Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

cast away illusions, prepare for struggle!

The Once-friendly Skies Now Rain a “Secret” War

VIEWED FROM HIGH ABOVE, Chabelley Airfield is little more than a gray smudge in a tan wasteland. Drop lower and its incongruous features start coming into focus. In the sun-bleached badlands of the tiny impoverished nation of Djibouti — where unemployment hovers at a staggering 60 percent and the per capita gross domestic product is about $3,100 — sits a hive of high-priced, high-tech American hardware.

Satellite imagery tells part of the story. A few years ago, this isolated spot resembled little more than an orphaned strip of tarmac sitting in the middle of this desolate desert. Look closely today, however, and you’ll notice what seems to be a collection of tan clamshell hangars, satellite dishes, and distinctive, thin, gunmetal gray forms — robot planes with wide wingspans.

Unbeknownst to most Americans and without any apparent public announcement, the U.S. has recently taken steps to transform this tiny, out-of-the-way outpost into an “enduring” base, a key hub for its secret war, run by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), in Africa and the Middle East. The military is tight-lipped about Chabelley, failing to mention its existence in its public list of overseas bases and refusing even to acknowledge questions about it — let alone offer answers. Official documents, satellite imagery, and expert opinion indicate, however, that Chabelley is now essential to secret drone operations throughout the region.

Tim Brown, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org and expert on analyzing satellite imagery, notes that Chabelley Airfield allows U.S. drones to cover Yemen, southwest Saudi Arabia, a large swath of Somalia, and parts of Ethiopia and southern Egypt. Continue reading

Mass hysteria outbreaks hit Bangladesh’s garment workers

[Entire societies have been brutalized, poisoned and traumatized by inhuman colonial and neo-colonial/comprador-ish exploitation.  The most recent mass trauma has hit Bangladesh, where the largest part of the world’s clothing is produced by workers in desperate conditions.  —  Frontlines ed.]
Doctors say ‘mass psychogenic illness’ – not contaminated water – is to blame for recent outbreaks of sickness. Garment workers are fearful of workplace safety after a year of deadly accidents. 

By Correspondent / June 17, 2013

 Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh's capital, due to possible water contamination.  --   A.M. Ahad/AP


Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh’s capital, due to possible water contamination. —
A.M. Ahad/AP

Hundreds of garment workers fell ill on Sunday after drinking water of questionable quality at their workplace in Gazipur at the outskirts of Bangladesh‘s capital, Dhaka.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after about 800 workers fell ill and were hospitalized after drinking water at Starlight Sweaters Ltd., which produced clothes for European buyers Carrefour and Otto.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Bangladesh, which tested samples of the water after the incident at Starlight Sweaters on June 5, said they did not find anything unusual from the regular contaminants in water. The Institute’s director, Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, found the case to be a result of “mass psychogenic illness.”

The director believed the illness was a result of a panic attack that may have been triggered by factory authorities announcing that something was wrong with the water and closing work for the day. Continue reading

Why are Indians resisting economic reforms?

As the government tries again to push for foreign direct investment, we ask what is spurring massive social resistance.
Inside Story, al Jazeera, 21 September 2012

India’s coalition government is once again facing political turmoil over new economic reforms approved last week.The plan includes opening up the country’s aviation and lucrative retail sectors to international investors.
                                             
The reform plan has sparked nationwide strikes supported by opposition parties and trade unions who say the move is a “betrayal of democracy”.Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, has justified the decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retailers.

He said: “I believe that these steps will help strengthen our growth process and generate employment in these difficult times… I urge all segments of public opinion to support the steps we have taken in the national interest.”

India has taken a number of steps to curb its rising budget deficit, starting with efforts to reform the retail sector.

The government wants to allow foreign investment in retail trade, allowing chain-stores like Tesco and Walmart to open megastores. Continue reading