Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle http://www.fightbacknews.org/ This newspaper exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people. en Frank Chapman speaks out against police terror http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/frank-chapman-speaks-out-against-police-terror <p>The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression held a public forum on the campaign for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) on Oct. 16 at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side. Over 50 activists attended this meeting, including families of victims of police crimes, prominent attorney Stan Willis, and labor and community activists.</p> <p>Frank Chapman, who has a long history of labor organizing, is a now a field organizer for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. He is the former Executive Director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and lead many of the Alliance’s campaigns in the 70’s and 80’s.</p> <p>The following is the text of Chapman’s Oct. 16 speech:</p> <p>The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has launched a campaign for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) and I submit that this CPAC campaign is in reality the equivalent of an anti-lynch campaign. We say this because the police and vigilantes are operating under the color of state laws to do the same thing that lynch mobs did and often with the same racist fervor. In point of fact when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin he (Zimmerman) was supported by a white racist mob organized by right wing extremists that raised nearly a million dollars for his defense fund. The same thing happened with the white cop, Daren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown. Immediately the organized, ultra-right wing extremists organized a defense fund and raised $400,000 for Wilson.</p> <p>In the period Jan. 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014 there have been 86 people killed by Chicago police officers acting under the color of law. They - the people killed - were among the more than 294 people shot by police officers. African Americans were 78.1% of the shooting victims and Latinos were 13.2%, while 7.1% were white.</p> <p>Police crimes of murder and torture have been made acceptable police practices in spite of the public outrage against them. The politicians and the fraternal order of police justify these lynch like tactics by criminalizing the entire African and Latino communities. All people of color are suspects.</p> <p>If we are to avoid morphing into a fascist state then we must stop this present state of siege in our communities by fighting for community control of the police. Police repression is an integral part of racial oppression and that is why people of color can’t just call for the police to police the police or for federal intervention. The best intervention is the democratic intervention of the masses and that is why we must fight for a Civilian Police Accountability Council that will be elected by the residents of any given police district. This elected body would not be a police review board but a police control board.</p> <p>Since the events of Sept. 11, 2001 the U.S. criminal justice system has become a massive machine for arrest, detention and mass incarceration. ‘National security’ and the fight against ‘terrorism’ was the reasons given by the Bush administration for empowering the criminal justice system to arrest non-citizens and circumvent the court system and the right to due process provided by the U.S. Constitution. History has already demonstrated that these assaults on our civil liberties have been primarily the burden of immigrant communities and people of color. In Chicago we have over 100 documented cases of torture by the Chicago Police Department. The victims are 99% African American and Latino and none of them were accused of terrorism. Of the more than two million people in jails and prisons a large percentage is people of color (mostly African American) and they are charged with the non-violent crime of drug dealing. Of course this takes place in communities hard hit by the current economic crisis and the government’s austerity budget cuts.</p> <p>Let us now take a deeper look into solutions.</p> <p>While the city, state and government must be held accountable for not addressing the underlying causes of violence in Chicago, Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Mayor Rahm Emanuel cannot hold them accountable. There is a Stop The Violence Movement that mainly focuses on gangbanging violence and the need for policing. This movement ignores racial oppression and at best sees the police as a necessary evil so they end up calling for more police. Reverend Jackson (who is walking the tightrope on this issue) is calling for a reconstruction plan for Chicago and Mayor Emanuel (who is clearly for more police) is calling for the creation of a partnership for peace. Reverend Jesse Jackson is calling for government action, chiding President Obama to ask Congress for $2 or 3 billion for economic and social reconstruction in the blighted areas of Chicago. The mayor is saying that as a community we need to demand more of ourselves and give our youth alternatives to street life.</p> <p>This is rhetoric coming from a mayor whose policies of budget cuts have left the poor and the working class people even more desperate. Closing 50 schools and repeatedly enforcing mass austerity doesn’t address the problem but compounds it. Consequently, the suffering masses know that this is just talk. But since there is really no organized social protest movement demanding that he push youth programs that provide alternatives to the streets he can always fall short of a program of action and blame the victims.</p> <p>We get a different kind of rhetoric from Reverend Jackson. He actually speaks of our communities as zones of disaster characterized by massive unemployment, foreclosure on houses vacant lots and fewer schools and he calls upon the president to lead the charge in attacking these problems.</p> <p>What’s wrong with both of these approaches in my opinion is that neither one is about organizing the people to protest and demand the changes that will give our youth alternatives to the streets through education, recreation and jobs. We are asking the government to do something as opposed to protesting and demanding that they do something. Power concedes nothing without a struggle.</p> <p>The violence in Chicago is appalling. But we also know that it is largely a consequence of the drug war which is a smoke screen for mass incarceration and police crimes. The violence takes place in the absence of justice in our communities. We believe it can be ended by a movement for justice which demands democratic community control of the police. Community control of the police will give the people the much needed organizing space to fight for social-economic justice and the abolition of institutionalized racism. The violence cannot be ended by more police or a ‘partnership for peace’ that ignores the need for justice.</p> <p>This brings me to the position that our organization takes on the question of violence. First of all, let us talk about the different kinds of violence. What makes news in Chicago and gets everybody on the platform is the violence perpetrated by gangbangers. Each time someone is killed by a gangbanger the tocsin is sounded for war but not so when the purveyor of violence is the police or the criminal justice system.</p> <p>Gang violence and police violence take place in the larger context of the violence of poverty and institutionalized oppression. Cutting food stamps for children is violent. Forced closing of 50 schools did violence to thousands of children. Evictions are sometimes violent but they are nearly always carried out by the threat of violence. Without a shot being fired our communities look like they’ve been shell bombed. Without a shot being fired our infant mortality rate is up and trauma centers are being closed. These problems of violence are the direct result of deliberate government policies that reinforce social and economic conditions that impoverish the many and enrich the few.</p> <p>The way to get rid of injustice is to organize and rally the people suffering from injustice. That is why we are presently engaged in a campaign to have the city council enact legislation that will create an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. Such an ordinance will not only empower the people to hold the police accountable; it will also give the people a firm voice in how their communities are policed.</p> <p>Unlike the mayor and his political cohorts we firmly believe that the organized might of the masses can and should force the system to change.</p> <p>Police tyranny has cast a dark and sinister shadow over our lives for far too many years. Too many parents are burying their children, it’s time to fight back and win.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/frank-chapman-speaks-out-against-police-terror#comments Police Brutality Frank Chapman Political Repression In-Justice System Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:55:17 +0000 Fight Back 4394 at http://www.fightbacknews.org MN protests corporate media silence on Israeli settler violence http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/mn-protests-corporate-media-silence-israeli-settler-violence <p>Minneapolis, MN - On Oct. 21, the Anti-War Committee here organized a picket of the <em>Star Tribune</em> newspaper to protest the local mainstream media for the lack of coverage of Israeli settler violence. Dozens picketed the state’s largest newspaper with signs calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and a banner denouncing a media blackout of Palestine.</p> <p>The Palestinian News Agency reported this weekend, “Sources said that a settler deliberately ran over Inas Khalil and Toleen Asfoor, both aged five, while walking home from kindergarten near the entrance of the village of Sinjil; a settler, coming from nearby settlements, drove toward the two girls and ran them over before fleeing the scene.” Khalil died of her injuries and Asfoor is still in a critical situation. This story has outraged Palestinians but has received little attention in the U.S.</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a spokesperson for the Anti-War Committee who traveled to the West Bank in 2002 to document Israeli settler violence explained, “This is one example of growing settler violence on the West Bank which has continued from this summer's murder of another Palestinian child, Mohammad Abu Khdeir , age 16, by Israeli settler violence in July. The world is outraged.”</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead continued, “Meanwhile the <em>Star Tribune</em> and other local mainstream media have covered the conflict in a way that excludes Palestinian voices. The <em>Star Tribune</em> didn't even bother to cover this child's murder. Instead on Monday the paper ran ‘Unable to come up with a new strategy, Abbas turns to more belligerent rhetoric’ which is a lopsided article which is very critical of Palestinian leaders, mocks Palestinian claims of genocide and doesn’t mention any Israeli military or settler violence.”</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead concluded, “The local Palestinian community is outraged and asked the Anti-War Committee to organize an action to draw attention to increasing settler violence and to the death of this particular five-year-old. As the mother of a five-year-old myself, this story has a particular emotional connection to me.”</p> <p>Protesters were also encouraged to participate in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression’s call in day to support Rasmea Odeh.</p> <p>The Minnesota Anti-War Committee’s next protests will be focused on the midterm elections and pressuring U.S. Senate candidates to stop supporting aid to Israel.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/mn-protests-corporate-media-silence-israeli-settler-violence#comments Antiwar Movement Anti-War Committee Palestine Star Tribune Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:25:51 +0000 Fight Back 4393 at http://www.fightbacknews.org MN protests corporate media silence on Israeli settler violence http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/mn-protests-corporate-media-silence-israeli-settler-violence <p>Minneapolis, MN - On Oct. 21, the Anti-War Committee here organized a picket of the <em>Star Tribune</em> newspaper to protest the local mainstream media for the lack of coverage of Israeli settler violence. Dozens picketed the state’s largest newspaper with signs calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and a banner denouncing a media blackout of Palestine.</p> <p>The Palestinian News Agency reported this weekend, “Sources said that a settler deliberately ran over Inas Khalil and Toleen Asfoor, both aged five, while walking home from kindergarten near the entrance of the village of Sinjil; a settler, coming from nearby settlements, drove toward the two girls and ran them over before fleeing the scene.” Khalil died of her injuries and Asfoor is still in a critical situation. This story has outraged Palestinians but has received little attention in the U.S.</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a spokesperson for the Anti-War Committee who traveled to the West Bank in 2002 to document Israeli settler violence explained, “This is one example of growing settler violence on the West Bank which has continued from this summer's murder of another Palestinian child, Mohammad Abu Khdeir , age 16, by Israeli settler violence in July. The world is outraged.”</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead continued, “Meanwhile the <em>Star Tribune</em> and other local mainstream media have covered the conflict in a way that excludes Palestinian voices. The <em>Star Tribune</em> didn't even bother to cover this child's murder. Instead on Monday the paper ran ‘Unable to come up with a new strategy, Abbas turns to more belligerent rhetoric’ which is a lopsided article which is very critical of Palestinian leaders, mocks Palestinian claims of genocide and doesn’t mention any Israeli military or settler violence.”</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead concluded, “The local Palestinian community is outraged and asked the Anti-War Committee to organize an action to draw attention to increasing settler violence and to the death of this particular five-year-old. As the mother of a five-year-old myself, this story has a particular emotional connection to me.”</p> <p>Protesters were also encouraged to participate in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression’s call in day to support Rasmea Odeh.</p> <p>The Minnesota Anti-War Committee’s next protests will be focused on the midterm elections and pressuring U.S. Senate candidates to stop supporting aid to Israel.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/23/mn-protests-corporate-media-silence-israeli-settler-violence#comments Antiwar Movement Anti-War Committee Palestine Star Tribune Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:25:51 +0000 Fight Back 4393 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Detroit court hearing weighs torture in case of Rasmea Odeh http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/22/detroit-court-hearing-weighs-torture-case-rasmea-odeh <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee.</em></p> <p><strong>In open court, torture expert says Rasmea Odeh suffers from PTSD, and defense slams Israeli military courts</strong></p> <p>October 21, 2014&nbsp;</p> <p>Detroit, MI – Dr. Mary Fabri testified in today’s evidentiary hearing in the case of Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh. Fabri, a world renowned clinical psychologist who specializes in working with survivors of war trauma and torture, told the court that Rasmea suffers from “chronic” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).</p> <p>The Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea almost exactly a year ago, on Oct. 22, 2013, and charged her with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, for allegedly answering questions falsely, in her 2004 application for U.S. citizenship, about whether she was ever arrested, convicted, or imprisoned. In 1969, she was sentenced by an Israeli military court that convicts 99.74% of Palestinians who come before it, and served ten years as a political prisoner. The conviction was based on a confession that was forced in the wake of vicious physical and sexual torture by the Israelis.</p> <p>Defense attorneys Michael Deutsch and Jim Fennerty contend that the PTSD prompted Rasmea to assume that the questions were addressing her time in the U.S. “I found her to be very credible,” Fabri testified. “As a torture survivor, you develop strategies to live everyday life. Those filters cause you to narrow your focus. She would look at [these questions] with a narrowed filter and a narrowed focus of timeframe.”</p> <p>When challenged by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Turkel about whether the filter can be controlled, Fabri added, “No, it’s not something you control. It’s automatic.”</p> <p>Fabri’s testimony is critical to Rasmea’s defense, which argues that the government has to prove “specific intent,” that she willfully lied on her immigration application for the purpose of gaining citizenship.</p> <p>A few weeks ago, Judge Drain issued a decision agreeing that the government must prove this, but prosecutors have filed a detailed motion asking that he reconsider. Today, Rasmea’s supporters were disappointed to hear that the judge agreed to look at the question again, as he asked the defense to file a written response.</p> <p>Other major motions were also discussed today, without decisions from Judge Drain. Deutsch argued that documents related to the unlawful Israeli conviction of Rasmea in 1969 should be excluded, since the conviction was based on a confession forced by torture and does not meet U.S. standards of justice.</p> <p>In addition, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Jebson wanted to enter the word “terrorism” into evidence to describe the alleged crime for which Rasmea was convicted in Palestine. Deutsch rebutted strongly that if the government was allowed to put “terrorism” into evidence, then it “opens up a whole can of worms.” He added that the defense would again then challenge everything about Israel’s military tribunals, including Rasmea’s arrest, torture, and conviction.</p> <p>Muhammad Sankari, one of the spokespeople for the Rasmea Defense Committee, says, “The prosecution wants to use the word to sway the jury against Rasmea, even though it has nothing at all to do with the alleged immigration fraud. They have hired Matthew Levitt, a discredited ‘terrorism expert,’ to testify against Rasmea. He is a director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has made a career out of fear mongering, scapegoating and attacking the Arab, Palestinian and Muslim communities. We are concerned that the prosecutors are doing the same.”</p> <p>Dozens of Rasmea’s supporters again filled the courtroom today, despite attempts by prosecutors to discourage their efforts. In response to a government motion that portrayed defense committee members as “mobs” and “hordes” that would intimidate a jury, Judge Drain issued several directives to restrict their conduct inside and outside the courtroom.</p> <p>Unwavering, supporters pledged to redouble their efforts. Several activists from Chicago and Minneapolis have moved to Detroit, where they are working full time to mobilize people to fill the courtroom every day of the trial, which begins Nov. 4 and is expected to last two to three weeks. One of the activists, Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, said, “We can’t be intimidated and won’t be deterred. This is a huge case for Rasmea and for Palestine and we are going to win.”</p> <p>Email <a href="mailto:justice4rasmea@uspcn.org">justice4rasmea@uspcn.org</a> to make your plans for the trial. Visit uspcn.org and stopfbi.net for more information, and to sign the petition demanding Drop the Charges Now!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/22/detroit-court-hearing-weighs-torture-case-rasmea-odeh#comments Palestine Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh torture Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Thu, 23 Oct 2014 02:02:28 +0000 Fight Back 4392 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Detroit court hearing weighs torture in case of Rasmea Odeh http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/22/detroit-court-hearing-weighs-torture-case-rasmea-odeh <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee.</em></p> <p><strong>In open court, torture expert says Rasmea Odeh suffers from PTSD, and defense slams Israeli military courts</strong></p> <p>October 21, 2014&nbsp;</p> <p>Detroit, MI – Dr. Mary Fabri testified in today’s evidentiary hearing in the case of Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh. Fabri, a world renowned clinical psychologist who specializes in working with survivors of war trauma and torture, told the court that Rasmea suffers from “chronic” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).</p> <p>The Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea almost exactly a year ago, on Oct. 22, 2013, and charged her with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, for allegedly answering questions falsely, in her 2004 application for U.S. citizenship, about whether she was ever arrested, convicted, or imprisoned. In 1969, she was sentenced by an Israeli military court that convicts 99.74% of Palestinians who come before it, and served ten years as a political prisoner. The conviction was based on a confession that was forced in the wake of vicious physical and sexual torture by the Israelis.</p> <p>Defense attorneys Michael Deutsch and Jim Fennerty contend that the PTSD prompted Rasmea to assume that the questions were addressing her time in the U.S. “I found her to be very credible,” Fabri testified. “As a torture survivor, you develop strategies to live everyday life. Those filters cause you to narrow your focus. She would look at [these questions] with a narrowed filter and a narrowed focus of timeframe.”</p> <p>When challenged by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Turkel about whether the filter can be controlled, Fabri added, “No, it’s not something you control. It’s automatic.”</p> <p>Fabri’s testimony is critical to Rasmea’s defense, which argues that the government has to prove “specific intent,” that she willfully lied on her immigration application for the purpose of gaining citizenship.</p> <p>A few weeks ago, Judge Drain issued a decision agreeing that the government must prove this, but prosecutors have filed a detailed motion asking that he reconsider. Today, Rasmea’s supporters were disappointed to hear that the judge agreed to look at the question again, as he asked the defense to file a written response.</p> <p>Other major motions were also discussed today, without decisions from Judge Drain. Deutsch argued that documents related to the unlawful Israeli conviction of Rasmea in 1969 should be excluded, since the conviction was based on a confession forced by torture and does not meet U.S. standards of justice.</p> <p>In addition, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Jebson wanted to enter the word “terrorism” into evidence to describe the alleged crime for which Rasmea was convicted in Palestine. Deutsch rebutted strongly that if the government was allowed to put “terrorism” into evidence, then it “opens up a whole can of worms.” He added that the defense would again then challenge everything about Israel’s military tribunals, including Rasmea’s arrest, torture, and conviction.</p> <p>Muhammad Sankari, one of the spokespeople for the Rasmea Defense Committee, says, “The prosecution wants to use the word to sway the jury against Rasmea, even though it has nothing at all to do with the alleged immigration fraud. They have hired Matthew Levitt, a discredited ‘terrorism expert,’ to testify against Rasmea. He is a director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has made a career out of fear mongering, scapegoating and attacking the Arab, Palestinian and Muslim communities. We are concerned that the prosecutors are doing the same.”</p> <p>Dozens of Rasmea’s supporters again filled the courtroom today, despite attempts by prosecutors to discourage their efforts. In response to a government motion that portrayed defense committee members as “mobs” and “hordes” that would intimidate a jury, Judge Drain issued several directives to restrict their conduct inside and outside the courtroom.</p> <p>Unwavering, supporters pledged to redouble their efforts. Several activists from Chicago and Minneapolis have moved to Detroit, where they are working full time to mobilize people to fill the courtroom every day of the trial, which begins Nov. 4 and is expected to last two to three weeks. One of the activists, Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, said, “We can’t be intimidated and won’t be deterred. This is a huge case for Rasmea and for Palestine and we are going to win.”</p> <p>Email <a href="mailto:justice4rasmea@uspcn.org">justice4rasmea@uspcn.org</a> to make your plans for the trial. Visit uspcn.org and stopfbi.net for more information, and to sign the petition demanding Drop the Charges Now!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/22/detroit-court-hearing-weighs-torture-case-rasmea-odeh#comments Palestine Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh torture Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Thu, 23 Oct 2014 02:02:28 +0000 Fight Back 4392 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Another FBI investigation of international solidarity activists http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/18/another-fbi-investigation-international-solidarity-activists <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Oct. 17 statement from Scott Williams. We remind all progressive activists to not speak with the FBI.</em></p> <p><strong>The FBI came looking for me today at my family’s house</strong></p> <p>Hello everyone,</p> <p>I am writing to let everyone know that the FBI visited my father today with the intention of questioning me about my trip to Syria as an international election observer for the 2014 Syrian Presidential Elections.</p> <p>In June 2014, I <a href="http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/06/05/syrian-people-elect-president-wide-margin-amid-insurgent-attacks/">visited Syria</a> with the objective of learning the truth about the situation there. This trip was entirely legal and well documented. I visited along with observers representing 32 countries, many of which were members of Parliament and representatives of local governments in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Uganda, and beyond. Since then, I have reported on my trip in public meetings at the United Nations, as well as in Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Albany, NY, and where I live in Philadelphia, PA. Since 2007, I have been a committed anti-war activist with many organizations, including Students for a Democratic Society, the International Action Center and several others. The FBI mentioned me as an activist with FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), of which I am one of the national coordinators.</p> <p>Why is the FBI coming after me? The FBI’s attempt to question me is not only an attack on me, it is an attack on anyone who chooses to travel the world and seek a perspective that is not represented by the corporate media. The US depends on misinformation and huge lies to perpetrate their crimes abroad. Yet the FBI has picked the wrong person, since I have strong friends and allies across the US who will stand with me in the fight against unjust government repression.</p> <p>This visit is a continuation of the FBI’s attack on anti-war and international solidarity activists. The FBI has been attempting to charge 24 anti-war and international solidarity activists with “material support of terrorism.” These activists have been targeted and face potential long term jail sentences. Please take a moment to look at the <a href="http://www.stopfbi.net/">StopFBI.net</a> site for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the organization that has fought to defend these 24, as well as Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. This is a strong example of the political fightback that is needed to defend activists from Government repression.</p> <p>These activists are not alone in their treatment. Since 2001, hundreds of Muslim men in the USA have been victims of entrapment, harassment, and false imprisonment simply for their religion.</p> <p>I strongly encourage all of my friends, co-workers, and family members take a look at the Center for Constitutional Rights’ booklet, entitled “<a href="http://www.ccrjustice.org/ifanagentknocks">If an Agent Knocks</a>,” for resources on what to do if the FBI comes to your door. Most importantly, you SHOULD NEVER AGREE TO SPEAK TO THE FBI WITHOUT A LAWYER present and really you should never speak with the FBI. You can simply say, “I do not wish to speak with you. I will have my lawyer contact you,’ and then immediately close the door.</p> <p>Most of us do not have a lawyer, but if you or a family member is contacted by the FBI, you should contact the National Lawyers Guild immediately as well as other activists who have been dealt with this government intimidation before.</p> <p>As soon as this happened, I called Sara Flounders, the co-director of the International Action Center, to discuss our strategy to stop this FBI intimidation. We decided to make a clear statement as public as possible, we will not be silent as you attempt to attack those who choose to speak out against unjust US foreign policy. In fact, we will use any attack on my freedom to continue to build a movement against government repression. It is in this spirit that I am writing you all today.</p> <p>As Reverend Martin Luther King Jr said, “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home.” With the US wars escalating in Syria, Iraq and beyond, we see that US war has only caused massive devastation for the people of the world, while bringing in huge profits to few. Meanwhile, billions of dollars are taken away from public education and jobs and the government has trampled our basic civil liberties. As the activists in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression have done, I will continue to fight unjust US wars on people across the world, as well as demanding full funding for human needs and an end to the aggressive destruction of our basic civil liberties.</p> <p>I am not certain what will happen next. While I do have legal help, I hope you all will also stand with me in case of any further attempt at government repression by the FBI.</p> <p>Another world is possible,</p> <p>Scott Williams</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/18/another-fbi-investigation-international-solidarity-activists#comments Antiwar Movement FBI FBI Repression Fight Imperialism Stand Together FIST Political Repression Syria Syria Sat, 18 Oct 2014 22:44:21 +0000 Fight Back 4391 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Oppressed nationality women workers on front lines of U.S. Ebola battle http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/oppressed-nationality-women-workers-front-lines-us-ebola-battle <p>San José, CA - on Oct. 14, a second nurse, Amber Vinson, was confirmed sick with the Ebola virus after helping to treat Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, who was originally turned away from a hospital after developing a high fever. Three days earlier, another nurse who also helped care for Duncan, Nina Pham, came down with Ebola and was hospitalized.</p> <p>It is no coincidence that Vinson, who is African American, and Pham, who is Asian American, are both oppressed nationality women. More and more, the health workers who actually care for people, such as registered nurses, vocational nurses and family doctors are oppressed nationality (African, Asian, and Latino Americans) and women, who are often immigrants.</p> <p>The fact that both of the cases of Ebola transmission in the U.S. were health care workers shows that the U.S. health care and public health system are woefully unprepared to fight the epidemic. The National Nurses United, based on reports from nurses at the Texas hospital that treated Duncan, listed five major shortcomings: that Duncan was not immediately isolated but instead made to wait with other patients, that nurses were given protective gear that left their necks exposed and told to “cover up their necks with tape,” that contaminated linen and waste was allowed to pile up, that nurses were not trained, and that they were not supported, but instead being blamed for contracting the disease.</p> <p>The Obama administration’s initial public response featured a representative of the Department of Homeland Security as if being an ‘anti-terrorism’ expert makes one knowledgeable about contagious disease. </p> <p>The Center for Disease Control’s and National Institute of Health saw their combined budgets cut by about $1 billion over the last four years because of the federal austerity drive known as sequestration. These cuts include money that was going to fund development of drugs to fight Ebola. At a local level, 36% of Texas public health offices had to lay off staff due to budget cuts since the 2008 economic crisis.</p> <p>For months, the corporate controlled media has been portraying the Ebola epidemic as an African problem, and claiming that the U.S. health system is number one in the world and thus the U.S. is not at risk. But Ebola is not just a medical problem; it is a public health problem. The combination of cutbacks in public health budgets, the fragmented nature of the public health system, the great inequality in access to health care with millions of people without health insurance despite the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the drive for profit that leads drug makers to concentrate treatment of chronic conditions like high blood pressure where patients generally need drugs for years, and neglect infectious diseases like Ebola, puts working people in the U.S. at risk.</p> <p>What the U.S. needs to do, first and foremost, is dramatically step up medical aid and medical staff to West Africa, to fight the Ebola epidemic at its center and at the same time learn how to better fight the disease in the U.S. Second, the U.S. needs to step up its overall public health spending and training and establish universal government medical care that can cover everyone in the U.S. Third, we need to reject the racist and xenophobic calls to ban travel from West Africa or putting people from Africa under suspicion. Last but not least, we need to bring our Ebola practices up to levels established by the World Health Organization, which has been on the ground in Africa and increase training not only at hospitals but also at local clinics where more and more people go for medical care, and do everything possible to support the nurses who are on the front lines of the fight.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/oppressed-nationality-women-workers-front-lines-us-ebola-battle#comments ebola ebola outbreak National Oppression nurse Oppressed Nationalities Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:20:26 +0000 Fight Back 4389 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Minneapolis protest tells Clinton, Franken, Dayton “No more U.S. wars!” http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/minneapolis-protest-tells-clinton-franken-dayton-no-more-us-wars <p>Minneapolis, MN - Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) gathered a crowd on Oct. 10 to protest a speech by former President Bill Clinton and his support for U.S. wars and military attacks in the Middle East. Protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!” </p> <p>The groups were also challenged Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Franken for their pro-war and pro-Israel stances. Chants at the rally called for Dayton, Franken, and Clinton to sever their ties with Israel and to stop promoting U.S. wars and occupations.</p> <p>Coleen Rowley of WAMM highlighted the fact that the U.S. entered its 13th continuous year of war in the Middle East. U.S. intervention in Iraq reaches back to 1990 and the first Gulf War under President George H. W. Bush. Then President Clinton pursued economic sanctions that killed over 500,000 thousands Iraqi children, according to the United Nations. Clinton also imposed a no-fly zone and militarily attacked Iraq. The U.S. is now again at war in Syria and Iraq. </p> <p>Rowley continued, “We have wars abroad, a war on drugs, a war on terror and a war on activists. But what we really need, if anything, is a war on the insane kind of thinking that allows policies like this to continue.”</p> <p>Members of Students for a Democratic Society, in Minneapolis for their ninth National Convention, joined the protest against former President Clinton and Governor Dayton. Students at the rally chanted, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/minneapolis-protest-tells-clinton-franken-dayton-no-more-us-wars#comments Antiwar Movement Bill Clinton Mark Dayton Students for a Democratic Society (U of MN) Women Against Military Madness Fri, 17 Oct 2014 23:12:22 +0000 Fight Back 4388 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Injustice in Detroit: Oct. 16 ruling paves way for repressive climate at Rasmea Odeh trial http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/injustice-detroit-oct-16-ruling-paves-way-repressive-climate-rasmea-odeh-trial <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee.</em></p> <p>On October 16, Judge Gershwin Drain made an important ruling in the case of Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh. At issue was a bizarre motion by the prosecution that characterized the efforts of the Rasmea Defense Committee as “jury tampering” and “almost certainly criminal.”</p> <p>While we are pleased that Judge Drain rejected the “Anonymous Jury” motion from the prosecution, we are still very concerned about the ruling to allow partial sequestration. The decision to have the jury meet at a secret location, and drive to the courthouse in a sealed van, creates a militarized and security state atmosphere that will cause apprehension amongst the jury members, and prompt them to believe that Rasmea is somehow dangerous. She is innocent, and this ruling does not guarantee her a fair trial.</p> <p>Rasmea has done nothing wrong and the trumped up immigration charges against her should be dropped. She is an iconic leader in the Palestinian community of Chicagoland, the U.S., and the world. Forty-five years ago, she was jailed and tortured by the Israeli authorities. That she is facing jail again, this time at the hands of Detroit’s U.S. Attorney, Barbara McQuade, is nothing short of shameful.</p> <p>The prosecution’s talk about “jury tampering” is an attempt at intimidation and an act of desperation. McQuade’s office is trying to criminalize activities protected by the first amendment, like protesting outside the courthouse and calling the Department of Justice to demand the charges against Rasmea be dropped.</p> <p>We urge all supporters of civil liberties and Rasmea Odeh to join us in Detroit for her next hearing October 21. Rasmea’s trial starts November 4. Let’s pack the courtroom!</p> <p><em><strong>Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh!</strong></em></p> <p>See <a href="http://www.uspcn.org">www.uspcn.org</a> and <a href="http://www.stopfbi.net">www.stopfbi.net</a> for more information</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/17/injustice-detroit-oct-16-ruling-paves-way-repressive-climate-rasmea-odeh-trial#comments Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh In-Justice System Fri, 17 Oct 2014 19:31:22 +0000 Fight Back 4387 at http://www.fightbacknews.org South Florida anti-war activists turned away by Senator Bill Nelson’s office http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/15/south-florida-anti-war-activists-turned-away-senator-bill-nelson-s-office <p>Coral Gables, FL - At noon, Oct. 14, ten anti-war activists gathered in downtown Coral Gables and marched to Senator Bill Nelson’s office demanding, “U.S. hands off Syria and Iraq!” Nelson is a pro-war Democrat and member of the Armed Services Committee. The protesters chanted, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”</p> <p>Upon finding Senator Nelson’s new office listed inside a bank building, the anti-war activists entered to speak with the senator. The activists were looking for Nelson when security ejected them from the lobby claiming it was private property. Security then called a cop to harass them some more. The anti-war activists continued to demand their right to petition and speak to the senator.</p> <p>Cece Lia, one of the organizers with People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) said, “Bill Nelson’s antics only strengthen our resolve. I believe he is shaking us off because he knows he is not being a progressive on this issue. We will continue to put pressure on him until we crack that nut!”</p> <p>POWIR is targeting Senator Nelson because he supports U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Lia declared, “POWIR demands no new wars in the Middle East! Hands off Syria and Iraq!”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/10/15/south-florida-anti-war-activists-turned-away-senator-bill-nelson-s-office#comments Antiwar Movement and Racism (POWIR) Imperialism Iraq People’s Opposition to War Senator Bill Nelson Syria Wed, 15 Oct 2014 23:26:35 +0000 Fight Back 4386 at http://www.fightbacknews.org