“Independent India” Uses British Empire’s “Sedition” Laws to Suppress Dissent

The theatrical trailer of COURT, a winner of 17 International awards  An Indian reviewer said the film is a “remarkably assured, engrossing study of the power of the law and order machinery to crush protest through delays, deferred hearings and demands for further evidence.”  Forbes magazine in India said Chaitanya Tamhane, the director, is “Indian cinema’s new voice of subversion.”

Synopsis: A sewerage worker’s dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court.

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A Law Less Majestic

Sanctioned by an archaic law and other draconian legislation, “sedition against the state” is a handy tool to fell voices of dissent
Ushinor Majumdar, Outlook India Magazine, week of May 18, 2015
SEDITION  —  Section 124A, Indian Penal Code, 1860: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India.”
Punishment: Fine, or imprisonment of three years to life. Shall be punished with 104 (im­prisonment for life), to which fine may be added, or with impris­onment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Exception: Criticism, to be determined by the judiciary
UAPA  —  Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967: Following a constitutional amendment, UAPA was enacted to “impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, on the (i) freedom of speech and expression (ii) right to assemble peaceably and without arms and (iii) right to form associations or unions” 

Punishment: Penalties ranging from five years to life imprisonment along with fines. If the offence leads to loss of life, a death sentence can be awarded.
Unlawful associations: Secessionist and terrorist associations; to be determined and notified by ministry of home affairs

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Behind every man who has been labelled ‘seditious’ by the State is a law that goes back 155 years. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code dates to 1860, three years after the British were rattled by what came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny. There is also the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, a handy tool to silence ‘dangerous’ people with ‘dangerous’ ideas. Why, a week before it was held unconstitutional, Samajwadi Party leader and UP cabinet minister Azam Khan used Section 66A of the Information Technology Act to penalise a Class 11 student in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.
The police are arbitrary and indiscriminate in the use of the sedition law, arresting people even for activities like singing, acting in street plays, reciting poems, painting graffiti on walls, not standing up during the national anthem or for cheering the Pakistani cricket team. These have, of course, usually accompa­nied the more serious charges of sympathising, funding or acting with Maoists or suspected terror organisations.

US Border Patrol troops’ free-fire zone over borders

[Once, when a country attacked another by force of arms, it was called WAR, and human rights violations were identified as WAR CRIMES.  Now, as the US shoots Mexicans in Mexico, it is called an approved, acceptable, police action.  It is another obscenity of arrogance and impunity.  Frontlines ed.]

mexico

US border patrol agent looks towards Mexico from the bank of the Rio Grande River. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

US border agents shouldn’t have the courts’ permission to shoot people in Mexico

If you shoot an unarmed teenage boy in the head, 3 days of administrative leave isn’t nearly enough punishment

A United States court has all but declared open season on Mexican nationals along the US-Mexico border. Border patrol agents may shoot foreign nationals in Mexico with impunity – provided that those at whom they aim are standing within feet of US territory.

According to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last week, agents who shoot and kill people in Mexico while standing on US soil will never be held to account, except before their administrative agencies. No court will ever review these actions and the families of the victims will be left with no avenue for justice. An agent’s actions will not be governed or restrained by the constitution nor subject to review by US courts.

This isn’t a hypothetic situtation: all of this has already happened.

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False Claims Exposed: World Bank Is No Solution

Investigation Tears Veil Off World Bank’s “Promise” to Eradicate Poverty

by Kanya DAlmeida (united nations), Inter Press Service, Thursday, April 16, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 16 (IPS) – An expose published Thursday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its media partners has revealed that in the course of a single decade, 3.4 million people were evicted from their homes, torn away from their lands or otherwise displaced by projects funded by the World Bank.

Nearly 50 percent of the estimated 3.4 million people who were physically or economically displaced by World Bank-funded projects in the last decade were from Africa and Asia. Credit: Abdurrahman Warsameh/IPS

Over 50 journalists from 21 countries worked for nearly 12 months to systematically analyse the bank’s promise to protect vulnerable communities from the negative impacts of its own projects.

Reporters around the world – from Ghana to Guatemala, Kenya to Kosovo and South Sudan to Serbia – read through thousands of pages of World Bank records, interviewed scores of people including former Bank employees and carefully documented over 10 years of lapses in the financial institution’s practices, which have rendered poor farmers, urban slum-dwellers, indigenous communities and destitute fisherfolk landless, homeless or jobless. Continue reading

India: Political Prisoner Saibaba on Hunger Strike for Basic Rights

Press Release

Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners

Condemn The Continuing Incarceration And Violation Of The Rights And Dignity Of Political Prisoner Dr. G N Saibaba!
  • The Case Of Dr. G N Saibaba Exposes The Vindictive Nature Of A Legally Challenged System!
  • Release Dr. G N Saibaba Unconditionally!

 

Image result for Dr. GN Saibaba

Eleven months have passed after Dr. GN Saibaba was abducted from the Delhi University North Campus premises on 09 May 2014 by the Maharashtra police. Dr. Saibaba was produced in the remote far flung Aheri police station in the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border to be charged under several sections of the worst draconian legislation the UAPA. Dr. GN Saibaba, joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and a tireless campaigner against the policies of loot and plunder of the successive governments in India, euphemistically called as Operation Green Hunt (OGH) had become the target of ire of the state with mounting criticism from the opinionated sections of the progressive, liberal middle-class as well as the rising protests of the vast sections of the people against the so-called development policies of the government which would and is resulting in the loss of livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of dalits and adivasis—the poorest of the poor in the subcontinent.

In the last eleven months of his incarceration, Dr. Saibaba has repeatedly brought before the court as well as the jail authorities the pressing need for his grant of bail, not on any humanitarian grounds, but on the merit of law as sanctioned by the provisions that are there for the differently-abled. He has pointed out to the judge in many of the video conferences—as he was produced in the court only once and the rest of the dates of hearing / production have been met through the video conference facility, which is also a grievous infringement of his fundamental right—that the facilities in the Nagpur Central Jail are little or none to meet even the survival requirements of a 90 percent disabled and wheel chair bound person like him. But as we can see, the court preferred to stand by the prosecution, in an atmosphere vitiated by the media which profiled the wheel chair bound activist academic as a dreaded and dangerous demagogue having links with a proscribed organization, the CPI (Maoist). In the due course of his fight for justice through his lawyers, Dr. Saibaba’s plea for bail was twice rejected by the Sessions Court of Gadchiroli and once by the Nagpur bench of the Maharashtra High Court. But the facts can’t be belied. Saibaba’s concern about his fragile health grew larger as he was diagnosed with a bend spinal cord resulting in rib crowding and the lungs getting affected. Being a heart patient the troubles with his heart further compounded and the latest medical report requires him to undergo an angiography the post-recovery of which can be fatal in the prison stay. Further tests showed stones in the gall bladder. Continue reading

Germany’s broad “terrorist” claims and repression of Turkish migrants

[Amid ever-increasing repression and attacks on migrant workers and organizations internationally, in Europe the highly-coordinated multinational police forces is the instrument of these attacks, along with the media, of course.  These forces combine the European xenophobia with support for the most oppressive regimes, such as the Turkish regime of Erdogan, which has long urged European powers to suppress the large movements of Turkish and Kurdish migrants in Western European countries.  The European powers are very compliant with these urgings, as it also suppresses the migrants as an important and militant and internationalizing influence in the working class as a whole. — Frontlines ed]

Germany arrests 7 suspected TKP/ML members

Germany arrests 7 suspected TKP/ML members

Special police forces arrest suspected left-wing Turkish extremists for membership of a foreign terrorist organization.

World Bulletin / News Desk

German police have arrested seven leading members of the outlawed group Turkish Communist Party – Marxist-Leninist, the federal prosecutors’ office has said.

The German federal prosecutors’ office said on Thursday that Muslum E., the suspected leader of the TKP/ML group in Germany, and six other leading members of the outlawed organization were arrested the day before in operations carried out by special police forces.

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US Empire: Crusty, Hulking, Feet of Clay, Short of Breath and Challenged

[The clock is ticking uncomfortably fast, apparently–Frontlines} Janet L. Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, checking the time after a financial ministers and governors photo on Friday. Credit Gary Cameron/Reuters

WASHINGTON — As world leaders converge here for their semiannual trek to the capital of what is still the world’s most powerful economy, concern is rising in many quarters that the United States is retreating from global economic leadership just when it is needed most.

The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have filled Washington with motorcades and traffic jams and loaded the schedules of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. But they have also highlighted what some in Washington and around the world see as a United States government so bitterly divided that it is on the verge of ceding the global economic stage it built at the end of World War II and has largely directed ever since.

“It’s almost handing over legitimacy to the rising powers,” Arvind Subramanian, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, said of the United States in an interview on Friday. “People can’t be too public about these things, but I would argue this is the single most important issue of these spring meetings.”

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Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think

[Illusions like the “American Dream” (and the “Myth of Post-Racial America”) are useful tools for capitalist rule:  “the United States is now the most unequal of all Western nations”….”At the core of the American Dream is the belief that anyone who works hard can move up economically regardless of his or her social circumstances”…..”Our unique brand of optimism prevents us from making any real changes.”  For a long time, and especially now (as the pace of re-proletarianization of the “middle class” and as the disposability and suppression of black and brown workers continues to accelerate), this optimistic illusion has been useful to the capitalist system — useful, in keeping the masses down, “making do”, or blaming themselves for their plight, while dreaming of social mobility, or buying a lottery ticket.  —  Frontlines ed.] 
The great divide between our beliefs, our ideals, and reality
In their 2011 paper, Michael Norton and Dan Ariely analyzed beliefs about wealth inequality. They asked more than 5,000 Americans to guess the percentage of wealth (i.e., savings, property, stocks, etc., minus debts) owned by each fifth of the population. Next, they asked people to construct their ideal distributions. Imagine a pizza of all the wealth in the United States. What percentage of that pizza belongs to the top 20% of Americans? How big of a slice does the bottom 40% have? In an ideal world, how much should they have?
The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

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