Feature Editorials

Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:00 Brian Fitzpatrick

A wave of quasi-fascism has descended upon California and touched several other states. But instead of exposing the abuse, the media are ignoring it.

On November 4, California voters approved Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment declaring that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in the Golden State. Since then, militants have vandalized property, threatened individuals and mailed white powder to Mormon churches.

Most Americans probably are not aware of this fascistic behavior, because the media – the people who are supposed to be the first line of defense against domestic tyranny – are absent.

Fascism is a powerful word, but often used imprecisely, so let’s define our terms. The following definition comes from former Columbia historian Robert O. Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism:

Friday, 12 September 2008 19:00 Jo Becker

The Bush administration's treatment of juvenile prisoners shipped to Guantánamo Bay defies logic as well as international law.

When Mohammed Jawad took the stand in a courtroom at the U.S. Naval base here late last week, he described a litany of abuse he has endured while detained at Guantánamo, including a sleep deprivation regime known colloquially as the "frequent flyer" program.

"Day and night, they were shifting me from one room to another room," Jawad said. "I don't remember how much time I slept, but it was only a short time before they were knocking on my door and shifting me from place to place. No one answered me why they were giving me this punishment."

Military records showed that during a 14-day period in May 2004, Jawad was moved from cell to cell 112 times, usually left in one cell for less than three hours before being shackled and moved to another. Between midnight and 2 a.m. he was moved more frequently to ensure maximum disruption of sleep.


Sunday, 06 July 2008 20:00 Joanne Mariner

In a ruling that is years late, but is nonetheless brave and important, a federal appellate court held last week that a prisoner at Guantanamo has been wrongly deemed an “enemy combatant.” Huzaifa Parhat, the prisoner whose fate was at issue in the case, has been in US custody at Guantanamo for over six years.

Parhat is an ethnic Uighur, part of a Muslim minority from western China.

Like the 16 other Uighurs who remain in military detention at Guantanamo, Parhat claims that he was never a combatant and that he ended up in US custody by mistake. Parhat says that he was living with a group of other Uighurs in Afghanistan when the 2001 war started, that his group was led across the border to Pakistan, and that the Pakistanis sold them to the United States for a bounty.


Monday, 23 June 2008 20:00 Ian Angus

Part One: ‘The Greatest Demonstration of the Historical Failure of the Capitalist Model’

“If the government cannot lower the cost of living it simply has to leave. If the police and UN troops want to shoot at us, that's OK, because in the end, if we are not killed by bullets, we'll die of hunger.”
- A demonstrator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Part Two: Capitalism, Agribusiness, and the Food Sovereignty Alternative

"Nowhere in the world, in no act of genocide, in no war, are so many people killed per minute, per hour and per day as those who are killed by hunger and poverty on our planet." - Fidel Castro, 1998

In Haiti, where most people get 22% fewer calories than the minimum needed for good health, some are staving off their hunger pangs by eating “mud biscuits” made by mixing clay and water with a bit of vegetable oil and salt.[1]

Sunday, 15 June 2008 20:00 Monica Hill

ImageThe media has been bursting with headlines about Tibet in recent months. There were anti-Chinese riots in the capitol city of Lhasa in March. Then pro-Tibet/anti-China demonstrations faced off with Olympic torch processions in a number of countries. Meanwhile, U.S. politicians warmly welcomed the visiting Dalai Lama, exiled god-king of Tibet. Anyone leery of anti-communist China-bashing has to wonder who’s on the right side in all this furor.

It’s difficult to dig out the hard facts. Little is known of the views of Tibetan workers and peasants. Most information comes from two opposing sets of reportage.

One is the Dalai Lama’s embittered, anti-communist Tibetan exile movement, which organizes and propagandizes against the People’s Republic of China and is funded by the U.S. government.

The other source is the Chinese Communist Party, which overstates Tibet’s social advances, understates the failures of Stalinist policies in Tibet, and is now restoring capitalism that bodes no good for Tibetan or Chinese workers and peasants.

Monday, 09 June 2008 20:00 Ivan Drury

On December 5, 1998 a Vancouver police officer dragged Frank Paul, a 47-year-old Mik’maq man, soaking wet and unconscious, from the downtown holding cells and dumped him in an alley across town. He was drunk and could not stand or speak clearly. His body was found at 2:30 am in the same alley by a passerby.

According to the pathologist’s report, Paul had died of hypothermia accelerated by acute alcohol poisoning. He was likely already dying of hypothermia when Sergeant Russel Sanderson ordered the rookie wagon driver Constable David Instant to dump Frank Paul into the night.

How the police investigate the police

If Frank Paul’s death is tragic, the investigation process that followed is frightening and infuriating. The death of Frank Paul was investigated by Detective Robert Douglas Staunton – one single officer. Staunton later said that he pursued his investigation “in a way I thought would be neutral.” At the recent inquiry Staunton testified that “neutrality” meant he did not seek to find fault. In fact, he worked to obscure evidence of the criminal actions of the police. In contravention of police regulations, Staunton did not perform any of the routines normal for a homicide investigation.

This break with routine is the norm for police investigation of police crimes. Between 1992 and 2007, 52 people died at the hands of members of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). Not a single one of these deaths resulted in charges being laid against a single officer.



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