Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Australian Anti Terror Detentions

Justice, The Australian Way By Ghali Hassan

Can you imagine what would happen if Dr Haneef is a white Anglo-Australian detained in India, accused of trafficking in narcotic drugs? Actually, you don’t have to imagine. The entire Indian justice system will be on trial in Australia, accused of corruption and injustice. In Australia, a Guantanamo Bay justice applied to Dr Haneef even with the presumption of innocence. Dr Mohammed Haneef, the 27-year-old Indian-born Muslims doctor working in the Gold Coast, was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) on 02 July 2007 at Brisbane Airport on his way to visit his young family in India. Using the draconian anti-Muslims “terrorism laws”, the AFP detained and interrogated Dr Haneef for 12 days without charge and without access to legal advice. He was accused of “providing resources to terrorists”. As pressure mounted by Dr Haneef’s legal team for his release, Dr Haneef was charged with “recklessly” giving his pre-paid SIM card to his second cousin last year. Dr Haneef’s cousin was allegedly involved in the recent failed attacks in Britain. The SIM card was not used in the attack and was seized by police eight hours after Haneef's cousin Sabeel Ahmed was arrested in Liverpool. Ahmed was charged only with withholding information which would remove Haneef's alleged link to the Glasgow attack.

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Bush Administration Threatens Military Intervention In Pakistan

Bush Administration Threatens Military Intervention In Pakistan By Peter Symonds

The Bush administration this week signalled a tough new stance on Pakistan, demanding that military strongman General Pervez Musharraf takes action against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in areas bordering Afghanistan, and threatening US strikes if he failed to do so. White House spokesman Tony Snow told the US media on Thursday that Musharraf was “going to have to be more aggressive”, in dealing with security problems in the border regions. Asked if US military forces would be sent into Pakistan, Snow declared: “We never rule out any options, including striking actionable targets.” Bush’s Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend delivered essentially the same message during a media conference on Tuesday on the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which claimed that Al Qaeda had regenerated in “safehavens” in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). She diplomatically declared that Musharraf was a key ally in “war on terrorism” and hailed his speech against “extremism” following the Pakistan military’s bloody seizure of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad last week.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Workers urge airlines to Stop Deportations

Workers Urge Air France Chiefs to Stop Expelling Immigrants July 12, 2007 - The Associated Press

PARIS: Airline unions urged Air France on Thursday to stop expelling illegal immigrants on its flights, saying the practice upsets flight attendants and passengers and may hurt business at France's flagship carrier. Workers for five unions were presenting their demands at the Air France-KLM annual shareholders' meeting in Paris. For years unions have urged the airline to halt the expulsions, but the demand attracted extra attention this year because of President Nicolas Sarkozy's determination to step up expulsions as part of his tougher policies on immigration. Every year, thousands of illegal immigrants are put aboard Air France flights and sent to their homelands, sometimes handcuffed and escorted by police. On occasions, they resist and must be forcibly restrained. Air France unions CGT, CFDT, SUD, ALTER and SPAF voted Tuesday to ask the company to refuse to transport expelled immigrants.

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Overcoming the conspiracy against Palestine

Overcoming the conspiracy against Palestine Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 18 July 2007

"Be certain that Yasser Arafat's final days are numbered, but allow us to finish him off our way, not yours. And be sure as well that ... the promises I made in front of President Bush, I will give my life to keep." Those words were written by the Fatah warlord Mohammed Dahlan, whose US- and Israeli-backed forces were routed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip last month, in a 13 July 2003 letter to then Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz and published on Hamas' website on 4 July this year.Dahlan, who despite his failure to hold Gaza, remains a senior advisor to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, outlines his conspiracy to overthrow Arafat, destroy Palestinian institutions and replace them with a quisling leadership subservient to Israel. Dahlan writes of his fear that Arafat would convene the Palestinian legislative council and ask it to withdraw confidence from then prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, who had been appointed earlier in 2003 at Bush's insistence in order to curb Arafat's influence. Dahlan wrote that "complete coordination and cooperation by all" was needed to prevent this, as well as "subjecting [Arafat] to pressure so that he cannot carry out this step." Dahlan reveals that "we have already begun attempts to polarize the views of many legislative council members by intimidation and temptation so that they will be on our side and not his [Arafat's]."

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Harper’s foreign policy of American convenience.

Harper’s foreign policy of American convenience.

Stephen Harper has been making much of himself lately, promoting his version of how to achieve global peace and prosperity, with talks and presentations on Afghanistan and Columbia. The central tenet of his global approach is apparently to support those ideas and governments that are of convenience to American foreign policy. He visited Columbia, a country ravaged by decades of insurgency and para-military violence supposedly centred on the cocaine drug trade. Uribe, Columbia’s leader, has ties to the paramilitaries, ties to the drug trade (the two are strongly related) and his election, if not outright fraudulent, was a result of a population in which mainly the rich right wing elite voted, the others having opted out through fear and futility. The under-riding problem here is the United States interference in the economy and politics of the country through the advancement of the rights of large corporations over those of the people – Coca-Cola and Cochabamba (think Bechtel) are two examples of this. The process also works through its ongoing multi-billion dollar decades long “war on drugs” that has only increased the insecurity of the area through, in part, the paramilitary training received by the right-wing death squads at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. (now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Operations). Harper also spoke out on Afghanistan, starting with the two dozen Canadians killed in the World Trade Center attacks, collateral damage using western definitions of such atrocities. Harper complained about Canada’s “disproportionate” share of the military burden in Afghanistan, saying that without more support it would, “slip back into the status of being a failed state that represents a threat to the security of the planet.”

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tale Of Two Genocides:Congo And Darfur

A Tale Of Two Genocides,Congo And Darfur By Glen Ford 18 July, 2007

Possibly a quarter million people have lost their lives in Darfur, western Sudan, in ethnic conflict. The U.S. government screams its head off in denunciation of genocide, in this case. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as many as five million have died since 1994 in overlapping convulsions of ethnic and state-sponsored massacre. Not a word of reproach from Washington. A human death toll that approaches the Nazi's annihilation of Jews in World War Two - an ongoing holocaust - unfolds without a whiff of complaint from the superpower. Why is mass death the cause of indignation and confrontation in Sudan, but exponentially more massive carnage in Congo unworthy of mention? The answer is simple: in Sudan, the U.S. has a geopolitical nemesis to confront: Arabs, and their Chinese business partners. In the Congo, it is U.S allies and European and American corporate interests that benefit from the slaughter. Therefore, despite five million skeletons lying in the ground, there is no call to arms from the American government. It is they who set the genocidal Congolese machine in motion.

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SPP- Militarization And Annexation Of North America

The Militarization And Annexation Of North America By Stephen Lendman

Besides the Bush administration's imperial aims and permanent war on the world, add the one at home below the radar. Its weapons include the WTO, NAFTA, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, CIA, NSA, NORTHCOM, militarized state and local police, National Guard forces, paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA, and all other repressive instruments of state power and control. They target the people of three nations slowly becoming one headquartered in Washington. That's the apparent aim of those in power here wanting one continent, "indivisible" minus old-fashioned ideas like "liberty and justice for all" we used to believe in when, as kids, we recited our "Pledge of Allegiance." They now have a whole new meaning. They're just words drummed into young minds hoping they'll still believe them when they're old enough to know better. There may be a greater scheme for the planet ahead, but this article only focuses on what we know about and how it's unfolding so far. It has a name, in fact, several, but they all aim for the same thing - one nation, indivisible, where three sovereign ones once stood, headquartered in Washington.

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Israeli Apartheid

Israeli Apartheid by Bruce Dixon in Black Commentator July 16, 2007

Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin. First class citizens are obliged to serve in the armed forces, kept on ready reserve status until in their forties, and accorded an impressive array of housing, medical, social security, educational and related benefits denied all others. Second class citizens are exempted from military service and from a number of the benefits accorded citizens of the first class. They are issued identity documents and license plates that allow them to be profiled by police at a distance. Second class citizens may not own land in much of the country and marriages between them and first class citizens are not recognized by the state. Second class citizens are sometimes arrested without trial and police torture, while frowned upon and occasionally apologized for, commonly occurs. Citizens of the eleventh class, really not citizens at all, have no rights citizens of the first class or their government are bound to respect. Their residence is forbidden in nearly nine-tenths of the country, all of which they used to own.

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Fencing the US- Mexico Border: Boeing's High-Tech Plan

Fencing the Border: Boeing's High-Tech Plan Falters by Joseph Richey, Special to Corp WatchJuly 9th, 2007

A 28-mile stretch of the Sonoran desert that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border west of the city of Nogales, Arizona, is a sun-baked battleground. Pronghorn antelope, javelina, rattlers, a few pigmy owls, and even jaguars compete for scarce resources amidst the saguaro, mesquite, and prickly pear. Also struggling for survival in the parched landscape are hundreds of migrants who hike the miles of uncharted northbound trails and roads pursued by border patrol officers, security contractors, and law enforcement agents. Many of the would-be immigrants are captured, processed and deported; some are identified as criminal aliens and detained; others make it into the U.S. to take low-wage jobs; and hundreds more die every year in the searing desert heat. A new predator is on the horizon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued task orders to physically and electronically seal this stretch of the desert under a multi-billion dollar contract named the Secure Border Initiative Net (SBInet) to curb the flow of undocumented immigrants, drugs, and potential terrorists by 2013. This first $20 million pilot phase, which is named Project 28 after the length of this part of the desert that it is supposed to cover, was to be completed by mid-June 2007.

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The “Canadian Ministers” of Hamid Karzai’s Afghan government

The “Canadian Ministers” of Hamid Karzai’s Afghan government By Guy Charron4 July 2007

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has deployed a Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) composed of some 15 people to Kabul with the mandate of working “directly with the Afghan government” to impose the neo-colonial agenda of the western powers. Canada is a key participant in the US-NATO military occupation of Afghanistan and a bulwark of the US-installed puppet government of Hamid Karzai—a government composed of warlords guilty of horrific crimes against the Afghan people and that is detested by many both for its corruption and for being in Washington’s pocket. The CAF participated in the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and since the summer of 2005 has been in the forefront of the fight against the Taliban insurgency in the country’s south. Dubbed “Operation Angus” by the CAF, SAT’s role complements and broadens Canada’s role in propping up the Karzai government. Despite its military origins, SAT exerts principally a political function. In the words of the Canadian Ministry of Defence, “the teams are embedded in their partner Afghan Government ministries and agencies.”

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

U.S. Border Fence Protrudes Into Mexico

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL. The Associated Press. June 29, 2007

COLUMBUS, N.M. -- The 1.5-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was designed to keep cars from illegally crossing into the United States. There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil. Now embarrassed border officials say the mistake could cost the federal government more than $3 million to fix.

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SANE: An Islamophobic group attempts to banish Islam from the U.S.

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali. 17 June 2007

Stepping into the foot prints of Daniel Pipes, Islamophobist and founder of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim forums such as Middle East Forumand Campus Watch, another pro-Israeli Islamophobist, David Yerushalmi, has established an anti-Islam group known with the acronym SANE: the Society of Americans for National Existence. The sole objective of the group is banishing Islam from the US by making "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison.

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Commencement Message to Indigenous Law Grads: "Pick your path carefully"

MNN. June 17, 2007.

The following question came to MNN from an Indigenous law grad, “...do you feel comfortable passing yourself off as a legal authority?” Yeah! On our law! Obviously this law graduate has been totally indoctrinated. He assumes that law is the exclusive preserve of “experts”. Law is based on prior and informed consent of the people concerned, not on the power to conquer, oppress and control. In a real democracy law is made and known by all. It’s not based on authority. There is a presumption that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So ignorance of our original law and inherent jurisdiction by the colonists is no excuse for their criminality.

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Latin America: Black Women on the Bottom Rung

By Diego Cevallos. MEXICO CITY, Jun 19 (IPS)

There are at least 75 million black women in Latin America and the Caribbean, but those who occupy high-level political or public administration posts number less than 50. As activists pointed out to IPS this week, black women are at the very bottom of the social ladder in this region.

"The inequality suffered by Afro-descendants is plain to see. There are few or no spaces where we are decision-makers. Our situation is one of the worst," said Dorotea Wilson, head of the Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora (Network of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino Women), made up of groups of black women activists from 33 countries.

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Vancouver: Mexicans Denied Entry to Canada for 'Looking Poor'

by EMIR OLIVARES ALONSO; 26/06/2007 - La Jornada.
[NOII note: this is a rough translation, click here for original article]

Under the criteria of appearance, Canadian immigration authorities denied entry to three Mexicans who were trying to enter the country as tourists, because "they didn't appear to have money and looked very poor".

The co-nationals suffered humiliation during more than 24 hours, one of the victims said. He said that authorities did strip searches and revisions (searches?) of their belongings at least four times and then took them tothe Vancouver police headquarters (detention centre?) where they were handcuffed, booked and detained.

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62 migrant deaths in US detention since 2004

New Scrutiny as Immigrants Die in Custody
By NINA BERNSTEIN. June 26, 2007

Sandra M. Kenley was returning home from her native Barbados in 2005 when she was swept into the United States’ fastest-growing form of incarceration, immigration detention.

Seven weeks later, Ms. Kenley died in a rural Virginia jail, where she had complained of not receiving medicine for high blood pressure. She was one of 62 immigrants to die in administrative custody since 2004, according to a new tally by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that counted many more deaths than the 20 previously known.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Blockades up as aboriginal day of action begins

Blockades up as aboriginal day of action begins

Armed Mohawk protesters got an early start to the Canada-wide aboriginal day of action on Friday, barricading a major rail line and a highway in eastern Ontario. The protesters' swift action caused police to shut down a one kilometre stretch of Highway 401, the major road link between Toronto and Montreal, at midnight, fearing protesters would move to that portion of the road.

The highway was closed to all traffic between the towns of Maryville and Shannonville, which are about 60 kilometres west of Kingston. "The highway was closed as a safety measure," said Christine Rae, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Provincial Police. Traffic was being re-routed, and police could not anticipate when the highway would reopen. The protesters set up their first barricade at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, three hours before the day of action officially began, parking a schoolbus on Highway 2, a secondary route near Deseronto, and lighting a bonfire nearby.

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Threats and Opportunities by Noam Chomsky

Imminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities by Noam Chomsky; Monthly Review; June 27, 2007

Regrettably, there are all too many candidates that qualify as imminent and very serious crises. Several should be high on everyone’s agenda of concern, because they pose literal threats to human survival: the increasing likelihood of a terminal nuclear war, and environmental disaster, which may not be too far removed. However, I would like to focus on narrower issues, those that are of greatest concern in the West right now. I will be speaking primarily of the United States, which I know best, and it is the most important case because of its enormous power.

But as far as I can ascertain, Europe is not very different.The area of greatest concern is the Middle East. There is nothing novel about that. I often have to arrange talks years in advance. If I am asked for a title, I suggest “The Current Crisis in the Middle East.” It has yet to fail. There’s a good reason: the huge energy resources of the region were recognized by Washington sixty years ago as a “stupendous source of strategic power,” the “strategically most important area of the world,” and “one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Control over this stupendous prize has been a primary goal of U.S. policy ever since, and threats to it have naturally aroused enormous concern.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why Boycott Israel? Because It’s Good for You

Why Boycott Israel? Because It’s Good for You by Gabriel Ash

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s Apartheid scored an important victory recently when the British University and College Union (UCU) decided to circulate “the
full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches for information and discussion” and “encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” The UCU resolution is in fact quite moderate. Nevertheless, it raised the profile of the campaign and elicited a round of shrill, wall-to-wall condemnations, from newspapers, foundations, politicians and governments. Shockingly, not a single media mogul (or any mogul, for that matter) is in favor of the boycott!

The major argument for boycotting Israel is that it is the right thing to do. And it is. But for those of us who live off wages and depend on public services, it is also the smart thing to do — especially in Europe, where the BDS campaign is now facing a vocal onslaught. Support for Israel is an important pillar of an islamophobic, anti-immigrant and pro-war front, which includes many in the political leadership of Europe; their final prize is finishing off the welfare state. In the second part, I will also show that it is this front — not the UCU — that is heir to Europe’s historical anti-Semitism.

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Black Americans on opposite sides of immigration debate in South LA

Confrontation kept under control. Police keep things calm as two groups of marchers on opposite sides of the immigration debate parry in South Los Angeles.

A group of 100 marchers waving American flags headed south on Crenshaw Boulevard on Saturday to protest illegal immigration and what they called its damaging effects on the black community.But they never reached the park that was their destination, and the rally turned into two tense hours of confrontation under a hot sun with counter-protesters on the opposite side of the street. Insults and epithets flew across the asphalt as hundreds of Los Angeles Police Department officers kept guard. Although some people expressed concern about another May 1 melee, in the end, police earned praise for their restraint and efforts to calm the crowd.Police defused the standoff, both sides dispersed and five people, including organizer Ted Hayes, a longtime activist for the homeless, were arrested peacefully.

The marchers, made up of black activists and Minutemen, homeless people and neighborhood residents, held a city permit for an afternoon rally at the historic Leimert Park in the Crenshaw district. Nearly 500 counter-protesters, mostly black and Latino, some with Mexican flags and others with antiwar placards, swept down the other side of Crenshaw Boulevard. They converged on the park first and blocked the original marchers from entering. Some said they had heard those marchers would include KKK members, and the counter-protesters denounced what they called racist outsiders trying to incite violence.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Displacement in Palestine: Everything is Possible

Everything is possible Yigal Bronner, The Electronic Intifada, 22 June 2007

It feels strange to discuss possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do we prefer a one-state formula or two states, one next to the other? Which of the two solutions is more possible? These questions sound so remote from the harsh reality on the ground, where a resolution of the conflict never seemed so distant. Currently, Israel is dramatically and unilaterally changing the regional landscape. The project misleadingly called the "Security Fence" is perpetuating and vastly expanding the colonies Israel has established in the areas it occupied in 1967, while sacrificing a handful of settlements located in the remote and most populated Palestinian areas. The project also complements the system of Jewish-only roads and numerous checkpoints that already fragment the West Bank -- it concentrates the Palestinians in densely inhabited, impoverished enclaves, and ensures complete Israeli control over the region's most precious resources: open land and water.Many Palestinian communities in the West Bank are already fenced in from all sides (and sometimes also cut in the middle) by a system of trenches, concrete walls and barbed-wire fences. Gaza too is sealed. Movement between the Palestinian pockets is extremely difficult. Access to healthcare, education, and work is limited and in some cases impossible. Poverty is everywhere (60 percent of the population is under the UN poverty line of two dollars of income a day).

In a matter of months, the project will be successfully completed. It will lock the Palestinians in small ghettos, connected by subterranean roads that will be controlled by Israel. There will be no airport, seaport, and the passage by land to neighboring countries will be manned by Israeli soldiers. The end result -- already in place in the Gaza Strip and several West Bank "strips" -- is a system of crowded, open-air prisons. And if the inmates will get out of hand and revolt, the wardens will target them with air raids and artillery shells. Note that what is happening in the territories occupied in 1967 is not essentially new. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not 40 years old but 120 years old. Throughout this period, the Israeli Yeshuv-turned-state used a variety of means to seize as much land as possible and displace or strangle the native population. A major breakthrough in this effort took place during the 1948 War, when at least 700,000 Palestinians either fled in fear or were forced out of their towns and villages at gun-point. Their homes were systematically razed to the ground by the newly founded sate of Israel and they were not allowed to return.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Life and Death of a Border Town

The Life and Death of a Border Town by David Martinez, Special to CorpWatch June 12th, 2007

In the town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, close to the U.S. border, two streets intersect: one is called Progreso (Progress) and the other is Fabrica (Factory). They are aptly named streets because they are thoroughfares that only house manufacturing plants called maquiladoras - giant mall sized buildings ringed with fences and with guardhouses posted out front. There are no houses or shops here – indeed, the sidewalks on Progreso and Fabrica are empty, and the only noise that can be heard during a workday are the trucks that drop off supplies and pick up finished goods. Some of the factories belong to well-known companies like Caterpillar or Sony, others to less well-known companies like Delphi. Early every morning at the beginning of the workday, special buses arrive from specific neighborhoods carrying workers, while others arrive in their own vehicles. They are smartly dressed young women and men whose jobs range from assembling videotapes to refurbishing defective machines.

The factories are huge, employ thousands of workers and do brisk business. It is hard to imagine that they could ever pack up and leave, but it is a distinct possibility in the chaotic world of border economics. The number of maquiladoras began increasing in Nuevo Laredo and other border towns after the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA was signed in 1994. At the time there was much ado about NAFTA, and "free trade" entered the popular lexicon, with its proponents claiming it would bring prosperity to the impoverished population of Mexico, and its detractors predicting doom for U.S. workers and their Mexican counterparts.

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The Crisis in Gaza: Made in Israel, Not a Civil War

The Crisis in Gaza: Made in Israel, Not a Civil War IV Online magazine : IV390 - June 2007 Michel Warschawski

The old dream of Ariel Sharon is becoming a reality: Palestinians are killing Palestinians, and Israel is counting the number of victims with great satisfaction. The tears of Israeli leaders are crocodile tears, and their claims that they are sorry for the tragic developments in Gaza are mere hypocrisy. The bloody confrontations were predictable, and the Israeli-US responsibility and active involvement are crystal clear. Many Israeli journalists are analyzing Israel’s responsibility as indirect: “1.4 million people closed in a small territory like Gaza, without any possibility to have normal economic life, but also without the possibility of escape, are doomed to kill each other… like mice closed in a box.” That zoological explanation is not only typically racist, but also based on a huge understatement.

For, the Israeli and US role in the present confrontations was much more than simply “creating the conditions” for an inner-Palestinian conflict.For months, the US State Department has been pushing the Fatah leadership to launch a military offensive against Hamas, and two weeks ago, Israel was giving a green light to the entry of huge quantity of arms for Fatah militias in Gaza. In that sense, the Israeli part in the present situation is not only conjectural, but an active role.

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Choices for Black labor

Choices for Black labor by Bill Fletcher; Black Commentator; June 23, 2007

I came of age politically in the middle of the Black Power movement. Within the ranks of organized labor, both the Black Power movement and the Anti-Vietnam War movement had a significant impact through the mid1970s. Caucuses were being formed to challenge the bureaucratic leaderships of many unions. Wild-cat strikes were taking place in workplaces around the country. And in some locales, independent unions were being established where workers had concluded that the established union movement was incapable of making any significant changes to address the needs and demands of rank and file workers. At the national level, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists emerged as a major voice arguing that organized labor needed to take a new and different look at the Black worker, a look and engagement that was based on the need for respect and equality.

As we enter the 21st century, Black labor is in disarray. Within the ranks of organized labor, the various institutions that have often spoken on its behalf have ossified. Black caucuses in various unions have stepped back from challenging and pushing the union leaderships and instead have in all too many cases degenerated into social clubs or step-ladders for individuals to get positions in the union structure. While there are greater numbers of Black staff and, in some cases, elected leaders, there is an emphasis on acceptability—to the leadership of organized labor—within the ranks of the movement, rather than an emphasis on challenge and struggle.

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India Will Have 400 million Agricultural Refugees

Displacing farmers: India Will Have 400 million Agricultural Refugees by Devinder Sharma

It was on the cards. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcing the formation of a new rehabilitation policy for farmers displaced from land acquisitions, it is now official -- farmers have to quit agriculture. Ever since the Congress-led UPA Coalition assumed power after an angry rural protest vote threw out the erstwhile BJP-led NDA combination in May 2004, the Prime Minister had initiated a plethora of new policies for the spread of industrialization. After having laid the policy framework that allows private control over community resources – water, biodiversity, forests, seeds, agriculture markets, and mineral resources -- the UPA government finally looked at the possibility of divesting the poor people of their only economic security – a meagre piece of land holding.

“Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is an idea whose time has come,” the Prime Minister had said at an award ceremony in Mumbai sometimes back. Supported by all political parties, including the Left Front, he has actually officiated a nationwide campaign to displace farmers. Almost 500 special economic zones are being carved out (see
The New Maharajas of India). What is however less known is that successive government’s are actually following a policy prescription that had been laid out by the World Bank as early as in 1995.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Iraq government orders arrest of oil workers' leaders

Iraq government orders arrest of oil workers' leaders by Naftana Press Release; June 09, 2007

Iraq's powerful oil workers' trade union today expressed alarm as an arrest warrant was issued for its leaders, in an attempt to clamp down on industrial action. Members of the union have been on strike since Monday 4th June, in protest at the government's failure to meet any of its promises made in a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 16th May. The union's 16 demands included improvements to wages, health and other working and living conditions as well as consultation on the proposed oil law, which the union opposes. The union added a 17th demand yesterday demanding the sacking of the General Manager of the Southern Pipeline Company.

On Tuesday, al-Maliki warned that he would meet threats to oil production "with an iron fist". The arrest warrant, based on a charge of "sabotaging the economy" specifically names Hassan Juma'a Awad, the leader of the 26,000-strong Federation of Oil Unions, and three other leaders of the Federation. Hassan Juma'a commented, "the government is intimidating the union but we are determined to gain our legitimate rights." He added that the strike would continue in accordance with the union's plan.

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Canada: 40% percent of military contracts are “non-competitive

“No Bang for the Buck” report finds that forty percent of military contracts are “non-competitive”

(Ottawa) Federal spending on multi-billion dollar military contracts has been mired in complaints of improper conduct as the government embarks on its $17 billion build-up of aircraft, helicopters, warships and vehicles. A study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives called “No Bang for the Buck: Military contracting and public accountability” supports the frequently heard charges of unfair competitions. It found that the government itself has classified more than 40 percent of the nearly 20,000 National Defence contracts awarded in FY2006-07 as “non-competitive.”

Even more, the percentage of public dollars spent on “non-competitive” military contracts has doubled in the last two years, according to the study which examined thousands of federal contracts reported in the Business Access Canada’s publicly available Contract History database.“This report raises the alarm on the use of public dollars, and the need for greater transparency and federal accountability in military contracting,” said Bruce Campbell, Executive Director of the CCPA.

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“Two States Or One State” By Uri Avnery & Ilan Pappe

“Two States Or One State” By Uri Avnery & Ilan Pappe

A debate between former Knesset Member Uri Avnery and Doctor Ilan Pappe .moderator: Professor Zalman Amit.

Zalman Amit: Greetings to you all, and thanks for coming to be with us this evening.
First of all, I would like to thank Teddy Katz, who initiated this event and did a large part of the logistics involved. I would not be exaggerating in stating that the subject we discuss today is the most important and most difficult question facing people on the left side of the political spectrum, and those whom we could broadly call the people of the peace movement. I also think we are lucky in having tonight two speakers who are perhaps the most clear representatives, respectively, of the two approaches and worldviews to whose debate this evening is devoted. To my right is Dr. Ilan Pappe, historian of Exeter University, formerly of Haifa University. [Pappe corrects: Not yet formerly]. To my left is Uri Avnery, former Knesset Member, former editor of Haolam Hazeh Weekly, and present activist in Gush Shalom.

(Click here to read more)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

SPP: NAFTA Kicked Up A Notch

NAFTA Kicked Up A Notch by Laura Carlsen

The North American Free Trade Agreement is the world's most advanced example of the U.S.-led free trade model. It's not just about economics any more. The expansion of NAFTA into the Security and Prosperity Partnership reveals the road ahead for other nations entering into free trade agreements. It is not a road most nations -- or the U.S. public -- would take if they knew where it led.

The first problem is that very few people know about this next step of "deep integration." In March 2005, Presidents George Bush, Vicente Fox and Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas launched the Security and Prosperity Partnership with a splash. Although it had few visible results, the Waco meeting of the "Three Amigos" set into motion an underground process that spawned its own working groups, rules, recommendations, and agreements -- all below the radar of the legislatures and the public in the three nations. These rules and trinational programs have profound effect on the environment, the daily lives of citizens, and the future of all three countries. The SPP not only further greases the wheels of corporate cooperation and potentially increases U.S. access to Mexican oil. Its security component represents a new and ominous form of integration, all in the name of counter-terrorism.

(Click here to read more)

G8 NEWS: Information on the Migration Day of Action

G8 NEWS: Information on the Migration Day of Action — "We are here because youare destroying our countries!"

Movements of refugees and migrants are increasing worldwide. From Los Angeles to Paris to Seoul, no one can ignore the global dimension and growing significance of migrants and refugee struggles. These struggles are as much a reaction to the massive plundering and continuing devastation in the global south by the north as they are a demand for social equality. It is precisely the G8 governments, together with transnational corporations and international organisations like the WTO,IWF and World Bank, that are responsible for not only maintaining a global apartheid regime, but also for solidifying and intensifying it.

"We are here because you are destroying our countries " is the slogan of refugee organizations, which is directed toward the whole array of theG8's neocolonial strategies: Against debt policies which impose price increases and privatization measures under so-called structural readjustment programs; against the devastation of local economies leading to increasing impoverishment of these countries; against the plundering of their resources; and last but not least, against the direct or indirect support of dictators and warlords.On June 4th, beginning in the early morning, actions related to theissue of migration will take place all over the city of Rostock.

(Click here to read more)

Baghdad Burns, Calgary Booms by Naomi Klein

Baghdad Burns, Calgary Booms by Naomi Klein

The invasion of Iraq has set off what could be the largest oil boom in history. All the signs are there: multinationals free to gobble up national firms at will, ship unlimited profits home, enjoy leisurely "tax holidays" and pay a laughable 1 percent in royalties to the government. This isn't the boom in Iraq sparked by the proposed new oil law--that will come later. This boom is already in full swing, and it is happening about as far away from the carnage in Baghdad as you can get, in the wilds of northern Alberta. For four years now, Alberta and Iraq have been connected to each other through a kind of invisible seesaw: As Baghdad burns, destabilizing the entire region and sending oil prices soaring, Calgary booms.

Here is how chaos in Iraq unleashed what the Financial Times recently called "north America's biggest resources boom since the Klondike gold rush." Albertans have always known that in the northern part of their province, there are vast deposits of bitumen--black, tarlike goo that is mixed with sand, clay, water and oil. There are approximately 2.5 trillion barrels of the stuff, the largest hydrocarbon deposits in the world.

(Click here to read more)

Shut Down of Immigration Detention Center in Houston

Protest of Immigration Detention Center in Houston

Today, June 4th, the Dissent! Network in Europe has called for a Global Day of Action for freedom of movement and equal rights for all! We here in Houston, Texas, USA have heard this call to action and share the same concerns as our brothers and sisters in Europe and all over the world who are taking action today in solidarity with migrants and refugees of the global economy.

Here in the United States, a rising xenophobic sentiment in large parts of the population is being fed and exploited by politicians who are scapegoating immigrants and this system that is stratifying the working class. To this end we have chosen to commit an act of civil disobedience, blocking gates to the "Houston Processing Center"; an Immigrant Detention Facility in North Houston run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CCA is a company that turns a profit of over a billion dollars a year by administering prisons for state and federal governments. They run the notorious Don T. Hutto Facility in Taylor Texas, a converted jail that imprisons asylum seekers and children. These children are subject to inhumane treatment and ICE/CCA denied access to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants this past month as he tried to investigate the conditions at the Hutto Facility. By the fall of 2007 ICE will spend an estimated 1 billion dollars a year to detain over 27,500 people. ICE operates eight Service Processing Centers and seven contract detention facilities such as Hutto, Raymondville and the Houston Processing Center, all three run by CCA. We decided we had to put our bodies on the line in an effort to slow down and expose the oppression and exploitation of immigrants by the capitalist economic order, the US Government and the US Prison Industrial Complex. We condemn the policies of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Corrections Corporation of America. We recognize this escalation of raids and deportations are not a fundamentally new development, but part of a continued effort to terrorize our communities for the sake of maintaining an unjust social order.

(Click here to read more)

Canada in Afghanistan

Canada in Afghanistan By MICHAEL NEUMANN

For many Canadian partisans of The Mission in Afghanistan, Canada is just fighting the good fight. Their attitudes are curiously anachronistic, as if our boys have gone off to stick it to Jerry. There are yellow-ribbon support-our-troops stickers on many cars; there's home town pride. Embedded correspondents produce little more than a stream of human interest pieces, as if Afghanistan was some enormous Katrina aftermath. You'd probably find something similar in Norway, Finland, and other Nice Countries that have sent troops over there. Perhaps Americans would feel the same way were the whole Afghanistan question not obscured by the much more spectacular disaster of Iraq.

The opponents of The Mission sound wimpy. They say it's not a peace-keeping operation-- so what? Is nothing else ever justified, under any circumstances? They point out that the mission doesn't have popular support. Again, so what? Can't something unpopular be right? They claim it helps the Americans, but the Americans, really, are beyond help, and Canadian assistance isn't about to turn US idiocy into success. They protest that civilians are being killed. True: one might add that 'collateral damage' is a rather abstract way to describe tearing off a child's face and going 'oops'. However all modern wars, because they involve air power, inevitably involve collateral damage, so only a complete pacifist could find this objection decisive. Should we not tell other countries or societies how to run their lives, ever? How about Rwanda?

(Click here to read more)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Campout and Rally in Support of Iraj Ghahramani


==> CONTINUE TO EMAIL/FAX/WRITE LETTERS (click here for template and backgrounder)

Supporters of Iraj Ghahremani have decided to maintain a 24-hour continuous presence and campout outside Citizenship and Immigration offices indefinetely to place pressure on the government to stop the unjust deportation of Mr. Ghahremani.

Mr. Ghahramani is a well known comedic Iranian entertainer and has contributed greatly to the diverse community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply respected and loved by many. Mr. Ghahramani arrived in Canada on April 3,1999 and filed a refugee claim on the basis of the risk and persecution he faced in Iran. His rejection was based mostly on minor inconsistencies in his account in his application form versus his account during the hearing- speaking no English and in a state of high stress and anxiety. Because the government has failed to implement the appeal process required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002), Mr. Ghahramani’s fate has essentially rested in the hands of one person. As with so many other refugees, Mr. Ghahramani’s refusal is a reflection of the structurally flawed refugee system.We hope you will join in the struggle for dignity for Iraj.

* Spread the word about the rally on Saturday May 26 at 2 pm.

* To call and leave a message of solidarity at the campout, please call 778 552 2099.

* Drop by the campout whenever you can and share your solidarity: leave messages for Iraj, sign a letter, bring supplies (water, blankets etc).

* Sign up for a shift (even 1 hour sometime in the next few days) at the campout if you are able to. Please email us at noii-van@resist.ca or call 778 840 2009.

* We have received hundreds of support letters for Iraj- thank you! Pleasecontinue to call/fax/email Minister Stockwell Day and Minister Diane Finley to demand that they stop this deportation. Click here for SAMPLE LETTER .

* If you are interested in getting together a group of coworkers, members of your group, or members of your community to express your collective solidarity with Iraj, we would encourage you to organize a coordinated delegation to arrive at one time and pressure CIC to stop the deportation of Iraj. Please do contact us about this possibility at noii-van@resist.ca or call 778 885 0040.

Please stay in touch if you would like to receive future updates and thankyou for your ongoing support. In solidarity, No One is Illegal Vancouver

For more information, email noii-van@resist.ca or call 778 885 0040

Deportation looms for Vancouver's 'Dancing Santa

Deportation looms for Vancouver's 'Dancing Santa'. Canadian Border Services Agency extends Iranian's removal date to June 3 as Persian community rallies around activist

VANCOUVER -- Refugee claimant Iraj Ghahremani, 70, has danced as a "Santa Claus" in North Vancouver's Iranian new year festivals since he fled Iran in 1999. But now that Canada has denied him refugee status and ordered Mr. Ghahremani deported next week, the Iranian community fears it will lose a dancer much-loved by children, and that Mr. Ghahremani will be imprisoned in a country where it is forbidden to dance in public. Mr. Ghahremani and his lawyers are hoping to delay the deportation long enough to argue that his dancing - as well as his political activism - will mean imprisonment and punishment in Iran. Canada should let him stay, they say. "I want to bring happiness to the Persian community," Mr. Ghahremani said.

(Click here to read more)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Urgent Appeal to Support Iraj Ghahramani

Urgent Appeal to Support Iraj Ghahramani

This is an appeal for your support in the campaign to stop the imminent deportation of Iraj Ghahremani, a 70 year old, much loved member of the Iranian Community in the Greater Vancouver Area. His deportation date is scheduled for the end of May 2007.

Mr. Ghahremani is a famous comedic Iranian entertainer and has contributed greatly to the diverse community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply respected and loved by many.

Mr. Ghahremani arrived in Canada on April 3, 1999 and filed a refugee claim on the basis of the risk and persecution he faced in Iran. His rejection was based mostly on minor inconsistencies in his account in his application form versus his account during the hearing- speaking no English and in a state of high stress and anxiety. Because the government has failed to implement the appeal process required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002), Mr. Ghahremani’s fate has essentially rested in the hands of one person. As with so many other refugees, Mr. Ghahremani’s refusal is a reflection of the structurally flawed refugee system.

In 2007, Mr. Ghahremani filed a humanitarian and compassionate claim on the basis of his establishment within Canada, which included over 800 letters of support from community members. However this application was recently refused; primarily on the grounds that he has been receiving social assistance. As a senior, he is unable to pursue the difficult low-wage jobs that many immigrants and refugees are forced to take upon arrival to Canada. Furthermore, he has in fact worked intermittently over the past 8 years. This assessment ignores the reality that Mr. Ghahremani has contributed greatly through other means, that he has built a strong network in Vancouver, and that his value as a human being and as a senior cannot be simply quantified by his access to paid employment.

He has multiple family members here, firstly his wife with whom he is in a committed and loving relationship and who is a Canadian citizen. Their lives would be devastated, particularly as seniors who rely on each other greatly for support, friendship, and care giving, if they were to be separated by his deportation. Mr. Ghahremani’s sister and four-half brothers and their respective families also reside in Vancouver. His father, who was accepted in Canada as a refugee, also lived in Vancouver. Mr. Ghahremani was the primary provider and care-giver to his ailing father until he passed away in 2004.

Mr. Ghahremani’s physical health is fragile. His emotional health has been deeply impacted by the loss of his father and the daily anxiety and stress of a pending deportation and family separation.

We are seeking your support to assist Mr. Ghahremani, who faces increased risk of unreasonable hardship if he is deported to Iran due to his age, ill health, and lack of support in Iran. At his age Mr. Ghahremani already struggles to live a dignified life. He requires the support of his wife, brother, and sister for support, and since he has no family remaining in Iran he would not be able to care for himself if deported.

We are seeking your support to pressure the government to allow Mr. Ghahremani to stay in Canada with his wife and family. PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!

In solidarity, No One is Illegal Vancouver. For more information, email noii-van@resist.ca or call 778 885 0040

======> SAMPLE LETTER <========

Diane Finley Fédéral Immigration Ministre Ottawa Telephone: (613) 996-4974 Ottawa Fax: (613) 996-9749 Constituency Office Telephone: (519) 426-3400 Constituency Office Fax: (519) 426-0003 Email: minister@cic.gc.ca and Finley.D@parl.gc.ca

Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Phone: 613.995.1702 or in Riding: 250.770.4480 Email: Day.S@parl.gc.ca and days1@parl.gc.ca Fax: (613) 943-0044 or in Riding: 250.770.4484

Dear Minister Findlay and Day,

Regarding: Iraj Ghahramani

I am writing to express my concern about the imminent deportation of Iraj Ghahremani, a 70 year old, much loved member of the Iranian Community in the Greater Vancouver Area. I am writing to ask that you use your ministerial discretion to set aside his deportation order and grant him Permanent Residency status.

Mr. Ghahremani has been living North Vancouver as a valuable member of the community for approximately 8 years. He has been married to a Canadian Citizen with whom he is in a committed and loving relationship. Their lives would be devastated, particularly as seniors who rely on each other greatly for support, friendship, and care giving, if they were to be separated by his deportation. Mr. Ghahremani’s sister and four-half brothers and their respective families also reside in Vancouver.

He is also a famous comedic entertainer and has contributed greatly to the rich and diverse culture of community in North Vancouver. As a helpful and supportive elder and member of his community, he is deeply loved and respected by many.

Mr. Ghahremani’s physical health is fragile. His emotional health has been deeply impacted by the loss of his father and the daily anxiety and stress of a pending deportation and family separation. Mr. Ghahremani faces increased risk of unreasonable hardship if he is deported to Iran due to his age, ill health and lack of support in Iran.

I am writing to you to express my support for Mr. Ghahremani and to urge you to stop all removal orders against him and granting him residency status in Canada immediately.



Why Canadians side with militant Indians

By any measure, indigenous people are right on several major issues. May 20, 2007. By Richard Day

It is well known in all quarters that the job of Phil Fontaine, as the head of the Assembly of First Nations, is to moderate long-standing tensions between his constituents and the Canadian government.

That's why it was rather surprising when Fontaine, speaking recently to the harrumphing curmudgeons at the Canadian Club, said that indigenous peoples and agents of the Canadian state are more likely to be meeting on the barricades than in the boardrooms this summer. That's enough to put any captain of industry off his lunch, to be sure, and it should be of concern to all of us.

(Click here to read more)

Honduras to US: Stop Deportations

Tegucigalpa, May 23 (Prensa Latina)

A record number of Honduran people deported from the US to that Central American country amounted to 8,546 this year, disclosed a source from Government Ministry Wednesday.

Rosario Murillo warned the ones deported by airplanes chartered by the US Migration Service might be more than 42,000 in 2007.

Murillo explained other 4,063 people were deported by land from Guatemala and Mexico. In general, she pointed out that the number of repatriates has gradually increased, while in 2006 US authorities expelled 24,666 undocumented, and in 2005 it was 18,941 deported.

(Click here to read more)

Collateral Genocide

Wrecking Iraq: One Million Dead, 2 Million Wounded,
3 Million Displaced. By MIKE FERNER. May 11, 2007

Two elements are necessary to commit the crime of genocide:

1) the mental element, meaning intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, and

2) the physical element, which includes any of the following: killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; or forcibly transferring children to another group.

Considering that such clear language comes from a UN treaty which is legally binding on our country, things could start getting a little worrisome -- especially when you realize that since our government declared economic and military warfare on Iraq we've killed well over one million people, fast approaching two.

(Click here to read more)

Depleted Uranium - The US Army has contaminated Hawaii!

KITV Hawaii Video - Hawaii Depleted Uranium - Leuren Moret/ Bob Nichols Commentary - No Place is Safe. The US Army has contaminated Hawaii!

T his is a devastating video on the use of forever lethal uranium weapons by the US Army in the former Paradise of Hawaii. The Army has contaminated Hawaii forever with a form of highly radioactive and deadly uranium weapons.

KITV Hawaii - Depleted Uranium Hawaii (2 Mins 33 Seconds)

(Click here to read more)

100 suspected illegal workers arrested

By MARCUS KABEL, Associated Press Writer. May 23, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Federal immigration agents raided a poultry plant Tuesday morning and arrested more than 100 workers who are believed to be illegal immigrants.

Most of those arrested at the George's processing plant in rural Butterfield were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, said Pete Baird, an agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations office in Kansas City.

(Click here to read more)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Immigration Raid Leaves Sense of Dread in Hispanic Students

By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN. May 23, 2007. WILLMAR, Minn.

The day before everything happened, Alex Sorto left Willmar High School as usual at 2:30, and grabbed a ride to his night job as a janitor at the Jennie-O turkey processing plant. He had been working there for four months, saving money for college tuition, and hoping to study art even though his mother wanted him to be a lawyer.

(Click here to read more)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Iraqi refugees overwhelming Syria

ALISTAIR LYON. Reuters. May 18, 2007

DAMASCUS — Syria may eventually try to restrain a flood of more than a million Iraqi refugees fleeing a nightmare that could get worse, international aid officials say.

The influx, swelled by 30,000 to 40,000 newcomers a month, is straining the resources of a country that has so far upheld an open-door policy dictated by its Arab nationalist ideology.

(Click here to read more)

Feds crack down on immigrant labor organizers

by David Bacon. May 19, 2007. The American Prospect

Red Springs, North Carolina (5/10/07) -- To organizer Eduardo Peña, "the raid was like a nuclear bomb" - more precisely, a neutron bomb, that ingenious weapon of the cold war whose radiation was meant to kill a city's residents, but leave its buildings standing. After the immigration raid of January 24 at the Smithfield pork slaughtering plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, the factory was still intact. The machinery of the production lines was fully functional, ready to clank and clatter into its normal motion. But many workers were gone, and much of the plant lay still.

That day the migra [agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Homeland Security Department] picked up 21 people, while trying not to alert the rest of the plant's laborers. One by one, supervisors went to Mexicans on the line. You're needed in the front office, they'd say. The workers would put down their knives, take off their gloves, and walk through the cavernous building to the human resources department. There ICE agents took them into custody, put them in handcuffs, and locked them up in a temporary detention area. Later, they were taken out in vans and sent to immigration jails as far away as Georgia.

(Click here to read more)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers

Bipartisan Senate plan would deepen exploitation of immigrant workers By Barry Grey18 May 2007

A group of Democratic and Republicans senators on Thursday announced a bipartisan proposal to overhaul the US immigration system that contains punitive measures against undocumented workers currently in the US and regressive provisions that would prevent future immigrants from bringing parents, adult children or other family members into the country. Details of the proposed legislation, which runs 380 pages, remain sketchy. However, certain key points are clear.

The plan contains discriminatory and anti-democratic language provisions, requiring immigrants seeking permanent legal status to learn English, and mandates a massive expansion, to 18,000, of the border patrol police, the erection of 370 additional miles of fencing on the US-Mexican border, and a hi-tech employment verification system for immigrant workers. It would also establish temporary worker programs to vastly expand the number of immigrant workers brought into the country to serve as highly exploited cheap labor for agribusiness and other corporate interests. The plan would allow most undocumented workers who entered the US before January 1 to receive a temporary residency permit until they obtained a “Z Visa,” which would enable them to live and work in the US legally. However, they would have to pay a $5,000 fine and administrative costs before receiving the “Z Visa,” and face the prospect of waiting eight to thirteen years before achieving permanent residency.

(Click here to read more)

U.S. town opposes "Big Brother" Mexico border fence

U.S. town opposes "Big Brother" Mexico border fence Wed May 16, 2007 2:07PM EDT By Tim Gaynor

ARIVACA, Arizona (Reuters) - A pilot project to place a high-tech network of surveillance towers along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border has met boisterous opposition in this Arizona town, where some residents call it "Big Brother." The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is installing a network of nine towers with ground radar and night vision cameras to monitor a 28-mile (45-km) stretch of border near Arivaca, southwest of Tucson.

It is the first trial for the communications and technology arm of the government's Secure Border Initiative announced in 2005. Dubbed "SBInet," authorities say it will be extended across some 6,000 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders in segments in coming years. Residents of this remote, high desert ranching town of 1,500 people have packed four public meetings in recent weeks to oppose the project, which is due to go live at the end of next month. "It's like Big Brother. It will place the whole town under surveillance," community activist C Hues told Reuters as residents gathered for a meeting late on Tuesday with CBP and Border Patrol representatives. "The government will be able to watch and record every movement we make, 24 hours a day. It will be like living in a prison yard," she added.

(Click here to read more)

Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights

Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights & June 10 March by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation; May 19, 2007

On 15 May 2007, 22 Black American professors, writers, religious figures, and other leaders issued a call to Black America to join in the June 10 March and rally, and break the silence on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

To Black America:

It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation. On June 10th, the national coalition known as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (endtheoccupation.org) will be spearheading a march and rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. We, the signatories of this appeal, ask that Black America again take a leading role in this effort as well as the broader work to bring attention to this 40 year travesty of justice.

(Click here to read more)

The new sanctuary movement

The fight against deportations The new sanctuary movement by Lee Sustar; May 18, 2007

A NEW faith-based movement to “awaken the moral imagination of the country” hopes to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants whose deportation would break up families. Calling themselves the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM)--a nod to the 1980s effort to assist refugees from Central America fleeing the carnage of U.S.-sponsored wars--churches and religious activist groups held press conferences around the U.S. May 9 to announce plans “to protect immigrant workers and families from unjust deportation” by giving shelter and material aid to the undocumented.

The initiative comes in the wake of efforts by immigrant rights activists to pressure local governments for sanctuary city policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. On May 8, Watsonville, Calif., became the latest city to declare itself an immigrant sanctuary. In other cities like Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland, activists have pressed city officials to reaffirm existing policies of refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

(Click here to read more)

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate by Cynthia L. Cooper; WOMENSENEWS; May 19, 2007

In preparation for the march for immigrant rights that drew tens of thousands to Chicago's streets on May 1, 2007, Anita Rico stenciled T-shirts with the face of the woman who most inspires her: Elvira Arellano. Since last August Arellano, an undocumented immigrant, has been holed up in a small Chicago church with her U.S.-born 8-year-old son Saul to avoid an order of deportation back to Mexico.

"She gave a face to the crisis that is going on," said Rico, a youth coordinator at Centro Sin Fronteras, a community advocacy group in Chicago. "The way the government is treating people, especially women, is very inhumane. She's taking a stance. It's how Rosa Parks took a stance. We're literally turning the pages of history." Arellano, named one of the People Who Mattered in 2006 by Time magazine, co-founded the Chicago-based United Latino Family, which lobbies to keep together U.S.-born children and undocumented parents. Before taking sanctuary, she spoke from the podium at an immigration reform march in Chicago. Arellano's recognition level was so high during the 2006 elections that photos of her and Saul were used to get out the Latino vote.

(Click here to read more)

WTO blamed for India grain suicides

WTO blamed for India grain suicides By Laurence Lee in Punjab.

Vandana Shiva, an anti-WTO campaigner, blames farmers' woes on the 'twisted trickery of WTO rules'

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is meeting in Brussels to try to salvage talks to bolster world commerce, focusing on the issue of agricultural trade. Rich countries want more access to emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil. But for India's 650 million farmers, the negotiations are reaping little but hardship.

The farmers of Punjab are seriously unhappy. As they sit in the summer heat, their union leader lists the problems he knows they are facing: pressure from imports, poverty, even suicide.

(Click here to read more)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One Billion To Be Displaced By 2050

One Billion To Be Displaced By 2050 By Agence France Presse

LONDON - At least one billion people risk fleeing their homes over the next four decades because of conflicts and natural disasters that will worsen with global warming, a relief agency warned Monday. In a report, British-based Christian Aid said countries worldwide, especially the poorest, are now facing the greatest forced migration ever — one that will dwarf those displaced by World War II. In what at the time amounted to “the largest population displacement in modern history,” it said, 66 million people were displaced across Europe by May 1945, in addition to the many millions more in China.

Today there are an estimated 163 million people worldwide who have been displaced by factors like conflict, drought and flooding as well as economic development projects like dams, logging and grain plantations, it said. “We believe that forced migration is now the most urgent threat facing poor people in the developing world,” said John Davison, author of “Human Tide: the real migration crisis.”

(Click here to read more)

Social Change and Building the Ties That Bind

Social Change and Building the Ties That Bind 15 May 2007 by Raúl Zibechi

“The question of power is not resolved by taking the government palace, which is easy and has been done many times, but rather by the building of new social relations,” said João Pedro Stedile, coordinator of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), at the 2005 World Social Forum. His comment reflects a new vision of social change, one that until recently was almost exclusively promoted by the Zapatistas of Chiapas, but that has been gaining traction in prominent sectors of Latin America’s new social movements.

Among the region’s most important social movements, the growing sense is that activists should concentrate on constructing social relations different from hegemonic ones, relations anchored in horizontality and reciprocity. Indigenous movements in Bolivia, Mexico and Ecuador, the landless in Brazil and the unemployed and recovered factory workers of Argentina all have something extremely important in common: their strength is born from the building of communitarian relations in the geographic territories they occupy.

(Click here to read more)

General Strike Paralyzes Pakistan

General Strike Paralyzes Pakistan By TARIQ ALI

Sixty years old this August, Pakistan has been under de facto military rule for exactly half of its life. Military leaders have usually been limited to a ten-year cycle: Ayub Khan (1958-69), Zia-ul-Haq (1977-89). The first was removed by a nation-wide insurrection lasting three months. The second was assassinated. According to this political calendar, Pervaiz Musharraf still has another year and a half to go, but events happen.

On 9 March this year the President suspended the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Unlike some of his colleagues, the Judge in question, Iftikhar Chowdhry, had not resigned at the time of the coup, but like previous Supreme Courts, had acquiesced to the bogus 'doctrine of necessity' that is always used to judicially justify a military take-over. He was not known for judicial activism and the charges against him are related to a ' corrupt misuse of his office', but its hardly a secret that Chowdhry's recent judgements against the Government on a number of key issues, including the rushed privatisation of the Karachi Steel Mills in Karachi, the demand that 'disappeared' political activists be produced in court and taking rape victims seriously, panicked Islamabad. Might this turbulent judge go so far and declare the military presidency unconstitutional? Paranoia set in.

(Click here to read more)

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham

Delivering 'Framed' John Graham: He faces a US murder warrant. New evidence suggests he's the victim of smears.by Rex Weyler

On Thursday, Tuchone-Canadian John Graham, from the Yukon, enters a Vancouver courtroom to appeal his extradition to the United States on the charge of killing fellow activist Anna Mae Aquash 31 years ago. Graham says he has been framed by the U.S. to cover the government's own complicity in the murder. Meanwhile, a week ago, a former UBC professor and Amnesty International veteran, Dr. Jennifer Wade, received a chilling letter from U.S. prisoner Leonard Peltier that lends credibility to Graham's story. In April, former American Indian Movement (AIM) member Bob Robideau toured B.C., claiming to represent Peltier and accusing Graham of the murder. The Peltier letter casts doubt on Robideau's claims.

In the 1970s, Graham from Yukon and Aquash from Nova Scotia traveled independently to South Dakota, where vigilantes had killed literally hundreds of traditional native leaders. Some 300 murders of native people in and around South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, during a "reign of terror"
in the 1970s, remain unsolved. The FBI arrested Aquash many times and urged her to become an informant. She later told AIM lawyers that agent David Price threatened that if she did not cooperate "you won't live out the year." A South Dakota rancher found her body on February 24, 1976.

Although she had been shot with .32 calibre bullet in the back of the head, an FBI pathologist reported that she died of exposure. FBI agent Price claimed not to recognize her, and the government buried her in a nameless pauper's grave after severing her hands. When the body was later exhumed, the FBI story unraveled. Now, 31 years later, they claim AIM ordered the murder and that Graham pulled the trigger. Naturally, many native leaders suspect dirty tricks.

(Click here to read more)

Special Economic Zones - Neoliberal "Enclosures" In India

Special Economic Zones - Neoliberal "Enclosures" In India By Soumitra Bose

Specially Enclosed Zones for forming Capital through production or servicing within a nation-state and without the encumbrances of law of the native land is what gets called as Special Economic Zone (SEZ). What speciality of Economy this zone is going to provide is hazy not only from the content point of view but even from every angle of view one looks at it. Can a nation state, by definition, have multiple "economies" within its territorial boundary? Can an "Economy" be quantified through any stretchable definition of qualification as one co-existing with "others"? Is the usage of "Economy" over determined by factors other than "Economy" or if not then where is the line drawn to distinguish the exchange mechanism or production process or even production relation with the regulating rules relating to human rights, social benefits and even simple polity of the nation-state?

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Under-reported Indigenous Struggles

Some under-reported Indigenous Struggles and our need to be aware of them

In my day to day research I encounter many stories about different actions and events around the world which seem to go largely unnoticed.. I think it’s important that we are aware of them, particularly so we can take the time to know and understand their nature — which is especially important as more and more call for organizational change, and a fundamental shift in the general approach and goals of the movements and social actions we ourselves engage in.
In regard to this, I put together a select list of actions that took place over the 61 days of March and April. In doing so, it’s my hope that people will take a moment to think about each one as they relate to the actions and movements in colonial, civil society - particularly with regard to our own perceptions of how we stand, to the perceptions of indigenous people, and how they do.

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The Nakba has Never Ended

The Nakba has Never Ended Julia Pitner, The Electronic Intifada, 15 May 2007

With the celebration of Israel's 59th year of independence comes the mourning of the 59th year of what the Palestinians call Al-Nakba -- the disaster. Israel celebrated its Independence this week by "locking down" the Palestinians in their towns and villages through the total closure of all checkpoints encircling major Palestinian population centers. This year, the Palestinians will remember their nearly six decades of dispossession by marking the expulsion of vast majority of the people; splitting up of families; and the creation of hundred's of thousands of refugees, many of whom remain refugees today. They will remember the villages that no longer exist and the family farmlands that are now Israeli cities, shopping malls, forests, farms, and highways, places that Palestinians are not even allowed to visit. But those who remain in Palestine will also remember that they are still here, and they will swear that they will never again be forced to leave their lands and families. But this is a difficult oath to keep, not only because of IDF brutality, but also because of the structural, systematic violence of Israeli bureaucracy.

The sad truth is that while the Palestinians commemorate the Nakba of 1948, the disaster is ongoing up until today. Now, however, the oppression is subtler than the forced marches of the citizens of Ramla, the forced exodus of hundreds of thousands, or those who fled from violence or from the fear and confusion about what the Jewish militias were threatening or the Arab governments promising. It is a slow, forced exodus that is not exciting enough to warrant any airtime or column space. We are witnessing the slow but sure strangulation of Palestinian culture and existence in their homeland through Israeli bureaucratic policies and strategies. Palestinians are a people being squeezed to death, not only by a wall that cuts off farmers from their ancestral lands and splits families in two, but also by a system of paper, permits, proof, and permissions.

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