Hundreds of thousands in Manila protest Duterte’s death squad war against the poor

Manila protests vs. Duterte 9:21:17 (Bullitt Marquez:AP Sept 23 2017

For the past month, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Manila against Duterte’s death squad war on the poor under the guise of fighting drugs & in opposition to martial law in Mindanao province–where he claims he is fighting Islamist terrorists & where US troops are involved. Since Duterte took office last June 30th, at least 12,500 people, including teens & adolescents, have been gunned down on the street by police & vigilante death squads. Protesters have been burning effigies of Duterte & expressing respect for his victims by displaying the photos of those executed & hanging tarps with their images.

We stand in fullest solidarity with the protesters & express deepest respect for their courage in standing against Duterte the butcher.

(Photo by Bullitt Marquez/AP)

Socialist Action finds alliance with fascists & Rohingya genocide deniers

Rohingya child art (2)

Last year, a small cult called Socialist Action (SA) wanted to tour Vanessa Beeley along with Eva Bartlett but Beeley was otherwise engaged with Assad officials in Syria. So SA only toured Bartlett who believes extraterrestrial reptiles in the form of Jewish bankers run the world. Now Beeley is actively campaigning to associate the Rohingya people with Saudi-based jihadi terrorists, is actively supporting the fascist Burmese junta, & is engaged in denying genocide against the Rohingya.

How did such a political corruption take place in SA? Be assured it wasn’t overnight but a steady, slow progression from sectarianism to the abandonment of international solidarity to alliance with fascists & counter-revolution in Syria. It is nearly impossible to find any articles written by SA about the Arab Spring, the Palestinian struggle & BDS, Kashmir, the US wars, the Rohingya, or even Syria that isn’t apologetics for Assad. One member wrote a lengthy defense of Assad stringing together a mountain of quotes by Lenin with no analysis nor even mention of Syria until the last sentence. It isn’t just an SA phenomenon nor a US phenomenon but is played out across the world in the antiwar, Palestinian solidarity, & socialist movements. SA’s kind of socialism is dead & good riddance to them. Regrettably, the opposition to them is not entirely cogent since many include supporters of US humanitarian militarism.

The politically corrupt Assad supporters are using their influence (such as it is) to associate the Rohingya with terrorism. The liberal radio station KPFA out of Berkeley (affiliated with Pacifica & WBAI in NYC) had an interview–shared by Beeley on Twitter–titled “Genocide” in Myanmar? Think again, which promotes the fascist point of view.

So who are we to believe? Islamophobes, anti-Semites, & fascists? Or the judges & genocide scholars of the International Peoples’ Tribunal who found the Burmese junta guilty of genocide? Or the voices of Rohingya refugees like the child who drew this picture of what they witnessed & experienced in Arakan state?

(Drawing tweeted by Jamila Hanan)

The execution of Ruben Cantu in Texas for a murder he did not commit

Ruben Cantu

There was a documentary on TV about the case of Ruben Cantu, a 17-year-old Texan arrested in 1984 & executed in 1993 for a murder he did not commit & for which there wasn’t a shred of evidence against him. it was a sustained frame-up at every level of the judicial system involving the San Antonio police, an ignorant & arrogant prosecuting attorney named Sam Milsap, & later a vicious district attorney named Susan Reed.

Cantu came from a rough neighborhood but had no prior convictions for any crime. Nevertheless, the San Antonio prosecutor vilified him as a violent thief, gang member & murderer. That was at the time when, as part of the so-called War on Drugs, alarmism about Black & Latino narco-terrorist youth gangs was being whipped to a fever pitch & used to justify martial law in the Black & Latino communities. This frame-up appears to be based in revenge by an off-duty policeman who had an altercation with Cantu but the racism & alarmism made the lack of evidence irrelevant. A 26-year-old man was put to death for a crime he did not commit & the real murderer walked free.

In 2005, Lise Olsen, an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle, reexamined evidence in the case. In the process, she interviewed Sam Milsap, the district attorney who originally prosecuted Cantu & an ardent supporter of the death penalty. Milsap once said Texans are hard-wired, even programmed to love the death penalty as essential to criminal justice: “We love a good execution.” Milsap had retired into private practice before DNA evidence became a staple of forensics & the several studies showing rampant misconduct in prosecutions sending many innocent people to death row. He made a public statement in 2000 expressing his misgivings about the death penalty & when shown the evidence dug up by Lise Olsen in the Ruben Cantu case, he reversed his views & became an outspoken opponent. That didn’t help Ruben Cantu.

It probably isn’t true that Texans “love a good execution” so much as the power structure of the state is rooted in the mindset of the Confederacy. But Texas does have the highest execution rate of any other US state: 543 executions since 1976. That’s over 13 executions every year. Of the current number of 247 prisoners on death row in Texas, 182 are Black, Latino, or Asian. It is not an overstatement to say racism is the heart of the death penalty. The death penalty remains a major political issue in the state of Texas. As is overcoming the legacy of the Confederacy.

(Photo is Ruben Cantu. May he Rest In Peace.)