Monday, November 28, 2005

Making money off of the misery of others truly is the American way...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blame it on black gangs... revisited

Le Colonel Chabert writes about the media manufacture of "black gangs" and how it shortcircuits any critique of imperialism in Haiti:

Even for the latest explosion of violence in Kosovo, accomplishing the ethnic cleansing of the remaining dregs of non Albanian inhabitants, for which the western media wished to apologize gently, an account of the adversaries was required, identification of their motives and affiliations, a narrative, if mendacious and tendentious, recap of the history and events leading to this crisis....

But for Haiti, of course, it would be impossible without flagrant and easily debunkable lies to tell the story without revealing the monstrous criminality of the US, France, Canada and its puppet dictatorship(s). But racism solves this problem; by the evocation of its whole elaborate framework, its myths, it literary clichés, and faux social science, the glaring lack of explanation, of indeed actual reporting in the traditional genre, is entirely concealed. A hot, banana-growing place inhabited by black people left to their own devices (having violently, arrogantly thrown off their custodians and tutors before they could be taught to control and govern themselves like Christians) is simply like this, poor, dirty, precarious, menaced by violent 'gangs' with no particular motive for their violence other than the unfettered expression of their nature - for this is what 'young black men' do when they don't make the NBA. This is how they behave on the shitpile their delusional Kings leave after embezzling all the money to dress up in feathers and dine with real royalty.

Lenin's Tomb notes the same logic at work in New Orleans:

Now, who would have believed that desperate residents of New Orleans were busily shooting at those who were trying to help them - unless their faces were black? As it happens, violent crime fell during the post-Katrina catastrophe. And that's quite predictable: it is what you would expect. In 2001, not including the mass murder on 9/11, New York's murder rate was the lowest since Kennedy was killed. In fact, just about every kind of crime was down (except for the crimes to self-respect inflicted by the retailers of kitsch and tat). I'm not saying all of it was down to post-9/11 solidarity, but one thing that does stand out is that the disaster did not result in Hobbesian war of all against all, or in the city being "raped". Yet, the stories that enabled the government to block aid from getting into the city, and prevent people from getting out as they prepared for their "little Somalia" were somehow widely enough believed that there was not mass protest about what was being done. I was widely remarked at the time that New Orleans seemed to have joined the Third World. Well, then, think of Haiti

Afterthepurge's very own Dr. Snake Roberts tackles the image of black gangs and rap music in Toronto and Paris:

Rap music does not “cause” violence, any more than it “causes” misogyny, and this scapegoating of rap music results in little being done to change the violence many women, white and black, face in their day to day lives. What does this focus in the media on “stranger violence”, specifically, the threat of a black man with a gun, hide?

Half of Canadian women (51%) have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

Women are much more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger.

It's not an accident that these images of a violent, anonymous black underclass of people continue to be the favorite of ruling elites hiding the traces of their crimes from their citizens. This trope was produced in the age of imperialism, which it helps maintain. Anne McClintock notes, "the fetish image of the crowd as degenerate was a measure of very real ruling-class anxieties about popular resistance, as well as a crucial element in legitimizing the policing of militant working class communities." But does any other simultaneously racialized, classist and gendered image serve so well as border-guard from the critical curiosity of a state's citizenry? This racialized, overdetermined media image of the black gang itself, rather than any actually existing black people, stands as sentry and border alongside police forces.

Moral panic(s) and rap music

What's with the panic about rap music in Toronto and Paris?

In Toronto: Gun crime biggest fear

Poll: 87% say city is more violent compared to five years ago

Nicholas Kohler, National Post
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

TORONTO - Toronto residents are feeling "under siege" by gangs that draw their income from drug sales and their inspiration from urban rap music, says an Ipsos-Reid poll released yesterday.

Canadian MP calls for 50 Cent ban, Thursday, 24 November, 2005

Junior foreign minister Dan McTeague has called on officials to stop the performer (5o cent) from entering the country.

"This is not a question of censorship," he said. "This is a question of trying to protect impressionable young men."

Meanwhile, in France:

Rappers face rap for riots
23/11/2005 23:14 - (SA),,2-10-1462_1839472,00.html

Paris - Seven French rap outfits could face legal action after a complaint lodged by about 200 parliamentarians on Wednesday, accusing them of helping to provoke the country's recent riots through their lyrics.

"Sexism, racism and anti-Semitism are no more acceptable in lyrics than in written or spoken words," said the deputy behind the initiative, Francois Grosdidier of the ruling centre-right UMP.

"This is one of the factors that led to the violence in the suburbs," he said, arguing that rap music "conditions" listeners into a violent frame of mind that could spur them on to action.

In a petition co-signed by 152 deputies and 49 senators, the deputy drew the attention of justice minister Pascal Clement to seven rap singers and bands whom he accused of inciting racism and hatred.

Stop giving hip hop a bad rap

Nov. 24, 2005. 07:39 AM

As Ben Rayner states:

“It seems rather self-evident, but gun violence was thriving in Toronto long before Get Rich or Die Tryin' opened in theatres and 50 Cent threatened to visit.

This is the way crusades like the one launched this week by Liberal MP Dan McTeague to prevent the platinum-plated gangsta rapper from entering Canada next month usually work, though. They don't bother putting in the time to seek out real-world solutions to the complex social and fiscal predicaments that lead to gun violence; they settle for Band-Aid grandstanding that gives the impression of "doing something" for communities largely thrust into these situations by generations of government neglect in the first place, and that wins headlines for a junior foreign minister with an eye on re-election.”

Not all violence is created equal…

Rap music does not “cause” violence, any more than it “causes” misogyny, and this scapegoating of rap music results in little being done to change the violence many women, white and black, face in their day to day lives. What does this focus in the media on “stranger violence”, specifically, the threat of a black man with a gun, hide?

  • Half of Canadian women (51%) have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

  • Of all victims of crimes against the person in 2000, females made up the vast majority of victims of sexual assaults (86%), criminal harassment (78%) and kidnapping/hostage-taking or abduction (67%).

  • Of all female victims of violent crimes in 2000, 47% were victims of common assault, 9% of sexual assault, 9% of assault with a weapon causing bodily arm, 7% of robbery and 6% of criminal harassment.

  • Women are much more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger. In 2000, 77% of all female victims were victimized by someone they know (37% by a close friend or an acquaintance, 29% by a current or past partner, 11% by other family members - including parents) while 19% were victimized by a stranger. (link)

Intimate Femicide: An Analysis Of Men Who Kill Their Partners

By: Gregory P. Kerry M.A., Correctional Service of Canada & Carleton University

While there is a vast body of knowledge on violence against women, intimate femicide, the most severe form of violence, has received little attention. This is alarming since statistics show that when a woman is killed, the perpetrator is often a man who has been intimately involved with her (Campbell, l992; Crawford & Gartner, l992; Stout, l99l; Statistics Canada, l99l; l989; U.S. Department of Justice, l992).

To better understand intimate femicides, a binary model is proposed. Within this model, intimate femicide is understood as having two different origins: one involves the murder of an oppressed woman who attempted to emancipate herself and the other is an actual or attempted murder/suicide in which a socially inept and dependent man kills his liberated and independent partner. This model thus divides intimate murders into those who attempted or committed suicide immediately after killing their partner and those who did not.

Fighting Femicide

DENVER - Nearly 400 women have been murdered, and seventy more have disappeared, in a Mexican city that lies only miles from the U.S. border. In October 2003, the Bullhorn traveled to Ciudad Juarez to report on the femicides ravaging Mexico’s fourth-largest city ['Crosses of Despair,' October 16, 2003]. At the time, the motives behind the killings were a mystery, and Mexican authorities had not arrested any promising culprits.

More info:

cross-posted at afterthepurge

Imperialism in Haiti: it's a gang problem

Hollywood Freedom:
in most of the conventional media, Haiti is viewed through a sociological prism in which the country’s problems are boiled down to a neat cycle of poverty, gang violence, crime and more poverty. Through this prism, the undeniably political murders of Lavalas supporters and other poor Haitians are recast easily by slick public information officers for the HNP, the international cabal, and the UN into legitimate responses to a growing “crime/gang problem.”
This hoax allows the US, French, and Canadian footprints to fade from the canvas, and the UN troops seem less like occupiers and more like, well, peacekeepers. How can the situation in Haiti, in which the US, France and Canada spent millions of dollars to destabilize Aristide’s government and where the UN has marshaled as many as 300-400 troops at a time to commit deadly raids, be characterized simply as a police action to counter “criminal elements” in poor neighborhoods? The answer is that it can’t, because this scenario is a propaganda fabrication
From “Haiti, Imperialism, and the Treachery of Liberals” by Shirley Pate

Previously seen on sanitized UN War Crimes:
In the early morning hours of July 6, more than 350 UN troops stormed the seaside shanty town of Cite Soleil in a military operation with the stated purpose of halting violence in Haiti. The successful goal of the mission was to assassinate a 31 year-old man and his lieutenants that Haiti’s right wing media and reactionary business community had labeled bandits and armed supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
According to residents, Emmanuel “Dread” Wilmer and four others were felled in a hail of gunfire that came from all directions including a circling helicopter. According to the Associated Press, a military spokesman for the UN peacekeeping [sic] mission in Haiti, Colonel Eloufi Boulbars stated, “Armed bandits who had tried to resist were either killed or wounded.”
On July 6 in Cite Soleil, a weeping Fredi Romelus, recounted how UN troops lobbed a red smoke grenade into his house and then opened fire killing his wife and two children. “They surrounded our house this morning and I ran thinking my wife and the children were behind me. They couldn’t get out and the blan [UN] fired into the house
(warning: graphic pictures)

If you missed the first airing, there will be repeats playing continuously:
17 November - In the slum of Cité Soleil, UN troops regained control of a neighborhood Thursday after a night of clashes with armed gang members who authorities say are supporters of Aristide. "Both sides exchanged thousands of bullets," said Lt. Col. Andre Novaes, the UN commanding officer in the zone. "We fought from sunset till dawn."”

The original gangsters: Paul Martin, Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush.

For more information:

cross-posted at afterthepurge

The face behind the mask

-In suport of freedom and democracy everywhere (via)

-Illustration from a 2004 Guantanamo tribunal (via)

Guantanamo is just one of an unknown number of torture camps run by the US:
"The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.
The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
The hidden global internment network is a central element in the CIA's unconventional war on terrorism..."
"...Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.
While the Defense Department has produced volumes of public reports and testimony about its detention practices and rules after the abuse scandals at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay, the CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites."
-Washington Post, November 2, 2005.

The phantasm of legal exception behind 'a mass of incomprehensible data':
"...these gruesome crimes took place in a phantom world, which, however, has materialized, as it were, into a world which is complete with all sensual data of reality but lacks that structure of consequence and responsibility without which reality remains for us a mass of incomprehensible data. The result is that a place has been established where men can be tortured and slaughtered, and yet neither the tormentors nor the tormented, and least of all the outsider, can be aware that what is happening is anything more than a cruel game or an absurd dream."
-Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism.

cross-posted at afterthepurge

Wednesday, November 23, 2005