Good Reads: 10/22/14

There’s been a lot of stuff out there that I’ve been wanting to post to this blog but haven’t gotten a chance to, so I thought a weekly roundup of noteworthy articles might be a good project to start. This list is not by any means exhaustive, so please drop us a comment with other interesting/important articles & petitions! Anti-Oppression Forum folks are working on publishing our first ever zine, Wildcat, so I’ll be sure to post all the original content from that when it’s out in early November. -Schuyler

Kobane

Why is the World Ignoring the Revolutionary Kurds in Syria? by David Graeber, The Guardian

The Struggle for Kobane: An Example of Selective Solidarity by Leila al Shami, leilashrooms.wordpress.com

Call for Solidarity with Kobane by Gezi Platform NYC, Facebook.com/GeziPlatformNYC

Syrian Refugees

Take Action: Tell Europe to Resettle More Syrian Refugees, The Syria Campaign

Detroit

UN Officials ‘Shocked’ by Detroit’s Mass Water Shutoffs by Laura Gottesdiener, Al Jazeera America

Palestine

Prominent Palestinian Activist Convicted of Obstructing Israeli Military by Renee Lewis, Al Jazeera America

Iraq

Take Action: Tell U.S. to Stop Opposing UN Resolutions on Depleted Uranium in Iraq, Roots Action

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August 21: Protest in NYC to Free Nestora Salgado!

The Anti-Oppression Forum (AOF) is proud to participate in tomorrow’s International Day of Protest to Free Nestora Salgado and All Political Prisoners. The event comes on the first anniversary of Nestora’s unjust imprisonment. AOF folks will be down in New York City tomorrow (August 21) to protest outside the Mexican Consulate, 27 E 39th Street, Manhattan (between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue). For more info on the event, call Stephen Durham of the Free Nestora campaign at (917) 714-6453 or e-mail FreeNestora.NYC@gmail.com

For more on Nestora’s case, visit FreeNestora.org

 

Israel’s Iron Dome doesn’t cover Bedouins

Dispatches from the Underclass

The Negev (Naqab) desert in the south of present-day Israel is home to 200,000 indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel, known as Bedouins, most of whom arecompletely defenseless against falling rockets because the Israeli government refuses to protect their villages and denies them the right to build bomb shelters.

One of two Israeli civilians killed since Israel began its relentless bombing campaign in Gaza was 32-year-old Auda al-Wadj.

He died when a rocket fired from Gaza struck his home in Qasr al-Ser, a Bedouin village near Dimona that lacks sirens, bomb shelters and cover from Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system because, according to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, the Iron Dome “does not protect agricultural areas.”  

As life in Gaza grinds to a halt amid death and destruction from Israel’s merciless bombing campaign, Israeli casualties from Palestinian rockets fired in response to Israel’s military…

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Palestinian Prisoners “At the Edge of Death” As Hunger Strike Continues

by Shahd Abusalama, Electronic Intifada

Palestinians in Gaza City have launched a solidarity hunger strike in a sit-in protest outside the Red Cross. (Ahmad Abu Hussein)

Our Palestinian detainees have been battling the Israel Prison Service (IPS) with their empty stomachs since 24 April, embarking on the longest-known mass hunger strike in the history of the Palestinian prisoners movement. Hunger is the only remaining weapon they can use against the IPS and its well-armed Israeli occupation soldiers.

They launched this hunger strike to call for an end to their detention with no charge or trial based on secret “evidence” submitted to a military court that is kept from the detainees and their lawyers — an unjust policy that Israel calls administrative detention. One hundred and twenty administrative detainees launched this mass hunger strike which grew to involve nearly three hundred prisoners, according to the rights group Addameer.

Our dignified prisoners are striking in protest of Israel’s violation of an agreement reached with the IPS after the 28-day mass hunger strike that ended on 14 May 2012. According to that deal, the use of administrative detention — the key issue behind the hunger strike – would be restricted and administrative detention orders would not be renewed without fresh evidence being brought before a military judge. However, Israel did not abide by the agreement and has continued its practice of arbitrary administrative detention.

Strikers hospitalized

Administrative detainee Ayman Tbeisheh from Dura village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank has exceeded one hundred days of refusing food in protest of his administration detention orders which have been continuously renewed since his last arrest in May 2013, according to al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. Tbeisheh has spent a total of eleven years in Israeli jails, including nearly five years under administrative detention.

According to Addameer, Tbeisheh first began to refuse food on 22 May 2013, immediately after his four-month administrative detention order was confirmed in a military court. He suspended his strike after 105 days, when he thought he reached a deal with the IPS. But this was soon broken as his order was again renewed, despite his deteriorated health.

Ayman Tbeisheh told Palestinian lawyer Ibrahim Al-Araj, who managed to visit him during his previous hunger strike, “I will continue this open hunger strike until I put an end to the ghost of administrative detention that keeps chasing me.”

Soon after he regained some of his physical strength, he re-launched his hunger strike on 24 February 2014. Tbeisheh has since been placed in Assaf Harofe Medical Center where he lays shacked to a hospital bed that may become his deathbed at any moment.

Ayman’s condition is no different than the rest of administrative detainees whose hunger for freedom and dignity drove them to launch the mass hunger strike that has been continuing for 51 days. Eighty hunger strikers have been hospitalized as a result of their ongoing hunger strike, but they persevere in this battle for dignity.

Despite their weak bodies that are drained of energy, their hands and feet are shacked to their hospital beds. They are threatened with force-feeding on a daily basis, an inhumane and dangerous practice that Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is close to setting into law.

Death penalty

My father, who spent a total of fifteen years in Israeli jails, calls force-feeding “a death penalty.” He participated in the Nafha prison mass hunger strike in 1980 which lasted for 33 days. He was subjected to force-feeding and thankfully survived. But his comrades Rasem Halawa from Jabalia refugee camp and Ali al-Jaafary from Dheisheh camp were victims of this murderous practice that aimed to break their hunger strike, and were killed after being subjected to force-feeding.

The Israel Prison Service escalates its oppression of the hunger strikers as their health constantly deteriorates. They put them in windowless isolation cells, keep their hands and legs shackled for tens of hours, deny them family and lawyer visits, and they even deny them an access to salt, which is necessary for their survival.

The strikers are committed to “hunger until either victory or martyrdom,” the same as Khader AdnanHana al-ShalabiMahmoud SarsakSamer Issawi and other ex-detainees who freed themselves after heroic battles of hunger strike against the IPS.

Prisoners’ letter

A smuggled letter from Israeli jails written by the administrative detainees who are on hunger strike. (QudsNetwork)

Below is my translation of a letter our administrative detainees managed to smuggle on 8 June to call upon humanity and people of conscience for popular and international support of their battle for justice. The ex-detainee Allam Kaaby read it during a press conference in front of the sit-in tent erected in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza in solidarity with our Palestinian prisoners’ open-ended mass hunger strike:

Despite the chains and the prisons’ bars and walls, this is a will from those who are standing at the edge of death to the guards of our homeland, Palestine.

After leaving the isolation cells which are no longer able to tolerate our pains, illnesses and corroded bodies, from our hospital beds to which we are shackled by chains and guard dogs, from amidst the jailers who keep watching our heart monitors that may announce our death any moment, from the edge of death, we send our call which could be the last for some of us. It might be the time to announce our will before we embrace our people as dignified martyrs. Our call is our voice, our scream, our will. We are the administrative detainees who are heading towards immortality, towards embracing the sun of dignity which might mark at the same time, the end of the battle for dignity. We raise our voice, hoping that it will reach our revolutionary people.

First, we call upon you to intensify your support of the hunger strikers who are not yet martyred; the fighters who fight our fascist enemy with their bodies deserve from you a stand of loyalty that prevents the continuation of our bloodshed which will never stop until the achievement of our just demands.

Second, the pains of hunger damaged some of our organs but some organs must be still in tact. As death is waiting for us, we declare that nothing will stand in the way of our sacrifices, even death. Therefore, we donate our functioning organs to the fighters, poor and oppressed people who are in need. We are waiting a visit from the International Committee of The Red Cross to endorse these donations.

Third, we call on you to stay faithful to our blood and the blood of all martyrs who sacrificed their souls over the course of our Palestinian struggle. Faithfulness is not just through words, but through revolutionary practice that knows no hesitance nor weakness.

Fourth, hold on to our historical and legitimate rights and never give up an inch of Palestine, from the river to the sea. The right to return is the bridge to our historic rights. These rights cannot be restored without resistance, which is the only language that our enemy understands.

Fifth, don’t fail prisoners who remain alive after us, as those who sacrifice their freedom as a price for their people’s freedom deserve freedom rather than death.

To our dignified people in Palestine and diaspora, to the free people and freedom fighters worldwide, we will let our screams be heard despite the darkness of Israeli jails, which are graves for the living. To people of dead conscience worldwide, our Palestinian people will continue the struggle until victory. We bid farewell with smiling faces.

Reading their words which embrace pain and disappointment must make us all ashamed as we watch them die slowly. Changing our profile pictures to a picture that shows solidarity with their battle for dignity cannot do them much help. We have to move beyond superficial solidarity to serious actions that will bring meaningful change to them. Act before we count more martyrs among Palestinian heroes behind Israeli bars. Their death would be our shame.

Update on the Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado

The Anti-Oppression Forum is really proud to be one of 120 activist groups and individuals endorsing the call to free indigenous Mexican-American community organizer Nestora Salgado. This update, from the Freedom for Nestora Committee-Seattle, WA goes into depth on Nestora’s case and how you can get involved.

NEWSFLASH! On March 7, the Mexico City Committee to Free Nestora will hold a press conference at which Nestora’s sister, Clotilde Salgado will speak. It will be broadcast live at 10:00am Mexico City time from the portal CENCOS (cencos.wordpress.com). It will be followed by a public forum at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and by a demonstration supported by a number of unions that have endorsed the campaign. They will all address the case of Nestora, and the plight of the community police in Guerrero and in Michoacán. The Mexican National Human Rights Commission has dispatched a team of investigators to look into the circumstances of Nestora’s arrest and incarceration to determine if they violate her civil and political rights. More on this when additional facts are available.

It has been six months since Nestora Salgado, a U.S. citizen and resident of Renton, Washington, was abducted from her hometown of Olinalá, Mexico and transported to a federal maximum security prison hundreds of miles away. She remains imprisoned today on trumped up charges related to her role as the elected leader of the indigenous police force in Olinalá, a force which defended the community against violent drug cartels and corrupt officials. Six months of inaction on her behalf by the U.S. government has resulted in grave hardship and deprivation for her and her family.

As her imprisonment and the arrest of other community police continues, the international campaign to free Nestora and her comrades is growing. Thus far it has encompassed a hunger strike by her husband Jose; an online petition campaign that has over 6300 signers; endorsements by over 120 organizations and prominent individuals; legal petitions filed with the U.N. and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and a multi-city, multinational day of protest and picketing on International Human Rights Day, December 10. Protests took place at Mexican consulates in five U.S. cities and government offices in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. There were also other actions in Australia, France and Argentina. Dozens of TV and radio interviews, as well as numerous newspaper articles in the U.S. and Mexico, have covered Nestora’s plight and the campaign to free her. Univision, the largest Spanish language TV network in the U.S., produced a short news report on her story.

Carrying out this campaign has entailed considerable expense for picket signs, photos, banners, informational flyers and transportation. Donations are urgently needed and gladly accepted to expand this campaign, please see below for more on how to make a donationA shout out goes to the Frente de Resistencia por México which held a successful fundraising event in Los Angeles on February 22.

The Freedom for Nestora organizing committee and her family are keeping up a pressure campaign on members of the Washington State congressional delegation. As of yet, they have not acted on our request to urge Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene on Nestora’s behalf. Instead they have tried working through the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara with minimal results. Only after numerous visits by consulate staff was Nestora allowed to receive, but not make, international phone calls with her family. Additionally, after months of letting Nestora see only her sister, one of her daughters has recently been allowed visits. That and clean drinking water are all that the U.S. intervention have produced.

A critical situation

protestPhoto: Radical Women’s Ann Rodgers, Nestora’s daughter Ruby Rodriguez, and husband José Avila

Prison officials continue to deny Nestora medical attention and the drugs needed to control the pain she suffers due to neuropathy. She is still barred from daily exercise (part of the treatment for her condition) and is restricted to her cell for all but an hour a week. Not surprisingly, she has lost considerable weight. Her sense of isolation is intensified by prison rules that forbid her contact with other inmates, even her cellmate.

The failure of Nestora’s congressional representatives and the U.S. State Department to aggressively intervene to free her has made her situation more difficult. Their lack of action has given a green light to increasingly punitive and exaggerated charges being brought against her by Mexican prosecutors. Six counts of kidnapping suddenly became 50 counts; coordinating legitimate community policing activities is now called leading a “criminal conspiracy”; and allowing community police officers to lawfully arm themselves with single shot rifles and machetes has become “weapons trafficking”.

Forcing Nestora to expend a great deal of the time and money to answer all these bogus charges is part of the Mexican government’s strategy to drain Nestora’s limited resources. Just getting copies of the files related to the plethora of charges against her will cost hundreds of dollars. This is on top of the heavy expenses involved in traveling hundreds of miles to and from the prison to visit Nestora.

Clearly federal and state prosecutors have been sabotaging Nestora’s right to effective legal representation. Government representatives have interfered not only with her right to see an attorney, but also with her choice of attorneys. The court refused to recognize her original lawyer who worked for a well-respected human rights organization and who had experience representing political prisoners. This delay tactic led the family in Guerrero to hire another attorney out of desperation. Unfortunately, he did not have the requisite qualifications to take on a political case like this. Only recently they secured a highly qualified law firm in Mexico City to represent her. But as of this writing–and six months after her arrest–she has still not seen an attorney.

Exciting news on the organizing front in Mexico
On January 17, a demonstration in the capital city of Guerrero demanded Nestora’s release along with other indigenous political prisoners. The Freedom for Nestora campaign issued a statement of solidarity that was widely publicized in the press in Mexico,including the two major newspapers in Guerrero. Two weeks later, on February 2, Nestora’s daughter Sayra spoke before a thousand supporters in Mexico City with the help of Partido Obrero Socialista (POS).

Other solidarity actions included a campaign kicked off by POS to produce and put up 2000 posters to raise public awareness of the case in Mexico. POS members were also instrumental in getting teachers in Oaxaca who belong to the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) to endorse the solidarity campaign.

Labor and people of color organizations in the U.S. call for Nestora’s release
The Freedom for Nestora-Seattle campaign was highly visible at the January march and rally in Seattle commemorating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. King County Council Member Larry Gossett promoted the campaign and invited Nestora’s husband Jose Avila and her daughter Grisel Rodriguez to address the crowd of several thousand. The MLK Day Celebration Committee also passed a resolution calling on the Congressional Black Caucus to urge the State Department to take immediate action to secure Nestora’s release from custody.

The Freedom for Nestora campaign has been endorsed by an impressive list of labor organizations within the last month. They include: the Washington State Labor Council – AFL-CIO; Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters; Seattle/King County Building & Construction Trades Council; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 77; Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 8; Washington Federation of State Employees Local 843; Puget Sound Coalition of Labor Union Women; and Puget Sound Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

International Women’s Day celebrations keep up the fight

Nestora’s campaign will be featured prominently in International Women’s Day events not only in Mexico City but in New York City, where members of YoSoy132, Nueva York will be on a panel on March 15. In Seattle, members of Nestora’s family will be speak at the annual celebration on March 14. On March 23 Nestora’s case will be one of several examples of repression against women leaders and activists discussed as part of a Bay Area IWD tribute.

As we learn of other events, we will let you know. ¡La lucha continua!

HELP FREE NESTORA! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

  • If you haven’t already, now is the time to sign the online petition demanding freedom for Nestora.
  • Write letters and make calls to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to intervene with Mexican officials to free Nestora. His address is U.S. Department of State, Attention: Secretary John Kerry, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520. His phone number is 202-647-4000, TTY: 1-800-877-8339.
  • Please make a donation to the ongoing fight. Every penny will go toward freeing Nestora. Make checks out to “Radical Women-Nestora Fund” and mail to Freedom for Nestora Committee, 5018 Rainier Ave S., Seattle, WA 98118.
  • Visit the Free Nestora Campaign Facebook page to volunteer and to check for new developments, meetings and activities.

This report was prepared by members of the Freedom for Nestora Committee– Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Su Docekal, Coordinator
FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com
206-953-5601

 

February: MOVE 9/Mumia Media Month!

From Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

As part of a three stage strategy to bring our comrades home, We’ve announced February to be MOVE 9/Mumia Media Month.

There are already a few awesome upcoming events, and we encourage Move and Mumia supporters in other parts to host events in their communities. If you’re interested in signing on to Move Media Month, pleasedrop an email to denverabc@riseup.net with a date/time and description of your event and we will add it to the list.

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Upcoming Move9/Mumia events:

-Wednesday February 12th:
Ramona Africa will be speaking on the case of The Move 9 and will
Feature a film screening of The 1978 Move Confrontation in Philadelphia .
7:00pm @ Bluestockings Radical Books
172 Allen Street (between Stanton and Rivington Streets)
New York, NY 10002

-Saturday February 15th:
Mumia Film Festival, featuring Mumia Abu Jamal. Admission $10 Donation.
12:00pm @ The National Black Theater in Harlem NYC
2031-2033 National Black Theater Way (5th Ave between 125th And 126th Streets)
New York, NY 10035

-Wednesday February 19th:
Featuring Ramona Africa, Cornel West, and Mark Lewis Taylor
In a discussion on Religion, Rebellion, and Move.
6:00pm @ Medgar Evers Colledge
1650 Bedford Ave. (between Carroll and Montgomery streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11225 ‎

-Saturday February 22nd:
Denver ABC will be hosting a film screening of The 1978 MOVE Confrontation in Philadelphia, followed by discussion.
1:00pm @ Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
2401 Welton St
Denver, CO 80205

The PA DOC has held our comrades captive for over 30 years, for crimes that they are proven innocent. Let’s bring them home…

MOVE is an eco-revolutionary group for black liberation and in defense of all life. There are currently eight MOVE activists in prison each serving 100 years after been framed for the murder of a cop while their house was being raided in 1978. The 9th defendant, Merle Africa, died in prison in 1998. Parole hearings for the rest of the MOVE 9 now occur roughly yearly. Your support can help them get released on parole. -Earth First! Newswire

Out of the Cage: Lynne Stewart is Free!

Since the spring, activists across the country and around the world have been engaged in a campaign to free “the people’s lawyer,” Lynne Stewart Rallies were held, phone calls were made, and petitions were signed. However, after a series of failed legal efforts, the prospects for Stewart’s release looked slim. And that’s why it is so moving to see her jubilantly greet her family and friends upon returning home to New York City on New Year’s Day. In a complete surprise coming only 4 hours after Stewart submitted a personal appeal, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons approved her release.  We’ve won!

Click here to watch Democracy Now!’s interview with Lynne Stewart and her supporters upon her arrival on Wednesday.

If you’d like to send Lynne a welcome home message, e-mail her husband at ralph.poynter@yahoo.com

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Below is an article from Common Dreams with more information about Stewart’s life and career:

A federal judge ordered the “compassionate release” of former defense lawyer Lynne Stewart on Tuesday on the grounds that she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer with a life expectancy of less than 18 months.

Stewart, 74, who is known for representing underserved and unpopular defendants, has served four years out of a ten-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center Carswell (FMC Carswell) in Fort Worth, Texas, in connection with her defense of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Stewart allegedly helped pass messages between Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of planning terror attacks, and an organization designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States Secretary of State.

Presiding Judge John Koeltl wrote that Stewart’s “terminal medical condition and very limited life expectancy constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons that warrant the requested reduction [of her sentence.]… It is further ordered that the defendant shall be released from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as soon as her medical condition permits, the release plan is implemented and travel arrangements can be made.”

Stewart left prison on Tuesday and headed for New York City to live with her family.

Jill Shellow, Stewart’s attorney, told CNN her client’s supporters were “overjoyed that she will spend her remaining days with her family.”

“From arrest to sentencing, Lynne Stewart’s case was used by the Department of Justice to send a chilling message to attorneys: think twice about who you represent!” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, of which Stewart was a member. “Today’s small measure of justice does little to repair the damage wrought by the government’s unjust prosecution of an advocate whose service to society has been widely documented.”

Robert J. Boyle, one of Lynne Stewart’s attorneys added, “We are gratified and thankful that the government has agreed to Lynne’s compassionate release request. She has dedicated her life to fighting for justice for the underserved and unpopular. Lynne can now return home to her family and to the community that loves her.”