Bloomberg News: “Mideast Unrest Spurs Business-Jet Bookings Among Region’s Rich”

April 21, 2011

By Tamara Walid

April 21 (Bloomberg) — Business-jet operators say Middle East demand has jumped as much as six-fold as political unrest prompts companies and wealthy individuals to flee trouble zones.

Abu Dhabi-based charter carrier Al Jaber Aviation has added 500 percent more flights in the past three months versus a year earlier, led by services from Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen, Chief Operating Officer Mark Pierotti said in an interview.

“Egypt saw the biggest increase, with high net worth individuals flying to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Europe,” Pierotti said. The company operates a mix of five Airbus SAS and Embraer SA aircraft and will add a sixth plane in May to meet demand. Continue reading

On baiting the trap: recruiting troops for the ongoing US military occupations and invasions

[US imperialism has had a hypocritical history regarding immigration.  While hyping xenophobic anti-immigrant campaigns, (blaming “the outsiders” for the capitalist economic crisis), there are ongoing large-scale corporate and government moves to utilize migrants.  These range from the superexploitation of migrant labor (especially in farm labor and construction); the luring of the talented and educated (“brain drain”) from US-dominated and dependent countries worldwide; and the promise of citizenship waved in front of migrants urging them to become, essentially, mercenary recruits for imperialist military occupations.  The military has fallen short in the pool of bodies available for recruitment, which is a large reason for other changes in policy–such as dropping the restrictions on gays in the military, making changes allowing for women in frontline combat units, and making deals with criminalized black youth to “clear their records” by signing up for the army.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans have any plans for reductions in the imperialist armed forces, so it is no surprise the military is making plans to fill the ranks with migrants as well. It is another cynical exploitation by imperialism, wrapped in the guise of “opportunity” for jobless and desperate workers.  — Frontlines ed.]

A small U.S. flags sits on top of a package of citizenship materials given to an Army soldier about to become a U.S. citizen (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

Army, Navy add citizenship option to boot camp

Apr 21, 2011

By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER
Associated PressFORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) – Military service has long been one route to U.S. citizenship. Now the Army and Navy, in need of specialists and language skills in wartime, are speeding things up by allowing recruits to wrap up the process while they’re still in basic training.It means a change in a no-visitors policy during boot camp, to allow federal immigration officers access to the recruits. But military officials say it’s a well-deserved break for volunteers who otherwise would have to slog through the bureaucratic ordeal during deployments around the world, often far from U.S. embassies. Continue reading

Greece: Determined people’s resistance to Keratea garbage project

Firebombs fly in fierce clashes over Greece dump site

Apr 15, 2011

Firebombs exploded and clouds of tear gas filled the air as helmeted riot police moved in on protesters on the edge of small Greek town Keratea, which is gripped by a rebellion against state plans to place a rubbish dump in the area. The planned landfill site has prompted several months of violent protests from residents. Protest organisers argue the proposed landfill site is too close to a residential area and would also damage an ancient site, which they say has not been properly excavated.
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Meet Keratea: Greece’s War Zone

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2011

One of the more interesting “war zones” that most have never heard of is not in North Africe, nor in the Middle East, but in Greece. Meet Keratea, a small city of 15,000 people located close to Athens, where after over 100 days of struggle between authorities and the broder population, the riot police has officially decided to abdicate the city to its fate in what is the first popular mini-revolution in the developed world. From the Independent: “As explosions boom, the town’s loudspeakers blare: “Attention! Attention! We are under attack!” Air-raid sirens wail through the streets, mingling with the frantic clanging of church bells. Clouds of tear gas waft between houses as helmeted riot police move in to push back the rebels. This isn’t a war zone, but a small town just outside Athens. And while its fight is about a rubbish dump, it captures Greece’s angry mood over its devastated economy. As unemployment rises and austerity bites ever harder, tempers seem to fray faster in Greece, with citizens of all stripes thumbing their noses at authority. Some refuse to pay increased highway tolls and public transport tickets. There has been a rise in politicians being heckled and even assaulted. Yesterday, in Thessalonika, scores of activists were arrested after violent clashes with police.” Meet the new and improved face of austerity: now in a small town in Greece, which is about to default all over again, and soon in many other places in the increasingly more insolvent European periphery. Continue reading

India: Binayak Sen released on bail: “We are walking in a state of famine”

Human rights activist Binayak Sen is greeted by emotional family members as he left the high security Raipur Central Jail in the impoverished central Indian state of Chhattisgarh late in Raipur on April 18, 2011, three days after the Supreme Court granted him bail. Sen was arrested in 2007 on charges of waging war against India in Chhattisgarh. He was jailed in December 2010 after receiving a life sentence for sedition. AFP/STR

20/04/2011 — Interview with Binayak Sen 

After spending nearly four months in the Raipur Central Jail on charges of sedition and aiding the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), health and human rights activist  Dr. Binayak Sen was released on bail on Monday evening. In an interview with Aman Sethi at his residence in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Dr. Sen spoke of the need to re-examine the sedition law and build a platform to tackle the structural violence, that he believes, pervades society.

Some of the most significant interventions on ideas of rights and freedom have come in the form of prison writings, for instance Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. From mundane issues like prison schedules, to your thoughts at the time, what was your time in prison like?

In prison you feel completely cut-off, as if you are only hearing the echoes of what is happening in the outside world. We received three newspapers for our barrack — The Hitavada, The Hindu and the Danik Bhaskar — but we get papers full of holes — literally. They [prison authorities] cut out all news regarding Maoists, naxalites, and anything related to the cases or trial of any of the people in jail…We also had a television that showed Doordarshan, that is how I learnt that the Supreme Court had granted me bail.

At present, the greatest violence is structural violence. Violence is not restricted to a few groups; it pervades the structure of our society. We need to break out of this structure of violence through a process of dialogue.

Could you elaborate on this idea of structural violence?

By structural violence I refer to the fact that half our children and our adults in this country suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition casts a dark shadow over other diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Continue reading

Palestinian prisoners: Hunger strike marks Prisoners’ Day

Apr 18th, 2011 | By Mona Dohle 

CAIRO: Palestinians in Israeli jails announced yesterday that they were declaring a symbolic one-day hunger strike in order to commemorate Prisoners’ Day on April 17. The strike was intended to draw attention to the violations of Human Rights carried out against Palestinian political prisoners.

Only days before the Israel’s Channel 2 broadcast exclusive footage on the death of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed al-Asqhar who died in Israeli prisons in 2007. The footage shows how detainees were called for a surprise surge at 2 a.m. When prisoners protested, the Israeli Control and Restrained Unit, also known as Masada, shot at them. The video shows how Masada officers told the prisoners that the firing would stop if all the prisoners would leave their tents. However, when the prisoners left their tents shooting continued.

Mohammed al-Ashqar died after being shot in the head at close range, and at least a dozen other inmates were wounded. According to Al Jazeera correspondent Nisreen El-Shamayleh, “the operation was intended to be a morale booster for Masada.” Continue reading

India: Arundhati Roy on Binayak Sen bail

Little pinholes of light have come out in this judgement, says author and activist Arundhati Roy on the Binayak Sen bail order by the Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Rupashree Nanda, she also says ‘democracy is on a very slippery slope in Chhattisgarh’; that it is important to remember several others who are jailed under similar charges under ‘undemocratic laws’.

Rupashree Nanda: I remember you’d said that the judgement of the Raipur session court was intended to be a message, as a warning to others. What is the message of the Supreme Court bail order?

Arundhati Roy: I think that the Supreme Court granting him bail and the comments that were made in court do suggest that somewhere the Supreme Court is of the mind that it was a vindictive judgment and that he does deserve the benefit of the doubt. And so they gave him bail. What happens is that it underlines the fact that he was being made an example of; and the terror that reigns in Chhattisgarh remains so. Because, how many people have those lawyers? And have the ability to come to the Supreme Court? How many people are there poor, unnamed and named, under the very same laws for even less reasons? But they cannot come up and get bail. In some ways, it is a very necessary thing that has happened today. And in other ways it is worrying because we have so many people who don’t have access to the Supreme Court. Continue reading

Serious cracks in the uni-polar imperialist world: “The Middle East: Allies in Disarray”

[The common interests of all imperialists notwithstanding–against the people of the world–the worldwide economic crisis has brought with it serious and deep political instability, especially in the US-dominated hegemonic alliances that have prevailed for decades.  Policy differences and regional conflicts between all the major powers grow more sharply and publicly expressed with each passing day.  Revolutionary people must be clear:  these are differences between imperialists (and what some call “sub-imperialists”) and the people must preserve their independence, clarify their interests and take the initiative at every opportunity, to oppose all reactionaries and imperialism.  By understanding the disarray of enemies, the people can recognise revolutionary openings and gain confidence in their own efforts.  The author of this article, Immanuel Wallerstein, is an influential critic of imperialist policies, though not a revolutionary Leninist or Maoist. While we disagree with many aspects of his theoretical system, the points he makes here have great importance and deserve study.  — Frontlines ed.]

April 20, 2011 By Immanuel Wallerstein

For the last fifty years, United States policy in the Middle East has been built around its very close links with three countries: Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. In 2011, it is at odds with all three, and in very fundamental ways. It is also in public discord with Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Brazil over its current policies in the region. It seems almost no one agrees with or follows the lead of the United States. One can hear the agonizing frustration of the president, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA, all of whom see a situation careening out of control. Continue reading

“Epitaph for J. Edgar Hoover” by lincoln bergman

at a reading sponsored by the revolutionary poets brigade of san francisco, lincoln bergman, with indelible memories of the horrifying trail left by J. Edgar Hoover, presented his poem, “Epitaph for J. Edgar Hoover”.

the event, on november 7, 2010, was recorded by collision course media for its series, “the word is revolution”

for more information about lincoln bergman, and to see his poetry, visit lincolnbergman.com/​Lincoln_Bergman/​Lincoln_Bergman_Website.htmlVimeo

India: As growing numbers challenge the legitimacy of the Indian State….

[….liberal and Gandhian groups and NGOs have mounted anti-corruption campaigns against the state.  They have urged mass appeals, petition drives, and hunger strikes against corruption and for more accountability–and debates on the focus, and effectiveness, of such appeals and tactics have broken out throughout the country.  Revolutionaries have challenged the “democratic” claims of the state, and have exposed the fundamentally corrupt, undemocratic, and bourgeois nature of the entire state machinery.  The Maoists, in particular, while uniting with the popular hatred of the corruption, have argued that it cannot be isolated from the undemocratic nature of the society, and both features must be addressed by mass struggles.  Here is the statement of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on these questions. — Frontlines ed.]

Communist Party of India (Maoist) Press Release

13 April, 2011:  Intensify Mass Struggles To Put An End To Institutionalized Corruption!

In recent times, corruption has once again come to the forefront as a main issue with the exposure of massive scams like 2G spectrum, Commonwealth games, Adarsh housing society, Karnataka land scams, S-Band spectrum scam. Workers, peasants, adivasis, dalits, women, and urban middle class – all classes and sections of the society are expressing their deep discontent and anguish. Recently we saw great support to the hunger strike of Anna Hazare, which is the direct consequence of the widespread discontent in the people against corruption, corrupt political parties and their leaders. Though the demand for hunger strike is Jan Lokpal Bill, the aspiration of the people is to completely wipe out corruption.

It would be innocence, if anyone feels that by setting up a committee to frame Lokpal bill and by selecting half of the committee members from civil society would itself finds a solution. In fact, lack of rules and laws is not the cause for endless and deep-ridden corruption. Way back from jeep scam, Lockheed’s airplane deal to late Rajiv Gandhi’s Bofors deals, our country has seen many a scams starting from a few million rupees to trillions of rupees. Not only main parliamentary parties like Congress and BJP, leaders and ministers of all other national and regional parliamentary parties like RJD, BSP, SP, DMK, AIADMK, TDP and hand in glove beaurocrats have a long history of corrupt practices. By proper implementation of the existing laws in the country and by the proper functioning of anti-corruption wings, scams like these can be prevented to a grate extent and those responsible for these can be severely punished. In the last 64 years history of ‘independent’ India, we don’t find a single incidence, where corrupt politicians, ministers, heads of corporate houses and beauraucrats have been punished. Due to pressure from people or opposition parties, even if arrested in some rare cases, by prolonging investigation and diluting of the charges, they get scot-free without any stringent punishment or with nominal punishment. This is because; the judiciary of this country is also an inseparable part of this exploitative state machinery. None can be under the illusion to end corruption through these laws and court rooms. Continue reading

Yemen: Anti-government protests have grown much larger than Saleh’s support

Yemen sees huge rival protests

AlJazeeraEnglish on Apr 15, 2011

Hundreds of thousands gather in Yemen’s capital Sanaa to show support for President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
But protests opposing his continuing rule reportedly draw millions to the streets of 16 provinces around the country, after religious and tribal leaders join calls for him to step down.
Hakim Almasmari, editor in chief of the Yemen Post, speaks to Al Jazeera.
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Thousands of Yemeni women protest over Saleh remarks
REUTERS, Sat Apr 16, 2011
By Mohammed Ghobari

SANAA (Reuters) – Thousands of Yemeni women protested in Sanaa and other cities on Saturday, enraged by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s remarks it was against Islam for women to join men in the demonstrations aimed at toppling him.

The women, many clad in black Islamic dress with full face veils, said their role in protests was religiously sound and called on the president to step down in line with nearly three months of demonstrations demanding his ouster. “It seems that President Saleh failed in all his efforts to employ tribes and security to strike at those seeking his exit, and so he resorted to using religion, especially after he saw that thousands of women were taking part in protests,” said Samia al-Aghbari, a leader in the protest movement. Saleh, who has warned of civil war and the break-up of Yemen if he is forced out before organising an orderly transition, urged the opposition on Friday to reconsider their refusal to join talks to resolve the crisis in the fractious state. Continue reading

All female protest erupts in Syria

Video of an earlier protest by Syrian women, blocking a road in Baniyas

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Syrian women attend an anti-government protest in Daraa. Tens of thousands of people chanting "Freedom!" held protests in several Syrian cities, demanding far greater reforms than the limited concessions offered by President Bashar Assad over the past four weeks, witnesses said.

REUTERS, Apr 16, 2011

AMMAN – MORE than 1,000 women marched on Saturday in the Syrian city of Banias in an all female pro-democracy protest, a rights campaigner said.

‘Not Sunni, not Alawite. Freedom is what we all want,’ the women chanted, according to the rights campaigner in the city, which has witnessed ethnic tension between its majority Sunni inhabitants and Alawite residents.

Africa: Africom And the ICC – Enforcing International Justice in Africa?

[The International Criminal Court (ICC), which the USA has never joined nor recognised its authority, is now slated to use the US’ AFRICOM forces as the enforcement arm of the ICC in Africa.  This article traces how this will enable the US to further camoflage its imperialist interests and interventionist maneuvers in the current “scramble for Africa” and its resources. — Frontlines ed.]

Pambazuka News

Samar Al-Bulushi And Adam Branch

14 April 2011

The ICC (International Criminal Court) prosecutor has called for the US military to enforce ICC arrest warrants in Africa, while American officials have declared a new phase of cooperation between the US and the ICC, write Samar Al-Bulushi and Adam Branch. What some see as a solution to the ICC’s lack of enforcement capacity, the authors argue, in fact poses a dramatic danger to peace and justice in Africa and to the future of the ICC itself.

THE ICC’S ENFORCEMENT CRISIS

Nearly eight years since its establishment in July 2002, and with its first major review conference just around the corner, the International Criminal Court (ICC) faces a number of challenges. The fact that it has prosecuted only Africans has provoked charges of neocolonialism and racism; its decision to indict certain actors and not others has triggered suspicion of the court’s susceptibility to power politics; and its interventions into ongoing armed conflicts have elicited accusations that the ICC is pursuing its own brand of justice at the cost of enflaming war and disregarding the interests of victims.[1] Each of these concerns is likely to provoke heated discussions at the review conference in Kampala next week.

But there is another aspect of the court’s role in Africa that will require scrutiny going forward: enforcement. Lacking its own enforcement mechanism, the court relies upon cooperating states to execute its arrest warrants. The ICC has found, however, that many states, even if willing to cooperate, often lack the capacity to execute warrants, especially in cases of ongoing conflict or when suspects can cross international borders. Moreover, the African Union (AU) has rejected the ICC’s arrest warrant for its most high-profile target, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and ICC supporters worry that the AU will continue to challenge the court’s authority, especially when the court targets African leaders. The court today thus faces an enforcement crisis: out of 13 arrest warrants issued, only four suspects are in custody. Apparently, having concluded that African states are either unwilling or unable to act quickly or forcefully enough to apprehend suspects, the court has begun to seek support from the one country that has shown itself willing and able to wield military force across the globe: the United States. Continue reading

US media activists blast corporate media’s Popular Ignorance Project

Stop Blacking Out Progressive Protests
Media focus on tiny Tea Party rally, ignore antiwar march
FAIR, 4/14/11
A sparsely attended Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., on March 31 in support of federal spending cuts received generous media attention. One report (*Slate*, 3/31/11) suggested there was “at least one reporter for every three or four activists,” and a Republican politician joked that there might be more journalists than activists at the event.

An antiwar rally in New York City on April 9 was in some respects very similar. Protesters were speaking out on an equally timely issue (wars in Afghanistan and Libya), and connecting them to the budget and near-government shutdown in Washington.

The difference? The ratio of activists to journalists. The antiwar protest had thousands of attendees–and received almost zero corporate media coverage. Continue reading

L.A. Resident Jose Gutierrez, in Coma After Being Tased by Arizona Border Agents, Threatened With Deportation While Still Unconscious

LA Weekly

By Simone Wilson, Fri., Apr. 15 2011

josegutierrezhead.jpg

Gutierrez' skull had to be removed after a tussle with CBP agents, who won't provide surveillance or specifics

Forty-one-year-old Jose Gutierrez has lived in the U.S. since he was a kid. Until three weeks ago, he shared a house in the affluent Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills with U.S. citizen Shena Wilson and their two children, held a solid job as a film engineer and served as frontman for the popular Spanish-rock band FZ10.

However, Gutierrez is undocumented.

After the L.A. Immigration Court deported him on March 21, Wilson says she lost touch with her husband, but guessed he would try to come back, seeing as their youngest — a five-month-old baby girl — was in the hospital. (Not to mention he has no roots in Mexico.)

The next she heard of him, Gutierrez was in a coma at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.

Wilson got a call from the Mexican consulate in Yuma, Arizona, saying, “We have to let you know that there has been an accident.” Continue reading

Asian Dub Foundation: The History of Now

EGYPT REVOLUTION – TUNISIA REVOLUTION – THE HISTORY OF NOW (ver 1)

Photos and videos from Tunisia and Egypt in January and February 2011 of protesters in Tunisia seeking Ben Ali ouster and Egyptian protesters seeking Mubarak resignation in central Cairo.  Music from Asian Dub Foundation, “History of now”
The Egyptian capital Cairo was the scene of violent chaos on Friday, when tens of thousands of anti-government protesters stoned and confronted police, who fired back with rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons. It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-rule. They are demanding Mubarak’s ouster and venting their rage at years of government neglect of rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices.

Asian Dub Foundation – A History of Now (chapter 1) (new ver)

AsianDubFoundation1 on Mar 2, 2011:
“In anticipation of our performance at this year’s Brighton Festival which is exploring the twin themes of freedom and voice, we are delighted that Jimmy Cauty (founding member of KLF and The Orb) is putting together a series of different interpretations of the video for the History Of Now.  In the run up to our opening performance on 7th May we will be featuring these on the website and our YouTube channel video. Revolution is the spirit of the moment. This is the History of Now.”