Arundhati Roy Under Attack, Canadian Activists Fight Back

Vancouver and Surrey social-justice activists protest contempt charge against Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy has received a contempt citation for criticizing the arrest of a high-profile Indian human-rights activist. Vikramjit Kakati

The judicial persecution of a prominent Indian author and essayist has riled activists around Vancouver.

Many of them gathered in Surrey to protest a charge of contempt of court filed against Booker Prize-winning Delhi writer Arundhati Roy.

The demonstration included Chinmoy Banerjee, Parminder Swaich, Hardev Singh, Harbhajan Cheema, Harinder Mahil, Jai Birdi, and Avtar Gill, all of whom belong to different progressive groups in the Lower Mainland. Continue reading

‘Homeland is racist’: artists sneak subversive graffiti on to TV show

Street artists say they were asked to add authenticity to scenes of Syrian refugee camp, but took chance to air criticisms of show’s depiction of Muslim world.  Caram Kapp, one of the street artists hired by the US television show Homeland, explains why he and his colleagues daubed subversive graffiti on one of the show’s sets in Berlin. Kapp, who is based in Berlin, and the other artists were hired to add authenticity to a scene set in a refugee camp, but instead they wrote ‘Homeland is racist’ in Arabic. Kapp says they disagreed with what they see as a reductionist portrayal of Arabs and other minorities in the show

Three graffiti artists hired to add authenticity to refugee camp scenes in this week’s episode of Homeland have said they instead used their artwork to accuse the TV programme of racism.

The graffiti here says: ‘Homeland is racist.’

The graffiti here says: ‘Homeland is racist.’ Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

In the second episode of the fifth season, which aired in the US and Australia earlier this week, and will be shown in the UK on Sunday, lead character Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, can be seen striding past a wall daubed with Arabic script reading: “Homeland is racist.”

Other slogans painted on the walls of the fictional Syrian refugee camp included “Homeland is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh” and “#blacklivesmatter”, the artists – Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone – said in a statement published online.

The graffiti on the left says: ‘Freedom … now in 3D’. The one on the right says: ‘Homeland is watermelon’ (which is slang for not to be taken seriously).

The graffiti on the left says: ‘Freedom … now in 3D’. The one on the right says: ‘Homeland is watermelon’ (which is slang for not to be taken seriously). Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

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How complete, and what cracks, in US Hegemony in the World Cyber-Imperialist System?

[The following is a long and detailed report from the leading French media giant, examining the history and extent of US domination of the internet and cyber-surveillance throughout the world imperialist system — and the attempts of other countries and independent forces to break, or secure some level of autonomy, on that dominance.  It’s a long article, but worth reading.  While much of the current reporting on these issues focuses on personal secrecy issues vs. “national security” claims, additional issues are driven by  economic competition and contention, political manipulation, and military alliances, and related “intellectual property rights” and “scientific research/development” controls.  

Those involved in struggles for self-defense, self-determination, internationalist solidarity, investigative journalism, anti-capitalist research, and for socialist/proletarian revolutions must recognize which instruments are useful in pursuit of their strategic goals, and what other means must be found and utilized to be sure their enemies are not aware of their ways before their own comrades are, and before solid initiatives can take root among the masses..  —  Frontlines ed.]

US wants to control, and own, the world online

We’ve got our eye on you

Edward Snowden not only told the world about US state surveillance of national and personal secrets, he reminded us that almost all the companies surveying us for commercial gain are American.
 by Dan Schiller, Le Monde diplomatique, November 1, 2014
 

Revelations on US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programmes based on Edward Snowden’s cache of its data files caused “fundamental, irreversible changes in many countries,” wrote journalist Glen Greenwald, who brokered many of the disclosures (1). In 2013 Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil took public stands against US privacy invasions — they had personally been victims — and the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to affirm online privacy as a human right. In June 2014, responding to the EU, the US Justice Department promised to send legislation to Congress that would grant European citizens many of the (inadequate) privacy protections accorded to US citizens.

But to grasp fully the importance of the Snowden affair, we must broaden our focus beyond the transgressions of an overbearing superstate and examine the impact of his revelations on the forces shaping the global political economy, structured around the US.

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Brazil: No World Cup?

Members of the Landless Workers Movement protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Arena Corinthians, which will host the tournament’s first match in São Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

[The great journalist Eduardo Galeano once wrote, “There are visible and invisible dictators. The power structure of world football is monarchical. It’s the most secret kingdom in the world.”  It is a cultural and economic “kingdom” that, along with Olympics and other mega-capitalist-profit and xenophobic-promotion projects, hijacks national budgets, leaving millions starving in the streets….and rising in rebellion in hundreds of city streets.  Here, David Zirin, the journalist whose career has focused on the politics of sport, the misuse of sport’s popularity, and the history of athlete’s activism, tells what is building up in Brazil with the approach of the FIFA World Cup. — Frontlines ed.]

‘There Will Be No World Cup’: Brazil on the Brink

Dave Zirin, The Nation blog, on May 15, 2014
For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers’ rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or “There will be no Cup.”

Protests, strikes and direct actions have been flaring up across the country as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches. Most notably, as many as 10,000 people in São Paolo under the banner of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, has occupied a major lot next to Arena Corinthians, site of the World Cup’s opening match. They call their occupation “The People’s Cup” and point out that the nearly half a billion dollars that went into building the “FIFA quality stadium” next door could have been used to combat poverty or improve healthcare. The slogan “we want FIFA quality hospitals and schools” still rings out as it did a year ago, when during the Confederation’s Cup, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation. Now there is an even sharper desperation as the cup approaches. Maria das Dores Cirqueira, 44, a coordinator for the MTST, told the Los Angeles Times, “When the government told us we would host the World Cup, we hoped there would be improvements for us. But they aren’t putting on a Cup for the people, they’re putting on a Cup for the gringos.” Continue reading

Edward Snowden: “NSA Surveillance Is About Power, Not ‘Safety'”

By Edward Snowden

17 December, 2013
[Countercurrents.org published this note introducing Edward Snowden’s open letter to the people of Brazil. “This letter was published today in the Brazilian newspaper A Folha in Portuguese and this original text was provided via the Facebook page of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda.”]

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those. Continue reading

US / Israel: Behind the Mask of “Human Rights” — Spies for Repression

ADL Spies
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT

“[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda….Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source.”

–  Letter from Benjamin R. Epstein, National Director, Anti-Defamation League to Saul Joftes, Executive Secretary, B’nai B’rith, July 7, 1961.

Those were the days when snooping usually meant digging through garbage cans, checking other people’s mailboxes, and primitive phone tapping. How the Anti-Defamation League is doing it today one can only imagine.

Over the last three days of April, the ADL celebrated its 100th anniversary in Washington DC in high style with Vice President Joe Biden the featured speaker at its Centennial Gala dinner on April 30 and Attorney General Eric Holder doing the obligatory genuflecting the day before.

Standing next to the ADL’s ubiquitous current national director, Abe Foxman, Biden told the one thousand paying guests, “You have become the conscience of this country, no matter what the issue. You have been a pillar of the Jewish community, but you reach out and you have reached out your embrace for all communities.”

For hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals the ADL’s embrace has been too close for comfort and “unconscionable” would be a term more befitting the organization’s activities. What is definitely in order is a reminder that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the exposure of a nation-wide spying operation run by the ADL that went back at least five decades. Continue reading