Fears for South Africa's Press Freedom By Chris Stein

22 August, 2010 — IPS-ipsnews.net

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 22, 2010 (IPS) – International media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks South Africa’s press as among the freest on the continent. Two proposed new measures are drawing unfavourable comparisons to repressive laws in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

Nigeria and Zimbabwe have their Official Secrets Acts. In Kenya, it’s called the Communications Bill.

And in South Africa, it would be called the Protection of Information Act (POI).

Across Africa – and beyond – governments have sought to control the media, be it through stiff penalties for disclosing or possessing leaked documents or the imposition of tribunals to oversee the press.

Continue reading

South African Public Sector Strike Highlights Society’s Contradictions By Patrick Bond

23 August, 2010 — The  B u l l e t Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 405

The two major civil service unions on strike against the South African (SA) government vow to intensify pressure in coming days, in a struggle pitting a million members of the middle and lower ranks of society against a confident government leadership fresh from hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Along with smaller public sector unions, teachers from the SA Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and nurses from the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) continued picketing at schools, clinics and hospitals, leading to widespread shutdowns starting on August 18. Skeleton teams of doctors and military personnel were compelled to send non-emergency cases home.

In several confrontations with police at town centres, clinics and schools late last week, workers were shot with rubber bullets and water cannons. On Saturday the courts enjoined workers to return to jobs considered to be emergency services. In dozens of hospitals and clinics, military healthworkers took over.

President Jacob Zuma threatened mass firings and attacked labour movement activists who successfully disrupted health and education facilities: “Even during the campaigns against the apartheid government we did not prevent nurses from going to work.” The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued a statement defending the strikers but requesting the labour movement and ruling African National Congress (ANC) to desist “flinging irritable insults at each other, while the private sector and anti-worker elements sit back and laugh.”

Continue reading


22 August, 2010 — The Real News Network

Snehal Shingavi: US has blamed Pakistan for failed policies in region

Snehal Shingavi is an assistant professor of South Asian literature at the University of Texas in Austin, where he is also working on a book-length manuscript on contemporary Pakistani fiction in English. Snehal has written extensively about India and Pakistan for such publications as Counter Punch, Z Net, the International Socialist Review, and Left Hook.

Information Clearing House Newsletter 23 August, 2010: Presidential Porn: The Recession is Heading Toward Depression

23 August, 2010 — Information Clearing HouseICH Archives 12 February, 2010 to the present –  ICH Archives March 2003 – March 2010

What You Will Not Hear About Iraq
By Adil E. Shamoo
Iraq has between 25 and 50 percent unemployment, a dysfunctional parliament, rampant disease, an epidemic of mental illness, and sprawling slums. The killing of innocent people has become part of daily life. What a havoc the United States has wreaked in Iraq.

U.S. Taxpayers -Funding Terrorist, Mafia-Like Activity
By Sam Stein
Afghanistan’s embattled president Hamid Karzai said on Sunday that U.S. taxpayers were indirectly funding “mafia-like groups” and terrorist activities with the American government’s support of private contractors inside his country.

Continue reading

Wikileaks News 21-23 August, 2010

23 August, 2010 — Creative-i

VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 22 August, 2010: A case of decency deficit: Israel’s sickness goes beyond one soldier and her Facebook pictures

22 August, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Hebron: Israeli Military and Policemen Shut Three Palestinian Shops
IMEMC – 22 Aug 2010 – Sunday August 22, 2010 – 17:19, Every Saturday for the last several months, Youth Against the Settlements has led a nonviolent action — “Open Shuhada Street” — at the entrance to the Old City of Hebron. On Tuesday, 10 August 2010 the Israeli military and police forcibly welded shut three stores that stand directly behind the area of the weekly Saturday action and across from the gate of an Israeli military base.

Hamas: “Meeting with Fateh Leaders Delayed In Protest To Direct Talks With Israel”
IMEMC – 22 Aug 2010 – Sunday August 22, 2010 – 03:57, Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, decided to put on hold a scheduled meeting with Fateh leaders in Gaza in protest to the decision of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and the Fateh movement to resume direct talks with Israel.

Continue reading

From Mairead Maquire Re: BBC Panorama programme on the Mavi Marmara

2lst August, 2010 — www.peacepeople.com

Open Letter to the Panorama BBC Team

Dear BBC Panorama Team

I write to you regarding your programme of 16th August, 2010, about The Freedom Flotilla and particularly the killings of unarmed civilians by Israeli Navy Seals on the ship MV “Mavi Marmara’, on 3lst May, 2010.

I have been campaigning for the rights of Palestinians for over ten years.  I have visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories many times.  I was part of the Freedom Flotilla in May on the MV ‘Rachel Corrie’, my third journey on a Free Gaza boat. I am deeply disappointed at the misrepresentation, lack of truth, and bias displayed by your programme.

This programme had an opportunity to inform and educate the public about the background to the flotilla, the motives of the passengers and crew on board the MV ‘Mavi Marmara’, who (like all of us on the boats trying to get to Gaza) were concerned for the suffering of the people of Gaza.  Over 650 people – from all faiths and none, – from over 40 countries, representing the human family and uniting in nonviolent resistance to break a cruel siege (collective punishment is illegal  under International Law) to bring hope and support to the people of Gaza.  Before leaving their various ports, as part of the undertaking, all passengers made pledges of nonviolence, all people, and cargoes were searched, and all undertook to go in a spirit of peace to resist (as is our moral right and duty) the breaking of Human Rights and International Law by Israel through its siege of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.

This journey of courage and call for justice by people on board the MV ‘Mavi Marmara’ and the flotilla represented the conscience of the world.  The boats carried no arms, and were no threat to Israel, but what they did carry were voices of dissent from every corner of the world, (including Jews) saying to Israel ‘no more sieges, occupations, wars and threats of violence’, we refuse to be silent in the face of your ethnic cleansing and persecution of the Palestinian people.

Our motives were honourable, we did it for the children of Gaza, knowing that in the end, truth and justice will prevail.

Sadly, the Panorama programme did not see the true significance of this historic journey and missed an opportunity for the media to fulfil its responsibility to ‘tell the truth and nothing but the truth’. They choose instead to try to demonize the passengers on the from the word go MV ‘Mavi Marmara’ by trying to make them out as violent terrorists. They choose to collude with the Israeli propaganda of lies and manipulation of facts thus trying to turn the victims into aggressors.

The fact that Israeli commandoes started shooting from the zodiac assault boats and the helicopters from the word go was not stated. The audio and video footage used (provided by Israeli military intelligence) was proven to be doctored, and the IDF have admitted this.

Your programme showed audio containing what was purported to be anti-semitic remarks issued over the radio by members on the flotilla, and you showed a clip of a percussion grenade exploding in one of the Israeli zodiac assault boats.  These things never happened. There is so much commentary in this documentary that is inaccurate that it does a grave disservice to investigative journalism and the BBC.

But the real people hurt by this programme, are the families of the 9 unarmed passengers who were assassinated in this unprovoked, illegal, massacre by the Israeli navy seals. So too the more than 40 unarmed people who were injured on the illegal military assault in International waters, whose only crime was to care about Gaza and its people.

The programme failed totally to cover the real suffering of the Palestinian people, it failed totally to cover the fact that the mass kidnapping of 650 unarmed world citizens and the high-jacking of 7 boats, was in International waters and it failed totally to ask the real questions of Israel ‘why is this Port of Gaza – the only port in the Middle East to be a closed military zone (42 years) – not open for the people of Gaza and Palestine to travel and trade with the world as is their human right?

Perhaps, the BBC Panorama will stop taking the propaganda of the Israeli Government (Jane Corbin travelling on Israeli Zodiacs embedded with Israeli military, hardly leads to objective report of facts).  These same zodiacs which boarded all the flotilla ships (including the one I travelled on) kidnapped unarmed citizens, hijacked boats (an act of piracy), confiscated all possessions (which Israel still hold onto), forced all under military arms to go to Israel, detained all, violently assaulted many, imprisoned and repatriated foreigners – all an abuse of our human rights and most of which was not reported by BBC Panorama.

The role of the BBC is not to give credibility to the Israeli military but to report facts and allow the public to make up their own minds.  By planting doubt in the minds of the public about the events on board the MV ‘Mavi Marmara’.  It has done a grave injustice and further injury to the families of all those who were assassinated by Israeli Navy seals, on that terrible morning of 3lst May, 2010.

I would like to ask the BBC Panorama Team, ‘what do you intend to do to redress the injustice you have done to the good names of all those who were killed, and injured, and their families on board the MV ‘Mavi Marmara’ on 3lst May, 2010?

I await your response.

Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate (www.peacepeople.com)
Tel:  0773 614 7713