The hunger strike in Madrid of 15 members of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT) for the release of trade unionist and former councillor of Jaen, , passed its sixth day Saturday.
It was accompanied by trade unionists from around the state to support the campaign of SAT and “raise the social amnesty and the cessation of social and trade union repression,” as they reflected to a press conference convened for 11 am in the Plaza de Lavapies, located in this central neighborhood of Madrid.
“These are organizations we have been working with for a long time and with whom we have unity of action,” explained Nestor Diagonal Salvador, one of the 15 strikers……….”
La huelga de hambre en Madrid de 15 miembros del Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores (SAT) por la excarcelación del sindicalista y exconcejal de Jaén, Andrés Bódalo, cumplirá el sábado su sexto día. Continue reading Hunger Strike of 15 trade unionists against jailing of Andres
‘This young man should have been released years ago’
An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.
The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.
“This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.”
Obaidullah was allegedly arrested by U.S. special forces in 2002 because unarmed land mines were discovered buried near his house. The U.S. government did not formally bring charges against him until 2008.
“He was charged in the military tribunals in September 2008 with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, which appeals courts have said cannot be pursued as war crimes at Guantánamo for conduct that occurred before 2006,” explained AP. “The government dismissed the charges in 2011 and his lawyers have been pressing for his release ever since.”
Poteet told the Miami Herald that “not only was he innocent of war crimes, Obaidullah did not speak Arabic before he got to Cuba, making him an unlikely al-Qaida fighter.”
The newspaper described the U.S. government’s stated rationale for Obaidullah’s years of detention:
A 2008 Guantánamo prison profile said he was brought there to provide information on al-Qaida recruiting, electronic devices, terrorism-related facilities and anti-tank land mines. An updated November 2015 intelligence profile, which was prepared for the parole board, said the Taliban trained him to handle explosives, and was part of an al-Qaida-linked improvised explosives device cell that targeted U.S. and allied troops
“In 2013,” the Miami Herald reports, “Poteet described the Afghan as having withered to a ‘bag of bones’ during the prison’s paralyzing hunger strike. Obaidullah also described for his lawyers the April 2013 raid by Guantánamo troops that forcibly moved hunger strikers into single-cell lockdown, something he considered collective punishment.”
The Pentagon parole board that made the determination (pdf) for Obaidullah’s release praised the detainee for his “positive constructive leadership in detention,” including “mediating concerns raised between other detainees and between other detainees and the guard staff” at Guantánamo.
The transcript of the parole board’s hearing was not made public, however, so it is unknown precisely what transpired to convince the board to recommend Obaidullah for release.
Guantánamo has lately seen an uptick in prisoners recommended for release, according to the Miami Herald:
The Pentagon released the decision Friday during a busy period for the Periodic Review Board. The Board has scheduled an unprecedented nine hearings this month, and released the Obaidullah decision exactly one month after he went before them.
With this approval, 28 of the 80 captives currently at Guantánamo prison are formally cleared to leave to security arrangements that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Ten others are in war crimes proceedings and the rest are awaiting hearings, their results or have had their indefinite detention upheld.
It remains to be seen when Obaidullah and other prisoners cleared for release will leave Guantánamo. As Common Dreams has previously reported, the Department of Defense has “routinely and deliberately undermined” President Obama’s efforts to move toward closing the notorious prison.
After Sunday’s worldwide NuitDebout demos the movement united with angry workers in a brilliant series of Strikes, Demos, Blockades, Occupations which continue to grow despite police and State Repression.
Lorry drivers have again blocked motorways in France in a wave of strikes and protests this week over a repressive neo-liberal labour law, which President François Hollande has pushed through by edict without Parliament and insists will be enacted regardless.After two months of brave protests,, the fresh action against the law, which will make it easier to hire, fire and abuse workers. Continue reading French Workers and NuitDebout Uprising grows despite State Repression
May 14, 2016
Forget about hanging chads, as in Florida 2000. This is a day that will live in infamy all across the Global South – when what was one of its most dynamic democracies veered into a plutocratic regime, under a flimsy parliamentary/judicial veneer, with legal and constitutional guarantees now at the mercy of lowly comprador elites.
After the proverbial marathon, the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for “crimes of responsibility” – related to alleged window dressing of the government’s budget.
This is the culmination of a drawn-out process that started even before Rousseff won re-election in late 2014 with over 54 million votes. I have described the bunch…
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In a move which the AP notes is “fraught with risk” the United States and other world powers said they would supply Libya’s internationally recognized government with weapons to counter the perennial bogeyman (whom the US armed in the first place), the Islamic State and other militant groups gaining footholds in the chaos-wracked country’s lawless regions.
Adding to the irony is that until just five years ago Libya was a relatively peaceful and organized nation, at least until the CIA and Hillary Clinton successfully unleash the “Arab Spring” domino effect in the MENA region, toppling various long-time dictators and converting nations such as Libya into a hotbed of militant instability, terrorism, and millions of Europe-bound refugees.
However, Libya promptly descended into chaos after the toppling and death of Moammar Gaddafi five years which turned the country into a battleground of rival militias battling for powers. More recently, the power vacuum has allowed the mysteriously ubiquitous Islamic State to expand its presence, giving it a potential base in a country separated from Europe only by a relatively small stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.
Even more ironic is that there is an ongoing embargo to supply Libya with weapons, which however it about to be circumvented. As AP writes, “aiming at once to shore up the fragile government, and prevent Islamic State fighters and rival militias from further gains, the U.S., the four other permanent U.N. Security Council members and more than 15 other nations said they would approve exemptions to a United Nations arms embargo to allow military sales and aid to Libya’s so-called “Government of National Accord.”
In a joint communique, the nations said that while the broader embargo will remain in place, they are “ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping” government forces. “We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo,” the communique said.
- LIBYA: FROM AFRICA’S WEALTHIEST DEMOCRACY UNDER GADDAFI TO TERRORIST HAVEN AFTER US INTERVENTION
- US ARMS CRIMINALS SAVE CAPITALISM: ARMS SALES SOAR 35%
What the UN meant is that by equipping government forces they are about to equip ISIS with even more state of the art weaponry and supplies as the Iraq fiasco is about to be repeated.
With support from all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the plan is unlikely to face significant opposition from any quarter.
The narrative is so worn out it can be seen from a mile away: “the step will boost the government’s efforts to consolidate power and regain control over Libyan state institutions like the central bank and national oil company.” As a reminder, this was the pretext used in virtually every failed US foreign intervention campaign. At least this time AP at least point out the obvious: the deployment of weapons “also comes with risks, not least of which is that the arms may be captured or otherwise taken by the Islamic State or other groups.”
Risk? We would call it the plan’s intention, a plan which, incidentally, John Kerry called the plan “a delicate balance.”
And just in case the Pentagon’s objective is unclear, defense officials told CNN that the US “is slightly expanding” its efforts to counter ISIS activity in Libya, sending in small teams of troops to try to establish relationships with groups that may be able to form a new nationwide government, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with the operation.
Translation: US arms for the “local government”, i.e., the current iteration of Syrian moderate rebels, are about to make the US military-industrial complex rich again.
CNN adds that the effort stops short of a formalized military presence on the ground, which means just one thing: yet another informal US military presence in a region which already has seen US troops in ever increasing amounts in both Iraq and Syria. We can now add Libya to the total.
The effort has been underway since late last year. In December, U.S. troops were photographed inside Libya but left after local militias objected. At that time, U.S. officials said it was not a regular task for U.S. troops to go to Libya. Now, that appears to have changed.The official noted teams do travel to both western and eastern Libya but insisted, “they have not established a permanent presence or anything like an outpost.”
The idiocy behind the official narrative is beyond commentary:
[US troops on the ground] are approaching militias and other groups around Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli. The hope is that somehow groups like the declared Libyan House of Representatives and Government of National Accord, along with what is left of a military element plus powerful militias, can somehow band together to form a unity government.
The narrative behind the latest US troops deployment is so grotesque, that one should just call the US army on the ground “meeters and greeters”:
The U.S. troops, which the Pentagon is calling “contact teams,” are traveling into key areas and meeting with leaders from all groups to see about possible cooperation and eventually what assistance the U.S. could provide if a government can be formed.
So much for the justification for the deployment of thousands of more US troops in the region and the arming of local “moderate” militants.
The question then is what happens next? Our expectations is a rerun of the Syria fiasco, which will see a resurgent ISIS this time not in the middle east but operating in oil-rich and divided country of Libya, which in turn will unleash yet another refugee fiasco, which will impact Europe in the coming months. AP’s take is similar: “Worrying for Europe is the potential threat of a mass influx of refugees amassing in Libya, now that the earlier route from Turkey into Greece has been essentially shut down.” That may, however, change if tensions between Turkey and Germany are rekindled in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Hammond said his government had received a request from the Libyan government to bolster its Coast Guard — a project “which will address Libyan concerns about smuggling and insecurity on their border but will also address European concerns about illegal migration.”
In Libya, meanwhile, the U.N.-established presidency council on Monday effectively gave the go-ahead for 18 government ministers to start work, even though they have not received backing from the parliament.
The council was created under a U.N.-brokered unity deal struck in December to reconcile Libya’s many political divisions. It won the support of a former powerbase in the country’s capital, Tripoli, but failed to secure a vote of confidence by the country’s internationally recognized parliament, based in Tobruk, a city in eastern Libya.
The real wild card, however, is who ends up controlling Syrian oil now that ISIS can no longer trade freely with Turkey, and more importantly, who will end up buying ISIS oil via Libya.
- US-NATO INVADE LIBYA TO ‘FIGHT’ TERRORISTS OF OWN CREATION
- WAR PREPARATIONS IN IBERIA: NATO THE SPEARHEAD OF CAPITALIST TERROR
- REFUGEES WELCOME…NO BORDERS NO NATIONS
- MASSACRE OF MIGRANTS: FIGHTING APARTHEID STATE BORDERS
Last week the US also admitted it has troops in Yemen promoting a genocidal war by their Saudi arms clients against the shia Houthi minority. See here: Media Silent As US-Backed Saudis Starve Half Million Yemeni ….. Pentagon Acknowledges U.S. Troops on the Ground in Yemen… .. U.K. ILLEGALLY AT WAR IN YEMEN*
by Jan Rocha … via the ecologist with thanks.. Amidst the turmoil of the presidential impeachment, writes Jan Rocha, right wing members of Brazil’s Congress are set to pass new laws that would build new roads across the Amazon, open up indigenous reserves to industrial exploitation, and create a surge in carbon emissions from burning forests.
see also: US takes control of Brasil as Corrupt Left replaced by US Spies… Brazil’s new president is U.S. [+CIA?] informant http://wp.me/pIJl9-7UJ
The bill’s rapporteur is Senator Blairo Maggi, a soya magnate, who has cleared thousands of hectares of rainforest in his home state of Mato Grosso, and is tipped to be the minister of agriculture in the new government.
Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reaches its climax, reactionary politicians are quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Neoliberal Capitalist Ecocide
Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.
Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study.
And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.
A chorus of protest – but who’s listening?
Environment organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, have protested strongly at the bill’s implications. For Marilene Ramos, the president of the official agency for the environment and renewable resources, IBAMA, (in Portuguese only) it means Brazil is going in the opposite direction to developed countries and will no longer be able to control infrastructure projects.
teleSUR English In just 24 hours, the senate-imposed government lead by Michel Temer has lead an assault on a decade of progressive policies. He has eliminated 9 ministries, and some 4,000 public sector jobs will be cut. https://www.facebook.com/telesure
Indigenous leader Nara Baré, of COIAB – the Coordination of Indian organisations in the Brazilian Amazon – said: “Brazil presented targets in Paris but doesn’t do its homework, protecting the forest and us who live in it.”
Carlos Bocuhy, the president of PROAM, an environmental NGO, says the effect of the bill will be to end environmental licensing: “It is completely absurd; it is as though the act of applying for a driving licence entitled you to drive a lorry.”
The Climate Observatory (in Portuguese only) sees the bill as “a bad joke”, even more so in a country that has just suffered the worst environmental disaster in its history, the bursting of a dam of toxic mud in Minas Gerais state on 5th November last year. The calamity destroyed all animal and plant life and a major river nearby, and could be the world’s worst disaster after Chernobyl.
Greenpeace director Marcio Astrini said of the bill that “if it becomes law, it will act as a factory of tragedies.”
Senators’ enormous personal stakes in environmental destruction
Its author, Senator Acir Gurgacz, has a personal interest: his family owns a transport company which would benefit hugely from the paving of the 900 km BR319 highway, linking two Amazon capitals, Porto Velho and Manaus.
At present the project cannot go ahead because IBAMA has embargoed the work, alleging environmental damage. The road runs through conservation areas, indigenous lands and areas of largely unspoiled rainforest.
The bill’s rapporteur is Senator Blairo Maggi, a soya magnate, who has cleared thousands of hectares of rainforest in his home state of Mato Grosso, and is tipped to be the minister of agriculture in the new government that will take over once President Rousseff is suspended from office this week.
Environmentalists are already expressing deep concern about the government planned by vice-president Michel Temer. They note that his policy paper, A bridge to the future, which laid out his plans for government, made no mention of the environment, climate change or the Amazon rainforest
Instead the big farmers’ and ranchers’ lobby, FPA, or Parliamentary Farming Front, presented the president-to-be with a ‘positive agenda’: a list of demands which included the abolition of the ministry of land reform, the halting and revision of the demarcations of indigenous reserves and quilombos (territories inhabited by the descendants of runaway slaves), and more funds for agribusiness, which already enjoys substantial subsidies.
Besides the bill to end environmental licensing, other damaging bills are in the pipeline.
Ignoring local wishes
One, known as PEC 215, has been doing the rounds in Congress for over 15 years, but with the imminent arrival of the new, pro-farmer government it is expected soon to be voted into law. If it is, it will mean that the power to decide further demarcations of indigenous areas – nearly 400 are under consideration – will pass from the executive to the Congress.
With both houses dominated by members of the rural lobby, this is regarded as tantamount to ending demarcations. Another 1,611 quilombo areas will also be affected. The importance of the indigenous and quilombo territories is that they tend to conserve forested areas, instead of clearing them for mechanised agriculture or cattle grazing.
By law certain areas contained within each rural property (which, especially in the Amazon, are often vast) must be left wild. But another measure on the table (bill 4508/16) will allow them to be used for cattle grazing.
Others will permit mining and hydroelectric dams in indigenous areas without any need for permission from their inhabitants. Reducing controls on pesticides – Brazil is the world’s biggest consumer – is yet another target.
The government of Dilma Rousseff has in no way been a model of protection for the environment and indigenous areas, but it seems that the government of Michel Temer is much much worse.
Jan Rocha is a freelance journalist living in Brazil and is a former correspondent there for the BBC World Service and The Guardian. She now writes for Climate News Network where this article was originally published (CC BY-ND).