Indian army murders unarmed protesters in Handwara, Kashmir

Hardwara grieving father (from Kashmir Dispatch)

The story of what happened today in Handwara, Kashmir (a town about 70 km/37 miles from Srinagar) is undisputed, even if inadequately reported. Two young men were shot dead, & several others, including a 70-year-old woman, lie in hospital with critical injuries after Indian occupying troops opened fire on unarmed protesters who were protesting the molestation of a young girl by an Indian soldier who followed her into a public toilet.

Some witnesses say the troops opened fire on protesters trying to tear down the Indian flag from a flag pole near an army bunker. Others say protesters pelted stones at the bunker. Neither of those acts require lethal force. There are no reports on how Mohammad Iqbal was fatally shot in the head & Naeem Qadir Bhat fatally shot in the abdomen.

This isn’t just an isolated incident involving molestation by a rogue soldier. It’s the very matrix of the Indian occupation of Kashmir: rape systematically used as a weapon of social control where soldiers expect impunity from prosecution. Military use of lethal force without provocations against unarmed protesters is the modus operandi of the Indian occupation going back decades & puts the lie to all those stories about “militants” & “terrorists” executed in shootouts with paramilitary death squads.

Even the Indian army’s response was pro forma. A spokesman said they regretted the “unfortunate loss of life” & matters will be investigated. The way that goes, after several months of legal puttering, a military kangaroo panel will clear the molester of all culpability & find the soldiers had just cause to execute.

Many claim India has a right to occupy Kashmir for reasons of territorial integrity & sovereignty. Why would anyone who eschews rightwing nationalism accept an arrangement brokered by English colonialism to maximize conflict? This conflict is not rooted in ancient history but in English machinations when it departed India. Those who support the occupation have to ask themselves if the methods used by India are those of a civilized, let alone a democratic society: disappearances, mass graves, mass incarceration, summary executions, torture, mass rape, shooting down unarmed protesters–& if they think Indian sovereignty is worth all that.

Where one likes it or not, Kashmiris have a right to choose how they will be governed. That is the right of self-determination.

May young Mohammad & Naeem Rest In Peace.

(Photo is grieving father of one of Hardwara victims/ from FB wall of Kashmir Dispatch)

It may seem that Kashmir & Palestine are just tempests in a teapot compared to the massive bombing in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen. Neither country is being bombed but they are both among the most militarized regions in the world. Not because they’re small potatoes in the geopolitical scheme of things but because they are central. What makes them so important is unremitting, unarmed opposition to brutal occupations which makes them a beacon to humanity around the world.

Long live Palestinian Intifada! Long live Kashmiri Intifada!

The European Union has popped its cork on refugees

Protesting refugee at Idomeni (REUTERS:Alexandros Avramidis) Apr 12 2016

Has the European Union completely lost its mind? Because it is demonstrating in so many ways–austerity programs in Europe, support for Israeli apartheid, & savagery toward war refugees–that it is in institutional free-fall into hell. It hasn’t been around that long. It’s time to make it go away. Their anti-social, violent policies expose what happens when institutions are set up to serve private plunder at the expense of human needs.

Take a look at this photo of refugees protesting on the Greek-Macedonia border where hundreds of distraught, hungry, cold, miserable & desperate refugees tried to storm the razor wire border fence. Macedonian police, who are enforcing EU policies, tried to repel them by coming at them with tear gas, stun grenades, plastic bullets, & a water cannon. A military arsenal against war-traumatized, unarmed people.

Greek police stood on their side of the border with their fingers stuck up their noses, doing nothing. Actually, what could they do? What would they do when they are also enforcing EU policies & will soon be forcibly deporting the refugees back to Turkey from whence they did not come!? Deporting refugees is no solution to the crisis but that is all the morally blunted & politically bankrupt officials of the EU can imagine because working people don’t count more than bankers & corporate profits.

A few weeks ago, Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) announced they were leaving the camps due to security concerns for their personnel–likely concerns of assault by police more than by beleaguered refugees. They must have stuck around since one of their field coordinators reported they treated about 300 people, including 30 with rubber bullet injuries, at their field clinic. Three of those were children with head injuries caused by rubber bullets.

Again the question: has the European Union completely lost its mind? How long does it seriously believe it can violently hold off tens of thousands of refugees living in field tents? How many does it think it can deport? The more important question: how long are we going to put up with their savageries?

This refugee is standing by a section of the border fence taken down by protesters. They won’t get very far against violence without the big battalions of international solidarity demanding: Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters)

Neoliberal development in Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia evictions (Dita Alangkara:AP) Apr 12 2016

Yesterday, the government of Jakarta, Indonesia, moved in heavy equipment & 4,000 police & military officers to evict residents & demolish nearly 600 houses in a local slum where many residents had lived over 20 to 40 years. The slum was on public lands in the harbor front area of north Jakarta called Luar Batang, in a fish market area called Pasar Ikan.

The Jakarta government has forcibly bulldozed several slums in the past months as part of the same neoliberal process happening on every continent. Thousands, if not the majority, of urban slum residents were farmers & farm workers dispossessed & displaced by multinational agribusiness enterprises who destroy sustainable agriculture & establish plantations usually based on mono-crop economics. In Indonesia, that has meant a violent conflict between farmers & government troops enforcing land grabs for palm oil plantations. The process is the same on every continent, especially affecting indigenous peoples’ rights. But it has met most violent resistance in places like Brazil, Peru, India, Uganda, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia.

That dispossession is what is driving the massive refugee crises from those regions both into urban slums & to other countries for work. The conflict with farmers in Indonesia has gotten little news coverage; the catastrophe of what deforestation for palm oil plantations has done to orangutans has received some coverage; how deforestation has created climate change & massive flooding in Indonesia has received almost no coverage. But it’s all of a piece with neoliberal plunder & the growth of urban slums.

Another part of the neoliberal process is razing the slums that became havens for dispossessed farmers, many of whom are from indigenous tribes. Squatting settlements were often built on public lands which the IMF & World Bank are now demanding be privatized for development. It’s an ubiquitous, international process played out with relentless aggression & uniformity.

Just like everywhere else, the Jakarta waterfront area is being reclaimed for development as a tourist area since it’s a waterfront & the Luar Batang Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Jakarta, is located in Pasar Ikan. The historic mosque already receives thousands of visitors every year. The government is razing several slums in the coastal area to develop twelve different tourist areas including a sports stadium, maritime museum, golfing, shopping malls, nightlife, & amusement parks. The IMF & World Bank are turning the countrysides into plantations & the cities into amusement parks for the well-heeled, all at the expense of working people & turning them into paupers.

Residents of Luar Batang resisted the evictions & demolitions but just like everywhere else they were met with tear gas & truncheons. Evicted residents were not offered compensation; some were offered low-cost housing elsewhere but many say they cannot afford rent & others say they found the apartments occupied when they tried to move in their possessions.

It looks like the IMF & World Bank are arch-villains in the neoliberal scheme of things. Their tenure & tyranny on this planet have run their course. Time to take them out & establish institutions that serve human needs & not private plunder.

Housing is a human right. No if, ands, or buts.

Photo is police & military units moving in to evict & demolish homes yesterday in Luar Batang.

(Photo by Dita Alangkara/AP)

The education of Carlos Santana about Israeli apartheid

Our man Carlos Santana didn’t fully grasp the meaning of apartheid & ethnic cleansing when Palestinians & BDS activists prevailed on him in 2010 to honor the cultural boycott of Israel. For his scheduled July 2016 concert, he’s pretending he can spread his “message of love, light & peace” with his voice ricochetting off an apartheid wall.

We want to give him every chance to change his ‘Evil Ways’ & not use ‘Jingo’ to rationalize a ‘Soul Sacrifice’ to Israel.

Please sign & share this FB appeal asking him to honor the cultural boycott.

Jimmy Carter talking through his butt again

Clintons & Carter (Getty Images) circa 2014

Born-again humanitarian Jimmy Carter is frequently cited for his views on politicians: recently for saying he preferred Drumpf to Cruz & in a two-year old interview (circulating on FB) for saying Clinton was ineffective in bringing about peace during her tenure as secretary of state. He compared her unfavorably to John Kerry who he said made ‘enormous strides’ in negotiating between Israel & Palestinians–for which there is no evidence except to the contrary.

Let’s cut the crap. There’s no question that Clinton, in league with her lowlife husband & in her capacity as secretary of state, milked Haiti for immense personal fortune in what has to be one of the most grotesques cases of grand larceny in US history. There’s no question she milked her relations with Israeli officials to get Zionist bucks & backing for her presidential campaign. She’s a sleazy politician. That’s what sleazy, self-serving politicians do.

But political relations between Israel & the US are determined by the Obama regime in concert with oligarchic policies. The White House backed & bankrolled three murderous bombing assaults on Gaza since 2008; boasted of helping resettle & integrate US settlers to Israel; & continues to assist Israel to the tune of over $4 billion a year. Clinton & Kerry functioned as Obama’s representatives & were/are not forging new initiatives in peace-making.

Carter’s metamorphosis is a scam. Just on the issue of Palestine, the guy still has not answered for the Camp David Accords which brokered arms to Egypt to use against its own people in return for abandoning the Palestinians. More importantly, his transformation is to feed the myth of lesser evilism: if we can just find a good guy, a man of the people, a guy with a big heart, then the presidency can serve democracy rather than the oligarchy. (The choice of gender was not inadvertent.) If the Occupy movement taught us anything, it is that there is a one-percent & a 99-percent & our economic, social, & political interests are at odds. The president of the US represents the one-percent.

But Carter has a whole lot more to answer for, including Iran, El Salvador, the Philippines. And that’s the short list. So he really isn’t a go-to guy for political evaluations. If he’s repulsed by Clinton’s corruption, so are we. What’s his alternative? Since he knows exactly how this government is run & in whose interests.

(Photo of Clintons & Carter in a warm & fuzzy moment from Getty Images)

It is politically irresponsible to throw around accusations that Edward Snowden is a CIA operative just because you disagree with something he said. You can’t make that assertion & spread it around like the gospel truth just because you get ‘bad vibes’ from the guy.

If you don’t like what he says or does, then you analyze it on its merits. But if all you’re packing is a queasy feeling, that’s not possible. Your queasy feeling wouldn’t stand up in a court of law & may indicate nothing more than a bad case of indigestion or paranoia.

Experienced activists don’t do witch-hunts & they certainly don’t do them based on a queasy feeling. One assumes there are agents provocateurs in political movements. That’s why you keep your nose clean & operate in a principled & straightforward way with others. You only serve dissension by beating the bushes for undercover operatives–& you damage people’s good names in the bargain. That’s not something to be taken lightly.

The rule of thumb is: beware those who spread suspicions based on speculations, gossip, & queasy feelings.

Hillary Clinton: the inarticulate war-monger

Clinton (Politico)

In a CNN interview, Clinton said:

“Hamas provokes Israel. They often pretend to have people in civilian garb acting as though they are civilians who are Hamas fighters. It’s a very different undertaking for Israel to target those who are targeting them. And I think Israel has had to defend itself, has a right to defend itself.”

One of the most expensive & elite educations in the world, all that vaunted foreign policy experience & this is the gibberish that groveling reduces you to. Most people who never finished high school could talk with more coherence. Because they’re not talking through their ass.

But she’s the lesser evil. Put that in your pipe & smoke it.

(Photo from AP)

For so long I’ve lived with the secret shame of detesting meals around my dogs who hover around the table with that accusatory look they cultivate to get food. (Never call a dog a dummy!) I even felt slight guilt when I had to leave the house just to get away from them or lose my mind. Their companionship is lovely but sometimes you just want to go the toilet by yourself without an attentive audience.

That’s why dog parks aren’t just for socializing & exercising dogs but fortherapy for caretakers. I learned that some caretakers eat in the car, some in fast food joints, some in the bathroom just to get away from their dogs. I haven’t stooped that low but just go outside on the porch.

And apparently it’s common for caretakers to reach a level where they have to leave or go on industrial-dose tranquilizers. Some go to movies, others to the bookstore, some just hide out in the car.

Reassuring to know you’re as crazy as everybody else.

Petition to Santana to honor cultural boycott of Israel


In 2010, Santana pulled out of a scheduled performance in Israel citing scheduling difficulties. Palestinians & BDS activists, giving him the benefits of respect, presumed it was a result of our appeals to honor the cultural boycott of Israel.

After the massive bombing siege of Gaza in 2014, Santana would surely have realized the wisdom of his decision, even if it was only over scheduling conflicts.

But now it is announced he will perform in Tel Aviv on July 30th as part of his Luminosity Tour. Luminosity means the brightness of a celestial object or the rate of emission of radiation. Looks like our man has chosen to emit toxic radiation from Tel Aviv.

In a statement to the press, his manager denied his 2010 cancellation was due to BDS. He said, “Carlos Santana is a citizen of the World & he plays his music & spreads his message of Love, Light & Peace wherever he goes. Carlos believes the World should have no borders so he is not detoured or discouraged to play anywhere on this planet. We look forward to performing in Israel this summer.”

So there you have it! Our man’s a weasel who drools poetry to cover for supporting apartheid. But we need to make damn sure, if we can’t stop him from disgracing himself, that the whole world knows just what kind of weasel he is.

Please sign this petition circulated by Jewish Voice for Peace asking him to cancel in respect for the cultural boycott of Israel & for justice.