South Africa to prosecute strikers targeted by police massacre at Marikana

Alex Lantier

In an act of naked class justice, the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is laying bogus murder charges against 270 striking Marikana miners after police massacred 34 of their fellow strikers on August 16.

The African National Congress (ANC) government does not contest that it was police who murdered the 34 striking miners who died that day. However, none of the policemen who committed the murders, or the high-level government officials such as Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega under whose instructions they were acting, are in custody. Instead, prosecutors are charging and detaining the strikers who somehow survived the police’s murderous onslaught.

Indeed, 6 of the 270 miners charged could not attend the court hearing because they are still hospitalized with wounds from police fire. The 264 other strikers appeared at the Ga Rankunwa magistrates court, where their application for bail was rejected and their hearing was adjourned for seven days.

At least 150 of the detained strikers have already filed claims with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate complaining that they have been assaulted and tortured by police officers while in detention.

The 270 strikers charged with murder also face 78 charges of attempted murder, one for each one of their fellow strikers who was wounded but not killed by police fire.

Romney outlines right-wing agenda in acceptance speech

Joseph Kishore

Mitt Romney officially accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president on Thursday evening, in a speech before the national convention in Tampa, Florida. The speech concluded a three-day convention during which the Republicans put on display the right-wing program upon which they are campaigning.

The Republican platform is significant not simply for what it says about the party—a deeply reactionary organization—but the entire American political system. Amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the ruling class, represented by both big business parties, is moving to escalate attacks on the working class.

In terms of policy, the main focus of the Republican campaign is the “economy”—i.e., demands for further corporate deregulation, the elimination of all constraints on profit-making, and the dismantling of Medicare and other social programs to further enrich the financial aristocracy. The Obama administration has pursued these policies over the past four years, and the Republicans are working to shift the political debate even further to the right.

Romney, a former CEO of an asset-stripping firm with a personal fortune of some $200 million, cynically expressed his concern for high levels of unemployment, declining wages, and record poverty. This comes from a candidate who personifies Wall Street speculation and is on record declaring that he is not concerned about poor people!

Where Do We Go Next?

Philip Giraldi

Rep. Ron Paul did not get a speaking slot at the GOP convention.

It was perhaps inevitable that the GOP would turn on the Ron Paul supporters to eliminate them from their version of a body politic. I predicted it would take place and so did a number of others. But what has been surprising is the timing. It seemed reasonable to assume that the Republican gatekeepers would wait until after the convention or even the election to keep the Paulistas in harness and supportive, nurturing their faint hopes that their message would somehow have an impact, encouraging them to vote for Mitt Romney. But the Republican Party leadership decided instead to purge Paul supporters at both the state and local level and also on the convention floor. As Justin Raimondo has noted, a harrowing worthy of Josef Stalin took place in a number of states employing procedural ploys, stripping delegates of their accreditation, and even illegal closing of caucuses, which denied to Ron Paul’s supporters any ability to have significant impact at the convention. The deal was sealed when the GOP rules committee revised its convention guidelines, initially to make it impossible to cast dissident votes or to propose nominations from the floor, and subsequently to allow the national party to veto and replace state delegates. As one Associate Press report put it somewhat laconically in an early report on convention preparations “Republican officials have reduced the ranks of Paul delegates.” Jordan Bloom, who attended the Paul events in Tampa, reported that Paul’s supporters were angry and frustrated, many having experienced political corruption up close and personal for the first time. One friend of mine on Capitol Hill likened the caucus deals finally arrived at in various states to having a burglar steal everything you own and then return a couple of days later to give you half back if you do not complain. That’s what happened. The Paul supporters were outgunned and out-muscled and, led by a campaign team that wanted accommodation, wound up taking what they could get.

Judge blaming Rachel Corrie for her own death highlights Israel’s impunity, family says

Jillian Kestler-D'Amours

The Haifa District court ruled earlier today that the Israeli military is not responsible for killing American activist Rachel Corrie, and that Corrie was to blame for her own death.

“Even when she saw the mount of earth moving towards her, she did not move away. The accident was caused by the deceased,” said Israeli Judge Oded Gershon, as he read out a summary of the 62-page ruling in front of a packed courthouse and with Rachel’s mother Cindy, father Craig and sister Sarah sitting in the front row.

Rachel’s death, Gershon said, “was not due to negligence of the state or any of its actors. The state did not violate the right of the deceased [Rachel Corrie] to life.”

Twenty-three-year-old American activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in March 2003. At the time of her death, she was trying to prevent Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the Gaza border town of Rafah.

“There is no basis for the claim that the bulldozer hit her intentionally. It was a very unfortunate accident. I am confident the operator wouldn’t have continued if he saw her. This was an accident,” Gershon said, adding “the state is not responsible for damages in actions [that occur] in combat operations.”

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