Terrorism 101: Occupy and Student Groups Labeled ‘Extremist Threat’ by London Police

Conflating of liberal groups with terrorism shows that they threaten ‘the capitalist establishment of which the police are employed to protect’ says activist

by: Lauren McCauley

Once again demonstrating how Western governments and law enforcement are actively working to conflate environmentalists and activists with al Qaeda and other so-called “terrorists,” reports this week revealed that London police are including such domestic, liberal groups in a presentation identifying extremist threats.

The slideshow, obtained by the Guardian following a Freedom of Information request and reported on Sunday, is distributed to nursery and primary school staff to prepare them for a potential attack.

The presentation is part of the city’s Project FAWN operation, described by one internal report (pdf) as a counter terrorism “program of briefings and exercises for childcare and educational facilities…to raise security awareness and guide the efforts of these sites to protect the City’s children and young people.”

Kevin Blowe, a coordinator with the police-monitoring watchdog coalition, the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), said the presentation highlights the dangers of “including ill-defined labels, like ‘domestic extremism,’ within the language and strategies of counter-terrorism,” which effectively allows governments to target “almost any group of political activists that the police dislike or consider an inconvenience.”

Further, as Occupy London activist Janie Mactold RT, “This labelling and categorizing of democratic protesters shows how Occupy and the anarchist principles of mutual aid and non-hierarchy used scared the capitalist establishment of which the police are employed to protect.”

Blowe added that the presentation shows “a real disdain for legitimate rights to exercise freedoms of expression and assembly in a free society, which leads to individuals having their lawful activities recorded and retained on secret police intelligence databases.”

Source: Terrorism 101: Occupy and Student Groups Labeled ‘Extremist Threat’ by London Police | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

What Recovery? Report Reveals Rising Poverty for Children in America

Annie E. Casey Foundation study finds recovery from Great Recession has left out children of color altogether

by: Sarah Lazare

There are roughly three million more U.S. children living in poverty today than during the outbreak of the Great Recession in 2008, and the so-called economic recovery has bypassed children of color altogether, a harrowing new report reveals.

The 2015 Data Book, released Tuesday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, evaluates information from numerous federal agencies from 2008 to 2013 to determine child well-being nationwide.

The report finds that approximately 22 percent of U.S. children were beneath the poverty line in 2013, a significant increase from 18 percent in 2008. Moreover, 31 percent of children in 2013 had parents without secure employment, compared to 27 percent in 2008.

The data showed that, for many, there has been no economic recession at all.

“Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation, in a press statement. “While we’ve seen an increase in employment in recent years, many of these jobs are low-wage and cannot support even basic family expenses.”

These trends affect communities of color even more severely than the general population.

“Race is one of the strongest factor’s influencing a child’s economic stability,” notes asummary of the study’s findings. For example, African-American children are two times as likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods, and African-American communities overall are hit hardest by unemployment.

Researchers note that, throughout the recovery, racial inequality in America is deepening. According to Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy: “Today, as the economy recovers, we see a widening gap between the living standards of many children of color and other kids.”

Tuesday’s study follows other research which finds that racial segregation is worsening across the country. A Cornell University analysis released in May revealed that the foreclosure crisis between 2005 and 2009 disproportionately displaced black and Latino households and led to a spike in racial segregation across the country.

Source: What Recovery? Report Reveals Rising Poverty for Children in America | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Japan Accused of Coercing Fukushima Refugees to Return to Unsafe Homes

Greenpeace charges that pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cares more about politics than public health

by: Sarah Lazare

As the Japanese government moves to accelerate the return of Fukushima refugees to their homes, environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace warned Tuesday that radioactive contamination remains “so widespread and at such a high level that” that it will be impossible for people to safely go back.

Four years after an earthquake and tsunami touched off the nuclear meltdown, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing to lift evacuation orders by March 2017 and cut off compensation to victims of the disaster by 2018. The move would allow—and some say force—tens of thousands of refugees to go back to their homes.

The pro-nuclear prime minister says that the move, proposed in June, is aimed at speeding up Fukushima’s “reconstruction.”

Greenpeace, however, warns that such a development would be reckless and dangerous. The organization evaluated radiation contamination in Iitate, a forested 75-square-mile district in the Fukushima prefecture, and found that even after “decontamination,” the radiation level remains at 2uSv/h—or ten times the maximum deemed safe for the public.

“The forests of Iitate are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years.”
—Jan Vande Putte, Greenpeace

“Prime Minister Abe would like the people of Japan to believe that they are decontaminating vast areas of Fukushima to levels safe enough for people to live in,” said Jan Vande Putte, radiation specialist with Greenpeace Belgium, in a press statement. “The reality is that this is a policy doomed to failure. The forests of Iitate are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.”

According to Greenpeace, the elimination of compensation would effectively force people back into an environment that is dangerous for their health.

“Stripping nuclear victims of their already inadequate compensation, which may force them to have to return to unsafe, highly radioactive areas for financial reasons, amounts to economic coercion,” said Putte. “Let’s be clear: this is a political decision by the Abe Government, not one based on science, data, or public health.”

Meanwhile, nuclear refugees from Iitate are fighting for adequate compensation through an Alternative Dispute Resolution process. Their lawyer, Yasushi Tadano, said: “The Iitate people’s fate is another of numerous cases in the past where Japan abandoned its people, as with the Ashio mining pollution and Minamata disease. We can not allow this to happen again.”

Residents across Japan have staged protests and filed lawsuits to block nuclear restarts, andpolls show that, in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster, a clear majority of the Japanese public opposes nuclear power. In addition, surveys reveal low public confidence in the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co.—the company behind the Fukushima Daiichi plant that continues to release radiation into the ecosystem.

Despite public opposition, Abe is aggressively pursuing a return to nuclear power. Earlier this month, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party revealed that it aims to have 20 percent of the country’s electricity supplied by nuclear power by 2030. 

Source: Japan Accused of Coercing Fukushima Refugees to Return to Unsafe Homes | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community