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Public Eye Awards.

Nominated:

Tepco
Against its better judgement, Tepco, Japan’s largest energy company, grossly neglected the structural safety of its atomic power plants in order to cut costs.

Samsung
In its factories, Samsung uses banned and highly-toxic substances without informing and protecting its workers. The result: cancer.

Barclays
Barclays, banking giant and the world’s fastest-growing food speculator, drives up global food prices at the expense of the poorest.

Vale
In the midst of Amazonas rainforest Vale is constructing the Belo-Monte-Dam. 40’000 people are suffering forced eviction.

Syngenta
Despite being banned in Europe Syngenta markets its herbicide Paraquat in the Global South. Thousands of farmers have already died due to the use of the product.

Freeport
For 45 years the US-mining corporation Freeport McMoran pollutes with its mine the environment in West Papua. Those who raise their voice get tortured or killed.
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Yemen women burn face veils to protest attacks

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of Yemeni women have set fire to a pile of female face and body veils on a main street in Sanaa to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising.

The act of women burning their clothing is a symbolic Bedouin tribal gesture signifying an appeal for help to tribesmen.

Wednesday's protest comes as clashes intensify between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and renegade fighters who have sided with the opposition in demands that the president step down.

Medical and local officials say up to 25 civilians, tribal fighters and government soldiers died overnight in Sanaa and the city of Taiz despite Saleh's ceasefire announcement late Tuesday.

Saleh has clung to power in the face of more than nine months of massive protests against his rule.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president on Tuesday called in the U.S. ambassador and told him he would sign a deal to step down, a U.S. official said. The embattled leader, who has made that pledge several times before, spoke as violence shook his capital.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh informed Ambassador Gerald Feierstein of a new cease-fire, but clashes on the streets threw that into doubt. Activists said seven protesters were killed and 10 wounded.MORE
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NAMIBIA Skulls Repatriated - But No Official German Apology

BERLIN, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) - A delegation of Namibian government representatives and leaders of the indigenous Herero and Nama people who came to Germany to repatriate 20 skulls of their ancestors were once again disappointed in their hopes for dialogue and an official apology.

The skulls were of victims of the mass murder of 80,000 Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908, which were stolen by the former colonial 'Kaiserreich' for racial research some 100 years ago.

"When the Great Powers partitioned Africa in 1884, unfortunately we were allotted to the Germans," said Advocate Krukoro of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee, one of the 60 Namibian delegates, during the Sept. 27-Oct. 2 visit to Berlin.

In 1904, some 17,000 German colonial troops commanded by General Lothar von Trotha launched a brutal war of extermination against the Herero and Nama people, after they revolted against the continued deprivation of land and rights. Following their defeat at Waterberg on Aug. 11, 1904, they were hunted, murdered or driven deep into the Omaheke desert where they died of thirst.

Thousands of men, women and children were later interned in German concentration camps, and died of malnutrition and disease. The territories of the Herero and Nama people were seized, their community life and means of production destroyed. The discussion about the mass murder did not start until Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

Germany's foreign ministry has routinely avoided the use of the term "genocide" in dismissing the Herero and Nama peoples' claims for compensation, using instead vague phrases such as "Germany's historic responsibility with respect to Namibia."


Cornelia Pieper, the minister of state in the German foreign office, did the same this time around. "Germans acknowledge and accept the heavy moral and historical responsibility to Namibia," she said on Sep. 30 at the Charité University in Berlin, which hosted the ceremony in which the skulls of nine Herero and eleven Nama people were handed over to the Namibian delegation.

The remains of four females, 15 males and one child were part of the Charité anatomical collection. They were used by German scientists in research that had the aim of proving the supposed racial superiority of white Europeans over black Africans.

Now, 100 years later, the president of the executive board of the 300-year-old institution, Karl Max Einhaeupl, deplored "the crimes perpetrated in the name of a perverted concept of scientific progress" and said: "We sincerely apologise".

The treatment of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia – mass extermination on the grounds of racism, extermination through labour, expropriation of land and cattle, research to prove the alleged superiority of white people – is widely seen as a precursor to the Holocaust. MORE
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Libyan papers show UK worked with Gaddafi in rendition operation.

A secret CIA document found among the haul shows that the British and Libyans worked together to arrange for a terrorism suspect to be removed from Hong Kong to Tripoli – along with his wife and children – despite the risk that they would be tortured. The wording of the document suggests the CIA was not involved in the planning of the rendition operation, but was eager to become engaged during its execution and offered financial support.

Other papers found in the building suggest MI6 enjoyed a far closer working relationship with Gaddafi's intelligence agencies than has been publicly known, and was involved in a number of US-led operations that also resulted in Islamists being consigned to Gaddafi's prisons.

On Sunday, one of the victims, Abdul Hakim Belhaj – now commander of the anti-Gaddafi militia in Tripoli – demanded an apology from London and Washington and said he was considering suing over his rendition to Tripoli and subsequent torture.

Sigh

Aug. 12th, 2011 01:01 am
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'New' Iraq a Nightmare for Women, Minority Groups


UNITED NATIONS, Aug 9, 2011 (IPS) - A United Nations report on Iraq says the human rights situation there remains fragile, and huge development challenges loom as the country transitions out of a near decade-long conflict.

Torture and poor judicial practices are widespread, says the report, released Monday by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The report claims the 2,953 civilian deaths it attributed to violence in 2010 were mostly carried out by insurgent and terrorist groups.

It stressed that minorities, women and children suffered disproportionately from these abuses.


While there have been improvements in some areas of human rights, many challenges remain and some areas were actually worse off in 2010 than previous war-torn years.

MORE
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KAZAKHSTAN:Workers Fight Massive Crackdown

ASTANA, Jun 29, 2011 (IPS) - Workers striking in what has been described as the biggest organised threat to Kazakhstan’s authoritarian regime in the last decade are being beaten by hired thugs as the government ignores pleas for basic international labour rights to be observed.

Thousands of workers at gas and oil facilities are protesting, some even mutilating themselves, over what activists have called the exploitation of Kazakh workers in heavy industry projects largely financed by foreign capital the government has been keen to attract in recent years.

But the protests have taken on a wider social significance. Opposition groups have begun to publicly support the workers, and their strike has apparently inspired similar action in different cities across the country.

And there are fears that authorities are muzzling protests and breaching basic human rights following the arrest and continuing incarceration of a lawyer, Natalia Sokolova, who was representing the workers.

International rights groups are now calling on the International Labour Organisation and the UN Commissioner for Human Rights to press the Kazakh regime into addressing the workers’ demands.

Lyudmyla Kozlovska of the Open Dialog Foundation which has been campaigning to raise international awareness of the issue, told IPS: "The most important demand of the workers now has become the release of Natalia Sokolova.

"We are afraid that if the workers’ demands are ignored then the social tensions caused by these strikes could turn violent."

The protests began on May 11 when a few hundred workers at the Karazhanbas oil field near Aqtau went on strike. As word spread of their actions, workers at other companies also downed tools. Transportation workers at the nearby OzenMunaiGaz company went on strike, affecting oil deliveries. They have been backed by other miners' and gas workers' unions, and thousands are now on strike.MORE
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Violence against Women surges when war is done


Rosemary Gonzalez was murdered in 2009, the victim of a war that ended in 1996. One day, 17-year-old Rosemary said good-bye to her mother Betty, walked out of their small house on the outskirts of Guatemala City and was never seen alive again.
Rosemary and Betty lived together in the poor neighborhood of Barcenas, under the constant shadow of violence. Across Guatemala, nearly 5,000 women have been killed in the past decade, attacked for the simple fact of being women. The women of Barcenas know well this fear—they live at the epicenter of this crisis.

In Guatemala, generations of women have faced murderous violence, but at its core is war. Now, the same dynamic is emerging in Iraq.
Some description of rape and murder and torture under the cut. )
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Colombia Moves Past Reconciliation and Revives the Idea of Reparation


When unspeakable crimes have been committed, justice often falls silent, too. That’s why half a century after Colombia plunged into bloody conflict and oppression, the healing has barely begun. But a new law is trying to make victims of the violence whole in a country still fractured by brutal violence. In the process, it has revived an old debate over reparations, and how society should confront past injustices that still shape life today.
Colombia’s so-called “victims’ law” is the product of years of negotiation between the government and militia groups. The law centers on punishment as well as restitution. Many will be compelled to confess their crimes and, unlike many previous efforts at what’s been dubbed restorative justice, survivors will be allowed to petition for compensation.

One survivor’s testimony from a recent hearing in Colombia highlights how challenging this kind of conciliatory justice can be:

The modern idea of reparations as a human rights enforcement tool toes the line between accountability and mercy. In cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing or mass displacement—from Nazi Germany to Apartheid South Africa to Rwanda—there’s always tension between the desire to correct the wrongs of the past and the need for society to move forward. Sometimes it means suppressing residual animosities—and having to live next door to your brothers’ murderer, or the parents of the dissident you tortured.


...

A backgrounder by the advocacy group Redress, explains how Colombia’s law will work:

The law contains two main parts, the first refers to the judicial process and the conditions under which the members of illegal armed groups (either paramilitary of guerrilla) can benefit from an alternative punishment. That is among others to fully confess their crimes, depose their weapons, enter into a peace agreement, and stop their interference in public affairs, release the people they have kidnapped, contribute to finding the victims of forced disappearance.
The second part of the law refers to the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparation.
For the first time in Colombia’s history victims came to the center of the attention as it was understood that they were they hinge between justice and peace. Beneficiaries will only be entitled to an alternative punishment if, and only if, they confessed all their crimes, were subject to a criminal procedure by independent prosecutors and judges and, most important of all, if they repaired the victims of their atrocities.
This model of restorative justice parallels similar systems in other countries devastated by conflict. But it takes an unprecedented, perhaps precarious, step toward both symbolic and material recompense.MORE



via the restorative justice online blog


via [profile] jeopardymaze X-men First Class by the "Asking the Wrong Questions blog has a critique of the film based on what we teh people are being fed re: the notion of forgievness and how we should react to being wronged.
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WARINING: Descriptions of thoroughly disturbing rape and torture in some paragraphs. Living with the enemy

Applying the ideas of Holocaust survivor Jean Améry to present day Rwanda, our author argues that reconciliation after genocide is just another form of torture.

“Reconciliation” has become a darling of political theorists, journalists, and human-rights activists, especially as it pertains to the rebuilding of postwar and post-genocidal nations. Nowhere is this more so than in the case of Rwanda. Numerous books and articles on the topic—some, though not all, inspired by Christian teachings—pour forth. It can plausibly be argued, of course, that in Rwanda—and in other places, like Sierra Leone and the Balkans, where victims and perpetrators must live more or less together—reconciliation is a political necessity. Reconciliation has a moral resonance, too; certainly it is far better than endless, corpse-strewn cycles of revanchism and revenge. Yet there is sometimes a disturbing glibness when outsiders tout the wonders of reconciliation, as if they are leading the barbarians from darkness into light. Even worse, the phenomenological realities—the human truths—of the victims’ experiences are often ignored or, at best, treated as pathologies that should be “worked through” until the promised land of forgiveness is reached. This is not just a mistake but a dangerous one; for it is doubtful that any sustainable peace, and any sustainable politics, can be built without a better, which is to say a tragic, understanding of those truths.

...

Rwanda—tiny and densely populated—faces a problem that no other country has or does: the Hutu murderers and Tutsi survivors of the 1994 genocide live, side-by-side, in unprecedented intimacy; however monstrous this may seem, Rwanda’s history clearly shows that all other options are worse. The government is dominated by formerly exiled Tutsis of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (imagine if Jews had ruled Germany after World War II); for reasons that are practical and perhaps moral, this government has mandated, from above, an official policy of national reconciliation, however subjectively grueling that may be. As Philip Gourevitch wrote in The New Yorker last year, Rwanda’s political requirements are “emotionally incomprehensible.”

Several years ago, in response to bulging jails and an overwhelmed, dysfunctional justice system, the government made two decisions. In 2003, it released forty thousand imprisoned génocidaires and sent them back to their villages. And it has reinstated the gacaca courts, community-based forums in which perpetrators and victims face each other and are judged by their neighbors; more than a million cases have been heard. These confrontations have been the subject of an enormous amount of international interest, and disputation, from journalists, anthropologists, NGOs, legal scholars, religious activists, and human-rights organizations; the gacaca trials have been praised as an “authentic” form of African justice and derided as kangaroo courts that elide modern legal procedures regarding rights and evidence.

What becomes clear—especially in the remarkable trilogy of books on post-genocide Rwanda by the French journalist Jean Hatzfeld—is that forgiveness and reconciliation are of far less interest to the victims than they are to perpetrators.


MORE
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Uganda walk-to-work protests kick up dust

Being hauled up before courts and jailed just because you have chosen to walk to work as a form of protest is something unimaginable in many countries. But in Uganda it happens.

Security forces are harassing and have been locking up opposition politicians and their supporters who are taking part in a protest against spiralling food and fuel prices by walking to work.
The walk-to-work protest, as it is called, began on April 11. A group calling itself Activists for Change (A4C) organised the demonstration and opposition politicians - keen to show they are concerned about people's discontent over rising prices - heeded the call to take part.

But the protest got off to a stuttering start as the leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, was promptly intercepted by security forces when he was leaving his home in Kasangati near Kampala, the capital. Another politician, Nobert Mao, head of the Democratic Party, and an opposition MP were also picked up.

Besigye, who was arrested for a fourth time on Thursday a day after he was freed on bail on condition that he does not stage more protests, had been given three options: To return to his house or be driven to work in a police vehicle or send for his personal car and drive to work. He chose none.

Purchase of fighter jets

The tense standoff that ensued and resulted in Besigye getting shot in the right hand - as supporters who were dispersed by police amid plumes of tear gas joined him - shows no sign of easing and has led to more protests.
It is not hard to see the source of the discontent. The government is planning to buy eight fighter jets for $740m when its people cannot afford food. Government officials justify this spending by saying Uganda needs to beef up its defence systems, if it is to protect its newfound oil near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).MORE





Uganda rebellion gathers pace despite bloody government crackdown

Riots have swept across the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in the biggest anti-government protest in sub-Saharan Africa so far this year.

Security forces have launched a brutal crackdown, opening fire on unarmed civilians with live rounds, rubber bullets and teargas. Two people have been killed, more than 120 wounded and around 360 arrested. Women and girls have been among those beaten, according to witnesses.

Two weeks of growing unrest – sparked by rising food and fuel prices – have gained fresh impetus after the violent arrest of the opposition leader Kizza Besigye on Thursday
. Critics say President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, is losing his grip. They claim his wildly disproportionate crackdown on Besigye's "walk to work" protests smacks of panic and is sowing the seeds of popular revolt.

"I thought the police were going to kill me," said Andrew Kibwka, 18, after police with heavy sticks rained blows on him. "I was telling them I'm harmless but they just carried on. I did nothing to provoke them. They beat me because I was running away."MORE


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April 8th War is not peace
For decades, School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois has argued that embracing militarism will never bring us the security we seek. But he thinks he knows what will.

It’s known as the School of Assassins among the poor of Latin America; a vessel for the spread of democracy among its U.S. military proponents; and one of the world’s most infamous human rights offenders for the thousands of protesters who gather in Fort Benning, Georgia, each November to honor the names of union leaders, campesinos, priests, and children who have been gunned down by its alumni.

This week, activists led by longtime peacemaker Father Roy Bourgeois are fasting in Washington, D.C. to demand the closure of the “School of the Americas,” a training center, funded by U.S. taxpayers, for tens of thousands of Latin American soldiers and police forces.

The institution was initially founded to curb the spread of communism in the region—training, arming, and supporting some of the 20th century's most deadly regimes in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Bolivia, and on. With an eerily Orwellian turn of phrase, the school, originally founded in Panama in 1946 before it was relocated to U.S. soil in 1984, was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC, in 2001.

"We rely on what our leaders tell us is true, and we don't know what our foreign policy means to those on the receiving end."

According to Bourgeois' watchdog group, the School of the Americas Watch, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people—from Jesuit priests to village children—have been traced to the more than 60,000 graduates trained during the school's 59 years of operation. Bourgeois, a veteran and firsthand witness to the carnage in Vietnam, first went to work in Latin America in 1972 as a priest. Five years living with the poor on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia, exposed him to the United States' complicity in atrocities committed by General Banzer’s regime. “I met my country there,” he says. “We were the ones giving them guns and teaching them how to use them.”

Bourgeois' outspokenness eventually got him arrested and effectively deported, but it also got him rolling. Every Sunday, he spoke at different churches throughout the U.S., explaining how our own military might, money, and expertise were supporting some of the world's most merciless oppressors.

In 1989, a congressional task force investigating the massacre of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker, and her teenage daughter, revealed that some of the killers had been trained at Fort Benning. Bourgeois organized a 35-day fast at the base’s gate.

Two decades later, Bourgeois' activism has spread, with tens of thousands of participants from all over the world demanding the closure of the school. Bourgeois has personally petitioned leaders—from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Bolivian President Evo Morales—to discontinue their militaries’ involvement with the school.

Bourgeois believes that American people must find new ways to be in relationship with the rest of the world—with or without the official support of our leaders. Militarism, he argues, has been an American addiction for years. But with drastic unemployment, languishing social services, widespread insecurity, and the creeping consolidation of power, we may finally learn how to say, enough is enough. MORE
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Hello New Orleans! Your time in the sun: WARNING: POLICE BRUTALITY that escalates to MURDER MOST FOUL. No limits to the law in NoLa

Something terrible lies at the heart of New Orleans - a rampant, widespread and apparently uncontrollable brutality on the part of its police force and its prison service. The horrors of its criminal justice system from decades before Hurricane Katrina and up to now lie somewhere between, with little exaggeration, Candide and Stalin's Gulags.

Spit on the sidewalk here, and you may be arrested - New Orleans has the highest incarceration rate of any city in the United States - and if you're poor and black and can't pay bail, you will enter a place where any protection under the American constitution and the Bill of Rights is stripped away. You will wait weeks or months to be charged, whether innocent or not, and in the meantime you will be subjected to foul, overcrowded jail conditions, prisoner-to-prisoner violence and the brutality of the deputies who guard you. God help you if you have a medical condition, or a mental-health problem, or if you're pregnant (you may deliver in leg chains - it has happened). "A minor offence in New Orleans," one civil rights attorney told me, "can get you into a hellish place."

On 17 March this year, the federal department of justice (DoJ) decided that enough was enough and it has made moves to have the New Orleans police department (NOPD) placed under the supervision of a federal judge. The New Orleans jail system will likely follow.

...

The department released a report covering only the past two years and ignoring several current federal investigations of police officers for murder. It says, more or less, that the NOPD is incapable on any level; that it is racist; that it systemically violates civil rights, routinely using "unnecessary and unreasonable force"; that it is "largely indifferent to widespread violations of law and policy by its police officers" and appears to have gone to great lengths to cover up its shootings of civilians. "NOPD's mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations," the report says, "was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects."

The department can't even handle its sniffer dogs: "We found that NOPD's canines were uncontrollable to the point where they repeatedly attacked their own handlers."



Absolutely SICKENING details at ontd_political



At this point, I'm going wholesale. Dismantle the entire system and replace with restorative justice techniques. Fuck "retributive justice" all to hell. I need an icon that says "OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES, JUSTICE!!! CAUSE YOUR SCALES ARE NOT FUCKING LEVEL!!!!"

Post on restorative justice techniques and iniatives coming up at some point during three weeks for dreamwidth. This is the fucking 21st century. We claim that we are civilized. PAST time that we act like it.
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xposted to journal
GUANTANAMO BAY

The Guardian says that it got the documents from the NYT, which claims that the document dump is not from Wikileaks. Everyone else is claiming its a Wiki dump. *shrugs* I have no idea.

Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release
Interactive guide to all 779 detainees

Read more... )
 


Digby points out re: the suicides that the American political and miliatry response... was to accuse the detainees of conducting asymetrical warfare. Yes, yes they did:Wiki Dump

Read more... )


What are the Guantanomo Files

Read more... )

 


The Guantanomo Files: Al Quadea assasin worked for MI-6

Anti-extremist author framed and whisked to CubaAbdul Badr Mannan was handed over to Americans who later came to believe Pakistani intelligence had set him up

Guantánamo Bay files: Casio wristwatch 'the sign of al-Qaida'Casio F-91W, a cheap digital watch sold around the world, was taken as evidence of detainees having bomb-making training


Guantánamo Bay files: Star informer freed after implicating 123 prisonersMohammed Basardah rewarded despite unsupported claims and interrogators' doubts about sheer number of names he gave up You can also view a PDF about two men who supposedly gave up a quarter of the detainees there.



PRIVATE MANNING


President Obama speaks on Manning and the rule of law


Protesters yesterday interrupted President Obama's speech at a $5,000/ticket San Francisco fundraiser to demand improved treatment for Bradley Manning. After the speech, one of the protesters, Logan Price, approached Obama and questioned him. Obama's responses are revealing on multiple levels.Read more... )



The Washington Post has an article: Guantanamo Bay: Why Obama hasn’t fulfilled his promise to close the facility


MY THOUGHTS

Read more... )




TALIBAN PRISON BREAK:

Taliban Help Hundreds Tunnel Out of Prison’s Political Wing


 

Read more... )
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Gbagbo captured by rival's forces
Read more... )



Here's how it went down:

Gbagbo being held by Ouattara forces

Read more... )


This after French and UN forces had been pounding Gbagbo's forces over the past couple of days:


UN and French forces pound Gbagbo loyalist camps in Ivory Coast

Read more... )


Not a whole lot of people were pleased with French troops running around rampant during all of this April 7th


and questions like this have been bubbling up since April 5th. Côte d'Ivoire: Is Foreign Intervention Legal?


Al Jazeera's Listening Post talks about the media war between Gbagbo and Ouattarra that began after the election and ramped up as the war heated up, and the relatively low international media response to the whole conflict (with the exception of France) in this interesting April 9th episode

In the meantime: Have a quick look at Gbagbo's chequered political career
Read more... )


WARNING, however. Ouatarra's hands are not clean: Manufacturing Cote d'Ivoire's 'good guy'


Read more... )
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via : [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political Tunisia's ongoing revolution

Matt Swagler describes the attempts of Tunisia's elite to impose order--and the inspiring examples of direct democracy and workers' struggle since the fall of Ben Ali.

AN EVENTFUL two months have passed since mass protests toppled former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali--largely out of the media spotlight once the revolution spread to Egypt, but with great importance for the struggle for democracy and justice, in Tunisia and beyond.

In December and January, a nationwide movement emerged in Tunisia, led by workers, students and the unemployed, calling for the hated autocrat to go. After just four weeks, the Tunisian people achieved what had seemed impossible: they challenged a 23-year dictatorship backed by a massive, brutal security force--and won. In doing so, they also exposed the complicity of the French and U.S. governments, which were both long-time allies and defenders of Ben Ali's corrupt regime right through his final days.

When Tunisians' nonviolent demonstrations forced Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia on January 14, the victory immediately gave confidence to emerging protest movements across North Africa and the Middle East. In Egypt, where a struggle against President Hosni Mubarak had been brewing for over a decade, the lesson was clear: If Ben Ali and his security forces were not invincible, than Mubarak could be ousted as well.

...

But Tunisia provides important lessons for anyone who hopes to learn from the struggles, debates and conflicts within an unfolding revolutionary situation. In particular, Tunisia offer insights into what it means for hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, to actively take part in trying to transform society from the bottom up.

The movement against Ben Ali was driven in large part by demands for democratic political reforms and an end to the country's oligarchic rule. But growing anger over soaring food prices, inadequate wages and widespread unemployment--especially in the interior of the country--fueled the struggle as well.

Thus far, the interim Tunisian government, which replaced Ben Ali's administration, has proven hostile to enacting reforms that would significantly alter Tunisia's economic inequality. New political freedoms have been won, but these incredible victories have only come about because the interim government has been faced with protests and workers' strikes--on an almost daily basis.

...

If anything, the toppling of Ben Ali has proven to be only the opening round in a revolution that is now involving even greater numbers of Tunisians, who are actively and collectively tackling larger questions about what to do next.MORE
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TRIGGER WARNING FOR TORTURE:


Bradley Manning could face Death. For what?


Soldier in Leaks Case Was Jailed Naked, Lawyer Says

Soldier in Leaks Case Will Be Made to Sleep Naked Nightly


Sexual Sadist Denise Barnes Strips Bradley Manning Naked Over Sarcastic Quip


How to force a false confession

The serial deceit of Geoff Morrell

Bradley Manning's forced nudity to occur daily

This is after the earlier abusive tactic of placing him on unjustifiable suicide watch two months ago and in the context of his continuing torture by the US army. Apparently the UN said it was investigating four months ago. Not a word on that since. I just...

Dear Obama and company. Is there no fucking depth to which you all will not sink? And seriously? Why the FUCK can't I have a political party that doesn't make me want to fucking VOMIT to vote for? It is PAST FUCKING TIME that we throw BOTH these fuckers out of power, bring them up on charges at the ICC and find some less greedy sadistic bastards to run the damn country. Jesus Christ I AM TIRED OF THIS SHIT.


ETA: Relatedly: Egyptian Activists Expose Torture Tools and Files, Tied to US Renditions

After yesterday’s information that the security forces were shredding secret files in Alexandria leading activists to storm that headquarters and today’s that another secret police hq suspiciously caught on fire – a fire activists point out that they do not want to see since they want the files protected, activists in Cairo took matters into their own hands. As the day went on, protesters converged on AmrDawla – here’s a sampling of reports as the day progressed from blogger Egyptocracy who has been a great source of information over the past weeks. Let’s let her tell the story: MORE



ETA 2 Manning was already under orders to sleep in his boxers
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A couple of notes on the situation in Libya.

When judging the international response, particularly in the West, what it comes down to is what it always comes down to, oil.

The UN lifted sanctions on Libya in 2003, the US lifted sanctions in 2004, and Western oil companies poured into the country to reclaim their holdings, led by ConocoPhillips & Marathon Oil & Amerada Hess, which used to operate in Libya decades ago as the Oasis group. And what must be kept in mind, what is the unstated assumption that drives much of Western policy in the Middle East, is that it is almost always easier to negotiate oil rights with dictators and monarchs than it is with democracies.

You can find a complete list of oil and gas companies in Libya here. The last I heard, Gadhafi had already attracted tens of billions of dollars in foreign investments (with Blair and Sarkozy and Berlusconi and Bush, among many others, personally hand delivering some of those investments). This is the main thing that Western companies and governments are worried about, as well as the spill-over effects of a revolution to neighboring oil-rich countries. From an Al Jazeera article: "The best case scenario, from the oil market’s stand point, would be for unrest to calm," Jones added. "That might be at odds with the populace." The analyst would not comment on what would happen to energy markets if unrest spread to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer.

So, right now. Oil prices are surging, stocks are sinking, the oil companies are desperately trying to PR their way out of this by saying that they won't be affected, even as they are pulling out personnel and the head of the al-Zuwayya tribe is threatening a halt to petroleum exports:
Sheikh Faraj al-Zuwayy, leader of the powerful Zuwayya tribe in the western and southern parts of the country [they're in the east; this reporter seems to have little clue about geography], said that the message to Qadhafi was to "stop the bloodshed this evening or else our tribe will be forced to stop the oil flow within 24 hours because the blood of Libyans is more precious than oil."

"This is what we demand from Muammar al-Qadhafi, the European countries, and the United States. We reiterate that we will have to stop the oil flow tomorrow. We will do it."

No doubt the Western oil companies are appalled at just how impractical and unbusinesslike the Sheikh is being, issuing a statement like this. (Though, despite what the article claims, the Zuwayya tribe is not all that powerful; the region counts for only a fraction of the Libya's oil exports. The Warfallah, on the other hand, are a different matter.)

Also, a note on Gadhafi. The dude was 28 years old when he came into power, a military officer who headed a coup that toppled the king. The eastern region didn't support this coup, a fact which Gadhafi never forgot. In the last forty years, most of the country's oil revenues have gone to the western regions (which is also where the bulk of the oil is located, if I'm not mistaken). The majority of the opposition and resistance to Gadhafi has originated in the East, particularly the city of Benghazi.

Benghazi is the city in which the protests once again began on the 15th, and whose citizens were first massacred. (And what is with the BBC putting massacre in quotes?) The Zuwayya tribe, who declared that they would stop the oil flow in their region, live just south of this city.

Libya's largest tribe is the Warfallah tribe, located in the West, in the oil rich Tripolitana region. In 1993, they rebelled unsuccessfully against Gadhafi, which led to the sham trials and executions.

On the night of Feb 20th, once protesters had taken over most of Benghazi, they joined them in calling for a revolution. The Taureg tribe, at 500,000 strong Libya's second largest tribe (from the southern and western parts of the country), joined this revolt, and the situation turned from an Eastern uprising to a national revolution.


ETA: Vijay Prashad has an article on CounterPunch, The Libyan Labryinth, that gives additional background.
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
I am not surprised. I am just newly nauseated all over again.

The inhumane conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held


Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning's detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.

Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.

MORE

Torture.

May. 19th, 2009 11:49 am
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
A serious debate about torture has been rocking the United States political scene. The options seem to be: don't prosecute, have a truth commission or prosecute to teh fullest extent of the law. Personally I believe that the US has an obligation to follow its own treaties and constitution and prosecute every single soul, from Pres Bush downwards. Has anyone been following this debate? What do you think?

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