The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary’ — Mumia Abu-Jamal

Chris Hedges, Truthdig Op-Ed, Tuesday 11 December 2012
Abu-Jamal, who was a young activist in the Black Panthers and later one of the most important radical journalists in Philadelphia, a city that a few decades earlier produced I.F. Stone, has long been the bête noire of the state.
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I am sitting in the visiting area of the SCI Mahanoy prison in Frackville, Pa., on a rainy, cold Friday morning with Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s most famous political prisoner and one of its few authentic revolutionaries. He is hunched forward on the gray plastic table, his dreadlocks cascading down the sides of his face, in a room that looks like a high school cafeteria. He is talking intently about the nature of empire, which he is currently reading voraciously about, and effective forms of resistance to tyranny throughout history. Small children, visiting their fathers or brothers, race around the floor, wail or clamber on the plastic chairs. Abu-Jamal, like the other prisoners in the room, is wearing a brown jumpsuit bearing the letters DOC—for Department of Corrections.

Abu-Jamal was transferred in January to the general prison population after nearly 30 years in solitary confinement on death row and was permitted physical contact with his wife, children and other visitors for the first time in three decades. He had been sentenced to death in 1982 for the Dec. 9, 1981, killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His sentence was recently amended to life without parole. The misconduct of the judge, flagrant irregularities in his trial and tainted evidence have been criticized by numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.

Abu-Jamal, who was a young activist in the Black Panthers and later one of the most important radical journalists in Philadelphia, a city that a few decades earlier produced I.F. Stone, has long been the bête noire of the state. The FBI opened a file on him when he was 15, when he started working with the local chapter of the Black Panthers. He was suspended from his Philadelphia high school when he campaigned to rename the school for Malcolm X and distributed “black revolutionary student power” literature. Continue reading

Why Jordan’s Protests Could Not Be Sustained

Jordan Protests: Shock Absorbed, the Regime Will Not Fall

[Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) speaks with Jordan’s King Abdullah upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah 6 December 2012.(Photo: Reuters – Yousef Allan/ Handout)]

By: Hisham Bustani, writing in  http://english.al-akhbar.com, December 6, 2012

There is no doubt that the November protests in Jordan were unprecedented. They were a first in terms of mass, explicit slogans directed against the King and the Hashemite monarchy, with some demonstrations even calling for the establishment of a republic in Jordan.

While this is clearly a watershed in the development of the opposition movement in Jordan, the regime has successfully been able to absorb the shock of the protests and will not fall in the foreseeable future.

King Abdullah II: Weak and Vulnerable

In contrast to his father – the powerful and politically savvy King Hussein – Jordan’s current king has proved a weak monarch. Upon taking the throne, King Abdullah II introduced his own advisors and high-ranking officials into the regime. In many important respects, the new king’s men were no different from their predecessors: both were corrupt and willing to implement neoliberal economic policies. But there was one key difference. The new Western-educated, business-oriented elite lacked the support of important social structures: the tribes.

During their time in power, King Hussein’s old guard maintained extensive social connections with their tribes, ensuring that a small part of the proceeds of their corruption trickled down to tribe members in different forms such as jobs, university scholarships, and cash benefits. The notorious Single Non-Transferable Vote electoral system introduced in 1993 (and still in place today in thinly-disguised form) further strengthened the tribes, turning them from a social unit into a political one.

Accused of disclosing secret war crimes, Bradley Manning challenges the abusive accusers

Pfc. Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted of leaking documents.

Pfc. Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted of leaking documents.

In WikiLeaks Case, Defense Puts the Jailers on Trial

By and , New York Times, December 7, 2012

FORT MEADE, Md. — In a half-empty courtroom here, with a crew of fervent supporters in attendance, Pfc. Bradley Manning and his lawyer have spent the last two weeks turning the tables on the government.

Private Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted on charges that he gave WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy organization, hundreds of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents. But for now, he has been effectively putting on trial his former jailers at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base. His lawyer, David E. Coombs, has grilled one Quantico official after another, demanding to know why his client was kept in isolation and stripped of his clothing at night as part of suicide-prevention measures.

Mr. Coombs, a polite but relentless interrogator who stands a foot taller than his client, has laid bare deep disagreements inside the military: psychiatrists thought the special measures unnecessary, while jail commanders ignored their advice and kept the suicide restrictions in place. In a long day of testimony last week, Private Manning of the Army, vilified as a dangerous traitor by some members of Congress but lauded as a war-crimes whistle-blower on the political left, heartened his sympathizers with an eloquent and even humorous performance on the stand.

“He was engaged, chipper, optimistic,” said Bill Wagner, 74, a retired NASA solar physicist who is a courtroom regular, dressed in the black “Truth” T-shirt favored by Private Manning’s supporters.

Private Manning, who turns 25 on Dec. 17 and looks much younger, was quietly attentive during Friday’s court session, in a dress uniform, crew-cut blond hair and wire-rimmed glasses. If his face were not already familiar from television news, he might have been mistaken for a first-year law student assisting the defense team.

It seemed incongruous that he has essentially acknowledged responsibility for the largest leak of classified material in history. The material included a quarter-million State Department cables whose release may have chilled diplomats’ ability to do their work discreetly but also helped fuel the Arab Spring; video of American helicopter crews shooting people on the ground in Baghdad who they thought were enemy fighters but were actually Reuters journalists; field reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and confidential assessments of the detainees locked up at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Continue reading

How do war criminals criminalize the opponents of war crimes?

The Humiliation of Bradley Manning

bradley manning war crimes 2By Ray McGovern, ConsortiumNews.com

On November 28, 2012

It is a bitter irony that Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, whose conscience compelled him to leak evidence about the U.S. military brass ignoring evidence of torture in Iraq, was himself the victim of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment while other military officers privately took note but did nothing.

That was one of the revelations at Manning’s pre-trial hearing at Ft. Meade, Md., on Tuesday, as Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs used email exchanges to show Marine officers grousing that the Marines had been left holding the bag on Manning’s detention at their base in Quantico, Va., though he was an Army soldier.

At Quantico, Manning, who is accused of giving hundreds of thousands of pages of classified material to WikiLeaks, was subjected to harsh treatment. He was locked in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell for 23 hours a day and was kept naked for long periods. His incarceration led the U.N. rapporteur for torture to complain that Manning was being subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

According to the email evidence, the controversy over the rough handling of Manning prompted Quantico commander Marine Col. Daniel Choike to complain bitterly that not one Army officer was in the chain of blame. Choike’s lament prompted an email reply from his commander, Lt. Gen. George Flynn, offering assurances that Choike and Quantico would not be left “holding the bag.”

bradley manning - war crimesHowever, concerns about possible repercussions from softening up Manning did little to ease the conditions that Manning faced. His Marine captors seemed eager to give him the business and make him an example to any other prospective whistleblowers. Only after a sustained public outcry was Manning transferred to the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Though his treatment was less harsh there, Manning still has faced 2 and a half years of incarceration without trial and could face up to life imprisonment after a court-martial into his act of conscience, i.e., releasing extensive evidence of wrongdoing by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan and questionable foreign policies carried out by the U.S. State Department.

The release of the documents led to hundreds of news stories, including some that revealed the willful inaction of U.S. military brass when informed of torture inflicted on Iraqi prisoners held by the U.S.-backed Iraqi military. Continue reading

Democratic Student Union (India) on the historic religious fanatic-fascist attacks on Muslims in India

On 6 December 1992, a mob of Hindu militants tore down the 16th Century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, north India, sparking nationwide communal riots in which nearly 2,000 people were killed.

On 6 December 1992, a mob of Hindu militants tore down the 16th Century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, north India, sparking nationwide communal riots in which nearly 2,000 people were killed.

DSU-Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, 7 December 2012

“Rebuilding Babri Masjid is the only way to ensure justice! Smash the forces of communal fascism and its active patrons!!”

It’s been twenty years since Babri Masjid was razed to the ground by a huge frenzied mob of religious fanatics. The history of the Babri masjid right since the transfer of power clearly lays bare the entrenched communal nature of the Indian state and all its machinery. The Babri Masjid was a 400 year old historical structure in which prayers had been offered till 1949 until an idol of Ram was surreptitiously smuggled into the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949. A mob forced itself inside the mosque to perform a puja. They were driven out of the mosque but it was locked and namaaz remained forbidden in the mosque ever since. It was re-opened in 1986 by Rajiv Gandhi led Congress government which ordered the opening of the mosque for puja. In 1992 the Masjid was demolished by a fanatic mob with the complete protection of all the organs of the state machinery. The murderous paraphernalia that preceded the demolition with Advani touring the country on the Rathyatra, with extremely belligerent speeches led to the massacre of thousands of Muslims. Continue reading

Wal-Mart’s Crimes in the Exploitation of Bangladeshi workers: Class war crimes

Wal-Mart wouldn’t pay for Bangladeshi factory safety improvements

Before a factory fire that killed 112, the retailer had decided supplier fire safety was too expensive to cover

By , Thursday, Dec 6, 2012

Wal-Mart wouldn't pay for Bangladeshi factory safety improvements[Bangladeshi police officials stand guard outside burnt garment factory in the Savar neighborhood in Dhaka (AP Photo/ khurshed Rinku)]

At a meeting in April 2011, more than a dozen retailers including Wal-Mart, Gap, Target and JC Penney met in Dhaka to discuss safety at their supplier Bangladeshi garment factories. Bloomberg News revealed minutes from this meeting Wednesday, which show that Wal-Mart nixed a plan that would require retailers to pay their suppliers enough to cover safety improvements.

Last month, a fire in a factory used by Wal-Mart killed 112 workers. There were no fire exits. Despite the fact that more than 700 Bangladeshi garment workers have died since 2005, Wal-Mart and Gap refused last year to pay higher costs for safety. Bloomberg cited comments from a document produced by Wal-mart’s director of ethical sourcing and a Gap official for the Dhaka meeting. It stated:

“Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories. It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”

Scott Nova, the executive director of the Workers Rights Consortium, commented on Bloomberg’s revelations to Josh Eidelson for the Nation. “No company that is unwilling to pay [factories] enough to make it possible for them to operate safely can claim to be interested in any way in the rights or safety of workers,”  said Nova. He described Wal-Mart’s position in the Dhaka discussions as “1) We know these factories are unsafe. 2) We know it will cost substantial sums to make them safe. 3) We are not going to pay for this. 4) We are going to keep using the factories anyway.” Continue reading

December 4, 1969 — “Nothing but a Northern Lynching”: The Assassination of Fred Hampton

[It is 43 years since the US government murdered the young, brilliant revolutionary leader of Black Panthers in Chicago, Fred Hampton.  The magnitude of this crime must never be forgotten or forgiven.  As he had said, “You can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill the revolution.” The following article of observation and remembrance is by one of the attorneys who represented the families of survivors of the murderous December 4, 1969 raid by the FBI and Chicago police on the home of Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. We thank the valuable website, Black Agenda Report, for making it public. — Frontlines ed.]
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Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton

by G. Flint Taylor, People’s Law Office, December 4, 2012

At 4:30 in the morning of December 4, 1969, 14 heavily armed Chicago police officers, acting at the direction of Cook County State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, raided a tiny apartment on the west side of Chicago where local Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and eight Party members were sleeping. Minutes later, Hampton and Peoria, Illinois BPP leader Mark Clark lay dead, several of the other Panthers were seriously wounded, and the survivors were hauled off to jail on attempted murder charges [3].

I was a second year Northwestern law student working at the fledgling People’s Law Office when I received a call that “the Chairman had been murdered” and was directed to come to the apartment. The crime scene was shocking – – – the plasterboard walls looked like swiss cheese, ripped by scores of bullets from police weapons that included a machine gun, a semi automatic rifle, and several shotguns. A large pool of blood stained the floor at the doorway where Hampton’s body had been dragged after he was shot in the head, and there were fresh blood stains on all the beds in the apartment.

I had met Chairman Fred only months before when I escorted him to the Law School to speak to the student body in venerable Lincoln Hall. He was only 21 years old, but he captivated the audience, as he always did, with his dynamic and analytical speaking skill [4], a mixture of Malcolm X, Dr. King, and Lupe Fiasco. It was his unique leadership, together with the revolutionary politics [5] he so convincingly espoused, that made him a primary target of law enforcement. Continue reading

Zionism is shameless and proud of settler colonial conquests and racist expulsions of Palestinians

[Once again, every act of the violent settler colonial state of Israel clarifies the fact that Palestinian liberation will not come by submission, surrender, collaboration, or dinner parties. — Frontlines ed.]

Netanyahu to Europe leaders: no apology over settlements

The Israeli prime minister has remained defiant over controversial settlement plans during a visit to Europe, as Israel presses ahead with proposals to build in one of the most sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank.

In Prague small numbers of demonstrators turned out both for and against the Israeli cause.

Benjamin Netanyahu had come to thank the Czech Republic for voting against the Palestinians’ diplomatic upgrade to non-member observer status at the United Nations.

He praised his hosts for opposing what he called a “one-sided” resolution. Israel would not sacrifice its “vital interests for the sake of obtaining the world’s applause”. Continue reading

Florida: Jordan Davis murder sparks new protests of racist “Stand Your Ground” killing spree

Jordan Davis Shooting Death Reignites ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Repeal Push

12/05/2012

Two days after Jordan Davis’s parents buried the body of their 17-year-old son in the Georgia ground, a campaign to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and elsewhere appears to be gaining steam.

Davis was shot to death in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 23 after Michael Dunn, 45, said he felt threatened by the two black teenagers and one young black man sitting with Davis in an SUV. Dunn told police he argued with the group over the volume of their music, saw a shotgun emerge from one of the SUV’s windows then, fired his handgun eight or nine times before fleeing. Three of Dunn’s bullets struck and killed Davis, a lawyer for the boy’s family said Tuesday. Police said those in the SUV were unarmed. Continue reading

India: Celebrations on the 12th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army

[See this news story from Naxatra News, followed by the press release from the CPI(Maoist), on the 12th Anniversary celebrations. — Frontlines ed.]

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Odisha: CPI Maoist’S PLGA week observation begins in full swing

Koraput: The Maoists are celebrating their PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army) 12th anniversary starting from 2nd December to 8th December. The CPI-(Maoist) concentrates on recruitment of fresh cadres into the party during the PLGA week every year. The PLGA week observed by the rebels in remembrance of slain leaders of the CPI-Maoist’s armed wing.
Normal life was partially affected in the district with the beginning of the CPI Maoists PLGA Week celebration from Sunday. All the Government and private buses plying from Jeypore in Koraput district to different places of Malkangiri district, Lamtaput, Ankadeli, Machkund, Narayanpatna, Rayagada and Parvatipuram remained off the roads to avoid any untoward incident due to observation of PLGA Week by the CPI-Maoists.
All the business establishments were remained open and life was quite normal. Joint combing operations and search operations by central and state security personnel’s are intensified.
One Deoji from Central military commission of CPI Maoists urged the people by a press release to oppose ‘Operation Green Hunt’, Conduct meetings, rallies, demonstrations on a huge scale in each and every village, nook and corner to propagate the political aim of the People’s War waged by the PLGA and to defeat the Operation Green Hunt! Deoji, further said in the press release that the CPI Maoists would not observe ‘BANDH’ on this PLGA week.
Posters pasted across almost all important junctions in Malkangiri, Koraput and Gajapati districts said to the support in the state.
Source: Naxatra News

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COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST), CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISION

Press Release, November 30, 2012

Oppose the brutal offensives of the Indian Ruling Classes!

Intensify People’s War & Defeat

the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ – ‘War on People’!

Oppose and fight back the deployment of Indian Army in Bastar in the guise of establishing training camp for suppression of the revolutionary movement!

Call of the Central Military Commission – CPI (Maoist)

On the occasion of the PLGA 12th anniversary celebrations

Dear comrades, beloved people!

People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) was formed on December 2, 2000 for the victory of Indian New Democratic Revolution as part of the World Socialist Revolution and as a detachment of the International Army of the Proletariat in the path shown by the great revolutionary teachers of the Indian revolution Comrades Charu Mazumdar and Kanhai Chatterjee. By December 2, 2012 it would complete 12 years of its formation. The Central Military Commission (CMC) is giving a call on this occasion to conduct 12th PLGA anniversary weekly celebrations in all the guerilla zones and red resistance areas and to expand by intensifying guerilla warfare to defeat through People’s War – ‘Operation Green Hunt’ (OGH) (War on People) carried on by the exploiting ruling classes. Continue reading

Egypt: Unintended results of Egypt’s “Spring Revolt” targeted by new rebellion

MORSI FLEES–Angry Crowds Storm Palace In Cairo–THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE

Dec 4, 2012 by WorldConflictReport

Egypt’s President, Mohammed Morsi, has been forced to flee his Cairo residence by a wild mob demanding an end to his rule. Riot police have struggled to keep crowds from storming the leader’s palace and fired tear gas at protesters. Bel Trew has been at the heart of the action.

Police were surrounding the palace, correspondents say.

But the police quickly retreated, allowing protesters to get closer to the palace walls.

Eighteen people were injured in the brief burst of violence but none seriously, the official Mena news agency reported.

In a statement read out on television, Egyptian security forces called for calm among the protesters.

As well as the protest outside the presidential palace in the suburb of Heliopolis, thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

A sizeable crowd has also turned out in Egypt’s second city Alexandria.

Press protest:

Several newspapers refused to go to press on Tuesday in protest at what they say is the lack of press freedom in the constitution.

Mr Morsi adopted sweeping new powers in a decree on 22 November, and stripped the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions.

He has also called a nationwide referendum for 15 December on a new constitution, which opponents say has been rushed through and fails to protect the rights of minorities, particularly women.

Mr Morsi, who narrowly won Egypt’s first free presidential election in June, says he will give up his new powers once a new constitution is ratified.

His actions have brought out thousands, both his supporters and his opponents, in recent days.

Protests Over Detentions Lead to More Detentions in Saudi Arabia

[Rebelling against injustice is basic to people in every society, and it often takes the form–or begins with the form–of protest, of an appeal to authority.  There is an assumption which drives all protests:  the authority will listen, be responsive, has a certain trust with the people to solve problems that are brought to attention by protests.  But when the protest reveals the unresponsiveness and illegitimacy of those in power, different forms of rebellion inevitably take shape, and people no longer line up at the King’s “suggestion box.”  But, it often takes time for rebels to gather the understanding and forces to challenge illegitimate authority in revolutionary ways. — Frontlines ed.]

November 29th, 2012

By Justin Dorman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – On Tuesday about fifteen men, twenty-two women, and eight children were detained for participating in a protest just outside the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh. The women and children were let go that day, however, the men are still being held by the Saudi Arabian security forces.

[Saudi Arabian religious leader, the grand mufti, believes that protests are nothing more than danger that can only bring chaos. (Photo Courtesy of Ahlul Bayt News Agency)]

The participants of the peaceful protest claimed that its purpose was to criticize the states improper treatment of their detained relatives. They congregated outside of the Human Rights Commission hoping to be heard by the body because no other Saudi Arabian authority would previously listen to their complaints or attempt to resolve the dispute.

The protestors’ complaints centered around two main issues concerning their detained relatives. Some cited inadequate medical care for detainees was a source of frustration. One woman claimed that her husband had been urinating blood for six months without ever receiving medical assistance.

Many others were protesting the complete lack of basis under which their relatives were being detained. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, a human rights activist and board member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, described the protests as demonstrations by family members for prisoners who have been, “languishing in jail cells without due process” for years. Continue reading

Questions of Freedom and People’s Emancipation — Part 4, by Kobad Ghandy

Kobad Ghandy after his arrest

Kobad Ghandy after his arrest

[Kobad Ghandy, a member of the Politburo and Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), was captured by Indian Intelligence Bureau on  September 17, 2009.  Initially kept in illegal detention and tortured, he remains a political prisoner in Tihar Jail, where he continues his revolutionary studies and writings, organizes Maoist classes, and joins the struggles of other prisoners against the draconian conditions they face.  The following is the fourth of a 5 or 6 part series on freedom–its promise and the problems in its pathway.  The first article (covering Part I – The Context) and the second one (covering Part II – Search for Freedom through History) can be seen at https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/questions-of-freedom-and-peoples-emancipation-by-kobad-ghandy/  The third installment, on Socialism and Existentialism, can be seen at https://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/questions-of-freedom-and-peoples-emancipation-part-3-by-kobad-ghandy/  — Frontlines ed.]
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Mainstream, VOL L No 47, November 10, 2012

PART IV — No Freedom without Values

When a man feels superiority over others, this sort of inward elation is called pride. A proud man will not tolerate any other to be on equal terms with himself. In private and public he expects that all should assume a respectful attitude towards him and acknowledge his superiority, treat him as a higher being… So long as man feels proud he will not like for others, what he likes for himself. His self-esteem will deprive him of humility, which is the essence of righteousness. He will neither be able to discard enmity and envy, resentment and wrath, slander and scorn, nor will he be able to cultivate truth and sincerity, and calmly listen to advice. In short, there is no evil which a proud man will not inevitably do in order to preserve his elation and self-esteem. Vices are like a chain of rings linked together which entangle the heart. —Al Ghazzali

So said the famous Sufi philosopher over one thousand years back.

One may have the best of ideologies, but without the inculcation of good values the ideology will remain hollow and hypocritical. One may seek an equitable economic transfor-mation, but if one does not acquire a commen-surate value system, the changes will remain illusory. One may create beautiful theories of freedom, but if one does not have decent values, it may be anarchy or extreme individualism, but certainly not freedom. One may evolve the most democratic of organisational structures, but if the individuals within it (particularly the leadership) do not have a set of proper values, any organisation, whatever the form, is bound to get distorted and become autocratic. One cannot expect nice sweet fruit from a mango tree by nurturing it on poisonous water. With filthy water we cannot expect to clean the vessel, however much we keep scrubbing it with glossy detergents. Continue reading