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Catalan leader urges early independence election

RT | November 26, 2014

Catalonian President Artur Mas has called for a “plebiscite election” involving lists of pro-independence parties and civil society members. The poll is viewed as the region’s final battle for separation from Spain, if Madrid does not carry out reform.

Speaking to a crowd of 3,000 people on Tuesday, Mas said he will “act accordingly” if the majority of Catalans are in favor of creating an autonomous state. The leader stressed that any future independence election is entirely up to the region – not Madrid.

The president once again criticized Spanish authorities while meeting with regional political parties and social movements at a conference of some 3,000 participants, titled ‘After November 9: Time to decide, time to draw conclusions.’

Stating that the Spanish government “keeps acting against” Catalonia, Mas said that Madrid acts as a power structure and lacks equal treatment towards the region.

Mas announced that if the central government fails to authorize a full-scale referendum on the region’s independence or does not carry out a constitutional reform, he will call a “plebiscite election,” which would be – essentially – a vote on Catalonia’s independence.

Mas said the election would be the “only” way to allow Catalans to voice their opinion, and would involve a joint list of candidates of all parties, as well as civil society members and experts in favor of a Catalan state.

The president explained that such an election would prompt political parties to question the sovereignty issue, and a list of social activists supporting the plan would be formed. The issue would then be passed on to the region’s parliament.

The leader previously said that this will require “direct and open confrontation” with the Spanish government, but now adds that “it’s now time to use the final instrument to make the poll happen.”

Stating that now is “the most difficult and crucial” period, Mas urged Catalans to stay committed to independence, stressing that the journey should not be abandoned.

Eighty percent of Catalans said “yes” to independence and secession from the central Spanish government in Madrid earlier this month, with over two million Catalans reportedly turning out for the unofficial referendum. The symbolic vote was informal and non-binding, but Spanish prosecutors later said they would file criminal charges against Catalan President Artur Mas in response to the poll.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

Texas State Board Of Education Votes To Approve Biased Textbooks

By Sarah Jones | Wall of Separation | November 24, 2014

On Friday, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 10-5 to approve 89 new social studies textbooks for use in public classrooms. The vote, which split cleanly on party lines, ends public hearings on the subject. But controversy over the books’ content is likely to linger: Critics allege the books contain multiple errors and exaggerations designed to portray the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation.

As reported previously in Church & State, the textbooks as proposed overplayed the influence of Mosaic law on the Founding Fathers, cast doubt on the constitutionality of separation of church and state and skewed discussions of existing legal precedent on prayer in schools. Although publishers did make many corrections to the books – such was watering down inflammatory and inaccurate information about Islam – “Christian nation” myths unfortunately remain in the material.

And that’s thanks to the SBOE, which in 2010 passed a series of curriculum standards that mandated instruction that emphasized the country’s Christian heritage. Those standards, and the flawed review process itself, finally proved too much for one publisher. According to the Texas Tribune, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt pulled its government textbook from consideration after being asked to “add greater coverage of Judeo-Christian influence – including Moses – on America’s founding fathers.”

The SBOE also rejected curriculum from WorldView Software, and there’s evidence the decision was politically motivated. Prior to the final vote, WorldView issued a strongly worded statement in response to public testimony from Barbara Lamontagne, who informed the SBOE last week that the material called the late General Douglas MacArthur “racist” and lionized communist figures at the expense of President Ronald Reagan.

WorldView slammed the comments as “very serious and patently false allegations” and noted that Lamontagne admitted in her testimony that she had not read the material before preparing her remarks. Despite this, the SBOE ruled that WorldView had not done enough to address her criticisms, and rejected the company’s curriculum.

Even without the Houghton Mifflin Harcout and WorldView materials, the SBOE had hundreds of pages of edits to review in less than a week. As a few members noted, the vote’s timing made it impossible for the SBOE to read all edits under consideration. But a motion to delay the final vote failed, rejected by the fundamentalist Christian officials who dominate the board.

Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), slammed the review process in a press statement. “And once again the state’s process for approving textbooks was revealed to be a sham, as state board members voted for last-minute changes that they had never even read,” she said. “Those changes were approved without any input whatsoever from historians and experts.”

TFN had appointed its own review panel to identify errors and suggest corrections in the books. Scholars expressed serious concern over the books’ slant, only for those concerns to be largely dismissed by the SBOE.

Americans United also opposed the books. We launched a petition in partnership with TFN and People For the American Way; our organizations combined collected over 30,000 signatures to demand that publishers produce accurate textbooks for Texas students.

Activist Zack Kopplin testified on our behalf before the SBOE earlier this month to reiterate our concerns that the books presented a flawed, fundamentalist version of American history with little to no basis in evidence.

The SBOE didn’t respond kindly to Kopplin’s testimony, with one member asking him if he’d been paid to testify (the answer, of course, is no).

With the board’s vote, the textbooks are set to enter public classrooms in 2015, where they will be used for the next decade. Local school districts do have the option to reject the books and use alternative curriculum, a move recommended on Friday by moderate members of the SBOE. Based on the evidence, it’s a move we recommend as well.

It’s clear that the SBOE has carefully constructed curriculum standards and a shoddy review process designed to erode the separation of church and state. Unfortunately, their latest victory means that thousands of students will receive biased and inaccurate information about the development of our democracy. And that, of course, has been the SBOE’s goal all along: Indoctrinating “culture warriors” has officially taken precedence over preparing students for higher education and work.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Turkey aware of militants crossing border to Syria – Report

Al-Akhbar | November 25, 2014

A video published on Al-Mayadeen’s website on Tuesday revealed that up to 100 civilians and militants cross the Syrian-Turkish border daily under the surveillance of the Turkish army, which never interferes.

The footage made public by the news channel shows an unsupervised stretch of the border, specifically that separating the Syrian governorate of Aleppo and the Turkish provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis.

One Syrian who appears in the video said that there were a number of individuals who coordinate with the Turkish army and were responsible for organizing the movement of civilians, militants and smuggled goods across the border.

The footage echoes a similar report in October, where a foreign Islamist fighter who joined the Syrian rebel ranks in 2012 told Reuters that the Turkish borders “were wide open” and armed rebels “used to get in and out of Turkey very easily. No questions were asked. Arms shipments were smuggled easily into Syria.”

The border has become a safe haven for militants to move freely and smuggle weapons and aid inside Syria into the regions they occupy. According to the Al-Mayadeen report, some Turkish officers are also involved in smuggling arms into Syria.

Residents of the Turkish towns on the border reported living in chaos. They recalled an incident when Turkish reporters were attacked with knives by a group of militants and were later threatened by the Turkish government if they didn’t keep quiet regarding the attack.

In October, Press TV’s correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, was killed in a “suspicious car accident” near the Turkey-Syria border, days after she told Press TV she had obtained images of militants infiltrating into Syria through the Turkish border in trucks belonging to the World Food Organization and other NGOs.

Amid fierce clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants and Kurdish forces in the key Syrian town of Kobane last month, Saleh Moslem, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), accused Ankara of supporting ISIS, saying it had turned a blind eye when 120 ISIS militants crossed into Kobane through the Turkish borders.

The Syrian government consistently accused Turkey, a NATO member and one of Washington’s key allies in the region, of playing a major role in fueling the armed crisis in Syria by opening its borders and allowing free access to foreign jihadists into Syria.

Damascus has repeatedly accused Turkey of harboring, financing, training, and arming militants since violence erupted in March 2011.

The Syrian government sent letters to the United Nations time and again attacking Turkey’s “destructive” role in the Syrian conflict.

In 2013, Syria’s foreign ministry said in letters addressed to the UN Security Council and to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that “Turkey supports and publicly justifies terrorist, destructive acts against Syria” and “has turned its territory into camps used to house, train, finance and infiltrate armed terrorist groups, chief among them the al-Qaeda network and the al-Nusra Front.”

Again in 2014, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari submitted a letter to Ban Ki-moon in which the Syrian government criticized “Turkey’s role in supporting terrorism in the region.”

Jaafari said that Turkish authorities allowed thousands of foreign terrorists, extremists and mercenaries from across the world to enter Syria and provided armed groups with funds, weapons and other forms of support, which is a “blatant violation of international agreements on counter-terrorism.”

In October, Jaafari reiterated his remarks against Turkey and its regional allies, days after US Vice President Joe Biden unwittingly revealed – then later apologized without denying his claims – that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were all actively involved in arming and funding terrorist groups in Syria.

Turkey has repeatedly rejected all accusations.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Obama Justice Dept. Insists Details of Anti-Iran Campaign are so Secret they won’t Say Why It’s Secret

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | November 25, 2014

The Obama administration has asserted that the secretive nature of its demand for throwing out a lawsuit brought against an anti-Iran organization is consistent with previous hush-hush attempts to stymie the judicial system. Officials just can’t say why that’s so … because it’s (that’s right) a secret.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is being sued by Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis for defamation after the group accused Restis of doing business with Iran and violating the U.S. sanctions against that country.

In what amounts to a trust-us-we-really-know-what’s-best argument, the Department of Justice filed a brief (pdf) in federal court recently that seeks to explain—in a non-explainable way—why it wants the case against UANI tossed. All officials have been willing to say is the case could expose government secrets. They won’t say what kind of secrets they are, or which agency might be involved in the matter.

“Once the Court is satisfied that there is a ‘reasonable danger’ that state secrets will be revealed  . . . any further disclosure demanded by plaintiffs would be a ‘fishing expedition’ that the Court should not countenance because it amounts to ‘playing with fire’ on national security matters,” according to the brief.

Legal observers have called the administration’s legal position “extraordinary and unprecedented,” according to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

Justice lawyers have countered that there “have been cases, like this one, where specific details concerning the Government’s interest in a private lawsuit could not be described on the public record,” per their brief. A case from 22 years ago, Terex Corporation v. Richard Fuisz and Seymour Hersh, was cited to back their argument. Aftergood wrote that the government asserted the state secrets privilege in that case, but didn’t identify the source. The case was dismissed.

In the latest brief, the administration again insisted that the government “cannot publicly reveal the scope or nature of the privileged information at issue here. Whatever impact exclusion of this information would have on the parties’ ability to establish their claims or valid defenses, the Government believes that further proceedings would inevitably risk the disclosure of state secrets if this case were to proceed.”

To Learn More:

Some State Secrets Cases Are a Secret, Govt Says (by Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists)

In State Secrets Case, Feds Say Mum’s the Word (by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service )

Victor Restis v. American Coalition against Nuclear Iran (U.S. District Court, Southern New York)

The Mysterious Case of the Obama Administration Claiming State-Secrets Privilege in a Private Defamation Lawsuit (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

Mystery Surrounds U.S. Justice Department Move to Wrap Anti-Iran Group in Shroud of Secrecy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov )

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

French Polynesia to demand nearly $1bn from Paris over tests

RT | November 25, 2014

In an unprecedented move, French Polynesia, an overseas territory governed by France, is to ask Paris for nearly $1 billion in compensation for damage caused by nuclear weapons tests carried out by France in the South Pacific between 1966 and 1996.

The Assembly of French Polynesia has prepared a demand for $930 million (754,2 million euros) over “major pollution” caused by the 193 tests carried out by France for 30 years, La Dépêche de Tahiti reported. On top of this, the proposed resolution seeks an additional $132 million for the continued occupation of the Fangataufa and Mururoa atolls, used for nuclear testing.

The conservative Tahoera’a Huiraatira party committee has been acting independently of Polynesian President Edouard Fritch, who said he was “sorry” for the motion “written without consulting him,” local press reported.

Meanwhile, the text of the resolution, set for approval by the Assembly, highlights a “very poor situation of the atolls,” and a clean-up “impossible in the current state of scientific knowledge,” Tahiti Infos reported. They write that French Polynesia has been “too long sidelined” from decisions on “waste conservation and monitoring modes whatever their nature as well as the rehabilitation options of the atolls.”

On 24 August 1968, France conducted its first multi-stage thermonuclear test at Fangataufa atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, the so-called ‘Canopus’ test. With a 2.6 megaton yield, its explosive power was 200 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, according to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

France began its last series of nuclear tests in the South Pacific in 1995, breaking a three-year moratorium, provoking international protests and the boycott of French goods. It conducted its final nuclear test in January 1996 and then permanently dismantled its nuclear test sites. Later in that year, France signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

In 1996, in the wake of the nuclear testing, a $150 million annual payment was granted to French Polynesia, a territory of over 100 islands and atolls with its own government.

France, together with China, is not party to the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which bans nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, under water and outer space but not underground.

Last year it came to light that French nuclear tests carried out in the South Pacific had proved to be far more toxic than previously thought. According to declassified documents, seen by Le Parisien, plutonium fallout covered a much broader area than Paris had initially admitted, with Tahiti allegedly exposed to 500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation.

According to the CTBTO, a study conducted between 2002 and 2005 of thyroid cancer sufferers in Tahiti, who had been diagnosed between 1984 and 2002, established a “significant statistical relationship” between cancer rates and exposure to radioactive fallout from French nuclear tests. Another survey carried out by an official French medical research body, Inserm, in 2006, also detected an increase in thyroid cancer among people who had been living within some 1,300 km of the nuclear tests conducted on the Polynesian atolls between 1969 and 1996.

In 2010, France pledged that veterans and survivors would be elegible for compensation, noting that this process would take time.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Authorities Prevent 100 Tons of Vegetables from Exporting out of Gaza

IMEMC News & Agencies | November 24, 2014

At Kerm Abu Salem crossing Israeli occupation authorities have barred ten truckloads of agricultural products from leaving the war-torn and economically besieged Gaza Strip, due to an alleged dispute between the Israeli army and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The dispute is preventing the trucks and their cargo from passing, and being exported to Saudi Arabia and West Bank, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.

Israeli website Walla reported, on Monday, that allowing the export of the agricultural products comes in the framework of “facilities” granted for Gaza residents in the wake of the last summer’s assault on the region, by Israel. Israeli authorities had agreed on the passage of ten truckloads per day.

Walla added that this shipment of vegetables weighs 100 tons, and has been held back since Sunday morning.

According to the Israeli system, after the truckloads pass to the military checkpoint on the Palestinian side of the crossing, they should be inspected and, then, loaded again onto Israeli trucks to pass to their planned route.

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied territories claims that the trucks are still stuck in the crossing because the Israeli Ministry of Health did not yet inspect them in accordance with regularities, with the Ministry itself citing a lack of staff to do that.

At this time, it is not clear when the shipment will pass.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The Jewish state law paves the way for displacing more Palestinians’

Palestine Information Center – November 25, 2014

GAZA – Senior Islamic Jihad official Yousuf al-Hasaina said that the Israeli cabinet’s approval of new racist legislation defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is a prelude to expelling the Palestinian people from their 1948 occupied lands.

In remarks broadcast by the media department of the Movement on Monday, Hasaina stated that the new law would open the way for the option of exchanging lands and residents between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Describing the law as racist created by an extremist and fascist cabinet and community, the Islamic Jihad official asserted that it would give the Jews alone unlimited rights.

“The law would tighten the noose around the indigenous Palestinian Arab population until forcing them willingly or unwillingly to leave their country, and this is what the occupation state is seeking to impose in the coming days on the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people,” Hasaina warned.

He noted that the most dangerous aspect of this law is its description of the Talmudic religious texts as the source of legislation in the Jewish state while many of these texts legalize the killing and displacement of non-Jews.

However, Hasaina expressed his belief that Israel is an illegal entity and neither its Talmudic laws nor the western support would save it from its destined demise.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Compare and Contrast: Human Rights Watch on Mexico and Ecuador

teleSUR | November 24, 2014

HRW statements about Ecuador’s policing are out of proportion compared to their statements about the disappeared students in Mexico.

The following two headlines are from news releases by Human Rights Watch (HRW) about two incidents that took place in September:

1)            Mexico: Delays, Cover-Up Mar Atrocities Response

2)            Ecuador: Police Rampage at Protests

The headlines suggest very similar events are described, but that’s not the case at all.

In Mexico, police fired on student protesters, killing three, and then disappeared 43 others by handing them over to a gang. Those basic facts are not disputed by anyone. In Ecuador, the allegations are vastly less serious and far more contested. There were no deaths, but police are accused of beating protesters, some of whom HRW concedes were violent.

Mexico is a close US ally, so HRW instinctively pulled its punches with the national government, which HRW accuses of actions that only “mar” – i.e. impair the quality of– its response to the atrocity.  But the government’s failure to produce the missing students (alive or dead) over a month after their “arrest” does not simply “mar” the response.  It has raised reasonable suspicions that the entire Mexican establishment is complicit in the crime. As Spanish singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat put it, “They need to demonstrate that they are not accomplices of this barbarism, and of other barbaric acts the country has been enduring; this is a great opportunity for Peña Nieto to show it.”   The atrocity has sparked protests all over Mexico and a great deal of international attention.

Ecuador’s left wing government, under Rafael Correa, is a member of ALBA, an alliance of left of center governments that includes, among others, Venezuela and Cuba. HRW’s statement about the much less serious allegations against Ecuador’s police was four times longer than the statement about disappeared students in Mexico, who, according to state-directed gang members’ admissions, were killed and incinerated.  HRW officials rushed to Ecuador in September, immediately after the protests, to carry out a “fact-finding mission”. In addition to describing claims made by several alleged victims, HRW accused Correa’s government of “harassing” the private media in ways that foster impunity for police brutality. HRW’s evidence for this last allegation is very weak. For example, a private TV station was obliged to broadcast a seven-minute government rebuttal to a show about the protests that had aired the previous day.

HRW’s statement about the atrocities in Mexico, in contrast, says absolutely nothing about the government’s media policies. Even a very lengthy report (from last year) that HRW cited in their statement said nothing about the Mexican media. However, HRW’s 2014 World Report summary for Mexico does, very briefly, list some facts that show why the media is an important part of Mexico’s human rights disaster: “At least 85 journalists were killed between 2000 and August 2013, and 20 more were disappeared between 2005 and April 2013… ”. HRW said that “Journalists are often driven to self-censorship by attacks carried out both by government officials and by criminal groups, while under-regulation of state advertising can also limit media freedom by giving the government disproportionate financial influence over media outlets.”

State advertising? What about private sector elites who own the Mexican media as well as advertise in it, who are closely allied with the state, and who may have a vested interest in maintaining the blood-drenched status quo? Alice Driver wrote in Aljazeera.

“When I interviewed Juarez journalist Julian Cardona in 2013 for a film about violence in the Mexican media, he argued: ‘The media can be understood as a company that makes tacit or under the table agreements with governments to control how newspapers cover such government entities. You don’t know who is behind the violence.’”

[Mexican President] Peña Nieto’s close ties with Televisa, the largest media company in Latin America, have been widely documented and even earned him the nickname the ‘Televisa candidate’ during the elections.”

Televisa alone has about 70 percent of the broadcast TV market.  Almost all the rest of the market is held by TV Azteca. A study, done by researchers with the University of Texas, of Mexican TV coverage during the 2006 presidential election found significant bias in favor of two of the three major parties that lean farthest to the right – one of which is the PRI, the party of current President Peña Nieto. The study concluded “both Televisa and TV Azteca gave significantly more coverage to the winning candidate, Felipe Calderón [of PAN], than to his main rivals, Andrés Manuel López Obrador [formerly of PRD] and Roberto Madrazo [of PRI] . Also, the tone of the news coverage was clearly favorable for Calderón and Madrazo and markedly unfavorable for López Obrador.” In US Embassy cables published by Wikileaks, US officials privately stated in 2009 that “Analysts and PRI party leaders alike“ were telling them that (then candidate) Peña Nieto was “paying media outlets under the table for favorable news coverage.”

Alice Driver has claimed that

“To create confusion, the Pena Nieto administration has pursued the strategy of making splashy high profile narco arrests, and of blaming all criminal activity, including murders and disappearances, on the fact that everyone involved was part of the drug trafficking business. This approach makes victims responsible for the violence they suffer, and it is promoted in the media in a way that makes all victims become suspects.”

Driver’s claim appears quite plausible and well worth HRW’s time to investigate. At the very least, there are extremely good reasons to doubt that Mexico’s private media can be relied on to expose the national government’s complicity with atrocities.

HRW’s 2014 World Report summary about Ecuador offers no evidence that Ecuadorian journalists are being murdered or disappeared under Correa (who has been in office since 2007) as their Mexican counterparts have been over the same period. But HRW nevertheless goes on at much greater length in critiquing Correa’s media policies. HRW’s critique is based on the assumption that private-sector elites pose no threat to freedom of expression or political diversity in the media. Any measure by a government – and especially left of center government like Correa’s – that clips the wings of private media barons is deplored. No positive suggestion is ever made by HRW for blunting the power of private media elites no matter how grave the human rights implications. It is this double standard that provides the basis of HRW executive director Ken Roth’s outrageous assertion that Ecuador and its ALBA partners—not U.S. allies such as Colombia, Honduras or Mexico—are “the most abusive” governments in Latin America.

In the case of the United States, HRW’s inability or unwillingness to identify the private media as major contributor, arguably the most important contributor, to its abysmal human rights record is truly farcical. There are striking examples, quite readily available as I mentioned here, of how the private media promotes a stunning level of ignorance about the scale of US government crimes, but HRW’s 2014 summary for the USA breezily asserts that the “United States has a vibrant civil society and media that enjoy strong constitutional protections”.

Then again, HRW is unwilling to even close its revolving door with US government officials, so the inability to challenge the way public and private power collude to stifle public debate in the USA, and in Mexico, is very unsurprising.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Haiti: Marchers Shot at Battle Commemoration

Weekly News Update on the Americas | November 23, 2014

At least four demonstrators were wounded in the northern Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas on Nov. 18 when counter-demonstrators opened fire on an opposition march commemorating the anniversary of the 1803 Battle of Vertières, which marked the final defeat of French forces trying to regain control of Haiti. The several hundred marchers had reached the neighborhood of Delmas 32 and were about to turn back toward downtown Port-au-Prince when they were met with a hail of rocks. The marchers responded with more rocks, and the police used tear gas against the attackers. The gunfire started a little later. Two people were hit in the neck, one in the knee and one in the side; all four were taken away for medical care. The police said they recovered more than a half-dozen 9 mm caliber cartridges from the site. The marchers dispersed after the attack.

Some protesters reported seeing a lifeless body lying near a motorbike, and protest organizers held a press conference on Nov. 21 to charge that three people had been shot dead and that police agents had taken their bodies away. The authorities denied the charge, and reporters noted that the press conference didn’t include relatives of the three people said to be missing.

The Nov. 20 march was largely sponsored by opponents of President Michel Martelly (“Sweet Micky”) and included groups associated with the Lavalas Family (FL) party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996, 2001-2004). Populist senators John Joel Joseph and Moïse Jean-Charles and legislative deputy Arnel Bélizaire were among the politicians present [see Update #1204]. According to the online news service AlterPresse, the Textile and Garment Workers Union (SOTA), which is associated with the leftist labor organization Batay Ouvriye (“Workers’ Struggle”), also participated, but the union’s “demands against the presence of United Nations forces in the country [and] for a decent minimum wage…were drowned out by the anti-Martelly slogans.” The Martelly opponents were especially incensed because of an opinion piece by Communication Minister Rudy Hériveaux posted on Martelly’s blog on Nov. 17. Entitled “The Cockroach Syndrome,” the article described anti-government protesters as “roaches” who “trot around in a disgusting folklore in the streets to try to assault the government.” Hériveaux is a former FL senator and until a few years ago led a faction of the party [see Update #1083]. (AlterPresse 11/19/14, 11/21/14)

In related news, two opposition leaders arrested after an Oct. 26 protest, Rony Timothée and Byron Odigé [see Update #1240], have been placed in isolation in the National Penitentiary, according to the daily Le Nouvelliste. Meanwhile, attorney André Michel, who frequently represents opposition figures [see Update #1232], was ordered to appear on Nov. 17 before investigative judge Lamarre Bélizaire, who is charging him with property destruction in connection with an Oct. 17 demonstration. Michel refused to attend, saying Judge Bélizaire had no authority to order his appearance. (AlterPresse 11/17/14, 11/21/14)

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Live Streamer gets Camera Stolen Covering Ferguson Protests

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | November 25, 2014

A live streamer named BassemMasri vowed to his viewers that he would continue covering the protests in St. Louis County, “24/7 … unless I’m in jail.”

Or unless he gets his camera stolen, which is what happened less than ten seconds after he made that promise.

The person who stole the camera continued running for almost two minutes for several blocks while the camera continued recording.

BassemMasri took to twitter to say he believes it was a police agitator who stole his phone, which is something he should easily be able to determine if he had any sort of tracking app on the phone.

Despite the setback, BassemMasri continued tweeting and posting photos of fires from his back-up phone.

November 25, 2014 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment