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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Haditha shows USMC is a criminal enterprise

On November 19, 2005 members of the United States Marine Corps entered civilian homes in Haditha, Iraq and murdered 24 Iraqi civilians including seven children, a toddler, three women and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair.

This is a much bigger problem than a squad from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines going berserk. The culpability of the USMC for these murders flows not only from the fact that it taught these young men to kill, supplied the weapons, put them in-country, and gave them license to kill, but even more so that after they killed innocent civilians in a murderous rage, the USMC, as an organisation, clearly acted as accessories after the fact.

We now know that no Marines will serve any time in jail for these murders. That is the final outcome of six years of Marine Corps cover-up, prosecution and military justice. Of the eight Marines charged with the killings, six had the charges dropped and one was acquitted in a civilian court. Last week, the remaining defendant, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, who sanctioned the killings when he told his men to "shoot first and ask questions later" in Haditha was given a plea deal that allowed him to avoid any jail time. Upon hearing of this outcome, a teacher from Haditha who witnessed the massacre was quoted in the LA Times:
“The Americans killed children who were hiding inside the cupboards or under the beds. Was this Marine charged with dereliction of duty because he didn’t kill more? Is Iraqi blood so cheap?”

When all the facts surrounding the Haditha massacre are examined it should be clear to anyone that this is much more than a problem of a few bad apples, this is a problem of a bad apple farm. Retired USMC Major General Smedley D. Butler told us in 1935 that War is a Racket. I say more. I say the United States Marine Corps is a criminal enterprise.

Before proceeding, perhaps the best way to refresh your memory about what actually happened in that Iraqi town a little over six years ago is to watch this 3 minute eyewitness report made by ITN after the massacre:

This video already exposes the first two cover stories released by the Marines to explain these deaths. First that they were killed by shrapnel from the a road side bomb that killed a Marine and set off the rampage, and when that wouldn't fly, that the civilians were outside and got caught in a crossfire. These and the false stories that followed show that the USMC was far more interested in covering up a crime than they were in getting at the truth.

While we still have WikiPedia:
An initial Marine Corps communiqué reported that 15 civilians were killed by the bomb's blast and eight insurgents were subsequently killed when the Marines returned fire against those attacking the convoy. However, other evidence uncovered by the media contradicted the Marines' account.[3] A Time magazine reporter's questions prompted the United States military to open an investigation into the incident. The investigation claimed it found evidence that "supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot civilians, including unarmed men, women and children", according to an anonymous Pentagon official.[4] On December 21, 2006, eight Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines were charged in connection with the incident.[5][6] As of June 2008, charges against seven of the eight Marines had been dropped.[7]

Here is the Al Jazeera report:

In December 2006 this was "breaking news" only in the west. Iraqi sources reported on the Haditha massacre the day after it happened. This is what Uriknet [information from occupied Iraq] had to say:
November 20, 2005

Informed sources affirmed today that the blood thirsty US murderers execute in cold blood Iraqi civilians in the streets of Iraqi towns and villages.

The same sources ascertained that following the explosion of an IED near the Iraqi farmers town of Haditha, west of Iraq, the US thugs sent their war jets to bomb and destroy tranquil Iraqi houses on the heads of their inhabitants in a blind and hysterical revengeful act.

The sources and witnesses indicated also that after bombing Iraqi homes in the mentioned town, the US bloodthirsty gangsters raided three Iraqi homes and took their families out in the street and there the US thugs executed at gun point and in cold blood, the members of the whole three families, including elderly, women and children.
When the story broke in December 2006, I remember going back to see if uruknet.info reported on it at the time and they did, but even there it was unremarkable. It was just one more in a long list of atrocities committed by United States forces that week.

A Criminal Culture

There are many other indicators that a criminal culture that condones murder is alive and well in the US military. There is for example "Hadji Girl" a song about killing Iraqis written before Haditha and performed by a US Marine Corporal while he was at the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. It became popular among the troops after Haditha and was widely associated with that incident. It goes something like this:
So I grabbed her little sister, and pulled her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally

Then I hid behind the TV
And I locked and loaded my M-16
And I blew those little f*ckers to eternity.

And I said…
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They should have known they were f*ckin’ with a Marine.
YouTube removed the video from their site and rejected all subsequent uploads as a violation of site policy, however, it can be found here, on Google Video. Google owns YouTube so go figure.

That song is reminiscent of other songs sung by Marines in this and other wars, such as "Strafe the Town and Kill the People", a traditional Marine hymn, first heard in Korea but sung in Vietnam [mp3] and Iraq as well:
Strafe the town and kill the people
Let's declare a massacre.
Lay napalm in the square,
So you'll know that Jake was there

Drop the candy in the courtyard,
Let the kiddies gather 'round.
Crank your twenty-millimeter,
Gun the little bastards down.

Come 'round early Sunday morning,
Catch the village unaware.
Drop a bunch of cluster bomblets,
Get 'em while they kneel in prayer.
And there is that ever popular number from the Vietnam War, "Napalm Sticks to Kids."
We shoot the sick, the young, the lame,
We do our best to maim,
Because the kills all count the same,
Napalm sticks to kids.

Napalm, son, is lots of fun,
Dropped in a bomb or shot from a gun,
It gets the gooks when on the run,
Napalm sticks to kids.

In Korea and Vietnam, the racist dehumanisation that made murder easy was that they were all "gooks", today it's because they are all "hadjis"

Wars for conquest and occupation are criminal enterprizes

The truth is that the Iraq War was a composite of such atrocities. Four months after the Haditha murders, a 14 year old small town Iraqi girl was raped and murdered, along with her family, in Al-Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. Raed Jarrar told the Baltimore Chronicle:
Omar Al-Janabi, a neighbor and relative, was informed by Abir's mother that the young girl was being harassed by U.S. soldiers stationed in a nearby checkpoint. That is why Abir was sent to spend the night in her neighbor's home. The next day, Omar Al-Janabi was among the first people who found Abir, with her 34-year-old mother Fakhriyah, her 45-year-old father Qasim, and her 7-year-old sister Hadil, murdered in their home. Abir was raped, killed by a bullet in her head, and then burned on March 12, five months before her fifteenth birthday.

Muhammad Al-Janabi, Abir's uncle, reached the house shortly after the attack as well. Iraqi police and army officers informed him and other angry relatives that an "armed terrorist group" was responsible for the horrifying attack. This is exactly what the angry relatives of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha four months before this incident had been told as well.
These two revelations raises serious questions about all those reports we've heard about Iraqis killing each other in terrorist attacks in the past eight years. One thing that is clear is that there are a lot of Iraqis that have been killed by Americans, including hundreds of thousands of civilians, that have gone unreported in the United States.

Civilian Deaths "Just A Cost of Doing Business."

Thanks to some recent dumpster diving by the NYTimes, they now have the once secret testimony of the Marines involved in the Haditha. The most remarkable thing that this testimony reveals is just how unremarkable the killing of large numbers of civilians by the U.S. military had become in Iraq. We are talking about Haditha because it drew the gold ring of media publicity, not because it wasn't part and partial of how the Marines conducted the war:
When the initial reports arrived saying more than 20 civilians had been killed in Haditha, the Marines receiving them said they were not surprised by the high civilian death toll.

Chief Warrant Officer K. R. Norwood, who received reports from the field on the day of the killings and briefed commanders on them, testified that 20 dead civilians was not unusual.

“I meant, it wasn’t remarkable, based off of the area I wouldn’t say remarkable, sir,” Mr. Norwood said. “And that is just my definition. Not that I think one life is not remarkable, it’s just —”

An investigator asked the officer: “I mean remarkable or noteworthy in terms of something that would have caught your attention where you would have immediately said, ‘Got to have more information on that. That is a lot of casualties.’ ”

“Not at the time, sir,” the officer testified.

General Johnson, the commander of American forces in Anbar Province, said he did not feel compelled to go back and examine the events because they were part of a continuing pattern of civilian deaths.

“It happened all the time, not necessarily in MNF-West all the time, but throughout the whole country,” General Johnson testified, using a military abbreviation for allied forces in western Iraq.

“So, you know, maybe — I guess maybe if I was sitting here at Quantico and heard that 15 civilians were killed I would have been surprised and shocked and gone — done more to look into it,” he testified, referring to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “But at that point in time, I felt that was — had been, for whatever reason, part of that engagement and felt that it was just a cost of doing business on that particular engagement.”

The USMC sees a high civilian death toll as "just a cost of doing business." This, more than anything else, marks it as a criminal enterprise. One is reminded of the drug gangster Sollozzo that tried to assassinate Don Corleone in the Godfather, "I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense."

My recent related diaries:
The Sordid Truth about the United States Marine Corps
Itzcoatl Ocampo: Ex-Marine Corps Serial Killer

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Monday, January 30, 2012

What Really Happened at Occupy Oakland on Jan. 28

This very informative report on the struggles of Occupy Oakland comes from The North Star and is reprinted here with their complete permission. This is a website you should bookmark and visit often:

For the internet, here’s a first-hand account of Occupy Oakland on Jan. 28, 2012, because the news never tells the full story. I’ll tell you about the street battle, the 300+ arrests, the vandalism, the flag burning, all in the context of my experience today. This is deeper than the headlines. No major news source can do that for you.

The stated goal for the day was to “move-in” to a large, abandoned, building to turn it into a social and political center. It is a long vacant convention center –- the only people ever near there are the homeless who use the space outside the building as a bed. The building occupation also draws attention to the large number of abandoned and unused buildings in Oakland.

The day started with a rally and a march to the proposed building. The police knew which building was the target, surrounded it, and used highly mobile units to try and divert the protest. After avoiding police lines, the group made it to one side of the building. Now, this is a very large building, and we were on a road with construction fences on both sides, and a large ditch separating us from the cops. The police fired smoke grenades into the crowd as the group neared a small path around the ditch, towards the building. They declared an unlawful assembly, and this is when the crowd broke down the construction fence. A few people broke fences to escape the situation, others because they were pissed. A couple more fences were taken down then necessary, but no valuable equipment was destroyed. They only things broken were fences.

The crowd decided to continue moving, and walked up the block to a more regular street. We decided to turn left up the street, and a police line formed to stop the march. They again declared an unlawful assembly. The protesters challenged the line, marching towards the police with our own shields in front. The shields, some small and black and a few large metal sheets. The police fired teargas as the group approached, and shot less-than-lethal rounds at the crowd. The protesters returned one volley of firecrackers, small projectiles, and funny things like balloons. A very weak attack, three officers may have been hit by something but none of them got injured. Tear gas forced many people back. The protesters quickly regrouped, and pressed the line again. This time the police opened fire with flash-grenades, tear gas, paint-filled beanbag shotguns, and rubber bullets.

After the police fired heavily on the protesters, they pushed their line forward and made a few arrests. The protesters regrouped down the block and began to march the other way (followed by police), back to Oscar Grant Plaza.

All of this occurred during the day, but it was that street battle that set the tone for the police response later in the evening. After taking a break in Oscar Grant Plaza, feeding everyone and resting, the group headed out for their evening march. Around 5 p.m., the group took to the street at 14th and Broadway and began a First-Amendment sanctioned march around the city. The police response was very aggressive.

About 15 minutes into the march, the police attempted to kettle the protesters. This march was entirely non-violent; nobody threw shit at the cops and an unlawful assembly was never declared. This is a very important detail. The march was 1,000+ strong, conservatively. The police were very mobile, using 25+ rented 10-seater vans to bring the ‘troops’ to the march.

For their first attempt at a kettle, the cops charged the group with police lines from the front and back. They ran towards us aggressively. Us being 1,000+ peaceful marching protesters. The group was forced to move up a side street. The police moved quickly to surround the entire area; they formed a line on every street that the side street connected to. Police state status: very efficient. They kettled almost the entire protest in the park near the Fox theater. AFTERWARDS, as in after they surrounded everyone, they declared it to be an unlawful assembly BUT OFFERED NO EXIT ROUTE. Gas was used, could of been tear or smoke gas.

The crowd then broke down a fence that was on one side of the kettle, and 1,000 people ran across a field escaping a police kettle and embarrassing the entire police force. It was literally a massive jailbreak from a kettle. The group retook Telegraph ave. and left the police way behind.

At this point, I was on edge because I knew the police were not fucking around tonight. Because of the incident earlier in the day, I realized they were effectively treating the peaceful march as a riot. There was not rioting, or intentions to riot, just dancing, optimism, hope, and walking. But clearly the police thought differently, and I knew they would try to trap us again without warning. From the moment I saw riot police running towards are march from both directions, I knew the Constitution would not apply in Oakland tonight. The police made that very clear. My friends thought differently, thinking that they would not be arrested for marching. They are currently in jail.

The second, and successful, kettle occurred as the protest was headed back up Broadway, at Broadway and 24th. Again, the police appeared quickly in front of the crowd, as well as a line behind the crowd. This time there was no side street. A few people attempted to escape into the YMCA; some misinformed news reports claim that the YMCA got ‘occupied’. Around 300 people were trapped, mostly young people. At this point I had fallen behind the line of riot police in back of the crowd, and when the kettle was sprung I was on the other side of the police line. I have a policy of avoiding arrest, but I feel like I’ve been striped of some dignity. I’ve seen some shit go down in Oaktown, but I’ve always avoided arrest because it was easy. Most mass arrests occur when people choose to break the law (like occupying Bank of America in downtown San Francisco and pitching a tent to send a statement to UC Regent Monica Lozano on BofA’s board – respect). At “unlawful assemblies,” people are usually extracted by a quick attack of 5+ cops on their “targets” (previously identified and profiled protesters). If the crowd is too large, they use teargas.

Tonight was different. When I fell behind the group, I knew they were going to arrest a very large number of peaceful protesters without declaring an unlawful assembly at the location. And then they did. I thought this shit was reserved for G20s and World Trade Organization meetings. I felt shame for being intimidated away from my rights. “Unlawful assemblies” feel like a boot stomp on the first amendment, but this was like them wiping their ass with the constitution and force feeding it to me.

300+ were arrested, corralled below the YMCA at 23rd and Broadway. The only announcement that was made was one I’ve never heard before:

“You are under arrest. Submit to your arrest.”

The 300 protesters were then arrested, one by one. They were zip-tied and sat in rows while they waited to be processed. The Oakland Police Department set up an entire processing station behind police lines, where they searched and identified every protester. They were slowly loaded onto buses, including local public AC transit buses. This took about 4 or 5 hours.

Outside the police lines, things were still happening. A group that escaped the trap decided to head back to Oscar Grant Plaza. I do not know how, but they opened the front door to city hall and occupied the building. Opened, as in no window smashing. The move was not meant to be an occupation but more of a show of solidarity to the 300 arrested protesters down the street. When all the people being arrested heard the news, they let out a big cheer.

At this point I ran to Oscar Grant Plaza. When I arrived there were only eight riot cops guarding the open front door, but more arrived very quickly. No one was inside the building anymore, but many had gathered in the Plaza. Someone burned an American Flag in front of City Hall. I’ve seen the same guy do it before; frankly he’s weird and it’s kind of his thing. One thing to note is the police arrested to wrong part of the protest. Most people arrested were young peaceful types. Aggressive protesters, and anyone with a record, are usually very good at avoiding arrest. Point being, back at the plaza opportunists began their work. I saw some young “jugalos” spray-painting a wall with “jugalos for life” shit and then take photos next to it. They were just young and stupid kids; some good protesters cleaned it up later in the night. Some CBS and FOX news crews forced to leave the scene, with people spanking their van. They had already gotten the footage of someone burning an American flag in front of City Hall, so their work was done. The crowd was angry about what happened, and milling around the plaza and downtown area. At one point, the first of the 9 busloads of protesters drove past 14th and Broadway. People cheered for the ones inside, and chased it down, slamming on the sides of the bus. None of the other buses came past the plaza. There is about 30 police in the immediate area, 20 in front of city hall, and 10 near 14th and Broadway. Clearly they were stretched thin and did not expect the City Hall incident. Mutual aid been called it; I saw cops from Oakland, Alameda County Sheriff, Pleasanton, and Berkeley.

I walked back down to the 300 arrests in progress to try and get some information or spot my friends, but all I could do was wait and watch from behind the police line. My phone died. Not much happened, a lot of waiting and talking with people who also had friends on the other side. People included one French women who talked about how in France this would never be tolerated, and a teacher of one of Oakland’s 10 schools being closed who was out on his birthday “for the kids.” Eventually, I decided I needed to charge my phone, get on the internet, and figure out where and when my friends will be released. Siting down on BART was great after a long day of walking.

I got home and viewed OakfoSho and PunkboyinSF on Ustream to stay posted. OakFoSho filmed the entire arrest from above, I was able to look for my friends from his stream. All props to that guy. I saw that with the new development at Oscar Grant Plaza, they had to call in mutual aid from San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo. They declared the 14th and Broadway an unlawful assembly and slowly dispersed the dwindling crowd. No tear gas this time!

Now that this incident is on-record, I’m gonna get a little sleep, then go pick up my friends from jail.

If you only remember one detail be it this: Tonight’s mass arrest occurred without a dispersal order. No law was broken. The only order given was: “You are under arrest. Submit to your arrest.” 300 peaceful protesters walking down a street were trapped and arrested unlawfully.

A note about police militarization: I saw some big guns and scary gear tonight. Alameda County Sheriff seems to have an endless budget for that shit. But tonight I saw something much scarier, that I’ve never seen before. First, I saw that the police have a printed profile books of protesters. I saw a cop flipping through pictures with descriptions, talking about who on their list they’ve seen today. When resting in Oscar Grant Plaza, a cop was filming the plaza from a rooftop in an adjacent building. They’re always filming, some have cameras on their bodies now, but this was clear spying and sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis. Second, a very large tank on wheels, with a water cannon on top, rolled on scene. Someone said it was called a “grizzly”, but I can’t find a photo anywhere. Help? It was massive, and I stood right next to it before they brought it behind police lines. It was a hardcore, modern urban tank. The police are funded and prepared to use a water cannon on protesters, if need be. Know that.

The thing about Occupy, and especially Occupy Oakland, is it refuses to exclude. We are the 99%, and we mean it. The homeless and disenfranchised were welcome in the camp from day 1. The crime rate in Downtown Oakland went down, and some people finally had a safe place to sleep. Idealistic youth, Google techies, students, teachers, parents, children, poor, homeless, workers, all coming together. It rekindled hope for a lot of people. Occupy changed the conversation. The idea is more important than any one protest. An idea cannot be stopped. It is no longer about occupations; instead, it’s about bringing people together. The 99%, all with their own problems and concerns, have brought their collective attention to the root of the forces preventing them from making a better world.

A lot of the people arrested today were my peers — a lot of young people and students. For us, the Occupy movement can’t be diminished or co-opted — it’s bigger than Occupy. I will seek the changes I marched for tonight until I win or die. It is the task of my generation, worldwide, to return power to the people. Governments around the world are quickly realizing that our generation will not back down. This is bigger than ‘occupy’, this is bigger than one country, one problem, or one protest. The people want their world back. We are fighting for our future, and we are winning..

Edit: Forgot to add this context – The Oakland Police Department will soon be taken over by the Feds because of their poor conduct and inability to change: http://www.baycitizen.org/policing/story/judge-strips-power-oakland-police/

Originally posted here: http://redd.it/p1m34

A number of comrades from Occupy Los Angeles were arrest that day in Oakland and yesterday on "Solidarity Sunday" there were support rallies for Occupy Oakland in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and many other cities. Check back for future updates.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Itzcoatl Ocampo: Ex-Marine Corps Serial Killer

This dairy is basically an informational update of The Sordid Truth about the United States Marine Corps now that some significant details are available on the suspected serial killer.

In the MarineCorpsTimes today we have this:
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A 23-year-old Iraq war veteran charged with the stabbing deaths of four homeless men in a rampage that terrorized Southern California had selected additional victims, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Former Marine Itzcoatl Ocampo chose the final victim because the man appeared in a news article about police warning homeless men to be careful, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
His father, Refugio Ocampo was homeless and living on the street. His son, Itzcoatl Ocampo, visited him just a few days before he was arrested. “He was very worried about me,” Refugio Ocampo said. “I told him, ‘Don’t worry. I’m a survivor. Nothing will happen to me.’”

Also from Marine Corps Times we have these additional details:
Itzcoatl Ocampo was a fun-loving teen who liked to hit on girls when he joined the military. But after he was discharged and returned home he kept to himself, trusted no one and drank a lot, they said in interviews with The Associated Press.

“He came back from the war and was never the same,” said Brian Doyle, 23, a friend from high school.

Ocampo’s little brother, Mixcoatl, 17, said investigators who came to the family home seized his own computer — his brother did not have one. They also took the gift his brother gave him for Christmas, a DVD box set of the 2008 HBO series “Generation Kill,” the story of a reporter embedded with a Marine battalion during the invasion of Iraq.

Itzcoatl Ocampo was arrested Friday night after a locally known homeless man, John Berry, 64, was stabbed to death outside an Anaheim fast-food restaurant. Bystanders gave chase, and a police officer who was part of a perimeter set up in response to 911 calls made the arrest.

Anaheim police Chief John Welter has said investigators are confident they have the man responsible for the string of murders that struck fear into Orange County’s homeless since Dec. 20. Prosecutors have yet to file charges, and authorities have provided no information on evidence against Ocampo, or a possible motive.
Mixcoatl Ocampo said his brother followed a friend into the Marine Corps in 2006 and went to Iraq, where he apparently was not involved in combat, and was honorably discharged in June 2010.

That same month, Itzcoatl Ocampo’s friend Cpl. Claudio Patino IV, 22, of Yorba Linda, was killed in combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“He took that really hard,” said Mixcoatl Ocampo. “Once he received the news, he was never the same.”

Mixcoatl Ocampo said his brother visited Patino’s grave twice a week.

Doyle had difficulty describing the change he saw in his friend from high school.

“He went from being a tall, geeky kid, really fun-loving ... ” he said, trailing off.

Doyle said he once offered his friend a self-help book based on Eastern philosophy that he had found useful but Itzcoatl Ocampo rejected it.

Doyle said he tried to find out what was going on with his friend but didn’t press it, never imagining something like the serial killings.

“Everyone’s got their issues, you know?” he said.

In addition to Berry, James Patrick McGillivray, 53, was killed near a shopping center in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found near a riverbed trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28; and Paulus Smit, 57, was killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.
Really to its credit, Marine Corps Times is giving this case the best coverage out there:
Just months after he was deployed to Iraq in 2008, a Marine veteran now suspected in the deaths of four homeless men in Southern California sent his family a short, upbeat video greeting.

The video, which was mostly in Spanish, showed Itzcoatl Ocampo wishing his father a happy Father’s Day and reading an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to his then 10-year-old sister.

The former Marine’s 17-year-old brother, Mixcoatl Ocampo, recalled how happy his family members were when they got the video in the mail that summer. They all gathered around the television in the living room to watch Itzcoatl Ocampo, who appeared in fatigues and talked against the backdrop of an American flag.

“We hadn’t seen my brother since he got deployed,” he said. “Dad saw the video, and when he first saw it he was thrilled.”

According to friends and family, a much darker Ocampo returned home after he was discharged in 2010. His parents separated, and his father eventually became homeless.

Now, Ocampo’s family is left trying to reconcile the smiling, slightly nervous-sounding Marine in the video greeting friends and family with the blankly staring man in the police mug shot accused of murder.
Ocampo’s father, 49-year-old Refugio Ocampo, said his son came back a changed man after serving in Iraq, expressing disillusionment and becoming ever darker as his family life frayed and he struggled to find his way as a civilian.

The father said he lost his job and home, and ended up living under a bridge before finding shelter in the cab of a broken-down big-rig he is helping repair.
The son followed a friend into the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2006 instead of going to college as his father had hoped. Itzcoatl Ocampo was discharged in 2010 and returned home to find his family in disarray, his father said.

The same month, one of Itzcoatl Ocampo’s friends, 22-year-old Cpl. Claudio Patino IV of Yorba Linda, was killed in combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“Once he received the news, he was never the same,” Mixcoatl Ocampo said. He said his brother visited Patino’s grave twice a week.

Refugio and Mixcoatl both described a physical condition Itzcoatl suffered in which his hands shook and he suffered headaches. Medical treatments helped until he started drinking heavily, both said.

“He started drinking like crazy — too much, way too much,” the father said.

A neighbor who is a Vietnam veteran and the father both tried to push Itzcoatl to get treatment at a Veterans hospital, but he refused. Refugio Ocampo said he wanted his son to get psychological treatment as well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sordid Truth about the United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps made the news twice this week. First there was the international scandal in which four Marines stationed in Afghanistan came under suspicion of pissing on the dead bodies of their enemies, who, it seems, were Afghans fighting a foreign invader in Afghanistan.

And now a former US Marine who also served in Afghanistan has been charged with killing four homeless men in Orange county, CA with a knife. So among the questions this case raises is: Where exactly did he learn to kill with a knife? I'll wager one answer; The United States Marine Corp.

I'll admit that I don't think it necessarily needs a lot of training. While physically and psychologically harder than killing with a gun, I still think pretty much anybody could do it given the right circumstances. Anyway I think I could. I know technically what needs to be done. I know if you slit someone's throat, they will die. I know that if you stab them in the heart or other vital organs, they will die. I know that if you stab them in enough places period, they will die, and this is apparently how these homeless men were killed.

Whether I could mentally bring myself to take another person's life, that is a different question. I'm pretty sure I could in defense of my own life or someone I loved. I like to think I can in defense of an innocent about to fall prey to the murderous intentions of another. I hope never because my government told me they wanted to make their country communist or Islamic or whatever.

I have in fact "been trained" to kill with my bare hands, which is to say I got as far as a green belt in karate. And I have been trained to kill with a firearm, at least I was trained how to shoot a rifle. That was in the Wash U. ROTC Army rifle range in the engineering building attic. I was not in ROTC, I was a campus radical but the kind sergeant allowed me and a girlfriend to shoot there and he trained us. I attained Marksmen status, but Vivian was the best. She beat all the ROTC cadets, much to their chagrin, but I digress.

I can say that I was "trained" on how to not kill with a knife. This was after I got out of jail for protesting the war in 1970 and was paroled to New Jersey. He was a Vietnam vet, ex-special forces type. He lived in the woods near Vineland, NJ. He hunted his own meat. He knew too much about killing and he liked to live alone. In spite of this, we became friends. He taught me this rather humane knife fighting technique, which I will now pass on to you, for what its worth. He suggested you go for a horizontal slash across the forehead. He said it would make a nasty cut, but there was little chance of inflicting a lethal wound because of the bone behind it, and the profuse bleeding into your opponents eyes would likely put a quick end to the fight.

Anyway given the relatively limited sources for extended training in how to kill with a knife, I'm willing to bet that this OC serial killer, like so many before him, was trained to kill by our government.

More to the point: Where did he learn to piss on human life like that? Again, I'm willing to wager, the United States Marine Corps. After all, that's what they do. They take ordinary human beings and they turn them into serial killers. They also teach them to kill people they don't even know and they teach them to kill for the most insane reasons.

And that's the real trick of military training because, frankly, the actual techniques of killing with a knife, much less with a gun, ain't that hard, I mean, its not like killing with rocket science. Getting young people to kill people they don't even know on command, that's a whole 'noher matter because humans don't normally operate that way. There's a not so well publicize aspect of the military sciences that addresses this problem. It is called killology. From the Wikipedia article:
Grossman's theory, based on the World War II research of S.L.A. Marshall, is that most of the population deeply resists killing another human...

As a result of Marshall's work, modern military training was modified to attempt to override this instinct, by:

using man-shaped targets instead of bullseye targets in marksmanship practice
practicing and drilling how soldiers would actually fight
dispersing responsibility for the killing throughout the group
displacing responsibility for the killing onto an authority figure, i.e., the commanding officer and the military hierarchy (See the Milgram experiment)

By the time of the United States involvement in the Vietnam War, says Grossman, 90% of U.S. soldiers would fire their weapons at other people.

In this powerful 10 minute talk, Ryan Endicott relates how our Marines are brutalized and dehumanized in today's US military:

Meet Scott Camil

Scott Camil was a US Marine who served two tours in Vietnam. In the course of making Vietnam: American Holocaust, he became a friend of mine. I won't use the well worn phrase "highly decorated." Scott has a WikiPedia page, so I can just go ahead and list them:
He served with the Marines from 1965 to 1969, earning two Purple Hearts, Combat Action Ribbon, two Presidential Unit Citations, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Leaf, and Vietnam Campaign Medal during two tours in Vietnam. With Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, he acted as a forward observer for artillery. He was a sergeant when honorably discharged.
He was also a serial killer that liked to kill with a knife. He described one such murder in my documentary [transcript] What follows is from his 1971 Winter Soldier testimony:
Another time I had a friend of mind killed and I was very upset and I asked this Vietnamese for his ID card and he says "cum beck" which means 'I don't understand' in Vietnamese and he just pissed me off so I pulled out my knife and I killed him and it didn't bother me at all. I just called it in and I said "One VC killed." and they said "How do you know he's a VC?" and I said "because he's dead" and they laughed and said "okay" you know.
He also described one of the "fun" things he participated in as a forward artillery spotter:
The calling in of artillery for games, the way it was worked would be the mortar forward observers would pick out certain houses in villages, friendly villages, and the mortar forward observers would call in mortars until they destroyed that house and then the artillery forward observer would call in artillery until he destroyed another house and whoever used the least amount of artillery, they won. And when we got back someone would have to buy someone else beers.
And he graphically described the murderous culture our government created in Vietnam:
And It got to be where it was like someone says okay "You come stay on my farm and you can go hunting everyday for free and I'll give you all the ammo you want and you can hunt and there's no limit and you can go and all go out together and just hunt." It was like a hunting trip. The more people we killed the happier our officers were, you know. It got to be like a game. The object was to see who could kill the most people and the different ways you could prove how many people you had killed would be like cutting off ears. Now if you brought back someone's ears, pretty likely you'd have to kill them to get them. And people would, whoever had the most ears they would get the most beers. You'd trade your ears for beers. And it got to be like a game.
In Afghanistan, American soldiers collect fingers, not ears.

There were hundreds of My Lais that never made the newspapers, Scott Camil described one he was involved in this way:
In Operation Stone we were sitting up on the rail road trestle with a river on each side. There's another company behind each river. And like the people were running around inside. And we were just shooting them and the newspaper said Operation Stone like World War Two movie. We just sat up there and wiped them out, women, children, everything. Two hundred nine-one of them
Rape was common the the treatment of women disgusting. Scott relates:
I saw one case where a woman was shot by a sniper, one of our snipers. When we got up to her she was asking for water. And the Lt. said to kill her. So he ripped off her clothes, they stabbed her in both breasts, they spread-eagled her and shoved an E- tool up her vagina, an entrenching tool, and she was still asking for water. And then they took that out and they used a tree limb and then she was shot.
Snipers are trained to kill individuals they are looking at. That is a special skill. The Marines accused of pissing on the dead Afghans are snipers. I don't know what the Marines taught the OC serial killer but I do know that as long as our government spends billions of dollars taking earnest young men, and now women, and turning them into serial killers, this problem will continue to haunt us. What goes around, comes around.

Scott is doing much better these days. After he left the Marine Corps, he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War, became an anti-war activist and has been so for more that 40 years. He is currently the president of the Gainsville, FL chapter of Veterans for Peace. This is an interview I did with him at the Winter Solider: Iraq and Afghanistan hearing held by Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2008:

One of the people this ex-Marine in OC murdered was a homeless Vietnam vet. Now how sick is that? If I may be allowed the liberty of stereotyping this individual, I would guess he might have been in his mid 60's and he was homeless because that war left him with such demons that he couldn't live with other people, or hold down a job, and he didn't have a woods to hide in like my friend.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Current Situation in Libya

I have been planning forever to do a follow up diary on Libya. If you have been following me here you know that no sooner than the Libyan revolution was moving into the clean-up phase of the military campaign, that I found my focus dramatically driven to downtown Los Angeles. Even the death of Mummar Qaddafi became a footnote to events.

I had already done all that I knew to support their revolution from afar, and while, in the age of the Internet, not all politics is local, most of it still is. Occupy Los Angeles became my new beat. Anyway, it seemed that the longer I waited to do this diary, the better and more solid the news became. Then today an interview with Ali Ahmida came out and it is absolutely the best summation I've heard on the current situation in Libya. More about that below the fold.

I never entirely lost track of events in Libya and mostly I have been very pleased with what is happening and the progress they have been making.

Even the question of the armed militias that is the big bugaboo that most commentators of the left and right, not to mention the present Libya government and the TNC, seem to worry so much about, doesn't bother me that much. Certainly it can be a major problem if they start fighting among themselves, and that is why everyone wants them gone. You beat Qaddafi. Good. Thanks. Go home. Get a regular job.

On the other hand, they made this revolution, they truly are a people's army and many of them say they are not ready to lay down their arms until they can be sure they get the government they have been fighting for. I support that position, as long as they don't start fighting among themselves.

So I have had a close ear to the ground, as have most Libya watchers, for signs of conflict. I saw a tweet "Gun fire, not celebratory, many areas of Tripoli" in mid November, but could find no corroboration. There was another incident, not widely publicize, on December 11, between a Zintan militias and the Libyan army over control of the Tripoli airport in which four people were killed and this more recent incident in Tripoli in which five people were killed. I heard three different stories about that. One said someone from Tawergha assaulted someone from Misrata, was arrested by the Tripoli brigade, then the Misrata brigade tried to take custody and a fight broke out. Another story also called it a fight between those two brigades but for a different reason. And the third story was that it was simply a robbery gone wrong and the robbers shot it out with the Tripoli brigade.

That is all I've heard about since October, nine people killed in inter-militias fighting in this country of 7 million in this immediate post military phase. I think that is pretty damn good; which is to say I think it compares very favorably with the number of people killed in inter-gang warfare in Los Angeles in the same period. So I don't worry too much about the militias because the militias, they call themselves brigades, seem to be handling things very well to this point.

I also think their decision to accept air support from NATO, and consequently, my support for that decision, has been proven correct. According to a recent NY Times study spotlighted on Democracy Now, NATO killed between 40 and 70 civilians in its Libyan campaign. Those sources tried to make the most of that, describing the deaths of some of those in passionate detail, but I think that is remarkable. The number could be double that and my conclusions would still be the same. 30,000 Libyans died in that war. The vast majority were killed by Qaddafi's forces, many while in his custody. Certainly, NATO killed thousands of Qaddafi soldiers, but those soldiers were killing other Libyans, mostly civilians, so by doing that they almost certainly saved many Libyan lives and shortened the war.

So there were no massive civilian causalities from NATO bombs as the anti-interventionists predicted, and there were no NATO boots on the ground, as the anti-interventionists predicted.

I know, I know. There may have been spooks. There was a CIA station there even before Feb17, I'm sure they never left. Special forces? A lot of speculation but very short on proof. Even Qaddafi claimed to have captured 17 foreign special forces in Sirte, video to follow. It never showed up. Besides that's not what the anti-interventions were talking about in the beginning. That just became their fall back position because the Marines never made it back to the shores of Tripoli.

Libya just had $87 billion unfrozen by the EU and oil production is already coming back on line, so I think their financial problems will quickly be resolved. Not many countries can say that these days.

Another thing that is becoming clear now is just how little real support Qaddafi had. While there was that one sneak attack against an oil terminal while Qaddafi was still alive, there has been nothing since. The guerilla war by Qaddafi supporters against the revolution has simply failed to materialize, and while wavers of the green flag still have had some freedom to demonstrate openly, as this video illustrates, there just haven't been very many of them.

And I was personally very please to find that my mention of Racism in Libya at the end of my recent diary on Occupy Nigeria led to a new round that that article being retweeted among Libyans.

So I think things are shaping up nicely in Libya. I don't even worry about the Islamic Brotherhood or other Islamic forces coming to power, not in Libya or anywhere else in MENA. That is part of democracy and maybe that is something they have to go through so that they can grow out of it. How long will we have to suffer the Republicans?

Still there is all the minutia of building a new revolutionary Libya, and for more on that, I turn the floor over to Ali Ahmida.

Today my worlds come together. At 10:30am I go back to Africa. There is an Occupy Nigeria protest in Hollywood organized by Nigerians of Southern California. Then at 1:00pm there is a Southern California Occupy Meet Up in Long Beach. It'll be a busy day.

Current Political Situation in Libya: An Interview with Ali Ahmida

Libya is back in the news with increasing tensions among various militia groups and political factions struggling for power, sometimes through street battles.

Three months have passed since the regime of Muammar Qaddafi was dislodged in Libya. So what is happening in Libya today? What forces are in play, and what has become of the revolutionary militias? And what about the issue of outside influence in today's Libya, given the crucial role played by NATO forces as well as governments such as Qatar in bringing an end to Qaddafi's autocracy.

Khalil Bendib spoke with University of New England political science professor Ali Ahmida, who just returned from Libya.
Current Political Situation in Libya: An Interview with Ali Ahmida by Jadaliyya
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Occupy Nigeria - 1st African fruits of Qaddafi gone?

Follow #OccupyNigeria on twitter for the latest news.

Uploaded by AnonymousNigeria on January 9, 2012

”Out of Africa always comes something new” wrote the Roman historian Pliny, (23-79 A.D.) With Mummar Qaddafi gone from Libyan, this old adage will almost certainly gain new meaning because Qaddafi was not only the dictator who ruled Libya with the whip for 40 years, he was a major power in African affairs. He sought to unify Africa under his leadership and saw himself as "King of all the African tribes." Well, with the kickoff of Occupy Nigeria, we are seeing something new in Africa today.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, 160 million people or 1 in 6 Africans live in Nigeria, so any movement there is bound to have a big impact on the whole continent. Could this have anything to do with Qaddafi's recent demise and the success of the revolution in Libya? These are the main questions I wish to touch upon in this article. But first a quick update for those that have not been glued to news out of Africa all day.

3 people were killed and at least another 20 were injured as Nigerian state security used tear gas and rubber bullets and finally resorted to live ammunition in attempts to suppress mass protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria. Except for the rallies, the streets were eerily empty, and shops and businesses closed as most of the country was brought to a grinding halt by a nationwide general strike which its organizers have named "Occupy Nigeria."

This nationwide general strike was sparked by the government's decision to discontinue fuel subsidies. This resulted in a more than doubling of gasoline prices overnight. Nigeria exports more crude oil than any other African country, but only has refinery capacity for 25% of its own needs. It must import, at great expense, most of the gasoline it uses and the government subsidies make the cost bearable in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day. In fact, most Nigerians see the fuel subsidy as the only benefit of being an oil rich nation that trickles down to ordinary people.

Al Jazeera English has been giving good coverage to this story. For more details and background I would recommend Nigerian fuel protests turn deadly

Here are two YouTube Videos of today's action
It is so symbolic of the way this movement has circled the globe in one year that they have named it Occupy Nigeria because this is an obvious nod to Occupy Wall St. and the occupy movement which got its impulse from the Arab Spring which began in another African country, Tunisia, just north of Nigeria. It was also just about a year ago, on Jan. 2, 2011 that the hacker group Anonymous launched OpTunisia in support of the people's struggles in Tunisia. On Jan. 5, 2012, The Naija Cyber Hactivists in conjunction with the allied forces of Anonymous announced Op Nigeria, which had been running since at leat May 2011, was moving in support of Occupy Nigeria by defacing the website of the Federal Ministry Of Transport. Over the weekend more Nigerian government websites were defaced by NCH including the National Insurance Commission [owned], National Information Technology Development Agency [owned] and MNNA [owned] It is very significant that Occupy Nigeria is taking place all across the country and has been able to unite people across tribal, ethnic and religious lines. Nigeria has a long history of religious strife that has threatened to tear the country apart. Most recently Nigeria was in the news because of the Christmas bombings of Christian churches by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Those terrorist attacks killed dozens of Nigerians. For historical reasons Nigeria has been pretty evenly divided between Muslims and Christians with the Muslims concentrated in the North and the Christians concentrated in the South. This religious difference has been the main locus of conflict in Nigeria with most of the North states implementing Sharia law and the indigenous Salafist group, Boko Haram trying to be the Taliban of Nigeria. The demise of Qaddafi and the events in Libya almost certainly have something to do with this recent upsurge in activity by Boko Haram. Mummar Qaddafi may have been for uniting all of Africa but he was also for the break up of Nigeria. From his position as president of the African Union, he advocated the division of Nigeria into separate Muslim and Christian states and at the same time he worked to unite all of Africa into one Muslim state. It is now very clear that he did much more that just speak in favor of the break up of Nigeria. He put his money, meaning Libya's national treasure, were his mouth was. Kingsley Omonobi of Abuja, Nigeria wrote on the Vanguard website days after Qaddafi was killed:
Slain Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi was a major sponsor of terrorism activities and religious fundamentalism in the country, resulting in his supply of arms and ammunition to sectarian groups during religious uprisings, terrorist attacks and even the post elections violence that rocked the nation soon after the 2011 presidential elections, Saturday Vanguard has learnt. Security sources disclosed that they had been aware of the intention of Col. Gaddafi to instigate the destabilization of Nigeria with a view to bringing to fruition, his proclamation early this year, that Nigeria would disintegrate into several parts unless the country was divided into two, with North going their own way and the South forming their own country. Saturday Vanguard was told that it was in his bid to make this happen, that Col Gaddafi massively funded the construction of Mosques and other Islamic Centers of worship in Kano and other cities of the North. He was also said to have embarked on several humanitarian donations and visits to Kano and these other Northern states, most times unannounced, after which he would journey back to his country. “There were also several visits by several top and influential Northerners, especially those of the Islamic faith to Libya ostensibly on the invitation of the late Libyan leader when he was alive and held sway in Tripoli before the revolution against him started which security agencies were aware of and we closely monitored these persons”, the source said. It is against this backdrop and that of several well documented destabilization plots, allegedly sponsored or supported by the late Libyan leader, Saturday Vanguard gathered, that Nigeria moved swiftly in recognizing the National Transition Council after Gaddafi had fled Tripoli... Asked to give an example of how and when the security agencies discovered Gaddafi’s plan against Nigeria, the source said, “As far back as 2003 and 2004, some armed bandits who had been terrorizing Adamawa, Yobe, Kano states, were caught with about 40 double barrels, lethal rifles, machine guns and ammunition. After investigations, and coupled with confessions from the suspects, the weapons and ammunition were found to have a special Gaddafi insignia on them.” So why did Nigeria keep quiet all these years till Gaddafi had problems with his people? The source said he was not in a position to explain, adding that such answer can only come from the federal government.
One example: Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, head of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force was one such Qaddafi trained Nigerian separatist. For many years he led a violent campaign to turn Nigeria's oil rich Niger Delta into an independent republic. He was born a Christian but converted to Islam. He was trained in Libya in 1990 and 1991. He told AFP
"I was invited by the Libyan government and given a scholarship to go study Islam," he said. "When I arrived in Libya, they thought that I had revolutionary ideas, so I became close to the leadership and I started talking to them."
He talked to Gaddafi as late as 2010 and has acknowledged receiving money from him but now that Qaddafi is dead he says his movement is on "sabbatical." Another Nigerian commentator saw it this way:
Gaddhafi was the chief sponsor of terrorist activities in the Niger Delta and in the North. Listen to Asari Dokubo and you will see reasons. Now he's gone, no more funds for them to carry out terrorist attacks against the state of Nigeria.
As might be expected of one who fashioned himself king of all Africans, Mummar Qaddafi had a long history of cultivating close ties with Africa's most populous state and while Nigeria doesn't share a common boundary with Libya, it is very easy to travel overland between the two without much government interference. The countries in between, Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Northern Sudan all are weak states with little or no control of their international boundaries. Nigeria, for example has over a thousand border entry points but only 25 of those are peopled! Nigerian immigrants regularly made the perilous journey to Libya in search of work. Some of that work ended up being fighting in Qaddafi's mercenary army. According to Agaju Madugba in September:
"More than 200 Nigerians were arrested in Libya by the TNC, while about 20 were executed last week on allegations of supporting Gaddafi, as mercenaries."
Three are known to have died in his service. More have returned to Nigeria now that the fighting has ended, along with thousands of Nigerian immigrant laborers displaced by the upheaval in Libya. There has also been a problem with Libyan weapons showing up in Nigeria now that they are being used less in Libya, and more significantly, some of Qaddafi's senior leadership is said to have fled to Nigeria. All of this has no doubt had a destabilizing effect on Nigeria, but it is mostly a short term effect. Even the recent carnage created by Boko Haram can probably best be seen as a rather desperate explosion by a movement that just lost a major sponsor and knows that it will soon be weaker. These immediate problems will be quickly overcome in the face of the unity being expressed in Occupy Nigeria. The important thing is that with Qaddafi gone, a major opponent of Nigerian unity has been removed. That is why Ochereome Nnanna could speak of,
the unbridled sense of euphoria sweeping Libya and even Nigeria at the fall of a man who dominated his country – and to some extent, the continent – for 42 years.
and why yesterday Emmanuel Iduma titled his blog on Black Looks:
See, The Nigerian Revolution Has Begun
Uploaded by AnonymousNigeria on January 4, 2012 My other pieces related to this story: Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure Racism in Libya
Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 10:08 PM PT: In the north, the struggle against Boko Haram is getting fiercer. This was just yesterday:
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — An hours-long gun battle raged Saturday in a northern Nigerian city that's the spiritual home of a radical Islamist sect, and a car bomb exploded during a gun fight with members of the group in another city in the restive region, authorities said. At least six people were killed.
Recently the sect rejected efforts to began indirect talks with the government and now the government is pressing its military campaign against them with renewed vigor.
Meanwhile the Occupy Nigeria movement, like the occupy movement everywhere, continues its growth outside of the lime light, as example by this article two days ago: Occupy Nigeria: Nneka on the "Vagabonds in Power" or this one from five days ago: Occupy Yourself, Occupy Nigeria By Malcolm Fabiyi

Occupy Nigeria Hollywood Protest

Follow #OccupyNigeria on twitter for the latest news.
There was a small protest rally in Hollywood on Saturday of Southern California Nigerians and other supporters of Occupy Nigeria, the Nigerian General Strike demanding the reinstatement of fuel subsidies recently dropped at the behest of the International Monetary Fuel. I shot some video and photos with my DroidX. This is the video I made:
Occupy Nigeria Hollywood Protest. January 14, 2012

Nigerians in Southern California (NISC) held a rally on Saturday, January 14 at 10 A.M @ 6430 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-7906 (Near CNN Building) to decry the oil subsidy removal by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. In a statement the group sent a specific message to Mr. Jonathan, reminding him that
“A leader who demands loyalty, but offers nothing in return builds tyranny; and tyranny offers nothing but failure. Empower every citizen, and you will gain strength. Offer security and justice in the form of liberty, allowing every citizen to be safe from conviction without cause or prison without charge - to work, eat, and live on the sweat of his or her own brow – and you will be great. Not only will you receive the loyalty of your people, but their love as well. GEJ, this is your chance to be great - don't waste it. Lead from the heart.”
The statement further said:
Describing the hardship that removal of the oil subsidy removal will bring to the average Nigerian, NISC said the government should:
  • Revamp all the refineries and build new ones;
  • Provide regular power supply;
  • Provide public transportation systems such as railways;
  • Repair the roads;
  • Eliminate the corruption associated with supply and distribution
    of petroleum products in
  • the downstream sector of the oil industry;
  • Trim excess wages and entitlements allocated to high government
  • Adhere to the rule of law;
  • Be transparent;
  • Be accountable;
  • Govern well; and
  • Lead by example
Here are a couple more videos of this event. FACEBBOOK VIDEO OF OCCUPY NIGERIA..LOS ANGELES SOLIDARITY RALLY See also: Occupy Nigeria - 1st African fruits of Qaddafi gone?
8:16 PM PT: This just in. From Al Jazeera:
Nigerian unions call off national strike
Union leaders in Nigeria have called off a week-long nationwide strike that has been paralysing the country's economy, following a decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to roll back fuel-price increases.
Jonathan announced on Monday that he would reduce fuel prices in response to protests and strikes that sprang up after his government withdrew fuel subsidies at the beginning of January.
But his announcement failed to quell all of the protests, and soldiers reportedly used force to shut down demonstrations in Lagos, the country's commercial capital.
Under Goodluck's new plan, the Nigerian government will reduce fuel prices by 30 per cent, to around $2.75 per gallon, by restoring some of the subsidies. That price is still considerably higher than the roughly $1.70 per gallon Nigerians paid before the subsidies were removed.