Showing posts tagged fault lines

Here’s my latest Fault Lines episode, Fracking in America. I’ll post photos from the trip over the next couple of days…

Here’s my latest Fault Lines episode. Enjoy. And let me know what you think…

The US’ housing bubble burst nearly six years ago, but the worst may be yet to come.

After a landmark settlement, the major banks have lifted a freeze on foreclosures and government relief has been too small to make a difference.

"We are often portrayed as the bad people, like we basically just come in and make all the money from people who are in bad situations. But the fact is, if we don’t buy the property then the bank [will] take the property back." 

- Amy Chen, a real estate investor

Public housing budgets have been slashed, leaving larger numbers of people with no place to call home.

The line between home ownership and homelessness is growing ever more blurry, but neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have made housing a major campaign issue.

Meanwhile, popular anger is rising over the perceived impunity of the banks and some have found innovative ways of fighting back in an age of austerity.

Fault Lines travels to Chicago and California to see how people at the frontlines of the crisis are confronting the collapse of the American dream.

"If you ask people who have been foreclosed upon, whose fault is it? They often they say it’s mine. It’s my fault, I did the wrong thing, instead of kind of saying this is a systemic problem," explains David Harvey, a social theorist and a professor of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

"Capital is always producing surpluses, at the end of the day if you have got a profit, you’ve got a surplus and the big question is what do you do with it.

"[So] what you do is that you take part of that surplus and you reinvest it in something. And in United States, housing and urbanisation in general has been a vast field for expansion of profitable opportunities."

The New York Times today has a fascinating story of a town in Mexico where women have taken over in an armed occupation. They report that the people of Cheran, in the state of Michoacan, had been harassed by armed, illegal loggers for years:

On the morning of April 15, 2011, using rocks and fireworks, a group of women attacked a busload of AK-47-armed illegal loggers as they drove through Cherán, residents said. The loggers, who local residents say are protected by one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations and given a virtual free pass by the country’s authorities, had terrorized the community at will for years.

Cherán’s residents said they had been subjected to multiple episodes of rape, kidnapping, extortion and murder by the paramilitary loggers, who have devastated an estimated 70 percent of the surrounding oak forests that sustained the town’s economy and indigenous culture for centuries.

What happened next was extraordinary, especially in a country where the rule of law is often absent and isolated communities are frequently forced to accept the status quo. Organized criminal syndicates, like the drug cartel La Familia, created in Michoacán, act like a state within a state, making their own rules and meting out grisly punishments to those who do not obey.

But here in Cherán, a group of townspeople took loggers hostage, expelled the town’s entire police force and representatives of established political parties, and forcibly closed the roads.

The piece goes on to mention the idea of community rule isn’t new to the area. In fact, in the Fault Lines episode above we explored the issue in the neighboring state of Guerrero. (Warning: The show contains some footage that is pretty hard to watch.)

This reminds me of a recent story out of southern Colombia where indigenous people took over a mountain, kicking out both the Colombian military and the FARC.

I’ve covered war for many years. One of the first realities you learn when covering conflicts is that no matter what the fight is for, or where in the world it is, those that suffer war’s horrible effects the most are the people caught in the middle. I now find it heartening that at least in a few quiet corners of the globe that some of those people are starting to take back what should have been theirs all along.

This story is developing now: One miner has been rescued, five more remain trapped after an explosion caused a partial collapse at a mine in the state of Coahuila in Mexico. This is the second incident at this same mine in the last two weeks. On July 25 an explosion killed seven miners.

For a look at what going inside a mine in Latin America looks like, check out my Fault Lines episode above about illegal gold mining in Colombia. Parts of this episode were filmed in the department (or region) of Cauca, which is where the indigenous people have recently risen up against the military and the FARC (see last post).

Primer: Profits and Punishment

Here’s a primer for my latest episode of Fault Lines. It’s about for-profit immigration detention facilities in the US. This was put together by the show’s producer, Anjali Kamat.

For more on why undocumented migration from Mexico is at an all-time low see: &

@DetentionWatch has a useful map of all the #immigration #detention ctrs in the US.

On average the federal govt pays prison operators – both private as well as county jails - $122 a day per detainee.

For more about the #dreamact and Jose Salcedo @slumdogsalcedo:

#nosomosrubios is a campaign critical of Sen. Marco Rubio’s bid for VP launched by @presenteorg

Sen. Rubio is now pushing a Republican version of the DREAM act: &

See “Marco Rubio’s Prison Problem” by Beau Hodai:

Excellent backgrounder on profits & #immigration #detention from @DetentionWatch #dwn

Also great on immigrant gold rush & #privateprisons - Judy Greene & Sunita Patel:

From Oct 2003 – Mar 2012: 129 deaths in #ICE detention:

@ACLU is a great resource on sexual abuse of detainees in #ICE custody

Even if all the new civil detention ctrs R built, 86 % of #ICE detainees wd still be held in jail-like facilities

Meanwhile Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas calls detention reform a “holiday”:

Since 2009 #ICE has added or promised over 6000 new detention beds, most run by #privateprisons. via @humanrights1st

Critical look at reforms to detention system by @kalhan in Columbia Law Review

 Is the focus on conditions taking attention away from ending detention altogether?

Alternatives to detention: cheaper & more humane: via @LIRSorg

Telephones in #ICE detention facilities are operated by private companies that charge exorbitant rates for making & receiving calls

We asked #ICE how much #privateprisons might be saving by using detainee labor instead of hiring workers to cook & clean

Gary Mead of #ICE said he didn’t know because the operating costs for #privateprisons are “proprietary information.”

#Privateprisons are not subject to FOIA requests. On lack of accountability & abuse concerns: @ACLU report:

Prison Legal News is another great resource on #privateprisons

A brief history of immigration detention: #DWN

@silkys13 has a stark history of #immigration #detention after 9/11 in @SamarMagazine:

Infographic on Secure Communities by @reneefeltz & @stokelybaksh on their site: Deportation Nation

@sethfw on the “criminal aliens” captured in recent #ICE raids across the country

Is the Dept of Homeland Security redefining criminality?

Many were against a proposed #ICE facility in SouthWest Ranches run by the largest #privateprison company: CCA

Calls for Wall Street to divest from #privateprisons: &

ALEC is behind many of the tough laws on crime & immigration benefitting #privateprisons: via @ALECexposed

On lobbying by GEO & CCA see & @Justice_Policy report Gaming the System:

Also an older site by @reneefeltz & @stokelybaksh: Business of Detention

@txprisonbidness is a great resource on detention in Texas:

A brief and accessible introduction to the mandatory detention of non-citizens from @DetentionWatch: #DWN

Most people are surprised to hear that a large number of greencard holders like Naz can end up in immigration detention

Pearsall, where Naz was held, was the site of alleged sexual abuse in 2008. Last year guards protested their low wages

Naz also talked about the poor medical care in Pearsall and how it took days before he could see a nurse when he was ill or injured

@Nomoredeaths has a strong report on abuses by the border patrol:

At a courthouse in McAllen, TX, we witnessed but weren’t allowed to film the mass trial of some 35 men and women.

Some had grown up in the US, others in Mexico or Guatemala. They all had family in the US.

The trial – a daily occurrence - was heartbreaking. One lawyer watching said: “This is where the American dream comes to die.”

Prosecuting people for illegal entry makes up more than half of all federal criminal filings:

Illegal re-entry cases have surged under President Obama:


Fault Lines: Profits and Punishment

Here’s our latest episode. We look into the growing trend of privatized, immigration detainee centers in the US. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Later today I’ll post a primer on the subject with tons of links.

Congratulations to Anjali Kamat on producing her first Fault Lines episode. She did a terrific job. Great filming by Thierry Humeau and editing by Goran Maric and Warwick Meade. A nod as well to our EP Mat Skene.

Fault Lines: Profits and Punishment. Here’s the promo for tonight’s episode. These promos are put together at our headquarters in Doha, Qatar. It’s kind of weird that they use someone else’s voice for it. Whoever it is has a great voice, but it’s totally different than mine, which you’ll hear throughout the actual show. Oh well.

Here’s the video for Shock by Ana Tijoux. If you watched the Fault Lines episode Chile Rising, you’ll recognize the school and many of the faces in this video. If you missed that episode, no worries, find it here (or by scrolling down).

Fault Lines: On the Pulse of the Pentagon

The US announced a new military strategy today at a Pentagon briefing. Much of the discussion concerned what could be read as predictable—and cyclic—budget cuts of a post-war drawdown. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also took pains to mention what wouldn’t feel the fiscal pinch: offensive and defensive cyber security and unmanned systems.

We at Fault Lines have covered and predicted both of these trends.

First with an episode called Cyberwar.

A growing fear of computer hackers—a term encompassing a broad range of entities from digital spy rings to information thieves to cyberarmies of kids, criminals and terrorists (some backed by nation states)—and their potentially massive threat to national security has Washington maneuvering into position to defend its assets from a new style of warfare: one without foot soldiers, guns or missiles. Crucial national infrastructure, high value commercial secrets, tens of billions of dollars in defense contracts—as well as values like privacy and freedom of expression—are at stake. 

In this episode of Fault Lines, I enter the domain of “cyber” and speak to a former US national security official turned cybersecurity consultant, a Silicon Valley CEO, a hacker, and those who warn of a growing arms race in cyberspace.

Is the US contributing to the militarisation of cyberspace? Are the reports of cyber threats being distorted by a burgeoning security industry? And are the battles being waged in cyberspace interfering with the Internet as we know it? 

Then last week we filed a report titled Robot Wars.

Over the past decade, the US military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more unmanned systems in the battlefield than ever before.

Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military.

These systems mean less American deaths and also less political risk for the US when it takes acts of lethal force – often outside of official war zones.

But US lethal drone strikes in countries like Pakistan have brought up serious questions about the legal and political implications of using these systems.

Fault Lines looks at how these new weapons of choice are allowing the US to stretch the international laws of war and what it could mean when more and more autonomy is developed for these lethal machines.

Read More

Ana Tijoux, my favorite rapper, Chilean or otherwise. Her song, “Shock”, is based on the Naomi Klein’s book, Shock Doctrine.

Check Shock out here.

Find Shock Doctrine here.

And for a look into the Chilean student movement today watch my latest episode of Fault Lines here.

Here’s the promo for my latest episode of Fault Lines…

Check out some of the photos from this trip below…

And see the full episode HERE

I was in Santiago in October filming an episode of Fault Lines about the student movement there. At one of the demonstrations the marchers passed by a tall apartment complex where someone on top of the building was throwing buckets of water over the edge. The students loved it. Check out the show here.

My latest episode of Fault Lines! Check it out…


Here’s the new episode that just aired on Al Jazeera English. Description below. 

This is our last episode in this season, and we expect to be back in early spring. We’ll keep you apprised here, on Twitter @ajfaultlines and on our Facebook page

Chilean students have taken over schools and city streets in the largest protests the country has seen in decades.

These actions are causing a political crisis for the country’s billionaire President, Sebastian Piñera.

The students are demanding free education, and an end to the privatization of their schools and universities. The free-market based approach to education was implemented by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet in his last days in power.

As the demonstrations in Chile coincide with protests erupting globally, Fault Lines follows the Chilean student movement during their fight in a country that is among the most unequal in the world.

This episode of Fault Lines first aired on Al Jazeera English on January 2, 2012 at 2230 GMT.

(Reblogged from ajfaultlines)