Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Immigration Raid on Broadway (in Baltimore)

Agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 24 people for immigration violations January 23 in Baltimore, Maryland.  On the same day in Southern Californica, some 761 immigrants were arrested on immigration violations on "one of the biggest such sweeps ever" by US law enforcement agents.

Representatives from United Workers' Association, including Spanish speaking workers who were in the area of Broadway and Lombard on the morning of January 23rd said that,  at 11:30, unmarked cars rolled up to that corner in front of the 7-11 and rounded up Hispanic immigrants waiting for work there.  At 10:30 the corner was full of people waiting for offers of work for the day.

They reported that "24 people were confirmed arrested."   A press conference was organized in the early afternoon at that corner by the UWA, Casa de Maryland and other organizations announcing the arrests and condemning them as attacks on people just trying to make a living.

At least 3 television news outlets were reporting from the corner, including CBS and Channel 2.  Witnesses said the raid was carried out by "Immigration" or ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security).  There is no word yet if this was an isolated raid or part of a coordinated, multi-city effort that purposefully coincided with the raids in Southern California.

The United Workers Association is a human rights organization that organizes low wage workers and builds leadership from their ranks with the goal of ending poverty.  The mission of the organization takes inspiration from the Poor Peoples' Campaign of 1968.  Martin Luther King was killed on a stop of this campaign as he fought side-by-side with striking sanitation workers.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Batman Sent to Syria in Extraordinary Rendition

Experts blame the increased use of torture around the world to the rise of supervillian The Penguin to the head of covert operations of the American Imperial Government.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Son of Nun Concert and Protest Against the War

Local Socialist MC and winner of the CityPaper's "Best Verbal Beat Down" award Son of Nun is playing tonight at St. John's Church in Charles Village.

R.A.M. Benefit for Red Emma's [Bmore]

R.A.M. is the Revolutionary Artist Movement and it consists of
*Eric Jah Hannibal
*Jassaga David Sawyer
*Ron Kipling Williams

what does a former black panther w/ a guitar alongside a poet/drummer, spoken word artist, and an emcee sound like? come through St. John's Church to find out as we pay tribute to Dr. King and raise funds for Red Emma's radical bookstore/coffee shop!
St. John's Church @ 27th & St. Paul
8pm - $10 donation
*sorry for the late notice!

Also remember the upcoming Antiwar Demonstration is going to be big. (For whatever that is worth).

01.27.07 - Sat. - UFPJ's National Antiwar Demonstration [D.C.]

don't sleep on the democrats, they'll cut you quicker than clinton can say welfare reform, and don't buy the b.s. of gradual withdrawal - vietnam was more intense than this war and the u.s. didn't gradually withdraw from that conflict - unless you call a helicopter flying off the roof of the embassy gradual.
Stop U.S. Imperialism!
Bring The Troops Home Now!
Reparations for Iraq (and others of course) Now!
*if you're in bmore and need a ride there are buses going down - contact me for more info.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Orleans Blowing Up

While my attention has been focused across the border in Mexico and here at home in Baltimore, New Orleans and Haiti have been suffering amid the sounds of gunshots.

Not too long ago I remarked that the murderous neglect that allowed the body count of Katrina to rise was eerily reminiscent of the response of the Haitian coup-installed government to the flooding of hurricane Jeanne not long before.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune now details a rash of killings in New Orleans that has left 9 dead since the start of the New Year. While every violent death is no doubt devastatingly tragic to the survivors, two have come to represent the profound loss amid the ruins of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Musician Relief Fund details in "A House Not Meant to Stand" the murder of Dinerral Shavers, a drummer with the Hot 8 Brass Band.

Dinerral was caught in the crossfire of a teen allegedly aiming for his stepson. He probably saved his family's life, driving away from the shooter and toward safety as he died. It took an hour for the ambulance to come as he lay in the street.
Police urged the NOMRF not to perform the traditional New Orleans jazz funeral march for Shavers,
Dinerral's second line will take place anyway because you can't wash away culture ingrained that deeply. It's his well-deserved last gig. But it's where gangs sometimes try to settle a grudge among the chaos.
In the Marigny neighborhood Helen Hill was killed in her home at about 6:00 AM and her husband Paul Gailiunas was shot in the neck while he held his two-year-old son. The Times-Picayune has more on the shooting and the couple's lives in New Orleans. Gailiunas is a physician who ran a Little Doctors Neighborhood Health Clinic in the Treme neighborhood that gave free and discounted medical care to those who could not otherwise afford to visit the doctor. He was also the founder of New Orleans Food Not Bombs, that took food from places like Whole Foods that would not be sold and prepared meals for the homeless. He also performed musically in an act called Ukulele Against the Machine.

A gunshop burglary in nearby Metaire has also been a source of concern. An arrest in that case has just been made.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Journalist Refuses to Testify in Court Martial of Iraq War Refuser

Sarah Olson, a regular reporter for, interviewed Lt. Ehren Watada for the August 2006 issue of Left Turn Magazine (#21, Estamos en la Lucha).

In this interview, Ehren Watada first publicized that he was refusing to serve in the Iraq War, stating
I’ve come to believe this is an illegal and an immoral war, and the order to have us deploy to Iraq is unlawful. I won’t follow this order and I won’t participate in something I believe is wrong.

Watada, the first commisioned officer to refuse to serve in Iraq, is now awaiting a February 2007 court-martial for his refusal, and the U.S. Army has subpeonaed Sarah Olson. They have also named independent reporter Dahr Jamail, who regularly reports from Iraq and frequently contributes to Left Turn Magazine, as a proseuction witness.

Olson has just published her response to the Army, titled "Why I Object to Testifying Against Lt. Watada," saying
The U.S. Army has cobbled together portions of my interview with Lieutenant Watada and these statements comprise the foundation of one charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. To substantiate this alleged crime, the Army has subpoenaed me to testify on behalf of their prosecution...

It is my job as a professional journalist to report the news, not to act as the eyes and ears of the government. I am repelled by this approach that jeopardizes my credibility and seeks to compel my participation in muting public speech and dissenting personal opinion.

The army may have her sent to jail for refusing to testify in the court-martial proceedings.

Despite the unprecedented nature of such a subpeona, very few news outlets have reported on the event. According to Google News, only independent media outlets, the Guardian of London, the Army Times, some Arab-American press, local San Francisco Bay area press, and CBS news have picked up the story at all.

Journalists and others are calling for support on behalf of Sarah Olson on the grounds of freedom of speech and freedom of press. Lt. Watada is also only the highest ranking of many soldiers and sailors that have refused to fight in Iraq on legal and moral grounds in the face of court martials. Others include Camilo Mejia, Kevin Benderman, Pablo Paredes and Abdullah Webster. A more complete list is available on the web page U.S. War Heroes from the Iraq War. This phenomenon of soldier resisters is also occurring in Israel, as documented by the book Breaking Ranks. As the new film Sir, No Sir documents,a similar pattern during the Vietnam War ultimately forced the U.S. government to withdraw their forces and end the war.