Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.
—  Howard Zinn, "Whom will we honor Memorial Day?" in 1976
What really bothers me is that your mainstream readers (most of whom have little-to-no prior knowledge about radical feminism or transgender activism) will most likely not see through the article’s journalistic-ish veneer, and will assume that it represents an “objective” and “unbiased” presentation of the situation. And they will assume that transgender activists are mean people and completely out of control, because they have not been offered any evidence to suggest otherwise. And the insinuations that Goldberg makes throughout her article — that trans people act irrationally, are sexually deviant, and potentially dangerous — will seem to have “truthiness” to your readers, because the media has been propagating these very stereotypes of us for almost half a century. And when your readers do eventually meet a real-life trans person, perhaps they will misgender them, or dismiss them as a “pervert,” and justify those acts by referencing a New Yorker article they once read.
— 

An Open Letter to The New Yorker | Julia Serano

If you haven’t been following, read the original New Yorker story and then Julia’s full response. So, so important to constantly hold one another accountable, especially when one group’s “activism” exists only to cut another group down.

REVEALED: UK spy-base in Middle East taps into WHOLE REGION’S internet communications

Above-top-secret details of Britain’s covert surveillance programme - including the location of a clandestine British base tapping undersea cables in the Middle East - have so far remained secret, despite being leaked by fugitive NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden. Government pressure has meant that some media organisations, despite being in possession of these facts, have declined to reveal them. Today, however, the Register publishes them in full.

The secret British spy base is part of a programme codenamed “CIRCUIT” and also referred to as Overseas Processing Centre 1 (OPC-1). It is located at Seeb, on the northern coast of Oman, where it taps in to various undersea cables passing through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Seeb is one of a three site GCHQ network in Oman, at locations codenamed “TIMPANI”, “GUITAR” and “CLARINET”. TIMPANI, near the Strait of Hormuz, can monitor Iraqi communications. CLARINET, in the south of Oman, is strategically close to Yemen.

British national telco BT, referred to within GCHQ and the American NSA under the ultra-classified codename “REMEDY”, and Vodafone Cable (which owns the former Cable & Wireless company, aka “GERONTIC”) are the two top earners of secret GCHQ payments running into tens of millions of pounds annually.

More info

Great news! Obama wants $500 million to keep arming Syrian rebels...who are connected to Iraq's ISIS

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Oh, I’m sorry.  Obama doesn’t want to arm the Syrian rebels who are connected to the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) that are pillaging their way across Iraq right now. He wants to “vet” the rebels and only give arms to the “moderate” ones!  I wonder what the vetting questionnaire looks like…

from Reuters:

President Barack Obama, under pressure from some lawmakers to provide more help to Syria’s opposition, asked the U.S. Congress on Thursday to approve $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

It was the administration’s most tangible move yet to help beleaguered Assad opponents who have been frustrated at a lack of U.S. assistance after Obama stepped back from launching air strikes on Syria nearly a year ago.

Senior Obama administration officials have long debated how best to help rebels in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, which is showing signs of spilling over into neighboring Iraq.

A White House statement said Syrian rebels would be “appropriately vetted” before being given assistance, in what amounts to an effort to assuage concerns that some equipment provided to the Syrian opposition might ultimately fall into the hands of U.S. enemies.

Obama has been under strong pressure from some lawmakers, such as Republican Senator John McCain Of Arizona, to increase assistance to the Syrian rebels. Some members of Congress have accused Obama of being passive and indecisive, allowing Assad to repulse the threat to his government.

read the rest

Oh, I get it!  He’s under pressure from John McCain…who, by the way, totally knows the difference between the “moderate” Syrian rebels and the radical Jihadist ones who affiliate with al Qaeda.  Oh wait…

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Yes, that’s John McCain, hanging out with terrorists who kidnapped 11 Shi’ite pilgrims in Syria

Again, what is this vetting process going to look like?  Here’s a suggestion for question #1:

Have you or any of your friends or relatives ever eaten the heart and/or liver of your freshly killed enemy

Peruvian anti-logging activist Edwin Chota killed
September 10, 2014

An outspoken Peruvian opponent of illegal logging and three other native Ashaninka community leaders were slain in a remote region bordering Brazil, tribal authorities said Monday.

The activist, Edwin Chota, had received frequent death threats from illegal loggers, who he had tried for years to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title.

Illegal loggers were suspected in the killings, Ashaninka regional leader Reyder Sebastian Quiltiquari said by phone. Pervasive corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region’s river basins of prized hardwoods, especially mahogany and tropical cedar.

"He threatened to upset the status quo," said David Salisbury, a professor at the University of Richmond who was advising Chota on the title quest and had known him for a decade. "The illegal loggers are on record for wanting Edwin dead."

Chota, who was in his early 50s, and the others were killed about a week ago while returning to Saweto, the community he led on the Upper Tamaya river, from a meeting about the logging issue with Ashaninka leaders in the nearby Brazilian village of Apiwtxa, said Mr. Sebastian.

He said his information was still preliminary, but that a Saweto villager said via radio that the men’s dismembered bodies were found at the community’s edge. Chota would frequently confront firearms-carrying loggers, he added, a machete his only weapon.

The other slain men were identified by a police official in Pucallpa, the regional capital, as Jorge Rios, who was Chota’s deputy, Leoncio Quincicima and Francisco Pinedo.

Peru’s main indigenous federation, AIDESEP, expressed outrage at police and the judiciary in a statement for “doing absolutely nothing despite repeated complaints” to protect their brothers slain “defending their ancestral lands.”

A commission of indigenous leaders from Saweto’s district was expected later Monday in Pucallpa to meet with a government vice minister, said Mr. Sebastian. The police official, Carlos Quispe, said authorities later planned to fly by helicopter to retrieve the bodies.

Chota had campaigned for six years for the title for his community, emboldening other settlements along the Tamaya to similar seek legal claim to traditional lands, Mr. Sebastian said.

Now, he said, people in those communities fear for their lives. He said he would demand a meeting with President Ollanta Humala to obtain assurances for their safety.

Ashaninka are Peru’s No. 1 Amazon ethnic group, numbering some 92,000, and Mr. Sebastian says violence against them has been rising since they began agitating for titles to their territories.

Chota had written more than 100 letters to state institutions about illegal logging and titling efforts in Ucayali, said Mr. Salisbury, “and he was an incredible incredibly dynamic and charismatic leader who gave hope to not just his community but many others by his courage and convictions.”

He said he and Chota personally met with Peru’s national forestry director, Fabiola Muñoz, in July and that forestry inspectors had just visited forestry concessions that overlapped with Saweto that were being logged without permission.

Telephone calls to Ms. Muñoz seeking comment on the progress of Chota’s titling efforts weren’t immediately returned.

Chota’s region is home to about 80% of illegal logging in Peru, which thrives on a web of corruption involving the widespread issuance of counterfeit logging permits.

For years, said Mr. Salisbury, large amounts of timber have been taken from Saweto – and from the Brazilian side of the Tamaya River – and floated downriver to saw mills in Pucallpa.

"It’s impossible to monitor where the timber is coming from," he said.

The wood from a single old-growth mahogany tree can fetch more than $11,000 on the U.S. lumber market, the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency said in a 2012 report on Peru’s troubled forest-concession system.

Source

What’s really happening in Venezuela right now?

Caveat: I know little about Venezuela personally! I have just read up on it since the recent protests, because I felt guilty for previously ignoring the country because of the relatively common reason that autonomous/anarchist left people do i.e. because we don’t want to be too closely linked to chavismo.

There’s a lot of hype going round about the recent Venezuelan protests, coming from two main camps:

  • movement and individual social media posts, framing the current protests as the true feelings of the people oppressed by an authoritarian government;
  • big-hitting left media, framing the protests are an illegitimate coup against a democratic government.

I back the third way: that a strong and well-funded right wing elite has taken advantage of student mobilisations against insecurity, but that these protests are grounded in very real problems.

The background for the protests

These recent protests were sparked by students marching against scarce basic goods, economic insecurity, police brutality and sexual assault.

These are all very real issues in Venezuela. However, though resources are scarce in Venezuela, crime has been decreasing and food shortages have been improving, which begs the question of “why protest now”.

The answer to that question could be related to the opposition’s performance in December elections (not good).

Who is supporting the protests

A Venezuelan autonomous-anarchist paper describes the class composition of the protests as: mainly middle class people and college students in Caracas, with political demands (e.g. resignation of Maduro); a lot more popular support in other cities, with more social demands (e.g. against a lack of adequate public services).

It’s worth noting also that “Maduro has only managed to rally public employees to the street protests he has called”.

According to Russia Today (a more unreliable news source than most), “analysts believe that the bulk of the opposition’s support is centered in the struggling middle class, unhappy with government policies that have generally been more favorable to Venezuela’s poor”. Take from that what you will!

Business Insider (guess where their interests lie) describes Leopoldo Lopez as fighting against the socialist government. However, even they admit that “though tens of thousands joined Lopez on the streets when he turned himself in on Tuesday, the protests so far have mainly been much smaller than the wave of demonstrations a decade ago” [the last major US-backed coup].

Strong right wing elites

These initial protests have been dominated by right-wing elites. This is an elite opposition that receives a lot of funding from the US. Obama has “specifically requested funding for these Venezuelan opposition groups” (see Democracy Now! and  for more).

Though Washington Post described opposition leader Lopez as a “left-leaning moderate”, DN! and most other left sources challenge that strongly, with DN! instead choosing the words “far right of the Venezuelan political spectrum”.

The media in Venezuela is also almost entirely privately owned, which is affecting how the message about the protests is getting out within the country. International mainstream media seems to just be following their “revolution of the people” line without much critical assessment.

Is it a coup?

The right-wing elite is preaching democracy, but in its actions at least, seems fundamentally against the idea. What has happened recently has been very similar to the events preceding the 2002 coup, which they were also involved with. See Venezuela: it’s the opposition that’s anti-democratic for more info.

However, the discourse of a “coup” is biased by the government, and overuse of it “leaves thousands of protesters at the mercy of the most conservative discourse of the opposition parties, without any reference to anti-capitalists, revolutionaries and true social change that could influence them” (the Venezuelan autonomous-anarchist paper again).

The state is definitely not innocent in this conflict: repressing protests, supporting militia “collectives”, suppressing mention of the protests on state-funded media, and torturing detainees.

It’s worth noting that though the deaths have been either explicitly or implicitly linked to the government in media outlets across the world,  that’s not entirely the case.

Summary

It’s a balance between “the violent means through which the US, international capital and the Venezuelan elite are trying to oust a democratically-elected government”, against “the reproductive patterns of state violence to which this Socialist government itself is now resorting”.

With a heavy dose of “just because there’s people in the streets doesn’t mean they’re on our side”.

This post heavily draws on a response to a recent ask about Venezuela. If you think it’s way off, let me know!

VIDEO: Son of Hamas founder explains to CNN that their goal is the death of Israel, global caliphate

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Considering their usual anti-Israel bias, I’m honestly pretty surprised that CNN aired this segment with Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the founding members of Hamas who has since left the group and become a Christian.  His message is vital, and he gives a view into Hamas’s intentions that few others have seen first hand.

Here’s the video (h/t Right Scoop):

Mosab Hassan Yousef’s very life is in danger for his renouncement of Hamas and Islam.  Every time he gives an interview like this, he puts himself at grave risk.  We can be incredibly thankful that he is brave enough to speak out against the evil that his father helped create.

#Not1more strikes again: California youth protest for-profit immigration detention center
November 25, 2013

Three young adults chained their necks with bicycle locks to the front gates of the newly reopened Adelanto Detention Center, a for-profit immigrant prison in California.

Since its reopening in 2011, Adelanto has become the largest immigrant detention center in California. It’s privately owned and run by GEO Group Inc., a for-profit prison corporation. Adelanto is already known for its “segregation cells,” a form of solitary confinement. The privately-owned prison has 1,200 beds to hold migrants who are either waiting for a ruling on their immigration cases or to be deported from the country.

The three young women are part of the Empire Inland-Immigrant Youth Coalition. The action was organized to support three family members currently detained inside the prison, with the broader demand to end inhumane incarceration and release everyone detained in time for the holiday season.

“We need a moratorium on deportations, deferred action for all, and the end of inhumane treatment,” said Luis Serrano of the Coalition.

Today’s action is part of the broader national #Not1more campaign intended to pressure President Obama to take administrative relief and halt deportations. Since he has taken office in 2008, nearly two million people have been deported, more than during any other time in U.S. history. The #Not1more campaign is behind the escalating national movement to use direct action to stop deportations, which include shutdowns of ICE detention centers across the country.

Source

Striking miners at the Vio.Me factory in Thessaloniki haven’t been paid since May 2011. They voted in July 2012 to take control of the factory, BUT they’ve been struggling without support and the finances to get off the ground.

You can donate online at viome.org and if you’re in related industries/nearby, get down and give them some physical help.

Solidarity!

VIDEO: CNN host dumbfounded by Muslim cleric who flatly tells him there are no moderate Muslims

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This is Muslim cleric Anjam Choudary.  If there’s anybody out there making the case for Islam as the “religion of peace,” it certainly isn’t him.  In this clip, he refuses to condemn ISIS’s beheading of an American journalist.  He openly advocates sharia law.  He poo poos the fact that Christians are being forced to convert to Islam in Syria or face death at the hands of ISIS.   

Here’s the video:

"You are either pregnant or your’e not pregnant."  Anjam Choudary says it is the same with Islam: either you’re a follower or you’re not.  There are no radical or moderates, just people who follow Islam and people who don’t. 

I’ve actually heard many non-muslim westerners make the same point and get called bigots for saying so.  Personally, I happen to know a handful of peaceful Muslims, but unfortunately, they keep to themselves and don’t publicly condemn people like Choudary or the actions of ISIS.  This seems to be a major problem in the Muslim community.  

Where are the Muslims who are willing to boldly stand up and condemn the violence in Syria and Iraq?  Where are the Muslims who are willing to publicly say that people like Choudary are advocates of evil? 

Back in 2008, French news agency AFP did a world wide survey of Muslims and estimated that only 7% are radical Islamists.  However, with 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, that leaves 112 million radical Islamists, and that’s not a number that can be easily shrugged off.  They’re also the loudest voices in the room.  

There’s an intimate connection between mendacity and criminality, between lies and crimes against humanity.

And what I want to say to my Black brother in the White House: Barack Obama is a war criminal, not because he’s Black, or half-African and white, because his drones have killed 233 innocent children, and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and it would be true anywhere else.
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