Radical media, politics and culture.


'High-Value' Detainees Were Held in Secret CIA Detention Centres in
Poland and Romania
PACE Committee

Strasbourg, June 8, 2007 – So-called US "high-value" detainees (HVD) –
whose existence were revealed by President Bush in September 2006 –
were held in secret CIA detention centres in Poland and Romania
between 2002 and 2005, according to a report of the Legal Affairs
Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)
adopted today.

The report was based in part on the cross-referenced testimonies of
over 30 serving and former members of intelligence services in the US
and Europe, and on a new analysis of computer "data strings" from the
international flight planning system.

G8 Warm-Up Tour: Whose World Is This?

David Rovics

The riots in Rostock, Germany began around 3 pm last Saturday. In European riots outside of G8 meetings and such, generally all sides refrain from using lethal weapons. (If anybody breaks with this tradition – such as Genoa in 2000 or Gothenberg in 2001 – it is always the police.) The riots on Saturday were part of a long series of such confrontations around Germany, around Europe, around the world.

On one side were many thousands of police brought in from all over Germany, dressed in space-age green or black riot gear. On the other were thousands of mostly young men and women, mostly German but including participants from all over Europe and a smattering of other places, many wearing balaclavas or bandanas over their faces, most dressed in black.

These events are strangely beautiful, partly like a brilliantly choreographed modern dance performance with the city as it’s stage, partly like a medieval battle. Many of those who don’t wish to be involved leave the scene in a hurry, many others find some high ground and watch the melee unfold, and quite a few more try to keep on with whatever they were doing before the riot started and hope it ends soon.

Chavez Dismisses International Disapproval of Venezuela's Media Policy

Hundreds of Thousands March in Support of Chavez

Gregory Wilpert

As several hundred thousand Chavez supporters rallied in Venezuela's
largest avenue on Saturday, President Chavez rejected all international
interference with his decision not to renew a television station's
broadcast license. Referring to the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci,
Chavez also spoke at length about how private media maintains a cultural
hegemony that must be broken.

"Go to hell, representatives of the global oligarchy, we are a free
country!" said Chavez to wild applause, once marchers reached the
Avenida Bolivar in the center of Caracas. The demonstration converged on
the avenue from two starting points, one in the east of the city and the
other towards the city's south. Unofficial estimates of the number of
demonstrators ranged from 300,000 to 500,000.

NLG Calls "Terrorism Enhancement" Chilling to Free Speech

The National Lawyers Guild calls the terrorism sentencing enhancement issued to Daniel McGowan yesterday an unnecessary and excessive government tactic to discourage the exercise of free speech. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced McGowan to seven years in prison, calling one of the fires an act of terrorism because of a communication issued after the first that referred to potential legislation aimed at activists
(which would indicate an attempt to influence the government). McGowan was one of four defendants who plead guilty with the understanding that they would not implicate others who took part in similar actions.

Ten activists plead guilty to committing property crimes-most of which were arsons-that carry average sentences ranging from 5-8 years in prison. The terrorism enhancement, Section 3A1.4 of federal Sentencing Guidelines, can add 20 years to each of the sentences laid out in the plea agreements. Formal sentencing began on May 22 and continued through today.

National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian says, "Is this what a terrorist is? Applying terrorism enhancement to property crimes where the perpetrators went out of their way to minimize the risk to human life makes little sense as a matter of law or common sense. Americans know the difference between Daniel McGowan and Osama bin Laden, and this effort to subvert the fairness of the judicial system is an affront to the values they hold dear."

Desert Autonomous Zone

Jesse Walker

From Reason

Somewhere in the northern New Mexico desert, a grizzled gardener called Robbie is praising the prickliness of his home. "The cops don't like to come out here," he says proudly, "and this place is built on being left alone by the authorities. People say to the government, 'Fuck you. Chinga tu madre. We don't want your government, and you can get out of here.'"

Robbie is a folksinger, a self-described "middle-aged hippie," and one of the rich cast of characters who populate Off the Grid, a film now playing the festival circuit that will make its New York debut at Lincoln Center on August 16. Jeremy and Randy Stulberg, a brother and sister team, originally set out to make a documentary about U.S. citizens living abroad. Then they discovered a tribe of expatriates here at home, fleeing the American mainstream in a way that only deepened their American identity. The Stulbergs filmed them instead, with riveting results.

In 15 square miles of abandoned land, about 400 misfits—aging hippies, disillusioned veterans, teenage runaways—have built a community where no one cares if you smoke pot, fire your rifle all day, let your kids drive your car, or walk around naked in the desert heat. It's a landscape of beat-up old trailers, shacks jerry-rigged from recycled materials, solar panels, little farms, greenhouses, and at least one tipi. "Where I live is the last remaining land of America that is left," says Dreadie Jeff, another Mesa resident. "You can do what you fucking want there."

The local culture defies easy stereotypes. "Going into this community with this traditional mainstream liberal ideology," Jeremy says, "we realized all our preconceived notions were bullshit. These people were extremely into their Second Amendment rights, and they were also into marijuana legalization. They don't fit into these molds." There's a touch of madness to the place as well. Mama Phyllis, a Mesa woman who used to be a psychiatric nurse ("I couldn't do that anymore," she says, and leaves it at that), calls it "the largest outdoor insane asylum." The governing philosophy is a mix of anarchism, patriotism, New Age stoner wisdom, and a militia-style distrust of the state. Early in the film Dreadie Jeff, a veteran of the first Gulf War, exclaims that his military oath was not "to defend this land, it's not to defend the people, it's not to defend the motherfucking asshole president of the United States. My military oath goes, 'I solemnly swear to defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.'" The Constitution's "biggest enemy," he adds, is "this fucking government that is in place right now."`

Anonymous Comrade writes:

Kennedy Road Hunger Strike in Durban, South Africa

Kennedy Road is a shack settlement in Durban South Africa. Two years ago residents blockade a major road beginning a struggle that now includes close to 40 shack settlements across Durban and nearby towns like Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg. The movement of the shack dwellers', Abahlali baseMjondolo, has faced sustained repression from a rampantly criminal local state. Now key activists have been arrested on trumped up murder charges. This follows a similar pattern of repression in Johannesburg with the Landless People's Movement.

Too Quiet in Oaxaca

John Ross

OAXACA, OAXACA (May 27th) — On the first anniversary of the beginning of last summer's feverish uprising here, the city's jewel-box plaza which had been occupied for seven months by striking teachers and their allies in the Oaxaca Peoples' Popular Assembly (APPO) from May until October when federal police forced them into retreat, shimmered in the intense spring sunbeams. The only massive police presence on view was the city police department's orchestra tootling strident martial airs to a shirt-sleeved crowd of gaffers. Here and there, handfuls of burley state cops, sweltering in bulletproof vests and helmets in hand, huddled in the shade quaffing aguas frescas (fruit water) and flirting with the senoritas.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

Fazel Khan Solidarity
Letter from Fazel Khan to his Comrades in his University Workers' Union (COMSA)

The Dismissal of Fazel Khan

On Wednesday 25 April, 2007 Fazel Khan was summarily dismissed from his position as a lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban South Africa. He is not the first academic to be forced out of the university for political reasons in recent months. He had been charged with ‘bringing the university into disrepute’ after he had made comments about the authoritarian climate at the university. These comments were made in response to questions put to him by various newspapers after he was removed from a photograph and the text of an article in UKZNdaba on the international success of a film that he had co-directed.

The University Management initially tried to argue that Fazel had had himself removed from the photograph (they ignored the fact that he had also been removed from the text of the article) as a ‘plot’ to embarrass the university. But in the hearing a witness for the prosecution acknowledged that in fact Fazel had been interviewed for the UKZNdaba story making any claims of a ‘plot’ patently ludicrous.

Fazel had argued that he had been excluded from the UKZNdaba story because there was an intimidatory climate at the university which had singled him out for his role during the strike as a unionist. UKZNdaba has never corrected the story or apologised for the excision of Fazel. The UKZN management has never explained why, if Fazel was not been targeted, he was publicly threatened by the vice-chancellor, for his work with the shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali base Mjondolo or why the vice-chancellor had threatened Fazel that ‘I will deal with you’ for ‘helping shack dwellers on the Westville campus to write a letter’ and for his activities as a union PRO via the Gautschi Commission.

In the run up to the hearing the vice-chancellor circulated entirely unsubstantiated and plainly slanderous and libellous allegations against Fazel. Fazel is not the first academic to have been slandered by the management in this way. Just before the hearing began a second charge was added and Fazel was also accused of passing on a Senate Sub-Committee Report on authoritarianism on the campus to The Mercury.

Prelude to the G8: Tearing it up in Hamburg

Anti-G8 Action Faction

May 28th 2007

On their way to block the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, anti-capitalists
from all over Germany and the world stop in Hamburg to confront the
Asian-European Meeting (ASEM).

Finally, something was happening.

We were on the move again. It's been a while and we're a bit out of
shape, but it's all coming back now. After linking arms in flanks for
five hours straight in a huge, permitted march, we were getting antsy.
As the first major demonstration in the lead up to the G8 summit in
Heiligendamm, everyone wanted to start it off right. The city of Hamburg
needed to send a message to the world that they have the "violent
demonstrators" under total control. The cops must maintain discipline
and it will all go smoothly. The protestors wanted to tear the city
apart, to show the G8 leaders that they are not welcome here, and anyone
who tries to host them will have to pay. With a thousand black clad
anarchists in the front and thousands of others behind, the tension was
thick. Screaming "fight the system, fight the state, fight capitalism,
fight G8," the demonstrators were not willing to comprise either their
vision or momentum. But who would provoke who first? Would the cops use
the water canons? Would the anarchists break through the lines and go
off the script?

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

Brian Ross / Richard Esposito, ABC News

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert
“black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and
former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the
sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a
“nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan
that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda,
disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international
financial transactions.


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