Genoa – syv år efter

Såret demonstrant, Genoa 2001

The Guardian har en glimrende og noget foruroligende gennemgang af forløbet i forbindelse med politiets amokløb under G8-topmødet i Genoa i 2001:

It was just before midnight when the first police officer hit Mark Covell, swiping his truncheon down on his left shoulder. Covell did his best to yell out in Italian that he was a journalist but, within seconds, he was surrounded by riot-squad officers thrashing him with their sticks… It was at that moment that a police officer sauntered over to him and kicked him in the chest with such force that the entire lefthand side of his rib cage caved in, breaking half-a-dozen ribs whose splintered ends then shredded the membrane of his left lung. Covell, who is 5ft 8in and weighs less than eight stone, was lifted off the pavement and sent flying into the street. He heard the policeman laugh.

There are several good reasons why we should not forget what happened to Covell, then aged 33, that night in Genoa. The first is that he was only the beginning. The second is that, seven years later, Covell and his fellow victims are still waiting for justice…

…  they dragged Zuhlke into the ground-floor hall, where they had gathered dozens of prisoners from all over the building in a mess of blood and excrement. They threw her on top of two other people. They were not moving, and Zuhlke drowsily asked them if they were alive. They did not reply, and she lay there on her back, unable to move her right arm, unable to stop her left arm and her legs twitching, blood seeping out of her head wounds. A group of police officers walked by, and each one lifted the bandana which concealed his identity, leaned down and spat on her face.

The signs of something uglier here were apparent first in superficial ways. Some officers had traditional fascist songs as ringtones on their mobile phones and talked enthusiastically about Mussolini and Pinochet. Repeatedly, they ordered prisoners to say “Viva il duce.” Sometimes, they used threats to force them to sing fascist songs: “Un, due, tre. Viva Pinochet!”

Fascistisk infiltration af politiet – var det derfor, det gik så galt? Nick Davies antyder i artiklen, at det kan være endnu værre, at laden-stå-til overfor sådanne metoder fra politiets side kan være en bevidst taktik fra politikere, der føler sig under pres – som for eksempel, G8-landenes ledere og de italienske politikere, der var ansvarlige for topmødets afvikling uden pinlige demonstranter til at gøre opmærksom på fattigdom og ulighed i den globaliserede verden:

Fifty-two days after the attack on the Diaz school, 19 men used planes full of passengers as flying bombs and shifted the bedrock of assumptions on which western democracies had based their business. Since then, politicians who would never describe themselves as fascists have allowed the mass tapping of telephones and monitoring of emails, detention without trial, systematic torture, the calibrated drowning of detainees, unlimited house arrest and the targeted killing of suspects, while the procedure of extradition has been replaced by “extraordinary rendition”. This isn’t fascism with jack-booted dictators with foam on their lips. It’s the pragmatism of nicely turned-out politicians. But the result looks very similar. Genoa tells us that when the state feels threatened, the rule of law can be suspended. Anywhere.

Go read.

Israel: Værre end apartheid

Israels politik i de besatte områder (Vestbredden og Gaza) sammenlignes ofte med apartheid i Sydafrika, og denne sammenligning vækker ofte forargelse blandt Israels støtter – det kan man alligevel ikke, og Israels rare men håndfaste hyggen om den palæstinensiske befolkning kan på ingen måde sammenlignes med, hvad de onde, onde hvide sydafrikanere bedrev.

I denne uge har sammenligningen for alvor skullet bestå sin prøve: 21 menneskeretsaktivister fra Sydafrika, hvoraf flere har prøvet apartheidregimets metoder på egen krop, har besøgt Israel med det formål at undersøge forholdene i de besatte områder.

Deres dom er klar – der er ingen sammenligning overhovedet: Israels behandling af palæstinenserne i de besatte områder er mange gange værre, end apartheid-regimet nogensinde har været.

Gideon Levy rapporterer i Ha’aretz:

On Monday they visited Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank. From Hawara to the Casbah, from the Casbah to Balata, from Joseph’s Tomb to the monastery of Jacob’s Well. They traveled from Jerusalem to Nablus via Highway 60, observing the imprisoned villages that have no access to the main road, and seeing the “roads for the natives,” which pass under the main road. They saw and said nothing. There were no separate roads under apartheid. They went through the Hawara checkpoint mutely: they never had such barriers.

Jody Kollapen, who was head of Lawyers for Human Rights in the apartheid regime, watches silently. He sees the “carousel” into which masses of people are jammed on their way to work, visit family or go to the hospital. Israeli peace activist Neta Golan, who lived for several years in the besieged city, explains that only 1 percent of the inhabitants are allowed to leave the city by car, and they are suspected of being collaborators with Israel. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy minister of defense and of health and a current member of Parliament, a revered figure in her country, notices a sick person being taken through on a stretcher and is shocked. “To deprive people of humane medical care? You know, people die because of that,” she says in a muted voice.

Lad mig gentage: Den sydafrikanske delegation var chokerede over, hvad de så, og gjorde det umisforståeligt klart, at Israels behandling af palæstinenserne i de besatte områder er meget værre, end apartheid nogensinde har været.  Dommeren Edwin Cameron udtrykker det således:

We came here lacking in knowledge and are thirsty to know. We are shocked by what we have seen until now. It is very clear to us that the situation here is intolerable.

Mondli Makhanya, chefredaktør af Sunday Times of South Africa, udtrykker det sådan her:

When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.

Tag det fra hestens egen mund – en sammenligning mellem Israels politik i de besatte områder og sydafrikansk apartheid er hverken  “overdreven” eller uretfærdig – i hvert fald ikke mod israelerne.

Link – via Z Communications.


Der har været en del tale om Afghanistan i de senere dage – hvordan dansk forsvar tilsyneladende er ved at være slidt ned til sokkeholderne i et engagement, som ellers mest er blevet præsenteret som genopbygning og U-landshjælp. Hvordan kan det gå så galt i en krig, vi til daglig hører så lidt om?

Sagen er, at krigen i Afganistan er groft underrapporteret i medierne, og at Afghanistan derfor har det med at forsvinde i den almindelige bevidsthed – det er vist et-eller-andet land dér langt borte, hvor der foregår en eller anden form for krig på lavt blus, og hvor vore danske Jens’er er nede for at hjælpe med at bekæmpe Taleban.

Men det står værre til, end man tror. Her er nogle få eksempler på, hvad der er sket bare i de sidste dage, 13.-15. juli:

Virkeligheden er også, at det i stigende grad ikke blot er Taleban, men alle mulige lokale ledere, herunder mange af dem, der førte an i kampen mod den sovjetiske besættelse, man er oppe imod. US News skriver i en typisk baggrundsartikel:

U.S. forces are keenly aware that they are facing an increasingly complex enemy here—what U.S. military officials now call a syndicate—composed not only of Taliban fighters but also powerful warlords who were once on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency. “You could almost describe the insurgency as having two branches,” says a senior U.S. military official here. “It’s the Taliban in the south and a ‘rainbow coalition’ in the east.”

Indeed, along with a smattering of Afghan tribal groups, Pakistani extremists, and drug kingpins, two of the most dangerous players are violent Afghan Islamists named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, according to U.S. officials. In recent weeks, Hekmatyar has called upon Pakistani militants to attack U.S. targets, while the Haqqani network is blamed for three large vehicle bombings, along with the attempted assassination of Karzai in April.

Ironically, these two warlords—currently at the top of America’s list of most wanted men in Afghanistan—were once among America’s most valued allies. In the 1980s, the CIA funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and ammunition to help them battle the Soviet Army during its occupation of Afghanistan.

Man er måske næsten fristet til at spørge, hvad i al verden Danmark skal på dén galej – som støtte til en amerikansk invasionsmagt, der opererer store, Guantanamolignende torturlejre og dræber civile, mens Taleban og de øvrige oprørere æder sig ind på dem?

Som russerne, og før dem briterne, lærte på den hårde måde for mange år siden: Afghanistan er ikke et land, man kan holde militært, og man burde ikke have lyst til at gøre forsøget. Det bedste, man kunne gøre, ville formentlig være at få en eller anden selvstyreaftale på plads for de enkelte provinser, erklære sejr eller i hvert fald fred og så se at komme ud derfra – i hvert fald militært. Og indtil vi kommer så langt, burde Danmark i hvert fald se at tage sine soldater hjem.

Danske soldaters tilstedeværelse i Afghanistan slider på de soldater vi har dernede (og det i en grad, så det danske forsvar reelt er ude af stand til at varetage forsvaret af Danmark, den eneste rigtige mening, det overhovedet kan have), og den gør ikke for femogtyve øre gavn.

Danmark ud af Afghanistan – nu!

Tør vi godt stemme på ham Obama?

Barack Obama i The New Yorker

Æh, hvad var det nu han hed – Obama, Barack HUSSEIN Osama, …?

(Huffington Post har et interview med The New Yorkers redaktør om, hvordan de kan finde på at være så onde. The Guardian har nu også lidt om sagen og især om den opstandelse, forsiden har vakt blandt Obama-støtter).

PS: Og ja, der er et eller andet, der går galt ved formatteringen af teksten ifm. billedet. Jeg kan ikke rigtig regne ud, hvad det er … det foresvæver mig, at der må være en eller anden fejl i mit style sheet, men hvilken?
Fandt uhensigtsmæssigheden. Dårlig idé at bruge “float:left” til billeder i artikler.

Indsats mod bandekriminalitet forfejlet

Altimens den britiske regering er ved at lancere endnu et drakonisk forslag til at bekæmpe bandekriminalitet ved hjælp af stress-strategi og chikane mod bandemedlemmernes familie og venner, viser en undersøgelse fra University of Manchester, at en sådan strategi ikke kan virke: Politi og politikere forstår ganske enkelt ikke, hvad en “bande” er eller hvad der overhovedet foregår i de områder, der menes at være plaget af bandekriminalitet, fremgår det af undersøgelsen:

Having spoken to and won the trust of more than 100 gang members, associates and informers, they concluded that in general gangs are not tightly organised; they do not specialise in dealing drugs; and their violence is not provoked primarily by turf wars. They also found no basis for the popular belief that most street gangs are black.

Robert Ralphs, the project’s lead fieldworker, said: “Police and other statutory agencies respond to gangs as clearly identifiable groups of criminally-involved young people, where membership is undisputed.

“In reality, gangs are loose, messy, changing friendship networks – less organised and less criminally active than widely believed – with unclear, shifting and unstable leadership.”

By failing to understand this basic structure, the researchers say, police mistakenly target and sometimes harrass individuals who, though gang members, are not breaking any law; the police also repeatedly follow, stop and search the gang members’ family, friends and classmates. This alienated both the gang members and their associates who might otherwise have helped police.

Rapportens forfattere viger ikke tilbage for at konkludere, at regeringens og politiets politik og især den fornyede “stress-strategi” netop vil ende med at styrke bandernes magt, fordi virkningen blandt de unge er, at bandetilhørsforholdet understreges på en måde, der egentlig slet ikke er grundlag for i gadens virkelighed.

Man ser en lignende tendens i Danmark i forbindelse med mediernes håndtering af den imaginære bande Triple-A og med visse politikeres forslag til håndtering af uroligheder som dem, man f.eks. så i Rosenhøj for et par år siden.

Den britiske rapport viser tydeligt, hvordan denne type problemer kun kan afhjælpes med udgangspunkt i en solid empirisk indsigt i, hvad der rent faktisk foregår på gaden – og ikke ved hovsa-løsninger gennemført af tåbelige politikere med et solidt blik på meningsmålingerne. Og selvom denne kommentar egentlig mest retter sig mod Gordon Brown og hans populistiske indenrigsminister Jacqui Smith, er der nok af danske politikere der kunne trænge til at lære også dén lektie.

Link til historien i The Guardian.

Imperiets sande ansigt

Britiske soldater anklages nu for seksuelle overgreb på en dengang kun 14-årig fange i Irak, et af de “brune” lande, der for tiden ikke skønnes at kunne “klare sig selv” og som “vores” drenge derfor er nødt til at boltre sig i – hvis det for nogen lyder som det 19. århundredes kolonialisme, er det, fordi det ret klart er den, vi er kommet tilbage til.

Som Lenin fra Lenin’s Tomb gør opmærksom på, er der ikke noget særligt usædvanligt ved sådanne angreb, der formentlig er en helt naturlig konsekvens af den racisme, der ligger til grund for hele besættelsen og det sprog, den forsvares i:

This sort of daily, often quite arbitrary, violence by forces who accept the minimum possible responsibility for their behaviour is just so much background noise to the war against barbarism/extremism/terrorism/savagery/etc. It just blends into the screams from the torture chambers and the crunch of metal against bone as troops shoot up cars at checkpoints or lob missiles into houses. The fact that this is perfectly ordinary behaviour by imperialist troops, under whatever authority and of whatever nationality, is always missed. Whether in Kosovo, Somalia or Haiti, whether the military mission is conducted under the NATO brand or the UN brand, there always emerges some sickening stories of systematic physical and sexual abuse of the supposed recipients of humanitarian largesse.

Den eneste grund til at vi overhovedet hører om den aktuelle sag er måske, at den er ekstrem – alle de “almindelige” tilfælde af overgreb og tortur forsvinder i mængden: “Had it been left at a whipping and beating for the crime of stealing milk, it may not have ever been reported.”

Hvornår begynder de første, tilsvarende sager om danske soldaters optræden i Afghanistan mon at dukke op? Et land, hvor USA stadig opretholder store fangelejre, hvor tortur praktiseres præcis så rutinemæssigt som på Guantánamo. Hvad har danske soldater dog at gøre på den galej – og så som “allierede”?

Røveri ved højlys dag

Naomi Klein i The Guardian om de nye kontrakter om udnyttelse af de irakiske oliereserver, der giver de multinationale selskaber den største bid af kagen:

One week after the no-bid service deals were announced, the world caught its first glimpse of the real prize. After years of backroom arm-twisting, Iraq is officially flinging open six of its major oilfields, accounting for half of its known reserves, to foreign investors. According to Iraq’s oil minister, the long-term contracts will be signed within a year. While ostensibly under the control of the Iraq National Oil Company, foreign corporations will keep 75% of the value of the contracts, leaving just 25% for their Iraqi partners.

That kind of ratio is unheard of in oil-rich Arab and Persian states, where achieving majority national control over oil was the defining victory of anti-colonial struggles. According to Greg Muttitt, a London-based oil expert, the assumption up until now was that foreign multinationals would be brought in to develop new fields in Iraq – not to take over those which are already in production and therefore require minimal technical support. “The policy was always to allocate these fields to the Iraq National Oil Company,” he told me. “This is a total reversal of that policy, giving the Iraq National Oil Company a mere 25% instead of the planned 100%.”

So what makes such lousy deals possible in Iraq, which has already suffered so much? Paradoxically, it is Iraq’s suffering – its never-ending crisis – that is the rationale for an arrangement that threatens to drain Iraq’s treasury of its main revenue source. The logic goes like this: Iraq’s oil industry needs foreign expertise because years of punishing sanctions starved it of new technology, while the invasion and continuing violence degraded it further. And Iraq needs to start producing more oil urgently. Why? Also because of the war. The country is shattered and the billions handed out in no-bid contracts to western firms have failed to rebuild it.

And that’s where the new contracts come in: they will raise more money, but Iraq has become such a treacherous place that the oil majors must be induced to take the risk of investing. Thus the invasion of Iraq neatly creates the argument for its subsequent pillage.

Det er åbenbart slut med det “post-koloniale” i et besat land som Irak – en udvikling, som resten af verden nok skal bide mærke i.