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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Systemic Racism : Failing New Orleans

Honduras : Impunity and the Legacy of Miguel Facussé

Ferguson : State of Emergency

Torture and Show Trials in Neo-Colonial Libya

Protests in Libya & International Condemnation of Al Qaeda Sentencing of Jamahiriya Officials

US : The State Murder of an Activist

Unmasking Police Violence Against African-Canadians

The Assassination of Sandra Bland and the Struggle against State Repression

Impunity

‘Operation Ghetto Storm’: The Enduring War on Black People in the US

Millennium Development Goals vs Imperialist Wars, World Capitalism

No ‘Je Suis Charleston’? : The De-Politicization of Black Oppression

Restorative Justice Is Needed For Albert Woodfox, The Black Panther Party & The Nation

Septima Clark and the Role of Civil Rights Education in South Carolina and Beyond

Gender, Resistance and Radical Democracy : Meet the Women of the HDP

Closing the Historical Circle : White Terrorism at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Charleston Massacre and the Revolutionary Legacy of Denmark Vesey

United States Foreign Policy a Reflection of the Legacy of Racism and National Oppression

Imperialism and the Making of the Migration Crisis

Zero Tolerance for Racism

EU’s Military Strategy to Deepen Mediterranean Tragedies

Empire of Bases : The Truth About Diego Garcia

Assata Shakur Mural Removed Following Unrelenting Right-Wing Campaign

By Workers Worldtumblr_mke1nvaB9n1rtvsvno1_1280

A mural depicting Assata Shakur was removed in May by Marquette University officials after an unrelenting right-wing campaign.

Shakur, a people’s hero and icon of the Black Lives Matter movement, is a former Black Panther falsely accused and convicted of killing a cop in New Jersey in 1973. She escaped prison and has been in exile in Cuba for more than 30 years. The U.S. government has a $2 million bounty out on her.

The mural had been on display in the Alumni Memorial Union near the Marquette Gender and Sexuality Resource Center since March. Shortly after the center posted photos of the mural on its Facebook page, a longtime conservative professor, John McAdams, joined a campaign to have the mural removed. McAdams critiqued the center on his blog for “glorifying a black militant cop killer.”

Under mass student, faculty and community protest, McAdams, an associate professor of political science, was suspended in 2014 for criticizing a graduate student teaching assistant on his blog for how she handled a discussion of gay marriage in her class. He faces possible termination.

Charlie Sykes of the WTMJ radio ­station in Milwaukee, one of the most rabid right-wing media personalities in the United States, helped the campaign to have the mural painted over. Sykes has a daily radio show and a TV program, and edits “Wisconsin Interest,” a magazine from the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. This think tank for decades has participated in the destruction of social safety nets such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the public school system, and unions and called for the privatization of public ­services.

Despite a mission statement proclaiming that the university encourages a diverse community with “vigorous yet respectful debate,” university spokesperson Brian Dorrington spoke for the Wall Street interests that really run Marquette University, the administrators and their servants, and the cops, on May 20, when he said: “The facts in this instance are clear: A mural of a convicted murderer has no place here.”

Dorrington, of course, said nothing about the innumerable photos, statues and memorabilia littering the Marquette campus and Milwaukee generally that glorify real criminals and murderers such as slave owners, those who’ve committed genocide on Native peoples and plundered whole continents, and the bankers and industrialists responsible for the vicious exploitation, oppression, and murder of workers and oppressed peoples.

Shortly after the mural was removed, the director of the center, Dr. Susannah Bartlow, either resigned under pressure or was fired. There is now a campaign to have her restored to her position. Supporters can email Dr. Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University, at michael.lovell@marquette.edu or call 414-288-7714. A petition can be found at ipetitions.com.

We will not be silenced!

The Coalition of and for Students of Color at Marquette University issued a statement May 18 after the mural was removed:

“Marquette University does not waste a moment. They painted over a mural with inspirational quotes from activist Assata Shakur without asking anyone (the students) if it was ok the same day of graduation. This is an attempt to erase our voice and silence the people, but we refuse to be silenced MU! Remember you are only functioning because we pay tuition and the Coalition doesn’t believe the mural should have been painted over. This is disrespectful and unacceptable!”

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center was built after the university administration rescinded a job offer to Jodi O’Brien, a lesbian professor and noted author of gender and sexuality books. The center offers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and allies space where they can seek counseling and resources. It is also designed to address issues of sexual violence on campus. The center, under Dr. Bartlow’s leadership since 2012, has also become an oasis for students of color on the majority white and affluent campus.

At a time when every progressive law, every policy, every organization and every resource is under attack by the right wing in Wisconsin, the destruction of the mural must be seen as part of the overall effort by Wall Street and their servants to attempt to smash what’s left of the labor-community movement and to make the state a Jim Crow, low-wage, nonunion, deregulated playground.

Besides the usual seething racism by right-wing forces against people’s warriors such as Shakur and against all people of color, the mural attack is also an attack on Cuba and the burgeoning youth- and student-led Black Lives Matter movement in Wisconsin. These inspiring forces have been connecting race, class, gender, sexuality and other issues such as the environment and supporting unions. The right wing is also attempting to divide white workers from their direly needed allies.

As the students, faculty and their supporters fight back, the two quotes from Shakur on the original mural are giving them inspiration to continue the struggle:

“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”

“Before going back to college, I knew I didn’t want to be an intellectual, spending my life in books and libraries without knowing what the hell is going on in the streets. Theory without practice is just as incomplete as practice without theory. The two have to go together.”

https://i0.wp.com/www.workers.org/articles/wp-content/uploads/assata-shakur-mural.jpg

For more information: tinyurl.com/qdkcc74, tinyurl.com/GSRCMarquetteFB and #ASSATAMU #HANDSOFASSATA

From Africa, Middle East, Latin America to Ukraine – Snowden & Human Rights : Theatre vs Reality

By Tortilla Con Sal

Recent legislative theatricals in the US Congress once again brought the issue of mass surveillance into the corporate media headlines and with it the continuing hype around Edward Snowden. Ever since Snowden made his revelations, his supporters have claimed his actions constitute a heroic defence of fundamental civil rights in the United States and countries of the European Union.

The latest corporate media reports argue that Snowden has been largely responsible for a major change in Western country legislation defending fundamental civil rights. But the reality behind this extraordinary campaign of exaggeration and illusion looks very different in the light of actual events and a critical look at their media diffusion.

Whatever Edward Snowden’s own intentions may have been, his revelations have been exploited by the psychological warfare apparatus of the United States government and its allies. The media and political management of his revelations have helped the US government consolidate and legitimize existing covert mass surveillance practices in the United States and overseas.

USA Today reported on June 2nd, “The Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to end the controversial bulk collection of the phone data of millions of Americans who have no ties to terrorism.” The USA Today report included a tweet from President Obama “Glad the Senate finally passed the USA Freedom Act. It protects civil liberties and our national security. I’ll sign it as soon as I get it.”

However, Barack Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any President before him. So it seems rational to infer that he will sign off on what is nothing more than a procedural administrative tweak. Let’s face it: substantially, it changes nothing. Even the New York Times reported the day before the vote “Even if Congress ultimately restricts domestic surveillance, it will leave intact the vast majority of the post-Sept. 11 programs authorized by two presidents.

Numerous writers have correctly noted that the new law merely places the formality of a routine administrative procedure – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) tribunal – between the US government’s spies and the mass data they previously collected unhindered. The corporate media and non-governmental Edward Snowden industry spin this as a vindication of Snowden’s revelations.

But Edward Snowden’s support network is almost completely compromised, one way or another, by most of its members’ relations with the the political and corporate establishment of the US and its NATO allies. For example, film-maker Laura Poitras in 2012 received a US$500,000 fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, whose then President Robert Gallucci was previously a very high level strategic adviser to the US government.

Glenn Greenwald has been the main proselytizer managing what in many ways is a Snowden cult. Greenwald moved swiftly from his work managing Edward Snowden’s material for the Guardian to working for billionaire Pierre Omidyaar, whose own business empire has corporate links to the US government intelligence network, in particular Booz Allen Hamilton, for whom Snowden used to work.

Edward Snowden himself is an espionage professional, so what he says or does should certainly not be taken at face value. That said, it does seem clear that far from having radical progressive politics he is very much a US patriot with staunch libertarian views, not at all opposed to US foreign policy as such.

While the North American and European progressives who promote Edward Snowden congratulate themselves on their commitment to human rights, almost everywhere else in the world their human rights agenda has been made to look hollow, self-serving and hypocritical. The psy-warfare exploitation of Edward Snowden’s revelations categorically confirms the truism that human rights concerns derive from political, not humanitarian concerns, as events in Palestine, Libya, Syria, Ukraine demonstrate

In Libya, among many other even more extreme examples, hundreds of former officials of the Libyan Jamahiriya have been tortured and abused prior to the sinister farce of judicial process under the control of ISIL terrorists who make a mockery of Islam. Those Libyans, including Saif Gaddhafi, face the death sentence. But Western human rights advocates have nothing to say about these phony trials or their governments’ destruction of Libya because they were cheerleaders for it.

In Palestine, the UN General Secretary has just decided not to include the Israeli government on the list of governments harming children through armed conflict, despite overwhelming evidence including the repeated genocidal massacres in Gaza. Western human rights advocates tend to play down this kind of shameful, indefensible decision and other examples like it, because they fear zionist accusations of “anti-semitism”.

In Ukraine, the fascist regime there has overseen the murder of dozens of journalists, like Oles Buzyna, and anti-regime activists like Oleg Kalashnikov under cover of almost complete silence from the US government and its European Union allies. Western human rights organizations too have next-to-nothing to say beyond ritual denunciations because they are reluctant to seem “pro-Russian”.

In Syria, as in Libya, Western human rights organizations and liberal and progressive NATO country media outlets have vociferously promoted one falsehood after another, that government military arbitrarily murdered large numbers of “peaceful demonstrators”, that “Assad” used chemical weapons in Ghouta or that “Assad” deliberately targets civilians.

It is hard to believe mere coincidence leads the same corporate media and human rights networks to promote Edward Snowden’s revelations ostensibly against government policy, alongside the propaganda line of those same governments targeting Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China and so on. That only adds up if one goes to sleep each night listening to the fairy tale of “objective reporting” as read by the BBC or CBS, or Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – an organization funded (and founded) by George Soros, the same man who destabilized the Ukraine and is a close associate to President Petró Poroshenko.

Edward Snowden’s revelations can be looked at in any number of ways, some more plausible than others. A credible view on the available evidence to date is that the material he has made available has been managed to legitimize long standing covert practice by Western intelligence gathering agencies while also providing a handy human rights and democracy alibi to Western media.

Western government support for their corporate oligarchies following the crash of 2008 compounded Western media embarrassment at their governments’ well-documented human rights abuses, from Iraq and Afghanistan, to Guantanamo and the US corporate industrial penal system. The Snowden revelations have been exploited by Western corporate media so as to offer a theatrical human rights and democracy distraction from past and current crimes by the US government and its NATO allies.

Those governments are guilty of murdering many hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Libya, as well as more current support for genocidal Nazi militias in Ukraine and for takfiri terrorists across the Arab world and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, they are also determined enemies of the emancipatory processes of change in Latin America and the Caribbean, targeting especially the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Now the same corporate media and human rights networks that attack Venezuela and its allies are falsely reporting, with all the unison of an accomplished choir, an important civil rights victory thanks to Edward Snowden. That should give decisive pause for thought, because by now few will disagree that the underlying reality of the management of Edward Snowden’s revelations is very different from their superficial appearance.
https://i2.wp.com/stopimperialism.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Syria-Civil-War.jpg


Related:
Psy-warfare and NATO Country Terrorism – Ukraine, Venezuela, Snowden
Snowden: Overlooking the Obvious
Snowden Revisited
Inculcating Stupidity: Syria and Edward Snowden
Reflections on the category “journalism” and the revelations by Edward Snowden
Snowden: Behind NATO’s propaganda outlet for progressives – the Guardian’s board members
Mr. Snowden, It’s Time to Come Out and Take a Stand Publicly as to Your Intentions
The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

Albert Woodfox, Ex-Black Panther, Released after 43 Years in Solitary Confinement

Nuclear Horror Still Haunts Trinity, New Mexico, 70 Years On

https://vamadevananda.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/4f423-l_76fda3c0-66ec-11e1-8276-b539a7e00001.jpg?w=736By Finian Cunningham

America’s New Mexico state saw the birth of nuclear weapons 70 years ago at the Trinity test site, where the world’s first ever atomic explosion occurred. That was on July 16, 1945. Less than one month later, the bomb was dropped on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki wiping out some 200,000 lives in an instant.

Now the American state is grappling with the sinister problem of trying to bury seven decades of nuclear waste from America’s military-industrial complex. In many ways, the horror of nuclear weaponry still haunts the very place where it was first unleashed.

US federal and state politicians are planning to make New Mexico the permanent burial site for highly radioactive waste materials that up to now have been kept in temporary storage at other locations across the country, such as at Hanford in northwest Washington state where the nation’s main facility for producing plutonium and uranium for nuclear weapons is located.

There is, to be sure, strong opposition among various community groups and activists, who deplore the plans to scale up New Mexico’s nuclear-waste dumping. They point to an already heavy burden of environmental and public health toxicity in NM that includes not only fallout from the original Trinity test site, but also from Los Alamos Laboratories where the atomic bomb was conceived under the Manhattan Project during the 1940s, as well as from scores of uranium-ore mines, and an existing low-level nuclear waste site.

But the anti-dumping campaigners are up against the formidable US military-industrial complex and what they call a «genocidal ideology» in the east coast Washington political establishment. If plans go ahead, as seems likely, New Mexico will become the sole depository for the most dangerous of all radioactive waste in the US.

Randy Martin is one of the community campaigners trying to prevent the scaling up of nuclear-waste dumping in NM. He has been an activist on the issue for over 30 years. Some of his family relatives who had farms near the Gnome site – another disastrous nuclear-explosion test area hatched on the backs of natives and locals – succumbed to cancers and other diseases, which he believes were caused by the subsequent radioactive fallout. He reckons that thousands of people in New Mexico have been affected by inter-generational nuclear contamination.

«The trouble is that New Mexico has been enslaved to the military-industrial complex», says Martin. «Our relationship to the industry is from the cradle to the grave. This is where nuclear weapons technology was created and tested, and now we are being left with the task of burying its toxic waste».

One of the biggest advocates for the expanded waste facility in New Mexico is Republican state governor Susana Martinez. Martinez is touted to have ambitions of becoming a future vice-president in the White House. The plan is to take in high-level spent radioactive materials from all over the country, including fuel rods and bomb cores, in an expansion of an already existing low-level waste site located at Carlsbad – about 200 km from the Trinity site.

Advocates for the expansion of nuclear-waste dumping in New Mexico appear to have a strong suite of arguments in their favour. The state is one of the poorest in the whole of the US; therefore the development beckons jobs and a boost to local government coffers. There is also a onerous psychological pressure on communities to be «patriotic» in helping to serve the nation’s military. Moreover, since the Second World War, New Mexico has become so entwined with the US military that it seems extremely difficult to live without it.

The state hosts the biggest weapons testing and training sites in the whole country at the White Sands Missile Range covering 8,300 sq. km of desert at the foot of the San Andreas Mountains. The vast area encompasses the Trinity test site. There are also numerous other military bases dotted all over the state. Consequently, much of the civilian sector, even if it is not formally connected to the military, has a preponderant economic dependence on it. The argument that whatever is good for the military is good for New Mexico is a hard one to rebut. That makes it difficult for communities to oppose the plan to accept military nuclear waste even if there is an apprehension about contamination risk. Many livelihoods are at stake by not accommodating the Pentagon.

Indeed campaigners say there is a sinister, but subtle, social atmosphere that pervades the state, whereby open criticism of the environmental and public health impacts from the Pentagon’s activities is frowned upon. That creates a climate of conformity and self-censorship. Jobs and contracts can be lost on a sly say-so.

Furthermore, there is a dearth of official data on the fallout from nuclear activity in New Mexico. Incredible as it might seem, it was only last year that the federal government finally launched a comprehensive epidemiological study into the possible health impact of the Trinity atomic test – some 70 years after it took place. So up to now, no-one was too sure how deleterious that explosion was to local populations, although there is ample anecdotal evidence of high rates of cancer and other environmental impacts.

That lack of impact-data makes it difficult to mount an effective campaign against the latest plans to scale up nuclear dumping.

However, there are warning signs. Last year, there was a serious radioactive leak at the existing waste site at Carlsbad, which resulted in contamination of some dozen workers at the plant. Yet the same facility is now being lined up to take in much greater quantities of higher-level spent radioactive material. The new waste is to be stored in vast underground caverns mined from the salt-rock terrain.

Advocates for the site claim that the geology provides a safe natural deposit. But given that the waste material represents a toxic lifespan of thousands of years it is a worrying assumption that leaks will not occur from future geological events. The New Mexico waste site lies perilously above the Delaware Basin that serves as the only fresh-water source for communities in the region and is a tributary to the Rio Grande River, which outflows to the Gulf of Mexico, potentially affecting millions of lives all along the US-Mexican border.

Campaigners against nuclear-waste dumping point out that the Soviet authorities acted with much greater alacrity to the fallout of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster compared with their American counterparts over New Mexico’s decades-old concerns. Following Chernobyl, medical surveys were carried out to assess human health impacts, and the then Soviet government enacted compensation payments to victims and families. In contrast, the US federal government has tended to suppress investigations into the legacy of nuclear activity in New Mexico, and has been reluctant to provide financial compensation for those allegedly affected by it. The pervasive dominant role of the US military in the state tends to further suppress any public criticism and calls for accountability.

The historical background of colonial conquest is another telling factor. New Mexico was long considered by the Washington establishment as backward «Indian territories». The modern state of New Mexico was only formed in 1912. Prior to that it was known simply as «The Territories» – a vast borderless hinterland populated by native American tribes. The Apache Wars were being waged by the newly formed United States up to the late 1800s – only 70 years before the Trinity test explosion occurred in 1945. During those wars, the Apache tribes were among the last native Americans to be conquered in brutal campaigns of extermination.

It is no coincidence then that the «worthless deserts and conquered people» of New Mexico would be later selected by the Washington establishment as the test site for the first atomic weapon. It must be recalled that even the scientists of the Manhattan Project were not sure whether the nuclear explosion would result in a catastrophic atmospheric reaction within New Mexico and surrounding US states.

Randy Martin, the campaigner, says that horrific atomic experiment at the Trinity site in 1945 was born out of the «genocidal mentality» that the Washington government retained from the earlier conquest of native American tribes.

«That genocidal mentality persists to this day», says Martin. «The United States government and its military-industrial complex unleashed the horror of nuclear weapons in this part of the country because they saw it as a conquered territory containing conquered people. Today, the Washington establishment and its ilk still view New Mexico as a place where they think nuclear problems can be buried and forgotten».

Under the Obama administration, the Pentagon has received a budget of over $350 billion to upgrade the US arsenal of nuclear weapons over the next decade. Some observers have discerned that this nuclear resurgence under Obama is emblematic of a new Cold War with Russia and other perceived global rivals. Notwithstanding the facts that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in part supposedly for nuclear disarmament, and that the US is obligated to totally disarm under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that was signed 40 years ago.

Under Washington’s renewed nuclear arms quest, Los Alamos Laboratories in New Mexico has been assigned to replace plutonium cores in nuclear weapons with new fission devices. That inevitably means much greater volumes of nuclear waste will be dumped in the deserts of New Mexico.

Seventy years after Trinity, New Mexico is still being used in a pernicious nuclear experiment by the Pentagon. The toxic waste might be buried underground, but the horror lives on.

Da’esh-run Tripoli Court to Deliver Verdict on Saif Gaddafi and Former Jamahiriya Officials July 28

By Alexandra Valiente
Viva Libya!

On July 28, the Tripoli Court of Appeals will decide the fate of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi along with that of 36 former Jamahiriya officials.
01ASaif will be sentenced in absentia. He has been detained incommunicado in Zintan since his arrest in 2011. He was never permitted to attend the mock trials in Tripoli and proceedings that may have taken place in Zintan are shrouded in secrecy.  Saif has been denied legal counsel and contact with family and friends. No witnesses were allowed to testify on his behalf.

(Libya, ICC, and UNSC Violate Saif Gaddafi’s Right to a Fair Trial) | (Urgent: Regarding Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Other Political Prisoners in Libya) | (Mock Trials For Saif Gaddafi and 36 Officials Postponed Until November 30) | (Safia Qaddafi Calls for Justice)

Saif Gaddafi’s first International Criminal Court defense counsel, Ms. Melinda Taylor, was forcibly detained in Zintan. At that time, the Libyan authorities attempted to blackmail Ms. Taylor and the International Criminal Court, promising her immediate release on the condition that she disclosed the location of a key witness who would testify on behalf of Saif Gaddafi. 1

Saif’s current lawyer, John Jones, has had no contact with his client since his appointment three years ago.
https://vivalibya.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/15626748947_3a50c4a0c5_b.jpg?w=700Libya’s ongoing violation of the rights of political prisoners has drawn condemnation from the Association of Libyan Lawyers, international human rights organizations, the Red Cross | Red Crescent, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations.

(HRW : Letter to the ICC Prosecutor : Accountability for Serious Crimes in Libya and Justice for Political Prisoners | UN Security Council: Address Libya’s Crimes and the Urgent Needs of Political Prisoners | Fatou Bensouda (ICC) at UNSC on Libya)

There are over 40, 000 political prisoners in Libya, all held in filthy, militia-run detention centers where they endure inhumane conditions, extreme deprivation and routine torture. Many have been executed following kangaroo tribunals or perished from injuries inflicted from beatings.  Thousands are detained for having black skin.

The Libyan Refugee Trap(Lists of Political Prisoners Currently Detained in Libya |The Names Of Over 1000 Political Prisoners In Libya Detained Because They Are Black)

And more to the point, it is Da’esh and militias that are in power. Libya has no functioning government.

Thus calls from the United Nations and human rights bodies can find no competent target for their demands.

(OHCHR | UNHCR Appeal to al Qaeda to Permit them to Resume Operations in Tripoli)

There is no doubt that each prisoner has been denied a fair trial. In exceptional cases where prisoners had defense counsel, lawyers were forced to withdraw due to threats to their lives.

All prisoners have been brutally tortured in an effort to force false confessions.

The charges brought against them have been fantastic and unsubstantiated. Hence,  prisoners and their defense teams were never permitted to bring evidence or witnesses forward that could irrefutably prove their innocence.

(Saif al Islam Gaddafi and Former Government Officials Deny All Charges)

However innocent the prisoners facing sentencing on July 28 may be, the charges leveled against them by the regime carry the penalty of death.  The rule of law suspended,  their prospects are grim.

If they are murdered, those who have brought about the destruction of the nation will have victory.

(Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya)

Amidst an atmosphere of vengeance, violence and chaos, Libya will be plunged deeper into darkness…a desolation from which it may never recover.


Related:
LPNM Statement by the Coordinator of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Kangaroo Court Judges to Sentence former Jamahiriya Officials July 28
Urgent Call : Liberate Libya’s Political Prisoners. Stop Their Execution!
Tripoli Trials a Violation of Every Principle of Justice
LIC STATEMENT ON THE END OF TRIALS

Child Soldiers : An American-Made Army in Africa

EU’s War on African Migrants Supports Da’esh

Reuters / Antonio Parrinello
See: Britain, Libya and the Mediterranean : The Creation of a Humanitarian Emergency

By Dan Glazebrook

In the wake of the appalling death toll in the Mediterranean at the end of April – when up to 1,300 refugees were estimated to have drowned in one week – the EU was quick to jump on the tragedy as an opportunity to ramp up military involvement in Africa.

Resisting calls to restart search-and-rescue operations, an emergency European Council meeting last month instead called for the bombing of the boats on which the migrants were fleeing, vowing to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers in accordance with international law.”

A leaked ‘strategy paper’ presented to the UN Security Council last week by EU foreign representative Federica Mogherini, spelled out exactly what this would entail: “The operation would require a broad range of air, maritime and land capabilities. These could include: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; boarding teams; patrol units (air and maritime); amphibious assets; destruction air, land and sea, including special forces units.”

Meanwhile, ‘onshore activities’ might include “action along the coast, in harbor or at anchor of smugglers assets and vessels before their use.” In other words, another large scale assault on Libya waged from air, sea and land.

Needless to say the plan has been rejected by both Libyan ‘governments’ – the internationally-recognized one in Tobruk, and in a rare display of unity, also by the Libyan Dawn government based in Tripoli.

Taken at face value, such an approach to the problem of illegal migration is hard to understand. Experts have been queuing up to condemn the planned bombardment, arguing that not only will it be gratuitously cruel, but counter-productive as well. A joint statement issued by the UN’s human right experts on migrants, Francois Crepeau, and on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro warned that “Increasing repression of survival migration has not worked in the past and will not work now. Destroying boats is only a very short-sighted solution to combating smuggling. Smugglers continue to skillfully adapt, as long as there is a market to exploit.”

Indeed, the ‘war on drugs’ has already proven that militarized solutions aimed at the ‘supply side’ of criminal enterprises without addressing demand are invariably disastrous. As Ioan Grillo has brilliantly documented in the book El Narco, attempts in Mexico and Colombia to wipe out drug crops through aerial attacks over the past four decades has had two main consequences: first, it drives up the price – and therefore the profits – of the trade; second, it consolidates that trade in the hands of only the most ruthless, vicious and armed gangs. The result has been a massive concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the most ultra-violent drug cartels. The estimated 100,000 killed in Mexico’s Jalisco province over the past eight years is the latest bloody testament to this grim reality. Any attempt to deal with ‘people smuggling’ by bombing their boats out of existence would almost certainly have a similar result.

Reuters / Antonio Parrinello

In Libya, the ‘people smuggling trade’ is currently run by a plethora of small providers, some organizing occasional runs in small vessels hired from fishermen. These small providers would probably not withstand a concerted military assault. With prices going through the roof as a result of continued demand and declining supply, however, the trade would certainly continue. But it would do so in the hands only of those with the firepower necessary to run the operation in the newly militarized terrain – that is to say, in the hands of groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. And they would be doing so in a market that would have become immeasurably more profitable.

Thus, the practically guaranteed result of the EU’s strategy would not be to eliminate the ‘people smuggling’ trade, but to ensure that it helped concentrate massive wealth and firepower in the hands of Libya’s most violent gangs. This much should be obvious to any high school economics student with even a basic knowledge of supply and demand. No wonder, then, that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Russian government, and even, apparently, parts of the French military are opposed to the plans.

So why is the EU so firmly in favor of this self-defeating exercise in moral bankruptcy? Of course, one explanation says it is simply a way for governments to outflank their far-right opponents by proving their ‘toughness on immigration.’ Cameron and his ilk, for example, can argue that not even Nigel Farage has promised to actually blow refugees out of the water! This analysis makes some sense when we note that it is Britain, France and Italy in the forefront of the ‘war party’ on this issue – all of whom have witnessed large support for anti-immigrant parties in recent years.

But seen in terms of the broad context of European capitalism’s deep, multi-layered crisis, another explanation also suggests itself.

Myself and many others have argued over the past four years that the unleashing of sectarian violence across the Middle East and North Africa was not an accidental by-product of Western foreign policy in the region, but in fact its very purpose. By the mid-2000s, the growing economic clout of the global South was presenting a very real threat to the continued European/ North American extortion of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ever since these regions gained formal independence from colonialism, they had remained tied to former (and new) colonial powers through a million economic threads. Yet the rise of China (and to a lesser extent, India and Brazil) has smashed the West’s former monopoly of markets and finance, and has facilitated one country after another freeing themselves from economic dependence on Europe and the US, and moving towards a growing South-South cooperation in which the West has been edged out. The massive rise in Chinese investment in Africa – from $6 billion in 2000 to an estimated $200billion today is but the most vivid example of this global trend.

Destabilization through terrorism, then, has been the West’s way of using military means to claw back that power it can no longer maintain through economic manipulation alone. For destabilized regional powers cannot contribute to the growing strength of the BRICS, cannot support their regions’ moves towards self-sufficiency, and are likely to be ever more reliant on both Western military aid and international finance. By creating one failed state after another – in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo and Libya – the US and Britain have created the conditions in which terrorist activity can thrive; and then by directly supporting sectarian militias, in Libya and Syria in particular, they have ensured that these militia keep the affected countries in a state of violent chaos. That is to say, weak and dependent.

If this analysis is correct – if the West is pursuing a policy of destabilization against the global South in order to keep it weak and dependent – then the apparently self-defeating strategy of concentrating the ‘people smuggling’ trade in the hands of ISIS and Al-Qaeda suddenly makes perfect sense. It may be a desperate measure to keep these groups alive.

The tide has now definitively turned against the sectarian death squads that the West has been fostering for the past five years. No longer seen as the ‘freedom fighters of the Arab Spring’, the West’s proxy militias – and their political apologists – now inspire little more than revulsion across much of the region. This began with the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and continued throughout 2014 with both the military gains made by Syrian President Bashar Assad and the ousting of the pro-militia parliament in Libyan elections. In Libya, in particular, which has been steeped in sectarian violence and civil war ever since NATO’s invasion in 2011, there are some encouraging signs that the death squads’ reign of terror might be on its last legs.

Last month, the UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon announced that the country’s two rival factions have reached a draft accord which is “very close to a final agreement,” and each side has begun putting forward their nominees for positions within a unity government. Of course, this may yet fall though. After all, the Libya Dawn coalition – formed of militia supporters who lost the last election – has apparently rebuffed the agreement. Yet if it is rejected, this just makes it more likely that the Libya Dawn militias will simply meet with outright military defeat – for two reasons.

First, they are intensely divided. The rise of ISIS in Libya has split the so-called ‘Islamists’, with Libya Dawn now officially at war with ISIS, although this is a policy not all of the party’s militias support. Furthermore, the Misrata militias, who broadly support the idea of a ‘unity government’, are increasingly fighting other more hard-line groups that do not. While there are also divisions on the elected government’s side, so far these are on the level of political faction-fighting rather than shooting battles. Clearly the violent divisions on the Misrata – Libya Dawn – ISIS side are likely to be more corrosive than political disputes.

Second, the intervention of Egypt on the side of the elected Tobruk government has significantly altered the balance of power in that government’s favor. And according to intelligence reports from DebkaFile, Egypt is “preparing a large-scale ground and air assault along the Libyan border to oust the Islamic State group from eastern Libya.”

If Egypt does indeed wage such an assault, wiping out ISIS (together, possibly, with its allies and supporters from within Libya Dawn), that will again increase the pressure for Libya Dawn to come to a compromise or risk total annihilation. Either of these outcomes would be a serious spanner in the works to British-US led ‘divide and ruin’ strategy – in which Libya is supposed to play the role of the base of destabilization across the whole region.

Hence the urgency for a ‘new intervention’. Not only would ISIS and company see their smuggling profits boosted exponentially, but the EU plan would also pave the way for SAS involvement in revitalizing the militias (just as they did in 2011) and to serve as a bulwark against Egyptian forces.

The result would, of course, be a much more bloody conflict. But that is precisely the point.


The Barbaric Police Bombing of MOVE

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal : May 13th at 30

This essay was recorded on 4/26/2015 and was released on 5/13/2015 on the 30th anniversary of the MOVE bombing.
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Let the Fire Burn
On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police dropped two pounds of military explosives onto a city row house occupied by the radical group MOVE. The resulting fire was not fought for over an ho
Directed by Jason Osder
Cast:Birdie Africa, John Africa, Ramona Africa
Country:United States


The Bombing of Osage Avenue, Philadelphia – May 13, 1985


When a Black Mayor Killed Black People

By Margaret Kimberley

If the purpose of Black electoral politics is to protect African American interests, the Black political class has been a colossal failure. “The disasters of mass incarceration, police murder, gentrification, privatized public schools, and austerity have all taken place on their watch.” Worse than useless, most Black elected officials are collaborators in an oppressive system.

Black politicians are as much for sale as their white counterparts.”

On May 13, 1985, Wilson Goode, the first black mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, burned down a neighborhood occupied by other black people. As mayor he had the power to start or stop actions undertaken by any city agency. He had the power to scuttle the police decision to bomb the house occupied by members of MOVE. He had the power to order the fire department to extinguish the flames. He had the power to order police to save lives that night.

The event may seem like a singular one, sparked by a series of police assaults on MOVE, one of which resulted in the death of one of their own officers. The desire of some in the community to have MOVE members leave their neighborhood also played a part in the chain of events. But one important issue can never be forgotten about this horrific episode.

The presence of a black face in a high place still provokes an almost hypnotic response from the masses of people. The deeply felt feelings of pride are based on the history of enslavement, Jim Crow humiliation and terror. While the sentiments have an historical basis and are understandable, they can also be very dangerous and create support for events just as dreadful as the destruction of Osage Avenue in Philadelphia.

Black Americans have moved from being the most consistently left wing constituency in this country to supporting actions they would otherwise oppose if a black person is elected to public office. Wilson Goode’s political career should have ended that day. Instead a group of black ministers publicly expressed their support for Goode while the fire still smoldered on the incinerated street. He was re-elected two years later and again won a majority of the black vote.

Black Americans have precious little to show for the thousands of black mayors, congress people, and city and state legislators elected to office since the 1960s. The disasters of mass incarceration, police murder, gentrification, privatized public schools, and austerity have all taken place on their watch.

A group of black ministers publicly expressed their support for Goode while the fire still smoldered on the incinerated street.”

The list of failure and dubious decision making is a long one indeed. In Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick gave the green light to the derivatives schemes which pushed that city into bankruptcy. Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of Atlanta, fired striking city workers within months of gaining office. The Congressional Black Caucus was once the “conscience of the congress” but now acts only in support of Barack Obama, no matter how terrible the policy decisions in question.

Obama’s election was the nightmare scenario for black politics. Already teetering due to multiple treacheries from the misleadership class, black politics flat lined after the 2008 presidential campaign. When Barack Obama called for war against Syria in 2013, support was tepid at best, except in the black community. A group known for being vehemently anti-war and anti-empire suddenly turned into the largest cohort supporting a misadventure that no one else wanted.

Wilson Goode may be the only black politician responsible for killing his own people and destroying their property, but his actions have been seen in miniature across the country. Black politicians are as much for sale as their white counterparts and they will turn over public money for sports stadiums or anything else that wealthy, powerful people may demand. When developers decide to put big money back into the cities, black neighborhoods disappear and their residents are disbursed. If hedge fund captains want to destroy public schools in favor of privately funded charter schools, then black politicians will sing the praises of privatized education.

The Congressional Black Caucus now acts only in support of Barack Obama, no matter how terrible the policy decisions in question.”

The saddest part of this tale is that the masses of black people will put aside their long history of struggle against oppression if one of their own suddenly becomes the public face of bad policy. Black mayors will join in the chorus demanding more police for already over-policed communities. None of them demanded federal prosecution of the murders of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Michael Brown or Freddie Gray.

Goode should not be seen as the lone killer among the political class. The others should not be let off the hook so easily. Hundreds of lives taken by police violence might have been saved if black politicians established true community control or demanded that the black president who gets so much love actually did something to earn it.

Mass incarceration is also a killer. Mumia Abu Jamal’s medical crisis is not unique. Prison kills otherwise healthy people and the end of this awful system should be at the top of every black politician’s agenda.

Wilson Goode’s victims should be remembered in Philadelphia. But it would be a mistake if the night of terror in 1985 was regarded as a unique event and not as part of a larger and continuing problem. The mayors and congress people and, yes, the president owe their positions to the black liberation movement. One wouldn’t know that by looking at the state of black life today. We are all Osage Avenue.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

Baja’s Day Laborers Suffer Police Repression

Chiapas Support Committee

Police repression  in Baja
EZLN in solidarity

Baja California state police attacked farmworkers on strike in that state for better wages and working conditions. On May 9, twenty (20) patrol cars full of police agents entered the Triqui community of Nuevo San Juan Copala in the San Quintín Valley under the mistaken impression that members of the Alliance of Organizations for Social Justice were there to incite some of the community’s residents to set a farm on fire. The police started to detain one person; community members came out to defend him and a few threw stones and used sticks to repel the police. The police, in turn, used rubber bullets. Police originally detained 17 people, but 12 were released. Five remain in police custody. 70 people were injured, 7 of them in gravely injured. At the close of the Seminar on “Critical Thought versus the Capitalist Hydra,” the EZLN expressed solidarity with the day laborers. Below is a La Jornada article regarding the federal government’s handling of the strike.

A small tank is set on fire in the San Quintín Valley of Baja California

SAN QUINTÍN: IRRESPONSIBLE INDOLENCE

By Luis Hernández Navarro

From the exhaustion to the repression, from the indolence to the joke, that’s how the strategy that the federal government has traced for “resolving” the conflict of the San Quintín jornaleros [1] can be summarized.

Almost two months have passed since, last March 17, when thousands of farmworkers from this agro-exporting enclave broke out in a general strike to denounce the savage labor exploitation that they suffer and to demand a salary dignified increase. In place of resolving the movement’s demands, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto first gambled on its weakening and discouragement and, later, on violent contention.

Nevertheless, neither of those maneuvers has been effective for disarticulating the day laborer protest. Despite the eight weeks of struggle transpired, it maintains itself fed with the combination of moral indignation in the face of a savage model of exploitation and a cohesive and vigorous associative base community fabric.

The May 9 repression shows it. That day, using the pretext that they wanted to set fire to an agricultural, the state preventive police beat residents of the Triqui settlement Nuevo San Juan Copala when some of its residents were exhorting the farmworkers to maintain the strike. Residents responded by confronting the police with rage.

Nuevo San Juan Copala is a colonia of San Quintín, which in 2010 had a little more than 1,600 inhabitants, the majority Triquis. It took the name of the community of origin of its founders in Oaxaca. It was formally established in 1997 on lands occupied by jornaleros that were seeking dignified housing and that were fleeing from the oppressive agricultural camps. Since then, the collective action of its residents achieved obtaining services and basic infrastructure: orderly subdivision of land, public lighting, safe drinking water, schools and improvement of the streets. Simultaneously, it installed a figure of the Triquis’ political representation.

Its residents have developed –according to what Abbdel Camargo explains in Asentamiento y organización comunitaria– [2] a form of political and community organization that combines traditional organs of authority based on its places of origin with newly created institutions. This re-invention of tradition has permitted them to appropriate new spaces of residence, to develop collective practices that generate a strong cultural identity and to strengthen their management capacity.

The standard life of the settlement, explains Camargo, is organized around three traditional figures, natives of their communities of origin. These are: the traditional authority, the community’s political representative and mediator; the council of elders, which orients and gives its opinion on the settlement’s relevant issues, and the system of majordomos, in charge of the organization and realization of the fiestas in honor of the patron saint.

Thus, when last May 9 the state police repressed the residents of Nuevo San Juan Copala to discourage their struggle and send a signal to the striking San Quintín jornaleros about what awaited them, they butted heads with a vigorous community organization, constructed and forged from the heat of the struggle for almost two decades. The result of this maneuver was counter-productive.

The violence against residents of Nuevo San Juan Copala was the last link of a failed strategy. At first, the federal government gambled on confining the struggle to the state ambit, hoping that it would die out. When the conflict was nationalized and internationalized, it had to accede to installing a negotiating commission, headed by the assistant secretary of Governance, Luis Miranda.

Police fired rubber bullets on striking day laborers

Far from seeking solutions, the negotiating (dialogue) table between the jornaleros and the authorities last March 24 was a maneuver to gain time. The official retinue, which consisted of the governor of Baja California, Francisco Vega de la Madrid, and the heads of the IMSS, the STPS, senators and deputies, came without any proposal. First it impeded the press’ passage to the meeting. Then it behaved as if it knew nothing about the origin of the conflict. Mockingly, the governor –according to what Arturo Alcalde wrote– said to the jornaleros: “You have the word; we are here now. Tell us what your requests are.”

The public functionaries dedicated themselves to confusing the work. Finally, assistant secretary Miranda put into effect operation surprise attack: without having convened a meeting between the parties, he announced a future meeting on May 8, in which he would give an integral solution to the demands; he invented that an agreement had been reached, unilaterally closed the meeting and brought the journalists into the meeting. The jornaleros rejected that anything was agreed upon in that negotiation.

The official retinue abandoned San Quintín hurriedly. Even the representatives of the Legislative Power, who supposedly attended the session invited by the strikers, acted like employees of the government and shamefully added themselves to the Executive’s entourage.

Assistant Secretary Luis Miranda arrived on May 8 and left the agricultural workers in the lurch. More than 4,000 of them were waiting for him in order to hear his answer to their demands. When Fidel Sánchez Gabriel, the leader of the Alliance for Social Justice, warned him that they would stay in front of the state government offices, the functionary replied: “You don’t know me.” The next day they felt the clubs and rubber bullets of the police.

Despite the nearly two months that have transpired and the repression against them, the movement of the San Quintín day laborers doesn’t show signs of physical or spiritual tiredness. It resists, fed by the conviction that one must put an end to a barbaric model of exploitation and by decades of community struggles. For the time being, it is willing to confront official indolence by organizing the international boycott of the Valley’s vegetable and fruit production Valle.

Notes:

  1. Day laborers
  2. Settlement and community organization

Libya, Imperialism and the Refugee Crisis

Imperialism ‘Genocides the Poorest of the Poor’

Britain, Libya and the Mediterranean : The Creation of a Humanitarian Emergency

Baltimore Rebellion Prompts Nationwide Protests

Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance : Rejecting the Framework of the Oppressor

https://i1.wp.com/www.ajamubaraka.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/MX1960_L.jpgBy 

Anti-Black racism, always just beneath the surface of polite racial discourse in the U.S., has exploded in reaction to the resistance of black youth to another brutal murder by the agents of this racist, settler-colonialist state. With the resistance, the focus shifted from the brutal murder of Freddie Gray and the systematic state violence that historically has been deployed to control and contain the black population in the colonized urban zones of North America, to the forms of resistance by African Americans to the trauma of ongoing state violence.

The narrative being advanced by corporate media spokespeople gives the impression that the resistance has no rational basis. The impression being established is that this is just another manifestation of the irrationality of non-European people – in particular, Black people – and how they are prone to violence. This is the classic colonial projection employed by all white supremacist settler states, from the U.S., to South Africa and Israel.

The accompanying narrative is that any kind of resistance that does not fit the narrow definition of “non-violent” resistance is illegitimate violence and, therefore, counter-productive because – “violence doesn’t accomplish anything.” Not only does this position falsely equates resistance to oppression as being morally equivalent to the violence of the oppressor, it also attempts to erase the role of violence as being fundamental to the U.S. colonial project.

The history of colonial conquest saw the U.S. settler state shoot and murdered its’ way across the land mass of the North American in the process of stealing indigenous land to expand the racist White republic from “sea to shining sea.” And the marginalization of the role of violence certainly does not reflect the values of the Obama administration that dutifully implements the bi-partisan dictates of the U.S. strategy of full spectrum dominance that privileges military power and oppressive violence to protect and advance U.S. global supremacy. The destruction of Libya; the reinvasion of Iraq; the civil war in Syria; Obama’s continued war in Afghanistan; the pathological assault by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza and the U.S. supported attack on Yemen by the Saudi dictatorship, are just a few of the horrific consequences of this criminal doctrine.

Race and oppressive violence has always been at the center of the racist colonial project that is the U.S. It is only when the oppressed resist — when we decide, like Malcolm X said, that we must fight for our human rights — that we are counseled to be like Dr. King, including by war mongers like Barack Obama. However, resistance to oppression is a right that the oppressed claim for themselves. It does not matter if it is sanctioned by the oppressor state, because that state has no legitimacy.

No rational person exalts violence and the loss of life. But violence is structured into the everyday institutional practices of all oppressive societies. It is the deliberate de-humanization of the person in order to turn them into a ‘thing’ — a process Dr. King called “thing-afication.” It is a necessary process for the oppressor in order to more effectively control and exploit. Resistance, informed by the conscious understanding of the equal humanity of all people, reverses this process of de-humanization. Struggle and resistance are the highest expressions of the collective demand for people-centered human rights – human rights defined and in the service of the people and not governments and middle-class lawyers.

That resistance may look chaotic at this point – spontaneous resistance almost always looks like that. But since the internal logic of neoliberal capital is incapable of resolving the contradiction that it created, expect more repression and more resistance that will eventually take a higher form of organization and permanence. In the meantime, we are watching to see who aligns with us or the racist state.

The contradictions of the colonial/capitalist system in its current expression of neoliberalism have obstructed the creation of decent, humane societies in which all people are valued and have democratic and human rights. What we are witnessing in the U.S. is a confirmation that neoliberal capitalism has created what Chris Hedges called “sacrificial zones” in which large numbers of black and Latino people have been confined and written off as disposable by the system. It is in those zones that we find the escalation of repressive violence by the militarized police forces. And it is in those zones where the people are deciding to fight back and take control of their communities and lives.

These are defining times for all those who give verbal support to anti-racist struggles and transformative politics. For many of our young white comrades, people of color and even some black ones who were too young to have lived through the last period of intensified struggle in the 1960s and ‘70s and have not understood the centrality of African American resistance to the historical social struggles in the U.S., it may be a little disconcerting to see the emergence of resistance not depend on and validated by white folks or anyone else.

The repression will continue, and so will the resistance. The fact that the resistance emerged in a so-called black city provides some complications, but those are rich and welcoming because they provide an opportunity to highlight one of the defining elements that will serve as a line of demarcation in the African American community – the issue of class. We are going to see a vicious ideological assault by the black middle class, probably led by their champion – Barack Obama – over the next few days. Yet the events over the last year are making it more difficult for these middle-class forces to distort and confuse the issue of their class collaboration with the white supremacist capitalist/colonialist patriarchy. The battle lines are being drawn; the only question that people must ask themselves is which side they’ll be on.



Malcolm X Message to the Grassroots

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