has suffered forced displacement, many of them indigenous communities, afro-Colombian descendants of former slaves, and campesinos (farmers).

A teenager sits above the Toez Indigenous Reserve at dusk. Her community has been repeatedly threatened with displacement by the Colombian government.

Continue reading

Al-Jazeera: WikiLeaks Releases US State Department Cables

Never in their wildest nightmares could politicians, bankers, dissidents, world leaders and government officials have imagined that their confidences would be thus distributed

Sunday 28 November 2010

 

    How secret is “secret?” That is the first question posed by the publication today of material derived from the leak of a quarter of a million US state department cables  in the Guardian and a number of other newspapers. Much of the material is certainly very private. When people around the world tell sensitive things to American diplomats they do so in the expectation that there is a high degree of implicit confidentiality about the conversations. But “private” is not the same as “secret”. It now transpires that these confidences were posted on a US government intranet, SIPDIS, for a very wide distribution among diplomatic, government and military circles. They may have been marked “secret” but all secrets are relative: there are around 3 million Americans cleared to read material thus classified. Continue reading