Is FBI Setting Stage For Increased Surveillance Of Black Activists?

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By Thaddeus Talbot, Hugh Handeyside, and Malkia Cyril for ACLU and Center for Media Justice – A recently leaked FBI “Intelligence Assessment” contains troubling signs that the FBI is scrutinizing and possibly surveilling Black activists in its search for potential “extremists.” The report, which the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division prepared, identifies what it calls “Black Identity Extremists” as security threats. Their “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans … will very likely serve as justification” for violence against law enforcement officers, the report claims. Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act requestwith the Center for Media Justice seeking other records regarding the FBI’s surveillance of Black people on the basis of a supposed shared ideology, including records using the term “Black Identity Extremists.” The report is disturbing on several levels, starting with the label “Black Identity Extremist.” Its definition of the term is so confusing as to be unintelligible: “The FBI defines black identity extremists as individuals who seek, wholly or in part, through unlawful acts of force or violence, in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society and some do so in furtherance of establishing a separate black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities, or governing organizations within the United States.”

How CIA Got Away With Murdering Revolutionary Che Guevara

Latin American revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara is seen in 1964.

By Ramona Wadi for Mint Press News – Che Guevara’s body was uncovered from beneath a Bolivian landing strip 10 years after his death, but the truth behind how his body ended up in that secret burial location wouldn’t surface for several decades. Ernesto Che Guevara’s words on guerrilla warfare become particularly resonant on the anniversary of his death on Oct. 9, 1967, when he was murdered at the hands of the CIA and the Bolivian government. At the time of Che’s murder, U.S. intentions were to stifle the internationalist aspect of the Cuban Revolution – an attempt not only to destroy Che, but also to weaken Fidel Castro. Decades later, Che remains a source of inspiration evoked by many including Fidel, and the Cuban Revolution remains committed to its aims and anti-imperialist ideology. Che’s dedication to internationalist revolutionary struggle had been evident from the early years of the struggle to bring down the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. His inclusion in the revolutionary 26th of July Movement headed by Fidel was based upon an understanding that when the Cuban Revolution was consolidated, Che would earn the freedom to impart revolution wherever his efforts were needed. The sentiment was expressed in his farewell letter to Fidel, dated April 1, 1965, in which Che formally renounced his leadership positions and Cuban citizenship in order to pursue internationalist revolution elsewhere around the world.

Activists Call On Colombia To Provide Healthcare, Infrastructure Improvements

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By Staff of Black Alliance for Peace – The undersigned gender, racial, social and environmental justice organizations and advocates from around the world applaud the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter and other racial and gender rights measures in Colombia’s Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace. If implemented, these provisions will allow Colombia to set a global example of holistic peacebuilding—one that meaningfully addresses the social inequalities that help fuel conflict. We are, however, deeply concerned about the inadequate consultation with and recognition of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities in peace implementation activities to date, and the ways in which this endangers the lives, security, and territorial and human rights of Afro-Descendant and Indigenous Peoples, including women and girls. We encourage the Government to act in good faith to ensure that Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples’ rights are maintained and furthered in peace implementation. It is crucial that the framework plan for implementing the Peace Accord contain indicators to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner that corresponds to the needs, values, and rights of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples, including their gender-based rights. These can only be developed with meaningful participation of their respective authorities and organizations.

‘Team Internet’ Mobilizing Thousands Of Net Neutrality Activists Across The Country To Meet With Lawmakers

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By Mark Stanley for Demand Progress – Across the country, Team Internet volunteers like Platt are meeting with lawmakers, turning up at rallies, attending mass calls and coordinating with other activists in ways they’ve never before been able to do. “There are so many crucial issues people are engaging in right now, from healthcare to advocating for racial justice. At the end of the day, folks know if their free speech is curtailed because we don’t have strong Net Neutrality protections, organizing on these issues will be extremely difficult,” said Demand Progress Director of Operations and Communications Mark Stanley. “We’re seeing an unprecedented number of activists take time out of their busy lives to meet with lawmakers and their staff on this issue. Net Neutrality is vital for our civil discourse, our democracy and organizing on issues that impact people’s daily lives, and people are willing to fight for it now more than ever,” said Stanley. “Wherever you go, you can feel the energy and enthusiasm for Net Neutrality. Students, doctors, software engineers, lawyers and more are volunteering their time because they want a free and open internet. They’re gathering at lawmakers’ offices, protesting outside of speeches by FCC Chairman Pai, taking part in conference calls to learn more about the connections between Net Neutrality and racial justice, and connecting online and off to plan their next steps,” said Free Press Field Director Mary Alice Crim.

The Arab American Radicals Who Paved Way For BDS

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By Rod Such for The Electronic Antifada – One of the earliest boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, victories in the United States came in 1973 when United Auto Workers Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, voted to divest its Israeli bonds after a campaign waged by the Arab Workers Caucus and the American Arab Coordinating Committee. The campaign drew comparisons with apartheid South Africa and won the support of many Black autoworkers in Michigan. Was it just an oddity that decades before Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in 2005, industrial workers in the US heartland were already waging a BDS struggle? Or, far from being a rogue wave, was it an integral part of the oceanic upheavals among workers, students, immigrants and people of color during the heady maelstroms of the 1960s and ’70s? The Rise of the Arab American Left makes it clear this was no oddity, although it did have certain characteristics unique to the Arab American experience. Given the relative paucity of scholarship on the history of the Arab American left, this book is a must-read for those who wish to learn more about that community’s activism during this period of radical upheaval.

Fate Of Seized Activist May Point To New Era Of State Violence In Argentina

Top photo | Demonstrators hold photos of missing activist Santiago Maldonado, during a protest at Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Human rights groups say Maldonado went missing a month ago, after Argentine border police captured him during an operation against Mapuche Indians who were blocking a highway in Argentina’s Patagonia. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

By Roqayah Chamseddine for MInt Press News – The streets of Argentina are boiling over with demonstrations, as thousands of locals demand that the government produce an indigenous activist last seen one month ago when border police forced a group of the indigenous Mapuche off of indigenous land in Patagonia — land unjustly owned by the Italian clothing company Benetton. According to witnesses, 28-year-old Santiago Maldonado was forced into a van by government officials and disappeared, but so far the Argentinian government has denied any involvement. Argentinian demonstrators, including groups like Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo, are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of Maldonado in light of the nation’s troubled history of state violence. The US-backed military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, which plagued Argentina from 1976 until 1983, killed, kidnapped, and disappeared at least 30,000. Backed by Ronald Reagan, Videla and his security apparatus went on to torture and murder thousands more in a right-wing military hellscape. The case of Santiago Maldonado has revived memories of the Argentinian military junta, and suspicion among activists is growing that he has become President Mauricio Macri’s first disappeared victim—nearly 40 years after the end of General Videla’s rule.

Native American Leader Leonard Peltier Undergoes Triple Bypass Surgery

Leonard Peltier | Photo: International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

By Staff of Tele Sur – “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” Peltier wrote. Leonard Peltier, U.S. political prisoner and Native American leader, is in stable condition after undergoing triple bypass surgery, his defense committee announced Saturday morning. In a letter published by the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier wrote that he had been “taken to an outside hospital in Leesburg (Florida) for what I was told was a routine heart stress test,” due to shortness of breath. However, medics found “clogged arteries, 3 of them!” An immediate operation was scheduled and Peltier underwent triple bypass surgery. “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” he said, adding that now he’s “back in prison” and getting around in a “wheelchair.” Still suffering from a slight shortness of breath, Peltier nevertheless said he was looking forward to his grandson’s visit him next week.

Nine Activists Put Their Bodies On The Line For Water In Detroit

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By Drew Philp for The Guardian – In 1964, while still in her early twenties, Marian Kramer sat at a lunch counter in Monroe, Louisiana, and was served a tuna fish sandwich and a glass of dishwater. A committed civil rights activist, Kramer would regularly participate in integrated lunch counter sit-ins, organize picket lines and register black people to vote. For this, both the Ku Klux Klan and the police were after her. The first time Kramer drove an automobile was because of the KKK, in fact. While being chased by the hate group, the original driver of the vehicle had lost her nerve and Kramer, never one to give up, took the wheel and drove to the house of a black farmer, where they were hidden. When the owner of a local store shot at a young black man, Kramer helped organize a picket line, a full-on boycott. For her trouble in facilitating the sea change of human rights for African Americans in the 20th century, the policethrew her into a recently emptied garbage truck, the walls dripping with the sludge from the trash of a nation. She was placed in jail and, alongside other leaders, spent eight days and nights in solitary confinement. She was charged with disorderly conduct. But that’s ancient history. Isn’t it? More than 50 years and the turn of a century later, Kramer, now 73, sat in a chintzy Detroit courtroom charged with the exact same offense. Her co-defendant, an ordained Methodist minister named Bill Wylie-Kellermann, sat next to her.

Environmental Defenders Being Killed In Record Numbers Globally

Activists call for justice in the case of Honduran indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres, who was killed last year. Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

By Jonathan Watts and John Vidal for The Guardian – Last year was the most perilous ever for people defending their community’s land, natural resources or wildlife, with new research showing that environmental defenders are being killed at the rate of almost four a week across the world. Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago. And the frequency of killings is only increasing as 2017 ticks by, according to data provided exclusively to the Guardian, with 98 killings identified in the first five months of this year. John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said: “Human rights are being jettisoned as a culture of impunity is developing. “There is now an overwhelming incentive to wreck the environment for economic reasons. The people most at risk are people who are already marginalised and excluded from politics and judicial redress, and are dependent on the environment. The countries do not respect the rule of law. Everywhere in the world, defenders are facing threats. “There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building.”

Climate Activists Crashed Global Insurance Meeting To Demand Exit From Coal Companies

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By Peter Bosshard for Alternet – By divesting from coal companies, insurers can fulfill their basic mission: to protect us from catastrophic risk. Climate activists brought their message that insurance companies need to stop supporting coal projects to a global meeting of insurance CEOs in San Francisco. On June 15, activists interrupted the opening session of the CEO gathering at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and raised a banner that read, “The World’s Best Insurance? Keeping Coal in the Ground.” The banner display was part of a series of climate protests welcoming the insurance CEOs, who met in San Francisco at the invitation of the Geneva Association, an insurance think-tank. A letter was also sent to the individual CEOs, calling for them to move away from coal and invest in renewables. Then, on the following day, activists conveyed their message with a public rally of insurance mascots to greet the CEOs, and circled the executives’ closing dinner at a landmark hotel tower with a plane displaying the message, “Insurers: Unfriend Coal Now.”

Activists Arrested At Volk Field As They Attempt To Identify Base As A Crime Scene

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By Joy First for War Is A Crime – Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars has held monthly vigils against drones at the gates of Volk Field for over five years. This Wisconsin Air National Guard Base is a critical component of the whole drone warfare program being conducted by the US government in a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa. At Volk Field personnel are trained to operate the RQ-7 Shadow Drone, which has been used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. However, now there is the likelihood that the RQ-7 is also weaponized. See http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/7914/was-a-new-type-of-drone-launched-weapon-used-to-kill-al-qaedas-2-man. There is a savagery in drone warfare as whole communities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and other places in the Middle East and Africa suffer from PTSD from drones constantly flying overhead, as wedding parties and funerals are hit, as rescuers are hit by a second attack, as grandmothers working in the field are killed, as children sleeping in their beds are murdered. A number of credible sources tell us that only 1 out of 10 people killed by drones are the intended target.

Colin Kaepernick Is Being Blackballed By Billionaire NFL Owners. Here’s Why.

Colin Kaepernick launched the Colin Kaepernick Foundation in 2016 “to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.” (Kaepernick7.com)

By Colin Jenkins for Truth Dig – Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue black lives. This devaluation is played out in many areas, including politics, economics, housing, employment, and perhaps most notably, within the criminal punishment system. Black lives are routinely extinguished by police in the streets without recourse, in the courts without pause, and in the prisons without hesitation. Entire generations of black Americans have essentially been destroyed through the “school-to-prison pipeline” and a system of mass incarceration, for which author Michelle Alexander has properly deemed, The New Jim Crow. Kaepernick recognized this and felt compelled to bring attention to it. He openly protested the national anthem, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to community agencies, and started a national youth camp program to teach children from marginalized communities about self-empowerment.

S Korean Activists Discuss Left Priorities In The Moon Jae-in Era, Part 3

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By Staff of Zoom In Korea – In response to his election, KCTU said in its statement, “While we will support the administration when it moves in the right direction, we will not hesitate to criticize it and make it the target of our struggle should it fail to do so.” Moon promised that he would build a country where the dignity and rights of workers are respected. It is our assessment that while his labor policy is focused on creating new jobs in the public sector, it is weak in the area of promoting fundamental labor rights. The key question is how much will Moon be able to control the chaebols, which dominate the country’s economy, and change the existing laws and labor relation practices to ensure the guarantee of fundamental rights for all workers. The Korean economy is deeply enmeshed in the global recession and relies too heavily on the chaebols. Many of the economic problems the country faces—from low growth to inequality and youth unemployment—can be solved under a system where the working class plays a leading role. In this sense, strengthen unity and solidarity among workers is more important than ever.

Activists March To Trump Hotel, Urge President To ‘Wake Up’ To Climate Change

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By Mark Hand for Think Progress – WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether to remove the United States from the Paris climate accord, a move most scientists and climate activists believe would be disastrous to the goal of limiting increases in the planet’s temperature through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In recent weeks, the president has heard from a diverse coalition of business groups that support remaining in the Paris accord. And the Trump administration also continues to hear from activists who for the past two decades have tried to convince policy-makers to make climate change a top priority. A large group of climate activists marched on the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning to demand that Trump “wake up” to the perils of climate change and not pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Organizers behind the Peoples Climate March planned the rally. “It’s critical for the United States to be in the Paris agreement,” Sebi Medina-Tayac, an organizer of Tuesday’s rally, told ThinkProgress. “We see a situation where we have one highly unstable person who is in charge of the fate of millions, if not billions, of people.” When organizers were planning the rally, they briefly considered whether they should reach out to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, to request that she “please help us,” he said.

Margaret Sarfehjooy, Prominent Minnesota Peace Activist, Remembered

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By Sarah Martin for Fight Back! News – Minneapolis, MN – Margaret Sarfehjooy, a tireless, fearless and greatly respected anti-war activist, died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 28. She was a longtime member of WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) and on the organizations board for many years. As Meredith Aby-Keirstead, of the Anti-War Committee says, “Margaret was an outspoken advocate for the Middle East. She was a consistent anti-imperialist and understood the true danger of the U.S. in Syria and Iran. She was also a tireless solidarity activist for freedom for Palestine. I always looked to Margaret for political analysis about the region and she was always supportive to other activists looking to develop their own research and analytical skills.” Margaret was an articulate speaker. At the recent March rally commemorating the 14th anniversary of the beginning of the war on Afghanistan, she spoke about U.S. threats and attacks on Iran. She was an excellent writer. Her article in the latest edition of the WAMM newsletter, “Are State Legislatures Demanding a Loyalty Oath to Israel?” exposes and analyzes the top-down attempts to criminalize the growing Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.