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

When Art Speaks Truth about the Police State, It Is Criminalized and Destroyed

 [Whether banning or burning books, or destroying truth-telling murals, repressive systems reveal their fear of informed people.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Ferguson-inspired ‘Sagging pants is not probable cause’ mural in Trenton removed after police request

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A mural depicting Ferguson teen Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police earlier this year, was removed from a gate on the corner of North Broad and Hanover Streets on Monday Oct. 20, 2014 after concerns from police. (Jenna Pizzi / Times of Trenton)
By Jenna Pizzi | Times of Trentoon October 20, 2014


TRENTON – A mural was painted over Monday afternoon after Trenton police expressed concern that the painting, depicting Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo., teen who was fatally shot by police in August, sent the wrong message about community and police relations.
The painting depicted Brown’s face with the caption “Sagging pants … is not probable cause.” Will “Kasso” Condry, the artist behind the mural, said he wanted to start a conversation about racial profiling.
The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community.

Continue reading

US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad

General, Your Tank is a Powerful Vehicle
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think
-- Bertolt Brecht

Troops deployed to Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and South Asia have ‘theater-wide block’ to Guardian

in New York

guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 July 2013
Edward Snowden supporters demonstrate outside the US consulate in Hong Kong[Edward Snowden supporters demonstrate outside the US consulate in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters]

The US military has blocked access to the Guardian’s website for troops in the Middle East and south Asia, after disclosures about widespread US surveillance.

On Friday, the Pentagon and the US army told the Guardian that automated content filters installed on Department of Defense (DoD) networks to prevent the unauthorized dissemination of classified information had blocked access to selected aspects of the Guardian’s website.

But in for troops in Afghanistan, the Middle East and south Asia, the restriction applies to the entire website. Continue reading

“The Last War Crime” Debuts At Cannes – But Censored In US.

By Jeanine Molloff, Information Clearing House, July 12, 2012

During this summer of Occupy and subsequent police brutality, the subject of torture is hotly denounced by protesters and conveniently ignored by candidates. Like that ostrich diving head first into the sand of political expediency–Americans want to focus on the alleged debt crisis or gay marriage–anything that absolves us from the messy subject of tortures committed in our names by the Bush/Cheney administration and which continue under Obama to the present day. The entire Bradley Manning debacle speaks volumes to this accusation.

In spite of strong evidence identifying Dick Cheney as the mastermind behind this torture regime–the subject remains taboo, both in the ‘news’ business and in Hollywood–that is until Hollywood executives watched trailers for the anti-war documentary– The Last War Crime.

Written, produced and directed by a new talent known only as ‘The Pen,’ this film documents the torture protocol ordained by the Bush-Cheney administration. Since it first circulated a trailer on the web; it has been heavily censored and cyber attacked. You Tube has removed it at intermittent intervals and MTV (which is owned by Viacom) has refused to sell air time for a commercial.

Apparently, there are some things that Viacom won’t accept money for—namely any film or story which exposes the regular torture ordered by Vice-President Cheney. Curious about this documentary and the blatant censorship–(I couldn’t download it)–I contacted the artist aka The Pen. Here is the interview.

JM : What are you hoping this film will accomplish in terms of genuine political change?

The Pen:” The Last War Crime Movie is about indicting Cheney for torture. And isn’t that something billions of people want to see? They say sometimes life can imitate art. But first we felt it was important that we retrace our country’s steps as to how torture was used to get the false intelligence to sell us on a war with Iraq. The real story of how this happened has been buried under an avalanche of pseudo history. They want people to forget the Downing Street minutes and the foreknowledge that the British had that Cheney and Bush were determined to invade Iraq, even if they had to “fix the facts around the policy” to do so. They want to obliterate the memory of the flimsy legal arguments in the torture memos. So we dig out all the true facts, and put them on the big screen, together with an entertaining narrative story about what it would have been like if justice had already prevailed. Continue reading

Resistance in Tucson, Arizona: “No History Is Illegal! A Campaign to Save Our Stories”

by Teacher Activist Groups, Tucson

They say shut it down. We say spread it around!

As a network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG), we believe that education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights and is a tool for human liberation. In alignment with these beliefs, TAG is proud to coordinate No History is Illegal, a month of solidarity work in support of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program. In January, 2011, state attorney general Tom Horne declared the Tucson Unified School District MAS program illegal. Over the past year, teachers, students and administrators have come together to challenge Horne’s ruling, but on January 10, 2012, the TUSD school board voted 4-1 to cease all MAS classes immediately for fear of losing state aid.

In the month of February we invite you to strike back against this attack on our history by teaching lessons from and about the banned MAS program. On this website you will find a guide that includes sample lesson plans from the MAS curriculum as well as creative ideas and resources for exploring this issue with students. Whatever happens in Arizona, we can keep the ideas and values of MAS alive by teaching about them in our classrooms, our community centers, our houses of worship, our homes.

February 1 is the first day on which TUSD must comply with this law. It is also the first day of African American History Month. And as Dr. King warned us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” What is happening in Arizona is not only a threat to Mexican American Studies, it is a threat to our right to teach the experiences of all people of color, LGBT people, poor and working people, the undocumented, people with disabilities and all those who are least powerful in this country.

Our history is not illegal. Please join us by pledging to teach MAS.

Go to http://www.teacheractivistgroups.org/tucson/    to:

  • Pledge your support
  • Tell your story
  • Download the curriculum (PDF)

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

Oakland: Tempers Flare Over Cancellation of Palestinian Youth Art Exhibit

by Noelle de la Paz , ColorLines.com

Friday, September 30 2011

Residents in Oakland staged a protest recently to oppose the decision of officials at the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) to cancel a scheduled exhibit of Palestinian children’s artwork. For some local residents, the cancellation is a seemingly petty effort to stifle self expression and political dissent led by small children.

Nearly one hundred Bay Area residents held a demonstration last Friday to speak out against what they called the censorship of the children’s artwork. The protest was co-sponsored by over twenty organizations, including the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). A spirited crowd of local youth and exhibit organizers gathered outside in front of the museum with live music by the Brass Liberation Orchestra, then made their way down the street to an alternate venue secured just the day before. Continue reading