Archive for the ‘Police State News’ Category

 

Pentagon officials won’t confirm Bush propaganda program ended

[Read Part I and Part II of this series.]

The covert Bush administration program that used retired military analysts to generate favorable wartime news coverage may not have been terminated, Raw Story has found.

In interviews, Pentagon officials in charge of the press and community relations offices — which worked in partnership on the military analyst program — equivocated on the subject of whether the program has ended.

Last May, the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General issued a memorandum rescinding a Bush administration investigative report on the retired military analyst program because it “did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product.” The now-retracted report had exonerated officials of using propaganda and referred to the program as just “one of many outreach groups.”

Yet Donald Horstman, Pentagon Inspector General deputy director, also stated in the memorandum that his office wouldn’t probe further because the “outreach program has been terminated and responsible senior officials are no longer employed by the Department.”

Raw Story’s investigation, however, has shown that some “responsible senior officials” are still employed by the Defense Department, including Bryan Whitman, who remains a chief Pentagon spokesman and head of all media operations, and Roxie Merritt, who is head of the Pentagon’s community relations office.

Raw Story has discovered that Horstman’s other justification for not reopening an investigation at the time – “because the [retired military analyst] outreach program has been terminated” – remains an open question.

A week after David Barstow’s New York Times expose on the program broke in April 2008, Whitman said the military analyst program’s suspension was only “temporary.”

Reiterating at the time that he thought the program was merely a way to better inform the American public, he also said, “It’s temporarily suspended just so that we can take a look at some of the concerns.”

When Raw Story asked Mr. Whitman if this program was still being run out of the Pentagon, he first replied firmly, “No, not at this point.”

But then, in what seemed an attempt to downplay his role in the program, he quickly added, “Again, it’s not one of my programs and it would be up to the leadership of public affairs, a new assistant secretary of defense, making any sort of determination to go forward if they deemed it appropriate, necessary, whatever.”

“It’s hard for me to tell what future leadership might decide to do,” Whitman continued. “Again, since it’s not part of the media operations aspect of public affairs here, it’s not a program for which I will be making a decision about.”

Raw Story also asked Roxie Merritt if she could confirm that the military analyst program has been officially terminated.

Ms. Merritt, in an email interview, first replied, “[A]t the present time, we don’t have regularly scheduled conference calls with retired military analysts” but that “we would not, however, preclude responding to queries for information from or provide future opportunities for them to talk to defense leaders and program managers.”

Merritt also noted that should there be regularly scheduled conference calls with the military analysts again in the future, they would be shared in various publicly accessible formats.

She added, though, “Obviously, there are operational security and privacy act issues and other government regulations that must be handled carefully, but we make every possible effort to be open and transparent.”

Asked then to confirm if, in the interim, her office has been open to providing information on an individual basis to retired military analysts, Merritt replied, “Sure. If asked, we would provide them with the same information that we would provide you if you had a question about DoD.”

During the interviews, neither Whitman nor Merritt expressed concern about the way the military analyst program was run by the Bush administration.

Iraq then and Afghanistan now

Internal Pentagon documents show that the military analyst program was stepped up in 2005, when US public support for the war in Iraq began to sour. Today, as recent polls show American support for the war in Afghanistan plummeting, the Pentagon and the Obama White House are facing a similar problem.

If the military analyst program, in some form or another, is still being run from the Pentagon, then the two most senior players in the Bush administration propaganda project remaining at the Defense Department, Bryan Whitman and Roxie Merritt, would be poised to step up activities once again.

And they are not currently under the watchful eye of any direct superiors who’ve been brought in by the Obama administration.

While Whitman said that the future of the program would be up to the next assistant secretary of defense, he also confirmed that that position, which is filled by political appointment, remains vacant.

No one, he added, has even been nominated yet.

Merritt is in a similar position of enhanced authority because the position above her has yet to be filled. Currently serving as President Obama’s director of the Pentagon office for community relations, she’s also its de facto chief until a new deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications is appointed.

What’s more, Merritt — whose email signature line was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of All Who Threaten It” (p. 30) — formerly worked as Whitman’s press office director at the time of the military analyst program’s increased activity in 2005.

Whitman and Merritt’s career civil servant status also continue to buffer them from scrutiny regarding political or ideological motivations, regardless of their activities in the Bush administration.

Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, an expert in military strategy and operations who has taught at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College and has been critical of Bush administration strategy, expressed disgust at the Bush holdovers who took part in propaganda against the American public, regardless of whether they were political or career appointees.

Commenting on Whitman’s presence in the Obama administration, Gardiner said, “He should be so tainted with what the Bush administration did that that in itself would be enough that he should be gone, even if he’s a career appointee.”

“The list of things that Pentagon public affairs participated in during the run-up [to the Iraq war] and immediately after the invasion are horrendous,” Gardiner continued.

But he pointed out that Whitman “serves as a career person as long as his performance is satisfactory to his immediate superiors.”

As to suggestions that Whitman be held accountable by a congressional investigative body for his part in the military analyst program, Gardiner noted, “Congress doesn’t evaluate individual performance of people. It evaluates the performance of organizations.”

Journalist and historian Norman Solomon said he found an “unfortunate logic” to Whitman remaining at the Pentagon.

Solomon, who recently visited Afghanistan on a fact-finding mission, told Raw Story, “A White House that sees fit to continue on with Robert Gates might see no problem with continuing on with Bryan Whitman.”

He added, “The empirical answer [to why he remains] would be that he’s still useful.”

Veteran foreign correspondent Reese Erlich, who is currently independently covering the Afghanistan war, believes that “to some extent, the Obama administration is just simply replicating all the same mistakes of the Bush administration – particularly the war in Afghanistan.”

“And if you’re going to do that,” he explained in an interview with Raw Story, “then you need propagandists who can make stuff up to make the war seem more popular in the short run.”

Posted by Cordi on October 29th, 2009 No Comments

“Modern Warfare 2″ footage of crowds of civilians getting killed by the player

Possible SPOILERS, first of all.

Secondly: what you see above may be a leaked gameplay video from Modern Warfare 2. We’re currently awaiting comment from both Infinity Ward’s PR guys and the community manager, Robert Bowling. Before one gets one’s panties in a twist about the subject matter, do keep in mind that this could be fake.

If it isn’t, however, you’re evidently looking at footage of a Modern Warfare 2 level in which the player is put in the shoes of a terrorist. A terrorist who, evidently, is part of a group of other terrorists who have stormed an airport and begun shooting civilians haphazardly.

This would not be particularly noteworthy were it not for the fact that, judging from the video, the player has absolutely no one to shoot at except for civilians for at least the first four to five minutes of the level. This scene was hinted at in the game’s early trailers, but never in this context.

Again, we’re waiting for comment from Infinity Ward, but — do you actually play as a civilian-blastin’ terrorist for a segment of Modern Warfare 2? If so, one can only imagine the media sh*tstorm that is soon to follow.

Very curious to see exactly how this scene plays out, if it’s actually from the game and if it’s what it seems to be.

http://www.destructoid.com/is-this-a-modern-warfare-2-level-about-spoiler–153300.phtml#comment

Posted by ben on October 28th, 2009 No Comments

Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group blackwater

UPDATE: The American Police Force website page which clearly states that they run the Blackwater-controlled U.S. Training Center is back online here.

American Police Force, the paramilitary unit patrolling a small town in Montana, has been exposed as being a front group for the disgraced private military contractor Blackwater, now called “Xe”.

The American Police Force website, on a page that has swiftly been deleted but remains cached here, states that APF runs the “U.S. Training Center,” which proves “a wide range of instruction and training for all types of law enforcement organizations, from basic firearms training to complex SWAT tactics,” according to the website.

The Blackwater website carries on its contact page the following address, underneath the logo for U.S. Training Center.

Xe Services, LLC

PO Box 1029

Moyock, NC 27958

Xe Services LLC is the new name of Blackwater USA. In addition, the U.S. Training Center contact page carries the exact same address.

PO Box 1029

Moyock, NC 27958

The U.S. Training Center is run by Blackwater. Indeed, The U.S. Training Center website, can be accessed via Blackwater’s forwarding URL at http://www.blackwaterusa.com/.

According to a February 2009 NY Times article, the U.S. Training Center is a Blackwater “subsidiary that conducts much of the company’s overseas operations and domestic training.” Blackwater changed the name of the facility from its old title, Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, earlier this this when they also changed their own name to “Xe”.

Since Blackwater runs the U.S. Training Center, and the American Police Force stated on its own website, before it was deleted this morning, that it also runs the U.S. Training Center, there is no other conclusion to draw but that APF and Blackwater are one and the same. Or in other words, APF is a front group for Blackwater.

Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group 011009shot2a

CLICK FOR ENLARGEMENT: The American Police Force website, on a page that has now been deleted, states that the organization runs the U.S. Training Center.

Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group 011009shot1a

CLICK FOR ENLARGEMENT: From Blackwater’s USA’s website with the U.S. Training Center logo at the top.

Exposed: American Police Force Is A Blackwater Front Group 011009shot3a

CLICK FOR ENLARGEMENT: From the U.S. Training Center website, the contact address is the same as on the Blckwater site becaue Blackwater owns the U.S. Training Center.

A domain registry check confirms that the U.S. Training Center website is registered to XE Services.

The fact that American Police Force attempted to hide the link by deleting the page on their website is further evidence that they are trying to conceal the fact that they are nothing more than a front group for Blackwater.

The U.S. Training Center is the training facility for Blackwater’s front group, American Police Force. This means that the new training facility that “American Police Force” are trying to build in Hardin is another Blackwater training facility.

This also means that Blackwater troops, under the guise of “American Police Force” have been patrolling Hardin, posing as law enforcement, and are also attempting to boss the $27 million dollar detention center recently built in the Montana town.

Many people have expressed suspicions that the convicted criminal running “American Police Force,” Michael Hilton, is not really the leader of the company and is merely a go between for his bosses. This is now confirmed by the revelation that APF is a front group for Blackwater.

APF’s reticence to divulge who their parent company was to reporters is also explained by the fact that they are a Blackwater front.

As the videos below discuss, Blackwater has been widely attacked for its involvement in atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. To have such individuals patrolling the streets of American towns posing as law enforcement and manning detention camps is a chilling precedent and all the more reason why American Police Force – or Blackwater as we should now call them – should be kicked out of Hardin immediately and face criminal charges for violating article 2 section 33 of the Montana Constitution.

Posted by ben on October 1st, 2009 No Comments

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, September 28, 2009

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20 280909top3

Shocking video has emerged of cops posing as anarchist protesters at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, in yet another example of authorities attempting to provoke chaos at global summits in order to justify a brutal police crackdown.

Footage from Saturday night shows three burly older men who look completely out of place with black bandanas over their face walking alongside young protesters during a march against police brutality in a You Tube clip entitled “G20 Epic Undercover Police Fail”.

The clip would be hilarious if it was not so disturbing. Protesters walking behind what are obviously badly disguised cops claim they broke cameras and acted aggressively towards genuine protesters, as well as carrying gas canisters. During a peaceful demonstration on Saturday night, riot cops savagely attacked protesters with batons and rubber bullets while also assaulting and arresting students who weren’t even part of the demonstration.

Watch the clip below.

At one point one of the undercover cops states, “Let’s not make this too much fun, I’m tired, I’m getting old.”

“Do you think it’s funny to mock our First Amendment rights, asks a demonstrator as onlookers begin to become aware that the men are obviously police officers dressed up as anarchists.

At every single major summit over the past few years, authorities have inserted agent provocateurs into protest groups in order to spy on them and if necessary, provoke violence to justify oppressive police brutality in the eyes of the watching world.

We have documented numerous different occasions where the leadership of the black bloc anarchists were actually working with the authorities to provide a pretext for a police state crackdown.

During the previous G20 protest in London, black bloc anarchists were allowed by police to smash up bank buildings while being accompanied by more press photographers than other protesters in what was obviously a stage-managed spectacle for mass consumption, while legitimate protest groups were refused “permits” to protest by the government.

Following the SPP protests in Canada two years ago, Quebec provincial authorities were forced to admit that three rock-wielding black mask-wearing “anarchists” were in fact police infiltrators used to gather information on protesters.

Video shows two of the provocateurs pick up rocks and try to incite violence before they are outed as cops by legitimate demonstrators. The two thugs then tried to slip behind police lines before their fellow officers were forced to stage their arrest. Again, the fact that they were cops in disguise was later admitted by authorities. Watch the video.

Alex Jones’ film Police State 2: The Takeover exposed how the black bloc anarchists were completely infiltrated and provocateured by the authorities during the violent 1999 WTO protests in Seattle.

The authorities declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews and resorted to nothing short of police state tactics in response to a small minority of hostile black bloc hooligans. Police allowed the black bloc to run riot in downtown Seattle while they concentrated on preventing the movement of peaceful protestors. The film presents clear evidence that the black bloc anarchist group was actually controlled by the state and used to demonize peaceful protesters. Watch the video below.

At the WTO protests in Genoa 2001 a protestor was killed after being shot in the head and run over twice by a police vehicle. The Italian Carabinere also later beat on peaceful protestors as they slept, and even tortured some, at the Diaz School. It later emerged that the police fabricated evidence against the protesters, claiming they were anarchist rioters, to justify their actions. Some Carabiniere officials have since come forward to say they knew of infiltration of the so called black bloc anarchists, and that fellow officers acted as agent provocateurs.

At the Free Trade Area of Americas protests in Miami in late November 2003, more provocateuring was evident. The United Steelworkers of America calling for a congressional investigation, stated that the police intentionally caused violence and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protestors. The USWA suggested that billions of dollars supposedly slated for Iraq reconstruction funds are actually being used to subsidize “homeland repression” in America.

Despite being caught over and over again dressed up as anarchists and posing as protesters, authorities are still content to use agent provocateurs in a desperate and underhanded attempt to make heightening levels of police brutality somehow appear as a legitimate response. Since this maneuver has now been totally discredited and everyone is fully aware of it, it’s unlikely that they will be able to get away with it at all for future protests.

G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, in yet another example of authorities attempting to provoke chaos at global summits in order to justify a brutal police crackdown.

Footage from Saturday night shows three burly older men who look completely out of place with black bandanas over their face walking alongside young protesters during a march against police brutality in a You Tube clip entitled “G20 Epic Undercover Police Fail”.

The clip would be hilarious if it was not so disturbing. Protesters walking behind what are obviously badly disguised cops claim they broke cameras and acted aggressively towards genuine protesters, as well as carrying gas canisters. During a peaceful demonstration on Saturday night, riot cops savagely attacked protesters with batons and rubber bullets while also assaulting and arresting students who weren’t even part of the demonstration.

Watch the clip below.

At one point one of the undercover cops states, “Let’s not make this too much fun, I’m tired, I’m getting old.”

“Do you think it’s funny to mock our First Amendment rights, asks a demonstrator as onlookers begin to become aware that the men are obviously police officers dressed up as anarchists.

At every single major summit over the past few years, authorities have inserted agent provocateurs into protest groups in order to spy on them and if necessary, provoke violence to justify oppressive police brutality in the eyes of the watching world.

We have documented numerous different occasions where the leadership of the black bloc anarchists were actually working with the authorities to provide a pretext for a police state crackdown.

Provocateur Cops Caught Disguised As Anarchists At G20 260909banner

During the previous G20 protest in London, black bloc anarchists were allowed by police to smash up bank buildings while being accompanied by more press photographers than other protesters in what was obviously a stage-managed spectacle for mass consumption, while legitimate protest groups were refused “permits” to protest by the government.

Following the SPP protests in Canada two years ago, Quebec provincial authorities were forced to admit that three rock-wielding black mask-wearing “anarchists” were in fact police infiltrators used to gather information on protesters.

Video shows two of the provocateurs pick up rocks and try to incite violence before they are outed as cops by legitimate demonstrators. The two thugs then tried to slip behind police lines before their fellow officers were forced to stage their arrest. Again, the fact that they were cops in disguise was later admitted by authorities. Watch the video.

Alex Jones’ film Police State 2: The Takeover exposed how the black bloc anarchists were completely infiltrated and provocateured by the authorities during the violent 1999 WTO protests in Seattle.

The authorities declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews and resorted to nothing short of police state tactics in response to a small minority of hostile black bloc hooligans. Police allowed the black bloc to run riot in downtown Seattle while they concentrated on preventing the movement of peaceful protestors. The film presents clear evidence that the black bloc anarchist group was actually controlled by the state and used to demonize peaceful protesters. Watch the video below.

At the WTO protests in Genoa 2001 a protestor was killed after being shot in the head and run over twice by a police vehicle. The Italian Carabinere also later beat on peaceful protestors as they slept, and even tortured some, at the Diaz School. It later emerged that the police fabricated evidence against the protesters, claiming they were anarchist rioters, to justify their actions. Some Carabiniere officials have since come forward to say they knew of infiltration of the so called black bloc anarchists, and that fellow officers acted as agent provocateurs.

At the Free Trade Area of Americas protests in Miami in late November 2003, more provocateuring was evident. The United Steelworkers of America calling for a congressional investigation, stated that the police intentionally caused violence and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protestors. The USWA suggested that billions of dollars supposedly slated for Iraq reconstruction funds are actually being used to subsidize “homeland repression” in America.

Despite being caught over and over again dressed up as anarchists and posing as protesters, authorities are still content to use agent provocateurs in a desperate and underhanded attempt to make heightening levels of police brutality somehow appear as a legitimate response. Since this maneuver has now been totally discredited and everyone is fully aware of it, it’s unlikely that they will be able to get away with it at all for future protests.

Posted by ben on September 29th, 2009 No Comments

Marines to Conduct “Urban Exercises” in Kentucky, Indiana

LOUISVILLE, Ky. The Marines are landing in our backyard.

2,300 Marines are converging on this region for two weeks of intensive training in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

Part of the training involves exercises in small cities in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Simulated missions will take place in Frankfort late next week.

Beginning today, you may see Marine aircraft in the skies. They include the Cobra and Chinook helicopters and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The Marines, from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will base their training at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana.

Paul Miles reports:  Click Here

Posted by ben on September 24th, 2009 No Comments

New Government Policy Imposes Strict Standards on Garage Sales Nationwide

Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.

The “Resale Round-up,” launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children’s products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don’t meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.

The strict standards were set in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a series of high-profile recalls of Chinese-made toys.

The standards were originally interpreted to apply only to new products, but now the CPSC says they apply to used items as well.

“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Resale stores should make safety their business and check for recalled products and hazards to children.”

In order to comply, stores, flea markets, charities and individuals selling used goods — in person or online — are expected to consult the commission’s 24-page Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers (pdf) and its Web site for a breakdown of what they can’t sell.

Violators caught selling anything on the enormous list face fines of up to $100,000 per infraction and up to $15 million for a related series of infractions.

CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson says the fines are intended for large companies with serious infractions.

“CPSC is an agency that has used its penalty powers over its 30-year history against companies,” Wolfson told FOXNews.com. “CPSC is not seeking to pursue penalties against individuals hosting a garage sale or yard sale, we are encouraging them to take the right steps to not resell recalled products.”

But FOX News Legal Analyst Bob Massi says the law makes no distinction for families and small resellers.

“Most people having garage sales at this point don’t have much anyway, so to have a fine levied against them is tantamount to harassment,” Massi told FOXNews.com. “And if you or I asked 100 people about this, they would never even know the law exists.”

Don Mays, senior director of product safety planning at the publisher of Consumer Reports, says the hefty penalties are necessary to have an impact.

“The former civil penalty limit of $1.87 million was too small to be an effective deterrent to large companies who flagrantly violated the law,” Mays told FOXNews.com. “Mattel and its subsidiary Fisher-Price, for example, recently paid a $2.3 million penalty for importing about 2 million toys that violated the CPSC 30-year-old lead paint ban — that amounts to just over one dollar per toy.”

When FOXNews.com came to his garage sale, vendor Ilan Broochian said the same was not the case for his household.

“You fine me in today’s economy $1000 dollars and that would hurt me,” Broochian said. “So, just make the fine bigger to them; don’t take their responsibility and put it on me.”

VIDEO: FOXNews.com Visits the Broochians’ Garage Sale

“It is scary to think that there could be such hefty fines imposed on unsuspecting households,” another garage sale organizer, Patti Lombardi, told FOXNews.com. “I think I speak for many people when I say that the government spends too much time interfering in the individual citizen’s personal life and this is almost bordering on the ridiculous … what if it opens up a Pandora’s box of litigation brought by the purchasers of items at garage sales?”

Wolfson says the law may be tough, but it’s necessary to keep consumers — and especially children — safe.

“Many children have choked and died on small parts that have broken off or been incorporated into toys,” Wolfson told FOXNews.com.

He noted that dozens of children have swallowed powerful magnets that fell out of magnetic toys and have needed open-chest surgery as result.

“We don’t make haphazard decisions about risks here at CPSC,” he said. “So much of what we do here and what this new law aims to achieve is looking at issues where children have been hurt previously.”

But critics say the Resale Round-up is just another example of the government overstepping its boundaries.

“It’s absurd when nanny-state bureaucrats want to regulate things we buy at mom-and-pop shops or second-hand stores,” Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, told FOXNews.com. “Consumer product safety is best left to a free market where suppliers can compete based on reputation and track records. American grown-ups aren’t stupid, and they know they need to be careful about what they buy for their children from complete strangers at no-name stores.”

Toy industry expert and TimetoPlayMag.com content director Chris Byrne says the law is well-intended, but it may be taking things too far.

“The overall law I think is awfully broad and doesn’t take all of the science into effect,” he told FOXNews.com. “You can’t consume lead by touching something and putting your finger in your mouth. That’s not how it happens. The lead has to be injested and has to be injested in particles small enough to enter the bloodstream or on a material in the stomach where it will be digested in the stomach acids and go into the bloodstream — and that’s never happened from toys.”

In cases where toys have injured children, Byrne said the injuries often resulted from misusing the product.

“In virtually all the cases of magnet swallowing these were things that were swallowed by kids that were below the age grade, or in the case of the older kids they were pretending to have tongue piercings. By banning magnets, you’re not going to stop that level of play,” Byrne said.

PHOTOS: Controversial Recalls

“When you bring something into your home there should be an assumption of risk,” he added. “And if you have a child under 3 and you bring in something age graded for 5 and up – who’s responsibility is that? I think it’s the parents’.”

And toys aren’t the only issue. Byrne said the biggest challenge now is for all school products.

“If I’ve got a wirebound notebook, the lead content in that wire binding is now under scrutiny, even though the chance of ingesting lead in any amount from something like that is virtually non-existent,” he said. “It’s a level of political grandstanding to say ‘we’re taking care of everything,’ but the science clearly demonstrates that the transference is not really possible — I mean, a child who eats the wire binding from a notebook is going to have significantly worse health problems than lead.”

The Resale Round-up has led some resale stores and charities to stop accepting children’s goods altogether, something President and CEO of Goodwill Industries Jim Gibbons said has some clients concerned.

“I saw on blogs, consumers saying, ‘Don’t take away my ability to shop at Goodwill for children’s clothing – this is how I clothe my kids and get them to school,’” Gibbons told FOXNews.com.

The problem, he said, is every not-for-profit and ‘mom and pop thrift shop’ has different capabilities and resources and a broad-brush approach may leave them unable to provide services.

Still, Gibson said, Goodwill generally has been able to continue serving its communities, and he believes CPSC is working hard to take a law “that was probably written in haste” and implement it in an effective manner.

“They’re really committed to common-sense approaches and working in good faith with at least the social services kind of thrift segment,” he said. “And we’ve been working very proactively with them to make sure that folks at Goodwill are educated, have access to the CPSC guidelines and are making themselves available for as much training as CPSC can provide as they try to figure out how to work with this legislation.”

For more information on the Resale Round-up go to www.cspc.gov.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,552021,00.html

Posted by ben on September 22nd, 2009 No Comments

Sprint Gives FEMA GPS Tracking Technology

http://newsreleases.sprint.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=127149&p=irol-newsArticle_newsroom&ID=1333809

Sprint Provides Cellular and GPS Services to FEMA for its Nationwide Vehicle Tracking Program

Nextel handsets equipped with TeleNav Track™ GPS services offer FEMA ease of deployment and cost reductions for their emergency communications

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep. 21, 2009– The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is relying on Sprint (NYSE:S) to provide 2,000 Nextel handsets in support of FEMA’s nationwide vehicle tracking system. As part of an agreement signed earlier this year, Sprint is providing handsets equipped with industry-leading Nextel Direct Connect® and TeleNav Track, a cell phone-based GPS navigation and tracking service. This powerful combination of technologies allows the agency do its job efficiently during an emergency by supporting quick deployment and effective management of its critical resources. The ability to set up anywhere and at any time is crucial for FEMA, especially when the agency is called upon to provide disaster support.

Several hundred of the 2,000 Motorola i365 phones are being used by FEMA employees and the rest are on standby and staged throughout the country, ready to deploy in case of an emergency. For example, units have been staged in the Gulf Coast region throughout the hurricane season. All phones are prepackaged in a FEMA kit – a rugged pelican case that includes the handset, a car charger, a wall charger, a splitter and two batteries.

In addition to the devices, the Sprint solution also includes integration and project management services to ensure that the agency met its deadlines for setting up the vehicle tracking program before the hurricane season. After receiving the initial request, Sprint and TeleNav rapidly set up the entire program, including device configuration and testing.

“Interoperable communications and emergency preparedness have always been top priorities for Sprint, especially in wake of some of the recent natural and man-made disasters. Whether it’s the reliability of our network or support from the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT), we have always been ahead of our competition in supporting our customers including the federal agencies tasked with disaster preparedness and recovery,” said Bill White, vice president, Federal Programs at Sprint. “We take pride in serving FEMA with our voice and data services powered by Sprint’s Now Network™.”

While Nextel Direct Connect allows instant and seamless communication among FEMA personnel and interoperable communications with first responder and law enforcement agencies, TeleNav Track allows FEMA to monitor in near real-time the location of its mission-critical resources, including ambulances, buses and trucks. With geo-fencing, authorized FEMA personnel can also receive alerts if a tracked unit travels outside or inside a defined geographic boundary. A key enabler of this solution is the rugged Motorola i365 handset with an embedded GPS location system and advanced operating system. The Motorola operating system includes features which automatically run the TeleNav Track application in the background on power-up, eliminating the need for any user interaction and preventing unauthorized changes to the application.

Sprint, whose Now Network was recently named most reliable 3G network in a 13-city test by PC World, serves FEMA through its newly formed Business Markets Group (BMG). Composed of more than 4,000 sales, support, marketing and operations personnel, Sprint’s BMG is dedicated solely to enterprise, general business and public sector customers. BMG delivers wireless, wireline and converged solutions for companies, drawing on the nation’s most dependable 3G mobile broadband network,* 4G capabilities that are well ahead of Sprint’s competition, the fastest national push-to-talk network,** and a comprehensive solutions portfolio of devices and applications.

Sprint offers the following hurricane preparedness tips, pandemic flu tips for businesses and consumers. To learn more, click on this link to watch a Sprint executive speaking about Sprint’s pandemic planning and preparations tips for businesses and general consumers.

For more information on Sprint business solutions, visit www.sprint.com/business or contact your Sprint account team. For more information on Sprint ERT, visit www.sprint.com/ert

*Dependable” based on independent, third-party drive tests for 3G data connection success, session reliability and signal strength for the 50 most populous markets, January 2008 – February 2009. Not all services available on 3G and coverage may default to separate network when 3G unavailable.

**“Fastest” based on initial call set-up time.

ABOUT SPRINT NEXTEL

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving almost 49 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The company’s customer-focused strategy has led to improved first call resolution and customer care satisfaction scores. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

ABOUT TELENAV

TeleNav, Inc., a privately-held company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, was the first to launch a cell phone GPS system in the United States. Deployed by 14 carriers in 29 countries, TeleNav is a global leader in wireless location-based services (LBS). Currently, the company’s solutions are available in four continents, including North and South America, Asia and Europe.

TeleNav’s solutions include GPS navigation, Mobile Resource Management (MRM), social networking and local search. The company’s flagship service, TeleNav GPS Navigator™, offers functionalities comparable to in-car systems and standalone navigation devices, such as automatically-updated maps and business locations, full-color 3D moving maps, traffic alerts with one-click rerouting, location-sharing, business reviews, speech recognition, Wi-Fi hotspot finder, gas price finder and more. TeleNav also delivers its award-winning navigation service on the TeleNav Shotgun™, a standalone GPS personal navigation device (PND) tailored specifically for business travelers. TeleNav’s enterprise application, TeleNav Track™, incorporates GPS-enabled tracking, time sheets, wireless forms and navigation. TeleNav Track is a widely adopted service with approximately 9,000 customer organizations using it today.

TeleNav services are available on more than 500 wireless devices and run on most major mobile platforms currently available.

For more information on TeleNav, please visit www.telenav.com.

Source: Sprint

Sprint
Sukhi Sahni, 703-592-7779
sukhi.sahni@sprint.com
or
TeleNav, Inc.
MaryBeth Lowell, 425-531-0122
marybethl@telenav.com

Posted by ben on September 22nd, 2009 No Comments

Seller, beware: Feds cracking down on garage sales

WASHINGTON — If you’re planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you’d best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.

The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer.

“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.

Staffers for the federal agency are fanning out across the country to conduct training seminars on the regulations at dozens of thrift shops.

“Even before this law, we had good mechanisms in place for pulling recalled products,” said Jim Gibbons, the chief executive of Goodwill. “The law just kicks it up a notch, so Goodwills around the country will continue to improve our process.”

Goodwill uses $2 billion in annual sales at its 2,300 thrift shops nationwide to pay for its job-training and employment placement programs.

Gibbons said the nonprofit group was accustomed to inspectors from the Consumer Product Safety Commission making unannounced visits to its stores.

Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the agency, said it wouldn’t be dispatching bureaucratic storm troopers into private homes to see whether people were selling recalled products from their garages, yards or churches.

“We’re not looking to come across as being heavy-handed,” he said. “We want to make sure that everybody knows what the rules of engagement are to help spur greater compliance, so that enforcement becomes less of an issue. But we’re still going to enforce.”

The agency is working with eBay, Wolfson said, to help the online sales giant install software filters that will flag auction items subject to manufacturers’ recalls.

The commission’s Internet surveillance unit is monitoring Craigslist and other “top auction and reselling sites” for recalled goods. If the agency discovers that a recalled product has been sold online, it will try to find and inform the buyer, Wolfson said.

To kick off its Resale Roundup, the federal agency released a list of the 11 most dangerous previously recalled children’s products.

The oldest is the March 10, 1993, recall of 11,600 portable cribs sold as Playskool Travel-Lite Play Yards and made by Kolcraft, an Aberdeen, N.C., firm that’s the nation’s largest crib manufacturer.

Adele Meyer is the executive director of the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, which represents more than 1,100 store owners.

“Even before it was criminal to resell recalled goods, our members have always been diligent because children’s safety is always foremost in their minds,” she said. “But having consumers look out for recalled products that are sold at garage sales and flea markets, that is a problem, and hopefully this law will help.”

Nancy Lothrop, a mother of two in Monroe, Wash., was surprised to learn that she might be violating the law by selling about $200 worth of Polly Pocket dolls and accessories on Craigslist that her 12-year-old daughter no longer wants.

In two large recalls from November 2006 to August 2007, the El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel asked consumers to return 9.7 million units of several dozen different sets of Polly Pocket dolls.

The recalled dolls and accessories, made for Mattel in China, had tiny magnets that could become loose and then swallowed or inhaled by young children. The magnets have caused three serious injuries — intestinal tears requiring surgery — that the Consumer Product Safety Commission knows of.

Lothrop’s daughter, Laura, was upset about four years ago when Mattel changed the clothing for many of the Polly Pocket dolls from a rubber-type material to plastic and inserted small magnets to hold it on the figures.

Laura didn’t like the new material or the way it fit her dolls. So, at 8, she e-mailed a complaint to Mattel. The toy giant never responded.

Now, Nancy and Laura Lothrop must do a painstaking inventory of her collection, searching for tiny model numbers to see whether they match any of the recalled items. If they find matches, they’ll pull the recalled dolls and accessories from the group that they’re selling.

Nancy Lothrop, though, doesn’t quite understand why the dolls are being singled out.

“Many toys have small pieces that could be dangerous,” she said. “My son played with army men, Lego blocks, all kinds of things with little parts. A toddler can put anything in his mouth. Parents need to have common sense. Ultimately, the parent needs to really evaluate and be watchful of what the child is playing with. We as consumers have to be careful. It really comes back to us.”

The Resale Roundup is being enforced under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law last year.

The law has a number of other beefed-up consumer protections, including much tougher standards for selling products that contain lead or lead-based paint. After stalling for years, the legislation gained new life after widely publicized massive recalls of Chinese-made dolls and toys with lead paint that started in late 2007.

The law also restored the full five seats on the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the first time in a quarter-century.

President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are crafting an appropriations bill that would boost the agency’s funding next year by more than 11.4 percent — to $117 million — and it’s already hiring new inspectors and other employees in anticipation of the funding infusion.

MOST DANGEROUS RECALLED PRODUCTS:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched a drive to prevent used goods that have been recalled from being resold. Among thousands of recalled products on the market, the federal agency has identified 11 that it considers very dangerous for children:

Product………………………………………………………………..When recalled

Playskool Travel-Lite Play Yards (portable cribs)………..March 10, 1993

Baby Trend Home and Roam.(portable cribs)……………Dec. 19, 1994

Evenflo Happy Camper Play Yards (portable cribs)…….June 25, 1997

Baby Express Portable Cribs and Play Yards……………Feb. 28, 2001

Magnetix Magnetic Building Sets…………………………….March 31, 2006

Polly Pocket dolls with magnets………………………………Nov. 21, 2006

Easy-Bake Ovens………………………………………………….July 19, 2007

Simplicity Drop Side Cribs……………………………………….Sept. 21, 2007

Simplicity Bassinets………………………………………………. Aug. 27, 2008

Hill Sportswear hooded drawstring sweatshirts………….Feb. 12, 2009

Evenflo Envision high chairs……………………………………April 2, 2009

Posted by ben on August 26th, 2009 No Comments

CPS Investigates Patriot Blogger Grigg

William N. Grigg
Pro Libertate
August 13, 2009

Editor’s note: An award-winning investigative journalist, William Norman Grigg was the senior editor and a prolific contributor to The New American, the official magazine of the John Birch Society. His writing reflects views heavily influenced by constitutionalism, libertarianism, and anti-communism. His columns are occasionally posted on Infowars.

“Grab some clothes and get into the van, now.”

For an instant, that directive, and the tone in which it was issued, had the opposite of its intended effect: Korrin and our five older children, momentarily paralyzed by shock, looked at me in alarm. There was something in both the tone of my voice, and the expression on my face, that was new and a little frightening. None of them had seen my “game face” before. They were seeing it now.

Just seconds earlier, Korrin and I had been confronted on our doorstep by two very nice, well-dressed women who informed us that an anonymous “child endangerment” complaint had been filed with the Child Protective Services.

One of the visitors was a social worker we’ve known for several years, and consider a friend. The other was a stranger who introduced herself as a CPS investigator. She intended to inspect our home and speak with our children.

After being summoned to the doorstep, I had ushered our children into our house and closed the door behind me. Short of being removed by force, there was no way I was going to permit a CPS investigator to have access to our home as long as our children were vulnerable to government abduction.

“You seem like a conscientious and well-intentioned person,” I quietly told the investigator, “but this is an adversarial situation, and I can’t allow you to have access to my home in the absence of a warrant, and until I’ve consulted with legal counsel.”

Although this clearly wasn’t the response she had expected or desired, the investigator retained her professional composure.

“Well, that is your right,” she replied. “I must advise you that I will consult with law enforcement and return later today.”

“I understand,” I said, shooting a quick glance at the slender silver digital recorder the investigator wasn’t successfully concealing in her left hand. “I also want the record to reflect the fact that I didn’t consent for our conversation to be recorded.”

The investigator nodded in assent, her brows pulling together ever-so-slightly as if in puzzlement. She and her associate returned to their car and drove away. As they turned the corner I turned to Korrin and our children and ordered — yes, it was an order, not a request — them to get in the van.

“Don’t bother packing,” I told them in syllables drawn taut with urgency. “Just grab a couple of things and get in the van.” The kids, suddenly understanding that we were at Def-Con One, quietly and quickly did as they were told.

Minutes later we were headed out of Payette County, beyond the jurisdiction of the local police and Sheriff, en route to a pre-designated safe house.

Yes, we had — as Foghorn Leghorn might put it — made plans to deal with just such an emergency.

Earlier this year, I met with a handful of close and trusted friends to discuss various crisis scenarios — from the systemic breakdown of the commercial food distribution network to the possibility that one of us might find his family targeted by the CPS. Those meetings were the idea of a good friend who is a very well-informed and astute survivalist. Relatively little was accomplished at those meetings, but as recent events testify, what little was done proved to be indispensable.

One of the participants at those gatherings (we chose a local club whose owner is defying an asinine local smoking ban; we refractory individualists need to support each other) very generously offered his home as a temporary refuge for my children in the event that the CPS came after my family. From there, working through communications cut-outs, we could make arrangements for Korrin and our children to stay in the homes of other reliable people who share our convictions.

When the balloon went up, we knew what to do. I spirited our family to my friend’s house, casting frequent glances in the rear-view mirror.

“This reminds me of that movie `Not Without My Daughter,’” commented my genius son William Wallace, our family’s resident cineaste. There was no undertone of eagerness or excitement in his voice; William was scared. So was Isaiah, who quietly explained that in cases of this kind children are often taken from their parents.

That was a hard thing to say, but it needed to be said. Not surprisingly, this terrified our girls, six-year-old Katrina and four-year-old Sophia. Although he has the reflexive aversion to girls of any kind that typifies an eight-year-old boy, Jefferson wrapped his arms around Katrina and comforted her as she cried.

Once we crossed the county border, I relaxed a little bit and gave some instructions to Korrin and the kids. I told Korrin that it was important not to call our home, since caller ID would reveal the location of the safe house. I would contact them through an intermediary, and if she needed anything she was to call that person. I told the kids that they would be safe with our friends until I came to get them, but that if people from the government arrived they were to be courteously uncooperative.

The plan was for me to return to our house, tidy it up, and deal with the CPS and the police. This might mean I could face obstruction charges if they insisted on seeing Korrin and the children, I explained, so there was a possibility I would be in jail by day’s end. They had to be prepared for that possibility, because I would not give the CPS an opportunity to seize our children.

Once at the safe house I called a friend who agreed to be my cut-out. Then we gathered for prayer and I went back home by a different route.

Please, Dear Lord, I prayed silently as I neared our house, don’t let it be a crime scene already. To my relief, nobody was there.

About forty minutes later, following a minimal investment of effort, the house was tidied up. We’re messy, but not unclean; no parent would be surprised to see the clutter we deal with, given that we have six small children, and no honest person would consider our unremarkable untidiness to be a threat to our children’s health or well-being. But I’m well aware of CPS enforcement actions that have resulted in charges being filed against parents whose homes aren’t as antiseptic as a NASA white room.

Roughly a half-hour later, while speaking on the phone to my mother, I saw a city police car drive slowly by our house, turn around, and park in front of our walkway. From it emerged a young man, clean-cut and squared away, who strode up to our front door.

Well, here we go, I thought. I was wrong — and the day took an even stranger turn.

“Who owns the vacant lot?” the young police officer politely inquired.

“Do you mean the lot next to our house?” I asked.

“No, the one behind it,” he persisted.

“That’s not a `lot,’ it’s our back yard,” I pointed out, gesturing for him to come with me to look through a nearby gate.

“Who owns this property?” asked the officer. I explained that we were renters, not owners.

“Well, there are some weeds in the backyard that apparently need to be taken care of,” the officer began, his tone suggesting that he had expected to see a much bigger problem than the one confronting him. Sure, there is a row of weeds along the rear fence line of our yard (which occupies a significant fraction of an acre), but it wasn’t the Amazonian jungle he had anticipated.

“I suppose the weeds along the fence line need to be cut down,” the officer observed, “but that’s really the responsibility of the property owner.” I assured him that I intended to attend to the weeds, whether or not that was my legal “responsibility,” simply in the interest of living in a presentable home. The officer took down my publicly available contact information, gave me a polite nod, and departed, leaving me to contemplate an unsettling question:

Why would a police officer visit me with a complaint about overgrown weeds that are not visible from any of the streets that run by our house? He couldn’t have seen them from the street. Clearly, he was responding to a complaint from someone who had recently been in our backyard.

That fact may prove to be the critical clue in identifying the person who also hot-lined our family to CPS to report that our children were “endangered” by the untidiness of our living space.

Less than a half hour after the first police visit ended, an unmarked police car arrived and decanted the CPS investigator and the largest officer on the roster of the Payette City Police force — a genial man-mountain with a tonsured head, Van Dyke beard, and a ready smile. Seeing him, I simply had to chuckle: Yes, of course they’d send him.

The plainclothes officer identified himself. I replied that I had met him a couple of years earlier when he, along with practically the entire population of Payette, helped us find then-five-year-old Jefferson when he went missing. (Jefferson was found sleeping peacefully in his fortress of solitude, a secret space he created behind the headboard of a hide-a-bed.)

“I told her” — the officer began, gesturing to the CPS investigator — “that I’ve been in your home, and it seemed perfectly OK to me. But we have to clear up this complaint.”

Since Korrin and the kids were safe, I had no objection. I invited them in an busied myself paying bills.

“Are Korrin and the children not here?” asked the CPS investigator. I told her, quite truthfully, that they had been invited to spend the afternoon at a friend’s house.

About two minutes later the CPS worker and policeman were done. They explained as they left that the matter was closed but that I should contact Health and Welfare in the event that we “need any services.”

“When we spoke this morning, you were very respectful,” the CPS worker commented. “You did hold out for your rights, which is appropriate, but you treated me well, and I appreciated that.” I smiled and said something to the effect that I try to treat people well.

This episode turned out much better than it could have.

What if I hadn’t been working at home, and Korrin — who suffers from a chronic condition that leaves her exhausted and bed-ridden most of the time — hadn’t been able to stave off the CPS before the house had been tidied up?

What if the CPS investigator had seen something — anything — “aberrant” in the behavior or appearance of our children, and decided that prudence required a more detailed examination?

What if we had been dealing with the kind of CPS investigator hard-wired to find evidence of abuse or neglect? Granted, we were blessed on this occasion to deal with someone who was sincere, polite, reasonable, and professional. That generally isn’t the case in situations of this kind.

What if some combination of circumstances had resulted in a judicial order to appear at a “show cause” hearing, a procedure that almost always leads to some kind of catastrophic government intervention?

Once again, none of those things — or dozens of others, many of them worse — happened. This time. To us. But all of those terrible things have happened to families just like ours, because someone, for reasons only that person will know, filed an anonymous complaint with the child “protection” bureaucracy.

It’s been said that one can’t be a credible sportswriter unless he’s actually played the games he covers, or a music critic without knowing how to play an instrument or carry a tune.

After more than two decades of writing about the disruption, or outright destruction, of families by the child welfare bureaucracy, I can finally consider myself qualified, albeit in a limited sense, to pronounce upon that subject. That’s a credential I could have done without.

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2009/08/hotlined.html

Posted by ben on August 14th, 2009 No Comments

China’s police-state

John Chan |

The Chinese regime’s ongoing police-military suppression of unrest in the north-western province of Xinjiang has created international tensions. While the US and other Western powers have largely remained silent, concerned that social and political instability in China could endanger the global economy, Turkey has stepped up its condemnations of China while Islamic extremists have threatened to attack Chinese interests overseas.

Beijing’s deployment of more than 20,000 heavily-armed troops to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, may have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of members of the Uighur minority. So far the official death toll is 192 (mostly Han civilians killed by Uighur rioters), with 1,721 wounded, and 331 shops and 627 vehicles burned. More than 1,400 people have been arrested.

The response of the security forces to any sign of resistance has been ruthless, in order to intimidate any opposition, especially from the working class. On Monday, soldiers shot and killed two Uighurs and wounded a third. While the Chinese authorities claimed that the shooting was necessary to prevent a crime, Zhang Ming, a construction worker at a nearby building site told the Associated Press (AP) that he saw three men with knives and sticks attack a group of paramilitary police officers, who then chased them, beat and shot them.

AP reported: “Photos show one policemen raising his rifle to strike a man. Lying at their feet, the man, who was wearing a blue shirt, had blood on his right leg. Police quickly formed a ring around him and raised their guns skyward towards surrounding buildings as if worried about retaliation. An armoured personnel carrier and paramilitary police arrived, and police waved their guns and shouted for people to get off the streets.”

Yesterday, the local chief prosecutor Hamsi Mamuti declared that new arrest warrants would soon be issued and threatened to “severely punish” the so-called violent elements involved in the protests. This threat of a new wave of arrests, which came after Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Wang Lequan had declared that most suspects had been arrested already, has created a tense atmosphere.

According to the AP report: “The fear of arrest was almost palpable in Uighur neighbourhoods, unlike last week when many agitated residents were eager to talk to foreign journalists… Small groups of paramilitary police gripping assault rifles with bayonets stood on special platforms on busy street corners and sidewalks Thursday in Uighur neighborhoods. They used metal barricades with spikes to block the main road into the biggest Uighur district of Er Dao Qiao.”

Foreign reporters have to wear photo identity cards and are not allowed to photograph the thousands of troops guarding the city. The Internet has not been restored since it was cut during the initial July 5 riots and journalists can still only file reports from the government-run media centre.

Far from resolving the ethnic and social tensions in Xinjiang, Beijing’s heavy-handed methods can only deepen the alienation among the oppressed minorities.

The virtual collective silence of the major Western powers indicates that they approve China’s police-state measures, despite small protests by Uighur groups outside Chinese embassies in Europe, North America and Australia.

Responding to the killing of two Uighurs on Monday, the US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly merely said: “As they [the Chinese authorities] work to restore order, we believe that it’s important that they respect the legal rights of all Chinese citizens.”

Beijing criticised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday over his comment last week that the Chinese repression was “like genocide”. He even threatened to take China to the UN Security Council over the issue.

Erdogan’s remarks inflamed a wave of anti-Chinese protests on the basis of pan-Turkic nationalism, which views Xinjiang or East Turkestan as an ancestral homeland for the Turks for over 1,500 years. In Istanbul on July 12, about 5,000 people turned out, holding Turkish flags and the flags of the short-lived East Turkestan republic that broke away from China in the 1930s. They called for a boycott of Chinese-made goods, a proposal made by Turkish industry and trade minister Nihat Ergun last week.

Turkey is an important base for exiled Uighur activists. The ideological components of pan-Turkic nationalism reflect the ambitions of the Turkish bourgeoisie to expand its political and economic influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus, especially in the Turkic-speaking states like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan that were established after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991.

While the Chinese government had not formally protested against Turkey, the state-controlled media has invoked Turkey’s own record of ruthlessly suppressing Kurdish separatist movements, including its military incursion into northern Iraq in 2007.

China Daily on Tuesday demanded that Erdogan withdraw his genocide remarks as “irresponsible and groundless”. The People’s Daily on July 14 reported that patriotic Internet users, a layer of middle-class nationalists cultivated by the Chinese regime, “feel insulted by Turkish actions and suggested that China should change its attitude towards the Kurdish Workers Party and support their appeal for independence, so as to make Turkey pay a heavy political price”.

The state media’s accusations of “biased and twisted” reporting by Western journalists has also mobilised Chinese patriotic “angry youth” for xenophobic attacks. The web site of the Turkish embassy in China was hacked earlier this week to post a letter warning Turkey not to interfere with China’s internal affairs.

The Turkish-based English daily, Hurriyet, warned on July 10 that Ankara’s support for Uighur nationalists would offend not only China, but its ally, Russia, which shares Beijing’s interests in suppressing separatist insurgencies in Central Asia. “If Turkey were to go beyond calls to respect human rights in the region, and appear to be supporting Uighur separatism, it is clear that this will rebound with China referring to the Kurdish issue and minority rights in this country,” the Hurriyet noted.

The Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement stressing its respect for China’s territorial integrity and denying any intention of interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs. “We expect China to provide the necessary environment of peace and security for Uighurs who constitute a bridge of friendship between China and Turkey,” it said.

Turkey is not in a position to challenge Russian and Chinese influence in the region. Russia and the four Central Asian member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) have publicly supported China’s actions in Xinjiang. Beijing also secured support from the two largest predominantly Muslim countries in Asia—Pakistan and Indonesia—which described its conduct as an “internal affair”.

The most reactionary response came from Algerian-based Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which called for attacks on the 50,000 Chinese workers in the country and Chinese personnel across northwest Africa. Three weeks ago, the group ambushed a convoy of Algerian security forces protecting Chinese engineers, killing 24 Algerians.

AQIM’s statement has been exploited by the Chinese regime to justify its claims that the Xinjiang protests were instigated by “three forces”—extremism, terrorism and separatism—from abroad. The state-run media has been saturated with reports linking the term “terror” to exiled leaders like Rebiya Kadeer in order to justify Beijing’s heavy-handed measures.

While groups like the US Congress-financed World Uighur Congress headed by Rebiya could be instigating protests as a means of pressuring Beijing for concessions, the protests are an expression of pent-up anger over ethnic discrimination, and above all, the deepening social inequality created by the intensifying capitalist exploitation in Xinjiang and other parts of China.

According to a Financial Times article on July 10, the income gap between the Uighur rural poor and Han urban residents in Xinjiang widened from 2.1 times in 1980 to 3.24 times in 2007. Southern Xinjiang, where more than 90 percent are Uighurs, is falling even further behind. The average income gap between the richest northern county and the poorest in the south was 6.28 times in 2005. It is obvious that Beijing’s push for oil and gas in Xinjiang and Central Asia has had little benefit for the Uighur masses, only a tiny Uighur elite connected with the Chinese Communist Party regime.

The Financial Times noted: “Xinjiang’s Blue Book, the government document measuring social and economic progress, warns that social problems give rise to a ‘severe threat’ of separatism and religious radicalism. The Communist party’s response is to speed up the attempt to transform Xinjiang into something more like the rest of China”. That means extending the cheap labour supply for employers in the industrially developed provinces.

The Xinhua news agency reported on July 15 that Xinjiang had exported 1.87 million “surplus agricultural labourers” in 2008—many of them poor nomads and farmers-turned workers in the busy assembly lines of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province. A local manager at Huizhou told the agency that compared to other migrants, Xinjiang workers were “more hardworking and durable, with strong working discipline, very responsible and very stable”.

The Chinese authorities are forcing poor minorities to work as cheap labour for ruthless sweatshop owners. According to the New York Times yesterday, Uighur poor in and around the city of Kashgar were told to join the exodus to the east or face a penalty of up to six months’ income. Abdul, whose 18-year-old sister is being recruited for a factory in Guangzhou, explained: “If asked, most people will go, because no one can afford the penalty.”

At the Hong Kong-owned Early Light Toy Factory in Shaoguang, the introduction of 800 Uighur workers, amid rising local unemployment, led to a brawl in which two Uighurs were bashed to death last month. It was this incident that directly ignited the protests in Urumqi, thousands of kilometres away.

http://rinf.com/alt-news/war-terrorism/china%E2%80%99s-police-state/6151/

Posted by ben on July 20th, 2009 No Comments