Israeli forces closed the offices of seven Palestinian civil society rights groups in the occupied West Bank in an overnight raid on Thursday. Al-Haq said Israeli soldiers stormed its offices in Ramallah, confiscating items, shutting down the main entrance with an iron plate, and leaving behind a military order declaring the organization unlawful. Other groups raided included Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committee and the Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC). Addameer said soldiers had also broke down its office doors and confiscated material. In October, Israel declared six of the groups (excluding the UHWC) as terrorist organizations.
On July 29, the FBI conducted a surprise raid on the homes and offices of leaders of the African People's Socialist Party and Uhuru Solidarity Movement (APSP-Uhuru) in Florida and Missouri under the pretext that they were co-conspirators in an indictment of a Russian national, Alexander Ionov. In the raid, documents and electronic devices were stolen. The raid was coordinated with the Biden Administration. Clearing the FOG speaks with Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the APSP - Uhuru about the raid and the broader implications of it for activists in the United States. This raid is connected to the anti-Russian narrative that has been developed in the US to justify the conflict in Ukraine and it sends a warning to all who dare to work for justice and speak the truth. Visit APSPUhuru.org to find out how to show your support.
On 9 July 2022, remarkable images floated across social media from Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. Thousands of people rushed into the presidential palace and chased out former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, forcing him to flee to Singapore. In early May, Gotabaya’s brother Mahinda, also a former president, resigned from his post as prime minister and fled with his family to the Trincomalee naval base. The public’s raw anger toward the Rajapaksa family could no longer be contained, and the tentacles of Rajapaksas, which had ensnared the state for years, were withdrawn. Now, almost a month later, residual feelings from the protests remain but have not made any significant impact. Sri Lanka’s new caretaker, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, extended the state of emergency and ordered security forces to dismantle the Galle Face Green Park protest site (known as Gotagogama). Wickremesinghe’s ascension to the presidency reveals a great deal about both the weakness of the protest movement in this nation of 22 million people and the strength of the Sri Lankan ruling class.
On July 29, 2022, the FBI raided the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Florida and the Uhuru Solidarity Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The raids were connected with the indictment of a Russian national who is accused of attempting to “cause turmoil in the United States” by engaging with “Unindicted Co-Conspirators” to act as agents of the Russian Federation. The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) is the organization targeted by the FBI for a very simple reason. It is a Black organization which has dared to confront and oppose U.S. imperialism. The alleged connection with the Russian government kills two birds with one stone. The Russiagate hoax is continually resuscitated as it gives new life to claims of election and other interference and Black people’s organizations are as always the first to be targeted by the State.
Tunisian security forces violently repressed a massive protest in the country’s capital on July 22 against the moves by President Kais Saied to further undermine democratic institutions in the country. According to human rights organizations, police repressed protesters who had gathered at the emblematic Habib Bourguiba Street in the center of Tunis by hitting them with batons and launching tear gas at them. Several people injured during the repression were hospitalized, and police arrested nine people. Among those arrested are feminist rights activist Olfa Baazaoui of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, human rights and LGBTQ+ rights defender Saif Ayedi of Damj, Aziz Ben Jemaa of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, and other progressive activists. Their arrests were widely condemned by diverse civil society organizations.
On May 3 World Freedom Day ten international human rights and press freedom organizations (including the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN America) expressed serious concern at the increasing assaults on journalists and media freedom in recent times. They called upon the Indian authorities to stop targeting journalists and critics, and more particularly to desist from prosecuting them under sedition and/or counterterrorism laws. This was just one among several several statements to emerge from international media and rights organizations to express concern regarding the fast deteriorating press freedom situation in India.
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has demanded the release of both Mohammed Zubair and Teesta Setalvad, a prominent journalist as well as human rights activist, who too was arrested very recently. This statement has noted the contradiction, observed also by other media organizations, between such arrests and the statements endorsed internationally by the Government of India regarding freedom of media and civil society organizations. In fact very recently at the G7 summit and meeting of several countries in Germany the Indian government committed itself to the 2022 Resilient Democracies Statement which involves a pledge to guard the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors and protect the freedom of expression online and offline.
I once asked a prominent social movement leader and former Colombian Senator if there was any organization or movement in her country similar to the US groups Veterans for Peace or Iraqi Veterans Against the War (now About Face). It was in 2011, and I was there with a delegation sponsored by the Alliance for Global Justice and the National Lawyers Guild. She looked at me a moment and then said, “We have veterans, but they are not for peace.” Her answer confirmed my own limited experience. Of course, this was Colombia in 2011, a country that had recently learned about the “false positive” scandal, with details still being revealed. That scandal refers to the ongoing practice of members of the Colombian Armed Forces to lure poor and unemployed youth to remote areas with promises of jobs, killing them, and dressing their bodies in uniforms of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and claiming them as enemy combatants.
I just returned from eight days in Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, where the capital, Manila, is located. For many years, the movement for national democracy in the Philippines has asked for international solidarity, including human rights defenders to aid them in their struggle for economic and political rights. The presence of people from other countries can help diminish the violence of the Philippine military and national police against the movement. In addition, as national elections approach on May 9 there has been a rise in human rights abuses, and so the need for international solidarity is more pressing.
As US domestic fascism continues to evolve, there is an overt reemergence of a pro-police narrative that no one seems to be talking about. It comes amid stories that suggest that there is a crime wave in major cities across the US. In response, the mainstream press has been amplifying pundits and politicians, especially US president Biden, who argue that the police need more “resources” to better do their job. This is the ideological offensive, the backlash, against activists’ demands to “defund the police.” Press outlets like the PBS NewsHour, once considered “one of the most trusted news programs on television and online” is just as much a propaganda machine for the Biden Administration as CNN or MSNBC. A February 4th broadcast portrayed the idea of defunding police as an abandonment of the streets to criminals, while promoting the false flag of a crime wave.
Three months after the military coup in Sudan on October 25, the military junta has failed to consolidate power in the face of country-wide mass protests recurring every few days. Deploying the army, police, and a notorious militia to meet the protests with force, the junta has killed at least 76 protesters since the coup. Three of them were killed in the crackdown on Monday, January 24, when mass demonstrations and rallies – calling for an overthrow of the junta and prosecution of the generals who seized power in the coup – were witnessed in at least 23 cities. 22-year-old Thabit Moawya Bashir, who was shot in the head, and 23-year-old Mohamed Amer Elaish, who was hit in the chest with live ammunition, died in capital Khartoum. Later at night, Elaish’s funeral procession also came under fire.
Food Not Bombs was founded in 1980 to provide direct aid to people while educating about the perversion of spending so much on the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) while tens of millions of people do not have the basic necessities. It has turned into a global movement to build food sovereignty and organize systems outside the establishment. Clearing the FOG speaks with Keith McHenry, the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, about the criminalization of homelessness, their recent legal victory in Florida and why we must be concerned about increasing homelessness in the United States and the overall direction the country is going. McHenry speaks about his family ties to the founding of the military and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the violence he and others have experienced because of their activism.
Tiffany Crutcher was worried. Oklahoma lawmakers had passed a new measure stiffening penalties for protesters who block roadways and granting immunity to drivers who unintentionally hit them. The state NAACP, saying the law was passed in response to racial justice demonstrations and could chill the exercising of First Amendment rights, filed a federal lawsuit challenging portions of it. But the new law was only weeks from taking effect. Crutcher, an advocate for police reform and racial justice, was moderating a virtual town hall about it, featuring panelists who brought the lawsuit. At the end, she asked a question that went directly to the stakes. Under the new law, “is it safe for the citizens of Oklahoma to go and do a protest?” The three men on the panel were silent.