This Camera Kills Fascists

If you are going to any G20 demo please make sure you have a camera + good batteries and spares (also spare tape, memory cards whatever). Stills are better than nothing, video with sound is best. Get a good mix of close ups of action and longer shots to show the context, both are essential. When it’s the fuzz’s word against yours they will always get away with it unless there is documentary evidence plus it will make it untenable for corporate media to whitewash police violence if it is all over the web. By most signs the fuzz plan on using a great deal of violence to protect the ruling classes pursuit of Shock Doctrine ‘reforms’. Good luck, take care!

Free Country

From Indymedia

Staff who work for the Welsh Train company Arriva were handed this message today, I’m presuming other rail staff across the UK were given similar messages:

“As you are most probably aware from news reports it is anticipated that there may be some public disorder asocaited with the G20 meeting in London on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd April 2009.

Whilst our services are very unlikely to be directly affected by the event, it is possible that they will be used by passengers intending to make their way to demonstrate in London.

Therefore British Transport Police are asking staff to report any sightings that meet the following general description of activities:

* Groups of travellers wearing noticeable themed clothing, for example same large logo or coloured shirts etc
* Any noticebale groups who are beleived to be travelling to London
* Any groups carrying banners or posters
* Any group bookings to London that day/s

If any groups are seen that meet the above please forward details of time, locatins, description and numbers to BTP control Rooms on wither the normal control room number

0800405040 or

ON THE DAY of the event a direct phone line of Intenral 004 1123 or External 02078301123

BTP welcome any possible information that can be supplied and emphasise that even the smallest piece of information can be useful

Can you please pass on this request to all relevant staff”

Land Day

The people in Palestine are mobilizing for the 32nd annual commemoration of Land Day, happening March 30. Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration that occurred in the Galilee against a wide-scale land confiscation, when Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, injured 96 and arrested 300.

Today, the Land Day protests of the people in Palestine and around the world are focused on the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The call for a global day of action on March 30 came out of the World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil) and aims to promote BDS as the most effective tool to stop Israeli policies of land theft and colonization and the discrimination, massacres and ethnic cleansing that have been carried out against the Palestinian people in pursuit of these goals.

FreeGaza have announced plans for a flotilla of aid ships-

We are looking for ships wishing to join the Hope Fleet and sail to Gaza in late May, and we are looking for high-profile people, including parliamentarians and celebrities, who want to join us and demand that a besieged Gaza cannot forever remain an open-air prison with no access to the world. The Free Gaza Movement will continue to challenge Israel’s brutal policies. We will go to Gaza again, and again, and again, until the Israeli siege is broken and the people of Gaza have access to the rest of the world.

If you are interested in joining or supporting this action, please email Iristulip(at)gmail.com. We will begin collecting names and information as we ready for this historic voyage. With your help, we will make the HOPE FLEET a reality.

For more information, please visit our website: www.FreeGaza.org

There is also a good post about the debate over BDS @ MondoWeiss which concentrates on the In These Times cover story where Naomi Klein (author of The Shock Doctrine) and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, (director of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia) talk over the issue.

Naomi Klein: The hard right seems to be strengthening all on its own, if we judge by the results of the recent Israeli elections. But I’ve noticed a change within Israel. I got quite a few e-mails from Israelis saying, “I’ve always opposed this, but I feel that it is the only option left.” I think that’s a reflection of the feeling of desperation among progressive Israelis who are watching their country move hard right and seeing the level of violence increase exponentially.

Still wondering about a boycott, the Israeli football team will get pep talks from the commander of the Givati Brigade, they can perhaps wear these t-shirts under their kit then do that pully up thing when they score a goal. Certainly there is variance in approaches among well meaning people, so this is worth reading, the MondoWeiss post also mentions that old canard about whither the Palestinian Gandhi?– where is the Palestinian non-violent movement? The answer is there is one try opening your eyes-

MondoWeiss:- Waskow, who supported BDS against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, wishes that Palestinians would learn the lessons from the U.S. civil rights movement and organize nonviolent sit-ins, presumably to help Americans – and clearly American Jews – see their human desire is for peace, not the destruction of Israel.  He criticizes Hamas for not organizing boats to Gaza in the model of the Free Gaza movement initiated by ISM, as if this were truly an option available toHamas.

What Waskow (and other “peace” activists who claim to be searching for the Palestinian Gandhi who will lead Palestinians to freedom) fails to mention in the discussion is any acknowledgment of the overwhelming nonviolent response by Palestinians to decades of Israeli military occupation, including in Gaza. Where does he cite the human chain initiated by Palestinians across Gaza calling for unity and an end to the siege (that was dismissed as propaganda in the west)? What about Palestinian attempts to maintain survival by digging tunnels to Egypt as an act of nonviolent resistance to international attempts to blockade, isolate and imprison 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza?  Or all the diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire and truce initiated and upheld by Hamas? Why does Waskow not mention the weekly protests in Bi’lin – which regularly include Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals in collective nonviolent action – as well as the daily acts of courageous nonviolence at checkpoints all over the West Bank? Do the Palestinians need to set up a lunch counter to get the west and Waskow to see their nonviolent efforts to end occupation?

It is also I think in some unexamined way a slightly racist lack of knowledge, a lack of curiosity of the actual history based in some part on the (essentialist?) idea certain peoples are naturally more violent than others. James @ Mahatma X Files also has a good post on the non-violent ‘Gandhi’ concern trolls and says it better than me. And of course the concern trolls need to spend a bit more time seeing just what is the actual ‘peace process’ as in is there one?

Seymour Hersh reports some mixed messages from the Obama team-

The Obama transition team also helped persuade Israel to end the bombing of Gaza and to withdraw its ground troops before the Inauguration. According to the former senior intelligence official, who has access to sensitive information, “Cheney began getting messages from the Israelis about pressure from Obama” when he was President-elect. Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a “pro-Palestinian,” who would not support their efforts (and, in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would “never make it in the major leagues”). But the Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of “smart bombs” and other high-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel. “It was Jones”—retired Marine General James Jones, at the time designated to be the President’s national-security adviser—“who came up with the solution and told Obama, ‘You just can’t tell the Israelis to get out.’ ” (General Jones said that he could not verify this account; Cheney’s office declined to comment.)

Oh that Dick Cheney, never happier than when he’s getting people killed.  And funnily enough on this day when people debate BDS BBC Worldwide has sold the rights for an Israeli version of The Office, maybe they’ll have a token Palestinian…expelled from their desk.

Posted in Israel-Palestine, Militarism. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Land Day

B-52’s Can’t Commit Genocide, Only The Khmer Rouge Can Do That

Yet again US bombing of Cambodia escapes scrutiny, but China’s role might be seen-

Analysis by Marwaan Macan-Markar PHNOM PENH, Mar 30 (IPS) Excerpt- Already, Noam Chomsky, linguist and trenchant critic of Washington’s foreign policy has fired a salvo ahead the opening session of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), as the tribunal is formally known.

On Monday, Kaing Khek Eav, or ‘Duch,’ took the stand at the ECCC to mark the beginning of the tribunal, which comes 30 years after the extremist Maoist group was driven out of power by Vietnamese troops.

Duch was the chief jailor of Tuol Sleng, a former high school in the Cambodian capital, which became the largest detention and torture centre of the Khmer Rouge.

Between 12,380 to 14,000 men, women and children were tortured and then killed under Duch’s watch. Many victims were accused of having links with the U.S. spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Only 11 people survived.

In all, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people, nearly a quarter of the country’s population at that time, as they sought, between April 1975 and June 1979, to create an agrarian utopia.

But, as Chomsky asserts in the ‘Phnom Penh Post’, an English-language daily, the Khmer Rouge’s brutality against fellow Cambodia citizens did not emerge out of a political vacuum.

Chomsky points a finger at leading figures of the U.S. political establishment like Henry Kissinger, a member of the late president Richard Nixon’s administration, who should also be held accountable for creating the conditions that paved the way for the rise the Khmer Rouge.

‘’It (the trial) shouldn’t be limited to the Cambodians,’’ says Chomsky in an interview that appeared on the weekend. ‘’An international trial that doesn’t take into account Henry Kissinger or other authors of the American bombings and the support of the KR (Khmer Rouge) after they were kicked out of the country, that’s just a farce.’’

‘’The records say that the US wanted to ‘use anything that flies against anything that moves’ (during the bombing of Cambodia), which led to five times the bombing that was reported before, greater that all bombings in all theatres of World War Two, which helped create the Khmer Rouge,’’ he asserted.

Washington began flying sorties over Cambodia in the mid-1960s to crush parts of the country being used by North Vietnamese troops. These bombing raids using B-52 planes were kept a secret from the U.S. public for years.

During the Nixon years, from 1969 to 1973, an estimated 500,000 bombs were dropped, resulting in the deaths of close to 600,000 Cambodian men, women and children.

But the relatives of these victims will not have their day in tribunals such as the ECCC.

It stems from the limit of ‘’territorial jurisdiction’’ and ‘’temporal jurisdiction’’ written into the language of the laws to establish the special tribunal.

Washington, in fact, had a role in a placing such limits on how far across geography and time the war crimes tribunal could reach when a law to deal with the genocide in Cambodia was being shaped in the early 1990s.

‘’It is the policy of the United States to support efforts to bring to justice members of the Khmer Rouge for their crimes against humanity committed in Cambodia between April 17, 1975 and January 7, 1979,’’ Washington declared at the time as it threw its weight behind the effort to investigate a grisly period of Cambodia’s past.

China, however, may have more to worry, given its direct role in assisting the Khmer Rouge during the period the ECCC is examining. Beijing reportedly pumped in a billion U.S. dollars to help the Khmer Rouge, in addition to providing other material and diplomatic support.

The Asian giant wanted to draw Cambodia into its orbit to counter the growing influence of its communist adversary, the Soviet Union, and its Vietnamese ally.

Posted in Media. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on B-52’s Can’t Commit Genocide, Only The Khmer Rouge Can Do That

Torture Boys

Mohamed said he was determined that the officer, known only as Officer B, should not be scapegoated. “It’s very important that we get to the truth, for everyone in the future,” he said

So the government in the guise of Baroness Scotland (oh, Labour!) has referred the case of Binyam Mohamed to be investigated by the Met. What exactly is there to investigate? Because we know MI5 was involved, so the govt must know and we know Jack Straw has covered up UK use of information obtained by torture (now tacitly admitted to). So here we are again, a government that has engaged in criminal actions gets another institution to ‘investigate’ the externalities of its criminal policies. Hoping to give the appearance of some naughtiness that no one knew about and a government deeply concerned at getting to the truth.

To the extent this investigation reveals anything prosecutable about senior figures it will be down to the professional pride of detectives willing to buck the institution that employs them, or in other words- don’t hold your breath. Not to mention the Met is acting on behalf of a tortured kidnapped Muslim man, things they are not averse to doing themselves and covering it up for years.

Police officers involved in a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack on a British Muslim man that led the Metropolitan police to pay £60,000 in damages this week have been accused of dozens of previous assaults against black or Asian men.

But the Guardian can reveal that the Met was aware for years that the six officers involved were the subject of repeated complaints. According to documents submitted to the court, four of the officers who carried out the raid on Ahmad’s home had 60 allegations of assault against them – of which at least 37 were made by black or Asian men. One of the officers had 26 separate allegations of assault against him – 17 against black or Asian men.

The Met has confirmed that since 1992 all six officers involved in the Ahmad assault had been subject to at least 77 complaints. When lawyers for Ahmad asked for details of these allegations it emerged that the police had “lost” several large mail sacks detailing at least 30 of the complaints.

A full public judicial inquiry was wanted, this is what the government has done instead so we can also assume this is their tactic for having the appearance of an investigation but one they expect to be able to control by fair means or foul.

Much of the evidence is still being suppressed following gagging orders demanded by David Miliband, the foreign secretary, and the US authorities. Leading politicians and campaigners yesterday said that the issue went far beyond the particular case of Officer B, and that a broader inquiry was needed.

Clearly they hope the Met will not put any of the guilty in jeopardy, other than maybe a sacrificial goat or two. A public enquiry with full subpoena power is the least that is needed to really investigate this. We really need outside investigators from a country not in thrall to us or the US and reporting to the International Criminal Court. Yeah I know.

However- Dear Plod tasked with this, please prove me wrong, go on you’ll enjoy showing a whiny lefty with a blog just how wrong they are. Just one tip though, Tony Blair often has armed bodyguards so when you pull him- full armed response unit. And hey, why not get those officers that offed Jean Charles deMenezes, that Blair is dangerous, he’s heavily implicated in the deaths of over a million people, no point in taking any chances (the rest of the cabinet and Campbell should be easier, they’ll just whine and do the- Don’t you know who I am?- routine).

Meanwhile the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón who went after Pinochet has the six US torture lawyers/weasely cowards in his sights, not quite the top men but pretty close to the top-

  • University of California law professor John Yoo
  • former Department of Defense general counsel William J. Haynes II (now a lawyer working for Chevron)
  • former vice presidential chief-of-staff David Addington
  • former attorney general and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales
  • former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, now a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith

Notice all the eminent positions they now occupy, ain’t the establishment grand? Of course pressure on Spain may derail this, but I think they should welcome proper judicial process, the alternative can be a lot more…summary. If courts fail because they are in thrall to the powerful, then Natural Law has a place. You feel me torture boys?

PS. Update

A claim letter sent to Government lawyers alleges: “UK intelligence services officers were present whilst Mr Aamer was beaten. They provided information and encouragement to his US torturers. They made no attempt to stop his ill-treatment or any enquiries into his well-being.” 

Disappeared

With our police currently threatening demonstrators with violence and possibly invoking anti-terror legislation to repress protest. And the privately owned Association of Chief Police Officers labelling 200 children as potential terrorists. Argentina can give us a lesson in what state repression supporting ‘free’ market fundamentalists and backed by the US can become (of course the good news now is worker owned factories). From Otto @ Inca Kola News, he has thirteen pairs of photos, below is just one pair. Each shows an old photo of family, lovers or friends and then a current recreation but missing the people ‘disappeared’ by the right wing dictatorship.

Update: As per Otto’s request I am posting all the images, there is now some more detail about them-

UNESCO: Argentine photographer Gustavo Germano’s exhibition, “Absences”, explores the universe of the victims of “disappearances” during Argentina’s “Dirty War” (1976-1983). Photos are juxtaposed in pairs, one old and one recent. On the new one, a person is missing. Disappeared for ever, without leaving a trace.

And from Taringa! the orginal post, I’ve paired up the pairs that were posted as separate images and added the text from Taringa where there was some, (the short interview from UNESCO with Germano is posted below the fold after the photos, his site gustavogermano.com), click each for larger image:-

AbsencesGustavo Germano

desa1desa2desa3desa4desa5desa6dsp1dsp2dsp3dsp4dsp5edesa12

edesa13

Read the rest of this entry »

UK Admits To Using ‘Intelligence’ From Torture

Via D-Notice, Craig Murray has found the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) buried under much Orwellian civil servantese, have admitted to it-

Tucked away at Page 15 of its annual Human Rights report, the FCO has finally made a public admission of its use of intelligence from torture.

FCO say-

“The use of intelligence possibly derived through torture
presents a very real dilemma, given our unreserved
condemnation of torture and our efforts to eradicate it.
Where there is intelligence that bears on threats to life, we
cannot reject it out of hand.”

Craig-

It is a piece of mind-blowing hypocrisy. You cannot, in the same paragraph, argue our unreserved condemnation of torture, and that it save lives so we use intelligence from it. I would add that it is also an outright lie. Not a single one of the many pieces of torture intelligence I saw in Uzbekistan had the slightest bearing on saving lives in the UK. In fact the “intelligence” was, on the whole and in detail, highly misleading. Yet the FCO made a very definite policy decision to continue to receive it- because it came from the CIA.

The FCO has in fact under New Labour never rejected any intelligence on the grounds that it came from torture.

The whole post is absolutely essential reading particularly at a time when the govt. is launching a face saving ‘investigation’ which could be cleared up a lot sooner if they just admitted their guilt. It’s like Jack the Ripper asking the Met to look into all these mysterious murders of women…if Jack the Ripper ran the country.