Tuesday, April 13, 2010

U.S. Military Forces Support The Brutalisition of Afghan Women and Make Gang-Rape and other Atrocities More Likely: This Blood is on President Obama's Hands

What follows is from the RAWA website, *here*

Local warlords publicly flogged two Afghan women.
February 2010: Local warlords in Ghor province in 
Western Afghanistan publicly flogged two Afghan women.

Emancipation of Afghan women not attainable as long as the occupation, Taliban and “National Front” criminals are not sacked!

Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010

Today, on the 8th of March, Afghan women are mourning for the gang-rape of Bashiras and Saimas, for being flogged by most lowed elements, for being auctioned in open market and for their young daughters who put an end to their miserable lives by self-immolation. But the perpetrators of all these crimes are forgiven; therefore they enjoy complete immunity, are still holding their official positions and tightening it through plundering our people and country.

Though we don’t expect anything different from the most corrupt and dirty puppet regime of the world, the pain of Afghan women turns chronic when the world believes that the US and NATO has donated liberation, democracy and human and women rights for Afghanistan; whereas, after eight years of the US and allies’ aggression under the banner of “war on terror”, they empowered the most brutal terrorists of the Northern Alliance and the former Russian puppets – the Khalqis and Parchamis – and by relying on them, the US imposed a puppet government on Afghan people. And instead of uprooting its Taliban and Al-Qaeda creations, the US and NATO continues to kill our innocent and poor civilians, mostly women and children, in their vicious air raids.

In such conditions, we saw that Karzai, as the most demagogic and flagrant President, turgidly talks about the London Conference, which in fact had no positive outcome for Afghan people, where he only bargained and dealt for the return of the terrorist Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to power and the pouring of millions of more Dollars which will go to the pockets of the Karzai family and the mafias of Fahim, Khalili, Dostum and other murderers. 

The Karzai puppet and reactionary regime is implicated in corruption and blood of the poor from top to bottom. Only the hundreds of people killed in the recent avalanche tragedy in Salang and the miseries of millions of refugee Afghans in the hands of the Iranian criminal regime are enough to punish and jail many of the so-called high ranking officials for negligence and inattention to the problems of our people.

But the US government does not try to curb its Afghan stooges and allows them to commit many crimes, betrayal and lootings, so they could repress and intimidate Afghans in any possible way and stop the emergence of any anti-fundamentalist and pro-independent uprising in Afghanistan. Therefore, it comes of no surprise that the decay and corruption of top criminals such as Rabbani, Sayyaf, Dr. Abdullah, Qanoni, Karzai family, Zia Massoud, Fahim, Khalili, Saddique Chakari, Mirwas Yassini, Zahir Aghbar, Hadi Arghandewal, Anwar Jakdalak, Ismael Khan, Atta Mohammad and others are even reflected in some Western media, who have made dirty businesses and multi-billion Dollar investments in Afghanistan and Dubai as a result of their lootings and drug-dealings in Afghanistan.

To show to the world that they value women’s rights, the US and its Afghan mafia lackeys nourished a bunch of flunkeys and pro-occupation women to hold conferences and meet the so-called “his Excellency” President Karzai and his US-assigned spokespersons Wahid Omer, Siamak Herawi, Sibghatullah Sanjar and other traitors to ask for more ministries for Afghan women. But they are grasping the intentions of others with their own dirty mirrors and think ordinary Afghan women are unaware of the fact that even if all the members of the cabinet are made up of reactionary women such as Amina Afzali, Hassan Bano Ghazanfar, Massouda Jalal, Noorzia Atmar, Qadria Yazdanparast, Shukria Barakzai, Fouzia Kofi, Manija Bakhtari and others linked to brutal warlords, still it will not bring any positive change for Afghan women, because such women, acting as committed agents of the US government and its fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist menials, only define themselves by raising soft criticisms and asking for some reforms acceptable for the governing criminals and their foreign masters. 

With money and offers of official posts, the US and its Afghan agents have bought many Afghan intellectuals. Many of the writers and poets are paid by the blood-thirsty Iranian regime who instead of raising people’s awareness and mobilizing them for pro-independence, pro-democracy and anti-fundamentalism struggle, try to pave the way for Iranian theocratic regime’s deeper involvement in Afghanistan and inflame and fuel ethnic, sectarian and lingual tensions among Afghan people.

RAWA always believes that women’s problem is a political issue and we cannot tackle it separately from the current catastrophic political situation. Without the overthrow of the current puppet regime, which is becoming more mortal and odorous than before by the inclusion of Taliban and Gulbuddini murderers, none of the thousands of the problems of our unhappy people will ever be solved. 

Slogans about restoring peace, security, democracy and women’s rights will be empty and amplified claims, as long as Afghanistan has not gained its independence; the Taliban and the Northern Alliance killers are not prosecuted and the billions of wealth they have pillaged from people are not taken back from them. The benchmark to judge if any individual or organization is truly patriotic and progressive in the current situation is their struggle in any possible means against US occupation, the criminal Taliban -- who have the enslavement harness of Pakistan around their nick -- and the hirelings of Iran and the US in the “National Front”.

RAWA is eager to get united in solidarity with individuals and forces that are ready to fight for democracy in an independent front against the occupation, the Taliban, Jehadi and Khalqi and Parchami homeland-sellers.

While women of Afghanistan are experiencing a new era of captivity and are in the grip of the fundamentalist monsters, RAWA sends it heartfelt salutations to struggling brave women of Iran, Palestine, Kurdistan, Sudan, Nepal, India and the rest of the world and announces solidarity with them.


Access details here:

Counterforum: the crisis, the movement and the left

Opening meeting:

A feminist manifesto for the 21st century

Lindsey German and Nina Power

Discussions on:

The shape of the crisis

Islamophobia, racism and fascism

The 21st century working class

Gramsci and hegemony

The internet-serving the revolution?

The left and the movements

Speakers include:

Brendan Montague (campaigning journalist) Lorenzo Corretti (Popola Viola anti-Berlusconi movement) Chris Nineham (Stop the War) Kate Connelly (PCS activist) Adrian Cousins (editor Counterfire) Lindsey German (socialist author and convenor Stop the War Coalition) Clare Solomon (President elect University of London Union) Elaine Graham Leigh (Campaign against Climate Change)  John Rees (author of Imperialism and Resistance) Tami Peterson (Birkbeck SU Exec) James Meadway (economics editor, Counterfire) Peter D Thomas (author of The Gramscian Moment) Shamiul Joarder (Friends of Al-Aqsa)
All personal capacity

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Registration: £5

Watch: Video of College Park Police Beating and U.S. Military Serial Murder, to see what Legal Systemic White Het Male Supremacist Aggression and Force Looks Like

Police brutality in all its raw ugliness: firing a few officers doesn't solve the problem of White Het Male Brutality against Human Beings... but it's better than nothing. But let's that the "few rotten apples" theory doesn't fall far from the WHM Supremacist Tree. This brutality isn't usually caught on tape, is always systemic, and is, for hundreds of years now, institutionally and legally protected violence against human beings. Other efforts include the U.S. military's on-going slaughter of Afghan citizens. (More on this later in this same post.) And let's not forget about that Pope, and the "not illegal" atrocities his Christian Institution covers up, defends, protects, perpetuates, and perpetrates. (More on that in this same post too.)

These phenomena, with rape, with queer-bashing and anti-lesbian/anti-gay laws, with genocide, are all part of the same unethical, anti-human rights "whole": WHM Supremacy and Domination. But will the mass media connect the despicable dots? Not likely. It's important that the forces in charge never get named.

What follows is from *here*.

In the event you haven't yet watched the video that was released by an attorney for one of the University of Maryland students who claims he was beaten by Prince George's County police officers last month, take a minute to do so now. You'll recall that 27 people were arrested on March 3 in the wake of post-game celebrations in College Park -- celebrations that by all accounts got out of hand. But this video is really quite damning, and has in fact already led to the suspension of at least one and a criminal investigation against a total of three sworn officers.

The video shows John McKenna, 21, appearing to be in the middle of a celebratory dance on the sidewalk. He stops as he nears an officer on horseback, then backs up a bit, then two officers in riot gear run at him, slam him against a wall and start beating him with batons. A third officer then joins in the beating. McKenna does not appear to fight back at all.

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Next, from *here*:

Video: Rev. James Scahill discusses his sermons calling for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI over church abuse scandal

By MassLive.com Staff

April 13, 2010, 11:00AM
Rev. James J. Scahill of East Longmeadow's St. Michael's Parish spoke with The Republican in a video interview following four weekend sermons in which he became one of the first priests in the U.S. to call for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

“I am certainly not trying to destroy this church, but if this church wants not only to be saved, but improved, it must come forth with honesty.”
- Rev. James J. Scahill
As Scahill told Jack Flynn of The Republican, the sermons were timed to coincide with the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, also known as Doubting Thomas. “I think a lot of lay people have strong doubts as to the veracity of our church leaders, in terms of what was known, for how long and by whom,” said Scahill.
In the interview, Scahill dismisses the notion that he is a "rebel," instead describing himself as "a reclusive, laid back person who simply chose to do what his people asked him, to shepherd their concerns and to challenge the institution of the church."

Scahill also spoke to the possibility of repercussions for his position, stating that he will never regret working to make children safer.

Watch the full video of Scahill's conversation with Jack Flynn of The Republican below.

The Rev. James J Scahill Talks About Weekend Sermon

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From *here*:


WARNING: This video contains disturbing images.

U.S. Special Forces have been accused of killing innocent Afghanistan civilians including women and children.

This video exposes what has been going on in Afghanistan but not reported by the mainstream media in the United States.

Film courtesy of BraveNew Films.





Next, from The Nation, is this, and can also be found *here*:

The Dreyfuss Report

War Crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan

posted by Robert Dreyfuss on 04/13/2010 @ 08:37am

War crimes, massacres, and, as Al Jazeera properly calls it, "collateral murder," are all part of the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

The release last week of the Wikileaks video, thirty-eight grisly minutes long, of US airmen casually slaughtering a dozen Iraqis in 2007 -- including two Reuters newsmen -- puts it into focus not because it shows us something we didn't know, but because we can watch it unfold in real time. Real people, flesh and blood, gunned down from above in a hellish rain of fire.

The events in Iraq, nearly three years old, were repeated this week in Afghanistan, when trigger-happy US soldiers slaughtered five Afghans cruising along on a huge, comfortable civilian bus near Kandahar.
As the New York Times reports:

"American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing and wounding civilians, and igniting angry anti-American demonstrations in a city where winning over Afghan support is pivotal to the war effort."
The Kandahar incident is only one of many, of course. Over the past year, dozens of Afghans have similarly died in checkpoint and roadside killings. Not one, not a single one, of these murders involved hostile forces. In other words, when the smoke and dust cleared, in all of the cases over the past year the bodies recovered were those of innocents.

As General McChrystal himself recently said:

"We really ask a lot of our young service people out on checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it."
My question is: if so, then why aren't the rules of engagement altered? Why is it that US forces can fire wildly at an approaching vehicle, if in none of the cases that have happened thus far were there hostile forces involved?

In the Iraq case, as revealed in the stunning Wikileaks video, a group of eight men on a Baghdad street, in plain sunlight, is shot to pieces under withering fire from above. Then, when a van carrying four or five other men arrives to pick up a wounded man who is crawling painfully along the gutter, the van too is blasted to smithereens when the airmen request permission to "engage."

An analysis by Politifact takes apart Secretary of Defense Gates' callous assertion that the murders were "unfortunate" and "should not have any lasting consequences." We've already investigated this, he said, so what's the big deal?

The military's rationale for the slaughter is that US forces a few hundred yards away had taken small arms fire, and so the airmen in the copters circling above concluded that the men they'd seen carrying what they thought were weapons and RPGs -- although the "RPG" turned out to be a cameraman's telephoto lens -- were bad guys who could be shot to pieces at will. There was, of course, no evidence at all that the dozen or so Iraqis butchered were involved in what may or may not have been a shooting incident nearby. But, you know -- war is hell.

Politifact, to its discredit, defends Gates on these grounds, quoting David Finkel, a Washington Post reporter and author of The Good Soldiers, who writes in blase defense of the slaughter:

"What's helpful to understand is that, contrary to some interpretations that this was an attack on some people walking down the street on a nice day, the day was anything but that. It happened in the midst of a large operation to clear an area where U.S. soldiers had been getting shot at, injured, and killed with increasing frequency. What the Reuters guys walked into was the very worst part, where the morning had been a series of RPG attacks and running gun battles. "More context. You're seeing an edited version of the video. The full video runs much longer. And it doesn't have the benefit of hindsight, in this case zooming in on the van and seeing those two children. The helicopters were perhaps a mile away. And as all of this unfolded, it was unclear to the soldiers involved whether the van was a van of good Samaritans or of insurgents showing up to rescue a wounded comrade. I bring these things up not to excuse the soldiers but to emphasize some of the real-time blurriness of those moments.
"If you were to see the full video, you would see a person carrying an RPG launcher as he walked down the street as part of the group. Another was armed as well, as I recall. Also, if you had the unfortunate luck to be on site afterwards, you would have seen that one of the dead in the group was lying on top of a launcher. Because of that and some other things, EOD -- the Hurt Locker guys, I guess -- had to come in and secure the site. And again, I'm not trying to excuse what happened. But there was more to it for you to consider than what was in the released video."
Finkel, who apparently is not going to write a sequel to his book called The Bad Soldiers, cavelierly dismisses the deaths of a dozen Iraqis as something that happens in the "real-time blurriness of those moments."

In Afghanistan, the repeated killings of innocent civilians has angered an embittered President Karzai, who has strongly and repeatedly condemned the killings of Afghan citizens by American troops. In a Washington Post story today, "Shooting by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan fuels Karzai's anger," the paper reports:

"Twelve days before President Hamid Karzai denounced the behavior of Western countries in Afghanistan, he met a 4-year-old boy at the Tarin Kowt civilian hospital in the south. "The boy had lost his legs in a February airstrike by U.S. Special Operations forces helicopters that killed more than 20 civilians. Karzai scooped him up from his mattress and walked out to the hospital courtyard, according to three witnesses. 'Who injured you?' the president asked as helicopters passed overhead. The boy, crying alongside his relatives, pointed at the sky.
"The tears and rage Karzai encountered in that hospital in Uruzgan province lingered with him, according to several aides. It was one provocation amid a string of recent political disappointments that they said has helped fuel the president's emotional outpouring against the West and prompted a brief crisis in his relations with the United States. It was also a reminder that civilian casualties in Afghanistan have political reverberations far beyond the sites of the killings."
But I suppose Finkel can justify that one, too.

RAWA Reports: U.S. President Obama's War Jets Massacre Up To 147 Afghan Citizens

[image is from here]

What follows is a cross post from *here*.

Upcoming WikiLeaks Video: Obama’s Warplanes Massacre Up to 147 Afghan Civilians

Video report provided by RAWA the day of the Granai Massacre, of which WikiLeaks reportedly will release classified footage. The U.S government has always reported 26 civilians were killed though, investigations by rights groups have said more than 90 children alone were killed in the airstrike. The government has also claimed that the Taliban was responsible for a bulk of the casualties, though civilians claim the Taliban had left well before the U.S. warplanes rained bombs on their village through the middle of the night. (2:08):

Classified video footage of U.S. warplanes “repeatedly” dropping 500- and 2,000-lb. bombs, massacring up to 147 Afghan civilians of the Bala Baluk district of Farah province last May, is expected to be released on the internet by WikiLeaks, Ben Farmer reported at the London Telegraph last night.

Last week, WikiLeaks, a website that posts materials provided by whistleblowers, released a classified U.S. military video depicting the 2007 indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen non-hostile people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad—including two members of Reuters news staff—and wanton destruction of an apartment complex with families inside.

Julian Assange, editor, “says he was followed on a flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen by two American agents” as he “claims surveillance has intensified as he and his colleagues prepare to put out their Afghan film”, Matthew Campbell reports at the London Times today.

General David Petraeus—combatant commander of U.S. operations in the Middle East and Central Asian theaters—told National Public Radio, weeks after the attack, that he had seen the video and it “very clearly shows bombs hitting individuals who are the Taliban who are reacting to the movements of the Afghan and coalition forces on the ground” and though, “there were civilians killed in this incident along”, the “targets of these different strikes were the Taliban”. He added that he believed the video would be shown “as part of the press briefing” the U.S. probe.

The video was to be released with a Pentagon investigation report, but Pentagon officials were doubtful, “out of fear that its findings would further enrage the Afghan public, Pentagon officials told McClatchy,” Nancy Youssef reported, June 15, adding later [emphasis added]:
Two U.S. military officials told McClatchy that the video shows that no one checked to see whether any women or children were in the building before it was bombed….
The seven-hour incident on May 4 began when Afghan police were ambushed while they were patrolling a road. Some officers were killed, prompting the police to call in the Afghan army. The army then came under attack, too, and the provincial governor called in U.S. forces.
The U.S. forces eventually called in air support, military officials said, and after the airstrike began, the Taliban moved into two remote villages separated by poppy fields that were a source of heavy enemy fire, and the fight continued into the night.
The May 4, 2009 late-night attack near Granai in the province of Farah was sharply protested with “Death to America!” chants and become known as the “Granai Massacre“, as Reuters reported, “Villagers brought truckloads of bodies to the capital.” Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan called the attack, “one out of many war crime cases” committed by the Obama Administration in Afghanistan and compiled graphic photos, consistent with the initial claims of Afghan civilians and officials (2:42):

A “tribal elder with extensive local knowledge of the surrounding area” said the Taliban were never within a kilometer of the Granai village, Guy Smallman reported at the Financial Times, last June. “The U.S. disputes this account and claims that the Taliban entered the village, turning it into a legitimate target”, adding [emphasis added]:
There is a partially destroyed farmhouse and two large craters. [Taliban] fighters briefly regrouped here in the evening before melting back into the maze of ditches and trees in the surrounding countryside. Yet bombs landed there 90 minutes later, the elder says.
Again, the Americans disagree and say the bombings took place in the heat of battle with the Taliban, with no delay. The elder’s account appears to be corroborated by other residents of Granai who spoke in Farah to the Institute of War and Peace Reporting….
Two parts of the village saw the greatest loss of life. One, the main village mosque, is in ruins. Its dome is still intact, with the speakers used to announce the call to prayer hanging limply from the roof. But the area immediately around it is a mass of rubble and craters. Every building in the vicinity has been demolished.
It was dusk when the attack came. A large crowd of people were in the garden after evening prayers.
On the other side of the village is what looks like a piece of open waste ground. But closer inspection reveals the foundations of a house. Items of clothing and broken crockery are strewn among the debris. This was where people gathered after the attack on the mosque….
“The people were afraid. About 10 to 15 families gathered in the same place to be safe together. This was in the evening and it was dark,” says the elder. He recalls a small “helicopter” with no pilot that made a “zzzz” sound. He appears to be describing one of the pilotless drones used by Nato troops to relay video film of the battlefield.
My cousins, my sister, my nephews and also my nieces were all killed in this place,” he says.
“About 13 or 14 people related to my sister were killed here. I found my nephew’s body recently over there. A farmer found another body over there.”
On the hill, beyond the village, are traditional Muslim graves ranged as far as the eye can see.
The fresh ones number more than 70. The elder points to those of his sister and her children. Then at the far end of the cemetery he stands before one enormous grave stretching more than 50 metres across.
This is the grave that almost 55 people are buried in because their bodies are in pieces,” he says….
These are poor people. They hate the government, they hate the Americans and they hate to live in this place. We think that this country is like a prison for us.”
“The Pentagon initially claimed that the entire incident was made up and that the Taliban had pre-killed all the civilians and stored the bodies in buildings before tricking the U.S. into bombing those buildings,” Jason Ditz at AntiWar News writes. “They later conceded to have killed 26 people, but insisted that ‘no one will ever’ know the exact numbers. They also claimed that the planes had no idea any civilians were in the area” before dropping 500- to 2,000-lb. bombs.
Last June, Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, demanded ‘real accountability’ for the U.S.-led coalition’s mounting death toll of Afghan civilians—notably the May 2009 attack on Farah.
Afghan officials were reporting 147 civlian deaths—including 95 children—as a result of the U.S. airstrikes. Jeremy Scahill reported the U.S. government was doing all it could to shift blame for the massacre of civilians on a Taliban ’staging’, May 7, 2009 [emphasis added]:
By day’s end, the Pentagon was seeking to blame the Taliban for “staging” the massacre to blame it on the U.S. Last night, NBC News’s Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said military sources told him Taliban fighters used grenades to kill three families to “stage” a massacre and then blame it on the US. The senior U.S. military and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, spoke in general terms: “We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of the civilian casualties,” he said. McKiernan left the specific details of the spin to unnamed officials.
According to The Washington Post, “A U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that ‘the Taliban went to a concerted effort to make it look like the U.S. airstrikes caused this. The official did not offer evidence to support the claim, and could not say what had caused the deaths.” Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, a senior Defense official who did not want to be identified “said late Wednesday that Marine special operations forces believe the Afghan civilians were killed by grenades hurled by Taliban militants, who then loaded some of the bodies into a vehicle and drove them around the village, claiming the dead were victims of an American airstrike. A second U.S. official said a senior Taliban commander is believed to have ordered the grenade attack.”
As the AP reported, “it would be the first time the Taliban has used grenades in this way.”
While the Pentagon spins its story, the International Committee of the Red Cross has stated bluntly that U.S. airstrikes hit civilian houses and revealed that an ICRC counterpart in the Red Crescent was among the dead.
The New York Times (NYT) reported that “20 to 30 civilians may have been killed”, according to the U.S. military as of May 21.

By June 3, the NYT reported that the U.S. military concedes to making “significant errors” in its airstrikes. The following day, the Los Angeles Times reported that the U.S. military concedes the air strike as “overkill”, but still thinks only “26 civilians were mistakenly killed”

A report released in mid-June by the U.S. government “found 26 confirmed civilian casualties but concedes that it is impossible to determine a final number because some were buried before investigators arrived,” Ms. Youssef reported at McClatchy. “However, it also cites an investigation by the Afghan Human Rights Commission shortly after the May 4 incident, which found 86 casualties.”

The U.S. military said it would not pursue any internal disciplinary actions for the Granai Massacre, so it’s pretty clear that the massacre the Pentagon doesn’t want us to see was ‘mission accomplished’, right?

THIS IS NOT A JOKE: What Do You Call Someone Who Was Arrested, Indigenous, and Trans, named Veronica Baxter? Answer: Deceased

[image is from here]

What follows is an excerpt of a recent post from The Curvature blog. Thank you, Cara!

Demand for Open Investigation Into Death of Aboriginal Trans Woman in Custody

Filed Under Australia, International, LGBTQ, bigotry, discrimination, race and racism, trans, transphobia and trans misogyny, violence against women and girls  | Posted by Cara |

One year ago, Veronica Baxter, an Australian woman who was both Aboriginal and trans, was arrested on drug charges. Less than one week after her arrest, she died in custody.
On March 10, 2009, three days after Mardi Gras, 34-year-old Veronica Baxter was arrested by Redfern police. She was charged with six counts of supplying a prohibited drug and held on remand at the all-male NSW Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre.
An attractive transgender woman, she was placed in the maximum security, male jail.
Six days later, after a 14-hour break between checking her cell, she was found dead, hanging in her single cell.Veronica Baxter was an Aboriginal woman from the Cunnamulla country, south- west of Queensland. She dressed, appeared, and had identified as a woman for 15 years and was known by family and friends as a woman.
Yet she was placed in a male jail against NSW government policy, which states that transgender people be placed in the jail of their choosing.
Of course, it’s important to note that it doesn’t matter how attractive Baxter was, whether or not her family accepted her true identity, and whether she had publicly identified and lived as a woman for 6 decades or one month. What was done to her was wrong, period. Suggesting that her manner of dress, personal appearance, and familial relations have any bearing on whether or not her identity should have been recognized and treated as seriously as any cis person’s is to further marginalize those trans* people who are among the most vulnerable.

The article also goes on to explain at length that while trans* inmates are supposed to be placed in the gendered facility of their choosing, the enforcement of this rule is transphobic, frequently dangerous, and otherwise discriminatory:
Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association and elder of the Wiradguri nation, and has been fighting black deaths in custody for decades and campaigning around the Baxter case for a year.
He explained: “If trans people are post-operative transgender women, they are considered real women, and are placed within the women’s jail. If they are pre-operative transgender women, they are considered ‘male’ and are normally processed in a male jail.”
Transgender people face a disproportionate amount of abuse, rape, and murder in jail. Consequently, in Australia, strict guidelines exist, requiring protective segregation of transgender people from mainstream prisoners.
The Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 states “any person received into the custody of the NSW Department of Corrective Services (DCS) who self-identifies as transgender has the right to be housed in a correctional facility appropriate to their gender or identification”. It says: “Transgender inmates are to be managed according to their chosen gender of identification.” Transgender women normally request to get placed in women jails.
“After processing in the male jail, pre-operative transgender women are then given an opportunity to go to a women’s jail, but have to stay in solitary confinement because they are still considered ‘male’”, Jackson told Green Left Weekly.
“Pre-operative transgender women won’t be in solitary confinement in a male jail, but they will suffer more harassment, assault and abuse.”
This policy discriminates against poor transgender people. In Australia it costs up to $20,000 for a male to female operation and up to $14,000 for a female to male operation. Baxter was allowed to move about Silverwater, among other male prisoners, and had not been checked on for 14 hours before she was found hanging from her cell hook. This contravenes another Department of Corrective Service (DCS) policy of regular cell check-ups.
Why Baxter was not moved to a women’s jail is currently unclear, because over one year after her death, and despite both requests and demands from Indigenous leaders like Jackson and LGBT groups like Community Action Against Homophobia, an investigation into her death has still not been conducted, and paperwork on her case has not been publicly released.

It’s impossible to adequately and accurately look at this case without considering both institutionalized transphobia and the legacy of colonization and atrocities committed against Aboriginal Australians. [...]

[Please click *here* or the link at top to read the rest of this blog post.]

World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

The following statement is from here. Please click the image below two separate times to make it easier to read the small text.

Some recent news and history on this:

Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19 to 22, 2010

What is here may be found on this website.

Press release: Bolivia launches World Peoples’ Climate Summit at UNFCCC talks in Bonn

April 11, 2010 in Press

Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, at a press conference during UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn on 10 April condemned continued attempts by some developed countries to impose a deeply flawed Copenhagen Accord as the basis for future negotiations: “The only way to get negotiations back on track not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth is to put civil society back into the process.”

Solon explained it was this belief that motivated Bolivia to host an historic World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth on 19-22 April 2010 to which more than 15,000 people and up to 70 governments are expected to attend.

“The central aim of any climate summit is not to save itself and accept any outcome, but to come to an agreement that will save humanity.” Solon said that the Copenhagen Accord sadly marked a “backwards step” so could never be acceptable as a basis for further negotiations. Solon pointed out that the European Union’s own analysis of the Copenhagen Accord admitted that it would lead to an increase of temperatures of up to four or five degrees.

“This is no kind of solution. Yet at these talks [in Bonn] we never hear developed nations admitting concern over this. Instead the US claims this is the best agreement we have had. Are we really willing to say that allowing temperatures to rise to four or five degrees is a good goal?”

Solon reiterated the demands of many developing nations by calling on industrialized nations to rebuild trust. “You cannot rebuild trust by legalizing the same methods that led to the failure in Copenhagen.” Solon called for talks to be returned to the full UNFCCC process, and to develop on what had been agreed in COP15.

Solon commenting on news that the US and Denmark were withdrawing aid from countries like Bolivia for their opposition to the Copenhagen Accord said, “This in their rights, but unfair and clearly an attempt to punish Bolivia. What kind of negotiation is it where you lose money if you disagree?” Solon said that Bolivia would not back down due to such threats. “We are a country with dignity and sovereignty and will maintain our position.”

For more information, please contact:
Gadir Lavadenz – media@cmpcc.org or ring (+591 2) 2 113161 or (+591) 706 91367
Nick Buxton – media@cmpcc.org or ring +591 74056695

Webcast of press conference can be seen at http://unfccc2.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/100409_AWG/templ/play.php?id_kongresssession=2608&theme=unfccc

Bless Bolivia for Recharging the Fight to Rescue Our Climate

April 1, 2010 in Press

(Bill McKibben, Huffington Post) In a week when the American president has decided our energy policy should involve lots more offshore oil drilling, it’s easy to despair–it doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of an Earth Day in the U.S. this April. But maybe we’ll get a jolt of political energy from the south, courtesy of the groups and leaders assembling from across the world in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This People’s Summit on Climate Change will be seen as naive by precisely the kind of people applauding the president for turning on the oil spigots today–after all, its by definition a People’s Summit, free from the kind of corporate interference that helped sink the Copenhagen conference in December (Bolivia’s Supreme Court having not yet decided that corporations are people).Copenhagen was marked by a focus on power politics, not science. Though 117 nations endorsed the 350 ppm co2 target that researchers say is necessary to ward off the very worst effects of climate change, they were the wrong 117–the poor nations, the most vulnerable nations. The real addicts–led by the U.S.–simply weren’t ready to come to terms with their need to dramatically cut emissions, and so the session ended with a whimper, the so-called Copenhagen Accord which promises nothing, enforces nothing, accomplishes nothing.

The failure of those talks does nothing to slow down the progress of climate change, of course. This is a fight between human beings on the one hand, and physics and chemistry on the other–and physics and chemistry don’t really bargain. So glaciers like Bolivia’s Chacaltaya continue to disappear, and Arctic ice to melt, and seawater to acidify. We don’t have all the time in the world–we don’t, in fact, have a moment to spare.

Thank heaven, then, for the nations like Bolivia willing to work alongside civil society (instead of lock normal people out of the hall, as the UN did in Copenhagen). In fact, “work” is the key word for this year. At 350.org, we’re organizing a huge Global Work Party for October 10 (10/10/10!). All over the world, thousands of communities will be putting up solar panels and insulating homes and doing the other things we must do to deal with climate change. Our message is not that we can solve global warming one nice project at a time–we can’t. Instead, our message is: if we can get to work, so can our lawmakers. If we can climb up on the roof and install solar panels, the U.S. Senate can do what it’s supposed to do, and the UN General Assembly, and everyone else who needs to actually get to work.

That process begins in April in Bolivia. The world’s leaders haven’t led, so we’re going to have to lead for them. It’s going to be a fight, and it’s on now.

Bill McKibben is founder of 350.org and author of the first book about global warming, 1989’s The End of Nature.

When in Doubt, Scapegoat the Jews (or, well, feminists, Blacks, Indigenous people, Women, Gay men, the Abused Children, the Poor... anyone but RICH CHRISTIAN WHITE HET MEN--who are, after all, in charge of all this CRAP

[image of book cover is from here]

Please read Andrea Dworkin's book, Scapegoat, to better understand this history.

All that follows is from *here*.

Bishop 'blames Jews' for criticism of Catholic church record on abuse

Pope Benedict XVI blesses during Sunday Angelus prayer at his 
residence of Castelgandolfo
Pope Benedict XVI during Sunday Angelus prayer at his residence of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, April 11, 2010. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/REUTERS

A furious transatlantic row has erupted over quotes that were attributed to a retired Italian bishop, which suggested that Jews were behind the current criticism of the Catholic church's record on tackling clerical sex abuse.

A website quoted Giacomo Babini, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, as saying he believed a "Zionist attack" was behind the criticism, considering how "powerful and refined" the criticism is.

The comments, which have been denied by the bishop, follow a series of statements from Catholic churchmen alleging the existence of plots to weaken the church and Pope Benedict XVI.

Allegedly speaking to the Catholic website Pontifex, Babini, 81, was quoted as saying: "They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers."

The interview was spotted on Friday by the American Jewish Committee, which said Babini was using "slanderous stereotypes, which sadly evoke the worst Christian and Nazi propaganda prior to world war two".

On its website, the American Jewish Group Committee quoted bishop Vincenzo Paglia, an official at the Italian Bishops' Conference, as saying Babini's remarks were "entirely contrary to the official line and mainstream thought of the Catholic church".

As the interview appeared on Italy's main newspaper sites today, complete with the American reaction, the Bishops' Conference rushed out a statement quoting Babini denying he had ever given the interview in the first place. "Statements I have never made about our Jewish brothers have been attributed to me," he said.
Babini has previously been quoted on the Pontifex website accusing Jews of exploiting the Holocaust, as well as criticising homosexuality.

As cases of alleged priestly abuse emerge in the US and Europe, Benedict's handling of proven molesters before he became pope in 2005 has now been questioned in cases in Munich, Wisconsin and, most recently, in California, where his signature appears on an 1985 letter resisting calls to defrock a paedophile priest.

A Survivor of HaShoah (the Nazi Holocaust) Speaks Out on Israel's Racist Policies Against Palestinians: Relocation, Ethnic Cleansing, Apartheid, Mass Murder ARE NOT Jewish Values!

[image is from here.] 

The person in this image is not the author of the piece that follows. There are many Jews who feel this way! Including me. Click on title to return to the site this essay is from.

Weiss: Holocaust Survivor – Why I Support Palestinian Rights

In Canada, Holocaust Memorial Day has been established by Heritage Canada to be on April 11. It is a good opportunity to review what we learn from the Holocaust experience and how we apply these lessons to the troubled situation in the Middle East.

This year, students in more than 60 cities took part in educational meetings on conditions in Palestine as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, held March 1–7. It is a controversial event, not popular in Canadian government circles. It is criticized for supposedly dishonouring the victims of Hitler’s holocaust.

I am a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust, the Nazis’ mass murder of Europe’s Jews. The tragic experience of my family and community under Hitler makes me alert to the suffering of other peoples denied their human rights today – including the Palestinians.

True, Hitler’s Holocaust was unique. The Palestinians are victims of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Hitler started with that, but went on to extermination. In my family’s city in Poland, Piotrkow, 99% of the Jews perished.

Yet for me, the Israeli government’s actions toward the Palestinians awaken horrific memories of my family’s experiences under Hitlerism: the inhuman walls, the check points, the daily humiliations, killings, diseases, the systematic deprivation. There’s no escaping the fact that Israel has occupied the entire country of Palestine, and taken most of the land, while the Palestinians have been expelled, walled off, and deprived of human rights and human dignity.

Many levels of government have recently been attacking the movement against Israeli apartheid, saying that it is anti-Jewish in character. This is bizarre. When Nelson Mandela opposed South African apartheid, was this anti-White? No, Mandela proposed that all South Africans, Whites included, join on a basis of democracy and equality in freeing the country from racial oppression. And that is precisely the proposal that the movement against Israeli apartheid makes to all inhabitants of Israel/Palestine.

We are told that Israeli Jews will never accept such a democratic solution. Why? Is there something wrong with their genes or their culture? The very notion is absurd – in fact, its logic is anti-Jewish. Opposition to Israeli apartheid is based on hope – a hope founded on the common humanity of the region’s Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants.

Hope from Holocaust Resistance
My family and their community in Piotrkow, Poland, suffered a hard fate under Hitler. The Nazis forced the city’s 25,000 Jews into the first ghetto in occupied Poland. The resistance movement in the ghetto was unable to link up with resistance outside. Only a couple of hundred Piotrkow Jews escaped death.

But my mother and father then lived in Paris. They were active in the ‘Union des Juifs,’ a Jewish resistance organization closely linked to socialist parties and other anti-Nazi groups. When the Nazis started rounding up 
Jews in France, the Union des Juifs hid thousands of Jewish children among anti-Nazis across the country. My parents were killed. But a brave peasant family in Auvergne, at great risk, took me in and hid me. And that is why I am here today.

The Nazis were routed, and the resistance dealt blows to racism that are felt in France even to this day.

There is a lesson here for us today. Hitler seemed all-powerful at the time. But he could not crush the resistance, a broad people’s alliance embracing many religions and many political viewpoints.

We need that kind of alliance in resisting oppression today – including the oppression of the Palestinians.
Jewish Values Are Not Those of Israel’s Apartheid

The United Nations has defined apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

The apartheid concept was found in North America when indigenous peoples were confined to reservations in remote corners of the lands stolen from them. The South African Dutch settlers and Israeli government further developed the concept.

Eliminating Israeli apartheid involves three simple measures:

The right of exiled Palestinians to return to their country.

An end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The right of Palestinians within Israel to full equality.

On July 9, 2005, 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the institutions of Israeli apartheid. The BDS movement helped to end the crime of South African apartheid. Since 2005, the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid movement has won wide support around the world.

Nelson Mandela, the great leader of BDS against South African Apartheid, said, that justice for the Palestinians is “the greatest moral issue of the age.”

Support from Jewish Community
I recently discovered that my name is included in a website list of “7,000 self-hating Jews.” Why are Jewish supporters of Palestine labeled as “self-hating”? Because those who make this charge have redefined Judaism in terms of the present policies and character of the Israeli state. They see Judaism as nothing more than a rationale for oppressing Palestinians. What an insult to Jewish religion and culture!

As for the 7,000 self-haters, they need to add a couple of zeros to that total. In my experience, support of Palestine is stronger in the Jewish population than in society as a whole. And Jewish people work alongside their Palestinian brothers and sisters as a strong component of the Palestine solidarity movement.

Holocaust Awareness Week is an appropriate time to review our proud history as Jewish universalists, welcoming and encompassing humanity. We, as Jewish supporters of the Palestinians, stand on the finest traditions of Judaism, its great contributions to human religion, philosophy, science, and solidarity through the ages. The rights we expect for the Jewish people, we demand for all humanity – above all, for the Palestinians that the Israeli government oppresses in our name.

The above article was written by Suzanne Weiss; entitled: “Weiss: Holocaust Survivor – Why I Support Palestinian Rights“.The article can be found on AustraliansForPalestine.