Yassin Al Haj Saleh ist ein bedeutender, syrischer Dissident. Von 1980 - 1996 in Gefangenschaft, wurde er seit 2011 zu einer führenden Stimme des syrischen Aufstandes. Er versteckte sich 21 Monate lang innerhalb Syriens und lebt heute im Exil in Istanbul. Das Interview wurde via Email mit New Politics Editor Stephen R. Shalom geführt und von aNtiDote ins Deutsche übersetzt.
Wir, gewöhnliche SyrierInnen, Flüchtlinge, Frauen, StudentInnen, Intellektuelle, Menschenrechts-AktivistInnen, politische Gefangene … existieren nicht.
Transcribed from the 7 March 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“We all talk about freedom, but most people can accommodate totalitarian societies. The real threat is the one that Orwell and Huxley warned about. It’s a totalitarian society that seduces you, that blinds you, that subtly frightens you with external enemies, and tells you that giving up freedom is necessary to preserve your freedom.”
Chuck Mertz: There’s a military intelligence complex that is threatening our democracy, and it will scare the hell out of you—at least it did me while I was researching for this interview. With us right now is Bob Scheer. He is the editor of Truthdig, and is the author of They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies are Destroying Democracy. Good morning, Robert.
Robert Scheer: Hi!
CM: So I got the Chicago Tribune on my doorstep this morning, and the headline was, “CIA sweeping change to focus on digital dust: massive overhaul planned to replace old divisions and emphasize cyber-espionage.”
Whenever I see these stories, they always conflate CIA espionage and Korean hackers and my ATM card and—there’s not really much about mass surveillance in there. Is cyber-security and my bank card really what the CIA is concerned about?
RS: No, it isn’t.
Transcribed from the 8 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“I thought it was just another detainee holding facility. But we knew that it was not on the map; this was not on the books. The soldier with me said, ‘We just found our Auschwitz.’ It shook all through my body, and I said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’”
Chuck Mertz: Guantánamo is a horrible place that should be closed, never should have been opened in the first place, and may very well have been the scene of a triple murder. Here with an insider’s account, Joseph Hickman is author of Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay.
Joe has spent most of his life in the military—first as a marine, then as a soldier in both the army and the national guard. Deployed on several military operations throughout the world, sometimes attached to foreign militaries, the recipient of more than twenty commendations and medals, Joe was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal while he was stationed with the 629th military intelligence battalion in Guantánamo Bay. He is currently working as an independent researcher and senior research fellow at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Policy and Research.
You start your book by writing, “I am a patriotic American.” Is this a book written out of a sense of patriotism? Is this a patriotic book?
Joseph Hickman: Yes. I do believe it is. Like you said, I was in the military for fourteen years when I arrived at Guantánamo. It was my life. And I believe that, as an American soldier, it was my job to come forward and report a war crime. I think it’s every soldier’s duty to report a war crime if they see one occur. I believe I witnessed a war crime, and I tried to report it.
Transcribed from the 13 December 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“The police will argue that they have to be heavy-handed with criminals because they’re under attack, because it’s a ‘war.’ But they won’t admit that they’re creating a climate of terror.”
Chuck Mertz: We’re speaking with our irregular correspondent in Rio de Janeiro, Brian Mier. He is social media director for the Brazilian National Urban Reform Forum and a freelance writer and producer. Yesterday he posted the article The Police and the Massacre of Afro-Brazilian Youth.
Good morning, Brian.
Brian Mier: Hey, how’s it going?
CM: Very well, sir. You write about a new Brazilian documentary called Point Blank. It tells the story of the past twenty years of massacres committed by the Rio de Janeiro military police. These chacinas are frequently committed in retribution for a killed police officer, and traditionally involve coming into a poor neighborhood and killing random Afro-Brazilian youth.
Can you explain the hierarchy of the police forces in Brazil?
BM: If you think it’s bad in Chicago, imagine having multiple police forces operating in every city. First there is the traditional civil police in Brazil that investigates robberies and homicides and things like that. Then there’s military police, which has been around for a very long time, but they were given extra powers during the military dictatorship. And when the dictatorship ended, nobody removed their special powers.
AntiNote: Our comrades at Infoaut.org interviewed Spyros Tz of AlfaKappa Athens, about the social and political context in Greece that will be affected by the electoral victory of SYRIZA. We believe that this contribution is useful to observe what is happening in the Hellenic peninsula more lucidly and dispassionately. From a vantage point within the movements, Spyros also outlines moments of immediate verification, and identifies options and spaces to capture amid the ambivalence resulting from the arrival of a SYRIZA government .
Infoaut: Now that Syriza seem to have conquered the majority of the seats in the Greek Parliament, what should we expect as the first moves of the new government? Where will the pivotal focuses of intervention take place, also according to debate of the latest days of electoral campaign? Which issues will be given priority, the internal or the international ones?
Spyros: We are entering a period of really dense political time, the decisions of all political players will generate drastic results that will define the future. It’s too soon to define the first moves of the SYRIZA government in such a fluid and unstable environment. My belief is that the governmental party hasn’t taken final decisions on various crucial matters yet. Tsipras has proven to be acting out of the box of a strict left agenda, adopting a pragmatic agenda based on broad parliamentary consensus. The participation of ANELL (independent Greeks) will surely put serious limitations on the –supposed- agenda of SYRIZA on immigration, human rights, the separation of Church and State and other relevant issues. Of course, the main political issue is that of the national debt. I believe that SYRIZA wants to create a national alliance inside the parliament in order to negotiate the issue more effectively with their European “partners”, so I believe that priority no.1 for the government is to buy some political time to prepare itself for the negotiations abroad.
AntiNote: This article first appeared last month on the Permanent Crisis blog under the title The Left Flounders as Reaction Grows Ever Stronger. Reprinted with the permission of the author and with Permanent Crisis’ internal links included—both for citations’ sake and because their Glossary is highly useful (as is their body of work in general, it should be said). External link citations have mostly not been reproduced, but sticklers can find them in the original.
Though he had clearly been preparing this piece well before the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the subsequent wave of islamophobic violence in Western Europe, and well before the SYRIZA victory in Greece, Walker articulates and puts in historical context some important features of the discussions that have arisen around both of these developments, framing the struggle against neoliberal capitalism in part as one between fascists and anti-fascists—both of whom often, awkwardly, share anti-capitalist sentiments.
As he points out, 2014 was the year that many on the Western Left started noticing this little wrinkle…though many did not (look no further than the Monday Peace Vigils in Germany, Austria, and right here in Switzerland). The Antidote Writers Collective is firmly convinced that it’s about time we start confronting this matter head-on. Fascism is not a 20th century problem; it exists all around us, sometimes right under our noses, and we need to get better at calling it what it is. But more on that later. Here’s Walker:
The Left Flounders as Reaction Grows Ever Stronger
by Walker of Permanent Crisis
As the crisis of neoliberal society grinds on, the question is not whether the dominant social forms of the last 35 years will be overthrown, but whether it will be the left or the right that overthrows them. Beginning in 2011, there was a brief upsurge of progressive protest around the world that, despite its marked limitations, offered some hope of confronting the crisis. That moment seems to be past. Protest continues, of course, but it has moved further and further away from a solid grasp on the sources of its discontent. Increasingly, even those who understand themselves as progressives are supporting reactionary directions for resistance.
Transcribed from the 24 January 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“Roma are among the poorest citizens in Bulgaria. But somehow, paradoxically, they are considered the most privileged, because of their supposed “privileged” access to welfare.”
Chuck Mertz: We’ve been discussing neoliberalism, austerity and race on This is Hell! for a while now. But what happens when austerity actually fuels more racism? Here to tell us what austerity means for racism against Bulgaria’s Roma: Jana Tsoneva.