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Sunday, June 30, 2013
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Marx wrote in 18th Brumaire
"Proletarian revolutions, like those of the nineteenth century, constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts seem to throw down their opponents only so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite colossalness of their own goals – until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out"
With this in view Democracy and Class Struggle will be publishing critical appraisals of Proletarian Revolutions not over the last century but in the last decades.
We begin with this contribution by Harsh Thakor on People's War in Peru. This article represents the personal views of Harsh Thakor and are not the views of Democracy and Class Struggle.
Publishing materials of the Organization of the Workers of Afghanistan (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, principally Maoist) does not mean we agree with them, because we do not.
Democracy and Class Struggle's position is that until we hear directly from Chairman Gonzalo outside of prison we do not accept he is the author of the peace accords any more than he was author of letter supporting Nepalese neo-revisionist leadership here
Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!
On June 24 , the head of Peru's National Penitentiary Institute (INPE), Guadalupe Perez told Canal N referring to President Gonzalo, said:
"We can not guarantee the health of a person of 80 years, and that must be left clear."
Democracy and Class Struggle call for the immediate release of Chairman Gonzalo in view of such disturbing statements by the Peruvian regime.
We will publish other evaluations of People's War in Peru we judge helpful in furthering the spirit of Marx in the above quotation on Proletarian Revolutions.
33rd anniversary of peoples war in Peru
From 1980 to 1992 the PCP led the greatest peoples war after the Chinese Communist Party.
Whatever be the errors in theory and practice the peoples war was a lesson to all the proletarian revolutionaries worldwide.
No protracted War resembled the Chinese revolution led by Com Mao as the Sendero Luminoso and it will be written in red letters in the annals of history.
It was remarkable the way the P.C.P’s army could engulf the cities from the countryside and resist the enemy forces.
It’s achievement in that period was comparable to that of the Vietnamese against the Americans.
Imagine fighting when being on the border of a great military superpower and with support of no Socialist Country.
Com Gonzalo made some outstanding contributions towards developing MaoTse Tung’s military theories and combining them with the massline.
In the 1988 plenum he demonstrated his mastery of Maoist theory not only in the military line but also on the question of party building. Revolutionary forces demarcated this movement as the outstanding revolutionary war in the World.
Without hesition the author calls Com Gonzalo as the greatest Marxist leader after Comrade Mao.
He brilliantly innovated de-centralisation in the military strategy. Quoting Bhavin in June 2003 of the C.P.I(M.L.) Naxalbari “After the Chinese revolution led by CPC under the leadership of Mao, it is only in Peru and Nepal that we see the concrete application of strategic planning and that too in a creative manner.
Based on this understanding PCP Chairman Gonzalo established the axes, sub-axes, and the directions and lines of movement, so as to maintain the strategic direction of war.
This was done after a thorough study of history of social relations, wars, political, military and economic conditions, terrain etc.
Next on the basis of this National Military Plan was formulated, which was strategically centralised and tactically decentralised guided by the Maoist understanding of linking strategy and tactics, strategic operational plans were formulated.
Every committee below it formulated their own strategic operational plans based on the strategic operational plan followed by the entire party.
All military plans are based on thorough reconnaissance and careful study of the situation of the enemy and our forces, and are guided by the political strategy and the military strategy. (From PCP Base Document,p 43)
The strategic centralisation and tactical decentralisation gives full play to the lower committees to decide specific struggles to be carried out in their area, based on the guidelines.”
One of the most significant aspects of the peoples war was the preparatory stages initiated to build it.
From 1970 to 1979 no armed action was launched but the peoples preparatory schools were launched to prepare for the peoples War.
An Important contribution of Gonzalo is also the 2 line struggle to re-organize the party in 1965. With remarkable skill the PCP combined the armed struggle with the mass movements, forming people’s mass organizations.
The peoples Guerilla Army formed in 1983 had remarakable similarity with that of the Chinese Red Army in the 1930’s.
The village committees formed displayed great democratic functioning.
Some of the most heroic armed actions were launched implementing Com Mao’s theory of protracted Peoples War.
The PCP led P.G.A would comeback facing any setback like launching daylight in the most hazardous of storms .
Although Peru had several neo-colonial features one of the most remarkable aspects was the way the P.C.P carried out the peoples war in spite of such a high urban population the War actually gave credit to Mao’s theory of protracted peoples war in semi-colonial countries.
I recommend readers to read the article ‘Red Flag flying in Peru ‘ in the 1990 edition of a ‘World to win’
It brilliantly summarizes the military actions in ambushing military patrols and in creating revolutionary power in the countryside.
Peasant committees were formed in late 1982 where land was seized from landlords and distributed to poor peasants,relying on the massline.
From building peasant committees guerilla Zones were built into base areas.
A superb action was launched in 1982 on the prison of Ayacucho after which Edith Lagos was martyred.
In 1986 the peoples war entered the phase of building base areas.
New revolutionary political power was created.
Peoples Commitees were established taking into account the subjective forces.
The Commitees comprised 5 members-called commissioners.They were chosen by representatives of the village mass organzaitions of poor peasants, labourers,women,intellectuals,youth and children.
The secretary represented the party and the proletariat.The commissioner,also a party member was in charge of the defence of the political power,by the local organized people,into militias. Finally the commissioner of production and economy organizes the new production relations,supervising the dividing of the land.
He also organizes the production directly owned by the committee.The security commissioner was in charge of police functions The job of the committee was to creat a new politics, new economy ,new culture in the countryside, as part of preparing to be able to do so on a countrywide scale.
In 1983 the PCP had formed the Organizing Committee for a New Democratic Peoples Republic. In the cities ,with the situation different from the villages a Revolutionary Peoples Defence Movement was created “ with the goal of mobilizing the masses to resist and to raise their struggles to a higher level-peopes war .
Shanty town dwellers were mobilized .The Revolutionary Peoples Defence Movement called for armed shutdowns in Ayacucho lasting 3 days in 1988.
The armed shutdowns later rocked Lima and the capital was shaken in November 1989 and March 1990.
On the eve of the November strike,the traditional day of the dead’ about 3000 families of the prisoners of war marched into Lima in honour of the fallen heroes of the peoples war.
On 21st August another shutdown was launched following Fujimori’s price hikes with leafleting at markets, factories, schools. etc.
The documents of the PCP had remarkable similarities with those of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930’s.
Where the P.C.P showed weaknesses was their formulation of the Peoples Guerilla Army doing the mass work in the cities and weakness in developing urban work.
Pre-revolutionary China did not face the onslaught of neo-colonialism or multi-nationals like Peru which had stronger impact of Capitalism.
Com Mao had a more analytical understanding of work in the towns which is revealed in the writings of the C.C.P.on work in the yellow Unions.
There is also an overemphasis of Com Gonzalo on the military aspect in his writings as against the overall question of the mass line and the proletarian party.
A term like ‘militarization of the party’ was used which is erroneous to me as the party is not a military organization. He also stated that it is the stage of ‘principally Maoism’ which is an error as it underestimates Com Lenin’s definition of era of Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution.
A kind of Personality cult was formed around Com Gonzalo and the introduction of Gonzalo Thought is questionable.
Another error is stating that ‘boycott of parliamemtray elections’ is the strategic path of Revolution and that extra-parliamentary tactics can never be deployed.
This is counter to the views of Lenin or Mao. However the author assesses a lineage in Gonzalo thought although in the end its form was distorted from the mass line. In the period of Gonzalo itself there was an attempt to copy the Chinese party experience in toto.
There was also over –emphasis on bureaucrat-capitalism. Although there was a preparatory state and adequate base of revolutionary mass organization or movement was not created.
There was also an under-estiimation of the strength of the enemy forces.
After the arrest of Gonzalo the movement received a setback but the documents of the P.C.P. revealed there was virtually no setback to the peoples War Sympathisers upto 2001 felt that the War was winning. However morally there was great setback and conflict had seriously abrupted within the forces of the CORIM and the M.P.P. Strangely it was the MPP that supported negotiations.
In this work I am compiling some of the best writings and achievements of the P.C.P. as well as reflections of errors. In the end the peoples war tragically lost and the party got divided into factions and splinter groups.
Posted by nickglais on 6/29/2013 09:26:00 AM
Friday, June 28, 2013
Turkey: Turkish forces shoot Salih Bedirxan to death and others injured in Lice - Diyarbakir - 1 dead seven wounded
Soldiers opened fire on people assembled to protest against construction of new Guard post in Lice, Diyarbakir, Salih Bedirxan shot to death. Lice, is a Turkish district of Diyarbakır Province in Turkey. The population is 9,644 as of 2010. It is located 90 km from the capital, Diyarbakır.
Posted by nickglais on 6/28/2013 02:34:00 PM
|South Africa "Welcomes" Obama|
Emira Woods: Obama administration needs a new approach to trade and investment and should move away from policies that favor the extraction of African resources and the militarization of the continent
Posted by nickglais on 6/28/2013 01:30:00 PM
Most of the Snowden revelations concentrate on the United States but please note this comment of Snowden on the UK.
"It's not just a US problem. The UK has a huge dog in this fight," Snowden told the Guardian. "They [GCHQ] are worse than the US."
The above video is about a unit in the London Metropolitan Police and is just one part of the jigsaw of the monitoring and survelliance by the British State that is clearly out of control and outside any regulatory or supervisory ability of the working people of the UK.
For further information read :
Posted by nickglais on 6/28/2013 09:33:00 AM
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Bulgarians have been out on the streets for a week by the thousands but with very few exceptions, international media outlets have chosen not to cover the protests.
On the surface, the decision makes sense. People in Sofia took to the streets a week ago today after Delyan Peevski – a well known oligarch, media mogul and politician – was appointed chief of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security. The appointment was rushed through and before anybody even knew he was up for the position, Peevski was already giving interviews and sharing his vision for the office. Bulgarians wouldn’t have it. Organizing on Facebook and Twitter, people took to the streets and within 24 hours of the first protest, Prime Minister Oresharski had already retracted the appointment.
Why cover a protest that seems to be directed at a very specific person, who was appointed to a very specific position and, especially, after the appointment has already been retracted? This is not news. For a Western audience, the story was over before it even started.
Even though the protests were prompted by a very specific event, not much unlike the Taksim protests, they are really not about this one particular incident. They are about something so much bigger and so much more disturbing than that, that frankly, failing to cover it seems irresponsible at best… and, to an Eastern European, who is so used to questioning media objectivity in the first place,… it appears almost criminal. Who is telling YOU to keep YOUR mouth shut?!
With well documented ties to criminal businessmen and their political cronies, Peevski’s inexplicably easy ascend to power has come to epitomize a mode of governance in which political, economic and oftentimes criminal interest have developed such a symbiotic relationship, that both politicians and citizenry are unable to distinguish where one point of interest starts and another one begins.
Corruption is not a uniquely Bulgarian attribute but what is especially noteworthy about what’s happening in Bulgaria is how out of touch our political class has become as a result of it. Political and criminal interests have been so entangled and for so long that the people who are charged with running the country have a completely thwarted conception of what it means to govern.What Peevski appointment showcased so perfectly is that they are no longer capable of discerning which of their activities actually break the law. They have become so untouchable and so oblivious that they have started getting sloppy.
People are out on the streets not because some thug got too ambitious. People are out because their country is being taken away from them.
Posted by nickglais on 6/27/2013 11:33:00 AM
Nepal: CP Gajurel "Gaurav" Our Party has taken the decision to play active role to forge international centre
Comrade CP Gajurel 'Gaurav'
Vice Chairman, CPN-Maoist
1. Comrade ! six months have already been passed since the Seventh Congress of the Party was held successfully. How do you understand about some questions being raised by some party cadres such as-the party could not speed up according to the spirit of the Congress?
C.Gaurav: The Seventh Congress of our glorious party, Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has historic significance. We have reestablished and reorganized the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist after rebelling from the renegade and traitor neo-revisionist Prachanda-Baburam group. I think there are two reasons for the concern being raised by our cadres that the party was not being able to move speedily: one, the wound of being betrayed by the traitor Prachanda-Baburam group, who deceived by repeatedly preaching "revolution", has not been healed and the suspicion of whether the leadership will again repeat the same, is haunting them. Second, our cadres have high aspirations and they want revolution to be completed very soon. But the revolution does not move according to our subjective wish. The enemies of revolution are also working actively to smash it and everything does not move according to what we want. Eventually, the suspicions can be overcome and enthusiasm will prevail after the correctness of the line is proved in practice and victory is achieved in the class struggle.
2. Is it true that it has also happened due to vague political line, disorder in organization and confusion in policy, plan and programme?
C.Gaurav: I do not think that it is true. Our party line was basically the line which was endorsed by the National Convention held one year back. There were political trainings several times, interactions were held to the grassroot levels, there were debates and discussions during the National Convention, National Congress. Therefore, there is no room for line to be vague.
However, this is a complicated issue which is not easily understandable and thus I think that it should not be considered otherwise.
So far the issue of "disorder in organization, confusion in line and plan" is concerned; this tendency is rampant in present politics of Nepal. In other parties it is dominant and all other parties are either in constant state of split or they are converted barely in united front.
Since we are working on the same society, it is natural that we are not untouched with this problem. But it is true that we are less infected by this disease. Since our party is conscious and responsible to large extent, it is not in disorder and confusion.
3. Despite strong protest from the party, the puppet government of international reactionary powers being led by Khilraj Regmi has declared the date of election of second constituent assembly. How have you conceived this challenge? Is it not a declaration of war?
C.Gaurav: Yes, this puppet of foreign reactionaries and party less government led by Khilraj Regmi has declared the date of election the same day in which 33 parties alliance including our party, eight parties of other alliance and one other party requested to the government through the press conference " not to declare the date of election at any cost without a congenial atmosphere is prepared". It cannot be considered merely as a coincidence. It is only a part of a big design of big foreign powers. There is no doubt that it has been done in a planned way in order to push the Nepali society to the path of confrontation. It is a challenge for us no doubt. But it can be turned into a good opportunity to transform the Nepalese society provided we can face it properly. So, we have taken it both, opportunity and challenge.
4. How can we say that the movement in future will be more effective when the movements related to the united front and unity in action has not been so effective?
C.Gaurav: The activities of such movements are generally not so effective at the very beginning. It looks like a movement of party cadres at the beginning. It intensifies gradually and turns to be a mass movement. It can be clearly seen in the mass movements of Nepal in the past. It is simply true for all the mass movements of the world. So far the context of Nepal at the present moment is concerned; our party seemed to be alone at the beginning to conduct the mass movement. We forged a nine party alliance after that. Now it is 33-party alliance. In the general strike of the last 16 June 013, it was participation of 42-party alliance. Though it was not as effective as we desired, but it was definitely effective. Its effectiveness was realized even by our opponents and it has been established internationally. We should try to make it more effective in the future.
It is also a reality that this type of movement only cannot bring about the transformation of Nepalese society and accomplish the revolution. Resistance struggle is necessary for that. Both should be carried forward. Our party has adopted the policy of moving with two legs.
5. We do not find plan of rural class struggle especially peasant movement in your plan. In a condition when the urban movement has not been so effective, are you thinking to launch struggle in new way?
C.Gaurav: It has already been mentioned that only the urban mass movement cannot bring out huge revolutionary transformation. The significance of peasant movement is self-evident in our country which is still semi-feudal.
Taking into account of the character of the present movement, the rural class struggle has been manifested into resistance struggle. The remaining task of the revolution can be accomplished by coordinating these two struggles in proper way. We have not considered anything different from this.
6. The forthcoming movement is not only against Regmi government, it is basically a movement against U S imperialism and Indian expansionism. In such a situation, do you not think it necessary to create peoples' support at the international level? What policy the party has adopted regarding this?
C.Gaurav: This is an era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Therefore, any revolutionary movement taking place in any country endures the interference of imperialism and expansionism and thus it is anti-imperialist and anti-expansionist movement side by side. The Regmi government is a puppet government forged by the foreign reactionaries to fulfill their interest not formed at its own strength and to fulfill the necessity of Nepal. Therefore, the anti-Regmi government movement is also anti-imperialist and anti-expansionist movement. It is quite necessary to forge international opinion in its support. We are quite conscious about it and are trying hard on it.
7. There was a decision of the Party Congress to forge anti-imperialist movement, what is the progress in this regard?
C.Gaurav: Imperialism is a world system and it is major obstacle for the revolution of any country. Lenin has said, "Imperialism is war". Imperialism is enemy of all oppressed people and oppressed countries of the world as well. Oppressed people and the nations cannot get independence without fighting against imperialism. Yes, it is true that the National Congress of our Party has taken decision to forge anti-imperialist united front. In this regard, our party has made two fold efforts: One, trying to form an anti-imperialist front under our own initiative. Two, working jointly with the anti-imperialist united front already formed by progressive and leftist forces. Significant work could not have been done in this regard. However, basis of unity is being achieved in a slow pace.
8. It seems that you are giving more emphasis to forge unity with the "communist" parties in the government rather than that with the parties waging peoples' war and those fighting against imperialist puppet governments. Does it not create problem in ideological polarization?
C.Gaurav: As a genuine communist party we will continue to carry on the struggle for communism. Most important task in this regard is to make revolution in one's own country. It is necessary to establish and develop relationship with different types of forces at different levels. Firstly, to establish fraternal relationship with genuine communist parties, the parties which uphold Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, are sincere to this cause and strive to implement in the specific condition of their country. Secondly, friendly relationships with the parties, which uphold Marxism-Leninism, are anti-imperialist, basically leftist. Thirdly, diplomatic relationship with the progressive governments. Fourthly, temporary relationship with the governments in course of utilizing the contradictions among different types of governments. What relations we have mentioned above is on the basis of priority.
When making revolution is not the prime agenda of a communist party in the given country and the main task of the party is to propagate its line; in that situation to develop relation with the forces in first and second category would be enough. In that situation, major task of the party becomes to expose all wrong elements and wrong tendencies vigorously. In such situation the relation of third and fourth category is neither possible nor necessary. But, where the completion of revolution is at the immediate agenda, communist party is leading the revolution, the relations of all categories are necessary and possible. Today, the agenda of revolution in Nepal is immediate agenda of the party to be fulfilled. Therefore, it is necessary for us to pay attention on all types of relations. While establishing diplomatic relationship with governments, we should be very careful in not to spoil the fraternal and friendly relationship with communist parties and definitely we follow this policy resolutely. But it is a weakness to become hesitant to establish other relations. Also it is not correct to create suspicion in this regard.
9. At present, the people of Turkey are waging life and death struggle and justice loving people of the world and cadres are taking streets to express solidarity. Is it not necessary for us to come forward in support of the struggling people of Turkey and elsewhere?
C.Gaurav: Turkey is working as an outpost of US imperialism since many years ago. Turkish people are forbidden with all rights. Army is playing major role in all sectors. The struggle which is going on in Turkey against a kind of military rule is important. It deserves support from all justice loving people of the world. We strongly support the democratic movement of Turkey and all pro people and anti-imperialist movements at any part of the globe.
10. Is it not necessary for the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist which has led the Peoples' war and has a strong mass base, to take initiative in strengthening the 'Revolutionary Internationalist Movement' (RIM) by uniting RIM parties and new Maoist forces? Will you clarify, what are the problems-- ideology, organization or will power to give impetus to the RIM?
C.Gaurav: Our party is one of the founding parties of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). We have been playing significant role in the development of RIM as a capacity of a member party or as a member of Committee of RIM, right from its formation. RIM has been playing important role in developing the International Communist Movement (ICM) without pause since the last 23 years. But, unfortunately the important centre of the Maoist forces of the world has become defunct and passive since last few years. There are major two reasons for this: Firstly, the main leadership, esp Prachand-Baburam turning to be traitors and renegades to spoil the revolution by taking neo-revisionist line in the then Communist Party of Nepal(Maoist) which was one of the major parties of the CORIM. Secondly, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA another major party of CORIM, trying to impose "New synthesis of Bob Avakian" as a guiding line of the RIM. First obstacle has been removed after we rebelled with the traitors and renegades and reorganized the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist. But the other problem still remains.
The other initiative of forming another centre of Maoist at the international level, International Conference of the Marxist-Leninist Parties(ICML), at the initiative of Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Communist Party of Philippines, has also become defunct and passive. In the given situation, it has become a major responsibility of all Maoist parties to move forward to forge a unified centre of Maoists by uniting genuine Maoist parties of the world. Our party has taken decision to play active role to forge the international centre. We have already started our initiative in this regard. It is very important but complicated task. It takes time to get substantive result.
11. What message do you like to convey to hosts of well-wishers and sympathisers of CPN-Maoist at home and abroad, who like to see the party to move enthusiastically and with vigour to fulfill the remaining task of revolution?
C. Gaurav: It is true that hosts of our sympathisers and well-wishers were disappointed and had become desperate when Prachnda-Baburam neo-revisionist group had betrayed the revolution. They are becoming enthusiastic and hopeful after we rebelled from the renegade group and reorganized our party, Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist. It is very positive development. At this moment we can say that we will remain firm to achieve the goal for which Maoist party was formed. We will move forward to achieve the remaining task of the revolution taking into consideration of the latest developments.
At present the struggle for change has been concentrated at the point of so called "election". We have put forward concrete demands of: withdrawal of "25 points announcement of removing difficulties", withdrawal of "11 point agreements", removal of Khilraj led party less government. All decisions from round table meeting of political parties. If the demands are not fulfilled there is no other option except to actively boycott the "election" and completely spoil it. We request all of our sympathisers and well-wishers at home and abroad to support party strongly in the coming days.
June 25, 2013
Source : Peoples Voice - Issue 2
Posted by nickglais on 6/27/2013 10:24:00 AM
Philippines : Professor Jose Maria Sison comments on Padilla statements to the media about Peace Negotiations
By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON,
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
As requested by Sonny Mallari,
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22 June 2013
Sonny Mallari (SM): In view of the recent statements of Alex Padilla in Rappler, are the peace talks already dead? Please comment on his statements.
Jose Maria Sison (JMS): It is Alex Padilla who says that the peace talks are dead. This may be true, especially during the Aquino regime, which has the illusion that it can destroy the revolutionary movement with the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan (Aquino government's counter-insurgency program). But I believe that peace advocates will increasingly call for peace negotiations because of the worsening economic and social crisis, the growing strength of the revolutionary movement, and the intensification of the civil war.
Rappler (Rap): Padilla, a former activist himself who knew Sison and the other National Democratic Front of the Philippines panel members, said he started the talks believing he was the right man for the job. But he said he later realized it was a futile effort.
JMS: Louie Jalandoni and I were glad that Alex Padilla was appointed GPH (government of the Republic of the Philippines) Negotiating Panel Chairman at the start. We thought that having come from BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, New Patriotic Alliance) he would understand the viewpoint of the NDFP and would know how to arrive at the middle ground, like Silvestre Bello III who had also come from BAYAN. Then, when the peace negotiations deteriorated, we thought that Padilla was following orders from his superiors. But now, he himself expresses his own view that the peace negotiations are a futile effort and, of course, he blames others for his frustrations.
Rap: “After assessing the behavior or the process itself, I was convinced that it was a process that would never end. That it was a process actually intended not for peace but to continue the war to get concessions in the meantime,” Padilla said.
JMS: The Aquino regime, its peace advisor Deles and chief negotiator Padilla have ensured that there are no more peace negotiations during the term of the regime because of the following:
- Since the first formal talks in February 2011, they have vilified The Hague Joint Declaration as a "document of perpetual division" and have insulted the NDFP and previous regimes for making more than ten agreements, which include the now world famous Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
- They have always misrepresented the NDFP demand for GRP or GPH compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as preconditioning the negotiations, and have consistently refused to release under the JASIG any JASIG-protected political prisoner.
- They have insisted that the Aquino regime is not bound by any GRP agreement with the NDFP, and in effect it is useless to negotiate and make agreements with the GPH.
- They always demand a kind of indefinite ceasefire that can allow the GPH to make unnecessary the continuance of peace negotiations on the substantive agenda.
- They are the ones who have finally terminated the peace negotiations since April 2013 and have been so arrogant as not to give any formal notice of termination to the NDFP in accordance with the JASIG.
“After February, it was a complete impasse because Joma Sison wanted us to first terminate the conditional cash transfer, to finish the Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to stop all the PAMANA efforts, to give land to 5 million landless farmers, etcetera, before we can even move on to that next level,” Padilla said.
The conditional cash transfer is the government's flagship program to fight poverty, while Oplan Bayanihan is the military's counter-insurgency campaign that's focused on building communities.
JMS: The Amsterdam meeting of February 2013 was intended to pave the way for the so-called first historic meeting in Hanoi between Aquino as GRP president and myself as CPP Founding Chairman.
This was supposed to be similar to the earlier Aquino-Murad meeting in Tokyo in August 2011. Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas had proposed the Aquino-Sison meeting since November 2012 and became the subject of several meetings, with the participation of Royal Norwegian Government special envoy Ture Lundh, before February 2013.
At the Amsterdam meeting of February 2013, it was enough for the GPH and NDFP delegations to draft the communique for the projected Hanoi meeting. But the GPH delegation ignored the NDFP draft communique and insisted on limiting the discussion to the GPH draft declaration for "indefinite unilateral simultaneous ceasefires" and to the NDFP initial draft general declaration.
The NDFP delegation immediately pointed out that the GPH demand for "indefinite unilateral simultaneous ceasefires" was somewhat confused and baseless and was diametrically opposed to the NDFP proposal for truce and alliance.
The NDFP delegation declared that the most the Amsterdam meeting could accomplish in two or three days was to agree on the draft communique for the Hanoi meeting and start discussing inputs for the general declaration for truce and alliance which would entail several months of negotiations after the Hanoi meeting.
To demonstrate to the GPH delegation how much more work was to be done in forging a general declaration on truce and alliance (or national unity and a just peace), the NDFP delegation showed to the GPH delegation a more developed NDFP draft of the aforesaid declaration. At this point, the GPH delegation did not want the meeting to go any further and declared that it would have to go back to its principal first.
Rap: “Definitely we don't want to return to the so-called regular track and as far as government is concerned they have killed the special track. So that's where we are right now,” Padilla said.
JMS: The GPH cannot supplant the regular track of the peace negotiations with the special track, without violating The Hague Joint Declaration. The regular track is the sine qua non of the special track. The special track was merely a supplement to the regular track. It was meant to deal with the recurrent impertinent demands of the GRP or GPH for an indefinite ceasefire, which was properly an issue for consideration under the fourth and final item in the substantive agenda. The regular track can go on even without the special track.
The NDFP has always made it clear since 2005 that it is willing to have a truce and alliance with the Manila government anytime on the basis of a general declaration of common intent to realise full national independence, democracy, economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform and social justice. This offer was reiterated to the Aquino regime in February 2011.
The NDFP made it clear that the offer can be realized on a special track, while the regular track of negotiations continues in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration.
Rap: “The fact of the matter is, the NDFP is an organization of around 17 revolutionary organizations. All of these revolutionary organizations are headed by communists. So the question now is, should we be talking to the NDFP that is merely their political front? Maybe we should be talking to the communists -- the CPP. It is actually the Communist Party of the Philippines which actually directs and steers the movement across,” Padilla said.
JMS: The NDFP Negotiating Panel is duly authorized by the CPP, NPA and NDFP to negotiate with the GRP or GPH counterpart at the national level. It has been the negotiating entity on behalf of the CPP, NPA and NDFP since even the time of the Cory Aquino regime.
Rap: Padilla is frustrated and admitted he wants out of the peace talks.
JMS: It must really be frustrating to Padilla that the NDFP Negotiating Panel has continued to exist against his wish.
Rap: “Actually my feeling now is that it was even practically arrogant on the part of government and the NDFP to think that we could ever conclude an agreement... Because we were trying to conclude an agreement that would resolve all conflicts -- the roots of conflict, so to speak, you're really talking of Utopia,” he added.
JMS: Alex Padilla himself thinks he is not fit for peace negotiations with the NDFP because he believes that achieving a just peace by addressing the roots of the armed conflict is utopian. He appears to be obsessed with seeking the capitulation and pacification of the CPP, NPA and the NDFP.
These revolutionary forces cannot make any peace agreement with any regime that cannot meet the demands of the Filipino people for full national independence, democracy, economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform, social justice and international solidarity for peace against imperialism and war.
Rap: This is so unlike the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he noted.
“The MILF is an equally armed group, very strong, but they themselves believe that the peace process is part of the modes of trying to achieve just peace. The communists don't,” he explained.
“They have been very very consistent that the peace process is but a means to an end and that end is to overthrow government and establish a national democratic state leading to a communist state eventually,” Padilla said.
JMS: The NDFP and MILF have their respective outlooks, methodology and programs of political action. The NDFP have the best wishes for the MILF in trying to achieve a just and honorable peace for the benefit of the Moro people through peace negotiations.
But we have observed lately that the Aquino regime is allowing Deles and the military to upset the GPH-MILF peace negotiations.
The NDFP will continue to support the MILF if and when it decides to resume the armed struggle because the GPH does not comply with agreements. The MILF has been worried publicly by GPH turning its back on crucial points in their framework agreement. It still remains to be seen whether the Aquino regime can really make peace with the MILF.
Rap: Padilla maintained that a “new approach” is needed. “It should be addressed by good governance, practically modernization, better roads, communications,” he said.
JMS: The “new approach” of the US-directed Aquino regime is above all the combat, intelligence and psywar operations under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan. The dole-out schemes and graft-ridden and delayed public works projects are futile attempts at psychological warfare. In the absence of peace negotiations, the revolutionary forces and broad masses of the people expect from the Aquino regime more brutal campaigns of military suppression and more deception through false claims of good governance, peace and development.
Rap: But Padilla said he fears that the CPP’s next generation of leaders would become more violent.
“After the leadership of Joma Sison, Fidel Agcaoili... I think the are in their 40s... There is a constant fear on my part that the next echelon of leaders might not even be receptive to discussion or negotiations. Kung tatawagin ko -- utak pulbura (war freak), ” he said.
JMS: Padilla is correct in anticipating more resistance from the revolutionary forces and their leaders. If there are no more peace negotiations because the GPH does not want them, then indeed the revolutionary leadership and the masses can concentrate on advancing the people's war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate.
The worsening crisis of global capitalism and the domestic ruling system of the big compradors and landlords like Aquino is inflicting terrible suffering on the people and inciting them to fight for their national and social liberation. The New People's Army has the critical mass to intensify and expand its tactical armed offensives. At the same time, the organs of political power, the mass organizations, and the local branches of the CPP are growing fast.
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
By Voltaire Tupaz
Rappler, 22 June 2013
Voltaire Tupaz (VT): Good morning, Ka Joma. This is Voltaire Tupaz, a journalist from Rappler.com - a social news network in the Philippines. May I ask you a few questions? Rappler recently interviewed head government negotiator Alexander Padilla. He said you want peace but not the Communist Party of the Philippines leadership in the Philippines. Your comment, please?
Jose Maria Sison (JMS): The Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines are desirous of a just peace and want the peace negotiations to progress in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration as framework agreement and with all subsequent agreements.
They take the position that in principle the peace negotiations are still going on in the absence of any side giving a formal notice of termination to the other side. However, it is the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) side that has announced repeatedly to the press since April that is has terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP.
The CPP leadership has recently reiterated its trust in and support for the NDFP Negotiating Panel in which Luis Jalandoni is the Chairperson and to which I am the Chief Political Consultant. It is presumptuous for anyone in the GPH to determine the relationship of the CPP leadership in the Philippines with the NDFP Negotiating Panel.
VT: Padilla also thinks that the peace process would never end, "that it was a process actually intended not for peace but to continue the war to get concessions." At least on social media, people tend to share the same sentiment. How do you address this perception coming from a generation which is not familiar with the complexity of the peace talks?
JMS: It is in fact the GPH that does not want the peace negotiations to continue. The NDFP cannot compel the GPH to go back to the negotiating panel. If the GPH merely wants war under its US-designed Oplan Bayanihan (GPH's counter-insurgency program), the revolutionary forces and people have no choice but to defend themselves and defeat their enemy.
VT: Perhaps the strongest reactions we gathered were related to the use of landmines -- recent incidents that killed cops and soldiers. In the same way that the Party abandoned the use of boobytraps because it was counterproductive, do you feel that it's time to assess whether the NPA should continue using command-detonated landmines? There had been reports of civilian casualties, or at the very least, they expose noncombatants to harm (i.e., if detonated along highways, roads)
JMS: The use of command-detonated land mines by the NPA does not violate the Ottawa Treaty and its protocol. In this regard, the NDFP is well advised by an International Legal Advisory Team composed of prominent lawyers who are experts in international law. You complain against command-detonated land mines. But you do not complain against aerial bombs and artillery fire which are monopolized by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and indiscriminately kill people.
VT: The conflict is also a battle for hearts and minds. The story of the mother of one of the landmine casualties is circulating as a human interest narrative: Evelyn Pinated, mother of the slain Special Action Force (SAF) vehicle driver PO2 Elmark Rodney Pinated said the “devils” took her son away, and she wants them crushed. “The (NPA) must stop these senseless killings. They are killing those who are serving our people,” Elmark had married his girlfriend Grace only last 8 October. She last talked to him over the celphone on 20 May, her birthday, when he greeted her. What's your message to the grieving women?
JMS: My message to any real or possible complainant against the NPA is to present the complaint to the NDFP section of the Joint Monitoring Committee (Junder the Comprehensive Agreement of Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) or to approach directly the people's democratic government, particularly the people's prosecutors and the people's courts.
The officers and men of the AFP, Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary forces commit so many crimes against the people according to so many victims and families, the NDFP section of the JMC, and domestic and international human rights organizations. You should also confront the GPH about these crimes committed by its armed personnel.
VT: So does it really mean the end of the peace talks under the Aquino government? What will it take for you to talk to them again for the sake of peace?
JMS: The absence of a formal notice of termination from the GPH to the NDFP can mean either one of two things: GPH arrogance and contempt for the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) or GPH allowing itself space to resume formal talks according to its own later judgment. The NDFP will be receptive to any signal or approach of the GPH or Aquino regime for resuming the formal talks. The NDFP expects from the GPH nothing more than compliance with existing agreements and the desire to move forward with the negotiations.
VT: Padilla said "there is a constant fear on my part that the next echelon of leaders might not even be receptive to discussion or negotiations. Kung tatawagin ko — utak pulbura." What do you feel about his pessimism?
JMS: The GPH or the Aquino regime has only itself to blame if it offers no other possibility than the continuance and intensification of the civil war. It should see that the way is still available for peace negotiations.
VT: The special report is scheduled to be published today, Sunday. BTW, one of our interviewees, Judge Sol Santos Jr of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines suggested a possible confidence-building step to resuming talks: a moratorium or a calibrated reduction on the NPA use of command-detonated landmines might be reciprocated by something just as significant (say a moratorium or calibrated reduction on the AFP use of artillery fire and/or air strikes) on the GPH side (i.e., agreement on at least a relatively “small matter” of weapons use). Q: 1) Is this even feasible? ; 2) Would CPP/NPA/NDF be open to study/explore the proposal?
JMS: The NDFP has long proposed to the GRP since 2005 to have an agreement of truce and alliance on the basis of a general declaration of common intent to realize full independence, democracy, and economic development through national industrialization and land reform. Such agreement can be made while the peace negotiations continue to take up the remaining three items in the substantive agenda.
If there is such an agreement, the armed conflict ceases and there is no more need for land mines, aerial bombs and artillery fire or any other kind of weapon. While there is still armed conflict, the NPA needs land mines to deter the AFP and PNP from easily encroaching on the territory of the people's democratic government. Land mines are a poor man's weapon. Aerial bombing and artillery fire are weapons of those who oppress the people.
Soliman Santos himself has written a number of times that command-detonated land mines are not prohibited by the Ottawa Treaty on land mines. The CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) does not prohibit the same. And the people's democratic government (PDG) and its revolutionary forces are not bound by GPH laws.
Posted by nickglais on 6/27/2013 09:11:00 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Excessive violence used by Turkish police during protests, say Council of Europe: On this 26th Day of June Democracy and Class Struggle call for an investigation of Turkish Government Torture of peaceful protestors
Even the European Council friends of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unable to defend Turkish Government violence and call it excessive.
See Also Amnesty International Report from beginning of June condemning Turkish Government violence here :
On this United Nations International Day against Torture we call for an investigation of those tortured by Turkish Police in the current Turkish Government crackdown by the international community.
Posted by nickglais on 6/26/2013 11:37:00 AM
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Obama's Lies and Kevin Rashid Johnson's Truth : 26th June 2013 : United Nations International Day Against Torture
"U.S. President Barack Obama said that “[t]orture violates United States and international law as well as human dignity. [It] is contrary to the founding documents of our country, and the fundamental values of our people… The United States will continue to cooperate with governments and civil society organizations throughout the international community in the fight to end torture.” The U.S. ratified the UN anti-torture Convention in 1994. Today, we join people and nations around the world in honoring the victims of torture, paying tribute to all those who are courageously working to eradicate these inhuman practices from our world, and reaffirming our joint commitment to the Convention’s tenets".
Kevin Rashid' Johnson's* Truth
Most people don’t quite relate US prisons to government-sponsored torture. We can thank the mainstream corporate media and politicians for this. Since the 1960s and 1970s they’ve persistently projected the false image of US prisons as resorts where criminal predators eat chips, lift weights, and watch videos all day, much like the images given of slavery as an experience that Black folks actually enjoyed. These false images are sustainable because the real world of prisons is a hidden one, concealed behind walls and razor wire, inaccessible to the public.
There’s also a connection between prison and slavery. The plantation system actually merged with the penitentiary system after the Civil War and the torture and savagery, especially beatings, remained a mainstay. In fact at the end of the Civil War slavery was for the first time authorized by the US constitution in the 13th amendment, which authorized the government to treat convicts as slaves. So the newly “freed” Blacks were simply targeted with criminal prosecutions and then placed right back into bondage to serve as contract laborers, on chain gangs, and on prison plantations. Today, in a mad rush to find cheap labor, corporate Amerika looks to prisons to serve as a source of free labor pools. But let’s look at torture.
Brutality and torture are the common features of US prisons. Nothing coming out of Guantánamo Bay or Abu Ghraib has matched the images that showed the savage torture of prisoners following the Attica uprising in 1971. And what about California’s Corcoran state prison where guards set up fights between prisoners, gambled on the outcomes and then shot the prisoners for fighting? Some 43 were shot and 8 killed just between 1989 and 1994. Others were shot and killed with no justification. Then there’s the decades-long torture of some 135 New Afrikan (Black) males inside “Area 2” of Chicago’s jail. The exposure of the false confessions resulting from this torture led to the removal of 164 men from Illinois’s death row and, in four cases, the granting of full pardons. These are documented situations.
As during slavery, sexual abuse by officials in US prisons is prevalent.1 There has long been a nationwide scandal surrounding women prisoners being raped by male guards.2 Then there’s the sexual humiliation attendant to abusive strip searches, which are often accompanied by degrading verbal abuse. All this is exacerbated by complete denial of voluntary heterosexual relations. And there’s a genocidal component to this and to the vast targeting of virile-aged youth of color for lengthy imprisonments where they cease to be able to reproduce –- and in an environment where HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis abound while preventive aid is nonexistent and medical care substandard to nonexistent.
But there’s a higher grade of torture. After World War II western governments established an aversion to physical torture, which they embodied in the charter and treaties of their newly established United Nations. This was brought on by the embarrassment and guilt of the Allied Western nations who had stood by passively while the German Nazis tortured and conducted gruesome experiments on Jews and other Germans (disabled people, dissidents) as well as Slavs, Poles, and Gypsies.3 On account of this, the newly established CIA became very interested in developing less physically evident methods of mentally breaking and brainwashing enemies. As a result, the CIA and the Defense Department funded several studies with independent, Harvard University, National Institute of Mental Health, and other psychiatrists and psychologists.
These studies led to breakthrough developments in the art of torture that focused primarily on psychological methods and produced revolutionary effects with a consistency never seen before under physical torture. What the CIA learned was that states of mental disorder, collapse, capitulation, and psychosis could be produced in a victim by use of seemingly benign and harmless methods, namely, sensory deprivation and “self-inflicted pain,” coupled with attacks on cultural sensitivities and personal phobias.4
Sensory deprivation alone proved effective against and torturously traumatic to its victims. As CIA researcher Dr. Albert Biderman discovered, “the effect of isolation on the brain function of the prisoner is much like that which occurs if he is beaten, starved, or deprived of sleep.”5 He found that normal brain function was severely impaired if a person is deprived of the complex sensory stimulation of normal social environments. In fact, the CIA’s Harvard psychiatrists found that “sensory deprivation can produce major mental and behavioral changes in man,” and produces psychosis more naturally and consistently than drugs and physical torture. The equally effective opposite extreme to sensory deprivation is sensory overload, where the victim is bombarded with loud noises, bright light, noxious odors, etc.
The CIA embodied the findings of these and other studies in its 1963 torture manual “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation,” where it confirmed that:
1. the deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
2. the stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
3. the subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli; and
4. some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations, and other pathological effects.
The second feature of mental torture the CIA developed was “self-inflicted pain,” where the victim is forced to remain in physically and/or mentally painful positions and conditions (called “stress positions”), which he is told will end upon his cooperation with his captors. This causes the victim to feel he is the cause of his own pain, thus making him the master of his fate. So long as he resists, he will suffer, but as soon as he cooperates his sufferings will instantly stop.
The last two methods, which were developed later, target the victim’s cultural sensitivities and personal phobias: for example, destroying, degrading, or flushing a Muslim detainee’s Qur’an, forcing him to commit acts that violate his religion like engaging in or simulating homosexual acts, masturbating in front of “strange” women, also exposing him to things he fears like dogs, etc.
These four techniques were apparent in the photographic images coming out of US military prisons at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Prisoners hooded, goggled, ear-muffed, and gloved to shut out sensory stimulation; having their senses assaulted with loud noises and music; being forced to remain in painful positions (kneeling or standing at length, forced to keep arms outstretched), etc. Those who saw some of the images of such techniques saw nothing alarming because there was no evidence of physically damaging brutality. However, all who have made expert analyses comparing psychological and physical torture have unanimously found psychological torture the worse of the two, because it causes more severe mental damage, is hard to prove, and has longer-lasting effects.
But what many who saw those images coming out of the US military prisons also did not recognize was that they were seeing a stark reflection of conditions and practices occurring every day inside prisons across Amerika.
The Amerikan reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be “reformed” through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation – sensory deprivation -– began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation in isolation caused mental deterioration and psychosis.6 Leading writers like Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin upon touring the penitentiary spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed, “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”7 The US Supreme court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement mentally destructive and outlawed it. However, the practice along with physical brutality persisted inside the hidden confines of US prisons.
The brutalities of the US prison system became public knowledge in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the activism and literature of a broad prison movement and eloquent writings like those of George L. Jackson, Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party. Prisoners’ views were being widely published and the Attica uprising, sparked by inhumane and oppressive prison conditions and the assassination of Jackson by prison guards, exposed in shocking images the oppression and brutalities of US prisons.
The official response was to suppress prisoner literature, to eliminate or restrict college and writing courses, to outlaw prisoners’ profiting from their writings, and to eliminate prisoner-oriented media. This effectively depoliticized prisoners and allowed officials and the mainstream media to wage a racist campaign to demonize prisoners’ image and isolate us to eliminate public awareness and support. Meantime, measures were taken to kill the revolutionary activist spirit in prisons, to remove and isolate the politically conscious and advanced prisoners, and incite the remainder into internal violence and division. Only months after Attica, officials opened the first control unit in the US prison in Marion, Illinois, within which torture became institutionalized with clear political objectives.
As former Marion warden Ralph Arons stated in federal court: “the purpose of the Marion Control Unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in the prison system and in society at large.”8 (Note his emphasis on mere thoughts of fundamental change, not actions, and not only inside the prisons, but also in society at large.) But US leaders deny political imprisonments or persecution of political dissenters and opponents. Since Marion opened its Control Unit in 1972, control units and supermaxes have swept the country, with most located in isolated rural white communities. In these high security environments, torture of prisoners along the lines of the CIA model is a common feature.
All US supermaxes and control units practice sensory deprivation -– isolation and solitary confinement 23½ hours per day in cells the size of a bathroom, minimal human interaction, little to no change in scenery, limited property access, and minimal contact with family and friends. Sensory shock and overload is also inflicted as prisoners are housed next to or near others with mental disorders or whom guards incite that scream, rant, bang, flood, throw body waste, don’t bathe, etc.9 “Self-inflicted pain” is also a common practice in control units. Prisoners are routinely shackled and handcuffed or restrained to cell bunks in cramped and uncomfortable positions without meals and left to urinate and defecate on themselves and lie in it for hours to days; they’re left hours to days in bare cold cells with little to no clothing; subjected to destroyed property; denied meals and privileges like outside exercise and showers; placed under high control; or forced to abandon or snitch on political or gang affiliations, etc. (Many simply remain in these units indefinitely out of official spite, for no reason at all, or for being inclined to complain or litigate against or publicly expose abusive treatments and conditions.) They are made to feel that their discomfort is their own fault for failing to cooperate and will cease upon their finally giving in.
Attacking prisoners’ cultural sensitivities and personal phobias is the norm also, especially in that most of the control unit and supermax prisons are located in remote rural white-populated areas, whereas the prisoners are primarily urban people of color. This racial and cultural divide itself generates official insensitivity and intolerance to the prisoners’ cultural interests, and causes prisoners to suffer acute cultural shock. Male prisoners’ senses of masculinity are routinely targeted with provocative remarks, etc.
While seemingly benign, this combination of psychological techniques has proven revolutionary in its consistency in crushing prisoners’ wills. I have personally witnessed this result among those confined in supermax prisons with me. The rate of attempted and successful suicides is unprecedented compared with “normal” prison environments. I witnessed four attempts in my own 22-bed unit in less than two months –- two in one night.
Most of those who’ve endured supermax confinement for a year or more, I’ve observed, suffer a distinct regression into paranoia, irrationality, grandiose and persecutory delusions, childish attention-seeking behavior, reduced impulse control, hyper-sexuality, reduced ability to concentrate or maintain organized thoughts, compulsive and irrational searches for stimulation, gratification and attention, etc. Many deteriorate to the point of eating and smearing feces on themselves and their cells, rambling to themselves, screaming and ranting day and night, throwing feces on others (especially on other prisoners under guard encouragement), etc. All are simply left untreated except for being prescribed antipsychotic drugs (which many don’t take), which further damage the brain and have dangerous side-effects. All are treated by guards with violence, abuse and disciplinary measures, often being left propertyless indefinitely inside empty cells – further sensory deprivation.
US prisoners are being treated in ways developed for use against so-called “enemy combatants” whom the US government sees as having no political rights. In reality, US prisoners have no recourse against being mentally tortured. This was assured by the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), which bars prisoners from suing their abusers for mentally torturing them.10
Not only do I witness these methods and their sobering and heart-rending effects on the human psyche, but I have been and am a victim of them. My only advantage, I believe, is in knowing and understanding the methods, being conscious to counter their effects, and having a strong constitution. Indeed, during the summer of 2006, in response to my work in exposing the brutalities at this prison and refusing to back down in other political work I’ve been involved in with outside people, guards twice electro-shocked me with a 50,000-volt electric stun belt.
During and since World War II US officials have learned that torture is best carried out in the dark and in ways that avoid proof and attention. The norm is therefore to deny the practice publicly, to couch it in seemingly harmless forms, but continue to plumb it of all its benefits in hidden and veiled practice. Its victims are the poor and powerless. That’s me and potentially you.
Torture is an official part of US foreign and domestic policy under its federal and state executive powers. It’s simply politically incorrect to allow this fact to be exposed to the public. When abuses and torture come out, damage control has blame placed on low-level officials as “renegade” and “rogue” soldiers or police or prison guards, whereas clearance for these practices goes up to the highest levels of command. This has proven to be the case in the scandals surrounding tortures at Abu Ghraib, with those soldiers targeted for prosecution who were reckless enough to allow practices of torture to come out. As Scott Morton of the New York Bar Association found after interviewing soldiers involved in the scandal, “the highest profile cases in which the severest sanctions are sought consistently involve those soldiers who… permitted photographic evidence of the crimes at Abu Ghraib to become public knowledge.” As Morton concluded, “it wasn’t the abuse of prisoners which was being punished, but the fact that the military, and particularly [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld, has been embarrassed by these matters becoming public.” This is the reality across the political spectrum, and no more than in US prisons.
In fact, it was only in 1994 that the US ratified the UN convention against torture, which bars both physical and mental torture. However, US officials specifically exempted the US government from the language that forbids mental torture, and “reserved” the “right” of the president to override laws and treaties that forbid physical torture.
There is a need for us to move collectively against this reality of routine torture specifically and the slave status of US prisoners in general. The alternative is to sit in relative isolation, each of us, and permit the outrages to continue and increase, which they will, until no one will be left unaffected. Ninety-five percent of those imprisoned in Amerika will return to society at some point, and most of them in a more damaged state then when they came to prison. It’s likely some of them will be living near or with you.
A movement is under way to amend the 13th Amendment, to abolish slavery in all its forms. The New Afrikan Black Panther Party—Prison Chapter supports this movement. We also promote transforming the iron houses of oppression into schools of liberation. To end torture, all power must be in the hands of the people!11
1. As Angela Y. Davis points out, “[I]t is important to remember that the punishment inflicted on [Black] women [during slavery] exceeded in intensity the punishment suffered by their men, for women were not only whipped and mutilated, they were also raped…. Rape was a weapon of domination, a weapon of repression, whose covert goal was to extinguish the slave women’s will to resist, and in the process, to demoralize their men. […] Slavery relied as much on routine sexual abuse as it relied on the whip and the lash… Sexual coercion was an essential dimension of the social relations between slavemaster and slave.” Women, Race and Class (New York: Vintage, 1983), 23f, 175.
2. On the prevalence of rape in Amerikan prisons, see the detailed summary in Gary Hunter, “Guards’ Rape of Prisoners Rampant, No Solution in Sight,” Prison Legal News, vol. 17, no. 8 (August 2006), 1-13.
3. See UN documents including: UN Charter (1945); Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture (1994).
4. My account of CIA methods draws on Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Henry Holt, 2006), esp. ch. 2 (“Mind Control”).
5. McCoy, 33, quoting from Albert D. Biderman and Herbert Zimmer, eds., The Manipulation of Human Behavior (New York: Wiley, 1961), 29.
6. The Supreme Court found that solitary confinement had severe debilitating effects on its victims. It stated: “A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community.” In Re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890).
7. Charles Dickens, American Notes (1842) (New York: Fromm International, 1985), 99; quoted in Control Unit Torture (a pamphlet by prison writer Frank J. Atwood).
8. Stephen Whitman, “The Marion Penitentiary – It Should Be Opened Up, Not Locked Down,” Southern Illinoisian, August 7, 1988, p. 25.
9. Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (note 5). See e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. supp. 1146 (1995): “[M]any, if not most, inmates in SHU [Special Housing Units] experience some degree of psychological trauma in reaction to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions “may press the outer bounds of what humans can psychologically tolerate…. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut.” Another court found that “isolating human beings from other human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total.” Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844 F. 2d, 1310, 1313, 1316 (1989).
10. In the case of Madrid v. Gomez (1995), Dr. Stuart Grassian, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, conducted in-depth studies of 50 Pelican Bay control unit prisoners and found that 40 had suffered mental impairment and injury as a result of control unit confinement. He handed his findings over to federal and state officials. The official response to Grassian’s exposé on control unit torture was to push through Congress the PLRA, which effectively denies the victims any legal remedy for mental injuries, unless they can show a prior physical injury resulting from the mental torture – even though mental torture by definition, nature, and design produces no physical injury which precedes psychological injury. See 42 United States Code, Section 1997(e).
11. A conference and rally being planned for Philadelphia in 2007 will focus on reaching out broadly to prisoner rights groups and drawing them together into a national association aimed at abolishing the status of slaves for prisoners. The rally following the conference will raise the demands 1) Abolish Slavery—Amend the 13th Amendment, 2) Freedom for Political Prisoners/POWs 3) End the Racist Death Penalty, 4) Defend the Human Rights of All Prisoners. For information or to contact the NABBP-PC, contact Rising Sun Press, PO Box 4362, Allentown, PA 18105, phone (610) 437-2971 or email email@example.com.
* Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, the Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter and author of "Defying The Tomb." A Virginia prisoner, Comrade Rashid was transfer...red to Oregon under the Interstate Compact and most recently to Texas. An outspoken prisoner rights advocate, Johnson has been singled out for individual repression for having exposed conditions in Virginia and Oregon:
Posted by nickglais on 6/25/2013 01:35:00 PM