Australian PM stumbles before rowdy protest crowd

The Associated Press:  Australian prime minister stumbles as riot police escort her through 200 angry protesters, January 26, 2012

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard is escorted out for safety by body guards and police through a crowd of rowdy protesters following a ceremony to mark Australia‘s national day in Canberra, Australia, Thursday Jan. 26, 2012.

Some 200 supporters of indigenous rights surrounded a Canberra restaurant and banged its windows on Thursday while Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott were inside officiating at an award ceremony. (AP Photo/Lukas Coch) AUSTRALIA

Australia’s Gillard dragged away from Aboriginal rights protest

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is rushed to a car by security after some 200 rowdy protesters surrounded a restaurant where she was speaking in Canberra, Australia. Msnbc.com’s Dara Brown reports.

By msnbc.com staff and news services

CANBERRA — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was dragged away by security guards Thursday after she was trapped in a restaurant by rowdy protesters demonstrating for indigenous rights following a ceremony to mark Australia’s national day. Continue reading

A closer look: Obama’s hypocritical claim of the Apple/Steve Jobs allure

[A comment from Revolutionary Frontlines:  “Capitalist Crisis and Empire Quandary leads to media hyperbole, political hypocrisy, empty promises and false claims of better days ahead”

Barack Obama, the political leader of US imperialism, is heading into a re-election campaign with growing discontent and opposition across the country, including among traditional supporters of the Democratic party.  In his State of the Union address this week, he made a string of new and repeated promises to re-capture these drifting and angry voters,   as he promised to bring jobs back from overseas and support domestic innovation and business.  Apple electronics and Steve Jobs got special mention and praise from the President.  Apple, making record profits from its popular iPhone and iPad products, produces most of its goods overseas–the largest part being made by Foxconn in China and India, in factories holding hundreds of thousands of workers being paid $1 an hour.  If Foxconn increases pay rates and regulates safety and working conditions, China’s global edge in maintaining  cheap labor pool will lose its allure.  If the cost of production rises, Apple’s profit edge and competitiveness will suffer.  Therefore, every Foxconn adjustment in pay and conditions is matched by increased demands on productivity.  The NY Times article, below, details the situation at Foxconn.

The Chinese workers are caught in the middle of this.  They are not the enemies of workers in the US–they suffer from the same exploitation for profits, at the hands of the same crisis-wracked and bankrupt capitalist system, as we, and people worldwide, are suffering from.  There is no solution in workers fighting each other for a place in the exploiters’ production line.  The path forward is made with solidarity, with finding the ways to support each other and to unify our struggles against the capitalist-imperialist system.  With each day, millions more are seeing that the capitalist system, in its ever more vicious and desperate turns, is losing its credibility and legitimacy as a leading or organizing force in human affairs. — Frontlines ed.]

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Click this link to see video:  Made in China

An explosion last May at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, killed four people and injured 18. It built iPads.

January 25, 2012

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

By and , New York Times

The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.

When workers in the cafeteria ran outside, they saw black smoke pouring from shattered windows. It came from the area where employees polished thousands of iPad cases a day.

Two people were killed immediately, and over a dozen others hurt. As the injured were rushed into ambulances, one in particular stood out. His features had been smeared by the blast, scrubbed by heat and violence until a mat of red and black had replaced his mouth and nose.

“Are you Lai Xiaodong’s father?” a caller asked when the phone rang at Mr. Lai’s childhood home. Six months earlier, the 22-year-old had moved to Chengdu, in southwest China, to become one of the millions of human cogs powering the largest, fastest and most sophisticated manufacturing system on earth. That system has made it possible for Apple and hundreds of other companies to build devices almost as quickly as they can be dreamed up.

“He’s in trouble,” the caller told Mr. Lai’s father. “Get to the hospital as soon as possible.”

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

After a rash of apparent suicide attempts, a dormitory for Foxconn workers in Shenzhen, China, had safety netting installed last May. Foxconn said it acted quickly and comprehensively to address employee suicides.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.

“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.”

Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others.

Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that details standards on labor issues, safety protections and other topics. The company has mounted a vigorous auditing campaign, and when abuses are discovered, Apple says, corrections are demanded.

And Apple’s annual supplier responsibility reports, in many cases, are the first to report abuses. This month, for the first time, the company released a list identifying many of its suppliers.

But significant problems remain. More than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have violated at least one aspect of the code of conduct every year since 2007, according to Apple’s reports, and in some instances have violated the law. While many violations involve working conditions, rather than safety hazards, troubling patterns persist. Continue reading

On the “State of the Union” address: Obama Pledges to Maintain the Empire

Glen Ford, interviewed on the Real News Network: “Obama defends Iraq war saying it made the US safer and more respected”

Bio — Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

Transcript:  PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington. Now joining us to talk about President Obama’s State of the Union speech is Glen Ford. Glen is the cofounder and current executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, and he joins us from New York. I—New York or New Jersey, Glen?

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: In New Jersey.

JAY: New Jersey. Thanks for joining us.

FORD: Thank you for the invitation.

JAY: So what’s your first take on the speech?

FORD: Well, it was all about banking and empire, because that’s what Barack Obama is all about. Most of the other stuff were con games and smoke and mirrors, not too much worth talking about. He led and he ended with his foreign policy. So here we have a president who claimed to be a peace candidate but really is showing his oats by telling people how many people he has killed and how he’s quite ready to kill again. Continue reading

Critics of the State of Obama speech say “Not A Peep About The President’s Praise of Military”

by Laura Flanders, on the Counterpunch blog

The grades for the president’s State of the Union are in and the critics have been kind. In fact, it’s chilling to see just how few hits the President takes for couching his entire address in unqualified celebration of the US military.

US Marines' infamous descration of dead Taliban fighters

Speaking of the troops, Obama began: “At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.”

Post-show pundits on cable news praised the president’s comfort with his Commander in Chief role but none saw fit to mention recent news of marines urinating on Afghan corpses, say, or Staff Sgt Wuterich walking free after participating in the killing of 24 unarmed men women and children in Haditha. Accompanying Obama’s next phrase, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” no one thus far has played the vile video. The critics have been kind.

The President chose to celebrate the military; the press chose not to raise a peep about the spread of militarism, yet US targets proliferate — abroad – with unmanned drones assassinating unconvicted suspects in innumerable undeclared wars. And militarism spreads at home. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act makes indefinite military detention without charge or trial a permanent feature of the American legal system.  It’s kind of the critics not to mention that – or his four-year-old pledge to close Guantanamo, and to restore the “rule of law.”

Haditha massacre--These Ishaqi children were among the 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians killed by US Marines

“They’re not consumed with personal ambition… They work together,” continued the president (again, speaking of the troops.)

There are surely plenty of troops who would disagree. The tally is long of commanders and pigeon hawk commanders-of-commanders who’ve dodged responsibility, fingered underlings and permitted rank-and-file “bad-apples” to take the heat for US war crimes.

“Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops,” the President concluded.

There are indeed things we can learn; things that many US troops have begged us to learn in fact. Namely, that war dehumanizes the killer and the killed, and that war tactics have a habit of spreading from the war zone to the home. Successive generations have told us that military recruiters lie, and that “rules of war” exist only in legal minds. (Ninety percent of casualties in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were civilians.) Troops have begged us to learn just what we are celebrating when we celebrate “winning” and war.

Clearly we have yet to learn.

LAURA FLANDERS is the host of The Laura Flanders Show coming to public television stations later this year. She was the host and founder of GRITtv.org. Follow her on Twitter: @GRITlaura.

The Battle for Public Space: The Squares and Streets of the Egyptian Revolution

[As oppressive systems face growing challenges, they utilize many tools in preserving their hold on power.  Vicious and brutal police, mounds of disinformation, a wide range of false prophets and demagogues, these are standard tools.  But essential to their survival is the preventing of places where the opposition can meet, draw together their experience and unify for the streggle at every turn.  These places are halls, squares, newspapers, radio and television, internet, tweets, and streets filled with public demonstrations.  If the people are prevented from  access to all such resources, overturning such regimes becomes impossible.  And so, the people grab each and every place they can for their struggle to grow.  The people of Egypt have illustrated this struggle in so many ways, breaking the restrictions and suppressions which have been laid at every step in their path. — Frontlines ed.]
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January 25, 2012 — by Ahram Online

Over the course of the first year of the January 25 Revolution, some public squares have become symbols of revolution, while others have come to represent support for the transitional military regime.

“]

Protesters standing on a tank in Tahrir Square. Image from Hossam El-Hamalawy Archive.

Space is never something that people simply use; we make meaning out of space through how we use it. And Egypt’s revolution has seen a transformation in public space. That it is no longer surprising to see public walls adorned with political graffiti—even those of Cairo’s Supreme Court or administrative Mogamma building—speaks powerfully to this geographic transformation and to public space both as a site and an instrument of revolutionary struggle.

This transformation has taken place against a backdrop of urban planning that sought to limit the availability of open spaces in which citizens might congregate, while deveoping gated communities for the wealthy that, along with exclusive parks, have constituted a tend towards the privatisation of space.

Emergency laws in place since Mubarak came to power and renewed periodically (most recently in September by the ruling military council) criminalize gatherings of more than just a few people. So, in this sense, public space does not belong to the public at all. The January 25 Revolution can be seen in part as a re-appropriation of public space, indicative of the public’s refusal to concede the streets and squares to the dictates of the security apparatus.

People all over the world have by now heard of Egypt’s Tahrir Square, which has become a symbol not only of Egypt’s revolution but of the resilience of “the people” against state power. References to Tahrir in banners seen at Madrid’s 15 May demonstrations, at Occupy Wall Street, and even on a street sign at Occupy London reflect this awareness. And Tahrir continues to be a site of demonstrations and sit-ins, as well as state brutality against protesters. Continue reading

Banned Books in Arizona: Tucson Students Walk Out, Speak Out

On Martin Luther King Day in Tucson 2012, Tucson students spoke out on the seizure of books from their classrooms and the decision to forbid Mexican American Studies. The public school district, Tucson Unified School District, voted in Jan 2012 to forbid the studies after Arizona threatened to extract millions of dollars. Rethinking Columbus was one of seven books moved to a depository by the schools. There are 50 books on the reading list. 

[Thanks to CENSORED NEWS for bringing the news of this resistance. — Frontlines ed.]

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Students Step Up Tucson Walkouts

Protest School District Folly and Mexican American Studies Banishment

As the nation watches the Tucson Unified School District’s spiral into disarray, hundreds of students walked out of their Tucson schools Monday in a coordinated protest against the banishment of the district’s acclaimed Mexican American Studies program.(Photo: D.A. Morales)Pouring into the downtown Tucson area from Pueblo, Cholla and Tucson high schools, among other institutions, the students brought their march to the offices of floundering Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) administrators. In recent days, administrators and board members have issued a series of conflicting and inaccurate statements and carried out the extreme actions of confiscating books in front of children. Last week, a recently hired assistant superintendent from Texas made a troubing call for the deeply rooted Tucson students–many of whom trace their ancestors to the town founders– to “go to Mexico” to study their history.

In a district with over 60 percent of the students coming from Mexican American backgrounds, the TUSD board “dismantled its Mexican-American studies program, packed away its offending books, shuttled its students into other classes,” according to an editorial in the New York Times on Sunday, because “it was blackmailed into doing so.” Continue reading

Pentagon report: Sexual assault in the military up dramatically

[In a time when the US military continues to face shortages due to ongoing foreign wars, “interventions,” and occupations, the War Department (aka “Defense Department” for cosmetic reasons) has moved to expand their recruiting of women and gays.  While abuse–sexual abuse–has been a long-standing fact of life in colonial and imperial armies, this new Pentagon report of greatly EXPANDED rapes of military troops could not come at a worse time for military recruiters, and for morale and operating unity, among US troops.  So, War Secretary Leon Panetta has made the expected, and routine, vow to reduce sexual assaults within the military with a series of new initiatives. — Frontlines ed.]

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By Anna Mulrine | Christian Science Monitor, January 20, 2012

There has been a startling and consistent increase in violent sex crimes within the US Army since 2006, according to a newPentagon report released Thursday.

It comes one day after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed to reduce the number of sexual assaults within the military, calling the numbers “unacceptable.” He announced that the Pentagon was preparing a series of new initiatives in an effort to try to curb the assaults.

While the measures that Mr. Panetta announced this week were widely welcomed, some democratic lawmakers pointed out that many of the newly-announced initiatives were already slated to go into effect with a law passed by Congress late last year. Others warned that the announced steps did not go far enough to combat the fast-growing problem.

The rate of violent sexual crime has increased 64 percent since 2006 according to the US Army report, which noted that “rape, sexual assault, and forcible sodomy were the most frequent violent sex crimes committed in 2011.”

While women comprise 14 percent of the Army ranks, they account for 95 percent of all sex crime victims.

The study warns that reports of crimes such as forcible sodomy may increase among males in the coming year with the repeal of the law that barred openly gay troops from serving in the military. “Now victims may be more likely to report sexual offenses in the absence of the former Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” since troops no longer have to fear being removed from the military if it is discovered that they are gay. Continue reading

Capitalism’s Real Gravediggers

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beware the ‘Gush-Up Gospel’ Behind India’s Billionaires

by Arundhati Roy, Financial Times, ZNet
Antilla Mansion on Altamount Road in Mumbai

Antilla Mansion on Altamount Road in Mumbai

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamount Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “pay your respects to our new ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I’d read about this, the most expensive dwelling ever built, the 27 floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the 600 servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn – a soaring wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches, bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, “trickle down” had not worked.

But “gush-up” has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2bn, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to a quarter of gross domestic product.

The word on the street (and in The New York Times) is, or at least was, that the Ambanis were not living in Antilla. Perhaps they are there now, but people still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, vastu and feng shui. I think it’s all Marx’s fault. Capitalism, he said, “ … has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”.

In India, the 300m of us who belong to the new, post-“reforms” middle class – the market – live side by side with the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800m who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than 50 cents a day.

Mr Ambani is personally worth more than $20bn. He has a controlling majority stake in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalisation of Rs2.41tn ($47bn) and an array of global business interests. RIL has a 95 per cent stake in Infotel, which a few weeks ago bought a major share in a media group that runs television news and entertainment channels. Infotel owns the only national 4G broadband licence. He also has a cricket team.

RIL is one of a handful of corporations, some family-owned, some not, that run India. Some of the others are Tata, Jindal, Vedanta, Mittal, Infosys, Essar and the other Reliance (ADAG), owned by Mukesh’s brother Anil. Their race for growth has spilt across Europe, central Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Tatas, for example, run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s largest private-sector power companies.

Since the cross-ownership of businesses is not restricted by the “gush-up gospel” rules, the more you have, the more you can have. Meanwhile, scandal after scandal has exposed, in painful detail, how corporations buy politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media houses, hollowing out democracy, retaining only its rituals. Huge reserves of bauxite, iron ore, oil and natural gas worth trillions of dollars were sold to corporations for a pittance, defying even the twisted logic of the free market. Cartels of corrupt politicians and corporations have colluded to underestimate the quantity of reserves, and the actual market value of public assets, leading to the siphoning off of billions of dollars of public money. Then there’s the land grab – the forced displacement of communities, of millions of people whose lands are being appropriated by the state and handed to private enterprise. (The concept of inviolability of private property rarely applies to the property of the poor.) Mass revolts have broken out, many of them armed. The government has indicated that it will deploy the army to quell them. Continue reading

New York: Police training the troops to viciously attack and deny the humanity of Muslims

[The growing police state apparatus in the US trains the police forces to attack targeted communities aggressively, with no reluctance or remorse.  This article details how such training is being done in New York and elsewhere, with malevolent slanders against Muslims.  Since this exposure came to light, the police commanders and politicians like Mayor Bloomberg have tried to deny–and when that didn’t work, to distance themselves from, and denounce–this practice.  In this way, the officials reveal that they understand that the claims of “American democracy” and of a “post-racial America” “free of racial profiling” are empty claims, with no relation to reality.  — Frontlines ed.]
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January 23, 2012

Training film uses invented charges, such as this picture falsely depecting a "desired" White House under Islamic flag, to inflame police against Muslims

In Police Training, a Dark Film on U.S. Muslims

By MICHAEL POWELL, New York Times

Ominous music plays as images appear on the screen: Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

“This is the true agenda of much of Islam in America,” a narrator intones. “A strategy to infiltrate and dominate America. … This is the war you don’t know about.”

This is the feature-length film titled “The Third Jihad,” paid for by a nonprofit group, which was shown to more than a thousand officers as part of training in the New York Police Department.

In January 2011, when news broke that the department had used the film in training, a top police official denied it, then said it had been mistakenly screened “a couple of times” for a few officers.

A year later, police documents obtained under the state’s Freedom of Information Law reveal a different reality: “The Third Jihad,” which includes an interview with Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was shown, according to internal police reports, “on a continuous loop” for between three months and one year of training.

During that time, at least 1,489 police officers, from lieutenants to detectives to patrol officers, saw the film.

News that police trainers showed this film so extensively comes as the department wrestles with its relationship with the city’s large Muslim community. The Police Department offers no apology for aggressively spying on Muslim groups and says it has ferreted out terror plots. Continue reading

US demands that Kenya submit to ICC

[The USA, which has refused to join the International Criminal Court or otherwise submit to international judicial accountability, nevertheless demands that other countries submit to the authority of the ICC.  And the ICC has this year been making arrangements for the US military (i.e., AFRICOM) to enforce ICC subpoenas and warrants for the arrest of Africans.  This article expresses this arrogant and imperialist double standard.  We post this article only because it is revealing of international power relations and the political relativity of judicial standards. — Frontlines ed.]

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The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenya: U.S. Urges Country to Cooperate Fully With ICC

by Kevin J Kelley

23 January 2012

The Obama administration has called for “accountability on the 2007-2008 post-election violence” following the confirmation of charges of four Kenyans by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged the Kenyan government, the people of Kenya and the four cited individuals to continue to cooperate fully with the ICC proceedings.

Ms Nuland said such cooperation would be consistent with the spirit of Kenya’s new constitution, which, she noted, “embraces transparency, accountability and integrity.”

The spokeswoman added in a statement issued in Washington on Monday that the United States stands ready to help Kenya implement the reform process as the nation looks ahead to its first elections under the new constitution.

“We make no judgment as to the guilt of innocence of those who are the subject of today’s confirmation decisions,” Ms Nuland declared. “Under the ICC process,” she noted, “individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Nigerian: Demands to end state repression of independence movement

Nigeria: MASSOB Gives Army 48 Hours to Release Detained Members

Beatrice Onuchukwu

24 January 2012


Awka — The Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday gave the Army a 48-hour ultimatum to release the corpses of three of its members allegedly killed on Sunday by soldiers from the Onitsha Military Cantonment, and 46 of its members arrested by the soldiers. Comrade Uchenna Madu, the MASSOB Director of Information at a news conference in Onitsha yesterday stated that the Army has provoked MASSOB by illegal killings and detention.

“If the issue is not addressed, the Army and the Nigerian state will see the violent side of MASSOB,” he said.

Madu lamented that the non-violent posture of MASSOB has been mistaken for weakness and cowardice by security operatives, “who now derive joy in the killing and intimidation of unarmed MASSOB members”. Continue reading

The Palestinian children – alone and bewildered – in Israel’s Al Jalame jail

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Special report: Israel’s military justice system is accused of mistreating Palestinian children arrested for throwing stones

in the West Bank, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 22 January 2012

The room is barely wider than the thin, dirty mattress that covers the floor. Behind a low concrete wall is a squat toilet, the stench from which has no escape in the windowless room. The rough concrete walls deter idle leaning; the constant overhead light inhibits sleep. The delivery of food through a low slit in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night.

This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.

The only escape is to the interrogation room where children are shackled, by hands and feet, to a chair while being questioned, sometimes for hours. Continue reading

India: Maoist statement to world-wide friends and well-wishers

CPI(Maoist) Press Release, January 13, 2012:   Revolutionary greetings from CPI (Maoist) to the friends of Indian revolution and well wishers

Comrades and Friends,

 On 24 November, 2011 the Indian revolution lost its great leader and the oppressed masses of India lost their most reliable servant. November 24 would remain a dark day in the history of the Indian revolution. On July 1, 2010 the Indian ruling classes had murdered our Politburo member and spokesperson Comrade Azad. Within one and a half years, another Politburo member Comrade Koteswarlu (who is popular among the people and party ranks as Kotanna, Prahlad, Ramji, Kishenji and Bimal) was caught alive in a covert operation, tortured inhumanly and was killed in a fake encounter. In India which claims to be the largest democracy in the world, the feudal and comprador bureaucratic bourgeois ruling classes, with the support of the imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, are trying to suppress the democratic, national liberation and revolutionary movements with iron heel. Particularly, since 2009 they are carrying on an unjust war on the people in the name of ‘Operation Green Hunt’. They are shamelessly violating even the constitution and the laws formulated by themselves and are killing people, activists and leaders of the movement. They are unsuccessfully trying to justify all their unlawful murders in the name of a lie named ‘encounter’ tracing the footsteps of the British colonial rulers. Now it is an established fact that ‘encounter’ anywhere in India means a conspiratorial murder by the state.

Comrade Koteswarlu was born on November 26, 1954 in Peddapalli town of Karimnagar district which has a legacy of the glorious Telangana armed struggle. He led the Indian revolutionary movement for nearly four decades. Comrade Koteswarlu was brought up by democratic thinking parents and imbibed patriotic feelings and love for the oppressed people since childhood. He was a top rank representative of the generation after the glorious Naxalbari rebellion. Though the Naxalbari rebellion which established Maoist Protracted People’s War as the path for the Indian revolution was suppressed within a few years, it had a great impact all over the country. Peasant rebellions arose in many areas following its model. It awoke the students in colleges and universities. The slogan ‘Naxalbari Ek Hi Rasta’ (The Only Way is Naxalbari)  reverberated all over the country. It was this backdrop that turned Comrade Koteswarlu into a Maoist revolutionary. Firstly, at the end of 1970s, he organized the peasantry against deeply entrenched feudalism in his home district of Karimnagar and led many struggles. He played a key role in the peasant movement popularly known as ‘Jagityal Jaitrayatra’ (Victory March of Jagityal). In no time this spread to the whole of North Telangana apart from Karimnagar and Adilabad districts. Even while mobilizing peasants into anti-feudal struggles, he greatly strove to attract students, writers, intellectuals, workers…all oppressed classes and sections of people into the fold of revolutionary movement. In this course, he worked as a party organizer at first, then as the district committee secretary and was later elected as the secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Sate Committee and won the accolade of the people and the party ranks. Since 1986, he played a crucial role in the development and expansion of the revolutionary movement in central, eastern and northern parts of India. He particularly concentrated on Dandakaranya for eight years and on West Bengal for eighteen years.  Since 1993 till he breathed his last he worked as a Central Committee member, later as Politburo member member and held responsibilities for Northern and Eastern Regional Bureaus. He contributed greatly in many spheres in the party such as political education, magazines, propaganda and shone as a man of many talents. He played a prominent role in enriching the party documents and in developing party political-military line and policies. He represented the CC in the meetings and bilateral talks held with various national liberation organizations and Maoist forces in South Asia. He strove a lot to unite the Marxist-Leninist groups and individuals that divided and scattered after the setback of Naxalbari and particularly to achieve unity of the ML and MCC organizations which continued as separate streams since Naxalbari. Thus his role remains etched forever in the annals of the history of Indian revolution. Continue reading

January 24, 2011–DC: Protest the Private Prison Industry in Columbia Heights

by , Detention Watch Network

Please join other DWN members and allies, along with friends from OccupyDC, to protest the private prison corporations who are driving the mass incarceration of people of color in the United States, including nearly 370,000 immigrants every year.

The action will take place Tuesday January 24 at 5:00pm at the Wells Fargo branch in Tivoli Square (between Park Road and Monroe Street off of 14th in Columbia Heights ). If you are interested in helping with the last stages of planning for the action, please send me an email. There will be a poster making party this weekend at the DWN offices. We are also looking for singers and musicians to help liven things up on what will likely be a cold night, so if you or someone you know has some talent that they would be willing to lend to the occasion, please get in touch!

Tuesday’s action will be one of a dozen simultaneous protests taking place across the country as part of Enlace’s Private Prison Divestment Campaign. For more information on the campaign and the national day of action go to:  http://enlaceintl.org/programs/prison-divestment/.

Greece so poor families are abandoning their children

No home,no school: A small boy begs in Athens

by David Collins, Daily Mirror,  11/01/2012 

Poverty-stricken families in Greece are so hard up some have abandoned their children.

Charities in Athens are reporting a big rise in the number of youngsters dumped by parents unable to make ends meet following the Euro crisis.

In one case a four-year-old was found by a teacher in the capital with a letter reading: “I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.”

An Athens youth centre, the Ark of the World, has revealed that it has had four children left on its doorstep in recent months – including a newborn baby.

One mum, who told staff she was homeless and in desperate need of help, ran away after handing over her two-year-old daughter, Natasha.

Centre founder Fr Antonios Papanikolaou said: “Over the last year we’ve had hundreds of parents who want to leave their children with us. They know us and trust us.

“They say they do not have any money or shelter or food for their kids, so they hope we might be able to provide them with what they need.”

Another desperate mum, who would only give her name as Maria, sobbed as she told how was forced to give up her child after losing her job and being out of work for more than a year. Continue reading