Did New Orleans Media Contribute to Police Violence After Hurricane Katrina?

24 June 2011

by: Jordan Flaherty, Truthout

Jury selection began June 22 in what observers have called the most important trial New Orleans has seen in a generation. It concerns a shocking case of police brutality that has already redefined this city’s relationship to its police department, and radically rewritten the official narrative of what happened in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. Five police officers are facing charges of shooting unarmed African-Americans in cold blood, killing two and wounding four, and then conspiring to hide evidence. Five officers who participated in the conspiracy have already pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against their fellow officers.

The shootings occurred on September 4, 2005, as two families were fleeing Katrina’s floodwaters, crossing New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge to get to dry land. Officers, who apparently heard a radio report about shootings in the area, drove up, leapt out of their vehicle and began firing. Ronald Madison, a mentally challenged man, was shot in the back at least six times, then reportedly stomped and kicked by an officer until he was dead. His brother Lance Madison was arrested on false charges. James Brissette, a high school student, was shot seven times and died at the scene. Susan Bartholomew, 38, was wounded so badly her arm was shot off of her body. Jose Holmes Jr. was shot several times, then, as he lay bleeding, an officer stood over him and fired point blank at his stomach. Two other relatives of Bartholomew were also badly wounded.

Danziger is one of at least nine recent incidents involving the New Orleans Police Department being investigated by the US Justice Department, several of which took place in the days after the city was flooded. Officers have recently been convicted by federal prosecutors in two other high-profile trials. In April, two officers were found guilty in the beating of death of Raymond Robair, a handyman from the Treme neighborhood. In December, a jury convicted three officers and acquitted two in killing Henry Glover, a 31-year-old from New Orleans’ West Bank neighborhood, and burning his body. Continue reading

From a young Palestinian: On Joining the Friday protest in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank

Saturday, June 18, 2011

by Linah Alsaafin

The amazing Frank makes me want to learn Hebrew so bad after hearing his musical swearing. Hebrew can actually be musical, it's all not kha's and kho's!

Nabi Saleh has got to be one of the most phlegm ridden villages in the world. I told my sister in a nonchalant way that I was going there the night before. The next day I got dressed and walked from my house to the Manara Square, where I was told transportation would be at around 7:30am.

Friday mornings saw the streets completely devoid of any human life. I took my time walking, enjoying the cool wind and sun, and repressed a shudder as I passed by the renovated Muqata’a compound, where a soldier was posing with his gun, probably ready for his shift to be over.

There were only two other guys sitting around the Manara Square drinking nescafe from plastic cups. I hesitantly approached them.
“Good morning, do you know if the Nabi Saleh cars took off already?” I was after all about 20 minutes late.
“Not yet.”
“Are you both going too?”
“Yep. Where are you from? Hayaki Allah.

I took my seat on the pavement next to them and began writing, their conversation washing over me in light waves.
“…for that the foreigners don’t agree with it.”
“Balash.”
“Ya zalameh, my dad hit me, trying to stop me from going today.”
“Your dad hit you? With all my respect, but your dad is a complete wackjob/متخلف”
“Why? He cares about his son, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“How old are you, to be letting him hit you like that?”
“It doesn’t matter, he’s been hitting me since I was seven for the things he doesn’t like to see me do. He cares. After I got out of [Israeli] prison, I spent a year there, and I stopped going to the demonstrations. The first day I started going again I got a bullet in my leg. His intuition is amazing.”

I wondered what my family would say if they saw where I was sitting right now. I smile. All I need now is a cigarette in my mouth and a few girls to hit on.

The conversation turned to being around dead people. I was getting a little exasperated (“I think my dad was still alive when they put him in the morgue, the next day his head had moved”) when two more guys joined us. They introduced themselves and offered me cherries from a black plastic bag. We hung out for a few more minutes, before a policeman walked up to us, eyeing me curiously. One of the guys broke away and explained to me in a hushed voice full of contempt.

“Every week one of them comes and asks the same damn questions again.Who are we, where are we going, why, who’s giving us rides, and so on. Can you believe it, these are our very own defenders of the nation!” Continue reading

India: Maoists respond to new Indian state offensive

[The Indian mass media dutifully reports the government and police announcements.  Frontlines here posts an Indian TV report, followed by an article from The Times of India, (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-06-14/india/29656088_1_narayanpur-maoist-hit-states-chhattisgarh-orissa).  Following these, we post a detailed statement from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) responding to the same events. — Frontlines ed.]

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Orissa govt seeks Centre’s help to counter Maoists

New Delhi, June 15 (ANI): Orissa Government has sought from Home Ministry additional security personnel to counter Maoist menace in the state. After his meeting with the Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Tuesday, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the state needs additional security force to deal with increasing Maoist attacks.

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Anti-Maoist ops on Chhattisgarh-Orissa border to be intensified

Vishwa Mohan, TNN Jun 14, 2011

NEW DELHI: As naxals intensified their attack in Chhattisgarh killing 18 security personnel in three separate incidents last week, the Centre will hold a special meeting here on Tuesday to discuss ‘counter-offensive’ measures with the state chief minister Raman Singh and his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik.

The meeting, to be chaired by the Union home minister P Chidambaram, will discuss how both the states can further intensify operations against left wing extremists along the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border in a much more coordinated manner.

An official said, “Though we have had instances of naxal attacks in Dantewada and Narayanpur last week, Chhattisgarh has eliminated a number of Maoists in the past couple of months during joint operations. The need of the hour is to further intensify it, taking help from bordering states.”

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COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST)

CENTRAL COMMITTEE

Press Release

June 15, 2011

Fight back the new state offensive in Chhattisgarh and Odisha
as part of Operation Green Hunt – Phase II!

Any fascist offensive aimed at looting this country is bound to be defeated by the courageous resistance of the self-respecting people of India!

On 14-06-2011 the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had a high level meeting with the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and announced a new brutal offensive in these two states to contain ‘Left Wing Extremism (LWE)’. In the guise of his oft-repeated two-pronged mantra of ‘development and police action’, the HM promised full support of the centre for these states in their cruel offensive and egged them on to go ahead in full swing. Naveen Patnaik, the blood-thirsty CM of Odisha whose hands are already stained with the blood of hundreds of people of Odisha offered as human sacrifices for this ‘God of development’ right from Kalinga Nagar to Niyamgiri is now asking for helicopters to bomb the hapless adivasis. Raman Singh who would perhaps go down in history as the saffron fascist who sounded the death knell for one of the most ancient inhabitants in the world in Bastar, tried to cover up his growing alarm at the increasing heroic armed resistance of the people in his state with high-sounding rhetoric on how to go about decimating Maoists. A few days back in the first week of June (within a  week of  another meeting with the chief ministers of ‘Maoist affected’ states led by the PM and HM) an announcement had already been made by the AP and Odisha governments that a three-month long big offensive is ready to be launched on Andhra-Odisha Border region (AOB) to decimate the Maoists there. They announced that they would use modern technology and new methods and tactics of attacking utilizing ‘water, air and land’. They said paratroopers may also be used. And now the whole country knows that the army had already been deployed in Chhattisgarh under the pretext of ‘training’. Continue reading

Avatar in the Amazon: James Cameron warns of violence over Brazil dam

[In their appeals to international organizations, corporations and governments to change their policies, sections of various movements–indigenous, environmentalist, human rights–organized in NGOs and coalitions, have appealed to and won support from prominent entertainers, who have lent their skills and resources to publicize certain issues. Grassroots forces, anti-imperialists, and revolutionaries are challenged to sum up this strategy and its effect in terms of actually effecting policy change–and its effect on the political independence and initiative of grassroots forces, who are often dissuaded from systemic  challenges and drawn into “Hollywood-ized” appeals for policy reform. Is this an inevitable result of such efforts? — Frontlines ed.]
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“A Message From Pandora

by AmazonWatch Aug 30, 2010

Take action now to join the battle: http://bit.ly/AWatch

“A Message from Pandora” is a special feature produced by James Cameron about the battle to stop the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu, one of the great tributaries of the Amazon River.
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WASHINGTON (AFP) — Oscar-winning movie director James Cameron on Thursday said tribes in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest could turn to violence to block construction of a massive dam.

“The Kayapo are going to fight,” Cameron told AFP in Washington, where he was named an explorer-in-residence at National Geographic.

“They’re not going to just shrug and walk away. They’re the most aggressive tribe in the area” of the Xingu River basin, where the Brazilian government is forging ahead with plans to build the $11 billion Belo Monte dam, in spite of locals repeatedly lodging protests against the project. Continue reading

US: Miami police smash camera for recording police killing

Miami man hid cell-phone memory card in his mouth to preserve footage in the latest battle over recording technologies.

Chris Arsenault in alJazeera

21 Jun 2011
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but Narces Benoit’s decision to videotape a shooting by Miami police landed him in jail after officers smashed his cell-phone camera.

It was 4am on May 30 when Benoit and his girlfriend Erika Davis saw officers firing dozens of bullets into a car driven by Raymond Herisse, a suspect who hit a police officer and other vehicles while driving recklessly. Herisse died in the hail of lead, and four bystanders also suffered gunshot wounds, the Miami Herald newspaper reported.

Police noticed the man filming the shooting and an officer jumped into his truck, and put a pistol to his head, Benoit said. The video shows officers crowding around Herisse’s vehicle before opening fire, followed by indistinguishable yelling at onlookers, including Benoit, to stop filming. Continue reading

US/Mexico: Binational effort helps rescue border fence mural

By Jonathan Clark
Nogales International
Published Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A community mural painted on the border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico was saved from the scrap heap last week through a binational effort, and an artist who was integral to its creation and salvation says he hopes the artwork, which represents popular resistance, will one day rise again at its original location.

The 60-foot-long mural, titled “Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla,” or “Life and Dreams of the Perla Ravine,” was painted by people from both sides of the border in 2005 on the Sonoran face of the landing-mat fence running through Ambos Nogales, a few hundred yards west of the DeConcini port.

It’s a replica of a mural painted in 1998 by Tzetzal Indians on the façade of the community center of Taniperla, Chiapas to represent their lives and dreams after declaring themselves part of an autonomous Zapatista revolutionary municipality. However, on April 11, 1998, a day after the mural and the autonomous municipality were inaugurated, the Mexican Army retook control of the town, destroyed the mural and jailed the man who had directed its creation, university professor Sergio Valdez.

The mural: Community members from both sides of the border painted a replica of “Vida y Sueños de la Cañada Perla” on the landing-mat fence in Nogales, Sonora in the spring of 2005.

Nogales, Sonora-based artist Guadalupe Serrano, who along with his creative partner Alberto Morackis brought Valdez to the border city for the re-creation project in 2005, said that after U.S. crews replacing the 2.8-mile-long landing-mat fence with a taller, stronger barrier reached the downtown area last month, city officials warned him that the “Vida y Sueños” replica might also be destroyed.

At the same time, he said, he learned that wheels had also begun to turn in Arizona in an effort to save the mural.

“What happened was that in Tucson, there’s an organization called the Sierra Club, and a guy from that organization named Dan Millis got in touch with Congressman Raul Grijalva,” Serrano said.

In a letter dated June 8, Millis, along with Kim Roseman of the K. Newby Gallery in Tubac, Susannah Castro of the Tubac Center of the Arts and Bob Phillips of the Santa Cruz Community Foundation, urged Grijalva to investigate the status of “Vida y Sueños” and other nearby fence art and iconic graffiti, “and act to ensure that these cultural resources are protected for future generations.”

Grijalva responded by dispatching staffer Ruben Reyes to coordinate with the Border Patrol (a Grijalva spokesman said the agency was “very cooperative”), who then worked with contractor Granite Construction to arrange a safe takedown and handover of the mural panels to Serrano. Continue reading

Israeli defense minister pledges closer ties with China’s military

[While some may blather about “politics makes strange bedfellows”, and others will urge turning a blind eye to such things and “pretend there’s nothing wrong”–in an imperialist world where both China and Israel partake and maneuver for powerful imperialist relations, this is only another step in the direction of “making things perfectly clear.”  — Frontlines ed.]
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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speaks at a press conference held in the Embassy of Israel in Beijing on June 15. (Chen Lele/People's Daily Online)

Beijing, June 15, 2011–Israel expects to consolidate partnership with China’s military as well as to promote cooperation in technology and economy, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a press conference held in the Israeli Embassy in Beijing on June 14.

Barak’s last visit to China was 17 years ago as Israel’s chief of general staff. He said what impressed him most is that there has been a huge leap forward in everything he could see in Beijing.

Barak arrived in Beijing for meetings with senior officials, including Gen. Liang Guanglie, the Chinese minister of defense; Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, and Vice Premier Li Keqiang.

“In all of our meetings, we looked for ways with people in uniforms to consolidate the relationship between our defense establishments with a variety of common interests, from fighting terrorism to exchanging visits of soldiers and officers. I invited both the defense minister and chief of general staff to visit Israel,” he said. Continue reading

Candid Interview in The Scotsman: Arundhati Roy, Author

Click on thumbnail to view image20 June 2011
By Claire Black
A note slipped under a hotel room door. A boy with a Charlie Brown rucksack. Two unknown men on motorbikes. Hours of walking. That was Arundhati Roy’s route into the forests of central India, an area she describes as “homeland to millions of India’s tribal people, dreamland to the corporate world”.

This contested land is the backdrop to Roy’s new book, Broken Republic, the central essay of which is a fine piece of reportage detailing the three weeks she spent with the Maoist guerrilla movement and the tribal people, the adivasi, who are resisting the government’s plans to “develop” and mine the land on which they live.

Roy walked for hours each day, met with the most wanted guerrilla fighters, ate and talked with the insurgents, nearly half of whom are women, and spent her nights sleeping on a blue plastic sheet, a jhillie, in “the most beautiful room I have slept in in a long time. My private suite in a thousand-star hotel.”

The language is lyrical, but Roy’s critique is excoriating. This area, already ravaged by bloody battles, with guerrillas on one side and government paramilitaries on the other, is on the brink of becoming a war zone, she argues. The army is ready to move in and forcibly clear the adivasi from their land. For Roy, the stakes could not be higher – the fight is for the very “soul of India”.

From the thousand stars of the Dantewada forests, to the five stars of a London hotel, where, over a cup of tea, Roy proves no less passionate in person than in prose. Turning 50 this year, she looks much younger. Her hair, long and curly is flecked with grey but her skin is smooth. Her clothes are quirky and stylish: wide black trousers (“homemade” she smiles) and a tailcoat. Her diamond nose stud glinting.

Roy may be one of India’s most celebrated novelists, but as a political campaigner she’s an unapologetic thorn in the flesh of the Indian state. She argues that despite the headlines celebrating India’s stratospheric economic growth (until recently 10 per cent, but now revised down to 8.5 per cent) the country stands on a precipice. She believes that success is being bought at a heavy price: millions of displaced people and an unfolding ecological disaster, while the Maoist guerrilla fighters are simultaneously scapegoats for state violence, but also empowered by the brutality of the government forces. Continue reading

“Immigrant”–A Hip Hop Voice for the Voiceless

VIDEO: Truth Universal’s “Immigrant” Delivers a Hip Hop Voice for the Voiceless

As immigrants continue to have their human rights compromised in state after state, Hip Hop artist Truth Universal responds with “Immigrant,” the lead single from his latest project Resistance Vol. 2: Polygraph.

Himself a Trinidad-born immigrant who was raised in New Orleans, Truth addresses the plight of the U.S. immigrant in the piece. He cites the commonality of the immigrant struggle, regardless of their land of origin, and challenges the contradictions of U.S. immigration enforcement policy.

Amidst the sonic backdrop crafted by DJ Black Panther, Mexican born MC, Bocafloja, assists Truth in his commentary on the subject, making it a bi-lingual production.

The video was shot on location in Mexico City and New Orleans, during the artists’ tours .

–adapted from the YouTube notes of Akoben Ologun of Truth Universal Press

When India and China Scramble for Africa, Who Wins?

Chinese foreman, African workers

By Jemima Pierre, Black Agenda Report editor and columnist
June 15, 2011China and Indian have both boosted their trade and investment in Africa in recent years, but “South-South” solidarity is not all it’s cracked up to be. The continent’s relationship with the Asian giants is lopsided. “Africa is quickly becoming the largest market for both countries to dump their cheap commodities.” Both countries are focused on “land and resource extraction, and new markets for manufactured products.”

“While both countries argue that their engagement with the continent is non-ideological and has no imperialist goals, the new relations of trade look much like the old.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s attendance at the Second Africa-India Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this past May marked his fourth visit to the continent in his eight years in office. For Singh, such summits are designed to “respond to the needs and priorities of Africa and for India.” The relationship between Africa and India is one “based on equality, mutual trust and a consultative and transparent approach,” he continued. “It is a living embodiment of South-South cooperation.” For the Indian state, it also signifies the triumphant success of its “bilateral” relationship with Africa, one that has granted lucrative access to Africa’s vast resources while cultivating influence with Africa’s political elite. Other Indian and international commentators, however, hail these summits as India’s challenge [4] to China’s oversized [5] role on the continent. Meanwhile, the ever-compromised African Union seem to follow Robert Mugabe’s assertion [6] that Africa has “turned east, where the sun rises, and given [its] back to the west, where the sun sets.” Continue reading

China Unrest: Zengcheng Migrants Urged to Inform

Workers stitch jeans at a small factory in Zengcheng

20 Jun 2011

BBC

China has offered rewards to migrant workers willing to inform on colleagues involved in recent mass riots in the south-eastern city of Zengcheng, reports the BBC.

The Zengcheng Daily published a notice offering workers residency permits – which would give them greater access to services like education and healthcare.

The notice also offered up to 10,000 yuan ($1,500; £1,000) cash rewards.

Hundreds of workers, many from Sichuan province, rioted after a pregnant street vendor was allegedly assaulted.

The rioters targeted government buildings and set cars alight in three days of unrest. Continue reading

Libyan civilians build weapons of rebellion

Mechanics work on improvised weapons in Misrata, Libya.

[In February, the people of Libya, inspired by the rebellions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, rose in rebellion against the oppressive Gaddafi regime.  This shattered the usefulness of Gaddafi to US and EU imperialists, who had profited greatly from Gaddafi’s partnership with them over the last decade.  So the US and EU/NATO moved to influence and manipulate the Libyan rebellion, in order to win control of Libya and its resources in coming years.  This means the Libyan people are up against two obstacles to liberation–the Gaddafi regime, and the deceptive US/EU/NATO forces which have poured military resources into defeating Gaddafi, but also to control the military force of the Libyan rebellion–and to prevent genuine liberation.  The imperialists have been doling out such arms rather selectively–and Libyan rebels, who are divided about the role the US/EU can play, are creating their own weapons factories for the resistance.  It is not clear what scale these initiatives have taken, and whether they are leading to a degree, large or small, of political and military independence from US/NATO imperialist forces. — Frontlines ed.]

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June 20, 2011

MISRATA, Libya  (AP)— Aref Abu Zeid used to be a heavy equipment engineer at the Libya Steel Company. Now he runs an 80-man team working 12 hours a day turning out rockets and weapons to fight Muammar Qadaffi’s forces.

In this rebel stronghold in western Libya, civilian engineers, mechanics and tradesmen are pumping out materiel to arm the uprising against Qadaffi’s rule that has become a civil war.

“None of us here have anything to do with the military,” said Abu Zeid, 50, a short man with a thick salt and pepper beard and an easy smile. “Our need to protect our homes, our lives and our city forced us into this war work.”

Misrata, the country’s third-largest city located 125 miles southeast of the capital, is home to the largest steel company in the country and metal is always available here. Continue reading

Maoists in Nepal putting off meetings. Cause: unresolvable issues

myrepublica.com #

Maoists Struggling To Hold Party Meetings
KATHMANDU, June 19: Unable to solve the party´s factional disputes behind the curtain, the UCPN (Maoist) has been putting off its Standing Committee meeting, which is supposed to set the agendas for the forthcoming Central Committee (CC).The party is also likely to postpone the crucial CC meeting slated for June 22 due to deepening intra-party factionalism and tussles for power.

Sources say party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is making attempts to find a middle ground and take the party ahead in a unified manner despite intra-party cracks.

“Why hold a meeting if that doesn´t lead to a solution? It will be easy to solve some problems by simply postponing them,” said Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel who is close to Dahal. Continue reading

Oscar Grant’s Killer released — the people “Fight the Power” while others say “Join the Power”

Mistah F.A.B. vs. Revolutionaries – Mehserle Release Protest 6/12/11

video and text by “mezkillercop” on Jun 18, 2011

Slave owners have always used the tactic of using the loyal “house slave” to shut the “field slaves” up. The white owner will always point to the polite house slave and say, “If you just work hard and make no waves, then SOMEDAY you may work in the comfort of my house.” The highest goal the slaves in the field can aspire to is work in the master’s house kissin’ his ass. But for the vast majority, the masters sweet ass will never touch their salivating lips. The false promise is nothing more than a way to pacify the masses in the cotton fields with an illusion of a just and benevolent ruler who is looking out for their own good. The promise of making it as a house slave serves as a red herring to divert criticism away from the slave owner. Note how this system of exploitation ultimately blames the slave for their inability to get ahead in life. Nothing much has changed. Now, people are encouraged to just “work harder” to raise themselves up. Continue reading