All posts by gabriel


Eighty-five percent of Israel’s checkpoints are inside the Palestinian West Bank. Palestinians traveling from towns and villages, whether to find work or give birth or honor the dead, experience aimed guns, hard questions and long waits. Every day, roughly 50 to 100 of Machsom Watch’s 400 Israeli women go out in 24 shifts to keep tabs on the remote outposts and advocate for fair treatment of Palestinians. The women’s main task is to observe and to write reports on what they observe, in order to make private acts of malice public. The reports are then published weekly on the organization’s website for all to read.

read more at In These Times

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A US Navy destroyer on Friday shelled several targets outside Bargal village, in the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland northeast of the capital Mogadishu, where Al-Qaeda operatives and Islamist fighters are alleged to have bases. Somali officials said there were casualties but did not give the exact figure. Regional leaders said they had not asked for US military help. Local elders said more than 100 civilians were killed in January attacks also purporting to target Al-Qaeda operatives when US-backed Ethiopian and Somali government forces ousted a powerful Islamist movement from southern and central regions of the country. Puntland and neighboring Somaliland regions have enjoyed relative stability compared to Somalia proper, which has been wracked by violence since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

read more from Agence France-Presse

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More than a dozen Muslim detainees have launched a new, long-term hunger strike at the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to protest against harsh conditions at a new maximum-security complex, known as Camp 6. The military has responded by subjecting to daily force-feeding the largest group since early 2006, when a long-running strike was broken by strapping prisoners into restraint chairs and forcing plastic tubes through their nostrils. “We don’t have any rights here, even after your Supreme Court said we had rights, ” hunger striker Majid al-Joudi told a military physician. Before the use of restraint chairs, some detainees suffered sharp weight losses of more than 28 lbs. within weeks. Al-Joudi had lost 15% of his body weight in 31 days of fasting before he was transferred to a “feeding block” where hardcore hunger strikers are segregated from other prisoners.

About 160 Camp 6 inmates are generally locked in their less than 8ftx10ft cells for at least 22 hours a day, emerging only to exercise in small wire cages and shower. Besides those exercise periods, they can talk with other prisoners only by shouting through food slots in the steel doors of their cells. After a riot last May and three suicides in June, the unit was retrofitted to limit the detainees’ movement, officials said. “My wish is to die, ” 27-year-old Yemeni hunger striker Adnan Farhan Abdullatif told his lawyer.

read more from Agence France-Presse

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The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Council of La Raza have expressed anger over the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass a resolution commemorating the birthday and honoring the legacy of noted labor and civil rights leader César Chávez. The measure was blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) objection to the resolution. The groups derided McConnell for placing “political gamesmanship” above farmworkers’ legacy when requesting the inclusion of language on Chávez’s involvement in a 1969 march against growers’ importation of undocumented immigrant labor to thwart the United Farm Workers of America’s organizing efforts: “The inclusion of such language suggests that César Chávez would not have been appalled and outraged by today’s anti-immigrant sentiment and policies, which not only is offensive but dead wrong. There is a time and place to debate the immigration issue, but to deny a great leader this congressional honor is a slap in the face.”

read more at the National Council of La Raza

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The National Lawyers Guild has posted step-by-step information about what communities and families can do when a loved one is detained by immigration authorities, especially within the first 24 hours. Also included is how you can protect yourself from future raids, facts about the ICE detention and deportation system as well as flyers and other resources.

read more at the National Immigration Project

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Republican lawmakers who, when opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants, talk about how rules must be followed and lawbreakers should not be rewarded are now demanding a pair of convicted felons be rewarded with a presidential pardon. Ex-Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos were sentenced to 12 and 11 years for shooting unarmed suspect Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila and covering it up. Compean fired at least 14 rounds and Ramos fired once, the agents then collected the shell casings and filed reports that made no mention of the incident.

None of this is heroic, except to the anti-immigrant mob, which has been making excuses for Compean and Ramos while calling the prosecuting U.S. Attorney an agent of the Mexican government. In recent months, the cause of Compean and Ramos has been picked up by anti-immigrant groups, congressional Republicans, Minuteman vigilantes and talk show hosts on radio and television.

read more at CNN

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Massachusetts teenager Amber Abreu was recently held for 3 nights in the state’s maximum-security prison for women while her family raised $15, 000 for bail, an amount inconceivable to a young woman whose Dominican street remedy for ending an unwanted pregnancy collided with American ambivalence about abortion.

The inner-city resident was arrested on the archaic-sounding charge of “procuring miscarriage” for the death of her 1 1/4-pound baby girl four days after birth. Amber knew abortion was legal in the US, but when a safe and legal one proved inaccessible she made the desperate choice of turning to a cheap home remedy commonplace in the Dominican Republic: she swallowed pills marketed to prevent ulcers but known to induce abortion. The failure of her self-induced abortion means she may now face possible manslaughter charges.

This tragedy is less a measure of one teenager’s bad choices than it is an indictment of a culture that tells all women abortion is their legal, constitutionally protected right, but tolerates a lack of access for the neediest women. A well-heeled suburban 18-year-old who chooses to terminate a pregnancy need only write a check.

read more at the Boston Globe

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Between 2000 and 2005, hate groups mushroomed 33% and KKK chapters by 63%, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which counts as many as 150 Klan chapters with up to 8, 000 members nationwide. More than 800 hate groups exist around the country, Southern Poverty research shows. Historically, the Klan’s focus had been to terrorize African Americans—through race riots, lynchings and other killings—but it reached peak membership at more than 4 million in the 1920s by focusing on immigration. Newcomers from Ireland and Germany were portrayed as Catholic usurpers invading the United States, taking jobs from those born in the US and undermining the social fabric. Said the SPLC”s director: “It’s remarkable to look back at the nativist sentiments toward Catholics—it’s very similar to what we’re seeing with Mexicans now.”

read more from the Associated Press

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Local authorities are searching for 3 White men and 1 Latino with limited Spanish who attacked 12 undocumented immigrants, killed an Arizona man and shot 19-year-old Andres de Jesus of Oaxaca. Authorities said the man killed was driving a pickup truck containing the immigrants in a farm field when four heavily armed men wearing military-style berets, camouflage pants and shirts in a white van began firing on them. A large amount of blood in the back of the pickup indicated there may be a third victim who has not been located. Detectives said the attackers could have been vigilantes, rival smugglers or criminals trying to steal drugs, although no drugs were found in the truck, and “they didn”t take anything. It”s pretty strange.”

read more at the Arizona Republic

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More than 200, 000 people died or vanished in Guatemala’s civil war and thousands are still executed by police and vigilantes every year. Now officials are to make public secret state files detailing the atrocities—despite death threats from government security forces.

read more at the London Guardian

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