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Daily Archives: 09/03/2011

(amnesty.org) The Yemeni authorities must end deadly night raids and other attacks on protests, Amnesty International said today, after one protester was killed and around 100 injured in the capital Sana’a late last night.

According to media reports, security forces used live rounds and tear gas against protesters camped outside Sana’a University. Protesters are demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule.

“This is the second time in three weeks that protesters have been killed in late night raids by the security forces in the capital,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“These disturbing heavy-handed tactics used with lethal effect against protesters must stop immediately. People must be allowed to assemble and protest in peace.”

Some 30 people have reportedly now been killed in Yemen during ongoing unrest which began early last month. Protesters are demanding government reform and an end to corruption and unemployment.

Yesterday’s shooting followed reports of a riot by inmates at the capital’s Central Prison. The inmates were reported to have called for the sacking of the director of the prison, and for a new government. At least two prisoners were killed and 60 people wounded.

Yesterday also saw protests in the southern city of Aden and in the town of ‘Ataq, south-east of Sana’a.

In the central region of Ibb tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand action over an attack on a protest camp by pro-government protesters on Sunday which reportedly killed one and injured dozens.

Yemeni soldiers were also reported to have opened fire on protesters in the northern town of Harf Sufyan on 4 March. According to information received by Amnesty International, the protesters were leaving the protest area in cars when soldiers at a military post opened fire, killing two men in the same car and wounding several others. The Yemeni Ministry of Defence has denied allegations that the military opened fire on protesters.

In the previous late night raid in Sana’a, two protesters were shot dead on 22 February when security forces, aided by men described by witnesses as “thugs”, stormed a group of people who had set up a protest camp outside the university.

Yemen is one of a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that have seen increasing unrest since mass protests in Egypt and Tunisia.

Source: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/yemen-urged-halt-deadly-attacks-protesters-2011-03-09

(eagainst) The hungerstrike of 300 migrants ended today. The strikers accepted the proposal following some key big concessions by the government. As Occupied London reports it has been agreed:

– the time limit for application for permanent residence in the country is now dropped to eight years (down from twelve).
– work credit (ensima) are disconnected from the application for permanent residence.
– all three-hundred migrant hunger strikers will be allowed to apply for 6-month rolling permits until the reach the 8-year limit in order to gain permanent residence.

This is a huge victory on the side of the hunger strikers who now see the road paved for tens of thousands of people to be able to live in the country without the fear of being undocumented.

Translation of latest statement from the Solidarity Committee:

The victory of the 300 migrants, hope for all societies

9th March 2011

Today’s governmental decision to satisfy a share of the demands of the 300 migrants proved that the only lost struggle is the one you never give. Furthermore, it showed to all workers, both men and women that the Mnemonio (austerity measures) government is not undefeatable. The strong ideal for struggle and wide social solidarity can achieve realistic results.

It is obvious that new, long-lasting tougher struggles lie ahead to help cease the apartheid strategy against the foreign workers who live in Greece and Europe. Although, there should be no doubt that the self-deny of the 300 opened a new gate to hope.

We would like to thank all who (and they were many…) supported this difficult struggle from the beginning (by Nomiki, School for Laws, where it started as an initiative) to the hospitals that were involved. Above all, we would like to express our upmost respect to the 300 strikers for whom all the working class can be proud of.

The hunger strike of the 300 started on Monday, 25 January 2011, claiming the obvious: unconditional legalization. During these 45 days a series of notable solidarity actions took place across the country and all over Europe (click here for older developments). In the afternoon of March 8th, activists from Solidarity Initiative Berlin organised a small protest in front of the Greek embassy expressing their dismay about the criminal stance of the Greek government towards the 300 migrants and the inhumane asylum system of Greece. They handed a notice to the ambassador which he sent as a fax to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens. They also suggested to several politicians and social actors to put more pressure on the Greek government in order to justify the demands of the hunger strikers.

In Paris, the vice-president of the Papandreou dictatorial regime Theodoros Pangalos (grandson of the general and dictator Th. Pangalos) was attending an event organised by the filmmaker Costa Gavras, at the “Greek House”. A small group of people entered the building, shouting slogans against him, demanding his  immediate withdrawal. They unfolded banners in solidarity with the 300 hunger strikers and soon comrades who live in Paris arrived at the place. The protesters demanded his withdrawal, which eventually came a little later. As Pangalos was leaving the room he ordered the cancellation of the event accusing the students as “terrorists”! On May 7 Pangalos ordered the evacuation, even by force , of the Hypatia building (where the hunger strikers were staying). According to his announcement: “All limits of tolerance and understanding as it concerns the health issues raised practically by the struggle of the immigrants have been expired.” He is the one who accused disgracefully all of the citizens with the words “Mazi ta fagame” (“We fooled away the money together, both government and citizens”) and called the Greek public servants as ”coprites” (lowlife thieves).

Both the Greek and the international media did not hesitate once again to spew their vitriol against this fair fight, claiming that this hunger strike was organised by people who carry a specific political agenda. The slander from the Greek government, the far right party LA.O.S and their best servants – the mainstream media – concerned the motivation of this action.But they finally have been proven wrong. Undoubtedly, this action was not influenced or provoked by anyone, essentially not by any political party. The motivation of the solidarity committee was only a response to the duty to stand in solidarity by the side of all those who are impaired by the tactics of the regime. The migrants living in Greece rank thereby first. Below you can find attached a report – submitted by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – regarding not only the heartless asylum system but also all the brutal repression tactics of this dictatorial regime.

by Julien Chaulieu

Source and more info:
http://eagainst.com/articles/greece-migrant-hunger-strike-ends-in-huge-victory/

(c4ss.org) In his groundbreaking treatise Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, Kevin Carson argues that we are living in a world created by the “neoliberal revolution,” the present-day successor to the policies of the “Open Door Empire” era beginning at the close of the nineteenth century. That revolution, conditional on military might and its warped version of “free trade,” has “created a ‘de facto world government’ on behalf of global corporations.”

Like all empires, the American version, which involves shipping our Big Business economy abroad, depends on bludgeoning susceptible states into discreet subservience. To fill the role of underboss to the United States’ kingpin of course requires a certain temperament, a cupidity and lack of moral scruples found mostly in tin pot dictators wearing funny costumes. And but for his occasional teary outburst, Afghanistan’s President Karzai pretty well fits the bill.

This week, though, Karzai piped up to spurn the tepid apologies of General David Patraeus, the red-handed butcher who currently occupies the post of Commander in the war-torn country. Patraeus’ half-hearted apology, a gauche case of damage-control PR, comes after “an error in the handoff” of intelligence ended in the death of nine children. By now even the most offhand observation of the decade-long war in Afghanistan reveals countless civilian deaths, and from wedding receptions to kids the “insurgency” has become more and more ill-defined.

In another timely episode of American Empire Media, Defense Secretary Gates, alongside faithful underling Karzai, parroted the American state’s stock apology and foretold of a schedule for leaving Afghanistan. Well, Patraeus can issue as many apologies as he likes — with Karzai’s muted objections and Gates’ announcements of troop draw-downs in the background — but the reality is that, no matter what happens in Afghanistan, there’s no draw-down planned for the Empire in general.

For the economic program of the American ruling class to function, governments amenable to its hierarchical, corporate framework are a practical imperative. Today, the Big Business economic blueprint, created by and for the state’s elites, is so ubiquitous that no one of its vavasour states — be it Afghanistan or any other — is necessary by itself. The investments of the American state converge with nearly every building block of the “flat world” of neoliberalism, which, by concentrating wealth in a tiny sliver at the top, is anything but true to its metaphorical namesake.

Intimidatory international agreements, conceived and executed by corporate interests, ensure the dominance of a very specific business modality, one completely severed or insulated from the corollaries of genuine free markets. Market regions covering entire hemispheres, whatever one thinks of them, simply would not have been possible at their commencement but for the wars and other, less noticeable deeds of state coercion.

States like Afghanistan may be the citadels of American imperialism, but its ideological strongholds exists in the intangible space of faith in the state. To the proponents of “free trade” who see it as a force for peace in the world: Are we really to believe that the American state, with all of its warlike foreign meddling, isn’t also engaged in global,economic intervention?

Quoting Christopher Layne and Benjamin Schwarz, Carson observes that, in today’s global economy, “U.S. security commitments are viewed as the indispensable precondition for economic interdependence.” The one doesn’t exist without the other, and defenders of a real liberty need not pretend they are independent phenomena.

by David D’Amato

Source: http://c4ss.org/content/6381

(OilDrum) The following is a guest post from Gregor Macdonald, adapted from his website Gregor.us.

One of the reasons that gold retains its competitiveness as a capital-storage unit is the rather slow and plodding rate at which supply is brought to market. Since 1900, compound annual growth of world gold production comes in at 1.163%. That particular rate is below the growth rate for a number of other natural resources. But in particular: it’s well below the rate of credit production–the “resource” which now plagues the developed world. Indeed, the over-production of credit the past twenty-five years has once again driven capital back into hard assets such as gold. This brings up an intriguing subject: the conversion of resources into financial capital, and the conversion of financial capital back into resources. First, let’s take a look at a century of gold production. | see: World Gold Production in Metric Tons 1900 – 2009.

Read more: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7603

(libcom.org) On March 7 we learned that one of the most active members of the tenants’ movement, Jolanta Brzeska, was found dead in the woods.

Her body had been burnt beyond recognition and it is unclear whether she was alive or dead when it happened.

Jola was 64 years old. She was one of the founders of the Warsaw Tenants’ Association, a good speaker and committed activist who went to all demonstrations, who blocked evictions and advised other tenants. She herself was involved in a battle with Warsaw’s most notorious slumlord, Marek Mossokowski, and was the last tenant left in a valuable piece of real estate at the time of her death. Read More

(electronicintifada.net) CAIRO (IPS) – The much-feared secret police and intelligence service that protected the regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by arresting, torturing and even killing opponents has started a wave of burning documents and evidence that could incriminate them, as calls escalate for abolishing the force altogether and bringing its officers to justice.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded the main office Saturday of Amn al-Dawla, the State Security Police, in 6th of October City, 30 kilometers south of Cairo, to try to stop the burning of files believed to contain incriminating evidence of human rights abuses.

Protesters were shouting “Justice, justice for they fired bullets on us.” Army tanks and armored vehicles were cordoning off the offices to protect the besieged secret police officers.

Heaps of documents and files were on fire. Dozens of protesters used wooden ladders to take a peek from above a three-meter-high fence. Some managed to salvage lightly burned files. The documents could provide insights on how the secret police operated with complete impunity under Mubarak for thirty years.

Similar protests broke out in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in Sharkia, a province northeast of Cairo. Protesters asked for disbanding the force after word spread on Friday night that officers were shredding documents and setting fire to “top secret” documents.

Eyewitnesses in Alexandria told local TV stations that officers cornered inside the building opened fire on the protesters, injuring at least three.

Disbanding the force would be the next most important landmark in the process of the Egyptian revolution, after it succeeded in ousting the Western-backed Mubarak on 11 February, and the dissolution of parliament a few days later.

Amn al-Dawla resembles the Iranian Savak force under the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. That force was later eliminated by the Islamic revolution.

The draconian force had instilled fear among most Egyptians and was often the main friction point between the public and the Mubarak regime. Thousands have been kidnapped and tortured by Amn al-Dawla officers.

The force, whose exact number and budget remain a secret, controlled almost all aspects of life in the nation of 85 million. Its reports are said to have shaped the future of most professionals in the country.

No government appointments were made without approval of the secret police. Political activists risked at the least a ban on travel overseas. Young army officers were put under surveillance to ensure loyalty to Mubarak. Spies were planted everywhere, including in shopping malls and sports clubs to monitor public sentiment.

“They banned all of us men over sixty years old from gathering inside mosques after prayers to read the Quran,” says Hajj Mohammed Ali. “They banned any gathering. They wanted to control the people with an iron fist.”

Others tell more dramatic stories. Sayed al-Gazzar, a secondary school teacher, recounted how his brother Khaled was detained by Amn al-Dawla in Sharkia for three days for not carrying an ID card.

“He came out a sick person with lots of mental problems because of the heavy torture he endured,” al-Gazzar told IPS. “We spent a year going from one doctor to the other to find a cure for him. But he died a year later leaving behind three children and a wife without any income. They killed him.”

It is such heart-wrenching stories that started off a campaign in Egypt to disband and investigate the force after the toppling of Mubarak.

Calls are mounting on Facebook and Twitter to surround more offices of the secret police force to save the important documents.

The coalition of the 25 January revolution (25 January is when the first big protest was held) — a loosely formed grouping of young leaders of the uprising — threatened to launch sit-ins around the country if the army doesn’t order the end of the Amn al-Dawla, or moves to preserve evidence of its human rights abuses.

“Our unequivocal request is the elimination of that police force,” the group said in a statement sent to IPS. “We will continue to escalate pressure within hours … including issuing calls for masses of Egyptians to demonstrate until that police force is abolished.”

But the spread of protests to other offices of Amn al-Dawla could lead to renewed violence as the force is well-armed, and its members didn’t hesitate in the past to shoot at demonstrations.

New Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is more responsive to disbanding the force, probing abuses by the force and holding its officers accountable. Sharaf has made statements against the force before.

Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy, an old guard figure, has resisted calls to dissolve the powerful force, preferring instead to “restructure” it.

Human rights groups and revolution activists have vowed to press ahead with their demands to remove all symbols of the former regime.

On Thursday, the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information published a series of leaked documents that detail the “crimes” of the secret police. In a statement, the group entitled the release: Countdown to End Amn al-Dawla.

by Emad Mekay

Source: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11847.shtml