Signing petition for release of Khurram Parvez is the least one can do for a man who has committed his life to human rights

K Parvez on way to jail

This is a rather poignant photo from yesterday of Khurram Parvez being taken by police to jail in Jammu, 300 kilometers from his family in Srinagar & from his legal counsel in the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society JKCCS).

If one looks at the work he has done in the reports of the JKCCS– where they dealt with & publicly exposed gruesome human rights crimes, including unearthing mass graves of the disappeared–you know he must be a pretty tough-minded guy. But tough-minded doesn’t mean stone-hearted. He has a family, including at least one small boy. He once said on FB that he doesn’t want his & other kids to grow up under occupation.

He’s being imprisoned under the Public Safety Act which means he could be away from his family for a long while. His safety in detention is a concern not just because of his fearless human rights work but because India has demonstrated a complete & monstrous disregard for law during this nearly 11-week siege.

Petitions don’t set the world on fire; they don’t perform magic & they don’t scare the bejeezus out of state power. They are primarily an education tool & part of a broader international campaign to defend Khurram Parvez. No one should have to be asked to twice to sign this petition & to circulate it in his defense. It is the least one can do for a man who has committed his life to human rights.…

The silence of the United Nations on the siege in Kashmir

UN & Kashmir cartoon (Suhail Naqshbandi) Sept 21 2016

Kashmir crisis:Indian media MIR Suhail

It’s one of life’s rude awakenings to face realities about the role the United Nations plays in world politics. It functions more as an agency giving official sanction to war & occupation than one of settling differences in non-military ways. It formulates lots of resolutions about human rights but can do little to enforce them & does not condemn nations in unequivocal terns for flagrant war & human rights crimes. That’s because the countries that run the operation are the ones causing all the trouble in the world.

But the UN also has a military force, second only to the US in the number of soldiers deployed around the world. They call their army “peacekeepers” just like the US Pentagon calls civilian deaths “collateral damage.” It took UN officials over six years to acknowledge that UN troops deployed to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake were responsible for the outbreak of cholera that made over 786,000 people sick, hospitalized over 434,000, & killed 9,700.

These are cartoons about the current UN silence in addressing the extreme violence of the 76 day military siege in Kashmir.

(Top cartoon by Suhail Naqshbandi; bottom cartoon by MIR Suhail)

Media ignores military assault in Kashmir. Follows prayer rituals instead.

Muslim women praying Kashmir day 76 ( (Photo- FAROOQ KHAN:EPA)) Sept 22 2016

This is day 76 of the military siege in Kashmir. At least 105 have been killed; hundreds are admitted to hospital every day with pellet gun & other serious injuries, some of them disabling & blinding & all of them disfiguring. Somewhere around 11,000 have been injured & there are reports of a blockade on aid & medicine. Nationalist war-mongering against Pakistan has reached a fever pitch after the incident at the Uri military base.

But this is what Yahoo thought suitable to publish today about Kashmir: Kashmiri women praying before a relic at a shrine in Srinagar, identified as “the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.”

It’s like the sunset photos of Gaza while Israeli tanks amass at the apartheid barrier or Afghan children hopscotching while US war planes fly sorties without notice.

(Photo by Farooq Khan/EPA)

Charlotte NC, Tulsa OK, Columbus OH: the war on the Black community continues

Keith Scott protest Charlotte (. REUTERS:Jason Miczek) Sept 22 2016

Charlotte NC protest for Keith Scott (REUTERS:Jason Miczek) Sept 22 2016

Charlotte protest (REUTERS:Jason Miczek) Sept 22 2016

The Charlotte, North Caroline police department offers a different version of the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott than his family does. The police claim they mistook Scott for a wanted man they were hunting & gave him clear warnings to drop a handgun before they shot him down. Is this trigger-happy stuff standard police procedure?

The family say that Scott who had a disability, was sitting in his car reading & waiting for his child to get off the bus & that he had no gun.

Coming just days after the police shooting of unarmed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma & 13-year-old Tyre King in Columbus, Ohio, is overwhelming evidence that despite all the media exposure & public protests, the war against the Black community continues. It has gone on for decades, not unlike a military occupation.

It will not end without a massive committed movement that grabs hold & will not let go & will not be compromised. Independent Black political power is a threat to the status quo because racism is integral to how the system works economically & ideologically. The police are only the front lines of this assault which goes all the way to the highest levels of power in this country.

Adolph L. Reed, Jr., a prominent Black academic who has a fetish against identity politics, recently published a statistical song & dance claiming the violence against the Black community has diminished over the past several years. His research is less statistical than it is tendentious. Other researchers without an axe to grind have demonstrated beyond dispute that the war on the Black community has often been a martial law situation with rampant violations of the Bill of Rights; frequent shootings of unarmed young people under the guise of the war on drugs; constant harassment; & massive incarceration of Black youth for minor infractions.

These are protesters against the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, NC. We stand in complete solidarity with them. Solidarity is the iron law of social transformation. The eventual elimination of racism as a political force depends upon it & is not deterred by phony statistical apologetics.

(Photos by Jason Miczek/Reuters)

Putin supporters love Ridrigo Duterte: coincidence or consistency in politics?

People can have inconsistencies in politics. But it’s curious that so many supporters of Russia in Syria, claiming Russia is bombing for humanitarian reasons, get such a kick out of Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte for calling Obama “the son of a whore” & for telling the European Union to “go fuck themselves” while flipping them the bird.

They eat up his vulgarities, call him a straight-shooter, a man who won’t tolerate BS or hypocrisy, a man who gets right to the point. The fact that he uses death squads & vigilantes to execute poor people who are suspected drug users doesn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasms.

There might not really be an inconsistency between bombing for democracy & death squads. That’s my conjecture.

Did Indian agents provocateurs attack army base at Uri, Kashmir?

Perhaps I should apologize to Kashmiri activists for skepticism when they suggested the attack on the army base at Uri was a provocation by Indian agents provocateurs. I don’t have any more information but it is the most likely explanation, especially given the war-mongering against Pakistan which has ensued. More importantly, if anyone in the world knows about set-ups & false encounters, it would be Kashmiris whose sons are so often set up for execution.

Khurram Parvez being held under Public Safety Act in Jammu prison, 300 kilometers from his family & legal counsel

#IamKhurram Parvez (Amina Masood Janjua) Sept 21 2016

The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) who are handling the legal & political defense of Khurram Parvez have been informed by Indian authorities that he is being detained under the Public Safety Act. That means he can be held on no charges for up to two years because they deem him a threat to public safety–which of course means that his central role in defending human rights in Kashmir is impeding India’s ability to commit human rights & war crimes with impunity.

The JKCCS is continuing legal action on his behalf within the court system. It is alarming however that police have informed JKCCS that Khurram is being taken to a prison in Jammu for lodging, which is 300 kilometers away from his family & legal counsel.

JKCCS say they “will continue to campaign for the immediate release of Khurram Parvez. His case is emblematic of the absolute disregard of the Indian State for the application of the rule of law, whether international or domestic, in Jammu & Kashmir.”

Until he is released unharmed & without condition, “Je suis Khurram Parvez” is the mantra of human rights defenders around the world.

(Photo is of protest in Kashmir from FB wall of Amina Masood Janjua via JKCCS)


Assadists campaign against 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh: a low point in apologetics

Omran (Anadolu Agency:Getty Images) Sept 21 2016

Do antiwar & human rights activists really want to be associated with the scurrilous & absolutely shameless campaign against 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh being waged by pro-Russian & pro-Assad activists? Omran was photographed after rescue from a building in Aleppo bombed allegedly by Russian warplanes on August 17th. His 10-year-old brother Ali was playing outside when the airstrikes occurred & he died in hospital on August 20th of his injuries.

Pro-Russian & pro-Assad activists claimed from the very beginning, without a moment of investigation, that the image was staged by “jihadists” for propaganda purposes. They made unconfirmed allegations that the photographer is linked to a terrorist group who beheaded a child earlier this year.

One leading Assadist writing in TeleSUR calls the photo the “Omran Deception.” What exactly is the nature of the deception? Are children under aerial bombardment in Syria not traumatized as little Omran clearly is? Are there not thousands of children who have died & been injured from bombing attacks in Syria? What is it about the photo of little Omran that so enflames Assadists?

The propagandists for Assad & Russia are pretending now that they’ve unearthed the facts of this deception by investigation but they are repeating exactly the same lies they told when the photo first was published.

What concerns them is not a staged photo. There is no need to stage the carnage of war as it affects small children. There are hundreds of photos of small children, elderly, injured being pulled from cement rubble by rescuers–as anyone who reads a wide variety of media should know. What concerns them is that Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians might be exposed by this photo of little Omran. If they can’t blame the bombing on the US or jihadists, then they have to create a campaign to discredit a small boy who is the victim of Russian & Syrian bombing of civilians.

When trying to decide where justice stands in Syria, one should pay close attention to the methods used to prove a political analysis.

(Photo from Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Indian nationalist response to the attack on army base in Uri, Kashmir

The nationalist response to the terrorist attack on the Indian army base in Uri, Kashmir is something to behold. The soldiers killed are being hailed as martyrs & bravehearts; there are war-mongering calls for military retaliation against Pakistan; foreign ambassadors in India are condemning the attacks; there are rallies & processions which western media is dutifully reporting as if they were a groundswell of nationalist pride.

Terrorism is a monstrous dead-end political strategy but the nationalist howling over this incident isn’t worth a single moment of commiseration. Condolences to the families who lost their sons as part of a violent terrorist occupation. Those soldiers probably went to Kashmir for the same reasons kids in the US sign up for US wars of occupation: misguided patriotism, stinking politics, or employment in a bad economy. They pay a big price & no antiwar activist denounces them instead of the government which lied & deployed them.

The alligator tears of nationalists don’t mean squat when none of those parading & condemning & war-mongering have uttered a peep of protest against the occupation of Kashmir, denounced the human rights crimes committed by Indian soldiers, or offered condolences to the families of those killed, blinded, disfigured, disabled by the occupying soldiers.

End the occupation. Bring the 700,000 soldiers home. Self-determination for Kashmir.

India’s draconian “laws” of occupation: the Armed Forces Special Powers Act & the Public Safety Act

Women protesters Kashmir (AP)

The Indian military occupation of Kashmir is governed by two so-called laws. The first is the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) enacted in 1958, which is regrettably modeled on a 1942 British colonial law to repress the Quit India Movement led by Gandhi. Since 1958, India has used it against dissent in several of its own states & began to apply it in Kashmir in 1990.

Basically, the law renders impunity to the Indian military for human rights crimes by its personnel–an impunity the military takes full advantage of. The US has wrangled similar agreements from Iraq, Afghanistan, & other countries it occupies to protect its personnel from prosecution for the unspeakable war crimes they have committed.

The second so-called law employed by the occupying army in Kashmir is the Public Safety Act (PSA) in force since 1978. Under PSA, the Indian army can arrest & jail a person without trial or legal counsel for up to two years on the mere suspicion that they might ‘disrupt law & order’ in Kashmir. It is administrative detention powers exactly like those used by Israel against Palestinians, including children. Israel has given itself authority to extend the time of detention indefinitely & it is almost certain that India pays no heed to the two year limit.

In Kashmir, it was estimated a few years ago that over 27,000 people had been arrested & jailed since 1978 under the PSA, including peaceful protesters, political activists, lawyers, journalists. During this current military offensive, it is reported at least 140 Kashmiris have been arrested under the PSA but it is likely hundreds more will be before this murderous siege has ended.

There are reports that Khurram Parvez is being held under the PSA but this is not confirmed by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which is centrally involved in his defense. He is of course being held in administrative detention without due process.

The JKCCS is circulating this petition demanding his release. Please take a moment to sign & share it:…

Photo is women protesters in Kashmir disrupting law & order according to the PSA.

(Photo from AP)