US Tax Dollars Provide Welfare to the Global Repression Industry!

If American’s think gun violence in the US bad now, things are about to get a whole lot worse with the $38 BILLION US tax dollars of ‘military aid’ going to Israel and $60 BILLION to Saudi Arabia.
Not only will this trillion dollar hand out to military contractors and arms dealers, justified by the illegal, immoral ‘war on terror’ will be used to kill civilians abroad – it comes at the expense of much needed funding for: education, healthcare, affordable housing, infrastructure & everything else that’s in shambles in the US.
Still this war against the people, is not limited to those abroad. As Jeff Halper notes:
This type weaponry for everything from counterinsurgency to combating refugees to Ferguson to the Occupy Movement should send the message: the Occupation is here in our community. As our armies, police forces and paranoid-induced civilians are being “israelized,” the rest of us are being palestinianized.”

So here is an Israeli weapons company, Israel Weapons Industries (IWI), announcing a ten-fold increase in ammunition sales to the US of $66 million, a third of it geared to the civilian market. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. IWI, the manufacturers of the most famous submachine gun in the world, the Uzi, recently opened a manufacturing plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://iwi.us

What IWI is producing and selling is chilling: powerful military weapons that have been “civilianized” so that they can be used by police and civilians. The Uzi, for example, has been made into a large pistol, so the next time you’re stopped by your local police (or if you’re black or poor, shot at by your local police), they could be pulling from their holsters Uzi machine gun pistols.

Besides supplying weapons and ammo to the US army, IWI is targeting two American populations. First, the police. It is encouraging the militarization of US police by producing a range of semi-automatic rifles, machine guns and other “hybrid” military/police weapons, and using local police to lobby in their departments — and Congress –for IWI weaponry.

Second, IWI targets the huge American civilian market (Americans, about 4% of the world’s population, own 250 million small arms, about 40% of the world’s total). In fact, on the IWI US website is an icon urging Americans to support the gun lobby. So IWI produces the X95 combined carbine, assault rifle and submachine gun. Why a carbine component? Would you use an X95 to hunt deer? Because assault rifles and submachine guns are (marginally) harder to purchase across the counter; being a normal carbine removes that difficulty. $1200 at your local gun shop (or maybe Walmart’s) will buy you one.

A Call for Solidarity with Palestine and the World’s Oppressed

Today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, comes at a time of intensified aggression by occupation forces and violence in Palestine and throughout the region. As conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate globally, the situation is amongst the worst facing Palestinians since 1948. In Palestine, Zionist settlement expansion continues to usurp more land unabated in the West Bank, while settler and soldier violence has reached relentless levels in all of historic Palestine. Meanwhile, Gaza has experienced three devastating assaults by Israel since 2008 — which according to a recent UN report will render the strip uninhabitable within five years. Individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.

Palestinians have watched helplessly, as every so called peace process since Oslo, has only served to provide Israel with diplomatic cover, to kill and blatantly steal more land and consolidate power. Meanwhile, the international “quartet” tasked with negotiating a solution are consumed by violence they are responsible for creating, thus rendering hopeless any chance of creating a more peaceful solution, in the foreseeable future. As the complacent Palestinian leadership, tasked with the role of suppressing resistance, serves to accelerate the colonization of our homeland –the situation becomes more desperate than ever. In what many have called a Third Intifada, individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.

The acts of resistance by Palestinian youth are spontaneous expressions of anger – yet lack sufficient organization and strategic direction, calling into question whether the demonstrations can be sustained. Despite a lack of political leadership or clear organization, the Palestinian people continue their struggle for freedom against one of the world’s largest and most powerful militaries in the world. Regardless of what it’s called, the biggest achievement of the latest surge of rebellions is its ability to reactivate the youth to directly confront Zionism. Palestinian Youth Movement Call for Solidarity To combat this Zionist project of erasure, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) the only transnational, independent, grassroots movement made up of Palestinians in exile, and within historic Palestine, put out the following statement:

On this international day of solidarity November 29, 2015, the PYM calls on Palestinians worldwide and the solidarity movement to join us in support of the Palestinian resistance, culminating in an international mobilization on this day, and until Palestine is free: Our aspirations for justice and liberation motivate us to assume an active role as a young generation in our national struggle for the liberation of our homeland and people. In recent weeks, Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the target of particularly brutal assaults while arbitrary killings are committed daily by the Zionist military and settlers and mass youth arrests are implemented in Palestine. In response to this Zionist violence, we must recognise that resistance is a mandatory element to surviving in the face of an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing.

Solidarity glimmers, beyond an otherwise bleak horizon

As a principle, solidarity with the world’s oppressed provides a guiding light of how to navigate in an increasingly hostile, complex and violent world. Every day in the corporate media – from Palestine to Iraq, Syria, Ferguson and beyond, we are bombarded with images of mass violence and those spewing hate against poor people and people of color. Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers–in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel’s borders and in the diaspora. Settlers, police and soldiers are portrayed as the victims, while given free range and even incited by government officials to kill with impunity, while media pundits provide no context or cause of the violence.

In 2005, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call was signed by more than 170 civil society organizations and has gained unprecedented global success, and its leadership has filled an important vacuum left by the traditional political parties. Likewise solidarity for Palestinians means overcoming the media misinformation and recognizing that #BlackLivesMatter and Indigenous peoples around the world that are killed with the same impunity. For us to be in solidarity means we too must make these connections and understand that all state violence is connected – while working to address the root causes. BDS is central to our movement, however BDS alone is not enough.

A genuine strategy for Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers–in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel’s borders and in the diaspora. The Palestinian working class can then make regional and international alliances with all those seeking the democratic self- activity necessary for liberation. Road Map to Peace, Where to Begin? Solidarity statements with Palestine are an important first step. Yet to transform the oppressive nature of occupation, we must navigate from this initial symbolic show of support – to practical liberatory action. We can begin by looking at historic and current examples – both of which provide an excellent source of inspiration.

As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America. Emigrating after the First World War, Palestinians created the first Palestinian institutions outside of Palestine, in Latin America. As early as 1920 and by 1947 there was a strong lobby in several countries against the partition of Palestine by the United Nations.Today Latin American solidarity is expressed in a variety of forms of delegations and cooperation, and organizations in Latin America demanding their governments break all relations with Israel. As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Pinochet in Chile. Today Israel shares “expertise” with U.S. police under “various facets of counter-terrorism and first response to better protect the American people.” And as “cooperation” increases we see in both instances, an increasing number of victims are blamed for their own murders, even when evidence is clear they provided no threat whatsoever. me

Exporting Global Repression

Israel is perfecting surveillance, and one of the top occupation profiteers, through the surveillance of the Palestinian people. Using knowledge and expertise gained from assisting in the occupation of Palestinians, the Israeli defense systems company, Elbit, has made millions exporting surveillance worldwide – and increasingly in Latin America. While, Israel’s role in arming dictators and oppressive regimes in Latin America during the last century is well documented, Elbit, is at the forefront of a new growing movement working in at least five Latin American countries, as well as along the U.S.-Mexico border. Elbit – Crossing Borders, Building Fortress Walls The technology Elbit is using to profit off of the “Wall of Death” along the U.S.-Mexico border was first deployed in Palestine along Israel’s Apartheid Wall that in 2004. The International Court of Justice ruled was illegal, and must be torn down, and that Israel must pay reparations. Despite this ruling, Elbit continues to participate in the maintenance of the Wall, thereby being complicit in a grave breach of international law, which is a war crime. palmex

G4S – Leading Repression in Palestine and Globally

In August 2015, more than 1,100 prominent Black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations signed a historic Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine. As part of the BDS campaign, they are taking up targeting the British security company G4S that backs Israel’s notorious prisons. From their statement: “G4S is the world’s largest private security company. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the U.S. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia.

This article was originally published in Telesur.

Falling Stars Raise $65 million for Apartheid, Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing in One Year

LOS ANGELES: On Thursday November 4th, a fundraiser in aid of the occupying Israeli army featured B list Hollywood actors such as Jason Alexander, Antonio Banderas, Liev Schreiber, Jason Segel and Gene Simmons and brought in a whopping “$31 million, as some 1,200 people turned out for an annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala.”

In fact, just last November, yet more falling stars raised over $33 mill: “Barbra Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pamela Anderson were among 1,200 guests who attended the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event at which the unprecedented sum was raised. “It is incredibly touching to see how advocacy for the FIDF has grown in Los Angeles,” said Haim Saban, the American-Israeli philanthropist who chaired the gala.”

Only in entertainment land, master of creating false illusions LOS ANGELES (a city it may be more accurate to call Los Oscuro Angeles, or city of dark/fallen angels/devils!?) is it possible to raise nearly $65 million for an illegal occupying army in one year. Not to mention this occupying welfare state, is already the largest recipient to US aid in the tune of over $3 billion a year – and is currently seeking another $50 billion from US tax payers over the next 10 years!

It seems clear that Hollywood is divided zionist/occupied territory: primarily by those needing a career boost, that follow the script of execs beholden to Israel to gain power in Tinseltown. An article titled, Simmering Conflict in Hollywood Over Israel, revealed how this process works “celebrity criticism of Israel led to recriminations from pro-Israel stars and threats to blacklist those who spoke out against the military operation.”

Pleading ignorance is no excuse, everyone knows Israel is an occupying army, guilty of violating countless UN resolutions and international laws – since its inception. At the least to do or say nothing of the crimes committed by an illegal occupying army, is to be complicit in its crimes. To raise 10’s of millions of dollars for it, is directly supporting state sponsored terror, guilty of no less crimes than those of the nazis.

We would condemn in strongest terms (which we should), and call to boycott:  who raise funds to support the occupation of Palestine – in no uncertain terms. Here they even sink so far as to boast about sending foreign mercenaries to colonize and terrorize the Palestinian people, on their own land:

The evening focused on the IDF’s lone soldiers, who leave their families and native countries behind to serve in the army, and included testimonies from the mothers of fallen soldiers. It also featured a presentation from a US veteran on the impact of Israeli medical technology on the lives of Americans.

But no need really, as they are clearly writing themselves into the dust bins of history as fallen stars- that will do anything for a buck!
geneThat’s OK – we’ve got Hollywood royalty of the likes of – Penelope, Javier, Riri and Selena and KimK., among others ❤

Spanish actor Javier Bardem, nominated for best actor in a drama for his work in

Spanish actor Javier Bardem, nominated for best actor in a drama for his work in “The Sea Inside,” arrives for the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2005, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

keeping it far classier. Now we just need to ask them to put on a fundraiser for Palestine! 😉

——-

Meanwhile, some great news from PORTLAND! Unlike opportunistic Hollywood and those doing it for political and or economic gain, normal every day citizens along with the Human Rights Commission upheld their endorsement of an ‪#‎OccupationFree‬ Portland.

Following a 3.5 hour hearing last night (Wednesday 11/4), the HRC held strong to their endorsement of Occupation-Free Portland’s letter to the City Socially Responsible Investments Committee to put Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions on the City’s Do-Not-Buy list for these companies human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

#YAY #BDS #Winning

Israeli occupation forces strangle PA official Ziad Abu Ein to death, during olive tree planting

December 10, 2014 On this human rights day Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian Authority minister and head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was murdered at a protest and olive-tree planting in Turmusayya village outside Ramallah after being hit, choked and tear-gassed by Israeli occupation forces today.

As we can clearly see here, vicious Israeli/zionist occupation forces train American police in every major city, with the same brutal tactics as used on Palestinians.

It doesn’t even matter that this man was a Palestinian minister that collaborated with the farce of a peace process and system to the extent in which the PA legitimated them. Still, the moment he stood up, even in the most symbolic way, they were quick to murder him as they do with so many other Palestinians. . with complete impunity.

STATEMENT: Murder of Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian official and former political prisoner, must mean end to security cooperation.

Eric Garner being choked to death by NYPD

nakba
#ShutItDown #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter  #JusticeForEricGarner

GAZA IS NOT A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER: IT’S A ZIONIST MADE CATASTROPHE

Please write, share and take action against “Hunger Games” Gaza!!

The situation in Gaza is literally sinking, to filthy new depths. A zionist-made humanitarian crisis; created by an illegal but internationally accepted ‘siege’, held in place by an apartheid regime, fully supported and financed by the U.S., made possible by Egypt and the corporate media’s silence/complicity.

Judging by media sources, the unknowing observer might think a typhoon hit the Gaza Strip last week, causing extreme and severe levels of flooding, damage and suffering – and that there’s actually help on the way! You can’t blame them though, after reading such headlines (IF it even makes it into “mainstream” press): from the Washington Post Gaza Strip receives fuel after battered by storm OR CBC: Gaza receives first fuel shipment in weeks as storm causes havoc . In fact, not only would one not know it is a zionist made catastrophe, one might even believe that those responsible for creating it, are actually doing something to ease the suffering…

GAZA_sinking

BUT ONE WOULD BE SERIOUSLY MISTAKEN! NOT ONLY DO ZIONISTS NOT CARE TO REDUCE SUFFERING, THEY ACTUALLY CREATED THE WORLD’S LARGEST PRISON, WHICH IS GAZA AND NOW TO TOP IF OFF: ISRAEL OPENS THE DAMS FLOODING ADDING TO THE CRISIS NOW AS A RESULT OF THE SIEGE, AND BLOCKADE 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED, LITERALLY DROWNING IN FLOOD WATER OF SEWAGE, TRASH AND FILTH – AT MAJOR RISK OF DISEASE.

Carlos Latuff

Carlos Latuff


Gaza government estimated initial material losses at 64 million dollars and according to Maan News:

UNRWA spokesperson said that large regions of the Gaza Strip are a “disaster area” and called on the world community to lift the Israeli blockade in order to allow recovery efforts to proceed, in a statement sent to Ma’an. Areas around Jabalia have become a massive lake with two meter high waters engulfing homes and stranding thousands. Thousands have been displaced into freezing died Gaza has been unable to pump sewage for more than a month, as power plants have shut down for lack of fuel. The fuel shortages – which were causing daily power cuts of 12-16 hours even before the crisis caused by storm Alexa – are mainly a result of the Egyptian authorities’ destruction of most of the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

GAZA_sinking

HUNGER GAMES – GAZA EDITION

The “blockade” which began in 2006 – is really collective punishment of 1.7 million people, for the crime of participating in democratic elections, which results are unfavorable to zionists. Since then Gaza has become the world’s largest open air prison, much like a “hunger games” or survival experiment in pushing people to their limits. In some room with a large glass ceiling, I can practically hear military and political elite asking questions like: how far can we turn up the pressure cooker before reaching the boiling point? What are the newest tactics and techniques we can use to do so, what weapons should we test, and how much humiliation can we enact before the whole world wakes up. Because, at the end of the day this ‘conflict’ is ultimately a war of public opinion.

Upon learning about the insidious hidden nature of zionism, well intentioned observers often say things like: “I don’t understand how, after what Jews have suffered as a people, they can be so cruel and unfeeling.”

Ultimately those that care to dig further, begin to see the stark comparison between zionism and nazism. Today the US, and Europe unconditionally support zionism, just like they did with other morally and politically bankrupt systems – that practice white supremacy before it. The US supported apartheid in South Africa, until the very end – which is why it’s nauseating to hear all the official tributes to Mandela, after the same criminals labeled him a terrorist until 2008. The US and Europe also supported Nazism in Germany until the bitter end–before they were shamed, or forced to stand against it.

Recently musician Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd earned the ire of zionists because he dared to state what is obvious to those ‘in the know’: “Israeli treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.”

For anyone intimately aware of the current situation on the ground in Palestine, the similarities are crushingly obvious: they are both exclusive European political ideologies, premised on the notion of a superior race, with the goal of eliminating the rest. They both come from settler colonial mentalities, both seek to control the resources and land over the indigenous people and they will both go to any lengths necessary, to fulfill what they see as their divine destiny.

Some of the differences of Zionism is that Nazism headed by Hitler lasted from 1921-1945, and zionism has been the political system in Palestine for more than 65 years. Ironically, the current system of apartheid officially began (it was another type of colonialism form before that), for Afrikans under apartheid in 1948 (same time the zionist state was created), and ended in 1994. Of course all of those racist systems and regimes had intricate ties to each other, were selling and/or receiving weapons and learning from one other.

In order to reverse the situation from going from catastrophic to worse in Gaza, we must address the root cause of the problem. Unless we look at the political and economic systems that ultimately drive the agenda, at the end of the day no amount of “peace talks”, negotiations or humanitarian aid, will change a thing.

Today the growing global movement for justice has removed all hope from political leaders, and taken matters into our own hands. BDS undermines this inherently corrupt and racist system at its most vulnerable areas, economically, culturally and politically.

Information is severely lacking, but I will try to post updates of the deteriorating crisis here.

MEANWHILE, PLEASE HELP BY DEMANDING AN END TO THE SIEGE OF GAZA AND DONATING IF YOU CAN!

Sign this petition: Calling on the United Nations to investigate and hold Israel to account for the war crimes & crimes against humanity they commit on a daily basis

Call, email, fax:
1 The U.S. State Department. Insist it tell Israel and Egypt to Open the Crossings to the Gaza Strip. Call 202-647-4000; select option 4 and ask the operator for the comment line. (You get one minute to record your message.)

2. The White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Alternatively, write to: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500 Call: 202-456-1414 Fax: 202-456-2461

3. The Office of Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations at sgcentral@un.org

4. Contact the Near and Middle East Desk at The International Committee of the Red Cross Ms. Dibeh FAKHR Tel: +41 22 730 37 23 Mobile: +41 79 447 37 26 or fill out the form at http://www.icrc.org/eng/directory/?contactId=303023

4. Contact the Near and Middle East Desk at The International Committee of the Red Cross Ms. Dibeh FAKHR Tel: +41 22 730 37 23 Mobile: +41 79 447 37 26 or fill out the form at http://www.icrc.org/eng/directory/?contactId=303023

Actions:
Palestinian Refugees Right to Return, Al-Awda wants to HELP PALESTINIANS IN GAZA URGENTLY

Please Help Us Celebrate, Not Appropriate-Palestinian film ’5 Broken Cameras’ Oscar Nomination!

In a historic victory, the excellent and riveting newly released documentary ‘5 Broken Cameras which documents the non-violent struggle against the loss of Palestinian land by the construction of the nearby settlement and the apartheid wall-was nominated for an Oscar this year. The film about the Palestinian people, was made by a Palestinian film maker, and takes place in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. Whether due to malicious intent, even maybe due to sheer confusion, or perhaps because it was co-directed by an Israeli – the media however has taken the liberty to sabotage it, as an “Israeli film” – thus putting a major damper on celebrations.

5BrokenCamsQAGuyEmad

As Palestinians, this fact alone is a severe blow to our national pride and is annoying, but that’s not the worst part! To make matters worse and what really makes it a disaster, is what kind of message does it send to the unknowing reader?? An article, in the liberal leaning Huffington Post clearly demonstrates the conundrum and bitter sweet victory, that this Oscar nomination brings. To your average reader, the article states the obvious point, in saying: ”Israel’s overall image in the world has taken a beating because of the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.”

FINALLY! After over six decades of brutalized struggle, trying desperately, mainly in vain – to hold on to their land, this “beating” to the Israeli image (which is really the truth finally beginning to emerge, as is clearly exemplified in this film) that Palestinians and activists from all over the world-have been struggling tirelessly – at great personal cost, to convey to the world has finally begun to penetrate the main stream.

What comes in the very next sentence of the article, however, makes the exact point that threatens to effectively undermine all the hard work and upholds the false illusion of ‘democracy’ that the apartheid state works so hard to create. The article actually goes on to state: ”but even critics say its film industry shows that Israel remains a vibrant democracy.”!!!

Come again!

The bottom line is that creating one set of laws for one group of people, i.e. “Jews” and another one for “non-Jews”, makes it inherently impossible and therefore intellectually dishonest, to call it a democracy (click here to read more about, Israel’s illusionary democracy/system). In fact, the term ‘apartheid’ comes from apart or separate – as in laws, i.e. as was in the case of apartheid South Africa, which is why so many have come to use the term to describe Israel’s system.

Since zionists can’t silence it, they will do what they do best and appropriate it, then lie about its origins. Incidentally, that’s why there are strict guidelines against “normalization“. When this films gets recognized for its amazing work -at great personal risk to the film makers, the struggle of people of the village of Bil’in and all of Palestine – it is no doubt a victory. But the question is, who ultimately gains the most… on the back of Palestinians…yet Again…?!

iyad

Cause to Celebrate or Will Zionists Appropriate?

WE MUST BE VIGILANT!! SUGGESTIONS TO PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD about this legendary Palestinian film of nonviolent resistance that so many have sacrificed, with their bodies and their lives for. 

1) ANY TIME YOU SEE OR HEAR IT CALLED AN ISRAELI FILM, PLEASE REPORT IT HERE

2) POST COMMENTS ON ANY MEDIA REPORTING ON THE FILM, AS PALESTINIAN! Let this film be for the purpose it was meant – to educate, and to raise our voice and just struggle to the world, and bring us one step closer to ending the cultural, and all appropriation of the Palestinian people and cause for freedom and justice, ONCE AND FOR ALL!

3) WRITE YOUR OWN BLOGPOST AND/OR OP-ED ALERTING READERS TO THIS ISSUE AND ASK THEM TO SHARE, THEN DO SUGGESTIONS 1 & 2

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!! AND FOLLOW #BABALSHAMS TO READ ABOUT THE LATEST PALESTINIAN NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE AGAINST SETTLEMENTS & LAND THEFT..

1) Huffington Post – ‘The Gatekeepers,’ ’5 Broken Cameras’: Israeli Documentaries Shortlisted For Oscar” – By Daniel Estrin 01/03/13http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/03/the-gatekeepers-5-broken-cameras_n_2404714.html

Murder on the Nile: G4S Fans the Flames, Burning in el-Boulaq

The tale of betrayal, forced displacement, collective punishment, night raids, arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and murder – sounds like an average day in occupied Palestine. Yet the living conditions for these residents are even worse than within Palestinian refugees camps – as residents live in broken down, decrepit shacks for which the government provides neither electricity, sewage nor running water. This story of state sanctioned violence, is that of Egypt’s El-Boulaq (or Ramle-Boulaq as it’s also called) residents. However, it is imposed not by occupation forces, but by the tacit relationship between investors and developers – armed with private security and backed by the state.

Violence imposed on urban areas and poor residents worldwide, by expanding business interests – with explicit support by the state, is nothing new. In developed countries, gentrification* pushes out the urban poor, through economic means. The corporate media employs many euphemisms to paint gentrification as a ‘boost for everyone’, to make way for ‘natural growth’ in ‘informal areas’. Other independent media such as Rabble.com reveals gentrification for what it is: “a form of structural violence.” and a “strategy within globalization itself” in essence “to attract capital and tourists.”2

It is estimated that “one billion people – or one-sixth of the world’s population, live in shanty towns”3. Their collective struggles, raise many other important intersections of global concern. All over the world, these poor and unrepresented citizen’s who sit on land desired by rich businessmen, states and other powerful interests, are likewise vulnerable to state sanctioned violence and abuses.

The Worldwide Web of Power

The plight of Boulaq residents illustrates the global web of power and relationship between states, investors and private security firms which without public scrutiny or accountability – literally get away with murder to achieve their aims.

Photo by Virginie Nguyen, Egypt Independent

Located just above the slums, sits the prestigious Nile City Towers. Its owners, the Sawiris and Shokshobi families—have a long-standing interest in the land beneath the shacks, which sit on valuable real estate just off the Nile Corniche. With the full support and backing of the state – they have made it clear that they want the residents, many who have been there for generations gone.

Beginning 25 January 2011, residents worked together to defend the towers, when official police and other security guards fled. Naguib Sawiris expressed his gratitude, and agreed to employ local residents. The faltering economy left the many already poor and jobless residents to work as private security guards at the towers.

Throughout the course of the following year, “around 67 shack residents came to work informally for the towers, making a wage of LE800 per month according to documents seen by Egypt Independent, less than half that paid to G4S staff that formally secured the towers. The residents had no work contracts, insurance, identity cards or uniforms, and are paid on the first of the month from a derelict office on the outskirts of the shack area, close to the tower and operated by tower management.”4

Tensions escalated soon after, when tower security forces began firing residents, and private security guards from G4S began showing up to get rid of them. Within less than a year, all that were employed, were soon fired. Part of the residents’ security work is to prevent families moving back to reclaim land from which they have previously been evicted. “They set us against each other,” Sayyed repeats, shaking his head.”5

Violence Erupts as Residents Fightback

Although G4S is one of three companies handling private security in Nile Towers – in an area characterized by impunity and met with regular violence, intimidation and neglect – their complicity in abuse is documented in at least one of the most senseless and tragic events.

When residents took a legal stand or otherwise attempted to assert their rights to the land, cases of violence immediately ensued. Last year after elderly resident, Ahmed Saleh, initiated a court case asserting ownership of the land on which his house stands, a number of attacks followed– on himself, members of his family and on their homes.

In June 2012, the Cairo Governorate issued an order authorizing police to evict the residents. Just a week later, the death of five-year-old Amar Mohammed Salah resulted due to a fire which tore through his decrepit shack on 27 June, that could have been prevented. Instead, Tarek al Halawani* who was then the head of Nile City towers security, gave a direct order to Khalid Anis in charge of G4S (employed by al-Halawani) – not to turn on the water, which he passed to the staff on the ground. When residents tried to connect a fire-hose to the water, staff refused to turn on the taps.

Weeks later, Amr Fathi, who was employed as a temporary security guard was shot dead after demanding pay for himself and other workers – which had been denied them for months. Rights lawyers are currently suing the tourism police officer, but the Interior ministry said it was self-defense.

The recent several months have also seen the use of shotguns, bird shots and petrol bombs – in regular attacks on residents of the area. Several reports state, counter-terrorism police breaking down doors while residents were asleep, and randomly arresting any young men they could find. Prompted by anger and the ongoing imprisonment, several protests broke out-followed by an unprecedented security clampdown, which is currently in place.

Several figures with intimate knowledge of the affair have suggested that this is part of a bargain with Naguib Sawiris, one of the owners of Nile City Towers, who has been trying to acquire the valuable plot of land for years. EIPR lawyer Ahmed Hossam, who is appealing the governor’s decree says, “You are always the weaker party on this side. We face the government who seems to have joined forces with investors who wield billions, and on top of that, the Interior Ministry is besieging the residents,” he says. “But there are more players involved here, like the residents who fight back, civil society, the courts, the media, and so on.”5

Following the deadly raid and after working with various Egyptian rights groups, residents formed a popular committee and on September 2nd, held a press conference where they announced their following demands.

RESIDENTS DEMANDS

We will stand at nothing short of one of the two demands, either to:

  1. Develop Ramlet Boulaq and provide us with humane living conditions by providing us with water and a proper sewage system, or;
  2. Come to the negotiating table over a reasonable price to sell the land to the constructors and,
  3. The end of an on-going police crackdown on the inhabitants and the release of dozens of prisoners. Hold police, businessmen and all those responsible for violence and abuse accountable.

This week, residents held their first march to the prosecutor general’s office at the high court building. The march was organized as part of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party’s “Alive in Name Only” campaign – in coordination with the Ramlet Boulaq Popular Committee.” Another march and future community events and actions, are being planned to take place soon.

Join Global Resistance to Stop G4S

G4S came under scrutiny in November 2010, when Who Profits, part of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace and Danish financial watchdog DanWatch “revealed that the company supplied equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints, police stations and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons.”6

G4S is a British-Danish company headquartered in the UK. With more than 650,000 staff worldwide it is the largest private security company in the world, and the second largest employer after WalMart. G4S does the dirty work for governments – who partner up with its countries richest investors to determine its targets. Their operatives provide hired muscle to asylum detention centers in the UK, private prisons in America and government facilities in occupied West Bank settlements. “In 2008, G4S bought ArmorGroup, and in doing so joined the shadowy world of privatized war in Iraq and Afghanistan“.  G4S Africa is the largest employer in Africa, and its website boasts of having “over 100,000 employees in 29 countries across the continent from Morocco to South Africa” – where union/labor rights campaigns have sprouted due to abuses, which have been well documented.

While G4S is a government favorite, its complicity in abuse are nothing new, and their track record is far from spotless. “G4S has been repeatedly accused of providing poor services in its prisons and immigration detention centres. For example, the lack of investment in staff and efficient procedures has often led to detainees’ missing important medical and court appointments. In June 2011, it was revealed that a record 773 complaints were lodged in 2010 against G4S by detainees, including 48 claims of assault.”5

The trend of outsourcing already contentious issues such as forced eviction, to those who profit from markets traumatized by poverty and war – while directly benefiting the private military industry and prison system is a dangerously growing trend. Traditionally, the state handles the monopoly on using violence to deal with the underbelly of capitalism, globalization and big business interests. Due to the public sector’s budget cutbacks and austerity measures however, governments are increasingly outsourcing the monopoly to anyone willing to do their dirty work. Despite urgent calls to ensure decisive controls over this deadly industry, PSCs are left to police themselves through trade associations and voluntary codes of conduct.

Unless there’s an organized global campaign to stop them, private security company’s unlimited growth potential remains inevitable. The UK government has gone so far as to confirm “that Israel’s policy of detaining Palestinians is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that they have raised this with the Israeli government and will continue to do so.”6 Such vague diplomatic pressure is not enough–much more can be done to hold G4S accountable, and prevent the British firm from being directly involved in these of rights abuses.

The Egyptian revolution and all those struggling for freedom worldwide, have tremendous potential and an opening on the socio-political level, but remain limited without organized global campaigns that connect our common struggle. Community participation at the local level, when connected to a global movement, can be a powerful model and symbol, in the rise of our collective power. Global campaigns against such multinational corporations, business interests and war profiteers such as G4S and to support the residents of El-Boulaq, can be the first step to the manifestation of this.

Contact: the Sawiris, and Shobokshi:

You can send a message through this online form: http://nilecitytowers.com/contact.html or call Manal Abdel Hamid, spokesperson for Naguib Sawires: 012-2215-6333.

1) support residents demands as stated above and

2) demand an answer as to why Tarek al Halawani ordered security not to turn on the water, to save little 5 year-old Amar’s life.

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See the many global campaigns and reasons to stop G4S May 21, 2012 http://corporatewatch.org/?lid=4343

1. Moving on up: Gentrification in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside – Rabble.Ca – By Marsha Walia and Dave Diewert – February 24, 2012 http://rabble.ca/news/2012/02/moving-gentrification-vancouvers-downtown-eastside

*According to the article: “Gentrification is the social, economic, and cultural transformation of a predominantly low-income neighbourhood through the deliberate influx of upscale residential and commercial development.”

2. Shanti-town’ as defined by Wikipedia – “is a slum settlement (sometimes illegal or unauthorized) of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made from scrap materials: often plywood, corrugated metal and sheets of plastic. Shanty towns, which are usually built on the periphery of cities, often do not have proper sanitation, electricity or telephone services.Shanty towns are mostly found in developing nations, or partially developed nations with an unequal distribution of wealth. In extreme cases, shanty towns have populations approaching that of a city.

3. Land rights, labor and violence in a Cairo slum: Egypt Independent – Abulkasim al-Jaberi, Tom Dale, 17 July 2012 – http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/land-rights-labor-and-violence-cairo-slum

4. Wave of arrests, threat of eviction plague Ramlet Bulaq: Egypt Independent – Abulkasim al-Jaberi, 8 August 2012 http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/wave-arrests-threat-eviction-plague-ramlet-bulaq

5. How G4S helps Israel break the Geneva convention: New Statesman – Lisa Nandy calls for the government to take action over G4S’ participation in illegal imprisonment. By Lisa Nandy, 30 September 2012 http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/how-g4s-helps-israel-break-geneva-convention

6 G4S ends some aspects of its complicity with Israeli Apartheid: BDS Movement – by Adri Nieuwhof and Basma Salem, March 27, 2011 http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/g4s-ends-some-5472

7. G4S – A company profile, By Corporate Watch – Updated September 2012: http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=341