Why Torture When Torture Does Not Work? Orientalism, Anti-Blackness and the Persistence of White Terror

Originally posted on The Disorder Of Things:

A guest post from Melanie Richter-Montpetit, responding to the disclosure of the Senate Torture Report in December. Melanie is currently lecturer in international security at the University of Sussex, having recently gained her PhD from York University in Toronto. Her work on issues of subjectivity, belonging and political violence has also been published in Security Dialogueand the International Feminist Journal of Politics.


a land on which no slave can breathe.

- Frederick Douglass (1846)[i]

I had to leave; I needed to be in a place where I could breathe and not feel someone’s hand on my throat.

- James Baldwin (1977)[ii]

I can’t breathe.

- Eric Garner (2014)

 America Waterboards

No, bin Laden was not found because of CIA torture.[iii] In fact, the US Senate’s official investigation into the CIA’s post-9/11 Detention and Interrogation program concludes that torture yielded not a single documented…

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Interview with Linda Grant on the Struggle at Triangle Park in Oakland

From Fireworks

In September of 2014, the City of Oakland began to make attempts to displace and remove people in public plazas along San Pablo Ave in the wake of the WOSP (West Oakland Specific Plan) being passed. The clamp down by the police on the plazas is thus clearly part of “socially cleansing” the area, while UC Berkeley students mapped out the park and planned where the art would go for a “transition,” and city workers erected fences at 32nd and San Pablo (‘Triangle Park’) and near 21st and San Pablo, across from the Greyhound Station. Then, on December of 2014, as the Ferguson inspired Bay Area uprising was ranging, people armed with bolt-cutters took down the fences encircling the park to the cheers of those on the streets. Soon after, people gathered in the plaza on 32nd street to share food and supplies and clean up the area. Wanting to know more about the anti-gentrification struggle and how it connects to the battle against police and white supremacy, we caught up with long-time Oakland organizer and militant, Linda Grant.

Linda Grant, right middle.

FW: Why did people organize to distribute food, supplies, and also clean up the park at 34th and San Pablo several weekends ago after the fence around it was torn down?

Linda Grant: We decided than it was important to support the park because we know there is so much deep African history in that park going as far back as 40 years, some of my family members included. We know that its gentrification that is trying to do its deadly sweep of Oakland and we can’t sit back and watch our African sisters and brothers get booted out their park because of greed and fear. Also, we wanted to show the city that we care about our people as a whole. Cleaning the park and feeding the people is what needs to happen every day. Continue reading

Banksy Unveils New Graffiti Art Series In Gaza

From Street Art News

After teasing us with a single shot on Instagram earlier this morning (GMT time), Banksy finally revealed the location of the first piece which is Gaza in Palestine. Inspired by “The Thinker” by Rodin the first piece is entitled “Bomb Damage” and obviously with Banksy, the placement is just on point.
On top of that, the elusive British street artist took the opportunity to reveal four new pieces which you will be able to find around Gaza.
Two quotes were enclosed with the images of the new stenciled pieces:

Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday.  — Banksy

A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens. — Banksy

Just like in New York City back in 2013, one of the new piece is text based and reads: “If We Wash Our Hands Of The Conflict Between The Powerful And The Powerless We Side With The Powerful – We Don’t Remain Neutral”.
Finally, Banksy drops a strong statement with a 2 minute long video which document his recent trip to Palestine.
Hit the jump to discover more images on these powerful artworks plus the video and as usual keep your eyes peeled on StreetArtNews for the latest Banksy updates. Continue reading

Two-day uprising at immigrant prison was ‘predictable,’ reform advocates say

Two-day uprising at immigrant prison was ‘predictable,’ reform advocates say

Originally posted on Fusion:

Prison-reform advocates say they’re not at all surprised by an uprising at a Texas prison that has forced the relocation of some 2,800 detained immigrants.

Inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center, about 200 miles south of San Antonio,  started fires and had “kitchen knives and sharpened mops and brooms to be used as weapons,” Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence told local news station KGBT. The prison is “now uninhabitable due to damage caused by the inmate population,” read a statement released by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

It took two days for county and federal police agencies to control the protests, with authorities even resorting to tear gas.

The inmates were reportedly protesting medical care at the facility, which is part of a little-known network of 13 prisons designated for immigrants, many of whom reentered the United States after being deported.

All are run by private companies, a…

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544 days of detention, 390 days of hunger strike and counting.

By @Abrara_Rageh

Mohamed Soltan remains in prison, with hearings postponed one after the other. Mohamed Soltan, American Egyptian, held on trumped up charges in Egypt for “speaking to foreign media”, and “being part of a terrorist organization.”

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With losing over a third of his weight, and his health deteriorating to dangerous levels. Most notable are the viral leaked pictures of him confirming stories of his torture..

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Despite all of this, Soltan is the ultimate winner, he refuses to give in to the oppression the military government is placing upon him, and he represents the thousands of detainees unlawfully held during this crack down.

Soltan is seen by many as a hero. The fact that he has endured all hes been through, the fact that he continues to defy oppression, even if its costing him his life. The fact that he knows that the price for freedom is high, but he is willing to give it all for others to be free, he is the “real Superman”.

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Also worth mentioning, are the people tirelessly working around the clock for his freedom. The patience, the strength, the constant let downs, the good times, and a lot of bad times, Soltan’s team are keeping his story alive, and fighting for his freedom until he is free.

Most notable are Soltan’s family members, that along with all the pains of working on his campaign and dealing with the logistics, the separation from their brother and father, and having to work against time watching their brother slowly fade away… Their perseverance and commitment to never give up are what will free Mohamed. Along with the work they are putting in, they are also in solidarity with their brother in many ways. For example, Omar Soltan, Mohamed’s younger brother decided to go on hunger strike in solidarity with his brother. When Omar fell ill due to a condition he had, he had to get off the hungerstrike for health reasons. Omar did not give up there, instead, he decided to fast daily ( a Muslim fast from sunrise to sunset , with no food or water )until his brother is free. Omar has passed 150 days of fasting, and counting.

 

544 días de detención, 390 días de huelga de hambre y contando.

Mohamed Soltan sigue en prisión, con audiencias pospuestas una tras otra. Mohamed Soltan Egipcio-Americano, está retenido bajo cargos falsos en Egipto por “hablar con medios de comunicación extranjeros”, y “ser parte de una organización terrorista”.

Con la pérdida de más de un tercio de su peso, y deterioro de su salud a niveles peligrosos. Lo más notable son las imágenes virales filtradas que confirman las historias de su tortura ..

A pesar de todo esto, Soltan es el último ganador, se niega a ceder a la opresión que el gobierno militar está ejerciendo sobre él, y él representa a los miles de detenidos ilegalmente detenidos durante esta represión.

Soltan es visto por muchos como un héroe. El hecho de que él ha soportado todo por lo que ha pasado, el hecho de que sigue desafiando la opresión, incluso si el costo es su vida. El hecho de que él sabe que el precio de la libertad es alto, pero está dispuesto a darlo todo para que otros puedan ser libres, él es el “real superhombre”.

También cabe mencionar, que es de las personas que trabajan sin descanso durante todo el día por su libertad. La paciencia, la fuerza, el constante desánimo, los buenos tiempos, y un montón de malos tiempos, el equipo de Soltan están manteniendo su historia viva y luchando por su libertad hasta que él esté libre.

Los más notables son los miembros de su familia, que junto con todo el dolo de trabajar en su campaña y hacer frente a la logística, la separación de su hermano y su padre, y tener que trabajar contra el tiempo viendo a su hermano lentamente cómo se desvanece…Su perseverancia y compromiso con nunca darse por vencido es lo que va a liberar a Mohamed. Junto con el trabajo que están poniendo en ello, que están en solidaridad con su hermano de muchas maneras. Por ejemplo, Omar Soltan, el hermano menor de Mohamed decidió ponerse en huelga de hambre en solidaridad con su hermano. Cuando Omar cayó enfermo debido a una condición que tenía, tuvo que salir de la huelga de hambre por motivos de salud. Omar no se rindió allí, en cambio, decidió ayunar diariamente (un musulmán ayuna desde el amanecer hasta el atardecer, sin comida o agua) hasta que su hermano esté libre. Omar ha pasado 150 días de ayuno, y contando.

The Dragon and …

The Dragon and …

Originally posted on Free Russell Maroon Shoatz!:

The Dragon and the Hydra: A Historical Study of Organizational Methods

By Russell Maroon Shoatz

us social forum Maroon’s supporters at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit – 2010

“You have fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and people’s struggles to go through, not only to change the conditions but in order to change yourselves and make yourselves fit for political rule.” – Karl Marx addressing the IWMA, the body that would later become the First International.

Marx’s words hit close to home. I’ve been involved in such movements for forty years, a product – originally – of the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s, and subsequently being held as a political prisoner in the U.S. since 1972. Over that period, I’ve participated in a number of mass and party formations. It never fails to amaze me how much energy and time is dedicated towards establishing various groups’ claims to being the so-called…

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[Events] This Week the Bay Area is All About Black Liberation

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Schedule of Events: Tonight – Tuesday, Feb 17th – Tuesday Feb 24th

*Tuesday Feb 17, 7pm: “The Militarization of police, Islamophobia and the Black Community” with Dhoruba Bin-Wahad”:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.00.08 PMJoin us for a discussion with brother Dhoruba Bin-Wahad a former Black Panther Party & BLA member and political prisoner who has been on the frontlines of struggle for liberation since the 1960’s up to the present day. Also speaking will be Kalonji Jama Changa of the FTP Movement based in Atlanta. This event will be at the Oakland Islamic Community Center and open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike and we would request all to wear modest clothing inside the Masjid.

This event will also be on Huey P. Newton’s birthday and the same week as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of El Hajj Malik Shabazz and the legacy of both of these freedom fighters will be discussed along with the topic: “Militarization of police, Islamophobia and the Black Community” Continue reading