November 5, 2016 - No. 43

November 8 U.S. Election

What It Means When America's Two
Most Unwanted Vie for Election

Campaign Serves to Eliminate Political Parties and Undermine
Fight for People's Empowerment

- U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization -
Discrediting Presidential Elections Deepens Possibilities for
Federal Intervention and Civil War

Justice Department Reduces Federal Observers at
Polling Places for Presidential Election

Courageous People's Resistance in the U.S.
Defiance and Resistance at Standing Rock Continues
Prisoners Continue to Condemn Modern-Day Slavery
U.S.-Mexico Border Convergence Defends Rights,
Opposes Militarization and U.S. Foreign Policy

- School of the Americas Watch -

Criminal War Against Yemen
U.S. Guilty of War Crimes
- Voice of Revolution -
Hiding U.S. Role in Yemen Slaughter So Bombing Can Be
Sold as "Self-Defense"

- Adam Johnson -
U.S. and UK Continue to Actively Participate in
Saudi War Crimes, Targeting of Yemeni Civilians

- Glenn Greenwald -

99th Anniversary of Balfour Declaration

November 8 U.S. Election

What It Means When America's Two
Most Unwanted Vie for Election

November 8 is Election Day in the United States. Elections are taking place not only for the Presidency but all 435 voting-member seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate.[1] Together, the House of Representatives and Senate make up the U.S. Congress.

The 2016 election comes at a time when major concerns abound about the general crisis plaguing U.S. society as well as the country's role on the world stage, especially their military involvement in global affairs, as war and violence to solve problems appear to have overwhelmed peace and any notion of positive neutrality. On the economic front, U.S. control of world production has gone down from 40 per cent in 1960, to 22 per cent today. The environmental crisis and growing impoverishment of the American people are also taking a toll. The militarization of police, the police occupation of communities and violence against the people are major concerns. The consistently high numbers of prisoners throughout the U.S., who are increasingly held in private institutions run for profit, the slave conditions within those prisons and use of indefinite solitary confinement and other forms of abusive treatment have provoked loud voices for change, including widespread prisoner hunger strikes and rebellions.

The growing number of deportations and use of internment camps are also major issues, as is the refusal to deal with the Sioux Nation on a political nation-to-nation basis at Standing Rock. The U.S. declaration of a permanent war against terror is now used to justify targeted assassinations, acceptance of torture and growing state repression of resistance movements. The U.S. working class needs its own independent institutions and voice to defend its rights and open a path forward.

None of these problems has been raised for discussion or solution during the election campaign. On the contrary, the level of political discourse has never been so low, starting with the primaries. The hooliganism during the primaries sucked the oxygen out of the room so completely that henceforth it became impossible to think. As of that point it became clear that the elections would not sort out the contradictions within the ruling circles as they are supposed to do. On the contrary, the campaign has revealed the extent to which the U.S. state and system of governance operate through corruption and coercion as well as how people are deprived of political power. This is the other very important aspect of the state power in the hands of the financial oligarchy. The ruling imperialist elite achieve this by depriving the people of an outlook, a way to look at the world and the problems that have arisen so that they can be calmly sorted out and provided with solutions.

This is the main content of disinformation, aimed at destroying the peoples' mass movements against war, police violence, deportations, the genocide and expropriation of the hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples, mass incarcerations and the denial of rights. Disinformation and smashing the just resistance of the people for their rights are connected with depriving the people of a consistent outlook to build the new in accordance with the social conditions. In the name of security, a necessity is concocted to rid the country and indeed the world of "troublemakers" whoever they may be: resisters of every stripe, anti-war activists, trade union stalwarts, fighters for justice, etc. None are considered to be citizens with equal rights to be dealt with politically. The ridding of "troublemakers" is another aspect of the state depriving the people of a modern outlook.

To disinform public opinion is not an aim that people can agree with. It leaves the American polity aimless. The promotion of racism, sexism, warmongering, chauvinism, scandals and mudslinging, which divides the American polity, and the smashing of the peoples' movements for their rights reinforce the absence of an outlook whereby the people could find their bearings and sort things out. The people are charged by history to turn the situation around. The antidote is to negate the negation, to build institutions and thinking that develop and provide a modern outlook, and to deepen and broaden the resistance movements for rights and a pro-social future.

In the election, the people are supposed to pick either Clinton or Trump, the two most unwanted people imaginable, or possibly a third party that has no chance, but regardless, none of the contradictions within the ruling circles are being sorted out.[2] On the contrary, a state of civil war is evident for all to see. The political parties have been all but destroyed; the Congress no longer functions, and now the elections, far from re-establishing a new equilibrium within the status quo, are being used to complete the process of "change" towards ways of governing which bypass political parties and government structures, including the United Nations, and establish so-called direct relations with peoples at home and abroad and a wider use of police powers. This process known as the "Third Way" was promoted by the administration of Bill Clinton and further pursued by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Obama mobilized his own forces for "change" to power himself into the White House. Once there, he established web sites including "," a new White House site, a page for petitions and various youth organizations. Abroad, he built direct links with so-called non-governmental organizations that bypass governments. The U.S. military has also established direct links with other militaries so that uncooperative politicians can be more easily removed. This is particularly evident in regions and countries where warfare is underway such as West and Central Asia and North Africa but also within the military alliances with Japan, south Korea, the Philippines and throughout South and Central America.

The kind of change the ruling U.S. imperialist elite are introducing strengthens a method of governing based on police powers. When Obama was elected, the rulers needed a saviour capable of actions that could unite the warring factions amongst the branches of the armed forces, including not only army, navy and air force but the police forces, Special Forces and covert agencies such as the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security. Based on the declaration of permanent war, the predominant role of Commander-in-Chief and police powers became a permanent rule by exception. Now the same is being done by declaring that the "Commander-in-Chief" is not just of the armed forces, but "of the people" as well. These ways of governing are an effort to establish an illusory direct relationship between every individual American and the Commander-in-Chief who, according to Hillary Clinton, is the only thing "standing between you and the apocalypse." Within this way of governing, the leader becomes omnipotent and the existing structures are irrelevant or even a block to governing as Trump often says with his line that "the system is rigged." The people are left feeling powerless as their choice between the two is meaningless as both are unacceptable. The important feature is that the people are not supposed to act on their desire for change by becoming political themselves and uniting with others to bring the economic, political and social structures into conformity with the modern reality of socialized conditions.

In part, the challenges the U.S. ruling elite face worldwide are connected with the decline of the country's previous overwhelming economic power, and unravelling first of the post-World War II order and secondly the New World Order of the 1990s. For the U.S. rulers it means their domination has to be defended even if it puts the entire system at risk both within the U.S. and globally. The Obama administration and the oligopolies and cartels pushing for the election of Hillary Clinton even seem willing to risk war with Russia to guarantee a Clinton election victory. However, disinformation, predatory wars and the smashing of the peoples' resistance movements and the absence of a consistent modern outlook amongst the people take the discussion surrounding the election away from what is at stake.

Constant disinformation and pressure on the people to abandon their rights and resistance movements create a scenario where the polity appears not to have an aim and is reduced to choosing between two bad choices instead of getting on with the job of building the new. The absence of outlook takes the attention of the people away from the nature of the general crisis in which the U.S. system of governance is mired and taking a step forward on their own out of the muck.

What, for instance, is the relation of the general crisis to the political process? If the political process -- elections, the role of political parties, legislatures, courts and all other institutions of the state that constitute a government of laws -- no longer can sort out the problems and contradictions inherent in the society and in the act of living itself, what is happening, and what is needed to resolve the dilemma? One thing that is certain is that the police powers that are being used to deal with problems at home and abroad are not those of a particular government institution but are acts outside of and in contradiction with a government of laws. They are not acts meant to sustain a government of laws either within the U.S. or anywhere else.

State of the U.S. Democracy

Depriving people of an outlook goes hand in hand with co-opting, containing and destroying any resistance and opposition amongst the people and any thinking based on their movements for the new and in defence of their rights. The state of the U.S. democracy is such that out of a population of more than 320 million people, the two most detested people have become candidates for the President of the United States, the power in the world that is said to be the "indispensable nation," which by virtue of the definition, means all other nations are dispensable.

And so too, Americans who refuse to submit to injustice and therefore do not fit into the category of "the governed" are also considered dispensable. This is why the electoral process does not treat Americans as citizens with equal rights but dehumanizes them by referring to them as special interests, as "swing votes," "Black votes," "Latino votes," etc. This too serves to disinform the polity and leave it aimless.

The disinformation suggests that Hillary Clinton should be elected because she is a woman and it will establish an American first, breaking the glass ceiling and vindicating American democracy. But whatever else it is, Hillary's election cannot be considered to be an aim for the polity any more than the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president was an aim for the polity in 2008. Lacking an aim means that Obama's attempts to end "America's humiliation" did not succeed. The crimes he has committed in the name of the war on terror, the recurring financial scandals and collapse of the "American dream" have exacerbated U.S. humiliation and brought it to its lowest standing worldwide in history. None of the actions of the political representatives of the oligopolies, which are endangering life on earth, contribute to the development of an aim for the polity consistent with the needs of humankind and life itself.

The development of an aim and outlook consistent with social conditions can only come from those who will benefit from that change, from those whom the ruling imperialist elite consider "dispensable." The struggle of the working people, youth, small businesspeople, oppressed nations and other collectives of the peoples for their rights and for new relations of production and democratic renewal replete with new ways of governing consistent with modern social conditions will introduce their own modern aim, outlook and agenda. They must deprive the ruling imperialist elite and their Commander-in-Chief of the power to deprive the people of their rights.

Destruction of Public Opinion

Public opinion exists because of a political process; the political process exists because of the relations between individuals and collectives and parts and wholes -- all the contending interests -- that have to be sorted out. The sorting out exists in the doing, the depriving of the ones doing the depriving, and in this way moving forward. That is why democracy itself and the system called democratic are features of class societies. When their time has come to relinquish powers and for the "dispensable" to build the new, the rulers of those states oppressing and exploiting "dispensable" social classes such as slaves and workers only offer police powers outside a government of laws. Even the U.S. ruling elite realize this is the case, as they came to power by depriving the King of England of his powers over the American colonies.

This election reveals that the U.S. system of elections, political parties and governance is exhausted. It is spent, played out, depleted. It has nothing to offer. Only the police powers remain. The representative democracy shows itself as a military dictatorship with no politics, just the police powers and the dangers they pose to humankind.

Candidates with personal armies to get themselves elected, the imposition of a permanent state of war and rule by exception, and creation of a "Commander-in-Chief of the people," along with the acknowledged non-functioning of erstwhile political institutions such as the Congress will not confer legitimacy on whosoever is declared the winner of this election. Far from it, with no processes in place to sort out the contradictions within the ruling circles and between the ruling circles and the people, the danger of civil war breaking out as a clash of arms and military dictatorship and occupation at home and ever more dangerous adventures abroad are a major concern emerging out of this election.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) takes this occasion to affirm its complete confidence in the U.S. working class, youth, women, national minorities and Indigenous nations. While neither of the factions of the ruling elite attempting to upstage the other or triumph in the coups and counter-coups taking place within the context of U.S. elections and their aftermath will succeed in sorting out any problem, they will also not succeed in stamping out the resistance movements of the U.S. people, which are bound to gather strength and momentum.

In the opinion of CPC(M-L), the only way forward at this time is to step up the resistance movements of the people and establish a political process that brings into being an anti-war government. Meanwhile, every effort must be made to provide the polity with an outlook consistent with the social conditions so that the problems plaguing humanity in this twenty-first century can be sorted out on a new historical basis.

We call on Canadians to go all out to oppose the election of another war president in the U.S. and to go all out to support the U.S. working people and oppressed nations in strengthening their resistance and organizations, their movements for an anti-war government and to bring the troops home, to defend the rights of all and to humanize the natural and social environment.


1. The President will be declared based on one candidate winning 270 votes of the 538 Electoral College votes. Each state is apportioned a certain number of electoral college votes equal to the number of representatives that state has in the Congress, with DC also given three. A state's Electoral College votes are supposed to go to whichever candidate wins the popular vote in that state (with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, which apportion votes proportionally). If no candidate receives 270 votes, the President is selected by the House of Representatives from amongst the top three contenders while the Vice-President is chosen by the Senate.

2. A poll conducted by the Washington Post /ABC from 26-29 October showed that Clinton is seen unfavourably by 60 per cent of likely voters while Trump is viewed unfavourably by 58 per cent. The same poll found that 97 per cent of Trump supporters view Clinton unfavourably (90 p cent strongly so) and 95 per cent of Clinton supporters see Trump unfavourably (again, 90 per cent say "strongly"). Voting intentions showed 46 per cent for Clinton and 45 per cent for Trump. The final pre-election New York Times/CBS News poll results are that more than 80 per cent of eligible voters say the presidential campaign has left them repulsed.

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Campaign Serves to Eliminate Political Parties and Undermine Fight for People's Empowerment

As the elections enter their final week, many in the polity are angrier now than they were at the beginning of the campaign. The people have endured a string of scandals engulfing both Trump and Clinton and their ensuing threats. The two candidates are now more broadly disliked than at the start.

The campaigns have confirmed both Trump and Clinton as members of self-serving criminal syndicates vying to serve themselves and others of the imperialist rich. Perhaps of greatest concern to many is that despite the long campaign, no issue facing the polity is dealt with -- from how to guarantee equality among human beings to how to ensure that the polity is the source of political power. Importantly, this includes questions of war and peace and the people's opposition to U.S. warmongering. Clinton's call for a no-fly zone in Syria directly threatens war with Russia, potentially unleashing a catastrophic world war. Trump also threatens a broader war boasting he will send the U.S. military directly to engage and eliminate ISIS wherever it exists, which according to the U.S. authorities is dozens of countries. Great concern continues about militarized police, racist government attacks and responding to concerns of the people with such force. The courageous resistance of the people such as at Standing Rock -- where Native Americans and many others are protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in order to protect water for millions and defend the sovereignty of the Sioux nation -- is met with attacks including tanks, automatic weapons, sonic-sound canons, pepper spray and the arrest of 140 unarmed protesters in one day. Killer drones and killer cops are connected and part of militarization of life with broad impunity by the government for its terrorism at home and abroad but these crucial matters are given no space in the campaign.

The campaign is deepening the people's grave concerns about preventing a broader war and ending the existing ones. Posturing as warmongers, the candidates are using the election to discredit whatever remains of governance through laws and promote instead the election of a leader who is both Commander-in-Chief of the military and the people. A Commander-in-Chief is not someone who governs based on law, but rather on police power -- the power to criminalize, to punish, to imprison, to kill and destroy with impunity.

Efforts are being made to convince the people that rather than having a dysfunctional government, with dysfunctional parties, what is needed is the selection of a Commander-in-Chief to lead the country. These efforts include the repeated focus on being fit to be Commander-in-Chief, an entire debate, held on an aircraft carrier, devoted to the topic and openly involving military leaders in the campaign.

The campaign's focus on choosing a Commander-in-Chief and broadening the use of police powers at home and abroad undermines the struggle for people's empowerment, the right of the people to decide those issues that affect their work and lives. The elimination of political parties and promotion of individual leaders depoliticizes the people. In the U.S. today the only way to solve the country's problems and open a path forward is through politicizing the people and finding ways to involve them in politics, especially the youth, and giving them the power to decide and control political, economic and social affairs.

Elimination of Democratic and Republican Parties

To convince the people to accept the direction of a Commander-in-Chief as ruler, both campaigns have focused on discrediting and destroying the Democratic and Republican parties from inside and outside those organizations. Trump and Clinton have contributed essentially to eliminating their respective parties as viable political parties with organized connections with the people.

In this election, Trump from the beginning openly attacked the Republican Party, threatening to run as an independent if he was not treated fairly. Since securing the nomination literally hundreds of Republicans and their top national security and foreign policy experts have openly denounced Trump and refused to back him, including top party leaders. Trump further escalated the attack by blocking funds to Republicans running for other positions.

Clinton has been courting the anti-Trump Republicans with many from the Bush administrations joining her campaign. Using her slogan "stronger together," Clinton curries favor among neo-conservatives with suggestions she will likely include them in her cabinet. These include Paul Wolfowitz, considered the architect of the Iraq war for Bush; John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush; Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush and advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; and Brent Scowcroft, advisor to three previous Republican presidents. All are warmongers.

The actions by FBI director Comey saying Clinton is again under investigation, right before the elections and doing so against the advice of the Justice Department and norms of not interfering in elections, further indicates that practices and norms of the past are finished and conflicts are intensifying. The FBI is contending alongside the CIA, military and other policing agencies and Comey's actions indicate the norms for mitigating these conflicts no longer function.

The combination of splitting and merging indicates that the two parties no longer exist or function as parties with distinct political platforms and discipline. The various factors indicate that, for the rich, political parties are no longer needed. They are being replaced with political life characterized by individual leaders, with their own machinery and constituencies vying for the presidency. Obama and Sanders have such machinery for their individual use, replacing and wrecking party machinery. Trump brought his machinery assembled from personal wealth and outside the Republican Party. So too, Clinton relies not on the Democratic Party apparatus but her own personal apparatus, well-illustrated by leaks from the e-mail account of her campaign chairman John Podesta. This is comprised of a whole retinue of loyal advisors and agents inside and outside the campaign and various levels of government, the Clinton Foundation and the $80 million net worth and vast connections of a former President. The power and success of this apparatus is taken as further evidence that Clinton "has what it takes."

For the imperialist rich, the U.S. state exists to preserve their class privilege and control of social property, and to keep the working people out of power. The U.S. state has two main forms: a government of laws and a government of police.

The government of laws requires a functioning Congress to legislate such laws and elections for those said to represent the people. The elections are a means for the people to authorize the government to legislate and govern. Both contribute to giving the government legitimacy, and thus the ability to use force. A government of laws is also expected to meet the needs of the people or at least provide the appearance of doing so.

The government of police, with police defined as encompassing the military and all the many policing and spy agencies, does not and cannot legitimate the rule of the imperialist rich and their state. Police power is the use of force, the power to punish, criminalize, jail, and kill with increasing impunity. Police power is not concerned with accountability to the people, as evidenced abroad with the exercise of this power to kill with impunity through drone warfare and Special Forces in Yemen, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere. At home, the increasingly militarized police forces engage in police killings and attacks on demonstrators, such as those occurring at Standing Rock, and witnessed in Baton Rouge, Baltimore, Ferguson and elsewhere. Accountability and rule of law are absent.

The presidency itself is no longer presented primarily as a civilian in charge of a government of laws, but rather a Commander-in-Chief holding broad police powers to utilize at home and abroad. This reflects the more general direction away from a government of laws and to a government of police power. This, in part, is the reason that both Trump and Clinton are openly bringing the military into play with high level military leaders picking sides, when the military traditionally remains neutral. This tradition exists as a means to ensure the military backs and supports whoever is elected, regardless of party. Now, with the denigration of the Democratic and Republican political parties if not their complete destruction, the military is being brought into the fray as a crucial factor. This is a dangerous development, as it remains unclear where the loyalties of the military leaders will lie after the election and could indicate open splits in the future.

The process of eliminating a government of laws and political parties has been taking place for some time. This is evident in the dysfunction of Congress, in part because the parties no longer function as political parties. Party leaders are not followed, legislation cannot be passed even with a majority, which the Republicans currently have. The various means for sorting out conflicts among the ruling circles, such as positions on committees and dividing up the budget no longer function. The present presidential campaign is serving to mark the elimination of the parties and a government of laws and the rise of police power as omnipotent. The Commander-in-Chief as ruler is to be followed or else the police power will come down on your neck.

Development of political parties was a positive thing for the people, as they are necessary to give expression to the collective will. Politics are necessary for people to defend their individual and collective interests, and those of society as a whole. Politics are for people to participate in deciding and controlling those affairs that concern and affect them. The undemocratic direction of the imperialist rich to depoliticize the people, including the elimination of politics and political parties, serves to divide and divert the people from defending their individual and collective interests, to block the people from occupying the space for change. Advancing the cause of democracy today requires politics of empowerment, politically mobilizing the people themselves to govern and decide.

Specifically with this election, the imperialist rich are engaged in an effort to force the people to submit to endless U.S. predatory wars and a broader inter-imperialist war among the big powers, and to more impunity and militarization of life at home. Presenting the President as Commander-in-Chief of the police power yet still a leader representing the will of the people is a means to force the people to accept war as necessary and inevitable and their empowerment and pro-social change as impossible. It is also for this reason that Clinton, posing as such a leader, has said, speaking to the people in general, "I'm the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse." This is the posturing of a Commander-in-Chief "of the people, by the people, for the people." It is at once threatening and demanding support, as the only one capable of averting an apocalypse. This is said even as Clinton threatens war with Russia, which is what many see as a pending apocalypse. It is a dangerous, destructive direction that must be vigorously opposed.

Imposing this anti-social direction presents problems for the imperialist rich, as the people are not so ready to submit to the dictates of police power. This is evident in the continuing and widespread protests and the broad anger with the campaign itself. A growing sense is developing, particularly among the youth, that a different direction is needed, a pro-social, anti-war direction of empowerment of the people. While the imperialist rich try to present their dangerous and backward direction as a path to change, the people are charged by history to occupy the space for change and step up organizing for a new pro-social direction towards an anti-war government and their political empowerment.

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Discrediting Presidential Elections Deepens Possibilities for Federal Intervention and Civil War

Both presidential candidates Trump and Clinton are discrediting the elections. Trump repeatedly claims election fraud is afoot. He focuses on voter fraud by individuals, targeting immigrants in particular. He has called for his supporters to go to the polls to challenge voters, which they are free to do. He has also called into question the results themselves, indicating Clinton and her allies could rig the election and he may not accept the outcome if he does not win. One of the super political action committees (super PAC) carrying out fundraising for Trump is even called "Stop the Steal." He persists in claiming fraud by voters is an important issue, even though prosecutions for voter fraud are rare. Only 31 cases of voter impersonation out of a billion votes cast have been exposed. The Trump aim is to sow doubt, not guarantee the right to vote.

Hillary Clinton has filed lawsuits concerning voter intimidation in four "battleground states" -- Ohio, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The lawsuits contend Trump and his supporters are "conspiring to threaten, intimidate, and thereby prevent minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting." The lawsuits cite the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. The effort here is to make Clinton appear concerned about voter suppression, especially the voting rights of African Americans. The limiting of the suits to only four states, leaving out states like North Carolina, Texas and Florida where government officials are acting to disenfranchise voters, indicates Clinton's actions, like Trump's, are self-serving, to sow doubt about the outcome rather than extend and guarantee the right to vote.

Actions by both candidates have as a main impact the discrediting of elections, increasing the possibility of federal intervention in contradiction with various state authorities. Both candidates ignore the main ways voters are disenfranchised. This includes voter registration laws aimed at blocking African Americans especially and working people more generally from voting. A large portion of eligible voters are not allowed to vote because they are not registered.

From its beginning, the U.S. set-up has served to block people from voting -- not ensure the right to vote. Today, one way this occurs is through strict voter ID laws, which have been imposed in fourteen, mainly southern states. The North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), for example, filed a federal lawsuit on October 31, seeking an immediate injunction to stop the state and various county boards of elections from illegally canceling the registrations of thousands of voters, disproportionately impacting African Americans.

According to a 2010 study, voter suppression includes blocking more than 5.8 million prisoners and ex-prisoners from voting countrywide with almost 600,000 disenfranchised in Florida alone. This suppression disproportionately impacts African Americans who contend with racist mass incarceration nationwide. Removing voters from the rolls, limiting the number of polling places and moving them on Election Day, which causes longer lines and frustration, are other means to disenfranchise voters. These are all far more serious problems that voters face in the struggle to affirm their right to vote than the few cases of individual fraud. But the two candidates are not addressing these systemic problems arising from government actions not individuals.

Why then the focus on voter fraud and voter intimidation? It serves to discredit the elections even further in conditions where people are already angry about the situation. Targeting particular states, as both Trump and Clinton are doing, opens the possibility of calling for more federal intervention to ensure the elections are "fair." This possibility is underlined by the actions of the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ commonly sends hundreds of observers and poll watchers to various polling stations across the country, as a means to prevent voter intimidation. In 2012, the DoJ sent 780 specially trained observers to polling places in 51 jurisdictions in 23 states. This year a much smaller number will go to less than five states. For the 14 states with strict new laws, mostly requiring special ID to present at the polls as well as additional registration requirements, the DoJ will not send any observers.

With the likelihood of untrained forces from both the Clinton and Trump campaigns being at the polls where new laws are being implemented in addition to the long history of serious attacks on the right to vote mostly by state officials, the DoJ has decided to be absent. In this way, the DoJ can blame the states for any confusion, disruptions and claims of fraud at the polls.

Together with the widespread discrediting of the election by both candidates, this provides a means to justify a federal takeover of elections, or at least more federal intervention in them. It opens a space for the federal government to occupy, presenting changes to the electoral set-up as being more democratic while in fact blocking the people from themselves changing the set-up to favor their empowerment. Further usurping power from the states is also consistent with the direction of a Commander-in-Chief as leader and holder of police powers for the country. It also creates a civil war scenario, if and when states refuse to accept federal control.

In the U.S, for the presidency to be able to control the many policing agencies is no small matter, especially those currently controlled by the cities, counties and states, including the state National Guard. Within the military itself, splits have appeared as seen by the various Generals and Admirals backing either Clinton or Trump. A traditional job of the president is to unite the divisions within the military forces to preserve the union and present a united front of the imperialist rich capable of blocking the working people from coming to power.

In today's circumstances, it appears the hope of the ruling imperialists is to impose a Commander-in-Chief of the police power that is recognized as a necessary, even indispensable commander of the working people. In this way they would succeed in preserving the union while demobilizing the people from opposing the destruction of a government of laws and accepting a government of police power, a militarized police state.

A direction for the state that relies on police power outside a government of laws is unstable, destructive and dangerous. A new direction for political affairs is urgently needed. The people organized to defend their individual and collective interests and the rights of all can mobilize their peers to take up practical politics and wage a conscious battle for a pro-social direction that empowers the people and brings into being an anti-war government.

(Voice of Revolution)

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Justice Department Reduces Federal Observers at Polling Places for Presidential Election

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is significantly reducing the number of federal observers stationed inside polling places for the November 8 elections. This is taking place in conditions where yet more voters face laws designed to restrict -- not increase -- the right to vote. More than a dozen states have strict new election laws that will exclude voters, most using ID requirements at the polls, as well as registration requirements.

The U.S. from its origins has organized to reduce voter participation through various means. These include, today and in the past, voter registration requirements that are systematically racist, geared toward keeping African Americans from participating in the political life of the country. Current laws also target students, the elderly and more generally, as in the past, those who are poor.

The new laws include requirements for presenting only government-approved forms of photo identification at the polls. The requirements are expected to lead to disputes. As well, Donald Trump has called for his supporters to police the polls themselves and is specifically targeting Latinos. The Democrats also are expected to have observers. Both candidates and parties can send observers inside polling stations. None of these volunteers have to be trained or knowledgeable about the laws. Many are expected to intimidate or otherwise disrupt voting by slowing the process and generating long lines by questioning each voter.

For the past five decades, the DoJ has sent hundreds of observers and poll monitors across the country, particularly in the mainly southern states that the DoJ was monitoring for discrimination against voters. The DoJ mandate stemmed from the 1965 Voting Rights Act, itself a result of massive struggles in the south and across the country defending the right to vote. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling eliminated a key part of the Act, removing the federal mandate to approve state changes to election laws.

There are 14 states where state poll workers are being asked to implement new laws, including voter ID requirements, for the first time in a presidential election. According to the DoJ, federal observers will not be sent inside polling places in those states.

In the 2012 presidential election, the last before the court ruling, the DoJ sent more than 780 specially-trained observers and other personnel to polling places in 51 jurisdictions in 23 states to watch for unlawful activity and write up reports about possible civil rights violations. This year the DoJ is sending observers to fewer than five states -- and only because judges have ordered the oversight. While the DoJ states the court ruling prevents them from sending observers, rights organizations point out the ruling did not specifically mention observers. And they question why the DoJ announced and publicized the fact that they will not be sending observers.

Repeated experience indicates that even with the federal observers, serious attacks on the right to vote routinely occur on Election Day, much of it by the states themselves. State officials remove eligible voters from the rolls, polling places are moved or removed to favour one or the other party, African Americans are routinely targeted, challenged and more. The entire set up for registration and strict requirements on election day are designed not to defend the right to vote, but to block it. The current actions by the DoJ are in part a means to cause confusion and disruptions at the polls, while blaming the states for it. Is it a set-up to justify federal interference or objections to the results in particular states? Perhaps a federal takeover of elections afterwards? In a situation where the battle for the presidency is supreme among the rulers, and fighting among various factions is greatly intensifying, with states playing a role in them, it is necessary to consider the actions of the DoJ and states in electoral matters.

(Voice of Revolution. Photos: American Civil Liberties Union.)

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Courageous People's Resistance in the U.S.

Defiance and Resistance at
Standing Rock Continues

All Out for Actions in Solidarity with Standing Rock


The resistance by Indigenous peoples and supporters to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Standing Rock, North Dakota, is intensifying in defiance of the use of state violence against them. The conflict shows the continued refusal of the U.S. ruling circles to provide solutions to conflicts with Indigenous peoples on a political nation-to-nation basis. Instead, they are repeating all the practices from the time of the Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, between the Lakota Sioux, the Northern Cheyenne and the government of the United States. The cause of the war was the desire of the U.S. government to obtain ownership of the Black Hills where gold had been discovered and settlers began to encroach on the land. Since that time, the Sioux and Cheyenne have refused to cede ownership to the U.S. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's last Stand, was one the battles of the war.

On October 28, some 140 people were arrested and many more assaulted by 100 riot police from several states and the National Guard, wielding pepper spray and armoured personnel carriers. Attempts to suppress and criminalize independent media and individuals failed, and eyewitness reports and videos on social media confirm the brutalization of women, elders and children by law enforcement.

The outrageous use of violence by the state while it refuses to acknowledge the claims and just demands of the Standing Rock Sioux is rallying more and more people in defence of their claims on the land. Many are joining the protest in North Dakota or are holding actions across North America to express solidarity, including bringing forward their own struggles to defend the land and water against monopolies and governments in their service.

TML calls on everyone to participate in actions in support of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Protection of Land and Water Continues in North Dakota

On November 2, law enforcement desecrated the burial grounds of Alma Parkin and Matilda Galpin, the Indigenous women who once owned the Cannonball Ranch near the proposed site of the DAPL and the Cannon Ball River. As water protectors held a water ceremony in the river, snipers shot at them with "non-lethal" rounds from armoured vehicles parked around the tree marking the graves. Activists report that some 100 people were injured by the police.

Actions at Mercier Bridge in Montreal

Mohawk Nation News writes: "The Kahnawake Mohawks, their friends and allies, have set up a solidarity camp for Standing Rock at the southern foot of the Mercier Bridge that spans the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. Friends and allies welcome."

On October 28, Kahnawake community members held a blockade of the bridge for two hours as a show of solidarity.

The Mohawk at Akwesasne held a solidarity march on October 30.

Actions Target Pipeline Financiers

Solidarity actions across North America are targeting banks financing the DAPL, including CitiBank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan.

 Protest at JP Morgan headquarters, New York City, November 1, 2016

Occupation of lobby of CitiBank headquarters, San Francisco, October 31, 2016

Action at a Wells Fargo bank, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 31, 2016

Protest at the U.S. headquarters of TD Bank, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, October 27, 2016

Occupation of Clinton Campaign Headquarters

On October 28, just minutes before the massive police raid in Standing Rock, Indigenous youth from Standing Rock occupied the campaign headquarters of U.S. Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton to demand she take a stand on the DAPL. The letter they tried to deliver to Clinton was refused by staff at the headquarters, nor did anyone deign to speak with the youth about their concerns. A statement issued by the Clinton campaign later that day was widely rejected as devoid of any content insofar as addressing the people's concerns and was otherwise condemned for defending state repression and monopoly right.

More than One Million People "Check-In" at Standing Rock
via Social Media

On October 31, more than one million people took part in an online action to protect activists at Standing Rock from police surveillance of social media.

"The Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps.

"So Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check-in at Standing Rock, ND to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-being on the line that we can do without leaving our homes."

Support from Researchers and Academics

In September, more than 1,200 archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, museum officials and academics signed a letter in support of the protests against the DAPL and calling on the U.S. government and its agencies to put an end to the construction of the oil facility.

The letter states in part:

"As archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and museum workers committed to responsible stewardship, we are invested in the preservation and interpretation of archaeological and cultural heritage for the common good. We join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in denouncing the recent destruction of ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.

"On Saturday, September 3, 2016, the company behind the contentious Dakota Access Pipeline project bulldozed land containing Native American burial grounds, grave markers, and artifacts -- including ancient cairns and stone prayer rings. The construction crews, flanked by private security and canine squads, arrived just hours after the Standing Rock Sioux tribal lawyers disclosed the location of the recently discovered site in federal court filings.


"We call on the federal government to abide by its laws and to conduct a thorough environmental impact statement and cultural resources survey on the pipeline's route, with proper consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. We stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and affirm their treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and the protection of their lands, waters, cultural and sacred sites, and we stand with all those attempting to prevent further irreparable losses."


For background on the resistance at Standing Rock, see TML Weekly, October 1, 2016.

(With files from, TeleSUR, MNN. Photos: Standing Rock Sioux, MNN, E.R. McGregor, J. Davis-Hockett, Rising Tide North America, J.F. Tinternet, S. Skinner, J. Cordova, R. Wilson, Kehrt.)

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Prisoners Continue to Condemn
Modern-Day Slavery

Rally in Pittsburgh supports prison strike, September 9, 2016.

Prisoners across the U.S. went on strike September 9 to oppose the conditions of their incarceration, including the torture of solitary confinement, insufficient health care, rotten food and denial of their right to pursue their education.

Their actions particularly opposed their exploitation as modern-day slaves. Many prisoners are forced to work for nothing or next to nothing, staffing call centres, producing uniforms and other products for monopolies and state governments.

Some 50,000 participated in acts of resistance, refusing to go to work on September 9 and for days after. This mass organized resistance was all the more significant because of the prison conditions. Lead organizers faced reprisals from prison officials by being moved or put into solitary confinement. Nonetheless, they have vowed to continue their work. Prisoners' ability to organize such a widespread strike as well as support on the outside under such difficult conditions is a tribute to their determination and refusal to submit. It is a quality to be supported and defended by all.

Leading up to September 9 and on that day, there were many actions across the country in support of the strike. From Florida to Washington State to Texas and Massachusetts, people organized demonstrations, film showings, teach-ins, discussion groups, letter writing to prisoners and much more. Everywhere, efforts were made to build relationships with the prisoners and to ensure their voices were heard outside the prison walls. Banner-drops, rallies, postering, call-ins to officials and media, all served to let the public know that prisoners were organizing resistance and refusing to be silenced.

Mass incarceration in the U.S. is a form of mass control and genocide, directed especially against national minorities but impacting everyone. The large majority of prisoners are there for non-violent drug offenses. They are kept there and often forced into solitary for resisting and defending their rights.The U.S. ranks second in the rate of incarceration in the world (behind the Seychelles) -- 698 adult prisoners per 100,000 people; while the U.S. has 4.4 percent of the world's population, it incarcerates 22 per cent of prisoners worldwide, and also has the highest number of prisoners worldwide, 2.2 million. African Americans and national minorities make up the majority of prisoners.

The issues being brought forward by the prisoners and the massive rate of incarceration in the U.S. is an indictment of the ruling circles' chauvinism that the U.S. is a great defender of human rights. It is also an indictment of the social, political and electoral system of the ruling circles that leads to high rates of imprisonment, deprives the people of political empowerment and denies the existence of this and many other social problems by debasing politics to the most crass electioneering. It is yet another indication of the need for profound pro-social change that the people of the U.S. must organize to bring into being.

Below is the call for actions on September 9, which also marked the 45th anniversary of the mass protest of prisoners at Attica prison in New York state.

Call to Action Against Prison Slavery in America --
Support Prisoner Resistance

Lansing, Michigan

In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016.

On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State's most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.

In the 1970s the U.S. prison system was crumbling. In Walpole, San Quentin, Soledad, Angola and many other prisons, people were standing up, fighting and taking ownership of their lives and bodies back from the plantation prisons. For the last six years we have remembered and renewed that struggle. In the interim, the prisoner population has ballooned and technologies of control and confinement have developed into the most sophisticated and repressive in world history. The prisons have become more dependent on slavery and torture to maintain their stability.

Prisoners are forced to work for little or no pay. That is slavery. The 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution maintains a legal exception for continued slavery in U.S. prisons. It states "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." Overseers watch over our every move, and if we do not perform our appointed tasks to their liking, we are punished. They may have replaced the whip with pepper spray, but many of the other torments remain: isolation, restraint positions, stripping off our clothes and investigating our bodies as though we are animals.

Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won't be anymore. This is a call to end slavery in America. This call goes directly to the slaves themselves. We are not making demands or requests of our captors, we are calling ourselves to action. To every prisoner in every state and federal institution across this land, we call on you to stop being a slave, to let the crops rot in the plantation fields, to go on strike and cease reproducing the institutions of your confinement.

This is a call for a nation-wide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on September 9th, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.

Non-violent protests, work stoppages, hunger strikes and other refusals to participate in prison routines and needs have increased in recent years. The 2010 Georgia prison strike, the massive rolling California hunger strikes, the Free Alabama Movement's 2014 work stoppage, have gathered the most attention, but they are far from the only demonstrations of prisoner power. Large, sometimes effective hunger strikes have broken out at Ohio State Penitentiary, at Menard Correctional in Illinois, at Red Onion in Virginia as well as many other prisons. The burgeoning resistance movement is diverse and interconnected, including immigrant detention centers, women's prisons and juvenile facilities. Last fall, women prisoners at Yuba County Jail in California joined a hunger strike initiated by women held in immigrant detention centers in California, Colorado and Texas.

Prisoners all across the country regularly engage in myriad demonstrations of power on the inside. They have most often done so with convict solidarity, building coalitions across race lines and gang lines to confront the common oppressor.

Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America's prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. We hope to end prison slavery by making it impossible, by refusing to be slaves any longer.

To achieve this goal, we need support from people on the outside. A prison is an easy-lockdown environment, a place of control and confinement where repression is built into every stone wall and chain link, every gesture and routine. When we stand up to these authorities, they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside. Mass incarceration, whether in private or state-run facilities is a scheme where slave catchers patrol our neighborhoods and monitor our lives. It requires mass criminalization. Our tribulations on the inside are a tool used to control our families and communities on the outside. Certain Americans live every day under not only the threat of extra-judicial execution -- as protests surrounding the deaths of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and so many others have drawn long overdue attention to -- but also under the threat of capture, of being thrown into these plantations, shackled and forced to work.

Our protest against prison slavery is a protest against the school to prison pipeline, a protest against police terror, a protest against post-release controls. When we abolish slavery, they'll lose much of their incentive to lock up our children, they'll stop building traps to pull back those who they've released. When we remove the economic motive and grease of our forced labor from the U.S. prison system, the entire structure of courts and police, of control and slave-catching must shift to accommodate us as humans, rather than slaves.

Prison impacts everyone, when we stand up and refuse on September 9th, 2016, we need to know our friends, families and allies on the outside will have our backs. This spring and summer will be seasons of organizing, of spreading the word, building the networks of solidarity and showing that we're serious and what we're capable of.

Step up, stand up, and join us. Against prison slavery. For liberation of all.

Find more information, updates and organizing materials and opportunities at the following websites:;;

Blockade on road to corrections officers training facility in Tucson, Arizona.


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U.S.-Mexico Border Convergence Defends Rights, Opposes Militarization and U.S. Foreign Policy

Candlelight vigil, October 8, 2016.

The annual convergence held by School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) in protest of the U.S. military's training of counterrevolutionary death squads for operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean was held from October 7 to 10. It was moved from the usual site of Fort Benning, Georgia, to the border between Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico at the Eloy Detention Center, and also in Tucson, Arizona "in the lead-up to the November elections to protest against militarization, and to shine a spotlight on U.S. foreign policy as one of the root causes of migration." The organizers point out, "The change of the location goes along with the broadening of the issue and our expanded fight against U.S. militarization at home and abroad."

In the call for this year's actions, SOAW wrote:

"Communities are being targeted for assassination and state repression throughout the Americas by U.S.-trained military and police forces. People from Latin America continue to be forced to flee from U.S.-trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist immigration laws, and xenophobic rhetoric in this election cycle. Black and Brown bodies in the U.S. continue to be targeted and systematically imprisoned and killed in the same way. We can no longer separate the issues and today we say enough! We cannot look at immigration reform without looking at its root cause. We cannot discuss police brutality or the prison industrial complex in the U.S. without discussing its root purpose. State violence is used to exert control and oppress our communities in order to maintain an exploitative racist system."

The demands of the Convergence at the Border are:

- An end to the destructive U.S. military, economic, and political interventions in the Americas.
- De-militarization of the borders. We need to build bridges with our neighbors, not walls.
- The dismantling of the racist and sexist systems that steal from, criminalize, and kill migrants, refugees, natives, gender non-conforming people, communities of color, and others throughout the hemisphere.
- Respect, dignity, justice and self-determination for all communities, especially the poor and most vulnerable.
- No more profits over people! Private military, prison, oil, mining, and other corporations should not determine our future or that of the earth, the people should.

TML Weekly is posting below the report back from this year's convergence.

Friday, October 7

Gathering outside Eloy Detention Centre, October 7, 2016.

Hundreds of migrants, students, members of religious communities, veterans, and human rights activists gathered outside of the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, to call for the release of the incarcerated migrants, for an end to profiteering of human suffering, and for justice for all.

Speakers addressed the connection between U.S. militarization in Latin America and forced migration to the United States, and described the horrors of living inside detention centers like private, for-profit Corrections Corporation of America-run Eloy.

"To those of you who don't vote, who don't change these laws, you are allowing children to die here inside places like Eloy," spoke Berta Avila, a woman who was detained while pregnant, denied medical care, and who lost her child in detention.

Following the moving speakers and songs of resistance, after the sun had set, the crowd processed closer to the detention center with candles and instruments. Inmates, who had organized on the inside, greeted those gathered on the outside by waving pieces of cloth and turning the lights in their cells on and off, while the crowd outside created a wall of sound, chanting, drumming and singing.

On the Nogales, Sonora side of the border, people came together from all across the Americas. Deported Veterans, the dance group Abya Ayala, migrant aid workers Las Patronas, the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, Brothers on the Road, Border Patrol Victims Network and frontline communities in resistance demonstrated that the war has not been able to separate all our struggles.

"The border is an open wound that we can only close with everyone's help. Activities like this remind us that more than a region, we are a people injured but not defeated. We are a wounded but honorable people," commented Ana Enamorado, member of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, who began her struggle after the disappearance of her son, Honduran national Óscar Antonio López Enamorado, in 2010 in Mexico.

Saturday, October 8

Concurrent veteran-led marches led from both sides of the border to the U.S./Mexico border wall, where a rally with speakers and musicians bridged the high wall.

Shena Gutierrez, from the Border Victims Network, spoke from the stage about the struggle to hold Customs and Border Protection [CBP] agents accountable. In 2011, Shena's husband, José Gutierrez, was brutally beaten by CBP agents near a port of entry in Southern Arizona. Since this tragedy, which her husband survived, Shena has become a spokesperson for border communities and victims of border patrol abuse, and inspires and educates border communities about their rights.

Also on [October 8], all day in Tucson, Frente X for International Liberation held a plenary, workshops and breakout groups for people of color (POC), re-imagining mutual solidarity against state-sanctioned violence, upholding racial and gender justice. The Encuentro provides a unique opportunity for those most directly impacted by state-sanctioned violence in the U.S., Latin America, and other parts of the world to learn from one another, and begin building inter-racial, transnational solidarity networks. The moral necessity to make the Encuentro accessible to our undocumented family led us to create the POC Space in Tucson, Arizona, where people are not forced to traverse a Border Patrol checkpoint in order to arrive.

Workshop in Nogales, October 8, 2016.

Partner organization Puente leader Carlos Garcia held a powerful talk on Arizona's War of Attrition on Migrants and Brown People, giving valuable context on how the crisis in Arizona came about. "When you talk about the territories we're in, they're O'odham territories, they are Yaqui territories," said Garcia. "This was, is, and always will be Indigenous land." Garcia led us through the rise of anti-immigrant legislation and policies since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, and the concurrent rise of community struggle and resistance that birthed the Puente movement into a force to be reckoned with, which recently was able to defeat 12 out of 13 newly proposed anti-immigrant laws.

"We raise our fist and fight back, but we also have this open hand where we're trying to counter-balance that attrition. When the state is trying to make your life so miserable that you self-deport, what is it that we need to do so that we're there for each other, we're supporting each other. We have our programs, we try to have health programs, community programs, know your rights workshops, anything that helps people feel like they don't have to self-deport. So we're stopping our people from being grabbed, put in cages, we're trying to get them out of cages, and we're also making them stronger and organized and making sure that they don't leave."

Saturday afternoon we also participated in the Anniversary Vigil for José Antonio Elena Rodríguez in Nogales, Sonora: starting with a march from the Plaza de las Palomas in Nogales, Sonora to the site where Jose Antonio was killed by Border Patrol forces and a mass with the Nogales Bishop. An interfaith ceremony at the border wall and candlelight vigil was held, and followed by an energizing cross-border concert featuring Charlie King, Colleen Kattau, emma's revolution, Natalia Serna La Muna, Olmeca, Pablo Peregrina, the Peace Poets, and Son Jarocho.

Sunday, October 9

Convergence at border wall, October 9, 2016.

We commemorated those whose lives were lost as a result of state violence with the traditional SOA Watch ¡No Más! No More! & Presentes at the border wall. Speakers included Shannon Rivers, a member of the Akimel O'odham tribe; Padre Prisciliano Peraza, coordinator of [the migrant shelter Centro Comunitario de Atención al Migrante y Necesitado (CCAMYN)] in Altar, Sonora; Carlotta Wrey, a founding member of People Helping People from Arivaca; Hector Aristizabal, Colombian human rights activist and torture survivor; Mariela Nájera Romero and Uriel Gamaliel Guzmán, Las Patronas; Marleny Reyes Castillo, Maria Guadalupe Guereca Betancourt and Araceli; Carlos Garcia, Puente; Frier Tomás González Castillo, coordinator of La 72, Hogar Refugio para Personas migrantes y refugiadas, in Tenosique, Tabasco; George Paz Martin, peace and justice and climate activist and educator; and there were musical performances by Francisco Herrera, Natalia Serna La Muna, Gabino Palomares and others.

Following the ceremony at the border wall, more than 200 activists including Father Roy continued their demonstration in a march to the U.S. Border Patrol interior vehicle checkpoint on the I-19 highway 20 minutes north of Nogales. Challenging the legitimacy of such checkpoints, when not only are they notorious for rampant human rights abuses towards Arizona residents but also directly responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 human beings forced to traverse the desert to avoid them, we lift up Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees all human beings freedom of movement, the right to leave and the right to return to their countries. Calling out, "We remember all the people these checkpoints kill, we can feel their spirits, they are with us still," we staged a nonviolent die-in. Click here to view video clips from the action.

Monday, October 10

We joined the block party that was organized for the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 at the Global Justice Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Our gathering this weekend reinforced solidarity and the realization that we are going to change the racist system of violence and domination.

(Photos: School of the Americas Watch, S. Pavey)

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Criminal War Against Yemen

U.S. Guilty of War Crimes

Protests in Yemen October 9, 2016, following Saudi air strikes on a funeral in Sana.

The U.S. has been militarily funding and politically backing the brutal and repeated Saudi bombing of Yemen, as well as continuing to use illegal drone warfare there. While the U.S.-backed actions are being done by Saudi Arabia, it is the U.S. that is completely responsible for the repeated bombings -- destroying schools, hospitals, pharmaceutical factories, residential areas and most recently a funeral home packed with mourners on October 8, killing 140 people and injuring many more. These are war crimes, organized and politically backed by the U.S. Without U.S. backing the Saudis could not continue, which makes the U.S. the biggest war criminal.

The U.S. assistance to Saudi Arabia includes billions in war funds. Another $1.15 billion is currently planned, with Obama so far offering more than $115 billion in arms sales to the Saudis during his administration. This includes various weapons, attack helicopters, war ships and the endless bombs. The U.S. also provides targeting, surveillance and in-flight refueling of the U.S.-made Saudi bombers to ensure they can continue uninterrupted.

Devastation caused by Saudi air strikes on funeral October 8, 2016.

The U.S.-backed blockade of the country also means that vital food and medicine are being cut off, impacting mainly women and children. More than 1.5 million children are suffering malnutrition, 370,000 of them acute. About 80 percent of food supplies are imported, with the blockade preventing most of these goods from reaching Yemen. Of the population of about 26 million Yemenis, 21.2 million -- 82 percent of the population -- are now dependent on humanitarian aid, which often does not arrive, and 14.4 million have insufficient food.

It is the U.S. that is criminally responsible for the deaths and destruction being rained down on Yemen. All funding must stop now, and all political backing and support end.

Protest by Code Pink outside Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, August 23, 2016.

The U.S. efforts are to keep in place a government of their choosing, while blocking the people of Yemen from determining their own affairs. Yemenis have a long history of struggle for their rights and for organizing to decide their own path. This includes the development of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in the southern part of the country in 1969, lasting until 1990. The struggle taking place now is not primarily one of religious conflict, as it is often presented, but rather one of the people of Yemen organizing to be free of foreign interference and deciding their own affairs themselves. It is the U.S. that strives to inflame religious differences and pit the people against each other, as it has done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. It is U.S. interests for world empire that are served, not those of the Yemenis.

Voice of Revolution condemns the U.S./Saudi crimes against Yemen and demands an immediate end to all funding and support, and removal of all U.S. troops and weaponry from Yemen and the entire Middle East.

* Voice of Revolution is a publication of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization.

TML Note

Since the Trudeau Liberals took over the government of Canada, they have approved an $11.8 billion sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia (a deal initiated by the Harper Conservatives). Saudi Arabia uses armoured vehicles such as these in its murderous attacks on Yemen. This sale puts Canada in second place in arms sales to the Middle East in 2015, with the U.S. taking first place.

(Photos: Xinhua, Code Pink)

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Hiding U.S. Role in Yemen Slaughter So Bombing
Can Be Sold as "Self-Defense"

Anti-war protests in Yemen October 9, 2016, following Saudi air strikes on a funeral.

To hear U.S. corporate media tell it, the U.S. was dragged into a brand new war on Wednesday [October 12].

U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Aden launched airstrikes against Houthi rebels, a Shia insurgent group currently withstanding a massive bombing campaign from a Saudi-led coalition in a year-and-half conflict between largely Shia rebels and the Saudi-backed Sunni government in Yemen. The Pentagon insisted that cruise missiles had been fired onto the USS Mason on Sunday [October 9] and Wednesday [October 12] from Houthi-controlled territory, and called the airstrikes a "limited self-defense" response.

Needless to say, U.S. media followed the Pentagon's lead. The fact that the United States has been literally fueling Saudi warplanes for 18 months while selling weapons and providing intelligence support to the Gulf monarchy -- acts which even the U.S. State Department believes could expose the U.S. to war crimes prosecution -- was either downplayed or ignored. Nor did media recall the U.S.'s long history of drone warfare in Yemen, where the military and CIA have been carrying out long-range assassinations since 2002, killing more than 500 people, including at least 65 civilians.

So far, most print media reporting has at least bothered to briefly put the attack and counterattack in broader context, noting the U.S. role in the brutal bombing campaign that has left over 4,000 dead, including over 140 bombed at a funeral in Sana'a last week -- even as the stories' framing downplayed the U.S.'s history in the conflict. The New York Times (10/12/16), for example, said in the second paragraph of its report on the airstrikes (emphasis added):

"The strikes against the Houthi rebels marked the first time the United States has become involved militarily in the civil war between the Houthis, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran, and the Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations."

But the Times story went on to acknowledge, somewhat contradictorily, that the U.S. had been "quietly providing military support to a Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign against the rebels since last year." The story noted that the U.S. had been "providing intelligence and Air Force tankers to refuel the coalition's jets and bombers. The American military has refueled more than 5,700 aircraft involved in the bombing campaign.... More than 4,000 civilians have been killed since the bombing began, according to the United Nations' top human rights official."

TV news reports, on the other hand, kept the spin and left out the context. They mostly failed to mention that the U.S. has been assisting the Saudi assault on the Houthi rebels for a year and a half, and framed the incident as a U.S. warship being attacked while simply minding its own business in international waters.

CBS's David Martin, fresh off his 14-minute Pentagon commercial [in September], didn't mention the Saudi bombing campaign or explain the U.S.'s role in the war for his segment for CBS This Morning (10/13/16). In fact, Martin never uttered the word "Saudi" or named any of the other countries involved in Yemen, only noting that the rebels are "trying to overthrow the government." The average viewer would come away thinking the U.S. Navy ship just happened to be in the neighborhood when it was randomly fired upon.

ABC's Martha Raddatz (Good Morning America, 10/13/16) likewise didn't inform the viewer that the U.S. has been a party to the civil war for 18 months. She also never used the word "Saudi" or referred to the brutal bombing campaign; she barely even alluded to there being a conflict at all.

CNN's Barbara Starr (CNN, 10/13/16) joined the club, omitting the U.S. and Saudi roles in the conflict entirely. She went one step further and repeatedly speculated about "direct" Iranian involvement in the Mason attack and what that would entail, despite there being zero evidence and no suggestion from the Pentagon of Iranian participation. Starr even conflated Al Qaeda and Iran, despite their being on opposite sides of the conflict:

"The Yemeni missiles were fairly old but had been outfitted with highly lethal warheads, the kind Al Qaeda and Iran know how to make."

The implication was that Al Qaeda might have somehow provided Houthi rebels with missiles, but this, of course, is absurd: The Houthis and Al Qaeda are sectarian enemies and have been fighting each other throughout the civil war. Never mind; Starr needed to raise the stakes and throw out as many boogeymen as she could.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (10/13/16) delivered the worst of the batch. Not only did she too omit the Saudi bombing campaign and the U.S.'s role in it (again, leaving the viewer to believe the attack was a total non sequitur), she spun the issue in tedious partisan terms, recalling Trump's statement he would attack Iranian warships that threatened the U.S.:

"You might remember Republican candidate Donald Trump said in an off-handed remark during the campaign that if Iranian ships got too close to American ships and if Iranian sailors made rude gestures towards our American sailors under President Trump, we'd blow those Iranian ships out of the water. Well, Iranian ships and American ships are now in the same waters, off the coast of Yemen in the middle of war, with Tomahawk missiles and cruise missiles already flying. Steady on."

Why are American ships in those waters? Why are Tomahawk missiles "flying"? The conflict is never explained; it's only brought up so that Maddow can warn that the GOP nominee could make things worse. Of course, it isn't Trump who backed the Saudis in an air campaign that's left thousands dead, but Obama -- and it's Hillary Clinton who as Secretary of State enthusiastically pushed to sell warplanes to Riyadh (The Intercept, 2/22/16). But such facts would messy up the election-season narrative.

Maddow's report, like the others, used the loaded modifier "Iran-backed" to describe the Houthis (even though experts and Pentagon officials think Iran's support is overblown). This is a stark asymmetry, considering that none of the reports referred to the Yemeni government as "U.S.-backed" or "Saudi-backed." She also said that the Navy blamed the attacks on the Houthis, when the Pentagon only claims the missiles came from rebel territory, and could very well be from other allied groups (New York Times, 10/13/16).

Not only is the U.S.'s backing of Saudi Arabia omitted from all these reports, the word "Saudi" isn't uttered in any of them. The viewer is given the impression that the war, aside from Iranian meddling, is an entirely internal affair -- when it actually involves over 15 different countries, mostly Sunni monarchies propping up the Yemeni government -- and that the rebels just randomly decided to pick a fight with the largest military in the history of the world.

The Houthis, for their part, vehemently deny having carried out the attack on the Mason, and there is no publicly available evidence it was them or allied forces. It should be noted, however, that Houthi forces took credit for sinking a United Arab Emirates supply ship two weeks earlier.

As is often the case with war, the issue of "first blood" -- or who started the fighting -- gets muddied. Governments naturally want global audiences and their own citizens to view their actions as defensive -- a necessary response to aggression, not aggression itself. U.S. corporate media are aiding this official spin in their reporting on the U.S. bombing of Yemen.

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst for

(October 14, 2016. Photos/graphics: Xinhua, C. Latuff.)

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U.S. and UK Continue to Actively Participate
in Saudi War Crimes, Targeting of Yemeni Civilians

From the start of the hideous Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen 18 months ago, two countries have played active, vital roles in enabling the carnage: the U.S. and UK. The atrocities committed by the Saudis would have been impossible without their steadfast, aggressive support.

The Obama administration "has offered to sell $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over its eight years in office, more than any previous U.S. administration," as The Guardian reported this week, and also provides extensive surveillance technology. As The Intercept documented in April, "In his first five years as president, Obama sold $30 billion more in weapons than President Bush did during his entire eight years as commander in chief."

Protest at Farnborough Air Show in England, July 13, 2016

Most important, according to the Saudi foreign minister, although it is the Saudis who have ultimate authority to choose targets, "British and American military officials are in the command and control center for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen" and "have access to lists of targets." In sum, while this bombing campaign is invariably described in Western media outlets as "Saudi-led," the U.S. and UK are both central, indispensable participants. As the New York Times editorial page put it in August: "The United States is complicit in this carnage," while The Guardian editorialized that "Britain bears much responsibility for this suffering."

From the start, the U.S.- and UK-backed Saudis have indiscriminately and at times deliberately bombed civilians, killing thousands of innocent people. From Yemen, Iona Craig and Alex Potter have reported extensively for The Intercept on the widespread civilian deaths caused by this bombing campaign. As the Saudis continued to recklessly and intentionally bomb civilians, the American and British weapons kept pouring into Riyadh, ensuring that the civilian massacres continued. Every once in a while, when a particularly gruesome mass killing made its way into the news, Obama and various British officials would issue cursory, obligatory statements expressing "concern," then go right back to fueling the attacks.

This weekend, as American attention was devoted almost exclusively to Donald Trump, one of the most revolting massacres took place. On Saturday [October 8], warplanes attacked a funeral gathering in Sana, repeatedly bombing the hall where it took place, killing over 100 people and wounding more than 500.

Saudi officials first lied by trying to blame "other causes" but have since walked that back. The next time someone who identifies with the Muslim world attacks American or British citizens, and those countries' leading political voices answer the question "Why, oh why, do they hate us?" by assuring everyone that "they hate us for our freedoms," it would be instructive to watch that video.

The Obama White House, through its spokesperson Ned Price, condemned what it called "the troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians" -- attacks, it did not note, it has repeatedly supported -- and lamely warned that "U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check." That is exactly what it is. The 18 months of bombing supported by the U.S. and UK has, as the New York Times put it this morning, "largely failed, while reports of civilian deaths have grown common, and much of the country is on the brink of famine."

It has been known from the start that the Saudi bombing campaign has been indiscriminate and reckless, and yet Obama and the UK government continued to play central roles. A UN report obtained in January by The Guardian "uncovered 'widespread and systematic' attacks on civilian targets in violation of international humanitarian law"; the report found that "the coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure."

But what was not known, until an excellent Reuters report by Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay [on October 10], is that Obama was explicitly warned not only that the Saudis were committing war crimes, but that the U.S. itself could be legally regarded as complicit in them:

"The Obama administration went ahead with a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings from some officials that the United States could be implicated in war crimes for supporting a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, according to government documents and the accounts of current and former officials.

"State Department officials also were privately skeptical of the Saudi military's ability to target Houthi militants without killing civilians and destroying 'critical infrastructure' needed for Yemen to recover, according to the emails and other records obtained by Reuters and interviews with nearly a dozen officials with knowledge of those discussions."

In other words, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner was explicitly advised that he might be a collaborator in war crimes by arming a campaign that deliberately targets civilians, and continued to provide record-breaking amounts of arms to aid their prosecution. None of that should be surprising: It would be difficult for Obama to condemn "double-tap" strikes of the kind the Saudis just perpetrated -- where first responders or mourners are targeted -- given that he himself has used that tactic, commonly described as a hallmark of "terrorism." For their part, the British blocked EU inquiries into whether war crimes were being committed in Yemen, while key MPs have blocked reports proving that UK weapons were being used in the commission of war crimes and the deliberate targeting of civilians.

The U.S. and UK are the two leading countries when it comes to cynically exploiting human rights concerns and the laws of war to attack their adversaries. They and their leading columnists love to issue pretty, self-righteous speeches about how other nations -- those primitive, evil ones over there -- target civilians and commit war crimes. Yet here they both are, standing firmly behind one of the planet's most brutal and repressive regimes, arming it to the teeth with the full and undeniable knowledge that they are enabling massacres that recklessly, and in many cases, deliberately, target civilians.

And these 18 months of atrocities have barely merited a mention in the U.S. election, despite the key role the leading candidate, Hillary Clinton, has played in arming the Saudis, to say nothing of the millions of dollars her family's foundation has received from its regime (her opponent, Donald Trump, has barely uttered a word about the issue, and himself has received millions in profits from various Saudi oligarchs).

One reason American and British political and media elites love to wax eloquently when condemning the brutality of the enemies of their own government is because doing so advances tribal, nationalistic ends: It's a strategy for weakening adversaries while strengthening their own governments. But at least as significant a motive is that issuing such condemnations distracts attention from their own war crimes and massacres, the ones they are enabling and supporting.

There are some nations on the planet with credibility to condemn war crimes and the deliberate targeting of civilians. The two countries who have spent close to two years arming Saudi Arabia in its ongoing slaughter of Yemeni civilians are most certainly not among them.

(The Intercept, October 10, 2016. Photos: CAAT, Control Arms.)

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